Odile Decq to Launch A New Kind of Architecture Institute: ‘Confluence’

Courtesy of architectes urbanistes

Odile Decq has announced that she is launching a new kind of architecture school based upon the idea of “Confluence,” an educational framework that “erases the predefined limits of the traditional academic structures for the benefit of the collaboration of talents, thoughts and disciplines.”

The Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, which will be located in in Lyon, France, will bring together “Architects, critics, artists, thinkers, philosophers, film-makers, scientists, engineers and manufacturers” in order to develop an architecture that develops ideas unconstrained by “stylistic prejudice or ideology.” More on this new initiative, after the break.

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AIA Awards Four with 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

The American Institute of Architects () has selected the recipients of the 2014 . The award, to be presented at the 2014 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago, recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession. Among this year’s winners include the ACE Mentor Program, the National Building Museum, the AIA New York’s “Post-Sandy Initiative,” and computer-aided design pioneer Rick Smith. You can learn more about the awardees here.

Edouard François Designs Mixed-Use “Gardens of Anfa” for Casablanca

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Maison Edouard François has masterplanned a new mixed-use neighborhood for the Moroccan city : “The Gardens of Anfa.” Scheduled for completion in 2017, the plan calls for three mid-rise residential towers, a low-rise office tower, and a series of residential blocks connected by a central piazza and concealed within a lush multicolored landscape. Each “organically-shaped” tower will be enhanced by a trellised facade that fosters the growth of bougainvilleas and jasmine, further camouflaging the structure and “demarcating the limits of a garden.”

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Soundscape Architecture: A New Way to Experience Famous Buildings

The inside of the Guggenheim Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Fernando Carrasco

There are many forms of architectural representation – from sketches to construction drawings to photographs – but they all privilege vision over any of the other senses. This problem has perhaps only been exacerbated by the internet, which has made it easier to ‘experience’ buildings from afar, to the detriment of four of the five senses.

Now though, Karen Van Lengen, the Kenan Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, has created Soundscape Architecture, a website that aims to redress this imbalance. In collaboration with artist James Welty and musician Troy Rogers, Van Lengen has used recordings of iconic architectural spaces to create synaesthetic animations and musical compositions of the ambient noise there.

Read on after the break for more about Soundscape Architecture

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Dear MoMA, Couldn’t the Nouvel Tower Save the American Folk Art Museum?

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

In this Metropolis Magazine post on MoMA‘s planned demolition of the American Folk Art Museum, Karrie Jacobs asks a strangely unasked question: How has the Nouvel Tower – in its day the most controversial of MoMA’s expansion plans - not been brought into the debate? The Jean Nouvel-designed tower was predicated up a circulation plan that, by necessity, ignored the (then occupied) Folk Art Museum entirely. Why is this plan no longer possible? Read the fascinating argument here.

UA Studio 7 and Aedas’ Central Business District for Hongqiao Airport Now Underway

Courtesy of UA Studio 7

Urban Architecture (UA Studio 7) and Aedas‘ winning proposal for the Hongqiao Central Business District has broke ground at Shanghai’s domestic Hongqiao Airport, mainland ’s fourth busiest airport. The 18.4 hectare office and retail center, masterplanned by UA, has been divided into two parts: UA Studio 7 will design the office district, “a flower with eight leaves,” while Aedas designs the shopping, hotel, and conference center along a “bow curve” of pedestrian flow.

According to UA, the winning scheme’s success was “due to a highly energy-efficient architecture proposal combined with an urban plan that allows for pedestrian-friendly spaces.”

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Arctic Harvester Proposes Large-Scale Hydroponic-Farming Near Greenland

Courtesy of Design Team

Arctic Harvester was the first prize winning entry in the “Innovation and Architecture for the Sea” category of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation International Architecture Competition, 2013.  It proposes an itinerant soil-less agricultural designed to drift the circulating ocean currents between and Canada, exploiting the nutrient-rich fresh water released by melting icebergs as the basis for a large-scale hydroponic-farming system. The floating facility is equipped to house a community of 800 people, inspired in its compact urban form by vertically oriented, bayside Greenlandic villages and their social, cultural and economic relationship to the sea.

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2014 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture Recipients

Convention 2014, June 26‒28, Chicago

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected James L. Abell, FAIA, Carole J. Olshavsky, FAIA, and Robert G. Shibley, FAIA, as recipients for the 2014 for Public Architecture. The award recognizes excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement in three categories: Private-sector architects who have established a portfolio of accomplishment in the design of architecturally distinguished public facilities (category 1); public-sector architects who manage or produce quality design within their agencies (category 2); and public officials or other individuals who by their role of advocacy have furthered the public’s awareness and/or appreciation of design excellence (category 3). Learn more about the recipients, after the break.

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NL Architects Shortlisted to Design ArtA Cultural Center in Arnhem

Rhine View. Image ©

Amsterdam-based NL Architects has been shortlisted, alongside three other prestigious teams, to design a new “ArtA” museum and film house for the city of . Uniting four main programs – a cinema, art square, museum and park – the “wedge-shaped” structure is designed as an “urban moraine” that cascades towards the city and invites residents to experience the Rhine from an elevated parkway. This formation grants pedestrians two options for museum access: up the Baroque-inspired rooftop park or through the ground level “Art Square” which serves as a “public intermediary” between the building and city, as well as the museum and film theatre.

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DEFAULT!: The Latest Issue from another pamphlet

Last night, another pamphlet launched its sixth issue, DEFAULT!, at ’s Printer Matter, Inc. With contributions from CODA’s Caroline O’Donnell (winner of the 2013 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program), critic Sylvia Lavin, Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna (of Fake Industries) and others, this installment tackles the presupposition that “design inherently denies the default, and that the default is by definition un-designed.” Copies of DEFAULT! are available through their website. More information after the break.

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Skyscrapers Shedding Ice in NYC

One World Trade Center as seen from the Hudson River. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia

As begins to thaw after record breaking winter conditions, city dwellers are forced to be on high alert for falling ice. Streets surrounding the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center have been closed following reports of ice shearing from its surface. Some blame the more energy efficient buildings for the deadly occurrence, believing that because the newer structures are able to hold in more heat their exteriors remain colder which aids the formation of ice. Materials and building form can help prevent this phenomena. You can learn more here.

Details Emerge on Johnston Marklee’s Design for the Menil Drawing Institute

© Johnston Marklee

The Menil Collection has unveiled details of the long-awaited Menil Drawing Institute, designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, . The modest, $40 million institute is projected to be the first freestanding facility in America dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, as well as the Menil’s first major expansion under the ambitious 30-acre master plan designed by David Chipperfield Architects.

Details on the design, after the break…

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Kengo Kuma Presents Shortlisted Design for ArtA “Civic Center” in Arnhem

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Kengo Kuma, one of four renowned architects competing to design the highly anticipated ArtA cultural center in , has shared details about their shortlisted proposal. Enveloped in an “elegant filigree screen” of contextually prevalent red clay roof tiles, the “multileveled Arts Square” is designed to serve as “the living room of the city.” Its main programs, the Focus Film Theatre and Museum , are united by a series of green terraces whose main purpose is to reconnect the inner city to its “unexploited resource,” the Rhine River.

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10 Unbuilt Projects Honored With Progressive Architecture Award

© RUR Architecture

ARCHITECT Magazine has named 10 projects that will be honored with this year’s Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award. The annual award, now in its 61st edition, recognizes projects for being an exemplar of innovation and design excellence.

The winners, after the break…

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“Why Do Women Really Leave Architecture” Is the Wrong Question

Birmingham Library / Mecanoo. Mecanoo’s Francine Houben was named Architect Journal’s Woman Architect of the Year. Image © Christian Richters

, shortlisted for The Architect’s Journal’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year, has just published an article in The Architectural Review titled “Why do Women Really Leave Architecture?” – an article that, like many over the last year, attempts to tackle the tricky question of why women (who make up over 40% of architecture students in the US but only 23% of the profession) leave architectureFor the first few paragraphs, I was nodding in agreement, eagerly reading something that - finally - promised to offer a different perspective on the “women in architecture” question.

Unfortunately, a few paragraphs later, all that promise falls terribly flat. Smith spends a good amount of time setting up a fabulous argument, and then – disappointingly – falls into the very traps she was hoping to break wide open. By the article’s conclusion, I was less satisfied than when I started, wondering: is this even the right question we should be asking?

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Happy Birthday Louis Kahn

Looking at His Tetrahedral Ceiling in the Yale University Art Gallery, 1953. Gelatin silver print. Image © Lionel Freedman. Yale University Art Gallery Archives Transfer.

Louis Kahn, the American architect known for combining Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments, was born 113 years ago today. His contemporary Philip Johnson once said of him that “he was his own artist. He was free, compared to me.”

Kahn might be categorized as a late Modernist, and a hugely influential one at that. He is perhaps best known for the Salk Institute, the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, the Exeter Library and Kimbell Art Museum. His last completed design, for the Four Freedoms Park in , was also finally completed in 2012

The impression he left as an individual is equally as mythical. His sometimes esoteric but always insightful understanding of architecture led to him to being often described as a ‘mystic’ or a ‘guru’, and a complex private life inspired his son to film the Academy Award Nominated documentary “My Architect” in 2003.

On the occasion of his birthday, we think there is no better celebration than to rediscover his stunning catalog of works - see them all, after the break.

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Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture (UABB) VALUE FACTORY February Program

The Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, which enters its final weeks, has already welcomed more than 120,000 visitors. The offers a jam packed program to conclude a very inspiring UABB 2013. From now until the end of February, visitors can enjoy tours, workshops, exhibitions, performances and debates. Check out this month’s full program after the break. 

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First-Place Winner of Santiago Landmark Competition: Smiljan Radic + Gabriela Medrano + Ricardo Serpell

Courtesy of Winning Team

Smiljan Radic, Gabriela Medrano, and  have won a competition to design a new landmark for Santiago, Chile: an antenna tower to be placed on the summit of San Cristobal Hill, in the heart of the city. The “Santiago Antenna Tower,” a unique telecommunications tower with panoramic views, should be completed in 2017, in time for the centenary of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago.

Further detail and the architect’s description of the project, after the break.

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