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International Festival for Architecture in Video
The Palace of Soviets (1931)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
USA 1999, 5’20”
In 1931, a major international competition was held for the design of the Palace of Soviets in Moscow. The entry by the French architect, Le Corbusier, gained the greatest recognition, but was not selected by Stalin's committee due to the highly political nature of the jury process. Le Corbusier's design consisted of two main assembly halls on opposite sides of the site, each covered with roofs to give a distinctly new skyline to Moscow. The main hall had a curved roof suspended by wires from a colossal parabolic arch. The roof of the smaller second hall had a zig-zag form and was suspended from a set of large concrete fins. The model Le Corbusier used for developing this design is now displayed in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This film attempts to demonstrate the enormous scale of the structure from the street as well as from the interior space of the glazed assembly hall. (Project by Le Corbusier, which has not been built. This graphic interpretation has been realised under the author's responsibility. Pictures have been taken by Limot Archives, Paris").
Takehiko Nagakura is an architect from Tokyo. At MIT, he teaches courses related to computer-aided design, and his research focuses on the representation and computation of architectural space and formal design knowledge. He has founded and led the Architecture, Representation and Computation group (ARC) since 1996. His recently finished building, Gushikawa Orchid Center in Okinawa, Japan has been awarded the SD Review Award (1998) and Nikkei Kyushyu District New Office Award (1999). He leads the project Unbuilt Monuments, in which his team is developing computer graphics visualization of significant but unrealized early modern architecture such as the Danteum (Terragni and Lingeri, 1938) and the Monuments for the Third International (Tatlin, 1919). Its recent video productions have been exhibited in Tokyo, Osaka, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlottesville, Paris, Milan and Florence in film festivals and computer graphics conferences such as SIGGRAPH Animation Theaters of 1998 and 1999. For the film production of Le Corbusier's Palace of Soviets (collaboration with Shinsuke Baba), his team was awarded with the Third Prize of Prix Pixel-INA Science Division at 19th Edition of Imagina in Monaco. Inspired by the perspective apparatus Albrecht Durer documented in 1525, he invented DIGITARAMA, a computer based space-form projection machine, developed for the Virtual Architecture Show at Tokyo University Digital Museum in June 1997. Nagakura's PhD dissertation (1996) at Harvard University proposed a computable paradigm for representing architectural shapes and transformations. Before coming to MIT in 1993, Nagakura worked for Fumihiko Maki in Tokyo, and was an instructor at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. He earned Bachelor of Engineering in Architecture from Tokyo University in 1985, Master of Architecture from Harvard University in 1987, Master of Engineering in Architecture from Tokyo University in 1988, and completed his PhD at Harvard in 1996. In 1985 he received the prestigious Ishizaka Memorial Foundation scholarship from the Japanese Federation of Economic Institutions. He is the recipient of the Japan Information Culture Society Grand Prize in 1999.
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