Justin McGuirk’s Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture

Elemental’s houses in Quinta Monroy, Iquique. © Cristóbal Palma

In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving: “after decades of social and political failure, a new generation has revitalised and urban design in order to address persistent poverty and inequality. Together, these activists, pragmatists and social idealists are performing bold experiments that the rest of the world may learn from.” The following is an excerpt from Radical Cities on PREVI – the great, but all-but-forgotten experimental housing project in Lima that counted James Stirling and Aldo van Eyck among its contributors.

In a northern suburb of Lima is a housing estate that might have changed the face of cities in the developing world. Its residents go about their lives feeling lucky that they live where they do, but oblivious to the fact that they occupy the last great experiment in social housing. If you drove past it today, you might not even notice it. And yet the Proyecto Experimental de Vivienda – PREVI for short – has a radical pedigree. Some of the best architects of the day slaved over it. Now it is largely forgotten.

(more…)

Critical Round-Up: Venice Biennale 2014

© ArchDaily

With the first weekend of the Venice Biennale in the books, over the past few days reviews from critics have been flooding in. Each is eager to dispense their opinions on what has been one of the most highly anticipated Biennales in recent memory, and it seems that the event has not disappointed. From reviews of the festival as a whole to individual takes on the National Pavilions, read on after the break as we take a look at some of the most intriguing reviews so far.

(more…)

INTERIORS: Stanley Kubrick

Courtesy of Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian

Interiors is an online film and journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen KaraoghlanianInteriors runs an exclusive ArchDaily column analyzing and diagraming films in terms of space.

has been called many things: pretentious, unpretentious, alienated, ambiguous, audacious, empty, disturbing, outrageous, devilish, soulless, patient, unflinching, impersonal, arrogant, calculated, paranoid, aloof, visionary, genius, tyrant, misogynist, cineaste, original, and in the immortal words of Kirk Douglas, a “talented shit.”

It’s interesting to note then, when asked about his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick himself said, “It’s not a message that I ever intend to convey in words.” The film itself is a “nonverbal experience.” There are no words – or dialogue – for more than two-thirds of the film. Stanley Kubrick is a visual storyteller; in his films, words are secondary.

(more…)

Bamboo: A Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement?

reinforcement. Image © Professorship of Architecture and Con- struction Dirk E. Hebel, ETH 3) Zürich / FCL Singapore

Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand.  Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global market dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo.  Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.

(more…)

Venice Biennale 2014 Winners: Korea, Chile, Russia, France, Canada

© ArchDaily

The awards ceremony for the 14th  International Architecture Exhibition have just wrapped and the results are in! 

Rem Koolhaas, the director of the Biennale, Paolo Baratta, president of the Biennale, and the jury presented the awards for Lifetime Achievement and International Participations. The jury recognized that the Biennale was a tremendous opportunity to produce and share knowledge about modernity — especially praising its role in uncovering and dissecting new areas of influence in the architecture world. 

The Golden Lion for Best National Participation went to Korea for “Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula” The jury cited Korea’s “extraordinary achievement of presenting a new and rich body of knowledge of architecture and urbanism in a highly charged political situation.”

Chile received the Silver Lion for a National Participation for “Monolith Controversies”. The jury said, “Focusing on one essential element of modern architecture – a prefabricated wall- it critically highlights the role of elements of architecture in different ideological and political contexts.” 

The Silver Lion for best research project in the Monditalia section went to Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation for “Sales Oddity. Milano 2 and the Politics of Direct-to-home TV Urbanism.”

(more…)

Arup Develops 3D Printing Technique for Structural Steel

© David de Jong

A team lead by Arup has developed a method of designing and 3D Printing  joints which will significantly reduce the time and cost needed to make complex nodes in tensile structures. Their research is being touted as “a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing” which provides a way of taking “firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction.”

Aside from creating more elegant components which express the forces within each individual joint - as you can see in the above photo – the innovation could potentially reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector.

Read on for more on this breakthrough

(more…)

Spotlight South Africa: Three Designs Instilling Dignity & Defeating Stigma

Mamelodi Pod, a home and temporary soccer club with solar electricity and rain water harvesting. Image Courtesy of for a Change

How do you undo centuries of inequality? How do you overturn an inequality so ingrained in a culture that it manifests itself physically - in the architecture of its homes and in the misshapen nature of its cities? 

This is the question post-apartheid South Africa has been struggling to answer for the past twenty years. And while the government has made many concerted efforts, for far too many the situation has remained largely the same. 

However, there are currents of change afoot. Many who have been marginalized are now working to defeat the stigma and legitimize their communities, and they are enlisting architects to the fray. From an organization in Capetown that aims to transform the role of the South African designer, to another in Johannesburg that uses design to legitimize informal architecture, to a project in one of the most violent townships in South that has transformed a community, the following three projects are making a difference for the users who have the most to gain from their designs and design-thinking. All three represent not only the power of design to defeat stigma and instill dignity, but also the power of communities to incite these projects, make them their own, and enable them to thrive.

(more…)

2014 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Announced

Red Building © Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council, the 44th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards has recognized three dozen of the year’s best and design projects in Greater Los Angeles. From Morphosis’ Emerson College to the Los Angeles River project, each recipient has been awarded for their excellence in design, sustainability and community impact.

The 2013 Los Angeles Architectural Award Winners are…

(more…)

ArchDaily at the 2014 Venice Biennale

at the preview of the Elements exhibit © ArchDaily

ArchDaily is excited to announce that we are now in Venice to cover this year’s highly anticipated Biennale. Curated by the influential Rem Koolhaas, this edition of the biennale delves into the past to inform current architectural production.

For this year, Koolhaas proposed “Fundamentals” as the main theme for the Biennale. Rather than focusing on contemporary production (as the Biennale traditionally has), “Fundamentals” is divided into three large exhibits that look into the past, present and future of architecture: Absorbing Modernity 1924-2014 (National Pavilions), Elements (Central Pavilion), and Monditalia (Arsenale). You can learn more about these exhibits in our previous coverage.

So far, we’ve seen a tremendous effort in the content of the exhibitions. In “Absorbing Modernity,” 65 countries from every continent (even Antartica) show how modernity was manifested in their respective national contexts, bringing to light comprehensive archives and demonstrations of modernism’s storied and complex past. This retrospective looks into one of the most powerful movements in history, a time when architects aligned with the needs of society and set the foundations for an ideal future. The consequences of modernism -whether good or bad- have shaped our cities and highly influenced how we live. And now, Koolhaas hopes to help us understand why it should be thought of as a fundamental part of architectural education.

Stay tuned for more reports from Venice in our dedicated Venice Biennale 2014 section. For updates in real time, check out our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

This complete coverage is brought to you thanks to our partners at CEMEX.

Behind the Living Wall: An Interview with Birgit Siber

© Richard Johnson

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural materials in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Green, or living, walls have begun popping up and growing across commercial interiors everywhere over the last decade. To understand how a living wall functions, and how to design one, we went straight to a pioneer in the profession: Ms. Birgit Siber of Diamond Schmitt Architects in . The synthesis of natural systems and building systems had been in her mind since her days as a student, but the major break came in 2000, when her team constructed a massive living wall for The University of Guelph-Humbar. To understand how architects are closing the gap between interior and exterior via the living wall, read the full interview after the break.

(more…)

GIFs Turn Architecture Into Animated Art

Axel de Stampa has shared with us his awesome series of architecture Architecture Animée (Animated Architecture), which turn architecture from SANAA, Herzog and de Meuron, MAD Architects and more into amazing, zany gifs. See all nine after the break!

(more…)

Libeskind Breaks Ground on 60-Story “Century Spire” in Philippines

© Studio AMD

Last week, Daniel Libeskind joined Century Properties Group to celebrate the ground breaking of the “Century Spire.” Designed as a key building for Century City – a 3.4 hectare, mixed-use development in – the all-glass, 60-story office and residential tower sets itself apart with a “dramatic crown” that divides and expands the building’s top half as it rises.

(more…)

Sustainable Design-Build Projects from Seven Universities Around the World

The University of Sao Paulo’s communal bathroom proposal for post-disaster relief. Image Courtesy of Pillars of Education

Interdisciplinary teams from the University of Sao Paulo, Delft University, and five other post-secondary institutions are currently exploring sustainable innovations in design, materials, and building systems thanks to the support of Pillars of Sustainable Education – a partnership between Architecture for Humanity and the Alcoa Foundation. The collaborative effort was founded as a way to “educate the next generation of architects, engineers, and material designers while supporting real-world design-build projects that positively impact both the environment and the local community.” Months into the project, the schools’ proposals are turning into reality as students collaborate with NGOs. To learn about what each school is working on, keep reading after the break.

(more…)

NCARB Endorses Licensure for US Architects Upon Graduation

© CC Flickr User Raja Sambasivan

The U.S. National Council of Architectural Registration Boards () has released a statement endorsing licensure upon graduation from accredited programs. Though the release did not specify a definite plan of action, the announcement acknowledges the benefits of restructuring U.S. licensure so that “rigorous internships and examination requirements” are all fulfilled during the education process.

Envisioned by NCARB’s “Licensure Task Force,” the “new path” concept overhaul will move forward by identifying schools interested in participating in the program. A Request for Information will be sent out later this year, followed by a Request for Proposal process in 2015.

Though many U.S. architects have seemingly longed for news such as this, others argue that there are drawbacks to licensure upon graduation. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section after the break.

(more…)

10 Fires That Changed Architecture Forever

After being destroyed by fire and laying in ruins for 60 years, the Reichstag became a symbol of the new democracy in the 1990s with Norman Foster’s renovation. Image © Flickr CC User Werner Kunz

With no casualties, last week’s fire at the Glasgow School of Art, which caused significant damage to parts of the building and gutted Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s canonical library room, will be remembered as a tragic event that robbed us of one of the best examples of Art Nouveau of its time. The intention of the is to restore the building in the hope that in generations to come, the fire will be all but forgotten, a strategy which has been largely well received by the profession.

However, in the case of other fires things have not gone so smoothly: for millennia, fire has played a big role in determining the course of architectural history - by destroying precious artifacts, but often also by allowing something new to rise from the ashes. Read on after the break as we count down the top 10 fires that changed the course of architectural history.

(more…)

Foster and Chipperfield Among Firms Shortlisted for Qatar’s 2022 Centerpiece

Foster + Partners’ Previous Design for the ‘Lusail Iconic Stadium’ which formed part of ’s bid for the World Cup. Image Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Four firms have been shortlisted to design Qatar‘s Lusail Stadium, the centerpiece for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Foster + Partners, David Chipperfield Architects, Mossessian & Partners and Mangera Yvars Architects are now competing to design the 80,000 seat stadium which will host the international event alongside Zaha Hadid‘s Al Wakrah stadium and others.

Read on after the break for more on the shortlist

(more…)

Zaha Hadid and SOM Among 5 Competing to Design Scandinavia’s Tallest Tower

Proposal #1: “Ursa” (214 meters). Image Courtesy of Serneke

Zaha Hadid Architects, SOM, Ian Simpson Architects, Manuelle Gautrand Architects, and Wingårdhs Arkitektkontor are all competing to design what will be the tallest tower in . Submitted anonymously, the five shortlisted proposals have just been unveiled by Serneke, who has envisioned the skyscraper as an integral piece to a larger 32,000 square meter mixed-use masterplan in Gothenburg that has been in the making for more than ten years.

Check out each shortlisted design, after the break…

(more…)

Brick Transformed: The 2014 Wienerberger Brick Award Winners

All of the 2014 Wienerberger Brick Award Winners use the material in innovative, imaginative and beautiful ways. Image © Marko Huttunen

The following news is presented by ArchDaily Materials, our new US product catalog.

The 2014 Wienerberger Brick Award Winners exemplify brick’s potential in contemporary architecture, transforming the common brick into something spectacular. This year’s jury featured 2012 Pritzer winner Wang Shu, who commented on the “spatial and secret” feeling of the Grand Prize Winning Kantana Film and Animation Institute. See all seven winners after the break.

(more…)