North West Cambridge Extension Proposals Enter Planning Phase

Masterplan. Image Courtesy of North West Cambridge

Earlier this year the University of Cambridge announced an ambitious new urban extension in the north west of the city in order to create a framework for a new district centered on a mixed academic and urban community. The development, planned by Aecom, has aspirations of achieving urban space that is well balanced, permanent and sustainable. Containing 1,500 homes for its key workers, accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students, 1,500 homes for sale, 100,000 square metres of research facilities and a local centre with a primary school, community centre, health centre, supermarket, hotel and shops, proposals from Mecanoo and MUMA are now entering the planning phase. Future lots are expected to be filled by the likes of Stanton WilliamsAlison Brooks Architects and by Cottrell and Vermeulen working with Sarah Wigglesworth and AOC.

Which Architects Are Most Admired By Other Architects?

Foster + Partner’s Apple Campus II. Image © City of Cupertino

As part of their annual research for the World Architecture Top 100, Building Design (BD) has compiled a list of which architects are most admired by their colleagues from across the globe. Last year’s results were somewhat predictable, with Foster + Partners leading and Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop and Herzog + de Meuron close behind. According to BD, “this year saw a trend towards more commercial names.”

This year’s “most admired” list includes:

Zaha Hadid’s 2022 Qatar World Cup Stadium Unveiled

© ZHA

New details have emerged on and AECOM’s 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium in . Scheduled to begin construction in late 2014, the 40,000-seat venue pulls inspiration from a local fishing boat – the Arabian dhow – to influence its overall design.

Final Design Team Shortlist Announced for New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted three design teams for the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon for Stage 3 evaluation. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture. The shortlisted teams are:

Four Teams Shortlisted to Design New Central Library in Calgary

Site Image via

Four shortlisted teams have been asked to design proposals for a new central library in the Canadian city of . Selected from 38 submissions, the competing teams of local and international architects will harness the power of platemaking to envision a 280,000 square-foot “landmark” for the East Village . The four shortlisted teams include:

How Engineering the Serpentine Almost Brought AECOM’s Computers to a Halt

© Danica Kus

AECOM has published an article detailing the way they helped engineer this year’s Serpentive Pavilion. “A typical building might have between 1-2,000 such steel supports, and it’s estimated that the Eiffel Tower has just over 18,000 steel struts, but the Serpentine’s new pavilion has over 26,000 – each one working hard to lend form and strength…The level of detail nearly brought ’s computer systems to a halt. In fact a system upgrade was required to manage the information.” On ’s website you can read more about the challenges of lighting and fireproofing Fujimoto’s complicated structure.

Piazza Gae Aulenti / AECOM

© / Robb Williamson

Architects: AECOM
Location: Piazza Gae Aulenti, Milan,
Lead Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli
Project Architects: Adamson
Design Landscape Architects: James Haig Streeter, Claudio Zappia
Year: 2012
Photographs: AECOM / Robb Williamson, Claudio Zappia, Hines

The Vanke Sales House / AECOM

© Sergio Marquez

Architects: AECOM
Location: , China
Architect In Charge: Aki Omi
Project Director: Hiroyuki Shinohara
Project Manager: Yi-Chieh Su
Design Team: Sergio Marquez, Jie Edence Zhao, Yi-Ting Alice Chiu, Po Wei Lai, Chao Wei-Hsiang
Year: 2012
Photographs: Sergio Marquez

The 100 Largest Architecture Firms In the World

Building Design has released their annual ranking, The WA100, of the world’s largest architecture firms. Coming in the #1 spot (up from #2 last year) is Aecom, who, with 1,370 employees worldwide, narrowly outranked Gensler (with 1,346 employees). Completing the top three was IBI Group (1,129 employees). AecomGensler, and Japanese-based firm Nikken Sekkei (ranked #4) were the top 3 earners of 2012, each making over $400 million US Dollars in Fee Income.

Of the top 10 largest firms, 5 are based in North America, 3 in Asia, and 1 in the (Aedas, which ranked 5th, is dually based in both China and the UK). A similar trend is also evident in the list as a whole – as you can see from the graphic we compiled (after the break), US firms remain the biggest employers of architects and the highest-earners. Although the UK represents about half the number of employed architects as the US, UK firms earned almost as much in fee income.  

Interestingly, the only firms to grace both the Top 10 list and Building Design’s survey of the Top 5 Most Admired Firms of 2012, were Gensler (#2 Largest; #4 Most Admired) and Foster & Partners (#10 Largest; #1 Most Admired). Zaha Hadid Architects (who shared the number 5 Most Admired spot with Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, ranked as the 45th largest firm). 

See our graphic and the full list of the world’s largest firms, after the break…

The World’s First Relocatable Research Center Opens in Antarctica

© Anthony Dubber

This bizarre looking creature is the world’s first relocatable research facility. Located on the Brunt Ice Shelf in , the Halley VI Research Station was officially opened on Tuesday, more than one hundred years after Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic expeditions.

More on the building and its uncommon features after the break…

AECOM Announces Urban SOS Winners

Unslumming Kibera. Courtesy of

AECOM has announced ‘Unslumming Kibera’ as winner of the fourth annual Urban SOS competition

The student competition received submissions from 118 universities in 41 countries. Three projects were shortlisted for a presentation to a panel of judges in New York on Jan 16. 

Read about the finalists and their projects after the break

Student Finalists announced in AECOM’s Humanitarian Urban Design Competition

Team 2: Green Terraces Site in Bogotá-Soacha border, Colombia

Finalists of ’s fourth annual Urban SOS student competition have been announced! Understanding that this rapidly globalizing world is currently undergoing mass migrations, geo-political shifts and new patterns of commerce, which enhance the role of cities as the stage sets for these massive changes, challenges design, architecture, landscape, planning, engineering and environmental studies students to address a specific brief around urban sites in distress with an implementable architectural intervention that is grounded in a truly cross-disciplinary response.

This year, the competition identified ‘Frontiers’ as the driving theme of the Urban SOS competition. The challenge attracted hundreds of student teams representing universities in more than 60 countries. Three finalist teams have been selected after a series of internal judging sessions involving AECOM designers, planners and engineers around the world. Now, these finalists will present their ideas tomorrow, January 16, at a free event in New York’s Center for Architecture (RSVP here!). Continue reading for more details.

Golden State Warriors Stadium / Snøhetta + AECOM

© NBA.com

The Golden State Warriors recently announced that Snøhetta and AECOM have been selected as the architecture team to design the Warriors’ new sports and entertainment complex on the waterfront. Currently in the final stages of the agreement, the new stadium will be a true centerpiece in hosting the Bay Area’s NBA basketball team, as well as provide a great venue concerts, cultural events and conventions, which are all prominent events the city currently cannot accommodate. More images of the architects’ design can be viewed after the break.

World Architecture Festival announces Future Project of the Year and Landscape of the Year Awards

Msheireb – Heart of Doha / Main square: Baharat Al Nouq / © John McAslan + Partners

In addition to yesterday’s announcement of the World Building of the Year Award, two further awards have also been awarded at the in Singapore:

Kallang River Bishan Park, Singapore, designed by Atelier Dreiseitl, has won the ‘Landscape of the Year’ Award and Msheireb – Heart of Doha, , designed by AECOM, has won the ‘Future Project of the Year’ Award.

Find out more about the awarded projects after the break.

AECOM to give LAX a facelift

TBIT Arrival Loop at Dusk – Courtesy of

The International Airport (LAX), one of the world’s busiest airports, is undergoing a facelift. As part of a multi-phase project, AECOM is working with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to create a sensational experience for the 61 million passengers who travel in and out of LAX annually. The project aspires to unify the disparate components of the airport’s central terminal area (CTA) and insert grand gestures that provide architectural hierarchy — yielding LAX as exciting as the city in which it resides. Through an artful integration of lighting, graphics, and architecture, the design draws from key existing airport elements such as the 1960s architecture of the Theme Building and the 60-foot polychromatic light pylons that define the airport’s entry.

Top 250 U.S. Architectural Firms

Shanghai Tower /

Architectural Record has published their annual list of the “Top 250 Architecture Firms” in the United States. The companies are ranked according to architectural revenue from the prior year. Gensler claimed the number one spot, with a record high of $764 million in revenue, over the long-standing leader , whom brought in $445 million in 2011.

The firms classify themselves by:

  • A = Architect
  • AE = Architect-Engineer
  • AP = Architect Planner
  • EAL = Engineer Architect Landscape
  • AEC = Architect-Engineer-Contractor

Continue after the break to review the top 25.

AECOM’s Urban SOS Student Competition

© AECOM

AECOM recently shared with us their 4th annual Urban SOS student competition brief. Created to engage students in and design, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental restoration, and engineering and allow them to propose solutions for the issues that are confronting modern cities, and viewed by established professionals in their field. The theme for this current year is Frontiers. AECOM is seeking proposals that engage urban sites that are currently facing chronic liveability challenges that are largely the result of a city’s location on a natural, political, cultural or economic border. Submitted proposals should fall under at least one of the following criteria; “On a political border,” Ports and trade,” Migration and population shift,” Transnational destinations,” and “Shifting geo-political conditions.” The winners have the potential for their project to be engaged by a local organization to assist in advancing the project.

Unlike many international , there is no entry fee. There is, however, a sizable cash prize! The final deadline for submission is August 31, 2012. For more information regarding the details and competition brief visit AECOM’s site here.

Masterplan for the Honghe Project / AECOM

Courtesy of

Commissioned by the Golden Harbor Group, the design for the masterplan for the Honghe project by AECOM is aimed to help Longgang, an emerging area of , to function positively on the city’s renovation and upgrading. Located in a new rising area, the project covers the south area of the main venue for last year’s University Games. Their design will not only become the complex of services in east , but will lead the development of sports and mice industries, which will also be important for to become the base radiation to the development of east Guangdong Province. More images and architects’ description after the break.