Call for Ideas: Post-War Housing in Syria

19:30 - 3 February, 2016

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.

SeARCH Wins Housing Block Competition in Paris

16:00 - 3 February, 2016
© 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 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
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
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
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
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
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."

Where Housing is Headed in 2016 (According to RIBA)

06:00 - 24 December, 2015
White on White by Gianni Botsford Architects. Image Courtesy of RIBA
White on White by Gianni Botsford Architects. Image Courtesy of RIBA

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) has released a report forecasting the greatest design trends in housing in the UK for 2016, based off a survey of 250 RIBA charted practices that are currently active in the housing design market. Noticeable trends include an increase in sustainable, energy conservation measures such as sustainable materials, improved insulation and water conservation/recycling; large extensions and bigger homes; housing designed for aging relatives/occupants; and flexible open-plans for family gathering.

Delft Architectural Studies on Housing: Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities

04:00 - 24 December, 2015
Courtesy of DASH
Courtesy of DASH

The latest issue of DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing), a thematic journal devoted to residential design edited by members of TU Delft's Dwelling Chair, focuses on 'Global Housing: Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities'. With "massive urbanisation" occurring across emerging economies worldwide, there is "an acute need for affordable housing" – the scale of which goes far beyond conventional building production, "requiring complex, politically- and economically-oriented solutions."

Trailer for Ballard-Inspired "High Rise" Film Shows Life Inside a Brutalist Megastructure

06:00 - 22 December, 2015

“Ever wanted something more?” asks Robert Laing, the character played by Tom Hiddleston in the new trailer for “High Rise” - an upcoming film based off of the 1975 novel by new wave science fiction author J.G. Ballard. Filmed as a advertisement for the brutalist tower, the complex boasts that with its numerous amenities, “there is almost no reason to leave,” prefiguring the story's unsettling premise.

Befitting the architecturally-inspired tale, the architecture seen in the snapshots shows off a concrete megastructure, with beautiful board-formed concrete walls elegantly highlighting and contrasting with the modernist furniture and shag surfaces of the interiors. Not unlike the real-life brutalist residential megastructure The Barbican, the High Rise features a supermarket, gym, swimming pool, spa, and school. Perhaps that is why Laing describes the film’s setting as “distinctly and definitively British.” Watch the video for a first look at film, to be released in theaters in 2016, and find out more at the tongue-in-cheek website for the building's fictional designer, anthonyroyalarchitecture.co.uk.

AIA Releases Interactive Infographic of Latest Home Design Trends

14:00 - 19 December, 2015
Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released an interactive infographic of its Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2015, focusing on community and neighborhood design.

According to the findings, walkability, higher density and infill development, as well as access to public transportation, are all on the rise, with homeowners “seeking community amenities that allow them to remain connected to people and commerce” throughout the nation’s growing metro areas.

David Chipperfield Reveals His First Residential Project in New York

12:40 - 20 November, 2015
© Miller Hare
© Miller Hare

Details on David Chipperfield's first large-scale residential project in New York has been revealed. The last development to take place at Bryant Park, The Bryant condominium tower will feature 57 one to four bedroom residences, including two triplex penthouses, on a boutique hotel at 16 West 40th Street. The HFZ Capital Group development was designed with Chipperfield's "intelligent simplicity," as the architects describe. Each residence will occupy a corner of the tower.

MKPL Architects Wins Two Projects in Singapore Rail Corridor Competition

06:00 - 19 November, 2015
The waterscape in the precinct is one of its distinct characteristics, where residents are able to get in close proximity with different habitants.. Image Courtesy of Norm Li for MKPL/Turenscape Team
The waterscape in the precinct is one of its distinct characteristics, where residents are able to get in close proximity with different habitants.. Image Courtesy of Norm Li for MKPL/Turenscape Team

After competing with a strong shortlist of firms, which included  OMA, MVRDV, West 8, Grant Associates and Olin Partnership, a team comprising MKPL and Turenscape International has been selected for not just one, but two, of the three projects planned for the Singapore Rail Corridor – the Choa Chu Kang affordable housing development and the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station renovation. Read more about the two projects after the break.

[baragaño]’s #bh01: How to Build a House in 80 Days

06:00 - 16 November, 2015
© Verónica Carreño
© Verónica Carreño

Inspired by the mass production of the automotive and aerospace industries, Spanish architects [baragaño], in collaboration with ArcelorMittal, have designed a housing model that can be completely constructed in a factory. Once completed, the house is transported to the site and installed.

The basic model [#bh01] is 39 square meters, composed of two volumes and can be easily expanded both horizontally and vertically in the future. According to the architects, it’s a method that “makes construction easier, generates less waste than traditional systems and increases the safety of personnel involved in the assembly work.”

© Mariela Apollonio © Verónica Carreño © Mariela Apollonio © Mariela Apollonio +24

Otherothers' "Offset House" Reveals the Architecture Hidden in Suburban Homes

09:30 - 12 November, 2015
Courtesy of Otherothers
Courtesy of Otherothers

In the classic film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and friends manage to obtain a visit with the great and powerful wizard, who appears to them as an enormous, grotesque head, surrounded by smoke and flames, with a booming voice and a hostile demeanor. But when Toto pulls back the curtain, the wizard’s true nature is revealed, and it is only then that he is able to help the gang get the help for which they journeyed many miles down the yellow brick road. In architecture today, suburban houses share many of the characteristics of the wizard’s illusion: large, stand-offish and intimidating. But what if there is a more benevolent architecture hidden behind the smoke and flames? This is the thesis of Australian firm Otherothers' Offset House, on display now at the Chicago Architecture Biennale.

Courtesy of Otherothers Courtesy of Otherothers Courtesy of Otherothers Courtesy of Otherothers +13