Examining China’s “Edifice Complex”

The ‘Pearl of the North’ (expected to complete 2018). Image Courtesy of

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Dinny McMahon and Yang Jie visit Shenyang – a “chilly industrial town” in north eastern China which was once the country’s capital (circa 1600). The city will soon be home to what’s being dubbed the ’Pearl of the North’, “a 111-floor office tower that will, briefly, be the seventh-largest in the world, dwarfing One World Trade Center.” The tower, designed by Atkins, is “symptomatic of China’s edifice complex,” McMahon notes – and the city is ”just getting started.” Read the article in full here.

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Spotlight: Thom Mayne

Courtesy of Princeton University Lecture Series

The principal architect of LA firm MorphosisThom Mayne was the recipient of the 2005 Pritzker Prize and the 2013 AIA Gold Medal, and is known for his experimental architectural forms, often applying them to significant institutional buildings such as the New York’s Cooper Union building, the Emerson College in Los Angeles and the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters.

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St. Peter’s Seminary: ‘La Tourette’ With “Scottish Inspirations”

Landscaped overview (proposed). Image Courtesy of ERZ Landscape Architects

In an article for The Guardian, explores the state and future of the Grade A listed Brutalist Seminary of St. Peter, “where the influence of Le Corbusier’s monastery of La Tourette combines with [...] Scottish inspirations.” Although the building is often seen as wholly unique in the canon of religious buildings, it is still comprised of traditional elements – “cloister, chapel, refectory, cells – but rearranged over multiple levels in unexpected ways, alternately enclosing and opening up to its surroundings.”

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Shelter Global Launches Dencity Competition 2015

© Shelter Global

Shelter is pleased to invite architects, planners, students, engineers, designers, thinkers, NGOs and organizations from all over the world to take part in the first annual Dencity Competition. Rapid world growth and urbanization is not allowing to adapt and provide for their inhabitants. Towns are quickly growing into , and some of the densest places in the world are comprised of makeshift homes, otherwise referred to as slums. Furthermore, already overcrowded have to absorb people leaving their rural hometown in hope of job opportunities. There are currently over 1 billion slum dwellers in the world. This number is expected to reach 2 billion by the year 2030. Now, more than ever, we need to play a central role in the development of substandard neighborhoods. Slums effect much more than just housing; they affect almost all living conditions and communities as a whole.

The intent of this competition is twofold: to foster new ideas on how to better handle the growing density of unplanned cities and to spread awareness of this massive problem. Contestants should consider how design can empower communities and allow for a self-sufficient future.

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Knight Cities Challenge Selects 126 Finalists

© Detroit Chapter’s Urban Priorities Committee

Last week, the Knight Foundation announced the 126 finalists for its Knight Cities Challenge. This Challenge was an open call for ideas on how to invigorate the 26 US communities that receive funding from the Foundation. Over 7,000 submissions were received, with ideas ranging from the installation of street arcades to the transformation of vacant city lots. The chose submissions from each of the 26 communities, selecting those that best encouraged community engagement, provided economic opportunity, and made the city a more attractive place to be. See the full list of finalists, here!

Hélène Binet: Fragments of Light

Firminy C, architecture by Le Corbusier, 2007, digital b-w silver gelatin print. Courtesy of ammann gallery. Image © Hélène Binet

In the wake of her selection as the recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award for 2015, Hélène Binet‘s work will be exhibited at the Woodbury University Hollywood (WUHO) Gallery in Los Angeles, . The , entitled Hélène Binet: Fragments of Light, will be open from February 28, 2015 to March 29, 2015, showcasing the highlights of the artist’s career as a renowned architectural photographer. The exhibition will be initiated with an opening reception and award ceremony on February 28, 2015 to honor Binet for her achievements. 

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Artplace Offering Grants for Cultural Installations

Courtesy of Artplace

Artplace America is offering up to $3 million in funding to an applicant non-governmental organization (NGO) in six different regions of the US as a part of its Community Development Investments program. Artplace will select these six organizations based on their interest in “sustainably incorporating arts and cultural strategies into the organizations work.” If selected, NGOs will work with financial advisement teams, as well as creative consultants to make the best use of the grant money. To see if your organization is eligible, click here!

“Narratives of History, Climate, Culture and Place” Abound in David Adjaye Retrospective

Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Starting January 29th, Munich‘s Haus der Kunst will host “Form, Heft, Material,” a major retrospective of the work of British architect David Adjaye. Co-curated by Okwui Enwezor and Zoe Ryan, the ’s broad catalogue reflects Adjaye’s diverse career and portfolio, including architectural projects alongside material experiments, research, and furniture design. Through sketches, models, prints, drawings, 1:1 building fragments, film, and text, “Form, Heft, Material” foregrounds Adjaye’s work against the rich geographical and social context that frames his design approach.

“The exhibition shows my work within the framework of a wider cultural and socio-political trajectory,” Adjaye said. “It marks an important moment in my career, as I increasingly seek to find ever new architectural scenarios for our fast-changing world, that nonetheless resonate with the powerful narratives of history, climate, culture and place.” “Form, Heft, Material” will be on display until May 31.

Title: : Form Heft Material
Website: http://www.hausderkunst.de/
Organizers: Haus der Kunst
From: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:00
Until: Sun, 31 May 2015 20:00
Venue: Haus der Kunst
Address: Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstraße 1, 80538 München, Germany

Allies and Morrison to Masterplan New City District in Oman

Wadi Kabir, Muscat. Image © Flickr User MOHAMMED RAFIQUE2011

The competition to masterplan Muscat, Oman’s new district, Al-Irfan, is over. Organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), five teams were chosen to submit proposals for the development project. Of those five, international firm Allies and Morrison has been selected to oversee the design process. The firm will be working in with the Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran) to develop a site of over 7.4 million square meters into a thriving urban center that will provide business and residential opportunities for the people of .

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On View in LA: “ZOOM” / Steven Christensen and Mads Christensen

© NO RELATION

Now on view until January 18 at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los AngelesZoom is an installation by the interdisciplinary collaborative NO RELATION, led by architect Steven Christensen and artist Mads Christensen. The project reflects upon the topic of scale, and the exuberant surface qualities one often observes in ordinary objects when magnified. The installation acts as a space multiplier, using form and light to produce an immersive and disorienting spatial experience at a scale seemingly larger than the project’s diminutive footprint.

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Renzo Piano On ‘Civic Duty’ In Our Cities

President Giorgio Napolitano and Renzo Piano (2012). Image Courtesy of La Repubblica

In The New Yorker’s latest Postcard from Rome  talks to Renzo Piano in his Senate Office at the Palazzo Giustiniani, just around the corner from the Pantheon. Piano, who was named a Senator for Life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in September 2013 (when he was 75 years of age), immediately “handed over the office, along with his government salary, to six much younger architects.” He then “asked them to come up with ways to improve the periferie - the often run-down neighborhoods that ring Rome and Italy’s other major .” Kolbert attests to Piano’s belief in the power of museums and libraries and concert halls. For him, ”they become places where people share values [and] where they stay together.” “This is what I call the civic role of architecture.”

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Rem Koolhaas and Dasha Zhukova: “Art Partners” Reinventing Moscow’s Garage Museum

February Cover . Image ©

Rem Koolhaas and art philanthropist will be gracing the WSJ. Magazine’s February cover as “art partners” embarking on a transformation that will turn a ruined Brezhnev-era Communist landmark – the Vremena Goda in Moscow’s Gorky Park – into the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s new home. “The building is basically a found object,” said Koolhaas, regarding his “raw” design and intent to preserve the structure’s decay. “We are embracing it as it is.”

The museum’s new home will “challenge the white-cube tradition of Western museums,” says Zhukova. A double layer of polycarbonate plastic will encase the intact structure so it appears as a translucent box hovering six feet above ground. Commissioned artworks will be presented on a backdrop of “raw brick and broken tiles.” Learn more about the Garage’s design, here, and read the WSJ. Magazine’s full report, here.

The Berlage’s Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design: Architectural Education in the Age of Global Practice

Courtesy of

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the built environment continues to be redefined on an unprecedented scale by global shifts of culture, economy, and geopolitical structures. and countrysides are transforming differently from country to country; national and local governments continue to define specific legal frameworks impacting building practice; and value systems and social norms remain strongly bound to culture. At the same time, different regions around the world deal with similar changes, from urban sprawl and rapid urbanization to the consequences of an aging population and the lifestyle challenges of the middle class.

In the last two decades the spread of professional skills and new technologies around the world expanded the market for international design services. The looming new role of global professionals raises crucial questions regarding the knowledge and expertise of architects and urban designers: How can we learn from different cultures of building all over the globe? How can designers perform within the clash of cosmopolitanism and localism?  Which design strategies and research approaches mediate between international and local conditions? How can a globally oriented designer engage with local mores and trades? Do practitioners who operate internationally have an ethical duty to assist in transferring new skills to local architects? These considerations underscore how globalism is affecting every practitioner, even those who never leave their home nations.

Drawings, technologies, clients, and workforces flow easily between networked continents and cultures. Yet designers are often confronted with the intractability of local circumstances. How can architects and urban designers critically contribute to the construction of a borderless, cosmopolitan culture that transcends national borders and identities?

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Call For Entries: RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship 2015

Call For Entries: 2015. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The 2015 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has launched and is inviting applications from schools of architecture around the world. A £6,000 grant will be awarded to one student by a panel of judges which will include Lord Foster and the current President of the , Stephen Hodder. First established in 2006, the scholarship is now in its eighth year and is designed to fund international research on a topic related to the survival of our towns and in a location of the student’s choice.

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Registration Now Open: AIA Convention 2015

Courtesy of

Registration is now open for AIA Convention 2015, one of the largest and annual gatherings of architects and design professionals in the US. This year’s much-anticipated schedule includes: President Bill Clinton’s day one keynote address, 300+ career-changing workshops, seminars, tours, and events led by visionaries, grassroots champions, change agents, and rising stars. A dynamic expo floor turned into a temporary built environment with hundreds of exhibitors, first looks, and surprises. All the details can be found, here. ArchDaily will see you there!

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Open Call: POP-UP 2015

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The (SPP) invites architects and architecture students to submit design ideas to the 2015 SPP Small Project Design Competition – POP-UP 2015: “A Safe Space.” In this unique design competition, submitters are asked to design a discreet, compact and efficient shelter for the homeless. The fully constructed and completed winning design will be donated to the local non-for-profit partner, The Mad Housers, for use by their clients and program participants.

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Taliesin West Reconstructed as Largest Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO® Model

© Andrew Pielage Photography

Architectural LEGO® artist Adam Reed Tucker has summoned a team of kids to help him rebuild Taliesin West as the largest Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO® structure in history. Unveiled this past Thursday, the eight by four foot model was comprised of more than 180,000 standard LEGO® parts. Tucker spent 40 hours researching and studying the project, 120 hours designing and 260 hours constructing the final model. Taliesin West, nestled in Scottsdale, Arizona’s Sonoran desert, was the winter home of Wright and is home of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. It remains one of the most visited Wright sites in the world.

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Society of Architectural Historians 68th Annual International Conference

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The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) will hold its 68th Annual International Conference in Chicago, Illinois, from April 15–19, 2015, with the theme “Chicago at the Global Crossroads.” SAH will celebrate its 75th anniversary during the conference, which includes lectures by Jeanne Gang and , as well as roundtables and 36 paper sessions covering topics in architecture, art and architectural history, preservation, landscape architecture, and the built environment. SAH is committed to engaging both conference attendees and local participants with public programming that includes over 30 architectural tours, a plenary talk, and a half-day seminar addressing Chicago’s waterways and neighborhoods. Register at sah.org/2015.

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