Rem’s Kit of Parts: Exhaustive and Exhausting, Mad and Maddening

Courtesy of OMA

In “Elements,” an exhibition and accompanying book for the 2014 Venice Architecture BiennaleRem Koolhaas seeks to explore the omnipresent components of buildings that have never been intentionally articulated by architectural theory. Breaking down the history of architecture into its fundamental components, the text is divided into 15 volumes and functions as “a technophilic treatise on the state of architectural thinking in the twenty-first century.” Despite providing lessons in architectural history, does the book deliver a compelling synthesis of all its parts? In his full review of the book for Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina argues that Koolhaas “fails to unpack the language of his argument,” resulting in a book that is “ambitious, overreaching, maddening” – much like the exhibition itself. Read the full review here.

Three Winning Schemes Reinvent the African Mud Hut

FIRST PRIZE: Sankofa House / M.A.M.O.T.H (France). Image Courtesy of

The Nka Foundation recently challenged young graduates and students of architecture to redesign the African mud hut for . The result, three designs received top honors for being both functional and beautiful, and will now be realized through a series of building workshops that you can participate in. Learn more and check out the winning designs, after the break.

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Second Solo House to Open Its Doors

Casa Office KGDVS / Office KGDVS. Image © by-encore.com, via Solo Houses

What happens when eight world-renowned architects are given carte blanche to design holiday homes on a dream site in ? This is precisely what French developer Christian Bourdais set out to discover with the launch of the Solo House project in 2010, and now, you can find out for yourself. Just two years after the completion of Solo Pezo, by Chilean architect Pezo von Ellrichshausen, the second of twelve houses is now emerging for tours and site visits. Solo OFFICE, by Office Kersten Geers David van Severen, will open its doors to visitors this week, October 9 through 11, as it nears fruition. 

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Spotlight: Le Corbusier

© Willy Rizzo

“Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.” 

The Swiss-born architect, urban planner, designer, painter and writer Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modernist movement in architecture.  Over the course of his five-decade career, he saw work built across Europe, India, and the .

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Can You Imagine a City Without Air Conditioners?

is pioneering an underground cooling system that could cut 80% of carbon emissions compared to conventional air conditioning. Image © Flickr CC User Justin Swan

Despite Finland’s relatively cool temperatures, climate changes have made heat waves more common in Northern Europe, and the demand for cooling buildings in summer is increasing. Instead of installing air conditioners for individual buildings, Helsinki is pioneering a vast network of underground infrastructure that pumps cold water from lakes and seas into local buildings. Beneath an unassuming park in downtown Helsinki sits a reservoir containing nearly 9 million gallons of water that is recycled and cooled by waste energy after it is used for cooling, replacing the need for air conditioning in the city and cutting carbon pollution by 80%. Read more about this undertaking in this article from Fast Co. Exist.

Rem Koolhaas and the New Frontline of Transformation

© Flickr CC User Giulio Bernardi

When you abandon the in favour of the city, what do you leave behind? In a recent essay for Icon Magazine, OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas deliberates on the intersection between the two, arguing that “our current obsession with only the city is highly irresponsible because you cannot understand the city without understanding the countryside.”

“The countryside is now the frontline of transformation,” Koolhaas says, describing a new type of hybridized urban-countryside where no stone is left unturned. Koolhaas refers to this land as ”the intermediate,” describing it as “a well-manicured place where surface appearances bear almost no relation to what is actually happening on the land and in the buildings.” The countryside, Koolhaas argues, is no longer a sober second thought for the urban dweller but a facsimile of the failures of city life. Read the essay in full, here.

Five Shortlisted for Marlborough College Science Building

Marlborough College via Wikipedia

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Nicholas Hare Architects, Orms, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Tim Ronalds Architects have been shortlisted in a competition to expand and develop the Marlborough College science building in , . “The current Science Block has a fascinating heritage but needs a new life to accommodate new teaching methods,” explained Malcolm Reading, the competition’s organizer. “The competition is all about finding a balance between the architectural grain of the existing eclectic campus and a confident and exciting piece of contemporary architecture.” The teams will now develop proposals. A winner will be announced in December.

The Architecture of Happy Hour: Plotted, Not Stirred

CAD Drinks. Image Courtesy of Shaan Hurley

Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Rem Koolhaas walk into a bar. What do they order? CAD Drinks, of course. It’s a Singapore Sling like you have never seen before: drawn to scale, in elevation, and divided meticulously by content – ice cubes and orange slice included. Alcoholic drinks are colour coded, inventoried, organized and rendered in this downloadable DWG for Autocad. Architects rejoice: happy hour is that much closer to lunch hour.

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Labour Minister Endorses UK-Wide Architecture Festival and More Competitions

Helen Goodman MP proposed a -wide festival of architecture instead of another festival in London, which already hosts a number of architecture and design festivals annually including the Camden Create Festival which began just this year. Image © KSR Architects

The UK‘s Shadow Culture Minister Helen Goodman has outlined a number of ideas that she would like to put into practice should her party win the next general election, reports the Architects’ Journal. The proposals, made at last week’s Labour Party Conference in Manchester, include increasing the number of open architecture competitions held in the UK and holding a major UK-wide annual festival of architecture. Read on after the break for more on Goodman’s proposals.

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Natural Histories for Los Angeles Presents “Wet Horizons”

An installation and exhibition by Luis Callejas / LCLA office
Exhibition Opening: October 11, 7—10 pm
October 11—November 23, 2014
Neutra VDL Research House, , CA

Host: Natural Histories for Los Angeles presents Wet Horizons, an installation and exhibition by architect Luis Callejas / LCLA OFFICE in the Neutra VDL Research HouseLocated in the existing context of the Neutra-designed penthouse—its glazed walls, rooftop reflecting pools, and views of the Silver Lake Reservoir, Wet Horizons articulates environmental connections between Callejas’s landscape and architecture practice and the architecture of the house itself. Veiled textile drawings, re-inserted into the domestic space of the house, were created in collaboration with textile artist Charlotte Hansson. Combined with digital projections and models, the installation merges the reading of landscapes from distant geographies with actual views of Los Angeles.

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matterbetter Launches Competition in Honor of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Courtesy of matterbetter

matterbetter has launched an international open-ideas competition for a Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 () Memorial and Park in Amsterdam. was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down near the Ukraine–Russia border on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

The competition, open to all architects and students, is initiated to remember and honor the victims of the MH17 tragedy. It is hoped that the memorial park could form a new public space, free from the political overtone, at the Marine Establissement site in the center of Amsterdam that could be used as a place for remembrance, ceremonies, recreation, and private gatherings The deadline for registration is December 10th, 2014. Learn more about how to participate here on the competition’s official website

Spotlight: Bjarke Ingels

© DAC / Jakob Galtt

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is often cited as one of the most inspirational architects of our time. At an age when many architects are just beginning to establish themselves in professional practice, Ingels has already won numerous and achieved a level of critical acclaim (and fame) that is rare for new names in the industry. His work embodies a rare optimism that is simultaneously playful, practical, and immediately accessible.

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Alejandro Zaera-Polo Steps Down as Princeton’s Dean of Architecture

Courtesy of University Office of Communications, © John Jameson (2012)

Alejandro Zaera-Polo, the head of Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture, today announced that he is stepping down as the Dean of Architecture at Princeton University’s School of Architecture. Zaera-Polo was appointed to the position in 2012 having been a visiting lecturer at the school since 2008, but stepped down in order to devote more time to his research and professional activities. He will continue to serve as a professor at the school, and his predecessor Stan Allen will take up the role of Acting Dean until a permanent replacement is found.

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Guggenheim Considers Competition for Second NYC Location

Frank Lloyd Wright, Solomon R. , New York, 1956-59 (Click image to learn more). Image © Flickr CC User Richard Anderson

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is planning to construct a second location in New York City. As reported on the Art Newspaper, the expansion project, known as the “Collection Center,” aims to “consolidate its staff and art storage into one efficient, multi-use building with a dynamic public programming component.” The news broke with the release of a curatorial job position, seeking personnel to assist in the center’s planning and a possible architecture competition that will ensure the “Guggenheim’s reputation for being a visionary architectural patron” is preserved. Meanwhile, the Guggenheim is expected to narrow its selection to six for its new Helsinki location in November.

‘Cathedrals of Culture’ Proves To Be “Limited” & “Internalised”

Wim Wenders. Image © European Parliament / Pietro Naj-Oleari, 2010

The highly anticipated 3D film series Cathedrals of Culture has now opened around the world. Directed by Wim Wenders and a team of five other acclaimed directors (Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin and Karim Aïnouz), the collection – according to The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright - “feels more like a series of vapid promotional .” Arguing that in most of the films (with the exception of Michael Madsen’s) the narrative is lost in favour of cinematic shots, “Cathedrals of Culture presents a limited and internalised view of what architecture is, a fault perhaps driven by the obsession with the 3D camera. [...] It has a self-satisfied, sometimes cultish, air that makes you feel like you’re taking part in some collective brainwashing exercise.” Wainwright concludes that Living Architectures is the best place to go. See some of their films featured in ArchDaily’s 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014.

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Los Angeles Rids Itself of Helipad Requirement, Opens City to “Bolder” Skyline

Los Angeles, California. Image © Wikimedia Commons / Pintaric

Helicopter landing pads will no longer be required atop new buildings in Los Angeles, California. The rule’s elimination, which was announced yesterday by the city’s mayor and fire chief, allows architects the freedom to break away from LA’s “boxy” skyline. “I want to see innovative design,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I want to see good design, but we’re going to take the handcuffs off of you when we ask you to do that. I want neighborhoods to look good, and I want our buildings to look iconic.” You can read more about the change, here.

New Practices New York: Upcoming Firms in the Big Apple

WHAT: With its fifth biennial competition and exhibition, the AIANY New Practices Committee is proud to recognize six emerging architecture and design firms working in . These firms will be featured in an exhibition opening on October 1 at 6pm at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place. This year, the opening of New Practices New York 2014 will also kick off Archtober 2014, Architecture and Design Month.

New Practices New York 2014 will showcase the work of:
The Bittertang Farm (http://bittertang.com/)
dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture (http://www.dlandstudio.com/)
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (http://www.fakeindustries.org/)
form-ula (http://www.form-ula.com/)
NAMELESS Architecture (http://namelessarchitecture.com/)
PARA-Project (http://www.para-project.org/)

The six winners have created floor-to-ceiling installations that play with the ideas of structure, reflection, and transparency, designed specifically for the Center for Architecture’s double-height storefront window. Other exhibition materials will include models, project images, renderings, and . Pentagram/Natasha Jen, the exhibition designer, has created a custom font for New Practices New York 2014 that will be used throughout the exhibition to highlight the firm’s design philosophies.

A roundtable discussion will precede the exhibition opening. On October 1 from 5-6pm, Beatrice Galilee, curator of architecture and design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will moderate a conversation with members of the winning firms.

WHEN:
Roundtable Discussion: Wednesday, October 1, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Exhibition Opening: Wednesday, October 1, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

WHERE:
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
New York, NY

WHO:
Roundtable Speakers:
Susanna Drake, AIA, dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture
Cristina Goberna + Urtzi Grau, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism
Ajmal Aqtash + Richard Sarrach, form-ula
Unchung Na, Sorae Yoo + Kiseok Oh, NAMELESS Architecture
Jon Lott, PARA-Project
Beatrice Galilee, Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (moderator)

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

Title: New Practices New York 2014
Website: http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=upcoming&expid=288
Organizers: AIA New York Chapter
From: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:00
Until: Sat, 17 Jan 2015 18:00
Venue: Center for Architecture
Address: 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012, USA

Online Master Class: Real Estate in the Corporation – More than just an Expense

Online Master Class
Real Estate in the Corporation – More than just an Expense
Date: Oct 7th 2014 at 18:00 Madrid time.
Speaker: Sharon Liebowitz, VP of Global Real Estate, JPMorgan Chase
Registration: click here to register to the event.
Brought to you by: IE School of Architecture & Design

Real Estate is among the top three expenses for most corporations, and as such, needs to be aggressively managed. But, in addition to managing real estate as an expense item, real estate also needs to be managed as a strategic asset. This can include using the workspace to attract talent, developing a location strategy to situate offices near the best labor pool, or creating an office environment that supports collaboration. Deploying the capabilities of real estate as a strategic asset enables businesses to achieve their priorities.

Biography of the speaker:

Sharon Liebowitz is a vice president of Global Real Estate at JPMorgan Chase, where she focuses on real estate strategy and planning for the NYC Metro area.  Prior to real estate, she directed technology projects at JP Morgan Chase, and other firms including UBS, Deutsche Bank, and a web start-up, IPO.com. Ms. Liebowitz is a registered architect, earned an undergraduate degree in Art History from Harvard University, a master degree in Architecture from Columbia University, and is interested in the confluence of real estate, technology, and business.  Ms. Liebowitz serves on the board of directors of the Columbia Alumni Association, the GSAPP Alumni Association (Past President) and the Center for Architecture Foundation.

This Online Master Class focuses in one of the areas developed in the Master in Architectural Management & Design at IE. Students receive intense training in managerial skills that are applied to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) field. To learn more about the program, click here.