URBAN TALES to Explore the Future of Cities

‘New St James’ Park’. Image Courtesy of Ned Scott

URBAN TALES will showcase three distinct architectural artwork series exploring visions of narrative based city redevelopments. Featuring Presidents Medal-winning work, these original and engaging threads of imagery from UCL architecture graduates Ned Scott, Nick Elias and Anja Kempa objectify fiction and challenge political reality. The exhibitors question the role of architecture in a changing world and use fictional narratives to design fantastical, but possible, cities. URBAN TALES will kick off with an opening party on Friday, March 6 and remain on view through April 10, 2015 at Carousel London. Read on to learn more.

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AIA Awards Two with 2015 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

Novartis Campus / Gehry Partners – A project with Transsolar KlimaEngineering. Image © Flickr CC user Novartis AG

The Lyceum Fellowship Inc. and Transsolar KlimaEngineering have been awarded the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The annual award is intended to “recognize and encourage distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.” Both winners will be honored at the 2015 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta.

Two Architects Selected to Receive the 2015 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award

New Century Plan. Image © UC Berkeley

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Thomas E. Lollini, FAIA, and Thomas Luebke, FAIA, to receive the 2015 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, recognizing their excellence for architectural advocacy and achievement. This year’s award recipients will be honored at the 2015 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. Learn more about the winners, after the break.

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Last Call: Architects Summoned to Envision Public Space for Moscow’s Kristall City

© CENTER Agency of Strategic Development

Architects interested in proposing ideas for a new public space in , a former territory of legendary distillery, have until Tuesday (February 24) to submit applications. Organized by KRAYS development and the CENTER Agency of Strategic Development, the competition is calling on all architects and designers to consider three sites to host the cities premier public space. The newly developed area aims to “share the future look of the quarter” and establish a “new type of public space made out of form industrial city territories. Learn more and apply, here.

Defensive Architecture Creates Unlivable Cities

"Anti-homeless" spikes installed in . Image © Christopher Thomond via the Guardian

To many, the harsh turns the modern city has taken are not apparent. We see benches and bus stops that masquerade as shelters, but Guardian writer Alex Andreou’s sudden plunge into homelessness opened his eyes to the hostile realities of these and other structures. In “Anti-Homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’,” he sheds some light on misconceptions about homelessness and explains the unfortunate trend of designing unlivable architecture to deter those affected.

From pavement sprinklers to concrete sidewalk spikes, the modern city is littered with defensive techniques, discouraging the homeless from habitation and encouraging instead an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to make spaces more comfortable for others. However Andreou argues that the dehumanizing effects of these harsh gestures affect everyone, acting as physical manifestations of society’s intolerance and making public spaces that bit less welcoming for us all – homeless or not. Read the full article, here.

Spotlight: Louis Kahn

Looking at His Tetrahedral Ceiling in the Yale University Art Gallery, 1953. Gelatin silver print. Image © Lionel Freedman. Yale University Art Gallery Archives Transfer.

Louis Kahn, (February 20th 1901 – March 17th 1974) was born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky in Pärnu, in what is now Estonia. His family emigrated to Philadelphia when he was just a child, where Kahn would remain for the rest of his life, completing many of his later works there. Though he did not arrive at his distinctive style until his early 50s, and despite his death at the age of just 73, Kahn became known for combining with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments, and in a span of just two decades came to be considered by many as part of the pantheon of modernist architects which included Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

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Pro Bono Architecture and Designing for the Public Interest

New Carver Apartments / Michael Maltzan Architecture. Image © via

Speaking of the public image of the architect, Stephanie Garlock laments that it is often akin to “Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark— arrogant, individualistic, and committed to the genius of artistic vision above all.” In a feature piece for the March/April edition of Harvard Magazine, Garlock explores the potential for architects to affect wider social change and move “[b]eyond ‘Design for Design’s Sake’.”

From John Peterson’s pro-bono architecture nonprofit Public Architecture to Michael Murphy’s MASS Design Group (MASS shorthand for Model of Architecture Serving Society), the article examines the ways in which the line between “architect as artist” and “architect as social actor” can be eroded. Providing commentary on the “traditional mode of corporate architecture,” Garlock reiterates the importance of designing for the public interest and a cross-disciplinary approach that incorporates professionals in proximal fields of planning, landscape architecture, and urban design. Read the full article here.

Co-Housing Movement Sweeps through Europe

R50 – Cohousing / ifau und Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH. Image © Andrew Alberts

In the Spanish suburb of Alfafar, conditions were looking grim as economic hardships plunged over 40% of its residents into unemployment and left significant portions of its housing vacant. In response, a group of young architects have developed a co-housing plan for the area to accommodate its shifting needs, enabling residents to exchange and share space as needed. Using the existing buildings as the framework, the line between public and private will evolve over time with changing conditions, following in the footsteps of other European countries that have successfully employed similar undertakings. Read more about Alfafar’s plan, here.

2015 Pritzker Prize to be Announced March 23rd

© The Hyatt Foundation / The

We’ve just learned that the Pritzker Prize will be announced on Monday, March 23rd at 10am EDT. This prize — architecture’s most prestigious — has been awarded annually since 1979. Past winners include Philip JohnsonZaha HadidRem KoolhaasOscar NiemeyerNorman Foster and Toyo Ito (full list). You can see ArchDaily’s coverage of the prize here. Stay tuned for the latest updates on this year’s winner. Who do you think deserves to win?

Which Architect Could Restore The Glasgow School Of Art?

School of Art, Eric De Mare. Image © RIBA Photographs Collection

With the Charles Rennie Mackintosh retrospective opening today at the Royal Institute of British Architects in Rowan Moore, writing for The Guardian, asks ”which architect could restore Mackintosh’s masterpiece [in Glasgow]?” The Glasgow School of Art, parts of which were devastated by fire in May of last year, is in the process of selecting a restoration architect from a shortlist of five. Yet for Moore ”there are examples of clumsiness and stodginess in some of the past projects of those included that should be allowed nowhere near the School of Art.”

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Symposium: Model Making In The Digital Age

Courtesy of University of Manchester / SEED

An upcoming at the University of Manchester will tackle the idea of In The Digital Age. Based on the premise that the world of architecture is dominated by digital tools today more than ever, from design and manufacturing to the ways in which we visualise complex spaces and structures physically and virtually, this symposium seeks to shed new light on the practice of model making and its uses.

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Creating A ‘Domesday Book’ Of Post-War Tower Blocks

Hulme Crescents, (c.1971)

The Edinburgh College of Art have announced that they will be creating a ‘Domesday Book’ catalogue of every multistory project in the UK. The project – called Tower Blocks – Our Blocks! - will contain over 3,500 publicly accessible photographs from the 1980s, documented “at a time when post-1945 high-rise housing is continuously under threat threat across the [UK].” All images will be made searchable in a digital archive.

According to Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, “as the high rise towers that have dominated many towns’ and city’s skylines begin to disappear, it is important for us to capture this heritage and give voice to the experiences of those who live in these flats and communities. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to help make this happen.”

The project is set to be completed by 2017.

Story via AJ

Open Call: Fentress Global Challenge

Tom Bradley International Terminal / . Image ©

The Fentress Global Challenge is an international design competition created to engage students worldwide in the exploration of future design possibilities in public architecture. This year the annual competition is challenging students to imagine “The Airport of the Future.”

Participants are encouraged to re-envision the terminal building, taking into consideration current technological trends and applying them to the near future. The participant should consider every element of the passenger experience and seek to improve every dimension of the building. The terminal/concourse building should comprise 30 gates with a third of them being international. Things to consider are urbanization, globalization, technological innovations, flexibility, security, adaptability, and the traveler experience from “curbside to airside.” The submission with the highest aesthetic quality and the most fully developed vision will receive the grand prize – $5,000 and a four-week paid internship at Fentress. Submissions are due May 1, 2015. Learn more, here

Architecture of Independence – African Modernism

FIDAK – Foire Internationale de Dakar, Dakar (Senegal), by Jean Francois Lamoureux & Jean-Louis Marin, 1974. Image © Iwan Baan

From February 20 the Vitra Design Museum will host “Architecture of Independence – African Modernism,” an curated by architect and author Manuel Herz. Featuring numerous photographic contributions by Iwan Baan, “Architecture of Independence” explores the experimental and futuristic architecture produced in 1960s Central and Sub-Saharan Africa during the region’s period of newfound independence.

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Call for Submissions: Planetary Urbanism – Critique of the Present

© ARCH+ Magazine for Architecture and Urbanism

The ARCH+ Magazine for Architecture and Urbanism has launched the international competition ”PLANETARY URBANISM – CRITIQUE OF THE PRESENT in the medium of information design.” The competition is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will take place in the context of the UN-Habitat 2016, where the results will be presented. Project partner of the is the M:AI, Museum for Architecture and the Art of Engineering, NRW. Consulted by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Learn more, here.

Exhibition of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Opens at the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn

. Arvo Pärt Centre to be built in Estonia by 2018 (Rendering)

The opens its new season with an exhibition of the latest recipients of the Alvar Aalto Medal, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. Exhibition “The Window and the Mirror” opens at the museum today (Friday, February 13), providing visitors a first-hand experience of the works of the internationally acclaimed architects Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano. In 2014 Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos won the architecture competition of the Arvo Pärt Centre to be built in Estonia by 2018.

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“Sculpting the Architectural Mind” at Pratt Institute

Courtesy of

On March 6 and 7, New York’s Pratt Institute will host “Sculpting the Architectural Mind,” a conference exploring the connection between “Neuroscience and the Education of an Architect.”

Examining the past and potential role of applied neuroscience within , the conference will touch on topics such as design cognition and the effect of digital media production. “Sculpting the Architectural Mind” is both analytical and speculative, searching for new means of integrating digital tools into the design process and questioning what effects such an approach would have upon the built environment. The themes will be explored over four sessions spaced over the conference’s two days.

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Villeroy & Boch Announces North American Designer Bathroom Challenge Winner

Saoli Chu, Home Retreat

Villeroy & Boch has chosen the winner of its first-ever North American Designer Bathroom Challenge. Saoli Chu of BuiltIn Studio in Manhattan was selected by an expert panel of judges for her innovative and luxurious Home Retreat design, which featured Villeroy & Boch’s Memento washbasins, Aveo bathtub and Subway wall-mounted toilet.

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