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    INTERNATIONAL SNAPSHOT: 2018 Daylight Award winners; Derelict Albanian pyramid transformation; Swiss exhibition highlights "banal" design

    Stephanie Stefanovic

    Let's take a look at some of the world's latest innovations in architecture and design.

    Japanese and American architects win 2018 Daylight Award

    international architecture

    Poetic Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi and pioneering American researcher Greg Ward have been announced as laureates of The Daylight Award 2018. As a reward for their groundbreaking work and dedication to daylight, each has been awarded €100,000 (AU$154,789). 

    Inspired by nature, Sambuichi integrates geophysical characteristics of the site - earth, wind, air, water and sun - in his architecture. Computer scientist Ward creates and captures a physically accurate representation of the luminous environment and of the human response to intensity, colour, contrast, glare and views in his computer software. 

    According to the Daylight Award jury, Sambuichi’s buildings serve as a continuous inspiration to the architectural discourse with their extraordinary simplicity and the way they allow daylight to always be present in its variable life; and the breadth of Ward’s work has transformed the field of daylight modelling, empowering thousands of engineers and architects to work with daylight in their projects. 

    Albanian Communist-era pyramid to be transformed into art and technology centre

    international architecture

    MVRDV has revealed its vision to turn Albania’s Communist-era Tirana Pyramid into a centre for technology, art and culture. 

    “Situated in the centre of Tirana is the former Enver Hoxha Museum, designed in the 1980s by a group of architects including the then-president’s daughter Pranvera Hoxha and her husband Klement Kolneci. Throughout the years it has also served as a temporary base for NATO during the War in Kosovo, a nightclub and as an event space. In recent years there were plans to transform the structure into a national theatre. These plans never materialized, meaning the building has been left to decay for more than a decade.

    “The project aims to give the building back to the public. By opening the ground floor from all sides the structure becomes transparent. By making the façade roof accessible and scalable a new perspective to the city appears, and by flooding the interior of the space with green the object becomes one with its surroundings.” – MVRDV

    Swiss Pavilion’s ‘House Tour’ makes visitors feel like Alice in Wonderland

    international architecture

    ‘House Tour’, an exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion, plays with scale to give viewers a unique experience that has been compared to ‘Alice in Wonderland’. 

    In an attempt to highlight the ‘blandness’ of most rental properties, standard elements such as light switches, doors and counters have been either shrunk or enlarged. The intention is to draw visitors’ attention to the white walls, plastic window frames and wood floors – décor elements which are typically overlooked. 

    Alessandro Bosshard, who curated the pavilion with Zurich-based architects Li Tavor, Matthew van der Ploeg and Ani Vihervaara, feels there needs to be more of a conversation about the “banal” architecture that renters are subjected to in the western world. He hopes that drawing attention to design elements that are “taken as a given” will lead people to question their use. 

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