AD Classics: United States Embassy in Havana / Harrison & Abramovitz

The United States’ diplomatic presence in Cuba is housed in a severe, early-1950s office building perched on the shoreline over Bay. Walled off from the city and pulled back from the street, the building has the uneasy presence of a haunted castle – shunned and maligned by its neighbors, but subjected to the unending scrutiny of suspicious eyes and intrigued gossip of the locals. With its regimented orthogonalities and the unmistakably foreign imprint of modernist efficiencies, both the embassy’s architecture and the optimistic political spirit it embodies seem to belong to another era, a cooperative past no longer conceivable in the wake of a half century of underhanded diplomacy, calumnious propaganda, and failed attempts to restore relations between the embattled countries.

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AD Interviews: Uma Adusumilli

With more than half of the world’s population living in cities today, a process that will only accelerate in the near future, the dynamics of large metropolitan areas –especially in the emerging world have– have become an object of study and urban experimentation. India is one of the regions where this process is happening at a fast pace. With a current urbanization rate of 32%, it is expected to grow up to 40% in the next 15 years.

India’s fast-growing economy and accompanying rural-urban migration has led to many environmental issues caused by the explosive growth of slums in metropolitan areas such as Mumbai. Currently the largest human settlement in India, a population of 21 million people makes it one of the top ten most populated urban agglomerations in the world.

During the Moscow Urban Forum we had the chance to talk with Uma Adusumilli, the chief of planning at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), to understand the problems that Indian cities are facing due to this rapid , and how architecture –even at the smallest scale–can play a crucial role in improving quality of life.

Faith & Form’s 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award Rewards Diversity in Religious Design

St. Gregory’s Church Agrigento, Italy Pellitteri & Associati Studio. Image © Alessia Riccobono

Originally published by The Huffington Post as “These Religious Architecture Award Winners Evoke The Sacred In Unconventional Ways,” this article reveals the winners in the 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award run by Faith & Form, an organization dedicated to promoting the architecture of worship.

What makes a space sacred?

If the winners of Faith & Form’s 2014 Religious Art & Architecture award are any indication, it may be something different every time. A high ceiling, curved walls, stained glass windows or lush landscaping — no two winners are alike, and yet each offers viewers a fresh way of interacting with the divine.

Take a look at some of Faith & Form’s 2014 award and honor award winners for after the break

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Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Team Berlin’s “Flywheel” Could Revolutionize Personal Mobility

© Audi Urban Future Initiative

One of three runners-up in the 2014 Audi Urban Future Award, the Berlin Team of Max Schwitalla, Paul Friedli and Arndt Pechstein proposed a futuristic and innovative concept for an entirely new type of personal transport. Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as elevator and biomimicry, their designs offer a thought-provoking alternative to our existing transportation systems that could revolutionize the city as we know it.

Though their proposal ultimately lost out to Jose Castillo’s Team Mexico City, the work of the Berlin team correlates closely with the aims of Audi’s Urban Future Initiative, offering a compromise between the convenience and status of personal transport and the civic benefits of public transport. Read on to find out how this was achieved.

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AD Classics: Expo’98 Portuguese National Pavilion / Álvaro Siza

© flickr user Dacian Groza

At the Expo ’98 Portuguese National Pavilion, structure and architectural form work in graceful harmony. Situated at the mouth of the Tagus River in , Portugal, the heart of the design is an enormous and impossibly thin concrete canopy, draped effortlessly between two mighty porticoes and framing a commanding view of the water. The simple, gestural move is both weightless and mighty, a bold architectural solution to the common problem of the covered public plaza. Under the graceful touch of Álvaro Siza Vieira, physics and physical form theatrically engage one another, and simplicity and clarity elevate the pavilion to the height of modern sophistication.

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The Three-Dimensional City: How Drones Will Impact the Future Urban Landscape

Hawkins\Brown’s ‘Romance of the Sky’ proposal for the site of Heathrow Airport features – but does the urban design of the proposal accommodate the role of in the urban sphere?. Image © Factory Fifteen

Many have come to associate drones with the looming unmanned aircraft deployed in the defense industry, but as continues to improve drones have gotten smaller and progressively less expensive. Consumers can now purchase their very own drone for as little as $600 or less and the is already proving to be useful for a wide variety of purposes, including possible uses for architects in everything from site analysis to construction.

However, this technology could have much broader consequences on not only the airspace above our streets, but also in how we design for increasing civilian and commercial drone traffic. Just as other technologies such as cars and security surveillance have shaped our urban infrastructure, so too will an emerging network of infrastructure for pilotless technology. Particularly as drones become ever more precise and nimble, opportunities arise for their increased use in urban areas. If these devices can be programmed to learn from repeated maneuvers with the use of cameras and sensors, it is not unrealistic to say that they could soon learn how to navigate through increasingly complex vertical cities. But if drones become fixtures of our urban environment, what impact will they have on exterior spaces? And could they become as ubiquitous in our city’s skies as cars on our streets?

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The 14 Best Articles of 2014

At ArchDaily, we take great pride in bringing our readers the best selection of architectural projects and news stories around, but another big part of our editorial mission also involves giving architects access to the knowledge that will help them improve the lives of future urban dwellers. As the year draws to a close, each of the editors at ArchDaily has personally selected their favorite articles from the past year which complement this editorial mission. These articles may not be the ones that garnered the most attention or views, but we think they are vital nonetheless.

Our top 14 of 2014 includes coverage of crucial events, like the attention-grabbing competition that broke almost every record going, and an architectural model that redefined the idea of political protest; it features profiles of people who are redefining the profession, including both one of the world’s most famous architects who had one of his greatest years yet, and a woman who spends most of her time working with sewage; and it includes insightful histories, such as how communist architecture developed in the mid-twentieth century, and how that period is now defining architecture in a modern-day communist superpower. Read on to find out which articles made our list as the best of the past year.

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Archiculture Interviews: Shigeru Ban

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“An earthquake doesn’t kill people, the collapse of a building kills people.” In Arbuckle Industrieslatest interview released following their world premiere of Archiculture, architect humanitarian Shigeru Ban clearly delineates “natural” disasters as a product of mankind, rather than nature. Hear the Pritzker laureate’s thoughts on designing for minorities, disasters, and the importance of travel in the video above.

Top 20 Most Read Articles of 2014

From Frank Gehry giving the finger and claiming that today’s architecture is 98% “pure shit,” to the Guggenheim Helsinki competition receiving 1,715 entries and becoming the most popular architecture competition in history, 2014 has been an eventful year. The following 20 stories were the most read of the year, generating discussion among readers and provoking interesting comments. Ranging from lighthearted lists (25 Free Architecture Books You Can Read Online) to articles analyzing how future cities might look (Hamburg’s Plan to Eliminate Cars in 20 Years), here are the top 20 stories of 2014.

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The Most Popular Projects of 2014

If you needed any more proof that 2014 was a good year for houses, this might be it. Among our 20 most viewed projects this year are no fewer than 17 private residences, which share the limelight with an apartment interior, a residential skyscraper, and a museum which no doubt received a boost in its exposure thanks to a certain jet-lagged octogenarian and his middle finger. From Frank Gehry to Studio MK27—who make the cut with not one but two projects—here are the 20 most popular projects of 2014.

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Watch Now: Cool Spaces! First Full Episode Online Features North America’s “Art Spaces”

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Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture has released their first full episode online. The PBS television series, hosted by Boston-based architect and professor Stephen Chung, AIA, profiles the most provocative and innovative public space architecture in North America. With the general public as its targeted audience, each hour-long episode is organized around a central theme – such as Art Spaces – and profiles three buildings. In this episode, Chung discusses what makes Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s Barnes Foundation, Steven Holl’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Phil Freelon’s Harvey B. Gantt Center so cool.

“People often ask me what  is all about. And I never can answer without giving a bit of background,” says host . “You see, it really begins over seven years ago, during the recession, which decimated the architecture profession. In a four-year span, approximately 30% of all architecture jobs in the U.S. were lost — including my own. This time away from practice allowed me to reflect on the profession and its problems and to think about what role I might play in bringing about some positive change.”

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ArchDaily’s 50 Best Houses of 2014

For another year, in 2014 ArchDaily has featured hundreds of from designers around the globe, with homes that appear to float above ground, sink below grade, snake through forests, jut over cliffs, and blur the line between building and environment. This year, we’ve seen some of the most intuitive, outlandish, and creative designs cropping up around the world, from São Paulo to Ho Chi Minh City to Stockholm, and to celebrate the end of the year we’ve rounded up our 50 best projects from 2014, representing an incredible range of living environments from the world’s most innovative architects.

Enjoy the sandy surrounds of House in Miyake or the minimalist paradise of Love House; or escape for a getaway to Weekend House in Downtown São Paulo. Find out which houses stray from the norm, reviving the wooden cottage and redefining the stone cabin with a touch of linearity and serious panoramic views. Step inside wondrous spaces that soar skyward or connect with the earth, speak to the divine or convene with the spiritual – and yet all share the unmistakable feeling of ‘home.’

Find out which houses make our list after the break

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Watch Now: World Premiere of ‘Archiculture’

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Now, after 130 private screenings in 26 countries, you can watch the official world premiere of Archiculture here on ArchDaily. The 25-minute documentary captures a rare glimpse into studio-based design education, trailing five architecture students throughout their final thesis semester at Brooklyn’s .

Directed and produced by architect-turned-filmmakers Ian Harris and David Krantz of Arbuckle Industries, the film features exclusive interviews with leading professionals, historians and educators, such as Ken Frampton, Shigeru Ban and Thom Mayne. Since Archiculture completion, a number of schools, institutes and film festivals have hosted screenings of the film in an effort to shed light on the critical issues facing architectural education today.

We invite you to watch the film above, read our exclusive interview with film director Ian Harris, and share your thoughts in the comment section below. You can also join an ongoing online conversation regarding Archiculture on the #Archichat here.

Why Are There Still No Built Traces of New York’s Tech Industry?

837 Washington Street. ImageImage via New York YIMBY

For many architects, the chance to make an impression on the landscape of New York City is a sign of distinction, an indication that they have “made the big time.” But it’s not just architects who have this desire: for decades, the city’s big industrial players have also striven to leave their mark. However in this article, originally posted on New York YIMBY as “How New York City is Robbing Itself of the Tech Industry’s Built Legacy,” Stephen Smith examines where it’s all gone wrong for the city’s latest industry players.

Strolling through the streets of Manhattan’s business neighborhoods, you can pick out the strata of the city’s built commercial heritage, deposited over generations by industries long gone. From the Garment District’s heavy pyramidal avenue office towers and side street lofts, dropped by the garment industry in the 1920s, to the modernist towers like Lever House and the Seagram Building, erected on Park and Fifth Avenues during the post-war years by the country’s giant consumer goods companies, each epoch of industry left the city with a layer of commercial architecture, enduring long after the businesses were acquired and the booms turned to bust.

But 50 or 100 years into the future, when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren stroll through the neighborhoods of Midtown South that are today thick with and creative firms, they are not likely to find much left over from the likes of Facebook or Google. There will be no equivalent of Grand Central or Penn Station, Terminal City or the Hotel Pennsylvania, left over from the early 20th century railroad tycoons, or SoHo’s cast iron buildings, developed by speculators seeking to feed the growing textile and dry-goods trades of the late 19th century. Perhaps unique among New York’s large industries, the tech and creative tenants that have become the darlings of the current market cycle are leaving very little behind for future generations to admire.

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Three Lessons From Finnish Architecture

Kuokkala Church – . Image © Fernanda Castro

I recently had the opportunity to visit , representing ArchDaily on an architecture press tour organized by the Museum of Finnish Architecture. This was a chance for me to see firsthand some of the recent architecture projects built in the last several years by young architects.

I would like to share with you some of the lessons and best practices I learned from Finnish architecture that I believe we could apply to our work as architects (especially in Latin America, where I am from).

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Archiculture Interviews: Michael Dukakis

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Following the highly anticipated world premiere of Archiculture (watch here!), Arbuckle Industries is now releasing over 30 never-before-seen full length interviews with some of the industry’s leading influencers, all discussing the profession and how we are or should be training the next generation of designers. The first of the series featured Columbia’s Kenneth Frampton on whether or not architecture should be considered a luxury. Now, this most recent installation delves into just how policy makers can affect the built environment, interviewing politician and former Governor of Massachusetts .

Iwan Baan: No Filter

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Frank Gehry. Image © Iwan Baan

Cultured, one of the leading art, architecture and design magazines, has shared with us part of the 16-page photo essay “No Filter” by Iwan Baan that is being featured in its Winter Issue, on stands now. Enjoy! 

If you pore endlessly over images of architecture the way we do, chances are you’ve been drooling over work captured by Iwan Baan. Though he’s adamant that he not be referred to as an “architectural photographer,” Baan has probably captured more buildings, pavilions, residences and just about every other structure in between than any other single lensman. Yet it is Baan’s background in photography that most influences his work. “I choose my projects not so much for the architecture, but for its relationship with the city around it and how people respond to it,” says Baan. “I’m trying to tell the story of the built environment—the places where we live.” Here, Baan tells the story behind 11 projects completed this year, and two others that he has a personal connection to.

“I love great architecture that is very specific for its site and client, it’s for an architect always a dance between him, a site and a client. Here, Gehry was given complete freedom to design every detail, every nook and cranny of a building for Bernard Arnault to house his art collection.”

Read on for more quotes and images by the renowned Iwan Baan. 

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Archiculture Interviews: Kenneth Frampton

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Following the highly anticipated world premiere of Archiculture (watch here!), Arbuckle Industries has now shared with us the first of over 30 never-before-seen full length interviews with some of the industry’s leading practitioners, all discussing the profession and how we are or should be training the next generation of designers.

In this first , the directors sit down with architect, critic, author, and historian Kenneth Frampton at Columbia University to discuss whether or not architecture is a luxury and how the profession has been influenced by computerization.