Kickstarter: Virtual Reality is Now Portable and Hands-free with the 2VR

06:00 - 10 February, 2016

Virtual Reality technology is changing rapidly - from Google Cardboard to more immersive models, headsets are now available at nearly every price point. Yet there remains one quality all of these devices fail to offer: portability. In our modern fast-paced lives, being able to take technology with you on the go is nearly as important as its functionality. But now, there may be a new wearable tech to meet that need.

Created by design office Stimuli, 2VR is the first headset that will fit in your pocket, making it possible to tap into the virtual world, no matter where you are in the world. The sleek device fits most standard smartphones and is operated hands free, allowing the user to feel fully immersed in the VR environment. Learn more about the product over on Kickstarter, where the first 50 backers can purchase 2VR for just $15.

Courtesy of Stimuli Courtesy of Stimuli Courtesy of Stimuli Courtesy of Stimuli +8

AD Classics: Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery London / Venturi Scott Brown

04:00 - 10 February, 2016
The Sainsbury Wing as seen from Trafalgar Square. Image © Valentino Danilo Matteis
The Sainsbury Wing as seen from Trafalgar Square. Image © Valentino Danilo Matteis

Venturi Scott-Brown’s National Gallery Sainsbury Wing extension (1991) was born into a precarious no-man’s land between the warring camps of neo-Modernists and traditionalists who had been tussling over the direction of Britain’s cities for much of the prior decade. The site of the extension had come to be one of the most symbolic battlefields in British architecture since a campaign to halt its redevelopment with a Hi-Tech scheme by Ahrends Burton Koralek had led to that project’s refusal at planning in 1984.

The 'Echo Façade'. Image © Valentino Danilo Matteis Ground floor lobby with rustication. Image © Valentino Danilo Matteis © Valentino Danilo Matteis Stairway. Image © Valentino Danilo Matteis +17

8 Beautiful Historic Buildings In 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

10:00 - 9 February, 2016

At ArchDaily, we've said before how sharing 3D models online has the potential to change architecture for the better, allowing viewers to explore a design for themselves rather than being presented only the most flattering views via photographs. At the forefront of this 3D-sharing revolution is Sketchfab, a platform which allows users to upload their model and view it directly in their browser.

In this new series, ArchDaily is joining forces with with Sketchfab, to present the best architectural models featured on their platform, as selected by staff members at Sketchfab. In this first installment, we're taking a look at some of the best scans of historical buildings - and don't forget, all of these models can be viewed in virtual reality for the maximum architectural experience!

How a Transportable Student Village Could Alleviate Copenhagen's Housing Shortage

04:00 - 8 February, 2016
Visualization: CPH Student Village. Image © Grey Visuals
Visualization: CPH Student Village. Image © Grey Visuals

Thanks largely to its status as a hotbed of contemporary design innovation, the city of Copenhagen has become one of the most desirable places in the world to live. Yet, as has been seen in places like Manhattan, increased desirability can come at a cost to local residents. Due to rapid growth and a successful university system, Copenhagen has fallen upon a shortage of both student housing and land available for traditional development. The only open, affordable land in the city is located within ports – but it is currently zoned to be protected from any permanent construction projects.

Enter Danish company CPH Containers and architect Søren Nielsen, a partner at Danish firm Vandkunsten Architects. By creating a structure of shipping containers, the team has created a student village that acts a temporary complex, able to vacate the land upon short notice with its close proximity to existing transportation infrastructure.

Prototype: CPH Shelter, Copenhagen. Image Courtesy of CPH Containers Prototype: CPH Shelter, Copenhagen. Image Courtesy of CPH Containers Prototype: CPH Shelter, Copenhagen. Image Courtesy of CPH Containers Prototype: CPH Shelter, Copenhagen. Image Courtesy of CPH Containers +7

AD Readers Debate: #YoIsMore, NCARB Scraps "Intern," and More

10:30 - 7 February, 2016

In the past two weeks, the topics of discussion in the ArchDaily comments section have been incredibly diverse: from a debate over a light-hearted approach to getting the architectural job of your dreams, to a serious argument over the exploitation of young workers in the industry; and from criticism of a Zaha-like “melted yellow cheese” design to a favorable analysis of an intellectual postmodernist landmark. Read on to find out what our readers had to say.

Lacaton & Vassal and KieranTimberlake Named Among Metropolis Magazine's 2016 “Game Changers”

09:30 - 6 February, 2016

Metropolis has released their list of five design thinkers leading the world in innovation for their 2016 Game Changers issue. The Metropolis Game Changers issue was created in 2011 to showcase transformational changes that are national in scope, but global in impact, and can be awarded to individuals, firms, projects or ideas within the various spheres of design. Past nominees from the realm of architecture include Michael Maltzan, MASS Design Group, Edward Mazria, Vincent Scully, SOM’s Great Lake Century Project, and former SHoP Principal Vishaan Chakrabarti.

With two architectural firms, an architecture curator and a co-working space driving urban renewal all making the five-strong list, this year's Game Changers issue offers plenty of interest for architectural readers.

How Minecraft is Inspiring the Next Generation of Young Architects

09:30 - 5 February, 2016
Courtesy of BlockWorks
Courtesy of BlockWorks

For many architects, an obsession with design came at a very young age - often, an architectural career begins with toys such as wooden blocks or that old classic, LEGO. In recent years though, a new contender has emerged to inspire young architectural minds: Minecraft. In this article, originally published on Autodesk's Line//Shape//Space publication as "Minecraft Architecture: What Architects Can Learn From a Video Game," Kim A O'Connell looks into the growing influence of Minecraft in architectural design and education, including the growing presence of the global "Blockworks" team.

Since it burst onto the gaming scene in 2009, Minecraft has become one of the world’s most popular video games—so much so that Microsoft bought the game and its parent company for a whopping $2.5 billion in 2014.

Today, the world-building platform has also garnered the attention of architects and designers. Could a video game actually change the way architecture is taught and practiced?

Built as an entry to the Planet Minecraft “Industrial Revolution” competition, the BlockWorks team was able to show their work process in the form of a Minecraft build. Image Courtesy of BlockWorks Built for the Planet Minecraft “Underwater Wonderland Contest,” the Faberzhe Palace blends fantasy and Slavic architectural styles. Image Courtesy of BlockWorks A Neverland-themed build. Image Courtesy of BlockWorks Asked by the Guardian newspaper “to build a modern vision of urban living in a clean and sustainable city in Minecraft,” BlockWorks created Climate Hope City using existing green technologies and prototypes for a sustainable design that is also achievable. Image Courtesy of BlockWorks +6

These "Spite Houses" Are the Ultimate Lesson in How to Hate Your Neighbors

09:30 - 4 February, 2016

There are many good reasons to build a house: shelter, economics, or self-expression. But spite? In this article, originally published on Curbed as "Spite Houses: 12 Homes Created With Anger and Angst," Patrick Sisson delves into the "small but ignoble tradition" of people who constructed houses to enrage their neighbors, family members or the authorities.

What's not to love about a building called a "spite house?" In an essay in the New York Times, writer Kate Bolick discusses her dream of owning the Plum Island Pink House, a forlorn, decaying structure in Newbury, Massachusetts set in the middle of a salt marsh. The romantic, reclusive home stands alone for a reason; built by a recently divorced husband for his ex-wife as a condition of their separation, it's an exact duplicate of their shared home, just uncomfortably moored in the middle of remote wetlands and constructed without any running fresh water. The square loner is part of a small but ignoble tradition of spite houses, buildings created for malice instead of comfort meant to irritate or enrage neighbors, or occasionally piss off anyone unfortunate enough to be dwelling inside. Normally built to block a neighbor's light or access, they can be found as early at the 18th century. Here are some examples of homes or apartment that were built, or painted, out of anger.

Finding a Place in History: Joseph Weishaar on His Winning WWI Memorial Design

09:30 - 3 February, 2016
Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission
Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission

Last week, the World War I Centennial Commission announced architect Joseph Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard as the winners of the WWI Memorial Competition held to redesign Washington, DC’s Pershing Park for the 100th anniversary of the conflict. For Weishaar, a 25-year-old project architect at Chicago firm Brininstool + Lynch, the key to the design was to integrate elements of both a park and a memorial into a cohesive whole; his design, "The Weight of Sacrifice," incorporates a raised lawn surrounded on three sides by memorial walls with sculptures designed by Howard. ArchDaily was given the opportunity to sit down with Weishaar to learn more about his winning memorial design, his response to the park’s critique, and what the future could hold for the young architect.

Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The World War I Centennial Commission +15

VR Architecture: Why the Next Design Frontier Will Be in Virtual Spaces

09:30 - 2 February, 2016
Virtual Museum. Image Courtesy of Mi5VR
Virtual Museum. Image Courtesy of Mi5VR

The new digital state of mind has affected almost every industry as we know it, from music to health. Meanwhile, architecture remains unaltered, trapped in its physical container. In our opinion Virtual Reality has come to stay, and it will transform the way we relate to spaces forever.

Our reality is a construction with multiple forms of expression - each culture, economy and geography produces its own model. Multimedia society has created a hybrid and complex reality where material formations are complemented by fictional ones like movies, videogames, advertising, avatars… Special effects are now part of our lives, and VR is one of them. It's not an independent and isolated dimension of actual reality, but part of it. In order to operate in this amplified scene, it is urgent to deploy new architectural skills. Platforms like Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, and Hololens combined with softwares like Unity or Unreal open a whole new design field.

Gallery: Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès by Alvaro Siza + Aresta Arquitectura

18:00 - 1 February, 2016
© Joao Morgado
© Joao Morgado

Architecture photographer Joao Morgado just shared with us images of Alvaro Siza's newest project in Barcelona -designed in collaboration with local office Aresta Arquitectura- the Public Auditorium in Llinars del Vallès.

The project is conformed by two red brick buildings, one which houses an auditorium with capacity for 300 seats and a second building with all the offices and technical spaces associated to the theater.

© Joao Morgado © Joao Morgado © Joao Morgado © Joao Morgado +24

How To Tune Your 3D Models For Online VR Viewing With Sketchfab

11:30 - 31 January, 2016
Image adapted from screenshot of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane model by Matthew Brennan
Image adapted from screenshot of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane model by Matthew Brennan

Earlier this month, Sketchfab announced a new feature which would allow any 3D model on their platform to be viewed in virtual reality on a device such as Google Cardboard. At ArchDaily, we think this is a huge step in defining how we will view and share architectural design in the future, and one of the best things about the new feature is how seamlessly it blends into Sketchfab's existing model sharing platform. At the same time, it's worth bearing in mind that creating a model for VR may take some extra consideration. In this post originally published on the Sketchfab Blog as "How to set up a Cardboard VR scene for Sketchfab," Bart Veldhuizen explains what designers can do to make their models as VR-friendly as possible.

With our new Cardboard VR button, Sketchfab has become the easiest way to view your designs in Virtual Reality. You can now literally publish your model to Sketchfab and view it on your Cardboard in under a minute.

As Cardboard relies on mobile devices, there are some extra things to keep in mind. In addition to displaying a regular Sketchfab model on the lighter hardware of your phone or tablet, we now render each image twice (once for each eye). So it won’t come as a surprise that you need to keep some things in mind when designing a Cardboard scene.

This tutorial will give you an overview of the most important limitations and will help you to quickly teleport yourself into your first Cardboard experiment.

5468796 Architecture's Response to The Guardian Over their "Failed" Social Housing Project

09:30 - 29 January, 2016
© James Brittain Photography
© James Brittain Photography

Early this month, The Guardian published a widely shared and debated article titled "Crime in the community: when 'designer' social housing goes wrong." The article told the story of Centre Village, a social housing project in Winnipeg designed by 5468796 Architecture and Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited, examining how noble intentions resulted in what they describe as "apartments poorly suited to family life, and a building structure that seems to act as a magnet for drinking and drug-taking at all hours."

Unsurprisingly 5468796 Architecture, who disagreed with much of the article's conclusions, wrote a response to the editor of Guardian Cities in the hope that their "letter to the editor" would provide some balance to the story. After The Guardian declined to publish the letter, the firm reached out to ArchDaily to ensure that their side of the debate was heard. Here is that letter in full.

We are writing to you in response to the Guardian article concerning Centre Village and many of the comments and re-posts over the last week. We believe the story that was published was inaccurate and provide the following for your information:

© James Brittain Photography © 5468796 Architecture © James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography +7

MIT Research Team Develops Affordable Smart Glass Alternative

16:00 - 27 January, 2016

When it comes to scrutinizing architectural materials for their energy efficiency, one offender stands out above the rest: glass. Windows and curtain walls act as one of a building’s main outlets for heating and cooling losses, and as society advances into its more environmentally-conscious future, new, passive solutions will need to be developed to mitigate buildings’ energy footprints. In recent years, various smart glass technologies have been designed to automatically regulate light and heat based on environmental conditions. Yet their high price tags have prevented them from achieving widespread application. Now, a team of MIT researchers may have discovered an alternative to smart glass that could come at an affordable price.

What Is the Best Project You've Seen on ArchDaily?

07:00 - 27 January, 2016
Winners of last year's Building of the Year Awards
Winners of last year's Building of the Year Awards

Yesterday, we launched our 2016 Building of the Year awards, inviting you to vote for your favorite buildings that we published in 2015. Now in its 7th year, this global, user-driven awards process has allowed us to break down the traditional barriers in the architectural community, making awards a democratic and representative endeavor. But while taking the collective votes of thousands of architects is an excellent way to find the projects worthy of an award, it's not always the best way to understand why certain projects are deserving of praise; qualitative feedback can be just as important as the quantitative data.

So, as we embark on the Building of the Year journey once again, we wanted to supplement the award with more qualitative input. We'd like you to tell us which is the best project you've seen published on ArchDaily, and why? Whether your favorite building on ArchDaily is a sensitive response to its context, an intelligent use of materials or an intriguing and unexpected form, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below, and the best responses will be featured in a future article.

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light: On Turncoats, The Cass and Architectural Debate

09:30 - 26 January, 2016
With a ban on cameras, recorders and phones, the only physical records of the Turncoats debates are hasty sketches by the audience. Image © Andra Antone courtesy of Turncoats
With a ban on cameras, recorders and phones, the only physical records of the Turncoats debates are hasty sketches by the audience. Image © Andra Antone courtesy of Turncoats

“I’d like you to join me in hell” declared Catherine Slessor, the first female editor of The Architectural Review in her opening speech for the design debate series Turncoats in late November. What followed was a blistering, hilarious and poetic assault on the world of vanity publishing confided to an audience of 200 critics, architects and designers in SelgasCano’s Second Home. Normally a review such as this one might be accompanied with a film of the event itself, but in this case that is impossible due to Turncoats’ blanket ban on digital recording equipment (including phones) - one of numerous theatrical twists which have made this unassuming project one of the hottest tickets in town.

Turncoats is the creation of former AR Deputy Editor and current Deputy Director of the Architecture Foundation Phineas Harper, Studio Weave and Interrobang founder Maria Smith, and esteemed educator Professor Robert Mull, backed by the Cass architecture and art school. The series is like a hedonistic mash-up of an old school debating society and a ritualistic drinking game. Vodka shots, comedy warm up acts, sexy venues and mischievous polemical propositions make every Turncoats event a surreal and thought-provoking evening. The masterstroke is that not every invited panellist is speaking their mind – some are purely playing devil’s advocate. This reality-bending twist naturally invites a theatricality which blurs the line between argument and arguer, enabling a frankness of architectural debate rarely seen in our nervously polite industry.

Shan-Zhen: How a Small Irish Town Influenced the Mega-City Shenzhen

04:00 - 26 January, 2016
Aerial photograph of Shannon Airport (1959) set within its rural context. Image Courtesy of Shannon Group plc
Aerial photograph of Shannon Airport (1959) set within its rural context. Image Courtesy of Shannon Group plc

At the dawn of the age of transatlantic commercial aviation, Shannon, a small town on the west coast of Ireland, was thrust into the spotlight. By 1959 it had been developed as the world’s first Free Trade Zone and New Town, providing a new—and persistent—business model for US multinationals seeking cheaper ways to operate in Europe. On the other side of the world, China was beginning to develop its urbanisation policy and was interested in how Shannon had successfully decentralised its administration from Dublin. After many visits in the early 1980s by Chinese leaders to study this model, under the direction of Deng Xiaoping, the Shannon planning system was used as a template in the formation of Shenzhen and has since been rolled across China.

New Horizon_architecture from Ireland is the flagship exhibition programme for Irish architecture and the built environment as part of Irish Design 2015. Shan-Zhen was first presented at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in 2015.

It’s Elementary (Not): On the Architecture of Alejandro Aravena

09:30 - 25 January, 2016
Siamese Towers. Image © Cristobal Palma
Siamese Towers. Image © Cristobal Palma

When reading about the work of Alejandro Aravena, it can sometimes seem like two distinct discussions: one about his widely praised social housing innovations, and another about his impressive (albeit more conventional in scope) buildings for universities and municipalities. In this post originally shared on his Facebook page Hashim Sarkis, the Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, connects the two apparently separate threads of Aravena's architecture, discovering the underlying beliefs that guide this year's Pritzker Prize winner.

Much of the work of Alejandro Aravena, whether designed alone or with the group ELEMENTAL, embodies a eureka moment, a moment where after a careful interrogation of the program with the client, the architect comes up with a counterintuitive but simple response to the charge. (For the computer center at the Catholic University, the labs have to be both dark and well-lit. For the social housing in Iquique, instead of a full good house that you cannot afford, you get a half good house that you can). In turn, these simple equations are embodied in buildings that usually acquire similarly simple forms. The clients and occupants repeat the “aha” with Aravena’s same tone and realization. “If I cannot convincingly convey the design idea over the phone, then I know it is a bad idea,” he says.

Las Cruces Lookout Point. Image © Iwan Baan Design for Casa OchoQuebradas. Image Courtesy of ELEMENTAL Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh Quinta Monroy housing. Image Courtesy of ELEMENTAL +11