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Rogers Partners and PWP's Constitution Gardens Redesign Approved for National Mall

Rogers Partners (formally known as Rogers Marvel Architects) and PWP Landscape Architecture’s redesign for the National Mall’s neglected Constitution Gardens has received unanimous approval from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The 50-acre project, which was originally won through a competition in 2012, will now move forward with its first phase. 

This Adaptive Micro-Apartment Concept Does it All in Half the Space

With the touch of a button on your smartphone, your furniture begins to reconfigure while new walls glide into place. In a matter of seconds, your bedroom can become the kitchen, dining room, or simply an empty room thanks to the ingenuity of architecture students at Delft University of Technology's Hyperbody design team. The Pop up Interactive Apartment occupies a mere 50 square metres of multi-use space optimized for specific real-time use, allowing the occupant to choose a configuration based on current needs. 

Enter the hyper-efficient world of Pop up Interactive Apartment after the break.

Studios Kabako Wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Studios Kabako, a Congolese performance and theater studio founded by Faustin Linyekula in 2001, has won the 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize, a $100,000 annual award that honors practitioners who use design to address critical social needs and strengthen communities. Studios Kabako was selected for establishing a series of cultural programs and urban interventions within the city of Kisangani as a way to help communities deal with the aftermath of civil war through dance and the arts. A video about Studios Kabako, after the break.

Estonia Launches Competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu Passenger Terminal

The Pärnu Municipal Government (in West-Estonia) announces an open architectural competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu passenger terminal.

Spotlight: Sir Christopher Wren

Sir Christopher Wren (20 October 1632 - 25 February 1723) is one the most significant architects in England's history, and was a recognized astronomer, scholar, and physicist-mathematician. Wren was classically trained at University of Oxford in physics and engineering where he developed his interest in architecture. He is perhaps most famous for designing London's iconic St. Paul's Cathedral, however he is credited with the design of dozens of other churches, government buildings, and hospitals in England. Wren was knighted in 1673.

12 Projects Win Regional Holcim Awards 2014 for Africa Middle East

Teams from Turkey and Lebanon have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Africa Middle East, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winners is an “Eco-Park” sustainable research and technology center embedded within the terraced, industrial landscape of Ankara.

The 12 recognized projects will share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards, to be selected in 2015.

The full list of Africa Middle East winners, after the break…

7N Architects Reveal Glasgow Masterplan

Edinburgh-based 7N Architects has revealed their masterplan for Shawfield in Glasgow, a development containing 1.2 million square feet of "flexible business space" next to the River Clyde. Produced for the Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company, the scheme aims to capitalize on the growth and investment that was brought to Glasgow by this summer's Commonwealth Games by providing "a nationally significant business district which will play a strong role in contributing to growth in Scotland's economy."

Michael Graves Defends the Portland Building from Demolition Threats

Last week, Michael Graves attended a public conversation with Randy Gragg, director of The University of Oregon's John Yeon Center to discuss the Portland Building, America's first postmodern building. The discussion centered around the famed, 1980s building’s many problems - “dark, leaky and claustrophobic” interiors,” pedestrian-unfriendly parking garage, and more - asking Graves for his advice on whether the city should update it or tear it down. His response, “The whole idea of tearing the building down, it's like killing a child… I don't know how to react to that.” Read all of Graves’ responses to tenant complaints here on the Oregon Live.

Critical Round-Up: Haworth Tompkins' 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Win

In the great tradition of the RIBA Stirling Prize, the announcement of Haworth Tompkins' Everyman Theatre as the winner of the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize took many by surprise. The Everyman surpassed the public's favourite, Mecanoo's Library of Birmingham, and the bookies' (and many critics') favourite, O'Donnell + Tuomey's LSE Saw Swee Hock Student Centre - as well as two household names in Zaha Hadid's Aquatics Centre and Renzo Piano's Shard.

In what was seen by many as the strongest shortlist in years, the underdog Everyman has emerged victorious. But was it a worthy winner? Read on after the break to find out what the critics made of this unexpected result.

Insects and Humans Harmonize in a Symphony of Architectural Sound in this Roman Installation

Within the walls of OFL Architecture's open-air wooden pavilion, the term "built environment" truly earns its keep. In Wunderbugs, humans become spectators of the natural world as insects toil away in six spherical ecosystems, and sensors weave movements into a web of data. Upon entering the pavilion, visitors are transformed into components of an interactive soundtrack harvested from the sensors and broadcast in the space, uniting the insect and human experience. The project was conceived for the second annual Maker Faire Europe in Rome, where it was installed earlier this month.

Enter the interactive acoustic experience of Wonderbugs after the break.

Courtesy of OFL Architecture Six biospheres each feature different types of ecosystems and insects. Image Courtesy of OFL Architecture Speakers embedded in the structure play the data-composed musical soundtrack. Image Courtesy of OFL Architecture Arduino sensors embedded in the structure measure human movements in the pavilion. Image Courtesy of OFL Architecture

The Windows of New York and São Paulo

New York City-based graphic designer José Guizar’s captures the city’s eclectic array of windows through his weekly illustrations. Image Courtesy of José Guizar
New York City-based graphic designer José Guizar’s captures the city’s eclectic array of windows through his weekly illustrations. Image Courtesy of José Guizar

A little over a year ago, New York City-based graphic designer José Guizar started illustrating an obsession of his that had quickly grown since moving into the city: New York’s varied and eclectic windows. “A product of countless steps of journey through the city streets, this is a collection of windows that somehow have caught my restless eye out from the never-ending buzz of the city,” Guizar writes on his website. “This project is part an ode to architecture and part a self-challenge to never stop looking up.”

Others have since been inspired by Guizar’s colorful and captivating homage to the windows of NYC, and earlier this year São Paulo-based Nara Rosetto began her own weekly illustrations of windows in South America’s largest city.

Ranging from Victorian and porthole windows to windows with security bars, planting boxes and the occasional cat, the windows are as varied as the cities and buildings they occupy. 

Read on after the break for a journey through the windows of New York and São Paulo.

Scandinavian Design Group and Ctrl+N Create an Undulating Interactive Installation for Lundin Norway

Waves of golden light appear to shimmer and float from the ceiling in “Breaking the Surface” a new interactive installation from Scandinavian Design Groupctrl+n, Abida, Pivot Product Design and Intek. The kinetic sculpture is composed of an array of acrylic plastic tubes extending through the floor of a two-story mechanized matrix, gracefully moving above and below the surface to evoke abstract images of the undersea geography. Read more about the interactive installation after the break.

US Department of Agriculture Launches $2 Million Tall Wood Building Prize Competition

Among the changes in material technology that are constantly altering the architectural landscape, one of the most popular - and most dramatic - is the idea of the timber skyscraper. And with vocal advocates like Benton Johnson of SOM and Michael Green leading the discussion with projects like the Timber Tower Research Project, the wooden highrise is on the verge of becoming a mainstream approach.

To further the conversation in the USA, the US Department of Agriculture, working in partnership with Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), has recently launched the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, an ideas competition with a $2 million prize. To find out more about tall wood buildings, we caught up with Oscar Faoro, Project Manager of the competition. Read on after the Break for our interview and more details on how to enter.

Emerging Voices: Joyce Hwang of Ants of the Prairie

Joyce Hwang founded Buffalo-based firm Ants of the Prairie in 2004 as an architecture and research practice “dedicated to developing creative approaches in confronting the pleasures and horrors of our contemporary ecologies,” according to the Architectural League. In her lecture as one of winners of the Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices awards, Hwang explains her fascination with the conflicted perceptions of urban wildlife, and discusses a series of projects that aim to incorporate diverse animal habitats into the built environment.  

OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition 2015

The OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition is an international ideas competition, aimed at students and emerging practitioners, which is organized every four years by the Architecture Commission of OISTAT (International Organization of Scenographers, Technicians and Theatre Architects). The theme of the 2015 competition will be the design of a floating theatre to be moored at a particular location on the river Spree in Berlin, Germany, but capable of being moved to other sites on the river. 

Spotlight: Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Alejandro Zaera-Polo is an internationally recognized architect and scholar and founder of London, Zurich and Princeton based firm Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture (AZPML). First rising to prominence in the 1980s with his writings for publications such as El Croquis, Zaera-Polo has had a prolific career in both the academic and professional realms of architecture.

Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Clears Final Design Hurdle

The US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has approved Frank Gehry's revised design for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC, meaning that after a fifteen-year process, all the involved parties have finally agreed on a design. Gehry's most recent design - a slightly scaled-down version of the one he produced in 2011, with the two smaller woven steel tapestries removed to open up the view to the Capitol - was approved by the National Capitol Planning Commission (NCPC) earlier this month, allowing the CFA to give their final verdict on the new design.

Haworth Tompkins' Everyman Theatre Wins the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize

Haworth Tompkins' Everyman Theatre has won the RIBA Stirling Prize for 2014, beating competition from Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Mecanoo, O'Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley. The result was announced last night by RIBA President Stephen Hodder at an event held at the RIBA's Headquarter's in London, with Hodder saying that "Haworth Tompkins have struck the perfect balance between continuity and change" and calling the scheme "a ground-breaking example of how to build a daring, bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic city centre."