Icon 105 is out now
Icon 105 is devoted to “Ruins”. For this month’s cover story we visit the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl power station in Ukraine, where in 1986 a nuclear reactor exploded sending clouds of radiation over northern Europe. The nearby evacuated, toxic city of Pripyat is one of the hardest ruins to gain access to and, as a result, the number one goal of the intrepid urban explorer.
The ruin also represents the return of nature. We look at how nature and technology was held in balance by the iron and glass architecture of the 19th century (think Crystal Palace or Kew), and at how this tension is gestured at by contemporary architects who cover their high-tech buildings in greenery.
We also call for certain ruins to be preserved. We visit Oscar Niemeyer’s unfinished International Fair in Tripoli, Lebanon. In 2006, it was listed as one of the world’s most endangered sites, but the 104-year-old architect’s seafront masterpiece continues to crumble. And the often bulldozed work of Ulrich Müther, known as “the GDR’s Niemeyer”, suffers similar neglect and a precarious future.
Up front there’s Zaha Hadid’s tower in Marseille, a houseboat perched on London’s South Bank, Sou Fujimoto’s radical experiment in compact living, the Stuttgart library that’s a cube within a cube, BERG’s little printer and a design collection inspired by Chinese mathematics.
And in Review, we look at American suburbia, the latest sandbox computer-game sensation, fireworks and a sculpture park in the Doha desert and William Gibson’s essays.