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Thom Mayne Completes Research on Houston’s Urban Future

14:00 - 18 December, 2016
Thom Mayne Completes Research on Houston’s Urban Future, Courtesy of University of Houston
Courtesy of University of Houston

Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne has completed a three-semester–long study of Houston’s future, given its current sprawling urban conditions and rapid growth. The project, conducted alongside 21 University of Houston students and faculty members Matt Johnson, Peter Zweig, and Jason Logan, focused on ways of addressing the problems that arise from Houston’s historical lack of zoning in conjunction with the largely unregulated growth of industry and capitalism. These approaches include reinventing the current energy infrastructure, changing real estate and density, and leveraging the lack of zoning to generate new ideas.

These Architectural Playscapes Provide Therapy for Children with Autism

09:30 - 17 December, 2016
© Sean Ahlquist, University of Michigan
© Sean Ahlquist, University of Michigan

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Architecture for Autism Could Be a Breakthrough for Kids With ASD."

Good architects have always designed with tactile sensations in mind, from the rich wood grain on a bannister, to the thick, shaggy carpet at a daycare center. It’s an effective way to engage all the senses, connecting the eye, hand, and mind in ways that create richer environments.

But one architecture professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is working on a tactile architecture-for-autism environment that does much more than offer visitors a pleasing and diverse haptic experience: It’s a form of therapy for kids like 7-year-old daughter Ara, who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Architecture's "Political Compass": A Taxonomy of Emerging Architecture in One Diagram

09:30 - 16 December, 2016
The full political compass diagram (Version 0.1) produced by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Guillermo Fernandez Abascal. Image © Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Guillermo Fernandez Abascal
The full political compass diagram (Version 0.1) produced by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Guillermo Fernandez Abascal. Image © Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Guillermo Fernandez Abascal

Observing the architectural landscape today it’s clear that the type of work which is currently ascendant, particularly among young practices, is very different to what came before the financial crisis of 2008. But what, exactly, does that architectural landscape look like? In an essay titled “Well into the 21st Century” in the latest issue of El Croquis, Alejandro Zaera-Polo outlined a 21st-century taxonomy of architecture, attempting to define and categorize the various new forms of practice that have grown in popularity in the years since—and as a political response to—the economic crisis.

The categories defined by Zaera-Polo encompass seven broad political positions: The “Activists,” who reject architecture’s dependence on market forces by operating largely outside the market, with a focus on community building projects, direct engagement with construction, and non-conventional funding strategies; then there are the “Populists,” whose work is calibrated to reconnect with the populace thanks to a media-friendly, diagrammatic approach to architectural form; next are the “New Historicists,” whose riposte to the “end of history” hailed by neoliberalism is an embrace of historically-informed design; the “Skeptics,” whose existential response to the collapse of the system is in part a return to postmodern critical discourse and in part an exploration of contingency and playfulness through an architecture of artificial materials and bright colors; the “Material Fundamentalists,” who returned to a tactile and virtuoso use of materials in response to the visual spectacle of pre-crash architecture; practitioners of “Austerity Chic,” a kind of architectural “normcore” (to borrow a term from fashion) which focuses primarily on the production process, and resulting performance, of architecture; and finally the “Techno-Critical,” a group of practices largely producing speculative architecture, whose work builds upon but also remains critical of the data-driven parametricism of their predecessors.

As a follow-up to that essay, Zaera-Polo and Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal set out to apply the newly-defined categories to the emerging practices of today with a nuanced “political compass” diagram. They invited practices to respond to their categorization in order to unveil the complex interdependencies and self-image of these political stances. For the first time, here ArchDaily publishes the results of that exercise.

From Dead Space to Public Place: How Improving Alleys Can Help Make Better Cities

09:30 - 15 December, 2016
From Dead Space to Public Place: How Improving Alleys Can Help Make Better Cities

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Reincarnated Architecture: Through Green Alleys, Dead Space Can Live Anew."

PNG Paradise: Cutouts of Furniture, People, Trees and More

08:00 - 15 December, 2016
PNG Paradise: Cutouts of Furniture, People, Trees and More

Did you know Pngimg has a large number of free images available for download in .png. The best part? They are perfectly clipped and background-free! The collection is divided into categories that includes trees, people, objects, appliances, sports, clothing, and a host of other strange but perhaps useful animals/things. Just when you needed fresh trees in your renders, Pngimg comes to the rescue.

Adding contextual objects and scale figures can really give life and added value to project visualizations. See the .pngs here here and check out other tools that might be helpful, below. 

See the Best Architecture of 2016

11:30 - 14 December, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, we want to extend our sincerest thanks for your continued support during this past year; it has been our most inspiring and successful yet as we continue to connect to architects all over the world.

On behalf of the entire ArchDaily team, we are very excited to share a special feature – 2016’s most visited projects and articles. This selection features the most relevant and noteworthy content created and shared over the past 12 months.

Interview with Neil Durbach: “You Don't Want to do the Same Thing Again; You Want to do Better!"

09:30 - 14 December, 2016
Interview with Neil Durbach: “You Don't Want to do the Same Thing Again; You Want to do Better!", Holman House (2004). Image © Peter Bennetts
Holman House (2004). Image © Peter Bennetts

Alongside Camilla Block and David Jaggers, Neil Durbach of Durbach Block Jaggers has carved out a unique place in Australian architecture. Known primarily for their carefully sculpted modernist houses, the firm's architecture is simultaneously rich in architectural references and thoroughly original. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Durbach explains the true inspirations behind their work, why these inspirations have little to do with the public descriptions of their projects, and why for him, the intention of all of his architecture “is to win Corb’s approval.”

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You came to Australia while the Sydney Opera House was still under construction. Does this mean you were here even before going to the US?

Neil Durbach: Yes, I first came to Australia as an exchange student while still in high school.

VB: So you have seen the Opera under construction then. How special was that? Did that building change anything in particular in you?

ND: Well, at that time I wanted to be an artist. A friend took me on a boat to see it. It was kind of staggering... And I thought – you know, this is much more interesting than art. And I felt – maybe architecture is what I should pursue.

Commonwealth Place (2002). Image © John Gollings North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club (2013). Image © John Gollings Roslyn Street (2009). Image © Anthony Browell UTS Thomas St Building (2014). Image © Anthony Browell +42

Real Takes on Real(ly Successful) Housing Experiments

09:30 - 13 December, 2016
Real Takes on Real(ly Successful) Housing Experiments

The challenges associated with the provision of adequate and affordable housing around the world demand that architects respond with original solutions that challenge traditional building forms, typologies and methods of delivery.

In recognition of this demand, last month’s World Architecture Festival in Berlin chose housing as its thematic focus. The festival made headlines with Patrik Schumacher’s inflammatory keynote speech that called for cities to be turned over entirely to market forces, scrapping social housing and privatizing all public space. The controversy that followed belied the diversity of the discourse on housing at the Festival and the presentation of innovative architectural responses to housing challenges.

How to Buy Gifts for Architects: The Ultimate Guide

09:30 - 12 December, 2016
How to Buy Gifts for Architects: The Ultimate Guide, Courtesy of Sharon Lam
Courtesy of Sharon Lam

Have absolutely no idea what to get your architecturally-predisposed friend or family member? Or perhaps you think you’ve managed to decipher their Moleskine-toting, coffee-drinking veneer and know just the perfect gift? Perhaps, even, you are the architecturally-predisposed family member, looking for a convenient way to show others what to get you. Either way, architects have rapidly evolving and often incredibly niche tastes that can be hard to shop for. But worry no longer, the secret guide to what and what not to give architects this holiday season is here:

What Exactly is Matti Suuronen's Futuro House?

04:00 - 12 December, 2016
What Exactly is Matti Suuronen's Futuro House?, © Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

The Futuro House looks more like an alien spacecraft than a building. Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a ski chalet, the radical design was subsequently marketed to the public as a small prefabricated home, easily assembled and installed on virtually any topography. Its plastic construction and futurist aesthetic combined to create a product which is identifiable with both the future and the past.

© Gili Merin © Gili Merin © Gili Merin © Gili Merin +10

Project of the Month: Tangshan Organic Farm

22:00 - 11 December, 2016
Project of the Month: Tangshan Organic Farm, © JIN Wei-Qi
© JIN Wei-Qi

The design of industrial architecture presents a considerable challenge, since certain factors such as the industrial workflow and the conditions for the workers and machinery provide the guidelines for the development of the project. However, in many cases, industrial projects are designed without further exploration in terms of materials or construction systems, aiming simply to comply with regulations.

This month we want to highlight the Organic Farm in Tangshan by Chinese firm ARCHSTUDIO, a project in which an interesting structural and conceptual exploration results in a new industrial architectural intention, and which also generates new public spaces to promote a relationship with the nearby community through the construction.

Read on for our interview with ARCHSTUDIO about this Organic Farm.

Finishing Touches Applied to Foster + Partners' Apple Campus 2

17:15 - 11 December, 2016

Following an unofficial update in August 2016, Apple's Campus 2 is entering the final stages of construction. A new drone video, captured by aerial videographer Matthew Roberts earlier this month, shows the 'Research and Development' facility nearing full completion and capped by a vast roof plant, the 'tantau roof' on the security kiosk in place, and an epic effort in landscaping taking place both within the "spaceship's" courtyard and across the company's enormous property. Only one crane now remains on site and the solar installations appear to be around 60% complete, suggesting that the scheduled 2017 move-in date remains on track.

© Apple. Image via MacGeneration © Apple. Image via MacGeneration © Apple. Image via MacGeneration © Apple. Image via MacGeneration +15

A Look at London's New Design Museum Through the Lens of Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

09:30 - 10 December, 2016
A Look at London's New Design Museum Through the Lens of Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia, © Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia
© Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

With the opening of the new Design Museum in London, the former Commonwealth Institute building designed by RMJM in 1962 has been given a new lease of life. With an exterior renovation by OMA and Allies & Morrison, and interiors by John Pawson, last month the building reopened after a fourteen-year closure—finally offering the public a chance to experience the swooping paraboloid roof from the inside. Read on to see photographs of the Design Museum's new home by Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia.

© Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia © Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia © Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia © Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia +38

Makoto Tanijiri on Architectural Education and “Japanese-ness” in Design

09:30 - 9 December, 2016
Makoto Tanijiri on Architectural Education and “Japanese-ness” in Design, <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/779568/hiroshima-hut-suppose-design-office'>Hiroshima Hut</a>. Image © Toshiyuki Yano
Hiroshima Hut. Image © Toshiyuki Yano

At just 42 years old, Makoto Tanijiri and the office he founded in 2000, Suppose Design Office, have emerged as one of Japan's most prolific medium-sized architecture and design firms. However, Tanijiri's path to success was somewhat different to the route taken by his contemporaries. In this interview, the latest in Ebrahim Abdoh's series of “Japan's New Masters,” Tanijiri discusses the role that education plays in a successful career and his work's relation to the rest of Japanese architecture.

Ebrahim Abdoh: What was your earliest memory of wanting to be an architect?

Makoto Tanijiri: When I was about 5 years old. Of course at that age I did not know the word “architect” or “architecture,” all I remember was how small our house was, and all the things I didn’t like about it. Back then, my dream was to be a carpenter, so that I could build my own house and live on my own.

<a href='http://www.archdaily.com/192453/house-in-seya-suppose-design-office'>House in Seya</a>. Image Courtesy of Suppose Design Office <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/161689/52-suppose-design-office'>52</a>. Image © Toshiyuki Yano <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/458511/house-in-tousuien-suppose-design-office'>House in Tousuien</a>. Image © Toshiyuki Yano <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/50421/karis-suppose-design-office'>Karis</a>. Image © Toshiyuki Yano +17

London's Aylesbury Estate: A Housing Project Then and Now

04:00 - 9 December, 2016

Originally built to house over 7,000 people in the 1970s, the Aylesbury Estate in South East London was once one of largest housing projects in Europe. In recent years it has "fallen into rapid decline" and, according to British filmmaker Joe Gilbert, "perfectly encapsulates the growing housing crisis and problems caused by gentrification." With narration by Tom Dyckhoff, this short film aims to capture the reality of a housing utopia which has de-evolved into an uncomfortable reality.

Black and Gold: How Paul Revere Williams Became the First African-American to Win the AIA's Highest Honor

09:30 - 8 December, 2016
Black and Gold: How Paul Revere Williams Became the First African-American to Win the AIA's Highest Honor, La Concha Motel, Las Vegas, 1961. Image Courtesy of the AIA
La Concha Motel, Las Vegas, 1961. Image Courtesy of the AIA

Yesterday, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that they had awarded the 2017 Gold Medal to Paul Revere Williams. Despite the manic production rate of his five-decade-long career, those not familiar with the architecture of Hollywood’s early years might be forgiven for not recognizing Williams’ name. But he is notable for having designed around 3,000 buildings, for being “the architect to the stars” including, among many others, Frank Sinatra... and for being the first black member of the AIA.

Paley Home. Image Courtesy of the AIA Courtesy of the AIA LAX Theme Building, completed with Pereira & Luckman, 1961. Image © Flickr user thomashawk. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 Paley Home. Image Courtesy of the AIA +7

Why Architecture Needs Less London-Centrism and More Ideas in the Wake of Brexit

09:30 - 7 December, 2016
<a href='http://www.archdaily.com/421970/library-of-birmingham-mecanoo'>Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo</a>. Image © Christian Richters
Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters

Between March of 2013 and December of 2014, Simon Henley of London-based practice Henley Halebrown wrote a regular column for ArchDaily titled “London Calling,” covering architectural topics of note in the UK's capital. Now, Henley is returning to his column – but in the wake of 2016's shock political developments, his column is re-branding. Thus, here he presents the first of his column “Beyond London” – a look at architectural topics around the UK. Here, Henley presents his opinion on those political developments, and the role architects should play as the UK embarks on a new period in its history.

Post-Brexit, British architects need to think hard about the profession’s London-centric position. There has been a policy of inclusion of non-London architects on panels, their work in magazines and on awards shortlists, but this is not enough. It was quite clear on June 24th when the London design community awoke to the realization that Britain will leave the European Union, that a “Remain”-minded bubble had formed within the capital. The same may be true of the other large cities around the country which voted largely in favour of “Remain.”

2016 RIBA President's Medals Winners Announced

17:15 - 6 December, 2016
2016 RIBA President's Medals Winners Announced, Silver Medal: Crafts Vault / Thomas Chee. Image Courtesy of RIBA
Silver Medal: Crafts Vault / Thomas Chee. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced the President’s Medals Student Awards at a special event today in London. The awards, recognised as the world’s most prestigious in architectural education, were inaugurated in 1836 (making them, including the RIBA Gold Medal, the institute's oldest award). Three medals in particular—the Bronze for a Part I student (Bachelor level), the Silver for a Part II student (Masters level), and the Dissertation Medal—are awarded to “promote excellence in the study of architecture [and] to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide.” In addition to these, the winners of the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing and the SOM Foundation Fellowships alongside a rostra of commendations have also been announced.