Who Should Win the OMA vs. BIG Miami Showdown?

© BIG

The 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…

AD Architecture School Guide: Portland State University School of Architecture

image via sageclassroom.com

Social justice. How can that be achieved? At Portland State University School of Architecture, faculty and students are exploring just this issue in different forms. Often when people think of or the state of Oregon, images of “crunchy” eco-“warriors” come to mind, but these issues are not simply proxies for a lifestyle or consumer choices. Rather, when discussing people and ecology, the issues are about resources. Specifically, how do humans use and allocate resources to promote fair, well-distributed advancements rather than exploitation, oppression and conspicuous consumption.

OMA Proposes Radical Redevelopment Plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center

Aerial from SW; Courtesy of OMA

just unveiled their master plan for the redevelopment of the Convention Center site. Currently in a battle with BIG and Portman CMC for the right to overhaul the 52-acre site, national developer Tishman, international architecture firm OMA, international firm TVS, and Miami Beach developer UIA Management comprise the South Beach ACE team. The vision involves bringing to life one of Miami Beach’s most underutilized public sites with a fully-revamped convention center capable of luring major events from around the world, an iconic hotel, inviting green spaces, low-density retail uses, and cultural venues. 

More images and the team’s description after the break…

Four Firms Shortlisted to Refurbish US Embassy in Athens

of the in Athens, Greece; Courtesy of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted four design firms for the major rehabilitation of the Athens Chancery project. Protected as an architectural landmark, the mid-century modern building was originally designed by the famed Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius with the consulting architect Pericles A. Sakellarios.

The shortlisted firms are:

John and Frances Angelos Law Center / Behnisch Architekten + Ayers Saint Gross

Courtesy of

Architects: Behnisch Architekten, Ayers Saint Gross
Location: 1401 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD
Client: University of Baltimore
Gross Area: 18.0123 m2 / 194.000 sqft
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten

Libeskind Selected to Design Ohio Statehouse Holocaust Memorial

via The Columbus Dispatch

 has been selected among two other renowned artists to design the  Statehouse Holocaust Memorial in Columbus. The 18-foot tall memorial brushed stainless-steel memorial will be punctuated by the six-pointed Star of David and accompanied by a 40-foot walkway with words etched in limestone.

The Indicator: When Architects Attack

© Iwan Baan

When , architecture critic for the Times, gives a bad review there is the sense that he is essentially dismantling a building, chipping its façade apart, like breaking down some charade in defense of the public’s honor. Like a hired killer he disappears the architecture, but at the same time heightens its visibility in the culture.

This ability, to provoke in such ways, is precisely why Thom Mayne would like to bar Mr. Hawthorne from taking a crack at reviewing the new building he and his firm, Morphosis designed for the firm’s new offices.

On a recent tour of the new digs, Mayne, as reported in The Architect’s Newspaper, was overheard saying, “There are no good writers in Los Angeles” and “All local writers are horrible.” To add further insult, he wants a science writer to cover it. That should be a short review.

UC Davis Art Museum Proposal / Henning Larsen Architects

Courtesy of

Last year the University of California, Davis invited three architects to compete for the chance to design their new $30 million art museum, slated to open in 2016. The competition was a design-build affair, with each entrant being asked to pair up with a contractor and submit a holistic design. For those who missed it, SO – IL was announced as the winner of the competition.

Here we present one of the two runner-up submissions from Henning Larsen Architects. Given the name ‘The Leaf’, the design it spatially and materially expresses its overlapping functions. Its name comes from the lightweight leaf-like steel and aluminum roof, which filters sunlight and offers shade. The leaf sits on a heavy concrete base, providing accommodation for the museum’s exhibits.

Read the architects description after the break…

UC Davis Art Museum Proposal / WORKac

Courtesy of Architecture

Last year the University of California, Davis invited three invited three architects to compete for the chance to design their new $30 million art museum, slated to open in 2016. The competition was a design-build affair, with each entrant being asked to pair up with a contractor and submit a holistic design. For those who missed it, SO – IL were announced yesterday as the winners of the competition.

Here we present one of two runner-up submissions from WORKac. The concept revolves around creating a distinctive beacon, which would be a center point for an overlap between art, higher-education, and everyday-life. The parallelogram form is intended to create a dynamic space which creates opportunities for interplay with the proposed landscape and surrounding area. Inside a collection of formal and informal, open and intimate are arranged along two axes, pinned together with a bright common space.

Read the architects description after the break…

One World Trade Center Will Soon Top Out at 1,776 Feet

After weather conditions refused to cooperate on Monday, the final two sections of Freedom Tower have been lifted to the summit of the One World Trade CenterConstruction of the gargantuan 758-ton, 408-foot spire – a joint Canadian-U.S. venture – began in December 2012, when 18 separate pieces were shipped to Manhattan from Canada and New JerseyThis final addition, including a steel beacon, means that the height of the building will soon rise from 1,368 feet to a more patriotic 1,776 feet once the segments are permanently installed within the next few weeks. However, it’s not yet certain that the building will officially be the tallest in the U.S.

Read more after the break…

The Indicator: Cooper Union, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down

The architecture that sunk the architecture school. ’s $111 million New Academic Building. Via Wikipedia

Beginning in 2014 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (known more commonly as Cooper Union), the famed City college, will start charging tuition.

For more than 100 years, Cooper Union, which includes a prestigious architecture school, has been “free” (full-tuition support to all students). As such it has always stood apart, charting its own path and following its own independent mission. That Cooper Union is now dead.

For Cooper Union to have survived it would have had to remain simpleminded. And I mean this in the most flattering way.

Groups Urge Congress: Keep Energy Conservation Requirements for Government Buildings

Federal Center South Building 1202; Seattle / ZGF Architects LLP © Benjamin Benschneider

The American Institute of Architects today released a letter from more than 350 different associations and companies expressing opposition to efforts by special interests to gut energy conservation requirements for federal buildings.

The letter, which is addressed to Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, was released one week ahead of the scheduled mark-up of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee May 8.

That legislation, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would promote greater use of energy efficiency technology in commercial and residential buildings and by manufacturers.

Dwell on Design 2013

Dwell on Design, America’s largest modern design event, returns to the Convention Center, June 21-23, 2013. DOD reimagines the trade show experience by transforming 200,000 square feet of concrete into a design incubator where prefab comes to life and design luminaires debate the issues of today. With more than 400 exhibitors, 200 speakers, 2000 products and an expected 30,000 attendees, DOD has become the largest design event in the US, showing how influential design is in every aspect of our modern world. is proud to announce The Lincoln Motor Company as the Presenting Auto sponsor, Design Partner jcpenney and Industry Partner The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The event is produced by Dwell Media.

More information, including keynote speakers, the 2013 highlights and a special promo code for ArchDaily readers after the break.

The Indicator: Sheltering in Place

Rudolph’s UMass Dartmouth Library. Courtesy, UMass Dartmouth

Last Sunday James S. Russell, architecture critic for Bloomberg News and a former editor for Architectural Record, mused on his personal blog about the possible influence ’s Brutalist University of Massachusetts campus in Dartmouth may have had on Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two Marathon bombers who was also a student there.

Mr. Russell describes the campus as “a gigantic eerie, dozen-building concoction of grim ribbed-concrete hubris….” This is the sort of description that drives right to the heart of urban alienation. It’s Edvard Munch’s The Scream. This ability to sum up and drive the nail home is one reason he is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News. No side-stepping here.

Positive Signs of Growth Reflected in Steady ABI and Higher Intern Employment Rates

Courtesy of Calculated Risk

For the eight consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index () is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Although the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March score was 51.9, down from a mark of 54.9 in February, this score still reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). In addition, the new projects inquiry index was 60.1, down from the reading of 64.8 the previous month.

“Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it’s not a surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months.”

Key ABI highlights and details indicating higher employment rates for intern architects after the break…

Plan Envisages Reusing Pittsburgh’s Industrial Past to Bring The City Closer Together

43rd St District View Back Towards Courtesy of

With the advent of the High Line and the recent announcement about Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, it’s becoming clear that the ‘parkway’ is a powerful new force in urban planning, which has the potential to change the way cities around the world function. A new project in Pittsburgh seeks to harness these possibilities, as the city’s history of industry has left its stamp upon the city in the form of a rusting industrial riverfront. A plan by Saski Associates envisages re-using this space to create a green belt, tying the city closer together. By adding pedestrian, cycling and light-rail transport routes, and creating plenty of green spaces, they hope to tap Pittsburgh’s unrealized potential to be a river-front city, while encouraging geographical and social closeness amongst its communities.

More images and the architect’s description after the break…

AD College Guide: InSB, Integrated School of Building

The ongoing struggles in the world’s economies has produced several innovations in the field of Architecture. One important change has been for professionals and students to seek more interdisciplinary skills that better prepare them for these inevitable economic shifts. Schools have responded in kind, defining those skills in either intellectual, analytical terms (i.e. teaching students how to better critically analyze situations while eschewing superficial “theoretical” approaches) while other schools have emphasized a more practical approach.

InSB exemplifies the latter: a program that combines all aspects of AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) into a single curriculum for both undergraduates and graduates. Founded by Tabitha Ponte and co-founder Arturo Vasquez, the school has an ambitious mission: to offer a truly integrated AEC education that is tuition-free.

Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Transbay Transit Center Aerial View; © Pelli Clarke Pelli / Transbay Joint Powers Authority

The revamped Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco broke ground earlier this week, a 1.5 million square foot development that will be part , part public park and urban space, and part office and retail establishments.  The massive undertaking, designed by renowned architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli will bring together 11 systems of local and national transportation, serving 45 million people per year.  In addition to securing access to myriad transit lines, the project will also provide downtown San Francisco with a 5.4-acre rooftop park, designed by PWP Landscape Architecture, along with numerous cultural programs.

The project is budgeted at $4.2 billion and is projected for completion in 2017.  It is funded in part by the construction of a 1,070-foot tower that is adjacent to the Transbay Transity Center, which is also designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli and slated to be the tallest tower in San Francisco.  The tower will secure 60 stories of office space and will contribute to the projected $87 billion of revenue through 2030.

Join us after the break for more details on this project.