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Karissa Rosenfield

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MAD Architects Envision the Future of Housing in Los Angeles

MAD Architects has proposed a futuristic model for housing in Los Angeles, as part of the ongoing “Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles” exhibition at the A+D Museum. Dubbed the "Cloud Corridor," the concept is based on Ma Yansong’s “Shanshui City” philosophy for architecture to "manifest the spiritual essence between people and nature." The vision is the opposite of sprawl, proposing a high-density vertical village made up of nine interconnected residential towers. 

Build a Life-Size LEGO Structure with these Modular Plastic Blocks

via Wired
via Wired

LEGO enthusiast Arnon Rosan has created a full-scale, interlocking "LEGO" block that allows users to quickly assemble life-size structures. The LEGO-like "EverBlock" is a modular system of polypropylene blocks with raised lugs that can be stacked to form furniture, installations or even emergency shelters. As Wired reports, the blocks come in 14 colors, three sizes - full (one-foot-long), half (six-inches), and quarter (three-inches) - and vary in weight from a quarter to two pounds.

"Each module is designed to connect easily with the parts above and below, using a pressure fit which creates a strong link between blocks. Because of its unique lug system, you can stagger EverBlocks in 3" increments, to create all types of patterns," says EverBlock.

SO-IL Reveals Plans for New Brooklyn Art Gallery

New York-based SO-IL has unveiled plans for a new Brooklyn art gallery, dubbed Artes Amant. The 1,320-square-meter building will house the production, display and storage of art in a four-story "concrete mass" that is "spatially marked by its industrial past."

"This arts’ building is an exploration in soft form, where a cluster of shells acts to diffuse an exterior presence and shape the building’s interior," says SO-IL. 

Instagram Breaks Away from the Square

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The "perfectly proportioned" Instagram square has redefined the way people photograph their world. Starting today, Instagram users are no longer required to adhere to the square; landscape, portrait and even panoramas can all be uploaded onto Instagram - making it easier for architects to photograph their buildings. This means you no longer have to rely on finicky third-party apps to upload your uncropped images. Keep in mind, the images will appear as centered-cropped squares on your Instagram profile. However, in the live feed photos of all shapes and sizes will be shown in full. Read Instagram's official statement for more on the change. 

Obama to Cast Global Search for Chicago Presidential Center Architect

In May, the University of Chicago was selected to host the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Now referred to as the Barack Obama Presidential Center, the building's task force is expected to cast a global call in search of an architect. As the Chicago Tribune reports, officials sent a request for qualifications to a select group of architects yesterday, although others are welcome to submit. All those interested must send their credentials by September 16. 

"The foundation and its advisers wanted to present the president and first lady with a strong and broad list of options," a foundation spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune. "We are looking at architects who represent a broad range of approaches and styles, but who all have a position of eminence within the architecture profession and have achieved some degree of public recognition."

World Trade Center River Wall May Be Leaking

Sounds of rushing water have been reported behind the walls of the lower concourses of the World Trade Center site. As DNAinfo reports, rumors say officials have found an underground leak within the newly built complex and fear that it may be coming from the 3,200-foot-long slurry wall that separates the site from the Hudson River. 

New York City Mayor Threatens to Remove Times Square

Frustrated with the congestion of panhandlers, Mayor Bill de Blasio has shocked New York City dwellers by threatening to remove their beloved Times Square. As New York Times' architecture critic Michael Kimmelman reports, this comes at a time when dwellers fear that quality of life is declining in the city: "Entertaining the demolition of the plazas, the mayor sends a message that New York can’t support the sort of great pedestrian hubs that thrive in competing cities around the globe." Blasio said he will look into the "pros and cons" of returning Times Square to traffic. Read Kimmelman's full report on Blasio's threats, here

Images Revealed of Frank Gehry's “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

Gehry Partners, alongside Townscape Partners, has unveiled plans to redefine the "gateway" to California's Sunset Strip. A cluster of five distinct, Gehry-esque structures, the mixed-use proposal is one of several design alternatives that have been proposed by Townscape for the site. If built, it would include two residential buildings, featuring a mix of rental and for-sale apartments, along with retail, entertainment programs, and public gathering spaces.

Diébédo Francis Kéré: "Architecture is About People"

On the Louisiana Channel's latest installment, Burkinabé architect Diébédo Francis Kéré discusses his "Canopy" installation, currently on view at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, and shares thoughts on the impact of architecture. Designed with a sense of freedom that encourages users to interact with the installation as they wish, Kere's Canopy serves as a flexible gathering space within the museum that is reminiscent of "AFRICA." 

“They’re free to use the space like they behave, like they feel," says Kere. "Architecture is about people."

Foster Teams with Nissan to Envision Fuel Station of the Future

By 2020, almost one million electric vehicles are expected on the road. "It seems to be clear," says David Nelson, head of design at Foster + Partners, "that electric vehicles will be a major feature of the urban landscape." Thus, Foster + Partners has teamed up with Nissan to develop the Fuel Station of the Future.

Imagining how zero emissions technology will influence our cities, the innovative brands are centering their design on the understanding that "connected communities, autonomous drive and the Internet of things" are drastically changing our infrastructure models. Their concept is expected to showcase the benefits of a "smart electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem," harnessing the potential of battery storage and vehicle-to-grid systems.

Santiago Calatrava Tops Out on Dallas' Margaret McDermott Bridge

Santiago Calatrava has topped out on his second Dallas bridge - the Margaret McDermott Bridge - two years after completing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The steel arch, reaching a height of 275 feet, is the first of two that will support the 1311-foot-long bridge that is intended to provide access to pedestrians, bicyclists and cars over the Trinity River. The $113 million bridge is part of the massive $798 million Dallas Horseshoe Project that aims to alleviate traffic and enhance accessibility downtown. It is scheduled to complete by the summer of 2017. 

Leong Leong to Design New Mixed-Use Campus for Los Angeles LGBT Center

Leong Leong has been chosen over four others to masterplan and design the Los Angeles LGBT Center's new mixed-use site in Hollywood, California. The Los Angeles-based practice will design a new 183,700-square-foot building that, together with the Center's existing facility across the street, will form a block-wide campus that will include a unique mix of 140 affordable housing units, 100 beds for homeless youth, a new senior center and a center for homeless youth, as well as a new administrative headquarters and cultural arts center. 

Fitch Fellowships: Apply for a Mid-Career Grant Today

Research grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded to one or two mid-career professionals who have an academic background, professional experience and an established identity in one or more of the following fields: historic preservation, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, environmental planning, architectural history and the decorative arts. The James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation will consider proposals for the research and/or the execution of the preservation-related projects in any of these fields. Applications for 2016 funding are now being accepted. Applications must be submitted by October 15, 2015, 11PM EST. More information here

Lino Russo's "Skymetric" Series Highlights the Architecture of Milan Expo

© Lino Russo
© Lino Russo

Mid-way through the 2015 Milan Expo, Italian photographer Lino Russo is offering the world a fresh look at the exposition with a series of abstract images that backdrops parts of the colorful pavilions with the sky.

"The subject highlights the decontextualization of places and architectural spaces in order to alter the natural structure," says Russo, referring to these images as his second "Skymetric" series. "These places considered have in common the fact to be all completely square, regular and schematic, so achieving geometric shots in a minimalist context, where the simplicity and cleanliness reign supreme." 

© Lino Russo © Lino Russo © Lino Russo © Lino Russo

GA Designs Radical Shipping Container Skyscraper for Mumbai Slum

Ganti + Asociates (GA) Design has won an international ideas competition with a radical shipping container skyscraper that was envisioned to provide temporary housing in Mumbai's overpopulated Dharavi Slum. Taking in consideration that steel shipping containers can be stacked up to 10 stories high without any additional support, GA's winning scheme calls for a 100-meter-tall highrise comprised of a series of self supported container clusters divided by steel girders placed every 8 stories. 

Courtesy of GA Design Corridor . Image Courtesy of GA Design Courtesy of GA Design Final Board. Image Courtesy of GA Design

Fire Consumes Pier Luigi Nervi's Palazzo del Lavoro

Pier Luigi Nervi's Palazzo del Lavoro (Palace of Labour) in Turin has been devastated by fire. The unoccupied exhibition hall, originally built for Italia'61, had been undergoing renovations. As La Stampa Turin reports, the fire started on the second floor and is most likely the result of arson. A similar incident happened a few months ago, but was quickly extinguished. 

The glass encased Palace of Labour is internally divided by 16 structurally independent steel roofed compartments, each supported by radial branches stemming from 65-foot-tall concrete columns.

EM2N to Build Basel's New Museum of Natural History and State Archives

EM2N has won first prize in an international competition to design the new Museum of Natural History Basel and the State Archives Basel-City. Selected over 22 other proposals, the winning scheme "Zasamane" will unite both institutions within a single "storehouse" that will "combine knowledge about nature and culture" of the Swiss city. The elongated building will take shape with a subtle stagger that responds to the neighboring railway line and increases in density as it approaches Vogesenplatz. A slender tower will anchor the building, offering an "urban symbol" for both institutions.

View from Vogesenplatz. Image © EM2N; Render by Ponnie Images View from Vogesenplatz. Image © EM2N; Render by Ponnie Images Shared entrance hall. Image © EM2N; Render by Luxigon Staircase hall Museum of Natural History Basel. Image © EM2N; Render by Luxigon

Call for Submissions: AIA Upjohn Research Initiative

You have until September 1 to apply for the American Institute of Architect's (AIA) Upjohn Research Initiative. The Upjohn program funds up to six research grants of $15,000-$30,000 per recipient annually for projects completed in a six to 18 month period. Proposals should address the value of design, practice issues, or novel materials and methods of construction. The research should relate to architectural knowledge that can readily be applied/transferred within the discipline. Read on for 2015's preferred themes.