Can you Crowdsource a City?

A screenshot of the Video for the City 2.0, the 2012 TED Prize Winner, which aims to use crowdsourcing to rebuild our cities. Photo via Atlantic Cities.
Pop-Up,” “DIY,” “Kickstarter” “LQC” (That’s lighter, quicker, cheaper for the unfamiliar). Urbanisms of the People have been getting awfully catch-phrasey these days. What all these types of DIY Urbanisms share is a can-do spirit, a “Hacker” mentality: people are taking back their cities, without any “expert” help.

Unfortunately, of course, this mindset creates an anti-establishment (often, anti-architect) antagonism that would render any wide-spread change nigh impossible. Yes, the DIY movement, facilitated by the use of technology, is excellent for getting people involved, for encouraging important, innovative ideas – in the short-term.

As Alexandra Lange recently pointed out in her post “Against Kickstarter Urbanism,” technology is not a “magic wand,” and crowdsourcing initiatives often fall short in the day-to-day, nitty-gritty work of a large-scale, long-term urban project.

But while technology certainly has its limitations, its potential to facilitate connection and communication is unparalleled. What is vital, however, is that the technology enhance, not replace, our physical relationships. Instead of using online platforms as divisive or purely conceptual forums, they must becomes tools of transparency and trust-building, mediators of a conversation that invests and connects all parties on the ground.

Nishi Sales Suite and Gallery / hungerford+edmunds + OCULUS

© Nic Bailey

Architects: hungerford+edmunds + OCULUS 
Location: New Acton Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,
Client: Molonglo Group
Collaborators: Molonglo Group (client), PBS (builder), Oculus (landscape), Arup (ESD), Design Office (interior fit-out) and Clear (graphic design)
Completion: 2011
Area: 270 sqm
Photographs: Nic Bailey

Memphis Veterinary Specialists / archimania

© Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

Architect: Archimania
Location: Cordova, ,
Owner/Client: Tobias and Associates, LLC
Building Area: 18,323 square feet
Construction Cost: $3,219,900
Completion: June 2011
Photographs: Jeffrey Jacobs Photography


Tsinghua Law Library Building Proposal / Kokaistudios

Courtesy of

Kokaistudios was recently announced as the winner of the competition for the new Tsinghua University Law Library located in Beijing, . Proposing a reflection on the role of void in structuring functions and programs within the building, their design also defines, at the same time, its relations within its surroundings. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Practice of Periodontics Zwolle / Kwint Architecten

© Marco C. Slot Photography

Architects: Kwint Architecten
Location: ,
Completion Year: 2011
Collaborators: Heldoorn B.V., Building Contractor; Breman Kloekke, Electrician; Zwols Loodgieters Bedrijf Plumber; Alferink-Van Schieveen, Strucural Engineer; Dental Union
Area: 592 sqm
Photographs: Marco C. Slot Photography

© Philip Winkelmeyer

‘Follow Me: Berlin’s Airport’ Conference

Hosted by Topos Magazine, the ‘Follow Me: Berlin’s Airport’ Conference will be taking place in the disused buildings of Tempelhof Airport on June 5. A number of prominent European Architects, Urban Designers & Landscape Architects will be giving lectures /…

Lagoon Beach House / Birrelli Architects

© Rob Burnett

Architects: Birrelli Architects
Location: Tasmania,
Project Team: Ed Gordon, Lynden Jones, Phil Dingemanse, Andrew Geeves, Jack Birrell
Built Area: 255 sqm
Completion: 2011
Photographs: Rob Burnett

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sunglass: Bringing Architectural Drafting into the Modern Age

Sunglass, built by two TED fellows, Nitin Rao and Kaustuv DeBiswas, is a collection of three products: the company’s Sunglass Player, which allows artists to incorporate the objects that they’ve created with the software into other web services like Behance.…

AD Classics: Holy Cross Church in Chur, Switzerland / Walter Förderer

Photo by Sebastian F - -2.JPG

Standing at the foot of the Alps is the highly contemporary Holy Cross Church in Chur, . Designed by Basel born Swiss architect Walter Förderer, the church evokes strong features of Brutalism. Built between 1966 to 1969, the church appears like a mass fortress that conveys a symbolic defensive attitude.

IES Mont Perdut in Terrassa / Lluis Comeron i Graupera

© Pedro Pegenaute

Architects: Lluís Comerón i Graupera
Location: Mont Perdut St, Terrassa,
Construction Management: Jaume Prat Boma, SL, Structural, Joan Antoni González Gou, Mechanical, Ivana Rosell, Acoustics
Promoter: Gisa
Completion: 2011
Budget: 6,070,305,68 €, PEC
Area: 4,472.97 sqm
Photographs: Pedro Pegenaute

TED Talk: A Giant Bubble for Debate / Liz Diller

Liz Diller, founding principle of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, shares the story of creating the pneumatic addition to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Commonly known as the “Bubble”, the inflatable event space is planned for the cylindrical courtyard of the National Mall’s modernist museum that was originally designed by Gordon Bunshaft in 1974. The first inflation of the “Bubble” is expected to take place at the end of 2013.

“To truly make good public space, you have to erase the distinctions between architecture, urbanism, landscape, [and] media design.” –

Cutty Sark / Grimshaw

© Jim Stephenson

Architects: Grimshaw
Location: London,
Client: The Cutty Sark Trust
Partner: Chris Nash
Associate Director: Diane Metcalfe
Project Architects:
 Jorrin Ten-Have, Den Farnworth
Architect: Joe Laslett
Principal: Steve Brown
Photographs: Jim Stephenson

Video: COS debut in Milan

Five years on from their launch in ’s Regent Street, COS has made their way to Italy, debuting with a pop-up shop at Salone del Mobile in Milan. In collaboration with set designer Gary Card, the Swedish clothing label has produced a pop-up store in the form of a deconstructed, maze-like wooden cube that houses the garments. Here, COS Women and Men’s designers Karin Gustafsson and Martin Andersson explain how less is more, how they look to Scandinavia for references, and the importance of balance and contrast of proportion.

Frieze Art Fair / SO-IL

© Iwan Baan

Architects: SO – IL
Location: ,
Client: Frieze Art Fair
Area: 20,900 sqm / 225,000 sf
Completion: May 2012
Photographs: Iwan Baan

Rafael Moneo receives the 2012 Prince of Asturias Award

lecturing at 's Instituto Cervantes © lunamtra

Announced today on his 75th birthday, Spanish Architect Rafael Moneo has been named winner of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts – an award bestowed to an individual, institution or group of individuals or institutions whose work in Cinematography, Theatre, Dance, Music, Photography, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture or any other form of artistic expression constitutes a significant contribution to Mankind’s culture heritage.

As the 32nd laureate, Rafael Moneo is the fifth architect who has received this award, following Oscar Niemeyer in 1989, Santiago Calatrava in 1999, Franciscco Javier Sáenz de Oíza in 1993 and Lord Foster in 2009.

Continue after the break for more.

Accessible Ribadeo / Abalo Alonso Arquitectos

© Santos Diez / Bisimages

Architects: Abalo Alonso Arquitectos – Elizabeth Abalo, Gonzalo Alonso
Location: ,
Collaboration: Carlos Bóveda, Juan A. Pérez Valcárcel
Completion: 2010
Photographs: Santos Diez / Bisimages

CornellNYC selects Architect for Net-Zero Tech Campus

Master Plan Schematic Design ©

Today, Cornell University has announced their selection of Thom Mayne and Morphosis to design the first academic building for the CornellNYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded the Roosevelt Island campus project to Cornell mid-December of last year. With plans to achieve net-zero, the campus is striving to become the new modern prototype for learning spaces worldwide.

“This project represents an extraordinary opportunity to explore the intersection of three territories: environmental performance, rethinking the academic workspace and the unique urban condition of Roosevelt Island,” Mayne said, as reported by Cornell University. “This nexus offers tremendous opportunities not only for CornellNYC Tech, but also for City.”

Continue reading for more.

The Indicator: The Death of “The Death”

Le Corbusier's grave, Cimetière de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Alpes Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Region, France. Via

A few weeks ago, appearing on the heels of a Salon article by Scott Timberg, entitled, “The Architecture Meltdown”, GOOD Magazine published “Why ‘The Death of Architecture’ May Not Be Such a Bad Thing”. Penned by public interest advocate and writer, John Cary, the article offered a provocative corrective for architecture in the Great Recession. In fact, it seemed written for the purpose of provocation rather than offering real solutions.

The article, which I will break down by borrowing the language of Buddhism, conveyed Four Noble Truths: [1] Architecture is suffering, [2] There is a way to end the suffering, [3] The way to end the suffering is to follow a new path, and [4] The path is the “emergent” field of public interest design. This is how architecture can rise above the “meltdown” and save itself and the world.

Sounds simple enough, right? Let’s do it!