Studio Gang Breaks Ground on Chicago Writers’ Theatre

Main Entrance . Image Courtesy of

Studio Gang has broke ground on the new home for Chicago’s beloved Writers’ Theatre. Situated on the sloped Tudor Court site of the Glencoe Woman’s Library Club, the glass encased timber structure will be a theatrical spectacle, as the main performance space’s second story catwalk is designed to peer through the transparent facade.

“Our process has been built around the creative team dialogue with Writers Theatre, its audiences, and the community, and we could not be more excited to celebrate this milestone today while looking forward to the ideas that will soon become a built reality in 2016,” said Jeanne Gang. “The design of Writers Theatre’s first purpose-built theatre reinforces their important mission and vision to maximize the feeling of intimacy between actors and audience within the park-like setting of downtown Glencoe.”

New renderings and more information from the architect, after the break.

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David Chipperfield, Kengo Kuma and Renzo Piano Among 12 Shortlisted for Sydney Art Gallery Expansion

Art Gallery of NSW. Image © Flickr CC User Jason Starr

Twelve local and international practices have been invited to participate in a two-stage competition for the “ Modern Project,” a $450 million of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW). Five practices from the shortlist, which also includes SANAA, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and Herzog & de Meuron, will move on to produce conceptual designs in the competition’s final round.

“The Sydney Modern vision for expansion and transformation is much more than just a building project,” stated gallery director Dr. Michael Brand. “Through this invited competition the Gallery is seeking ideas that will create an architecturally ambitious, intelligent, sensitive, sustainable and highly functional design. Our site overlooking Sydney Harbor will inspire each of the invited architectural practices, all of whom have extraordinary design skills.”

The invited architectural practices are…

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September ABI Indicates Robust Conditions for US

September 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The American Institute of Architecture () has indicated a “heightened level of demand for design services” throughout the US. As the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reports, all regions and project sectors have shown positive conditions and the September score was 55.2, up from a mark of 53.0 in August. The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

“Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

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Pratt Institute Students Create Sinuous Screen Wall From Concrete Blocks

© Lawrence Blough via the Architect’s Newsaper

Students from the Pratt Institute have created a wall of concrete blockwork… but not like any you’ve seen before. Challenged by their tutors Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino to produce something highly customized from something highly standardized – the 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC brick – the students used Rhino software and a CNC miller to create a 96-block screen wall composed of 20 different block profiles. “The earlier stuff I’d done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could,” said Blough. “Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization.” Find out more about the project at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator Blog.

Wright & Wright Unveils Scheme to Replace Chipperfield’s Plans for Geffrye Museum

View from Hoxton Station, Geffrye Street. Image © Wright & Wright Architects

Wright & Wright Architects has revealed their designs for the Geffrye Museum in East London, a £15 million redesign that will increase the museum’s total space by almost 40% through “unlocking” previously unused areas of the museum’s 18th century almshouses. The design replaces a scheme by David Chipperfield Architects, which last year failed to secure planning permission in part because of the hugely controversial proposal to demolish the former Marquis of Lansdown Pub that occupies the corner of the site.

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Spotlight: Peter Cook

Sir Peter Cook. Image © vimeo.com

As one of the founding members of Archigram, the avant-garde futurist architecture group of the 1960s, Sir Peter Cook, the British architect, professor, and writer has been a pivotal figure within the global architectural world for over half a century; one of his most significant works from his time with Archigram, The Plug-In City, still invokes debates on technology and society, challenging standards of architectural discourse today. With a love for the slithering, the swarming and the spooky, Cook continues to teach at the University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and lecture around the world.

As one of the founding members of Archigram, Cook gained significant international recognition; however, he has now also been recognized for his built works around the world. His recent works, including the construction of his Art Museum in Graz, Austria (Kunsthaus) has brought his radical ideas to a wider public audience. He currently practices with Gavin Robotham as part of CRAB Studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau). 

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Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris: The Critics Respond

Fondation , Paris. Image © Iwan Baan

The people behind Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV) in Paris, which is set to officially open on the 27th October 2014, recently invited a band of architecture critics to take a look around and pen their thoughts. Gehry’s bold approach to architectural form, most evident in buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, matches the foundation’s aim to “promote and support contemporary and artistic creation” in France. According to their website, they in particular embody “a passion for artistic freedom.” How, then, has the enormous sailed structure, challenged by local opposition from the outset, settled into its Parisian parkland surroundings?

See what The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, The Observer’s Rowan Moore, Vanity Fair’s Paul Goldberger, The LA Times’ Christopher Hawthorne, as well as the Architectural Digests’ Mayer Rus, had to say about Gehry’s latest completed building after the break.

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Donna van Milligen Bielke Wins Prix de Rome Architecture 2014

Cabinet of Curiosities / . Image Courtesy of Prix de Rome

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker has awarded architect Donna van Milligen Bielke the €40,000 2014. A 2012 graduate from the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, Van Milligen Bielke won the prize for her “radical and poetic intervention” – Cabinet of Curiosities – for the Hoogstraat in Rotterdam.

The Prix de Rome is the oldest and largest prize in the Netherlands for architects and visual artists under 40, previously awarded to alumnus Ronald Rietveld in 2006.

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Daniel Libeskind-Designed Condominium Towers Proposed for Boca Raton

© Vingtsix

Daniel Libeskind has teamed up with locally-based GS4 Studios to propose a four-tower luxury condominium project for downtown , . North of Miami, the “Mizner on the Green” development will add 500 residential units and a two-acre public park directly adjacent to the Boca Raton Resort and Club golf course.

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Grimshaw Selected to Expand Peru’s International Airport

Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez. Image Courtesy of LAP

Grimshaw has landed a $950 million project for the Jorge Chávez International in Lima, Peru. As reported by the Architect’s Journal, Grimshaw will work with ARCADIS, CH2MHill and Ramboll to design a seven million square meter scheme that will include a new air traffic control tower and second terminal for the international airport. Designs are set to be revealed in 2015.

Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster Tapped to Design Luxury Hotels in China

Jumeirah Nanjing. Image Courtesy of

Jumeirah Group, a Dubai-based luxury hotel company, has tapped Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster to design two of its newest properties in : Jumeirah Wuhan and Jumeirah Nanjing. Both properties will be adjacent to existing business districts and will provide luxury suites, specialty restaurants, executive club lounges, business centers, spas and more.

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7 Ways To Get Paid Faster by Improving Your Invoicing Process at Your Architecture Practice

Courtesy of WorkflowMax

How much do you love invoicing? I imagine, about as much as you love cleaning the mouldy food out of the back of your refrigerator. Or possibly your annual trip to the dentist. Or maybe as much as your neighbor’s dog who likes to run around in circles yapping excitedly for seven straight hours.

On invoicing days, you will usually find me in the kitchen, condiments spread everywhere, frantically trying to discern exactly what that lump of amorphous green goo stuck at the bottom of the vegetable crisper once was.

As an architect, you’re writing invoices all the time, for huge amounts of money. You’ve probably had enough late-paying clients or miscalculated fees to understand how important it is to stay on top of invoicing and make sure you haven’t missed off a zero or moved a decimal point in the total. But pulling all the data together, giving the client the information they want, and making sure you’ve calculated it all correctly can take hours. Hours you’d rather spend on other tasks, like actually working in the studio.

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Why China’s President Says “No More Weird Buildings”

The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has reportedly called for a end to the “weird buildings” being built in China, and particularly in the nation’s capital, Beijing. In a two hour speech at a literary symposium in Beijing last week, Mr Xi expressed his views that art should serve the people and be morally inspiring, identifying architectural projects such as OMA’s CCTV Headquarters as the kind of building that should no longer be constructed in Beijing.

With ’s construction boom being one of the most talked about features of today’s architecture scene – and many a Western practice relying on their extravagant projects to prop up their studios – the Chinese leader’s comments have the potential to affect the of architectural practice worldwide. But what is behind these sentiments? Read on after the break to find out.

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Call For Proposals: Hello Nature!

Competition Site. Image Courtesy of

Combo Competitions’ latest ideas challenge, entitled Hello Nature!, centres on a site located in northern Sweden at the foot of a mountain (Omneberget), sat within an area called the High Coast (Höga Kusten) – which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This competition is looking for ”structures that celebrate nature”, which also involve elements of “both education and recreation, or – if you prefer – business and pleasure.” The wider question the competition poses is whether or not architecture can encourage involvement with nature. Previous Combo Competitions have included the London Cinema Challenge and Faith! A Place of Worship in London, both of which attracted a number of high quality proposals.

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Estonia Launches Competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu Passenger Terminal

The Pärnu Municipal Government (in West-) announces an open architectural competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu passenger terminal.

The aim of the architectural competition is to find the best comprehensive spatial solution for Pärnu’s Rail Baltic passenger terminal and its immediate surroundings. The hope is to commission the construction design project for the terminal and its immediate surroundings from the winner of the competition, and the intention is to also include the winner in drawing up the detailed master plan for the area.

All individuals or groups where one co-author and representative of the design team has a certificate of professional qualification as an authorized architect can participate in the idea competition.

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Rogers Partners and PWP’s Constitution Gardens Redesign Approved for National Mall

Events Plaza. Image © and

Rogers Partners (formally known as Rogers Marvel Architects) and PWP Landscape Architecture’s redesign for the National Mall’s neglected Constitution Gardens has received unanimous approval from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The 50-acre project, which was originally won through a competition in 2012, will now move forward with its first phase.

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Studios Kabako Wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Public performance in Kisangani. Image ©

Studios Kabako, a Congolese performance and theater studio founded by Faustin Linyekula in 2001, has won the 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize, a $100,000 annual award that honors practitioners who use design to address critical social needs and strengthen communities. Studios Kabako was selected for establishing a series of cultural programs and urban interventions within the city of Kisangani as a way to help communities deal with the aftermath of civil war through dance and the arts. A video about Studios Kabako, after the break.

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Judith Edelman, A “Firebrand for Women in Architecture, Dies at 91

New Settlement Community Campus; NYC (2012) / Dattner Architects and Edelman Sultan Knox Wood

Judith Edelman, FAIA, an American architect and feminist who hoped to rid architecture of its “gentleman’s club” status, has passed away at 91. Starting her career in an era when hiring “girls” wasn’t the norm, Edelman’s work to elevate women in architecture has paved the way for many of today’s leading architects; She was the first woman ever elected to the executive committee of the AIA’s chapter and she helped co-found the Alliance of Women in Architecture in 1972. Edelman’s built work, also highly admired, ranged from affordable housing to schools and health clinics, mostly in the New York City area. You can read Edelman’s here.