David Basulto

Graduate Architect. Co Founder and Executive Editor of ArchDaily.com. Architecture geek.

Will The +POOL Be The Largest Crowdfunded Civic Project Ever?

Courtesy of Family / PlayLab, Inc.

Historically, large city-changing projects have depended on the personal interests of a powerful individual: someone able to swim across both political and financial waters. But recently, projects like the High Line have shown the power and potential of projects envisioned and led by local communities.

Back in 2011 we visted our friends at CASE in their West Village office and they introduced us to a small firm across the hall: Family. While the team was working hard on a model in the middle of their large table, partner Dong-Ping Wong showed us some of their recent projects. One of them immediately caught our attention. A floating  for Manhattan. In the form of a cross, it would sit in the East River, filtering its waters into four pools. This amazing — and seemingly crazy — idea was tantalizing.

Archaeology of the Periphery: Moscow Beyond Its Center

In Archaeology of the Periphery, a publication emerging out of the Moscow Urban Forum, a variety of specialists tackle the issue of a strategy for the development of ’s metropolitan area. As one of the best examples of urban concentric development, teams of engineers, architects, planners, economists and sociologists, studied the Russian metropolis with a pointed focus on the periphery—specifically the territory between the Third Ring Road and the Ring Road. Using an “archaeological” approach, the study reveals entrenched and hidden planning structures in order to increase the awareness and attractiveness of the periphery. Archaeology of the Periphery argues that examination of the city’s fringe requires different methods of analysis than would be applied to traditional city centers.

“As the centre sets a certain quality of life and serves as a benchmark for the entire city, the high “gravitation” of the centre makes the signs of urban life invisible on the outskirts. Different optics are required in order to work with the non-central urban space. The tactic of “taking out” the centre and “sharpening the focus” on the peripheral territory will reveal what has been obscured and help identify the processes that take place, study potential, support or control the current forces at play.

The term “periphery,” which is based on the opposition to a semantic centre is used in a wide range of scientific fields. The myriad of approaches underlines the ambiguity of the phenomenon and at the same time provides a base for an multidisciplinary research. This research was performed by experts in sociology (S), politics (P), architecture and urban planning (A), culture (C), economics (E) and data (D). Methodology — SPACED — allows a broader view of the actual and potential intersections, going.”

AD Interviews: Arthur Andersson / Andersson-Wise

We caught up with Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise during last year’s AIA convention, where he received status. As the firm’s design director, Andersson shepherds their work through the various phases of the design process with a particular attention to the client’s role.

The work of Andersson-Wise can be defined as authentically local, with a strong emphasis on materials and details. The Texas-based architects use passive energy approaches in their large projects that appear as if they have been extrapolated from their detailed, smaller scale projects. The W Austin, the only mixed-use LEED Silver building in Texas, has design features that strategically reduce energy usage and heat gain. Sustainability in architecture is at the core of their approach–deeply rooted in the spirit and materiality of the buildings.

Their versatility is evident in their successful completion of projects of different scales. They place a premium on the practice of drawing by hand and, as a result, their projects achieve a certain level of sustainability that doesn’t detract from Andersson-Wise’s portfolio of  timeless work.

Check out Andersson-Wise’s projects on :

AD Interviews: Jeanne Gang / Studio Gang Architects

If you don’t know Jeanne Gang, here’s the short and impressive bio: she received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois and then went on to Harvard’s GSD for her masters degree. After working at OMA (where she participated in projects such as the Maison à Bordeaux), Jeanne founded Studio Gang in 1997. She has since become a MacArthur Fellow and was 2011′s Fast Company Master of Design. So it was particularly exciting to sit down with Jeanne at the 2013 in Singapore.

The work of Studio Gang is very broad, from private residences to community facilities, from small pavilions to an 82-story tower. But all of them have follow a clear line: careful attention to the materials, and a constant research leading to innovations in terms of sustainability and fabrication.

Projects such as the recently honored WMS Boathouse add to Studio Gang’s consistent presence in Chicago’s new architecture, which also includes the stunning Aqua Tower and other projects that serve local communities (such as the new venue for the Writers’ Theater and Lincoln Zoo South Pond Pavilion). Yet she also displays a commitment to her city’s heritage, as can be seen in her proposal for Prentice Hospital.

Be sure to watch our interview with Jeanne Gang and check out Studio Gang’s projects on .

AD Interviews: Winka Dubbeldam

At last week’s Mextrópoli conference we spoke with about the challenges of architecture education. We also asked her to elaborate on why she thinks architecture should embrace industrial design tools. Watch the short clip to hear Winka’s thoughts on making technology a more integral part of our built environment.

Winka Dubbeldam, Assoc. AIA, is the founder and principal of Archi-Tectonics, and is Professor and Chair of the Graduate Department of Architecture at PennDesign, Philadelphia. 

AD Interviews: Brendan MacFarlane / Jakob + MacFarlane

Paris-based architect Brendan MacFarlane, of the firm Jakob + MacFarlane, spoke to us during our visit to the FRAC Centre in Orléans for the ArchiLab 2013 exhibition and conference. MacFarlane, who studied at Sci-Arc in the 80s and later received a degree from Harvard’s GSD, successfully combines theory and form, placing him among the few architects that have been able to harmonize this balance.

’s special and precise handling of the grids generates projects that, while outwardly complex, are actually deceivingly so. Based not on strong computational muscle but actually a more simple deformation of grids, their projects can appear nearly impossible or too complex to realize. Yet they are able to make these buildings a reality.

Along with his partner Dominique Jakob, the duo’s consistent methodology doesn’t rely on constant innovation. MacFarlane posits that “sometimes it’s about doing something simple that’s kind of obvious.“ This has yielded a stylistic variety that evades singular typecasting.

They are not afraid to combine existing structures with their proposals–in fact, they welcome it. What they do is strategic: a kind of rational deformation of otherwise uniform and uncomplicated geometry, with the computer acting as a tool (but not a generative one).

Be sure to check out the interview, as well as Jakob + MacFarlane‘s projects on ArchDaily.

Jury Member Juhani Pallasmaa On Finding Less “Obvious” Pritzker Laureates

Last week, while the ArchDaily team was in Mexico City for the Conference, we caught up with Pritzker Jury member and asked him to shed some light onto the recent winners of one of architecture’s highest honors. Watch Pallasmaa, a renowned Finnish architect and professor, explain what motivates his approach for recognizing architects in a world with “so much publicity.”

“The Pritzker jury has now, for at least 5 years, tried to select architects who are not the most obvious names because there is so much publicity in the architectural world and we’d rather try to find architects who have not been published everywhere else…”

AD Interviews Pritzker Prize Winner Shigeru Ban

Last week we had the opportunity to interview this year’s Pritzker Prize winner, Shigeru Ban, within his Metal Shutters Houses in New York City. The Japanese architect, who was a member of the Pritzker jury from 2006-2009, gave us his thoughtful, humble response to receiving architecture’s most prestigious prize, saying the win is an “encouragement for me to continue working to make great architecture as well as working in disaster areas.”

When we asked him how he remains so committed to humanitarian efforts, balancing them with his other commissions, he explained: “I also like to make monuments because monuments can be wonderful treasures for the city, but also I knew many people were suffering after the natural disasters, and the government provided them very poor evacuation facilities and temporary housing. I believe I can make them better.”

Read the entire interview transcript, in which Ban discusses his innovative use of materials and gives us a few anecdotes about studying in the US, after the break.

AD Interviews: Antón García-Abril / Ensamble Studio

Spanish firm Ensamble Studio has always captivated me with the high level of experimentation found in their built works. Their construction processes are unique, and their projects elegantly explore the tension between structure, matter and space with impeccable technical execution–as seen at the award-winning Hemeroscopium House’s delicately balanced intersected prefab elements.

From the small Truffle in the Mediterranean coast, to the delicate roof of the Cervantes Theater in Mexico City, their work is always reinterpreting materials. The Cervantes Theater roof, for example, stands elegantly between projects by FR-EE and Chipperfield, marking the location of an underground venue below through a carefully balanced steel structure. From certain angles, though, one sees a laminar structure that lets light pass through. 

The firm is based in Madrid, and is directed by architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, together with Javier Cuesta. Antón is currently full-professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT.

In this interview Antón tells us that architecture is part science, part poetry, and that Ensamble has found success by treating their practice as a laboratory, academy and consultancy company. Read the full transcript after the break.

AD Interviews: Bjarke Ingels / BIG

At , we think that Bjarke Ingels is one of the most inspiring architects practicing today. Having found success at a relatively young age, Bjarke has never shied away from embracing his YES IS MORE philosophy. His conspicuous enthusiasm for the potential of architecture and design sets him apart from his peers. And it is precisely this go-to attitude that has allowed him to overcome some of the significant limits that face many young architects today. An impressive portfolio of both built and upcoming projects shows that his approach to design, though sometimes criticized, is profoundly impacting the social environment of architecture. 

On running an office, Bjarke says that “you have the opportunity and the responsibility to create the work environment that you would like to work in.” He has modeled his firm as a type of organism that is able to adapt to growth and change. In the interview, Bjarke explains that not only does his own role constantly evolve, but that the success of is contingent on the invaluable contributions of his partners. BIG is more than just Bjarke. 

We also asked him to define architecture (“the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings actually fit with the way we want to live our lives”), and to give students advice about pursuing a career in architecture. Be sure to read the full interview after the break.

AD Interviews: David Gianotten / OMA

During the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, we had the opportunity to speak with David Gianotten, partner-in-charge of OMA’s Hong Kong office. Gianotten launched the Dutch firm’s Asian headquarters in 2009, where he supervises major projects such as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Taipei Performing Arts Centre.

Standing outside of the recently completed Stock Exchange headquarters, he answered our questions about urbanization, innovation and the intricacies of running an office in an environment with such rapid urban growth. Shenzhen has proven an experiment of economic openness and is a vivid example of China’s recent growth. The city’s skyline is practically a physical graph of an upward-trending economy, with buildings designed by nearly every internationally renowned architecture firm. But ’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange building stands apart from the rest not only because of its impeccable construction (a rarity in the fast-paced building booms of Chinese cities), but also because it houses the institution that lists China’s biggest companies.

The 254 meter tower is an elegant structure that combines pure volumes with an exoskeleton grid clad in translucent glass. It represents a characteristic OMA-approach to innovative architectural solutions, made possible by extensive programmatic and technical research.

Read the full interview (which includes Gianotten’s insights on the study of architecture, the role of architects, and the importance of simplicity when communicating complex innovation) after the break.

Winners of the 2014 Building of the Year Awards

We are happy to present the winners of the 2014 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards, a peer-based, crowdsourced, architecture award where the collective intelligence of 60,000 architects filter and recognize the best architecture featured on during the past year.

This group of buildings is unique in several aspects, in their spatial qualities and materials, yes, but also in terms of what they represent for the communities they serve. Each of these projects, in their own special way, solve unique social/environmental/economic challenges, and in so doing impart knowledge and inspiration to architects around the world. This is exactly our mission. So thank you, thanks for being a part of this amazing process, where the global voices of architects unite into one, strong, intelligent, forward-thinking message.

The practices with the most votes, and therefore the winners of the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter are Auburn University Rural Studio and Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade. The winners of the iPad Minis are Alexander Munn and Kirsten Martins.

Plumber: Is This Not A Pipe? – Launch of Volume 37

Launch of Volume #37: “Is this not a pipe?”.

With the participation of Benedict Clouette (C-Lab), Jeffrey Inaba (C-Lab), Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Mahadev Raman (ARUP), Hilary Sample (MOS).

“Pipes are the physical remainder of life in buildings.” With contributions by Juan Herreros, Neil Denari, Andrés Jaque, Matthias Schuler, and many others, Volume 37: Is This Not A Pipe poses the age-old question: Tube or not Tube?

The issue will be available for purchase at the discounted rate of $10.

We cannot beat Banham, but we can update you on what happened since 1972, when Rayner Banham published his seminal The Architecture of the Well Tempered EnvironmentC-Lab did extensive new research on the relation between installations, buildings and architecture…

“Architecture relies on machines. They make the structures of our cities liveable.”

Life in buildings is supported by pipes. Ducts, conduits, water mains, and cables support biological and social life in spaces that are today held together by air-conditioning, electricity, and telecommunications as much as by form and materials. But while pipes and the machines they connect are part of buildings, they are often left out of architecture.

It’s fascinating to see how architects dealt with pipes in history and what challenges they face today. How did Mies van der Rohe solve this issue, what was Norman Foster’s approach and what does someone like Bjarke Ingels have to say on this? They’ve come up with all sort of strategies, from deceitfully transparent buildings seemingly without any mechanical installation, to faux ‘oil refineries’ showcasing the machinery that makes the mechanism tick. The latest strategy is trying to do away with installations altogether and make the building itself perform without mechanical support: smart ‘downgrading’.

This issue of Volume presents C-lab’s research – which will also be a part of next year’s Venice Biennale in ’ Fundamentals show – and includes contributions by Mark Wigley, Kiel Moe, David Gissen, An Te Lui, Phil Bernstein, Filip Tejchman, John Hejduk and James Stamp. Also interviews with Matthias Schuler, Neil Denari, Christian Kerez, Bjarke Ingels, Tom Wiscombe, Andrès Jaque, MOS, Juan Herreros, Philippe Rahm, Mahadev Raman, Florian Idenburg and Lothar Schwedt.

Volume #37: Is This Not a Pipe?
160 pages
Binding: Soft-cover
ISBN 978 90 77966 372
Price: € 19.50
Release: November 2013
Editor-in-chief: Arjen Oosterman
Contributing editors: Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
This issue’s editor: Jeffrey Inaba
Design: Irma Boom and Sonja Haller
Publisher: Stichting Archis

2014 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards: The Finalists

After an intense week of nominations, the collective intelligence of has evaluated over 3,500 projects and narrowed down the list to 5 finalists per category.

We were very happy to see the level of participation from our readers – over 15,000 individuals expressed what architecture means to them through the buildings they chose.

And we have to congratulate you, as the finalists are outstanding. From all over the world, by firms of all sizes and trajectories, ranging from community-built projects to large scale complex programs, these buildings all have one thing in common: excellent architecture that can improve people’s lives.

You can vote for your favorite projects starting today and until January 30th, 2014 (read the complete rules).

Remember that the two projects with the most votes will receive an HP Designjet T520 ePrinter, and that we are going to give away two iPad Minis to our readers during the final voting stage.

The winners of the two iPad Minis from the nomination stage are: Shelby Nease and Kristen Johnson (you’ll receive an email shorty).

Make your voice heard – vote for your favorite projects for the 2014 Building of the Year Awards!

2013 Hong Kong Biennale, UABB (Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism /Architecture)

Make Out City, BKK Collective (Architect Kidd, Chat Architects, Studio Make, Things Matter)

Now in its 5th edition, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture (UABB) is the only biennial exhibition in the world to be based exclusively on the themes of urbanism and urbanization. The Biennale is co-organized by Shenzhen and Hong Kong, two of the most intensely urban cities in the world, where political and economical contexts have shaped unique urban dynamics.

On display until February 23rd, the Biennale is curated by Colin Fournier, together with Executive Curators Joshua Lau and Allen Poon of TETRA and Travis Bunt and Tat Lam of URBANUS.

The Biennale is “informed by the singularity of Hong Kong but it will not be primarily about Hong Kong, just as the Venice Biennale is not about Venice: it will be about the cities of the world, making use of the unique bi-city setting of the Biennale as a platform to address global issues in a visionary and critical way.” You can read the complete curatorial statement here.

Photos and more about the individual exhibits after the break:

AD Interviews: Yuri Grigoryan and Alexei Komissarov / Moscow Urban Forum

Last month we had the chance to attend to the III Moscow Urban Forum, an instance where urbanists, architects, city mayors, the real estate industry and the citizens of Moscow had an open dialogue related to the future of the city under the theme “Megacities: Success Beyond the Centre”. The forum was organized by the Government of Moscow, who invited global urban planning gurus with experience in developing suburbs, to discuss how to resolve the problems of deprived outskirts, how to transform “dead” zones in towns into socially beneficial areas for work and leisure, how make a city environmentally sound and comfortable for living at a low cost, and how to create a transport system that is convenient for its citizens. 

During the forum we had the opportunity to talk and interview with some of these city makers, which will be published in the next days.

To better understand where is Moscow going and why its new periphery is an important object of study, we talked with Yuri Grigoryan and

Yuri is the cofounder of the renowned Russian firm Project Meganom and the Director of Education at Strelka, who guided the team that prepared the research project “Archeology of the Periphery”, a central part of the forum. 

Alexei Komissarov is the Moscow Government Minister and Head of the Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of Moscow, a department that oversees the conversion of old industrial zones into creative and technological cluster. 

Announcing the 2014 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards

Dear readers,

For the 5th consecutive year, we are proud to announce the Building of the Year Awards.

During the past year our network of architectural knowledge has grown intensely. Not only did we reach over 300,000 daily visitors; almost 70 million page views per month; 160,000 followers on Twitter; 105,000 followers on Instagram; and more than a million fans on Facebook, but, moreover, our local versions – ArchDaily Brasil, ArchDaily México and Plataforma Arquitectura – have grown exponentially as well.

This means that is now reaching every corner of the globe – and in many different formats. From the many lectures and events we attended this year to the launch of our new mobile version (which puts ArchDaily in pockets everywhere), we’re doing everything possible to spread our content – and our mission – around the world.

Which is why the Awards continue to be so important for us. As our audience has grown, so has your collective voice.The Awards are our chance to hear it. This is when you – whether you’re from the smallest town in Africa or the largest city in China – get to identify and recognize the most impactful/meaningful/inspiring project that was published on ArchDaily during the past year. This is an opportunity to tap into our global readership’s collective intelligence; an opportunity for you to judge over 3,500 projects from around the world, according to criteria and priorities that are important to you.

Click here to nominate your favorite projects

Full rules, including how your vote could win you an iPad Mini, after the break:

AD Interviews: Francine Houben / Mecanoo

(@FrancineHouben on Twitter) is one of the founders and the current Creative Director of acclaimed Dutch firm Mecanoo.

The firm was founded in 1984 after Francine and a group of fellow students at the Delft University of Technology won a competition for a social housing complex. Since then the firm has developed a unique language with a special focus on the expression of materials, a strong relation with context, technical expertise, and the precise resolution of details, as can be seen in the TU Delft Library, the La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, the Montevideo Building, and the recently opened Birmingham Library, currently the largest library in Europe.

The firm’s logo, a falling diver ”represents a free spirit and unlimited creativity” according to @Mecanoo__.

In this interview Francine explains the challenges of designing a library, a program currently undergoing quick and constant evolution, and shares her experience running the practice.

Currently, the firm is directed by Francine and technical director Aart Fransen,  joined by partners Francesco Veenstra (watch Mies.UK interview), Ellen van der Wal, Paul Ketelaars and Dick van Gameren. Mecanoo has projects under construction all around the world, including the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung (Taiwan, see watch construction video), the Dudley Municipal Center in Boston (USA) and the Shenzhen Cultural Center (China). 

Projects by Mecanoo at :