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

. 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 videos.” 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, . 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 ,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I want to see good , 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 , the AIANY New Practices Committee is proud to recognize six emerging architecture and design firms working in New York City. These firms will be featured in an 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 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.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Confidence Remains Steady

Courtesy of

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for August showed that confidence among UK practices has remained stable at “a very positive” balance figure of +28. The positive outlook was shared by the whole country, with every region returning a balance figure of above +20 – a significant improvement for Wales and the West, who last month were at a more reserved +12. “Sentiment about future workload prospects for the architects’ profession has been strong throughout 2013 and 2014, and we are now beginning to see this reflected in increased levels in the aggregate value of work in progress,” said the RIBA, adding that the increasing workload is being “driven primarily by growth in the commercial and private housing sectors.”

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: “The most optimistic forecasts this month were from our practices in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Midlands and East Anglia, indicating that the high confidence levels have now spread right across the as all nations and regions begin to see an improving workload situation.” Figures from practices of all sizes were positive, with small practices (under 10 staff) returning a balance figure of +24. However, medium and large practices showed much more confidence, returning figures of +65 and +40 respectively.

Although a large part of the growth of the last year has been driven by housing, we may be about to see the sector reach a plateau, as the balance figure for the private housing market dropped to +23, down from +29 in July. This prediction now puts it level with the commercial sector, which rose from +20 in July.

The RIBA Staffing index also rose in August, rising to +13 from +10 in July. A full 96% of practices expect their staffing levels to either increase or stay consistent in the coming three months. But, adds the RIBA, “we are not yet seeing this confidence manifest itself in a significant increase in aggregate staffing levels across the profession.”

The monthly survey is designed to “monitor the employment and business trends affecting the architectural profession throughout the period of economic downturn,” the data from which is analyzed by both the RIBA and the Fees Bureau. It is a “representative sample of the range of different practice sizes and geographical locations” with 1,600 British Architects from 226 firms contributing.

Read the June 2014 report in full here (PDF).

Is The Design Museum Dying?

Oct Design Museum (Shenzhen) / Studio Pei-Zhu. Image Courtesy of Studio Pei-Zhu

In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote asks “what are design museums actually for?” Noting that we are living through a “boom time” for the typology, Heathcote argues that when we are overwhelmed by design in our day to day lives, what will fill these spaces? London’s Victoria & Albert Museum sprouted from the legacy of the 1850 Great , where the concept of a design museum originated, as an attempt to “display the fruits of Britain’s industrial revolution.” Ironically in the very same museum in 2013, curator Kieran Long acquired a print of the world’s first 3D printed gun for the permanent collection. Will the ubiquity of ‘design’ soon negate the need for dedicated spaces? Read Heathcote’s conclusions in full here.

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Gallery at REDCAT Presents “Small Museum for the American Metaphor”

© Bas Princen

Continuing a curatorial program of experiments, collaborations and interdisciplinary projects, the Gallery at REDCAT presents Small Museum for the American Metaphor September 27 to November 30, 2014.

REDCAT gallery curator Ruth Estévez invited the Belgian architect Kersten Geers to develop the , which focuses on themes that are clearly evident in the architectural work he creates with his firm, OFFICE Kersten Geers and David Van Severen.

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UNStudio Brings Interactive Exhibit to Munich: Motion Matters 4.0

Courtesy of UNstudio

The evening of October 6th marks the grand opening of UNStudio‘s new exhibit, Motion Matters 4.0 at the Architektur Galerie in Munich. The opening ceremonies will coincide with the first day of the Expo Real International Trade Fair for Property and Investment and include a welcome speech by the Dutch Consul General Peter Vermeij, followed by an introductory talk about the exhibit from UNStudio co-founder and principal Ben van Berkel.

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Five Practices Compete to Design Los Angeles LGBT Center

Habitat 15 - a Hollywood housing project by competing practice Predock Frane Architects (Click image for more). Image © Predock Frane Architects

Michael Maltzan, , Predock Frane, MAD and Leong Leong have been shortlisted in a limited competition to design a new LGBT Center (formerly called LA Gay and Lesbian Center). Each have received a stipend of $20,000 to develop proposals for the new campus, which will include arts, educational and affordable housing programs on more than an entire city block in Hollywood. Once complete, the center hopes to serve LGBT community members of all ages by providing access to multigenerational affordable housing, healthcare, senior care and family services. You can learn more on KCRW here

The Parisian Hôtel Particulier in Drawings

Anonymous. Country house near to Caen. Section of the main building. Pen, black ink and Indian wash, yellow-orange, pink and green water colour, 190 x 250 mm. Image © bpk – Bildagentur für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte

Starting October 18th, the will be showing 65 art works of Hôtel particulier buildings – prestigious town houses, which were built in the first part of the 18th century and characterize Parisian architecture until today – in the Lʼhôtel particulier à Paris.” After Sergei Tchoban, architect and founder of the Tchoban Foundation for Architectural Drawing, showed his collection of 24 drawings at the École des Beaux-Arts in 2011 with the exhibition “À la source de l’ Antique. La collection de Sergei Tchoban”, the two institutions now continue their collaboration, this time with a selection of works from Paris that will be displayed in Berlin.

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Madrid to Eliminate Cars from City Center

© Flickr CC User Jesus Solana

Starting January, the City of Madrid will close off 190 hectares of its central core to traffic, expanding its restricted vehicular areas to 352 hectares. Vehicles not belonging to residents within the city’s four most central barrios will be restricted to large avenues. If a vehicle enters the car-less zone, and does not have access to one of the 13 official parking lots, the owner will be automatically ticketed €90 ($115 U.S). The new legislation is part of a larger goal to completely pedestrianization central Madrid by 2020. 

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Spotlight: Henry Hobson Richardson

Henry Hobson Richardson courtesy of StudyBlue

Henry Hobson Richardson (29 September 1838  27 April 1886) was known across North America as the father of the Romanesque Revival. Although he only lived to age 48, Richardson is revered across the northeast United States for his appreciation of classic architecture and is the namesake for Richardsonian Romanesque, a movement he pioneered. Richardson studied engineering at Harvard University, a discipline he abandoned in favour of his interest in architecture.

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Open for Submissions: Unbuilt Visions 2014

2013 Grand Prize: Coastal Caretaker / Ursula Emery McClure, Michael McClure, Kristi Dykema Cheramie, Sarah Young (USA)

Unbuilt Visions promotes critical debate about architecture and by acknowledging excellence in unbuilt projects. This annual competition provides an opportunity to engage with architecture, urbanism, interiors, and designed objects at the conceptual stage by recognizing work that offers a critical contribution to worldwide architectural discourse.

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Final Call for 2015 Bauwelt Award Applicants

Courtesy of Bauwelt

Final Call! All entries for the 2015 Bauwelt Award must be submitted by September 30th. The award (consisting of 5 at 5000 Euros each) is applicable for all architects and landscape architects’ “First Works” projects – any work realized by independent responsibility and completed after September 30, 2011. In addition to the prize, award-winners will be published in an at the BAU 2015 on the Munich fairgrounds starting January. An Advancement Award grant is also available, prized at 5,000 Euros, to fund an interdisciplinary research, or installation project that has yet to be completed. Visit the official website to learn more about the competition and how to apply.

d3 Housing Tomorrow 2015

First Prize: Aboveground Anomaly / Tiffany Szeto (Hong Kong). Image © d3 Housing Tomorrow 2014

Exploration of contextual, cultural, and life cycle flows offers a critical lens for visualizing new housing strategies for living in the future. The d3 Housing Tomorrow competition invites architects, designers, engineers, and students to collectively explore, document, analyze, transform, and deploy innovative approaches to residential urbanism, architecture, interiors, and designed objects.

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Are You a Card-Carrying Member of the Urban Elite? Find Out With “Cards Against Urbanity”

Courtesy of Cards Against Urbanity

Architects have been known to dabble in product design, but what about board game ? A team of Washington, D.C.-based architects, urban planners, and designers have come together to create a game with a comedic (yet somewhat serious) take on the nuances of city living. Cards Against Urbanity, a parody on the wildly successful Cards Against Humanity, is simultaneously a critical and satirical game designed to open a dialogue about the development of among those who influence them.

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RISE Competition Seeks Ideas to Combat Sea Level Rise in Vancouver

Downtown . Image Courtesy of SFU

How will affect Metro Vancouver and what can we do about it? Take a look at the #RISEIDEAS competition from SFU Public Square – an open ideas competition with a Grand Prize of $35,000 to find innovative ways to address sea level rise. Form a team of one to four people, submit your idea online, and you could take home the cash, rub shoulders with experts at the October 19 public exhibition day, and win free event tickets. The deadline for competition submissions is October 6, 2014. Check out the website for all the details.

David Adjaye to Receive Du Bois Medal at Harvard

Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

On September 30, Mohsen Mostafavi will present David Adjaye with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, University’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies, at the Hutchins Center Honors. Since 2000, the Du Bois Medal has been awarded to individuals from across the globe in recognition of their contributions to African and African-American history and culture. Adjaye is one of nine luminaries receiving this year’s award, including Oprah Winfrey and the late Maya Angelou. More information about the ceremony can be found here.