The CCTV Building, Beijing, cloaked by air pollution. Image © Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
The CCTV Building, Beijing, cloaked by air pollution. Image © Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

Reconfiguring Urban Spaces To Compensate For “Poisonous” Air

In an article for The Guardian, Oliver Wainwright steps “inside Beijing’s apocalypse”: the poisonous, polluted atmosphere that often clings to the Chinese capital. He explores ways in which those who live in this metropolis have started to redefine the spaces they frequent and the ways in which they live. Schools, he notes, are now building inflatable domes over play areas in order to “simulate a normal environment.” The dangers were made clear when ”this year’s Beijing marathon [...] saw many drop out when their face-mask filters turned a shade of grey after just a few kilometres.” Now, in an attempt to improve the living conditions in the city, ecologists and environmental scientists are proposing new methods to filter the air en masse.

Restructuring and Safety Works of Saint-Jean’s Schools / Dominique Coulon & associés

© David Romero-Uzeda

Architects: Dominique Coulon & associés
Location: 13 Rue des Bonnes Gens, 67000 ,
Architects In Charge: Dominique Coulon, Benjamin Rocchi, Architects Sarah Brebbia, Olivier Nicollas, Delphine George, Guillaume Wittmann, Architects assistants.
Area: 8731.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: David Romero-Uzeda

Villa Pruhonice / Jestico + Whiles

© Ales Jungmann

Architects: Jestico + Whiles
Location: ,
Area: 560.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Ales Jungmann

Suppakids / ROK

© Daniel Stauch Photography

Architects: ROK
Location: Paulinenstraße 44, 70178 , Germany
Area: 60.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Daniel Stauch Photography

House in Shintou / SNARK + OUVI

© Ippei Shinzawa

Architects: SNARK , Ouvi
Location: Shinto, Kitagunma District, Gunma Prefecture, Japan
Architects In Charge: Sunao Koase, Shin Yokoo
Area: 58.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Ippei Shinzawa

Khmeresque / Archium + Kim in-cheurl

© Khmeresque_photo

Architects: Archium , Kim in-cheurl
Location: University of the Nations Battambang, Battambang,
Area: 430.0 sqm
Photographs: Khmeresque_photo

Romanian Entry Wins “Unbelievable Challenge” with Santa Claus Logistic Center

First Prize: “Nothing is impossible” / Alexandru Oprita, Romania and Laurentiu Constantin. Image Courtesy of

A “magical” logistics center fit for the season’s most hardworking man has been awarded first prize for it’s innovation and feasibility in the “Unbelievable Challenge” architectural ideas competition. Submitted by Alexandru Oprita and Laurentiu Constantin of Romania, “Nothing is impossible” was selected from 243 entries spanning 59 countries and five other deserving projects that have been highlighted as runner-ups.

A closer look at Santa Claus’ proposed logistics center, after the break.

Huishan North Bund / EE&K

© Tim Griffith

Architects: EE&K
Location: Hongkou, ,
Area: 255000.0 sqm
Photographs: Tim Griffith, Courtesy of Perkins Eastman, Gary Wei

Save Japan’s Modern Architecture

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As preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics escalate, so do concerns regarding the of the city’s heritage; and more specifically, according to Tomas Maier, ’s modernist architecture. The Bottega Venneta creative director recently embarked on an “urgent visit” to in an effort to evaluate the city’s risk of loosing its modernist icons. With special consideration for the overlooked and threatened Hotel Okura, Maier believes that this Yoshiro Taniguchi-designed landmark is just one of many structures at risk of falling to “progress.”

Watch the video above and learn more about how you can help preserve the Hotel Okura, here.

Barão de Pirapitingui Apartment / Felipe Rodrigues Arquiteto

© Raul Fonseca

Architects: Felipe Rodrigues Arquiteto
Location: State of São Paulo,
Area: 300.0 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Raul Fonseca

© Olivier Schrauwen via the NYTimes
© Olivier Schrauwen via the NYTimes

How to Rebuild Architecture

Architect Steven Bingler and architectural journalist Martin C. Pedersen fear that architecture is loosing its credibility. In their recent op-ed on the New York Times, the pair claims that our profession’s biggest challenge is regaining public trust by reconnecting architecture with its users. Referencing his mother’s aversion to a student-built affordable housing project that he considered a “bold statement of design,” Bingler believes the key to salvaging the profession is for architects to stop dismissing and start listening to the general public’s take on architecture.

“The question is, at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?” Read the complete article, here

House 1957 / Brugnoli Asociados Arquitectos

© Juan Dúran Sierralta

Architects: Brugnoli Asociados Arquitectos
Location: , Región Metropolitana, Chile
Architect In Charge: Gregorio Brugnoli Errázuriz, Macarena Cortés Darrigrande
Area: 230.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Juan Dúran Sierralta

BIG, MVRDV and Snøhetta Among 6 Shortlisted for Oslo Goverment Quarter

Opera House / Snøhetta. Image © CC Flickr User Howard Ignatius

Statsbygg has shortlisted six teams to develop proposals for a new government quarter in Oslo. Selected from 24 submissions, the chosen teams will now have until March 2015 to prepare their ideas. The unconventional competition, which requires the inclusion of students from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, will not culminate with a single winner. Rather, ideas from all the shortlisted proposals will be extracted and used in an eventual masterplan.

The six shortlisted teams are…

PV14 House / M Gooden Design

© Wade Griffith

Architects: M Gooden Design
Location: , TX, USA
Area: 3700.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Wade Griffith, Kurt Griesbach

The Mexican Moment: The Rise of Architecture’s Latest Design Capital

Museo Soumaya / FR-EE. Image © Rafael Gamo

On a recent trip abroad, architect and urban planner José Castillo was struck by a conversation with Mexico’s tourism attaché in Asia. Mexican tourism, the attaché remarked, has changed; it was the ancient pyramids and sandy beaches of the country that once drew visitors to it. Today however, architecture and design—and food—prevail.

The issue of food may be of little wonder. Mexican cuisine has indeed become more popular than ever in both the high and low ends of the culinary spectrum, and food in general is not only what one eats for dinner but also a hobby and an obsessive conversation topic. Yet for local design to come to the same level of acclaim and reputation is, at any rate, quite astonishing. It may be, though, that food and architecture are not so far apart. These are both highly creative and productive professions, as well as ones with a rich history, a theory, and many layers of tradition.

New Halifax Central Library / Schmidt Hammer Lassen

© Adam Mørk

Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Location: , NS, Canada
Prime Consultant Architect: Fowler Bauld & Mitchell
Area: 15000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Adam Mørk

UNSTABLE’s AMAZE Installation Takes Visitors on a Vivid Multisensory Journey

Courtesy of

Colorful lights dance across translucent panels, illuminating the backdrop of Toronto’s glowing downtown high-rises. In their three-dimensional interactive entitled AMAZE, design and research laboratory UNSTABLE has created a multisensory experience like no other. Complex branching passageways challenge visitors to find their own path through the ever-changing structure, as if wandering through a vivid psychedelic dream. Becoming an integral part of the installation, visitors are met with dynamic shadows of the crowd and the urban landscape beyond before finding their way out of the maze.

The Restoration of Chartres Cathedral is a “Scandalous Desecration”

On the left, an as-yet unrestored section of the cathedral can be compared to a restored section, right. Image © Flickr CC User Lawrence OP

Throughout its eight-century-long history, Chartres Cathedral has been consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest religious spaces, charming countless architects thanks to its dramatic interior combining brooding stone vaults and delicate stained glass windows. But this legacy is severely threatened, argues Martin Filler for the New York Review of Books, by a “foolhardy” restoration in its zeal for recapturing the past “makes authentic artifacts look fake.”