ArchDaily’s Google Glass Experiment

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When Google Glass launched, we wondered how this wearable augmented reality device could add a whole other dimension to the consumption of architectural publications, by bringing the experience of space, matter, and light to our screens.

In our field, the experience is very important, and it is a dimension that hasn’t been able to be reproduced in its entirety through traditional media (plans, 2D or even 3D models). Attempts to make immersive panoramas or to embrace video have expanded the potential for representation, but not in a significant way. And this is why travel is a vital asset for the architect.

Imagine finally experiencing the approach to the Parthenon like Le Corbusier did almost a century ago. Imagine a tour broadcast by the architects of a project themselves, with the possibility for instant reader feedback in order to discuss a particular moment inside the building. 

is about to release a new version of their device, and we had the chance to use it while walking around the PUC Design School by Sebastian Irarrazaval. Here’s a short video of what we recorded with the device; just imagine how this very same video would be when overlays the physical, built world you’re experiencing with virtual information from around the web. 

And stay tuned for more videos!! 

Reclaiming Rivers: The Latest Trend in Urban Design

Floods in Calgary displaced over 100,000 people. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

For years, rivers were a source of transport and power, upon whose banks our cities were born.  But as cities industrialized, many of them clogged with filth and disease – making them not only ugly, but dangerous.  Unless they were useful, rivers were often diverted, covered, pushed underground, and forgotten.

Not anymore. Reclaiming rivers seems to be the newest trend in urban design, and cities across the world are hopping on the bandwagon. In the UK, the Environment Council is working to restore 9,500 miles of river; in Los Angeles, the eponymous river is about to undergo a complete transformation.

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Mexico & Swizterland in Tug-of-War Over Luis Barragán Archive

Gilardi House. Image © Flickr user, Elena_mch

Mexico, Switzerland and their constituent art collectors are in a tug-of-war over the coveted professional archive of late, famed hero Luis Barragán – considered one of Mexico’s greatest architects. After his death, the heads of the Swiss furniture company, Vitra, bought a collection of Barragán’s personal designs and images, leaving those in Mexico puzzled as to why the archive ever left the country from which his work is rooted. “It would be as if the ‘rights’ for Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Kahn were held and managed from another country, ruling over their work and limiting access to the American public.” Read the full article here, “Tug of War Stretches Architect’s Legacy“.

ARCHIPIX: 8-Bit Architects (Part Two)

Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Federico Babina

Barcelona-based architect Federico Babina has released the second edition of (Less is pixel), revealing a series of 8-bit portraits of modern architecture’s most legendary masters and works. The idea behind the project is to capture the essence and personality of each subject through the simplicity of the pixel. This serves, Babina describes, as “a metaphor of architecture, where every little detail is a key component of the whole mosaic.”

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Ennead Awarded for “Leading Innovation” in FAR ROC Design Competition

Aerial View: The strategy is to increase the density and intensity of both the ecological and urban characteristics of the site, maximizing the potential benefit of each. Image Courtesy of Ennead Lab

Ennead Architects / Ennead Lab was recognized for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Development and named runner-up in the “For a Resilient Rockaway” (FAR ROC) design competition. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and its affiliates made the announcement on Wednesday at the Arverne East site in the Rockaways. Titled “Fostering Resilient Ecological Development” (F.R.E.D.), Ennead’s submission creates a solution that is not only practical but also replicable for low-lying coastal communities up and down the Atlantic seaboard.

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Who Will We Consider Today’s Greatest Design Innovators, Tomorrow?

MASS Design Group’s Butaro Hospital. Image © Iwan Baan

Often, it is only with hindsight that we can truly understand our world; looking back at how important certain events and people proved to be is much easier than predicting their importance at the time. Still, guessing who will be remembered in posterity is a fun game, so The Atlantic asked various industry leaders “Who Will Tomorrow’s Historians Consider Today’s Greatest Inventors?” The answers span across business, science, and design, and among the 9 nominations there are a few names that architects and urban designers may find interesting. Read on after the break to find out just who they are.

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Shortlist Announced for Canadian Holocaust Monument

Ottawa site of future National Holocaust Monument. Image Courtesy of Canadian Architect

and David Adjaye, as well as four other shortlisted teams, are competing to design the National Holocaust Monument in Canada. Planned to be built in a prominent site in the heart of Ottawa, near the Canadian War Museum, the $4.5 million monument is expected for completion in 2015.

The jury, made up of internationally renowned art and design professionals, a representative from the National Holocaust Monument Council and a Holocaust survivor, chose the following six teams as finalists:

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Puzzle-Piece Homes, A Solution for Rapidly Growing Populations

Courtesy of

By now, we have all heard the mantra. In twenty years time, the world’s cities will have grown from three to five billion people, forty percent of these urban dwellers will be living at or below the poverty line facing the constant threat of homelessness – scary statistics and even scarier implications. 

ECOnnect, a Holland-based design firm, envisions a solution for these future housing shortages, one that could build a one-million-inhabitant city per week for the next twenty years for $10,000 per family. , architect at ECOnnect, created the concept after widespread devastation in Haiti caused by a massive earthquake left of hundreds of thousands of people homeless depending on tents for temporary relief.

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Were Brutalist Campus Buildings Designed to Suppress Student Protests?

UMass Dartmouth Library, by Paul Rudolph. Image Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth

In this fascinating article on the Slate design blog, J Bryan Lowder takes on a commonly held myth: that brutalist buildings on college campuses were designed to prevent student riots. From the egalitarian design ethos of to the fact that many of these buildings were around before the widespread student uprisings of the late 1960s, he finds no support for the theory – however he does end with a possible reason why these buildings are now regarded with such suspicion. You can read the full article here.

Five Teams Shortlisted for “Russia” Theme Park

Courtesy of Park “

The Russian Green Building Council has shortlisted five teams to continue on with the second stage of the international Park “Russia” competition, which plans to become the largest theme park in Europe. Designed to be a “trademark” for the country in Moscow’s Domodedovo district, the 1000 hectare “Russia” Theme Park aims to merge concepts of healthy living, entertainment and education into one, commercially attractive destination.

The five shortlisted teams are:

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The Best US Architecture Schools for 2014 are…

Gund Hall, Harvard University. Image Courtesy of Harvard University

It’s that time of year again: DesignIntelligence has released their 2014 rankings of the Best US Architecture Schools. Though many students and professionals are curious to know just who is number 1, we encourage you to forget the rankings and consider the  survey’s invaluable insight on the current state of architecture and .

Hundreds of design educators and professionals participated in the 2014 survey to identify the profession’s biggest challenges, as well as just how design education is evolving to reflect those challenges and which schools are really producing students best equipped for the profession today.

Out of all the data, two Universities stood out. 

Read more to find out which two Universities are best preparing students in 2014, after the break…

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Where Automobiles & Architecture Meet

Audi A3 Assembly Line. Image © Audi

Where does architecture and the automobile industry meet? Many architects, including Le Corbusier, have tried to understand how building construction can be more like car manufacturing, with mass-produced parts that can be easily assembled on site. Ford recently explored the idea at their Design with a Purpose: Built Tough panel discussion held at ’s Center for Architecture. Click here to read The New York Times‘ coverage of the discussion, and check out ArchDaily editor-in-chief’s thoughts on cars and architecture here.

3D Laser Technology to Digitally Preserve The World’s Greatest Sites

CyArk’s Scanned Parthenon Project. Image Courtesy of toptravellists.net

CyArk, a non-for-profit 3D laser scanning organization, is scanning the world’s greatest monuments, hoping to preserve over 500 cultural heritage sites around the globe, The Independent reports. The portable laser system creates such a detailed, digital blueprint of structures and ruins that each building can then be reproduced in 3D, with a margin of error of only two millimeters. So far, the statues of Easter Island, the Tower of London, Mount Rushmore, the Tower of Pisa have been preserved. Check out more about the in ’s TED Talk.

Architects Tackle LA’s Water Scarcity

Arid Land Institute Geo-spatial Model. Image © Arid Land Institute

Water scarcity is a profound challenge for designers of the built environment. Beyond looking for water sources and creating sustainable ecosystems, how can we begin to create and buildings that will help us to celebrate and mitigate hydro-logical concerns? Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-directors of the Arid Land Institute (ALI) at Woodbury University, have decided to tackle this problem around . With the support of the World Water Forum and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, they recently developed a high-resolution geospatial model to strategically identify and quantify the potential for improving storm water capture within urban areas.

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A Walking City for the 21st Century

© Poliedro

In a world where people live more mobile lifestyles than they have for centuries, are facing a problem they rarely planned for: their citizens move away. When jobs and resources start to decline, modern , such as Detroit, suffer difficult and often wasteful processes of urban contraction. In contrast to this, Manuel Dominguez’s “Very Large Structure,” the result of his thesis project at ETSA Madrid, proposes a nomadic city that can move on caterpillar tracks to locations where work and resources are abundant.

Of course this is not the first time that the idea of a nomadic city has been proposed. Ron Herron’s Walking City is one of the more recognizable Archigram designs from the 1960s, and has been influential to architectural theory ever since. However, the design for the “Very Large Structure” expands on the by including strong proposals for energy generation on board the city.

Read on to see more on this provocative project – including a full set of presentation boards in the image gallery.

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Winners of the World Habitat Awards Announced

The 2013 will be held in Medellin, Colombia. Image © Flickr / David Peña

The winners of the 2013 World Habitat Awards, a competition focused on addressing needs and issues across the globe, have just been announced. Picked from a pool of over 200 applicants, the two winning entries represent the most innovative and resilient proposals with potential for global use, taking on the rampant homelessness problem in the US (The 100,000 Homes Campaign) and exploring revitalisation opportunities for the Old City in Hebron (Hebron Old City Rehabilitation Programme). The winners will be honoured at a ceremony in Medellin, Colombia on October 17, 2014. To learn more about the competition and it’s winners, click here

On Gender, Genius, and Denise Scott Brown

Denise Scott Brown outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Image © Frank Hanswijk

“In the 10 years I’ve been running my architectural practice, I [...] have gotten accustomed to people assuming that my male employees — whether younger or older — are the lead architects who will be making final decisions. Yet this time a lingering frustration colored the rest of my day, a sense that while feminism has made significant progress on a conscious level, little change has trickled down into the unconscious of our culture.” Check out the rest of Esther Sperber’s column for Lilith, in which she details the past travails of female architects (particularly Denise Scott Brown’s), and their future mission, here.

2013 ONE Prize Finalists Announced

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The finalists of the 2013 ONE Prize, a competition exploring the social, economic, and ecological possibilities of urban transformation, have just been announced. The 2013 competition focused on severe climate dynamism, calling for innovative and thoughtful design proposals and urban interventions that intend to alleviate storm impact and answer the question: “How can adapt to the future challenges of extreme weather?”

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