Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Awarded National Medal of Arts

Williams & Tsien made headlines in last year thanks to the demolition of their American Folk Art Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Wallyg

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been awarded the National Medal for Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts. The duo, known for projects such as the Barnes Foundation and for the controversy surrounding the demolition of their 2001 American Folk Art Museum last year, will be rewarded for their “deliberate and inspired designs” as well as their services in teaching. The medals will be awarded to them by President Obama in a ceremony on July 28th. Also receiving a medal will be Johnpaul Jones of Washington DC firm Jones & Jones, who will be the first Architect to receive the National Humanities Medal in the Award’s 17-year history. Find out more about the at World-Architects.

Winy Maas Selected as Curator for Strelka Institute’s Upcoming Academic Year

WoZoCo / MVRDV. Image Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Dutch architect Winy Maas has been selected as the curator for the Strelka Institute’s 2014-2015 academic year. One of the co-founders of Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV, Maas also lectures and teaches all over the world, most recently serving as a visiting professor of architectural at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as a professor of architecture and urban at Delft University of Technology.

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Stelka Institute Presents: Moscow’s “Urban Routines”

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Over the course of nine months, graduate students at the Strelka Institute studied the urban landscape of and the daily routines of its inhabitants, focusing “on new, little-noticed, and as-yet unresolved contradictions.” The main goal of the projects was to come up with solutions that could be applied in practice.

The research projects, collectively entitled “Urban Routines,” were presented at the end of this past June at the graduate show. Program director David Erixon said that while the theme might seem naive, “when you start looking at seemingly trivial things in a new way they are not so trivial anymore.” For details about the individual research projects – covering Cars, Retail, Dwelling, Offices, and Links - keep reading after the break.

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RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

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The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the East Midlands and tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.

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Spotlight: Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker laureate, in front of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Photo by Francisco Nogueira.

Today is Eduardo Souto de Moura’s 62nd . With over 60 buildings worldwide, Souto de Moura is known for his thoughtful use of colors and materials. Although often described as a “Miesian” architect, de Moura provides local and original interpretations of Mies van Der Rohe’s modernist style.

Born in , Souto de Moura enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in , studying sculpture and later transferring to architecture at the University of – a decision he credits to a meeting with the artist Donald Judd. While still a student, Souto de Moura interned in the studio of Álvaro Siza, where he worked for five years until starting his own practice in 1980, following Siza’s advice. Although his first major commission was the Cultural Center of Porto, his early career included mostly private homes. Later, de Moura was commissioned for larger public buildings, such as the the Braga Municipal Stadium (2004), the Burgo Tower (2007), and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2008).

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Australian Institute of Architects Awards Best Overseas Projects by Australian Architects

Stonehenge + Visitor Centre / Denton Corker Marshall. Image © James Davies

The Australian Institute of Architects‘ International Area Committee Jury has announced the recipients of its 2014 international awards, given to projects completed by Australian architects overseas. The biggest winners on the night were Denton Corker Marshall, who in addition to winning the Award for Public Architecture with their Stonehenge Visitor Centre also received commendations for public architecture and commercial architecture.

BVN Donovan Hill dominated in the field of interior architecture, scooping both the award and a commendation in the category. Kerry Hill Architects also achieved the same result in the residential category. Read on after the break for the full list of awards and commendations.

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Zaha Hadid on Russian Artist Kazimir Malevich

Zaha Hadid RA, The Peak Blue Slabs, 1982-83. Image © Zaha Hadid / Royal Academy of Arts

In an article for London’s Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own work. In Hadid’s early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich’s strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.

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Álvaro Siza Decides The Fate of His Archives

Portrait of Álvaro Siza. Image © Teresa Siza

Update: releases statement from Siza.

Earlier this week we announced that Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza was considering donating his archive to institutions outside of his home country of Portugal. Finally, after much discussion and speculation, Siza has arrived at a decision.

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Christchurch Launches Competition to Design Earthquake Memorial

Cathedral, after being destroyed by the 2011 earthquake. Image © NZPA / David Wethey

After years of rebuilding from the devastating earthquake that hit the city in February 2011, the city of Christchurch in New Zealand has announced an open competition to design a memorial to the 185 people that lost their lives in the tragedy. The $3.5 million memorial will be situated in the city center on the banks of the Ōtākaro-Avon River, and is expected to be “a thoughtfully designed space where small groups or individuals can pay respect to those who died,” but will also “comfortably fit a crowd of around 2,000 people” to host an annual memorial gathering, as well as other events.

More details after the break

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Tokyo’s Modernist Gem, Hotel Okura, To Be Demolished

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Talk about Modernist Japanese architecture, and you can hardly fail to bring up Tokyo‘s Hotel Okura. Built in 1962 under the direction of Yoshiro Taniguchi, Hideo Kosaka, Shiko Munakata, and Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has long been a landmark not only for the city, but for Japan. Now, however, the hotel’s owners have decided that the main building for the hotel will be demolished in September of 2015, with a new hotel taking its place. To learn more – including how to sign the petition for preservation – keep reading after the break.

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Inside the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale – Innesti/Grafting

Innesti/Grafting. The Italian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

The Italian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale looks at the country’s architecture through the lens of  “grafting,” or the transferring of new ideas onto preexisting realities and structures.

Architect and Pavilion curator Cino Zucchi associates grafting with “the great capacity to interpret and incorporate preceding states through continuous metamorphoses.” He opens and closes the Italian Pavilion with two physical grafts: a large rusted steel arch and a bench sculpture. The first room of the exhibit begins with a study of modernization in Milan, followed by series of collages of contemporary projects in . A video of Italian urban environments concludes the exhibit.

See images of the Pavilion and read a description from the curator after the break.

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Sydney Plans Large-Scale Urban Renewal Program

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The government of New South Wales have announced plans for Sydney’s largest program of urban renewal since the 2000 Summer Olympics. The proposal seeks to utilise and regenerate a series of former docklands from the area of Blackwattle Bay, through the  Fish Market, Rozelle Bay and Rozelle Rail Yards, to White Bay Power Station (a protected building).

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Jane Duncan Elected as the next President of the RIBA

Courtesy of Jane Duncan

Jane Duncan, an Architect based in the English county of Buckinghamshire, has been elected as the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Taking over the reigns from current President Stephen Hodder in September 2015, Duncan will become only the third female President after beating fellow candidate Oliver Richards (by a majority of 52% of the vote) to the institute’s highest position. According to the Architects’ Journal, only 16.7% of RIBA members voted in the election.

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US ABI Shows Continued Growth in June

June 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index () continued showing significant improvement in June, jumping to 53.5 from 52.6 in May, and hitting new records in the Projects Inquiry and Design Contracts indexes.

As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the new Projects Inquiry Index surged to 66.4, its highest level in the year to date. In addition, the ’s new Design Contracts Index hit 55.7 – its highest mark since the indictor starting being measured in October 2010.

“The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing.  The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

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Techstyle Haus: An 800 Square Foot Fabric House That Uses 90% Less Energy

The planters filter rainwater, which is then reused to grow edible plants. Photovoltaic panels are arrayed along the curved roof. Image © Kristen Pelou

The Rhode Island School Of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany collaborated on a passive “fabric” house for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe (which just wrapped up this month – see the winners here). In the following article, originally published on Metropolis MagazineMartin Pedersen reviews the remarkable house.

This summer’s 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe is well underway in France, where a solar-powered village of twenty sustainable homes designed and built by college students from all over the country, has emerged on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. Students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Brown University, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany, have teamed up for Techstyle Haus, an 800-square-foot house that’s not only a model of energy efficiency but an elegant piece of design as well.

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Reviving Vacant Buildings: A Tale of Two Cities

The Gardens in the early 1900s when it was the Jefferson County Armory. Image © Diane Deaton Street via Flickr

A former treasure in Louisville is now nothing more than a storage facility, while a dilapidated office building in Paris has sat empty for months on end. Both of these cities are taking proactive, but wildly different, measures to help the valuable vacant buildings and lots in their jurisdictions find new life. To learn more about each city’s potential solution to this global problem, keep reading after the break.

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Spotlight: Richard Rogers

© 2013 LLP

Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, turns 81 today. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd’s Bank in London, which utilized highly expressive structures that placed services on the exteriors.

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Spotlight: Arata Isozaki

© Manel Armengol via Flickr

Arata Isozaki, Japanese architect, teacher, and theorist, turns 83 years old today. After graduating from the University of in 1954, Isozaki worked for Kenzo Tange, one of his professors, before establishing his own firm. Despite this, the two remained collaborators until the 1970s. Isozaki won the Gold Medal in 1986 and founded the Italian branch of his firm, Arata Isozaki & Andrea Maffei Associates, in 2005.

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