London 2012: Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid

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Zaha Hadid’s building at the London 2012 Olympic Park is more than simply an aquatic center: it will factor largely into the public experience of the Olympic Games.

For the gateway to London’s Olympic Park, internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid was selected to design one of her signature sculptural buildings. Hadid's London Aquatics Centre will be the venue for Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Paralympic Swimming, and the aquatic portion of the Modern Pentathlon. It is scheduled to host 192 events in all.

Renzo Piano’s Ronchamp Expansion: Competing with Le Corbusier

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Recently completed is architect Renzo Piano's addition to Le Corbusier's Ronchamp Chapel. The expansion includes a visitor's center as well as an Oratory and housing for nuns from the Community of Poor Clares.

No student escapes architecture school without learning about—and likely becoming enamored of—the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier. This icon of 20th century architecture is situated atop a hillside in Ronchamp, France, a single structure in communion with the natural landscape. Now it has company.

London 2012: Architecture and Masterplan Overview

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London, England, hosts the Summer Olympic Games for the third time, and constructing the buildings and infrastructure required to support the  Olympic Games is on a par with constructing an entire new city. Although some events can be accommodated within existing buildings in the city and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, London’s new Olympic Park, located near Stratford City in East London on the site of a former industrial park, will comprise several significant structures by notable architects.

Keeping up with Toronto’s Evolving Architectural Identity

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On the southeastern tail of Ontario, the 175-year-young city of Toronto is home to 2.5 million Canadians, making it the largest city in the country. Rodolphe el-Khoury, an architecture professor at the University of Toronto, said in a 2008 interview that he noticed an underlying rural tone in Toronto's architectural identity. “It’s a kind of tension between a cosmopolitan international culture and a more Ontario-based kind of heritage,” described el-Khoury. What Toronto is known for is its skyscrapers – it is second only to New York as having the most in North America. Along with the skyscrapers, progressive-minded young people who champion environmental friendliness inhabit downtown Toronto.

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center by Arquitectonica

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Cutler Bay, South Miami. The brand-new South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center rises out of the flat Florida landscape in a dynamic crescendo of geometric forms that pierce the sky. Its presence offers a penetrating counterpoint to the dull and monotonous Southland Mall and parking lot it faces. Designed by Arquitectonica, the famed Miami-based architectural firm led by Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia, the Cultural Arts Center delights in movement and flow, circulation and performance, geometry and color.

Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences

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Brain-storming about urban revitalization commonly results in a myriad of creative proposals, from cultural centers and renovation projects to expansive parks. Rarely does this type of planning involve a futuristic complex of massive proportions within the city itself.

However, Valencia’s homegrown architectural prodigy, Santiago Calatrava, has managed to achieve something that can only be classified as architectural glory – The City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias).

Ehrlich Architects' ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

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The use of metal panels as building cladding continues to enjoy a surge in popularity, since improvements in their design and performance has coincided with a taste for high-tech aesthetics. Ehrlich Architects, designers of The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University (ASU), used this cladding to reference the patterns of the U.S. radio broadcast frequency spectrum. The top floors of the six-story, 110' tall building are wrapped in colored metal panels; in addition to drawing inspiration from the broadcast spectrum, the orange and red metal cladding evokes the earth tones of the local landscape. The building is located on the ASU campus in the midst of downtown Phoenix, so its attention-grabbing facades create a strong presence for the school.

Behnisch Architekten's Winning Design for the University of Baltimore School of Law

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Having constraints can actually lead to creativity. This assumption has been confirmed by research into human psychology and can be empirically observed in many creative disciplines. Constraints were plentiful in the international design competition for the University of Baltimore’s (UB's) new John and Frances Angelos Law Center. The winning design, by Behnisch Architekten, is now under construction on the UB campus.

Zaha Hadid Architects' Edifici Torre Espiral

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How far can a single building extend its reach to elevate, both aesthetically and economically, a surrounding neighborhood? Zaha Hadid Architects' Edifici Torre Espiral, or "spiraling tower," designed in partnership with Patrik Schumacher, seeks to become a catalyst for the development of the 22@Barcelona district. This waterfront area, which covers 115 city blocks, has been actively transforming itself from a derelict industrial zone into a commercial hub since 2000, when the city government launched its redevelopment.

New World Symphony and Miami Beach SoundScape

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Those accustomed to architect Frank Gehry's signature swooping titanium forms might feel that the New World Symphony concert hall hits a low note; Walt Disney Concert Hall it is not. Instead, its boxy form and white stucco exterior reflect the traditional Art Deco architecture of Miami Beach. Located at Washington Avenue and 17th Street, just blocks from both the bustle of Lincoln Road and the beach, the $160 million building measures 100,641 sq. ft. and faces a new 2.5-acre urban park, situated on the site of a former parking lot. Looks can be deceptive; this stucco box contains a few surprises.

Ecopolis Plaza by Ecosistema Urbano

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Constructing children’s playgrounds in antiquated industrial parks may not seem like the best idea. But this is Madrid – and taking advantage of any and every available square meter has become an art form in the Spanish capital. Ecopolis Plaza is yet another example of creative urban reusability, but its focus on education makes it truly unique. A public nursery school is located at the heart of the plaza, which is designed to bring together community, sustainability, and education in one very brightly colored building.

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