The race to the top in design just got a little bit crazy. It seems Obayashi Corp, the developer behind Tokyo’s Sky Tree, announced their plans to build an elevator to space. No it is not April 1st, and yes we are serious. Or at least Obayashi Corp is serious.

The space elevator will be an estimated 22,370-mile high with a completion date set for 2050.

Photo via Architizer Blog

Welcome to the space age!

The 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize was recently awarded to Wang Shu of The People’s Republic of China. Mr. Wang, a 48 year old architect, is the first Chinese citizen to win the prize. I. M. Pei, an American, was the first Chinese-born architect to win, in 1983.  Now Wang Shu will join the likes of follow Pritzker winners such as Phillip Johnson, who won the first prize, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry and Norman Foster to name a few.

Lv Hengzhong A history museum by Wang Shu in Ningbo, China. Photo via The New York Times.

According to the New York Times,”The prize, founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, to honor a living architect, consists of a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion, which this year will be awarded at a ceremony in Beijing on May 25.”

Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prized, stated “The fact that an architect from China has been selected by the jury, represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals. In addition, over the coming decades China’s success at urbanization will be important to China and to the world. This urbanization, like urbanization around the world, needs to be in harmony with local needs and culture. China’s unprecedented opportunities for urban planning and design will want to be in harmony with both its long and unique traditions of the past and with its future needs for sustainable development.”

We spoken about the importance of universal design on our blog and wanted to share a special project that partners renowned architect and designer Michael Graves and the US Army. The Wounded Warrior Home Project at Fort Belvoir in Virginia is helping to make coming home easier for wounded soldiers in the military.

Clark Realty Capital, the company that develops all the housing on Fort Belvoir, wanted to create a home for those who were injured and wanted to stay in the Army. 19 of these homes will be built to help accommodate wounded active-duty personnel.

Graves is a perfect fit for this project. He has been a champion for universal design since becoming paralyzed after he fell ill from an infection. Now together with the Army, Clark Realty Capital, IDEO and a number of other partners, he is on a mission to “improve quality of life for the increasing number of wounded warriors returning to active duty at Fort Belvoir.”

Photo via NPR

Read more about the Wounded Warrior Home Project at Fort Belvoir at


I don’t know if it’s just me or what but almost every design magazine I come across seems to feature the same interior designers doing approximately the same thing over and over again. Elle Décor looks like Better Home and Gardens looks like Traditional Home. Even the new Lonny Magazine seems to have fallen into the same trap. The website is very cool. But as for the contents: have we really exhausted creativity to the point that we need to publish the same basic design concepts over and over again? And why do all of these designs make the rooms look cluttered?  Does every square inch of space have to have something in it?  What about clean emptiness? As homes get smaller and space becomes a scarce commodity do we really want to be cluttering up each and every room with multiple layers of accessories?  I think not. In the case of design, I say we go back to the idea of less is more. For once I’d like to see a room featured in an interior magazine that actually looks lived in. The worst are the staged rooms. I mean, fantasy is fine. But not at the expense of beautiful but practical design.

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