Video: Alison And Peter Smithson On Housing

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In 1970 the BBC followed architects Alison and Peter Smithson through the construction of their seminal project, Robin Hood Gardens (). The impact of their architecture continues to resonate well into the 21st century, most recently in the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Robin Hood Gardens was demolished in 2013, bringing an end to the Smithson’s utopian vision. Listen to Alison Smithson explain the European Housing Condition (as the vision stood in 1970), the state of British infrastructure as it was, and hear Peter Smithson discuss the impetus for their most famous collective housing project.

MenoMenoPiu Proposes Capsule Hotel for Short-Term Housing in Paris

© MenoMenoPiu Architects

With nearly 120 museums, Paris has the largest concentration of museums in the world. This, as MenoMenoPiu Architects believes, puts the city at risk of becoming a living conservatory. Therefore the Parisian practice has proposed the “EauBerge Paris Capsule Hotel” as a way to mitigate the need for short-term for tourists and preserve the quality of everyday life for residents.

“Just like the other European capitals such as Rome, , or Barcelona, Paris risks to become a city museum,” says MenoMenoPiu. “The increase of tourists in the French Capital causes panic and also leads to a gradual decentralization from the Parisians.”

TED Talk: How to Reinvent the Apartment Building / Moshe Safdie

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Nearly 50 years after realizing Habitat ’67, when the need for high quality affordable housing is at an all time high, is expanding on his ideas first explored in the stacked Montreal utopia to discover just how natural light and the feeling openness can be achieved in today’s megalopolises. Watch as Safdie makes a case to do away with the high-rise in the short TED Talk above.

Four Steps to Fix the Global Affordable Housing Shortage

Mirador Project by MVRDV in Spain aligns with McKinsey’s goals for affordable . Image © Flickr User Wojtek Gurak; Licensed via Creative Commons

According to global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, the projected cost of providing affordable housing to 330 million households around the world currently living in substandard accommodation is $16 trillion USD. The firm’s latest report, A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge, assesses critical pathways for providing housing to families across a range of socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. According to the report, adequate and affordable housing could be out of reach for more than 1.6 billion people within a decade. The comprehensive report examines everything from income to cost of heating, boiling down the data into four key mandates aimed at solving the global housing crisis.

The proposed solution is one of ascending goals, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with a four-tiered plan targeted towards households earning 80% or less of the median income for any given region. The program is designed to meet McKinsey’s 2025 Housing Challenge which aims to provide housing to a projected 440 million households worldwide within ten years through community engagement,  gathering funding, appropriate delivery of housing models, and creation of governmental to sustain housing.

Find out the four steps to solving the global affordable housing shortage after the break

ODA Aims to Bring “Qualities of Private House” to Multi-Family Housing in Brooklyn

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ODA Architecture has shared with us “510 Driggs,” a multi-family residential project that aims to provide residents with the “qualities of a private house” within Brooklyn’s dense urban landscape. Each of the six-story building’s 100 units will be equipped with a large, functional outdoor space and at least two exposures to maximize light and air.

CEMEX Announces International Finalists for XXIII Building Awards

CEMEX has unveiled the international finalists for the XXIII Building Awards, which aim to recognize the best architecture and construction internationally. Spanning across three categories, the awards recognize , institutional/industrial and large-scale projects that were built during 2013 and stand out for their constructive solutions, aesthetics and innovative techniques.

Both the international and national winners will be announced on November 5. Read on after the break for the international finalists and check out our coverage on the Mexican finalists for the XXIII Building Awards here

First Look: MVRDV Completes Largest Covered Market in the Netherlands

© Nico Saieh

Rotterdam’s very own, MVRDV has completed ’ first covered market: the Markthal Rotterdam. Unlike any other market in the world, the Markthal presents a new urban hybrid that unites a market hall with .

Within the hollow core of the 228-unit, “horseshoe-shaped” residential building is an expansive, 40-meter-tall public market, offering 96 fresh food stalls, 8 restaurants and supermarket. Colorful murals cover the arch’s vaulted interior, peering through the largest single glazed cable net facades in Europe, which enclose the market.

This sense of transparency and openness was key, as the Markthal is the driving force to the rejuvenation of the Laurenskwartier area and hopes to attract thousands of visitors each year.

A look inside, after the break.

Will Alsop Designs Apartment Tower on Stilts for London’s South Bank

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Led by Will Alsop, aLL Design’s funky apartment tower will soon add a whole lot of interest to London’s south bank. The tubular building, which tapers at the bottom and top, will rise above an existing four-storey building on purple stilts and be adorned with corten steel cladding, brightly colored balconies, and irregular rounded windows. Each apartment will include two balconies overlooking the River Thames and the neighboring heliport – bringing about the name “Heliport Heights.” To learn more about the lively design, keep reading after the break.

Dutch Architects Transform Rotterdam House Into Terraced “Urban Paradise”

© Thomas Mayer

Two Dutch designers, collectively known as HUNK-design, have transformed their 19th century top floor apartment into a “unique city paradise.” Architect Bart Cardinaal and artist Nadine Roos, who have lived in parts of the house in central Rotterdam since their student years, have created a large outdoor terraced space amid the rooflines of a built up area. By demolishing the existing pitched roof, they have constructed what they describe as their “Cabrio apartment.”

Disaster Relief Housing For The Next “Superstorm”

Exterior Of The Prefabricated Relief Housing Units. Image Courtesy of GOTHAMIST / JAKE DOBKIN

With hurricanes Sandy and Katrina etched into recent memory, the need for post-disaster relief housing is now. New York City and Garrison Architects have developed a modular, prefabricated housing system to relieve displaced citizens during the next “superstorm.” At only 40′ by 100′ long, they can squeeze into the city’s smallest corners – all while having kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and storage spaces. The prototype is on display in  – but you can see the entire design at the A/N Blog.

Make It Right Unveils 5 New Designs for Housing in Fort Peck Reservation

LivingHomes’ Design. Image Courtesy of Living Homes

Make It Right, the organization founded by Brad Pitt to provide housing to those in need, has unveiled 5 designs for their new initiative in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. The designs – by GRAFT, Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Architecture for Humanity, Method Homes and Living Homes - are inspired by cradle-to-cradle principles, will be LEED Platinum rated and have been developed alongside community consultation with the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes of Fort Peck.

The organization is planning to build 20 new homes on the reservation, as well as developing a sustainable masterplan for the entire 3,300 square mile reservation, with construction planned to start later this year.

More on the development of ’s Fort Peck initiative after the break.

Event: “House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate”

House is the first public presentation of a multi-year research project conducted by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Situated in the Casa Muraro in and staged as an open house, the exhibition responds unsolicited to the proposal by Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, that architecture focus on its “fundamentals.”

According to the organisers, “House Housing replies by considering architecture’s economic fundamentals, which locate housing at the center of the current economic regime, with the United States as an influential node in a transnational network. In architecture, economic fundamentals are built from the ground up. The laws of real estate—relating to the acquisition of land, the financing of construction, the cost of building maintenance and services, profit from rent or resale, the value of equity, or the price of credit—inexorably shape any building component (like a window) and any building type (like a house).”

“They are visible even in the residential work of such singular figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, not least because the Greek oikos, or household, forms the root of the word “economy” itself. But look closely and you will see that what seems fundamental, basic, or natural is, like any other law, a historical artifact permanently under construction and subject to change. House Housing narrates nineteen brief episodes from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media.”

Find out more about the event here.

The Future of Brick: Biodegradable And Bacterial

Biodegradable Brick Is The Featured Material In This Years MoMA PS1 Exhibit, But Is It Suitable For ? . Image Courtesy of The Living

MoMA’s PS1 exhibit in is a showcase for young architects with lofty ideas. This year’s winning firm “The Living” designed “Hi-Fy” – a biodegradable brick tower. Although the idea might seem far-fetched for housing, the idea is gaining traction. North Carolina start-up bioMason, recently won the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge for their “biodegradable bricks.” So Kieron Monks at CNN had to ask the question, would you live in a house made of sand, bacteria or fungi? Find out the benefits of these modern bricks here.

NBRS Proposes to Extend High Line Vertically

Exterior View. Image ©

In response to New York City’s rapidly expanding population, NBRS + Partners has proposed a 40 story tall skyscraper that could help the city embrace its rapidly shifting demographics and size. Entitled “VIVO on High Line,” the adaptable steel-frame tower is essentially the vertical extension of the city’s beloved High Line park. 

“The podium screen engulfs the High Line folding it in and extending the lifeblood into the building base, like capillary action drawing it vertically,” described the team.

Minha Casa, Nossa Cidade: Brazil’s Social Housing Policy & The Failures of the Private-Public System

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In 2009, the Brazilian government launched the program “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (“My House, My Life”), which aims to build 3.4 million units by the end of 2014. Minha Casa—Nossa Cidade (Ruby Press, 2014), produced by the MAS Urban Design program at the ETH Zurich, examines the project at a critical time and presents ways to improve its design and implementation. Divided into three chapters, the book reviews the history, guidelines, and construction of the “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” program (MCMV) through long-form essays, opinion pieces, interviews, diagrams, and photographic image material. The following excerpt, written by Sandra Becker, proposes an answer to the question of why the program – despite its aims to meet the huge demand for housing for low-income families - has thus far failed to provide the Brazilian people the “quality cities [they] desire.” 

From the Publisher. In June 2013, Brazil saw a wave of protests unprecedented in the country’s history. Millions of people filled the streets demanding better education, public transportation, and healthcare. While the rage driving the protests was directed at politicians, it is unlikely that the problem can be reduced to the failure of the political system. Instead, shouldn’t the protests point out the inequalities caused by the neoliberal policies that dominate the global economy?

In the first quarter of 2009, responding to the global financial crisis that had begun the previous year, the Brazilian government launched an ambitious social housing program to encourage the economy’s construction sector. The program, “Minha Casa, Minha Vida,” was initially developed to build one million houses. In September 2011, the program launched its second phase with a goal of providing another 2.4 million housing units. The program aims to confront a historical deficiency in housing, a shortage of approximately 5.8 million dwellings.

Tammo Prinz Architects Propose Platonian Tower in Lima

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Tammo Prinz’s competition entry for a new tower in Lima, Peru, proposes the use of platonian bodies to generate dramatic interior and exterior spaces.

The concrete dodekaeder structure drives the form of the design whilst smaller cubic shapes are strategically placed within this to generate spaces for everyday living. The relationship between these two spatial qualities, of interior and exterior, reveals a series of unique spaces that can be used as an extension of the interior, or as a balcony-like outdoors area.

Building Trust International Constructs Sustainable Housing in Cambodia

Courtyard House render. Image ©

Building Trust International, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and Karuna , has realized three winning designs from the 2013 Future of Sustainable Housing in Cambodia competition. 

Built on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the constructed designs sought to provide impoverished Cambodians with new options for safe and secure homes under $2000 that are capable of withstanding flood and able to be expanded in phases.

Check out the three completed designs, after the break…

AIA Names 10 Most Impressive Houses of 2014

Sol Duc Cabin; Seattle / Olson Kundig Architects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected ten recipients for their 14th annual . Considered to be the year’s most impressive works, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in U.S. housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.” The winners, after the break…