UNStudio’s Responsive Facade to Transform Seoul Office Tower

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UNStudio has won a competition to remodel the Hanwha headquarters in . With an aim to transform a building into a symbol of the leading environmental technology company’s values, UNStudio’s winning scheme will replace the skyscraper’s opaque panelling and single layer of dark glass with an animated facade designed to reduce solar gain, increase natural light, generate energy, and interact with its surrounding. 

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Is There a ‘Perfect’ Density for Cities?

Places such as Manhattan are seeing an increase in ever-taller residential buildings. Image Courtesy of SHoP Architects

In a compelling opinion piece on the Guardian, Lloyd Alter argues that our current obsession with increasing the density of our cities – mostly by building ever-taller skyscrapers - might be severely misguided. Alter believes that, without tall buildings, cities can achieve a “Goldilocks Density” – just dense enough to support lively streets, but not so dense that they become inhabitable. You can read the full article here.

Framebench: The Online Tool Making Instant “Visual Collaboration” Seamless

Courtesy of Framebench

Framebench, an online tool for visual , seeks to alleviate the digital sharing problems architects and designers commonly face in practice. Aiming to do away with file storage systems, FTP clients and kinds of complex software, this web application allows for teams and individuals to share, discuss and annotate drawings in real time. Framebench suggest that “this could be the online space where you can organize all your drafts and finals, get feedback and approve the work that’s finished” – in realtime. 

The system works by creating workspaces for teams to quickly share their files with one another. You can share any image, video, or document with your team, who can then view it right there without any downloads or installation. While viewing, anyone can annotate on top or leave comments; these comments transform into discussion threads that can be referred back to and added to later.

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Henning Larsen Wins Competition to Design Central Bank of Libya

Plaza. Image ©

Henning Larsen Architects has won an invited competition to design a new headquarters for the Central Bank of Libya in . Inspired by Libyan vernacular architecture, the structure will occupy two existing site excavations. The first, and largest, excavation will be transformed into a “shaded oasis” that serves both the bank and Gurji district by providing areas for operations, an education center, restaurant and hotel. The second will allow vehicular access to the treasuries. 

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ELEMENTAL Proposes Pedestrian Path To Connect Districts of Santiago

Courtesy of ELEMENTAL

ELEMENTAL has given us details on a proposed 14.5 km pedestrian and bike path within , that will run along the base of San Cristobal Hill and connect the city’s many distinct communities. According to ELEMENTAL, the proposal – named “Metropolitan Promenade” – seeks to facilitate the use and quality of the city’s public spaces.

The total project will cost about $16 million USD and will be constructed in two stages. The first is expected for March 2015 and will deal with 7.2 kilometers in the western sector of the park. The second stage, which should be ready in September 2015, will complete the following 7.3 kilometers in the eastern sector of the park.

Read the full architect’s description, after the break.

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U.S. ABI Declines Sharply in March

March ABI. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

It seems the U.S. Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has yet to recover from 2013’s end of the year decline. Though 2014 started with a “modest uptick,” the March ABI has reveals a share decrease in design services. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (), the March ABI score was 48.8, down from a mark of 50.7 in February. Despite this, the new projects inquiry index was 57.9, up from the reading of 56.8 the previous month.

“This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

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McMansions: The Ultimate Symbol of American Inequality

© Flickr CC User Doug Downen

In this fascinating post for Salon, Thomas Frank holds nothing back on the topic of so-called “McMansions“. Charting their history from the 1980s to today, he reveals the economics and government policies which made them possible, concluding that they are not just a symptom of the inequality in modern US society, but the very cause of it: “Everything we do seems designed to make this thing possible… This stupendous, staring banality is the final outcome for which we have sacrificed everything else.” You can read the full article here.

Venice Biennale 2014: Collateral Events Announced

The Venice Biennale has released a list of 21 Collateral Events that will take place alongside the official exhibitions during the 14th International Architecture Exhibition (June 7 – 23 November 2014). Selected by Rem Koolhass and supported by non-profit national and international institutions, these collateral events will take place around Venice and, in the words of the Biennale, will “enrich the diversity of voices that characterizes the Architecture Biennale.”

President Paolo Baratta explained, “This announcement completes the number of organizations who despite being outside the boundaries of the Exhibition are exhibited in the city of Venice, and which contribute, along with a good number of participating countries that do not have a pavilion in the Giardini or in the Arsenale, to spread the 14th Exhibition by turning it into an urban phenomenon, that would engage every corner of the city.”

See the complete list after the break. And make sure to keep up to date with ArchDaily’s complete coverage of the Venice Biennale. 

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A Seductive Abstraction: Architecture & Photography’s Tacit Pact

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ArchDaily has partnered with The Architectural Review to bring you short thematic introductions to the magazine’s monthly editions.  Up now: AR’s April 2014 issue, which examines the complexities of architecture photography. Editor Catherine Slessor asks “what happens when controlled views of buildings are redefined by and adapted to new technologies?”

Roland Barthes once observed that there is no such thing as a photograph. ‘Whatever it grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see’, he wrote in Camera Lucida. What we do see is the scrutinising gaze of the photographer, which can beguile or unsettle, but should always evoke some kind of response.

As a scientific and ‘truthful’ medium, photography has served architecture well, especially in the Modernist era when the evolving medium synthesised perfectly with a new approach to design. Yet the relationship between architecture and photography is an inherently compromised one. Unlike art practice, lends itself less to searching critical enquiry, being essentially an unspoken pact between architect, photographer and publisher to render buildings in a way that discreetly flatters architectural ambition and sells copies of books or magazines.

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Zaha Hadid Among 7 Shortlisted for “Design of the Year 2014”

Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image ©

Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center is among seven shortlisted designs being considered for this year’s Design of the Year award. As announced by ’s Design Museum, the undulating cultural center was pulled from 76 innovative nominations and placed first in the architecture category. The shortlisted proposals, ranging from a portable eye examination kit to Volkswagen’s XL1 CAR, will remain on view at the museum through August 25. A winner is expected to be announced June 30. 

Wood Encouragement Policy Coming To Australia

Cross Stitch House; Melbourne / FMD Architects. Image © Peter Bennetts

Latrobe City Council is pushing an initiative that would put “wood first.” If implemented, the “Wood Encouragement ” would educate architects and industry professionals about the structural and environmental benefits of wood in an effort to promote the local timber industry and use of sustainable building materials. Following the lead of the United States and New Zealand, both of which recently established “wood encouragement” policies, the council hopes that this will set a precedent that can be applied throughout the rest of

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AIA Names Top 10 Most Sustainable Projects in U.S.

Sustainability Treehouse; Glen Jean, West Virginia / Mithun with BNIM © Joe Fletcher

In honor of Earth Day, we have complied a preview of the top ten most sustainable exemplars of U.S. architecture selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE). Each project featured will be honored with a COTE Top Ten Award for “sustainable design excellence” at the 2014 National Convention in . View them all, after the break…

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George Lucas Looks to Chicago

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum proposal for Crissy Field. Image © Art Zendarski

After being rejected, alongside two other shortlisted proposals, by San Francisco’s Presidio Trust to build a self-tiled cultural arts museum at Crissy Field, has turned his attention to the windy city of Chicago. According to a report by the SunTimes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has challenged civic leaders to find an “accessible” site for the proposed 95,000-square-foot Lucas Cultural Arts Museum by mid-May.

“There aren’t museums looking at digital art and the art of storytelling like this. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Chicago,” stated Polk Brothers Foundation CEO Gillian Darlow, co-chair of the project’s task force. “This is a real effort. The city is serious. He’s serious. And the task force is serious.”

3XN Beats Out OMA, Toyo Ito, Others to Design Olympic Headquarters in Lausanne

Screenshot of the proposed site of the new IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, .. Image Courtesy of Google Earth

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced 3XN as the winner of the competition to design the IOC’s new headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The decision to choose the Denmark-based firm over eleven firms, including OMA, Toyo Ito, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), follows a unanimous recommendation by the IOC Architecture College.

The 14,000 square meter Headquarters will be part of a greater ‘Olympic campus’ of administrative buildings, located on a 24,000 square meter site on the banks of Lake Geneva.

The entire shortlist and more from 3XN, after the break…

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The Trust Declares Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion a “National Treasure”

rSnapshotPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Philip Johnson’s “iconic” New York State Pavilion has been listed as a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This designation, which was announced today at the 1964-65 World’s Fair’s 50th anniversary celebration in , declares the pavilion a “historically, culturally and architecturally important site” and will help raise awareness and funding for its preservation. It is now one of just 44 national sites bearing this recognition.

“In the last 50 years, Flushing Meadows Corona Park has grown from the site of the World’s Fair to the home of the World’s Park,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “As we celebrate this anniversary, it is just as important that we look to the next 50 years and plan for the Park’s future. I would like to thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation for honoring the New York State Pavilion as a ‘National Treasure’. This designation will highlight the importance of the Pavilion as a national icon, and help us to continue the conversation about how it can best serve Queens’ residents.”

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Níall McLaughlin Chosen for Redevelopment of London’s Natural History Museum

Courtesy of MRC/Picture Plane

British practice Níall McLaughlin Architects together with Kim Wilkie have been unanimously selected as the winners of the competition to reimagine the external grounds of ’s Natural History Museum. The competition, which attracted proposals from shortlisted teams such as BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Stanton Williams Architects, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, called for entries to ”reshape the Museum’s grounds and reinvigorate its public setting” with an aim to creating “an innovative exterior setting that matches Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I listed building whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.”

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Happy Birthday James Stirling

Portrait of James Stirling. Ray Williams, photographer.. Image © Canadian Centre for Architecture

On what would have been his birthday today, we celebrate and look back on British architect and Pritzker Laureate Sir James Stirling, who died aged 66 in 1992. Stirling, who grew up in Liverpool, one of the two industrial powerhouses of the British North West, began his career subverting the compositional and theoretical ideas behind the first Modern Movement. Citing a wide-range of influences – from Colin Rowe, a forefather of Contextualism, to Le Corbusier, from architects of the Italian Renaissance to the Russian Constructivist movement – Stirling forged a unique set of architectural beliefs that manifest themselves in his works. Indeed, his architecture, commonly described as “non-comformist”, consistently caused annoyance in conventional circles.

According to Rowan Moore, Stirling also “designed some of the most notoriously malfunctioning buildings of modern time.”  Yet, for all the “veiled accusations of incompetence”, as Reyner Banham put it, Stirling produced a selection of the world’s most interesting and groundbreaking buildings. Notably, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ highest award, the Stirling Prize, was named after him in 1996.

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New Video (and Images) Reveal Original Intent Behind Apple Campus 2

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UPDATE: Did you know that Apple Campus 2 will be solely powered by renewable energy? Also, 80 percent of its 176-acre campus will be entirely dedicated to green space. Watch the newly released Norman Foster interview (above) to learn more about the project’s sustainable features, as well as details about Steve Job’s original inspiration. The following news was originally published as “New Images Released of Apple’s Recently Approved Campus” on November 13, 2013. 

Shortly after the approval of Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino, never-before-seen images have emerged to reveal a glimpse into the campus’ massive, 2.8 million square foot “mothership” and its surrounding facilities.

Provided by the City of Cupertino and released by Wired, the images depict just what Steve Job’s hoped for: a world-class, state-of-the-art office campus that promotes innovation through vibrant communal spaces and healthy employee amenities. From the net-positive main building to a private, subterranean auditorium placed within a forested, -native landscape by OLIN, the Foster + Partners-designed Apple Campus 2 has the potential to be, as Job’s believed, “the best office building in the world.”

A collection of the newly released renderings, after the break…

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