Nicky Rackard

Could A Sustainable Source of Energy Be Right Beneath Our Feet?

Courtesy of Pavegen

The potential to generate is hidden in many places, from skyscrapers to ski-slopes. But new research is showing that a potent source of energy is hiding right beneath our noses, or feet to be more specific.

UC Davis Art Museum Proposal / Henning Larsen Architects

Courtesy of

Last year the University of , Davis invited three architects to compete for the chance to design their new $30 million art museum, slated to open in 2016. The competition was a design-build affair, with each entrant being asked to pair up with a contractor and submit a holistic design. For those who missed it, SO – IL was announced as the winner of the competition.

Here we present one of the two runner-up submissions from Henning Larsen Architects. Given the name ‘The Leaf’, the design it spatially and materially expresses its overlapping functions. Its name comes from the lightweight leaf-like steel and aluminum roof, which filters sunlight and offers shade. The leaf sits on a heavy concrete base, providing accommodation for the museum’s exhibits.

Read the architects description after the break…

UC Davis Art Museum Proposal / WORKac

Courtesy of Architecture

Last year the University of , Davis invited three invited three architects to compete for the chance to design their new $30 million art museum, slated to open in 2016. The competition was a design-build affair, with each entrant being asked to pair up with a contractor and submit a holistic design. For those who missed it, SO – IL were announced yesterday as the winners of the competition.

Here we present one of two runner-up submissions from WORKac. The concept revolves around creating a distinctive beacon, which would be a center point for an overlap between art, higher-education, and everyday-life. The parallelogram form is intended to create a dynamic space which creates opportunities for interplay with the proposed landscape and surrounding area. Inside a collection of formal and informal, open and intimate are arranged along two axes, pinned together with a bright common space.

Read the architects description after the break…

One World Trade Center Will Soon Top Out at 1,776 Feet

After weather conditions refused to cooperate on Monday, the final two sections of Freedom Tower have been lifted to the summit of the One World Trade CenterConstruction of the gargantuan 758-ton, 408-foot spire – a joint Canadian-U.S. venture – began in December 2012, when 18 separate pieces were shipped to Manhattan from Canada and New JerseyThis final addition, including a steel beacon, means that the height of the building will soon rise from 1,368 feet to a more patriotic 1,776 feet once the segments are permanently installed within the next few weeks. However, it’s not yet certain that the building will officially be the tallest in the U.S.

Read more after the break…

AZPA Proposal To Transform German Power Plant Into a ‘Green Mountain’

Courtesy of AZPA

Although necessary, power plants are typically an eyesore that don’t attract much positive attention. As Thomas Heatherwick put it, “we are ashamed of how we generate our energy.” Breaking the mold, a proposal by architecture firm AZPA (Alejandro Zaera-Polo Arquitectura) plans to transform a German into a densely-forested “green mountain”, which will in turn be a landmark public space for a town.

Read more after the break…

Video: Thom Mayne Talks With Toyo Ito

At 71, the 2013 Pritzker Prize winner Toyo Ito is not content with settling down just yet, at least not architecturally-speaking. Where many architects have established distinct styles, Ito is known for constantly shifting, experimenting, questioning and developing his approach to architecture. As one member of the Prtizker jury put it “he has been working on one project all along – to push the boundaries of architecture. And to achieve that goal, he is not afraid of letting go what he has accomplished before.” 

In this entitled Learning from Laureates - which comes courtesy of the good folks at ARCHITECT magazine - fellow experimentalist and Pritzker Prize recipient (not to mention 2013 AIA Gold MedalistThom Mayne gets to grips with Ito’s motivation. The pair of laureates converse via Skype examining the drive behind Ito’s evolutionary approach, before getting down to discussing how they think architecture is being affected by society’s biggest change yet – the advent of the post-digital age.

See more of Ito’s work along with some of our previous coverage after the break…

PowerWINDows: A Proposal for Skyscraper-Compatible Wind Turbines

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Could a new revolution in wind-turbines be on its way? A team from Australia’s University of Wollongong (UOW) have collaborated with leading marine engineering firm Birdon Pty Ltd, to develop PowerWINDows – a new type of wind-to-energy converter that could potentially be appearing on near you soon.

Read more about this new idea after the break…

Build Your Own Neutra Home!

Kaufmann House, 1947 Palm Springs, CA / Richard Neutra, architect © Julius Schulman

The mid-century modern master, Richard Neutra was well known for his cutting edge . Since Julius Shulman immortalized his in his iconic photographs, Neutra’s bright, airy homes have widely been seen as the pinnacle of modernism and desirability. One problem though, they’re in high demand and it’s not exactly like they’re making any more Neutra buildings; in fact, quite the opposite is true and as a result they have become a pretty expensive commodity.

Read more about how to get your very own Neutra home after the break…

The 10 Most Inspirational TED Talks for Architects

Courtesy of Youtube – TEDtalksDirector

is a funny thing: when you need it is nowhere to be seen, and just when you’re not expecting it, it can blindside you in the least convenient of places. Here’s ten inspirational for architects (in no particular order) from people with broad and unique views on architecture. Some might enlighten, educate or even enrage you – at the very least they should get those creative juices flowing a little better.

Take-in these ten TED talks after the break…

Zaha Hadid Wins Veuve Cliquot Business Women Award

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Zaha Hadid has been announced as the winner of the 41st Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award at a ceremony in London on Monday. Now in its 41st year, the Veuve Clicquot Award was set up by the Champagne house to recognize the work of successful businesswomen worldwide, who embody their spirit of Madame Clicquot.

Madame Clicquot was a 19th Century businesswomen who, after being widowed at the age of 27, took the reigns of her husband’s Champagne business and became one of the first women to lead a male-dominated company. The company describes her as a women who was ‘proud and strong-willed’ who demanded “only one quality, the finest.” The award appraises the nominees under the headings of entrepreneurship, financial success, corporate social responsibility and whether or not they are seen as a role model to others.

Plan Envisages Reusing Pittsburgh’s Industrial Past to Bring The City Closer Together

43rd St District View Back Towards Courtesy of

With the advent of the High Line and the recent announcement about Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, it’s becoming clear that the ‘parkway’ is a powerful new force in urban planning, which has the potential to change the way cities around the world function. A new project in Pittsburgh seeks to harness these possibilities, as the city’s history of industry has left its stamp upon the city in the form of a rusting industrial riverfront. A plan by Saski Associates envisages re-using this space to create a green belt, tying the city closer together. By adding pedestrian, cycling and light-rail transport routes, and creating plenty of green spaces, they hope to tap Pittsburgh’s unrealized potential to be a river-front city, while encouraging geographical and social closeness amongst its communities.

More images and the architect’s description after the break…

Woodskin: The Flexible Timber Skin

Courtesy of

Have you ever wanted to create delicate, complex shapes from plywood, but can’t because it’s too stiff and unforgiving? Well all that might soon change, thanks to Milan-based design studio MammaFotogramma. They have created a type of flexible, ‘Woodskin‘ triangular tiles of Russian plywood.

Read more about Woodskin after the break…

A Look at Hollywood’s Love Affair with John Lautner

You have to admit it, Hollywood really seems to have a thing for John Lautner; his designs are continuously cropping up in tv-shows, films, cartoons, music videos and even video games. The occasional despondent college professor aside, his exuberant mansions are usually typecast as the bachelor-pads of various flamboyant psycho-paths, pornographers or drug-smugglers. Curbed Los Angeles have compiled this excellent video of the various Lautner-featuring scenes, so we thought that we’d take a closer look at some of his buildings, which tend to pop up in all manner of unexpected places.

Read more about Hollywood’s love affair with Lautner after the break…

Kickstarter Campaign Seeks Funds To Produce Film About Eileen Gray

As we’ve mentioned before, Irish designer Eileen Gray was undoubtedly one of the most influential, and most overlooked, designers of the 20th century. However, a new Kickstarter campaign aims to put that right once and for all. The campaign is seeking funds to help renovate Gray’s seminal house, E-1027, for the production of a feature about the architect. 

Infographic: Life Inside The Kowloon Walled City

Courtesy of South Morning Post

It has been twenty years since the demolition of the Kowloon Walled City. To mark this, the South China Morning Post has created an info-graphic that details the facts and figures of what life was like inside this architectural oddity. 

Read more about the madness that was KWC after the break…

Motion Picture Academy Unveils Designs for Renzo Piano-Designed Museum

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures © Building Workshop, Studio Pali Fekete architects, AMPAS

It’s surprising to think that Los Angeles - the home of the U.S industry – doesn’t have a museum solely dedicated to its homegrown artform. However, all that is about to change should the Academy of Motion Pictures have their way.

Last Thursday, plans were unveiled for the long-touted Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a new museum designed by Renzo Piano and native Los Angeleno architect Zoltan Pali, which will be located in the streamline-moderne Wiltshire May Company building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Although the designs are at an early stage, the released drawings propose to convert the historic building into a museum, while marrying it with a 140-foot-diameter glass dome.

Read more about the project after the break…

Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal Awarded to Peter Wilson

Raakspoort Haarlem. © Christian Richters

Peter Wilson, co-founder and director of Bolles+Wilson, was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal, their highest accolade, at a ceremony last month in Canberra. The Institute bestows the medal upon architects who have designed, or executed, exceptional buildings, promoted the knowledge of architecture, or have made some defining contribution to the field.

City Council Approves Redevelopment of NYC’s Historic Pier 57

Courtesy of Young Woo & Associates

’s City Council have unanimously backed a proposed plan to restore and redevelop the aging giant that is Built in 1952, the 300,000 square foot pier was hailed by Popular Mechanics as a ‘SuperPier’ for its vast size and unconventional construction, as most of the pier’s weight is supported by ‘floating’ air-filled concrete cassions. The pier was originally used as a bus depot by the New York City Transit Authority, however it has been lying vacant since 2003. The latest decision brings a concrete end to years of speculation as to what the fate of the pier would be.

Read more about the proposal after the break…