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Why Cost Management Works Better when Architects Are in Charge

To talk about architecture and construction without ever mentioning cost overruns is not an easy thing to do. These kind of unforeseen problems happen in the majority of projects, as the dynamics of architecture and construction are extremely complex and often present challenges that aren't 100% controllable. Over the years, project management consultants have been integrating cost management into their services, making an effort to fill this market gap with a proper solution. Still, most of this work is performed by consultants with a financial background and little knowledge of architecture and construction solutions and processes.

With this increased attention to budgetary issues, the cost performance of projects has been steadily improving, but usually at the expense of the project’s aesthetic concept and final quality. Would it be possible to put architects in control of this kind of management? After all, they’re the ones with the conceptual sensibility and the technical knowledge necessary to perform this work in a truly integrated way.

6 Designs By And For Architects that Made TIME's 25 Inventions of the Year

In this day and age, innovation is occurring at a faster rate than ever before. And while a majority of ideas may make a small impact before fading away, some inventions are able to slip through the cracks and become a real game changer in their field. Our field, of course, is architecture, and this year there have been no shortage of inventions that may change the way we live and work forever. In TIME magazine’s annual release of inventions of the year, at least 6 may have an impact on the world of architecture, encompassing inventions within the field of architecture itself and developments that could change how we design and experience space. Read on for those projects and what they might mean for our future.

Perkins+Will Suggests Alternative Materials to Replace Health-Threatening PVC

When you consider the practical properties of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - durability, versatility and low price - it is easy to understand how it has become such a common construction material, with applications as roofing membranes, siding, pipes and plumbing, conduit, window frames, window blinds, molding and trim, and fencing. But perhaps it’s time to be more cautious about its use. According to a new whitepaper report by Perkins+Will, "What’s New (and What’s Not) With PVC," in spite of recent advances in plastic chemistry PVC is still responsible for a range of environmental and human health hazards created in multiple stages of its manufacturing process.

Tech, Big Data, and the Future of Retail Design

With the rise of the internet, old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores have struggled, as online ordering services have increasingly made it unnecessary to actually go to a store. The answer for the physical stores of the future? Make spaces not for purchasing the things people need, but experiencing the things people want, as explored in this article by Matt Alderton originally published on Autodesk's Line//Shape//Space publication as "How Technology and Big Data in Retail Are Shaping Store Designs of the Future." Alderton looks at how forward-looking stores are being designed to appeal to customers, finding that the same technology revolution that threatened to make stores obsolete might also play a key role in saving them, too.

Shopping used to be stimulating. Although its end was sales, its means was a mix of status and spectacle. It was social commerce in which partakers transacted not just cash, but also cachet.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the earliest department stores, whose architects designed them to be destinations. In London, for instance, Harrods boasts the motto “Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique”—Latin for “All Things for All People, Everywhere.” Established in 1849, it has seven floors, comprising more than 1 million square feet across more than 330 departments. The store installed one of the world’s first escalators in 1898, opened a world-famous food hall in 1902, and sold exotic pets such as lion cubs until the 1970s.

Takhassussi Patchi Shop by Lautrefabrique Architectes. Image © Luc Boegly dpHUE Concept Store by Julie Snow Architects. Image © Paul Crosby Owen Launch by Tacklebox Architecture. Image © Juliana Sohn for OWEN Designed by Callison, the new Watches of Switzerland store in London features an interactive touch screen. Image Courtesy of Callison

How Donald Judd's 100 Shimmering Aluminum Boxes Light Up the Chinati Foundation

Completed in 1986, Donald Judd's 100 aluminum boxes offer one of the most exciting locations to study the grace of minimalism. His vision at Marfa in Texas has transformed a piece of military history into a peaceful and unique environment for art and architecture. Here, the shimmering material transcends the formal strictness of plain patterns and the narrow concepts of minimalism. The multiple reflections of light and space create an illusionary atmosphere beyond ascetic ideas.

IFAC: A Romance Between Art and Architecture

Held annually, the International Festival of Art and Construction (IFAC) is a 10-day event that brings together 300 students from all over the world, joined by architects, scientists, musicians, artists and craftsmen. Together they carry out 30 workshops across different disciplines that “are bound together by the architecture through which they are expressed,” according to the website. In an article originally written in Spanish for ArchDaily en Español, Ana Asensio Rodríguez shares her experience at the 2015 edition of  IFAC, reflecting on the powerful intersection of art and architecture, and the collective nature of the event.  

Sometimes you get to meet people who fill you with energy and electricity -- fleeting, intense crossroads full of shared views and beautiful ideas. Spontaneous connections, which however tiny, will remain with you for a very long time.

Sometimes, these crossroads are not between people, but between arts, crafts, talents and experiences. Among these intersections is the inevitable attraction between art and architecture: explosive collages, a romance drunk with imagination. And, on very few occasions these two types of crossroads occur at the same time. And in those moments you can only hope that it will happen again.

It's called IFAC, the International Festival of Art and Construction. It is a 10-day long celebration that brings together more than 300 people from all over the world - creatively restless individuals, who meet somewhere in the European countryside. I felt immeasurably lucky to be one of those 300 people, and so I wanted to share how fascinating IFAC is from the inside. 

Calvin Klein Lectures on the Role of Architecture in Fashion

“To me, light and space is the great luxury” - Calvin Klein

Like architecture, fashion is an art dealing with structure and shape, one that relates to the form and function of the human body. Oftentimes the introduction of a small element, such as a zipper or a doorknob, can completely alter the perception of a work. In the end, image is in the details. So it should come as no surprise that legendary designer Calvin Klein holds a strong relationship with architecture.

In his lecture earlier this month at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Klein describes how architecture has played a role in his designs and campaigns over his 40-plus year career. His self-proclaimed love of minimalism is displayed in photoshoots in locations ranging from the white walls of Satorini, to the earthen forms of Taos Pueblo, to Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation, and his Madison Avenue store helped to accelerate the career of acclaimed minimalist architect John Pawson. Watch the video above for more of Klein thoughts on architectural fashion and designs for his own living spaces, and visit the Harvard Gazette here for more on his visit.

At 180 Creative Camp, "Domesticity" Brings Living Space Out Into the Public

After being announced as the winners of the 180 Creative Camp Open Call for Urban Interventions, earlier this year the Colombian team of María Mazzanti and Martin Ramirez realized their design for the city center of Abrantes, Portugal. The project, entitled “Domesticity,” reached out to residents of Abrantes for unused furniture, which the designers refurbished, repainted, and reused to create a shared outdoor living space where people could interact. The designers arranged the furniture pieces to encourage writing and drawing, and built a mailbox to house conversation topics.

Courtesy of 180 Creative Camp Courtesy of 180 Creative Camp Courtesy of 180 Creative Camp Courtesy of 180 Creative Camp

Architects and Our Right to Fail

The architecture world is a very different place compared to what it was ten years ago - a fact that is all too obvious for today's young architects, who bore the brunt of the financial crisis. But how can recent graduates harness such rapid change to make a positive impact? This article written by ArchDaily en Español's Nicolás Valencia explores the impact of the financial crisis on architecture in the Global South and in particular in the Spanish-speaking world, finding that it may be the inalienable right of the architect "to give yourself room to fail or to quit."

For some years now, three figures have been floating around that are worrisome to Chilean architects and architectural students: every year 48 architectural schools enroll 3,500 students and give degrees to another 1,400 in a completely saturated market. The future appears bleak, the professional internships are depressing, and among those who already have degrees, we're all too familiar with the exploitative offices that not only offer their employees zero contracts (or health insurance of any kind, all the while praying that nobody gets injured) but also make them work much more than they agreed to with paltry salaries and labor unions that have seen better days. Meanwhile at the universities, talking about money in studios, or about flesh and blood clients, has become a taboo subject. “Students, don't let money tarnish the beauty of the discipline” they tell you. Of course, not only does it not get tarnished, but we've gotten to the point where many don't even know how much to charge for a plan drawing, let alone for an actual project.

The Future of Architecture Visualization: An Interview with Morean Digital Realities and Zaha Hadid Architects

Above: The final presentation video for Zaha Hadid Architects' Danjiang Bridge entry, with construction sequences provided by morean digital realities and atmospheric shots provided by Studio MIR

In this age of lightning fast response rate, it is more important than ever for architects to be able to provide clients with a clear idea of what is to be built. Luckily for us, there are firms out there that specialize in aiding that process. Take morean digital realities, for example, a visualization firm that works in conjunction with architects to create renderings and animations that help explain how a project will work. These visualizations can be geared toward clients, competitions or used as material for fundraising. Their recent work includes a video for the Danjiang Bridge Competition, in which morean provided a dramatic construction animation accompanied by atmospheric shots by another visualization company, Studio MIR. Together, these two visualization studios helped Zaha Hadid Architects come away with the project commission.

ArchDaily spoke to three members of the team on that project - Saman Saffarian, a Lead Designer at Zaha Hadid Architects; Karl Humpf, Director of International Bridges at Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner; and Gonzalo Portabella, Architect and Managing Director at morean digital realities - about the role of visualization within architecture and where the field may be headed.

Exploring Chicago's Architectural Legacy Through 5 Exceptional Projects

Chicago has long been known for distinctive architecture, and this year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial has only furthered that reputation. Although it is nearly impossible to narrow down the countless iconic structures, in celebration of the Biennial, we have compiled five Chicago buildings that highlight the many phases of the city’s architectural history.

ArchDaily Readers Debate: Brands in Architecture and BIG's Business Success

Awards season is in full swing in the architecture world, with - among others - the World Architecture Festival and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recently handing out prizes for the best new buildings worldwide (OMA + Ole Scheeren's Interlace and Stefano Boeri's Bosco Verticale, respectively). However, it has been relatively quiet in our comments section; are we to assume that there are few strong objections to these winners?

Nevertheless, a quiet period doesn't mean there weren't some great discussions had in the comments over the past two weeks, with opinions shared on the success of BIG, the problem of negativity in architecture, and more. Read on to find out what our readers had to say.

5 Projects at the Chicago Biennial that Demonstrate the State of the Art of Sustainability

At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the theme selected by directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda was deliberately wide in scope, with the expectation that more than one hundred exhibitors would each bring their own perspective on what is “The State of the Art of Architecture.” But where does that leave one of architecture's most widely adopted missions of the 21st century: sustainability? In this article, originally published on her blog Architectstasy as “Chicago Architecture Biennial: The State of the Art of Sustainability,” Jessica A S Letaw delves into five projects that take on sustainability in the context of Chicago's biennial.

At North America's inaugural Architecture Biennial in Chicago, “The State of the Art of Architecture,” architectural firms and practices from all six inhabited continents have been invited to display their work. Spanning all sizes and kinds of projects, the Biennial is showcasing solutions to design problems from spiderwebs to social housing.

US buildings use around 40% of all the country’s energy consumption. It is a disconcerting truth that even if every new building starting construction tomorrow were to be net-zero energy and net-zero water, we’d still be on a crash course, draining more naturally-available resources than our one planet can permanently sustain. In this environment, architectural designers have a special responsibility to educate themselves about innovative sustainable design techniques, from those that have worked for thousands of years to those that, as the Biennial’s title hopefully suggests, are state of the art.

So what does the Biennial have to say about sustainability? Five projects on display demonstrate different approaches at five different scales: materials, buildings, resources, cities, and the globe.

Otherothers' "Offset House" Reveals the Architecture Hidden in Suburban Homes

In the classic film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and friends manage to obtain a visit with the great and powerful wizard, who appears to them as an enormous, grotesque head, surrounded by smoke and flames, with a booming voice and a hostile demeanor. But when Toto pulls back the curtain, the wizard’s true nature is revealed, and it is only then that he is able to help the gang get the help for which they journeyed many miles down the yellow brick road. In architecture today, suburban houses share many of the characteristics of the wizard’s illusion: large, stand-offish and intimidating. But what if there is a more benevolent architecture hidden behind the smoke and flames? This is the thesis of Australian firm Otherothers' Offset House, on display now at the Chicago Architecture Biennale.

Courtesy of Otherothers Courtesy of Otherothers Courtesy of Otherothers Courtesy of Otherothers

Architects Who Make Hope Visible (for the Community and for the Profession)

Continuing with our coverage of Espacios de Paz 2015 (Spaces for Peace) in Venezuela, Plataforma Arquitectura Editor José Tomás Franco reflects on the crisis of the architect who approaches his work abstractly -- without taking into consideration the unique problems and issues of the territory -- and on the strengthening of a collective architecture, that is honest and efficient, not only benefitting the affected communities but also, indirectly, revolutionizing the way we architects do our jobs.

In times of crisis, the need for progress forces us into action. While pressing issues in Latin America generate instances to improve the quality of life in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, architects, which are plentiful in the region, seem pressured to broaden their scope and search for new fertile spaces to work in. This meeting of forces not only translates into a real contribution to a particular community, but also subtly reveals a change in the way in which we practice architecture.  

Faced with the highly complex task of meeting the urgent needs of people with limited resources, Latin American architects have been obliged to work based on efficiency and teamwork, recovering key skills and using them to help other human beings. Skills that are essential for showing that our work is fundamental, and not only in the cities' forgotten neighborhoods.

Why do Latin American architects seem to be returning to their roots?

Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores

The Business of Design Success: How did BIG Get So... Big?

In recent years, the ever-increasing profile of Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG have been hard to miss. For an office that is barely 10 years old, the number and scope of their projects is astonishing; to cope with demand, the firm has grown to employ almost 300 people. This growth, though, did not happen by accident. In this article, originally published on DesignIntelligence as "The Secret to BIG Success," Bob Fisher speaks to the firm's CEO and Partner Sheela Maini Søgaard in order to uncover the business plan behind the BIG phenomenon.

BIG may be the most appropriately named firm on the planet.

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) seems to have an outsized impact in all it does. The Copenhagen-based design firm turns conventions and assumptions upside down and combines contrasting possibilities in outrageously bold, imaginative and playful ways. Projects like Via at West 57th Street in New York City and the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant in Copenhagen are prime examples: the first a pyramid-shaped apartment building that defies the forest of rectangular towers around it, and the second a power plant that doubles as a smoke ring-blowing ski slope.

The world has taken note. Whether in praise or criticism, the architectural, cultural and business media tend to strike a heroic tone when describing the firm’s work: radical, ambitious, bold, confident. In short…BIG.

Danish National Maritime Museum, Helsingør. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium, Hellerup. Image © Jens Lindhe 8 House, Copenhagen. Image © Dragor Luftfoto Two World Trade Center in New York. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG

AD App Guide: Morpholio Releases TracePro for iPad Pro

The recent unveiling of Apple’s iPad Pro and Pencil to the public have spawned fantasies of beautiful, precise, scaled drawings, able to be created digitally both quickly and accurately. Now, with Morpholio’s newest app TracePro, architects around the world will be able to create those fantasies themselves. As an update to their previous Trace apps for the iPad Pro (which will be released on Friday) TracePro is the latest in a line of ever-improving apps by Morpholio designed to make sketching and communicating with other architects easier than ever.

The Barbican: A Lesson from London's Past for the Housing Crisis of Today

A higher percentage of the world’s population lives in cities than in any point in history, and with an ever increasing demand for housing, some of the planet’s older and more condensed cities are struggling to keep up. This crisis is currently front and center in London, where median housing prices 12 times the median income have prompted a large number of radical solutions to quell the storm, but with politicians so far declining to take decisive action a viable answer remains a distant possibility.

In a new video produced by a collaboration between The Architectural Review and the Architecture Foundation, Phineas Harper proposes London take lessons from housing solutions from the past. The example on display here is The Barbican, a massive housing block constructed in the 1960s and 70s, and featuring amenities such as an arts center, music school, restaurants, pub and a cinema, all while providing comfortable, affordable housing for the middle-class professionals at which it was targeted. The video recounts the tale of the project's inception and its design ideals, revealing how this 50-year-old fortress in central London could be an inspiration for the architecture - and the politics - of today.