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Our pick of some of our favourite projects of the last six months.

Big interview:

Since founding his eponymous studio two decades ago, David Adjaye has risen to become one of the preeminent architects of his generation, producing work that is both deeply personal and engaged with seismic themes and macro trends across an array of scales and typologies. As Adjaye Associates celebrates its 20th birthday, we sit down with the British-Ghanaian practitioner to discuss past work, new commissions, and injecting politics, heritage and consciousness into architecture.


Advances in automation, interconnectivity, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence promise to completely transform the manner in which we traverse and interact with our cities, but it is not yet clear whether the impact upon perceived wisdoms of urban planning have been nearly radical enough. Do we need to fundamentally rethink our approaches to urbanism, and to what extent are there current examples out there to follow? We speak to Subharthi Guha of Zaha Hadid Architects, architect and urban planner Doug Farr, and Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban Think Tank about what the future holds for our cities.


In Australia, the worst bushfire season since the 1970s has already destroyed more than 2,000 homes across 42,000,000 acres. Fuelled by the record temperature highs and rainfall lows we can continue to expect from a warming planet, it poses urgent questions about the resilience and suitability of our built environments as urban sprawl creeps further into what was once wilderness. Leaf Review speaks to the architects rebuilding the Californian towns lost to the unprecedented 2018 wildfire season and those that hope to do the same in Australia, and, on a wider scale, discuss the challenges of building in the midst of disaster.


The 25,000m2 Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital, built to treat sufferers of the coronavirus, was erected in just ten days, the latest example of startlingly quick Chinese megaprojects boasting seemingly impossible timeframes – others include a 57-storey skyscraper completed in under three weeks. Are there lessons the wider architectural community can take from these techniques? Are such projects realistic in countries with quite different market conditions to China? And is such speed a genuine – and desirable – architectural quality in its own right? We speak to Arup's Craig Gibbons, Gensler's Olivier Sommerhalder, and Aurélie Cleraux of Bouygues Bâtiment International.

Regional focus:

Buoyed by a spirit of progressive modernism in the mid-century, Istanbul birthed some radical and impressive public buildings, with architects such as Behruz and Altuğ Çinici, and Sedad Hakkı Eldem seeking to modernise the city. Under the current administration, however, size seems to be a defining factor as the president has consistently pursued vast construction projects that favour more conservative design tenets. We speak to established and emerging Turkish firms about designing in the age of Erdoğan.


Designing spaces of faith challenges architects to incorporate numerous, often seemingly conflicting, qualities, including inclusivity, sanctuary, congress, iconography and restraint. But in social environments that are increasingly atheistic, has the role these buildings need to play had to change, and what impact is this having upon their commissioning and design? We speak to OMA's Shohei Shigematsu, Oslo-based architect Oslo architect Espen Surnevik, and Dirk U Moench, principal of Inuce.


The shifting tone and growing urgency of our conversations around climate change and sustainable design seem particularly pointed when the focus falls upon architecture in extreme climates – more specifically, ongoing efforts to develop modern metropoles in the middle of deserts. But while such undertakings can seem unnatural and foolhardy, they can also act as incubators for environmental solutions with transformative potential. We discuss this delicate balancing act and look at some of the projects currently under way, with Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Asaf Mann of Amir Mann-Ami Shinar Architects, and Wong Mun Summ, co-founding director of WOHA.


While significant focus goes into integrating the latest lighting technologies into one's designs, to what extent are methods for embedding daylighting considerations as a tangible factor in the design of architecture evolving apace? We look at how design and visualisation tools, automation and sensory platforms are creating new opportunities within this space, with Shashank Singal of Buro Happold, Annarita Papeschi of Flow Architecture, and Italian practitioner Lorenzo Grifantini.


Advances in coatings and structural glazing have enabled glass to dominate our contemporary city skylines, but glass facades continue to be a polarising subject, both aesthetically and in regards to environmental performance. What are the latest developments in terms of maximising the material's attributes and, in our efforts to build more sustainable cities, can glass expect to play as leading a role in the future? We put these questions and more to Arup's Graeme DeBrincat, Kees Kaan of Kaan Architecten, and Make Architects' founding principal Ken Shuttleworth.


As it enters its 20th year, the ABB LEAF Awards continues to go from strength to strength, recognising the very best in global architecture and design. In preparation for October's event, we sit down with Katrin Förster of headline partner ABB and a selection of judges from a panel that this year includes Werner Frosch of Henning Larsen, architect Yael Reisner, Manuela Gatto of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss precisely what qualities one should be celebrating at the dawn of a new decade.


The latest products from the last six months.

Events Diary:

This season's essential events and exhibitions.

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