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Aeriform Ecologies: An Atmospheric Archive for Industrial Effluvium

Air pollution in urban areas is quickly racing to the forefront of the environmental discussion, with several major cities facing a serious deterioration of breathable air supply. New Delhi, Beijing, Los Angeles, Moscow and Karachi represent a handful of cities facing the world's worst urban pollution, each with recorded amounts of particulate matter exceeding acceptable levels. In 2014, the World Health Organization issued a report estimating that 7 million people suffered premature deaths in 2012 due to air pollution exposure. 

Enter Aeriform Ecologies: An Atmospheric Archive for Industrial Effluvium. Conceived as a thesis project by Jennifer Ng, University of Michigan with thesis advisor Kathy Velikov, Aeriform Ecologies delves into the possibilities for byproducts of petroleum production by proposing a network of solutions for the 'spatial runoffs' created by fossil fuel extraction. Based on a futuristic approach that includes a network of unmanned atmospheric gas harvesting dirigibles, the project blurs the lines between science, technology, and architecture.

Explore the effervescent world of Aeriform Ecologies after the break

The Queen Maud Research Station. Image © Jennifer Ng 111oW Respositories in Elevation. Image © Jennifer Ng Physical Models. Image Photos © Jennifer Ng & Adam Smith Queen Maud Station 066's Extraction and Sampling Pod. Image © Jennifer Ng

Open Call: International Competition to Design a Beautiful House

BW International is now accepting entries for its Design a Beautiful House competition, an international call offering £25,000 (about $39,000 USD) to winner(s). The competition is open to all designers, students, artists, and others from anywhere across the globe, and requires no registration fee.

SCoopA Announces Winners of 2015 Milan Expo Competition

Social Cooperation Architects (SCoopA) have announced the winners of their competition centered on the theme of the 2015 Expo Milano: Feed the World. The competition collected ideas and solutions from all over the world that addressed problems such as social inequality, population growth and the scarcity of resources. Currently the winners and honorary mentions are on display at the 2015 Expo Milano. Read on for the winning proposals and their accompanying boards after the break.

Spotlight: Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura (born 25 July 1952), the Portuguese architect that won the 2011 Pritzker Prize, is known for designs that are formally simple yet serious and at times, dramatic, created through his thoughtful use of colors and materials. His architecture is both versatile and consistent, contextual yet universal, and rarely affected by current trends or styles.

How Infrastructure Segregates Cities

The Washington Post has published a piece looking at how infrastructure acts as a form of segregation in cities in the US. Using racial dot maps from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, they show how highways, railroads, historically uncrossable avenues, and similar urban design decisions have a huge impact on the physical isolation of different races. These types of infrastructure were also found to reinforce boundaries set by natural patterns of topography and bodies of water. Cities found to have clear infrastructural segregation include Pittsburgh, Hartford, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee. Read the full article, here.

OMA Selected to Design Sport and Sciences Building for Brighton College

OMA has been selected to design a new building for Brighton College that will host its sport and science departments. Their design combines the two departments into one linear building that runs along the edge of the playing field.

The sport facilities are housed on the same level as the field, while the science department stretches over the top “like a skeletal bridge.” Views between the two departments are offered on the inside creating “lively and animated circulation throughout the new building.” The façade is inspired by the terrace housing that runs opposite the building.

Bolivia's Ignored Satellite City is Building Itself a Whole New Identity

La Paz, the historic de-facto capital of Bolivia, is widely renowned for its incredible setting, colonial architecture, and cultural buildings. El Alto, on the other hand, is not. It was, in fact, La Paz's rather dismal satellite city, all low rise brick and commuting. Yet El Alto has become the centre of an entirely new, independently evolved architectural style that is rapidly catching on across South America.

Explore Barcelona’s Architecture with This Free App by Josep Lluís Mateo

Spanish architect Josep Lluís Mateo of Mateo Arquitectura has launched the “BCN Architecture Guide,” a free application to help travelers and architecture lovers explore Barcelona. The app guides users to both highlights of the city’s built environment as well as its natural environment, including some “places to experience nature in tension with the city, places to be rather than objects to look at.”

The app is available for download in both the App Store and Google Play.

Monocle 24's 'The Urbanist' Investigates the Influence of Politics in the City

For this edition of The UrbanistMonocle 24's weekly "guide to making better cities," the team investigate politics in global "power cities." Visiting Brussels, capital of Belgium and administrative capital of the European Union, they explore how politics have changed the city over the last four decades. Further south, they travel to Vienna which, "diplomatically remains very important and wields power." Yet even though the UN have an outpost there, is the Austrian capital still a stage for international diplomacy? The episode also makes a quick stop at Embassy Row in Washington D.C. to examine the architecture of diplomatic design.

ABI Jumps Four Points in June, Equals Highest Mark Since 2007

After demonstrating a modest increase in demand for design services last month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for June showed its largest single-month jump in almost four years, rising to 55.7 and falling just a tenth of a point short of matching its post-recession high of 55.8 in June of last year. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the increased demand has been spurred by schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings, as the index for the institutional sector rose to a mark of 59.1.

A breakdown of regional and sector highlights, after the break.

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.