Open Call: Dear Architecture

Courtesy of

Blank Space has launched “Dear Architecture” – an open that explores one of the most important communication tools of all time ­ the simple letter. Designers and architects worldwide are invited to address architecture, as a concept, as a social practice, and as a community, in no more than 500 words, and with an illustration as an auxiliary tool to convey the message.

Up to $3000 in prizes will be awarded. A large selection of the best entries will be published in Blank Space’s third publication (also called “Dear Architecture”) to be published in the Winter of 2015. All entries will be reviewed by 17-person jury that includes Fernando Romero, Diana Balmori, and ArchDaily‘s very own David Basulto (co-founder) and Becky Quintal (executive editor). More details about the competition can be found here.

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Berrel Berrel Kräutler Wins Competition to Expand WHO’s Geneva Headquarters

Courtesy of Berrel Berrel Kräutler

Berrel Berrel Kräutler has won the World Health Organization’s (WHO) two-stage international design competition to expand its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Employing a restrained approach, their design for a cubic office building will replace numerous temporary structures and unify the complex’s permanent infrastructure.

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London Collective Assemble Shortlisted For The Turner Prize

Yard House, / . Image Courtesy of

Assemble, a collective of artists, designers and architects based in London, have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize – the UK’s foremost annual award for British visual artists. Much to the delight and surprise of members of the profession, this young collaborative team are the first spatial designers to be recognised by this prize in its three decade history, leading Sam Jacob to assert that they “represent something different: a validation of the belief that there are other ways of doing things.” The four nominees for the award also include London artist Bonnie Camplin and German-born Nicole Wermers.

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Open Call: Peace Corps Host National Competition for Washington DC Memorial

commemorative site, Washington, D.C. Source: Bing Maps. Image via PCCF

The Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (PCCF) is sponsoring a two-stage, national design to select an artistically exceptional design concept for a permanent commemorative work in the heart of Washington DC. This competition will provide designers from all across the United States an opportunity to create a compelling work of public art that will be bold and inspirational. The design should focus on and express American ideals and values that are the essence of the Peace Corps and Peace Corps service. It should be about America and our aspirations as a people, and about the Peace Corps as a manifestation of those aspirations. Submissions are due June 12, 2015. More information can be found here.

BIG and Heatherwick Trudge On with Googleplex Plans

Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek

Google now has to convince its hometown that its intentions are non-evil,” commented Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone on “Building Planet Google.” Referring to the City of Mountain View’s decision to award land to LinkedIn over Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed Googleplex in fear of becoming a “one-corporation town,” Stone details the backstory of the futuristic plans and how the architects haven’t given up yet. “Neither us or Heatherwick are in the business of producing a pretty painting,” Ingels said to Stone. Read the complete story here.

Renzo Piano Designs New Handbag Inspired by the Whitney Museum

© Max Mara

Renzo Piano has designed a limited-edition handbag for the Italian fashion brand Max Mara to match his newly completed Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The leather, top-handle bag, inspired by the ”pure design and sophisticated materials” of the Whitney, features distinct ribbing inspired by the museum’s facade.

“Our aim was to apply one of the most characteristic elements of the museum project – the facade – to the bag: hence the idea of the modular strips enveloping the exterior,” said Piano in an interview with Max Mara. “We tried to maintain a simple, pure design, working only on the details by applying a creative use of technology and placing the accent on respect for the materials.”

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Spotlight: Daniel Libeskind

Courtesy of Wikimedia

In the architecture world, few designers can claim to have such a clearly-defined style than Daniel Libeskind (born May 12, 1946). Much of Libeskind’s work is instantly recognizable for its angular forms, intersecting planes, and frequent use of diagonally-sliced windows, a style that he has frequently used to great effect in museums and memorials – but which seems equally adaptable to conference centers, skyscrapers and shopping malls.

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Full Scale Studio Completes Rolling House in Sweden

Friggatto in the detached state. Image Courtesy of Full Scale Studio

Stockholm-based Full Scale Studio of KTH School of Architecture have designed and built their first project to date — a new studio space called ”The Friggatto.” Deriving its name and form from the hybridization of two Swedish building types, the Friggatto is a non-permit, rolling house that explores how to combine these typologies to produce a larger, more affordable volume.

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Architecture at Zero Competition Challenges Teams to Design Zero Net Site Energy Housing for UCSF

Courtesy of Architecture at Zero

The 2015 Architecture at Zero Competition has launched, challenging students and designers to develop ‘family-style residential units’ for the Mission Bay Campus of the University of California San Francisco. Now in its fifth year, the calls for designs that produce “at least as much energy as [they] use over a year,” excluding the embodied of building materials and transportation of people and materials to and from the site. Entrants must be able to demonstrate that their designs can be reasonably expected to meet a zero net goal over a prolonged period of time. The competition is open to student and professional individuals and teams, with up to $25,000 in prize money to be won. Interested parties have until August 28 to register and submissions are due September 25 at 1PM PST. Read more about the competition at Architecture at Zero’s website and check out the winners from last year here.

Grayson Perry On ‘A House For Essex’ And His Collaboration With FAT

In an article for The Guardian, winning ceramic artist Grayson Perry has written for the first time about his “plans for a Taj Mahal in Essex.” The designs for the House for Essex, which have been realised over the last three years by FAT and led by Charles Holland, are of a “secular chapel” in the heart of the southern English countryside. The building was commissioned by the Living Architecture Project, which is headed by Alain de Botton and are the proprietors of property designed by the likes of Peter Zumthor, MVRDV, and David Kohn. This, their fifth foray into experimental collaborative architecture between architects and artists, is set to open its doors for holiday letting this year.

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Open Call: THINK public SPACE

Courtesy of Think Space

The Think Space program serves as a platform for spatial experimentation and conceptual thinking. In 2015, THINK SPACE is conducting an international, public, anonymous, single stage, conceptual architectural – urbanistic idea design Competition under the topic THINK public SPACE. The focus of this Special Edition of Think Space will be directed on urban . Within the project  for Me, the Think Space Competition will strive to seek out solutions for present-day public spaces on conceptual and theoretical levels with the potential of realization of the selected competition projects in the public spaces of Zagreb, Croatia. Read on to learn more. 

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Poll: Who Will Design Obama’s Presidential Library and Museum?

On Tuesday, the Barack Obama Foundation is expected to officially announce its decision to build Obama’s presidential library and museum in Chicago. With two sites under consideration - Washington Park or Jackson Park – speculation has now shifted towards the architect. Who will design the  Presidential Library and Museum?

Will it be David Adjaye, the -based, Tanzanian-born architect who designed the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (which will complete next year)? Or how about one of the city’s leading architects: Jeanne Gang, Helmut Jahn, Ralph Johnson or John Ronan? Perhaps it will be Philip Freelon; as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin points out, Obama made a recent visit to a library he designed in Washington DC. Some are even considering Renzo Piano; Michelle Obama seemed to have a deep appreciation for his newly constructed Whitney Museum when she spoke at its dedication ceremony a few weeks back.

With all this to bear in mind, who do you think will design the  Presidential Library and Museum? Answer a poll after the break.

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Heatherwick and PlanGrid Featured on Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business List

Thomas Heatherwick and PlanGrid co-founder Tracy Young have been ranked in Fast Company’s top 100 Most Creative People in Business list for 2015. Topped by an ASU professor who is fighting ebola with tobacco, the list features some of the world’s most powerful creatives, including VP Rajan Anandan, who’s working to get everyone online, and 3D printing pioneer Jennifer Lewis of Materials Lead.

Coming in at number 24, Heatherwick is being lauded for “collapsing the walls within design,” says FastCo. Working on projects of all scales, from the London Olympic cauldron to a proposed $130 million floating park in New York, Heatherwick’s practice is often labeled as “multidisciplinary” – a misconception challenged by Heatherwick, who told the magazine his work falls under “one discipline: solving functional problems and trying to make a difference.”

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Insider Glimpses Of The Milan Expo Site Hours Before It Officially Opened

© Delfino Sisto Legnani

-based photographer Delfino Sisto Legnani recently spent time in the compound of the 2015 Milan Expo twenty four hours prior to the inauguration of the event, which officially opened at the start of this month. This unique insight, captured through his lens and preserved for posterity, shows the state of the site and pavilions just before the Italian military began their final safety and security checks. Cables, garbage and hazard tape is strewn across the pavilion entrances and public spaces, while lorries and white vans unload the last of the interiors.

Tour Legnani’s photo-essay after the break.

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Newly-Launched Gehl Institute Seeks to Revolutionize Urban Public Spaces

© Torbjorn Larsson

The Knight Foundation has announced the launch of the nonprofit , led by Gehl Architects‘ Jeff Risom. With the Foundation’s financial support, the Institute strives to boost urban livability by increasing public engagement and economic opportunity through the reformation of public space. A series of studies will investigate the behavioral effects of streets, parks, and plazas on their occupants. The results, coupled with community involvement in the planning process, will be applied toward developing “people-first” public spaces that respond to their unique contexts. Through this approach, the Gehl Institute hopes to foster a new design field that addresses the widening social and economic concerns that accompany urbanization. For more information, visit gehlinstitute.org.

Home Back Home: An Architectural Response to Moving Back in With Your Parents

Case Study_01 Dune Claudio. Image © Javier de Paz García

Moving back home with your parents after living independently can often create spatial tension, as the furniture and rooms that sufficed for your teenage years may no longer serve the needs of young adult life. Spanish firm PKMN [pacman] Architectures’ latest project Home Back Home, seeks to provide an architectural and spatial solution for the temporary living spaces that result from moving back home.

With it becoming increasingly common in for young adults between the ages of 25 and 40 to move back into their parents’ homes, PKMN sought to answer the question: What are the domestic models resulting from this change of paradigm and economic collapse? To answer this question and develop their Home Back Home project, the studio carried out two case studies. Learn more about their proposal and see their spatial solutions, after the break.

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PWD to Break Ground on Mixed-Use Development in Dali City

Birdseye view of the complex. Image © PWD, +OUT, White Monkeys

China-based firm PWD Architecture will soon break ground on Dali Creative Area, a mixed-use development in Dali City, in Yunnan province. The project took home first place in a 2014 design , and takes significant direction from the area’s landscape, employing a minimalist stepped-form that celebrates its setting. The development will include a hotel, restaurants, offices, retail and exhibition space. It is slated for completion in 2016.

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Competition Entry: Latitude Studio Consolidates Office Space at WHO’s Geneva Headquarters

WHO Headquarters after intervention. Image Courtesy of

Latitude Studio’s entry for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) design competition to expand its Geneva headquarters seeks to embody WHO’s sustainable and collaborative approach to enhancing universal health. Their design consolidates individual and open workspaces within one facility, maximizing areas for collaboration and communication, while solar panels and rainwater collection systems improve the building’s sustainability. If chosen, the proposal would become one of three main buildings at the WHO headquarters.

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