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David Adjaye: "Architecture Cannot be Autonomous"

"I believe that for architecture to be emotionally relevant to people, that there has to be a connection, [that] there has to be a relationship, that architecture cannot be autonomous. If it's not connected to the lives of people, the histories of people, I think there's a problem." In a recent interview with Aljazeera's Lisa Fletcher, British architect David Adjaye discusses his recent work and how the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History will serve as a "negotiator" on racial tension in the US. Read the full interview, here

2015 AIA|DC Emerging Architects Thesis Showcase

The AIA|DC Emerging Architects Committee (AIA|DC EAC) is excited to announce our presenters for the second-annual Thesis Showcase. Five recent B.Arch and M.Arch graduates from schools around the world will present their thesis projects to members of the AIA|DC and the public. The showcase event aims to bridge the gap between recent graduates and local practicing architects, by providing an opportunity for practitioners to view a sample of the work hailing from architecture schools around the country and abroad. The selected presenters will showcase their work at AIA|DC’s District Architecture Center (DAC) on August 27, 2015 at 6:00pm. Following the presentations a networking reception will occur at DAC’s gallery space in Penn Quarter.

KAMJZ Proposes to Preserve Pershing Park with an Overhead Memorial

Earlier this month, after viewing the contenders in the US World War I Centennial Commission’s competition to redesign the National World War I Memorial in Washington DC, organizations like The Cultural Landscape Foundation began to began to voice their opinion regarding the reach of the competition. With the cultural importance of the site in mind, such organizations had hoped that the redesign would maintain the existing Pershing Park, but were disappointed to discover that the majority of the competition’s design proposals seek to demolish the existing landscape.

Although left off of the competition’s shortlist, KAMJZ Architects’ proposal for the World War I memorial addresses these concerns by leaving Pershing Park almost completely intact. Leaving alone the park’s seating areas, agora, and landscaping, the design proposal unifies the park by adding an outer ring of trees “along the borders of the site [to] provide an acoustic barrier from the noisy adjacent streets.”

Courtesy of KAMJZ Architects Courtesy of KAMJZ Architects Courtesy of KAMJZ Architects Courtesy of KAMJZ Architects

World War I Memorial Competition Finalists Announced

In May, the US World War I Centennial Commission launched its design competition for the redesign of the National World War I Memorial, located in Washing DC. Though some concerns about the fate of Pershing Park, which currently occupies the site, have been voiced, the competition will continue nonetheless, aiming to fulfill the Commission's stated aim "to transform Pershing Park from a park that happens to contain a memorial to a site that is primarily a national World War I memorial, within a revitalized urban park setting with a distinct sense of place."

After cycling through a first stage of entries, the competition has reached its second stage, which entails a public viewing and commentary of the top five designs, before a winner is selected in January 2016.

View the five finalists, after the break.

Courtesy of The US World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The US World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The US World War I Centennial Commission Courtesy of The US World War I Centennial Commission

Images Emerge of Souto de Moura's First US Project

Images of Souto Moura Arquitectos' first US project has emerged. Aimed to replace a former gas station at 2715 Pennsylvanian Avenue NW in Washington DC, the five-story red brick and concrete building will feature a ground floor restaurant and eight 2,000-square-foot apartment units with balconies, a gym and penthouse terrace.  

As BizJournals reports, the proposal is being pitched by EastBanc Inc. as the new "entrance to Georgetown." The Portuguese architect chose red brick "because it seems to be the most appropriate for this part of the city."

Charles Birnbaum on the Need to Save DC's Pershing Park

Last May, we published an open call for the redesign of the National World War I Memorial at Washington DC's Pershing Park, situated between the White House and the Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue. Opened as a park plaza in 1981, the park’s current state is in need of renewal.

The competition, hosted by the United States Federation for the Commemoration of the World Wars and sponsored by the World War I Centennial Commission, received over 350 entries. While these entries did generally follow the guidelines they were given, most of the designs incorporated the complete demolition of the park.

Now, because the park is one of the most significant works of Modernist landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, with planting plan designs by Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, landscape architecture organizations like The Cultural Landscape Foundation are speaking up against the possibility of demolition.

Gallaudet University Launches $60M Public Competition to Redesign Its Campus

Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for deaf and hard of hearing students, has launched an international competition to re-design its historic Washington DC campus. Participants will be challenged to "create a new campus gateway and redefine the University’s urban edge as a vibrant, mixed-use, creative and cultural district." Design proposals are not required during the competition's first stage; teams will be shortlisted based on their "understanding of the institution and project, team composition and past experience."

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, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee. Read the full article, here.

Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Wins Final Approval

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has awarded Frank Gehry's controversial Eisenhower Memorial final approval during a meeting held on July 9. This means all agencies overseeing the project has (finally) agreed on the design, which has taken 15 years and many design revisions to achieve. The project, now a joint venture between Gehry and AECOM, was initially granted preliminary approval last October. 

"The resulting Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design satisfies the goals of the seven design principles established for this site in 2006 by the NCPC to preserve and enhance the unique character of this site and establish a new green space within the context of L’Enfant’s plan for Washington D.C.," said the NCPC in their final report. You can read the report in full, here

Snarkitecture Turns National Building Museum into Massive Ball-Pit

Now through September 7, you can take a "swim" in a massive "BEACH" that has taken over the National Building Museum's Great Hall. Spanning 10,000-square-feet, the BEACH was created in partnership with Brooklyn-based Snarkitecture to offer the people of Washington D.C. a one-of-a-kind installation as part of the NBM's "Summer Block Party."

The "ocean" is essentially a ball-pit comprised of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. It is contained within a mirrored, all-white enclosure flanked by a 50-foot-wide "shoreline" that offers visitors the option to wade the  "water" or sit back and relax. 

© Noah Kalina © Noah Kalina © Noah Kalina © Noah Kalina

Images Released of Beyer Blinder Belle-Designed U.S. Diplomacy Center

The Washington Post has published renderings of the new U.S. Diplomacy Center currently under construction at the State Department in Washington DC. "A shimmering pavilion," as architecture critic Philip Kennicott describes, the new center will serve as a welcoming public entrance to the Department of State's headquarters and be the nation's first museum and education center devoted entirely to the "history, practice and challenges of US Diplomacy. 

Designed by architect Hany Hassan of Beyer Blinder Belle, the glass pavilion will house a museum and an underground cafe, bookstore and event space, providing a new destination just two blocks from the National Mall. 

Help the National Building Museum and Snarkitecture Bring a Beach to D.C.

In partnership with Brooklyn-based Snarkitecture, the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington, D.C. aims to once again create an interactive architectural exhibit as a part of its “Summer Block Party” programming. While last year’s exhibit included a life-sized maze by BIG, this summer, the museum will host a 10,000 square foot enclosure in its Great Hall called the BEACH.

Open Call: US Launches Competition for National World War I Memorial

The US World War I Centennial Commission has launched a design competition for the National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. The competition will be a two-stage design competition, and is open internationally to any professionals, university-level students, and all other interested participants. "The objective is to transform Pershing Park from a park that happens to contain a memorial to a site that is primarily a national World War I memorial, within a revitalized urban park setting with a distinct sense of place that complements the memorial purpose while attracting visitors, workers, and residents of the District of Columbia," says the Commission. 

Open Call: Peace Corps Host National Competition for Washington DC Memorial

The Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation">PCCF) is sponsoring a two-stage, national design competition to select an artistically exceptional design concept for a permanent commemorative work in the heart of Washington DC. This competition will provide designers from all across the United States an opportunity to create a compelling work of public art that will be bold and inspirational. The design should focus on and express American ideals and values that are the essence of the Peace Corps and Peace Corps service. It should be about America and our aspirations as a people, and about the Peace Corps as a manifestation of those aspirations. Submissions are due June 12, 2015. More information can be found here

International Spy Museum Aims to Relocate to New Richard Rogers Building

The Washington DC International Spy Museum is seeking permission to relocate to a new $100 million building designed by Richard Rogers at L’Enfant Plaza. Contingent on approval from the Commission of Fine Arts, as the Washington Business Journal reports, the new 100,000-square-foot, six-story proposed museum would be sited on an open area adjacent to the L'Enfant Plaza hotel.

“I think everyone in the city knows that’s somewhat of a dead area right now,” said Spy Museum Chief Operating Officer Tamara Christian to WBJ. “When we came to Penn Quarter, it was somewhat of a dead area. Now it’s completely energized, and we’re really hoping that we’ll be able to be a catalyst to energize L’Enfant.”

Grimshaw to Masterplan Washington DC's Union Station

Grimshaw Architects has been asked to collaborate with New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle on a $10 billion masterplan that will modernize Washington DC's 1913 Beaux Arts Union Station. Along with the potential to triple passenger capacity, the plan aims to make the station more accessible and efficient, while integrate a new three-million-square-foot, mixed-use development by Amtrak and Akridge over its rail tracks. 

"Washington DC deserves a station that serves the region on a practical level whilst celebrating the gateway to the nation’s capital," said Grimshaw partner Vincent Chang.

New Images Released of Mecanoo's Plan to Modernize Mies' D.C. Library

Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson Architecture has released their completed preliminary designs for the modernization of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - the only library and Washington D.C. building ever designed by Mies van der Rohe. The team’s competition-winning scheme aims to improve “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.”

“While not final, these renderings demonstrate the amazing possibilities as we work to transform this historic building into a center for learning, innovation and engagement for the District,” says the D.C. Public Library. Updated images and more information about the design, after the break.

Win a Set of LEGO® Architecture's Newly Released Lincoln Memorial

We announced earlier this month that the LEGO® Architecture series will now include the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC! Thanks to LEGO® Architecture, two of our US readers now have the chance to win their very own set.

Official Rules: To participate, let us know what existing LEGO® Architecture set is your favorite. All you have to do is become a registered user at ArchDaily and leave us your answer in the comments below. Two winners will be chosen at random from entries received between Monday, January 26th and Sunday, February 1st at 11:59 EST. Anyone in the United States is welcome to participate. One entry per person. ArchDaily will enforce verification and remove duplicated ones before choosing the winner.

Good luck!