AIA Ranks Columbus, Indiana as US’s 6th Most Architecturally Important City

The 166-foot high campanile, or free-standing bell tower, of The First Christian Church, designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, in Columbus, Indiana. Completed in 1942, it was the first contemporary building in Columbus and one of the first churches of contemporary architecture in the . Photo via Flickr User CC clarkmaxwell

New York, San Fran, Chicago…Columbus, Indiana. Which of these doesn’t go with the others? Well, according to the , none. Columbus, Indiana, a small town of about 44,000 has been ranked by the as the nation’s 6th most architecturally important city, right after Washington DC.

So what’s so special about Columbus? Apparently, a 1950s philanthropist by the name of J. Irwin Miller took it upon himself to foot the bill for any new public building in the city. The result? Today, Columbus has more than 70 buildings designed by internationally renowned architects – including I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier and Harry Weese.

Check out a Video on Columbus “The Athens of the Prairie,” after the break…

Cultural Center Pontault Combault / Archi5

© Thomas Jorion

Architects: Archi5
Location: Pontault Combault,
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Thomas Jorion

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OKE / aq4 arquitectura

© Adrià Goula Sardà

Architects: aq4 arquitectura
Location: Ortuella, Vizcaya,
Team: Ibon Bilbao, Jordi Campos Garcia, Caterina Figuerola Tomás, Carlos Gelpí Almirall
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Adrià Goula Sardà

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Curry Stone Prize Winners’ Inspiring Videos

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Each of this year’s winners of the Curry Stone Design Prize are incredible examples of the powerful, and truly varied reach, of Public-Interest Design – which is why we’re sharing these short films, by Room 5 Films, on each of the winning projects. From the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda designed by MASS Design Group to the “Liter by Light” project (that recycles plastic bottles to bring a safe source of light to the slums of the Phillippines), each of these films are inspiring snapshots into the work and worlds of each of these winners.

More videos on Winners, after the break…

Materiale Edili Garavaglia / Buratti+Battiston Architects

© Marcello Mariana

Architects: Buratti+Battiston Architects
Location: Casorezzo,
Year: 2011
Photographs: Marcello Mariana

“Pig-Ugly” Housing Gives Development A Bad Name, Says UK Planning Minister

The minister branded housing developments like Harrisons Wharf (pictured) as “pig-ugly,” an insult to the community. Image via the Daily Mail

For once, British architects, the Prince’s Foundation, and NIMBYs have something they can all agree on. In a speech to the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA),  planning minister, Nick Boles, has come out swinging against the “pig-ugliness” of British housing, which has given it a bad name:

“We are trapped in a vicious circle. People look at the new housing estates that have been bolted onto their towns and villages in recent decades and observe that few of them are beautiful. Indeed, not to put too fine a point of it, many of them are pig-ugly [...]In a nutshell, because we don’t build beautifully, people don’t let us build much. And because we don’t build much, we can’t afford to build beautifully. My personal mission as planning minister is to help us break out of this vicious cycle once and for all.”

The criticism has been welcomed by many British architects as a necessary wake-up call for Britain and a call-to-action for its architects.

More on this story, after the break…

Fast Track / Salto AB

© Karli Luik

Architects: Salto AB
Location: Nikola-Lenivets,
Design Team: Maarja Kask, Karli Luik, Ralf Lõoke
Client: Festival Archstoyanie
Area: 51 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Karli Luik, Nikita Shohov, Andrej Yagubskij & Alan Vouba

Films & Architecture: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

Going back to the times when cinema was recorded with no colours or sound, the German film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” by is a masterpiece that utilizes fully stylised sets with abstract spaces to represent different scenes. It’s considered one of the most influential movies of German , since many of the film’s unusual characteristics (from the geometric nature of the sets to the actors’ costumes) were decades ahead of their time.

Have you seen this classic? What do you think about how silent-era films depict space?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Passive House School Winning Proposal / Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture

Courtesy of

Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture (KKA) shared with us their winning proposal for Nya Kollaskolan, which is expected to be the largest passive-house school in Sweden, as well as one of the largest passive house buildings in the country. A centerpiece in the new Kollastaden area in the center of , the school will supplement the existing school, built in 2000, and host around 360 students and 75 employees. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Sao Paulo’s New Green Urban Planning Policy

The new Água Espraiada Operação Urbana urban planning program in has taken a major approach to sustainability. With this plan in action, the Rochaverá Corporate Towers, a high profile mixed residential, office, and shopping complex, is a great example. The recently built project is located at a former industrial area along the Pinheiros River Basin. This enormous 1.2-million-square-foot development, designed by Aflalo and Gasperini Architects, was built to be highly energy efficient, control water usage, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ease traffic congestion. With the success of the mentioned project, we can begin to ask ourselves, ‘How can a development accomplish all of those objectives?’ Start with urban planning that mitigates sprawl, one of biggest threats to the planet today. More information after the break.

Banorte Building / LeNoir & Asoc. Estudio de Arquitectura

© Eduardo Alarcón Ceballos

Architecture: LeNoir & Asoc. Estudio de Arquitectura
Location: Universidad, , Nuevo León,
Architectural Design Project: Alexandre Lenoir, Ramón Garduza, José María Pérez
Construction Documents: LeNoir & Asociados, Alejandro Arreguín, Antonio Ibarra, Julia Díaz
Area: 45,660 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Eduardo Alarcón Ceballos

C&E House / Equipo Olivares Arquitectos

© Lluís Casals

Architects: Equipo Olivares Arquitectos
Location: , Canary Islands, Spain
Design Team: Javier Pérez-Alcalde Schwartz
Photographs: Lluís Casals

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Aviary, Bioparque Temaikén / Hampton+Rivoira+Arquitectos

© Fundación Temaikén

Architects: Hampton+Rivoira+Arquitectos
Location: , Provincia of Buenos Aires,
Architects In Charge: Jorge Hampton, Emilio Rivoira
Associated Architect: Cristian Carnicer
Design Team: Roberto Lombardi, María Eugenia García Castera, María Eugenia Viña Raznovich, Juan Reartes, Ignacio Ruiz Orrico, Diego Tablada, Emilia Alvarado, Anahi Fedrizzi
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Jorge Hampton, Emilio Rivoira, Fernando Mayán, Fundación Temaikén

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Matthew Marks Gallery / ZELLNERPLUS

© Joshua White

Location: West Hollywood, California,
Project Team: Ariel Claudet, Ingrid Dennert, Kurt V. Franz, Nathan Moore, Darin Vieria, Seth Weiner, Peter Zellner
Area: 3,000 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Joshua White

KCH / Kochi Architect’s Studio

© Kazuyasu Kochi

Architects: Kochi Architect’s Studio
Location: Toshima-ku, ,
Architect In Charge: Kazuyasu Kochi
Constractor: Sugimoto Kogyo co, ltd.
Area: 64.6 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Kazuyasu Kochi

Courtesy of the Museum of Finnish Architecture
Courtesy of the Museum of Finnish Architecture

UNBUILT HELSINKI at the Museum of Finnish Architecture

Opening at 6:00pm tomorrow at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, UNBUILT HELSINKI is an exhibition about the Unbuilt City and its inhabitants as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 program. Drawn from the museum’s archive and beyond, unrealized…

Colonial Viladoms Houses / OAB

© Alejo Bague

Architects: OAB  - Office of Architecture in Barcelona
Location: ,
Design Team: Carlos Ferrater, Nuria Ayala
Technical Architect: Alexandre Pararols
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Alejo Bague

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EINS House / Óscar Pedrós

© Héctor Santos-Diez

Architects: Óscar Pedrós
Location: O Valiño, . A Coruña. Spain
Year: 2009
Photography: Héctor Santos-Diez