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"Doors of Kathmandu" Captures the Vital Social Spaces of Nepal's Capital City

14:10 - 10 July, 2017
"There is a tradition of offering prayers at the door every morning. The two red dots are the offerings to the 'Dwarpals' (security guards)". Image © Nipun Prabhakar
"There is a tradition of offering prayers at the door every morning. The two red dots are the offerings to the 'Dwarpals' (security guards)". Image © Nipun Prabhakar

In this series, architect and photographer Nipun Prabhakar captures the uniquely expressive doors of the city of Kathmandu, Nepal. More than just passageways between spaces, doorways in Kathmandu are used as social spaces where people regularly meet and as a physical representation of the building owner’s interests.

Prabhakar explains:

“The most versatile piece in a building, [the door] has been a mode of expression [for] ages. The door in apartments and modern societies is just a mode of a transition from outside to inside. In traditional cities and neighborhoods, like that of Kathmandu, it’s much more than that. It’s the place where people spend most of their time. Sitting at the Chaukhat, socializing and chatting. The door is not just a tangible unit, it’s the respect you give to your building.”

"There is a tradition of offering prayers at the door every morning. The two red dots are the offerings to the 'Dwarpals' (security guards)". Image © Nipun Prabhakar Patan Darbar Square. Image © Nipun Prabhakar © Nipun Prabhakar © Nipun Prabhakar +28

Gehry, Foster, Piano Lead Star-Studded Shortlist in London Centre for Music Competition

12:25 - 10 July, 2017
Gehry, Foster, Piano Lead Star-Studded Shortlist in London Centre for Music Competition, Barbican Hall, the current home of the London Symphony Orchestra. Image © Wikimedia user FA2010. Image is in the public domain
Barbican Hall, the current home of the London Symphony Orchestra. Image © Wikimedia user FA2010. Image is in the public domain

Six internationally-acclaimed teams have been selected as finalists in a competition to design a new home for London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama to be known as the Centre for Music London.

Planned to contain a world-class concert hall, education, training and digital spaces, top-grade facilities for audiences and performers, and a number of supporting commercial areas, the Centre for Music building will become a new landmark within the heart of London, aimed at becoming “a place of welcome, participation, discovery and learning fit for the digital age.”

Kersten Geers of OFFICE KGDVS on the Role of Book-Making in Architectural Practice

10:30 - 10 July, 2017
Kersten Geers of OFFICE KGDVS on the Role of Book-Making in Architectural Practice, Courtesy of OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen
Courtesy of OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen

In this episode of GSAPP ConversationsKersten Geers—co-founder of OFFICE KGDVS—and Amale Andraos discuss their shared obsession with books, and the integral role that book-making plays in their professional offices and teaching. In this podcast, Geers echoes Aldo Rossi’s call to evaluate architecture within a cultural context, positioning books as the best tool to create a place in which architectural work acquires value and meaning; a device to establish a context of ideas.

New Renderings Showcase Extreme Attractions of Arquitectonica's Future SkyRise in Miami

16:00 - 9 July, 2017
New Renderings Showcase Extreme Attractions of Arquitectonica's Future SkyRise in Miami, Courtesy of SkyRise Miami
Courtesy of SkyRise Miami

Currently under construction, new renderings of SkyRise Miami have been released, showcasing the 1,000-foot tower’s numerous mixed-use entertainment facilities from its prime location at the heart of Miami’s downtown core. Designed by local heavyweight Arquitectonica, the city’s tallest tower is being developed by Berkowitz Development Group, since the project’s inception in 2013.

Courtesy of SkyRise Miami Courtesy of SkyRise Miami Courtesy of SkyRise Miami © ArX Solutions. Courtesy of SkyRise Miami +8

Spotlight: Michael Graves

14:00 - 9 July, 2017
Portland Building (1982). Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portland_Building_1982.jpg'>Wikimedia user Steve Morgan</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
Portland Building (1982). Image © Wikimedia user Steve Morgan licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

As a firm believer in the importance of making good design accessible to the public, Michael Graves (July 9, 1934 – March 12, 2015) produced an enormous body of work that included product design alongside his architecture. Graves brought Postmodernism to the public eye through his emphasis on ornament and aesthetics, and stood firmly behind his design philosophy even as it went out of vogue.

Diagrams of the Rietveld Schroder House Reveal its Graphic and Geometric Brilliance

12:00 - 9 July, 2017
Diagrams of the Rietveld Schroder House Reveal its Graphic and Geometric Brilliance, Courtesy of Yun Frank Zhang
Courtesy of Yun Frank Zhang

As one of the most prominent examples of the De Stijl movement, the 1925 Rietveld Schroder House represents a radical moment in modern architecture. Categorized by refining components to their geometric forms and primary paint hues, characteristics of the movement are evident in the architect Gerrit Rietveld's approach to residential design. Located in Utrecht, the house experiments with modular elements such as collapsible walls that provide a transformable way of living that still influences design to this day.

Because of its significance, the Schroder House has been the subject of study for many architects, artists, and historians. Inspired by its revolutionary design, aspiring architect and visual artist Yun Frank Zhang created a series of analytical diagrams and an accompanying video in order to understand the functionality, dimensions, and programmatic elements of the house. Below is a sample of Zhang’s exploration.

Courtesy of Yun Frank Zhang Courtesy of Yun Frank Zhang Courtesy of Yun Frank Zhang Courtesy of Yun Frank Zhang +5

IKEA's SPACE10 Lab Reimagines Craftsmanship Through Digital Techniques

07:00 - 9 July, 2017

Picking up on the debate surrounding digitization in fabrication and its impact on traditional crafts, Copenhagen-based SPACE10, the future-living laboratory created by IKEA, recently invited three architects—Yuan Chieh Yang, Benas Burdulis, and Emil Froege—to explore the potentials of CNC milling for traditional craft techniques. The architects came up with three divergent yet equally innovative solutions to address the fundamental issue that plagues digital production: an apparent lack of a "human touch." In a Post-Fordist world increasingly dominated by customization, this investigation holds obvious importance for a company which deals primarily in mass-produced ready-to-assemble products; however, with its advocation for the infusion of dying classical craft techniques into the digital manufacturing process, the experiment could be meaningful for many other reasons.

Machining Master Model 1 to 2 Scale Model (Parts Collected) Subtle Curve Locks Joint  Reflected Light from the Copper Lamp During the Evening +30

Norman Foster Stresses the Importance of Interdisciplinary Architecture in Creating Future Cities

16:00 - 8 July, 2017

Architecture, as both a profession and the built environment, currently finds itself at a crossroads in trying to adapt to a world in constant flux. Cities and its people face continuous socio-economic, political and environmental change on a daily basis, prompting a necessary rethink in the evolution of sustainable urbanization. With a focus on housing, society and cultural heritage, RIBA’s International Conference, Change in the City, aims to offer insight into the “New Urban Agenda” and how architects can play an interdisciplinary role in future urban development.

Speaking in an interview ahead of the conference, Norman Foster is a strong advocate for a careful consideration of what aspects of urban life need to be prioritized when designing cities of the future. For an increasingly global society, Foster stresses the need for architecture to surpass buildings and tackle its greatest obstacle – global warming, honing in on its roots and factors involved to create viable urban solutions.

Spotlight: Philip Johnson

14:00 - 8 July, 2017
Spotlight: Philip Johnson, The Glass House. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbschlemmer/7468240258'>Flickr user mbschlemmer</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
The Glass House. Image © Flickr user mbschlemmer licensed under CC BY 2.0

When he was awarded the first ever Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1979, the jury described Philip Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) as someone who “produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the environment," adding that "as a critic and historian, he championed the cause of modern architecture and then went on to design some of his greatest buildings.” However, even after winning the Pritzker Prize at age 73, Johnson still had so much more of his legacy to build: in the years after 1979, Johnson almost completely redefined his style, adding another chapter to his influence over the architecture world.

AT&T Building. Image © David Shankbone The Crystal Cathedral. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/papalars/5377438096/'>Flickr user papalars</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a> The Glass House. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbschlemmer/7468236748'>Flickr user mbschlemmer</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> The New York State Pavilion. Image © Flickr user CaptainKidder <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1964%E2%80%931965_New_York_World%27s_Fair_New_York_State_Pavilion-2.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> +16

RIBA Releases Statement Addressing Grenfell Fire Tragedy

12:00 - 8 July, 2017
RIBA Releases Statement Addressing Grenfell Fire Tragedy, © Wikimedia User Stemoc (CC-BY-4.0)
© Wikimedia User Stemoc (CC-BY-4.0)

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released an official statement on design for fire safety following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire on June 14. The causes and aftermath of the catastrophic fire, which ravaged 27 storeys of the council estate in the London borough of North Kensington are currently under investigation, with a team of 250+ working on operations including recovering and identifying victims (the death toll has risen to 80+) according to recent reports from the BBC and the Met Police. The aluminium-composite cladding Reynobond PE - identified as one of the main reasons for the fire’s spread up the building’s façade has sparked outrage over failed safety regulations and debate over the lack of responsibility behind the building’s (and many others) construction overall. Further fire safety tests revealed the cladding to be present in up to 60 similar council estates with more being urged to submit samples for testing.

For a quick summary, we’ve covered some key points from each of the 3 sections addressed RIBA's statement below:

9 Weird and Wonderful Architectural "Ducks"

08:00 - 8 July, 2017
9 Weird and Wonderful Architectural "Ducks", Collage based on a photograph of Robert Venturi. Original photograph © Denise Scott Brown
Collage based on a photograph of Robert Venturi. Original photograph © Denise Scott Brown

They exist for a reason.

Coined by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in Learning from Las Vegas, “Ducks” are buildings that project their meaning in a literal way [1]. No architectural metaphors here - they are exactly what they look like. Many emerged alongside interstate highways, a lone doughnut or dinosaur punctuating the road trip across America. Places like Las Vegas and Macau have built their identity in the kitsch and literal language of architecture – with the duck a strong contributor. Though they get relegated to one of the weird forays of the postmodern era, ducks still make current-day appearances (like the Chicago Apple Store’s recent Macbook roof). Are they fun, kitschy, or just plain ugly? Love them or hate them, ducks have a light-hearted presence in our architectural history. Below are 9 weird and wonderful examples of buildings that make no apologies for being exactly what they are: 

Image <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cabazon-Dinosaurs-2.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> taken by Wikimedia user Jllm06 (public domain) Image <a href='http://visitpadutchcountry.com/photos-haines-shoe-house-york-pa/'>via visitpadutchcountry.com</a> Image <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Big_Duck.JPG'>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain) © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Basket_Factory_Longaberger.JPG'>Wikimedia user Barry haynes</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> +10

Studio Gang's "Hive" Opens at the National Building Museum

16:10 - 7 July, 2017
Studio Gang's "Hive" Opens at the National Building Museum, © Tim Schenck
© Tim Schenck

Hive, Studio Gang’s 2017 Summer Block Party installation, has opened to the public at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Constructed from 2,551 silver-and-magenta wound paper tubes, Hive invites visitors to explore their senses in a series of dome-shaped chambers, each scaled to reflect a unique sound signature.

Utilizing structural paper tubes commonly used in construction as concrete formwork, Hive takes its form from the catenary physics that have inspired some of the world’s great structures such as the the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Brunelleschi’s Dome at the Florence Cathedral in Italy, and vernacular buildings such as Musgum mud huts in Cameroon.

© Tim Schenck © Tim Schenck © Tim Schenck © Tim Schenck +9

Royal Academy of Arts Adds Permanent Architecture Gallery to Chipperfield Renovation Plans

14:00 - 7 July, 2017
Royal Academy of Arts Adds Permanent Architecture Gallery to Chipperfield Renovation Plans, The Royal Academy’s north-facing entrance, Burlington Gardens. Image © Hayes Davidson. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy’s north-facing entrance, Burlington Gardens. Image © Hayes Davidson. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts

London’s Royal Academy of Arts has announced plans for a new permanent architecture-specific gallery and the creation of two new international architecture awards as part of the RA’s mission to “garner a wider appreciation and understanding of architecture, bringing to the fore its vital relationship to culture and society.”

The new architecture space, along with a cafe, will be housed within the Dorfman Senate Rooms in Burlington Gardens, allowing the academy to show architectural exhibition year-round. The architecture rooms join wider renovation plans led by David Chipperfield Architects that will also include a new naturally-lit theater.

Cross-section of the Royal Academy’s site in 2018. Image © David Chipperfield Architects. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts Architecture Studio in 2018. Image © David Chipperfield Architects. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts The Dorfman Senate Rooms in 2018. Image © David Chipperfield Architects. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts © David Chipperfield Architects. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts +10

OMA New York to Design Mixed-Use Menlo Park Campus for Facebook

12:00 - 7 July, 2017

Facebook has announced plans for a new mixed-use neighborhood adjoining their existing headquarters in Menlo Park, California to be led by the New York office of OMA and Partner Shohei Shigematsu. Known as Willow Campus, the campus masterplan seeks to further invest in Facebook’s home community, joining the original campus designed by Frank Gehry.

“It’s exciting to collaborate with Facebook, whose innovation in networking and social media extends to urban ambitions for connectivity in the Bay Area,” commented Shigematsu. “The Willow Campus masterplan creates a sense of place with diverse programming that responds to the needs of the Menlo Park community. The site has the potential to impact the future of regional transportation, housing, and environment.”

Winners of Tenancingo Square Competition Addressing Human Trafficking Announced

08:00 - 7 July, 2017
Winners of Tenancingo Square Competition Addressing Human Trafficking Announced

Architectural research initiative Arch Out Loud has released the winners of the Tenancingo Square Mediascape international open-ideas competition aimed to engage architects with the topic of human trafficking. The competition challenged participants to reimagine the town square of Tenancingo, Mexico in response to the prevalent issues of sex trafficking existing in the area. “With proposals from both regional designers and designers from other parts of the world, the competition brought forth a large variety of approaches to an extremely sensitive, but immediate, societal problem” Arch Out Loud said in a statement. “Being the first architectural competition to address human and sex trafficking, Arch Out Loud hopes that the culmination of this exploration is only the beginning of the field’s examination of its’ role in the matter.”

Winners of Tenancingo Square Competition Addressing Human Trafficking Announced Courtesy of Arch Out Loud Courtesy of Arch Out Loud Courtesy of Arch Out Loud +30

Shortlist Revealed for World Architecture Festival Awards 2017

05:05 - 7 July, 2017
Shortlist Revealed for World Architecture Festival Awards 2017

The World Architecture Festival has announced the shortlist for their 2017 awards slate, featuring 434 projects ranging from  small family homes, to schools, stations, museums, large infrastructure and landscape projects. The world’s largest architectural award program, the WAF Awards year saw more participation this year than ever before, with a total of 924 entries received from projects located in 68 countries across the world.

Foster + Partners-led Apple Store Transformation of DC's Historic Carnegie Library Gets Greenlight

12:30 - 6 July, 2017
Foster + Partners-led Apple Store Transformation of DC's Historic Carnegie Library Gets Greenlight, Early renderings of the design. Image via 9to5 Mac
Early renderings of the design. Image via 9to5 Mac

Plans for Apple’s next flagship store, to be located within the historic Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square in Washington, D.C, have been approved by the District’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).

The project comprises both an interior/exterior restoration and renovation of the 63,000-square-foot Beaux Arts library, which was constructed in 1903 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. The plan will allow the library to  be shared by Apple and the building’s existing tenant, The Historical Society of Washington. The 2-story Apple store will be located on the first floor and basement levels of the building, and will be designed by Foster + Partners, continuing their collaboration with the tech giant.

Architects Think About Space Differently from Other People, New Study Confirms

16:30 - 5 July, 2017
Architects Think About Space Differently from Other People, New Study Confirms, © Flickr user neilconway. Licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Flickr user neilconway. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architects, as well as painters and sculptors, think about and describe spaces differently from other people, a new study from UCL and Bangor University researchers has found. While the conclusion may sound a bit obvious on its face, the study offers evidence that a person’s chosen career may impact the way his/her brain operates.

The study, titled Sculptors, Architects, and Painters Conceive of Depicted Spaces Differently, invited 16 people from three professions (architect, sculptor and painter) with at least 8 years experience in their fields, to be compared with 16 control participants. Each subject was shown three images, a Google StreetView image of London, a painting of St. Peter's Basilica and a surreal computer-generated environment. They were then asked a series of questions:

Scientists Uncover the Chemical Secret Behind Roman Self-Healing Underwater Concrete

14:00 - 5 July, 2017
Scientists Uncover the Chemical Secret Behind Roman Self-Healing Underwater Concrete, Drilling at a ancient Roman marine structure in Portus Cosanus, Tuscany, 2003. Drilling is by permission of the Soprintendenza Archeologia per la Toscana.. Image © J. P. Oleson
Drilling at a ancient Roman marine structure in Portus Cosanus, Tuscany, 2003. Drilling is by permission of the Soprintendenza Archeologia per la Toscana.. Image © J. P. Oleson

More than 2000 years ago, the Roman Empire invented a unique marine concrete that allowed for the construction of enormous, durable structures – even underwater. Incredibly, the exact chemical properties of this concrete mixture have eluded scientists to this day – but now, researchers from the University of Utah believe they may have finally cracked the code.

According to the findings in the journal American Mineralogist, the secret lies in the chemical properties of two of the mixture’s components: lime and volcanic ash, which contained a rare mineral known as aluminium tobermorite. When exposed to sea water, the substance would crystallize in the lime while curing. Rather than be eroded by the water, its presence actually gave the material additional strength.

Foster + Partners to Transform Major Landfill Site Into Sustainable Innovation Hub in Sharjah

08:00 - 5 July, 2017
Foster + Partners to Transform Major Landfill Site Into Sustainable Innovation Hub in Sharjah, via Flickr User Utsav Verma. Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0).
via Flickr User Utsav Verma. Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Foster + Partners have announced plans for the redevelopment of a major landfill site in Sharjah, UAE, belonging to Bee’ah – the foremost environmental energy and waste management company in the Middle East since 2007. Upon Sharjah reaching its “zero waste to landfill” target by 2020, the site is set for redundancy, sparking a proposed sustainable masterplan as an example of a circular economy and a reflection of Bee’ah’s vision of clean energy and sustainable innovation.

“We believe that this vision, as interpreted through our masterplan, represents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate just what can be achieved at sites like this which feature in every industrialized nation on the planet,” expressed Giles Robinson, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners. “The project will also serve to further showcase Bee’ah’s waste management center as a place where innovation, environmental best practice, and good design take center stage.”

Seattle's Upcoming 134 Meter Residential Tower Takes Form As Series of Stacked Cubes

04:00 - 5 July, 2017
Seattle's Upcoming 134 Meter Residential Tower Takes Form As Series of Stacked Cubes, Courtesy of Burrard Group/Weber Thompson
Courtesy of Burrard Group/Weber Thompson

A 440 feet (134 meters) tall stack of twisting cubes, Nexus is an upcoming residential tower planned for the northern edge of downtown Seattle, as the city experiences a shortage of for-sale housing amidst a thriving rental market. Designed by local practice Weber Thompson and commissioned by Vancouver-based Burrard Development, the tower includes 367 residential units and 3200 square feet of retail, aiming to offer one of few residential opportunities in Seattle’s downtown core.

Courtesy of Burrard Group/Weber Thompson Courtesy of Burrard Group/Weber Thompson Courtesy of Burrard Group/Weber Thompson Courtesy of Burrard Group/Weber Thompson +29

44 Maps Reveal New Yorkers’ Thoughts About Rats, Parks, Bike Safety And Other Urban Issues

14:00 - 4 July, 2017
44 Maps Reveal New Yorkers’ Thoughts About Rats, Parks, Bike Safety And Other Urban Issues, via The New York Times
via The New York Times

How satisfied are you with your city’s garbage service? Its parks? The way it handles pest control? What about homelessness? In the USA’s largest metropolis, which covers a total of 468.484 square miles (1,213.37 km2) and is home to over 8.5 million people, New Yorkers’ perception of their city and the services it provides reveals the “uneven distribution of New York’s opportunities,” according to a survey conducted by The New York Times.

The project also shows relative accord and satisfaction with fire and emergency medical services and agreement that use of tax dollars, public housing and traffic can be improved.

Painting the Post-Digital: The Meaning Behind the Motifs

08:00 - 4 July, 2017
Courtesy of Fala Atelier
Courtesy of Fala Atelier

The ever-growing realm of “post-digital” drawing is currently at the forefront of a healthy dosage of discourse, appreciation and even criticism, as professionals and students alike continue to push the envelope of accepted architectural representation and exchange a waning hyperrealism for the quirks and character of alternative visual narratives. Central to this new wave of illustration is the inclusion and appropriation of specific icons and characters from famous pieces of modern art, selected in particular from the works of David Hockney, Edward Hopper and Henri Rousseau, whose work undoubtedly remains at the forefront of their individual crafts and styles.

Ilimelgo Reimagines Future of Urban Agriculture in Romainville

06:00 - 4 July, 2017
Ilimelgo Reimagines Future of Urban Agriculture in Romainville , Courtesy of Ilimelgo
Courtesy of Ilimelgo

In their winning competition entry, French architecture firm Ilimelgo reimagines the future of urban agriculture with a vertical farming complex in the Parisian suburb of Romainville. The project integrates production of produce into the city through a 1000 square meter greenhouse that maximizes sunlight and natural ventilation. Recognizing the developing world’s diminishing agricultural space, the project aims to meet the growing demands for crop cultivation in urban environments.

Courtesy of Ilimelgo Courtesy of Ilimelgo Courtesy of Ilimelgo Courtesy of Ilimelgo +5