Condemned to be Modern: Inside Mexico’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

’s pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale is centered on Octavio Paz’s reflections on the contraposition between tradition and modernity. Echoing the request from Rem Koolhaas that the national pavilions focus on the theme Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Paz’s writings establish that “…modernity, for the last one hundred years has been our style. It is the universal style. Wanting to be modern seems like madness, we are condemned to be modern.”

Architects Julio Gaeta and Luby Springall use this reflection as the starting point for their curatorial project, designing the pavilion to show two story paths: one traditional and one modern. This concept is executed through the selection of works emblematic of Mexican modernity juxtaposed with works, events and interviews that influence architecture.

Check out photos from the pavilion along with the official text from the curators after the break.

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Capturing Hong Kong’s Dizzying Vertical Density

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French photographer who captures the dizzying heights and uncommon densities of . Inspired by “the geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters,” Jacquet-Lagrèze has not only captured the verticality of Hong Kong’s built environment, but also compiled a new book, Vertical Horizon, “a photographic journey between the buildings of a relentlessly growing city.” See more of Jacquet-Lagrèze‘s images, and read an excerpt from Vertical Horizonafter the break.

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Building Skin Developed That Could Cool Our Cities

© Harunori Noda

The urban heat island effect - the hot, overwhelming temperatures that a city’s concrete produces – has a huge impact on livability and comfort within the city. Now, an elegant cooling system has been designed that not only reduces energy usage, but – should it be installed on multiple buildings – could even lower the overall temperature of a city itself. Learn more, after the break.

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Video: A 3-Minute History of Chicago’s Millenium Park

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Did you know Millenium Park in ChicagoIllinois was actually a desolate industrial wasteland until the turn of the century? The 24.5 acre public park, host to a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design, and art, is now a popular destination for residents and tourists alike — all thanks to an unprecedented public-private partnership pioneered by former Mayor Richard Daley. To learn more about how Daley made Millenium Park a reality, with the help of famous designers like Frank Gehry, check out the video above.

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London Announces Design Competition for ‘Olympicopolis’ Site

The Olympicopolis site is to the South-East of the Olympic Park, near to Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre. Image © Flickr CC User Leo Reynolds

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a new competition for the designs of a cultural quarter next to the 2012 Olympic park. The site has been dubbed ‘Olympicopolis’, and so far has expressions of interest from University College London, University of the Arts , the V&A, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and now possibly – according to the Guardian - Washington DC‘s Smithsonian.

Read on after the break for more details of the competition

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Álvaro Siza’s Archives May Soon Belong to Canada

Image © | FG+SG

The archives of Álvaro Siza, whose drawings, sketches, and models have been exhibited in the most renowned cultural institutions around the world, may soon be transferred to the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Centre Canadien d’Architecture, ) in Montreal.

The architect confirmed on Wednesday to Portuguese paper PÚBLICO that he has been “in talks” with the CCA, as well as other un-named institutions from different countries, in order to “decide the future” of his archives.

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16 Reasons to Study at ESARQ-UIC

ESARQ-UIC has a teaching method based on a scalar approach which covers building to landscape design, incorporating all areas of knowledge. This allows the school to produce highly competitive professionals, who are multifaceted, innovative, committed and entrepreneurial and are also able to act as leaders when facing new challenges.

To learn more about the Master and Postgraduate programs offered at UIC, read on…

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Critical Round-Up: The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist

Though O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Building for the LSE is not the bookie’s favourite, many critics feel it is most deserving of the Stirling Prize. Image © Dennis Gilbert

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has now announced the six projects that form this year’s Stirling Prize Shortlist, the award that is the ultimate prize for any British building. As the ’s most publicly prominent award, the Stirling Prize is often a prime demonstration of the tension between architecture that is widely appreciated by the general populace, and that which is lauded by architectural critics and practitioners.

This year is no exception, with perhaps the country’s highest-profile project in years – the Shard - just part of the controversy. What did the critics make of the RIBA’s selection? Find out after the break.

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Emerging Practices in India: SPASM Design Architects

House at Alibaug. Image Courtesy of SPASM

Indian Architect & Builder, through a two-part series titled ‘Practices of Consequence’ (Volumes I and II) delves deeper into contemporary Indian practices that have carved a unique identity and place for themselves in the country today. This article, part of the first volume of the series, takes a closer look at SPASM, a Mumbai-based firm.

An emerging practice, SPASM has a unique and rigorous approach towards architecture. Headed by Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant, the studio has designed and executed projects of varying scale and character.  Experimental in terms of materiality, technical innovations and construction, SPASM’s architecture is imagined in great detail – both technical and experiential. Their work in both India and East Africa is responsive to the context of its locations. Indian Architect & Builder’s interview with the founders, after the break…

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Smiljan Radic’s Serpentine Pavilion / Images by Hufton+Crow

© Hufton+Crow

studio Hufton+Crow is the latest to capture the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic. Step inside this glass-fibre reinforced plastic shell with Hufton+Crow’s photos after the break.

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Mayor of London Unveils Three Visions for the Future of Heathrow

‘Romance of the Sky’ proposal / . Image © Factory Fifteen

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled three proposals to redevelop Heathrow Airport into ‘Heathrow City,’ a new town occupying the site that according to one study “could provide 90,000 jobs and 80,000 homes” in West London. Developed in parallel with Foster + Partners‘ proposal to create a new airport in the Thames Estuary, the three possible designs are part of a plan that Johnson believes will not only improve the capital’s aviation capacity, but also the quality of living in the area around the existing Heathrow Airport.

The three proposals, by Rick Mather Architects, Hawkins\Brown and Maccreanor Lavington, all take very different approaches to the brief, which was to create a mixed use residential and commuter town, with a focus on education and technology industries. Find out more about the three different proposals after the break.

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Competition: WHO Headquarters in Geneva

Aerial Site

The World Health Organization (WHO, the Commissioning Organization) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. On 23 June 2014, WHO launched an international, two-stage architectural design competition for the extension and redevelopment of WHO Headquarters in .

French architect Dominique Perrault will preside the jury that also includes Bernard Tschumi, Momoyo KaijimaDiébédo Francis Kéré, and Bernard Kouhry. Registration closes September 19. For complete information, please go to the competition’s official guideline here.

MASS Design Group’s Latest “Beyond the Building” Video: Building Better Builders

In their fifth Beyond the Building video, “Building Better Builders,” MASS Design Group goes behind the scenes of their projects in Haiti to speak with local architects and metalworkers and show how incorporating local talent can engage the local community to develop innovative solutions.

“I am happy that Haitians are constructing it,” says a local engineer working with MASS. “The best way for a person to appreciate it is to participate in the making of it.” Watch the video above and share your thoughts on how architecture can go #beyondthebuilding in the comments below.

Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre Wins Inaugural CTBUH Performance Award

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The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates‘ International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong as the winner of its first ever Performance Award. The new award recognizes the project with the lowest measured environmental impact on the urban realm, as measured using actual data from the completed construction.

The explains the need for the prize, saying: “Most awards programs focus on design intent, as opposed to actual performance – often well-intentioned projects are not revisited, and thus not held accountable.” KPF‘s 484-metre tall office tower won the prize based largely on its policy of collecting and sharing performance data.

Read on after the break for more on the award

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Steven Holl’s Maggie’s Centre Gains Planning Permission

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Steven Holl‘s designs for a Maggie’s Centre at St Bart’s Hospital in London have finally been approved, after a tense debate among the City of Planning Committee which culminated in a vote of 11 to 10 in favour of the design. The approval puts an end to a year of controversy, after Holl’s first attempt failed to gain planning (the first time a Maggie’s Centre has ever been declined permission) and a protest group commissioned a rival scheme by Hopkins Architects which gained planning permission in April.

More on the decision after the break

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Photos of Álvaro Siza’s Fundação Iberê Camargo, by Fernando Guerra

© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

 “A painter is a magician that immobilizes time.”  - Iberê Camargo

The Fundação Iberê Camargo, which received a Golden Lion at the 2002 Venice Biennale of Architecture, is Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza’s first project in Brazil. It serves as an architectural exemplar not only for the city of Porto Alegre, but also for the entire country of Brazil. Defined by Siza as “quasi-arquitecture” — with careful explorations of light, texture, movement and space–the building cultivates a direct relationship between the viewer and the artwork, and, in turn, allows visitors to richly come into contact with Iberê’s (one of the great names of twentieth-century Brazilian art) work.

“Architects don’t invent anything, they just transform reality.” - Álvaro Siza

The first in Brazil to use white concrete–seen around the entire exterior– the building does not use any bricks. The visitor is guided through a trajectory of descent throughout the building via ramps in the nine exhibition halls. The monolith is supported by massive slabs, pillars and beams. No detail escaped the hands of the architect; the furniture and signage were also designed by Siza.

Last week, the project was nominated as one of seven finalists in the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP). Now in its first edition, and with a distinguished jury (Francisco Liernur, Sarah Whiting, Wiel Arets, Dominique Perrault, e ), the recognizes exceptional architecture built in the first 13 years of the 21st century.

With this news, we are presenting an extensive set of photos of this important project, realized and generously shared by one of the world’s most important architecture photographers: Fernando Guerra of FG+SG - Últimas reportagens.

Story written by Joanna Helm for ArchDaily Brasil. Translated by Becky Quintal.

Scroll to see Guerra’s beautiful images of the Fundação Iberê Camargo:

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Thousands of Inhabitants May Be Relocated As Chinese Bankers Eye Venezuela’s Torre David

© Vía ‘The Atlantic’

Torre de David (the Tower of David) - the world’s tallest slum and the subject of Urban-Think TankJustin McGuirk, and Iwan Baan‘s Golden Lion-winning Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012 - is once again making headlines. Venezuelan newspaper TalCual reports that the Venezuelan government is in negotiations with Chinese banks interested in purchasing the building.

Tower of David is an unfinished financial skyscraper in downtown . Construction began on the tower in 1990, but the death of the principal investor in 1993 and the subsequent banking crisis that hit the country in 1994 froze construction; by the end of the year, the tower was in the hands of the state. Nevertheless, in 2007 two thousand homeless citizens took over and inhabited the skyscraper, making it the tallest vertical slum in the world.

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Re-Thinking the Future 2014 Competition Awards BIG, UN Studio, HOK, and More

Honorable Mention, Public Building Built: Cineteca Nacional S. XXI / Rojkind Arquitectos. Image © Rojkind Arquitectos, photo by Paul Rivera

The winners of Re-Thinking the Future’s 2014 design competition – a competition that asked architects, designers, planners, and students from all over the world to submit “radical solutions for the present day problems” of climate change – have been announced. Requesting both built and conceptual works, the jury of 20 architects from firms such as SOM, AEDAS, and Perkins+Will evaluated the projects across a range of categories, from mixed-use and residential buildings to urban and landscape design.

See all the winners, including proposals from BIG, UN Studio, and HOK, after the break.

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