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How The Atlantic Philanthropies Changed Lives Through Building

In 1982, the billionaire duty-free shopping magnate Chuck Feeney made a decision that would dramatically alter the course of his career and change his legacy forever: he founded a philanthropic organization, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and made a $7 million donation to Cornell University. Two years later, Feeney transferred his entire $1.6 billion stake in his company to The Atlantic Philanthropies (a move that the world did not find out about until 1997), and the organization has since gone on to make $6.5 billion worth of grants, in large part to fund construction projects that changed lives. Now, the organization is winding down, with its planned closure scheduled for 2016. To celebrate almost three and a half decades of giving, the organization has released "Laying Foundations for Change: Capital Investments of The Atlantic Philanthropies." The following excerpt is taken from the book's foreword by President and CEO Christopher G. Oechsli, originally titled "What This Book Is About."

Imagine having the resources to build something that can dramatically alter the lives of people, communities, even nations. Conversely, imagine an unassuming man coming to you and asking what you could build to change many lives, of the people in your community or even your nation. Imagine the possibilities. That’s what this book is about. It’s about fields of dreams, and about the people who were asked to imagine what could be built upon those fields to improve the lives of people, and of the people who come and till those fields and are part of that change. It’s a visual and narrative story of Charles Francis “Chuck” Feeney and The Atlantic Philanthropies and what literally laying the foundations for change means for people and nations.

Zaha Hadid Unveils Community-Oriented Housing Project In Monterrey

Zaha Hadid Architects have unveiled their first project in Mexico, a residential development in Monterrey. The country's third-largest city, Monterrey is a rapidly growing and increasingly important manufacturing and technology center. The project, named "Esfera City Center," is located to the southeast of Monterrey in the Huajuco Canyon, where it will provide crucial homes in a rapidly expanding part of the city.

Consisting of 981 units from single-person lofts to four-bedroom apartments totaling 137,000 square meters, the design rejects the original brief from the client which called for 12 residential towers, instead opting for a series of long, low-rise blocks which surround a public park, bringing a community focus to the design.

More images and information about the Esfera City Center project after the break.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Taking Daylight to the Next Level: How Daylighting Analysis is Changing Design

Until recently, renderings were the architect’s primary tool for understanding daylight in their designs—renderings, and a healthy dose of intuition. But a new generation of daylighting analysis tools, which is emerging alongside a new generation of daylighting metrics, are enabling architects to look at daylight in new ways—with important implications for design.

Business as usual, when it comes to daylight, is to use rules of thumb to design, then use renderings to check the design and communicate the intent. Rendering has fast become an art form: the creation of exquisite, evocative, often atmospheric imagery that communicates the mood, the experience, the visceral feel of the design. This is no accident: daylighting is a magic ingredient in architecture, bringing dynamism to static structure, imbuing buildings with a sense of time, and renderings are a powerful way to capture and communicate these ideas—a necessary complement to the hard line plans and sections that comprise much of the architect’s lexicon. Renderings have expanded our ability to communicate designs. They have also expanded our ability to conceptualize designs—and especially to conceptualize the daylight in our designs.

But there’s something missing: there are important daylight-related questions that renderings simply can’t answer. Even if they can be made reasonably accurate, they’re still incomplete: depicting a moment in time, but not providing an indication of whether that moment is unique or typical.

Vote for Your Favorite Atlanta Bridgescape Proposal

Five finalists have emerged in the Atlanta Bridgescape Competition. The urban design challenge, which was launched earlier this year, sought creative ideas to enhance two existing freeway overpasses in the city's Midtown and Downtown districts. Now in the competition's final phase, the finalists have refined their ideas, taking in consideration a budget of up to $3 million for each project. The proposals are now undergoing public review and you are invited to vote for your favorite design as part of the People’s Choice Award. Read on to review each proposal and find out how to vote. 

A winner will be announced this Friday, May 15 at the AIA's 2015 National Convention. 

Finalist C: "Illuminated Gateway" at Midtown's 10th Street Bridge . Image Courtesy of Atlanta Bridgescape Competition Finalist B: "(SIN)UOSITY" at Midtown's 10th Street Bridge . Image Courtesy of Atlanta Bridgescape Competition Finalist D: "Organic Canopy" at Downtown's Courtland/McGill Bridge. Image Courtesy of Atlanta Bridgescape Competition Finalist D: "Organic Canopy" at Downtown's Courtland/McGill Bridge. Image Courtesy of Atlanta Bridgescape Competition

An Interview with Lu Wenyu, Amateur Architecture Studio

Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus Phase 2. Image © Evan Chakroff
Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus Phase 2. Image © Evan Chakroff

“Every couple of years a new manifesto appears, but how long can it last? We need more people doing instead of talking. [At Amateur Architecture Studio] we spend an enormous amount of time experimenting, trying to resurrect the craftsmanship that is almost lost. We use a method that is passed on, hand-to-hand, to re-establish tradition instead of talking about abstract but empty concepts.”
- Lu Wenyu, Hangzhou, 2013

Pier Alessio Rizzardi: “A house instead of a building” is a really famous phrase of Amateur Architecture Studio. What is the meaning behind this concept?

Lu Wenyu: Once, Wang Shu said: “we only make houses, we don’t make architecture.” The house and architecture here have their own meanings. Making a house means making it for the people, making it more tranquil, or closer to nature, more humanized. Instead, architecture is an abstract concept, so many designs nowadays are actually architecture. So this sentence, from almost 20 years ago, “making houses, not architecture”, is about not making that abstract concept, but to make something really concrete and tangible, something that you can touch or that is made with your own hands… so when you see this house, you feel differently.

Ningbo Historic Museum. Image © Evan Chakroff Zhongshan Road. Image © Evan Chakroff CIPEA Villa, Nanjing. Image © Evan Chakroff Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus. Image © Evan Chakroff

AR Issues: Past Imperfect, Future Tense

ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine’s monthly editions. In this introduction to the April 2015 issue, her final editorial at the magazine, Catherine Slessor reflects on the changes in her two-decade tenure as a member of the AR's editorial staff - from the technological change that has irrevocably changed the nature of architectural publishing, to the worrying decline in the relevance of the architectural profession.

Cyberpunk king William Gibson once remarked: "The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed." But we’re getting there. The AR’s digital adventure has just climaxed with the recent launch of the AR app. Our lavish and incomparable banquet of criticism, culture and campaigning can now be savoured at your leisure, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. It’s a leap that completes the journey from paper magazine to digital multiverse, offering more and different kinds of content on your platform of choice.

Poll: Who Will Design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum?

On Tuesday, the Barack Obama Foundation is expected to officially announce its decision to build Obama's presidential library and museum in Chicago. With two sites under consideration - Washington Park or Jackson Park - speculation has now shifted towards the architect. Who will design the  Presidential Library and Museum?

Will it be David Adjaye, the London-based, Tanzanian-born architect who designed the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (which will complete next year)? Or how about one of the city's leading architects: Jeanne Gang, Helmut Jahn, Ralph Johnson or John Ronan? Perhaps it will be Philip Freelon; as the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin points out, Obama made a recent visit to a library he designed in Washington DC. Some are even considering Renzo Piano; Michelle Obama seemed to have a deep appreciation for his newly constructed Whitney Museum when she spoke at its dedication ceremony a few weeks back.

With all this to bear in mind, who do you think will design the  Presidential Library and Museum? Answer a poll after the break. 

AD Classics: Limoges Concert Hall / Bernard Tschumi Architects

For those familiar with the more canonical work of Bernard Tschumi, the Limoges Concert Hall may seem a puzzlingly conventional departure from the radical, intensively theoretical projects that introduced the world to the Swiss architect. In one sense, the visual clarity of the design doesn’t provoke the same complex discourses on architectural violence and eroticism that guided his early-career pursuits, and it is certainly a more functional evolution of his polemic on non-programmatic space that was famously exhibited at Parc de la Villete. In another sense, the concept and form of Limoges aren't anything novel, either, emerging almost in its entirety from a concert hall prototype Tschumi developed in the late 1990s for a similar venue at Rouen. But Limoges is important for other reasons: in addition to its thoughtful material and spatial choices, it is one of the more articulate illustrations of Tschumi’s explorations of movement and enclosure—“vectors and envelopes”—that inform much of his recent work. 

The mass of the auditorium is distributed onto thin columns that penetrate the foyer. Image Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects Digital section model demonstrating structural systems and the multiple layers of enclosure. Image Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

Radical Cities, Radical Solutions: Justin McGuirk's Book Finds Opportunities In Unexpected Places

Justin McGuirk's book Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture is fast becoming a seminal text in the architecture world. Coming off the back of his Golden-Lion-winning entry to the 2012 Venice Biennale, created with Urban Think Tank and Iwan Baan, McGuirk's work has become a touchstone for the architecture world's recent interest in both low-cost housing solutions and in Latin America. This review of Radical Cities by Joshua K Leon was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Finding Radical Alternatives in Slums, Exurbs, and Enclaves."

Justin McGuirk’s Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture should be required reading for anyone looking for ways out of the bleak social inequality we’re stuck in. There were 40 million more slum dwellers worldwide in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to the UN. Private markets clearly can’t provide universal housing in any way approaching efficiency, and governments are often hostile to the poor. The only alternative is collective action at the grassroots level, and I’ve never read more vivid reporting on the subject.

Why Do Professors "Rip Apart" Projects In The Final Review?

In a recent article in which ArchDaily reached out to our readers for comments about all-nighter culture, one comment that seemed to strike a chord with many people was kopmis' assertion that, thanks to the tendency for professors to "rip apart" projects in a final review, "there is no field of study that offers so much humiliation as architecture." But what causes this tendency? In this article, originally published by Section Cut as "The Final Review: Negaters Gonna Negate," Mark Stanley - an Adjunct Professor at Woodbury University School of Architecture - discusses the challenges facing the reviewers themselves, offering an explanation of why they often lapse into such negative tactics - and how they can avoid them.

What’s Behind Europe’s Grandiose Rebuilding?

Is there a growing nostalgia pervading attitudes to civic architecture in Europe? From Berlin's new Royal Palace on the River Spree to Turkey's rekindled fascination with their Ottoman heritage, architecture is becoming the medium of choice for exploring a city's roots and a people's past. In this post originally published by TheLong+Short, Feargus O'Sullivan investigates how many governments and developers have decided that the way to future lies in looking backwards.

Reading about Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in the German press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the building was in Leipzig, not the Middle East. “The tallest building in the world is so German,” said Der Spiegel when the tower opened in 2010. “The Burj Khalifa is an Ossi!" shouted Bild, using the common nickname for East Germans. The headlines were partly right: when East Germany’s old parliament building, the Palace of the Republic in Berlin, was demolished in 2006, several thousand tonnes of steel girders were stripped from its carcass and shipped to the Gulf for use in the construction of Burj Khalifa. 

Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 2)

Architecture professor and photographer Henry Plummer has heightened the transformative power of daylight with his cameras and published several remarkable books about light and architecture. His deep interest in light, and his lyrical writing perspective, were formed through his contact with the designer and art theorist György Kepes while studying at MIT. Within his numerous photo journeys Plummer has documented the various facets of daylight in Japan and the Nordic Countries, and of masters like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. As a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plummer also still has ambitious plans for future book projects. In the second part of this interview, Plummer reveals how changing technologies have affected his photography, and discusses his thoughts on phenomenology and developing a poetic language of light.

If you missed it, you can read part one of this interview here.

Galician Center of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Compostela by Álvaro Siza. Image © Henry Plummer 2002 Guerrero House, Zahora, Spain by Alberto Campo Baeza. Image © Henry Plummer 2005 Männistö Church, Kuopio, Finland by Juha Leiviskä. Image © Henry Plummer 1995 Nanzenji Temple, Kyoto. Image © Henry Plummer 2013

#donotsettle: User-Oriented Architecture Vlogging

Visiting Delft Station on opening day. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle
Visiting Delft Station on opening day. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle

The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a YouTube channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural 'vlogging' can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.

Delft Station. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle Markthal, Rotterdam. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle Markthal, Rotterdam. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle Delft Station. Image Courtesy of #donotsettle

Norman Foster’s Advice for the Young: “Find Something You Believe In”

Unless architecture is truly your passion, Norman Foster thinks you should simply find something else to pursue. In the Louisiana Channel's latest, the prolific English architect advises the young to live "every living second of your life" doing what you love. 

An Interview With Chen Yifeng, Deshaus

Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Xia Zhi
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Xia Zhi

“We use two aspects to express architecture: Qing [emotion], Jing [pattern]. Jing is the architectural pattern that we apply, to certify the living and working style, to consider what our architecture can bring. Another thing is the relationship between architecture and the site, the city and nature. Ancient Chinese dwellings are usually enclosed by walls, creating an introverted space. This is the second aspect Qing, more related to traditional customs, aesthetics, and our attitude towards the environment and nature. The enclosed space originates from our interpretation of Qing. What we have captured about the ancient spirit of aesthetics is a kind of uncertainty, a kind of blurry and ambiguous feeling.”
- Chen Yifeng, Shanghai, 2013

Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Xia Zhi Kindergarten of Jiading New Town / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shu He Spiral Gallery / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shu He Youth Center of Qingpu / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Yao Li

AD Classics: National Museum of Roman Art / Rafael Moneo

Arches have long been used to mark the greatest achievements of Roman civilization. Constantine, Titus, and Septimus Severus built them to commemorate their military victories. Engineers at Segovia and Nîmes incorporated them into their revolutionary aqueducts. And fifteen hundred years after the Fall of Rome, Rafael Moneo gave a modern touch to the ancient structure in Mérida's breathtaking National Museum of Roman Art, located on the site of the former Iberian outpost of Emerita Augusta. Soaring arcades of simple, semi-circular arches merge historicity and contemporary design, creating a striking yet sensitive point of entry to the remains of one of the Roman Empire's greatest cities.

© Flickr user Manuel Ramirez Sanchez The entrance lunette. Image © Flickr user Tomas Fano Segmented and relieving arches work in visual and structural harmony. Image © Flickr user Guzman Lozano © Flickr user Daniel Sancho

Photo Essay: The Evolution of Atlanta’s Ponce City Market

For almost a century, one of the largest buildings in the Southeastern United States has maintained a dominating street presence in Atlanta, Georgia. Now the Ponce City Market, the building was originally designed by Nimmons, Carr and Wright Architects and built in 1925 as a Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution and retail center, operating until 1989. In 1991, the City of Atlanta purchased the building, renamed it City Hall East and  housed several public works departments, storing countless items among its 2.1 million square feet of space. As the city’s utilization of the building dwindled, Jamestown Properties stepped in and acquired the building in 2010.  Five years later, Ponce City Market is poised to become one of the greatest historic rehabilitation projects in the country.

© Blake Burton © Blake Burton © Blake Burton © Blake Burton

Take A Look At Milan Expo's 2015 Pavilions on Opening Day

Italy's global commercial fair, Milan Expo 2015 opened today. The six month event, expected to attract nearly 20 million visitors, is showcasing 54 national pavilions, among a number of corporate and multinational installations, all focused on "Feeding the Planet" and promoting their national cuisine. Pavilions by Foster + Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, SPEECHDaniel Libeskind and many others will remain on view through October 31. 

Take a look at some of the fair's most talked about pavilions on opening day, after the break.