The Life Of Dalibor Vesely: Teacher, Philosopher, Acclaimed Academic

(1934-2015) at the AA, London, in 2013. Image © Valerie Bennett

Dalibor Vesely, a celebrated architectural historian, philosopher and teacher, died this week in London aged 79. Over the course of his teaching career, which spanned five decades, he tutored a number of the world’s leading architects and thinkers from Daniel Libeskind, Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Robin Evans, to Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow.

Vesely was born in Prague in 1934, five years before the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Following World War II, he studied engineering, architecture, art history and philosophy in Prague, Munich, Paris and Heidelberg. He was awarded his doctorate from Charles University (Prague) having been taught and supervised by Josef Havlicek, Karel Honzik, and Jaroslav Fragner. Although later he would be tutored by James Stirling, it was the philosopher of phenomenology Jan Patočka who, in his own words, “contributed more than anyone else to [his] overall intellectual orientation and to the articulation of some of the critical topics” explored in his seminal book, Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation, published in 2004.

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AIA Names 6 US Libraries as 2015′s Best

Cedar Rapids Public Library / OPN Architects. Image © Main Street Studio

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has revealed six libraries they believe to be the year’s best. In collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the AIA/ALA Library Building Awards are intended to promote and honor exceptional designs in library architecture. Taking into account the evolving role of the library, the believes these six award recipients elevate the institution to one of congregation and community-specific programs.

See the winning designs after the break.

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Hello Wood Open Call 2015: Project Village

Courtesy of Hello Wood

Budapest-based art program Hello Wood has put out an open call for Project Village, their 2015 workshop and symposium to be held between July 11 and July 19. This year’s event follows the success of Hello Wood’s in the summer of 2014, which saw participation from over 120 architects, artists and designers from 25 countries.

Co-curated by Johanna Muszbek of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the 2015 event will again use all-timber projects to explore the interplay of art and social commitment. Project Village will examine the typology of the village and the means for its production, proposing new and more efficient methods of masterplanning and construction. Hello Wood is currently accepting applications for workshop leaders, with successful applicants to join a team including Piers Taylor, Katsuya Fukushima of FT Architects, and the founders of 72 Hour Urban Action. Applications close April 15. Learn more about the program and how to participate here.

Help Rebuild a.gor.a Architects’ Temporary Dormitories

Courtesy of

Last year on ArchDaily, we featured a.gor.a ArchitectsTemporary Dormitories in Mae Sot, a series of low-cost shelters that help this town on the Thai border accommodate the influx of Burmese refugees from neighboring Myanmar. But tragically, last month a fire from a nearby sugar cane plantation burned down all four dormitories, negating the generous funding from the Embassy of Luxembourg in Bangkok, preventing the plan to recoup money by recycling the dormitories when they were no longer needed, and of course destroying much-needed accommodation for refugees. To make the most of a bad situation, the architecture firm has turned to in an attempt to raise $5,500 and rebuild at least two of the dormitories. You can visit their Indiegogo page here to help.

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“Drylands Resilience Initiative” Awarded AIA Latrobe Prize

Image via ALI

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected a team led by Woodbury University‘s Arid Lands Institute for its “Drylands Resilience Initiative: Digital Tools for Sustainable Urban Design in Arid and Semi-Arid Urban Centers” to receive the 2015 Latrobe Prize.

The , named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for a two-year program of research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. The $100,000 award will enable the Arid Lands Institute (ALI) and its cross-disciplinary partners to further develop and test a proprietary digital design tool, known as “Hazel,” that eventually will enable arid communities anywhere to design and build the infrastructure needed to capture, retain and distribute stormwater runoff. 

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Corporate Dystopia: Liam Young Imagines a World in which Tech Companies Own Our Cities

What if the manufacturers of the phones and social networks we cling to became the rulers of tomorrow’s cities? Imagine a world in which every building in your neighborhood is owned by Samsung, entire regions are occupied by the ghosts of our digital selves, and cities spring up in international waters to house outsourced laborers. These are the worlds imagined by self-described speculative architect, in his latest series of animations entitled ”New City.” Read on after the break to see all three animations and learn more about what’s next in the series.

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Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive to Open in 2016

Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

As construction continues on its new home across from the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is finalizing plans for its first exhibition – Architecture of Life - in this location. The curvilinear structure, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with EHDD as executive architect, fuses old and new, outfitting what was the printing plant with modern exhibition space, offices, and theaters to make it a focal point in Berkeley’s downtown arts district.

More on the $112 million project after the break.

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Perkins+Will’s CIRS Building Wins RAIC’s Green Building Award

A pre-existing ‘desire line’ that cuts through the site was retained.. Image © Martin Tessler

Perkins+Will‘s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia has been announced as the recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada‘s 2015 Green Building Award. Granted by the RAIC and Canada Green Building Council, the award celebrates stellar architectural designs adhering to responsiveness to occupants’ well-being and environmental responsibility. The CIRS achieved LEED Platinum status and is a regenerative structure, implementing ingenious strategies to sustain net-positive energy, net-zero , and net-zero carbon in both construction and operation.

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Look & Listen: A New Sound Responsive Exhibition In London

© G. G. Archard

Look & Listen, a new sound responsive exhibition at the recently opened  gallery in London, explores “the often unnoticed, yet vital role acoustics play in our experience of place.” Designed by The Klassnik Corporation, the exhibition offers a variety of “sonic experiences” which encourage the visitor to focus on the audible aspects of architecture. It creates a unique set of environments built using Sto’s range of acoustic systems, “utilising the perfect balance of design flexibility and technical leadership the acoustic materials offer.” The installation also demonstrates the materials‘ capabilities in reducing reverberation and promoting clearer sound.

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Is Housing at the Root of Inequality?

The Metabolists developed some of the most radical solutions of the past century, aiming to make dwellings that were not only affordable, but on demand. Would similar ideas help to reduce inequality today?. Image © Arcspace

Ever since last year, in response to the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the hot topic in the field of economics has been inequality. Piketty’s book, which argues that if left unchecked wealth will be increasingly concentrated into the already wealthy end of society, many saw the book as evidence for progressive taxes on the wealthiest members of a society. However, according to The Economist a new critique of Piketty’s work is making waves among economists. A paper by MIT graduate student Matthew Rognlie argues that, since the 1970s, the only form of capital that has demonstrably increased the wealth of the wealthy is housing. With this in mind, The Economist suggests that, instead of focusing on taxation, ”policy-makers should deal with the planning regulations and NIMBYism that inhibit housebuilding.” Read more about Rognlie’s paper at The Economist, or (for the more adventurous) read the paper for yourself here.

Opposition Mounts Against David Chipperfield’s Nobel Center in Stockholm

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’s City Museum (Stadsmuseet) has spoke out against David Chipperfield’s competition-winning Nobel Center, saying the design is good but not at its proposed location. The museum, whose mission is to “preserve the city’s cultural heritage,” does not believe the new center should be build along the city’s Blasieholmen, as its site is “one of the few parts of the city that still allows close interaction with the old port.”

Furthermore, the City Museum strongly urged against the Nobel Foundation’s plans to demolish the site’s three historic structures – an 1876 Axel Fredrik Nystrom-designed Customs House and the city’s last two remaining wooden harbor warehouses built in the early 1900s. Agreeing, the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) has also spoke up, saying the proposal is “too big” and does not take “sufficient” consideration of the cultural environment and cultural heritage.

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Venice Biennale 2016: 5 Proposals Shortlisted for Australian Pavilion

The Pool / Aileen Sage and Michelle Tabet . Image Courtesy of

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has revealed the five proposals shortlisted for at the Australian Pavilion at Venice’s 2016 Architecture Biennale. The announcement comes following a two-stage presentation and selection process judged by the Venice Biennale Commission, currently helmed by AIA Immediate Past President Paul Berkemeier.

The 2016 Biennale will mark the inaugural exhibition within Australia’s new pavilion at Venice, designed by Denton Corker Marshall and slated for a May 2015 opening.

Read more about the shortlisted projects after the break.

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Harvard’s Material Processes and Systems Group Investigates Structural Ceramics

© Martin Bechthold

With “Protoceramics,” the Material Processes and Systems Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (MaP+S) sought to investigate the architectural possibilities of a material that might often be overlooked: thin, large-format ceramic tiles designed to act as interior finishes or exterior cladding. Instead of accepting the tiles’ designation as a surface finish, the team investigated three ways to use them as a self-supporting structural component as part of their ongoing experiment to produce “novel material formations with a special interest in tectonic performance.” The three techniques employed focused on the acts of cutting, folding and bending.

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Society for Atheistic Spirituality to Construct Etienne-Louis Boullée’s Cenotaph for Newton

Update: As many readers guessed, this story is of course a prank for ’ day. Thanks to everyone who played along, and a particular thanks to the seven readers (we won’t name any names!) who were convinced enough to email their expressions of interest. Your optimism and ambition are admirable, and we’re glad that you were able to take the joke in good humor. To anyone who dared to believe this story and had their heart broken: we’re sorry!

Last week, a little-known charity known as the Society for Atheistic Spirituality (SAS) announced a proposal which is sure to put them very much on the map: they plan to build Etienne-Louis Boullée’s design for a Cenotaph for Newton. The cenotaph, designed in the late 18th century as part of Boullée’s Architecture, essai sur l’art, is a sublime homage to the enlightenment thinking of Sir Isaac Newton, making it a perfect fit for the Society for Atheistic Spirituality’s mission to “endorse a rational understanding of our universe without abandoning the sense of wonder that makes life worth living.”

Though the plans are very much in their early stages – and in spite of the fact that the cenotaph was never really designed to be built in real life – the society is serious about their proposal, having earmarked a $500 million donation from a single donor, and are working to establish a “world class” team to realize the design. To find out more about their plan, ArchDaily spoke exclusively to the society’s director Zara Thustra, their construction projects leader Sidney Syfus, and their half-billion dollar donor, Dr Pang Luz. Read on after the break for the full interview.

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The Ultimate Guide To 21 Products You Need Now

Let’s face it: architects are savvy, design-minded beings who usually approach their gadgets and gizmos with the same level of discretion and attention to detail that they approach their architecture. They settle for nothing less than pure, honest, functional products (and you can be sure that any of their devices or accessories look great, too). In the spirit of architects’ impeccable taste, ArchDaily has curated a list of exceptional products for you to add to your wishlist.

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Spotlight: Mario Botta

© Sanyam Bahga

Working since he was 16, Swiss architect Mario Botta (April 1, 1943) has become a prolific and well known crafter of space, designing a huge array of places of worship, private homes, and museums, perhaps most notably the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Mogno, Switzerland. His use of traditional masonry over the streamlined steel and glass of so much modern architecture creates strong, self-confident buildings that pull together the contrast between the weight of his and lightness of his designs.

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Architects’ Reactions to Frei Otto’s Pritzker Prize Win

© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf

After news of Frei Otto winning the 2015 Pritzker Prize broke, the internet was filled with comments on his influence on the profession over the past half a century of architecture. Of course, with the news of the Pritzker sadly packaged with news of his death, the impulse for many to offer some words in remembrance heightened the outpouring of opinion.

In addition, Otto was especially popular among some of architecture’s most established names; in a tweet, the New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman revealed that among the prominent advocates pushing for him to be awarded the prize were past laureates Renzo Piano and Shigeru Ban. With that in mind, we collected the thoughts and reactions of some of the leading architects today, revealing the respect held for Otto within the profession.

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Pratt Institute to Host 2 Free Symposiums in April

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Pratt Institute is presenting two architectural symposiums that are free and open to the public: “An Inventory of What’s Possible“ on April 10 and “The Language of Architecture and Trauma” on April 11, 2015. “An Inventory of What’s Possible” will focuse on the history of America’s affordable housing emerging from the research, architectural prototypes, and financing that occurred in New York, as well as the city’s future potential in response to Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan.

The second event, “The Language of Architecture and Trauma,” will observe modern responses to trauma including disaster relief, today’s “crisis culture,” and the role of writing in addressing trauma. Through the combined lenses of architecture, fine arts, anthropology, and poetics, the program will create a dialogue examining the role of writing in architectural production, and more broadly in affecting the world. For more information on either of these events, visit www.pratt.edu.