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Shortlist Announced for LSE Global Centre for Social Sciences

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have unveiled five shortlisted proposals for the new £90 million Global Centre for Social Sciences (GCSS) in London's Aldwych. The competition, which has attracted designs from the likes of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and OMA, will be the school's "biggest ever building project" and is set to "transform" the world-leading institution. Other entrants include Hopkins Architects, Grafton Architects, and Henegham Peng Architects. See the anonymous proposals after the break...

OMA's Santa Monica Scheme Re-evaluated

In July the Office for Metropolitan Architecture's (OMA) competition proposal for a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Santa Monica was recommended by City Council members after they "seemed genuinely wowed by OMA's theatrically-terraced design." City officials have since voted to re-evaluate the recommendation over concerns of a lack of affordable housing in the development, as well as issues "related to design [and] economics." They have also invited Related California, a team comprising of BIG, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, and Rios Clementi Hale Studios, to revise its original proposal that was shortlisted in March of this year.

Video: David Gianotten

David Gianotten, the director of OMA Asia, designs highly modern buildings across the continent but is still drawn to traditional temples for inspiration. Enjoy this great video he did with Crane.tv.

Marina Abramovic Launches Kickstarter to Build OMA-Designed Performance Center

Marina Abramovic, one of the most seminal performance artists of our time, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the transformation of an abandoned New York theater into an interdisciplinary performance and education center: Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI). 

The institute, designed by Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas of OMA, will be dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work. Visitors will spend a minimum of six hours partaking in the Abramovic Method, a method that helps participants “develop skills for observing long durational performances through a series of exercises and environments designed to increase awareness of their physical and mental experience in the moment.” Needless to say, MAI will be unlike any other institute in existence. 

A virtual tour of OMA’s design and more information after the break...

Three Teams Shortlisted to Re-Envision Downtown Dallas

OMA*AMO (New York), Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura (Barcelona), and Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston) with SHoP (New York) have been selected as the top three teams to re-envision Dallas’s urban center and its connection to the Trinity River Corridor. The teams kickstarted the final leg of the competition this past weekend with a summer workshop, symposium and site visit alongside local developers and city officials. All three final proposals will be unveiled to the public this mid-October with a lecture series host by each team (dates and information here). A winner is expected to be selected shortly after. 

AD Interviews: Reinier de Graaf

While the final products of OMA's oeuvre are well-documented and widely published, a large portion of the Dutch firm's work goes unrecognized and relatively unnoticed: the contextual, solution-oriented research undertaken by AMO. Although OMA’s lesser-known twin, AMO is vital to OMA’s approach, allowing the firm to delve into a world of context and explore possibilities beyond the built form. 

It was with this in mind that we sat down with Reinier de Graaf, a partner at the firm. In addition to the building and masterplan projects he also manages on the OMA side of things, de Graaf has been the director of AMO since 2002, overseeing a diverse portfolio of projects. Over the past few years, AMO's energies have fueled the creation of the curriculum at Strelka; a "roadmap" for a de-carbonized power grid for the EU; and an exhibition that celebrated the architect as civil servant. 

From our very first question (what is OMA's mission?), de Graaf answered with his characteristic aversion to "general terms," explaining that "[OMA's] mission is to explore unexpected subjects [...] without a preconceived mission."

OMA's Competition Proposal Selected in Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s City Staff has recommended OMA’s competition proposal for a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. The building and surrounding plaza incorporates a civic plaza, cultural venue, retail, residences, offices and a boutique hotel. The City Staff selection panel praised OMA’s project for its iconic architecture and flexibility, saying it would “easily accommodate potential design modifications and adjust to market demand changes in the future.” Santa Monica’s City Council will review the recommendation on August 27th before the project formally proceeds in 2014.

The proposal’s plazas and terraces will add over 55,000 square feet of programmable open space. A cultural venue will sit inside of the building, anchored by office spaces for Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles’ growing tech industry. The project will be led by OMA’s New York office, headed by Shohei Shigematsu. He explained, “Our design provides residents, tourists, and entrepreneurs a dynamic new public realm – a stepped building that achieves a strong interaction between interior program and exterior environments.”

More images and information after the break…

© OMA © OMA © OMA © OMA

OMA Wins Miami Beach Convention Center

After months of competition, debate, and quite a fair share of controversy (from the Miami politiicans that is), OMA and South Beach ACE have beaten BIG to win the Miami Beach Convention Center masterplan. 

Despite the last-ditch efforts of the Miami politicians to keep the drama going (including a presentation on the supposed superiority of the BIG plan, due to time-sensitivity and cost-efficiency) and even the surprising revelation that negotiations with the teams had been taped (we assume to monitor corruption, as accusations of back-handed deals have haunted the vote), the Miami Commissioners approved the South Beach ACE team over the Portman-CMC team (with BIG) in a five to two vote

The 52 acre mixed-used development will not only include an iconic new convention center and hotel, but will revitalize this underutilized area of Miami Beach with a network of undulating, green spaces that integrate into Miami's urban fabric. As OMA Partner-in-charge of the project, Shohei Shigematsu, and Rem Koolhaas said in a statement: "We are thrilled to be chosen to develop one of the most significant urban districts in the US. Our design will reintegrate Miami's vital convention center with its neighbors, offering new facilities as well as amplifying the character of this exciting city."

Last month we interviewed Shohei Shigematsu about the Miami Project. Check out that interview, as well as a short video of the proposal itself, after the break...

Fate Uncertain for Miami Beach Convention Center

OMA, BIG and their partnering developers have until later today to decide whether they want to alter their plans for the Miami Beach Convention Center or walk away from the competition entirely.  

CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2013

Winner: CCTV; Beijing, China / OMA © Philippe Ruault
Winner: CCTV; Beijing, China / OMA © Philippe Ruault

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named _ distinctive towers from Canada, China, the UK and UAE as the best tall buildings in the world for 2013. Each selected project, judged by a panel of industry executives, have been selected for their “extraordinary contribution in the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, as well as for achieving sustainability at the broadest level.”

“The winners and finalists include some of the most striking buildings on the global landscape,” said Jeanne Gang, awards jury chair and principal of Studio Gang Architects. “They represent resolutions to a huge range of contemporary issues, from energy consumption to integration with the urban realm on the ground.” 

The 2013 winners are...

Rem Koolhaas Will Design New Building for State Hermitage Museum in Russia

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas will design a new project for the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. RIA Novosti and The Calvert Journal report that the new building will be “located in the museum's storage facility in Staraya Derevnya in the north of the city” and that it “will house the Hermitage Library, the Costume Museum, the gallery's publishing arm, and a public event space.” This projects marks Koolhaas’ continued presence in Russia; he has been collaborating and teaching at the Strelka Institute and is currently working on the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow's Gorky Park.

OMA-designed Luxury Home in Manila Nears Completion

Vanity Fair reports that Developer Robbie Antonio’s OMA-designed “Stealth,” a $15 million private residence/art gallery in Manila will be completed by the end of the month. The home is a series of stacked, irregular boxes with rooftop pool and waterfall.

AD Interviews OMA, BIG on their Miami Showdown

Over the last few months, OMA and BIG have been vying for the opportunity to redevelop the 52-acre site home to the convention center in the heart of Miami Beach. With two award-winning, international firms at the center of the showdown, the media frenzy has been intense and the public’s imagination activated. It only remains to be seen if the results, which promise to be visionary, surpass expectation. With so much on the line, we decided to sit down with both OMA and BIG and discuss how their proposals differ.

OMA Leads Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc Competition in Bordeaux

© OMA, Artefactory, Frans Parthesius
© OMA, Artefactory, Frans Parthesius

City officials have selected OMA’s “stripped-down design” as one of two final projects for the Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc international competition in Bordeaux, France. Stretching over the Garonne River, the OMA-designed proposal seeks to rethink the civic function and symbolism of a 21st century bridge by designing a multimodal “platform that can accommodate all the events of the city.” “We wanted to provide the simplest expression – the least technical, least lyrical, an almost primitive structural solution,” stated Clement Blanchet, the project architect working alongside Rem Koolhaas. “This simplicity allowed us to create a generous platform for pedestrians and public programs, as well as flexibility in accommodating the future needs of various types of traffic.” More from the project description after the break…

Who Should Win the OMA vs. BIG Miami Showdown?

The Miami Beach Convention Center, a giant box of a building constructed in 1957, is in desperate need of a makeover and two design teams have bravely accepted the challenge. Team 1 is dubbed South Beach ACE (Arts, Culture, Entertainment District) and is a collaboration between Rem Koolhaas's OMA firm, Tishman, UIA, MVVA, Raymond Jungles and TVS. Team 2 goes by the name of Miami Beach Square and includes BIG, West 8, Fentress, JPA and Portman CMC. Both proposals completely re-imagine 52 acres of prime beach real estate and cost over a billion dollars in public and private funds. So, who does it better? 

Vote for your favorite after the break...

Strelka Talks: Architecture and Community / Reinier de Graaf

"The Community" might be the most frequently used term over the last 50 years of Architectural and Urban discourse. For decades, "the community" has served as a legitimization for anything from Team X to New Urbanism, from Celebration to "vancouverism". But what is "the community"? Where should we look for the proper definition? How did communities appear in the past and how do they form today? Can 'the community" influence the design of its own space, territoiry or context? If yes, what could be the relationship between the community and architecture in the future? 

In his Strelka talk Reinier de Graaf is trying to answer these and other, even more complex questions.

Via the Strelka Institute.

A Crash Course on Modern Architecture (Part 2)

Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup is associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This article originally appeared in GRASP.

Miss Part 1? Find it here.

Architecture is inseparable from planning, and the huge challenge for the current generation is the growth and shrinkage of cities. Some cities, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, are growing at exponential rates, while former global hubs in the northern are turning into countrysides. In the south, populations are still growing a lot, while populations are dwindling in Europe, Russia and North East Asia. The dream of the Bilbao effect was based on the hope that there might be a quick fix to both of these problems. Well, there is not.

A decade ago, few people even recognized this was a real issue and even today it is hardly ever mentioned in a political context. As a politician, you cannot say out loud that you have given up on a huge part of the electorate, or that it makes sense for the national economy to favor another part. Reclaiming the agricultural part of a nation is a political suicide issue whether you are in Europe or Latin America. And investing in urban development in a few, hand-picked areas while other areas are desolate is equally despised.

The one person, who is consistently thinking and writing about this problem, is Rem Koolhaas, a co-founder of OMA

Architects Selected for Competition to Design Nobel Prize's New Home

Blasieholmen at Nybroviken in Stockholm. Image © Jeppe Wikström
Blasieholmen at Nybroviken in Stockholm. Image © Jeppe Wikström

Out of 140 architects considered, 12 architects have been selected by the Nobel Foundation to compete to design their new home, a Nobel Center in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. The conspicuously European selection, chosen for their "design and artistic abilities and experience working in intricate urban environments," includes some very big names - including BIG, David Chipperfield Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and OMA. The only non-Europeans to compete will be SANAA's Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. 

See the full list of competitors, and more information on the competition, after the break...