North Korea’s Capital Is Actually Colorful – Really Colorful

by Laura Mallonee
Wired, Dec 15, 2015

Image: Grand People's Study House, Pyongyang, 1982. Courtesy Wired, photo by Oliver Wainwright(Image: Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang, 1982. Courtesy Wired, photo by Oliver Wainwright)

MINT. APRICOT. LAVENDER. These aren’t flavors of overpriced artisanal ice cream, but the unexpected colors that dominate the architecture of Pyongyang, a world Oliver Wainwright reveals in North Korean Interiors.

Wainwright, a design critic for The Guardian, visited Pyongyang in late July for a 10-day tour of the city’s architecture. He found relatively modern buildings bedecked in bright hues. “I have to say [Pyongyang] is honestly one of the most colorful cities I’ve ever been to,” Wainwright says. “You expect a gray, crumbling, 1950s dystopia of decaying concrete, but they’ve made a real conscious effort to try and cheer the place up.” Read more…

Aboriginal Cultures Inspire Vancouver Architect

By Jenny Lee
Vancouver Sun, Jan 12, 2016

Image: Architect Nancy Mackin in the Terrace Northwest Community College longhouse she designed. Photo by Leslie Savage(Image: Architect Nancy Mackin in the Terrace Northwest Community College longhouse she designed. Photo by Leslie Savage)

Nancy Mackin does landscape and building design influenced by her interactions with B.C. First Nations.

Most B.C. architects work in urban centres, but Nancy Mackin works in the northernmost reaches of the province, up past Terrace in the Nass River Valley, up where winters are cold and populations sparse.

“It’s the furthest point on the coast you can go in B.C.,” said Mackin, who specializes in landscape and building design for indigenous people. Read more…

Light House: Bruno Freschi Gives a New Lease of Life to the Staples House

by Hadani Ditmars
Wallpaper, Dec 24, 2015

Image: Architect Bruno Freschi has updated his seminal modernist masterpiece, The Staples House. Pictured left: Freschi's changes include transforming upper level balconies into rooms. Right: As well as removing a pond at the front of the house. Courtesy of wallpaper, photo by Kenneth Dyck(Image: Architect Bruno Freschi has updated his seminal modernist masterpiece, The Staples House. Pictured left: Freschi’s changes include transforming upper level balconies into rooms. Right: As well as removing a pond at the front of the house. Courtesy of wallpaper, photo by Kenneth Dyck)

It’s not every day that architects get to renovate their own designs. The clash of the creator’s original vision with that of often well-meaning new owners is all too frequent as buildings age and change hands.

So for septuagenarian Bruno Freschi, updating his 1966 West Coast modernist classic, the Staples House, for its new owners was a unique opportunity not to be missed. Read more…

Architectural Research Opus 33 Years in the Making

by Don Wall
Daily Commercial News, Jan 11, 2016

Image: The Royal York Hotel, now the Fairmont Royal York, in Toronto was designed by Sproatt and Rolph and by Ross and MacDonald, Architects, 1928-29. Courtesy of DCN, photo by William Mewes(Image: The Royal York Hotel, now the Fairmont Royal York, in Toronto was designed by Sproatt and Rolph and by Ross and MacDonald, Architects, 1928-29. Architect Robert Hill says he has a special admiration for its chateau-style building typology. Courtesy of DCN, photo by William Mewes)

A Herculean, if not Sisyphean, effort by Toronto architect Robert Hill to compile information on every important building constructed in Canada between 1800 and 1950, along with biographies of some 2,300 architects from that period, is close to completion after 33 years of work.

The project, titled Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950, aims to list “every Canadian building of importance between 1800 and 1950 whose architect can be identified, together with essential information on the date of design, construction, alteration or demolition of the work.” Read more…

Architectural Trends in 2016: Modern, Efficient and High-Tech

By Daybreak South
CBC News, Jan 1, 2016

Image: In the Okanagan, Meiklejohn says big buildings are coming back to life with more people wanting to build multi-family housing projects. Courtesy of Meiklejohn Architects, CBC(Image: In the Okanagan, Meiklejohn says big buildings are coming back to life with more people wanting to build multi-family housing projects. Courtesy of Meiklejohn Architects, CBC)

As Vancouver anticipates a slew of new cutting-edge condos, we look to the year ahead in architecture with Jim Meiklejohn, an architect in Kelowna, B.C. What does 2016 have to offer in building design?

Meiklejohn says the future of home design is about modernity, efficiency and technology.

“We are moving into a modern style of homes,” said Meiklejohn, explaining that he believes global trends are pulsing into designing homes with cleaner lines and more open space. Read more…

2015 in Canadian Architecture

by Elsa Lam
Canadian Architect, December 22, 2015

Image: More than 10,000 people visited the Halifax Central Library on opening day last December. Courtesy Canadian Architect, photo by Adam Mark(Image: More than 10,000 people visited the Halifax Central Library on opening day last December. Courtesy of Canadian Architect, photo by Adam Mark)

As 2015 draws to a close, we offer you this round-up of the stories that topped our headlines.

On the East Coast, the opening of the new Halifax Central Library in December 2014 brought contemporary architecture to the heart of the city.

Critic Brian Carter travelled there to find that the building by Fowler Bauld & Mitchell and schmidt hammer lassen is well-loved and well-used. It proves that—despite all the predictions for the death of books—libraries are still vital community hubs in Canadian cities. Read more…

The 10 Best Buildings of 2015

by staff
Azure, Dec 28, 2015

Image: New Bordeaux Stadium by Herzog & deMeuron, in Bordeaux, France. Courtesy of Azure, Herzog & deMeuron(Image: New Bordeaux Stadium by Herzog & deMeuron, in Bordeaux, France. Courtesy of Azure, Herzog & deMeuron)

From Heatherwick Studio’s campus hub shaped like a stack of dim sum baskets to Herzog & deMeuron’s all-white soccer stadium in Bordeaux, it’s been a good year for every building typology. Here are our top 10 buildings of 2015. Read more…

Australia’s Stunning Buildings that Adapt to Environment

by Andrew Michler
Tech Insider, Dec 15, 2015

Image: RMIT University's design hub in Melbourne has an exterior made of sandblasted glass disks, which pivot through the day like vertical blinds to control interior light and heat gain. The facade changes tempo throughout the day; sometimes it's a teal grid in direct daylight, then a more delicate steel blue lace when backlit by the sun. Courtesy Tech Insider, photo by Andrew Michler(Image: RMIT University’s design hub in Melbourne has an exterior made of sandblasted glass disks, which pivot through the day like vertical blinds to control interior light and heat gain. The facade changes tempo throughout the day; sometimes it’s a teal grid in direct daylight, then a more delicate steel blue lace when backlit by the sun. Courtesy Tech Insider, photo by Andrew Michler)

When researching the most interesting sustainable buildings and regions for my book Hyperlocalization of Architecture, I kept ending up in Australia.

From the largest office building in the southern hemisphere to a tiny cabin in the outback, these projects consistently challenge and provoke. They push to the outer edges of environmental architecture.

One of the stand-out features in Australian contemporary building design is a quality of movement — a kind of kinetic design that allows buildings to be adaptable and comfortable. Some buildings open to provide a path for the prevailing cooling breeze, or close to protect from wildfire or prying eyes. Read more…

Floating Architecture Will Offer “An Improved Way of Living”

by staff
Dezeen, Dec 9, 2015

Image: AT Design Office's floating city concept in China is under consideration. Courtesy of Dezeen(Image: AT Design Office’s floating city concept in China is under consideration. Courtesy of Dezeen)

Rising sea levels and a shortage of development sites are leading to a surge of interest in floating buildings, with proposals ranging from mass housing on London’s canals to entire amphibious cities in China (+ slideshow).

People will increasingly live and work on water, as planning policies shift away from building flood defences towards accepting that seas and rivers cannot be contained forever, say the architects behind these proposals.

“Given the impact of climate change, we can begin to think a lot more about the opportunity for living with water as opposed to fighting it and doing land reclamation,” said architect Kunlé Adeyemi. Read more…

Dutch Wind Wheel Blazing Trail for Sustainability in Rotterdam

By Catarina de Almeida Brito
Wallpaper, Dec 15, 2015

Image: An ambitious new sustainability and architecture-led project is set to land on the shores of Rotterdam. The Dutch Wind Wheel will be an innovative mixed use scheme, using breakthrough eco technologies. Courtesy of Wallpaper, DoepelStrijkers(Image: An ambitious new sustainability and architecture-led project is set to land on the shores of Rotterdam. The Dutch Wind Wheel will be an innovative mixed use scheme, using breakthrough eco technologies. Courtesy of Wallpaper, DoepelStrijkers)

With key recent developments – such as De Rotterdam, the Markthall and the recent Timmerhuis – the Dutch city of Rotterdam has been aiming high in the architectural stakes, and a new project proves that it has its eye firmly on sustainability too.

The Dutch Wind Wheel ‘must become the new icon for Rotterdam and the Netherlands’, claim architects DoepelStrijkers, who are currently designing a ‘windmill of the future’. Developed alongside two more Rotterdam based companies, Meysters and BLOC, this futuristic-looking mixed-use building is hoped to bring together several breakthrough technologies, to form an icon of Dutch innovation and sustainability. Read more…

Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction Launches at the UN Climate Change Conference

By Caroline Massie
Architect Magazine, Dec 4, 2015

Image: Workers install a logo on the facade of the U.N Climate Conference in Le Bourget, outside Paris. Courtesy of Architect Magazine, Associated Press, photo by Christophe Ena(Image: Workers install a logo on the facade of the U.N Climate Conference in Le Bourget, outside Paris. Courtesy of Architect Magazine, Associated Press, photo by Christophe Ena)

More than 60 organizations and 18 countries pledge to limit carbon emissions from the built environment.

Thursday at the United Nations (U.N.) Climate Change Conference’s first ever “Buildings Day,” more than 60 international organizations and 18 countries and territories announced a partnership aimed at mobilizing international resources for developing climate-resilient solutions for member cities, regions, and countries, and for scaling up current initiatives to tackle climate change in the built environment. The newly-formed Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC)’s plans align with global efforts to limit the average atmospheric temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels.

GABC’s partners, which will actively engage in the alliance’s governance, include countries, local governments, intergovernmental institutions, large professional networks, and international associations. The participating countries and territories are: Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Its initial organizations include Architecture 2030, the International Union of Architects, the World Green Building Council, the World Resources Institute, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Read more…

Diabetes Prevention Is a Job for Architects, Says Professor

By The Early Edition
CBC News, Dec 2, 2015

Image: McGill professor Avi Friedman believes that if entire communities lent themselves to a more active lifestyle, the people living there will be less prone to obesity and diabetes. Courtesy of CBC(Image: McGill professor Avi Friedman believes that if entire communities lent themselves to a more active lifestyle, the people living there will be less prone to obesity and diabetes. Courtesy of CBC)

According to an architecture professor at McGill University, doctors aren’t the only ones who should be at the forefront of the fight against diabetes.

Avi Friedman sees reducing diabetes as a planning and design challenge too.

Living a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for developing diabetes, and Friedman says planning and building communities that promote physical activity will help reduce the instances of diabetes. Read more…

The Best Architecture Books of 2015

by Rowan Moore
The Guardian, Dec 7, 2015

Image: An Eames office design from the ‘handsome’ World of Ray and Charles Eames. Courtesy of The Guardian, photo by Eames Office

(Image: An Eames office design from the ‘handsome’ World of Ray and Charles Eames. Courtesy of The Guardian, photo by Eames Office)

A new warmth towards brutalism, handsome volumes on Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, and George Gilbert Scott’s prodigious gothic output

A striking aspect of Elain Harwood’s Space, Hope and Brutalism (Yale University Press), a hefty survey of postwar British architecture, is that it isn’t about brutalism precisely, but about this and many other styles of architecture. So it seems that someone, her publishers maybe, inserted the B-word because they thought it would help to sell the book. Which no doubt it does. Because brutalism, once the encapsulation in three-and-a-half syllables of everything thought hateful about modern architecture, a word whose inventors didn’t even want to sound nice, is now exciting, sexy, intriguing. Which could have been predicted: baroque and gothic were once also terms of abuse.

Owen Hatherley has done more than most to bring about this reappraisal, and this year further pushed the boundaries of received taste with Landscapes of Communism (Allen Lane), a loving exploration of the housing estates, TV towers and bureaucratic palaces built by eastern bloc countries in the Soviet era. It has the merit of confronting you with an alternative reality – in this case a different version of 20th-century architecture – to the one you thought you knew. The book is the outcome of epic travelling through places most architecture writers never visit. It also tries, with varying degrees of success, to reconcile Hatherley’s beliefs that both communism and modernism have been wrongly written off. Read more…

Controversial ‘Origami’ Tower Proposal Revised

by Naoibh O’Connor
Vancouver Courier, Dec 1, 2015

Image: The original plan for the Waterfront Tower at 555 West Cordova was widely panned, but the design team is revising its proposal. Courtesy of Vancouver Courier, photo by Dan Toulgoet(Image: The original plan for the Waterfront Tower at 555 West Cordova was widely panned, but the design team is revising its proposal. Courtesy of Vancouver Courier, photo by Dan Toulgoet)

Cadillac Fairview’s controversial Waterfront Tower is being re-imagined to be more sensitive to the historic Waterfront Station and The Landing heritage building, which flank the site, according to urban design consultant James Cheng of James K.M. Cheng Architects Inc.

Cheng was brought in as a project advisor after an avalanche of criticism derailed the original proposal last January. Cheng helped the design team develop new design principles and guidelines on which the latest scheme is being based. Read more…

Nine Most Popular Houses Published in Dezeen

by staff
Dezeen, Nov 17, 2015

Image: A spiralling concrete slide connects the kitchen and child's bedroom of this family house near Jakarta designed by Indonesian architects Aboday. Courtesy Dezeen, photo by Happy Lim(Image: A spiralling concrete slide connects the kitchen and child’s bedroom of this family house near Jakarta designed by Indonesian architects Aboday. Courtesy Dezeen, photo by Happy Lim)

We’ve published thousands of beautiful houses since Dezeen was founded. To mark our ninth birthday today, we’re revisiting the nine that have been most popular with our readers (+ slideshow). Read more…