☮️ Shigeru Ban’s Beautiful Contribution in Ukraine

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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For individuals who have a profound interest in GM architecture,

And welcome back to the newsletter that keeps you updated on every exciting new development in AI architecture:


BikeMan— half bike, half man! Wow, what a time to be alive… I guess Midjourney still has some progress to make before it “takes your job.”

Anyway, here’s what else is new this week:

→ Swiss Wine Storage Transforms Into Hip Housing 🍷🏠

→ Shigeru Ban’s Beautiful Contribution ☮️🏥

→ Snøhetta’s World-Class Planetarium 🌎🚀

→ Who Said What!? 🗣️🗣️

→ Another Edition of Drop it Like it’s Hot! 🔥🥵

Let’s go.

Wine Storage → Housing in Switzerland 🍷

Swiss architecture is famous not only for its bold style but also for incorporating the nation’s characteristic practicality as well. This wine storage → housing project is no different.

Esch Sintzel Architekten has taken an 11100 m² former wine storage unit in Basel’s Lysbüchel neighborhood and turned it into ultra-hip, wildly stylish housing. Taking a relatively hands-off approach to the re-design, there is an uncommon amount of communal space, leading to a “city within the house” with apartment units ranging from 1.5 rooms to 7.5.


Shigeru Ban’s Beautiful Contribution ☮️

War is war, which is terrible. But if there’s one tiny upshot to some of the destruction and dismay, it’s that we can come together, provide aid to whoever needs it, and try to bring some beauty back into the world… That’s exactly what Japanese firm Shigeru Ban is doing in Ukraine right now. Six storeys of cross-laminated timber, an atrium will lay at the center of the building, surrounded by columns made from exposed timber.

Lviv needs increased hospital capacity, and Shigeru Ban and local architects AMBK are on the job with this timber surgical center, slated to break ground in early 2024.

Snøhetta’s World-Class Planetarium 🌎

Tucked away in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, Orionis- a new planetarium by Snøhetta- is on track to be the pride of Douai, a humble town that now features an international gem.

Taken on by the international firm’s Paris office, Orionis takes inspiration from local treasures— the curved exterior mimics the neighboring Scarpe River, and the observatory & planetarium domes rhyme with the gothic belfry in downtown Douai.

Who Said What!? 🗣️

→ “If we don’t make these buildings viable, from a tax base, cities are going to be in trouble: it’s going to impact transit, garbage collection, they’re not going to be able to offer city services… We just can’t wait until these buildings become devalued.”

Sheryl Schulze in this piece on the feasibility of converting commercial buildings into housing

→ “More than a fad, immersive art offers innovative strategies for uniting bits and atoms, or digital content and physical space, to create novel experiential possibilities. Planets, which eschews thematic content in favor of elemental experience, reveals how these strategies reinforce fundamental themes for architecture and design beyond the museum setting.”

Blaine Brownell explains what architects can learn from the success of immersive art

→ “It’s a valid question whether this is the future we want, whether we believe technology will save us, and more eminent critics than me have opinions. But as trends shift, it’s worth remembering that it’s the same forces that invented the starchitect label that now pull it apart as a straw man for the much more complex social, economic and environmental emergency we find ourselves in.  Foster might not like that label, but he does seem to accept the starchitect’s cape comes with global responsibility… He’s cited Buckminster Fuller’s call to reinvest the financial and intellectual resources spent on war into the quest for more sustainable life on the planet: “moving from ‘killingry’ to ‘livingry’,” as he put it.  We need a narrative of hope, a vision, as much as the motivation of fear.”

Sarah Simpkin’s moving review of the new Norm Foster exhibit at Pompidou Centre in Paris

Drop it Like it’s Hot 🔥

You’d think architecture firm HQs would end up in this section a little more often, but this is a first. Dropping this fall, BIG’s new HQ in Copenhagen is looking extremely cool.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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