Call for Ideas: Post-War Housing in Syria

10:05 - 18 April, 2016
Call for Ideas: Post-War Housing in Syria

matterbetter.com has initiated an international open ideas competition for architecture students and young architects to research new housing concepts for the future of post-war Syria. The civil war in Syrian Arab Republic, which started in 2011, has created the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. According to UNHCR, over 4,300,000 people have left the country and fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and now Europe. While world leaders are looking for an international solution to the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, many Syrians are looking forward to the opportunity to come back home as soon as the war is over.

Open Call: Collective Habitat: International Competition For Collective Housing Ideas

15:45 - 14 April, 2016
Open Call: Collective Habitat: International Competition For Collective Housing Ideas, Collective Habitat Poster
Collective Habitat Poster

Collective Habitat is a competition for students and professionals which seeks to produce ideas to densify areas in or near the centers of 5 Chilean cities with collective housing. The goal is collect innovative architecture proposals that offer access to housing for middle and lower class families in well-served urban areas of Iquique, Valparaíso, Santiago, Concepción and Puerto Montt.

Only three A3 digital sheets are needed plus a 200 words summary. Proposals must be collective housing projects for middle and lower class families; they also could incorporate additional uses if the participant wants. There is no restriction in scale or materials,

MVRDV Partners with Traumhaus to Reinvent Affordable Living in the Suburbs

09:00 - 14 April, 2016
MVRDV Partners with Traumhaus to Reinvent Affordable Living in the Suburbs, Courtesy of MVRDV
Courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV and Traumhaus, a producer of low-cost, high-quality homes based on standardized elements, have teamed up to develop a 27,000 square meter project redeveloping former US Army barracks in Mannheim, Germany.

Courtesy of MVRDV Courtesy of MVRDV Courtesy of MVRDV Courtesy of MVRDV +16

ELEMENTAL Releases Plans of 4 Housing Projects for Open-Source Use

21:00 - 5 April, 2016
ELEMENTAL Releases Plans of 4 Housing Projects for Open-Source Use

The 2016 Pritzker laureate Alejandro Aravena has announced that his firm, ELEMENTAL, has chosen to release four of their social housing designs to the public for open source use. Speaking in a panel discussion held by the Pritzker Prize earlier tonight titled Challenges Ahead for the Built Environment, Aravena stressed the need to work together to tackle the challenge of rapid migration that is taking place all around the globe, a message closely tied to the theme of the upcoming Venice Biennale which Aravena is directing. In this spirit, DWGs of these four designs - which offer the basic elements of a house at a low budget and encourage the residents to expand into an adjacent space as they find the money to do so - will be available for architects worldwide to learn from.

Living Small: Ideas for Living in the City

16:18 - 5 April, 2016
Living Small: Ideas for Living in the City, Living Small Exhibit graphic by Leah Vendl
Living Small Exhibit graphic by Leah Vendl

As Seattle grows, how can housing design keep pace with the evolving ways we are living in cities? Is small housing a viable option? Can smaller spaces make for better living? This exhibit by 2015 Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship Recipient Garrett Reynolds, explores micro-living spaces in dense urban environments in Copenhagen, New York, Stockholm, and Tokyo.

Urban Housing Forum: Room for Growth

16:16 - 5 April, 2016
Urban Housing Forum: Room for Growth, 2016 Urban Housing Forum graphic by Leah Vendl
2016 Urban Housing Forum graphic by Leah Vendl

The Urban Housing Forum will examine how housing design and policy can serve as catalyst for livability and quality of place in an increasingly dense city. The full day program will include presentations on innovative projects, regulatory and development strategies and an investigation into housing’s unique and significant role in shaping individual lives, a sense of community and the overall design of a city as well as a panel on “What Will Make Seattle a Model City?”. In addition, our keynote speaker will be David Baker FAIA, LEED AP of David Baker Architects.

Lecture: MVRDV Jacob van Rijs Innovative Housing

16:00 - 28 March, 2016
Lecture: MVRDV Jacob van Rijs Innovative Housing, MVRDV Innovative Housing AIANY Housing Committee graphic design:Tania Rojas MAP Architects
MVRDV Innovative Housing AIANY Housing Committee graphic design:Tania Rojas MAP Architects

This event is the third of a series of international programs highlighting exemplary housing design around the world. MVRDV was founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The practice engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A highly collaborative, research-based design method involves clients, stakeholders. and experts from a wide range of fields from early on in the creative process. The results are exemplary, outspoken projects that enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

Ismael Levya to Transform NYC Parking Garage into Luxury Residential Tower

16:00 - 12 February, 2016
Ismael Levya to Transform NYC Parking Garage into Luxury Residential Tower, © Ismael Levya Architects via New York Yimby
© Ismael Levya Architects via New York Yimby

An image of Ismael Levya Architects' transformation of a six-story parking garage in New York City's Upper East Side has been revealed. The project, already under construction, will expand the structure into a 19-story residential tower that will house 56 luxury apartments. Described as a "lantern," the 210-foot-tall building was designed as "four distinct townhouse volumes with metal and glass."

BSA Family Design Day: Dream Dwellings

19:30 - 5 February, 2016
BSA Family Design Day: Dream Dwellings

This month, Family Design Day will be taking inspiration from the exhibition Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie and following Moshe Safdie FAIA’s design principle (and book of the same name), For everyone a garden, participants will transform a basic shoe box into a dream apartment with unique green space that reflects the goals of Habitat ’67, the 1960s housing complex that launched the architect’s career.

SeARCH Wins Housing Block Competition in Paris

16:00 - 3 February, 2016
SeARCH Wins Housing Block Competition in Paris, © SeARCH
© SeARCH

Amsterdam-based SeARCH has won a competition in collaboration with Atelier Phileas and LA architectures to design a housing block in the new Paris Rive Gauche district. With each practice focused on one building, the project resulted in the combining of three interconnected high-rises united by a "green ribbon," "cut skyline" and a common expression of function projected onto the facades. Together, they offer 55 family apartments, 180 student flats, 75 middle income apartments, offices, a commercial area and underground public parking. 

Video: Berlin Block Tetris

16:00 - 2 February, 2016

Art director and motion designer Sergej Hein has created an animated parody on the monotony of Soviet high-rise housing in Berlin.

Antidote to Modernism: Feifei Feng's Bespoke Intervention on Slab Housing in Jinan

09:30 - 23 January, 2016

Modernism was a stylistic evolution meant to jettison the baggage that had moored culture to habits and historicism. But it was more than an architectural style: it was a new and universal way of life meant to eradicate variability, to relish in the ease of sameness and reproducibility. It’s easy to be seduced by Modernism when you’re talking about motel rooms, or Starbucks, or your shirt size at a favorite store, all instances where replication is reassuring. But the movement’s biggest advocates, governments and developers, pushed the style to its extreme in large housing blocks - a typology long out of fashion in the United States, but which continues to be de rigueur in countries intent on achieving rapid economic expansion and concentrating its populations in urban regions.

Look at an aerial photograph of the periphery of any Chinese city and you will see the monotony of towers that rise out of the ground like modules on a silicon circuit board. Viewing drabness with cautionary eyes, designer Feifei Feng’s project "Urban Playhouse: A Communal Drama in Seven Acts," proposes a series of interventions, or "acts," on a field of four and six-story slab housing buildings in Jinan, China, adding social spaces ("follies") that are intended to regenerate the spontaneity and theatricality of living in close quarters.

Courtesy of Feifei Feng Act 6: "A-Maze". Image Courtesy of Feifei Feng Act 7: "Ribbon Runway". Image Courtesy of Feifei Feng Act 5: "Cloud Commune". Image Courtesy of Feifei Feng +12

Maya Lin Designs Urban Mansion in New York

14:00 - 22 January, 2016
Maya Lin Designs Urban Mansion in New York, © Maya Lin Studio/Bialosky + Partners Architects via Tribeca Trib
© Maya Lin Studio/Bialosky + Partners Architects via Tribeca Trib

Maya Lin has been commissioned to design a 20,000-square-feet urban mansion in New York's Tribeca neighborhood. The five-story proposal, seen first on Tribeca Trib, aims to replace a 1980s mixed-use building on 11 Hubert Street. If approved, the of metal, glass and limestone building would rise 70-feet and house five bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a dog room, wine closet, screening room, landscaped courtyard, 5,000-square-foot fitness center, basement, garage and more. 

Witherford Watson Mann’s Central London Almshouse Promotes Sociability for the Elderly

04:00 - 22 January, 2016
Witherford Watson Mann’s Central London Almshouse Promotes Sociability for the Elderly, Courtesy of Witherford Watson Mann Architects
Courtesy of Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Witherford Watson Mann Architects, in collaboration with writer Ken Worpole, has unveiled their design for an almshouse for the elderly in Bermondsey, London. Located on the site of a vacant, post-war nursing home, the 6,152 square meter space will serve the United St Saviour’s Charity, as an independent living accommodation for around 90 residents.

Courtesy of Witherford Watson Mann Architects Courtesy of Witherford Watson Mann Architects Courtesy of Witherford Watson Mann Architects Courtesy of Witherford Watson Mann Architects +7

New Images of Herzog & de Meuron's Latest New York Condo Building

16:00 - 13 January, 2016
New Images of Herzog & de Meuron's Latest New York Condo Building, Updated design. Image © DBOX
Updated design. Image © DBOX

UPDATE: This article has been updated with the latest project information and new renderings.

Herzog & de Meuron has released new images of their latest project in New York, a 12-story condominium building at 160 Leroy Street with a curved concrete and glass facade. The project is their third major New York building in recent years, following another condo building at 56 Leonard Street and a hotel at 215 Chrystie Street, and once again features a concrete structure which is clearly expressed on the facade.

Featuring 49 luxury apartments, 160 Leroy Street is the latest in a series of developments which will upgrade Manhattan's West side, after former mayor Michael Bloomberg designated the area as the city's new 'Gold Coast'. The $250 million project is slated for completion in Fall 2016.

"It will be apparent when Ian Schrager's 160 Leroy building rises out of the ground that it was inspired by the philosophy of the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer—which Pritzker Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron used as a starting point in conceiving this original, new iconic structure," says the developer.

Updated design. Image © DBOX Updated design - courtyard from lobby. Image © DBOX Updated design - entrance. Image © DBOX Updated design - living room . Image © DBOX +13

British Prime Minister Denounces "Brutal" Sink Estates

04:00 - 13 January, 2016
British Prime Minister Denounces "Brutal" Sink Estates, Broadwater Farm Estate ('The Farm') in Tottenham, North London. Image via Wikimedia
Broadwater Farm Estate ('The Farm') in Tottenham, North London. Image via Wikimedia

David Cameron has written an article for the Sunday Times denouncing "brutal" post-war housing estates as part of "an all-out assault on poverty and disadvantage" in the United Kingdom. Recalling time spent campaigning in "bleak, high-rise buildings, where some voters lived behind padlocked and chained-up doors" during the 1980s and since, he declares that "not enough has changed." "Some of them, especially those built just after the war," he writes, "are actually entrenching poverty in Britain – isolating and entrapping many of our families and communities."

Playing the Housing Game for Profit: the British Volume Housebuilding Project

04:00 - 6 January, 2016
Playing the Housing Game for Profit: the British Volume Housebuilding Project, Typical British suburban volume housing. Image © Jason Hawkes
Typical British suburban volume housing. Image © Jason Hawkes

In his essay "Figures, Doors and Passages", the architectural historian Robin Evans described how "it is difficult to see in the conventional layout of a contemporary house anything but the crystallization of cold reason. Because of this," he asserted, "we are easily led into thinking that a commodity so transparently unexceptional must have been wrought directly from the stuff of basic human needs." His words, which highlight the passive approach of designers, developers and dwellers when it comes to the vast majority of British housing being built today, were first published in 1978 – two years before the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher introduced the 1980 Housing Act.

COOKFOX Wins Preservation Approval for Manhattan Condominium

14:00 - 28 December, 2015
COOKFOX Wins Preservation Approval for Manhattan Condominium, South. Image © COOKFOX Architects
South. Image © COOKFOX Architects

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved COOKFOX Architect's plans for a mid-rise, 66-unit condominium building in Manhattan. Planned for two parcels of land in the West End Collegiate Historic District, next to one of the Churches' five ministries, the project aims to "fit harmoniously with the distinct streetscape" while "interweaving the rich historic details of the Upper West Side with subtle contemporary and sustainable design."