ArchiWEB Explorer: South America

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Faith & Form's 2018 Program Recognizes the Best in Religious Architecture and Art

Shoraku-ji, Toru Kashihara Architects, Photo Takumi Ota Shoraku-ji, Toru Kashihara Architects, Photo Takumi Ota

Religious architecture has long been one of the most exciting typologies, one has long paved the way for various design and structural innovations. Faith & Form magazine and Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA) annually recognize the continued creativity defining the field.

This year's winners include 35 projects that span a variety of religious denominations, sizes, and location. Additionally, the award has recognized two trends defining contemporary religious architecture: "the preference for natural materials in worship environments, and inventive design solutions to address tight budgets."

1 Bahá’í Temple of South America, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Photo Sebastian Wilson Leon

So You Want to Learn About: Roberto Burle Marx

The "So You Want to Learn About" series highlights books focused on a particular theme: think "socially responsible architecture" and "Le Corbusier," rather than broad themes like "housing" or "modern architects." Therefore the series aims to be a resource for finding decent reading materials on certain topics, born of a desire to further define noticeable areas of interest in the books I review. And while I haven't reviewed every title, I am familiar with each one; these are not blind recommendations.

About one year ago my book 100 Years, 100 Landscape Designs came out. There were a number of landscape designers that just had to be in the book, one of them being Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), the great Brazilian landscape designer and artist who single-handedly defined landscape architecture in South America, not just Brazil. (A couple of his landscapes worked their way into my book, both carrying his influential name: Sitio Roberto Burle Marx, 1949, and Parque da Cidade Roberto Burle Marx, 1950.) The research for my book led me to obtain a few relevant old titles that I came across, some hard to find. But a couple books released this year, both compiling the landscape designer's own words, prompted me to put together this SYW2 post about Burle Marx. These are not all of the books devoted to Burle Marx, but they're more than I ever anticipated I'd have in my library, especially given how few English titles exist on the influential figure.


A Selection of the World’s Best Architects

© Ossip Van Duivenbode. ImageTianjin Binhai Library / MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute © Ossip Van Duivenbode. ImageTianjin Binhai Library / MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute

To rank architects, or to even pretend that any list or selection would be exhaustive and/or apply to the individual tastes of every architecture lover, seems, on the surface, a pointless task. However, as we move away from looking for inspiration from merely the great masters or the handful of contemporary firms studied in academic programs, it is important to shine a light on the works that we, as ArchDaily editors, have found particularly valuable. Of the thousands of architects whose projects have been selected to be published on our site, we occasionally notice firms whose work stands out. Whether we’re drawn to their innovative approach to practice, the role they play in contributing to their local communities, or their generosity, we are eager to display their work as an example, so that others may be inspired to challenge the status quo.

With editors from Brazil, the US, Mexico, Chile, China and Northern Ireland, and thanks to the extensive network that we have forged with institutions in Africa, Asia and beyond, we have the rare opportunity to go beyond a purely western-focused overview of the state of today’s architecture.

AD Classics: Bank of London and South America / Clorindo Testa + SEPRA

© Federico Cairoli © Federico Cairoli

This article was originally published on October 19, 2015. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

The Bank of London and South America (Banco de Londres y América del Sud, or BLAS) in Buenos Aires defies convention and categorization, much like the architect primarily credited with its design, Clorindo Testa. A unique client relationship, guided by the bank’s staff architect Gerald Wakeham, and a supportive collaboration with the firm Sánchez Elía, Peralta Ramos and Agostini (SEPRA) resulted in a building that continues to evoke surprise and fascination.

Wakeham organized a design competition for the bank in 1959, inviting four firms based in Argentina, including SEPRA.[1] After a productive, though ultimately unsuccessful partnership on a previous competition, SEPRA asked Clorindo Testa to team up with them again for the bank competition, this time with a successful result.[2]

BIG Reveals Skyscraper Design for First Project in South America

Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

Soon to become the tallest building in Quito, IQON is Bjarke Ingels Group's first project to be built in South America. Currently undergoing construction, the largely residential building is a curved tower with gradually protruding balconies. Encased between the dense city and the park, the self-dubbed "urban tree farm" aims not only to encompass the surrounding views of the volcanoes and nature beyond but also to integrate the landscape within the building itself.

BIG releases plans for IQON skyscraper in Ecuador


Architecture firm BIG has released renderings of its first project in South America: a curved tower covered with planted balconies that would become the tallest building in Quito. Read more

Zaha Hadid's Project in Rio Canceled


"Residencial Casa Atlântica" in Copacabana, Zaha Hadid's first project in South America, was canceled. O Globo reported the cause as "the delay of the city hall to release the work license and the consequent delay of the launch and inauguration of the project." The luxury residential condominium was designed in 2013 and should have been opened in time for the Olympics.

First conceived as a luxury hotel, the building was changed to a residential project with 30 residential units. According to businessman Omar Peres, who spearheaded the venture and commissioned Zaha Hadid, construction was supposed to begin in January of this year. However, delays caused the investment group to drop out and now the land where the building was supposed to be built is up for auction.


IQON . Quito BIG IQON will be BIG’s first project in South America and become the tallest building in one of the highest elevation cities in the world, Quito. Located between the city and La Carolina park, the concrete residence rises 33-stories with views to the volcanoes and striking natural surrounds. IQON will create a … Continue reading BIG

Safdie Architects Announce Design for Fractalized Residential Tower in Quito

Courtesy of Safdie Architects Courtesy of Safdie Architects

Safdie Architects have released their design for ‘Quorner’, a new residential tower to be built in Quito, Ecuador. The 24-storey structure, a collaboration with Ecuadorean construction firm Uribe & Schwarzkopf, is to be one of Quito’s largest buildings and Safdie’s first in Ecuador.

Courtesy of Safdie Architects Courtesy of Safdie Architects

The project occupies a small site adjacent to the city’s La Carolina park, and stacks staggered residential units to create both indoor and outdoor private spaces. The north facade features a cascading green wall that visually connects the building to the neighboring park.

Fertile Grounds: Low-Tech “Sand Dams” Breathe New Life into African Drylands

[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

When it rains, it can pour, but in the world’s drylands the net result can be disastrous: flows of water washing away useful soil and what little gets left behind dries up, forcing locals to take long treks to find more during dry seasons. Unless, that is, these flows are stopped by sand dams.

Sand dams are simple but effective on multiple levels. Like normal dams, they involve walling off areas where water flows — channels that turn into streams and rivers when it rains. They trap water (up to millions of gallons per dam), which can sink into the sand for longer-term storage above the dam (then be tapped via pipes below).

Sand dams also help keep valuable soil in place, preserving and creating new areas of arable land around them. The sand also helps filter and protect these water sources from contamination and disease.