20 Teams to Compete in 2015 U.S. Solar Decathlon

2013: Team Austria Wins Top Honors. Image © Jason Flakes/U.S. DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 20 collegiate teams to participate in the 2015 Solar Decathlon at Irvine, ’s Orange County Great Park. The eight returning teams will compete against 12 new teams, with partners from four international schools, to build “solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation, and design excellence” within the allotted two-year period. View the full list of competitors, after the break.

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Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designs Public Plaza, Restaurant for LA’s Broad Museum

© , via Designboom

Alongside news that The Broad’s completion date has been pushed back to 2015, rather than this fall, Diller Scofidio + Renfro has unveiled a new collaboration with landscape architect Walter Hood that will transform the mid-block parcel adjacent to the Grand Avenue museum into a pedestrian-friendly landscaped plaza and restaurant. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the new square will establish an important link to the neighboring school and apartment, as well as the future 2020 Regional Connector subway stop. The 24,000 square foot parcel will be enhanced by100-year-old olive trees transplanted from Northern California. Watch a video about the design after the break, and find more information here

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A Proposal to Turn Paris’ Unused Metro Stations Into Parks, Pools, and More

’ Arsenal Station as an underground park. Image Courtesy of Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

We architects know full well the power of renderings to capture the imagination. Apparently – so too do politicians. Capitalizing on the popularity of adaptive reuse projects around the world (a trend instigated by the success of ’s High Line), French politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has made converting Paris’ unused “ghost stations” a major part of her platform, promising that these projects will come to pass should she be elected mayor.

The renderings, by Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associés, show the Arsenal station (unused since 1939) alternately as a swimming pool, a green park, restaurant, disco, or theater. As there are in fact 16 disused metro stations in Paris, the idea behind these renderings is to instigate debate among practitioners as to how these spaces could best serve the city. See all the renderings, after the break.

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Congress Aids the Impending Doom of Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

©

Congress budget cuts have officially stalled ’s controversial Eisenhower Memorial, according to a recent report, rejecting $49 million in construction funds and cutting the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s annual budget in half. Unless the commission is able to raise a substantial amount of private funds, as well as win support from the Eisenhower family (which is doubtful), Gehry’s “grandiose” memorial is unlikely to ever break ground. Despite this, the commission’s director is optimistic, stating that the FDR Memorial took nearly 45 years to get built. You can read more about the controversy here.

Snow Reveals Opportunities for Public Space

Image via This Old City.

Traffic imprints found in Philadelphia’s record snowfall has revealed some clever opportunities for public space. As reported by This Old City, formations have carved examples of unused streetscape that could be easily reclaimed as pedestrian space. This would not only improve traffic safety, but would also enhance the city’s and desirability. Learn more and see examples here.

Four Reasons Biking is Good For Business

Biking down ’s Market Street. Image © Flickr CC User Steven Vance

Aside from the environmental and health benefits provided by biking, cycle cities are proving to be profitable, which has begun to attract support from many US business leaders. Not only do bike-friendly streets increase the visibility and desirability of real estate, they also reduce the need to waste money (and space) on ample parking. In addition to this, as the Guardian’s Michael Andersen points out, bicyclists are the “perfect customer: the kind that comes back again and again.” Learn why else biking is good for business here.

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”

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 David Adjaye’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, ’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 George Lucas’ self-titled cultural arts museum,  and the Chora Group’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 spaces nearby). The story raises an important question: how can we design our cities 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, Cambridge, MA 02138,

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) World Design Impact Prize 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.