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The 6 Architects Who Have Won MacArthur "Genius" Grants

12:20 - 22 September, 2016
The 6 Architects Who Have Won MacArthur "Genius" Grants, Blur Building. Exposition Pavilion: Swiss Expo, Yverdon-Les-Bains, 2002. Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Blur Building. Exposition Pavilion: Swiss Expo, Yverdon-Les-Bains, 2002. Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Today, the MacArthur Foundation announced the 23 recipients of their 2016 MacArthur Fellowship Grants, which are awarded annually “to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.” Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 for the recipients to use for individual pursuits, paid out in equal quarterly installments over a five year period. Fellows are selected based on 3 criteria: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

This year’s fellows include artists, playwrights, geobiologists, poets, jewelrymakers, novelists and historians, but, for the fifth straight year, no architects. In the program’s 36 year history, just 6 recipients have come from architecture-related fields.

When Droplets Create Space: A Look at Liquid Architecture

09:30 - 15 September, 2016
When Droplets Create Space: A Look at Liquid Architecture, Light in Water, 2015. Paris. Architects: DGT Architects. Photographer: <a href='http://www.takuji-shimmura.com/'>Takuji Shimmura</a>. Image © DGT Architects
Light in Water, 2015. Paris. Architects: DGT Architects. Photographer: Takuji Shimmura. Image © DGT Architects

Throughout the past century, architecture's relationship with water has developed along a variety of different paths. With his “Fallingwater” house, for example, the American master Frank Lloyd Wright confronted the dramatic flow of water with strong horizontal lines to heighten the experience of nature. Since then, architecture's use of water has become more varied and complex. A space made almost purely of water emerged with Isamu Noguchi's design at the Osaka World Expo: glistening water appeared to fall from nowhere and glowed in the dark. Later with digitalization and fluid forms as design parameters, the focus shifted towards liquid architecture made of water and light. The interpretations have ranged from architectural forms modeled after literal drops of water, like Bernhard Franken´s visionary “Bubble” for BMW, to spectacular walk-in installations made of lines of water, transformed into pixels by light.

Icelandic Pavilion. Hannover, Expo 2000. Image © Thomas Schielke Blur Building. Exposition Pavilion: Swiss Expo, Yverdon-Les-Bains, 2002. Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Diller Scofidio + Renfro Olafur Eliasson: The reflective corridor, Draft to stop the free fall, 2002. (Der reflektierende Korridor, Entwurf zum Stoppen des freien Falls, 2002). Photographer: Werner J. Hannappel. Courtesy of Centre for International Light Art Unna, Germany. Image © 2002 Olafur Eliasson Luce Tempo Luogo, 2011. Milano. Architects: DGT Architects. Photographer: Daici Ano. Image © DGT Architects +20

These Are the Best-Designed, Most Useful Architecture Firm Websites

07:00 - 12 September, 2016
These Are the Best-Designed, Most Useful Architecture Firm Websites

Our editors look at hundreds of websites per week. What do they admire and appreciate the most? Organization and simplicity. Sites that are not only clean, but fast. We actively search for projects to include on our platform, so it’s crucial that when we visit a website we not only know where to look, but how to access information. Filters and facets are our best friends. Typological differentiation is important, but perhaps not as important as distinguishing between built and un-built projects (“Is that a render?” is a question that comes up at least once a day).

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates Among Firms Shortlisted for London’s Illuminated River Competition

12:00 - 5 September, 2016
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates Among Firms Shortlisted for London’s Illuminated River Competition, via Malcolm Reading Consultants
via Malcolm Reading Consultants

The Illuminated River Foundation has announced a shortlist of six firms that will compete to design a new permanent light installation along the Thames River in London. From a pool of 105 teams (made up of 346 different firms), the winners were selected based on experience, past projects and team composition. The six finalists will now continue on to develop lighting schemes for the Westminster, Waterloo, London and Chelsea Bridges, as well as a design masterplan for the 17 iconic London bridges between Albert and Tower.

Continue reading to see the list of six finalists.

Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing

09:30 - 18 August, 2016
Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing, Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis I. Kahn (1972). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects
Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis I. Kahn (1972). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects

For Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, the section “is often understood as a reductive drawing type, produced at the end of the design process to depict structural and material conditions in service of the construction contract.” A definition that will be familiar to most of those who have studied or worked in architecture at some point. We often think primarily of the plan, for it allows us to embrace the programmatic expectations of a project and provide a summary of the various functions required. In the modern age, digital modelling software programs offer ever more possibilities when it comes to creating complex three dimensional objects, making the section even more of an afterthought.

With their Manual of Section, the three founding partners of LTL architects engage with section as an essential tool of architectural design, and let’s admit it, this reading might change your mind on the topic. For the co-authors, “thinking and designing through section requires the building of a discourse about section, recognizing it as a site of intervention.” Perhaps, indeed, we need to understand the capabilities of section drawings both to use them more efficiently and to enjoy doing so.

Bagsværd Church by Jørn Utzon (1976). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects United States Pavilion at Expo '67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright (1959). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects +15

Foster + Partners, Morphosis, UNStudio Lead List to Design Chinese Eco-Island

15:30 - 10 August, 2016
Foster + Partners, Morphosis, UNStudio Lead List to Design Chinese Eco-Island, The 250 hectare artificial island has already been formed in the Haikou Bay. Image © GAO Wenzhonglow
The 250 hectare artificial island has already been formed in the Haikou Bay. Image © GAO Wenzhonglow

Hainan Airlines Group has announced an international competition between 10 top architecture firms to design the master plan and central buildings of the South Sea Pearl Eco-Island, an island located in Haikou Bay, on the island of Hainan, China. Featuring teams from China, Europe and the United States, the competition calls for the creation of an 250 hectare eco-tourism hub, which will contain housing, hotels, tourist attractions and a port with capacity for two large cruise ships.

Kerez, Herzog & de Meuron and Studio Gang Shortlisted to Design London's Royal College of Art's Battersea Campus

04:15 - 10 August, 2016
Kerez, Herzog & de Meuron and Studio Gang Shortlisted to Design London's Royal College of Art's Battersea Campus, via Royal College of Art
via Royal College of Art

London's Royal College of Art (RCA) have revealed seven invited shortlisted practices for its new state-of-the-art £108million Battersea South campus. Featuring a smattering of architects from Europe, including Herzog & de Meuron and Lacaton & Vassal, and from the USA, such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Studio Gang, the organisation intends to announce the winning scheme in October 2016.

Watch How Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Shed" Transforms at New York's High Line

16:10 - 1 August, 2016

Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group has released a new animation of “The Shed” (previously known as “The Culture Shed”), a convertible cultural center designed for New York City’s Hudson Yards development overlooking The High Line. When complete, the building will contain 170,000 square feet of exhibition space for temporary installations, concerts, performances and other cultural productions. Watch in the video as The Shed grows out of its partnering residential skyscraper, also designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group, and transforms to serve various program types.

A part of Phase 1 of the Hudson Yards project, construction on The Shed began in mid-2015 and is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The venue will serve as the new home of several high profile events, including New York Fashion Week.

8 Projects that Exemplify Moscow's Urban Movement

09:30 - 27 July, 2016
8 Projects that Exemplify Moscow's Urban Movement, Zaryadye Park / Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image Courtesy of Zaryadye Park
Zaryadye Park / Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image Courtesy of Zaryadye Park

When it comes to urbanism these days, people’s attention is increasingly turning to Moscow. The city clearly intends to become one of the world’s leading megacities in the near future and is employing all necessary means to achieve its goal, with the city government showing itself to be very willing to invest in important urban developments (though not without some criticism).

A key player in this plan has been the Moscow Urban Forum. Although the forum’s stated goal is to find adequate designs for future megacities, a major positive side-effect is that it enables the city to organize the best competitions, select the best designers, and build the best urban spaces to promote the city of Moscow. The Forum also publishes research and academic documents to inform Moscow’s future endeavors; for example, Archaeology of the Periphery, a publication inspired by the 2013 forum and released in 2014, notably influenced the urban development on the outskirts of Moscow, but also highlighted the importance of combining urban development with the existing landscape.

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / OMA. Image © Yuri Palmin Moscow Riverfront / Project Meganom. Image Courtesy of Project Meganom Novoperedelkino Subway Station / U-R-A. Image Courtesy of U-R-A | United Riga Architects Luzhniki Stadium. Image © Flickr user bbmexplorer licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 +43

Barack Obama Presidential Center Selects Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

13:26 - 30 June, 2016
Barack Obama Presidential Center Selects Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Previous work by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architecture. Images © Michael Moran, Norman McGrath and Tom Rossiter
Previous work by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architecture. Images © Michael Moran, Norman McGrath and Tom Rossiter

The Obama Foundation has selected Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) with partner Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) to lead the design of the Obama Presidential Center for Chicago's South Side. Chosen from a shortlist including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, John Ronan Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, SHoP Architects, Snøhetta and Adjaye Associates, TWBTA stood out for their “commitment to explore the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges.”

DS+R Reveals Design for the University of Chicago's Rubenstein Forum

12:00 - 27 May, 2016
DS+R Reveals Design for the University of Chicago's Rubenstein Forum, Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has unveiled its design for the David M. Rubenstein Forum at the southeast corner of Woodlawn Avenue and 60th Street on the University of Chicago's campus. The 90,000 square foot (8,500 square meter) facility has been devised as a place of intellectual, institutional, and educational exchange, fulfilling a variety of campus needs for meeting spaces. A collection of block-like volumes, the building’s two-story base is anchored by a narrow 165-foot (50 meter) tower, with the exterior materials and structure reflecting the programmatic divisions within.

Charles Renfro Discusses DS+R's Winning Proposal for Zaryadye Park in Moscow

12:00 - 20 April, 2016

At last year's Moscow Urban Forum, Charles Renfro discussed Diller Scofidio + Renfro's design for Zaryadye Park in Moscow. Located in the heart of the city, the park employs Wild Urbanist principles, which seek to emulate Russia's diverse landscapes – tundra, steppe, forest, and wetland – against a backdrop of architectural landmarks that includes the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

A+U 547: Poetry of Modesty

16:00 - 29 March, 2016

Video: Take a Tour Through Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s The Broad Museum

16:00 - 13 March, 2016

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)'s The Broad Museum has been slowly revitalizing its plot of downtown Los Angeles. In this new video by Chang Kyun Kim, The Broad is shown at an intimate human scale. Kim takes viewers on a journey through the space, following a class of elementary school children as they tour the museum.

The video opens with a shot of the museum from across the street. As the film slowly approaches the building, it focuses on small details, like other pedestrians, the line in front of the ticket booth and a worker adjusting a window detail from inside the museum. The video then moves through the building, viewing the art and the children interacting with it, at various distances and angles, mimicking the way one might experience the art in real life. As the children leave, the video closes with shots of The Broad, again from a distance, as if saying goodbye.

LSE Reveals 6 Schemes for its Paul Marshall Building

14:18 - 1 March, 2016
LSE Reveals 6 Schemes for its Paul Marshall Building, Team A. Image Courtesy of RIBA
Team A. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The London School of Economics (LSE) and RIBA have revealed the six shortlisted proposals for their next major development: 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields/The Paul Marshall. With designs from David Chipperfield, Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Penoyre & Prasad and Herzog & de Meuron, LSE is hoping their new building's "world-class architecture" will appropriately reflect the university's "global academic reputation." AL_A, Grafton Architects, and Niall McLaughlin with Scott Brownrigg complete the shortlist

“The amount of analysis and intellectual effort that has gone into the designs from each team is staggering and the results are impressive and very exciting. Given its size and prime location on Lincoln’s Inn Fields we want this to be a seminal university building; its legacy will endure for many generations so it is vital that we make the right decision,” said Julian Robinson, LSE’s Director of Estates.

All six schemes are being publicly exhibited at the LSE's Saw Swee Hock Student Centre through March 17. Read on for a glimpse of each. 

Making Sense of The Broad: A Milestone in the Revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles

09:30 - 22 February, 2016
Making Sense of The Broad: A Milestone in the Revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles, © Benny Chan
© Benny Chan

Unlike most American cities, which spent the 20th century radiating out into suburbia, Los Angeles befuddles outsiders because it doesn’t really have a definite center. The phrase “LA” is loosely used to refer to a collection of small yet distinct cities across the Los Angeles basin that grew together over time. Traditionally, a handful of these localities have been the cultural centers and tourist destinations (Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Silverlake, etc). While these districts thrived, “downtown” sat largely neglected; its financial towers and retail spaces had severe occupancy issues for much of the 90’s and 2000’s. Ten years ago, downtown street life outside of working hours was virtually nonexistent.

That fate was largely the result of poor urban planning. The tragic destruction of the vibrant Bunker Hill residential neighborhood in the 1960’s created a series of vacant freeway-flanked “superblocks” intended for ugly, efficient modernist towers - many of which never reached fruition. To this day, the area is still plagued with empty lots. Developers and architects have considered downtown as a risky return on investment ever since.

DTLA wasn’t just the butt end of jokes (Family Guy: “There’s nothing to do downtown!”) it was treated with disdain. Even Frank Gehry said on record that he wished the Walt Disney Concert Hall had been constructed 12 miles away in Westwood (near UCLA). He went on to add that he felt the current attempted revitalization of downtown was: “both anachronistic and premature.” Ouch.

© The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +8

Good Public Art in Bad Public Spaces: Art Critic Jerry Saltz Takes on the Built Environment

14:00 - 27 December, 2015
Good Public Art in Bad Public Spaces: Art Critic Jerry Saltz Takes on the Built Environment, Deborah Kass' sculpture "OY/YO" under the Manhattan Bridge. Image © Flickr user DUMBOBID, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Deborah Kass' sculpture "OY/YO" under the Manhattan Bridge. Image © Flickr user DUMBOBID, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In his latest article for Vulture, art critic Jerry Saltz celebrates the latest crop of public art in New York City, such as Deborah Kass' OY/YO sculpture, sitting near the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, commenting on the success of such pieces even though (or perhaps because) many of them have been curated by art-world insiders rather than publicly accountable arts commissions or community engagement processes. But for Saltz, this new wave of high-quality public art has come at the expense of quality public space. Despite his admiration for the art installations, he expresses skepticism of the privately-funded public spaces that house them, such as the much-celebrated High Line, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and James Corner Field Operations, as well as future projects such as Pier 55 by Heatherwick Studio, and the "Culture Shed" at the Hudson Yards development also by DS+R. His critique even references a phrase from DS+R that belongs on our list of words only architects use. Read Saltz's full discussion of public art and public space here.

Adjaye Among 7 Asked to Submit Proposals for Barack Obama Presidential Center

12:00 - 21 December, 2015
Adjaye Among 7 Asked to Submit Proposals for Barack Obama Presidential Center, © OPLSouthSide.org
© OPLSouthSide.org

Confirming the speculation, Adjaye Associates has been asked alongside six others to submit design proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Center planned for Chicago's South Side. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, John Ronan Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, SHoP Architects, Snøhetta and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects complete the list; all are expected to provide designs for both considered sites - Jackson Park and Washington Park. 

“These finalists offer a variety of backgrounds and styles, and any one of them would be an excellent choice,” Obama Foundation chairman Martin Nesbitt, according to CBS Chicago. “We are excited to see this process moving forward because the Obama Presidential Center will be so much more than a library – this facility will seek to inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.”