‘Olympicopolis’ Design Contest Officially Open

The Olympicopolis site is to the South-East of the Olympic Park, near to Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre. Image © Flickr CC User Leo Reynolds

The competition to design a cultural complex at London‘s new ‘Olympicopolis’ site formally opened today, seeking to attract “an exceptional team” of architects, masterplanners, engineers and landscape designers to transform the site next to London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Organizers Malcolm Reading Associates say that the competition has already registered over 960 expressions of interest from firms worldwide before the details were even announced, thanks to their early announcement seeking interested parties in July.

The complex will house outposts for the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, Sadler’s Wells and University of the Arts London. The designs for the complex will also respond to proposals for a new campus for University College London which is planned for an adjacent site, making it “one of the most exciting international developments in arts and culture,” according to Director of the V&A Martin Roth.

Read on after the break for more details of the competition

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Zaha Hadid Says She “Would Love To Do a Tower in London”

Zaha Hadid Architects’ designs for three towers in Brisbane were recently unveiled. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite her position as one of the world’s most prominent and successful architects, Zaha Hadid yesterday revealed that there is one thing she feels is missing from her portfolio: a skyscraper in London. Speaking to BD at the announcement of her Science Museum competition win, Hadid said ”I’d love to do a tower in but it hasn’t arrived.” More of Hadid’s comments after the break.

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A Hidden London Will Be Revealed For Open House 2014

Lloyds of / RSHP. Image Courtesy of Open House

Open House 2014, a concept developed in London twenty two years ago which has now spread to cities across the world, will throw open the doors to some of the capital’s most inspiring spaces and interiors this month. “Revealing”, the theme of this year’s Open House, intends to “shed light on issues that are relevant to local communities.” In this way, the scheme hopes to examine how the built environment is evolving. Exploring the role of architects, engineers and contemporary design in revitalising places and spaces, the festival hopes to show above all “how good design can make London a more livable, vibrant and enjoyable city.”

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Mola Structural Kit: A New Way to Learn About Structures

With the aim of visually demonstrating the behavior of architectural structures, the Mola model simulates real structures, allowing users to assemble, visualize and feel the structures themselves.

The idea for the interactive model began when Brazilian architect Márcio Sequeira de Oliveira was overseeing a postgraduate course and became concerned with the abstract approach given to topics related to structure.

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Artists Seek Alternatives to Proposed Guggenheim Helsinki

South Harbor. Image © City of

As the first phase of the Guggenheim Helsinki design competition concludes, a group of independent arts organizations have launched a search for “alternative” proposals: The Next Helsinki. The counter- calls on architects, urbanists, landscape architects, artists, and “all others who love cities to suggest ways in which Helsinki and its South Harbor can be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city.” More information, after the break.

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VIDEO: Bjarke Ingels on “Promiscuous Hybrids” and “Worldcraft”

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Referring to his work as “promiscuous hybrids,” Bjarke Ingels details his vision of “worldcraft” where architecture harnesses the desires, knowledge and technology of its people to transform surreal dreams into reality.

IaaC Students Develop Material System with Responsive Structural Joints

Courtesy of IaaC (Instituto de Aquitectura Avanzada de Catalunya), Ece Tankal, Efilena Baseta, Ramin Shambayati

Despite architecture’s continued evolution over the course of history, our use of structural materials has remained largely the same since the advent of modern building materials. This reality may be changing thanks to the development of new materials seeking the same kinds of adaptability often found in nature.

Adaptable architecture is becoming an increasingly viable endeavor as a result of recent developments in building technologies and materials. Masters research students Ece Tankal, Efilena Baseta and Ramin Shambayati at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia were interested in “architecture of transition” and have developed a new material system that utilizes a thermally responsive polymer as structural joints with their project, “Translated Geometries.” Read on after the break to learn about how this new material system was developed and its potential for applications in architecture.

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Architect Magazine’s Top 50 US Architecture Firms

The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building / Westlake Reed Leskosky. Image © Nic Lehoux

Architect Magazine has released its list of the 50 best architecture firms in the US, with Westlake Reed Leskosky, William Rawn Associates and Gensler taking home the top three slots in the overall ranking. The ranking is based on three key factors: business, design and sustainability. Westlake Reed Leskosky also ranked number 1 in the Best in Business category, along with HDR and Spector Group in second and third place, respectively. NADAAA, Behnisch Architekten and Payette were the top three firms in the Best in Design category, while EYP Architecture & Engineering, William Rawn Associates and Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects were ranked as the top three in the Best in Sustainability category. For the full list visit Architect Magazine.

London Science Museum Taps Zaha Hadid to Design Maths Gallery

View from East Gallery Entrance. Image © ZHA

has been selected to design a new mathematics gallery in London’s Science Museum. Aimed to be the “world’s foremost gallery of mathematics,” as described by museum director Ian Blatchford, the £7.5 million state-of-the-art gallery will examine the ideas of mathematicians from the past 400 years in an effort to illustrate just how mathematics has helped shape our world. 

“The design explores the many influences of mathematics in our everyday lives; transforming seemingly abstract mathematical concepts into an exciting interactive experience for visitors of all ages,” stated Hadid. 

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Van Alen Institute Launches Competition to Shape the Future of US National Parks

Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute

With over 275 million visitors to the United States‘ 401 national per year, what will be the experience of visitors in the 21st century? The Van Alen Institute has teamed up with the National Park Service to launch a new competition: National Parks Now - a central component of Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape, the Institute’s initiative to investigate how the form and organization of the built environment shapes a need and desire for escape. Operating on the belief, stated by Van Alen Institute Executive Director David van der Leer, that “too few people realize what a huge resource these smaller national park sites are for local communities and for larger urban networks,” this initiative seeks to make parks relevant for the 21st century audience. More on the competition after the break.

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Richard Rogers Speaks Out Against Garden Cities Proposals

’s winning proposal for the Wolfson Economics Prize. Image Courtesy of

Reacting to URBED‘s winning proposal in the Wolfson Economics Prize, Richard Rogers has denounced the idea of creating new Garden Cities in the UK, saying that the “ridiculous concept” risks “emptying out existing cities and that is a ridiculous idea.”

The proposal by URBED demonstrates how as many as forty towns and cities in the UK, including Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rugby, Reading and Stafford could be expanded, using the fictional city of ‘Uxcester’ as a case study. However, speaking to the Guardian, Rogers claimed that there was enough brownfield land in Britain’s major cities to meet the needs of the current housing crisis, and the creation of new would lead to increased car use and middle-class only towns.

Read on after the break for more of Rogers’ comments

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BLOCK: Envisioning Future Cities in a Video Game

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 is a video game that “will breach the digital with the physical” and allow anyone to become an active participant in the future of Los Angeles. Described by FAST Co.Exist as “Minecraft for real life” the gameplay, which also bears similarity to The Sims, is founded on understanding the interdependencies of city entities such as housing, shops, and infrastructure. The objective of the game is to both educate people and to generate user data for design patterns for the Los Angeles of 2050, producing the first database of a future city. BLOCK allows the player to understand the ecology of the urban realm (focusing on resources such as money, waste, and social capital) ultimately encouraging entrepreneurship “through the design of an ecological urbanism.” Fundamentally, it allows for new opportunities to be conceived in the city.

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Are Playable Cities the Future of Urbanism?

Park and Slide in . Image © Flickr CC User Paul Townsend

Who says that playing is just for kids? Bristol, in the United Kingdom, is just one of the many cities around the world experimenting with , creating opportunities to eliminate urban solitude in favour of having fun. In a recent article in The Guardian, Julian Baggini dives head first into Bristol’s playful new initiatives including a 300-foot water slide on the city’s high street, post boxes that converse using text messaging, and city-wide zombie chases. Bristol is leading the way with urban play worldwide, hosting a conference this month entitled Making the City Playable, an opportunity for planners to convene with the creative minds behind the new form of entertainment. Find out more about urban play and the benefits it brings to cities here.

Watch “Zaha Hadid on Kazimir Malevich” Today

Malevich’s Tektonik. Image © Architects

Zaha Hadid has been featured in a 30-minute BBC Secret Knowledge film based on Kazimir Malevich: The Russian Revolutionary: Zaha Hadid on Kazimir Malevich. One of Hadid’s greatest influencers, the Russian painter and theoretician inspired the Dame’s AA graduation thesis which transformed Malevich’s 1923 Arkitekton model into a 14-story hotel that stretched across London’s Hungerford Bridge. You can watch the film online (here) through September 16.

Five Proposals Unveiled for Presidio Parklands in San Francisco

The Observation Post / . Image © Courtesy of the Presidio Trust

Last week, the five teams competing for the Presidio Parkland project in San Francisco unveiled their proposals in a public meeting at the project site. The parkland, made possible by the replacement of an elevated highway by a new tunnel, will command stunning views of the San Francisco bay, including views of the Golden Gate bridge.

“This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to create and design new parklands,” Executive Director of the Presidio Trust Craig said. “We are extremely pleased with the caliber of the work of the five design teams and look forward to hearing the public’s feedback on these early concepts.”

Competing for the prestigious project are James Corner Field Operations, OLIN with Olson Kundig ArchitectsSnøhetta with Hood Design Studio, and CMG Landscape Architecture. A winner will be announced in January.

Read on after the break to see all five proposals

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Win a Free Full Pass to Greenbuild from reThink Wood

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UPDATE: Submissions are now closed. We will contact the winner in the week.

Next month, the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is coming to the Big Easy for three days of speakers and educational workshops that discuss sustainable architecture. If you haven’t booked your ticket already, here is a chance to attend the event free of charge!

reThink Wood is offering a full pre-paid pass to Greenbuild this year ($700 value) to one lucky ArchDaily reader. The winner will also be able to meet with architects on-site that are passionate about the green movement and reducing the environmental impact of buildings through innovative design with .

To win, just answer the following question in the comments section before September 26 12:00PM EST: ”Which architecture firm(s) are doing the most innovative green designs with wood today?”

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Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture: Episode 4, “Greening the City”

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“Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space. If the current way of thinking does not change, sooner or later citizens will actually live in concrete jungles,” Vo Trong Nghia says in this week’s episode of Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture series. An award-winning Vietnamese architect, Nghia is known for his sustainable and green designs as well as his work with bamboo. In this 25-minute episode, we follow Nghia on his mission to transform ’s attitude towards architecture and green spaces through his “Vertical Farming City,” and catch a glimpse of his project to implement low-cost housing solutions for ’s poorest communities in Mekong Delta.

Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…

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‘Geospatial Solutions’ Company Trimble Acquires Gehry Technologies

The IAC Building by Gehry Partners. Image © flickr user swisscan

Trimble and Frank Gehry have recently announced their plans to enter into a strategic alliance in which Trimble will acquire Gehry Technologies to integrate digital software development and on-site fabrication techniques. As a company working in ‘geospatial solutions,’ Trimble combines software development, communication tools and services to increase productivity in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, among others. The two companies hope that their alliance will enable complex architectural designs to be realized without the construction snags that often affect such ambitious projects.

More on the merger after the break

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