The Publication

LEAF Review No. 26 2018

In this issue: For centuries, one simple rule defined bridge design: form must follow function. Yet, as materials have advanced and design programmes grown more complex, this edict has become less and less relevant. Greg Noone talks to architects and engineers including Naeem Hussain, global leader of bridge design at Arup, and Sara Göransson of Urban Nouveau, to discuss how building a crossing between two separate points is becoming less of an engineering feat and more of an art.

In an era of shrinking public funds, and an increasingly complicated relationship between citizens, communities, government bodies and private enterprise, what do we want our public buildings to stand for and who should be responsible for defining their function? Grace Allen speaks to architectural designer Adam Nathaniel. Furman, who has sparked conversation on the visual language of the city hall, and Louis Becker, partner and design principal at Henning Larsen Architects, about the civic architecture helping to pose and frame those questions.

Also: Architects’ own studios and offices – ‘the spaces where people design spaces’ – must serve multiple purposes, at once defining a practice’s style and approach, impressing prospective clients and peers, and providing a creative environment for staff. Tim Gunn talks to Make founder Ken Shuttleworth; Gregory Nijs, principal at Belgian company Klaarchitectuur; and Invisible Studio ‘instigator’ Piers Taylor about how they designed their own bases.

LEAF Review No. 25 2018

Much has been made of positive-energy buildings, with some ambitious developers arguing that the construction industry should be pushing the technology harder. But what role might energy-positive architecture have to play in building a sustainable future? Neil Thompson speaks with Architecture 2030's Edward Mazria, eco-architect Ken Yeang and Jette Hopp of Snøhetta about whether this ideal could shape the future of architectural design.

Our cities have collapsed into a state of "garbage-spill urbanism", argues Patrik Schumacher, and only a complete change of approach can get us back on the right path. But if the response is to scrap political interference, empower market forces to make planning decisions and persuade his contemporaries to embrace parametricism, there are still a lot of people out there left to convince. Phin Foster hears the principal of Zaha Hadid Architects make his case.

Also in this issue: The concept of open-source architecture (OSA) may challenge the starchitects and big design firms, but the benefits of hive-minding concepts, and subjecting work to free external and objective testing have persuaded influencers to set up OSA departments. JS Rafaeli finds out more about this trend. Plus, Penda is planning a modular wooden skyscraper for Toronto that could provide a more sustainable model for high-density city living. Frances Marcellin talks to partner Chris Precht.

LEAF Review No. 24 2017

Jürgen Mayer is identified as being in the vanguard of a new generation of international architectural leaders. He believes in creating “active” architecture that goes beyond merely answering questions by asking us some of its own. The Berlin-based architect and artist speaks to Phin Foster about the influence of dominant German discourses upon this approach, the importance of ambition and why it’s sometimes okay to go a little crazy.

Designing a memorial might be the toughest task an architect faces. From monuments celebrating national triumph and personal heroism, to today’s conceptual installations, memorial design can be controversial. Patrick Kingsland asks if it’s possible to create something that pleases everyone.

Also in this issue: The industry met this year at London’s Royal Horseguards Hotel to celebrate architectural successes at the 15th annual ABB LEAF Awards. The expert judging panel included SBID president Vanessa Brady OBE, and BIG’s Kai-Uwe Bergmann, as well as senior representatives from Zaha Hadid Architects, SOM, Aedas and Perkins + Will. We round up all the winners. Plus, now in its 18th year, LEAF International was held at the Berlin Marriott in October, bringing together leaders from a mixture of the world largest and most progressive architectural practices, contractors, designers, suppliers and more.

LEAF Review No. 23 2017

The reclamation of former industrial spaces continues apace in cities and towns across the post-industrial West, but might such projects be disenfranchising those already impacted by the demise of traditional industries? How can one involve those who are at risk of being left behind?

From China to downtown Brooklyn, are we entering the age of the prefab skyscraper, and what does this mean for our cities? Patrick Kingsland asks Zhang Yue, founder and chair of Broad Sustainable Building; Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP Architects; Rory Bergin, partner at HTA Design; and John Quale of the University of New Mexico.

Also in this issue: The world's population is ageing faster than ever before. How will this megatrend change the way we design? Eleanor Wilson talks to leading researchers and architects to find answers. Plus, Ross Davies chills out with some of the designers behind the Icehotel project in Sweden, as well as founder Yngve Bergqvist.

LEAF Review No. 22 2016


Whether courting controversy, being hailed as a visionary or transforming the seemingly mundane into a work of art, an architect of true interest will always have unique twists and turns throughout their career. Phin Foster speaks to Santiago Calatrava, winner of the 2016 Leaf Award for Lifetime Achievement, about encapsulating time through architecture and his unwillingness to compromise.

Greg Noone talks to Lina Ghotmeh, partner at DGT Architects; Dumitru Rusu, co-founder of the BACU Association; and architectural historian Dr Michal Murawski about the conflicted model presented in built space dating from the communist period.

Also in this issue: Some of the biggest names in architecture gathered at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London for the 2016 LEAF Awards; we profile all the winners in this round-up. Plus, Abi Millar speaks to Andrei Martin from PLP Architects and Miguel Angel Borras of Miel Arquitectos, the firms behind two recent examples of shared housing, or 'living as a service'.

LEAF Review No. 21 2016


Despite being one of the most influential practitioners of his generation, Steven Holl has eschewed the path of the globetrotting 'starchitect' to focus on a practise still firmly rooted in the arts. Phin Foster meets the AIA-Gold-Medal-winning architect and watercolourist to discuss the benefits of maintaining a small studio and reinventing architecture with every project.

Designing a theatre invites architects to set the scene for a new artistic venture, but getting it right demands an intimate understanding of the institution. Sarah Williams speaks to Ben van Berkel of UN Studio, John Foldbjerg Lassen of Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins, and David Lan, Young Vic artistic director and consulting artistic director on the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center.

Also in this issue: Rod James looks at the effect that emerging technologies are having on the nature of the architect's job, and what it means for the future of the built environment; Philip Kleinfeld explores how architects, designers and planners can respond to the challenge of housing and sheltering refugee populations; and LEAF Review asks if we are ready to move from illuminating buildings to creating buildings of illumination.

LEAF Review No. 20 2016


The winner of this year's LEAF Lifetime Achievement Award, Moshe Safdie is currently working at an unprecedented scale in a career spanning more than five decades. He speaks to Phin Foster about the humanisation of mega-scale, working in Asia and the need for a seismic rethink in how we approach public planning.

Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular with architects, as a way of financing projects across a variety of scales and budgets. To what extent, however, can it transform the way public infrastructure is conceived, approved and financed? Is this the dawn of increased public engagement with the built environment, or is architecture merely becoming a popularity contest? Philip Kleinfeld looks at the longevity and impact that this practice will have on the industry.

Also in this issue: What are the current trends in wellness aesthetics and how can architects and interior designers best serve this fast-growing market segment? We meet partners from GA Design and WATG to find out. Plus, the hive at the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo was a well deserved winner of the coveted best lighting design prize at 2015's FX Awards. So what makes the Pavilion buzz? We take a look at the project and the environmental message behind the stunning display.

LEAF Review No. 19 2015


Next year marks the 20th birthday for Maggie's Centres - drop-in centres for cancer patients created by some of the world's leading architects to engender a healthy environment. What is the legacy of this most design-led of charities and how much of an impact can quality design make on recovery? Abi Millar talks to architectural theorist Charles Jencks, co-founder of the charity with his late wife Maggie; charity CEO Laura Lee; and Lord Norman Foster, who is designing a new centre due to open next year.

A record number of skyscrapers will be built this year, but with the 'Great Recession' leaving many people distrustful of symbols of corporate strength and perceived architectural excess, to what extent are we witnessing a shift in the manner in which these projects are conceived and executed? Chris Godfrey speaks to partners at MAKE Architects, KPF and NBBJ about the latest trends in skyscraper design.

Also in this issue: As lighting and lighting controls have evolved, so has the relationship between architect and lighting designer, as Elly Earls finds out from Mark Major, Florence Lam and James Dilley. Plus, after decades of building only in steel and concrete, mass timber is now being used by architects to build ever-taller towers across the world. Greg Noone talks to Andrew Waugh, founding director at Waugh Thistleton; and Benton Johnson, engineer at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

LEAF Review No. 18 2014


A new generation of offices has been designed with human factors in mind to create environments that promote collaboration and focus. Abi Millar speaks to the architects behind some of the most successful shifts in working culture, including OMA's G-Star RAW headquarters, Mecanoo's Rabobank development and Wiel Arets' Allianz Headquarters.

Hailed as a utopian platform for experiments in green urbanism, then slowed by global financial trouble and technical glitches, Masdar City continues to make quiet progress amid design revisions and reversals. Will it fulfil its potential to prepare the United Arab Emirates for a post-petroleum future or is the project little more than a theme park devoted to ecological ideals? Bill Millard digs for answers.

Also in this issue: The LEAF Review looks at how the super-efficient light sources have changed contemporary building design and hears from one of the winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics, Shuji Nakamura, about his ongoing work in the field. Plus, climate change has created a theory shift in the architectural community, and a key component of this is its approach to water

LEAF Review No. 17 2014


While the speed of China's emergence as a financial powerhouse has been nothing short of an economic miracle, the rapid urbanisation it's necessitated has prompted mass displacement, infrastructural failings and appallingly high pollution levels. But things might be changing. MAD principal Ma Yansong and eco pioneer Peter Calthorpe discuss the need for a new type of urban topography and emerging responses that promote harmonious, human-centric environments.

One practice that has made rejecting tired responses and the status quo its raison d'etre over the past 24 years is FAT. As UK architecture's biggest iconoclasts go their separate ways, we meet the studio's three founders, Sam Jacob, Sean Griffith and Charles Holland.

Also in this issue of LEAF Review - Architect-driven collective action was once dominant in the UK, but now just 2% of architects now work in the public sector. We study the impact such a loss of talent has had and profile the individuals looking to prompt a return to progressive planning.

Indonesia has also embarked upon a fierce debate about the future of its built environment. LEAF Review investigates the impact this surge in development is having on the urban landscape.

Other highlights include a study of the trend towards preserving and revitalising once condemned post-war brutalist tower blocks, Skylar Tibbits talks us through his vision for 4D printing, and gallery chiefs and leading designers review the latest trends in museum lighting.

LEAF Review No. 16 2013


Earlier this year, the Vatican's Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi observed a lack of integration between the architect and the faith community, echoing complaints from Antonio Paolucci, head of Vatican museums, that a spate of recent churches "do not suggest prayer or meditation".

Cardinal Ravasi and two of the architects he singled out for criticism, Massimiliano Fuksas and Mario Botta, discuss whether a Catholic church can exist without traditional icons and symbols, the issues of marrying contemporary design with spirituality and whether any form of redress is in sight.

Charles Correa is an architect who has spent a lifetime adapting the principles of modernism to the conflicting realities of the Indian subcontinent. In an exclusive interview, he speaks about housing the poor and finding sustainable solutions to the country's escalating urban crisis.

Nine Elms, the largest urban redevelopment in Europe, has been promoted as an effort to activate brownfield space in the centre of London, but, with a contested legacy of regeneration, will the city's latest transformational story live up to the billing? We meet the developers, architects and planners to find out.

Other highlights in this edition include UNStudio's Ben van Berkel discussing his efforts to bring knowledge sharing into commercial architecture on an unprecedented scale; Superuse Studios founders Jan Jongert and Césare Peeren on how untapped building resources could change modern material flow; and leading lights Florence Lam, Claude Engle and Roger van der Heide debating how LED technologies are ushering in a new era of lighting design.

LEAF Review No. 15 2013


Public frustration with the built environment is often explained as a byproduct of urban modernism. Joyless, mechanistic master plans, functionalism and philosophical utopianism can amount to a legacy that's far from satisfactory. We profile some of the studios determined to alter public space, creating worlds of public intervention that engage, empower and activate the city's 'non-places'.

India remains a strange omission for many international architecture practices. We explore the social implications of Indian urbanisation and the new forms of architectural production that are emerging from a multitude of conflicting directions.

There are few more influential practitioners of sustainable urban development than Ken Yeang. He discusses the evolution of his theories, the scope for sustainable skyscrapers and why he feels the rest of the architectural community continues to drag its feet.

One of the few modern projects that might meet with Yeang's approval is Boeri Studio's Bosco Verticale, two Milanese towers that amount to vertical forests, incorporating thousands of trees, shrubs and plants. We assess whether this constitutes a step change in the integration of nature and the built environment, and its potential impact on the future of high-density living.

Other highlights within this issue include John Kasarda and Huw Thomas discussing the social impact of airports; a study of the changing nature of design within the luxury hospitality sector; a profile of the architectural practices looking towards traditional building materials for inspiration; and we celebrate the achievements of LEAF Awards' Lifetime Achievement winner Daniel Libeskind.

LEAF Review No. 14 2012


Contextualising architecture as ’organic’ has long been design cliché, but a group of multidisciplinary studios and practitioners are moving such dialogue beyond the metaphorical and proposing a synthesis of architecture, biology and smart chemistry that is both revelatory and revolutionary. In this issue, we meet leaders in the field, including TED fellow Rachel Armstrong and Terreform ONE’s Mitchell Joachim, to hear how their work and research challenges popular assumptions around form, forcing a reevaluation around how we think about the long-term sustainable development of the built environment

Mass urbanisation across China certainly demands new ideas around sustainability and mega scale. Western practices have come to dominate its city skylines with iconic superstructures, but Wang Shu’s Pritzker Prize win, and the emergence of domestic players fusing lessons learnt from international players with a philosophy underpinned by local history and context, could be indicative of a change in the balance of power. Local and foreign players, including Ma Yansong and Chris Wilkinson, discuss what such a generational shift might mean for the future of Chinese architecture.

Other highlights within this issue include a discussion around the issues of identity, control and ownership that underlie the provision of public space; we shine a light on the growing attention being paid to OLED within the architectural field; and investigate an apparent architectural boom underway in Georgia led by the country’s very own ”architect-in-chief”.

LEAF Review No. 13 2012


Changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and mass urbanisation are forcing a growing number of architects to embrace water. In this issue, we meet the practitioners meeting this challenge, including Waterstudio’s Koen Olthuis, and discover why the real difficulty may come in convincing the public that such structures offer real social benefits, as opposed to mere novelty factor and architectural grandstanding

David Adjaye is an architect for whom such grandstanding is an anathema. As work starts on his $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, the final piece in Washington DC’s Mall master plan, he discusses the political and social nature of his work and the pressures of leading a project more than 200 years in the making.

Another development charged with emotional and political resonance continues to take shape at Ground Zero. Problems with financing have caused delays and controversies, but the 9/11 Memorial Museum is now on course for a 2013 opening. Partners from principal architects Davis Brody Bond and Snøhetta discuss why the extra time taken may serve to benefit the whole.

Other highlights include a host of names from practices big and small, including Renzo Piano, discussing the growth of the super-studio, an investigation into the growing use of double-skin facades, a tour of the new adidas headquarters and a profile of the latest developments in the world of exterior lighting.

LEAF Review No. 12 2011


In an exclusive interview conducted during a brief stay in New York to launch OMA’s Cronocaos exhibition, Rem Koolhaas discusses the inherent tensions between protectionists and modernisers and achieving sensible deployment of preservation against the excesses of architecture.

Elsewhere, Jürgen Mayer discusses his creation of arguably the world’s most outlandish parasol, we explore digitally controlled building façades that react to environmental conditions and ask how one goes about hosting a summer football tournament in one of the hottest regions on Earth. We talk to Curtis Fentress and Santiago Calatrava about architecture’s shifting relationship with the airport, and question architecture’s role in the creation of beautiful music with a look at the Harpa Concert Hall.

Other highlights include Konstantin Grcic outlining design philosophies, the changing face of the office and a profile of the latest architectural addition to Trinity College Dublin.

LEAF Review No. 11 2011


The UN forecasts that today’s urban population of 3.2 billion will top five billion by 2030, placing unprecedented strain on the infrastructure of cities. Mitchell Joachim, co-founder of New York-based urban design group Terreform ONE and leading German architect Jürgen Mayer discuss the relationship between cities and their inhabitants and the need for a radical reimagining of the urban landscape.

Following in the wake of the recent launch of his Riva speedboat, superdesigner Marc Newson shares his thoughts on luxury design with the LEAF Review. ”I was aware of Riva even as a child growing up in Australia – it epitomised the jet-set glamour of the 1960s – the Riviera, Portofino, the Agha Khan, Bardot,” he says.

Finally, the need for more sustainable, energy-efficient design solutions has seen growing numbers of wood-based projects. We talk to architects working at different ends of the spectrum.

LEAF Review No. 10 2010


”If you use architecture as a weapon to get through new ideas then that is good,” says Professor Wolf D Prix, co-founder of internationally celebrated practice, Coop Himmelb(l)au. Prix discusses his practice’s work including the new European Central Bank and how he has kept his design philosophy radical after 42 years.

One of the most progressive architects in the world, Alejandro Aravena’s Elemental, a self-proclaimed ”do tank”, is as an extraordinary partnership between an architect, an oil company and a university that is solving problems of housing the world’s poor. Aravena explains the practice’s work to the LEAF Review.

A Rem Koolhaas protégé and co-founder of PLOT, at just 25 and now five years into running one of Europe’s most exciting practices, Julien de Smedt does not appear to be a man with much experience of crises. However, as he tells us, there may never be a better time to learn.



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