Mecca to Build the World’s Largest Hotel

Abraj Kudai hotel . Image © Dar Al-Handasah via The Guardian

has unveiled plans to build the world’s largest hotel by 2017. The 10,000-room Abraj Kudai hotel will be built in the Manafia district, just south of the Grand Mosque. It will be a city within a city, hosting 70 restaurants, food courts, a bus station, shopping mall, conference center, ballroom and five floors dedicated entirely to the Saudi royal family; all will be set within a cluster of 12 towers standing atop a 10-story podium and centered around a massive dome.

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Spotlight: Marcel Breuer

© Archive via Wikimedia

Known as Lajkó to his friends, Marcel Lajos Breuer (21 May 1902 – 1 July 1981) helped define first the interior contents, then the form, of the modernist house for millions; his influential approach to housing was one of the first to demonstrate on a domestic, practical level. Beginning as a furniture designer at the height of Bauhaus, Breuer was hailed as one of the most innovative designers working in the 1930s, before moving to architecture and helping define the modernist vernacular.

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NCARB Discards “Intern” Title

© AstroStar via Shutterstock

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the governing body for much of the architectural profession in the US, is taking steps to take “intern” out of architectural vocabulary. In a press statement, NCARB president Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB, said that in the future, NCARB will only encourage regulatory language for post-licensure individuals

“Architects are those who have met all the requirements to become licensed in states and jurisdictions throughout the ,” McKinney said. “Everyone else is not an architect. But their status also doesn’t need a regulatory title such as ‘intern’ or any similar reference. This has become a term that has been perceived as negative by many in the architecture community and a term that really does not fully value the work that aspiring architects bring to the profession.”

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From “Silk Road” to “Gas Road”: Students to Document the Turkmenistan-China Gas Pipeline

© Xiaoxuan Lu

Three Harvard students have launched a Kickstarter Project to fund a short film and digital exhibition on the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, which runs along the historic Silk Road. “From ‘Silk Road’ to ‘Gas Road’” will explore the “cultural, ecological and urban implications” of the 21st century intervention, following the summertime journey of Lu Xiaoxuan, Benny Shaffer, and Justin D. Stern along the pipeline. The project is being carried out through Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese studies, and the trio intends to finish filming and photographing for the project this summer.

Learn more about the project and how to support it after the break.

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Hall McKnight To Open A Temporary Pavilion In London’s King’s Cross

© Hall McKnight

Belfast-based Hall McKnight are set to open a pop-up pavilion in London’s King’s Cross as part of the . Located in Cubitt Square, the project forms part of the New Horizon’s initiative, supported by the and ID15 (the year of Irish Design 2015). The structure, built from a collection of cut boards, “explores how the phenomenon of the city is assembled from individual pieces.” The interior spaces will feature an installation of bricks reclaimed from a street of row houses in Belfast.

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Open Call: US Launches Competition for National World War I Memorial

Project Site. Image Courtesy of U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The US World War I Centennial Commission has launched a design competition for the National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. The competition will be a two-stage design competition, and is open internationally to any professionals, university-level students, and all other interested participants. “The objective is to transform Pershing Park from a park that happens to contain a memorial to a site that is primarily a national World War I memorial, within a revitalized urban park setting with a distinct sense of place that complements the memorial purpose while attracting visitors, workers, and residents of the District of Columbia,” says the Commission.

The deadline for Stage I submissions is July 21, 2015, and Stage II finalists will be announced August 4, 2015. The Commission expects to announce its selected design in January 2016. Learn more about the competition, here.

5 Projects Honored with ECOLA Award for Use of Plaster

High Performance Rowing Centre in Pocinho. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

The has announced the winners of the 2015 Award. The biennial prize, now in its eighth year, honors projects for their use of plaster. This year, two projects won first prize, including Portuguese architect Álvaro Fernandes Andrade for his Pocinho Center for High Performance Rowing in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, and three projects received honorable mention. Each project was selected from 149 shortlisted projects by a five-person jury, chaired by Peter Cook.

View all five winning projects, after the break. 

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New Orlando International Airport Terminal Building – Call for Statements of Qualifications

The Orlando International (“OIA”), operated by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, seeks innovative, visionary architects and engineers for its planned, new terminal compound. OIA is a world-class that welcomes over 36 million business and leisure passengers per year.  In order to better accommodate its increasing number of passengers, especially in the international sector, OIA has under construction an Intermodal Terminal Facility for multiple modes of ground transportation, an Automated People Mover System connecting the main terminal, a 2,500 unit parking deck, and all associated horizontal infrastructure to support this program and the future expansion for a new terminal building.

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A Bauhaus Façade Study by Laurian Ghinitoiu

While studying for his Masters in Architecture at DIA (Dessau International Architecture), Romanian photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu was inspired to capture Walter Gropius’ Dessau Bauhaus at different times of the day and throughout the four seasons. Taken from the same vantage point over the course of two years (September 2012-July 2014), Ghinitoiu’s photos show the school as snow covers its perfectly-manicured lawn and skateboarders and construction workers come and go.

“The building has been framed in direct relation with the dynamic process of daily life. Lights and shadows, changing during the day and during the year, underline the always-different elements of the silent, but potent building. It almost protrudes out of the scene, imposing its strict lines, its regular rhythm and the functionalism of its geometries. The surroundings play the most important role of the entire photo project: they create the atmosphere, establishing an intimate connection between the architecture and its context.” - Francesca Lantieri 

View the full photo series after the break.

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See All 38 Winners of the 2015 RIBA London Awards

NEO Bankside / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © Edmund Sumner

From a shortlist of 68 buildings, 38 London projects have been awarded the 2015 RIBA London Awards for architectural excellence, the city’s most prestigious design honor. The awards highlight projects that embody exceptional merit in their designs and positively impact the lives of their occupants. This year’s winners include three arts and leisure buildings, 11 educational and community facilities, 16 residential designs, and eight commercial buildings.

All of these designs will be further considered for the RIBA National Awards, to be announced in June.

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London’s Soane’s Museum Unveil A Series Of New Spaces

Courtesy of Soane Museum

In an article for The Observer, Rowan Moore dives into a set of newly recreated rooms in ’s Soane’s Museum, a gallery dedicated to ’s collection of architectural curiosities set within his eccentric former home. The experience, according to Moore, ”of an internal world of unknown boundaries” has just become more extensive. Visitors will now be afforded the opportunity to visit a series of private spaces that give “a view into Soane’s bizarre mind,” following extensive restoration work led by Julian Harrap.

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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

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ABI Slows in April

April ABI 2015. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

For the second month this year, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has revealed a decrease in design serves. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, the April ABI score was 48.8, down sharply from a mark of 51.7 in March. The new projects inquiry index was 60.1, up from a reading of 58.2 the previous month.

“The fundamentals in the design and construction industry remain very healthy,” said Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. , PhD. “The fact that both inquires for new projects and new design contracts continued to accelerate at a healthy pace in April points to strong underlying demand for design activity. However, April would typically be a month where these projects would be in full swing, but a severe winter in many parts of the Northeast and Midwest has apparently delayed progress on projects.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

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Allies and Morrison and O’Donnell + Tuomey Chosen to Design London’s Olympicopolis

© Allies and Morrison

Allies and Morrison, together with O’Donnell + Tuomey and Josep Camps/Olga Felip Arquitecturia, has been chosen ahead of David ChipperfieldFeilden Clegg Bradley Studios and three other teams to design ’s Olympicopolis culture and education quarter. The major commission, which will be sited at the gateway to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park along the Stratford waterfront, will include new buildings for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sadler’s Wells, the London College of Fashion, and potentially the Smithsonian Institute’s first permanent museum outside the US.

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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.

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Call For Entries: RIBA President’s Awards For Research

Stephen Gage: Winner – 2014 RIBA President’s Award for the Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced a call for entries for the 2015 President’s for Research. For the first time this year will see the introduction of the President’s Research Medal, which will be awarded to the best work judged from across all four categories of research. RIBA President, , has said that “this award will help to give recognition to the ever increasing importance of research to architecture and our industry.”

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Thomas V. Vonier Elected 2017 AIA President

delegates chose Thomas V. Vonier at the 2015 National Convention in Atlanta. Image © Flickr CC User Jack Kennard

Thomas V. Vonier, FAIA, has been elected as the 2016 First Vice President and 2017 President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Currently serving as 2014–2015 AIA Vice President, Vonier is the founder and past president of AIA Continental Europe from 1994 to 1995. He served on the AIA Board of Directors representing the AIA International Region from 2010 to 2012. Vonier received an M.Arch. and a B.Arch. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after attending the school of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also currently Secretary General of the International Union of Architects, after previously serving as its Vice President. To see all other newly elected officials, follow this link.

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Michael Reynolds to Build a Sustainable Public School in Uruguay

© ‘Garbage Warrior’ Documentary

Michael Reynolds, a well-known proponent of sustainable building and the creator of the Earthship house, will construct a self-sufficient public school in , Uruguay, reports local newspaper El País.

Reynolds’ design contemplates a 270-square-meter building with solar panels and a water-collection system that will supply water for the bathrooms and kitchens. In the architect’s usual style, recycled materials such as tires and bottles will be used for construction.

Learn more about the project after the break.

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