Stirling Prize Winning Architects Build LEGO Cities for the London Festival of Architecture

Organised as part of the Festival of Architecture. Image © Agnese Sanvito

As part of the 2014 London Festival of Architecture, teams of architects from the four of the most recent Stirling Prize winning British practices were challenged with creating the most imaginative piece of a city – out of LEGO. Each team began with a carefully laid out square on the floor of the largest gallery of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, at which point they were given just one hour and 45 minutes to create an urban masterpiece out of blocks. Each group of architects worked alongside students from the Royal Academy’s attRAct programme, which offers A-level art students the chance to engage with art and architecture. An esteemed panel of judges ultimately selected the team from Zaha Hadid Architects as victorious, who “considered London on a huge scale and used curving buildings of different typologies which echoed the shape of the Thames.”

Read more about the brief and the other participating entries after the break.

Critical Round-Up: The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist

Though O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Building for the LSE is not the bookie’s favourite, many critics feel it is most deserving of the Stirling Prize. Image © Dennis Gilbert

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has now announced the six projects that form this year’s Stirling Prize Shortlist, the award that is the ultimate prize for any British building. As the RIBA’s most publicly prominent award, the Stirling Prize is often a prime demonstration of the tension between architecture that is widely appreciated by the general populace, and that which is lauded by architectural critics and practitioners.

This year is no exception, with perhaps the country’s highest-profile project in years – the Shard - just part of the controversy. What did the critics make of the RIBA’s selection? Find out after the break.

RIBA Announces 2014 Stirling Prize Shortlist

The RIBA has announced the six projects that will compete for the 2014 Stirling Prize, the award for the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The six nominees will now be judged head to head for British architecture’s highest honour, based on “their design excellence and their significance in the evolution of architecture and the built environment,” with a winner announced on October 16th. See the full shortlist after the break.

Zaha Hadid Architects Reveals Modified Tokyo National Stadium Designs

The updated design for the Tokyo National Stadium. Image Courtesy of Sport Council

Update: The Japan Sport Council has now unveiled images of ZHA’s redesigned Tokyo National Stadium, which Zaha Hadid Architects say will make “make the stadium even more efficient, user-focussed, adaptable and sustainable.” The capacity of the stadium will remain at 80,000 seats.

After sustained protest from Japanese architects and citizens alike, Zaha Hadid Architects have confessed that they are modifying their designs for Tokyo’s National Stadium, the centerpiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After repeated criticism, including a launched by Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki, the Japanese Government had already announced a plan to reduce the cost from its original budget of $3 billion to a more manageable $1.7 billion.

Now, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added fuel to the fire by saying that it would support a scaled-back plan for the entire event: “We want to see more existing venues, we want to see the use of more temporary grandstands,” said Committee vice president John Coates.

More on Tokyo’s plan to dial down its Olympics after the break

Library and Learning Centre University of Economics Vienna / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Roland Halbe

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: ,
Partners In Charge: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Project Architect: Cornelius Schlotthauer
Area: 28,000 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Roland Halbe, Iwan Baan

London Design Museum’s Design of the Year: Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center has beaten out seven shortlisted designs to win  Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Awards. The shortlisted proposals - from a portable eye examination kit to Volkswagen’s XL1 CAR – will remain on view at the museum through August 25.

Not only is Ms. Hadid the first woman recipient in the Awards’ seven year history, but the center is the first architecture project to be lauded: ”It’s beautiful, it’s inspiring, it’s the clear vision of a singular genius and we thought it was a remarkable piece of work,” jury member Ekow Eshun noted.

nominated architecture projects included: NLE Architects’ Makoko Floating SchoolThe Turbulences FRAC Centre by Jakob + Macfarlane Architects, and the interior remodeling of the St. Moritz Church by John Pawson. See more stunning images of the Heydar Aliyev Center here.

Zaha Hadid Officially Signed Up For Iraq Parliament Job

The now abandoned competition-winning design by Assemblage. The Iraqi Council of Representatives has come under fire for not releasing details of Hadid’s design. Image © Assemblage

Zaha Hadid has now officially signed a deal to design the Iraq Parliament building in Baghdad, despite only coming third in the original design competition. BD Online reports that Hadid attended a signing ceremony held at the Iraqi Embassy in London last month, finally bringing a close to the controversial process.

The original competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects at the request of the Iraqi Government was won by Assemblage, however shortly after the win it became apparent that the Iraqi Council of Representatives had ideas, as they remained in discussion with Hadid’s Practice. Under the rules of the competition, the client is under no obligation to follow through with the winning design.

More on the controversy after the break

Issam Fares Institute – American University of Beirut / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton+Crow

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: Bliss,
Design : Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Area: 3000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Hufton+Crow, Luke Hayes

Zaha Hadid and SOM Among 5 Competing to Design Scandinavia’s Tallest Tower

Proposal #1: “Ursa” (214 meters). Image Courtesy of Serneke

Zaha Hadid Architects, SOM, Ian Simpson Architects, Manuelle Gautrand Architects, and Wingårdhs Arkitektkontor are all competing to design what will be the tallest tower in Scandinavia. Submitted anonymously, the five shortlisted proposals have just been unveiled by Serneke, who has envisioned the skyscraper as an integral piece to a larger 32,000 square meter mixed-use masterplan in that has been in the making for more than ten years.

Check out each shortlisted design, after the break…

Japanese Architect Launches Second Petition Against Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Stadium

© ZHA

Tokyo-based architect Edward Suzuki has launched another petition against Zaha Hadid‘s design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium, claiming it is “overwhelmingly large for the context” and ”will desecrate the ‘sacred grounds’ of Meiji Shrine Outer Gardens”. This is the second petition against the design and is intended to support the earlier petition by Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki by providing an equivalent targeted primarily at English speakers, aiming to “pressure our government not only from within but also from outside of our country.” You can see the petition in full here.

Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki Petition Against Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Olympic Stadium

© ZHA

Though it seemed a compromise was met last October, when Japan’s minister of education, Hakubun Shimomura announced plans to reduce the cost and scale of the Zaha Hadid-designed Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the debate rages on.  

Pritzker laureates and Fumihiko Maki have launched an online to “defend the ginko tree-lined landscape of blue sky and Jingu Outer Gardens” from the construction of Hadid’s “oversized” stadium. 

The petition (now with more than 13,000 signatures) urges the Japan Sports Council, who hand selected Hadid’s winning design alongside Tadao Ando, to reconsider upgrading the existing Meiji Jingo Gaien Stadium and the gardens surrounding it. This solution, they believe, is a more affordable and sustainable alternative that would prevent the relocation of nearby residents. 

Take a tour though Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium and share your thoughts about the design (and petition), after the break…

Jockey Club Innovation Tower / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Iwan Baan

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: , Hung Hom, The Polytechnic University, Jockey Club Innovation Tower 賽馬會創新樓
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Project Director : Woody K.T. Yao
Project Leader : Simon K.M. Yu
Area: 15000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Virgile Simon Bertrand, Doublespace, Iwan Baan

Zaha Hadid Among 7 Shortlisted for “Design of the Year 2014”

Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center is among seven shortlisted designs being considered for this year’s Design of the Year award. As announced by ’s Design Museum, the undulating cultural center was pulled from 76 innovative nominations and placed first in the architecture category. The shortlisted proposals, ranging from a portable eye examination kit to Volkswagen’s XL1 CAR, will remain on view at the museum through August 25. A winner is expected to be announced June 30. 

Zaha Hadid Designs “City of Dreams” Hotel Tower in Macau

North Elevation. Image © ; 2014 Melco Crown Entertainment Limited

Zaha Hadid Architects has designed a 40-story luxury hotel for ’s premier leisure and entertainment destination known as “City of Dreams.” Perceived as a single “sculptural element” united by an exposed exoskeleton mesh structure, the “simple volume” was extruded from its rectangular site as two towers connected at the podium and roof levels, with two organically-shaped bridges punctuating the tower’s center external void. This central void is then celebrated by a 40-meter tall, “grandiose atrium” that greets visitors as they enter the hotel.

Take a digital tour through the building and into the atrium via a newly released video, after the break…

Mexico City Shortlists Seven Architects for Major Airport Expansion

Zagreb Airport Competition Proposal / ZHA ©

Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers are among seven international practices listed to compete for a 5,000 hectare expansion that hopes to “alleviate severe congestion” at the Mexico City airport. With each team led by Mexican firms, the shortlisted architects, which also include SOM, Gensler, Pascall+Watson and Teodoro González de León with Taller de Arquitectura X, have been asked to envision a 70-gate, phased expansion capable of hosting 40-million passengers per year. A schematic masterplan has been provided by Arup. Completion of the first phases is tentatively planned for 2018. 

Fast Company Names Top 10 Most Innovative Practices in Architecture

Domino Sugar Factory Master Plan Development /

Fast Company has announced who they believe to be the most innovative practices in architecture for 2014. Topping this list is New York’s SHoP Architects who has gone from “boutique to big commissions in only a few years.” See who made the list after the break and let us know who you believe is the world’s most innovative firms in the comment section below.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza / Zaha Hadid Architects

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: 281 Euljiro-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Architect In Charge:
Design Partners: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Zha Project Leader: Eddie Can Chiu-Fai
Zha Project Managers: Craig Kiner and Charles Walker
Zha Project Team: Kaloyan Erevinov, Hooman Talebi, Matthew Wong, Martin Self, Carlos S. Martinez, Camiel Weijenberg, Florian Goscheff, Maaike Hawinkels, Aditya Chandra, Andy Chang, Arianna Russo, Ayat Fadaifard, Josias Hamid, Shuojiong Zhang, Natalie Koerner, Jae Yoon Lee, Federico Rossi, John Klein, Chikara Inamura, Alan Lu
Zha Competition Team: Kaloyan Erevinov, Paloma Gormley, Hee Seung Lee, Kelly Lee, Andres Madrid, Deniz Manisali, Kevin McClellan, Claus Voigtmann, Maurits Fennis
Area: 89574.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs:  Virgile Simon Bertrand

Six of Britain’s Best Shortlisted for Crystal Palace Project

Aerial view of site for Crystal Palace rebuild. Image Courtesy of ZhongRong Group

After an open competition that sought to attract “the very best British architecture can offer,” six architects – including Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers – have been selected as the potential architects of the project to rebuild the Crystal Palace in south . See the full shortlist after the break.