HUD Lanches Competition to Rebuild Sandy-Affected Regions

© Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

In an effort to promote resilience for the Sandy-affected region, U.S. Housing and Urban Development () Secretary Shaun Donovan has launched a multi-stage regional design competition that is intended to attract world-class talent, promote innovation and develop projects that will actually be built. Dubbed Rebuild by Design, the competition will accumulate a variety of design solutions, ranging in scope and scale, for review. Once the best ideas are identified, HUD will incentivize their implementation using funds made available through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program as well as other public and private funds to actually build the project.

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Álvaro Siza wins Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Vieira, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Courtesy: Álvaro Siza office

Álvaro Siza Vieira’s birthday week just got even better, as he has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition. The decision was made by the Board of la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, under Director David Chipperfield’s proposal. Siza will be honored at the Giardini of la Biennale, during the opening and award ceremony on August 29th, 2012.

“It is difficult to think of a contemporary architect who has maintained such a consistent presence within the profession as Álvaro Siza. That this presence is maintained by an architect that lives and works at the extreme Atlantic margin of Europe only serves to emphasize his authority and his status.”

Continue after the break to read more. (more…)

Manhattan Loft Gardens / SOM

I © Hayes Davidson

A triple height entrance lobby will welcome visitors to a world-class hotel, two restaurants, three sky gardens and a 248 unit residential tower, all with stunning views over Olympic Park. These are some of the key features offered in the newly unveiled plan for the 42-storey Manhattan Loft Gardens in , designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). It is planned to be built near the Stratford International Station – the gateway to the 2012 London Olympics. Completion is scheduled for 2014.

Continue after the break to learn more.

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Zaha Hadid Speaks out about Austerity

Zaha Hadid via AN Blog

With the economic stability of Europe still uncertain, Dame Hadid has recently spoken out against ideas of austerity, warning the government that such a move would lead to poor quality projects for the country’s citizens.  Hadid told Kath Viner of The Guardian,  ”I think that austerity is used as a cliche because people don’t have ideas, they want to crib (old ones) to do bad stuff.  Schools, housing, hospitals – I think the government should invest in good housing.”   Hadid went on to explain, “”There needs to be investment. We need some sort of quality.  All the privileged can travel, see different worlds, not everyone can. I think it is important for people to have an interesting local nearby. Buildings need to do another job, enlighten people, space enlightens the same way as music art and technology.”

Hadid states that slashing budgets will lead to horrible developments such as the British buildings of the 1960s.  While it would be a detriment to cut all project budgets, if a metropolis’ restructuring plan implements stricter budgets in order to more evenly distribute funds for the good of the whole, such a budget can not be ignored.  Upon being asked about the cost of her projects, Hadid described her work as “not particularly expensive”; however, her latest Olympic Aquatic Center, which will be in high demand in a few weeks, was originally budgeted for 75 million British pounds and reached more than 250 million by completion date.

While we find Hadid’s words inspiring, we want to know your thoughts on if there can be a balance between implementing measures of austerity while still investing in quality architecture to shape cities and uplift society.

 

Tablets @ The Construction Site

The days of carrying around rolls of construction documents on site are in flux. The rapid change of both software and hardware has already dramatically changed the way architects, engineers, and general contractors communicate with each other. For those of you who do site visits on a regular basis, you are no doubt familiar with the relatively drawn out process the contractor has to take in order to get clarification on a detail or problem distillation – taking pictures of detail, scanning redlines, emailing to architect, etc. However, what if, and it is happening, you can bring out an or similar device with all the drawings loaded ready to view in palm of your hand. Questions can simply be marked up right on the spot and instantly fired off for review or approval.

The field of architecture has been immersed with a digital environment for decades now, but with the advent of BIM and smarter modeling it only makes sense to take the next step forward and leave the paper trail of construction drawings behind. One can simply load up a BIM model on their portable device on site and have a resolution achieved within a much shorter time frame. In a fast paced environment where time is a critical factor, expediting the construction process from both within the office and out in the field is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

Software currently on the market that address and take advantage of portable tablet devices include Bentley’s Navigator, Autodesk’s AutoCAD WS, PlanGrid, and iRhino 3D (only a viewer at this point).

References: www.techcrunch.com

New York City’s first Kahn Structure nears Completion

Aerial image courtesy Amiaga Photographers, Inc. www.amiaga.com

Nearly 40 years after Welfare Island was renamed to honor President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the Four Freedoms Park is nearly complete. The four-acre park, located on the southern tip of in , honors the 32nd U.S. President and the four essential freedoms he believed in. The legendary architect Louis I. Kahn , FAIA (1901-1974) was commissioned to design the memorial in the early seventies and completed the design right before his unfortunate death in 1974. As New York City approached bankruptcy, the project was put on hold until March 29, 2010. Now, many are anxiously anticipating the park’s grand opening that will take place this Fall.

Continue after the break to learn about the story and design of Four Freedoms Park.

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Milestone for 4 World Trade

Construction workers watch as the beam rises 977 feet via The Daily News/David Handschuh

Yesterday, the final steel beam rose 977 feet into the air and was placed atop Center – the 72-story tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect . As gospel singer BeBe Winans sang “God Bless America”, the 8 ton beam, signed by all members of the team and adorned with an American flag, reached its final destination atop the city’s sixth tallest tower.

At over 80 years of age, Maki is making his New York debut in an elegant manner.  The tower was designed to serve as a “respectful backdrop” to the National September 11 Memorial and not to compete with 1 World Trade.  ”This is a special place with a sacred meaning and we felt we had to be respectful,” explained Osamu Sassa, Maki’s project architect, to The New York Times.   Such a ideology offers a strong contrast with the other architectural statements that will eventually rise as part of the World Trade Center complex, such as Norman Foster’s 2 World Trade and Richard Roger’s 3 World Trade.   While the minimalism of Maki may have kept the design under the radar during its design and construction stages, the grace of its simplicity will craft a dignified presence while visiting the site.  ”The design of the tower at 150 Greenwich has two fundamental elements –  a ‘minimalist’ tower that achieves an appropriate presence, quiet but with dignity, and a ‘podium’ that becomes a catalyst for activating the surrounding urban streetscape as part of the revitalization of lower Manhattan,” explained Maki.

More about 4 World Trade after the break.  (more…)

Birthdays Abound! Happy Birthday Alvaro Siza and Robert Venturi!

Pavilhão de Portugal by © Flickr User paulu

It seems that those born on June 25th were born under some Architectural star…

Apart from Antoni Gaudí, who would have turned 160 today, both Robert Venturi and Pritzer Prize Winner Alvaro Siza also share a birthday today.

Portuguese architect Siza, who in fact decided to study architecture after an inspiring trip to Barcelona (where Gaudí’s influence left its mark – on both the city and the young architect), won the Pritzker in 1992. He turns 79 today. Check out his latest work here.

Venturi, an American architect highly influential in Postmodern architecture and a defender of “complexity and contradiction” turns 87.

Top 250 U.S. Architectural Firms

Shanghai Tower /

Architectural Record has published their annual list of the “Top 250 Architecture Firms” in the United States. The companies are ranked according to architectural revenue from the prior year. Gensler claimed the number one spot, with a record high of $764 million in revenue, over the long-standing leader , whom brought in $445 million in 2011.

The firms classify themselves by:

  • A = Architect
  • AE = Architect-Engineer
  • AP = Architect Planner
  • EAL = Engineer Architect Landscape
  • AEC = Architect-Engineer-Contractor

Continue after the break to review the top 25. (more…)

Happy 160th Birthday Antoni Gaudi!

© Wikipedia

Antoni Gaudí (1852 -1926), the Catalán architect best known for his whimsical style and his inimitable masterpiece, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, would have turned a ripe 160 years old today.

© Wikimedia

The Huffington Post today commemorated his memory, saying: “As an architect, Gaudi possessed a distinct vision that incorporated nature, religion and Catalan culture to create beautiful organic monuments that remain hallmarks of Spanish architecture. Attention to detail was a marked trait of his colossal churches and palaces, culminating in swirling terraces and bulging balconies that lent a whimsical touch to familiar neo-gothic and orientalist styles.”

Take a moment to remember this unique architect’s work and rediscover one of his classics, Casa Batlló.

Happy Birthday Antoni! Per molts anys Antoni!

 

The Green Building Council of Australia Launches Community Ratings for Sustainable Practices

Courtesy of Athanasios Polyzoidis & Katerina Petsiou

The Green Building Council of has released Green Star – a new comprehensive rating system that can assess the degree to which communities, as a whole, succeed in creating livable and sustainable environments. This is a new and dynamic way to look at the culture of sustainability. “Green building” is not only reflected in individual buildings; it is the accumulation of the buildings, the infrastructure, the urban planning and design, the amenities of the community and the lifestyles that communities live. Projects such as DIY Urbanism in the Netherlands by MVRDV and “e_co_llectiva” by Athanasios Polyzoidis & Katerina Petsiou have this kind of regard for the development of holistic community.

Read on for more after the break.

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A Bright Future for Willets Point – Redevelopment on an Environmentally Marred Peninsula

© EDC

The New York Economic Development Corporation and Mayor Bloomberg of NYC announced the completion of the final plan for Willets Point - a peninsula on the Flushing River in Northern , New York. The development of Willets Point is part of the urban renewal project associated with Citi Field – the Mets’ new stadium. Nicknamed the Iron Triangle, the project will include housing for mixed incomes, retail and entertainment amenities, a hotel, a convention center, office space, parks and open space, and a new public school, all of which falls under the umbrella of LEED-certified buildings and infrastructure. As with every redevelopment plan, there are positives and negatives to restructuring the community.

Read on for more after the break. (more…)

The Life of Gerhard Kallmann

© David L. Ryan for The Boston Globe

At 97 years of age, the architect Gerhard Kallmann passed away on Tuesday in Boston.  Kallmann’s career was ignited with the design of Boston City Hall, a neo-brutalist building that received mixed feelings of criticism and praise upon its completion.  After escaping Nazi Germany in 1937, Kallmann studied at the Architectural Association in London before moving to the United States and teaching in Chicago and .  It was in Columbia University where Kallmann met Michael McKinnell and the two would grow to co-found Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles in 1962 – the same year they won the competition for City Hall.

More about Kallmann after the break. (more…)

World Architecture Festival: Last chance to submit your projects

Now in its fifth year, the World Architecture Festival moves from Spain to Singapore (October 3rd-5th). And for this year, we are happy to announce ArchDaily as a media partner, and as part of the jury!

The architecturally intense event includes the awards and a festival gallery, with more than 700 entries from around the world in 30 categories, accompanied by live presentations from the finalists, a seminar and keynotes with renowned international architects. In these, and other activities (full summary), you will be able to exchange ideas with over 2,000 architects representing more than 65 countries, broaden your horizons and your contacts book.

Last day to submit your entries is June 30th, 2012.

Any projects completed between 1 January 2011 – 30 June 2012 can be entered or if you don’t have a completed project you can enter any future projects you have on the drawing board.

Learn more about the conference rates, and details on how to submit your projects.

We have a special discount for our readers, more information after the break:

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Williams Tsien and Davis Brody Bond selected for new U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has announced the selection of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Davis Brody Bond to design the New Embassy Compound (NEC) in , . After an intense round of presentations and interviews, the duo was selected from a talented shortlist of nine architectural/engineering teams. As reported on the Latin American Herald Tribune, the jury believed that “their portfolio of work is compatible to the local culture and shows sensitivity that highlights their connection to the character of the site.”

The Mexico City project is the first solicited under OBO’s Design Excellence program. It will embody a holistic approach that values the balance of aesthetics, cost, constructability and reliability. The design phase is expected to take place over the next 20 months and a construction contract is expected to be awarded in 2015.

Reference: Latin America Herald Tribune

Kickstarter: Fresh Punches //// Experimental Architecture Prototypes

Courtesy of

Help kick start the suckerPUNCH + land of tomorrow exhibition that will feature twenty student projects from around the United States that explore the possibilities of fabrication and material experimentation at the start of the 21st century. Slated for Fall 2012, this exhibition will have it all – “transmogrifications, strange sensations, primal textures, unfamiliar geometries, self-propagating architectural species, augmented atmospherics, vicissitudinous juxtapositions, reinvented building typologies, sensual pleated skins, a crisis or two, physiologically responsive interfaces, threshold blurring gizmos, and plenty of robots”.

If funding is successful, this exhibition will provide the rare opportunity to display the exploration and research from multiple U.S. architecture schools in one location. The three top projects will have prototypes fabricated by Drura Parrish at PR&vD.

Support this project here. Continue reading for more information.  (more…)

Foster to redesign Fidel Castro’s School of Ballet

School of Ballet © toml1959

Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta has selected to redevelop one of Fidel Castro’s unfinished spaces – the School of Ballet on the outskirts of Havana. Acosta studied ballet at the Cuban National Ballet School and has danced with the Royal Ballet since 1998.

The stunning, derelict building was never completed during the Cuban revolution, as the design and architects of the Cuban National Art Schools (las Escuelas Nacionales de Arte, or ENA) were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. However, in March 1999, the three architects – Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi – were called to lay out a budget to preserve the languished schools. These preservation efforts include the School of Ballet, whose cluster of domed volumes, designed in 1961 by Italian Vittorio Garatti, are connected by an organic layering of Catalan vaults that follow a winding path.

As reported on bdonline, Norman Foster told the Sunday Times: “Carlos is a great dancer who is inspiring the regeneration of an iconic ruin of early modernism outside Havana.” (more…)

New Computer Worm Targets AutoCAD Drawings

As if it weren’t enough that The New York Times just wrote a story on computer programs making architects obsolete, now it seems that computers are actually on the Architect-attack.

A new computer worm, known as ”ACAD/Medre.A,” has surfaced, and it has a very specific goal: find AutoCAD drawings, send them to China.

Find out how the worm works, and if you could be affected, after the break…
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