Exploring Post Earthquake Reconstruction: 2013 AIM Competition Awards Announced

Winning Entry: Architecture Renovation Award. Image Courtesy of AIM

Architects in Mission (AIM) recently announced the winners for their 2013 competition with the topic, Post Reconstruction, Ya’an – Rebuild Panda’s Hometown from the EarthquakeThe Ya’an Earthquake occurred at 08:02 Beijing Time on the 20th April 2013. The epicenter was located in Lushan County, Ya’an, Sichuan, about 116km (or 72 miles) from Chengdu (along the Longmenshan Fault) in the same province that was hit heavily by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. For this year’s competition, AIM asked participants to pay particular attention to the master planning of the Snow Mountain Village, whilst developing new business models to encourage economic growth for local villagers. See the four winning entries after the break.

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AD Round Up: Women Architects Part II

Paramount Alma / . Image © Hertha Hurnaus

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’ve once again rounded up some stunning architecture designed by female architects (In case you missed Part 1, featuring work by Zaha Hadid, Jeanne Gang, and more, click here).

This time around, we’re featuring Paramount Alma, an unusual renovation featuring a stunning timber skin, by Plasma Studio- an avant-garde studio in which two of the four partners (Eva Castro and Ulla Hell) are female; Lullaby Factory, a playful intervention for a Children’s Hospital designed by Studio Weave, co-directed by Maria Smith; from Ábaton Arquitectura, co-directed by Camino Alonso, Portable House, a 27 square meter home for two that can be assembled in only one day; from C+S Architects (co-founded by Maria Alessandra Segantini), the award-winning Law Court Offices in Venice, a building with a simple & yet powerful archetypical shape; and by Piuarch, the Italian studio co-founded by Monica Tricario, Bentini Headquarters, whose distinctive street-side façade features rectangular components of varying dimensions. Enjoy!

Archivo: A Cultural “Exoskeleton” for Mexico City by Zeller & Moye

Courtesy of Zeller & Moye

To be completed in 2016, ‘Archivo’ is an open space designed by Zeller & Moye in collaboration with FR-EE that will house a vibrant mix of cultural/design activities, with each floor given a different function. Designed as an “exoskeleton” that opens to its context, ‘Archivo’ aims to enrich the cultural and social life of City.

More on the project after the jump.

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“Post-Quake Visions” Young Architects Competition Results Announced

First Place / Caterina Spadoni, Valentina Brunetti. Image Courtesy of

The results for the latest Young Architects Competition (YAC), Post-Quake Visions, have been announced. The competition aimed to discover innovative ways to overcome the effects of a seismic catastrophe over a medieval Mediterranean town. Participants were encouraged to rethink and redesign the quake-inflicted gaps left inside ancient urban tissues. With 356 enrolled teams comprising of 808 designers, see the winning results and Gold Mentions after the break.

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Winners of Think Space Competition Re-think Arctic Territories

Honourable Mention. Image Courtesy of

The results from the first brief of Think Space‘s MONEY themed cycle of , Territories, have been announced. David Garcia (MAP Architects), juror of the Territories competition, invited participants to send in proposals “that tackle the present economic and territorial challenges in the present and future of the Arctic lands.” See them all, after the break…

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Finalists Create Next Generation of Sustainable Building Products

Straw Paneling System Among Finalists. Image Courtesy of Ecococon via Cradle to Cradle

In attempts to better define what it really means to be green, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make it Right, has selected products from ten companies as finalists in the Product Innovation Challenge. 144 applicants were screened by toxicologists and building professionals, proposing new alternatives from insulation grown from fungi and bricks from living organisms, to roofing made from waste limestone and recycled plastic. The ten finalists represent the shared values of practical and entrepreneurship, creating “a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use.”

Three winners will ultimately be announced on November 15, 2013 at the Institute’s Innovation Celebration in New York City, offering a $250,000 cash prize: $125,000 for first place, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The jury members, who include executives from Google, US Green Building Council and the Schmidt Family Foundation, will judge each product based on five categories: material health, material reutilization, water stewardship, renewable energy and social fairness.

Without further ado, the 10 finalists are…

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Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750

Model of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye from Modern Architecture: International Exhibition [MoMA Exh. #15, February 9-March 23, 1932] Photo: Modern Architecture, International Exhibition. 1932. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photographic Archive.

Barry Bergdoll, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and professor of modern architectural history at Columbia University, will present the 62nd A.W. in the Fine Arts Series. The Mellons are among the most prestigious art history lecture series in the world and have been delivered annually since 1952 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. For this year’s series, Bergdoll will present “Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750.”

More about the lecture series after the break…

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Tower of London Competition 1890

© Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London compiled and edited by Fred. C. Lynde

While the Eiffel Tower was negatively received at first for its utilitarian appearance, it soon became a major attraction for Paris, France in the late 19th century. It represented structural ingenuity and and soon became a major feat, rising to 300 meters of7,500 tons of steel and iron. Just three years after its unveiling, London sponsored a competition for its own version of the tower in 1890. The Tower Company, Limited collected 68 designs, all variations of the design of the . Proposals were submitted from the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Turkey and Australia.  Many of the designs are bizarre interpretations of utilitarian structures, following the aesthetics of the , only bigger and taller.

Join us after the break for more on the story of the Tower of London. (more…)

My Motherhood + Architecture Adventure / Samara Greenwood

In a recent article for The Guardian, Hannah Rosin interviewed Emily White, a Facebook executive, who noted that our lives are no longer about work/life balance, but rather the work/life “merge.” Much like women in high-power executive positions,   (and particularly mothers) similarly must learn how to negotiate never-ending demands – from the workplace and the home – on a daily basis.

Samara Greenwood discusses this difficult “work/family equation” below. You can find the full, un-edited version at Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture, If you like this post, you may also enjoy Work/Life/Work balance, by Andrew Maynard.

My own motherhood + architecture adventure began six years ago – so far, it has been a pretty wild ride. There are times I have felt invincible, like I’ve found the magic key to a brilliant life. But more often than not life has felt out of whack, like something wasn’t quite right. Again and again, I’ve attempted to put my finger on the problem, to find the missing piece of the jigsaw. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t.

I don’t think I am alone.

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Lightweave Palm Observatory / X-Studio

© Ivan Juárez

Conceived by Mexican architect Ivan Juárez from X-Studio, the Lightweave Palm Observatory consists of a dialogue with the natural landscape context of Bahia de Todos os Santos, . The project explores a local artisanal textile technique using the coconut palm leaf found in the island as raw material. It then forms an interior space for personal reflection which creates a visual dialogue between the interior and exterior landscape that it delimits. More images and architects’ description after the break. (more…)

Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative / The Getty

© Flickr User: An Amateur

For architecture students, the Modern Movement is typically the most recent and most defined architectural style movement that history classes focus on. We appreciate the architects and artists of that time and respond to their buildings and ideas with reverence. Despite our appreciation for the buildings that came out of this era, conservation methods are meeting new challenges in conserving these buildings that have not aged well as they have reached their 50-year heritage protection eligibility. This is where the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) comes in. A “comprehensive, long-term, and international program” that is part of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). CMAI aims to enhance conservation methods that in response to these aging buildings and create a knowledge data base of training programs and publications that reflect the advancement of these strategies.

More on the GCI and its initiative after the break. (more…)

Download the “From Mad Men to Mies” Wallpaper to your Tech Device

After receiving a lot of compliments on our “From MadMen to Mies” graphic, we decided to let you take a little piece of Mies (the original Mad Man) with you wherever you go. Click through the gallery below to find the wallpaper for the technological device of your choosing – iPad, iPhone, Android phone, MacBook, or Samsung Tablet. Take one, or heck, take all. In this case, less isn’t more.

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Journey to the Center of New York: Can Design “Cure” Our Cities?

Plans for the Delancey Underground, an underground park made possible by fiberoptic technology. Photo courtesy of James Ramsey and

Walk into the cafeteria at the Googleplex and you are nudged into the “right” choice. Sweets? Color-coded red and placed on the bottom shelf to make them just a bit harder to reach. “Instead of that chocolate bar, sir, wouldn’t you much rather consume this oh-so-conveniently-located apple? It’s good for you! Look, we labelled it green!” [1]

Like the Google cafeteria guides you to take responsibility of your health, Google wants to transform the construction industry to take responsibility of the “health” of its buildings. They have been leveraging for transparency in the content of building materials, so that, like consumers who read what’s in a Snickers bar before eating it, they’ll know the “ingredients” of materials to choose the greenest, what they call “healthiest,” options.[2]

These examples illustrate the trend of “medicalization” in our increasingly health-obsessed society: when ordinary problems (such as construction, productivity, etc.) are defined and understood in medical terms. In their book Imperfect Health, Borasi and Zardini argue that through this process, architecture and design has been mistakenly burdened with the normalizing, moralistic function of “curing” the human body. [3]

While I find the idea that design should “force” healthiness somewhat paternalistic and ultimately limited, I don’t think this “medicalized” language is all bad – especially if we can use it in new and revitalizing ways. Allow me to prescribe two examples: the most popular and the (potentially) most ambitious urban renewal projects in New York City today, the High Line and the Delancey Underground (or the Low Line).

More on “curative” spaces after the break. (Trust me, it’s good for you.)

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Unique Architecture, Unique Dining Experiences


This post is presented by S. Pellegrino, Fine Dining Lovers.

Restauranteurs are having a tougher time to please their customers, now turning into food aficionados. For the foodies, dining is more than just a gourmet, refined preparation. It’s all about the science of the food, where it comes from, how it is prepared, and dining becomes a full experience. In this aspect, the environment where the food is served has turned into a very important part of this experience.

In this post we are going to present to you restaurant projects that offer unique dining experiences, through innovative architecture.

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2011 MAD Travel Fellowship: Call for Submissions

MAD Travel Fellowship Logo

The MAD Travel Fellowship was launched by MAD Architects in 2009 to provide mainland Chinese students with an opportunity to travel abroad and research an architectural topic of their choosing. It is only through travel  the visceral experience of walking into a space – that one can begin to understand the full context and meaning of architecture.

In the past two years, with the support of long-term sponsor VERTU, 10 students from all over have received the grant and traveled to destinations including Greece, Switzerland, the United States, and Egypt.This year, 5 students will have the opportunity to travel for 7-10 days in their chosen city or region of independent study. Following their trip, the students will give a public presentation of their experience.

Qualifications, submission and further information is available after the break.
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The Atmosphere of Paris Cafes / Nicolas Dorval-Bory + Raphaël Bétillon

Air Filtration Restaurant © Dorval-Bory + Bétillon

We’ve featured a few projects by Nicolas Dorval-Bory, such as his extension for an artist residency and a sustainable house for winter sports; and now, he and  Raphaël Bétillon have shared their latest conceptual project focusing on re-thinking Parisian bistros.    A strong cultural component of Paris, the bistro offered a place of intense life and intellectual dynamism, with its typically noisy ambiance and chattering clients.  However, recently,  Dorval-Bory and Bétillon have felt that the bistro has slowly begun to loose its sense of vitality, as bistros are becoming “often disappointing, stuck up in ornaments of another century, mimicking with decors for tourists times when the lively creative atmosphere filled the place alone.”  So, the pair decided to explore the atmosphere of such bistros in an effort to improve the quality of this traditional space.   This approach has created a bistro that literally responds to the people occupying the space, leading to some interesting scenarios on an experiential level.  ”Our intervention would then be about the control and expression of these atmospheric bodies, a contemporary way to celebrate climate as the primary user’s envelope. Architecture would split into two : on one hand, a built layout designed as a structuring machine, a back frame controlling, on the other hand, flows, phenomenons and invisible particles,” explained the architects.

More images and more about the project after the break. (more…)

Strelka presentation at the Venice Biennale

Strelka

As we told you in May, OMA + AMO will collaborate with Strelka, a postgraduate school for media, architecture and design in .

Now, the presentation of this very special partnership will take place at the Architecture 2010 in Venice on August 26th between 2:30 and 3:45 pm.

More information after the break.

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Landscapes of Quarantine

1251425787-quarantineSeveral times I haves asked myself what is inside ’s mind. The author of the BLDG Blog has been pushing architectural thinking (or more like stretching, bending, twisting…) by proposing views of an uncertain future (while linking this to our past),  leaving an open door that invites us to think about architecture in a non traditional space-restricted way.

Sounds weird, but I can´t really define it.  Maybe we should stick to his definition:  ”Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, Landscape Futures”.

A couple of days ago Geoff told me that he is going to be in NY during the fall, where he will run an  an independent design studio, called Landscapes of Quarantine, “meeting to explore the spatial implications of quarantine”. The studio will run from Oct 6 to Dec 5, and he has already confirmed a  group of ten people, whose backgrounds include architecture, sound design, urban gaming, comic books, film, photography, art, landscape, and food. The studio will conclude with an exhibition at the Storefront Gallery.

But the interesting part, at least for our readers, is that the studio is open for public applications. If this sounds interesting to you, just head to and read the details about Landscapes of Quarantine and on how to apply.

p.s.: I also recommend you to follow Geoff at Twitter, as he is constantly sharing ideas and links worth reading. And another thing worth reading is his book: The BLDGBLOG Book.