Reconstructing Space, Reconstructing Community in Japan

The Pavilion at the Venice Biennale showed some of the disaster reconstruction work. . Image © Nico Saieh

Still rebuilding after the catastrophic tsunami of 2011, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, and other notable Japanese architects, have teamed up on the “Home for All” project to provide community-focused housing to disaster-stricken communities. While the architect-driven initiative seems to be a success, Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times asks in this exquisitely well-written article: are a set of “starchitects” the right team for the job? (Spoiler: Yes)

ALGODeQ: ALGOrithmic Design Quest Competition

This competition is a call for methods and forms that inspire hope and dreams through new technology, creative logic, and aesthetic intuition. Its purpose is to encourage the development of new design methods for better architecture and better (and, broadly, better design in general), and to recognize groups and individuals who have taken up this challenge.

By introducing outstanding achievements to a wider public, it hopes to encourage the further development of new methods in this field. To that end, this international competition will recognize computer programs that make outstanding contributions to algorithmic design, and outstanding works of architecture created by means of such programs.

For complete information on categories, prizes and procedure, please click here.

Modernism in America Awards

US invites submissions for the first annual Modernism in America Awards. The awards celebrate the documentation, preservation and re-use of modern buildings, structures and landscapes built in the or on U.S. territory. The Awards recognize those building owners, design teams, advocacy and preservation organizations that have made significant efforts to retain, restore and advocate for the aesthetic and cultural value of such places.

DOCOMOMO US works to exchange knowledge, stimulate interest, and advocate for the appropriate protection and preservation of significant modern buildings, sites, neighborhoods and landscapes in the United States. DOCOMOMO US is committed to the principle that modern design merits the same attention to preservation currently received by earlier periods of architecture.

The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2014. You can submit your nomination clicking here.

Competition Entry: Monument to Foot Soldiers / Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects

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In honor of Alabama’s 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Campaign, a national design competition was launched to envision a “Monument to Foot Soldiers.” New York City-based Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects was one of many entrants who responded, hoping to design a monument that would honor the sacrifices made by the unnamed activists who fought for civil rights and celebrate the power of the human spirit.

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Rockefeller Foundation Selects 33 Cities for Resiliency Challenge

White Arkitekter’s winning proposal for New York’s “Resilient Rockaway” competition.

The has named the first group of selected in the “100 Resilient Centennial Challenge.” Each city has been chosen for demonstrating “a commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.” More than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from around the world were submitted. After careful review of each city’s challenges, these 33 where chosen: 

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The Bank of Canada to Receive Controversial Renovation

Via Flickr CC User. Image © Brent Eades

In this interesting report in the Ottawa Citizen, Maria Cook exposes the plan to renovate the Arthur Erickson-designed Bank of Building in Ottawa. The existing building, which features a public atrium complete with a tropical garden, is being extensively remodeled to improve security and building performance, although arguably at great cost to the design. Cook exposes how the bank turned down a prestigious design award in 2011 as it was already at that point privately considering the changes, and explains how its privileged position – related to the government but not controlled by it – effectively means that the bank has nobody it has to answer to who might stop these plans. You can read the full article here.

Call for Expression of Interest: Connecting Divided Places

The Institute without Boundaries (IwB) is seeking curriculum partners for Connecting Divided Places, a project that investigates social, economic, environmental, and cultural divisions in . They are calling out to municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and companies interested in working with them to address the wicked problems dividing their and regions. They are looking for organizations interested in collaborating on design solutions that make for more balanced, healthier, and resilient city-regions of the future. They want to know what challenges your city is facing.

They invite you to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to take part in their 2014-2015 Connecting Divided Places project. Additional information and the online application form are available here.

DawnTown Announces 2nd Design/Build Competition

DawnTown, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting architecture in , is announcing an open call for portfolios to their new competition: DESIGN/BUILD 2.

The search begins for a new designers to submit their creative work and be a part of the call for portfolios in the first round of this latest competition. Once again, DawnTown will reward one team or individual the opportunity to create and install an innovative architecture piece in downtown Miami. This competition seeks the talents of a designer or design team to create a low cost, innovative, and temporary installation in Miami.

The competition is open to architects, artists, and all creative professionals. Designers can work individually or collaboratively in teams, and multinational teams are welcome to compete as well.

Interested designers/design teams must submit a maximum six(6) page PDF. The PDF should include all competing participants with a short biography of each, a one(1) page essay on their design philosophy, and samples of their existing work(either built/unbuilt). Work samples should demonstrate an entrant’s ability to be artistic and innovative. Entries will be collected from December 3 2013 to January 17 2014, with finalists being announced on January 30th. For complete rules and requirements to register, visit www.dawntown.org.

HOK Selected to Refurbish Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster via Wikipedia

Correction: The -team has been appointed to appraise the options for refurbishment and has not yet been commissioned for the work itself. 

HOK, in collaboration with Aecom and Deloitte, has been selected from a shortlist of five to lead the £720m refurbishment of ’s Palace of Westminster. As reported by BDOnline, the grade I listed building will now undergo a feasibility study before work begins. The plan is to modernize the mid-1800s palace, which was originally designed by Sir Charles Barry with the help of Augustus Pugin. This will include upgrading all HVAC systems and improving fire safety, as well restoring the cast iron roofs and deteriorating stone exterior.

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 , 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 New York 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 , 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 , which is sponsored by UK 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.