The iconic Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona has agreed to pay €36m (£31m) to authorities after going without a building permit for more than 130 years.

Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s famous building has been under construction for 136 years – but with no official oversight or permit from either the local council or regional government.

The cathedral is also not listed in the property registry and since 1995 has only been marked as an empty plot belonging to the diocese of Barcelona, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

In 2015, the construction board and Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau began negotiating to regulate the building and licence payments

Over the next decade, the basilica’s money will fund improvements to public transport and access to the monument, as well as assisting the local neighbourhood.

“Today, the Sagrada Familia and [Barcelona city council] signed an agreement to begin the procedures to obtain the works licence of the Antoni Gaudi project,” the basilica’s Twitter account posted.

El Pais report that the lack of oversight has seen some building anomalies, including where eight columns were found to have been built up to 50cm across the pavement in 2007.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is due to be completed in 2026, a hundred years after the death of its architect.

It attracts 4.5 million annual visitors – an average of 12,000 people a day.

Sky News



Coffee beans zip through pneumatic tubes on their way from the roasters to the baristas pulling shots at the espresso bar in the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle. The resemblance to Willy Wonka’s candy factory is intentional, according to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, as a way to use theatrical design to stay one step ahead in the small-batch coffee market. The challenge was to seamlessly integrate coffee roasting, a cafe, and retail into an interactive environment that introduces customers to handcrafted, exotic coffees.

Opened in December, this is the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. With interior design orchestrated by Liz Muller, Starbucks vice president of creative and global design, this shop is focused on fully displaying the roasting process, educating patrons and, thus, getting them interested in the company’s small-lot Reserve coffees. The 15,000-square-foot interior includes roasting equipment and a 6,650-square-foot cafe.

Built in the 1920s as a Packard car dealership on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the location’s original terrazzo and concrete floor and pine-plank ceiling lend the patina of time. A hand-hammered, copper cask—within which beans go to rest and de-gas after roasting—is central in the space. Exposed steel moment frames form a supporting cage around the two-story-tall cask. Light shines through perforations in the copper, casting a map of the world on the floor. Flanking the cask are two roasters, constantly rotating beans and filling the space with a gentle rain-like sound. An old-fashioned Solari board with mechanical split-flap letters—similar to one in a railroad station—click-clacks to announce the arrival of beans from numerous countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Overhead, a maze of copper tubes delivers five types of freshly roasted beans into individual glass silos at the main espresso bar in the center of the space. Baristas pull levers to dispense small amounts into waiting leather pouches before scooping them out to grind. Customers sit at the long, low teak-and-marble bar to watch the baristas, or on sleek leather couches among midcentury modern coffee tables and chairs. A steel fireplace and oversized, custom floor lamps with domed shades and copper linings add warmth. Details underscore the message that each cup of coffee is handcrafted, from the stitching on the leather handrail covers to the cutouts in the industrial-weight-felt window coverings. The bent wood slats of a balustrade leading down to a coffee tasting bar recall the Zen-garden patterns of beans raked to dry in the sun. Nearby, a library is devoted to books about coffee, with a wall of stacked burlap bags stuffed with beans, adding texture and sound absorption. A mezzanine lined with teak bookshelves overlooks the roasting operation below.

The small-batch coffees roasted at this Seattle location will be available within months in specialty Starbucks shops in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and in more than 100 specialty locations to open worldwide in the next five years.



The ninth Hello Wood International Summer University and Festival has taken place at Hello Wood’s campus in the Hungarian countryside. As part of the week-long Cabin Fever program, students from 65 universities around the world were given the opportunity to build seven contemporary timber cabins in a nomadic, lush countryside, mentored by international architects.

As a result of the week-long effort, the rural area was transformed into a cutting-edge working village featuring cabins on wheels, cabins on stilts, and multi-story homes. The festival is dedicated to the Tiny House Movement, which “makes cabins which give urban dwellers the chance to get away from it all for a while.”

Central to the Hello Wood mission is for students to “gain practical experience to supplement the abstract, overwhelmingly theoretical classes they have at the university.” At the 2018 camp, students gained first-hand knowledge of 2D design drawing, tin roofing, insulation, materials, and teamwork.

Below, we have rounded up the seven cabins created as part of the 2018 Hello Wood festival, complete with images and a short project description. More information can be found on the official website here. Our further coverage of the festival, which also includes articles on the results of previous years, is available here.

The A-shaped Grand Cabin Club seeks to evoke images of “cozy evenings playing board games with friends” with a form familiar to Czech-style mountain lodges. The cabin is built of pre-fabricated wooden panels complete with huge glass windows, complete with two bedrooms, and a large common space capable of hosting a party of 20 people, or 8 overnight guests.

Team leaders: Dávid Ráday, András Huszár, Nóra Fekete, Ádám Bajtai
Team: Martin Varvas, Ogulcan Aksoy, Simona Rusnačková, Lucia Pum, Milan Voorhorst, Maria Gracia Latorre, Matteo Rossetti, Filip Cerha, Miriam Rieke, Nolwen Major Francès, Csaba Rittling


This pair of gabled structures, built from weathering steel by Cohesion Studio, can be rented by visitors in the southern California desert.

Folly can be used by glampers in America’s Joshua Tree National Park, who are looking to experience an off-grid vacation without compromising modern conveniences.

Malek Alqadi and Hillary Flur of Cohesion Studio designed the project following Alqadi’s architectural research at The New School in New York City.

“I perceived [Folly] as a design paradigm, a small space with a big experience, modern and innovative while grounded within its environment,” said Alqadi. “I perceived [Folly] as a design paradigm, a small space with a big experience, modern and innovative while grounded within its environment,” said Alqadi. .

The buildings are located on an abandoned homestead among the barren sun-drenched terrain of Joshua Tree, which informed the architecture.

Locally salvaged steel wraps both of the structures, covering the exteriors walls and gabled roofs to create a cohesive, naturally weathered appearance.

In between the two volumes is a small patio, where an outdoor bath – made from a galvanised metal stock tank typically used for livestock – in sunk into the wooden deck. For privacy, large boulders create a visual barrier around the otherwise open space.

Within the larger volume is a dining area and kitchen, as well as a water closet and shower located near the entrance. A ladder leads up to a lofted space for sleeping area, complete with a skylight.

The smaller unit houses equipment and creates a storage area on the ground floor, while an open-air bedroom that offers views of the night sky is located above.

Interior details include plywood-covered walls and ceilings, steel pipes for ladders, and a black indoor shower with a large boulder.

“A stargazing bedroom with no ceiling, showers with exposed and expansive views… offer the exploitation of nature through a respectful approach,” said Alqadi.

A solar panel is located at one edge of the property, tilted on top of a metal post rather than mounted on one of the roofs. This provides the main energy source for heating and cooling the cabins.

“A key difference for me was taking the pedestrian-like solar panels off of the roof and allowing the cabin to breathe architecturally unfettered,” said Alqadi.

“There is also the scientific reasoning behind this decision,” he continued. “Solar panels need air circulation to breathe and remain cool. Placing them on a canopy, mimicking a tree-like structure allows the panels to breathe from all sides, keeping them cool so they are more efficient in energy production.”

Guests can monitor the cabins’ energy consumption and solar production, as well as control security and lighting, open the skylight, and set cooling and heating.

“This interactivity establishes a reference to what off-grid living is like, through automated creature-comforts that ‘break the ice’ to an off-grid lifestyle, without compromising the surrounding environment or guests’ expectations,” said Alqadi.



Airbnb is giving four lucky winners the honor of being among “the first people in thousands of years to spend the night on the Great Wall of China.” The competition, open until August 11th, offers the prize of staying in a custom-designed home situated on one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

The competition, run in collaboration with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee, is intended to “promote sustainable tourism to China by spotlighting wide-ranging efforts to preserve the Wall’s deep heritage and bring Chinese culture to life.” The four winners will have to adhere to strict House Rules, such as respecting their 1.38 billion neighbors, refraining from waking ancient guards with loud music, and promising not to disturb dragons.

Built over 2,600 years ago, and spanning 21,000 kilometers, the landmark originally designed to separate cultures is instead a melting pot of tourism, attracting millions of guests from around the world. However, of the countless visits paid to the architectural feat throughout the decades and centuries, nobody has ever had the chance to call the Great Wall home for the night – until now.

Having been flown in from anywhere in the world, four guests will be treated to an overnight experience with 360-degree views, and a vantage point to watch the sunset over an intimate gourmet dinner inspired by various aspects of Chinese culture. The following morning, guests will embark on a sunrise hike through the Chinese countryside, as well as learning Chinese seal-engraving and calligraphy.

For a chance at winning, entrants must tell Airbnb via their listings page why they feel it is important to break down barriers between cultures and to build new connections. The four best entries will then be treated to the experience from September 4-7, 2018.

Entries will be accepted up until 23:59 (GMT+8) on August 11th, 2018. More information is available via the campaign link here.


This elevated, cedar-clad treehouse in New York’s Ulster County features a huge window that offers views of woodland and mountains, and a path to a lake and a hot tub.

Designer Antony Gibbon, who is currently based in Bali, completed the Inhabit structure for a forested parcel located outside the town of Woodstock, which is less than two hour’s drive from New York City.

It comprises a wooden volume, built around a steel frame and clad in locally sourced reclaimed cedar to suit the hues of the surroundings. It is raised above the ground on a pair of angled metal beams, which Gibbon says give “the illusion that the building is floating out of the side of the hill”.

“The owner was open to the direction and wanted me to replicate the conceptual design as much as possible, which was tying the building into the surrounding forest as much as possible,” he told Dezeen.

Making the most of the elevated position, the large opening punctures the back of the house to offer views of the nearby Catskills mountains from the open-plan living area inside. A large outdoor deck is slotted underneath the raised volume, with stone steps providing access to the large lake and a hot tub.

Wood lines the interiors of the front gabled volume, which houses a lounge with a wood-burning stove and a sofa facing the view.

In the kitchen at the rear is a wooden island topped with a concrete counter. Glazing runs up the corners of the room and opens onto a pair of balconies that flank the treehouse. On one side, the glass also stretches up to the mezzanine bedroom floor, which is placed above the kitchen and accessed by a ladder.

A wood-lined hallway leads from the kitchen into a “box type unit” at the back, occupied by a shower room and bathroom, and a second bedroom.

Upstate New York is a popular getaway spot for city residents venturing north at the weekends. Also in the area, Manhattan studio JacobsChang built a tiny blackened timber cabin on a shoestring budget.

Other recently completed treetop dwellings include a house in a British Columbia valley that’s meant to be shared by campers and creatures, and a spruced up design in Aspen.

Photography by Martin Dimitrov.



Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas have released images of their competition-winning “Capo Grande Tower,” a tower and bridge situated on the Slovenian coastline linking Giusterna Beach to Monte San Marco. Designed in collaboration with Slovenian architect Sandi Pirš, the scheme consists of a 365-foot-high (111-meter-high) double-ellipse structure inclined slightly towards the sea, seeking to “immediately become a new symbolic element of the city.”

The scheme is located in the coastal Slovenian city of Koper which, like many cities along the coastline, see the coexistence of two cultures – Italian and Slovenian. The double-ellipse structure of the tower symbolizes the relationship between these two cultures, forming a “Tower of Peace” between East and West. During the evening, the two intertwining structures will be illuminated, meeting at the top to create a thin beam of light hovering over land and sea.

Although the scheme primarily serves as a link between Giusterna Beach and Monte San Marco, the architects have sought to create a landmark which serves as a tourist attraction in its own right. Adjacent to the tower, a panoramic platform named “Capo Grande” is intended to host bars, restaurants, and a gathering spot for tourists and locals. The platform is accessed via a 330-foot-long (100-meter-long) covered walkway, clad with glass walls to permit views across the Slovenian landscape. The scheme also serves a recreational purpose, with areas for slides, climbing walls and bungee jumping provided, and a play space for children at the base of the tower.


The 1.8M Width House identity and the core is the fluidity of its interior space, which molds together all the rooms and grants the freedom to reinvent each part of the house on a daily base, defying the conventional divisions of living spaces.

The first challenge we had to face with the design of the 1.8M Width House was the juxtaposition of the size of the plot and the spatial and psychological openness the clients’ wished for. At a mere 2.5 by 11m, the site is a typical “eels’ bed”, where you can, with your arms extended, touch both external walls of the building. To avoid a cramped interior, we focused on keeping as much free space as possible between the walls and on the creation of a fluid, playful space.

To design a small but ever-changing house, we considered the house as an aggregation of small “places” and designed an environment in which such “places” expand on various levels. The floating floors in the long and narrow space generate a spatial expanse, while light and fresh air flow in from the façade and the roof, through the slender shelves that further enhance the peculiarities of the space. Daily household goods fit naturally into the atmosphere, blending in with the interior design and the inhabitants.

The structure was developed by fully considering the singularity of the building shape. Columns and beams were limited to maximize the interior space. Steel-frame construction was found to be the most adequate to the narrow frontage imposed by the site, while an EZ stake system was adopted for the concrete foundation. Furthermore, the chosen exterior materials do not require scaffolding and an open piping route that can be easily maintained was installed to match the uniqueness of the site. Natural ventilation was carefully studied to minimize the use of air conditioning system. Natural wind and air flow circulator provide a comfortable space for the habitants.

The 1.8M Width House is located on a shopping street in a central area of Tokyo. As many other parts of the city, it’s crowded with people and buildings alike. The multitude of often minute constructions we see now was born over time due to the dual action of rising land costs and demand. As a matter of fact, it isn’t uncommon for landowners to partition the original plot in order to sell it and this phenomenon is behind the appearance of the “Eels’ beds”: sites of a width close to the legal minimum of 2m.

Working with these situations is a challenge but also a possibility to increase the available built space in the city while preventing its expansion. Moreover, along with other solutions, this strategy allows a variety of clients to access otherwise expensive neighborhoods and to carry on the city’s characteristic fast-paced evolution.


Arc Designs has created a cantilevered viewing platform, and walkway with a glazed floor, perched on one of the highest points of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Named Skywalk, the viewing platform is built above an existing WWII military platform in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve that once served as a base for anti-aircraft Bofors guns.

Arc Designs wrapped the existing stone platform with a 2.5-metre-wide glazed walkway and balustrade, which cantilever over the steeply dropping terrain.

Steel stairs lead from the walkway up to the top of the original military platform, where the old octagonal concrete gun-base now serves as a seat for visitors to rest and gaze out towards the horizon.

Located just a little further north of O’Hara’s Battery – the highest point on the Rock – the platform provides visitors with panoramic views both eastwards and westwards, with Europe and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean all in sight.

“The design aspiration of this project was to afford the visitor with new and unrivalled views in all directions including over the rocky cliff-face below,” said Arc Designs, “while at the same time ensuring a subtle intervention, which did not detract from the natural and historic nature of this unique setting.”

The structure is anchored to the ground with numerous rock anchors, which each support a tensile load of 15 tonnes.

The anchors ensure that the structure can withstand not just the imposed load of visitors above but also the considerable wind speeds of over 93 miles per hour that are generated over the ridge of the rock.

The Skywalk can be accessed from the road via a panoramic lift, which anchors the overall cantilevered structure back to the terrain.

“Because vehicular access to this area is limited to very narrow and winding roads, the entire walkway structure had to be fabricated in smaller sections which could be transported and assembled together in-situ,” explained the architects.

“This was a considerable challenge in an area with rapidly changing weather conditions and given the steeply dropping cliff-face below,” continued the architects.

“The assembly was further constrained by the crane size that could be utilised, as this needed to be sized on the basis of the old military platform on which it was positioned.”

The Skywalk’s main steel structure comprises 18 separate pieces, weighing a combined total of over 30,000 kilograms, while the glazing modules, which include 750-square-metres of glass panels, are roughly the equivalent area of four tennis courts with the largest component weighing approximately 650 kilograms.

The structure was built on behalf of HM Government of Gibraltar and forms part of a wider programme of improvements to the area.

Other developments include the construction of a 70-metre long suspended bridge, the restoration of numerous former military batteries and installations and introduction of interpretative and directional signage along newly established walking trails.

In Holland Dutch firm MVRDV recently won a contest to create a wave-like viewpoint on the coast of Holland, which is designed to rock like a seesaw with the changing of the tides, while a helium balloon tethered to a cantilevered track was among the winners in a competition to design a conceptual observation deck for a volcano’s crater in eastern Turkey.



The architecture office heri&salli from Vienna conceived a steel structure similar to a cocoon round a swimming pool in the garden of a private builder-owner in Austria. With mounted panels and interior constructions which are more or less depending on their function the parametric organized spatial element describes possibilities of a usable and experienceable surface.

Proceeding from the task to redefine an existing garden property with view of the lake, and simultaneously create provisions on views and a demarcation in direction of the surrounding properties an neighbors the theme of the classic rustic fence was taken up. In the simplest case a fence functions as protection or demarcation, a visualization of a line that wasn’t visible before. In the further contest it serves as esthetic element or a representative sign and separates as a 2-dimensional element different areas. We formulate the fence based on different requirements as a 3-dimensional description of an existing garden.

The fence itself becomes- proceeding from a diagonal constructional arrangement- therefore a possibility of space. With this in mind it doesn’t demarcate the space, but creates it and renders it experienceable, the function as a demarcation slides into the background and is only a byproduct. The objective of the opening element similar to a cocoon is to create different spatial qualities and experience space. Partly covered, withdrawn and protected, then opening and finally in the middle or in the end in the water of the pool where you can swim out of it. The curves convey a feeling of vastness- make the space bigger than it is-and create in the inside of the house an optimal resonant behavior. Different integrated constructions like stairs, seats, lying areas or a table with backrest and pool covering are in its definition in a geometrical relation with the original construction; they emerge only to become part of the structure again.

The integrated panels follow a dynamic course from the orthogonal edge into the described space, to develop in the central parts in relation to the steel structure from the inside to the outside or to dissolve more and more along the vertical. In this case architecture is an accumulation of possibilities in a described space and creates only the edges for a vast land in between.

The construction of the supporting structure can be described as an overhanging free concave form that is designed as frame construction with diagonally running circular tube profiles for outcrossing and plate attachment. The frames consist of solid welded flat steel profiles. The not entirely closed shell is constructed with diamond shaped plates which are fixed by tabs on the diagonals and in case can be turned around their axis. (Bollinger-Grohmann-Schneider/Wien)



A labyrinth and reflective pool, called Writ in Water, has opened on the site near where the Magna Carta was signed, in Runnymede, England.

Set in a meadow near the River Thames, the building has been designed by artist Mark Wallinger and architects Studio Octopi.

Visitors enter through a doorway and can turn either left or right to walk around a labyrinth leading to a central space where a circular pool sits below a skylight.

London-based Studio Octopi planned the building using cubits, an ancient unit of measurement, and built it from rammed earth made from locally quarried gravel mixed with cement.

Described as a piece of “architectural artwork”, Writ in Water is designed to be a place for visitors to contemplate the principles of common law and justice.

A reversed and inverted inscription running around the interior of the pool spells out Clause 39 of the Magna Carta in the still reflection of the water.

The ring of lettering mirrors that of the seal of the historic charter, which was signed at at Runnymede in 1215 as feudal barons sought to curtail the powers of an absolute monarchy.


Clause 39 stated that: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions… except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”

As the UK has no formal constitution, this document is seen to mark the first move towards democracy and enshrining of human rights in the country.

The still pool recalls the fonts of a church, although the binding document was an attempt to curtail the divine right of kings.

“In Writ in Water, the use of reflection to make the text legible plays against the idea of a law written in stone. Magna Carta curtailed this divine right and issued the first secular writ,” said Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger.

The title of the work is taken from the inscription on English Romantic poet John Keats’ headstone: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”

“Keats, though despairing of his legacy, was to become one of the immortals and his words live anew when learnt and repeated by every succeeding generation,” added Wallinger.

“Similarly, although Magna Carta established the law and the nascent principles of human rights, the UK has no written constitution,” he continued.

“What seems like a birthright has to be learned over and over and made sense of. Whether the words are ephemeral or everlasting is up to us.”

The project was commissioned by the National Trust’s contemporary art programme, Trust New Art.

The conservation organisation owns the land where it has been built, with the piece intended to open for the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, although it has opened three years late.



This week, Mexican architect Frida Escobedo’s unveiled her latticed Serpentine Pavilion and the FIFA World Cup began in Russia, with Dezeen providing stadium and kit guides.

Designed by Frida Escobedo, the youngest architect commisioned in the history of the project, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion features a secluded courtyard framed by walls of concrete roofing tiles, in reference to Mexican residential architecture.

“We wanted to have a fresh idea for the pavilion, but [one] that would also speak about we do at the office on an everyday basis,” Escobedo told Dezeen in an exclusive movie filmed at the pavilion.

The 21st FIFA World Cup kicked off in Russia this week, with Dezeen offering a detailed roundup of all 12 stadiums that will be hosting games during the tournament, including the country’s recently renovated national stadium.

With eye-catching designs featuring feathers, waves and an eagle, we also released a guide to all 32 national team shirts on display at the tournament.

In London, the mayor Sadiq Khan condemned Westminster Council after they blocked a proposal to pedestrianise Oxford Street. Khan claimed the decision would be “seen as a betrayal of the millions of Londoners and visitors to our city.”

Former mayor Boris Johnson was also in the headlines this week, as he lent his support to a post-Brexit bridge project proposed to link Scotland and Northern Ireland, which would cost an estimated £15 billion.

In tall building news, the Morpheus hotel in China designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which is the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton”, opened its doors.

In New York, British architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners completed Three World Trade Center, which is now the city’s fifth-tallest building.

In architecture news, New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Australian firm Woods Bagot, won a competition to design Adelaide Contemporary, a major new art gallery in the Australian city. The winning design includes “sky galleries” and a “performance lab”

Also, Sydney-based architect Alec Tzannes was recognised with the 2018 Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal – Australia’s most prestigious award for architecture.