RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals A “Mixed Picture”

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for January 2015 has revealed strong levels of optimism as workload forecasts remain strongly positive across all regions of the UK. Following little change in indexes between November and December 2014, the workload index has once again remained consistent at +29. Workload forecast balance figures have remained high, the highest numbers being reported from practices in Northern Ireland at +67 (from +50) and at +57 (from +75). Furthermore, practices of all sizes have been responding with positive workload prospects heading into the next quarter.

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Competition Seeks Architects to Redesign Downtown Cleveland’s Main Avenue Bridge Underpass

© Downtown Alliance

Downtown Cleveland Alliance seeks a creative professional or team (architect, designer, artist, engineer, landscape architect or combination thereof) to propose unique and attractive design solutions for the area under and around the Main Avenue Bridge Underpass, centered at the intersection of West 9th Street and Main Avenue in Downtown Cleveland. This location is a critical pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular connection between the Warehouse District and the Flats East Bank, with infrastructure, history, and functional potential to inspire the highest level of creative treatments. Request for Qualifications are due Friday, March 6th by 4:30pm! More information, here.

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Calling All Visionaries: Jacque Rougerie Competition Seeks Evolutionary Designs for Sea and Space

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The Jacques Rougerie Foundation is now accepting registrants for its annual international architecture competition. Open to architects, engineers, and designers, the competition aims to inspire socially and environmentally conscious designs that utilize developing techniques for a sustainable future, enabling society to grow with its built environment. Composed of three categories in keeping with the foundation’s focus – Innovation and Architecture for the Sea, Innovation and Architecture for Space, and Architecture and Sea Level Rise – the registration period ends June 2, 2015 and the winning proposals from each category will be announced at an award ceremony in December 2015. For full rules and registration information, visit here.

Open Call: Competition to Re-Structure Seoul’s Seunsangga Citywalk

The Site

The objective of the “Re-Structuring Seunsangga Citywalk” competition in is to renovate the deck and nearby public space of Seunsangga Complex to improve the pedestrian environment and connect with surrounding areas of various nature and thereby re-establish a pedestrian axis from north to south through Bukaksan Mountain, Jongmyo~Seunsangga Complex, and Namsan Mountain. Not only is Seunsangga Complex ’s “urban-architectural heritage,” it is a compound of history, culture and industry that connects the surrounding area and various activities.

This project will revitalize Seunsangga Complex’s status as a center of pedestrian axis and urban industry by creating a space with new cultural value that will breathe life into the Seun District. The winning commission will be awarded “Phase 1 design contract.” More information and registration details, here.

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Now is Time to Apply to Bauhaus Lab 2015

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The Foundation Bauaus Dessau is accepting letters of interest now through March 31 to participate in the upcoming 2015. The program, open internationally to post-graduates of architecture, curatorial, fine arts, and design programs, will run from May 4 through August 9, 2015. Eight applicants will be selected to participate by an international jury by April 4. Read on after the break for more information.

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Spotlight: Frank Gehry

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Born in 1929, internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry has been headlining architectural news platforms since he established his Los Angeles practice in 1962 and remodeled his home in Santa Monica. Notorious for his expressive use of form (and its sometimes inflationary effect on project budgets), Gehry is best known for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which fellow architect Philip Johnson once dubbed “the greatest building of our time.”

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Spotlight: Lúcio Costa

Lúcio Costa. Image via archi.ru. ImageLúcio Costa

Brazilian planner, preservationist and modernist thinker Lucio Costa  (27 Feburary 1902 – 13 June 1998) is best known for his 1957 plan of Brasília that shaped the Brazilian capital into a monument to utopian modernism. A resolute and often controversial figure in the Brazilian establishment, Costa’s contributions to Brazilian architecture helped to shape the distinctive modernism that was practically Brazil’s official style until the 1980s.

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URBAN TALES to Explore the Future of Cities

‘New St James’ Park’. Image Courtesy of Ned Scott

URBAN TALES will showcase three distinct architectural artwork series exploring visions of narrative based city redevelopments. Featuring Presidents Medal-winning work, these original and engaging threads of imagery from UCL architecture graduates Ned Scott, Nick Elias and Anja Kempa objectify fiction and challenge political reality. The exhibitors question the role of architecture in a changing world and use fictional narratives to design fantastical, but possible, cities. URBAN TALES will kick off with an opening party on Friday, March 6 and remain on view through April 10, 2015 at Carousel London. Read on to learn more.

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AIA Awards Two with 2015 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

Novartis Campus / Gehry Partners – A project with Transsolar KlimaEngineering. Image © Flickr CC user Novartis AG

The Lyceum Fellowship Inc. and Transsolar KlimaEngineering have been awarded the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The annual award is intended to “recognize and encourage distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.” Both winners will be honored at the 2015 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta.

Two Architects Selected to Receive the 2015 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award

New Century Plan. Image © UC Berkeley

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Thomas E. Lollini, FAIA, and Thomas Luebke, FAIA, to receive the 2015 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, recognizing their excellence for architectural advocacy and achievement. This year’s award recipients will be honored at the 2015 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. Learn more about the winners, after the break.

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Last Call: Architects Summoned to Envision Public Space for Moscow’s Kristall City

© CENTER Agency of Strategic Development

Architects interested in proposing ideas for a new public space in , a former territory of legendary distillery, have until Tuesday (February 24) to submit applications. Organized by KRAYS development and the CENTER Agency of Strategic Development, the competition is calling on all architects and designers to consider three sites to host the cities premier public space. The newly developed area aims to “share the future look of the quarter” and establish a “new type of public space made out of form industrial city territories. Learn more and apply, here.

Defensive Architecture Creates Unlivable Cities

"Anti-homeless" spikes installed in . Image © Christopher Thomond via the Guardian

To many, the harsh turns the modern city has taken are not apparent. We see benches and bus stops that masquerade as shelters, but Guardian writer Alex Andreou’s sudden plunge into homelessness opened his eyes to the hostile realities of these and other structures. In “Anti-Homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’,” he sheds some light on misconceptions about homelessness and explains the unfortunate trend of designing unlivable architecture to deter those affected.

From pavement sprinklers to concrete sidewalk spikes, the modern city is littered with defensive techniques, discouraging the homeless from habitation and encouraging instead an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to make spaces more comfortable for others. However Andreou argues that the dehumanizing effects of these harsh gestures affect everyone, acting as physical manifestations of society’s intolerance and making public spaces that bit less welcoming for us all – homeless or not. Read the full article, here.

Spotlight: Louis Kahn

Looking at His Tetrahedral Ceiling in the Yale University Art Gallery, 1953. Gelatin silver print. Image © Lionel Freedman. Yale University Art Gallery Archives Transfer.

Louis Kahn, (February 20th 1901 – March 17th 1974) was born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky in Pärnu, in what is now Estonia. His family emigrated to Philadelphia when he was just a child, where Kahn would remain for the rest of his life, completing many of his later works there. Though he did not arrive at his distinctive style until his early 50s, and despite his death at the age of just 73, Kahn became known for combining with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments, and in a span of just two decades came to be considered by many as part of the pantheon of modernist architects which included Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

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Pro Bono Architecture and Designing for the Public Interest

New Carver Apartments / Michael Maltzan Architecture. Image © Iwan Baan via

Speaking of the public image of the architect, Stephanie Garlock laments that it is often akin to “Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark— arrogant, individualistic, and committed to the genius of artistic vision above all.” In a feature piece for the March/April edition of Harvard Magazine, Garlock explores the potential for architects to affect wider social change and move “[b]eyond ‘Design for Design’s Sake’.”

From John Peterson’s pro-bono architecture nonprofit Public Architecture to Michael Murphy’s MASS Design Group (MASS shorthand for Model of Architecture Serving Society), the article examines the ways in which the line between “architect as artist” and “architect as social actor” can be eroded. Providing commentary on the “traditional mode of corporate architecture,” Garlock reiterates the importance of designing for the public interest and a cross-disciplinary approach that incorporates professionals in proximal fields of planning, landscape architecture, and urban design. Read the full article here.

Co-Housing Movement Sweeps through Europe

R50 – Cohousing / ifau und Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH. Image © Andrew Alberts

In the Spanish suburb of Alfafar, conditions were looking grim as economic hardships plunged over 40% of its residents into unemployment and left significant portions of its housing vacant. In response, a group of young architects have developed a co-housing plan for the area to accommodate its shifting needs, enabling residents to exchange and share space as needed. Using the existing buildings as the framework, the line between public and private will evolve over time with changing conditions, following in the footsteps of other European countries that have successfully employed similar undertakings. Read more about Alfafar’s plan, here.

2015 Pritzker Prize to be Announced March 23rd

© The Hyatt Foundation / The

We’ve just learned that the Pritzker Prize will be announced on Monday, March 23rd at 10am EDT. This prize — architecture’s most prestigious — has been awarded annually since 1979. Past winners include Philip JohnsonZaha HadidRem KoolhaasOscar NiemeyerNorman Foster and Toyo Ito (full list). You can see ArchDaily’s coverage of the prize here. Stay tuned for the latest updates on this year’s winner. Who do you think deserves to win?

Which Architect Could Restore The Glasgow School Of Art?

School of Art, Eric De Mare. Image © RIBA Photographs Collection

With the Charles Rennie Mackintosh retrospective opening today at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London Rowan Moore, writing for The Guardian, asks ”which architect could restore Mackintosh’s masterpiece [in Glasgow]?” The Glasgow School of Art, parts of which were devastated by fire in May of last year, is in the process of selecting a restoration architect from a shortlist of five. Yet for Moore ”there are examples of clumsiness and stodginess in some of the past projects of those included that should be allowed nowhere near the School of Art.”

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Symposium: Model Making In The Digital Age

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An upcoming conference at the University of Manchester will tackle the idea of In The Digital Age. Based on the premise that the world of architecture is dominated by digital tools today more than ever, from design and manufacturing to the ways in which we visualise complex spaces and structures physically and virtually, this symposium seeks to shed new light on the practice of model making and its uses.

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