After starting the year with a “modest uptick” that disrupted a three month cycle of decline, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for Feburary has revealed that design services in the United States are continuing to (slowly) improve. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), last month’s ABI score was 50.7, up slightly from a mark of 50.4 in January. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index continued to fall, dwindling from 58.5 to 56.8 in February. This however, as AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker believes, could be due to harsh weather conditions that stalled construction activity throughout many parts of the country over the past few months .
More information and regional highlights, after the break…
Parliament, “the place where the power of the people has found its home,” will be the focus of Austria’s contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. With over 200 national parliament buildings from around the world modeled at a scale of 1:500, the exhibition, “Plenum. Places of Power.” will explore how the architecture of parliament connects to the public, influences national identify, and more.
“The idea of democratic legitimation of power is so widespread today that no nation can do without building such a place, at least in name, for a representative popular assembly,” described commissioner Dr. Christian Kühn. “What do these places look like? And how are they connected to a public whose trust in democratic formation of will seems to be dwindling around the globe?”
TED2014 commenced yesterday at the Vancouver Convention Center within a temporary 1200-seat auditorium designed by David Rockwell. Built from 600 wood components, and assembled in just 4.5 days, the pop-up theater was designed to be easily disassembled and reused by TED for years to come. Viewers are presented with sixteen seating options, from beanbags to lounge seating and traditional theater chairs, to ensure they are provided with the optimal listening, and sharing, experience. More images and a time-lapse video of construction, after the break.
UPDATE: Three teams have been selected to move forward in the competition: Allied Works Architecture (Portland/New York), Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (New York), and the team of Patkau Architects (Vancouver, B.C.) and Fong & Chan Architects (San Francisco). The finalists will present their proposals April 3 and a winner will be announced shortly after.
Seven high-profile teams have been shortlisted to design a new research, museum and performing arts center for the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Planned for a stunning site overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the $32 million project is intended to be “an innovative educational experiment” that will “blur the lines between disciplines to beautiful effect.” The shortlist ranges from Steven Holl to Tod Williams Billies Tsien. The complete list of competitors, after the break.
20 years ago, Greg Girard and Ian Lambot published “City of Darkness“, a book which documented life inside the notorious Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong during its peak in the late 1980s. When the high-rise slum was cleared and demolished soon after in 1993, this collection of photographs, interviews and essays became a eulogy of sorts, becoming one of the key texts on the most densely populated place the world has ever seen.
Two decades later, Girard and Lambot have revisited the book – and to fund this new edition, they have turned to Kickstarter.
Read on after the break to find out what’s new in this edition and how you can help fund the book.
Available today, the spring 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, Blueprint for a New Mayor, investigates the critical design challenges facing Boston’s first new leader in two decades. The issue focuses on the city’s challenges surrounding housing, transportation, public space, and regionalization, plus offers recommendations for designing a Boston that is more open, safe, beautiful, and fair. Visit architectureboston.com to read the latest issue.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, has been chosen as curator for the Swiss pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Inspired by director Rem Koolhaas’ theme, “Fundamentals,” Obrist recalled the first architects he ever met, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, and invited them to collaborate on the exhibition.
“When I was invited to do the pavilion, I thought working with [Herzog and de Meuron] fit in with the whole idea of the biennale this year – looking to the past, and using the past as a toolbox to create the future,” Obrist told ARTINFO UK.
As part of an initiative to raise money for the Transbay Transit Center, the City of San Francisco has sold a $72 million, city-owned parcel to developer Related of California that will pave the way for a 550-foot, OMA New York-designed residential tower. Located on Folsom Street, between First and Fremont streets, the new tower will be a mix of condominiums and rental apartments, of which 27 percent must be affordable to residents making 60 percent of the area’s median income ($58,250 for a family of four, according to SFGate). We will keep you posted as more details become available.
Placing fifth in the international competition to design the Austrian Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo, Paolo Venturella’s concept is designed as an extruded version of the Austrian mountain house that connects two major programs: an exhibition space and “big green-house.” To the north, the elevated exhibition space is shielded by a fabric sheathing which diminishes as it moves towards the greenhouse, south, where visitors are presented with a fresh vegetable garden, bar and restaurant that serves traditional cuisine.
Tadao Ando, Elizabeth Diller, Rem Koolhaas and Thom Mayne are among the many signing a petition to urge Russian president Vladimir V. Putin to reconsider the fate of the neglected Shabolovka Radio Tower (Shukhov Tower), “a structure of dazzling brilliance and great historical importance,” as Norman Foster once described. Designed by Vladimir Shukhov and completed in 1922, the 160-meter hyperboloid structure is a 20th-century engineering feat that has served as a landmark of modernist architecture.
Toyo Ito has been selected to join a distinguished roster of laureates, including Mies van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, Jane Jacobs and Maya Lin, as the 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medalist in Architecture. Presented by the University of Virginia, in collaboration with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, the award recognizes significant “achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, excelled and held in high regard.”
Shigeru Ban was pulled from a selection of 238 competitors as the “best person” to design the new Mount Fuji World Heritage Center in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan. The 4,300 square meter structure is expected to cost up to ¥2.4 billion and complete in the year 2016. We will keep you posted as more details become available.
The Spanish office of Francisco Mangado in collaboration with French offices V2S architectes, Terrell, SACET, Alayrac, and GAMBA Acoustique Architecturale & Urbaine, has won an international competition to convert the old Thermal Hospital of the municipality of Amélie-les-Bains in southern France into a spa.
The Hague government officials have named KAAN Architecten’s design for the Facilicom Consortium PPS B30 as winner of the PPP contract for the Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 project. Originally built in 1917 for the Department of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, KAAN is expected to transform the existing National Heritage Site facilities into a vibrant and open “modern day think tank” for the Dutch government.
Steven Holl Architects has shared with us an impressive gallery of images of their recent project, Nanjing’s Sifang Art Museum. Rising above the lush landscape of the Pearl Spring, the new museum was designed as a physical manifestation of the parallel perspective, a technique prevalent in early Chinese paintings. From a subtly distorted courtyard with no vanishing points to an upper level gallery with calculated views and pristine light, the experience through the Sifang Art Museum is unlike any other.
See for yourself, after the break…
Melbourne newspapers are reporting on an argument breaking out over the preservation of the city’s postwar modernist buildings, centering (as ever) on the dispute between their value as cultural heritage vs their ‘ugliness’ (you can see all the contested buildings in a neat graphic at The Age). While many are in favor of preservation, Alan Davies, in anarticle for Crikey, warns that the cultural benefit in protecting these buildings should always be weighed against the cost of preventing the developments that would have taken their place. Read the full article here.
This year’s 120 HOURS competition challenged young architects from around the world to design a communicative icon of sustainability for the festival grounds of the Norwegian Øya Music Festival. With 2989 participants from 83 countries, it claims this year’s title for the world’s biggest architecture competition, for and by students. Enough drum-rolling, let’s take a look at the winning designs after the break…
The Chicago Architectural Club has named Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell of PORT Architecture + Urbanism and Grant Gibson of CAMES/gibson winners of this year’s Emerging Visions. Since its inauguration in 1998, the portfolio competition has sought to recognize significant endeavors by young architects, designers and new practices in Chicago. Works designed by the recipients will be on display at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago. More information, here.