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Architects As Developers: The Pros & Cons

09:30 - 24 October, 2016
Architects As Developers: The Pros & Cons, Jonathan Segal’s newest mixed-use project called “Mr Robinson” located in San Diego. Image © Jonathan Segal Architect
Jonathan Segal’s newest mixed-use project called “Mr Robinson” located in San Diego. Image © Jonathan Segal Architect

This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "Reasons Why Architects Can Make Great Developers (or not?)."

Today, a majority of architects work solely on the design end of the development process. It is common knowledge that the net value of architectural services in a projects’ total value amounts to a very small percentage (it’s usually in single digits), which puts architects near the bottom of the financial structure in the AEC industry.

Stuck between developers, clients, contractors, and subcontractors, architects are usually in a role that implies great responsibility but proportionally low compensation for it. When we add to that the grievance of not having full control of a project, it becomes clear as to why an increasing number of architects either transition to real estate development or transform their design offices into design-builds.

Though still in its infancy, this transition seems indicative of an emancipatory trend that’s taking place, where architects take matters into their own hands and thus claim their rightful position within the industry.

The Internet's Unanswered Questions And Strange Assumptions About Architecture and Architects

13:00 - 23 October, 2016

The usefulness (and, at times, unintended hilarity or abhorrence) of Google's autocomplete function is nothing new. The screenshots, listicles and articles dedicated to exposing humanity's curiosity, bias and, alas, stupidity have circulated the interwebs since the "Search Suggestion" feature was launched in 2008. As you type a query, topic or name into the the search bar, you are served search predictions, which the company describes as "related to the terms you’re typing and what other people are searching for."

Detective Architects: A Look Into Forensenic Architecture's Interdisciplinary Analysis of "Crime Scenes"

09:30 - 23 October, 2016
Detective Architects: A Look Into Forensenic Architecture's Interdisciplinary Analysis of "Crime Scenes" , via TiP, Balmond Studio
via TiP, Balmond Studio

This article was originally published on TiP, Balmond Studio and is republished here with permission.

When an atrocity occurs how do we unpack the truth, using the learnings of architecture, science and art to seek justice?

Dealing with this complex issue is architect Eyal Weizman, founder of the ground-breaking research group, Forensic Architecture (FA) at Goldsmiths University, of London.

His team of architects, filmmakers, designers, lawyers, scholars and scientists are hired not by the State, but instead work with international prosecution firms, NGO’s, political organisations and the UN, to investigate ‘crime scenes’ – like forensic detectives.

27 of the Best Google Doodles Celebrating Architects and Architecture

14:10 - 21 October, 2016

Since 1998, Google has been manipulating their iconic logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists, creating what they call Google Doodles. Since the very first doodle (used to indicate founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s attendance at Burning Man that year), Google has produced over 2000 fun, colorful drawings to inform their users about the important milestones that fell on that date.

Mapped Movies: The Architecture and Settings Behind Film's Greatest Moments

09:30 - 21 October, 2016
Mapped Movies: The Architecture and Settings Behind Film's Greatest Moments, © Unsplash user Noom Peerapong. Licensed under CC0.
© Unsplash user Noom Peerapong. Licensed under CC0.

Stories have a way of clinging to places, charging buildings and spaces with an effect only perceptible to those who know what they once staged. Film is the most visual storytelling medium, and their environments often play memorable and vital roles in creating the movie's character and identity. The popularity of film tourism is testament to this phenomena. While the bulk of film tourism stems from blockbuster movies and their exposure and celebrity, the blog Filmap takes a more humble approach in highlighting the stories of everyday places.

For the past three years, the blog has laboriously tracked the locations of hundreds of movie scenes using Google Streetview, pairing stripped-back street views right next to their cinematographic counterparts. The resulting contrast elevates the everyday while also grounding fiction to our very streets, a reminder of the built environment’s role as a vessel of imagination.

A selection of Filmap’s posts are shared below – how many movies can you recognize from their real-life settings alone?

Opinion: Why Our Cities Need Less Jane Jacobs

09:30 - 20 October, 2016
Opinion: Why Our Cities Need Less Jane Jacobs, Mrs. Jane Jacobs, chairman of the Comm. to save the West Village holds up documentary evidence at press conference at Lions Head Restaurant at Hudson & Charles Sts. (1961). Public Domain
Mrs. Jane Jacobs, chairman of the Comm. to save the West Village holds up documentary evidence at press conference at Lions Head Restaurant at Hudson & Charles Sts. (1961). Public Domain

This article was originally published in the Literary Review of Canada as "Tunnel Vision: Why our cities need less Jane Jacobs." It has been partially re-published with permission.

My introduction to Jane Jacobs was completely ordinary. Like many, many architecture students since its publication in 1962, I read The Death and Life of Great American Cities for an introductory course in urbanism. Jacobs was a joy to read, whip-crack smart and caustically funny, and she wrote in impeccable, old-school sentences that convinced you with their unimpeded flow. She explained her ideas in utterly clear and simple language. Planners are “pavement pounding” or “Olympian.” There are “foot people and car people.”

Why were we reading her? I expect it was to encourage us to look harder at the city, and to imbibe some of her spirited advocacy for experience over expertise. It was a captivating message and delivered at the right time. Today it seems as though everybody interested in cities has read at least part of Death and Life and found personal affirmation in it. Michael Kimmelman wrote, “It said what I knew instinctively to be true.” For David Crombie, “she made it clear that the ideas that mattered were the ones which we understood intimately.”

This quality was important, and one of the reasons that Jacobs endures in our culture is the facility with which we can identify with her. She is one of “us,” whoever that is—not an expert, more like an aunt than a professor. Her speciality was the induction of rules from patterns discovered by individual observation, like a 19th-century gentleman scientist. Her work gave seriousness to reactions that might otherwise be dismissed as taste, ignorance or prejudice.

How to Write Your First Revit Macro in 7 Easy Steps

07:00 - 19 October, 2016
How to Write Your First Revit Macro in 7 Easy Steps, Courtesy of ARCHSMARTER
Courtesy of ARCHSMARTER

Macros are one of the easiest ways to Automate Revit. They let you get under the hood of your software and put it to work for you. Macros do not require any additional software other than Revit and are a great way for beginners to learn programming.

So what exactly is a macro? A macro is a user-created command that is coded using Revit’s API. Macros are run directly inside of Revit and are saved in the project file. Other applications, like MS Office, provide the ability to record macros directly from your actions on the screen. Unfortunately, Revit does not have this functionality. You must code your Revit macros directly.

121 Definitions of Architecture

09:30 - 17 October, 2016
121 Definitions of Architecture

There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.

Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.

This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.

Ramboland Is Increasing Self-Sufficiency for People with Disabilities through Architecture Designed To Heal

09:30 - 15 October, 2016

Team Rambo, also known as Ramboland, is a project born from the need of Ron Rambo, born with Cerebral Palsy, for a home that can support his disability and increase his quality of life. However, Ramboland doesn’t just stop there. LEED Fellow Max Zahniser, has used his experience with Green Architecture to combine Ron’s social vision with an environmental one that can benefit the entire community. The meeting of these objectives has been defined by the goal “to design a project that will actually increase the vitality of life and life-support systems in every way possible,” using architecture to make a difference. 

Courtesy of Team Rambo Courtesy of Unknown Courtesy of Team Rambo Courtesy of Team Rambo +8

In Wake of Revolution, Francis Kéré Envisions a Transparent New Architecture for the Burkina Faso Parliament Building

14:00 - 14 October, 2016
In Wake of Revolution, Francis Kéré Envisions a Transparent New Architecture for the Burkina Faso Parliament Building, Courtesy of Kéré Architecture
Courtesy of Kéré Architecture

On October 30, 2014, as Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré was preparing to make an amendment to the country’s constitution that would eliminate presidential term limits and allow him to extend his 27 year rule, tens of thousands of Burkinabé citizens in the capital city of Ouagadougou broke through police lines to set fire to several government buildings, including city hall, the ruling party headquarters, and the National Assembly Building. The following day, Compaoré stepped down, ushering in a new era of democratic rule and resulting in the country’s first ever pluralistic and competitive Presidential election in 2015.

But the revolution left the former government complex in tatters and in need of a clear direction forward both culturally and architecturally. A former French colony, Burkina Faso is home to 19 million people, 50 different ethnicities and more than 60 languages. The country would require a new Parliament that could serve as a common ground for these diverse groups, while providing the technology and education necessary to create opportunities and a better quality of life for all Burkinabés.

To find this solution, last year, the new head of Parliament approached architect and Burkina Faso native Francis Kéré to develop a building and masterplan for the Assembly Building. The new building, in the architect’s words, would need to be one that could “not only address the core democratic values of transparency, openness and equality, but could also become a catalyst for growth and development for the capital city of Ouagadougou as a whole.”

Courtesy of Kéré Architecture Courtesy of Kéré Architecture Courtesy of Kéré Architecture Image of the capital city of Ouagadougou. Image © Francis Kéré +19

8 Tips on Becoming Successful as a Sole Practitioner

09:30 - 11 October, 2016
8 Tips on Becoming Successful as a Sole Practitioner, Perhaps the most famous contemporary sole practitioner is Glenn Murcutt, who still works alone in spite of winning the Pritzker Prize in 2002. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/unrosarinoenvietnam/3783205881'>Flickr user unrosarinoenvietnam</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
Perhaps the most famous contemporary sole practitioner is Glenn Murcutt, who still works alone in spite of winning the Pritzker Prize in 2002. Image © Flickr user unrosarinoenvietnam licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This article was originally published on Redshift as "Go Your Own Way: 8 Tips for a Sole-Practitioner Architect to Build Credibility."

If you’re a sole-practitioner architect, you’ve probably already thought long and hard about the pros and cons of working solo, and don’t feel the burning desire to work in a bustling office environment with large-scale projects and constant collaboration. There are plenty of upsides to running your own practice. “I have it pretty good as a sole practitioner,” says Portland, Oregon architect Celeste Lewis. “I love the flexibility it provides with having a child, parents who are ill, and my passion for being involved in the community.”

But along with the benefits come challenges. One of the biggest is proving you’re worth your salt in a competitive marketplace alongside larger, bigger-reputation firms. Here are eight tips to help sole practitioners—who make up nearly 25 percent of AIA-member firms—build credibility.

The Strange Habits of Top Architects

07:00 - 10 October, 2016

Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).

How Combining Traditional Asian and African Design Could Minimize Diseases in Rural Tanzania

09:30 - 9 October, 2016
How Combining Traditional Asian and African Design Could Minimize Diseases in Rural Tanzania, © Konstantin Ikonomidis
© Konstantin Ikonomidis

Architecture firm Ingvartsen Architects has turned their gaze towards “cultural exchange architecture”—not with the aim of exploring identity or experimenting with aesthetics, but with a practical purpose in mind: to minimize the spread of diseases. The Magoda Project combines Asian elements with traditional rural African building methods in the village of Magoda, in the Tanga region of Tanzania, taking shape in the form of eight prototype homes. The design goes to show that cultural exchanges in design and architecture can make great contributions towards problem solving for a humanitarian purposes, not only to improve health and hygiene, but also comfort and happiness.

© Konstantin Ikonomidis © Konstantin Ikonomidis © Konstantin Ikonomidis © Konstantin Ikonomidis +26

These Stunning Photos Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Alvaro Siza's Pool On The Beach

08:00 - 8 October, 2016
These Stunning Photos Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Alvaro Siza's Pool On The Beach, © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Alvaro Siza Vieira’s Piscinas de Marés (Pools on the Beach) in Leça de Palmeira, Portugal, photographer Fernando Guerra shared an interesting photo shoot project with us. 

The young Álvaro Siza Vieira, then 26, was called to make salt water pools along the shore at Leça da Palmeira in Matosinhos, Portugal. The facility, which was completed in 1966, is made up of changing rooms, a café and two pools- one for adults and one for children - and became one of Siza Vieira’s most recognized projects, classified as a National Monument of Portugal in 2011.

© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG +31

These Mesmerizing GIFs Illustrate the Art of Traditional Japanese Wood Joinery

12:00 - 7 October, 2016

For centuries before the invention of screws and fasteners, Japanese craftsmen used complex, interlocking joints to connect pieces of wood for structures and beams, helping to create a uniquely Japanese wood aesthetic that can still be seen in the works of modern masters like Shigeru Ban.

Up until recent times, however, these techniques were often the carefully guarded secrets of family carpentry guilds and unavailable for public knowledge. Even as the joints began to be documented in books and magazines, their 2-dimensional depictions remained difficult to visualize and not found in any one comprehensive source.

That is, until a few years ago, when a young Japanese man working in automobile marketing began compiling all the wood joinery books he could get his hands on and using them to creating his own 3-dimensional, animated illustrations of their contents.

Denise Scott Brown On the Past, Present and Future of VSBA's Groundbreaking Theories

09:30 - 7 October, 2016
Denise Scott Brown On the Past, Present and Future of VSBA's Groundbreaking Theories, Franklin Court, Philadelphia (1976). Image © Mark Cohn
Franklin Court, Philadelphia (1976). Image © Mark Cohn

Through their books, theories and design projects, there's no doubt that Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi dramatically altered the course of architecture at the end of the Modernist period. In this interview conducted at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2013, Shalmali Wagle and Alen Žunić talk with Scott Brown about the origins of the groundbreaking theories that underpinned the work of Venturi Scott Brown and Associates, what she is working on now, and her hopes for the future of the profession.

When you decided to practice architecture, was there a second option? What could have been your alternate career?

Because my mother had studied architecture, I wanted as a child, to be an architect, and as she drew a great deal for us, I spent much of my preschool life drawing and painting. In grade school I loved my teachers and wanted to do what they did. And in middle school I wanted to write, study languages, travel, and perhaps be a librarian—a career I saw as appropriate to my interests and open to women. But on entering architecture school, I saw only men there (5:60 was the ratio everywhere, until almost 1980). But the architects I knew were women, so I had thought it was a female's profession. "What are all these men doing in the studio?" I asked myself. When I was 40 I looked back and realized I had had all the roles I hoped to have but within the framework of architecture.

Caruso St John Architects' Newport Street Gallery Wins the 2016 Stirling Prize

15:30 - 6 October, 2016
Caruso St John Architects' Newport Street Gallery Wins the 2016 Stirling Prize, © Hélène Binet
© Hélène Binet

Caruso St John Architects has won the top prize in British architecture, the RIBA Stirling Prize for their Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall, London, beating out competition from Herzog & de Meuron, Michael Laird Architects + Reiach and Hall Architects, Loyn & Co Architects, dRMM Architects and WilkinsonEyre

Designed as a free public gallery to house artist Damien Hirst’s private art collection, Caruso St John’s scheme sandwiches three restored Victorian-era industrial buildings between two new structures, one of which features a distinct saw-tooth roof.

"This highly accomplished and expertly detailed art gallery is a bold and confident contribution to the best of UK architecture. Caruso St John’s approach to conservation is irreverent yet sensitive and achieves a clever solution that expresses a poetic juxtaposition of old and new," said the jury in their citation.

The Tallest Timber Tower Yet: Perkins + Will's Concept Proposal for River Beech Tower

09:30 - 6 October, 2016
Courtesy of River Beech Tower
Courtesy of River Beech Tower

As part of a masterplan along the Chicago River, the River Beech Tower is a residential high-rise which, if built, would be taller than any existing timber building. The collaborative team behind River Beech consists of architects Perkins+Will, engineers Thornton Tomasetti and the University of Cambridge. Currently a conceptual academic and professional undertaking, the team state that it could potentially be realized by the time of the masterplan’s final phases.