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Monday, April 27, 2009

Plaza Program and Green Lights for Broadway, New York, United States

New York City streets go green

New York City transportation head, Janette Sadik-Kahn is taking it to the streets, literally. The visionary transportation planner, who has been on the job for two years and was tapped by the Obama Administration for a top post, is serious about sustainability. And, while her first attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by proposing congestion pricing for those who came in to the city by car went over like a lead balloon, her current efforts to green the city’s streets by reinventing car lanes as public space has carried favor with just about everyone.

Her latest project, dubbed “Green Lights for Broadway”, aims to transform the city’s iconic car-clogged thoroughfare into a pedestrian oasis. As the only street in Midtown that is off the grid, Broadway poses significant traffic problems and safety issues along its length. “Green Lights for Broadway” aims to reduce traffic congestion through Midtown with targeted improvements focused at Times Square and Herald Square that will speed cross town traffic and replace car lanes with public space where pedestrians can lunch or relax in the middle of the street.

Broadway is just one of many areas of the city that is being “pedestrianised” by Sadik-Kahn. Another intiative to green the city steets is the Plaza Program which began last year aiming to put all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of a park. Under this program, streets throughout the city are being reinvented as public plazas, as, for example, at Madison Square Park where 45,000 sq ft of public space was recently added in the middle of Madison Avenue and in nearby Chelsea where a car lane was transformed into a plaza with planters and a bike lane.

While these efforts will no doubt make the city more liveable, the Mayor and the Transportation Commissioner would like to see a Manhattan with fewer cars. As such, the city is tweaking its public transportation system to expand and speed service. While the focus is mainly on adding designated bus lanes and improving ferry service, there may also be a tramway in New York’s future.

In the 1990s, while with the Dinkins Administration, Sadik-Kahn tried to build a light rail system on 42nd Street. And though that project died on the vine, the idea of a building a light rail line on 42nd Street is still very much alive. The Institute for Rational Mobility (RUM), an advocacy group, is currently floating a proposal, dubbed “Vision 42” that re-imagines 42nd Street as a landscaped pedestrian mall with a 2.5-mile long light rail line that runs river to river. In a recently released report, RUM indicates the roughly $500 million project would generate $704 million in annual benefit. While that project’s future is yet to be determined, Sadik-Kahn has said she is not opposed to using the dedicated bus lanes initiative as a “back door “ step toward light rail, noting that cities all over the world, like Bogotá Columbia, are working toward a light rail service by reclaiming auto space in this way.

Regardless, the city’s green transportation czar is on the case manipulating over 6,000 miles of roadway and 12,000 miles of sidewalks for the betterment of the public. While incomplete, her efforts have led to large increases in cycling as a primary mode of transit, increased ridership on subways and busses, and reduced mortalities amongst bicyclists and pedestrians.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
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Ethekwini Hospital, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

New hospital for Kwazulu Natal province

The new Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is located just off the N2 High way at Nandi Drive, in the Riverhorse Valley Development, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

The architects were assigned the task of designing a hospital that would surpass the existing local facilities, both in feel as well as in efficiency of planning. It was specifically requested by the client that a "360 degree" building be designed. That is a building which looks pleasant from all sides, and has no visible services. This was achieved by the careful screening of most of the services on the building's roof and carefully planning the location of the electrical services on the lower level.

The hospital is six storeys in height. The entire second floor is dedicated to specialist cardiac care. The total bed count for the facility is two hundred and fifty, which is divided into a Medical Ward, a Surgical Ward, a Short Stay Unit, a Paediatric Unit and a Maternity Suite. There is also a 24hr Emergency Unit and a state of the art Radiology Department.

One of the main focal points of the design was to achieve an improved quality of stay for both the patients and their visitors. This was approached on two levels – technical and aesthetic. The technical level focused on improved service delivery by implementing the latest digital equipment for diagnosis and treatment. The aesthetic level focused on creating an environment that was warm and welcoming to all persons using the facility. This was achieved by providing as much natural lighting as possible, particularly evident in the main entrance and public waiting areas, which are lit by a skylight. The main feature staircase is encased in glass. The use of vibrant colours in the artworks, furniture, joinery and floor finishes also add to the warmth and comfort of the interior.
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Granary Wharf, Leeds, United Kingdom

Granary Wharf nearing completion

This week saw the ‘topping out’ ceremony for the newest edition to the Leeds skyline, careyjones architects’ striking residential tower at Granary Wharf for ISIS Waterside Regeneration.

The Granary Wharf development, comprising three separate buildings, is one of only a few Leeds city centre schemes that is on schedule for completion this year. ISIS Chairman Nigel Franklin said; “Our belief that people want outstanding quality in exceptional locations has never been shaken, even through the housing crisis. Customers tell us that they have been waiting years for a scheme like this: I am glad we had faith in our beliefs. The city's regeneration plans for the area are first class. ISIS is the very proud custodian of granary wharf which sits at the heart of them.”

New names were also announced for the two distinctive residential buildings; careyjones innovative ‘twisting’ tower will be known as Candle House, a reference to the candle and tallow packing warehouses once located on the wharf side; and the 14 storey building designed by CZWG Architects named Waterman’s Place.

Director at careyjones architects, Simon Clarke, said: “It is great to see the Granary Wharf masterplan emerging as the three buildings take their place in this fantastic gateway location. We are extremely proud of our work with ISIS and to be ‘topping out’ such a visually striking building that will create an impressive addition to the Leeds skyline.”

Cllr Carter added: “These are testing times for any city undertaking ambitious regeneration plans and Leeds is no exception, which is why the topping out milestone is particularly significant.”

What will be Leeds’ largest hotel, City Inn, incorporating the city’s only ‘sky’ bar with 360degree views, will stand between Candle House and Waterman’s Place is due to open in July 2009. The area also will benefit from the transformation of Neville Street, a main gateway to Granary Wharf, due to complete this autumn and the installation of a keenly anticipated walkway from Granary Wharf directly into Leeds train station, expected in 2012.
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Nussbaum Information and Training Center, Olten, Switzerland

Industrial training center explores variation in spatial qualities

The project for the Swiss sanitary hardware manufacturer Nussbaum AG responds to the surrounding buildings by reinterpreting their architectural language into a brighter and more elegant form.

The strong and simple volume - made of a profile glass facade - is punctured by several courtyards. The design is about exploring different spatial motifs by changing room heights, producing different light situations and creating assorted connections between inside and outside spaces.

Corresponding to communication requirements, the inner structure of the building is open and nondirectional. Functional, spatial and acoustical divisions are easily managed due to this clear and simple structure which nevertheless allows for differentiated and varied spatial qualities.
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Putney House, Vermont, United States

Kyu Sung Woo Architects design rural abode set on Putney Mountain, Vermont

Situated on the south and west facing slopes of Putney Mountain, Vermont this house engages the landscape and reinterprets the simple volumes of Vermont rural architecture. Three clearings in the forest punctuate the long gravel driveway and provide views of meadow, pond and house. In the final clearing, the house is broken into three volumes arrayed around a large rock outcropping with open spaces that frame vistas of the Green Mountains. The volumes follow the contours of the slope stepping up the hill to engage the site while a planned addition continues the sweep of the volumes along the slope.

Each volume has a distinct programmatic function: a shed volume serves as a workshop and storage outbuilding, and two connected volumes form the main living quarters of the house: one volume serves as private family living space and the other serves as a public studio and meditation space. The house provides a weekend gathering place for three generations of family from around the region. Three main bedrooms are arranged to provide privacy while children’s rooms with play lofts are integrated with the public areas.

The house is designed for maximum contact with the exterior, reinterpreting local building materials with stained Western Red Cedar siding and corrugated steel, while protecting the occupants from the harsh winters and hot summer days of southern Vermont. Three outdoor spaces, each with a unique exposure, allow connection to the environment throughout the day. A south facing sliding glass wall extends the kitchen/dining space outdoors with an eighteen foot clear opening. The studio space extends west through a sliding glass door to a wood-lined screen porch and a view of the mountain forests beyond. A shaded stepped central gravel courtyard provides relief from the sun on summer days. Narrow window openings on the north walls protect the house from winter winds while promoting cross ventilation in the summer months.

On the interior, the studio space is minimally detailed with white plaster walls and an acoustic fabric ceiling for piano recitals while the living quarters are selectively clad in local granite, maple and mahogany woods to impart a feeling of warmth. The building is framed entirely in dimensional lumber with a prefabricated wood truss providing a large span opening at the kitchen/dining area.

In keeping with the sensitive and isolated site, the house is off the grid with roofmounted photo voltaic panels providing electricity. Thick walls are encapsulated by high performance insulation and staggered wood stud construction minimizes thermal bridging to the interior in the winter months. Large aluminum windows admit abundant natural light to counteract Vermont’s short winter days while overhangs provide summer shading. Wood stoves fueled with felled trees from the site are supplemented by radiant heat floors.
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Taiwan Center for Disease Control Complex

Jury pick favourite design commending its internationality

The design of the internationally tendered Taiwan Center for Disease Control Complex is to be developed by Chinese firm Ricky Liu and Associates in conjunction with the USA's CUH2A. One of 7 shortlisted teams, the joint team's design was commended for its affordability, its relationship with the surrounding landscape and its international influences.

With a jury of 11 judges, remarks on the project were varied but many commented on the projects international reflections and the professional expertise particularly from the American side of the team. A division of HDR, CUH2A is a Global Science and Technology Design Firm with offices all over the United States and with enviable experience in laboratory design.

The Taiwan project, situated in Hsinchu, includes the Phase I “Research and Diagnostic Center” and the Phase II “Administration Center”. The winning Research and Diagnostic Center design attempts to create a landmark in the region. Its 9-level laboratory building is located in the western site with its facade facing the Hsinchu High Speed Rail Station. Taking a full consideration of the total power supply, mechanical running and their maintenance, the “Power Center” is designed as a separate building to the CDC campus.

The Administration Building consists of 6 floors located in the north of the site. The arc building setbacks away from the front plaza and allocate the main access at the north side centralizing the control on staff’s access. The large auditorium sits at the east of the site for the purpose of flexible space for gathering and recreation.

The overall design takes into consideration issues such as security, flow, form and working environment. Further development will take place over the next phase of the design development, not least of which will be cost issues which are a common problem for international companies in Taiwan.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Land Securities Office + Marketing Space, Leeds, United Kingdom

ESA design new offices and marketing facilities for Land Securities in Leeds
The project overlooks The Trinity Quarter, one of Land Securities’ major town centre schemes which it is promoting in conjunction with Caddick Developments. The project is within an office building that was recently extensively refurbished by ESA.

The 8,500 sq ft floor plate features a “living wall”, which snakes its way from end to end subtly changing colour as it goes. The wall divides ‘public’ from working spaces, manifesting itself in various forms in its journey from end to end of the space. It starts at reception, coloured orange and on its way encloses meeting rooms, work stations, a library and kitchens. It culminates in the marketing suite in the form of a backdrop/servery, by which time it has become a deep red. Full height glazing overlooking the Trinity Quarter allows Land Securities to reveal the development site to visitors at exactly the right moment in the presentation.

Bamboo flooring has been used, delivering a low-cost, hardwearing alternative to hardwood.

Commenting on the project, creative director of ESA Nic Sampson said: “The living wall is an organizing device which threads its way through the office, functioning as a dual working and marketing space. It establishes a strong theme that Land Securities staff and visitors can identify with. They have immediately taken the new space to their hearts and pride in their environment is evident in the way in which they are tending it and the way they show off their facilities to visitors.”
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Bird Island, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Graft offer undulating green home for island paradise
Described as the 'test bed for sustainable living and responsible development', Bird Island in Kuala Lumpur's Sentul Park is an exclusive resort with an exclusive range of designers. 8 high-profile architects were invited: Atelier ten; Grant Associates; innovarchi; KplusK associates; MAD; Plasma Studios; and Zoka Zola alongside Graft to compete in the Green Homes competition to design 6 energy efficient residential dwellings for the 35 acre park.

Graft's design, shown here, provides a model for sustainable architecture in which design is enhanced rather than compromised:

"We have applied an integrated strategy of developing a zero-energy house that seamlessly dovetails the economic and environmental advantages of environmentally friendly living with the needs of a demanding and cosmopolitan clientele," say Graft. "The environmental and economic features of this way of living do not conflict with our client’s lifestyle; rather it furthers their ability to comfortably enjoy their time at home."

Achieving a pre-certification LEED Homes Rating of Platinum, with more than 90 credits, the design features include a highly reflective tensile silicon coated fabric skin which guides the residents views out to the park as well as 50% of solar energy out to space preventing overheating; construction materials are chosen when appropriate from renewable or recycled materials; cooling effects are created through a cold rainwater harvesting system collected in spaces in the ceiling during the day; and cross ventilated during the night.

Bird Island is a development exclusive to the gated community of Sentul West, KL. Being developed by infrastructure conglomerate YTL, the island is a 'natural oasis' which is home to many local and migratory birds.
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Christchurch Intergrated Airport, New Zealand, Christchurch, New Zealand

HASSELL on site with new Christchurch Integrated terminal
Designed by HASSELL, in conjunction with celebrated local architects Warren and Mahoney the new Christchurch Integrated Terminal is currently on site.

This major project sees the demolition of the existing 1960 domestic terminal and the creation of a new state of the art facility that will provide Christchurch International Airport Limited with facilities of an international standard to service the growing air travel market within New Zealand.

The development consists of the new terminal, offices, a multi-storey car park, surface car parking with a landscape plaza and airside works. It is currently the largest construction project in the South Island. Responding to the latest developments in air travel, the new terminal is unique in a number of ways: its new check-in hall accommodating both domestic and international customers is designed to accommodate innovative self service kiosks and compact check-in desks facilitating faster passenger processing; traditionally separate airside departure lounges have been centralised to maximize flexibility, improve wayfinding and maximize space utilisation; and landside approach is across an innovative traffic free plaza., rather than by crossing the multitude of roads currently at the terminal.

Swing gates help with flexibility - allowing certain gates to be used either as Domestic or International configuration - some flights can arrive internationally and carry on Domestically on the same gate.

The client, Christchurch International Airport Limited, is the first Carbon Neutral Airport Company in the Southern Hemisphere and from the beginning of the project was committed to ensure that significant ESD initiatives would be employed in the design of the complex facility. The biggest contributor to future carbon saving is the use of the artesian layer under Canterbury Plains which has a 5+ degree difference in winter or summer. The project utilises this difference by taping into this layer with a closed loop heat exchange removing the need for traditional chiller technology.

The terminal will remain in full operation during a complex staged construction and commissioning process which will be completed in 2011 in time for the Rugby World Cup.
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National Heart Centre Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

Firm appointed to £73 million heart Centre
Broadway Malyan has been appointed to a £73 million project to design a new building for the National Heart Centre Singapore. The appointment gives the firm’s new Singapore office, which opened last year, a significant boost.

The 35,299 sq m building will play part of the wider masterplanning for the redevelopment of Singapore General Hospital’s Outram Campus and is designed in conjunction by the company’s Singapore and Weybridge offices and in collaboration with Ong & Ong Architects.

“The building’s design has been born out of a multi-disciplinary process focussing on the social, economic, environmental and technological requirements of the National Heart Centre Singapore,” commented Jason Pomeroy, director for Broadway Malyan’s Singapore office. “Fundamental to this is our ethos for the building - Placing People First – a philosophy which will ensure the needs of the individual are met at the Centre in their everyday working, living, playing and healing lives, be they the patient, doctor or visitor.”

The majority of visitors and patients will enter the ten storey building via a spacious, naturally lit concourse area. This will lead into a large and welcoming reception including information and quarantine zone plus retail shops and cafes, via which department reception areas and the upper levels of the hospital can be reached.

The operational layout of the building has been set to minimise travel distances for patients and staff. The first six floors of the building will contain facilities for a day surgery, operating theatres, clinics, laboratories, radiology and retail facilities. Levels seven to ten have appropriately been designated for non-patient areas including medical records, research laboratories, staff training, a library and administrative offices.

Providing social connectivity, the building will feature a collection of different healthcare related and social functions arranged, like a collegiate, around open spaces not dissimilar to the medicinal courtyard gardens of the Middle Ages. These internal and external open spaces are designed to expedite healing via the provision of natural light, ventilation and views for patients while also providing planting that acts as a carbon sponge, noxious pollutant filter and heat island reducer. The internal open spaces have also been maximised to encourage footfall through the building’s open spaces creating heightened opportunities for social interaction and increased drive to retail opportunities, while also improving operational efficiency for staff and mitigating visitor and patient anxiety via the provision of clear routes through the Centre.

Recognising the often swift advances in medical and healthcare technologies, the structure of the building is flexible and adaptable to change both internally and externally.

Utilising modern methods of modularization to facilitate and ease the speed of construction, it is expected that, subject to planning approval, demolition works for the new Heart Centre will begin in September 2009 with build completion expected in Spring 2012.
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Riva Hotel, London, United Kingdom

Luxury Heathrow hotel given Mayoral seal of approval
Foster + Partners’ design for a new five-star hotel on Bath Road, close to Heathrow Airport has been approved by the Mayor of London. The only five-star hotel in the area, it will offer a range of services, including the most extensive conference facilities of any London hotel, to serve the local community and businesses, as well as passengers using Heathrow.

The hotel, developed by Riva Properties is characterised by a distinctive layered glass shell, which floods the public spaces with daylight. Articulated as a 13-storey structure, several levels are sunk into the ground, keeping the building’s profile low in response to the immediate surroundings.

The rooms are contained within six pavilions, linked by bridges and wrapped in a unifying glass envelope, which acts as a barrier to aircraft noise. The entrance lobby has a floating glass deck with views down to the sunken restaurant level, shallow pool and waterfall. This restaurant floor is accessed via a timber walkway and incorporates a business centre, as well as a variety of venues to eat and drink. The double-height conference facilities, which have their own reception to allow separate access from street-level, encircle a top-lit atrium that brings natural light deep into the building and down to the lower levels.

As well as a selection of meeting venues and breakout areas, there is a flexible 1,200-capacity ballroom, two auditoriums and a large conference room. The bowling centre that currently occupies the site will be reinstated within the new scheme at basement level and will remain a public facility. The hotel also incorporates a health centre with a pool, gym, saunas and treatment rooms. Grant Brooker, Executive Director at Foster + Partners, said: “This will be the first five-star hotel in the immediate vicinity of Heathrow and marks a key stage in the area's transformation. We have enjoyed great support and encouragement from local residents, businesses and the Borough of Hillingdon and we believe that the hotel’s wide range of facilities will ensure that it plays a vital role in serving both international travellers and the local community.”

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Former Birdseve HQ refurbished, Surrey, United Kingdom

ESA designs for former Birdseye HQ gain planning consent
ESA Architects, with offices in London, Hull and Poland, has gained planning consent for the iconic 1960’s former Birdseye HQ in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. The existing modern ‘campus’ building is listed Grade ll and was bought by ESA’s client, Green Property, in 2006. The original aluminium-clad building, designed by Sir John Burnet Tait, is very much of its time and a classic example of a purpose-built out of town post war office headquarters.

As well as replacing the external cladding and refurbishing the existing 17,000sq m building ESA has got consent to replace the original 1963 annex with a brand new 10,000M2 three-storey modern addition, forming a new public court in the space between the two buildings. The consented proposals have received the backing of English Heritage, the organisation protecting listed buildings in England.

The original building harbors tales of penguins and crocodiles roaming the two existing courts in the days when Birdseye inhabited the offices! The external landscaping, including the original John McCarthy bronze bird sculptures, will also be refurbished along with the re-organisation of the surrounding carparks and formal road-side lawns to complete the setting of what will be a powerful ensemble of twentieth and twenty-first century office architecture.
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Stryker New Medical Technology Facility, Newbury, Berkshire, United Kingdom

ESA gain planning consent for striking new medical technology facility
ESA's design for a new distribution and office HQ facility for Stryker, the US manufacturer of high-tech medical equipment, has achieved planning consent. The 5-acre site is situated opposite Stryker’s existing facility, close to Newbury racecourse and on the mainline railway between London and the South West. The new 10,000 sq m building will house all of Stryker’s UK workforce as well as providing space for logistics, distribution and high-tech storage/assembly and is aiming for a BREEAM rating of “excellent”.

Although the building has been designed for the specific needs of the client, requiring some deep-plan assembly areas, an important aspect of the original brief was to ensure that the base-building could revert back to a regular ‘institutional’ office building that conformed to typical BCO codes of practice.

Externally the proposed building uses a palette of three materials; glass, bronzed metal cladding and cellular translucent polycarbonate panels to the assembly areas.

The consultant team included Cushman Wakefield (Project management), Meinhardt (M+E and Structures), Stuart Pearson (Landscape), Peter Bretts (Highways), WT Partnership (QS) and Barton Wilmore as Planning Consultants.
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Taiwan Centre for Disease Control Complex, Taipei, Taiwan

Manfredi Nicoletti design receives honourable mention
The Biolab Squadron consists of labs sealed within two similar elements evoking Nautilus shells.The two shells, forming the Biolab Squadron, are a metaphoric example of the highest formal and technological sophistication of the most advanced laboratories conceived and the extremely harmful pathogenic viruses of our planet which are studied within themselves.

The Biolab Squadron outer skin pattern is made of interlacing geometric incisions reproducing the four conventional symbols attributed to the DNA sequence of the bacteria being studied. The result is a surface perfectly homogenous and uniform in its overall material, but mysteriously engraved by symbols illegible by most people.

A sense of arcane volumetric unity bearing an enigmatic and indecipherable message emanates from this surface treatment.

This effect reproduces what the common people feel towards the terrible pathogenic agents. They are invisible to the naked eye and can be really observed only under powerful electronic microscopes or when they cause devastating effects on populations.

The project was jointly tendered by Manfredi Nicoletti and ARCO Architects & Designers receiving an honourable mention from the jury. The winning design was by Ricky Liu & Associates with CUHZA Inc.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

'Connect the Parks' Master Plan, Jersey City, United States

Jersey City waterfront park unveiled
The Jersey City Waterfront Parks Conservancy has unveiled a new park design that is to transform and connect two major parcels of parkland on the Hudson River. A joint effort by landscape architect Starr Whitehouse with nARCHITECTS, the proposed concept, dubbed “Connect the Parks” calls for the restoration of the rapidly eroding parcels and linking them with an “Infinity Bridge” that will allow for a continuous walkway to be created between Exchange Place and the Liberty Harbor area.

The plan also includes gardens, a slide mound, swings, water features and a dog run. To promote nature and our children’s interaction with the natural world, a floating aquatic vegetative island promoting aquatic life, a wet meadow and several points of access to the waters edge are also featured in the plan. In place of the corrugated steel bulkheading used to the north and south of the park, this conceptual master plan incorporates a cost effective, visually appealing and less obtrusive means of erosion control, via a natural protection system. Finally, two pavilions will provide family gathering areas, seating, a comfort station and a venue for events such as concerts or puppet shows.

The plan is the result of community input collected during earlier surveys and community meetings.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
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Oil Rig Platform Resort and Spa, Gulf Sea, United States

Winner of 2008 innovation award takes holiday-goers to new platforms
4000 oil rigs in the Gulf Sea could be turned into 80 million sq ft of luxury resorts for the wealthy if Morris Architects, designer of the Oil Rig Resort and Spa concept have their way.

As the recent winning design of the Radical Innovation in Hospitality Award, the concept which would transform rigs which would otherwise be destroyed into capital-gaining resorts, is awarded fresh prestige, and the architects a $10,000 prize.

Each rig hotel would be able to accommodate over 300 guest rooms and luxury suites, a ballroom, restaurants, retail, pool and poolside bar as well as providing a marina for yachts, a casino, a dive bell for below sea excursions and facilities for water sports.

Encouraged as an ecological alternative to the destruction of the rigs which, according to Morris Architects, will all be decommissioned within the next century, the renovation would help to preserve the marine life gathered among the legs of the rigs. They would also function autonomously with alternative forms of energy production including wind, wave and solar.

The designers hope that the rigs could be used as ports of call for cruise ships travelling between the Caribbean and Mexico.

Niki May Young
News Editor
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Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, United States

Taubman Museum of Art sets new architectural direction for Roanoke
With the Taubman Museum of Art, designed by Los Angeles based Randall Stout Architects, Roanoke in Virginia gets it first purpose built art museum. It also gets an adventuresome work of architecture, which like that Guggenheim Bilbao, is expected to jump start the region’s economy and bring visitors in droves to the steps of the new museum. It’s a tall order indeed, especially considering that art museums around the county reported a disappointing financial first quarter, causing many, including the Taubman, to drastically cut programs and staff.

In its forms and materials, the 81,000 sq ft museum is a sculptural ode to the surrounding Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains and the region’s early industrial beginnings. Crafted of steel, patinaed zinc, and high-efficiency glass, the building houses flexible galleries for the museum’s permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art; expanded educational facilities; a multi purpose theatre; café; and museum store on three levels. Outdoor terraces provide views of the city beyond.

As with other projects designed by Stout, the public spaces, including a central atrium that soars to a height of 77 feet, are dynamic and sculptural while the gallery spaces are conventional in their geometry to meet the demands of exhibiting art, which favors a planar over a sculptural language.

The building features many sustainable design components including natural lighting, radiant heating and cooling, an energy efficient envelope and computerized building management systems.

The museum opened to the public in November 2008.

Sharon McHugh
U.S. Correspondent
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The Terry Thomas, Seattle, United States

The Terry Thomas architects office awarded AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project
The Terry Thomas was designed to provide a healthy and creative work environment that would illustrate the possibilities of sustainable design and was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2009. The project was driven by a future tenant who needed a new office space to accommodate a rapidly expanding architectural practice. The firm wanted to remain in the same neighborhood where it had operated for seventeen years, yet in a building that would exemplify commitment to sustainable design.

The Terry Thomas is located in Seattle's up-and-coming South Lake Union neighborhood, adjacent to Downtown. The building has 37,000 sq ft of office space on four floors, with shower facilities to encourage bicycle use. The ground level features 3,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space, and a central courtyard that provides a gathering space. Parking for cars and bicycles is available on two levels of an underground garage. An architectural firm, a marketing firm, and a real estate firm occupy the office space in the building.

The project team began the design process by conducting a survey among the staff of the primary tenants about their priorities for their new workspace. The most frequently requested features were daylighting, natural ventilation, and improved community meeting spaces. The designers responded by creating a holistic design concept tailored to its specific site and made daylight, ventilation, and reinforced community connections a priority.

As both the designers and inhabitants of The Terry Thomas, the occupants now enjoy the benefits of strong natural and cultural connections while simultaneously increasing their productivity potential. In the process, they have created an experimental and educational tool for promoting sustainable design.
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Ludlow Street Apartments, New York, United States

Magnusson Architects aim for LEED Gold with affordable housing project
The proposed building is 6.5 stories with 40 rental units and includes exterior as well as covered parking for building residents. The current design includes a large community facility on the uppermost floor adjacent to an extensive green roof.

The building Integrates passive solar heating with daylight design, will have green/high performance features with smart building technology and is being developed following the principles of Integrated Design.

The building will pursue LEED for Homes Gold certification and the NYSERDA Multifamily 'Energy Star Green Affordable Housing program'.

The project will integrate over 50 kW of solar photovoltaic panels to produce electricity for the building on the uppermost roof, as a shade canopy for the 6th floor and lobby, and south-facing building integrated façade (BIPV). The systems would be capable of producing over 50,000 kWh/year.

Project team:
Client: Westhab Inc.
Magnus Magnusson, AIA LEED AP,
Fernando Villa AIA, LEED AP,
Satoshi Okawara,
Shefali Sanghvi.
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National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C, United States

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup win National Museum of African American History and Culture competition
The Smithsonian has announced that Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup is the architectural team chosen to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to be located on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. The selection was made by a jury chaired by Museum Director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was one of 22 teams that responded to the Request for Qualifications in summer 2008. Six firms were then selected to participate in the design competition announced in January 2009.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with this talented team,” said Bunch. “Their vision and spirit of collaboration moved all members of the design competition jury. I am confident that they will give us a building that will be an important addition to the National Mall and to the architecture of this city.”

The competition follows the 2003 NMAAHC Act that made law of the Smithsonian’s duty to provide the building. The prominent site was subsequently chosen before the design competition was launched.

Philip G. Freelon, FAIA, speaking on behalf of the Freelon Adjaye Bond team, said: “This is an incredible time for us as designers—and this museum represents a unique opportunity to give form and substance to the powerful vision that has been established by the Smithsonian leadership. We are truly honored to have been chosen as the architects from such a distinguished list of competitors.”

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup pipped Devrouax & Purnell Architects with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects; Diller Scofidio Renfro with KlingStubbins; Foster + Partners with the URS Corp; Moody Nolan with Antoine Predock and Moshe Safdie and Associates with Sultan Campbell Britt & Associates to win the prestigious competition.

Freelon Adjaye Bond said in its design concept materials: “The National Museum of African American History and Culture—the institution and the building—embodies the African American spirit. Majestic yet exuberant, dignified yet triumphant, the building will be worthy of the museum’s vision, and its prominent place on the National Mall.”

The interior lobby rendering borrows the ceiling structure from another of David Adjaye's designs, the 'Sclera' pavilion designed for the London Design Festival in 2008, subtitled American tulipwood pavilion.

The team selected by the Smithsonian consists of four firms that have joined together for this unique project—The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup. The Freelon Group will be the architect of record and Phil Freelon will serve as the design guarantor— making sure that the design reflects the values and priorities of the museum and the Smithsonian. David Adjaye will be the lead designer. He designed the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Davis Brody Bond is involved in the planning, design and execution of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center in New York. The SmithGroup is an international architectural and engineering firm with offices in Washington, D.C., that designed the Normandy American Cemetery Interpretive Center in France.

The building design will take up to three years, with construction to begin in 2012. Set to open in 2015, the museum’s total cost is estimated to be $500 million, including design.
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Portside, Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town’s first post-apartheid skyscraper commences construction
The Portside project, Cape Town’s first post-apartheid skyscraper, designed by Louis Karol, has commenced construction following planning approval.

Designed for Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments (OMIGPI), and located on the old Malgas/Porters/Shell site, opposite the V&A Waterfront entrance, the tower will rise to approximately 148 metres in height.

Commanding views on to Table Mountain and Table Bay, Portside will have 24 office floors above a 5-storey hotel and retail component, with parking on five basement levels and eight above ground.

The last tall building to be built in Cape Town’s city centre was OMIGPI’s Safmarine House in 1993 – rising to 123 metres and designed also by Louis Karol. Cape Town’s 15 year skyscraper hiatus can be ascribed to a number of factors, including low economic confidence, 9/11 and conservative planning policy.

Robert Silke of Louis Karol, said: “We were in negotiations with the City of Cape Town for 18 months and have been grateful for the high levels of co-operation and participation by the city officials in fine tuning the scheme, and who ultimately made positive recommendations to the city councillors.

“Until Portside was given consent, it was felt in many quarters that tall buildings were impossible to achieve under the present planning system but events have proven that appropriate, well-designed tall buildings still have a place in our city,” added Silke.

OMIGPI’s executive for Property Development, Brent Wiltshire says the Portside development aims to achieve a four-star rating according to the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Star rating system.

“Tall buildings play an important role in green architecture and their role is three-fold – to promote sustainability, reduce energy use and develop innovative technologies,” says Wiltshire.

As part of the focus on safety, lifts can be stopped every third floor to access an emergency exit from within the lift – that is without exiting through the lift doors. Lift studies are being conducted to determine a benchmark for lift waiting times.

Completion of this development is scheduled for April 2011.

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Korean Air Towers, Los Angeles, United States

Korean Air to build $1billion tower project in Los Angeles
Korean Air has announced plans to develop a $ 1 billion mixed use complex in downtown Los Angeles that will transform the city’s skyline and be a symbol of civic pride for the city’s Korean community, the second largest outside of Seoul. If approved, it will be the first new downtown development project in Los Angeles since the economic downturn and the first major office building to be built there in two decades.

Developed by Thomas Properties Group and designed by Los Angeles based A.C. Martin, the 1.75 million-sq ft project calls for two high rise towers: a 40-storey luxury hotel tower with up to 700 rooms topped with several floors of condominiums and a 60-story office tower connected with plazas and 18,000 sq ft of public space.

While the economy is still in turmoil, the development process in Los Angeles is archaic and thus lengthy. In making the announcement now, Thomas Properties, which has extensive experience building complex projects in the city, is positioning itself to be first in line when the rebound occurs. Jim Thomas, CEO of the development company, told the LA business journal that with its current 88 percent office occupancy level, downtown will need a Class A office building in the next three to five years. To meet that timeline we need to get started right now. Thomas said.

Korean Air and Thomas Properties said they expect financing will be available by the time construction begins in 2011.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
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Burnham Pavilion, Chicago, United States

Zaha pavilion design revealed for Chicago Plan celebrations
As Chicago celebrates the centenary of David Burnham's Chicago plan which outlined the structure of the city, two pavilions to mark the anniversary have been unveiled.

This design by Zaha Hadid will join Ben van Berkel's in Millennium Park from 19 June and 31 October.

Zaha Hadid’s pavilion, which can be dismantled and reinstalled elsewhere, is a tent-like structure made of light weight aluminum and dressed in a tensile fabric. The exterior skin rises and falls along its aluminum ribs—the lines for which were derived from the diagonal lines and avenues in Burnham and Bennett’s 1909 Plan. Louvers in the pavilion’s ceiling will bring an interplay of light and shadow into the space as the sun changes position during the day. Exterior lighting will highlight the pavilion at night.

The interior of the Hadid Pavilion will serve as a screen for an immersive video installation created by UIC-trained and London-based artist Thomas Gray for The Gray Circle. This film will tell the story of Chicago’s transformation, including visions for Chicago’s future by local architects. The pavilion envelops visitors in its sinuous form, but the addition of Gray’s film leads to an even more engaging experience. This pavilion and video exhibition will inspire public discourse about the history and future of Chicago.

The aluminum structure for this fabric pavilion was donated by Marmon/Keystone Corporation, a member of The Marmon Group of companies.
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Gish Apartments, San Jose, United States

Gish Apartments by OJK claims Top Ten Green Projects 2009 position
Completed in June 2007, Gish Apartments in downtown San Jose is a 35-unit transit-oriented family apartment complex that provides quality affordable housing for households earning 35%–50% of the area median income. The complex includes efficiency, two-bedroom, three-bedroom apartments. Over a third of the apartments (13 of them) are set aside for residents with developmental disabilities. The complex is a model for the State of California's Multifamily Housing Program for mainstreaming special needs populations.

The mixed-use plan includes a convenience store and a beauty salon on the ground floor. Residents have access to a computer center and are provided with services tailored to support low-income families, such as financial literacy training, computer training, and after-school programs. Housing Choices Coalition provides coordination of services for residents who have developmental disabilities, and facilitates communication among these residents, their case managers, and the property management team.

Gish Apartments is a groundbreaking development both for its architectural design and in its use of renewable energy technologies and other green building features. Gish is the only affordable housing development in the U.S. to receive both LEED for Homes and LEED for New Construction Gold certification.

Further environmental aspects of the project include reuse of an urban brownfield site, a roof-top photovoltaic array, high performance insulation in 2x6 exterior walls, double-glazed windows, and high-efficiency heating and hot water systems. The initial costs associated with energy-saving features and durable materials are being offset by lower operational costs.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2009. It was submitted by OJK Architecture and Planning in San Jose, California. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.
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Chartwell, California, United States

Chartwell School awarded as one of AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects
Completed in October 2006, the shared vision for the new Chartwell School campus was to create an exceptional, high-performance learning environment for children with learning differences, including dyslexia. Chartwell serves students grades 1–8 in the greater Monterey Bay area.

The goal was to create a campus that integrated design strategies proven to improve learning outcomes — a campus that would function as a teaching tool about sustainability while dramatically reducing the school's environmental impact. Sited on a hill overlooking the Monterey Bay, this project seamlessly blends the elements of site, program and environmental conservation. All design and construction decisions were made with those three factors in mind.

As Douglas Atkins, Chartwell's executive director, recently stated, "Our LEED Platinum campus models how improved academic outcomes and responsible resource stewardship build on each other."

It is the hope for the Chartwell project that a new generation of children will be inspired by the possibility of a built environment that sustains and restores our natural environment.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2009. It was submitted by EHDD Architecture in San Francisco, California.
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Bitexco Financial Tower, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Bitexco Tower set for Ho Chi Minh City central business district
At 269 m Vietnam's Bitexco Financial Tower will be the country's tallest tower. Designed by New York architect Carlos Zapata Studio and carried forward by AREP of Paris, the design consists of 68 floors of office space, 6 basement floors of parking and a 5-floor retail podium. 100,000 square meters of commercial space will be created in the build which is set to take 36 months. Ground works have been under way for the past year.

The design is inspired by the lotus petal, the national flower of Vietnam and its sleek form has a narrowed footplate and three-dimensional growth as the tower rises. On entering the building a large atrium will allow you to view the height of the tower from within. A Heliport and observation deck will be constructed on the 56th floor and a sky lounge on the 55th floor with 360 degree views of Ho Chi Minh City. The building will also have a conference room, a business center, banks, a VIP club and fitness center.

Niki May Young
News Editor
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Art Gallery of Alberta, Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Art Gallery of Alberta expands with Randall Stout Architects
Needing to expand and get greater public exposure on its prominent corner site, the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) in Edmonton Canada held an international design competition that resulted in Los Angeles based Randall Stout Architect getting the nod. Stout’s proposal, which bested designs from such luminaries as Zaha Hadid and Will Alsop, transforms AGAs 1960s Brutalist building and adds 27,000 square feet of space resulting in a new 84,000 square foot museum with enhanced exhibition spaces, educational facilities, theatre, restaurant and sculpture garden.

Crafted of patinaed zinc, high performance glazing and stainless steel, the centerpiece of the design is an undulating ribbon of steel that meanders through the museum’s public spaces eventually penetrating through to the exterior, resulting in a bold new expression that gives the institution a fresh new image while opening it up to the community. While the public spaces are highly sculptural and transparent, the gallery spaces are simple stacked rectangular boxes resulting in the juxtaposition of two very different architectural languages that heightens design interest while satisfying the practical concerns of exhibiting art.

The museum is expected to open to the public in early 2010.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
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Burnham Pavilion, Chicago, United States

Burnham Pavilion celebrates 100 year Chicago Plan
UNStudio have revealed Ben van Berkel's design for the Burnham Pavilion which will stand in Chicago's Millennium Park to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Burnham's Chicago Plan, which outlined the structure of Chicago.

The pavilion will join Zaha Hadid's pavilion in the park between 19 June and 31 October this year. Both are intended to echo the audacity of the 1909 Burnham Plan, which proclaimed, “What we as a people decide to do in the public interest we can and surely will bring to pass.”

Framed by Lake Michigan on one side and Michigan Avenue on the other, the UNStudio pavilion relates itself to diverse city-contexts, programs and scales. Programmatically the pavilion invites people to gather together, walk around and through, to explore and watch. The UNStudio pavilion is sculptural, very accessible and it acts as an urban activator.

The design of the UNStudio pavilion initially uses the orthogonal setup of the city and park grid. The edges of the pavilion follow the severe setup of the surrounding city- and park-geometry. This runs true to Burnham’s Plan which one hundred years ago introduced the generic grid to the city and introduced a device to read specificity and variation in the form of the diagonal boulevards creating specific vistas throughout the city. This diversity is illustrated in UNStudio's pavilion across a 360 degree spectrum introducing in a floating and continuous form.

The structure is comprised of a steel structure of columns in the three “legs” of the pavilion with horizontal steel beams. A secondary wooden rib structure forms the smooth geometry before being panelled with plywood to create the skin. Finally the structure will be bound in bondo (an elastic plaster) before being painted. 49 LED lights will illuminate the structure creating an evolving light display which will vary in intensity, rhythm and colour.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Agulhas Lighthouse Development, Agulhas, South Africa

Nightingale wins South Africa lighthouse development
Nightingale Architects South Africa (NA [SA]) has been announced as the winner of a prestigious competition to design the Agulhas Lighthouse Development. The win is a first-of-its-kind for the recently-formed practice, providing it with the opportunity to expand on its public sector experience.

NA (SA)’s winning entry was designed in response to a brief that called for both a gateway to the southernmost point, and a focal point to Agulhas National Park. Two key features have inspired this design, these being the coastline and a nearby shipwreck.

Nightingale Architects South Africa will work closely with the SANParks, who will act as the implementer of a Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism funded ‘Infrastructure Development Programme’.

Wallace Manyara, NA (SA)’s Business Development Director, said: “The design uses strong elements formed by thick dominant walls constructed from local rock, running parallel to and emulating the natural rock formations. The most dominant features of this area are the jagged rocks of the windswept coastline, which lunge out of the waves at oblique angles, appearing and disappearing at intervals at the whim of the sea. “The shipwreck is evidence of the requirement for a lighthouse and an inevitable aspect of the jagged coastline. Elements of the construction are reminiscent of the internal construction of a ship’s hull, and the breakdown of building elements symbolise the decay of the abandoned ship battered by the wind, the sea and the passage of time.”

The scheme also proposes the use of windmills to harness the power of wind in this exposed coastal region taking advantage of what would otherwise be considered a negative feature.

The practice, which opened in September 2008, is a subsidiary of international architect, Nightingale Associates, which has developed a worldwide reputation for its design of innovative and successful public buildings.
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La rue de la Loi, EC district, Brussels, Belgium

Redesign of European Community district awarded to the French architect
La rue de la Loi, the administrative heart of the EC in Brussels, is to be redesigned by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, one of five shortlisted in an international competition for the project. 35 firms entered the international competition hosted by the Brussels Capital Region in collaboration with the European Commission and the City of Brussels.

The competition is part of a grander plan to turn the European District in the city into a pilot eco-district. The aim for the Rue de la Loi itself is to add structure and easy navigation and to create accessible quality public space to the area which is currently dominated by offices and lacks a sense of culture and community. 'Soft' or ecologically friendly modes of transport are to be encouraged.

Portzamparc's design (in collaboration with Jacques Wirtz, Coteba Belgium and OVE ARUP) will add a tram link through the street and 390,000 sq m of floor space including 110,000 sq m of accommodation, 240,000 sq m of EC department space and 40,000 sq m of retail.

Out of the five shortlisted projects judges also commended a design by Fletcher Priest Architects for its human scale and public spaces and, in particular, for its inherent sustainability. Xaveer de Geyter Architecten (in collaboration with Michel Desvigne Paysagiste, Laurent Ney & Partners, TRITEL Mobilité and Resource Analysis), OMA (in collaboration with NFArchitects, Agence TER, OVE ARUP, DEGW and SETEC Partenaire Développement) and JDS Architects (in collaboration avec Studio Associato Secchi-Vigano , 3E , Laurent Ney & Partners and TRITEL Mobilité) were also shortlisted.

The five shortlisted projects will be exhibited in Brussels in June this year. The winning design will be elaborated upon over the next two years with works expected to commence in 2011.

Niki May Young
News Editor
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UAE Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010, Shanghai, China

Dune inspired pavilion will hold 450 people
Foster + Partners’ design for the UAE pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo has broken ground. Drawing inspiration from the form of a sand dune, the pavilion is a reference to this symbolic feature of the desert landscape shared by each of the seven emirates.

The landscape and climate of the UAE are integral to Emirati culture. Like a sand dune, the pavilion appears rough and textured on the side that bears the full force of the wind and smooth on the other side. The northern elevation is more porous to admit natural light, while the southern elevation has a solid façade, to minimise solar gain. A stainless steel skin, treated to appear golden, encloses the jewel-like shell.

The complex structure is a triangulated lattice of flat stainless steel panels, joined by adjustable nodes, which are designed to enable the pavilion to be demounted on site and constructed quickly and economically. The peak rises to 20 metres in height and it is entered via a glazed lip at the pavilion’s base. Light penetrates the building’s business centre and VIP area through glazed vertical strips, which illuminate the pavilion from within by night. Internally, the fit out by Ralph Applebaum Associates offers an interactive experience, and a dynamic lighting design will reveal the exposed lattice shell of the structure.

With capacity for 450 people and enclosing 3,000 sq m of exhibition space, the pavilion is one of the largest structures to be built for the 2010 Shanghai Expo and will highlight the UAE’s progressive stance on sustainability. Responding to the Expo’s ‘Better Cities, Better Lives’ theme, the pavilion will showcase projects such as the Masdar Initiative, a new 6 million sq m carbon neutral, zero waste community in Abu Dhabi, intended to become a centre for the development of new ideas for energy production.

Senior Partner, Gerard Evenden, said of the project: “The cities of the UAE rise from the desert and the pavilion will similarly emerge to form a natural counterpoint to Shanghai’s urban landscape. Like a sand dune, it is oriented to the direction of the wind and is a powerful example of an organic and highly effective passive environmental design.”
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National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Sports Arena and Velodrome reaches major milestone
Proposals for the National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome, the centerpiece of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, have received full planning permission from Glasgow City Council. The design team is led by Sport Concepts with 3DReid. The project also includes a community sports hall, offices, function suite, café, four external 5-a-side pitches, car parking and external 1km cycle track.

Councillor Archie Graham, executive member for the Commonwealth Games, said: "Gaining planning permission for the National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome means another major milestone in the Commonwealth Games journey has been reached.

“NISA will be a world-class building providing not only a venue for some of the events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but also superb community sports facilities and a lasting legacy for Glasgow and Scotland.

“The development will be Scotland’s principal major indoor sports venue for training and event purposes, and by combining three major sports venues, NISA, Velodrome and Community Leisure Centre, into one building, it will form one of the largest indoor sports venues in the UK and internationally.”
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Tate Modern 2, London, United Kingdom

Herzog & de Meuron brick design commended by inspectors
The revised plans for the new development of Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron have been granted planning permission by London's Southwark Council.

Southwark Council commended the revised plans in their report: "The proposed new building will be an extraordinary and unique addition to London's townscape. There have already been great regeneration benefits for the area following the opening of Tate Modern at Bankside. It is anticipated that Tate Modern 2 will further contribute to, and form the focus for the future regeneration of this area. The application can be strongly recommended for approval."

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: "We are delighted that Herzog & de Meuron's revised plans have been granted approval by Southwark Council. We look forward to creating one of the most exciting cultural buildings in Europe which will bring direct benefits to Southwark and London as a whole."

In an unconventional move, the original Herzog & de Meuron design of glass and steel blocks was scrapped for a brick pyramidal redesign revealed in July last year. The new design's perforated brick lattice will now blend with the original Tate Modern building's distinctive exterior. At the heart of the new plans are the unique oil tanks of the former power station, which will be retained as raw spaces for art and from which the new building will rise. The structure will glow at night with light being emitted from the perforations.

The revised building also sets new benchmarks for museums and galleries in the UK for both sustainability and energy use. By exploiting waste heat emitted from EDFE's relocated transformers and employing passive design principles wherever practicable the scheme will use 54% less energy, and emit 44% less carbon than building regulations demand.

Overall the project will also address some of the strains on the current building. The gallery was originally designed for 2 million visitors. With current visitor numbers reaching up to 5 million, there is serious overcrowding particularly at weekends. Changes in contemporary art practice mean that different kinds of spaces are desirable and additional space is needed so works can be brought out of storage and shown on a more permanent basis. Since 2000, there have been more than 2 million participants in Tate Modern's learning programmes and existing spaces cannot satisfy demand.

The project is due to be completed in 2012 at an estimated cost of £215 million at 2012 prices. To date Tate has raised £74 million, which represents a third of the overall costs.
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News International Headquarters, London, United Kingdom

News International HQ submitted to Tower Hamlets planning office
Following the announcement of Amanda Levete's first three independent projects since leaving Future Systems, a key London project has now been submitted by her firm to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for planning permission.

News Corporation today announced that submission of plans for the re-modelling of the main building at its historic site in Wapping. The media organisation commissioned Amanda Levete Architects to design the building and worked with planning consultants DP9 to prepare the application.

The HQ is set to lend a united home to News International, Harper Collins, MySpace, Dow Jones, Fox and related businesses for the first time and will help to regenerate the Wapping site, which played a pivotal role in the transformation of the newspaper industry in the 1980s, for the new era.

The local area will also benefit from the scheme by creating publicly accessible walkways and new public space at the eastern end of the site, with a museum, restaurants and retail units.

The re-modelled building is designed to set new standards in working environments and sustainability and will be one of the largest naturally ventilated office buildings in the UK. The proposal for the building includes an 18m high atrium carved out of the original print works with a series of other atria along main circulation paths to maximise natural lighting and ventilation.

Niki May Young
News Editor
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Oliver's Place, Preston, United Kingdom

'Hedgehog' building approved with innovative soleil solution
Moxon Architects have received planning permission for Oliver’s Place Preston, a new 40,000 sq ft commercial development with associated car parking. Planning has been granted for a four storey office building and a multi-deck car park.

The strong visual presence of Moxon's design is created by an array of anodised aluminium fins, cantilevered from vertical support brackets on all four façades of the building. The aluminium fins, are all oriented in the same direction. On the South West façade they act as a large scale brise soleil and rain screen, but appear more visually permeable on the South East façade. Early morning and winter sunlight is able to enter the building while in high summer sun is excluded and so does not adversely alter the environmental conditions within the building. The aluminium fins also appear as a thicket of material that gives the building a striking appearance that changes dramatically depending on the position of the viewer.

This competition winning scheme by Moxon was the result of an international design competition organised by Gardinia Ltd and the RIBA. The clients brief called for an ‘exceptional piece of architecture’, which would provide a high quality office space and a ‘landmark’ office scheme suitable for the highly visible and prominent site.

Moxon’s designs were selected by a jury including architect Ian Simpson and Nick Johnson of developers Urban Splash. The project has since received a commendation’s from the Architectural Review, British Council of Offices and MIPIM 2009 Future Projects Awards.

Ben Addy, director Moxon architects says: “Preston is an ambitious city and this competition presented us with an opportunity to work on a unique landmark building for the area. The intelligibility of the project enabled a really constructive dialogue with the Local Authority. It has been very well received by the local community and it was great to see it being passed so emphatically.”
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Asser Levy Park Amphitheatre, Brooklyn, New York, United States

Grimshaw to design new amphitheatre for Coney Island Park
New York’s famed yet ailing Coney Island Park is getting a much needed shot in the arm in the form of $15 million in stimulus money and a dramatic new amphitheatre designed by Grimshaw Architects.

The long dormant Coney Island Park was once a vibrant vacation mecca on New York’s waterfront where city dwellers would go to escape the bustling metropolis for a day of amusement and frivolity. Happily the park is now undergoing a massive revitalization effort that will transform it into a $1.5 billion entertainment zone with an indoor and outdoor amusement park. As part of this effort, Grimshaw Architects is designing a $47 million amphitheatre that will serve as a gateway to the area and as a symbol of the park’s new identity.

The amphitheatre will be a seasonal venue capable of accommodating a variety of performance types and sizes. Given the requirement for extremely flexibility, Grimshaw’s design calls for a mix of permanent and flexible seating, 5,000 fixed and 3,000 movable, that can be easily reconfigured to the needs of each performance and wholly transformed into a park when the lawn seating area is not in use. The amphitheatre is capped with a 60,000 sq ft green roof in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid that gives the structure its stunning swoop like form while serving to lighten the roof’s weight and thus its cost. Completing the roof are hundreds of strobing stage lights.

The project will be competed in 2011.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Library of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Dutch architects library design will act as flagship for regeneration
The design by Dutch architects Mecanoo Architecten for the £193 million Library of Birmingham in the UK was unveiled today by the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Mike Whitby.

Scheduled to open in 2013 the Library of Birmingham will occupy a prime site on Centenary Square, the city’s largest public square, acting as the flagship for the regeneration of Birmingham, and celebrating the city's tagline of the ‘Global City with a Local Heart’. The 31,000 sq metres building will provide 20% more space than the existing Birmingham Central Library and will be capable of taking up to 10,000 visitors a day. The highly transparent glass building wrapped in a delicate metal filigree, is inspired by the rich history of Birmingham, with its tradition of craftsmanship and industry. The generous shared entrance to the Library and the Repertory Theatre (REP) will be sheltered below a public balcony, creating a magnificent space to watch events in the square. Above the balcony, the building volume steps away, creating a second open-air space, an elevated garden with panoramic views. At the summit, the rooftop rotunda will offer spectacular views over the entire city.

The interplay of overlapping rotundas inside the building will create constantly changing vistas as visitors ascend to the public levels, not only aiding navigation but also bringing light and ventilation throughout. The highest levels of energy efficiency will be achieved through the buffering capacity of the building mass and the atria and the use of sun shading and reflective materials.

A grand circular open-air amphitheatre in front of the building will create a dramatic visual link between the Library at Lower Ground Level and Centenary Square, providing natural light and a sheltered outdoor space for staging events.

The REP will be renovated and equipped with updated back of house facilities, new workshops and new staff accommodation. In addition, brand new foyers and a new 300 seat studio theatre will be created to be shared between the REP and the Library.

The new Library of Birmingham will be a library designed to function around the rapidly developing digital technologies, creating new opportunities for learning and access, and providing a social heart for Birmingham’s diverse community.

The Library of Birmingham development is a flagship project of the Big City Plan, focusing on the regeneration of the city, the most far-reaching city centre development project ever undertaken in the UK. The Big City Plan will drive forward the next 20 years of development in central Birmingham to revive and open up whole areas of the city with a £17 billion investment and the aim of creating 43,000 jobs for Birmingham people.
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HILEA, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hilea integrates the functions of hotel, home, club and medical clinic
Constructed on a lot of 27.9861ft2, the building is divided into two sections: a low horizontal base, containing three floors for the common areas of the hotel and the clinic activities; and a high-rise, measuring 164.041’ lengthwise and 55.77’ in the width consisting of eight floors where the suites are distributed. An ICU was set up on the rooftop with a differentiated characteristic, it has wide windows looking out onto the garden, allowing the patient to connect with the outdoors and stimulating their convalescence.

Occupying a total of 144.236 sq ft of built area, Hiléa offers contemporary architecture as well as practical and functional materials, visually warming up the building with the use of woods. Promoting tone contrast, the building also received pre-fabricated laminated melamine in a light color. As a solution to filter natural light intensity, gazebos were installed in the ground floor as well as the rooftop, creating an identity and providing shade.
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Helix Hotel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Leeser Architecture wins competition to design 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi
The Middle East is ushering in some of the most provocative architecture being produced today. And Helix, a bold new hotel won in competition by Lesser Architecture, is no exception. The project which gets its name from its staggered floor plates resulting in an iconic spiraling form, will rest in the Zayed Bay next to Zaha Hadid’s Sheid Zayed Bridge, which is currently under construction.

With Helix, Lesser Architecture has devised a new way to consider hotel culture in the Emirates, highlighting elements that are usually unseen and playfully enlivening those parts of the program that are traditionally static and mundane. The hotel contains 206 guest rooms and suites located around a helical floor. Rigid hallways and atria that characterize a typical hotel stay are here dispensed with and replaced with flexible public and guest rooms with unique configurations. As the helix winds upwards, the programmatic elements change from lounges and restaurant on the bay, to meeting rooms and conference facilities, to lounges and cafes, to the luxury indoor-outdoor track on the fifth floor, to finally the upper pool deck on the roof. The pool will have a glass bottom visible from the lower eight floors. Other dramatic features include a restaurant situated below the lobby that is so close to the bay’s waves that they lap onto the restaurant’s edge inside of the glass curtain wall.

On its interior, the floors corkscrew around a large void, resulting in a form reminiscent of Wright’s Guggenheim. Leeser says the ramped floors suggest the curves a winding street would take through a bustling town. Though the void seems to offer unmitigated visibility, there will be enclaves for private meetings and guest privacy.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondentsource:
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ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington, United States

Completed ShoWare Center, by LMN Architects, on path to LEED gold certification
The City of Kent, Washington is now home to one of the greenest events centers in the United States. ShoWare Center, a 6,125-seat, 154,000 sq ft multipurpose events center is the new home of the Seattle Thunderbirds WHL hockey team, and will serve as the new Pacific Northwest venue for sports, entertainment, concerts and tradeshows. Designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects, ShoWare Center is targeted to be the first new-construction events center project in the United States to achieve LEED® Gold.

The architect was faced with the challenge of working with a modest budget and a condensed timeline. The project was constructed in 16 months to provide home ice for the Thunderbirds’ 2009 season. The design creatively met these challenges by using cost effective materials in unique ways to make a dynamic and interactive building that respected the city’s budget and maximized the overall entertainment experience.

The building is framed with a linear, white metal panel façade with an angled soffit. Constructed of mirror polished stainless steel, the soffit provides a dramatic building face that reflects the activity and energy of people and vehicles approaching the building. A feature corner of the upper level façade is articulated with operable bi-folding hanger doors, providing exterior views of the plaza and the majestic Mt. Rainier.

Painted green “energy lines” on the ground plane reflect onto the soffit and create a 3-D directional effect, visually leading you to the building entry. Highlighted by LED lights, the “energy lines” direct event-goers towards the seating bowl openings to provide a guided path to all entry points into the event level. Super-sized graphics provide highly visible wayfinding for seating sections and restrooms.

Sustainable elements of ShoWare Center include a variety of water-efficient features that will lead to an estimated 40% savings in water usage, energy smart lighting, heating and cooling systems, including ice-making equipment, which will reduce energy use by 45% over typical standards.

A rainwater collection system will use water obtained from the roof to replenish the existing wetlands adjacent to the site. The parking area is constructed over a layer of gravel, which will hold storm water runoff and provide controlled release of rainwater back into the drainage system.

The design of The ShoWare Center creates an inviting experience that draws you in and engages people to interact with the façade of the building as they take visual notice of their animated surroundings. The city of Kent now has an iconic building to establish its own unique identity as a Pacific Northwest destination.
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K Clinic, Nabari Mie, Japan

Architecton's new dermatology clinic with a skin that is more than just cosmetic
K Clinic is built in a relatively new small town in the Mie prefecture near to Nara and Osaka. The town has been developed since the 1960's by a railroad company for the people who commute to work in these two cities. The surroundings used to be a small hill and the new site has differing levels which follow the undulation of the landscape.

The clinic is located along the main street of the town and made of a steel-tube structure. The cantilever of the upper floating part is 17m long due to the“monocoque” structure that is composed of steel panel and steel deck plate. The shape of the building basically reflects the linearity and slope of the street and is intended to reproduce the missing profile of the land. The lower part contains a clinic and the upper part houses the doctor's study. They are connected by the "neck" linking the two levels into one continuous volume.

Though the skylight of the clinic waiting room and the opening on the floor of the study patio, people can feel the atmospheres mutually. The study is directed towards mountains at a distance which have been recognised as a sacred place since ancient times. The two modes of the building are “anchoring” and “taking off”. The architects' intentions are to both provide a useful place for people in the local community through a deep-rooted architecture, and to cast visions and dreams towards a new world via the active architectural image of the building.source:
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Habitat '67, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Habitat obtains heritage status
Not many people get to build their thesis project. Fewer still see their projects elevated to heritage status. But on Thursday architect Moshe Safdie bore witness to both events as his groundbreaking housing project, Habitat 67, was designated an historic monument by the Minister of Culture for Quebec, Canada.

Habitat began its life as a thesis project when Safdie was a student at McGill and was built for the Montreal Expo in 1967. Highly unusual in its appearance, the project eventually caught on and is today a very desirable and exclusive place to live. But the project didn’t begin that way. Rather, it was conceived from the more egalitarian premise of creating a community that was mixed in use and habitation and built at a very high density, without the consequences that all too often accompany dense living situations. At Habitat, Safdie pioneered a construction system of prefabricated units and stacked and staggered them in an organic fashion that resulted in the project’s iconic silhouette and form. The project ushered in a new aesthetic and was a ‘one off’ structural achievement that was too expensive to ever replicate.

Commenting on the momentous occasion Safdie said, “I am very moved and honoured that Habitat 67 has been classified as a historic monument. The greatest pleasure for an architect is to see the creation alive, as a thriving community, 42 years later.”

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondentsource:
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