How Cutting Edge Technology Helped Recreate the Stella Tower’s Concrete Crown

Screenshot from video by JDS Development Group

In some projects, preservation isn’t just about retaining what’s there, but also about putting back an element that has been forgotten to history (not always, though). This was the case at the Stella Tower in Manhattan, where as part of the building’s recently completed condo conversion, JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group, along with architects CetraRuddy have reinstated the dramatic Art Deco crown of Ralph Walker’s 1927 design.

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Valode & Pistre Set to Break Ground on Africa’s Tallest Tower

© Valode & Pistre / iceberg.fr

Valode & Pistre is set to break ground on ’s tallest tower next June. More than doubling the height of Johannesburg’s 223-meter Carlton Center, which has been the continent’s tallest building since 1973, the Al Noor Tower (Tower of Light) will most likely rise 540-meters on a 25-hectare site in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. 

It’s program will center around business, providing accommodations with a 200-suite luxury hotel, a trading platform, conference hall and large art gallery, as well as an astonishing 100-meter-tall atrium that hollows the tower’s base.  

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ArchDaily’s 2014 Holiday Card Contest Winners Announced

Submitted by Patrick Grime

After receiving close to 150 holiday card submissions – including a “Bjarke, the Herald Ingels” singing, and several angry Gehry-Clauses – we’ve selected three winners! Take a look at the winning submissions as well as some of our favorite cards after the break, and get ready to celebrate the holidays the architect’s way.

’s 2014 Holiday Card Contest has been generously sponsored by Mosa.

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2014 AR Emerging Architecture Awards Winners Announced

Masuda + Otsubo’s “Boundary Window”. Image Courtesy of Shingo Masuda + Katsuhisa Otsubo Architects

The Architectural Review has selected the winners of the 2014 AR Emerging Architecture Awards. Now in their 16th year, they are one of the most prestigious awards for young architects and emerging practices. Past winners have included Sou Fujimoto, Thomas Heatherwick, Sean Godsell, Jurgen Mayer H. and Li Xiaodong.

Given to completed projects, entries can include buildings, interiors, landscaping, refurbishment, urban projects, temporary installations, furniture and product designs. This year the jury was comprised of Catherine Slessor, Hilde Daem, Li Xiaodong, Steven Holl and Will Alsop.

Read on after the break for this year’s Emerging Architecture Award winners.

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Reconfiguring Urban Spaces To Compensate For “Poisonous” Air

The CCTV Building, Beijing, cloaked by air pollution. Image © Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

In an article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright steps “inside Beijing’s apocalypse”: the poisonous, polluted atmosphere that often clings to the Chinese capital. He explores ways in which those who live in this metropolis have started to redefine the spaces they frequent and the ways in which they live. Schools, he notes, are now building inflatable domes over play areas in order to “simulate a normal environment.” The dangers were made clear when ”this year’s Beijing marathon [...] saw many drop out when their face-mask filters turned a shade of grey after just a few kilometres.” Now, in an attempt to improve the living conditions in the city, ecologists and environmental scientists are proposing new methods to filter the air en masse. Read about some of the methods here.

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Romanian Entry Wins “Unbelievable Challenge” with Santa Claus Logistic Center

First Prize: “Nothing is impossible” / Alexandru Oprita, Romania and Laurentiu Constantin. Image Courtesy of

A “magical” logistics center fit for the season’s most hardworking man has been awarded first prize for it’s innovation and feasibility in the “Unbelievable Challenge” architectural ideas competition. Submitted by Alexandru Oprita and Laurentiu Constantin of Romania, “Nothing is impossible” was selected from 243 entries spanning 59 countries and five other deserving projects that have been highlighted as runner-ups.

A closer look at Santa Claus’ proposed logistics center, after the break.

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Save Japan’s Modern Architecture

YouTube Preview Image

As preparations for the 2020 Olympics escalate, so do concerns regarding the preservation of the city’s heritage; and more specifically, according to Tomas Maier, Japan’s modernist architecture. The Bottega Venneta creative director recently embarked on an “urgent visit” to Japan in an effort to evaluate the city’s risk of loosing its modernist icons. With special consideration for the overlooked and threatened Hotel Okura, Maier believes that this Yoshiro Taniguchi-designed landmark is just one of many structures at risk of falling to “progress.”

Watch the video above and learn more about how you can help preserve the Hotel Okura, here.

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How to Rebuild Architecture

© Olivier Schrauwen via the NYTimes

Architect Steven Bingler and architectural journalist fear that architecture is loosing its credibility. In their recent op-ed on the Times, the pair claims that our profession’s biggest challenge is regaining public trust by reconnecting architecture with its users. Referencing his mother’s aversion to a student-built affordable housing project that he considered a “bold statement of design,” Bingler believes the key to salvaging the profession is for architects to stop dismissing and start listening to the general public’s take on architecture.

“The question is, at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?” Read the complete article, here

BIG, MVRDV and Snøhetta Among 6 Shortlisted for Oslo Goverment Quarter

Opera House / Snøhetta. Image © CC Flickr User Howard Ignatius

Statsbygg has shortlisted six teams to develop proposals for a new government quarter in Oslo. Selected from 24 submissions, the chosen teams will now have until March 2015 to prepare their ideas. The unconventional competition, which requires the inclusion of students from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, will not culminate with a single winner. Rather, ideas from all the shortlisted proposals will be extracted and used in an eventual masterplan.

The six shortlisted teams are…

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UNSTABLE’s AMAZE Installation Takes Visitors on a Vivid Multisensory Journey

Courtesy of UNSTABLE

Colorful lights dance across translucent panels, illuminating the backdrop of Toronto’s glowing downtown high-rises. In their three-dimensional interactive entitled AMAZE, design and research laboratory UNSTABLE has created a multisensory experience like no other. Complex branching passageways challenge visitors to find their own path through the ever-changing structure, as if wandering through a vivid psychedelic dream. Becoming an integral part of the installation, visitors are met with dynamic shadows of the crowd and the urban landscape beyond before finding their way out of the maze.

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The Restoration of Chartres Cathedral is a “Scandalous Desecration”

On the left, an as-yet unrestored section of the cathedral can be compared to a restored section, right. Image © Flickr CC User Lawrence OP

Throughout its eight-century-long history, Chartres Cathedral has been consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest religious spaces, charming countless architects thanks to its dramatic interior combining brooding stone vaults and delicate stained glass windows. But this legacy is severely threatened, argues Martin Filler for the New York Review of Books, by a “foolhardy” restoration in its zeal for recapturing the past “makes authentic artifacts look fake.”

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The Growth Of “Hipster Stalinism” In Areas Of Moscow

Door19 / P H. D. Image Courtesy of ArtKvartal

In an article for The Guardian, Maryam Omidi explores Moscow’s Door19, a place where “Damien Hirst and David LaChapelle artworks adorn the raw walls,” “flair bartenders serve up gem-coloured cocktails,” and “a rotation of Michelin-starred chefs flown in from around the world curate new menus each week.” It is indicative, she argues, of what Kuba Snopek (a lecturer at the Strelka Institute) describes as “hipster Stalinism” – a surge of redevelopment in certain parts of Moscow that cater to the ‘oligarchs’, wealthy creatives and Muscovite ‘hipsters’. At Door19, for example, apartments sell for between $15,000 and $20,000 per square metre.

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420 Projects Nominated for the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies Van der Rohe Award

The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe have selected 420 projects to compete for the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. The nominations span 36 countries, with the most nominated projects coming from Spain. Twenty-seven percent of the shortlisted projects are housing related, while 24% are cultural facilities, 11% are education-related and the remaining 33% are sport, commercial, governmental, transport and urban projects.

Established in 1987 by the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe – Barcelona, the 60.000€ is one of the most prestigious and important awards for European architecture.  The prize is awarded biennially to works that have been completed in the past two years. Previous winners have included the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, designed by the Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen in collaboration with the Islandic practice Batteríið and the artist Olafur Elíasson, and the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by David Chipperfield Architects and Julian Harrap.

An Emerging Architect prize for professionals beginning their career as well as the Young Talent Architecture Prize (YTAP) for the best European master’s projects from 2014 will also be awarded. In addition, this year for the first time the jury will include a client who has supported high quality architecture and commissioned projects to European architects. The jury will select the shortlisted projects by the end of January 2015.

Read on after the break for the members of the jury, the full list of all 420 nominated projects and ArchDaily’s exclusive Mies van der Rohe Award infographic.

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Spotlight: Ray Eames

Ray and Charles Eames. Image Courtesy of Eames Office

Ray Eames (December 15, 1912-August 1988) is best known for her personal and artistic collaboration with Charles Eames, and together, their innovative designs shaped the course of modernism. Although Charles often gave the firm its public face (particularly in the male-oriented world of mid-century design), the two designers are almost always discussed as a couple and every project that their office pursued was in fact a team effort. When asked about any particular piece of furniture, for example, Ray always maintained that she contributed to the details of the design in a “million ways” and considered the overall form of each project in a critical fashion, emphasizing the collaborative nature of not just their partnership, but their entire office.

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Stereotank Designs Heart-Beating Urban Drum for Times Square

© Stereotank

Come February 9, City will be celebrating the opening of its seventh annual Valentine’s Day installation in Times Square. As part of Times Square Alliance’s heart design competition, Brooklyn- based and Venezuelan-born firm Stereotank will be constructing a heart-beating urban drum in hopes that it will bring together New Yorkers through music. 

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REX Cantilevers Stacked Library Entry Over Downtown Calgary Site

© Luxigon

REX has shared with us their competition proposal for Calgary’s New Central Library (NCL). Though Snøhetta and DIALOG ultimately won the competition, was shortlisted as a finalist with an unconventional scheme that was based on adaptability, serendipity and treating the librarians as curators. By literally stacking the library’s program according to the client’s desired sequence, formulated six typological clusters hoisted on top an illuminated plinth. 

Check out the complete proposal, after the break. 

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OMA’s Pantheon-Inspired Faena Forum Set to Open in 2015

© OMA

Alongside the launch of Faena Circle, an experimental collaboration between in Miami Beach and its sister institution in Buenos Aires, comes new images of the OMA-designed Faena Forum. The new center for arts and culture planned for Miami Beach is designed to “catalyze experimentation within and across artistic disciplines and foster cross-cultural collaborations among artists throughout the Western Hemisphere.” A series of flexible spaces formed by interlocking cylindrical and cuboidal volumes will provide for a range of projects, commissions, performances and events. 

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OMA Wins Competition for Shanghai Exhibition Center

Courtesy of

OMA has won a competition to design the Lujiazui Exhibition Centre, a 1,500 square meter space in Shanghai Pudong on the site of the former “Shanghai Shipyard.” The design aims to create a concentrated culture and event space within the surrounding financial district, on the edge of the Huangpu River, one of the most photographed waterfronts in the world.

More on the design after the break

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