Influential Scottish Architect Andy MacMillan Dies Aged 85

Courtesy of RIAS

Professor Andy MacMillan, one of Scotland‘s most important post-war architects, died suddenly this weekend during this year’s Royal Incorporation of Architects in (RIAS) Andrew Doolan Awards visits. Macmillan was a professor at the Glasgow School of Art from 1973 to 1994, and a partner at Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966. More on MacMillan’s legacy after the break.

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AD App Guide: Morpholio Board 2.0.

Courtesy of the Project

Consistently ranked as among some of the best digital tools available for architects and designers, the team behind the Morpholio Project today release Board 2.0., the second version of their moodboard and layout app for iOS. The app has been made possible by a number of collaborations with high profile interior designers in order to develop a ‘gallery’ of “significant design objects”, with contributions from the likes of Dyson, Herman Miller, and Knoll. For the past year Morpholio have ”assembled research groups and canvased design leaders worldwide” in order to better understand the power and potential of the ‘board’. The general consensus was that getting style, products, and sketching onto a single platform could “change the way designers access, build, and share ideas.”

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Drawings from Famous Architects’ Formative Stages to be Exhibited in St. Louis

Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum

As a student of architecture, the formative years of study are a period of wild experimentation, bizarre use of materials, and most importantly, a time to make mistakes. Work from this period in the life of an architect rarely floats to the surface – unless you’re Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry, that is. A treasure trove of early architectural drawings from the world’s leading architects has recently been unearthed from the private collection of former Architectural Association Chairman Alvin Boyarsky. The collection is slated to be shown at the Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, as a part of the exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the  from September 12th to January 4th, 2015.

Take a look at the complete set of architects and drawings for the exhibition after the break.

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34 Football Fields of Museums: Rem Koolhaas Talks at the Galeries Lafayette

“I feel a misfit in my own time,” says Rem Koolhaas, setting the tone. Seated in soon-to-be renovated Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Koolhaas bares all intellectually through the course of his lecture. As founder of Rotterdam-based OMA with a worldwide practice, candid conversations with Koolhaas are rare. The discussion provides a glimpse into the creative process of one of the world’s leading architects and current Curator of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Koolhaas confides in the audience from the outset, admitting his discomfort with current architecture. “From the inside of my current condition, I feel profoundly out of step with the contemporary situation,” says Koolhaas, adding ”I’m very annoyed by the contemporary belief in comfort as the ultimate virtue.”

Read on after the break for more summary of the fascinating lecture

Koolhaas stands at the intersection of art and architecture, deliberating on the evolution of museum design. Using the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron as an example, Koolhaas states: “In order to fill spaces like this, artists are forced into an apocalyptic mode as only very strong emotions register – this is not a space you can fill with delicacy.” Koolhaas’ solution to the apocalyptic problem can be found in his recent design for the renovation of Galeries Lafayette, a heritage protected building in Paris with zero tolerance for structural modification. The design calls for movable floors installed in a steel-framed courtyard – the only intervention available in the listed building. “The beauty of preservation is that it begins with acknowledging that another architecture is worth keeping,” concludes Koolhaas.

Should China put Design Restrictions on New Developments?

Apartments in Shenzhen. Image © Neville Mars under a CC licence

China may be at a turning point in urban design: a recent article in Australian points out that over 50 million apartments in Chinese cities (about 22.5 percent) are unoccupied. This problem springs from the ongoing Chinese construction boom, prompted by developers looking to stimulate urban economic growth as quickly as possible. However, Ma Yansong of MAD Architects believes these empty apartments are a sign that buyers find them unsuited to their needs, and that China should begin to enforce good design principles on these rapidly-constructed complexes. Read the full article here.

Ryo Yamada’s Installation Connects Garden Goers to the Sky

Courtesy of

Ryo Yamada‘s “Air Garden” is a passage, but not in the traditional sense of the word. It’s not a passage that connects one point to another, since the walkway does not lead to a tangible destination, but rather a passage that connects an enclosed garden to the vastness of the open sky. The artist believes everyone shares a common desire for the sky, which represents freedom and equality. Read on after the break for more information, images and a video.

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GPA&A Designs Floating Administrative Center for Belo Horizonte

Courtesy of Gustavo Penna

Brazilian Firm GPA&A was unanimously chosen by a panel of judges to design the new Administrative Center for Belo Horizonte – the capital of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The judging commission selected the firm’s proposal because of its attention to accessibility, sustainability, and the quality of architectural and landscaping features. The transparent building features a bikeway leading to the top floor and is integrated with the metro and bus rapid transit systems. For more information and images, continue after the break.

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Arquitectonica Takes Over Miami Beach Convention Center From OMA

OMA’s scrapped plans. Image © OMA

Following the controversial decision to scrap plans by OMA earlier this year, Miami Beach officials have selected Arquitectonica for the redesign of the Miami Beach Convention Center. In a significant scaling-down of OMA’s $1 billion masterplan, the new scheme calls for the existing center to be kept and renovated to ‘Class A’ standards, along with the addition of a new ballroom, meeting space and rooftop parking. The center’s existing parking lot will be converted into a 6.5 acre public park, designed by landscape firm West 8.

More on the Convention Center Controversy after the break

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London Science Museum Selects Wilkinson Eyre to Design Medical Galleries

© Wilkinson Eyre

’s Science Museum has announced Wilkinson Eyre as the winner of its competition to design new medical galleries. Winning the project over a shortlist of six other architects – including Caruso St John, Amanda Levete Architects and Haworth Tompkins - Wilkinson Eyre’s £24 million galleries will occupy 3,000 square metres on the museum’s first floor, almost doubling the size of the museum’s existing galleries.

More on the Science Museum’s transformation after the break

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Jiminez Lai and Bureau Spectacular Present: Flipping Properties

© Kevin Pazik

Designed for a laneway inside the Little Portugal neighborhood of Toronto, Flipping Properties tests the boundaries between architecture and furniture. The exhibition, created by Jiminez Lai and his team, Bureau Spectacular, unravels the traditional pentagonal shape of a house to create ‘super-furniture.’ Super-furniture is defined by Lai as “too big to be furniture and too small to be architecture.” The large pieces are meant to encourage dialogue on unused urban spaces in Toronto, while creating a novel way to interact with those spaces. Despite their size, the pieces can be rearranged within the laneway, allowing for a variety of assemblages to be created.  Flipping Properties opened July 11th, and will be in place until September 14th in the laneway between Sheridan Avenue and Gordon Street in Toronto. Admission is free to the public. See the full gallery of exhibition photos, after the break.

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UIA Commits to Zero Carbon Emissions with “2050 Imperative”

The 2050 Imperative will likely lead to more buildings such as the Zero Carbon Building by Ronald Lu and Partners. Image © Ronald Lu and Partners

At its World Congress event in Durban last week, the International Union of Architects (UIA)’s 124 member organizations declared their commitment to sustainable architecture by unanimously adopting the 2050 Imperative, a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the built environment to zero by mid-century.

The adoption of the 2050 Imperative was planned to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference that will reconvene in Paris in 2015, and has as one of its aims a plan to phase out CO2 emissions from the power and industrial sectors by 2050. The stated their aim to ”send a strong message to the Parties of the UNFCCC, and to the world, that we are committed to a truly sustainable and equitable future.”

Read on after the break for more detail from the 2050 Imperative, including 5 key objectives

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Brick Awards Shortlist Unveiled

The Brick Development Association, representing the UK and Ireland, has unveiled its shortlist for the 2014 Brick Awards. The awards recognize excellence in design and construction using brick in 14 different categories.  Among the contenders are Zaha Hadid ArchitectsSerpentine Sackler Gallery , Universal Design Studio‘s Ace Hotel and Mecanoo‘s The Library of Birmingham. The winners will be announced on November 12.

See the full shortlist after the break:

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Infographic: What Do European Architects Actually Do?

Courtesy of

Though the professional practice of architecture can be broadly defined, we often just focus on the design work in relation to the completed building, leaving behind other areas in which architects find more opportunities. In this infographic created by OMA in preparation for the Monditalia exhibition at the Venice Biennale, we see how the professional activities are distributed among these sub-areas such as planning, landscape design, interior design and feasibility studies–a relationship which can also allow us to extrapolate the outcomes and products that emerge from these countries.

Click the infographic to get a closer look and browse the projects we’ve published from the represented countries:

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Inaugural Global Schindler Award Registration Now Open: Mobility in Shenzhen

Courtesy of Global Schindler Award

The Global Schindler Award is a new competition for that will explore questions about universal mobility and access amidst rapid globalization and urbanization. In its inaugural year, a real site in Shenzhen – a booming commercial and industrial area adjacent to Hong Kong – has been chosen as the subject of the urban design proposals. Entrants are being asked to re-imagine the city as an inclusive urban environment and will be vying for portions of the $150,000 prize fund.

Students may compete as individuals or in teams, but must work under the supervision of a faculty member. Registration is open until November 15, 2014 and entries are due on January 31, 2015. The winners, which will be chosen by an esteemed panel of interdisciplinary jury members including landscape architect Kongjian Yu of Turenscape and architect Farshid Moussavi, will be announced in early 2015.

For more information, click here.

Neri&Hu: Redefining the Meaning of ‘Made in China’

Design Collective / Neri & Hu. Image © Shen Zhonghai

When Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu arrived in Shanghai in 2000, working on a project for Michael Graves, they had no plans to stay. “Three months turned into six, then eight,” said Neri of his first visit; fourteen years later, Neri & Hu Design and Research Office operates from with more than 100 multi-disciplinary staff. The firm has developed a reputation for their original designs in a landscape dominated by duplicate architecture. In a recent article in The Star Online, Leong Siok Hui maps Neri & Hu‘s road to success, featuring their work on Design Collective and The Waterhouse at South Bund. Read more here.

20 Productivity Apps to Help Make Your Life Easier On Sale Now

Need some help being productive or organizing your life? Ranging from Clear, an that helps create tasks, reminders and to-do lists, to Grafio, which lets you organize your thoughts via diagrams, Apple has put 20 productivity in the iOS App Store on sale.

The apps range from $0.99 to $6.99, and some are up to 60% off their normal selling price. Check out all 20 on the iOS App Store’s “Amazing Productivity Apps” section.

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Rebel Architecture: Al Jazeera’s New Series to Feature Activist Architects

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On August 18 Al Jazeera will launch “Rebel Architecture,” a new series featuring architects who use design as a form of resistance and activism. By designing for the majority rather than the elite, the architects in “” are tackling the world’s urban, environmental and social problems. Through six, half-hour documentaries the series will highlight architects working in Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, the Occupied West Bank and Brazil.

“In contemporary architecture, people are always concerned with ‘what a beautiful building’; or ‘what a pretty project’ – architecture should be about something more,” said Spanish architect , who will be featured in the series’ first episode. Cirugeda works in Seville reclaiming abandoned urban spaces for the public, despite the fact that self-building is illegal in Spain.

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BuildAChange Aims to Tackle Sanitation with Zero Project

Courtesy of BuildAChange

Although the practice of architecture has historically done little to address the basic needs of those in the developing world, in recent years architects have gradually extended their reach into the realm of humanitarian work, as most notably exemplified by Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban. Despite these advances, one third of the world’s population does not have access to adequate sanitation. This is astounding given the amount of resources and technology we have available to us in the 21st century, and it is a problem that architects have the opportunity to solve; some architects, including Julia King, have already begun to take on this challenge. It is also the focus of “Zero Project,” the first initiative of non-profit organization BuildAChange. Read about their proposal after the break.

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