Each year when Design Intelligence publishes “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools,” we try to look beyond the rankings. At the end of the day, the report is a snapshot of the state of architecture today and, as such, is a minefield of useful information, particularly for current (or soon-to-be) architecture students. Check out the short infographic after the break to see how the profession’s outlook has grown far more optimistic for architecture grads; what firms look for in recent grads (it may surprise you); and the unequal relationship of high-ranking sustainability programs vs. the prevalence of LEED certification.
For the last fifty years Richard Wurman – architect, graphic designer and founder of the TED Conferences – has been dedicated to creating a platform that compares cities. In Wurman’s early studies, he quickly learned that comparing global cities was no easy task. Cities use very different languages to describe their assets, from planning principles to land use types to social statistics. “They don’t collect their information the same way. They don’t describe themselves with the same legend,” he tells Nate Berg of Next City.
Thanks to sophisticated mapping tools, delving into the statistical data of numerous cities has become far more manageable than in 1962, when Wurman produced his first comparative analysis using clay models of 50 different cities. Wurman’s analog-driven statistical analysis has turned into the Urban Observatory, a website that allows users to choose from 15 variables and easily compare the public data of up to 16 cities around the world in real time.
More about the platform after the break.
Architects and city planners are becoming more and more familiar with the health effects of our built environment. This to-the-point infographic, designed by Chris Yoon, cites a few ways in which mid-20th century city planning trends have contributed to a growing obesity problem in the United States. This data has alarmed scientists, planners and city officials into stressing the importance of redesigning the physical spaces so as to encourage physical activity and healthy choices.
With Stockhom, Hamburg and Copenhagen leading the way, urban metropolis’ worldwide are beginning to rethink their infrastructure and envision ways to transform their city into an efficient, sustainable model of the future in an effort to preserve a high quality of life and stay competitive in the global society. This shift is already being reflected in the education system, with the rapid growth of sustainability-focused academic programs and a sizable, projected increase in “green” jobs.
Get an understanding as to how sustainable cities will save the earth with an infographic after the break.
Since Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, leaving devastation in its wake, the Make It Right Foundation has been working to redevelop the Lower 9th Ward by recruiting world-renowned architects (from Frank Gehry to Shigeru Ban) to the cause. The foundation, the brain-child of actor Brad Pitt, aims to design houses that aren’t just temporary solutions, but rather parts of an on-going process of sustainable, community development.
Learn more about the Make It Right Foundation‘s goals and progress, and check out some of the starchitect-deisgned prototypes that will eventually make up a 150-house neighborhood, in our ArchDaily original infographic, after the break.
While The WA100, Building Design’s annual ranking of the world’s largest architecture firms, isn’t perfect (see our controversial article here), it does reveal a lot about the state of architecture today. And for 2013, the research shows that there are finally brighter days ahead for architects – just not at home.
BD’s research reveals that China remains the world’s largest construction market (a title it’s held since 2010); that the Asia-Pacific Market is expected to be the largest by 2020 (with projected value of $4.6 trillion dollars); and that China, India, and Brazil offer the best growth potential for architectural services. Not surprisingly, the survey’s top three ranking firms – Aecom, Gensler, and IBI Group – all have a significant presence in these markets.
However, are these mega-firms really the best models to aspire to? With the economic crisis making it everyday more evident that there are more opportunities abroad than at home, where is a firm to go? China? India? Brazil?
Almost certainly not.
Find out whether/where you should go abroad, after the break…
Building Design has released their annual ranking, The WA100, of the world’s largest architecture firms. Coming in the #1 spot (up from #2 last year) is Aecom, who, with 1,370 employees worldwide, narrowly outranked Gensler (with 1,346 employees). Completing the top three was IBI Group (1,129 employees). Aecom, Gensler, and Japanese-based firm Nikken Sekkei (ranked #4) were the top 3 earners of 2012, each making over $400 million US Dollars in Fee Income.
Of the top 10 largest firms, 5 are based in North America, 3 in Asia, and 1 in the UK (Aedas, which ranked 5th, is dually based in both China and the UK). A similar trend is also evident in the list as a whole – as you can see from the graphic we compiled (after the break), US firms remain the biggest employers of architects and the highest-earners. Although the UK represents about half the number of employed architects as the US, UK firms earned almost as much in fee income.
Interestingly, the only firms to grace both the Top 10 list and Building Design’s survey of the Top 5 Most Admired Firms of 2012, were Gensler (#2 Largest; #4 Most Admired) and Foster & Partners (#10 Largest; #1 Most Admired). Zaha Hadid Architects (who shared the number 5 Most Admired spot with Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, ranked as the 45th largest firm).
See our graphic and the full list of the world’s largest firms, after the break…
The London 2012 Olympics start today, and once again architecture is on the spotlight. With a big focus on reusable and adaptable structures, the lineup includes renowned architecture firms such as Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Hopkins Architects, Populous and Zaha Hadid Architects.
On this infographic we introduce you the iconic buildings of the Olympics since 776 B.C. until today! Follow our London 2012 Olympics coverage in its dedicated page. (more…)
Since 1999, Architecture for Humanity has been putting Architects in service of those communities who need them most. After disaster strikes, AfH uses its expansive network of contacts to get well-designed buildings built – and fast. Today, AfH has built over 2,000 structures that have positively impacted about 2 million people worldwide.
Co-founders Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair (you can find our interview with Sinclair here) also run design competitions, manage the Open Design Network, WorldChanging, and have published the best-selling books Design Like You Give a Damn and Design Like You Give A Damn . Together, and with the Architects who work for them, they are redefining the role of Architecture and Design: to truly make an impact on our world.
Public Interest Design is the next frontier of the sustainability movement. Taking a triple bottom line approach, it positions design to more tconsider economic, environmental, and social factors - creating better places, products, and systems for people to live their best lives. Inherently human-centered and participatory, public interest design seeks to improve the quality of life for all people, regardless of their socio-economic background.
Today, over 17,000 architects and designers, contractors and project managers, magazines and bloggers (including us) will converge on the Capital for the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 144th National Convention, Design Connects. So let’s take a moment to reflect on this Association’s long history, intertwined with our nation’s history, and look at how it’s evolved to become both a vital resource for working/emerging architects and the voice of the architecture profession today.
For decades the suburbs and the American Dream went hand-in-hand: a house with a yard and a white picket fence. It was the alternative to the hustle and bustle of urban living, a peaceful place to raise a family. Instead of letting the suburbs dwindle away, resulting in unkempt ghost towns, we should begin thinking about how to retrofit the suburbs for the needs of our changing culture, reinventing Suburbia as a sustainable alternative to urban life.
For more on understanding the reality and difficulties of redesigning Suburbia check out this two part series on Saving Suburbia by Vanessa Quirk: Saving Suburbia Part I: Bursting the Bubble and Saving Suburbia Part II: Getting the Soccer Moms On Your Side.
From the “starchitect” to “architecture for the 99%,” we are witnessing a shift of focus in the field of architecture. However, it’s in the education system where these ideas really take root and grow. This sea change inspired us to explore past movements, influenced by economic shifts, war and the introduction of new technologies, and take a closer look at the bauhaus movement.
Often associated with being anti-industrial, the Arts and Crafts Movement had dominated the field before the start of the Bauhaus in 1919. The Bauhaus’ focus was to merge design with industry, providing well designed products for the many.
The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture on an international level, but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach where form follows function.