National Design Centre / SCDA Architects

© Aaron Pocock

Architects: SCDA Architects
Location: National Design Centre,
Architect In Charge: Chan Soo Khian
Area: 7,900 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Aaron Pocock, Courtesy of SCDA Architects

Light Matters: Sacred Spaces

Chapel in Villeaceron, Spain. Architect: Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office. Image © Hisao Suzuki

The use of light can lead to very diverse feelings: a ray of sunlight calls attention; glare overpowers; the nocturnal sky fascinates, while a dense dark forest arouses fear. Religions have made use of these experiences to convey the mystic aspects of their respective deities — accordingly, so too do their erected buildings.

After the break, an exploration of the different approaches for using light as a vehicle of symbolic meaning and spiritual experience in religious spaces.

Piano House / NI&Co. Architects

© Hiroshi Tanigawa

Architects: NI&Co. Architects
Location: , Aichi,
Area: 23.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Hiroshi Tanigawa

Ban vs. Schumacher: Should Architects Assume Social Responsibility?

Opera House, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

Last week, Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid’s right-hand man, attempted to mandate the boundaries of Architecture in a social media post worthy of a Millennial. The tone was prescriptive and characterized by a liberal application of caps lock. In an ideal world, it might have been collectively ignored, but the discussion sprawled across multiple Facebook threads and inspired a broad media response (not to mention this one). I offer you a very reductive abstract: Architecture’s contribution to society is form, not political correctness and not art, which lacks a function beyond itself. A fair bit of the ensuing banter on Schumacher’s Facebook wall draws, then erases, then rehashes the distinction between art and architecture. With more than a hint of indignation, he specifically denounces the winners of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. He was not on the roster. Injured dignities aside, the commentary allowed a pervasive and omnipresent question within our discipline to resurface in the digital forum: What do architects offer that no one else can?

Pakkred Office / Geodesic Design Co.,Ltd.

© Pirak Anurakyawachon

Architects: Geodesic Design Co.,Ltd.
Location: Nonthaburi,
Architect In Charge: Somboon Sudmaksri, Karp Boonthavi
Area: 220.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Pirak Anurakyawachon

Cnest / CUBO Design Architect

© Hiroshi Ueda

Architects: CUBO Design Architect
Location: Kanagawa,
Architect In Charge: Hitoshi Saruta
Area: 147.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Hiroshi Ueda, Yasuno Sakata

U8 International Competition: The Unknown Porto

U8 International Competition: The Unknown Porto

Revista Unidade recently announced their international competition “The Unknown Porto”. The main goal is to convert an industrial ruin into a service station, serving the national road of Portugal.
Registration for the competition will end May 17 and the jury…

Silo-top Studio / O-OFFICE Architects

© Likyfoto

Architects: O-OFFICE Architects
Location: Liwan, , Guangdong,
Area: 621 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Likyfoto

Hanegi G – House / Makoto Yamaguchi Design

© Koichi Torimura

Architects: Makoto Yamaguchi Design
Location: , Tokyo, Japan
Area: 99 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Koichi Torimura

Juxing Tower Showroom / People’s Architecture Office

Courtesy of People’s Architecture Office (PAO)

Architects: People’s Architecture Office
Location: , Shanxi,
Principal: Hezhe, James Shen, Zangfeng
Design Team: Yang bin, Lian junqin
Area: 450 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of People’s Architecture Office (PAO)

Empire Damansara / Ong & Ong

© Rupajiwa Studio

Architects: Ong & Ong
Location: ,
Studio Directors: Lau Jak Shen, Tan Kee Keat, Yeoh Thiam Yew
Year: 2013
Photographs: Rupajiwa Studio

Foster to Design “First and Mission” Towers in San Francisco

© Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners, with Heller Manus Architects, has been commissioned to design a two tower, two million square foot mixed-use development in . The expansive “First and Mission” will be marked by a 605-foot “world class condominium” tower – which will be the tallest residential project on the West Coast – and a 850-foot “large floor plate office tower.” Together they will add more than a million square feet of flexible office and commercial space, as well as 650,000 square feet of residential units to the Transbay Area.

Henry W Bloch Executive Hall at University / BNIM + Moore Ruble Yudell

© James Ewing

Architects: BNIM , Moore Ruble Yudell
Location: , MO, USA
Area: 68,000 sqft
Year: 2013
Photographs: James Ewing

Centre Pompidou-Metz / Shigeru Ban Architects

© Didier Boy De La Tour

Architects: Shigeru Ban Architects
Location: ,
Area: 11,330 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Didier Boy De La Tour

Construction Slated to Begin on 1km Kingdom Tower

Kingdom Tower. Image ©

Work on Kingdom Tower is moving forward, as above-ground construction is slated to begin April 27. Rising over 1000 meters (3,280 feet), the $1.2 billion skyscraper is expected to be the world’s tallest, surpassing the 828 meter tall Burj Khalifa upon completion in 2017.

VL House / Rueda & Vera Arquitectos

© Antonio Chagín | ACH Imagen Digital

Architects: Rueda & Vera Arquitectos
Location: Calle 8, ,
Architect In Charge: Henry Rueda, Henrique Vera Project Director: Arq. Henry Rueda
Design Team: Gabriella Titone, Natercia Fernandes, Roberto García, Mariana Yanes, Mariana Fernández, Gabriela Hernández, Raúl Cabrera, Rockman Vargas
Area: 596 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Antonio Chagín | ACH Imagen Digital

The Indicator: Will We Stay Silent? The Human Cost of Qatar’s World Cup

Development of new skyscrapers in Doha, Qatar. Image © Sophie James / Shutterstock.com

Qatar says the World Cup projects are “on track,” but the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has been investigating worker deaths in the Gulf Emirate for the last two years, vehemently disagrees. To date there have been 1200 worker deaths associated with the on-going World Cup projects. A scathing report, issued by the ITUC on March 16, claims that unless significant improvements are made to working conditions on World Cup-related sites at least 4000 more migrant construction workers could lose their lives. This would mean that those construction sites are “on track” to kill 600 workers per year, or at least 12 per week until the ribbons are cut and the fireworks are set off.

At a FIFA executive committee meeting held in Zurich on March 20, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated, “We have some responsibility but we cannot interfere in the rights of workers.” Likewise, local FIFA organizing committee in Qatar says workers are not their responsibility. Zaha Hadid said the same.

However, given the increasing chorus of headlines along the lines of “The Qatar World Cup is a Total Disaster” they may have to say something stronger on the issue at some point — or have the image of their architecture tarnished. Of course we all know that what they mean is that legally it is not their responsibility. But does that mean they should be sitting back, not even attempting to influence change?

Get all the facts on the situation of the Qatar construction workers, after the break…

Google Amsterdam / DDOCK

© Alan Jensen

Architects: DDOCK
Location: 1082 MD , The
Area: 3000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Alan Jensen