Stirling Prize Winning Architects Build LEGO Cities for the London Festival of Architecture

Organised as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Image © Agnese Sanvito

As part of the 2014 London Festival of Architecture, teams of architects from the four of the most recent Stirling Prize winning British practices were challenged with creating the most imaginative piece of a city – out of LEGO. Each team began with a carefully laid out square on the floor of the largest gallery of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, at which point they were given just one hour and 45 minutes to create an urban masterpiece out of blocks. Each group of architects worked alongside students from the Royal Academy’s attRAct programme, which offers A-level art students the chance to engage with art and architecture. An esteemed panel of judges ultimately selected the team from Zaha Hadid Architects as victorious, who “considered London on a huge scale and used curving buildings of different typologies which echoed the shape of the Thames.”

Read more about the brief and the other participating entries after the break.

Holiday Home in Sarzeau / RAUM

© Audrey Cerdan

Architects: RAUM
Location: Morbihan, France
Area: 69 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Audrey Cerdan

Spotlight: Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava. Image Courtesy of

Today is the 63rd birthday of world renowned architect, engineer, and artist Santiago Calatrava Valls. Calatrava is well known for his neofuturist style and his wild feats of engineering. The Milwaukee Art Museum, his first building in the United States, is famous for its shading “wings” that open and close in response to the position of the sun. His complex of buildings in his native Valencia is also a frequent pilgrimage site for architecture enthusiasts. 

New Regolo Quarter / 5+1AA

© Luc Boegly

Architects: 5+1AA
Location: Brescia, Italy
Architectural And Landscape Design: Alfonso Femia, Gianluca Peluffo, Giampiero Peia, Marta Nasazzi, Simonetta Cenci
Design Team: Alessandro Bellus, Stefania Bracco, Caterina Fumagalli, Francesco Fusillo, Maria Cristina Giordani, Valentina Grimaldi Vincenzo Marcella, Sara Massa, Roberta Nardi, Michele Nicastro, Carola Picasso, Francesca Pirrello, Francesca Recagno, Arianna Ponzi, Giulia Tubelli
Area: 26492.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Luc Boegly, Ernesta Caviola, Brivio

Queen Street Residence / Tzannes Associates

© Murray Fredericks

Architects: Tzannes Associates
Location: Woollahra NSW,
Year: 2009
Photographs: Murray Fredericks

See ArchDaily's exclusive coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale

100 Architects From 6 Continents Discuss “Time Space Existence” at the 2014 Venice Biennale

Time Space Existence. at the 2014 Venice Biennale.. Image © Nico Saieh

The much anticipated Time Space Existence collateral event at  and Palazzo Mora for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale brought together a diverse group of 100 architects from six continents in an “extraordinary combination.” Summoned by the Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation, the exhibitions the architects were asked to produce documents current developments and thoughts in architecture, highlighting fundamental questions by discussing the philosophical concepts of Time, Space and Existence. Featuring well established architects next to lesser known practices, they all share a “dedication to architecture in the broadest sense of their profession.”

Zuckerman Museum of Art / Stanley Beaman & Sears

Courtesy of Stanley Beaman & Sears

Architects: Stanley Beaman & Sears
Location: , GA, USA
Design Team: Betsy Beaman, AIA, Steve Denton, RA, Clay Cameron, Josh le Francois, Brian Peterka, Brenda Dietz and Chris Bowles
Photographs: Courtesy of Stanley Beaman & Sears

Aerial View of Zaatari Refugee Camp. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia
Aerial View of Zaatari Refugee Camp. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Syrian Refugee Camp Becoming Impromptu City

As the Syrian civil war continues to rage, more and more Syrian citizens are emigrating across the border to refugee camps in Jordan.  While these camps were intended to be temporary, the sheer number of people they support and the uncertainty of when the Syrian crisis will end has leant them a sense of permanence.  This article from the New York Times takes a look at how Syrian refugees are prompting urban development and what this means for the future of refugee camp design.

(Re)Made in China: The Soviet-Era Planning Projects Shaping China’s Cities

Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. Image © Owen Lin under a CC licence

The following article, written by Jacob Dreyer and originally published in The Calvert Journal as “Maximum city: the vast projects of Soviet-era are being reborn in modern China,” analyzes a fascinating phenomenon: the exportation of Soviet urbanism — or rather Stalinist urbanism  shaping Chinese cities today. 

As I cycled to work on 20 May this year, the Yan’an Expressway — Shanghai’s crosstown artery, named after the utopian socialist city that was Mao Zedong’s 1940s stronghold — was eerily silent, cordoned off for a visit by President Vladimir Putin. We discovered the next day that the upshot of his visit was the signing a $400bn contract with China for the export of gas and petroleum. As President Barack Obama had once promised he would, Putin made a pivot to Asia, albeit on a slightly different axis. From Shanghai, the terms of the deal — which was immensely advantageous to China — made it seem as if Russia was voluntarily becoming a vassal-state of the People’s Republic, making a reality of both the predictions of Vladimir Sorokin’s dystopian fantasy novel Day of the Oprichnik and of Russian scare stories about Chinese immigrants flooding into Siberia.

The irony is that models of society imported from Russia during the Soviet period — as realised in popular culture, legal apparatuses and, of particular interest to the cyclist, in architecture and urban planning — are as influential as ever in China. If, as Chinese philosopher Wang Hui observed in his book The End of Revolution, Socialism was the door through which China passed on its voyage into modernity, then it was Russia that opened that door, by exporting models and expertise that laid the foundation for much of what constitutes modern China.

Jalisco Federal Judicial City / TACHER Arquitectos

© Mito Covarrubias

Architects: TACHER Arquitectos
Location: , JAL,
Project Architect: Arq. Alberto Tacher, Arq. Sara Tamez, Arq. Oswin Guzmán
Design Team: Arq. Daniel Zepeda, Arq. Mónica Rivera, Arq. Jessica Tirado
Project Area: 149,727 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Mito Covarrubias, Gerardo Cárdenas, Alejandro Fournier

Emerging Practices in India: Anagram Architects

Brick screen wall: SAHRDC building. Image Courtesy of Anagram Architects

Indian Architect & Builder, through a two-part series titled ‘Practices of Consequence’ (Volumes I and II) delves deeper into contemporary Indian practices that have carved a unique identity and place for themselves in the country today. This article, part of the first volume of the series, takes a closer look at Anagram Architects, a New Delhi based architectural firm.

Led by Madhav Raman and Vaibhav Dimri, Anagram Architects is a growing studio that works in architecture, installation, urban design and material innovation. The firm is often experimental in nature, and each project is developed with a distinct, independent framework. Beyond architecture, Anagram Architects has also designed objects and installations with a strong, cohesive sense of material, detail and execution. Indian Architect & Builder’s interview with the founders, after the break…

House Liebmann / Daffonchio and Associates

Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates

Architects: Daffonchio and Associates
Location: , South Africa
Principal Architect: Enrico Daffonchio
Project Architect: Leigh Maurtin
Photographs: Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates

Kotaro Horiuchi Architecture’s Installation of Floating, Perforated Membranes

© Issei Mori

Japanese firm Kotaro Horiuchi Architecture‘s “Fusionner 1.0″ was on display this past March at the White Gallery Cube in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The installation consisted of two horizontal floating membranes stretched across a simple rectilinear room, dividing the space vertically into three sections.

House In Iizuka / Rhythmdesign

© Koichi Torimura

Architects: Rhythmdesign
Location: Rakuichi, Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture,
Architect In Charge: Kenichiro Ide
Design Team: Kenichiro Ide, Mariko Shimada
Area: 69 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Koichi Torimura

ME House / Otta Albernaz Arquitetura

© Eduardo Simabuguro Albernaz

Architects: Otta Albernaz Arquitetura
Location: , São Paulo, Brasil
Architects in Charge: Tatiana Macedo Otta, Eduardo Simabuguro Albernaz
Project Area: 360 sqm
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Eduardo Simabuguro Albernaz

See ArchDaily's exclusive coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale

Inside “Re-Creation” – Finland’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014

Re-Creation. The Finnish Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.. Image © Nico Saieh

Re-Creation is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila. One part of the installation was constructed by a Finnish master carpenter and his team, and the other by a Chinese team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders.

Presented by the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, the installation “takes a stand on our relationship with the modern legacy and its tradition of international dialogue, and represents a quintessential product of topical international dialogue while at the same time offering its own unique interpretation of the dynamic between tradition and modernity.” See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.

See ArchDaily's exclusive coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale

Sufficiency – Inside the Malaysia Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

Sufficiency. The Pavilion at the 2014 Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

The Malaysia Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale focuses on the idea of sufficiency, and its role in creating sustainable and modest architecture.

In a statement, one of the Pavilion curators, Lim Teng Ngiom, writes that “while sufficiency suggests a modest but adequate scale of living, it can be reduced to only the necessity required for survival extended on a personal or collective autonomy. On the precept of sustainability it can be measured by one’s carbon footprint, or in construction it can suggest minimum building footprint or optimum structure.”

To represent the idea of sufficiency, the curators chose to display works on collapsible pet cages, which have “just enough space for existence.” Several of the pet cages are clamped together to form a suspended beam, creating a “fundamental component of architecture.” Additional works are displayed on pet cages that are sitting on the floor.

Enjoy photos from the Pavilion and a statement from the curators after the break…

The Tent/ a21studio. Image Courtesy of a21 studio
The Tent/ a21studio. Image Courtesy of a21 studio

WAF Reveals Shortlist for Wood Excellence Award

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has announced the shortlist for its first Wood Excellence award, which will honor a project where wood is an integral part of the design. Out of over 40 projects considered, WAF has selected eight for the shortlist, including a21studio’s “The Tent” and “Salvaged Ring,” as well as DSDHA’s “Alex Monroe Studio” and the University of Hong Kong’s “The Pinch.” 

See the full list of shortlisted projects after the break.