November 29, 2010

Slideshow: The Architecture of Peter Stutchbury - Australia

For more information on the architecture of Peter Stutchbury visit his website:
His is also one of the fantastic tutors of the Glenn Murcutt Masters Class:

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November 23, 2010

3rd International Holcim Awards: Developing new perspectives for the future

Zurich, Switzerland, November 12th, 2010 – The 3rd International Holcim Awards competition offering a total of  $2 million USD in prize money is now open for submissions. The open design competition is open to proposals for sustainable building and civil engineering works; landscape, urban design and infrastructure projects; and materials, products and construction technologies. The Awards are an initiative of the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.

Entries must be submitted online at by March 23, 2011. The competition celebrates innovative, future-oriented and tangible projects and visions from around the globe and is open to anyone involved with approaches that contribute towards a more sustainable built environment. The 3rd International Holcim Awards competition is comprised of five regional competitions in 2010/11 and the global phase in 2012. Step-by-step instructions on how to enter the competition are available at:  

Holcim Awards (main) and “Next Generation” (student) categories
The main category of the competition is open to architects, planners, engineers, project owners, builders and construction firms that showcase sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues with contemporary building and construction. Projects are eligible for the competition if they have reached an advanced stage of design. Construction (or commercial production in the case of materials, products and construction technologies) must not have started before July 1, 2010. In addition, the Holcim Awards seeks visions and ideas for the “Next Generation” category, open to student projects created within university programs at final year bachelor level or above (including master’s and PhD). The categories are separate so student projects compete against other student projects - same for the professional submissions.

Measuring up to “target issues” for sustainable construction 
Submissions in both categories are evaluated by independent juries, using five “target issues” to define sustainable construction. Three of these align with the triple bottom line concept of balanced social, environmental and economic performance. The rest cover contextual and aesthetic impact, and innovation and transferability. For further details see:  

Internationally renowned architects and academics in juries 
The juries in the five competition regions include experts in sustainable construction, such as Angelo Bucci (Brazil), Raymond J. Cole (Canada), Wowo Ding (China), Harry Gugger (Switzerland), Bjarke Ingels (Denmark), Sheila Kennedy (USA), Ashok B. Lall (India), Winy Maas (Netherlands), Jürgen Mayer H. (Germany), Mohsen Mostafavi (USA), Amer Moustafa (UAE), Lucy Musgrave (UK), Olivia la O’Castillo (Philippines), Joe Osae-Addo (Ghana), Michel Rojkind (Brazil), Hashim Sarkis (Lebanon), Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica), Gunawan Tjahjono (Indonesia).

The North American region jury includes: 
  • Mohsen Mostafavi (Head): Dean, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Mass., USA 
  • Ray Cole: Director, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 
  • Keller Easterling: Associate Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA 
  • Harry Gugger: Principal, Harry Gugger Studio, Basel; Professor of Architecture, Laboratory of the Production of Architecture, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland (TCC) 
  • Sheila Kennedy: Principal, Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston, Mass.; Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA 
  • Hans-Rudolf Schalcher: Professor em., Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland (TCC) 
  • Nader Tehrani: Principal, Office dA, Boston, Mass.; Professor of Architecture and Head of Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA 
  • Bernard Terver: Area Manager North America, Holcim, Waltham, Mass., USA 
  • Mark West: Director, The Center for Architectural Structures and Technology, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
 A full list of jury members is available at:  

Support by world-renowned technical universities 
The Holcim Awards competitions are conducted in partnership with some of the world’s leading technical universities. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) leads the Technical Competence Center of the Holcim Foundation. Other partner universities which host the independent competition juries are: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA; the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, Mexico; l’École Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca (EAC) in Morocco, and Tongji University (TJU) in Shanghai, China. The Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brazil, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa, are associated universities of the Holcim Foundation.

100 prize winning projects in the first two competitions 
In the 2nd Holcim Awards competition 2008/2009, almost 5000 projects from 120 countries were submitted. The 52 prize-winning projects included the global winners: Holcim Awards Gold – River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco. Silver – Low-impact greenfield university campus, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Bronze – Sustainable planning for a rural community, Beijing, China. “Innovation” prize – Self-contained day labor station, San Francisco, USA. Details about the 100 prize-winning projects from both the 1st and 2nd competition cycles are available at:

Visit the facebook page for more information: Holcim Awards on Facebook
To submit projects to the Holcim Awards go here: Online Entry Form


The Holcim Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd and its Group companies in around 70 countries and is independent of its commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. In 2009 the Group was confirmed as a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the seventh time in succession.

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November 22, 2010

Slideshow: Omotesando Street - various architects - Tokyo, Japan

I don't think any other street in the world has quite a collection of contemporary architecture. Yes, it is all a collection of retail shops but the list of architects is a who's who of the top names in the world. If you ever go to Tokyo to visit, I highly recommend spending a day and an evening exploring this area and the surrounding alleys. Here is a fantastic guide to being an architecture tourist in Tokyo, built together by Tom Heneghan and myself "pooling our knowledge and experiences from various trips": Tokyo Architecture Tour

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November 19, 2010

Holcim Awards Competition Lifts Profile of Sustainability Projects

Design competitions are an ideal vessel to raise awareness and introduce a broad audience to issues affecting the built environment. Winning an award can have a significant impact on gaining public support or securing sponsorship for the respective project. The Holcim Awards is such a design competition: it promotes and rewards innovative approaches to sustainable construction.

Living With Lakes Center:
Holcim Awards Bronze 2008 North America – “Living with Lakes Center for freshwater restoration and research”, Sudbury, Canada
Holcim Awards Bronze 2008 North America – “Living with Lakes Center for freshwater restoration and research”, Sudbury, Canada
One of the award-winning projects is the “The Living with Lakes Center” (above) in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The project will house a research center to aid the restoration of the city of Sudbury’s ecosystem with an emphasis on water security for future generations. The research center will be self-sufficient for electricity and heating needs and be built to LEED platinum standards with instrumentation fitted to monitor the effectiveness of an array of technical features and their impact on lake water quality.

The project is led by Laurentian University scientist John Gunn who remarks that winning a Holcim Award for North America secured vital funds for the project as well as assisted the project team in attracting financial support from Industry Canada and other sponsors for the USD 5 million project.

 River Remediation and Urban Development Scheme:
Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 – River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco
Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 – River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco
The Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 winner, “River remediation and urban development scheme” is situated in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Fez, Morocco. The project is a multi-sited, multi-functional project that is centered upon the recovery of a river. Work on restoring it triggers a range of interventions in the Medina. Core components are the rehabilitation of the old city’s architecture, revitalizing public spaces and traditional tanneries, and creating new pedestrian zones.

“The Holcim Awards brought international public attention to the river project and in turn triggered new rehabilitation initiatives in the city”, project architect Aziza Chaouni comments. The Medina of Fez continues to host new opportunities for sustainable urban development through a new competition for the design of a site for the nearby Place Lalla Yeddouna.

The 3rd International Holcim Awards competition offering a total of $2 million USD in prize money is currently open for entries. There are no restrictions to who may develop and submit new perspectives for our future. The competition seeks exemplary sustainable building and civil engineering works; landscape, urban design and infrastructure projects; and materials, products and construction technologies. Construction may not have started before July 1, 2010, entries must be submitted by March 23, 2011. More information visit and check out our facebook page

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November 18, 2010

HIGHRISE & Out My Window

This is an incredible project that has recently partnered with I strongly suggest you watch the trailer below and explore their website. It is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of people around the world and how they adapt to the architecture they inhabit.

HIGHRISE is a multi-year, multi-media, collaborative documentary project about the human experience in global vertical suburbs. Under the direction of documentary-maker Katerina Cizek, the HIGHRISE team will be making lots of things. Web-documentaries, live presentations, installations, mobile projects and yes, documentary films. We will use the acclaimed interventionist and participatory approaches of the award-winning National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker-in-Residence (FIR) project. Our scale will be global, but rooted firmly in the FIR philosophy — putting people, process, creativity, collaboration, and innovation first.

 Out My Window is one of the world’s first interactive 360º documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows.

It’s a journey around the globe through the most commonly built form of the last century: the concrete-slab residential tower. Meet remarkable highrise residents who harness the human spirit — and the power of community — to resurrect meaning amid the ruins of modernism.
With more than 90 minutes of material to explore, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages, accompanied by a leading-edge music playlist.

“This is stunning, merging the geography of the high rise and film”
- @PJHatfield, curator at British Library, on twitter

For more information on this great project and the Highrise project follow these links:
Out My WIndow:

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November 15, 2010

Slideshow: The Jewish Museum - by Daniel Libeskind - Berlin, Germany

A piece of architecture that is worth visiting for it's few spectacular moments. However, it is hard to feel that the end product just doesn't live up to its potential and definitely not the hype.

For a full review check out this link: The Jewish Museum

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Video: People Meet In Buildings, the International Architecture Biennale of Venice

A nice short film offering various architects' reactions to and opinions of the theme of the 2010 International Architecture Biennale of Venice "People Meet in Buildings" directed by Kazuyo Sejima.

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November 8, 2010

Slideshow: Nordic Embassies - by Berger + Parkkinen - Berlin, Germany

Another fantastic piece of architecture in Berlin. While living there, I worked for Pysall Ruge Architekten, the firm the was the local architects for this project. However, the master plan was developed by Berger + Parkkinen while each individual embassy was designed by a firm from the home country.

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November 2, 2010

Book Review: Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books - Edited by Jo Steffens

A book about books is always an intriguing concept, particularly when it gives insight into the thought process of people you look up to. In this instance, Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books, we are given a glimpse into the collections along with a top 10 list of books from 10 influential Architects: Stan Allen, Henry N. Cobb, Liz DIller and Ric Scofidio, Peter Eisenmann, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, Michael Sorkin, Bernard Tschumi, and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The book itself was conceived as part of an exhibition by the same name at The Urban Center in 2009. The participating architects also engaged in a series of conversations over the course of the exhibition with parts of the interviews featured in this book. Seeing the overlapping books was particularly interesting and has given me a deep list of books to find and read. Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow appeared on about half the lists as did Robert Venturi's classic, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Perhaps the most interesting list was that of Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio, who are strongly influenced by pop culture and featured the incredible Sci-fi novel Snow Crash by Neal Stevenson and the food manifesto The Omnivore's Dilema by Michael Pollan. Of course one of my all time favorite books, which is featured in the library of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is Harold and the Purple Crayon, an incredible story about the imagination and creativity of child who draws his way through landscapes and cities.

Overall, Unpacking My Library is a well designed book that is fun to read and full of departure points for further study. It is an excellent resource to return to when searching for books to help inspire, when looking for an intense novel, or when a glimpse into architectural theory is necessary.


Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books
Edited by Jo Steffens
Hardcover: 192 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0300158939
Yale University Press:

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