Connor Walker

NLÉ Wins Competition to Design Financial Headquarters in Lagos

Atrium Ground Floor. Image ©

International design firm NLÉ has recently shared its competition-winning design for the financial headquarters of the microfinance bank Credit Direct Limited. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, in the Ikeja district, the bank’s design abandons the forbidding presence of most financial institutions for one that is open and welcoming. This decision not only invites clientele inside, but creates opportunities for adaptation to the tropical weather of .

Group8asia Selected to Realize “Verdant Urban Oasis” in Singapore

Balcony View. Image Courtesy of

Group8asia has recently taken first place in a competition meant to revive the concept of public housing in Singapore. The Punggol Waterway Terraces, so named for the river on which they’re set, will be a sustainable community that aims to echo the utopic exuberance of ’s first housing developments in the 1970s. Arranged around central courtyards, these high-rise apartments hope to create a sleek, graceful skyline that contrasts with the verdant greenery of their landscape.

Robert A.M. Stern 2015 Travel Fellowship Applications Now Available

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This week, Robert A.M. Stern Architects released applications for its third annual Travel Fellowship. The $10,000 grant is given to an architecture student in the penultimate year of their Master’s degree study. The recipient must be attending one of 18 U.S. and Canadian schools, and show “insight and interest in the profession and its future, as well as the ability to carry forth in-depth research.” The prize money will be used to support travel and research based on Robert A.M. Stern’s own philosophy of reinventing traditional architecture. Check your eligibility and apply for the  here!

Accelerate@CERN Offers Research Stay and Chance to Create Physics-Inspired Architecture

© Arts@

The practice of architecture has always been intertwined with the study of physics, both in structure and aesthetics. As the nuances of physics become better understood, architecture has the opportunity to grow and change, such as in Herzog and de Meuron’s particle physics-based designs. In the interest of nurturing the relationship between these two fields, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Department of Arts of the Federal Chancellery of are teaming up to offer the Accelerate@CERN Austria award. Read on to learn more.

Call for Papers: STUDIO Magazine Investigates “Urban Pause”

© Studio Magazine

STUDIO Architecture and Urban Magazine is calling for submissions for its ISSUE#8 publication: Pause. As the title suggests, the issue will look at the modern city’s propensity for change and movement by focusing on “the crystallization of a moment, a temporary stop out of time and space, where you can listen to the sound of silence.” The magazine is looking for a variety of different submissions, from essays to infographics, relating to any field of design. Interested contributors must send a 200-word abstract (in English) explaining their proposal. The deadline for this is February 25th. Final pieces chosen for the issue are to be submitted by March 20th, with an expected publication date in April. For full submission requirements, click here!

NL Architects Propose Striking Chain of Amethyst-Inspired Hotels

View from Base of Tower. Image ©

Cultures around the world attribute magical properties to the amethyst gem. The lustrous purple quartz is said to bring good fortune, heal illness, and calm the mind. It makes sense, then, that NL Architects have modeled their latest hotel chain proposal after an amethyst geode. Designed based on the original hotel layouts of John Portman, this visually striking tower series aims to serve as a symbol of hospitality and well-being for visitors around the world.

Sergei Tchoban on the Importance of Drawing and Details in Architecture

Berlin Art Link recently sat down with Russian-born, German architect Sergei Tchoban. In the above, he discusses his career, including working on the design for the Vostok Tower, Europe’s tallest skyscraper, and the recent opening of the Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing. This building houses his extensive personal works, as well as exhibitions by other artists.  “What is very important for me is the quality of all details, so you create a building from outline, from the silhouette, to the door lever. This building brings out a lot of our and my personal ideas about architecture and about details in architecture,” Tchoban said regarding his design for the Museum for Architectural Drawing. The exterior of the building expresses Tchoban’s devotion to draftsmanship– the facade of the building is etched with a graphic pattern based on sketches from artists Angelo Toseli and Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga. “I’m very active in drawings, as a draftsman myself.  Drawing is a result of our thinking process and our thinking process is not only a thinking process with the head, with the mind, but also the process where you think with the whole body.” 

Knight Cities Challenge Selects 126 Finalists

© AIA Detroit Chapter’s Urban Priorities Committee

Last week, the Knight Foundation announced the 126 finalists for its Knight Cities Challenge. This Challenge was an open call for ideas on how to invigorate the 26 US communities that receive funding from the Foundation. Over 7,000 submissions were received, with ideas ranging from the installation of street arcades to the transformation of vacant city lots. The chose submissions from each of the 26 communities, selecting those that best encouraged community engagement, provided economic opportunity, and made the city a more attractive place to be. See the full list of finalists, here!

Utopia Arkitekter Designs Apartment Block with Rooftop Park for Stockholm

One of three new housing blocks in Hornsbruksgatan. Image ©

The Södermalm district of Stockholm will be receiving a unique new addition to its collection of residential housing. Utopia Arkitekter has proposed a redevelopment plan along Hornsbruksgatan that will include three apartment buildings and a new metro station. In total, the plan will create 29 units: twelve and seventeen town houses. Rising two to three stories above the street, the connected roofs of each of these buildings will act as an extension to the nearby Högalid Park.

Artplace Offering Grants for Cultural Installations

Courtesy of Artplace

Artplace America is offering up to $3 million in funding to an applicant non-governmental organization (NGO) in six different regions of the US as a part of its Community Development Investments program. Artplace will select these six organizations based on their interest in “sustainably incorporating arts and cultural strategies into the organizations work.” If selected, NGOs will work with financial advisement teams, as well as creative consultants to make the best use of the grant money. To see if your organization is eligible, click here!

Yoko Ono and Project 120 Collaborate to Reimagine Chicago’s Jackson Park

Aerial View of the Park. Image Courtesy of Chicago

Chicago’s Jackson Park is expected to see some big changes in the coming years. Nonprofit organization Project 120 is working to revitalize the park, restoring many of the design aspects implemented by its landscape architect, the famous Frederick Law Olmsted. Alongside this restoration, the park will also receive a new Phoenix Pavilion, homage to Japan’s gift to the US for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. An outdoor performance space will be added to the park, as will an installation funded by musician and activist Yoko Ono. See the details, after the break.

New Documentary Chronicles the Rise and Fall of Brazil’s Sérgio Bernardes

Few remember the name . A prominent Brazilian architect in the 1960s, Bernardes was a contemporary of Oscar Niemeyer, renowned for his elegant upper-class houses, as well as his fondness for car-racing and womanizing. In the latter half of his career, Bernardes turned away from the decadence of high society, devoting himself to solving the world’s problems through his progressive strain of architecture. This devotion led him to partner with the Brazilian dictatorship, believing that he could reform the government from within. The result was a series of unsuccessful projects that left him unpopular and eventually ignored by the public. Now, a documentary about the rise and fall of this once-iconic architect has premiered this week in London. Titled Bernardes, and directed by Paulo de Barros and Gustavo Gama Rodrigues, the film explores the series of events that led Bernardes to anonymity.

Allies and Morrison to Masterplan New City District in Oman

Wadi Kabir, Muscat. Image © Flickr User MOHAMMED RAFIQUE2011

The competition to masterplan Muscat, Oman’s new district, Al-Irfan, is over. Organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (), five teams were chosen to submit proposals for the development project. Of those five, international firm Allies and Morrison has been selected to oversee the design process. The firm will be working in with the Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran) to develop a site of over 7.4 million square meters into a thriving urban center that will provide business and residential opportunities for the people of Oman.

13 New Buildings Join the World’s 100 Tallest List in Record-Breaking Year

2014 Tallest #10: Torre Costanera, Santiago, 300 meters. Image © Pablo Blanco

This past year was a record-breaking season for skyscraper construction. According to a new survey by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), 2014 saw the completion of 97 buildings that were at least 200 meters tall. Of those, 11 were 300 meters or taller, earning them the classification of “supertall.” These are the highest figures on record, with 2011, for example, seeing only 87 200-meters-plus buildings completed.

In addition, in 2014 the total height of completed buildings (23,333 meters) broke the 2011 record of 19,852 meters. With major countries like becoming increasingly urbanized, and the world economy recovering from recession, the CTBUH expects that these numbers will only increase. See the details of CTBUH’s report, and learn what the numbers may predict about the future of skyscraper construction, after the break.

Chicago Architecture Data: A Historic Buildings Guide For the Windy City

Kelly Hall. Image © John Morris

Visiting a city as large as Chicago can be overwhelming. For the architect, this is doubly true. The city is a treasure trove of architectural history, perhaps most notable as the birthplace of the skyscraper and the . Names like Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Daniel Burnham are commonplace in , their buildings nestled amidst more modern works by the likes of SOM, Jelmut Jahn, and Studio Gang Architects.

Still more works are hidden away in obscure corners of the city, less well known but equally representative of the time and style in which they were built. In the interest of cataloging these buildings, and bringing attention to those that may not be on the typical city tour, blogger John Morris has created Chicago Architecture Data. A near-comprehensive survey of projects built before 1940 organized by neighborhood and architectural style, Chicago Architecture Data is a veritable history book for the architecture of the Windy City.

Five Design Teams Re-Envision New York’s Public Libraries

Hunts Point Library concept. Image Courtesy of Andrew Berman Architect, Library Development Solutions, Neil Donnelly, AEA Consulting, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander

There are 207 branch libraries in the city of New York, each providing a number of services to city residents. From the simple lending of books to adult technical literacy classes, these institutions are as vital as they were before the advent of the internet, and their attendance numbers prove it. Between the years of 2002 and 2011, circulation in the city’s library systems increased by 59%. Library program attendance saw an increase of 40%. In spite of this, library funding was cut by 8% within this same timeframe, which has made it difficult to keep many of the system’s buildings in good repair. To spark interest and support from city leaders, The Architectural League, in collaboration with the Center for an Urban Future, instigated the design study Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries.

Sponsored by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the study is the effort of five design teams chosen by the League. These teams – including MASS Design Group and SITU STUDIO - were charged with proposing exciting new library designs that follow the League’s themes of “integrating libraries into the city’s housing and community development goals, reconfiguring libraries to meet community needs, and developing new ideas for expanding the impact of branch libraries.” The teams presented their work at a January 4th symposium. See each of the proposals, as well as video footage of that symposium, after the break.

Competition Entry: Tomas Ghisellini Proposes “Supernova” School of Music for Bressanone

Two-Level Urban Patio. Image © Tomas Ghisellini Arcitects

The city of Bressanone, Italy, is looking for a new School of Music, and Tomas Ghisellini Architects have won a recognition of honor for their proposal. Taking inspiration from the loggias, piazzas and cloisters of the surrounding city, their school design creates a “landscape within a landscape” in which students may study and practice music. Called “Supernova,” the design includes a rehearsal hall, classrooms, and plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces that act as transitional space between the city fabric and the abutting parkland. Learn more, after the break.

Nonprofit Group ACDU Seeks to Transform Abandoned D.C. Trolley Station

East Platform. Image Courtesy of the Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground

The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground (ACDU) has taken on the task of revitalizing an abandoned trolley station beneath Dupont Circle in the Northwest quadrant of Washington D.C. The nonprofit organization recently signed for a 66-month lease of the property with the District of Columbia’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Within that timeframe, the group will transform the space into a permanent cultural hotspot capable of hosting performances, art exhibitions, and other public functions. Learn more, and contribute to the ACDU’s Fundable campaign for this project, after the break.