ArchDaily’s Most Useful Articles of All Time

As summer draws to an end and we enter into the last quarter of 2014, we decided to round-up a selection of the most useful we’ve published over the past three years. Ranging from The 40 Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2014 to The 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architectural History, we’ve also brought together app guides, career tips, and city guides. Alongside links to open-source CAD files and cut-out people, we’ve also featured book recommendations, study tips, and links to our complete coverage of some of the world’s major architectural and prizes. Delve into our collection and discover what our readers have found most useful!

Rio to Host TEDGlobal 2014

Courtesy of TEDGlobal 2014

The world is experiencing exponential growth and , a true megalopolis of six million people, is a prime example. Thus, TEDGlobal 2014 has announced they will be “setting up shop” in Rio’s Copacabana Beach theater in the search to find “fresh thinking” in emerging geographies.

More than 40 speakers and performers have confirmed their attendance, each focusing on the “many facets of the Global South’s rise in influence and power” and relevant new stories from around the world.

Register here and continue after the break for complete list of confirmed speakers and Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes’ “Four commandments of cities”…

TED Talk: How Public Spaces Make Cities Work / Amanda Burden

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Amanda Burden, former animal behaviorist turned ’s chief city planner, has discovered what makes cities desirable: great public spaces. During her time with the Bloomberg administration, Burden oversaw the fruition of the city’s most transformative public projects, including New York’s beloved High Line. In the video above, she reveals the many unexpected challenges of planning (and maintaining) parks people love, and why it is so important for cities to have great public spaces.

TED Talk: How to Build with Clay… and Community / Diébédo Francis Kéré

In this Aga Khan Award-winning architect Diébédo Francis Kéré explains how to build a community with clay. With his firm Kéré Architecture, the Burkina Faso native has achieved international renown by using local building materials and techniques to engage and improve local expertise. Watch as explains how he applied his personal success to benefit the small African village he grew up in.

TED Talk: How Architectural Innovations Migrate Across Borders / Teddy Cruz

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In this , architect and urbanist Teddy Cruz urges us to rethink urban growth. Sharing lessons from the slums of Tijuana, Cruz denounces the “stupid” and consumption-driven ways in which our cities have been expanding and declares that the future depends on the reorganization of social economic relations.

David Rockwell Designs Pop-Up “Talk” Theater for TED2014

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TED2014 commenced yesterday at the Vancouver Convention Center within a temporary 1200-seat auditorium designed by David Rockwell. Built from 600 wood components, and assembled in just 4.5 days, the pop-up theater was designed to be easily disassembled and reused by TED for years to come. Viewers are presented with sixteen seating options, from beanbags to lounge seating and traditional theater chairs, to ensure they are provided with the optimal listening, and sharing, experience. More images and a time-lapse video of construction, after the break. 

TED: How an Obese Town Lost a Million Pounds / Mick Cornett

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In 2007, was ranked the most obese city in America. The heavy news caused the city’s – at the time – overweight mayor, Mick Cornett to take a hard look at himself and his city. He realized that the city he deemed great, was only great if its citizen was the car. 

For the next five years, Cornett committed himself to improving his city’s health. By 2012, Oklahoma City residents lost a collective million pounds, which removed them from the obese rankings and placed the city as America’s 22nd most fittest. This change was made possible by a series of city initiatives that revolved around the integration of health related infrastructure. By doing this, Cornett sparked a cultural shift that significantly improved quality of life. See what these initiatives included and hear the whole story by watching Cornett’s above.

TED Talk: Architecture at Home in its Community / Xavier Vilalta

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In this Talk, Xavier Vilalta of Xavier Vilalta Arquitectura walks through the design of two projects: a multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and a multi-family apartment complex in Tunisia. Each is a prime example of how harnessing nature and referencing local traditions can allow architecture to naturally grow from its surroundings and become an integral component of the city. 

Why Iwan Baan’s TED Talk Was Right

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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 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.

TED Talk: The Walkable City / Jeff Speck

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How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car – which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” – by making our more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

TED: Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places / Iwan Baan

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Iwan Baan’s curiosity for the built environment has led him to be one of the world’s most preeminent photographers whose skills are in constant demand by architectural elites worldwide. Constantly on the move, Baan has found himself documenting fascinating testaments to human ingenuity. From the informal vertical community of Torre David in Caracas to the floating Niagara slum of Makoko, Baan’s encounters with thriving communities in some of the most unexpected places has led him to believe that there is “no such thing as normal” and humans can truly adapt to anything.

Janette Sadik-Khan: NYC’s Streets Are Not So Mean Anymore

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Janette Sadik-Khan demonstrates how paint, lawn chairs and a bit of imagination can quickly transform city streets, creating immediate public and commercial vitality. Sadik-Khan, listed as one of Business Insider’s “50 Women Who Are Changing the World,” is responsible for re-purposing 26 acres of dense New York City car lanes into pedestrian-friendly space. “More people on foot is better for business,” she says. Despite commanding a two billion dollar budget, her economical approach as commissioner of ’s Department of Transportation are testaments to her design sensitivity, relying on rapid-testing and regular iteration to expand the city’s public domain.

Videos: TEDCity2.0

On September 20, 2013, TEDCity2.0 took place at the TimesCenter in City. Co-curated and co-hosted by Chris Anderson, John Cary, and Courtney Martin, the event surfaced stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe, and featured an unexpected mix of over 20 speakers, including several 2012 City 2.0 Award winners.

On session 4 (videos after the break), you’ll find speakers Enrique Peñalosa (former mayor of Bogotá), Alan Ricks (MASS Co-Founder), Francis Kere and Iwan Baan. More information on all the speakers can be found here.

Watch TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real.

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Calling all urban innovators, organizers, stewards and builders: Today, September 20th, from 9am to 5pm EST, curators Chris Anderson, John Cary and Courtney Martin will kick off TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real. The day-long event, which will be live-streamed for free, will share stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe, while featuring an unexpected mix of over 20 speakers, including expert Jeff Speck, world renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan, and several 2012 City 2.0 Award winners. View the event program for more details.

TEDx: Brian Healy Proposes to Reactivate Boston’s Harbor with Floating Communities

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Responding to rising sea level predictions and elevated threats of coasting flooding, Perkins + Will design principle Brian Healy has proposed a replicable, floating residential community for Boston’s harbor: Floatyard. In this TEDx, Healy argues that not only would this radical proposal protect coastal investments, it could reengage Charlestown’s industrial harbor. In addition to this, Floatyard’s architecture would incorporate solar energy and rainwater harvesting on its roof, as well as capitalize tidal energy from the mooring columns which anchor it.

TEDxTokyo: Emergency Shelters Made from Paper / Shigeru Ban

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Disappointed that most architecture is built for the privileged, rather than society, Shigeru Ban has dedicated much of his career to building affordable, livable and safe for post-disaster areas. As described by TED: 

Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary , designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda, or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose.

David Rockwell to Design “Talk” Theater for TED2014

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TED has commissioned architect to mastermind a temporary, pop-up theater inside the Vancouver Convention Centre, designed specifically to “create an even more powerful connection between speaker and audience — and to allow the audience itself to immerse themselves more deeply in the talk.”

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Rockwell, who designed the interior of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas and the viewing platform at Ground Zero (on which he gave the TED Talk above), expresses his enthusiasm for the project, saying: “I have spoken [at TED] and have had that experience of: your talk is influenced by how you feel in the room. The environment affects how the talk evolves.”

The theater will house 1200 attendees in tiered seating areas that curve around the stage. The layout will be entirely flexible, allowing audience members to choose from multiple seating/standing options — from leaning on rails to traditional theater seats, sofas, or floor seating.

Learn more about Rockwell’s plans for the theater in his interview with Charlie Rose (13:15), after the break…

TED Talk: WikiHouse co-founder Alastair Parvin Speaks at TED2013

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In this talk at TED 2013, WikiHouse co-founder Alastair Parvin elaborates on some of the ideas which he presented in 2012. is his project to create an open-source library of houses which can be downloaded, manufactured with a CNC machine and assembled in a day – an idea which he hopes will democratize the production of housing and the city as a whole – as he puts it, “In a way it should be kind of obvious that in the 21st century maybe cities could be developed by citizens”.