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View from the Top: Instagrammer Climbs NYC’s Tallest Building

Photo taken from 432 Park Ave, looking West. Image © Demid Lebedev
Photo taken from 432 Park Ave, looking West. Image © Demid Lebedev

“The higher you get the lonelier the world seems.”

Seventeen-year-old Demid Lebedev, better known by his Instagram username Demidism, recently climbed to the top of 432 Park Avenue, capturing unprecedented views from what will be New York City’s tallest residential building. “I went to heaven and back,” writes Lebedev in one of the photo’s captions. Surrounded in fog, Lebedev captures views from distinct levels of the building, which is currently in its final stage of construction. 432 Park Avenue will top out at 1,398 feet, surpassing One57 and earning the crown as the city’s tallest residential building when it opens in 2015

Yet following his climb, Lebedev was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and reckless endangerment, local press reported.  

We caught up with Lebedev to learn what it's like to climb to the top of the city's tallest buildings and how the city changes as it extends upward. Read what Lebedev had to say and enjoy his stunning photos after the break. 

Call for Entries: Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence 2015

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) has opened their 2015 call for applications. The biennial award celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design and their social and economic contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded. Projects must be a real place, not just a plan or a program, and be located in the 48 contiguous United States. Award winners may use prize money in any way that benefits the project. The deadline for entries is December 9, 2014. Learn how to apply here

Places Journal Relaunches With a Fresh Commitment to Accessible Architecture Scholarship

After a five-year stint as part of the Design Observer Group, Places Journal has now struck out on their own with a fresh, modern website and a renewed commitment to their editorial goal of publishing "rigorous and lively public scholarship on architecture, landscape, and urbanism." As explained by Places Journal's editor and executive director Nancy Levinson, "what drives our editorial enterprise is the publication of excellent work that combines the narrative power of serious journalism with the precision and depth of scholarship — work that advances the cause of equitable cities and sustainable landscapes." Read more about the new Places Journal after the break.

Snøhetta Designs New Banknotes for Norway

Snøhetta’s pixilated concept for the Norwegian banknote has been selected by the Central Bank of Norway to serve as the “foundation” for the backside of the new kroner notes. This news, announced yesterday in Oslo, also confirmed that the notes’ front will be based off The Metric System’s more “traditional” design featuring a images of sailing vessels.

Both Snøhetta and The Metric System were among seven designers invited to submit ideas under the nautical theme “The Sea,” in which Snøhetta chose to commemorate Norway’s coastal landmarks with a “visual language” of brightly colored, cubical patterns. 

More on Snøhetta’s winning concept, after the break.

Sean Godsell Unveils Melbourne's Inaugural "MPavilion"

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

On Monday, Sean Godsell unveiled the inaugural MPavilion in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens. Intended as an Australian counterpart to London's wildly successful Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, the Pavilion will be open until February 1st, hosting a series of events throughout its four-month stay including talks, workshops, film screenings and art interventions.

Funded primarily by the recently established Naomi Milgrom Foundation, with assistance and support from the Serpentine Gallery itself, the pavilion is the first step in the Naomi Milgrom Foundation's goal to position Melbourne as "Asia-Pacific’s hub of design and architecture." The first instalment by Godsell features a simple frame covered with automated aluminium panels, which open and close in response to the sunlight.

© Earl Carter © Earl Carter © Earl Carter © Earl Carter

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

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.

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." 

The Swiss-born architect, urban planner, designer, painter and writer Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modernist movement in architecture.  Over the course of his five-decade career, he saw work built across Europe, India, and the United States.

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. 

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

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…

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.