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Big Interview

The Pritzker Prize is often interpreted as the culmination of a career, but since receiving architecture’s ultimate accolade more than a decade ago, Jean Nouvel has only gained momentum. He has delivered a series of high profile, large scale international commissions, including the Philharmonie de Paris, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manhattan’s MoMA Expansion Tower, and the National Museum of Qatar. In this exclusive interview, Nouvel looks back at some of his favourite projects, discusses upcoming work, and tells us why the best architecture must deliver “the sensation of discovery”.


Architectural pavilions and temporary structures are a commission like no other, whether it’s presenting a young studio the opportunity to showcase its talents to a large audience, or acting as a platform for a starchitect to explore ideas in a space that encourages and celebrates risk-taking and novelty. We speak to those who have commissioned and designed some of the most startling projects and discuss the importance of pavilions to the field of architecture more generally, including Paloma Strelitz of Assemble, Overtreders W co-founder Hester van Dijk and Serpentine Galleries director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Sports stadia are being designed with unprecedented complexity and ambition, becoming a specialist architectural discipline in and of itself. From anchoring urban regeneration projects to celebrating and building upon unique cultures and histories, client and end-user demands are myriad and often charged with emotion. What defines the most successful contemporary examples of stadia architecture and how is their realisation evolving? We speak to Jon Niemuth of Aecom Sports, Populous managing director Christopher Lee, and Jan Ammundsen of 3XN.

Special report

There is overwhelming consensus both within and outside the industry that architects must be in the vanguard of the fight against climate change, but to what extent has that been reflected in a genuine reappraisal of how we conceive, commission and value our built environment, must the balance change between ethics and aesthetics, and are we in need of a new form of radicalism? We speak to RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects, and Invisible Studio’s Piers Taylor.


Perhaps no country’s practitioners are more celebrated in today’s global architectural field than the Japanese, with four of the last ten Pritzker Prize recipients hailing from the country. What accounts for this success, can one define a “Japanese” approach to the built environment, and what lessons is the global architectural milieu drawing from the culture? We sit down with some of the country’s leading practitioners, including Junya Ishigami, Shigeru Ban, and Tomohiro Hata.


The successful architectural visualiser must be translator, communicator and facilitator, drawing together all elements of a project, seen and unseen, to create renderings that both reflect and promote an architect's vision. But to what extent is this role misunderstood and can bad renderings create bad architecture? Critic Aaron Betsky, Neoscape founding partner Rob MacLeod, and Darcstudio director Troy Hodgson discuss.


In an age where home ownership is proving prohibitively expensive, shared living becomes the norm for large swathes of our urban populations, and a space of one’s own is considered the ultimate luxury, what role can the virtual realm play is delivering an alternative form of property ownership? Furthermore, might we see a generation of architects emerge that designs exclusively in this digitised space and what impact that move might have on the physical built environment. We speak to Acute Art’s Daniel Birnbaum, Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today founder Liam Young, and Pixel Image founder Steve Smith.


Integrated façade lighting can transform a building, highlighting and enhancing architectural detailing and creating dialogues with its immediate environment and the cityscape at large. What advancements are we seeing in this field, to what extent are new lighting technologies enabling architects and engineers to be more ambitious than ever before, and how does one strike a balance between allowing light in and projecting it to the outside world? We speak to Arup’s Florence Lam, architect Pitsou Kedem, and Kevan Shaw of KSLD.


In late 2018, RIBA unveiled its revised plan of work for fire safety, a direct response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy and subsequent Hackitt Review, proposing the streamlining of fire safety practises earlier on in the design process and greater clarity over architectural obligations. One year on, what impact has this had on the industry at large, particularly in regards to material choices, and to what extent does the need for further transparency remain? We speak to leaders in the field to find out.

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