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Public Space Popping Up in London's Suburbs

Cricklewood, a North London suburb devoid of public space, is finding a new lease of life through a series of pop-up interventions - including a mobile town square designed by Studio Hato and Studio Kieren Jones - put together by civic design agency Spacemakers. While the project might have a bit further to go before any benefits are truly felt by the local residents, the project is part of a wider scheme financed by the Mayor’s Outer London Fund which will hopefully lead to the rejuvenation of more of the capital's suburbs. Read Liam O'Brien's full article in The Independent here.

Fall 2013 Public Programs at SCI-Arc

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is pleased to announce its schedule of public lectures, discussions and exhibitions for Fall 2013, when the school welcomes an international roster of award-winning architects, urban historians, critics, writers, designers, and artists for programs that span from innovative theory to contemporary architecture and technical practice.

What Does Being 'Green' Really Mean?

The term 'green' is notoriously difficult to define, and even more so when it comes to architecture. An often overused and fashionable way of describing (or selling) new projects, 'green' design seems to have permeated into every strand of the design and construction industries. Kaid Benfield (The Atlantic City) has put together a fascinating case study of a 1,700 dwelling housing estate near San Diego, challenging what is meant by a 'green' development in an attempt to understand the importance of location and transport (among other factors) in making a project truly environmentally sustainable. In a similar vein, Philip Nobel (The New York Times) explores how 'green' architecture is less about isolated structures and far more about "the larger systems in which they function". Read the full article from Kaid Benfield here, and Philip Nobel's full article here.

The Photon Project launches at the London Design Festival

A large scale architectural installation, informative exhibition and free two day conference will take place at The Building Centre WC1 during the 2013 London Design Festival to launch a four year study into the effects of natural light.

Zaha Hadid: Has International Fame Come at a Cost?

From "Paper Architect" to employing over 400 staff working on 950 projects in 44 countries, Zaha Hadid has proven that her avant-garde ideas are not only buildable, but also the most popular architectural brand in the world. China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are among the countries first in line to commission Hadid icons. Rowan Moore, however, claims that her recent accolades have come at the cost of her original ideals, becoming trapped in her own public persona. Read the full article, Zaha Hadid: queen of the curve.

Turks Paint Public Walkways in Protest

Last June we covered some of the anti-government protests that were taking Turkey by storm - but the Turks are still making headlines! Last week, one Istanbul resident decided to paint a derelict public stair only to find it hastily covered up by government workers. In an act of “guerilla beautification” and silent protest, people across Turkey have once again taken to the streets to paint their stairs and public walkways in rainbow colors. For the full story, check out this article on The Lede by Robert Mackey.

Winners Proposals Suggest Alternatives for San Francisco's 280 Freeway

The Center for Architecture + Design and the Seed Fund announced the winners of the Reimagine. Reconnect. Restore What if 280 came down?, a competition that explored the idea of removing San Francisco's 280 Freeway, north of 16th Street,  in an effort to pedestrianize that portion of the city while generating funds for several regionally important transit projects. The open competition, which encouraged designers to submit urban design interventions, from public art to infrastructure, awarded $10,000 in prizes. 

What is Architecture? Steven Holl Describes It In Four words

"While artists work from the real to the abstract, architects must work from the abstract to the real.

Zumthor: "Apostle of the Real"

In an article for Vanity Fair Paul Goldberger unravels the Swiss Mystique surrounding Peter Zumthor's personality and work, describing him as a "cross between Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Proust, with perhaps a tiny bit of Bob Dylan thrown in." With completed projects few and far between, but executed with intense experiential thought and craftsmanship, the article explores how Zumthor's motives has informed his rigorous attitude to architecture. Having recently been awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, the "cult following" that Goldberger described in 2001 seems to only be getting stronger. You can read the full article here.

Urban Planning Lessons from the World's Largest (Temporary) City

For two months out of every twelve years, Allahabad in India becomes one of the most populous cities in the world - thanks to the Maha Kumbh Mela, a Hindu Festival that is the largest single-purpose gathering of people on the globe. In an article for Smithsonian Magazine, Tom Downey relates his experience of the Festival and sheds light on how a temporary city can swell to such astronomical sizes and still function as well as, if not better than, permanent cities. It is hoped that the research by Harvard Graduate School of Design at the Kumbh Mela can inform the construction of refugee camps, emergency cities and even permanent cities in the future. You can read the full article here.

Final Design Team Shortlist Announced for New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

The Department of State's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted three design teams for the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon for Stage 3 evaluation. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture.

IE TEKA Awards for Design Talent

The IE-TEKA Awards for Design Talent is a design ideas competition hosted by TEKA, IE Business School and IE School of Architecture & Design for young professionals from the fields of architecture, interior design, engineering and other related fields working in the GCC Region. This first edition of the competition highlights the alignment of management and design strategies for innovative retail stores of the future.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Decrease in UK Architects’ Salaries

The latest Future Trends Survey, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), shows a decrease of 3% in average earnings bringing the average salary in the UK to around £40,000. The largest fall in earnings is with sole principals, a quarter of whom are receiving less than £18,500 per annum. This is compared to principals in partnership who continue to average a salary of around £50,000. 

The Real Carbuncle: The Low Standard of Student Housing

In the wake of two heinous designs for student housing dominating the conversation in the Carbuncle Cup, The Guardian's Olly Wainwright explores the causes of such poor standards in the field of student accommodation. He explains how the economics and planning regulations surrounding student housing in the UK make it a hugely profitable area of the construction industry, while also making it susceptible to low standards which would be seen as unacceptable in any other housing sector. By contrast, in another article he lists the world's best designed student accommodation. You can read the full article investigating poor standards here, and his top 10 list here.

Sick & Wonder / Best Act

On Saturday September 7, at 6 pm at Ara Pacis Museum in Rome, CITYVISION, in partnership with NuFactory and OUTDOOR International Street Art Festival, will present Sick & Wonder / Best Act, the most important annual event curated by the roman based urban lab for contemporary architecture.

reGEN Boston: Energizing Urban Housing Competition

Boston Society of Architects Housing Committee and Emerging Professionals Network Presents reGEN Boston: Energizing Urban Housing, an international ideas competition with presenting sponsor First Republic Bank. 

Renzo Piano Becomes Italian Senator

Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano has been named a senator for life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, giving him the right to vote in the Parliament’s Upper House. Napolitano also appointed three others to the position, including Claudio Abbado (an accomplished conductor), Elena Cattaneo (a biologist specializing in stem cell research), and Carlo Rubbia (a Nobel Prize winning particle physicist). 

Designing Offices For Introverts, Extroverts, & Everything In Between

In an article for Fast Company, Chris Congdon explains the key to designing workplaces that cater to the needs of introverts, extroverts and everyone in between. According to Congdon, most office workers need a mixture: places to be around others, encouraging collaboration, and places to work alone and focus on individual tasks. The solution? A "pallette of places" which give workers an ample choice of where to work. Read the full article here and learn more about how do design successful workplaces here