Can You Recap 30 Years of Architecture?

via TED

Are you an architect, architecture critic, historian of architecture or otherwise involved with architecture and design? Have you always wanted to give a TED Talk? Can you recap 30 years of architecture?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of TED, the 2014 conference will include several talks that look back on three decades of advances in a handful of fields. Until June 30, 2013, we are seeking proposals for an 18-minute, multimedia presentation that will take the TED audience through the most important developments in the past 30 years of architecture and suggest where the field is going – or needs to go – in the future.

More details after the break…

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Zappos to Build Intentionally Inconvenient Office in Las Vegas

Zappos is moving into ’ old City Hall building, that circular white building on the right. Image © Aimee Groth, Business Insider

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has recently invested $350 million dollars of his own money into downtown Las Vegas, where the new Zappos’ headquarters will soon call its home. Working in the vein of companies like Google and Apple, Hsieh and the head developer of the new campus, Zach Ware, have worked together on making a workspace environment in which creativity – and, consequently, inconvenience – is built into the design itself:

“‘Our goal is not to create an space that you take photos of and you say ‘Wow, that’s beautiful,” says Ware. ‘We’re incredibly function-oriented.’ Zappos’ core focus is on company culture and the relationships between employees. To enhance that, as odd as it sounds, parts of the office are deliberately inconvenient.”

Read Max Nisen’s article on Zappos’ “inconvenient,” new headquarters after the break… 

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Zaha Hadid Architects’ First Built Tower: CMA CGM Headquarters

© Hufton + Crow

’ first built tower, the CMA CGM Headquarters in Marseille, , is most immediately notable for its vertical form.

As the stunning images from Hufton + Crow show, the tower’s disparate volumes (generated from gradual centripetal vectors) gently converge towards each other and then bend apart to create an elegant “metallic curving arc that slowly lifts and accelerates skywards into [...a] dramatic vertical geometry.”

Read More about CMA CGM Headquarters, after the break…

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Venice Biennale 2014: Lateral Office to Represent Canada with Nunavut Exhibition

Rendering of Arctic Adaptations exhibition at Venice Pavilion © , 2013

The Council for the Arts and the Royal Architectural Institute of (RAIC) has announced “Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15″ as winner of a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2014 Venice Biennale in ArchitectureLateral Office of Toronto will organize and curate an exhibition designed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Canada’s largest but least populated northern territories, known for its pristine arctic wilderness and Inuit lifestyle.

Read more about Canada’s contribution to the Biennale after the break.

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MVRDV’s Book Mountain Wins Prestigious Red Dot Design Award

© scagliolabrakkee.nl via

MVRDV’s “mountain of books” in the center of ’s town market square has just been announced as winner of the internationally acclaimed red dot design award for “high quality design” in the Architecture and Urban Design category. The jury selected MVRDV’s Book Mountain from 4,662 entries submitted from 54 countries, lauding the project for its “exceptional quality and refined detail solutions”.

More information on the building after the break…

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UK’s Young Architect of the Year Awards Invites European Entries

European architects can now compete in the ’s prestigious Young Architect of the Year Award (). Now in its 16th year, is the only prize that recognizes the ’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.”

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William McDonough to be Stanford University’s First Living Archive

NASA Sustainability Base / + Partners and AECOM

William McDonough of William McDonough + Partners has decided to become Stanford University‘s first “” in an effort to change the way we as humans remember and record our daily lives. Although technologies such as FacebookTwitterInstagram, 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…

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Britain’s New Baseline School Design Sacrifices Style for Savings

Department of Education’s Baseline Design; Courtesy of Education Funding Agency

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 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…

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A Glimpse of Hope for Johannesburg’s Forgotten Ponte Tower

The 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 for more on the building’s comeback and what it will mean for its current and future residents.   (more…)

Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA, Honored with the 2013 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award

ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center / Gantt Huberman Architects and Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture

The American Institute of Architects () has selected Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA, as the 2013 recipient of the .  Established in 1972, the 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…)

Fountainhead Quad City: East Moline’s Future Development Along the Mississippi River

Aerial View, Fountainhead Quad Cities; Developer J. Paul Beitler of Beitler Real Estate Services

, 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.

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Cathedral Announces Competition to Design Tomb for King Richard III

Leicester Cathedral via Wikimedia Commons

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 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…

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Video: Vito Acconci, Is Architecture Art?

Following on from their previous ‘videopolemic’ tribute to Lebbeus Woods32BNY has released their second  featuring artist and designer ’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…

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World Water Day: 10 Projects that Exemplify Water Conservation

© Tim Griffith

In celebration of World Day, we have complied a list of ten environmentally conscious designs that epitomize the importance of water conservation. See what they have to offer, after the break. 

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Five Firms Shortlisted to Rehabilitate U.S. Embassies Worldwide

US Embassy in Beijing, by SOM. SOM is one of the 11 firms shortlisted by the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings (BOB). Photo © SOM

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, , maintainability, art, culture, and construction execution.”

Each of the five selected firms, which include Weiss/Manfredi Architects, have “extensive and restoration experience.” See them all after the break…

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Construction of China’s Tallest Building On Hold Due to Concrete Scandal

© KPF

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, government officials have discovered a low-quality sea sand has been used by developers to create substandard 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.

The Beam / MVRDV and de Alzua+

Courtesy of

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…

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Architects Selected for Competition to Design Nobel Prize’s New Home

Blasieholmen at Nybroviken in Stockholm. Image © Jeppe Wikström

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 ’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

See the full list of competitors, and more information on the , after the break…

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