Spotlight: Alvar Aalto

Jyvaskyla University. Image © Nico Saieh

As one of the key figures of midcentury modernism and perhaps Finland‘s most celebrated architect, Alvar Aalto (3 February 1898 – 11 May 1976) was known for his humanistic approach to modernism. Aalto was concerned about creating a total work of art. He did not simply design buildings but also paid close attention to their interior features, including furniture, lamps, and glassware design.

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Competition Seeks Proposals for “Cool School” Capable of Withstanding Extreme Mongolian Climate

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Building Trust has launched their sixth international design competition: Cool School. Seeking an innovative school design proposal that can withstand the extreme Mongolian climate, the competition is challenging architects, designers and engineers to envision a solution which has the chance to shape the future of school buildings across cold regions globally. Contestants should consider environmental conditions, materials, space, comfort, accessibility, adaptability and aesthetics. Building Trust will work alongside competition partners, World Vision, local government and the school community in Khovd, Mongolia to build the winning school design. More information about the competition, here.

NLÉ Wins Competition to Design Financial Headquarters in Lagos

Atrium Ground Floor. Image ©

International design firm NLÉ has recently shared its competition-winning design for the financial headquarters of the microfinance bank Credit Direct Limited. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, in the Ikeja district, the bank’s design abandons the forbidding presence of most financial institutions for one that is open and welcoming. This decision not only invites clientele inside, but creates opportunities for adaptation to the tropical weather of .

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How to Fix America’s Infrastructure Problem

© Flikr CC License / Martha T

With structurally unsound bridges, unsafe dams, and derelict roads becoming increasingly common problems, infrastructure has been brought to the forefront of many political agendas. However, limited funding in this area brings to mind the question of economics: how will improvements to North America’s major trading channels be made without driving the nation further into debt? This is what Jordan Golson addresses in the article, It’s Time to Fix America’s . Here’s Where to Start. Although not all of these infrastructural problems can be resolved in the foreseeable future, according to Golson, however some smaller improvements in the next few years can be a manageable starting point. Read the full article, here.

The Urbanist’s Guide to the World

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A compilation of all posts in the “Urbanist’s Guide to…” series from Guardian Cities, “The Urbanist’s Guide to the World” takes readers to cities across the globe. Penned by local bloggers in from Manila to Sao PauloTehran to New Orleans, the vignettes are supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and cover everything from “best” and “worst buildings” to cleanliness, soundscapes, and “the best place for a conversation.” You can view the interactive guide here.

Centre Pompidou Considers Libourne Outpost

© Francis Toussaint

The south west French city of may soon get its own pop-up Pompidou. Reports indicate that the Libourne satellite outpost would be similar to the one currently underway in Malaga, Spain (soon to open in March 2015). If the deal is passed, the city would host the museum outpost in a former 40,000-square-meter military academy, though renovation costs are excepted run high - nearing €6 million. The city’s mayor Philippe Buisson is reaching out to regional and national authorities requesting financial assistance.

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AIA Construction Forecast Predicts Increased Spending

This week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results of its first Consensus Construction Forecast of the year. The forecast is compiled based on predictions of the industry’s leading forecasters and is conducted bi-annually to anticipate shifting business conditions in the construction industry. The dominant trend in this forecast (projected for 2015 and 2016) is an overall increase in spending in the construction sector.

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Open Call: Atlanta Bridgescape Competition

. Image © Flickr CC User Brett Weinstein

The Atlanta Bridgescape Competition is an urban design challenge seeking creative strategies to enhance existing freeway in Midtown and Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The objective of the competition is to solicit designs for the next two bridge projects: the 10th Street Bridge in Midtown and the Courtland Street/Ralph McGill Boulevard Bridge in downtown. The competition seeks broad participation from multi-disciplinary design teams to develop innovative approaches for enhancing existing infrastructure in a manner that will elevate the experience of travelers along the Connector and improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge surfaces.

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Denton Corker Marshall’s Australian Pavilion to Debut at the 56th Venice Biennale

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The first building to be constructed in Venice in the past two decades, Denton Corker Marshall‘s Australian Pavilion will welcome its first visitors on May 9, as part of the 56th Venice Biennale.

Envisioned by the architects as a “simple yet confident, memorable garden pavilion… timeless but with vitality, tactility and materiality that [invites] curiosity and engagement,” the project is located in the historic Giardini, and is Venice’s only waterfront pavilion. Replacing Philip Cox‘s 1988 temporary structure, the pavilion features a white interior space allowing art to be the main focal point, and in which the work of Australian photographic artist Fiona Hall will be displayed upon the pavilion’s opening in May. View previous coverage of the pavilion here.

120 HOURS Launches Student Competition: “Experimental Preservation”

’ 2014 Winner: Architecture / Antariksh Tandon, Jennifer Tu Anh Phan (click to learn more). Image Courtesy of

This year’s 120 HOURS student architecture competition is set to run from February 9th through the 14th. The international competition is open to any current Architecture student, anywhere in the world. There is no fee to enter, and you (and your team of up to three) can do so by visiting the 120 HOURS website.

As the name suggests, the competition is strictly 120 hours long. Participants work in teams to come up with designs for a project, this year regarding “experimental preservation.” Winners are chosen by a distinguished jury of architects and lecturers, and the top prize is 30,000 NOK.

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Who Are Architecture’s Best Young “Disrupters”?

’s Holcim-Award-winning project imagines a much-needed piece of water infrastructure for Las Vegas that doubles as a public space. Image © Courtesy of the Holcim Foundation

In their fifth annual “Game Changers” survey, Metropolis Magazine sought to uncover the visionaries who have the potential to make waves in design and architecture. Profiling six of design’s ”foremost forward-looking talents,” the list includes Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, the filmmaking duo whose “Living Architectures” series takes a sideways glance at some of the world’s most celebrated buildings; Amy Mielke and Caitlin Gucker-Kanter Taylor, whose work as Water Pore Partnership topped BIG and The Living for Holcim’s North America Award; and finally Aggregate, a collaborative of architecture historians who are rethinking the way we do architecture theory. For the full list and profiles of all those featured on it, head on over to Metropolis Magazine.

Call for Proposals: 2015 Deborah J. Norden Fund

© Architectural League of New York

In memory of architect and arts administrator Deborah Norden, the Deborah J. Norden Fund is calling for proposals from students and recent graduates in the fields of architecture, architectural history, and urban studies for awards up to $5000 in and study grants. A program of The Architectural League of New York, participants must submit a maximum three-page proposal, which succinctly describes the objectives of the grant request and how it will contribute to the applicant’s intellectual and creative development. The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2015. For more information, please visit here.

Spotlight: Félix Candela

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

“Every work of art is an interpretation of the world, of what you are thinking; a realization of your perception which creates and attempts a different world. In the end, a work of art is merely an offering to art.”

Mexican-Spanish architect Félix Candela (Jan 27, 1910-Dec 7, 1997) was known for redefining the role of the architect in relation to structural problems, and played a crucial role in the development of new structural forms of concrete. His famous experimentation with concrete gave rise to projects like the Los Manantiales restaurant in the Xochimilco area of Mexico City and the Cosmic Rays Pavilion for the National Autonomous University of .

Learn more about Candela after the break.

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Robert A.M. Stern 2015 Travel Fellowship Applications Now Available

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This week, Robert A.M. Stern Architects released applications for its third annual Fellowship. The $10,000 grant is given to an architecture student in the penultimate year of their Master’s degree study. The recipient must be attending one of 18 U.S. and Canadian schools, and show “insight and interest in the profession and its future, as well as the ability to carry forth in-depth research.” The prize money will be used to support and research based on Robert A.M. Stern’s own philosophy of reinventing traditional architecture. Check your eligibility and apply for the RAMSA Fellowship here!

Call for Ideas: Lost Spaces 2015 Design Competition

Courtesy of d.talks

The lost spaces competition is a call for ideas to reframe how underused spaces in Calgary might be used. The aim is to address a particular challenge of public space – what to do with seemingly remnant pieces of public property. The challenge: what opportunities do lost spaces afford?

A “lost space” is any space that remains under-utilized within our urban environment. They might be leftover pieces, a ghost of the planning past. Lost spaces are part of the public realm, rarely designed to function with both social and environmental benefit to the city. You may consider a lost space as a passageway, a roundabout, space between two buildings, a highway shoulder, or tenants of the city’s history and memory. We’d like to ask you to dream, take risks and stretch what we think is possible. Submissions are due March 30, 2015. More about the competition, here.

Aedes Architecture Forum Highlights ZAO/standardarchitecture

Niyang River Visitor Center / Standardarchitecture + Zhaoyang Architects. Image © Chen Su

Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum will mark the beginning of its 35th Anniversary Program by continuing its focus on Asia and China. With the architect ofZAO/standardarchitecture from Beijing, Aedes presents one of the most promising protagonists of a young group of Chinese architects and urban planners with the  营造 Contemplating Basics. This follows on from the 2001 exhibition TU-MU, in which Aedes presented for the first time, and with global success, the first generation of independent architects in China. At that time, the architects and artists introduced in the exhibition – Yung Ho Chang, Liu Jiarkun, Ai Wei Wei, Wang Shu, Lu Wenyu – were fully unknown in the West, while some have since gone on to become Pritzker Prize winners or internationally renowned artists.

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UDM Student Awarded “WIA Emerging Professional Inspiration Award” for Community Outreach

“Belong Here” guerrilla art campaign. Image Courtesy of

“At some point, we all forgot that we belong to each other.” These powerful words helped land Samantha, an M.Arch. student at the and Fellow in the Challenge Detroit Urban Revitalization Program, the ninth annual WIA EP (Emerging Professional) Inspiration Award. Praising Samantha for her work behind the “Belong Here” guerrilla art campaign, the award was given to the student for demonstrating a “great capacity for leadership, an unwavering passion for the profession of architecture, and a willingness to contribute to society.” Learn more about the award, here.

Tiny-House Villages: Safe Havens for the Homeless

Quixote Village. Image © Leah Nash for BuzzFeed

As the need for smart housing solutions rises, so does the appeal of tiny-house villages, not just as shelter for the homeless, but as a possible look to the future of the housing sector. The new article, Are Tiny-House Villages The Solution To Homelessness? by Tim Murphy, takes a closer look into the positive and negative aspects of these controversial communities, as well as their social and political ramifications so far. Through interviews with residents of several tiny-house villages, Murphy investigates the current impacts they have had on the homeless populations within major American , and questions how the lifestyle will evolve in the future. Read the full article, here.