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“Permanently Unfinished”: The Evolution of Architecture in the Galapagos Islands

06:00 - 11 January, 2017
“Permanently Unfinished”: The Evolution of Architecture in the Galapagos Islands, © Joseph Kennedy
© Joseph Kennedy

Most visitors to the Galapagos Islands point their cameras towards the exotic animals and away from the local people. They direct their full attention to the natural landscape, as if to intentionally deny the existence of the urban space of the city, since the presence of any form of architecture would seem in logical conflict with the islands’ identity as a protected wildlife reserve.

The architecture of the Galapagos is both a conceptual and physical contradiction. Like a Piranesian joke, the San Cristobal typology of the proto-ruin falls somewhere on a spectrum between construction and dismantlement. With their “permanently unfinished” construction state seemingly in flux, it is unclear whether many of these buildings display a common optimism for vertical expansion or are instead symptoms of a process of urban decay.

"Unfinished" construction in Puerto Baquerzio Moreno. Image © Joseph Kennedy "Unfinished" construction in Puerto Baquerzio Moreno. Image © Joseph Kennedy "Unfinished" construction in Puerto Baquerzio Moreno. Image © Joseph Kennedy "Unfinished" construction in Puerto Baquerzio Moreno. Image © Joseph Kennedy +61

10 Young Chinese Architecture Firms To Watch Out For

09:30 - 10 January, 2017
10 Young Chinese Architecture Firms To Watch Out For

2016 has been a momentous year for Chinese architecture. From the completion of the Harbin Opera house by MAD to the Aga Khan Awards recognizing Zhang Ke of Standard Architecture for his micro-scale design of the Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre in Beijing. It seems the general perception of Chinese architecture has finally moved beyond the big, weird and ugly.

Since we’ve started to branch out into China, the ArchDaily China team has been able to discover the rich layers beyond just these rising Chinese stars. As part of the country's large-scale urbanization process, last year, we posted some of the large-scale projects designed by China’s (largely unknown) Design & Research institutions such as train stations and cultural centers

In addition, we’ve also come across a series of smaller, lesser known, younger practices that focuses more on small-scale experimental work. Here are our top ten favorites: 

Tiantai No.2 Primary School . Image © Yu Xu Youth Hotel of iD Town. Image © Chaos.Z Tea House in Hutong. Image © Wang Ning Chi She. Image © Su Shengliang +25

The Best Architecture Drawings of 2016

09:30 - 9 January, 2017
The Best Architecture Drawings of 2016, Courtesy of RIGI Design
Courtesy of RIGI Design

Courtesy of Pezo von Ellrichshausen Courtesy of Studio Fuksas © OMA Courtesy of Wülser Bechtel Architekten +90

Designing and building a project is a challenge in itself. However, once the project is complete there are also challenges in expressing the project so that it can be understood by a new audience. This is especially true in digital media, where online readers don't necessarily spend the same time reading an article as in print media. Drawings and all new forms of visual representation – such as animated Gifs – play an important role in the project's understanding. 

At ArchDaily we push ourselves as editors to look for the best drawings from the architects that work with us. We are constantly looking to get the best out of the projects we receive to share with the world and deliver knowledge and inspiration to millions of people. The drawings we have chosen are not only visually entertaining but they serve as a way of educating and learning fundamental architectural representations.

Regardless if they are digital or hand-drawn, all the architectural drawings we have selected this year have a sensitive expression, whether it be artistic, technical or conceptual, and they all aim to express and explain the project using simplicity, detail, textures, 3D and color as main tools. 

This year we want to highlight a selection of 90 drawings arranged under eight categories: Architectural Drawings, Axonometrics, Context, Diagrams, Sketches, Animated Gifs, Details and Other Techniques. 

Why "Darling" Architects Who Came Up Under Recession Are Doubling Down on Budget

09:30 - 8 January, 2017
Why "Darling" Architects Who Came Up Under Recession Are Doubling Down on Budget, The new Manetti Shrem Museum at the University of California, Davis. Image © Iwan Baan / SO-IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
The new Manetti Shrem Museum at the University of California, Davis. Image © Iwan Baan / SO-IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Build Up."

This November, the Manetti Shrem Museum on the University of California, Davis, campus opened to the public. Designed by New York City–based SO-IL with the San Francisco office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the museum pays homage to the agricultural landscape of California’s Central Valley with an oversize roof canopy. The steel members of the 50,000-square-foot (4,650-square-meter) shade structure, nearly twice the size of the museum itself, reference the patterning of plowed fields and create a welcoming outdoor space for visitors. It is both expressive and practical, but getting that balance wasn’t easy.

SO-IL, founded by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu in 2008, has a portfolio filled with smaller projects, installations, and exhibition-related work. The Manetti Shrem Museum is easily the firm’s largest work to date, demanding a rigorous design-build process while maintaining a strong conceptual vision. In short, it required architecture.

Bunker Hill: The Memories of LA's Lost Neighborhood

09:30 - 7 January, 2017

The "living memories" of Los Angeles are seen and sensed in the way that space is occupied in the city; the traces left behind by what has been. "Lost Hills," a short documentary by LA-based television station KCET, is a snapshot of LA’s lost neighborhood, Bunker Hill, that in 1955 was approved for “slum clearance.” As a result, the entire area was removed almost without a trace - Angels Flight, a funicular railway that transported residents from Bunker Hill to the city center, is the only remaining structure after reopening half a block away from its original location in 1996.

Bunker Hill was originally an area inhabited by upper-middle class people, but that changed in the 20th Century when those people began to move away. This made it somewhat easier for LA to erase the history of the Hill in order to make way for functionality, following late 20th Century modernist thinking. Illustrating how space is so strongly tied to memory and emotion, the video depicts what one interviewee calls an “absence [that] makes a presence”; the city is the materialization of memory, partial and partly erased. 

19 Of Our Favorite User-Created Architecture LEGO Sets (Which You Can Vote Into Production!)

09:30 - 6 January, 2017
19 Of Our Favorite User-Created Architecture LEGO Sets (Which You Can Vote Into Production!), via LEGO Ideas
via LEGO Ideas

A lot of architects love LEGO—but few may be aware of the LEGO Ideas platform, which allows LEGO fans to submit their own ideas for future sets, and if they gather enough support, be considered for production as a real LEGO product. Here we’ve created a selection of our favorite architectural proposals from the platform; though some have already expired due to a lack of votes, many others included here are still open for voting to become a real set if you so desire. If on the other hand, you feel that our list is lacking a particularly LEGO-worthy building, this could be your time to shine; design your own set and gather support! One day soon, thousands of LEGO enthusiasts could be puzzling over your little architectural gem.

via LEGO Ideas via LEGO Ideas via LEGO Ideas via LEGO Ideas +20

Is India Building the "Wrong" Sort of Architecture?

04:00 - 6 January, 2017

This episode of Monocle 24's On Design podcast, which briefly surveys the state of Indian architecture and suggests a blueprint for a 21st Century vernacular, was written and recorded by ArchDaily's European Editor at Large, James Taylor-Foster.

In the first half of 2016 an exhibition was opened in Mumbai. The State of Architecture, as it was known, sought to put contemporary Indian building in the spotlight in order to map trends post-independence and, more importantly, provoke a conversation both historical and in relation to where things are heading.

"Hardcore Heritage": How RAAAF is Redefining Historical Preservation

09:30 - 5 January, 2017
"Hardcore Heritage": How RAAAF is Redefining Historical Preservation, Rendering of Deltawerk 1:1. Image Courtesy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon
Rendering of Deltawerk 1:1. Image Courtesy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "'Hardcore Heritage': RAAAF Reveals Its Latest Experiment in Historical Preservation."

In the practice of historic preservation, there is often a temptation to turn a building into an object on display—meticulously restored, unchanging, physically isolated—in order to remove it from the flow of history. The multidisciplinary Amsterdam-based studio Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) situates itself in opposition to this method of dealing with architectural remnants. Instead, it proposes to make history tangible by altering these decaying structures in a way that makes their stories plainly visible. The practice has a name for this approach—"hardcore heritage."

How the NMAAHC Carves Out a "Space of Resistance" on the National Mall

09:30 - 4 January, 2017
How the NMAAHC Carves Out a "Space of Resistance" on the National Mall, © Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC
© Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

This article, originally titled "The Space of Resistance," was originally published on Lance Hosey's Huffington Post blog. It is part of a four-part series about the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The city can be a powerful form of political myth, and Washington, DC, is the premier example.

Political myths dramatize historical events for ideological purposes, in order to strengthen the authority of the status quo. For example, America’s Founding Fathers often are portrayed as motivated only by a virtuous desire for universal freedom and equality, a simplistic depiction that ignores the complex socioeconomic forces behind the Revolution. The National Mall, its buildings, and its monuments, are America’s foundation myth writ large in stone and space. Manfredo Tafuri called the image of the District of Columbia “a timeless, indisputable, completely ‘positive’ Olympus” whose creation “presupposed great optimism and was thoroughly opposed to any polemical doubt.”

In this sense, the city as political myth is ripe for protest, and the National Mall has been the site of many of the most important protests in American history. Most often, these events consist only of people gathering for demonstration. Sometimes, however, they involve building.

Architectural Research: Three Myths and One Model

09:30 - 3 January, 2017
Architectural Research: Three Myths and One Model, <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/522408/icd-itke-research-pavilion-2015-icd-itke-university-of-stuttgart'>ICD-ITKE Research Pavilion 2013-14</a>. The annual ICD-ITKE Research Pavilion, completed by students at ICD-ITKE University of Stuttgart, is an example of Christopher Frayling's definition of research "Through." In Till's model, this could be categorized as research into architectural products. Image Courtesy of ICD-ITKE
ICD-ITKE Research Pavilion 2013-14. The annual ICD-ITKE Research Pavilion, completed by students at ICD-ITKE University of Stuttgart, is an example of Christopher Frayling's definition of research "Through." In Till's model, this could be categorized as research into architectural products. Image Courtesy of ICD-ITKE

Jeremy Till's paper "Architectural Research: Three Myths and One Model" was originally commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Research Committee, and published in 2007. In the past decade, however, it has grown in popularity not just in the UK, but around the world to become a canonical paper on architectural research. In order to help the paper reach new audiences, here Till presents an edited version of the original. The original was previously published on RIBA's research portal and on Jeremy Till's own website.

There is still, amazingly, debate as to what constitutes research in architecture. In the UK at least there should not be much confusion about the issue. The RIBA sets the ground very clearly in its founding charter, which states that the role of the Institute is:

The advancement of architecture and the promotion of the acquirement of the knowledge of the various arts and sciences connected therewith.

The charter thus links the advancement of architecture to the acquirement of knowledge. When one places this against the definition of research given for the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), “research is to be understood as original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding”, one could argue that research should be at the core of RIBA’s activities. This essay is based on the premise that architecture is a form of knowledge that can and should be developed through research, and that good research can be identified by applying the triple test of originality, significance and rigor. However, to develop this argument, it is first necessary to abandon three myths that have evolved around architectural research, and which have held back the development of research in our field.

Venice Isn't Sinking, It's Flooding – And It Needs to Learn How to Swim

06:00 - 3 January, 2017
Venice Isn't Sinking, It's Flooding – And It Needs to Learn How to Swim, Acqua Alta in Piazza San Marco (2016). Image © James Taylor-Foster
Acqua Alta in Piazza San Marco (2016). Image © James Taylor-Foster

“Will you look at that? St. Mark’s Square is flooded!” An Australian day tripper is astonished. “This place is actually sinking,” her friend casually exclaims. They, like so many I’ve overheard on the vaporetti, are convinced that the Venetian islands exist on a precipice between the fragility of their current condition and nothing short of imminent submersion. With catastrophe always around the corner a short break in Venice is more of an extreme adventure trip than a European city-break. If it were true, that is.

What the Way You Sketch Scale Figures Says About You

09:30 - 2 January, 2017
What the Way You Sketch Scale Figures Says About You, © Sharon Lam
© Sharon Lam

Sketches of scale figures can be seen as an architectural signature. These miniature stand-ins for human life not only bring scale and understanding to a sketch, they also offer a glimpse into the architect’s personality. Some designers automatically go for realistic, anatomically correct people, while others have more abstract interpretations of the human body. But what exactly do these predilections say about their illustrator? Read on to find out:

Lighted Zebra Crossing is Lighting the Way to Safer Streets

16:00 - 1 January, 2017

Pedestrians, the most vulnerable users of road space, will now be more visible to drivers in the Netherlands with the inauguration of a new luminous pedestrian crossing this past November in Brummen, west of Amsterdam.

Designed by the Dutch firm Lighted Zebra Crossing, and installed free of charge for the municipality, this crossing makes pedestrians more visible at night or during bad weather. Each of the lines has two plates of lights that at night remain illuminated at all times and not only when there are people on them.

“Re-Constructivist Architecture” Exhibition Explores the Lost Art of Architectural Language

09:30 - 1 January, 2017
“Re-Constructivist Architecture” Exhibition Explores the Lost Art of Architectural Language, © jbmn
© jbmn

Re-Constructivist Architecture,” an exhibition now on show at the Ierimonti Gallery in New York, features the work of thirteen emerging architecture firms alongside the work of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi. The title of the exhibition is a play on words, referring to the De-Constructivist exhibition of 1988 at the Museum of Modern Art that destabilized a certain kind of relationship with design theory.

This reconstruction is primarily of language. The architects draw from archives—mental, digital or printed on paper—distant from the typical parametric and highly schematic rationales that characterized the last thirty years of design in architecture. Within the theoretical system that drives architectural composition, these archives inevitably become homages, references, and quotes.

© AM3 © Adam Nathaniel Furman © Point Supreme © Warehouse of Architecture and Research +46

AMBi Studio’s Award-Winning Yu-Hsiu Museum of Arts Photographed by Lucas K Doolan

11:15 - 31 December, 2016
© Lucas K Doolan
© Lucas K Doolan

Located in the Tsaotun Township of Nantou County in Taiwan, the Yu-Hsiu Museum of Arts was completed in October of 2015, after 4 years of design development. The request received by AMBi Studio’s design team, led by architect and founder Wei-Li Liao, was for a building that was "subtle," "delicate" and "clean." The building’s focus is therefore on creating a harmonious relationship between the manmade and naturally formed architectural elements, paying respect to the surrounding Jiu-Jiu Peaks. This relationship is demonstrated in the combination of the building’s artificially constructed corridors and the existing vegetation in the area, and the museum’s doubled-façade construction which creates an "intermediary" space between outside and inside.

This successful design led the building to win first prize at the 2016 Taiwan Architecture Awards, causing the selection committee to praise Liao for his "continual effort... to explore the experience of perception... and poetic spatiality." Taiwan-based photographer Lucas K Doolan visited the site to capture the building’s interaction with nature in detail, exploring the museum’s carefully considered materiality. 

© Lucas K Doolan © Lucas K Doolan © Lucas K Doolan © Lucas K Doolan +54

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2017

07:00 - 29 December, 2016

Following our favorite Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2015, our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014, and our choice 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, we're looking ahead to 2017! Our latest round up presents a collection of the most critically acclaimed, popular and often under-represented films and documentaries that provoke, intrigue, inform and beguile. From biopics of Eero Saarinen, Frei Otto and Laurie Baker, to presentations of Chinese "palaces" and the architecture of Africa, Cambodia and India, these are our top picks.

30 Plans, Sections and Details for Sustainable Projects

08:00 - 28 December, 2016
30 Plans, Sections and Details for Sustainable Projects

The dramatic improvement in recent decades in our understanding of sustainable design has shown that designing sustainably doesn't have to be a compromise—it can instead be a benefit. When done correctly, sustainable design results in higher-performing, healthier buildings which contribute to their inhabitants' physical and mental well-being.

The benefits of incorporating vegetation in façades and in roofs, as well as materials and construction systems that take energy use and pollution into account, demonstrate that sustainable design has the potential to create buildings that improve living conditions and respect the natural environment.

Below we have compiled 30 plans, sections and construction details of projects that stand out for their approach to sustainability.

22 New Year's Resolutions for Architects

09:30 - 26 December, 2016
22 New Year's Resolutions for Architects, © Sharon Lam
© Sharon Lam

New year, new me! Or perhaps for architects, new Moleskine, new me? While a lot has happened in the world of architecture this year, it’s just as important to reflect on your own personal architectural practices. Whether 2017 ushers in the start or end of a degree, a new job, a new project, or just more architectural life as usual, there’s no better time to make a resolution or two. As we approach the calendar change, here are 22 ideas for how you could improve yourself in the new year.

The Blog As A Museum: Meganom Makes its Online Exhibition Debut with Thngs

09:30 - 23 December, 2016
Courtesy of Thngs Co.
Courtesy of Thngs Co.

Our experience of information is changing. We now consume more and more information digitally, with much of this being non-textual. Videos, photos and GIFs have become commonplace, with technology allowing these mediums to be as easily shareable as text. This gives way to another trend: the increase in the number and accessibility of online platforms. Not only is more information being digitized, but more dynamic ways of digitization are being developed; multimedia articles and online exhibitions, for example, hope to provide a more engaging way of sharing information.

Courtesy of Thngs Co. Courtesy of Thngs Co. Courtesy of Thngs Co. Courtesy of Thngs Co. +21

4 Tips to Get Started With Virtual Reality in Architecture

09:30 - 22 December, 2016
4 Tips to Get Started With Virtual Reality in Architecture, Image from the <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/772156/exhibition-drawn-to-the-future'>"Drawn to the Future" exhibition</a> held at The Building Centre in London in 2015. Image © Agnese Sanvito
Image from the "Drawn to the Future" exhibition held at The Building Centre in London in 2015. Image © Agnese Sanvito

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication.

You are walking through an elegant house, admiring the large living-room windows, the paintings on the wall, and the spacious kitchen. Pendant lights cast a soft glow, the terrazzo flooring gleams beneath your feet, the furnishings feel inviting. Then you take off the virtual-reality goggles and resume your meeting.

This scenario is becoming increasingly common as more architects incorporate virtual reality (VR) into their practices. Along with its cousins—augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR)—virtual reality allows designers to push the boundaries of visualization, giving colleagues and clients new ways to experience and understand a building or space long before it is actually built. With VR, architects can transmit not just what a building will look like, but also what it will feel like.

This Student Project Shows How Droneports Could Be the Train Stations of the 21st Century

09:30 - 21 December, 2016
This Student Project Shows How Droneports Could Be the Train Stations of the 21st Century, Outdoor View. Image Courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández
Outdoor View. Image Courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández

New typologies in architecture generally arise in two ways. The first is through a reevaluation of existing typologies that cater to familiar programs such as housing, schools, or healthcare. This is done in an effort to improve on the norm and to challenge accepted architectural notions, as seen for example, in the work of Moshe Safdie and OMA. The other is when an entirely new program, site condition, or client emerges and forces the invention of a new typology simply through their design requirements.

For his Master’s degree project at the University of Alcalá in Spain, Saúl Ajuria Fernández has envisioned the essential civic building of the future: the Urban Droneport. Located in what Ajuria has identified as a “disused urban vacuum” in Madrid, Spain, the Urban Droneport “allows and optimizes the transport of goods with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in urban areas” - in other words, drone-delivered packages.

Outdoor View. Image Courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández Indoor View. Image Courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández Elevation. Image Courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández South Node of M30 Road, Madrid. Image Courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández +13

The Hidden History of St. Petersburg's Leningrad-Era Avant-Garde Architecture

04:00 - 20 December, 2016
The Hidden History of St. Petersburg's Leningrad-Era Avant-Garde Architecture, © Leonid Balanev
© Leonid Balanev

While Yekaterinburg’s avant-garde architecture is the city’s hallmark, and Moscow’s avant-garde is the subject of arguments, in Saint Petersburg the prominence of the style and its influence are somewhat harder to identify. Some researchers even suggest that the avant-garde is an “outcast” or a “non-existent style” here, and its presence in has remained largely unrecognized. Alexander Strugach sheds light on this phenomenon:

In Saint Petersburg, the avant-garde style is simply overshadowed by an abundance of Baroque, Modernist and Classical architecture, and is not yet considered an accomplished cultural heritage category. Meanwhile, gradual deterioration makes proving the cultural value of avant-garde buildings even more difficult.

Water Tower and Rope Production Facility (Kransy Gvozdilshchik). Image © Leonid Balanev Ilyich House of Culture. Image © Leonid Balanev Vyborgsky District Factory Kitchen. Image © Leonid Balanev Moscow District Council. Image © Leonid Balanev +27

SANAA's Zollverein School of Management and Design Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

16:15 - 19 December, 2016
SANAA's Zollverein School of Management and Design Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

SANAA's Zollverein School of Management and Design in Essen, Germany, is a perfect 35 meter-cube. The building's dominant presence, which is particularly striking amid its suburban context, extends to the interior spaces. The architects felt "that exceptional ceiling heights were appropriate for the educational spaces, particularly for the studio level that occupies an entire slab of the structure." Indeed, this production floor is "an unusually lofty and fully flexible space," enclosed only by the external structural walls. Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has visited the building, which was completed in 2010, to capture a fresh view on this seminal project.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +63

Nikola Olic's Collapsed and Dimensionless Façades

04:00 - 19 December, 2016
Nikola Olic's Collapsed and Dimensionless Façades, Shredder Building / Shinjuku, Tokyo. Image © Nikola Olic
Shredder Building / Shinjuku, Tokyo. Image © Nikola Olic

Nikola Olic, an architectural photographer based in Dallas, Texas, has a thematic focus on capturing and reimagining buildings and sculptural objects in "dimensionless and disorienting ways." His studies, which often isolate views of building façades, frame architectural surfaces in order for them to appear to collapse into two dimensions. "This transience," he argues, "can be suspended by a camera shutter for a fraction of a second." In this second series shared with ArchDaily, Olic presents a collection of photographs taken in Barcelona, Dallas, New York City and Los Angeles.

© Nikola Olic © Nikola Olic © Nikola Olic © Nikola Olic +18