Chicago announces inaugural architecture biennial to begin in 2015

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Chicago, in a bid to boost its tourism industry and cultural cachet,  will host an international design exhibition next year modeled after the Venice Biennale, which every two years draws contributions from architects and artists from around the world. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the Chicago Architecture Biennial Tuesday.

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On View> The Louvre opens major restoration of its Decorative Arts Galleries

Preliminary sketch for the Bas de Montargis and Oudry galleries by Jacques Garcia.

Preliminary sketch for the Bas de Montargis and Oudry galleries by Jacques Garcia.

If you like French decorative arts you should make your way this summer to the Louvre’s newly restored and reinstalled 18th century Decorative Arts Galleries. The collection is housed in 35 galleries spanning 23,000 square feet. Over 2,000 design pieces “in object-focused galleries and period-room settings” are on display.

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Mikou Design Studio’s Design for Congo’s Africannews headquarter

The Africannews center will be a prominent addition to the Brazzaville skyline. (Courtesy Mikou Studio)

The Africannews center will be a prominent addition to the Brazzaville skyline. (Courtesy Mikou Studio)

Mikou Design Studio has unveiled the design for the Africanews headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo. Mikou proposed a large expressive tower on stilts during a competition for the site. The tower mass floats on massive pillars over a two-story podium with an interstitial patio between the pieces, topping out at 174 feet over the city.

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Daniel Libeskind’s 60-story Century Spire begins construction in Manila

Libeskind's Century Spire. (Courtesy Century Properties Real Estate)

Libeskind’s Century Spire. (Courtesy Century Properties Real Estate)

In collaboration with Studio Daniel Libeskind and Armani/Casa, developer Century Properties has begun construction on the Century Spire tower in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. The tower will stand with Trump Tower, the Gramercy Residences, and the Knightsbridge Residences among others to complete the project known as Century City.

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Eavesdrop> Are We Done with Architecture Petitions Yet? Zaha Hadid Faces Tokyo Backlash

Speaking of controversy, Zaha Hadid can’t catch a break! Since her stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was unveiled, complaints have arisen about the scale and height of the project. Then two of Japan’s biggest architects—Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki—signed on to a petition calling for a revised design. As of press time more than 26,500 people have signed on to protest the design. Is someone’s star beginning to dim?

UNStudio Completes Flower-Shaped Pavilion for Horticultural Exhibit

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

UNStudio has completed a sprawling, flower-like campus for the 2014 Horticulture Exhibit in Qingdao, China. The Theme Pavilion consists of four metallic structures that stretch out over 300,000-square-feet and resemble a Chinese rose from above. And at the human scale, the metallic, undulating structures interact with their mountainous surroundings.

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Unveiled> Bjarke Ingels’ Winding Design for a Swiss Watch Museum

APM Design (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

APM Design (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won a design competition held by Audemars Piguet, a Swiss watchmaker, and are now tasked with creating the Maison des Fondateurs museum in Le Brassus, Switzerland. The 25,800 foot Maison des Fondateurs will be located in the midst of numerous workshops and factories embedded in the history of the Swiss watchmaking company.

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Superscript Gives a Voice to the Young Architecture Generation at the Venice Biennale

International
Friday, June 13, 2014
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(Courtesy Superscript)

(Courtesy Superscript)

The spectacular Venetian Arsenale at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is devoted to the history of post-World War II architecture and urbanism. Italy, perhaps more than any country in the world, revels in its architecture and cityscape. It is still a place where architecture means more than simply building—it’s a knowledge for describing and thinking about the world. This, it turns out, is true even for its youngest designers who assembled in the arsenal on Sunday, June 8 for a discussion, “Towards a New Avant Garde.”

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Enormous Tower Built of LEGOs in Budapest Is Tallest in the World

International, Skyscrapers
Friday, June 13, 2014
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LEGO Tower (Courtesy So Bad So Good)

LEGO Tower (Courtesy So Bad So Good)

The LEGO tower in Budapest, Hungary has broken the world record for “tallest structure built with interlocking plastic blocks.” The tower was completed and registered with the Guinness Book of World Records on May 25th at a height of 114 feet. The previous record was 112.9 feet and was set through the combined efforts of students from the red clay consolidated school district in Delaware. According to the blog So Bad So Good, the new tower was erected by LEGO architects, who received some help from local primary school children. The tower was topped with a Rubik’s cube: a Hungarian invention.

See more of the tower after the jump.

French Artist Turns Iconic Architecture into Quirky Animated GIF’s

Memory Museum by Estudio America. (Courtesy Axel de Stampa)

Mirador Building by MVRDV. (Courtesy Axel de Stampa)

The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format.

Check out more after the jump.

Urbanism Giants, Gehl and Rebar, Join Forces To Create Gehl Studio

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York's streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York’s streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn’t purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

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Protest in Venice: Megaphones in hand, The Architect’s Lobby explores “Getting By”

International
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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01-protestsinvenice

While most of the attendees at the recently opened Venice Biennale were thinking about the basic Elements of Architecture a younger generation of architects were concerned about something even more basic: how to earn a living. In a series of Arsenale round table talks called Stay Radical created by New York–based Superscript, young Italian architects talked about the difficulties of earning even the most basic living wage in their country devastated by recession and a historic system of wage depression. Meanwhile the New York group, The Architect’s Lobby took matters into their own hand and with megaphones held a protest just outside entrance to the Venetian Giardini (above).

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