Spotlight: Peter Cook

Sir Peter Cook. Image © vimeo.com

As one of the founding members of Archigram, the avant-garde futurist architecture group of the 1960s, Sir Peter Cook, the British architect, professor, and writer has been a pivotal figure within the global architectural world for over half a century; one of his most significant works from his time with The Plug-In City, still invokes debates on technology and society, challenging standards of architectural discourse today. With a love for the slithering, the swarming and the spooky, Cook continues to teach at the University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and lecture around the world.

As one of the founding members of Archigram, Cook gained significant international recognition; however, he has now also been recognized for his built works around the world. His recent works, including the construction of his Art Museum in Graz, Austria (Kunsthaus) has brought his radical ideas to a wider public audience. He currently practices with Gavin Robotham as part of CRAB Studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau). 

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Donna van Milligen Bielke Wins Prix de Rome Architecture 2014

Cabinet of Curiosities / . Image Courtesy of Prix de Rome

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker has awarded architect Donna van Milligen Bielke the €40,000 2014. A 2012 graduate from the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, Van Milligen Bielke won the prize for her “radical and poetic intervention” – Cabinet of Curiosities – for the Hoogstraat in Rotterdam.

The Prix de Rome is the oldest and largest prize in the Netherlands for architects and visual artists under 40, previously awarded to alumnus Ronald Rietveld in 2006.

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Grimshaw Selected to Expand Peru’s International Airport

Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez. Image Courtesy of LAP

Grimshaw has landed a $950 million project for the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. As reported by the Architect’s Journal, Grimshaw will work with ARCADIS, CH2MHill and Ramboll to design a seven million square meter scheme that will include a new air traffic control tower and second terminal for the international airport. Designs are set to be revealed in 2015.

What Should Obama’s Presidential Library Look Like?

Columbia University: open space, throughout the community. Image © Alfonso Medina/T38 Studio via the Guardian

Barack Obama still has two years left in his presidency, but speculative planning for his Presidential Library has already begun for each of the four possible final locations. Just as the election of President Obama broke down historical precedents for who could hold office, could the design of his dedication library represent an architectural shift from previous libraries? This article by Lilah Raptopoulos from The Guardian presents four unofficial visions for the design of the new library, each of them from award-winning architects. Their bold design sketches expand our perceptions of what a presidential library could be, and explore new ways in which these libraries could serve their communities. See all four designs and read the full article from The Guardian entitled, “Obama’s presidential library: four radical visions of the future from top architects.”

Call For Proposals: Hello Nature!

Competition Site. Image Courtesy of

Combo Competitions’ latest ideas challenge, entitled Hello Nature!, centres on a site located in northern Sweden at the foot of a mountain (Omneberget), sat within an area called the High Coast (Höga Kusten) – which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This competition is looking for ”structures that celebrate nature”, which also involve elements of “both education and recreation, or – if you prefer – business and pleasure.” The wider question the competition poses is whether or not architecture can encourage involvement with nature. Previous Combo Competitions have included the London Cinema Challenge and Faith! A Place of Worship in London, both of which attracted a number of high quality proposals.

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Estonia Launches Competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu Passenger Terminal

The Pärnu Municipal Government (in West-) announces an open architectural competition for the Rail Baltic Pärnu passenger terminal.

The aim of the architectural competition is to find the best comprehensive spatial solution for Pärnu’s Rail Baltic passenger terminal and its immediate surroundings. The hope is to commission the construction design project for the terminal and its immediate surroundings from the winner of the competition, and the intention is to also include the winner in drawing up the detailed master plan for the area.

All individuals or groups where one co-author and representative of the design team has a certificate of professional qualification as an authorized architect can participate in the idea competition.

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Studios Kabako Wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Public performance in Kisangani. Image ©

Studios Kabako, a Congolese performance and theater studio founded by Faustin Linyekula in 2001, has won the 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize, a $100,000 annual award that honors practitioners who use design to address critical social needs and strengthen communities. Studios Kabako was selected for establishing a series of cultural programs and urban interventions within the city of Kisangani as a way to help communities deal with the aftermath of civil war through dance and the arts. A video about Studios Kabako, after the break.

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Judith Edelman, A “Firebrand for Women in Architecture, Dies at 91

New Settlement Community Campus; NYC (2012) / Dattner Architects and Edelman Sultan Knox Wood

Judith Edelman, FAIA, an American architect and feminist who hoped to rid architecture of its “gentleman’s club” status, has passed away at 91. Starting her career in an era when hiring “girls” wasn’t the norm, Edelman’s work to elevate has paved the way for many of today’s leading architects; She was the first woman ever elected to the executive committee of the AIA’s New York chapter and she helped co-found the Alliance of in 1972. Edelman’s built work, also highly admired, ranged from affordable housing to schools and health clinics, mostly in the New York City area. You can read Edelman’s here.

Spotlight: Sir Christopher Wren

Sir (20 October 1632 – 25 February 1723) is one the most significant architects in England‘s history, and was a recognized astronomer, scholar, and physicist-mathematician. Wren was classically trained at University of Oxford in physics and engineering where he developed his interest in architecture. He is perhaps most famous for designing London‘s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral, however he is credited with the design of dozens of other churches, government buildings, and hospitals in England. Wren was knighted in 1673.

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Haworth Tompkins: Who Are The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Winners?

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. Image © Philip Vile

This year’s RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist was seen by many as the strongest in years. The practice who emerged victorious, beating off competition from internationally recognised practices including Zaha Hadid ArchitectsRenzo Piano Building WorkshopMecanooO’Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley, was Haworth Tompkins: but who exactly are they? pinned his hopes on the successful Everyman Theatre before the award was announced, uncovering the practice’s rich history in designing performance spaces through a discussion with founding partner, Steve Tompkins. For Woodman, their theatre work “has left a legacy of spaces that count among the most beautiful and provocative created in Britain over the past twenty years.”

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Michael Graves Defends the Portland Building from Demolition Threats

The Portland Building in 1982. Photo by Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, Michael Graves attended a public conversation with Randy Gragg, director of The University of ’s John Yeon Center to discuss the Portland Building, America’s first postmodern building. The discussion centered around the famed, 1980s building’s many problems – “dark, leaky and claustrophobic” interiors,” pedestrian-unfriendly parking garage, and more – asking Graves for his advice on whether the city should update it or tear it down. His response, “The whole idea of tearing the building down, it’s like killing a child… I don’t know how to react to that.” Read all of Graves’ responses to tenant complaints here on the Oregon Live.

OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition 2015

River Spree in . Image © Flickr CC User caribb

The OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition is an international ideas competition, aimed at students and emerging practitioners, which is organized every four years by the Architecture Commission of  (International Organization of Scenographers, Technicians and Theatre Architects). The theme of the 2015 competition will be the design of a floating theatre to be moored at a particular location on the river Spree in Berlin, Germany, but capable of being moved to other sites on the river.

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Icsid Launches Bid for 2018 World Design Capital

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The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) has announced the launch of the World Design Capital® (WDC) application cycle for the 2018 designation, which will mark the sixth cycle for this global initiative. Icsid invites design effective from around the globe to submit bids that showcase the impact of design in their city and demonstrate examples of design as a development tool.

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Spotlight: Alejandro Zaera-Polo

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

Alejandro Zaera-Polo is an internationally recognized architect and scholar and founder of London, Zurich and Princeton based firm & Maider Llaguno Architecture (). First rising to prominence in the 1980s with his writings for publications such as El Croquis, Zaera-Polo has had a prolific career in both the academic and professional realms of architecture.

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8,000 Illuminated Balloons to Mark 9-Mile Stretch of Berlin Wall

Lichtgrenze (rendering) via the Chicago Tribune

25 years ago on November 9, East German protesters torn down the Berlin Wall. To commemorate this moment, the German capital plans to line the wall’s original 9-mile stretch with 8,000 illuminated, white balloons. The , named lichtgrenze or “light frontier,” will be open November 7. On the 9th, the balloons will be simultaneously released into the air to music provided by the Staatskapelle orchestra.

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#FairyTales2015: Blank Space Launches Architecture Storytelling Competition

© 2015

After the record breaking success of Fairy Tales 2014, with over 300 entries from 50 different countries, is excited to announce that the second edition of the competition is now open for registration. The Fairy Tales competition invites architects, designers, writers, artists, engineers, illustrators, students and creatives to submit their own unique architectural fairy tales. The scale, location, and program of the submission is up to each entrant. A successful entry crafts a text narrative, along with 5 images, in the most spectacular way possible.

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Call for Ideas: Rome Community Ring

In partnership with La Sapienza University, Progetto Forti and Rome municipality, (YAC) is launching a competition to redesign one of the treasures of Rome: Forte Portuense.

How can former military architecture be transformed into a leisure time and cultural focal point? The aim is to look for ideas worth triggering urban redevelopment, social cooperation and tourism.

This architecture will become part of a network of leisure time facilities a hair’s breadth away from the very core of Rome.

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Helsinki Announces Competition for City Centre High Rises

The Pasila district has been marked for development for some time. Above, a model of the area masterplan from 2006. Image © Flickr CC User Darren Webb

The city of Helsinki has announced plans for a design and build competition for a new commercial and residential district in Pasila, near the city centre. The competition, which calls for 8-10 buildings of 15 stories or more, will be part of the city’s drive to make Pasila the “second centre of ,” with a total of 150,000-200,000 square metres of residential and office space planned for the district. Read on after the break to find out more about the competition.

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