RIBA Selects Six Houses for 2014 Manser Medal Shortlist

Stormy Castle / Loyn & Co Architects. Image © Charles Hosea

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist for this year’s Manser Medal, the award given for Britain’s best new house. With a shortlist comprising a mixture of two London townhouses, a seaside getaway and three remote getaways in Scotland and Wales, the winner of this year’s Manser medal will be announced at the RIBA’s awards ceremony on October 16th.

RIBA President Steven Hodder said of the shortlisted schemes: “With each of the projects, the architects have added real value to the homeowner’s happiness and wellbeing. The originality, ingenuity and innovation on show in this shortlist should be an inspiration for anyone planning to build or make improvements to their own home. I encourage the ’s volume house builders to look at the shortlisted schemes – we all deserve to live in homes that comfort and delight us.”

Read on after the break for all six shortlisted projects

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Two Symposiums Will Help Determine Glasgow School of Art’s Restoration

Glasgow School of Art ablaze (unknown source)

The Glasgow School of Art have announced that they will hold two symposiums in order to discuss the restoration of the school’s library which was devastated in a fire in May of this year. The first conference, to be held in ’s Querini Stampalia, will act as a precursor to a second conference to be held in Glasgow in 2015. According to Professor Christopher Platt, head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the meetings will help to answer the question: “What should the plans be for bringing the Mackintosh building into full use once more and how should we approach the particular issue of the Macintosh library?”

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ARCHIVE Global Sets Out to Build Healthier Homes in Bangladesh

A women in the village of in Savar, Bangladesh stands in front of her family’s new cement floor ARCHIVE, in partnership with ADESH, installed in February 2014. Image Courtesy of

Each year 6.5 million children around the world die from diseases directly related to substandard housing conditions. Dirt floors in particular are carriers of parasites, bacteria, and viruses contributing to many fatal diseases. In response to this and with the aim of dramatically reducing child mortality rates, New York-based Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments (ARCHIVE), has launched a new initiative to replace dirt flooring with concrete in Bangladesh.

Learn more about the initiative after the break.

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Spotlight: Louis Sullivan

circa 1895

Louis Sullivan, Chicago‘s “Father of Skyscrapers” who foreshadowed modernism with his famous phrase “form follows function,” would have turned 158 today. Sullivan was an architectural prodigy even as a young man, graduating high school and beginning his studies at MIT when he was just 16. After just a year of study he dropped out of MIT, and by the time he was just 24 he had joined forces with Dankmar Adler as a full partner of Adler and Sullivan.

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Álvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira and Wang Shu Design Museum for Hangzhou Art Academy

After inaugurating his first building in – “The Building on the Water” – Álvaro Siza has just announced his second project in the country, again in collaboration with Portuguese architect Carlos Castanheira. This time the two architects will develop a museum for Hangzhou Art Academy.

The new museum – which will have approximately 15,000 sqm, a total area similar to that of Serralves Foundation building – will host an important collection of pieces from the famous German school of arts and design, Bauhaus, founded by Walter Gropius in 1919.

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Foster + Romero Alliance Wins Competition to Design the Mexico City Airport Expansion

Courtesy of DBOX for

A duo comprised of British architect and Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster of Foster + Partners and Mexican architect Fernando Romero of FR-EE has won the competition to expand the Mexico City airport, Reuters has reported

The new airport not only plans to solve overcrowding at the current terminal, but also to “develop economically and socially one of the most densely populated and marginalized regions” of Mexico.  The project is set to be finished by the end of 2018. 

Learn more about the airport and the winning design team after the break…

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Complexity Via Simplicity: Urbana’s Parking Structure Facade

Asked to design an interactive facade for an existing parking structure at the new Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, Urbana principle Rob Ley had a conundrum to deal with: “With ’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” he told the Architect’s Newspaper. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare.”

His solution came from turning the question on its head – how could they design and fabricate a static facade that appears to change when the viewer moves? The resulting design appears highly complex, while in fact using aluminum fins bent at just three different angles. Find out more about the challenges of fabricating this facade, and inserting it into an existing structure, through the video above or at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator blog.

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ARTISTECT: Famous Paintings With An Architectural Twist

’s latest series: ARTISTECT

Our friend Federico Babina’s latest illustrations blur the lines of art and architecture in this series: ARTISTECT. These 25 images, he explains, represent “possible and impossible encounters between artists and architects,” emphasizing the “probable and improbable connections between forms of expression and aesthetic languages sometimes distant and sometimes very close.”

In this exercise of overlapping styles, it is perhaps easier at first glance to identify the artist. But careful inspection of these stunning drawings reveals the idiosyncratic and stylistic tendencies of some of our most beloved architects.

Babina writes, “The project’s main idea is to reinterpret famous paintings using a brush soaked in architectural tints…These images are a metaphor for an imagined and imaginary dialogue between creative minds: Le Corbusier talks with Picasso and Kandinsky discusses with Wright… The wires that connect and intertwine this relations can be thin and transparent or robust and full-bodied.”

Take a look at the entire ARTISTECT series after the break. And don’t miss Federico Babina‘s other (very popular) illustration sets: ARCHISET, ARCHIMACHINEARCHIPORTRAIT, ARCHIST, ARCHIBET and ARCHICINE.

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Maarten Hajer Appointed as Chief Curator of 2016 Rotterdam Biennale

© Bob Bronshoff

The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) has announced Maarte Hajer as the Chief Curator of IABR-2016-. Hajer, a professor of Public Policy at the University of Amsterdam and Director General of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, was selected for his proposed theme, “The Next Economy.” More on Hajer’s appointment after the break.

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London Science Museum Selects Muf Architecture/Art to Design Interactive Gallery

Courtesy of Flickr CC User Science London

London’s Science Museum has selected muf architecture/art to design a new permanent interactive gallery. Set to open in 2016, the new gallery will be an expansion of the current Launchpad children’s gallery, creating a larger area to engage visitors in interactive math and science exhibits and live events.

“Muf architecture/art impressed us with their collaborative approach, strong design and bold vision for the new gallery. Above all, their scheme shows a keen awareness of the prime purpose of the gallery – fostering exploration and curiosity in science through intelligent and exciting design,” Karen Livingstone, Director of Masterplan at the Science Museum said.

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RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Decrease in Workload & Staffing Levels

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for July 2014 show that the Workload Index among  practices fell back to +28 (from +34 in June) with confidence levels among RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong in practices of all sizes across the whole of the .” Whereas last month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, London showed the greatest strength in July with a balance figure of +38. Practices located in Wales and the West were the most cautious about prospects for future workloads, returning a balance figure of just +12. The survey shows that actual workloads have been growing for four consecutive quarters and the overall value of work in progress last month was 10% higher than this time last year.

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World Architecture Festival to Kick-Off in One Month

With only one month to go before the 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) begins in Singapore, has unveiled new additions to the Festival Program, including a keynote speech by Ole Scheeren of Buro Ole Scheeren. With “Architects and the City” as WAF’s overarching theme this year, Scheeren’s talk will be on the relationship between architects, architecture and urbanism.

Other keynote speakers include Rocco Yim of Rocco Design Associates who will speak on his involvement in the West Kowloon Cultural District, the largest arts and cultural project in Hong Kong to date, and Richard Rogers who will speak candidly about his life as one of the most influential global figures in architecture and his future agenda. Moshe Safdie will close the Festival, looking back over his extensive career to talk exclusively about the defining moments that shaped its path.

Read on after the break for more information on WAF’s three days of fascinating talks, networking opportunities and its annual awards.

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Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture: Episode 3, “The Architecture of Violence”

The third episode of Al Jazeera’s “Rebel Architecture” series takes us on a journey through the settlements and roads of the West Bank with -based, Israeli architect, academic and writer, Eyal Weizman. In the 25-minute episode, Weizman shows the key role of architecture in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and talks about his latest project, Forensic Architecture, which uses damage to buildings as evidence for war crimes.

Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…

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Giveaway: Introducing the Moleskine Tool Belt

Courtesy of

Moleskine notebooks go as hand-in-hand with architects and designers as the color black. Over the years, these creative individuals have hacked and personalized the simple design of the Moleskine notebook, turning it into wallets, key chains, pen holders, and more. In response to this culture, Moleskine recently came out with their own hack called the Moleskine Tool Belt. 

The Tool Belt is an add-on that attaches to the cover of their notebooks. It contains several compartments for storing pens, smart phones, business cards, eye glasses, and more. We also have two Moleskine Tool Belts to give away – check out the article after the break for your chance to win! 

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Interview: Behind the Scenes of the University of Toronto’s Mental Health Report

Courtesy of GALDSU

In a TED Talk from 2009, writer Elizabeth Gilbert muses about how uncomfortable she is with the assumption that “creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked.” The majority of Gilbert’s thoughtful and humorous monologue is about finding sanity amidst both success and failure, or in other words, about finding a way to break this link. Earlier this year, the University of Toronto Graduate Architecture Landscape and Design Student Union’s (GALDSU) set out to do just that – break the link between creativity and suffering at their school – and start a productive dialogue about mental health. GALDSU began by gathering the facts through a mental health study of their peers, the results of which we discussed several months ago.

To learn more about what’s happened at their school (and beyond) since it was published, we sat down with Joel Leon, the man who spearheaded the effort and the newly elected president of the student union, as well as Elise Hunchuck, the vice-president of the student union.

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Chinese Company Showcases Ten 3D-Printed Houses

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Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has constructed a set of ten single story, 3D-printed homes which it produced in under 24 hours. The homes, printed in prefabricated panels which fit together on site, were created using WinSun’s custom-built 3D printer which measures 10 meters by 6.6 meters, and took the company twelve years to develop.

Formed with a cement-based mixture containing construction waste and glass fiber, each of the cost just $5,000 to build. Read on after the break for more on the development.

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UK Airports Commission Rules Out Thames Estuary Airport Plans

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The Airports Commission, the independent group charged with planning the future of the London‘s airport infrastructure, has finally ruled out an ambitious plan for a major airport in the Thames Estuary designed by Foster + Partners and supported by Mayor Boris Johnson. Chairman of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies said the proposal had been ruled out because “the economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount.”

Instead, the Airports Commission will select between three options to expand one of London’s existing airports at either Heathrow or Gatwick. Read on after the break for the reactions to the decision.

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Understanding St Louis: The Activism of Bob Hansman

Pruitt Igoe was just one step of the process that led to St Louis’ current state. Image by US Geological Survey via Flickr CC User Michael Allen

For the past few weeks, events in Ferguson, Missouri have prompted many debates over what can or should be done to ease tensions in this suburb of St Louis. But Bob Hansman, a professor at the Washington University in St Louis, is taking a different approach: understanding it first. This interview with Hansman, originally published on the Washington University in St Louis Newsroom, unearths a few of the issues that have made some areas of St Louis so severely dispossessed.

It’s 10am, and Bob Hansman is on a bus addressing students, brandishing a St. Louis guidebook like a prosecutor at trial.

“Today isn’t this,” he growls. “Get ready.”

Discover more about the work of Hansman after the break.

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