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Daniel Libeskind Reflects On Designing Buildings With 'Emotional Weight'

In an interview with Shaunacy Ferro for FastCo DesignDaniel Libeskind looks back over his built works and discusses the significant 'emotional weight' imbued in many of his projects, from the Jewish Museum in Berlin to his masterplan for Ground Zero in New York City. When asked why he continually returns to projects such as Holocaust memorials - with the Canadian National Holocaust Memorial currently underway in Ottawa - Libeskind stated: "It’s not something that I choose very lightly, because it’s very difficult, but I believe that it’s very important." For him, creating these monuments is part of the act of doing "something that moves us beyond just the darkness and gives us something positive. [...] Even when it comes to the memory, you can’t just dwell on the irreversibility of the tragedy. You have to have something hopeful."

USC's ACADIA 2014 Conference to Focus on Design and Computation

Thursday, October 23 will mark the opening of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) 2014 Design Agency conference at the USC School of Architecture in Los Angeles. Hosted by faculty Alvin Huang, Jose Sanchez, and David Gerber, the conference will exhibit and share a broad spectrum of design and research that highlights innovation in architecture through a focus on design and computation. Headliners include Pritzker laureate Zaha Hadid, SimCity creator Will Wright and computational architect Mar Fornes. 

Glasgow School of Art Begins Search for Restoration Architect

To repair the damage caused by May's devastating fire, the Glasgow School of Art is searching for a team to carry out the restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's celebrated building. Following the overwhelming public support for restoration instead of a contemporary reinterpretation, the selected team will be required to return the building to its original condition over a predicted construction period of five years. More on the restoration after the break.

Maya Lin Wins $300,000 Gish Prize

Maya Lin has been selected to receive the 21st Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, a $300,000 award presented annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” 

AMO Invites Dutch Architects to Discuss their Future at the Venice Biennale

On November 20-21, AMO is hosting a discussion event at the Venice Biennale focusing on the past, present and future of Dutch architecture in which 30 young architects will be invited to present their agenda for architecture in the Netherlands for the next 10 years. Over the course of the two days, each participant will present will deliver a 7-minute presentation looking at architecture in 2024 to answer the question "where will you be and will you be doing?" Find out more about the event, and how you can be a part of it, after the break.

Three Talks to Debate the Future of Life on London's Rivers

As part of the their Architecture for All programme, London's Old Royal Naval College is set to host three debates about the future planned along the River Thames, investigating the issues surrounding living, building and working on the City's waterways in the years to come. The series is curated by Ellis Woodman, critic for the Architects' Journal and the Architectural Review, who said: "Despite the fact that the riverfront is currently the subject of redevelopment proposals of unprecedented scale, London’s ambitions for the Thames have yet to be widely articulated or debated." Details of the three events after the break.

Renzo Piano Comments on the Difficulties of Designing LA's Motion Picture Academy

In discussion with Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times, Renzo Piano has taken his comments of modesty - verging on "self-deprecation" - to a new level. In response to questions about the design of the proposed Motion Picture Academy in Los Angeles he has said: "I don't think it will be that bad. [...] Actually, I'm struggling to do something good." Although Piano's design has previously been met with criticisms from Hawthorne, the Italian architect notes in this latest interview that "everything we've made at LACMA has been extremely complicated." The project, which has already seen a major alteration in the core design team, remains set to complete in 2015.

Call for Entries: Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence 2015

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) has opened their 2015 call for applications. The biennial award celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design and their social and economic contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded. Projects must be a real place, not just a plan or a program, and be located in the 48 contiguous United States. Award winners may use prize money in any way that benefits the project. The deadline for entries is December 9, 2014. Learn how to apply here

Places Journal Relaunches With a Fresh Commitment to Accessible Architecture Scholarship

After a five-year stint as part of the Design Observer Group, Places Journal has now struck out on their own with a fresh, modern website and a renewed commitment to their editorial goal of publishing "rigorous and lively public scholarship on architecture, landscape, and urbanism." As explained by Places Journal's editor and executive director Nancy Levinson, "what drives our editorial enterprise is the publication of excellent work that combines the narrative power of serious journalism with the precision and depth of scholarship — work that advances the cause of equitable cities and sustainable landscapes." Read more about the new Places Journal after the break.

Architects Envision Buoyant "Thames Deckway" for London Cyclists

On the heels of Mayor Boris Johnson’s announced plan to construct an 18-mile protected bike lane by March 2016, architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill have released their vision for relieving London’s congested streets with a floating “Thames Deckway” for cyclists. The proposal, though just in its preliminary design phase, claims the river Thames is currently a missed opportunity that could serve as a major travel artery for cyclists. If constructed, the £600 million project would run east-west for seven miles along the river’s southern bank, from Battersea to Canary Wharf, and harness it’s own energy through solar, tidal and wind power. Nixon and Hill have founded the River Cycleway Consortium in support of the project, which includes Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects.

Henning Larsen Foundation Launches Architecture and Film Competition

The Henning Larsen Foundation is launching an international competition on architecture and film with the intent to “revitalize the use of architecture on film and foster new inspiration to architects and film professionals.” The theme of the competition is the experience of architectural space over time. The task is to create a film sequence of 1-5 minutes which animates architecture by embracing time as the primary dimension. Up to €18,000 in prizes will be awarded to entrants who inspire a new approach to architecture and the film media. Submissions are due by March 15, 2015. A winner will be announced on April 20, Henning Larsen’s birthday. More information can be found here

Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce

Breaking New Ground is an international design and ideas competition addressing the urgent affordable housing needs for farmworker and service worker families in the Coachella Valley, where efforts to improve living conditions suffers from a lack of funding and coordination. Going beyond design, the competition seeks to envision new precedents, mechanisms, and policies for affordable housing implementation and development, with implications for California and the nation.

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.