European architects can now compete in the UK’s prestigious Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA). Now in its 16th year, YAYA is the only prize that recognizes the UK’s most promising new architectural practice and is a crucial means of allowing new practices to emerge.
Speaking at MIPIM, the international property fair in Cannes last week, BD Editor-in-Chief Amanda Baillieu said: “Over time, YAYA has proved itself as a consistently strong means of identifying the most promising young architects of each generation. But, since the prize was launched, the world has changed and the best architects in the UK now have to compete with their counterparts abroad. More than any other, this is a global profession so it makes sense to extend YAYA’s helping hand to the rest of Europe.”
William McDonough of William McDonough + Partners has decided to become Stanford University‘s first “living archive” in an effort to change the way we as humans remember and record our daily lives. Although technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo have made verbal and visual documentation a much larger part of our lives, McDonough has decided to record nearly every moment of his day – every day – for the greater, intellectual good.
Read more on McDonough’s archiving process…
Britain’s Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Department for Education have released blueprints for the baseline design for schools that they believe “demonstrate good practice that can be achieved within [a] set cost and area allowances.” The government’s goal is to reduce the cost of new school buildings from the previous £21m to less than £14m each for the replacement of 261 of the most run-down schools in the country.
These new schools, however, will be 15% smaller than the ones designed originally under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) program, potentially compromising important spaces such as corridors, assembly halls, canteens and atriums. Many teachers have expressed concern for these changes, as they could lead to congestion, bad behavior among students and would “undermine attempts to maximize the value for money of school buildings by making them available for community functions after hours.”
Architects and the architecture community at large are also worried about the design implications of such a standardized school building prototype – how will it interact with the existing school buildings and how could restricted design affect Britain’s educational system?
More after the break…
The Ponte Tower is a residential high-rise in Johannesburg, South Africa with a unique history and now a promising future. It was designed by architect Manfred Hermer in the 1970′s to be one of the most desirable places to live in the city, with an iconic, hollowed out interior, three-story apartments and rooftop jacuzzis. Over time, however, the building fell into disrepair and instead of serving as an icon of extreme wealth and prosperity, it became an icon of poverty and indifference. In still racially-divided South Africa, this was marked by the moving out of whites and the moving in of a primarily black population as property values plummeted. It has been associated with high levels of crime, a lack of sanitariness and even suicides, thanks to the building’s hollow core.
Recently, however, the derelict Ponte Tower has received more attention from investors and the architect himself, who doesn’t necessarily want to restore the building to its former glory but wishes to at least make it a decent place to live. The introduction of stringent security has encouraged more open-minded, middle-class citizens to move in, hoping for a profitable return as the Ponte Tower continues to grow in terms of value. Watch this featured video for more on the building’s comeback and what it will mean for its current and future residents. (more…)
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA, as the 2013 recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. Established in 1972, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award honors architects and organizations that champion a range of social issues, including affordable housing, minority inclusion and access for persons with disabilities. Gantt is being recognized for his efforts as a noted civil rights pioneer, public servant and award-winning architect.
More about Gantt after the break… (more…)
East Moline, Illinois, will soon have an all new, highly developed waterfront mixed use area that will include park space, retail and commercial areas and luxury apartments along its Mississippi River front. The $150 million development will be a host to 300 apartment units, senior citizen housing, condominiums, storage facilities, a sports recreational center, medical facilities along with a variety of amenities that includes neighborhood retail shops, food courts, banks, pharmacies and restaurants, hotels and a central park with a band shell. At over 3.5 million square feet, Fountainhead Quad Cities - developed by Beitler Real Estate Services with James DeStefano of LVD Architecture as the master planner – will bring new residents to the area while attracting the thousands of motorists that pass through the region today.
More after the break.
Since the remains of Richard III were discovered beneath a car-park near Leicester Cathedral last year, the local church has been left with a perplexing question: what to do with him now? The King’s remains are an important part of English history, and an important tourist attraction, but how should they mark his final resting place?
In response to this issue, Cathedral authorities have launched a design competition asking selected architects to submit ideas for a new tomb for King Richard that will be located in the Gothic Cathedral. The brief is an unusually delicate one; the architects submissions will have to consider appropriate symbolism and practicality in their design, not to mention the challenge of designing, in a modern age, the grave of someone who lived centuries ago. They also need to be mindful of the controversy surrounding the King, as the brief states: “Richard demonstrated both the honorable and dishonorable characteristics of human beings.” Some consider him a great English King, while others, a bloodthirsty tyrant.
Read more about the brief and see an early submission after break…
Following on from their previous ‘videopolemic’ tribute to Lebbeus Woods, 32BNY has released their second video featuring artist and designer Vito Acconci’s response to the question, “Is architecture art?”. Having straddled both architecture and art throughout his carrer, Acconci is cleary comfortable in discussing their relationship, as he talks passionately about the importance of putting people at the center of both. “Because architecture is used… it can possibly be misused, and once it is misused, I think, the user goes one step further…than the architect”.
More about Acconci after the break…
The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has selected five design teams in a worldwide Architecture/Engineering Design Services solicitation to rehabilitate/renovate facilities that “represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, maintainability, art, culture, and construction execution.”
Scheduled to be the tallest tower in China and the second tallest building in the world by 2015, Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 660-meter-high Ping’an International Finance Center has received a major unexpected set back. Following an industrywide inspection conducted last week, Shenzhen government officials have discovered a low-quality sea sand has been used by developers to create substandard concrete for KPF’s supertall skyscraper and at least 15 other buildings under construction.
Although sea sand lures contractors by costing significantly less than standard river sand, it contains a deadly mixture of salt and chloride that corrodes steel in concrete and threatens the structural integrity of a building over time.
According to Bloomberg, Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau found 31 companies violated industry rules and ordered eight of them to suspend business for one year in the city for using substandard sea sand to make concrete.
Development corporation ADIM Nord with MVRDV and de Alzua+ have been announced the winners of an urban renewal competition in the French town of Villeneuve d’Ascq. Dubbed ‘The Beam’, the winning proposal will transform a cluster of disused parking lots and a former petrol station into a dense, pedestrianized haven, whose 15,000 square meters of offices, retail space and lodging will hover over the adjacent motorway as a icon of a larger urban regeneration effort for the town center.
More information on The Beam after the break…
Out of 140 architects considered, 12 architects have been selected by the Nobel Foundation to compete to design their new home, a Nobel Center in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. The conspicuously European selection, chosen for their “design and artistic abilities and experience working in intricate urban environments,” includes some very big names – including BIG, David Chipperfield Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and OMA. The only non-Europeans to compete will be SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.
See the full list of competitors, and more information on the competition, after the break…
Foster + Partners have received the green light from the Lambeth Council for three mixed use towers on the 20-21 Albert Embankment in London. Ranging from 15 to 27 stories, the curved steel and glass structures will provide the area with 253 apartments, including affordable homes for senior living, along with offices, restaurants and a residents’ bar, gym, pool and spa.
Grant Brooker, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners: “We are absolutely delighted that 20-21 Albert Embankment has received planning permission – working alongside our clients at St. James and with great support from Lambeth and the GLA, we hope to transform this important and highly visible site into a vibrant riverside community that sets a benchmark for the regeneration of this part of the river.”
More after the break…
An increasing demand for design services in the United States continues to strengthen the Architecture Billings Index (ABI). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has reported the February ABI score as 54.9, up slightly from a mark of 54.2 in January. This score reflects a strong increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). In addition, the new projects inquiry index was 64.8, higher than the reading of 63.2 the previous month and its highest mark since January 2007.
“Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.”
Key February ABI highlights:
Both Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright can be found on a lengthy list of architects who have tried to build in Venice and lost their battle to conservationists. However, OMA has broke through this barrier, as the practice was recently approved – after five years pending – to go forth with a project to renovate a 16th century palazzo for the fashion retailer Benetton near the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal.
More details and statements from the architect after the break…
“The rapid expansion of airport-linked commercial facilities is making today’s air gateways anchors of 21st century metropolitan development where distant travelers and locals alike can conduct business, exchange knowledge, shop, eat, sleep, and be entertained without going more than 15 minutes from the airport. This functional and spatial evolution is transforming many city airports into airport cities.” - Dr. John Kasarda
Major international airports have developed over time into key nodes in global production and enterprise systems through speed, agility and connectivity. These transportation hubs are able to dramatically stimulate local economies by attracting a wide range of aviation-related businesses to their peripheries and resulting in what John Kasarda, a US academic who studies and advises governments on city planning issues, has dubbed the “Aerotropolis.” The Aerotropolis, like any other traditional city, consists of a central core with rings of development permeating outwards; unlike a traditional city, however, the city’s core is an airport and all neighboring development supports and is supported in turn by the airport industry. Several airports around the globe have organically evolved into these airport-dependent communities, generating huge economic profits and creating thousands of jobs, but what Kasarda is arguing for is a more organized and purposeful approach to the development of these Aerotropolises – what he believes to be the future model of a successful city.
Read on for more on the Aerotropolis vision.
“Although Mr. Ito has built a great number of buildings in his career, in my view, he has been working on one project all along, — to push the boundaries of architecture. And to achieve that goal, he is not afraid of letting go what he has accomplished before.” — Yung Ho Chang, Member of the Pritzker Jury for 2013
Toyo Ito has been announced as the Pritzker laureate for 2013. Ito is the thirty-seventh recipient of the Pritzker Prize and its sixth Japanese recipient.
The Pritzker jury applauded Ito for his ability to synthesize many architectural languages and functionalities in the expression of one personal “syntax,” inspired by the organic structures found in nature and the sensual nature of the human user.
Calling him a “creator of timeless buildings,” the Pritzker Jury further praised Ito for “infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works.” Among those works, the Jury singled out his Sendai Mediatheque, whose innovative use of structural tubes “permitted new interior spatial qualities,” TOD’S Omotesando building in Tokyo, “where the building skin also serves as structure,” and Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library as particularly inspiring.
In response to the accolade, the highest award in the profession of architecture, Ito humbly expressed that, with each project, he only becomes more “painfully aware of [his] inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project.” For that reason, Ito professed, “I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works.”
Read more of the Jury’s selection of Toyo Ito as the 2013 Pritzker Laureate, after the break…