Business in the United States has started the New Year on a more positive note, as January’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) revealed the first increase in design services after three consecutive months of decline. As reported by the American Institute for Architects (AIA), the January numbers rose from December’s score of 48.5 to 50.4, indicating an increase in billings. However, the new projects inquiry index was 58.5, down a bit from the reading of 59.2 the previous month.
“There is enough optimism in the marketplace that business conditions should return to steady growth as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.
Zaha Hadid Architects, Adam Architecture, Hopkins Architects, Eric Parry Architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Studio Weave have all unveiled, what AJ describes as, six “jaw-dropping” proposals for new water kiosks planned for central London. As part of a competition, conducted by the British journal, the architect-designed drinking fountains will be on view at The Building Centre from February 20 through March 14. View them all and vote for your favorite here.
Latitude Studio, based in Barcelona and Beijing, have unveiled designs for a showroom exhibition centre in China’s capital city. Integral to the design is how visitors circulate and interact with the spaces centred around the “future shopping mall”. Including an auditorium, model spaces and views onto an area which is expected to see enormous retail development, the building’s central atrium and “thematic sightseeing walk” offer a unique journey for the visitor.
Zaha Hadid, Rick Joy, and COOP HIMMELB(L)AU are three of 20 diverse architects shortlisted to compete for the commission of the International Arvo Pärt Center near Tallinn. As part of the competition’s second stage, the selected practices will move forward with the design of a 2,000-square-meter expandable facility which will be used to house the famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s work on a wooden coastal site in Laulasmaa.
The Union of Estonian Architects (UEA) will announce the winner on June 20. See a complete list of the competing architects, after the break.
Although Arizona developer Novawest was determined to build BIG’s 420-foot observation tower in downtown Phoenix before the 2015 Super Bowl, failed negotiations has left them without a site. Once planned for the interior courtyard of the Arizona Science Center, the privately-funded project is now being considered for an undisclosed downtown site with completion rescheduled for 2016. Considering the project has received a considerable amount of support from city officials, it seems inevitable that the BIG pin will eventually be built despite harsh criticism from nearby residents. Modifications for the new site will be minimal. You can review the design here.
Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has named Mecanoo architecten and Martinez + Johnson Architecture winners of a competition to reinvent Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. The Netherlands- and D.C.-based team aims to resurrect the neglected building by improving “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.” This includes opening up the boxy interiors to enhance flow and increase natural light and, most dramatically, sculpting two rooftop terraces by topping the historic landmark structure with a four-story, mixed-use addition.
We will keep you posted with more details as they come available. In the meantime, scroll through the renderings and presentation that landed Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson the commission, after the break.
Between Hurricane Sandy in the USA and ongoing storms and floods damaging large areas of Britain, the issues of flood prevention and coastal defense are now a top priority for planners on both sides of the Atlantic. This article in the Guardian asks whether it might be time to give in to the sea and rethink our affinity for coastal living; and this one on Architecture Boston asks to what extent society should be expected to foot the bill for those in high-risk areas, and wonders how, legally, the state could encourage people to live elsewhere.
Daniel Libeskind has unveiled a permanent sculpture at the Cosentino Group world headquarters in Almeria: “Beyond the Wall.” Inspired by the “infinite possibilities of the spiral,” the installation is intended to exhibit how the company’s ultra-compact, innovative surfacing material, Dekton® can be used to clad contemporary facades.
“This is not a traditional spiral with a unique center and axis, but a contemporary spiral that opens multiple paths in many different directions,” describes Cosentino in a press release. “In short, a polycentric spiral energy is projected to a dramatic peak.”
Four international teams have unveiled their shortlisted proposals in the final leg of a highly anticipated competition to design a new “cultural hotspot” on the edge of the Rhine. ArtA, the “catchy” new name of what was previously known as “The Arts Cluster,” is part of a larger redevelopment project for the City of Arnhem which aims to reconnect the southern district of Rijnboog with its waterfront and establish a new home for the Focus Film Theatre and Museum Arnhem.
A sneak peak of the shortlisted proposals, after the break…
The photographer’s series explores that symmetry in Bo Bardi’s brutalist design, in which two colors, red and concrete-gray, unite harmoniously.
See more of Pires’ images, after the break…
Spectrum Magazine, an annual publication by MIT to highlight the work of a cross-section of their professors and alumni, has recently released its 2014 edition. This year, the focus is on cities, with a great selection of architecture, planning and technology based contributions. You can download a pdf of the magazine here – or read on after the break for links to some articles of note.
From 1927′s Metropolis to 2002′s Minority Report, this article on the Guardian Cities explores film’s futuristic cities - utopias, dystopias, and those somewhere in-between – and asks: which of these cities would be safest? Most suited to under-30s? The best to live in? You can find out by reading the article here.
The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation have unveiled Viewpoint, a floating platform on Regent’s Canal in the centre of Camley Street Natural Park, London. Designed by Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of Finnish practice AOR, the platform will be operated by the London Wildlife Trust. The permanent structure is intended to bring visitors to London’s most central nature reserve, connecting them with the wildlife of the park and the Regent’s Canal. In addition, it will also provide the park with an additional workshop space and learning facility, becoming “an architectural focal point of King’s Cross.”
The Boston Society of Architects has announced the winners of the 2013 Design Awards Program. With programs ranging from accessible design to unbuilt architecture, the following projects were awarded top honors for being Massachusetts and New England’s most prized examples of excellent design.
The Italian furniture brand Arper recently reissued Lina Bo Bardi‘s signature Bowl Chair. The pioneering project of the Brazilian-Italian architect presents a more relaxed approach to “sitting” – one that was fairly radical when it was originally released in 1951. The reissue of the chair – presented at the Salone del Mobile 2013 – is a testament to the forward-thinking vision of the architect.
Arper, who worked in partnership with the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi to produce the Bowl Chair, based the design on the original prototype drawings. The genius of the chair is in its simple execution: consisting of two loose parts – an upholstered shell on a metal structure – the seat remains free to move in all directions. It is a chair for living, not just for sitting, and (as with all of Bo Bardi’s works) places the human at the center of the design.
Smiljan Radic has been announced as the winner of the competition to design a landmark on San Cristobal Hill, in the heart of Santiago, Chile, that consolidates the hill’s numerous antennas into a single infrastructure.
According to the Contest Director, Luis Eduardo L. Bresciani, the purpose of this competition was to generate an innovative structure of iconic character, an architectural work of outstanding quality that would differ from other towers in other cities and give an identity not just to the hill, but to the city of Santiago. The jury also took into account the landscape of the site, particularly the care with which the park would be treated, as well as the tower’s relationship with the statue of the Virgin and the hilltop in general. Finally, the functionality of the infrastructure, which should act as both a telecommunications tower as well as a public space with panoramic views, was considered. See the six shortlisted proposals, after the break.
London based practice Juice Architects has unveiled designs for an offshore visitor centre as part of the proposed tidal lagoon for Swansea Bay, Wales. A series of overlapping shells are sculpted to form a bowl like structure, providing shelter from the wind and waves of the Welsh coast. Sat on a manmade island platform at the end of a collection of land piers, the building will act as a cultural and educational base housing public galleries, a café, a lecture theatre and exhibition space with working turbine propellors visible through the the ground floor gallery. As an entirely self sufficient building all energy will be captured from renewable sources.
A design team led by Carlos Marín and José Muñoz-Villers has claimed first prize in Mexico City’s “La Merced” competition for their masterplan proposal to re-conceive the popular marketplace, Plaza Central La Merced. The team’s design, which beat out about 100 other entries, proposed the realization of a new public square to centralize pedestrian activity and to anchor strategies for urban revitalization, such as the reclamation of local heritage sites, the careful manipulation of natural elements, and the installation of urban furniture as a means for placemaking.