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'Superpose' School Extension Competition Entry / OVERCODE

With the intention of restructuring the school complex in the city of Sion, the starting point for OVERCODE was to conceive a compact building deploying a strategy of economy of means and space. Consisting of a school extension, new nursery and new gymnasium, their urban strategy spins around the idea of closing and opening the site at the same time. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Parking is Hell (But Designers Can Help)

Most parking is free - but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a high cost. A recent podcast from Freakonomics Radio examined parking in US cities, investigating the “cost of parking not paid for by drivers” - a cost paid not just by the government, but by the environment - due to congestion and pollution caused by people searching for kerbside parking. For example, in a 15 block area of Los Angeles the distance traveled by drivers looking for parking is equivalent to one trip across the USA per day.

One potential solution which they discuss is a San Francisco project called SF Park, which makes use of sensor technology to measure the demand for parking in certain areas of the city and adjust price according to demand. In theory, this would create a small number of empty spaces on each block and dramatically reduce the time that many drivers spend cruising for parking spaces.

Though the idea is certainly an intelligent approach to the problem of kerbside parking, unsurprisingly all this talk of supply, demand and pricing sounds very much like an economist's answer to a problem. But what can designers do to help the situation?

Perhaps, from the designer’s point of view, the real problem with kerbside parking and surface lots is that they are always seen as a provision “coupled with” a building or area of the city. There have been a number of attempts by architects – some successful and some tragically flawed – to make parking spaces less of a rupture in a city's fabric and more of a destination in themselves. Could these point to another way?

Read about 3 examples of parking’s past, and one of its potential future, after the break...

Fideicomiso: When Architects Become Developers (And Everybody Wins)

A decade before Kickstarter made "crowdfunding" a buzzword (particularly in architecture circles), a similar concept - going by a far more poetic name - was already alive and well in the streets of Buenos Aires. 

Fideicomiso is a system of development which gained popularity in Argentina after the financial crisis of 2001; banks crashed, the public grew wary of developers, and a more democratic system of development gained prevalence. Under fideicomiso, the architect himself takes on the risk of development; residents collect their assets and provide them to the architect, who buys the land, funds the project and oversees the design/construction.

Now, Elias Redstone, a researcher who took part in Venice Takeaway (Britain's Pavilion at last year's Venice Biennale) and spent time investigating this model in Argentina, has returned to his home country - and is anxious to see if this system could be applied in Recession-struck Britain. 

Read more about this revolutionary model of development, after the break...

Elsa Morante Public Library / DAP Studio

  • Architects: DAP Studio
  • Location: Varese, Italy
  • Architect in Charge: DAP Studio
  • Structures: GB. Scolari
  • Contractor: Gruppo Edilia
  • Interior Furniture: Habitat Italiana
  • Project Year: 2008
  • Photographs: Luigi Filetici

© Luigi Filetici © Luigi Filetici © Luigi Filetici © Luigi Filetici

Casa VU / TDC

  • Architects: TDC
  • Location: Lima, Perú
  • Architect in Charge: Rodrigo Villanueva
  • Design Team: Mauricio Sialer
  • Area: 41565.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Sergio Fernández Majluf

© Sergio Fernández Majluf © Sergio Fernández Majluf © Sergio Fernández Majluf © Sergio Fernández Majluf

Wang Shu Honored as One of TIME 100’s Most Influential People

TIME Magazine has released their tenth-edition of the 100 issue, representing who they believe to be the world’s 100 most influential people in 2013. Gracing the list among music titan Jay-Z and Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen is architecture’s very own Wang Shu, who was honored for “successfully blending China’s quest for novel and eye-catching architecture with respect for traditional aesthetics.”  

'Low Rise High Density' Exhibition

Opening today at the Center for Architecture in New York, the 'Low Rise High Density' exhibition examines a housing type celebrated in the 1960s and ‘70s, and what it means in the United States today. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Public Architecture with AIA New York, architectural drawings, photographs, and oral histories will be presented with project architects, tracing the typology over the last 50 years. The exhibition will be on view until June 29. More information after the break.

7 Reasons Architecture (As We Know It) Is Over

Steve Mouzon, a principal of Studio Sky and Mouzon Design, is an architect, urbanist, author, and photographer from Miami. He founded the New Urban Guild, which hosts Project:SmartDwelling and helped foster the Katrina Cottages movement. The Guild's non-profit affiliate is the Guild Foundation, which hosts the Original Green initiative

Architecture has changed irreparably in the past decade, but those who know how to adapt just might find themselves in a far better place in a few years. It has now been 8 years since construction peaked in 2005, nearly 6 years since the subprime meltdown, and close to 5 years since the big meltdown that really kicked off the Great Recession.

Today, it appears that construction is finally beginning to pick back up, but it's too late for architecture as we knew it. Here are seven reasons why...

Affalterwang / Liebel Architekten BDA

© Michael Schnell © Michael Schnell © Michael Schnell © Michael Schnell

Zaha Hadid Wins Veuve Cliquot Business Women Award

Zaha Hadid has been announced as the winner of the 41st Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award at a ceremony in London on Monday. Now in its 41st year, the Veuve Clicquot Award was set up by the Champagne house to recognize the work of successful businesswomen worldwide, who embody their spirit of Madame Clicquot. 

Haus Walde / Gogl Architekten

  • Architects: Gogl Architekten
  • Location: Kitzbühel
  • Architect in Charge: Hannes Schroll, Michael Kapeller, Hildegard Platzer-Rieder
  • Lighting Planning: Akzente Lichtsysteme, Innsbruck
  • Area: 383.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Mario Webhofer

© Mario Webhofer © Mario Webhofer © Mario Webhofer © Mario Webhofer

Positive Signs of Growth Reflected in Steady ABI and Higher Intern Employment Rates

For the eight consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Although the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 51.9, down from a mark of 54.9 in February, this score still reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). In addition, the new projects inquiry index was 60.1, down from the reading of 64.8 the previous month.

“Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it’s not a big surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months.”

Key ABI highlights and details indicating higher employment rates for intern architects after the break...

PKO Bank / Robert Majkut Design

© Szymon Polański © Szymon Polański © Szymon Polański © Szymon Polański

end…Link Beauty Salon / Yasunari Tsukada Design

© Stirling Elmendorf © Stirling Elmendorf © Stirling Elmendorf © Stirling Elmendorf

Anting Culture and Sports Activity Centre / Atelier Z+

  • Architects: Atelier Z+
  • Location: Anting, Jiading, Shanghai
  • Architects: Zhang Bin, Zhou Wei
  • Design Team: Wang Jiaqi, Lu Jun, Li Ying, Li Qin, Zhuang Sheng, Guo Yue
  • Area: 16171.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier Z+

Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Courtesy of Atelier Z+

New York City Preserves Public Housing by Leasing Infill Land

For the past four decades, as cities faced financial pressures, high-rise public housing met its decline.  Cities throughout the country demolished public housing that was failing financially and socially, like Chicago's Cabrini-Green Housing Project whose demolition was completed in 2011, to make way for mixed use developments that encouraged economic and social diversity by way of the HOPE VI Program. This strategy resulted in the uprooting and relocation of former residents who faced uncertainty throughout the process.  

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) stands out among housing authorities in the United States due to its size - 179,000 units in 2,600 buildings across the city - and the fact that the buildings are relatively well maintained.  NYCHA has avoided resorting to demolitions to deal with its issues, instead resorting to special police services that costs NYCHA a purported $70 million a year.  Over the past decade NYCHA has been underfunded by approximately $750 million causing backlogs in necessary repairs.  

To address the mounting costs of public housing, New York City's Mayor Bloomberg has proposed an infill strategy that would attract developers onto NYCHA land and create a new layer of commercial space and residential units in public housing developments.  The goal over the next five years is to develop methods of preservation for the housing development and promote mixed-use and mixed-income developments to generate income for NYCHA.  

More on the plan after the break.