Spotlight: Jørn Utzon

in front of the Opera House during construction, 1965. Image Courtesy of Keystone/Getty Images

Pritzker Prize winning architect Jørn Utzon, who died in 2008 aged 90, was the relatively unknown Dane who, on the 29th January 1957, was announced as the winner of the ‘International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’. When speaking about this iconic building, Louis Kahn stated that:

The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building.

Unfortunately, Utzon never saw the Sydney Opera House, his most popular work, completed. Learn of his fascinating story, after the break.

Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Musée des Confluences Through the Lens of Edmund Sumner

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Edmund Sumner has shared with us images from his recent visit to Lyon, France, where he photographed Coop Himmelb(l)au’s newly completed Musée des Confluences. Perched on a century-old artificial peninsula at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, the “museum of knowledge,” as Coop Himmelb(l)au affectionately refers to it, is distinct for its “iconic gateway” – an openly traversable “Crystal” that provides multi-level access to the museum’s exhibition spaces and views of the building’s unique context. Step inside, after the break.

Bengal Foundation Breaks Ground on Contemporary Arts and Crafts Museum

Courtesy of Bengal Foundation

The Bengal Foundation has begun work on its Contemporary Arts and Crafts Museum, Bangladesh’s first private museum of its kind. The ambitious complex will house multi-media works from the organization’s founder Abul Khair’s private collection, pieces by local artists, a sculpture garden, and a boat museum to celebrate the various arts of local residents. 

Learn more about the museum’s design, after the break.

MoMA PS1 YAP 2015 Runner-up: Drones’ Beach / Brillhart Architecture

Courtesy of

One of five shortlisted finalists who competed for the Young Architects Program (YAP) in the recent 2015 MoMA PS1 competition, ultimately awarded to Andrés Jaque of Office of Political Innovation, Drones’ Beach by Brillhart Architecture explores the idea of a multi-sensory setting with a tropical theme as the basis for a performance and public space.

Read more about the proposal and watch the visionary video about Drones’ Beach after the break.

Milan Expo 2015: Russia to Exhibit Expansive Timber Pavilion

Courtesy of Eventica Communications

Russia has released designs for their participation at Milan Expo 2015. Taking in consideration Russia’s most successful world EXPO pavilions, of which the country has been producing since 1851, and the importance of “green technologies,” SPEECH has designed an expansive 4000-square-meter timber structure with a pronounced roofline that features a mirrored canopy extending 30-meters over the pavilion’s main entrance.

Studio Gang Breaks Ground on Chicago Writers’ Theatre

Main Entrance . Image Courtesy of

Studio Gang has broke ground on the new home for ’s beloved Writers’ Theatre. Situated on the sloped Tudor Court site of the Glencoe Woman’s Library Club, the glass encased timber structure will be a theatrical spectacle, as the main performance space’s second story catwalk is designed to peer through the transparent facade.

“Our process has been built around the creative team dialogue with Writers Theatre, its audiences, and the community, and we could not be more excited to celebrate this milestone today while looking forward to the ideas that will soon become a built reality in 2016,” said Jeanne Gang. “The design of Writers Theatre’s first purpose-built theatre reinforces their important mission and vision to maximize the feeling of intimacy between actors and audience within the park-like setting of downtown Glencoe.”

New renderings and more information from the architect, after the break.

Mecanoo Begins Work on Vast Cultural Centre in Shenzhen

Courtesy of Mecanoo / Christopher Malheiros Architectural Visualization

Dutch based practice Mecanoo, nominated for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the Library of Birmingham, have begun work on vast centre in Shenzhen marking their first project to break ground on Chinese soil. Comprising of a large public art gallery, a science museum, a youth centre, and a book mall, the 95,000 square metre development will strengthen Longgang District’s identity by “providing citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of place.” Forming a dynamic link between the high-rise of the city’s commercial district and the open spaces of Longcheng Park, the four sculpted forms emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered spaces to facilitate public events.

See the full set of images and an illustrative film after the break.

Mexico City to get “Pop-Up” Pompidou?

AD Classics: Centre Georges Pompidou / Renzo Piano + Richard Rogers © conservapedia.com

French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti has revealed that negotiations for a “pop-up” Pompidou in are underway. “The Centre Pompidou is exploring the possibility of establishing a temporary space here, a ‘pop up’ Pompidou,” Filippetti told the Mexican newspaper Reforma. “It will come with their exhibitions, their expertise, not only the brand.”

SANE Architecture’s Taichung City Cultural Centre: Entry in the Future Project Awards 2014

Terrace View. Image Courtesy of

SANE architecture, an experimental studio based in Paris, have recently been recognised in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2014 for the Taichung City Cultural Centre. The practice, who focus on “researching the Sane and the Insane in architecture”, were tasked with imagining an architecture and an urban space unique to Taiwan’s climate and the culture of Taichung, a cultural library and municipal arts museum that “synergizes” art, education and recreation.

Tham & Videgård Design New Building for Denmark’s Krabbesholm Højskole School of Art & Design

Exterior View. Image Courtesy of

Recently awarded first place in an invited competition, Tham & Videgård’s (T&V) design for a new addition to the Krabbesholm Højskole School of Art & Design in , Denmark, uses a combination of thick brick walls and barrel arched roofs to establish a strong connection to the character and spatial qualities of the existing buildings – the Four Boxes Gallery by Japanese Atelier Bow‐Wow, and a collection of new studio buildings by New York‐based MOS Architects.

Competition Entry: Moscow’s National Centre for Contemporary Arts / WAI Think Tank

Light Performance. Image Courtesy of WAI Think Tank

Reaching the second stage of the international competition to design Russia’s National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA)which was won by Heneghan Peng Architects, WAI Think Tank put forth a proposal that projects the NCCA as not just a center “for the creation, study, and support of contemporary art in ” but also “a building as manifesto.” WAI Think Tank focused on giving a flexible autonomy to the enclosed and external spaces, designing the galleries as extensions of the city, in an attempt to design “the first archetype of Museum as City.”

Herzog & de Meuron to Design the National Library of Israel

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

After carefully considering six international architecture firms – Ammar Curiel; Frank Gehry; Herzog & de Meuron; Kimmel Eshkolot, Kolker Kolker Epstein and Renzo Piano – an esteemed selection committee has chosen Herzog & de Meuron to design the new National Library of in . The result comes after a controversial first attempt that ended in the dismissal of the initial competition winner for alleged copyright infringement.

More information after the break…

City Council Approves Redevelopment of NYC’s Historic Pier 57

Courtesy of Young Woo & Associates

’s City Council have unanimously backed a proposed plan to restore and redevelop the aging giant that is Pier 57. Built in 1952, the 300,000 square foot pier was hailed by Popular Mechanics as a ‘SuperPier’ for its vast size and unconventional construction, as most of the pier’s weight is supported by ‘floating’ air-filled concrete cassions. The pier was originally used as a bus depot by the New York City Transit Authority, however it has been lying vacant since 2003. The latest decision brings a concrete end to years of speculation as to what the fate of the pier would be.

Read more about the proposal after the break…

Russia’s Historic Mariinsky Theatre to Celebrate Grand Opening of Mariinsky II

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On May 2, ’s preeminent Mariinsky Theatre will celebrate the grand opening of a new, 851,575 square foot addition on a neighboring site, just west of the company’s original 1860 theatre and 2006 concert hall, in the heart St. Petersburg. Designed by Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects, Mariinsky II will be one of the largest theatre and concert venues in the world, providing a 2000-seat auditorium, state-of-the-art production facilities, and naturally lit rehearsal rooms, along with a rooftop amphitheatre and terrace. 

Buckminster Fuller’s 50-Foot “Fly’s Eye” Dome to be Restored

© John Warren

Noted architectural historian and preservationist has purchased the largest of Buckmister Fuller’s ”Fly’s Eye” domes and plans to reopen it to the public this summer for the first time in 30 years.

More on Fuller’s dome and its new owner after the break…

Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Art Centre / Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have unveiled an ambitious cultural complex, which began to take shape in October after the project broke ground in the heart of , . In true Hadid-fashion, the Meixihu International Culture & Arts Center defines itself by extreme sinuous curves that radiate from each of the three independent structures and links them to a pedestrianized landscape that offers a “strong urban experience”, forming what they hope to be a global destination for theater and art.

The architects’s description after the break…

Vieux Port Pavilion / Foster + Partners

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Saturday in Marseille, , pedestrians and city officials joined Foster + Partners to celebrate the completion of the Vieux Port Pavilion at the mouth of Marseille’s World Heritage-listed harbor. Minimal, yet effective, this “discreet” intervention provides a new sheltered events space on the eastern edge of the port. With six slender pillars supporting its razor-thin profile, the polished 46 by 22 meter stainless steel canopy amplifies and reflects the surrounding movement of the harbor, creating a spectacle that encourages pedestrians to linger.

More on Foster’s Vieux Port after the break…

Grottammare Cultural Center / Bernard Tschumi Architects

Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

This dynamic center in Grottammare, , will be Bernard Tschumi Architects’ first commission in Italy. Inspired by the city’s small medieval center, the roughly 7,000 square meter structure will house a variety of exhibitions, conferences and workshops in an effort to “strengthen people’s ties to the territory with which they identify” by exchanging information about the existing city and envision its possibilities for the future.

The architect’s description after the break…