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Practice: The Latest Architecture and News

Zaha Hadid Architects Transitions to Employee Ownership

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects has announced the creation of its Employee Benefit Trust and the transition to employee ownership. Established by Zaha Hadid in 1980, the practice with studios in London and Beijing now comprises over 500 professionals taking forward the legacy of the renowned architect. The organizational shift will ensure that profits are reinvested back into the business, into facilities and equipment, benefiting the entire staff while allowing the practice to prioritize visionary architectural endeavours.

Zaha Hadid Architects Transitions to Employee OwnershipZaha Hadid Architects Transitions to Employee OwnershipZaha Hadid Architects Transitions to Employee OwnershipZaha Hadid Architects Transitions to Employee Ownership+ 5

HomeTown by Archisource - Stay-Home International Drawing Challenge!

‘Only a room away’

HomeTown is a new stay-home international drawing challenge!

A free, open-to-all, collective drawing challenge that aims to create a giant tessellated isometric drawing from creatives around the world!

Draw your insight into staying at home during lockdown and join this international collaboration!

The challenge aims to show how we can remain connected in these unprecedented times and that whilst we’re all ‘only a room away’, regardless of the country or distance apart, we are united by creativity.

Inspired by MC Escher’s incredible isometric drawings we want to collectively build HomeTown, a new virtual city. Using the template provided, we want

Thriving Through Challenging Times

With the current economic volatility and a looming recession, this conference brings together the brightest business minds in our profession to provide you with insights, guidance and tactics to not only survive the next few months, but thrive.  AIA Houston invites you to participate in an exciting two days of virtual learning. The conference will educate and inform architects on tools and strategies to navigate the current global crisis and anticipate the new normal beyond.

Communication is About More Than Selling

With December and January nearly behind us, many of us will have been producing reports. There is an increasing number of tools for reporting PR value sold to companies as ways to justify their worth. There is no doubt that it’s useful to regularly take stock of past and upcoming initiatives and producing a report can even be pleasurable when adding to a sense of accomplishment and direction. The bad thing is that this heavily-report-reliant culture leads to management style PR that focuses more on how something will look on paper as stats, graphs, and pics, than what is actually accomplished.

For instance, The Architecture Foundation in London is highlighting growing Biennale fatigue in its forthcoming “Bored of Biennales” event in March. One can well imagine how all-too-often such events are best experienced not in situ, but instead, through carefully-edited reports or via media coverage as suggested by the Foundation.

Intruders in the Boys' Club: Women Redefining Success in Architecture

Whether it be the overly-dainty posture of scale model figures or the assumptions of being the in-house decorator, the portrayal of women in architecture is often one of subservience. Despite Despina Stratigakos' hands-on efforts behind Architect Barbie or the global impacts of the legacy of starchitect Zaha Hadid, there continues to be a lack of visibility of women in the profession.

In a recent article in the New York Times, writer Allison Arieff poses the echoed question that the architectural community keeps asking itself, "Where are all the female architects?" No longer an issue of uneven gender ratios in architectural schooling, the persistence of dwindling numbers of women principals at the top of firms simply does not resonate. She postulates, that perhaps more significant than the statistics, the real problem lies in the definition of success.

Intruders in the Boys' Club: Women Redefining Success in ArchitectureIntruders in the Boys' Club: Women Redefining Success in ArchitectureIntruders in the Boys' Club: Women Redefining Success in ArchitectureIntruders in the Boys' Club: Women Redefining Success in Architecture+ 5

10 Years Post-Recession, a Resilient Generation Makes Practice Work for Them

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "The Kids are Alright."

Economics and technology affect every profession. But since World War II perhaps no profession has experienced more technological change than architecture. These shifts occurred, paradoxically, within a well-established professional model of personal development: The guild structure of learning in the academy, then becoming professional via internship leading to licensure, has been the structure of practice for almost two centuries.

Once upon a time manual drafting with graphite or ink was applied by white males, and a single sheet master was reproduced with typed specifications added, and buildings were constructed.

That world no longer exists.  

Sergey Skuratov of Sergey Skuratov Architects: "I Imagine the Building as a Living Thing"

Copper House / Sergey Skuratov Architects. Image Courtesy of Sergey Skuratov Architects
Copper House / Sergey Skuratov Architects. Image Courtesy of Sergey Skuratov Architects

Sergey Skuratov, founder of Sergey Skuratov Architects, an award-winning Russian practice (2008 Architect of the Year), is known for his sleek and well-composed portfolio. Projects such as Copper House, Art House, and House on Mosfilmovskaya Street demonstrate his sensitivity to materiality and ability to retain his vision from concept to reality. Over the last two decades Skuratov has succeeded in producing a whole strata of world-class architecture in Moscow, far more than any other local practitioner. His projects, predominantly residential and office complexes, have remained attractive and versatile without ever veering into conservatism.

Sergey Skuratov of Sergey Skuratov Architects: I Imagine the Building as a Living ThingSergey Skuratov of Sergey Skuratov Architects: I Imagine the Building as a Living ThingSergey Skuratov of Sergey Skuratov Architects: I Imagine the Building as a Living ThingSergey Skuratov of Sergey Skuratov Architects: I Imagine the Building as a Living Thing+ 16

How to Survive a Creative "Gut Punch" and Accept Negative Feedback

This article was originally published by Amar Singh on Medium. Singh is also the author of "Why Open-Plan Offices Don't Work (And Some Alternatives That Do)."

The first few times I received negative feedback I was surprised about how I felt. I could feel my body getting tight, my temperature rising and a feeling of tension. For a brief moment, I felt as if the air had left my body and could feel myself getting defensive.

11 Things You Learn at Your First “Real” Architecture Job (Lessons from a Recent Graduate)

© Megan Fowler
© Megan Fowler

You did it! You finished those grueling years of architecture school, perfected your portfolio and your interview pitch, and you landed your first job with an architecture firm. Everyone told you that working in a firm would be lightyears different from what you were used to doing in school, but until you get out there yourself, there is really no way to know just what that might entail. Once you’ve tackled life’s bigger questions about surviving outside of architecture school, you still have to learn to function in a day-to-day job. The learning curve is steep and it can certainly be overwhelming, but you’ve made it this far and there are a few lessons and skills you are sure to gain quickly as you start your career.

MCH: MAS in Collective Housing

The Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housinghttp://www.mchmaster.com/, MCH, is a postgraduate full-time international professional program of advanced architecture design in cities and housing presented by Universidad Politécnica of Madrid (UPM) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). After nine editions, it is rated as one of the best architecture master’s programs by architects and experts.

Architects from all nations are trained to develop their expertise in these issues and have demonstrated a high professional level, making important contributions in research projects, winning competitions or taking leadership roles in the most relevant architecture firms.

Call for Submissions: RM 1005: Timeless

Timeless | Adjective | org. 1550

: staying beautiful or fashionable as time passes
: lasting forever
: having no beginning or end, eternal.
: not affectetd by time
: referring or restricted to no particular time
: untimely, ill-timed
: without time

ASF-UK Symposium: Designing In Uncertain Global Times

Join ASF-UK for a one day symposium to explore how built environment practitioners can respond to emerging global challenges in cities. With highly interactive sessions throughout the day, we will test and discuss different skills, approaches and knowledge that can ‘challenge practice’ in order to design in uncertain global times. The day will be a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of working in this sector, to network with others in this field and a chance to discover ways in which to engage with ASF-UK. The event will end with a reflection by practitioners involved in innovative forms of practice in the UK and around the world.

Practice 2.0: 10 Years of Smart Geometry

by: Daniel Davis & David Fano of CASE

This year marks Smartgeometry’s tenth anniversary. For architects it’s been a decade of breathless innovation and listless stagnation. In this article we look back at the success of SmartGeometry and ask why the building industry isn’t keeping up.

The original instigators of Smartgeometry – Lars Hesselgren, J Parrish, and Hugh Whitehead – worked together at YRM (now part of RMJM) in the late 1980s. Together they helped shepherd parametric modeling and associative geometry into the field of architecture, and witnessed how early-stage three-dimensional structural analysis and late-stage clash detection might change practice. Yet in 2003 they found themselves disillusioned and asking, “Why is it that ten years have passed, and we still cannot even get close to the kind of capability that we had then?” [1]. In other words, why is the building industry failing to keep up, or worse, falling behind. It was a question that would inspire the first Smartgeometry conference, and it is a question that still lingers a decade later.

Practice 2.0: Championing the young architect's career, a lesson from technology startups

ICON's 20 Young Architects, photo via anarchitecture
ICON's 20 Young Architects, photo via anarchitecture

By David Fano and Steve Sanderson, edited by Julie Quon

A well-known and often cited truism of architecture notes that forty (as in years) is considered young for an architect and most don’t start hitting their stride until they’re seventy. This may partially explain why well-known architects seem to live forever… they’re simply too busy to die. What is often omitted from this narrative is how the architects spent the first twenty (or so) years of their careers as freshly minted graduates prior to being recognized by their peers in the profession as “making it”.

If you approach any architect about their early-career experience in the profession you will get slightly different versions of the same story. They are all, in essence, about paying your dues.

  • Taking a low-paying position for an A or B-list architect, where the compensation for long hours is the privilege of anonymous design on important projects, and in return a few hours are spent outside of the studio (usually with a group of similarly indebted classmates) on open design competitions that pay trifle stipends.
  • Taking a low-paying adjunct teaching position, ideally in a design studio, where compensation for long hours is the privilege of working on your design interests with students in order to become a part of the elite tastemakers and to one day be shortlisted for an exclusive cultural competition.
  • Taking a slightly better paying position with a corporate firm and spending your hours outside of work designing kitchens and bathrooms for wealthy friends and family with hopes that their social reach is broad enough to lead to additional commissions that will one day be substantial enough to make a living.
  • Taking a slightly better paying position with a corporate firm and slogging through the incredibly tedious intern development and professional registration process in order to move up the corporate hierarchy. The goal is to eventually become a principal or partner with an established firm or even break off on your own with some of the established firm’s clients.
  • In each of these scenarios, the only path to a significant commission is to spend the few hours outside of these paying jobs in the pursuit of establishing credibility and reputation through exposure in architectural publications. In any case, it seems that around the age of forty is when all of this hard work finally begins to pay off with consistent commissions. For the vast majority that never succeed by following these models, there is usually a ‘pivot’ (in startup terms, a change in approach) that leads to a stable corporate position, a full-time teaching post, or an exit from the profession altogether (we did the latter, see Fed’s post). The difficulty of ‘being’ an architect is branded about in schools (oftentimes by people with little to no actual experience in the field) as a source of pride, a perverse hazing ritual intended to weed out all but the most dedicated adherents to the ideals of architecture as a pure form of expression, a rationale which further reinforces architecture as an intellectual pursuit for the privileged (that topic is for another post).

    Practice 2.0: 4 Take-aways from Chicago's BIM Forum

    By Federico Negro

    Last week I had the pleasure of presenting our work on the construction of the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame by Trahan Architects at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) BIM Forum in Chicago. The event is meant to “facilitate and accelerate the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) in the AEC industry lead by example and synchronize with counterparts in all sectors of the industry to jointly develop best practice for virtual design and construction (VDC).” I also got a copy of Chuck Eastman’s new edition of his BIM Handbook which served as entertainment during the trip and which I’ll refer to later in this post.

    It was my first time at the forum. Here is what I learned about the adoption of BIM by the industry and how it is understood.

    Practice 2.0: Work Smarter Not Harder

    Source: http://gapingvoid.com/2007/09/26/simon-phipps-and-hamish-newlands/
    Source: http://gapingvoid.com/2007/09/26/simon-phipps-and-hamish-newlands/

    By: David Fano

    Have you ever had the experience of sitting through a graphics standards committee meeting? It’s where happy and ambitious thoughts go to die. What starts as a good cause for your firm quickly devolves into very long and highly subjective arguments about things such as title blocks, line weights, line styles, fonts, font sizes, tags, symbols, and of course… naming conventions!

    I’m not in any way trying to devalue documentation standards or the importance of title blocks. What I am saying is: We spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects held about 141,200 jobs in 2008 (source). Hypothetically, if each architect in the U.S. spends 30 minutes a year on average working on standards, as a profession we spend 70,600 hours on standards every year. Just for reference there are 2,080 hours per year in a standard full-time work week (52 weeks x 40 hours). That’s like a firm of 34 full time architects working on nothing but standards every year.

    Practice 2.0: Are we ready for the Challenge?

    by Steve Sanderson

    This is the first in Practice 2.0, a regular series of posts guest authored by our friends at CASE (@case_inc), focusing on technology and innovation in the building industry. While we all share tremendous enthusiasm for the opportunities afforded by technology, my particular interests are on gaining better, more timely access to information and improving building performance through informed decision making. Given the proximity to Earth Day (better late than never), I’m going to start things off with a related post. You can expect future posts to focus on building simulation and evidence-based design, with an emphasis on energy, validation and standards. You can also expect to hear a lot about Passive House.

    Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of seeing Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 speak at Cooper Union. For those that don’t know, Mazria and his organization have been instrumental in raising awareness of the enormous impact of buildings on climate change. His initiative, The 2030 Challenge, has been adopted (in varying degrees) by the most influential organizations on the built environment in the United States, including: the Federal Government, US Army, State of California, AIA and ASHRAE, among others. What does that mean? It means these organizations will require (or encourage) all new construction and major renovations to be carbon neutral by the year 2030.

    Sounds good right? Frankly, it sounds awesome, but when you dig deeper into how this is received by the industry, you come away with a different perspective. As a building technology consulting firm, we interact with a diverse group of stakeholders from across the industry, representing all of the organizations noted above. In conversations with these individuals about the goals set out by The 2030 Challenge, you can basically group nearly everyone into one of two groups: The Blissfully Ignorant or The Fearfully Aware.