Venice Biennale Architettura 2016

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Among the paticipants at the 2016 Biennale Architettura in Venice are:

David Chipperfield, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Graham Stirk all of whom have talks available on PidgeonDigital.

Click on the links below to hear previews of their talks:

“Aspects of Abstraction” by David Chipperfield

“Chateau Margaux” by Norman Foster

“More with Less” by Norman Foster

“Exploring the City” by Norman Foster

“New York Times Building & The Shard” by Renzo Piano

“Culturalising Todays Technology”  by Renzo Piano

“Genesis of the New Lloyds Underwriting Room” by Richard Rogers

“People Places” Richard Rogers

“The Leadenhall Building: The Servant & the Served” Graham Stirk

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Zaha Hadid 1950 – 2016

Zaha Hadid

Pidgeon Digital were very sorry to hear the news that Zaha Hadid has passed away at the age of 65. Widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world to date.

In 1988 Hadid gave a talk to Monica Pidgeon entitled To A New Modernism. Zaha’s talk was seminal to her development in the period before her designs were actually constructed. Here Hadid expresses thoroughly the ideas that later came to fulfilment; in particular her designs for the Hong Kong High Peak Scheme, which won the competition but did not get built. She expounds on how her approach to architecture came about. “The work was layered in terms of ideas” she says “in the same way that culture is layered”. Whatever she was designing, whether on a large or small scale, she saw it as part of a whole language to do with the notion of fluid spaces within landscapes. And being of the opinion that architectural representation in general is too confining to the design process, she invented a new and very striking way of depicting her ideas. These ideas were later realised by Hadid in many of her most famous commissions.

In 2004, Zaha Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She twice won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize: in 2010 with the MAXXI Museum in Rome and winning again in 2011 with the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton. This year she became the first woman in her own right to win the RIBA Gold Medal.

Hadid’s full talk can be heard here for free.


Newsletter 30: Spring 2016

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The Leadenhall Building by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, 2015 © Paul Raftery

Welcome to the Pidgeon Digital Newsletter 30: Spring 2016.

Pidgeon Digital has made amazing progress in the last couple of years, and there are now 276 talks, compared with just 75 when the archive was first published over 10 years ago.

We are now on Twitter. Please follow us @PidgeonDigital. We’ll be tweeting about our new talks as they’re released, and keeping you up to date with architecture in general.

Please see the posts below for descriptions of our recently added talks, now in easy to access digital format.


Sir Norman Foster: Chateau Margaux, France

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Chateau Margaux, France by Sir Norman Foster, 2015 © Nigel Young for Foster + Partners

Sir Norman Foster is one of the world’s pre-eminent architects. With his practice Foster + Partners, Lord Foster has designed every possible building type, and worked in every corner of the globe, picking up numerous awards and accolades along the way.

For his recently completed winery for Chateau Margaux, Lord Foster drew on the local vernacular to create a different addition to the famous estate. In this talk he discusses why he became so personally involved with the project, about combining recycled materials with cutting edge technology, and his client’s delight at the new building’s understated boldness.

Recorded at Foster + Partners’ London office in September 2015.

Click here for a preview of this talk.

The complete talk can be purchased here. Please see here for details of how to subscribe to the full Pidgeon Digital website which contains over 275 other talks.

Graham Stirk: The Leadenhall Building, The Servant & The Served

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The Leadenhall Building by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, 2015 © Richard Bryant. Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties

In this talk Graham Stirk discusses the Leadenhall Building – a speculative office tower in London’s financial district. The tower is inclined along the south side to avoid blocking a key view of St Paul’s Cathedral, with core services housed in a vertical “cassette” on the north side. The concept of distinct served and servant spaces, borrowed from Louis Kahn, recurs throughout the work of the practice.

Stirk also explores the challenges of building across the street from the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping – the first building he worked on after graduation and, in contrast to Leadenhall, one of the most bespoke office buildings on the planet, and explains the 11 year lag between commission and completion.

Recorded at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ office in London in March 2015.

Click here for a preview of this talk.

The complete talk can be purchased here. You can see here details of how to subscribe to the full Pidgeon Digital website which contains over 275 other talks.

Jørn Utzon & Louis Kahn: Sydney Opera House

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Sydney Opera House, clearly showing the outline of its “sails” © Enoch Lau

This rare recording by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation features the NSW Premier Jo Cahill and Jørn Utzon speaking at the launch of the Sydney Opera house appeal on 7 August 1957; and a discussion between Henry Ashworth, Professor of Architecture at University of Sydney and Chairman of the Opera House competition jury, and his fellow assessors Eero Saarinen and Sir Leslie Martin, Professor of Architecture at Cambridge University, on 29 January 1957. We are grateful to Warwick Mehaffey, Acoustics Engineer at ABC and advisor to the SOH for sourcing the recordings.

This talk was recorded in 1957.

Click here for a preview of this talk.

The complete talk can be purchased here. You can see here details of how to subscribe to the full Pidgeon Digital website which contains over 275 other talks.


Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: I Don’t Want To Be Interesting, I Want To Be Good

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Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York © Peter Murray

Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), one of the pioneering masters of 20th century architecture, talks about his education and background, his time at the Bauhaus, his relationship with Peter Behrens and approach to architecture. The images that illustrate the interview are of the Seagram Building, one of his most seminal buildings, designed in 1958.

This talk was recorded in 1955.

Click here for a preview of this talk

The complete talk can be purchased here. Please see here for details of how to subscribe to the full Pidgeon Digital website which contains over 275 other talks.