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Spotlight: Moshe Safdie

Theorist, architect and educator, Moshe Safdie (July 14, 1938), made his first mark on architecture with his masters thesis, where the idea for Habitat 67 originated. Catapulted to attention, Safdie has used his ground-breaking first project to develop a reputation as a prolific creator of cultural buildings, translating his radicalism into a dramatic yet sensitive style that has become popular across the world. Increasingly working in Asia and the Middle East, Safdie puts an emphasis on integrating green and public spaces into his modernist designs.

Introducing ArchDaily Essentials

Since it was founded in 2008, ArchDaily has gotten pretty big. At over 18,000 projects and over 33,000 total articles (to date), the number of pages, images and words that collectively form the ArchDaily website is mind-boggling. In our newsroom you'll often hear references to "the iceberg" - in other words, what you see on the homepage is just a fraction of ArchDaily, while the rest lurks beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. As editors, one of our biggest challenges is to help you discover it.

We already have a few methods in place to enable this: on our Facebook page we often post older articles or projects that have proven to be popular in the past, and one of the biggest benefits of our recent platform upgrade has been a new, multifaceted search for projects that allows you, for example, to look for "Brick Houses in the United States by Frank Lloyd Wright" and narrow 18,000 projects down to just three.

This week, we're launching a series of articles that we hope will do something similar for some of our most informative and thought-provoking news and editorial articles: ArchDaily Essentials.

3 Unique Ways You Can Volunteer as an Architect

Patrick McLoughlin and Chad Johnson are the founders of Build Abroad, a volunteer organization that offers architectural and construction services to developing nations. McLoughlin also sits on the board of Architecture for Humanity in Chicago. In this article they share 3 new ways architects can get involved through volunteering.

In the architectural industry’s current climate, pro bono work is met with a certain stigma. Many architects believe giving time free of charge has a negative impact on the profession and devalues architects everywhere. While this is true in most cases, there is one scenario in which architects should give a small portion of their time to the greater good: humanitarian volunteering. Architecture is certainly a powerful tool, and often much needed in developing areas of the world --- so the next time the words ‘pro bono’ come up, think about helping those who wouldn’t be able to afford architectural services otherwise.

The Top 10 Most Impactful Skylines

Emporis, a German company that collects and distributes information on construction and the built environment, has released a ranking of the world’s 100 most visually impactful skylines, using statistical analysis to address a topic often made frustratingly subjective by civic pride. 

To create the rankings, Emporis used data from its archives to determine the number of high-rise buildings in the cities it studied, and applied a points system that gave each building a numerical value determined by the number of floors it has. To standardize their ranking process, the points system ignores spires and other ornament, and does not include television or antenna towers, masts, bridges, or similar architecture. 

Of the top 10 most impactful skylines, seven are in Asia, while North and South America combined have the other three. Notably, cities filled with rich architectural history fail to make the list, or fall surprisingly low in the rankings; London is number 44, Paris is ranked 66, and Rome does not make the cut. 

To see the top ten skylines, read on after the break, and click here to see Emporis' complete list.

7 Ways to Be a More Effective Architect

As every architect knows by now, the profession has a problem with its work culture. Incubated in universities and perpetuated once graduates reach practice, the tendency to overwork is currently the subject of much discussion - but while there may be hints that change is afoot, it's unlikely to take place overnight. In the meantime, what can a stressed-out architect do to reduce their work hours to something more reasonable? Originally published by ArchSmarter, this post explores how to become a more effective architect - allowing you to win back some of that lost time by maximizing efficiency and minimizing unnecessary work. 

“What’s that smudge in the middle of your drawing? Is that part of your concept?” the juror asked me.

“Um... ” I replied as I squinted at the drawing. “I think that’s from my nose. I haven’t slept in like... two days. I konked out while I was coloring,” I answered sheepishly.

“Good for you,” the juror said. “Nothing like an all-nighter to make you feel alive. It’s good practice for when you’re out working in the real world.”

From Mackintosh to Saint-Donatien, Can We Really Afford to Set History on Fire?

On 23 May 2014, a fire swept through the Glasgow School of Art, destroying its iconic library. The cause of the fire was reported to be a projector exploding in the basement of the building and catching a piece of foam, leading to a bigger fire that rapidly ascended the building. The fire was extinguished after four and a half hours thanks to the efforts of over sixty firefighters and thankfully no lives were endangered - however, considerable damage was made to an irreplaceable historic building.

The building was built between 1897 and 1909 and designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scotland’s influential architect who brought the art nouveau touch to 20th century Britain which influenced design across Europe. As such, the fire that ruined the Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art in was a reminder of our historical heritage and how crucial it is to preserve it and keep it safe from fire.

The Role of Tradition and Innovation in the City

This article was written by Rodrigo Bitencourt and Gláucia Dalmolin, and translated from Portuguese by Rodrigo Bitencourt.

The city and civilization are concomitant phenomena. The city can be seen as a receptacle that both accommodates and transmits civilization. In fact, as man differs from other creatures in his ability to learn indefinitely, his perfectibility (ants that lived six thousand years ago had the same features of current ants: they are confined to a narrow range of behaviors dictated by their genetic programs), he acquired the power to extrapolate nature and thus build in his own way, creating history. As every human life is unique and no one can predetermine how it will be carried out, it could be said that the human being bears a historical duality: the individual history, or education, and the collective history, or culture.

Why Google Makes Independent Mapmakers as Important as Ever

For most of history, mapmaking has been an incredibly specialized pursuit, the domain of either intrepid explorers or highly skilled cartographers, and the resulting maps were some of society's most important repositories of information. In the 21st century, internet-age services such as Google and Wikipedia have made this system largely obsolete - but that doesn't necessarily mean that mapmaking is dead. In this article from Architecture Boston's Summer 2015 issue, originally titled "Redrawing the Map," William Rankin argues that our age of information has instead sparked a new age of cartography; one that is different, but just as important as what came before.

Given the proliferation of GPS devices and interactive mapping online, it’s easy to declare the traditional map obsolete. Intuitive turn-by-turn directions have replaced road atlases, Google has upgraded the static map with everything from real-time traffic to restaurant reviews, and Wikipedia has taken the place of the hefty geography textbook. Is there any hope for a cartophile? Will the stand-alone map, lovingly produced and custom designed, be only a niche product for rich collectors and Luddites?

How Chile's Bahá'í Temple Uses High Technology to Create a Spiritual Space

Now nearing completion just outside SantiagoHariri Pontarini Architects' Bahá'í Temple of South America is currently one of the most significant religious construction projects in the world. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Sacred Structure," Guy Horton relates how - despite being in progress for almost a decade already - the design has changed remarkably little from the initial design sketch, using the latest technology to create a spiritual and emotional space.

For the last few years, in the Andean foothills just outside Santiago, Chile, a mysterious orb-like structure has been slowly rising under construction cranes. The new Bahá’i Temple of South America will be the first of its kind on the continent when it opens in 2016. It has been a historic journey for the Bahá’i faith in this part of the world—Bahá’i first arrived in Chile in 1919—and a patient journey for the architects, engineers, and builders who have brought the temple to life through a decade-long process of innovation.

The engineering firms were key to keeping the integrity of the architectural form. Even in the final stages, Gartner Steel and Glass came up with a new approach that eliminated the sub-frame, saving over $850,000. Image Courtesy of Guy Wenborne It's been over a decade since the architects of South America's first Baha'i Temple sketched out its design. “The shape never changed from what it was on the computer in 2003,” says Doron Meinhard, project manager and associate-in-charge of Hariri Pontarini Architects. Image Courtesy of Guy Wenborne © Bahá’í Temple of South America The interior surface of the nine “sails” (above) is marble, the exterior is cast glass developed by artist Jeff Goodman. He took great care, using lab-grade borosilicate to avoid any thermal stress. SGH then put the material through rigorous testing: subjecting it to freeze and thaw cycles, and submerging it fully in water. Then, because the 2,000 panels on each of the sails are all unique, the seismic load on every single one had to be tested. Image Courtesy of Justin Ford

Which Video Games Have the Best Architecture?

With the ability to manipulate every interaction players have in a game, video game designers have boundless opportunity to shape the way players experience space. Because of this, game designers often look to architecture to enhance gameplay and provide inspiration for the appearances of their virtual worlds.

In the video above, Jamin Warren of YouTube show PBS Game/Show calls Halo the “most creative architectural game,” remarking that the brutalist-inspired architecture of the series exerted a strong influence on the way players move through levels and makes the battles in the game more immersive. Warren notes that several members of Halo’s development team had backgrounds in architecture; this observation suggests that the video gaming industry views architectural design as an essential element in its creative endeavors.

Warren makes an interesting point with his remarks on Halo: while people that inhabit virtual buildings cannot experience them physically, video game buildings can still be incredibly innovative and interesting. Which other video games feature innovative architectural approaches? Check out our list of six of the most architectural video games after the break.

via halowaypoint.com Screenshot from Assassin's Creed: Unity. Image © Flickr CC user Zehta Architecture from the SimCity expansion pack "Cities of Tomorrow". Image © simcity.com The city of Rapture in Bioshock. Image via bioshock.wikia.com

Spotlight: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

Through their pioneering theory and provocative built work, husband and wife duo Robert Venturi (born June 25, 1925) and Denise Scott Brown (born October 3, 1931) were at the forefront of the postmodern movement, leading the charge in one of the most significant shifts in architecture of the 20th century by publishing seminal books such as Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (authored by Robert Venturi alone) and Learning from Las Vegas (co-authored by Venturi, Scott Brown and Steven Izenour).

SelgasCano's Serpentine Pavilion: "Cheap Plastic Bag" or "Pop-Art Inflatable Funscape"?

We're just three days into the four-month display of SelgasCano's 2015 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion and the comments it has generated from ArchDaily readers have already been as colorful as the pavilion itself - with criticisms ranging from "worst Serpentine Gallery Pavilion ever" to "trash bag monster" and a few other comparisons that I'd rather not even repeat. This may surprise some people, but at ArchDaily we do actually read the comments section, and we get it: unless you're the brave and persistent soul who comments as "notyourproblem," who thinks "it must be exciting getting inside those tunnels," there's a good chance that you hate this pavilion - and I don't use the word "hate" lightly.

But is this violent dismissal warranted? In short, is SelgasCano's pavilion as bad as you probably think it is? Fortunately, we're not the only publication giving the pavilion extensive coverage: as usual the Serpentine Gallery has attracted a number of the UK's most well-known critics. Find out what they thought of the pavilion after the break.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Jim Stephenson © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Light Matters: A Flash Back to the Glittering Age of Las Vegas at the Neon Museum

Thanks to the increasing availability of giant LED screens, the Golden Age of Neon has quietly faded in Las Vegas. For decades casinos defined their visual identity with colorful neon signs and competed for the most innovative signage. But with casinos closing, being refurbished and the arrival of new lighting technology a lot of neon signs were replaced, and for many years the Young Electric Sign Company kept the old neon signs in their "boneyard" for storage and recycling. Fortunately historic preservation groups rescued these signs. With support of the arts council The Neon Museum was born to save neon treasures and to educate the public.

Read on to explore Las Vegas' luminous landmarks and The Neon Museum.

Neon Museum featuring more than 150 unrestored signs, Las Vegas. Image © Neon Museum, www.neonmuseum.org Front exterior of the Mint Hotel, Las Vegas / Nevada, circa 1957. Image © University of Nevada, Las Vegas University Libraries. Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) Collection. Colour-changing neon sign on the façade of the Stardust Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, 1969. Image © University of Nevada, Las Vegas University Libraries. Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) Collection. La Concha Motel lobby building, designed in 1961, was rescued from demolition and moved to its current location in 2007 to serve as the Neon Museum’s visitors’ center. Architect: Paul Williams. Las Vegas. Image © Neon Museum, www.neonmuseum.org

The Best Software Tutorials on the Web (According to ArchDaily Readers)

In a world where architects can use computers to produce representations of designs with new levels of accuracy and artistry, software fluency is becoming increasingly necessary. With that in mind, last month we asked our readers to help us develop a comprehensive list of tutorials. After studying the comments and scouring the internet for more sources, we have developed this improved list, which we hope will help you to discover new work techniques and better ways to apply different programs.

Of course, it's unlikely that any list of internet resources will ever be complete, so we're hoping to continually update this list with the web's best learning resources. If there are any tutorials sites we've missed which you found helpful, let us know in the comments!

Spotlight: Alison and Peter Smithson

Wife and husband pair Alison (22 June 1928 – 16 August 1993) and Peter Smithson (18 September 1923 – 3 March 2003) formed a partnership that led British Brutalism through the latter half of the twentieth century. Beginning with a vocabulary of stripped down modernism, the pair were among the first to question and challenge modernist approaches to design and urban planning. Instead, they helped evolve the style into what became Brutalism, becoming proponents of the "streets in the sky" approach to housing.

Opinion: Why Michael Graves Should Have Won the Pritzker

In March of this year, two of the world’s great architects died in the same week. The coincidence was unusual not because of the similarities between these two men - the advanced stage of their careers, their age and relative success - but because of the marked differences. In the few days between their mutual passing, one of the two was awarded architecture’s highest medal, the Pritzker Prize. This year’s winner, Frei Otto, had been notified of his triumph in the months prior to his death. Someone you might call his alter ego – stylistically that is – the late, great Michael Graves, died shortly after the prize was awarded to Otto.

Otto was a leading light of a particular strain of European modernism, whose most lauded works were mainly completed in his youth; on the other side of the pond, Michael Graves ran a busy commercial practice with more than 350 completed buildings, but was reviled by some for his revisionist, classical style.

Michael Graves' Denver Central Library. Image © Michael Graves Michael Graves' St. Coletta School. Image © Michael Graves Michael Graves' Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. Image © James Cornetet - critiquethis.us Michael Graves' Portland Building. Image © Flickr user camknows

Through Bankruptcy and Boom: What's Really Happening in Detroit?

After exiting bankruptcy at the end of last year, Detroit has suddenly become something of a boomtown in the eyes of the media. Discourse now talks about Detroit Rising, the "Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit". Rents are rising, private investment is flowing into the city, and institutions that left the city for the affluent suburbs are now relocating back into Detroit proper. Too long used only as a cautionary tale, the new focus on the reality of Detroit and free flowing money opens the door for architects and urban planners, not to mention the wider community, to begin thinking about how they want to rebuild Detroit, and who they want to rebuild it for.

It’s the perfect opportunity to formulate plans that will genuinely aid Detroit, involve the community and create a revival that really achieves something. But as it stands, the "revival" forming in Detroit, aided and abetted by media coverage, will not improve conditions for the vast majority of Detroiters and will not create a sustainable platform for future growth, instead benefiting only the private investors and those rich enough to benefit from what is currently classic, by-the-book gentrification.

Renaissance Centre, a previous attempt to revitalise Detroit. Image © Flickr user paul bica An abandoned Detroit house. Image © Wikimedia user Notorious4life Detroit's Brush Park neighbourhood in Midtown. Image ©  Flickr user Stephen Harlan Detroit's ExpressTram. Image © Wikimedia user Danleo

Spotlight: Charles and Ray Eames

Charles (June 17, 1907 - August 21, 1978) and Ray Eames (December 15, 1912 - August 21, 1988) are best known for their personal and artistic collaboration, and their innovative designs that shaped the course of modernism. Their firm worked on a diverse array of projects, with designs for exhibitions, furniture, houses, monuments, and toys. Together they developed manufacturing processes to take advantage of new materials and technology, aiming to produce high quality everyday objects at a reasonable cost. Many of their furniture designs are considered contemporary classics, particularly the Eames Lounge & Shell Chairs, while the Eames House is a seminal work of architectural modernism.