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CTBUH Announces Winners of its 2015 Urban Habitat Competition

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the winner and finalists of its 2015 Urban Habitat Award. Launched in 2014, the Urban Habitat Award recognizes the contributions of tall buildings to the urban realm. The winners this year were chosen for influencing their environment and cultural context intelligently, adding social sustainability to their immediate site and wider context. See all of the finalists and the winner after the break.

Spotlight: Geoffrey Bawa

Despite his late entry into architecture, Geoffrey Manning Bawa FRIBA, (July 23, 1919-May 27, 2003), explored modernism and its cultural implications, and created a unique, recognizable style of design which had a lasting impact on architects across the world. Well versed in Modernist theory, Bawa was one of the original proponents of Tropical Modernism, a design movement in which sensitivity for local context combines with form-making principles of modernism. Bawa’s architecture led to the formation of a new architectural identity and aesthetic for many tropical environments, and won him recognition and awards, including the Chairman’s Award of the Aga Kahn Special Chairman’s Award for Architecture (2001) and the title Deshamanya, in recognition by the government of Sri Lanka for his contributions to his country.

Snøhetta Selected to Design Cable Car for Bolzano in Italy

The Italian city of Bolzano, located in the foothills of the alps, has an intimate connection with the mountains that surround it. However, for almost 40 years, one of the most commanding views of Bolzano has been inaccessible, since the cable car which led up to the Virgolo mountain was closed in 1976. After winning an international design competition hosted by The SIGNA Group, Snøhetta has now been selected to replace that cable car, making the summit of Virgolo accessible once again and returning a valuable tourist asset to the city.

Summit station. Image © Snøhetta Summit station plan. Image © Snøhetta Summit station. Image © Snøhetta Base station plan. Image © Snøhetta

19 Notable Figures Who Left Architecture to Follow Other Career Paths

What do Ice Cube, the members of Pink Floyd, and Seal have in common with fashion icon Tom Ford and former president Thomas Jefferson? They all studied architecture. Perhaps a representation of the diversity of talents in architecture studios, household names like Samuel L. Jackson and Courteney Cox found their footing as students of architecture prior to reaching success in other fields. 

We've put together a list of some of the most unexpected names gracing the yearbooks of architecture schools from around the world, including the likes of Queen Noor of Jordan and George Takei of Star Trek fame. Discover "Weird Al" Yankovic's true (architectural) passions after the break.

Queen Noor of Jordan. Image via Flickr Creative Commons user Skoll World Forum Monticello by Thomas Jefferson. Image via Flickr Creative Commons user Eric Langhorst Ice Cube. Image via Flickr Creative Commons user Eva Rinaldi George Takei. Image via Flickr Creative Commons user TEDxKyoto

From Seville to San Francisco: 3 Pelli Clarke Pelli Projects in Progress

US firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects is renowned for their iconic and sustainable designs, having won numerous awards, including the AIA’s Firm Award. They currently have several projects under construction, ranging from a transit center in San Francisco to an office and retail tower in Seville, Spain. Read on after the break for an overview of three of their current projects, all in various states of completion.

Spotlight: Richard Rogers

As one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, Pritzker Prize-winner Richard Rogers stands out as one of the most innovative and distinctive architects of a generation. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd's Bank in London. To this day his work plays with similar motifs, utilizing bright colors and structural elements to create a style that is recognizable, yet also highly adaptable.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reaches "All Time High"

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for June 2015 shows "an all-time high," with the workload index ascending to +44 compared to +37 last month. All nations and regions within the United Kingdom returned positive balance figures, with practices in the Midlands and East Anglia responding most confidently about workloads in the next quarter. Following a slight fall last month, the private housing sector workload forecast increased to +39 (from +34), while the public sector saw a modest increase back into positive figures. Workload forecast balance figures have remained extremely high. The survey reports that large-sized practices continue to be the most optimistic about growth, while small and medium-sized practices "remain in strongly positive territory."

Spotlight: Arata Isozaki

Japanese architect, teacher, and theorist Arata Isozaki (born 23 July, 1931) helped bring Japanese influence to some of the most prestigious buildings of the 20th century, and continues to work at the highest level today. Initially working in a distinctive form of modernism, Isozaki developed his own thoughts and theories on architecture into a complex style that invokes pure shape and space as much as it evokes post-modern ideas. Highly adaptable and socially concerned, his work has been acclaimed for being sensitive to context while still making statements of its own.

4 Reasons to Come to Finland this August

Tommi Lindh, director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, shares four exciting reasons to enjoy the architectural offerings of Finland this summer. 

Architecture hasn't been this intensively represented in the Finnish summer events ever. The whole summer is full of nice places to visit, but what makes August so very special is what's happening in Helsinki and Jyväskylä in the beginning of the month. The Alvar Aalto Symposium kicks off with lectures by the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki on Wednesday, August 5 and continues to Jyväskylä where the main event starts on Friday, August 7 with the first thematic session and a keynote presentation by Liu Xiaodu of Urbanus.

WAF Announces 2015 Festival Theme

The World Architecture Festival (WAF), the world’s largest architectural festival and awards event held annually in Singapore, has announced the theme of this year's program: 50:50. The theme is inspired by Singapore’s upcoming 50th anniversary as an independent country, and will look back on how architecture and urbanism have changed during the last 50 years, as well as forward on what may change or stay the same in the next 50 years to come.

Gramazio Kohler's Robotic Arm Creates an Elegant Twisting Brick Facade

Advances in computers and fabrication technology have allowed architects to create fantastic designs with relative ease that in years past would likely require the labor of countless master craftsmen. Architecture firms like Gramazio Kohler Architects are known for their innovative approach to digital fabrication, adapting technology from a variety of fields. To create this stunning new brick façade for Keller AG Ziegeleien, Gramazio Kohler used an innovative robotic manufacturing process called “ROBmade,” which uses a robot to position and glue the bricks together. 

Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler

3RW's "The Clearing" Memorial Opens at Norway's Utøya Island on 4th Anniversary of Tragedy

Marking the fourth anniversary of the terror attack in Norway that left 77 dead, today the island of Utøya has opened "The Clearing," a memorial designed by Norwegian firm 3RW to commemorate the 69 victims of the shooting massacre on the island.

Kamvari Architects Design Mixed-Use Development for Tehran

The winner of a competition for a mixed-use building scheme, London-based Kamvari Architects has unveiled the design for Zartosht, a 300,000 square-foot retail and office building in Tehran, Iran. The building's design is based largely on local cultural contexts, like the region’s reputation for renowned fabric and textile shops, and environmentalism, particularly with respect to solar energy.

Monocle 24 Visit Richard Neutra's Residences in Los Angeles

In the latest episode of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team visit Richard Neutra's iconic modernist Neutra VDL Studio residential complex and Residences in Los Angeles. Though Modernism has often been criticised for imposing universal rules on people and areas, it was Neutra's intense client focus that won him acclaim.

Construction Well Underway on Santiago Calatrava’s Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro

Construction of Santiago Calatrava’s Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro is underway and on-track to be completed in the second half of 2015. Located on the Pier Mauá, the museum will encompass a 15,000m2 built area and include gardens, leisure areas, bike paths, and a reflective pool, totaling over 30,000m2. The ground floor of the museum will include a store, auditorium, temporary exhibit rooms, a restaurant, administrative offices and space for research and educational activities. The upper floor, connected to the ground floor with ramps, will include long-term exhibits, a café and a panoramic lookout. 

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence

These Detachable Pods Aim to Provide Shelter for Britain’s Homeless

The 6th annual “Space for New Visions” competition has announced its winner: a project entitled “Homes for the Homeless,” by James Furzer of Spatial Design Architects. Hosted by FAKRO, a global manufacturer of roof windows and loft ladders, and A10 Magazine for European Architecture, the competition sought proposals that incorporated FAKRO products. With entries from around the world, projects were judged based on user comfort, environmental impact, functionality and natural light, among other things. Read about the winning entry after the break.

Harrison & Abramovitz's U.S. Embassy Reopens in Havana

For the first time in over a half-century, the United States reopened its official diplomatic embassy in Havana earlier today, shining an international spotlight on Harrison and Abramovitz's modernist shoreline classic. Historically maligned by many Cubans as an embodiment of American arrogance and imperialism, the building has played a pronounced symbolic role in the escalation - and now the easement - of political animosities between the two countries.

The Berlage Archive: Kazuyo Sejima (2002)

Easy to overlook behind Kazuyo Sejima’s celebrated control of spatial and material effect is her emphasis on program and its role in the ratiocinated process of form-finding. In this 2002 lecture on her “Recent Work,” Sejima delves into the methodology that informs her work, beginning with two ongoing (and since-heralded) projects: the Theatre and Art Centre at Almere and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art at Kanazawa.

In both of these projects, Sejima ruminates on the intrigue of the microunit, the autonomously coherent spatial cogs that accumulate to participate in the purposeful machine. First within the irregularly-intervaled grid of the Theatre (as studios and staging areas), and second within the cytoplasmic circumscription of the Kanazawa Museum (as exhibitions), individual programmatic components with discreet performative roles seem to float, untethered to each other, in voluminous seas of circulatory space. By segregating elemental blocks within these projects, Sejima exaggerates their apparent autonomies in order to paradoxically draw attention to their spatial interconnectedness.