The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has selected the finalist teams in the eleventh annual ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. Graduate-level student teams representing Harvard University, Yale University, a joint team from Ball State University and Purdue University, as well as another join team from Kansas State University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of Kansas are all advancing to the final round of competition, scheduled to take place in March and April. This year’s finalists were charged with proposing a long-term development plan for downtown Minneapolis that creates value for property owners, city residents, and the greater Twin Cities region.
A $50,000 prize will be awarded to the winning team; and each of the remaining three finalist teams will receive $10,000. This year, applications were submitted from 158 teams representing 70 universities in the United States and Canada, with 790 students participating in total.
Two Izu retirees hired architects Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima to design them a home equipped with a neighborhood bookshop and cafe. The Japanese practice stepped up to the challenge and constructed an elegant, curved structure whose white walls and wooden ceiling hug the hundred degree undulating street on which its located and embraces the wooded forest it backs to. The home – which features two bedrooms, a kitchen, cafe, bookshop and atelier – is accessed beneath a bridged part of the structure and organized as a sequence. Take a tour through this interesting space with this short video made by JA+U Magazine.
The Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of Bjarke Ingels to reimagine the heart of its antiquated Washington D.C. campus. The Danish architect has agreed to an eight- to 12- month, $2.4 million contract to draft the first phase of a master plan that seeks to dissolve the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area.
More on this news after the break…
In the Interim Design Center parking lot of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, students are constructing a 30 foot experimental structure that could house astronauts in space. Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the year-long research and experimentation project challenges students to design a vertical habitat capable of housing four astronauts in space for a period of 60 days. Not only is this an extreme case of micro-living, but to design a living quarters with no orientation, where walls, floors and ceilings are non-existent, is unworldly.
More after the break…
One thing Google has become known for is their spectacular work environments. From playful employee lounges to environmentally sensitive design, the multifaceted internet giant has successfully transformed hundreds of existing spaces from around the globe into casual work environments that spawn innovation, optimizes efficiency, and boasts employee satisfaction. Much like many other California-based corporations, Google has been toying with the idea of building their own office space from scratch. Well, this dream will soon be realized, as the company has teamed up with Seattle-based NBBJ to expand their current, 65-building “Googleplex” in Mountain View, California. By 2015, Google plans to construct a 1.1-million-square-foot complex known as “Bay View” on a neighboring 42-acre site.
More on Bay View after the break…
Can you imagine the intersection of Broadway and the Bowery in lower Manhattan as sparsely populated “Uptown” used as a burial ground for indigent people? Well, according to the the book Painting the Town by The Museum of the City of New York (via Ephemeral New York), this scene painted from memory by Albertis Del Orient Browere in 1885 depicts what Union Square used to look like back in 1828 – just 20 years before this area started to transform into the bustling, concrete jungle we know today.
Compare it to an updated photo of Union Square after the break.
White Noise (or The Buzz) reveals the latent potential of the community. It is the sound of the talent and value around us. The installation harnesses this latent value with an interactive sound environment (a collaboration with ARUP Acoustics) embedded in a playful series of figural abstractions, clad with white synthetic turf. The foregrounded backdrop of the architecture highlights the project’s main event, sharing and exchange among the people in the space, and manipulates readings of scale.
After coming to the realization that architects tend to talk way too much, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture devised a lecture format that ended up revolutionizing the way we present. For the past 10 years, PechaKucha 20×20 has inspired creatives from 600 cities to informally gather in dimly lit spaces around the globe and conduct 400-second presentations to their friends and colleagues. The beauty of PechaKucha Night is that anyone can participate – as long as they stick to the 20 image, 20 second format – thus providing ample amounts of stimulating information, ideas and inspiration in just a short, booze-filled night. Who wouldn’t like that?
Cheers, PechaKucha, to ten years and many more!
As pressure mounts to solve the UK’s aviation crisis, the Mayor of London has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) alongside a world-class team of aviation experts to develop plans for a new major airport in southeast England. The team is expected to resolve the debate on how and where the capital’s next multi-runway airport hub should be constructed, a decision that will play a critical role in the future of the British economy.
Zaha Hadid said: “This work is essential to deliver the most integrated transport solutions for London and the UK. It will enable London to maintain its position as one of the world’s most important economic, commercial and cultural centers; outlining the city’s future growth and development which has always been founded on global connectivity.”
See who made the list after the break…
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows has awarded Bimal Mendis and Joyce Hsiang of the Yale School of Architecture and Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, LLC the 2013 Latrobe Prize of $100,000 for their proposal, “The City of 7 Billion.” The research will study the impact of population growth and resource consumption on the built and natural environment at the scale of the entire world as a single urban entity. An antidote to the fragmentary analyses of current practices, this project will remove arbitrary boundaries and reframe the entire world as a continuous topography of development: the city of 7 billion.
The grant, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession.
More on “The City of 7 Billion” after the break…
Silicon Valley visual-computing pioneer Nvidia has joined the expanding list of tech moguls seeking to transform their work environment into the physical manifestation of their innovative business model. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has released the first schematic renderings – designed by Gensler - that depict a pair of 250,000 square foot triangular motherships centered around collaboration – a complete contrast to the typical, dated office building commonly found throughout Silicon Valley’s “oddly banal” landscape.
More after the break…
One thing about a recession is that it accelerates the demise of dying trends and struggling establishments. In this case, it is America’s beloved shopping malls, which have been slowly in decline since their peak popularity in 1990. Now, in the wake of the 2008 economic catastrophe, American cities are riddled with these abandoned shopping meccas, from the mall to big box stores and shopping strips, whose oversize parking lots are equally as useless as the spaces themselves. The question is, how can we effectively repurpose these spaces?
A perfect example after the break…
During a time of crippling political turmoil, local leaders are stepping up to fulfill their role as pragmatic problem-solvers and combating the tough challenges – such as economic growth, environmental protection, public safety and poverty – facing our cities today. This empowering phenomenon is highlighted by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition designed to further inspire America’s mayors and local leaders to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life.
Over 300 cities across the nation took the challenge and 20 finalists were selected in November. Now, it is your turn to vote on the idea you believe to have the greatest potential for impact. Five bold ideas will be selected in the coming weeks, each receiving national and local recognition. In addition, the winning city will receive a $5,000,000 grand prize and four other cities will receive $1,000,000 to help implement their ideas.
The proposals after the break…
Steven Holl Architects collaborated with Spirit of Space to create two short films that capture the essence of Chengdu’s newest sustainable micro-city: Sliced Porosity Block. Shaped by the distribution of natural light, this multi-use complex of five sun-carved concrete towers defines itself by the formation of three large public valleys that, not only supports a hybrid of different functions, but anchors the building into the surrounding urban fabric.
View an intimate account of these poetic spaces in the film above and then discover the ideas that inspired them in a conversation with Steven Holl below. The interview also includes an exclusive take on Holl’s post-completion thoughts of Lebbeus Woods’ last built installation: the Light Pavilion.
More information and images of Sliced Porosity Block can be found here on ArchDaily.
Reflecting the strongest growth since November 2007, the January Architecture Billings Index (ABI) surged to a score of 54.2 – a sharp and welcomed increase from December’s 51.2* mark. Released by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. By remaining above 50, January’s score illustrates the six consecutive month of growth for the United State’s design and construction industry. This trend doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as the new projects inquiry index accelerated beyond last month’s reading of 57.9 and reached a score of 63.2.
“We have been pointing in this direction for the last several months, but this is the strongest indication that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But as we continue to hear about overall improving economic conditions and that there are more inquiries for new design projects in the marketplace, a continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry.”
Review the ABI Highlights in greater detail, after the break…
The RAMSA Travel Fellowship is a $10,000 prize awarded yearly by Robert A. M. Stern Architects for the purpose of travel and research. More specifically, the RAMSA Travel Fellowship seeks to promote investigations on the perpetuation of tradition through invention – key to the firm’s own work. The prize is intended to nurture emerging talent and is awarded every year to an individual who has proven insight and interest in the profession and its future, as well as the ability to carry forth in-depth research.
Any student in their penultimate year, pursuing a Masters of Architecture degree at a school attended by current RAMSA partners and senior associates is eligible. The application made by the student, must be endorsed by the dean of the school. Each school may pre-select two students, based on their portfolios, and their travel and research proposals.
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Pratt Institute
- Princeton University
- Rice University
- Syracuse University
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Texas
- University of Virginia
- Yale University
- 03/25/2013 Deadline for submission of proposal
- 04/15/2013 Announcement of award
- 01/10/2014 Deadline for submission of report
More information can be found here.
In April 2009, the central Italian city of L’Aquila was devastated by a crippling earthquake, claiming lives and causing extensive damage to thousands of buildings, including the leveling of the city’s main auditorium venue. Nearing the fourth anniversary of this tragic disaster, the Italian city of Trento has donated a Renzo Piano-designed auditorium, which was inaugurated in October, in an effort to aid the reconstruction of this medieval city.
Creating an illusion of instability, the auditorium is formed by three interconnected cubes made entirely of wood (1.165 cubic meters in total) that ironically appears as they had “haphazardly tumbled down” and came to rest upon each other. The entire structure was prefabricated and then assembled onsite by Log Engineering, who pieced it together with 800,000 nails, 100,000 screws and 10,000 brackets.
Four of architecture’s finest has been shortlisted to design what Australian businessman James Packer hopes to be the most iconic building in Sydney since the Opera House. Italian Pritzker Prize-laureate Renzo Piano will compete against Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects to design a $1 billion, six-star Crown Sydney resort on a 6000 square meter site in the inner-city waterfront precinct of Barangaroo.
“Sydney deserves one of the world’s best hotels and with these amazing architects I’m confident we will see the most iconic building constructed here since the Opera House,” Packer told The Daily Telegraph. “I want this hotel resort to be instantly recognizable around the world and feature on postcards and memorabilia promoting Sydney. That’s how you attract international tourists, create jobs and put Sydney on the map.”
More after the break…
BBC’s Sarah Montague interviews Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind London’s most controversial and newest skyscraper: ‘The Shard’. Prior to the interview, Montague spotted Piano blending into the crowd during the opening of the 310-meter skyscraper “spying” on the onlookers. When asked about this moment, Piano revealed the great advice he received from the prominent Italian film director Roberto Rossellini upon the completion of the Pompidou Center in Paris: “You do not look at the building, you look at the people looking at the building.” It was during this moment that Piano observed “surprise” and “wonder, but not fear” amongst the onlookers – a reaction he seemed to be content with.
Despite Piano’s attempt to refrain from controversy, it is hard to avoid when your design intends to celebrate a “shift in society” as does the ‘Shard’. Change tends to stir mixed emotions and spark debate. However, being part of this “human adventure” as an architect is what Piano finds most rewarding. He states: “You don’t change the world as an architect, but you celebrate the change of the world.”
A BIG step forward for Vancouver’s latest mixed-use tower making international headlines, as the 497-foot tall Beach and Howe proposal has received an “enthusiastic endorsement” from the city’s design panel.
Commissioned by Canada’s real estate mogul Ian Gillespie of Westbank, the Bjarke Ingles Group-designed tower promises to add a foreign twist to Vancouver’s skyline and create a new identity for an undefined section of town at the fringe of the city’s residential area. The 700,000 square foot complex – which contains shopping, social housing and market rental apartments – was praised by the panel for anchoring itself on a nine-story podium that occupies the disused, interstitial spaces found between the Granville Street Bridge’s entry and exit ramps.
More after the break…
How do we talk about architecture? Housing? Cities? Culture? Politics? And, equally important, how don’t we talk about them? Comments on Foreclosed, a forthcoming book and online archive of public reactions to Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, a 2012 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that was co-curated by the Buell Center, has been produced to document just this kind of public discussion and the various platforms that shape it.
On February 18th, The Buell Center will mark the completion of the book and website, www.commentsonforeclosed.com, with a public event, “Comments on Comments”. A performance of excerpts from the archive will open a multimedia panel discussion and Q&A. In so doing, certain gaps in the public conversation on American housing and urbanism will be identified, and systemic deficiencies called out.