The Workplace Paradox: Join the IE School of Architecture and Design's Master Class

1 day 8 hours ago

At IE School of Architecture and Design, we know that the world of work is changing so fast that we cannot always keep up. Industry disruptors, such as emerging technologies, are unsettling the setup of the traditional office. Workforce demands, the ongoing talent war, and the threat of job replacement by AI all contribute to a workforce under tremendous pressure, creating new dynamics at work.

Join our upcoming Online Master Class to learn more about the evolution and disruption taking place in the workplace.

This talk will explore the forces driving change in the workplace and showcase some of Gensler’s latest research into this field, demonstrating, through selected case studies, how people are reclaiming place in a placeless world. 

Register here.

The class will be taught by Philip Tidd, Principal at Gensler & professor in IE’s Master’s in Strategic Design of Spaces. With more than 20 years of experience in workplace consultancy, real estate advising, and design and urban strategy, Philip has worked with global organizations across mainland Europe to implement workplace programs in line with the region’s many cultural and legislative variations. Philip has also advised numerous European public-sector organizations on how enhanced work environments can lead to improved performance.


Seven Benefits Of Minimal Bedroom Décor

2 days 13 hours ago

A minimalistic design is not just a trend but a way of life for many people. It is about appreciating things that matter and removing objects that distract you. You can still have things in your life, but it is a collection of belongings that add value to you. Many people believe living a minimalistic life is hard, improbable tasks in a world that is so materialistic but those who try it, often, find the freedom exhilarating.

“Minimalism is not subtraction for the sake of subtraction. Minimalism is subtraction for the sake of focus.”

One of the biggest misconceptions of minimalism is that it restricts you. Ironically, the purpose of a minimalistic life is freedom. The minute you stop giving importance to materialistic possessions, you reject the idea of happiness all the advertisements and the media has forced upon you. You are free from worry, guilt, captivity, burden and depression. In fact, most religious scriptures emphasize not placing material possessions over the actual important things in life.

The idea of minimalism can be put into various aspects of our lives. With a minimalistic approach in your home, you intentionally promote the space. With the approach on architecture, you intentionally make the best use of the space. In photography, fashion and art, minimalism focuses on the core rather than the superfluous.

The minimalistic approach towards your bedroom is a good place to start. But, before you do, let’s delve into the benefits of a minimalistic bedroom and what it can do for you.

  • Your fortress of solace– A minimalistic approach towards your bedroom can create a calm, peaceful environment. Away from the clutter and chaos of the world, your bedroom becomes a place of solace. Everything in your bedroom means something to you, adds value to the quality of your life and you feel safe, comfortable and sheltered. Imagine going to a serene place after a long, tiring day. That is what you achieve with a minimalistic approach.
  • You sleep better –One of the biggest causes of many health problems including cardiac issues, diabetes, depression, obesity and many other lifestyle-centric illnesses is the lack of sleep. A cluttered bedroom and the inability to let go of the stress and emotions of the day can hamper your sleep cycle. Your minimalistic bedroom can help you sleep better, de-stress your mind and reinvigorate you with energy to handle the next day. It not only declutters your room but also your mind.
  • Your health gets better –A lot of stuff means a lot of dust. Unless you spend every day obsessively cleaning all the dust particles from your things, you are going to accumulate dust in the room. That is a one-way street to allergies and respiratory illnesses. It is well known that the air inside of your room is more polluted than the outside. A minimal bedroom is easier to clean and is less likely to accumulate dust.

  • Free up space –The minute you take out the unnecessary things from your bedroom, you find yourself marveling at the space you have. If you often find yourself hopping over things, hitting your leg against furniture, piling up clothes on the chair and so on, a minimalistic bedroom is the right way to go. Once you free up enough space, you instinctively tend to keep your bedroom cleaner.
  • You set a good example for kids –Your children look up to you and learn from your actions. They form morals and lifelong principles based on their upbringing. Observing a clutter-free, clean bedroom is an easy way to set an example for your kids. They aspire to be like their parents and the best way to teach them something is to do it yourself. Many children are diagnosed with sleeping disorders in recent times. The amount of stress and pressure parents unintentionally put on their children is also high. Using a sleep calculator for kids, parents can determine the hours of sleep their child requires and set strict schedules for them. With a clean, clutter-free bedroom, you encourage them to sleep faster with fewer distractions.
  • You get happier –We are made to believe that happiness lies in material things. At least, that is what the media tells us. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Material things bog us down, cling to us and occupy a large space in our minds. We are often worried about losing our things, damaging them and spending money on repairs. With a minimalistic life, you are releasing yourself from the clutches of worldly possessions. That is not to say, you don’t have things. It is only keeping things that make your life better.

There is no right or wrong in minimalism. It isn’t a competition to see who owns less. It is owning the right things and being true to yourself while doing so. Think about the last time you went grocery shopping. You had a list in your hands and checked off the items one by one. But when you looked at each aisle, you saw things you might need that wasn’t on the list. At the checkout, you saw candy and gum that, again, wasn’t on the list. These distractions made you purchase over and above what you need. You not only had the right things but more than what you actually required.

Minimalism means better use of your resources. You have time, energy and money to focus on the core. It is a lifestyle that changes your perspective and the way you consume. You can start with your bedroom and work your way up from there.


GRAFT's Masterplan for Georgian Railway Headquarters Mimics the Natural Curve of a Railway Junction

6 days 6 hours ago
Courtesy of GRAFT Courtesy of GRAFT

GRAFT has developed a master plan for the Didube Chughureti District in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. The master plan for the business district attempts to provide its inhabitants with a healthy working environment by balancing scenic landscaping with the necessary amenities.

The overall complex consists of a pair of complimentary towers: the main tower, in particular, will house the head offices for the Georgian Railway Company. Elements of the façade reflect the railway. The facades, themselves, appear to divide in a similar way to a railway junction. At the base of the tower, the descending curve of the façade plateaus, creating a roof for the new open-air museum, which features locomotives from the Georgian Railway Company.

Courtesy of GRAFT Courtesy of GRAFT

An essential aspect of the master plan is the large public squares that serve as multi-functional gathering spaces and transitional spaces between the complex’s many functions. These areas of landscape design were closely integrated into the overall architecture of both towers. GRAFT specializes in architecture, design, and urban development providing a multi-disciplinary design approach to the project.

Courtesy of GRAFT Courtesy of GRAFT

Particular architectural features enhance one of the design team’s major design goals – meshing the buildings into the existing landscape. The curvilinear façade mimics the base of a tree growing out of the ground, creating an even stronger transition between the urban landscaping and the building architecture. 

News via GRAFT


Making Real-Time Rendering Less Daunting: Unreal Engine Online Learning

1 week ago

When you see new software that can speed up your workflow, it’s fun to imagine what you can do with it. But in reality, many of us don’t want to be among the first to try it out, especially if documentation is lacking. No one wants to spend countless hours fighting with mysterious features only to go back to the old workflow because you just need to get things done.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about trying out photoreal real-time rendering for your workflow, but you’re concerned that that on-ramp is too steep. Real-time rendering requires you to import your CAD scene into a game engine, and anytime you import to a new piece of software, there are going to be issues to solve. If you have to figure it out on your own, it’s going to be a long, hard road.

While some companies seem reluctant to spend time on documentation, Epic Games, creators of the real-time rendering tool Unreal Engine, is not one of these companies.

Making the On-Ramp a Joy Ride

Recognizing that real-time rendering is quickly becoming a game-changer for architectural visualization, Epic Games recently launched the Unreal Engine Online Learning platform, a free set of video-based courses on just about every aspect of Unreal Engine. Much of the content is tailored specifically for Enterprise users—architects, designers, engineers, film and video producers—and most of the courses are divided into short, bite-sized videos for easy watching over a coffee break.

The platform isn’t just a bunch of videos slapped together with a pretty label. The courses take particular care to cover common workflows in detail, such as data preparation and the import process itself. For lighting, another vital part of photoreal visualization, there are five complete multi-video courses covering everything from the basics to global illumination, reflection, and ambient occlusion.

“A year ago, we set out to break down all the barriers to using Unreal Engine,” says Ken Pimentel, Senior Product Manager at Epic Games. “We quickly realized that understanding how these revolutionary real-time concepts can change industry required a deep investment in the learning process. The Unreal Engine Online Learning platform represents the beginning of a future learning experience that is structured and personalized.”

Epic Games has taken a lot of care with this offering, organizing courses into tracks based on industries, job roles, workflows, and engine concepts. For those who want to take their presentations a step further, there are courses on how to build a configurator, create a virtual reality walk-through, and add post effects like bloom, depth of field, and fog.

The Road to Unreal Studio

While coming out with a free learning platform might not seem like big news, users of Unreal Studio have embraced the new courses. Unreal Studio, which is currently in a free beta period, is an Enterprise solution that includes access to Unreal Engine in addition to a series of import tools called Datasmith. Datasmith is designed to import CAD, 3ds Max, and SketchUp scenes into Unreal Engine with a minimum of effort.

Anyone can apply for the free Unreal Studio beta and start importing their existing scenes right away. Datasmith is designed to handle scenes from more than 20 CAD programs, so chances are you’re already using one of the formats it supports. With both Unreal Studio and the Unreal Engine Online Learning videos being offered for free, Epic Games has eliminated any cost barrier that might have kept you from trying out real-time rendering.

Just before the new online learning platform was released, Epic Games released Unreal Studio 4.20, the latest beta with improvements based on user feedback. With this new version, the import process can bring in per-object metadata, and complex CAD assemblies can be converted quickly and intelligently to the Unreal Engine format. They’ve even upgraded Unreal Engine itself to include basic mesh editing tools, meaning you can fix the odd overlapping face right there in the software.

Between Unreal Studio 4.20 and the Unreal Engine Online Learning platform, Epic Games is showing its commitment to the field of real-time rendering for Enterprise. "We want to make sure everyone, everywhere, can learn how to harness the rendering revolution that Unreal Engine is driving and take advantage of all it offers,” says Pimentel. “From real-time rendering, to interactive tours and virtual reality—every architect that wants to use these features should be able to learn based on their own needs and timing. That's what the Unreal Engine Online Learning platform is for."

With the release of the new learning tools, Epic Games has made the on-ramp to the future a little less bumpy and provided a passing-lane for those that want to get there first.


012: A Day in the Life of an Architect

1 week 1 day ago

What does a day in the Life of an Architect look like? There are a lot of different answers to that question and even if I look at what my day looks like, it has varied over the years as I move through my career and took on different roles and responsibilities.

Architect's Alarm Clock

The one thing that has not varied all that much over the years is that I start my day pretty early. Today is a good example of that since it was a Sunday – not even a typical work day for me – and I was still up pretty early because I had a lot of work to get done today. I am learning that trying to coordinate the extra-curricular time of two people who have no emotional connection to one another is proving to be extremely difficult. Typically, Landon and I are supposed to record our podcast episodes on Friday afternoon, which should work out great because we close the office at noon on Fridays. However, Landon went out-of-town last weekend so we were not able to record on Friday but instead met at my house on a Monday night. Fast-forward to Wednesday and then I went out-of-town for the Texas Society of Architects convention … and didn’t get back to Dallas until late Saturday night. This essentially meant that I would have to edit the raw audio AND write today’s post all on Sunday. Since I have all sorts of weekend responsibilities, this meant another early morning start to my day. Just another typical day in the life of this architect.

Michelle and Bob Borson - 1992
The 1992 versions of Michelle and Bob Borson

My First Job Out of School [1:31 mark]
My first job out of school just so happens to be with the same person that I work with today – Michael Malone, and my first day on the job was to move Michael out of his house and into temporary office space. Michael was my first boss, and I was his first employee. I was 24 years old and he was 34 years old and looking back, we had a lot of fun and seem to make up everything as we went along.

This period in my life provided me with all sorts of opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have experienced. It was just the two of us in the early days and Michael traveled extensively for work (we mostly focused on retail projects at the time). All this time away from the office meant that I was frequently by myself and left to my own devices to figure out what to do and how to do it.

Perception vs Reality
(l. to r.) Bob Borson circa 1990, Bob Borson, I mean, Robert Downey Jr., … also Bob Borson circa 1990

Perception versus Reality [6:30 mark]
Perception versus Reality – it’s a phrase I think most of us have heard before and it isn’t to difficult to understand its meaning. Basically, it purports that what you think is real isn’t actually real. I learned a valuable lesson around my 2nd or 3rd year out of college that stuck with me ever since. I worked in a very small firm – it might have just been just two of us back then. As a result, I was able to do all sorts of things out of necessity because my boss couldn’t be all places and all things to all people at all times. This situation frequently put me in front of clients and I thought I did a pretty good job handling it … until one day when my boss told me that we needed to have a chat. You can read the entire all about that story here … or listen to me tell that story a the 6:30 mark in today’s podcast.

What do I need you for? [29:57 mark]
This is something that has stuck with me for years and was a philosophy that was developed out of my time spent in middle-management. When I assign a task to someone under my care, I tend to tell them what the end product I require will be, but not necessarily how to get there. From my perspective, part of the reason I do this is to take advantage of the learning opportunities this moment provides. The other reason I do this is that most of the time I haven’t taken the time to solve the problem so completely as to know all the moving parts. I feel strongly that part of what makes an employee valuable is their ability to take on the responsibility to solve problems that they’ve never solved before. When you are part of the operational staff of an architectural firm, you literally get these opportunities almost every single day.

Architectural Redlines

Picking up Red lines [31:56 mark]
Red lines have a valuable role to play – both for the person who is creating them as well as the person who will be picking those red lines up. Most of the time when I create red lines, it is a dialog between my thoughts and the person working with me, and my red lines are not meant as pure gospel but rather a suggested design direction. I’ve worked places before where the red lines were treated as gospel and if you didn’t pick them up exactly as they were prepared, it was Armageddon. While this works most of the time, the inherent problem I have with creating red lines that are that complete and specific is that people stop thinking about what they are doing – their only focus is to recreate those red lines exactly as they are presented.

While that might work in the short-term, that is ultimately a recipe for disaster

Landon’s Spare Time [43:55 mark]

Reaching the zenith of nerdiness this past weekend, I played a board game called “Rising Sun” for the first time. My friend Peter, who currently lives in New York, brought it down for our Halloween excursions in Austin knowing full well we were the kind of fellas that would get way too engrossed in the game. Therefore, on that fateful, slightly hungover Sunday morning he retrieved the rather large game box from his luggage. What struck me most directly was the overall game art:

CMON Rising Sun

Not really knowing exactly what I was getting in to, I jumped feet first in the game enthralled mostly just by this very artwork. In addition to the graphics carrying through to the board and various cards and tokens, there are also very intricately sculpted plastic figures or “monsters” you can acquire in the game. This was my first clue to just how intense and nerdy this was about to become.

Following the yearly seasons, the game is set in feudal Japan in which you control a randomly selected clan who possess varying and various abilities distinguishing you from other clans. You begin in a “tea ceremony” informally selecting alliance which continues through the season, and your selection generally has to do with whose abilities most align with yours. Then you begin to select from a small set of cards your various actions (add/move figures, add attributes, add coins/rewards) in a turn-based manner in an effort to collect the most “victory points” in the end. All the while, you’re controlling your level of honor (very important in feudal Japanese culture and therefore the game) as well as adding various monsters and ronin (rogue samurai) to your clan in preparation for the WAR PHASE. Thunder claps in the background.  Based on where you’ve positioned figures, how you’ve collected coins, and the number of recruited ronin all play a part in the battles for various regions which will decide if your figures live or don’t make it to the next round! Nerd levels burst off the chart.

There are 3 seasons in the game (spring, summer, fall) which bring you to the end of the game, winter, and the final tallying of victory points begins.  Sadly, the game apparently had way too many variables for my barely firing synapses to process after a night out, and I lost…..terribly.  I think I’ll go back to good ol’ Settler’s of Catan for a little while and do some more research on tactics for the next Rising Sun game…

Bob’s Spare Time [47:33 mark]

Life of an Architect - IRS Notification

My spare time over the past few weeks has been spent trying to make this podcast a bit more legitimate. Since it was always just me where the blog was concerned, I didn’t really need to worry about setting it up as a business and filing papers with the Internal Revenue Service. However, times have changed and I have Landon working with me on the podcast, which means there’s more than one chef in this particular kitchen and I can’t play as fast or loose with things.

There are untold combinations for how a typical day in the life of an architect will play out. While my experience certainly doesn’t sound typical, I have plenty of colleagues whose experience was completely enviable. About the only thing I can say with absolute confidence is that your day is going to be based on the role you carve out for yourself in this profession.


Bob signature FAIA

Outro [52:40 mark] …
Give me the deet’s
Weird, but not “Cannibal” weird
How did you sleep? You don’t know me
George Washington Carver
We’re hot!


Chicago Approves bKL Architecture’s Three-Tower Master Plan for Lakeshore East

1 week 2 days ago
Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

Where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan, a pivotal node in Chicago’s cityscape, bKL Architecture has designed three towers along the waterfront, which connect the natural elements of the landscape with the urban center and neighboring communities.

The urban development is located at a prominent junction utilized by both pedestrians and automobiles; the site’s new master plan separates the two, providing seamless integration between the active green space surrounding bLK’s three towers and the lakefront.

Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

The placement of each of the three towers optimizes the surrounding green space. To integrate the towers into the landscape, bKL Architecture worked alongside Claude Cormier + Associés, a Canadian landscape architecture and urban design firm, to design the structures into a surrounding park and green space.

Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

Tower One, the tallest tower, utilizes triangular geometries while growing larger at the top to enhance views along the lakefront. A similar design tactic was used for the other two towers as represented by their curvilinear geometries and faceted skin.

Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

Once a busy port, Lakeshore East has transformed into a bustling neighborhood. The addition of bKL’s three-tower complex will provide the neighborhood with additional retail spaces at the base of each tower, as well as the residences above.

News via bKL architecture


ecoLogicStudio's Bio-Digital Curtain Fights Climate Change by Filtering Air and Creating Bioplastic

1 week 4 days ago

London-based architectural and urban design firm ecoLogicStudio has unveiled a large-scale “urban curtain” designed to fight climate change. “Photo.Synth.Etica” was developed in collaboration with Climate-KIC, the most prominent climate innovation initiative from the European Union, to “accelerate solutions to global climate change.”

Photo.Synth.Etica, currently on display at the Printworks Building in Ireland’s Dublin Castle, captures and stores one kilogram of CO2 per day, the equivalent to that of 20 large trees.


The prototype is composed of 16 modules measuring 2 x 7 meters, covering the first and second floor of the historic building, recently featured in our architectural guide to Dublin. Each module functions as a photobioreactor: “a digitally designed and custom-made bioplastic container that utilizes daylight to feed the living micro-algal cultures and releases luminescent shades at night.”


The filtration process involved urban air introduced to the bottom of the façade, causing air bubbles to rise through the watery medium within the bioplastic. CO2 and other pollutants are captured and stored in the algae, and grow into biomass. The biomass can be harvested and used in the production of bioplastic, which is in turn used as the main building material of the photobioreactors themselves. The process culminates with freshly-filtered oxygen released from the top of each façade unit.


The message is one of spatial convergence and connectivity between the financial marketplace of cyberspace and the relative organic molecular transactions in the biosphere.
- Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, Founders, ecoLogicStudio


The innovative filtration-come-shading system is adaptable into existing and newly-designed buildings, taking a strong position within visions of futuristic architecture dominated by smart cities, smart homes, and robotic factories.


Photo.Synth.Etica suggests that, in the Anthropocene age, a non-anthropocentric mode of reasoning, and deploying cutting-edge technologies based on digital and biological intelligence, could be at the core of urban design and stimulate our collective sensibility to recognise patterns of reasoning across disciplines, materialities and technological regimes.
- Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, Founders, ecoLogicStudio


News via: ecoLogicStudio

Architect: ecoLogicStudio (Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto)
Design team: Konstantinos Alexopoulos, Nico Aulitzky, Shlok Soni, Robert Staples, Chrysi Vrantsi, Chia Wei Yang
Structural Engineering: Manja van de Worp (Nous Engineering, USA)
Bioplastic Supply and Manufacturing Support: James Woollard (Polythene, UK)
Microalgae Cultures Supply: Dr. Fiona Moejes (Bantry Marine Research Station, Ireland)


"Dômes Charlevoix" Eco-Luxurious Accommodations / Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes

1 week 4 days ago
© Maxime Valsan © Maxime Valsan
  • General Contractor: Urbanext
© Maxime Valsan © Maxime Valsan

“Dômes Charlevoix” is a new concept of four seasons eco-luxurious accommodations located in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, next to the Massif de Charlevoix, near Quebec City. The three domes, the first phase of a larger tourist project, blend in harmoniously with the landscape.

© Maxime Valsan © Maxime Valsan

Each one is located on the mountain side and perfectly integrated to the landscape.  They can be accessed via a path through the trees from a common parking lot at the entrance. The dome is set on a wooden patio and houses a spa overlooking the natural setting.

Floor Plan Floor Plan

The south-facing windowed area offers a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River and maximizes exposure to natural light.  The radiant concrete floor adds a touch of comfort and helps maintain a more uniform temperature inside the domes. The grey canvas and the fireplace create a warm and cozy atmosphere.

© Maxime Valsan © Maxime Valsan

A black streamlined service area is set in the centre: In the volume are concealed a kitchen, the main bed and a bathroom with Italian shower. A boat staircase leads to a second bed above the service area. A true invitation to experience luxury in the mountains, in harmony with nature and its elements.

© Maxime Valsan © Maxime Valsan

Architecture is a Corporate Product - and We're All Buying

1 week 6 days ago
Google Dublin. Image © Peter Wurmli Google Dublin. Image © Peter Wurmli

Architecture, unlike other aspects of culture (such as fashion or music), can only really be experienced and understood in person. For highly branded companies, designing a new building can be a prime opportunity to signal taste and values - but also creates an interesting architectural conundrum. While the buildings will be inhabited (nearly 24/7) by company employees, they’re also very much populated by the imaginations of people across the globe. What is it like to be in these places?

Image via Flickr user rjshade Image via Flickr user rjshade

This question is so compelling that it was essentially the plot device of the 2013 film, The Internship. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson starred as two ‘loser’ guys so desperate to reclaim the coolness of their youth that they take internships at Google. While their hapless attempts to fit into a world they know nothing about makes the movie fun, it also does a lot of heavy lifting on the company’s behalf. Working isn’t cool... unless you do it at Google. The Google offices have swimming pools and barber shops, and all the food is gourmet and free. You could even take your conference call from a ball pit. Who wouldn’t want to work there?

It’s one thing to see this popular image presented in movies, but companies increasingly seem to be using architecture as a way to brand and signal their particular flavor of cool. And yet, you wouldn’t necessarily know this from the street. 

Driving around Silicon Valley can be a disorienting experience. For all the creativity and innovation centered in the region, it’s nearly impossible to deduce this when you’re actually there. The landscape is suburban, punctuated more by strip malls and office parks than by the ‘town squares’ or ‘spaceships’ or you might expect to see.

Screenshot from video via Apple Screenshot from video via Apple

Big-name (and occasionally BIG name) architects have, in the past few years, attached to tech campus projects in calculated alliances. Apple and Foster + Partners are both behemoths known for their sleek and uncompromising works; Facebook, BIG, and Frank Gehry all cultivate an image as rebellious underdogs, even though this is far from the truth.

That corporate offices are now the focus of this kind of branding is fairly obvious. After all, the companies say to the press, innovation can only happen when the space makes it happen. But can these highly-branded spaces actually provide for the needs of the users?

Rendering of the Apple Campus in Palo Alto Rendering of the Apple Campus in Palo Alto

At Apple, results are mixed at best. The new campus is seductive in images: glitzy sheets of glass seem to appear to hover (just like an Apple laptop), every surface is polished to perfection. But employees have complained of indecipherable circulation, unpleasant working spaces, and long distances. For locals, the campus is even less generous (despite being a major presence): you’re welcome only up to a threshold. None of this comes as a surprise. In a review of tech campus designs published in Vanity Fair back in 2014, Paul Goldberger mused:

“…it remains to be seen whether this wave of ambitious new construction will give the tech industry the same kind of impact on the built environment that it has had on almost every other aspect of modern life - or even whether these new projects will take Silicon Valley itself out of the realm of the conventional suburban landscape. One might hope that buildings and neighborhoods where the future is being shaped might reflect a similar sense of innovation.”

What Goldberger seemed to get at, even if he didn't quite say it, is that these branded spaces don’t seem to be actual buildings. They’re products. 

The press surrounding Bloomberg HQ’s recent Stirling Prize win make this even more clear, with keywords such as 'achievement' and 'most sustainable' cropping up throughout the award citations. "Bloomberg is an astounding commitment to quality architecture.” said jury chair Sir David Adjaye in his jury statement. RIBA president Ben Derbyshire similarly hailed the project as 'monumental achievement', saying: "The creativity and tenacity of Foster + Partners and the patronage of Bloomberg have not just raised the bar for office design and city planning, but smashed the ceiling."

© Nigel Young. ImageThe Bloomberg Headquarters in London © Nigel Young. ImageThe Bloomberg Headquarters in London

The building may be a colossal achievment, but it has an equally outsized presence to those actually on the street. The much-lauded public passage is gloomy, the public plazas overly-groomed. This experience is echoed inside: “…[it] is an extremely deep-plan, inward-looking office environment, where glimpses of the outside world are secondary to views back in to Bloomberg’s hubbub of ‘collaboration and teamwork,’” said Olly Wainwright in his review of the complex for The Guardian. “You often feel very far away from a window, a sense exacerbated by the great bronze baffles that further block the view.”

The Bloomberg HQ is just one among many of these types of buildings that have recently seemed to gain more praise for their appearance by the statistics and on our screens than on the street. And this gap between the architecture’s remote experience (how it is photographed and advertised) and their actual presence points us to whom the design is actually intended: the remote viewers.

This should be a concern. When structures become a commodity for remote viewers rather than an engaged participant in the urban fabric, the essence of architecture is lost. And if companies continue to use architecture as an outsized branding strategy, its worth paying attention to who they’re selling to. Can design retain its worth for the general public when presented as a value proposition? Probably not. 

Google Tel Aviv. Image © Itay Sikolski Google Tel Aviv. Image © Itay Sikolski

Allied Works and OLIN Create a Museum for Both People and the City

2 weeks 1 day ago
© Aerial Impact Solutions, via Metropolis Magazine © Aerial Impact Solutions, via Metropolis Magazine

Allied Works has, since their founding in 1994, become known for their portfolio of delicately balanced and civic-minded works. Their Clyfford Still Museum in Denver has in particular been recognized in numerous awards and publications - but may perhaps be overshadowed by their most recent built work.

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum, located in Columbus, Ohio elevates what might have been a staid and somber program into a public space with an urban outlook. The museum, composed of intersecting white concrete bands, opens onto a lustrous landscape (designed by OLIN) and connects the formerly neglected riverfront to the small city’s downtown.

© Brad Feinknopf, via Metropolis Magazine © Brad Feinknopf, via Metropolis Magazine

The project is a triumphant moment for Columbus’ riverfront development efforts (efforts now nearly decades in the making.) And the museum’s striking design is an essential ingredient. “The desire for the building was to create a symbol to draw people across the river,” Brad Cloepfil, founder and principal of Allied Works, told Metropolis Magazine. “Part of the monumentality of this form, of these large cantilevers and woven concrete arches, is to have a larger presence.”

Given its public-facing program, accessibility (not just visibility) was a great concern for the design teams. “We needed this to feel like a memorial in a park setting, yet still have presence at the street level,” explained landscape architect Laurie Olin, founder and principal of his eponymous firm.

While the project may be built, its public life is only just beginning. Says Cloepfil, “what space does more than anything…when it’s powerful, is move you to pause, move your soul, and opens you up to ideas.” Read Metropolis’ full review of the project here.

© Brad Feinknopf, via Metropolis Magazine © Brad Feinknopf, via Metropolis Magazine

Top 10 Architectural Photography Locations in Bogotá

2 weeks 2 days ago
Torres del Parque. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Torres del Parque. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

If you're an architecture aficionado, the Colombian capital of Bogota should be high on your list. The city's architecture contains bits and pieces from throughout the country's history, from colonial structures to classical designs from the time of the Republic.

If you're a first time visitor to Bogotá —or a native tourist in your own city— we recommend this architecture guide for the top 10 locations to capture the city's best works.

Plaza de Bolívar
Cra. 7 # 11-10

Torreón de la Bandera, Colegio de San Bartolomé. Bogotá. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Torreón de la Bandera, Colegio de San Bartolomé. Bogotá. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

Bogotá's central plaza is surrounded by historic buildings: on its south-eastern side, lies the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé, recognized for its iconic neo-classical republican architecture. Following Séptima towards Calle 9 you can find the turret that holds the school's flag. This corner grabs the attention of passers-by thanks to its facade and the dome that serves as an observatory. The pedestrian-friendliness of the space allows for numerous angles of this architectural icon.

Avenida Jiménez
Cl. 16 # 4-64

Hotel Continental Bluedoors. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Hotel Continental Bluedoors. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

This thoroughfare in historic downtown Bogotá is full of stops that no architecture junkie should miss. Here you can find the Hotel Continental Bluedoors, which survived one of the most critical moments in the city's history: the Bogotazo, a series of riots after the 1948 assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the leader of the Liberal Party. Since then, the site has become one of the oldest hotels in Bogotá. After being closed down for 17 years (1993-2010), today the hotel features some much-needed renovations while still maintaining its original facade. Without a doubt, the hotel is a necessary addition to any architectural photo album.

BD Bacatá Building
‎Calle 19 # 5-20

BD Bacatá Building. Image © Stefanía Álvarez BD Bacatá Building. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

Known as the tallest building in Colombia at the moment (216 meters/67 floors), this unfinished skyscraper grabs attention from different points in the city. Looking up at the glass facade, it's as if the building blends into the Bogotá sky reflected on its exterior. The building's height, its multi-tiered design, (visible from the south-western side) and its combination of textures make it an attention-grabbing architectural photo-op. 

La Candelaria Neighborhood
Cra. 6 # 10-01

La Candelaria Neighborhood. Image © Stefanía Álvarez La Candelaria Neighborhood. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

In the high points of this Bogotá neighborhood, the streets are colored with the painted facades of the houses lining them. Boasting a colonial style, every street offers something different, whether it be its name, the details in the houses' windows, or the rustic style of their doors. No two blocks are the same and, upon being photographed, offer a variety of perspectives in single image. Thanks to the paths that run through this part of the city, you can see the contrast between this neighborhood and the city's more modern buildings. 

Attorney General's Office
Carrera 5 # 15-80

Attorney General's Office. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Attorney General's Office. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

This building, located between Calle 19 and Av. Jiménez, is an attractive site for architecture aficionados because of its structural design and the lines present in its facade. It's possible to take in the building from Carrera 5 or above Calle 15. The photographic possibilities are endless thanks to the reliefs on the building's exterior and the contrast generated between them. All of this combined with surrounding cityscape makes for an unequaled perspective of the city. 

Estación Museo Nacional (National Museum Station)
‎Av. Carrera 7 - Calle 28

© Stefanía Álvarez © Stefanía Álvarez

In this sector of Bogotá, in the vicinity of the public transport hub at the intersection of 7th and 10th avenue, it's possible to take in urban views that feature popular sites such as Hotel Tequendama and the Colpatria Tower. Thanks to the zone's large number of buildings, it's possible to capture them from different angles to create a skyline.

Edificio Residencial Procoil (Procoil Residential Building)
Cra 4 # 18 - 50

© Stefanía Álvarez © Stefanía Álvarez

In the mid-sixties, at the intersection of Calle 19 and Av. 3rd, these two buildings were built and baptized as “Procoil”. The proximity of the two towers (A and B) offers an intoxicating view to whoever stands between them and looks upwards. The fascinating view of the sky as it meets the towers seems completely disconnected from the decades-old residential space. 

Colpatria Tower
Carrera 7 # 24-81

Colpatria Tower. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Colpatria Tower. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

Once the tallest building in Colombia, this icon of an office building is a gem of Colombian architecture. Its imposing height over El Dorado Avenue/ Calle 26-- and the uninhibited views from the Centro Internacional--makes this structure a magnet for photographers. Its black and white vertical lines (a combination of facade and window) that run the length of the building make for spectacular shots.

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá (The Javeriana Catholic University)
Cra. 7 # 40 - 62

Jorge Hoyos Building. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Jorge Hoyos Building. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

La Pontificia Universidad Javeriana renovated several of its departments, ensuring both its students and faculty modern facilities. In spite of being a private institution, the public is welcome to view and photograph the renovations from the outside. The "Jorge Hoyos Vasquez" building, built by architect Felipe Uribe, boasts a variety of textures and patterns in its facade that allows the light and shadow to mix and mingle among the reliefs of the building. The large windows of the university's newer buildings host the reflections of the campus' older structures. 

Edificio Aseguradora del Valle (Aseguradora del Valle Building)
Carrera 10 # 24 - 55

Aseguradora del Valle Building. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Aseguradora del Valle Building. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

Few people know its real name, however, this building, adjacent to the Colpatria tower, draws the attention of whoever sees it for the first time. Its horizontal lines contrast with the vertical ones of the neighboring building, emphasizing its already outstanding vertices. Its front is completely symmetrical, however, from a diagonal or side perspective, the divisions between each floor appear distorted.   

Torres del Parque/ Park Towers
Cra. 5 #26 b - 57

Torres del Parque. Image © Stefanía Álvarez Torres del Parque. Image © Stefanía Álvarez

When it comes to capturing this masterpiece by architect Rogelio Salmona, the possibilities are endless. No matter where you stand, you'll be able to take spectacular shots of the residential buildings. This place harmonizes the pedestrian traffic thanks to the lack of railings and the availability of space between each of the structures. The combination between the tiered silhouettes, the height, and the brick facade both contrasts and complements this sector of La Macarena neighborhood. Its spaces not only offer a vantage point of the buildings but make for great photo-ops dues to their elevated position from the city.  

Did we miss any buildings? Let us know in the comments.


HIR Studio Transforms a Hong Kong Housing Complex Into a Commemorative Relic for Architect Michael Wright

2 weeks 3 days ago
Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

Plans for a memorial commemorating the life and career of Mr. Michael Wright, architect, surveyor, and civil servant, have been released. Mr. Wright’s dedication to the architecture of public housing in Hong Kong and the principals on which he designed are encapsulated in the memorial’s proposed scheme. Wright died in January 2018 at the age of 105 and is considered the "father of public housing in Hong Kong" for redefining the city's standards for public living quarters.

Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

Irene Cheng, founder and design principal of HIR Studio, proposed the winning design and received the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Young Architects Award 2017.

The memorial will be located at the Wah Fu Estate, an existing housing development built in the 60s. Although this particular complex was not one of Mr. Wright’s designs, it is scheduled to be demolished in the near future, making it an ideal site for the memorial. Elements of the existing structure will be conserved and incorporated into the memorial. By conserving the first two floors of a typical housing block, the components of the old become part of the new. Preserved elements such as the typical housing block support the interior gallery spaces of the memorial and become part of the exhibits themselves.

Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

The Wah Fu Estate is a primary example of many of Wright’s principles for successful public housing. Wright was adamant that new architecture should have a positive impact on the surrounding community. To fulfill this principle, an L-shaped section and a neighboring semi-enclosed courtyard from the existing housing complex will be preserved, and the ground floor of the structure will be transformed into a marketplace, while the second floor of another branch will become a shelter for the homeless.

Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

The memorial and community amenities will be part of a larger public housing development. The residences will also follow Mr. Wright’s principles: “a self-contained flat, with a kitchen and bathroom solely used by one family in the unit.”

Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

The structure will guide visitors through a series of spaces, from the open ground floor, through the gallery spaces, and culminating in the memorial garden. The ground floor of the memorial is an open space with the shear wall structure of the original Wah Fu Estate exposed – a direct display of the old slab housing typology. The open space will create a double-height pedestrian corridor.

Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

The new elements of the memorial structure sit above the old. Culminating in a large terrace, two of the old residential units are to be turned into a sunken pond for meditation. Bauhinia trees will be planted around the pond, a symbol of Mr. Wright’s deep connection to the city of Hong Kong.

News via HIR Studio


Everything You Need In Your Kitchen

2 weeks 4 days ago

Do you plan on cooking at lot of meals at home? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to realize that you cannot do everything on your own. Without the right tools, appliances and supplies, you’ll never be able to cook those delicious foods. Unfortunately, there are plenty of items that you need. The good news is that some are more important than others. Some of the most important will be explored below for your consideration.

Dishes And Utensils

Once you’ve prepared a delicious meal, you’ll want to make sure that everyone will be able to enjoy it. Regardless of the size of your family, you can guarantee that you’ll need dishes and utensils. If you want to think outside of the box and save yourself some many, you may be able to solve this problem with plastic forks and paper plates. Just make sure you get good plates or your food might end up in your lap.

Glasses And Mugs

While you’re at it, you need to make sure that your guests will be able to enjoy their meals with beverages. This is why you’ll need some glasses and mugs. There are plenty of options out there. You can buy plastic cups and save yourself some cash. Either way, it is pertinent to make sure that you have enough to meet and exceed the needs of everyone.


If you really want to cook delicious foods in a hurry, you’ll definitely want to invest in a good microwave. A microwave is going to be an inexpensive solution to your food preparation problem. Just throw the food into the microwave and hit the right button. Before you know it, the food will be ready to go. It couldn’t be easier. Just make sure you get a good microwave by taking advice from The Kitchen Professor.


When it comes down to it, you’re going to need some appliances. You cannot cook or store your foods properly without appliances. At the very least, you’re going to need a good refrigerator and a stove. The fridge will ensure that your items are kept fresh for as long as possible. A stove and oven combination can be used to prepare foods in an abundance of ways. These items might be expensive, but they’re essential!


When you buy chicken, you’re going to receive a big slab. In order to prepare that chicken stew or soup, you’ll need to cut it up into smaller pieces. With that being said, you’re going to need some very good knives. Be sure that the knives have a sharp edge. And, make sure that they’re going to last for as long as possible. Do that and you’ll be satisfied with your investment.

A Crock Pot

Finally, you will definitely want to think about investing in a good crock pot. It’ll make a big difference in the long run. With this type of appliance, you can quickly and easily prepare delicious soups and stews. Just make sure that you get one that is going to be safe to use. Do that and you’ll have great meals at your fingertips.


Intelligent Interiors: Robotic Furniture Retracts to Ceiling When Not in Use

2 weeks 4 days ago
[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

Driven by an artificially intelligent butler, this smart furniture system promises to free up valuable floor space by lifting and lowering modular interior design elements as needed, putting them into play or pulling them up to the ceiling on demand.

Bumblee Spaces has designed their bot to learn and adapt, anticipating needs in addition to responding to specific requests — it even scans items in storage then tracks their location for retrieval, helping you find stuff like lost keys faster. And if it’s raining, the roombot can also call down your umbrella in case you forget.

For some, it may sound at first like an overly high-tech solution without a problem, but anyone living in old city apartments knows that desire to turn slightly higher ceilings into something more useful, like raised shelving or other storage, at least (but even that only occupies the periphery). When things can be lifted out of the way entirely, even large beds are on the table (and tables, for that matter).

In the Bay Area, for instance, where the startup is based, the cost of additional square feet can be a lot higher than something like this making extant space usage more efficient. It also addresses the persistent San Francisco and Oakland challenge of moving from a smaller, rent-controlled unit to a larger, market-rate one, which can involve paying far more than the size differential alone would suggest.

“When I moved here I was overwhelmed by how much we were paying for so little space,” says the founder. “I come from a product background so I understood a lot about how we could densely pack objects really well. In the iPhone or Apple Watch we do such a good job of finding every micrometer of space to package all the features in so the user only sees the screen.”

Murthy applied this logic to furniture with Bumblebee Spaces. With modular furniture units installed in the ceiling a single-room studio can become a multifunctional area serving as bedroom, living room, study or wardrobe depending on the time of day. And the space given over to a retrofit can be small — as little as a foot of vertical in a room (with additional variability for taller items).

Bumblebee Spaces has also created a software library of their modules for architects, so they can fit them into reflected ceiling plans for future buildings. They aim to deploy a combination of ready-built furniture as well as custom-made items, all worked into a larger modular system. In the long term, they also aim to set up exchanges so people can buy, sell, lend and trade units to customize and redesign their interiors.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

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Hidden Depths: 20 Tentacles of Lurking Sea Creature Sprout from Warehouse

2 weeks 6 days ago
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Any horror fan knows hinting at a larger evil with teaser visuals is a classic trick, like letting viewers imagine, for instance, what kind of hideous invader might be putting feelers out the window of this old warehouse in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.

Titled simply Sea Monsters HERE, the inflatable installation was created by artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas in partnership with Group X, an anonymous collective of local artists and curators.

The arching purple limbs span up to 40 feet and feature blue surfaces with green suckers on the bottom to add some additional nightmare fuel. Readers (or watchers) of Stephen King’s The Mist may find the foggy images particularly compelling.

This is not the team’s first giant inflatable either: they have also made huge floating octopus sculptures and other creatures, though this one seems particularly well-suited to the Halloween season (via Colossal).

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

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Apple Unveils Greenest MacBook Ever, New iPad and Mac Mini

2 weeks 6 days ago
© Apple © Apple

Apple has released new details about their MacBook Air, Mac Mini and iPad Pro. The MacBook Air has finally gotten the long-requested Retina Display, and the design has new features like its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The broad redesign also extends to the new iPad Pro, where the design nearly gets rid of the bezel that has traditionally wrapped around the sides of the screen and Apple's Face ID facial recognition technology has been included in the tablet for the first time ever.

© Apple © Apple

The iPad Pro is being increasingly used by architects with the addition of the Apple Pencil for more fine-tuned control alongside side-by-side apps. The new iPad Pencil stylus works with support for gestures that let you switch between the different digital brush styles. For work, you can attach a keyboard with two different viewing angles, and your chances of losing pencil at the construction site are diminished thanks to its new magnetic attachments to the side of the device. It now charges by clicking onto the top of the tablet, and features a button on the side that can be press for extra controls. Alongside that came a new look for the Smart Keyboard sold alongside the iPad Pro. The new iPad Pro comes in two sizes: an 11-inch version and a bigger 12.9-inch size. The smaller one starts at $769 and the bigger at $969. Both are available to order now and will also go on sale on 7 November. See below for a quick summary of the updates:

MacBook Air, Mac Mini

© Apple © Apple

The new MacBook Air model gets the Retina display, but Apple dropped the USB-A ports and SD card reader, just like it did when it redesigned the MacBook Pro in 2016. In its place are two Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports for power and connectivity. he Air also features Apple's third-generation butterfly keyboard, which is supposed to be quieter and less prone to failure than earlier models.

  • The Mac Mini now comes in Space Gray and, more importantly, has new innards. It starts at $799.
  • The new MacBook Air features Intel's latest, 8th-generation Core i5 processors, up to 1.5TB of storage and 16GB of RAM.
  • The MacBook Air 2018 with Retina display, Touch ID and other features inherited from modern MacBook Pros. It starts at $1,199.

iPad Pro 2018

© Apple © Apple

It's been over a year since Apple has given an update to the iPad Pro, and the new model includes a range of features. The new eight-core, A12X Bionic chip is a 7-nanometer piece of silicon with speeds up to 35 percent faster than the previous iPad Pro. That's just in single-core, though -- multicore speeds are up to 90 percent faster. The iPad Pro is the first iOS device to use USB-C for power and data.

  • An updated magnetically attaching Smart Folio keyboard case.
  • The new iPad Pro has thinner bezels, USB-C connections, 264ppi display and more.
  • A redesigned Apple Pencil with a magnetic connection and automatic pairing.
  • Apple showcased some new apps for the iPad Pro.
  • The new iPad Pro costs $799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch display.


HENN Selected to Redesign Europe's Largest Cultural Center

2 weeks 6 days ago
Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR

HENN Architekten have been selected to redesign the Gasteig, Europe's largest cultural center in Munich, Germany. The renovation and remodel aims to bring new life to the center after 30 years of use. Originally designed by the architecture partnership Raue, Rollenhagen, Grossmann and Lindemann, the Gasteig welcomes around two million visitors annually. The new design celebrates the building's role as a revered cultural hub and introduces a new glazed bridge to connect the existing parts of the building and bring transparency to the complex.

Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR

The new glass redesign opens the Gasteig up to city, affording perspectives of the inner vibrancy of the building, and welcomes visitors and staff alike to be part of the city’s cultural life. This “Kulturbühne” (Cultural Stage) simultaneously acts as the leitmotif and generates the identity of the new Gasteig, while its transparent, glazed and open architecture stands in deliberate contrast to the monolithic and mineral-like character of the existing building.

Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR

Following the idea of “ONE” Gasteig, the new Culture Stage extends both horizontally and vertically as a spatial continuum through all the sections of the Gasteig. The Cultural Stage functions simultaneously as a circulation node, foyer, exhibition space and an event area. It provides both visitors and staff with clear orientations and short routes between all of the building’s functions. Regardless of its use, the Cultural Stage gives each element its own anchoring and individual identity, be it the Philharmonic, the Carl Orff Auditorium, the library or the Munich Volkshochschule.

Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR Gasteig Cultural Center. Image Courtesy of MIR

The Carl Orff Auditorium was designed to be a flexible space within the Gasteig to host ballets, concerts, and theatre performances. The flexibility of the space is achieved by the machine powered lifting platforms under the stage. Used at a single level with a gradation of platforms, the venue will be able to accommodate different stage types with different maneuvers, accommodating up to 1,000 people.


The Unlikely Life, Death and Rebirth of the Hastings Pier

3 weeks 1 day ago
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

The story of the Hastings Pier is an improbable one. Located in Hastings - a stone's throw away from the battlefield that defined English history - the pier was first opened to the promenading public in 1872. For decades the structure, an exuberant array of Victorian-era decoration, entertained seaside crowds but by the new millennium had fallen out of disrepair. In 2008 the pier was closed - a closure that became seemingly irreversible when, two years later, it burnt down.

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

When London practice dRMM won the competition to reimagine the structure, they took it as an opportunity to not just relive the glory days but work with the public to make a "pier for the people." Their careful efforts won them the 2017 Stirling Prize and marked a landmark moment in regenerative architecture. In his Stirling Prize citation for the project, RIBA President Ben Derbyshire described it as "...a masterpiece in regeneration and inspiration. The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and local people alike."

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

The Hastings Pier today is a far cry from it's 19th century predecessor. Gone is the ornament, gone are the strings of lights, gone is the Moorish pavilion that used to cap the promenade. The pier now is an exercise in restraint and subtle detail, culminating in a wide open expanse at the top that has earned it the nickname "The Plank."

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

"You expect a pier to be covered in stuff, instead you have a free space and no buildings," says Alex de Rijke, cofounder of and the 'dR' behind dRRM. "The new pier is designed as an enormous, free, public platform over the sea - inspiring temporary installations and events across a variety of scales. This space offered more potential than an ‘iconic’ building on the end of the pier, and demonstrates the evolving role of the architect as an agent for change."

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

The flexibility of the new structure allows the pier to play host to a multitude of events, from traditional festival fare more serious gatherings. When not in official use, the pier is an awesome expanse of weathered timber, a fitting complement to the powerful view it affords. 

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

Creating the open lookout point required the designers to relocate the traditional pier pavilion from the top of the structure to the center. The cross-laminated timber structure is clad in reclaimed decking and surrounded by reclaimed deck furniture (designed in an inventive collaboration by dRRM and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling.) 

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

For all the pier's initial success, it's not been without controversy. This past summer, plans were announced for the sale of the structure to the private owner - a sale that rankles given the public's unusually active role in the conception, design, and construction of the pier. Fate seems, yet again, uncertain.

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

But regardless of owner or future use, it will forever remain a milestone in architecture. It sets a notable standard for how architects can engage with not only their clients, but the future users of their projects. Compared to the local pride it has inspired, a Stirling citation is just icing on the cake. 

Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou
Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou Hastings Pier / dRMM. Image © Laurian Ghinitiou

Common Ruins

3 weeks 1 day ago

YAC - Young Architects Competitions and Mothe Chandeniers launched “Common Ruins”, a competition of ideas aiming to breath a new life into an astonishing castle in France. A cash prize of € 20,000 will be awarded to winners selected by a well-renowned jury made of, among the others, Anish Kapoor, Rudy Ricciotti, Edoardo Tresoldi, Dagur Eggertsson, Alfonso Femia, Aldo Cibic, Marco Amosso (Lombardini 22), Luca Dolmetta (LD+SR architetti).



There is a special fascination in ruins. There is a sublime hint in dissolved architectures. There is something moving in the pulverizing of time.

Silence takes over the architecture. In the long sunset that follows abandonment and preludes destruction, nature completes the design of mankind by taking space back according to its own pace. In that moment, something magical happens. In that moment, architecture gives way to ruins.

The castle of Mothe Chandeniers is a perfect ruin.

It is lost in the French countryside. It is a gothic lace embroidered in stone. It is an enchanted mirage fluctuating on a calm lake. It is embraced by jealous vegetation that has been twining its bastions and architectures as a greedy lover. The castle evokes an intimate embrace between history, architecture and nature. Faraway from mankind, this place has achieved its most resplendent beauty. However, now it needs mankind in order to forestall its ultimate destruction.

Dartagnans is a fund aiming at protecting and safeguarding the international artistic heritage. Recently, it has purchased the castle thanks to more than 27, 910 shareholders’ donations. Today, through YAC, Mothe Chandeniers invites designers to highlight the natural fascination of the castle in order to transform it into a destination of contemplation and relax for tourists and visitors from all over the world.


How to transform a ruin into a cutting-edge tourist-accommodation facility? How to make a neo-gothic shell communicate with contemporary architecture?

These are the questions on which Common Ruins lays its foundations. This competition offers designers the opportunity to dedicate their own design action to one of the most fascinating ruins in the world. They will do so by designing a visitors’ center aiming at ensuring a unique, spiritual and regenerating hospitality experience.

At the sunset of a building, architecture itself has to protect the remarkable combination of human action and natural activity that is the fascination of Mothe Chandeniers. Architecture has to save the castle from the erosion of time in order to give it back to the community that purchased it. It is an unprecedented challenge that invites designers to deal with a place with a surreal beauty able to create oneiric and refined holiday scenarios. Designers will have to highlight such feature carrying out an architectural intervention aiming to be the milestone of contemporary architecture.

Yac thanks all the designers who will take part in this challenge.





  • 1st Prize 10.000 € 
  • 2nd Prize 4.000 €
  • 3rd Prize 2.000 €
  • 4 Gold Mentions 1.000 € each
  • 10 Honorable Mentions
  • 30 Finalists


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24/12/2018: “Late” Registration – Start
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A Selection of the World’s Best Architects

3 weeks 1 day ago
© Ossip Van Duivenbode. ImageTianjin Binhai Library / MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute © Ossip Van Duivenbode. ImageTianjin Binhai Library / MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute

To rank architects, or to even pretend that any list or selection would be exhaustive and/or apply to the individual tastes of every architecture lover, seems, on the surface, a pointless task. However, as we move away from looking for inspiration from merely the great masters or the handful of contemporary firms studied in academic programs, it is important to shine a light on the works that we, as ArchDaily editors, have found particularly valuable. Of the thousands of architects whose projects have been selected to be published on our site, we occasionally notice firms whose work stands out. Whether we’re drawn to their innovative approach to practice, the role they play in contributing to their local communities, or their generosity, we are eager to display their work as an example, so that others may be inspired to challenge the status quo.

With editors from Brazil, the US, Mexico, Chile, China and Northern Ireland, and thanks to the extensive network that we have forged with institutions in Africa, Asia and beyond, we have the rare opportunity to go beyond a purely western-focused overview of the state of today’s architecture.

We are honored to work with each and every single architect who publishes with us. We are humbled by the amount of people who visit ArchDaily to seek inspiration. And we are delighted to share a selection of architecture firms practicing today whose work sets a high benchmark for architectural production.



© Shu He. ImageHuangshan Mountain Village / MAD Architects © Shu He. ImageHuangshan Mountain Village / MAD Architects

Archi-Union Architects

Atelier Deshaus

Biome Environmental Solutions


Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP


IROJE KHM Architects

Jun Igarashi Architects

Kashef Chowdhury - URBANA

Kengo Kuma

Lixiaodong Atelier

MAD architects

Masahiro Ikeda Architecture Studio

Moon Hoon



Piramun Architectural Office

Rural Urban Framework


Sanjay Puri

Schemata Architects

Secondfloor Architects

Shigeru Ban Architects

Sou Fujimoto


Tadao Ando Architects and Associates

Toyo Ito & Associates

VTN Architects


Wutopia Lab



© Iwan Baan. ImageThe Interlace / OMA / Ole Scheeren © Iwan Baan. ImageThe Interlace / OMA / Ole Scheeren


Adjaye Associates

Alvaro Siza


Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation


Bernardo Bader


Carmody Groarke


Correia Ragazzi

David Chipperfield

de vylder vinck taillieu

Dorte Mandrup

Eduardo Souto de Moura

Fala Atelier

Flores & Prats

Foster & Partners


Herzog & deMeuron

Jakob + MacFarlane Architects

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

JKMM Architects

Karamuk Kuo





Pedevilla Architects

Peter Zumthor

Rafael Moneo

Renzo Piano Building Workshop



Studio Associato Bernardo Secchi Paola Viganò

Studio Olafur Eliasson

TEd’A arquitectes


Zaha Hadid Architects

Heatherwick Studio


North America

© Richard Barnes. ImageGlassell School of Art / Steven Holl Architects © Richard Barnes. ImageGlassell School of Art / Steven Holl Architects


5468796 Architecture

Bohlin Cywinksi Jackson

Bureau Spectacular

Diller Scofidio+Renfro Estudio

Gehry Partners


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

MASS Design Group

Miró Rivera Architects

Olson Kundig

Omar Ganhdi Architect

Peter Eisenman


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill


Steven Holl Architects

Studio Gang


Latin & South America

© Federico Cairoli. ImageQuincho Tía Coral / Gabinete de Arquitectura © Federico Cairoli. ImageQuincho Tía Coral / Gabinete de Arquitectura

23 SUL Arquitetura

Al Borde

Alberto Kalach

Angelo Bucci

Arquitetos Associados

BAK arquitectos

Barclay & Crousse

Base Urbana + Pessoa Arquitetos

BLOCO Arquitetos

Carla Juaçaba

Centro Colaboracion Arquitectonica

Comunal Taller de Arquitectura

Cristian Izquierdo


Estudio Macías Peredo

Fernanda Canales

Frida Escobedo

Gabinete de Arquitectura

Grupo Culata Jovai

Guillermo Acuña Arquitectos Asociados

Isaac Broid

José Cubilla

Llosa Cortegana Arquitectos


Marko Brajovic

Pezo von Ellrichshausen

Rozana Montiel | Estudio de Arquitectura

Smiljan Radic

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio

UNA Arquitetos



© Siméon Duchoud. ImagePrimary School in Gando / Kéré Architecture © Siméon Duchoud. ImagePrimary School in Gando / Kéré Architecture

Angela Mingas

Kere Architecture

Makeka Design Lab

Patricia Anahory



© Trevor Mein. ImageBunjil Place / fjmt © Trevor Mein. ImageBunjil Place / fjmt

ARM Architecture

Austin Maynard Architects


Jackson Clements Burrows


Woods Bagot

Production of the list proved a great challenge to the over 20 editors who form part of ArchDaily’s editorial team. We questioned each other, mulled over formats and challenged each of our individual and cultural viewpoints. We would love to know about the architecture firms that are impressing and inspiring you today, so we welcome your feedback in the comments below.

59 minutes 19 seconds ago
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