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Architecture and the Human Scale: The Best Photos of The Week

09:30 - 9 July, 2017

The incorporation of the human figure is one of the most effective tools employed in architectural photography: it helps the viewer decipher the scale of work. While it successfully communicates a rough idea of the measurements of the elements photographed, it also makes architecture more relatable and accessible. People engage better with the built environment when it is populated; the human sense of society and community is the cornerstone of our civilization. With this in mind, we showcase a selection of our favorite photographs where the human figure takes center stage to enhance our reading of architecture.

© Doublespace © Hufton + Crow © Jordi Castellano © Adrien Williams +11

How OMA's First Project in Shanghai Acts As a Connecting Element for the City

09:30 - 6 July, 2017

#donotsettle is an online video project created by Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost about architecture and the way it is perceived by its users. Having published a number of videos on ArchDaily over the past two years, Pratomo and Provoost are now launching an exclusive column, “#donotsettle extra,” which will accompany some of their #donotsettle videos with in-depth textual analysis of the buildings they visit.

After a stop in Doha to visit IM Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art, and a peek inside MVRDV’s house office in Rotterdam, we are bringing you to Shanghai for our 3rd #donotsettle Extra column. Last week we visited OMA’s first project in Shanghai, the Lujiazui Exhibition Centre, and had the privilege to get a sneak preview before it opens to the public in the next months. Please tag along!

© Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost © Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost © Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost © Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost +17

Cobogós: A Brief History and Its Uses

08:00 - 6 July, 2017

In the tropics, the sunlight falls generously. The leaked elements draw the shadow on floors and walls, an effect that transforms the entire environment for those who see it from the outside and inside. With the changing seasons and throughout the course of the day, natural light comes in different ways as it adds new components to architecture. In the course of the night, the artificial light passes through the small openings from the inside to the outside, making a sort of urban lamp that interacts with the shadows of its users and furniture. 

In addition to its function, the cobogó brings a certain poetic feel to any architectural project. Here, we have highlighted this Brazilian creation, to briefly shed light on its history and to present a selection of projects that adopt this element. 

© Rafael Gamo © Bruno Helbling © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Adrià Goula +18

7 Alternative, Interdisciplinary Graduate Courses for Architects

09:30 - 5 July, 2017
The Harvard Graduate School of Design offers a "Master in Design Engineering (MDE)" in conjunction with the university's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterhess/5827571398'>Flickr user peterhess</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
The Harvard Graduate School of Design offers a "Master in Design Engineering (MDE)" in conjunction with the university's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Image © Flickr user peterhess licensed under CC BY 2.0

As final juries draw to a close, graduating architecture students are left with a crucial decision to make. While some might take a plunge into the scary real world looking to gain professional experience, others might choose to further reinforce their architecture education and skill set. Of the latter, most enroll in an MArch program, or take well-trodden paths into urban design and planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, or theory and criticism. But in an increasingly complex world faced with myriad problems, what about those graduate architects looking to bolster their education in other related disciplines that will give them a more unique perspective on design problems? Here, we shortlist seven alternative, interdisciplinary graduate programs offered by architecture schools worldwide.

A Curated Guide to the Modern Architecture of São Paulo

12:00 - 4 July, 2017
A Curated Guide to the Modern Architecture of São Paulo, Samuel Cabral, via Flickr. License CC BY 2.0
Samuel Cabral, via Flickr. License CC BY 2.0

There are many ways to get to know a city. There are those who, when commenting on a particular city they have visited, remember the gastronomy and restaurants they frequented. Other travelers will remember the music and the parties; others will remember specific markets or events. You, a keen ArchDaily reader, probably took careful note of the architecture above anything else.

Each of these means of knowing a city keeps specificities and riches, but none of them alone can recreate a faithful mental landscape of the real city. There is no problem in this, after all, the same city can be very different for two people who live in it or who are visiting it. Among these ways of getting to know a city, we focus on architecture, more specifically, the modern architecture of São Paulo, in an attempt to offer our readers a look at one of the largest city in South America from an architectural approach

Critics Laud Francis Kéré’s 2017 Serpentine Pavilion for Its Simplicity and Authenticity

09:30 - 4 July, 2017
Critics Laud Francis Kéré’s 2017 Serpentine Pavilion for Its Simplicity and Authenticity, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

London’s annual temporary architecture pavilion spectacular has returned. Each summer the Serpentine Pavilion program selects an accomplished architect who has yet to create work in the United Kingdom, and asks them to build a temporary shelter on the gallery's lawn. The resulting structure is erected in June and dismantled in October.

This year’s offering is designed by Francis Kéré—the first pavilion designed by an African Architect to grace Kensington Gardens. Kéré’s project is composed of a series of curving blue walls shaded by an elliptical cantilevering wood and steel canopy. Thus far the design has been universally lauded by critics; read on to find out why they thought the project was so appealing.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Iwan Baan © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +6

Painting the Post-Digital: The Meaning Behind the Motifs

08:00 - 4 July, 2017
Courtesy of Fala Atelier
Courtesy of Fala Atelier

The ever-growing realm of “post-digital” drawing is currently at the forefront of a healthy dosage of discourse, appreciation and even criticism, as professionals and students alike continue to push the envelope of accepted architectural representation and exchange a waning hyperrealism for the quirks and character of alternative visual narratives. Central to this new wave of illustration is the inclusion and appropriation of specific icons and characters from famous pieces of modern art, selected in particular from the works of David Hockney, Edward Hopper and Henri Rousseau, whose work undoubtedly remains at the forefront of their individual crafts and styles.

The World's Most Expensive Cities in 2017 (And Why They Are So Expensive)

09:30 - 3 July, 2017
The World's Most Expensive Cities in 2017 (And Why They Are So Expensive)

As anyone who has recently attempted apartment-hunting in a major urban area will know, reasonably-priced housing can be difficult to come by for many and salaries don’t always seem to match the cost of living. This gap is contributing to housing crises in developed and developing countries worldwide. People are simply being priced out of cities, where housing has become a commodity instead of a basic human right. Financial speculation and states’ support of financial markets in a way that makes housing unaffordable has created an unsustainable global housing crisis. 

Earlier this year the 13th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey was released for 2017, revealing that the number of “severely unaffordable” major housing markets rose from 26 to 29 this year; the problem is getting worse. The study evaluates 406 metropolitan housing markets in nine of the world's major economies and uses the “median multiple” approach to determine affordability. By dividing the median house price by the median household income of an area, this method is meant to be a summary of “middle-income housing affordability.”

Let Light in: 17 Projects Using Polycarbonate

08:00 - 3 July, 2017

© Spaceshift Studio © José Hévia © Yuta Oseto © Akira Nakamura +19

Thanks to its strength, lightness, and easy installation, polycarbonate is fast becoming our generation's everyman material. Used to let light in with its translucent properties, buildings built with polycarbonate can appear permeable by day and glow from within by night. Its inherently prefab -nature makes it a strong contender in both small and large projects. Through its use in schools, offices, libraries and even museums, the man-made polymer has earned its place by being as efficient as it is expressive.

Check out 17 of our favorite polycarbonate projects below:

Is this the “Best Drone for Architects”?

09:30 - 2 July, 2017

Architect and author of the Architect + Entrepreneur book series Eric Reinholdt recently released a video detailing the results of his research into the best drone for architects and designers. The drone he chose is the Mavic Pro from DJI, which he says balances multiple factors like cost, portability, camera quality, stability, ease of operation, and flight time. The only major negative Reinholdt mentions is the camera’s fixed aperture; he recommends counteracting this by purchasing neutral density filters, which help adjust the camera’s exposure. But why architects? Reinholdt mentions the variety of possible uses for a drone throughout a project, but most importantly, he sees video as the future of telling the story of architecture. Through video, you can simulate a user's movement through spaces and mimic the experience of architecture.

Our Favorite Nordic Photographers: The Best Photos of The Week

08:00 - 2 July, 2017

Often informed by its harsh climate and stunning landscapes, Nordic design, specifically architecture, has a unique relationship with nature. Photographers of Nordic architecture have benefitted from studying this close connection in their photos that experiment with capturing light, innovative materials, and landscape to create a compelling composition. Below is a selection of images of both public and private architecture by prominent photographers such as Pasi Aalto, Bert Leandersson, Mika Huisman and Åke E: Lindman.

© Åke E:son Lindman © Pasi Aalto © Åke E:son Lindman © Rasmus Hjortshøj +8

See Thyssenkrupp's Sideways-Moving Elevator in Action

09:30 - 1 July, 2017

In this video, British YouTuber Tom Scott explores Thyssenkrupp’s potentially disruptive new "MULTI" elevator system,” which the company revealed in detail this week. Though only in its beta stage of development, being tested within the confines of ThyssenKrupp’s 246-meter tall “innovation” tower in Rottweil, Germany, Multi aims to transform high rise building design with horizontally moving elevator cabs.

The German firm’s cable-free system utilizes vertically mounted tracks, in-cab braking systems, and pivoting elevator tracks to whisk occupants up and across buildings faster and safer than traditional shaft based systems.

Envisioning a Hip-Hop Urbanism in Washington DC

09:30 - 30 June, 2017
Collage from Ivy City, a preliminary stage of the Ivy City Redux project. Image © Kyle Simmons
Collage from Ivy City, a preliminary stage of the Ivy City Redux project. Image © Kyle Simmons

The following is a manifesto, in search of a movement... In it, I am proposing a theory of architecture based around a ruffneck, antisocial, hip-hop, rudeboy ethos. [1]
– Kara Walker

In her companion publication to the 2014 group exhibition “Ruffneck Constructivists,” the show’s curator, Kara Walker, lays down a radical manifesto for urban intervention. Just months before Ferguson [2] and a year before Baltimore, [3] Walker proposes her theory through which installation artists (along with architects and designers by extension) can become “defiant shapers of environments.” [4] The invocation and juxtaposition of the terms hip-hop and architecture in the intro to her manifesto is particularly remarkable given the show’s exclusive assembly of visual and installation artists.

Is India's Plan to Build 100 Smart Cities Inherently Flawed?

09:30 - 29 June, 2017
Is India's Plan to Build 100 Smart Cities Inherently Flawed?, Mumbai Skyline. Image <a href='https://pixabay.com/en/mumbai-bombay-cityscape-skyline-390543/'>via Pixabay</a> by user PDPics (public domain)
Mumbai Skyline. Image via Pixabay by user PDPics (public domain)

The Indian Government’s Smart City Mission, launched in 2015, envisions the development of one hundred “smart cities” by 2020 to address the country’s rapid urbanization; thirty cities were added to the official list last week, taking the current total of planned initiatives to ninety. The $7.5-billion mission entails the comprehensive development of core infrastructure—water and electricity supply, urban mobility, affordable housing, sanitation, health, and safety—while infusing technology-based “smart solutions” to drive economic growth and improve the citizens’ quality of life in cities.

In a country bogged down by bureaucratic corruption, the mission has been commended for its transparent and innovative use of a nation-wide “City Challenge” to award funding to the best proposals from local municipal bodies. Its utopian manifesto and on-ground implementation, however, are a cause of serious concern among urban planners and policy-makers today, who question if the very idea of the Indian smart city is inherently flawed.

Why Are Alexander Calder Sculptures So Overused in Architecture Renders?

09:30 - 28 June, 2017
OMA, Park Grove Condos, Miami, featuring Calder’s Flamingo, 1973. The work is actually installed in Federal Plaza in Chicago. Image Courtesy of OMA
OMA, Park Grove Condos, Miami, featuring Calder’s Flamingo, 1973. The work is actually installed in Federal Plaza in Chicago. Image Courtesy of OMA

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Rendering LOL: How architects are absurdly using Calder sculptures."

Why do so many architects use Alexander Calder sculptures in their renderings, even when the works have nothing to do with the institution or project depicted? The Calder Foundation has been tracking this phenomenon, and the results are featured in the images for this article.

A new exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York explores mobiles—kinetic sculptures in which carefully balanced components reveal their own unique systems of movement—created by American sculptor Alexander Calder from 1930 until 1968, eight years before his death.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel, 53 W. 53rd Street, New York, featuring Calder’s Sumac, 1961. It is part of a Private Collection. Image Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Middle East Media Headquarters, featuring Calder’s La Grande vitesse, 1969. The monumental sculpture this model is based on is actually installed in Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Image Courtesy of BIG Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), Godrej BKC, Mumbai, featuring Calder’s La Grande vitesse, 1969 (The monumental sculpture this model is based on is actually installed in Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan). Image Courtesy of SOM Flamingo, 1973, installed at the Federal Center Plaza, Chicago. Image © Samuel Ludwig +15

"Faith Estates" Proposes a New Approach to Religious Pilgrimage by Excavating Holy Sites

09:30 - 27 June, 2017
Machaerus religious development. Image © Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, Nasser Alamadi
Machaerus religious development. Image © Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, Nasser Alamadi

In a time of what seems to be ever-increasing religious and political conflict, Bartlett students Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, and Nasser Alamadi instead chose to focus on collaboration between religions in their thesis project entitled “Faith Estates,” which outlines a new method of mass religious tourism. In an area around the Dead Sea characterized by disputed boundaries and conflicting ownership claims, the group aims to reimagine the relationship between the world’s three monotheistic religions, but also to rethink the relationship between religion, tourism, and the landscape. The design consists of large-scale excavation sites which form tourist resorts along a pilgrimage route with the goal of forming a mutually beneficial relationship.

Dead Sea secular development. Image © Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, Nasser Alamadi The processional route toward Machaerus. Image © Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, Nasser Alamadi Horkania archaeological development. Image © Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, Nasser Alamadi Dead Sea development. Image © Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, Nasser Alamadi +19

10 Exemplary Ways to Represent Architectonic Construction Details

14:00 - 26 June, 2017
10 Exemplary Ways to Represent Architectonic Construction Details, Project: Altos de San Antonio Club House / Dutari Viale Arquitectos. Image via © Dutari Viale Arquitectos
Project: Altos de San Antonio Club House / Dutari Viale Arquitectos. Image via © Dutari Viale Arquitectos

The visual presentation of a project, which architects are responsible for, must effectively communicate and analyze the organization of the project's material elements. This essential creative process allows those involved to effectively identify and even modify key aspects and components of the building during all phases of its conception.

Because of the inherent challenges of material selection and other practical issues, the development of what exactly will be built tends to be relegated to the end of the design process. But a true understanding of minor yet invaluable details is among the most interesting and important aspects of the best architectural projects.

In our search for the most outstanding recent examples of construction detail representations, we've collected a series of ten drawings that celebrate different styles and approaches.

*Editor's note: the following article was written by an editor of ArchDaily in Spanish. Some project descriptions mentioned have not yet been translated into English, but we are actively working to make this information available to our global readers. 

8 Extraordinary Examples of Abandoned Architecture

09:30 - 26 June, 2017
© <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buzludzha_Monument_Auditorium.jpg'>Wikimedia user Stanislav Traykov</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
© Wikimedia user Stanislav Traykov licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Throughout history shifting economies, disasters, regime changes, and utter incompetence have all caused the evacuation of impressive architectural structures. From the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine that rendered a region of the then-Soviet Union uninhabitable, to the decline in public transport that saw a number of US train stations becoming superfluous, the history of architectural abandonment touches all cultures. And, without regular maintenance, structures deteriorate, leaving behind no more than awe-inspiring ghosts of the past to fuel the ever-growing internet trend for "ruin porn." Below are 8 abandoned buildings slowly being reclaimed by nature:

© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/kntrty/3720075234/>Flickr user kntrty</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-2.0</a> © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Redsandsforts.jpg'>Wikimedia user Russss</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buffalo_Central_Terminal_(4844255509).jpg'>Wikimedia user Bruce Fingerhood</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-2.0</a> © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AMUSEMENT_PARK_AT_PRIPYAT_NEAR_THE_CHERNOBYL_PLANT_NOW_ABANDONED_UKRAINE_SEP_2013_(10006421786).jpg'>Wikimedia user calflier001</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-2.0</a> +9

Spotlight: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

14:00 - 25 June, 2017
Spotlight: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Franklin Court, Philadelphia. Image © Mark Cohn
Franklin Court, Philadelphia. Image © Mark Cohn

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).

This Sketchup Plugin Designs Structures Made From Plastic Bottles and 3D-Printed Joints

09:30 - 24 June, 2017
This Sketchup Plugin Designs Structures Made From Plastic Bottles and 3D-Printed Joints, The CHI'17 Pavilion. Image © Ludwig Wilhem Wall
The CHI'17 Pavilion. Image © Ludwig Wilhem Wall

The capabilities of personal 3D printing and fabrication are only beginning to be tested, but a new system is pushing the boundaries for feasible, structurally-sound large scale structures. Unlike other structures created by 3D printing systems, Trussfab doesn’t require access to specialized equipment, nor specific engineering knowledge, to print and build large-scale structures capable of supporting human weight. Phd researcher Robert Kovacs with his team from the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany created Trussfab as an end-to-end system allowing users to fabricate sturdy, large-scale structures using plastic bottles and 3D-printed connections, making them easy and relatively quick to construct.

A detailed view of the CHI'17 Pavilion construction. Image © Stephanie Neubert The CHI'17 Pavilion. Image © Ludwig Wilhem Wall A 3D printed hub with embossed ID numbers. Image © Hasso Plattner Institute Digital model of the CHI'17 Pavilion in the Trussfab editor in Sketchup. Image © Robert Kovacs and Oanh Lisa Nyugen Xuan +13

The Demolition of Delhi's Hall of Nations Reveals India's Broken Attitude to Architectural Heritage

09:30 - 23 June, 2017
The Demolition of Delhi's Hall of Nations Reveals India's Broken Attitude to Architectural Heritage, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/33834913@N00/409859817'>Flickr CC user Panoramas</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
© Flickr CC user Panoramas licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

On the morning of April 24th, Delhi’s architecture community reacted in shock and disgust to the news that the city's Hall of Nations and the four Halls of Industries had been demolished. Bulldozers had worked through the previous night at the Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds in central Delhi, where the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) razed the iconic structures to the ground, ignoring pleas from several Indian and international institutions.

The Hall of Nations, the world’s first and largest-span space-frame structure built in reinforced concrete, holds special significance in India’s post-colonial history—it was inaugurated in 1972 to commemorate twenty-five years of the young country’s independence. The demolition was met with widespread condemnation by architects and historians alike, not just because of the loss of an important piece of Delhi's heritage, but also for the clandestine manner in which the demolition was conducted.

The 58-Year Evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum

09:30 - 22 June, 2017
The 58-Year Evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1959, with the original yellow-brown painted facade. Image © Robert E. Mates
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1959, with the original yellow-brown painted facade. Image © Robert E. Mates

This article originally appeared on guggenheim.org/blogs under the title "Wright’s Living Organism: The Evolution of the Guggenheim Museum," and is used with permission.

Standing on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum construction site in 1957, architect Frank Lloyd Wright proclaimed, “It is all one thing, all an integral, not part upon part. This is the principle I’ve always worked toward.” The “principle” that Wright referred to is the design ideology that he developed over the course of his seventy-year career: organic architecture. At its core, that principle was an aspiration for spatial continuity, in which every element of a building would be conceived not as a discretely designed module, but as a constituent of the whole.

Although not Wright’s intention per se, it is fitting that the building he conceived of as a living organism has evolved over time. The overall integrity and character-defining spiral form have remained unchanged, but there have been a series of additions and renovations necessitated by the growth and modernization of the institution.

Spotlight: Alejandro Aravena

08:00 - 22 June, 2017
Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh
Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh

As founder of the “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (born on June 22, 1967) is perhaps the most socially-engaged architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Far from the usual aesthetically driven approach, Aravena explains that “We don’t think of ourselves as artists. Architects like to build things that are unique. But if something is unique it can’t be repeated, so in terms of it serving many people in many places, the value is close to zero.” [1] For Aravena, the architect’s primary goal is to improve people's way of life by assessing both social needs and human desires, as well as political, economic and environmental issues.

Life Before and After Architecture

06:00 - 22 June, 2017
Courtesy of The Leewardists
Courtesy of The Leewardists

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. David Bowie was right when he sang it – life’s full of so much uncertainty, variables, and excitement that half the battle is riding the wave and adapting as best as one can. Some adjustments are self-directed and others are forced upon us, but regardless of this, change allows us to reminisce, regret and reflect on what once was. 

Being an architect comes with its own set of significant life changes (and that’s in addition to that major wardrobe overhaul) which more often than not, can’t be helped. Gone are days of relaxation, relationships and rendezvous, now replaced by multitasking, models and meetings. But no matter how busy you are, a moment of self-reflection never hurt anyone. So switch off that second monitor, grab a coffee, and sit back, as we take a look at how your life has changed, for better or for worse, since that fateful day you stumbled upon architecture.