Cistercian Abbey Church / Cunningham Architects

© James F. Wilson

Architects: Cunningham Architects
Location: , Texas
Project Team: Gary Cunningham, FAIA, Russell Buchanan, Chris Fultz, Frank Gomillion
Consultants: Jim Smith (structural); MEP, Inc. (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing); Pam Wilson (lighting)
Photographs: James F. Wilson, Jim Reisch, Courtesy of Cunningham Architects

AZPA to Transform Nineteenth Century Building into Locarno Film Festival Headquarters


London and Barcelona-based practice AZPA (Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architecture) has been announced as winner of an international competition aimed to establish a permanent residence for the International Film Festival in Switzerland. Breaking away from the starchitect notion of public architecture needing to make an “extravagant gesture”, AZPA’s innovative proposal partakes in an act of “urban recycling” by reusing the pre-existent, nineteenth century structure of Piazza Castello and transforming its interior courtyard into three sizable theaters. Additionally, a complimentary renovation will take place on the surrounding Piazza Remo Rossi, which will be repaved with red natural stone that essentially provides a “permanent red carpet” qualified to host an array of festival related events.

As Architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo describes: “I do not want to redraw the city, but keep the city.”

AZPA’s winning design not only preserves and capitalizes on the existing integrity of the city, but the strategies employed makes this an economically viable solution. With an estimated price tag of 28 million Swiss Francs, this renovation is said to be no more than the cost of a complete demolition.

More on AZPA’s winning proposal after the break. 

Rajuela House / Muñoz Arquitectos

© Rolando Córdoba

Architects: Muñoz Arquitectos
Location: Mérida, Yucatan,
Architect In Charge: Javier Muñoz Menéndez
Collaborators: Gareth Lowe Negrón, Andrea Dutton Ruiz, Isabela Rincon Milet, Luis Miguel Acuña Gonzalez
Area: 592.61 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Rolando Córdoba

Chesapeake Child Development Center / Elliott + Associates Architects

Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing

Architects: Elliott + Associates Architects
Location: , OK, USA
Design Team: Rand Elliott, Bill Yen, Ken Fitzsimmons, Karl Wolf
Client: Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Area: 60,000 sqft
Year: 2011
Photographs: Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing

AWP to announce masterplan for La Défense

© Anna Positano

La Défense, Paris’ major business district, is about to undergo a transformation with the help of Paris architecture firm AWP. ’s plan was presented to government agencies EPADESA and DEFACTO as well as local communities in November 2012, but will be released to the public for the first time in March. The proposed plan not only updates and adds to the current site: it rethinks and reevaluates what already exists.

More on AWP’s master plan for Le Défense after the break.

Sushi-teria / form-ula

© Barkow Photo

Architects: form-ula
Location: 601 Lexington Avenue, , NY, USA
Design Team: Ajmal Aqtash, Richard Sarrach, Tamaki Uchikawa
Fabrication Team: Tai-Li Lee, Brian Chu, Zack Fine, Arianna Lebed, Andrew Reitz, David Kim
Collaborators: Sebastian Misiurek
Contractor: John Gallin & Son
Area: 1,000 sq ft
Year: 2012
Photographs: Barkow Photo

ABI Reports Five Consecutive Months of Growth

December 2012 via Calculated Risk

Concluding 2012 with strong business conditions, the December Architecture Billings Index (ABI) marks five consecutive months of growth with a score of 52.0. Released by the American Institute of Architects (), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. By remaining above 50, December’s score reflects an increase in demand for design services. However, growth is slightly slower than the previous month, whose mark at 53.2 brought the strongest business conditions since 2007. Additionally, the new projects inquiry index remains in positive territory with a score of 59.4, also down slightly from the 59.6 mark of November.

A five-month run of growth is a trend that has repeated itself since 2010. However, analysts are optimistic. Growth in 2012 began earlier in the year, picking up speed in early August rather than late Fall.

“While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Moving into 2013 we are expecting this trend to continue and conditions improve at a slow and steady rate.  That said, we remain concerned that continued uncertainty over the outcomes of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling could impact further economic growth.”

View the ABI highlights in greater detail, after the break…

Même – Experimental House / Kengo Kuma & Associates

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates
Location: Hokkaido Prefecture, Hiroo District, , Memu,
Project Architect: Kengo Kuma, Takumi Saikawa
Client: LXIL JS Foundation
Structural Engineering: Yashushi Moribe (Showa Womden’s University)
Area: 79,5 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Video: Designer Days at Adidas HQ

Each year, the design teams at the Adidas HQ in come together to discuss and decide on trends for the seasons ahead. Inspired by founder Adi Dassler, Designer Days consists of a week of workshops for the teams to discuss innovation, brainstorm new creative concepts and think about what product lines will elevate the different pillars of the performance sport department. Constantly aiming to produce sportswear that is faster, lighter, cooler and smarter, the creative teams set the standard for innovative designs. goes behind the scenes at LACES – the brand new 62,000 square meter office devised by kadawittfeldarchitektur – and speaks to a few of the key design directors and the personalities who give the brand a unique feel.

Courtesy of United Design Group
Courtesy of United Design Group

Jinan Contemporary Art Museum Proposal / United Design Group

Designed by United Design Group… (UDG China), their proposal for the Contemporary Art Museum faces the main artery crossing the city of Jinan east to west. With the ambition to become the landmark of this urban sector, the first step

Italcementi i.lab / Richard Meier & Partners

© Scott Frances – OTTO

Our friends at Richard Meier & Partners have shared with us their latest completed project: Italcementi i.lab in Bergamo, . The building, a new research and development center for Italcementi, one of the top five cement manufacturers in the world, is a showcase for sustainable design, already attaining one of the first LEED Platinum accreditations in .

According to the firm, Italcementi i.lab reflects not only the company’s commitment to sustainability but also “the company’s position of leadership, technological advancement and commitment to research and innovation in the use of concrete.”

In the Press Release, Dukho Yeon, Design Partner-in-charge, describes the project: “i.lab is our firm’s most sustainable building to date embodied in sculptural and dramatic, but simple forms showcasing the possibilities of concrete in perfect balance with the technical purpose of the building.”

Read more about Richard Meier & Partners’ latest, after the break…

Tierra De Barros Hospital / EACSN + Junquera Arquitectos

© Jesús Granada

Architects: EACSN, Junquera Arquitectos
Location: 06200 , Badajoz,
Architects In Charge: Víctor de las Casas, Eduardo Fernández Inglada, Eduardo Merello, Guillermo Merchán, Jerónimo Junquera, Liliana Obal
Collaborators: Berra Ingenieros, Everproject, Euring
Constructor: Placonsa
Area: 0.0 m2
Year: 2007
Photography: Jesús Granada

Courtesy of NAAU
Courtesy of NAAU

‘The Cultured Landscape’ Transiting Cities Competition Entry / NAAU

Designed by NAAU… for the Australian ‘Transiting Cities’ competition, their Cultured Landscape proposal examines generative strategies for re-purposing the region, which is currently a center of brown coal fired power production, into a center of clean energy research and development, sustainable

Crematorium Baumschulenweg / Shultes Frank Architeckten

© Mattias Hamrén

Architects: Shultes Frank Architeckten
Location: , Germany
Architect In Charge: Axel Schultes Architekten, Frank Schultes Witt
Design: Axel Schultes, Charlotte Frank
Project Management: Margret Kister, Christoph Witt
Collaborators: Daniela Andresen, Bob Choeff, Patrick Dierks, Christian Helfrich, Andreas Schuldes, Till Waninger
Area: 9,339 sqm
Photographs: Mattias Hamrén

Courtesy of Hapsitus Architects
Courtesy of Hapsitus Architects

NAAS Springs – FFA Proposal / Hapsitus Architects

The design proposal for NAAS Springs, a well-known wellness center and place of relaxation in Beirut, is formed by a series of walls projecting into nature. They alternate between large living spaces with roofs for residences and uncovered elongated spaces…

Switch Box in House / Naf Architect & Design

© Toshiyuki Yano

Architects: Naf Architect & Design
Location: Suginami, Tokyo,
Architect In Charge: Akio Nakasa (maneger),  Daisuke Aoki
Area: 127.99 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Toshiyuki Yano

Office for Crayons / IAAD

© Andre Fanthome

Architects: IAAD
Location: , Nueva Delhi, Delhi,
Design Team: Jyoti, Sumit, Rachna
Area: 11,000 sqft
Year: 2007
Photographs: Andre Fanthome

Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects
Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects

University of Southern Denmark Student Housing Winning Proposal / C.F. Møller Architects

Inspired by the school’s strong community spirit, C.F. Møller Architects…’ first prize winning design for University of Southern Denmark’s student housing project includes 250 student residences that are located in three interconnected 14-storey buildings. This means that the residence