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Critical Round-Up: Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Broad Museum

After teasing the general public by offering the press and 3,000 lucky local citizens with a preview day six months ago, the Broad Museum has finally opened its doors. Designed by Highline architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the museum took four years and $140 million to build, adding its presence to LA’s architectural Broadway, Grand Avenue. With its visually striking facade given the tough task of responding to its enigmatic neighbor, Frank Gehry’s perennially polarizing Walt Disney Concert Hall, the building was sure to attract the attention of the critics, and they rose to the challenge in their droves. Read on to find out what five critics thought of the building dubbed “the veil over the vault.”

© Jeff Duran - Warren Air© Iwan Baan© Iwan Baan© Iwan Baan+ 6

2016 Oslo Triennale Launches International Calls for Intervention Strategies and Associated Projects

The 2016 Oslo Triennale – After Belonging: A Triennale In Residence, On Residence and the Ways We Stay in Transit – has launched a call for intervention strategies and associated projects. To be held from September 8- November 27, 2016, the Triennale will look at contemporary population mobility—including an interest in migration, new forms of tourism and refugeesim— with the intention of designing “the objects, spaces and territories for a transforming condition of belonging.” Specifically, it seeks to answer the questions: “How can different agents involved in the built environment address the ways we stay in transit?” And, “how can architects intervene in the reconfiguration of the contemporary residence?"

Pottery-Inspired Design Wins Competition for Multifunction Building in Poland

Bakpak Architects and EovaStudio have won a competition to design a multifunctional building in Rzeszow, Poland. The design—called The Pottery Courtyard—is based upon the local tradition of ceramic artisans, thus restoring a sense of heritage to the region and city.

RIBA Awards 2016 Royal Gold Medal to Zaha Hadid

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have revealed that Dame Zaha Hadid will receive the 2016 Royal Gold Medal — the first sole woman to be awarded the UK's highest honour for architects in her own right. Previous female winners (Sheila O’Donnell in 2015, Patty Hopkins in 1994, and Ray Eames in 1979) were each recognised alongside their husbands and practice partners.

Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is awarded to those who have had a significant influence "either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture." Other notable Royal Gold Medallists include Frank Gehry (2000), Lord Norman Foster, Baron of Thames Bank (1983), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1959), Le Corbusier (1953), and Frank Lloyd Wright (1941). The medallists' names are engraved into the marble wall at the RIBA's headquarters in London.

These Two Drones Just Built a Bridge

View post on imgur.com

Two quadcopter drones just autonomously built a footbridge that is capable of withstanding the weight of a human. Outfitted with a motorized spool and plastic tubes that dispense Dyneema, a "material with a low weight-to-strength ratio," the flying machines were able to construct a lightweight tensile bridge that spans 7.4 meters between two scaffolding structures at the Flying Machine Arena in Zurich.

Chicago Tribune Says 11 "High Caliber" Architects Asked to Submit Qualifications for Obama Library

The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org

Update: The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has now reported that 140 architects from 60 cities have expressed their interest in designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago by submitting qualifications. Of these, 99 are based in the United States, although names have not been released. The below article, originally published on September 1st, lists 11 architects that Kamin was able to confirm had been invited to submit qualifications by the Barack Obama Foundation.

Last week, it was reported that the Barack Obama Foundation was searching globally for an architect to design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum (officially known as the Barack Obama Presidential Center). With the list of invited candidates for Obama's Presidential Center still a closely-guarded secret, though, the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has turned investigator, uncovering a list of 11 firms among the "fifty or more" which are believed to have been invited. Kamin states that the 11 firms he has confirmed to be in the running are "A) Of high caliber; B) Represent a broad geographic and aesthetic spectrum; and C) Include the established firms one would expect to be invited."

OMA, Zaha Hadid and Mecanoo Among 9 Shortlisted for New Art Space in Manchester

A competitive shortlist of 9 has been released for a new high-profile art space planned in Manchester. The £110 million project, known as "The Factory" (after the city's influential Factory Records), will feature an "ultra-flexible" arts venue that can transform from a 2,200-seat theater into an open 5,000-capacity space that will accommodate a wide range of art forms and performances. It will also serve as the new home of the Manchester International Festival (MIF).

"The level of international interest reflects the city’s emerging status as an internationally-renowned city of culture. This is a landmark development that will place Manchester in the highest tier of arts worldwide," said Manchester City Council (MCC) executive member Rosa Battle.

The 9 shortlisted practices are: 

August ABI Contracts Slightly

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) declined in August, following fairly healthy business conditions so far this year. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 49.1, down from a mark of 54.7 in July. The new projects inquiry index was 61.8, down from a reading of 63.7 the previous month.

“Over the past several years, a period of sustained growth in billings has been followed by a temporary step backwards,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break. 

OOPEAA's Puukuokka Housing Block Wins 2015 Finlandia Prize

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has selected OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture's Puukuokka housing block as winner of the 2015 Finlandia Prize for Architecture. Saariaho, this year's sole judge for the prize, choose the eight-story wooden apartment building over four other shortlisted projects "because it demonstrates values that [she] appreciates in life as well as in architecture: it is a courageous and ambitious work that brings together an exploration of new possibilities for building and construction, a humane sensibility, and a quest for ecological solutions as well as a strive towards better quality of life.”

The Versatility of Corian, from Countertops to Railings

If there was a most radical decade of the last century, few would come close to topping the 1960s. From the Bay of Pigs to the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe to the moon landing, there was rarely a dull moment. The world of materials was also involved, seeing the invention of a polymer surface of acrylic resin and natural minerals that was easy to clean, scratch resistant, seamless, and hygienic. Better known as Corian, the surface developed by DuPont chemist Donald Slocum in 1967 was a material that met the tough challenges of modern living.

Santiago Calatrava Discusses the WTC Transportation Hub

In this additional scene from our interview with Spanish architect/engineer Santiago Calatrava, the designer discusses the monumental timespan and demanding criteria of his transportation hub for the World Trade Center. Following Calatrava’s aesthetic calling card, the project’s ribbed vocabulary and “birdlike” form features a 355-foot-long operable Oculus - a "slice of the New York sky" - that casts a soft glow onto the pristine white surfaces of the interior. New areas of the building opened to the public this summer, with the project slated for a grand opening this December.

Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern Expansion to Officially Open in 2016

Earlier this week Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Modern, announced that Herzog & de Meuron's extension will officially open on Friday 17th June 2016. The gallery, which originally opened in 2000 housed within a former power station in London's Bankside, dramatically transformed the UK's relationship with modern and contemporary art. Since then, the Tate Modern has become a bastion of trend-setting and high-profile exhibitions, and has grown to be one of London's most visited cultural venues.

Foster, RSHP and UNStudio Compete to Expand Taiwan's Largest Airport

Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and UNStudio have been shortlisted in a competition to expand the Taoyuan International Airport - Taiwan's largest airport, formally known as Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. Each team will now be given £126,000 to develop their proposals for a new 640,000-square-meter Terminal 3 building which, as the Architect's Journal reports, is expected to host 45 million passengers each year.

The full shortlist includes: 

7 Buildings That Show Norman Foster's Architecture Has Always Been Ahead of the Curve

If Norman Foster were a household item, he would surely be a Swiss Army Knife. Foster, who turned 80 this year, is unrelenting in producing architectural solutions to problems that other architects can only theorize - just last Wednesday, for example, his firm released their design for a previously-unheard-of building typology, a droneport in Rwanda.

It is surprising then to find the man or his eponymous firm Foster + Partners absent from a list like Fast Company’s “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture,” organized into superlatives: MMA Architects, “for thinking outside the big box,” Heatherwick Studio, “for reimagining green space,” or C.F. Møller Architects, “for rethinking high-rise living.” This is not to say that Foster or his firm should be substituted for any of these deserved accolades, but rather that for five decades Foster and his firm have ceaselessly worked to enhance and expand on the human experience with architectural solutions that are both inventive and practical - a fact that is perhaps lost as a result of his position within the architectural establishment.

With that in mind, we thought it was worth highlighting the many occasions over the decades where Foster + Partners has shown themselves to be among the world's most innovative practices. Read on for more.

Ground Level View of Lunar Habitation. Image Courtesy of Foster + PartnersInterior Concourse of Chek Lap Kok Airport. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user Jorge LáscarHearst Tower. Image © Chuck ChoiAerial View of Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters. Image © Wikimedia CC user Mato zilincik+ 14

Blank Space Announces Winners of "Dear Architecture" Letter Competition

Blank Space has announced the winners of its “Dear Architecture” competition, which called designers and architects from around the world to address architecture, as a concept, in a letter of no more than 500 words and one image.

The contest was reviewed by a 17-person jury, including Fernando Romero, Diana Balmori, and ArchDaily’s co-founder David Basulto and executive editor Becky Quintal. The work of the three winners, who were awarded a total of $3,000, as well as 12 honorable mentions will be published in Blank Space’s third book, also called Dear Architecture.

Read on to see the three winners.

What Are the Weirdest Words That Only Architects Use?

It's no secret that the unique specificities of the architectural profession can lead to a lot of jargon. In fact for many non-experts, the opaque nature of architectural language can be one of the most significant barriers to taking part in a discussion about their local environment. But why this juxtaposition between regular and professional speech? If we wish to make the architecture profession less homogenous, shouldn't we conceptualize a new way of talking about architecture? That's why we want to hear from our readers: which words do architects use too much? And what are the wider effects of this language, both inside and outside of the architecture profession?

Should Victorian-era Architecture be "Saved at all Costs"?

Empathetic historicism and romanticising older buildings has become an ever-common sentiment in modern Britain. In an article for the British daily The Telegraph, Stephen Bayley tackles this trend by questioning whether Victorian-era architecture is actually all worth saving? Victorian architecture, so called because it was implemented under the reign of Queen Victoria, was stylistically preoccupied by Gothic Revival — an attempt by architects and commissioners to impose a 'pure', chivalrous unifying aesthetic designed to instill a sense of civic importance and reaffirm a social hierarchy. Yet "their architecture," according to Bayley, "has an inclination to ugliness that defies explanation by the shifting tides of tastes."

Jony Ive-Designed Apple Store Opens Its Doors

Jony Ive, Apple's Chief Design Officer, has celebrated the opening of his first store in Brussels, Belgium. Like The Verge reports, at first glance the store's design seems somewhat predictable - large panes of glass, a simplistic and open feel. However, under Ive's guidance, the new store (and future stores) now feature a grove of potted trees and a heightened focus on natural materials, in particular wood. Read on to take a closer look.

Chipperfield Reduces Scale of Stockholm Nobel Center

David Chipperfield Architects has unveiled a scaled down proposal for Stockholm's Nobel Center. A response to concerns regarding the competition-winning scheme's proposed location along the city's historic Blasieholmen, the modified design hopes to "better" integrate itself into its context and establish a "lively interaction" with the people of Stockholm.

"While the fundamental concept of the ‘Nobelhuset’ remains the same, the building has been reduced significantly in size," says Chipperfield. "It now has a clearer division into a base, middle and top floor that relates to the surrounding structures on the Blasieholmen peninsula."

Alternative Realities: 7 Radical Buildings That Could-Have-Been

In It’s A Wonderful Life the film’s protagonist George Bailey, facing a crisis of faith, is visited by his guardian angel, and shown an alternate reality where he doesn’t exist. The experience gives meaning to George’s life, showing him his own importance to others. With the increasing scale of design competitions these days, architectural “could-have-beens” are piling up in record numbers, and just as George Bailey's sense of self was restored by seeing his alternate reality, hypothesizing about alternative outcomes in architecture is a chance to reflect on our current architectural moment.

Today marks the one-year-anniversary of the opening of Phase 3 of the High Line. While New Yorkers and urbanists the world over have lauded the success of this industrial-utility-turned-urban-oasis, the park and the slew of other urban improvements it has inspired almost happened very differently. Although we have come to know and love the High Line of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and James Corner Field Operations, in the original ideas competition four finalists were chosen and the alternatives show stark contrasts in how things might have shaped up.

On this key date for one of the most crucial designs of this generation, we decided to look back at some of the most important competitions of the last century to see how things might have been different.

Joseph Marzella's second-place design for the Sydney Opera House. Image via The Daily MailDesigns for the Chicago Tribune Tower by Adolf Loos (left) and Bruno Taut, Walter Gunther, and Kurz Schutz (right). Image via skyscraper.orgDesign for the High Line by Zaha Hadid Architects with Balmori Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and studio MDA. Image via University of Adelaide on Cargo CollectiveMoshe Safdie's design for the Centre Pompidou. Image Courtesy of Safdie Architects+ 16

Salt-Shaped Salt Shed Takes Shape Along Hudson River in New York City

New York City is replacing one of its 40 salt sheds on the Gansevoort Peninsula with a new, origami-like structure by Dattner Architects at Canal St/West St, along the Hudson River. Once completed, the shed will rise almost 70 feet tall and hold over 4,000 tons of salt in its six-foot thick concrete walls. In response to the complaints leveled against the Sanitation Garage across Spring Street from the new salt shed, Dattner Architects deliberately created a monolithic, crystalline form to contrast the scrim-like façade of its neighbour.

Preservation Takes the Spotlight in Fall Issue of ArchitectureBoston

As the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act approaches, the fall issue of ArchitectureBoston hits hard with questions about one of the profession’s most heated topics today: preservation. With essays and articles from a dozen different perspectives, featuring a dozen different problems and solutions, the issue is a gateway for discourse for anyone interested in the role of the past, in the future of architecture. Read on for more information.

Harvard GSD Designs UNBUILT Pavilion for Design Miami

Uncountable hours, and piles of failed sketches and models to go with them – much of the architecture process is left unseen, held behind locked doors, but Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)’s Pavilion for Design Miami exposes this process for the first time. After a school-wide competition involving over 100 students in 32 teams, a judging panel of GSD faculty and representatives of Design Miami selected “UNBUILT” to represent the school at this year’s fair.

Triple Bridge Waterfront Competition Winners Announced

HMMD Competitions has announced the winners of its Triple Bridge Waterfront design competition, which called for designs to transform the Liepaja Canal coastline into a leisure avenue in Liepaja, Latvia.

Divided into four individually functioning zones, the site in question connects the famous Fontaine Palace, Great Amer symphony concert hall, Libava Hotel, the former railway bridge, and the newly proposed park in Zirgu Sala. In their submissions, designers thus had to include a “restaurant/café, nightclub/bar, exhibition space/conference hall, and an unprescribed tourist attraction.”

Entrants were additionally asked to consider the relationship between modern and historic developments and influences, as well as sustainable growth.

“Successful entries to the competition were refined, yet nimble to accommodate a vast site flanked by historic building and exposure to a canal.”

The winners of the competition are:

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