Dream Builders [world Service]

Five influential architects discuss their work, inspirations and controversies with Razia Iqbal.


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Razia Iqbal in conversation with some of the world’s greatest architects and designers -

Razia Iqbal in conversation with some of the world’s greatest architects and designers. Programme 1: UK architect David Adjaye.

David Adjaye20140809

David Adjaye20140809

David Adjaye has been described as an architect with an ‘artist’s sensibility’. His internationally renowned buildings are defined by his bold use of innovative materials and a diverse colour palette which reflect an equally strong interest in landscape and terrain.

From his pioneering "Ideas Store" library buildings in the UK, to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington DC, the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and The Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham, London, his work is imbued with, and inspired by, the stories of people and dynamics of place.

In 2007, he was awarded an OBE for services to architecture and in 2013 he topped the Guardian’s “Powerlist” of Britain’s most influential black people. He currently has projects underway in Ghana, Nigeria, America, China and the Middle East.

In this programme recorded in partnership with RIBA, David Adjaye talks to Razia Iqbal about his approach to building, his many journeys and the projects and experiences that have defined him.

Photo: © Ed Reeve

Francine Houben20140823

Francine Houben20140823

Francine Houben20140823

Francine Houben is one of the Netherlands’ leading architects who, with her practice Mecanoo Architecten, has sought to create buildings that ‘touch all the senses.’ Her architecture encompasses ‘emotional, social, playful and humane aspects’ as well as intellectual, conceptual and visual ones. From ground breaking housing projects in her early years, she has gone on to design signature projects including the Philips Business Innovation Centre, FiftyTwoDegrees in Nijmegen, La Llotja Theatre and Conference Centre in Lleida, Spain, and Europe’s largest library building in Birmingham, UK. Houben lectures widely on issues surrounding urban design and from 2002 to 2006 put these into practice as City Architect for Almere in the Netherlands.

In this programme recorded in partnership with RIBA, Francine Houben talks Razia Iqbal about how second cities around the world can find a new shape, why it’s not just buildings which matter and her focus on transport patterns and the way people use public space, her passionate belief that libraries matter, why decoration on buildings may be unfashionable but she defends it and how she has juggled being a mother and running a practice.

Photo ©: Marco van Rijt

Francine Houben2014082320140824 (WS)

The architect of the Library of Birmingham on transport patterns and public space.

London Calling: Renzo Piano - The Shard2012061220120616
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As part of London Calling, one of the world's greatest architects Renzo Piano, talks to Razia Iqbal at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

A one thousand foot tall pyramid of glass now stands in splendid isolation on the south bank of the River Thames.

It is a striking and controversial addition to the London skyline, constantly changing in appearance as it reflects the weather; either melting into the heavens or rudely imposing itself on the British capital, depending upon your point of view.

What is not in contention is that The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and an audacious achievement, representing a pinnacle in the dazzling career of its architect, Renzo Piano.

BBC World Service and RIBA have come together to mark the topping out of The Shard by a special event with the internationally acclaimed Renzo Piano, recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture in 1989 and more recently the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Gold Medal 2008.

Renzo Piano talks to Razia Iqbal about The Shard's origins on a restaurant napkin; the complexities of building such an enormous building so close to a river and what architecture has to do with our hopes for civilisation.

Renzo also answers questions from the audience.

(Image: Italian architect Renzo Piano. Credit: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Moshe Safdie2014083020140831 (WS)

Habitat 67 designer on his mentor Louis Khan and the creating of memorial buildings

Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, theorist and author whose buildings the world over are committed to responding to ‘human needs and aspirations'. He first came to the world’s attention in his early 20s through his ground-breaking Habitat 67 project - a vast interlocking prefabricated housing complex and the centre piece of the Montreal EXPO, which he also developed the master-plan for.

From this sensational launch pad, Safdie has since gone on to write, lecture, teach and build extensively in North America and in many other countries, frequently returning to his native Israel where he was responsible for the restoration of old Jerusalem and the creation of the new city of Modi’in, the new Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and the Rabin Memorial Center.

Major projects by Safdie Architects currently under construction, or recently completed, include the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore; the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex in India; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters on the Mall in Washington DC and the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel in Jerusalem. Safdie has been the recipient of numerous awards, honorary degrees, and civil honors, including the Companion Order of Canada and the Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

In this programme recorded in partnership with RIBA, Moshe Safdie talks to Razia Iqbal about his relationship with his mentor, Louis Khan, the creation of memorial buildings in Jerusalem and Anandpur, and – in a lively exchange on a controversial topic - the politics of building in disputed territory in Israel.

Photo: Moshe Safdie, Credit: Stephen Kelly

Norman Foster - The Gherkin20130616

Norman Foster created the Gherkin in London, rebuilt the Reichstag in Berlin and redesigned the much cherished New York Public Library. He is building a car-less, solar-powered, carbon-free city in the desert of Abu Dhabi, and he has created the world’s largest building – Beijing Airport – in a fraction of the time it took to build Heathrow’s terminal 5.

Lord Foster tells Razia Iqbal and an audience at the Royal Institute of British Architects, what the industrialised democracies can learn from the adventurous spirit of the developing world.

Santiago Calatrava - El Alamillo Bridge20130623

Santiago Calatrava architect, artist and engineer of dazzling bridges.

Santiago Calatrava is an architect, artist and engineer whose international reputation for building was first established through his dazzling bridges, which have come to define many cities around the world. In Venice he controversially created the first bridge for 70 years and only the fourth ever to have spanned the Grand Canal. He has built all over the world and his evocative, uncompromising, ambitious and exciting architecture has uplifted many and left others outraged. He talks to Razia Iqbal and an audience at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Thomas Heatherwick2014081620140817 (WS)

Thomas Hetherwick designer of the 2012 Olympic Cauldron.

Thomas Heatherwick is a designer with an international reputation for experimentation and surprise. In 2012 the world watched in awe as his Olympic Cauldron came together from 204 copper elements - a prime example of a distinct approach to design that fuses a bold and original vision with craftsmanship and detailing. Formed in 1994, Heatherwick Studio is made up of an energetic mix of over 100 architects, designers and makers who collaborate on projects that include everything from architecture, urban infrastructure, design and strategic thinking. Notable projects include a new design for the Red Doubledecker London Bus, a zip handbag and flagship store for Longchamps in Soho New York and the award winning UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010. He has presented designs for a giant aviary in Mumbai which preserves Zoroastrian funeral rites, a park in Abu Dhabi using desert material and a gallery built inside grain silos in Cape Town, South Africa. The practice is currently working on a university building in Singapore, a passenger boat in France, a distillery in Southern England and a ‘Garden Bridge’ spanning the River Thames in London. In 2004, Thomas was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry and he is today an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a Royal Academician and has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the design industry.

In this programme recorded in partnership with RIBA, Thomas Heatherwick to Razia Iqbal talks about the idea of creating a place of tranquillity in a city through his idea for a garden bridge in London, how you choreograph a moment like the Olympic torch ceremony, the importance of “making”, “getting your hands dirty” and asking the right questions and how architectural training can be improved.

Photo ©: Elena Heatherwick

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Razia Iqbal speaks to Zaha Hadid, the first woman and first Muslim to win the Pritzker...

Razia Iqbal speaks to Zaha Hadid, the first woman and first Muslim to win the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honour.

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Zaha Hadid is the first woman and first Muslim to win the Pritzker Prize.

Zaha Hadid is the first woman and first Muslim to win the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honour. She designed the whale-like Aquatics centre at the London Olympics and the extraordinary Maaxi Museum in Rome. Her designs are challenging and innovative and she is right at the front of changing tastes in architecture and design today. After years of failing to get her designs built her distinctive work is now in great demand all over the world from Germany to the USA and from China to Iraq. Zaha Hadid talks to Razia Iqbal and an audience at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, about her work and the future of architecture.

(Image: Architect Zaha Hadid. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Five influential architects discuss their work, inspirations and controversies with Raz...

Episode 4: Zaha Hadid.