If Architects Love Technology, Why Are Their Websites So Bad? 5 Tips for a Better Site

The original version of this article, entitled “Why (Most) Architects Don’t Get Digital,” first appeared on UXB London.

For super smart people who spend so much time imagining the future, it seems odd that, when it comes to digital, architects are so stuck in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I love architecture and hold the profession in high regard. But I’m mystified as to why the digital revolution has been largely ignored by a profession so proud of integrating emerging technologies.

We recently carried out some research as part of a commission to develop a digital strategy for an established practice in London. We wanted to check the state of mobile adoption in the sector. We figured a good place to start would be the big guns, the award winners, and the ones that others want to be.

We made up our list* and visited each practice on a smartphone. Oh dear. I wouldn’t advise you to do this – it’s a dispiriting experience that could make your fingers hurt and your eyes bleed.

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In Honor of Pi Day, A Round-Up of Round Architecture

Happy Pi Day everyone! To celebrate the circle and its influence on architecture, we’ve decided to round up some rounded structures. First up, Roll It, a cool experimental house/cylinder. Second, Villa Vals, the hobbit-like neighbor of Zumthor‘s Therme Vals (designed underground to maintain the bath houses’ extensive views). Then, the stacked, rounded form of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Moshe Safdie for optimal sound reflection. Next up, Galaxy Soho, designed by the queen of curvature, Zaha Hadid. And – last but not least – the “mothership” itself, Foster + Partners‘ design for Apple’s new campus, scheduled for completion in 2016.

The 20 Most Visited ArchDaily Projects of All Time

To celebrate our birthday today, we decided to take a look back at the most popular projects of the last six years. Who takes the top spot? Zaha Hadid? Frank Gehry? Well, you may be surprised…

See our 20 most popular projects of all time, after the break…

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ARCHIST: Illustrations of Famous Art Reimagined as Architecture

© Federico Babina

Federico Babina has unveiled yet another playful collection of architecturally inspired illustrations: Derived from the ”symbiotic relationship and implicit partnership” between art and architecture,  reinterprets the expressive language and aesthetic of prominent artists as built form. 

“Art and architecture are disciplines that speak and lightly touch each other, the definition and function of the architecture are changing constantly with the development of contemporary art,” described Babina. “I took pleasure imagining architecture steeped of art, designed and constructed through the interpretation of an artist’s language.”

Just imagine, what if Dalí designed a house or Miró a museum? See what Babina envisioned, after the break…

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Steve McQueen: A Master of Architecture in Film

Plantation in “12 Years a Slave”. Image Courtesy of indienyc.com

“In a career that is still taking shape, the 44-year-old McQueen has already done more to make me rethink the relationship between the built environment and the camera than almost anybody in Hollywood.” So says Christopher Hawthorne in his latest for the LA Times, where he examines the body of work of Steve McQueen – the director of Hunger, Shame, and the Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave – and explores how McQueen “takes up architectural symbols in a sustained and strategic way.” Read the fascinating article at the LA Times.

The Freakonomics Podcast Tackles the Question: Why Is Japan Crazy About Housing?

House NA / Sou Fujimoto Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

Freakonomics has just posted a fascinating new podcast that takes on the question posed by Alastair Townsend in our AD original article: “Why Japan is Crazy About Housing.” The podcast consults with Townsend and economic experts to present a thought-provoking answer to the puzzling question of why Japan builds architecture that is avant-garde and yet, ultimately, disposable. The answer may just surprise you. Listen to the whole podcast here:

Round-Up: 40 Projects Inspired By Our Favorite Materials

In case you missed them, we’ve rounded up our four popular “” posts, which celebrated the launch of our new US product catalog, ArchDaily Materials. Check them out below!

From Grain Silo to Shipping Container Student Housing

Courtesy of Citiq Property Developers, via Inhabitat

Inhabitat has just featured an unlikely new student project in : Mill Junction, a student complex that consists of two former grain silos topped with shipping containers. According to its developers, Citiq Property Developers, the energy and money-saving project re-directs money towards communal facilities, proving popular with students. As a result, Mill Junction, the second shipping-container housing project built by the Developers, may be the second of many more. More info at Inhabitat.

MICROTOPIA: Free on ArchDaily for the Next 24 Hours

For twenty-four hours only (until 5:59PM EST February 15th), ArchDaily readers have been given the exclusive opportunity to watch the documentary, MICROTOPIA, in its entirety, for free.

The film is a provocative look at the global trends of micro-, downsizing, and living off-grid. As the film-makers put it: “In an age of increasing population and technological gains, today’s mobile society has resulted in a demand, or perhaps a dream, for portable dwellings and dwellings in new settings and situations. explores how architects, artists and ordinary problem-solvers are pushing the limits to find answers to their dreams of portability,flexibility – and of creating independence from “the grid.”[...] On the sidewalk, on rooftops, in industrial landscapes and in nature we will see and feel how these abodes meet the dreams set up by their creators.”

Miss your 24-hour window? MICROTOPIA is available to rent for $3.99 on Vimeo.

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ARCHISET: An Illustrated Tribute to the Interiors of Classic Cinema

©

Federico Babina has surprised us several times with his artistic work, from his “pixelated” versions of iconic characters (Parts 1 and 2) of architecture to his illustrations of architectural landmarks in the history of cinema. This time, the architect and illustrator delights us again with a new series entitled ARCHISET, which presents the sets of some of the most memorable scenes from classic films.

The series consists of 17 illustrations, cross-sections presenting the interior design and characters in films such as “A Clockwork Orange” by Stanley Kubrick, “All About My Mother” by Spanish Director Pedro Almodovar, and “Vertigo” by the master, Hitchcock.

Check out the full series, after the break.

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Architect Valentines 2014

Courtesy of Jody Brown, Coffee with an Architect

Thanks to the popularity of last year’s Architect Valentines, Jody Brown has come up with a whole new batch for you to enjoy in 2014. This article originally appeared in Coffee with an Architect.

Architects are a romantic bunch. But, we tend to be busy. We know we should stop working on this design for a while and go buy some flowers or chocolate or something. We know that. But, we have a deadline. Maybe we can pick up a card from the internet on the way home.

Here you go.

You’re welcome:

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If the Winter Olympics Were in NYC…

© ANGEL FRANCO and RICHARD PERRY, via The New York Times

The New York Times has run a fascinating thought experiment in rendered form: What would it look like if the winter were held in New York City? From luges through Times Square to ski jumps over Bryant park, the ideas are certainly fantastical – but also fun lessons in scale. See them all here.

MICROTOPIA to Stream Free on ArchDaily for 24 Hours

An awesome documentary that somehow didn’t fall on our radar in time to be included in our “40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014,” MICROTOPIA is an in-depth look at fascinating, provocative micro-dwellings and the people who design/live in them.

is usually available to rent for $3.99 from Vimeo, BUT ArchDaily readers are receiving an exclusive offer to stream the documentary – absolutely free – for 24 hours only. So make sure to tune in from 6pm EST on February 14th to 5:59PM EST February 15th for this one-time opportunity.

For more about MICROTOPIA, check out the awesome trailer above, and read more information on the doc, after the break.

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VIDEO: Watch Two Men Scale the World’s 2nd Tallest Tower

YouTube Preview Image

“We prepared carefully and picked an appropriate date, the Chinese New Year day. At that time the security was less watchful, workers were on vacations, and cranes did not work. We got to the crane at around midnight. [...] The result you can see in our new .”

Those are the rather unassuming words of Vitaliy Raskalov, a Ukrainian “roof-hacker, urban-explorer, blogger” who has just pulled off an extraordinary, jaw-dropping stunt (way more incredible than his humble words would suggest).

Raskalov and Russian photographer Vadim Mahora broke into and climbed the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower, soon to be China’s tallest and the world’s second tallest skyscraper at 632 meters (2,074 feet) high. Although the tower will eventually boast the world’s fastest elevators (reaching 40mph), the pair had to climb the 120 flights of stairs by foot (taking them about two hours); they then spent another 18 hours sleeping and waiting for the weather to clear. The staggering resulting images show not just the dizzying heights, but also fantastic views of the adjacent Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center (together, the trio of buildings that are re-defining the Shanghai skyline).

Check out the incredible images, after the break.

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Giveaway: Andre Chiote Illustrations of Iconic Buildings

© André Chiote

André Chiote, a Portuguese architect renowned for designing illustrations that represent some of architecture’s most iconic buildings, has agreed to give five lucky winners a copy of their favorite print. To participate, browse through Chiote’s collection on his online shop and tell us which you like the best in the comment section below.

You have until Wednesday, January 29th to submit your comments. Winners will be contacted the following day. Good luck! 

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Critical Round-Up: Reaction to the Folk Art Museum’s Demolition, MoMA’s Expansion

exterior. Image © Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

The flurry of criticism that erupted when announced its plans to demolish the American Folk Art Museum (in its new plans for expansion, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro) has yet to settle. After the break, we offer a more complete round-up of the critics’ reactions – including Paul Goldberger’s of Vanity Fair, Michael Kimmelman’s for The New York Times, and more…

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Archibet: An Illustrated Alphabet of Architecture

Courtesy of Federico Babina

Barcelona-based architect and graphic artist Federico Babina is at it again, this time creating an imaginary “ City” guided by the language of architecture. From Alvar Aalto’s Riolo Parish Church to Zaha Hadid’s Library and Learning Centre in Vienna, the collection reimagines 26 famous works of architecture into a set of letters that, as Babina describes, expresses the “heterogeneity of forms and styles” that make up our profession. Each letter is drawn according to the interpretation of an architect’s style, forming part of the cityscape that Babina refers to as “Archibet”.

See the whole set, after the break…

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VIDEO: Peres Center for Peace

Architectural photographer Yohan Zerdoun has sent us this lovely that explores the Peres Center for Peace, by architects Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas, in Tel Aviv. With a keen eye for detail and an understanding of the building’s human scale, Zerdoun sets up each shot so that the architecture – and its gorgeous context – can be truly appreciated. Enjoy!