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Archinect - News

Updated: 2017-06-26T03:21:07-04:00


Google's infamous 1000 floor elevator design question



Potential employers don’t pose design challenges with the expectation that you blow them away with your ingenuity or clever solutions. They want to see if you ask probing questions that uncover constraints, or if you rush to the whiteboard without deeper understanding.

Design challenges are often used by companies to asses potential employees’ problem solving skills. This Google interview challenge in particular seems to have captivated the design community

How do you design an interface for a 1000 floor elevator?

Dozens of designers around the world have attempted solving the problem by designing elevator's interface. They've all failed because of presuming too many variables—the user, the environment, the purpose... The answer to the question is that there is simply not enough information provided.

Amazon submits patent for a drone tower



Spotted by The Mercury News, it’s designed for “densely populated” areas. The tower allows drones to fly in and out, acting like a giant beehive, with robotic arms that help snatch them out of the sky. Inside, the core features layers of spokes around one central hub. The spokes are specialized for various purposes, like repairing the drones, or loading them with goods.

Amazon has been experimenting with the use of delivery drones for some time now though this approach to shipping has yet to take off for the e-commerce giant. As they continue testing this prospective delivery method, it is clear the retailer takes the particular vision quite seriously. On Thursday, the company filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a drone tower that would essentially be a multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles.


United States Patent Office(image) United States Patent Office

Ten Top Images on Archinect's "Kids Spaces" Pinterest Board


In case you haven't checked out Archinect's Pinterest boards in a while, we have compiled ten recently pinned images from outstanding projects on various Archinect Firm and People profiles. (Tip: use the handy FOLLOW feature to easily keep up-to-date with all your favorite Archinect profiles!) Today's top images (in no particular order) are from the board Kids Spaces. ↑ Burntwood School in London, UK by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) ↑ Broxholm Road in London, UK by Selencky///Parsons ↑ SANDBOXING in Dallas, TX by DSGN AGNC (Quilian Riano, Designer), New Cities Future Ruins (Gavin Kroeber, Curator), Ash Studio (Fabrication) ↑ Hummingbird House Children's Hospice in Brisbane, Australia by ThomsonAdsett; Photo: Alicia Taylor ↑ The Boa Constrictor in the Children's Grand Park-Touch the Story Project in Seoul, South Korea by studio_GAON ↑ Cheetah Mobile global office headquarters in Beijing, China by IDEAL Design & Construction ↑ Chelsea Eco Duplex in New York, NY by Wunderground a... [...]

Twenty UK homes longlisted for the 2017 RIBA House of the Year Award



In more RIBA announcements, the longlist for the 2017 House of the Year Award was revealed today. Established in 2001 as the Manser Medal, the UK's most prestigious award for housing design distinguishes a new home or home extension for stellar architectural design. Over the last few years, previous winners include the Murphy House by Richard Murphy Architects (2016), Skene Catling de la Peña's Flint House (2015), Loyn & Co for Stormy Castle (2014), and the Slip House by Carl Turner Architects (2013).

So which projects are still in the competition? From a self-build treehouse in Dorset to a cork-clad vacation home, this year's longlist features 20 stunning abodes throughout the UK. (You may recognize a few of them from the 2017 RIBA National Awards.) Check out the list below.

RIBA will announce the 2017 shortlist and grand prize winner this fall.

Renzo Piano's new museum in Spain shuns the 'Bilbao Effect'



Almost 20 years since Frank Gehry’s $100m titanium-clad Guggenheim Bilbao opened, another city on Spain’s north coast is getting a major contemporary art centre designed by an internationally acclaimed “starchitect”.

Renzo Piano's first big commission in Spain, The Centro Botín, is opening today. The architect claims that its comparisons with the museum that became a model for culture-driven regeneration schemes worldwide are too simplistic. According the president of the Fundación Botín’s visual arts committee, Vicente Todolí, the center's primary mission is to serve the local community by providing the city with appropriate cultural infrastructure.

The 10,300 sq. m building is covered in thousands of light-diffusing ceramic tiles, prioritizing "luminosity and lightness" and making it almost invisible from the city center. Split into two, the structure houses 2,500 sq. m of galleries and a 300-seat auditorium respectively. (This compares to around 11,000 sq. m of exhibition space across 19 galleries at the Guggenheim Bilbao.) With vast amount of green space around, the museum is raised on four-meter pillars to preserve the views of the waterfront.


Renzo Piano’s Centro Botín arts centre. Photogr...

Initiated by Donald Trump, the Far West Side of Manhattan Development is Almost Finished



The effort to convert the old Penn Central rail yard on the Far West Side of Manhattan into high-rises has bumped along since being proposed in the mid-1970s by a developer named Donald J. Trump. What was proposed for the area often rankled neighbors, who found the buildings to be too tall, too close together and too pricey. But, after welcoming its first residents in the late 1990s, the controversial mega-project is entering its homestretch.

The site includes buildings by architects like Richard Meier and the soon-too-be-completed Three Waterline Square by Rafael Viñoly.

While Donald Trump is no longer the landlord, his name still appears on façades.

Judges announced for Archinect UK Portfolio Competition



We have had so many fantastic applications over the past month we have extended the deadline for entries to June 26th, 2017 at 11:59 pm (BST). Make sure you apply this weekend if you haven't already. 

Portfolios take a lot of effort and can be a hard thing to master so we have gathered a prestigious group of judges with years of industry insight and hiring experience in addition to extensive knowledge in architecture, interiors, landscape and urban designer.

The judges will be choosing the top three entries from each category as well as providing feedback for the final six. Winners will receive a high quality printed copy of their portfolio by Beswick Print Solutions as well as a selection of books from Lawrence King Publishing alongside a personalised digital rosette for their CV, portfolio, and website. 

Keep an eye out for updates and do come along and join us at the awards ceremony on Friday 14th July, at The Old Truman Brewery. Interior Educators and Archinect UK will be hostin...

Screening of "100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright" on June 28th



Featuring a talk by Dr. Ann Rubbo on the artist and architect Marion Mahony Griffin, this screening of "A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright" at the Center for Architecture in New York on June 28th at 6 p.m. investigates Wright's history of working with women, focusing on six ladies who worked with the architect, including Marion Mahony Griffin, Isabel Roberts, Lois Gottlieb, Jane Duncombe, Eleanore Pettersen, and Read Weber. Here's a trailer for the film:

Archinect Sessions & Bureau Spectacular team up at the Arroyo Seco Weekend festival this Saturday in Pasadena



For those of you in the Los Angeles area, you are already aware of the Arroyo Seco Weekend music festival, taking place in Pasadena this weekend. The festival is a new event hosted by the same people that run Coachella, Desert Trip, and other amazing art/music/culture events. 

For this inaugural festival, Archinect has teamed up with Jimenez Lai/Bureau Spectacular. Hosted by Archinect's Paul Petrunia and Nicholas Korody, we will be running our 5th Next Up podcasting event inside of Bureau Spectacular's project "Field House." 

If you're coming to the festival, come by and say hi, or pull up a blanket and stick around for a few to listen to our conversations. 

Lineup & Schedule
  • Mimi Zeiger: 1 PM
    Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor and curator that has covered art, architecture, urbanism and design for a number of publications including The New York Times, Domus, Architectural Review, and Architect. She is also author of New Museums, Tiny Houses, Micro Green: Tiny Houses i...

Nine historic midcentury buildings recognized in 2017 Modernism in America Awards



Docomomo US' Modernism in America Awards recently concluded another successful competition for 2017. Established to raise awareness of the importance in preserving America's postwar-era architecture, the awards competition is yet another reminder of the lasting impact that effective architectural preservation has to communities throughout the country. As the only national competition of its kind, the Modernism in America Awards honor exemplary preservation and advocacy projects as well as the individuals behind them.

Out of the nine winning projects, five received Awards of Excellence and four projects were presented with Citations of Merit in preservation. Awards will be presented at the Design Within Reach Third Avenue Studio in New York City on October 6.

Check out this year's winners below.

Awards of Excellence

The many faces of MVRDV's shape-shifting Baltyk Tower



Turning iconicity on its head, MVRDV have designed a striking building that purposefully refuses easy categorization. Depending on the angle from which it is viewed, the Baltyk Tower seems to assume different forms, a look that is achieved by a series of scenic terraces and a rippling glass-fronted concrete facade.

(image) Image: MVRDV


Image: MVRDV

From one angle, the tower appears to be svelte, a compact wedge on Poznan, Poland's streets. However, from another perspective the tower broadens and becomes a kind of gigantic civic staircase. Regardless of where one views the building, the inventive facade gives the structure a dynamic, shifting quality. 

(image) Image: MVRDV


Image: MVRDV

As MVRDV co-founder Nathalie de Vries explains, “When we came to Poznań for the first time, the goal was clear: we were to realize an office building with public functions on the first two layers and at the top. But also that offered a range of amenities for the community and general public. We realised if we could control...

Archinect's Employer of the Day: Weekly Round-Up #140


Looking for a job? Archinect's Employer of the Day Weekly Round-Up can help start off your hunt amid the hundreds of active listings on our job board. If you've been following the feature on our Facebook, Employer of the Day is where we highlight active employers and showcase a gallery of their work. In case you missed them, here are some of the latest EOTD-featured firms. 1. Eight Inc. (Facebook feature)Currently hiring: Multiple listings Image credit: Eight Inc.Related feature: How To Get A Job At: Eight Inc. 2. Gluckman Smith Architects (Facebook feature)Currently hiring: Project Architect Image credit: Gluckman Smith Architects3. Montalba Architects (Facebook feature)Currently hiring: Multiple listings Image credit: Montalba Architects4. Berliner Architects (Facebook feature)Currently hiring: Multiple listings Image credit: Berliner Architects5. Clark Richardson & Biskup (Facebook feature)Currently hiring: Multiple listings Image credit: CRBKeep track of Employer of the Day by f... [...]

The Fundació Mies van der Rohe has launched a mobile app to browse nominated projects



The Fundació Mies van der Rohe has launched an app so that anyone with a mobile phone can find on a map, and visit, the nominated works of this year's European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture. The app suggests routes for visiting the sites and even allows it's users to propose new ones. The cities of Berlin, London, Dublin, Paris and Barcelona, in addition to displaying the 2017 nominations, have also included works nominated in past editions of the award. 

For Android, the app can be downloaded here.
and for iPhone, here.

Elon Musk unveils his plan to colonize Mars with a million humans



“It would be quite fun to be on Mars because you would have gravity that is about 37% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around,” [Elon Musk] adds, predicting that journey times could eventually be cut to 30 days.

Aside from the money, specific technology, and solid timeframe, Elon Musk has figured out a way to get to Mars. The colonization plan, which is designed to place about 1 million people on the planet in 40-100 years using a yet-to-be constructed ship that would carry 100 passengers per trip, needs more financial backers before Musk can definitively settle on a launch date. Many scientists have objected to the plan on various technological grounds, although one brought up the problem of potentially contaminating alien life forms:

Prof Andrew Coates, who works on the ExoMars rover at University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, said that the question of whether present or past life existed on Mars needed to be answered before a manned mission, which could contaminate the surface, could be considered. “There’s a moral imperative to keep Mars as it is for the moment. Until we’ve conclusively answered that question we should keep our feet on the ground ... going there wou...

IKEA designers are learning about compact storage from NASA's space architect



Confined in Utah’s Mars Desert Research habitat for three days—habitat diameter: 33 feet—the five-person team experienced the cramped living quarters and zero-waste living necessary to survive a journey to outer space.

Designers from IKEA are exploring space-saving solutions for tiny homes by living in an actual Mars research station. During the immersion workshop led by Constance Adams, NASA architect behind the habitat for the first human mission to Mars, the team examines the ways in which astronauts' insight could be translated to innovative furniture solutions for dense urban environments.

“My dream outcome will be to solve the biggest problem on earth…storage,” said IKEA’s head of design, Marcus Engman. “How could you design storage in a completely new way?”

RIBA reveals 49 winning projects for 2017 National Awards



The 2017 RIBA Awards cycle continues! Advancing from the 2017 London Awards, 49 stunning projects throughout the UK have just been announced as winners in the 2017 National Awards for architecture, which distinguishes the UK's most outstanding buildings and offers insight into construction, design, and investment trends in the country.

This year's winners include a variety of projects like the Tate Modern's Blavatnik Building, the British Airways i360 — dubbed as the world's first “vertical pier”, the Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre, and the transformative Leicester Cathedral's Richard III Project “With Dignity and Honour”, to name a few.

In regards to design trends with this year's winners, RIBA President Jane Duncan commented on the ongoing prominence of brick as a building material, as well as the increasing use of timber. She also pointed out certain exemplary housing and education projects that more cities should model. “Silchester and Ponders End are both great examples of e...

Dutch prisons converted into homes for refugees



As the country’s crime rate and prison population have steadily declined for years, dozens of correctional facilities have closed altogether. So when the number of migrants started to rise—more than 50,000 entered the Netherlands last year alone—the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) saw a solution.

Many prisons in the Netherlands have been repurposed to house refugees who are waiting to be granted asylum status, a process that usually takes at least six months. Free to come and go as they please, the refugees are not allowed to work but are encouraged to learn Dutch and build connections with the surrounding community.

The High Line launches new network platform to help future parks avoid their mistakes



Now, Hammond has embarked on a new project: the High Line Network, an organization, which just launched a brand new website. Its aim? To help cities working on their industrial adaptive reuse projects learn from the High Line’s stumbles–and from each other.

In many ways, the High Line has been an undeniable success. Phenomenally popular, it has become one of the leading attractions in New York and has brought about a massive wave of development to the area. The flip side of this however, if not yet obvious, is that the project has also been lodged with complaints of spurring gentrification in the surrounding neighborhoods and has become emblematic of the widening class divide existing in the city. 

Many of those involved in its creation have begun to express some remorse over the unintended consequences that have come about from the adaptive reuse project. With new variations on the idea popping up, from Seoul's new Skygarden to MAD's repurposing of dilapidated rail yards in MIlan, Robert Hammond, one of the founders of Friends of the High Line, has embarked on a new project, the High Line Network. The goal of the organization is to create a platform for new infrastructural re-use projects to share information so that they can avoid so...

Architecture Billings Index in May shows gains in all sectors and "balanced growth"



Design services at architecture firms continue to project a healthy disposition on the construction industry as the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded the fourth consecutive month of growth. [...] (AIA) reported the May ABI score was 53.0, up from a score of 50.9 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).

“The fact that the data surrounding both new project inquiries and design contracts have remained positive every month this year, while reaching their highest scores for the year, is a good indication that both the architecture and construction sectors will remain healthy for the foreseeable future,” AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “This growth hasn’t been an overnight escalation, but rather a steady, stable increase.”

The AIA reports these key ABI stats for the month of May:

  • Regional averages: South (56.1), West (52.3), Midwest (50.4), Northeast (46.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (55.8), multi-family residential (51.3), commercial / industrial (51.2), institutional (51.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 62.4
  • Design contracts index: 54.8




All graphs represent data from May 2016 - May 2017. Images provided by the American Institute of Architects.

Inside Richard Meier’s White-Walled World



The American architect – part of the New York Five and one of the city’s most iconic modernists – talks to Port about his body of work and branching out from his beloved colour white

17 Architecture Schools now offer a faster track to becoming an architect




This post is brought to you by PPI.

Seventeen US architecture schools now offer their students a faster track to becoming an architect; NCARB’s Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL).  Students in IPAL programs will document the same number of hours of work experience, pass the same exams, and earn the same architecture degree as their non-accelerated counterparts – but they will have the opportunity to accomplish all of this before they graduate from college.  

California leads the way, with three participating institutions (New School of Architecture and Design, University of Southern California and Woodbury University), but IPAL is making an impact in architecture schools from coast to coast, and NCARB has pledged to work with state licensing boards to increase the number of jurisdictions which will accept this alternative to the traditional sequence of school, then work, then testing.

Typically, architectural training begins with graduation from a professional degree...

Former US Embassy Building Is Declared Culturally-Inappropriate for Canadian Indigenous Center



Classical revival is perhaps the architectural style most identified with colonization. This building, which references Washington architecture, is a building of formal rooms, offices, and hierarchies, echoing structures of European authority.

This June the federal government announced that the US' former embassy building in Ottawa will become a space dedicated to Inuit, Métis and First Nations communities which the task force of the RAIC finds to be a deeply inappropriate space for an Indigenous Centre.

"Canada's Indigenous communities have, for too long, been forced into leftover spaces that fail to connect in any meaningful way to their cultures and unique connectivity to place" says the task force, composed of about 30 mostly Indigenous architects, architectural students, interns and academics.

Dr. Patrick Stewart, the chair of the task force suggests that the federal government should provide capital dollars for the design and construction of a structure based upon Indigenous knowledge and through the use of Indigenous architects.

Yale students are raising awareness about homelessness and affordable housing



Inside the pavilion is a long table embedded with exhibits and audio stations telling the stories of people who are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, along with excerpts from data sets, state reports, urban theory, poetry, and literature.

Working with New Haven-based homeless services provider Columbus House, students from the Yale School of Architecture designed an interactive pavilion that will be featured at this year’s festival together with an exhibition of student work in the YSoA architecture gallery showing proposals for affordable two-unit dwellings.

“The built environment affects us all, and it is our belief that architects and designers have an important role to play in addressing many of the most vexing issues of our time, including the shortage of affordable housing and making our cities more inclusive," states Deborah Berke, Dean of the YSoA.

The pavilion is open to the public 10AM - 4PM through June 24, and the exhibition will be on display Monday-Friday, 9AM - 5PM, and Saturday, 10AM - 5PM. through Aug. 12 at the YSoA gallery, 180 York St.

Jimenez Lai, Marjan Van Aubel and TAKT PROJECT unveil their crystalline innovations



Design Miami took place last week in Basel, wrapping up over the weekend. One of the installations on display showcased work by Swarovski's Designers of the Future. The crystal empire commissioned three designers to craft a new prototype or design statement, highlighting the crystal and using Swarovski's diverse resources at hand. Established in 2006, the award encourages collaboration with young designers and acknowledges technological and conceptual innovations that work across disciplines. This years recipients were Jimenez Lai, Marjan Van Aubel and TAKT PROJECT

Jimenez Lai created a terrazzo that re-uses and up-cycles 'second quality' crystals that do not meet Swarovski's quality control. With this material, Lai also created Terrazzo Palazzo. Formed by freestanding structures, his deconstructed palazzo served as the architectural environment housing the installation. 



The Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel utilized solar technology to design Cyanometer. Working with the Energy Re...

The Corner of Lovecraft and Ballard



For Lovecraft, the ubiquitous angle between two walls is a dark gateway to the screaming abyss of the outer cosmos; for Ballard, it’s an entry point to our own anxious psyche.

H.P. Lovecraft and J.G. Ballard both put architecture at the heart of their fiction, and both made the humble corner into a place of nightmares. Will Wiles delves into the malign interiors of their imagined worlds and the secret history of the spaces where walls meet. 

Heather Woofter to lead architecture programs at Washington University in St. Louis



Heather Woofter, co-director of the St. Louis-based firm Axi:Ome llc, has been promoted to director of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, both part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Woofter joined the Sam Fox School as an assistant professor in 2005; has chaired the graduate architecture program since 2010; and became a full professor in 2015. Her appointment begins July 1.

She will succeed Bruce Lindsey, the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration and current president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Lindsey has led architecture for the past 10 years, and will join the faculty after a yearlong sabbatical.

“Bruce leaves a significant legacy,” said Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School.  “His vision and energetic leadership have helped to shape the Sam Fox School, promoting interdisciplinary connections across campus a...

Five winners for the fifth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge



Round five of the Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge has come to a close. Organized by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, these circular design challenges encourage professional and student designers worldwide to develop viable solutions for everyday products that also experiment with Cradle to Cradle sustainable product design principles. As part of six circular design challenges continuing into 2018, the latest competition reeled in 94 entries from 141 designers in 17 countries.

The five winning projects include a chair that anyone can build from a sheet of material, a 100 percent recyclable shaving razor, and a an adaptable, biodegradable wall for workspaces. The fifth challenge also introduced the first winner of the new Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials category. Read on for more about the winning projects.

Best Student Project & Best Use of Aluminum: MyEcoWall by Caterina Vianna & Ferran Gesa - EINA, University School of Design and Art, Bar...

Adjaye Associates, BIG, and Sou Fujimoto Architects are among the finalists to design Edinburgh's new Ross Pavilion



Adjaye Associates, BIG, and Sou Fujimoto Architects are among the seven finalist teams who still have a chance to be the designer of the new Ross Pavilion in Edinburgh. Today, the Ross Development Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council publicly unveiled the finalist concepts. Currently occupied by the Ross Bandstand and near the West Princes Street Gardens, the site of the new pavilion is located at one of Scotland's most historic sites, where high-profile celebrations and events like Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Festival's closing fireworks concert take place.

Earlier this month, the finalist teams submitted their phase two proposals for the main event pavilion, a visitor center and cafe, and subtle improvements to the gardens. 

“These design concepts help us visualize how the new Ross Pavilion could both complement and act as a counterpoise to the Gardens and the Castle,” said Norman Springford, Chairman of the Ross Development Trust and Competition Jury Chair, in a sta...

A chess set that forms the New York City skyline



First-name-only architects Chris and Ian of Skyline Chess have already rendered landmark buildings of London into chess pieces, and now they're trying to create a similar set of New York City, provided they receive enough funding via their Kickstarter.  



Each building has been carefully chosen to represent a particular chess piece. As the architects explain: 

"We gave careful consideration to selecting each piece on the board, to ensure that it both visually reflected the appropriate chess piece and also reflected the architectural status and scale of that building in the city.

  • King - One World Trade Tower 
  • Queen - Empire State Building 
  • Bishop - Chrysler Building 
  • Knight - Flatiron Building 
  • Rook - Guggenheim Museum 
  • Pawn - Brownstone House"

Each piece has been weighted and given a felt bottom to make them enjoyable to hold and maneuver. 


Watch a century of downtown L.A.'s development in 2 minutes of 3D animated renderings



Ever wondered when the high-rises in downtown Los Angeles were built? This two-minute video of animated renderings by Commercial Cafe provides a brief history and date for most of the skyscrapers downtown, from City Hall to the Wilshire Grand, concluding with a color-coded erection sequence by decade. As the towers sprout from the soil, it's interesting to note that development has slowed considerably since its late 20th century zenith, although the tallest building west of the Mississippi did top out earlier this year: