The Empowerment of Aesthetics: Denmark’s Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

© Nico Saieh

Denmark‘s exhibition for the 2014 Venice Biennale focuses on the country’s history as a pioneer in the development of a welfare state, and the role that architecture, in connection with art, literature and science had in creating an aesthetic manifestation of this ’better life for all’. By exploring the output of a range of fields in connection to a wider social movement, Empowerment of Aesthetics comes to a fuller understanding of how modernity affected architecture in .

(more…)

Spotlight: Santiago Calatrava

. Image Courtesy of http://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

Today is the 63rd birthday of world renowned architect, engineer, and artist Santiago Calatrava Valls. Calatrava is well known for his neofuturist style and his wild feats of engineering. The Milwaukee Art Museum, his first building in the United States, is famous for its shading “wings” that open and close in response to the position of the sun. His complex of buildings in his native Valencia is also a frequent pilgrimage site for architecture enthusiasts. 

(more…)

Syrian Refugee Camp Becoming Impromptu City

Aerial View of Zaatari Refugee Camp. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

As the Syrian civil war continues to rage, more and more Syrian citizens are emigrating across the border to refugee camps in Jordan.  While these camps were intended to be temporary, the sheer number of people they support and the uncertainty of when the Syrian crisis will end has leant them a sense of permanence.  This article from the New York Times takes a look at how Syrian refugees are prompting urban development and what this means for the future of refugee camp design.

WAF Reveals Shortlist for Wood Excellence Award

The Tent/ a21studio. Image Courtesy of a21 studio

The World Architecture Festival () has announced the shortlist for its first Wood Excellence award, which will honor a project where wood is an integral part of the design. Out of over 40 projects considered, has selected eight for the shortlist, including a21studio’s “The Tent” and “Salvaged Ring,” as well as DSDHA’s “Alex Monroe Studio” and the University of Hong Kong’s “The Pinch.”

Salvaged Ring/a21studio. Image Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the Wood Excellence award aims to recognize a project that showcases the sustainable benefits and timeless beauty of wood. All projects submitted for a WAF award that feature wood were automatically considered for the Wood Excellence award. “This was a great way to appreciate how a ‘traditional’ material can be used to transform exteriors and interiors in new and unexpected ways,” Paul Finch, the WAF program director said in a press release.

On October 3 the architects selected will have the opportunity to present their projects to the prize judges.

The Pinch/Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong. Image Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Shortlisted projects, WAF Wood Excellence Award:

  • The Tent/ a21studio (Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam)
  • Pittwater House/Andrew Burges Architects (Sydney, )
  • Earth Wind and Fire/Atelier Arcau (Vannes, France)
  • School’t Hofke/UArchitects (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
  • Regional Terminal at Christchurch Airport/BVN Donovan Hill (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • Salvaged Ring/a21studio (Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam)
  • Alex Monroe Studio/DSDHA (London, UK)
  • The Pinch/Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong (Zhaotong, China)

Melbourne to Launch Its Own Serpentine Pavilion

2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto. Image © Danica O. Kus

Mirroring the Serpentine Galleries of London, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced its own yearly pavilion commission for the city of Melbourne. Sited in the Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens, the premier “MPavilion” will be designed by Sean Godsell, opening October 6th of this year.  The pavilion will host a variety of community events, including art installations and performances, over a four month period.  It remains to be seen whether the MPavilion will have a lasting impact on the architectural of the city, as some critics have pointed out. To learn more about this now annual commission, visit this article from infolink.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

Courtesy of

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.

(more…)

Spotlight: Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker laureate, in front of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Photo by Francisco Nogueira.

Today is Eduardo Souto de Moura’s 62nd . With over 60 buildings worldwide, Souto de Moura is known for his thoughtful use of colors and materials. Although often described as a “Miesian” architect, de Moura provides local and original interpretations of Mies van Der Rohe’s modernist style.

Born in , Souto de Moura enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in , studying sculpture and later transferring to architecture at the University of – a decision he credits to a meeting with the artist Donald Judd. While still a student, Souto de Moura interned in the studio of Álvaro Siza, where he worked for five years until starting his own practice in 1980, following Siza’s advice. Although his first major commission was the Cultural Center of Porto, his early career included mostly private homes. Later, de Moura was commissioned for larger public buildings, such as the the Braga Municipal Stadium (2004), the Burgo Tower (2007), and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2008).

(more…)

“Mouthful of Meetings” Seminar at Venice Biennale & Exhibition at Helsinki Design Week

What are the challenges in Africa’s current rapid socio-economic development that architects have the capacity to address? Can foreign architects play any role on the African continent today and during the coming decades? If so, how?

”Mouthful of meetings” is a moderated conversation focusing on socioeconomic sustainability in current and future development collaboration. It brings together contemporary Nordic and African architecture practices and institutions with focus on socially committed architecture. The event adds a contemporary layer to the Nordic Pavillion exhibition 2014, ”Forms of Feedom. African Independence and Nordic Models”.

Along with the seminar, the South of North Travelling Exhibition will visit the 2014. The exhibition presents the work of 12 young Nordic architecture offices, who all have realized projects in developing environments. The exhibition presents a Nordic perspective to a globally growing phenomenon: emerging architectural practices committing to global issues related to ecological and social sustainability.

For more information, please click here.

2014 ANFA Conference

The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) will have their 2nd international conference between September 18 and September 20 in , California.

The ANFA Conference will explore, from a scientific basis, the range of human experiences with elements of architecture, through collaboration between architects and neuroscientists.  The goal is to inspire ideas and new collaborations that will ignite change and unlock the potential of Neuroscience for Architecture.

Juhani Pallasmaa, Finnish architect and architectural theorist, author of The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, will be the keynote speaker. For more information, please visit the event’s official website.

Title: 2014 ANFA Conference
Website: http://www.anfarch.org/2014-conference/
From: Thu, 18 Sep 2014
Until: Sat, 20 Sep 2014
Venue: Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Address: 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037,

Jane Duncan Elected as the next President of the RIBA

Courtesy of Jane Duncan

Jane Duncan, an Architect based in the English county of Buckinghamshire, has been elected as the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (). Taking over the reigns from current President Stephen Hodder in September 2015, Duncan will become only the third female President after beating fellow candidate Oliver Richards (by a majority of 52% of the vote) to the institute’s highest position. According to the Architects’ Journal, only 16.7% of RIBA members voted in the election.

(more…)

Spotlight: Richard Rogers

© 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, turns 81 today. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd’s Bank in London, which utilized highly expressive structures that placed services on the exteriors.

(more…)

Spotlight: Arata Isozaki

© Manel Armengol via Flickr

Arata Isozaki, Japanese architect, teacher, and theorist, turns 83 years old today. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1954, Isozaki worked for Kenzo Tange, one of his professors, before establishing his own firm. Despite this, the two remained collaborators until the 1970s. Isozaki won the Gold Medal in 1986 and founded the Italian branch of his firm, Arata Isozaki & Andrea Maffei Associates, in 2005.

(more…)

eVolo 2015 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo Magazine is pleased to invite architects, students, engineers, designers, and artists from around the globe to take part in the eVolo 2015 Skyscraper Competition. Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious for high-rise architecture. It recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the implementation of novel technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations along with studies on globalization, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution. It is a forum that examines the relationship between the skyscraper and the natural world, the skyscraper and the community, and the skyscraper and the city.

The participants should take into consideration the advances in technology, the exploration of sustainable systems, and the establishment of new urban and architectural methods to solve economic, social, and cultural problems of the contemporary city including the scarcity of natural resources and infrastructure and the exponential increase of inhabitants, pollution, economic division, and unplanned urban sprawl.

(more…)

Exhibition: Total Reset

Institute for Public Architecture exhibition on public and affordable housing in NYC, “Total Reset.” Installation by IPA Fellow Quilian Riano: “Work with Me, Neighbor.”

Mayor de Blasio has declared a “total reset” for public housing in . At the same time, the decline of affordable housing options has become New Yorkers’ greatest concern.

In the spring, the IPA launched the “Total Reset” series with a Roundtable exploring ambitious, achievable ideas for public and affordable housing in New York. This summer, IPA Fellows respond to the roundtable discussion with housing proposals that connect design, policy, and community engagement.

The residency and installation are located in Broadway Housing Communities’ new affordable housing development in Sugar Hill, designed by architect David Adjaye. More information can be found here.

Title: Exhibition: Total Reset
Website: http://totalreset.tumblr.com/
Organizers: Institute for Public Architecture
From: Thu, 26 Jun 2014
Until: Sun, 10 Aug 2014
Venue: The Sugar Hill Project
Address: Saint Nicholas Avenue & West 155th Street, New York, NY 10032,

What Urbanists Can Learn From Low-Income Neighborhoods

Courtesy of Metropolis Magazine

“For the most part, the way urbanists view black neighborhoods (and other low-income neighborhoods and communities of color) are as problems that need to be fixed. At the heart of what I want to say is what can we as urbanists learn from these neighborhoods?” So asks Sara Zewde, a landscape architecture student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and this year’s Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Olmsted Scholar, in a fascinating profile on Metropolis Magazine. Read more about Zewde and her work here.

Competition: WHO Headquarters in Geneva

Aerial Site

The World Health Organization (WHO, the Commissioning Organization) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. On 23 June 2014, WHO launched an international, two-stage architectural design competition for the extension and redevelopment of WHO Headquarters in .

French architect Dominique Perrault will preside the jury that also includes Bernard Tschumi, Momoyo KaijimaDiébédo Francis Kéré, and Bernard Kouhry. Registration closes September 19. For complete information, please go to the competition’s official guideline here.

WorldWide Storefront Winners’ Two-Month Program Begins September 19

Winning entry “Circus for Construction” by Ann Lui, Ashley Mendelsohn, Larisa Ovalles, Craig Reschke, and Benjamin Widger. Image Courtesy of

Starting September 19th, the ten winners of WorldWide Storefront (WWSf) – an initiative by Storefront for Art and Architecture to create alternative spaces for the expression/exchange of art/architecture – will open across the globe for the next two months. While one winning proposal invites artists to travel the world on commercial freight ships, another will host exhibits and events out of a traveling semi-truck in the United States. For the full list of winners and more information, click here.

Richard Rogers: “Forget About Greenfield Sites, Build In The Cities”

“London as it could be” / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Image © RSHP

In an article for The Guardian Richard Rogers questions why, with space still left in urban areas, we should build in the countryside? Lord Rogers, no stranger to political activism, chaired the UK’s in the 1990s, culminating in his report Towards an Urban Renaissance. Now, over fifteen years later, his plea for denser, better designed urban environments has been rekindled as he argues that: “We can’t go on like this. The housing shortage threatens both the economy and our quality of life.” Laying out a clear argument reinforced by his forty years of experience as an architect, you can read his article in full here.

(more…)