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MARK Magazine #51

Articles on China’s building boom often highlight the property bubble, megalomaniac planners, governmental corruption and private graft, substandard building practices and the destruction of the nation’s cultural heritage.

Zaha Hadid to Receive Honoray Degree from Goldsmiths College

Zaha Hadid will be awarded an honorary degree and fellowship from Goldsmiths College, at the University of London, during the college’s graduation ceremony in September. Hadid was chosen because of her “inventive approach, and eagerness to challenge conventions which have pushed the boundaries of architecture and urban design," Architects’ Journal (AJ) reported.

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

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.

© Agnese Sanvito Team from Zaha Hadid Architects and attRAct students with their winning entry. Image © Agnese Sanvito Zaha Hadid Architects' Project Under Construction. Image © Agnese Sanvito The creation by Witherford Watson Mann. Image © Agnese Sanvito

Critical Round-Up: The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist

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

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 petition 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

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

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.

Other 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.

© Hélène Binet © Hufton + Crow © Hélène Binet © Iwan Baan

Zaha Hadid Officially Signed Up For Iraq Parliament Job

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 other 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

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

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

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

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 Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki have launched an online petition 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...

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

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 London’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. 

Mexico City Shortlists Seven Architects for Major Airport Expansion

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

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. 

Six of Britain's Best Shortlisted for Crystal Palace Project

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 London. See the full shortlist after the break.

What Does a Zaha Hadid-Designed Water Fountain Look Like?

Zaha Hadid ArchitectsAdam ArchitectureHopkins ArchitectsEric Parry ArchitectsAllford Hall Monaghan Morris and Studio Weave have all unveiled, what AJ describes as, six “jaw-dropping” proposals for new water kiosks planned for central London. As part of a competition, conducted by the British journal, the architect-designed drinking fountains will be on view at The Building Centre from February 20 through March 14. View them all and vote for your favorite here.

Will Internet Kill the Architect Star?

After the controversial lampooning of Zaha Hadid's Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, Anthony Flint of the Atlantic Cities casts a critical eye over how the internet, and the swarms of would-be architecture critics that reside there, have changed the way that buildings are designed. Tracking the trend for this form of criticism from Le Corbusier's "two pianos having sex" (aka the Carpenter Centre at Harvard) to the hyper-reactive culture of modern online criticism today, he looks at how architects - and PR companies - are responding. You can read the full article here.