Irina Vinnitskaya

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre / Perkins+Will

Courtesy of

Perkins+Will‘s VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in , BC is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous set of requirements of sustainability.  Formally and functionally, it encompasses the goals of environmentally and socially conscious design.  The building is an undulating landscape of interior and exterior spaces rising from ground to roof level and providing a vast surface area on which vegetation could grow, thus reoccupying the land on which the building sits with the landscape.  The building also features numerous passive and active systems that reuse the site’s renewable resources and the building’s own waste.

More photos after the break, including a video about the project!

Fabergé Big Egg Hunt Features Designs by Leading Architects

Dichotomy / Zaha Hadid - Courtesy of The Big Egg Hunt Co

‘The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt’, launched on the 21st of February, has provided London, England with 209 giant and stunningly crafted Easter eggs, designed by artists, architects, jewelers and designers.  The four presented here were designed by architects Zaha Hadid, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Fourfoursixsix and interior design firm Candy & Candy.  The designs are unique, structural and conceptual.  Thirty-one among the 200 will be chosen for a live auction on March 20th.  The rest can be bid on on-line. The proceeds from the auction will go towards the £2million target for Action for Children, a charity for vulnerable and neglected children, young people and families, and Elephant Family, a charity for the endangered Asian elephant.  This Easter egg hunt invites the whole public to participate in finding these eggs throughout the city; the scale of this event is set to break Guinness World Records for the most participants in an Easter egg hunt.

Read on to see the designs after the break.

UC Davis West Village / Studio E Architects

Elevation - Courtesy of

Studio E Architects faced a compelling challenge when designing the first phase UC Davis West Village, which opened last October in ’s upper Central Valley.  Experiencing moderate winters, warm summers, prevailing winds and moderate rainfall within the heart of former agricultural fields, the new addition to UC Davis was to be a net-zero facility. Serving as the largest of its kind and a model for campus communities and environmentally conscious urbanism.  That is sustainable and community oriented.  The program required 123 units of student apartments in one, two and three-bedroom configurations, 45,000 square feet of ground level commercial space all of which would emulate the central park space in downtown Davis and become the heart of West Village.

Follow us after the break to see the sustainable solutions that Studio E Architects came up with!

Green Building and Climate Resilience: A Report by the U.S. Green Building Council + University of Michigan

Urban Science Center / SMP Architects; Photo © Halkin Photography

As many of us have already realized, sustainable design contributes to an awareness of environmental patterns and thereby creates communities that are more resilient to the devastating effects of the natural disasters that we have seen across the globe in recent months.  Many people have accepted the cause and effect relationship that exists between current practices – those that pollute water and food sources, strip minerals, disturb fault linesand throw off ecosystems – with the rapidly increasing changes in climate.  For those that do not, U.S. Green Building Council and the  released this report:  Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, which addresses pre- and post-emergency management situations while stressing a consciousness about the environment and ways in which to design and build communities that are physically and structurally prepared for natural disasters.

More on this report after the break.

Lebbeus Woods: Early Drawings on Exhibit in NYC

© | Courtesy of Friedman Benda Gallery

Lebbeus Woods is well known for his conceptual drawings that bring new worlds and spaces into the eyes of their viewers.  In four decades, Woods has shared his imagined worlds, expressing ideas about spaces, inhabitation and technology, and outlined alternate futures.  Through April 6th, Friedman Benda Gallery will be exhibiting Lebbeus Woods: Early Drawings from the 1980s, many of which have never been displayed before. The gallery is located 515 West 26th Street in . A preview of the exhibit after the break!

Interview: Peter Märkli on Education, Research and Practice in Architecture

and Heleen Herrenberg met with Peter Märkli in Zürich, Switzerland to discuss his personal perspective on education, research and practice in architecture, considering what the art of building means to society and the individual  today. Enjoy the video and join the discussion after the break.

Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas : The Cost of the 2016 Olympic Games

© Domenico Marchi

ArchDaily announced in October 2009 that will be hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, in addition to the 2014 World Cup.  Just last August, AECOM was awarded the bid for the design of the 2016 Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (watch the video here).  As preparations for the administrative business of the games seems to be going smoothly, events on the ground say otherwise.  The planned Olympic Park will be located on the current site of a favela with a reported population of 4,000  (New York Times: Simon Romero) , known as Vila Autodromo and Riocinha, and those citizens are not satisfied with the prospects of being relocated under the edict of Imminent Domain to satisfy the Olympic Organizing Committee.

More on this story after the break.

Night Club Hotel in Hong Kong: Extremely Negative / YS Groundwork

Courtesy of

We have already introduced you to the Night Club Hotel: Bubble X (2nd place) and Elevated Night Club (3rd place) winning entries for the Night Club Hotel in by vGH Company and Urbanplunger respectfully. We now unveil the first place proposal, submitted by Hong Kong based architecture firm YS Groundwork. Extremely Negative is concerned with distancing itself from the typical design solutions that produce mega-structures and commercial towers. Instead, the team decided to invert the structure creating a void below grade that can be occupied at multiple levels with programs such as an open air disco, a hostel and a monastery.

More images from this proposal after the break!

Interview: Stephen Bates on Education, Research and Practice in Architecture

In this interview by and Esther Schevers, Stephen Bates of Sergison Bates architects discusses how education is tied to exploration and research. As a professor at TU Munich, each semester offers an opportunity to take on new themes in architecture that allow him to break conventions that come up in practice and are oftentimes associated with the ways in which his students have been taught.  More discussion after the break.

ASM International World Headquarters Renovation / The Chesler Group and Dimit Architects

© Jeff Goldberg ESTO

The ASM International World Headquarters, originally constructed in 1959, is an architectural composition by two influential designers during the mid-twentieth century: John Terence Kelly, who studied under Bauhaus-founder Walter Gropius, and R. Buckminster Fuller, well known for his geodesic domes, environmentally-conscious designs and the dymaxion car.  The complex includes the building, dome and garden on the 45-acre site known as Materials Park.  The renovation, led by The Chesler Group and Dimit Architectsbrings new life to Kelly’s building.  According to Architectural Record, (Snapshot, Laura Raskin), Michael Chesler of , campaigned to salvage the architectural marvel, giving it a place in the National Register of Historic Places and using tax credits to fund the renovation.

Pictures and details of the renovation after the break.

ICEHOTEL / Art & Design Group

Photo: Leif Milling . Artists: Wilfred Stijger and Edith Van De Wetering

Located in the small village of Jukkasjärvi in northern 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, ICEHOTEL may be the epitomy of ephemeral and temporal architecture. The world’s first and largest hotel built out of snow and ice is an inhabitable work of art that takes on a new form each year. The existence of the ICEHOTEL is entirely reliant upon the climate and Torne River, from which the 4000 tonnes of ice are harvested each year between March and April. The architecture is a form of exhibition as well. Each year artists are handpicked to design and build the Art Suites within the ICEHOTEL. The whole process invoved about 100 people and is constructed between November and December.

Review: Richard K. Norton “Knowing and Valuing both Private and Public: What Role for Public Policy, Design, and Planning in the 21st Century?”

University of Michigan Taubman College, like many other architecture schools, has a seasonal lecture series. Their Winter 2012 Series, which focuses on construction, is posted and archived on their website. The lecture above was given by Richard K. Norton, an associate professor in the urban and regional planning program at the Taubman College. Faculty coordinator for land use and environmental planning, Dr. Norton holds a Ph.D in city and regional planning and masters degrees in public policy studies and environmental management. He teaches and conducts research within the areas of sustainable development, land and environment planning, and planning law. His multi-faceted breadth of knowledge and experience is valuable to the issues which he addresses in his lecture “Knowing and Valuing both Private and Public: What Role for Public Policy, Design, and Planning in the 21st Century?“, presented on January 9th at Taubman College.

Read on for more about this lecture.

SOL: The Net-Zero Community in Austin, Texas / KRDB

Courtesy of KRDB

SOL Austin - Solutions Oriented Living – is a model development of a sustainable community that integrates social, economic and ecological components to create a “holistic community”.  The project was a result of a partnership between KRDB ArchitectsBeck-Reit contractors, the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation (GNDC) and the Austin Housing Finance Corporation.  The medium density, single-family in-fill project in central east , just three miles from downtown incorporates a significant portion of low-income and affordable housing, sustainable practices and consideration for the kind of future that developments like this can create.

Read on for photos, plans and more information about this project, considered for the AIA 2011 Design Awards in Urban Design.

Ingredients of Reality: The Dismantling of New York City / Lan Tuazon at Storefront for Art and Architecture

© Lan Tuazon

The Storefront for Art and Architecture at 97 Kenmare Street in NYC will be exhibiting two new projects from Lan Tuazon, an artist living and working in .  Ingredients of Reality: the Dismantling of New York City will present sculptures, drawings and prints that assess the physical environment and all that it represents in terms of history, law and class structures.  The works on display will include Architectures of Defense and New York City Bar Graph.  The opening reception for this exhibit is will be today, February 28 at 7pm. The exhibit will run through April 7th, 2012.

To read more about Lan Tuazon’s work, follow us after the break.

Research and Technology Innovation Park / Brooks + Scarpa

Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa

The Research and Technology Innovation Park, designed by Brooks + Scarpa, will be ’s first new construction building.  The site is located in Monterrey near the airport and adjoins a natural habitat. The program includes labs, offices, testing facilities, and warehouse spaces and will be constructed in two phases. More on the project after the break.

Architects: Brooks + Scarpa
Location of Project: Monterrey, Mexico
Total Area: Phase I_ +/- 500 sqm of Offices, +/-1000 sqm of Warehouse, Phase II_ +/-500 sqm of Offices, +/-3000 sqm of Warehouse

Romanesque “Cistern” Re-Discovered Under Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston

Courtesy of

Cities are ever-evolving and ever-transforming, constantly being regenerated – demolished and salvaged to start anew.  Houston, ’s first reservoir, built in 1927 near Buffalo Bayou Park, is no exception.  This is another one of those exceptional neglected spaces within a developed city that holds the potential to be transformed into “landscape infrastructure”, as referred to by Kevin Shanley, CEO of  SWA Group, the Landscape Architecture firm working on the park’s current 2.3-mile upgrade from Shepherd-to-Sabine, an extension to the Sabine-to-Bagby stretch.

The story of the relationship between the re-discovered reservoir and Buffalo Bayou Park’s development is very exciting and promising.  Lisa Gray of Chron writes about the state of the reservoir today and the possibilities for its future. Continue reading for more.

UPDATE: Delancey Underground a.k.a “LowLine” Launches KickStarter Campaign

Courtesy of James Ramsey and

By now you’ve probably already heard and read about James Ramsey and Dan Barasch’s radical proposal to bring an underground park to the Lower East Side via Essex Street Trolley Terminal below Delancey Street.  What you may not know is that the LowLine, as it has become known, has just launched a KickStarter Campaign with a goal of raising $100,000 by April 6th. Here you can pledge money and receive prizes for your donations if funding succeeds.  The masterminds behind the projects are not slowing down.  Conversations about this project and its possibilities are spreading.  Just last week, the Tenement Museum invited Ramsey and Barasch, along with historian Stuart Blumin to discuss the project and some of its social and political consequences.

Interview: Glenn Murcutt Talking Heads

In this interview, between Australian Architect Glenn Murcutt and Peter Thompson for ABC TV’s Talking Heads program, Murcutt reveals his three rules in life: simplicity, simplicity, and “of course, simplicity”.  He speaks openly about his upbringing and childhood, about his inspirations and how he has grown and developed his passions as an architect.  He has recieved the 2002 Pritzker Prize and 2009 AIA Gold Medal.

Follow us after the break for the rest of the interview.