6 Structures Designed to Save Humanity From Itself

10:50 - 26 April, 2016
6 Structures Designed to Save Humanity From Itself

On April 26th 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine suffered a catastrophic failure, resulting in a nuclear meltdown and a series of explosions which scattered radioactive material across large areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. More than 50,000 people were evacuated the following day, and over the next 14 years another 300,000 people were moved, leading to an exclusion zone today measuring 2,600 square kilometers that will likely remain in place for hundreds of years. To this day, the human cost of the disaster is still unknown, with estimates that in their lifetimes, anywhere between 4,000 and 200,000 people will be affected by cancers attributable to the incident. Along with the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of 2011, the Chernobyl Disaster is one of only two level 7 nuclear events in history.

Today, exactly 30 years later, the incident at Chernobyl remains one of the most poignant demonstrations of humanity’s mastery over its environment, and also one of the most powerful demonstrations of how easily, and how catastrophically, that mastery can go awry. But humans are if nothing else resilient, and throughout history have used every means at their disposal to put right the problems they have caused for themselves - including a number of structures constructed to mitigate the effects of man-made disasters, both from humanity’s past and its possible future.

Spotlight: Gert Wingårdh

06:00 - 26 April, 2016
Spotlight: Gert Wingårdh, Aula Medica. Image © Tord-Rikard Soderstrom
Aula Medica. Image © Tord-Rikard Soderstrom

One of Sweden’s most esteemed living architects, Gert Wingårdh (born 26 April 1951) brought Swedish architecture out of the tradition of the International Style and into contemporary times with his playful design spirit and love of eye-catching materials. With his use of bright colors and geometric motifs, his recent buildings have been described as Maximalist or Modern Baroque.

Expanding Dredge Geologics

04:00 - 26 April, 2016
Expanding Dredge Geologics, Masterplan and schedule of the expanded Geologics. Image © The Open Workshop
Masterplan and schedule of the expanded Geologics. Image © The Open Workshop

The following article was first published by Volume Magazine in their 47th issue, The System*. You can read the Editorial of this issue, How Much Does Your System Weigh?here.

The movement and management of sediment is arguably the largest continuous project of spatial manipulation on the planet. This ongoing battle between geology and industry is most apparent through the act of dredging. Dredging is the excavation, gathering, transport, and disposal of sediment from subaquatic areas, enacted to maintain depths of shipping channels, harbors, and ports as well as to reclaim land, create sea defences, and remove toxic chemicals.[1] The primary impetus for dredging is to sustain logistical routes for the shipping industry by countering the forces of erosion, movement, and settling of sediments. Like the logistics of the global shipping industry it serves, dredging is a continual process whose magnitude and significance have fostered their own series of ‘geologics’ – the engineering of material processes that operate in temporal and spatial scales that are geological in scope.[2] Currently in the United States alone, more than four hundred ports and over 25,000 miles of navigation channels are being dredged.[3]

Spotlight: Peter Zumthor

02:30 - 26 April, 2016
Spotlight: Peter Zumthor, The Therme Vals. Image © Flickr user rowenaoscura licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Therme Vals. Image © Flickr user rowenaoscura licensed under CC BY 2.0

Known for his sensuous materiality and attention to place, 2009 Pritzker Laureate Peter Zumthor (born April 26, 1943) is one the most revered architects of the 21st century. Shooting to fame on the back of The Therme Vals and Kunsthaus Bregenz, completed just a year apart in 1996 and 1997, his work privileges the experiential qualities of individual buildings over the technological, cultural and theoretical focus often favored by his contemporaries.

6 Community Architecture Projects in the Peruvian Jungle

09:30 - 24 April, 2016
Sondoveni Community Center. Image Courtesy of ConstruyeIdentidad
Sondoveni Community Center. Image Courtesy of ConstruyeIdentidad

Plan Selva (Jungle Plan) -- a project to build modular schools in Amazonian villages -- was selected as the focal point of the Peruvian pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. In light of this, we take a look at the work of two other organizations that have been carrying out major projects in the country's largest natural region: ConstruyeIdentidad, which creates innovative projects using traditional materials and techniques and an exchange of ideas between students, professionals and the community; and Semillas, an organization that designs educational spaces used as areas of communication between indigenous communities, promoting the development of these relationships and exchanges through participatory processes. 

School- Atsipatari Sondoveni. Image Courtesy of ConstruyeIdentidad School in Chuquibambilla. Image © Paulo Afonso / Marta Maccaglia © Paulo Afonso / Marta Maccaglia Courtesy of ConstruyeIdentidad +63

These Unique, Beautiful Sundials Are Designed Using Location-Specific Solar Data

09:30 - 23 April, 2016
These Unique, Beautiful Sundials Are Designed Using Location-Specific Solar Data, Courtesy of Prescription
Courtesy of Prescription

Design group prescription., in conjunction with Arup, have developed a sophisticated sundial based off of solar path data that takes the form of a flowering fan. The geometry is optimized using the specific solar data from any world location, giving the sundial a completely unique form based on where it is constructed, and is materialized in a strong, flexible plastic through a 3D printing process.

AD Readers Debate: Preserving Breuer's Brutalist Library in Atlanta, Problems with Coliving and More

10:30 - 22 April, 2016
AD Readers Debate: Preserving Breuer's Brutalist Library in Atlanta, Problems with Coliving and More, Marcel Breuer's Central Library in Atlanta. Image via Docomomo
Marcel Breuer's Central Library in Atlanta. Image via Docomomo

The past two weeks have seen an interesting mixture of comments on ArchDaily. Topics of conversation have ranged from Brutalist preservation to the future of living, and from neoliberal planning systems to restrictive copyright laws, raising insightful questions, interesting ideas and impressive arguments. Read on to find out what has been occupying our readers’ minds these past two weeks.

Take a Look Through London's History with this Interactive Map

11:30 - 21 April, 2016
Take a Look Through London's History with this Interactive Map, via Locating London's History
via Locating London's History

It's no secret that architects are often fascinated by maps, and in the age of Google - where access to accurate maps of almost anywhere in the world has become universal - maps have become one of the most powerful ways to understand our cities. Interestingly, Google has in a way enabled a new way to interrogate maps from the past, as historic maps can be more easily overlaid with the Google interface to make comparisons to the present day. That's just what the website Locating London's Past has done, creating a tool to compare three maps: the current version of Google Maps, the first Ordnance Survey map from 1863-80, and John Rocque's 1746 Survey of London, allowing web users to see the growth of the UK capital over the past 270 years.

How to Convince Your Firm to Pay for Training

09:30 - 20 April, 2016
How to Convince Your Firm to Pay for Training, © Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock
© Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock

Young designers, fresh out of school, often have incredible potential to contribute to their new firm: with fresh skills and capabilities that may have passed by the company's older members, they are in an excellent position to make their mark. But maximizing this potential may require expensive training courses, and asking your firm for that opportunity can be daunting. In this article originally published on ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly recounts a tale from his own early years as an architect to demonstrate that getting your firm to pay for training may be simpler than most young architects imagine.

When I was a young architect, only a few years out of school, I became interested in 3D rendering. This was back in the mid-nineties so the technology was primitive compared to today. 3D Studio Max had just come out and my firm had a copy.

After work, I would play around with the software. I did a few renderings of the project I was working on as a way to learn the software. The project designer saw them and got excited.

20 Creative Business Cards for Architects

08:00 - 20 April, 2016

Establishing professional contacts in architecture – and well, in any field, really – has changed dramatically in the last decade, passing from the paper world to the virtual realm. However, small details can still make a big difference when it comes to captivating a potential new client or establishing a new partnership -- and these details aren’t unique to the virtual world.

Among these smaller, but powerful, details is the business card. Timeless and effective, the impact that a business card can have when meeting someone new cannot be overlooked. While simple, monochrome cards with muted prints are well liked among architects, exploring new forms, unusual materials and bold colors can result in a unique card that will leave a lasting impression on the person who receives it.

Below we’ve compiled some examples of cards that can serve as inspiration for architects, engineers, designers, landscapers and urbanists: 

How to Improve Architectural Education: Learning (and Unlearning) From the Beaux Arts Method

10:00 - 19 April, 2016
How to Improve Architectural Education: Learning (and Unlearning) From the Beaux Arts Method, © Steven Lin
© Steven Lin

Learning how to design is hard. It requires students to learn an entirely new way of thinking and seeing the world. It even requires a whole new vocabulary. So architecture school is rightly hard. However, architecture school is known for being hard for the wrong reasons; studio is considered a mystical place on college campuses full of sleep-deprived students who are designing simply because professors decree that they must—so much so that when a non-architecture student meets an architecture student on the Quad they immediately offer their condolences. This perception exists because studio culture has not yet evolved from its rigid hierarchy, originating in the Beaux Arts teaching method, that thrives on competition and intensity and creates a breeding ground for unhappy students.

Coup De Grâce

04:00 - 19 April, 2016
Coup De Grâce, City of London. Image © Jason Hawkes
City of London. Image © Jason Hawkes

The following article was first published by Volume Magazine in their 47th issue, The System*. You can read the Editorial of this issue, How Much Does Your System Weigh?here.

Neoliberal post-fordism poses a dramatic challenge to urbanism as we have come to know it since the early 20th century. The public planning process has become more and more an embarrassment and obstacle to urban and economic flourishing. It’s a relic of a bygone era. The high point of urban planning was the post-war era of socialist planning and re-construction of the built environment. With respect to this period we can speak about physical or perhaps ‘positive planning’, in the sense of governments formulating concrete plans and designs about what to build. This era has long gone as society evolved beyond the simple fordist society of mechanical mass production to our current post-fordist networked society. When a few basic standards were functionally separate, optimized and endlessly repeated, central planning could still cope with the pace of societal progress. The world we live in today is far too multi-faceted, complex and dynamic to be entrusted to a central planning agency. The old model broke apart as it could not handle the level of complexity we live with and our cities should accommodate. The decentralized information processing mechanism of the market was indeed capable of managing such levels of complexity and, for this reason, has effectively taken over all positive decision-making processes.

How To Eliminate Gender Disparity in Architecture, According to Our Readers

11:01 - 18 April, 2016
How To Eliminate Gender Disparity in Architecture, According to Our Readers, © Robert Venturi
© Robert Venturi

The movement towards gender equality in the architecture profession has been gaining attention for some time now, led in large part by surveys of the profession such as the AIA’s recent diversity study or of course the annual Women in Architecture survey by The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal. However, recently the debate around gender has taken on a different form; in a response to the AR's most recent survey published in RIBA Journal, for example, the curator of Turncoats and founder of the practices Interrobang and Studio Weave Maria Smith argues that it is time to move on to a more nuanced depiction of the problem. “I’d like to see a radical change in how this discussion is framed,” she says. “We must move away from generic indignation and start to properly interrogate why both men and women practice architecture the way they do.”

In light of this slow movement towards action in place of indignation, on International Women’s Day last month we asked our readers what exactly should be done to eliminate gender inequality in the field of architecture. The question provoked a broad and at times incredibly heated discussion - read on to find out what our readers had to say on the topic.

From Cafés to the Casa Malaparte: Architecture in the Films of Jean-Luc Godard

09:30 - 16 April, 2016

The love affair between architecture and film has been well documented. From huge breathtaking sets to small spaces for intimate conversations, the architecture in a film often plays as strong a role as any character in translating the director’s vision to his/her audience. In constructing the environments of their narratives, the great filmmakers could even be considered architects in their own right—that's the claim presented in this video from the British Film Institute, which looks at the work of celebrated director Jean-Luc Godard and how the architecture in his films transforms to suit their tone. In pictures such as À bout de souffle (1960), Le Mépris (1963) and Week End (1967), Godard uses streetscapes to convey optimism or pessimism, uses walls to emphasize the emotional distance between lovers, and even includes a cameo from the particularly photogenic Villa Malaparte. Watch the video to learn more about the techniques used to achieve these moods.

5 Ways Computational Design Will Change the Way You Work

09:30 - 15 April, 2016
5 Ways Computational Design Will Change the Way You Work, Adapted from an image © hanss via Shutterstock
Adapted from an image © hanss via Shutterstock

This article was originally published on ArchSmarter.

These days, nearly every architect uses a computer. Whether it’s for 3D modeling, documentation or even creating a program spreadsheet, computers are well entrenched within the profession. Architects now need to know almost as much about software as they do about structures, building codes, and design.

As our tools become more powerful and sophisticated, we need to evolve and develop our working methods in order to stay competitive. I’ve written previously about how architects should learn to code. A lot of the problems we need to solve don’t fall within the capabilities of off-the-shelf software. We need to tweak and customize our tools to work the way we work. Creating our own tools and software is one way to do this.

That said, the reality is that not everyone has the time or the inclination to learn how to code. It’s time-consuming and you’ve got projects to run, show drawings to review, and buildings to design. Fortunately there are new tools available that deliver the power of programming without the need for all that typing.

Enter computational design and visual programming.

Comic Break: "Sexism in Architecture"

06:00 - 15 April, 2016
Comic Break: "Sexism in Architecture"

Since Zaha Hadid’s death two weeks ago, we’ve been thinking a lot about her legacy. Hadid’s accomplishments in architecture are impressive not only because of her innovative designs, but because she succeeded in a male-dominated profession, and undoubtedly experienced sexism along the way. In our webcomic, Architexts, we use humor to cope with various aspects and stereotypes of the architectural profession, including negative ones. With our forthcoming book, Architects, LOL, we hope to share the stories--your stories--that paint a more realistic picture of the profession, rather than an idealistic one that most of us can only dream of.

How Coworking and Coliving are Redefining Space as a Service

10:00 - 14 April, 2016
How Coworking and Coliving are Redefining Space as a Service, Common area in the WeWork space in London. Image © WeWork
Common area in the WeWork space in London. Image © WeWork

In this article originally published by Archipreneur as "Space as a Service: Business Models that Change How We Live and Work," Lidija Grozdanic looks into the recent proliferation of coworking services - as well as the new kid on the block, coliving - to discuss how the sharing economy is redefining physical space as a highly lucrative part of the service industry.

Some of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world base their business models on commercializing untapped resources. Facebook has relied on its users to generate content and data for years, and organizations are starting to realize the value of gathering, processing, storing and taking action on big data.

In the AEC industry, some companies are discovering the hidden potential of excess energy that is generated by buildings, while others are looking to utilize large roof surfaces of mega-malls and supermarkets for harvesting solar energy. Airbnb has turned underused living units into assets, and allows people to generate additional income by renting out their homes to travelers.

The traditional notions of "private" and "public" space are eroding under the influence of a sharing economy and technological advancement. Space is being recognized as a profitable commodity in itself.

Here's How Dubai Plans to Become the Design Capital of the Middle East

09:30 - 13 April, 2016
Here's How Dubai Plans to Become the Design Capital of the Middle East, London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners has designed a central community space for the district, due to be completed in 2018. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week
London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners has designed a central community space for the district, due to be completed in 2018. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week

In recent years, it's been no secret that Dubai has been attempting to diversify its industries, as the city moves on from being an oil-based economy. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Dubai: Making a Creative Capital from Scratch," Ali Morris investigates how the city is building its own design district to rival London or New York - and doing so despite starting from almost nothing.

In cities where a faded industrial area exists, a creative community often follows. It’s a well-established cycle of urban regeneration that has played out in Berlin, London, and New York. Attracted by cheap rent and large, empty spaces, the creatives come, building up areas with independent cafés and stores before inevitably being priced out of the market by the very gentrification they helped to bring about.

So what happens in a city so young that it doesn’t have a dilapidated area for the creatives to occupy? When the city in question is Dubai, which was still just a desert fishing settlement until around the 1960s, you build it from scratch, of course. With the second part of a three-phase build unveiled last year, Dubai Design District (known as d3) is a sprawling 15.5-million-square-foot (1.4 million square meter) development located in a desert plot on the eastern edge of the city. Circled by multilane highways and located between downtown Dubai and a wildlife reserve, d3 has been masterminded as a framework from which to grow and sustain a new design ecosystem.

Ali Al-Sammarraie assembled his "Detritus Wall" installation using refuse cardboard and wood. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week The Dubai Design District (d3) is planned as a creative neighborhood within reach of the city’s downtown. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week One of the installations constructed by local designers for the inaugural Dubai Design Week in 2015, "Yaroof" by Aljoud Lootah references the traditional form of fishing in the area. Nylon ropes strung on octagonal frames also call to mind arabesque motifs. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week The installation "Earth Hives" by Emirati artist and designer Latifa Saeed and Syrian-born designer Talin Hazbar reexplores the legacy of terra-cotta craft in the UAE. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week +8