Rory Stott

Princeton Names Monica Ponce de Leon as Dean of Architecture

© Adam Smith via http://www..edu/

has been named as the next Dean of Princeton’s School of Architecture. Ponce de Leon, who co-founded Office dA in 1991, and then founded her own firm MPdL Studio in 2011, is the current Dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She also previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for 12 years, and is a recipient of the National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum.

#LoFab: MASS Design Group’s Campaign For Local Building

“If I get a contract, so does the entire neighborhood.”

With these ten words, Haitian artisan Mackenzy Vil sums up the philosophy behind MASS Design Group‘s latest video series, “.” Short for locally fabricated, the videos follow in the footsteps of MASS Design Group’s provocative “Beyond the Building” series, advocating for a more holistic understanding of the processes that go into actually constructing a building, particularly when designing for communities in need.

The first video in the series documents Vil’s work in creating the sky-blue screen facade of the GHESKIO Cholera Center, in a community where Haitians are still dealing with the after-effects of the devastating 2010 earthquake. “On every project, we highlight and scale local innovation and ideas, hire local labor, and use local ,” explains MASS Design Group, resulting in an influx of both money and dignity to the places where they work.

Morphosis Architects Headline AIA’s 2015 Technology In Architectural Practice Innovation Awards

Stellar Architecture category winner: Emerson College Los Angeles / . Image © Iwan Baan

The AIA has announced four projects as the winners of its inaugural Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Innovation Awards, with Morphosis Architects’ Emerson College Los Angeles taking away the headline “Stellar Architecture” award. Started in 2005, the TAP Knowledge Community has led efforts to acknowledge and disseminate the best use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies, and the hopes that the new TAP Innovation Award will “enliven the discourse on how these innovations can advance the profession and practice of architecture and further the mission of the Institute.”

See all four awarded projects after the break.

Olafur Eliasson To Bring LEGO Installation “The Collectivity Project” To The High Line

The Collectivity Project on view at the 3rd Tirana Biennale, Albania, in 2005. Photo © . Courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. Image via art.thehighline.org

As part of their series of “Panorama” exhibits being presented this year, Friends Of The High Line have announced that they will host Olafur Eliasson‘s installation, “The Collectivity Project” from May 29th until September 30th this year on the High Line at West 30th Street. The installation, which has previously traveled to Tirana, Oslo, and Copenhagen, features an interactive imaginary cityscape made of over two tons of white LEGO bricks, with visitors invited to design, build and rebuild new structures as they see fit.

In a twist to the installation’s usual presentation, High Line Art has invited high-profile architects who are working in the vicinity of the High Line to contribute one “visionary” design for the installation’s opening, with BIG, David M. Schwarz Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations, OMA New York, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Selldorf Architects, SHoP, and Steven Holl Architects all contributing one building which the public will then be able to adapt, extend or work around.

Report Offers 10 Recommendations To Curb London’s Tall Building Boom

Areas such as Vauxhall (above) and Stratford have seen a dramatic rise in high-density housing. Image © Flickr CC user Willard

A report released last week aims to highlight the problems involved in high-density housing in London, offering 10 suggestions for how to create future developments that offer density while maintaining the UK capital’s distinctive character. Produced as a follow-up to their 2007 report entitled “Superdensity”, four UK housing specialists Pollard Thomas Edwards, HTA, Levitt Bernstein and PRP Architects have produced “Superdensity: The Sequel,” aiming to address the dramatic changes that have taken place in London development over the intervening 8 years.

Read on for more of the report’s aims and its 10 recommendations for future housing in London.

Rem Koolhaas On Preservation, The Fondazione Prada, And Tearing Down Part Of Paris

© Bas Princen – Fondazione Prada

With the opening of their Fondazione Prada building in Milan at the start of this month, OMA got the chance to show off a skill that they don’t get the chance to use very often: preservation. In this interview with Kultur Spiegel, Rem Koolhaas talks at length on the topic, explaining that he believes “we have to preserve history,” not just architecture, and arguing that the rise in popularity of reusing old buildings comes from a shift toward comfort, security and sustainability over the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. “The dimensions and repertoire of what is worthy of preserving have expanded dramatically,” he says, meaning that “we shouldn’t tear down buildings that are still usable.” Still, he says, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tear down and start again in some cases – an entire Parisian district beyond La Défense, for example. Read the full interview here.

Official Image Released Of New York’s 1775-Foot Nordstrom Tower

Official render released May 2015. Image © Extell via YIMBY

Update May 20th 2015: Once again uncovered by New York YIMBY, development company Extell has released the first official rendering of 217 West 57th Street, also known as the Nordstrom Tower, as shown above. Below, see our coverage of the first unofficial images from last year.

The designs of the Nordstrom Tower in New York, the world’s tallest residential building at 1,775 feet tall, have been revealed to New York YIMBY by an anonymous tipster close to the project. The project at 225 West 57th Street by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture will be one foot short of 1 World Trade Center, and with its 1,451 high roof will finally reclaim the title of ’ tallest roof from Chicago‘s Willis Tower.

More on the Nordstrom Tower after the break

Watch These Italian Artisans Create Bubble-Wrap Inspired Glass

For Maya Lapp and Denis Perera, owners of the company Glass MaDe in the Italian town of Belluno, bubble wrap is just about the most everyday material they know. It is the utilitarian material they use to protect their products from damage – yet despite this, it still holds a certain amount of fascination, resulting in their latest project, “Fragile.” This video by Studio Meddle shows the making of the project, as the glassmaking duo create a mold of the bubble wrap, cast the glass and finally drape the resulting product over a wrinkled wire mesh to create an almost eery facsimile of the original, subverting our usual expectations of the familiar bubble pattern. Check out Studio Meddle’s Video above (make sure the captions are turned on), and see more images of the completed work after the break.

Architecture Software Tutorials: Which Are The Best Out There?

© Faberr Ink via Shutterstock

In contemporary architecture practice, proficiency in an ever-widening array of architecture software is becoming increasingly important. For almost every job in the field, it is no longer enough to bring a skilled mind and a pencil; different jobs may require different levels of expertise and different types of software, but one thing that seems universally accepted is that some level of involvement with software is now a requirement.

While software has opened a huge range of capabilities for architects, it also presents a challenge: universities have taken wildly different approaches to the teaching of software, with some offering classes and access to experts while others prefer to teach design theory and expect students to pick up software skills in their own time. New architecture graduates therefore already face a divide in skills – and that’s not to mention the many, many architects who went to school before AutoCAD was even an industry standard, and have spent the past decades keeping up with new tools.

The internet has therefore been a huge democratizing effect in this regard, offering , often for free, to anyone with a connection – as long as you know where to look. That’s why ArchDaily wants your help to create a directory of the internet’s best architecture tutorial websites. Find out how to help (and see our own short list to get you started) after the break.

Sefaira Incorporates Customizable Graphics Into Daylight Visualization Software

Sefaira, the market-leading daylighting visualization tool, has just announced a new feature for their plugins for Autodesk Revit and Trimble Sketchup. In addition to the real-time visualizations announced last year, the new update adds customizable, exportable graphics which offer both a point in time analysis or an annual overview, and analysis tools which help designers easily identify overlit and underlit spaces and review heating or cooling requirements.

An Architect’s Story: AIA Documentary Profiles Blind Architect Chris Downey

YouTube Preview Image

As part of their #ILookUp campaign to raise awareness about the importance of the architecture profession, the has produced this short documentary about Chris Downey, an architect who lost his sight in 2008 and has gone on to become a pioneer in designing for the blind and visually impaired. Screened for the first time earlier today at the AIA convention in Atlanta, “An Architect’s Story” takes a look into the life and work of Downey and one of his students, Sana Jahani, as they explain what architects can offer the world – and what the # campaign means for an architect who is “without sight, but not without vision.”

Watch The Pritzker Prize Award Ceremony Live Today (8pm ET)

Tonight the Pritzker Prize will hold its annual award ceremony, this year honoring the work of 2015 laureate Frei Otto, who sadly passed away the day before he was announced as this year’s winner on March 10th. This year, the ceremony will be hosted in Miami Beach at Frank Gehry’s New World Center, the first time the ceremony has been held in the Miami Area. Speakers will include Tom Pritzker and Chair of the Jury, Lord Peter Palumbo, alongside a selection of past Pritzker Laureates.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Reveals Concept Designs For US Olympic Museum

Courtesy of

Diller Scofidio + Renfro has released the first images of their design for the US Olympic Museum in Colorado Springs, close to the United States Olympic Committee headquarters. The firm was selected last October, collaborating with Denver practice  to design the $60 million museum which will host a hall of fame, a theater, and a 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall and retail space to showcase the history of the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Six Young Practices Selected As Winners Of The Architectural League Prize 2015

Besler & Sons, The Entire Situation. Image © Joshua White

The Architectural League of New York has announced the winners of its 2015 Prize for Young Architects + Designers. Launched in 1981 and organized by a committee comprising League Programs Director Anne Rieselbach and a selection of winners from last year, the Architectural League Prize is one of the ’ most prestigious awards for young architects, recognizing provocative work and offering a platform for the winners to disseminate their ideas. This year’s theme, “Authenticity,” asked designers how technological changes in computation, visualization, material intelligence, and fabrication technologies are altering our perception of design and the role of the architect.

The jury for the prize consisted of Keller Easterling, Sanford Kwinter, Michael Meredith, Lyn Rice, and Billie Tsien, as well as previous winners Carrie Norman, John Rhett Russo, and Jenny Sabin. As part of their prize, in June the six winning practices will present a series of lectures, and their work will be on display in an exhibition during the summer.

Read on for the complete list of winners.

Zaha Hadid Unveils Community-Oriented Housing Project In Monterrey

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects have unveiled their first project in Mexico, a residential development in Monterrey. The country’s third-largest city, Monterrey is a rapidly growing and increasingly important manufacturing and center. The project, named “Esfera City Center,” is located to the southwest of Monterrey in the Huajuco Canyon, where it will provide crucial homes in a rapidly expanding part of the city.

Consisting of 981 units from single-person lofts to four-bedroom apartments totaling 137,000 square meters, the design rejects the original brief from the client which called for 12 residential towers, instead opting for a series of long, low-rise blocks which surround a public park, bringing a community focus to the design.

More images and information about the Esfera City Center project after the break.

Material Minds: The Possibilities Of Ultra High Performance Concrete

Waikiki Business Plaza / MGA Architecture. Image Courtesy of TAKTL

Since the beginning of the Modernist era a century ago, concrete has been appreciated by architects for its strength, versatility and sculptural potential. For many countries, played a key role in their recovery from the Second World War, and in their continued modernization during the second half of the 20th century. But in recent years – while it is still as widely-used as ever -  has fallen on something of an image problem, with criticisms of its environmental impact and its aesthetic appearance becoming commonplace.

That hasn’t stopped some companies continuing to innovate with concrete. Among these companies is TAKTL, a facade panel designer and manufacturer that works exclusively with Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC). To find out what UHPC can offer to architecture, ArchDaily spoke to TAKTL about the potential of this material, and the future of concrete construction.

Spotlight: Rafael Moneo

© Diario ABC, S.L.

As the only Spanish architect to receive the Pritzker Prize, (born 9 May 1937) is known for his highly contextual buildings which nonetheless remain committed to modernist stylings. His designs are regularly credited as achieving the elusive quality of “timelessness”; as critic Robert Campbell wrote in his essay about Moneo for the , “a Moneo building creates an awareness of time by remembering its antecedents. It then layers this memory against its mission in the contemporary world.”

Spotlight: Herzog & de Meuron

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Led by Jacques Herzog (born 19 April 1950) and Pierre de Meuron (born 8 May 1950), most descriptions of Herzog & de Meuron projects are almost paradoxical: in one paragraph they will be praised for their dedication to tradition and vernacular forms, in the next for their thoroughly modern innovation. However, in the hands of Herzog & de Meuron this is no paradox, as the internationally-renowned architectural duo combine tradition and innovation in such a way that the two elements actually enhance each other.