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The Architecture Foundation Presents: Three Conversations on "Culture + Commerce"

Having wrapped up their three part series And the Winner is...?, The Architecture Foundation has launched another trio of evening discussions, this time around the ever-encroaching commercial values which are increasingly threatening cultural venues in London. The series, entitled Culture + Commerce, will explore how culture can fight against commercial homogeneity in the face of reduced public funding.

Successful Workplaces Balance Focus and Collaboration, Gensler Study Finds

AOL Offices by Studio A + O . Image © Jasper Sanidad
AOL Offices by Studio A + O . Image © Jasper Sanidad

Gensler, who recently topped out on the world's second tallest skyscraper in Shanghai, have just released a report outlining the keys to designing a successful workplace. Using their custom 'Workplace Performance Index' they surveyed 2035 office workers in the US to find out what makes employees happy and productive in their workplace.

One surprising result which they uncovered is that, in opposition to the trend of workplaces being designed to encourage collaboration, workers are actually spending more time on focused, individual tasks than they were 5 years ago. Consequently, over 50% of respondents said that they were distracted by others when they needed to focus. What's more, the survey found that when employees could not focus individually, collaborative work was also less productive.

Read on after the break to find out more results from the survey

It's Time to Envision A Better Built Detroit. Are Architects Ready?

There is an intimate connection between people, power, poverty and place and there is no better city in the world to see this than Detroit. With the impending bankruptcy we cannot lose sight of the human issues that face our city.

For decades money and power have moved away from Detroit’s center. The complex reasons for this are well known so there is no need to rehash them here. Even in the face of city government’s failure to manage its assets properly, this is changing. There is slow and halting movement back to the center.The movement back to the center is a good thing for many reasons. It will help bolster the tax base and that is the basic financial problem the city faces. But more importantly it will create a stronger spatial connection between power and poverty that we haven’t had in this region for a century.

Power will see poverty and poverty power. They will feel each other’s existence. They will see the humanity of each side and be nudged to recognize the shared responsibility caring for this shared place. This is how successful vital, dense urban cities operate. There is an acceptance of diversity on all levels. Barriers are reduced and human interaction encouraged. This is how creativity is bred. Exposure to diverse people, places and ideas excite and promote the imagination and a sense of the common good that includes everyone.

Cau i balcó / Tallerdarquitectura

  • Architects: Tallerdarquitectura
  • Location: Rupià, Girona, Cataluña, Spain
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photography: Courtesy of Tallerdarquitectura

Courtesy of Tallerdarquitectura Courtesy of Tallerdarquitectura Courtesy of Tallerdarquitectura Courtesy of Tallerdarquitectura

SOHO Hailun Plaza / UNStudio

This 33-story SOHO Hailun Plaza is currently being constructed in the dense city of Shanghai. Located at the intersection of two metro lines, the plaza will include a 130-meter office tower and five mixed-use podiums. The design, by UNStudio, treats each structure as a set of objects shaped by the flow of commuters. Each facade will be cloaked in a similar, faceted texture that will “change in appearance when approached from different directions.” 

The Flinders Street Station "People's Choice Award" Winning Proposal / Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina

Although ultimately not chosen by the jury, who favored HESSELL & Herzog de Meuron's plan, this proposal by Eduardo Velasquez, Manuel Pineda and Santiago Medina for the rejuvenation of Flinders Street Station garnered the most votes from the public, winning the People’s Choice Award. The 'Courtyard Within a Station' concept seeks to activate the north bank of the river, as well as the western end of the site, and to improve the connection to Federation Square; the idea was to not only make the station a significant transportation node within Melbourne, but a new social and cultural center for the city. More images and architects' description after the break.

2Day Languages / Masquespacio

  • Interior Design: Masquespacio
  • Location: Antiguo Reino 15, Valencia, Spain
  • Design: Ana Milena Hernández Palacios
  • Project Area: 183.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photography: David Rodríguez

© David Rodríguez © David Rodríguez © David Rodríguez © David Rodríguez

Beyond 2012: The Story of Commissioning the Olympic Games

Beyond 2012 is a new website launched by the British Design Council to tell the story of how the London 2012 Olympic Games were designed. The site explores how the best British designers were brought in to create the products, fashion, graphics, digital design, and of course the architecture that made the 2012 games a fantastic worldwide spectacle. See the full website here.

Elandshof 6 houses cpo / Bastiaan Jongerius Architecten

  • Architects: Bastiaan Jongerius Architecten
  • Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Client: Vereniging Elzes
  • Structural Engineer: Duyts Bouwconstructies BV
  • Contractor: Wever Bouwgroep BV
  • Contributors: Merel Martens, Dingeman Deijs, Jasper Hermans,  Santiago Baltar Bescansa, Gert-Jan van Laar, Quinten Savarit
  • Area: 1120.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Milad Pallesh

© Milad Pallesh © Milad Pallesh © Milad Pallesh © Milad Pallesh

Palmas Seis House / POMC arquitecto

  • Architects: POMC arquitecto
  • Location: ZAPOPAN, JALISCO
  • Project Architect: Paul Octavio Medina Campuzano
  • Collaborators: Alejandro Apolinar, Judy Jimenez, Roberto Machuca
  • Project Area: 390.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photography: Maggie Manzano

© Maggie  Manzano © Maggie  Manzano © Maggie  Manzano © Maggie  Manzano

Video: Inside a Chinese, Parisian Ghost Town

This Parisian ghost town in Tianducheng, China has become the archetype of China's architectural copycat culture. Brought to light by the folks at The Atlantic Cities, this short video by German filmmaker Caspar Stracke accounts for an average day in this faux-Parisian development where less than 10,000 residents call home. 

AD Classics: Ville Radieuse / Le Corbusier

via land8.com
via land8.com

Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) is an unrealized urban masterplan by Le Corbusier, first presented in 1924 and published in a book of the same name in 1933. Designed to contain effective means of transportation, as well as an abundance of green space and sunlight, Le Corbusier’s city of the future would not only provide residents with a better lifestyle, but would contribute to creating a better society. Though radical, strict and nearly totalitarian in its order, symmetry and standardization, Le Corbusier’s proposed principles had an extensive influence on modern urban planning and led to the development of new high-density housing typologies.

via land8.com via land8.com © FLC/Adagp, Paris, 2007 via land8.com

Museum of Bavarian History Competition Entry / AVA

Designed by AVA (Andrea Vattovani Architecture), their proposal for the Museum of Bavarian History not only creates an icon for the city, but their intervention is able to emphasize and further develop the city structure. Since a box-like form didn‘t seem to be the best solution for integrating the museum in its surroundings, they took special notice of the urban surroundings and protected monuments in the development process. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Update: Aspen Art Museum / Shigeru Ban Architects

© Shigeru Ban Architects
© Shigeru Ban Architects

With ever-expanding traveling exhibitions attracting over 35,000 yearly visitors from around the globe, the Aspen Art Museum (AAM) has outgrown their cozy 9,000 square foot facility in which they have called home since their established in 1979. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been commissioned to design the new museum, being the first museum he has constructed in the U.S. The project is set for completion in August 2014. Continue reading for more information.

Spanish Builders Forget to Resize Skyscraper Elevator

The Flinders Street Station Shortlisted Proposal / NH Architecture

Designed by NH Architecture, their competition entry for the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne was recently shorlisted for the People's Choice Award, organized by Major Projects Victoria. Their design seeks to capture this 'Melbourness' and create a new landmark for the city. From cultural to sporting, transport to tourism, this connection between the city and the river binds its colonial past with a trajectory for the next century. Their concept is generated from a combination of conceptual diagrams with the ribbons of infrastructure being over laid with a new form of public networking. More images and architects' description after the break.