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Grimshaw Receives Planning Approval for Phase Two of Belfast's City Quays Masterplan

Grimshaw Architects have received full planning approval for City Quays 2, the second building planned as part of their City Quays masterplan for Belfast Harbour’s Clarendon Dock. To be built on a former ferry terminal site, City Quays 2 will stretch nine stories high and provide over 95,000 square feet of flexible work space.

RIBA To Open Chapter In India

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced that they will open a chapter in India in 2015 in order to offer "enhanced membership support, networking opportunities and a forum for local activities and CPD." It will also allow the RIBA to work "collaboratively with the Indian Institute for Architects (IIA) for the enhancement of the profession." The launch of this branch of the institute follows the opening of chapters in the USA, Hong Kong and the Gulf in recent years. According to Chloe Sadler, RIBA Head of International Chapters, the RIBA currently has "just under 100 members in India who are working tirelessly to uphold the principles of the [institute] and share the importance of good design." "This new Chapter will cement the RIBA’s commitment to support our members in India through knowledge exchange and the celebration of architecture."

INABA Frames Empire State Building with Animated "New York Light" Installation

This holiday season, wedged between two New York City icons - the Flatiron and Empire State building - stands the #NewYorkLight public art installation by Brooklyn-based INABA. A magnificent place to experience the Manhattan grid, the installation frames a unique and uninterrupted view of the skyline due to the clearing of Madison Square Park. 

© Naho Kubota © Zhonghan Huang © Naho Kubota © Naho Kubota

Iwan Baan: No Filter

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Frank Gehry. Image © Iwan Baan
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Frank Gehry. Image © Iwan Baan

Cultured, one of the leading art, architecture and design magazines, has shared with us part of the 16-page photo essay “No Filter” by Iwan Baan that is being featured in its Winter Issue, on stands now. Enjoy! 

If you pore endlessly over images of architecture the way we do, chances are you’ve been drooling over work captured by Iwan Baan. Though he’s adamant that he not be referred to as an “architectural photographer,” Baan has probably captured more buildings, pavilions, residences and just about every other structure in between than any other single lensman. Yet it is Baan’s background in documentary photography that most influences his work. “I choose my projects not so much for the architecture, but for its relationship with the city around it and how people respond to it,” says Baan. “I’m trying to tell the story of the built environment—the places where we live.” Here, Baan tells the story behind 11 projects completed this year, and two others that he has a personal connection to.

“I love great architecture that is very specific for its site and client, it’s for an architect always a dance between him, a site and a client. Here, Gehry was given complete freedom to design every detail, every nook and cranny of a building for Bernard Arnault to house his art collection.”

Read on for more quotes and images by the renowned Iwan Baan. 

In Defense of Santiago Calatrava

In recent years, few architects have had a tougher time in the media than Santiago Calatrava. Whether it's his repeated legal battles over leaking roofs and peeling facades, the unceremonious death of his Chicago Spire project, or the media firestorm over his New York Transportation Hub that is $2 billion over budget, Calatrava has become a poster boy for those who criticize the supposed arrogance of today's architects. However, in an engaging article for FastCo Design, Karrie Jacobs responds to what seems to be "a concerted effort to shore up his reputation," coming to the defense of this "unreconstructed aesthete." Read the article in full here.

Winning Proposals of "Looking Forward" Visualize the Future Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum has just announced the winning proposals of the "Looking Forward: Re-imagining the Athenaeum of Philadelphia" competition. In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the independent library and museum issued a challenge to architects, designers, and artists to illustrate their visions for the "Athenaeum of the Future."

The competition's entries included 46 professional and 42 student proposals from 17 different countries, 15 US States, and 10 schools. Read on after the break to explore the award-winning designs.

Stay on the Ground 2. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Athenaeum 2050. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Athenaeum 2050. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Philadelphia Grotesque Revisited 2. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Interior Renders of Robert AM Stern's 520 Park Avenue, NYC's Most Expensive Apartment Building

This news article was originally published by 6sqft.

Robert A.M. Stern‘s 520 Park Avenue has already been called “the next 15 Central Park West,” and like its Stern predecessor, 520 is an ultra-luxury development with a stately façade wrapped in stone. Set to be completed in 2016, it will rise 51 stories high, but contain just 31 units, one of which is the $130 million penthouse, the city’s most expensive apartment. And though most of the attention has been on “the greatest apartment on the Upper East Side,” the fanfare has now shifted to the first batch of interior renderings for the building.

520 Park’s full website is now live, and not surprisingly, the residences have classic layouts, impressive Central Park views, and a host of high-end amenities.

© 2014 Zeckendorf Development LLC via © 2014 Zeckendorf Development LLC via © 2014 Zeckendorf Development LLC via © 2014 Zeckendorf Development LLC via

BAG Transforms Wooden Pallets into Temporary Space Observatory

Rome-based firm Beyond Architecture Group (BAG) has designed “experimental furniture” - dubbed Looking (C)up - for the Frammenti Music Festival at the Archaeological Park in Tusculum, Italy. The firm, known for building houses with bales of straw, chose to craft an astronomical observatory with wooden pallets. 

Artist Uses Gehry's Concert Hall as Canvas in LA Philharmonic Concert Series

The first week of December marked the beginning of the LA Philharmonic’s in/SIGHT concert series. The multimedia series will incorporate video images playing in sync with the performance, creating an immersive new way to experience the music for concert-goers. The first of these performances was the collaborative work of conductor Esa-pekka Salonen and artist Refik Anadol in an audio-visual rendition of Edgard Varèse’s Amériques. Using audio analysis and Kinect motion capture software to record Salonen’s movements while conducting, Anadol has created a stunning set of moving images that capture the very spirit of Varèse’s work. Learn more about this fascinating project, after the break.

Could Smart Cities Slowly Destroy Democracy?

Has the concept of the smart city "crystallised into an image of the city as a vast, efficient robot?" In the age of the "Internet of Things," where does the citizen fit in? In this article from The Guardian, journalist Steven Poole takes a critical stance against the purported utopian ideals of smart cities. Poole delves into the nuances of who the smart city is truly meant to serve, questions the debate over whether it should develop along a top-down or bottom-up approach, and poses the provocative thought: "a vast network of sensors amounting to millions of electronic ears, eyes and noses - also potentially enable(s) the future city to be a vast arena of perfect and permanent surveillance by whomever has access to the data feeds." Questions of control, virtual reality, free-will, and hierarchies of power, Poole asserts are critical to the discussion of technology's powerful role in the future. Read the full article to learn more about the possible potential of the smart city to "destroy democracy," here.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals A Dip In UK Workloads

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for November showed that confidence in workload among UK architects fell back slightly with the workload index returning back to +29. This is compared to +37 in October, which was the second highest ever balance figure. The highest balance figures were in Northern Ireland (+50) and the North of England (+46), areas with the RIBA state "were initially the slowest to indicate a return to growth." In addition, the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed remained at 12% for the second month running – the lowest figure since the survey began in January 2009. Practices report that they are currently employing 6% more year-out and post Part II students than they were twelve months ago.

Studio Gang Behind Supertall Tower Planned for Chicago

© City of Chicago
© City of Chicago

The City of Chicago has officially linked Studio Gang Architects to the massive mixed-use “Wanda Vista” development planned to rise alongside the Chicago River. A trio of interlocking supertall towers, the $900 million riverfront project is expected to become the city's third tallest building. 

According to the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, the tallest part of the skyscraper will reach 1,148 feet and 88 stories, one story less than rumors originally indicated, stirring speculation that the final count has something to due with its Chinese developer and “eight” being considering a lucky number in China. 

OMA Tops Out on Beaux Arts Museum in Quebec

  • Architects: OMA
  • Location: Discovery Pavilion of the Plains of Abraham, 835 Avenue Wilfrid-Laurier, Québec, QC G1R 5H8, Canada
  • Architect in Charge: Shohei Shigematsu
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: MNBAQ, Idra Labrie, OMA / Luxigon, Provencher-Roy, Courtesy of OMA

© OMA / Luxigon View from Grand-Allée. Image © MNBAQ, Idra Labrie Exterior Stair. Image © MNBAQ, Idra Labrie Atrium Stair: View from B1. Image © MNBAQ, Idra Labrie

King George III, an Aspiring Architect

Not sure if “manic” can be classified as an architectural style, but that is what some are choosing to describe the newly discovered, hand-drawn floor plans of a grand place envisioned by King George III. According to the British Library, the King was “passionately interested” about architecture and drew plans for a future living quarters in Kew - now a district in West London - during a time when he was suffering from severe mental illness in the late 1780s. Learn more about the King’s vision for a grand palace, here

Alessandro Mendini Awarded the European Prize for Architecture

Italian architect, philosopher, architectural theorist, visionary and design practitioner, Alessandro Mendini, has been selected to receive the 2014 European Prize for Architecture. Awarded annually by the European Centre for Architecture, Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, the European Prize for Architecture aims to recognize “influential architects that have changed and challenged the direction of contemporary architecture today and who have blazoned a more humane and intellectual approach to architecture.”

“Not since Frank Lloyd Wright has the world seen a more theory-driven and profound-thinking architect than Mendini,” said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, the Museum President of the Chicago Athenaeum, in a press release.

32 "Discarded" Helsinki Guggenheim Proposals You Should Know About

The search for a design for Helsinki’s new Guggenheim Museum is well under way. Over a thousand entrants submitted anonymous proposals for the harbor-side museum, and though six finalists have now been chosen, the incredible wealth of talent and effort present in the submissions is hard to ignore. We celebrate that talent here, showcasing 32 great designs-that-could-have-been for the Helsinki Guggenheim. Learn more about all of them, after the break!

Garden Bridge Gains Final Approval From Mayor of London

London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved plans for the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge. The approval from the mayor is the third and final green light for the bridge, having previously been accepted by both Lambeth and Westminster councils. The project is now likely to begin construction within a year - in line with a self-imposed deadline by the Garden Bridge Trust that will allow them to complete the project before works on the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel cause disruption on the site.

Open Call: Chicago Architecture Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition

The Chicago Architecture Biennial announces the Lakefront Kiosk Competition, organized in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago. In keeping with the mission of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Lakefront Kiosk Competition is an opportunity to support innovative architectural work and to use the city—more specifically, the iconic shoreline of Lake Michigan—as a laboratory for architectural experimentation.