Coming: the Compressive Catenary

Posted on June 14th, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: construction, Installations + Exhibitions, NADLAB

to the BSA space, this week


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MSD wins 2015 World Environment Day Award

Posted on June 12th, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: _Melbourne School of Design, Awards

The Melbourne School of Design has won the Hanson’s Green Building Award through the United Nations Association of Australia. See all the winners here.



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In memory of Soheila Beski

Posted on June 12th, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Things We Like

Soheila Beski memar

It has been almost 11 years since I heard her voice for the first time on the phone: “Is this Amin Tadj?” a voice said on the other end of the line, “Yes?!” I answered after a moment of hesitation. “This is Soheila Beski from Memar magazine, do you have any better videos of your building? The jury is making a decision and your video is not helpful at all”; beyond a direct critical interface, she was almost yelling at me. This voice was from a woman who was not an architect but one who has had a huge influence not only on my professional life but on an entire contemporary generation of architects in Iran.

I was around 26 and still a student, and Soheila Beski was editor-in-chief of Memar magazine. The magazine was the only architectural journal in Iran at the time, but was operating with a quality that was competitive with the ranks of many other international press that we were sometimes lucky to receive from across the borders, but with one very important difference: the buildings in this one were from “our country”: a nation that had lost much during the revolution, a subsequent war with Iraq, and the ensuing hardships that followed in the years to come. In short, it was hard for people to believe that such a journal would have something to offer.

It was some 10 years after the end of the war, and most of the ruins had been already rebuilt, except one thing: hope.  There were few people out there who wanted or had the courage to change this gray atmosphere but Soheila was one of them. She always had hope and wanted to share it with everybody; “There are a lot of things here that merit exposure, discussion and debate.” She was a writer and a novelist. Maybe that was the reason that she was seeing everything differently. She had a literary ability of dreaming about another world, one with potential.

The Memar Awards were in their fourth year. The award was launched by the magazine to find, show and judge what had been built in the country on an annual basis. But in what turned out to be a huge boost for the architectural culture of Iran, this competition served as a platform for a whole new and young generation of architects. That year was no exception with the majority of awards going to young architects, with me as one of the youngest.

At the moment, she was the engine behind the whole show. A charismatic, energetic, brave, tall, beautiful, middle-aged woman who was orchestrating the architectural discourse of a generation with incredible success within a masculine community of architects – in a country where women do not automatically enjoy the same rights as their male counterparts. It is fair to say that, prior to Beski, there was no coherent architectural community to speak of, and she single-handedly had to build it from scratch, educating the broader community as much as her architectural cohorts. And certainly, this was the case for me; it was the first time that I was seeing myself amongst a group of other “architects” and in my eyes she was the bridge connecting us.

It was at the ceremony dinner of the annual awards. Shervin (my wife) and I were standing shyly at the very end corner of a dining table staring at the people that we had just met.  “Soheila, do you know anybody here with whom I can collaborate?”—one of the jurors of that year, Nader Tehrani was seeking to associate for possible projects in the region. This was his first trip to Iran after 25 years, back to his country of origin.  He was excited about everything; food, people, smells, crowded cities, among other things. He wanted to build something in his native land. “Work with them, he is a good boy”, she recklessly pointed at me. This casual introduction initiated one of the deepest and longest friendships I ever had and definitely she was the “bridge”.

Now, 11 years later, I heard last week that she is not amongst us anymore. She passed away in her 64th year of an illness with which she had been struggling for a long time. She was always full of life and hope and fought with her illness, never revealing it as a concern, such that no one could have imagined its ultimate results.  Last week, in recognition of one of its champions, all architects in Iran hung a white curtain in front of their buildings in her honor; she of all people, without a building to her name, nor a degree to the discipline did more for architecture than any other recent figure, bringing a generation together. Soheila Beski, you will definitely be missed!

– Amin Tadj

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Happy Birthday to Toronto’s DFALD

Posted on June 10th, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: _Daniels Building, Things We Like

The oldest architecture school in North America is celebrating 125 years! Soon they will be celebrating their new building as well, see live web-cam construction progress here.


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The art of painted concrete over cast concrete

Posted on June 9th, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Things We Like

The horizontal crack smuggles itself between the cast and painted concrete at Tokyo Tech.


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Japanese Room at the University of Melbourne FABP

Posted on June 5th, 2015 by achang

Posted under: _Melbourne School of Design, Things We Like

japanese room 3d scan


The Japanese Room, tucked in the corner of the 1st floor of the original FABP Building, was commissioned in 1963 by then Chair in Architecture, Professor Brian Lewis to raise the profile of Asian architecture at the University of Melbourne. Architect Shigeru Yura, was invited along with a group of teaching staff to design one of three theme meeting rooms. The room was designed in the Shoin-Zukuri domestic style of the 17th century was thought to be suitable for educational purposes. The room is still one of the best examples of traditional Japanese architecture in Australia.

All of the components were fabricated in Tokyo and arrived in Melbourne in November 1965. The architect had negotiated that the Australian workmen installing were to wear white gloves on the left hand. The same care was taken in the dismantling of the Japanese Room before the FABP was demolished in 2013.  The relocation provided an opportunity to improve the Japanese room as many compromises to the design had been made over the years to accommodate its original location.

Now in its new home on the top floor in the North West corner of the FABP paired with the Japanese Garden, the Japanese Room sits in a privileged position overlooking the concrete lawn.  Recently a 3d laser scan was created of the space you can link to it here.


photo: Nick Lavars

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Office Lunch

Posted on June 2nd, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Things We Like

Thanks to all our interns for hosting an amazing lunch down in the shop today!


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Nader to lecture at Tokyo Tech

Posted on June 1st, 2015 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Academic, Lectures

On June 14th Nader will join Toshio Maruyama, Dana Buntrock, Yasuaki Onoda, Kazuhiro Kojima, Manabu Chiba, and Koichi Yasuda for the  Architectural Education and Space Symposium at Tokyo Institute of Technology. The lecture will take place in Midorigaoka Hall in Midorigaoka 6th Building from 1:30pm to 5:30pm.Nader-lecture-in-Japan-blog

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