We’ve built you a better ArchDaily. Learn more and let us know what you think. Send us your feedback »

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. 

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...

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

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... 

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

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.  

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

AD Classics: Chicago Federal Center / Mies van der Rohe

The Chicago Federal Center, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1974, actually consists of three buildings which are arranged around and define the Chicago Federal Plaza. On the eastern side of South Dearborn Street sits the 30-story Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. On the western side, the 42-story John C. Kluczynski Federal Building and the single story Post Office define the plaza.

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

GSO Nürnberg Information Centre Competition Entry / Studio DMTW

The new information centre, designed by Studio DMTW, aims to be the central representative identification point in the overall context of the Georg-Simon-Ohm-Hochschule. With the program including a library with an open reading area, individual working spaces, and several seminar and meeting facilities, the design stipulates a clear structuring for all the functions with regard to both the outdoor areas and the new building itself. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology Spring Guest Lecture Series

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), recently launched their Spring 2013 Guest Lecture Series in architecture, titled “DigitalAnalog”, which is free and open to the public. Most lectures take place at 6:00 pm in Dokkhuset, Dokkparken 4, Trondheim, Norway unless otherwise noted with the first lecture taking place this coming Thursday, February 14th. The series will focus on the differences and commonalities between analogue and digital workflows. Keynote speakers include Michael Hansmeyer, Anette Spiro and Lund &Skare. For more information, please visit here.

Median Magazine Call for Contributions: Post-Industrial Issue

Median, a magazine that focuses on exploring pressing societal issues, recently launched their open call for contributions for their upcoming ‘Post-Industrial’ issue. As cities around the world experience tremendous declines from their industrial peaks, it is critical to re-imagine the future of the Post-Industrial City. They are looking for innovative ideas from public policy, urban design, economics, or architecture that can contribute to shaping the post-industrial landscape’s uncertain future. Submissions are due no later than March 31. For more information, please visit here.

3rd International Green Roof Congress 2013

The latest technological developments and new areas of application in the field of Green Roofs will be presented at the 3rd International Green Roof Congress, which will be held in Hamburg. Organized by The International Green Roof Association (IGRA), the event will take place May 13-15, where acknowledged international Green Roof experts from various disciplines will discuss the status quo and the future trends of Green Roofs with architects, designers, landscape contractors and more. If you are interested in ‘Building with Nature’, this unique event will encompass a range of related topics  To register, and for more information, please visit here.