WikiHouse Unveils World’s First Two-Storey Open-Source House at London Design Festival

© Margaux Carron www.margauxcarron.com

WikiHouse, the open-source platform for designing and sharing house designs that anyone can be manufacture and assemble in days with no construction skills, has unveiled ‘ 4.0′ their first ever two-storey design at this year’s London Design Festival. Built by a team of volunteers and costing less than £50,000, the new prototype on display at The Building Centre also demonstrates the possibilities of other open source systems, with the code for the electrics, ventilation system and sensors all available on open-source platforms.

More on WikiHouse 4.0 after the break

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The Berlage Archive: Thom Mayne (1996)

In this 1996 lecture Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne describes his views of architectural theory and his unique approach to the architectural process at a time when firms had begun the transition to 3D digital models. As one of the founders of Santa Monica based firm Morphosis, Mayne speaks about the evolution of their built and unbuilt projects in the late 70s and early 80s by giving insights into three general topics including objects, context, and the role of nature in architecture. His discussion touches on everything from music and art, to philosophical questions regarding the process of architecture and its role in society.

In the development of his first projects, Mayne reveals a preoccupation with objects, their materials, and their relationship to the craft of architecture. He also describes how context shapes his designs, using the example of his Sixth Street House of 1983. For him, the project’s site in was particularly influential to his work in the way that it is a “prototype of the modern metropolis” in which “…there’s no inside, there’s no outside, there’s no way of perceiving it, its growing, its moving, its changing, quicker than one can absorb it.” These notions of context were reflected in many later works, and tied into his interest in “the space between randomness and order.”

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European Winners of 2014 Holcim Awards Announced

Anthropic Park: Freshwater ecological reserve and remediation – Saline Joniche, Italy. Image Courtesy of

The Holcim Foundation has announced the European winners of its 2014 Holcim Awards for exemplary sustainable design and construction. In light of the complex and interdisciplinary challenges facing the building industry today, the Jury identified target issues of environmental, social, and economical performance alongside architectural excellence and high transferability as intrinsic objectives in the winning projects.

Teams from Italy, France, and Austria were all selected for approaching the challenges of sustainable construction with innovative creativity and social ethos. Each will share over $300,000 in prize money and will be considered for the global awards.

Read more about the winning schemes after the break…

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JAHN, LOGUER + ADG Presents Proposal for New Mexico City Airport

Courtesy of

Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, chief designer and president of JAHN, has shared with us his net-zero design proposal for the new Mexico City International Airport competition. Similar to the Norman Foster and Fernando Romero’s winning design, JAHN’s proposal is a symbiotic blend of sensitive cultural meaning and powerful energy efficiency. As per competition requirements to pair an international firm with a Mexican firm, the project was the result of a collaboration with local architects Francisco Lopez-Guerra of LOGUER and Alonso de Garay of .

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goCstudio Launches New Kickstarter to Fund Floating Sauna in Seattle

open hatch. Image Courtesy of

based firm goCstudio have designed a wood-fired floating sauna, a project resonant with the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Aiming to begin construction in spring of 2015 and open in summer, the firm has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the building of their first model. Easily transportable and accessible by kayak, the floating sauna fits within the dimensions of a standard size trailer. Providing a space of refuge and revitalization, along with a uniquely interactive way to experience the landscape of Seattle, the project, named “wa_sauna“, requires $43,000 to become a reality. Learn more about the project and how you can help at the firm’s Kickstarter page, here. More images after the break.

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“Cloud Citizen” Awarded Joint Top Honors in Shenzhen Bay Super City Competition

Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design

Cloud Citizen, a proposal for a new high-rise typology by Urban Future Organization and CR-Design, in collaboration with a team of experts at Chalmers Technical University, has been jointly awarded the highest prize in the Shenzhen Bay Super City Masterplan Competition. Their futuristic design features a singular mega building complex that aims to create a hyper dense urban center that gives back to the environment. Read on after the break to learn more about the proposal.

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Get Swinging in Boston on these Glowing LED Hoops

Courtesy of Howeler + Yoon Architecture

In Boston, playgrounds are no longer just for kids. Twenty LED-lit circular swings have been installed outdoors as a part of “Swing Time,” Boston’s first interactive installation. The hanging, glowing orbs are a twist on traditional rubber-and-rope swings, dangling from a minimal steel structure similar to those used in conventional playgrounds. LED lights embedded in the swings activate and change color as each swing moves, returning to a dim white light when static. The piece is designed to blend Boston’s design community with its expanding technology sector while playfully engaging residents.

Take a seat in “Swing Time” with more photos and info after the break.

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US Launches $1 Billion National Disaster Resilience Competition

OMA’s vision for New York’s Hoboken Waterfront – one of six winning proposals of (Click image to learn more). Image © OMA

Building on the model set forth by Rebuild by Design, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Rockefeller Foundation have announced a $1 billion . The two-phase competition invites communities affected by natural disasters to compete for funds that will help them recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand future threats. See if your community complies with the competition rules here.

Olson Kundig’s First Retrospective Opens in Nebraska

Sol Duc Cabin, Olympic Peninsula, WA © Benjamin Benschneider

Today, Olson Kundig Architects’ first-ever retrospective Anthology opened its doors at Omaha’s KANEKO. Spanning five decades of Olson Kundig work, the site-specific will focus on the -based firm’s unique creative process, showcasing the many influences and design explorations that have shaped the practice over the years. Follow us after the break for more information and a sampling of the firms work. 

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Deborah Berke Tapped to Design Cummins’ Indianapolis Headquarters

Berke-designed 48 Bond Street in Manhattan. Image © Deborah Berke Partners

-based Deborah Berke Partners has been selected to design a $30 million headquarters for Indiana-based diesel engine manufacture Cummins. Planned for downtown on the former four-acre site of Market Square Arena, the project will provide office space for up to 400 employees, as well as ground-floor retail, parking and public green space. Berke was chosen over SHoP Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

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The Slow Death of the Corporate Architecture of Exclusion

Though still admired, Mies van der Rohe’s signature are clear symbols of the ‘Mad-Men’ era. Image © Samuel Ludwig

Of all the changes in architectural typologies in recent years, one of the most dramatic – and the most documented – is the transition from corporate to more casual, ‘fun’ office buildings. This change has infiltrated companies from tiny 5-person start-ups to Silicon Valley giants, and while it has been pioneered by tech and media companies it has certainly not been limited to them.

Most analysis of this change focuses on work patterns created by new technology or the demands of the ‘millennial’ worker, but this post originally published on Means the World - the blog of NBBJ - examines the shift away from the corporate office as a product of not just what these building are but what they represent about us as a society, arguing that “when today’s workers look at the midcentury office, they see a symbol of exclusion.”

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AA Athens Visiting School 2014: Students Challenge the Static Built Environment with “Kinetic Haze”

Overview of the Interactive/Kinetic Archetype. Image © Alice Mangoyan

The Architectural Association Visiting School in Athens, as part of the AI research agenda, has continued its investigations to challenge the static built environment with its 2014 entitled Kinetic Haze. The project investigates the possibilities of architectural modeling via scripting, digital fabrication, and large scale installations.

This year’s investigation follows the theme of the previous year’s work entitled Cipher City: Recharged, in which the creation of complex form-making systems resulted in the discovery of interactive design patterns. Following their discoveries in 2013, students in this year’s program further investigated kinetic and interactive architecture in their new study entitled Revolutions. After a series of design ideas were developed by smaller groups of students, the teams collaborated to create the final prototype Kinetic Haze in less than five days. Read on after the break to learn more about the project.

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FuturArc Prize and Green Leadership Award Contest 2015 Now Open

Courtesy of

FuturArc, a bimonthly journal that promotes the enhancement of sustainable architecture in Asia, have launched their annual contest to generate ideas for innovative and sustainable design. The contest is split into two, with the FuturArc Prize and the FuturArc Green Leadership Award rewarding sustainable design in both unbuilt and built projects. Read on after the break to find out more about both competitions.

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Jean Nouvel’s Tower Verre Finally Ready to Break Ground

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Jean Nouvel‘s long-awaited 53 West 53rd Street, also known as the Tower Verre or the Tower, may finally be ready to move ahead with construction after the project’s developer Hines purchased $85.3 million worth of air rights from its neighbors MoMA and the St Thomas Episcopal Church and arranged the $860 million construction loan required for the project.

Originally proposed in 2007, the design has been plagued by problems, including significant delays due to the financial crisis and a difficult approval process which resulted in the building’s height being slashed from 1,250 feet to its current planned height of 1,050 feet. However, according to a statement from Hines groundbreaking on the project is now “imminent.”

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The Living and BIG Among Winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 for North America

© BIG Courtesy of the

The Holcim Foundation has announced the Winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 for North America, the award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the winners are BIG and The Living, with designs which the jury stated showed “sophisticated and multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing the building and construction industry.”

The ten recognized projects share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards awards, to be selected in 2015.

Read on after the break for the full list of winners

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The High Line’s Third (and Final) Section Opens this Weekend

Fantastic news: the High Line at the Rail Yards – the third and northernmost section of the park – will be opening to the public on Sunday, September 21! Read the full announcement: http://bit.ly/RailYardsOpening Photo of the Interim Walkway, one of the new design features in the Rail Yards, by Kathleen Fitzgerald | OCD

This Sunday (September 21), the third and final section of the New York City High Line will open at the Rail Yards. You can expect to see familiar benches morphed into picnic tables and seesaws amongst a lush, diverse and seemingly unkept landscape that is reminiscent of the “forgotten” tracks. As Piet Oudolf - the Dutch garden designer who worked with James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio & Renfro - described, the $75 million northernmost section will be an “introduction to the wild” that responds directly to the public’s desire to “walk on the original tracks.” Stay tuned for more images from the opening.

Ten Top Designers Get the Products of Their Dreams With “The Wish List”

Tableware / + Gareth Neal. Image © Petr Krejčí

Terence Conran asked nine of his friends in the design world “What have you always wanted in your home, but have never been able to find?” The result is The Wish List, a set of ten projects dreamed up by name designers such as Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers, but designed and crafted in collaboration with emerging designers.

Sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council, the only restriction was that the product had to be made of wood, leading to designs ranging from Foster’s modest geometric pencil sharpeners to Paul Smith‘s dream garden shed.

As part of the 2014 London Design Festival, the resulting ten products will be on show at the V&A Museum until October 24th.

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SCI-Arc Appoints Hernan Diaz Alonso as New Director

“Pitch Black” – Joint-winner in the AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture. Image © Hernan Diaz Alonso, Courtesy of SCI-Arc

The Southern Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has appointed Hernan Diaz Alonso as the architecture school’s new Director beginning September 2015. Alonso, principal of Xefirotarch and educator widely credited for spearheading the transition of SCI-Arc to digital technologies, will succeed architect Eric Owen Moss who has served as the school’s director since 2002. Continue after the break to watch Alonso’s “New Director Presentation” and preview a selection of his work.

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