Shigeru Ban’s “Kooky” Architecture: Just What the World Needs?

Workers in Chengdu, China, assemble the Hualin Temporary Elementary School, designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Image Courtesy of Forgemind ArchiMedia

British writer Tim Abrahams finds Shigeru Ban‘s architecture ”kooky, Middle Earthy, Hobbity” – an opinion which earns him the title of “idiot” in the eyes of newly appointed Architecture for Humanity Executive Director Eric Cesal. In an article for the Boston Review, Stephen Phelan uses the pair’s opposing opinions to illustrate the Pritzker Prize winning architect’s perceived failures and successes. Read his very engaging take, here.

Call for Entries: Pamphlet Architecture 35

Following the success of the inaugural call for entries, which produced the Pamphlets 23–30, Pamphlet Architecture, with renewed support from the National Endowment for the Arts, announces the 2014 competition.

To promote and foster the development and circulation of architectural ideas, is again offering an opportunity for architects, designers, theorists, urbanists, and landscape architects to publish their projects, manifestos, ideas, theories, ruminations, insights, and hopes for the future of the designed and built world. With far-ranging topics including the alphabet, algorithms, machines, and music, each Pamphlet is unique to the individual or group who authors it. This call for ideas seeks projects that possess the rigor and excitement found throughout the rich history of .

The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2014. The winning entry will engage important issues facing architecture, landscape architecture, and/or urban design today in a way that is as visually provocative as it is intellectually compelling. The winner will be given a grant of $2,500 to develop the proposal into an 80-page, black and white, 7-by-8½-inch book, which will be published by Pamphlet Architecture, Ltd. / Princeton Architectural Press as Pamphlet Architecture 35. The outcome of the competition will be announced on September 12, 2014, and entrants will be notified by e-mail. More information can be found here.

Event Highlights from “Towards A New Avant-Garde” at the Venice Biennale

© Philippe Declerck / DEVspace

Towards a New Avant-Garde, Superscript’s three-part conversation series during the opening weekend of the 14th International Architecture La Biennale di Venezia, brought together 40 talented young architects, writers, critics, to debate issues of identity, collaboration, and economics. Over the course of three 90-minute conversations, several key themes emerged, including the need of architects to engage the public directly, the importance of evolving new forms of communication and criticism, and the value of capitalizing on opportunities to be proactive. Here’s a snapshot of what the participants had to say:

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RIBA Stirling Prize To Be Renamed As It Regains Cash Prize

2013 Stirling Prize Winner: Astley Castle / . Image © Helene Binet

The annual RIBA Stirling Prize is set to regain its £20,000 cash prize following a year of no prize money in which Witherford Watson Mann scooped the accolade for Astley Castle. Considered to be the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the Stirling Prize is presented annually to the “building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year”. Brockton Capital have agreed to support the prize for the next three years starting from 2015, after which the prize will be known as the  Brockton Stirling Prize. The lack of prize money in 2013 raised questions about the significance of the award.

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Exhibition: Europe’s Best Buildings / Mies van der Rohe Award 2013

Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

The Mies van der Rohe Award, today one of the most important and prestigious prizes for architecture within the European competition, was first set up in 1987 by the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe – Barcelona. This prize which involves a total sum of 80.000 EUR is organised and awarded every two years.

In 2013 five finalists were chosen from 335 projects nominated by European institutions and international experts – ultimately the eminent members of the jury chose the new Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik designed by the Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen in collaboration with the Islandic practice Batteríið and the artist Olafur Elíasson, which was opened in 2011.

The travelling presents a total of 39 exceptional buildings from throughout Europe using plans and photographic material as well as numerous models. In the Architekturzentrum Wien the is augmented by the virtual presentation of 15 additional nominations with Austrian involvement. A catalogue with the projects selected by the jury – prizewinners, finalists and shortlist – will be presented in the context of the .

More information on the exhibition can be found here.

Title: Exhibition: Europe’s Best Buildings / Mies van der Rohe Award 2013
Website: http://www.azw.at/event.php?event_id=1492
Organizers: Fundació Mies van der Rohe
From: Thu, 10 Jul 2014
Until: Mon, 15 Sep 2014 
Venue: Architekturzentrum Wien
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna,

Publication: “The Urburb – Patterns of Contemporary Living”

© Sternthal Books

Written to accompany the minimal exhibition of the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, “The Urburb – Patterns of Contemporary Living” tells the story of the Urburb, a built condition which is neither urban nor suburban, that dominates the contemporary Israeli landscape. Edited by Architect and Dr. Roy Brand, the book brings together architectural photography and photographs of the installation interspersed amongst theoretical texts and short stories which address the cultural, political, and social aspects of the “Urburban” way of life. Learn more about the book, published by Sternthal Books, here.

Shigeru Ban Designs Temporary Pavilion for the World Cup

© Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP

In honor of the World Cup (which starts today), the Brazilian Embassy in , Japan, has invited , this year’s Pritzker Laureate, to build a temporary pavilion.

Located at the entrance of the embassy, the three foot tall, 120 m² temporary structure will be a place where people can meet after the games since, due to the time difference, the games will not be broadcast on site.

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“Live Work Play”: An Exhibition of Local Award Winning Architecture from South England

Courtesy of

Live Work Play, an organised as part of the Hampshire Festival of Architecture 2014 (UK), showcases over 100 projects from “within the country, the UK, and beyond.” Featuring a range of “thoughtful, robust, elegant and ingenious designs”, the show will include designs from local practices such as PAD Studio, Design Engine, AR Design Studio, Design ACB and John Pardey Architects. The exhibition will be open seven days a week between the 14th June and the 16th July. Find out more from RIBA Hampshire.

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Competition: d3 Natural Systems 2014

Natural systems offer architects and designers significant potential as alternative, ecologically performative architectonic strategies. The d3 Natural Systems competition invites architects, designers, engineers, and students to collectively explore the potential of analyzing, documenting, and deploying nature-based influences in architecture, urbanism, interiors, and designed objects.

Established in 2009, the annual Natural Systems competition has grown to become a leading voice in sustainable architecture. Recently published in -based Wiley-Blackwell AD journal’s theme issue “The New Pastoralism: Landscape into Architecture” as a leading example of environmental innovation, the annual Natural Systems competition is an emerging voice in ecological architecture and one of the most notable awards in speculative, performance-based design. It recognizes exemplary ideas that redefine architecture as an ecological project through the implementation of advanced programs, technologies, materials, and social interventions that engage adaptability, globalization, and emergence.

The 2014 competition calls for innovative proposals that advance sustainable thought and performance through the study of intrinsic environmental geometries, behaviors, and flows.  By identifying, examining, and applying their structural order on form and function–bottom-up, performance-based solutions for limitless building typologies, functional programs, and material conditions may be realized.

For more information, please go to the competition’s official website.

Frick Collection to Expand With New 6 Story Gallery

Yesterday the Frick Collection announced its plans for a 6-story extension to its gallery in New York, designed by Davis Brody Bond. This article by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times outlines the details of the extension, as the Frick adds itself to the list of post-recession cultural building projects – a list which includes the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Miami‘s Pérez Art Museum. The article also outlines the challenges the Frick will have in expanding its landmarked 1914 building. Read the article in full here.

Architecture for Humanity Turns Fifteen, Names New Executive Director

The Maria Auxiliadora School in Peru, designed/built with help from Design Fellow, Diego Collazos, and with funding from the Happy Hearts Fund and the SURA Group. Image Courtesy of Maria Auxiliadora School

Architecture for Humanity, the non-profit responsible for propagating designers and designs around the world that “give a damn,” has named its latest Executive Director. After co-founders Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair announced their decision to step down in September of last year, the organization began a global search for the person who would replace them. Today, the Board of Directors has announced the appointee: , an experienced designer and author of the memoir/manifesto Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice who first joined Architecture for Humanity in 2006 as a volunteer on the Katrina reconstruction program and later established and led Architecture for Humanity’s Haiti Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince from 2010 to 2012.

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Conversation / Soft Footprints: Works by SO – IL

© Iwan Baan

The Parrish Art Museum is pleased to present Soft Footprints: Works by SO – IL as the fourth installment of Architectural Sessions—an ongoing series co-presented with AIA Peconic that explores the connection between art and architecture, and how both disciplines elicit conversation about space, form, materials and aesthetics. On June 6, host architect Maziar Behrooz, AIA, will moderate a discussion with SO – IL co-founders Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu about their design philosophy, inspiration, and interdisciplinary approach to architecture and designing spaces for art.

Winner of the MoMA/MoMA PS1Young Architects Program in 2010, SO – IL is a Brooklyn-based, idea-driven design firm with a global reach that brings together extensive experience from the fields of architecture, academia, and the arts. By approaching its projects with an intellectual and artistic rigor, fueled by a strong commitment to realizing its ideas in the world, SO – IL functions as a creative catalyst involved in all scales and stages of the architectural process. Recent projects include the exhibition and events spaces for the first Frieze Art Fair, NYC, the Kukje Art Center in Seoul, South Korea (2012), and the UC Davis Museum of Art, completion expected in 2016.

Title: Conversation / Soft Footprints: Works by SO – IL
Website: http://parrishart.org/programs/676
From: Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:00
Until: Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:00
Venue:
Address: 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY 11976, USA

Four Design Firms’ Takes on Multigenerational Living

Namly House by CHANG Architects, A House for Multi-Generation Living. Image © Albert Lim K.S.

Multigenerational homes are nothing new. But with life expectancy increasing, young people staying longer in their childhood homes, and Baby Boomers aging, children, parents, and grandparents under the same roof might soon become the norm. To explore this possibility, Metropolis Magazine asked four design firms to consider what multigenerational living might look like in the future. Check out each unique take on sharing resources and space by reading the article here.

5 Awesome AutoCAD Tricks

Courtesy of CADline

Do you get excited when you discover a game-changing command on ? Don’t worry, us too – which is why we’re recommending five YouTube tutorials selected by Line//Shape//Space. To learn something new (like importing point cloud data or searching for text within your drawings), or just to brush up on your skills, click here.

New Harvard GSD Class Asks: Are Competitions Worth It?

BIG’s 2009 render for the National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan, which was never built. Image Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

For small firms, design competitions can often feel like a Catch22 - enter and lose precious time and resources (usually for nothing) or avoid them – at the risk of losing out on the “big break.” Now a new class at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design takes on just this quandary, as well as the many other practical, theoretical, and moral implications of architectural competitions for the profession. Learn more at this article at the Harvard Gazette.

How Safe Are Glass Skyscrapers Really?

The ’s Glass Balcony. Image Courtesy of Jared Newman, DesignCrave.com

Imagine standing on a glass platform with Chicago 1300 feet directly below. Suddenly, the glass holding you begins to crack. This actually happened to Alejandro Garibay at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) just last week. Luckily, Garibay wasn’t hurt, but the occurrence begs the question: how safe is glass - the most common material used in skyscrapers nowadays - really? Karrie Jacobs At Fast Company – Design, asked materials experts to find out “The Truth Behind Building With Glass.”

Online Class / Cityscape Photography: Capture Your City’s Story

http://instagram.com/trashhand

Skillshare is an online learning community to master real-world skills through project-based classes. Their new class, ”Cityscape Photography: Capture Your City’s Story“, launched yesterday. In the one-hour self-paced class, -based photographer trashhand will take students into the creative process that allowed him to rise from Instagram amateur to acclaimed artist.

Throughout the class, students will follow in trashhand’s footsteps and learn by hitting the streets to capture and share their own city’s unique story. You can find out more about the class here, and stay tuned because in a few weeks we’ll share some of the students’ best images!

What Can We Learn from Lloyd’s?

© Flickr CC User Mark Kent

Following the news that Lloyd’s of London is planning to leave it’s Grade-I listed headquarters designed by Richard Rogers, Edwin Heathcote has written an interesting article asking whether the Lloyd’s Building - along with some other more spectacular failures of ‘iconic’ commercial architecture – can teach us anything about how we ought to design buildings. He argues that while high-profile design serves developers well, tenants seem to prefer bland yet functional corporate buildings, leading Heathcote to ask: shouldn’t we be seeking something in between? You can read the article in full here.