UNESCO: Friend or Foe?

Right now Istanbul epitomizes the debate in question, with would-be developers taking on preservationists. Do new developments threaten Istanbul’s world-class heritage, or does heritage protection restrict important new development? Image © Flickr CC User Jules Gervais

Earlier this week, two articles on Domus engaged each other in a debate over the affect of UNESCO World Heritage status on the cities they supposedly protect. Is UNESCO turning the world’s cities into museums and hindering their future cultural development? Or could it be a positive force for protecting architecture and culture? Read on after the break to learn more about these clashing opinions.

Design Revealed for Norway’s New National Arts Museum

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The planning phase for the new National Arts Museum in Norway is coming to a close and the images of the winning design by architects Kleihues + Schuwerk Gesellschaft von Architekten have been released. With its modernization and expansion, the museum aims to enhance the fields of art and design in and serve as a cultural hub for locals and tourists alike. Learn more about the project and see the proposed design after the break.

BIG Designs Rejected Again for Kimball Art Center

Revised design for the . Image Courtesy of BIG

After producing major revisions on a previously rejected design, BIG have had their second design rejected for the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. City Hall rejected the design on the basis of appearance, arguing that it did not relate to the historic city centre “aesthetically, visually or historically.” The second design by BIG marked a complete departure from the original that was selected as the winner of an architectural contest hosted by the Kimball Art Center.

Is Bigger Better? HOK’s Acquisition of 360 Architecture and How Mergers Have Changed the Business of Design

World Expo 2020 Master Plan. Image Courtesy of HOK

International design, architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK has recently announced its plan to acquire 360 Architecture, a firm specializing in sports facility design. With HOK’s global influence and ’s expertise, the acquisition could bring about significant advances in sports facility design and expand the market reach for each firm. When it comes to the business of architecture, acquisitions such as this often enable large corporate firms to take on a wider variety of projects, giving them a competitive edge against famous designer names in the industry. But what else can we learn from the growth of the world’s largest firms?

Why is it So Expensive to Build in London?

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London is the world’s most expensive city to build in, but the reasons may surprise you. The city is well known for its high cost of living despite being far less crowded than cities such as Tokyo and New York. In fact, commercial in London’s West End costs nearly twice as much as similarly sized spaces on New York’s Madison Avenue.

This video from the Economist reveals how these high costs arise thanks to the city’s historic infrastructure. Vast networks of underground tunnels, unexploded World War II bombs, ancient Roman ruins, and narrow medieval roads all make in the city a highly specialized endeavor. These difficulties, combined with strict historical preservation regulations drive up costs even more. However, architects and developers are not deterred, and are willing to pay high prices for the privilege of building in London. 

McDowell + Benedetti’s Footbridge and Rail Station Underway in Terni

Courtesy of McDowell+Benedetti

based firm McDowell+Benedetti has recently announced that their design for a new 180 metre footbridge and improved rail station in Terni, Italy, has begun work on the site. A future landmark for the town, the £3.5 million (€4.4 million) project promises to provide an expanded commuter hub for the area with connections to fast trains to Rome. Learn more about this project after the break.

BuildAChange Aims to Tackle Sanitation with Zero Project

Courtesy of BuildAChange

Although the practice of architecture has historically done little to address the basic needs of those in the developing world, in recent years architects have gradually extended their reach into the realm of humanitarian work, as most notably exemplified by Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban. Despite these advances, one third of the world’s population does not have access to adequate sanitation. This is astounding given the amount of resources and technology we have available to us in the 21st century, and it is a problem that architects have the opportunity to solve; some architects, including Julia King, have already begun to take on this challenge. It is also the focus of “Zero Project,” the first initiative of non-profit organization BuildAChange. Read about their proposal after the break.

Does Australia Need More Design Competitions?

© Flickr – User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

Architecture offer an opportunity for architects to launch their careers, and in some cases generate unexpected designs in the process. Many iconic works of architecture, including the famous Sydney Opera House, were the result of open design competitions – but do architecture competitions today maintain the influence they might have had in the past? While critics in the United States have recently argued that it could be time to quit competitions, Donald Bates argues that Australians should be organizing more. In his article on The Conversation, Bates discusses the state of design competitions in Australia, and why we should take another look. Read the full article here.

Spotlight: Peter Eisenman

. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com

Renowned architect, theorist and educator Peter Eisenman turns 82 today. Eisenman initially rose to fame in the late ‘60s, as part of the New York Five, a group that shared an interest in the purity of architectural form. Eisenman’s work, whether built, written or drawn, is characterized by Deconstructivism, with an interest in signs, symbols and the processes of meaning-making always at the foreground. As such, Eisenman has at times been a controversial figure in the architectural world, professing a disinterest in environmental sustainability.

Can Buildings Make Us Healthier?

Staircases at Wieden+Kennedy NY by WORKac. Image © Bruce Damonte

Since we spend most of our waking hours in buildings, shouldn’t they be designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle? It turns out there are many ways in which architects can design spaces that encourage us to exercise as part of our daily routine. Likewise there are many design features that often dissuade people from physical activity. For example, while a dark or secluded staircase may be off-putting, centrally located and open staircases tend to be used even more than elevators. Find out how buildings can serve as our personal trainers in this article from Fast Co. Design, “How To Keep Our Buildings From Making Us Fat.”

New Images Released of Krumbach, Austria’s Famous Bus Stops

© Hufton + Crow

What happens when seven internationally acclaimed architects are invited to design sculptural for a tiny Austrian village of 1000 inhabitants? Collaborating with local architects and utilizing local materials to design the pavilions, Alexander Brodsky, Rintala Eggertsson, Ensamble Studio, Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu, Smiljan Radic, Sou Fujimoto, and Wang Shu’s Amateur Architecture Studio worked with Austria’s Verein Kultur Krumbach to carry out the BUS:STOP project and usher in a unique new facet of culture to Krumbach. We brought you images of the design proposals earlier, and now we have photos of the incredible results: Hufton + Crow has just released a stunning new set of images showcasing the completed bus stops.

Hufton + Crow’s brilliant photography captures the inimitable originality and sensational quality of the uniquely crafted pavilions embedded within the Austrian landscape. Immerse yourself in Krumbach and check out the latest images after the break.

AD Interviews: Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, on Appoaching Densification in London

Keith Griffiths. Image Courtesy of Aedas

Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas’ global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects’ Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London’s Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK’s capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas’ scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.

To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the ‘urban hub’ typology for London’s metropolitan future, read the in full after the break.

Top 10 Technical Apps for Architects

Arrette Scale: perspective. Image Courtesy of Arrette Scale

Building upon our Top 10 Apps for Architects, this collection brings together some of the best quality and most valued technical apps for designing, sketching, calculating and collaborating. Although the majority of those featured here are designed solely for the platform, every time we collate lists such as these it’s clear that more and more high quality apps for the Android and Windows platforms are being developed. From condensed versions of large scale software packages that architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.

Video: Charles Jencks on the 2014 Venice Biennale

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In this extended interview by the Architectural Review, Charles Jencks provides an in-depth description of the 2014 Venice Biennale and critiques his former student Rem Koolhaas’ overall curation and theme: Fundamentals.

Arguing that the previous thirteen Biennales have, “more or less, tried to predict what is going to happen over the next five years,” ” has changed the paradigm:” Rem’s Biennale is about “the past of the present”. Jencks, who describes Koolhaas as ”the Corbusier of our time”, suggests that his Biennale is about analysis rather than total synthesis. He has, however, “shown that research can be creative.”

Project Meganom To Remodel Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

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Russian practice Project Meganom have won a competition to redesign the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Their winning entry seeks to transform the museum complex into a hive of cultural activity, preserving the institution’s world class art collection whilst “actively engaging with the surrounding territory as a potential space for exhibition, dialogue, and communication.” The project focuses less on the provision of new areas but rather provides a single unified platform for a series of discordant parts, tying together all the elements of the environment into one cohesive design – “from buildings and monuments to benches and navigation.”

RIBA Future Trends Survey Demonstrates Continued Stability

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The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for May show that the Workload Index among UK practices was slightly down in comparison to April (from +35 to +33) with the recovery in confidence levels remaining consistently “very strong” across the country. Although last month’s survey showed London as the region with the brightest outlook, confidence levels reported by architects in Wales and the West topped the index with a balance figure of +49. Workload forecasts in the private sector, public sector and community sector have all significantly increased.

Heatherwick Studio To Build “Learning Hub” in Singapore

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London based Heatherwick Studio have won a competition to design a Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The of the Hub, part of a £360 million scheme, will be the first redevelopment of its campus in twenty years. Having already won the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for Sustainability from the Singaporean Government, the design seeks to redefine the aspiration of a university building. Within this new context the purpose of the university is to “foster togetherness and sociability” so that students can meet and learn in a space that encourages collaboration.

Swedish Team Win Urban Design Competition in Trenčín

First Place. Image Courtesy of City of

Swedish based Mandaworks + Hosper Sweden have recently won an international competition to find the “best comprehensive urbanistic proposals for connecting the city centre of Trenčín with both waterfronts of the River Váh.” The winning scheme – Tracing Trenčín – “is not a proposal which is noticeably stunning” but is, according to Thomas Matta, deputy chair of the jury, “considerate to the existing structure of the historic core of the city.”