Syrian Refugee Camp Becoming Impromptu City

Aerial View of Zaatari Refugee Camp. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

As the Syrian civil war continues to rage, more and more Syrian citizens are emigrating across the border to refugee camps in Jordan.  While these camps were intended to be temporary, the sheer number of people they support and the uncertainty of when the Syrian crisis will end has leant them a sense of permanence.  This article from the New York Times takes a look at how Syrian refugees are prompting urban development and what this means for the future of refugee camp .

Emerging Practices in India: Anagram Architects

Brick screen wall: SAHRDC building. Image Courtesy of Anagram Architects

Indian Architect & Builder, through a two-part series titled ‘Practices of Consequence’ (Volumes I and II) delves deeper into contemporary Indian practices that have carved a unique identity and place for themselves in the country today. This article, part of the first volume of the series, takes a closer look at Anagram Architects, a New Delhi based architectural firm.

Led by Madhav Raman and Vaibhav Dimri, Anagram Architects is a growing studio that works in architecture, installation, and material innovation. The firm is often experimental in nature, and each project is developed with a distinct, independent framework. Beyond architecture, Anagram Architects has also designed objects and installations with a strong, cohesive sense of material, detail and execution. Indian Architect & Builder’s interview with the founders, after the break…

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Kotaro Horiuchi Architecture’s Installation of Floating, Perforated Membranes

© Issei Mori

Japanese firm Kotaro Horiuchi Architecture‘s “Fusionner 1.0″ was on display this past March at the White Gallery Cube in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The installation consisted of two horizontal floating membranes stretched across a simple rectilinear room, dividing the space vertically into three sections.

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Inside “Re-Creation” – Finland’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014

Re-Creation. The Finnish Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.. Image © Nico Saieh

Re-Creation is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila. One part of the installation was constructed by a Finnish master carpenter and his team, and the other by a Chinese team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders.

Presented by the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, the installation “takes a stand on our relationship with the modern legacy and its tradition of international dialogue, and represents a quintessential product of topical international dialogue while at the same time offering its own unique interpretation of the dynamic between tradition and modernity.” See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.

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Sufficiency – Inside the Malaysia Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

Sufficiency. The Malaysia Pavilion at the 2014 Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

The Malaysia Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale focuses on the idea of sufficiency, and its role in creating sustainable and modest architecture.

In a statement, one of the Pavilion curators, Lim Teng Ngiom, writes that “while sufficiency suggests a modest but adequate scale of living, it can be reduced to only the necessity required for survival extended on a personal or collective autonomy. On the precept of sustainability it can be measured by one’s carbon footprint, or in construction it can suggest minimum building footprint or optimum structure.”

To represent the idea of sufficiency, the curators chose to display works on collapsible pet cages, which have “just enough space for existence.” Several of the pet cages are clamped together to form a suspended beam, creating a “fundamental component of architecture.” Additional works are displayed on pet cages that are sitting on the floor.

Enjoy photos from the Pavilion and a statement from the curators after the break…

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WAF Reveals Shortlist for Wood Excellence Award

The Tent/ a21studio. Image Courtesy of a21 studio

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has announced the shortlist for its first Wood Excellence award, which will honor a project where wood is an integral part of the design. Out of over 40 projects considered, WAF has selected eight for the shortlist, including a21studio’s “The Tent” and “Salvaged Ring,” as well as DSDHA’s “Alex Monroe Studio” and the University of Hong Kong’s “The Pinch.”

Salvaged Ring/a21studio. Image Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the Wood Excellence award aims to recognize a project that showcases the sustainable benefits and timeless beauty of wood. All projects submitted for a WAF award that feature wood were automatically considered for the Wood Excellence award. “This was a great way to appreciate how a ‘traditional’ material can be used to transform exteriors and interiors in new and unexpected ways,” Paul Finch, the WAF program director said in a press release.

On October 3 the architects selected will have the opportunity to present their projects to the prize judges.

The Pinch/Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong. Image Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Shortlisted projects, WAF Wood Excellence Award:

  • The Tent/ a21studio (Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam)
  • Pittwater House/Andrew Burges Architects (Sydney, Australia)
  • Earth Wind and Fire/Atelier Arcau (Vannes, France)
  • School’t Hofke/UArchitects (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
  • Regional Terminal at Christchurch Airport/BVN Donovan Hill (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • Salvaged Ring/a21studio (Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam)
  • Alex Monroe Studio/DSDHA (, )
  • The Pinch/Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong (Zhaotong, China)

“Bungalow Germania” – Germany’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

. The German Pavilion at the 2014 Biennale.. Image © Nico Saieh

Germany’s contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale scrutinizes the architecture of representation, its crisis, and potential cessation. Aside from the universal ambition of modernism to break with the past, Germany has undergone a number of decisive political and societal breaks during the last hundred years. Through the question of how the nation “(re)builds and represents itself through architecture, we are able to discuss the friction between national identity and architecture expression—however, architecture is not only a mirror to ideology, but a constituting reality and societal context.”

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Melbourne to Launch Its Own Serpentine Pavilion

2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto. Image © Danica O. Kus

Mirroring the Serpentine Galleries of London, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced its own yearly pavilion commission for the city of Melbourne. Sited in the Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens, the premier “MPavilion” will be designed by Sean Godsell, opening October 6th of this year.  The pavilion will host a variety of community events, including art installations and performances, over a four month period.  It remains to be seen whether the MPavilion will have a lasting impact on the architectural culture of the city, as some critics have pointed out. To learn more about this now annual commission, visit this article from infolink.

Video: Los Angeles from Above

This time-lapse video, entitled “Above LA,” is Chris Pritchard’s love letter to Los Angeles. Filmed over the course of two years, Pritchard sought out locations to showcase the city in a way people rarely get to see  from above. Some of the views were easy to seek out, while others involved some exploratory hiking and trespassing. He encourages “everyone – lifelong Angelenos, transplants, visitors – to hit the trails, drive the mountain roads, find a reason to get on top of a high-rise. From the basin to the valley, this city offers so many opportunities to rise above and look down. Never stop exploring.”

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Awarded National Medal of Arts

Williams & Tsien made headlines in last year thanks to the demolition of their American Folk Art Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Wallyg

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been awarded the National Medal for Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts. The duo, known for projects such as the Barnes Foundation and for the controversy surrounding the demolition of their 2001 American Folk Art Museum last year, will be rewarded for their “deliberate and inspired designs” as well as their services in teaching. The medals will be awarded to them by President Obama in a ceremony on July 28th. Also receiving a medal will be Johnpaul Jones of Seattle firm Jones & Jones, who will be the first Architect to receive the National Humanities Medal in the Award’s 17-year history. Find out more about the at World-Architects.

Winy Maas Selected as Curator for Strelka Institute’s Upcoming Academic Year

WoZoCo / MVRDV. Image Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Dutch architect Winy Maas has been selected as the curator for the Strelka Institute’s 2014-2015 academic year. One of the co-founders of Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV, Maas also lectures and teaches all over the world, most recently serving as a visiting professor of architectural design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as a professor of architecture and urban design at Delft University of Technology.

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Stelka Institute Presents: Moscow’s “Urban Routines”

Courtesy of

Over the course of nine months, graduate students at the Strelka Institute studied the urban landscape of Moscow and the daily routines of its inhabitants, focusing “on new, little-noticed, and as-yet unresolved contradictions.” The main goal of the projects was to come up with solutions that could be applied in practice.

The research projects, collectively entitled “Urban Routines,” were presented at the end of this past June at the graduate show. Program director David Erixon said that while the theme might seem naive, “when you start looking at seemingly trivial things in a new way they are not so trivial anymore.” For details about the individual research projects – covering Cars, Retail, Dwelling, Offices, and Links - keep reading after the break.

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RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

Courtesy of

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the East Midlands and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.

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Spotlight: Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker laureate, in front of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Photo by Francisco Nogueira.

Today is Eduardo Souto de Moura’s 62nd birthday. With over 60 buildings worldwide, Souto de Moura is known for his thoughtful use of colors and materials. Although often described as a “Miesian” architect, de Moura provides local and original interpretations of Mies van Der Rohe’s modernist style.

Born in , Souto de Moura enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in , studying sculpture and later transferring to architecture at the University of – a decision he credits to a meeting with the artist Donald Judd. While still a student, Souto de Moura interned in the studio of Álvaro Siza, where he worked for five years until starting his own practice in 1980, following Siza’s advice. Although his first major commission was the Cultural Center of Porto, his early career included mostly private homes. Later, de Moura was commissioned for larger public buildings, such as the the Braga Municipal Stadium (2004), the Burgo Tower (2007), and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2008).

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Australian Institute of Architects Awards Best Overseas Projects by Australian Architects

Stonehenge Exhibition + Visitor Centre / Denton Corker Marshall. Image © James Davies

The Australian Institute of Architects‘ International Area Committee Jury has announced the recipients of its 2014 international awards, given to projects completed by Australian architects overseas. The biggest winners on the night were Denton Corker Marshall, who in addition to winning the Award for Public Architecture with their Stonehenge Visitor Centre also received commendations for public architecture and commercial architecture.

BVN Donovan Hill dominated in the field of interior architecture, scooping both the award and a commendation in the category. Kerry Hill Architects also achieved the same result in the residential category. Read on after the break for the full list of awards and commendations.

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Zaha Hadid on Russian Artist Kazimir Malevich

Zaha Hadid RA, The Peak Blue Slabs, 1982-83. Image © Zaha Hadid / Royal Academy of Arts

In an article for London’s Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own design work. In Hadid’s early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich’s strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.

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Álvaro Siza Decides The Fate of His Archives

Portrait of Álvaro Siza. Image © Teresa Siza

Update: releases statement from Siza.

Earlier this week we announced that Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza was considering donating his archive to institutions outside of his home country of Portugal. Finally, after much discussion and speculation, Siza has arrived at a decision.

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Christchurch Launches Competition to Design Earthquake Memorial

Christchurch Cathedral, after being destroyed by the 2011 earthquake. Image © NZPA / David Wethey

After years of rebuilding from the devastating earthquake that hit the city in February 2011, the city of Christchurch in New Zealand has announced an open competition to a memorial to the 185 people that lost their lives in the tragedy. The $3.5 million memorial will be situated in the city center on the banks of the Ōtākaro-Avon River, and is expected to be “a thoughtfully designed space where small groups or individuals can pay respect to those who died,” but will also “comfortably fit a crowd of around 2,000 people” to host an annual memorial gathering, as well as other events.

More details after the break

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