Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos Takes a Page Out of the Quran to Design a Natural Oasis

Courtesy of

Drawing both literal and theoretical inspiration from the Islamic Holy Book, Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos earned an Honourable Mention for their design proposal of a habitable natural oasis for the Noble Quran International Competition in Saudi Arabia.

Understanding the significance of the location’s proximity to Islam’s second holiest city and the Capital of Islamic Culture, Rafael de La-Hoz aimed to create a memorable and iconic Islamic Landmark. Therefore, the Quran itself was chosen as the primary source of physical and contextual understanding, the most significant vessel of knowledge for the people and the location.

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“Atelier of the Future” Competition Results Announced

First Prize: VENUS OF GARAGE by Katarzyna Furgalińska and Michał Lisiński

The Atelier of the Future competition asked entrants to design a “creative and artistic vision of an atelier.” Having been organised by FAKRO, in conjunction with A10 New European Architecture magazine, the proposals also were required to feature at least three FAKRO products (roof lights and windows) as part of a space which is functional, technologically astute, and able to “create the appropriate mood to stimulate creative visions.”

With sixty two entries in total, a third of which were from Poland and 90% of which were from within , the jury deliberated entries that “stimulated [their] imaginations and provoked a set of reflections about the possible futures of architecture and its fields for action.” Divided among themes which ranged from projects associated with Industry, to Nature, to Water, entrants proposed solutions for “underwater resorts, skylofts, subterranean spaces, derelict areas, wheels of fortune and metabolist towers.”

See the winning entries after the break.

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McDowell + Benedetti’s Footbridge and Rail Station Underway in Terni

Courtesy of McDowell+Benedetti

London based firm McDowell+Benedetti has recently announced that their design for a new 180 metre footbridge and improved rail station in Terni, Italy, has begun work on the site. A future landmark for the town, the £3.5 million (€4.4 million) project promises to provide an expanded commuter hub for the area with connections to fast trains to Rome. Learn more about this project after the break.

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Make Architects Win Planning For First Building in Birmingham’s Arena Central

Courtesy of

Birmingham City Council has approved Make Architects‘ designs for the first building of the city’s Arena Central masterplan. Located on Broad Street and overlooking the historic Centenary Square, 1 Arena Central is set to be the first step in the master plan for the 9.2 acre site at the heart of Birmingham City Center Enterprise Zone. The eight story building, which will feature 135,000 square feet of Grade A office space, with 5,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, is emblematic of the flagship development of the overall master plan.

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This Public Toilet has a Periscope That Offers a Serene Sea View

Courtesy of Adam Wiercinski Architekt

The terms “public toilet” and “seaside periscope” don’t usually go hand in hand. However, Adam Wiercinski has drawn inspiration from the location of his project in Gdynia, Poland, on the coast of the Baltic Sea to create a concept for a building that both mimics and observes. Choosing to focus on extensive views over the sea front, Wiercinski aimed to imbue users with a sense of tranquility by designing a serene public facility embodying the powerful, elemental nature of the sea.

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Prodigy Network Announces Winners of 17John Crowdsourcing Competition

Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Roof Terrace). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network

Prodigy Network have selected the winners of the crowdsourcing design competitions for their 17John ‘Cotel’ in New York, including winners for the design of the public interior spaces and the private rooms. The Cotel concept is intended to meet the changing needs of the modern business traveler; providing living spaces somewhere between a long-term apartment and a short term hotel, but also flexible spaces that can be used for work and meetings.

The crowdsourced competitions were run via Prodigy Network’s Design Lab website, and judging was conducted with a mixture of public voting and jury selection. “The winners of the 17John competition were intuitive to the needs of travelers, creative in the interactive spaces and understood the function of extended stay residences,” said Prodigy Network Founder Rodrigo Nino. Read on after the break to see the winning proposals.

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Swedish Team Win Urban Design Competition in Trenčín

First Place. Image Courtesy of City of

Swedish based Mandaworks + Hosper Sweden have recently won an international competition to find the “best comprehensive urbanistic proposals for connecting the city centre of Trenčín with both waterfronts of the River Váh.” The winning scheme – Tracing Trenčín – “is not a proposal which is noticeably stunning” but is, according to Thomas Matta, deputy chair of the jury, “considerate to the existing structure of the historic core of the city.”

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Lightweight Concrete Structure Wins Competition for New Gramalote Market Plaza

Courtesy of Rodrigo Chain + Jheny Nieto

In 2010, the town of Gramalote in Colombia was destroyed by a catastrophic mudslide, triggered by heavy rainfall and a series of small earthquakes. Now the town is being rebuilt from scratch in a new location, and the government has introduced architectural for the town’s major public buildings, including a high school, sports center, a cultural center, a public market, an elderly home and a farmer center.

Architects Rodrigo Chain and Jheny Nieto have shared their winning design for the New Gramalote Market Plaza with us, a structure of 15 concrete modules that occupies a steeply sloping site. Read on after the break for more on the design.

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5 Concepts for Garden Cities Shortlisted for the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize

Aerial view of Shelter’s Masterplan for the Hoo Valley. Image Courtesy of Wolfson Economics Prize

The shortlist for the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize has been announced, rewarding five teams who rose to the challenge to design new garden cities which address the UK‘s growing housing shortage. The topic of is becoming a major focus for the ’s planners and architects, with proposals by the government for a new garden town of 15,000 homes at Ebbsfleet providing the starting point for debate.

However despite the debate within the built environment professions, with some arguing that garden cities are best left in the past, a survey commissioned by the Wolfson Economics Prize in conjunction with the award found that 72% of the British public believed there was a serious shortage of housing in the UK, and 70% believed that garden cities were a better way of delivering this housing compared to how – and where – housing is currently delivered. The five shortlisted teams will receive £10,000 to further develop their proposals and aim for the grand prize of £250,000.

Read on after the break for the list of proposals

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John McAslan + Partners Selected for Chinese Biodome

Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners

John McAslan + Partners has been selected to design a Botanical Gardens and Research Center in Dongguan, China. The scheme features a large gridshell biodome which engages with landscaped mounds both inside and outside the structure. Around the base of the roof structure, a ribbon of glass will provide views which connect these interior and exterior landscapes.

Read on for more detail on the design

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CAAT Studio Propose Large Scale Commercial Centre in Isfahan

Courtesy of CAAT Studio

The Hamedanian, a proposal by CAAT Architecture Studio in collaboration with TTBP, seeks to design a large scale complex in the centre of one of the oldest streets in the Iranian city of Isfahan. If built, the mixed use development, half which is parking facilities, would feature commercial and office space.

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Winners of the Berlin Natural Science Museum Competition Revealed

First Place. Image Courtesy of AWR

The winners of the international competition to design Berlin’s new have been announced. The brief, which called for a large scale iconic building in the heart of the German capital, offered the opportunity for architects and students to design in a city founded in the 13th century.

Understanding that natural science museums are often simply seen as places for public spectacle, the organization behind the competition wanted to ensure that the “importance of the museum’s specimen collections for documenting historical and present-day patterns of biological diversity cannot be overstated.”

See the winning entry, along with the runners up, after the break…

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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 The 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 .

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 sustainability 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 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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