Boris Johnson Speech Reignites Row Over Mount Pleasant Development

Courtesy of Cityscape

The controversial Mount Pleasant development in London has sparked another row this week, as campaigners accused Mayor Boris Johnson of “compromising his neutrality” over the 681-home scheme which he has called in to review personally. Though he is supposed to remain neutral until the hearing, last week Johnson remarked in a speech that the development “will be a wonderful place to live.” However many have expressed concern over the design, including Thomas Heatherwick, who lives locally and called the scheme “empty, cynical and vacuous.” Read all the details at BD Online.

Russell A Davidson Elected as 2016 AIA President

Russell A Davidson. Image Courtesy of

This weekend, at the AIA‘s national conference in Chicago, Russell A Davidson was elected the AIA’s 2016 president. Davidson, who served as the AIA’s Vice President in 2012-13 and president of AIA’s New York State chapter in 2007, will be joined by William J Bates and Francis M Pitts as Vice presidents, and John A Padilla as AIA Secretary.

In addition to electing its next leaders, the AIA also adopted a new board structure, which will see it add a new body, the ‘Strategic Council’, which will inform the Board and other Institute bodies of important professional issues.

More on these developments from the AIA National Conference after the break

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India’s Most Successful Architect: Improving India’s Slums or Exacerbating Social Gaps?

On what used to be a shantytown, ’s the Imperial Towers now loom over low-income apartments. Image © Mahesh Shantaram for The New York Times

“The Indian poor live in perpetual darkness, while the Indian rich live in perpetual light.” This fact is obviously embedded in Mumbai, where luxury condominiums rise in the middle of slums. Many of these extravagant buildings were designed by India’s most commercially successful architect, Hafeez Contractor, who believes his arrestive work is the beginning of slum redevelopment. Learn about his crusade and how he’s been criticized in this New York Times article by Daniel Brook.

David Rockwell’s Luxurious Pre-Fab Homes

Courtesy of Rockwell Group

Two weeks ago, David Rockwell took a step away from his usual work of interior and set design to present his foray into the prefab game – an adaptable 2,400 square-foot house called “Pinwheel.” His design aims to challenge two assumptions about prefabrication: one, affordability and luxury are mutually exclusive and two, pre-fab’s limited flexibility makes a cookie-cutter result inevitable. Rockwell says the project, a collaboration between himself and Fred Carl, founder of modular housing venture C3 Design, was inspired by his childhood in Mexico, where “outdoor space was part of the lifestyle.” Check out the plan and more designs after the break.

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Students and Community Members Come Together to Construct Theater in Cape Town Township

Courtesy of Future

The Guga S’Thebe Arts and Cultural Centre in Langa, Cape Town’s oldest township, is expanding to include a theatre exclusively for children and adolescents. The main component of the theatre, set for completion this fall, will be a large, multi-functional space for hosting performances. The project, a collaborative effort between future users and international architecture students, is aimed at stimulating sustainable development while widening the possibilities for the target demographic. To check out more project images, continue after the break.

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Conversation / Cose Turche: Architecture in Istanbul

© Giuliana Sibilia

MAXXI and Insula architettura e ingegneria with Based Architecture present “Cose Turche”,  a  conversation of six voices about Istanbul, aimed to recognize and trace the pulsating identity of a metropolis, which in its present metamorphosis is able to tell us about significant pieces of third millenium urban culture.

Recently some of Istanbul public spaces as Gezi Park, Taksim square with Ataturk Cultural Center by Hayati Tabanlioglu and Third Bosphorus Bridge became symbol and central places of an intense debate still open, which assumed a global broader connotation.

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PlanGrid Launches Educational Offering

Courtesy of

PlanGrid, touted as “the fastest blueprint viewer” available, is one of the most mature apps for viewing, amending and discussing drawings on a collaborative cloud-based platform. This week they launched PlanGrid for Education, allowing students full and uninhibited access to every feature of the app free of charge. According to the company, they currently have “40,000 blueprints being uploaded to PlanGrid daily and over 9 million blueprints stored digitally”, making the platform one of the fastest growing in its market.

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AIANY ENYA’s 2014 Biennial Design Ideas Competition Exhibition

The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) committee of the AIA New York Chapter is pleased to announce the opening of its sixth biennial ideas competition exhibition, QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm on Thursday, July 17 at 6:00 PM at the Center for Architecture.

The exhibition showcases winners of the 2014 ENYA Biennial Design Ideas Competition, which challenged entrants to design a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of a 3.5 mile stretch of abandoned railway in Central Queens. The QueensWay is currently under study for conversion into an urban greenway by The Trust for Public Land, Friends of the QueensWay, and their design consultants. Four Prize Winners, one Honorable Mention, and a slide show of the 120 entries from 28 countries will be shown, along with progress and background information on the community development process. The exhibition is presented as part of the 2014 AIA Chapter Presidential Theme “Civic Spirit: Civic Vision.”

ENYA will also host a symposium at the Center for Architecture on Saturday, July 19 from 12:00 – 4:00 PM to highlight the winning entries’ designs and possibilities for the site’s and neighborhood’s future development.

Title: AIANY ENYA’s 2014 Biennial Design Ideas Competition Exhibition
Website: http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=upcoming&expid=281
From: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 
Until: Fri, 31 Oct 2014
Venue: Center For Architecture
Address: 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012, USA

Does London Really Need the Garden Bridge?

© Arup

In an interesting analysis in the Guardian, Olly Wainwright draws attention to the questionable process by which of Thomas Heatherwick‘s Garden Bridge proposal has gained such strong support from the British government. It is, according to Wainwright, the product of “one voguish designer, one national treasure and one icon-hungry mayor” – however he contends that compared to other more needed potential bridges over the Thames, the Garden Bridge may just be ”a spectacular solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist,” and a terrific waste of infrastructure funds. You can read the article in full here.

Exhibition: What Models Can Do

Laurie Simmons & Peter Wheelwright, “Kaleidoscope House”, 2001 © Simmons/Wheelwright. Photo Christian Wickler

A new  in Germany looks at the history of the architectural model in contemporary art. It begins with a legendary model by Charles Simonds, covers the 1990s with Ludger Gerdes, Hermann Pitz and Thomas Schütte, and ends up in the present day with Alicia Framis, Hinrich Sachs and Carlos Garaicoa.

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Call for Papers: STUDIO#07 – ILLEGAL

Contemporary society is based on written rules or not – whether right or wrong – that influence people’s existence, thus as in everyday’s life, also the city creates its rules, offering hidden scenarios going beyond their normal ordinary perception, proposing new types of space and relation.

STUDIO#07 – ILLEGAL wants to investigate the existence of different ways do make architecture and consequent alternative processes of urban reality transformation.

The magazine is looking for contributors for their September issue. All submissions should be made via email to: studiomagazine@rrcstudio.com by August 25th (abstract is due July 20th).

Disaster Relief Housing For The Next “Superstorm”

Exterior Of The Prefabricated Relief Units. Image Courtesy of GOTHAMIST / JAKE DOBKIN

With hurricanes Sandy and Katrina etched into recent memory, the need for post-disaster relief housing is now. New York City and Garrison Architects have developed a modular, prefabricated housing system to relieve displaced citizens during the next “superstorm.” At only 40′ by 100′ long, they can squeeze into the city’s smallest corners – all while having kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and storage spaces. The prototype is on display in Brooklyn – but you can see the entire  at the A/N Blog.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Demonstrates Continued Stability

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for May show that the Workload Index among practices was slightly down in comparison to April (from +35 to +33) with the recovery in confidence levels remaining consistently “very strong” across the country. Although last month’s survey showed London as the region with the brightest outlook, confidence levels reported by architects in Wales and the West topped the index with a balance figure of +49. Workload forecasts in the private sector, public sector and community sector have all significantly increased.

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Dalseong Citizen’s Gymnasium International Competition

The Daegu Architectural Culture Confederation (DACC) recently announced an international ideas competition to the new gymnasium complex for the city of , South Korea.

The objective is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of Dalseong-gun’s citizens by procuring a space for health promotion and sports activities, offering the foundations by which to enjoy the benefits of sports, culture and welfare, and thus building a new gymnasium complex, replacing the small and outdated existing one.

Registration closes July 31 and the deadline for submission is September 5. You can find all the details in the competition’s official website.

Interested in Public-Interest Design? Apply to the Enterprise Rose Fellowship By July 10

A Rose Fellow working on a community design project. Image Courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners

is a basic human need, but over 11 million families cannot afford a safe and stable place to live. In a crusade to change this sad fact, the Enterprise Rose Fellowship gives socially-minded architects the tools they need to pursue careers in affordable and community development. For more on the learning opportunity, head over to Next City and click here.

Soft Shells – Porous and Deployable Architecture

Courtesy of Sophia Vyzoviti and BIS Publishers

Cut, Pleat, Tile, Weave. Four principles guide every project in the - a new publication that features porous, deployable, expandable and retractable architecture. Keep reading after the break to see two of the featured projects, but make sure to check out the full book here.

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Lonberg-Holm: The Forgotten Architect, Remembered

Radio Broadcasting Station, Detroit by Knud Lonberg-Holm. Image Courtesy of

In one of his final interviews, Knud Lonberg-Holm quipped, “I’ve always been annoyed by rummaging through the past; the future interests me much more.” Not one to promote himself, the modernist architect all but disappeared after retirement, seemingly taking his contributions to architecture with him. After years of neglect, investigative research has finally unearthed just how influential Lonberg-Holm was. To learn about how he shaped information design (among many other things), continue reading Paul Makovsky’s exclusive article on Metropolis Magazine.

Exhibition / Conceptions of Space: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Architecture

Herzog & de Meuron’s National Stadium, Beijing. 2008. Digital C-print, 36 x 54″ (91.4 x 137.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist. Photograph © Iwan Baan

Focusing on recent acquisitions in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, Conceptions of Space addresses how contemporary architects continue to embrace spatial creation as a fundamental focus of their work. The exhibition reveals how, beyond formal traits and functional needs, the conception and articulation of architectural space still defines architecture as an artistic endeavor, and a response to wider cultural issues.

In the early and mid-20th century, the concept of space was critical in defining the modern movement in architecture. Notions of architectural space related to the coherence between the interior and exterior of buildings emerged as a new feature. Counteracting previous understandings of architecture as a progression of styles, space became a privileged quest of architectural practice. In time, however, space was actively reclaimed by artists, geographers, sociologists, and others as their domain of intervention and reflection. As proposed by French philosopher Michel Foucault, ours is the epoch of space, an expanded field imbued with complex meanings.

Twenty international projects by architects and artists, in large-scale models, drawings, photographs, videos, and even a room-sized installation, survey how architecture addresses this expanded field. Spatial conceptions in the exhibition range from “assemblage” and “envelope” space, to “fictional” and “performative” space. Participants offer a global panorama of architectural practice today, from acclaimed architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, Álvaro Siza, and Kengo Kuma, to young, emergent practices such as Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Chile; Ryue Nishizawa, Japan; Ensamble Studio, Spain; and the New York-based SO-IL and MOS Architects.

Title: Exhibition / Conceptions of Space: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Architecture
Website: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1485
Organizers: Pedro Gadanho, Phoebe Springstubb
From: Fri, 04 Jul 2014 
Until: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 
Venue:
Address: 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, USA