Driverless technology is about to reshape the real estate industry

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The link between property and transport has been perhaps the most durable in human history.
Since the ancients, few things have delivered higher land values with more certainty than advances in transport, from roads to canals, railways to highways. [...] But now, the dawn of the driverless car—promising a utopia of stress-free commutes, urban playgrounds and the end of parking hassles—threatens to complicate the calculus for anyone buying property.

Bloomberg Technology explains how the real estate industry is already preparing for all that sweet, sweet valuable space to open up for development once the widespread arrival of driverless vehicles makes parked cars — and the blocked square footage they occupy — a thing of the past. 

Kengo Kuma wants to change the definition of architecture

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Rejecting flashy forms in favor of buildings in harmony with their environment, the architect &mdash; poised to become world famous for his stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo &mdash; is trying to reinvent his entire trade. [...]
Kuma, a constant source of paradoxes and ironies, often makes demagogic statements on behalf of his own brand of architectural modesty. “I want to change the definition of architecture,” he told me; in a way, he already has.

Nikil Saval pens a beautiful portrait of Kengo Kuma for T Magazine and investigates the architect's ongoing quest to ground his version of Modernism in authentic Japanese craftsmanship.

Calatrava’s megatall Dubai Creek Tower completes design development

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The design development programme for Dubai Creek Tower is fully complete.&nbsp;
BMT, an international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, announced that it had taken the Emaar Properties project "to 100% design development". Wind engineering experts from BMT have completed aerodynamic shape optimisation studies, wind loading analyses, and façade wind pressure assessments for the project.

Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, stopped by the Santiago Calatrava-designed Dubai Creek Tower megaproject last month and inspected the monumental foundation work of what may soon be the world's tallest building (the final height is still kept a secret but was announced to surpass the 829.8 m/2,722 ft of the current and nearby record holder, the Burj Khalifa).

70-story wooden skyscraper proposed for Tokyo could become world’s tallest

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Sumitomo Forestry Co. Ltd. has announced that it plans to build a 70-story 350-meter mixed-use skyscraper in Marunouchi, a central Tokyo business district, by the year 2041. [...]
The project [...] is estimated to cost 600 billion JPY (5.5 billion USD). This is almost twice that of conventional high-rise buildings using current technology, but the company hopes to reduce costs by making technological advances in wood-based construction.

Image: Sumitomo Forestry
Wooden skyscrapers have been seeing an unprecedented boom phase in recent years, but even the more ambitious projects don't even come close to what Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry, in collaboration with Nikken Sekkei, is proposing to build in Tokyo by the year 2041. 
Image: Sumitomo Forestry
To pull off the massive structure required for a 350-meter, 70-story wooden tower, as the concept W350 plan outlines, 185,000 cubic meters of timber are needed — the equivalent of 8,000 single-family homes.
Continue reading "70-story wooden skyscraper proposed for Tokyo could become world’s tallest"

The World is coming back to life in Dubai

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Underwater bedrooms, &lsquo;Lohan Island&rsquo; and snow all year round &ndash; a decade after it was scuppered by the financial crash, the fantasy archipelago of 300 artificial &lsquo;countries&rsquo; is back in business. Has anybody learned anything?</p></em><br /><br /><p>Remember <em>The World</em>? Dubai's lofty vision a decade-and-a-half ago to recreate the globe's map with artificial, celebrity-owned islands dredged from the Gulf floor that was just as grandiose and monumental as its financial crash in 2008? Well, it appears to be back in business again<em>.<br></em>
The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright takes a trip to the long-abandoned and now-bustling-with-development-again artificial archipelago of 300 islands 2.5 miles off Dubai's coast and confirms: "After a decade in limbo, The World is back – with more ambitious plans than ever before." And yes, Lindsay Lohan is designing her own island, too.

AECOM and luis vidal + architects selected for Boston airport modernization

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) has chosen global infrastructure firm AECOM and luis vidal + architects to handle the remodeling of Boston Logan International Airport&rsquo;s Terminal E. The team won the design competition due to their collaborative proposal, which also satisfied Massport&rsquo;s functional requirements.</p></em><br /><br /><p>This major remodeling of&nbsp;Boston Logan International Airport&rsquo;s Terminal E will be lead by&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" >AECOM</a> as the prime consultant and architect/engineer of record, and <a href="" rel="nofollow" >airport</a> design specialist <a href="" rel="nofollow" >luis vidal + architects</a> as the vision architect.
A press statement summarizes the proposed improvements: "The modernization program will incorporate significant renovations to the existing international arrivals and customs hall, utilizing a combination of roof and window designs to maximize natural light and efficiency. Intuitive wayfinding, spatial clarity and first class hospitality will transform the arrival experience for those entering the country at Boston Logan Airport. The iconic roof, designed following the sun path, proposes two skylights facing north, in the Continue reading "AECOM and luis vidal + architects selected for Boston airport modernization"

Farewell John Hancock Center — Hello 875 N. Michigan Ave.?

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The John Hancock Center is getting a name change, nearly a decade after another of Chicago&rsquo;s most beloved skyscrapers &mdash; the Sears Tower &mdash; switched identities and caused a civic uproar.
Owners of the 100-story John Hancock Center said the building’s namesake, the insurance company that built the tower almost five decades ago, asked that its name and logos throughout the building’s interior be removed immediately.

Until the owners of the building, Chicago-based developer Hearn Co., find interested buyers for its naming rights, the iconic landmark tower will be known simply by its address, 875 N. Michigan Ave.

Sole-practitioner from Manitoba, Michael J. Cox, inducted as 2018 President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Michael J. Cox, FRAIC, an architect from Manitoba who has led numerous organizations and is passionate about the contribution architects can make in their communities, is the 79th President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
Mr. Cox received the President’s Medal of office from the 2017 President Ewa Bieniecka, FRAIC, at a change-of-office ceremony on February 2 in Ottawa.

A 1971 University of Manitoba B.Arch graduate, Michael J. Cox has been the principal of his one-person practice in Brandon, Manitoba since 1979. "You can’t get much smaller than one," he jokes. Outlining key goals during his term, Cox remarked: "The RAIC needs to focus on the immediate needs of its members at all stages of their careers and in all sizes of practice. This includes delivering relevant and accessible continuing-education programs, helping emerging practitioners, and advocating for architects on practice issues such as procurement reform."

5Pointz lawsuit: Judge rules in favor of street artists, awards $6.7 Million

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>[...] a judge has ruled that a New York developer must pay $6.7 million to a group of graffiti artists to compensate for painting over their work without warning in 2013. The decision represents a decisive victory for street artists in a case that&nbsp;pitted their rights against those of a real estate executive.
The artists sued the developer, Gerald Wolkoff, for violating their rights after he whitewashed their work at the famous 5Pointz art mecca in Long Island City to make way for condos.

Citing protection of the artists' — historically significant but ultimately destroyed — works at 5Pointz under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), Judge Frederic Block ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in this closely watched landmark case: "Since 5Pointz was a prominent tourist attraction the public would undoubtedly have thronged to say its goodbyes during those 10 months and gaze at the formidable works of aerosol art for the Continue reading "5Pointz lawsuit: Judge rules in favor of street artists, awards $6.7 Million"

Scientists develop method to make wood harder than steel — or even transparent

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>[...] scientists say a simple and inexpensive new process can transform any type of wood into a material stronger than steel, and even some high-tech titanium alloys. [...]
The results are impressive. The team’s compressed wood is three times as dense as the untreated substance, Hu says, adding that its resistance to being ripped apart is increased more than 10-fold. It also can become about 50 times more resistant to compression and almost 20 times as stiff.

Wood, so hot right now. Thanks to new and improved construction methods, there is barely a month going by without the announcement of record-breaking wooden structures and rapidly increasing height limits for cross-laminated timber skyscrapers around the world.  Meanwhile material scientists are pushing the qualities of one of the planet's most abundant building materials beyond existing boundaries: researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park have published their method of Continue reading "Scientists develop method to make wood harder than steel — or even transparent"

MAD’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art prepares to break ground in Los Angeles

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>One year after Los Angeles unexpectedly won the right to host the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the spaceship-like project is now ready to push dirt in Exposition Park. Protective fencing now encircles the site of filmmaker George Lucas' $1-billion legacy project, which replaces two parking lots at the intersection of 39th Street and Vermont Avenue. The eventual four-story, 115-foot-tall building will feature[...] Lucas' 10,000-piece collection, a library, two theaters, classrooms, and offices.</p></em><br /><br /><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" ><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Image courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.</figcaption></figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" >Exposition Park</a> in South Los Angeles has already a number of high-profile construction projects going on (new MLS soccer stadium and Coliseum makeover to host the <a href="" rel="nofollow" >2028 Summer Olympics</a>) or <a href="" rel="nofollow" >on the books</a>, and the $1-billion&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" >Lucas Museum of Narrative Art</a>, designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Ma Yansong</a>'s <a href="" rel="nofollow" >MAD Architects</a>, appears to be breaking ground soon as well.</p>          

Gehry reportedly tapped for new Facebook London HQ in King’s Cross

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Facebook is close to signing a deal for a new British headquarters at the King&rsquo;s Cross redevelopment in London.
The social media giant is understood to be finalising outline terms with King’s Cross Central, which is majority-owned by the AustralianSuper pension fund. Facebook is expected to take four buildings covering more than 700,000 sq ft, tripling the size of its footprint in the capital.

King's Cross is further strengthening its position as London's emerging tech hub, following previous proposed developments like Google's mega  "landscraper" HQ, designed jointly by Heatherwick Studio and BIG. According to The Times and Architect's Journal, Gehry Partners is considered as architect for the new Facebook London base. Gehry and Zuckerberg go way back and have already collaborated on Facebook's Silicon Valley, New YorkDublin, and other London offices.

L.A.’s homeless count nearly doubled in six years

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The number of those living in the streets and shelters of the city of L.A. and most of the county surged 75% &mdash; to roughly 55,000 from about 32,000 &mdash; in the last six years.
But the crisis has been decades in the making. If homelessness continues to escalate at current rates, it will swamp even the best efforts.

Despite declaring homelessness in the city an 'emergency' and committing drastically increased funds to housing and services, Los Angeles is failing to improve the lives of its unsheltered citizens.

London MSG concert venue confirmed; new Sphere designs unveiled for Las Vegas

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) confirmed on Friday that it wants to build the Sphere, a glazed orb with up to 18,000 seats and room for 5,000 standing, beside the Olympic Park in east London.
Designs of a similar “sphere” planned for Las Vegas suggest that the vault of the roof will become a giant screen for vast projections, which could evoke the sensation of being underwater or in a forest.

Rumors about a monumental sphere-shaped music venue proposal for London seem to be gaining substance: The Guardian reports that the New York-based Madison Square Garden Company confirmed its plans to build a glazed orb — designed by Populous — for over 20,000 concert goers near the Olympic Park.
This interior rendering of Sphere Las Vegas suggests the capabilities of the dome's projection screens. Image: The Madison Square Garden Company
MSG also just revealed designs for a similar venue Continue reading "London MSG concert venue confirmed; new Sphere designs unveiled for Las Vegas"

David Chipperfield wins Elbtower competition in Hamburg

            <img src="" border="0" /><p><a href="" >David Chipperfield Architects</a> Berlin has been chosen to design Hamburg's future tallest building, the Elbtower. At 230 meters, the structure will become a recognizable accent on the city's skyline and is expected to act as a counterpoint to the <a href="" >Herzog &amp; de Meuron</a>-designed <a href="" >Elbphilharmonie</a> on the other end of the Hafencity district.<br></p>          

Jeddah Tower construction reaches 63rd floor

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Construction of the world's tallest skyscraper in Jeddah is going ahead, the head of the consortium behind the $1.5 billion project said, despite the detention of some businessmen backing the plan in Saudi Arabia's crackdown on corruption. [...]
Construction has reached the 63rd floor and the superstructure - the concrete shell and the cladding - is to be completed next year, Jomah said, adding that delays in some areas were inevitable because of technical challenges.

Progress on the soon-to-be tallest structure on earth has been troubled for a while, with the main contractor (and partial owner) Saudi Binladin Group going through a financial rough patch and, more recently, several project officials and royal family members being targeted by the country's anti-corruption crackdown.  Despite the challenges, work is going ahead on the 1,000 m/3,281 ft Jeddah Tower (formerly Kingdom Tower) designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Continue reading "Jeddah Tower construction reaches 63rd floor"

Darkest building on Earth: Asif Khan’s Vantablack-coated pavilion opens for Winter Olympics

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Sprayed with Vantablack Vbx2, a pavilion at the Winter Olympics in South Korea absorbs 99% of light. [...]
Lurking between the competition venues like an angular black hole, it looks like a portal to a parallel universe, waiting to suck unsuspecting ski fans into its vortex.

Photo: Luke Hayes/Hyundai
Sports fans around the world can't wait for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to officially open tomorrow, but there's more to the spectacle than just athletic competitions on snow and ice: London-based architect & designer Asif Khan has created the "darkest building on earth" by coating the temporary pavilion he designed for South Korean car maker Hyundai in Vantablack Vbx2, a super-black nanomaterial which absorbs more than 99% of the light that reaches its surface — the result is the visual illusion of a massive black void.
Photo: Luke Hayes/Hyundai
Photo: Luke Hayes/Hyundai
"It’s like a nano-scale coral reef,"
Continue reading "Darkest building on Earth: Asif Khan’s Vantablack-coated pavilion opens for Winter Olympics"

Bringing Augmented Reality for architects to the small screen: Morpholio launches Trace app for iPhone

            <img src="" border="0" />If you've already liked or used <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Morpholio</a>'s popular <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Trace</a> app on the iPad Pro, you can now also get excited to put it to work on your small screen: TracePro just launched for iPhone and presents a powerful architectural application of Apple's ARKit <a href="" rel="nofollow" >augmented reality</a> framework in a pocket-friendly format.<br>
AR drawing
The app positions itself as a helpful tool in the field where critical design decisions have to be made consistently — with the amount of on-site design often outweighing planning in Concept and SD combined.
"Not only do budgets, scope changes and fast track schedules force important design decisions on site," Morpholio explains the need for TracePro, "but unforeseen field conditions, contractor errors and never ending client changes can all keep your team designing and problem solving throughout CA."
Scale photos
Five so-called "CA Super Tools" are the app's key features designed to make architects' lives in Continue reading "Bringing Augmented Reality for architects to the small screen: Morpholio launches Trace app for iPhone"

Ryugyong and beyond: visiting Pyongyang’s tourist hotels

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>To suggest that its quarter-of-a-century presence in the rapidly expanding Pyongyang skyline merits the international mockery it has received&mdash;fatalistically nicknamed the &ldquo;hotel of doom&rdquo; by Western journalists, labeled an architectural sin, and deemed the biggest mystery in Pyongyang&mdash;would consign Ryugyong to the realm of compulsive political affect ranging from imaginative resentment to the very policies governing U.S.-North Korean relations since American involvement in the Korean War.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Jake Valente's piece for <em>Failed Architecture</em> takes a closer look at the small number of <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Pyongyang</a> tourist hotels that visitors to&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" >North Korea</a>'s&nbsp;capital are constricted to. "When traveling to Pyongyang, one chooses between the Yanggakdo, Koryo, Sosan, Pothonggang, Haebangsan, Pyongyang, Ryanggang, and Youth Hotel, the eight hotels currently hosting foreigners."</p>         

Los Angeles has worst traffic congestion (again)

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>The Los Angeles region once again topped the list of areas with the worst traffic congestion for the sixth year in a row, according to a report by INRIX, a company that specializes in car services and transportation analytics.
Drivers in and around Los Angeles spent 102 hours battling traffic congestion during peak hours in 2017, INRIX's said. By contrast, New York City motorists spent 91 hours battling peak-hour congestion. New York was No. 3 on the INRIX list. No. 2 was Moscow.

Congrats L.A. — you lived up to your reputation as America's most congested city once again!  Among the metro areas surveyed, "the U.S. accounted for 10 of the top 25 cities worldwide with the worst traffic congestion in the INRIX study," the LA Times reports. Help us Elon, or we'll start taking public transportation.