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AD Discussion: The Latest Architecture and News

LGBTQIA+ Experience in the City and in the Architectural Field, According to Our Readers

Architects in general are people who like to talk about how much they influence communities through their designs, and they are actually correct in saying that. After all, spaces together with various social factors influence how each individual feels when occupying the city or a building. But do these projects respond to all users in the same way? We propose to question the way architecture deals with the LGBTQIA+ community through an open call on our social media channels, bringing in our readers' testimonies on how they experience these spaces, and how is it possible to represent the LGBTQIA+ community in the architectural field.

Do You Think About How Your Architecture Project Will Age? We Want to Hear from You!

When the work finally comes to an end, the cleaning is done and preparations for the opening are underway, everything looks perfect. Coatings are all in their proper place, shining and with the intended color; wood surfaces are as yet unmarked and there is even a feeling of freshness and new life. Photographs mean that, for many, this vision of perfection is all that will ever be seen. 

But this perfection can be superficial. Failing to consider the damaging power of time during design and specification stages means can hasten the appearance of inevitable imperfections. Small fissures, stains, and scuffs among many other problems (that we have all dealt with at some point) begin to appear. The beautiful wood frame, so lovingly chosen, starts to look greyish. The paint fades where the sun hits the strongest. Boards begin to warp and fall  from the facade.

Who Should Win the 2019 Pritzker Prize?

It's a new year, and as we inch closer to February speculation has begun to swirl around who will be named next laureate(s) of the Pritzker Prize. What used to be a somewhat predictable award has become less so in recent years, and if you look at who has won you will realize that anything is possible. Will the jury honor a member of the "old guard," as when they awarded the late Frei Otto? Or will they recognize a young architect, as when they selected Alejandro Aravena?

We want to hear from our readers - not just about who probably will win the prize, but about who should win the prize, and why.

Cast your vote in the poll below  - or add in the dark horses you think deserve the honor in 2019. 

Is Architecture Synonymous with Stress?

The idea of becoming an architect and working in the field can seem to go against notions of a good work-life balance. With long journeys, pressing deadlines and the need to make informed decisions quickly, combined with potentially low wages and a quagmire of tricky working relationships and red-tape, architecture is conceived to be one of the most stressful professions.

A survey by Architect's Journal in 2016 found that 25% of UK architecture students are seeking mental health related treatments. In an article by Jennifer Whelan, published in May 2014 about mental health of architectural students, the author discusses the results of research conducted by the University of Toronto Graduate Student of Architecture, Landscape and Design (GALDSU) where the majority of students admitted to regularly pulling all-nighters, skipping meals, forgoing extracurricular social activities, and rarely exercising in order to finish projects on time.

Most Architects Prefer Working in Organized Spaces, But Some Opt for "Organized Chaos"

When we say "most" architects, we're basing our conclusion on the responses to our first AD Discussion of 2018. Even though Tim Harford, author of the book Messy, contends that disorder and a bit of confusion can be linked to spaces that inspire more creativity, our readers tend to disagree. In our review of comments on our article, the majority of respondents explained that workspaces with out-of-place objects negatively affected their ability to concentrate. Many responses alluded to their more efficient and prolific results gained by working in an organized space. But that doesn't mean that all ArchDaily readers agreed; there are still ardent defenders of "control chaos" who insist that their best work emerges from working beneath piles of papers or supplies.

How Did You Finance Your Model-Making and Printing Costs During Architecture School?

Architecture is well-known as one of the more expensive professions to study given the high costs for supplies. The fast-paced rhythm of traditional studio courses requires students to present their design ideas using drawings, diagrams, renderings, and collages—usually plotted onto paper—adding to the already high cost of creating physical models. The price tag for studying and practicing architecture is a cost that the entire profession has assumed, for better or worse.

If you aren't one of the lucky few residing in a country or state in which education is free, or in which there are significant financial aid support systems, the constant extra cost of building models and printing presentation materials has a big impact. In the best case (and only in cases in which the family is in the fortunate position to do so) parents supplement the extra money need; but in many cases, students must work while studying. What else can you do when you're expected to produce a final project or thesis that can total hundreds or even thousands of dollars to produce?

Neat and Tidy or Messy and Cluttered: Which Inspires More Creativity?

While architects are known for promoting sleek, clutter-free spaces, we have to ask: is this the best way to inspire creativity? Personal preference certainly plays a large part in how you respond to a stark table-tops with nary a stray pencil--maybe this is your nirvana. Or perhaps it’s theoretically preferable but once you have to sit down and work, you find yourself uninspired.

Author Tim Harford researched and compiled a number of examples for his book Messy in which “creativity, responsiveness, [and] resilience” were “integral to the disorder, confusion and disarray.” Do you agree? Or perhaps more importantly, what are you surrounded by when you’re in the zone and at your creative peak?

Who Should Win the 2018 Pritzker Prize?

The end of 2017 is nearly upon us, and with the start of 2018 comes speculation about who will be the next Pritzker Prize winner. Will the jury honor an influential member of the "old guard," as they did in 2015 when they bestowed the award upon the late Frei Otto? Or will they recognize a young architect who is redefining the profession, as they did when they selected Alejandro Aravena? Will the award go to an individual or to two or more architects working together? And will it reward virtuoso spatial design irrespective of context, or will the selection be more political, as it was last year when locally-focused practice RCR Arquitectes took the prize?

We want to hear from our readers – not just about who probably will win the prize, but about who should win the prize, and why. Read on to cast your vote in our poll, and let us know in the comments whose name you'd like to hear announced in 2018.

Architects Urgently Need to Leave Their Desks to Work More on Site, According to Our Readers

Do Architects Learn Enough About Construction and Materials? We asked this question to spark a discussion among our readers, and the number of responses on our sites in English and Spanish was overwhelming.

Having read and collected all these comments, it is clear that most of our readers agree that what is currently taught about materials and building processes is not enough. The vast majority of them admit that they have acquired this knowledge through fieldwork, years after having graduated. So once again we ask: if material knowledge is so important for the development of our profession, why is it not a fundamental part of the programs in universities around the world?

However, some of our readers contest this view, stating that architects don't have to know everything, and that we can't sacrifice good design to the constraints that impact the construction process. They base their arguments on the presence of specialists, to whom we should go whenever necessary, in a cohesive and collaborative process between the different disciplines.

Review the best comments received and join the discussion below.

Serious Question: Do Architects Learn Enough About Construction and Materials?

Have you ever visited a worksite and thought, "Wow, this contractor knows a lot more about construction than I do"? Have you had to change your original design because it was too difficult to construct or because it exceeded the budget? Do you think you're good at creating well-designed, efficient spaces but you're not so good when it comes to resolving the project's details?

Chances are you've found yourself in one or more of these situations, especially if you are a recent graduate. And depending on where and how you were educated, most students learn about construction and materials as it relates to the particular projects they are designing in school. Some people dedicate their career to the construction side of things--choosing classes, studios, and jobs that are focused on more technical, real-world training; others decide to focus their studies on urbanism, landscape architecture or the history of architecture. Finally, it also highly depends on the specific strength and concentration of the school you attend. 

In spite of the differences that make our profession one rich in diverse interests and allows us to create many different kinds of buildings, the educational deficit (as it relates to materials and construction), prevents us from perhaps exercising the most significant parts of our job: the architect's ability to bring designs to life. 

Who Should Win the 2017 Pritzker Prize?

The end of 2016 is nearly upon us, and with the start of 2017 comes speculation about who will be the next Pritzker Prize winner. Will the jury honor an influential member of the "old guard," as they did in 2015 when they bestowed the award upon the late Frei Otto? Or will they recognize a young architect who is redefining the profession, as they did when they selected Alejandro Aravena earlier this year? Will they reward virtuoso spatial design, or will they once again acknowledge the role of social impact, as they did in recognizing Aravena and Shigeru Ban in 2014? Will the award go to an individual or to two or more architects working together, as it did in 2010 when SANAA scooped the prize?

We want to hear from our readers – not just about who probably will win the prize, but about who should win the prize, and why. Read on to cast your vote in our poll, and let us know in the comments whose name you'd like to hear announced in 2017.

What Were Your #FirstSevenJobs?

Last week, the latest craze to hit the Twittersphere was #FirstSevenJobs. An interesting mix of nostalgia and self-congratulatory posturing, the hashtag had seemingly everybody on the social media site sharing how they took their first seven steps to where they are now. For architects though, whose path to their ideal job is often long and torturous, the hashtag may have offered a little solace: with notable and successful architects, educators and critics sharing how they took their first tentative steps into the profession, those still working towards their goals can be reassured that, no matter where they are now, success could be on the horizon.

With that in mind, we wanted to extend the hashtag to our users: what were your first seven jobs, and what did you learn while doing them? What was your experience like in getting to where you are now? And do the jobs that many architects have in their early years reveal anything about the architecture profession?

How To Eliminate Gender Disparity in Architecture, According to Our Readers

The movement towards gender equality in the architecture profession has been gaining attention for some time now, led in large part by surveys of the profession such as the AIA’s recent diversity study or of course the annual Women in Architecture survey by The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal. However, recently the debate around gender has taken on a different form; in a response to the AR's most recent survey published in RIBA Journal, for example, the curator of Turncoats and founder of the practices Interrobang and Studio Weave Maria Smith argues that it is time to move on to a more nuanced depiction of the problem. “I’d like to see a radical change in how this discussion is framed,” she says. “We must move away from generic indignation and start to properly interrogate why both men and women practice architecture the way they do.”

In light of this slow movement towards action in place of indignation, on International Women’s Day last month we asked our readers what exactly should be done to eliminate gender inequality in the field of architecture. The question provoked a broad and at times incredibly heated discussion - read on to find out what our readers had to say on the topic.

What Should We Be Doing To Eliminate Gender Inequality in Architecture?

In recent years, there has been a significant amount of attention paid to the gender debate in architecture, with many asking why, in the 21st century, our profession can still be such a challenging career path for women. In many ways, this focus on women in architecture has seemed successful: In 2014, Julia Morgan became the first woman awarded the AIA Gold Medal, and while Denise Scott-Brown may not have been retroactively awarded a Pritzker Prize, the AIA's decision to open up its Medal to more than one person at a time finally allowed her to join Julia Morgan on the (very short) list of female winners. Over in the UK, this year Zaha Hadid was awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, making her the first woman in history to receive the prize without sharing it with a male partner. Yet despite these apparent victories for equality in architecture, we still see headlines like the recent discovery by the AR's Women in Architecture Survey that gender disparities are, in fact, increasing.

Today, on International Women's Day, we wanted to open up a discussion among ArchDaily readers to see what else could be done. What more could architects, institutions and indeed even the media do to close the gender gap in our profession? Let us know in the comments below and the best responses will be featured in an upcoming article.

What Is the Best Project You've Seen on ArchDaily?

Yesterday, we launched our 2016 Building of the Year awards, inviting you to vote for your favorite buildings that we published in 2015. Now in its 7th year, this global, user-driven awards process has allowed us to break down the traditional barriers in the architectural community, making awards a democratic and representative endeavor. But while taking the collective votes of thousands of architects is an excellent way to find the projects worthy of an award, it's not always the best way to understand why certain projects are deserving of praise; qualitative feedback can be just as important as the quantitative data.

So, as we embark on the Building of the Year journey once again, we wanted to supplement the award with more qualitative input. We'd like you to tell us which is the best project you've seen published on ArchDaily, and why? Whether your favorite building on ArchDaily is a sensitive response to its context, an intelligent use of materials or an intriguing and unexpected form, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below, and the best responses will be featured in a future article.

ArchDaily Readers Tell Us Who Should Win the 2016 Pritzker Prize

For over 30 years, the Pritzker Prize has awarded some of the most inspirational and accomplished architects on the planet, and it has long helped to shape public discussion about current trends and ideas in architecture. Recent years have been no exception; in 2014, for example, the jury's citation of Shigeru Ban's humanitarian work sparked a heated discussion about the social duties of architects.

However, just as the selection by the Pritzker jury can shape public debate, it is also influenced by public opinion. So with the announcement of the 2016 Pritzker Prize winner due on Wednesday, last month we asked our readers to give us an insight into which architects they feel should be in the running. Through a poll and the comments on the post, they let us know who they think is deserving of architecture's biggest prize.

150 Weird Words Defined: Your Guide to the Language of Architecture

Back in September, we asked our readers to help us make the definitive list of weird words used by architects, and we got an astonishing response. The resulting article, 150 Weird Words that Only Architects Use was one of our most popular of the year, ranking highly in our most read articles of 2015 and our editors' picks of the best articles of the year. But while it was well received, a number of people commented that something was missing in our list: definitions of all the words, to both aid readers' comprehension of the list and to debate over how different people had interpreted the same word. With that in mind - and considering that it is the time of year for generosity - we've revisited our list to bring you fun definitions for all 150.

If you're looking for an architectural reference dictionary, we assure you that this isn't it. But we hope you'll have fun all the same.