2014 Canadian Urban Design Award Winners

Jiigew – By the Water, Thunder Bay, Ontario, by Brook McIllroy Architects and SPMB. Image © David Whittaker

The winners of the 2014 Canadian Urban Design Awards, a biennial competition recognizing projects that contribute to the vitality and sustainability of Canadian cities, were recently announced by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Canadian Institute of Planners, and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Eight individuals, organizations, and firms – including Perkins + Will for a masterplan in Edmonton - were recognized for their efforts in categories such as Community Initiatives and Civic Design. For information and images on the winning entries, read on after the break.

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Divine Inspiration: 15 Spiritual Spaces

Kamppi Chapel of Silence / K2S Architects

In honor of those celebrating Sunday, we’ve compiled a list of the most breathtaking places of worship from our Religious Architecture Pinterest board. From vast, open halls, to intimate places of prayer and contemplation, these works are sure to spark your appreciation for divine architecture. See them in all their glory, after the break…

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Video: Safer Crossings for Cars, Bicycles and Pedestrians

Well-designed, protected bike lanes are not only the desire for riders, but a necessity for to offer sustainable transport. Bikes sales are on the rise and it is imperative that meet the growing demand. As Portland-based planner Nick Falbo describes: “If your city is designed so that you may bike instead of drive, it would be a happier, healthier place to live.” With that in mind, Falbo has revealed a systematic proposal that can make the intersections safer for bicyclists, cars and pedestrians.

Fours steps for safer crossings, after the break…

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Boogertman Wins Competition to Design Educational Centre in Kenya’s Karura Forest

Visualisation (day). Image Courtesy of Boogertman + Partners

South African-based practice Boogertman + Partners has recently won a competition to design a new education centre for the  Environmental Education Trust in Kenya’s Karura Forest ReserveThe centre, situated on around fifteen acres of a former sports club, will be surrounded by the closed-canopy forest close to the  Teachers Training College, the International Center for Research in Agro-forestryand the United Nations Environment Programme Headquarters

Located in the northern part of Nairobi County, bordering the Muthaiga, Gigiri and Runda residential areas, the centre will seek to educate people on the many species of plants, birds, insects and mammals to be found within Karura’s diverse landscape.

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How Kiev’s Independence Square Helped Spur an Uprising

© Flickr CC User Michael Kötter

In a fascinating article for the GuardianOwen Hatherley visits Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kiev, the public square at the heart of the Ukranian revolution that ironically was designed under Stalin as a Baron Hausmann-style weapon against uprisings. Hatherley examines how elements of the public space were utilized by protesters, and how different areas of the square are now hosting a variety of political factions. You can read the full article here.

MONU Magazine New Issue: Geographical Urbanism

MONU– magazine on urbanism is a unique bi-annual international forum for artists, writers and designers that are working on topics of urban culture, development and politics.

Contrary to the simplified linear causality of the environmentalism of the past, which posited that natural geography shapes urban patterns, it is now thought that contemporary urbanization shapes the surface of the earth. Nikos Katsikis explains this tremendous current shift in the meaning of physical geography for in his contribution “On the Geographical Organization of World Urbanization”, putting the discussion of the 20th issue of on the topic “Geographical Urbanism” in a historical context.

You can read more on this new issue here, and you can browse the entire issue on Youtube.

Building Trust International Constructs Sustainable Housing in Cambodia

Courtyard House render. Image ©

Building Trust International, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and Karuna , has realized three winning designs from the 2013 Future of Sustainable Housing in Cambodia competition. 

Built on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the constructed designs sought to provide impoverished Cambodians with new options for safe and secure homes under $2000 that are capable of withstanding flood and able to be expanded in phases.

Check out the three completed designs, after the break…

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“Unfinished Spaces” Wins SAH Award for Film and Video

Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray’s Unfinished Spaces has been awarded the 2014 Society of Architectural Historian’s (SAH) Award for Film and Video, an award presented annually to the “most distinguished work of film on the history of the built environment.” Initially released in 2011, the critically acclaimed reveals the turbulent past of Fidel Castro’s Cuba and tells the story of his utopian dream to construct the Cuban National Arts Schools. You can learn more about the film here, and the school’s history, here.

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SketchUp Announces Mobile Viewer for iPad

Courtesy of

SketchUp have recently unveiled the latest app in their suite, SketchUp Mobile Viewer for . Allowing “on the go” access to models, the app also features access to “the entire universe” of files in their 3D Warehouse. Users can use the same familiar features, such as Orbit, Pan and Zoom, to “present their own private 3D models to clients and partners.” With a price tag of $9.99 from Apple’s App Store, early reviews suggest that this is a good first step with some way yet to go. Being the first ever SketchUp tablet product (with a planned Android version in the works), it has been released in conjunction with SketchUp 2014 which incorporated BIM capabilities for the very first time.

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Paul Rudolph’s Iconic Walker Guest House To Be Re-Constructed

Walker Guest House / Sanibel Island. Image © Ezra Stoller / Esto

The Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) has announced that a replica of Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House will be constructed at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. It is hoped the iconic, 24′ x 24′ vacation cottage will be opened to the public by 2015, after which it will be disassembled and transported to select museums around the country.

More information about the Walker Guest House, after the break…

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AMLGM Proposes to Top New York Transportation Hubs with Sprawling Tower

Train View. Image ©

Chad Kellogg and Matt Bowles of AMLGM have envisioned a new residential tower typology for New York that can connect and transform unused space surrounding various transportation hubs into a dense, mixed-use housing tower. 

The proposal, dubbed Urban Alloy, which won first in Metropolis’ Living Cities Residential Tower Competition and received honorable mention in Evolo Skyscrapers 2014, is capable of responding to a number of unique spacial and environmental situations, providing a new way for the city to grow “organically” and provide adequate housing for the expanding population. 

Read on for the architect’s description

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Chinese Firm 3D Prints 10 Homes in 24 Hours

Winsun New Materials, a construction firm based in Suzhou, China, has successfully built ten small-scale houses using a massive 3-D printer. The 22 foot tall machine uses glass fibers and cement to produce building elements, such as walls, in successive layers. Winsun estimates that their printing process is approximately half as costly as traditional construction methods. Acknowledging ’s strict environmental policies, the company also has plans to use scrapped construction materials to print future buildings. You can read more about this ongoing project in this article from the Wall Street Journal.

US Pavilion Establishes Temporary Practice, Sets Agenda for the Future Production of Architecture

OfficeUS in U.S. Pavilion, Leong Leong, 2014. Image Courtesy of Leong Leong and Storefront for Art and Architecture

The curators of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale has unveiled OfficeUS, a “radical experiment” that explores the ways in which “space, structures, and protocols of the U.S. architectural office” have influenced the construction of Modernity.

based architects Leong Leong, graphic designer Natasha Jen (Pentagram) and technology consultants at CASE have been commissioned to re-design the U.S. Pavilion in Venice’s Giardini as a modern architectural practice. Eight architects will be selected from an international open call to serve as the ad-hoc practice’s acting principles, collaborating with 90 satellite offices from around the world to revisit and re-envision historical projects from an onsite archive of 1,000 buildings so that they may construct an agenda for the future production of architecture.

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After the Wildfires: How Will Chile Rebuild Its Informal Communities?

For those unfamiliar with Valparaíso, allow me to inform you: this city is a treasure. The UNESCO World Heritage site and cultural capital of is defined by its winding paths, happily graffitied streets, antiquated funiculars, and – above all – its colorful, tightly-packed hills. And because of its precarious density, the city was brought to its knees by vicious forest fires this past weekend, fires which quickly spread and consumed 2,500 acres, displacing over 12,500 people whose homes were destroyed.

The hills where the fires hit hardest are similar to Brazilian favelas – inhabited by informal residents who have little to no access to infrastructure and who constructed their homes themselves, illegally, and – as the fires have proven – rather perilously.

The response of the Chilean government so far has been to suggest bulldozing and building again in “a more orderly manner.” To do so, the government has intimated that it will expropriate land and relocate citizens to safer sites.

However, residents have already begun resisting this potential outcome. As ArchDaily correspondent Nicolás Valencia reported from Cerro Ramaditas (one of the hillside communities most devastated by the fire), many have refused to leave for fear that their land be taken from them; those that have gone, have left markers “cordoning off what they consider theirs with pieces of wood or metal cans.”

It’s a troubling dilemma: evict victims from the only home they’ve ever known or relegate them to lives at risk of future catastrophe. But could there be another way?

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Tod Williams Devastated Over Folk Art Museum’s Fate

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

Tod Williams has broke his silence in his first interview since the Museum of Modern Art announced their decision to raze the former Folk Art Museum, expressing devastation that the building will be “reduced to a memory.”

“Yes, all buildings one day will turn to dust, but this building could have been reused,” Tod Williams. “Unfortunately, the imagination and the will were not there.”

Though MoMA has promised to preserve the building’s iconic copper-bronze facade, Williams is concerned it will forever stay in storage. 

Proposals are being suggested on how to resurrect the facade, as the New York Times reported, including a concept from Nina Libeskind, chief operating officer of Studio Daniel Libeskind, and AIA executive director Fredric M. Bell that will be presented to MoMA next week. However, Williams expressed disinterest at the idea of installing fragments of the building elsewhere. 

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Milan Expo 2015: Shortlisted Designs Revealed for UK Pavilion

Team 2. Image Courtesy of UKTI

Details have been released on the eight proposals competing to serve as the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Each design draws inspiration from the theme “Grown in Britain: Shared Globally,” which is intended to showcase Britain’s contribution in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to the global food challenges. 

Presented anonymously, the proposals will be reviewed by an esteemed jury before a winner is announced in May. 

Check out all the innovative proposals, after the break…

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NYU and Hudson Yards to Use Big Data to Improve Cities

Phase One Visualisation © Nelson Byrd Woltz; Courtesy of

New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress has teamed up with the developers of Hudson Yards to transform the future 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood into the nations first “quantified community.” As Crain’s New York reports, the aim is to “use big data to make better places to live.” Information, from pedestrian traffic to energy production and resident activity levels, will be collected in order to study how can run efficiently and improve quality of living. You can read more on the subject, here.

RIBA’s 2014 Regional Award Winners Announced

Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters

has announced the first round of Regional Award winners, all of which will be considered for the RIBA national awards. From the list, Mecanoo’s Library of Birmingham takes center stage, as the artisan-inspired structure received a number of , including the West Midlands Building of the Year and Emerging Architect. Check out the complete list, after the break…

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