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Carmody Groarke to Design New Members' Room for V&A Museum in London

12:38 - 7 January, 2016
Carmody Groarke to Design New Members' Room for V&A Museum in London, Sketch showing overlapping activities within the Members’ Room. Image © Carmody Groarke
Sketch showing overlapping activities within the Members’ Room. Image © Carmody Groarke

Carmody Groarke has won a competition to design the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum's new £1.3 million members' room in London. The practice, selected over a shortlist that included David Kohn Architects, Ordinary Architecture, SHH and Universal Design Studio, is offering a design that is "loose, relaxed" and "conversational" for members in a new space on the museum's fourth floor that overlooks the courtyard.

“We are delighted with the quality of the architects’ submissions," said V&A senior staff member David Bickle. "Carmody Groarke’s proposal created a stage not the performance, responding to our brief and the heritage of the Museum in a loose, relaxed, conversational way, creating a comfortable room for the Museum’s broad member constituencies and a framework for creative programming."

BIG Expected to Design New Redskins Stadium

11:45 - 7 January, 2016
BIG Expected to Design New Redskins Stadium, FedEx Field, current home of the Washington Redskins. Image © Flickr CC User David
FedEx Field, current home of the Washington Redskins. Image © Flickr CC User David

Reports indicate BIG will design the Washington Redskins new stadium. Details have yet to be released, however according to Sports Business Daily the practice's head of communications, Daria Pahhota confirmed BIG is working on an NFL stadium. The Redskins currently play at the 80,000-seat FedEx Field in Maryland; it is said that they are considering moving back to Washington DC or relocating to Virginia

New Construction Robot Lays Bricks 3 Times as Fast as Human Workers

08:00 - 7 January, 2016

A new construction worker has been lending high-efficiency help to job sites, laying bricks at almost three times the speed of a human worker. SAM (short for Semi-Automated Mason) is a robotic bricklayer that handles the repetitive tasks of basic brick laying, MIT Technology Review reports. While SAM handles picking up bricks, applying mortar and placing them at designated locations, its human partner handles worksite setup, laying bricks in specific areas (e.g. corners) and improving the aesthetic quality of the masonry.

Ian Martin is Crowdfunding for 'Epic Space', a Compendium of his Satirical Columns

04:00 - 7 January, 2016
Ian Martin is Crowdfunding for 'Epic Space', a Compendium of his Satirical Columns, Ian Martin and London's 'Shard'. Image via Unbound
Ian Martin and London's 'Shard'. Image via Unbound

Ian Martin is an Emmy award-winning comedy writer who has been part of the architectural writing establishment since, it feels, time immemorial (which, in this case, is 1990). His satirical column in the British weekly Architects' Journal provides a spread that every reader looks forward to and now, after accumulating over a quarter of a century's writing, is crowdfunding to compile a compendium entitled Epic Space

Will This Be the Concrete Used to Build on Mars?

16:00 - 6 January, 2016
Will This Be the Concrete Used to Build on Mars?, Clouds AO and SEArch won NASA's Mars Habitat Competition with a 3D-printed house made of ice; would Martian concrete have been a simpler option?. Image © Clouds AO and SEArch
Clouds AO and SEArch won NASA's Mars Habitat Competition with a 3D-printed house made of ice; would Martian concrete have been a simpler option?. Image © Clouds AO and SEArch

"All we need now are a new generation of Martian architects to design buildings made of Martian concrete that will be suitable structures for humans to live and work in," concludes the MIT Technology Review in their report on a new type of concrete designed for use on Mars.

Developed by scientists led by Lin Wan at Northwestern University, this "Martian concrete" is just one of many scientific developments that will be required for the increasingly popular goal of sending humans to, and eventually colonizing, the Red Planet (apparently the un-colonized Moon is already old hat - just ask Matt Damon).

The Top 10 Most Expensive (and Cheapest) Cities to Build In Are...

14:00 - 6 January, 2016
The Top 10 Most Expensive (and Cheapest) Cities to Build In Are... , New York . Image © James Ewing OTTO
New York . Image © James Ewing OTTO

When comparing 44 major cities, Arcadis' 2016 International Construction Costs Index has found New York to be the world's most expensive city to build in. London came in as a close second, reporting cost of building prices (on average) 20 percent higher than Paris. In contrast, Taipei was labeled as the "cheapest" city for construction. According to the study, "strong currencies and significant resource constraints" were a result in higher prices. Read on for the complete lists of most expensive, and least expensive, cities for construction. 

The Beauty of Symmetry in 12 Photos

08:00 - 6 January, 2016
The Beauty of Symmetry in 12 Photos, Hong Kong. Image © @andreknot [IG]
Hong Kong. Image © @andreknot [IG]

Symmetry has always been a source of obsession in architecture. In Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and later during the Renaissance, symmetry was used as a way to find true beauty, while in the early Modern movement its eradication was an essential part of breaking with history.

Without a doubt there is something beautiful in symmetry, and popular Instagram accounts like @symmetricalmonsters collect photos that best capture symmetry in the architecture of everyday life. 

View our selection of images after the break.

Ittyblox Unveils Collection of Miniature 3D-Printed Parisian Buildings

06:00 - 6 January, 2016

Netherlands-based Ittyblox has created yet another series of miniature 3D-printed buildings, this time featuring typical and iconic buildings and sites in Paris. Adding to their series of New York, London, and Chicago, among others, the new Parisian series follows suit as a 1:1000 scale model of customizable city blocks.

Courtesy of Ittyblox Courtesy of Ittyblox Courtesy of Ittyblox Courtesy of Ittyblox +14

AL_A Wins Planning for Southampton Maggie's Center

16:00 - 5 January, 2016
AL_A Wins Planning for Southampton Maggie's Center, © AL_A
© AL_A

UPDATE: AL_A has won planning permission for their Southampton Maggie's Center design. According to a report by the Architects' Journal, the 420 square-meter "disappearing" building will be the charity's 19th center. It is set to open in 2017. 

Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A) has submitted plans for a new Maggie's Center in the English coastal city of Southampton. Sited at the Southampton General Hospital, the proposed center will provide free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family and friends. The new building aims to provide a warm and welcoming sanctuary within the built-up hospital environment. 

"Bringing a bit of magic to the place, the building emerges from this wild naturalistic landscape with an almost ethereal clarity," described AL_A. "Subtle, understated and imbued with light, it is designed to lift the weight from the shoulders of all who visit and work there."

When "Designer" Social Housing Goes Wrong: The Failures of Winnipeg's Center Village Project

14:00 - 5 January, 2016
When "Designer" Social Housing Goes Wrong: The Failures of Winnipeg's Center Village Project, Centre Village / 5468796 Architecture + Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited. Image © James Brittain Photography
Centre Village / 5468796 Architecture + Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited. Image © James Brittain Photography

The challenges of designing social housing are complex. As Martha Thorne recently told the Guardian, "It’s not enough to make community space and say, ‘People are going to see each other’... Architects really have to understand the context from the client – the cultural context, to the bigger context, to the economics, to the future of the residents who’ll live there.” Speaking about Winnipeg's well intentioned Centre Village project designed by 5468796 Architecture, Thorne believes many of these challenges are new to architects.  

Just five years old, Center Village was designed as a community-oriented micro village for 25 families in one of Canada's poorest urban areas. Since its establishment, the complex has become a hot bed for crime; courtyards are being used by vagrants as shelter from police, while large families try to make a life within the cramp quarters of each home.

5 Teams Shortlisted to Redevelop St Luke's Area in Islington

12:00 - 5 January, 2016
5 Teams Shortlisted to Redevelop St Luke's Area in Islington, St Luke's Church. Image © Flickr CC User Fin Fahey
St Luke's Church. Image © Flickr CC User Fin Fahey

The Islington Council has shortlisted five teams to redevelop the its St Luke's area. Aimed at alleviating Islington's housing needs, the project will deliver much needed new leisure and community facilities, affordable homes and improved public space, as well as "an exemplary civic building" on a site adjacent to St Luke's Church. According to the Brief, the new building will "bring together leisure, childcare, healthcare and local energy production under one roof."

The five teams will now develop proposals - all of which will be put on public display in early 2016. A winning scheme will be chosen in spring 2016. The five teams shortlisted, include: 

DMOA's Maggie Shelter Provides Stable Facilities for Refugees

06:00 - 5 January, 2016

In light of recent refugee crises, Belgium-based architecture and engineering firm DMOA has become involved with The Maggie Program, an initiative to improve refugee shelter, education, and health through a new building concept.

Because most countries only allow for temporary settlements for refugees, the project centers around the Maggie Shelter, a temporary tent-like structure, that functions as a more substantial, fixed building. 

A Day in the Life with Moshe Safdie

16:00 - 4 January, 2016
A Day in the Life with Moshe Safdie, Moshe Safdie's First New York Project. Image © Safdie Architects
Moshe Safdie's First New York Project. Image © Safdie Architects

Walking along the High Line in his self-designed wardrobe, Moshe Safdie spent the day with New York Times journalist Ruth La Ferla to discuss his views on architecture and the city. "Look what happens in the city when something becomes a destination,” he told Ferla, referring to the High Line. The 77-year-old architect is preparing to build his first project in New York. Follow this link to read the New York Time's complete conversation with Safdie

Experimental Structure of Bent Wood Takes Shape in Genoa

14:00 - 4 January, 2016
Experimental Structure of Bent Wood Takes Shape in Genoa, © Anna Positano
© Anna Positano

Over a four day period during the New Generations Festival, curators Edouard Cabay (Appareil, ES) and Margherita Del Grosso (MaDGStudio, IT) led an experimental workshop within a shipyard at the Historical Center of Genoa that resulted in a "Bent" installation inspired by navel construction. 

"By bending wood into an (in)habitable structure reminiscent of naval craft, a dialogue was created between the medieval urban fabric of Genoa and its tradition as maritime city," says the curators. "Although is still at the heart of the city's economy, its industry has been relegated to the margins of Genoa, generating conflict and ambiguity between the shore and the urban fabric. The workshop provided an occasion to mend this detachment through an architectural installation that, rather than bringing the city towards the sea, brings the marine element back into the urban fabric."

Alberto Burri Retrospective in Final Week at New York City's Guggenheim

09:30 - 4 January, 2016
Alberto Burri Retrospective in Final Week at New York City's Guggenheim, Gibellina Vecchia, Sicily. Image © Gabriel Valentini
Gibellina Vecchia, Sicily. Image © Gabriel Valentini

This first major retrospective of Alberto Burri's (1915-1995) work in the United States in nearly forty years will close at New York City's Guggenheim Museum later this week. More than one hundred works are on display covering his entire career, culminating in a film of Burri's largest work: the reinterpretation of the ruins of Gibellina, in Sicily. The old city, destroyed by the 1968 Belice earthquake, was later encased in concrete preserving the morphology of the buildings and the city's medieval streetscape. Alongside his two-dimensional work, the exhibition ultimately seeks to demonstrate how Burri blurred the line between painting and sculptural relief that directly influenced the Neo-Dada, Process art, and Arte Povera movements.

Büro Ziyu Zhuang and RSAA Reimagine the Basilica With Modernized Church in China

12:00 - 3 January, 2016
Büro Ziyu Zhuang and RSAA Reimagine the Basilica With Modernized Church in China, Courtesy of RSAA
Courtesy of RSAA

Büro Ziyu Zhuang and RSAA has unveiled the design for its Zhangjiagang Church project, a community center and church complex in Zhangjiagang, China. Based around the idea of addressing current challenges of religion, the main church is separated from other functions, which are clustered in supporting buildings.

Courtesy of RSAA Courtesy of RSAA Courtesy of RSAA Courtesy of RSAA +16

Science Says Beautiful Architecture Makes Us Happy and Healthy

14:30 - 31 December, 2015
Science Says Beautiful Architecture Makes Us Happy and Healthy, © Michel Denance
© Michel Denance

We all know exercise and being in close proximity to nature boosts our happiness and overall heath. However, the impact of the "environmental aesthetics" of our cities has never been studied, until now. 

A new study suggests that beautiful architecture is considered just as "scenic" and beneficial to our health and psyche as "greenery." 

Dubai Skyscraper Engulfed in Flames Hours Before New Year's Celebration

13:35 - 31 December, 2015

Update: Investigations are still underway, however at least 14 people were injured in the skyscraper blaze that carried on throughout Dubai's annual fireworks display. Now, photographer Kirill Neiezhmakov has shared a time-lapse of the horrific incident (seen above). 

A 300-meter-tall hotel, The Address in Dubai has been engulfed in flames, just hours before a massive New Year's Eve fireworks show at the nearby Burj Khalifa. Reports are just coming in, so it is unclear whether anyone has been hurt or how it started. We will keep you posted. 

TEC Designs Artisanal Shopping and Cultural Center in Quito, Ecuador

08:00 - 31 December, 2015
TEC Designs Artisanal Shopping and Cultural Center in Quito, Ecuador, © Cristian Guano, Courtesy of Taller EC (TEC)
© Cristian Guano, Courtesy of Taller EC (TEC)

Taller EC (TEC) has released the plans for the Plaza Artesanal Reina Victoria, a cultural project located in the northern, central part of Quito, Ecuador. Situated in front of a traditional artisan’s market, the new proposal consists of a set of autonomous pieces of different sizes connected by an interior plaza.

UNSTABLE’s P-Cube Illuminates VDNKh Park in Moscow

06:00 - 31 December, 2015
UNSTABLE’s P-Cube Illuminates VDNKh Park in Moscow, Courtesy of Marcos Zotes
Courtesy of Marcos Zotes

Commissioned by the Polytechnic Museum, P-Cube by Marcos Zotes and his studio UNSTABLE is a temporary pavilion at the center of VDNKh Park in MoscowRussia. The project is a nine-meter tall, nine-meter wide cubic structure, that uses a scaffolding system covered in translucent fabric to create an experience that changes with the time of day.

Courtesy of Marcos Zotes Courtesy of Marcos Zotes Courtesy of Marcos Zotes Courtesy of Marcos Zotes +21

Mobile App Renders the 'Infosphere' in Realtime to Reveal a Hidden World

04:00 - 31 December, 2015

A new mobile application created by Dutch designer Richard Vijgen visualises the 'infosphere'—an interdependent 'network of networks' that is "populated by informational entities"—in realtime augmented reality, transforming our intangible environment into an abstracted world of pulsating waves of energy. We are "completely surrounded by a hidden system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites," according to the designer. The Architecture of Radio works by "reversing the ambient nature of the 'infosphere', hiding the visible while revealing the invisible technological landscape we interact with through our devices."

Gensler to Renovate Ford Foundation's New York Headquarters

14:00 - 30 December, 2015
Gensler to Renovate Ford Foundation's New York Headquarters, The Ford Foundation / Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. Image © Ezra Stoller/Esto
The Ford Foundation / Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. Image © Ezra Stoller/Esto

The Ford Foundation is about to undergo a massive $190 million renovation. Led by Gensler, the project will "modernize" the landmark building and expand its spaces "for convening and creating a global center for philanthropy and civil society."

Originally designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo, the Ford Foundation is considered to be one of modern architecture's most iconic buildings. "That rarity, a building aware of its world," New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable once described, following the building's opening in 1967. 

Terreform ONE's Biological Benches Question Traditional Manufacturing Methods

12:30 - 30 December, 2015
Terreform ONE's Biological Benches Question Traditional Manufacturing Methods, Courtesy of Terreform ONE
Courtesy of Terreform ONE

What if your chair was compostable? That's the question posed by this series of experiments with biologically-produced benches which are not so much manufactured as they are grown. Together, Terreform ONE and Genspace have developed two bioplastic chairs through similar processes: one, a chaise longue, is formed from a series of parametrically-shaped white ribs with a cushioned top; the second, a low-level seat for use by young children, comprises interlocking segments that can be used to twist the chair into different shapes.

KCAP and ORANGE Architects Win St. Petersburg Island Competition

06:00 - 30 December, 2015
KCAP and ORANGE Architects Win St. Petersburg Island Competition , Courtesy of KCAP Architects&Planners and ORANGE Architects
Courtesy of KCAP Architects&Planners and ORANGE Architects

A team composed of KCAP Architects&Planners and ORANGE Architects has been awarded first place in a competition to design the western-most tip of Vasilievsky Island in St. Petersburg, Russia. The 15 hectare site will become a new part of the city of St. Petersburg, extending it into the Gulf of Finland through a new variety of urban functions. Thus, the project symbolizes the “new face of St. Petersburg as an entrance of the city from the water.”