LSE Asks for ‘Further Work’ To Be Done on Shortlisted Designs

Team B. Image Courtesy of LSE / RIBA

Following the announcement last month that the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) had shortlisted five designs for their new Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London’s Aldwych, they have now revealed that “there’s not one really outstanding scheme” and “there’s some further work to do by the practices and the LSE.” Therefore contestants Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, OMAHopkins ArchitectsGrafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects must reconsider their proposed designs

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Why Iwan Baan’s TED Talk Was Right

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’s recent TED talk on ingenious informal settlement ‘architecture’ became instantly popular, clearly striking a chord with people across the globe. The lecture has been called everything from heartwarming to condescending, but for Parsons graduate students Meagan Durlak and James Frankis it was reaffirming. Durlak and Frankis have spent time working in Sao Paolo’s and understand that finding a balance between the good and the bad is key to the revitalization of these settlements. This article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine as “Response to Iwan Baan’s TED Talk,” journals some of their experiences working in South American slums, and why we need to stop treating those slums as a blight. 

Meagan Durlak and I were excited to see the TED talk by architectural photographer Iwan Baan on the ingenuity found within informal settlements. In his presentation he walks us through a range of communities across the world, capturing many such settlements, including houses above a lagoon and a repurposed office block.

Baan’s view of informal settlements resonates with our own work; it’s an under-told story that we very much applaud. He shows an overview of people’s lives and their unique methods for adapting to difficult conditions. Perhaps as interesting as his film are the reactions to it from TED viewers. Many found the innovation in informal settlements to be inspiring and heartwarming; others claimed that this talk is just a life affirming story for the rich 1% of the world, perpetuating inaction for areas which need immediate aid. The two sides of the argument reminded us of our own work and the battles we have gone through in trying to wrap our heads around the systems of informal settlements, as well as the difficulties we have had in explaining their hidden properties to others.

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2013 Curry Stone Design Prize Winners Announced

The Port Sudan clinic is one of few outposts the region capable of providing basic health care to children. © Massimo Grimaldi and Emergency

The Curry Stone Foundation has named three winners of the 2013 Curry Stone Design Prize: Hunnarshala (Bhuj, India), Proximity Designs (Yangon, Myanmar), and Studio TAMassociati / Emergency (Venice/Milan, Italy). The annual prize, now in its sixth year, talented designers who “harness their ingenuity and craft for social good.” More on each winner, after the break.

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Round Up: China’s Next Generation of Museums

Guangdong / Rocco Design Architects. Image © Marcel Lam

Although it went largely unnoticed until Wang Shu was awarded the Pritzker Prize, China’s going through a major cultural boom. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes that, since 2012, hundreds of (often privately established) cultural institutions have popped up across the country, honouring everything from the famous Terracotta Soldiers to the local city planning department. We’ve rounded up a couple of these projects for your pleasure: Jean Nouvel‘s winning design for the National Art Museum, Steven Holl‘s mind-warping Sifang Museum, the seemingly extra-terrestrial Ordos City + Art Museum by MAD Architects, Trace Architecture Office‘s small museum of handcraft paper in the countryside, and a regional museum by Rocco Design Architects that takes inspiration from traditional Chinese lacquered boxes. Enjoy!

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 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. 

Google 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 were born.  But as 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 ’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 , 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 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 . 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 Development 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 ECOnnect

By now, we have all heard the mantra. In twenty years time, the world’s 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. Peter Stoutjesdijk, 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 “Russia”

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 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 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 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 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 , Mount Rushmore, the Tower of Pisa have been preserved. Check out more about the technology 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 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 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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