Interview: Behind the Scenes of the University of Toronto’s Mental Health Report

Courtesy of GALDSU

In a TED Talk from 2009, writer Elizabeth Gilbert muses about how uncomfortable she is with the assumption that “creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked.” The majority of Gilbert’s thoughtful and humorous monologue is about finding sanity amidst both success and failure, or in other words, about finding a way to break this link. Earlier this year, the University of Toronto Graduate Architecture Landscape and Design Student Union’s (GALDSU) set out to do just that – break the link between creativity and suffering at their school – and start a productive dialogue about mental health. GALDSU began by gathering the facts through a mental health study of their peers, the results of which we discussed several months ago.

To learn more about what’s happened at their school (and beyond) since it was published, we sat down with Joel Leon, the man who spearheaded the effort and the newly elected president of the student union, as well as Elise Hunchuck, the vice-president of the student union.

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Chinese Company Showcases Ten 3D-Printed Houses

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Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has constructed a set of ten single story, 3D-printed homes which it produced in under 24 hours. The homes, printed in prefabricated panels which fit together on site, were created using WinSun’s custom-built 3D printer which measures 10 meters by 6.6 meters, and took the company twelve years to develop.

Formed with a cement-based mixture containing construction waste and glass fiber, each of the houses cost just $5,000 to build. Read on after the break for more on the development.

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UK Airports Commission Rules Out Thames Estuary Airport Plans

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The Airports Commission, the independent group charged with planning the future of the London‘s airport infrastructure, has finally ruled out an ambitious plan for a major airport in the Thames Estuary designed by Foster + Partners and supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Chairman of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies said the proposal had been ruled out because “the economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount.”

Instead, the Airports Commission will select between three options to expand one of London’s existing airports at either Heathrow or Gatwick. Read on after the break for the reactions to the decision.

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Understanding St Louis: The Activism of Bob Hansman

Pruitt Igoe was just one step of the process that led to St Louis’ current state. Image by US Geological Survey via Flickr CC User Michael Allen

For the past few weeks, events in Ferguson, Missouri have prompted many debates over what can or should be done to ease tensions in this suburb of St Louis. But Bob Hansman, a professor at the Washington University in St Louis, is taking a different approach: understanding it first. This interview with Hansman, originally published on the Washington University in St Louis Newsroom, unearths a few of the issues that have made some areas of St Louis so severely dispossessed.

It’s 10am, and Bob Hansman is on a bus addressing students, brandishing a St. Louis guidebook like a prosecutor at trial.

“Today isn’t this,” he growls. “Get ready.”

Discover more about the work of Hansman after the break.

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Open Call for Curator: Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016

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Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) seeks a Chief Curator or Curator Team for its sixth international festival in Oslo, Norway in autumn of 2016. The Curator will be responsible for the academic and artistic development of the festival, including its conceptual framework, research and programming, as well as exhibitions and events.

The Oslo Architecture Triennale serves as a platform for developing alternative and interdisciplinary projects and is the main international architecture festival in the Nordic region. Content will be developed over the course of three years, and the festival functions to not only display, but to investigate issues of architecture and urban challenges. More on the triennale, and how to apply, after the break.

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UIA World Congress Reveals Architecture’s Other Side

Rahul Mehrotra’s designs for an office building in Hyderabad exemplify the social agenda of architecture which dominated discussions at this year’s World Congress. Image © Carlos Chen

With the International Union of Architects (UIA)’s World Congress taking place last month, the eyes of the architecture world were on South Africa where – according to Phineas Harper of the Architectural Review - the conference was full of architects of all backgrounds with “irrepressible energy,” sharing ideas on how architecture can be used for social good with an urgency that is somewhat unfamiliar in the Western world. ”Whoever said architecture was stale, male and pale should have been in Durban,” says Harper. You can read the full review of the event here.

Harper’s review also singles out the “electrifying” keynote speech of Rahul Mehrotra, who explained how he used his architecture to bridge social and gaps while still serving his clients’ needs, in projects such as his Hyderabad offices. You can see him discuss these ideas in our interview with Mehrotra here:

AD Interviews: Rahul Mehrotra / RMA Architects

The Proliferation of “Cultural Genocide” in Areas of Conflict

Umayyad Mosque, Old City of Aleppo, Syria (2013).

In an article for the London Evening Standard, Robert Bevan examines one of the many often overlooked consequences of : the destruction of monuments, culture, and . With heightened in the Middle East over the past decade an enormous amount of “cultural genocide” has occurred – something which Bevan notes is “inextricably linked to human genocide and ethnic cleansing.” Arguing that “saving historic treasures and saving lives are not mutually exclusive activities,” case studies from across the world are employed to make the point that with the loss of cultural heritage, most commonly architectural, the long term ramifications will resonate throughout this century.

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This Whimsical Cage Redefines Public Space

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Folly is a word not often used in architecture. By definition, ‘folly’ is a lack of good sense, or foolishness. And in the realm of architecture, folly is used to describe an extravagantly ornamented structure with no practical purpose. Yet gathering their inspiration from this word, Warren Techentin Architecture (WTARCH) have created and mounted a functional folly, appropriately named La Cage aux Folles (The Cage of Follies). Constructed of painted, steel tubes and installed at Materials & Applications, an exhibition centre in Los Angeles, La Cage aux Folles played host to an array of musical performances and lectures. 

Explore La Cage aux Folles with more photos and info after the break. 

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9 Endangered Monuments to Receive Funding for Conservation Works

The Güell Pavilions in Barcelona, Spain. Image Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

From Gaudí-designed pavilions in Barcelona, Spain to the Tenyuji Temple in Ogatsu, Japan, nine “at-risk” historical monuments will receive funding for works, thanks to a $1.5 million grant from American Express to the World Monuments Fund (WMF). The nine sites were all included on WMF’s 2014 Watch list, and include Pokfulam Village in Hong Kong (SAR), China; the churches of Saint Merri and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Paris, France; the Farnese Aviaries in Rome, Italy; Tenyuji Temple, in Ogatsu, Japan; Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico; the Güell Pavilions in Barcelona, Spain; the House of Wonders in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania; Battersea Power Station in London, United Kingdom; and Sulgrave Manor in Sulgrave, United Kingdom.

This is the second portion of a $5 million, five-year grant from American Express to support WMF. “The longstanding support of American Express to the World Monuments Watch has resulted in preservation work at more than 150 sites in over 60 countries,” said WMF President Bonnie Burnham in a press release. “The sites on the 2014 Watch that will receive support are extraordinary places whose preservation will benefit both local populations and visitors from around the world.”

Read on after the break for a description of the sites.

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UNESCO: Friend or Foe?

Right now Istanbul epitomizes the debate in question, with would-be developers taking on preservationists. Do new developments threaten Istanbul’s world-class , or does protection restrict important new development? Image © Flickr CC User Jules Gervais

Earlier this week, two articles on Domus engaged each other in a debate over the affect of UNESCO World Heritage status on the cities they supposedly protect. Is UNESCO turning the world’s cities into museums and hindering their future development? Or could it be a positive force for protecting architecture and culture? Read on after the break to learn more about these clashing opinions.

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3XN Designs Affordable Housing Tower in Denmark

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The influx of students in Aarhus, Denmark is causing the city to rapidly expand. In response to the growing need for affordable housing close to the local university, 3XN teamed up with developer Jens Richard Pedersen to design a residential high-rise near the institution. The future tower has been dubbed La Tour as an ode to the building that currently occupies the site, Hotel La Tour.

Newly released renders and model photographs depict the tower as a sweeping semi-circular form that rises in steps. The gradual elevation of the building will start at the street, defining the transition from the surrounding small-scale buildings to the urban high-rise typology. For more information and images, read on after the break.

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Number of Women Architects on the Rise in the UK

© Robert Venturi

The number of women becoming architects in the is increasing, according to the latest figures by the ’s Architects Registration Board (ARB). Now, 7,538 female architects are registered with the ARB, up nearly 74% from just 10 years ago, the Architects’ Journal (AJ) reports. Yet despite the overall increase, women still only make up 22% of the profession, and represented just 38% of the new registrants in 2013.

Read on after the break for comments from female architects…

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The 6th Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival Returns to New York City

"Who Dares Wins: Zaha Hadid". Image Courtesy of Architecture & Design Film Festival

The 6th Annual Architecture and Design Film Festival is set to return to City on October 15th for five days of premieres and showings. With a special themed focus on Women in Architecture, the US’s largest architecture-related film festival will present over twenty five feature-length and short films in a programme curated by and Laura Cardello. Designed to provide “rare glimpses and intimate portrayals of seminal figures and growing movements in the fields of architecture, design, urbanism and fashion,” this year’s festival will also feature a 3D film series exploring six iconic structures from filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Robert Redford.

Explore the highlights and find out more about the festival after the break.

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Apple Awarded Patent for Flagship Store Design

© Flickr CC User Mathieu Thouvenin

The US Patent and Trademark Office have awarded a patent to Apple for the design of their flagship store on Fifth Avenue in reports MacRumors. The patent, applied for by Apple in 2012, applies to the above-ground glass cube, which was originally designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and – after a renovation in 2011 – is made of just 15 glass panels with minimal steel fixings. More on the patent after the break.

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Move Over, Green Walls: Living Canopy Comes to West Vancouver

Courtesy of Matthew Soules Architecture

Imagine walking beneath an illuminated canopy of lush greenery, in the form of inverted pyramids sculpted to perfection. In early August 2014 visitors were welcomed by this succulent living roof to the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Guests were guided through the fairgrounds beneath the 90-foot long canopy, creating an immersive sensory experience befitting the interdisciplinary creative arts festival. Designed by Matthew Soules Architecture and curated by the Museum of West VancouverVermilion Sands was created as a temporary for the ten day festival.

Submerge yourself in Vermilion Sands with photos and more info after the break.

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The Rockefeller Foundation Kicks Off its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

OMA’s proposed Hoboken Waterfront for the “Rebuild by Design” competition, which focused on resilience, sustainability and livability. Image Courtesy of OMA

The Rockefeller Foundation has kicked off its 2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which aims to help “build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges that cities face in an increasingly urbanized world.” Each of the 100 cities selected will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer and assistance in developing and implementing a resilience strategy.

“We can’t predict the next disruption or catastrophe. But we can control how we respond to these challenges. We can adapt to the shocks and stresses of our world and transform them into opportunities for growth,” the 100 Resilient Cities’ site reads. While shocks include events like earthquakes, fires and floods, stresses include high unemployment, inefficient public transportation, endemic or chronic food and water shortages. The Challenge aims to help cities be better prepared for these adverse events and better able to deliver basic services in both good and bad times to all members of the population.

Learn more about the Challenge after the break…

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Google Launches New Virtual Experience that Takes You Inside Alvar Aalto’s Works

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The Alvar Aalto Foundation has begun a collaborative project with Google to make Aalto buildings even more accessible to the public. Using Google’s revolutionary Street View navigation tool, along with its virtual Institute, the project offers a look inside some of Aalto’s most iconic works of architecture. Learn more about this initiative and see the virtual journey for yourself after the break.

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Mecanoo Begins Work on Vast Cultural Centre in Shenzhen

Courtesy of Mecanoo / Christopher Malheiros Architectural Visualization

Dutch based practice Mecanoo, nominated for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the Library of Birmingham, have begun work on vast centre in Shenzhen marking their first project to break ground on Chinese soil. Comprising of a large public art gallery, a science museum, a youth centre, and a book mall, the 95,000 square metre development will strengthen Longgang District’s identity by “providing citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of place.” Forming a dynamic link between the high-rise of the city’s commercial district and the open spaces of Longcheng Park, the four sculpted forms emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered spaces to facilitate public events.

See the full set of images and an illustrative film after the break.

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