December 15, 2014

VIDEO: The Colours of Singapore

This is a beuatiful video of Singapore, exposing the colourfulness of this young a vibrant city. It is also set to a great soundtrack of fun Vampire Weekend song.

December 8, 2014

VIDEO: Japan New National Stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects

The design of the New National Stadium in Japan represents Zaha Hadid Architects' vision for the Olympic stadium for the 2020 games in Tokyo.

December 1, 2014

VIDEO: Ice Lab: New architecture and science in Antarctica

Ice Lab is an international touring exhibition illustrating how innovative contemporary architecture is enabling scientists to live and work in one of the most extreme environments on our planet.

November 23, 2014


05 - 19 JULY 2015

 The fifteenth Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class will take place 05 - 19 July 2015. The first week will be held at the magnificent Boyd Education Centre 'Riversdale', on the banks of the Shoalhaven River, south of Sydney - the building designed by Glenn Murcutt (with his wife Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark) has been described as Glenn's "masterwork". The second week will be held in a heritage building in central Sydney, close to Sydney Harbour. The two-week annual residential program has, since its inception in 2001, been attended by architects from over 70 nations. Pritzker Prize laureate Glenn Murcutt leads the studio, and other principal tutors include seminal Australian architect and teacher Richard Leplastrier, Norwegian-Australian Professor Brit Andresen and multi-award winning architect Peter Stutchbury. The convener of the event is Irish-Australian Lindsay Johnston, Former Dean of Architecture at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
It has been a couple of weeks since I left Australia, and the truth is I still haven't been able to re-adjust to my normal life. The Masterclass was such an extraordinary experience, I learnt about so many valuable things which are so difficult to explain and transmit. I am so happy I had the opportunity to be a part of it. It was really a life-changing experience for me, I hope you guys are aware of the greatness of it. It was such a great moment in time, one which I will carry with me for the rest of my life and one I can look back to remember an extraordinary way of living through architecture, but essentially, about a way of life. The walks through the woods, the late night presentations, the house visits …. it was all remarkably unique.  
- Angie D, Architect, Buenos Aires, Argentina, GMMC 2014 
Details, program, portfolio of insights, testimonials and application form - - or contact

November 17, 2014

VIDEO: PSU Architecture students work with school on outdoor classroom

Enhancing the environment of Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland, Oregon. Portland State faculty and students team up with the school to explore sustainable architecture solutions.

November 12, 2014

Ethics and Architectural Copyright

LEFT: Photography of Sokol Blosser winery by Allied Works Architecture (completed July 2013). RIGHT: Rendering by Anonymous Firm A (published November 2014)
The two projects shown above are for different clients, have different programs and are of vastly different scales. However, I can't help but see the concepts, carving out a dark gray box to reveal naturally colored. angled wood to be intricately related. The project on the left was completed in 2013, received an AIA Portland Honor Award last year, and has been praised for it's beautiful execution throughout the Portland design community. It is a building that most architects in the city know about and have probably visited. The image on the right is a rendering for a proposed development in NW Portland, published on a blog in Nov. 2014.

Can you copyright the design of a building? According to this article on, yes you can ( Recently there have been some relatively high profile news stories about architecture being copied. It happened to a Zaha Hadid project in China, and also a high rise project in Miami. Over the past few days I've surprisingly come across a series of designs that make me think something similar is happening in Portland, Oregon. The images below compare projects in Portland that have been designed by some of the leading firms in town on the left, juxtaposed on the right by renderings of proposed projects all by the same firm.*

*I have decided to leave their name off this post so as not to draw attention to the specific actions of this one firm, but rather have this be a conversation about the larger theme of design ethics and architectural copyright. For the captions I have replaced the firm's name with Anonymous Firm A.

LEFT + CENTER: Photography of The Tower House by Ben Waechter (completed October 2013). RIGHT: Rendering by Anonymous Firm A (taken from their website in Nov. 2014)
Architects, often look to other prominent work for inspiration. Part of the design process is doing precedent studies, looking at how creative people solved design challenges in the past, and how they might be relevant to a current situation. I can understand looking to one of the most respected design firms in town to inform your own design decision. However, there is a fine line between inspiration and copying and there is an ethical line that should not be crossed.

You could give the benefit of the doubt to a firm if one of their designs resembles that of another project. It happens. No one designs in a vacuum and often many people could distill down their ideas into similar results. However, when a single act becomes a pattern, benefit of the doubt fades into disrespect.
LEFT + CENTER: Photography of The Skyline Residence by Skylab Architecture (completed 2011). RIGHT: Rendering by Anonymous Firm A (taken from their website in Nov. 2014)
My question is why a firm would risk their reputation emulating other people's work so closely, and more importantly who is commissioning them to do so? Shouldn't a client want a unique project that specifically responds to their needs and the context of their building?  Shouldn't the Code of Ethics that comes with Architectural Licensure and AIA membership hold people accountable for the quality of their own designs and respecting the work of others? Finally, if you are going to closely replicate the styles of other architects, why do it in your own backyard where the design community can easily identify what is happening?

LEFT: Rendering of The Radiator by Path Architecture (Under Construction 2014).  RIGHT: Rendering by Anonymous Firm A (published November 2014).
Copying can be thought of as a form of flattery. It can also reveal a lack of creativity. When repeated over and over by the same firm, I tend to lean towards the latter. What do you think? Do you have other examples of copyright infringement in Architecture? What should our profession do to combat this issue? Should the AIA enforce ethical design issues like this, perhaps revoking membership? Should our state licensure boards?

November 10, 2014

VIDEO: David Adjaye

An interview with David Adjaye, principal of London-based Adjaye/Associates.

November 5, 2014

2014 Elections and What Our Government Can Do To Support Architects

Washington, D.C. – November 5, 2014
AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA:
 “Voters in yesterday’s mid-term election sent a clear message to Washington. They are fed up with dysfunction and want Congress and the White House to work together to get things done. 

“When Congress returns in coming weeks, it should pass legislation streamlining government procurement rules for the design/construction industry. That legislation, already contained in the Defense Authorization Bill, will expand the pool of architectural talent from which the government can choose to get better value in federal design/construction contracts for the American taxpayer. 

“The White House and Congress should also work to reinstate already expired tax incentives, including the Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction - a provision that already enjoys bipartisan support and that creates jobs, strengthens energy independence, encourages innovation and reduces the burden on taxpayers. 

“Congress and the White House have plenty of opportunities to get back in the good graces of American voters. It just needs to act.”

To follow the thoughts of Helene, I'd also like to see a renewed effort to pas the National Design Service Act (NDSA). Student debt is one of the most critical issues facing the next generation of design professionals. The average architecture student graduates with approximately $40,000 in student loan debt, ranking architecture as one of the disciplines with the highest loan balances in the country. That is why the AIA and the AIAS have developed legislation that eases the burden by providing loan assistance to architecture students and recent graduates who contribute their design services to underserved areas.

Let's all hope that our government can get back to work and actually be productive for the good of our country and economy.

November 3, 2014

VIDEO: Tom Kundig Interview

In an interview and lecture, Tom Kundig, FAIA, winner of the 2008 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award and the 2007 Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, will discusses his work, including Hot Rod House and Chicken Point Cabin. Kundig is a principal of Seattle-based Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, the 2009 American Institute of Architects Firm of the Year.