Open Call: THINK public SPACE

Courtesy of

The Think Space program serves as a platform for spatial experimentation and conceptual thinking. In 2015, THINK SPACE is conducting an international, public, anonymous, single stage, conceptual architectural – urbanistic idea design Competition under the topic THINK public SPACE. The focus of this Special Edition of Think Space will be directed on urban public space. Within the project  for Me, the Think Space Competition will strive to seek out solutions for present-day public spaces on conceptual and theoretical levels with the potential of realization of the selected competition projects in the public spaces of Zagreb, Croatia. Read on to learn more. 

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Newly-Launched Gehl Institute Seeks to Revolutionize Urban Public Spaces

© Torbjorn Larsson

The Knight Foundation has announced the launch of the nonprofit , led by Gehl Architects‘ Jeff Risom. With the Foundation’s financial support, the Institute strives to boost urban livability by increasing public engagement and economic opportunity through the reformation of public space. A series of studies will investigate the behavioral effects of streets, parks, and plazas on their occupants. The results, coupled with community involvement in the planning process, will be applied toward developing “people-first” public spaces that respond to their unique contexts. Through this approach, the Gehl Institute hopes to foster a new design field that addresses the widening social and economic concerns that accompany urbanization. For more information, visit gehlinstitute.org.

Spotlight: Rafael Moneo

© Diario ABC, S.L.

As the only Spanish architect to receive the Pritzker Prize, (born 9 May 1937) is known for his highly contextual buildings which nonetheless remain committed to modernist stylings. His designs are regularly credited as achieving the elusive quality of “timelessness”; as critic Robert Campbell wrote in his essay about Moneo for the Pritzker Prize, “a Moneo building creates an awareness of time by remembering its antecedents. It then layers this memory against its mission in the contemporary world.”

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Michelle Tianhui Chen Wins Robert A.M. Stern’s 2015 RAMSA Travel Fellowship

Chen’s travel plan. Image ©

Michelle Tianhui Chen, a Master’s candidate at the Yale School of Architecture, has won Robert A.M. Stern Architects‘ $10,000 RAMSA Travel Fellowship. With the award, Chen will travel to India where she will study the architectural shift from a diverse fabric of expressive design languages to a politically and ethnically neutral vocabulary.

“In our world of increasingly ubiquitous gleaming towers, clean in form but cleansed of details, looking to centuries-old traditions might be a means toward reestablishing human attachment to our everyday surroundings,” says Ms. Chen. Her proposal promises to “culminate in a book of drawings and text that attempts to chart a path to a more balanced architecture—one which does not forsake cultural expression for a shallow conception of political order.”

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Spotlight: Herzog & de Meuron

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Led by Jacques Herzog (born 19 April 1950) and Pierre de Meuron (born 8 May 1950), most descriptions of Herzog & de Meuron projects are almost paradoxical: in one paragraph they will be praised for their dedication to tradition and vernacular forms, in the next for their thoroughly modern innovation. However, in the hands of Herzog & de Meuron this is no paradox, as the internationally-renowned architectural duo combine tradition and innovation in such a way that the two elements actually enhance each other.

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ArchDaily Founders to Discuss Globalization and “Going Viral” at AIA Convention 2015

© ArchDaily

A week from today the 2015 AIA National Convention will kickstart in Atlanta, Georgia. With a plethora of options to consider, we encourage those attending to sign up for the hour-long discussion “Going Viral: Blurred Borders and .” Presented by ArchDaily co-founders David Basulto and David Assael, and organized by the AIANY Global Dialogues Committee, “Going Viral” will discuss how you can take your practice (and profits) to a global level. The discussion will occur at 5PM on Friday, May 15th. Sign up for the course here, using the code “FR418.”

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uncube Pays Homage to Frei Otto

© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf

uncube has published an entire issue dedicated to the late Frei Otto. The architect and inventor, known best for his tensile structures, was the first ever to be awarded the Pritzker Prize posthumously. Honoring Otto with more than a “simple retrospective homage,” has compiled an extensive online issue of “thoughts, anecdotes and observations” that reflect Otto’s legacy and the ideas that lead him to be a significant part of architectural history. View the entire issue on , here.

Hot Tub With Charles Renfro In Honor Of Public Architecture

Charles Renfro. Image Courtesy of

Want to “smoke up” with Bjarke Ingels or fly over London in Norman Foster‘s private helicopter? The Van Alen Institute has launched an online auction to help raise money for its public architecture and design programs. Bid now for a chance to win “priceless” experiences with famous architects and designers that could potentially have you hot tubbing with Charles Renfro, birdwatching with Jeanne Gang, or touring Los Angeles by bike with Michael Maltzan. See all the experience being auctioned, here on Paddle8

Open Call: Competition Seeks Ideas for Königsberg Cultural Center

Courtesy of Urban Planning Bureau “Heart of the City”

The Region Government, in collaboration with the City Administration and the Non-Profit Partnership ”Urban Planning Bureau ‘Heart of the City’” has launched an open international design competition for an architectural design of the Governmental historic and cultural complex on the grounds of the former order castle Königsberg in Kaliningrad (“Post-castle,” 4,5 ha). The competition aims to find a contemporary architectural image of Kaliningrad’s historic center, while accommodate for new functions, such as a concert hall, museum of archaeology, and history museum of the King’s castle.

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Spotlight: Christian de Portzamparc

via Atelier

Born on the 5th of May 1944 in what was at the time the French Protectorate of Morocco, French architect Christian de Portzamparc had doubts about continuing with architecture while studying in the 1960s, questioning modernist ideals and the lack of freedom compared to art. Instead, he spent a decade attempting to understand the role of architecture, before returning triumphantly with a new model of iterative urban design that emphasized open neighborhoods based around landmark ‘poles of attraction’ and a varied series of high profile commissions that combine a  sense of purpose and place.

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Has Technology Diminished Our Understanding Of Public Space?

St. Peter’s Square through the lens of a camera. ImagePapal Conclave 2013, Vatican City

In an article for the Washington Post, argues that “technology has scrambled the lines between public and private.” He questions whether, in an age of “radical individualism” spurred on by our fascination with solitary communication, our collective understanding and appreciation for the public, civic space has been diminished. Kennitott foreshadows that “one thing is certain: We will live in more crowded spaces, and we will increasingly live indoors, cocooned in climate-controlled zones with a few billion of our closest friends” as rapid urbanisation merges with the changing climate.

Perhaps we are entering a new age of radicalism individualism, in which the very idea of enjoying together is giving way to something more anarchic and carnivalesque. Silence was once prized as a mark of success in many public spaces, including libraries, museums and concert halls; the vibrancy of many of those spaces, today, is measured by noise, hubbub and laughter.

Read the article in full here.

Car Talk Deems Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car a Complete Failure

via ArchDaily

has written a scathing review on Buckminster Fuller‘s three-wheeled Car, 81 years after its unveiling. The famed architect and inventor, known best for his geodesic dome, hoped to revolutionize the car industry with a three-wheeled, 20 foot-long, “highly aerodynamic” reinvention of the car.

Despite Bucky’s optimism, the “innovative” Dymaxion was a complete failure, says Car Talk author Jamie Lincoln Kitman. “You’ve pushed shopping carts with broken casters that handle better,” said Kitman, following a Dymaxion test drive (an experience Norman Foster considered to be “extraordinary”). Read Car Talk’s full review, here.

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Spotlight: Jane Jacobs

, then chairperson of a civic group in Greenwich Village, at a press conference in 1961. Image via Wikipedia

Throughout her career, social activist and urban writer Jane Jacobs (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) fought against corporate and urged post-war urban planners and developers to remember the importance of community and the human scale. Despite not having any formal training, she radically changed urban planning policy through the power of observation and personal experience. Her theories on how design can affect community and creativity continue to hold relevance today – influencing everything from the design of mega-cities to tiny office spaces.

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Dwell on Design LA Returns to the LA Convention Center, May 29-31

Dwell on Design LA, America’s Largest Design Event, curated by the editors of Dwell magazine, returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center, celebrating its 10th year. Over 30,000 people are expected to attend this three-day wonderland of modern design.

Thousands of the best modern products across five design zones will be on display, including Furniture & Accessories, Kitchen & Bath, Design Materials, Dwell Outdoor and International Design, in addition to hundreds of brands such as Bugaboo, Cosentino, Hansgrohe, Lutron, Marvin Windows & Doors, Miele, Panasonic, TOTO, and Sunbrella.

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Spotlight: Aldo Rossi

Pritzker Prize Winner . Image Courtesy of museionline

Ada Louise Huxtable once described him as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” Italian architect Aldo Rossi (1931-1997) was known for his drawings, urban theory, and for winning the Pritzker Prize (in 1990). Rossi also directed the Venice Biennale in 1985 and 1986 – one of only two who have served as director twice.

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Open Call: PINGDI 1.1 Alternatives for Low Carbon Architecture

© PINGDI Pilot Zone

In order to effectively guide and improve the development and construction of the low-carbon pilot zone and to strength its international influence, Public Art Center, under the request from the Planning and Construction Management Office of International Low-carbon City and SEZ Construction and Development Co., Ltd., has organized an international competition for the PINGDI Pilot Zone – the urban design for the zone’s one square kilometer and the architectural design for its 0.1 square kilometer. The number in PINGDI 1.1 is the numerical sum of one and 0.1 square kilometers, and also represents the improvement and exploration of the low-carbon development method.

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MoMA’s Barry Bergdoll On “The Politics And Poetics Of Developmentalism” In Latin American Architecture

Eladio Dieste. Church in Atlantida, Uruguay, 1958. Image © Leonardo Finotti

On display until July 19th, MoMA‘s exhibition “Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980” is an attempt to bring the architecture of this global region, and this time period, to a greater audience after decades of neglect by the architectural establishment. Curated by , the exhibition effectively follows on from MoMA’s last engagement with the topic of Latin American architecture, way back in 1955 with Henry-Russell Hitchcock‘s exhibition “Latin American Architecture Since 1945.” In an intriguing interview, Bergdoll sits down with Metropolis Magazine to talk about why he is revisiting the topic after so many years (or, indeed, why MoMA took so long to do so), and explains his ambitions to elevate the featured works and to frame itself as “not simply as a place where the pupils of Le Corbusier went to build, but a place of origins of ideas.” Read the full interview here.

Shigeru Ban on Growing Up, Carpentry, and Cardboard Tubes

Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral in . Image © Bridgit Anderson

He may have risen to prominence for his disaster relief architecture and deft use of recyclable materials, but Shigeru Ban describes his idiosyncratic use of material as an “accident.” Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, the 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate recalls turning to cardboard tubes as a matter of necessity. “I had to create a design for an exhibition,” Ban told the newspaper, “But I couldn’t afford wood. Instead, I used the many paper tubes from rolls of drafting paper that were lying around. The tubes turned out to be quite strong.” The most prominent of Ban’s cardboard tube structures is Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral, built in the aftermath of an earthquake that devastated the city in early 2011. Read WSJ’s full interview with Ban here.