London’s Battersea Arts Centre Goes Up in Flames

Image via BBC

UPDATE: Within 24-hours after the Battersea Arts Centre’s March 13th fire, the building re-opened and reconstruction efforts began. A fundraising campaign has been launched, aiming to help the rebuild the center’s Grand Hall and Lower Hall – both destroyed by the fire. Learn how you can donate, here

A major fire has broken out at the Battersea Arts Centre. The tower of the Grade-II listed building, known as a leading independent theater and arts venue in South , has reportedly collapsed. Thankfully no one has been injured.

Firefighters are working tirelessly to save the building. A cause is unknown, though it seems the blaze started in the building’s roof above its main hall in an area that is currently undergoing a 10-year-long, £13 million refurbishment led by Stirling Prize laureate Haworth Tompkins.

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Digitized Stone: ZAarchitects Develop “Smart Masonry”

Courtesy of ZAarchitects

When one hears the term masonry architecture, and automated processes are probably not the first ideas to come to mind. By its very nature, the architecture produced with stone masonry is often heavy, massive, and incorporates less natural light than alternative methods. However, with their research proposal for “Smart Masonry,” Zaarchitects are proposing to change masonry buildings as we know them and open opportunities for digital fabrication techniques in stone and other previously antiquated materials. Read on after the break to get a glimpse of what these new masonry buildings could look like and learn more about the process behind their construction.

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Places Journal Launches New Tool for Sharing Articles about Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism

Courtesy of

Do you have a stimulating read on architecture, landscapes, or urbanism you want to share with the world? Places Journal has launched an innovative interactive feature called Reading Lists designed to spread the word. Whether you have videos and to share with a peer, articles and books to compile for future perusal, or an annotated bibliography to create, Reading Lists is sure to simplify the process through its user-friendly and interdisciplinary platform. Check out the Featured Lists for inspiration and start your own list, here.

Call For Entries: World Architecture Festival 2015

WAF 2015: Suntec Singapore Convention Centre, Singapore

Now in its eighth year, the forthcoming 2015 World Architecture Festival  (WAF) will take place in Suntec in central Singapore following three days of intensive live presentations and judging. Following a $180 million modernisation programme, the redesigned space will host WAF’s soundproofed crit rooms, auditorium and Festival Hall Stage. Entries are now invited from architects and designers for the 2015 edition of what is described as “the biggest architectural programme in the world.” The are expected to attract more than 750 entries, around half of which will be shortlisted into thirty categories. The closing date for entries is the end of May, and shortlisting will take place in early June.

This year’s ‘superjurors’ include Royal Gold Medallist Sir Peter Cook (UK), Sou Fujimoto (Japan), Benedetta Tagliabue (Spain), Charles Jencks (UK/US), (Singapore) and Manuelle Gautrand (France).

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Michael Graves Dies at 80

© & Associates

Michael Graves died Thursday at the age of 80. Famous for his bold, symbolic references to classical architecture and his use of geometry, Graves is also known as one of the Five. His work bridged the abstraction of Modernism and the Postmodernism of the current era.

“No one has made a bigger impact on the world of architecture, certainly from Mercer County, than Michael Graves,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said. “Some people think architects are just people who draw up buildings. They are artists in themselves, and Michael was clearly an artist. He will be greatly missed by the Mercer County community.”

A statement from his practice and an interview with Graves, after the break.

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RSHP Unveils Plans for Two Tower Development in Bogotá

© RSHP

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has unveiled a massive commercial development planned for central Bogotá. The mixed-use project, ATRIO will be comprised of a 200-meter North Tower and 268-meter South Tower that will be connected by a large, open public space that will take up two thirds of the project’s site in the area of Centro Internacional on Avenida El Dorado and Avenida Caracas.

“The clients brief was not only to deliver class office accommodation but also to create a new public space at the heart of the city. The project is a really exciting opportunity to contribute to the resurgence of a civic society in Bogota,” says Simon Smithson, Partner and lead designer at RSHP.

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David Chipperfield Chosen to Expand New York’s Met Museum

The Met. Image Image via Wikipedia

The in New York has tapped British architect David Chipperfield to design its new Southwest Wing for modern and contemporary art. The commission, a result of an international competition, aims to increase gallery space, double the size of the museum’s popular roof garden, and establish accessible on-site storage. “The new design will also enhance gallery configuration and visitor navigation throughout the Southwest Wing, and support a more open dialogue between the Museum and Central Park,” says the architects.

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Foster + Partners Reveal Plans for Toronto’s Second Tallest Tower

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Foster + Partners has unveiled plans for an 80-story mixed-use tower that will rise 318-meters on a prominent site in downtown Toronto at One Bloor West. The city’s second tallest building, “The One” skyscraper aims to “pioneer a new model of vertical retail” with an expansive, 60-meter commercial base that will anchor dense housing.

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Rafael de La-Hoz and ADRI-HIT Chosen to Construct Cultural Centre in Meishan

Courtesy of Arquitectos

Spanish studio Rafael de La-Hoz and Chinese design institute Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of (ADRI-HIT) have been announced as the winners of a competition to construct a new cultural centre in Meishan, China. Located in Sichuan province in the nation’s south, the complex will combine a sports centre with five museums, a library, and exhibition hall.

Occupying a sprawling 260,000-square-meters, the new complex is sited near the campus of the University of Meishan, and responds to the terraced topography of Sichuan’s rice paddies. Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.

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“Epicentre of Tallinn” Seeks Ideas for Intersections of the Future

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Tallinn Architecture Biennale has announced the vision competition “Epicentre of Tallinn” to find a design solution for intersections in the future, when only self-driving 
cars will drive on the city streets. The international one-stage architecture competition invites entries by the end of May. Read on to learn more.

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Controversy Shrouds Chicago’s Plan for the Barack Obama Presidential Library

One of the ’s proposed parkland sites. Image Courtesy of

The competition to host the new Barack Obama Presidential Library has generated quite a stir, attracting proposals from cities across the United States with Chicago emerging as the current front runner. Amid the debate, that is expected to end with a decision later this month, a new controversy has surfaced on the coattails of the University of Chicago’s speculative plan. The proposed concept involves a land transfer for the library to occupy one of two historic parks designed by iconic landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 1870s. Read more about the heated debate over using public parkland to house the library, here.

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Pritzker Laureate Frei Otto

Hall at the International Garden Exhibition, 1963, Hamburg, Germany © Atelier Warmbronn

Frei Otto passed away this past Monday, a day before being internationally celebrated as the Pritzker Prize’s 40th laureate. The first architect to ever receive the Prize posthumously, Otto was a brilliant inventor, architect and engineer who pioneered some of history’s most ambitious tensile structures.

In honor of his legacy, we’ve complied 12 fascinating facts about Otto’s life that influenced his career and shaped the profession. Read them all, after the break.

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2015 Pritzker Prize Winner Frei Otto’s Work in 10 Images

Roofing for main sports facilities in the Olympic Park for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Image © Atelier Warmbronn

On Tuesday evening the Pritzker Prize jury named Frei Otto as the 40th recipient of the award, making him the second German to receive the award and the first winner to receive it posthumously. Otto was both an architect and a structural engineer, perhaps best known for the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium.

With regards to their decision the jury highlighted Otto’s “visionary ideas, inquiring mind, belief in freely sharing knowledge and inventions, his collaborative spirit and concern for the careful use of resources.”

Enjoy 10 photos of Otto’s projects after the break.

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Frei Otto Posthumously Named 2015 Pritzker Laureate

© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf

Frei Otto has just been named the 40th recipient of the Pritzker Prize - two weeks prior to the expected official announcement. The abrupt news has been released early due the unfortunate passing of the German architect and structural engineer, who was best known for the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium. The pioneering tensile structure, which stood in considerable contrast to the strict, authoritarian stadium that was its predecessor, was meant to present a different, more compassionate face for Germany.

“Throughout his life, Frei Otto has produced imaginative, fresh, unprecedented spaces and constructions. He has also created knowledge. Herein resides his deep influence: not in forms to be copied, but through the paths that have been opened by his research and discoveries,” says the Jury.

“His contributions to the field of architecture are not only skilled and talented, but also generous. For his visionary ideas, inquiring mind, belief in freely sharing knowledge and inventions, his collaborative spirit and concern for the careful use of resources, the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded to Frei Otto.”

Though he sadly passed away before the award ceremony, Otto was informed of his win by the Pritzker Prize’s Executive Director Martha Thorne, who traveled to his home in Warmbronn to inform him of his prize. Speaking shortly after her visit, he said: “I am now so happy to receive this Pritzker Prize and I thank the jury and the Pritzker family very much. I have never done anything to gain this prize. My architectural drive was to design new types of buildings to help poor people especially following natural disasters and catastrophes… You have here a happy man.”

Read the Jury’s full citation after the break…

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Jiřičná, Meier And Pawson Appointed To Design Residential Development Near Prague

Proposal: John Pawson (Chateau Aerial View). Image Courtesy of Oaks

Three practices have been appointed to the design team for Oaks Prague, a new rural residential development located in the commune of Popivičky, close to the city of Prague. John Pawson, Richard Meier + Partners and Eva Jiřičná with AI-Design have drawn up design proposals for key buildings for the scheme, which is managed by the Czech development company Arendon. In November last year, ten practices were shortlisted in a competition to design housing schemes for the €400 million, 220-home “residential and lifestyle development” in Popivičky.

The entire development, which has previously been master-planned by EDSA assisted by Chapman Taylor and John Thompson & Partners, “responds to the form, layout and vernacular of the surrounding Czech villages.”

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Mei and Felixx Propose Housing for Postwar Residential Area in Munich

© Team Mei and Felixx

The largest housing association in Munich, GEWOFAG has awarded Mei Architects & Planners and Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners one of three prizes for their proposal to redevelop of a residential area of 340 dwellings around the Ludlstrasse in Munich.

“It is refreshing to see how the Dutch have dealt with this design task,” says the jury in regards to the team’s community-centric, winning scheme. “The Dutch are one step further in thinking about how neighborhoods should function.”

More about their winning entry ”Neue Nachbarschaften,” after the break.

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ADEPT Wins Competition to Design “Small Piece” of Flensburg

The green interior courtyard. Image ©

ADEPT has won a competition to design a new city gate in the German city of along Bahnhofstrasse – a central urban axis leading to the city’s main station. Designed as a “small piece of the city,” the winning proposal adapts itself to the existing typology by combining different types of “facade expressions” that creates a “playful synergy between new and old.”

“The proposal gives us a unique chance to transform and influence our future city at a very high level of quality and creativity – Bahnhofstrasse can really become a real and vibrant piece of city,” says the client.

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Frank Gehry to Redesign the “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / . Image © Gehry Partners, LLP

An overlooked strip mall at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards will soon be replaced by a mixed-use, walkable community designed by Frank Gehry. Known to be the “gateway to the Sunset Strip,” the West site will be comprised of 249 apartments, restaurants, retail storefronts and a central plaza – all within “an environmentally sensitive building that complements and contributes to the historic architecture in the neighborhood.”

“Frank Gehry’s deep understanding of the property, its history and the context will elevate the project to the iconic and timeless status that it deserves,” said Townscape partner and project developer Tyler Siegel.

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