UK Architecture Unemployment Falls to Pre-Crash Levels

© Rene de Wit

The number of unemployed architects in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since before the financial crisis, according to the Office of National Statistics. This is based on the number of architects claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, which fell to just 310 in May, a figure that has almost halved since May 2013 when 615 architects were claiming.

These statistics are backed up by observations revealed by the RIBA Future Trends Survey for May, released later this month, which reportedly shows a 10% increase in workload among UK practices.

More on the recovery of UK architecture after the break

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China’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014: Mountains Beyond Mountains

© Nico Saieh

From the Curators. By making space the manifestation of content and content an insight of the space, space and content are correlated in the in that content provides an explicit timeline of China’s 100 years’ of architectural thinking (dual theme threads), while space presents an implicit theme of Yi Xiang (imagery-scape) through the history of Chinese architecture.

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Competition Asks Young Architects to Transform Abandoned Factory into Cultural Center

Mention: ECOLE/AAKAA (Adrien Durrmeyer, Martin Le Bourgeois, Nicolas Simon, Max Turnheim, Nicolas Violette). Image Courtesy of Young Architects

In our progressively digitized world, factories are often left behind. Outdated and no longer capable of serving their original purpose, these vast spaces become vacant and full of potential. A recent Young Architect Competition (YAC), entitled Space to Culture, recognized this trend and called upon young minds to turn such a factory in Granarolo, Bologna into a center for culture and entertainment. The competition asked entrants to focus on the idea of temporality and ensure the re-purposed factory’s longevity through dynamic and flexible spaces. To see the winning entries, continue after the break.

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Ten Buildings Pushing The Boundaries of Wood

Perkins + Will UBC Earth Sciences Building. Image © Martin Tessler

Wood is the ultimate material - it’s renewable, sequesters carbon and more importantly, it’s buildable. Nevertheless is rarely used in tall, vertical construction. Now reThink wood has come out with their Tall Wood Survey (available in full on their website), which surveyed over 50 wood experts to explore three main areas in which wood is usually questioned: financing, insurance and performance. But beyond discussing the pros and cons of wood, the survey also highlights 10 projects that show how wood products are being used in ways you never thought existed. See all ten innovative projects, after the break. 

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NL Architects Chosen to Design Arnhem’s ArtA Center

View from the Rhine. Image ©

Amsterdam-based firm NL Architects have been selected to design Arnhem‘s new ArtA Center, a new public arts cluster that will house the Museum and Focus Cinema. Coming out on top in a shortlist which included BIG, Kengo Kuma & Associates and SO-IL, NL Architects’ terraced design features a rooftop urban park with views over the Rhine, subterranean movie halls and an adaptable, open plan stepped museum.

The jury’s decision commends the design for the way it “radiates enthusiasm”, and the “simple and clear” concept, as well as praising the “inventive and innovative” mentality of the architects.

More on the design and the jury’s selection after the break

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Happy Birthday Charles Eames

Ray and Charles Eames. Image Courtesy of Eames Office

Today Charles Eames – the taller half of modernism’s greatest power couple, Charles & Ray Eames - would have turned 107. Although perhaps best known for their furniture (particularly the Eames Lounge & Shell Chairs), the couple is well known in architectural circles for the home they designed in 1945 and subsequently lived in: the Eames House (or Case Study House No. 8, as it was part of the Arts & Architecture magazine’s “Case Study” program).

In honor of Charles Eames’ birthday, we’ve rounded up some fantastic videos: produced by the Eames themselves, HOUSE (a tour of their home) and Powers of Ten (their 1977 exploration of the universe’s magnitudes), this 1956 clip of the pair’s first TV appearance, a video of the construction of the Shell Chair and, at the Vitra Campus, the Eames Loungethe TED Talk delivered by the pair’s grandson, and the trailer to The Architect & The Painter (the must-watch documentary on the pair’s lives). See all the videos after the break!

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IAAC Invents a Family of Robots to 3D Print Structures of Any Size

The Grip Robot applies further layers to build up the shell. Image Courtesy of Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

One of the major challenges in translating 3D Printing technology into architecture has been the issue of scale. So far, this has generally resulted in ever larger printers, with one of the most successful examples being the KamerMaker, which has been used to 3D print a Dutch Canal House in 2x2x3.5 metre chunks. However, recognizing the limitations on the size of 3D printers, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia () has developed a family of three small, mobile robots which together can print a structure of any size.

Read on after the break for more on the process.

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ARCHIMUSIC: Illustrations Turn Music Into Architecture

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Federico Babina’s released his latest series of : Archimusic, architectural representations of 27 songs, from Miles Davis to Michael Jackson to Amy Winehouse. See all 27 after the break!

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“Visibility (Imposed Modernity)” – Kosovo’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

“Poi piovve dentro a l’alta fantasmi.” (“Then rained down within the high fantasy…”) Dante Alighieri (Purgatorio XVII.25)

From the Curators. has never absorbed modernity. Modernity has been a synonym of destruction and foreign aesthetics.

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Young Architects Taking Action at the Venice Biennale

Manuel Shvartzberg and Yolande Daniels reading the manifesto of The Architecture Lobby at the protest. Image © The Architecture Lobby

Among the Venice Biennale‘s two-pronged approach of hype and glamour on one hand, and artistry and theory on the other, it’s easy to forget that the event is one of the biggest gatherings of architects around – and as such represents a great opportunity to put the more prosaic concerns of the profession out in the open.

The New York-based Architecture Lobby took full advantage of the opportunity however, holding a protest outside the  on June 7th, the Biennale’s opening weekend. Through their protest, they aim to draw attention to declining working conditions in the profession, including low pay, long hours and insecure unemployment – particularly for young architects, who are the most precarious of all.

We reached out to Architecture Lobby member Tyler Survant to find out more about the Architecture Lobby’s presence in Venice, and the problems facing the profession. Read on after the break for the interview. 

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Joseph Rykwert and Stanton Williams Included in Queen’s Birthday Honours

. Image © Pawel MazurI CC Krakow

Architecture critic Joseph Rykwert has been rewarded for his services to criticism by the Queen, receiving a CBE in this year’s birthday honours list. The honour continues a good year for Rykwert, after being awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in September. Also included on the birthday honours list were Alan Stanton and Paul Williams, founders of the 2012 Stirling Prize-winning Stanton Williams, who each received an OBE.

Sverre Fehn’s Drawings for Venice’s Nordic Pavilion To Be Exhibited in Oslo

© Ferruzzi

Norwegian architect and Pritzker Laureate Sverre Fehn’s original drawings for the Nordic Pavilion in Venice are to be presented alongside Ferruzzi’s monochromatic photographs of the building in an exhibition at the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo. Venice: Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion documents the incredible task undertaken by Fehn who, at the age of thirty-four, won the competition to design the pavilion and subsequently won international acclaim when the building was completed in 1962.

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“Forms of Freedom: African Independence and Nordic Models” – The Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

From the Curators. The exhibition at the Pavilion has been titled FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Models. The exhibition explores and documents how modern architecture was an integral part of aid to East Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. The resulting architecture is of a scope and quality that has not previously been comprehensively studied or exhibited.

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The “Urban Interior” of Jimenez Lai’s Biennale Pavilion for Taiwan

UPDATE: We’ve added our interview with Jimenez Lai.

Jimenez Lai
, leader of Bureau Spectacular and curator of Taiwan’s Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale, claims that “domesticity is possibly one of the origins of architecture” and that “the standardization of the domestic program was…a very modern development.” Thus, Lai built nine single-program houses within the Palazzo della Prigioni, each dedicated to one specific domestic act–such as sleeping, eating, etc. The result is a vibrant, colorful response to Rem Koolhaas’ unifying theme: “Absorbing Modernity.”

Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan, delves into the part-to-whole relationship and political implications of our domestic lives. But Lai also believes that, from this relationship, we can learn something about the way that cities function. See more images from the exhibition and read on for the curator’s statement.

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Fair Concrete/La Feria Concreta: The Dominican Republic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

Under the direction of Laboratorio de Arquitectura Dominicana (LAD), the Dominican Republic’s first Pavilion at the Biennale explored the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and politics through the lens of the Feria de la Paz y Confraternidad del Mundo Libre (The Fair of Peace and Brotherhood of the Free World), celebrated in 1955 in Santo Domingo. The fair was an attempt by the dictator Rafael Trujillo to project to the outside world a vision of a modern country firmly under his dictatorial control.

The Fair – today the site of governmental institutions – was a turning point for Santo Domingo and modern architecture, forever altering the city and its urban limits.

Read the curators’ description and take a virtual tour of the pavilion after the break.

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“Lest We Forget” – UAE’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

From the Curators. Responding to the theme ‘Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014’ set by the curator of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Rem Koolhaas, ‘Lest We Forget: Structures of Memory in the United Arab Emirates,’ presents the seminal findings of a larger initiative to archive the history of architectural and urban development in the over the past century. With a concentrated emphasis on the 1970s-1980s, the exhibition examines how public and residential architecture, built within a rapidly expanding urban context, shaped the newly established federation and prepared the foundation for its emergence on a global stage.

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Hans Ulrich Obrist, Herzog & de Meuron, & Atelier Bow-Wow’s “Stroll Through a Fun Palace” – Switzerland’s Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

“We often invent the future with elements from the past.”

From the Curators. Within the Biennale’s context of re-examining the fundamentals of architecture over the past century, the Swiss focuses on the English architect Cedric Price (1925–2003) and the Swiss sociologist Lucius Burckhardt (1934–2003), two great visionaries whose work resonates with and continues to inspire the new generations of the 21st century.

Both were serial inventors. The trans-disciplinary cultural centre designed by Price, Fun Palace, for example, which was never realized, is emblematic of our own era. It lends itself more to the choreography of 21st century time-based exhibitions than to the object-based displays of the 20th century; it fosters a more communal experience, largely free to operate outside its material limits, and ventures into other realms of human experience. In Price’s own words, “a 21st century museum will utilize calculated uncertainty and conscious incompleteness to produce a catalyst for invigorating change whilst always producing the harvest of the quiet eye”.1

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“Places of Memory” – Turkey’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

From the Curators. Rather than conducting a historical account of modern epoch in Turkey, presenting an exhaustive catalogue, or trying to capture its unique local attributes, “Places of Memory” attempts to explore the main theme of the biennial via perceptions and experiences.

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