One thing about a recession is that it accelerates the demise of dying trends and struggling establishments. In this case, it is America’s beloved shopping malls, which have been slowly in decline since their peak popularity in 1990. Now, in the wake of the 2008 economic catastrophe, American cities are riddled with these abandoned shopping meccas, from the mall to big box stores and shopping strips, whose oversize parking lots are equally as useless as the spaces themselves. The question is, how can we effectively repurpose these spaces?
A perfect example after the break…
Approaching zero-waste is a matter of changing the way our culture thinks about use and reuse. It’s not an impossible task, and San Francisco is leading the march to establish a feasible means of enacting public policy, structuring programs and educating the public on what it means to be “zero-waste”. With a goal set for 2020, the Bay City hopes to keep 100% of its waste out of landfills. Mayor Ed Lee estimates that the leading waste management company “Recology” is diverting nearly 80% of trash from landfills to be recycled or turned into compost. This begins with a public policy that sets a standard and gains traction as citizens embrace the goals of the city. Support programs reinforce these guidelines that eventually become habits and a cultural response to treating our environment.
Read on after the break for more on San Francisco’s road to “zero-waste”.
During a time of crippling political turmoil, local leaders are stepping up to fulfill their role as pragmatic problem-solvers and combating the tough challenges – such as economic growth, environmental protection, public safety and poverty – facing our cities today. This empowering phenomenon is highlighted by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition designed to further inspire America’s mayors and local leaders to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life.
Over 300 cities across the nation took the challenge and 20 finalists were selected in November. Now, it is your turn to vote on the idea you believe to have the greatest potential for impact. Five bold ideas will be selected in the coming weeks, each receiving national and local recognition. In addition, the winning city will receive a $5,000,000 grand prize and four other cities will receive $1,000,000 to help implement their ideas.
The proposals after the break… (more…)
Reflecting the strongest growth since November 2007, the January Architecture Billings Index (ABI) surged to a score of 54.2 – a sharp and welcomed increase from December’s 51.2* mark. Released by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. By remaining above 50, January’s score illustrates the six consecutive month of growth for the United State’s design and construction industry. This trend doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as the new projects inquiry index accelerated beyond last month’s reading of 57.9 and reached a score of 63.2.
“We have been pointing in this direction for the last several months, but this is the strongest indication that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But as we continue to hear about overall improving economic conditions and that there are more inquiries for new design projects in the marketplace, a continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry.”
Review the ABI Highlights in greater detail, after the break… (more…)
An article published in The Telegraph last week has been getting a lot of negative attention for its headline: “For safer, prettier cities pick a woman to build them.”
Oh dear. It’s certainly hard to get past that third word – prettier. The Globe and Mail lamented the word’s “sexist twinge.” A blogger for bricksandclicks suggested that the unflattering adjective “would never have headlined in an article about male architects.” And as Kristen Richards, the Editor-in-Chief of ArchNewsNow.com perfectly put it in her Newsletter: “‘prettier’?!!? this headline wins our groaner-of-the-year award.”
But, groan-worthiness aside, it seems rather unproductive to spend time poking at “pretty,” when the central thesis of the article is so darned sexist in itself – for women and men architects alike.
The 3Doodler isn’t just a small pen-like device that’s “the most affordable way to 3D print” – it’s also a Kickstarter smash. The pen reached its $30,000 goal in just a few hours, and, at the time of publication, has earned $555,301.
We’ve mentioned 3D Printing before for its exciting potential for architecture in the long-term; however, this little doodler shows how quickly the technology is progressing (and how cheap it’s becoming). Plus, it’s easy to imagine the 3Doodler becoming an integral part of any architect’s life, as the device lets you trace your drawings and then pop them to life. It’s not a 2D plan, it’s not a 3D visualization, but something – awesomely – in between.
Learn more about this 3-D Printing Kickstarter success, after the break…
Louis Kahn, the American architect known for combining Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments, was born 112 years ago today. His contemporary Philip Johnson once said of him that “he was his own artist. He was free, compared to me.”
Kahn might be categorized as a late Modernist, and a hugely influential one at that. He is perhaps best known for the Salk Institute, the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, the Exeter Library and Kimbell Art Museum. His last completed design, for the Four Freedoms Park in New York, was also finally completed in 2012
The impression he left as an individual is equally as mythical. His sometimes esoteric but always insightful understanding of architecture led to him to being often described as a ‘mystic’ or a ‘guru’, and a complex private life inspired his son to film the Academy Award Nominated documentary “My Architect” in 2003.
On the occasion of his birthday, we think there is no better celebration than to rediscover his stunning catalog of works, and the film that not only inspects those buildings but the complex genius behind them:
While The WA100, Building Design’s annual ranking of the world’s largest architecture firms, isn’t perfect (see our controversial article here), it does reveal a lot about the state of architecture today. And for 2013, the research shows that there are finally brighter days ahead for architects – just not at home.
BD’s research reveals that China remains the world’s largest construction market (a title it’s held since 2010); that the Asia-Pacific Market is expected to be the largest by 2020 (with projected value of $4.6 trillion dollars); and that China, India, and Brazil offer the best growth potential for architectural services. Not surprisingly, the survey’s top three ranking firms – Aecom, Gensler, and IBI Group – all have a significant presence in these markets.
However, are these mega-firms really the best models to aspire to? With the economic crisis making it everyday more evident that there are more opportunities abroad than at home, where is a firm to go? China? India? Brazil?
Almost certainly not.
Find out whether/where you should go abroad, after the break…
Back in January, I had the opportunity to be part of the jury for the Young Architect Award in Estonia, which was officially announced by the President of Estonia, Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the past Thursday Feb 14th in Tallinn, at the annual meeting of the Union of Estonian Architects .
The objective of the award is to encourage innovative and creative thinking by young minds, and it gives the winner the chance to travel anywhere in the world, giving the opportunity to expand their vision and contribute back to the development of the country.
During the process I had the chance to learn more about the new generation of Estonian architecture after reviewing the works and trajectory of the 8 shortlisted young architects, a generation with very diverse backgrounds and projects, but with one thing in common: a commitment to open up architecture and make it part of the larger public.
This year the ward went to Veronika Valk, who was recognized for her built work and her efforts to raise awareness around architecture (organizing international lectures, workshops, writing articles, and more). More about Veronika and the award after the break:
Four of architecture’s finest has been shortlisted to design what Australian businessman James Packer hopes to be the most iconic building in Sydney since the Opera House. Italian Pritzker Prize-laureate Renzo Piano will compete against Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects to design a $1 billion, six-star Crown Sydney resort on a 6000 square meter site in the inner-city waterfront precinct of Barangaroo.
“Sydney deserves one of the world’s best hotels and with these amazing architects I’m confident we will see the most iconic building constructed here since the Opera House,” Packer told The Daily Telegraph. “I want this hotel resort to be instantly recognizable around the world and feature on postcards and memorabilia promoting Sydney. That’s how you attract international tourists, create jobs and put Sydney on the map.”
More after the break…
It is estimated that by 2050, 75 percent of the worlds – then 9 billion strong – population will live in cities. Urban Sprawl is already problematic and planners are faced with new challenges as they aim to build towards the sky rather than the horizon. In addition, cities are increasingly faced with climate change, resource scarcity, rising energy costs, and the possibility of future natural or man-made disasters. In response to these issues, Arup has proposed their vision of an urban building and city of the future.
In their proposal, titled “It’s Alive!”, they imagine an urban ecosystem of connected ‘living’ buildings, that not only create space, but also craft the environment. According to Arup, buildings of the future will not only produce energy and food, but will also provide its occupants with clean air and water.
More info on Arup’s vision after the break…
While Building Design’s WA 100 is far better known for its ranking of the 100 largest architecture firms, the publication (which you can find here) also includes a lot of other rankings/information - like this gem. Architects’ favorite professional associates in five categories – from building contractors to structural engineers.
While some familiar names grace the list (Arup comes in at number 1 for Service Engineers), we felt the list was a great way to spotlight many companies whose work seldom goes acknowledged (and without whom, the architecture we love would never come into being).
Check out the best architectural partners of 2012, after the break…
A few weeks ago there was a flurry of debate about one of Zaha Hadid’s designs being copied, or at least copied in terms of its outer form. Very soon after this I discovered an interesting article in the most recent issue of MIT’s Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.The article, “Hybrid Reassemblage: An Exploration of Craft, Digital Fabrication and Artifact Uniqueness” by Amit Zoran and Leah Buechley, raises some interesting points about the nature of originality, the subjective experience of making original things, and the potential for digital technology to impute this subjectivity to new and repeatable objects. In essence, the authors are discussing the position of craft, the hand-made, the personal, subjective act of making something that is singular and based on a personal process, the negotiation of decisions and risks with tools, materials, and design intentions.
A BIG step forward for Vancouver’s latest mixed-use tower making international headlines, as the 497-foot tall Beach and Howe proposal has received an “enthusiastic endorsement” from the city’s design panel.
Commissioned by Canada’s real estate mogul Ian Gillespie of Westbank, the Bjarke Ingles Group-designed tower promises to add a foreign twist to Vancouver’s skyline and create a new identity for an undefined section of town at the fringe of the city’s residential area. The 700,000 square foot complex – which contains shopping, social housing and market rental apartments – was praised by the panel for anchoring itself on a nine-story podium that occupies the disused, interstitial spaces found between the Granville Street Bridge’s entry and exit ramps.
More after the break…
Now on view at the Yossi Milo Gallery through March 2, rarely-seen images by modernist architectural photographer Ezra Stroller (American, 1915-2004) captures a Post-War American landscape with stunning images of industry, technology, transportation and working class Americans.
Beyond Architecture covers the full range of Stoller’s work, including photographs commissioned by Fortune, Architectural Forum, and House Beautiful magazines in the 1940s and for commercial projects for IBM, Upjohn Pharmaceuticals and CBS in the 1940s and 1950s. Included are photographs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s John Hancock Building, Chicago, and the United Nations Headquarters, designed by an international team of architects led by Wallace K. Harrison and including Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier.
A selection of these images after the break…
In recent years there has been a lot of talk in the United States about our aging population, mostly in terms of social security funds and medicare. We have asked how we should deal with the impending problem that our elderly will outnumber the population that will serve as their caretakers. While speculations for a solution have generally settled within the realm of the economy, urban planners and architects are asking a different set of questions and looking for solutions regarding how we design. It is important to note, that while most of the discussion has been framed about the aging “baby-boomer” generation, Jack Rowe – speaking at the symposium for Designing Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging Population in Washington, DC - pointed out that this concern is a conservative estimate of the bigger problem in our “demographic transformation”. In fact, the trend is far more expansive; medical advancements and a longer life expectancy mean that for the next few generations each aging population is expected to outlive its parents and will exceed the population of its children. This makes the issue at hand a more over-arching concern, or as Rowe later states, an issue that all members of society must face.
This is why we must think about architecture and urban planning in terms of adaptability for the aging, as we have already starting thinking about it in terms of handicapped accessibility.
More after the break…
Over the last year ArchDaily has kept growing, reaching more than 280,000 daily readers and 70 million pageviews per month. But more important than these figures is our mission: to provide inspiration, knowledge and tools for the architects that will face the challenge of improving the quality of life of the next 3 billion people that will live in cities in the next 40 years.
After 70,000 votes we are happy to present the winners of the ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards, a peer based, crowdsourced, architecture award where a collective intelligence of thousands of architects filter and recognise the best architecture featured on AD during the past year.
This group of buildings is unique in several aspects, from their spatial qualities to their structures and materials, but also in terms of what they represent for society and their impact on local communities. Thanks for being a part of this amazing process, where the voices of architects from around the world unite into one, strong, intelligent, forward-thinking, single message.
You can learn more about the process and the physical award in this video.
The practice with most votes, and therefore winner of the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter is TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter; the second practice with most votes and winner of the HP Designjet T120 ePrinter is Vo Trong Nghia. The winners of the iPad 4th Generation are Francesca Cattaneo and Laurie Sims.
The winners of the ArchDaily 2012 Building of the Year Awards have been announced!
Once again we want to congratulate our readers, as the process has been outstanding. From close to 3,000 projects, the collective intelligence behind ArchDaily has been able to filter a list of amazing finalists, buildings from all over the world, by firms of all sizes and trajectories, with a strong common denominator: good architecture that can improve people’s lives.
As the world enters into the hyper urbanization era, our profession becomes crucial. We are proud to be the channel to spread architectural knowledge around the world and, with your help, recognise the buildings that raise the bar in the built world.
In this short video we wanted to share the spirit of the award, the judges and the wooden ArchDaily building crafted with salvaged wood from the deep south of the world, the award that will be sent to all the winning practices as in the previous years .
Thanks to all the practices that share their work with us, and thank you for being part of this amazing process.
In response to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ decision to reject landmark status to Prentice Woman’s Hospital for the second time in three months, the two preservationist groups challenging the City of Chicago have withdrawn their lawsuits. This eliminates the last barrier standing in Northwestern University’s way to demolish the historic, Bertrand Goldberg structure for a new biomedical research facility.
“We felt that we had done as much as we possibly could to demonstrate the significance of the building and ways to reuse,” stated Christina Morris, a senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We just couldn’t see that we’d have any other outcome.”
For many, this news is disheartening as architects and preservationists from around the globe have fought in solidarity for much of the past year in an attempt to illustrate the importance of this one-of-a-kind structure.
More after the break…
The City of New York has long awaited renovations to the East River Greenway. Squeezed between the FDR Drive to the west and the river to East, there are a few scattered public parks connected by a path that has been weathered and torn apart over the years. The proposed “Blueway” is a coordinated collaboration – between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 3 and 6, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanaugh, and New York’s WXY architecture and urban design - that takes suggestions from the general public to develop a scheme that works within the framework of the existing Greenway and provides specific sites waterfront access, development of wetlands and greater connectivity to the city and its waterways.
The stretch along the Greenway, which is the focus of WXY’s scheme, runs from Midtown East at 38th street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Running along the FDR, this area expands towards the river and finds its way under the highway’s overpass. Unlike the Hudson River Parkway along the West Side Highway, the East River Greenway has meager waterfront access and few piers to facilitate its development. A study, executed by several city departments in 2011, determined ways to improve amenities along the Greenway and proposed incorporating elements such as ambient lighting and street furniture. Now the focus has shifted to the river itself to determine ways in which to increase its usability and accessibility After Hurricane Sandy revealed the vulnerability of the hard edge of the East River, these same design considerations are now being used to create a resistant and effective buffer against future storm surges.
See what’s happening at the East River Blueway Plan after the break. (more…)
The ongoing competition for the redevelopment of the landmark Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia has begun to raise some serious questions about the role of the public in architecture. The international competition, which narrowed down a total of 117 applicants to only 6 finalists, is due for completion in mid-2013. Each proposal will be put on display and the public will be invited to vote on their favorite design; what is raising eyebrows, however, is that the result of this public vote will be kept from the jury, who has the final say. The jury will not know what the public likes or dislikes when they place their own votes, and the public preference will only be revealed at the very end along with the jury’s decision.
Although there are pros and cons for keeping this information from the jury members, some Australians feel very strongly about their station - and you can certainly argue that they should have a greater say in its future.
Read more about public participation in architecture after the break…