February ABI Reports "Nominal Increase" in Design Activity

19:00 - 18 March, 2015
February 2015 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
February 2015 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has returned to a healthy state, recovering from its first negative score in ten months. Showing a "nominal increase" in design activity, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported February's ABI at a score of 50.4, up from a mark of 49.9 in January. The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from a reading of 58.7 the previous month.

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

Female Architects Earn 20 Percent Less Than Male Architects in US

16:00 - 18 March, 2015
Source: Table of 2013 American Community Survey estimates, U.S. Census Bureau
Source: Table of 2013 American Community Survey estimates, U.S. Census Bureau

In 2013, there were 145,439 full-time, year-round architects in the United States - roughly 31,000 of which were women. Making up just over 21 percent of the workforce, these women were on average paid just 80 percent the salaries of their male counterparts, according to the latest statistics released by the US Census Bureau. This means the median income for male architects was $14,877 more than female architects. 

RSHP Wins Planning for Massive LSE Redevelopment

12:00 - 18 March, 2015
© RSHP
© RSHP

The Westminster City Council has granted Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners planning permission for their competition-winning scheme to redevelop part of The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) campus. The largest project in the school’s 120-year history, the “Center Building Redevelopment” plan will replace an existing cluster of LSE buildings along Houghton Street - Clare Market, The Anchorage, the East Building and part of St. Clements - with a modernized, sustainable and multifunctional academic building. 

Synthesis Design + Architecture Utilizes Gradient 3-D Printing in "Durotaxis Chair"

12:30 - 18 March, 2015
© IMSTEPF Films
© IMSTEPF Films

Los Angeles-based practice Synthesis Design + Architecture has created a 3-D printed chair which uses the latest gradient 3-D printing technology to apply different material properties to different parts of the chair. Originally asked by leading 3-D printing company Stratasys to design a piece that would not be possible without utilizing 3-D printing, Synthesis Design + Architecture chose to go one better, designing a chair that would not be possible without the Stratasys Objet 500 Connex3, which is capable of combining a range of material properties into a single print run.

© IMSTEPF Films © IMSTEPF Films © IMSTEPF Films © IMSTEPF Films +29

View All 1,070 Entries for UNESCO’s Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition Online

11:50 - 18 March, 2015
Winning Entry: Exhibition Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Exhibition Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

Last month the UNESCO office in Afghanistan, in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, announced the winning design for the Bamiyan Cultural Center. An Argentina-based team, led by Carlos Nahuel Recabarren alongside Manuel Alberto Martínez Catalán and Franco Morero, was selected from 1,070 design entries from teams in 117 different countries. Now, all of these submissions will be posted in an online gallery on the Bamiyan Culture Centre website for the next three months. “The competition achieved beyond expectation and contributed to portray a new and positive image of the culture sector in Afghanistan. This exhibition aims to showcase the extraordinary effort that the architectural community and each and every applicant put into this competition,” writes UNESCO.

With generous financial aid from the Republic of Korea, the culture center will be built on land adjacent to the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of Bamiyan World Heritage property. The center aims to promote art, history, music and community interaction. When evaluating the submissions the seven-member jury focused on “design principles emphasizing innovation, community needs, environmental consciousness, sustainability, and connection to the natural and cultural landscape of the Bamiyan Valley.”

Read on after the break for a round-up of images from some of the most interesting, unusual and unique proposals. You can search by ID number, Team Leader or Country to view the full project board with descriptions, renders and plans on the online gallery

BCC2947 Team Leaders: Lorenzo Baldini, Omar Baldin; United Kingdom, UK. Image Courtesy of UNESCO BCC2445 Team Leaders: Jinhee Park, John Hong; USA. Image Courtesy of UNESCO BCC1692 Team Leaders: Jérôme Chiarodo, Julien Gougeat; France. Image Courtesy of UNESCO BCC2031 Team Leader: Gilbert Berthold, MArch; Austria. Image Courtesy of UNESCO +16

4 Fantastical Projects Take Top Honors in 2015 Fairy Tales Competition

07:00 - 18 March, 2015
First Place: "EMPTY" / Zigeng Wang. Image Courtesy of Blank Space
First Place: "EMPTY" / Zigeng Wang. Image Courtesy of Blank Space

The 2015 Fairy Tales competition, hosted by Blank Space, has drawn to a close with four winners and 11 honorable mentions emerging victorious. Now in its second year, the competition attracted over 1,200 entries from 65 countries and challenged participants in a number of fields to design architectural projects inspired and accompanied by fictional stories.

Check out the winning designs after the break.

Honorable Mention: "Allegories of Home" / Zabie Mustafa and Neda Kakhsaz. Image Courtesy of Blank Space Honorable Mention: “What About Sleeping Beauty” / Hugo Reichmann. Image Courtesy of Blank Space Third Place: “Screenland, By A Pixel” / Samantha Lee and Zhan Wang. Image Courtesy of Blank Space Honorable Mention: "The City Spoke” / Adam Longenbach. Image Courtesy of Blank Space +16

Fresh Bid To Save Robin Hood Gardens From Demolition

04:00 - 18 March, 2015
© Steve Cadman
© Steve Cadman

It has been reported that London's Robin Hood Gardens housing estate, which was thought to be finally condemned in March 2012, has re-entered a state of flux due to governmental indecision. The former UK Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, gave the housing scheme an immunity from listing certificate in 2009, meaning that no concerned party could bid for it to gain protected status under British law. This certificate, designed to ensure that the buildings would be swiftly demolished, has now expired. This has led the Twentieth Century Society (C20) to launch a new bid for the estate to be both saved and protected.

David Adjaye Unveils Major Residential Development Planned for Johannesburg

18:00 - 17 March, 2015
© Adjaye Associates
© Adjaye Associates

Adjaye Associates has announced plans to transform a 17-floor post-modernist structure in Johannesburg’s central business district into a luxury mixed-use building that will be known as the “Hallmark House.” Scheduled for completion mid-2016, the project aims to “combine an African aesthetic with a contemporary vision” and form a new typology for urban living. 

“The transformation of Hallmark House is an opportunity to apply fresh thinking to urban community and to address changing lifestyles with a more fluid approach to the way we inhabit cities,” says David Adjaye.

Populous Wins Competition to Design Bristol's £90 Million Arena

16:00 - 17 March, 2015
© Populous
© Populous

Populous has been chosen to design the “UK’s most sustainable arena,” the new £90 million Bristol Arena. Selected ahead of Grimshaw, IDOM, White Arkitekter and Wilkinson Eyre, Populous will now work with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Buro Happold to realize their winning, “crystalline” venue. 

“Our design for Bristol Arena is unique,” says Populous principal Nicholas Reynolds. “It delivers a world-class live concert venue for 12,000 fans, and with seamless conversion the atmosphere and intimacy of a 4,000 seat amphitheater.”

FR-EE Among 6 Shortlisted to Envision Atomic Energy Pavilion in Russia

15:00 - 17 March, 2015
Site. Image Courtesy of ROSATOM
Site. Image Courtesy of ROSATOM

Six teams have been shortlisted in stage-two of a competition to develop ideas for Russia’s “Atomic Energy Pavilion” in Moscow. Planned for a site at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, the pavilion is intended to share the “history of the native nuclear industry” and its “contribution into modern economic development” as well as provide an open “communication forum” for the ROSATOM and the general public. 

The six finalists are…

4 Teams Shortlisted In Nine Elms Bridge Competition

12:40 - 17 March, 2015
Courtesy of Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership
Courtesy of Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership

Four teams including Hopkins Architects, Amanda Levete's practice AL_A and two separate teams from Ove Arup & Partners have been shortlisted in the competition to design a new bridge in London spanning the Thames from Nine Elms to Westminster. The competition for the £40 million bridge, part of the dramatic new developments at Nine Elms and Battersea, made headlines last month when all 74 entrants were released to the public.

Read on after the break to see the entries from all four teams

Share Your Tactical Urbanism Ideas with MoMA

08:00 - 17 March, 2015
© Uneven Growth
© Uneven Growth

Along with rapid urban expansion comes uneven growth - one of the largest threats that face our society. Determined to combat this issue, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) sparked an international debate with the opening of Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities. The exhibition, a culmination of a 14-month initiative, highlights emergent modes of tactical urbanism from around the globe that offer ideas on how to mitigate inequality and preserve livability within an increasingly-expanding world. 

Artefacts Under Attack: What Has Been Damaged And To What Extent?

04:00 - 17 March, 2015
Buddhas of Bamiyan (1963, 2008). Image via Wikipedia
Buddhas of Bamiyan (1963, 2008). Image via Wikipedia

In an article for the Financial Times (FT), writer and historian Simon Schama examines world conflict zones and the efforts to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable architectural and cultural sites. If history is a measure, then Schama's study of William “Basher” Dowsing - an Englishman who, in the winter of 1643, "made it his personal mission to obliterate as much as he possibly could of sacred art in the churches and colleges of East Anglia" in the name of religion - is pertinent now more than ever.

James Corner Field Operations Chosen to Design Miami “Underline”

18:00 - 16 March, 2015
The site. Image via TheUnderline.org
The site. Image via TheUnderline.org

High Line co-designer, James Corner Field Operations has been selected to design the proposed 10-mile “Underline” in Miami. Chosen by a local jury from 19 submitted entries, JCFO has been asked to envision a bicycle route and linear park that will replace the threadbare M-Path under the Metrorail tracks from Dadeland to the Miami River. The project has yet to achieve funding, but it is hoped that JCFO’s plan will spark more investor interest. 

Koolhaas Denounces Plagiarism Rumors Surrounding Zaera-Polo's Princeton Resignation

14:30 - 16 March, 2015
Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh
Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh

This past October Alejandro Zaera-Polo abruptly resigned from his position as Dean of Princeton’s School of Architecture amidst plagiarism rumors. The resignation, requested by University President Christopher Eisgruber, was the result of Zaera-Polo's removal of citations from his contribution to the “Facade” section of the Elements of Architecture exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale

Claiming the rumors to be “demonstrably false,” Zaera-Polo has issued a “clarifying statement” outlining the purpose of his Biennale text to be polemic, and nonacademic, therefore it did not breach “any moral, ethical, or other applicable standards.” An email in support of Zaera-Polo sent by Rem Koolhaas to Eisgruber three days before the resignation has also released, denouncing any wrongdoing from Koolhaas’ perspective as the Biennale’s director.

Read Koolhaas' email, Zaera-Polo's clarification statement and a response from Princeton in full, after the break.

Call for Ideas: Food & Wellness Club

12:30 - 16 March, 2015

 (YAC) is launching an open architectural competition to design a Food & Wellness Club for the upcoming F.I.CO.® (Fabbrica Italiana Contadina) theme park in Bologna. In 2016, F.I.CO. will become the world’s  biggest theme park dedicated to food farming and food culture, with nine million tourists expected to visit this structure each year. Such a project will trigger a redevelopment of the surrounding area in order to provide visitors with services. The Food & Wellness Club aims to offer a wellness area for those visitors willing to discover both nutrition and body care, offering comfort and care in a multi-sensory and exclusive space. The question of the competition becomes: how to create an architectural space that combines the elements of food, relaxation, wellness and seasonality?

ASA International Design Competition: Dense City

11:00 - 16 March, 2015

Urban public spaces create common grounds for diverse, public participation. They are places of social interaction, recreation, cultural activities, political activities, and many other public events, enhancing the quality of urban life.

As the world's population continues to grow and urban density increases, public space is dropping in proportion to private space in countless cities around the world. And it is almost impossible to add conventional public spaces like large public parks or squares, as the space left in the public domain becomes more and more limited.

The competition asks an open–ended question of how we could use architecture as a device to perform a surgical operation on the already dense city fabric in order to provide a new model of public space. To add to the quality of people’s urban life, what, where and how can we insert a place into the city? What kind of a place would it be? What is currently missing? What is not enough?  Where would we place this intervention when available city space seems scarce? How could we redefine our positive relationship with density?

Shortlist Announced For 2015 RIBA North West Awards

04:00 - 16 March, 2015
Shortlisted: The Whitworth, Manchester / MUMA. Image © Alan Williams
Shortlisted: The Whitworth, Manchester / MUMA. Image © Alan Williams

A total of 15 projects have been shortlisted for RIBA North West 2015 Awards, featuring buildings by John McAslan + Partners, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, MUMA and Carmody Groake. All shortlisted buildings will now be assessed by a regional jury. Regional winners will then be considered for a RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will place some projects in the running for the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize. The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize was won by Haworth Tompkins for the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, a project which was shortlisted by this branch of the RIBA. Feilden Clegg Bradley StudiosManchester School of Art also made it to the national finals.

See the complete list of shortlisted projects after the break.