Rory Stott

Christchurch Launches Competition to Design Earthquake Memorial

Cathedral, after being destroyed by the 2011 earthquake. Image © NZPA / David Wethey

After years of rebuilding from the devastating earthquake that hit the city in February 2011, the city of Christchurch in New Zealand has announced an open competition to design a memorial to the 185 people that lost their lives in the tragedy. The $3.5 million memorial will be situated in the city center on the banks of the Ōtākaro-Avon River, and is expected to be “a thoughtfully designed space where small groups or individuals can pay respect to those who died,” but will also “comfortably fit a crowd of around 2,000 people” to host an annual memorial gathering, as well as other events.

More details after the break

Spotlight: Richard Rogers

© 2013 LLP

Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, turns 81 today. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd’s Bank in London, which utilized highly expressive structures that placed services on the exteriors.

Canary Wharf Development Including Herzog & de Meuron Tower Wins Planning Approval

Herzog & de Meuron’s Residential Tower. Image Courtesy of Canary Wharf Group plc

A significant development at Canary Wharf has been approved by planners in London. The scheme, dubbed ‘Wood Wharf’ and consisting of 30 new buildings, was masterplanned by Allies and Morrison and includes a cylindrical residential tower by Herzog & de Meuron, and will provide 3,100 homes, 240,000 square metres of office space, a primary school, a medical centre, a community centre, a hotel, and around 100 retail outlets. Connecting the space will be a 3.6 hectare network of public spaces.

Read on for more on the development

London Announces Design Competition for ‘Olympicopolis’ Site

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 Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a new competition for the designs of a cultural quarter next to the 2012 Olympic park. The site has been dubbed ‘Olympicopolis’, and so far has expressions of interest from University College London, University of the Arts , the V&A, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and now possibly – according to the Guardian - Washington DC‘s Smithsonian.

Read on after the break for more details of the competition

Critical Round-Up: The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist

Though O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Building for the LSE is not the bookie’s favourite, many critics feel it is most deserving of the . Image © Dennis Gilbert

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has now announced the six projects that form this year’s Stirling Prize Shortlist, the award that is the ultimate prize for any British building. As the RIBA’s most publicly prominent award, the Stirling Prize is often a prime demonstration of the tension between architecture that is widely appreciated by the general populace, and that which is lauded by architectural critics and practitioners.

This year is no exception, with perhaps the country’s highest-profile project in years – the Shard - just part of the controversy. What did the critics make of the RIBA’s selection? Find out after the break.

Mayor of London Unveils Three Visions for the Future of Heathrow

‘Romance of the Sky’ proposal / . Image © Factory Fifteen

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled three proposals to redevelop Heathrow Airport into ‘Heathrow City,’ a new town occupying the site that according to one study “could provide 90,000 jobs and 80,000 homes” in West London. Developed in parallel with Foster + Partners‘ proposal to create a new airport in the Thames Estuary, the three possible designs are part of a plan that Johnson believes will not only improve the capital’s aviation capacity, but also the quality of living in the area around the existing Heathrow Airport.

The three proposals, by Rick Mather Architects, Hawkins\Brown and Maccreanor Lavington, all take very different approaches to the brief, which was to create a mixed use residential and commuter town, with a focus on education and technology industries. Find out more about the three different proposals after the break.

Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre Wins Inaugural CTBUH Performance Award

© KPF

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates‘ International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong as the winner of its first ever Performance Award. The new award recognizes the project with the lowest measured environmental impact on the urban realm, as measured using actual data from the completed construction.

The CTBUH explains the need for the prize, saying: “Most programs focus on design intent, as opposed to actual performance – often well-intentioned projects are not revisited, and thus not held accountable.” KPF‘s 484-metre tall office tower won the prize based largely on its policy of collecting and sharing performance data.

Read on after the break for more on the award

Steven Holl’s Maggie’s Centre Gains Planning Permission

Courtesy of Architects

Steven Holl‘s designs for a Maggie’s Centre at St Bart’s Hospital in London have finally been approved, after a tense debate among the City of Planning Committee which culminated in a vote of 11 to 10 in favour of the design. The approval puts an end to a year of controversy, after Holl’s first attempt failed to gain planning (the first time a Maggie’s Centre has ever been declined permission) and a protest group commissioned a rival scheme by Hopkins Architects which gained planning permission in April.

More on the decision after the break

Foster + Partners Designs Headquarters for Copper Company in Russia

© Methanoia Courtesy of

Foster + Partners has revealed designs for the headquarters of RMK, one of the world’s leading copper producers based in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The 13-story building is designed to complement the company’s working style, splitting office spaces into two-story modular units which provide comfortable and flexible work spaces.

The facade of the building features triangular panels of bronze-colored steel, a motif that is inspired by the color and chemical structure of copper. These steel panels also express the modular offices within the building, with each ten by six-meter panel corresponding to a single office module, and regulate the building’s temperature by shading the building in the summer but admitting winter sunshine.

Read on after the break for more on the design

RIBA Announces 2014 Stirling Prize Shortlist

The RIBA has announced the six projects that will compete for the 2014 Stirling Prize, the award for the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The six nominees will now be judged head to head for British architecture’s highest honour, based on “their design excellence and their significance in the evolution of architecture and the built environment,” with a winner announced on October 16th. See the full shortlist after the break.

Shortlisted Designs Revealed for Goldsmiths College Art Gallery

© Harry Gugger Studios courtesy of Goldsmiths College

The shortlisted projects in the competition to design a new art gallery for Goldsmiths College at the University of London have been revealed. The project will see a new 400 square metre gallery created in the back of what was formerly a Victorian bath-house, and is now the college’s Grade-II listed art studios. Six shortlisted practices were given six weeks to design a gallery which works with the existing industrial structures – including the building’s old water tanks.

The designs will now be judged by Goldsmiths’ competition jury, a panel which includes David Chipperfield and sculptor Antony Gormley.

Read on after the break for details of all six proposals

Solar Decathlon Europe Announces Winners of its 2014 Contest

Rhome for Dencity / Rhome (Rome, Italy). Image © / jflakes.com

On Saturday night, the awards were announced in the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe, which is currently ongoing in the grounds of the Versailles Palace in France. The competition challenges university teams to build and run a full scale solar powered house, with awards being judged on a range of requirements including sustainability factors, architecture and comfort, with a different jury of three experts judging each requirement.

The overall winner, based on a combination of all the factors, was “Rhome for Dencity”, by the team from Roma Tre University, with a proposal that seeks to ”re-densify and re-qualify the boundaries of Rome” by applying principles of density and sustainability to this area where ”housing, country, archaeology and illegal buildings are interwoven.”

Read on after the break for images of all the winners

Herzog & de Meuron Unveils Latest Condo Building in New York

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron have unveiled images of their latest project in New York, a 12-story condominium building at 156 Leroy Street with a curved concrete and glass facade. The project is their third major building in recent years, following another condo building at 56 Leonard Street and a hotel at 215 Chrystie Street, and once again features a concrete structure which is clearly expressed on the facade.

Read on after the break for more images and description

Milan Expo 2015: Vo Trong Nghia’s Lotus-Inspired Vietnamese Pavilion

Courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects

Vo Trong Nghia has unveiled designs for the Vietnamese pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Inspired by the lotus, the pavilion features a number of bamboo clad, umbrella-like structures supporting trees above a pool of water, in a composition reminiscent of their Kontum Indochine Cafe.

“The Lotus is ’s national flower, a symbol of purity, commitment and optimism for the future,” say the architects. “Growing from the muddy ponds it rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. The flower is proof that patience can turn difficulties into advantages.”

Designs Revealed of the Nordstrom Tower, the World’s Tallest Residential Building

Unofficial Rendering of Nordstrom Tower via YIMBY. Image © Otie O’Daniel

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

Cullinan’s RMC Headquarters Saved by Grade II* Listing

© Richard Learoyd

English Heritage has announced that the RMC headquarters building designed by Edward Cullinan Architects in 1990 has been listed at grade II*, preventing a plan to demolish the building and replace it with a terraced housing scheme. The listing comes after a campaign to protect the building which was orchestrated by Cullinan Studio and the 20th Century Society, and supported by a a number of high profile architects including Nicholas Grimshaw, Richard Rogers, Peter Clegg (Feilden Clegg Bradley) and Sunand Prasad (Penoyre & Prasad).

Read more about the building and the listing decision after the break

Studio Gang Architects Reveals Design of Twisting San Francisco Skyscraper

Courtesy of

Last night Studio Gang Architects unveiled designs of their first ever building in San Francisco, a 400 foot tall residential tower with an undulating, twisting facade. Inspired by the bay windows of older local buildings such as 450 Sutter Street, Studio Gang have added a twist (literally) to the typology with incremental rotations of the 90-degree bays running vertically up the facade.

Read on for more details of the design

Gehry Unveils Designs to Extend the Philadelphia Art Museum Downwards

The heart of the Museum will be opened up, creating a clear sight line through the ground-floor and first-floor galleries that will greatly simplify wayfinding. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has revealed Frank Gehry‘s designs for a 169,000 square foot expansion that will see the museum dig down to create a new set of galleries underneath its existing footprint. Already an unusual choice for a project whose brief called to preserve the architectural integrity of the existing building, Gehry’s design is an unexpectedly muted intervention, focusing on interior rearrangement and additions that are in keeping with the 86 year-old building’s aesthetic.

Perhaps the most dramatic alteration proposed by Gehry is a plan to punch a hole through the museum’s famous ‘Rocky steps’, the iconic training location from the Rocky film series, creating a window into the new subterranean galleries; however as the $350 million project will by necessity by undertaken in stages, this intervention is likely to be a subject of discussion for some time.

More on the design after the break