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The Architectural Monograph is Here to Stay

The monograph is a popular platform for dissemination and debate in the art and design world, yet architectural monographs are often treated with suspicion – viewed more as a self-serving PR exercise. But do monographs actually have a more substantive role within the practice of architecture? This was the backdrop for a discussion entitled ‘Why a Monograph?’ held at Waterstones Piccadilly as part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture. The participants included Jay Merrick, architecture correspondent of The Independent; Simon Henley of Henley Halebrown Rorrison (HHbR); David Grandorge, architectural photographer and Senior Lecturer at London’s CASS; and Ros Diamond of Diamond Architects. The session was chaired by ArchDaily Editor James Taylor-Foster.

Thomas Heatherwick on People, Plants, Buses and Buildings

In an exclusive hour-long interview with British designer Thomas Heatherwick, Monocle's Andrew Tuck discusses building a business in the world of design and architecture, the process behind revamping the iconic red London bus, and the inspiration behind placing people – and plants – at the heart of the River Thames. Heatherwick leads London-based Heatherwick Studio, a multidisciplinary design practice who have recently completed a distillery in England and a learning hub in central Singapore, They are currently collaborating with BIG on the new Google Campus in San Francisco having been recently labelled as among the top ten most innovative architectural practices of 2015 by FastCompany.

Listen to the interview in full below:

We're Collecting the Best Studio Projects from Universities Worldwide - Submit Your Work!

It's graduation time. As universities around the globe - or at least most in the Northern hemisphere, where over 80% of the world's universities are located - come to the end of the academic year, many university architecture studios have recently closed out the construction of pavilions, installations and other small educational projects. At ArchDaily, we've already received a number of submissions from students and professors who would like to see their studio's work reach a larger audience, such as the example above from Cornell University's "A Journey Into Plastics" seminar, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's studio project completed with the assistance of Marcus Prizewinner Sou Fujimoto (more on that project here). But we're interested in doing something more.

Margot Krasojevic Turns Snow Cave Shelters into Practical, Impossible Art

The question "what is the point of all this?" has dogged architecture for as long as anyone cares to look, but since the millenniumthe purely theoretical yet theoretically possible designs of Margot Krasojevic have taken this question as a challenge. Her latest proposal, a mesh shelter that takes the concept of snow caves and applies it to an artificial structure, is built for an eminently practical purpose: a built emergency shelter for climbers and others caught in extreme conditions. Yet the elaborate, high tech and naturally contoured structure is as much a thought experiment as it is a serious architectural proposal.

© Margot Krasojevic © Margot Krasojevic © Margot Krasojevic © Margot Krasojevic

Between Intuition and Pragmatism: Peter Clegg on Holistic Sustainability

Founded in 1978, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has spent over thirty years refining its approach to sustainability, and is now regarded as one of the UK's leading practices in low-energy design. Yet their work still resonates on many other levels, bringing them multiple awards including the 2008 RIBA Stirling Prize for the Accordia Housing Project which they completed alongside Alison Brooks Architects and Maccreanor Lavington. In this interview from Indian Architect & Builder's May 2015 issue, Peter Clegg talks about the principles behind their work, explaining the concept of holistic sustainability which makes their designs so successful.

Indian Architect & Builder: The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Southbank Centre and many other projects desire to involve the social aspects for the larger good of the community. How would you describe the incorporation of these into the design process?

Peter Clegg: Architecture is an art form but also social science and we have a duty not only to work with our current client base and generate ideas collaboratively, but also think ahead and envisage the needs of future generations who are our ultimate clients. Our most creative work comes from working closely with creative clients who are more prevalent in the creative and cultural industries.

Model of Feilden Clegg Bradley's proposals for the Southbank Centre renovation, London. Image © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Manchester School of Art, Manchester, England. Image © Hufton + Crow Broadcasting Place, Leeds, England. Image © Cloud9Photography City and University Library for Worcester ("The Hive"), Worcester, England. Image © Hufton + Crow

7 Leading Architects Defend the World's Most Hated Buildings

From Paris' most abhorred tower to New York's controversial government center, seven renowned architects have stepped up in defense of the world's most hated buildings in a newly published article on T Magazine. As told to Alexandra Lange, the article presents direct quotes from Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and four others regarding controversial architecture whose importance goes beyond aesthetics.

See what hated building Norman Foster believes to be a "heroic" structure, after the break. 

CatalyticAction's Playground Puts Children at the Center of Relief Efforts for Syria

The international response to the Syrian War has often struggled to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster; huge numbers of refugees find it difficult even to source the barest essentials for life in the enormous refugee camps that have sprung up in Jordan, Lebanon, and elsewhere. Alongside the overwhelming need for basics, longer term care for displaced Syrian citizens is also proving difficult, but CatalyticAction, a not-for-profit design studio who are in their own words "a group of young graduates who believe that small changes can realize a big impact," believe that this long-term provision is equally important, especially for children.

Providing a sense of normal life for children in the refugee camps is absolutely essential to helping them, and their families, to recover and cope with life as refugees, which this why CatalyticAction have begun crowdfunding the construction of a playground - designed with the help of refugee children - in the Lebanese town of Bar Elias. The playground would allow children to learn through play, provide a sense of normality and, importantly, should create a space that they feel safe in.

A child poses with his plan for a safe playground. Image © CatalyticAction A drawing of the proposed playground. Image © CatalyticAction © CatalyticAction A diagram of the planning process for this project. Image © CatalyticAction

Video: Renzo Piano Reveals the Story Behind the Whitney Museum on Charlie Rose

Said to be the most long-awaited museum of the 21st century, the new Whitney Museum of American Art by Renzo Piano officially opened its doors in New York this May after a 30 year endeavor to expand its capacity. An unusual scenario, Charlie Rose sat down with Piano and the museum's director Adam Weinberg to discuss the "remarkable story" behind the expansion and how its design incorporates, what Piano believes to be, seven elements that represent the essence of architecture: social life, urbanity, invention, construction, technology, poetry and light.

We've provided a clip of the talk above. Watch the full 30-minute discussion, after the break. 

From Tokyo to Milwaukee: Sou Fujimoto and His Impact on Students at the University of Wisconsin

With the award of the $100,000 Marcus Prize to Sou Fujimoto in 2013, graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture were offered the rare opportunity to learn from one of Japan's most respected architectural practitioners. Through a semester-long connection to the studio - which he led alongside University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Associate Professor Mo Zell - Fujimoto and his students have realized a small architectural installation on an unused lot in Milwaukee's East side entitled faBRICK.

In this interview conducted in Tokyo last year, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student Robert Guertin speaks with Fujimoto about the ideas and themes of his work. In an attempt to shed light on the influence he had in the design of faBRICK, his answers are presented alongside images of the resulting installation.

Construction of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture Construction of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture Assembly method of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture

Material Masters: The Traditional Tiles of Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu

Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu of Amateur Architecture Studio are known for their distinctly contextual attitudes towards design which prize tradition and timelessness above anything else. In many cases, their use of materials is governed by local availability of salvaged building elements. Tiles, in particular, represent a material used repeatedly by Amateur Architecture studio and for Wang Shu, who won the 2012 Pritzker Prize, they offer a political as well as an architectural message.

Why I Created a Database to Document African Vernacular Architecture

Architecture is a unique component of a country's culture just as much as its language, music, art, literature or food. Architecture is also the most visual of those cultural components; the pyramids in Egypt, skyscrapers in New York, a temple in Japan, and onion domes in Russia all convey a unique image. This is called “genius loci,” the “spirit of a place”. Every country has its own genius loci, its own uniqueness. Vernacular architecture is composed of local materials and derived from local customs, techniques that have been passed on from generation to generation. But vernacular architecture in most (if not all) African countries is disappearing, being abandoned for western materials and techniques.

Rwanda - Kings Hut interior. Image © Larsen Payá Ethiopia - chicken coop constructed with woven reeds. Image © Abby Morris Benin - a Tata Somba. Image © Lafia Yarou Zambia - thatch stored in bundles being applied to roof. Image © Jon Sojkowski via Zambia Architecture

New Site Revealed for BIG and Heatherwick-Designed Google HQ Expansion

Google has found another way to realize its futuristic Mountain View headquarter's expansion. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, the search engine giant revealed plans to utilize a vacant site just east of their existing Googleplex that was approved by the city almost a decade ago to host nearly 600,000 square-feet of office and commercial space. The approval occurred prior to the city implementing strict legislation that restricts office expansions in the North Bayshore district, therefore Google's entitlement is essentially "grandfathered in."

How to Drastically Improve Your Architectural Renderings

These days, the production of architectural renderings is something of a digital arms race, as the more sophisticated visualization becomes, the more of a disservice you do to your designs if you're not able to present clients with increasingly photo-realistic imagery. In this post, originally published by ArchSmarter as the first in their "Pro Smarts" series which features tips and tricks from seasoned professionals, Jonn Kutyla from PiXate Creative describes his seven-step process for creating more realistic renders.

Creating photo-realistic architectural renderings requires careful planning and attention to detail. Adding minor details to your renderings can be time consuming, but it is certainly worthwhile. Some of the smallest details have the greatest impact on the realism of the rendering. Today we’re going to focus on the site around your building. This isn’t going to be a tutorial for specific software, but rather a guide to using nature to make your renderings more believable.

10 Highlights from Guardian Cities' "History of Cities in 50 Buildings"

All good things must come to an end, and Guardian Cities' excellent "History of Cities in 50 Buildings" series is sadly no exception, with only a few more left to be published before they hit 50. The whole series is definitely worth the read, bringing in the best of academic and architectural writing from guest authors and the Guardian's own Cities team, but if you're strapped for time - and if you're an architect, it's fairly likely that's true - we've rounded up 10 highlights from the list to get you started.

Amazonas Theatre, Manaus. Image © Wikimedia user Leaderfo Narkomfin Building, Moscow. Image © Wikimedia user NVO Ponte Tower, Johannesburg. Image © Flickr user fiverlocker Byker Wall Estate, Newcastle. Image © Flickr user George Rex

Can We Make New Office Buildings As Cool As Warehouses?

We are rapidly running out of old warehouse buildings to renovate, and selling space in the glassy towers of the central business district is difficult as corporate buildings become less and less attractive. We need a new building that is attractive to companies who cut their teeth in co-working incubators before seeking their own digs.

We are a society obsessed with the new. We want to look eternally young, drive the latest car, wear runway-fresh clothes and have up-to-the-minute technology at our fingertips. We do not care if the battery in our phones cannot be changed, because we are happy to simply get a newer phone. The American pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is a glittering glare of polish and gloss, all sparkling and new.

That is, unless we’re talking architecture.

Cannon Design's own St Louis Offices are located in a power house built in 1928. Image © Architectural Imageworks, LLC Ansarada / Those Architects. Image © Brett Boardman Donmar Dryden Street / Haworth Tompkins. Image © Philip Vile Cannon Design Regional Offices (St Louis) / Cannon Design. Converted industrial buildings "are big spaces vertically as well, trading the standard 9-foot (3-meter) ceiling in most office towers for soaring rafters". Image © Architectural Imageworks, LLC

Jean Nouvel on Architectural Eroticism and His Battles to Complete Buildings Correctly

Recently, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; after his Philharmonie de Paris opened ahead of schedule in January this year, he has been involved in a very public battle to have his name removed from the project to distance himself from the "aberrational decisions" of the client. In this interview, originally published by the Huffington Post as "Interview With Jean Nouvel," Elena Cué sits down with Nouvel in his Paris Studio to talk about his inspirations, the phenomenon of architectural eroticism, and why he is often disappointed with his completed works.

Elena Cué: The anti-Le Corbusier architect Claude Parent was your mentor when you were starting out at the age of 21. Please tell me about what meeting him meant for your career. You were actively involved in May 68 with a radical stance against the educational model of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. What were the things you demanded?

Jean Nouvel: I felt that his studio was one of the most creative at that time. He and his partner, Paul Virilio, created a space where a new approach to architecture could evolve. Paul became a very well-known philosopher and thinker of the time. I joined the intellectual rebellion of "May 68" and it certainly impacted my architectural style in terms of its criticism of the way in which French cities have traditionally been constructed. Later on, I joined with them to create the "March 1976 Movement," which demanded that the design of French cities no longer follow the same traditional model. Soon after, the architecture trade union was formed. It was a time of intellectual excitement.

The Torre Agbar. Image © Flickr CC user Juanedc The Fondation Cartier. Image © Flickr CC user Rory Hyde The Museo Reina Sofía. Image © Flickr CC user Manu (mscosgalla) The Philharmonie de Paris. Image © Flickr CC user Marko Erman

#LoFab: MASS Design Group's Campaign For Local Building

"If I get a contract, so does the entire neighborhood."

Bamboom: Elora Hardy's TED Talk on Bamboo's Exploding Popularity

Perhaps the most surprising thing about bamboo - besides being an entirely natural, sustainable material with the tensile strength of steel that can grow up to 900 millimeters (3 feet) in just 24 hours - is that it's not more widely recognized as a fantastic construction material. Like many traditional building materials, bamboo no longer has the architectural currency that it once did across Asia and the pacific, but the efforts of Elora Hardy may help put it back into the vernacular. Heading up Ibuku, a design firm that uses bamboo almost exclusively, Hardy's recent TED Talk is an excellent run through of bamboo's graces and virtues in construction, showing off sinuous private homes and handbuilt school buildings.

Karawitz's open shell of bamboo. Image Courtesy of Karawitz Architects The Green School in Bali. Image Courtesy of PT Bambu One of Elora Hardy's bamboo bridges. Image Courtesy of PT Bambu The Green School in Bali. Image Courtesy of PT Bambu