New SimCity: Not Just For Kids

Courtesy of Co.Exist

Remember spending hours of your fleeting youth in front of the computer screen, building lively and complex towns with vibrant neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, industry, power plants.. only to have them all destroyed by an unforeseen asteroid or UFO?

That’s right - SimCity is back, full force, with its latest version debuting just last Tuesday. Although the game series has been with us since 1989, it’s certainly not getting any less exciting or challenging; in fact, it has transitioned from a mere childrens’ computer game to an educational simulation that anyone at any age can learn from. The new is subtly teaching its players the pros and cons of serious, real-life issues such as renewable energy, preservation of natural resources and cooperation between neighboring cities – all within an entertaining virtual interface whose fate rests at your fingertips.

Read more about the new game and what it has to teach us about . (more…)

Bloomberg Breaks Ground at Post-Sandy Housing Development in Queens

Hunter’s Point South Housing Development © nycmayorsoffice

Despite NYC’s recent bout with nature, Mayor Bloomberg is undeterred from developing housing along NYC’s long stretch of waterfront, taking into account that proper measures are taken for storm and flooding mitigation.  The latest in large scale developments comes to Hunter’s Point South in the neighborhood of in Queens.  The first of such a scale since the 1970s development of Co-Op City in the Bronx, plans will include two phases of design and construction. The first phase, designed by SHoP Architects with Ismael Leyva Architects will bring two towers with 925 permanently affordable apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail space, infrastructural installations, a five-acre waterfront park, and a 1,100-seat school.

Join us after the break for more on this large scale development in Long Island City.

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Eva Jiricna Awarded 2013 Jane Drew Prize

The Eva Jiřičná-designed Knightsbridge apartment in west London. © Flickr user mobilix

Czech-born architect Eva Jiřičná has been announced, by unanimous decision of the esteemed AJ Judging Panel, as the Winner of the 2013 “for her outstanding contribution to the status of .” Zaha Hadid, prize judge and winner of last year’s Jane Drew Prize, lauded Jiřičná’s for redefining the idea of retail space with her innovated use of industrial materials and famous steel and glass staircases.

Fellow judge Ivan Harbour of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners agreed, stating: “If you walk into any Apple store today, in the end, they all started with Eva.”

In addition to this, Jiřičná’s dedicated mentorship of numerous students and colleagues throughout her career has proved to be “incredibly influential” to the advancement of the profession and women in architecture.

Jiřičná, who judged the inaugural Jane Drew Prize in 1998, said: “I feel very humbled and honoured to win this award. Jane Drew was one of my major heroines. When you are starting out you look at the lives of women in your and other professions. As you progress you appreciate what these women achieved – how courageous they were. Jane Drew was one of those women. She was a pioneer.”

More on Eva Jiřičná after the break… (more…)

BD Survey Reveals 22% of UK Architects Unemployed

Courtesy of

A survey conducted by BD has revealed that 22% of qualified architects in the are currently unemployed. The survey included fully qualified architects as well as graduates who are still in training, and paints a bleak picture of the current state of the British architecture industry. Other trends which the survey highlights are a reduction in job security as many architects move to freelance work to stay active, and an average 30% wage reduction for those still in employment.

More results of the survey after the break

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ArchDaily App Guide: Webnote

ArchDaily’s Architecture App Guide will introduce you to web and mobile apps that can help you as an architect: productivity, inspiration, drafting, and more. 

With SXSW  around the corner, many startups will be launching their new apps that can help you as an architect or productivity in general, and here is a glimpse. We introduce you Webnote by Hopin a free iPad/iPad Mini app that can help you during your creative process. Webnote is basically a browser, with added gesture functions to clip content and create visual notes from web pages, store it under your profile (with privacy settings), easily share theme on Facebook or Twitter and discover interesting contents or “notes” from people you follow.

A simple double tap on any part of a web page (image, text or ) will isolate that particular element and bring up a frame with a preview of the note, where you can adjust or pinch for zoom in/out. On that frame you will have the option to configure the sharing options, and another tap will bring a text area to describe what you are capturing or to make your own annotation.

All the contents that you save or share will be display for you to revive on a simple and visual sidebar where you can check your private notes, the notes that you shared and also the notes from people that you care about to follow, being also a great source of inspiration.

Within your side bar you can simply slide a note to the right to open the web page from where it was made. Or if you want to save a note for later, slide to the left and save it into your private area.

You can download Webnote at the App Store for free . More screenshots of Webnote after the break:

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Olson Kundig Architects to Design New Museum of Art for WSU

The Pierre / © Benjamin Benschneider

Seattle-based architect Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architects has been selected by Washington State University to design a new Museum of Art. Over the years, Olson has complied a spectacular portfolio of stunning homes designed for art collectors worldwide. This experience has given Olson a “wealth of experience in not only crafting beautiful environments for works of art, but in working with artists to discover new opportunities for expressing their creativity,” according to Chris Bruce, director of the museum.

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Santa Monica Shortlists Three Teams for Mixed-Use Development

Project Site via BING and Architects’ Newspaper

Gehry’s chiseled, 244 foot tower is not the only mixed-use proposal currently being considered by the city of , as officials have selected three international teams led by prominent architects to submit proposals for a “significant” and “signature” development on a 2.5 acre site downtown. Located on Arizona Avenue between 4th and 5th streets, the parcel is currently occupied by a parking lot and two banks. Although the city did not specify a size constraint, the proposed designs will be expected to fit within the surrounding context and include an appropriate mix of of retail, office, hotel and space.

The following teams have been asked to submit proposals in May: (more…)

Vieux Port Pavilion / Foster + Partners

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Saturday in Marseille, , pedestrians and city officials joined Foster + Partners to celebrate the completion of the Vieux Port Pavilion at the mouth of Marseille’s World Heritage-listed harbor. Minimal, yet effective, this “discreet” intervention provides a new sheltered events space on the eastern edge of the port. With six slender pillars supporting its razor-thin profile, the polished 46 by 22 meter stainless steel canopy amplifies and reflects the surrounding movement of the harbor, creating a spectacle that encourages pedestrians to linger.

More on Foster’s Vieux Port after the break…

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British Architects Seek Infrastructure Opportunities in Brazil

AECOM Masterplan of Rio 2016 Olympic Park

Led by UK housing minister Mark Prisk, architects from five high-profile British practices – Haworth Tompkins, Foster & Partners, Amanda Levete Architects, and de Matos Ryan – have embarked on a week-long visit to Brazil in search of major opportunities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. The trip is part of the UKBrasil Season, a six-month series of dynamic and engaging projects designed to showcase the best of British business, culture, science and innovation in Brazil and become the largest post-Olympic legacy project in the world.

Mark Prisk stated: “Brazilian companies in these cities are actively looking for fast-track construction systems, innovative building materials and low carbon solutions to meet current and future demand, not only in preparation for hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games but also to compete in the country’s many major infrastructure projects.

More after the break…

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BIG’s Waste-to-Energy Plant Breaks Ground, Breaks Schemas

© -Bjarke Ingels Group

There are many things that set BIG’s latest project, , apart. The plant, which broke ground yesterday, will be the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world. It will be the tallest and biggest building in Copenhagen. It will house Denmark’s first ski-slope (on the roof of the plant, no less). It will emit its CO2 emissions – not as a continuous stream of smoke, oh no – but in sudden, bursting smoke rings. 

However, the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy Plant is far more than the sum of its rather remarkable features. As an urban “destination in itself” and a landmark in environmental design, it’s one of the most radical representations of architecture as a means of public engagement of our time. And, what’s more, it’s a signal that BIG has finally reached maturity, truly coming into its own as a firm.

Read more about BIG’s remarkable Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant, after the break….

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Gehry Designs Mixed-Use Tower for Downtown Santa Monica

© Gehry Partners

Developers M. David Paul Associates and the Worthe Real Estate Group have commissioned Frank Gehry to design a mixed-use hotel and tower in his hometown of Santa Monica, California. The 22-story “Ocean Avenue Project” aims to stimulate the coastal city’s economy with street-level restaurant and retail space below a 125-room hotel and 22-unit condominium tower topped with a rooftop observation deck. As for accommodating the car-centric lifestyle of the West Coast, resident and visitor parking will be available in a three-story subterranean garage beneath the tower. In addition, the developers plan to integrate a 36,000 square foot museum campus that will add a perk to the development just North of its two-acre site.

Although this project looks promising, the 244-foot, Gehry-esque tower is currently pending approval from the City. A vote by the end of March will decide its fate.

More images of the “Ocean Avenue Project” after the break…

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World’s First Algae Bioreactor Facade Nears Completion

BIQ via GOOD

BIQ – the world’s first algae powered building – is set to be completed in Germany later this month. Built for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg, this zero-carbon apartment complex will sport a bright green -cum-algae farm, while its interior proposes a radical new theory on how we will live in the near future.

More about BIQ after the break…

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Design Excellence of U.S. Embassies: Openness and Security

U.S. in / KieranTimberlake Architects

“The works of our artists, architects, and preservationists provide us with another language of diplomacy. A transcendent language that allows us to convey values that are at once uniquely American yet speak to all of humanity.  Increasingly in this world, art and architecture help us maintain our sense of openness and liberation.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, April 12, 2010 

An embassy is much more than a building or a work of architecture; it functions as a symbolic representation of countries’ relationships to one another.  It represents the universal language of diplomacy – “communicating values and ideals, extending well beyond any moment in time”.  An embassy has the difficult task of representing two diametrically opposed concepts: security and openness.  The former typically overpowers the latter in importance, which is most probably why when we think of foreign embassies, it conjures up images of stately monolithic buildings surrounded by tall fences and menacing guards or “bunkers, bland cubes, lifeless compounds”, according to Tanya Ballard Brown of NPR’s All Things Considered.

More on the design excellence of embassies after the break… (more…)

Foster + Partners to Submit Thames Hub Airport Proposal to Airport Commission

Courtesy of Foster and Partners

have confirmed that they will submit their proposal for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary to the Airports Commission, an organisation investigating airport capacity in the , by mid-July. The submission will be an important step towards getting government approval of the plan. 

The airport, which will have four runways (the potential to expand to six) and capacity for 150 million passengers, is part of Foster + Partners’ Thames Hub proposal. The hub would be built on a platform on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary and be connected to London via a spur linking directly to the existing high-speed rail line; in this way, Foster + Partners hope that it would eliminate the environmental, noise and security problems that come with the UK’s dependence on Heathrow Airport.

The self-funded Thames Hub vision was first made public in 2011. See our previous coverage: here. 

Story via Foster + Partners 

Landfill Reclamation: Fresh Kills Park Develops as a Natural Coastal Buffer and Parkland for Staten Island

Courtesy of Department of Parks and Recreation – Draft Master Plan

Every natural disaster has an “aftershock” in which we realize the fragility of our planet and the vulnerability of what we have built and created.  We realize the threat to our lifestyles and the flaws in our design choices.  The response to in October 2012 was no different than the response to every other hurricane, earthquake, tornado , tsunami or monsoon that has wrought devastation in different parts of the world.  We recognize our impact on the climate and promise to address how our development has caused severe disruptions in the planet’s self-regulating processes.   We acknowledge how outdated our systems of design have become in light of these damaging weather patterns and promise to change the way we design cities, coastlines and parks.  We gradually learn from our mistakes and attempt to redress them with smarter choices for more sustainable and resilient design.  Most importantly, we realize that we must learn from how natural processes self-regulate and apply these conditions to the way in which we design and build our urban spaces.

Since Hurricane Sandy, early considerations of environmentalists, planners and designers have entered the colloquial vocabulary of politicians in addressing the issues of the United States’ North Atlantic Coast.  There are many issues that need to be tackled in regards to environmental development and urban design.  One of the most prominent forces of Hurricane Sandy was the storm surge that pushed an enormous amount of ocean salt water far inland, flooding whole neighborhoods in New Jersey, submerging most of Manhattan’s southern half, destroying coastal homes along Long Island and the Rockaways, and sweeping away parts of Staten Island.  Yet, despite the tremendous damage, there was a lot that we learned from the areas that resisted the hurricane’s forces and within those areas are the applications that we must address for the rehabilitation and future development of these vulnerable conditions. Ironically, one of the answers lies within Fresh Kills – Staten Island’s out-of-commission landfill, which was the largest landfill in the United States until it was shutdown in 2001.  Find out how after the break. (more…)

Video: Water / Cherry by Kengo Kuma Associates

The Water / Cherry House by Japanese firm Kengo Kuma Associates is located on a cliff along one of ’s many beautiful coastlines. The home is a series of separate enclosures connected by open-air walkways that run between water and rock landscapes, fusing interior and exterior spaces into one. Various screens in the house can be opened to further connect living spaces with the outdoors, exposing panoramic vistas onto the home’s lush, peaceful surroundings to create a structure that is truly in tune with its natural environment. Check out this by JA+U for a tour!

A Candid Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”

If you only know Frank Lloyd Wright for his classic works - Fallingwater and the Guggenheim among them – and not for his bristly personality, then you’re in for a treat.

WNYC has just released a candid they recorded with Wright in 1957, two years before his death, in his Plaza Hotel apartment (where he’d moved to oversee construction of the Guggenheim, which he’d been working on for 14 years). The conversation covers a wide range of topics – from Wright’s quirky personal views on American culture to the significance of architecture for mankind. Some gems from the interview include: 

On the Guggenheim and its critics:  “You’re going to be awakened to the beauty of that thing [a picture, a painting] from a new point of view. And it’s going to be so enlivening and refreshing, that it will make some of these painters quite ashamed of the protest that they issued against it.”

More quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright, after the break…

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Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designs Telescopic ‘Culture Shed’ for New York

Courtesy of and

The expandable multi-use cultural venue dubbed ‘Culture Shed’ is one of the most radical proposals to come out of New York’s Hudson Yards Development Project. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro - the New York-based interdisciplinary practice that played a major role in designing the High Line - in collaboration with the Rockwell Group, this 170,000 square foot cultural center will be located at the south end of the Hudson Yards, with the main entrance located near the conclusion of the High Line at West 30th Street.

More information on the Culture Shed after the break…

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