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De Bron Church Renovation / Bureau MT

© Dirk Verwoerd
© Dirk Verwoerd
  • Architects: Bureau MT
  • Location: Amersfoort, Netherlands
  • Architect In Charge: Marco Tavenier
  • Co Designer: Gerlof van der Veen (ir. G. van der Veen, architect) Irene van den Brink (Bureau Knipoog)
  • Contractor: bouwonderneming Van Bekkum
  • Construction Engineer: Pieters bouwtechniek, Utrecht/Eindhoven
  • Mechanical Engineering: WTB-buro, adviseurs installatietechniek
  • Area: 1030.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Dirk Verwoerd

© Dirk Verwoerd © Dirk Verwoerd © Dirk Verwoerd © Dirk Verwoerd

Irène / KANVA

© Jimmy Hamelin
© Jimmy Hamelin

© Marc Cramer © Marc Cramer © Marc Cramer © Marc Cramer

New York Firm Designs 'Cloud' of Recycled Plastic Bottles

Non-profit art organization FIGMENT asked the question “What would an art pavilion made out of recycled materials and based around the idea of "The City of Dreams" look like to you?"  STUDIOKCA decided that it looks like an earthly cloud made of recycled water bottles; "A place to dream, in the 'city of dreams'."

This competition-winning cumulus, entitled 'Head In The Clouds' is campaigning to be the central pavilion at FIGMENT’s free art festival on Governor’s island in NYC this summer. The cloudy-centerpiece will contain a stage for events and provide a place for the 200,000 festival-goers to dream and contemplate the changing light.

More info on 'Head In the Clouds' after the break...

Schoolhouse Grono /

  • Architects: Raphael Zuber
  • Location: Grono, Switzerland
  • Project Management: Thomas Melliger - Bauplanung, Zürich
  • Collaborators: David Gianinazzi, Kosuke Yutani
  • Construction Supervision: Devis Bruni and Giulio Cereghetti, Mesocco
  • Structural Engineering: Patrick Gartmann (Conzett Bronzini Gartmann AG, Chur)
  • Landscape Architects: 4D AG Landschaftsarchitekten, Bern
  • Clent: Comune politico di 6537 Grono
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Javier Miguel Verme

© Javier Miguel Verme © Javier Miguel Verme © Javier Miguel Verme © Javier Miguel Verme

The World's Largest Firms Have Been Ranked...But Does It Matter?

Rendering for the Shanghai Tower, by Gensler. Gensler was the only firm to rank in the Top 5 largest firms and the Top 5 Most Admired firms. Image courtesy of Gensler.
Rendering for the Shanghai Tower, by Gensler. Gensler was the only firm to rank in the Top 5 largest firms and the Top 5 Most Admired firms. Image courtesy of Gensler.

Yesterday, we published The WA100, Building Design’s ranking of the world’s largest architecture firms’ physical and financial growth for 2013. The ranking is - although not by any fault of its own - inherently misleading.

Why? Because we’re wired to read a ranking subjectively, looking to #1 as the best in some capacity, and then to compare other entries, with higher or lower rankings, as somehow better/worse than their neighbors.

But this list is objectively ordered by size (a.k.a the number of employees). Not by the amount of money earned. Not by the number of projects completed. Not by the prestige of those projects, or even the quality of the work.

So what does it mean to be in the Top 5 of this ranking? Qualitatively, not very much.

Which is not to say that the list isn't worth a longer look...

Check out the Top 5 Most Admired Firms of 2012 (and other ways we should be evaluating the world’s largest firms), after the break...

Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Practices in Architecture

Fast Company has released a list of what they believe to be the world’s top ten most innovative companies in architecture. From applauding Wang Shu’s abstinence from westernization to honoring Mazzanti Arquitectos for transforming impoverished areas of crime into community hubs, this compilation honors some of the world’s most influential practices, regardless of their size. 

Review the complete list after the break and share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

OMA Wins Skyscraper Competition in China

Essence Financial Building © OMA
Essence Financial Building © OMA

OMA has won the design competition for the Essence Financial Building in Shenzhen, China. Led by OMA Partners David Gianotten and Rem Koolhaas, the design beat out four other entries by international and Chinese practices. 

The skyscraper will be OMA’s second in Shenzhen (the first being the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which will be completed in April this year). By challenging many typical office tower conventions (such as a central core plan and curtain wall systems), OMA hopes their buildings will help lead the way for a “new generation” of office towers in the city.  

As David Gianotten commented in the Press Release: "OMA is very excited about its continuous and deepening participation in Shenzhen's development, especially as the city makes its latest evolution: from a manufacturing city into a services hub. This next generation of urbanism calls for a new generation of office towers of which the Essence Financial Building could be one."  

More on the Essence Financial Building, after the break... 

253 Pacific Street / James Cleary Architecture

  • Architects: James Cleary Architecture
  • Location: 253 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
  • Area: 9170.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: James Cleary Architecture

© James Cleary Architecture © James Cleary Architecture © James Cleary Architecture © James Cleary Architecture

Cathedral of the Northern Lights / SHL Architects + LINK arkitektur

© Adam Mørk
© Adam Mørk

© Adam Mørk © Adam Mørk © Adam Mørk © Adam Mørk

Sítio da Lezíria: Converting Mews Into Housing / Atelier Data

© Richard John Seymour
© Richard John Seymour
  • Architects: Atelier Data
  • Location: Alcácer do Sal, Portugal
  • Artist: João Mouro
  • Engineering: Emanuel Correia
  • Area: 210.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Richard John Seymour

© Richard John Seymour © Richard John Seymour © Richard John Seymour © Richard John Seymour

AD Interviews: Ole Bouman

Ole Bouman is an influential figure in the world of Architecture. As an architecture historian, editor, curator, teacher and lecturer, Ole has been heavily involved in contemporary architectural discourse, working for organizations such as Volume Magazine and the Archis Foundation. But it was his role as the director of the NAi - Netherlands Architecture Institute (2006-2012) where Ole played a critical role. 

Cocobruni / studioVASE

  • Architects: studioVASE
  • Location: Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
  • Area: 441.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of studioVASE

Courtesy of studioVASE Courtesy of studioVASE Courtesy of studioVASE Courtesy of studioVASE

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre / Woods Bagot

  • Interior Designers: Woods Bagot
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Leadership Team: Nik Karalis, Rodger Dalling, Ivan Kokrhelj, Peter Korkolis, Gordana Ticak, Bruno Mendes
  • Design Partner: NHArchitecture
  • Area: 66000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Courtesy of Woods Bagot Courtesy of Woods Bagot Courtesy of Woods Bagot Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Keystone Office Building / EM2N

  • Architects: EM2N
  • Location: Karlin, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Client: Real Estate Karlín Group a.s.
  • Area: 11600.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Simon Menges

© Simon Menges © Simon Menges © Simon Menges © Simon Menges

NY State's Governor Cuomo's Solution for Ravaged Homes in NYC's Coastal Region

© Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen
© Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

After months of debate, the United States Congress has passed a bill that will allocate $51 billion to Hurricane Sandy relief helping the thousands who lost their homes and businesses to the devastating storm last October.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that $400 million of the aid will be used to fund New York's buyout program, an initiative to help address the damaged homes and coastline.  The program is two-fold; in part it will help reimburse the property damage caused by the storm, but the initiative has a larger goal, which is to address the nature of coastal flooding and create a barrier that would mitigate the damage created to the coast by storm surges in the future.  Since the storm, there have been many suggestions as to how to prepare for the type of damage brought on by Hurricane Sandy of 2012 and Hurricane Irene of 2011.  These suggestions range from flood gates to barrier reefs.  Cuomo's buyout program, as reported by the Architect's Newspaper Blog, hopes to encourage residents along vulnerable flood zones to sell their land to the city for the development of a natural coast that would absorb the impact of strong winds and storm surges.