Pictorial> Models Capture the Surreal and Absurd

International
Thursday, November 10, 2011
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Tennis half-pipe. (Courtesy Frank Kunert)

Tennis half-pipe. (Courtesy Frank Kunert)

German photographer Frank Kunert is out to challenge your sense of perception and expectation with his meticulously crafted and hilariously absurd miniature scenes. His series “Photographs of Small Worlds” presents glimpses into mundane vignettes gone awry, where doors don’t meet balconies, diving boards lead to giant toilets, or an office is eerily underwater. Each model takes weeks—and sometimes months—to build, and Kunert is a perfectionist who won’t stop until every detail is just right. The end result is well worth the wait.

Check out more models after the jump.

The World’s Best Tall Building Doesn’t Have to be the Tallest

International, Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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KfW Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany. (Spiegelneuronen / Flickr)

KfW Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany. (Spiegelneuronen / Flickr)

The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sought out a deep understanding of sustainability and contextualization in selecting the Best Tall Building of 2011. This year’s worldwide winner, while hardly as tall as last year’s winning Burj Khalifa, went to the KfW Westarkade tower in Frankfurt Germany. The 184-foot-tall tower is projected to use half as much energy as a typical European office building and only a third the energy of a standard U.S. building. The 10th-annual awards ceremony took place November 3 at a distinctly horizontal building in Chicago, Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall.

Check out the winners after the jump.

The WAF Winner Is

International
Friday, November 4, 2011
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Marlon Blackwell's Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Arkansas

Marlon Blackwell's Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Arkansas

The World Architecture Festival is wrapping up its fourth iteration and AN has been there since the beginning as official United States media sponsor. We have seen it grow from a small mostly British bash in Barcelona to a truly international competition and trade show with over 1,400 participants from 68 countries. One of the functions of our participation is that I serve as official judge in one of the event’s 15 short-listed categories for best built project (plus there are ten categories for unrealized projects). This year I served with Michigan University’s architecture dean Monica Ponce de Leon and Barcelona architect Fermin Vazquez as jurors in the Civic and Community group. We were asked to select the best of show in the category with the winner going on to the final round where it is considered by a super jury including Michael Sorkin, Jo Noera, Odile Decq (who sadly was stuck in China) and engineer wizard Tim Macfarlane.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Zombie Apocalypse Now: Voting Ends on Halloween

International
Friday, October 28, 2011
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There's No Need To Run. (Courtesy Zombie Safe House)

There's No Need To Run. (Courtesy Zombie Safe House)

It’s going to happen when you least suspect it: the zombie apocalypse will be upon us and your life will be in your own hands against the living dead (that’s assuming hours behind a studio desk hasn’t already transformed you into a zombie yourself). Luckily, as architecture-types, we possess special skills needed to defend ourselves from those out for our brains. A fantastic display of anti-zombie ingenuity is on display at the 2011 Zombie Safe House Competition, like the above proposal to retrofit existing urban buildings against a future zombie invasion (with a green roof, no less), and you can vote for your favorite. (Here’s last year’s winner: a floating dwelling sailing the Mighty Mississippi.) This year’s voting ends this Monday—Halloween—when you’ll likely encounter a few rogue zombies wandering the streets.

Check out a few of the entries after the jump.

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Pictorial> Virgin goes Galactic

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

A quick flashback: Back in 2005, Virgin Group’s latest venture, Virgin Galactic, and the State of New Mexico had announced that they had reached an “historic agreement”—that they would build a state-funded $200 million spaceport in New Mexico. Virgin planned to provide sub-orbital space flights to the paying public, along with sub-orbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites (and much later, even orbital human space-flights). The facility was to be designed by Foster + Partners, who won Virgin Galactic’s international architectural competition.

Now, the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America—the world’s first commercial spaceport—has officially launched. Aimed to “articulate the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists while making a minimal impact on the environment,” the spaceport is designed to resemble, when viewed from space, Virgin Galactic’s brand logo of the eye, with an elongated pupil–the elevated apron completes the iris. Check out the photos after the jump.

Dean’s List> ASLA Student Awards Reveal the Future of Landscape Architecture

Vegetation House by students from National Chiao Tung University. (Jheng-Ru Li and Chieh-Hsuan Hu)

Vegetation House by students from National Chiao Tung University. (Jheng-Ru Li and Chieh-Hsuan Hu)

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced the winners of its 2011 Student Awards. This year’s student honorees have developed concepts ranging from hillside habitats in Haiti, to vegetated houses in Taiwan, to a reclaimed airfield in Berlin. Entries demonstrate an idealistic and urgent approach to problem solving for today’s and tomorrow’s pressing social issues.

[ Also be sure to check out the winners of the ASLA 2011 Professional Awards. ]

Check out the winners after the jump.

Filed Under: , ,

SOM, with Kung Fu Panda, Wins Nanjing Waterfront Competition

International, Midwest
Friday, October 14, 2011
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(all images courtesy SOM/MIR Renderings)

Today, SOM announced it has been selected by Beijing-based MCCC Real Estate to redesign the Nanjing waterfront. The redevelopment will extend two-kilometers from the Yangtze River levee to the old city wall. The plan calls for renovating existing rail bridges and an old power station into new cultural and commercial spaces, preserving existing trees, and adding a hotel and other amenities along a renovated shipping canal. The plan also calls for remediating waterways for public access and recreation.

But what about Kung Fu Panda?

Filed Under: , ,

City in China Disappears Overnight

International, Newsletter
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Chaohu city is officially canceled. (Courtesy anhuinews.com)

Chaohu city in China has been canceled. It wasn’t a small city. In fact the population of more than 4 million is comparable to Los Angeles, the Phoenix metro area, and the whole of South Carolina, but that is now irrelevant data, since Chaohu’s official city status was annihilated on August 22. Although buildings and inhabitants remain as proof of a once-coherent city plan and living organism, the land has since been divided into three parts and absorbed by its neighbors, Hefei, Wuhu and Ma’anshan.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Irish Architecture Now” Looks for the Roots of Irish Identity

International
Thursday, October 6, 2011
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Grand Egyptian Museum by heneghan peng architects(Courtesy heneghan peng architects)

Ireland is known for lots of things, but contemporary architecture isn’t necessarily one of them. Irish Architecture Now, the first-ever showcase of Irish architecture to tour the U.S., aims to change that. Curated by Raymund Ryan, co-curator of the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Irish Architecture Now program features six of Ireland’s leading architecture practices and will travel to architectural schools and institutions to highlight top contemporary Irish architecture, which the organizers state, has “over the past two decades firmly established itself with flair on the European scene.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011: A Tribute from Norman Foster

International, Newsletter
Thursday, October 6, 2011
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Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011.

Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011.

The world learned last night of the untimely death of Apple mastermind Steve Jobs, who succumbed to a rare cancer he had been fighting for some time. Jobs’ architect, Norman Foster, was slow to acknowledge the commission of Apple’s new Cupertino, CA headquarters, but he was appropriately quick to offer his condolences. Below, read Foster’s tribute to the innovator who helped push the boundaries of both technology and industrial design.

Read Foster’s tribute after the jump.

IfUD gets American Pavilion for 2012 Venice Biennale

International
Thursday, October 6, 2011
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BMW Guggenheim Lab during Urban Design Week. (Tom Stoelker / AN)

BMW Guggenheim Lab during IfUD's Urban Design Week. (Tom Stoelker / AN)

We can confirm—although not entirely officially—that New York’s Institute for Urban Design will represent the United States at the 2012 Venice architecture biennale.

The Chair of Institutes Board of Directors Michael Sorkin has told AN that the theme of their exhibition will be loosely based on the Institute’s new open-source program, By the City/For The City: An Atlas of Possibility for the Future New York, that played out recently across New York to enthusiastic crowds. The details of the exhibition are still to be developed by Sorkin, co-board member Cathy Lang Ho and the institute’s director (and former AN Managing Editor) Anne Guiney.

The U.S. Department of State, in a first for the government agency, selected the winning exhibition a full year before the opening of the international exhibition giving the IfUD team time to raise the $300,000 (the State Department has given them $100,000) needed to open in Venice next year.

It is not yet clear who will be the official commissioner aka “meeter, greeter, & spokesperson” of the pavilion, but they are currently looking to create “crowd sourced” events all over la Serenissima and not just inside the official giardini or McKim Mead & White American temple. We send our hearty congratulations and will start hoarding our airline miles!

An Education: Zaha Hadid wins the Stirling Prize

International
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Zaha Hadid's Evelyn Grace Academy. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid's Evelyn Grace Academy. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

A South London state-funded school is a far cry from an international exhibition center, but in the last two years the annual Stirling Prize, organized by the RIBA, has recognized Zaha Hadid’s designs for both as exceptional examples of British architecture. This year’s winner, the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton was the London-based practice’s second consecutive win after last year’s prize for the enigmatic Maxxi Museum in Rome. Hadid’s design was up against a swathe of accomplished competitors including Hopkins’ London Olympics Velodrome, the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres in Stratford by Bennetts Associates and Chipperfield’s Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany.

Continue reading after the jump.

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