The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for March 2015 has "bounced back strongly" in comparison to February, as the workload index rose to +36 from +26 last month. Private housing and the commercial sector remains strong, while uncertainty still surrounds forecasts in the public sector. Workload forecast balance figures have remained high, the highest numbers being reported from practices in London (+42) and in the south of England (+39). In addition, large and medium sized practices have reported confidence about staffing levels, while small practices remain "more circumspect."
Canadian artist Steve McDonald has released "Fantastic Cities," an illustrated coloring book featuring 60 cities from around the world. From Paris to New York, Tokyo to Istanbul, the illustrations will take any architect or urban planner back to childhood times.
Daniel Libeskind, together with Italian paint company Oikos, has transformed the Università Statale’s Pharmacy Courtyard into a garden of "Future Flowers" as part of the 2015 Milan Design Week. On view through May 24, the installation was inspired by one of Libeskind’s "Chamberwork" drawings. It features a series of intersecting red metal "blades" that represent a collection of Oikos paints developed by Libeskind.
Students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) will attempt to beat the world-record for the longest open span attained by an ice structure by constructing an ice bridge inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. Following a yearly tradition of exhibiting architecture made from ice, the bridge is anticipated to span an astounding 50 meters. If the team succeeds, they will shatter the school's previous record set in 2014 when students built an ice dome spanning 30 meters.
Read on after the break for more on the massive ice bridge.
The 54th edition of Milan Design Week (also known as Salone del Mobile) recently came to a close. In celebration of its success, we have compiled a list of the most talked about architect-designed products showcased this year. Take a look after the break to see new products from Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, and more.
Hailed as one of "50 Great Teachers" by NPR, ivy-league architecture professor Diana Agrest's out-of-the-box teaching methods have brought her to the forefront of studio academia. A testament to her instruction, her students have gone on to attain some of the most prestigious awards for creative pursuits, including the Pritzker Prize and the MacArthur "genius grant." With her belief that architects' work should be informed by multiple disciplines, Agrest has developed a teaching style to push the boundaries of traditional studio culture and challenge her students to explore the built environment through various lenses, particularly film. Read NPR's full article on Agrest, here.
By adjoining 200,000 fabric-lined floatable components, Christo hopes to allow the residents of two mainland towns in Italy's Lombardy region to walk on water for a duration of two weeks in June 2016. If approved, the "Floating Piers" would connect both towns with the Lake Iseo islands via an extended, brightly colored fabric dock that would stretch across two miles.
Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities.  However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America's prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.
Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units - in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?
From November 4-6, the 2015 World Architecture Festival (WAF) will take place in Suntec in central Singapore, featuring three days of conferences, exhibitions and lectures, in addition to the awards ceremony. As the world’s largest architectural festival and awards event, the WAF awards honor exceptional architecture from around the globe across 30 categories. Over 70 judges attend the festival and critique the submitted projects. Among this year’s “superjurors” are Peter Cook, Sou Fujimoto, Benedetta Tagliabue, Manuelle Gautrand, Charles Jencks, and Kerry Hill.
All entries must be submitted by May 22nd to be considered for the WAF awards. Shortlisted projects will compete for category prizes on the first two days of the festival. On the third (and last) day, the category winners will present their projects to the “super-juries,” which will select the World Landscape, Future Project and Completed Building of the Year.
New London Architecture (NLA), an independent resource and forum for debate about the city's built environment, have unveiled a new, large-scale interactive model of the UK capital. Designed to provide a visual history of the city, NLA also intend for it to spark questions about its future. This model replaces an earlier one, which was revealed on the day that it was announced that London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games has been successful. Now, a decade later, the present projection of the city's built future has been mapped across the model, highlighting the locations of the 263 tall buildings planned or under construction. Visitors are also able to track the route and impact of new transport links, such as HS2 and Crossrail.
The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) have announced the winners of the 2015 Publication Awards in Chicago, as part of their 68th Annual International Conference Awards ceremony. David Brownlee, Keith Morgan, Pauline Saliga, and Stanley Tigerman were also inducted as Fellows of the Society of Architectural Historians for their "lifelong contributions to the field of architectural history."
Awarded annually, the SAH Publication awards honor excellence in "architectural history, landscape history, and historic preservation scholarship," alongside outstanding architectural exhibition catalogs. Eligible publications must have been published in the two years immediately preceding the award, with nominations for the 2016 Publication Awards opening on June 1.
Learn more about the winning publications after the break.
Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has unveiled the fifth proposed venue planned for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, this time designed by London-based Pattern Architects. Titled "Al Rayyan Stadium," the 40,000-seat Qatari-inspired structure will be built on the site of the former Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, of which 90 percent of its materials generated from demolition are expected to be re-used for either public art projects or on the new stadium.
Nearly two hundred years after construction first began, and 150 years after being formally closed to the public, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Rotherhithe shaft in the Thames Tunnel is slated to become London's newest performance space.
Learn more about the project after the break.
The Hubei United Investment Group (HUIG) has commissioned Santiago Calatrava to design three major highway and pedestrian bridges in the AECOM-masterplanned city of Huashan, 12 miles east of downtown Wuhan. The bridges will be Calatrava's first project in China. They will span a new man-made canal that bisects Huashan's urban center and connects two lakes that feed the Yangtze River.
“It gives me great personal satisfaction and represents a grand challenge that I face with great enthusiasm to help develop this ambitious project that enables me to design my first bridges in the Far East," says Calatrava.
Ten projects have been named the top examples of sustainable and ecological design by the AIA and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) for the year 2015. Now in its 19th edition, the COTE Top Ten Awards program recognizes projects that adhere to the highest integration of natural systems and technology to produce spaces that positively impact their surroundings and minimize their environmental footprints.
London's central waterway, the River Thames, has been a site of enormous interest from architects and urbanists in previous years. From a controversial garden bridge to discussions about how to appropriate what has been described as one of the city's largest untapped public spaces, London-based practice studio octopi have now launched a Kickstarter campaign to help to realise their dream of creating "a new, natural, beautiful lido" on its banks.
Endorsed by a number of renowned and respected Londoners, including Turner-prize winning artist Tracey Emin, architect Ivan Harbour (RSHP), and Tim Marlow, a director at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), the ambition is to raise at least £125,000 (around $190,000 or €175,000) in order to seek planning permission for the Thames Baths project.
Find out more about the project and how you can support it after the break.
Now for the first time, Guggenheim has unveiled the six fully developed designs competing to become Guggenheim Helsinki. Selected from 1,715 entries in world's the most popular architectural competition, the remaining finalists have spent the past five months refining their designs after being shortlisted by an independent 11-member jury, of which includes Studio Gang's Jeanne Gang and former Columbia University dean Mark Wigley.
The release foreshadows the April 25 opening of Guggenheim Helsinki Now: Six Finalist Designs Unveiled, a free exhibition that will open the projects up to public critique. A winner will be announced on June 23.
All 6 detailed proposals, after the break.
Images have been released of Safdie Architects' design for the new National Medal of Honor Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The commission, awarded to Safdie following a national search in October, will honor the men and women who "served and sacrificed in defense of the US" and have received the nation's highest military award - the Medal of Honor - from the Civil War to the present.