ArchDaily Architect’s Holiday Gift Guide 2013

ArchDaily Architect’s Holiday Gift Guide 2013

To help ease the pressure of selecting the perfect gift for the architects in your life, we have compiled 13 products that are guaranteed to please. See them all, after the break, and let us know what you have on your list this year in the comment section below. 

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Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Wood

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we’ve rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: . Check out the projects after the break…

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RIBA Replaces the Lubetkin Prize with the New “International Prize”

Lubetkin Prize 2013 Winner: Cooled Conservatories, Gardens by the Bay. Image © Craig Sheppard

The has announced that the Lubetkin Prize, awarded annually for the past thirteen years to the architects of the “best new building” outside the European Union, is to be replaced with the new “international prize” in 2015. As a result, there will be no RIBA International or Lubetkin Prize awarded in 2014. According to the RIBA, ”the Lubetkin Prize has been a useful platform to highlight the work of RIBA members around the world. We are currently working on creating a prize that has even greater international impact and look forward to announcing more details in the future.” The Lubetkin Prize’s last recipients were Wilkinson Eyre and Grant Associates for Cooled ConservatoriesGardens by the Bay in Singapore.

schmidt hammer lassen Wins Competition to Design Ningbo’s New Central Library

Courtesy of schmidt hammer lassen architects

schmidt hammer lassen architects has been announced as the winners of a competition to design a large new central library in Ningbo, one of China‘s oldest with a population of seven million. The building will house the library’s significant collection of over two million historic and ancient books, and will aim to double the library’s daily visitors to around 8000 per day. Situated on the edge of a new ecological wetland area, the proposal will also form a new cultural hub within the city. As the latest in schmidt hammer lassen’s long list of libraries (including the Royal Library in Copenhagen) with eight completed and four currently under construction, ’s will be the practice’s first in China.

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Pier Carlo Bontempi Named 2014 Driehaus Laureate

Piazza Matteotti (watercolor) / and Leon Krier

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi has been selected as the 12th recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the . Lauded for his “lifelong contribution to the human city and classical tradition,” Bontempi has dedicated much of his work in the “search for common ground between the classical and the modern; the two most powerful architectural ideas of our century,” as jury member Demetri Porphyrios described.

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Win a Copy of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Newly Released “Wunderkammer”

Wunderkammer / Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Image Courtesy of Yale University Press

UPDATE: Congrats to Josh Draper of Brooklyn, winner of the Wunderkammer giveaway! Thank you to all those who participated. 

Thanks to our friends at Yale University Press, one of our readers has the opportunity to  win a copy of the newly released book Wunderkammer by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Inspired by the idea of the wunderkammer—“wonder-room” or “cabinet of curiosities”—that originated during the Renaissance, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien invited 42 celebrated architects and designers to create their own cabinets filled with objects that inspire them. Wunderkammer (December 2013) showcases the varied, evocative results along with accompanying statements by their creators, including: Shigeru Ban, Toyo Ito, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Richard Meier, Murray Moss, Diébédo Francis Keré, Juhani Pallasmaa, Elias Torres, and .

For a chance to win, all you have to do is answer the following questions in the comment section below: “If one should open your wunderkammer, what would they find and how does it inspire your work?

You have until Monday, December 16th to submit your answers. The winner will be contacted the following day. Good luck!

Why Workspaces are Obsessed with the Open Plan

NBBJ’s tri-sphere biodome planned for Amazon’s downtown Seattle headquarters. Image Courtesy of NBBJ

In a brilliant article for Der Spiegel, “The New Monuments to Digital Domination,” writer Thomas Schulz not only rounds up our reigning tech giants’ oddly-shaped offices – from Apple’s “spaceship” to Amazon’s “biodomes” - but also pinpoints what they have in common: horizontality. And why? Because an “open creative playground” without boundaries (like floors or walls) is “the perfect ideas factory: the ideal spatial environment for optimally productive digital workers who continuously churn out world-changing innovations.” And while this means that privacy has gone out these workspaces’ proverbial windows, Schulz isn’t too surprised – after all, “people have no right to a private life in the digital age.” Check out this must-read article here.

The Illinois School of Architecture Announces New Website

, one of the oldest and largest schools of architecture in the United States, is proud to announce the launch of its new website.

Since the initiation of its architectural curriculum in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has consistently broken new ground in the education of architects. Like the School’s founder Nathan Ricker, we look beyond current fashion, striving to leverage technical virtuosity in the service of performative design, aesthetic expression, and service to society.

More after the break.

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Latin America’s Top 8 Smart Cities

, Chile took the top spot on the list. Image Courtesy of Plataforma Urbana

In this article for Fast Company, Boyd Cohen counts down the top 8 smart cities in Latin America. Using publicly available data and his own comprehensive framework to evaluate how smart a city is, he has generated a list which even he admits features a couple of surprises in the top spots. To see the list and discover what each city has achieved to deserve its ranking, you can read the full article here.

MOS Architects Take on Humanitarian Design in Nepal

Lali Gurans Orphanage and Learning Centre. Image © MOS Architects

In this article, which originally appeared on Australian Design Review as “Reframing Concrete in Nepal,“ Aleksandr Bierig describes how -based MOS Architects, a firm better known for its experimental work, is designing an orphanage for a small community in .

Strangely enough it has become almost unremarkable that an office such as New York-based MOS Architects would find itself designing an orphanage for a small community in Nepal. Now under construction in Jorpati, eight kilometres north-east of the capital, Kathmandu, is the Lali Gurans Orphanage and Learning Centre, which finds itself at the intersection of any number of tangential trends: the rise of international aid and non-governmental organisations, the seeming annihilation of space by global communications networks and the latent desire of architects to use their designs to effect appreciable social change. Emphasizing simple construction techniques and sustainable design features, the building hopes to serve as a model for the surrounding communities, as an educational and environmental hub, the provider of social services for Nepalese women and as a home for some 50 children.

MOS Architects, founded in 2003 by US architects Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample, is not a practice known for its involvement in humanitarian projects. Its work is often experimental and, at times, willfully strange. Alongside its architecture, MOS makes films, teaches studios, designs furniture and gives lectures on its work. It was after one lecture in Denver, Colorado in 2009 that Christopher Gish approached Meredith and Sample to ask if they would be interested in designing an orphanage.

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Frank Gehry: “I’m Not a Starchitect”

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP

For Peter Aspden’s first encounter with the architect of the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LAFrank Gehry did not “exude sweetness.” “You are not going to call me a [...] ‘star-chitect’? I hate that.” In a candid interview with the Financial Times, Gehry discusses the problem of being branded for beginning the Bilbao Effect in spite of the fact that he insists that “you can’t escape your signature.” Gehry talks at length about Facebook’s latest headquarters and, in particular, his relationship with his client, Mark Zuckerberg. Read the full interview here.

GowinSiuta Studio Wins 2013 “Changing the Face” Competition in Warsaw

Birds Eye View. Image Courtesy of GowinSiuta

Poland-based GowinSiuta Studio has won “Changing the Face 2013 Rotunda Warsaw,” an annual design competition (now in its 13th year) to revamp the “sawtooth-topped Rotunda, a favorite landmark and meeting spot in central Warsaw.” Alongside being awarded the $15,500 prize money, the practice also plans to see their proposal realized by 2015. The studio’s proposal, entitled Modern Urban Oasis / Warsaw City Lounge, transforms the Rotunda into an integral part of a public square. 

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Famous Museums Recreated in Candy

The Guggenheim Museum, realized in icing, gingerbread, cotton candy, candy wrappers, licorice, and sugar. Image Courtesy of Henry Hargreaves

Originally posted in as “Iconic Museums, Rendered In Gingerbread“, Samuel Medina looks into a fun project to realize world-famous buildings in various types of candy.

Had Hansel and Gretel stumbled across one of these sugary structures, they may have taken off in the opposite direction. Dark, gloomy, and foreboding, the confectionary architecture would have made quite the impression on Jack Skellington, however. The project, by food artist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves, is clearly indebted to the gothic mise-en-scène of the latter’s expressionistic underworld, a dreary, but whimsical land where one might half expect to find a twisted (gumball) doppelganger of the Tate Modern or Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI.

Find out more about the process behind this sweet project after the break

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Reconstructing Space, Reconstructing Community in Japan

The Pavilion at the Venice Biennale showed some of the disaster reconstruction work. . Image © Nico Saieh

Still rebuilding after the catastrophic tsunami of 2011, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, and other notable Japanese architects, have teamed up on the “Home for All” project to provide community-focused housing to disaster-stricken communities. While the architect-driven initiative seems to be a success, Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times asks in this exquisitely well-written article: are a set of “starchitects” the right team for the job? (Spoiler: Yes)

Rockefeller Foundation Selects 33 Cities for Resiliency Challenge

White Arkitekter’s winning proposal for New York’s “Resilient Rockaway” competition.

The Rockefeller Foundation has named the first group of selected in the “100 Resilient Centennial Challenge.” Each city has been chosen for demonstrating “a commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.” More than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from around the world were submitted. After careful review of each city’s challenges, these 33 where chosen: 

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Lucid Stead: A “Disappearing” Cabin of Mirrors

© Steven King

In Joshua Tree, , artist Phillip K Smith III has completed Lucid Stead: an optical illusion/installation that modifies an abandoned 70-year-old homestead with mirrors in order to make it appear transparent. The cabin was also fitted with LED lighting to “extract the distilled experience of how light changes over time — how a mountain can be blue, red, brown, white, purple, and black all in one day.” As Smith stated, the project is about light, shadow, and tapping into the quiet of the desert. Check out more images and a video of the cabin after the break!

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Building Transformed Into Giant Rubik’s Cube

For his thesis project, Javier Lloret turned a building into a giant, solvable Rubik’s Cube. Making use of the media facade of the Ars Electronica in Linz, , he projected the world’s most famous handheld puzzle onto a huge scale – inviting passers-by to solve the puzzle. In the process, Lloret transformed the nearby area, showing that (when used correctly) technology can make the urban environment more fun.

Read on to find out how Lloret did it…

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The Bank of Canada to Receive Controversial Renovation

Via Flickr CC User. Image © Brent Eades

In this interesting report in the Ottawa Citizen, Maria Cook exposes the plan to renovate the Arthur Erickson-designed Bank of Building in Ottawa. The existing building, which features a public atrium complete with a tropical garden, is being extensively remodeled to improve security and building performance, although arguably at great cost to the design. Cook exposes how the bank turned down a prestigious design award in 2011 as it was already at that point privately considering the changes, and explains how its privileged position – related to the government but not controlled by it – effectively means that the bank has nobody it has to answer to who might stop these plans. You can read the full article here.