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Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Team Berlin's "Flywheel" Could Revolutionize Personal Mobility

One of three runners-up in the 2014 Audi Urban Future Award, the Berlin Team of Max Schwitalla, Paul Friedli and Arndt Pechstein proposed a futuristic and innovative concept for an entirely new type of personal transport. Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as elevator technology and biomimicry, their designs offer a thought-provoking alternative to our existing transportation systems that could revolutionize the city as we know it.

Though their proposal ultimately lost out to Jose Castillo's Team Mexico City, the work of the Berlin team correlates closely with the aims of Audi's Urban Future Initiative, offering a compromise between the convenience and status of personal transport and the civic benefits of public transport. Read on to find out how this was achieved.

The "Flywheel" concept proposes a modular personal transport system that would connect with other units to save road space. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative Proposal for the "Flyway" on the Siemens Line. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative The Flyway would connect Tegel Airport to Jungfernheide station. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative Audi worked with Team Berlin to create a series of possible designs for the "Flywheel" concept. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative

The Broad Reveals Its Honeycomb “Veil”

The final exterior scaffolding has been removed from Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “The Broad” in downtown Los Angeles, revealing its distinctive honeycomb-like “veil.” Comprised of 2,500 fiberglass reinforced concrete panels and 650 tons of steel, the structural exoskeleton “drapes” over the building’s interior “vault,” lifting at its south and north corners to provide two street-level entrances. At its side, the veil is torn by a central “oculus” that provides a direct visual connection between the museum and Grand Avenue. 

“The Broad will be porous and absorptive, channeling light into its public spaces and galleries. The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street,” described Liz Diller.

Lincoln Memorial and Flatiron to Join LEGO® Architecture Series

LEGO® has unveiled the latest buildings to join their architecture series: the Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial and the New York City Flatiron Building. Both will be released in 2015. 

The Lincoln Memorial, a national monument honoring the 16th President of the United States, was designed by Henry Bacon and features a sculpture of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French. The Flatiron Building, originally known as the Fuller Building, is a landmark Manhattan skyscraper designed by Daniel Burnham Frederick Dinkelberg.

The news was released following the grand opening of a new LEGO® Brand Store adjacent to the Flatiron. 

More images of the new LEGO® sets, after the break. 

Happy New Year from ArchDaily!

Happy New Year to ArchDaily's readers all around the world: from the first people to celebrate in Kiribati, Samoa and New Zealand, to those in Hawaii and American Samoa - who at the time of publishing are still waiting to celebrate the new year - we wish you all the best in 2015. The past 12 months has been a fantastic year here at ArchDaily, and we can't wait to see what the next one will bring. In the meantime, make sure you've read all of our round-ups of 2014, after the break.

Forbes Profiles David Rockwell, Celebrates 30 Years of Design

In honor of Rockwell Group’s 30th year of design, Forbes has published a profile on its founder, American architect David Rockwell, detailing his life, work and thoughts on the power of theater. “My mother, Joanne, played a great role in forming my interest in design,” stated Rockwell. “She first introduced me to the excitement and spectacle of live theater, which has had a profound impact on my life and work. These productions really opened my eyes to the power of design to create emotional connections between people and their environment.” Read the complete article, here

The Three-Dimensional City: How Drones Will Impact the Future Urban Landscape

Many have come to associate drones with the looming unmanned aircraft deployed in the defense industry, but as technology continues to improve drones have gotten smaller and progressively less expensive. Consumers can now purchase their very own drone for as little as $600 or less and the technology is already proving to be useful for a wide variety of purposes, including possible uses for architects in everything from site analysis to construction.

However, this technology could have much broader consequences on not only the airspace above our streets, but also in how we design for increasing civilian and commercial drone traffic. Just as other technologies such as cars and security surveillance have shaped our urban infrastructure, so too will an emerging network of infrastructure for pilotless technology. Particularly as drones become ever more precise and nimble, opportunities arise for their increased use in urban areas. If these devices can be programmed to learn from repeated maneuvers with the use of cameras and sensors, it is not unrealistic to say that they could soon learn how to navigate through increasingly complex vertical cities. But if drones become fixtures of our urban environment, what impact will they have on exterior spaces? And could they become as ubiquitous in our city’s skies as cars on our streets?

Quinlan Terry Among Four to Receive "New Year Honours" for Services in UK Architecture

John Quinlan Terry, one of Prince Charles' preferred architects, is being recognized on the UK’s 2015 New Year Honours list and awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services in classical architecture. The Queen’s annual awards will also be honoring architect Cecil Balmond, former deputy chairman of UK Arup, with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Former City Planning Officer and professor Peter Wynne Rees, who oversaw the realization of the Gherkin and highly disputed Walkie Talkie, will also receive a CBE for his services. Katharine Heron, professor of Architecture University of Westminster, has been selected to receive a Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to architecture and higher education. 

Frank Gehry Presents Design for Venezuelan Music Center

With Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in attendance, Frank Gehry presented the model for the future National Center for Social Action Through Music building in Lara state. The project is Gehry’s second in Latin America, following the recently inaugurated Biomuseo in Panamá

To be located in Barquisimeto, Venezuela’s fourth most populated city, the National Center for Social Action Through Music forms part of the National Network of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, more commonly known as “El Sistema.” Founded in 1975 by orchestra director José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema is now funded by the government and provides musical training and education for children from impoverished backgrounds. The Adjkm-designed Simon Bolivar Complex for Social Action is also part of El Sistema.

Learn more about the project after the break. 

How Simple Earth Blocks Could Revolutionize Construction for the African Island of Pemba

Pemba, a small Tanzanian island off of Africa's Eastern coast, is undergoing something of a construction boom. With half of the population aged under 30 and a culture in which a man must build a house before he can get married, a wave of new informal housing is sweeping the island. Historically, construction methods used by the islanders have been problematic: traditional wattle & daub construction typically survives for just 5-7 years; its replacement, bricks made of coral, not only require large amounts of energy to extract but have a devastating effect on the environment; and modern cement bricks most be imported at high costs.

Sensing an opportunity to help the islanders at a critical time in their development, Canadian NGO Community Forests International is promoting a solution that combines the economy and sustainability of wattle & daub with the durability of masonry: Interlocking Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks (ISCEBs). Find out how this simple technology can help the island community after the break.

Drink Like an Architect: Pair your Cocktail with the Perfect Building

To paraphrase an old adage, "behind every great building is a great architect." According to Swiss-based Kosmos Architects, a less familiar version of this might say "beside every great building is a perfectly mixed cocktail." The firm has revealed a scientifically (un)proven link between alcohol and architecture: ramps, for instance, are often built at an inclination of five to seven degrees, a statistic that correlates to the alcoholic percentage of an average beer. Furthermore, a steep forty-degree roof incline designed to throw off snowfall matches the forty percent alcohol content of vodka used in Arctic climates to keep out the winter chill.

Kosmos Architects has published a series of twelve illustrated postcards, linking iconic buildings with their appropriate drink. A Manhattan for Mies, a Blue Blazer for Zumthor, and a Smoky Martini for Herzog & de Meuron all belong to the series 'Good Drinks & Good Buildings,' a booze-soaked comparison of architecture and alcohol, just in time to ring in 2015. 

What's inside SOM's martini? Find out after the break 

Villa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera and Curzio Malaparte / Negroni. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects Seagram Building by Mies van der Rohe / Manhattan Cocktail. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor / Blue Blazer Cocktail. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects Palais Bulles by Antti Lovag / Bellini. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects

Bingler and Pederson’s Critique of Architecture for the New York Times Sparks Controversy

Earlier this month the New York Times published an editorial written by Steven Bingler and Martin Pederson in which the two discuss how and why architects need to reevaluate the profession. The article centers on how today’s architecture can adequately meet the needs of its intended users without acknowledging their input and asks “at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?”

As with any commentary on the very nature of contemporary architecture, criticism abounds and has prompted a scathing response by Architect Magazine writer Aaron Betsky, who claims that the New York Times ought to be above such "know-nothing, cliché-ridden reviews of architecture" and ridicules certain excerpts of Bingler and Pederson's text,  saying "I am not making this up." Betsky takes the opportunity to argue instead that “Architecture... is either the dull affirmation of what we have, or it is an attempt to make our world better."

Read on after the break for more on the New York Times article and the opposing views

Eight Proposals Offer Scaled Down Solutions for Redeveloping St. Petersburg’s Pier

© Destination St. Pete Pier / St. Pete Design Group
© Destination St. Pete Pier / St. Pete Design Group

After public outcry rejected Michael Maltzan Architecture’s winning entry “The Lens,” which sought to replace St. Petersburg Pier with an ambitious sail-like concrete canopy and aquatic habitat, the fate of the structurally inapt inverted pyramid remained in limbo. Now, two years after the culmination of the original competition, the City of St. Petersburg, Florida, alongside the preservations of the Concerned Citizens of St. Pete, has selected eight scaled back proposals in hopes that one will provide a sensible solution that will both maximize the pier’s potential and satisfy the locals. 

Shortlisted competitors, including FR-EE / Fernando Romero EnterprisE, Alfonso Architects, and Rogers Partners, received a $30,000 stipend to submit these preliminary design concepts, complete with reports, renderings and cost estimates. Take a look at all eight proposals, after the break. 

hk+b Architecture Designs Winning Competition Entry for Tunisian Office Building

With a site defined by its varied and abundant trees, hk+b Architecture made preserving the scenic landscape and greenery a conscious decision in designing the CPSCL Regional Agency in Tunisia. The choice to maintain as much of the context of the site as possible allows future employees in the building the opportunity to work in an environment seemingly embedded in the countryside. Another important choice in defining the building’s exterior form was the characteristic sloping roofs of the city of Béja.

Courtesy of hk+b Architecture Courtesy of hk+b Architecture Courtesy of hk+b Architecture Courtesy of hk+b Architecture

Oliver Wainwright's 2015 Wish List for British Cities

In the UK, urban issues are starting to see something of a renaissance, with problems such as the nation's housing shortage increasingly being subjected to scrutiny in ever more public arenas - in fact earlier this year housing overtook transport as the biggest concern among London voters. All of this means that 2015 will be "a golden opportunity to fix some of the worst city problems," according to the Guardian Cities, who have asked their architecture critic Oliver Wainwright to offer up a wishlist of positive changes that could benefit the nation's urban centres. From councils building more council housing to a tax on empty homes, Wainwright's four-point list offers straightforward policy advice that could truly transform the lives of British urbanites - and perhaps most promisingly, in three of these cases he explains how there are nascent movements already being made to bring his recommendations to fruition. You can read the full article here.

Ricardo Porro, Architect of Cuba’s National Art Schools, Dies at 89

Ricardo Porro, the leading architect behind Cuba’s National Art Schools - one of the largest architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution - has died of heart failure in Paris at the age of 89. After spending nearly a half a century in exile, Porro lived long enough to see his two arts schools reemerged on the world stage as “crown jewels of modern Cuban architecture.” 

NBBJ to Design $85 Million Livingston Ambulatory Center in Columbus

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has selected NBBJ to design their $85 million Livingston Ambulatory Center in Columbus, Ohio. The six-story, 200,000-square-foot center will serve more than 100,000 patients annually. It will feature modular and flexible units centered around shared employee workspaces. Construction will begin in February. 

AA DLAB 2014: The Natural and Digital Worlds Combine With Root-Like "CALLIPOD" Pavilion

Created for AA DLAB 2014 - the annual summer workshop undertaken by the Architectural Association at their Hooke Park facility - the 4.4 metre wide "CALLIPOD" pavilion blends perfectly into the wooded surroundings, appearing as though the roots of nearby trees have sprung from the ground to create a dome in the depths of the Dorset woodland. However, despite its natural outward appearance, the process of creating CALLIPOD was highly technical, combining a detailed algorithmic exploration of form and structure with both digital and traditional methods of fabrication.

© Elif Erdine © Max Winter © Elif Erdine © Elif Erdine

Prince Charles' 10 "Geometric Principles" for Architecture Cause a Stir in the UK

Last weekend, the Architectural Review published an article by the Prince of Wales in which he outlined his stance on architecture, reiterating his belief that a return to traditional design principles is necessary to enable sustainable urban growth that meets human needs. In the 2,000 word essay, Prince Charles argues that "we face the terrifying prospect by 2050 of another three billion people on this planet needing to be housed," adding that rather than "wanting to turn the clock back to some Golden Age" as he is often accused, he is focused on the needs of the future. At the conclusion of his article, he outlines ten principles for architecture which meet the requirements of his vision.

As is often the case with Prince Charles' pronouncements on architecture, the article has prompted a strong reaction from members of the profession, with responses ranging from Robert Sakula saying "if more people cared as much as he does we would have a better architectural culture," to the response of Birmingham City University's Alister Scott, who said "there is clear evidence of elitism and his lack of empathy with the problems facing his peasantry."

Read on after the break for more on the Prince's article and the reaction from architects