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Video: Louis Kahn Talks to a Brick

In this jaunty little clip, Louis Kahn stresses the importance of honoring your materials to a group of students at the University of  Pennsylvania. 

Estonia-born in 1901, Louis Kahn had a steadfast belief that all materials had their own destiny and wouldn't tolerate any attempt to deviate from that. During the age of clean modernism and the use of cutting edge materials, his architecture was often dismissed for being overly symbolic and heavily venerating buildings of the past. Influenced by the arid nature of many of his sites, Kahn's buildings often took the form of cavernous brick shells with large geometrical cut outs, which he would like to describe them - in his bizarre Kahn-way - as ruins in reverse.

Here are a few more of Kahn's intriguing brick creations:

National Assembly Building of Bangladesh Indian Institute of Management Exeter Library First Unitarian Church of Rochester

For more information about Kahn and his brick channeling abilities you can read this rather excellent article by the Guardian's Olly Wainwright, entitled "Louis Kahn: the brick whisperer". 

Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition 2013

Open to anyone from anywhere, it's that time of the year for the 2nd annual Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition  All are being called to flex your design chops to benefit needy kids with the design of a fun playhouse to bring out a positive experience. The intent is that these playhouses will be constructed and ready for delivery to Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a nonprofit organization of community volunteers trained and supervised to serve as voices in court for abused and neglected children, by July 30th where they will be installed for display and raffled off. The deadline for submissions is April 15. To register for free, and for more information, please visit here.

A Candid Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright

If you only know Frank Lloyd Wright for his classic works - Fallingwater and the Guggenheim among them - and not for his bristly personality, then you're in for a treat.

WNYC has just released a candid interview they recorded with Wright in 1957, two years before his death, in his Plaza Hotel apartment (where he’d moved to oversee construction of the Guggenheim, which he'd been working on for 14 years). The conversation covers a wide range of topics - from Wright's quirky personal views on American culture to the significance of architecture for mankind. Some gems from the interview include: 

On the Guggenheim and its critics:  “You’re going to be awakened to the beauty of that thing [a picture, a painting] from a new point of view. And it’s going to be so enlivening and refreshing, that it will make some of these painters quite ashamed of the protest that they issued against it.”

More quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright, after the break...

ME Hotel / Foster and Partners

© Francisco Guerrero © Francisco Guerrero © Francisco Guerrero © Francisco Guerrero

Science and Technology Museum in Beijing / BL/KLM Architects + BIAD

Science and technology evolve at an astounding rate. They are in constant motion and change, with such fierce speed that both surprises and excites. The non-stop evolution is boundless, and it gets faster and more dynamic every day.

MoMA PS1 Call for Ideas: Rethinking Post-Sandy Rockaway

Architects, artists, and designers are invited to participate in the competition to Rethink the Post-Sandy Rockaway.  MoMA PS1’s Young Architects program is seeking ideas for alternative housing models, creation of social spaces, urban interventions, new uses of public space, the rebuilding of the boardwalk, protection of the shoreline, and actions to engage local communities and to aid in the effort to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy. Judges will be selecting 25 proposals to be displayed on Rockaway Beach in April. The deadline for submissions is March 15. For more information, please visit here.


  • Architects: SPACESPACE
  • Location: Osaka, Japan
  • Architect in Charge: Takanori Kagawa + Junko Kishigami
  • Area: 240.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Koichi Torimura

© Koichi Torimura © Koichi Torimura © Koichi Torimura © Koichi Torimura

Should President Obama Create U.S. Department of Cities?

Author Richard Florida of the NY Daily News made an argument in his “Obama, build a lasting urban legacy” article that President Obama should create a new federal department at the cabinet level called the Department of Cities. Although the President has listed many issues that he would like to focus on in his second term, such as immigration, gun control and climate change, an initiative to create a more promising future for American cities could define the President's term and leave a lasting impression on the country.

The President made efforts in his last term to rethink and revitalize America's urban centers with the Office of Urban Affairs, created in 2009, but these efforts have gone largely unrewarded. Pair this with the existing Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is becoming increasingly out of date and irrelevant, and it's clear that Mr. President needs to rethink his approach. But despite the challenges that the Obama Administration faces, creating a Department of Cities to finally tackle the issues plaguing our most vital urban nuclei could be one of the most important and far-reaching moves he makes.

Read more about the future of our cities!

Films & Architecture: "The Fifth Element"

Last week, our latest featured film showed New York in the ’60s - this time we move to the future, about 200 years from now. This film, directed and co-written by Luc Besson, shows a New York City with flying cars and technological systems applied all around the human environment.

Enjoy and let us know your thoughts of how our cities will look in the next century!

Cornlofts Triplex Reconstruction / B² Architecture

© Michal Šeba
© Michal Šeba
  • Architects: B² Architecture
  • Location: Karlin, Czech Republic
  • Architect in Charge: Barbara Bencova
  • Area: 230.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Michal Šeba, Eduard Hueber

© Michal Šeba © Michal Šeba © Michal Šeba © Eduard Hueber

Third Wave Kiosk / Tony Hobba Architects

  • Architects: Tony Hobba Architects
  • Location: Torquay, Australia
  • Project Team: Michael Lucas, Tony Hobba, Jordan Wright
  • Client: GORCC (Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee)
  • Area: 105.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Rory Gardiner

© Rory Gardiner © Rory Gardiner © Rory Gardiner © Rory Gardiner

Island House / 2by4-architects

Courtesy of 2by4-architects
Courtesy of 2by4-architects
  • Architects: 2by4-architects
  • Location: Loosdrechtse , Netherlands
  • Contractor: Bouwbedrijf Van Schaik
  • Area: 32.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of 2by4-architects

Courtesy of 2by4-architects Courtesy of 2by4-architects Courtesy of 2by4-architects Courtesy of 2by4-architects

Tallinn Architecture Biennale Vision Competition 2013

The topic of this year's Tallinn Architecture Biennale Vision Competition, Recycling Socialism, seeks architectural ideas and methods to envision the future of an iconic circular block-housing district in Tallinn – Väike-Õismäe ("Little Blossom Hill"). Väike-Õismäe stands apart from other similar neighborhoods in Tallinn by way of its concentric plan derived from the idea of a circle-city. The district is positioned circularly as a single, complete solution around a pond in the middle and the environment and modern-day life are still searching for a common language. More information and a video after the break.

CLW / Komada Architects' Office

  • Architects: Komada Architects' Office
  • Location: Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Area: 105.64 sqm
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Komada Architects' Office

Courtesy of Komada Architects' Office Courtesy of Komada Architects' Office Courtesy of Komada Architects' Office Courtesy of Komada Architects' Office

House of Bank and Roof / Masao Yahagi Architects

  • Architects: Masao Yahagi Architects
  • Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
  • Area: 93.8 sqm
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Koichi Torimura

© Koichi Torimura © Koichi Torimura © Koichi Torimura © Koichi Torimura

House Faes / HVH Architecten

  • Architects: HVH Architecten
  • Location: Keerbergen, Belgium
  • Design Team: Koen Heyvaert, Inne van Herle
  • Landscape Architecture: Patrick Verbruggen
  • Project Year: 2007
  • Photographs: Tim Van De Velde

© Tim Van De Velde © Tim Van De Velde © Tim Van De Velde © Tim Van De Velde

Alpine Cabin / Scott & Scott Architects

  • Architects: Scott & Scott Architects
  • Location: Port hardy, Canada
  • Architects in Charge: Susan Scott, David Scott
  • Area: 100.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects

Courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects Courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects Courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects Courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects