Michael Bloomberg Named U.N. Envoy for Cities and Climate Change

NYC. Image © CC Flickr User Arturo Yee

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been appointed to be the U.N. special envoy for and . Upon receiving the news, Bloomberg tweeted: “Cities are taking measurable action to reduce emissions, emerging as leaders in the battle against … I look forward to working with cities around the world and the UN to accelerate progress [to combat global warming].” You can read more here on USNews.

Developer Seeks to Revive Calatrava’s “Chicago Spire”

. Image ©

Cloaked in financial woes, what was intended to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere has remained a stagnate hole in the Chicago cityscape since the height of the crisis. However, the fate of the Santiago Calatrava-designed luxury condominium may be about to change, as developer Garrett Kelleher is actively seeking court approval to reinstate the project with a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC. More on Chicago’s 2,000-foot “twisting” spire latest update here on the Chicago Tribune.   

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David Adjaye’s Wakefield Market Hall Faces Demolition

Wakefield Market Hall /

Yorkshire councilors have indicated the demise of ’s first public project, the Wakefield Market Hall. Faced with harsh budget cuts, the local council is considering an offer by Sovereign Land, owner of the neighboring shopping complex, after the heavily subsidized 6-year-old market has consistently failed to attract enough business. If next week’s council vote sways in the developers favor, the £3 million structure will be bulldozed and replaced by a cinema. 

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Presido Trust Rejects Shortlisted Proposals, Calls Off Competition

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum © Art Zendarski

This week, just two weeks after the three shortlisted teams submitted their revised proposals for Crissy Field, San Francisco’s Presidio Trust unanimously decided to end the competition. Though the competition raised high hopes over its 14-month duration that the Trust would transform the prominent 8-acre site into a “cultural institution of distinction,” its fate has been left to the “wind,” as the SFGate’s John King reports. This means, neither ’ self-titled cultural arts museum, WRNS Studio and the ’s sustainability institute, or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s  “park-based” cultural center will be realized. You can view each of the rejected proposals here and more details on the cancelation here.

European Prize of Architecture Philippe Rotthier

Established in 1982 by the architect Philippe Rotthier, this triennial prize rewards works of collective and cultural value with regional roots and using natural and sustainable materials that draw on the genius of the European town and a dialogue with the past and with history.

After Urban renewal and the new neighbourhoods in 2008 and The renovation of existing sites and buildings in 2011, the theme chosen for the TENTH SESSION is the relationship of architecture to natural and urban landscapes.

From the sublime to the mimetic, all works that fall within the major art of landscape, whether in terms of integration or reappropriation, may be submitted to the international jury for consideration: seaside, climatic or agro-foodstuffs constructions, engineering works, wine cellars, covered markets, water towers, windmills, cultural buildings, ruins and factories, etc.

For more information regarding submission, jury and prizes, please click here.

A McDonald’s Controversy Raises Debate on Designing for the Elderly

© Flickr CC User symmetry_mind

In an article for the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman gets to the bottom of an unusual local dispute: a McDonald’s in Queens, New York is kicking out groups of elderly Koreans who are out-staying their 20-minute welcome (and who have no access to community spaces nearby). The story raises an important question: how can we design our with elder populations in mind (a generation on track to out-number all others in the next few years)? You can read this poignant tale in full here.

Designing Security into Schools: A Special Report

A rendering of the New Utøya Project a redesign of Utøya Island in Norway – the location of a 2011 massacre. Image Courtesy of Fantastic Norway

When it comes to designing schools, security is always a big issue. This fact was thrown into sharp focus in December of 2012 after the Sandy Hook Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Last year, we featured an article discussing how design can deal with tragedy – both in order to prevent it and how to deal with the aftermath. Now, a report by Building Design and Construction investigates the measures that could prevent dangerous incidents. While they admit “it’s impossible to stop an armed madman who is hell-bent on killing”, the report has a number of simple and sensible recommendations which aid in preventing and responding to a threat. You can read the report here.

Neri Oxman Wins 2014 Vilcek Prize in Design

Rapid Craft, designed by .

As an immigrant “who has made lasting contributions to American society through extraordinary achievements in biomedical research and the arts and humanities,” Israeli-born designer and architect Neri Oxman has been selected as the 2014 Vilcek Prize in Design’s recipient.

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Tourist Centre on Klekovaca Mountain International Competition

Competition Site

The purpose of the Competition is to obtain the preliminary urban and architectural design for the future urban zone of the Klekovaca Tourist Centre on . is located in the western part of and belongs to the central part of the Dinaric Arc – Southeast Europe region. Its highest peak is Velika Klekovaca (1.962m) and it stretches in a north-westerly to southeasterly direction, covering a distance of 43 km.

The competition site is a part of the larger complex of the Klekovaca Tourist Centre. It is located at the foot of the Klekovaca Mountain, on the Kozila Plateau, at 805 to 895 metres above sea level, covering an area of 383ha with a planned accommodation capacity of about 15,000 beds. The wider complex of the Klekovaca Tourist Centre includes an additional area of 2,250ha where winter and summer tourist facilities are planned (mountain ethno-village, Alpine and Nordic ski slopes, snowboard parks, adrenalin parks etc.), which are not within the scope of this Competition.

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

DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism

In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between and their extensive hinterlands, has been subject of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines.

The goals of this one-day conference are, through the lens of urban metabolism, to: generally reassess the planetary rescaling of contemporary urbanization processes; unpack the transformation of spatial forms and structures and subsequently, the emergence of new operative territories for design; explore the agency of design in confronting these challenges.

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information and complete schedule please click here.

Title: DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism
Website: http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/events/ddes-conference-projective-views-on-urban-metabolism.html
Organizers: Harvard University GSD
From: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:00
Until: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 12:30
Venue: Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall, Harvard University
Address: 48 Quincy Street, Harvard University, , MA 02138, USA

International Urban Design Ideas Competition – Trenčín – City on the River

is currently facing changes connected with the relocation of the railway track directly within the city centre as part of the modernisation of the European railway corridor, with planned completion in 2016.

Therefore, the City of Trenčín seeks fresh and innovative urbanistic solutions that will overcome transportation barriers and connect the historic city centre with the riverfront, giving the city a new growth impulse and enhancing its expression. The winning proposals will form the base for a new Central City Zone Masterplan, which the municipality intends to develop following the results of the competition.

Interested participants can register free of charge on the competition website www.2014.trencin.sk until 4 March 2014. The submission deadline for competition entries is 24 April 2014.

Refugee Housing Unit Selected as Finalist for World Design Impact Prize

RHU via World Design Impact

An IKEA prototype for a modular “Refugee Housing Unit” has been selected as one of three finalists for the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design’s (Icsid) 2014. The pilot project was lauded for providing a “temporary shelter in which facilitates ‘a feeling of normality’ for families living in refugee camps.” The project will be measured against a “BioLite HomeStove” and “ABC Syringe” before an overall prize winner is announced. You can learn more about the unit here and preview the competing innovations here.

In “Her,” A Hopeful Vision for LA’s Future

LA’s Future Subway System, as depicted in Spike Jonze’s “Her”. Image © Geoff McFetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC, via The Atlantic

In his review of Spike Jonze’s movie “Her”, LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne explains a rather comforting aspect of the movie: instead of the dystopia that usually characterizes films set in the future, “Her” is set in a future version of LA which is more dense, has better public transport (with a subway map with a story all of its own) and has managed to overcome its dependence on the car. No wonder this film has touched a chord with architects and urban designers. Read the full review here.

Call for Proposals: MANIFEST, Issue No. 2, “Kingdoms of God”

MANIFEST, an annual independent print journal on American architecture and urbanism, is requesting text, project, and photographic proposals for its second issue entitled, “Kingdoms of God.” Edited by Anthony Acciavatti, Justin Fowler, and Dan Handel, and supported in part by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, was founded to initiate a critical conversation about the state of American architecture, its , and its hinterland.

Issue 2 of MANIFEST takes up the issue of architecture and religion in the Americas. How does one mark the other? What are the spatial results of the impulse toward congregation and the individual desire to find a direct link to something beyond one’s self? How do religious institutions impact the politics of the built environment? How does architecture give face or meaning to religion? How does religion, however we might understand it, shape the formation of American landscapes and push back against regimes of national sovereignty, neoliberal economics, and cultural secularism? What is its architecture?

Submission requirements after the break.

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Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory

Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory is an exhibition spanning the 50-year career of internationally acclaimed architect , the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art building and one of the century’s most fundamental contributors to postmodern architecture. 

Featured are sketches, architectural models and photographs exemplifying Botta’s use of geometric shapes that juxtapose lightness and weight. The exhibition runs January 31, 2014 through July 25, 2014.

Title: Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory
Website: http://www.bechtler.org/Collection/Mario-botta
Organizers: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
From: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 
Until: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 
Venue: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Address: 420 South Tryon Street, , NC 28202, USA

Harboe Architects Selected to Create Preservation Master Plan for Taliesin West

AD Classics: Taliesin West / . Image © Flickr User: lumierefl

-based Harboe Architects has been chosen by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to construct a preservation master plan for Taliesin West, which will guide future restoration and conservation efforts for the prized National Historic Landmark. Built in Scottsdale, Arizona, by the hands of the architect himself, alongside his apprentices between 1937 and 1959, the desert landmark served as the winter home, studio and school of Frank Lloyd Wright. Read and relive the story of Taliesin West here on ArchDaily.

The Japanese Tsunami – 3 Years Later

Onagawa after the Tsunami. Image © Flickr CC User inunami

Almost 3 years after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the North-East coastline of Japan, this article on Arcspace examines the current – unsettling – state of rebuilding in the Tōhoku region. According to former residents and architects working for Architecture for Humanity, plans neither address what the people want nor sufficiently provide protection in the event of a similar disaster. Furthermore, with now preparing for the 2020 Olympics, it seems the Tōhoku region is being neglected. Read more on the story here.

Architecture & Design Film Festival Debuts in Los Angeles

In celebration of its 5th anniversary, the Architecture & Design Film Festival will make its debut, presenting 30 feature-length and short films from eight countries that explore the human elements of art, fashion, architecture, and design in our everyday lives. In addition, the festival will offer panel discussions, Q&As with filmmakers, a pop-up bookshop by Hennessey + Ingalls and more that are all open to the public! 

For complete information on the films showcased, tickets, and speakers, please click here.

Title: Architecture & Design Film Festival Debuts in Los Angeles
Website: http://www.adfilmfest.com/portal/la2014
From: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 
Until: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 
Venue: The Los Angeles Theatre Center
Address: 514 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013,