Karissa Rosenfield

Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture

Restaurant “Sēnīte” (1967); Vidzeme highway 37.km / Linards Skuja, Andris Bite, G. Grīnbergs, R. Ozoliņš – Courtesy of The Museum of Architecture of

The architects of NRJA have been chosen to curate Latvia’s participation at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Based on the assertion that “there is (no) modernism in Latvia,” the pavilion’s exhibition Unwritten will confront the lack of research and evaluation of Latvian post-war modernist architecture.

National September 11 Memorial Museum Celebrates Opening

© Jeff Goldberg / ESTO

Today marked the ceremonially opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Set to officially open to the public next Wednesday (May 21), the subterranean museum has already made headlines for its emotional 70 foot decent to the bedrock of the World Trade Center Towers.

Prior to entering the museum’s interior, visitors must first walk past the footprints of the Twin Towers, commemorated by Handel Architects’ cascading granite voids, before entering a Snøhetta-designed stainless steel and glass pavilion that is the museum’s entrance.

As Snøhetta’s founding partner, Craig Dyker describes, the pavilion’s main purpose is to serve as the “threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial.”

More about the pavilion from the architects, after the break…

Sydney Pushes First-Ever Policy to Promote Culture

© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

The City of has requested that 1.6 million square meters of empty commercial and residential space be made available to artists for “creative activities.” The proposed cultural offers over 120 ideas in which the space can be used to enhance ’s reputation as a world renowned creative city. “The City is proud to spend more than $34 million each year to support the arts, culture and creative activity in – but we know it is equally important to create an environment where ideas and imagination can flourish.” More information on the new policy can be found here

Venice Biennale 2014: The Evolution of Brazilian Architecture to be on Display

© Cristiano Mascaro

Chosen to curate the Brazilian contribution at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, diplomat and architecture critic André Aranha Corrêa do Lago has revealed plans for an that will chronologically illustrate the evolution of Brazilian architecture.

180 projects will be exhibited, all of which have either played a significant role in the country’s architectural evolution, such as the pre-Colombian (Indian shacks), vernacular constructions and baroque designs, or have displayed a strong international influence, like the Capanema Palace, Pampulha and Brasília. In addition to this, 50 important personalities, including Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi, and Paulo Mendes da Rocha, will be highlighted for their assistance in spotlighting the importance of Brazilian architecture.

Mikou Studio to Construct Africanews Headquarters in Congo

© Mikou Studio

Mikou Design Studio has unveiled plans for the Africanews headquarters in Congo. Designed to “present a powerful visual impact” on Brazzaville’s skyline, the wood-clad tower will be hoisted on four “totem-like” pillars above a two-story base and topped with a panoramic restaurant sheltered by a vegetated rooftop terrace.  

Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki Petition Against Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Olympic Stadium

© ZHA

Though it seemed a compromise was met last October, when Japan’s minister of education, Hakubun Shimomura announced plans to reduce the cost and scale of the Zaha Hadid-designed Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the debate rages on.  

Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and have launched an online petition to “defend the ginko tree-lined landscape of blue sky and Jingu Outer Gardens” from the construction of Hadid’s “oversized” stadium. 

The petition (now with more than 13,000 signatures) urges the Sports Council, who hand selected Hadid’s winning design alongside Tadao Ando, to reconsider upgrading the existing Meiji Jingo Gaien Stadium and the gardens surrounding it. This solution, they believe, is a more affordable and sustainable alternative that would prevent the relocation of nearby residents. 

Take a tour though Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium and share your thoughts about the design (and petition), after the break…

RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship Awarded to Student Investigating Climate Change

Buffer Landscapes 2060. Image © Joe Paxton; Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Joe Paxton of the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, was awarded the 2014 for his proposal “Buffer Landscapes 2060.” The £6,000 travel grant will enable him to study the impact of in a number of locations, ultimately to propose some measures that might mitigate the threat of floods, droughts, melting glaciers and rising temperatures. A comment from Foster, after the break…

Grafting Architecture: Catalonia at Venice

Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes. Image © Jordi Surroca; Courtesy of Institut Ramon Llull

is returning for the second time to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale with the Arquitectures Empeltades / Grafting Architecture. Referencing the botanical process of grafting, the proposal seeks to elucidate the changes taking place in contemporary Catalan architecture by highlighting processes in which “living traditions” are being updated as new.

More on “Grafting Architecture” after the break…

J. Mayer H. Wins Competition to Design Berlin “Experience Center”

© J. Mayer H.

J. Mayer H. has won an invited competition to design “Volt ,” a new “shopping and urban experience” center near ’s Alexanderplatz. The winning scheme offers a variety of experiential offerings, including multi-brand shopping, an indoor skydiving and event space, and a 7,500 square meter hotel, all within a single cubed complex whose organization is based off an uneven grid.

Libeskind Selected to Design Canadian National Holocaust Monument

Daniel Libeskind’s “elongated Star of David” has been announced today, the architect’s 67th birthday, as the winner of an international design competition for ’s National Holocaust Monument. Selected from a shortlist of six, the winning ”Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival” monument is expected to be constructed in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on the corner of Wellington and Booth Streets sometime next year. 

Feilden Clegg Bradley to Design Biological Research Labs in Scotland

Courtesy of

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) has been awarded first prize in a competition to design a new facility hub and two laboratory buildings at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences. The commission, FCBS’ first in Scotland, will also include the modernization of an existing 10-story laboratory tower which was built in the 1960s at the University’s Kings Building Campus.

Plans Underway for “Russian Tate Modern”

Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage via Wikimedia Commons

Rumor has it that Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov’s Bakhmetevsky bus garage may soon be transformed into Moscow’s prime modern art gallery. An “equivalent to London’s Tate Modern,” as the Calvert Journal describes, the historic 1927 structure has been said to be the most likely location for the new museum, dubbed “.”

Ma Yansong Listed as Top 100 Most Creative in Business

Ma Yansong, . Image © Edoardo Giancola

2014 seems to be the year of Ma Yansong, as the founder of MAD Architects, who was recently named a Young Global Leader, has now been listed as one of the top 100 most creative people in business by . Ranked at 53, the Beijing-based architect was the only architect featured on the list. 

Shortlist Released for D.C. “Bridge Park”

East River Blueway Plan – a recent project by shortlisted contestant WXY Studio (Click to learn more).

Six teams have been invited to form interdisciplinary teams in Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park competition. Envisioned as a “21st century play space,” the project intends to unify two disconnected parts of the city with a single, multi-use parkscape that will span the width of the Anacostia River. If approved, the Bridge Park will host array of programs, from an education center and performance space, to a cafe and water sport activity areas. Review the complete list of shortlisted teams, after the break…

Venice Biennale 2014: Dutch Pavilion to Rethink the Open Society

Housing scheme Lekkumerend in Leeuwarden , 1962, collection Het Nieuwe Instituut, BROX_1337t339- 1, Van den Broek en Bakema Architects

This year for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Dutch entry Open: A Bakema Celebration will reflect on the idea of an open society through the work and research of (1914-1981).

The Dutch architect, identified as a “compelling exponent of the Dutch welfare state,” was a leading voice within the international avant-garde movements CIAM (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) and Team 10. Inspired by the belief that “architecture should accommodate the emancipation of the masses while allowing for the self-realization of the individual citizen,” his portfolio includes some of the Netherlands’ most important postwar projects, such as the Rotterdam shopping street Lijnbaan.

Foster + Partners’ Unfinished Vegas Tower Approved for Demolition

Harmon Hotel via Wikimedia Commons

A court approved ruling has sealed the fate of Foster + Partners’ half-built Harmon Hotel in . Unfinished due to structural defects, the 27-story glass tower was once envisioned to be the staple of the $8.5 billion CityCenter entertainment complex. However, since problems arose in 2008, the stunted hotel and casino has instead served as a glorified billboard.

Though it has yet to be determined who will be blamed for the faulty construction, owner MGM Resorts International has been granted permission to dismantle the blue glass building floor-by-floor at a cost of $11.5 million.

2014 AIA San Francisco Design Awards

Citation Award: East Oakland Sports Center / ELS Architecture and Urban Design © David Wakely. Image Courtesy of

The American Institute of Architects’ San Francisco chapter has announced the recipients of the 2014 AIASF Design Awards. The winners were lauded for their outstanding contributions to the built environment in the following categories: architecture, interior architecture, energy and sustainability, historic , unbuilt design and special achievement.

Preview all the award winners, after the break…

Milan Expo 2015: Sculpture to Construct Virtual Beehive for UK Pavilion

“BE”. Image Courtesy of UKTI

A team led by Nottingham-based artist Wolfgang Buttress has been selected over seven other architect-designed proposals to construct a “pulsating” beehive for the UK’s participation at the 2015 Milan Expo. Entitled “BE,” the “virtual hive” will highlight the plight of the honeybee and offer an “immersive sensory experience” that leaves visitors with a “lasting flavor of the British landscape.”

A full project description from the creators after the break…