AS+GG Wins Competition for Astana World EXPO 2017

© Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has been announced as winner of a major design competition for World EXPO-2017 in , 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.”

(more…)

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

, Lebanon. Image © VOA/V. Undritz

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.

(more…)

Zaha Hadid Designs Superyacht for Blohm+Voss

© Unique Circle Yachts / Zaha Hadid Architects for Bloom+Voss Shipyards

Zaha Hadid has collaborated with the Hamburg-based shipbuilders 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. 

(more…)

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:

(more…)

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.”

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Redefining Context with Tatiana Bilbao

© Iwan Baan

The simple concrete-hewn structures designed by acknowledge their context in a way that most buildings don’t. In a recent interview with uncube Magazine, Bilbao explains how her outlook on design shifted after she realized that “the quality of architecture relies heavily on the people who build it and what techniques and materials they are used to.” And it seems this novel approach hasn’t gone unnoticed – she recently showed her work at ’s Architekturgalerie and is on a star-studded shortlist to design the Menil Drawing Institute. Read the full interview here.

New Tel Aviv High-Rise By Richard Meier Nears Completion

©

Pritzker Laureate Richard Meier’s iconic new residential tower in the heart of Tel Aviv is nearing completion. Located in Rothschild Boulevard, the city’s bustling high-end commercial, cultural and financial district, it is no surprise that over 70% of the 42-story luxury tower has already been sold.

More on the tower, and its potentially controversial context, after the break…

(more…)

Could an Architecture Peace Corps Be the Answer to Student Debt?

The WPA completed some of the US’ most famous structures. Would a similar program today make sense for recently-graduated architecture students?. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Graduating architecture students are welcomed to the professional world with few job opportunities, lots of competition, and, for many, shockingly high student debt. Barring winning the lottery, there’s nothing for it but to work the decades it takes to pay them off. But what if there was another way? Shervan Sebastian, of AIArchitect, explores a new possibility for student debt relief designed specifically for architects in “Proposal Combines Student Debt Relief with Community Design Support,” reprinted here. Read on to see how you could one day pay off your student debt and help your community at the same time. 

Public service loan assistance programs have for decades been a driving force in attracting talent to some of America’s neediest and underserved regions and sectors of the economy. Programs as varied as AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps as well as the medical, legal, and dental professions have all employed these incentives to provide communities with talented, civically engaged professionals, while offering one of the most coveted forms of support for financially burdened graduates: student loan assistance.

What might a national design service corps look like for the architecture profession? The AIA is proposing legislation that offers architecture school graduates loan re-payment assistance opportunities similar to those offered to graduates of other professions who contribute their services to their communities. The National Design Services Act (NDSA) provides student loan assistance for architects who work at community design centers by securing grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to reduce loan balances of participating students.

(more…)

First Section of Santiago Calatrava’s PATH Station Opens in NYC

Image via New York Daily News © Mark Bonifacio

A portion of ’s $4 billion station has opened. According to NY Daily News, the Western Concourse will now relieve New Yorkers from “cramped sidewalks and temporary bridges” crossing West St. with a 600-foot underground passage lined in “bright white marble” that connects the World Trade Center to the neighboring office complex formerly known as the World Financial Center. Once complete in 2015, the controversial transit hub will double as a massive shopping and retail complex, which aims to “transform” the cultural experience of lower Manhattan. 

(more…)

Mountains of Construction Debris Accumulate Outside Chinese Cities

© Aly Song / Reuters

Chinese city-dwellers are waking to find eight stories of construction debris outside of their homes. Over two billion tons of waste, outside Beijing and other major cities, is a result of a booming construction industry. “There’s no systematic way to deal with [the garbage],” says Wilson W.S. Lu, architecture professor at the University of Hong Kong, “The illegal dumping is everywhere.” Recycling efforts have just begun, but local activists believe it will require a radical paradigm shift in the way Chinese residents reclaim material. Read the full Times article, “China’s Mountains of Construction Rubble.

Heatherwick Tapped to Design $75 Million Icon for NYC

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Heatherwick Studio. Image © Daniele Mattioli

Related Companies founder Stephen Ross has commissioned London designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick to design what could be, according to the Wall Street Journal, “one of the most expensive works of public art in the world.” Planned to be the centerpiece of Related’s Hudson Yards project in ’s West Side, the estimated $75 million artwork and its surrounding 4-acre public space aims to become “new icon for the city.”

(more…)

RIBA Examines How Over 60s Might Impact Future Cities

Family Homes. Image Courtesy of Building Futures

According to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the number of people aged over 60 is expected to increase by 40% over the next twenty years, suggesting that “our post-retirement years will be longer and healthier.” There is no doubt, therefore, that people in this age group will have a greater economic, social and political power – but how will this affect our ?

(more…)

The Case For Tall Wood Buildings

Courtesy of Michael Green Architecture

Michael Green is calling for a drastic paradigm shift in the way we build. Forget steel, straw, concrete and shipping containers; use wood to erect urban skyscrapers. In a 240 page report – complete with diagrams, plans, renders and even typical wooden curtain wall details – Green outlines a new way of designing and constructing tall buildings using mass timber, all the while addressing common misconceptions of , structure, sustainability, cost and climate concerns.

(more…)

Banksy Critiques One World Trade as “Shyscraper”

One World Trade Center as seen from the Hudson River. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia

Banksy, the pseudonymous United Kingdom-based graffiti artist who is currently making his rounds in , has proclaimed the One World Trade Center as the city’s “biggest eyesore.” In a brief op-ed piece, Banksy describes the SOM-designed tower as a “shy skyscraper,” one that declares New York’s “glory days” are gone.

“You really need to put up a better building in front of it right away,” stated Banksy. “… because you currently have under construction a one thousand foot tall sign that reads, New York – we lost our nerve.”

Criticism of the One World Trade isn’t new, as many leading critics have bashed its design for being “meh” - a watered-down version of Daniel Libeskind’s original proposal

Read Bansky’s full op-ed, after the break.  

(more…)

Nakagin Capsule Tower: A Prototype for Today’s Micro Housing

© Arcspace

Seizing on the current trend for ‘micro-apartments‘ in such as New York, Fast Company has an interesting profile (including some great photos) of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, the 1972 Japanese building, one of the first (and still one of the most extreme) examples of small-plan living. The article explores both the successful and unsuccessful elements of the design, such as the difficult maintenance and non-openable windows, as well as the ongoing battle for preservation since the residents voted to replace the tower with a conventional building. You can read the full article here.