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Will The Traditional Museum Survive?

The question of whether the traditional museum survive in the digital age has been bounced around since the dawn of digital art and archiving. In an article for The Independent, Christopher Beanland examines the issue of a global "museum boom" (especially in China where a new one opens every day), and how this is having an undoubtedly positive impact on people's quality of life. For Beanland, it's curious that "we don't splash out on council houses or universities or hospitals any more – but we do build museums and galleries." Perhaps it's because they are "a reliquary for our collective memories" and "a triumph of our collective will" or, in most cases, because they employ excellent PR and branding strategies. He notes that "despite being swamped by possessions, we've changed our views towards those things. In the second half of the 20th century, people defined themselves by what they had. But today people increasingly define themselves by what they do."

Emerging Objects Invents Earthquake-Proof 3D Printed Column

A team of California-based designers have invented an earthquake-proof column built of 3D printed sand, assembled without bricks and mortar to withstand the harshest seismic activity. The 'Quake Column' is comprised of a pre-determined formation of stackable hollow bricks which combine to create a twisting structure, optimized for intense vibrations in zones of earthquake activity. Created by design firm Emerging Objects, the column's sand-based composition is one of many in a series of experimental structures devised by the team using new materials for 3D Printing, including salt, nylon, and chocolate. The column can be easily assembled and disassembled for use in temporary and permanent structures, and was designed purposefully with a simple assembly procedure for novice builders.

Find out how the Quake Column works after the break

October ABI Reveals Decrease in Demand for Design Services

Demand for design services in the US has slowed. According to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the October ABI score was 53.7, down from a mark of 55.2 in September, and the new projects inquiry index fell to 62.7. Despite this, the demand is still considered “healthy” with the South showing the strongest regional conditions.

“Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

UK Government Confirms Protection of Title Will Continue

The UK government's Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has concluded that UK architecture should continue to be governed by "light-touch regulation based on protection of title," following the first phase of a review into the future of the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Now, a second phase of the review promises to investigate options to deliver this regulation, determining whether or not it is best achieved by the ARB.

A statement released by the DCLG says that it will now work "with all parts of the profession to identify opportunities to simplify the role of the regulator," with BD Online reporting that the available options including absorbing the role of the ARB into that of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), or to keep the ARB as an independent body - but with the DCLG warned that "it should not be assumed that an independent regulatory body would necessarily have the same form or role as the existing regulatory body."

Check Out These Images of New York's Skyline in 2018

If New Yorkers thought that construction during Michael Bloomberg's tenure as Mayor was frantic, then what's coming next might be quite a shock: courtesy of CityRealty, these images show the New York skyline in 2018, when many of the city's current projects will be complete. Produced from building models by TJ Quan and Ondel Hylton as a marketing ploy for Jean Nouvel's 53 West 53rd street which recently (finally) began construction, the images include all of Nouvel's illustrious future neighbors: the "Billionaire's Row" including 111 West 57th Street, 220 Central Park South, 225 West 57th Street (Nordstrom Tower) and One57; new Midtown developments such as 432 Park Avenue, 520 Park Avenue425 Park Avenue, One Vanderbilt, 610 Lexington, 15 Penn Plaza, and the Hudson Yards towers; and even the latest financial district towers, 1WTC, 30 Park Place, 125 Greenwich, and 225 Cherry Street.

View Looking West Above Long Island City. Image Courtesy of CityRealty  View over Upper East Side. Background shows supertall towers. Image Courtesy of CityRealty View looking north above Midtwon showing Central Park and supertowers planned allong "Billionaires  Row". Image Courtesy of CityRealty Courtesy of CityRealty

Danish Embassy and University of Manchester Present "The Liveable City"

Imagine the ideal city—one where residents are happy, healthy, financially secure, and living in a community that is both beautiful and safe. How do we bring our own neighborhoods up to that standard? The Liveable City, a series of (free!) seminars and events starting this week at the University of Manchester, can offer a few answers. A collaboration between the University, the Danish Embassy in the UK, and RIBA North West, The Liveable City is an exploration in urban design and planning. It invites architects, businesses, and the general public to participate in dialogue that seeks to improve the quality of life in cities in the United Kingdom and in Denmark. The schedule of events runs from November 20th to the 27th, and will take place in the Benzie Building of the Manchester School of Architecture. See more details after the break!

A Renaissance Gem In Need Of Restoration

The Pazzi Chapel is a landmark of architecture in the city that was once the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence. Located in the Santa Croce church complex (the largest Franciscan church in the world), the chapel was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi - the goldsmith-turned-architect who dedicated his life to engineering the dome of Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore. It is "a prime example of 15th-century architectural decoration in grey pietra serena sandstone, colourful maiolica, and terracotta."

550 years have taken their toll on this structure and its decoration. Concern for the state of the loggia of the chapel is now so great that the non-profit institution in charge of the church’s administration - the Opera di Santa Croce - have raised 50% of the funds needed to carry out a restoration, set to begin in early 2015. They are now looking to crowdfunding to source the remaining half ($95,000) and, in so doing, are inviting people from around the world to become part of the 720-year-long history of Santa Croce.

IV Moscow Urban Forum: “Drivers of City Development”

The IV annual Moscow Urban Forum is quickly approaching. To be held from December 11-14, the forum is an international conference on city planning, urban development and related subjects. With the overarching theme of “Drivers of City Development,” this year’s forum will feature talks by Uma Adusumilli, Pablo Allard, Dan Hill, Sergei Kapkov, Maksim Liksutov, Antanas Mockus and Hui Wang, among many others.

The Forum will look at infrastructure, economy, social development and culture as the main drivers of city development, with day one starting by discussing the global development of megacities as well as the agenda for Russian city development. Day two will focus specifically on Moscow’s city agenda, while days three and four will feature the Forum speakers as well as special events for urban communities.

2015 YAP Istanbul Modern Shortlist

Istanbul Modern has announced five finalists to compete in the 2015 Young Architects Program (). Now in it’s 2nd edition, the competition will challenge a group of emerging architects to design a temporary installation within the confines of Istanbul Modern's courtyard that will host a series of events and visitors throughout the summer of 2015.

Call for Entries: Design the Barack Obama Presidential Library

Calling all architects and students, the Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) wants to see your ideas for The Barack Obama Presidential Library. The recent media coverage surrounding the announced library, drawing bids from New York, Honolulu, and Chicago, once again initiates the desire for speculations and projections. As the fourteenth of its kind, this civic institution will not only function to house a collection of artifacts and documents relating to the president’s life but will also provide an educational infrastructure and framework for outreach and community programs. Thus, in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), this year’s Chicago Prize Competition is calling for speculative proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Library to initiate a debate in order to rethink and redefine this particular building typology.

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

Ten Practices Selected to Design €400 Million "Oaks Prague" Scheme

The Czech Republic-based Arendon Development Company has selected seven British practices and three Czech practices to work together on Oaks Prague, a new €400 million, 220-home "residential and lifestyle development" 20 kilometres South-East of Prague within the commune of Popivičky.

Selected through a competition organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the ten practices will join the team of Edward Durell Stone Jr and Associates, who masterplanned the development to include a golf club, hotel and spa at its centre, and John Thompson & Partners, who developed a pattern book and style guide for Oaks Prague.

Read on after the break for the full list of selected architects

Design by McGarry-Moon Architects. Image Courtesy of Arendon Development Company Design by Coffey Architects. Image Courtesy of Arendon Development Company Design by Duggan Morris. Image Courtesy of Arendon Development Company Design By Haptic. Image Courtesy of Arendon Development Company

Weddle Gilmore, West 8 and Colwell Shelor Selected to Redesign Arizona's Mesa City Center

Weddle Gilmore black rock studio, West 8 and Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture have been selected to transform 19 acres surrounding Arizona's Mesa City Hall into a unique civic space that will “capture and enhance the urbanizing momentum of Mesa’s downtown core.” Unanimously selected by the City of Mesa, over finalists Woods Bagot + Surface Design and Otak + Mayer Reed, the winning scheme plans to activate the public space with a series of flexible plazas and garden spaces centered around a distinct cooper shade structure.

More about the design and competition, after the break.

Upper terrace . Image © Colwell Shelor, West 8 and Weddle Gilmore Summer water feature. Image © Colwell Shelor, West 8 and Weddle Gilmore Neon plaza. Image © Colwell Shelor, West 8 and Weddle Gilmore East entrance. Image © Colwell Shelor, West 8 and Weddle Gilmore

Grimshaw Releases New Images of World's Largest Airport Terminal in Istanbul

New images have been released of Istanbul's new airport, designed by Grimshaw, Nordic Office of Architecture and Haptic Architects, assisted by local Turkish Partners GMW Mimarlik and Tekeli Sisa. Projected to be the world's largest airport terminal under a single roof at almost one million square metres, the new airport is expected to serve 90 million passengers a year on the opening of the first phase, rising to 150 million a year after completion in 2018.

© MIR; Courtesy of Grimshaw Courtesy of Grimshaw Courtesy of Grimshaw © MIR; Courtesy of Grimshaw

Shigeru Ban Included Among Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers

Shigeru Ban has been included in Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, dubbing this year's Pritzker Prize Laureate as "architecture's first responder." The annual list recognizes the 100 people whose ideas and actions have had the greatest impact on the outcome of world events, and this year 'disruption' is the buzzword; acknowledging a tumultuous year, the list focuses on the people who, for better or worse, "smashed the world as we know it."

MAD and 3XN Among Six Competing for "Porsche Design Tower" in Frankfurt

Porsche Design has narrowed down a list of 20 participating teams to six shortlisted firms for an invited competition to design a new luxury residential tower in Frankfurt, Germany. The project, which will be Porsche Design’s debut in European real estate, will include up to 200 apartments, ranging from “Porsche Design suites” to two-story townhouses and luxury penthouses. The teams moving on to the competition’s second round, include: 3XN (Copenhagen), Stefano Boeri Architetti (Italy), MAD (China), Delugan Meissl (Austria), Neutelings Riedijk (Rotterdam) and Neil M. Denari (Los Angeles). 

Rotterdam Named Europe's Best City By The Academy Of Urbanism

The Dutch city of Rotterdam, often referred to as a hotbed of architectural activity, has been named as the best city in Europe by The Academy of Urbanism at the 2015 Urbanism Awards. Pitted against two other finalists - Aarhus in Denmark and Turin in Italy - the city has been praised for its "predominantly young, open, tolerant community that is embracing innovative architecture and urban design and new business models."

Despite being a very closely fought battle, the Academy said that Rotterdam was a vote winner for its "unique approach to governance. Appointed for six years by central government, the role of mayor sits outside of political structures and with no portfolio, allowing greater engagement with citizens and businesses." Steven Bee, Chairman of the Academy, said that "a long-term perspective, a high level of autonomy, strong leadership by the mayor and municipality, and strong partnerships between public and private sector, are all helping Rotterdam grow positively."

Heatherwick to Construct $170 Million "Pier 55" Park Off Manhattan's Hudson River Shoreline

Billionaire Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, has commissioned Thomas Heatherwick to design a $170 million “futuristic park” on Manhattan’s lower west side. Replacing the deteriorated Pier 54, the new “Pier55” will be a lush undulating landscape, raised atop 300 mushroom-shaped concrete columns placed 186 feet off of the Hudson River shoreline, that will host outdoor performances, act as a marine sanctuary for striped bass and guard the city against storms. 

Heatherwick will be collaborating with landscape architect Mathews Nielson. Read on to learn more about the project. 

Southern space looking north from Gansevoort Peninsula. Image © Pier55, Inc. and Heatherwick Studio, Renders by Luxigon Conceptual view of Pier 55's rolling landscape. Image © Pier55, Inc. and Heatherwick Studio, Renders by Luxigon Night view. Image © Pier55, Inc. and Heatherwick Studio, Renders by Luxigon Amphitheater looking southwest at the sunset. Image © Pier55, Inc. and Heatherwick Studio, Renders by Luxigon