Rory Stott

WikiHouse Unveils World’s First Two-Storey Open-Source House at London Design Festival

© Margaux Carron www.margauxcarron.com

WikiHouse, the open-source platform for designing and sharing house designs that anyone can be manufacture and assemble in days with no construction skills, has unveiled ‘WikiHouse 4.0′ their first ever two-storey design at this year’s London Design Festival. Built by a team of volunteers and costing less than £50,000, the new prototype on display at The Building Centre also demonstrates the possibilities of other open source systems, with the code for the electrics, ventilation system and sensors all available on open-source platforms.

More on WikiHouse 4.0 after the break

Jean Nouvel’s Tower Verre Finally Ready to Break Ground

© Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel‘s long-awaited 53 West 53rd Street, also known as the Tower Verre or the Tower, may finally be ready to move ahead with construction after the project’s developer Hines purchased $85.3 million worth of air rights from its neighbors MoMA and the St Thomas Episcopal Church and arranged the $860 million construction loan required for the project.

Originally proposed in 2007, the design has been plagued by problems, including significant delays due to the financial crisis and a difficult approval process which resulted in the building’s height being slashed from 1,250 feet to its current planned height of 1,050 feet. However, according to a statement from Hines groundbreaking on the project is now “imminent.”

The Living and BIG Among Winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 for North America

© BIG Courtesy of the

The Holcim Foundation has announced the Winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 for North America, the award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the winners are BIG and The Living, with designs which the jury stated showed “sophisticated and multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing the building and construction industry.”

The ten recognized projects share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards awards, to be selected in 2015.

Read on after the break for the full list of winners

Ten Top Designers Get the Products of Their Dreams With “The Wish List”

Tableware / + Gareth Neal. Image © Petr Krejčí

Terence Conran asked nine of his friends in the design world “What have you always wanted in your home, but have never been able to find?” The result is The Wish List, a set of ten projects dreamed up by big name designers such as Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers, but designed and crafted in collaboration with emerging designers.

Sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council, the only restriction was that the product had to be made of wood, leading to designs ranging from Foster’s modest geometric pencil sharpeners to Paul Smith‘s dream garden shed.

As part of the 2014 London Design Festival, the resulting ten products will be on show at the V&A Museum until October 24th.

Skaters Win Battle Against Southbank Centre

© Miller Hare

London‘s  announced yesterday that it has reached an agreement with skateboarding group Long Live Southbank, and is dropping plans to move the famous skatepark to a new site underneath Hungerford Bridge nearby. The decision, which is ensured by a binding planning agreement with Lambeth Council, brings a close to a dispute that has lasted almost a year and a half – ever since the unveiled redevelopment plans by Feilden Clegg Bradley which included the removal of the skatepark in favour of retail space in the Southbank’s undercroft.

The agreement also involves both sides dropping a series of legal challenges initiated during the dispute, including the Southbank’s challenge over the registration of the skatepark as an ‘asset of community value,’ an attempt by Long Live Southbank to have the skatepark listed as a village green, and a judicial review of Lambeth Council’s decision to reject the village green application.

UNStudio Appointed to Create Identity for Qatar’s New Metro Network

© Methanoia

Aiming to encourage the use of public transportation as a valid alternative to private transportation, Qatar Rail has appointed UNStudio to design the stations for the first phase of the Greater Doha Metro Network, part of the Integrated Railway Project (QIRP). With the first phase consisting of 30 stations on 4 metro lines, has created an “Architectural Branding Manual,” a set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines which will be used by the design & build firms on each station to ensure the design quality and coherence of the network as a whole.

Milan Expo 2015: Czech Pavilion by Chybik + Kristof is Centered Around a Swimming Pool

© Miss3 courtesy of

Chybik + Kristof Associated Architects have revealed their winning design for the Pavilion of the Czech Republic at the 2015 Milan Expo. Responding to the Expo’s food theme, the pavilion is centered around the Czech Republic’s unique relationship to water, featuring a public swimming pool at the center of the design and presenting the latest progress in nanotechnology for water purification.

In Defense of Rewarding Vanity Height

One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States… arguably. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia

Recently, ArchDaily editors received an interesting request from an anonymous Communications Director of an unnamed New York firm, asking us “In your reporting, please do not repeat as fact, or as “official,” the opinion that One World Trade Center in New York will be the tallest building in the United States.” He or she goes on to explain that the decision maker who ‘announced’ the building as the tallest in the US, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), is not officially endorsed by the AIA or the US Government, and that while their work is beneficial for architecture and cities as a whole, their criteria for height evaluation are flawed and have been criticized by many in the industry.

The desire to have the tallest building in a city, country or even the world goes back to at least the medieval period, when competing noble families of Italian hill towns such as San Gimignano would try to out-do each other’s best construction efforts (jokes about the Freudian nature of such contests are, I imagine, not much younger). Perhaps the greatest symbol of this desire is the decorative crown of the Chrysler Building, which was developed in secret and enabled the building to briefly take the prize as the world’s tallest, much to the surprise and ire of its competitors at the time.

With this competitive spirit apparently still very much alive, I thought it might be worthwhile to address the issue raised by our anonymous friend.

UK Politicians Invited to Workshop to Learn About Architecture

One possible activity for the workshop includes guided tours of from the Thames. Image © Flickr CC User Donna Rutherford

Oliver Colvile, chairman of the UK‘s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Excellence in the Built Environment, has proposed that Members of Parliament should be invited to an architecture workshop to improve their understanding of the built environment. The workshop would be jointly run by the APPG and the Farrell Review, and could include activities such as designing a virtual town or an architectural sightseeing tour along the Thames. More on the proposal after the break.

London Official Confirms that “The Pinnacle” Has Been Scrapped

© via wikipedia

The Pinnacle, the 63-storey tower that would have been the tallest in the City of London‘s central cluster, has finally been abandoned, according to Gwyn Richards, the City’s new head of design. Originally granted planning permission in 2006, the “helter-skelter” design by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF) was put on hold in 2011 due to financial issues. Now a replacement scheme is in the works which could be revealed in a matter of weeks.

More on the Pinnacle, and its replacement, after the break

Three-Team Shortlist Selected to Redevelop LA’s Convention Center

© Wikimedia CC User Cbl62

The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering has selected three teams for the next phase of the competition to redevelop and expand the Convention Center. The teams, consisting of AC Martin + LMN; Gensler + Lehrer Architects; and HMC + Populous, will now receive $200,000 to develop detailed proposals to be submitted on December 8th.

However, according to The Architect’s Newspaper, the redevelopment of the Convention Center outlined by the brief is not yet guaranteed to happen; with the city under contract with AEG to build a football stadium on a portion of the site until October 18th, the Convention Center’s Executive Director Bud Ovrum confirmed that, if the city can secure an NFL team by then, the stadium is still the city’s first choice.

New York Shows that Protected Cycle Lanes are a Win-Win Improvement

© Flickr CC User Paul Krueger

The introduction of protected bike lanes in many cities usually raises objections from motorists who believe that devoting an entire road lane to cyclists will restrict the flow of cars and add to congestion in cities. However, a study of New York‘s streets, which has been ongoing since the first protected bicycle lanes opened in 2007, has recently shown that the opposite is actually true: by separating different types of traffic, cars can actually get around faster.

That’s before we even begin to discuss the safety benefits of protected bike lanes, with the study showing the risk of injury to cyclists, drivers and pedestrians all falling on streets where the protected lanes were installed.

Read on after the break for more results of the study

Hawkins\Brown Unveils Legacy Designs for London Olympic Broadcast Centre

Courtesy of Hawkins\Brown

Hawkins\Brown has unveiled designs for Here East, the redevelopment of the former Press and Broadcast Centre at the London 2012 Olympics. The design for a “world class creative and digital cluster” will feature office and studio space for both established global companies alongside some of East London‘s many creative start-ups. Providing over a million square feet of flexible space, the design also includes shared work spaces and public areas, and a shared yard to host events, aiming to promote sharing of ideas and collaboration between the companies at various scales that will inhabit it.

Australian Institute of Architects Announces 2014 National Awards Shortlist

© Peter Clarke

The Australian Institute of Architects has announced the 61 projects making it to this year’s 2014 Australian National . Selected from a pool of 153 regional winners across 13 categories, the jury have visited all the shortlisted projects (except the international shortlist) in preparation for the announcement of the National winners at a ceremony in Darwin on November 6th.

Commenting on the shortlist, jury chair Paul Berkemeier said: “As a jury and as members of the profession, we were inspired by the number of projects that had informed clients working closely with the architects to achieve better outcomes. In many instances, this relationship allowed the project to go well and truly above and beyond the original brief.”

Read on after the break for the full shortlist

CTBUH Announces Five Finalists in its Student Competition

© Alex Balchin Courtesy of

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced five finalists in their 2014 Student Design Competition, which asked entrants to respond to the theme of ”sustainable verticle urbanism” in order to “shed new light on the meaning and value of tall buildings in modern society.”

“There has been a major transition in the sense of the value of the tall building and what it can contribute to the urban realm, and society in general,” said former Competition Jury Chair William Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox. “This transition moves the tall building away from just an instrument of financial exploitation and toward a development highly concerned with its impact on the city, the environment, and the urban habitat.”

The winner of the competition will be announced at a special judging session as part of the CTBUH’s 2014 Shanghai Conference which begins on Tuesday. Read on after the break for all the finalists.

‘Olympicopolis’ Design Contest Officially Open

The Olympicopolis site is to the South-East of the Olympic Park, near to Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre. Image © Flickr CC User Leo Reynolds

The competition to design a cultural complex at London‘s new ‘Olympicopolis’ site formally opened today, seeking to attract “an exceptional team” of architects, masterplanners, engineers and landscape designers to transform the site next to ’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Organizers Malcolm Reading Associates say that the competition has already registered over 960 expressions of interest from firms worldwide before the details were even announced, thanks to their early announcement seeking interested parties in July.

The complex will house outposts for the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, Sadler’s Wells and University of the Arts London. The designs for the complex will also respond to proposals for a new campus for University College London which is planned for an adjacent site, making it “one of the most exciting international developments in arts and culture,” according to Director of the V&A Martin Roth.

Read on after the break for more details of the competition

Zaha Hadid Says She “Would Love To Do a Tower in London”

Architects’ designs for three towers in Brisbane were recently unveiled. Image © Architects

Despite her position as one of the world’s most prominent and successful architects, Zaha Hadid yesterday revealed that there is one thing she feels is missing from her portfolio: a skyscraper in London. Speaking to BD at the announcement of her Science Museum competition win, Hadid said ”I’d love to do a tower in London but it hasn’t arrived.” More of Hadid’s comments after the break.

Richard Rogers Speaks Out Against Garden Cities Proposals

URBED’s winning proposal for the Wolfson Economics Prize. Image Courtesy of URBED

Reacting to URBED‘s winning proposal in the Wolfson Economics Prize, Richard Rogers has denounced the idea of creating new Garden Cities in the UK, saying that the “ridiculous concept” risks “emptying out existing cities and that is a ridiculous idea.”

The proposal by URBED demonstrates how as many as forty towns and cities in the , including Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rugby, Reading and Stafford could be expanded, using the fictional city of ‘Uxcester’ as a case study. However, speaking to the Guardian, Rogers claimed that there was enough brownfield land in Britain’s major cities to meet the needs of the current housing crisis, and the creation of new Garden cities would lead to increased car use and middle-class only towns.

Read on after the break for more of Rogers’ comments