ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide

the world's most visited architecture website

Why Sketchbooks Still Rule in a Digital World

In his articles for ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly comes across as something of a technophile: some of his favorite topics include Revit macros, coding, Excel, automation and... Moleskine? In this article, originally published on ArchSmarter as "Why I Still Use a Sketchbook," Kilkelly explains why despite all the technology, sketchbooks remain one of the most important tools at his disposal.

I was in a full panic.

I got to the hotel when realized I left my sketchbook in the cab. I was freaking out. I called the cab company and explained, with a mounting sense of urgency, what happened.

“You forgot your sketchbook? What’s that? Some kind of laptop?”
“No,” I explained. “It’s a notebook with good paper. I sketch in it. You know, with a pen.”
“Why don’t you just use an iPad?”
“But I like to draw. I like the feel of the paper and it never runs out of batteries” I replied.
“Whatever. I’ve got a great sketching app on my iPad. Plus like a thousand games. And I can read the newspaper. And check my email...”

Some Thoughts on Zaha Hadid Architects' Campaign to Win Back the Tokyo Stadium Commission

Zaha Hadid Architects are no longer the architects of the New National Stadium, Tokyo's headline venue for the 2020 Olympic Games. You probably already knew - ZHA have been making quite a fuss about it, with a 1,400-word statement released last month and a 23-minute video released yesterday, both arguing that scrapping their design is a bad idea.

Clearly, brevity is not one of ZHA's strong suits, so for those who don't have 30-plus minutes to chew their way through both video and statement, the basics are as follows: the official reason given by the Japanese government for scrapping the stadium has been the rising costs of the design. ZHA have countered this complaint by saying that the rising costs are not a result of their design but of an uncompetitive tender process for the construction, and of skyrocketing construction prices across the whole of Tokyo. They add that by starting the project from scratch, Japan risks overshooting their 2020 deadline for the Olympic venue.

An extra complication is added by the widespread public dislike of the stadium's design, scale and location - most notably coming in the form of a petition led by Fumihiko Maki and Toyo Ito - which has caused some to speculate that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is secretly bowing to political pressure. In response, ZHA's video emphasized the features of the design which were either required by the brief or an attempt to respond to the context, in an attempt to absolve themselves from blame.

However, with the decision to start anew now over a month old, the question remains: will ZHA's attempts to win back the project be enough? More importantly, should this campaign be taken seriously?

© Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia

50 Things You Didn't Know About Le Corbusier

You know him for his round glasses, affinity for concrete and undying love for modernism, but do you really know Le Corbusier? Le Corbusier led his life not just as the 20th century's most influential architect, but also as an artist, socialite and theoretician. Taught by architects August Perret and Peter Behrens, criticized by the likes of Jane Jacobs and celebrated worldwide, Le Corbusier's legacy is undeniable. Dabbling often with controversy, Le Corbusier preferred the mantra “Architecture or Revolution,” designing structures that have been dubbed "anti-humanist." While some propose that his buildings collectively become a UNESCO World Heritage site, many call for their demolition. 

In 2015, 50 years after his death, the debate on the calibre of his controversial projects rages on. To mark a half-century since the death of architecture's concrete man, we've rounded up 50 little-known facts from his illustrious 78-year life. Dive into the details of Le Corbusier's wild affairs, adventures and architecture after the break.

Images Revealed of Frank Gehry's “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

Gehry Partners, alongside Townscape Partners, has unveiled plans to redefine the "gateway" to California's Sunset Strip. A cluster of five distinct, Gehry-esque structures, the mixed-use proposal is one of several design alternatives that have been proposed by Townscape for the site. If built, it would include two residential buildings, featuring a mix of rental and for-sale apartments, along with retail, entertainment programs, and public gathering spaces.

Why Good Lighting Design Has Little to Do With Lux or LEDs

Is there a designer who does not dream of the perfect lighting concept, which conveys a feeling of well-being and shows the architecture at its best? Unfortunately, however, it is often the case that the brief received from the client causes difficulties. All too often discussions are peppered with such terms as LEDs and lux levels,causing an unconscious shift in thinking in the direction of norms and technology instead of placing questions about requirements and lighting quality at the centre of discussion. But what exactly is quality lighting design?

Why Ancient Cities Can Still Teach Us About Urban Planning

In the 20th century, urban planning went through some big changes, creating much of our current urban environment in a mold that is now widely seen as anti-human. Fortunately, in recent decades urban planning has changed again - partly revising and partly reverting the theories espoused by the 20th century. In this article, originally published on Autodesk’s Line//Shape//Space publication as "What the Future of Cities Can Learn From Ancient Cities," James A Moore looks at why old models for creating cities have proved so timeless, and the role that they will play in creating 21st century cities.

As legend has it, upon leaving Carnegie Hall after a dissatisfying rehearsal, violinist Mischa Elman ran into two tourists looking for the hall’s entrance. They asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Without missing a beat, Elman said, “Practice.”

It’s an old and simple joke, but it points to an important reason why people are drawn to cities. Why do people move to Hollywood? They want to be in movies. Why do they move to Wall Street? They want to be in finance. In the best cases, cities enable citizens to pursue their aspirations.

Rainham: The East London Village that Became an Urban Planning Exemplar

For the past century or so, the key to turning around the fortunes of a community was thought to be simple: large scale, infrastructural overhaul was capable of rethinking a place from the ground up, fixing any problems. The deficiencies with this sort of thinking are now well known, and in recent years small, surgical interventions which preserve the existing qualities of a town have gained traction. But how do you create large-scale change with such small-scale proposals?

The town of Rainham, at the far Eastern reaches of London, might hold an answer. Having preserved its village-like atmosphere despite being part of London's industrial hinterlands, since the turn of the millennium Rainham has been the subject of a series of small developments that have made a big overall change. Projects by Alison Brooks Architects, Maccreanor Lavington, Peter Beard LANDROOM, Studio Weave, Civic, and East have improved key spaces within Rainham while connecting it to the Thames and the nearby marshes - all by being respectful of the town's existing qualities and responsive to each others' interventions.

ArchDaily's Ultimate List of Advice for Incoming Architecture Students

Architecture school. You’ve heard the myths - the legends of all-nighters and innovation, of unmatched workaholism and love for the profession. Perhaps you know what you want – to solve the great urbanization problem, to create the next sustainable wonder-gadget, or maybe just to start your own firm and show the architectural world how it’s done. Maybe you have no idea what you want to do, drawn to architecture by the romance, the larger-than-life scale. Maybe you’re an artist who wants a job when they graduate. A hometown hero, you’re about to be thrown into a classroom of the best, possibly for the first time in your life. You’ll be surrounded by the brightest in engineering, problem solving, writing, drawing and a host of other skills. Anxious and excited, you stand ready at the doors of architectural education, hungry for innovation and ready to share and learn from others. Stepping inside that first day, you prepare yourself for the best - and most difficult times of your life so far.

To prepare you for the strange beast that is architecture school, shed light on what is fact and fiction, and give you some peace of mind, we at ArchDaily have prepared a list of advice for all incoming architecture students. There is no other education in the world quite like an architectural one, and we hope that this list can help prepare you for its unique wonders and challenges. The advice below is meant to ease the transition into school as much as possible – but be warned, nothing can compare to experiencing the real deal. Read them all after the break.

First year review. Image © Steven Lin A lecture in Brooklyn. Image © Ien Boodan © Jeff So The (rare) empty studio. Image © Ien Boodan

What Role Does Crowdfunding Have in Architecture?

In 1885, with only $3,000 in the bank, the "American Committee" in charge of building a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty ceased work, after both president Grover Cleveland and the US Congress declined to provide funds for the project. The project was saved by a certain Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, who used his newspaper to spark a $100,000 fundraising campaign with the promise that everyone who donated would have their name printed the paper.

The base of the Statue of Liberty is perhaps the first ever example of crowdfunding in architecture as we might recognize it today, with a popular media campaign and some form of minor reward. But in recent years, crowdfunding has taken on a whole new complexion. Last week, we asked our readers to tell us their thoughts about a specific example of crowdfunding in architecture: BIG's attempt to raise funds for the prototyping of the steam ring generator on their waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen. But there are many more examples of fundraising in architecture, and each of them deserves attention.

"La Línea Borrosa" Proposes a Shared Space at the US-Mexico Border

In 1971, Friendship Park was created at the western coast of the US-Mexico border, a small strip of land where the United States and Mexico were separated by just a single chain-link fence to offer friends and family in San Diego and Tijuana a place to meet and spend time together. The park was a small acknowledgement of the effect of border politics on human lives; all the same, border politics made a dramatic comeback in 2009, when the US created a second fence, severely limiting access to the park. Eight kilometers (5 miles) to the East, pedestrians wishing to cross the border are funneled alongside twenty lanes of traffic, over a bridge with high fences on either side.

These less-than-ideal conditions led Patrick Cordelle, a bachelor's student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to design "La Línea Borrosa" (The Blurred Line), a combined pedestrian border crossing and shared national recreation space for the Tijuana-San Diego coastline.

Detail of the Spiral Pier's outer skin. Image Courtesy of Patrick Cordelle Roof plan of the Spiral Pier. Image Courtesy of Patrick Cordelle Interior perspective of the Spiral Pier. Image Courtesy of Patrick Cordelle Courtesy of Patrick Cordelle

Fabrizio Barozzi on Finding the Specific and Avoiding the Generic in Architecture

Established in 2004, Spanish studio Barozzi/Veiga have become known for their intellectual approach to design and their precise solutions which draw on both local conditions and a sense of uniqueness - an approach which recently won them the Mies van der Rohe Award for their Philharmonic Hall SzczecinIn this interview, originally published in the August issue of Indian Architect & Builder under the title "Script of Simplicity," Fabrizio Barozzi speaks about the award-winning Philharmonic Hall Szczecin, the connection Barozzi/Veiga keeps between research and design, and how they avoid the generic in their architecture.

Architectural Expertise vs The Public Vote: ArchDaily Readers Respond

Recently, staff at ArchDaily spotted an interesting trend: thanks to the opportunities afforded by the internet, the results of many architectural competitions and other proposals have been opened up to public opinion like never before. Whether via competitions that post all of their entries online for public viewing such as the Guggenheim Helsinki or Battersea Bridge competitions, designer Karim Rashid's informal poll of his Facebook followers to pick their favorite facade for his design, or a competition that is actually decided by public vote such as Den Bosch's city center theater, it has never been easier for members of the public to make their opinions known about the future of their cities. Even this morning, the US World War I Centennial Commission published the finalists in the competition for the redesign of the National World War I Memorial, actively soliciting public feedback on the proposals.

With that in mind, we asked our readers to share their thoughts on this empowerment of the public. Does allowing ordinary people to vote on such matters represent a radical new architectural democracy, or does it undermine the expertise of the architect? The responses we got were interesting and very varied - find out what people had to say after the break.

Preston Bus Station: What Does the Winning Proposal Say About Open-Call Competitions?

In 2013, following a number of campaigns, a 1969 Brutalist icon in the northern British city of Preston was listed. The future of this bus terminal—one of the largest in the UK and the biggest in Europe when it originally opened—was, until last month, a matter of considerable speculation and debate. This week the results of an international open-call competition for proposals transforming into a new youth centre were revealed, selecting the proposal of New York based practice John Puttick Associates as 'the best of the lot.' The 'lot', however, left something to be desired.

The BIG Steam-Ring Kickstarter: Is There a Limit to What Should Be Crowdfunded?

Update: The Kickstarter campaign launched by BIG to fund the development of their steam ring generator reached its goal of $15,000 in less than a week after it was launched. As of today (24th August) the campaign total stands just short of $25,000, with 19 days still to go.

BIG has launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to fund the ongoing research and prototyping of the "steam ring generator" designed to crown the firm's Waste-to-Energy power plant in Copenhagen. The campaign was announced on Friday and picked up a lot of steam (pun intended) in the design press - but at ArchDaily we were hesitant to publish news of the campaign because, in short, it led us into a minefield of questions about the role of invention, public engagement, and money in architecture.

Of course, BIG are far from the first to attempt to crowdfund an architectural project. Previous projects however have generally focused on otherwise-unfundable proposals for the public good, barely-sane moonshots or complex investment structures which depending on your viewpoint may or may not even count as crowdfunding. BIG are perhaps the first example of an established architectural firm attempting to crowdfund the design of a project that is already half-built, causing some people - ArchDaily staff included - to ask: "Why wasn't this money included in the project's budget?"

World Photo Day 2015: The 10 Most-Saved Images in My ArchDaily

"Every picture tells a story" - at least, that's according to that great philosopher of our time, Rod Stewart. But what about the stories behind the pictures themselves? At ArchDaily we know that a great image requires not only great architecture but also a skilled photographer, so to celebrate World Photo Day we decided to find out more about the most popular images on ArchDaily. We've taken the ten most bookmarked images in My ArchDaily, and contacted some of the photographers to find out more about their images - read on to see the top ten, and to find out the stories behind six of them.

Compare Your Salary with the AIA Compensation Calculator

Alongside the release of the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) annual Compensation Report comes a new (free!) Salary Calculator Tool that allows you to compare your income with 17 architectural staff positions - from CEO to Intern 1. You can use the tool to see the overall mean and median salaries throughout the US or by region, and even by firm size (organized by annual firm revenue). Compare your salary here. 

Excerpt: Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity

CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault

No matter what you think of it, these days there is no denying that a celebrity culture has a significant effect on the architecture world, with a small percentage of architects taking a large portion of the spotlight. Questioning this status quo, Vladimir Belogolovsky's new book "Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity" interrogates some of these famous architects to find out what they think of the culture which has elevated them to such heights. In this excerpt from the book's foreword, Belogolovsky asks how we got into this celebrity-loving architectural culture, and what it means for the buildings produced.

Not to be confused with other kinds of stars, the most popular of architects are identified as “starchitects.”* Is this a good thing? The notion of starchitecture is hated wholeheartedly by most of the leading architectural critics. They run away from addressing the issue because they think it has nothing to do with professional criticism. But what do the architects think? One of the architectural megastars, Rem Koolhaas, was astonishingly self-effacing in an interview for Hanno Rauterberg’s 2008 book Talking Architecture:

“I think what we are experiencing is the global triumph of eccentricity. Lots of extravagant buildings are being built, buildings that have no meaning, no functionality. It’s rather about spectacular shapes and, of course, the architects’ egos.”

Piano, Chipperfield, Fujimoto Among 26 Considered to Transform Doha Flour Mill into Museum Complex

Renzo Piano, David Chipperfield, Sou Fujimoto, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT and ELEMENTAL are among 26 celebrated architects that have been longlisted in an international competition that seeks to transform the Qatar Flour Mills in Doha's Arabian Gulf into a massive "Art Mill." Moving on to the competition's second stage, the remaining architects will now develop site strategies that focus on the mill's connection to the city. The complete longlist includes: