Monthly News Round-Up, January 2016 Edition

by | 04. Feb 2016


It’s time for the first news round-up of the new year. First off, and as usual at this time of year, it’s award season. Perhaps most remarkably, the 2016 Pritzker laureate was Chilean Alajandro Aravena for his singular work within the field of public housing. In other news, the short-list for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art was announced with some surpising inclusions. Then, BIG stacks boxes in the Bronx and Snøhetta reveals sculptural design for university library in Philadelphia. And finally, a look at AMO’s dramatic stage for the 2016 Prada fashion shows.



Alejandro Aravena awarded the 2016 Pritzker Prize

Alejandro Aravena has been announced as the 2016 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The award marks the start of an important year for Aravena, who is also the director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, with the title ‘Reporting From the Front’. He becomes the 41st laureate of the prize, the first from Chile.

Born in Santiago, the 48 year-old architect graduated from Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992. Since 2001, Aravena has been executive director of the Santiago-based practice Elemental that focuses on projects of public interest and social impact, including housing, public space, infrastructure, and transportation. The studio has among others designed more than 2,500 units of low-cost social housing.


Alejandro Aravena has pioneered a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century. His built work gives economic opportunity to the less privileged, mitigates the effects of natural disasters, reduces energy consumption, and provides welcoming public space. innovative and inspiring, he shows how architecture at its best can improve people’s lives.
/Tom Pritzker, Chairman and President of the Hyatt Foundation

Read the jury’s complete citation here.



Image © Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation (LMoCAF)

David Adjaye and Henning Larsen Shortlisted for Latvian Art Museum

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation (LMoCAF) has announced the seven international architecture practices shortlisted to design the institution’s new building in the center of Riga. The contenders include the studio of british architect David Adjaye and Henning Larsen Architects and Caruso St. John.

25 international practices were invited to submit their credentials, with a total of just seven making the cut. It is anticipated that the concept designs will be developed in association with local architectural practices, before a winner is announced in May 2016.

See the full list of contenders and read more here.

This new museum is a major initiative for Latvia and will showcase the country’s culture and artistic flair. […] Creating a museum, which can compete with others around the world and establish a distinctive presence on the regional cultural map, is a specialized challenge, so in the competition we have sought to concentrate on international designers who are experienced in this field. However, the project represents an opportunity for seven local practices to shine too in a creative partnership with the international practices. as with any serious creative endeavor, it is the will to contribute knowledge that leads to ultimate success.
/Romans Surnačovs, Chair of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation



Melrose Police Station. Image © Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG Proposes Pile of Stacked Concrete Blocks for Police Station in the Bronx

Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed plans for a New York police station to be constructed in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx. The 40th precinct station is intended to serve the various needs of the NYPD, while strengthening the district’s commitment to community policing.The structure appears as a stack of large bricks, a design which references the rusticated bases of early New York police stations. Each individual volume contains a specific element of the internal program, and is topped with a green roof.


Melrose Police Station. Image © Bjarke Ingels Group

Internally, the building includes amenities that encourage dialogue with the community, while providing dedicated space for police officers to both train and unwind. A first of its kind multipurpose space forms a community room with its own street level entrance, containing information kiosks and areas to host classes or events.



Temple University Library. Image courtesy Snøhetta

Snøhetta Unveils Design of the New Temple University Library in Philadelphia

Snøhetta has revealed plans for a sculptural, stone-clad library to be situated at the heart of Temple University‘s Philadelphia campus. Designed in collaboration with Stantec, the building will contain a variety of study areas, resource centers, public spaces, and an event hall, all housed under one roof.


Temple University Library. Image courtesy Snøhetta

The library references the historic academies of Greek antiquity, where a greater emphasis was placed on social spaces for exchanging ideas. According to the design team, the building challenges the traditional typology of the research library solely as a repository for books and archives, and instead provides a diversity of spaces that will spark chance encounters, enable collaboration, and encourage knowledge-sharing among its users.

The project was approved in the fall of 2015 and will soon begin construction. A targeted completion date has been set for 2018.

Read more here.



Prada fashion catwalk by AMO. Image by Alberto Moncada

AMO’s Trial-Inspired Fashion Set

Theatres built for public trials of heretics informed Dutch studio AMO‘s set design for Italian fashion house Prada‘s 2016 Autumn/Winter men’s and women’s catwalk fashion shows.

The space is based on the theatre-like settings used for auto-da-fé – public trials for heretics during the Spanish, Portuguese and Mexican Inquisitions. These ceremonies took place in urban squares or esplanades. They typically involved a procession of prisoners and the reading of their sentences, before being taken out of the city and burned at the stake.

AMO chose to relate this process to the fashion show, which is becoming increasingly publicly accessible through the use of digital streaming and social media.

The division between the role of the audience and actor is blurring: all have become players in the same secular ceremony of the fashion show. No longer relegated to passive observer, the spectator is now an active participant in the events unfolding in front of them.

Prada fashion catwalk by AMO. Image by Alberto Moncada


Prada fashion catwalk by AMO. Image by Alberto Moncada