Venice Biennale 2014: Hans Ulrich Obrist and Herzog & de Meuron Collaborate on Swiss Pavilion

Venice Biennale 2012: Switzerland Pavilion. Image © Nico Saieh

Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, has been chosen as curator for the Swiss pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Inspired by director ’ theme, “Fundamentals,” Obrist recalled the first architects he ever met, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, and invited them to collaborate on the exhibition. 

“When I was invited to do the pavilion, I thought working with [Herzog and de Meuron] fit in with the whole idea of the biennale this year – looking to the past, and using the past as a toolbox to create the future,” Obrist told ARTINFO UK.  

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OMA to Design 550-Foot Residential Tower in San Francisco

Site Image. Via Curbed

As part of an initiative to raise money for the Transbay Transit Center, the City of has sold a $72 million, city-owned parcel to developer Related of California that will pave the way for a 550-foot, OMA New York-designed residential tower. Located on Folsom Street, between First and Fremont streets, the new tower will be a mix of condominiums and rental apartments, of which 27 percent must be affordable to residents making 60 percent of the area’s median income ($58,250 for a family of four, according to SFGate). We will keep you posted as more details become available. 

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Competition Entry: Austrian Pavilion (Milan Expo 2015) / Paolo Venturella

© wemage, Courtesy of

Placing fifth in the international competition to design the Austrian Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo, Paolo Venturella’s concept is designed as an extruded version of the Austrian mountain house that connects two major programs: an exhibition space and “big green-house.” To the north, the elevated exhibition space is shielded by a fabric sheathing which diminishes as it moves towards the greenhouse, south, where visitors are presented with a fresh vegetable garden, bar and restaurant that serves traditional cuisine. 

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Architects Rally to Save Moscow’s Historic Shukhov Tower

Richard Pare, Shabolovka Radio Tower, Moscow, . , 1922. Image © Richard Pare 2007

Tadao Ando, Elizabeth Diller, Rem Koolhaas and Thom Mayne are among the many signing a petition to urge Russian president Vladimir V. Putin to reconsider the fate of the neglected Shabolovka Radio Tower (Shukhov Tower), “a structure of dazzling brilliance and great historical importance,” as Norman Foster once described. Designed by Vladimir Shukhov and completed in 1922, the 160-meter hyperboloid structure is a 20th-century engineering feat that has served as a landmark of modernist architecture. 

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Toyo Ito Awarded 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture

Museum of Architecture (Click image for a preview of Ito’s work). Image © Iwan Baan

Toyo Ito has been selected to join a distinguished roster of laureates, including Mies van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, Jane Jacobs and Maya Lin, as the 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medalist in Architecture. Presented by the University of Virginia, in collaboration with the at Monticello, the award recognizes significant “achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, excelled and held in high regard.”

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Shigeru Ban Selected to Design Mount Fuji World Heritage Center

© Shigeru Ban Architects

Shigeru Ban was pulled from a selection of 238 competitors as the “best person” to the new World Heritage Center in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan. The 4,300 square meter structure is expected to cost up to ¥2.4 billion and complete in the year 2016. We will keep you posted as more details become available.

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Francisco Mangado-Led Team Wins Thermal Bath Competition in Southern France

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The Spanish office of Francisco Mangado in collaboration with French offices V2S architectes, Terrell, SACET, Alayrac, and GAMBA Acoustique Architecturale & Urbaine, has won an international competition to convert the old Thermal Hospital of the municipality of Amélie-les-Bains in southern France into a spa.

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KAAN Tapped to Transform Heritage Site into Dutch Think Tank

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The Hague government officials have named KAAN Architecten’s for the Facilicom Consortium PPS B30 as winner of the PPP contract for the Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 project. Originally built in 1917 for the Department of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, KAAN is expected to transform the existing National Heritage Site facilities into a vibrant and open “modern day think tank” for the Dutch government.

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New Images: Inside Steven Holl’s Sifang Art Museum

© Sifang Museum

Steven Holl Architects has shared with us an impressive gallery of images of their recent project, Nanjing’s Sifang Art Museum. Rising above the lush landscape of the Pearl Spring, the new museum was designed as a physical manifestation of the parallel perspective, a technique prevalent in early Chinese paintings. From a subtly distorted courtyard with no vanishing points to an upper level gallery with calculated views and pristine light, the experience through the Sifang Art Museum is unlike any other.

See for yourself, after the break…

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The Question of Preserving Melbourne’s Modernism

Total House, one of the buildings at the center of the debacle. Image © Flickr CC User Rory Hyde

Melbourne newspapers are reporting on an argument breaking out over the preservation of the city’s postwar modernist buildings, centering (as ever) on the dispute between their value as cultural heritage vs their ‘ugliness’ (you can see all the contested buildings in a neat graphic at The Age). While many are in favor of preservation, Alan Davies, in anarticle for Crikey, warns that the cultural benefit in protecting these buildings should always be weighed against the cost of preventing the developments that would have taken their place. Read the full article here.

120 HOURS Competition Winners Announced

First Prize: Architecture / Antariksh Tandon, Jennifer Tu Anh Phan. Image Courtesy of 120 HOURS

This year’s 120 HOURS competition challenged young architects from around the world to a communicative icon of sustainability for the festival grounds of the Norwegian Øya Music Festival. With 2989 participants from 83 countries, it claims this year’s title for the world’s biggest architecture competition, for and by students. Enough drum-rolling, let’s take a look at the winning designs after the break…

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2014 Emerging Visions Winners Announced

Helsinki South Harbor. Image © Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell (PORT)

The Architectural Club has named Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell of PORT Architecture + Urbanism and Grant Gibson of CAMES/gibson winners of this year’s Emerging Visions. Since its inauguration in 1998, the portfolio competition has sought to recognize significant endeavors by young architects, designers and new practices in Chicago. Works designed by the recipients will be on display at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago. More information, here

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Heatherwick to Transform Cape Town’s Grain Silo into Contemporary Art Museum

Interior. Image Courtesy of

Imagine forty-two, 33 meter high concrete tubes each with a diameter of 5.5 meters, with no open space to experience the volume from within. The brief from the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) for London-based Heatherwick Studio was to “reimagine the Grain Silo Complex at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with an architectural intervention inspired by its own historic character,” calling for a “solution unique for Africa” in order to create “the highest possible quality of exhibition space for the work displayed inside.” Heatherwick’s response will be the creation of a “a new kind of museum in an African context.”

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Janet Echelman’s Largest Aerial Sculpture To Premiere in Vancouver

© Ema Peter / Studio Echelman

American Artist Janet Echelman is to premiere her latest, and largest, sculpture in Vancouver. Widely known for her artistic ability to reshape urban airspace, Echelman’s sophisticated mixture of ancient craft and modern technology has led to collaborations with aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators to “transform urban environments world wide with her net sculptures.” Using a light weight fibre to elevate her monumental “breathing” forms above the streets of urban centres, Echelman’s new sculpture will be of a size and scale never before attempted.

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Berlin Wall Memorials Prove Controversial, Fall Behind Schedule

The design for the Memorial, by Marc Weiss and Martin de Mattia. Image © M+M / ANNABAU

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this autumn, Germany planned two memorials, one in Berlin and one in Leipzig. However, as Der Spiegel reports, not only are they almost certainly not going to be complete in time for the anniversary, they have both proven highly controversial with the local people. Will these designs turn out to be monuments to German reunification, or just monumental failures? Read the article on Der Spiegel to find out more.

Stoss + SHoP Beat Out Bofill, OMA for Downtown Dallas Re-Design

© Stoss + SHoP, Courtesy of A/N

The results are in: has selected Stoss + SHoP’s “Hyper Density Hyper Landscape” (HDHL) over finalists Ricardo Bofill and +AMO to reunite its downtown with the neighboring Trinity River. The winning team’s pragmatic approach aims to activates the region’s “full potential” by introducing an alternating “grid-green” development that will transform 176 acres into three new “dynamic, mixed-used” neighborhoods.

“The idea is very clear and compelling,” stated the jury. “There’s much left to be resolved in details but the diagram of the green coming into the city and the city going into the Trinity is a very powerful diagram that should become a strategy for managing change as the community moves forward.”

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Aires Mateus Chosen to Design University of Architecture, Tournai

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The prestigious Portuguese office Aires Mateus – formed by brothers Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus – has won a competition to the new headquarters of the University of Architecture in Tournai, Belgium.

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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Taps Selldorf to Design Expansion

La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art . Image © Flickr CC User Kansas Sebastian

New York-based Selldorf Architects has been summoned to the West Coast to design an expansion that will triple the size of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s (MCASD) campus in La Jolla. Chosen after a competitive country-wide search, Selldorf is expected to add an addition 20,000 square feet of exhibition space, which will provide opportunities for temporary exhibitions and large scale installations, as well as house the museum’s 4,571-piece permanent collection.

According to the museum, Selldorf was ultimately chosen due to her reputation of designing spaces that enhance, rather than upstage, the subject it serves.

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