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Software Engineers Map All the Buildings in the Netherlands

The Waag Society, together with designer and software engineer Bert Spaan, have put the Netherlands back on the map - the data map. After several months of coding and design, the partnership has managed to account for all 9,866,539 buildings in the country, visualized in varying colors to identify old and new buildings. After a user clicks on a specific block, additional building and city information displays square footages, addresses, populations and programs, among other stats. Users can navigate from Amsterdam to the Hague experiencing hundreds of years of urban development along the way, from the pre-1800s to post-2005 buildings, indicated by the red to blue gradient.

The Stadiums of the Three Runners for the 2020 Olympics: Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

UPDATE: Minutes ago Tokyo was announced as the host of the 2020 Olympics. Zaha Hadid’s design to become the Olympic stadium.

Today the International Olympic Comitee (IOC) will choose the city that will host the 2020 Olympics, with Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul competing for the important event. The three cities just finished their presentations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, including presidents and royal members. As we await for the results, we present you the three stadiums designed to host the Olympics in each city.

More information and images:

Winners Proposals Suggest Alternatives for San Francisco's 280 Freeway

The Center for Architecture + Design and the Seed Fund announced the winners of the Reimagine. Reconnect. Restore What if 280 came down?, a competition that explored the idea of removing San Francisco's 280 Freeway, north of 16th Street, in an effort to pedestrianize that portion of the city while generating funds for several regionally important transit projects. The open competition, which encouraged designers to submit urban design interventions, from public art to infrastructure, awarded $10,000 in prizes.

What is Architecture? Steven Holl Describes It In Four words

"While artists work from the real to the abstract, architects must work from the abstract to the real.

Same Time Zone, Different Standards

The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. hosted A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and Contemporary Architecture from Southern California (formerly known as A New Sculpturalism) at MOCA Geffen for the better part of this summer. These two exhibits, on view until September 8 and 16 respectively, give us insight into Los Angeles’ past and present architectural legacies. They take on fundamentally different challenges. One uncovers a prolific and primary history of a modernist architect, the other attempts to capture and catalogue an unwieldy and unstable present.

Read on after the break for reviews of both exhibitions...

Tempera Pavilion by Atelier Manferdini at The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Image © Taiyo WatanabeDrawdle 01-03, 2012-13 by Morphosis Architects at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Image © Taiyo WatanabeExhibition of A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA Hammer Museum. Image © Brian ForrestA. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, Architects.  Fairhaven Tract Eichler Homes Model LJ-124, Orange, California, 1961. Image © Jason Schmidt+ 10

Vanity Height: How Much of a Skyscraper is Usable Space?

Ever expanding population growth coupled with the continuous development of urban centres mean that buildings, in general, will continue to get taller. With the topping out of One World Trade Centre in May this year the worldwide competition to construct towers with soaring altitudes doesn’t seem to be slowing, especially in China and the UAE. The question on many people’s lips, however, is how much of these colossal buildings is actual usable space?

Zumthor: "Apostle of the Real"

In an article for Vanity Fair Paul Goldberger unravels the Swiss Mystique surrounding Peter Zumthor's personality and work, describing him as a "cross between Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Proust, with perhaps a tiny bit of Bob Dylan thrown in." With completed projects few and far between, but executed with intense experiential thought and craftsmanship, the article explores how Zumthor's motives has informed his rigorous attitude to architecture. Having recently been awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, the "cult following" that Goldberger described in 2001 seems to only be getting stronger. You can read the full article here.

Urban Planning Lessons from the World's Largest (Temporary) City

For two months out of every twelve years, Allahabad in India becomes one of the most populous cities in the world - thanks to the Maha Kumbh Mela, a Hindu Festival that is the largest single-purpose gathering of people on the globe. In an article for Smithsonian Magazine, Tom Downey relates his experience of the Festival and sheds light on how a temporary city can swell to such astronomical sizes and still function as well as, if not better than, permanent cities. It is hoped that the research by Harvard Graduate School of Design at the Kumbh Mela can inform the construction of refugee camps, emergency cities and even permanent cities in the future. You can read the full article here.

Founders of Architecture for Humanity Step Down, Launch Five-year Plan

“It's great to see something you started evolve into an institution. We are excited about the future of the organization and plan to continue lending support in whatever ways we can.” Kate Stohr, co-founder

Architecture for Humanity founders, Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair, will step down after 15 years of leading the San Francisco based non-profit organization to focus on new ventures. Upon leaving, they have drafted a five year strategic vision, reiterating the organization's purpose and needed areas of improvement. Matt Charney, Board President of Architecture for Humanity, is confident that 'Kate and Cameron's vision and years of dedication leaves the organization in a solid place." To further expand operations, board directors will begin an international search for a new executive director by the end of September.

Rafael Viñoly on Walkie Talkie 'Death Ray': Consultants to Blame

Why is the "Walkie Talkie" melting cars? Well, according to its architect, Rafael Viñoly, it's not because of the building's shape or material, but rather "the superabundance of consultants and subconsultants" that UK law requires.

As reported by BD Online, Viñoly admitted that the building's unusually hot solar reflection (or "death ray," as many headlines are calling it) had been predicted early in the design process; however, it was thought it would only reach a temperature of 36 degrees, "but in fact it’s 72."

Viñoly then went on, placing blame on the consultant-heavy nature of design in the UK: “One of the problems that happens in [...London] is the superabundance of consultants and sub consultants that dilute the responsibility of the designers until you don’t know where you are.”

How to Bring China's Ghost Towns Back to Life

In this article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine's Point of View blog as "The Real Problem with China's Ghost Towns" , author Peter Calthorpe explains the problems of these cities, predicts their grim future, and explores how the thoughtful planning behind the city of Chenggong could provide a more sustainable alternative.

We’ve all seen the reports on “ghost town” developments in China, showing acres of empty high-rise apartments and vacant shopping malls. These barren towns seem particularly ironic in a country planning to move 250 million people from the countryside to cities in the next 20 years. But this massive, unprecedented demand has been distorted by a number of factors unique to China. Flawed financial incentives for cities and developers, along with the poor phasing of services, amenities, and jobs create most of the problems. In addition, China’s emerging middle class is very comfortable (perhaps too comfortable) investing in real estate, so people often buy apartments in incomplete communities but don't move in, expecting that values will rise, or that they will live there someday. The result is a string of large, empty developments that remain speculative investments rather than real homes and communities. [See-through buildings are the worry now, but the real problems may come when they are full.]

While it’s hard to get data on vacancy levels in China, there are certainly many anecdotal examples across the country. An all-too-typical example is Chenggong, the new town planned for 1.5 million just outside of Kunming in the west. This freshly minted city boasts the growing Yunnan University, currently with 170,000 students and faculty; a new government center; and an emerging light industrial area. Under construction are the city’s new high-speed rail station and two metro lines connecting the historic city center.

IE TEKA Awards for Design Talent

The IE-TEKA Awards for Design Talent is a design ideas competition hosted by TEKA, IE Business School and IE School of Architecture & Design for young professionals from the fields of architecture, interior design, engineering and other related fields working in the GCC Region. This first edition of the competition highlights the alignment of management and design strategies for innovative retail stores of the future.

Freecell Wins Competition to Transform St. Louis Vacant Lot into Cultural Destination

Freecell Architecture has been announced as winner of the urban design-build competition, PXSTL. Organized by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, PXSTL challenged US artists, architects and designers to propose a small-scale intervention for a vacant lot in the St. Louis Grand Center cultural district that could possibly spark large-scale urban transformation.

Among 60 candidates and three shortlisted finalists, Freecell's winning proposal "Lots" was selected for its “innovative design and approach to the space as a gathering catalyst, hosting social and cultural activities to bring focus on activities of people unifying a community.” The project intends on activating audience engagement by hosting a series of concerts, dance performances, community celebrations, film screenings, and art exhibitions.

Read on for more about “Lots”...

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Decrease in UK Architects’ Salaries

The latest Future Trends Survey, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), shows a decrease of 3% in average earnings bringing the average salary in the UK to around £40,000. The largest fall in earnings is with sole principals, a quarter of whom are receiving less than £18,500 per annum. This is compared to principals in partnership who continue to average a salary of around £50,000.

Design Competition for James Stirling's Florey Building

The Queen’s College, Oxford is delighted to announce the launch of the Florey Design Competition. The College seeks a dedicated team to restore and add new facilities to James Stirling’s modernist masterpiece, The Florey building, which is Grade II listed.

Final Design Team Shortlist Announced for New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

The Department of State's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted three design teams for the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon for Stage 3 evaluation. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture.

RIBA Announces 2013 Manser Medal Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Manser Medal, awarded to the best new house or major extension in the UK, has been revealed. Amongst the five competing projects, which have all won either National or Regional RIBA Awards, is Astley Castle, which has also been shortlisted for the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize.

The 2013 Manser Medal shortlist includes:

How the Law's Loopholes Shape Our Cities

In preparation for its December issue, entitled The Law and its Consequences, Volume Magazine is holding an open call for examples of local laws that have had unintended - or just unusual - consequences for our cities. The issue asks: "If we consider the law to be a piece of design, can we apply design intelligence to the law?"

The law has a long history of affecting a city's character. Perhaps the earliest design stipulation is contained in the book of Deuteronomy (22:8): "In case you build a new house, you must also make a parapet for your roof, that you may not place bloodguilt upon your house because someone falling might fall from it." Since then, laws such as fire regulations, zoning restrictions and preservation guidelines have become an everyday conundrum for architects, ultimately affecting the outcome of design. But these laws often create unexpected loopholes, which can lead to peculiar design quirks that come to define a city's sense of place.

Read on after the break for just some examples of the consequences of the law

reGEN Boston: Energizing Urban Housing Competition

Boston Society of Architects Housing Committee and Emerging Professionals Network Presents reGEN Boston: Energizing Urban Housing, an international ideas competition with presenting sponsor First Republic Bank.

And the Curators of the US Pavilion at the Biennale Will Be...

The U.S. Department of State has selected Storefront for Art and Architecture and PRAXIS Journal to organize the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale, “Fundamentals,” curated by Rem Koolhaas.

The US exhibition, titled, OfficeUS: Criticism by Remaking, will be curated by Eva Franch i Gilabert, Ana Miljački and Ashley Schafer. 

More info on the US Pavilion, after the break...

The Real Carbuncle: The Low Standard of Student Housing

In the wake of two heinous designs for student housing dominating the conversation in the Carbuncle Cup, The Guardian's Olly Wainwright explores the causes of such poor standards in the field of student accommodation. He explains how the economics and planning regulations surrounding student housing in the UK make it a hugely profitable area of the construction industry, while also making it susceptible to low standards which would be seen as unacceptable in any other housing sector. By contrast, in another article he lists the world's best designed student accommodation. You can read the full article investigating poor standards here, and his top 10 list here.

Designing Offices For Introverts, Extroverts, & Everything In Between

In an article for Fast Company, Chris Congdon explains the key to designing workplaces that cater to the needs of introverts, extroverts and everyone in between. According to Congdon, most office workers need a mixture: places to be around others, encouraging collaboration, and places to work alone and focus on individual tasks. The solution? A "pallette of places" which give workers an ample choice of where to work. Read the full article here and learn more about how do design successful workplaces here.

Renzo Piano Becomes Italian Senator

Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano has been named a senator for life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, giving him the right to vote in the Parliament’s Upper House. Napolitano also appointed three others to the position, including Claudio Abbado (an accomplished conductor), Elena Cattaneo (a biologist specializing in stem cell research), and Carlo Rubbia (a Nobel Prize winning particle physicist).

In a statement, the president said that he is sure that all four "will make a special contribution to their extremely significant fields," noting that the positions were allocated "in absolute independence of any party political considerations" in wake of the Senate’s current tension surrounding former President Silvio Berlusconi. 

Parasite or Savior? Ibelings van Tilburg's Hovering New High-Rise

This article originally appeared in uncube magazine as "Saviour or Parasite?"

The post-war city centre of Rotterdam is ruled by commerce. Only five percent of the city's inhabitants live in the centre, which is almost entirely occupied by highstreet fashion chains, fast food restaurants, and offices. After shop closing time, the shutters go down and the streets are deserted. The municipality would like to lure more inhabitants into the centre – but space for new residential buildings is scarce. So in recent years, a 1960s cinema and church had to make way for a huge new housing complex designed by Alsop Architects, and a residential tower by Wiel Arets was speedily attached to Marcel Breuer's department store, De Bijenkorf. It was not until the municipality suggested forcing new housing high-rises into the green courtyards of the Lijnbaanhoven residential complex, designed in 1954 by Hugh Maaskant, that there were protests and the project had to be cancelled. For the time being, that is.

One densification project, however, tried not to destroy or debase the post-war building originally occupying its site. In many respects, the Karel Doorman residential high-rise could even be called the saviour of the old Ter Meulen department store. It might be rather uncommon for a valiant hero to crouch down on the shoulders of the little old lady he intends to rescue – but that's more or less what happened here.

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