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TERMES: A Robotic Swarm That Collectively Constructs Modular Structures

00:00 - 25 February, 2014

Termite mounds offer a fascinating architectural quandary: how is it possible that these towering structures (which include complex systems of openings, passages, large volumetric spaces, and even active ventilation systems and humidity regulation) are constructed with no centralised control or planning? The spatial complexity that these thousands of insects can collectively achieve has inspired a Harvard team to create TERMES, a project focused on programming an artificial robotic swarm to build modular structures.

Odile Decq to Launch A New Kind of Architecture Institute: 'Confluence'

00:00 - 24 February, 2014
Odile Decq to Launch A New Kind of Architecture Institute: 'Confluence', Courtesy of Studio Odile DECQ architectes urbanistes
Courtesy of Studio Odile DECQ architectes urbanistes

Odile Decq has announced that she is launching a new kind of architecture school based upon the idea of "Confluence," an educational framework that "erases the predefined limits of the traditional academic structures for the benefit of the collaboration of talents, thoughts and disciplines." 

The Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, which will be located in in Lyon, France, will bring together "Architects, critics, artists, thinkers, philosophers, film-makers, scientists, engineers and manufacturers" in order to develop an architecture that develops ideas unconstrained by "stylistic prejudice or ideology." More on this new initiative, after the break.

Could a Lick of Super Strong Carbon Paint Fix Caltrava's Palau de les Arts?

00:00 - 24 February, 2014
Could a Lick of Super Strong Carbon Paint Fix Caltrava's Palau de les Arts?, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia

Will the peeling shell of Santiago Calatrava’s Palau de les Arts in Valencia be saved by an innovative, new paint? Calatrava's $455.6 million project, which surpassed its budget four times over, has sprouted many defects over the years, but none more damning than its peeling facade - a defect that spurred the city of Valencia to sue Calatrava's office. However, Spanish paint manufacturer Graphenano has proposed an innovative solution: Graphenstone, a mixture of limestone powder and the allotrope graphene, which should just prevent further deterioration. Whether the solution could also relieve some courtroom tension, remains to be seen. Read more on Inhabitat and The Architect's Newspaper

Zoning Exception Will Not Be Made for Studio Gang's Solar Carve

00:00 - 24 February, 2014
Zoning Exception Will Not Be Made for Studio Gang's Solar Carve, Courtesy of Solar Carve Architects
Courtesy of Solar Carve Architects

The developers behind Studio Gang's Solar Carve have withdrawn their request for a zoning variance that would have allowed for an increase in the tower's rentable space. The Board of Standards and Appeals rejected the solicited exception, despite the developer's claim that the expensive pilings necessary for the sandy, non-bedrock site adjacent to New York's High Line posed a "financial hardship." 

Studio Gang's 213 foot tower was slated for completion in 2015. Although "the bid for additional floor has been dropped from the application," said the project's land use attorney, a hearing for special permitting that will allow for a modified setback is scheduled for March. 

Soundscape Architecture: A New Way to Experience Famous Buildings

09:30 - 23 February, 2014
Soundscape Architecture: A New Way to Experience Famous Buildings, The inside of the New York Guggenheim Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Fernando Carrasco
The inside of the New York Guggenheim Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Fernando Carrasco

There are many forms of architectural representation - from sketches to construction drawings to photographs - but they all privilege vision over any of the other senses. This problem has perhaps only been exacerbated by the internet, which has made it easier to 'experience' buildings from afar, to the detriment of four of the five senses.

Now though, Karen Van Lengen, the Kenan Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, has created Soundscape Architecture, a website that aims to redress this imbalance. In collaboration with artist James Welty and musician Troy Rogers, Van Lengen has used sound recordings of iconic architectural spaces to create synaesthetic animations and musical compositions of the ambient noise there.

Read on after the break for more about Soundscape Architecture

Dear MoMA, Couldn't the Nouvel Tower Save the American Folk Art Museum?

08:00 - 23 February, 2014
Dear MoMA, Couldn't the Nouvel Tower Save the American Folk Art Museum?, © Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen
© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

In this Metropolis Magazine post on MoMA's planned demolition of the American Folk Art Museum, Karrie Jacobs asks a strangely unasked question: How has the Nouvel Tower - in its day the most controversial of MoMA's expansion plans - not been brought into the debate? The Jean Nouvel-designed tower was predicated up a circulation plan that, by necessity, ignored the (then occupied) Folk Art Museum entirely. Why is this plan no longer possible? Read the fascinating argument here.

AIA Awards Four with 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

00:00 - 23 February, 2014
AIA Awards Four with 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the recipients of the 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award, to be presented at the 2014 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago, recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession. Among this year’s winners include the ACE Mentor Program, the National Building Museum, the AIA New York’s “Post-Sandy Initiative,” and computer-aided design pioneer Rick Smith. You can learn more about the awardees here

UA Studio 7 and Aedas' Central Business District for Hongqiao Airport Now Underway

19:00 - 22 February, 2014
UA Studio 7 and Aedas' Central Business District for Hongqiao Airport Now Underway, Courtesy of UA Studio 7
Courtesy of UA Studio 7

Urban Architecture (UA Studio 7) and Aedas' winning proposal for the Hongqiao Central Business District has broke ground at Shanghai’s domestic Hongqiao Airport, mainland China's fourth busiest airport. The 18.4 hectare office and retail center, masterplanned by UA, has been divided into two parts: UA Studio 7 will design the office district, “a flower with eight leaves,” while Aedas designs the shopping, hotel, and conference center along a "bow curve" of pedestrian flow.

According to UA, the winning scheme's success was "due to a highly energy-efficient architecture proposal combined with an urban plan that allows for pedestrian-friendly spaces."

NL Architects Shortlisted to Design ArtA Cultural Center in Arnhem

13:48 - 21 February, 2014
NL Architects Shortlisted to Design ArtA Cultural Center in Arnhem , Rhine View. Image Courtesy of NL Architects
Rhine View. Image Courtesy of NL Architects

Amsterdam-based NL Architects has been shortlisted, alongside three other prestigious teams, to design a new “ArtA” museum and film house for the city of Arnhem. Uniting four main programs - a cinema, art square, museum and park - the “wedge-shaped” structure is designed as an “urban moraine” that cascades towards the city and invites residents to experience the Rhine from an elevated parkway. This formation grants pedestrians two options for museum access: up the Baroque-inspired rooftop park or through the ground level “Art Square” which serves as a “public intermediary” between the building and city, as well as the museum and film theatre.

Skyscrapers Shedding Ice in NYC

08:00 - 21 February, 2014
Skyscrapers Shedding Ice in NYC, One World Trade Center as seen from the Hudson River. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia
One World Trade Center as seen from the Hudson River. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia

As New York begins to thaw after record breaking winter conditions, city dwellers are forced to be on high alert for falling ice. Streets surrounding the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center have been closed following reports of ice shearing from its surface. Some blame the more energy efficient buildings for the deadly occurrence, believing that because the newer structures are able to hold in more heat their exteriors remain colder which aids the formation of ice. Materials and building form can help prevent this phenomena. You can learn more here.

DEFAULT!: The Latest Issue from another pamphlet

00:00 - 21 February, 2014
DEFAULT!: The Latest Issue from another pamphlet

Last night, another pamphlet launched its sixth issue, DEFAULT!, at New York's Printer Matter, Inc. With contributions from CODA's Caroline O'Donnell (winner of the 2013 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program), critic Sylvia Lavin, Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna (of Fake Industries) and others, this installment tackles the presupposition that "design inherently denies the default, and that the default is by definition un-designed." Copies of DEFAULT! are available through their website. More information after the break.

2014 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture Recipients

00:00 - 21 February, 2014
2014 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture Recipients, AIA Convention 2014, June 26‒28, Chicago
AIA Convention 2014, June 26‒28, Chicago

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected James L. Abell, FAIA, Carole J. Olshavsky, FAIA, and Robert G. Shibley, FAIA, as recipients for the 2014 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. The award recognizes excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement in three categories: Private-sector architects who have established a portfolio of accomplishment in the design of architecturally distinguished public facilities (category 1); public-sector architects who manage or produce quality design within their agencies (category 2); and public officials or other individuals who by their role of advocacy have furthered the public's awareness and/or appreciation of design excellence (category 3). Learn more about the recipients, after the break.

Details Emerge on Johnston Marklee’s Design for the Menil Drawing Institute

17:25 - 20 February, 2014
Details Emerge on Johnston Marklee’s Design for the Menil Drawing Institute, © Johnston Marklee
© Johnston Marklee

The Menil Collection has unveiled details of the long-awaited Menil Drawing Institute, designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, Texas. The modest, $40 million institute is projected to be the first freestanding facility in America dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, as well as the Menil’s first major expansion under the ambitious 30-acre master plan designed by David Chipperfield Architects. 

Details on the design, after the break...

Kengo Kuma Presents Shortlisted Design for ArtA "Civic Center" in Arnhem

17:19 - 20 February, 2014
Kengo Kuma Presents Shortlisted Design for ArtA "Civic Center" in Arnhem, © Kengo Kuma & Associates
© Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma, one of four renowned architects competing to design the highly anticipated ArtA cultural center in Arnhem, has shared details about their shortlisted proposal. Enveloped in an “elegant filigree screen” of contextually prevalent red clay roof tiles, the “multileveled Arts Square” is designed to serve as “the living room of the city.” Its main programs, the Focus Film Theatre and Museum Arnhem, are united by a series of green terraces whose main purpose is to reconnect the inner city to its “unexploited resource,” the Rhine River. 

10 Unbuilt Projects Honored With Progressive Architecture Award

12:00 - 20 February, 2014
10 Unbuilt Projects Honored With Progressive Architecture Award , © RUR Architecture
© RUR Architecture

ARCHITECT Magazine has named 10 unbuilt projects that will be honored with this year’s Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award. The annual award, now in its 61st edition, recognizes projects for being an exemplar of innovation and design excellence.

The winners, after the break...

"Why Do Women Really Leave Architecture" Is the Wrong Question

09:30 - 20 February, 2014
"Why Do Women Really Leave Architecture" Is the Wrong Question, Birmingham Library / Mecanoo. Mecanoo's Francine Houben was named Architect Journal's Woman Architect of the Year. Image © Christian Richters
Birmingham Library / Mecanoo. Mecanoo's Francine Houben was named Architect Journal's Woman Architect of the Year. Image © Christian Richters

Maria Smith, shortlisted for The Architect's Journal's Emerging Woman Architect of the Year, has just published an article in The Architectural Review titled "Why do Women Really Leave Architecture?" - an article that, like many over the last year, attempts to tackle the tricky question of why women (who make up over 40% of architecture students in the US but only 23% of the profession) leave architecture. For the first few paragraphs, I was nodding in agreement, eagerly reading something that - finally - promised to offer a different perspective on the "women in architecture" question. 

Unfortunately, a few paragraphs later, all that promise falls terribly flat. Smith spends a good amount of time setting up a fabulous argument, and then - disappointingly - falls into the very traps she was hoping to break wide open. By the article's conclusion, I was less satisfied than when I started, wondering: is this even the right question we should be asking? 

SO-IL Shortlisted to Design Arnhem's ArtA Cultural Center

09:30 - 20 February, 2014
SO-IL Shortlisted to Design Arnhem's ArtA Cultural Center, © SO–IL
© SO–IL

New York-based SO-IL, together with Architectuurstudio HH (AHH) and ABT, has unveiled details of their shortlisted design for Arnhem’s highly-anticipated ArtA cultural center. One of four shortlisted proposals, SO-IL’s “energy-neutral” building aims to serve as a transformative link that connects the inner city to the Rhine River. “Generous and flexible programmatic volumes,” which were shaped by the surrounding context, are designed “support the production and experience of culture, as well as create a place for reflection and wonder – a transportive experience.”

Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture (UABB) VALUE FACTORY February Program

22:00 - 19 February, 2014
 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture (UABB) VALUE FACTORY February Program

The Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, which enters its final weeks, has already welcomed more than 120,000 visitors. The Value Factory offers a jam packed program to conclude a very inspiring UABB 2013. From now until the end of February, visitors can enjoy tours, workshops, exhibitions, performances and debates. Check out this month's full program after the break. 

January ABI Reports "Modest Uptick"

12:04 - 19 February, 2014
January ABI Reports "Modest Uptick", January ABI via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
January ABI via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Business in the United States has started the New Year on a more positive note, as January’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) revealed the first increase in design services after three consecutive months of decline. As reported by the American Institute for Architects (AIA), the January numbers rose from December’s score of 48.5 to 50.4, indicating an increase in billings. However, the new projects inquiry index was 58.5, down a bit from the reading of 59.2 the previous month.

“There is enough optimism in the marketplace that business conditions should return to steady growth as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  

What Does a Zaha Hadid-Designed Water Fountain Look Like?

09:00 - 19 February, 2014
What Does a Zaha Hadid-Designed Water Fountain Look Like?, Courtesy of ZHA
Courtesy of ZHA

Zaha Hadid ArchitectsAdam ArchitectureHopkins ArchitectsEric Parry ArchitectsAllford Hall Monaghan Morris and Studio Weave have all unveiled, what AJ describes as, six “jaw-dropping” proposals for new water kiosks planned for central London. As part of a competition, conducted by the British journal, the architect-designed drinking fountains will be on view at The Building Centre from February 20 through March 14. View them all and vote for your favorite here.

Call for Proposals: PXSTL Community Program Grants

07:00 - 19 February, 2014
Call for Proposals: PXSTL Community Program Grants, Courtesy of Freecell Architecture
Courtesy of Freecell Architecture

Back in September 2013, we told you about PXSTL. Organized by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, PXSTL challenged US artists, architects and designers to propose a small-scale intervention for a vacant lot in the St. Louis Grand Center cultural district that could possibly spark large-scale urban transformation. Freecell Architecture was announced as the winner of the competition, with their proposal "Lots".

Latitude Studio Designs "Future Mall" Exhibition Space in Beijing

18:00 - 18 February, 2014
Latitude Studio Designs "Future Mall" Exhibition Space in Beijing, Entrance Facade (night). Image Courtesy of Latitude Studio
Entrance Facade (night). Image Courtesy of Latitude Studio

Latitude Studio, based in Barcelona and Beijing, have unveiled designs for a showroom exhibition centre in China's capital city. Integral to the design is how visitors circulate and interact with the spaces centred around the "future shopping mall". Including an auditorium, model spaces and views onto an area which is expected to see enormous retail development, the building's central atrium and "thematic sightseeing walk" offer a unique journey for the visitor.

20 Architects Listed to Compete for Estonian Cultural Facility

18:32 - 18 February, 2014

Zaha Hadid, Rick Joy, and COOP HIMMELB(L)AU are three of 20 diverse architects shortlisted to compete for the commission of the International Arvo Pärt Center near Tallinn. As part of the competition’s second stage, the selected practices will move forward with the design of a 2,000-square-meter expandable facility which will be used to house the famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s work on a wooden coastal site in Laulasmaa. 

The Union of Estonian Architects (UEA) will announce the winner on June 20. See a complete list of the competing architects, after the break.

Phoenix Determined to Build BIG Pin

16:49 - 18 February, 2014
Phoenix Determined to Build BIG Pin, © BIG
© BIG

Although Arizona developer Novawest was determined to build BIG’s 420-foot observation tower in downtown Phoenix before the 2015 Super Bowl, failed negotiations has left them without a site. Once planned for the interior courtyard of the Arizona Science Center, the privately-funded project is now being considered for an undisclosed downtown site with completion rescheduled for 2016. Considering the project has received a considerable amount of support from city officials, it seems inevitable that the BIG pin will eventually be built despite harsh criticism from nearby residents. Modifications for the new site will be minimal. You can review the design here