London’s Design Museum Invites Public to a Virtual Tour of It’s Future Home

International, Newsletter
Monday, September 9, 2013
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Former Commonwealth Institute building and new home for the Design Museum (courtesy pixelhut, Flickr)

Former Commonwealth Institute building and new home for the Design Museum (courtesy pixelhut, Flickr)

The Design Museum of London has welcomed over five million visitors since it opened in 1989, and now for the first time on September 22nd, it will open it’s doors virtually, via an online platform called Stickyworld. The web-based platform allows people to digitally navigate their way through the museum from the comfort of their own home. This is achieved by means of 360 degree renders, panoramic images and plans. The new location for the design museum is the former landmark Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, which will provide three times the space of the current museum.

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State Department Shortlists Three Design Teams for U.S. Embassy in Lebanon

International
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Aerial view overlooking Beirut, Lebanon. (Ahmad Moussaoui / Flickr)

Aerial view overlooking Beirut, Lebanon. (Ahmad Moussaoui / Flickr)

With the ongoing attacks on American interests in the past, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has moved it’s government buildings from the heart of Beirut, to the calmer suburbs of the north of the Lebanese capital, specifically Awkar. OBO is currently evaluating a group of design teams to be commissioned for the design and construction of the new US embassy in Awkar, just 7 miles north of Beirut, and in close proximity to the existing embassy. Six firms participated in Stage 2 evaluations, and the list has now been shortened to three finalists.

View the shortlist after the jump.

Artek Joins the Vitra Family

International, Product, Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Artek's Lukki Family

Artek’s Lukki Family

On September 6, 2013, Vitra announced it acquired Artek. The Finnish furniture company was established in 1935 by architect Alvar Aalto, his wife Aino,  Maire Gullichsen, and historian Nils-Gustav Hahl to produce furniture that promoted modern living. Over the company’s last 80 years, it has expanded its business to include rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection and collaborations with renowned designers and artists such as Shigeru Ban, Eero Aarnio, and Enzo Mari.

Artek will continue operations as a separate entity but it is anticipated the purchase will expand the furniture company’s reach further beyond Finland, where contract and residential domestic sales account for 60 percent of its business. “The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized,” said Artek’s CEO Mirkku Kullberg in a statement. “That arena is where we want to be and alliances or ownership arrangements are one way of building the future.” Read More

Unveiled> SOM Designs Mashreq Bank Tower in Dubai

International
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced last week it would design a new headquarters for Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. The 32-story tower is “a quiet sculptural form within Dubai’s skyline,” SOM Design Director Ross Wimer said in a statement. Its L-shaped floor plate is cantilevered around an empty volume between the building’s eight-story podium and its top levels.

The building’s massing shields that courtyard from solar gain, while opening up views to Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa to the east. Executive offices occupy the top two floors, where the square floorplate resumes, with Mashreq’s Board Room suspended from an interior opening at the middle.

Wiel Arets wins design for Europaalee Site

International
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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Courtesy Wiels Arets Architects

Civic space and facade of building (Courtesy Wiel Arets Architects)

Wiels Arets Architects recently won a competition to design the “Europaallee site D” building in Zurich. The building is a pivotal component in the emerging mixed use district of “Europaallee,” a major infrastructure project which will incorporate 6,000 workplaces, 1,800 study spaces, 400 flats, one hotel, shops, restaurants, and other leisure activities. The winning entry accommodates retail activities and circulation spaces on the lower floors, while the upper volumes contain flexible office space. The building has been designed with scope for a residential component in the future.

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Unveiled> OMA Master Plan Wins Bogotá’s International Design Competition

City Terrain, International
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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(Courtesy OMA)

(Courtesy OMA)

OMA has been selected to design the Bogotá Centro Administrativo Nacional (CAN) new civic center, situated at the heart of the city’s main axis, Calle 26. Steered by partner-in-charge Shohei Shigematsu, the 680-acre mixed-use design occupies a footprint as large as Washington, D.C.’s National Mall and will operate as the city’s government headquarters with intermixed residential, educational, retail, and cultural developments, all which encourage continuous activity within separate districts. The design intends to integrate civic and public life while connecting to local destinations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Norman Foster Resigns from Pushkin Museum Expansion Before Russian Ultimatum

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Pushkin Museum Expansion Project Rendering (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Pushkin Museum Expansion Project Rendering (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts expansion project, one of Russia’s most prominent and contentious building schemes, has spiraled into disarray. Since Foster + Partners’ winning plans to expand and modernize the 101-year-old institution were originally approved in 2009, the development has been confronted with a series of delays including disputes between officials and preservationists. Now, to cap it off, the firm has officially resigned from the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Richard Rogers Builds a Prefabricated Multi-Level House In 24 Hours

International
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Homeshell House in the Royal Academy Courtyard. (Courtesy Miguel Santa Clara via Royal Academy)

Homeshell House in the Royal Academy Courtyard. (Courtesy Miguel Santa Clara via Royal Academy)

With modular homes on the rise, it seems to be time to bid farewell to long months and even years of construction and salute fast-paced, pre-fabricated systems arriving across the globe. At the Royal Academy in London as part of the Inside Out exhibition, Richard Rogers’ firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has introduced an innovative, environmentally efficient, three-and-a-half story home called the Homeshell. It is meant to inspire discussion about affordable mass housing. The flat-packed home on display contains individually installed windows and boasts a low environmental impact. Colorful facade materials enliven the closed timber frame system.

More after the jump.

2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalists Propose Designs for Humanity

International
Friday, August 23, 2013
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Fly's Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller

Fly’s Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller (Courtesy NYCDOT / Flickr)

Just as soon as they were announced, deliberation has begun on the nineteen semi-finalists in the 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. In the spirit of architect Buckminster Fuller’s call for revolutionary scientific design, this international design competition summons participants to innovate sustainable, long-term solutions for “humanity’s most pressing problems.”  This year, the jury has chosen projects that vary in subject and method, re-envisioning current global systems or addressing specific gaps within them. Read More

Photo of the Day> Snap, Rattle, and Roll

International
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
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An earthquake interrupts a photo shoot. (Adrian Wilson)

An earthquake interrupts a photo shoot. (Adrian Wilson)

Architectural photographer, Adrian Wilson, shared this photo with AN that he snapped during a photo shoot in Mexico City today. The routine work day, this time at Casa Palacio for Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates, was abruptly interrupted by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake epicentered some 250 miles outside the Mexican capital. It was once instance, the usually-steady Wilson said, when he “couldn’t avoid camera shake…” According to news reports there was no major damage or injuries reported from the tremor.

Pisa Going Plumb? Leaning Tower—Very Slowly—Straightening Up Its Act

International, Newsletter
Friday, August 16, 2013
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Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Eric Meyer / Flickr)

Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Eric Meyer / Flickr)

The Torre di Pisa is straightening up its act, according to scientists who monitor the famous tower’s tilt. There’s no need to worry, though, the Tower of Pisa won’t be standing completely vertical any time soon. The Huffington Post reported this week that the tower has shifted about an inch (2.5 cm) back toward being upright since 2001, when the structure was reopened to the public.

This gravity-defying maneuver was brought about by a restoration to the tower’s foundation that began in 1992 when the building’s foundation were secured, moving the entire structure a whopping 15 feet. Structural interventions included temporarily installing steel cables as an emergency measure followed by excavating stones beneath the tower and replacing them with steel and concrete. The overall effect, according to HuffPo, was to sink the tower slightly into the ground and thereby make it more vertical. Scientists said these restorative measures will make the Leaning Tower safe for two- to three-centuries.

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Not Merely Child’s Play: LEGO Architecture Kit Allows Creative Freedom to Adult Builders

International
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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9476925948_103c35d6e2_z

Courtesy Michael Monello / Flickr

On August 1st, LEGO released a new kit in its series of building block design sets marketed specifically to architecture enthusiasts. LEGO’s Architecture Studio Kit, from its Architecture Series of adult-catered building sets, consists of 1,200 all white and translucent plastic bricks but no instructions. The free-for-all kit is endorsed by MAD Architects of Beijing and comes with a guidebook of architecture building exercises. Michael Bleby of Business Review Weekly writes that this set “is the first in the range to focus on creativity and architectural principles, rather than a specific architectural icon.” A modernist’s dream that costs significantly less than others within the series, LEGO may possibly have caught onto a new niche market. Especially when reviews thus far of the landmark-specific Architecture Series have been mixed from architects and enthusiasts alike.

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