Call for Submissions: Planetary Urbanism – Critique of the Present

© ARCH+ Magazine for Architecture and Urbanism

The ARCH+ Magazine for Architecture and Urbanism has launched the international competition ”PLANETARY URBANISM – CRITIQUE OF THE PRESENT in the medium of information design.” The competition is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will take place in the context of the UN-Habitat 2016, where the results will be presented. Project partner of the exhibition is the M:AI, Museum for Architecture and the Art of Engineering, NRW. Consulted by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Learn more, here.

Exhibition of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Opens at the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. Arvo Pärt Centre to be built in Estonia by 2018 (Rendering)

The opens its new season with an exhibition of the latest recipients of the Alvar Aalto Medal, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. Exhibition “The Window and the Mirror” opens at the museum today (Friday, February 13), providing visitors a first-hand experience of the works of the internationally acclaimed architects Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano. In 2014 Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos won the architecture competition of the Arvo Pärt Centre to be built in Estonia by 2018.

(more…)

“Sculpting the Architectural Mind” at Pratt Institute

Courtesy of

On March 6 and 7, New York’s Pratt Institute will host “Sculpting the Architectural Mind,” a conference exploring the connection between “Neuroscience and the Education of an Architect.”

Examining the past and potential role of applied neuroscience within , the conference will touch on topics such as design cognition and the effect of digital media production. “Sculpting the Architectural Mind” is both analytical and speculative, searching for new means of integrating digital tools into the design process and questioning what effects such an approach would have upon the built environment. The themes will be explored over four sessions spaced over the conference’s two days.

(more…)

Villeroy & Boch Announces North American Designer Bathroom Challenge Winner

Saoli Chu, Home Retreat

Villeroy & Boch has chosen the winner of its first-ever North American Designer Bathroom Challenge. Saoli Chu of BuiltIn Studio in was selected by an expert panel of judges for her innovative and luxurious Home Retreat design, which featured Villeroy & Boch’s Memento washbasins, Aveo bathtub and Subway wall-mounted toilet.

(more…)

Harvard GSD Talk and Exhibition “Housing in Extreme Environments: Alpine Shelter” Opens Tomorrow

© Harvard GSD, photography courtesy Justin Knight

The extreme climatic conditions of the North introduce a design paradox for architects. The fragile environmental conditions require incisive designs that respond to irregular loading from strong winds, heavy snowfalls, avalanche risk zones, and extreme cold. The studio investigated a prototypical design: a unit with sleeping and cooking space for up to eight people, on a mountain site in Slovenia. The talk (on Friday, February 13th) serves as an opening for the exhibition on this project, curated by Spela Videcnik, John T. Dunlop Design Critic in Housing and Urban Development, with Rok Oman, featuring the work of her Fall 2014 studio, displayed on the Experiments Wall (in Gund Hall). Construction of the shelter is planned for summer 2015. 

(more…)

SO-IL’s Vision for a Shrink-Wrapped Manhattan

Courtesy of

Steven Holl and Vito Acconci’s Storefront for Art and Architecture has hosted its share of installations, but its newest intervention envisioned by SO-IL as part of the Blueprint exhibition is a whole new concept: covering the entire facade with shrink-wrap. The seamless outcome is deceptively simple, however, as the installation involved some careful calculations, a massive frame, and a dedicated team with an acute attention to detail. Read more about the project, see the finished product, and watch the process, here.

Carmody Groarke To Design UK Pavilion For Mexico’s 2015 Guadalajara Book Fair

Conceptual Design. Image Courtesy of

The British Council recently announced that London-based practice Carmody Groarke have been selected to design the UK pavilion at the 2015  (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The organisers of the international event, which is the largest literary festival in the Spanish speaking world, have chosen the UK to be this year’s “Guest of Honour” as part of a bilateral initiative launched to “build, strengthen and celebrate the growing connections” between the two countries.

(more…)

NOVA’s “Building Wonders” Series to Investigate Ancient Architectural Mysteries

The ruins of the Colosseum still makes a powerful impression. Image © Providence Pictures

A new investigative series from NOVA delves into some of the most well-known and enigmatic ancient structures. The three-part investigation, “Building Wonders” explores the Roman Colosseum, Petra, and the and premieres February 11-25, 2015 throughout the United States on PBS. With expert investigations and experiments, “Building Wonders” will unearth some of the mysterious engineering feats behind these ancient icons. Read on after the break for episode descriptions and trailers.

(more…)

Jon Jerde, California Architect Known for Reinventing the Shopping Center, Dies at 75

Universal CityWalk. Image © Casey Sayre

, FAIA, founder of The Jerde Partnership, has died at 75. The California-based American architect has left his mark in more than 100 urban places worldwide, many of which embody Jerde’s signature ideas of the multi-level mall. Placing high priority on outdoor walking and gathering areas, Jerde’s reimagining of the shopping mall experience in the 1970s put him on the map. “He blew open the shopping mall and transformed it into a lively urban environment which attracts people, lots of people,” Richard Weinstein, the former dean of UCLA’s school architecture and urban planning, once said.

Jerde’s best known projects include Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, Horton Plaza in San Diego and Canal City Hakata, located in Fukuoka, Japan, as well as his work behind the 1984 Olympic Games. Read Jerde’s complete obituary, here.

(more…)

The Extreme Architecture of the Arctic Regions

© Gunner Holmstad

In the cities of the Arctic Circle, dramatic change is afoot. The region faces challenges most obviously from environmental change, but economic and cultural challenges also lie ahead, thanks to factors such as the decline of the mining and fishing industries that supported many of the Arctic’s settlements, and the rapid modernization among Northern indigenous communities. In an interesting article for Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina takes a long look at the architects and urbanists who are making a difference in a context where “Architecture can’t really survive” – from the SALT Festival which celebrates the culture of the Arctic communities, to the plan to move the entire city of Kiruna two miles to the East, the article is a fascinating look at the extreme architecture of this hostile region. Read the article in full here.

For the Highest Density of Design Excellence, Visit Dallas

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. Image © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Since the construction of the first high-rise, it seems architectural merit has been weighed most heavily by a building’s height. However, Kriston Capps of CityLab notes in his article “For the Best U.S. Architecture Per Square Mile, Head to ” that the concentration of buildings by award-winning and internationally-renowned architects can also put cities on the architectural map. Although Chicago and New York may have taller skylines, he argues, in terms of stellar design density, Dallas can’t be beat. Read the full article, here.

Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century

Courtesy of Florida International University

Climate change, particularly rising sea levels, is expected to have a substantial impact in Miami, Florida over the next 100 years. Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century, an exhibition at the Coral Gables Museum, addresses this pressing issue, examining effective design solutions through the lens of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. The exhibition of graduate student work from Florida International University uses the city’s existing infrastructure and architecture as the groundwork for future adaptation and development. A panel discussion highlighting the topic will take place on Thursday, February 12, with architects from BIG, and West 8. Learn more, after the break.

(more…)

OMA Opens New Office in Dubai

© Flickr CC User Éole Wind

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has opened a Dubai office to design and oversee projects in the Middle East-Africa region. Together with headquarters in Rotterdam and offices in New York, Hong Kong, Beijing and Doha, Dubai aims to “strengthen the practice’s presence in the Middle East, and also provide a connection point for future work in Africa and India.” The office is located in Al Warsan Tower in TECOM.

(more…)

Call for Submissions – CLOG: Landmark Issue

Waldorf Astoria, demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building.. Image © J.S. Johnston, 1899

CLOG is seeking submissions for its 13th issue, CLOG: Landmark. The latest edition from the New York-based publication explores the “powerful and complicated” nature of landmark status, examining the factors which dictate whether a building is to be destroyed or preserved. : Landmark plants itself in the nexus between architecture and social issues, dissecting ideas of “cultural value” and the framework by which this is determined. Critique and commentary of all forms will be considered, including images, graphics, diagrams, and text of not more than 500 words. Submissions must be received by March 1. Further guidelines for submission can be found here.

Rowan Moore On MUMA’s Extension To Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery

The sun drenched interior promenade. Image Courtesy of The Whitworth

In an article for The ObserverRowan Moore visits Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery (1908), a compact museum which has now undergone a comprehensive restoration and extension by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight). The practice, who won the job against 130 other bids for the project, worked with a budget of £15million in order to realise an ambitious brief. Their interventions and innovations, many of which are modest and unseen, have not only reconnected the building with its surrounding parkland but also elevated the interior rooms into world-class exhibition spaces. For Moore, their work is striking but muted: “the virtues of the new Whitworth – sustainable, accessible, sensitive, thoughtful – could all be synonyms for ‘dull’ or at least ‘worthy’. But, thanks to its pleasures of light and material, it is not. It is a job very well done.”

(more…)

Spotlight: Alvar Aalto

Jyvaskyla University. Image © Nico Saieh

As one of the key figures of midcentury modernism and perhaps Finland‘s most celebrated architect, Alvar Aalto (3 February 1898 – 11 May 1976) was known for his humanistic approach to modernism. Aalto was concerned about creating a total work of art. He did not simply design buildings but also paid close attention to their interior features, including furniture, lamps, and glassware design.

(more…)

Competition Seeks Proposals for “Cool School” Capable of Withstanding Extreme Mongolian Climate

Courtesy of

Building Trust has launched their sixth international design competition: Cool School. Seeking an innovative school design proposal that can withstand the extreme Mongolian climate, the competition is challenging architects, designers and engineers to envision a solution which has the chance to shape the future of school buildings across cold regions globally. Contestants should consider environmental conditions, materials, space, comfort, accessibility, adaptability and aesthetics. Building Trust will work alongside competition partners, World Vision, local government and the school community in Khovd, Mongolia to build the winning school design. More information about the competition, here.

NLÉ Wins Competition to Design Financial Headquarters in Lagos

Atrium Ground Floor. Image ©

International design firm NLÉ has recently shared its competition-winning design for the financial headquarters of the microfinance bank Credit Direct Limited. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, in the Ikeja district, the bank’s design abandons the forbidding presence of most financial institutions for one that is open and welcoming. This decision not only invites clientele inside, but creates opportunities for adaptation to the tropical weather of .

(more…)