RIBA Announces 2014 Stirling Prize Shortlist

The RIBA has announced the six projects that will compete for the 2014 Stirling Prize, the award for the building that has made the greatest contribution to British in the past year. The six nominees will now be judged head to head for British ’s highest honour, based on “their design excellence and their significance in the evolution of and the built environment,” with a winner announced on October 16th. See the full shortlist after the break.

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This Floating Platform Could Filter the Plastic from our Polluted Oceans

Courtesy of

“Plastic is an extremely durable material, taking 500 years to biodegrade, yet it’s designed to be used for an average of 5 minutes, and so it’s thrown away. Few know where this mass of junk will end up … in the oceans, killing and silently destroying everything, even us.”

Cristian Ehrmantraut has developed a prototype for a floating platform that filters the ocean and absorbs plastic. Located 4 km from the coast of , close to the center of the mega-vortex of plastic located in the South Pacific, the tetrahedral platform performs a kind of dialysis, allowing the natural environment to be recovered as well as energy and food to be produced.

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Why 3D Printing Is Not As Sustainable As Its Defenders Say

Yacht designed by Zaha Hadid. Could 3D Printing “someday make Hadid-like forms so cheap to execute that they become mundane”?. Image © Unique Circle Yachts / Zaha Hadid Architects for Bloom+Voss Shipyards

 is a column, penned by Christopher Brenny and presented by ArchDaily Materials, which investigates the innovative applications of  in architecture.

On a purely aesthetic level, 3D printing holds great potential for buildings – all the possibilities of sculpted concrete without the bulky and expensive formwork. Taken to an extreme, it could someday make Hadid-like forms so cheap to execute that they become mundane (even for a non-architect) – maybe even causing the profession to re-evaluate what qualifies as high design. 

However, the more important advantage of 3D printing, what could spur its acceptance as a viable means of construction, is its supposed sustainability. Among its oft-cited advantages are a use of “green” materials and a reduction in construction waste. However, is 3D Printing really as sustainable as its defenders contend?  

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This Temporary Treetop Hotel Lets You Sleep “With the Birds”

Chinese architecture firm Penda, known for their ecologically sensitive designs, has redesigned the tent in a bold new way for the AIM “Legend Of The Tent” Competition. Their proposal, ”One With The Birds,” is a flexible and sustainable structure that integrates sleeping pods into the forest canopy. Inspired by Native American Tipis, which are moveable and reusable, the structure, made from sticks latched together with rope, leaves no impact on the site nor causes any harm to the itself. 

A mock-up of the project will soon be installed as a temporary hotel. According to the architects, “after the temporary hotel is deconstructed, the materials can be reused as scaffolding on a construction site or reused as another temporary hotel on a different location.”

Learn more about this remarkable structure, after the break.

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Rem Koolhaas’ “Elements”: Uncovering Architecture’s Origins, Assuring Its Future

Elements of . Image © Nico Saieh

ArchDaily has been asking architects ”What is Architecture?” for over 6 years. It’s a question that few interviewees answer without hesitation or bristling. But after asking over 200 architects, we’ve noticed a pattern: even though many people start very similarly, the answers soon diverge in a way that demonstrates the promise of the profession. And no matter how architecture is defined, the strong majority of architects hold an underlying belief in its ability to influence.

When the ArchDaily team visited the Venice Biennale and entered the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, home to the Elements exhibition, we saw it as a dynamic, immersive, exhaustive response to the question “What is Architecture?” Visitors to the Biennale are introduced to architecture through its elements–the pieces, parts and fundamentals that comprise built structures around the globe.

When Koolhaas chose to focus on Elements, he produced a text (in both book and exhibition format) that gives us the tools to understand what architecture is and how is it has evolved (or stagnated). Even though he didn’t invite people to show projects in the traditional sense, the AD editors saw a hopeful undertone to Elements — it is a resource that can be revisited over and over again, one that will arm the current and future designers of our built world with the knowledge they’ll need to address the issues they have yet to even confront.

After the break, see images of the exhibition and read Koolhaas’ curatorial statement. 

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Want to Land a Job at One of the Top 50 Architecture Firms? Here Are the Skills You Need to Have…

Cannon Design Regional Offices (Cannon Design was one of Architectural Record’s Top 50 Architecture Firms in 2013). Image Courtesy of Architectural Imageworks, LLC

This article was originally published on Black Spectacles.

Ever wonder what skills and licensure/accreditation are required to get a job at the top 50 Architecture firms in the world? Our study has compiled it all…

We surveyed 928 job postings at the top 50 architecture firms, based on Architectural Record’s July 2013 Top 300 Architecture Firms study, and compiled the software requirements and the licensure/accreditation requirements listed for each job.   We then sorted them by average, and then by the experience level required, from 0-3, 4-10 and 11-20+.

The results are in the below:

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Proyecto Helicoide: Reviving Venezuela’s Unfinished Modernist Utopia

© Project Helix (Proyecto Helicoide)

Although construction was never completed, “El Helicoide” (“The Helix”) in Caracas is one of the most important relics of the Modern movement in . The 73,000 square meter project – designed in 1955 by Jorge Romero Gutiérrez, Peter Neuberger and Dirk Bornhorst – takes the form of a double spiral topped by a large geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. It was characterized by a series of ascending and descending ramps meant to carry visitors to its variety of programmatic spaces - including 320 shops, a 5 star hotel, offices, a playground, a television studio and a space for events and conventions.

Today, Proyecto Helicoide (Project Helix) seeks to rescue the urban history and memory of the building through a series of exhibitions, publications and educational activities. More details on the initiative, after the break.

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AD Round Up: Awesome Airports

AD Classics: Dulles International Airport / . Image © MWAA

If there is a universal truth, it is that nobody likes spending time in an airport. This article from the Financial Times corroborates this fact, pointing out that, no matter how well-designed a terminal is, people make every effort to leave it as soon as possible. While the novelty of air travel has worn off since its inception in the 20th century, the work devoted to designing airports has only increased. We’ve collected some of our favorite terminals we’d actually love to get stuck in, including works by Eero Sarinen, SOM, Fentress, J. Mayer H., KCAP, Paul Andreu, bblur architecture and 3DReid, Corgan Associates, De Bever, and Studio Fuksas. Enjoy!

“Casa Futebol” Proposes a Different Olympic Legacy For Brazil’s Stadiums

Render of the National Stadium of Brazil, based on a photograph by Tomás Faquini

In these hypothetical designs entitled ”Casa Futebol“, Architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux of 1Week1Project have proposed a reappropriation of Brazil’s World Cup venues by inserting housing units of approximately 105 square meters into the existing structures. The designs are tailored to each stadium, allowing them to continue to operate smoothly, with part of the money raised by ticket revenue used to finance the construction and maintenance of dwellings. By either replacing part of the stands with the prefabricated units or by occupying the external facade, Casa Futebol adds a human scale to these monumental buildings.

Read on after the break for all the proposals

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MCHAP Recognizes OMA, Holl, HdM as Finalists for Most Outstanding Projects in the Americas

The  (MCHAP) has just announced the seven finalists – drawn from a shortlist of 36 projects - at an event in Santiago, Chile.

To determine the finalists, the five jury members – Francisco Liernur, Sarah Whiting, Wiel Arets, Dominique Perrault, and Kenneth Frampton - spent the last twelve days visiting projects, speaking with the architects, users and owners of the spaces, and entering into intense debate among each other. 

As jury member Dominique Perrault noted, “There’s a lot of means by which to evaluate projects – models, drawings, images – but we took all opportunities to test the quality of the architecture. In the end, only by visiting can you sense the ‘touch of god’ – the presence of the building itself in the context.”

The resulting finalists show tremendous variety – in terms of scale, place, typology, program, materials, etc. – making the task of choosing a winner all the more challenging. See all seven finalists, as well as a video of Kenneth Frampton discussing the selection process, after the break.

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The Power of Paint: Three Case Studies on Colour in Architecture

Based at the Architectural Association school of Architecture and linked to the Phd research program at UIAV, Saturated Space takes a comprehensive look at the “grammar” and history of colour in architecture, the perceptual and phenomenological principles of colour in relation to the human subject, and the socio-political aspects of colour as a culturally active agent. This article, written by architect and CLOG editor Jacob Reidel, originally appeared as “Powerful Colours” on Saturated Space‘s website, a forum for the sharing, exploration, and celebration of colour in Architecture.

Let’s admit it, architects are suspicious—if not a little scared—of colour. How else to explain the default contemporary architect’s preference for exposed finishes such as concrete, brick, , stone, and wood? Perhaps this is because an architect’s choice of applied colour may often seem one of the most subjective—and hence least defensible—decisions to be made over the course of a project.* Indeed, applied colour seldom performs from a technical standpoint, and it is the architect’s taste, pure and simple, which is often on the line whenever a specific colour is proposed to the client. Or perhaps architects’ mistrust of applied colour owes something to the profession’s well-known controlling tendencies and the fact that colour is one of the most mutable aspects of a building; better, we architects are instructed, to focus on “important” and “architectural” decisions such as form, space, materials, program, and organization. Indeed, it is far easier for a future owner to repaint a wall than it is to move it.

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Zaha Hadid Architects Reveals Modified Tokyo National Stadium Designs

The updated design for the Tokyo National Stadium. Image Courtesy of Japan Sport Council

Update: The Japan Sport Council has now unveiled images of ZHA’s redesigned Tokyo National Stadium, which say will make “make the stadium even more efficient, user-focussed, adaptable and .” The capacity of the stadium will remain at 80,000 seats.

After sustained protest from Japanese architects and citizens alike, Zaha Hadid Architects have confessed that they are modifying their designs for Tokyo’s National Stadium, the centerpiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After repeated criticism, including a petition launched by Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki, the Japanese Government had already announced a plan to reduce the cost from its original budget of $3 billion to a more manageable $1.7 billion.

Now, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added fuel to the fire by saying that it would support a scaled-back plan for the entire event: “We want to see more existing venues, we want to see the use of more temporary grandstands,” said Committee vice president John Coates.

More on Tokyo’s plan to dial down its Olympics after the break

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Modern Masters Of Materiality: An Interview With Australia’s Tonkin Zulaikha Greer

The Cloudy Bay Winery in New Zealand conveys TZG’s love for timeless materials. Image © Mike Rolfe

With conscious material choices, Australian architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer are known for their ability to integrate buildings into a city’s existing fabric. Michael Holt, editor of the , caught up with partner Tim Greer, for the following interview, picking his brain on materiality, site, history and more. 

Since the practice’s inception in 1988, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) has become expert in the reuse of existing built fabric and how best to reintroduce the past into the contemporary. Through projects such as the restoration of Hyde Park Barracks, the National Arboretum Canberra (featured in AR131–Present), Carriageworks, and Paddington Reservoir Gardens, certain design characteristics are notable: volumetric boxes, a shifting in typology, an overarching and encompassing ceiling or roof plane, a restricted material palette, and working-off the existing while simultaneously revealing the existing.

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Top 10 Technical Apps for Architects

Arrette Scale: perspective. Image Courtesy of Arrette Scale

Building upon our Top 10 Apps for Architects, this collection brings together some of the best quality and most valued technical apps for designing, sketching, calculating and collaborating. Although the majority of those featured here are designed solely for the iOS platform, every time we collate lists such as these it’s clear that more and more high quality apps for the Android and Windows platforms are being developed. From condensed versions of large scale software packages that architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.

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World Interior of the Year Award Announces Best Interiors of 2014

Civic, Culture + Transport Category: Cine Times/ One Plus Partnership Limited. Image Courtesy of Jordan Lewis/INSIDE Festival

The INSIDE World Festival of Interiors has announced the nominations for their Interior of the Year award for 2014. This award is an international honor that covers nine categories. This year’s 60 nominations span the architectural spectrum, from schools to airports, and include well-known firms, such as MAKE Architects and a21 Studio.

The nominees will compete against each other from October 1st to the 3rd at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore (see this year’s architecture shortlist here). More on the interior nominees, after the break.

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Peter Zumthor & LACMA Unveil Revised Museum Design

Model of the new design. Image © Atelier & Partner

Peter Zumthor and the County Museum of Art (LACMA) have revealed a revised design for the museum’s $650 million new home on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The new design still features the sinuous glass and grey concrete slab raised a full story off the ground, but under the new proposal part of the museum would bridge Wilshire Boulevard to touch down on what is currently a car park opposite.

The change comes in response to criticisms that the previous design would put the neighboring La Brea Tar Pits at risk, threatening their status as an active paleontological research site and a popular tourist destination. The shape of the new design removes this risk by withdrawing from the boundary with the adjacent tar pits, without compromising on floor space in the museum.

More on the revised design after the break

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From Facades to Floor Plates & Form: The Evolution of Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida, (2005-2008, realisation 2008-2010). Image Courtesy of Xavier de Jauréguiberry

The following is an essay that originally appeared in Australian Design Review as “Beyond the Wall, the Floor.” In it, Michael Holt and Marissa Looby describe the evolution of Herzog and de Meuron‘s work. Using numerous examples of recent projects (such as VitraHaus and 56 Leonard Street), they point out that have, increasingly, relied on the floor slabs of their buildings to suggest the building’s shape. By removing the façade’s prominence in favor of a more suggestive way of creating mass, they have turned their original design signature on its head. 

Simple adjustments, slight alterations, subtle illusions. These are not tagline descriptions of the 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach project, or a synopsis for a body of work. Instead they operate as retroactively projecting the course of professional development in the works of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The practice is known, from its earliest built projects, as a firm who produced artistically driven facade treatments where the vertical plane — the ‘nominal façade’ — would define form through the visually stimulating surface or skin. As the practice has evolved, it is argued here, they have crafted a new strategy: the horizontal plane as vertical facade generator.

In its progression the practice has deviated from facade ornamentation and fabrication towards the removal of the facade altogether; allowing for the floor plate — as a visual element — to operate as inadvertent facade and thus doubling its structural and visual importance. The placing of floor plates becomes the force creating the form – the ‘inverted structural skin’The stripped back architectural form does not remove the facade, but removes the idea of a facade, paradoxically creating a building mass almost by default.

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A Provocative Possible Future for Moscow’s Failing Business District

What can you do with a business district that has an office vacancy rate of 40%, is completely separated from its surroundings and is facing increasing competition from business centers emerging throughout the city? These are questions that are increasingly being asked about Moscow‘s International Business District, the symbol of capitalism that was planned in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union, yet is still under construction today.

Eduardo Cassina and Liva Dudareva, founders of METASITU and researchers at the Strelka Institute, have proposed a provocative idea in response to this dilemma: envisaging the business district’s future in 2041, they imagine a scenario where the district is linked by underground metro to Sheremetyevo And Domodedovo airports in the North and South – forming the world’s first mega-, and the first one where it is possible to live in the terminal building without ever leaving.

Read on after the break for more explanation of idea

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