In the Spanish suburb of Alfafar, conditions were looking grim as economic hardships plunged over 40% of its residents into unemployment and left significant portions of its housing vacant. In response, a group of young architects have developed a co-housing plan for the area to accommodate its shifting needs, enabling residents to exchange and share space as needed. Using the existing buildings as the framework, the line between public and private will evolve over time with changing conditions, following in the footsteps of other European countries that have successfully employed similar undertakings. Read more about Alfafar's co-housing plan, here.
With the Charles Rennie Mackintosh retrospective opening today at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London Rowan Moore, writing for The Guardian, asks "which architect could restore Mackintosh's masterpiece [in Glasgow]?" The Glasgow School of Art, parts of which were devastated by fire in May of last year, is in the process of selecting a restoration architect from a shortlist of five. Yet for Moore "there are examples of clumsiness and stodginess in some of the past projects of those included that should be allowed nowhere near the School of Art."
An upcoming conference at the University of Manchester will tackle the idea of Model Making In The Digital Age. Based on the premise that the world of architecture is dominated by digital tools today more than ever, from design and manufacturing to the ways in which we visualise complex spaces and structures physically and virtually, this symposium seeks to shed new light on the practice of model making and its uses.
The Edinburgh College of Art have announced that they will be creating a ‘Domesday Book’ catalogue of every multistory post-war housing project in the UK. The project - called Tower Blocks - Our Blocks! - will contain over 3,500 publicly accessible photographs from the 1980s, documented "at a time when post-1945 high-rise housing is continuously under threat threat across the [UK]." All images will be made searchable in a digital archive.
The Fentress Global Challenge is an international design competition created to engage students worldwide in the exploration of future design possibilities in public architecture. This year the annual competition is challenging students to imagine "The Airport of the Future."
From February 20 the Vitra Design Museum will host "Architecture of Independence - African Modernism," an exhibition curated by architect and author Manuel Herz. Featuring numerous photographic contributions by Iwan Baan, "Architecture of Independence" explores the experimental and futuristic architecture produced in 1960s Central and Sub-Saharan Africa during the region's period of newfound independence.
The ARCH+ Magazine for Architecture and Urbanism has launched the international competition ”PLANETARY URBANISM – CRITIQUE OF THE PRESENT in the medium of information design." The competition is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will take place in the context of the UN-Habitat Conference 2016, where the results will be presented. Project partner of the exhibition is the M:AI, Museum for Architecture and the Art of Engineering, NRW. Consulted by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Learn more, here.
On March 6 and 7, New York's Pratt Institute will host "Sculpting the Architectural Mind," a conference exploring the connection between "Neuroscience and the Education of an Architect."
The Museum of Estonian Architecture opens its new season with an exhibition of the latest recipients of the Alvar Aalto Medal, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. Exhibition “The Window and the Mirror” opens at the museum today (Friday, February 13), providing visitors a first-hand experience of the works of the internationally acclaimed architects Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano. In 2014 Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos won the architecture competition of the Arvo Pärt Centre to be built in Estonia by 2018.
Villeroy & Boch has chosen the winner of its first-ever North American Designer Bathroom Challenge. Saoli Chu of BuiltIn Studio in Manhattan was selected by an expert panel of judges for her innovative and luxurious Home Retreat design, which featured Villeroy & Boch’s Memento washbasins, Aveo bathtub and Subway wall-mounted toilet.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.