Irina Vinnitskaya


The Biggest Complaint of 2012: Insufficient Pay

13:00 - 3 January, 2013
© Tulane Public Relations
© Tulane Public Relations

For many young architects the biggest complaint of 2012 has been insufficient pay in exchange for hard work and long hours under the guise of an internship. As if graduating with a degree in architecture is not grueling enough, NCARB, the US architectural licensing board also requires three years (amounting to thousands of hours) of training under a licensed architect, followed by a seven-part exam. Becoming an architect takes an exceptional amount of commitment, time and money. College graduates are already shaking under the weight of student loans and a stunted economy and job market; but what makes matters worse is that architecture as a profession has gained a reputation for exploiting recent graduates by hiring them as interns with little or no compensation.

2013 can be the year to turn this trend around.  Is the architectural profession willing to make this resolution?

Follow us after the break for more.

TEDxRamallah: Simply Look Inside You, Never at Others / Suad Amiry

15:00 - 28 December, 2012

In this TEDxRamallah, Palestinian Architect Saud Amiry – who works in architectural restoration on Palestinian buildings – discusses her journey as someone finding a path for herself. Although she speaks about her nationality and her family’s refugee history, her focus is on learning how to find the things that are fulfilling in one’s life in the face of challenges. Her sense of humor and passion is inspiring. Not only is she an architect working in a field for which she has a passion, she has also stumbled upon the role of an author, having written “Sharon and my Mother–in-Law: Ramallah Diaries”, which is an account of living under Israeli occupation. Even in the dire political circumstances of of her refugee status, Amiry finds humor under tragic circumstances.

More about Amiry after the break…

Video: Bacardi Complex

19:00 - 25 December, 2012

Watch this video tour of the Bacardi Building in Miami, Florida, by the grandson of the original founder. The building, built in 1962, became the headquarters of the company for fifty years and has become an iconic modernist symbol in the city with an additional building added to the property in 1970. The building is designed by Enrique Guitierrez. The unique facade of the building was designed by ceramic artist Francisco Brennand using 20,000 tiles. The building resonates with Miami’s culture and has become a landmark for nearby residents. Tito Bacardi, who is the tour guide in the video, explains with pride how its the company’s legacy has become intertwined with the architecture – a building that represented Bacardi’s relocation from Cuba to America.

Local Solutions: Floating Schools in Bangladesh

15:00 - 25 December, 2012
© Joseph A Ferris III
© Joseph A Ferris III

In Bangladesh, where rising sea levels are having profound effects on the landscape, one nonprofit organization called Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha run by architect Mohammed Rezwan is fighting back by adapting, a true quality of resilience. Rising water levels and the tumultuous climate is displacing people by the thousands; a projected 20% of Bangladesh is expected to be covered in water within twenty years. For a country that is one of the densest populated state on the planet, this figure has disastrous consequences for a population that has limited access to fresh water, food, and medicine. In response to these conditions, Shidhulai has focused on providing education, training and care against the odds of climate change by adapting to the altered landscape: moving schools and community centers onto the water – on boats.

Chelsea Market Upzoning Approved by NYC Council

15:00 - 24 December, 2012
Plans for Chelsea Market along 10th Avenue; Courtesy of Jamestown Properties. Via Architect's Newspaper
Plans for Chelsea Market along 10th Avenue; Courtesy of Jamestown Properties. Via Architect's Newspaper

Construction has exploded along the High Line ever since it opened: condos hover over the rehabilitated track and look out onto the Hudson, while the new location of the Whitney Museum is making headway on the southern end of the park as Google moves into its NYC headquarters to a building just a few short blows away. Now, the historic Chelsea Market may be looking at a facelift following approval from the New York City Council for increasing density in the building by developers, Jamestown Properties. The proposed vertical extension, which has made a brief appearance on a few architecture blogs, will provide the additional in demand office and retail space in the Chelsea neighborhood.

Hotel Droog / Droog

13:00 - 24 December, 2012
Hotel Droog / Droog; Photographs © Thijs Wolzak
Hotel Droog / Droog; Photographs © Thijs Wolzak

Hotel Droog, a new place of hospitality in Amsterdam by design studio Droog, challenges the notions of a hotel. Within its hospitable walls are housed myriad programs that aim to entertain, engage and elaborate on the experience of visitors to Amsterdam where the hotel is located. The programs vary from restaurants to retail store, exhibitions, beauty parlors, a garden, lecture halls and of course, hotel rooms. Hotel Droog is a 700 square meter cornucopia for tourists in the heart of a 17th century building and aspiring to become its new cultural home.

Hotel Droog / Droog; Photographs © Thijs Wolzak Hotel Droog / Droog; Photographs © Thijs Wolzak Hotel Droog / Droog; Photographs © Thijs Wolzak Hotel Droog / Droog; Photographs © Thijs Wolzak + 10

VIDEO: Federal Architecture

13:00 - 23 December, 2012

Democratic By Design is a short film, produced by the General Services Administration and narrated by Luke Russert, that tackles the issue of federal architecture. Buildings designed for the government typically have a familiar aesthetic. Washington, DC, is dominated by Neoclassical Architecture, building on the connotations of ancient Greek and Roman fora and temples as a symbol of democracy. But they perpetuate a sense of dominance and formality. Most of these buildings – city halls, courthouses, agency headquarters – were built in the 18th and 19th century, yet they leave behind a legacy and association in the architecture of the federal government.

US Census Bureau Headquarters / SOM
US Census Bureau Headquarters / SOM

On the contrary, government buildings built in the mid to late 20th century, specifically after 1962, have a more varied vernacular. This can be credited to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, aide to President John F. Kennedy. His one page document outlined guidelines for public architecture – an effort to contextualize and modernism government buildings. This video brings his words to life via well-known architects who have have designed federal buildings.

Join us after the break for a look at some of these buildings.

Is the American Dream Shifting Towards Density, In-fill Housing and Accessibility to Amenities?

13:00 - 22 December, 2012
Ipera / Atlas Architecture Consulting © Gürkan Akay
Ipera / Atlas Architecture Consulting © Gürkan Akay

A recent survey into the billing activity of architecture firms across the country has revealed a growing trend in homeowners’ preferences. The AIA Home Trends Survey released a series of charts, marking the rise between 2011 and 2012 of preferences for low maintenance, and energy efficiency home options with a rise in a desire for homes that have a proximity to neighborhood amenities. What this means is that home buyers are moving away from the auto-centric lifestyle of mid century suburbs and are coincidentally opting for the more sustainable choice where walking and public transportation may take preference. AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, notes that in many areas, there has been a rise in interest in urban infill locations over exurbs, and a general push within communities for public accessibility and proximity to work places, retail options and open space.

What is behind this trend? Is the influence of sustainable design breaking into the mainstream of the American home-buying conscience? Is sustainability changing the “American Dream”?

NYC Developers Race to the Top

15:00 - 20 December, 2012
© Adam Jackson
© Adam Jackson

It’s a race to the top as developers are reaching higher and higher with impressive glass skyscrapers that house exclusive apartments and panoramic views across Manhattan, level with some of the city’s tallest buildings. Gary Barnett of Extell Development Co. is the man behind the 1,005 foot high One57 tower in Midtown Manhattan. He announced last month that he would be developing the tallest residential building in New York City (without the help of a spire). Adrian Smith, chosen as the architect for the job, is best known for his work on the Burj Dubai. The new building, still in its early stages of design planning and financing, will tower over the Empire State Building at a planned 1600 feet, that’s just 176 feet shy of World Trade One, the tallest building in Manhattan.

Straight Up Oslo: Views Within the City by Cameron R. Neilson

19:00 - 19 December, 2012
Straight Up: Oslo; © Cameron R Neilson
Straight Up: Oslo; © Cameron R Neilson

Photographer Cameron R Neilson, who we introduced in our earlier post about Oslo’s ripening real estate market, has produced some fantastic views from within Oslo. As part of the Straight Up project, Neilson is challenging both the way in which city-scapes and skylines are photographed and the way that our eyes navigate the urban environment.

Check out the remarkable photographs after the break.

AIA Releases Roadmap to Healthy Design

13:00 - 18 December, 2012
Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design; via AIA
Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design; via AIA

The AIA is joining numerous other city agencies in the promotion of healthy communities through intelligent design choices. A new document: Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design is a series of guidelines that offer architects and designers specific methods for the design of buildings and communities that encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

Learn more after the break.

What Architecture Has to Say About Education: Three New Hampshire Schools by HMFH Architects

10:30 - 18 December, 2012

Never is the value of architecture so poignant, as when it becomes a tool to facilitate learning, development and exploration. Inspired by this video, which presents three new schools in Concord, New Hampshire that physically embody the educational philosophies of independence, collaboration, and creativity, we spoke with HMFH Architects to delve further into this vital question: how can architecture help children develop the early skills, creativity and inquisitiveness needed to become the independent and inspired adults of future generations? Find out after the break.

Mill Brook School: Concord, NH / HMFH Architects; Photographs: © 2012 Ed Wonsek McAuliffe Elementary School: Concord, NH / HMFH Architects; Photographs: © 2012 Ed Wonsek McAuliffe Elementary School: Concord, NH / HMFH Architects; Photographs: © 2012 Ed Wonsek Abbot-Downing School: Concord, NH / HMFH Architects; Photographs: © 2012 Ed Wonsek + 26

Adaptation: Architecture, Technology, and The City / INABA

19:00 - 17 December, 2012
Adaptation Publication via INABA
Adaptation Publication via INABA

Adaptation: Architecture, Technology and the City is a publication that is a result of the collaboration between INABA and Free that brings interviews and art works into a conversation about the advancement of digital technology and its place in the built environment. The publication is a fascinating study into the dialogue between technological advancements in transportation and communications and the tangible environment with which is inextricably linked.

The Language of Architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology: Exploring Rudolf Olgiati's Work

19:00 - 14 December, 2012
On Rudolph Olgiati via Eindhoven University of Technology, Courtesy of Jan Schevers
On Rudolph Olgiati via Eindhoven University of Technology, Courtesy of Jan Schevers

Delicately crafted models by twelve students at Eindhoven University of Technologywill be the feature of an exhibit on Rudolf Olgiati called Die Sprache der Architektur (The Language of Architect). Oligiati was a Swiss Architect of the mid-20th century whose work has been attributed to the New Objectivist Movement. His work, which largely featured single family homes, brought a modernist aesthetic to the tradition of the mountainous Grisons of eastern Switzerland.

More on this exhibit after the break.

Oslo: A Haven For Adventurous Design

10:30 - 14 December, 2012
Barcode Project / Lund Hagem Architects; Courtesy of Lund Hagem Architects
Barcode Project / Lund Hagem Architects; Courtesy of Lund Hagem Architects

For architects, Oslo has become a safe haven from Europe’s economic turmoil. According to an article by J.S. Marcus for The Wall Street Journal, dozens of new architectural projects currently under construction are not only changing the city’s humble skyline, putting the city on the cutting-edge of architectural design, but are also pulling in a base of buyers that are eager to call the city’s waterfront home (no wonder Norway was voted our work). And nowhere can Oslos’s transformation be better seen than in the new quarter of Operakvarteret, where a 20,000 square-meter, mixed use development project has brought various, innovative architects together to design a new face for Oslo.

More after the break.

The Pros & Cons of Revoking the DC Height Act

10:30 - 13 December, 2012
© Flickr User Rob Shenk. Used under <a href=''>Creative Commons</a>
© Flickr User Rob Shenk. Used under Creative Commons

Earlier this week, Architect Robert K. Levy optimistically declared that the study which will evaluate the federal law limiting Washington building heights is a “win-win” situation for everyone involved. Writing for The Washington Post, Levy states: “By conducting a detailed, comprehensive city-wide study, the D.C. Office of Planning and the NCPC will produce analyses and recommendations leading to a fine-grain, strategic plan for building heights across the District. Ultimately this study is a win-win proposition for all stakeholders.”

But can the situation really be so rosy? While Congress spends 10 months studying and debating the possibility of making alterations to the capital’s zoning policies, urbanists, planners and citizens have already begun weighing in on the matter – and opinions are decidedly divided. Many question the true motivations behind the possible changes, and whether those changes will truly improve the livability and sustainability of the city - or just alter it beyond recognition.

We’ve gathered both sides of the argument so you can make your own informed decision – after the break…

Miami: America’s Next Great Architectural City?

10:30 - 11 December, 2012
Coconut Grove Condo / BIG; Image via DesignBoom
Coconut Grove Condo / BIG; Image via DesignBoom

Miami, Florida is booming with new architectural projects by big names: everything from new condominums by BIG,to the new Miami Beach Convention Center. So why are so many big projects migrating to Miami Beach? The city is turning itself into an American cultural and civic center.

Join us after the break for more.

Bloomberg Announces Plan For Downtown Brooklyn

19:00 - 10 December, 2012
32-Story Tower at Lafayette and Ashland, Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos.  Via The Architect's Newspaper
32-Story Tower at Lafayette and Ashland, Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos. Via The Architect's Newspaper

In recent years Downtown Brooklyn has become somewhat of a hub of cultural activity.  Just past the triangular intersection of Flatbush Ave and Fulton Street, a high density of cultural buildings, expansive retail, and entertainment exists.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC announced in late November that the city and private companies will be partnering to produce three new projects in this area that will bring affordable housing and additional cultural and community spaces to Downtown Brooklyn.  This last city-owned parcel will be developed into mixed use facilities: a 515,000 square foot building at Fulton St, Rockwell Place and Ashland Place; a 32-story mixed use building on Flatbush and Lafayette to be designed by Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos and a third building currently in the RFP stage of development at Ashland Place and Lafayette.

Join us after the break for more.