Assemblage Wins Iraqi Parliament Competition

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Assemblage has succeeded against a prestigious shortlist – which included , Capita Symonds, Fevre Gaucher and ADPI – in an international competition for the new Iraqi parliament complex in Baghdad. The $1Bn USD project challenged contestants to design a new, large scale complex amidst the remnants of a partially built super mosque planned by Saddam Hussein (photos of the existing site here).

The London-based practice will be awarded $250,000 USD and asked to produce a master plan for the surrounding city, as well as additional government buildings, a new hotel and public parks. The anonymous jury plans to exhibit the submitted projects, along with the judging committee’s decision. However, a date has yet to be announced.

Continue after the break for more images and the architects’ description. (more…)

The Indicator: In Praise of Shadows

© In Praise of Shadows via Goodreads

Junichiro Tanizaki’s (1886-1965) book In Praise of Shadows has been haunting me lately. There it sits on my shelf, as it has for years, ever since it was part of a reading list for an art history course I once took as an undergrad.

It’s a thin volume. Ever so slight, it easily gets lost amongst more substantial books. But every time I’ve gone through my library and thought I don’t need it anymore, I hesitate and then put it back on the shelf.

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Richard Meier Celebrates Fifty Years of Architecture

Portrait-475 10th Avenue Office © Richard Phibbs

Richard Meier & Partners Architects is pleased to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Richard Meier’s prolific architecture career. In recognition of his contributions to architecture and in collaboration with very distinguished institutions, Richard Meier & Partners will be organizing several projects and events to honor this very significant anniversary. Currently on display at the Arp Museum Richard Meier: Building as Art is open to the general public, and the exhibition illustrates Meier’s complex design process using prominent buildings and projects from his entire work history.

In addition to the exhibition in Germany, and later in the summer, Richard Meier will be giving a series of lectures in Los Angeles, New York City and in Italy talking about some of the iconic, recent and current projects.

More on Richard Meier’s prolific career after the break.

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High Line-Inspired Park proposed in Queens

Rockaway Rail Branch of the LIRR; Photos Courtesy of Friends of the Queensway © 2012

When plans for the High Line were first revealed it made quite an impression on the design community. The converted elevated rail line, long abandoned by , was threatened by demolition until a group of activists fought for its revival and helped transform it into one of the most renowned public spaces in Manhattan. Now Queens, a borough with its own abandoned infrastructure is on its way to redeveloping the land for its own version of the High Line, to be known as the .

In late December, the Trust for Public Land announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has awarded a $467,000 grant to the organization to begin a feasibility study on the 3.5 mile Long Island rail line. Early proposals reveal a new pedestrian and bike path, public green space and a cultural gateway that will celebrate Queens’ diversity in art, sculpture and food, serving the 250,000 residents that live in the neighborhoods along the route, which include Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Forest Park.

Join us after the break for more. (more…)

Rem Koolhaas To Direct 2014 Venice Biennale

© Dominik Gigler

It seems the rumors were true. The ’s board has just confirmed that will be the Director for the next Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014 (to take place June 7th to November 23rd).

There’s no word yet of the theme that will be chosen. Koolhaas has only commented that: “We want to give a new look to the basic elements of architecture – used by any architect, anywhere and at any time – to see if we can discover something new about architecture.”

The 2012 Biennale, curated by David Chipperfield, who chose “Common Ground” as the theme, was characterized by collaboration and socially-oriented projects (which stole the show). If Koolhaas’ radical leanings and adventurous design sensibilities are anything to go by, the 2014 Biennale will probably push the envelope even further.

Revisit our coverage of the 2012 Venice Biennale and read more about Rem Koolhaas, including our popular editorial and an essay written by former New York Times architecture critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff.

Story via Venice Biennale and bd online 

Pioneering architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable has died at 91

A portrait of architecture critic in 1986. Via the WSJ

Ada Louise Huxtable (1921-2013), known as “the dean of American architectural criticism”, has passed away at the age of 91 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, Huxtable began her legendary career when she was appointed as The Times’ first architecture critic in 1963. Her sharp mind and straightforward critiques paved the way for contemporary architectural journalism and called for public attention to the significance of architecture.

As Paul Goldberger describes in his 1996 Tribute to Ada Louise Huxtable, “Ada Louise Huxtable has been more than just the most important pioneer of architectural criticism in newspapers in our time: she has been the most important figure in communicating the urgency of some kind of belief in the values of the man-made environment in our time, too. She has made people pay attention. She has made people care. She has made architecture matter in our culture in a way that it did not before her time.”

Get an understanding of Huxtable’s influential voice with her latest critique on Foster+Partners’ proposed renovation for the New York Public Library here.

Zaha Hadid to Regenerate Historic Site in Belgrade

© ZHA

Marking the “continuance of Belgrade’s signature ‘Modernist’ movement”, which produced a number of iconic buildings throughout the mid-twentieth century, the Serbian capital is proud to unveil Zaha Hadid Architect’s (ZHA) contemporary masterplan for Beko. This all-inclusive, mixed use project embeds itself within the undulating topography of the abandoned Beko textile factory in a style that directly reflects Zaha’s distinct style of Parametricism.

Focused on urban regeneration, the project will join forces with Sou Fujimoto’s proposed ‘Cloud’ on the adjoining Sava waterfront to revitalize Belgrade’s cultural axis.

Learn more after the break. (more…)

Zumthor Vacation Homes For Let

Photographer Ralph Feiner © Zumthor Ferienhäuser

“Our Leis houses have big windows. They extend from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling. They frame the landscape and welcome its images inside the house. [...] Walking through the house means moving from view to view. The presence of the solid timber is tangible everywhere, intimate and close to the body; gentle, silky and shiny, it radiates in the light.” (trans. Catherine Schelbert)

Few architects’ words can match the poetry of their designs, but Peter Zumthor’s description of his timber Leis houses is so delectable, it makes you want to hop a plane and go live in one yourself.

Well, now’s your chance. For the first time, Zumthor and his wife Annalisa are renting out one of the 3-year-old houses (originally designed and built for the pair themselves) as a vacation home.

Of course, it won’t come cheap. Prices range from CHF 3,500 to CHF 4,800 (about $4,000 to $5,000 USD) per week.

More info and images of the Leis homes, after the break…

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Warming Huts v.2013 Competition Winners

Big City / Big City Atelier

Warming Huts, an open art and architecture competition on ice – has selected five huts that best “push the envelope of design, craft and art” for it’s 2013 edition. Selected from over 100 entries, these winning proposals will be constructed in January alongside the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world: the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail in , Canada.

Three of the huts were chosen from the open submission process, one from a separate University of Manitobacompetition, and one is being designed by award-winning Montreal firm Atelier Big City. Review them all after the break.

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Vo Trong Nghia named Vietnamese Architect of the Year

Stacking green / + Daisuke Sanuki + Shunri Nishizawa © Hiroyuki Oki

By popular vote on the architectural website Ashui.com, Vo Trong Nghia has been announced as ’s Architect of the Year 2012. The Quang Binh native was awarded over two other nominees after a four day public vote.

A graduate of Japan’s Nagoya Institute of Technology class of 2002, Vo Trong Nghia leads an award-wining, self-titled practice known for its intricate bamboo and sustainable structures.

View a selection of his work after the break. (more…)

Pharrell to Collaborate with Zaha Hadid

Hip-Hop artist Pharrell is used to collaborating with big names – Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and now? Zaha Hadid.

According to an interview with Hypebeast, the artist has decided to continue his dabble into the design world (he’s written a book and designed chairs in the past) by working on a home with the Pritzker Prize-winning architect:

Pharrell: “There’s a collaboration I’m working with , we’re touring around with the idea of a prefab for a house.

Hypebeast: Is that still at the planning stages or are you guys looking to erect something soon?

Pharell, enigmatically: “Well, we’re going to see something through.”

Via GreatSpaces and Hypebeast 

AIA President Mickey Jacob Urges Congress to Aid Sandy Relief

Photography: The Rockaways, Post-Sandy © Amanda Kirkpatrick

In response an outrage that broke out amongst Democrats and Republicans, after House Speaker John Boehner failed to vote for Sandy relief before the end of the Congressional session two days ago, the House of Representatives have approved a $9.7 billion relief measure to aid flood victims of Hurricane Sandy. This is good news, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recently warned that it would soon run out of funding if no measures were taken. Senate approval is likely to come later in the day and a second congressional vote is scheduled to take place on January 15 for a larger $51 billion request.

Understanding the importance of issuing this federal support,  President Mickey Jacob has offer Congress three key objects for helping these communities recover.

Read AIA President Jacob’s letter to congress and his three objectives after the break…

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[MAD] Skyline Games / PKMN [pac-man]

Photograph by Photographs by Javier de Paz García / www.estudioballoon.es

What are the first words that come to mind when you think of the the Eiffel Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Burj Khalifa? Extraordinary? Impressive? Iconic?

What about…fun?

For Spanish architecture office and collective, PKMN [pac-man], a skyline isn’t just a symbol of a city’s identity, it’s also rich ground for reinterpretation and play. The firm has taken 4 iconic buildings from their hometown of Madrid and have – Transformers-style – turned them into 4 funky games. For PKMN, it’s all about taking ownership of these corporate-owned buildings, giving them back to the people who live amongst them.

Plus, there’s Ping-Pong and mini-golf involved. What’s not to love about that?

Check out all of the buildings-turned-games, after the break…

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Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum to Construct Modern Addition

Addition / via ArtInfo

Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is moving forward with its next phase of development and will soon construct a distinct new addition. The new S$5.5 million wing, designed by GreenhiLi Consultants, will be a stark contrast to the 19th-century, neoclassic original structure, as it features a modern structure clad in titanium that will float weightlessly above a glass encased atrium.

This atrium will continue up, filling the interstitial spaces between the old and new structure, while connecting the galleries on all three levels and revealing parts of the interior gallery to street-level pedestrians. (more…)

Study Proves Design Significantly Impacts Learning

© University of Salford

For decades, schools have slowly morphed into prison-like facilities with artificially lit rooms and barricaded playgrounds. However, the trend is beginning to shift. With a highlight on sustainable design, a focus on safety and an increased demand on positive learning environments, more people are paying attention to the way we design our schools.

In light of this, the University of Salford in Manchester and the architects of Nightingale Associates have released the results of a year-long pilot study revealing the significant impact well-designed learning environments have on a student’s academic achievement over a year, which is proven to be as much as 25 percent!

Professor Peter Barrett, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford said: “It has long been known that various aspects of the built environment impact on people in buildings, but this is the first time a holistic assessment has been made that successfully links the overall impact directly to learning rates in schools. The impact identified is in fact greater than we imagined and the Salford team is looking forward to building on these clear results.”

More on the study after the break… (more…)

Eduardo Souto de Moura to receive Israel’s prestigious Wolf Prize

 © Francisco Noguei

Breaking news from Tel Aviv: The Wolf Foundation has announced that Pritzker Prize laureate Eduardo Souto de Moura will be honored with ’s prestigious Wolf Prize. The Portuguese architect was named “to reward his advancement of the craft and ideas of architecture.”

Since 1978, Wolf recipients have been annually award to honor those who have advanced the fields of art and science. Often, they are considered to be strong contenders for Nobel prizes, as about one out of every three laureates in chemistry, physics and medicine have gone to receive the Nobel.

Learn more after the break… (more…)

AIA Comments on “Fiscal Cliff” Vote

The American Institute of Architects () today issued the following statement in reaction to the House and Senate votes approving the “Fiscal Cliff” deal negotiated by Congressional leaders earlier this week. The statement should be attributed to President Mickey Jacob, FAIA:

“On the plus side, the agreement prevents a tax increase on millions of Americans and small businesses. It also extends several business tax incentives that help create jobs and promote design and construction, including for schools and energy efficient homes.”

More after the break…

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Zaha Hadid Seeing Double in China

Wangjing SOHO: East © ZHA

Eleven  projects are currently being constructed in China, however one of them has the international architecture mogul seeing double. Unfortunately, Hadid has found herself in a race to finish the Wangjing SOHO office and retail complex in Beijing before pirates complete their doppelgänger version in , a megacity near the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau.

As reported on Spiegel Online, the Dame claimed that the pirates are currently in the lead and building faster than SOHO. The original, which is set for completion in 2014, features three curved towers whose “shimmering”, metallic skin unifies the complex as each volume appears to “dance” around each other.

Hadid is not the first to be mimicked in China. Last year, a small UNESCO-protected village in Austria, Hallstatt, was recreated, brick for brick, in the subtropical district of Guangdong, China. You can find the complete story here. (more…)