Irina Vinnitskaya

In Progress: One Ocean / soma

© soma

Construction on soma‘s “One Ocean” thematic pavilion is currently well underway and scheduled for completion in May 2012.  Selected as the first prize winner of an open international competition in Yeosu, , the thematic pavilion was designed to embody the Expo’s theme “The Living Ocean and Coast” and transform it into a three-dimensional “multi-layered” architectural experience. The goal of the Expo is to portray the responsible use of natural materials, which has been embedded into the sustainable climate design and the biomimetic aspects of the facade of “One Ocean”.

Read on for more after the break.

Endangered Monuments Update: Preservation Efforts for the 510 Fifth Avenue Manufactures Trust Company Bank Branch

Manufacturers Trust Company by SOM © Landmarks Preservation Commission

ArchDaily previously ran an article about the Manufacturers Trust Company Bank Branch at 510 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan designed by of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and interior designer Eleanor H. Le Maire, a building designated as protected under the Landmarks Preservation Commission with first the exterior in 1997 and later the interior in early 2011.  But as recently as October 2011, the building was already listed under the 2012 World Monuments Fund  in the 2012 World Monuments Watch as the current owners, Vornado Realty Trust, began compromising the landmarked conditions of the interior of the building as it was being adapted for reuse.  With preservationists in an uproar, support for the protection of the building was enough to bring Vornado Realty Trust to State Supreme Court where a settlement was reached.

Read on for more details on the settlement and continuing efforts to protect endangered monuments.

Fire Update and Interior Tour of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’ Habitation in Marseille

© Guillermo Hevia García

In an article originally published on Plataforma Arquitectura, Guillermo Hevia Garcia describes his experience when visiting the Unité d’ Habitation in Marseille, , also known as Cité Radieuse. On February 9th, the building was overcome by a large fire that was said to have been started due to a heating problem. The blaze took  hundreds of firefighters nearly a day and a half to put it out. Eight residential units and four hotel rooms were destroyed, and approximately 35 other units were severely damaged by smoke or action relief. Most residents have returned home to the Unité d’ Habitation, Le Corbusier‘s thesis on domestic life, as they continue to live the communal life that the renowned architect dreamt up.

Read on for more after the break.

LINA & GIO: THE LAST HUMANISTS: An Exhibit at the Architectural Association School of Architecture

Sesc Pompéia / © Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

Opening on February 24th at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, Lina & Gio: The Last Humanists will explore for the first time the relationship between two seminal figures in twentieth-century design: Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) and Gio Ponti (1891-1979). More details after the break.

Multiple Natures / soma

Courtesy of

Placing second, behind Sou Fujimoto Architects’ winning proposal, the Austrian practice soma proposed a new tower typology, titled Fibrous Tower of Multiple Natures, for the Taiwan Tower International Competition in Taichung, . The conceptual drive for this tower comes from the desire to create a cultural landmark whose associations are multiple and dynamic, adapting with changing ideas about the nature of a skyscraper in an urban environment. Soma writes, “the tower should not state a fixed message, but trigger people to invent their own interpretations of the tower’s meaning”. How does soma accomplish this? Read on to find out.

Heads Up: 10 Fastest Growing and Declining Cities

Santiago, : Photo by Flickr user Gord McKenna, licensed through Creative Commons.

According to Derek Thompson’s article for The Atlantic, the Brookings Institute recently published a ranking of the world’s 200 largest metropolitan economies. The Global MetroMonitor division of the Brookings Institute, published the report on January 2012. In this brief synopsis, he reveals the “10 Fastest-Growing (and Fastest-Declining) Cities in the World”. Among the fastest growing is Santiago, Chile, the only Latin American country in the top 10. The top 10 is primarily populated by Asian countries – China, Turkey and all have multiple cities in on the list. Conversly, the tail end of the list is dominated by Western European countries most affected by the economic downturn, with just two cities from the US – Sacramento, California and Richmond, Virginia.

The survey primarily focuses on their economic development comparing income and job growth, to say nothing of the cultural, societal, and political circumstances which may or may not be contributing the dynamism of each city’s economy. Thompson points out, two of the fastest growing cities in the world, Izmir, Turkey and Santiago, Chile are also among the poorest. Developing countries have the most to gain as they join the global economy but it may still be sometime before the economic growth balances a comfortable standard of living.  Watch the interview with Alan Berube from MetroMonitor.

With all of that in mind, follow us after the break for a look at the list.

Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream at the MoMA

Photographs by Don Pollard. © 2011 The Museum of Modern Art.

Starting today, through July 30, ’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will be running an exhibit featuring the proposals of five interdisciplinary studios that were asked to re-think and re-invent the future of housing in the midst of the foreclosure crisis that remains a threat to many Americans and their homes.  Over the Summer of 2011, WORKac, MOS Architects, Visible Weather, Zago Architecture and Studio Gang Architects selected five “megaregions” across the country on which to speculate the form that housing could take: physically, socially and economically.  Late this summer, ArchDaily has provided coverage while the work was in progress. Opening today, the results of those speculative efforts will be presented at the as part of an exhibit called Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream.  The Open Studios exercise was organized by Barry Bergdoll, MoMA’s Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, with Reinhold Martin, Director of Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture.

Read on for more on the proposals and details about the exhibit.

A Thousand Traps to Escape / Olivier Bourgeois and EAUL atelier 5D

© Jean-François Noël / Atelier 5D / Marika Drolet-Ferguson

“A Thousand Traps to Escape” is a temporary installation designed by 13 students from Laval University under Olivier Bourgeois in the Magdalen Islands in Quebec, Canada.  The project builds on the collaboration of themes of architecture, art, landscape and installation in the creation of space based on simple materials, the landscape and “the basic rules of construction”.  The “local material” chosen for this construction is the ubiquitous lobster trap made of wood and fishnet.  Its formal simplicity allowed for an basic stacking technique that produced relatively complex visual results of transparencies and opacities.

Read on for more information on the development of this project.

Transparency in the Building Industry – Nutrition Labels for Building Materials

© 2012

In material safety article for the Times, Fred A. Bernstein conducts an interview with architect Peter Syrett and interior designer Chris Youseff of Perkins + Will that highlights their endeavor to create a database of common building materials and the potential dangers associated with their composition. The database, simply and appropriately referred to as Transparency Lists, is a resource of precautionary measures which breaks down into four categories: Precautionary List, Asthma Triggers + Asthmagens, Flame Retardants, and News, Media + Additional Research.

Read on for more after the break.

In Progress: Amsterdam Tower / JSª

Courtesy of

Architect: JSª
Location: Av. Insurgentes 301-303, , Mexico
Total Area: 132,504 sq ft
Date of the project: 2011, In progress
Photographer: Romeilia Hernandez

Horticulture Expo in Qingdao / HKS

Courtesy of

This unique landscape and future landmark for the city of , China is a first place project, submitted by the Los Angeles office of HKS Architects, for the design of the Conservatory by the Office of 2014 Qingdao World Horticultural Expo Executive Committee. The winning proposal was selected from an international selection of projects and was shared with us by HKS. Read on for more after the break.

Julie Davidow’s “archiTECTONIC” Paintings at Diana Lowenstein Gallery

Milwaukee Art Museum by Santiago Calatrava - Courtesy of Julie Davidow

Diana Lowenstein Gallery is pleased to present “archiTECTONICS” a solo exhibition of new work by artist, Julie Davidow. The work will be on view from February 11 – April 8, 2012 in the front gallery. Using cues from architecture, design and construction, Davidow’s paintings – with their minimal and precise qualities – create a two-dimensional world derived from the space that we inhabit.

More about this exhibit after the break.

Great Pier / !melk + UrbanLab + HOK

Courtesy of !melk

The competition for re-imagining Chicago’s historic Navy Pier has produced some ambitious examples of design ingenuity and innovation.  Feeding off of Daniel Burnham’s memorable quote “make no little plans”, this proposal comes from a design team led by !melkprinciple Jerry Van Eyck, UrbanLab and HOK - a series of “dramatic ideas to  reconceptualize Chicago’s preeminent exclamation point extending from the Great Lakes to the world”.  The intention behind this proposal is to provide a dynamic place in a historic area that provides a cultural landmark as well as a world-wide attraction that stems from the geological history of the site itself.

Follow us after the break for a more in-depth look at this project.

Pierscape / James Corner Field Operations Team

Courtesy of

James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) is one of five shortlisted teams invited to participate in an international design competition to renovate and reactivate ’s landmark Navy Pier. Unveiled to the public last month, the goal of the intervention is to refocus the experience of the pier to the lakeside. This is an opportunity for the city to reassess what the waterfront means to an urban center and the character of its identity.

NYC Event: Four Conversations on the Discourse of Architecture

The Van Alen Institute, a non-profit architectural organization in , is hosting a Q&A between Aaron Levy of Slought Foundation and William Menking of the The Architects’ Newspaperwith editor Thomas Weaver on February 3rd at 7:oo pm.  Located at Van Alen Books, 30 W. 22nd Street, on the ground floor between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan, you can “grab a seat on their yellow steps and join the conversation”.

Read on for more information on this event!

Plywood: Material, Process, Form at the NYC MoMA

Designed by Sori Yanagi | Photo Courtesy of MoMA

Plywood: Material, Process, Form is an ongoing exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in that will be open to the public starting tomorrow, February 2, 2012. We have seen many architectural projects that take advantage of the flexibility this “layer cake of lumber and glue”, as described by Popular Science in 1948, has to offer. has given 20th-century designers a material embodying  “formal and aesthetic” qualities on an industrial scale.

More on the exhibit after the break.

Event: Tom Kundig and Mark Rozzo – Architectural Explorations in Books, a conversation presented by New York Public Library

Photo by Tom Bies | Courtesy of OSKA Architects

Tomorrow, the New York Public Library will be hosting a talk between architect of Olson Kundig Architects and Town & Country Executive Editor Mark Rozzo that will discuss “the role of place, nature, materials and craft in creating Kundig’s bold and sensitive designs”.  The talk is free for the public to attend and will feature Kundig’s most recent collection of houses: Tom Kundig: Houses 2. Continue reading for more details.

Architectural Patents: On what Grounds?

Courtesy of ifoapplestore.com

We have all heard of patenting building systems, building technologies, details and of course, products.  But what about patenting architecture?  Jack Martin brought this to our attention in light of Apple successfully getting an for the design of a store in the Upper West Side in City, asking “On what grounds can you patent architecture?”  The inventors listed in the patent are architects Karl Backus, Peter Bohlin and George Bradley of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and Robert Bridger, Benjamin L. Fay, Steve Jobs and Bruce Johnson for a design that Architect’s Newspaper describes as “meticulous and seamless as its clients”.

So, what is the extent of patenting architecture?  Structural systems, materials, details, conceptual strategies, the look of it?  We interpret architecture as a language in itself, but it is difficult to conceive of copyright infringement when it comes to architectural design because it is difficult to pin-point exactly what makes all of the parts of a building a copyrighted entity. What if Le Corbusier patented his designs?  Mies van der RoheFrank Lloyd Wright?  Their work and strategies have been copied and implemented all over the world to varying degrees.  So, where is the line between protecting an original idea and creating a barrier against progress? Or does this commercialization of architecture fuel competition to design better or design around strategies already patented? More after the break.