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These Two Drones Just Built a Bridge

16:21 - 23 September, 2015

View post on imgur.com

Two quadcopter drones just autonomously built a footbridge that is capable of withstanding the weight of a human. Outfitted with a motorized spool and plastic tubes that dispense Dyneema, a "material with a low weight-to-strength ratio," the flying machines were able to construct a lightweight tensile bridge that spans 7.4 meters between two scaffolding structures at the Flying Machine Arena in Zurich.

OMA, Zaha Hadid and Mecanoo Among 9 Shortlisted for New Art Space in Manchester

14:15 - 23 September, 2015
OMA, Zaha Hadid and Mecanoo Among 9 Shortlisted for New Art Space in Manchester, Manchester City Centre. Image © Flickr CC User Stacey MacNaught
Manchester City Centre. Image © Flickr CC User Stacey MacNaught

A competitive shortlist of 9 has been released for a new high-profile art space planned in Manchester. The £110 million project, known as "The Factory" (after the city's influential Factory Records), will feature an "ultra-flexible" arts venue that can transform from a 2,200-seat theater into an open 5,000-capacity space that will accommodate a wide range of art forms and performances. It will also serve as the new home of the Manchester International Festival (MIF). 

"The level of international interest reflects the city’s emerging status as an internationally-renowned city of culture. This is a landmark development that will place Manchester in the highest tier of arts worldwide," said Manchester City Council (MCC) executive member Rosa Battle. 

The 9 shortlisted practices are: 

Chicago Tribune Says 11 "High Caliber" Architects Asked to Submit Qualifications for Obama Library

14:15 - 23 September, 2015
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org

Update: The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has now reported that 140 architects from 60 cities have expressed their interest in designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago by submitting qualifications. Of these, 99 are based in the United States, although names have not been released. The below article, originally published on September 1st, lists 11 architects that Kamin was able to confirm had been invited to submit qualifications by the Barack Obama Foundation.

Last week, it was reported that the Barack Obama Foundation was searching globally for an architect to design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum (officially known as the Barack Obama Presidential Center). With the list of invited candidates for Obama's Presidential Center still a closely-guarded secret, though, the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has turned investigator, uncovering a list of 11 firms among the "fifty or more" which are believed to have been invited. Kamin states that the 11 firms he has confirmed to be in the running are "A) Of high caliber; B) Represent a broad geographic and aesthetic spectrum; and C) Include the established firms one would expect to be invited."

August ABI Contracts Slightly

13:30 - 23 September, 2015
August ABI Contracts Slightly , August 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
August 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) declined in August, following fairly healthy business conditions so far this year. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 49.1, down from a mark of 54.7 in July. The new projects inquiry index was 61.8, down from a reading of 63.7 the previous month.

“Over the past several years, a period of sustained growth in billings has been followed by a temporary step backwards,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break. 

OOPEAA's Puukuokka Housing Block Wins 2015 Finlandia Prize

12:00 - 23 September, 2015
OOPEAA's Puukuokka Housing Block Wins 2015 Finlandia Prize, Puukuokka Housing Block / OOPEAA. Image © Mikko Auerniitty
Puukuokka Housing Block / OOPEAA. Image © Mikko Auerniitty

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has selected OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture's Puukuokka housing block as winner of the 2015 Finlandia Prize for Architecture. Saariaho, this year's sole judge for the prize, choose the eight-story wooden apartment building over four other shortlisted projects "because it demonstrates values that [she] appreciates in life as well as in architecture: it is a courageous and ambitious work that brings together an exploration of new possibilities for building and construction, a humane sensibility, and a quest for ecological solutions as well as a strive towards better quality of life.”

The Versatility of Corian, from Countertops to Railings

10:30 - 23 September, 2015
The Versatility of Corian, from Countertops to Railings, © Christian Richters
© Christian Richters

If there was a most radical decade of the last century, few would come close to topping the 1960s. From the Bay of Pigs to the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe to the moon landing, there was rarely a dull moment. The world of materials was also involved, seeing the invention of a polymer surface of acrylic resin and natural minerals that was easy to clean, scratch resistant, seamless, and hygienic. Better known as Corian, the surface developed by DuPont chemist Donald Slocum in 1967 was a material that met the tough challenges of modern living.

Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern Expansion to Officially Open in 2016

04:00 - 23 September, 2015
Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern Expansion to Officially Open in 2016, The new expansion to the Tate Modern. Image © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron
The new expansion to the Tate Modern. Image © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

Earlier this week Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Modern, announced that Herzog & de Meuron's extension will officially open on Friday 17th June 2016. The gallery, which originally opened in 2000 housed within a former power station in London's Bankside, dramatically transformed the UK's relationship with modern and contemporary art. Since then, the Tate Modern has become a bastion of trend-setting and high-profile exhibitions, and has grown to be one of London's most visited cultural venues.

Foster, RSHP and UNStudio Compete to Expand Taiwan's Largest Airport

14:03 - 22 September, 2015
Foster, RSHP and UNStudio Compete to Expand Taiwan's Largest Airport, Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1. Image © Norihiko Dan and Associates
Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1. Image © Norihiko Dan and Associates

Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and UNStudio have been shortlisted in a competition to expand the Taoyuan International Airport - Taiwan's largest airport, formally known as Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. Each team will now be given £126,000 to develop their proposals for a new 640,000-square-meter Terminal 3 building which, as the Architect's Journal reports, is expected to host 45 million passengers each year. 

The full shortlist includes: 

7 Buildings That Show Norman Foster's Architecture Has Always Been Ahead of the Curve

09:31 - 22 September, 2015
7 Buildings That Show Norman Foster's Architecture Has Always Been Ahead of the Curve, Aerial View of Spaceport America. Image © Nigel Young
Aerial View of Spaceport America. Image © Nigel Young

If Norman Foster were a household item, he would surely be a Swiss Army Knife. Foster, who turned 80 this year, is unrelenting in producing architectural solutions to problems that other architects can only theorize - just last Wednesday, for example, his firm released their design for a previously-unheard-of building typology, a droneport in Rwanda.

It is surprising then to find the man or his eponymous firm Foster + Partners absent from a list like Fast Company’s “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture,” organized into superlatives: MMA Architects, “for thinking outside the big box,” Heatherwick Studio, “for reimagining green space,” or C.F. Møller Architects, “for rethinking high-rise living.” This is not to say that Foster or his firm should be substituted for any of these deserved accolades, but rather that for five decades Foster and his firm have ceaselessly worked to enhance and expand on the human experience with architectural solutions that are both inventive and practical - a fact that is perhaps lost as a result of his position within the architectural establishment.

With that in mind, we thought it was worth highlighting the many occasions over the decades where Foster + Partners has shown themselves to be among the world's most innovative practices. Read on for more.

Ground Level View of Lunar Habitation. Image Courtesy of Foster + Partners Interior Concourse of Chek Lap Kok Airport. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user Jorge Láscar Hearst Tower. Image © Chuck Choi Aerial View of Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters. Image © Wikimedia CC user Mato zilincik +14

Blank Space Announces Winners of "Dear Architecture" Letter Competition

08:00 - 22 September, 2015
Blank Space Announces Winners of "Dear Architecture" Letter Competition, Courtesy of Blank Space
Courtesy of Blank Space

Blank Space has announced the winners of its “Dear Architecture” competition, which called designers and architects from around the world to address architecture, as a concept, in a letter of no more than 500 words and one image.

The contest was reviewed by a 17-person jury, including Fernando Romero, Diana Balmori, and ArchDaily’s co-founder David Basulto and executive editor Becky Quintal. The work of the three winners, who were awarded a total of $3,000, as well as 12 honorable mentions will be published in Blank Space’s third book, also called Dear Architecture.

Read on to see the three winners.

Should Victorian-era Architecture be "Saved at all Costs"?

04:10 - 22 September, 2015
Should Victorian-era Architecture be "Saved at all Costs"?, The height of Gothic Revival: the Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament), London. Image © David Hunt
The height of Gothic Revival: the Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament), London. Image © David Hunt

Empathetic historicism and romanticising older buildings has become an ever-common sentiment in modern Britain. In an article for the British daily The Telegraph, Stephen Bayley tackles this trend by questioning whether Victorian-era architecture is actually all worth saving? Victorian architecture, so called because it was implemented under the reign of Queen Victoria, was stylistically preoccupied by Gothic Revival — an attempt by architects and commissioners to impose a 'pure', chivalrous unifying aesthetic designed to instill a sense of civic importance and reaffirm a social hierarchy. Yet "their architecture," according to Bayley, "has an inclination to ugliness that defies explanation by the shifting tides of tastes."

Jony Ive-Designed Apple Store Opens Its Doors

16:02 - 21 September, 2015
Jony Ive-Designed Apple Store Opens Its Doors, © Bruno Dalimonte via edgargonzalez.com
© Bruno Dalimonte via edgargonzalez.com

Jony Ive, Apple's Chief Design Officer, has celebrated the opening of his first store in Brussels, Belgium. Like The Verge reports, at first glance the store's design seems somewhat predictable - large panes of glass, a simplistic and open feel. However, under Ive's guidance, the new store (and future stores) now feature a grove of potted trees and a heightened focus on natural materials, in particular wood. Read on to take a closer look. 

Chipperfield Reduces Scale of Stockholm Nobel Center

12:30 - 21 September, 2015
Chipperfield Reduces Scale of Stockholm Nobel Center, © David Chipperfield Architects
© David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects has unveiled a scaled down proposal for Stockholm's Nobel Center. A response to concerns regarding the competition-winning scheme's proposed location along the city's historic Blasieholmen, the modified design hopes to "better" integrate itself into its context and establish a "lively interaction" with the people of Stockholm. 

"While the fundamental concept of the ‘Nobelhuset’ remains the same, the building has been reduced significantly in size," says Chipperfield. "It now has a clearer division into a base, middle and top floor that relates to the surrounding structures on the Blasieholmen peninsula."

Salt-Shaped Salt Shed Takes Shape Along Hudson River in New York City

08:00 - 21 September, 2015
Salt-Shaped Salt Shed Takes Shape Along Hudson River in New York City, via Field Condition
via Field Condition

New York City is replacing one of its 40 salt sheds on the Gansevoort Peninsula with a new, origami-like structure by Dattner Architects at Canal St/West St, along the Hudson River. Once completed, the shed will rise almost 70 feet tall and hold over 4,000 tons of salt in its six-foot thick concrete walls. In response to the complaints leveled against the Sanitation Garage across Spring Street from the new salt shed, Dattner Architects deliberately created a monolithic, crystalline form to contrast the scrim-like façade of its neighbour.

Preservation Takes the Spotlight in Fall Issue of ArchitectureBoston

16:00 - 20 September, 2015
Preservation Takes the Spotlight in Fall Issue of ArchitectureBoston, Courtesy of Boston Society of Architects
Courtesy of Boston Society of Architects

As the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act approaches, the fall issue of ArchitectureBoston hits hard with questions about one of the profession’s most heated topics today: preservation. With essays and articles from a dozen different perspectives, featuring a dozen different problems and solutions, the issue is a gateway for discourse for anyone interested in the role of the past, in the future of architecture. Read on for more information.

Harvard GSD Designs UNBUILT Pavilion for Design Miami

14:00 - 20 September, 2015
Harvard GSD Designs UNBUILT Pavilion for Design Miami, Courtesy of Harvard GSD
Courtesy of Harvard GSD

Uncountable hours, and piles of failed sketches and models to go with them – much of the architecture process is left unseen, held behind locked doors, but Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)’s Pavilion for Design Miami exposes this process for the first time. After a school-wide competition involving over 100 students in 32 teams, a judging panel of GSD faculty and representatives of Design Miami selected “UNBUILT” to represent the school at this year’s fair.

Triple Bridge Waterfront Competition Winners Announced

12:00 - 20 September, 2015
Triple Bridge Waterfront Competition Winners Announced, First Prize: Sun Yu and Zhao Xue. Image Courtesy of HMMD Competitions
First Prize: Sun Yu and Zhao Xue. Image Courtesy of HMMD Competitions

HMMD Competitions has announced the winners of its Triple Bridge Waterfront design competition, which called for designs to transform the Liepaja Canal coastline into a leisure avenue in Liepaja, Latvia.

Divided into four individually functioning zones, the site in question connects the famous Fontaine Palace, Great Amer symphony concert hall, Libava Hotel, the former railway bridge, and the newly proposed park in Zirgu Sala. In their submissions, designers thus had to include a “restaurant/café, nightclub/bar, exhibition space/conference hall, and an unprescribed tourist attraction.”

Entrants were additionally asked to consider the relationship between modern and historic developments and influences, as well as sustainable growth.

“Successful entries to the competition were refined, yet nimble to accommodate a vast site flanked by historic building and exposure to a canal.”

The winners of the competition are:

First-Year Architecture Students Design READER Shelter in Estonia

08:00 - 19 September, 2015
First-Year Architecture Students Design READER Shelter in Estonia, © Paco Ulman
© Paco Ulman

First-year architecture and urban planning students at the Estonian Academy of Arts have designed and created READER, a shelter based on the concept of removal from daily life, and focusing on oneself. Passers-by are invited to enter the shelter and “escape from the real world of problems into the fictional world of books.” And for those who don’t have a book on hand, the structure is meant to evoke the pages of a book through its ribbed wooden structure.

© Paco Ulman © Paco Ulman © Paco Ulman © Paco Ulman +8

Neri Oxman and SOM Among Fast Company's Innovation By Design Award Winners

16:09 - 18 September, 2015
Neri Oxman and SOM Among Fast Company's Innovation By Design Award Winners, © Design.Lab.Workshop via FastCoDesign
© Design.Lab.Workshop via FastCoDesign

From interlocking 3D printed bricks to SOM's "All Aboard Florida" train station in West Palm Beach Fast Company has named 13 winners for their 2015 "Innovation By Design Awards." Each winner was selected from over 1,500 projects worldwide for being "big ideas" with "meticulously though out details" and a "clear viewpoint about how we live now—and how it could be better."

This year's winners include...

Zaha Hadid Backs Down From Second Tokyo Olympic Stadium Bid

13:01 - 18 September, 2015
Zaha Hadid Backs Down From Second Tokyo Olympic Stadium Bid, ZHA's New National Stadium proposal. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects
ZHA's New National Stadium proposal. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

Just two weeks after the Japan Sport Council launched a second call for New National Stadium proposals, Zaha Hadid Architects and partner Nikken Sekkei have withdrawn from the competition. Although the duo promised to develop a "cost-effective" design that strictly adhered to the new competition's scaled down brief, they were unable to secure a contractor and therefore were forced to step down from the competition. 

"It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new National Stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition," said ZHA in a press release.  

2015 PARK(ing) Day Map

12:00 - 18 September, 2015

Today citizens, artists and activists are "reclaiming their city" by transforming hundreds of metered parking spaces worldwide into temporary public parks and installations in an effort to call attention to the need for more open space. The yearly occurrence, known as PARK(ing) Day, has become an international phenomenon since its establishment in 2005 by the San Francisco art and design studio Rebar. Check out the official PARK(ing) Day Map to see if there are any pop-up parks happening in your area. 

Harvard GSD and John A. Paulson SEAS Launch Collaborative Design Engineering Degree Program

08:00 - 18 September, 2015
Harvard GSD and John A. Paulson SEAS Launch Collaborative Design Engineering Degree Program, Exhibit at Harvard GSD © Justin Knight. Image via Harvard GSD
Exhibit at Harvard GSD © Justin Knight. Image via Harvard GSD

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have announced a new, collaborative program: the Master in Design Engineering (MDE) degree. Beginning in Fall 2016, the program, lasting for four terms over two years, will offer students the resources of both GSD and SEAS, combining skills and knowledge across fields to solve multi-scale, complex, open-ended problems.

David Adjaye Designs "Ruby City" for Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio

16:00 - 17 September, 2015
David Adjaye Designs "Ruby City" for Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio , Rendering of Linda Pace Foundation’s Ruby City in San Antonio, estimated to open 2018. Image © Adjaye Associates
Rendering of Linda Pace Foundation’s Ruby City in San Antonio, estimated to open 2018. Image © Adjaye Associates

The Linda Pace Foundation has unveiled plans for a new building designed by Adjaye Associates. Planned to open in San Antonio, Texas in 2018, "Ruby City" will house the Foundation's growing collection of contemporary art. The two-story structure, clad in "crimson-hued panels of precast concrete with glass aggregate," will be distinct with its "dramatic rooftop of sloping angles and skylights that rise to varying heights and echo cut-away spaces at the building’s base."

Mecanoo Replaces Foster on New York Public Library Overhaul

13:49 - 17 September, 2015
Mecanoo Replaces Foster on New York Public Library Overhaul, NYPL's main building on Fifth Avenue, is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings. Image © Flickr User CC wallyg
NYPL's main building on Fifth Avenue, is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings. Image © Flickr User CC wallyg

One year after scrapping Norman Foster's controversial redesign, the New York Public Library has commissioned Mecanoo to oversee the planned $300 million overhaul of its Mid-Manhattan branch and flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue. The Dutch practice, who is also renovating Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC, will work with the preservation experts of Beyer Blinder Belle - the project's architect of record. 

"The building should be about the journey of learning," Mecanoo's founding partner and creative director Francine Houben told the New York Times. "Maybe you come in for a book but also take lessons in English."