Barcelona Wins Bloomberg 2014 Mayors Challenge

© Flickr CC User Andrew Zen

Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded its 2014 Mayors Challenge to Barcelona, selecting its plan to deal with the problems of an ageing population over the proposals of 20 other European cities shortlisted earlier this year. The award, developed to promote the most creative and transferable solutions to intractable social problems such as public health, unemployment and transportation, carries a €5 million prize for Barcelona to put toward implementing the plan. In addition, four runners-up – Athens, , Stockholm and Warsaw - will also receive €1 million each for their own plans.

“To meet the biggest challenges of the 21st century, city leaders must think creatively and be unafraid to try new things – and the Mayors Challenge is designed to help them do that,” said Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Read on after the break to learn more about the proposals of Barcelona and the four runners-up

(more…)

Mecanoo Chosen to Redevelop Dutch Train Station

© Mecanoo

Mecanoo, in collaboration with engineering consultancy Movares, has been chose to redevelop the Ede in . An important entry for the city and Veluwe National Park, the design hopes to transform the station into a “showpiece” and vibrant center for the Veluwse Poort.

“The vision of the design is defined by an unobtrusive appearance; the natural environment serves as a starting point for the characteristic materialization that connects the buildings and the station square, emphasizing the area’s built identity,” described Mecanoo.

(more…)

Thom Mayne, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu among the RIBA’s 2015 Fellowships

(Wang Shu + Lu Wenyu)’s Ningbo History Museum. Image © Lv Hengzhong, Courtesy of

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced 13 Honorary Fellowships and 11 International Fellowships which it will award at an event on February 3rd, along with the recently announced RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Among others, the Honorary Fellowships include Director of Architecture at the British Design Council Vicky Richardson and academic Dalibor Vesely; the International Fellowships include Pritzker Prize Winners Thom Mayne and Wang Shu and his Partner Lu Wenyu. The Honorary and International Fellowships entitle winners to use the initials ‘Hon FRIBA’ and ‘Int FRIBA,’ respectively after their names.

Read on after the break for the full Fellowship lists

(more…)

Ernö Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower to Open For Tours in October

© Flickr CC User Diamond Geezer

The UK‘s National Trust has announced the ‘pop-up’ opening of a property in Ernö Goldfinger‘s famous Balfron Tower in London, offering public access to Flat 130 of the brutalist icon from the 1st to the 12th of October. Completed in 1967, the Balfron Tower was the first of Goldfinger’s two distinctive London housing blocks (the other being Trellick Tower), and in 1968 Goldfinger himself lived for two months in Flat 130, to demonstrate the desirability of high-rise living.

More on the tours after the break

(more…)

The Woman Architect Who Specialises In Mosques

Dome of the Sakirin Mosque, . Image © ZF Design

As part of CNN’s Leading Women series, Sheena McKenzie explores the work of Turkish architect Zeynep Fadillioglu - perhaps the first female architect to design a mosque, now on her third. In buildings where men and women are traditionally separated for worship, and women are often given a smaller space, Fadillioglu “purposely placed the women’s section in one of the most beautiful parts of the light-flooded dome” in Istanbul’s Sakirin Mosque. McKenzie concludes that although “Fadillioglu might have made a name for herself designing mosques, you don’t needn’t be religious to admire their beauty.”

A mosque isn’t for a certain type of person, or certain type of area. It’s supposed to be used by anyone and everyone.

Sakirin Mosque, Istanbul. Image © ZF Design
Place of worship, Sakirin Mosque, Istanbul. Image © ZF Design

Read the article in full here.

Groundlab + WOWHAUS Chosen to Redesign Moscow’s Largest Park

© Groundlab, WOWHAUS and Urbanica, courtesy of Culture Department

Groundlab, WOWHAUS and Urbanica have been announced as winners of an international competition to redesign Sokolniki Park, Moscow’s largest park. Over the next 15 years, their 515 hectare masterplan, “Sokolniki. Nature’s embassy in Moscow,” will focus on preserving the 19th century park’s unique natural landscape as an extension of the Losiny Ostrov nature park by dividing it into three zones: Forest, Forest Park and Regular Park.

Images of the winning design, after the break.

(more…)

Álvaro Siza Wins Fritz Höger’s Top Honors for Innovative Use of Brick

Winner Grand Prix: Álvaro Siza / Rudolf Finsterwalder, Stephanskirchen | Siza-Pavillon Insel Hombroich © Tomas Riehle

Álvaro Siza has won top honors in the “2014 Fritz Höger for Excellence in Brick Architecture.” The , now in their third edition, highlight projects that harness the creative potential of brick. Projects from New Delhi, and Frankfurt have all been awarded gold and silver prizes. 

View all the winners, after the break.

(more…)

August ABI Remains Strong

August 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Demand for design services in the US continue to increase, as momentum from July’s highest recorded strength since 2007 continues. The American Institute of Architects reported the August Architecture Billings Index (ABI) at 53.0, down from July’s mark of 55.8, and the new projects inquiry at 62.6.

“One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” said Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. , PhD. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

(more…)

“Shell Lace Structure”: Tonkin Liu’s Nature-Inspired Structural Technique

Courtesy of Tonkin Liu

Continuing recent research trends in the ways can inspire new architectural methods and typologies, London-based architecture practice Tonkin Liu in collaboration with engineers at Arup, have developed a single-surface structural technique called Shell Lace Structure. The innovative technique takes advantage of advanced digital design, engineering analysis, and manufacturing tools. Read on to learn about their upcoming book and exhibition that reveals the process behind this nature-inspired material.

(more…)

How 3D Printing is Saving a Frank Lloyd Wright Treasure

© Flickr CC User Josh Hallett

Among the vast coverage of  in the media, the technology is frequently cited as the ‘future’ of production, focusing on its ability to bring new things into existence quickly and cheaply. But does have to be all about the future? As this article originally printed by Metropolis Magazine as3D Printing Saves a Frank Lloyd Wright Treasure attests, 3D printing also has something to offer to the past; specifically, to a deteriorating Frank Lloyd Wright building whose ‘textile block’ was simply too complex to restore through any other modern techniques. Read on after the break to find out how this high-tech rescue mission is being achieved.

(more…)

Callous Indifference or Fetishizing Poverty: What Exactly Can Architects Do About Slums?

The Torre David in Caracas, the subject of Urban Think Tank’s research for the 2012 Venice Biennale. Image ©

In an excellent essay for the Architectural Review, Charlotte Skene Catling deftly ties together a number of recent debates in the field of morality in architecture, from the false accusations aimed at Zaha Hadid by critic Martin Fuller to recent debates over whether architects have any responsibility to tackle poverty, an ostensibly political issue. Taking aim at one article in particular - in which Dan Hancox argues that architects such as Urban Think Tank who engage in humanitarian work are often ‘fetishizing poverty’ – Catling dissects the work of many of those in the field to find that they in fact do vital work to connect the top-down and bottom-up approaches that would otherwise never meet in the middle. Or, as Urban Think Tank’s Alfredo Brillembourg says, in opposition to the horizontal city of the 19th century or the vertical city of the 20th, “the 21st century must be for the diagonal city, one that cuts across social divisions.” Click here to read the article in full.

An App That Draws Impressively Accurate Floor Plans In Minutes

Courtesy of Locometric

RoomScan is an app for iOS which draws floor plans in minutes – touching your device to a wall is the only input required. Using the iPhone’s internal sensors, recognises a sequence of flat vertical surfaces, measuring the distance in between and creating impressively accurate plans. When you come to a door, you just tap the phone to the door frame and continue. Claiming that measurements are accurate to the nearest 10cm (or 6 inches), this app – the basic features of which are available for free - is not only great fun to play with, but also considerably useful in every day situations.

(more…)

RIBA Awards 2015 Royal Gold Medal to O’Donnell + Tuomey

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has selected Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey as recipients of the 2015 Royal Gold Medal, one of the world’s most prestigious lifetime achievement for architecture. Approved personally by the Queen, the award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of architecture.

The praised the way O’Donnell + Tuomey came together in the early 1990s to combine ”Sheila’s quiet, studied ‘rationalism’ alongside John’s fluent, rhetorical ‘constructivism,’” commenting that “through their buildings, publications, exhibitions and teaching they have forged a confident new identity for Irish architecture.”

(more…)

Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture: Episode 6, “The Pedreiro and the Master Planner”

YouTube Preview Image

The last episode of Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture series tells the story of Ricardo, an informal builder in Rocinha, ’s largest favela. “A foreign architect would not get into this hole and dig. He would hire someone or would hire machines. But here in the favela, we are hands on,” he says in the episode. Ricardo has built over one hundred houses in Rocinha despite not having any formal training. Yet as prepares for the World Cup and the Olympic Games, life in Rocinha is changing. This 25-minute episode follows Ricardo as well as Luis Carlos Toledo, the architect behind the government’s regeneration of Rocinha, as the two seek to incorporate their solutions into the future of the country’s favelas.

Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…

(more…)

Take a Walk on the High Line with Iwan Baan

View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

Sunday marked the completion of the City High Line, a three-phased project that transformed the once disused elevated rail tracks on Manhattan’s West Side into one of the world’s most respected public parks. With the first section opening in 2009, architectural photographer Iwan Baan has been documenting the entire process. Now, for the first time we present to you a photographic journey through the completed designed by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Take a look, after the break.

(more…)

Elemental, Arup, and Studio Tamassociati Win Zumtobel Awards for Innovation

Courtesy of Massimo Grimaldi and Emergency ngo

Jury chairman Winy Maas has announced three projects by Arup, Studio Tamassociati and Elemental as winners of the 2014 Zumtobel Group Awards. With a goal to promote innovations for sustainability and humanity in the built environment, the awards represent three categories: Applied Innovations, Buildings and Urban Developments & Initiatives. This year’s winners were selected from 15 nominees, shortlisted from a competitive pool of 356 submissions. 

The winning projects are marked by their innovative and ground-breaking character: “The voting to find the number one project was very close in all three categories, because in each case we were able to choose from among a large number of heterogeneous projects of high quality,” Described Maas. “One key criterion for the jury this year was the innovation factor, both in a technical sense and with a view to planning and participation processes as well as ecological and social challenges.”

See the winning projects, after the break.

(more…)

Hacking the Biennale: “Project Source Code” Uses Augmented Reality to Stage a Rebel Exhibition

Embryological House, 1997, Greg Lynn Form. Image Courtesy of Ozel Office

This year at the Venice Biennale, not all of the exhibitions are visible. Ozel Office of Los Angeles have “hacked” the Venice Biennale with the help of some major architecture firms: Asymptote Architecture, Greg Lynn Form, Neil M. Denari Architects, Murmur, and Oosterhuis Lenard. Together, these firms have created a rogue digital addition to the Biennale only accessible through a virtual portal revealing a world of levitating models, movable objects, and much more, activated by physical components of the Koolhaas-curated central pavilion.

Find out how you can hack the Biennale after the break.

(more…)

Three New Towers on the Cards for City of London

© Flickr CC User Darren Harmon

Just days after revealing that the Pinnacle has finally been scrapped, the City of London‘s Head of Design Gwyn Richards has told BD that three new skyscrapers are soon to be submitted for planning on nearby sites. Though Richards did not reveal the architects of the three towers, he singled out one of the plans as “a very considered response from an architect I have the utmost respect for,” adding “I have worked very closely with him and there’s a mutual respect. It’s a good example of cooperation between architect and planner to come up with a building that hopefully the public will see the value in.”

(more…)