NLÉ Wins Competition to Design Financial Headquarters in Lagos

Atrium Ground Floor. Image © NLÉ

International design firm NLÉ has recently shared its competition-winning design for the financial headquarters of the microfinance bank Credit Direct Limited. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, in the Ikeja district, the bank’s design abandons the forbidding presence of most financial institutions for one that is open and welcoming. This decision not only invites clientele inside, but creates opportunities for adaptation to the tropical weather of .

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Group8asia Nears Completion on “Verdant Urban Oasis” in Singapore

Current Construction Aerial. Image © Darren Soh

Group8asia is nearing completion on a first-prize winning proposal that is meant to revive the concept of public housing in Singapore. The Punggol Waterway Terraces, so named for the river on which they’re set, will be a sustainable community that aims to echo the utopic exuberance of ’s first housing developments in the 1970s. Arranged around central courtyards, these high-rise apartments hope to create a sleek, graceful skyline that contrasts with the verdant greenery of their landscape.

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O25′s “Future Logistics Building” Wins Second in Prologis 2030 Competition

Perspective, outside. Image Courtesy of

OFFICETWENTYFIVEARCHITECTS (O25) has won second prize the Prologis’ 2030 Design competition, which challenged participating firms from seven European countries to redefine what logistics buildings may look like in the future.

O25′s proposal utilizes a site similar to characteristic distribution sites, under the assumption that future demands will be closely aligned with current one. With this mentality, the design utilizes a greenfield site within close proximity to major transportation systems, but is not directly in the heart of the urban environment. Due to its semi-rural locality, the goal of the design was to create a functional and efficient distribution system that would not compete with, but rather complement, its surroundings, so unsightly features (storage areas) are located underground. Additional nods to the landscape are made by the integration of green space atop the loading bays.

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The Urbanist’s Guide to the World

Courtesy of

A compilation of all posts in the “Urbanist’s Guide to…” series from Guardian Cities, “The Urbanist’s Guide to the World” takes readers to cities across the globe. Penned by local bloggers in from Manila to Sao PauloTehran to New Orleans, the vignettes are supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and cover everything from “best” and “worst buildings” to cleanliness, soundscapes, and “the best place for a conversation.” You can view the interactive guide here.

Centre Pompidou Considers Libourne Outpost

© Francis Toussaint

The south west French city of may soon get its own pop-up Pompidou. Reports indicate that the Libourne satellite outpost would be similar to the one currently underway in Malaga, Spain (soon to open in March 2015). If the deal is passed, the city would host the museum outpost in a former 40,000-square-meter military academy, though renovation costs are excepted run high - nearing €6 million. The city’s mayor Philippe Buisson is reaching out to regional and national authorities requesting financial assistance.

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A First Look at the Shortlisted Bristol Arena Proposals

Team A. Image Courtesy of

Grimshaw, IDOM, Populous, Feilden Clegg BradleyWhite Arkitekter and Wilkinson Eyre are among five international design teams who’ve been recently shortlisted in a RIBA-organized competition to design the £90 million Arena, a 12,000-seat indoor entertainment venue set to open by 2017. At this point, the proposals remain anonymous and the public is being asked for their opinion. A judging panel, that includes the Mayor of , will review the public commentary and designs before selecting a team in March. Take a look at the projects and share your thoughts, after the break.

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AD Round Up: Classics in Brick

Colònia Güell / Antoni Gaudí. Image © Samuel Ludwig

As one of the most ubiquitous forms of construction, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the humble brick. However, this prosaic building method can also be one of the most versatile materials available to architects, thanks to the experimentation of countless architects who, for centuries, have worked to create new forms of expression with the simple material. In this round up, we celebrate architects who, with their architectural classics, have expanded the possibilities of brick craft: Antoni Gaudí‘s fantastical vaulting at Colònia Güell and Alvar Aalto‘s experimental brick patterning at his house in Muuratsalo; the powerful brick piers of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo‘s Knights of Columbus Building and the Catalan vaults of Porro, Garatti and Gattardi’s National Arts School of Cuba; and finally, what brick round up would be complete without the brick-whisperer himself - Louis Kahn and his all-brick fortress for the Indian Institute of Management.

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AIA Construction Forecast Predicts Increased Spending

This week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results of its first Consensus Construction Forecast of the year. The forecast is compiled based on predictions of the industry’s leading forecasters and is conducted bi-annually to anticipate shifting business conditions in the construction industry. The dominant trend in this forecast (projected for 2015 and 2016) is an overall increase in spending in the construction sector.

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Call For Proposals: Filling Station(s)

Courtesy of Combo

 latest ideas challenge asks participants to “rethink refueling” in a competition which seeks to re-imagine the ubiquitous filling station. The historical rise of this 20th century typology, from simple fuel dispensers to palatial rest-stops on the highway, grew with the proliferation of the car and became symbols for societal progression, personal status, and “a bright future.” Although the number of vehicles worldwide ”surpassed one billion in 2010, there has been a steady decline in filling stations since the end of the last century.” As such, perhaps this is the time to start to rethink how these fragments of the international mobility infrastructure operate?

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Open Call: Atlanta Bridgescape Competition

. Image © Flickr CC User Brett Weinstein

The Atlanta Bridgescape Competition is an urban design challenge seeking creative strategies to enhance existing freeway infrastructure in Midtown and Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The objective of the competition is to solicit designs for the next two bridge projects: the 10th Street Bridge in Midtown and the Courtland Street/Ralph McGill Boulevard Bridge in downtown. The competition seeks broad participation from multi-disciplinary design teams to develop innovative approaches for enhancing existing infrastructure in a manner that will elevate the experience of travelers along the Connector and improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge surfaces.

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London’s “Olympicopolis” Aims to Host Smithsonian’s First International Venue

© Kevin Allen/ Legacy Development Corp

The is considering opening its first international exhibition space in “Olympicopolis” – London’s former Olympic park that is to be transformed into a world-class cultural hub by 2021. Should the self-financed proposal be approved, it will be the first time in the institution’s 168-year history to build a public venue outside of the United States.

“We see this as an unprecedented opportunity to show the breadth of the Smithsonian in one of the most diverse cities in the world,” stated Smithsonian acting secretary Al Horvath.

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HOT TO COLD: BIG’s “Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation” Opens at the National Building Museum

© Matt Carbone

Circle the globe in 800-feet at the National Building Museum’s latest exhibition HOT TO COLD. BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group’s first North American exhibition, HOT TO COLD takes viewers on an “odyssey of architectural adaptation” from the “hottest to the coldest parts of our planet to explore how ’s designs are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts.”

More than 60 architectural models of BIG’s most recent projects, including 20 premiering for the first time, are being suspended from the second floor of the museum’s historic Great Hall. Each project is interpreted through Iwan Baan‘s “masterful” photography, films by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, and the Grammy Award-winning graphic artist Stefan Sagmeister’s design for the accompanying catalog by Taschen.

A word from Ingels, after the break.

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Architecture & Human Rights: AIA Rejects Controversial Ethics Amendment

© Flikr User jmiller291 / CC License

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) recent rejection of a proposed amendment to its existing ethics code has sparked debate over the issue of design and human rights violations. The proposed addendum was drawn up late last summer by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), a nonprofit organization advocating social consciousness in the design field. It stipulated that all members would refrain from designing spaces involving human-rights violations, specifically those “intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement.” This would include execution chambers, interrogation rooms intended for torture, and “supermax” security prisons in which prolonged solitary confinement take place.

However, the main controversy arose when considering whether or not the amendment would be an attainable goal for the AIA. Although the content of the amendment was never in question, its clarity and ability to be enforced were.

Read more about the AIA’s decision to reject the ethics amendment, after the break.

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2015 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards: The Finalists

After an exciting week of nominations, ArchDaily’s readers have evaluated over 3,000 projects and selected 5 finalists in each category of the Award.

Similar to last year, over 18,000 architects and enthusiasts participated in the nomination process, expressing what architecture means to them by highlighting the buildings that have inspired them the most.

This year’s finalists represent a diverse group of projects, coming from all corners of the globe and from firms of different sizes and trajectories. Yet they all capture architecture’s capacity to improve people’s lives.

Remember that the firm behind the overall most voted project will receive an HP T520 Designjet T520 ePrinter, and the second and third most voted practices will receive an HP T120 Designjet ePrinter.

The winners of the two iPads from the nomination stage are: Linda Hinderdael (iPad Mini) and Sylvia Robert (iPad Air). We’re also going to give away two more iPads to our readers during the final voting stage so be sure to vote!

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Denton Corker Marshall’s Australian Pavilion to Debut at the 56th Venice Biennale

Courtesy of Denton Corker Marshall

The first building to be constructed in Venice in the past two decades, Denton Corker Marshall‘s Australian Pavilion will welcome its first visitors on May 9, as part of the 56th Venice Biennale.

Envisioned by the architects as a “simple yet confident, memorable garden pavilion… timeless but with vitality, tactility and materiality that [invites] curiosity and engagement,” the project is located in the historic Giardini, and is Venice’s only waterfront pavilion. Replacing Philip Cox‘s 1988 temporary structure, the pavilion features a white interior space allowing art to be the main focal point, and in which the work of Australian photographic artist Fiona Hall will be displayed upon the pavilion’s opening in May. View previous coverage of the pavilion here.

Reflections On Álvaro Siza’s Seminal Quinta da Malagueira Housing Scheme

YouTube Preview Image

In an essay and accompanying mini-documentary film by Ellis Woodman for The Architectural Review, Siza’s iconic Quinta da Malagueira housing estate (1973-1977) in , Portugal, is comprehensively explored and examined with a refreshingly engaging critical weight. Rather than develop multi-story housing in the sensitive landscape around the city, Siza proposed “a plan that distributed the programme between two fields composed of low-rise terraced courtyard houses.” As a result, the arrangement of these structures adjust to the “undulating topography ensuring that the narrow, cobbled streets along which the houses are distributed always follow the slope.”

As is made clear in the film (above), one of the remarkable aspects about the Quinta da Malagueira estate is that it is “governed by a third layer of infrastructure” which takes the form of “an elevated network of conduits that distributes water and electricity [...] much in the manner of a miniature aqueduct.” For Siza, this was a logical move as it provided the cheapest means of distributing utilities around the complex. Woodman ultimately concludes that “Siza’s work at Malagueira invites a reading less as a fixed artefact and rather as one episode in the site’s ongoing transformation.”

Read extracts of what Pier Vittorio Aureli, Tony Fretton, and John Tuomey (among others) have said about Siza’s œuvre and approach after the break.

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120 HOURS Launches Student Competition: “Experimental Preservation”

’ 2014 Winner: Architecture / Antariksh Tandon, Jennifer Tu Anh Phan (click to learn more). Image Courtesy of

This year’s 120 HOURS student architecture competition is set to run from February 9th through the 14th. The international competition is open to any current Architecture student, anywhere in the world. There is no fee to enter, and you (and your team of up to three) can do so by visiting the 120 HOURS website.

As the name suggests, the competition is strictly 120 hours long. Participants work in teams to come up with designs for a project, this year regarding “experimental preservation.” Winners are chosen by a distinguished jury of architects and lecturers, and the top prize is 30,000 NOK.

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AGi architects’ “Floating” Courthouse Wins Second Prize in Qatar Competition

© Poliedro Estudio

Spanish-Kuwaiti firm AGi architects has been awarded second prize in a competition to design a new courthouse in ’s capital, Doha. The restricted competition, organized by the Government of Qatar, challenged 30 participants, of which four were shortlisted to compete in the final round. 

AGi’s proposal was based off of two grids – the immediate site’s and the larger city – resulting in a “floating,” canopy-like structure that metaphorical “protects” its inhabitants. View the complete proposal, after the break. 

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