Herzog & de Meuron to Design AstraZeneca Headquarters in Cambridge

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has commissioned Herzog & de Meuron to their new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters. Planned for the Biomedical Campus on the southern outskirts of the city, the new £330m project will be home to one of the company’s three global strategic research and development centres as well as its corporate headquarters.

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Toward a Fit Nation: 18 Projects that Promote Healthy Lifestyles

© Benjamin Benschneider

From Atlanta’s Beltline to Los Angeles’ Spring Street “Parklets,” architecture and design is increasingly more relevant in the fight against obesity and chronic disease, conditions which have reached epidemic levels in the United States. In the article, “Toward a Fit Nation,” the and FitNation identify 18 projects from around the country, ranging from large complexes to temporal installations, that encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles. The AIA National Headquarters will be curating the exhibit till January 31, 3014. Read the article here.

Wainwright Weighs In on Rem’s De Rotterdam

Courtesy of

In the architectural stomping ground that is Rotterdam, it’s no small task to design a building that actually stands out. But, according to The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, the recently completed De Rotterdam building manages to. Although the Koolhaas-designed structure, which houses offices, apartments and even a boutique hotel, may at first seem simple (simplistic, even), Wainwright praises how the shifting masses cleverly play tricks on your perception. The building is undoubtedly impressive, but is the unconventional envelope enough to distract from a bland-at-best interior? Read the rest of Wainwright’s critique here. evaluate

LCD Exhibits “As Autumn Leaves” at Beijing’s 2013 Design Week

Courtesy of Laboratory of Computational Design

“As Autumn Leaves” (AAL) is a spatial designed and built by students of the (LCD) for Beijing‘s 2013 Design Week. Located in a historic hutong district in Beijing, AAL highlights the existing entrance to Dashilar Factory where emerging creatives exhibit their design.   The concept is based on ephermerality of nature. As temperatures change, autumn turns to winter, and trees shed their leaves, AAL recalls the passage of time through changing seasons. 

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How to Get a Building Through its Mid-Life Crisis

Courtesy of Flickr user eschipul

According to LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, buildings experience a pretty distinct mid-life crisis. After seeing the demise of mid-century gems such as the Houston AstroDome and the Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, it’s difficult to disagree. But unfortunately architectural value isn’t convincing enough an argument – if preservationists want to get serious about their cause, he suggests, they will have to pick their battles far more strategically.

Michael Ong Wins 2013 SOYA Award

Hans House. Image Courtesy of M.O.D.O & Ricky Fung

Qantas has selected Michael Ong as the winner of the 2013 Spirit of Youth Awards 365 (SOYA 365) for architecture and interior , awarding him $5,000 in cash, $5,000 in Qantas flights, and a rare 12-month mentorship with leading architect and founding partner of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, Brian Zulaikha. Ong, a Melbourne-based architect, founded MODO () in 2011, and was chosen for the prize due to his work on the project Hans House. Check out more about the story here.

San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters Proposal / The Open Workshop

Courtesy of

A fire station typically is organized into two distinct zones – one that reaches outwards to the city and acts as a monumental symbol of protection, and one that contains the hidden inner workings of the station. In a large headquarters, with a diverse set of programs each with their own unique spatial requirements, such a strategy of containment is untenable. 

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Ann Beha Architects Selected to Rehabilitate U.S. Embassy in Greece

Embassy of the United States in Athens, Greece. Image Courtesy of OBO

Besting a shortlist of fourAnn Beha Architects has been selected by the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) to rehabilitate the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ chancery facility and campus. The mid-century facility, a protected architectural landmark, was originally designed by the famed Bauhaus architect with the consulting architect Pericles A. Sakellarios.

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Call for Entries: 2014 European Prize for Urban Public Space

The call for entries for the eighth edition of the European Prize for Urban Public Space is now open. This honorific competition has been held on a biennial basis since 2000 with the aim of recognising, encouraging and publicising examples of good practice in the ways in which European cities are dealing with the many challenges they must confront. Undergoing processes of exponential growth and far-reaching transformation, these cities are facing the fact that the age-old democratic ideal of striving for cohabitation on an equal basis within a plural society is in jeopardy.

Segregation and inequalities, unsustainable construction and consumption or serious deficiencies in guaranteeing the right to housing and the right to the city are problems that are tangibly manifest in urban public spaces, and it is precisely on this front where they can be combated with better results. True to this cause, the Prize is open to all kinds of interventions aimed at creating, recovering or improving the democratic quality of the urban spaces we share and it jointly awards their authors and promoters. Entries for the 2014 Prize, which must have been carried out in European cities between 2012 and 2014, may be registered free of charge until next 23 January on the Prize website. The rules specifying the required documents and the conditions of participation may be downloaded from the official website.

Hydraspan Bridge Colony / Future Cities Lab

© Future Cities Lab

To represent a “speculative proposal for the radical reuse and re-colonization of the bridge infrastructure,” California-based Future Cities Lab has developed the “Hydraspan Bridge Colony : a 40-foot long, quarter-scale model that foresees a dense and agriculturally rich community suspended below the  – Oakland Bay Bridge.

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ArchitectureBoston’s Latest Issue Tackles Coastal Vulnerability

Courtesy of ArchitectureBoston, Society of Architects

The new issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, Coast, focuses on the thin border of continental crust that is home to 45 percent of the world’s population. The issue examines how architects and urban planners can mitigate or accommodate sea-level rise and storm surges associated with climate change. Coast promotes debate and offers answers and opportunities surrounding a problem that will inevitably affect most of the world’s urban residents in years to come.

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Australia Plans for Greener Cities by 2020

The Goods Line proposal. Image Courtesy of ASPECT Studios

As cities continue to attract more people, naturally vegetated areas slowly wither, leaving little to no green spaces for city dwellers to escape to, no trees to purify the air and enhance the environment. plans to change this. The 202020 Vision is a concerted effort from the government, academic and private sectors to create twenty percent green areas in ’s urban centers by 2020. “Urban heat islands, poor air quality, lack of enjoyable urban community areas are all poor outcomes when green spaces aren’t incorporated into new developments and large scale building projects.” Read about the 202020 initiative here, “More green spaces in urban areas, says new national initiative.”

Robert A.M. Stern: Old-Fashioned yet Unfazed

Robert A.M Stern. Image

In the mutable world of architecture it’s easy to get distracted by the trendy new thing, be it the tallest tower or the “blobbiest” form. Robert A. M. Stern (Dean of the and a practicing architect in his own right), on the other hand, remains purposefully old-fashioned (to the point of becoming obsolete). In an exquisitely written article for the New York MagazineJustin Davidson reports that, despite the mockery of his colleagues, Stern seems unfazed. If his architecture has the power to inspire, he says, then he’s done his job. Read the full must-see article here. 

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Kickstarter: DIY Concrete House Ring

Courtesy of Linda Bennett, via archi-ninja

Dream of one day making your own home? Well, here’s a fun alternative in the meantime. The “ Concrete House Ring” is a high quality silver and concrete ring that lets users experience the process of ‘making’. The ring itself is made from a compact kit, and comes in two familiar architectural silhouettes – gable roof or saltbox roof – and in either light or dark concrete. The project was developed by Linda Bennett, author of “10 Things They Don’t Teach You in Architecture School” and “Searching for a Job in Architecture? 10 Things You Need to Know…” via her blog, archi-ninjaCheck out the project’s debut on kickstarter (which offers fantastic perks for backers) for more information. 

PLAT 4.0 Call for Submissions

PLAT Journal invites content for its forthcoming issueMassAt once a spatial and social practice, architecture produces mass: an accumulation that, given momentum, projects a social attitude. Mass is assertive—whether through a tactful manipulation of scale, an astute engagement of its context, or a specific formal legibility, it speaks plainly but with conviction.

Taking as its site the point of exchange between a form and its constituency, this issue of PLAT Journal will investigate how notions of mass come to the fore of contemporary architectural practice.

Mass is pop with agency. Fast and loose, high and low, how does a form take on mass culture through its presence in an urban fabric? What is its agenda?

Mass has the capacity to define a collective. How do architectural projects articulate a plurality in a way that’s relevant to today?

Mass gains coherence through the magnetism of its parts: local attractions have global repercussions. What’s next? How does its impact extend beyond its envelope?

PLAT 4.0 welcomes projects, abstracts, essays, visual media, narratives, manifestos, and conversations that engage the notion of mass in the discourse and production of architecture today. Please submit an abstract and (if applicable) images by January 1, 2014 to curator@PLATJournal.com. Click here for more information.

Submissions should be in American English and formatted in accordance with the Manual of Style, with all sources clearly documented. Images should be a JPEG, 2 MB or smaller. Authors should have high-resolution, publication-quality images available if selected. All authors must have rights or permissions for all images submitted before final publication. Any questions should be sent to editor@platjournal.com.

PLAT is an independent architectural journal published by students at the Rice School of Architecture. Its purpose is to shift architectural discourse by stimulating new relationships between design, production, and theory. It operates by interweaving student, faculty, and professional work into an open and evolving dialogue that progresses from issue to issue. Curating worldwide submissions in two annual issues, PLAT serves as a projective catalyst for architectural discourse.

New Exhibition Calls for a Bold Vision in the “Great Basin”

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (), in partnership with the International Secretariat for Water (ISW) and the Chicago Architecture Foundation (), presents Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin. The new exhibition calls for a 100-year vision to guide planning and development in the binational watershed of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Gulf of St. Lawrence – the Great Basin. Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin is on display in CAF’s Atrium Gallery at 224 South Michigan Avenue until February 2014.

Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin engages the public with the vastness and vulnerability of the earth’s largest surface freshwater resource, which spans from Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean. The exhibition depicts the Great Basin as one region defined by the watershed rather than political boundaries and illustrates a vision for the region as an international park that encompasses culturally-rich urban and rural areas. The exhibition also highlights initiatives around the region that Basin cities can learn from to enhance quality of life.

More information after the break.

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Laboratory Design: It’s Time for a Breakthrough

Cern, The Globe of and Innovation. Image Courtesy of smartglassinternational.com

As science continues to propel forward, it seems that the architecture to support scientists and their advancements is falling behind. The problem of laboratory was recently brought up in an article by The Financial Times‘ Edwin Heathcote, who cited labs around the world, from Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower to Cern’s giant timber globe, as great examples of an architecture of collaboration and experimentation. If some of our greatest discoveries today are often happening in mundane environments, what would happen if the architecture of labs and offices began to support and inspire innovation? Read the full story here.

Arup Associates Celebrates 50 Years of Innovation

University Sports Centre. Image Courtesy of Arup Associates

Arup Associates was founded in 1963 by the legendary engineer Ove Arup as a practice in which engineers and architects worked on an equal footing; it later became a subsidiary of Arup (also founded by Arup as Arup and Partners in 1946). These early origins marked Arup Associates as a forward-thinking and revolutionary practice in an era where truly multi-disciplinary practices were almost unheard of.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Arup Associates is hosting a retrospective exhibition at their offices in London.

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