Eiffel Tower’s New “First Floor” Almost Complete

Architecture, International
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Work is almost finished on a revamped viewing platform and event space at the Eiffel Tower. While it’s called the First Floor, it’s nearly 200 feet above ground and will offer panoramic views of Paris. And for the braver visitors, it will offer views straight down as the new space has a glass-floor viewing platform. Moatti-Rivière Architects is heading up the renovation, which will include shops, restaurants, conference rooms and event spaces. The new floor will also be better suited to those with disabilities and incorporate green technologies including solar panels and the rainwater collection.

Portuguese architect Ines Lobo wins second annual arcVision prize

Awards, International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Single family house in Magoito

A single family house in Magoito designed by 2014 arcVision prize winner Ines Lobo (Courtesy Ines Lobo)

The 2014 arcVision Prize, an international architecture award for female designers, was bestowed upon Ines Lobo. The Portuguese architect emerged from a short list of 21 nominees representing 15 countries. Lobo has focused the majority of her practice on her native country, where she also teaches at the Autonoma University in Lisbon. Since founding her own firm in 2002, Lobo has been most prolific in the public realm, designing the Art and Architecture Facility for Evora University and a number of secondary schools throughout Portugal. Anna Heringer of Switzerland, Shimul Javeri Kadri of India and Cecilia Puga from Chile were also tabbed for special mention. Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba was the recipient of the inaugural arcVision Prize after Italcementi created the award in 2013.

Transforming an Austrian Construction Site into a Choreographed Dance

International, Lighting
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Turns out the biggest construction site in Europe has got some moves. And all it takes to turn 42 cranes into a nimble-bodied dance troupe is some light choreography, a techno beat, and a fair amount of neon lighting.  The dance, or the Krenasee event as it is officially known, took place in Austria last month at the site of a planned 20,000-square-foot suburb called Urban Lakeside Vienna. FilmSpektakel caught the action in all of its glory and put together this impressive time-lapse video. [Via Gizmodo.]

Pioneering British Supermarket Appears Destined for an Early Demise

SAINSBURY6

(Courtesy Chetwoods Architects)

A British supermarket once lauded for its ingenuity and pioneering nature is now on the chopping block with a Swedish invader looming. When it was completed, the Greenwich branch of UK Mega-chain Sainsbury’s was hailed as a breakthrough in eco-design and shortlisted for a prestigious Stirling Prize. Yet in early March the city council approved plans to demolish the structure in order to pave the way for a new IKEA warehouse outlet.

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Urban Innovator Enrique Peñalosa To Run for Colombian Presidency

Enrique Peñalosa

Vaunted champion of urban living standards Enrique Peñalosa (pictured) is running for president of Colombia. As mayor of Bogotá, Peñalosa introduced a number of changes that improved the city’s public transportation system and also made it more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. His three-year reign witnessed the the implementation of the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system which services 2 million Colombians daily. He also  instituted of a number of measures strategically restricting auto-traffic within certain parts of the city. Since 2009 the Duke alum has been president of the Institute for Transport and Development Policy, an organization that promotes transportation solutions globally. Peñalosa will be representing Colombia’s Green Party in the 2014 elections, which take place May 25.

Origami Architecture: Make’s Portable Pop-Up Kiosks Fold Metal Like Paper

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Make Architects' kiosks fold open and shut. (Courtesy Make Architects)

Make Architects’ kiosks fold open and shut. (Courtesy Make Architects)

Inspired by Japanese paper-folding, Canary Wharf booths make a sculptural statement whether open or shut.

Make Architects’ folding kiosks for Canary Wharf in London bring new meaning to the term “pop-up shop.” The bellows-like structures were inspired by Japanese paper folding. “[The kiosk] had to be solid, but lightweight, so then that led us to origami,” said Make lead project architect Sean Affleck. “[You] end up with something very flimsy; add a few folds and creases, and suddenly the strength appears. In the folds, the shape appears.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Help Artist Janet Echelman Bring a Colorful, Billowing Sculpture to Vancouver

Art, Design, International
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Early rendering of Vancouver installation. (Courtesy echelman.com)

Early rendering of Vancouver installation. (Courtesy echelman.com)

Janet Echelman is a world-renowned artist known for her billowing, aerial sculptures of lace and netting. Her dynamic, colorful works have appeared in cities including San Francisco, Sydney, Seattle, and Amsterdam. And now, Echelman is planning her biggest work yet—this time in Vancouver. A 700-foot, 24-story high, flowing sculpture to coincide with her talk at TED’s upcoming 30th Anniversary Conference.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Autodesk Establishes Foundation To Aid Impactful Design Projects

International
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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ruralstudio_archpaper.jpg.

A 20K house, part of Rural Studio project that received a grant from the newly established Autodesk Foundation. (Courtesy Timothy Hursley)

On Tuesday Autodesk launched the global Autodesk Foundation. The initiative looks to invest and support non-profit organizations using design to tackle pressing world issues like climate change, access to water, and healthcare. “We want to support and accelerate the design-led revolution currently underway, by investing in design-driven entities that are pursuing scalable solutions with measurable impact,” said foundation CEO and Autodesk Senior Director of Sustainability, Lynelle Cameron.

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid the Subject of Controversy for Middle East Projects

East, International
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Nearly 50 activists recently took over the Guggenheim’s spiraling balconies to protest the museum’s planned branch in Abu Dhabi. The protesters, who are affiliated with Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, dropped pamphlets, rolled out banners, and hung a manifesto to criticize Abu Dhabi’s poor record on workers’ rights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Two Cheap and Efficient Ways to Improve Public Transit

Efficient Passenger Project Sign in Brooklyn. (twitter.com/eppnyc)

Efficient Passenger Project Sign in Brooklyn. (twitter.com/eppnyc)

Ah, the joy of New York City’s rush-hour subway commute. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you know the thrill in stepping off one crowded, dirty subway car into a wall of people to push your way onto the next crowded subway car. You turn up your music, or that riveting Podcast with that guy from that thing, and you power through it.

While you might be accustomed to it, the daily commute has plenty of room for improvement. Two new approaches to ease crowding on public transit systems show how some easy adjustments could make big-city commutes considerably less hellish.

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Taiwan Reveals Another Star-Filled Shortlist

International, West
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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Reiser Umemoto's Kaohsiung Port Terminal. (Courtesy Reiser Umemoto)

Reiser Umemoto’s Kaohsiung Port Terminal. (Courtesy Reiser Umemoto)

Yet another port in Taiwan is set to become an architectural icon. In 2012 Neil M. Denari Architects won the competition to design the Keelung Harbor Service Project. Before that Reiser Umemoto won a competition to design the Kaohsiung Port Terminal (pictured), which is set to open later this year.

Now the Port of Kinmen Passenger Service Center has shortlisted another stellar group of designers. They are: Josep Mias Gifre, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Junya Ishigami + Associates, Tom Wiscombe Architecture, and Miralles Tagliabue EMBT.  A winner is expected to be chosen next month.

New Research Iniatives Examine How Vital Pollinators Function In Urban Areas

International, Sustainability
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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bee

(Courtesy David Biesack/flickr)

As scientists search for the reasons why, large bee populations continue to die off at alarming rates. The insect’s role as a vital cog in agricultural processes makes their rapid disappearance all the more concerning. Habitat destruction must certainly be considered as one explanatory factor for the troubling trend, as urbanization and sprawl have dealt a considerable blow to the ecosystems where these insects flourish. Britain alone has lost 98 percent of its wildflower meadows in the past 70 years.

A new research initiative led by the University of Bristol is examining the way bees and their fellow pollinators function within the urban and suburban environs they are increasingly forced to inhabit. The Urban Pollinators Project, is studying pollinator populations in gardens in UK cities Bristol, Leeds, Edinborough, and Reading. The initiative is joined by a similar (and identically-named) project sponsored by the University of Washington that takes Seattle as its laboratory.

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