Art Gallery of Alberta opens to reveal its true inspiration
Swooping steel meshes with glass and zinc reflecting the changing light of the day and seasons of the year – it is in fact nature that fed this unnatural creation, the Art Gallery of Alberta which opens this Sunday (31 Jan). The architect, Randall Stout of Randall Stout Architects, absorbed the majesty of the swirling forms of the Aurora Borealis so visible in Edmonton, Canada, and put pen to paper with dramatic effect. The urban grid layout of the city which sits comfortably aside the meandering Saskatchewan River furthered Stout’s vision as he drew square and curved components together in unity. For any doubters, let it be known – Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, was the true inspiration for Stout’s gallery.
The gallery was founded in 1924 with the aim of promoting the knowledge, enjoyment and cultivation of the fine arts and to preserve historical relics. In its almost 90 year history the gallery has proved so successful that its collection has ballooned to unmanageable proportions. An extension twenty years ago failed to successfully provide the necessary storage with outdated mechanics now deeming the facility redundant. While twelve years ago plans were put forward for a $12million renovation, they were rejected by Edmonton Art Gallery Board in favour of a new building which was thereafter sought to represent Alberta and the collections within the Art Gallery itself.
In line with modern expectations the new gallery brings not just additional gallery space but also a restaurant and a gallery shop. Combined with the renovation of the existing 150 seat theatre and expanded Art Education Centre, additional purpose is brought to the facility. The area of classroom and studio space is doubled in the expansion and rental space for functions is unique with options of the main floor atrium (with 26 m height), an outdoor sculpture court or the ‘floating’ private lounge.
Around 80% of the exhibition space is dedicated to temporary collections and so a neutral canvas is created within most of the interior volume to allow the art to express itself, with the exception of the atrium and stairways which continue the flowing expression from the elegant exterior.
The building stands as an icon of both its surroundings and its contents expressing this symbolism with a combination of reflective materials and an artificial ‘borealis’ white light installation which contrasts with the reflection of the dark night’s sky on the undulating stainless steel facade. A tribute to the natural beauty of Alberta.
Niki May Young
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Grand Avenue emerges as third contender for Broad Art Museum
While Berkeley reels from the disappointment of losing its planned Ito-designed museum, another California city will soon be celebrating the addition of a new Broad Museum. Which city it will be, however, is yet to be determined. Currently three cities are in the running for the Broad Museum- Beverley Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles. And while it appeared that Santa Monica was close to sealing a deal for the museum, Los Angeles emerged last week as a serious contender with the news that the City was in official talks with Broad about locating the museum on Grand Avenue - a move which could jumpstart the stalled multibillion dollar Grand Avenue development project, which was sidelined amidst the global credit crunch.
Designed by Frank Gehry and developed by the Related Companies, the Grand Avenue project is the centerpiece in the downtown’s revitalization. The project has drawn comparisons to the Champs-Elysées of Paris, with its tree-lined streets, upscale shopping and high-rise condos. Located across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall and in close proximity to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (MOCA), it is an excellent location for an art museum. And Broad must think so too, as he had a big hand in forming the cultural district that is located there. He helped raise $30 million for the Disney Concert Hall and pledged another $30 million to MOCA, where its newly appointed museum head, Jeffrey Deitch, is said to be urging Broad to locate his museum there.
But Eli Broad didn’t get to be billionaire Eli Broad by taking direction from others. And, while this location has a lot going for it, lets not forget that Broad holds a special place in his heart for Beverly Hills and has said publicly that it is his preferred location. But the deal with Beverly Hills is complicated - the site under consideration, at Santa Monica and Wiltshire Boulevards, can't provide enough parking and requires the acquisition of privately-held land before it can move forward, which is a considerable drawback. Broad, now 76, wants to move forward with the project ASAP.
While some have characterized Broad as a bit of mystery man and elusive when it comes to answering questions about the museum’s location, he has been abundantly clear from the start that he is weighing his options and will make a decision in the spring. Until then, the museum is very much in play. One thing is for certain, though. The $40-60 million museum that Broad plans to build to house his 20,000 piece collection of contemporary art and fund with a $200 million endowment, will be a good get for any municipality. Stayed tuned for the much-anticipated decision.
University of Sydney student returns to revamp law school
Following an international design competition, Francis Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmt) was commissioned to transform a key site into a new campus for the University of Sydney's law faculty. Inaugurated in 1855, it was the first law school to be established in Australia. After nearly 120 years in Phillip Street Sydney it moved to the heart of the University of Sydney's Camperdown campus.
Designed by one-time Sydney University medallist Richard Francis-Jones, it overlooks Victoria Park towards the centre of Sydney, and features 16 seminar rooms, four 100-seat lecture theatres, a 300-seat auditorium and a ‘moot court’ that gives students simulated first-hand court experience.
Professor Gillian Triggs, Dean of Sydney Law School said: “The architects have designed an elegant and spacious structure that cannot fail to inspire our academic staff, administrators and students. A functional and beautiful environment respects those who use the spaces and motivates all who work in the building.”
The Baulderstone-built building boasts a sophisticated glass double-skin ventilated façade which is made up of occupant-controlled timber louvres to control solar gain and glare. The cavity space within the façade naturally ventilates the building. Other features include a 20 metre high light tower which is used to direct natural light into the underground law library. Clad in curved stainless steel panels and large glass panes, the building also features mixed-mode, chilled-beam and displacement air conditioning and precinct storm water collection.
The project has received numerous awards including AIA awards for Architecture, Urban Design and Sustainability.
Woods Bagot's Business School design reflects the region's economic history
The new University of Western Australia Business School is a world class example of best practice in tertiary educational facility design. It is a fusion of the University’s specific requirements and the latest education pedagogy and workplace design concepts. Woods Bagot undertook a rigorous consultative approach throughout the design process which resulted in opportunities for innovation and added value.
Rigorous education-specific space auditing combined with the consultative process resulted in a 10% saving in space from the original brief. These savings were reinvested in a number of ways, such as; the creation of a new collaborative and collegiate workplace model for academics; new learning environments such as collaborative social spaces and breakout spaces with chilled beam climate control. The building is also orientated so as to optimise natural heating and cooling throughout the year and the form of the building allows for the maximum penetration of natural light. This is combined with an intelligent daylight compensation lighting system.
The UWA Business School site is located at the southern end of the campus, the opposite end to the sandstone Winthrop buildings which define the campus identity. This provides the opportunity to announce a new era in the history of the University and a 21st century model for campus architecture. The architectural expression is derived from images associated with the history of the state’s economy such as agriculture and the resources industry.
Landmark art gallery opens in Johannesburg
Located in Johannesburg, Circa on Jellicoe is a new multimedia art gallery designed by South African practice, studioMAS. The design team developed the elliptical form to cope with the constraints of a narrow site and the prospect of creating a landmark. Its main feature is an aluminium fin facade that allows views into and out of the building.
Circa comprises of three levels with the public ground floor consisting of 106 sq m of craft exhibition space. Beyond this, users traverse a perimeter ramp that connects ground and first floor exhibition spaces. This 177 sq m double volume multi-purpose exhibition space has 7 moveable display screens that can drop through the floor into the ground level below, when unused. The top floor consists of a 105 sq m private lounge and deck overlooking Johannesburg’s urban forest.
The main structure is cast in situ concrete; the cantilevering perimeter ramp and staircase are also concrete. The façade cladding consists of anodized aluminium fins which are attached to the concrete by steel angles and bracing. Dry-walling has been used inside the main gallery to conceal services behind. Glass has been used extensively on the ground floor to close off access into the building after hours and yet maintain views.
Space architecture due to take flight
UK Government research has shown that Space Architecture is likely to be a fast growing industry by 2030. The government-commissioned report, entitled ‘The shape of jobs to come: Possible New Careers Emerging from Advances in Science and Technology’, lists Space Architect as a profession which will be in high demand in coming years. Advances in science and technology mean that architects will be required to design physical solutions to enable habitation of space and other planets. According to the report, Space Architects, Pilots and Tour Guides were considered the most aspirational roles from the list of jobs for the future.
Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) said: “A priority for this Government is to prepare Britain for the economy of the future and to make sure our young people can seize the opportunities that innovations in science and technology will bring. The shape of jobs to come shows what might be on offer for the next generation. I hope it will inspire young people to gain the skills and training they will need to succeed.”
Companies like Virgin Galactic and the Sasakawa International Centre for Space Architecture (SICSA) are forging ahead with space tourism projects. Sir Richard Branson recently unveiled SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceline, with daily space tourism flights planned to commence from Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport in New Mexico. Designed by Foster and Partners, the spaceport is currently under construction with the 3,048 metre runway expected to be completed by late 2010. Current projects at the SICSA include a greenhouse on Mars, lunar outposts and space exploration vehicles.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
'Energy Roof' designed as architectural icon
Nestled comfortably right in the heart (or the thigh) of Italy is the bustling ancient city of Perugia, known for its popular university, it's annual Jazz festival and soon, for an architectural icon by COOP HIMMELB(L)AU set to awe its inhabitants and visitors alike.
Serving both as a canopy and a gateway to visitors of the popular archaeological underground passage at Via Mazzini, the structure is conceived as an energy sponge capturing the sun's rays and the wind's breath. An outer layer of photovoltaic cells optimized automatically using a computer driven scripting program absorb energy from the sun to the west while the east wing collates wind power using wind turbines within a second structural layer. A third inner layer works with the second as a combination of laminated glazing and translucent pneumatic cushions.Not only will the roof and underground passage be provided with energy from the structure but the 'Energy Roof' as it is coined could provide a substantial boost to the city's power grid.
Currently in the planning process the designs have many hurdles yet to jump, but if approved the ambitious concept would bring not just an ultra-modern icon to the city but a reawakening of the city's own history. Based on historical documents showing its existence, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU proposes to excavate the old Etruscan city wall in the area below Piazza Giacomo Matteotti as part of an underground public gallery space exhibiting the history of Perugia, which would be accessed under the roof through openings in the ground.
SAMOO wins international competition to design Korea Centre in New York City
SAMOO Architecture PC, the New York studio of SAMOO Architects and Engineers based in Seoul, Korea, has won an international competition for the design of The New York Korea Centre, a new home for the Korean Cultural Service in New York. The eight-storey, 3065 sq m facility will offer spaces for exhibitions, performances, lectures, and administration and will be located on East 32nd Street.
Mr. Myung Gi Sohn, President and CEO of SAMOO Architects and Engineers said: "Korea Centre will provide an international gateway to Korean culture, travel, and events. It is a great honour to participate in a project of this significance.”
The design includes a multi-layered glass façade which creates a screen wall that illuminates three sculptural figures within—composed of polished ceramic, rough terracotta, and milled wood—representing Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. Layered behind the glass façade, an open frame will provide a canvas for display panels that convey a changing visual message to the passers-by. The street level of Korea Centre will focus on exhibits related to current popular trends in Korean culture, including music, movies, food, technology and TV dramas – a phenomenon known as the ‘Korean Wave’. Visitors can also enjoy a library, café, and gardens, as well as performances in a 240-seat theatre.
Mr. Soon Woo Kwon, Principal at SAMOO Architecture PC commented: “The transparency of the façade opens the buildings activities to street life and energises the surrounding area.”
Construction is scheduled to begin at the end of the year.
Gehry Partners dropped from Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem project
For six years Gehry has been set to stamp his illustrious mark on one of the most historic cities in the world with his design for the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem but following a wave of protest Gehry Partners has been dropped as architect for the scheme. A collaborative statement issued to WAN by the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Founder Rabbi Marvin Heir and Frank Gehry advises that a unanimous decision was taken by the Board of Trustees to redesign the Museum to 'reflect today’s world economic realities'.
“This is the right decision for us,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Center’s Founder and Dean. “The good news, however, is that the project is moving forward; we have a fantastic site in the heart of Jerusalem and we can now refocus all of our energies on bringing to Jerusalem and the people of Israel, a project of crucial significance to its future. Unfortunately, Frank Gehry will not be the architect on the project. Frank has done an amazing job and has worked with us at every step of the way to realize our dreams. We will shortly name the new architect for the redesign.”
Frank Gehry added: “I greatly value my relationship with Rabbi Marvin Hier and admire his determination to establish a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem that will serve as the embodiment of human respect and compassion. Unfortunately, our staff and resources are committed to other projects around the globe, and thus I will not be able to participate in the redesign effort. Contrary to a published report quoting my partner Craig Webb, this parting has nothing whatsoever to do with perceived political sensitivities. The Museum of Tolerance project is vitally important, and I have no doubt that Rabbi Hier will create a visitor experience that will bring people of all faiths closer together.”
The project has been plagued by fury from within Jerusalem which halted the project for two years, and a petition against the project following planning approval in 2008.
Several well-known architects petitioned against the decision, which would have seen Gehry's flamboyant design bound for permanence on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery, claiming the plans were a 'blow to peaceful co-existence'. Will Alsop, Charles Jencks, Richard MacCormac and Eva Jiricna all signed the petition which read: "The site in Mamilla, near Jerusalem's Independence Park, is on disputed burial land taken over by the Israel’s Land Administration in 1948, whose ownership is claimed by the Islamic authorities.
"To pursue this divisive project that will include "two museums, a library-education center, a conference centre and a 500-seat performing arts theatre, would seem highly insensitive, a statement of Israel's hegemony over the Palestinians, rather than any expression of 'tolerance'. All the architecture in the world cannot engender harmony on the basis of trampling over people’s rights and history. It is inflaming passions in an already combustible Middle East, and will push any peace accord further off the horizon."
The petition went to the high court but was over-ruled on the basis that in 1960, no objection was received for the construction of a parking lot on the same plot of land. The new architect is due to be named shortly, according to the statement.
Niki May Young
Boston's ideas competition leaves lasting impression on the city's redevelopment authority
The SHIFTboston competition calls on all architects, artists, landscape architects, urban designers and engineers to submit their most provocative visions for the City of Boston. The Boston Arcology (BOA) proposal was entered into the competition by a team from Ahearn Schopfer, led by Kevin Schopfer, in collaboration with Tangram 3DS. The Boston Arcology has the capability of housing 15,000 people distributed in hotels, offices, retail, museums, condominiums, and a new city hall.
Because of its scale, BOA is positioned perpendicular to the waterfront, preserving view corridors and general development massing. Sky gardens are inserted into the three main towers every 30 floors. These sky gardens provide landscaped glass enclosed atria. Vertical commuting within BOA will be supported by a series of local and express transfer floors.
BOA is geared to be an all pedestrian environment. Accordingly, only select horizontally based areas will be fitted with moving walkways and/or electric train carriers. BOA will eliminate the need for cars within the urban structure to create a carbon neutral entity. Some of these elements are secured wind turbines, fresh water recovery and storage systems, passive glazing system, sky garden heating/cooling vents, gray water treatment, solar array banding panels, and harbour based water turbines. The foundation of BOA is a series of poured concrete cells, which are combined to form a buoyant platform. The grid of these cells serves as the foundation for the rigid steel.
Sapir Ng and Andrzej Zarzycki were awarded 1st prize for their design which proposed the transformation of part of North America’s oldest subway system into an interactive social environment. The Tremont Underground Theatre Space (TUTS) concept envisaged turning the Tremont Street subway tunnels into an interactive cultural environment, comprising interactive art galleries, an underground cinema, an underground theatre, a theatre trolley and a trolley museum and cafe.
Kairos Shen, Chief Planner, Boston Redevelopment Authority said: “Compared to what I do on a daily basis and seeing the normative architecture that we have, this is really truly wonderful. I’d like to figure out a way that in city government and in the development community we can figure out what are the kernels of brilliant ideas and be able to apply them.”
South Korea's eco domes revealed
Samoo Architecture, in collaboration with Grimshaw Architects, has revealed its plans for what could be called the Eden Project of the South. Part of the upcoming National Ecological Institute(NEI) of South Korea site, The Ecorium Project will provide optimum conditions for a large ecosystem across 33,090 sq m of floor area.
As in Cornwall's Eden Project the Ecorium Project is comprised a series of interlinking domes, although in this case the domes are wedge-shaped greenhouses. High technology tracks the sun and adapts the internal environment appropriately to create a global eco-environment across the spaces. No shade is used, only shade simulation by arrangement. The exterior is finished in metal panel, low iron low-e double glazing, wood and plexiglas.
"The National Ecological Institute, South Korea is intended to do comprehensive study of the converging eco-systems of nature, human and climate to ensure safety, stability and the harmonious coexistence of competing agendas," said a spokesperson for Samoo. "The NEI will play a important role as a think tank for research and policy making. Additionally, this institution will foster and nurture the general public’s awareness, educate and the importance of the environment through exhibitions and education programs."
The Ecorium Project will form the core of this programme and outwardly expresses both its importance in the directive and its synergy with nature. Sinuous, leaf-like lines are used and echoed within the landscaping. Seen from above the structure would appear as a tributary river. The wider NEI plans are currently enduring the tendering process but will eventually see a large wild plant reserve, wetlands reserve, visitors centre and railway join the Ecorium to create a public haven for the study of nature.
Panter Hudspith creates a new model for dense, quality housing in London’s Southbank
Architects were commissioned in early 2005 to design a new mixed-use residential scheme for a site in London’s regenerating Southbank, near the Tate Modern. Ultimately comprised of 89 flats above ground floor retail units, the brief was to achieve permission for a scheme of very high density. This demanded a building of exceptional architectural and material quality. In a city historically averse to European style apartment living, it also questioned how design might challenge this prejudice.
The development site is triangular in shape, abutting a two-and-a-half storey pub to one corner and a proposed 8-storey hotel along its opposing edge. It was important for the proposed scheme to not read as one large mass. Instead a module of brick ‘boxes’, ranging from one to four stories in height, was employed to give the building a human scale. Two stock type bricks constitute the principal building material used throughout, broken down into these ‘boxes’, piled as high as eight storeys and gradually stepping down to meet the existing pub at the corner. This overall form negotiates between the areas existing and developing scales, while maximising the number of terraces that spill out from individual flats. The massing allows the building to open up the centre of the scheme, creating a first floor amenity area, allowing natural light to penetrate the middle of the site and in turn distribute natural light into the residential properties.
The project demonstrates how a dense residential scheme can provide a model for apartment living that challenges the suburban ideal, and helps establish a vision for a neighborhood as a place for people to visit, live, work, shop and eat. The ultimate effect is a contemporary building whose grain and texture reflect the areas industrial urban history, while promoting an active community in this dramatically changing neighbourhood.
KCAP and JHK win competition for park and ride facility
KCAP Architects & Planners together with JHK Architecten have been awarded first prize in the competition for the park and ride facility P&R Hooggelegen in Utrecht. The project is being commissioned by the Municipality of Utrecht and will be realised in two phases, each comprising a 31,000 sq m building with 1,000 parking spaces. Phase one is expected to be delivered in 2011, phase two between 2012 and 2015.
The P&R will be located along highway A2 Utrecht-Amsterdam between Papendorp office park and the Hooggelegen intersection. Access is via a new highway exit and a viaduct which is currently under construction, crossing the highway and connecting the new area of Leidsche Rijn with Utrecht.
Lifted one level above the ground, the 9 and 7 storey high buildings are visible over the new viaduct and a noise protection wall. The facades will be made out of light bronze and silvery anodized aluminum lamellas. An internal route on the second level connects the two car parks by bridges, passing commercial facilities and ultimately leading users to the bus stop outside by the main entrance. The ground level is entirely kept free for car entries and exits, taxis, buses and drop-off areas. The centre of both parking garages reveal huge open spaces filled with trees, allowing for natural daylight and ventilation through the open facades.
Irma van Oort of KCAP said: “Our concept for P&R Hooggelegen is flexible and innovative. Until the second building phase is executed, the first can perfectly function on its own. All aspects of the design concept, accessibility and the iconic appearance are incorporated in each individual building.”
Ad van Aert of JHK added: “A new organisational concept is introduced for the parking garage which provides for high efficiency. We believe we have found a truly sustainable solution to flexibly handle the peaks in commuters’ traffic.”
Winning proposal for redevelopment of Garak Market released
Samoo Architects and Engineers have won a design competition with their proposal for the redevelopment of the Garak Market in Seoul. Designed nearly a quarter of a century ago, the market was the first public wholesale market in Korea and with an area of 543,451 sq m, is the centre of trade for fruit, vegetables and meats in Seoul. However, it has been criticised for its ever-present traffic congestion and inefficient logistics system, both of which the winning proposal aims to tackle.
To realise a state-of-the-art 21st century market place environment, the design solution focused on creating duality and ambivalence at two distinctive zones – wholesale and retail. A key part of the design is transforming the roof of the market into a giant park that encourages recreational, sports and cultural activities.
The redevelopment plan of the market will begin by focussing on constructing space-efficient, multi-tasking facilities equipped with a total control centre which will allow Garak Market to transform into a more cost-effective wholesale market. Secondly, by expanding centres for packaging, processing, storaging, and delivering, and by establishing a more sophisticated cold chain, food hygiene and safety system, it will achieve optimized, modernised facilities for logistics and distribution.
Thirdly, building a spacious parking space, constructing underground waste treatment facilities, and utilising solar power and renewable energy will make it possible to develop a more convenient, pleasant and environmentally friendly wholesale market. Finally, it is hoped that developing parks, gyms, and market squares for locals will enhance the relationship with the local community. In addition, an agriculture distribution museum, traditional food quarters and cultural experience spaces will be created as tourist attractions within Seoul.
The construction period is scheduled to last 11 years - from 2009 to 2020. In order not to disturb daily trade during the redevelopment process, the construction will be divided into 3 separate phases.
Swedbank head office takes root in Vilnius
Designed by Audrius Ambrasas Architects, Swedbank‘s new head office building in Vilnius is located in a recently developed but rapidly growing political, commercial and recreational area of the Lithuanian capital, on the right bank of the Neris River. The location of the building created a number of challenges for the architects.
Audrius Ambrasas commented: “We wanted the building to become an integral part of the development of the Neris River right bank, completing it in an original way designing the space around it without becoming the centre of attention.”
The building consists of two main parts. The first is two 15 and 16 storey structures and the second is a lower structure, comprising of two blocks - the broken-lined parterre and the regular four-storey administrative office. The building has a 4500 sq m terrace, constructed on the stylobate part, offering views of the river.
The ground floor, under the terrace, opens into a wide one-piece space. It comprises a café for 150 visitors, both employees and guests of the bank, and also an auditorium for an audience of 150 people and a reading room, in addition to the customer servicing centre and the business centre.
The finish on the blank facade walls has been created by using stainless-metal plates polished in different directions. The ornamental effect was obtained by varying the plate polishing direction which makes the facade look multi-coloured.
Plans unveiled for Canada's largest multi-cultural shopping centre
Kohn Architects and Canadian development company, The Remington Group have released plans for the development of The Remington Centre. Providing over 74,000 sq m of commercial and residential space, it will be the largest multi-cultural shopping centre in North America and one of the largest retail redevelopment projects in Canada. The new mixed-use complex, located just north of Toronto, will be home to over 360 retail stores, incorporating shops currently found at Market Village, an Asian shopping centre. The new centre will fuse traditional Eastern markets with Western boutique style.
The first hybrid building of its kind in North America, an additional residential/hotel tower adjoining the shopping centre will be constructed in the second phase of development. The 20-storey condominium tower will include 475 units and luxury hotel suites.
The centre will include a parking garage of up to six levels, with a total of 3,500 parking spaces for consumer convenience. An entertainment destination, the Remington Centre will feature a six acre outdoor public plaza complete with a spectacular pond that converts into an ice rink in the winter and a permanent stage with a cascading waterfall is in the plans to accommodate more than 2,000 people for weekly cultural performances in its centre court.
Rudy Bratty, President and CEO of The Remington Group said: “We are thrilled to be moving forward with this redevelopment plan in Markham. The Remington Centre will introduce a new model of shopping for Canada’s booming multi-cultural communities and become a landmark destination for local residents while attracting visitors from the GTA and across North America to visit this truly unique retail destination.”
Ground breaking is expected in the next 24 months.
Designs released for Singapore’s landscape architecture plans
Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter have won an international competition, organised by Singapore’s National Parks Board, to design Gardens by the Bay, part of the next phase of the city’s masterplan. The gardens will occupy 101 hectares of prime land by the water and will become part of Marina Bay.
Bay South, designed by landscape architecture firm Grant Associates, will be the largest garden at 54 hectares and will be located next to the Marina Bay integrated resort. The Conservatory Complex will comprise a ‘Cool Moist’ biome and a ‘Cool Dry’ biome, displaying plants and flowers from the Tropical Montane (Cloud Forest) and Mediterranean environments respectively. Designed as tree-like structures between 30 metres and 55 metres in height, the ‘Supertrees’ are uniquely designed vertical gardens, creating a vertical display of tropical flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns. At night, these canopies will come alive with lighting and projected media.
Sitting in the western bank of Marina Barrage, Bay East will be 32 hectares in size. Gustafson Porter’s design includes water gardens with terraces that cascade down to the Bay’s edge, a Boat House Piazza and an education centre that will tell the story of water in nature, and teach in a creative and interactive manner the symbiotic relationship between plants, animals and water in an aquatic ecosystem.
The first phase of the gardens is scheduled to open in 2011.
BIG wins largest ever commission on the Faroe Islands
BIG, in collaboration with Fuglark, Lemming & Eriksson, Sámal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo and KJ Elrad have won the largest ever commission on the Faroe Islands for a 19,200 sq m Education Centre in Torshavn.
The winning design was chosen among five submissions by a unanimous jury, comprised of an architect, representatives from the Ministry of Culture and Landsverk together with principals from each of the three schools. As the largest educational building project in the country’s history, the institution combines a gymnasium, Torshavn’s Technical College and Business College in one building, housing 1,200 students and 300 teachers.
Located on a hillside, 100m above the sea level with a panoramic view overlooking the sea, mountains and harbour of Torshavn, the project is designed as a vortex, radiating out towards its surroundings while at the same time focusing in on the school’s inner landscape for learning the lessons of life. Each institution is organised as a school in a school with ideal conditions for each, while creating a sense of community for learning and life. At the school’s heart is an open rotunda space, creating a natural gathering point across floor levels and academic interests. A stepped interior reflects the undulating Faroese landscape with its alternating plateaus, stairwells and terraces serving different social and academic activities.
Bjarke Ingels, Creative Director, BIG said: "The school is a pedagogical diagram turned in the form of a building in the open hilly landscape formed by the considerations to the internal functional needs rather than external limitations. The architectural expression of the new Education Centre in Marknagil captures the essence of: form follows function."
Jakup Pauli Johannesen, Partner, Fuglark Architects commented: “The architecture of the school emphasises an educational equality, with lobbies and the central rotunda space promoting a sense of community across the three different schools.”
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MGM Mirage celebrates grand opening of Las Vegas complex
After five years, the ribbon has been cut on the MGM Mirage’s CityCenter in Las Vegas. Gensler was selected to lead the project’s seven design architects and hundreds of consultants to deliver this city-scaled mixed use development.
The 67 acre built environment comprises four separate hotels, a retail and entertainment district and residential towers, and is the world’s largest LEED Gold-certified development, garnering six certifications for the various project components. CityCenter is placed between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and is a joint venture between MGM MIRAGE and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World.
Bobby Baldwin, President and CEO, CityCenter said: “This is the future of Las Vegas — CityCenter is in an entirely new category. To achieve what we wanted, in the time span we wanted, we knew we’d have to bring on a single firm with unparalleled visionary talent that could undertake such an extraordinary effort. Gensler stepped up to that challenge, and CityCenter is a testament to that.”
J.F. Finn, Gensler principal and CityCenter Project Executive commented: “CityCenter is the design equivalent of the Japanese game of Go, only in three dimensions. With all the components running in parallel, one modification could trigger dozens of impacts that had to be addressed and resolved.”
Heavily cantilevered steelworks headquarters completes in Linz
Offering 'intelligent steel solutions' to their customers, voestalpine chose a design for their new office in Linz, Austria that would act as a bold structure to lead by example. Penned by Feichtinger Architectes the new sales and financial center features a dramatic cantilever stretching out across a vast void, accompanied only by the existing 'Blue Tower' which together form the portal to the site of voestalpine.
The gently sloping underside of the cantilevered canopy guides staff and visitors into the building with the addition of LEDs to light the way. Glass and steel are predominant offering transparency and strength across the 23,160 sq m built up area.
Within, central community areas facilitating conference facilities, archives, coffee and chill-out areas and copy equipment open out to covered atriums which produce a vertical chimney ventilation effect. Privacy is offered to individual offices with frosted glass walls out to the circulation areas.
In addition, a spacious garden deck provides an outdoor area of green fields and paved areas. Interestingly the roof provides not only green planting but a conference area in addition to indoor meeting facilities on the 4th floor, accessible via lift.
Foster + Partners reveal designs for major new health city masterplan
Foster + Partners has revealed its designs for a 71-hectare teaching and medical facility in Mexico City upon notice of their appointment to the project. Campus Biometropolis masterplan in the south of the city will integrate care facilities with high tech teaching spaces, research institutions and laboratories and feature a vital new nature reserve showcasing the Pedregal lava fields as a highlight of the design.
The wilderness area, together with enhanced landscaped zones, will account for half of the site and preserve Mexico City’s indigenous plants and animal species whilst creating an attractive landscape for the built areas. The campus will include offices, apartments, shops and amenities to create a sustainable, mixed-use community. The arrangement of buildings navigates a course around the Pedregal lava fields, a network of subterranean lava tube formations and caves, sections of which will be exposed to encourage scientific investigation.
The site is close to Mexico City’s southern medical cluster and the National University. The scheme integrates hotel facilities for visitors to the hospital and conference centre, facilities for bio-tech industries, clinical studies and a number of specialist units, planned to target six key areas of medicine: cancer, cardiovascular, infectious diseases, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and geriatrics.
The masterplan integrates public piazzas, pedestrian streets and cooling courtyards and the buildings will be oriented to capture cooling winds from the north. Given Mexico City’s water shortages, the campus is designed to maintain and augmenting the proportion of green space through which water can be absorbed naturally into the aquifer below. Rainwater will also be harvested from roofs, roads and available open space. The transportation strategy is designed to encourage the use of public transport. Solar-powered electric vehicles will move people around the campus, walking distances are short and a bus connection to the nearby university station will fully utilise the available capacity on a quieter section of the metro line. While parking spaces will be incorporated, they will be located below a raised podium level to create a pedestrian environment and maximise the available space for the nature reserve at ground level.
Nigel Dancey, a senior partner and design director at Foster + Partners, said: “Campus Biometropolis is our first masterplan in Mexico, building on our growing portfolio in Central and South America. It is the first of its kind – a unique opportunity to create a medical district of international importance. The masterplan will incorporate state-of-the-art facilities and buildings with a wide range of functions. The project will help safeguard the recharging of the aquifer supplying much of Mexico City and protect indigenous plant and animal species, as well as the important geological formations found on the site.”
Plans approved to revitalise English seaside city
CZWG’s plans for Richmond Gardens, a £50m mixed-use development in Bournemouth’s Town Centre, have received unanimous approval by councillors. Commissioned by Grosvenor and Tonstate Group, the design for a 172 bedroom hotel, 120 homes and 1,500 sq m of office space was praised earlier this year by the South West Design Review Panel for its 'verve' and 'élan' and will help revitalise a key part of Bournemouth’s Town Centre. The proposal will see the existing Richmond Hill multi-storey car park refurbished and surrounded by 5 new buildings.
On hearing the news that plans have been approved, Adam West, Partner at CZWG said: “Our scheme for Bournemouth will bring social and economic benefits and give this part of town a new identity. Homes and commercial activity will enliven the area and bring new residents into the neighbourhood.”
Ed Skeates, Projects Director at Grosvenor commented: “This is very good news for Grosvenor and our joint-venture partner Tonstate as well as for Bournemouth itself. We are delighted that the Council share our vision for something bold and expressive: this bodes well for the future of the town.”
The development takes advantage of extensive sea views whilst negotiating level changes across the site of over ten metres and maintaining the existing retail and parking accommodation. The new buildings have been inspired by Bournemouth’s rich Art Deco past but create their own distinctive identity. The sweeping forms mediate between the curves of the neighbouring crescent and surrounding buildings and the orthogonal bulk of the existing car park.
Spanning over the entrance to the car park and fire escapes from the retail, the hotel is supported on raking columns and is clad with pre-patinated copper. Two apartment buildings are linked via single aspect maisonettes either side of a podium garden and are clad with white brick.
Union boss steps in to save the floundering Calatrava project
North America's tallest tower was stopped dead in its foundations last year as the recession bells clanged and key players argued over alleged non-payment of millions of dollars in fees. But now the fate of Calatrava's Chicago Spire looks much brighter as union boss Tom Villanova, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council (CBTC), has entered talks to loan $170million to the project's Irish developer, Shelbourne Development Group in a bid to create work for 1000 workers.
The Chicago Spire was set to become North America's tallest tower after commencing construction in 2007. Designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava the Spire was to reach 2,000 ft and open in 2011. Following the marketing launch it had sold 30% of all of the building's 1,200 apartments in the first three months. But the recession halted work on the project without ever leaving its foundations. The Fordham Company was the original developer and namesake for the project when it was in its previous, shorter incarnation as the Fordham Building. Following a relaxation of height restrictions in Chicago new designs were released increasing the building's height. The recession, however, took its toll on The Fordham Company which failed to produce sufficient funds and the project was subsequently taken over by Shelbourne who acquired the land. Just several months later, however, and Calatrava's office placed a security lien on the property having not received over $11million in fees and the project ground to a halt.
Advanced talks are now said to be underway and if Villanova's offer is accepted, the Chicago Spire will recommence construction as a full union project. A spokesperson for Shelbourne said: "The loan would mean 7.5 million man hours of union labor – which is important right now as there is high unemployment in the construction sector and this project would put people back to work."
Niki May Young
Alternative design proposal submitted for Winter Olympics complex
Asadov Architectural Studio, Project-KS and Grado Project Company have submitted an alternative design concept to the State Corporation, Olympstroy for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games sports complex in Sochi. The Snow Russia project was initiated by Andrew Asadov’s firm and attempts to unify the design of the complex as they feel that the ‘various buildings don’t have a common and unique face, the central Olympic square is built without a central architectural idea and the different sport structures have no general concept joining them as a single complex.’
Based upon the existing masterplan, the design team proposes that a ‘snowy whirlwind falling over the Olympic buildings in the form of frosty mist’ be created on the side of the load-bearing structures with decorative perforated panels constructed from aluminum or a composite material, such as Apolic. At night, LED lighting will generate accent lighting across the complex which can be harmonized to create a lighting show. The design team has also offered an alternative for the structure of the Olympic Cresset, joining two Olympic symbols - 5 rings and stars-snowflakes, the emblems of the Sochi Olympic Games.
Andrew Asadov remarked: “By excluding amendments to the structure of the masterplan and other structural concepts, we propose to consolidate them within one architectural and artistic 'super-idea'."
The proposal has been presented to Olympstroy but a decision has yet to be made about whether it will influence the design that is currently under construction.