Tunnels Under London: the Largest Infrastructure Project in Europe

western tunnels, December 2012. Image Courtesy of

Crossrail, “the largest infrastructure project in Europe, costing more, for example, than the London Olympics“, has been slowly winding it’s way beneath London for years. Getting access to the labyrinthine collection of underground tunnels and volumes, Rowan Moore of The Observer says that – despite the superficial furore surrounding it – this £5 billion undertaking will eventually be worth it: alongside the tunnels and tracks will be three million square feet (“or about six Gherkins“) of commercial development, and one million square feet of ‘public realm’.

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Tips: How to Archive Projects

Courtesy of lineshapespace.com

documents is serious business, though it often becomes a headache for those involved. When a project is finished, where do the specifications, drawings, and the rest of the data go? Luckily, Shaun Bryant, in his article for Lineshapespace, has tips for designers and architects on how to effectively go about the archiving process – giving insight on everything from the security of storage spaces to the legal demands of archiving. Check out his archiving tips here.

Cooper Union Students Campaign to Keep Architecture Education Free

With the news earlier this year that The Cooper Union in New York will, for the first time in 155 years, begin charging tuition fees to students in 2014, the existing students at its Irwin S. Chanin of Architecture are taking steps to ensure that it stays true to the meritocratic principles on which it was founded. To achieve this, they have launched the One Year Fund, an attempt to crowdsource $600,000 in order to cover the tuition fees of the incoming students in 2014.

Read more about the One Year Fund, and how it fits into the students’ larger aims, after the break.

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LEED v4: Better than the LEEDs that Came Before?

Las Vegas CityCentre, a Gold complex. Image

At the annual Greenbuild International Conference in Philadelphia last week, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) finally announced the latest version of LEED. Aiming to make a larger forward step than previous versions, LEED v4 is described by Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO and president of as a “quantum leap”. But what are the key changes in the new LEED criteria, and what effect will they have? Furthermore, what problems have they yet to address? Read on to find out.

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Fill out the Women In Architecture Survey

Courtesy of Megan Jett

The Women in Architecture , which is sponsored by magazine Architect’s Journal, is open to both men and women and aims to track the perceptions of gender equality in the workplace. It’s already yielded significant results – the survey last year revealed large pay gaps between male and female architects, as well as interesting perceptions of work/life balance of the different genders. Research goes towards the Architect’s Journal’s Women in Architecture campaign, whose goal it is to promote the status of women in the industry. You can find the survey here.

Qom Central Building of Construction Engineering Organization / Partar Architecture Studio

Courtesy of

The design for the Qom Central Building of Construction Engineering Organization by Partar Architecture Studio began with “a key question that discussed the feasibility and impossibility of imagining a unique design which best suits the spatial quality of traditional Iranian architecture.” Partar’s design process was based on this challenge, and has led to an interesting proposal that attempts to bridge the art of architecture and the technology of construction using an understanding of the phenomenological aspects of Persian art and ornament, coupled with traditional Persian building techniques.

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Why Garden Cities Should Stay in the 20th Century

Town square in Letchworth Garden City, one of the ’s first. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Steve Cadman

After the Wolfson Economics Prize announced a challenge to deliver new garden cities in the UK for the 21st Century, Feargus O’Sullivan of Atlantic Cities responds, calling the attempt to bring back garden cities “misguided”. His article gives a comprehensive rundown of why garden cities were popular during the 20th century, why they are becoming popular again and, ultimately, why they are a bad idea that will not succeed this time around – finishing with some ideas from The Netherlands and Sweden that would be much more appropriate. You can read the full article here.

GMT Mysłowice Win Competition to Design Poland’s Stadion Ruch Chorzów

Courtesy of GMT

The design for a new stadium for Ruch Chorzów, one of Poland‘s largest clubs, has been unveiled. The winning proposal, designed by GMT Mysłowice, will have a capacity for 12,000 seats and, although described as not being “the most impressive [design] overall,” has been selected for its simple, clean form and “value for money.” With ruch meaning ‘movement’ or ‘motion’ in Polish, the concept for the design has hinged around “giving passers-by a different perspective from every possible angle as they move along the stadium.”

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BIM: Collaboration Via the Cloud

Screenshot of a Revit Model. Via Flickr CC user. Image © William Cromar

This article on Line/Shape/Space by Jeff Yoders discusses how BIM can be used to good effect by bringing different professionals together early on in a design project. By utilizing the shared model over the cloud – or even by providing a dedicated “Computer-Aided Visual Environment” or “ CAVE” (seriously) – clashes can be detected early, design priorities can be more balanced, and ultimately the time and cost requirements of a project can be significantly reduced. You can read the full article here.

Tiny Houses: Downsizing The American Dream

In the wake of the housing crisis and Recession, the “American Dream” of a super-sized home in the suburbs has lost its appeal; today, it’s the “tiny house” that seems more aligned with America’s readjusted ideals. and Merete Mueller, a couple out of Colorado, are just one example of people taking the “tiny” leap – they began the construction of their 124 sq ft. home back in 2011, and their journey has been documented in a new film called “TINY: A Story About Living Small,” which premiered on Al Jazeera America last Sunday. 

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How Car-Dependent Towns are Adapting Compact Living Strategies

Courtesy of Mithūn

The challenge of converting a sea of parking lots, that so often riddles auto-dependent , is in densification. Architects are introducing compact urban living models to small towns all across the country, retrofitting single-use zoning into more walkable, diverse and connected communities. Perhaps nowhere is this evolution more evident than ’s Northgate neighborhood, home to the country’s oldest shopping malls. Learn how the town became denser and greener, transitioning to a transit-oriented development, “Gray, Green, and Blue: Seattle’s Northgate.”

Can a School Ensure East London’s Olympic Legacy?

Via CC Flickr User. Image © diamond geezer

In this article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright reviews Chobham Academy, a new built as part of East London’s Olympic Legacy by architects AHMM. While he finds the school impressive and ambitious, Wainwright questions whether the campus, which acts as the ‘fulcrum’ between the poverty-stricken streets of Leyton and the high end flats of the former Athlete’s Village, will be able to bring the two parts of this community together. You can read the full article here.

Autodesk Launches New Tool for Digital Preservation

Courtesy of http://3d.si.edu/

Autodesk and the Smithsonian have paired up to launch x3D Explorer, an educational tool that will allow the Smithsonian to digitally preserve its extensive collection as interactive, 3D models.

But while this may just sound like a fun way to interact with history, the initiative, backed by industry heavyweight Autodesk, could very soon have practical, revolutionary applications for architecture as well.

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Koolhaas on Place, Scale, and (De) Rotterdam

© Richard John Seymour

All images are from photographer Richard John Seymour,who caught Rem Koolhaas’ recently completed De Rotterdam building on a broodingly foggy morning. 

At the opening of the newly constructed De Rotterdam building in his home city, Rem Koolhaas spoke at length about how this “vertical city” was designed to appear scaleless, despite its urban context. More about what Koolhaas had to say about the project and the city, after the break…

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Arkitema Wins Competition for a Visitor Centre at Hammershus

Courtesy of

Danish practice Arkitema have won a prestigious competition to design a new visitor centre for Hammershus, a 13th century castle on the Danish coastline. The winning proposal demonstrates a “respect for the ancient monument and for the location”, with “a discreet visitor centre of high architectural quality”. The building is expected to serve around 500,000 visitors annually and will cost 45million DKK (approximately $8.2million). Find out more about the project after the break…

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Feast Your Eyes On These Stunning Kitchens

Lucky Shophouse / CHANG Architects © Invy & Eric Ng

As many of our U.S. readers prepare for their feast, we’ve decided to share with you one of the things we are most thankful for: stunning kitchens and the architects behind them. Continue reading after the break to view a compilation of kitchens we wouldn’t mind spending our day cooking (and eating) in. 

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Critical Round-Up: Tate Britain Renovation, Caruso St. John

Lower level rotunda, Tate Britain – Courtesy Caruso St. John and Tate. Image © Helene Binet

London’s Tate Britain, a partner gallery to the Tate Modern (who recently appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design a new extension), recently unveiled Caruso St. John‘s transformation of the oldest part of the iconic Grade II* listed building. The £45 million project to restore, renovate and reinterpret one of the UK’s most important galleries has been met with a largely positive critical response; read the conclusions of The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright,  The Independent’s Jay Merrick, the RIBA Journal’s Hugh Pearman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto, after the break…

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Bing Thom Architects to Design University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong

Mount Davis, . Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

The University of Chicago has chosen Bing Thom Architects to design a new home for the Chicago Booth Asia Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong. The center will begin in October 2014 on Mount Davis, a heritage site that was originally used as a military encampment for the British Army in the 1940s and then a detention center.

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