China may be at a turning point in urban design: a recent article in Australian Financial Review points out that over 50 million apartments in Chinese cities (about 22.5 percent) are unoccupied. This problem springs from the ongoing Chinese construction boom, prompted by developers looking to stimulate urban economic growth as quickly as possible. However, Ma Yansong of MAD Architects believes these empty apartments are a sign that buyers find them unsuited to their needs, and that China should begin to enforce good design principles on these rapidly-constructed complexes. Read the full article here.
Contrary to popular belief, the most visible aspects of cities – new, shiny buildings and crowds of people – aren’t really why people around the world are drawn to city life. Curious about the overwhelming trend toward global urbanization, design firm Sasaki surveyed 1,000 people in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Austin, San Francisco and Washington DC to discover the most beloved elements of cities. Finding differences across regions and between generations, this article on Fast Company explores the humble and often surprising reasons we adore city living. Read the full article for more.
When Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu arrived in Shanghai in 2000, working on a project for Michael Graves, they had no plans to stay. “Three months turned into six, then eight,” said Neri of his first visit; fourteen years later, Neri & Hu Design and Research Office operates from Shanghai with more than 100 multi-disciplinary staff. The firm has developed a reputation for their original designs in a landscape dominated by duplicate architecture. In a recent article in The Star Online, Leong Siok Hui maps Neri & Hu‘s road to success, featuring their work on Design Collective and The Waterhouse at South Bund. Read more here.
Need some help being productive or organizing your life? Ranging from Clear, an app that helps create tasks, reminders and to-do lists, to Grafio, which lets you organize your thoughts via diagrams, Apple has put 20 productivity apps in the iOS App Store on sale.
The apps range from $0.99 to $6.99, and some are up to 60% off their normal selling price. Check out all 20 on the iOS App Store’s “Amazing Productivity Apps” section.
Wim Pijbes, director of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, has declared in an open letter to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that the Dutch capital is “dirty, filthy, and too full.” Complaining primarily about the culture of short-stay accommodation, segways, scooters and canal cruisers in the historic heart of the city, he argues that “the charm and spirited character has long since faded.” Amsterdam, an apparent magnet for those who enjoy an “anything-goes atmosphere,” faces an uphill battle in order to remold a dwindling reputation.
Initiatives like Project 1012, which seeks to put a cap on (and even shut down) some of the brothels and marijuana ‘coffee shops’ in the city’s historic core, is part of a wide-reaching clean up campaign. For Feargus O’Sullivan however, “if Amsterdam loses its sense of license, its aura of permissiveness, and its immaculate order held in delicate balance, then it will lose some of its delight, its uniqueness – even its Dutchness.” Read his article in The Atlantic’s Citylab in full here.
Architecture competitions offer an opportunity for architects to launch their careers, and in some cases generate unexpected designs in the process. Many iconic works of architecture, including the famous Sydney Opera House, were the result of open design competitions – but do architecture competitions today maintain the influence they might have had in the past? While critics in the United States have recently argued that it could be time to quit competitions, Donald Bates argues that Australians should be organizing more. In his article on The Conversation, Bates discusses the state of design competitions in Australia, and why we should take another look. Read the full article here.
New York-based architect and co-founder of WORKac, Amale Andraos, has been selected as the new dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), the Columbia Spectator has reported. Andraos will assume the position on September 1, replacing Mark Wigley who announced his retirement last year.
“My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today.”
Today is the 69th birthday of the great French architect and designer, Jean Nouvel. The winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions, resulting in a variety of projects that – while strikingly different – always demonstrate an interesting use of light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. More on the Pritzker-winning architect, after the break.
His variety of work can be seen in such acclaimed works as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier and. Nouvel also has a series of notable projects currently in the works, such as the New Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Art Museum of China.
In honor of his birthday, take a moment to revisit Nouvel’s previous works on ArchDaily.
What will New Orleans look like in one year? Ten years? Fifty years? The Future Ground design competition, hosted by the Van Alen Institute, is looking for multidisciplinary teams help shape the city’s future by answering these questions. The competition is specifically looking for teams to “generate flexible design and policy strategies to reuse vacant land in New Orleans, transforming abandoned landscapes into resources for the city.”
Request for qualification applications are due September 29, 2014 and the three winning teams will be announced the following month. These three teams will be awarded $15,000 to participate in a six-month research and design process alongside national experts and local stakeholders. The outcome of their research will be socially, economically, and ecologically sensitive solutions that the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) can implement and other cities can replicate.
For more information, click here.
In an interview with Rowan Moore for The Observer, British born architect David Adjaye discusses his work, personality and ambitions as head of the one of the fastest growing internationally operating practices. With Moore’s immersive descriptions and expertly written narrative, the “breadth of Adjaye’s vision” becomes apparent. Featuring precise descriptions of some his upcoming projects, including the designs for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and a number of smaller buildings in London, Moore’s discussion ultimately explores Adjaye’s early (and successful) steps into the African architectural market. You can read the interview in full here.
Construction is well underway for KPF’s Lotte World Tower in Seoul, however the mysterious appearance of sinkholes in the surrounding area – as reported by CNN - has brought on a slew of safety concerns. Authorities have been unable to determine the cause of the sinkholes which have appeared in a number of locations around Seoul’s Songpa District, although they have ruled out sewerage as a possibility. To learn more about the bizarre phenomenon putting the 123-story tower under scrutiny, click here.
Today marks the 45th birthday of Joshua Prince-Ramus. Receiving a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Yale, Prince-Ramus graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1996. He was one of the founding principals of OMA’s New York office, eventually buying out Rem Koolhaas’s share of the company in 2006 to form a separate office entirely: REX. Prince-Ramus continues as head of the firm to this day.
Renowned architect, theorist and educator Peter Eisenman turns 82 today. Eisenman initially rose to fame in the late ‘60s, as part of the New York Five, a group that shared an interest in the purity of architectural form. Eisenman’s work, whether built, written or drawn, is characterized by Deconstructivism, with an interest in signs, symbols and the processes of meaning-making always at the foreground. As such, Eisenman has at times been a controversial figure in the architectural world, professing a disinterest in environmental sustainability.
When someone is in the public eye as much as Frank Gehry, it’s easy for them to be misrepresented in the media. Fortunately, this interview by Architectural Record’s editor-in-chief Cathleen McGuigan sets the record straight: Gehry doesn’t consider himself as an artist, and he doesn’t think of architecture as sculpture (despite what he once said). He is however hugely influenced by the way artists work, inventing ways to make things when it might otherwise be thought impossible. That’s why he’s always the one to “jump off the cliff”, as he puts it. You can read the full interview here.
Since we spend most of our waking hours in buildings, shouldn’t they be designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle? It turns out there are many ways in which architects can design spaces that encourage us to exercise as part of our daily routine. Likewise there are many design features that often dissuade people from physical activity. For example, while a dark or secluded staircase may be off-putting, centrally located and open staircases tend to be used even more than elevators. Find out how buildings can serve as our personal trainers in this article from Fast Co. Design, “How To Keep Our Buildings From Making Us Fat.”
Having an office with a view may be more than just a symbol of seniority. New findings show that there are public health benefits associated with working by a window, Fast Co Design reports. An interdisciplinary group of architects and medical researchers compared workers exposed to natural light with those who aren’t, and found that window workers sleep, on average, 46 minutes more a night. They also scored better on self-report health and sleep surveys. Learn more about the study in the full article, “Workers in Windowless Offices Lose 46 Minutes of Sleep a Night,” at Fast Co Design and start convincing your boss that it’s time you had a window office!
One of the latest installations at London’s Serpentine Gallery, where Smiljan Radic recently unveiled an ethereal pavilion, is Marina Abramović’s performance installation entitled 512 Hours. Creating what has been described as “the simplest of settings” in one of the gallery’s large spaces, the artwork employs Abramović’s most frequently used material: herself. Coupled with the audience and a selection of common objects, the constantly changing sequence of events on display is the very first live installation by the artist displayed in the UK. Upon arrival, visitors are asked leave their baggage (including mobile phones, cameras and any other electronic equipment) behind in order to enter the exhibition. Find out more about what you can expect from it here.