Category: Inspiration

Pier Luigi Nervi and the Marriage of Architecture and Engineering

  Operating at the intersection of architecture and engineering, Pier Luigi Nervi explored the formal and structural limitations of his concrete throughout his distinguished career.   Italian structural innovator Pier Luigi Nervi (June 21, 1891–January 9, 1979) was described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as “the most brilliant artist in reinforced concrete of our time.”…

Read More

The Great Mosque of Cordoba, a timeless masterpiece

. Unlike works of architecture conceived as a complete whole, the Great Mosque of Cordoba shows how modular design enables multiple expansions and adaptation over time.   An extraordinary achievement of medieval architecture, the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain was expanded three times after the original structure was completed in 787 CE. Each of the…

Read More

How Medieval Islamic Craftsmen Influenced Mechanical Engineering

. The classical age of Islamic civilization yielded advances in mechanical engineering along with mathematics and sciences.   Although much of the technology developed in the Arab world between approximately 800 CE and 1250 CE was passed from masters to apprentices without being formally documented, a number of inventors compiled illustrated manuscripts to share their…

Read More

Frei Otto’s Lightweight Architecture

. The visionary German architect Frei Otto (31 May 1925 – 9 March 2015) spent his entire career looking to nature for inspiration, hoping to understand the “physical, biological, and technical processes which give rise to objects.”   His studies of natural structures and systems — including everything from animal skeletons to soap bubbles to…

Read More

Book Review : Making It Modern

. The story of modern architecture and design has been told and re-told, but the story continues to unfold, changing our perspective on the past. Fresh questions arise as we contemplate how architects and engineers responded to the burst of ideas, technology, and social and economic forces that followed in the wake of the industrial…

Read More

From brownfield to urban garden: the Buttes-Chaumont Park at 150 years

  The idea of turning former industrial sites into public parks has become more common in recent years, but it is not new. In the spring of 1867, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont opened on a difficult site previously used for extracting gypsum and dumping urban waste.   The 25-hectare park — the third largest in…

Read More

Preservation of Historic Mosques: Building and Context

  Historic mosques pose unique challenges for restoration and preservation. While it is important to preserve the building fabric itself, it is equally important to respect the historic evolution of mosque forms over time, and to consider the role of social and urban context. By: Nihad Alamiri – Marketing Manager. May 2017   For much…

Read More

Alvar Aalto’s Regionally-Specific Modern Architecture

  Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) embraced international modernism — but modified it to fit the culture and climate of his home country, Finland. His work in architecture and interior design reflects a decades-long effort to balance modern technology with nature and craft traditions.   Aalto’s strong sense of place was apparent in one of his first…

Read More

Book Review – Riyadh: Oasis of Heritage and Vision

. Riyadh, Omrania’s home city, has grown at a breakneck speed over the past few decades. Yet much of the world remains unaware of both its deeper heritage and its bold future, as projected in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. A new book offers a wealth of information and imagery.   Riyadh: Oasis of Heritage and…

Read More

How the Hancock Center and Tube Structures Changed Skyscraper History

. In the 1960s, engineer Fazlur R. Khan, working for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), proposed a new way for tall buildings to support themselves.   Instead of relying upon a conventional steel frame system, he pushed most of the structural elements to the perimeter, so that the entire building would behave structurally as a…

Read More

Documentary: Arab Women in Architecture

  “Arab Women in Architecture” is a documentary film featuring interviews with 19 architects from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia.   Produced in connection with the Omrania | CSBE Student Award for Architectural Design in 2013, the 56-minute film explores the subject of the practice of architecture by Arab women architects and…

Read More

Expo 67 and the Promise of New Technology

  “A great World’s Fair,” according to Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli, “is a plausible fantasy based on the impact of science and technology on society.” The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, known as Expo 67, which opened to the public on 27 April 1967 and attracted more than 50 million visitors to…

Read More