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Why Sketchbooks Still Rule in a Digital World

In his articles for ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly comes across as something of a technophile: some of his favorite topics include Revit macros, coding, Excel, automation and... Moleskine? In this article, originally published on ArchSmarter as "Why I Still Use a Sketchbook," Kilkelly explains why despite all the technology, sketchbooks remain one of the most important tools at his disposal.

I was in a full panic.

I got to the hotel when realized I left my sketchbook in the cab. I was freaking out. I called the cab company and explained, with a mounting sense of urgency, what happened.

“You forgot your sketchbook? What’s that? Some kind of laptop?”
“No,” I explained. “It’s a notebook with good paper. I sketch in it. You know, with a pen.”
“Why don’t you just use an iPad?”
“But I like to draw. I like the feel of the paper and it never runs out of batteries” I replied.
“Whatever. I’ve got a great sketching app on my iPad. Plus like a thousand games. And I can read the newspaper. And check my email...”

Zaha Hadid Doesn't Deserve the Tokyo Stadium Commission, and Here's Why

Zaha Hadid Architects are no longer the architects of the New National Stadium, Tokyo's headline venue for the 2020 Olympic Games. You probably already knew - ZHA have been making quite a fuss about it, with a 1,400-word statement released last month and a 23-minute video released yesterday, both arguing that scrapping their design is a bad idea.

Clearly, brevity is not one of ZHA's strong suits, so for those who don't have 30-plus minutes to chew their way through both video and statement, the basics are as follows: the official reason given by the Japanese government for scrapping the stadium has been the rising costs of the design. ZHA have countered this complaint by saying that the rising costs are not a result of their design but of an uncompetitive tender process for the construction, and of skyrocketing construction prices across the whole of Tokyo. They add that by starting the project from scratch, Japan risks overshooting their 2020 deadline for the Olympic venue.

An extra complication is added by the widespread public dislike of the stadium's design, scale and location - most notably coming in the form of a petition led by Fumihiko Maki and Toyo Ito - which has caused some to speculate that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is secretly bowing to political pressure. In response, ZHA's video emphasized the features of the design which were either required by the brief or an attempt to respond to the context, in an attempt to absolve themselves from blame.

However, with the decision to start anew now over a month old, the question remains: will ZHA's attempts to win back the project be enough? More importantly, should this campaign be taken seriously?

© Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia

Why Good Lighting Design Has Little to Do With Lux or LEDs

Is there a designer who does not dream of the perfect lighting concept, which conveys a feeling of well-being and shows the architecture at its best? Unfortunately, however, it is often the case that the brief received from the client causes difficulties. All too often discussions are peppered with such terms as LEDs and lux levels,causing an unconscious shift in thinking in the direction of norms and technology instead of placing questions about requirements and lighting quality at the centre of discussion. But what exactly is quality lighting design?

Gallery: Tour Chandigarh Through the Lens of Fernanda Antonio

Gandhi Bhawan. Pierre Jeanneret. Image © Fernanda Antonio Chandigarh Architecture Museum. Le Corbusier. Image © Fernanda Antonio Open Hand Monument. Le Corbusier. Image © Fernanda Antonio Tower of Shadows. Le Corbusier. Image © Fernanda Antonio

Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret built sublime works amidst the unique landscape of Chandigarh, at the foothills of the Himalayas. They gave the city a new order, creating new axises, new perspectives and new landmarks. Built in the 1950s and early 1960s, the buildings form one of the most significant architectural complexes of the 20th century, offering a unique experience for visitors. 

Architect and photographer Fernanda Antonio has shared photos with us from her journey throughout the city, capturing eight buildings and monuments, with special attention given to Le Corbusier’s Capital Complex. View all of the images after the break.

Why Ancient Cities Can Still Teach Us About Urban Planning

In the 20th century, urban planning went through some big changes, creating much of our current urban environment in a mold that is now widely seen as anti-human. Fortunately, in recent decades urban planning has changed again - partly revising and partly reverting the theories espoused by the 20th century. In this article, originally published on Line//Shape//Space as "What the Future of Cities Can Learn From Ancient Cities," James A Moore looks at why old models for creating cities have proved so timeless, and the role that they will play in creating 21st century cities.

As legend has it, upon leaving Carnegie Hall after a dissatisfying rehearsal, violinist Mischa Elman ran into two tourists looking for the hall’s entrance. They asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Without missing a beat, Elman said, “Practice.”

It’s an old and simple joke, but it points to an important reason why people are drawn to cities. Why do people move to Hollywood? They want to be in movies. Why do they move to Wall Street? They want to be in finance. In the best cases, cities enable citizens to pursue their aspirations.

ArchDaily's Ultimate List of Advice for Incoming Architecture Students

Architecture school. You’ve heard the myths - the legends of all-nighters and innovation, of unmatched workaholism and love for the profession. Perhaps you know what you want – to solve the great urbanization problem, to create the next sustainable wonder-gadget, or maybe just to start your own firm and show the architectural world how it’s done. Maybe you have no idea what you want to do, drawn to architecture by the romance, the larger-than-life scale. Maybe you’re an artist who wants a job when they graduate. A hometown hero, you’re about to be thrown into a classroom of the best, possibly for the first time in your life. You’ll be surrounded by the brightest in engineering, problem solving, writing, drawing and a host of other skills. Anxious and excited, you stand ready at the doors of architectural education, hungry for innovation and ready to share and learn from others. Stepping inside that first day, you prepare yourself for the best - and most difficult times of your life so far.

To prepare you for the strange beast that is architecture school, shed light on what is fact and fiction, and give you some peace of mind, we at ArchDaily have prepared a list of advice for all incoming architecture students. There is no other education in the world quite like an architectural one, and we hope that this list can help prepare you for its unique wonders and challenges. The advice below is meant to ease the transition into school as much as possible – but be warned, nothing can compare to experiencing the real deal. Read them all after the break.

First year review. Image © Steven Lin A lecture in Brooklyn. Image © Ien Boodan © Jeff So The (rare) empty studio. Image © Ien Boodan

What Role Does Crowdfunding Have in Architecture?

In 1885, with only $3,000 in the bank, the "American Committee" in charge of building a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty ceased work, after both president Grover Cleveland and the US Congress declined to provide funds for the project. The project was saved by a certain Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, who used his newspaper to spark a $100,000 fundraising campaign with the promise that everyone who donated would have their name printed the paper.

The base of the Statue of Liberty is perhaps the first ever example of crowdfunding in architecture as we might recognize it today, with a popular media campaign and some form of minor reward. But in recent years, crowdfunding has taken on a whole new complexion. Last week, we asked our readers to tell us their thoughts about a specific example of crowdfunding in architecture: BIG's attempt to raise funds for the prototyping of the steam ring generator on their waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen. But there are many more examples of fundraising in architecture, and each of them deserves attention.

The Long(ish) Read: Walter Benjamin Unpacking his Library

Welcome to The Long(ish) Read: a new AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists which resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this essay, written in 1931, Walter Benjamin narrates the process of unpacking his library. All in boxes, he takes the reader through elements of his book collection: the memories attached to them, the importance he placed on the act of 'collecting' and the process of accumulation, and how objects like books inhabit a space.

Architectural Expertise vs The Public Vote: ArchDaily Readers Respond

Recently, staff at ArchDaily spotted an interesting trend: thanks to the opportunities afforded by the internet, the results of many architectural competitions and other proposals have been opened up to public opinion like never before. Whether via competitions that post all of their entries online for public viewing such as the Guggenheim Helsinki or Battersea Bridge competitions, designer Karim Rashid's informal poll of his Facebook followers to pick their favorite facade for his design, or a competition that is actually decided by public vote such as Den Bosch's city center theater, it has never been easier for members of the public to make their opinions known about the future of their cities. Even this morning, the US World War I Centennial Commission published the finalists in the competition for the redesign of the National World War I Memorial, actively soliciting public feedback on the proposals.

With that in mind, we asked our readers to share their thoughts on this empowerment of the public. Does allowing ordinary people to vote on such matters represent a radical new architectural democracy, or does it undermine the expertise of the architect? The responses we got were interesting and very varied - find out what people had to say after the break.

Spotlight: Eero Saarinen

Son of pioneering Finnish architect Eliel SaarinenEero Saarinen (August 20, 1910 – September 1, 1961) was not only born on the same day, but carried his father's later rational Art Deco into a neofuturist internationalism, regularly using sweeping curves and abundant glass. Saarinen's simple design motifs allowed him to be incredibly adaptable, turning his talent to furniture design with Charles Eames and producing radically different buildings for different clients. Despite his short career as a result of his young death, Saarinen gained incredible success and plaudits, winning some of the most sought out commissions of the mid-twentieth century.

Spotlight: Eliel Saarinen

These days mostly recognized only as the father of EeroEliel Saarinen (August 20, 1873 – July 1, 1950) was an accomplished and style-defining architect in his own right. His pioneering form of stripped down, vernacular Art Nouveau coincided with stirring Finnish nationalism and a corresponding appetite for a romantic national style and consciousness; his Helsinki Central Station became part of Finnish identity along with the Finnish language theaters and literature. Later moving to America, his city planning and Art Deco designs resonated through western cities in the first half of the 20th century.

The BIG Steam-Ring Kickstarter: Is There a Limit to What Should Be Crowdfunded?

Update: The Kickstarter campaign launched by BIG to fund the development of their steam ring generator reached its goal of $15,000 in less than a week after it was launched. As of today (24th August) the campaign total stands just short of $25,000, with 19 days still to go.

BIG has launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to fund the ongoing research and prototyping of the "steam ring generator" designed to crown the firm's Waste-to-Energy power plant in Copenhagen. The campaign was announced on Friday and picked up a lot of steam (pun intended) in the design press - but at ArchDaily we were hesitant to publish news of the campaign because, in short, it led us into a minefield of questions about the role of invention, public engagement, and money in architecture.

Of course, BIG are far from the first to attempt to crowdfund an architectural project. Previous projects however have generally focused on otherwise-unfundable proposals for the public good, barely-sane moonshots or complex investment structures which depending on your viewpoint may or may not even count as crowdfunding. BIG are perhaps the first example of an established architectural firm attempting to crowdfund the design of a project that is already half-built, causing some people - ArchDaily staff included - to ask: "Why wasn't this money included in the project's budget?"

4 Lessons Pixar Films Can Teach Us About Architecture

Over the past 20 years, Pixar’s films have attracted vast audiences around the globe. In worldwide box office sales its first film, Toy Story (1995) boasted $362 million, followed by A Bug’s Life (1998) $363 million, Toy Story 2 (1999) $485 million, Monsters, Inc. (2001) $525 million, and Finding Nemo (2003) a whopping $865 million.[1] Factoring in additional home theater movie rentals and purchases, along with cable, theme parks, and consumer products, the influence of Pixar on generations of children and their parents around the world has been enormous. In terms of global impact, no educator, no author, and no architect even come close.

While Pixar’s pioneering role in the world of cinema, storytelling, and digital rendering is already well documented, its links with architecture have yet to be fully explored. One of Pixar’s greatest, and perhaps overlooked, talents is its ability to create convincing architectural worlds adjacent to and within the human world we inhabit every day. Pixar worlds could become a new tool to encourage critical thinking about our environment.

How to Render Your Building to Sell it, Not Just Show it

© PiXate Creative
© PiXate Creative

"The Rendering View," is a new monthly column on ArchDaily by PiXate Creative founder Jonn Kutyla which will focus on hints, tips, and wider discussions about architectural rendering.

As an architect you have spent countless hours designing, modifying, and refining what you believe to be the very best possible layout for a building. The numerous projects you have imagined, designed, and then seen as a finished building have given you the ability to visualize it with incredible accuracy. Unfortunately, your clients often lack the ability to visualize a space before it is built.

3D rendering seeks to solve that problem by accurately depicting what a building will look like with photo-realistic quality long before it exists – but there is a huge difference between showing your building and selling the concept of your building. Showing your building does just what the name implies: generally the camera is pulled back and the focus is on the entire building. When you want to sell the concept of a building you want to focus on a very small aspect of the building that is incredibly interesting to look at.

The New LaGuardia Airport is "Lackluster and Uninspired"

Two weeks ago, New York Governer Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a plan to transform LaGuardia airport into "a globally-renowned, 21st century airport that is worthy of the city and state of New York." However the redesign is not universally popular. In this article originally titled "The New LaGuardia Airport: Not Functional, Not Inspiring, Not an Icon," - the first of his regular column over at 6sqft - architecture critic Carter B. Horsley explains why "Queens deserves better."

The recent announcement by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden of plans to “rebuild” La Guardia Airport at a cost of $4 billion was described in a Page One caption in The Post as “the end of an error,” a reference to the airport’s reputation that became tarnished over the years. Last October, Biden remarked that if someone had taken him to LaGuardia, he’d think he was in “some Third World country.”

Since its opening in 1939, when it accommodated “flying boats” at its Marine Air Terminal, the airport has not kept up with the growth of jumbo jets and air travel in general, but in the days of the Super Constellation passenger planes with their triple-tails and sloping noses, it was a very nice Art Deco place.

The published renderings that accompanied the announcement were not terribly reassuring, as they depicted a very long curved terminal with gangly tentacles raised over plane taxiways that hinted at torsos of praying mantises: an awkward rather than a graceful vault.

© Governor Andrew Cuomo © Governor Andrew Cuomo © Governor Andrew Cuomo © Governor Andrew Cuomo

5 Things the Tiny House Movement Can Learn from Post War Architecture

One of the many problems with being deeply engaged in a niche subject such as architecture is that you can easily lose sight of what a "normal" person's perspective is on a topic. Through experience, we often assume that a rising trend that we notice on a daily basis has passed completely unnoticed by the general populace, and it's usually difficult to see when a topic has reached the critical mass to become a genuine social phenomenon. So imagine my surprise when I saw a joke about an architectural trend on a popular webcomic. Two months ago, Toothpaste For Dinner published an image of a character smugly telling his friend "that's cool... my Tiny House is a lot smaller, of course" as they tower over a comically small abode. Suddenly it became clear to me that the Tiny House movement was not just a curiosity for architects.

This realization leads to a number of questions: why are Tiny Houses such a big deal? What promise do they hold for society? And is there anything the movement is failing to address? These questions led me to conclude that, for better or worse, the Tiny House movement might just be the closest thing we have right now to a utopian housing solution - and if that's true, then the movement has a big task on its hands.

Finnish Student Olli Enne's prototype for a small, prefabricated home which can fill leftover space within existing neighborhoods. Image © Marko Laukkarinen A two-story WikiHouse produced for last year's London Design Festival. Image © Margaux Carron www.margauxcarron.com Design for HiveHaus, a modular home featured on the UK television show "George Clarke's Amazing Spaces". Image via Hivehaus Quixote Village in Olympia, Washington. Image © Leah Nash for BuzzFeed

Spotlight: Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma (born 8th August, 1956) is one of the most significant Japanese figures in contemporary architecture. His reinterpretation of traditional Japanese architectural elements for the 21st century has involved serious innovation in uses of natural materials, new ways of thinking about light and lightness and architecture that enhances rather than dominates. His buildings don't attempt to fade into the surroundings through simple gestures, as some current Japanese work does, but instead his architecture attempts to manipulate traditional elements into statement-making architecture that still draws links with the area its built in. These high-tech remixes of traditional elements and influences have proved popular across Japan and beyond, and his recent works have begun expanding out of Japan to China and the West.

6 Tips on Creating the Perfect Two-Page Portfolio to Win a Job Interview

When it comes to applying for a new job, in any field, often the most difficult part is standing out from the crowd at the first stage. Fortunately for architects, in our field we have a tool that can help you to do just this: the portfolio. Unfortunately, according to Brandon Hubbard, many architects are getting it wrong when it comes to application portfolios. In this article, originally published on his blog at The Architect's Guide, Hubbard outlines six tips on how to create and submit a two-page portfolio that will increase your chances of getting a callback.

When applying to any architecture job I advise applicants to use the shortest portfolio possible. I have successfully applied to the top firms in the world with only a resume and a TWO PAGE portfolio. Most people are surprised by this, since the typical portfolios I see are in the 20-40 page range. To be clear I am only talking about the initial introduction to a firm, not the in person interview. For that I recommend a full length traditional portfolio.

For the first contact architecture application I recommend a “sample portfolio”, usually two to five pages long. Just like the resume, it is only a snapshot of your greatest work and experience.

Getting into a portfolio discussion is difficult because a lot of the final product is creativity based. Yet, I will cover several general guidelines to follow below when preparing and submitting a sample portfolio.