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Why Iwan Baan's TED Talk Was Right

01:00 - 8 November, 2013

Iwan Baan's recent TED talk on ingenious informal settlement 'architecture' became instantly popular, clearly striking a chord with people across the globe. The lecture has been called everything from heartwarming to condescending, but for Parsons graduate students Meagan Durlak and James Frankis it was reaffirming. Durlak and Frankis have spent time working in Sao Paolo's favelas and understand that finding a balance between the good and the bad is key to the revitalization of these settlements. This article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine as "Response to Iwan Baan's TED Talk," journals some of their experiences working in South American slums, and why we need to stop treating those slums as a blight. 

Meagan Durlak and I were excited to see the TED talk by architectural photographer Iwan Baan on the ingenuity found within informal settlements. In his presentation he walks us through a range of communities across the world, capturing many such settlements, including houses above a lagoon and a repurposed office block.

Baan’s view of informal settlements resonates with our own work; it’s an under-told story that we very much applaud. He shows an overview of people’s lives and their unique methods for adapting to difficult conditions. Perhaps as interesting as his film are the reactions to it from TED viewers. Many found the innovation in informal settlements to be inspiring and heartwarming; others claimed that this talk is just a life affirming story for the rich 1% of the world, perpetuating inaction for areas which need immediate aid. The two sides of the argument reminded us of our own work and the battles we have gone through in trying to wrap our heads around the systems of informal settlements, as well as the difficulties we have had in explaining their hidden properties to others.

WSJ Announces David Adjaye as 'Architecture Innovator' of 2013

00:00 - 8 November, 2013
WSJ Announces David Adjaye as 'Architecture Innovator' of 2013, Courtesy of Adjaye Associates
Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

The Wall Street Journal has announced David Adjaye as "Architecture Innovator" for 2013. The 47-year old Tanzanian-born and British-educated architect, whose current projects span from affordable housing apartments in Harlem to the African American History and Culture Museum in Washington D.C., "has the unique ability to speak to experiences and to people outside the norms of his profession," delivering his message across cultural boundaries. 

Municipal Center for Citizen Activities / Sección B Arquitectura

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Municipal Center for Citizen Activities / Sección B Arquitectura, © Jesús Granada
© Jesús Granada
  • Architects

  • Location

    Plaza los Luceros, 9B, 41019 Seville, Sevilla, Spain
  • Project Architects

    Oscar Benítez Carmona, Eduardo Fernández de Alba, Vidal Gómez Martínez
  • Technical Architect

    Blanca Cruz Naranjo
  • Project Area

    1624.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2010
  • Photography

© Jesús Granada © Jesús Granada © Jesús Granada © Jesús Granada +29

Workshop and Gallery / Estudio Ji Arquitectos

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Workshop and Gallery / Estudio Ji Arquitectos, © David Frutos
© David Frutos
  • Architects

  • Location

    Altea, Alicante, Spain
  • Architect in Charge

    Jorge Frías, Irene Zurdo
  • Collaborators

    Rodrigar Ebanistería
  • Area

    48.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

    David Frutos, Courtesy of Estudio Ji Arquitectos

© David Frutos © David Frutos © David Frutos © David Frutos +23

ARCHIPENDIUM 2014

01:00 - 8 November, 2013

ARCHIPENDIUM 2014 by archimappublishers and ArchDaily provides an overview of the most fascinating modern developments in contemporary architecture. Each project exemplifies the efforts of architects and designers to make life better and more sustainable.

Ballard Aperture House / First Lamp Architecture and Construction

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Ballard Aperture House / First Lamp Architecture and Construction, © Taylor Callaway
© Taylor Callaway

© Taylor Callaway © Taylor Callaway © Taylor Callaway © Taylor Callaway +14

Danish National Maritime Museum Permanent Exhibition / Kossmann.dejong

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Danish National Maritime Museum Permanent Exhibition / Kossmann.dejong, © Thijs Wolzak
© Thijs Wolzak

© Thijs Wolzak © Thijs Wolzak © Thijs Wolzak © Thijs Wolzak +11

Projects in Contemporary Art & Architecture: Between Vision and Function

00:00 - 8 November, 2013
Projects in Contemporary Art & Architecture: Between Vision and Function, FXFOWLE Architects, Museum of the Built Environment, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, estimated completion 2016
FXFOWLE Architects, Museum of the Built Environment, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, estimated completion 2016

This exhibition features projects by renowned architects of schools, museums, art galleries and cultural spaces via models, photos, prints, and drawings. Art works by National Academy School faculty and students continue the debate of line, form, space and light as inspired by architectural forms and interiors. 

8 B Nave / Arturo Franco

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
8 B Nave / Arturo Franco, © Carlos Fernández Piñar
© Carlos Fernández Piñar
  • Architects

  • Location

    Paseo de la Chopera, 14, 28045 Madrid, Spain
  • Project Area

    1000.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2009
  • Photography

    Carlos Fernández Piñar

© Carlos Fernández Piñar © Carlos Fernández Piñar © Carlos Fernández Piñar © Carlos Fernández Piñar +20

Samaranch Memorial Museum / Archiland

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Samaranch Memorial Museum / Archiland, Courtesy of Archiland
Courtesy of Archiland
  • Architects

  • Location

    Tianjin, China
  • Collaborators

    HAO architects, Kragh & Berglund landscape, COWI, TADI
  • Area

    17800.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Archiland

Courtesy of Archiland Courtesy of Archiland Courtesy of Archiland Courtesy of Archiland +44

Ceramic Museum And Mosaic Park / Casanova + Hernandez Architects

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Ceramic Museum And Mosaic Park / Casanova + Hernandez Architects, © Ben McMillan
© Ben McMillan

© Ben McMillan © Ben McMillan Courtesy of Casanova + Hernandez Architects © Ben McMillan +50

LSE Asks for 'Further Work' To Be Done on Shortlisted Designs

00:00 - 8 November, 2013
LSE Asks for 'Further Work' To Be Done on Shortlisted Designs, Team B. Image Courtesy of LSE / RIBA
Team B. Image Courtesy of LSE / RIBA

Following the announcement last month that the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) had shortlisted five designs for their new Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London's Aldwych, they have now revealed that "there’s not one really outstanding scheme" and "there’s some further work to do by the practices and the LSE." Therefore contestants Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, OMAHopkins ArchitectsGrafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects must reconsider their proposed designs

CCTV Headquarters Named “Best Tall Building Worldwide”

00:00 - 8 November, 2013
CCTV Headquarters Named “Best Tall Building Worldwide”, CCTV/OMA Partners-in-charge: Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, designers, David Gianotten, photographed by Iwan Baan
CCTV/OMA Partners-in-charge: Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, designers, David Gianotten, photographed by Iwan Baan

OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, ArchDaily’s 2012 “Building of the Year,” was deemed “Best Tall Building Worldwide” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Selected from a shortlist of four deserving skyscrapers, CCTV was awarded “best” due to its “unusual take on skyscraper typology.”

The jury stated: “Instead of competing in the race for ultimate height and style through a traditional two-dimensional tower soaring skyward, CCTV’s loop poses a truly three-dimensional experience, culminating in a 75-meter cantilever."

Paris New-York Restaurant / CUT Architectures

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Paris New-York Restaurant / CUT Architectures, © David Foessel
© David Foessel

© David Foessel © David Foessel © David Foessel © David Foessel +24

Vivienda La Florida / Otto Medem de la Torriente

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Vivienda La Florida / Otto Medem de la Torriente, Courtesy of Otto Medem de la Torriente
Courtesy of Otto Medem de la Torriente
  • Architect

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain
  • Partners Architects

    Carlos Bernárdez Agrafojo, Laura Portillo Rodríguez, Carlos Fernández Salgado
  • Area

    1270.0 m2
  • Year

    2011
  • Photographs

    Cortesia de Otto Medem de la Torriente

Courtesy of Otto Medem de la Torriente Courtesy of Otto Medem de la Torriente Courtesy of Otto Medem de la Torriente Courtesy of Otto Medem de la Torriente +22

Video / Superflex: A Cool Urban Space

00:00 - 8 November, 2013

"Let’s meet on the red square.” The artists behind Superkilen explain how this colorful wedge shaped public park in Copenhagen, Denmark, was a collaboration based on extreme civic participation.

A public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark, Superkilen was developed by artists’ group Superflex in collaboration with architectural firms Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Topotek1. The park was officially opened in June 2012.

In this interview two members of Superflex, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, tell us about the ideas behind the project, and how it came about as an extreme example of citizen inclusion and collaboration: "We found it interesting to look at this very diverse group of people in regard to culture, social standing, nationality, etc., and then see it as a rich and significant foundation for impacting the area these people live in."

More after the break.

Casa Levene en El Escorial / NO.MAD

01:00 - 8 November, 2013
Casa Levene en El Escorial / NO.MAD, © Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe
  • Architects

  • Location

    San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, Spain
  • Architect in Charge

    Eduardo Arroyo
  • Quantity Surveyor

    Carlos Coscollano
  • Collaborators

    Francesco Monaco, Javier Tamer Elshiekh, Cristina Fidalgo
  • Structure

    Joaquín Antuña
  • Area

    400.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2006
  • Photographs

© Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe +10

Reclaiming Rivers: The Latest Trend in Urban Design

09:30 - 7 November, 2013
Reclaiming Rivers: The Latest Trend in Urban Design, Floods in Calgary displaced over 100,000 people. Image © Wikimedia Commons
Floods in Calgary displaced over 100,000 people. Image © Wikimedia Commons

For years, rivers were a source of transport and power, upon whose banks our cities were born.  But as cities industrialized, many of them clogged with filth and disease – making them not only ugly, but dangerous.  Unless they were useful, rivers were often diverted, covered, pushed underground, and forgotten.

Not anymore. Reclaiming rivers seems to be the newest trend in urban design, and cities across the world are hopping on the bandwagon. In the UK, the Environment Council is working to restore 9,500 miles of river; in Los Angeles, the eponymous river is about to undergo a complete transformation