Cities Need Big Changes to Become Bike Friendly

A bicyclist in Vancouver, Canada. Image © Flickr CC User Paul Krueger

A new study has found that cities need to make big infrastructural changes, rather than small ones, in order to become more bike friendly. As this article from Fast Company explains, small increases in bicycle usage lead to more accidents, which in turn makes others afraid to make the switch from driving to riding. However, the study found that heavy investment in cycling infrastructure brings an economic benefit to in the long run, largely thanks to savings from reduced healthcare costs. To learn about the long-term benefits of big biking investments, click here.

Influential Scottish Architect Andy MacMillan Dies Aged 85

Courtesy of

Professor Andy MacMillan, one of Scotland‘s most important post-war architects, died suddenly this weekend during this year’s Royal Incorporation of Architects in (RIAS) Andrew Doolan Awards visits. Macmillan was a professor at the Glasgow School of Art from 1973 to 1994, and a partner at Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966. More on MacMillan’s legacy after the break.

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A Future Without Slums: Too Good to be True?

© Denis De Mesmaeker

As the tide of urban migration sweeps across the developing world, cities experience an overpowering pressure to provide basic services such as electricity and sewage treatment to an enormous amount of people building illegal shacks on city outskirts. When they fail, the slum is born – but is it possible for a city to expand without slums? In Hanoi, Vietnam, officials hope to answer this question, with a number of tactics that have led to a “culture of semi-legal construction.” Read this article in The Guardian to learn how  manages to curb slums and provide a basic standard of living to its poorest inhabitants.

“Expansion and Conflict”: 13th International Docomomo Conference 2014

Courtesy of Docomomo International

How has the advancement of the Modern Movement design ethos, through geo-political expansion from the Western world, challenged the cultural foundation and aesthetic heritage of Asia?

The 13th International Docomomo Conference, hosted in Asia for the first time, seeks to explore the powerful complexities of expansion and . Examining the effects of the expansion of a Eurocentric design philosophy into distinctly individual, pre-existing yet violently colonized cultures, the organization declares that “ is not necessarily a pejorative but…a challenge for the future.”

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Should China put Design Restrictions on New Developments?

Apartments in Shenzhen. Image © Neville Mars under a CC licence

China may be at a turning point in urban design: a recent article in Australian Financial Review points out that over 50 million apartments in Chinese cities (about 22.5 percent) are unoccupied. This problem springs from the ongoing Chinese construction boom, prompted by developers looking to stimulate urban economic growth as quickly as possible. However, Ma Yansong of MAD Architects believes these empty apartments are a sign that buyers find them unsuited to their needs, and that China should begin to enforce good design principles on these rapidly-constructed complexes. Read the full article here.

What Are the Best Things About Life in the City?

Turns out it’s not the big buildings and big crowds that draw people to . Image © Flickr CC User Ed Yourdon

Contrary to popular belief, the most visible aspects of cities – new, shiny buildings and crowds of people – aren’t really why people around the world are drawn to city life. Curious about the overwhelming trend toward global urbanization, design firm surveyed 1,000 people in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Austin, San Francisco and Washington DC to discover the most beloved elements of cities. Finding differences across regions and between generations, this article on Fast Company explores the humble and often surprising reasons we adore city living. Read the full article for more.

Neri&Hu: Redefining the Meaning of ‘Made in China’

Design Collective / Neri & Hu. Image © Shen Zhonghai

When Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu arrived in Shanghai in 2000, working on a project for Michael Graves, they had no plans to stay. “Three months turned into six, then eight,” said Neri of his first visit; fourteen years later, Neri & Hu Design and Research Office operates from with more than 100 multi-disciplinary staff. The firm has developed a reputation for their original designs in a landscape dominated by duplicate architecture. In a recent article in The Star Online, Leong Siok Hui maps Neri & Hu‘s road to success, featuring their work on Design Collective and The Waterhouse at South Bund. Read more here.

20 Productivity Apps to Help Make Your Life Easier On Sale Now

Need some help being productive or organizing your life? Ranging from Clear, an app that helps create tasks, reminders and to-do lists, to Grafio, which lets you organize your thoughts via diagrams, Apple has put 20 productivity in the iOS App Store on sale.

The apps range from $0.99 to $6.99, and some are up to 60% off their normal selling price. Check out all 20 on the iOS App Store’s “Amazing Productivity Apps” section.

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Amsterdam is “Dirty, Filthy, and Too Full”

Dutch Canal Houses. Image © James Taylor-Foster

Wim Pijbes, director of ’s Rijksmuseum, has declared in an open letter to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that the Dutch capital is “dirty, filthy, and too full.” Complaining primarily about the culture of short-stay accommodation, segways, scooters and canal cruisers in the historic heart of the city, he argues that “the charm and spirited character has long since faded.” Amsterdam, an apparent magnet for those who enjoy an “anything-goes atmosphere,” faces an uphill battle in order to remold a dwindling reputation.

Initiatives like Project 1012, which seeks to put a cap on (and even shut down) some of the brothels and marijuana ‘coffee shops’ in the city’s historic core, is part of a wide-reaching clean up campaign. For Feargus O’Sullivan however, “if Amsterdam loses its sense of license, its aura of permissiveness, and its immaculate order held in delicate balance, then it will lose some of its delight, its uniqueness – even its Dutchness.” Read his article in The Atlantic’s Citylab in full here.

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Does Australia Need More Design Competitions?

© Flickr – User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

Architecture competitions offer an opportunity for architects to launch their careers, and in some cases generate unexpected designs in the process. Many iconic works of architecture, including the famous Sydney Opera House, were the result of open design competitions – but do architecture competitions today maintain the influence they might have had in the past? While critics in the United States have recently argued that it could be time to quit competitions, Donald Bates argues that Australians should be organizing more. In his article on The Conversation, Bates discusses the state of design competitions in Australia, and why we should take another look. Read the full article here.

Amale Andraos Named Dean of Columbia GSAPP

. Image via Architect’s Newspaper

New York-based architect and co-founder of WORKac, Amale Andraos, has been selected as the new dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), the Columbia Spectator has reported. Andraos will assume the position on September 1, replacing Mark Wigley who announced his retirement last year.

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Spotlight: Jean Nouvel

© Artribune

“My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today.”

Today is the 69th of the great French architect and designer, Jean NouvelThe winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions, resulting in a variety of projects that – while strikingly different – always demonstrate an interesting use of light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. More on the Pritzker-winning architect, after the break.

His variety of work can be seen in such acclaimed works as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier and. Nouvel also has a series of notable projects currently in the works, such as the New Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Art Museum of China.

In honor of his birthday, take a moment to revisit Nouvel’s previous works on ArchDaily.

Future Ground Competition Open for Registration

Courtesy of Van Alen Institute

What will New Orleans look like in one year? Ten years? Fifty years? The Future Ground design competition, hosted by the Van Alen Institute, is looking for multidisciplinary teams help shape the city’s future by answering these questions. The competition is specifically looking for teams to “generate flexible design and policy strategies to reuse vacant land in , transforming abandoned landscapes into resources for the city.”

Request for qualification applications are due September 29, 2014 and the three winning teams will be announced the following month. These three teams will be awarded $15,000 to participate in a six-month research and design process alongside national experts and local stakeholders. The outcome of their research will be socially, economically, and ecologically sensitive solutions that the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) can implement and other can replicate.

For more information, click here.

Joseph Rykwert among the Winners of the 2014 UIA Prizes

© Pawel MazurI CC Krakow

At the UIA World Congress last week, Joseph Rykwert was awarded the Jean Tschumi Prize for his work in architectural criticism and teaching over the past six decades. The prize adds to a fantastic year for Rykwert in which he received the RIBA Gold Medal and was awarded a CBE by the Queen. Read on after the break for all the winners of the 2014 Prizes.

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In Discussion With David Adjaye

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Image © Adjaye Associates

In an interview with Rowan Moore for The Observer, British born architect David Adjaye discusses his work, personality and ambitions as head of the one of the fastest growing internationally operating practices. With Moore’s immersive descriptions and expertly written narrative, the “breadth of Adjaye’s vision” becomes apparent. Featuring precise descriptions of some his upcoming projects, including the designs for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and a number of smaller buildings in London, Moore’s discussion ultimately explores Adjaye’s early (and successful) steps into the African architectural market. You can read the interview in full here.

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KPF’s Lotte World Tower Jeopardized by Mysterious Sinkholes

Courtesy of DBOX Branding & Creative for

Construction is well underway for KPF’s Lotte World Tower in Seoul, however the mysterious appearance of sinkholes in the surrounding area – as reported by CNN - has brought on a slew of safety concerns. Authorities have been unable to determine the cause of the sinkholes which have appeared in a number of locations around ’s Songpa District, although they have ruled out sewerage as a possibility. To learn more about the bizarre phenomenon putting the 123-story tower under scrutiny, click here.

Spotlight: Joshua Prince-Ramus

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the 45th of Joshua Prince-Ramus. Receiving a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Yale, Prince-Ramus graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1996. He was one of the founding principals of OMA’s New York office, eventually buying out Rem Koolhaas’s share of the company in 2006 to form a separate office entirely: REX. Prince-Ramus continues as head of the firm to this day.

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Spotlight: Peter Eisenman

. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com

Renowned architect, theorist and educator Peter Eisenman turns 82 today. Eisenman initially rose to fame in the late ‘60s, as part of the New York Five, a group that shared an interest in the purity of architectural form. Eisenman’s work, whether built, written or drawn, is characterized by Deconstructivism, with an interest in signs, symbols and the processes of meaning-making always at the foreground. As such, Eisenman has at times been a controversial figure in the architectural world, professing a disinterest in environmental sustainability.

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