A Renaissance Gem In Need Of Restoration

The Pazzi Chapel is a landmark of architecture in the city that was once the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence. Located in the Santa Croce church complex (the largest Franciscan church in the world), the chapel was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi - the goldsmith-turned-architect who dedicated his life to engineering the dome of Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore. It is “a prime example of 15th-century architectural decoration in grey pietra serena sandstone, colourful maiolica, and terracotta.”

550 years have taken their toll on this structure and its decoration. Concern for the state of the loggia of the chapel is now so great that the non-profit institution in charge of the church’s administration – the Opera di Santa Croce – have raised 50% of the funds needed to carry out a , set to begin in early 2015. They are now looking to crowdfunding to source the remaining half ($95,000) and, in so doing, are inviting people from around the world to become part of the 720-year-long history of Santa Croce.

(more…)

HAEAHN and Haenglim Take Second Place in KOMIPO Power Plant Design Competition

Perspective View. Image Courtesy of HAEAHN

Claiming second place in a recent competition for Korea Midland Power (KOMIPO), HAEAHN Architects, in partnership with Haenglim, have put forth a daring new design that combines power plant and office building. The dual use structure, which will include a park and a restaurant, was conceived as a way of breaking the raw, industrial image of the traditional power plant. In keeping with this idea, the design would be built over and replace Danginlee, the first power plant ever constructed in South Korea. The architects intended for the new plant to commemorate the old, while at the same time attracting more local traffic to the area. See the details of this award-winning design, after the break.

(more…)

Call for Entries: Design the Barack Obama Presidential Library

Courtesy of CAC

Calling all architects and students, the Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) wants to see your ideas for The Barack Obama Presidential Library. The recent media coverage surrounding the announced library, drawing bids from New York, Honolulu, and Chicago, once again initiates the desire for speculations and projections. As the fourteenth of its kind, this civic institution will not only function to house a collection of artifacts and documents relating to the president’s life but will also provide an educational infrastructure and framework for outreach and community programs. Thus, in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), this year’s Chicago Prize Competition is calling for speculative proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Library to initiate a debate in order to rethink and redefine this particular building typology.

(more…)

2015 YAP Istanbul Modern Shortlist

2013 YAP Istanbul Modern Winner: Sky Spotting Stop / SO?. Image © Muhsin Akgün; Courtesy of Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern has announced five finalists to compete in the 2015 Young Architects Program (). Now in it’s 2nd edition, the competition will challenge a group of emerging architects to design a temporary installation within the confines of Istanbul Modern’s courtyard that will host a series of events and visitors throughout the summer of 2015.

The 2015 shortlist includes Ali Sinan &  (Ankara),  (Herkes İçin Mimarlık, Istanbul), FLAT C (Selim Bayer & Bulut Cebeci, London-Istanbul), PATTU (Cem Kozar & Işıl Ünal, Istanbul) and Young & Ayata (Michael Young & Kutan Ayata, New York).

YAP Istanbul Modern is part of the YAP International competitions carried out at MoMA PS1 in New York, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) in Rome, CONSTRUCTO in Santiago, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul.

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

Fundamentals (Central Pavilion): Ceiling. Image © David Levene

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

(more…)

Shigeru Ban Included Among Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers

Courtesy of Courtesy of Architects

Shigeru Ban has been included in Foreign Policy Magazine’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, dubbing this year’s Pritzker Prize Laureate as “architecture’s first responder.” The annual list recognizes the 100 people whose ideas and actions have had the greatest impact on the outcome of world events, and this year ‘disruption’ is the buzzword; acknowledging a tumultuous year, the list focuses on the people who, for better or worse, “smashed the world as we know it.”

(more…)

Ten Practices Selected to Design €400 Million “Oaks Prague” Scheme

Design by Hall McKnight. Image Courtesy of Arendon Development Company

The Czech Republic-based Arendon Development Company has selected seven British practices and three Czech practices to work together on Oaks Prague, a new €400 million, 220-home “residential and lifestyle development” 20 kilometres South-East of Prague within the commune of Popivičky.

Selected through a competition organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the ten practices will join the team of Edward Durell Stone Jr and Associates, who masterplanned the development to include a golf club, hotel and spa at its centre, and John Thompson & Partners, who developed a pattern book and style guide for Oaks Prague.

Read on after the break for the full list of selected architects

(more…)

Grimshaw Releases New Images of World’s Largest Airport Terminal in Istanbul

Courtesy of Grimshaw

New images have been released of Istanbul‘s new airport, designed by Grimshaw, Nordic Office of Architecture and Haptic Architects, assisted by local Turkish Partners GMW Mimarlik and Tekeli Sisa. Projected to be the world’s largest airport terminal under a single roof at almost one million square metres, the new airport is expected to serve 90 million passengers a year on the opening of the first phase, rising to 150 million a year after completion in 2018.

(more…)

MAD and 3XN Among Six Competing for “Porsche Design Tower” in Frankfurt

Porsche Design has narrowed down a list of 20 participating teams to six shortlisted firms for an invited competition to design a new luxury residential tower in Frankfurt, Germany. The project, which will be Porsche Design’s debut in European real estate, will include up to 200 apartments, ranging from “Porsche Design suites” to two-story townhouses and luxury penthouses. The teams moving on to the competition’s second round, include: 3XN (Copenhagen), Stefano Boeri Architetti (), MAD (), Delugan Meissl (Austria), Neutelings Riedijk (Rotterdam) and Neil M. Denari (Los Angeles). 

Winners will be chosen based of the most “fitting” concept and connection to outdoor space. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016; completion is scheduled for 2018. 

(more…)

Damian Rogers Proposes Surf Park for Melbourne’s Docklands

© , Arup and Squint/Opera

Damian Rogers Architecture is hoping to “bring surf to the city” by proposing a $8 million AUD artificial beach and wave pool for the Harbor in Melbourne. Capable of simulating “surfable” 1.5-meter-high waves, the heated salt-water pool is envisioned as an extension of Central Pier in the Docklands. If built, the pool would be complimented by a beach, encompassing boardwalk, and grass-covered recreation and retail facility. 

(more…)

Paris’ City Council Rejects Herzog & de Meuron’s 180-Meter “Triangle Tower”

© Herzog & de Meuron

Widening the debate on whether or not should preserve its 19-century skyline or “embrace innovation,” Parisian city council members have rejected the controversial, 180-meter “Triangle Tower” designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Despite the 83-78 vote, the fight carries on; Mayor Anne Hidalgo has declared the veto to be invalid and hopes a new round of balloting will rule in favor of the tower. Though, in a city that fears of loosing its “existing urban fabric to skyscrapers,” it seems unlikely that the tower will be built. 

(more…)

Heatherwick to Construct $170 Million “Pier 55″ Park Off Manhattan’s Hudson River Shoreline

Pier 55 from the esplanade looking west. Image © Pier55, Inc. and

Billionaire Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, has commissioned Thomas Heatherwick to design a $170 million “futuristic park” on Manhattan’s lower west side. Replacing the deteriorated Pier 54, the new “Pier55” will be a lush undulating landscape, raised atop 300 mushroom-shaped concrete columns placed 186 feet off of the Hudson River shoreline, that will host outdoor performances, act as a marine sanctuary for striped bass and guard the city against storms.

Heatherwick will be collaborating with landscape architect Mathews Nielson. Read on to learn more about the project.

(more…)

“Hypotopia”: Architecture as a Vehicle for Political Action

© Armin Walcher

In the wake of the global financial crisis, banking scandals and government bailouts have made countless news headlines around the world. With such large sums of taxpayer money being funneled to the troubled financial sector, ordinary individuals are left to wonder how it will affect their own lives. But how can an entire country rise up and make their voices heard when it is nearly impossible to understand the magnitude of such an injustice? In Austria, a group of innovative students from the Technical University of Vienna set out to answer this question and have taken to a new form of protest in order to make the consequences of one Europe’s largest financial scandals in recent history a tangible reality.

To demonstrate the €19 billion price tag of ’s recent bailout of Hypo-Alpe-Adria, students designed and built a scale model of a fictional city called “Hypotopia,” a portmanteau of the bank’s name and “utopia.” According to Lukas Zeilbauer, “while utopia stands for an ideal fictitious world, ‘hypo’ is a Greek word meaning under, beneath or bellow – so a change coming from the bottom, from the folk.” Embodying an idealistic society with plentiful renewable resources and public education for people of all ages, the model city would theoretically contain 102,574 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city in Austria.

Read on after the break to find out how an architecture model has drawn international attention and propelled an entire country to take action.

(more…)

Spotlight: Rem Koolhaas

Courtesy of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design, via Flickr

The celebrated architect Remment (Rem) Koolhaas, the 2000 Pritzker Prize laureate and curator of the 2014 Venice Biennale, began his architectural education at the Architectural Association in London in 1968, eventually founding OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture) with one of his former professors, Elia Zenghelis (along with Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp).

Despite OMA’s current ubiquity, the firm’s beginnings in 1975 were fairly modest. The commission of the high-profile Euralille project in 1989 was a turning point; the firm then began to move away from small scale projects (such as the Villa dall’Ava) to the large scale works that they’re known for today. Koolhaas’ firm is now known almost exclusively for large-scale works, such as the CCTV Headquarters (named the “Best Tall Building in the World” in 2013) and the Seattle Library (which is widely regarded as one of the most important buildings of the 21st century).

(more…)

Rotterdam Named Europe’s Best City By The Academy Of Urbanism

Renzo Piano Bulding Workshop / / UNStudio / Siza / Mecanoo. Image

The Dutch city of Rotterdam, often referred to as a hotbed of architectural activity, has been named as the best city in Europe by The Academy of Urbanism at the 2015 Urbanism Awards. Pitted against two other finalists – Aarhus in Denmark and Turin in Italy – the city has been praised for its “predominantly young, open, tolerant community that is embracing innovative architecture and urban design and new business models.”

Despite being a very closely fought battle, the Academy said that was a vote winner for its “unique approach to governance. Appointed for six years by central government, the role of mayor sits outside of political structures and with no portfolio, allowing greater engagement with citizens and businesses.” Steven Bee, Chairman of the Academy, said that “a long-term perspective, a high level of autonomy, strong leadership by the mayor and municipality, and strong partnerships between public and private sector, are all helping grow positively.”

(more…)

Open Call: jumpthegap Seeks Ideas for “Bathroom of the Future”

Encouraging young designers and architects to create and design innovative, sustainable solutions for the bathroom, the sixth edition of the international design contest jumpthegap, organized by Roca and the Barcelona Design Centre (BCD), has been launched at the  with a presentation from the contest’s UK judge Tom Dyckhoff. An ideal platform for new generations to show their talent and visions for the bathroom of the future,  is aimed at young professionals and students of architecture and design under 35. Registration closes February 2015. The jury, which will be led by MAD principle Ma Yansong, is expected to announce the winner in October 2015.

(more…)

Aedas’ Leaf-Shaped Sales Gallery Nears Completion in Shanghai

Sales Gallery. Image Courtesy of

Aedas is nearing completion on the sales gallery for the mixed-use Shanghai Greenland Qingpu Xujing District complex. The gallery, shaped as a leaf, is designed to fit with the “clover leaf” concept of the nearby Qingpu Xujing Conference and Centre, in which it will be connected with by a pedestrian bridge.

(more…)

Four Practices Shortlisted for Tucson’s January 8th Memorial

Future site of the memorial. Image Courtesy of January 8th Memorial Foundation

The January 8th Memorial Foundation has selected four finalists out of the 60 practices and artists, both national and international, who submitted applications to create a permanent memorial and master plan concept for the El Presidio Park in , Arizona. The permanent memorial would commemorate the January 8, 2011, mass shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killed six people and injured 12 others. The memorial is also intended to honor the spirit of the community in its responses to the tragedy and to inspire future generations to work together on community issues. The four finalists are:

(more…)