A Shed of One’s Own: An Exploration of Architectural Sheds and Writer’s Bothies

The Bothy Project - Pig Rock Bothy. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland. 2014. Image Courtesy of The Building Centre

As part of the Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia festivalThe Building Centre is examining the space Dylan Thomas and other writers depend on to create their work. A Shed of One’s Own is a photographic exploration of unique sheds with architectural significance and literary connections. From award-winning studios in Central London to weathered bothies in Scotland, this explores the importance of space for creativity and inspiration. 

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Spotlight: Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Courtesy of the archive

“All space must be attached to a value, to a public dimension. There is no private space. The only private space that you can imagine is the human mind.” – Paulo Mendes da Rocha, May 26, 2004

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil‘s greatest architects and urbanists. Born in Vitória, Espírito Santo in 1928, Mendes da Rocha won the 2006 Pritzker Prize, and is one of the most representative architects of the Brazilian Paulista School, also known as ”Paulista Brutalism” that utilizes more geometric lines, rougher finishes and bulkier massing than other Brazilian Modernists such as Oscar Niemeyer.

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Find a New Life for Your Old Cardboard with these Geometric DIY Halloween Masks

© Fearless Photography

Grab your cardboard, parcel tape, and model building skills: halloween masks are no longer just for witches and warlocks, but for architects too. A furniture designer turned mask creator based in the United Kingdom has created a series of geometric masks for the creatively inclined, available as a template online. A great way to use up leftover model-making , the masks were designed “to create a set of masks that could be built by anyone using local  removing the need for mass manufacturing or shipping and with the minimum environmental impact,” says their creator Steve Wintercroft.

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Gastro-Architecture: Nicholas Blechman Illustrates Architecture as Food

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Have you ever had the urge to squeeze a lemon on the dome of St. Peters Basilica? Or perhaps, crack a beer with Kohn Pedersen Fox’s “bottle opener”? -based designer Nicholas Blechman has put into illustration what we’ve all been thinking, landmark architecture as the food-related items they resemble. Check out Blechman’s “Gastro-Architecture” series here on the New York Times and preview a couple of our favorites, after the break.

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Spotlight: Paul Rudolph

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Paul Marvin Rudolph (October 23, 1918 – August 8, 1997) was a leading American architect known for his contributions to modernism during the International School and Postmodernism eras.  He served as the Chair of Yale University’s School of Architecture for six years and famously designed the Yale Art and Architecture Building, one of the earliest examples of Brutalist architecture in the United States.

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RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows UK’s Confidence Remains High

Courtesy of

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for September showed that, for yet another month, confidence is high among UK architects, with the workload index up fractionally to +29 from +28 in August. Again, this positive figure was spread right across the country, with the most optimistic reports coming from Northern Ireland and the North of , reporting workload index figures of +80 and +46 respectively – promising figures considering that these two areas were “slowest to show signs of recovery” after the recession, according to the RIBA.

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Pratt Institute Students Create Sinuous Screen Wall From Concrete Blocks

© Lawrence Blough via the Architect’s Newsaper

Students from the Pratt Institute have created a wall of concrete blockwork… but not like any you’ve seen before. Challenged by their tutors Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino to produce something highly customized from something highly standardized – the 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC brick – the students used Rhino software and a CNC miller to create a 96-block screen wall composed of 20 different block profiles. “The earlier stuff I’d done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could,” said Blough. “Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization.” Find out more about the project at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator Blog.

Spotlight: Peter Cook

Sir . Image © vimeo.com

As one of the founding members of Archigram, the avant-garde futurist architecture group of the 1960s, Sir Peter Cook, the British architect, professor, and writer has been a pivotal figure within the global architectural world for over half a century; one of his most significant works from his time with Archigram, The Plug-In City, still invokes debates on technology and society, challenging standards of architectural discourse today. With a love for the slithering, the swarming and the spooky, Cook continues to teach at the University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and lecture around the world.

As one of the founding members of Archigram, Cook gained significant international recognition; however, he has now also been recognized for his built works around the world. His recent works, including the construction of his Art Museum in Graz, Austria (Kunsthaus) has brought his radical ideas to a wider public audience. He currently practices with Gavin Robotham as part of CRAB Studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau). 

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Donna van Milligen Bielke Wins Prix de Rome Architecture 2014

Cabinet of Curiosities / . Image Courtesy of Prix de Rome

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker has awarded architect Donna van Milligen Bielke the €40,000 2014. A 2012 graduate from the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, Van Milligen Bielke won the prize for her “radical and poetic intervention” – Cabinet of Curiosities – for the Hoogstraat in Rotterdam.

The Prix de Rome is the oldest and largest prize in the Netherlands for architects and visual artists under 40, previously awarded to alumnus Ronald Rietveld in 2006.

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Grimshaw Selected to Expand Peru’s International Airport

Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez. Image Courtesy of LAP

Grimshaw has landed a $950 million expansion project for the Jorge Chávez International Airport in , Peru. As reported by the Architect’s Journal, Grimshaw will work with ARCADIS, CH2MHill and Ramboll to design a seven million square meter scheme that will include a new air traffic control tower and second terminal for the international airport. Designs are set to be revealed in 2015.

What Should Obama’s Presidential Library Look Like?

Columbia University: open space, throughout the community. Image © Alfonso Medina/T38 Studio via the Guardian

Barack Obama still has two years left in his presidency, but speculative planning for his Presidential Library has already begun for each of the four possible final locations. Just as the election of President Obama broke down historical precedents for who could hold office, could the design of his dedication library represent an architectural shift from previous libraries? This article by Lilah Raptopoulos from The Guardian presents four unofficial visions for the design of the new library, each of them from award-winning architects. Their bold design sketches expand our perceptions of what a presidential library could be, and explore new ways in which these libraries could serve their communities. See all four designs and read the full article from The Guardian entitled, “Obama’s presidential library: four radical visions of the future from top architects.”

Call For Proposals: Hello Nature!

Competition Site. Image Courtesy of Combo

Combo Competitions’ latest ideas challenge, entitled Hello Nature!, centres on a site located in northern Sweden at the foot of a mountain (Omneberget), sat within an area called the High Coast (Höga Kusten) – which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This competition is looking for ”structures that celebrate nature”, which also involve elements of “both education and recreation, or – if you prefer – business and pleasure.” The wider question the competition poses is whether or not architecture can encourage involvement with nature. Previous Combo Competitions have included the London Cinema Challenge and Faith! A Place of Worship in London, both of which attracted a number of high quality proposals.

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Estonia Launches Competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu Passenger Terminal

The Pärnu Municipal Government (in West-) announces an open architectural competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu passenger terminal.

The aim of the architectural competition is to find the best comprehensive spatial solution for Pärnu’s Rail Baltic passenger terminal and its immediate surroundings. The hope is to commission the construction design project for the terminal and its immediate surroundings from the winner of the competition, and the intention is to also include the winner in drawing up the detailed master plan for the area.

All individuals or groups where one co-author and representative of the design team has a certificate of professional qualification as an authorized architect can participate in the idea competition.

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Studios Kabako Wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Public performance in Kisangani. Image ©

Studios Kabako, a Congolese performance and theater studio founded by Faustin Linyekula in 2001, has won the 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize, a $100,000 annual award that honors practitioners who use design to address critical social needs and strengthen communities. Studios Kabako was selected for establishing a series of cultural programs and urban interventions within the city of Kisangani as a way to help communities deal with the aftermath of civil war through dance and the arts. A video about Studios Kabako, after the break.

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Judith Edelman, A “Firebrand for Women in Architecture, Dies at 91

New Settlement Community Campus; NYC (2012) / Dattner Architects and Edelman Sultan Knox Wood

Judith Edelman, FAIA, an American architect and feminist who hoped to rid architecture of its “gentleman’s club” status, has passed away at 91. Starting her career in an era when hiring “girls” wasn’t the norm, Edelman’s work to elevate women in architecture has paved the way for many of today’s leading architects; She was the first woman ever elected to the executive committee of the AIA’s New York chapter and she helped co-found the Alliance of Women in Architecture in 1972. Edelman’s built work, also highly admired, ranged from affordable housing to schools and health clinics, mostly in the area. You can read Edelman’s obituary here.

Spotlight: Sir Christopher Wren

Sir (20 October 1632 – 25 February 1723) is one the most significant architects in England‘s history, and was a recognized astronomer, scholar, and physicist-mathematician. Wren was classically trained at University of Oxford in physics and engineering where he developed his interest in architecture. He is perhaps most famous for designing London‘s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral, however he is credited with the design of dozens of other churches, government buildings, and hospitals in England. Wren was knighted in 1673.

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Haworth Tompkins: Who Are The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Winners?

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. Image © Philip Vile

This year’s RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist was seen by many as the strongest in years. The practice who emerged victorious, beating off competition from internationally recognised practices including Zaha Hadid ArchitectsRenzo Piano Building WorkshopMecanooO’Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley, was Haworth Tompkins: but who exactly are they? Ellis Woodman pinned his hopes on the successful Everyman Theatre before the award was announced, uncovering the practice’s rich history in designing performance spaces through a discussion with founding partner, Steve Tompkins. For Woodman, their theatre work “has left a legacy of spaces that count among the most beautiful and provocative created in Britain over the past twenty years.”

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Michael Graves Defends the Portland Building from Demolition Threats

The Building in 1982. Photo by Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, Michael Graves attended a public conversation with Randy Gragg, director of The University of ’s John Yeon Center to discuss the Portland Building, America’s first postmodern building. The discussion centered around the famed, 1980s building’s many problems – “dark, leaky and claustrophobic” interiors,” pedestrian-unfriendly parking garage, and more – asking Graves for his advice on whether the city should update it or tear it down. His response, “The whole idea of tearing the building down, it’s like killing a child… I don’t know how to react to that.” Read all of Graves’ responses to tenant complaints here on the Oregon Live.