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WG Sasbach / Amann|Burdenski|Munkel Architekten

  • Architects: Amann|Burdenski|Munkel Architekten
  • Location: Jechtinger Straße 26, 79361 Sasbach am Kaiserstuhl, Germany
  • Project Team: Rolf Amann, Danica Magin, Kristina Ries
  • Area: 1400.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Yohan Zerdoun

© Yohan Zerdoun © Yohan Zerdoun © Yohan Zerdoun © Yohan Zerdoun

Honeybee Lounge / poly.m.ur

© Kyungsub Shin
© Kyungsub Shin
  • Architects: poly.m.ur
  • Location: Seoul, South Korea
  • Design Team: Seungjun Oh, Sunki Whang, Jaeho Song, Hyunju Lim, Jiin Kim
  • Area: 208.02 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Kyungsub Shin, Megabox

© Megabox © Kyungsub Shin © Kyungsub Shin © Megabox

Voila House / Fabian Tan Architect

© Eiffel Chong
© Eiffel Chong
  • Architects: Fabian Tan Architect
  • Location: Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Area: 475.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Eiffel Chong

© Eiffel Chong © Eiffel Chong © Eiffel Chong © Eiffel Chong

EPR House / Luis Aldrete

  • Architects: Luis Aldrete
  • Location: Zapopan, JAL, Mexico
  • Project Architects: Luis Aldrete, Cynthia Mojica
  • Project Area: 460.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photography: Paco Pérez Arriaga

© Paco Pérez Arriaga © Paco Pérez Arriaga © Paco Pérez Arriaga © Paco Pérez Arriaga

How to Bring China's Ghost Towns Back to Life

In this article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine's Point of View blog as "The Real Problem with China's Ghost Towns" , author Peter Calthorpe explains the problems of these cities, predicts their grim future, and explores how the thoughtful planning behind the city of Chenggong could provide a more sustainable alternative. 

 We’ve all seen the reports on “ghost town” developments in China, showing acres of empty high-rise apartments and vacant shopping malls. These barren towns seem particularly ironic in a country planning to move 250 million people from the countryside to cities in the next 20 years. But this massive, unprecedented demand has been distorted by a number of factors unique to China. Flawed financial incentives for cities and developers, along with the poor phasing of services, amenities, and jobs create most of the problems. In addition, China’s emerging middle class is very comfortable (perhaps too comfortable) investing in real estate, so people often buy apartments in incomplete communities but don't move in, expecting that values will rise, or that they will live there someday. The result is a string of large, empty developments that remain speculative investments rather than real homes and communities. [See-through buildings are the worry now, but the real problems may come when they are full.]

While it’s hard to get data on vacancy levels in China, there are certainly many anecdotal examples across the country. An all-too-typical example is Chenggong, the new town planned for 1.5 million just outside of Kunming in the west. This freshly minted city boasts the growing Yunnan University, currently with 170,000 students and faculty; a new government center; and an emerging light industrial area. Under construction are the city’s new high-speed rail station and two metro lines connecting the historic city center.

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.

Rafael Viñoly on Walkie Talkie 'Death Ray': Consultants to Blame

Why is the "Walkie Talkie" melting cars? Well, according to its architect, Rafael Viñoly, it's not because of the building's shape or material, but rather "the superabundance of consultants and subconsultants" that UK law requires. 

As reported by BD Online, Viñoly admitted that the building's unusually hot solar reflection (or "death ray," as many headlines are calling it) had been predicted early in the design process; however, it was thought it would only reach a temperature of 36 degrees, "but in fact it’s 72."

Viñoly then went on, placing blame on the consultant-heavy nature of design in the UK: “One of the problems that happens in [...London] is the superabundance of consultants and sub consultants that dilute the responsibility of the designers until you don’t know where you are.”

Video: Rio de Janeiro timelapse

Rio de Janeiro has become one of the most popular destinations right now, hosting some games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Joe Capra shared with us this timelapse video he made on the Brazilian city. Besides the fantastic natural settings that surround the city, you can also see the contrast with a few shots of the popular favelas.

Itahye Residence / Apiacás Arquitetos + Brito Antunes Arquitetura

  • Architects: Apiacás Arquitetos, Brito Antunes Arquitetura
  • Location: Santana do Parnaíba
  • Project Architects: Anderson Fabiano Freitas, Juliana Antunes
  • Project Team: Acácia Furuya, Pedro Barros, Cristina de Brito
  • Collaborators: Cibele Mion, Francisco Veloso, Otávio Filho, Pedro Paredes, Yuri Faustinoni
  • Project Area: 350 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Pregnolato & Kusuki

© Pregnolato & Kusuki © Pregnolato & Kusuki © Pregnolato & Kusuki © Pregnolato & Kusuki

Textiles del Sur Offices / Ana Smud

  • Architects: Ana Smud
  • Location: Seguí 3545, Pontevedra, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
  • Team: Ana Smud, Juan Magistrali, Agustina Falcon, Daniel Zelcer, Luciana Casoy
  • Site Management: Fernando Yaben, Maria Alejandra Carrete Interiorismo : Ana Smud, Agustina Falcon, Liliana Schraier
  • Project Area: 1200.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photography: Courtesy of Ana Smud

Courtesy of Ana Smud Courtesy of Ana Smud Courtesy of Ana Smud Courtesy of Ana Smud

Cereza House / Warm Architects

  • Architects: Warm Architects
  • Location: Cancún, México
  • Project Architect: Carlos Armando del Castillo
  • Project Area: 220.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photography: CLIMATICA


Dickinson House / Studio Pacific Architecture

  • Architects: Studio Pacific Architecture
  • Location: Wellington, New Zealand
  • Project Team: Stephen McDougall, Simon Hardy, Sarah Rutledge, Wayne Lightfoot
  • Area: 547.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Patrick Reynolds

© Patrick Reynolds © Patrick Reynolds © Patrick Reynolds © Patrick Reynolds

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.

Valle Alto Ecological High School / Bernardo Hinojosa

  • Architects: Bernardo Hinojosa Rodríguez, María Aurora Delgado González, Alejandro Ibarra Aragón
  • Location: Valle Alto, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • Collaborators: Manuel Arroyo, Lilia Ortiz de Montellano Valdez, Carlos Estrada Zubia
  • Project Area: 1723.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photography: Francisco Lubbert

© Francisco Lubbert © Francisco Lubbert © Francisco Lubbert © Francisco Lubbert

Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects

  • Architects: Athfield Architects
  • Location: Wellington, New Zealand
  • Design Team: John Hardwick Smith, Katherine Dean, Chris Winwood
  • Collaborators: Dunning Thornton Consultants (Structural Engineers), Arrow International (Contractor), Jacob Scott (Artist), Nick Kapica (Wayshowing & Signage)
  • Area: 3500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Trends Publishing, Matt Paterson

Courtesy of Trends Publishing © Matt Paterson Courtesy of Trends Publishing Courtesy of Trends Publishing

Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners

© Jens Weber
© Jens Weber
  • Architects: Matteo Thun & Partners
  • Location: Kösching, Germany
  • Project Leader Architecture: Bruno Franchi
  • Project Leader Interior Design: Uta Bahn
  • Architects In Charge: Oliver Hofmeister, Julia Leinfelder, Jens Seemüller
  • Interior Designer: Michael Catoir
  • Area: 4000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2007
  • Photographs: Jens Weber

© Jens Weber © Jens Weber © Jens Weber © Jens Weber

Vanity Height: How Much of a Skyscraper is Usable Space?

Ever expanding population growth coupled with the continuous development of urban centres mean that buildings, in general, will continue to get taller. With the topping out of One World Trade Centre in May this year the worldwide competition to construct towers with soaring altitudes doesn’t seem to be slowing, especially in China and the UAE. The question on many people’s lips, however, is how much of these colossal buildings is actual usable space?

Rehabilitation of Rubalcaba Housing / Carlos de Riaño Lozano

© Miguel  de Guzmán © Miguel  de Guzmán © Miguel  de Guzmán © Miguel  de Guzmán