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A Tilting Horizon: Reflecting on 50 Issues of VOLUME and What's Yet to Come

04:00 - 31 January, 2017

A photo posted by Volume (@archisvolume) on

In this editorial from VOLUME's milestone 50th issue, Arjen Oosterman—the magazine's Editor-in-Chief—reflects on over ten years of cultural production and discourse and outlines what is to come. ArchDaily will be sharing a selection of the articles from this issue over the coming weeks.

Moving forward implies looking back. When we started this research engine called VOLUME in 2005, economic, political, and social conditions were very different to how they are today. The intention to rethink the agency of ‘beyond’ as driver for change inevitably means historicizing the trajectory of the VOLUME project so far. That said, we really didn’t want to turn VOLUME itself into the subject of reflection. So we’ll instead talk about the present and, in so doing, find history creeping its way in whether we like it or not.

The Architectural Stories Behind 7 Famous Album Covers

09:30 - 30 January, 2017
Image <a href=''>via</a>
Image via

The production of creative work often requires a very particular type of space—a temple, if you will, to the work being done. Architects and artists are open about how their living and working areas affect their practice, and musicians, of course, are no different. Perhaps this is why places and spaces are often featured on album covers. The art on an album cover is partially advertising, but it is also often a visual symbol of an entire period in the life of a musician. An album's cover artwork may depict the view a band saw coming into the studio every day, the building the album was recorded in, the city the musician grew up in, or myriad other more abstract connections. We will leave it to you to make sense of the connection between the 7 architectural landmarks featured on the following albums and the music their images envelop, but the stories behind the constructions themselves may help you make a more educated guess.

40 Projects Shortlisted for the 2017 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies Van Der Rohe Award

07:40 - 30 January, 2017
40 Projects Shortlisted for the 2017 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies Van Der Rohe Award, Courtesy of EUmiesAward17
Courtesy of EUmiesAward17

The European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation have announced the 40 shortlisted works that will compete for the 2017 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. The jury has chosen from 355 nominated works and the shortlist highlights the opportunities and the trends of today’s European territory: cities, housing, heritage, and memory. The five finalists will be announced in mid-February and the winner and the Emerging Architect in mid-May. 

A third of the works tackle the challenge of contemporary architecture in relation with built heritage and a third of the work tackles the contemporary challenges of housing. The management of the historic urban landscape will be among the priorities highlighted by the ‘European Year of Cultural Heritage' in 2018.

"I would want the shortlisted schemes to demonstrate an interest in making places, in exploring convention and known typologies, in celebrating the pleasures of everyday use by a consideration of detail and an unspoken resistance to the current global tendency towards a self-referential architecture, one that belies context and the act of inhabitation." - Stephen Bates, Chairman of the Jury.

Seen the shortlist after the break.

4 Virtual Spaces in "Second Life" that Explore Alternatives in Religious Architecture

11:00 - 29 January, 2017
4 Virtual Spaces in "Second Life" that Explore Alternatives in Religious Architecture, Screenshots via Second Life
Screenshots via Second Life

If you’ve heard of Second Life, the 2000s-era web-based online world with millions of loyal “residents” who populated it with personal avatars, you’re likely to think it has become irrelevant or obsolete. But at the peak of its popularity, the site received a lot of attention for providing users with a potentially dangerous escape from reality—one so powerful that it was not unheard of to leave real jobs, friends, and families for those found within the site.

Second Life is the ultimate democratizer in space making. The vast web of locations in the site's virtual world, called sims, are almost completely user-generated. For as little as $75 a month, anyone with an internet connection and basic CAD skills can create, upload, and maintain whatever place they dream up. Sure, sometimes this “great equalizer” spits out such venues as SeDucTions and Sinners Burlesque, but more often than not, builders have responded to the complex opportunities and challenges presented by their unique situation with innovative design solutions.

One place to observe this is in the site’s many spiritual sims, in which religious architecture often responds to the displacement of religious authority in the digital world, since a lack of official (sanctioned) ties to tradition offers a designer more agency than in the real world. Read on to discover four cases that carve out a space for spirituality in Second Life and reveal some of what works—and doesn’t—in today's virtual sacred architecture.

The Record Company Headquarters that Revived 1950s Hollywood with Iconic Architecture

09:30 - 28 January, 2017
Courtesy of TASCHEN
Courtesy of TASCHEN

This essay by Alan Hess about the iconic Capitol Records building in Los Angeles was originally published as "The Architecture of the Capitol Records Tower." It is part of the book 75 Years of Capitol Records, published by TASCHEN, which is scheduled for release in February.

The president of Capitol Records was certain that a serious company could not operate out of a building that looked like the stack of records in a jukebox. So when Welton Becket, the new headquarters’ architect, showed him a model of the multistoried circular tower, Wallichs was annoyed. It would look like an advertising gimmick, Wallichs said, in a city where hot dogs were sold out of buildings shaped like hot dogs. Becket countered that the circular floor plan was more cost-efficient for the amount of usable space than a standard rectangular office building. Unimpressed, Wallichs told Becket to go back and design a conventional building.

The myth that a stack of records inspired the Tower has never died, though. As soon as the building opened, Hollywood columnist Bob Thomas wrote about it as “a monstrous stack of records.” Wallichs went on a public offensive from the start: “There was no intentional relationship between the shape of phonograph records and the circular design of the Tower” he insisted to the Chicago Tribune.

AD Classics: Park Hill Estate / Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith

04:00 - 27 January, 2017
AD Classics: Park Hill Estate / Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith, © Wikimedia user/Flickr user Paolo Margari (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)
© Wikimedia user/Flickr user Paolo Margari (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)

From its hilltop vantage point in the east end of Sheffield, UK, the Park Hill Estate surveys the post-industrial city which sprawls westwards. Its prominent location makes the estate highly visible and it has, over time, become engrained in the popular consciousness – a part of the fabric of the city. Although today it divides opinion, following its completion in 1961 it was hailed as an exemplary model for social housing. Designed by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith under the supervision of Sheffield’s visionary City Architect John Lewis Womersley, the estate now stands as testament to an era when young British architects were revolutionizing the field of residential architecture with radical housing programs.

The Park Hill Estate was part of Womersley’s strategy to introduce more high-density housing to Sheffield, which he believed would foster a stronger sense of community than the ubiquitous back-to-back terraces.[1] This policy went hand in hand with an urgent need for slum clearance; The Park, a slum so notorious for its high crime rate that it was known locally as ‘Little Chicago,’ was demolished to make way for the estate.

After renovation. Image © Paul Dobraszczyk © Paul Dobraszczyk © Paul Dobraszczyk © Paul Dobraszczyk +17

9 Unusual and Interesting Small Churches and Chapels, As Selected by Sketchfab

09:30 - 26 January, 2017
9 Unusual and Interesting Small Churches and Chapels, As Selected by Sketchfab

Once again, thanks to our collaboration with Sketchfab, here we have a selection of 9 virtual experiences through churches and chapels from Europe, Africa and the Americas. Each small building has its own special story, either geographical, political or structural—from one building that has experienced its own mini tour of Europe, to another which contains some rather unusual building materials. The diverse sites each seem to hold secrets, all of which can now be explored through 3D scanning technology. The fascinating variation in structural forms is also apparent, showcasing how even humble architecture has the potential to create a rich list of virtual spaces. 

For a more immersive experience, all of these models can be viewed on a virtual reality headset such as Google Cardboard.

William McDonough on Sustainability: "Carbon Is Not the Enemy"

09:30 - 25 January, 2017
William McDonough on Sustainability: "Carbon Is Not the Enemy", William McDonough + Partners and Aecom's <a href=''>NASA Sustainability Base</a> in California. Image © William McDonough + Partners
William McDonough + Partners and Aecom's NASA Sustainability Base in California. Image © William McDonough + Partners

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Why Architects Must Rethink Carbon (It's Not the Enemy We Face)."

Metropolis editor in chief Susan Szenasy sits down with William McDonough—the designer, author, and developer of Cradle to Cradle design—to understand why we must begin to employ a new language regarding carbon and sustainable design.

Susan Szenasy: Your article in Nature, “Carbon is Not the Enemy,” really caught my attention. You're redefining how we think about carbon, what it is, and what we should be looking for. It seems like a new phase that you're leading us to. How did you come up with this idea, that there needs to be a new language on carbon? Can you trace back your thought process?

William McDonough: [With the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015,] everybody kept saying, "Oh, we have to do this, to reduce our carbon 20% by 2020." Well, when you think about that Susan, it's absurd. What you're telling us is what you're not going to do. You’re going to reduce your badness by 20% by 2020? That would be like getting in a taxi and saying to the driver, "Quick, I'm not going to the airport." It doesn't tell us what you're going to do.

The Importance of Human Scale When Sketching

08:00 - 25 January, 2017

I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies. (Le Corbusier)

Even with the evolution of technology and the popularization of advanced computer programs, most architecture projects still begin with a blank sheet of paper and the casual strokes of a pen. Rather than simply representing a project, the sketch allows us to examine the project, understand the landscape or topography, or communicate an idea to another team member or even the client. Its main purpose, however, is to stimulate the creative process and overcome the fear of blank paper. Sketches are usually made with imprecise, overlapping, ambiguous strokes, accompanied by annotations, arrows, and lack great technical accuracy and graphic refinement.

AD Classics: The Parthenon / Ictinus and Callicrates

04:00 - 25 January, 2017
AD Classics: The Parthenon / Ictinus and Callicrates, The Acropolis, the plateau on which the Parthenon stands, served as a fortified citadel in Athens’ Mycenaean past. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Konstantinos Dafalias (licensed under CC BY 2.0)
The Acropolis, the plateau on which the Parthenon stands, served as a fortified citadel in Athens’ Mycenaean past. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Konstantinos Dafalias (licensed under CC BY 2.0)

It is unsurprising that Athens, the city widely considered to be the cradle of Western civilization, would have made as celebrated a contribution to architecture as it has to countless other human pursuits. Built on a hilltop above the contemporary city, the weathered marble complex known as the Acropolis stands as a faded remnant from the former city-state’s ancient glory years, surrounded by the products of the centuries that followed. The greatest of these landmarks, the Parthenon, captures an age long past when Athens was the wealthiest and most powerful city-state in Greece and beyond.

Courtesy of Flickr user Kristof Verslype (licensed under CC BY 2.0) The west pediment of the reconstruction of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee depicts Athena and Poseidon fighting for the rule of Attica while the other gods look on. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user damian entwistle (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) After almost 2,500 years, the Parthenon still stands tall above the city of Athens. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Aris Gionis (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The Parthenon’s columns, being narrower than typical Doric proportions dictated, served to reduce the bulk of the temple and make it appear more airy and graceful. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Jebulon (licensed under CC0 1.0) +11

Emilio Ambasz: “I Detest Writing Theories, I Prefer Writing Fables”

09:30 - 24 January, 2017
Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz
Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz

While many of the pioneers of green architecture could arguably be criticized as technocratic and dry, this has never applied to Emilio Ambasz. His concept of “green over gray” has been pushing the debate around sustainability forwards since the 1970s, but alongside this concept he has developed a critical approach to architectural meaning and form-making which competes with many of architecture's more poetic practitioners. Ahead Vladimir Belogolovsky's upcoming exhibition of Ambasz's work, “Emilio Ambasz: Architecture Toward Nature,” which is on show at the Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Center from February 6th – 28th, here Belogolovsky shares his interview with the architect – the latest interview in his “City of Ideas” column.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: I read that you knew you wanted to be an architect at an early age and when you were 11, you even dared to propose an exhibition on American architecture in Buenos Aires. What was it that prompted your initial interest in architecture?

Emilio Ambasz: I was interested in architecture since I was nine, I think. I am a person of steady ideas. Once I have an idea that’s it, I persist. I wanted to become an architect and that led to my applying to Princeton. I sent my application with a wax seal telling them that I went to bed every night with the idea of wanting to be an architect and woke up every morning with this idea…

Banca degli Occhi in Venice-Mestre. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Ospedale dell’Angelo in Venice-Mestre. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz +36

The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built

04:00 - 24 January, 2017
The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built, Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco
Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco

As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.

Ryugyong Hotel. Image © José Tomás Franco Robot Building. Image © José Tomás Franco CCTV Headquarters. Image © José Tomás Franco Cayan Tower. Image © José Tomás Franco +21

Why Do We Love GIFs?

09:30 - 23 January, 2017


GIFs are hugely popular and are constantly being shared on the Internet by lots of people. Whether it's expressing some feeling that seems unexplainable with words, freaking out over fluffy cats, endless memes or even hypnotic scenes from movies we love (like the above scene from Jacques Tati's "Mon Oncle"). We see the use of this format increasing in Architecture, and one thing is for certain, we love it.

The Noble Simplicity of Peter Zumthor's Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum

09:30 - 22 January, 2017
© Aldo Amoretti
© Aldo Amoretti

After previously documenting the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, photographer Aldo Amoretti once again captures the grounded simplicity of Peter Zumthor, this time with images of his Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum in Sauda, Norway. The three-building campus calls upon the aesthetics of the country's abandoned zinc mines from the 1800s, evoking the toilsome labor of the workers in its rough stone and exposed joint work. The museum is situated on one of Norway's National Tourist Routes and was commissioned by the state as part of an effort to increase tourism in the region. As such, the buildings are poised in and above the landscape, providing views of the natural gorge that unfold as visitors move through Zumthor's dark, shaftlike interiors.

Amoretti's photos express the modesty of the project, from the blackness of the interior galleries to the thin stilts that support the buildings within their rocky surroundings. The museum structures are suspended in balance with the harsh, gray climate—a noble representation of the working conditions of the miners the project aims to memorialize.

© Aldo Amoretti © Aldo Amoretti © Aldo Amoretti © Aldo Amoretti +22

5 Architects Who Turned to Selling Products, Not Architecture

09:30 - 21 January, 2017
5 Architects Who Turned to Selling Products, Not Architecture

This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "Turning Ideas into Products: 5 Architects who Successfully Sell their Designs."

The emergence of interconnectivity, smart and sensor-driven designs, home automation, clean energy, shared knowledge, and efficient software have created numerous opportunities for those looking to build their businesses around products. This includes architects who, by design, have a large skill set that allows them to engage with a wide variety of business models.

The idea of automating or productizing architectural design services is a contentious one and it trickles down to the very definition of architecture. But when it comes to the business aspect of the profession, it becomes clear that many among today’s most renowned architects owe their success to the idea of productizing their services.

How the NMAAHC Became the Greenest Museum in Washington DC

09:30 - 20 January, 2017
How the NMAAHC Became the Greenest Museum in Washington DC, National Museum of African American History and Culture, west facade. Image © Darren Bradley
National Museum of African American History and Culture, west facade. Image © Darren Bradley

This article, originally titled "DC’s Museum Of African American History Is The City’s Greenest," was originally published on Lance Hosey's Huffington Post blog. It is part of a four-part series about the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Fifteen years ago, when I worked on the design of a high-performance museum, the concept was considered so unusual that the media questioned the very idea. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) had only very recently introduced its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, so much of the public wasn’t familiar with the concept. Over the following decade, it became more and more popular in every building type, including museums. A watershed year was 2008. The Water + Life Museums in Hemet, CA, became the first LEED Platinum museum, quickly followed by the California Academy of Science, which has been called “the world’s greenest museum.” The same year, the Grand Rapids Art Museum became the first LEED-certified art museum. By 2016, International Museum Day could highlight ten LEED-certified museums in the US alone.

Now the Smithsonian has completed its first LEED Gold project, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). (The Silver-rated National Museum of the American Indian [NMAI] was the first Smithsonian project to become a certified green building, although it wasn’t designed to this standard and didn’t achieve it until seven years after opening in 2004.) By many measures, the NMAAHC is easily the greenest museum in Washington.

10 Apps That Can Help You Be More Productive and Make Better Architecture

09:30 - 19 January, 2017

This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "Top 10 Apps to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Build New Habits."

With the daily distractions of Facebook, emails and calls, it can become difficult to keep your eye on the ball. This is why having an app that tracks habits and helps you stay organized can make a huge impact on your professional and personal success.

There are numerous digital tools dedicated to optimizing workflow, communication and time management, helping business owners and freelancers realize their full potential. This can also apply to goal setting. Goals are closely connected to our daily habits. Whether you’re looking to start a new project, learn to use a new tool or launch a product, your habits will play a crucial role in moving things forward. This is why we have compiled a list of great apps and tools that will help you keep track of your work dynamic and make good habits while breaking bad ones.

The Ultimate Guide to Revit Shortcuts

09:30 - 18 January, 2017
The Ultimate Guide to Revit Shortcuts

This article was originally published on ArchSmarter.

For all the work you do in Revit, there’s a keyboard shortcut that can help you do it faster.

Here’s a roundup featuring some of my favorite Revit keyboard shortcuts to create and organize your model. Keep reading to learn how to create your own shortcuts.

This shortcut cheat sheet is also available in a convenient pdf form; simply sign up here to download it.