Try as we might to inure ourselves to the opinions of others, recognition is a powerful thing. It brings with it a captive (and expectant) audience, not just of admirers but of kingmakers - or, cynically, those who see an opportunity to capitalize. For architects, this can be both a blessing and a curse. Many practices start with the motivation to pursue an idea or concept; as recognition becomes diluted to labels it becomes harder to understand what was distinguishing in the first place. This week saw the announcements of a numerous significant awards - and an interview with a practice determined to shake off the labels that come with recognition. Read on for this week’s review.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist of four finalist projects in the running for the 2018 RIBA International Prize. A biennial award open to any qualified architect in the world, the International Prize seeks to name the world’s “most inspirational and significant” building. Criteria for consideration include the demonstration of “design excellence, architectural ambition, and [delivery of] meaningful social impact.”
The inaugural prize was awarded to Grafton Architects in 2016 for their UTEC university building in Lima, Peru, described as a “modern-day Machu Picchu.”
Timber tower construction is the current obsession of architects, with new projects claiming to be the world’s next tallest popping up all over the globe. But this latest proposal from Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry Co. and architects Nikken Sekkei would blow everything else out of the water, as they have announced plans for the world’s first supertall wood structured skyscraper in Tokyo.
The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has announced the Day 1 category winners of their 2017 awards slate. Winners selected among 32 categories over the first two days of the conference will then continue on to compete for the title of the World Building of the Year 2017 to be announced on the final day of the event on Friday.
The world’s largest architectural award program, the WAF Awards year saw its biggest year yet, with a total of 924 entries received from projects located in 68 countries across the world. The finalist projects will be selected live at the festival by a Super Jury made up of jury chair Robert Ivy, Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects; Nathalie de Vries, Director & Co-founder of MVRDV; Ian Ritchie, Founder of Ian Ritchie Architects; and Christoph Ingenhoven, Founder of Ingenhoven Architects.
You can check out the full shortlist here, and see which built and future projects took home awards after the break.
Earlier this year, BDOnline released the 2017 edition of the WA 100, their annual survey of the world's largest practices. Ranking the firms by the number of architects they employ, the full report also investigates these firms' financial records and industry trends. The top spots show only slight changes from last year's rankings, with Japan's Nikken Sekkei taking second place from AECOM being perhaps the most notable change. However, the big story behind this year's WA 100 is the rapid growth of #1 firm Gensler, with the firm increasing their lead from last year. The firm now employs almost 800 more architects than any other firm in the world.
"Gensler’s total domination of the rankings continues as it achieves the seemingly impossible task of growing still more after last year’s huge leap in size," says BDOnline, noting that the company's total of 2,570 employed architects represents an increase of almost 1,000 in under 2 years. Gensler's co-chief executive Diane Hoskins explains this growth as the result of expanding overseas while continuing to expand in the US. "It’s not an either/or," she explained to BDOnline.
Read on to see the top 20, or go see the full list of 100 top practices at BDOnline here (for subscribers only).
At a press conference on Thursday, FC Barcelona presented the design of the new Camp Nou, a project led by Nikken Sekkei (Japan) with Joan Pascual i Ramon Ausió Arquitectes (Barcelona), who won the international competition in early March.
Alongside the team's players, the board of directors chaired by Josep Maria Bartomeu presented the model of the project, which will begin construction in mid-2017 to expand the stadium's capacity to 105,000 spectators. In addition, the organization published a series of videos about the project, including an explanation of how the expansion will take place without affecting a single football match.
Japanese practice Nikken Sekkei, in collaboration with Joan Pascual-Ramon Ausió Arquitectes, has been chosen to design the new Camp Nou stadium for FC Barcelona, according to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. The winning team was chosen over three other finalists: HKS + COX + Batell i Roig Arquitectes; BIG + IDOM + BAAS Arquitectes; POPULOUS + Mias Arquitectes + RCR Arquitectes.
The new design intends to compliment the recently unveiled New Palau Blaugrana, FC Barcelona's main basketball arena that will be designed by HOK and TAC Arquitectes. All this is happening alongside the Espai Barça remodel that is expected to begin in 2017 and complete by 2021.
A design team led by Nikken Sekkei, in collaboration with Tierra Design and Arup Singapore, has won a competition to Master Plan a 24-kilometer long former railway corridor that spans the entirety of Singapore with their proposal entitled “Lines of Life.” The proposal, chosen by a panel from Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority incorporates green areas, footpaths, bicycle paths, and surrounding developments that are flexibly implementable over many years, so that the former train line can be best integrated into its surroundings.
Just two weeks after the Japan Sport Council launched a second call for New National Stadium proposals, Zaha Hadid Architects and partner Nikken Sekkei have withdrawn from the competition. Although the duo promised to develop a "cost-effective" design that strictly adhered to the new competition's scaled down brief, they were unable to secure a contractor and therefore were forced to step down from the competition.
"It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new National Stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition," said ZHA in a press release.
Tokyu Corporation has unveiled a new skyscraper planned will rise adjacent to Tokyo's Shibuya Station. A collaborative design by Japanese firms Kengo Kuma, SANAA and Nikken, the 230-meter mixed use tower will feature an unprecedented, 3,000-square-meter public sky deck that promises "views of Mt. Fuji" (on a clear day).
MVRDV, OMA and DP Architects are among five shortlisted teams competing to design the Singapore Rail Corridor. Spanning the island south to north, from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to the Woodlands Checkpoint, the corridor is the site of Singapore’s previous rail link to Malaysia. With this competition, the Singapore government hopes to develop a feasible plan to transform the 24 kilometer stretch into a public greenway that connects four important urban nodes: Buona Vista, the Bukit Timah Railway Station area, the former Bukit Timah Fire Station, and Kranji.
“The expanse of the corridor running through the centre of the entire country presents an unprecedented opportunity to develop a new typology of landscape with transformative effects for the country as a whole. This is a project that has the potential to improve quality of life for generations to come," says OMA Partner Michael Kokora.
64 teams responded to the government's call for ideas, and now only five have been selected to move onto the competition's second stage. These five teams are...
The competition to masterplan Muscat, Oman’s new district, Al-Irfan, is over. Organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), five teams were chosen to submit proposals for the development project. Of those five, international firm Allies and Morrison has been selected to oversee the design process. The firm will be working in with the Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran) to develop a site of over 7.4 million square meters into a thriving urban center that will provide business and residential opportunities for the people of Oman.
The urban heat island effect - the hot, overwhelming temperatures that a city's concrete produces - has a huge impact on livability and comfort within the city. Now, an elegant cooling system has been designed that not only reduces energy usage, but - should it be installed on multiple buildings - could even lower the overall temperature of a city itself. Learn more, after the break.