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Can We Please Stop Bashing Architects?

00:00 - 19 November, 2013
Can We Please Stop Bashing Architects?, Megalomania? Hadid's Galaxy Soho Building has been criticized for destroying Beijing's cultural heritage and displacing its residents. Image © Hufton + Crow
Megalomania? Hadid's Galaxy Soho Building has been criticized for destroying Beijing's cultural heritage and displacing its residents. Image © Hufton + Crow

If the discussions recently held at the Battle of Ideas are any indication, it seems that we in the architecture community are living a certain crisis of confidence.

Not one new utopian vision has been presented in the past 30 years, lamented Theodore Dounas; all these pop-ups popping up are just evidence, said Pedro Bismarck and Alastair Donald, of architecture's fearful reluctance to tackle  complex problems or act as a legitimate agent for change at all; and then there’s the problem, voiced by Rory Olcayto, of architects being bullied by their clients into executing questionable agendas.

Immanuel Church / Sauerbruch Hutton

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
© Thomas Mayer
© Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer +14

Arquine Call for Entries / Threshold of the Americas

00:00 - 19 November, 2013
Arquine Call for Entries / Threshold of the Americas

The Arquine International Architecture Competition has been held since 1998 and aims to explore issues of significance and relevance for society as a whole, foster new platforms for dialogue and promote the involvement of architects in responding to specific problems, while encouraging local and international competition and participation. 

Over time it has become one of the design competitions in the field of architecture with the broadest scope and reach. Last year over 420 teams from 22 countries around the world sent proposals. 

On this occasion Arquine addresses an issue of timeless importance that will open up new possibilities of discussion, with an open, international call for entries for the design of the threshold between Tijuana and San Ysidro: the transit point that responds to the programmatic needs of those who cross the border here. At the same time it should be viewed as a point of reference of a monumental nature for the busiest border in the world. 

According to the May 2013 report by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), every year 13,672,329 automobiles cross the border at the Tijuana - San Ysidro border crossing—double the number of cars on the streets of Sao Paulo and four times the number in Mexico City—while the total number of passengers they convey amounts to 34,180,000—almost equal to the population of Canada. On average they take 45 minutes to cross, according to a study by the Business Advisory Board of Tijuana. Meanwhile, the number of border crossings made on foot totals 9 million individuals. As a result the zone is constantly bustling with activity, occupied by different kinds of people—those who cross, those who wish to cross and those who have failed to cross—an accumulation of people who occupy the space on a practically permanent basis, in a perennial state of indefinite waiting. Meanwhile, the State appears unable to solve the lack of clarity in migration issues, or provide the minimum conditions of security and protection the location demands. 

More information after the break.

Hydraspan Bridge Colony / Future Cities Lab

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Hydraspan Bridge Colony / Future Cities Lab, © Future Cities Lab
© Future Cities Lab

To represent a "speculative proposal for the radical reuse and re-colonization of the bridge infrastructure," California-based Future Cities Lab has developed the “Hydraspan Bridge Colony installation: a 40-foot long, quarter-scale model that foresees a dense and agriculturally rich community suspended below the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge.

Glass office SOHO China / AIM Architecture

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Glass office SOHO China / AIM Architecture, © Jerry Yin
© Jerry Yin

© Jerry Yin © Jerry Yin © Jerry Yin © Jerry Yin +20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Shanghai, China
  • Architects

    Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf, German Roig, Carter Chen and Jiao Yan
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

Campus De La Comunicació Poblenou / RQP Arquitectura

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Campus De La Comunicació Poblenou / RQP Arquitectura, © Lluís Casals
© Lluís Casals

© Lluís Casals © Lluís Casals © Lluís Casals © Lluís Casals +23

  • Architects

  • Location

    Carrer de Tànger, 130, UPF - Communication Campus - Poblenou, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
  • Architect in Charge

    Josep Benedito Rovira, Ramon Valls Ortiz
  • Team

    Antoni Vilanova, Eduard Simó
  • Architects collaborators

    Roger Molas Bernabé, Júlia Barata de Tovar Vilhena, Javier Sánchez – Montaña López, Martín Cerreda Álvarez
  • Technical Architect

    Miquel Milian Barreda
  • Structures

    Manuel Arguijo y Asociados, SL
  • Health and Safety

    MBF Arquitectura.
  • Facilities

    Instal•lacions Arquitectòniques,SL
  • Builder

    SAPIC, CONSTRUCTORA SAN JOSE, SOGESA INSTALACIONES INTEGRALES, SA
  • Area

    15163.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2008
  • Photographs

House G / Dietger Wissounig Architekten

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
House G / Dietger Wissounig Architekten, © Paul Ott
© Paul Ott

© Paul Ott © Paul Ott © Paul Ott © Paul Ott +13

Educational Center Erasmus University Medical Center / KAAN Architecten

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Educational Center Erasmus University Medical Center / KAAN Architecten, © Bart Gosselin
© Bart Gosselin

© Sebastian van Damme © Bart Gosselin © Sebastian van Damme © Bart Gosselin +15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Design Team

    Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio Allard Assies, Luca Baialardo, Timo Cardol, Sebastian van Damme, Luuk Dietz, Paolo Faleschini, Raluca Firicel, Michael Geensen, Renata Gilio, Walter Hoogerwerf, Michiel van der Horst, Giuseppe Mazzaglia, Eric van Noord, Hannes Ochmann, Antonia Reif, Shy Shavit, Koen van Tienen, Aldo Trim, Noëmi Vos
  • Area

    34000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: OMA's Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: OMA's Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken. Image Courtesy of OMA
Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: OMA's Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken. Image Courtesy of OMA

OMA’s comprehensive strategy to rebuild the New Jersey city of Hoboken, after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, has been selected as one of ten initiatives moving forward in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rebuild by Design competition. The proposal, Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge, focuses on establishing resiliency through the integration of key infrastructural elements that not only protects coastal neighborhoods, but also the entire city of Hoboken. 

Chris Downey: Design with the Blind in Mind

00:00 - 19 November, 2013

Cities are diverse places, home to a rich spectrum of people and lifestyles. Chris Downey, however, believes that there are only two types of people, "those with disabilities and those that haven't quite found theirs yet." Downey, a distinguished architect of over twenty years, lost his eyesight four years ago and found a new way of seeing the world. "If you design for the blind in mind, you get a city that is robust, accessible, well-connected...a more inclusive, more equitable city for all." Hear his story, contrasting his daily life before and after this newly found "outsight."


Kanye West Drops In on Harvard's GSD

00:00 - 19 November, 2013
Kanye West Drops In on Harvard's GSD, © Noam Dvir, Instagram User dvirnm
© Noam Dvir, Instagram User dvirnm

UPDATE: The Harvard GSD AASU has released a statement on Kanye West's invitation and visit, which you can find at the end of the post. Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the GSD, has also commented on the visit. 

Kanye West surprised students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) last night by dropping in un-announced before his Sunday night concert at the TD Garden in Boston. He gave a short motivational speech to the crowd that quickly formed in the GSD’s signature “trays.” West told the students

I just wanted to tell you guys: I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be “architected.” [...] I believe that utopia is actually possible—but we’re led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician—I’m usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. I really appreciate you guys’ willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.

GSD student Sekou Cooke, writer of "Keep Talking Kanye: An Architect's Defense of Kanye West," confirmed to an ArchDaily editor that West had in fact seen his post defending West's right to speak-up about architectural issues and act as a role model for young potential architects of color. Although his visit with the student body was unexpected, West had been invited by Harvard GSD's African American Student Union (AASU). Following a meeting with the AASU’s core group of leaders—during which West led a conversation regarding under-represented minorities in the design disciplines—the star was inspired to briefly address the rest of the students. West also gifted 300 tickets to his show to the GSD. In fact, in an uncharacteristic moment of insecurity, West told the crowd of students:

Tonight, this show, if you come see it—um, I’m a bit self conscious because I’m showing it to architects. So the stage does have flaws in it. It’s an expression of emotion so give me a pass on that. 

See images and video of West's GSD visit, after the break...

Rogers Stirk Harbour Announced as Winner of LSE Competition

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Rogers Stirk Harbour Announced as Winner of LSE Competition , Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (Team E). Image Courtesy of LSA / RIBA
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (Team E). Image Courtesy of LSA / RIBA

Shortly after the jury demanded further work to be done on the shortlisted proposals, The London School of Economics (LSE) has selected Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to design the new Global Centre for the Social Sciences. Besting proposals from OMA, Hopkins, Heneghan Peng and Grafton, RSHP’s winning design was also voted the public’s favorite by an overwhelming margin. 

Gensler, LOT-EK to Design Google's Showroom of Floating Shipping Containers

00:00 - 19 November, 2013
Gensler, LOT-EK to Design Google's Showroom of Floating Shipping Containers , Artist's rendering of the "Google Barge". Image Courtesy of The Verge
Artist's rendering of the "Google Barge". Image Courtesy of The Verge

UPDATE: The SF Gate reports that the architects of the Google Barge have now been revealed to be San Francisco-based firm Gensler and New York-based LOT-EK, a firm with experience adapting shipping containers for retail design. 

A mysterious construction project in the San Francisco Bay has been making waves for the past couple of weeks. Moored off Treasure Island, locals apparently refer to it as 'the secret project' - and, until now, that's about as much as was known about it. 

Despite months of rumors and complete radio silence from Google, spokespeople have finally released a statement on the project, stating: "Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology."

While it's a shame about the dinosaur, Google's expansion into technology retail is possibly even more intriguing, as it's entirely new turf for the company: retail design.

More info and an artist's rendering of what the barge could look like, after the break...

Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Winning Proposal for Zaryadye Park: "Wild Urbanism"

00:00 - 19 November, 2013

UPDATE: The video detailing Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal for Moscow's Zaryadye Park has just been released. In it the three partners discuss the central idea behind the proposal - "Wild Urbanism" - in which plants and people are of equal importance and "nature and architecture are merged into a seamless whole." They explain how each of Russia's varied landscapes - its tundra, steppe, forest, and wetland - will be imported to the park and overlapped into "enfolded nodes" that will house sustainable, artificial micro-climates that will allow for year-round use of the park. 

The Strelka Institute has announced the winner of the two-stage international competition to design Zaryadye park, Moscow's first park in over 50 years: Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

The consortium led by the New York-based firm, beat out an impressive shortlist. Russian-led TPO “Reserve” came second and MVRDV third.

Zaryadye Park, 13 acres of land just a minute’s walk from the Kremlin and the Red Square, is hoped to “project a new image of Moscow and Russia to the world.” See the renderings from Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal for Moscow's new and most important public space, after the break...

Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal - Masterplan. Image Courtesy of KB Strelka Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal. Image Courtesy of KB Strelka Entrance from the Red Square - Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal. Image Courtesy of KB Strelka Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal. Image Courtesy of KB Strelka +6

Pony Restaurant / Woods Bagot

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Pony Restaurant / Woods Bagot, © Trevor Mein
© Trevor Mein

© Trevor Mein © Trevor Mein © Trevor Mein © Trevor Mein +7

  • Interior Designers

  • Location

    Brisbane QLD, Australia
  • Client

    Pony
  • Area

    510.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

Social Complex / Agirbas & Wienstroer

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Social Complex / Agirbas & Wienstroer, © Thomas Mayer
© Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer +23

  • Architects

  • Location

    Am Freistuhl, 45896 Gelsenkirchen, Germany
  • Architect in Charge

    Agirbas & Wienstroer
  • Area

    1200.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

Auriga Restaurant / Sanjay Puri

01:00 - 19 November, 2013
Auriga Restaurant / Sanjay Puri, © Vinesh Gandhi
© Vinesh Gandhi

© Vinesh Gandhi © Vinesh Gandhi © Vinesh Gandhi © Vinesh Gandhi +15

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 3)

00:00 - 19 November, 2013
The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon (Part 3), Courtesy of Jonathan Massey & Andrew Weigand
Courtesy of Jonathan Massey & Andrew Weigand

This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of "risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, Massey examined the building’s treatment of climate risk. In part three, below, he explains how the Gherkin redesigned the risk imaginary associated with terrorism.

Mornings the Zamboni scrubs the plaza. Moving across the pavement in parallel lines connected by tight turns, the sweeper cleans the stone of cigarette butts and spilled food and beer left the night before by the underwriters and bankers who patronize the bar and shops in the building’s perimeter arcade as well as the adjacent restaurant that in fair weather sets up outdoor tables and chairs.

By pulling away from its irregular property lines, the tower achieves almost perfect formal autonomy from its context. The gap between the circular tower base and trapezoidal site boundaries forms a privately owned public space, a civic and commercial amenity in this densely built part of the City.