small WAN logo 19 March 2013
Issue 426
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71-year-old Japanese architect Toyo Ito awarded 2013 Pritzker Prize
"Architecture is bound by various social constraints. I have been designing architecture bearing in mind that it would be possible to realise more comfortable spaces if we are freed from all of the
restrictions even for a little bit. However, when one building is completed, I become painfully aware
of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project. Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future. Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works." These are the words of 71-year-old Japanese architect Toyo Ito who has just been announced as the 2013 recipient of the industry's highest honour: the Pritzker Prize. On 29 May, Ito will be presented with a bronze medal and $100,000 grant at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston (designed by fellow Pritzker Prize winner I. M. Pei) in celebration of this esteemed award. Over the past years, Ito has been decorated with a plethora of honours including the 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu, The Royal Institute of... Read more
Top stories this week
1 The Blue Planet, Copenhagen, Denmark
A swirling mass of twinkling metal on the coast of Øresund, Copenhagen is due to open on 21 March. Designed by local firm 3XN, the inventive practice behind the Bella Sky Hotel and Middelfart Savings Bank, The Blue Planet is an 11,000 sq m complex that holds the title of the largest aquarium in Northern Europe. With 9,000 sq m of interior... Read more
2 Google Headquarters: Bay View, Mountain View, California, United States
Internet search engine Google have selected NBBJ to design their next commercial property in a break away from the company's oft-taken approach of transforming existing buildings for their own use. As David Radcliffe, a civil engineer who oversees Google's properties told Vanity Fair... Read more
3 Lons le Saunier Mediatheque, Lons-le-Saunier, France
This recently-completed Mediatheque by Parisian practice du Besset-Lyon Architectes is a rolling curve of camel-coloured concrete in a caged site. On three sides the Mediatheque - which incorporates a public library and a cinema - is bordered by strong architectural expressions: a historic church... Read more
4 Green Square Library Plaza, Sydney, Australia
From 167 entires that included Australian as well as international architects, a young firm Stewart Hollenstein in association with Colin Stewart Architects won the competition organised by City of Sydney. From the judges' comments during the design excellence award ceremony on 4 March 2013, it was very clear that the decision... Read more
5 New Istanbul International Financial Center, Istanbul, Turkey
The London and New York offices of HOK have released renderings of a 4.2million sq m mixed-use facility for the Turkish Government. The New Istanbul International Finance Center (IFFC) is under construction on a 70-hectare site on the city's Asian side. Once complete the complex will encompass residential... Read more
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Inside the behemoth: Exclusive interview with Aecom's David Glover
On the day of my interview with David Glover, Aecom's Global Chief Executive, Building Engineering, the London skies were grey and threatening. Ironically set in the same week that the British architectural press were celebrating the collapse of talks between Aecom and NBS, Aecom themselves were celebrating a coup d'état, having just won the prestigious Serpentine Pavilion contract from under the noses of Arup who had been engineers behind
all the previous 12 pavilions. It also seemed fitting that the Aecom building in which the interview was to take place was formally the HQ of Davis Langdon.

Aecom is interesting. It's a huge corporation. It's also a fact that it's not universally loved. Having some 45,000 staff, from the outside its sheer scale is hard to comprehend for many architects. It's easy to pigeonhole as a dinosaur but of course it's not, or at least it's a highly evolved, highly efficient modern day incarnation, reflecting the needs of the global marketplace in the same way that mega malls have changed our retail experience.

But what is even more interesting is what's happening inside, trying to understand what makes it tick and find out which direction it's heading in.

The word multidisciplinary is a façade for a multitude of sins and isn't a new concept at all. However what is does do is throw an umbrella over the shifting boundary between architecture and engineering. When does an architect stop and an engineer start? Or is it the other way round? David Glover is passionate about buildings. His passion is fired by a desire to make buildings that perform better and run more efficiently, buildings that are more cost efficient, use less energy and get built quicker.

Controversially, his vision transgresses boundaries. Boundaries that were, in part, once delineated by technology limitations, forms defined by straight lines generated by processes that are now redundant. As recently as the eighties, most architects were working with drawing boards and set squares, everything needed for drawing straight lines. After the design came the engineering.

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"Architecture won't solve dementia
but it can help"
How are Broadway Malyan using
Autodesk to their advantage in Brazil?
Dementia is a growing global problem and the provision of care for dementia sufferers is now an issue for governments and communities across the world. Recent statistics by the UK Department of Health show that approximately 750,000 people in the UK have dementia, with this number expected to double in the next thirty years. As well as this,
In December 2012, the international architecture practice Broadway Malyan announced a strategic deal with design software provider Autodesk worth £1.2m to propel the firm onto a fully-integrated cloud-based platform. WAN met with Martin Bates, Director at Broadway Malyan and Tom Edmonds, Sales Manager for UK,
Alzheimer's Australia has estimated that there are 1,700 new cases of dementia every week in Australia. With the increasing numbers of people suffering from dementia around the globe, the following questions must now be asked: How do physical surroundings affect dementia patients? Are existing buildings such as care homes and hospitals suitable... Read more Ireland and Scandinavia at Autodesk to find out how the partnership provides Broadway Malyan with a competitive edge. Broadway Malyan and Autodesk have been working together for many years but in 2012, as part of a larger international growth strategy, the architectural practice signed a £1.2m deal which integrated the latest Autodesk BIM... Read more
Tips on design competitions from a sage observer
In the introduction to the forthcoming film, The Competition, directed by Madrid architects Angel Borrego Cubero, the public is treated to a behind-the-scenes look at five international practices vying for the opportunity to design the National Museum of Art of Andorra. What we see is a hectic environment peppered with hot tempers and curse words flying as each team readies its design for submission. It's not a pretty sight but it's familiar territory for anyone who has entered a design competition. So why do architects put
themselves through it? The endless nights, the frenetic atmosphere, the high costs of entering and the remote chances of winning?

While the odds of winning a competition are indeed slim, with some estimating the success rate as 1 in 10 (which is in my estimation is extremely optimistic!) there are many upsides. Perhaps more than other method of procurement, competitions reward ideas above anything else. For architects serious about their craft there is much to be said about a process that rewards 'thinking over inking' and substance over style.

Just ask Farshid Moussavi, who in spite of entering 218 competitions and winning very few, favors design competitions over other procurement methods. In a recent article she penned for the Architectural Review, Moussavi said she prefers winning work this way because, "Competitions are driven by a desire to go beyond what already exists. It's a chance to design 'unthought of architecture'."

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