Look inside London’s subterranean funhouse, The House of Vans

Architecture, International
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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The skate park. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The skate park. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The house that Vans built is 30,000 square feet, cavernous, and deep underneath London. The iconic shoe and clothes retailer recently transformed the Old Vic Tunnels beneath Waterloo Station into “The House of Vans”—a multi-level, subterranean cultural venue complete with galleries, artist studios, a café, two bars, an 85-person music venue, a 160-person cinema, and, of course, a skate park.

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How concrete floors can save thousands of lives in Bangladesh

Architecture, International
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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A concrete floor being installed as part of ARCHIVE’s pilot project in February. (Courtesy ARCHIVE Global)

Concrete floor being installed during ARCHIVE’s pilot project in February. (Courtesy ARCHIVE Global)

With so many starchitect-designed, headline-grabbing skyscrapers rising around the world, it’s easy to overlook the more modest projects in the shadows of those glass towers—the projects designed for those stuck on the other end of the economic spectrum. These homes, schools, community centers, and clinics—often designed by lesser-known architects—may not be as stunning as new high-rises, but they prove that design can do more than improve lives, it can save them too. And that is exactly what the non-profit ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments) hopes to prove with a new project in Savar, Bangladesh.

Continue reading after the jump.

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International Union of Architects pledges to eliminate carbon emissions in the built environment

Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr / Katy Silberger)

Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr / Katy Silberger)

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has made a major commitment to do its part in the fight against climate change. At its recent World Congress in Durban, South Africa, the Union—which represents 1.3 million architects from 124 countries—universally pledged to eliminate carbon emissions from the built environment by 2050. The “2050 Imperative” was created by the non-profit Architecture 2030 and approved by the UIA on August 8th.

Learn more after the jump.

If Roald Dahl were an architect, he might have designed a school like this

Prestwood Infant School (Courtesy De Rosee Sa and PMR Architecture)

Prestwood Infant School. (Courtesy De Rosee Sa and PMR Architecture)

What better time to be immersed in the fairytale landscapes of renowned author Roald Dahl than as a child first experiencing his books. Children growing up in Great Missenden, England, Dahl’s old neighborhood of 36 years, will have this colorful experience in a whimsical new school building designed set to begin construction in October.

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How the “Climate Penalty” will make air pollution in cities even worse

Smog over Los Angeles. (Flickr / Ben Amstutz)

Smog over Los Angeles. (Flickr / Ben Amstutz)

Scientists’ dire warnings about climate change have become as routine as they are shocking. As global temperatures shatter records and extreme weather events rip across the planet, climatologists have continued to issue study after study about how bad things are and how much worse they will get. For years, we’ve known that coastal cities are threatened by rising sea levels, but now there is even more bad news for those living in populated urban centers—whether they’re near the sea or not. It’s called the “climate penalty” and it could transform urban living.

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Product> Kitchens + Baths: The Latest Designs from Europe

1-valcucine-Riciclantica-Acciaio

(Courtesy Valcucine)

At Salon del Mobile, the specialized trade show Eurocucina focuses on innovation in kitchen systems and appliances. This year, trends include a fascination with dark woods and the evolution of wall cabinets from closed boxes to open shelves. On the bathroom front, exhibitors at the Salone del Bagno were promoting unusual finishes and materials for plumbing fixtures and fittings.

Valcucine
Riciclantica Acciaio

Now available with a glass worktop, ultra-thin doors, and a redesigned backsplash panel that facilitates installation around utility lines. Designed by Gabriele Centazzo.

More after the jump.

Scientists say Beijing will be covered in a cloud of air pollution for 16 more years

City Terrain, International
Friday, August 22, 2014
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Forbidden City in the Smog (John Chandler/Flickr)

Forbidden City in the Smog (John Chandler/Flickr)

The air in Beijing, China is dirty, and a new report suggests it won’t be getting cleaner any time soon. Beijing residents received the grim news from the Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection regarding the city’s air pollution levels. Following studies done by the institute, researcher Pan Tao has estimated the return of safe air pollution levels in 2030. The World Health Organization has stated in the past that the concentration of PM2.5, particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less per cubic meter, should not exceed 35 micrograms per cubic meter. In 2013, however, the level of PM2.5 in Beijing measured 89.5 micrograms per meter.

Bjarke Ingels Lays The First Brick at LEGO House in Denmark

Ingels and the LEGO team at the recent groundbreaking. (Courtesy LEGO Group)

Ingels and the LEGO team at the recent groundbreaking. (Courtesy Edith Kirk Kristiansen)

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has begun assembling the pieces of its life-size LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. The wunderkind, himself, recently joined the LEGO Group’s brass (er, plastic?) for the ceremonial groundbreaking, which was really more of a brick-laying as six LEGO-shaped foundation stones were unveiled at the site. Imprinted on those stones were the words: “imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, and quality.”

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Al Jazeera launches “Rebel Architecture” documentary on architectural activism

Architecture, International, Media
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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The "Guerilla Architect." (Courtesy Al Jazeera via Screengrab)

The “Guerilla Architect.” (Courtesy Al Jazeera via Screengrab)

Al Jazeera has launched Rebel Architecture, a six-part documentary that profiles lesser-known architects who are using their design skills “as a form of activism resistance to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises.” These designers aren’t building glass towers for the global elite, but schools, cultural spaces, and homes for everyone else. And they’re often doing it in legal gray area. Read More

Moscow’s Shukhov Tower won’t be dismantled after all

THE SHUKHOV TOWER. (COURTESY RICHARD PARE)

THE SHUKHOV TOWER. (COURTESY RICHARD PARE)

One of Russia’s most distinctive pieces of architecture—the 1920s-era Shukhov Radio and Television tower in Moscow—has skirted what appeared to be its imminent death.

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Goettsch Partners to design five towers in booming Shenzhen’s Qianhai district

Chicago's Goettsch Partners will design five towers for Shenzhen, China's Qianhai district, which Chinese authorities say will one day be the "Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta." (Goesttch Partners)

Chicago’s Goettsch Partners will design five towers for Shenzhen, China’s Qianhai district, which Chinese authorities say will one day be the “Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta.” (Goesttch Partners)

Goettsch Partners landed its largest project in China, a cluster of five towers on 15 acres in Shenzhen’s Qianhai district. China Resources Land Limited (CR Land) hired the Chicago-based Goettsch to design 5.4 million square feet of space for offices, apartments, a five-star hotel, and retail. U.K.–based Benoy is the masterplanner, and is designing a shopping mall and retail areas at the towers’ base.

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Marks Barfield Architects building 530-foot-tall observation tower in Brighton, England

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.41.44 PM

i360 Brighton. (Courtesy Marks Barfield Architects)

The husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye observation wheel plans to one-up themselves with an observation tower in Brighton, UK that’s about 100 feet taller. For the seaside town, David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects have created Brighton i360, a 531-foot-tall, futuristic-structure that lifts visitors up high above the English Channel.

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