BAM!’s Venice CITYVISION Concrete Island Spectacular!

First Prize - Alberto Bottero, Simona Della Rocca, and Valeria Bruni. Courtesy of Competition

Bottega di Archiettura Metropolitana aka BAM! recently won a Bjarke Ingalls-judged urban design competition for proposing to deal with the Venice, ’s rising water problem… with giant concrete bowl islands!

BAM!'s floating island scheme, courtesy of Venice CITYVISION Competition

Sure, the scheme neither addresses how the existing city should retrofit itself nor does it work out some key technical concerns–how does one move from one bowl to another? what happens when the bowls fill with water?–but with renderings so incredibly beautiful why besmirch oneself with such trivialities?

Read more at FastCo. Design

Bing Thom and the Surrey City Centre Library: How architects are using Facebook and Twitter for public design

Courtesy of Bing Thom Architects

Facing an abbreviated schedule for the information-gathering phase of the Surrey City Centre LibaryBing Thom Architects (BTA) turned to for real-time public input. The result was spectacular!

in November 2009 Bing Thom, winner of the 2011 RAIC gold medal, was commissioned to build a $36M, 80,000 square foot library in the Vancouver suburb. Funds for the library project, from Canada’s Federal Infrastructure program, mandated that the money be used by strict deadline or be lost. But with little time for standard due dilligence , BTA launched a library websiteFacebook pageYouTube presenceTwitter account, and RSS feed, inviting public comment. The sites were populated with images of the project and invited users to publish their own images and text regarding their ideas for the future library in an online “ideasbook.”

The respondent group was more diverse than the crowd that usually shows up for public forums. The largest percentage of the library’s 487 Facebook fans, for example, are under 25. The second largest are women, age 35-44.

Check out FASTCO Design’s coverage of Bing Thom’s use of social media in the design of the Surrey City Centre Library.

Bjarke Ingels: Kazakhstan, Rio de Janeiro, NY and more

Our friend Cliff Kuang, editor of Co.Design, sat down with after his (second) arrival to NY. During the interview, Bjarke talks about his new teaching position at Harvard GSD, focused on the potential of the 2016 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup for Rio de Janeiro. They also talk about BIG’s National Library in Kazakhstan, and hint us on a new project currently in the boards for Manhattan, a “cross breed [between] the perimeter block and the high rise, to allow a communal garden in the heart of a building”, a building that we really want to see more about.

CK: It seems like things might be a lot different here, than in your home country. What can New York teach a young architect like yourself?

BI: As an architect, you’re always trying to accommodate different interests in a single building, from the residents to the developers to the city planning officials. In Manhattan, the density makes that even more extreme, and there’s something in the American culture about bringing together competing interest groups. I mean, this is the country that invented surf & turf! I mean, steak and lobster! What other country would thing to combine those two extremes? I sense some interesting possibilities here.

CK: A lot of your buildings — such as the 8 House apartments and the Mountain Dwellings project, or the Astana National Library and the Danish pavilion look like evolutions of a theme. Is that part of BIG trying to develop an aesthetic, or a signature?

BI: No, we don’t have a commitment to certain forms or styles. But as we develop stuff we learn how things relate and connect, and we learn how those forms can be reinterpreted to create new possibilities. So for example, the basic form of the 8 House, which allowed both a courtyard and views and a sloping green roof, has become in TED [pictured below] which attempts to bring street life up to the level of the penthouse.

It’s a bit like in nature how some fish developed bigger flippers that could be used as legs. It’s not like the fins had a purpose for walking, but through an act of relocation and misinterpretations, they became legs. A major part of design evolution is that things developed for one purpose can be used in other ways. And that’s why you see diversity and continuity in design.

Read the whole interview at Co.Design »