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Your favourite features of 2018

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As the year draws to a close, we look back on some of our best-loved stories from 2018, as well as two from the archive

Buildings

Ghost storeys: Sala Beckett Theatre in Barcelona, Spain by Flores & Prats

Flores & Prats stood out in Venice this year, with their chapel at the pavilion of the Holy See, and in the Arsenale installation featuring their restoration of the Sala Beckett theatre. The practice put their stamp on the Barcelona theature without excising its ghosts – you can read Douglas Murphy’s review of the building here, as featured in the AR December 2017/January 2018 issue on New Into Old.

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3095895 florespratssalabeckett62408ph 08 arrivalunderthearchandskylight photoadriagoula 0

Photograph by Adrià Goula

Brought to book: the Paju Book City story

From the February issue on Korea: the reality of Paju Book City today is far from the architectural utopia promised by ARU’s Youlhwadang Book Hall nearly a decade ago, as told by Dirk Somers.

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3097962 0906 lovekin yhd02 12low

Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin

A song in stone: 15 Clerkenwell Close, London, UK, by Amin Taha + Groupwork

Despite all the controversy of the last year, with pivoting bookshelves and vanishing doors, Amin Taha + Groupwork’s 15 Clerkenwell Close creates winsome flexible spaces to live and work in an historic London neighbourhood. Douglas Murphy appraised the project for our double summer issue (July/August 2018) on House + Furniture.

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3119291 171208amintahaclerkenwell0541

Photograph by Timothy Soar

Frame of mind: de Vylder Vinck Taillieu’s Caritas psychiatric centre

De Vylder Vinck Taillieu’s Caritas psychiatric centre in the Flemish village of Melle outside Ghent “brings the outside in”, according to Douglas Murphy, who profiled the project in the AR’s September issue on Belgium.

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3125864 014caritasmelle

Photograph by Filip Dujardin

Thermal Baths in Vals, Switzerland by Peter Zumthor

In 2018 readers have kept coming back to Raymund Ryan’s assesment of Peter Zumthor’s thermal baths at Vals which the AR first published in 1997, and has been online since 2015. Resonant with an elemental materiality and full of myriad therapeutic delights, they are conceived as a cavernous, labyrinthine haven devoted to sensual pleasure. What’s not to love?

Zumthorinde 635

Zumthorinde 635

Photograph by Henry Pierre Schultz

Essays

Outrage

This year our outraged writers enticed readers to pieces on the controversial topics that had prompted their indignation. From ‘Future generations of architects will laugh at the folly of façadism’ by the Gentle Author, via ‘Dutch architecture no longer shows social imagination’ by Mark Minkjan to Ugly Belgian Houses by Hannes Coudenys, the AR’s Outrage column went from strength to strength in 2018.

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3095336 dsc06359

Photograph by The Gentle Author

‘If at first you don’t succeed, cry, cry again’: Madelon Vriesendorp on being written out of history

In the year that Denise Scott Brown was awarded Soane Medal for contribution to architecture a profile of Women In Architecture Ada Louise Huxtable Prize winner, 2018, Madelon Vriesendorp proved popular with AR readers. You can buy the 2018 Women In Architecture issue of the AR here.

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3101475 cropped6freudunlimited1975

Image courtesy of Madelon Vriesendorp

Grafton’s Venice Biennale 2018: Freespace remains a nebulous concept

The AR’s very own history editor Tom Wilkinson reviewed the Venice Biennale this year noting that ‘while there were some interesting contributions, the main exhibition’s incoherence proves that brilliant architects do not necessarily make good curators’.

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3113535 fg a 86 saltercollingridge 7142

Photograph by Francesco Galli, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Only resist: critical spatial practice as a feminist approach

Jane Rendell argued in our March issue that ’since the 1990s, a radical and interdisciplinary approach to spatial practice offers a rich and productive seam for feminism and architecture’.

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3100743 05028bkhighres600

Image copyright: Barbara Kruger. Courtesy: Mary Boone Gallery, New York

‘Complexity and Contradiction changed how we look at, think and talk about architecture’

Not many architecture books have defined a specific historical moment in the way Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture has, and after he sadly passed away earlier this year our readers have kept coming back to Martino Stierli’s review for the AR from 2016. As this piece was commissioned on the fiftieth anniversary of his seminal book, it stands as an opportunity to look back at Venturi’s life, work, and influence, and consider how his legacy lives on.

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3050729 venturi

Image: Robert Venturi, Vanna Venturi House, Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, Scheme III A (1959-64). Source: MoMA.