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Monday, March 31, 2008

Aqua Tower, Chicago, United States

Studio Gang Architects design Aqua Tower in Chicago
In an increasingly dense city like Chicago, views from a new tower must be negotiated between existing buildings. Aqua Tower considers criteria such as views, solar shading and function to derive a vertical system of contours that gives the structure its sculptural form. Its vertical topography is defined by its outdoor terraces that gradually change in plan over the length of the tower. These terraces offer a strong connection to the outdoors and allow inhabitants to occupy the building façade and city simultaneously. The result is a highly sculptural building when viewed obliquely that transforms into a slender rectangle from further away. Its powerful form suggests the limestone outcroppings and geologic forces that shaped the great lakes region.
The façade will be glass with undulating balconies which change slightly from floor to floor giving it a rippling effect. The balconies will extend as far as 12 feet (3.7 meters) from the glass wall in some places.
The building will contain 55,000 square feet (5,100 square meter) of retail and office space, in addition to 210 hotels rooms (floors 1-18), 476 rental residential units (floors 19-52), and 263 condominium units & Penthouses (floors 53-80). Aqua will also be the first downtown building to combine condos, apartments and a hotel. Strategic Hotels & Resorts has agreed to acquire the first 15 floors of hotel space upon completion of the building

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New Arezzo Law Court, Arezzo, Italy

Manfredi Nicoletti completes the New Arezzo Law Court in Italy
Near the Medici’s Fortress, inside an historical park, the new building houses the main courtrooms and the Hall of Justice President headquarter and is linked to a neoclassical building, once a large hospital, to be restored and used for offices and archives. The design of the New Wing, symbolises its environment: the rich vegetation of the park and the city’s medieval structure, which was protected by a belt of conch walls on one side and, on the other, open to the squares, gardens and the territory. Also the New Wing is enclosed on the North side by a coved wall of black granite slabs whose surface is flamed, as to acquire a very elegant matted dark-grey tone. To the South, an undulating transparent sunscreen façade of stainless steel is shaped according to a geometrically warped geometry which is characteristics of the skin of many living creatures, including leaves. Those complex curvilinear forms can be built using only rectilinear elements. Thus, a silver bioclimatic foliage protects the interior spaces by a luminous shadow

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The Church Site, Slough, United Kingdom

3DReid release details of their proposals for a new cultural hub in Slough
Located on The Church Site, this project forms an integral part of the overall "Heart of Slough" masterplan revealed by English Partnerships.
Located just 20 miles west of London, and more importantly, only five from Heathrow Airport, Slough is becoming accepted as the gateway to the UK for tens of thousands of immigrants, most from the former eastern european countries. Many stay on and this huge influx is forcing Slough into the front line, facing up to the challenges presented by the post cold war multi-cultural “New Britain”. The town has to move fast to ensure the cultural integration of its diverse communities and this project will no doubt play a central role.
The building, for Slough Borough Council, will accommodate a new library, museum, a central Adult learning facility and a Café. In addition, the development provides a valuable opportunity to regenerate the public realm of the area and a new garden square will form the focus of this, providing both a suitable setting to the adjacent church and new architecture and a high quality environment for the local community and visitors.
Matthew Bedward, Design Director at 3DReid, said: “The design will create an architecturally uplifting space offering modern, state-of-the-art facilities to the people of Slough and beyond. The building is planned to engage the community and help foster creativity, knowledge and learning. The concept sets out to create an identifiable and distinctive place within the town centre focused around a sculptural civic building”
Richard Fairhead, Divisional Director at 3DReid, added: “Internally, the scheme will provide a high quality environment using innovative design and materials creating a simple integrated structural solution promoting low energy consumption and carbon emissions. The building will be flexible, robust and adaptable providing a high degree of future proofing against changes in use and the external climate.”
The project team includes Fitton Associates as Project Manager, Buro Happold as Engineer, Gardiner & Theobald as Cost consultant and Turley Associates as Planning consultant.

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House near Madrid, Madrid, Spain

A-cero architects supress "interference" to maintain clean lines
The house is located on a 3.500 m2 plot presenting a light slope that is used by the access ramp to the garage. The floor plan has the form of a greek cross, and is delimited by the access pathway and the other properties on both of its sides.
The design of this 1,200 m2 compact single-family house is guided by two main concepts: a great functionality in the distribution of the interior spaces and their openness to the exterior to make the most of the views. Both ideas are also present in the interior design and in the selection of the construction materials.
Inside the house, the design follows a functional structure evolving around the hall stairs, a central design element that provokes a surprising visual and spatial effect. Another breathtaking space is the double height volume that contains the living room.
The façade’s geometrical configuration offers inclined walls with clean cuts. The two rectangular intersected bodies surround the cylinder containing the staircase that connects all the house’s areas.
The building is divided in three levels according to the program’s needs. The access is on the ground floor, where all the more public spaces are located: hall, living and dining rooms, office, TV room and kitchen. The living room occupies a double height space open to the exterior views through great glass panes. All the objects that could interfere with the contemplation of the views, like railings or walls, have been suppressed or replaced by transparent elements. The main entrance door is made of a 6 m high glass pane, letting the visitor perceive the interior of the house.
On a lower level are located the technical installation rooms, laundry, indoor swimming pool, games room, wine cellar, garage and a leisure area with a reading space, dining room and TV.
A staircase with glass railings and a glass corridor that goes through the double height space takes to a studio on the upper level overlooking the living room. Next to this area are the master bedroom, equipped with a walk-in closet and bathroom, and four more bedrooms with bathrooms, organized around a corridor covered with shelves.
The interior of the house follows the same colour scheme and predominance of natural materials. The floors are covered with ceramic tiles and wood on the upper level.

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Megawave, Waterfront, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Megawave residential building
Megawave is designed by James Law Cybertecture International with the intention of bringing the rhythm of a wave onto land.

The 9-storey residential building is situated next to the beach of Dubai Waterfront in a combined site consisting of six connected plots. Within the podium, it weaves through a parking level, low-rise retail and dining spaces on large floor plates defined by street frontages and punctuated by courtyards.

Regarded as a mega scale building, 80% of Megawave units provide inhabitants with sea view by adopting the special form of building design. More than that, the wavy balconies bring residents maximum lighting and magnificent views to enjoy.

Technologies include web-based image enhancing cameras are integrated onto the façade to allow the building to view panoramically along the beach, affording a broader view from balconies than conventional buildings.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2010.

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The Rock at Wellington International Airport, Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington’s new international airport gets mixed reception
These two pumpkin forms are not a mirage. They represent a piece of an international passenger terminal, dubbed “the Rock”, which when built will comprise a major expansion and upgrade to Wellington’s International Airport in New Zealand. The NZ $39 million project, designed by Studio Pacific Architecture and Warren and Mahoney, is touted as becoming "New Zealand's newest iconic building", but has instead become the subject of ridicule according to the New Zealand press.
The project takes its design direction from its rugged South Coast location. The copper clad buildings are to have coloured fragments of glass in the roof fissure to let in a warm natural light by day and backlighting at night to create a glowwhich will be seen from the air.
Wellington Airport CEO Steven Fitzgerald has endorsed the project’s design saying,. “Our radical departure from traditional airport design worldwide is entirely deliberate. What is set to become New Zealand’s newest iconic building, ‘The Rock’, combines functionality and capacity with what will be a memorable visitor experience”.

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The Pad Tower, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Pad Tower designed by James Law Cybertecture
The Pad Tower is a 26-floor building containing over 231 intelligent apartments with more than half looking over the picturesque Business Bay area of Dubai whilst the remaining looking towards the center piece of Dubai, the Burj Dubai Tower. Within The Pad, there will be a compilation of different size apartments, ranging from studio apartments, 1 bedroom apartments, 2 bedroom apartments, to studio lofts, 1 bedroom lofts and 2 bedroom lofts.

The Pad Tower has an efficiency of over 87% representing one of the highest in Dubai, and has been sold at rate higher than any equivalent conventional apartment representing one of the highest returns on investment of any newly designed building in Dubai.

The Pad Tower is a truly unique proposition, the first Cybertecture of its kind for a totally integrated residential building targeted to be the trendiest and well-known residential building in Dubai as well as the world. It will embody the spirit of technology and optimistically look to the 21st Century as a new lifestyle for the up and coming crowd of The Pad Tower. The Pad Tower is truly the Cybertecture that leads you to “Live the Future”.

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Renfrew Health and Social Work Centre, Renfrew, United Kingdom

Holmes Architects with Interserve Project Services Ltd, awarded preferred bidder status
Glasgow and Edinburgh-based architects Holmes, working with Interserve Project Services Ltd, have been awarded preferred bidder status on the new Renfrew Health and Social Work Centre. The new three-storey building will provide a modern, flexible, spacious and practical centre with a strong iconic civic presence. The building will reflect the vision and values of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Renfrewshire Council in its welcoming and non institutional appearance, creating a reassuring sense of professionalism and efficiency. The building design has been developed around a clear circulation grid with a newly formed public square at the centre. Internally the circulation route is expressed in the form of a 'public street' from which all functions of the building are interfaced. The 'street' enables building users to very quickly orientate themselves and move through the building whilst also providing connection to the external landscaped courtyards. The strong and graceful building diagram combines a welcoming and light arrival space with more intimate treatment and consultation accommodation wings, which impart variety, scale and interest to the Centre

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Headquarters of Belarusian Potassium Company, Minsk, Belarus

Varabyeu Partners design the headquarters for the Belarusian Potash Company in Minsk
The office building is a headquarters of Belarusian Potash Company (BPC). BPC supplies potash fertilizers to Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, China, Europe, India and the USA and controls a 33% share in the world potash export market.
The main idea for the building was taken from potash crystal shape. The 8th story central atrium connects two part of the building and symbolizes the beauty of pink mineral, which is so rich on Belarusian land. Each wing of the building is a gallery type volume with a vertical garden space in the middle and transformed glass skylight on top. Those are the green hearths of the building, their help to create natural environment and ventilation and restful atmosphere inside. There is a parking garage in the basement floor. The sport complex with fitness classes, sauna and pool are located on the left side of the building. An amphitheatre is planed in the right wing. The office spaces are located on upper floors.
Broken lines and sharp corners illustrated on facades express the main idea of the building. Glazing is transforming and tracing the sunshine in to a colorful twinkle pattern.
The design of this edifice is a complex process, where you have to achieve many different requirements such as esthetics, ergonomics, functionalism and economy which are accomplish today’s modern standards.

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Tetris, Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland building inspired by game of Tetris
The Architectus designed building for the Victoria Quarter derives its parti from the Tetris. The Tetris (building) is generally made up of three elements: the ground and mezzanine retail, six “Tetris” units (two groups of three) over four levels and six smaller two level units on top.

The provenance of the Tetris is originally a puzzle game invented in Moscow, Russia during the days of the Soviet Union. Its name is derived from the Greek numerical prefix “tetra-” meaning four, as all of the blocks are made up of four segments.”

The building has a faceted external concrete frame structure. Four large internal columns act as service risers and support intermediate beams. The interiors are proposed as a robust “off the form” concrete finish. Double height internal spaces feature large opening doors.

The overall Victoria Quarter has been designed in co-operation with Architect firms: Moller, Warren & Mahoney, Jasmax, Fearon Hay, Cheshire, Ian Moore (Sydney), Architecture Workshop (Wellington), Innovarchi (Sydney).

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Karachi port regeneration, Karachi, Pakistan

Construction is soon to start on Aedas’ new landmark scheme in Mai Kolachi, Pakistan
Plans for a landmark waterside development at Mai Kolachi adjacent to the Port of Karachi in Pakistan have been received and are currently being evaluated following the implementation of Aedas’ international competition-winning design for a mixed-use scheme. Endorsed in 2007 by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the development will command an iconic presence and provide a recognisable beacon to Pakistan’s principal city of Karachi and the country’s largest sea port.

The scheme which includes five high rise towers focuses around the centrepiece; a 78-storey fully glazed tower. The tower comprises 162,000sq m. of office space crowned with a 250-bed six-star luxury hotel with additional serviced apartments. The hotel bedrooms are cleverly arranged around an 85m-high atrium to maximise the views over the Arabian Sea. Advanced digital modelling and sustainable design practices have responded to ecological challenges, drastically reducing the building’s carbon footprint and harnessing the potential of natural resources.

Designed for the Karachi Port Trust, the development will help satisfy an international and domestic demand for institutionally acceptable ‘British Council for Offices (BCO)’ standard space. It will also help satisfy a significant shortage of luxury hotel accommodation and high end residential property. Work is set to begin this spring.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

New HQ for City of York Council

RMJM unveils first images
The proposed development will bring together nearly 1,500 council staff who are currently spread across 16 offices in the city. The consolidation of the council’s office accommodation will offer significant savings for the city and will release a number of historic buildings. Designed by UK-based, international architects RMJM, the headquarters building aims to be sustainable in terms of its economic, social and environmental impact and uses a number of low or zero carbon technologies. The plans, which hope to go before the planning council in April 2008, were inspired by the architectural richness of York, from the delicate to the distinct. Architects RMJM embraced the opportunity to design a building in such a challenging, historical context. Chris Jones, RMJM’s Project Director, commented: “This is a great opportunity for RMJM to work within the rich and diverse historic city of York for a progressive local authority to create a contemporary and sustainable public building.” The new building will sit on the edge of the city’s historic center and is part of the wider Hungate redevelopment. Environmental sustainability was a priority throughout the design development and the project team came up with a unique way to celebrate the sustainable technology proposed for the building. The technology required for environmental components such as rain water harvesting will be housed in a ‘bio-tower’ adjacent to the main building. This unique feature celebrates the sustainable aspirations of the development as well as acting as a modern day campanile, a type of tower historically associated with civic buildings. The York project aims to better the Building Regulations CO2 emissions requirements by 30 per cent and include 20 per cent on-site renewable energy generation. The decision to create new headquarters for the Council was made following an independent review of the existing office accommodation which concluded that a large proportion of the buildings are outdated, disjointed and unsuitable for office accommodation. The current accommodation also presented a real constraint on the authority's ability to respond to the changing needs of its customers, modernize the organization and meet current Disability Discrimination Act legislation. The new building aims to be customer focussed, incorporating a fully integrated face to face Customer Center and access for customers with disabilities. The headquarters are expected to be complete in 2010.

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Contador-Weller house, Tunquén, Casablanca, Chile

Riesco + Rivera Arquitectos Asociados Contador-Weller house in Chile
In a place and in a time, where one of means, almost conditions "sine qua non", to accede to the prestige of the contemporary in architecture, consists of the execution of projects of uni-familiar residences that show a generous dimension in surface, and a conventional program corresponding to a certain social level, next to an originality assured in good part in its high cost by square meter, that must approach - if it is the same - tried to be recognized the cost unit of surface of an automobile of certain category. Our work has been oriented to explore the possibilities of consolidated constructive systems that through small modifications to the design of the details and engineering specifications it allows us to improve his qualities and to manage to lower the price of the costs adapting them to the reality of a developing country like Chile. In this case the Canadian constructive system.

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Dyson School of Design, Bath, United Kingdom

Wilkinson Eyre triumph in Bath with green light for Dyson school
Wilkinson Eyre designed Dyson School of Design Innovation yesterday received planning permission from Bath and North East Somerset Council’s development control committee. The approval, which has raised some controversy amongst conservation-minded groups in Bath and was passed by the committee yesterday, can be viewed as a victory for modern architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city. Wilkinson Eyre’s scheme has been applauded by the Urban Regeneration Panel and favourably reviewed by English Heritage. Reworked to take into account concerns about the flood risk on the riverside site, and integrating four of the main facades of the Fuller-designed Newark Works factory building on the Lower Bristol Road. To the river frontage it presents a crescent-shaped glass façade, with a river walkway and new footbridge connecting the school to the old city. Chris Wilkinson, Director of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, commented: ‘This granting of planning permission, in the face of difficult opposition, is a major triumph for the project, and a tribute to the hard work by Buro Happold, The Dyson Foundation and the team at Wilkinson Eyre. Following our success, it is hoped that permission for Eric Parry’s Holburne Museum of Art will also go ahead, thus raising hope for the future of modern architecture in Bath.’ Sir James Dyson commented: ‘We’re delighted the elected councillors have seen the potential the school has to offer the young people of Bath & North East Somerset and the regeneration opportunity for South Quays… We want young people to come to the school as soon as possible to become the design engineers of the future.’

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sheraton Hotel, Mexico City, Mexico

This dramatic new building is located in downtown Mexico City across the “Alameda Central” sharing the Avenida Juarez. with the “Palacio de Bellas Artes”, “Casa de los Azulejos” and the “Torre Latinoamericana”. It is a 770,000 sqft construction in 26 levels with 464 rooms, a convention center, boutiques, restaurants, cafeterias as well a spa and an heliport. The materials and tectonics used act in a reciprocal way with the user and establish a dialog about the historical references of the site. The care taken to the detail and the volumetry play an important roll in making this project part of its context.

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Pascal Arquitectos' Da Vinci Residential Tower in Mexico

This condominium tower includes 38 apartments. The service areas include a multi-purpose room, paddle tennis court, open swimming pool at the roof garden, lounge, SPA with a two lane lap-pool, jacuzzi, restrooms, dressing room, and a balcony with a fantastic view to the gardens. Each apartment has 3 bedrooms, all with bathroom and a walk-in closet, dinning room, living room, family room, full kitchen, service room; resulting in two types: one of 272.61 m2 and the other of 268.99 m2. All facade covering elements are hanged, attached with screws or staples, making them completely detachable. All these creates a thermo-meteorological acoustic barrier and in consequence this is very energy efficient building. At the same time, this system facilitates façade maintenance and replacement and a convenient access to hydraulic and sanitary installations that go through along the perimeter of the building. All of the residual water is treated and re-used in garden watering, car wash, and toilets. This building also comprises intelligent systems regarding access control, closed circuit, energy saving lighting controls and lamps

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Nisha Bar, Mexico City, Mexico

Pascal Arquitectos have recently completed the new luxurious ‘Nisha’ bar in Mexico City
The project comes up from the intention of creating an entertainment space for adults of 30 years old and over. The development houses a lounge and a restaurant-bar area connected by a lobby. In contrast to the lobby which is predominantly in dark tones, the “terrazzo” floor is illuminated by psychedelic images displayed over eight plasma screens.
The lounge walls are completely covered in wood and surrounded by large windows overlooking a forest; within this space there are several small sets of living rooms, each one with a plasma screen which recreates images simulating a fireplace, a fish tank or a landscape.The restaurant-bar is surrounded by crystal walls that changes color in along with the music and the videos. This section also displays a 15 meter long bar. above and across the entire back wall of the bar customers can enjoy a huge 15 by 3 meters height hi-res video screen submerging them into a virtual world: for weather it be watching Earth from outer space, flying through the clouds, exploring a tropical forest or swimming surrounded by sharks which is all amplified with specialist hi-fi sound equipment.
The restrooms were designed as if they were part of the recreational spaces decorating them with a service bar and a cozy sofa. The use and the color mix in every space of the site is designed to generate visual delight complemented by the music, the videos and the social atmosphere.

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Pacific Dawn, Australia

Images courtesy of: Renzo Piano & Foster + Partners

Another top architect takes to the water
Images have just been released of Renzo Piano's new superliner design. The Pacific Dawn at 70,000 tons, is somewhat larger than his UK rival's marine effort (below)

The new superliner boasts a spacious domed forward entertainment area and observation lounge, three-storey atrium foyer, casino, jogging track, pizzeria, 9 bars and lounges, two restaurants, whirlpool spas, library, showlounge, duty-free shopping, medical centre, gym and health spa.

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L &G and Mitsubishi Estate Company Building, London, United Kingdom

New London landmark for Legal & General and Mitsubishi estate company.
A new central London landmark is unveiled today as part of the regeneration of the Saint Giles area. Central Saint Giles, which is due for completion by the end of 2009, is the new groundbreaking 500,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme from internationally acclaimed architect Renzo Piano and joint developers Legal & General and Mitsubishi Estate Company.

Central Saint Giles, which replaces a redundant 1960’s office block previously occupied by the Ministry of Defence, is an environmentally friendly, sustainable, colourful development that comprises office space, retail, restaurants, cafes, residential and a new public piazza. The development, on which building work has already started, will be a pedestrian-friendly site, connecting five different regions of the West End.

On a 1.75-acre island site, the development sits in a strategic, exceptionally well-connected, location between Oxford Street and Covent Garden. The design consists of three buildings with 13 irregularly orientated, individually coloured ceramic & glass facades. When completed, Central Saint Giles will be 12 storeys tall and will comprise 393,000 sq ft of high quality office space with some of the largest floor plates (42,000 sq ft) in the West End, 27% of the site’s area is dedicated to open space and the development includes 109 residential units, 50% of which will be affordable housing.

World renowned architect Renzo Piano commented: “The architectural challenge was to create a development that brings heart and soul into a forgotten part of Central London’s urban fabric. A place that, by adding levitated, articulated and colourful buildings, physically expresses the people-focused and socially responsible credentials of modern corporate tenants”. < p>Bovis Lend Lease is building the scheme, Stanhope plc have been appointed as development managers and Bovis as construction managers. Fletcher Priest have been appointed as Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s executive architects to the site. The joint letting agents are Jones Lang LaSalle and Cushman & Wakefield

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

hadid's aquatic centre grows wings

the olympic aquatic centre design by zaha hadid for the 2012 olympics in london has been modified
from its original design (pictured above). building reports that new images of the design display large
temporary seating structures on each side of the facility. due to cutbacks the temporary seating is
being added to provide needed seats for the games and will be removed when the building is
transformed for regular use.

video link

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