India’s Most Successful Architect: Improving India’s Slums or Exacerbating Social Gaps?

On what used to be a shantytown, Hafeez Contractor’s the Imperial Towers now loom over low-income apartments. Image © Mahesh Shantaram for The New York Times

“The Indian poor live in perpetual darkness, while the Indian rich live in perpetual light.” This fact is obviously embedded in Mumbai, where luxury condominiums rise in the middle of slums. Many of these extravagant buildings were designed by ’s most commercially successful architect, Hafeez Contractor, who believes his arrestive work is the beginning of slum redevelopment. Learn about his crusade and how he’s been criticized in this New York Times article by Daniel Brook.

AD Round Up: Architecture in Brazil II

Adriana Varejão Gallery / Tacoa Arquitetos. Image © Eduardo Eckenfels

World Cup coverage has brought Brazil to the forefront of the public’s attention. While the country’s hasty construction of 12 massive stadiums has received criticism, this article from Christopher Hawthorne at the LA Times reveals that Brazil is, now more than ever, a hotbed of architectural progress. In light of this, we’ve compiled some of our favorite works from this year’s World Cup host country, including: Tacoa ArquitetosAdriana Varejão Gallery, JPGN House by Macedo, Gomes & Sobreira, a welcome center by Rocco, Vidal + arquitetos, and Um House by Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados.  Also included is the 360° Building by Isay Weinfeld, Galeria House by MACh Arquitetos, Ipes House by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Lair Reis, a night club by Muti Randolph + Marcelo Pontes + Zemel + Chalabi Arquitetos, and NITSCHE ARQUITETOSBernard Luis housing condominium.  Enjoy!

Interested in Public-Interest Design? Apply to the Enterprise Rose Fellowship By July 10

A Rose Fellow working on a design project. Image Courtesy of Enterprise Partners

is a basic human need, but over 11 million families cannot afford a safe and stable place to live. In a crusade to change this sad fact, the Enterprise Rose Fellowship gives socially-minded architects the tools they need to pursue careers in affordable housing and community development. For more on the learning opportunity, head over to Next City and click here.

The World Cup Stadiums of Brazil, In Awesome Illustrations

© André Chiote

In celebration of the Brazil World Cup, architect and illustrator André Chiote has created a series of featuring the tournament’s most iconic stadiums. Comparing the social importance of these to cathedrals, Chiote believes that “the new architectural objects are landmarks in the cities that will perpetuate in the future as a cultural and social legacy,” and there are few better ways to envision this legacy than to treat the structures with his abstracted, colorful aesthetic – in Brazilian green and yellow, of course. Check out the full illustration set after the break.

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AD Round Up: Architecture in Singapore

The Star / Andrew Bromberg of Aedas. Image Courtesy of Aedas

BCI Asia recently released its top ten awards list for architecture firms in Singapore. In recognition of some of these firms, as well as the excellence of the built work across this sovereign city-state, we’ve collected some of our favorite projects from Singapore. In this round-up you’ll find a mall by Aedas, a house by Ong&Ong, and a theme park attraction by DP Architects - all firms that placed on BCI’s list. No less deserving of attention is this public library by LOOK Architects, a hospital by Broadway Malyan, an art school by WOHA. The Tangga House, Cluny House, and The Golden Box, designed by Neri & Hu, Guz Architects, and K2Ld respectively are also fabulous works. We hope you’ll enjoy these projects, as well as our full list of architecture in Singapore located here.

Lonberg-Holm: The Forgotten Architect, Remembered

Radio Broadcasting Station, Detroit by Knud Lonberg-Holm. Image Courtesy of

In one of his final interviews, Knud Lonberg-Holm quipped, “I’ve always been annoyed by rummaging through the past; the future interests me much more.” Not one to promote himself, the modernist architect all but disappeared after retirement, seemingly taking his contributions to architecture with him. After years of neglect, investigative research has finally unearthed just how influential Lonberg-Holm was. To learn about how he shaped information design (among many other things), continue reading Paul Makovsky’s exclusive article on Metropolis Magazine.

AD Round Up: Architecture in Vietnam

Hanoi Museum / gmp Architekten. Image © Marcus Bredt

There are few countries as architecturally diverse as Vietnam.  To celebrate this diversity, we’ve collected five of our favorite projects from this stylistically diverse country.  These include the grove-like Kontum Indochine Café, the towering, leafy Stacking green, and the sinuous Binh Duong School, all by Vo Trong Nghia + Shunri Nishizawa + Daisuke Sanuki.  We’ve also included the striking geometry that is the Folding Wall House by NHA DAN ARCHITECT, and the inverted pyramid of the Hanoi Museum by gmp Architekten.  Enjoy!

Shigeru Ban’s “Kooky” Architecture: Just What the World Needs?

Workers in Chengdu, China, assemble the Hualin Temporary Elementary School, designed by the Japanese architect after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Image Courtesy of Forgemind ArchiMedia

British writer Tim Abrahams finds Shigeru Ban‘s architecture ”kooky, Middle Earthy, Hobbity” – an opinion which earns him the title of “idiot” in the eyes of newly appointed Architecture for Humanity Executive Director Eric Cesal. In an article for the Boston Review, Stephen Phelan uses the pair’s opposing opinions to illustrate the Pritzker Prize winning architect’s perceived failures and successes. Read his very engaging take, here.

In Defense of Locatecture: Why We Should Move Away From Globalized Models Of Architecture

Gherkin, left. Hearst Tower, right. “Norma Foster’s Hearst Tower in New York seems less at home than does Britain’s ‘Gherkin’ in London”

“Today, European architects regularly work in the United States, Americans work in Europe, and everybody works in Asia. This of architecture would seem like a good thing for us and it’s obviously good for (many) architects. [...] Architecture, however, is a social art, rather than a personal one, a reflection of society and its values rather than a medium of individual expression. So it’s a problem when the prevailing trend is one of franchises particularly those of the globe trotters: Renzo, Rem, Zaha and Frank. It’s exciting to bring high-powered architects in from the outside. [...] But in the long-run it’s wiser to nurture local talent; instead of starchitects, locatects.”

In a fascinating piece for T MagazineWitold Rybczynski discusses the limitations of globalized architecture and makes the case for “locatecture” that has a “true sense of place.” Read the full article at T Magazine.

From Touring With Skrillex to Building A Community: A Musician-Turned-Designer Builds “Beautiful Things”

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Before starting down the arduous path of the life of a designer, those who have been there before you will insist on one thing: you must be passionate about what you do. Music brought Nathanael Balon to California, where he ended touring with his neighbor Sonny Moore (you probably know him as Skrillex). But 40 days into his second world tour he woke up wishing he were doing something else. Nathanael dreamed of building.

His desire to “build beautiful things” culminated in the creation of WoodSmithe, a company that designs and constructs retail environments, window displays and trade-show booths. Get a glimpse into Nathanael’s courageous move in the short video above and read on to find out about a group of people who have made bold decisions to follow their dreams.

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Four Design Firms’ Takes on Multigenerational Living

Namly House by CHANG Architects, A House for Multi-Generation Living. Image © Albert Lim K.S.

Multigenerational homes are nothing new. But with life expectancy increasing, young people staying longer in their childhood homes, and Baby Boomers aging, children, parents, and grandparents under the same roof might soon become the norm. To explore this possibility, Metropolis Magazine asked four design firms to consider what multigenerational living might look like in the future. Check out each unique take on sharing resources and space by reading the article here.

In Images: The Domino Sugar Factory’s Beautiful Decline

© Paul Raphaelson

Ten years after closing its doors, the Domino Sugar Refinery’s iconic forty-foot tall yellow sign is still legible along the waterfront, even from parts of Manhattan. The refinery, built in 1882, was once the largest in the world, producing over half of the sugar consumed in the United States. Sadly, the historic landmark will soon be demolished, making room for luxury living — and a handful of apartments for affordable housing, at mayor Bill de Blasio’s insistence. As time runs out, a photographer, photography editor, and historian are vying for the opportunity to thoroughly document the site and publish a book entitled Sweet Ruin: Fossils and Stories of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery.

The photographer, Paul Raphaelson, was recently given a day’s worth of access to the site by its owner, real estate development company Two Trees Management. Raphaelson was able to visit and photograph three of the refinery’s buildings, capturing the sugar-coated interiors of the hauntingly cavernous spaces. He hopes to revisit the site before it’s too late to take more photographs with the guidance of his two collaborators, photography editor Stella Kramer and historian Matthew Postal. For the compelling images and more details about the future publication, keep reading after the break.

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5 Awesome AutoCAD Tricks

Courtesy of CADline

Do you get excited when you discover a game-changing command on ? Don’t worry, us too – which is why we’re recommending five YouTube tutorials selected by Line//Shape//Space. To learn something new (like importing point cloud data or searching for text within your drawings), or just to brush up on your skills, click here.

New Harvard GSD Class Asks: Are Competitions Worth It?

’s 2009 render for the National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan, which was never built. Image Courtesy of -Bjarke Ingels Group

For small firms, design competitions can often feel like a Catch22 - enter and lose precious time and resources (usually for nothing) or avoid them – at the risk of losing out on the “big break.” Now a new class at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design takes on just this quandary, as well as the many other practical, theoretical, and moral implications of architectural competitions for the profession. Learn more at this article at the Harvard Gazette.

The Forgotten Modernist: Knud Lonberg-Holm

(1895-1972), a criminally overlooked but highly influential Modernist architect, photographer, and pioneer of information design. Image Courtesy of

Who is Knud Lonberg-Holm? An overlooked modernist architect, photographer, author, researcher, and teacher praised by the likes of Buckminster Fuller – one of his good friends and biggest advocates. To learn about the architect’s unsung accomplishments and the people determined to preserve his memory, check out Metropolis Magazine‘s article by clicking here.

BIG and Kilo Redesign Gropius’ Tableware Set

Courtesy of

TAC tableware – designed in the 1960s by Walter Gropius and influenced by the Bauhaus style – has been given new life by BIG and the industrial design studio Kilo. The new tableware set features the heritage blue skylines of twelve cities, including Copenhagen, London, and New York. To check out the full set and spot the likes of Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty, head to the manufacturer’s website by clicking here.

The Works of the Late João Filgueiras Lima, Brazilian Icon

JSN Residence ©

Last week one of the greatest icons of Brazilian architecture, , also known as , passed away. Photographer Joana França has shared with us photographs depicting the architect’s extensive repertoire - from his most classic works to some lesser-known gems.

See them all, after the break…

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Cape Town Adopts Re-Blocking Strategy for Informal Settlements

In Kuku Town, dwellings were rearranged to face a communal courtyard – where people can gather for activities and keep an eye on their neighbors and shared facitilies.. Image Courtesy of Future

The city of Cape Town has adopted a new strategy for improving informal settlements – re-blocking, “the reconfiguration and repositioning of shacks in very dense informal settlements in accordance to a -drafted spatial framework.” Re-blocking serves to create communal spaces, make neighborhoods safer, and improve dwelling structures – among many other things. To see how it has been implemented and where, head to Future Cape Town and continue reading here.