Happy Birthday Frank Lloyd Wright

In 1991, the American Institute of Architects called him, quite simply, “the greatest American architect of all time.” But he wasn’t just an architect – he was also an interior designer, writer, and educator. Today, the prodigious Frank Lloyd Wright would have turned 147 years old. Despite the years, he continues to inspire generations of architects.

Wright’s designs were driven by the desire to nurture the lives of their occupants. He referred to his architecture as ‘organic’ – in complete harmony with itself and its surroundings, as if it had developed as naturally as a tree. His later work is formally modernist, but hints at his beginnings in the late 19th century as a disciple of Louis Sullivan (‘form follows function’).

For many people, Wright is the quintessential vision of the architect: he presented himself as a lone genius, fastidious down to the smallest details of his design, and his personality was often rather brash. But there is no denying his vision – and the timelessness of his designs continues to reveal just how strong that vision was.

In total, Wright completed over 500 projects. Today, 55 years after his death, the relevancy of his immense body of work is not lost – in the past four months alone, preservation plans were announced for three of his projects, including the SC Johnson Research Tower. In celebration of his birthday, we invite you to look back on his prolific body of work.

A House for the Future Inspired by Alice in Wonderland

The space is filled with inventive details, including a 100-year-old stoneware tub (above) and a wall of 573 tools for the kitchen-cum-workshop (below). Image Courtesy of Constantin Meyer/Koelnmess

If you could design the ideal house of the future, what would it look like? Given the opportunity to answer this question, interior and product designer Louise Campbell turned to an unlikely source – Alice in Wonderland. To learn how the fairytale influenced the design, check out the following article, originally published as Through the Looking Glass on Metropolis Magazine.

Every year, the imm Cologne furniture fair hosts Das Haus, a life-size model of an ideal future house. In the past, architects and product designers—such as Zaha Hadid and Naoto Fukasawa in 2007— have teamed up to design their dream house, without pesky constraints like clients or budget. This year, Louise Campbell wore both hats. An interior and product designer, Campbell created what looked like a machine for communal living (or maybe the dwelling of a well-heeled Scandinavian commune).

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14 Architectural Trends That Will Define The Next Decade

Courtesy of MAD

When you think about the future, how do you envision the built environment? According to this article, originally appearing on The Huffington Post as The Architecture of the Future is Far More Spectacular than You Could Imagine, the future is closer than we might think – current projects are already answering the imagined needs and desires of the next generation. From a tower with rotating floors to a park with the ability to cleanse raw sewage, check out fourteen projects believed to embody the architecture of tomorrow, after the break.

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OFFICE Kersten Geers David van Severen Design Limited Furniture Series for MANIERA

Exhibition View © Sven Laurent. Image Courtesy of MANIERA

The -based design initiative MANIERA invites emerging architects to design series of limited edition furniture. This April, their first show opened with works by the Belgian architects OFFICE KERSTEN GEERS DAVID VAN SEVEREN and the Dutch artist and architect Anne Holptrop. The objects are on view in the loft-like living space of Kwinten Lavigne and Amaryllis Jacobs, the couple who founded MANIERA. Since both have a background in the art world, it’s not surprising that the design objects shown at MANIERA are more than just furniture, but rather a deliberate search for collisions between the realms of architecture, design and art.

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Light Matters: Mashrabiyas – Translating Tradition into Dynamic Facades

INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE, Paris, France (1981 – 1987). Architecture: Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Lézénès, Pierre Soria, Architecture Studio. Image © Georges Fessy

The delicate has offered effective protection against intense sunlight in the Middle East for several centuries. However, nowadays this traditional Islamic window element with its characteristic latticework is used to cover entire buildings as an oriental ornament, providing local identity and a sun-shading device for cooling. In fact, designers have even transformed the vernacular wooden structure into high-tech responsive daylight systems. 

Jean Nouvel is one of the leading architects who has strongly influenced the debate about modern mashrabiyas.  His Institut du monde arabe in Paris was only the precedent to two buildings he designed for the harsh sun of the Middle East: The Doha Tower, which is completely wrapped with a re-interpretation of the mashrabiya, and the Louvre museum with its luminous dome.

More mashrabiyas, after the break…

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The 20 Most Inspiring TED Talks for Architects

Iwan Baan on the unexpected in his travels as an architectural photographer and documenter. Image via on YouTube

Are you feeling short on inspiration today? For a jump-start, try watching one of these twenty TED Talks – a follow-up to last year’s post “The 10 Most Inspirational TED Talks for Architects.” Wherever your interests lie, the passionate people featured in these videos – from WikiHouse founder Alastair Parvin to famed photographer Iwan Baan and architectural great Moshe Safdie - will get your creative juices flowing. See them all, after the break.

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VIDEO: “Bionic” Architecture That Moves When You Do

The Brooklyn based firm The Principals are known for their interactive design, industrial design and work. The video above hi-lights their latest “bionic” , which actually responds and reacts to human movement thanks to myoelectric sensors that pick up voltage increases on the skin when a muscle contracts. To learn more head over to their website - and make sure to check out all of The Principals other installations featured on ArchDaily.

Competition for LEED: GBI’s Green Globes Shakes Up Building Certification

The Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, designed by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two Green Globes from the . Image © Timothy Hursley

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), with its advantages and disadvantages, has dominated the green building certification market for a long time. But now alternatives – like the GBI‘s Green Globes, the Living Building Challenge, and Build It Green – are beginning to emerge. So how does a competitor like Green Globes shape up in comparison to LEED? And what does this developing competition mean for green rating systems in general? To learn more, keep reading after the break.

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The World’s Fair New York State Pavilion to Be Digitally Preserved

CyArk And The University Of Central Florida Plan To Digitally Preserve The 1964 World’s Fair . Image © Marco Catini

If you haven’t heard of CyArk yet, make sure to check out their recent Kickstarter project. The not-for-profit company digitally preserves some of the world’s most important sites: including Easter Island, Mt. Rushmore and The Pantheon, to name a few. Now the group is headed to New York to preserve Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin’s 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion. Since the fair ended, the pavilion has fallen into disrepair and been heavily vandalized. With assistance from the University of Central Florida, they plan to release the digitally preserved 3D files to the public, for free. To help preserve this “National Treasure,” check out their Kickstarter page.

Unified Architectural Theory: Chapter 4

Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye manifests his “rules” for architecture: “Lift the building from sitting with its basement in the earth, to being suspended on posts (pilotis). Only curtain-wall construction is allowed. Roofs have to be flat. Windows can only be horizontal and will extend from one load-bearing pillar to another, which makes them very wide (narrow and long)”. Image © Flavio Bragaia

We will be publishing Nikos Salingaros’ book, Unified Architectural Theory, in a series of installments, making it digitally, freely available for students and architects around the world. The following chapter discusses the complexity of form languages and describes how to use the form language checklist to measure these complexities. If you missed them, make sure to read the introductionChapter OneChapters 2A and Chapter 2B, and Chapter 3 first.

There exists a volume of writings by architects in the early 20th century, and we can look through them for the form languages of Modernism. Unfortunately, the useful material turns out to be very little, most of it describing not a form language but rather marketing and declarations of a political nature. Moreover, those pieces of very personal form languages are presented as normative theories: a prescription of what to do and what not to do, with the weight of universal ethics, even though they are based solely on opinion, not empirical observations or systematic study.

Here are some practical lists of rules I have found by Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier.

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Happy Cities and Stranger Danger: An Interview with DIALOG’s Bruce Haden

© Trevor Brady

In this article, first published by Indochino as “What makes some buildings happy?” architect Bruce Haden, principal at DIALOG in Vancouver, discusses why some places feel good to be in and why some just have that awkward, quiet feeling.

Award-winning architect and urban planner. Dad. Researcher on happy vs. lonely cities. We talked to Bruce Haden about why some places feel good to be in, and some just have that awwwkward, quiet feeling.

Bruce Haden has only been an architect and a bartender. So ask him what he likes about it, and his answer is he doesn’t really know anything else. In high school, he didn’t want to pick between calculus and woodshop, so he ended up in a profession that’s part art, part engineering (and a fair amount of politics). Now, he works on a lot of large, public buildings. But he also spends a lot of time thinking about happy and lonely cities. He talks about how working with a client is like dating, why some buildings are worth being in and others are just empty, and whether adventure or luxury wins.

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Six “Miracle” Materials That Will Change Their Industries

The following six “miracle” could be headed straight into your home, office, car and more. Dina Spector at Business Insider recently rounded up the six most promising materials. As of now, their potential applications have just scratched the surface, but the possibilities are endless. Presented by AD Materials.

Scientists are constantly on the look out for lighter, stronger, and more -efficient materials. Here’s a glance at some materials that will change the way we build things in the future.

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Architecture for Humanity Toronto Launches Lecture Series: “Incremental Strategies for Vertical Neighborhoods”

Courtesy of Toronto

According to the most recent national census in Canada, almost half of Toronto residents are immigrants, one-third of whom arrived in the past ten years. To allow the city to adapt to this surging flow of immigrants, Architecture for Humanity Toronto (AFHTO) has called upon students and professionals from various backgrounds to rethink Toronto’s urban fabric – and, in particular, its high-rise developments – by establishing a series of lectures and workshops entitled “Incremental Strategies for Vertical Neighborhoods.”

At the inaugural event a few weeks ago, Filipe Balestra of Urban Nouveau* was invited to speak about his work and contribute to a design charrette inspired by the City of Toronto’s Tower Renewal program. For more on Balestra and the event, keep reading after the break.

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The Hudson Yards – New Development, “Smart” Development

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “Culture Shed” is awaiting approval, but other projects are already underway in the 28 Acre Hudson Yards development. Image Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group

The largest private project New York City has seen in over 100 years may also be the smartest. In a recent article on Engadget, Joseph Volpe explores the resilience of high-tech ideas such as clean and power during Sandy-style storms. With construction on the platform started, the Culture Shed awaiting approval, and Thomas Heatherwick designing a 75-Million dollar art piece and park – the private project is making incredible headway. But with the technology rapidly evolving, how do investors know the technology won’t become obsolete before its even built?

A Delicate Endeavor: The Restoration of Modern Masterpieces by Schindler, Lautner, and The Eameses

Ehrlich Architects’ restored Rudolf Schindler house in Inglewood, Calif. Image © Grant Mudford

How do you make a space more livable by current standards, while simultaneously upholding the original architect’s design intentions? It’s a delicate endeavor, but one that was recently accomplished by a couple of architects in Southern California. Originally published by AIArchitect as “Pacific Coast Sun Rises on Modernist House Restorations,” this article investigates the thoughtful restorations of three homes designed by the pioneering modernists , John Lautner, and .

Los Angeles’ early Modernist pioneers are no longer around to oversee the restoration of homes they designed more than a half-century ago, but their landmark projects are offering a new generation of designers historic case studies in Modernist preservation that grow more and more significant with each passing day. Vintage architectural renderings and drawings, photos, and notes are all ingredients these architects use to summon the spirits of Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and Charles and Ray Eames, to name a few, bringing their early works of California Modernism back to life.

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Big Ideas, Small Buildings: Some of Architecture’s Best, Tiny Projects

Suzuko Yamada, Pillar House, Tokyo, Japan. Image © /TASCHEN

This post was originally published in The Architectural Review as “Size Doesn’t Matter: Big Ideas for Small Buildings.

Taschen’s latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design.

When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less. In their new volume Small: Architecture Now!, Taschen have drawn together the teahouses, cabins, saunas and dollhouses that set the trends for the small, sensitive and sustainable, with designers ranging from Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban to emerging young practices.

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Opinion: Architecture Should Not Cost Lives

Large construction site for a new mall at the beach located at Dubai Marina. Image © a-image / Shutterstock.com

Is it more dangerous to be a soldier or a construction worker? Astonishingly, it’s the latter. According to a recent report in the Guardian, 448 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan  since 2001. In the same period, 760 construction workers died on British building sites.

Life is cheap at the dirty end of architecture and not just in the UK. The number of fatalities of largely migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent imported to implement Qatar’s architectural ambitions, notably the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, has been the subject of much hand-wringing discussion. And rightly so − over 400 Indian and Nepali building workers died in Qatar in 2013, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has warned that up to 4,000 workers may die before a ball is finally kicked in 2022.

If 400 people perished in a plane crash, there would be exhaustive inquiries into aircraft safety, lessons would be learnt and strategies of improvement implemented. There would also be a palpable sense of loss and accountability. But a fatality here and there on a construction site over a period of time does not have the same galvanizing impetus.

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Twenty Years Later, What Rural Studio Continues to Teach Us About Good Design

Lions Park Scout Hut. Image © Rennie Jones

Hale County, is a place full of architects, and often high profile ones. The likes of Todd Williams and Billie Tsien have ventured there, as have Peter Gluck and Xavier Vendrell, all to converge upon Auburn University’s Rural Studio. Despite the influx of designers, it is a place where an ensemble of all black will mark you as an outsider. I learned this during my year as an Outreach student there, and was reminded recently when I ventured south for the Studio’s 20th Anniversary celebration. While the most recent graduates took the stage, I watched the ceremony from the bed of a pick-up truck, indulging in corn-coated, deep-fried catfish, and reflected on what the organization represents to the architecture world.

Since its founding in 1993 by D.K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee, the Studio has built more than 150 projects and educated over 600 students. Those first years evoke images of stacked tires coated with concrete and car windshields pinned up like shingles over a modest chapel. In the past two decades, leadership has passed from Mockbee and Ruth to the current director, Andrew Freear, and the palette has evolved to feature more conventional , but the Studio remains faithful to its founding principal: all people deserve good design. Now that it is officially a twenty-something, what can Rural Studio teach us about good design?

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