Start your week off right, with the most important happenings of the design and architecture world, from the Cooper-Hewitt’s honourees to the fate of Google’s BIG plans.
Winners of the National Design Awards announced
Cooper Hewitt has announced the winners of the 16th annual National Design Awards. The Lifetime Achievement honours architect and designer Michael Graves, who died earlier this year. Among the other winners, textile innovator Jack Lenor Larsen (whose clients have included Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn and Marilyn Monroe) received the Director’s Award; New York’s MOS Architects was recognized for Architecture Design; and multidisciplinary Los Angeles studio Commune for Interior Design. Stephen Burks (pictured), a designer who has been working with Aid to Artisans, Design Network Africa and other non-profits that collaborate with artisans around the world, won the Product Design award.
Shigeru Ban in Nepal
The Pritzker Prize laureate will help to meet the housing needs of the thousands of people who have been displaced by last month’s devastating earthquake. Shigeru Ban and his Voluntary Architects’ Network are looking at a holistic, three-phase process. First they will distribute tents with plastic sheet partitions to serve as emergency shelters and aid stations. Then, they will provide temporary housing made of local materials and constructed with the help of university students and architects in the region. When conditions have improved, they plan to build more permanent structures, again with the collaboration of the affected communities.
Mies van der Rohe award goes to Polish Philharmonic
The Philharmonic Hall of Szczecin, in Poland, has won the biennial European Prize Prize from the Mies van der Rohe Foundation in Barcelona. Designed by Barozzi / Veiga, the building recalls a glowing range of sharp-peaked mountains. As the jury puts it: “The exterior austerity and the simple composition of the interior circulation spaces contrast with the expressiveness of the main hall and the concert hall with its gold-leaf covering.” The luminous building was up against such beauties as the Maritime Museum of Denmark, by BIG, and the Antinori Winery in Florence, Italy, by Archea Associati. The Emerging Architect award goes to ARQUITECTURA-G for its Luz House.
Google’s BIG dreams diverted Google was dealt a blow last week when the city council in Mountain View, California, voted in favour of development proposals by LinkedIn, Rees Properties and Broadreach Group. Google had hoped to build its dream headquarters – a multi-domed, modular office landscape co-designed by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick – on that very land; instead it only received approval for its parking lot. The city had set aside 2.2-million square feet in permits, and the search engine giant only got 515,325 of that – enough to build one dome. The fight isn’t over yet. If Google can come up with a way to consolidate its housing plans with its state-of-the-art office dreams, there might be room to accommodate both.
The Tesla Powerwall is sold out…
…until 2016! A new, five-million-square-foot factory and 38,000 shipment orders – the numbers couldn’t be better for business at Tesla, which announced its Powerwall home battery (in two versions) just two weeks ago. Expected to be a major game changer in solar energy efficiency, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery stores excess power generated by photovoltaic panels as backup energy, for cloudy days or power outages. It also charges during times of low electricity demand, and stores that energy for use during peak demand – saving households plenty of cash over time. If it works as expected, it will be one revolutionary green-tech product.