Connor Walker

Frank Lloyd Wright School Facing Loss of Accreditation

The School of Architecture’s Main Campus at West. Image © Flickr User: lumierefl

The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is currently at risk of losing its accreditation. The school has been cited as no longer meeting requirements by the Higher Learning Commission, a non-profit group whose approval is a prerequisite for the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)’s accreditation process. Founded in 1932 by Frank Lloyd Wright himself and still operating out of his campuses at Taliesin West and Taliesin, the school must now decide how best to meet HLC requirements, or risk losing the ability to confer Masters of Architecture degrees on its students.

Read on after the break to find out why the school faces this risk, and their plans to combat it

Rem Koolhaas Sheds Light on Lagos

In this interview conducted by the Brigtje van der Haak maker of the documentary Lagos Wide & Close, Rem Koolhaas discusses his research on the urbanization of Nigeria‘s largest city, . While this research is as yet unpublished, Koolhaas discusses external influences on the city’s architecture, how his visits have affected his view of the profession, and Lagos’ future potential. The documentary by van der Haak, released on DVD in 2004, is an interactive exploration of Lagos from a multitude of scales. Now, it has been adapted for the web, and can be viewed in its entirety here!

Thomas Phifer and Partners Wins Competition to Design Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

View inside the Forum. Image © Thomas Phifer and Partners

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw has announced that Thomas Phifer and Partners will be designing their new gallery space, after winning a competition against eleven selected practices. The new museum, the largest cultural project in recent Polish history, will also house the TR Warsawa Theatre. The proposal consists of two separate buildings housing the theater and museum, joined by a common forum that will serve both as entrance and public multi-use space.

Prisoners Designing Prisons: Restorative Justice in Action

Courtesy of CLOG

The design of prisons is a controversial topic for architects, but Deanna VanBuren takes a novel approach to the subject. Designing for a judicial system that advocates “restorative justice,” VanBuren works with felons, victims, and architects to create spaces where everyone can undergo a healing process following a crime. In a recent profile, the L.A. Times documents one of her design workshops with prisoners, demonstrating how this form of outreach can change the lives of those inside. Read the full story here. Also, be sure to check out our interview with Deanna VanBuren here!

Studio CTC Imagines Terraced Twin Skyscrapers in Hong Kong

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Skyscrapers have developed a typical form language over the past century—many of them are large, rectangular, and sheathed in glass, but Studio CACHOUA TORRES CAMILLETTI is changing that. Working with the notion that even superstructures should be as varied as the cities they’re built in, the Mexican design firm has created a spectacular vision for a skyscraper in Hong Kong. With two curvilinear towers that support rice paddies on their terraces, the proposal includes cultural context in the very structure of the building.

St. Petersburg Calls for New Pier Design Submissions

St Petersburg’s pier as it is today. Image © Flickr CC User Robert Neff

The city of St. Petersburg, Florida is once more seeking candidates for the design of its new pier. The call comes two years after a pier design by Michael Maltzan Architecture was selected over rival schemes by BIG and West 8, but was eventually turned down after significant public criticism. To avoid a repeat of that incident, the current selection process for candidates and their subsequent proposals will incorporate more community input.

More on the competition after the break

Should China put Design Restrictions on New Developments?

Apartments in Shenzhen. Image © Neville Mars under a CC licence

China may be at a turning point in urban design: a recent article in Australian Financial Review points out that over 50 million apartments in Chinese cities (about 22.5 percent) are unoccupied. This problem springs from the ongoing Chinese construction boom, prompted by developers looking to stimulate urban economic growth as quickly as possible. However, Ma Yansong of MAD Architects believes these empty apartments are a sign that buyers find them unsuited to their needs, and that China should begin to enforce good design principles on these rapidly-constructed complexes. Read the full article here.

Jiminez Lai and Bureau Spectacular Present: Flipping Properties

© Kevin Pazik

Designed for a laneway inside the Little Portugal neighborhood of Toronto, Flipping Properties tests the boundaries between architecture and furniture. The exhibition, created by Jiminez Lai and his team, Bureau Spectacular, unravels the traditional pentagonal shape of a house to create ‘super-furniture.’ Super-furniture is defined by Lai as “too to be furniture and too small to be architecture.” The large installation pieces are meant to encourage dialogue on unused urban spaces in Toronto, while creating a novel way to interact with those spaces. Despite their size, the pieces can be rearranged within the laneway, allowing for a variety of assemblages to be created.  Flipping Properties opened July 11th, and will be in place until September 14th in the laneway between Sheridan Avenue and Gordon Street in Toronto. Admission is free to the public. See the full gallery of exhibition photos, after the break.

KPF Obtains Planning Permission for London’s “New Bondway”

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After months of planning and preliminary design, it is expected that architecture firm KPF will be given permission to proceed with their New Bondway project in Vauxhall, London. This residential complex is sited in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area, in close proximity to the new US embassy. The property was previously to be the site for the Octave Tower designed by Make architects, until the proposal was rejected by the Secretary of State.

PAR Awarded AIA LA’s Presidential Emerging Practice Award

Taichung Cultural Center- Park View. Image by Luxigon. Image Courtesy of

Design firm Platform for Architecture + Research (PAR) has been awarded AIA Los Angeles’ Presidential Emerging Practice Award. The award, which reflects “notable, innovative achievements in design and service to the profession,” is the highest honor given by LA each year. This year, in response to Los Angeles’s continued urban evolution, the award jury nominated those firms who “take leadership roles in advancing the profession and thus, the City.” PAR fit the bill, both for their research-based design approach, and their commitment to improving public life through design.  See some of their latest work, after the break!

Spotlight: Joshua Prince-Ramus

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the 45th of Joshua Prince-Ramus. Receiving a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Yale, Prince-Ramus graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1996. He was one of the founding principals of OMA’s New York office, eventually buying out Rem Koolhaas’s share of the company in 2006 to form a separate office entirely: REX. Prince-Ramus continues as head of the firm to this day.

JAJA Designs “Park ‘N’ Play” Parking Garage in Copenhagen

Exterior View. Image © JAJA Architects

With the intention of creating a beautiful public space from what is usually one-function building, JAJA architects are redefining what a parking deck can be. Their recent competition entry for a parking garage in the city of Nordhavn, Copenhagen is an inviting structure that incorporates green facades and a rooftop playground, making full use of its placement in an up-and-coming urban neighborhood. Read all about the aptly named “Park ‘N’ Play”, after the break.

Junya Ishigami to Install “Cloud Arch” in Downtown Sydney

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Set to be installed over a set of light rail tracks, Junya Ishigami’s Cloud Arch will soon be one of the biggest landmarks in downtown Sydney.  Commissioned by Sydney’s public art program, City Art, the arch will symbolize Sydney’s qualities of being “Green, Global, and Connected.” Over 50 meters high, it will change shape as viewer’s walk past it. Cloud Arch will act as both a gateway for the pedestrian George Street, and a defining feature of the city.

Atkins Designs Striking Office Complex in Guangzhou

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Design and engineering firm Atkins has been commissioned by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to design a series of new office buildings in Guanzhou. Their proposed design takes the form of three independent buildings, two of which form large, window-like structures. With a working title “Window of ,” these buildings will commemorate the city’s history as the first Chinese port city opened to international trade along China’s legendary Silk Road.

Mirrored Seafront Pavilion Among Seven Installations at Festival Des Architectures Vives

Each summer, the French cities of Montpellier and La Grande Motte host Le Festival Des Architectures Vives (Festival of Lively Architecture). These twin festivals seek to raise awareness about architecture among the public, and to give needed exposure to the work of up-and-coming designers. In the process, they also draw attention to previously unknown places in the two cities—in Montpellier, many of the private courtyards in the city are opened to the public specifically for the festival. In La Grande Motte, the exhibition weaves its way through the city center, a site designated as “Heritage of the 20th Century” due to the prevalence of works designed by architect Jean Balladur. This year’s festivals featured a total of 18 temporary installations. Read more about the festivals, and view photos, after the break.

UNStudio Revamps Hanwha Offices with Shimmering LED Facade

Exterior View- Night. Image ©

With a glittering exterior that benefits both the interior and the exterior, UNStudio’s renovation proposal for Hanwha headquarters has recently won them first place in a competition to redesign the company’s office tower. Located in Seoul, South Korea, the tower is sited in the busy Cheonggyecheon district of the city. The new design will help to visually reestablish Hanwha as a leader in environmental technology, both in Korea and internationally.

Under the Skin: Exploring BIG Through the Danish Maritime Museum

© Rasmus Hjortshøj

With a voluminous portfolio and a bold, light-hearted persona, Bjarke Ingels is among the most respected young architects of the era. Now, as he enters his forties, this article from Icon looks at one of his longest-running projects: The Danish National Maritime Museum. Exploring the development of this project from competition winning proposal in 2006 to completion last year, it discusses some of BIG’s more daring decisions for the museum’s design, as well as Ingels’ development as an architect on the international stage.

Gehry to Design Campus for Non-Profit in Los Angeles Neighborhood

Watts Tower. Image via Wikimedia

Frank Gehry, renowned for his often enormous public works projects, is turning his attention to something on a smaller scale: a campus for the non-profit organization CII (Children’s Institute Inc.) in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Perhaps best known for Watts tower, the architecture of Watts is shaped by limited income and the need to deter vandalism. according to the LA Times Gehry’s intervention will hopefully be a tipping point for a neighborhood desperate to change not just its aesthetic but its future. Read the full article about the project here.