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Gaudí’s Casa Vicens to Open as a Museum in 2016

Designed by Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona when he was 30, and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, Casa Vicens will be converted into a museum and open its doors to the public during the second half of 2016. 

Built between 1883 and 1889, Casa Vicens was the first house designed by Gaudí. The building’s current owner, a subsidiary of the financial group Mora Banc Grup, is currently working on its restoration and the museum planning. “The mission of Casa Vicens as a house museum is to present the first Gaudí house, presenting it as an essential work to understand his unique architectural language and the development of Art Nouveau in Barcelona,” explained the executive manager of the project, Mercedes Mora, in a recent interview with Iconic Houses

Learn more after the break. 

Casa Vicens. Image © Michela Simoncini [Flickr CC] Casa Vicens. Image © Ian Gampon [Flickr CC] Casa Vicens. Image © Ian Gampon [Flickr CC] Casa Vicens. Image © Ian Gampon [Flickr CC]

Zaha Hadid Architects Release Video Presentation and Report on New National Stadium in Tokyo

Update: On September 1st, the Japan Sport Council launched a new competition to find another design for Japan’s New National Stadium - this time for a design and build project with more stringent cost restrictions. Today, contractor Nikken Sekkei and Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that they will be re-entering the contest together, bringing forward work from their original design. “Our firm is certain that retaining the team of Design Supervisor and designers will deliver the best National Stadium, and we have invited Zaha Hadid Architects to join the design team” said Nikken Sekkei in a statement. “Applying this knowledge and experience of the project, this team can further develop the design to the new brief as a cost-effective proposal to realize the world’s best National Stadium.” The article below was originally published on August 26th.

In mid-July, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe declared that ZHA's design for a New National stadium would not be completed and that plans for the Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium would "start from zero." In response Zaha Hadid Architects has just issued a press release and a link to a 23-minute video presentation. The video, ZHA explains, "outline[s] in detail the unique design for the New National Stadium which has been developed over two years to be the most compact and efficient stadium for this very special location in Tokyo. Zaha Hadid Architects welcomes a new contractor bidding process for the New National Stadium to reduce costs and ensure value for money in terms of quality, durability and long-term sustainability."

Watch the video - or if you haven't got 23 minutes, read our synopsis - after the break.

© Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia

Spotlight: Andrés Duany

Andrés Duany (born September 7, 1949) is a founding partner of Miami firms Arquitectonica and Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, and a co-founder of the Congress for New Urbanism. As an advocate of New Urbanism, since the 1980s Duany has been instrumental creating renewed focus on walkable, mixed use neighborhoods, in reaction against the sprawling, car-centric modernist urbanism of the previous decades.

Monocle 24's 'The Urbanist' Investigates the Role of Fashion in the City

For this edition of The UrbanistMonocle 24's weekly "guide to making better cities," the team examine how fashion is weaved into the very fabric of our cities. They visit New Delhi to explore the role of ethics within the industry, head to Paris to see how the French capital is benefitting from its status as the 'Fashion Capital', and spend time at the only Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver. The episode also asks whether it's possible to identify a city by what people wear.

TEAM730 Designs a Multifunctional Street for China’s MOLEWA Competition

The international MOLEWA (Mount Lu Estate of World Architecture) competition, organized by the Chinese real estate group Huan Yan with the support of the UIA, sought proposals for urban development plans for small and medium cities in China and several of the winning projects will be carried out in the city of Ruichang next year. 

Mexican office TEAM730 Taller de Estudios Y Análisis Metropolitanos, led by José Muñoz Villers and Carlos Marín, was awarded the silver medal in the competition’s Commercial/Cultural category, Plot 7: Shopping Street, for their design of a multi-functional pedestrian street along the entire complex. 

More images and the project description after the break. 

© Marcos Betanzos © Marcos Betanzos © Marcos Betanzos © Marcos Betanzos

Spotlight: Fumihiko Maki

Pritzker Prize laureate and 67th AIA Gold Medalist Fumihiko Maki (born September 6, 1928) is widely considered to be one of Japan's most distinguished living architects, practicing a unique style of Modernism that reflects his Japanese origin. Toshiko Mori has praised Maki's ability to create "ineffable atmospheres" using a simple palette of various types of metal, concrete, and glass. His consistent integration and adoption of new methods of construction as part of his design language contribute to his personal quest to create "unforgettable scenes."

Winners of "The Rust Belt" Contest Offer Ideas for a 107-Acre Former Factory Site

Across industrial North America, many small working class cities are faced with a plethora of abandoned property due to the downfall of the automotive industry. The prolific ruins of the largest abandoned factory in North America, Detroit's Packard Motor Plant, have served as an emblem for dozens of similar plants dotting the landscapes of cities across the continent. In 2010, shortly after the beginning of the global economic crisis, Chrysler closed a sprawling engine factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The factory has since been demolished and is now at the beginning of a five-year cleanup. Located adjacent to a densely populated suburban development, the 107-acre property begs the question: what can be done with such a massive piece of land?

In response to Kenosha's Chrysler problem, a team of urbanists, architects and researchers known as Urban Design for Everyone (UD4U) launched a global competition to reinvigorate the former industrial property. Proposals had to take the adjacent neighborhoods into consideration, with the ultimate goal of bridging gaps between disparate communities at opposite ends of the property. The winning proposals range widely from a stylized village of housing, to the creation of enormous urban farms, to the construction of an innovation park featuring a series of vast artificial lakes. After receiving 43 entries from 17 countries, a jury of local architects selected three exceptional proposals and five honorable mentions. Find out what the teams proposed after the break.

Atelier YokYok Creates Wood Forest Installation in Budapest

Atelier YokYok, in partnership with Sammode, created a temporary geometric forest called “TREEDOM” for the 2015 Sziget Festival in Budapest. Constructed in nine days before the festival, and then dismounted in two days afterwards, the installation was composed of 37 wood poles, and over 200 boards, with the highest point extending 10 meters.

5 Takeaways From The RIBA's Report on the Architect-Client Relationship

Building projects are inherently complex: as projects progress, architects are joined by contractors, engineers, and myriad consultants. Architects, according to a recent report by RIBA, are considered the "spiritual leaders" of a building project. Cemented in this perception by a monopoly on design, architects continue to sit precariously atop project hierarchies despite a shifting landscape in building production. This begs the question: how can architects leverage this spiritual responsibility to translate into the best results for clients?

In their latest report Client & Architect: Developing the Essential Relationship, RIBA delves into the nuanced problem of connecting architecture to its owners, emphasizing the importance of a strong, functional and mutually educational relationship. Currently, architects have a tremendous opportunity to learn, improve and capitalize on understanding of clients, regardless of firm size, portfolio and established skills.

Read on to discover RIBA's findings from two years of client analysis

Spotlight: Kenzō Tange

As one of the eldest in a long line of architects that have made Japan one of the most revered countries in architecture, Pritzker-Prize Winning architect Kenzō Tange (4 September 1913 - 22 March 2005) helped define Japan’s post-WWII emergence into Modernism. Though he was trained as an architect, Tange was equally as influential as an urban planner giving him significant influence in Japan and around the world at both large and small scales.

5 Projects Shortlisted for the 2015 Finlandia Prize

The Finnish Association of Architects SAFA has announced the five projects shortlisted for the 2015 Finlandia Prize for Architecture. After hosting the competition successfully for the first time last year, the Association has returned to “increase public awareness of high quality Finnish architecture and [to highlight] its benefits for our well-being.”

Similarly to last year, while the five shortlisted projects were selected by a jury of architects, the final winning design will be chosen by a non-architect. This year Kaija Saariaho, an internationally renowned Finnish composer, will select the 2015 winner. “I’ve always taken a keen interest in architecture and of course concert halls," said Saariaho. "When visiting the buildings now proposed for the prize, I gave much thought to how deeply architecture affects our lives on a daily basis."

Learn more about the five shortlisted projects, after the break.

Wilkinson Eyre Among 6 Teams Selected for "Structurally Daring" Bridge at Tintagel Castle

English Heritage has announced the six teams shortlisted in the two-stage competition to design a new bridge at Tintagel Castle. Situated on the Island of Tintagel on the Northern coast of Cornwall, the new bridge will strengthen the medieval castle's connection to the mainland, spanning 72 meters at a height 28 meters taller than the existing pedestrian footbridge.

When the competition was announced in June, the organizers Malcolm Reading explained that teams should "envisage an elegant, even structurally daring, concept which is beautiful in its own right and sensitively-balanced with the landscape and exceptional surroundings." The six winners were chosen unanimously from a list of 137 candidates which Chair of the Jury Graham Morrison said reflect "a mix of great talent and experience." Read on for the six teams to go through to the next stage of the contest.

Courtesy of English Heritage / Malcolm Reading Courtesy of English Heritage / Malcolm Reading Courtesy of English Heritage / Malcolm Reading Courtesy of English Heritage / Malcolm Reading

Search Ends for Solution to Museum Tower's Glare Problems at Nasher Sculpture Center

Back in 2012, a dispute arose between the Renzo Piano-designed Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and the adjacent Museum Tower, a 42-story residential building which was accused of reflecting so much glare through the museum's glass roof that it risked damaging the art inside, and made the museum's garden areas so warm they were unusable. Last week, that 3-year long dispute appears to have been brought to a close - with nothing happening, as the owners of the Museum Tower, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (DPFP), voted nearly unanimously that it is no longer their responsibility to find a solution.

Spotlight: Louis Sullivan

Known as Chicago's "Father of Skyscrapers," Louis Sullivan foreshadowed modernism with his famous phrase "form follows function." Sullivan was an architectural prodigy even as a young man, graduating high school and beginning his studies at MIT when he was just 16. After just a year of study he dropped out of MIT, and by the time he was just 24 he had joined forces with Dankmar Adler as a full partner of Adler and Sullivan.

Michael Maltzan Architecture Designs Dynamic Public Plaza for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Michael Maltzan Architecture has been selected to renovate the outdoor space at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, California to create the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. In hopes of transforming the site into more of a “dynamic town square,” the new plaza design will be centered on a multipurpose outdoor stage, which will act as a “site for visitor engagement.”

3D Printed "Arabesque Wall" Features 200 Million Individual Surfaces

Standing 3 meters (10 feet) tall, Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer's Arabesque Wall is an object of intimidating intricacy. 3D printed over the course of four days from a 50 Gigabyte file, the piece is a demonstration of the incredible forms achievable with algorithmic design and 3D printing - however with its overwhelming complexity it is also a test of human perception.

"Architecture should surprise, excite, and irritate," explain Dillenburger and Hansmeyer. "As both an intellectual and a phenomenological endeavor, it should address not only the mind, but all the senses - viscerally. It must be judged by the experiences it generates."

Design development. Image © Hansmeyer / Dillenburger © Peter Andrew © Peter Andrew © Victoria Fard

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Dip in Workload and Staffing Forecasts

The Royal Institute of British Architect (RIBA)'s Future Trends Survey results for July 2015 present a note of caution for architecture practices with a fall in both workload and staffing forecasts. However, optimism remains as staffing levels are higher than a year ago. Despite June’s record-high forecast, July 2015 saw a downturn in the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index from +44 to +22. Even so, practices reported an overall increase in workload at an annual rate of 8%, and staffing levels 6% higher than in 2014.

Harvard and Oxford Take On ISIS with Digital Preservation Campaign

From the 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin to the city of Nimrud, ISIS has destroyed countless monuments and relics. Now archaeologists from Harvard and Oxford have teamed up with UNESCO World Heritage and the epigraphical database project at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World to launch the Million Image Database Project. Spearheaded by Oxford's Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), the campaign plans to "flood" war-torn regions with thousands of 3D cameras so people can scan and (digitally) preserve their region's historical architecture and artifacts.