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Architects Envision Buoyant "Thames Deckway" for London Cyclists

On the heels of Mayor Boris Johnson’s announced plan to construct an 18-mile protected bike lane by March 2016, architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill have released their vision for relieving London’s congested streets with a floating “Thames Deckway” for cyclists. The proposal, though just in its preliminary design phase, claims the river Thames is currently a missed opportunity that could serve as a major travel artery for cyclists. If constructed, the £600 million project would run east-west for seven miles along the river’s southern bank, from Battersea to Canary Wharf, and harness it’s own energy through solar, tidal and wind power. Nixon and Hill have founded the River Cycleway Consortium in support of the project, which includes Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects.

Competition Entry: Atelier 8000 Designs Cuboidal Mountain Hut for Slovakia’s High Tatras

Atelier 8000 has design a sustainable mountain hut for Slovakia’s High Tatras as part of the Kežmarská Chata (Kežmarská Hut) international competition. Seated on one of its vertices, the simple cube “evokes an erratic block left behind by the retreating glacier,” while it’s “sharp edges” blend into the mountain backdrop.

© Jan Cyrany, Courtesy of Atelier 8000 © Jan Cyrany, Courtesy of Atelier 8000 © Jan Cyrany, Courtesy of Atelier 8000 © Jan Cyrany, Courtesy of Atelier 8000

Henning Larsen Foundation Launches Architecture and Film Competition

The Henning Larsen Foundation is launching an international competition on architecture and film with the intent to “revitalize the use of architecture on film and foster new inspiration to architects and film professionals.” The theme of the competition is the experience of architectural space over time. The task is to create a film sequence of 1-5 minutes which animates architecture by embracing time as the primary dimension. Up to €18,000 in prizes will be awarded to entrants who inspire a new approach to architecture and the film media. Submissions are due by March 15, 2015. A winner will be announced on April 20, Henning Larsen’s birthday. More information can be found here

Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce

Breaking New Ground is an international design and ideas competition addressing the urgent affordable housing needs for farmworker and service worker families in the Coachella Valley, where efforts to improve living conditions suffers from a lack of funding and coordination. Going beyond design, the competition seeks to envision new precedents, mechanisms, and policies for affordable housing implementation and development, with implications for California and the nation.

NASA Tech Brief Awards Top Honors to Contour Crafting’s Automated Construction Methodology

© Contour Crafting
© Contour Crafting

Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California has won Grand Prize in the NASA Tech Briefs magazine’s “Create the Future” contest for his entry, "Robotic Building Construction by Contour Crafting.” The revolutionary construction method was awarded for being a “major innovation” that could potentially 3D print entire neighborhoods in half the time and at 30 percent less cost than traditional building methods. 

Though some have visions of using Contour Crafting (CC) to sculpt the moon's first settlements, Khoshnevis primary desire is combat the world's housing shortage by using the automated construction method to rapidly deploy housing in impoverished and disaster areas.

More information and an interview with Khoshnevis on CNN, after the break. 

Woods Bagot Reveals Plans for Christchurch Convention Centre

© mir.no. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot
© mir.no. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Global design and consulting firm Woods Bagot has revealed its plans to collaborate with Plenary Conventions New Zealand, a consortium responsible for the development of the new Christchurch Convention Centre. The consortium also includes international infrastructure firm Plenary Group, local firms Ngai Tahu Property and Carter Group, Warren and Mahoney Architects, and environmental design consultancy Boffa Miskell. Read on after the break to see additional images and learn more about the proposed plan.

New Images Released of Foster and Gehry's Battersea Power Station Designs

The Battersea Power Station Development Company has revealed new images of the buildings on "Electric Boulevard," designed by Foster + Partners and Gehry Partners. As phase three in the development of the Grade-II* power station and its surroundings, the buildings will form the primary entrance to the site, connecting the planned Battersea Underground station with the power station and forming one of London's most distinguished high streets.

The released images show both the exterior and interior features of Foster's "Battersea Roof Gardens" Building (formerly called "The Skyline") and Gehry's "Prospect Place" and "Flower" buildings. Read on after the break to see all the images.

Residents' Lounge in Foster + Partners' Building. Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station Gehry Partners' "Flower Building". Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station Electric Boulevard with Foster + Partners' "Battersea Roof Gardens" on the left and Gehry Partners' "Prospect Place" on the right. Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station Residents' Lounge in Gehry Partners' "Flower" Building. Image Courtesy of Battersea Power Station

Three Winning Schemes Reinvent the African Mud Hut

The Nka Foundation recently challenged young graduates and students of architecture to redesign the African mud hut for Ghana. The result, three designs received top honors for being both functional and beautiful, and will now be realized through a series of building workshops that you can participate in. Learn more and check out the winning designs, after the break.

Spotlight: Le Corbusier

"Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep." 

London Mayor Rejects Skyline Campaign Proposals Amid Planning Controversy

London's Mayor Boris Johnson has largely rejected the proposals by the Skyline campaign, organized by the Architects' Journal and the Observer, which aimed to introduce measures to allow more considered development in London, following the news that the UK's capital is currently going through its biggest building boom in recent memory.

The Architects' Journal reported on Friday that the mayor rejected proposals for a presumption against tall buildings submitted for planning permission, a review of over 200 tall buildings currently either proposed or being constructed, a more rigourous system of masterplanning, and an independent skyline commission to examine new proposals. However, he did support the idea of a city-wide 3D model containing both existing and proposed buildings, which would allow planning officers to make more informed decisions.

More on the issue, and a detailed look at the mayor's response to the proposals, after the break

Hufton + Crow Named Architectural Photographer of Year 2014

Hufton + Crow have been named “Architectural Photographer of the Year 2014” by Arcaid Images. The news was announced in Singapore at the World Architecture Festival after the duo’s interior image of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Centre staircase received the highest score from the judges. Hufton + Crow also received runner-up in the award's exterior category with another image from the Heydar Aliyev Centre. You can check it out, after the break. 

12 Projects Win Regional Holcim Awards 2014 for Latin America

Teams from Mexico and Colombia have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Latin America, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winners is a Colombian water reservoir turned public park and low-impact timber rainforest center in Costa Rica. 

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 Latin American winners, after the break…

Rem Koolhaas and the New Frontline of Transformation

When you abandon the countryside in favour of the city, what do you leave behind? In a recent essay for Icon Magazine, OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas deliberates on the intersection between the two, arguing that "our current obsession with only the city is highly irresponsible because you cannot understand the city without understanding the countryside."

Emerging Voices: David Benjamin of The Living

In his lecture as one of winners of the Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices awards, David Benjamin discusses his unique approach to environmental and computational design and how it manifests itself in the work of The Living, a firm he founded in 2006.

Throughout the lecture Benjamin discusses projects that are fundamentally linked to the natural environment and ideas related to sustainability. To introduce how the firm generates new ideas, Benjamin describes a method of experimentation developed in their practice called flash research: beginning with the idea that architecture could be dynamic and responsive, these are prototypes that operate under self-created constraints such as a budget of $1000 or less and a required time span of three months or less.

Read on after the break for further synopsis of the lecture.

Winning Proposals Transform Power Plants into Public Art

Winners have been announced for the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). The competition, this year sited in Copenhagen, calls on interdisciplinary teams to design large scale site-specific artworks that provide renewable electricity to the city at a utility-scale (equivalent to the demand of hundreds or even thousands of homes). Once constructed, these public infrastructure artworks have the potential to offset thousands of tons of CO2 and provide iconic amenities that will serve to educate and inspire the communities in which they are built.

Check out the winning energy-generating sculptures, after the break.

Did the New World Trade Center Live Up to its Expectations?

The USA's tallest building shoulders one of the nation's greatest challenges: paying tribute to lives lost in one of the country's greatest tragedies. One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan has yet to be completed and yet has still recently been condemned by a number of critics, who cite the former "Freedom Tower" as an inspirational failure. Thirteen years after the attacks, the wider site at ground zero also remains plagued by red tape and bureaucratic delays, unfinished and as-yet-unbuilt World Trade Centers, Calatrava's $5B transit hub, and an absence of reverence, according to critics. Read some of the most potent reviews of the new World Trade Center site from the press in our compilation after the break.

Five Shortlisted for Marlborough College Science Building

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Nicholas Hare Architects, Orms, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Tim Ronalds Architects have been shortlisted in a competition to expand and develop the Marlborough College science building in Wiltshire, England. “The current Science Block has a fascinating heritage but needs a new life to accommodate new teaching methods,” explained Malcolm Reading, the competition’s organizer. “The competition is all about finding a balance between the architectural grain of the existing eclectic campus and a confident and exciting piece of contemporary architecture.” The teams will now develop proposals. A winner will be announced in December. 

TEDxTalk: Contour Crafting: Automated Construction / Behrokh Khoshnevis

Almost everything around us is made automatically: our shoes, our clothes, home appliances and cars – so why not buildings? Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, the Director of the Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Southern California, has set out to change that through the development of an automated construction process known as Contour Crafting. “Contour-crafting is basically scaling-up 3D printing to the scale of buildings. What we are hoping to generate is entire neighborhoods that are dignified at a fraction of the cost, at a fraction of the time, built far more safely and with architectural flexibility that would be unprecedented,” Khoshnevis says in this TedxTalk in Ojai, California.