Five proposals for reconnecting Londoners with the River Thames have gone on display at London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA). The competition, organised by the Architecture Foundation, “launched an open call for multidisciplinary design teams to put forward new ideas and visions for self-selected sites along the Tidal Thames” earlier this year. The five selected teams were shortlisted earlier this year and recently discussed their designs at a public design workshop. The schemes are now being exhibited as part of the Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out exhibition.
Read extracts of the proposals after the break…
At the last day of the World Architecture Festival, the winners of each category had their chance to showcase their projects in front of the jury and the audience. The jury, which included Ken Tadashi Oshima (University of Washington), Ken Yeang (Llewelyn Davies Yeang), Patrick Bellew (Atelier Ten), Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang Architects) and Dietmar Eberle (Baumschlager Eberle), gave the World Building of the Year Award to the new Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) and Archimedia.
The new Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is an extensive public project that includes the restoration and adaption of heritage buildings; a new building extension which more than doubles the public exhibition areas; extensive basement storage and support areas; and the redesign of adjacent areas of Albert Park. The design creates an openness and transparency to allow views through, into and out of the gallery circulation and display spaces into the green landscape of Albert Park. The architecture developed from a concept which relates as much to the organic natural forms of the landscape as it does to the architectural order and character of the heritage buildings.
The collection of the gallery can be visited online at the Google Cultural Institute.
“The winning project transcended category types. You could say it is about new and old, or civic and community, or display. It contrasts the manmade and the natural, and the relationship between art and science. This is a major design achievement in a seismic zone, providing an example of design pragmatism and a carful reworking which does no more than it needs to until it is required. Balancing many different elements, the resulting design is a rich complex of built ideas.” – Paul Finch, WAF Director.
Other awarded projects at the WAF were the Australian Garden by Taylor Cullity Lethlean + Paul Thompson (Landscape Project of the Year) and the National Maritime Museum in China by Cox Rayner Architects (Future Project of the Year).
LEGO® has officially announced the next addition to their architecture-inspired products: The United Nations Headquarters. Standing alongside New York City’s East River, the United Nations Headquarters is a beacon of modernism and international collaboration, designed by a team of multinational architects including Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. Scaling 5 inches high x 8 inches wide x 6 inches deep, this representation of the UN Headquarters costs $49.99.
Check out more about the building and its history here.
Picture this: self-assembling blocks that, when given a task, have the ability to reorganize themselves into new geometries.
This is precisely what research scientist, John Romanishin, at MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has long envisioned for a near future — robotic modules known as M-Blocks. Romanishin has teamed with his professor, Daniela Rus, and colleague, postdoc Kyle Gilpin, to prototype robotic cubes with no external moving parts, able to climb over, around and even leap onto each other.
Till now, robots have depended on arms or attachments to move themselves. “We wanted a simpler approach,” says Romanishin, that uses fewer moving parts. Inside each M-Block is a flywheel that spins at 20,000 revolutions per minute, creating enough angular momentum when it brakes that the blocks assemble themselves in new configurations. On each face and edge of the cubes are magnets, naturally connecting the cubes when spurred by the flywheel.
Learn more after the break… (more…)
Architecture researchers in Edinburgh have completed a breakthrough study on brain activity recorded in situ by using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which records live neural impressions of subjects moving through a city. Excitingly, this technology could help us define how different urban environments affect us, a discovery that could have provocative implications for architecture. Read the full story on Salon. Also, check out this article from Fast Company about how a similar mobile technology could show us the effects of urban design – not on our brains, but on our bodies.
Looking for something to do this week? If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, come check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) sixth Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Currently on view through October 13, this (free!) event showcases nineteen student-built, solar-powered homes that claim to be exemplars of sustainable housing. After being closely monitored by the DOE throughout the length of the competition, one team will be crowned as winner for successfully blending affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
Catch a glimpse of each project, ranked in order of the current standings, after the break.
In a recent article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote explores the ‘Skyscraper Index’, an informal term that suggests a correlation between the construction of a big company’s ambitious headquarters and subsequent financial crisis: “Think of the Empire State Building opening into the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Twin Towers being completed as New York City was flirting with bankruptcy or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur taking the mantle of the world’s tallest building and presaging the Asian financial crisis.” Heathcote goes on to describe the latest generation of headquarters being constructed for our current, tech-oriented goliaths – like Apple‘s monolithic “donut”, by Foster + Partners, and Facebook‘s Gehry-designed Menlo Park campus - and wonders: “if skyscrapers can tell us something about the temperature of an overheating economy, what do these groundscraping new HQs say?” Read the full article here.
Shikiri, meaning “to divide space using colors,” is a made-up term the French architect has embraced in her art and architecture. She aims to “use colors as three-dimensional elements, like layers, in order to create spaces, not as a finishing touch applied to surfaces.”
Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, would have turned 126 today.
The Swiss-born architect, urban planner, designer, painter and writer is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modernist movement in architecture. Over the course of his five-decade career, he saw work built across Europe, India, and the United States.
San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design has received the 2013 Professional Award for residential design from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for their work on the Sonoma Spa Retreat in Northern California’s wine country. The project started with reclaiming an overgrown hillside, revitalizing it with a series of paths that preserved its natural features, and then integrating an outdoor kitchen, solar heated pool and recreational areas. For more information on the project and the award, which evaluates context, design value and sustainability, click here.
Foster + Partners have just revealed a new design for a 19-story luxury condominium building at 551 West 21st Street, on the western side of Manhattan. The design features a cast concrete frame surrounding windows with a warmly colored metal trim that cover the full 11-foot floor to ceiling height.
A looping mixture of culture and commerce has won Joel Sanders Architect and FreelandBuck first prize in the international competition hosted by the largest media and publishing company in China, Phoenix Publishing and Media Group (PPMG).
Their 80,000 square meter winning proposal for the new Kunshan Phoenix Cultural Mall divides a large urban block into four ‘cultural cores,’ each five stories high and respectively housing a theater, fitness club, education center, and exhibition halls. The podium, which sits upon the glass-clad cores, spirals the length of the perimeter (comprised of stores, restaurants and cafes) and ultimately plateaus at an open park where the public and Phoenix employees would share a common space.
Helsinki-based Verstas Architects have recently been announced as the winners of a competition to design a new central campus for the Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. The new core of the university will sit alongside the campus’s original Main Building and Library designed by Alvar Aalto.
The first two days of the World Architecture Festival 2013 have been intense. Keynotes by Charles Jencks and Dietmer Eberle, and several other lectures, have filled the auditorium and the festival hall stage, while hundreds of architects watch the live “crits,” where firms present their projects in front of the jury and the audience. As a jury for the Health and Future Education categories, I’ve seen architects from firms from all ranges, sizes and trajectories present their shortlisted projects, a very strong selection of buildings.
After these two days the winners of each category have been announced, and today the super jury will choose the World Building of the Year, followed by a lecture by Sou Fujimoto. Stay tuned for updates via Twitter!
“From the subtle to the spectacular, from a four room house to an 80 storey tower, the sheer quality and diversity reflected in the array of projects shortlisted today demonstrates the increasingly global nature of the event. All eyes are now on the festival’s venue, the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where the architects will battle to win their individual categories, with the victorious projects competing for the coveted World Building of the Year award” – Paul Finch, Director of the WAF.
Check the full list of winners, highly commended entries and the jury’s comments:
Following the news in 2010 that Daniel Libeskind was to design a “landmark” building for the UK’s University of Essex, it has been announced that the plans have been abandoned. What was known as the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR) “was intended to become the ‘anchor’ to a new Knowledge Gateway research park at the university’s Colchester Wivenhoe Campus”.