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London Names RSHP's Leadenhall "Building of the Year 2015"

14:00 - 16 September, 2015
London Names RSHP's Leadenhall "Building of the Year 2015", The Leadenhall Building / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties
The Leadenhall Building / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Leadenhall Building has been deemed the City of London's "Building of the Year 2015." The inaugural award, organized by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA), aims to "recognize the extraordinary examples of contemporary architecture across the London cityscape." 

The award's jury, chaired by World Architecture Festival director Paul Finch, selected the Leadenhall Building over 15 other publicly nominated buildings. It was lauded for providing a "world-class working environment" and having a positive impact on the city street. 

University of Michigan Researchers Improve Solar Panels Using the Ancient Japanese Art of Kirigami

12:00 - 16 September, 2015
University of Michigan Researchers Improve Solar Panels Using the Ancient Japanese Art of Kirigami , via Inhabitat
via Inhabitat

Solar energy is considered by many to be the future of electricity worldwide. Cities from Houston to Mumbai are embracing massive rooftop and rural solar infrastructure, a largely standardized system of fixed panels positioned to optimize sun intake at peak times. Only the most sophisticated adjustable panels which track the sun, however, are capable of absorbing the maximum amount of daylight allowed by the technology, meaning that the average immovable panel loses a significant amount of available energy.

Researchers at the University of Michigan sought to develop a solar energy system that could absorb the most daylight possible while reducing the carbon footprint from production of the panels themselves. The results are surprisingly beautiful: through the application of the ancient Japanese art of Kirigami, a variation of Origami, the researchers were able to capture up to 40 percent more sunlight than traditional panels.

Foster + Partners Unveils Design for Droneport in Rwanda

10:10 - 16 September, 2015
Foster + Partners Unveils Design for Droneport in Rwanda, Courtesy of Foster + Partners
Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has unveiled designs for a droneport in Rwanda, proposed in an attempt to bring more efficient medical care and commercial delivery services to communities in Africa where there is a lack of infrastructure required to meet the population's needs.

"Just a third of Africans live within two kilometres of an all-season road," explains the press release. "It would require unprecedented levels of investment in roads and railways to catch up with the exponential growth in Africa’s population, which is set to double to 2.2 billion by 2050." Foster + Partners instead proposes to leap that development hurdle by making use of 21st century technology - namely drones.

OMA Launches New Website

16:40 - 15 September, 2015
OMA Launches New Website, © OMA
© OMA

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has launched a new website in an effort to make their work more accessible. A collaboration with Oslo-based Bengler and NODE, oma.eu "functions as an omnivorous sensor," says OMA, that "redefines the office’s digital presence and offers a tool for many different users." Check it out for yourself, here

Gallery: OMA's Fondazione Prada Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

14:00 - 15 September, 2015
Gallery: OMA's Fondazione Prada Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, Fondazione Prada / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Fondazione Prada / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

In May, OMA celebrated the opening of Fondazione Prada. Set out to “expand the repertoire of spatial typologies in which art can be exhibited and shared with the public,” the project resulted in an “unusually diverse environment” staged within a historic 20th-century distillery south of Milan’s city center that goes beyond the traditional white museum box. 

Fondazione Prada / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Fondazione Prada / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Fondazione Prada / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Fondazione Prada / OMA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +42

MoMA Mines Its Unparalleled Holdings for Its "Endless House" Exhibition

09:30 - 15 September, 2015
MoMA Mines Its Unparalleled Holdings for Its "Endless House" Exhibition, Elevation and plan of Raimund Abraham's The House without Rooms (1974). Image © 2015 Raimund Abraham
Elevation and plan of Raimund Abraham's The House without Rooms (1974). Image © 2015 Raimund Abraham

There is perhaps no better display of modern architecture’s historical victory than Jacque Tati’s film Playtime. In it, a futuristic Paris has left-for-dead the grand boulevards of Haussmann, in favor of endless grids of International Style offices. The old city is reduced to longing reflections of Sacré-Cœur and the Eiffel Tower in the glass of these shiny new monoliths. But the irony central to the film is that this construction is created through mere surface treatments, and as the narrative unfolds, cheap mass-production withers in a world where the veneer has triumphed over craftsmanship and polish. In short, Modernism hasn’t always been all it's cracked up to be.

In the Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibition, "Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture," the simplicities of mass-market modern homes are abolished by artists and architects who, in examples from the 1940s to the present, have chosen to use the dwelling as a platform for universal messages and as an arena for architectural experimentation. In the same way that photography freed painting from the terrestrial concerns of realism, the simplicity of modernism liberated artists and architects to subvert extant conventions of buildings.

Model of Asymptote Architecture's Wing House, Helsinki (2011). Image © 2015 Asymptote Architecture Model of Frederick Kiesler's Endless House (1950–60). Image © The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Department of Architecture and Design Study Center. Photographer: George Barrows Haus-Rucker-Co's Stück Natur (Piece of Nature) (1973). Image © 2015 Haus-Rucker-Co Model of Emilio Ambasz's Casa de Retiro Espiritual, Córdoba, Spain (1976–79). Image © 2015 Emilio Ambasz +20

LOHA’s WATERshed Reimagines and Reactivates the LA River

08:00 - 15 September, 2015
LOHA’s WATERshed Reimagines and Reactivates the LA River, Axonometric view of the Elysian Valley
Axonometric view of the Elysian Valley

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has designed a speculative system of interventions for the Los Angeles River that “examines the relationship between urbanization and water use to develop new models of densification that recognize and tap into existing ecological and infrastructural patterns.” Called WATERshed, the design is part of the A+D Museum’s ongoing “Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles” exhibition that explores new typologies of housing in Los Angeles.

With their model for urban regeneration, LOHA hopes to address issues like the ongoing California drought, as well as the United Nation’s prediction that by 2030, nearly half of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress. Thus, the plan utilizes the Los Angeles River as a resource for water use and management in order to provide a path for sustainable growth in Los Angeles, and an example for other cities.

River Bridge Cap Bladder House Site section Transit Hub +16

9 Projects Shortlisted for WAF's Colour Prize

06:00 - 15 September, 2015
The winner of the 2014 Colour Prize - Departments Of Law And Central Administration / CRAB Studio. Image ©  Ronald Kreimel
The winner of the 2014 Colour Prize - Departments Of Law And Central Administration / CRAB Studio. Image © Ronald Kreimel

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has announced the shortlist for its Colour Prize, which is supported by three-time Headline Sponsor AkzoNobel. Last year, the Innovative Use of Color on Exteriors Prize was awarded to the Vienna University of Economics and Business’ Department of Law and Central Administration, for its use of Copper Orange in a 200-meter-long pairing of buildings.

This year’s Color Prize shortlist includes nine projects that span the wide spectrum of WAF award categories:

The Best Structures of Burning Man 2015

14:48 - 14 September, 2015

It has been a week since the conclusion of this year's Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, and images of its most imaginative structures are still surfacing. Even Bjarke Ingels has published a few of his favorite findings from the week-long event. Read on to see of the best structures and installations found at Burning Man 2015. 

Mecanoo Designs New Engineering Campus for University of Manchester

12:19 - 14 September, 2015
Mecanoo Designs New Engineering Campus for University of Manchester , © Mecanoo
© Mecanoo

Mecanoo has unveiled plans for a new £350 million engineering campus for the University of Manchester. Known as the "Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD)," the project will be the UK's largest, single construction endeavors ever conducted by a higher education institution. 

"The campus will help demonstrate how UK engineering is one of the most creative industries in the world – a key feature on the ground floor of the main hall will be a dedicated ‘maker space’ which will provide dynamic workshops for students and academics to share ideas and innovate," says Mecanoo.

Spotlight: Renzo Piano

08:00 - 14 September, 2015
Spotlight: Renzo Piano, The Whitney Museum. Image © Nic Lehoux
The Whitney Museum. Image © Nic Lehoux

“Architecture is art, but art vastly contaminated by many other things. Contaminated in the best sense of the word – fed, fertilized by many things.” - Renzo Piano

Italian architect Renzo Piano (born 14 September 1937) is known for his delicate and refined approach to building, deployed in museums and other buildings around the world. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1998, the Pritzker Jury compared him to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, explaining that "his intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques as broad and far ranging as those earlier masters of his native land."

Monocle 24 Examines Bilateral Inspiration Between Cities Across the World

04:00 - 14 September, 2015
Monocle 24 Examines Bilateral Inspiration Between Cities Across the World, New York City. Image © Harold Navarro
New York City. Image © Harold Navarro

For the latest episode of The UrbanistMonocle 24's weekly "guide to making better cities," the team explore the role of bilateral inspiration between metropolises across the world. Examples of cities relying on one another to draw lessons from and progress can be seen across the world: from the ways in which London and New York City tackle similar urban problems, to how a bike-sharing scheme in Paris has proven to be contagious. The show also visits Vienna, where its Imperial heritage is being imitated the world over, and the show ponders whether the fact that every continent "claiming to have its own Venice" is actually a good thing?

Nikolay Polissky Unveils His Latest Wood Installation in Russia

12:00 - 13 September, 2015
Nikolay Polissky Unveils His Latest Wood Installation in Russia, © Alexey Naroditskiy
© Alexey Naroditskiy

Russian artist Nikolay Polissky has completed yet another of his impressive, handcrafted installations. Located in Zvizzhi Village, in the Ugra National Park in Russia, Polissky’s newest creation—called SELPO, which stands for The Rural Consumer Association, in Russian—wraps around an abandoned soviet building, which used to house the village shop.

The project utilizes off-cut materials from Polissky’s previous work, which has ranged “from temporary pieces of landscape proportions, collectively created […] to public art works in city parks or sculpture parks […] in Europe and in Russia, as well as museum installations.”

© Alexey Naroditskiy © Kozhohin © Alexey Naroditskiy © Alexey Naroditskiy +12

Spotlight: Tadao Ando

08:00 - 13 September, 2015
Spotlight: Tadao Ando, Church of the Light
Church of the Light

The 1995 recipient of the Pritzker Prize Tadao Ando (born 13 September 1941) is highly regarded for his unparalleled work with concrete, sensitive treatment of natural light, and strong engagement with nature. Based out of OsakaJapan, Ando's ascetic yet rich version of modernism resonates with the traditional Japanese conception of architecture, and has caused him to be regularly referred to as a "critical regionalist."

Zaha Hadid: “Niemeyer Had an Innate Talent for Sensuality”

14:00 - 12 September, 2015
Zaha Hadid: “Niemeyer Had an Innate Talent for Sensuality”, © Steve Double
© Steve Double

The first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2004, Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid tells newspaper El País that she was fortunate as a child to have traveled with her parents and seen some of the world’s most impressive works of architecture and engineering feats. 

Awed by the Mosque of Cordoba, Hadid says that the contrast between the darkness and the marble of the central church left a lasting impression, making this one of her favorite works to this day. 

Why Ecosystem Services Will be the Next Frontier in Livable Cities

09:30 - 12 September, 2015
Land Sparing of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user spektrograf
Land Sparing of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user spektrograf

While the term “ecosystem services” may sound like a corporate antithesis to the course of natural order, it is actually an umbrella term for the ways in which the human experience is favorably altered and enhanced by the environment. Ecosystem services are therefore an important factor in creating cities which provide the maximum benefit to their residents with the minimal harm to their environment.

Aiming to find out how city planning can affect the provision of these ecosystem services, a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment by researchers at the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute and Hokkaido University's Division of Environmental Resources evaluates the repercussions of rapid and fragmented urbanization and the possible detriment to ecosystem services and human well-being. In particular, the study is concerned with approaches to land-use and the outcomes they yield on the environment. Studied are two opposing tactics: a “land-sharing,” sprawl model (think Atlanta or Houston), or “land-sparing,” tight-knit urbanism (think New York or Tokyo).

HHF Architects Design Moving Pavilion for ZeitRäume in Basel

08:00 - 12 September, 2015
HHF Architects Design Moving Pavilion for ZeitRäume in Basel, © Julien Lanoo
© Julien Lanoo

HHF architects has created a temporary pavilion for the first biennial for contemporary music and architecture ZeitRäume in Basel, Switzerland.

At nearly six meters tall, the installation is constructed of simple parts:  “a large drum made of bamboo poles, with a roof of scaffolding brackets.” While seemingly basic in construction, the pavilion additionally features movement in the roof portion, when blown by the wind.

Jan Gehl: "Civic Culture Needs Cultivating and Curating"

16:35 - 11 September, 2015
Jan Gehl: "Civic Culture Needs Cultivating and Curating", © Flickr CC User MK Feeney
© Flickr CC User MK Feeney

Danish architect and urban planning expert Jan Gehl has weighed in on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's threat to remove Times Square as a"kneejerk reaction" to aggressive panhandling. Recounting beloved square's evolution, Gehl argues that public spaces need more than just to exist: "Civic culture needs cultivating and curating... Public spaces like Times Square are the great equalizer in cities: Improvements in the public realm benefit everyone. The city should view the challenge of Times Square’s pedestrian plaza not as a reason for retreat, but as a call to create a diverse, dense, intense experience of public life that we can all enjoy." Read Gehl's remarks, here.