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Perkins+Will Unveil Master Plan for Antalya, Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Antalya Mayor Menderes Turel have announced their support for Perkins+Will’s sustainable master plan for Antalya, Turkey. The master plan will revitalize and preserve the Bogacay Creek Basin area of Antalya, improving its quality as a major tourist city along the Turkish Riviera.

Courtesy of Perkins+Will Courtesy of Perkins+Will Courtesy of Perkins+Will Courtesy of Perkins+Will

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.

TED Talk: Norman Foster on Green Architecture

“As an architect you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown. The green agenda is probably the most important agenda and issue of the day […] all the projects which have, in some way, been inspired by that agenda are about a celebratory lifestyle, in a way celebrating the places and spaces which determine the quality of life.”

Watch Gregg Pasquarelli and Vishaan Chakrabarti Describe their Ideal New York

In this new video by WIRED, Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects and Vishaan Chakrabarti of Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism discuss the biggest changes that they would make to New York City. Covering everything from public green space to transit infrastructure, the two speak at length on the Big Apple’s planning and how it compares to other massive metropolitan cities around the world. Major changes they suggest include the separation of Central Park into two large strips, for example “West Side” and “East Side” Park, with industrial areas on the outside edge and residential/commercial areas located between them.

5 Projects at the Chicago Biennial that Demonstrate the State of the Art of Sustainability

At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the theme selected by directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda was deliberately wide in scope, with the expectation that more than one hundred exhibitors would each bring their own perspective on what is “The State of the Art of Architecture.” But where does that leave one of architecture's most widely adopted missions of the 21st century: sustainability? In this article, originally published on her blog Architectstasy as “Chicago Architecture Biennial: The State of the Art of Sustainability,” Jessica A S Letaw delves into five projects that take on sustainability in the context of Chicago's biennial.

At North America's inaugural Architecture Biennial in Chicago, “The State of the Art of Architecture,” architectural firms and practices from all six inhabited continents have been invited to display their work. Spanning all sizes and kinds of projects, the Biennial is showcasing solutions to design problems from spiderwebs to social housing.

US buildings use around 40% of all the country’s energy consumption. It is a disconcerting truth that even if every new building starting construction tomorrow were to be net-zero energy and net-zero water, we’d still be on a crash course, draining more naturally-available resources than our one planet can permanently sustain. In this environment, architectural designers have a special responsibility to educate themselves about innovative sustainable design techniques, from those that have worked for thousands of years to those that, as the Biennial’s title hopefully suggests, are state of the art.

So what does the Biennial have to say about sustainability? Five projects on display demonstrate different approaches at five different scales: materials, buildings, resources, cities, and the globe.

Architects Who Make Hope Visible (for the Community and for the Profession)

Continuing with our coverage of Espacios de Paz 2015 (Spaces for Peace) in Venezuela, Plataforma Arquitectura Editor José Tomás Franco reflects on the crisis of the architect who approaches his work abstractly -- without taking into consideration the unique problems and issues of the territory -- and on the strengthening of a collective architecture, that is honest and efficient, not only benefitting the affected communities but also, indirectly, revolutionizing the way we architects do our jobs.

In times of crisis, the need for progress forces us into action. While pressing issues in Latin America generate instances to improve the quality of life in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, architects, which are plentiful in the region, seem pressured to broaden their scope and search for new fertile spaces to work in. This meeting of forces not only translates into a real contribution to a particular community, but also subtly reveals a change in the way in which we practice architecture.  

Faced with the highly complex task of meeting the urgent needs of people with limited resources, Latin American architects have been obliged to work based on efficiency and teamwork, recovering key skills and using them to help other human beings. Skills that are essential for showing that our work is fundamental, and not only in the cities' forgotten neighborhoods.

Why do Latin American architects seem to be returning to their roots?

Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores

IaaC Student Develops 3D Printed "Living Screen" From Algae

"The debate linked to a more responsive architecture, connected to nature, has been growing since the 1960s," explains Irina Shaklova in her description of her IaaC research project Living Screen. "Notwithstanding this fact, to this day, architecture is somewhat conservative: following the same principles with the belief in rigidity, solidity, and longevity."

While Shaklova's argument does generally ring true, that's not to say that there haven't been important developments at the cutting edge of architecture that integrate building technologies and living systems, including The Living's mycelium-based installation for the 2014 MoMA Young Architect's Program and self-healing concrete made using bacteria. But while both of these remain at the level of research and small-scale experimentation, one of the most impressive exercises in living architecture recently was made with algae - specifically, the Solarleaf facade developed by Arup, Strategic Science Consult of Germany (SSC), and Colt International, which filters Carbon Dioxide from the air to grow algae which is later used as fuel in bioreactors.

With Living Screen, Shaklova presents a variation on this idea that is perhaps less intensively engineered than Solarleaf, offering an algae structure more in tune with her vision against that rigidity, solidity, and longevity.

From Dusk to New Dawn: How the Solar Decathlon Can Be Saved

With the close of the seventh Solar Decathlon competition last month in Irvine, California, we couldn't help but reflect on our own experience in the 2013 competition as leaders of Start.Home - Stanford University's first entry into the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s biennial net-zero energy home competition which ultimately placed fifth. With the advantage of two years of hindsight, we can now clearly see that our experience in the Decathlon has had incredible educational value to us, not only as students of architecture and engineering, but also as leaders and future professionals in interdisciplinary projects.

However, echoing recent sentiments on ArchDaily, we feel it is unclear whether the Solar Decathlon still has any of the other values it set out to have; namely to showcase cutting-edge renewable and sustainable technology in residential building design to industry and the public. In fact, as the competition looks ahead with uncertain governance and sponsorship, without some serious reexamination of its fundamental goals the Solar Decathlon may be facing its own setting sun. How did the Solar Decathlon reach its current state of irrelevance? More importantly, how should it innovate to see a new dawn in the coming years?

Design Trust and Farming Concrete Release World’s First Public Urban Agriculture Database

The Design Trust for Public Space and Farming Concrete have released the Farming Concrete Data Collection Toolkit: the first public platform for gathering, tracking and understanding urban agriculture production and the benefits of community gardens, urban farms and school gardens. The result of a six-year initiative, Five Borough Farm, the Toolkit features a user-friendly manual with simple methods of generating and collecting data at each garden and farm, with accompanying instructional videos; Barn, an online portal for farmers and gardeners to input and track their production; and Mill, a public database providing access to numbers, reports for practitioners, researchers, policymakers, funders and anyone with interest in urban agriculture.

IAAC Researcher’s Pylos 3D-Prints with Soil

Sofoklis Giannakopoulos, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), has designed Pylos, a 3D printer that utilizes a natural, biodegradable, cheap, recyclable and local material that everyone is familiar with: the earth.  

In an effort to make 3D printing a “large scale construction approach” even in years of economic and environmental turmoil, Pylos explores the structural potential of soil, a material that has been widely used in vernacular architecture around the world, and particularly in the Global South. 

Learn more about the printer after the break.

Baubotanik: The Botanically Inspired Design System that Creates Living Buildings

Timber buildings are regularly praised for their sustainability, as carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by the trees remains locked in the structure of the building. But what if you could go one better, to design buildings that not only lock in carbon, but actively absorb carbon dioxide to strengthen their structure? In this article, originally published by the International Federation of Landscape Architects as "Baubotanik: Botanically Inspired Biodesign," Ansel Oommen explores the theory and techniques of Baubotanik, a system of building with live trees that attempts to do just that.

Trees are the tall, quiet guardians of our human narrative. They spend their entire lives breathing for the planet, supporting vast ecosystems, all while providing key services in the form of food, shelter, and medicine. Their resilient boughs lift both the sky and our spirits. Their moss-aged grandeur stands testament to the shifting times, so much so, that to imagine a world without trees is to imagine a world without life.

To move forward then, mankind must not only coexist with nature, but also be its active benefactor. In Germany, this alliance is found through Baubotanik, or Living Plant Constructions. Coined by architect, Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig, the practice was inspired by the ancient art of tree shaping.

Willow tower after completion. Image © Ferdinand Ludwig Connection detail 2012. Image © Ferdinand Ludwig Test field with inosculations. Image © foto chira moro Plane cube: view from south-west directly after completion. Image © Ludwig.Schönle

Stevens' Hurricane-Resilient SU+RE House Wins Solar Decathlon 2015

A student-led team from Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) in New Jersey has won the 2015 Solar Decathlon with a “Coastal Home of the Future" - the SU+RE House. Affordable, net-zero, and entirely solar-powered, the home was inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. It hopes to serve as a prototype for coastal homes.

"SU+RE HOUSE powers itself with clean solar power, and uses 90 percent less energy than its conventional cousins," says the winning team. "In the aftermath of a storm, SU+RE HOUSE can become a hub of emergency power for surrounding neighborhoods."

FuturArc Prize 2016 & FuturArc Green Leadership Award 2016

FuturArc Prize seeks forward-thinking, innovative design ideas for Asia. The Competition offers a platform to professionals and students who are passionate about the environment. Through the force of their imagination it aspires to capture visions of a sustainable future.

Why Old is the New Green

When it comes to sustainable architecture, the focus has historically been on designing buildings to reduce emissions. In recent years though, this focus has expanded to take into account the full life-cycle impact of a building and its components. But is this enough? In this article from ArchitectureBoston's Fall 2015 Issue, originally titled "Old is the new green," Jean Carroon FAIA and Ben Carlson argue that not only are most green buildings not designed with the full life-cycle of their materials in mind, but that even those which are they rely on a payback period that we simply can't afford. The solution? A dose of "radical common sense" in the form of preservation.

“Radical common sense” is the term a fellow preservation architect uses to describe a mindset that values repair over replacement. Why is this radical? Because, while reuse of water bottles and grocery bags is rapidly gaining ground, reuse of buildings and building components is not. And it’s not hard to see why: It is almost always less expensive and easier to replace a whole building and almost any of its elements — doors, windows, light fixtures — than to repair and reuse. Replacement also can offer measurable and consistent quality with product certifications and warranties not available for repaired items. Theoretically, a new building can ensure “high performance” and significantly reduce the environmental impact of building operations while creating healthier spaces. What’s not to like?

Maybe the old saying applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We want and need “sustainability.” We want and need buildings, towns, and cities that are not bad for the environment nor the people who live and work in them. But is “new” the solution or the problem?

Kickstarter by New-Territories M4 Addresses New Forms of Ownership in Architecture

New-Territories/ M4 has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund MMYST, a hybrid architecture project that combines a hotel with a manufactured habitat for Swiftlets, a bird native to Thailand. Located in Krabi, the building will be used almost exclusively by backers of the project and will be set for removal in 10 years. In order to be realized, the project requires $200,000 in funding before October 25, 2015. Read more about this experimental project after the break.

Werner Sobek Urges for Emissions-Free Cities by 2020

Architect and engineer, Werner Sobek, is urging cities to become emissions-free by the year 2020 – for all cars and buildings to be entirely powered by renewable energy. Sobek shared this goal during his acceptance speech of the Fritz Leonhardt Prize in July 2015, saying that this goal is achievable, but only with the full support of automotive and construction industries. Although seven leading, industrialized nations have agreed to de-carbonization by the end of the century, Sobek believes that that would be too late. Read more about Werner Sobek’s vision of the future after the break.

Happy World Architecture Day!

Created by the Union International des Architects (UIA) in 2005, World Architecture Day is celebrated on the first Monday of October with the aim of reminding the world about the collective responsibility of architects in designing our future cities and settlements.

This year, the UIA has selected “Architecture, Building, Climate” as the theme of the day, seeking to highlight the essential role that architecture, design and urbanism have in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. With international climate treaty negotiations set to happen later this year, the “UIA members, working bodies and partners will mobilize on 5 October to promote actions and solutions that apply the enormous power of architecture and urban design in coping with global climate change, one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

Through small actions architects can collectively make a big difference and create significant changes. To celebrate World Architecture Day, we have rounded up a selection of projects that have taken steps towards the challenge of protecting our environment.

Penda Continues to Push Bamboo with Rising Canes at Beijing Design Week

From the architect. Following up a year of development, Penda has unveiled their installation for Beijing Design Week (BJDW) 2015 – Rising Canes, a structural system made entirely of bamboo and ropes. Meant to be a speculation system for larger developments, the installation is fully modular, ecological and easy to expand in every direction. Bamboo was chosen as the main construction material for its long traditional roots in China and fantastic structural capability, as well as part of a desire to fight its current obscurity as a construction material. 

Speculation of Future Developments. Image Courtesy of Penda Speculation of Future Developments. Image Courtesy of Penda © Hua Su © Xia Zhi