DESIGN SHAPES LIFE: Villeroy & Boch Launches Bathroom Design Challenge

Courtesy of Villeroy & Boch

Villeroy & Boch have kicked off their first North American Designer Bathroom Challenge, inviting architects and licensed designers to develop a concept for a contemporary and multisensory bathroom design for the chance to win a trip to Germany.

Bathrooms are an essential part of daily life from the moment you jump into the shower in the morning to brushing your teeth before hopping into bed at night. While well-designed bath and wellness products that are easy to use and maintain are essential for functionality, when they are enhanced with complementing textures, sounds, scents and lighting, the functional bathroom space is transformed into a true multisensory experience. Villeroy & Boch is challenging architects and designers to incorporate both of these elements into their design, creating a functional and a multisensory space.

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Safdie Architects to Design Medal of Honor Museum in South Carolina

Artscience Museum and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore / Safdie Architects. Image © MBS Digital Media

Following a national search, the has selected Safdie Architects to design its new museum and education center at Patriots Point in , South Carolina. Safdie was selected for their “extensive experience with cultural projects and national monuments across the U.S. and abroad.” The National Medal of Honor Museum will bring the stories of the Medal of Honor recipients to life for visitors.

The Medal of Honor was created in 1861 and is the nation’s highest military honor. It is awarded by the President of the United States on behalf of the United States Congress for valor in combat. The Museum is the first part of a multi-phase development of the site on the eastern shore of Charleston Harbor and will become an iconic destination in the region.

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AIA Report Finds Increasing Acceptance of Carbon Reduction Targets

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The 2030 Progress Report for the American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s 2030 Commitment - a voluntary program for architects who want to commit their practice to advancing the AIA’s goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030 – has found a significant increase in the number of projects that meet its current targets for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions, with over 400 buildings in the program meeting the goal. “There is some very encouraging data in this report that shows how architects are making measurable progress towards reducing the carbon emissions in their design projects,” said AIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. Read on after the break for more results of the report.

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Cruz y Ortiz Completes Renovation of the Rijksmuseum’s Philips Wing

The Wing. Image © Rijksmuseum / Tilleman

Cruz y Ortis, who famously spent ten years redesigning and renovating Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, have recently completed a comprehensive restoration of the adjacent Philips Wing. As an addition to the extensive exhibition spaces of the Dutch national museum, which was brought to completion in 2013, the Philips Wing will be dedicated to showcasing high-profile exhibitions from its own collection and on loan from international and national collections. Cruz y Ortiz’s work has consisted of reorienting the entrance, accommodating diverse new functions and preparing the exhibition rooms for the temporary expositions starting next month. Several twentieth century interventions have been set back and corrected, whilst other areas have been appropriated for a new destination.

See drawings and photographs of the new wing, including a description from the architects, after the break.

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Daniel Tobin Selected to Design AIDS Memorial in West Hollywood

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The City Council has selected Australian designer Daniel Tobin to build an AIDS memorial for Park. As stated by the non-profit Foundation for an AIDS Monument, Tobin’s installation of 341 vertical strands “functions as a destination piece — recognizable as an AIDS monument, leaving no question about the work when you leave the space.” It will represent the 5,000 Americans how had died of AIDS-related causes or who are living with HIV.  You can learn more about Tobin’s selection and design, here.

The Principals Install Sound Reactive, Silver-Coated “Quilt” at Neuehouse

© Bryan Derballa

Commissioned by Sonos to create a sound reactive in collaboration with the musician Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), The Principals created a 16-foot-tall canopy, 8-feet-wide by 36-feet-long covering the performance and grand stand seating area of the private workspace collective Neuehouse. Inspired by the work of Arthur Rimbaud, chose the name Ancient Chaos, a phrase from his poem Matinée d’Ivresse which speaks to a basic force of wonder within all of us at the hidden patterns of nature. The installation, both a sonic composition and a physical structure, creates sounds that verge on the architectural and architecture that verges on the fluid.

More information and a video of the installation in motion, after the break. 

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BBC Ranks Eight Greatest New Museums

Nanjing’s Sifang Art Museum / Steven Holl Architects. Image © Sifang Art Museum

According to the , Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama City, Steven Holl’s Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, and BIG’s Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingør are among the top eight greatest museums recently completed. Do you agree? Let us know which recently completed museums tops your list in the comment section after the break and review the BBC’s complete selection here.

Twitter Reacts to 1,715 Guggenheim Designs

The news that every single one of the 1,715 designs for the future Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki have been released via a new competition website was understandably something of a media storm earlier this week. As the largest ever set of proposals to be simultaneously released to the public, how could anyone possibly come to terms with the sheer number and quality of the designs – let alone all the other issues which the proposals shed light on?

In this instance, the answer to that question is simple: get help. Guggenheim Helsinki will arguably go down in history as the prototypical competition for the social media age, not just for releasing the designs to the public but for their platform which enables people to select favorites, and compile and share shortlists. In the days since the website launched, Twitter users have risen to the challenge. See what some of them had to say after the break.

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Get Playful on the Streets of Seattle with “Pop-Up! Street Furniture” from LMN Architects

© Trevor Dykstra

Downtown Seattle was transformed into a playground for people of all ages in September with Pop-Up! Street Furniture, an creative take on interactivity in the built environment. Eight movable modules combine to create endless configurations capable of forming either seating or play space for a dozen people. The project was realized by -based LMN Architects, leading an inter-disciplinary team of students, professionals, designers, manufacturers, and contractors, intent on stimulating ordinary streets in the city’s downtown core. Created for the Seattle Design Festival, the project created a temporary hub for conversation, play, and engagement.

Read more after the break on the many uses of Pop-Up! Street Furniture in Seattle

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Hashim Sarkis Named MIT’s New Dean of Architecture and Planning

The Courtowers (currently under construction). Image Courtesy of Hashim Sarkis Studios

Hashim Sarkis - a prominent scholar of architecture and urbanism, a practicing architect whose works have been built in the and the Middle East, and a leading expert on design in the Middle East – has been named the new dean of ’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), effective in January. Sarkis is currently the Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Muslim Societies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). He has been on the Harvard faculty since 1998, and has been a full professor since 2002.

“The energy and forward-looking attitude I have encountered at one of the oldest schools of architecture and planning in the country makes it feel like the youngest,” Sarkis says. Read the complete press release here.

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Design Your Own Home With MUJI’s Prefab Vertical House

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Japanese design brand MUJI has taken a bold step into architectural territory. A few years after a collaboration with Kengo Kuma to design two prefab houses, the company has come forth with a Vertical House in Tokyo. Streamlined and efficient, the home accommodates all the demands of residential living within a small plot of land.

Interior images and more information, after the break.

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Spotlight: Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Courtesy of the archive

“All space must be attached to a value, to a public dimension. There is no private space. The only private space that you can imagine is the human mind.” – Paulo Mendes da Rocha, May 26, 2004

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil‘s greatest architects and urbanists. Born in Vitória, Espírito Santo in 1928, Mendes da Rocha won the 2006 Pritzker Prize, and is one of the most representative architects of the Brazilian Paulista School, also known as ”Paulista Brutalism” that utilizes more geometric lines, rougher finishes and bulkier massing than other Brazilian Modernists such as Oscar Niemeyer.

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RIBA Launches Centenery Square Regeneration Competition for Birmingham

’s Centenary Square. Image Courtesy of Competitions

The Royal Institute of British Architects have announced an international design competition to regenerate Centenary Square, one of Birmingham‘s largest public spaces, and neighbor to Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, the Old Rep Theatre, and the the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo which was shortlisted for the 2014 Stirling Prize.

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Find a New Life for Your Old Cardboard with these Geometric DIY Halloween Masks

© Fearless Photography

Grab your cardboard, parcel tape, and model building skills: Halloween masks are no longer just for witches and warlocks, but for architects too. A furniture designer turned mask creator based in the United Kingdom has created a series of geometric masks for the creatively inclined, available as a template online. A great way to use up leftover model-making materials, the masks were designed “to create a set of masks that could be built by anyone using local materials removing the need for mass manufacturing or shipping and with the minimum environmental impact,” says their creator Steve Wintercroft.

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ODA Aims to Bring “Qualities of Private House” to Multi-Family Housing in Brooklyn

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ODA Architecture has shared with us “510 Driggs,” a multi-family residential project that aims to provide residents with the “qualities of a private house” within ’s dense urban landscape. Each of the six-story building’s 100 units will be equipped with a large, functional outdoor space and at least two exposures to maximize light and air.

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These Collapsible Paper Models Help Museum-Goers Navigate the Rijksmuseum

Paper Pathfinder. Image © MVO&

Marijin van Oosten of MVO& has revolutionized the way visitors navigate museums: The Dutch graphic designer has designed a collapsible, 3D paper model of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to help ease visitor confusion through the 19th century museum’s 100 rooms. Dubbed the “Paper Pathfinder,” the innovative concept was awarded a Dutch Design Award this week. 

An image of the Paper Pathfinder collapsed, after the break.

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Fentress Releases Final Design for Miami Beach Convention Center

© Fentress Architects

Fentress Architects has released plans for the $500 million redesign of the Miami Beach Convention Center. The news follows the City of Miami’s controversial decision to nix plans provided by OMA, who was originally awarded the commission after a high profile competition against BIG.

Fentress will be working with Arquitectonica and on a significantly scaled-down masterplan that will include the renovation of the 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall and 200,000-square-feet of existing meeting space, as well as a new 80,000-square-foot ballroom and outdoor event space.

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SCAPE Wins 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge with Climate Change Adaptation Plan

© SCAPE

“Don’t fight forces, use them.” - R. Buckminster Fuller

SCAPE’s comprehensive climate change adaptation and community development project, Living Breakwaters has been announced as winner of the 2014 Fuller Challenge, “socially responsible design’s highest award.” Announced by the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), the proposal was selected over seven shortlisted humanitarian initiatives and will receive a $100,000 prize for their innovative solution to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems.

“Living Breakwaters is about dissipating and working with natural energy rather than fighting it. It is on the one hand an engineering and infrastructure-related intervention, but it also has a unique biological function as well. The project team understand that you cannot keep back coastal flooding in the context of climate change, but what you can do is ameliorate the force and impact of 100 and 500 year storm surges to diminish the damage through ecological interventions, while simultaneously catalyzing dialog to nurture future stewards of the built environment,” said Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, a 2014 senior advisor and jury member.

More on Living Breakwaters, after the break.

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