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Foster + Partners Declared Largest Practice In The UK

The Architects' Journal (AJ) have revealed the results of their fourth AJ120 award, an annual survey which ranks the largest and wealthiest practices based in the UK. Partially calculated on the number of ARB-registered (or equivalent) fully qualified architects in employment, the AJ have announced that London based Foster + Partners have topped the 2015 table. Describing the 48 year old practice as an "international powerhouse," employing 312 architects (out of their 1,066 employees worldwide), the survey also shows that "the £185million fees billed by the practice’s architects – up a huge £45 million from last year – made up 38% of the combined total of all of the companies in the Top 10." The survey saw BDP ranked second, while AHMM came in third.

Exhibition & Symposium: Rebuild By Design Munich

Spanning practice and theory in an innovative and integrative manner, “REBUILD BY DESIGN MUNICH” is oriented towards a broad audience including the interested public, practitioners, scholars and students alike from disciplines in planning and design for the built environment.

Open Call: 2015 Faith & Form/IFRAA International Awards Program

Submissions are invited for the 2015 Faith & Form/IFRAA International Awards Program, which recognizes excellence in the design of religious architecture, restoration and renovation of religious buildings, religious arts, religious landscape design, the design of unbuilt religious projects, and student design projects for spiritual environments. The winners of the awards program will be chosen by an independent jury panel of recognized experts in the field and will be published globally. All submissions are digital and the deadline is June 30, 2015. More information can be found here

The Rise Of Private Art Galleries

In an article for The New Yorker, Ben Mauk examines the rise of the private art 'museum.' In the centre of Berlin there sits a "heavy, grey, and shrapnel-pocked" bunker, designed by Nazi architect Karl Bonatz under the direction of Albert Speer which, in 2003, was transformed into a private gallery. Having been bought by Christian and Karen Boros in order to display a portion of their sizeable collection of contemporary art, the only way for a member of the public to gain admittance is by registering online for a group tour. For Mauk, however, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Read the article in full here.

AA Visiting School NYC: Embedded Intelligence

Join us July 6-17 for a unique educational experience devoted to exploring the intersection of natural systems and advanced manufacturing.

Call for Entries in Competition to Design Colombia's National Museum of History

In collaboration with the Colombian Society of Architects, the National Centre for Historical Memory (NCHM) has announced a new international competition to design Colombia's National Museum of Memory. Commemorating decades-long internal conflict in Colombia, the competition is part of a series of initiatives to make reparations to victims of the unrest, and will be the first national museum constructed in the midst of ongoing armed conflict. It is hoped that the museum will bring together mainstream historical accounts and "voices of resistance" to create a cultural landmark that is "restorative, monumental and memorial in nature." On June 1, the organizers will conduct a competition Q&A live stream in Spanish, after which point competition registration will be open until June 19. Entries can be submitted until July 29, with a winner announced on August 13. To read more about the competition and to register, click here.

Call for Participation: Urban Realities Takes A Look At Abandoned Construction Pits in Ljubljana

In cooperation with the Museum of Architecture and Design Ljubljana an interactive Blind Date of European architects, planners and experts in urban development will be organized in autumn 2015. Under the title “Urban Realities” a collaboration of three selected teams together with local experts will be started. Invited architects and planners will work on a concrete topic and on abandoned construction pits in the city of Ljubljana.

Brooklyn Academy of Music Showcases 5 Murals by Michael Graves

Brooklyn Academy of Music is showcasing five murals by the late Michael Graves as part of the institution's permanent visual art collection. All completed in 1974, the paintings were originally commissioned by Charles Gwathmey - one of the New York Five, along with Graves. And, as the New York Times reports, their "heightened use of color and ornamentation" portray a "general shift away from minimalism." Read more about the murals, here

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Minor Drop In Some UK Sectors

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for April 2015 shows widespread consistency in comparison to March, the workload index remaining around the same at +35 from +36 last month. The private housing sector remains strong, rising to +38, while the commercial sector forecast dropped slightly to +15. In addition, the public sector forecast saw a drop to +3 while the community sector forecast "experienced a significant decline" to -3 from +9 in March. However, workload forecast balance figures have remained high, and practices in London and the South of England are most confident about medium-term workloads. Small practices continue to be positive about the outlook for future workloads, while medium and large practices "continue to be even more optimistic about future growth."

Beatriz Colomina And Mark Wigley Appointed As Curators Of The 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts have announced that internationally renowned architectural historian and theorist Beatriz Colomina and architectural historian, theorist, and critic Mark Wigley will curate the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial to be held in the summer of 2016. Colomina, a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University and curator of the recent Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education in a Time of Disciplinary Instability exhibition (Lisbon Triennale, 2013; Venice Biennale 2014) will join Wigley, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University's GSAPP and renowned writer and curator, in helping to cement the biennial's international reputation.

Princeton Names Monica Ponce de Leon as Dean of Architecture

Monica Ponce de Leon has been named as the next Dean of Princeton's School of Architecture. Ponce de Leon, who co-founded Office dA in 1991, and then founded her own firm MPdL Studio in 2011, is the current Dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She also previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for 12 years, and is a recipient of the National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum.

NASA's 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Takes Designers into Deep Space

NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Institute (America Makes) have launched the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, an inaugural design competition offering $2.25 million in prizes. Part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, the competition challenges entrants to design and build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration. "The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring, and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration," said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager. "This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it."

Exhibition: ist-on situations

EAA- Emre Arolat Architects, a leading international architectural practice based in İstanbul and London, presents an exhibition exploring the urban histories of both cities. Through a two way, dual city approach the practice will reveal “situations” that unite and differentiate these two great cities at the east and west ends of Europe in their development. The exhibition covers a timeline beginning with the mid 19th century that shows key events or turning-points in the course of their stories respectively. The exhibition is curated by EAA - Emre Arolat Architects, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Murat Güvenç from Istanbul City University and London-based Urban Planning & Development Consultant Ömer Çavuşoğlu.

Read Through Buckminster Fuller's FBI File

An unconventional man with radical ideas, Buckminster Fuller was an "affable weirdo" and "counterculture icon" who, as Gizmodo reports, often caught the attention of the FBI. For the first time ever, his (heavily redacted) FBI files have been released, revealing some of the reasons why the FBI felt the need to keep tabs on the world famous architect and designer, including speculations regarding Fuller and the Soviet Union. Though it seems nothing ever went beyond speculation, the files are fascinating. You can read them in full, here

Are We Building Too Many Museums?

In an article for the RA Magazine, Kieran Long (Senior Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital at the V&A) and Stella Duffy (co-director of Fun Palaces, a national campaign for greater access for all to the arts), ask: are we're building too many museums? On the one hand, Duffy argues that "we should focus all of our efforts on opening up existing museums to a much wider public" while on the other, Long suggests that "new museums can bring positive change to the places in which they are built." Ultimately, Long argues that "museums have a sense of authenticity and institutional mission that is rare in public life" yet, for Duffy, this doesn't mean we need more; rather, "we need to utilise what we already have."

AIANY Housing Awards Winner Symposium

On Friday, May 9, jurors Philip Casey; Tom Kundig, FAIA; Nancy Ludwig; Michael Maltzan; and Michael Sorkin convened at the Center for Architecture to select the winners of the 2015 AIANY Housing Design Awards. The jury selected five projects, listed below, to be honored.

Ooze Architects Unveil A Natural Bathing Pond In London's King's Cross

A new pool has just opened in the heart of London's King's Cross. In the centre of one of the city's largest mixed-use development projects Ooze Architects, in collaboration with artist Marjetica Potrc, have developed and realised "the UK's first man-made fresh water public bathing pond" as a piece of and art. The oblong pool is forty metres long, built two metres above ground level, and is surrounded by "pioneer plants, wild flowers grasses, and bushes so that the environment evolves as the seasons change." It will be purified through "a natural closed-loop process, using wetland and submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water."

Rem Koolhaas On Preservation, The Fondazione Prada, And Tearing Down Part Of Paris

With the opening of their Fondazione Prada building in Milan at the start of this month, OMA got the chance to show off a skill that they don't get the chance to use very often: preservation. In this interview with Kultur Spiegel, Rem Koolhaas talks at length on the topic, explaining that he believes "we have to preserve history," not just architecture, and arguing that the rise in popularity of reusing old buildings comes from a shift toward comfort, security and sustainability over the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. "The dimensions and repertoire of what is worthy of preserving have expanded dramatically," he says, meaning that "we shouldn't tear down buildings that are still usable." Still, he says, that doesn't mean we shouldn't tear down and start again in some cases - an entire Parisian district beyond La Défense, for example. Read the full interview here.