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.”

What is Evidence Based Design Journal?

Courtesy of EBD

Performative spaces must now be designed to evolve as rapidly as the needs of those that occupy them. This new publication provides detailed design strategies, case studies and the latest advances in the use of new technologies to illustrate the ways in which evidence can be integrated into the design process. 

Driven by enormous advances in ICT, the world is experiencing a period of unprecedented social change—one that has placed extraordinary demands on our built environments, and on our understanding about how they work for the people that actively occupy them. The impact of social interaction on our health and sense of wellbeing is now also recognised as a significant driver in the design of new environments and the need for ongoing research.

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Rem’s Kit of Parts: Exhaustive and Exhausting, Mad and Maddening

Courtesy of OMA

In “Elements,” an exhibition and accompanying book for the 2014 Venice Architecture BiennaleRem Koolhaas seeks to explore the omnipresent components of buildings that have never been intentionally articulated by architectural theory. Breaking down the history of architecture into its fundamental components, the text is divided into 15 volumes and functions as “a technophilic treatise on the state of architectural thinking in the twenty-first century.” Despite providing lessons in architectural history, does the book deliver a compelling synthesis of all its parts? In his full review of the book for Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina argues that Koolhaas “fails to unpack the language of his argument,” resulting in a book that is “ambitious, overreaching, maddening” – much like the exhibition itself. Read the full review here.

Can You Imagine a City Without Air Conditioners?

is pioneering an underground cooling system that could cut 80% of carbon emissions compared to conventional air conditioning. Image © Flickr CC User Justin Swan

Despite Finland’s relatively cool temperatures, climate changes have made heat waves more common in Northern Europe, and the demand for cooling buildings in summer is increasing. Instead of installing air conditioners for individual buildings, Helsinki is pioneering a vast network of underground infrastructure that pumps cold water from lakes and seas into local buildings. Beneath an unassuming park in downtown Helsinki sits a reservoir containing nearly 9 million gallons of water that is recycled and cooled by waste energy after it is used for cooling, replacing the need for air conditioning in the city and cutting carbon pollution by 80%. Read more about this undertaking in this article from Fast Co. Exist.

90 of Mankind’s Greatest Architectural Achievements

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Hagia Sophia, Guggenheim Bilbao, and Burj Khalifa are amongst 90 structural feats in which Pop Chart Lab has deemed to be “mankind’s greatest architectural achievements since prehistory.” Each are hand-drafted and presented on this blueprint-style infographic to commemorate great architecture.

Do you agree with their selection? Let us know what you consider to be mankind’s greatest architectural achievement in the comment section after the break.

Competition: Re-Imagining The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Imagine: After three years of careful dismantling, moving,  painstakingly re-assembling and most importantly, restoring, John Notman’s historic Athenæum building has finally arrived at its new location in Fairmount Park, where it will serve as the headquarters of  the newly formed chapter of the Friends of Brownstone (PhilaFOB). Flush with government funding from lottery and fracking  revenue, PhilaFOB made the Athenæum Board of Directors an offer it  couldn’t refuse.  So now, for the first time since 1845, the lot at 6th & St. James Streets  is vacant, and the Athenæum, still a vital independent lending and  research library, with growing architectural and design collections,  must re-imagine itself without its historic building. Given its  location and its corporate purposes, what might a mid-21st century  Athenæum look like?

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Minga Valpo: Architects and Sustainable Reconstruction in Valparaíso, Chile

Courtesy of Minga Valpo

After the fire this past April in Valparaíso, Chile, a group of young architects went to the port city to develop a reconstruction project based on energy efficiency, recycled , and adaptability to Valparaíso’s topographic context. The Minga Valpo project has not only achieved these objectives, but it has also allowed families to help build their own houses. In a mere three months, Minga Valpo has already built three houses.

Take a look at photographs of the project and read the architects’ description after the break. 

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Frank Gehry’s “Haute Couture” Art Gallery for the Fondation Louis Vuitton

The Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne is set to open this fall. Image © victortsu via Flickr

Because of – rather than in spite of - Frank Gehry‘s seeming inability to design something rectilinear, CEO of Louis Vuitton Bernard Arnault specifically sought him out to design the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a private art gallery in Paris. Arnault asked Gehry to create something worthy of the foundation’s first artistic act; “a haute couture building.” The resulting glass palace is immediately recognizable as a Frank Gehry design, with a form that conjures images of sailboats and fish. In this article for Vanity Fair, Critic Paul Goldberger considers the building within the prestigious history of Paris museums, and within Gehry’s larger body of work. Click here to read the story.

Dive Into ArchDaily Materials, Our Latest Tool

Dear Readers,

In December of last year, we announced the launch of our latest innovation: ArchDaily Materials, our new US product catalog.

Materials will make more useful for you. When you come to our site to browse our projects, and come across certain facades, lighting, or any other kind of detail you admire, Materials allows you to instantly access the makers of those architectural products, so you can incorporate them into your own projects. It’s Inspiration, Materialized.

We wanted to update you now and let you know how Materials has grown over the last five months. Since launching, we’ve added 31 categories that let you easily explore our 286 products. We’ve added a useful link from the product page to the project page – allowing you to see the material applied in all its glory. Following your feedback, we’ve even added construction details and specs to project pages. And we’ve partnered with some amazing manufacturers, including: Hunter Douglas, Equitone, Sherwin Williams, Alucobond, VMZinc, and Big Ass Fans.

Today, we’re happy to report 466,000 pageviews and counting! However, we know we’re still in the early stages yet. Take a moment to explore this inspirational resource by clicking on Materials at the top of the page (between Articles & Interviews), share it with your friends, and let us know how it can be more useful to you!

Sincerely,

The ArchDaily Team

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 brings an economic benefit to cities 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.

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 .

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 Seoul’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.

What Happened to Manhattan’s Lowline Project?

Courtesy of James Ramsey and

In 2011, the Tribeca-based design duo of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch proposed a radical project to transform an abandoned subterranean trolley terminal in Manhattan‘s Lower East Side into an underground park filled with natural light and vegetation, eventually proving their design with a full size mock-up of their design for light-capturing fiber-optic tubes. Since then, they haven’t had nearly the same level of publicity – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still working. This article by The Architects’ Newspaper catches up with Ramsey and Barasch as they attempt to make their $50 million project a reality by 2018. Read the full article here.

World Photo Day: Tim Hursley by Andrew Freear of Rural Studio

Rose Lee House / Auburn University . Image © Tim Hursley

In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked 15 architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Andrew Freear of Rural Studio writes on behalf of Tim Hursley.

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World Photo Day: Pedro Pegenaute by Neri & Hu Design and Research Office

The Waterhouse at South Bund / Neri & Hu. Image ©

In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Neri & Hu writes on behalf of Pedro Pegenaute.

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AD Round Up: Architecture of the Soviets

Druzhba Recreation and Retreat Centre - Yalta, Ukraine. Image © Frédéric Chaubin via edgecast.metatube-files.buscafs.com

During the Soviet Union’s relatively brief and tumultuous history, the quest for national identity was one that consumed Russian . The decadence of Czarist society was shunned, and with it, the neoclassical architecture the Czars so loved. Communism brought with it an open frontier for artistic experimentation, particularly where public buildings were involved. It was on this frontier that Russian Constructivism was born, and some of Russia’s greatest buildings were built.  This article on EnglishRussia.com compiles a list of some of the “best of the best” in —and we liked it so much that we’ve compiled our own top ten list! See all of our favorite Soviet projects, after the break!

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What Urbanists Can Learn From Low-Income Neighborhoods

Courtesy of Metropolis Magazine

“For the most part, the way urbanists view black neighborhoods (and other low-income neighborhoods and communities of color) are as problems that need to be fixed. At the heart of what I want to say is what can we as urbanists learn from these neighborhoods?” So asks Sara Zewde, a landscape architecture student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and this year’s Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Olmsted Scholar, in a fascinating profile on Metropolis Magazine. Read more about Zewde and her work here.

WorldWide Storefront Winners’ Two-Month Program Begins September 19

Winning entry “Circus for Construction” by Ann Lui, Ashley Mendelsohn, Larisa Ovalles, Craig Reschke, and Benjamin Widger. Image Courtesy of Storefront for Art and Architecture

Starting September 19th, the ten winners of WorldWide Storefront (WWSf) – an initiative by Storefront for Art and Architecture to create alternative spaces for the expression/exchange of art/architecture – will open across the globe for the next two months. While one winning proposal invites artists to travel the world on commercial freight ships, another will host exhibits and events out of a traveling semi-truck in the . For the full list of winners and more information, click here.