Dutch architect Koolhaas strips architecture to its barest elements at Venice Biennale

By Colleen Barry
June 11, 2014, Times Colonist

VENICE, Italy – In an era of “starchitects,” Rem Koolhaas, who merits mention as one himself, wants to strip the discipline to its barest elements, bypassing the cult of personality and any architectural grandiosity.

Koolhaas had no time to waste as he hurriedly but efficiently guided visitors through a one-hour tour of his exhibit “Elements of Architecture” shortly before it opened here last weekend as part of the Venice Biennale’s 14th International Architecture Exhibit. The exhibit covers nothing less than architecture’s evolution from homo erectus’ first man-made fire to heating fixtures of the future, focusing on the plainer elements: ceilings unnoticed overhead; corridors too quickly bypassed; those overlooked conveyances, elevators.

“If you look at each element in isolation” you can feel its powerful, psychological dimension, Koolhaas said, beyond any “technical, artistic and pragmatic details.”

Koolhaas, 69, is known for eschewing a defined esthetic in favour of using modern materials and technology to meet clients’ needs. Projects by the Dutch architect and the team he leads at Rotterdam-based OMA have included a plan for the city centre of Lille, France, as well as such award-winning buildings as the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin and the new Seattle public library.

In preparing for the Biennale, Koolhaas seemed thrilled to have found kindred spirits taken with the fundamentals of the architecture that surrounds us daily, such as a German professor’s thesis on the corridor and an Italian scholar’s study of false ceilings. He himself has written a treatise on elevators.

While he has sought to distinguish architecture in this Biennale from art and design — a line that he says has blurred in recent years — he is actually one of the cross-disciplinary masters who have helped blur them. Read more…

The Architecture Of Football Stadiums

June 11, 2014

With football the topic on everyone’s lips this summer, we look at the architecture behind some of world’s most famous platforms for the sport

Over the years, football has evolved from a working man’s pastime to a multi-billion pound industry and the architecture of its stadiums has evolved with it.

This is clear when we look at the past of the UK’s most iconic stadium, Wembley. “The cathedral of football” according to footballing legend Pele, Foster + Foster had quite a job on their hands when they took on the job of re-building the stadium after the original’s demolition in 2003.

Gone (to much public outcry) were Wembley’s iconic twin towers, and in came a 135 metre high arch that curves over (and supports) the stadium’s roof. With a cross-sectional diameter even greater than that of the average Eurostar train, and visible across London when illuminated at night, this soaring piece of architecture has now won a place in the hearts of sports fans up and down the country.

Striking a balance between the comfort of fans and that most delicate of footballing operations, maintaining the perfect pitch, Wembley also has a retractable roof. When open, sunlight can reach the whole pitch, but in poor weather, the roof can be closed within one hour.

To try and capture an intimate atmosphere  – not easy in a  stadium that can hold up to 90,000 fans  – seats are placed as close to the front of the pitch as possible. At the same time, careful attention has been paid to acoustics to maximize the impact of crowd’s roar. And to combat the misery of the half-time toilet queue, there are 2,618 toilets on site, more than at any other venue in the world. Cutting edge design in stadiums isn’t limited to the Wembleys of this world. Read more…

Jury Announced for NewCity Design Awards

The City of Surrey is pleased to announce the selection of a distinguished jury to select winners of the 2014 NewCity Design Awards, part of the City Awards program. They include:

  • Rob Barnes, BCSLA, CSLA, Principal, Perry + Associates Landscape Architecture, Vancouver
  • Ryan Bragg, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP, Principal, Perkins + Will Canada Co., Vancouver
  • Stuart Lyons, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP, Principal, GBL Architects, Vancouver

The jury members, collectively and individually, have a broad range of qualifications and experience in architecture, urban design, sustainable development, and design review. They will help the City of Surrey recognize and honour some of the most innovative projects within our community. The City and the jury will also have the support of a professional advisor, Scott Kemp, Architect AIBC, Principal, Scott Kemp Architect, to guide the jury’s independent review process.

NewCity Design Award categories range from single family dwellings to commercial and mixed use developments. The awards will promote examples of design excellence in architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture completed since 2009.

Award submissions and nominations will be accepted online only at www.surrey.ca/cityawards until June 27, 2014. Award recipients will be honoured at a reception on October 22, 2014.

2014 AZ Awards Gala

AZURE, the contemporary design and architecture magazine, celebrates the finalists and winners of the AZ Awards for Design Excellence at a gala celebration on Friday, June 20 from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. Join colleagues and designers from around the world in a celebration of international architecture, interiors and product design. The guest of honour will be Karim Rashid. Individual Tickets are $75, and a package of six tickets is $410. For more information and to register, go to: gala.azuremagazine.com.

IDIBC Summer White Party 2014

The IDIBC would like to invite you to attend their annual IDIBC Summer Party.  this event is a chance for the design community to let loose and celebrate the coming of the sun and the successes of our growing community. Join the IDIBC at the Earl’s V Lounge (1095 Mainland Street, Yaletown) to host the IDIBC’s Summer White Party.

Over 225 IDI members, designers at large, architects, students and fellow industry members and guests will be in attendance.

Deadline to buy tickets is Thursday, June 12th.  To buy your ticket or sponsor this event, please click here.

2014 Downtown Vancouver Art Walk Guide

The 2014 Downtown Vancouver Art Walk guide is now available.  You can use the brochure to plan your cultural crawl thorough the city’s galleries, food tours, public art, AIBC Architectural Walking Tours and more.

Download the guide and look for item number ten to find more information about AIBC Architectural Walking Tours.

This comprehensive map is your guide around Downtown Vancouver’s Arts & Culture.

Selections are curated to provide guide users with the must see locations around the city.

The Downtown Vancouver Art Walk is a combined effort of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and Van Dop & Associates.

Role Call: City of Victoria Advisory Design Panel

The AIBC invites applications from architects interested in serving on the City of Victoria Advisory Design Panel. The role of an advisory design panel member is to give impartial, professional advice directly on any proposal or policy affecting the community’s physical environment in the public interest.

To learn more about the procedures for serving on a panel, please refer to the following documents:

  • AIBC Bulletin 65: Advisory Design Panels – Standards for Procedures and Conduct (here)
  • ADP Frequently Asked Questions (here)

To fill out an interactive application form on the AIBC website, click here.

Please forward all submissions to the attention of Professional Services Coordinator Yana Vassilenko by e-mail to yvassilenko@aibc.ca.

NCARB Announces Transition Plan for ARE 5.0

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has announced a transition plan to guide the implementation of major improvements and changes to the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). Architect candidates taking the current ARE 4.0 exam when ARE 5.0 launches will have the opportunity to receive credit for divisions passed in the current ARE 4.0 version.

The new ARE 5.0 will launch in late 2016, while ARE 4.0 will remain available for at least 18 months after the launch. The extension of the old exam will allow candidates the option of either finishing all exam divisions in the familiar current format, ARE 4.0, or transition to the new exam.

ARE 5.0: The Basics
The main things that architects and prospective architect candidates (interns) need to know are:

  • ARE 5.0 will launch in late 2016.
  • It will include six standalone divisions, compared to the seven in ARE 4.0, that align to commonly defined professional architect activities of practice management, project management, and project design.
  • The current “graphic vignette” software, which has been in use since the exam was computerized in 1997, will be replaced with new question types.

Read more on this topic.

Social Event & ExAC Information Session

Social Event & ExAC Information Session - Draft 2

The Intern Architect Committee will be hosting a Social Event and ExAC introductory session on Thursday, June 19, 2014, from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the AIBC. The ExAC session, which will start at 6 p.m., will cover exam eligibility requirements and general exam information.  Intern architects and newly registered architects who have previously taken the exam will be present to share studying strategies and answer questions. Please note: for reasons of exam security, actual examination content cannot and will not be shared. In addition to being an information and strategy session, this is also a great opportunity to socialize with fellow Intern Architects interested in taking the exam and a chance to form study groups.

Come and meet members of the Intern Architect Committee and AIBC staff to ask questions, mingle and have fun. Food and drinks provided. Door prizes available. This is a child-friendly event.

Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:30pm – 8:00pm

AIBC Offices, Architecture Centre, 100 – 440 Cambie St., Vancouver

By June 13, to the AIBC’s Admissions Coordinator, Belinda Chao at bchao@aibc.ca

If you are on Vancouver Island, you are invited to participate via Skype.
  There will be a gathering at Cascadia Architects Boardroom in Victoria (address below) arranged and hosted by Andy Guiry Intern Architect AIBC, member of the Intern Architect Committee.  Please see details below:

Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Cascadia Architects Boardroom
814 Broughton Street

By June 13 to Andy Guiry, aguiry@gmail.com

ExAC Registration Now Open

As of June 1 until July 15th 2014, Intern Architects can apply to write the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC). The registration form is now available here. Intern Architects are eligible to write the ExAC if they are in good standing with the institute and have had a minimum 2,800 hours of experience logged on a CERB, submitted and approved. Applications can be submitted to the AIBC in hard copy or PDF format via e-mail.  For more questions or information, please contact Admissions Coordinator Belinda Chao at bchao@aibc.ca.

Informa Canada

Sustainabuild Vancouver

The 6th Annual Vancouver Sustainabuild Conference, presented by Informa Canada, takes place Wednesday, June 25, 2014. This one-day conference on sustainable buildings and communities will explore “green” innovations in design, construction and operation. The venue is the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, 655 Burrard Street, Vancouver. For more information and to register, click here.

Please check specific session for its corresponding LU value.

Heritage Vancouver Garden Tour

Presented by Benjamin Moore (June 21, 22, 10-4)

This two day self-guided tour of 16 enchanting private Vancouver gardens is a fundraiser to support Heritage Vancouver’s efforts to create a future for our heritage.  From a teeny townhouse garden to a large country estate and everything in between there is lots to inspire and delight! New this year is a community tea.

Coming from out of town? Ticket holders will get 10% off at the historic Sylvia Hotel!  Tickets $35.00. Tickets available online and at selected garden centres. For info/tickets and details of booking at the Sylvia Hotel, see www.heritagevancouver.org  

Heritage Vancouver’s 10th Annual Garden Party

A Special Fundraising Event on Behalf of Heritage Vancouver

Join Heritage Vancouver and their guests for a spectacular evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and conversation in a beautiful garden. Meet and mix with community leaders, architects, elected officials and heritage supporters while at the same time demonstrating your support for the many projects undertaken by the Heritage Vancouver Society.

Larry and Sherry Killam’s home is an English dairy barn, in the Norman architectural style, dating from approximately 1640, imported from Portsmouth, England and converted to an open-plan house with views of the garden from every side. This is a unique opportunity to spend time in this beautiful private garden and also to view the living and dining areas of this historic building.

Individual Tickets ($120 donation w/ tax receipt issued): Please go to www.heritagevancouver.org for details of how to purchase tickets.

Thanks to the generous contribution of their host, and community sponsors the Dunbar Liquor Boutique and Legacy Liquor Store, all proceeds will support Heritage Vancouver Society initiatives to encourage the preservation of Vancouver’s built heritage.