X-Architects has won a competition to re-masterplan Mecca. As designMENA reports, the UAE-based practice has proposed a number of safe and streamlined pedestrian routes to "enhance the movement during the 'Nafrah,' the ritual of moving from Mina to Haram and vice versa" during the religious Hajj. The plan also includes a proposed mixed-use development adjacent to Hima Al Masheir (the holy ritual territories) that would provide service and facilities to those taking part in the pilgrimage.
The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts have announced that internationally renowned architectural historian and theorist Beatriz Colomina and architectural historian, theorist, and critic Mark Wigley will curate the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial to be held in the summer of 2016. Colomina, a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University and curator of the recent Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education in a Time of Disciplinary Instability exhibition (Lisbon Triennale, 2013; Venice Biennale 2014) will join Wigley, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University's GSAPP and renowned writer and curator, in helping to cement the biennial's international reputation.
China will soon finish construction on what will be the world’s tallest and longest glass pedestrian bridge, floating 300 meters above a canyon in the Zhangjiajie National Park. Designed by Israeli architect, Haim Dotan, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge will be 380 meters long, six meters wide and feature a transparent glass floor.
Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, which was comprehensively restored and reimagined by Spanish practice Cruz y Ortiz over the course of a decade, has been named as the 2015 European Museum of the Year (EMYA) by the European Museum Forum. Lauded by the jury as "a great museum, at the height of its powers, providing a rich experience to the public, and a socially aware outreach programme for visitors of all ages," its success has also been in the museum's "ambition to 'reach every child in the Netherlands by the age of twelve'" - an aspiration which has been praised as "notable, impressive and achievable." The coveted award has previously gone to Zaha Hadid Architects' Riverside Museum in Glasgow in 2013.
Monica Ponce de Leon has been named as the next Dean of Princeton's School of Architecture. Ponce de Leon, who co-founded Office dA in 1991, and then founded her own firm MPdL Studio in 2011, is the current Dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She also previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for 12 years, and is a recipient of the National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum.
The AIA has announced four projects as the winners of its inaugural Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Innovation Awards, with Morphosis Architects' Emerson College Los Angeles taking away the headline "Stellar Architecture" award. Started in 2005, the TAP Knowledge Community has led efforts to acknowledge and disseminate the best use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies, and the AIA hopes that the new TAP Innovation Award will "enliven the discourse on how these innovations can advance the profession and practice of architecture and further the mission of the Institute."
See all four awarded projects after the break.
NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Institute (America Makes) have launched the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, an inaugural design competition offering $2.25 million in prizes. Part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, the competition challenges entrants to design and build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration. "The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring, and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration," said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager. "This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it."
This year the Architectural Association (AA) Visiting School programme will extend its reach to the Dutch city of Rotterdam – a place which, "by some strange twist of geographical and historical fate, has the highest concentration of architects and architectural thinkers in the world." The workshop, which will run for two weeks in July, will explore issues of inhabitance, perception, and intensity through analysis and creative interpretation of Rotterdam’s 'core' "or, more likely, its multiple cores, invisible to the untrained eye." Based in the Shell Tower on Hofplein, students will be afforded the opportunity to observe and analyse the city from on-high.
Six teams have been shortlisted for a chance to design the new Canadian Canoe Museum, as part of its relocation to the Parks Canada Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site on the Trent-Severn Waterway in southern Ontario. Selected from 90 international submissions, the competing teams are now expected to refine their ideas before presenting them to the public. A winner will be announced in the Fall.
The complete shortlist, after the break...
Completed images of OMA's design for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale's Chinese Pavilion have been released. Juxtaposing artworks "in a field of projections and stages," the exhibition is designed to be an "immersive environment" that brings together work by Tan Dun, Liu Jiakun, Lu Yang, Wu Wenguang / Caochangdi Work Station and Wen Hui / Living Dance Studio under the theme "Other Future."
An unconventional man with radical ideas, Buckminster Fuller was an "affable weirdo" and "counterculture icon" who, as Gizmodo reports, often caught the attention of the FBI. For the first time ever, his (heavily redacted) FBI files have been released, revealing some of the reasons why the FBI felt the need to keep tabs on the world famous architect and designer, including speculations regarding Fuller and the Soviet Union. Though it seems nothing ever went beyond speculation, the files are fascinating. You can read them in full, here.
With a budget of less than $250,000, studioMET Architects was tasked with transforming a 4,000-square-foot parking garage with a leaky roof and no plumbing, gas or electricity, into a modern and open studio space for LEGO artist Sean Kenney.
Due to Kenney’s constantly changing scale of work, which can range from a life-sized sculpture to a celebrity portrait, the studio needed to have a flexible workspace. The result is a front area -- containing a desk, lounge and kitchenette -- that can be easily transformed into a loading dock. The workspace also includes a video/stop animation studio and woodshop as well as a storage room for sculptures.
View photos of the studio space in Brooklyn after the break.
With a record number of entries, the 2015 Canterbury Awards, organized by the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA), honored 25 Canterbury-based designs spanning 10 categories. The esteemed awards recognize and promote projects that are exceptionally sensitive to both their environment and occupants. Prevalent in this year's awards was the theme of rebuilding, as several projects were realized despite earthquakes impeding their construction, resulting in innovative designs that adapted to the unforeseen setbacks.
Among 2015's top recipients are Warren and Mahoney with six awards, and Sheppard & Rout and Athfield Architects, whose work garnered four and three honors, respectively. All of the winning projects will compete for the NZIA's highest recognition in the awards program, the New Zealand Architecture Awards, to be announced in early November. See the full list of winning projects after the break.
In an article for the RA Magazine, Kieran Long (Senior Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital at the V&A) and Stella Duffy (co-director of Fun Palaces, a national campaign for greater access for all to the arts), ask: are we're building too many museums? On the one hand, Duffy argues that "we should focus all of our efforts on opening up existing museums to a much wider public" while on the other, Long suggests that "new museums can bring positive change to the places in which they are built." Ultimately, Long argues that "museums have a sense of authenticity and institutional mission that is rare in public life" yet, for Duffy, this doesn't mean we need more; rather, "we need to utilise what we already have."
As part of their series of "Panorama" exhibits being presented this year, Friends Of The High Line have announced that they will host Olafur Eliasson's installation, "The Collectivity Project" from May 29th until September 30th this year on the High Line at West 30th Street. The installation, which has previously traveled to Tirana, Oslo, and Copenhagen, features an interactive imaginary cityscape made of over two tons of white LEGO bricks, with visitors invited to design, build and rebuild new structures as they see fit.
In a twist to the installation's usual presentation, High Line Art has invited high-profile architects who are working in the vicinity of the High Line to contribute one "visionary" LEGO design for the installation's opening, with BIG, David M. Schwarz Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations, OMA New York, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Selldorf Architects, SHoP, and Steven Holl Architects all contributing one building which the public will then be able to adapt, extend or work around.
A report released last week aims to highlight the problems involved in high-density housing in London, offering 10 suggestions for how to create future developments that offer density while maintaining the UK capital's distinctive character. Produced as a follow-up to their 2007 report entitled "Superdensity", four UK housing specialists Pollard Thomas Edwards, HTA, Levitt Bernstein and PRP Architects have produced "Superdensity: The Sequel," aiming to address the dramatic changes that have taken place in London development over the intervening 8 years.
Read on for more of the report's aims and its 10 recommendations for future housing in London.
A new pool has just opened in the heart of London's King's Cross. In the centre of one of the city's largest mixed-use development projects Ooze Architects, in collaboration with artist Marjetica Potrc, have developed and realised "the UK's first man-made fresh water public bathing pond" as a piece of and art. The oblong pool is forty metres long, built two metres above ground level, and is surrounded by "pioneer plants, wild flowers grasses, and bushes so that the environment evolves as the seasons change." It will be purified through "a natural closed-loop process, using wetland and submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water."
With the opening of their Fondazione Prada building in Milan at the start of this month, OMA got the chance to show off a skill that they don't get the chance to use very often: preservation. In this interview with Kultur Spiegel, Rem Koolhaas talks at length on the topic, explaining that he believes "we have to preserve history," not just architecture, and arguing that the rise in popularity of reusing old buildings comes from a shift toward comfort, security and sustainability over the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. "The dimensions and repertoire of what is worthy of preserving have expanded dramatically," he says, meaning that "we shouldn't tear down buildings that are still usable." Still, he says, that doesn't mean we shouldn't tear down and start again in some cases - an entire Parisian district beyond La Défense, for example. Read the full interview here.