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Monday, September 07, 2009

Dubai Metro - Phase 1, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Aedas complete first phase of new Dubai metro
The architectural design concepts of Dubai Metro fulfill the requirement from the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai that ‘The station architecture shall have an aesthetic, form and external appearance which is unique, innovative, iconic and reflecting Dubai’s identity and character’. This uniquely shaped shell roof, while modern and iconic, may invoke the heritage of pearl diving. This ancient work, requiring skill and bravery, brought early prosperity, and is an integral part of Dubai’s history. The metro will be a modern day gem, enhancing the culture and business of Dubai by providing an efficient transport system. While this cultural reference is appealing, the shell roof is purposefully conceived for good aesthetic and functional reasons.

The shell roof, resting lightly on elegant supports, provides a very attractive covering to the public areas of the station. Most importantly, while the beauty of the shell is visible from afar it is also very much appreciated inside the public space, where the inner surface creates a wonderful, smooth and lustrous enclosure. The breathtaking sweep of this smooth inner shell avoids the visual complexity, and somewhat industrial appearance, of the exposed steel truss solutions commonly used in elevated metro stations. Nevertheless, the shell structure remains an efficient means of creating one long span large volume space without internal columns or supporting structure. Moreover, the curved double skin cladding provides and environmentally friendly means of cooling the roof, using traditional ‘solar assisted’ natural ventilation techniques.

Aedas is the architect for Dubai Metro’s 45 metro railway stations, 2 depots and operation centers. Dubai Metro will be the longest, most advanced automated metro in the world and the first metro in the United Arab Emirates. Phases 1 of the Red & Green Lines is opening on 9th September 2009.
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Siercza Petrol Station, Siercza, Poland

Polish petrol station that defies its traditional type
This petrol station building is the architects' protest against the quality and the ugliness of typical architecture of such a kind in Poland.

The building is located in Siercza, near Cracow, and although the building was designed as a part of petrol station, this was not the only function planned by the owner. Apart from its designed functions, the building belongs to the centre of the village as it is located near a church, kindergarden, stud farm and green area, incorporating the service building of the petrol station, a local shop and a coffee bar.

The rhombus shape of the building was the consequence of the location. The building was designed to fit the corner of the local street as it is located in the bend of the street which lead to the existing shelter covering the fuel pumps.

The landscape and surrounding area play very a important role in the whole design vision. Open space around the building, beautiful view of mountains and horse run of the neighbouring stud are another advantages of the location. What’s important is that the building itself does not block the view but rather creates the relation between the short and long distance view around it. All parts and materials - walls, glass and terraces - make up different frames to look through from inside and outside of the building.

The solid reinforced concrete foundation of the building forms the terrace and the floor and it is forms visual continuation of the big concrete square in front of the building. The outside walls were built in a way which enabled the architects to create a shelter, emphasise the entrance area and the upper terrace. Thanks to highlighted arcades, made of polycarbonate that let the light through them, the building is visible as a strong accent in the neighbourhoods at night.

Local stone was delibarately used to project the buttress in order to emphasise the relation of the building with the its contextual area. Rural character and warmth was added to the interior by the covering the walls with Birchwood plywood.
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Wandering Ecologies: Lower Don Lands, Toronto, Canada

Weiss/Manfredi weaves new ecologies, communities, and public spaces around the renaturalised Lower Don River
Wandering Ecologies establishes a new identity for a formerly industrial region of Toronto, where recreational, living, and cultural activities are free to wander and overlap, creating a new model for sustainable waterfront expansion on the eastern edge of the city. Urban life and nature are reciprocal conditions that together can transform Toronto’s Lower Don Lands into a new cultural and ecological paradigm. City and water, infrastructure and ecology, destination and retreat: the essence and potential of Toronto’s Lower Don Lands resides in celebrating these multiple ecologies.

Organised around the newly designed meandering Lower Don River, the park creates settings for recreation and civic life. The naturalised river creates wetlands and habitats for avian and aquatic species and provides opportunities to engage the water through kayaking and fishing. Public spaces are linked along the southern bank of the Don River Meander and lead to a boardwalk and pier outlook that will become a focal point of the park, providing a vantage to view the Toronto skyline and functioning as a year-round setting for festivals and events. The Valley functions as both flood spillway for the Don River and also as a setting for organised recreational activities.

The design strategy proposes a network of routes and paths that accommodate public transit, parkways, local roads, bicycle trails and an extensive system of pedestrian paths. A new bi-level bridge provides access and views of the city and river along the public waterfront. The design will connect communities with a network of routes and paths and will become a catalyst for redevelopment of the Toronto’s formerly industrial center. The design strategy for the park and infrastructure will become an international model for innovative waterfront development.
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The Interlace, Singapore, Singapore

Ole Shereen design departs from the ordinary in high-rise Singapore
If you've ever played jenga or stacked stirring sticks in a cafe, even, you'll understand the excitement encased in creating a precarious form, the thrill of not knowing if or when it will tumble and the necessity to pay attention to it in case it does. While perhaps not the desired effect, Ole Shereen's design for The Interlace joins the ranks of the leaning tower of Pisa and the immense cantilever of Foster's Zenith to provide this amusement nonetheless.

In a departure from the norm in Singapore, the freshly released images of the OMA architect's design show layers of horizontal towers stacked askew of each other creating an array of aspects for street-side interactors to gaze at in wonderment, a selection of views for future residents to fight over, and an engineering challenge worth talking about.

An impressive 31 six-storey blocks are arranged on four main ‘Superlevels’ comprising 24 stories, although most Superlevel blocks range from 6 to 18 stories to form a stepped building topography. Thought has been put into the arrangement of the blocks in terms of responding to the natural elements of sun, wind and micro-climate and cascading balconies and terraces add green space and allow residents to interact with the outdoor space.

The Interlace is set to create new Beverley Hills-style luxury accommodation, set in the lush Gillman Heights suburb of Singapore and providing a total of 1,040 apartment units set within 8 hectares of land at the Southern Ridges of Singapore. The concept symbolises a new way of living for Singapore, taking rich city-slickers out of the high-rise centre of the city and offering a commutable green hub that retains just enough of a city-feel within the community of buildings.

“The design addresses concerns of shared space and social needs in a contemporary society and simultaneously responds to issues of shared living and individuality by offering a multiplicity of indoor/outdoor spaces specific to the tropical context," commented Shereen.

Ms Patricia Chia, CEO of CapitaLand Residential Singapore, added: “This is a great opportunity to create and build a residential destination at the Gillman Heights site that will challenge the present architectural definition of the living space. In developing the dramatic external form, we have also focused much attention on creating comfortable internal spaces. Our vision for the site is to build homes that will last through the generations and to define an address that the home owner identifies with. The name, The Interlace, reinforces the interconnectivity between man and the space, community and natural environment surrounding him. Ole Scheeren has created a new postcard for Singapore.”

Niki May Young
News Editor
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Incheon Free Economic Zone, Incheon, South Korea

Competition win for major sustainable masterplan in South Korea
Foster + Partners, together with PHA and Mobility in Chain, has won an international competition to design the masterplan for the expansion of the Incheon Free Economic Zone, an extensive mixed-use scheme encompassing the islands of KangHwa and OnJin-gun, to the north east of Seoul. Conceived as a self-sufficient, sustainable development, the 300 sq km masterplan will extend from a central transportation spine, creating a centre for green industry and serving a population that is expected to grow from 35,000 to 320,000 residents and commuters.

The scheme integrates a range of low to high-density mixed-use areas, connected by a Light Rapid Transit system and construction will be phased over 10 to 15 years. The area spans three main sites within the free trade zone – the north of KangHwa will be a centre of inter-Korean economic cooperation, taking advantage of its strategic location close to Incheon airport and North Korea, while the south of the island will be mixed-use, combining green technology industry with community, cultural and residential buildings.

It is envisaged that Incheon will become a national centre for sustainable industry: manufacturing photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, and developing new products and technology within a new research and development institute in the south of KangHwa. State-of-the-art measures employed within the masterplan include biomass energy generation, the use of hydrogen fuel cells and hydroponic roofs. OnJin-gun island will be transformed as a sustainable resort and the masterplan will eventually connect South to North Korea and the airport via the world’s longest bridge.

Taking agriculture as a central theme, the design utilises existing elements such as irrigation channels, green spaces and roads, while the arrangement of buildings within the masterplan follows the natural topology of the site, incorporating green roofs to further harmonise with the landscape. Like the veins of a leaf, the smaller roads and pedestrian avenues extend from the central transportation spine. The existing island is predominately agricultural so terraced farming, utilising the roofs of the industrial buildings, will replace any agriculture displaced by the development. There will be no structure above 50 metres, so the scheme will not extend into the foothills or mountain, thus preserving the rural landscape.

Grant Brooker, a design director at Foster + Partners, said: “Working at a very strategic level, we saw the masterplan as an opportunity to explore the sustainable potential of this extraordinary island, exploiting its pivotal position close to Seoul and its rugged landscape. We are delighted that the judges share our vision and, along with our collaborators at A+U, PHA and MIC, we hope to develop the project into the next stage.”
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TriMet South Terminus, Portland, United States

Terminus provides re-birth for light rail line
For this important gateway site in Downtown Portland, TriMet was seeking an innovative approach to elevate the design of what is typically an infrastructure project. Three design criteria shaped the project; security, sustainability and the desire for an iconic urban design.

The project integrates urban orientated environmentally responsible features. The site plan revolves around a large ovoid public space, responding to the site geometry. This overlooks an on-site landscaping feature that infiltrates all of the storm water runoff so that no stormwater leaves the site. Granite blocks, reclaimed aggregate and other materials salvaged from the original Transit Mall are employed in the site work.

The site is anchored by a large sculptural steel framework clad with a bifacial 50kW photovoltaic array and coil drapery that screens two prefabricated buildings. Eleven paired vertical axis wind turbines top the outer ring of poles supporting the overhead wires. These two systems are calculated to provide a Net-Zero project.

The project engages the current and future urban context by providing a permanent, green space as a front for future development and integrates and takes its form from the new and future light-rail lines and the city gird. The pedestrian experience is enhanced by exploratory opportunities such as the ovoid’s illuminated 'meter' bench that tracks the energy produced on site and the PV array that cantilevers over the sidewalk along SW 5th.

Security is acheived through clearly defined transitions, edges and material cues define the public 'go zone' from TriMet’s 'no go zone'. Site illumination is subtle through the use of blue filtered light.
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Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, Washington, United States

Weiss/Manfredi creates a new landscape for art that reconnects Seattle to the waterfront
Emblematic of many post industrial cities, Seattle is disconnected from its waterfront by transportation infrastructure. The site of the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, an 8.5-acre former industrial site sliced into three separate parcels by train tracks and a four lane arterial road, overlooks Elliott Bay in Puget Sound. The design, a continuous constructed landscape for art, rises over the existing infrastructure to reconnect the urban core to the revitalized waterfront.

This landscaped surface, an uninterrupted Z–shaped “green” platform, descends 40 feet from the city to the water, capitalizing on views of the skyline and Elliott Bay. An exhibition pavilion provides space for art, performances, and educational programming. From this pavilion, the pedestrian route descends to the water, linking three new archetypal landscapes of the northwest: a dense temperate evergreen forest, a deciduous forest, and a shoreline garden with aquatic terraces that form a regenerative underwater habitat for fish and plant life.

The Olympic Sculpture Park rethinks the conventions of the typical sculpture park, providing a dynamic and evolving setting for art. As a landscape for art, the Olympic Sculpture Park extends the experience of viewing modern and contemporary works beyond the museum walls. Illuminating the power of an invented landscape to create connections between art and ecology, city and waterfront, the deliberately open-ended design invites new interpretations of art, ecology, and urban engagement.
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Tempe Transportation Center, Tempe, United States

The architectural aesthetic is an expressive self-evident mitigation of the extreme Sonoran Desert climate
The project brief began as a multimodal transportation center with supportive retail and evolved into a 40,000 sq ft mixed use project that added city offices, leasable office space and public community room. The relatively small 2.7 acre site at the base of Hayden Butte reconciled over 10 feet of fall between the light rail station and street level, incorporating eight onsite bus stops and the positioning of the building to maintain views of the butte.

The architectural aesthetic is an expressive self-evident mitigation of the extreme Sonoran Desert climate. The hyper-rational bar building is sited to frame views of the adjacent landmark butte, resulting in a less than optimal solar orientation. The building core elements (toilets, mechanical, storage, etc.) are used as a thermal buffer from the extreme west sun. The expressive west-facing building skin is constructed of an off-the-shelf concrete masonry unit turned 90 degrees in the wall, yielding a unique shelf shading skin.

The second and third level office space is primarily transparent with moveable shades on the east and deep overhangs to the south and north. The building’s unique desert vegetative roof was treated as a fifth elevation acknowledging the hiker’s views from the adjacent butte while also creating an effective thermal buffer. The public community room was expressed as a sculptural counter point and lifted above the ground to create a shaded respite on the plaza. The faceted pearlescent green metal panel shell wraps and protects the community room while operable sliding glass walls transform the room into an open air pavilion when weather permits.
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Gold Coast Broadwater Marine Precinct, Gold Coast, Australia

Contemporary solution for self-sufficiency
The Gold Coast as a city has a number of significant natural features from its world renowned beaches to its scenic inland canal system, which gives rise to a lifestyle centred around water use.

Our vision for this project, in keeping with the client’s brief, was to create a self sufficient marine precinct supporting a range of uses from, residential apartment living, mariner’s markets and commercial office space, while preserving the existing light marine industry uses and public boat ramp access to the Broadwater.

The proposal allows these varying elements to co-exist, through the careful consideration and zoning of the various uses on the site, locating the residential precinct to the north to take advantage of the water frontage, while the marina industry and facilities are relocated to the south. Activation of both the street and marina frontages is achieved through the increased visual connectivity & physical accessibility to the site

The challenge as we saw it was to provide a contemporary but simple architectural expression which through being modest in scale & form within the existing residential fabric would achieve local acceptance.

The provision of a ‘Boardwalk’ along the marina frontage enhances the permeability of the precinct by linking existing green public spaces. This is a catalyst to allow residents & visitors to interact by encouraging both recreational activity and social interaction, creating spaces of sophistication & tranquillity simultaneously. Open-air markets, boardwalk cafes and restaurants, boat terminal access to the ocean & super yacht mooring are but a few of the facilities envisaged.

The development is designed to provide an impressive & exceptional residential & community address.
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Vatika Infotech City, Jaipur, India

An integrated township in the outskirts of Jaipur, India reinterprets the rich local traditional motifs
Vatika Infotech City is an 800 acre greenfield township near Jaipur, a historic city in Rajasthan, India, famous for its Royal Palaces and handicrafts but also is an emerging IT hub. Infotech City is a response to all of the above. It provides the contemporary response, inspired by old markets, screen walls, and sandstone buildings which have effectively dealt with the harsh desert climate.

A series of open spaces, ranging from a 30 acre Central Park to neighbourhood parks, is connected through a hierarchy of streets starting with a palm-lined majestic entrance Boulevard down to shaded, tree lined residential streets with pedestrian and bicycle routes.

Near the entrance is the City Center, a 30 acre commercial hub with work spaces, shopping, culture and entertainment. Central to this zone is an urban piazza, a contemporary interpretation of the traditional bazaar. Surrounded by double-storey, screened loggia with shops below and workshops above, it brings both making and selling of the local crafts in direct contact with the shopper. The Galleria is an outdoor retail street but climatically controlled by its orientation and fabric roof. Across the Boulevard is a 10 acre hotel set in a resort like environment. Terminating the vista down the boulevard are two residential towers, part of a group housing overlooking the Central Park.

All the built-form around the primary circulation routes and open spaces will be developed by the owner, while internal residential plots will be left to individuals. This is to enable the identity of the public areas to be tightly controlled yet providing diversity in the overall urban fabric.
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Masdar Eco City Centre, Masdar, United Arab Emirates

LAVA use solar shading umbrellas in Eco City centre
Giant umbrellas, with a design based on the principles of sunflowers, will provide moveable shade in the day, store heat, then close and release the heat at night in the plaza of a new eco-city in the United Arab Emirates.

The ‘sunflower umbrellas’ are one aspect of the winning design by the international practice Laboratory for Visionary Architecture [LAVA] for the city centre for Masdar in the UAE - the world’s first zero carbon, zero waste city powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

Masdar is a planned city located 17 kilometres from Abu Dhabi. A government initiative, the city is being constructed over seven phases and is due to be completed by 2016.

The design for the city centre, now revealed, includes a plaza, five-star hotel, long stay hotel, a convention centre and entertainment complex and retail facilities. LAVA, a firm of just two years standing, won the design in an international competition against several hundred entries and strong competition from some of the world’s most high profile architects. Founder Chris Bosse said: "Masdar City is the world’s most prestigious project focusing on sustainable energy design. It is the city of the future and a global benchmark for sustainable urban development. We believe in the Masdar slogan 'One day all cities will be like this'".

The solar powered ‘sunflower’ umbrellas capture the sun’s rays during the day, fold at night releasing the stored heat, and open again the next day. They follow the projection of the sun to provide continuous shade during the day and can be used anywhere in the world including deserts said Bosse.

Masdar City will be a showcase in all things sustainable and some exciting elements include a magnetic public transport system which includes individual pods that drive you to your destination using solar power, sustaining the city's car-free policy; Building façades which can be angled to offset or optimise solar glare; Materials on wall surfaces which respond to changing temperatures and contain minimal embedded energy; Water features that can be stored underground during the day and at night trickle or flow strongly, triggered by passersby; Interactive light poles, inspired by the oasis fire, that transform the plaza into a 3-dimensional interactive media installation; Interactive, heat sensitive technology that activates lighting in response to pedestrian traffic and mobile phone usage; and Roof gardens that integrate food production, energy generation, water efficiency and the reuse of organic food waste.

East and west are fused in the plaza design inspired by both the oasis, as the epicenter of Arabic nomadic life, and the iconic piazza of historical European cities. The organic forms created by the forces of natural erosion in geographical landmarks such as great canyons and wadis are the design inspiration behind the key buildings in the city centre.

After winning stage 1 in January this year, LAVA teamed up with the Sydney/Dubai based Kann Finch group, engineering firm Arup (with whom Chris Bosse previously worked on the Watercube in Beijing), Transsolar (worlds leading energy consultancy), and a team of international experts.
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Yarauvi, Dead Sea, Israel

A necropolis in the Dead Sea
Death and humans’ response to it have long held the power to bind cultures together and create places that transcend time and custom. Our collective respect for the dead and where they are laid to rest reaches across cultures like few other human experiences. It is the commonality of this reverence that guides the creation of Yarauvi, a necropolis at the centre of the Dead Sea.

Yarauvi is a place where any person regardless of nationality, race, religion, age or affluence can be laid to rest. By choosing this site as a final resting place, any citizen of the world can contribute to a growing monument to tolerance, reconciliation and unity.

Families will bid farewell to their loved ones from a dock at the southern banks of the Dead Sea. From there, the dead, accompanied by a few mourners, will be transported to Yarauvi by boat. The boat enters the necropolis at its base and travels through a ceremonial unicursal labyrinth that leads to the center point of the necropolis, where the dead are lifted to the space above. The accompanying mourners will also enter the necropolis this one time, during the interment of their loved ones.

The necropolis is a parabolic structure of concentric rings supported on a raft-like armature below the water line, which allows it to float in the buoyant salty waters of the Dead Sea. Inside, the necropolis is a bowl shaped space open to the sky. Individual sarcophagi will progressively fill the stepped structure, laid out in a concentric configuration facing one another.
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West Loop Park, Chicago, United States

Perkins + Will's innovative design for downtown Chicago
This is a commissioned proposal to provide a continuous air rights park over the Kennedy Expressway directly west of Chicago’s downtown. Adding open space to existing mature urban centers will involve bridging over existing infrastructure, such as highways and rail yards, since vacant land will not be available for such uses. This project serves as an example of how bridging over an existing highway can provide areas for new open space in downtown Chicago and serve as an urban catalyst for future growth.

A series of inhabitable park bridges link either side of the expressway at mid-block to avoid disruption of existing entry ramps. Functions located within the bridges can provide new public or private facilities and link up with developable parcels on either side of the expressway. Suggestions for future buildings surrounding the park are shaped to capture breezes along with park wind scoops. By creating air movement, the air quality is improved for the open space by flushing out and reducing the concentration of emissions.

Trees and plantings assist in controlling noise levels as well as filtering CO2 emissions from the expressway below and the network of green continues vertically through a series of gardens incorporated in the surrounding structures. Thus, this design is conceived not only as additional green space, but as a breathing lung for the City.
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Zagreb Airport - New Passenger Terminal, Zagreb, Croatia

Riegler Riewe's proposal for the new terminal at Zagreb airport
For an airport terminal building meant to be placed amidst strong landscape elements of different 'natures', consideration of its own nature is of the greatest importance. Not as an afterthought but as an integrative element of the highly anthropised environment whose elements should imply consciousness of a new kind of abstracted artificial landscape.

The project formulates the idea of integral planning, where elements constitute the whole: from the large scale landscaping pattern along the runway to the monumental terminal hall interior spaces; from the overall traffic solution to the integral way daylight is brought into deep interior spaces and infrastructural ducts distributed. 'Natural' and 'technological' layers of this project constitute an integral infrastructural landscape.

'Airport City' is conceived as an abstract orthogonal matrix of volumes, surfaces and corridors that can grow according to different possible scenarios. Its non- hierarchical nature enables open arrangements of various future uses.

The passenger terminal consists of two distinguished parts; the multi-level terminal hall and the long pier in front of it. The terminal hall comprises departure, arrival and transfer floors connected to outside covered space under the huge canopy, offices and public facilities top level and technical basement level with a separate vehicle traffic access. The pier is merely a communication space positioned along the apron border as defined by the Zagreb Airport Master Plan.

The terminal hall is developed on a square plan, under the large flat roof of 167m x 150m. The roof is 5m thick, divided in 6m x 6m squares and supported by 'space columns' shaped like squeezed tetra pack prisms. This structure is enveloped by translucent glass plates thus bringing the daylight all the way down to the underground floors of the terminal hall.

The secondary structure of slabs that forms the functional floors of the terminal hall is structurally independent. The roof contains various technological aspects of the airport terminal building. Uniformly closed from the bottom side, it opens up to the aerial view exposing the most of this infrastructural landscape. The terminal hall is approached from the Airport City landside. Its large roof protrudes in the outdoor space thus forming a canopy supported by the same space columns.
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High Line, New York, United States

The High Line creates new public space from derelict urban platform
The High Line is a 1.2 mile conversion of an abandoned elevated railway into a new public park along the west side of lower Manhattan. The project establishes an urban corridor for habitat, wildlife and people, providing opportunities for future links between neighbourhoods, greenways and parkways. The line transforms 6 acres of paved surface into landscape.

Through a strategy of agri-tecture - part agriculture, part architecture - the High Line surface is digitized into discrete units of paving and planting which are assembled along 1.5 miles into a variety of gradients from 100% paving to 100% soft, richly vegetated biotopes. The paving system consists of individual pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The resulting “pathless” landscape encourages the public to meander in unscripted ways. The park accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social. Access points are durational experiences designed to prolong the transition from the frenetic pace of city streets to the slow otherworldly landscape above.

The High Line was a design collaboration by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
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Road Bridge Krusrak, Sneek, Netherlands

Onix and Achterbosch Architecture complete a unique bridge for Dutch city of Sneek
Commissioned by the Province of Friesland, and in conjunction with Achterbosch Architecture under the combined name of OAK, Onix has developed a road bridge that connects 2 districts of Sneek on either side of the A7 motorway. The bridge was designed for a municipality that wished to establish a new city marker along the motorway.

The Department of Public Works, the user of the bridge, stated that it wished to use more wood in its constructions. To the design team, the challenge was to realise a bridge in a responsible and sustainable way, and to capitalise on the latest innovations in wood construction. The architects regarded it as important to elaborate the wooden bridge in such a way that it would be both recognisable and new to Sneek.

The contours call to mind the traditional cheese-cover farmhouses of Friesland; the construction evokes reminiscences of the building expertise that it still abundantly present in the old city; the wooden beams reflect the shipbuilding industry, with Sneek as the water recreation city par excellence in the North Netherlands. All these aspects led to the first uncovered wooden bridge in the heaviest load class. This bridge is not only a novelty for the Netherlands but also for countries such as Canada, Norway and Switzerland where the covered bridge is a well-known feature.

The bridge consists of Accoya wood, an acetylated type of wood that has been produced in a factory in Arnhem for around one year now. The acetylation of wood is a process that makes wood almost imperishable. The design of the bridge is a fusion of infrastructure, construction, art and architecture. As a component of the renewed A7 motorway, the wooden bridge was envisaged at two positions. The second wooden bridge will be realised in 2010. The interface of the A7 with the inner city is thus defined for the motorist, for whom, when on the motorway, the bridge is a city marker. For passers-by crossing over the motorway, it is a gateway between the inner city and the suburbs. Besides motorized traffic, pedestrians and cyclists also make use of the bridge.

The two wooden trusses have been coupled together at the centre to ensure stability. The arched form arose by optimising the cross-section of the bridge for traffic. In conjunction with the triangular structure of the framework, this offers surprising visual perspectives. The bridgehead on the suburb side is a green dike element, whereas on the inner-city side it is a concrete span that bridges a waterway.

The bridge was created as the result of an intensive and integrated design process. In consultation with the client, we were able to compile a team of professions and critics who made it possible to realize the bridge. The bridge was built by a contractor from the town of Schwäbisch Hall in southern Germany, where the tradition of producing half-timber houses, and also bridges, is well known.
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Centre West 4, London, United Kingdom

Hammersmith to get new transport interchange
London Buses are improving their existing bus station facilities at Hammersmith which is at the hub of many routes. The project retains the bus station at first floor level, and increases physical area by installing a deck over the underground railway and over the vacant site on the North East corner of the Hammersmith Gyratory. The complex engineering required to expand the bus station, particularly over the railway, requires careful planning and extensive consultation with third parties.

The scheme looks to integrate a brand new 21st Century bus station facility connecting to the underground station, with a landmark quality office building above ground. The design has been driven in the first instance by achieving the best possible bus station layout, and many options have been explored and examined during this process.

The movement of buses and people is at the very heart of the concept. As a major new interchange station linking all modes of public transport, the architects aim to capture the spirit of movement within the architectural solution. As buses circulate on the first floor they weave their way around the central passenger waiting spaces and the entire floor area is utilised for bus standing facilities and bus stops. This sweeping path translates to a plan footprint which uses the full extent of the site, manifesting on the facade as a series of upper floor projections.

The projections mark the entrance to the bus station from ground level, whilst also becoming a visual and tactile surface that the passenger moves through (escalators), walks upon (floor surface), is covered by (roof plane) and experiences when on the bus (ribbon).

The ribbon is a striking feature of the design which is an expression of the dynamic function of the bus station. The ribbon forms the street facade of the bus station, and is re-introduced to the upper parts of the office building in an holistic approach. The spaces behind the projecting upper floors become conference rooms or amenity spaces, these also present themselves to the inner elevations facing the bus station, so that the building can be seen as an object with all facades having a public presence.
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TKTS Booth and the Redevelopment of Father Duffy Square, New York, United States

..Creating an Urban Icon at the Crossroads of the World
The new TKTS booth and the redevelopment of Father Duffy Square create a new center for Times Square, one of the world’s most popular and iconic destinations. The project began in 1999 with a design competition to re-design the popular TKTS booth. While the competition brief simply requested designs for a small scale architectural structure to replace the existing ticket booth, Australian firm Choi Ropiha reframed the problem as one requiring a broader urban design response to invigorate and provide a center for Times Square, and won the competition.

In 2001, Perkins Eastman was brought on board to evaluate the Choi Ropiha scheme, and developed several approaches and from those a final design which, while informed and inspired by the original concept, used a distinctly 21st Century set of approaches: glass would now be employed as the TKTS Booth’s sole structural component for the steps and the TKTS Booth itself would be free standing within the glass enclosure. Cutting-edge technology was integrated throughout the lighting and mechanical systems as well. LED arrays beneath the steps create buoyant luminescence underfoot. Five geothermal wells circulate a water/glycol mix 450 feet below Broadway and back again through heat exchangers that cool the interior in summer, warm it in winter and keep the staircase ice free. Completing the transformation of Father Duffy Square was the work of William Fellows (now with PKSB), who transformed the public space of the square to allow for increased pedestrian traffic and more prominence for Father Duffy’s commanding statue.
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Urban Park at City Square Mall, Singapore, Singapore

Ong&Ong's new design for an urban park in Singapore
Located at 17th Kitchener road in Singapore, the existing open space in front of the proposed City Square Mall has an area of approximately 0.45 ha. The proposal of developing this open space into an urban park will drastically change the appearance and usage of this space. The development of the urban park and the mall will complement one another. The urban park will be like a green carpet laid out in front of the mall to welcome its visitors.

The urban park when completed in November 2009, will serve as a green lung for the neighborhood. Conceived as a series of spaces connected by footpaths, these spaces are meant to encourage learning about ecology and the natural environment in an urban oasis that is both fun and didactic for young and old. As they play and walk through the landscape, they learn.

This project further maintains its environmentally-friendly status by introducing the application of “Eco-tiles”-a composite recyclable product that is manufactured with sustainable resources.

The project is designed as a 'green lung' for the neighbourhood, and includes a butterfly garden where people can engage with and learn about wildlife, and a 'living maze'; a green garden where children can roam and learn about plants. A fountain park also provides interactive water-play and acts as a distinctive communal meeting point.

Other features include a 'vertical green', an eco-roof showcase and an 'Eco-wall', where kids can learn hands-on about recycling, reducing and reusing. In line with the "City in a Garden" movement, preservation and integration of 2 huge existing trees is allowed for within the new design.
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Shotton Hall Secondary school, Durham, United Kingdom

BSF school design to add sparkle to Durham
A gem-like structure has been designed by Atkins for a new secondary school specialising in performing arts in Durham.

Shotton Hall Secondary school is one of the sample schools for Durham’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which recently reached financial close. Earlier this year, Atkins was selected by the consortium Inspired Spaces (led by Carillion), as one of the design consultants to deliver the £500m programme, which will see 40 schools delivered across Durham over the next 10 years in four distinct waves.

“The ambition of Shotton Hall School is to use its success in performing arts to inspire pupils to succeed in all areas of school life,” says Philip Watson, Atkins’ head of education.

“We wanted to capture this enthusiasm and energy to strengthen the identity of the school through our design. The new performing arts facilities have been placed at the front of the school to create a dramatic first impression, inspiring all who enter the campus.”

Set in a mining landscape of white cliffs with contrasting black coal seams, the theatre is clad in metallic shingles to shine and appear gem-like. Once completed, it is intended that the new facilities will be open to the community, providing space for local art and community groups to meet, enabling the school to play a key role in the social regeneration of the local area.

“The new school is set to become an iconic building, which makes a bold statement about education in the area,” adds Philip.

“The extended facilities for the community will provide an opportunity for everyone to be included, offering a sense of regeneration, aspiration and a new belief in education.”

As part of the masterplan, Atkins has also designed Shotton Hall Primary School, which is incorporated onto the same site. It is proposed that the two schools share access to an outdoor performance area as well as a service yard and combined heat and power plant. Atkins has also been appointed to design the new Dene Community School of Technology, one of the remaining schools to be delivered under the first wave of Durham’s BSF programme.

Atkins has been involved in over 1,500 school projects and delivered services to local authorities and private partners in all of the BSF waves.
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

National Library, Astana, Kazakhstan

Copenhagen architects beat Foster and Hadid with 'modern and rational' library
Invited as one of five pre-selected architect led teams, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) was awarded first prize in an open international design competition which included 19 entrants amongst others Lord Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid.

The new National Library, named after the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, encompasses an estimated 33,000 sq m. The winning proposal was chosen by the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan K. Masimov together with Astana’s akim I.Tasmagambetov and a council of architects. The design was hailed as being both modern and rational and anchored in a classical vocabulary of traditional libraries.

"The design of the National Library combines four universal archetypes across space and time into a new national symbol: the circle, the rotunda, the arch and the yurt are merged into the form of a Moebius strip. The clarity of the circle, the courtyard of the rotunda, the gateway of the arch and the soft silhouette of the yurt are combined to create a new national monument appearing local and universal, contemporary and timeless, unique and archetypal at the same time," said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner on the Astana National Library 2009

The win marks a significant achievement for the firm which is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in top-end architecture. BIG's architectural achievements came to the fore with their Mountain Dwellings housing project in Copenhagen which won several awards for its ingenuity and since then the firm have raised the stakes competing with Foster, Nouvel and others for the Slussen regeneration, narrowly missing a win to Foster.

The design of the National Library will be a very significant project not just for the firm but for Kazakhastan and is hoped to become an icon for a country which has sadly become synonymous with the antics of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat character who hailed from its lands. The new National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan’s new capital since 1997, shall not only accumulate history but also provide a foundation for new futures for the nation and its new capital. It will serve as an intellectual, multifunctional and cultural center, with a primary goal of reflecting the establishment and development of a sovereign Kazakhstan, its political history, and the Head of the State’s activities and role in the development of the country.

An archive of books, films, magazines and other media is organized as a circular loop of knowledge, surrounded by light and air on both sides. On the periphery a 360 degree panorama of Astana - at the heart of the building a contemplative courtyard domed by the heavenly light blue of the celestial vault. A series of public programs will simultaneously wrap the library on the outside as well as the inside, above as well as below. Like a Möbius strip, the public programs move seamlessly from the inside to the outside and from ground to the sky providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and growing city skyline.

"The envelope of The National Library transcends the traditional architectural categories such as wall and roof. Like a yurt the wall becomes the roof, which becomes floor, which becomes the wall again," said Thomas Christoffersen, Project Leader on the National Library.
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Castleford Riverside Masterplan, Castleford, United Kingdom

Landmark bridge the centrepiece for Castleford mastrerplan
McDowell+Benedetti were chosen in 2003 by local community representatives as winners of an invited competition to design a landmark bridge and waterfront regeneration masterplan for Castleford Bay. Close consultation with the community ‘project champions’ continued throughout. The regeneration was promoted in the UK by Channel 4 with the design process filmed for a TV documentary 'Kevin McCloud’s Big Town Plan' which aired in August 2008.

Simple temporary paths at each bank connect to Aire Street and Mill Lane pending future phases of the regeneration masterplan, including the realignment of Aire St. to increase riverside public realm whilst improving safe pedestrian access, and south bank public square and pavilion buildings. A south bank boardwalk (partly built, ready for extension in future) provides a new public riverside connection between the old and new bridges and releases further regeneration sites. The scheme also indludes a new North bank landscaped park, belvedere and ‘beach’ area, a cohesive 'string of pearls' civic lighting strategy surrounding the Bay, and a new fish pass within the historic Weir apron.

The new 130m long, 4m wide footbridge forms an elegant sinuous curve over Castleford Bay, uniting disparate communities on the North and South of the river and creating a safer and more pleasant pedestrian route than the narrow 200 year-old Victorian road bridge further downstream. The ‘S’ shaped bridge curves in response to the site context of the mill, the weir and old wrecked barge, giving users maximum experience of these landmarks and the lively flow of white water over the Weir apron. Anchored by only three V-shaped supports, the streamlined untreated Cumaru hardwood deck structure appears to hover over the River Aire offering a ‘magic carpet’ from which to enjoy the picturesque setting.

Designed as a public space and not just as a route, the innovative structure rises from the bespoke timber deck to create four 20m long curving benches to sit and enjoy panoramic views. The popularity of the bridge has re-directed attention to Castleford’s riverside acting as a catalyst for future phases of our waterfront regeneration masterplan.

McDowell+Benedetti were the sole appointment by WMDC to design and project manage the bridge, with the following sub-consultants: engineers Alan Baxter & Associates and Arup, lighting advisors Sutton Vane Associates and QS Philip Pank Partnership.
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Randstadrailstation Beatrixkwartier, The Hague, Netherlands

Tubular train station adds new dimension to The Hague's business district
Randstadrail is a project for a new light urban rail network for the area between The Hague and Rotterdam. In the centre of The Hague, in the Beatrixkwartier office district, a link between the tram viaduct at the Ternoot stop and the NS (Dutch Railways) railway embankment close to the Laan van NOI station was needed. To achieve this a viaduct has been built over the entire length of the Beatrixlaan, with a new station halfway.

The space-frame tubular construction of the viaduct follows the curve that Joan Busquets has set out for the alignments and the roadways on the Beatrixlaan.

For a length of 400 metres the viaduct is constructed from a skeleton structure of rings of mild-steel strips with a diameter of about 10 metres, interconnected by diagonally set tubes to form an open tube structure. The relatively great structural height of the tube makes it easy to cover the large spans. The construction is supported by V-shaped columns and provides room for two tracks for passing trains. Thanks to the big spans of 40 and 50 metres there are only few columns at street level. There is also hardly any visual obstruction at eye level, so that social safety and traffic safety are not compromised.

The new Beatrixlaan station has a platform in the middle. The railway tracks split as they reach the platform. The access for this type of platform is compact: the stairway and lift are used by people travelling in both directions. The spatial form of the station derives from a combination of the alignment and the profile of empty space. This means that the station building provides exactly enough space for the trains to travel around the platform in the ideal curve. In addition, the platform is wide where people stand waiting and thinner at the access stairs.

Since its opening in 2006 the station has become a well-known landmark in The Hague, commonly called the “Netkous” (fishnet stocking).
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