Eleanor Wachtel interviews Rem Koolhaas on CBC Radio

Rem Koolhaas
Image of Rem Koolhaas, courtesy of OMA

Rem Koolhaas will be Eleanor Wachtel’s guest on “Wachtel on the Arts” on CBC Radio’s IDEAS on Tuesday, November 18 at 9:00 pm, (9:30 pm NT). Tune in to hear their hour-long conversation in which he talks about how he was shaped by his early experience in Rotterdam and Indonesia, his belief in the need to find new ways of talking and writing about architecture, his approach to the design of a building (“begin every project from scratch and forget everything you think you know”), the “evolution” of a building once it’s finished, and being Director of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The interview will also be available online and as a podcast at cbc.ca/ideas/.

Wood Works! BC

2014 Wood Design Luncheon Conferences

Wood WORKS! BC is pleased to support the efforts of architects, designers, engineers, builders, technologists, municipal planners and building officials by offering the latest in wood expertise and knowledge through its annual Wood Design Luncheon Conferences. This year’s theme is “Advancing opportunities for wood products and systems: a study of distinctive and innovative new structures in BC”. Experts in their fields are on hand with presentations in the areas of architecture, design and construction in wood. The same three presentations are given in Kelowna, Victoria and Nanaimo and are tailored for decision makers in the construction industry. 

Locations & Dates:

  • Kelowna – Tuesday, November 25: Delta Grand Okanagan Resort & Conference Centre, 1310 Water Street
  • Victoria – Thursday, November 27: Delta Ocean Pointe, 45 Songhees Road
  • Nanaimo – Friday, November 28: Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon Street 

Time: 9:00am Registration & Exhibits Open I 10:00am – 2:00pm Conference Program In Session
Cost: Complimentary when registering in advance
Learning Units (LUs):
1 Core LU per luncheon
To Register:


Role Call: Municipality of Whistler Design Panel

The AIBC invites applications from architects interested in serving on the Municipality of Whistler 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 Alexandra Kokol by email (akokol@aibc.ca).


The science of pillow forts: Architect reveals how children can build the ultimate hideaway

New York architect Ben Pell found there were three different types of fort – tunnel forts, buttress forts and compound forts.

By Mark Prigg
November 11, 2014, MailOnline

He is more used to building exclusive, minimalist buildings.

However, New York architect Ben Pell has turned his hand to a very different kind of structure – a pillow fort.

Following exhaustive testing with his two children, he has revealed the best way to construct a living room hideaway.

Writing on the blog Fatherly, he explained there are three different types of fort – tunnel forts, buttress forts and compound forts.

He also believes that many children manage to trap themselves inside forts.

“Kids, left to their own devices, pile up pillows and then figure out how to get inside.

‘Or, they’ll build it around themselves and then they can’t leave without destroying it.’

Pell, who in his day job work for Pell Overton, urged children to think like an architect.

He warned prospective builders should first sort the available pillows based on which ones are best for walls and which ones are a good for laying on inside the finished fort.

Over the past twenty years, he has worked on a variety of projects, and also taught on the design faculty of the Syracuse University School of Architecture and the Pratt Institute, and has been a regular member of the Yale School of Architecture faculty since 2005. Read more…

What Architecture Is Doing to Your Brain


By Emily von Hoffmann
November 10, 2014, The Atlantic CityLab

Looking at buildings designed for contemplation—like museums, churches, and libraries—may have positive, measurable effects on your mental state.

At a particular moment during every tour of Georgetown University’s campus, it becomes necessary for the student guide to acknowledge the singular blight in an otherwise idyllic environment.

“Lauinger Library was designed to be a modern abstraction of Healy Hall…,” a sentence that inevitably trails off with an apologetic shrug, inviting the crowd to arrive at their own conclusions about how well it turned out. Much of the student population would likely agree that the library’s menacing figure on the quad is nothing short of soul-crushing. New research conducted by a team of architects and neuroscientists suggests that architecture may indeed affect mental states, though they choose to focus on the positive.

Studies on architecture struggle for funding because, Bermudez sighed, “it’s difficult to suggest that people are dying from it.”

I spoke with Dr. Julio Bermudez, the lead of a new study that uses fMRI to capture the effects of architecture on the brain. His team operates with the goal of using the scientific method to transform something opaque—the qualitative “phenomenologies of our built environment”—into neuroscientific observations that architects and city planners can deliberately design for. Bermudez and his team’s research question focuses on buildings and sites designed to elicit contemplation: They theorize that the presence of “contemplative architecture” in one’s environment may over time produce the same health benefits as traditional “internally induced” meditation, except with much less effort by the individual. Read more…

Designing for Seniors and Soldiers, Toward a “Silver” Architecture


(Image courtesy of Michael Graves and Associates)

By  Jimmy Stamp 
November 11, 2014 , smithsonian.com

Going green is good, but could architects be doing more for two segments of our population?

In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, geriatrician Louise Aronson advocated for a new type of building, one designed with an aging population in mind, which, she suggests, might be dubbed “silver” architecture. The idea came to he after taking her father to a top-notch, “green” medical center that was surprisingly unaccommodating for older patients. Sure, sustainability is important, but a building needs to do more than perform efficiently and attract millennials. Aronson notes:

Such approaches once may have made sense from a business perspective, but current demographic realities are creating financial and practical reasons to build more homes, businesses, health care facilities and public buildings that are well suited to older people’s needs.

The Americans With Disabilities Act’s guidelines help, but they do not ensure access or safety for this unique and rapidly growing population. Many buildings are A.D.A.-compliant and still difficult to navigate for older adults who have one or more physical, sensory or cognitive challenges, and especially for the frail elderly who have many.

To meet the challenges of an aging population, she proposes the development of LEED-like standards and awards for a “silver” architecture. Such an architecture would be well-lit, quiet, accessible and safe. It would be spacious enough to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs and provide room for a caregiver. These aren’t new ideas, but they aren’t as widely adapted as they could be, especially considering that over 50 million Americans are over the age of 65 – and that number is growing quickly. “Some might say that buildings can’t cater to every group with special needs,” says Aronson. “But silver architecture and design aren’t about indulging a special interest group. They’re about maximizing quality of life and independence for a life stage most of us will reach.” She makes a good point.

It being Veterans Day, this article got me thinking about architect Michael Graves, who recently designed a pair of houses for returning soldiers that follow through on many of Aronson’s suggested parameters for silver design. First though, a brief digression. The idea of a “silver” architecture actually has some precedent in architectural history, although the term was used in a very different way. Read more…