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Venice Biennale 2012: Yucún or Inhabitat the desert / Peru

For the Venice Biennale, a group of 20 Peruvian architects (with no state support) presented a reflection on one of the most interesting territorial projects in South America. After 80 years in construction, a 20km tunnel connecting the Amazon to the dry region of the Pacific Andes has been completed, a tremendous infrastructure project that will turn this region into a new fertile land. The “Olmos Transandino Project” will be ready in early 2013, and will attract more than 250,000 people with agriculture jobs (you can see more at Build it Bigger). However, despite this incumbent massive migration, there is no urban planning project on the country’s agenda, leaving one big question still to be answered: what should this territory, with its new urban quality, be like? That’s what a group of 20 architects from different backgrounds and ages set out to present at the “Yucun or Inhabitat the Desert” exhibit at the Biennale.

Altímetro / Darkitectura

  • Architects: Darkitectura
  • Location: Colonia Roma, México D.F
  • Contributors: Julio Juárez, David Lagunas, Oswaldo López
  • Area: 145.0 m2
  • Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Yoshihiro Koitani, Cortesia de Darkitectura

© Yoshihiro Koitani © Yoshihiro Koitani © Yoshihiro Koitani © Yoshihiro Koitani

RIBA Design Ideas Competition: Great Fen Visitor Centre

RIBA Competitions recently announced their two-stage design ideas competition for the Great Fen Visitor Centre in Cambridgeshire. Great Fen is an internationally acclaimed vision, one of sweeping scale and ambition. Over the next 50-100 years, more than 3,000ha of largely arable land will be transformed into a mosaic of habitat: open water, lakes, ponds and ditches; reedbed; fen, bog and marsh; wet grassland; dry grassland; woodland and scrub. The competition seeks to to create around and between a restored fenland landscape which provides a living landscape for wildlife and people. Registrations will close on December 19. The deadline for Stage 1 design submissions is 2pm on January 10. To register, and for more information, please visit here.

Cañada House / GrupoMM

  • Architects: Grupo MM (Carlos Magaña, Mauricio Magaña)
  • Location: Santa Cruz Atizapán, State of Mexico, Mexico
  • Collaborator: Venancio Torrijos
  • Completion: 2011
  • Photography: Iván Casillas

© Iván Casillas © Iván Casillas © Iván Casillas © Iván Casillas

El Pinar / Roldán + Berengué

  • Architects: Roldán + Berengué
  • Location: El Pinar, Rubí, Spain
  • Design Team: José Miguel Roldán, Mercè Berengué
  • Collaborators: Vicenç Sanz, Isis Campos, Rosa Hereu, Juanjo P. Jarque
  • Structure: Bernúz-Fernández
  • Technical Architect: Xavier Badia
  • Installations: Julián Passardi, Joan Escanelles
  • Builder: Sather
  • Promotor: Promocions Urbanes de Rubí, S.A.
  • Budget: € 3,425,033.50
  • Area: 1,716.06 m2
  • Year: 2011
  • Photography: Jordi Surroca, Cortesia de Roldán + Berengué

© Jordi Surroca © Jordi Surroca © Jordi Surroca © Jordi Surroca

Rácz Thermal Bath / Budapesti Műhely

  • Architects: Budapesti Műhely
  • Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • Architect In Charge: Tamás Dévényi, Csaba Valkai, Anikó Varga, Péter Kis
  • Structural Engineering: András Szabó, Tamás Tamássy
  • Mechanical Engineering: Ervin Barta
  • Electrical Engineering: Ferenc Haasz, Gábor Somogyi
  • Landscape: Adrienne Szalkai
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Tamas Bujnovszky, Courtesy of Budapesti Műhely

© Tamas Bujnovszky © Tamas Bujnovszky © Tamas Bujnovszky © Tamas Bujnovszky

Boekenberg Park / OMGEVING

  • Architects: OMGEVING
  • Location: Deurne, Belgium
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of OMGEVING

Courtesy of OMGEVING Courtesy of OMGEVING Courtesy of OMGEVING Courtesy of OMGEVING

Lebbeus Woods, the Experimental Architect, Dies

The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, in the Raffles City complex in Chengdu, China, by Steven Holl Architects.
The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, in the Raffles City complex in Chengdu, China, by Steven Holl Architects.

Lebbeus Woods, the American architect, artist, and theorist, has died today at the age of 72.

Woods may be best known for his radical re-imaginings and re-constructions of cities in crisis. While most of Woods' politically-charged, fantastical sketches were too fantastical to be built, many have been displayed in Art Museums across the globe; the last exhibit occurred just this March at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York City. His only built project, the Light Pavilion of the "Sliced Porosity Block," commissioned by his longtime friend Steven Holl, was completed and opened this year. 

In his blog, Woods described the Pavilion as a space "designed to expand the scope and depth of our experiences. That is its sole purpose, its only function. If one needed to give a reason to skeptics for creating such experimental spaces in the context of this large urban development project, it would be this: our rapidly changing world constantly confronts us with new challenges to our abilities to understand and to act, encouraging us to encounter new dimensions of experience."

Indeed, it is this quality that characterizes all of Woods' works. As Geoff Manaugh, the author behind BLDGBLOG , puts it: "Woods's work is the exclamation point at the end of a sentence proclaiming that the architectural imagination, freed from constraints of finance and buildability, should be uncompromising, always. One should imagine entirely new structures, spaces without walls, radically reconstructing the outermost possibilities of the built environment. If need be, we should re-think the very planet we stand on."

More on Woods' life and career, after the break...

Home Box / Architech - Architecture and Technology

  • Architects: Architech - Architecture and Technology
  • Location: Minihaus im Holzcontainer, Italy
  • Design Team: Han Slawik, Sonja Tinney
  • Area: 63.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology

Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology Courtesy of Architech - Architecture and Technology

Ocasa / JENDRETZKI

  • Architects: JENDRETZKI
  • Location: Long Island City, New York, United States
  • Area: 200,000 ft2
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Pablo Corradi, Courtesy of JENDRETZKI

© Pablo Corradi © Pablo Corradi © Pablo Corradi © Pablo Corradi

Takanawa House / Hiroyuki Ito + O.F.D.A.

  • Architects: Hiroyuki Ito, O.F.D.A.
  • Location: Minato-ku,Tokyo,Japan
  • Site Area: 161.50 sqm
  • Building Area: 95.15
  • Area: 229.49 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Daici Ano

© Daici Ano © Daici Ano © Daici Ano © Daici Ano

Tree Hut / Barnaby Gunning Architects

Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects Courtesy of Barnaby Gunning Architects

A Circle in a Square / Binocle

  • Architects: Binocle
  • Location: Niigata Prefecture, Japan
  • Architectural Design: Massimo Bartolini and Lorenzo Bini
  • Collaborators: Enrico Forestieri
  • Area: 470.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Osamu Nakamura, Courtesy of Binocle

© Osamu Nakamura © Osamu Nakamura © Osamu Nakamura © Osamu Nakamura

MONU Magazine New Issue: Next Urbanism

MONU – magazine on urbanism is a unique bi-annual international forum for artists, writers and designers that are working on topics of urban culture, development and politics. This new issue of MONU is dedicated entirely to the topic of “Next Urbanism” – meaning the urbanism of the cities of the so-called “Next Eleven” or “N-11″, which include eleven countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam. These countries have been identified as growing into, along with the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – the world’s largest economies in the 21st century. Next to interviews with Saskia Sassen and with the Nigerian-born architect Kunlé Adeyemi, and a series of contributions that discuss Next Urbanism in general, we feature eleven articles that focus specifically on the cities of each of the Next Eleven countries. You can see more about the articles on their official website. Also, you can browse the entire issue

Mayor Emanuel supports Prentice Hospital Demolition

© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections
© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections

Despite strong opposition from preservationists and architects world-wide, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced his decision to support the demolition of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. In a op-ed piece released by the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel supported his stance by arguing that Northwestern’s new biomedical research facility would “bring 2,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment” to Chicago. Emanuel believes Goldberg’s “vision is alive in Chicago beyond one building” and allowing Northwestern to build the new medical center is crucial in keeping Chicago at the forefront of scientific innovation. Emanuel stated, “Chicago’s architectural legacy is part of a larger story of a city that has been a trailblazer from the beginning and remains on the forefront of design and dance, medicine and manufacturing. To honor that legacy and build on it for the next generation of Chicagoans, we cannot simply preserve the past: we must promote opportunity for the future.” In return, Northwestern has committed to “include a Chicago architect in its design process, adhere to the city’s minority hiring requirements, preserve other historic buildings and ensure public safety around the new building.” via Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times

BIG and Diller Scofidio Renfro shortlisted for Barangaroo Central

Barangaroo Sydney Artist Impression © Barangaroo Delivery Authority
Barangaroo Sydney Artist Impression © Barangaroo Delivery Authority

The redevelopment of Sydney’s an inner-city waterfront precinct of Barangaroo is making progress, as the Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA) has announced the five teams shortlisted for the master planning services for Barangaroo Central. The project will complete the long term vision for Barangaroo, which was masterplanned by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, by forming the “heart of the site” that will be the transition along the waterfront walk from the southern urban and commercial spaces to the natural form six hectare of the Headland Park. The full shortlist includes: