Shortlist Announced for U.S. Embassy in Beirut

The Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted six design teams for the new U.S. in Beirut, Lebanon. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture.

Although the thirty-nine firms who responded to the challenge all presented a “high level of design excellence, innovative site and landscape designs, and strong experience,” only these six practices will make it through to the competitions second round: (more…)

AD Interviews OMA, BIG on their Miami Showdown

Over the last few months, and BIG have been vying for the opportunity to redevelop the 52-acre site home to the convention center in the heart of Miami Beach. With two award-winning, international firms at the center of the showdown, the media frenzy has been intense and the public’s imagination activated. It only remains to be seen if the results, which promise to be visionary, surpass expectation. With so much on the line, we decided to sit down with both and BIG and discuss how their proposals differ.

For extended coverage of both projects see “BIG Unveils Design for Miami Beach Convention Center” and “OMA Proposes Radical Redevelopment Plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center

Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in Antarctica

Halley VI © A.Dubber, British Antarctic Survey

In order to illustrate how the ingenuity and innovation of contemporary architecture is enabling scientists to live and work in one of the most extreme environments on our planet, the British Council has commissioned curators from the Arts Catalyst to launch a new international touring titled Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in .

The first exhibition of its kind, Ice Lab will include architectural drawings, models, photographs, and films allowing for visitors to not only examine the architecture, but the life of these scientists in these research facilities. Sources of inspiration for the projects including original drawings from Archigram’s ‘Walking City’ will be on display alongside a new commissioned light and audio work by international visual artist Torsten Laushmann. The Glasgow-based artist will create this work in collaboration with ‘We Made That’, the exhibition’s designers.

The featured projects are: (more…)

+ Pool Launches ‘Tile by Tile’ Kickstarter Campaign

© Family,

+ Pool, the ambitious project to float a public swimming pool in ’s East River, has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund “Tile by Tile,” what will be the largest crowdfunded civic project to date. Those who back the pool will be rewarded by having their name engraved on one of the pool’s 70,000 tiles.

+ Pool will filter the river water to give users a clean, safe yet natural environment to swim in and provide space for all types of “swimmers, bathers and hanger-outers” in each of its four sections. The current campaign’s primary aim is to fund an in-situ floating test lab which will, for the first time, prove the feasibility of filtering river water by testing various potential filtration systems.

Read more about the + Pool and the growing trend towards crowdfunding after the break…

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Law May Render Architects Unnecessary in Spain

Courtesy of NoalaLSP, via Plataforma Arquitectura

As if architects in Spain weren’t struggling enough – what with the Crisis closing half the country’s studios and putting over 25% of Spanish architects out of work - a new law could now render Spanish architects effectively unnecessary.

A preliminary document reveals that, if passed, The Law of Professional Services (LSP) will modify labor regulations in order to allow engineers, or really any one “competent” in construction, to take on the work of architects:

“Exclusivity is eliminated. Architects or engineers with competency in construction will be able to design and direct projects, including , cultural, academic or religious buildings. [...] If a professional is competent enough to execute one building’s construction, it is understood that he/she will also be capable of executing other kinds of buildings, regardless of its intended use.”

Unsurprisingly, Spanish architects have risen up against the law, mobilizing both physical protests as well as social media campaigns. Even Pritzker-Prize winner has offered his opinion on the matter…Hear what Moneo has to say, after the break…

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Improving Residential Market Leads to Larger Homes and an Increase in Property Enhancements

Paschke Danskin Double Loft, Rhode Island / 3six0 Architecture © John Homer Photography

According to the AIA, The American Institute of Architects, the American market is at its strongest growth level since 2005. As the once struggling residential market continues to improve, the size of homes is also growing in both high-end and custom homes as well as in additions to existing homes. Data from the reveals that preferences for accessible spaces in homes – such as open-space layouts and single-floor design – is also on the rise.

To see the survey’s findings and to learn more about today’s housing market, read on.

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OMA Leads Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc Competition in Bordeaux

© , Artefactory, Frans Parthesius

City officials have selected OMA’s “stripped-down design” as one of two final projects for the Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc international competition in , France. Stretching over the Garonne River, the OMA-designed proposal seeks to rethink the civic function and symbolism of a 21st century bridge by designing a multimodal “platform that can accommodate all the events of the city.”

“We wanted to provide the simplest expression – the least technical, least lyrical, an almost primitive structural solution,” stated Clement Blanchet, the project architect working alongside Rem Koolhaas. “This simplicity allowed us to create a generous platform for pedestrians and public programs, as well as flexibility in accommodating the future needs of various types of traffic.”

More from the project description after the break… (more…)

Pritzker Rejects Petition for Denise Scott Brown’s Retroactive Award

© Frank Hanswijk

The Pritzker Prize has finally released their official statement in response to the petition Harvard graduate students Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James wrote, proposing that retroactively receive recognition for the Pritzker Prize that her husband, Robert Venturi, won in 1991.

Lord Palumbo, the Chair of The Pritzker Architecture Prize, has responded that this would be impossible due to the way that Pritzker Juries deliberate: “Pritzker juries, over time, are made up of different individuals, each of whom does his or her best to find the most highly qualified candidate. A later jury cannot re-open, or second guess the work of an earlier jury, and none has ever done so.”

The letter goes on to suggest that Ms. Scott Brown is, however, still eligible for a Pritzker of her own; it also thanks Assouline-Lichten and James for “calling directly to our attention a more general problem, namely that of assuring women a fair and equal place within the profession. [...] one particular role that the Pritzker Jury must fulfill, in this respect, is that of keeping in mind the fact that certain recommendations or discussions relating to architectural creation are often a reflection of particular times or places, which may reflect cultural biases that underplay a woman’s role in the creative process. Where this occurs, we must, and we do, take such matters into account.”

Read the full letter, after the break…

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Twitterverse responds to Pritzker’s Rejection of Denise Scott Brown Petition

We have rounded up some of the reactions to this afternoon’s news that would not retroactively receive recognition for the that her husband, Robert Venturi, won in 1991.

 

 

 

Read more tweets after the break…

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BUS:STOP Krumbach: 7 Architects, 7 Buildings, 7 Statements

© Adolf Bereuter

BUS:STOP Krumbach is a recently initiated project in the Bregenzerwald region of Austria that will pair seven well-known architecture offices from around the world with seven local architects and allow them to work together on the design of seven new bus shelters in the town of Krumbach. A true collaboration between tradition and innovation, national and international, BUS:STOP hopes to create a series of small and functional buildings with their own unique characters that tell not only the story of these architects, but also of this special region.

For the list of participating offices and to learn more about BUS:STOP, read on. 

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What Does San Francisco’s New Apple Store Say About Commercial Architecture?

Rendering of the proposed Store in Union Square

This past May, Apple filed plans to close its existing flagship retail store at 1 Stockton Street in San Francisco and move it three blocks north to one of the city’s most popular spots: Union Square. This plan was met with enthusiasm from city officials until they realized that Apple, and the store’s architects at Foster + Partners, were disregarding a beloved bronze folk art fountain by sculptor Ruth Asawa that currently occupies the site. Many have also criticized the store’s design for being a characterless box of metal and glass that contributes nothing unique to the local landscape, raising awareness of a commercial architecture defined more by trademark and less by its surroundings.

More on Apple’s proposal in San Francisco and the problems of trademarked design after the break.

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The Architect’s Eye 2013 Competition Winners Announced

Architecture and Place Winner: Venice 2 / David Kirkland

Winners of the Architect’s Eye 2013 Competition have been announced! In an effort to encourage photography by architects, the biennial competition asked entrants to submit photography in two categories: Architecture and Place focusing on the aesthetics of a building and how it shapes the location and Architecture and People focusing on the interaction of people in relation to architecture. Follow us after the break to see the winning photographs. 

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NYC’s Plan to Mitigate Future Storms

East River Blueway Plan proposed by WXY Studios provides a natural waterfront along the existing and vulnerable FDR in ’s Lower East Side

Immediately after hit the North American Eastern seaboard last October, New York City embarked on a debate to find ways in which the city could protect itself from future storms that climate scientists predict will escalate in frequency.  Engineers, architects, scientists from myriad disciplines came up with internationally inspired proposals, including sea walls, floating barrier islands, reefs and wetlands, to apply to this particular application. Diverse in scope, the ideas have gone through the ringer of feasibility and have left many wondering if we should we build to defend or build to adapt.

On Tuesday, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan that includes $20 billion worth of both:  a proposal of removable flood walls, levees, gates and other defenses that would be implemented with adaptive measures, such as marshes, along with the extensive flood-proofing of homes and hospitals.  

What does this plan entail and what can we imagine for the future of NYC? Find out after the break.

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A Complete List of the RIBA National Award Winners

Church Walk, N16 by David Mikhail © Crocker

The Royal Institute of British Architects () has unveiled the 2013 National Award winners, a shortlist of 52 exemplars in design excellence from the UK and that will compete for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. This year’s award winners were selected from practices of all sizes and projects of all scales, ranging from a beautifully-crafted chapel in the back garden of an Edinburgh townhouse to the innovative yellow-roofed Ferrari Museum in Italy. Notably, one third of the UK winners are exceptionally designed education buildings.

The 43 UK buildings that have won an RIBA National Award are:

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Happy 91st Birthday Kevin Roche

Courtesy of John Dinkeloo and Associates

Kevin Roche, the Pritzker-winning architect known for his innovative and sometimes unusual designs, turns 91 today. His firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates was once described by critic C. Ray Smith as “the most aesthetically daring and innovative American firm of architects now working”.

Born in Ireland in 1922, Roche’s early years as an architect are telling: he first moved to the USA in 1948 to study under Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology but left after just one semester, eventually swapping Mies’s strict formulaic style for a much more expressive modernism when he joined the firm of Eero Saarinen.

Roche is well known for his buildings such as the Knights of Columbus Building; however as Principal Design Associate at Eero Saarinen and Associates at the time of Saarinen’s death, he was also instrumental in the completion of many well known Saarinen projects such as the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

On the occasion of his 91st birthday, we invite you to look at our coverage of Kevin Roche on ArchDaily:

Four NGOs Launch Housing Competition to Aid Disaster Survivors

Aftermath © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), , St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity has formed a strategic partnership to launch “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuild of sustainable and resilient communities.

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The Future of Train Travel: Life in Hyper-Speed

a smaller prototype of the Maglev

Japan, inventor of the world’s first bullet train, recently unveiled plans for an even faster and more radical train model: a floating train, powered by magnets, that will travel 100 mph faster than current bullet (about 300 mph). The maglev train, standing for “magnetic levitation,” will run between Tokyo and Osaka, an estimated distance of 315 miles, cost $64 billion, and be completed by 2045.

has already revolutionized national and international transportation in many parts of the world - for example, China has a maglev that already goes 270mph – and now high-speed is transitioning into hyper-speed. Last year, we reported that Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of both PayPal and Tesla Motors, shared with the public his desire to patent a new mode of transportation – the “Hyperloop” that would get passengers from San Francisco to LA in only 30 minutes.

So what might the future hold for train travel? And, more importantly, how will it affect our cities and the people who live in them?

For more on the maglev train and the future of rail, read on.

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2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto, Photos by Danica Kus

© Danica Kus

Featured here are photos of Sou Fujimoto‘s 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion taken by Danica Kus. Capturing the semi-transparent, multi-purpose social space situated in , this delicate, three-dimensional structure is enjoyed by its visitors, creating an inviting social setting.

Fujimoto, the youngest architect to accept the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation at 41, describes his work as, “…a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.” More images by Danica Kus after the break.

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