Francine Houben Named AJ’s Woman Architect of the Year 2014

Architects’ Journal has just announced that ’s Francine Houben has been chosen from an impressive shortlist of women architects as the winner of the Women in Architecture Awards.

In response to the honor, Francine Houben stated:“I feel privileged to be a woman, to be a mother and to be an architect, which was not always an easy combination. [...] I strongly believe that architecture is about teamwork, about being visionary and supportive at the same time. Women are especially good at that.”

More on Francine Houben, after the break…

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Reviewing RIBA’s City Health Report: Could Le Corbusier Have Been Right?

’s Olympic Park came replete with plenty of green public space. Image © Anthony Charlton

The RIBA‘s recent report “City Health Check: How Design Can Save Lives and Money” looks at the relationship between city planning and public health, surveying the UK‘s 9 largest cities in a bid to improve public health and thereby save money for the National Health Service. The report includes useful information for city planners, such as the idea that in general, it is quality and not quantity of public space that is the biggest factor when it comes to encouraging people to walk instead of taking transport.

Read on for more of the results of the report – and analysis of these results – after the break

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David Adjaye’s Wakefield Market Hall Faces Demolition

Wakefield Market Hall /

Yorkshire councilors have indicated the demise of ’s first public project, the Wakefield Market Hall. Faced with harsh budget cuts, the local council is considering an offer by Sovereign Land, owner of the neighboring shopping complex, after the heavily subsidized 6-year-old market has consistently failed to attract enough business. If next week’s council vote sways in the developers favor, the £3 million structure will be bulldozed and replaced by a cinema. 

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Presido Trust Rejects Shortlisted Proposals, Calls Off Competition

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum © Art Zendarski

This week, just two weeks after the three shortlisted teams submitted their revised proposals for Crissy Field, San Francisco’s Presidio Trust unanimously decided to end the competition. Though the competition raised high hopes over its 14-month duration that the Trust would transform the prominent 8-acre site into a “cultural institution of distinction,” its fate has been left to the “wind,” as the SFGate’s John King reports. This means, neither ’ self-titled cultural arts museum,  and the Chora Group’s sustainability institute, or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s  “park-based” cultural center will be realized. You can view each of the rejected proposals here and more details on the cancelation here.

Danish Maritime Museum / BIG, by Hufton + Crow

© Hufton + Crow

The talented photographers of Hufton + Crow have shared with us their visual archive of Bjarke Ingels’ recently completed Danish Maritime Museum. Built within the crevasse of a dry dock in the historic surrounds of Helsingor’s Kronborg Castle, the subterranean museum is visible only as an imprint of a ship. By looping the museum around the dock’s 60-year-old walls, Ingles was able to preserve the heritage structure while transforming it into a courtyard that provides daylight deep into the heart of the museum.

Experience the Danish Maritime Museum through a whole new lens, after the break…

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Southbank Scheme Likely to Be Abandoned

© Miller Hare

The Southbank Centre has announced that it is delaying its planning application once again. The decision has been prompted by comments from London Mayor Boris Johnson, who last month opined that the skate park should remain in its current location. An official statement from the said: “it is far from clear how the scheme might now proceed without exposing to unacceptable levels of financial risk but it has committed to a final three-month search.”

However, despite the three-month extension, Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite has all but admitted defeat, saying “we are under no illusions [...] we don’t yet see how we will make it work.”

Read on for more about the decision

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Sir Terry Farrell on UK Architecture & the “Urbi-Cultural Revolution”

Beijing South Station / . Image © Fu Xing

In this intriguing and often insightful two-part interview with Section D, Monocle‘s weekly design radio show, Sir Terry Farrell discusses at length the findings of his review into UK architecture as well as his views on the current state of architecture in the UK and the world. Looking to the future of the profession, Farrell says he sees architects as one of the key contributors to the world’s social future: ”We live in what we’ve built, we’re an urban-building creature… I call it the urbi-cultural revolution.”

Read more about the interview, and listen to both parts of the interview, after the break

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A McDonald’s Controversy Raises Debate on Designing for the Elderly

© Flickr CC User symmetry_mind

In an article for the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman gets to the bottom of an unusual local dispute: a McDonald’s in Queens, New York is kicking out groups of elderly Koreans who are out-staying their 20-minute welcome (and who have no access to spaces nearby). The story raises an important question: how can we design our cities with elder populations in mind (a generation on track to out-number all others in the next few years)? You can read this poignant tale in full here.

The Living Wins P.S.1 with Compostable Brick Tower

Courtesy of

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has selected ”Hy-Fi,” a “circular tower of organic and reflective bricks” designed by The Living (David Benjamin), as the winner of the 15th annual Young Architects Program (YAP) in . An exemplar of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy, the temporary installation will be built entirely from organic material via a new method of bio-design.

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Grimshaw Selected to Redevelop Ireland’s Most Prestigious Racecourse

© Grimshaw

The Irish Turf Club has selected Grimshaw, alongside collaborators Newenham Mulligan & Associates (NMA), amongst 100 other leading practices to envision a concept design for the modernization of ’s most prestigious thoroughbred race course.

Embedded within County ’s open plains, the historic Curragh Racecourse is need of a masterplan that preserves the site, upgrades facilities and respects the surrounding landscape. Grimshaw’s winning proposal promises to satisfy these requests, in addition to constructing a new grandstand that retains the “intimate and distinctive character” of the existing grounds.

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Four Practices Re-Envision Parking in Long Island Downtowns

Parks and Rides. Image © and the Long Island Index

Long Island’s downtowns have more than 4,000 acres of surface area dedicated to lots. That’s roughly 6.5 square miles of prime real estate, a phenomenon quite common in most American cities. When necessary, these lots are often exchanged for a standard “set of concrete shelves” that share little to no connection with their surroundings. This leads to the question, why must parking garages be so monofunctional and, well, ugly?

To help solve this nationwide issue, the Long Island Index challenged four leading architectural firms to envision a more innovative way to free up surface lot space in four Long Island communities.

See what they came up with, after the break…

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Six Firms Named 2014′s “New Practices New York”

Haffenden House /

The American Institute of America’s Chapter (AIANY) has selected six young, and “pioneering” firms as the winners of the 2014 New Practices New York portfolio competition. The award is designed “to recognize and promote” emerging practices that are less than a decade old and based within the five boroughs of New York City. As a result, each winner will be featured in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture from October 1, through January 15, 2015.

Without further ado, the 2014 New Practices New York winners are:

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Designing Security into Schools: A Special Report

A rendering of the New Utøya Project a redesign of Utøya Island in Norway – the location of a 2011 massacre. Image Courtesy of Fantastic Norway

When it comes to designing schools, security is always a big issue. This fact was thrown into sharp focus in December of 2012 after the Sandy Hook Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Last year, we featured an article discussing how design can deal with tragedy – both in order to prevent it and how to deal with the aftermath. Now, a report by Building Design and Construction investigates the measures that could prevent dangerous incidents. While they admit “it’s impossible to stop an armed madman who is hell-bent on killing”, the report has a number of simple and sensible recommendations which aid in preventing and responding to a threat. You can read the report here.

Neri Oxman Wins 2014 Vilcek Prize in Design

Rapid Craft, designed by .

As an immigrant “who has made lasting contributions to American society through extraordinary achievements in biomedical research and the arts and humanities,” Israeli-born designer and architect Neri Oxman has been selected as the 2014 Vilcek Prize in Design’s recipient.

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Adobe Photoshop Becomes a Tool for 3D Printing

YouTube Preview Image

Adobe has unveiled a major update to CC (Creative Cloud) with the hope that a “radically simplified 3D printing process” will make their the “go-to tool for anyone who wants to print a 3D model.” Their new allows for designers to create a model from scratch or refine an existing design leading to perfect print ready 3D models. Since one of the most common problems with 3D printing is the human errors in virtual modeling, Photoshop includes automatic mesh repair and will insert a support structure if necessary to ensure that the model will print reliably and without faults.

You can find out more about Adobe Photoshop and 3D Printing here. This update to Photoshop is already available for those who are subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Frank Gehry Chosen to Design Berlin’s Tallest Tower

© , Courtesy of Hines

Gehry Partners has been selected over David Chipperfield, and seven other practices in an invited competition for a 300-unit residential tower in Berlin. The winning proposal, deemed “the most compelling” by jury for its rotating stacks of sculptural, stone-clad cubes that rise up to 150 meters, is expected to be Berlin’s tallest skyscraper and Germany’s tallest residential tower.

“Gehry’s design is strong in visual expression and introduces an unusually eccentric, new pattern for this location. Nevertheless, the façade radiates agreeable tranquility. In addition, the design blends well with the neighborhood and conveys all aspects of metropolitan living,” commented Regula Lüscher, Senate Building Director.

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The New York City Cantilever: If You Can’t Go Up, Go Out

35XV Residences. Image Courtesy of FXFOWLE

New York City’s notoriously space-hungry market is converting the – perhaps made most famous in Frank Lloyd Wright’s floating Fallingwater residence of 1935 – from a mere move of architectural acrobatics to a profit-generating design feature. Driven by a “more is more” mantra, developers and architects are using cantilevers to extend the reach of a building, creating unique vistas and extended floor space in a market in which both are priced at sky-high premiums.

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Happy Birthday Alvar Aalto

© Nico Saieh

Alvar Aalto, born February 3,1898, would have turned 116 years old today. Known for his humanistic approach to modernism, Aalto was concerned about creating a total work of art. He did not simply design buildings but also paid close attention to their interior features, including furniture, lamps, and glassware design.

His architectural style began with Nordic Classicism and moved to International Style Modernism, and eventually evolved into a more synthetic and personal Modernism. He was one of the first and most influential architects of the Scandinavian modern movement. Aalto remains one of the greatest names in modern architecture.

To celebrate Aalto’s birth, we invite you to look back at his impressive collection of works: