Category Archives: architecture

21st Century Architects Reinterpret 20th Century Skyscraper

Image Credit: Kendall McCaugherty

In honor of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, director Johnston Marklee invited young design studios from Europe and the Americas to submit large scale, modeled towers reinterpreting the original Tribune Tower brief. The exhibition mirrors a design competition in 1922, asking architects to conceive of a home for the Chicago Tribune Newspaper. The resulting tower, a neo-Gothic structure designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, was built in 1925.

Some of the towers are abstract, others deeply detailed. Sam Jacob Studio’s design borrows elements of architect Adolf Loos’ 1922 proposal for the tower, and gives it a modern twist. The exhibition uniquely shows the evolution of design throughout the last 95 years.

The Biennial opens to the public on September 16 2017, and runs until January 17, 2018.

Source: Dezeen

The Covert Stepwells of India

Stepwells often have no above ground presence, but beneath the ground intricately carved steps lead into a pool of water displaying a beautiful and illusive architectural character. Tucked away in fields or hidden in cities, the Stepwells of India remain an architectural mystery. The scholarship of Stepwells is limited, but it is believed that the Stepwells once served as a communal place for washing, bathing, and drinking water. The Stepwells acted as a rest stop for travelers and ranged in intricacy and size. Many of the Stepwells are believed to be created or funded by women honoring their dead husbands. Interest in the Stepwells has risen in the past years. Hotels are using the Stepwells as a tourist draw, and others are revitalizing the Stepwells to be used in the communal way that they were originally intended.

Source: Archdaily

Compact, Portable Architecture Builds Itself in Minutes

Photo Credit: Weburbanist

Ten Fold Engineers, based in the United Kingdom, have developed small portable structures that can unfold and expand, building themselves within minutes. The design of the structures may seem simple, but the mechanics of unfolding are extremely sophisticated. The buildings are off grid, but they have the potential to connect to plumbing and electricity. The company is currently working on larger two-story models to expand the potential of mechanically built buildings.

Source: Weburbanist

Beautiful, Obsolete Technology

Giant concrete acoustic mirrors speckle the British coastline. These massive concrete dishes were used as sound mirrors to warn the United Kingdom of enemy airplanes approaching from across the English Channel and the North Sea. The concrete dish acted almost as a radar, by responding to the sound of the aircraft and focusing the waves to a single point, then, a microphone would catch the sounds. The structures were also able to determine the direction of the attacking plane. After airplanes became faster in the 1930s, the sounds dishes were no longer usable.

Source: ArchDaily

Famous Architects without an Architecture Degree

Photo Credit: Archdaily

Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Buckminster Fuller, Luis Barragán, Carlo Scarpa, Tadao Ando, and Peter Zumthor all reached critical acclaim as architects without possessing a design degree. Many of these men attended school for a short time and then moved on to apprenticeships. This article explains how each architect encountered obstacles in their education, yet, ultimately became successful.

Source: Archdaily

Growing Zero-waste Structures

Photo Credit: dezeen

Aleksi Vesaluoma, a student from Brunel University, has discovered a way to grow a living structure out of a mushroom called mycelium. The mycelium grows on an organic material and binds the material together like glue. Velsulumoa mixed mycelium and cardboard to create a tubular form that could grow and strengthen over time. The structure is biodegradable and the fungus that grows on the structure is edible.

Source: dezeen

La Sein Musical in Paris

The La Sein Musical is a new music venue in France. Design by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, the music hall is located along the riverbank of Ile Seguin. The spherical auditorium and sail-like structure made from photovoltaic panels responds to the curvature of the island. The industrial aspects of the architecture allude to the island’s industrial heritage. The program includes an auditorium, multipurpose concert hall, small classical music venue, recording studios, and retail space.

Source: Designboom

Wright Home Serves as a Resource for Architecture Students

Photo Credit:, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

To celebrate what would have been Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, Zach Rawling donated his Phoenix home that was designed by Wright, to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The home—originally designed for Wright’s son—was saved by Rawling from demolition in 2012. Rawling originally wanted to make the home a museum, but now the house will become a resource for hands-on restoration and renovation for the architecture students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Source: Archinect

MoMA Celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Birthday With Special Exhibition

The Museum of Modern Art is celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright with a new exhibition titled Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive. The exhibition features drawings, building fragments, photographs, models, and other ephemera related to Wright’s career—including an original physical model of the Guggenheim—on view through October 1, 2017.

Source: Archinect

Fanciful Gas Stations

Image Credit: Archinect

Design Curial has compiled a list of “2017’s 10 Best Gas Stations, Worldwide.” Archinect reports that “new entrants are fueling some alternative aesthetic takes on the usually quotidian gas station.” The inherently mundane programmatic necessities and the pavilion-like formal requirements of the program allow designers to use these project as vessels for flights of fancy.

Source: Archinect

Foster’s Droneport

Image Credit: The B1M

During this year’s Venice Biennale, Sir Norman Foster presented about a port that his firm has designed for drones. Designed for Rwanda, the “droneport” is meant “to service difficult to reach hospitals with medical supplies across inaccessible and rural” areas. The design is composed of rammed earth arches that are built from local soil to reduce the cost of construction. This article by Failed Architecture elaborates upon the conditions in Rwanda and is critical about the potential effects (or lack thereof) of Foster’s project upon the socio-political milieu.

Source: Failed Architecture

Future Crack-Free Concrete

Image Credit: CNN

Researchers at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands are developing a self-healing concrete. Its cement paste has been infused with harmless, dormant bacteria that becomes active when in contact with rainwater. This would cause cracks in the concrete to be filled. Reportedly, the most complicated part of developing the technology was ensuring that the “healing agent particles” were not disturbed during the initial concrete mixing process.

Source: The Future of Things