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Carmody Groarke To Design UK Pavilion For Mexico's 2015 Guadalajara Book Fair

The British Council recently announced that London-based practice Carmody Groarke have been selected to design the UK pavilion at the 2015 Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The organisers of the international event, which is the largest literary festival in the Spanish speaking world, have chosen the UK to be this year's "Guest of Honour" as part of a bilateral initiative launched to "build, strengthen and celebrate the growing connections" between the two countries.

Harvard GSD Talk and Exhibition "Housing in Extreme Environments: Alpine Shelter" Opens Tomorrow

The extreme climatic conditions of the North introduce a design paradox for architects. The fragile environmental conditions require incisive designs that respond to irregular loading from strong winds, heavy snowfalls, avalanche risk zones, and extreme cold. The studio investigated a prototypical design: a unit with sleeping and cooking space for up to eight people, on a mountain site in Slovenia. The talk (on Friday, February 13th) serves as an opening for the exhibition on this project, curated by Spela Videcnik, John T. Dunlop Design Critic in Housing and Urban Development, with Rok Oman, featuring the work of her Fall 2014 studio, displayed on the Experiments Wall (in Gund Hall). Construction of the shelter is planned for summer 2015. 

SO-IL's Vision for a Shrink-Wrapped Manhattan

Steven Holl and Vito Acconci’s Storefront for Art and Architecture has hosted its share of installations, but its newest intervention envisioned by SO-IL as part of the Blueprint exhibition is a whole new concept: covering the entire facade with shrink-wrap. The seamless outcome is deceptively simple, however, as the installation involved some careful calculations, a massive frame, and a dedicated team with an acute attention to detail. Read more about the project, see the finished product, and watch the process, here.

NOVA's "Building Wonders" Series to Investigate Ancient Architectural Mysteries

A new investigative series from NOVA delves into some of the most well-known and enigmatic ancient structures. The three-part investigation, "Building Wonders" explores the Roman Colosseum, Petra, and the Hagia Sophia and premieres February 11-25, 2015 throughout the United States on PBS. With expert investigations and experiments, "Building Wonders" will unearth some of the mysterious engineering feats behind these ancient icons. Read on after the break for episode descriptions and trailers.

Jon Jerde, California Architect Known for Reinventing the Shopping Center, Dies at 75

Jon Jerde, FAIA, founder of The Jerde Partnership, has died at 75. The California-based American architect has left his mark in more than 100 urban places worldwide, many of which embody Jerde’s signature ideas of the multi-level mall. Placing high priority on outdoor walking and gathering areas, Jerde’s reimagining of the shopping mall experience in the 1970s put him on the map. "He blew open the shopping mall and transformed it into a lively urban environment which attracts people, lots of people," Richard Weinstein, the former dean of UCLA's school architecture and urban planning, once said.

The Extreme Architecture of the Arctic Regions

In the cities of the Arctic Circle, dramatic change is afoot. The region faces challenges most obviously from environmental change, but economic and cultural challenges also lie ahead, thanks to factors such as the decline of the mining and fishing industries that supported many of the Arctic's settlements, and the rapid modernization among Northern indigenous communities. In an interesting article for Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina takes a long look at the architects and urbanists who are making a difference in a context where "Architecture can’t really survive" - from the SALT Festival which celebrates the culture of the Arctic communities, to the plan to move the entire city of Kiruna two miles to the East, the article is a fascinating look at the extreme architecture of this hostile region. Read the article in full here.

For the Highest Density of Design Excellence, Visit Dallas

Since the construction of the first high-rise, it seems architectural merit has been weighed most heavily by a building's height. However, Kriston Capps of CityLab notes in his article "For the Best U.S. Architecture Per Square Mile, Head to Dallas" that the concentration of buildings by award-winning and internationally-renowned architects can also put cities on the architectural map. Although Chicago and New York may have taller skylines, he argues, in terms of stellar design density, Dallas can't be beat. Read the full article, here.

Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century

Climate change, particularly rising sea levels, is expected to have a substantial impact in Miami, Florida over the next 100 years. Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century, an exhibition at the Coral Gables Museum, addresses this pressing issue, examining effective design solutions through the lens of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. The exhibition of graduate student work from Florida International University uses the city's existing infrastructure and architecture as the groundwork for future adaptation and development. A panel discussion highlighting the topic will take place on Thursday, February 12, with architects from BIG, OMA and West 8. Learn more, after the break. 

OMA Opens New Office in Dubai

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has opened a Dubai office to design and oversee projects in the Middle East-Africa region. Together with headquarters in Rotterdam and offices in New York, Hong Kong, Beijing and Doha, OMA Dubai aims to “strengthen the practice’s presence in the Middle East, and also provide a connection point for future work in Africa and India.” The office is located in Al Warsan Tower in TECOM.

Call for Submissions - CLOG: Landmark Issue

CLOG is seeking submissions for its 13th issue, CLOG: Landmark. The latest edition from the New York-based publication explores the "powerful and complicated" nature of landmark status, examining the factors which dictate whether a building is to be destroyed or preserved. CLOG: Landmark plants itself in the nexus between architecture and social issues, dissecting ideas of "cultural value" and the framework by which this is determined. Critique and commentary of all forms will be considered, including images, graphics, diagrams, and text of not more than 500 words. Submissions must be received by March 1. Further guidelines for submission can be found here.

Rowan Moore On MUMA's Extension To Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery

In an article for The ObserverRowan Moore visits Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery (1908), a compact museum which has now undergone a comprehensive restoration and extension by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight). The practice, who won the job against 130 other bids for the project, worked with a budget of £15million in order to realise an ambitious brief. Their interventions and innovations, many of which are modest and unseen, have not only reconnected the building with its surrounding parkland but also elevated the interior rooms into world-class exhibition spaces. For Moore, their work is striking but muted: "the virtues of the new Whitworth – sustainable, accessible, sensitive, thoughtful – could all be synonyms for 'dull' or at least 'worthy'. But, thanks to its pleasures of light and material, it is not. It is a job very well done."

Spotlight: Alvar Aalto

As one of the key figures of midcentury modernism and perhaps Finland's most celebrated architect, Alvar Aalto (3 February 1898 – 11 May 1976) was known for his humanistic approach to modernism. Aalto was concerned about creating a total work of art. He did not simply design buildings but also paid close attention to their interior features, including furniture, lamps, and glassware design.

Competition Seeks Proposals for "Cool School" Capable of Withstanding Extreme Mongolian Climate

Building Trust has launched their sixth international design competition: Cool School. Seeking an innovative school design proposal that can withstand the extreme Mongolian climate, the competition is challenging architects, designers and engineers to envision a solution which has the chance to shape the future of school buildings across cold regions globally. Contestants should consider environmental conditions, materials, space, comfort, accessibility, adaptability and aesthetics. Building Trust will work alongside competition partners, World Vision, local government and the school community in Khovd, Mongolia to build the winning school design. More information about the competition, here

How to Fix America's Infrastructure Problem

With structurally unsound bridges, unsafe dams, and derelict roads becoming increasingly common problems, infrastructure has been brought to the forefront of many political agendas. However, limited funding in this area brings to mind the question of economics: how will improvements to North America's major trading channels be made without driving the nation further into debt? This is what Jordan Golson addresses in the article, "It's Time to Fix America's Infrastructure. Here's Where to Start." Although not all of these infrastructural problems can be resolved in the foreseeable future, according to Golson, however some smaller improvements in the next few years can be a manageable starting point. Read the full article, here.

NLÉ Wins Competition to Design Financial Headquarters in Lagos

International design firm NLÉ has recently shared its competition-winning design for the financial headquarters of the microfinance bank Credit Direct Limited. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, in the Ikeja district, the bank’s design abandons the forbidding presence of most financial institutions for one that is open and welcoming. This decision not only invites clientele inside, but creates opportunities for adaptation to the tropical weather of Lagos. 

Centre Pompidou Considers Libourne Outpost

The south west French city of Libourne may soon get its own pop-up Pompidou. Reports indicate that the Libourne satellite outpost would be similar to the one currently underway in Malaga, Spain (soon to open in March 2015). If the deal is passed, the city would host the museum outpost in a former 40,000-square-meter military academy, though renovation costs are excepted run high - nearing €6 million. The city's mayor Philippe Buisson is reaching out to regional and national authorities requesting financial assistance. 

The Urbanist's Guide to the World

A compilation of all posts in the "Urbanist's Guide to..." series from Guardian Cities, "The Urbanist's Guide to the World" takes readers to cities across the globe. Penned by local bloggers in cities from Manila to Sao PauloTehran to New Orleans, the vignettes are supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and cover everything from "best" and "worst buildings" to cleanliness, soundscapes, and "the best place for a conversation." You can view the interactive guide here.

AIA Construction Forecast Predicts Increased Spending

This week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results of its first Consensus Construction Forecast of the year. The forecast is compiled based on predictions of the industry's leading forecasters and is conducted bi-annually to anticipate shifting business conditions in the construction industry. The dominant trend in this forecast (projected for 2015 and 2016) is an overall increase in spending in the construction sector.