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Finn MacLeod

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Salvaged Stadium: Harvard GSD Student Yaohua Wang's Proposal for Post-Olympic Adaptation

Olympic host cities around the world are increasingly facing issues of post-event sustainability, with many stadiums and arenas falling into disuse and dilapidation mere months after the games. The soaring costs associated with constructing Olympic facilities have plagued organizers for decades, resulting in an all-time low number of bids from host cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to the International Olympic Committee. Yaohua Wang is a recent architecture graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a native of China - where facilities constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics are slowly being converted to new post-Olympic uses, typified by the transformation of the Watercube into the city's newest waterpark. Wang's thesis project, Salvaged Stadium, delves into the afterlife of Olympic facilities, providing a solution for arena reuse with potential for application worldwide.

Find out how Wang re-evaluated the Olympic development problem after the break

© Yaohua Wang© Yaohua Wang© Yaohua Wang© Yaohua Wang+ 31

Designers Explore an Entirely New Use for Shipping Containers in Seoul’s Design District

Fashion, design and architecture collide in Zaha Hadid's recently completed Dongdaemun Design Plaza, one South Korea's most popular tourist destinations. Commissioned by the Design Plaza's Supervisor of Public Space Young Joon Kim of yo2 Architects, the latest development for the plaza is a series of compact kiosks designed to activate the expansive public space surrounding the new building. One of ten teams invited to submit ideas for these new kiosks, Amsterdam-based NL Architects developed a series of impermanent but practical solutions for the plaza. Using new methods for reuse of standard shipping containers, the team proposed a host of kiosks, with two of their designs - an information booth and a miniature exhibition space - being accepted for construction.

See all of NL Architects'  Zaha-inspired shipping container kiosks after the break

Courtesy of NL ArchitectsInformation kiosk. Image Courtesy of NL ArchitectsInformation kiosk. Image Courtesy of NL ArchitectsCourtesy of NL Architects+ 28

Emerging Objects Invents Earthquake-Proof 3D Printed Column

A team of California-based designers have invented an earthquake-proof column built of 3D printed sand, assembled without bricks and mortar to withstand the harshest seismic activity. The 'Quake Column' is comprised of a pre-determined formation of stackable hollow bricks which combine to create a twisting structure, optimized for intense vibrations in zones of earthquake activity. Created by design firm Emerging Objects, the column's sand-based composition is one of many in a series of experimental structures devised by the team using new materials for 3D Printing, including salt, nylon, and chocolate. The column can be easily assembled and disassembled for use in temporary and permanent structures, and was designed purposefully with a simple assembly procedure for novice builders.

Find out how the Quake Column works after the break

Are Postmodern Buildings Worth Saving?

New York City is home to a plethora of Postmodernist designs — from the impressive Sony Tower to the diminuative Central Park Ballplayers' House — but most remain unprotected by traditional heritage registries. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is at the threshold of its 50th anniversary but has yet to recognize the architectural successes of 1970 up to the most recent eligible year for landmarking, 1984. The commission has been unnecessarily slow to recognize Postmodernist structures in New York City, say Paul Makovsky and Michael Gotkin writing for Metropolis Magazine, who argue that the absence of historical recognition for Postmodernism has come at a high cost, citing the recladding of Takashimaya Building on Fifth Avenue as a "wake-up call" for the Commission.

Climb Inside Numen/For Use's Membrane of Packing Tape at Palais de Tokyo in Paris

Courtesy of Numen/ForUse
Courtesy of Numen/ForUse

They began with a single roll of tape, frenetically navigating the space between columns with the help of a ladder and a lot of creativity. Ten days and twelve sets of hands later, Tape Paris was completed at Palais de Tokyo for 'Inside,' an exhibition of site-specific projects designed to be interactive and introspective. Tape Paris delves into the physical and psychological experience of interior space through an experiential model of exploration. Visitors travel through a matrix of elastic tunnels suspended precariously above the traditional exhibition space, as guests observe their movements from below. The biomorphic skin is a playground for the senses, offering opportunities to climb, relax, and discover.

Enter the elastic world of Tape Paris after the break

Courtesy of Numen/ForUseCourtesy of Numen/ForUseCourtesy of Numen/ForUseCourtesy of Numen/ForUse+ 7

Engineers at Stanford Develop Cost-Effective Earthquake-Resistant House

In 1989, California's central coast was rocked by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, destroying infrastructure and buildings in San Francisco, Oakland, and a host of coastal cities. The Loma Prieta Earthquake caused an estimated $6 trillion in damage, prompting researchers to develop techniques for management of severe seismic activity in urban centres. Twenty five years later, a team of engineers at Stanford University have invented a cost-effective foundation for residential buildings capable of withstanding three times the magnitude of the catastrophic 1989 earthquake.

Find out more on Stanford's earthquake-resistant technology after the break 

Dichotomy Journal Plays the Odds: Open Call for Submissions on Taking Architectural Risks

University of Detroit Mercy's Dichotomy Journal has issued an open call for submissions to its 21st edition on the theme of "Odds," inviting discussion on projects that "defy the status quo and aim for greater fortune." Risk takers rejoice: Dichotomy 21 will shine a spotlight on architectural anomalies and the "implications of defying the odds and embracing the strange." The journal aims to stimulate a new discourse on extraordinary and unconventional designs that push the architectural envelope. Submissions are invited to discuss ideas defying the odds in design, architecture, urbanism and community development.

Knight Foundation Announces $5M Open Call for Ideas to Improve American Cities

What makes a city successful? Miami-based Knight Foundation aims to answer this question with their latest contest, the Knight Cities Challenge. Innovators across all disciplines are invited to propose their idea to improve one of 26 Knight communities, cities across the United States with an established network of support for the foundation's initiatives. Proposals should focus on three key levers of city success: attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of robust civic engagement in the chosen community. “No project is too small — so long as your idea is big,” says Carol Coletta, Vice-President of community and national initiatives for Knight Foundation.

Winners Announced for Architecture for Humanity Vancouver’s “NEXT BIG ONE” Competition

Architecture for Humanity Vancouver Chapter has unveiled the winners of "NEXT BIG ONE," an open call for design solutions to high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami events that plague cities around the world. Project teams were challenged to propose a solution that "can mitigate natural disasters while simultaneously providing community permanence."

A jury comprised of leading architects and professionals from Architecture Research Office (Stephen Cassell), Perkins + Will (Susan Gushe), Bing Thom Architects (Eileen Keenan), Scott & Scott Architects (David Scott), and the City of Vancouver (Doug Smith) evaluated the projects. Entries were evaluated based on three key criteria: the exemplification of innovation in disaster design, promotion of community resiliency before and after disasters, and compliance with multi-hazard parameters for worst-case disaster scenarios.

Entry No. 626137 - Safety Arena. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity Vancouver ChapterEntry No. 626514 - Revive the Moat. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity Vancouver ChapterEntry No. 626139 - Modular Landscapes. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity Vancouver ChapterEntry No. 626536 - Aqua Estate. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity Vancouver Chapter+ 16

Venice Biennale Hosts Third Annual "Archives and Exhibitions" Livestream Conference

With just over two weeks left in the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture, Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale, is hosting a one day conference on the intersection between archives, exhibitions and digital integration. Focusing on the themes of the "dissipation of memory" and the "vulnerability of digital data" in an age of ever-changing technological platforms, the conference is the third in a series of archive-themed events hosted at the Giardini in the Biennale Library, and will feature a screening of Digital Amnesia, a documentary on the lifespan of archival technology, along with a round table discussion with leading archivists and curators from around the world. Panelists include the Mirko Zardini, Director and Chief Curator from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, archive superintendents from three Italian provinces, professors from three Italian universities, and Debora Rossi, the chief archivist for the Venice Biennale.

Bartlett Students Invent Skeleton-Inspired Structural Material for Lightweight Construction

A team of graduates from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London have developed a new hybrid building material designed for use in uniquely challenging construction environments. "Augmented Skin" combines a regimented structural core with a flexible opaque skin, which is coated in PVA to serve as casting formwork for concrete. Inspired by biological skeletal frameworks, the material can be assembled quickly at a minimal cost with maximum flexibility. The project was designed by architecture graduate students Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo, and Theodora Maria Moudatsou, and was exhibited at The Bartlett's 2014 graduation exhibition B-Pro.

Read more about the flexibility of Augmented Skin after the break

Courtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria MoudatsouCourtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria MoudatsouCourtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria MoudatsouCourtesy of Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo & Theodora Maria Moudatsou+ 12

Four Steps to Fix the Global Affordable Housing Shortage

Mirador Housing Project by MVRDV in Spain aligns with McKinsey's goals for affordable housing. Image © Flickr User Wojtek Gurak; Licensed via <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Mirador Housing Project by MVRDV in Spain aligns with McKinsey's goals for affordable housing. Image © Flickr User Wojtek Gurak; Licensed via Creative Commons

According to global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, the projected cost of providing affordable housing to 330 million households around the world currently living in substandard accommodation is $16 trillion USD. The firm's latest report, A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge, assesses critical pathways for providing housing to families across a range of socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. According to the report, adequate and affordable housing could be out of reach for more than 1.6 billion people within a decade. The comprehensive report examines everything from income to cost of heating, boiling down the data into four key mandates aimed at solving the global housing crisis.

The proposed solution is one of ascending goals, similar to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, with a four-tiered plan targeted towards households earning 80% or less of the median income for any given region. The program is designed to meet McKinsey's 2025 Housing Challenge which aims to provide housing to a projected 440 million households worldwide within ten years through community engagement, gathering funding, appropriate delivery of housing models, and creation of governmental infrastructure to sustain housing.

Find out the four steps to solving the global affordable housing shortage after the break

Enter the Mesmerizing World of Rainbow Coloured Maps with "Crayon the Grids"

A new series of maps by California-based artist-scientist Stephen Von Worley give colour coding an entirely new meaning. With his latest algorithm-generated project, "Crayon the Grids," Von Worley has taken maps of ten major metropolitan areas and coloured them based on geographical orientation of the urban grid. Each street is assigned a colour specific to its orientation, varying in hue and weight depending on its cardinal direction and length. The result is a dizzying technicolor of urban planning, creating completely new demarcations for some of the world's most recognizable cities.

Enter the chromatic world of coloured city grids after the break

Los Angeles. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von WorleyChicago. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von WorleyBerlin. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von WorleyWashington, D.C.. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von Worley+ 10

Video: Peter Murray of New London Architecture Outlines his Cycling Vision

In the latest video from Crane.tv, architectural journalist and planner Peter Murray ruminates on the benefits of integrating cycling into the urban fabric of the world's biggest cities. "For the last half century, we've bowed down to the god of the motor car and have destroyed cities across the UK," says Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture and the London Society. Murray and his team at New London Architecture are charged with analyzing and advocating for the improvement of London's Built environment, acting as advisors to Mayor Boris Johnson on an array of projects including the overhaul of cycling infrastructure in the city.

Fly Through Milan's 2015 Expo Site in Progress With the Help of a Drone

Construction is entering into the final stages for Expo Milan 2015, with just over six months left in the five-year build. A quick fly through shows the centrepiece Italian Pavilion nearing structural completion, with national and corporate pavilions making steady progress. The video is the fifth in a series of drone-led tours of the site, created in partnership between Expo Milan and Telecom Italia.

Find out more and watch the remaining four videos after the break 

Get Playful on the Streets of Seattle with "Pop-Up! Street Furniture" from LMN Architects

Downtown Seattle was transformed into a playground for people of all ages in September with Pop-Up! Street Furniture, an creative take on interactivity in the built environment. Eight movable modules combine to create endless configurations capable of forming either seating or play space for a dozen people. The project was realized by Seattle-based LMN Architects, leading an inter-disciplinary team of students, professionals, designers, manufacturers, and contractors, intent on stimulating ordinary streets in the city's downtown core. Created for the Seattle Design Festival, the project created a temporary hub for conversation, play, and engagement.

Read more after the break on the many uses of Pop-Up! Street Furniture in Seattle

© Trevor Dykstra© Trevor Dykstra© Trevor Dykstra© Trevor Dykstra+ 15

RIBA Launches Centenery Square Regeneration Competition for Birmingham

The Royal Institute of British Architects have announced an international design competition to regenerate Centenary Square, one of Birmingham's largest public spaces, and neighbor to Birmingham's International Convention Centre, the Old Rep Theatre, and the the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo which was shortlisted for the 2014 Stirling Prize.

Find a New Life for Your Old Cardboard with these Geometric DIY Halloween Masks

Grab your cardboard, parcel tape, and model building skills: Halloween masks are no longer just for witches and warlocks, but for architects too. A furniture designer turned mask creator based in the United Kingdom has created a series of geometric masks for the creatively inclined, available as a template online. A great way to use up leftover model-making materials, the masks were designed "to create a set of masks that could be built by anyone using local materials removing the need for mass manufacturing or shipping and with the minimum environmental impact," says their creator Steve Wintercroft.