Detroit Considering Converting Freeway to Pedestrian Street

’s I-375. Via Flickr CC User. Image © Bob Julius

According to John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit may soon be removing one of its downtown freeways, the I-375, and converting the trench-like road into a more pedestrian friendly surface level street. The change could be a boon to residents of nearby areas such as Lafayette Park and Eastern Market, which were cut off when the road was built in 1964, and follows a wider trend of cities removing freeways in order to regenerate downtown areas. The city government is currently working with major stakeholders to investigate the potential effects of the change, with a proposal due for summer 2014. You can read the full article here.

Moved to Care Design Competition

Building Trust International is very pleased to announce their 5th Design Competition. The challenge is to design a health facility that can easily be relocated. This could be in response to a natural disaster, or to inoculate and educate in areas with specific medical emergencies or outbreaks, it will also help aid agencies that don’t have the funds or means to purchase land, offering short term leasing opportunities.

The setting is South East Asia where each year, 8 million people die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are largely preventable and often manageable. Unlike their developed-country counterparts, 30% of these people are aged less than 60. According to WHO this figure will increase by 21% over the next decade. The impact of infectious diseases in Southeast Asia is staggering. Malaria, for example, infected as many as 41 million people in the region in 2009. Demand for healthcare services in Southeast Asia is rising rapidly especially for those in rural communities where poverty makes people more vulnerable. Prevention, early detection and timely treatment through decentralized healthcare will lower death rates and improve lives.

To download the brief, please click here.

Update: The registration deadline has been extended to February 7. The closing date for all submissions is February 28. Announcements of the winners will be March 31.

AIANYS announces The Excelsior Awards

The American Institute of Architects New York State () has announced a new competition celebrating design and professional excellence in publicly funded buildings in State. The Excelsior Awards will provide a model for future state-funded building design and professional practice and advocacy.

The Excelsior Awards have two tracks, the Public Architecture Design Awards and The Professional Awards. The Public Architecture Design Awards are for New York State (fully or partially) funded projects that may be owned by the state, a municipality, a non-profit or a private entity. However, all projects must serve the public in order to be eligible. The three submission categories are: New Construction, Historic Preservation, and Renovation/Addition. Entrees will be evaluated on a comprehensive criteria that places the project in its economic, political, and environmental context.

AIANYS is accepting entries through February 7. Winners will be announced on April 28, 2014. Interested parties can register online here.

The Challenges of Post-Disaster Design

Courtesy of Flickr User mansunides

In the wake of the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan, architects were asking: “couldn’t we have avoided this?” Technically, yes. But while the opportunity to build better exists, such measures are often expensive – and in poverty-stricken areas like the Philippines – cost-prohibitive. A recently published article by Carey Dunne on Co.Design breaks down why disaster-proof is such a complex challenge.

Floating Solar Array Makes Statement in Japan

© Kyocera

Solar panels are often an added bonus in design, becoming a means to an end. But why shouldn’t they be the star of the show? A recent article in Metropolis Magazine shows off the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant, the largest solar facility in . A symbolic response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the power plant is but one project in ’s transition into one of the fastest growing solar markets in the world. Check out the full story here.

Tunnels Under London: the Largest Infrastructure Project in Europe

Crossrail western tunnels, December 2012. Image Courtesy of Crossrail

Crossrail, “the largest infrastructure project in Europe, costing more, for example, than the London Olympics“, has been slowly winding it’s way beneath London for years. Getting access to the labyrinthine collection of underground tunnels and volumes, Rowan Moore of The Observer says that – despite the superficial furore surrounding it – this £5 billion undertaking will eventually be worth it: alongside the tunnels and tracks will be three million square feet (“or about six Gherkins“) of commercial development, and one million square feet of ‘public realm’.

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Tips: How to Archive Projects

Courtesy of lineshapespace.com

documents is serious business, though it often becomes a headache for those involved. When a project is finished, where do the specifications, drawings, and the rest of the data go? Luckily, Shaun Bryant, in his article for Lineshapespace, has tips for designers and architects on how to effectively go about the archiving process – giving insight on everything from the security of storage spaces to the legal demands of archiving. Check out his archiving tips here.

Rok Oman, Principal of OFIS Architects, to Give “Architour” Lecture in Shanghai

Courtesy of

As part of the CA Group’s lecture series, “Architour,” principal of OFIS architects, Rok Oman, will lecture on December 7th at the Tongji Architectural Design Co. in .  For 2013 through 2015, “Architour” has as its theme “New Force of Architecture – Leading Young Architects”: each year, the CA Group will select nine young, global leaders in architecture (four from Asia and five from the West) to lecture on topics that cross typologies and disciplines, from architectural design, urban planning to interior design. Sou Fujimoto and Hirata Akihisa were the series’ first speakers.

At the end of each year, an exhibition will be mounted; and at the end of the three years, the contents of the lectures will be published as a book.

More info on the “Architour” at the CA Group‘s website and weibo.

Fill out the Women In Architecture Survey

Courtesy of Megan Jett

The in Architecture Survey, which is sponsored by magazine Architect’s Journal, is open to both men and women and aims to track the perceptions of gender equality in the workplace. It’s already yielded significant results – the survey last year revealed large pay gaps between male and female architects, as well as interesting perceptions of work/life balance of the different genders. Research goes towards the Architect’s Journal’s Women in Architecture campaign, whose goal it is to promote the status of women in the industry. You can find the survey here.

Why Garden Cities Should Stay in the 20th Century

Town square in Letchworth Garden City, one of the ’s first. Via Flickr CC user. Image © Steve Cadman

After the Wolfson Economics Prize announced a challenge to deliver new garden cities in the UK for the 21st Century, Feargus O’Sullivan of Atlantic Cities responds, calling the attempt to bring back garden cities “misguided”. His article gives a comprehensive rundown of why garden cities were popular during the 20th century, why they are becoming popular again and, ultimately, why they are a bad idea that will not succeed this time around – finishing with some ideas from The Netherlands and Sweden that would be much more appropriate. You can read the full article here.

BIM: Collaboration Via the Cloud

Screenshot of a Revit Model. Via Flickr CC user. Image © William Cromar

This article on Line/Shape/Space by Jeff Yoders discusses how BIM can be used to good effect by bringing different professionals together early on in a design project. By utilizing the shared model over the cloud – or even by providing a dedicated “Computer-Aided Visual Environment” or “ CAVE” (seriously) – clashes can be detected early, design priorities can be more balanced, and ultimately the time and cost requirements of a project can be significantly reduced. You can read the full article here.

How Car-Dependent Towns are Adapting Compact Living Strategies

Courtesy of Mithūn

The challenge of converting a sea of parking lots, that so often riddles auto-dependent , is in densification. Architects are introducing compact urban living models to small towns all across the country, retrofitting single-use zoning into more walkable, diverse and connected communities. Perhaps nowhere is this evolution more evident than ’s Northgate neighborhood, home to the country’s oldest shopping malls. Learn how the town became denser and greener, transitioning to a transit-oriented development, “Gray, Green, and Blue: Seattle’s Northgate.”

Can a School Ensure East London’s Olympic Legacy?

Via CC Flickr User. Image © diamond geezer

In this article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright reviews Chobham Academy, a new built as part of East London’s Olympic Legacy by architects AHMM. While he finds the school impressive and ambitious, Wainwright questions whether the campus, which acts as the ‘fulcrum’ between the poverty-stricken streets of Leyton and the high end flats of the former Athlete’s Village, will be able to bring the two parts of this community together. You can read the full article here.

Bing Thom Architects to Design University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong

Mount Davis, . Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

The has chosen Bing Thom Architects to design a new home for the Chicago Booth Asia Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong. The center will begin construction in October 2014 on Mount Davis, a heritage site that was originally used as a military encampment for the British Army in the 1940s and then a detention center.

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Call for Proposals: A Landmark for Santiago

To commemorate its Bicentennial, the Chilean government has launched an initiative called “Bicentennial Legacy” to regenerate, revitalize, and consolidate the public spaces, heritage sites, and urban icons of the country.

As part of this program, Chile’s President, Sebastian Piñera, has proposed the “Plan Parque Metropolitano 100 Años”, which outlines projects that are to be developed within the Metropolitan Park of . This urban park is the principal public space within the city and is located on San Cristobal Hill, the geographical/metaphorical heart of the city. 

One of these projects is the construction of a tower that will consolidate the numerous antennas currently located throughout the hill into a single

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Forever Home: Open Source Building Design Challenge

Architecture for Humanity Denver (AfH) and Open Tech Forever (OTF) are demonstrating that it is possible to build an open source, compressed earth block (CEB) house that meets the Living Building Challenge 2.1 standard.

They invite you to join the international call to action. Enter the contest and help them design a CEB home that they will build in the Spring of 2014 on their 40 acre site in Denver, Colorado.

They will document each home design and the systemic body of knowledge that informs this process, so that anyone in the world can both learn from and contribute to the project. This is an open source house for the world. The Forever Home. For more information, please click here.

2014 Cambodia Live Build Workshop

Building Trust is a non-profit charity founded in 2010. Last month, we featured one of the schools they have worked on in Thailand, and they now have a number of sustainable design and build projects in during 2014, including a health center, a , a wildlife conservation project and housing.

They are offering hands on participatory workshops where you will gain experience in sustainable building techniques and understand more about humanitarian design while building worthwhile projects that will have a huge benefit to the local community and local wildlife. Due to the fact they will have a number of projects on the ground you will gain an insight into a number of building techniques and architectural styles.

For more information please click here.

Elevated Park Planned for World Trade Center

Early Schematic Rendering of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Liberty Park. Image Courtesy of Tribeca Citizen

The World Trade Center’s “best-kept secret” has been revealed. As reported by the New York Times, the Port Authority released details on what will be “Liberty Park,” an acre-sized, elevated park lifted 25 feet above Liberty Street on the WTC site. Planned for completion in 2015, the $50 million landscaped terrace will connect the financial district with Battery Park City, while providing a panoramic view of the National September 11 Memorial and serving as a forecourt for the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. More information on Liberty Park can be found here.