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The Life Of Dalibor Vesely: Teacher, Philosopher, Acclaimed Academic

Dalibor Vesely, a celebrated architectural historian, philosopher and teacher, died this week in London aged 79. Over the course of his teaching career, which spanned five decades, he tutored a number of the world’s leading architects and thinkers from Daniel Libeskind, Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Robin Evans, to Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow.

Vesely was born in Prague in 1934, five years before the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Following World War II, he studied engineering, architecture, art history and philosophy in Prague, Munich, Paris and Heidelberg. He was awarded his doctorate from Charles University (Prague) having been taught and supervised by Josef Havlicek, Karel Honzik, and Jaroslav Fragner. Although later he would be tutored by James Stirling, it was the philosopher of phenomenology Jan Patočka who, in his own words, “contributed more than anyone else to [his] overall intellectual orientation and to the articulation of some of the critical topics” explored in his seminal book, Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation, published in 2004.

HWKN Unveils Design for "Pennovation Center" in Pennsylvania

New York-based firm HWKN have revealed the design for what is to become the University of Pennsylvania's latest hub for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. Dubbed "The Pennovation Centre," the project is the first major development within the Pennovation Works, and will occupy a 58,000-square-foot footprint on the campus' south.

A rejuvenation of the former DuPont laboratory, it is hoped that The Pennovation Centre will become an "iconic landmark" for pen, providing a "dynamic environment" for innovation in varied fields.

Courtesy of HWKN Architects Courtesy of HWKN Architects Courtesy of HWKN Architects Courtesy of HWKN Architects

AD Interviews: Winka Dubbeldam

At last week's Mextrópoli conference we spoke with Winka Dubbeldam about the challenges of architecture education. We also asked her to elaborate on why she thinks architecture should embrace industrial design tools. Watch the short clip to hear Winka's thoughts on making technology a more integral part of our built environment. 

A New Series Featuring Laurie Olin, Acclaimed Landscape Architect

The Cultural Landscape Foundation recently launched its newest documentary as part of the ongoing Oral History series, this time focusing on the ideas and career of Laurie Olin, a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and one of the greatest landscape architects of our time. Olin's influential work as a practitioner, educator and author over the past forty years has helped to guide the future of landscape architecture and shape urban life around the world.

499.SUMMIT Reimagines U.S. Prisons

Courtesy of Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch
Courtesy of Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch

With the guidance of their instructor Matthias Hollwich, students Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design have proposed an alternative to the traditional prisons seen throughout the United States. The innovative high-rise penitentiary acknowledges the fact that nearly two-thirds of the 14,000 inmates released annually from New Jersey correctional facilities will return to prison within five years. 499.SUMMIT offers a solution that intends to reverse that statistic and help inmates successfully transition back into society.

Continue after the break for more.

Courtesy of Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch Courtesy of Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch Courtesy of Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch Courtesy of Andreas Tjeldflaat and Greg Knobloch

Video: Swarming Nano Quadrotors Fly in Formation

You may remember our coverage on the Flight Assembled Architecture exhibit by Gramazio & Kohler and Raffaello D’Andrea, in collaboration with ETH Zurich, that featured a team of flying drones constructing an architectural structure at the scale of a 600m high “vertical village” out of foam blocks. Well, check this out! Roboticists at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab, along with developer Kmel Robotics, have created these autonomous Nano Quadrotors capable of flying in formation and flawlessly performing complex maneuvers. Imagine the possibilities!

Immersive Kinematics: A New Research Website at the University of Pennsylvania

Caterpillar (Courtesy of Immersive Kinematics)
Caterpillar (Courtesy of Immersive Kinematics)

Immersive Kinematics, a new research group at the University of Pennsylvania, shared with us their newly launch website. The research agenda expands the roles of architecture and engineering focusing on integrating robotics, interaction, and embedded intelligence in our buildings, cities, and cultures.

Fumihiko Maki 2011 AIA Gold Medal Winner

© Imogene Tudor
© Imogene Tudor

In recognition of his contributions to architecture in both theory and practice Fumihiko Maki was recently named the 2011 AIA Gold Medal Winner. Maki, arguably one of Japan’s most distinguished living architects, will be honored with the award in New Orleans at the AIA National Convention.