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Tatiana Bilbao’s $8,000 House Could Solve Mexico’s Social Housing Shortage

Centered on the theme “The State of the Art of Architecture,” the Chicago Architecture Biennial offers a look at the issues surrounding contemporary architecture around the globe. Featuring interventions from over 100 different architects from more than 30 different countries, the Biennial seeks to “demonstrate that architecture matters at any scale.”

Tatiana Bilbao’s project for the Chicago Biennial offers a solution to Mexico's affordable housing shortage. Her full-scale, Sustainable Housing prototype offers a flexible design that can respond to the different needs of each family. The house can be constructed for as little as $8,000 and up to $14,000 depending on a variety of factors including the location, the construction phase selected, and local regulations.  

View images and learn more about her prototype after the break. 

© Enrique Macias Courtesy of Tatiana Bilbao Courtesy of Tatiana Bilbao © Enrique Macias

9 Ways to Find More Business for Your Architecture Firm

Managing your own architecture firm is hard, and while pretty much every architect starts with a strong idea of the type of firm they want to be, without constant care it can be easy to get sucked into doing jobs you need to do to keep the lights turned on, rather than the jobs you wanted to do from the start. In this article, originally published by Archipreneur as "9 Creative Business Development Strategies For Architects and Designers," Sabrina Wirth explores the ways you can not only keep work coming in, but make sure it is the right type of work too.

Whether you’re a large architecture firm or a small, boutique design studio, everyone needs a plan for generating new business. The prospect of working on RFPs (Request For Proposals) and RFQs (Request For Qualifications) to win a place on the shortlist, however, is daunting and something very few people look forward to.

Fortunately, it’s not the only path to attracting new projects. In fact, the most effective business development strategies involve more time spent on proactive relationship-building (before the project is made public), and less time on responding to RFPs and RFQs, which are available to anyone.

Below are 9 strategies that can help you define a good business development approach to get you ahead of the competition and win more clients and projects:

Radical Pedagogies: Tibor Weiner and the School of Architecture of University of Chile (1943-1963)

Education is changing fast all over the world. In recent decades, a great number of small local initiatives focused on the individual person, pursuing creativity, curiosity and diversity, have been disrupting through the secular traditional model of education. We have also seen an increasing number of online initiatives which expand access to knowledge to people who didn't have it before - the only requirement is a computer with internet. And the best of it: most of them are open and free. But what about architectural education? Has it experienced the same transformation?

In partnership with Radical Pedagogies, an ongoing multi-year collaborative research project led by Beatriz Colomina with a team of PhD students of the School of Architecture at Princeton University, we will be publishing a series of paradigmatic cases in architectural education. In this article, Daniel Talesnik (PhD Candidate in History and Theory of Architecture at Columbia University) presents the first radical case in Latin America: the reform led by Tibor Weiner at the University of Chile influenced by the principles of Bauhaus.

20 Free Productivity Apps that Architects Should Know About

Efficiency is the name of the game in the business world. And as any working architect knows, working at an architecture firm is as much about business as it is design - even if in architecture, efficiency can be hard to come by. By using applications that span platforms, though, you can remain efficient no matter where you go.

Following the success of our list of 22 Websites You Didn't Know Were Useful to Architects, we’ve assembled a list of 20 productivity apps to keep you on track. Whether you’re trying to keep your schedule in check, remember your passwords, or simply get the most out of your shrinking sleep time, there’s an app that can maximize your ability to do what you’re doing.

Why Old is the New Green

When it comes to sustainable architecture, the focus has historically been on designing buildings to reduce emissions. In recent years though, this focus has expanded to take into account the full life-cycle impact of a building and its components. But is this enough? In this article from ArchitectureBoston's Fall 2015 Issue, originally titled "Old is the new green," Jean Carroon FAIA and Ben Carlson argue that not only are most green buildings not designed with the full life-cycle of their materials in mind, but that even those which are they rely on a payback period that we simply can't afford. The solution? A dose of "radical common sense" in the form of preservation.

“Radical common sense” is the term a fellow preservation architect uses to describe a mindset that values repair over replacement. Why is this radical? Because, while reuse of water bottles and grocery bags is rapidly gaining ground, reuse of buildings and building components is not. And it’s not hard to see why: It is almost always less expensive and easier to replace a whole building and almost any of its elements — doors, windows, light fixtures — than to repair and reuse. Replacement also can offer measurable and consistent quality with product certifications and warranties not available for repaired items. Theoretically, a new building can ensure “high performance” and significantly reduce the environmental impact of building operations while creating healthier spaces. What’s not to like?

Maybe the old saying applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We want and need “sustainability.” We want and need buildings, towns, and cities that are not bad for the environment nor the people who live and work in them. But is “new” the solution or the problem?

"Coral Frontiers" Proposes System of Coral-Remediating Platforms to Save Islanders' Culture

The island of Diego Garcia is sometimes called “Fantasy Island” due to its extreme remoteness. But for 5000 of its former inhabitants, who have been exiled due to a US naval base established on the island, life is less of a fantasy. In her graduate thesis at the Royal College of ArtRosa Rogina explores how an architectural infrastructure could cause a shift in the balance of power crystallized within the politics of the island, enabling the resettlement of the displaced community and reversing the damage done to the environment of the atoll while under military control.

Critics Take On "The State of the Art of Architecture" in Chicago

An image from Iwan Baan's Chicago photo essay. Image © Iwan Baan
An image from Iwan Baan's Chicago photo essay. Image © Iwan Baan

Last week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial opened to over 31,000 visitors and much fanfare, and for good reason - it is the largest architecture event on the continent since the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, featuring over one hundred exhibitors from over thirty countries. With a theme as ambiguous as "The State of the Art of Architecture," and with the hope of making the biennial, according to directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda, "a space for debate, dialog and the production of new ideas," the event was sure to generate equally wide-ranging opinions. Read on to find out what the critics had to say about the Biennial.

Is There a European Identity in Architecture?

“There is a certain tradition, history, and continuity that you can read in European architecture”
- Spela Videcnik, OFIS arhitekti

A product of context and history, Europe has influenced the architecture world in a way that perhaps no other continent has. The continent is the topic of the latest video from the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, produced in relation to their European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, in which prize-nominated architects from 16 European cities are interviewed on what they believe brings them together, and what makes them different.

As a US citizen who has previously lived in Europe for two years, I was struck by the essential question prompted by the video: “Is there a European identity in architecture?” And if so, what exactly is it? To try to answer this question, I sat down with ArchDaily’s managing editor Rory Stott - a Brit - to debate differing perspectives.

2015 Prize Winner - Philharmonic Hall Szczecin / Barozzi / Veiga. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gym Hall TNW / NL Architects. Image © Luuk Kramer Metropol Parasol / J. Mayer H + Arup. Image © Javier Orive 2013 Prize Winner - Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre / Henning Larsen Architects & Batteriid Architects. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

What It’s Like to Be an Architectural Consultant for Assassin’s Creed II

In the following article, originally published in Spanish on MetaSpace as "Assassin's Creed 2 - Arquitectos que hacen videojuegos"(Architects Who Make Video Games), Spanish architect Manuel Saga interviews María Elisa Navarro, a Professor of Architectural History and Theory, who worked with Ubisoft Montreal as a historical consultant on the design team for the video game Assassin's Creed II, from the first rough drafts up to its launch in November of 2009.

While getting her PhD at McGill, María Elisa Navarro was a consultant for the entire development process of the game as part of a research project between the university and Ubisoft Montreal. She worked on the project in complete secrecy with "a small team of 20 people and then later more than 400 in a huge basement in Montreal." Navarro worked on everything from late 15th century wardrobes to the correction of architectural errors in the recreated cities, going over the look and ornamental details of the buildings.

"Sometimes, for gameplay purposes, they needed to have walls with a lot of texture so that Ezio could climb them, but when the time came to lay those parts out, there were some inaccuracies. For example, I remember a balcony with a wrought iron railing that couldn't have existed in that time period. I was responsible for detecting those issues," Navarro noted in her conversation with MetaSpace.

Read the full interview with Navarro after the break.

Ezio Auditore da Firenze jumping from four story buildings. Image © Ubisoft Montreal Scene from Assassin’s Creed II. Image © Ubisoft Montreal Carnival in Venice: wardrobes and masks. Image © Ubisoft Montreal Welcome (sic) to Venecia. Image © Ubisoft Montreal

Are 3D Renderings Deceiving Architects and Clients?

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

Digital architectural renderings and their hand-drawn counterparts both serve the purpose of allowing clients and investors to envision a building or space well-before ground has even been broken on a project.

But while renderings can provide amazingly accurate depictions of buildings, a rendering done in the wrong style can create unrealistic expectations for the end client, leaving them disappointed with the architect and the builders, creating tension and distrust. For that reason, among others, many people in the architectural profession have condemned the use of renderings, especially digital renderings. However, renderings are simply tools and nothing more; if you ask two separate rendering artists to create a rendering for your project, the results would also depend upon the skill and vision of that person. Today I am going to show you that when used correctly, digital architectural renderings should be an architect’s best friend.

6 Essential Time Management Tips for Architects

It's a familiar story: with so much work to do and architecture's client-focused nature, many architects struggle to divide up their time effectively. But did you know that there are some simple time management techniques that might appeal to your architect mindset? In this post originally published on ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly shares some techniques such as designing your time and learning to effectively single-task that might help you to take control.

Has this ever happened to you?

You get to work and review your to-do list. You’ve got a deadline in a few days and you’re ready to get some stuff done. But before you dive in, you take a quick look at your email. In your inbox you find an email from a client asking for a quick study of one area of the building. “I’ll take care of this right away” you say to yourself. “It shouldn’t take long.”

Five hours, three phone calls and six emails later, you reply back to the client with the information they requested. It’s now early afternoon and you’re ready to get to work. But you take another quick look at your email and see that the client is now asking for you to look at another option. Two hours, one phone call and three emails later, you email back. “Thanks,” they reply. “Let’s just stick to the original option.”

It’s now early evening and you haven’t gotten a single thing done off your to-do list. You still have a deadline in a few days and there’s a stack of drawings next to you just begging to be reviewed. Looks like another late night and vending machine dinner.

How can you avoid a similar fate? Here are 6 essential time management tips for the busy architect.

ArchDaily Readers Debate: Superstar Architects, 3D Printing, Floating Farms and More

In the introduction to her essay "Losing My Illusions About Open-Source Criticism" in Volume's 2013 edition "Critical," Naomi Stead writes: "There was a time not so long ago when many of us, myself included, thought that a brave new world of architectural commentary and criticism was about to open, by virtue of the democratizing capacities of web 2.0." She goes on to describe her former hope that a diverse and networked discussion would overthrow "the tyranny of the cultural gatekeepers" in the same way that Rotten Tomatoes or TripAdvisor revolutionized reviews of film or travel destinations, respectively. But she concludes: "By and large the blogs didn't eventuate, the comments didn't come, or if they did, they were likely to be in the form of a flippant one-liner or a nasty unfounded attack."

Since I read Stead's piece, this attitude has concerned me. Are we really ready to dig the grave of collective criticism? What steps, if any, have been taken to remedy this situation? At ArchDaily, we believe there is still hope for the comments section, and I've written about the importance that our readers play in shaping architectural culture before - we even consider this collective criticism an important part of our editorial strategy, as implied by my introduction to Mark Hogan's article about shipping container housing. That's why in the discussion in the comments of Hogan's article, Hisham's suggestion that it would "be interesting to 'post-post' a second comment article... so that your readers get hinted to the broader public discussion" caught my eye. It's an idea that we've had before, but the timing was never right... until now.

The Apple and the Leaf: On How in Architecture There Are No Indisputable Truths

For many centuries, the demands of gravity appeared to give architecture one requirement that was largely unquestionable: that structures must rise vertically. However, with the advent of steel it was revealed that this limit had not been provided by gravity but by our own limited technologies. In this text, originally published by Domus Magazine in Italian and shared with ArchDaily by the author, Alberto Campo Baeza reflects on the architectural freedom offered by steel structures and the arbitrariness they bring to architectural space.

Isaac Newton was resting under an apple-tree in his garden when an apple fell on his head. Being endowed with such a privileged head and thoughts faster than lightning, he rose forthwith from his afternoon nap and set about calculating the acceleration of gravity.

Had Sir Isaac Newton had a little more patience and had he taken his time in getting to his feet, he might have noticed how, following the apple, a few leaves also fell from that same apple-tree, and while they fell, they did so in quite a different manner to the apple.

"I am writing this text in honor of the architect Valerio Olgiati, after seeing his very beautiful house in Portugal". Image © Archive Olgiati Leutschenbach School / Christian Kerez. Image Courtesy of Christian Kerez Rufo House / Alberto Campo Baeza. "But I, who have always defended orthogonal structures, also argue that structures do not always necessarily have to be orthogonal". Image © Javier Callejas Apartment Building on Forsterstrasse / Christian Kerez. From the architect's description: "The concrete wall slices are placed one above the other, suspended under each other or cantilevered. They form the loadbearing structure... their structurally essential organization remains hidden behind the appearance of a free, open-ended design". Image © Walter Mair

MVRDV's Markthal PR Campaign; Or, How We Learned the Price of Chicken

Becoming "the Sistine Chapel of Food" required a lot of invisible hard work. As Rotterdam's Markthal turns one year old, MVRDV's Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker reflects on how the PR and media hype around Markthal Rotterdam was organized. This article is also supplemented by an interview conducted by ArchDaily with Winy Maas and Jan Knikker, which connects the parallel lines of the building's design and its PR campaign.

If I say that this is a PR story will you believe a single word? Markthal Rotterdam is a PR story with astonishing results: since its opening by queen Maxima in October 2014, our office MVRDV has nearly doubled in size to 110 staff members and it’s still growing. We - and The Financial Times - call it the “Markthal Effect”. In the first year the building reached over 8 million visitors, more than the Eiffel Tower, Bilbao Guggenheim or Tate Modern. 800 articles were published worldwide. It was hailed as a Sistine Chapel for food, a symbol of urban renaissance, a cool place to go. With the roughly 4 million visitors that came from outside of Rotterdam, the city saw its tourism grow.

How did that happen? It would be an easy assumption to think that a great building naturally attracts this kind of attention. But it all started quietly. In 2004 developer Provast and MVRDV won the competition with a plan that resembles the current design, except with one big difference: the colorful art piece which brightens up the inside of Markthal was at that stage also all over the outside facade. In any other city that would have lead to an instant protest movement against the zeppelin hangar covered in a gigantic fruit wallpaper. But not in Rotterdam. Public awareness started only once the construction became noisy.

© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee © Ossip van Duivenbode © Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee

4 Experiments in Robot and Drone 3D Printing that Could Shape Architecture's Future

In manufacturing, the dramatic recent expansion in the capabilities of 3D printing has threatened to revolutionize the way that things are made. In architecture though, while 3D printing has been received with enthusiasm its translation to the increased scale of buildings has been challenging. Most solutions to this problem have focused on increasingly large printers and the incorporation of existing principles of prefabrication - however there is another way. In this article, originally published on Autodesk’s Line//Shape//Space publication as "4 Ways a Robot or Drone 3D Printer Will Change Architecture and Construction," Zach Mortice looks at four examples of cutting-edge research into 3D printing that utilize robots or drones to navigate architecture's challenging scale.

Buildings simply aren’t made like anything else—that goes for sunglasses, furniture, appliances, and fighter jets. No other production process brings massive amounts of material to one place, constructs one item, and then hauls away the garbage. The inefficiencies are monumental.

Modular construction has promised a great deal of potential to reduce waste. But what if one answer is to do more intricate construction on-site, not less? 3D printers attached to robots and drones are demonstrating that they might have the versatility to finally bring the unruly building process to heel.

What Happens When Light Starts to Create Brand Experiences?

Global companies often exploit architectural icons to transform physical form into their desired brand reputations. To help achieve this goal, after twilight, the natural qualities of buildings have often been supplemented by architectural lighting, as the facades call unmistakeably for attention with their colorful and dynamic illumination. Representation has become the leading motivation for upgrading the lighting at headquarters and retail outlets. But when the illumination evolves into spectacular gestures, the brand identity and architecture itself starts to fade. Hence, the struggle for individuality has revived the discussion about ornament – though ornament appears now as light.

Louis Vuitton Matsuya Ginza Facade Renewal / Jun Aoki & Associates. Image © Daici Ano © Diego Opazo Allianz Arena Munich by Herzog & de Meuron, Munich, Germany. Image © Allianz Arena/B. Ducke Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi by Asymptote, Abu Dhabi. Image © Viceroy Hotel Group

The Long(ish) Read: John Ruskin Considers 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'

Welcome to the third installment of The Long(ish) Read: an AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists that resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this extract from The Seven Lamps of Architecture, published in 1849 and considered to be John Ruskin's first complete book on architecture, his studies are distilled into seven moral principles. These "Lamps" were intended to guide architectural practice of the time, advocating a profound respect for the original fabric of existing buildings. The opening chapter—The Lamp of Sacrifice—attempts to "distinguish carefully between Architecture and Building," set against the backdrop of Ruskin's (often criticised) world-view on the discipline at large.

How to Stand Out in an Architecture Job Interview: The STAR Portfolio

In his previous articles, Brandon Hubbard has discussed how to create the perfect short portfolio to get the attention of your future employer, and how to prepare for some of the most common interview questions. In this post, originally published on The Architect's Guide as "4 Reasons Why You Need a STAR Portfolio," Hubbard discusses the architect's key tool at an interview, and how to maximize its potential to impress.

Perhaps the most important component of any architecture job application is the portfolio. The key is to tailor the portfolio not only to the position to which you are applying but also to the correct stage in the application process.

As I covered in a previous article, The Two Page Architecture Portfolio, your first contact with an architecture firm should include a “sample portfolio” as a part of your application. This is usually two to five pages long and just like the resume it is a snapshot of your greatest work and experience. This is the approach I recommend at the outset, while at the other end of the application process - the interview - I advise a different approach.

This is where the STAR Portfolio comes in.