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Is "Advocacy" the Most Influential Instrument in the Architect's Toolbox?

If Lord Foster—perhaps one of the greatest architects of our time—feels as though he has "no power as an architect, none whatsoever," people tend to take notice. His support, thoughts and opinions, he tells The Observer's Rowan Moore, are his most influential tools: "advocacy, he says, is the only power an architect ever has." Their conversation, held ahead of the Urban Age Global Debates which are currently taking place in London, also touches upon the importance of infrastructure, the social role of the architect, and the growing—if not undervalued—urgency to readdress sustainability within the profession.

Steven Holl's "Copenhagen Gateway" Will Finally Go Ahead

Steven Holl Architects (SHA) is preparing to break ground on a project that is nearly eight years in the making. The ambitious "Copenhagen Gate" development will break ground next year, as Fast Company reports, after being initially held back in 2008. It will feature two asymmetrical towers  - Gate L and Gate M - connected by a (terrifying) pedestrian skybridge suspended 213 feet above the harbor.   

UNStudio Proposes User-Centric Design for the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Following the selection of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partnersproposal for the Taiwan Taouyuan International Airport as the winning design, UNStudio has released their own proposal, which received 2nd place. Called the “most innovative design concept” and the design that the jury “wanted to experience the most” by Michael Sparks (jury member and Dean and Professor at Syracuse University), the proposal, with a design team headed by Ben Van Berkel, re-imagines the scale of the airport typology. Read more about their shortlisted entry after the break.

Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of UNStudio Exterior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of UNStudio Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of UNStudio Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of UNStudio

London's Garden Bridge Saved by Funding Cut

Thomas Heatherwick's controversial Garden Bridge in London has regained popular support amongst officials after a significant cut in funding. The Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge program, which was approved last year – has reduce the amount of taxpayer money from £30 to £10 million, alleviating concerns over public cost. Now, all that's needed for the project to start construction is an approved amendment to the site's lease in Lambeth. It is expected to break ground next year, despite lingering concerns over maintenance costs and use restrictions. 

6 Compete to Design World's Largest Waste-to-Energy Plant in Shenzhen

Six teams have been shortlisted to design the world's largest waste-to-energy plant in Shenzhen, China: Arup, Atkins, AECOM, Gerber Architekten, Schmidt Hammer Lassen with Gottlieb Paludan Architects, and local firm Tanghua Architects. Aiming to manage Shenzhen's growing population (and waste accumulation), the "Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant" plans to incinerate 5000 tonnes of waste daily and generate an estimated 550 million kWh per year. 

RSHP Wins Competition to Expand Taiwan's Largest Airport

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has won an international competition to expand the Taoyuan International Airport - Taiwan's largest airport, formally known as Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. Their winning scheme for the airport's new Terminal 3 building won the jury over for its "outstanding and innovative planning and design and highly efficient circulation," according the airport's official press release

"The most compelling feature of their design is an interior experience that fluctuates and moves up and down to reflect changes in the users," said the report. 

Elevating Erie: Ideas Competition for a Biodiverse Boulevard

The creation of the Erie Canal was a paradigm shift for American progress in the 19th century, leveraging hundreds of miles of canal networks capable of generating cities out of swamps and ushering in a new era of exchange. Over a century later, what was the Erie Canal through Central New York has been capped over with urban development and sprawl. We are now presented with the opportunity to reposition Erie as the vehicle for a globally relevant, ecologically turbocharged urban corridor. The Elevating Erie ideas competition seeks proposals that consider our current global biodiversity challenges in urbanized regions by developing solutions specific to the Erie Canalway Trail along Erie Boulevard East connecting DeWitt to Syracuse. Elevating Erie encourage entries from diverse disciplines to provide ideas that will:

HQ's Blooming Flowers React to the Presence of Pedestrians

Shade isn't hard to find in Jerusalem's Vallero Square, thanks to these giant urban flowers designed by HQ Architects that bloom in the presence of pedestrians. "Warde," as the installation is called, is a set of four inflatable flowers at the entrance of the city's market square and adjacent tram station that "open up" whenever pedestrians walk by or the tram is approaching.

Perkins+Will to Design “Airport City” in Istanbul

Perkins+Will has been selected to masterplan a major mixed-use development adjacent to undergoing Istanbul New Airport - soon to be one of the largest airports in the world. The 690-hectare scheme, "Airport City" will feature a "central innovation district," hotels, retail and commercial office space, logistic centers, an expo and convention center, public space, and metro and high-speed rail connections to Istanbul and beyond.

These Two Drones Just Built a Bridge

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Two quadcopter drones just autonomously built a footbridge that is capable of withstanding the weight of a human. Outfitted with a motorized spool and plastic tubes that dispense Dyneema, a "material with a low weight-to-strength ratio," the flying machines were able to construct a lightweight tensile bridge that spans 7.4 meters between two scaffolding structures at the Flying Machine Arena in Zurich.

Foster, RSHP and UNStudio Compete to Expand Taiwan's Largest Airport

Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and UNStudio have been shortlisted in a competition to expand the Taoyuan International Airport - Taiwan's largest airport, formally known as Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. Each team will now be given £126,000 to develop their proposals for a new 640,000-square-meter Terminal 3 building which, as the Architect's Journal reports, is expected to host 45 million passengers each year. 

The full shortlist includes: 

Salt-Shaped Salt Shed Takes Shape Along Hudson River in New York City

New York City is replacing one of its 40 salt sheds on the Gansevoort Peninsula with a new, origami-like structure by Dattner Architects at Canal St/West St, along the Hudson River. Once completed, the shed will rise almost 70 feet tall and hold over 4,000 tons of salt in its six-foot thick concrete walls. In response to the complaints leveled against the Sanitation Garage across Spring Street from the new salt shed, Dattner Architects deliberately created a monolithic, crystalline form to contrast the scrim-like façade of its neighbour.

Media Round-Up: Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years On

Today marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, setting off what was among the most significant catastrophes to strike the United States in the 21st Century. New Orleans' flood defenses failed, causing the loss of over 1,400 lives and billions of dollars in property damage.

Naturally, such a disaster takes some time to recover from, for individuals but also for a city as a whole, and so for the past decade New Orleans has been a case study for cities to show them how to recover, rebuild and move on - at certain times serving as both an example of good practice and a warning of "what not to do." On the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, here's a round-up of stories about the rebuilding of a city from around the web.

Santiago Calatrava Tops Out on Dallas' Margaret McDermott Bridge

Santiago Calatrava has topped out on his second Dallas bridge - the Margaret McDermott Bridge - two years after completing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The steel arch, reaching a height of 275 feet, is the first of two that will support the 1311-foot-long bridge that is intended to provide access to pedestrians, bicyclists and cars over the Trinity River. The $113 million bridge is part of the massive $798 million Dallas Horseshoe Project that aims to alleviate traffic and enhance accessibility downtown. It is scheduled to complete by the summer of 2017. 

How Infrastructure Segregates Cities

The Washington Post has published a piece looking at how infrastructure acts as a form of segregation in cities in the US. Using racial dot maps from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, they show how highways, railroads, historically uncrossable avenues, and similar urban design decisions have a huge impact on the physical isolation of different races. These types of infrastructure were also found to reinforce boundaries set by natural patterns of topography and bodies of water. Cities found to have clear infrastructural segregation include Pittsburgh, Hartford, DetroitWashington, D.C., and Milwaukee. Read the full article, here.

Shelter Global Announces 2015 Dencity Competition Winners

International architecture non-profit Shelter Global has announced the winners of its 2015 Dencity Competition. Out of 300 entries from 50 different countries, three winners and six special mentions were selected.

The competition’s goal was “to foster new ideas on how to handle the growing density of unplanned cities and to spread awareness of the massive problem,” and jury members sought out project designs that empower communities and allow for self-sufficiency. Read about the three winners, after the break.

Competition Entry: AECOM Proposes Transport Center for Solana Beach

AECOM has designed a preliminary study for a mixed-use transportation development in Solana Beach, California, as part of a response for a RFP (Request for Proposal). Located near major roads and connected to railroads, the project proposal consists of a combination of retail stores and restaurants, providing transit users with leisure spaces on their travels, in addition to parking for the nearby AMTRAK train station. 

Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio

MIT Manukau & Transport Interchange / Warren and Mahoney

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