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.  recently explored the idea at their Design with a Purpose: Built Tough panel discussion held at New York’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

’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 Ben Kacyra’s TED Talk.

Architects Tackle LA’s Water Scarcity

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

scarcity is a profound challenge for designers of the built environment. Beyond looking for sources and creating sustainable ecosystems, how can we begin to create cities 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 Los Angeles. With the support of the World Water Forum and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern , 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, cities are facing a problem they rarely planned for: their citizens move away. When jobs and resources start to decline, modern cities, 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 Walking City 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 housing 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

outside Las Vegas in 1966; photograph from the Archives of Robert Venturi and . 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 cities adapt to the future challenges of extreme weather?”

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The World’s 10 Coolest Car Parks

1111 Lincoln Road in Miami, USA. Image © Nelson Garrido/1111Lincoln Road Shot Reprinted with permission from MBeach1, LLLP

Parking garages generally have a bad reputation – particularly now that cars are seen as such an environmentally unfriendly way to travel, not to mention the fact that they are often unattractive utilitarian structures. To counteract this common perception, the website Stress Free Airport has launched an award for the World’s Coolest Car Park. Read on after the break to find out which 10 parking structures have been shortlisted for the top award.

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Milwaukee Urban Farm Movement Grows

Courtesy of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture

After the foreclosure crisis, hundreds of cities despaired at the downturn – but in , the HomeGr/own Initiative saw opportunity. The organization converts empty lots into urban farms, calling upon citizens to assist in this growing movement. But while other cities have tried similar projects (and failed), Fast.Co reports that the HomeGr/own Initiative seems suited to last. Learn why here.

AS+GG Wins Competition for Astana World EXPO 2017

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Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has been announced as winner of a major design competition for World EXPO-2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Selected from 105 entrants, which included the likes of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Architects and UNStudio, AS+GG’s 173.4 hectare proposal plans to build on the Expo’s theme “Future Energy” by becoming the “first Third Industrial Revolution city.”

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Morphosis Architects to Design New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

, . Image © VOA/V. Undritz

Morphosis Architects has been selected from a shortlist of three to design the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) chose Morphosis over Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam with AECOM after conducting a series of presentations and interviews in the third round of the international competition.

“Morphosis presented a strong, cohesive team with over 50 years of collaborative experience. Their presentation demonstrated the management and design approach required to successfully execute this project, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance and impact of an American Embassy in Beirut.

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Zaha Hadid Designs Superyacht for Blohm+Voss

© Unique Circle Yachts / for Bloom+Voss Shipyards

Zaha Hadid has collaborated with the Hamburg-based shipbuilders Blohm+Voss to design a new concept for a family of superyachts: a 128-meter master prototype that will  eventually spawn five, fully-engineered, 90-meter “Unique Circle Yachts.” According to Hadid, the overall design is informed by “fluid dynamics and underwater ecosystems, with hydrodynamic research shaping the design of the hull.”

More from the architect, after the break. 

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Why Do Bad Guys Always Get The Best Houses?

The Sheats Goldstein Residence by John Lautner. Image © Jeff Green

In this interesting article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote dissects two Hollywood homes that are infamous as the homes of slick movie bad guys. The Lovell Health House designed by Richard Neutra appeared in LA Confidential as the home of pornographer and pimp Pierce Patchett; the Sheats Goldstein Residence appeared in The Big Lebowski – again as the home of a pornographer – and was designed by none other than “Hollywood’s favourite architectJohn Lautner. Heathcote probes the two architects’ design influences and ideas, and of course offers an explanation as to why “”bad guys always seem to get the best houses“. You can read the full article here.

Ten Firms Shortlisted to Renovate Mies’ MLK Jr. Memorial Library in D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes

In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the renovation of Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies’ only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library’s future spaces and services.

The ten firms that made the cut are:

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BIG’s Beach + Howe Tower Wins Approval in Vancouver

© Luxigon

Bjarke Ingels Group ()’s 700,000 square foot Beach + Howe development has been approved by the City Council. Though concerns still remain regarding the height of the 52-story tower – which is intended to become the city’s fourth tallest building – an overwhelming majority of the council and public seems to be enthusiastic about the project. 

“It meets the test at every respect — gorgeous architecture, turning a dead space into a vibrant public space with animation and job space. The housing is diverse and much needed… People have used the word iconic – I think it’s remarkable design to combine so many elements on a tough site,” stated Mayor Gregor Robertson before the vote. “It’s an extraordinary project that deserves strong council support.”

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Top 10 Apps for Architects

Following our readers poll last year, here’s an updated list of what we think are the best ten for architects. From condensed versions of large scale programmes architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.

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Happy Birthday Zaha Hadid!

© Simone Cecchetti

Zaha Hadid  turns 63 today, and the Dame has a lot to celebrate.

Since winning the Pritzker Prize in 2004, the first woman and Muslim to do so, Hadid’s career has been on an exponential trajectory. Before the prize, Hadid was better known for her extraordinary sketch-paintings of unbuilt works; particularly, her competition-winning entries for “The Peak” in 1982 and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in 1994. Zaha’s “flying” forms were so revolutionary, that some questioned if they could even be made reality – hence why the Opera House was ultimately rejected, for supposed ”uncertainties.” Indeed, before 1994, the only built project she could boast was the complex, deconstructivist Vitra Fire Station.

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