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Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture: Episode 6, “The Pedreiro and the Master Planner”

The last episode of Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture series tells the story of Ricardo, an informal builder in Rocinha, Brazil’s largest favela. “A foreign architect would not get into this hole and dig. He would hire someone or would hire machines. But here in the favela, we are hands on,” he says in the episode. Ricardo has built over one hundred houses in Rocinha despite not having any formal training. Yet as Brazil prepares for the World Cup and the Olympic Games, life in Rocinha is changing. This 25-minute episode follows Ricardo as well as Luis Carlos Toledo, the architect behind the government’s regeneration of Rocinha, as the two seek to incorporate their solutions into the future of the country's favelas. 

Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…

Herzog & de Meuron Designs 28-Story Luxury Tower for Manhattan

Herzog & de Meuron has teamed up with British designer John Pawson to design a 28-story tower for Manhattan’s Bowery district. The raw concrete tower, as developer Ian Schrager describes, will be designed as the “ultimate expression of Uptown meets Downtown.” Eleven luxury residences will top a 370-room hotel, all featuring open plans and mullionless floor-to-ceiling windows that frame unobstructed views of the city. 

Hacking the Biennale: "Project Source Code" Uses Augmented Reality to Stage a Rebel Exhibition

This year at the Venice Biennale, not all of the exhibitions are visible. Ozel Office of Los Angeles have "hacked" the Venice Biennale with the help of some major architecture firms: Asymptote Architecture, Greg Lynn Form, Neil M. Denari Architects, Murmur, and Oosterhuis Lenard. Together, these firms have created a rogue digital addition to the Biennale only accessible through a virtual portal revealing a world of levitating models, movable objects, and much more, activated by physical components of the Koolhaas-curated central pavilion.

Find out how you can hack the Biennale after the break.

The VW Beetle Shell, 1967, and The Utah Teapot, 1975, Ivan Sutherland and Martin Newell. Image Courtesy of Ozel Office Corrugated Duct House, Neil M. Denari Architects. Image Courtesy of Ozel Office Virtual Trading Floor, Asymptote Architecture. Image Courtesy of Ozel Office Spreebogen Master Plan, 1993, Roberge, Rudy, Hoffman, Koebel. Image Courtesy of Ozel Office

Take a Walk on the High Line with Iwan Baan

View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)
View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

Sunday marked the completion of the New York City High Line, a three-phased project that transformed the once disused elevated rail tracks on Manhattan’s West Side into one of the world’s most respected public parks. With the first section opening in 2009, architectural photographer Iwan Baan has been documenting the entire process. Now, for the first time we present to you a photographic journey through the completed High Line designed by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Take a look, after the break.

Three New Towers on the Cards for City of London

Just days after revealing that the Pinnacle has finally been scrapped, the City of London's Head of Design Gwyn Richards has told BD that three new skyscrapers are soon to be submitted for planning on nearby sites. Though Richards did not reveal the architects of the three towers, he singled out one of the plans as "a very considered response from an architect I have the utmost respect for," adding "I have worked very closely with him and there’s a mutual respect. It’s a good example of cooperation between architect and planner to come up with a building that hopefully the public will see the value in."

Elemental, Arup, and Studio Tamassociati Win Zumtobel Awards for Innovation

Courtesy of Massimo Grimaldi and Emergency ngo
Courtesy of Massimo Grimaldi and Emergency ngo

Jury chairman Winy Maas has announced three projects by Arup, Studio Tamassociati and Elemental as winners of the 2014 Zumtobel Group Awards. With a goal to promote innovations for sustainability and humanity in the built environment, the awards represent three categories: Applied Innovations, Buildings and Urban Developments & Initiatives. This year’s winners were selected from 15 nominees, shortlisted from a competitive pool of 356 submissions. 

The winning projects are marked by their innovative and ground-breaking character: “The voting to find the number one project was very close in all three categories, because in each case we were able to choose from among a large number of heterogeneous projects of high quality," Described Maas. "One key criterion for the jury this year was the innovation factor, both in a technical sense and with a view to planning and participation processes as well as ecological and social challenges.”

See the winning projects, after the break.

Milan Expo 2015: Knafo Klimor-Design Pavilion to Represent Israel

Knafo Klimor Architects have been chosen to represent Israel at the 2015 Milan Expo with their “Fields of Tomorrow” pavilion. The elongated pavilion, stretching 70 meters across and rising 12 meters high, will act as a “living” billboard revealing Israel’s past and present successes in modern agriculture.

WikiHouse Unveils World's First Two-Storey Open-Source House at London Design Festival

WikiHouse, the open-source platform for designing and sharing house designs that anyone can be manufacture and assemble in days with no construction skills, has unveiled 'WikiHouse 4.0' their first ever two-storey design at this year's London Design Festival. Built by a team of volunteers and costing less than £50,000, the new prototype on display at The Building Centre also demonstrates the possibilities of other open source systems, with the code for the electrics, ventilation system and sensors all available on open-source platforms.

More on WikiHouse 4.0 after the break

WikiHouse 4.0 during construction. Image Courtesy of The Building Centre WikiHouse 4.0 during construction. Image Courtesy of The Building Centre © Margaux Carron www.margauxcarron.com © Margaux Carron www.margauxcarron.com

Paul Goldberger on the High Line

This past Sunday, New York celebrated the opening of the High Line’s final section. More playful and untamed than its counterparts, the elevated park’s northernmost segment seems to have pleased the critics. As Paul Goldberger explained, the High Line at the Rail Yards is “stunningly refreshing” and “gives you an altogether new, relaxed, low-key way of being on the High Line.” You can read Goldberger’s take on the new portion of the High Line here on Vanity Fair. 

Bernard Tschumi Presents Final Design for Grottammare Cultural Center

In preparation for groundbreaking, Bernard Tschumi Architects have released the final design for the ANIMA (Arts, Nature, Ideas, Music, Action) cultural center in Grottammare (Ascoli Piceno, Italy). The 30-meter “perfect square” will offer the Piceno region and the Adriatic coast a public centre for collecting and cultivating the broadest manifestations of artistic, creative and productive culture. 

An animation, the architect's description and more images after the break.

The Berlage Archive: Thom Mayne (1996)

In this 1996 lecture Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne describes his views of architectural theory and his unique approach to the architectural process at a time when firms had begun the transition to 3D digital models. As one of the founders of Santa Monica based firm Morphosis, Mayne speaks about the evolution of their built and unbuilt projects in the late 70s and early 80s by giving insights into three general topics including objects, context, and the role of nature in architecture. His discussion touches on everything from music and art, to philosophical questions regarding the process of architecture and its role in society.

In the development of his first projects, Mayne reveals a preoccupation with objects, their materials, and their relationship to the craft of architecture. He also describes how context shapes his designs, using the example of his Sixth Street House of 1983. For him, the project's site in Los Angeles was particularly influential to his work in the way that it is a “prototype of the modern metropolis” in which “…there’s no inside, there’s no outside, there’s no way of perceiving it, its growing, its moving, its changing, quicker than one can absorb it.” These notions of context were reflected in many later works, and tied into his interest in “the space between randomness and order.”

Spotlight: Gunnar Asplund

As a professor of architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology and often cited for his contributions to Nordic Classicism, Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund (September 22 1885 – 20 October 1940) was a notable theorist on the most important architectural challenges of his time, first exemplified by his lecture entitled “Our architectonic concept of space.”

“Cloud Citizen” Awarded Joint Top Honors in Shenzhen Bay Super City Competition

Cloud Citizen, a proposal for a new high-rise typology by Urban Future Organization and CR-Design, in collaboration with a team of experts at Chalmers Technical University, has been jointly awarded the highest prize in the Shenzhen Bay Super City Masterplan Competition. Their futuristic design features a singular mega building complex that aims to create a hyper dense urban center that gives back to the environment. Read on after the break to learn more about the proposal.

Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design

European Winners of 2014 Holcim Awards Announced

The Holcim Foundation has announced the European winners of its 2014 Holcim Awards for exemplary sustainable design and construction. In light of the complex and interdisciplinary challenges facing the building industry today, the Jury identified target issues of environmental, social, and economical performance alongside architectural excellence and high transferability as intrinsic objectives in the winning projects.

Teams from Italy, France, and Austria were all selected for approaching the challenges of sustainable construction with innovative creativity and social ethos. Each will share over $300,000 in prize money and will be considered for the global awards.

Read more about the winning schemes after the break...

Anthropic Park: Freshwater ecological reserve and remediation - Saline Joniche, Italy. Image Courtesy of Grupo Aranea Public Condenser: Low-cost public university building - Paris, France. Image Courtesy of Muoto Architects Public Condenser: Low-cost public university building - Paris, France. Image Courtesy of Muoto Architects The Commons: Participatory urban neighborhood - Vienna, Austria. Image Courtesy of Arenas Basabe Palacios Arquitectos

Get Swinging in Boston on these Glowing LED Hoops

© Howeler + Yoon Architecture
© Howeler + Yoon Architecture

In Boston, playgrounds are no longer just for kids. Twenty LED-lit circular swings have been installed outdoors as a part of "Swing Time," Boston's first interactive sculpture installation. The hanging, glowing orbs are a twist on traditional rubber-and-rope swings, dangling from a minimal steel structure similar to those used in conventional playgrounds. LED lights embedded in the swings activate and change color as each swing moves, returning to a dim white light when static. The piece is designed to blend Boston's design community with its expanding technology sector while playfully engaging residents. 

Take a seat in "Swing Time" with more photos and info after the break.

© Howeler + Yoon Architecture © Howeler + Yoon Architecture © Howeler + Yoon Architecture © Howeler + Yoon Architecture

goCstudio Launches New Kickstarter to Fund Floating Sauna in Seattle

Seattle based firm goCstudio have designed a wood-fired floating sauna, a project resonant with the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Aiming to begin construction in spring of 2015 and open in summer, the firm has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the building of their first model. Easily transportable and accessible by kayak, the floating sauna fits within the dimensions of a standard size trailer. Providing a space of refuge and revitalization, along with a uniquely interactive way to experience the landscape of Seattle, the project, named "wa_sauna", requires $43,000 to become a reality. Learn more about the project and how you can help at the firm's Kickstarter page, here. More images after the break.

JAHN, LOGUER + ADG Presents Proposal for New Mexico City Airport

Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, chief designer and president of JAHN, has shared with us his net-zero design proposal for the new Mexico City International Airport competition. Similar to the Norman Foster and Fernando Romero's winning design, JAHN's proposal is a symbiotic blend of sensitive cultural meaning and powerful energy efficiency. As per competition requirements to pair an international firm with a Mexican firm, the project was the result of a collaboration with local architects Francisco Lopez-Guerra of LOGUER and Alonso de Garay of ADG

Courtesy of JAHN Courtesy of JAHN Courtesy of JAHN Courtesy of JAHN

The Slow Death of the Corporate Architecture of Exclusion

Of all the changes in architectural typologies in recent years, one of the most dramatic - and the most documented - is the transition from corporate to more casual, 'fun' office buildings. This change has infiltrated companies from tiny 5-person start-ups to Silicon Valley giants, and while it has been pioneered by tech and media companies it has certainly not been limited to them.

Most analysis of this change focuses on work patterns created by new technology or the demands of the 'millennial' worker, but this post originally published on Means the World - the blog of NBBJ - examines the shift away from the corporate office as a product of not just what these building are but what they represent about us as a society, arguing that "when today's workers look at the midcentury office, they see a symbol of exclusion."