Milan Expo 2015: Shortlisted Designs Revealed for UK Pavilion

Team 2. Image Courtesy of UKTI

Details have been released on the eight proposals competing to serve as the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Each design draws inspiration from the theme “Grown in Britain: Shared Globally,” which is intended to showcase Britain’s contribution in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to the global food challenges.

Presented anonymously, the proposals will be reviewed by an esteemed jury before a winner is announced in May.

Check out all the innovative proposals, after the break…

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REX Designs Conjoined Media Towers with Retractable Facade for Middle East

Two sister Middle Eastern media companies have commissioned REX to  a conjoined headquarters that references traditional Arab iconography. The result, two ultra-thin, stone-clad towers that are shielded from the Middle East’s “unrelenting sun” by an array of retractable sunshades whose shape was inspired by the Arab Mashrabiya pattern. 

Measuring nearly 15 meters in diameter, these sunshades can be quickly deployed, transforming the building’s glass facade into a “blossoming” shaded tower within minutes.

“The headquarters’ instantaneous transformation forges a new kind of powerful iconography, one that rejects the tired—and ephemeral—pursuit of being the tallest,” described REX.

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NYU and Hudson Yards to Use Big Data to Improve Cities

Phase One Visualisation © Nelson Byrd Woltz; Courtesy of Hudson Yards

University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress has teamed up with the developers of Hudson Yards to transform the future 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood into the nations first “quantified community.” As Crain’s New York reports, the aim is to “use big data to make better places to live.” Information, from pedestrian traffic to energy production and resident activity levels, will be collected in order to study how can run efficiently and improve quality of living. You can read more on the subject, here.

RIBA’s 2014 Regional Award Winners Announced

Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters

has announced the first round of Regional Award winners, all of which will be considered for the RIBA national awards. From the list, Mecanoo’s Library of Birmingham takes center stage, as the artisan-inspired structure received a number of awards, including the West Midlands Building of the Year and Emerging Architect. Check out the complete list, after the break…

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Chipperfield’s Stockholm Nobel Centre Faces Harsh Opposition

View towards Nybrokajen. Image © Architects

Within days of David Chipperfield being appointed to design the Nobel Foundation’s new home in Stockholm, heritage protesters began to assemble a campaign to prevent the project from fruition.

Declaring they are “opposed to star-architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel right in the middle of the protected historic environment, as monuments to themselves, at our expense and the city’s,” as stated in an online petition, the protesters are particularly upset that the project would require the demolition of multiple historic structures. Thousands have even joined a Facebook group to voice disapproval.

However, despite the backlash, the refuses to bow down and believes the protest will not succeed

More on the protest, and structures slated for demolition, after the break…

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Material Studies: When Architecture Meets Fashion

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A few months ago, fourteen 5th-year architecture students at the University of Southern California (USC) were given an unusual challenge: select two , and two only, to design and construct… a Mao jacket.

The results, exhibited at the university on March 7th, were fourteen fascinating experimentations with unusual materials – including everything from rubber erasers to acrylic paint to 5,500 metal Mao pins (shipped direct from China).

As Lee Olvera, the studio lead, told USC News, “It’s an exploration of program and function. In architecture, we’re called upon to design the skins of buildings all the time. This project infuses our intuitive skills of artistry and aesthetics with the rigor of analytical and performance-based material experimentation to create innovative working solutions.”

Check out more images from this unusual studio project, after the break.

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“Move to Care” Winners Envision Relocatable Healthcare Facilities for Southeast Asia

© MOVED2CARE – Professional Winning Entry

Responding to the demand for healthcare services in rural Southeast , Building Trust International launched an international competition – Moved to Care – to envision flexible and relocatable healthcare facilities. Over 200 entrants participated; one professional winner, a multi-disciplinary team from the USA, and one student winner were honored. Check out their winning proposals, after the break…

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Are the Palisades Too Pure for LG’s Headquarters?

Courtesy of Michael Kimmelman’s Twitter Feed (@kimmelman)

Responding to the bevy of critics slamming LG Electronics for building their new headquarters in the Palisades in New Jersey (half an hour north from NYC), Lee Rosenbaum, the Palisades-resident and architecture blogger known as CultureGrrl, maintains that “When it comes to preserving the ‘pristine Palisades,’ the boat has already sailed.” Since LG’s planned strip will be located on what is, according to Rosenbaum, already “a very commercial strip,” she suggests that “that the incensed defenders of the purportedly unspoiled beauty of the Palisades [...] haven’t actually set eyes on them.” Check out the images of her neighborhood as well as her very interesting Twitter tussles with The New York Times’ Michael KimmelmanVanity Fair’s Paul Goldbergerand New York Magazine’s  at her blog, and let us know what you think of the debate in the comments below.

Seven Architects Shortlisted for $100,000 Wheelwright Prize

Jose Ahedo, Blanca Pyrenees, Education Center (Els Hostalets de Tost, Spain, 2013). Image Courtesy of

Seven architects have been shortlisted from nearly 200 international applicants for Harvard University Graduate School of ’s 2014 Wheelwright Prize. The $100,000 grant, which is awarded annually to a single architect to support travel-based architectural research, is “intended to spur innovative research during the early stage of an architect’s professional career” and “foster new forms of research informed by cross-cultural engagement.”

Ranging from a Barcelona-based architect whose research proposal focuses on animal farming systems to a Croatian architect who wants to re-imagine the “border-scape” in Mediterranean countries, you can review all seven finalists after the break…

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VIDEO: Raising the Bar in Desk Design

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It seems to be part of the architect’s daily life: hunching over drawing or model making, uncomfortably crouching to try get that perfect shot through your 1:100 model. Javier Cuñado, designer at Actiu, has tackled these perennial problems with , a desk that ascends or descends according to your needs. Available in an architect’s range of colours – black, white or with an aluminium finish – this stylish desk is an investment your back will thank you for. Learn more in the video above and check out images after the break.

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Architecture Critic Inga Saffron Wins Pulitzer

Philadelphia Skyline. Image © Flickr CC User Brad Jacobson

The Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron has won journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize, for her “distinguished criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.” Passionate about cities, Saffron’s work has had a profound impact on Philadelphia’s city policy and development. You can learn more about Saffron’s selection and read her column, here

MIT’s Thresholds Launches New Website

Courtesy of

In time with the release of the 42nd issue, Human, Thresholds Journal — ’s peer-reviewed journal of art, architecture and culture — has launched a new website. The new ThresholdsJournal.com has been redesigned with more content, spanning the past two decades of the journal’s publication. Other features include online purchasing of past issues, enhanced search capabilities for past contributors, and social media interactivity. The new website will feature news on upcoming issues and related events, submission calls, as well as the broad range of voices that Thresholds has featured since 1992.

Thresholds is also currently seeking submissions for its 43rd issue, to be published in spring of 2015, on the topic Scandalous. What causes you to gasp? Which sites are labeled crime scenes? Editors Nathan Friedman and Ann Lui intend to complicate the idea of high-stakes public discourse through a series of long-form scholarly texts and creative projects. The deadline for contributions is April 30, 2014Content can be sent to thresholds@mit.edu.The full call for submissions can be accessed here.

Glasgow Scraps Plan for Europe’s Largest Demolition

© Amanda Vincent-Rous

UPDATE: The Guardian reports that the plans to demolish the Red Road Flats during the Commonwealth Games have been scrapped due to concerns over public safety. The following news was originally published as “ to Demolish Iconic Modern Towers in Europe’s Largest Demolition” on April 10th, 2014.

To mark the arrival of the Commonwealth Games in July, Glasgow is planning a twist on the usual opening ceremony: the customary fireworks are going to be replaced with explosives of an altogether different kind, as the demolition of all but one of the remaining Red Road Flats buildings will be broadcast live into the stadium.

The demolition of the five 30-story buildings will take 15 seconds and will be the largest ever attempted in Europe, according to the organizers. According to Games Organizer Eileen Gallagher, including the demolition as part of the opening ceremony shows that Glasgow is “a city that is proud of its history but doesn’t stand still, a city that is constantly regenerating, renewing and re-inventing itself.”

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Preparations Begin to Demolish the American Folk Art Museum

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

Preparations have commenced to demolish Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects’ American Folk Art Museum in New York. Despite international backlash from preservationists, architects and critics, the neighboring Museum of Modern Art will raze the 12-year-old structure in an effort to make way for an expansion designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro. According to recent reports, scaffolding has arrived at the site and will soon be erected in front of the museum’s distinct, copper-bronze facade. More on the controversy, here.

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Chinese to Build “Dubai 2.0″ in Kenya

The new city is planned for land South-East of Kenya’s Capital, . Image © Flickr CC User DEMOSH

As reported by Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, a group of Chinese investors has revealed plans for a new city in Kenya that will “match the splendour of Dubai“. Though the investors are still resolving details with the Kenyan government, the city is planned for an area in Athi River, around 30km south-east of Nairobi, and is billed as a Chinese-controlled economic zone. At this early stage, the plans feature at least 20 skyscrapers. You can find more details of the proposal here.

World Architecture Festival 2014: Submit Your Works to Compete as the World’s Best

World Building of the Year: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki / FJMT + Archimedia

Dear readers, as the phenomenal architects we are confident you are, it is time to enter the search for the 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards. Annually recognizing the globe’s most impressive works, WAF is the largest architecture festival (and live awards) on the planet. 

If shortlisted, you will be invited to defend your project this October at the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore in front of a “super jury,” chaired by Richard Rogers, that includes architects Rocco Yim, Julie Eizenberg, Enric Ruiz Geli, Peter Rich and more. 

Practices of all sizes from around the world will compete across 28 individual award categories for global recognition. The winners of these categories will then be considered by the jury for the coveted World Building of the Year award at the culmination of WAF 2014. 

The live architecture presentations and debates will coincide with a seminar and keynotes by industry leaders focusing on “Architects and the City.” Though a complete list of participants have yet to be released, Richard Rogers and Rocco Yim, as well as policy makers and urban organizations, such as Thomas Wright, Executive Director of the Regional Plan Association of New York, are all expected to join. 

Entries are now open until May 30. You can find more information about the award categories and how to enter here

Young Architects in Africa Announced

Seed, blueprint for libraries in South African Schools (Johannesburg) / Architects of Justice (Kuba GRANICKI, Mike RASSMANN, Alessio LACOVIG)

AS.Architecture-Studio has announced the 2014 Young Architects in Africa. The award aims to highlight creative African projects and help a rising generation of young architects achieve worldwide recognition. Selected from nearly 200 projects, these three practices have been named as finalists: Architects of Justice (South Africa), Urko SANCHEZ (), and Andre CHRISTENSEN & Mieke DROOMER (South Africa).

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