The Berlage Accepting 2014-15 Applications

The Berlage is currently accepting applications for the 2014–2015 academic year. It offers an international, one-and-a-half-year English-language accreditated postgraduate-level Master of Science-degree program in architecture and urban design. The program focuses intensively on how architects and urban designers practice in a globalized world, concentrating on the complex development of the built environment within different contexts.

Study is conducted in an in-depth collaborative and experimental setting, characterized by guidance and exchange with leading and emerging practitioners and scholars. Students participate in research– and design-based projects, theory seminars, fieldwork, and master classes. In addition, a series of public events complements the program.

The deadline for applications is June 1, 2014 (for non-EU residents) and July 1, 2014 (for EU residents). For more information, please click here.

When Should Architects Say No? Five Renowned Architects Say Where They Draw the Line

BIG’s 2009 render for the National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan, which was never built. Image Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

To design or not to design — that is the question. Our profession is one fraught with moral ambiguities — “from who you’re willing to take on as a client, to what kinds of structures you’re designing, to who will actually build it (and under what conditions).” In a fascinating article, Fast Company’s Shaunacy Ferro talks with five big-name architects to find out: where do you draw the line? Fentress Architects, for example, takes a hard line, refusing to design jails or any structure that conflicts with their beliefs. Bjarke Ingels, on the other hand, welcomes the opportunity to design in oppressively-led countries, such as Kazakhstan, because of the architecture’s potential for the people. See all five responses on Fast Company, and let us know where your moral compass lies in the comments below.

Four Architects Shortlisted for Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture

Maximilian’s Schell; Los Angeles, California, US / Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues

Four projects have been shortlisted for the inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for Emerging Architecture. Announced by the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology () and its Dean Wiel Arets, the prestigious prize aims to recognize an emerging practice with the most outstanding built work in the Americas. The winner, which will be announced in May, will be awarded a $25,000 prize and an research professorship that will focus on rethinking the metropolis.

Spanning the Americas from Chile to Canada, the shortlisted projects are… 

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Morpholio Project’s New App to Measure Human Response to Built Environment

Smart phones are designed to collect a variety of personal data, from location and orientation to sight and sound. But what if these devices were capable of tracking our visceral response to the built environment?

The architects and academics behind The Morpholio Project have been researching ways in which biometrics, such as EEG, EMG, face tracking and pulse measurement, could be used to quantify the physical impact of an image on the human body. By turning to the medical industry, Morpholio has studied the capabilities of photoplethysmography (PPG) and envisioned ways in which it could be integrated with the smart phone.

With a simple 3D printed fitting, the iphone can be transformed into a miniaturized blood pressure machine that records the heart rate fluctuations of a user while they photograph their surroundings. By tracking an individual’s unique emotional response to what they are seeing and experiencing, Morpholio believes they can unlock new potentials in which technology can evolve of the design process.

More information from the creators after the break…

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Hopkins Architects Maggie’s Centre Gets Planning Permission Over Rival Holl Scheme

A rival to Steven Holl Architects‘ design for the Maggie’s Centre at St Barts Hospital in London has received planning permission. The alternative scheme was commissioned by a group called “Friends of the Great Hall and Archive”, who believe the proposal by Steven Holl Architects would threaten the 18th century, Grade I* listed Great Hall. The newly approved scheme, designed by Hopkins Architects, proposes a different site for the new cancer care centre.

After their initial scheme was rejected, Steven Holl Architects’ revised design was submitted for planning approval last week, with a decision expected in the summer.

Read on for reaction to the two rival schemes

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RIBA Finds Architects Rely Too Much on Single Sector

Courtesy of RIBA

The RIBA has found that many UK practices rely too heavily on a single sector, or even a single client, putting them at risk should work in that sector suddenly dry up. These statistics are among the findings of the RIBA’s annual Business Benchmarking Survey, the only mandatory survey of all chartered practices in the .

The benchmarking survey estimates that a maximum of 40% of a practice’s income can safely come from a single sector, but it found that 60% of practices with 20-50 staff and 54% of practices with over 50 staff failed to meet this rule of thumb. Furthermore the survey found that 90% of practices with fewer than 20 staff relied on just a single client for over 40% of their income.

Read on after the break for more results of the RIBA Business Benchmarking Survey

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Zerafa Studio Designs Memorial for Orange County Crime Victims

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Manhattan-based Zerafa Architecture Studio has been announced as winner of a competition to design a monument to Orange County’s crime victims. Placed between two natural mounds on axis with Irvine’s Mason Regional Park office, the winning scheme carves a subtle, circular void within the park’s forested landscape that offers a range of experiences to the community.

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U.S. Pavilion Launches “Call for Architects” to Join Temporary Practice

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

The U.S. Pavilion has launched an international search for 90 architects to collaborate (via satellite) with the eight principles of OfficeUS. The radical experiment, which will last the duration of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, is calling for architects to lend their “voices, expertise and skills” in an effort to “redefine the terms of design and production of architecture on the global scale.” See if you qualify and learn more about the intentions behind OfficeUS here.

Does Italy Have Way Too Many Architects? (The Ratio of Architects to Inhabitants Around the World)

Courtesy of Twitter Page, https://twitter.com/

Yesterday, Monditalia - one of the three exhibitions currently being prepared for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale - tweeted out a neat little graphic showing the number of architects, per inhabitant, in 36 countries around the world.

The graphic shows that Italy has a shockingly high percentage of architects in its population: for every 414 Italians, one is an architect. According to the graphic, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Greece all have ratios of less than 1,000 to one. Of course, there are plenty of other architect-heavy places missing from the list; not even mentioned in the graphic is Chile, a country that – according to its latest census - has one architect per 667 inhabitants, nor Mexico which has about 724 inhabitants per architect. On the other end of the spectrum, China has only one architect for every 40,000 persons.

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Robert A.M. Stern Awards Master Student with $10,000 Travel Fellowship

Old House / Tadashi Yoshimura Architects © Hitoshi Kawamoto

The Robert A.M. Stern Architects has awarded McGill University Masters candidate Anna Antropva with the 2014 RAMSA Travel Fellowship, a $10,000 award presented annually to ”promote investigations of the perpetuation of tradition through invention” – key to the firm’s own work. With the award, Antropva will travel to Japan to further her research into ancient wood joinery techniques and their potential to be transformed and manipulated into modern day construction. “This elegant and efficient mode of construction could meaningfully inform our western building industry,” she stated during her presentation to a jury that included Melissa DelVecchio, Dan Lobitz, and Grant F. Marani.

Herzog & de Meuron to Design New Vancouver Art Gallery

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The Vancouver Art Gallery has unanimously appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design their new, 300,000 square foot gallery in downtown Vancouver. 

Selected from a shortlist of five - including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, KPMB Architects, SANAA , and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects - Herzog & de Meuron was ultimately awarded the commission for their vision of the new Gallery and “proven ability to create innovative museum buildings that place prominence on artists and institutional mission.”

The new museum building, which will be the practice’s first Canadian project, will double the Gallery’s current space and accommodate for their expanding collections, indoor and outdoor exhibition space, and new educational programs. Conceptual designs are expected to be released in early 2015. 

Preview the portfolio that landed Herzog & de Meuron the commission, after the break…

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MVRDV Wins Competition to Convert Russian Steel Factory Into Mixed-Use Neighborhood

© MVRDV

Chief Architect of Moscow Sergei Kuznetsov yesterday announced MVRDV as the winners in the competition for the refurbishment of the Serp & Molot (Hammer & Sickle) factory in Eastern . The design by MVRDV is respectful of the history of the 19th-century steel factory, reinterpreting the existing fabric of the site into 1.8 million square meters of mixed-use space, including housing, offices, retail, schools and a local hospital.

Read on after the break for more project description

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UK Museum of the Year Shortlist Announced

The main rotunda at the Tate Britain, by Caruso St John. Image © Helene Binet

The Art Fund recently announced the six museums on the ’s 2014 Museum of the Year shortlist, its annual award for the outstanding museum of the year. The award celebrates every aspect of what makes a museum successful, but this year the list was highlighted by crucial work by architects, including renovations of the Tate Britain and the Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, as well as the newly-constructed Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. The winner from the six museums will receive a £100,000 prize, and will be announced on July 9th.

Read on after the break for the complete shortlist

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INSIDE Awards Now Open: Submit Your Projects!

PARKROYAL on Pickering by WOHA. Inside Festival Winner 2013 in the Hotel Category. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Do you think your project has what it takes to win an INSIDE award? The entry period for this prestigious interior design award is now open! Divided into 12 categories — which include Residential, Retail, Transport, Office and more — entries will be judged by distinguished designers (judges confirmed for 2014 include Fabio Novembre, Matteo Thun, Jaya Ibrahim, David Kohn, Joyce Wang, Voon Wong and Chris Lee). In October, architects and interior designers will meet in Singapore for the INSIDE Festival, which is held alongside the . During the festival, the category winners will compete for the ultimate prize: World Interior of the Year.

To find out more and submit your entry, click here!

World’s Fastest Elevator Coming Soon To Guangzhou

CTF Guangzhou / KPF. Image © KPF

The days of elevator small talk could be coming to an end with planning to deliver the world’s fastest elevator by 2016. Capable of travelling at speeds of 72km/h (44m/h), the record-breaking lifts will be able to hoist passengers up 95 floors in less than 40 seconds. Khon Pedersen Fox’s 530-meter Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre will be the first to house the super-speed , amongst 13 other high-speed  and 28 double-decker . Currently, the world’s fastest elevator is by Toshiba and only capable of reaching speeds of 61km/h (38m/h) within Taipei 101. You can learn more about the super-speed elevators, here.

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RIBA’s Future Trends Survey Reveals Small Drop in March

Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects‘ (RIBA) latest Future Trends Survey indicates a small drop from February’s index, “down to +35 from its all-time high of +41.” Despite this, “confidence levels about an improvement in future workloads for architects remain very solid.” All types of practice size, ranging from those with fewer than 10 employees to those with over 50 staff, are “reporting positive balance figures.” The strongest future workload forecasts came from Scotland and the North of England, suggesting that “the recovery in confidence levels is now widespread across the and has spread beyond London and the South East.”

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“Death in Venice” to Showcase Architecture’s Relationship with Mortality

Death in Venice will focus partially on the changing design of hospitals, places that many people die in every year. Image Courtesy of The Wellcome Library

This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale focuses on the fundamentals of architecture, and the theme of “absorbing modernity.” Official exhibitions will highlight the basics of modern building, but one exhibition (unaffiliated with the official biennale) will take a unique approach to the term. Architects Alison Killing and Ania Molenda will devote their installation to the most fundamental quality of all: death.

Titled Death in Venice, this presentation will focus on how architecture has facilitated the act of dying during the past 100 years. All of the funding for the exhibition materials has been provided by the Fund for Creative Industries NL, but to transport the show to Venice, Killing and Molenda have started a Kickstarter campaign.

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