A Day at Stanford With Rem Koolhaas

Courtesy of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design, via Flickr

Delving deeper into his recent engagement with smart cities, earlier this year Rem Koolhaas took a trip to California to visit the technology companies of Silicon Valley. While he was there, he managed to find time for a brief visit to Stanford University‘s School of Architecture, leading to this engaging profile by Pooja Bhatia for OZY; replete with snappy one-liners such as “So, what are you disrupting?” from the man who is notoriously difficult to get along with, the article offers an interesting insight into Koolhaas’ ideas, both past and present. Read the article in full here.

Forbes Profiles David Rockwell, Celebrates 30 Years of Design

ockwell Group’s pop-up theater for TED. Image ©

In honor of Rockwell Group’s 30th year of design, Forbes has published a profile on its founder, American architect David Rockwell, detailing his life, work and thoughts on the power of theater. “My mother, Joanne, played a great role in forming my interest in design,” stated Rockwell. “She first introduced me to the excitement and spectacle of live theater, which has had a profound impact on my life and work. These productions really opened my eyes to the power of design to create emotional connections between people and their environment.” Read the complete article, here.

NBBJ to Design $85 Million Livingston Ambulatory Center in Columbus

Livingston Ambulatory Center. Image ©

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has selected NBBJ to design their $85 million Livingston Ambulatory Center in Columbus, Ohio. The six-story, 200,000-square-foot center will serve more than 100,000 patients annually. It will feature modular and flexible units centered around shared employee workspaces. Construction will begin in February. 

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Ricardo Porro, Architect of Cuba’s National Art Schools, Dies at 89

School of Ballet by Vittorio Garatti . Image © Adrián Guerra Rey via places.designobserver.com

Ricardo Porro, the leading architect behind Cuba’s National Art Schools - one of the largest architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution – has died of heart failure in Paris at the age of 89. After spending nearly a half a century in exile, Porro lived long enough to see his two arts schools reemerged on the world stage as “crown jewels of modern Cuban architecture.”

“When I received this commission, I thought there had not been a good expression of revolution in architecture,” Porro said in a 2011 interview with The Atlantic. “I wanted to create in that school the expression of revolution. What I felt at that moment was an emotional explosion.” Read the full New York Times obituary, here.

Haus-Rucker-Co: Architectural Utopia Reloaded

Haus-Rucker-Co, Ballon für Zwei, Apollogasse, Wien, 1967. Image © Haus-Rucker-Co, Gerald Zugmann

When fears regarding environmental pollution and potential catastrophe were at a high in the 1970s, Haus-Rucker-Co set out to develop a “new concept of architecture.” Based in Vienna, the group was known for their interactive exhibitions and their development of utopian architectural ideas, which showed how people could affect their own environment. Now, their work between 1967 and 1977 is the theme of “Architectural Utopia Reloaded,” the latest exhibition on display at the Haus am Waldsee in Berlin.

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Oliver Wainwright’s 2015 Wish List for British Cities

The housing crisis facing London has now become the primary concern of the capital’s voters. Image © Flickr CC User mariusz kluzniak

In the UK, urban issues are starting to see something of a renaissance, with problems such as the nation’s housing shortage increasingly being subjected to scrutiny in ever more public arenas – in fact earlier this year housing overtook transport as the biggest concern among London voters. All of this means that 2015 will be “a golden opportunity to fix some of the worst city problems,” according to Cities, who have asked their architecture critic Oliver Wainwright to offer up a wishlist of positive changes that could benefit the nation’s urban centres. From councils building more council housing to a tax on empty homes, Wainwright’s four-point list offers straightforward policy advice that could truly transform the lives of British urbanites – and perhaps most promisingly, in three of these cases he explains how there are nascent movements already being made to bring his recommendations to fruition. You can read the full article here.

World’s First Solar Bicycle Lane Opens in Amsterdam

SolaRoad in Krommenie. Image © SolaRoad

A popular bicycle lane and public road that connects the suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer has been impregnated with solar panels, making it the world’s first. The 70-meter stretch, serving 2,000 daily cyclists, was embedded with crystalline silicon solar cells encased within concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass. It is expected to be extended an additional 100-meters in 2016, providing enough energy to power three households. More information, here.

Kimmelman on MASS Design Group’s Open-Air Clinics in Haiti

© Iwan Baan for the Times (click image for more)

“Architecture and health are inseparable,” says Haitian doctor and founder of Gheskio in Michael Kimmelman’s latest New York Times piece In Haiti, Battling Disease With Open-Air Clinics. Recounting the devastating images of medical dysfunction that have circulated the internet since the Ebola epidemic, Kimmelman presents MASS Design Group’s nearly complete Port-au-Prince health clinics as a potential model for healthcare architecture worldwide. Combating cholera and tuberculosis with a modest, practical layout and open-air design, the new clinics will serve one of the city’s largest slums. Learn why Kimmelman declares them “handsome” and believes they will help eradicate disease in Haiti, here.

New York’s Storefront Launches “Street Architecture” Competition

Courtesy of Storefront

On the occasion of Ideas City 2015, the biennial Festival created to explore the future city and to effect change, Storefront for Art and Architecture, along with the New Museum and the City Department of Transportation, is launching a for the design and construction of an outdoor structure—a work of “Street Architecture” that facilitates new forms of collective gathering and engagement with the city.

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Progetto Flaminio Announces Competition for Rome’s New City of Science District

Courtesy of Progetto Flaminio

The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Investimenti Sgr has recently acquired the former Precision Electrical Components Factory in Flaminio, located between Via Guido Reni and Viale del Vignola, that will now be transformed into the new City of Science district.

Signaling the debut of a course of urban developments near ’s historic neighborhoods, the area is marked by such iconic landmarks as Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum, Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica, and the Foro Italico and Olympic Village of 1960. The competition calls for a master plan for a neighborhood “integrated within the context of contemporary Rome.” Covering an area of 5.1 hectares, the neighborhood should work in tandem with the City of Science, and feature landscaping, public areas that attract local residents as well as outside visitors, and residential spaces (including apartments and social housing) serving 1,500 to 2,000 people. Six participants will be chosen to move onto the second phase of the competition.

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Registration Open: European Award for Architectural Heritage Intervention AADIPA

© European Award for Architectural Heritage Intervention AADIPA

The Award for Architectural Heritage Intervention AADIPA, arises from the belief that heritage, as a vehicle for social integration and an economic vitalizing resource for the community, deserves to be appreciated and encouraged. In the current context, in which architectural heritage is considered not only to be a fundamental instrument of knowledge but also a first rate socioeconomic resource for the sustainable development of the territory, the disclosure, distinction and recognition of works and quality projects contributing to the preservation of the collective memory is imperative.

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Christmas Wars: The Fight to Hold the World Record for the Most Christmas Lights

The Gay’s house in LaGrangeville, New York. Image Courtesy of Guinness World Records

In the ongoing battle to hold the Guinness World Record for the Most Lights on a Residential Property (aka the house-with-the-most-Christmas lights), the Gay family in LaGrangeville, New York has once again reclaimed their title. This year the family used 601,736 lights, spanning two acres and set to more than 200 songs. RITZ Crackers, part of Mondelēz International, helped the family top the record, providing 200,000 lights. The Gay family and the Richards family in Canberra, Australia, have been fighting for the title over the past three years. But not to be outdone, the Richards family took home the Guinness World Record for the Largest Image Made of LED lights for their Christmas light installation this year. The installation in Canberra used 1,194,380 lights to make a 3D image of three Christmas gifts spanning 3,865 square meters and raised money for the charity SIDS and Kids ACT.  See more pictures and read more about the ongoing lights competition at City Lab and Guinness World Records

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Frank Gehry Tells the Story Behind Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi. Image © Gehry Partners

In just three short years, Frank Gehry’s 450,000-square-foot Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will open. More than 12 times the size of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim New York, the expansive $800 million museum will showcase 1960s art from around the world within an asymmetrical mountain of plaster blocks and self-cooling translucent cones. Anticipating its completion, the Times sat down with Gehry to hear the story behind the building’s design. Watch the full interview with Gehry, here.

UK Housing Review Panel “Needs To Be More Balanced,” Admits Terry Farrell

© Agnese Sanvito, via Farrells Facebook Page

Last week the UK Government appointed a new design panel, intended to “ensure that new homes are not only lower-cost but also high-quality and well-designed.” The panel will be by Terry Farrell, classical architect Quinlan Terry and aesthetics philosopher Roger Scruton, as well as representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the UK Design Council and lobby group Create Streets. However, the profession was quick to criticize the selection of the three lead members of the panel.

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Samsung Commissions Choon-Soo Ryu to Design Vietnamese Community Center

Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics is spearheading a village development project in ThuyHoa, Vietnam, as part of a new social contribution program named “the Nanum Village.” The Nanum Village is a project where the local government cooperates with residents of a village who are willing to develop their neighborhood, improving the public infrastructure and supporting local people’s initiatives for sustainable development of the village. This new community center by Korean architect will be built in 2015 as a result of that initiative.

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RIBA To Open Chapter In India

Charles Correa, Indian architect and recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal (1984). Image © Charles Correa Associates

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In Defense of Santiago Calatrava

Florida Polytechnic Sciencie, Innovation and Technology Campus. Image © Alan Karchmer for

In recent years, few architects have had a tougher time in the media than Santiago Calatrava. Whether it’s his repeated legal battles over leaking roofs and peeling facades, the unceremonious death of his Chicago Spire project, or the media firestorm over his New York Transportation Hub that is $2 billion over budget, Calatrava has become a poster boy for those who criticize the supposed arrogance of today’s architects. However, in an engaging article for FastCo Design, Karrie Jacobs responds to what seems to be “a concerted effort to shore up his reputation,” coming to the defense of this “unreconstructed aesthete.” Read the article in full here.

BAG Transforms Wooden Pallets into Temporary Space Observatory

© Anita Baldassari

Rome-based firm Beyond Architecture Group (BAG) has designed “experimental furniture” – dubbed Looking (C)up – for the Frammenti Music Festival at the Archaeological Park in Tusculum, Italy. The firm, known for building houses with bales of straw, chose to craft an astronomical observatory with wooden pallets.

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