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Rem’s Kit of Parts: Exhaustive and Exhausting, Mad and Maddening

In “Elements,” an exhibition and accompanying book for the 2014 Venice Architecture BiennaleRem Koolhaas seeks to explore the omnipresent components of buildings that have never been intentionally articulated by architectural theory. Breaking down the history of architecture into its fundamental components, the text is divided into 15 volumes and functions as “a technophilic treatise on the state of architectural thinking in the twenty-first century.” Despite providing lessons in architectural history, does the book deliver a compelling synthesis of all its parts? In his full review of the book for Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina argues that Koolhaas "fails to unpack the language of his argument," resulting in a book that is "ambitious, overreaching, maddening" - much like the exhibition itself. Read the full review here.

Three Winning Schemes Reinvent the African Mud Hut

The Nka Foundation recently challenged young graduates and students of architecture to redesign the African mud hut for Ghana. The result, three designs received top honors for being both functional and beautiful, and will now be realized through a series of building workshops that you can participate in. Learn more and check out the winning designs, after the break.

Can You Imagine a City Without Air Conditioners?

Despite Finland’s relatively cool temperatures, climate changes have made heat waves more common in Northern Europe, and the demand for cooling buildings in summer is increasing. Instead of installing air conditioners for individual buildings, Helsinki is pioneering a vast network of underground infrastructure that pumps cold water from lakes and seas into local buildings. Beneath an unassuming park in downtown Helsinki sits a reservoir containing nearly 9 million gallons of water that is recycled and cooled by waste energy after it is used for cooling, replacing the need for air conditioning in the city and cutting carbon pollution by 80%. Read more about this undertaking in this article from Fast Co. Exist.

Second Solo House to Open Its Doors

What happens when eight world-renowned architects are given carte blanche to design holiday homes on a dream site in Spain? This is precisely what French developer Christian Bourdais set out to discover with the launch of the Solo House project in 2010, and now, you can find out for yourself. Just two years after the completion of Solo Pezo, by Chilean architect Pezo von Ellrichshausen, the second of twelve houses is now emerging for tours and site visits. Solo OFFICE, by Office Kersten Geers David van Severen, will open its doors to visitors this week, October 9 through 11, as it nears fruition. 

Rem Koolhaas and the New Frontline of Transformation

When you abandon the countryside in favour of the city, what do you leave behind? In a recent essay for Icon Magazine, OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas deliberates on the intersection between the two, arguing that "our current obsession with only the city is highly irresponsible because you cannot understand the city without understanding the countryside."

Did the New World Trade Center Live Up to its Expectations?

The USA's tallest building shoulders one of the nation's greatest challenges: paying tribute to lives lost in one of the country's greatest tragedies. One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan has yet to be completed and yet has still recently been condemned by a number of critics, who cite the former "Freedom Tower" as an inspirational failure. Thirteen years after the attacks, the wider site at ground zero also remains plagued by red tape and bureaucratic delays, unfinished and as-yet-unbuilt World Trade Centers, Calatrava's $5B transit hub, and an absence of reverence, according to critics. Read some of the most potent reviews of the new World Trade Center site from the press in our compilation after the break.

Five Shortlisted for Marlborough College Science Building

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Nicholas Hare Architects, Orms, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Tim Ronalds Architects have been shortlisted in a competition to expand and develop the Marlborough College science building in Wiltshire, England. “The current Science Block has a fascinating heritage but needs a new life to accommodate new teaching methods,” explained Malcolm Reading, the competition’s organizer. “The competition is all about finding a balance between the architectural grain of the existing eclectic campus and a confident and exciting piece of contemporary architecture.” The teams will now develop proposals. A winner will be announced in December. 

The Architecture of Happy Hour: Plotted, Not Stirred

Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Rem Koolhaas walk into a bar. What do they order? CAD Drinks, of course. It's a Singapore Sling like you have never seen before: drawn to scale, in elevation, and divided meticulously by content - ice cubes and orange slice included. Alcoholic drinks are colour coded, inventoried, organized and rendered in this downloadable DWG for Autocad. Architects rejoice: happy hour is that much closer to lunch hour.

Labour Minister Endorses UK-Wide Architecture Festival and More Competitions

The UK's Shadow Culture Minister Helen Goodman has outlined a number of ideas that she would like to put into practice should her party win the next general election, reports the Architects' Journal. The proposals, made at last week's Labour Party Conference in Manchester, include increasing the number of open architecture competitions held in the UK and holding a major UK-wide annual festival of architecture. Read on after the break for more on Goodman's proposals.

Natural Histories for Los Angeles Presents “Wet Horizons”

An installation and exhibition by Luis Callejas / LCLA office 
Exhibition Opening: October 11, 7—10 pm 
October 11—November 23, 2014
Neutra VDL Research House, Los Angeles, CA 

matterbetter Launches Competition in Honor of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

matterbetter has launched an international open-ideas competition for a Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) Memorial and Park in Amsterdam. MH17 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down near the Ukraine–Russia border on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

'Cathedrals of Culture' Proves To Be "Limited" & "Internalised"

The highly anticipated 3D film series Cathedrals of Culture has now opened around the world. Directed by Wim Wenders and a team of five other acclaimed directors (Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin and Karim Aïnouz), the collection - according to The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright - "feels more like a series of vapid promotional videos." Arguing that in most of the films (with the exception of Michael Madsen's) the narrative is lost in favour of cinematic shots, "Cathedrals of Culture presents a limited and internalised view of what architecture is, a fault perhaps driven by the obsession with the 3D camera. [...] It has a self-satisfied, sometimes cultish, air that makes you feel like you’re taking part in some collective brainwashing exercise." Wainwright concludes that Living Architectures is the best place to go. See some of their films featured in ArchDaily's 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014.

Guggenheim Considers Competition for Second NYC Location

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is planning to construct a second location in New York City. As reported on the Art Newspaper, the expansion project, known as the “Collection Center,” aims to “consolidate its staff and art storage into one efficient, multi-use building with a dynamic public programming component.” The news broke with the release of a curatorial job position, seeking personnel to assist in the center’s planning and a possible architecture competition that will ensure the “Guggenheim’s reputation for being a visionary architectural patron” is preserved. Meanwhile, the Guggenheim is expected to narrow its selection to six for its new Helsinki location in November.

Alejandro Zaera-Polo Steps Down as Princeton's Dean of Architecture

Alejandro Zaera-Polo, the head of Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture, today announced that he is stepping down as the Dean of Architecture at Princeton University's School of Architecture. Zaera-Polo was appointed to the position in 2012 having been a visiting lecturer at the school since 2008, but stepped down in order to devote more time to his research and professional activities. He will continue to serve as a professor at the school, and his predecessor Stan Allen will take up the role of Acting Dean until a permanent replacement is found.

New Practices New York: Upcoming Firms in the Big Apple

WHAT: With its fifth biennial competition and exhibition, the AIANY New Practices Committee is proud to recognize six emerging architecture and design firms working in New York City. These firms will be featured in an exhibition opening on October 1 at 6pm at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place. This year, the opening of New Practices New York 2014 will also kick off Archtober 2014, Architecture and Design Month.

Online Master Class: Real Estate in the Corporation – More than just an Expense

Online Master Class
Real Estate in the Corporation – More than just an Expense
Date: Oct 7th 2014 at 18:00 Madrid time.
Speaker: Sharon Liebowitz, VP of Global Real Estate, JPMorgan Chase
Registration: click here to register to the event.
Brought to you by: IE School of Architecture & Design

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Confidence Remains Steady

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)'s Future Trends Survey for August showed that confidence among UK practices has remained stable at "a very positive" balance figure of +28. The positive outlook was shared by the whole country, with every region returning a balance figure of above +20 - a significant improvement for Wales and the West, who last month were at a more reserved +12. "Sentiment about future workload prospects for the architects’ profession has been strong throughout 2013 and 2014, and we are now beginning to see this reflected in increased levels in the aggregate value of work in progress," said the RIBA, adding that the increasing workload is being "driven primarily by growth in the commercial and private housing sectors."

Is The Design Museum Dying?

In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote asks "what are design museums actually for?" Noting that we are living through a "boom time" for the typology, Heathcote argues that when we are overwhelmed by design in our day to day lives, what will fill these spaces? London's Victoria & Albert Museum sprouted from the legacy of the 1850 Great Exhibition, where the concept of a design museum originated, as an attempt to "display the fruits of Britain’s industrial revolution." Ironically in the very same museum in 2013, curator Kieran Long acquired a print of the world's first 3D printed gun for the permanent collection. Will the ubiquity of 'design' soon negate the need for dedicated spaces? Read Heathcote's conclusions in full here.