AD Round Up: Classics in Brick

Colònia Güell / Antoni Gaudí. Image © Samuel Ludwig

As one of the most ubiquitous forms of construction, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the humble brick. However, this prosaic building method can also be one of the most versatile materials available to architects, thanks to the experimentation of countless architects who, for centuries, have worked to create new forms of expression with the simple material. In this round up, we celebrate architects who, with their architectural classics, have expanded the possibilities of brick craft: Antoni Gaudí‘s fantastical vaulting at Colònia Güell and Alvar Aalto‘s experimental brick patterning at his house in Muuratsalo; the powerful brick piers of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo‘s Knights of Columbus Building and the Catalan vaults of Porro, Garatti and Gattardi’s National Arts School of Cuba; and finally, what brick round up would be complete without the brick-whisperer himself - Louis Kahn and his all-brick fortress for the Indian Institute of Management.

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AIA Construction Forecast Predicts Increased Spending

This week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results of its first Consensus Construction Forecast of the year. The forecast is compiled based on predictions of the industry’s leading forecasters and is conducted bi-annually to anticipate shifting business conditions in the construction industry. The dominant trend in this forecast (projected for 2015 and 2016) is an overall increase in spending in the construction sector.

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Call For Proposals: Filling Station(s)

Courtesy of Combo

 latest ideas challenge asks participants to “rethink refueling” in a competition which seeks to re-imagine the ubiquitous filling station. The historical rise of this 20th century typology, from simple fuel dispensers to palatial rest-stops on the highway, grew with the proliferation of the car and became symbols for societal progression, personal status, and “a bright future.” Although the number of vehicles worldwide ”surpassed one billion in 2010, there has been a steady decline in filling stations since the end of the last century.” As such, perhaps this is the time to start to rethink how these fragments of the international mobility infrastructure operate?

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Open Call: Atlanta Bridgescape Competition

. Image © Flickr CC User Brett Weinstein

The Atlanta Bridgescape Competition is an urban design challenge seeking creative strategies to enhance existing freeway infrastructure in Midtown and Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The objective of the competition is to solicit designs for the next two bridge projects: the 10th Street Bridge in Midtown and the Courtland Street/Ralph McGill Boulevard Bridge in downtown. The competition seeks broad participation from multi-disciplinary design teams to develop innovative approaches for enhancing existing infrastructure in a manner that will elevate the experience of travelers along the Connector and improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge surfaces.

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London’s “Olympicopolis” Aims to Host Smithsonian’s First International Venue

© Kevin Allen/London Legacy Development Corp

The Smithsonian is considering opening its first international space in “Olympicopolis” – London’s former Olympic park that is to be transformed into a world-class cultural hub by 2021. Should the self-financed proposal be approved, it will be the first time in the institution’s 168-year history to build a public venue outside of the .

“We see this as an unprecedented opportunity to show the breadth of the Smithsonian in one of the most diverse cities in the world,” stated Smithsonian acting secretary Al Horvath.

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HOT TO COLD: BIG’s “Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation” Opens at the National Building Museum

© Matt Carbone

Circle the globe in 800-feet at the National Building Museum’s latest HOT TO COLD. BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group’s first North American exhibition, HOT TO COLD takes viewers on an “odyssey of architectural adaptation” from the “hottest to the coldest parts of our planet to explore how BIG’s designs are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts.”

More than 60 architectural models of BIG’s most recent projects, including 20 premiering for the first time, are being suspended from the second floor of the museum’s historic Great Hall. Each project is interpreted through Iwan Baan‘s “masterful” photography, films by and Louise Lemoine, and the Grammy Award-winning graphic artist Stefan Sagmeister’s design for the accompanying catalog by Taschen.

A word from Ingels, after the break.

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Architecture & Human Rights: AIA Rejects Controversial Ethics Amendment

© Flikr User jmiller291 / CC License

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) recent rejection of a proposed amendment to its existing ethics code has sparked debate over the issue of design and human rights violations. The proposed addendum was drawn up late last summer by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), a nonprofit organization advocating social consciousness in the design field. It stipulated that all members would refrain from designing spaces involving human-rights violations, specifically those “intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement.” This would include execution chambers, interrogation rooms intended for torture, and “supermax” security prisons in which prolonged solitary confinement take place.

However, the main controversy arose when considering whether or not the amendment would be an attainable goal for the AIA. Although the content of the amendment was never in question, its clarity and ability to be enforced were.

Read more about the AIA’s decision to reject the ethics amendment, after the break.

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2015 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards: The Finalists

After an exciting week of nominations, ArchDaily’s readers have evaluated over 3,000 projects and selected 5 finalists in each category of the Award.

Similar to last year, over 18,000 architects and enthusiasts participated in the nomination process, expressing what architecture means to them by highlighting the buildings that have inspired them the most.

This year’s finalists represent a diverse group of projects, coming from all corners of the globe and from firms of different sizes and trajectories. Yet they all capture architecture’s capacity to improve people’s lives.

Remember that the firm behind the overall most voted project will receive an HP T520 Designjet T520 ePrinter, and the second and third most voted practices will receive an HP T120 Designjet ePrinter.

The winners of the two iPads from the nomination stage are: Linda Hinderdael (iPad Mini) and Sylvia Robert (iPad Air). We’re also going to give away two more iPads to our readers during the final voting stage so be sure to vote!

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Denton Corker Marshall’s Australian Pavilion to Debut at the 56th Venice Biennale

Courtesy of Denton Corker Marshall

The first building to be constructed in Venice in the past two decades, Denton Corker Marshall‘s Australian Pavilion will welcome its first visitors on May 9, as part of the 56th  Biennale.

Envisioned by the architects as a “simple yet confident, memorable garden pavilion… timeless but with vitality, tactility and materiality that [invites] curiosity and engagement,” the project is located in the historic Giardini, and is Venice’s only waterfront pavilion. Replacing Philip Cox‘s 1988 temporary structure, the pavilion features a white interior space allowing art to be the main focal point, and in which the work of Australian photographic artist Fiona Hall will be displayed upon the pavilion’s opening in May. View previous coverage of the pavilion here.

Reflections On Álvaro Siza’s Seminal Quinta da Malagueira Housing Scheme

YouTube Preview Image

In an essay and accompanying mini-documentary film by Ellis Woodman for The Architectural Review, Siza’s iconic Quinta da Malagueira housing estate (1973-1977) in Évora, Portugal, is comprehensively explored and examined with a refreshingly engaging critical weight. Rather than develop multi-story housing in the sensitive landscape around the city, Siza proposed “a plan that distributed the programme between two fields composed of low-rise terraced courtyard houses.” As a result, the arrangement of these structures adjust to the “undulating topography ensuring that the narrow, cobbled streets along which the houses are distributed always follow the slope.”

As is made clear in the film (above), one of the remarkable aspects about the Quinta da Malagueira estate is that it is “governed by a third layer of infrastructure” which takes the form of “an elevated network of conduits that distributes water and electricity [...] much in the manner of a miniature aqueduct.” For Siza, this was a logical move as it provided the cheapest means of distributing utilities around the complex. Woodman ultimately concludes that “Siza’s work at Malagueira invites a reading less as a fixed artefact and rather as one episode in the site’s ongoing transformation.”

Read extracts of what Pier Vittorio Aureli, Tony Fretton, and John Tuomey (among others) have said about Siza’s œuvre and approach after the break.

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120 HOURS Launches Student Competition: “Experimental Preservation”

’ 2014 Winner: Architecture / Antariksh Tandon, Jennifer Tu Anh Phan (click to learn more). Image Courtesy of

This year’s 120 HOURS student architecture competition is set to run from February 9th through the 14th. The international competition is open to any current Architecture student, anywhere in the world. There is no fee to enter, and you (and your team of up to three) can do so by visiting the 120 HOURS website.

As the name suggests, the competition is strictly 120 hours long. Participants work in teams to come up with designs for a project, this year regarding “experimental preservation.” Winners are chosen by a distinguished jury of architects and lecturers, and the top prize is 30,000 NOK.

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China’s Pearl River Delta Overtakes Tokyo as World’s Largest Urban Area

The ’s urban growth in 1973 and 2003. Image © Flicker CC user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

’s Pearl River Delta has surpassed Tokyo in both size and population, making it the largest urban area in the world, according to the World Bank. The colossal megapolis – a conglomerate of several cities, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan – is a central component to China’s manufacturing and trade industries.

It is now home to 42 million – more people than the countries of Canada, Argentina or Australia. And, considering nearly two-thirds of the East Asia region’s population (64%) is still “non-urban,” the area is expected to grow exponentially.

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Augmented Reality App “Lego X” Simplifies 3D Modeling

© Gravity

Imagine forgoing time-intensive 3D modeling programs to instead create 3D printable models by playfully stacking sensored LEGO bricks. This reality isn’t far from fruition, as the London-based studio Gravity has released plans for an augmented reality app that uses location-mapping and gyroscopic sensors to generate digital (and scalable) models of your creation in realtime. The program, “” uses an algorithm to intuitively smooth out edges and join corners, allowing for easy modifying and seamless 3D printing.

See the program in action, after the break. 

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2015 Wood Design Award Winners Announced

Burr Burton Academy Mountain Campus / Bensonwood + Annette Dey, PE  © Marvin Windows

The 2015 winners of the Wood Design Awards have been announced at the Bay Area Solutions Fair in Oakland, California. Presented by WoodWorks, an initiative of the Wood Products Council, the awards seek to “recognize extraordinary buildings that exemplify not only wood’s beauty, but the versatility and structural performance attributes that make it such an interesting material to architects and engineers.”

The Wood Design Awards celebrate excellence in nine categories at both regional and national levels. See the winning designs for 2015 after the break.

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Arquine Launches Competition No. 17: Eastern Metropolitan Green Lung

Held annually since 1998, the Arquine International Architecture Competition explores important and relevant topics for society as a whole, creating a space for dialogue and promoting active participation of both national and international architects. It has become one of the best architecture ideas competitions, with over 400 teams from more than 21 countries participating last year.

This year, is asking: What could be the vocation of the [future, ex] International Airport Benito Juarez of Mexico City? Following the announcement that Mexico City’s new international airport will be constructed in Texcoco, this competition aims to generate proposals for the [future] urban zone. Comprised of a total of 746 acres, the area has the potential to become a catalyst for development and growth of the eastern part of one of the most complex and populated in the world.

Determining the future use of the space now occupied by the International Airport Benito Juarez in Mexico City is one of the most interesting urban development challenges worldwide. The public competition offers a way to dig into the potential use of the area and explore the possibility of creating a large green area in the eastern part of Mexico City.

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Who Are Architecture’s Best Young “Disrupters”?

’s Holcim-Award-winning project imagines a much-needed piece of water infrastructure for Las Vegas that doubles as a public space. Image © Courtesy of the Holcim Foundation

In their fifth annual “Game Changers” survey, Metropolis Magazine sought to uncover the visionaries who have the potential to make waves in design and architecture. Profiling six of design’s ”foremost forward-looking talents,” the list includes  and Louise Lemoine, the filmmaking duo whose “Living Architectures” series takes a sideways glance at some of the world’s most celebrated buildings; Amy Mielke and Caitlin Gucker-Kanter Taylor, whose work as Water Pore Partnership topped BIG and The Living for Holcim’s North America Award; and finally Aggregate, a collaborative of architecture historians who are rethinking the way we do architecture theory. For the full list and profiles of all those featured on it, head on over to Metropolis Magazine.

Call for Proposals: 2015 Deborah J. Norden Fund

© Architectural League of New York

In memory of architect and arts administrator Deborah Norden, the Deborah J. Norden Fund is calling for proposals from students and recent graduates in the fields of architecture, architectural history, and urban studies for up to $5000 in travel and study grants. A program of The Architectural League of New York, participants must submit a maximum three-page proposal, which succinctly describes the objectives of the grant request and how it will contribute to the applicant’s intellectual and creative development. The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2015. For more information, please visit here.

Pei Cobb Freed Breaks Ground on Boston’s Tallest Residential Tower

© , Cambridge Seven Associates

Construction has commenced on Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ 61-story condominium tower in Boston’s historic Back Bay. The $700 million development will be the tallest residential building in the city, and the tallest tower to rise since the 1976 John Hancock Tower, also designed by Pei Cobb Freed.

“The project allows us to consider once again how a tall building, together with the open space it frames, can respond creatively to the need for growth while showing appropriate respect for its historic urban setting,” says Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

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