Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize Doubles.  Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize Doubles The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, awarded every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and historic preservation, has announced its prize will double to $1 million. The Award, which seeks projects that address the needs of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence, typically goes to projects that innovate the use of local resources and technology. Recent winners have focused on improving public spaces in rural societies and communities on the outskirts of urban centers. His Highness the Aga Khan explained in a statement, “One of the important aspects of the Award is that winners should be able to reposition their future with the support they get from the Award, both professionally and institutionally.”

 

BIG Wins Culture Center in Bordeaux.  Bjarke IngelsOn April 14 the Regional Council of Bordeaux, France announced that BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) was selected to design the new Maison de l’économie créative et de la culture en Aquitaine, a.k.a. “la Méca.” The new building on the riverfront site will house three regional visual and performing arts agencies. The website of France’s SudOuest newspaper reports that BIG beat out SANAA and the Toulouse-based firm W-Architectures with a design for a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building featuring a 14,000-square-foot roof terrace. The 52-million-euro scheme awaits final approval at a May 21 council meeting…stay tuned for the renderings!

 

BMW Guggenheim Lab to Park in Berlin After All.  BMW Guggenheim Lab to Park in Berlin After All Facing the possibility of anti-gentrification protests, the Guggenheim decided to cancel plans to bring the BMW Guggenheim Lab to the city’s Kreuzberg district. They have decided to bring the lab to the already gentrified Prenzlauer Berg instead, specifically the Pfefferberg cultural center, according to Spiegel online. “The decision to relocate the Lab was not an easy one, but we are very pleased to have so quickly confirmed such a suitable alternative and to continue the urgent and important discussions we have begun about cities, and specifically about Berlin, at the Pfefferberg site,” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said in a statement. Time will tell if the move will mollify critics and protesters.

 

Chicago Architect Attempting to Kickstart A “Super-Furniture”

International, Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Beuys/Hefner House (Courtesy Bureau Spectacular)

Beuys/Hefner House (Courtesy Bureau Spectacular)

What is a Super-Furniture? According to Chicago architect Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular, it is “a building that is kind of too small, or a couch that is kind of too big.” Whichever way you prefer to think of it, Lai’s plan to live in one of the his installation-scale Super-Furniture, in this case called the Hefner/Beuys House, for a month inside a London gallery is a provocative project where “suddenly architecture becomes performance art.”

Building? Couch? Check it out!

Chipperfield to Revamp Mies’ Neue Nationalgalerie

International
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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Ciro Miguel/flickr

Stirling Prize winner David Chipperfield will renovate of Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, beating out more than 20 competing proposals. The museum, which houses the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s modern art collection, has not undergone any major renovation since it was completed in 1968.

Read More

Australians Plan Pavilion for 2015 Venice Biennale

International
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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The Australian Pavilion.

The Australian Pavilion. (Courtesy Denton Corker Marshall)

The Venice Biennale is staged in an enormous old Arsenal building and in an urban park a few blocks away that houses 30 national pavilions. The first of these pavilions opened in 1907 and several were designed by famous architects like Josef Hoffmann (Austria), BBPR (Canada), Alvar Aalto (Finland), and Sverre Fehn (Nordic). The United States pavilion was designed by William Adams Delano. There have been very few buildings built in the garden since James Sterling designed the biennial book store in 1991, but just behind the U.S. pavilion the Australians are building a new exhibition space designed by Denton Corker Marshall. The Australian architects describe the pavilion as a simple structure or “a white box contained within a black box.” The pavilion will open in 2015 for the 56th art biennale and its $6 million price tag will be paid for with private funds.

Playable Pavilion Aims to Make Beatboxing an Olympic Sport

International
Friday, March 30, 2012
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Sketch of the Beatbox Pavilion (image courtesy of Pernilla and Asif).

Sketch of the Beatbox Pavilion. (Courtesy of Pernilla and Asif)

Coca-Cola has big plans for an Olympic Park pavilion for London’s 2012 sporting extravaganza. London-based architects Pernilla & Asif have created the “Coca-Cola Beatbox,” a spiraling structure clad in red and white panels that appear to be suspended in frozen animation. It’s not only an intriguing structure but an interactive musical instrument. The experimental architecture works with cutting edge sound technology, encouraging people to interact and “play the pavilion.”

Inspired by sounds of the Olympic games—the plunge of an archer’s arrow into a target, athlete’s quickened heartbeats, squeaking sneakers—the Beatbox will be imbedded with sound-bites created by Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson that  allow visitors to remix their own mashed-up productions.

Check out the renderings after the jump.

Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction 2012

International, Newsletter
Thursday, March 29, 2012
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Urban Remediation and Civic Infrastructure Hub, São Paulo, Brazil

Urban Remediation and Civic Infrastructure Hub, São Paulo, Brazil

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in Zurich, Switzerland has announced the winners of its 2012 Global Holcim Awards and the Holcim Innovation Prizes. Regional prize winners (15 for Global Awards and 53 for Innovation Prizes) were examined, and from them 3 Global Awards and 3 Innovation Prizes were handed out to projects that address environmental performance, social responsibility, and economic efficiency.

Each of the winning projects are innovative, future-oriented, and usually have a social or cultural component as a key part of their program.  This year’s jury for the Global Awards was headed by TEN Arquitectos’ Enrique Norton and included critic Aaron Betsky and architect Mario Botta. The Innovation Prize Jury was led by architect Harry Gugger and included economists and engineers.

Check out all the winners after the jump.

Happy 126th, Mies!

International
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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Happy 126th birthday, Mies van der Rohe! Google and San Francisco-based artist Willie Real are already celebrating with today’s Google Doodle of Mies’ iconic Crown Hall built in 1956 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where Mies was director of the College of Architecture. The Mies van der Rohe Society spoke with Real about his design and architectural ambitions. Here’s a sample:

What was the most important thing to convey about Mies in the doodle, and how was it achieved?

Celebrating Mies’ legacy was definitely a challenge. Mies did so many great buildings that are worthy of a doodle but it was pretty evident from the get go that highlighting what many consider his masterpiece was the way to go.

Read the full interview here. Or for another take on the famous architect, check out this creative tribute video.

Unveiled> Missoni’s Mondo Condo in the Philippines

International
Monday, March 26, 2012
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The Canopy at Acqua Livingstone by MISSONIHOME. (Courtesy Century Properties)

The Canopy at Acqua Livingstone by MISSONIHOME. (Courtesy Century Properties)

With bright colors, rich patterns, and futuristic forms that would make Verner Panton drool, Italian homewear company MissoniHome has recently completed their first fully-branded residential tower, the 52-story Acqua Livingstone in Manila, Philippines.  The project is the fourth tower of six in the $315.9 million Acqua Private Residences project, developed in the Philippine capital by Century Properties Group.

Groovy visuals after the jump

Facing Threats BMW Guggenheim Lab Swerves Away from Berlin.  Facing Threats BMW Guggenheim Lab Swerves Away from Berlin While the commercialization of museums raises eyebrows in some circles in America, in Germany such criticism is much more forceful and threatening. Activist groups have derailed the planned May 24th opening in Berlin of the BMW Guggenheim lab, according to Bloomberg News. They  argued that the mobile lab–which debuted in New York and is traveling the globe, all bankrolled by the German luxury carmaker–would accelerate the gentrification of the Kreuzberg district. The Guggenheim has faced criticism for its sponsors and activities many times before, so this episode is not likely to spur much institutional reflection. According to the report, the Museum is currently shopping for a new host city.

 

Diamond studded Eco-Developer?  Diamond studded Eco-Developer? Having successfully covered the world (or at least all 11 outposts of the global Gagosian empire) in colorful spots, Damien Hirst is turning his attention to architectural matters. The artist is planning to build more than 500 homes on the land he owns in Devon, England as part of a broader expansion of the glam seaside resort town of Ilfracombe. Mike Rundell of London-based MRJ Rundell+Associates is putting his undergrad degree in fine art to good use and working with Hirst on the project. “He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings,” said Rundell of his artist client. Pressed for details, Rundell described the houses as modern and possibly incorporating eco-friendly touches such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines nestled in the roofs. Pickled sharks or spin art not included.

 

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