Rory Stott

Spotlight: Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Courtesy of the archive

“All space must be attached to a value, to a public dimension. There is no private space. The only private space that you can imagine is the human mind.” – Paulo Mendes da Rocha, May 26, 2004

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil‘s greatest architects and urbanists. Born in Vitória, Espírito Santo in 1928, Mendes da Rocha won the 2006 Pritzker Prize, and is one of the most representative architects of the Brazilian Paulista School, also known as ”Paulista Brutalism” that utilizes more geometric lines, rougher finishes and bulkier massing than other Brazilian Modernists such as Oscar Niemeyer.

Woods Bagot’s Alternative Penn Station Solution Would Keep Madison Square Garden

© VISUALHOUSE

Invited by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and the Regional Plan Association (RPA), Woods Bagot has created an alternative design for the future of New York‘s  Penn Station which would allow Madison Square Garden to remain in its current location above the station’s entrance. The design, produced as part of MAS and RPA’s report into the future of the station, the design was unveiled yesterday at Penn 2023: Where will the Garden Go?, the first session of the Municipal Arts Society’s 2014 Summit for , which discussed the possible options for the site at the end of Madison Square Garden’s current 10-year permit.

Though the report by MAS and RPA favors the idea of moving Madison Square Garden – identifying Farley Post Office’s Western Annex and the Morgan Postal Facility and Annex as potential new sites – it also says that “there needs to be a Plan B… In the event a deal between the state, city, railroads and Madison Square Garden does not get done in the next eight years, there needs to be a plan for improving Penn Station and the surrounding district with the Garden still in place.” This is where Woods Bagot’s designs come in.

Read on after the break for more on Woods Bagot’s proposal

Arkitema Architects Selected to Design New Offices for Danish Government Agency

©

The Danish Building & Property Agency has selected Arkitema Architects to design a new office building to house four government agencies: Banedanmark, The Danish Transport Authority, The Danish Road Directorate and the Danish Energy Agency. The 43,000 square metre office building is named “Nexus,” a word which “comes from Latin and means linkage, centre and connection,” according to Glenn Elmbæk, partner at Arkitema Architects. “And that is exactly what we want to create for The Danish Building & Property Agency – a connection between people in their work lives, between knowledge and between the four government agencies.”

More on the design after the break

See All 1,715 Entries to the Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Online

GH-7128234610. Image Courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants

The competition for the new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki closed last month, becoming the most popular architectural competition in history with 1,715 entries. Now, competition organizers Malcolm Reading Consultants have made every single one available to view online, with each anonymous proposal presented in a series of two images, and a short description fro the architects. “Since its inception, this competition has been organized to be welcoming, inclusive, and transparent, and the gallery presents a singular opportunity for the public to explore and consider the broad expanse of entries,” says Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.

Competition organizer Malcolm Reading added: “For anyone interested in design, the gallery is a tremendous resource that offers rare insight into the design process and further illustrates how the vision for a … [has] captured the imagination of architects around the world.”

And indeed, the website does provide a tremendous tool: with such a huge volume of entries, the database and its associated tagging system offer an interesting way to probe the architectural zeitgeist: for example, it seems ‘curved’ buildings are almost twice as popular as ‘straight’ buildings; and ‘opaque’ buildings are still unpopular, being outpaced by ‘transparent’ buildings by almost five to one, despite the traditionally opaque museum typology.

But when it comes to architectural quality, where do you even begin with 1,715 proposals? The competition’s website has that covered too, with a favorites button, a six-building shortlist tool and a search-by-registration tool. ArchDaily is here to help too: after the break, we’ve hand-picked 50 of the most exciting, unusual, interesting and simply absurd proposals for you to start talking about.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows UK’s Confidence Remains High

Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for September showed that, for yet another month, confidence is high among UK architects, with the workload index up fractionally to +29 from +28 in August. Again, this positive figure was spread right across the country, with the most optimistic reports coming from Northern Ireland and the North of England, reporting workload index figures of +80 and +46 respectively – promising figures considering that these two areas were “slowest to show signs of recovery” after the recession, according to the RIBA.

Pratt Institute Students Create Sinuous Screen Wall From Concrete Blocks

© Lawrence Blough via the Architect’s Newsaper

Students from the Pratt Institute have created a wall of concrete blockwork… but not like any you’ve seen before. Challenged by their tutors Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino to produce something highly customized from something highly standardized – the 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC brick – the students used Rhino software and a CNC miller to create a 96-block screen wall composed of 20 different block profiles. “The earlier stuff I’d done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could,” said Blough. “Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization.” Find out more about the project at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator Blog.

Video: Emre Arolat’s Sancaklar Mosque From Start to Finish

YouTube Preview Image

Earlier this year, Emre Arolat Architects completed their Sancaklar Mosque, “a simple cave like space” in Istanbul which through its humble exterior forms and emphasis on connection to nature, offers a “dramatic and awe inspiring place to pray and be alone with God.” Over a period of 24 months, SGMStudio (Sarraf | Galeyan | Mekanik) documented this work, as the elements of the mosque gradually emerged from its steel rebar framework. “While recording the progress of the construction throughout passing seasons, the aims to portray the building’s existence within nature and its percept of space with the sensibility of the structure it purposes to narrate,” say SGMStudio. Set to dramatic backing music, “the dwells on the tension between the technical and engineering-centric implementation and humble and tranquil art of building with its pacing.”

Wright & Wright Unveils Scheme to Replace Chipperfield’s Plans for Geffrye Museum

View from Hoxton Station, Geffrye Street. Image © Wright & Wright Architects

Wright & Wright Architects has revealed their designs for the Geffrye Museum in East London, a £15 million redesign that will increase the museum’s total space by almost 40% through “unlocking” previously unused areas of the museum’s 18th century almshouses. The design replaces a scheme by David Chipperfield Architects, which last year failed to secure planning permission in part because of the hugely controversial proposal to demolish the former Marquis of Lansdown Pub that occupies the corner of the site.

Why China’s President Says “No More Weird Buildings”

Xi Jinping has criticized ’s CCTV Headquarters. Image © / Philippe Ruault

The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has reportedly called for a end to the “weird buildings” being built in China, and particularly in the nation’s capital, Beijing. In a two hour speech at a literary symposium in Beijing last week, Mr Xi expressed his views that art should serve the people and be morally inspiring, identifying architectural projects such as OMA’s CCTV Headquarters as the kind of building that should no longer be constructed in Beijing.

With ’s construction boom being one of the most talked about features of today’s architecture scene – and many a Western practice relying on their extravagant projects to prop up their studios – the Chinese leader’s comments have the potential to affect the landscape of architectural practice worldwide. But what is behind these sentiments? Read on after the break to find out.

Bureau Architecture Méditerranée Designs Algerian Parliament Around a Vast Plaza

©

Bureau Architecture Méditerranée has unveiled the design for the new Parliament of Algeria, a complex including buildings for the People’s National Assembly, the National Council (Senate), the Chamber (Congress), and a residence for legislators. The buildings are organized around a large public plaza, “a symbolic gathering place for the free people who give the republic its legitimacy and authority,” on a site that connects the historic and modern parts of the city.

Critical Round-Up: Haworth Tompkins’ 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Win

© Philip Vile

In the great tradition of the RIBA Stirling Prize, the announcement of Haworth TompkinsEveryman Theatre as the winner of the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize took many by surprise. The Everyman surpassed the public’s favourite, Mecanoo‘s Library of Birmingham, and the bookies’ (and many critics’) favourite, O’Donnell + Tuomey‘s LSE Saw Swee Hock Student Centre - as well as two household names in Zaha Hadid‘s Aquatics Centre and Renzo Piano‘s Shard.

In what was seen by many as the strongest shortlist in years, the underdog Everyman has emerged victorious. But was it a worthy winner? Read on after the break to find out what the critics made of this unexpected result.

7N Architects Reveal Glasgow Masterplan

Courtesy of

Edinburgh-based 7N Architects has revealed their for Shawfield in Glasgow, a development containing 1.2 million square feet of “flexible business space” next to the River Clyde. Produced for the Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company, the scheme aims to capitalize on the growth and investment that was brought to Glasgow by this summer’s Commonwealth Games by providing “a nationally significant business district which will play a strong role in contributing to growth in Scotland‘s economy.”

US Department of Agriculture Launches $2 Million Tall Wood Building Prize Competition

Limnologen in Växjö, Sweden. Image Courtesy of Midroc Property Development

Among the changes in material technology that are constantly altering the architectural landscape, one of the most popular – and most dramatic – is the idea of the skyscraper. And with vocal advocates like Benton Johnson of SOM and Michael Green leading the discussion with projects like the Timber Tower Research Project, the wooden highrise is on the verge of becoming a mainstream approach.

To further the conversation in the USA, the US Department of Agriculture, working in partnership with Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), has recently launched the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, an ideas competition with a $2 million prize. To find out more about tall wood buildings, we caught up with Oscar Faoro, Project Manager of the competition. Read on after the Break for our interview and more details on how to enter.

Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Clears Final Design Hurdle

Courtesy of Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has approved Frank Gehry‘s revised design for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC, meaning that after a fifteen-year process, all the involved parties have finally agreed on a design. Gehry’s most recent design – a slightly scaled-down version of the one he produced in 2011, with the two smaller woven steel tapestries removed to open up the view to the Capitol – was approved by the National Capitol Planning Commission (NCPC) earlier this month, allowing the CFA to give their final verdict on the new design.

Haworth Tompkins’ Everyman Theatre Wins the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize

2014 Stirling Prize winner: The Everyman Theatre / Haworth Tompkins. Image © Philip Vile

Haworth Tompkins’ Everyman Theatre has won the RIBA Stirling Prize for 2014, beating competition from Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Mecanoo, O’Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley. The result was announced last night by President Stephen Hodder at an event held at the RIBA’s Headquarter’s in London, with Hodder saying that “Haworth Tompkins have struck the perfect balance between continuity and change” and calling the scheme “a ground-breaking example of how to build a daring, bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic city centre.”

Video: Rem Koolhaas Answers Questions From Fans as Part of ‘REM’ Kickstarter

In December of last year, we brought you news of Tomas Koolhaas‘ kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about his father, Rem Koolhaas. Well, not only was Koolhaas’ REM documentary fully funded, three generous backers offered up $500 each in return for one question to be answered directly by Rem Koolhaas himself. The video above is the result of those questions, in which Koolhaas responds to questions on urbanism in the developed country of the Netherlands compared to still-developing India, as well as a question about how his early work in -making and scriptwriting influenced his architectural career.

Watch the video above and read on after the break for a synopsis of Koolhaas’ answers

OMA + OLIN Selected to Design D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park

© & Luxigon

The competition jury for Washington D.C.‘s 11th Street Bridge Park has unanimously selected OMA + OLIN‘s design to turn the ageing freeway structure over the Anacostia River into an elevated park and new civic space for the city. With their dynamic intersecting structure, OMA + saw off competition from three other teams composed of: Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), NEXT Architects and Magnusson Klemencic AssociatesStoss Landscape Urbanism and Höweler + Yoon Architecture; and Balmori Associates and Cooper, Robertson & Partners.

Read on after the break for more on the design and a complete set of images.

Helsinki Announces Competition for City Centre High Rises

The Pasila district has been marked for development for some time. Above, a model of the area from 2006. Image © Flickr CC User Darren Webb

The city of Helsinki has announced plans for a design and build competition for a new commercial and residential district in Pasila, near the city centre. The competition, which calls for 8-10 buildings of 15 stories or more, will be part of the city’s drive to make Pasila the “second centre of ,” with a total of 150,000-200,000 square metres of residential and office space planned for the district. Read on after the break to find out more about the competition.