March 31, 2010

OMA wins competition for Major Museum Expansion in Quebec City

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), has won the competition for a major expansion to the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ). The 12,000m2 new building, a cascade of three overlapping boxes at the juncture of downtown Quebec City and the historic Battlefields Park, will be OMA’s first built project in Canada.

The winner was announced today by MNBAQ President Pierre Lassonde and the Quebec Minister of Culture, Mme. Christine St-Pierre. The design, led by OMA partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas in collaboration with associate Jason Long, was chosen unanimously from five submissions by internationally renowned architecture offices.

OMA’s expansion of MNBAQ – linked underground with the museum’s three existing buildings – is located on Quebec’s main promenade, Grande-Allée, adjacent to St. Dominique Church. The design aims to integrate the building with the surrounding park and initiate new links with the city. Three stacked galleries of decreasing size – housing contemporary exhibitions (50m x 50m), the permanent contemporary collection (45m x 35m) and design / Inuit exhibits (42.5m x 25m) – ascend from the park towards the city, forming a dramatic cantilever towards the Grande-Allée and a 14m-high Grand Hall, welcoming the public into the new building.

Shohei Shigematsu commented: “Our ambition is to create a dramatic new presence for the city, while maintaining a respectful, even stealthy approach to the museum’s neighbors and the existing museum. The resulting form of cascading gallery boxes enhances the museum experience by creating a clarity in circulation and curation while allowing abundant natural light into the galleries.”

The project will be executed by OMA’s New York office in collaboration with Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes, with an anticipated completion date of fall 2013.

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March 29, 2010

Slideshow: Luzern Culture and Congress Center - by Jean Nouvel, Luzern, Switzerland

A unique piece of architecture in a beautiful city. The Luzern Culture and Congress Center calmly sits at the edge of the lake, reflections of the immense cantilevered roof sparkle in the water. The boardwalks surrounding the building are alive with people flowing in and out of the restaurants, cafes, theaters and museum within. It is really a fantastic design, especially the facades facing the water. It is iconic and yet isn't presumptuous. It doesn't shout for attention yet draws crouds under its extended canopy. Truly spectacular architecture.

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March 24, 2010

Video: Centre Georges Pompidou - by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers

The Centre Georges Pompidou is a magnet within the city of Paris. It draws people to it, leading them to gape at it's complex facade, mesmerized by the flowing colored ducts and white structural elements completely exposed for the world to see. It also was a revolution in the design world at the time, throwing aside post modernism for new style yet to be defined. For the two architects, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, it kick started their careers, vaulting them to the top of the architectural spotlight. Each has gone on to an incredible career building some of the most memorable and important buildings of the past couple of decades. I recently visited Paris for the first time and was amazed by the building, captivated within the structure at both the art and architecture. It was also surprising how dominating of the surrounding buildings it is. Looking down from the Sacre Coeur Basilica you see this alien ship rising high above the neighborhood - beautiful in a way yet somewhat shocking for a city with such historic architecture.

Part II:

Part III:

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March 23, 2010

Past, Present and Future

It has been a very busy few months since the turning of the year. Between working for a couple architecture firms here in Berlin, writing for a couple magazines from London, traveling, and photographing architecture it has left me little time to actually write content for Talkitect. However, some of our other contributors are working on articles that should be up over the next few weeks and I am working on a couple that should be up soon. There are also some interviews I have been planning that will appear when time permits. To compliment our written work, we have been contacting interesting design firms for more press releases on new architecture projects from around the world which should keep the posts coming. In the mean time check out some of our older posts like this: The High Line: and the Spectacular Rebirth of Public Space in New York

The slideshow feature is going strong featuring fantastic international architecture every Monday. Over the next few weeks you will see some incredible buildings, including the Thermal Baths by Peter Zumthor and architecture from Japan, Australia and Europe. I'm also heading to London for a few days in April with camera in tow, so expect some slideshows of architecture in London to appear sometime in the next few months. To check out our past slideshows click here: slideshows

We are happy to announce our first sponsors: Musana Volunteers, a non profit group connecting people with volunteer opportunities in Uganda; and Nest: Estate Agents Leeds, a real estate company helping people find great places to live in Leeds, UK. You can check out their sites by following the links in the left hand column. Of course we are always looking for new sponsorship opportunities and partners. We are also looking to partner with other blogs and websites to grow our readership. If you are interested click here.

There are only 10 days left to enter our book giveaway contest sponsored by the Princeton Architectural Press. The 5 winners will be announced on April 5th and will get to chose one of three titles. Click here for more information and to enter:

Upcoming Events:
As I have settled into life in Berlin I have joined an architecture group that meets monthly to share drinks and discuss the built environment. The next meeting is at 8:00 pm April 13th at Kim Bar near Rosenthaler Platz. If you are in town you should stop by. Check out the Facebook group here: Berlin Architecture Circle

News broke a few weeks ago that a development company is defacing John Heujduk's Kreutzberg Towers, and since it has spread like wildfire across the online architecture community. Although I have mixed feelings about the proposed changes (they are currently under construction in fact) and am not sure it is worth all of the uproar, it is worth expressing your opinions. There is a petition garnering support to get the development company to respect the historic significance of the architecture.
Click on these to see images of the proposed design: 1) 2) here to sign the petition:

Social Networking:
We are working hard at finding new ways to communicate with our readers and grow our community. With this goal in mind we have been working to develop a presence on Facebook and grow our Twitter followers. We would appreciate if you would follow us on those platforms as well, and please invite your friends to join too. Thank you.
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We are always looking for feedback and new ideas. Let us know what you think about our content, how we can improve, or to suggest additional features by leaving a comment on this post. Thanks for reading and for all of your support.

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March 22, 2010

Slideshow: Ohel Jakob Synagogue - by Wandel Hoefer Lorch Architekten - Munich, Germany

This beautiful synagogue in Munich was one of the precedents I used for my thesis design project. The exterior stone facade with the metal mesh sanctuary rising out of becomes an elegant form that reveals the interior functions. The entrance to the synagogue when there isn't a service is a bit disappointing, having to go through the nearby community center and through a tunnel. I understand the security concerns, and the tunnel was actually rather well designed but it didn't offer a sense of grandeur or spirituality. I was also a bit disappointed with the interior design of the sanctuary. It came off as looking a little to corporate for some reason. But the quality of light in the sanctuary was great and all in all it was a wonderful experience visiting a fantastic work of modern religious architecture.

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March 18, 2010

JOH 3 - New Apartmenthouse in Berlin by J. Mayer H. Architects

Property development group Euroboden is building a unique apartment house at Johannisstraße in Mitte, Berlin's downtown district. J. MAYER H. architects' design for the building, which will soon neighbor both Museum Island and Friedrichstrasse, reinterprets the classic Berliner Wohnhaus with its multi-unit structure and green interior courtyard. A suspended lamella facade not only provides privacy but also draws historical reference to the elaborately decorated facades from the Wilhelminian period. Plans for the ground floor facing the street also include a number of commercial spaces. The generously sized apartments will face south-west, opening themselves to a view of the calm, carefully designed courtyard garden. Spacious, breezy transitions to the outside create an open residential experience in the middle of the city that, thanks to the variable heights of the different building levels, also offers an interesting succession of rooms. The units' varying floorplans and layouts indicate a number of housing options; condominiums are organized into townhouses with private gardens, classic apartments or penthouses with a spectacular view of the old Friedrichstadt. The integrated design concept, which incorporates everything from façade to stairwells, elevators to apartment interiors, promises a unique spatial and living experience with an eye to high design.

March 15, 2010

Slideshow: Kunsthaus Bregenz - by Peter Zumthor - Bregenz, Austria

This is one of the most elegant buildings I have visited. It is truly magnificent in its simplicity, attention to detail, materiality and lighting - everything you hope for in a Zumthor design. I was also incredibly impressed with the artwork of British sculptor, Antony Gormley who filled all three galleries with incredible sculptures that really transformed the spaces. It was just a fantastic experience and I will let the photographs do the rest of the talking.

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March 12, 2010

Ukraine Masterclass - with Stadslab

Check out this announcement for a Professional Masterclass in Ukraine:

STADSLAB in Ukraine
European Urban Design Laboratory, Tilburg (NL)
Professionals Master Class in Ukraine (Spring 2010) ** SPECIAL**

Stadslab is offering a special 1-week spring Master Class in the Ukrainian city of Melitopol. The topic will be to develop new ideas for its major city park; the 36ha Gorky Park. Melitopol has the ambition to develop the park from the perspective of intercultural cities. The city has over 100 different nationalities. The park should be attractive to interest business partners and to attract part of the 40,000 tourists per day who now bypass the city on their way to the Crimean coast.

The Master Class will be supervised by Beatriz Ramo, from the Rotterdam based office STAR strategies + architecture (, together with the Swiss landscape architect Anouk Vogel. Both are prize winning designers with a strong international profile. The program includes a visit to Kiev (can be extended) and will be developed together with the Kiev based organization 'Democracy through Culture' and linked to the Intercultural Cities program of the Council of Europe.

Date: April 11 - 17, 2010
Limited positions available. Please mail us a CV and portfolio to indicate your interest.

For Whom:
Graduates holding a degree in landscape architecture, architecture, urban design or similar.

How to Apply:
Send an e-mail to with your cv and portfolio for selection (limited positions available).

Program Costs:
750 euro (including train ticket, meals and accommodation; excluding travel expenses to/from Kiev and optional extension of stay in Kiev).

Stay informed at or through our Stadslab LinkedIn group

March 10, 2010

Video: Allied Works' Brad Cloepfil presents the winning design for a new performing arts building in Calgary

Allied Works Architecture is an incredible firm right on the edge of breaking into the illusive group of international starchitects. Based in Portland, Oregon with a satellite office in NY they have developed a strong body of work, particularly with museums and galleries across the United States. However, they recently won the competition to redesign and expand the Performing Arts building in Calgary, Canada. Their design was by far the best entry to the competition, and they rightfully beat out more well know names like Diller, Scofidio and Renfro and Jean Nouvel among others. These video clips shows the presentation of the project Brad Cloepfil gave to the foundation and community to ultimately win the competition. It discusses the thought process behind the architecture and how it led to the final building design. I think it is a fantastic project and am excited to see it built. I think there is too much use of glass and metal in architecture, and am happy to see people exploring load bearing walls and masonry structures again. In recalls the fantastic work of Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier.

March 8, 2010

Slideshow: Allianz Arena - by Herzog & de Meuron - Munich, Germany

The Allianz Arena, designed by Pritzker Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, is an elegant stadium design yet not one of their most inspired projects. Groundbreaking for its unique, bubble skin, the facade is it's most riveting feature as colored lighting system morphs to reflect the team playing within. Once you slip past this innovative facade, however, the building becomes just another stadium, with a typical cold concrete structure. Other than the facade I really didn't find that much intrigue in this design. One other aspect of the design is the parking garage, located below a large landscaped plaza leading from the train station to the stadium. I was rather disappointed with the experience as it was a rather far walk through poorly maintained grounds. Of course the experience might be different on game day with the plaza full of fans pre-drinking for a big match, however most of the time it is just a desolate wasteland.

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March 6, 2010

Architecture Book Contest

We are happy to announce that along with Princeton Architectural Press are giving away five free architecture books to our readers.

The Prizes:
Princeton Architectural Press has agreed to donate 5 books to give away. The five winners of the contest get to choose one of the following three titles:

Provisional : Emerging Modes of Architectural Practice USA
by Elite Kedan , F. Jonathan Dreyfous , Craig Mutter

Kuth/Ranieri Architects
by Byron Kuth , Elizabeth Ranieri , and Ila Berman

Urbanisms: Working with Doubt
by Steven Holl

How To Win:
You are eligible to win after subscribing to by email (follow the steps in the left hand column), subscribing to our RSS feed, or following us with "google friend connect" (click the button in the left hand column). You then must leave a comment on this post (please include your name). We will randomly pick five winners and announce them here on Entertaining or informative comments will get preference.

We will choose and announce the winners on Monday April 5th. Winners names will be posted on The winners then have one week to claim their prize by emailing us with their mailing address and chosen book title. If the prize is not claimed by the Monday following the announcement we will pick a replacement winner.


A big thank you to Princeton Architectural Press for their generosity, making this contest possible.

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March 5, 2010

Video: An Interview with Glenn Murcutt

An interview with the always inspirational architect, Glenn Murcutt on the ABC show Talking Heads. His architecture is a perfect example of a sustainable approach to building. Sensitive to the surrounding environment and in touch with the local culture Mr. Murcutt's buildings are beautiful and responsible. I am particularly interested to see a couple of the projects he is currently working on - a museum and mosque. It seems he is shifting away from the use of steel as his primary building material and exploring submerged buildings and heavier earth materials. In any case, I was lucky enough to study under his tutelage for a few weeks and saw him present some drawings of his work in progress. They look to be stunning contributions to his already legendary body of work. For more information on his sustainable architecture and the Glenn Murcutt International Masters Class that he runs every summer check out these articles:
Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class (Part I)
Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class (Part II)
Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class (Part III)
Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class (Part IV)

Part II:

Part III:

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March 3, 2010

Video: Walter Gropius - The Dessau Bauhaus

Here is a three part series discussing the architecture of Walter Gropius and his Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany. One of the most influential architects of the 20th century, Gropius was one of the founders of modernism and the Bauhaus became an institution that reached far beyond it's walls and the borders of Germany. Many architects and schools are still influenced by the approach Gropius and his colleagues distilled in their groundbreaking school. I have yet to make the trip south from Berlin to visit the Bauhaus campus but it is high on my list of places to visit before I leave. I have gone to the Bauhaus Archive museum here and was fascinated by the design process and the focus on fabrication as part of the designer's education - something that is lacking in many schools today. Click Here for part II and Part III...

Part II:

Part III:

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March 1, 2010

Slideshow: BMW World - by Coop Himmelb(l)au - Munich, Germany

One of the most disappointing buildings I've recently visited, the BMW World, designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, is a lavish showroom for cars and motorcycles. The architecture was promised to be flashy and groundbreaking yet left me cold and annoyed. The dark glass ruined any idea that the immense roof was floating while the extravagant twists and turns of the form seemed kitschy and extraneous. This building is an ideal symbol of how the excess of the past decade has led architecture astray, taking the art of building and turning it into an amusement park of unwarranted icons.

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