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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Port Authority Tower, New York, NY, United States

Rogers, Pelli and Kohn compete for Port Authority Tower design
At its board meeting today, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled three possible designs for a tower to be built over its bus terminal in Midtown Manhattan. The designs were solicited from the UK based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and from the US firms Pelli Clarke Pelli and Kohn Pederson Fox.

The project will add approximately 1.3 million sq ft of sustainable first-class office space above the terminal and allow for significant improvements to the terminal facility, including new mass transit opportunities for commuters through increased bus capacity and the renovation of approximately 60,000 sq ft within the existing North Wing for retail use. It is expected to generate approximately $500 million for the Port Authority over the term of the lease.

The Port gave no indication as to when an architect for the project will be selected. Vornado Realty will develop the project.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
architecture NOW

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008, London, United Kingdom

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion opens to reveal theatrical proportions
A gloriously sunny morning today saw the opening of Frank Gehry’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion for 2008. This magnificent structure hosts a space that invites you to sit and enjoy harmonious ambience of light and sound, or to amble and explore every level and angle of the design.

At an impressive height of 16 meters and footprint of 526 sq m, the pavilion is compared to an amphitheatre, for which it has been intended. As you walk through the pavilion, you find tiered seating either side of the central walkway allowing for audiences during the evening entertainment, Park Nights.

A hive of activity is scheduled for the months of July to October including talks, performances, music and film-screenings; a programme conceived by the Serpentine Gallery’s Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects. “The combination of disciplines: art and design, architecture, science, music and literature is mirrored by the dynamic design of the pavilion and the eclectic use of materials," said Obrist.

Inspired by Da Vinci’s catapult, the canopy offers an extraordinary balance between the weight of the wooden and steel beams, the glass of the sails, refracting sunlight across the floor and glinting light from the steel creating a multi-dimensional effect. This also lends well to the excellent acoustics of the structure - having an impressive history of design with music in mind, this was an important factor for Gehry.

Gehry said of his design: “The Pavilion is designed as a wooden timber structure that acts as an urban street running from the park to the existing Gallery. Inside the pavilion, glass canopies are hung from the wooden structure to protect the interior from the wind and rain and provide shade during sunny days. The Pavilion is much like an amphitheatre, designed to serve as a place for live events, music, performance, discussion and debate.”

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and individuals. Gehry’s is the eighth design following the worldwide initiative conceived by the Serpentine Gallery’s Director Julia Peyton-Jones.

Tessa Schubert

architecture NOW

Parliament Hill, London, United Kingdom

The property, a semi-detached house located on a quiet road leading to Hampstead Heath, comprised a maisonette and a flat, with an old extension to the rear. The houses in the area are not generally built well and require a lot of attention to ensure that they are sound structurally.

The brief was to form a modern and enjoyable single family home for our client by extending the ground floor and integrating the rear garden with the new interiors.

The main architectural interventions to the exterior consisted of a new extension with a terrace above and redesign of the rear elevation to create large openings.

Internally, the ground and first floor layouts were remodelled extensively. The ground floor was opened up and connected to the new extension. The rear garden was excavated so as to be at the same level as the ground floor. The kitchen to the front of the house was designed with sliding doors so that it could be separated from the living room when necessary.

A large addition to the rear of the ground floor, tilted in plan from the lines of the main house in order to capitalise on the best outlook, was built to create the sitting area in the living room. Structurally the extension was challenging, since it had no column in the corner facing the garden. Two sliding doors meet at the corner with the ceiling above suspended in the air. A large opening, covered in structural glass, was formed over the extension, which lets diffused light into the depth of the living room.

The first floor of the house is dedicated to master bedroom, en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe as well as a study. The large master bedroom has direct access to the rear large terrace over the new extension.

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On Prospect Park, New York, United States

The exterior of Richard Meier’s new condominium block, On Prospect Park, nears completion
Surrounded by a bevy of New York’s traditional brownstones and architectural monuments Richard Meier’s latest glass condominium building is certainly an eye-catching addition to the prestigious location from which the building takes its name, On Prospect Park.

Situated perpendicular to the park’s spectacular arched main entrance the 15 storey building benefits from its location both by standing out in landmark fashion and by the spectacular views achieved from within. Meier’s design makes the most of these views, which give either a park or a cityscape view, by utilising floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall glazing. Acoustic and solar performance is ensured by the use of advanced low-E insulated lamination on the glass and an overall bright and airy design is created.

It is not merely the shell of the building that Meier has designed but features including the kitchen millwork in the 102 condominiums. Large balconies with ipe hardwood decking, terraces with jet mist granite and solid oak flooring throughout ensure that the building teams with the kind of quality indulgence that you would expect from a Pritzker prize-winning architect.

These exclusive first-look exterior pictures of On Prospect Park show how the building integrates into the arty Brooklyn district with distinction.

Niki May Young
News Editor
architecture NOW

Nissan Americas, Franklin, Tennessee, United States

GS&P Nissan complex completes in Tennessee
Gresham, Smith and Partners have celebrated the grand opening of Nissan Americas’ corporate facility in Franklin, Tennessee. The striking 460,000 sq ft building was designed by GS&P to enhance Nissan’s employee efficiency while incorporating sustainability in both interior and exterior environments.

“Nissan Americas new facility is a wonderful work environment for the Nissan employees and a proud addition to the Middle Tennessee landscape,” stated Rob Traynham, director of Corporate Services for Nissan North America, Inc. “With the functional and creative design of the interior spaces and the sustainability elements such as sun shades and low-E glass, which give the facility a distinctive appearance, Nissan employees are thrilled to occupy this new building.”

The building incorporates many sustainable elements, most noticeable is the inclusion of 6 ft deep aluminum sunshade outriggers which extend around the perimeter of each floor to reduce solar heat gain and improve energy efficiency. Additional energy efficient details include the design of a green roof system, digital lighting controls, a chilled water plant and an under-floor air distribution system that provides a more comfortable and controllable environment for employees. Building materials, finishes and furnishings contain high quantities of recycled content and/or low VOC’s for improved indoor air quality.

Existing on-site wetlands were improved and will add a unique natural amenity to be enjoyed by employees and visitors to the 50-acre site. More than 50,000 plantings were also added to the wetlands area. Rain gardens and ponds are integrated into the overall site and landscape design and outdoor gathering spaces were created for company and public use.

The 10-story structure is one of the largest office buildings in Franklin and will serve the needs of more than 1,500 Nissan employees.

In addition to architectural services, GS&P provided site master planning, conceptual design, workplace strategy, interior design, environmental graphics, landscape architecture, structural engineering and civil engineering services
architecture NOW

NAOS, Rosarito, Mexico

A new breed of housing is born on the coast of Mexico
Reaching 20 storeys in height and stretching across the beach at Riviera Baja in Mexico, Naos presents an enviable location for this residential development. Comprising of 394 residences the development boasts garden and beach houses and penthouses along with the standard apartments.

Creating its’ own community Naos will provide a range of amenities on site including a state of the art gym, tennis courts, children’s play area, basketball courts, wine cellar, three pools, beachfront cabanas, BBQ area, jogging trails, a two story library, multi-use common rooms, an onsite restaurant, a 24 hour concierge and chauffer, sales center and club house, beachfront fire pits and property management.

Touted as a ‘wellness property’ development many similar projects are planned for around Mexico and at various other world-wide locations. Designed by Central de Arquitectura, Naos is scheduled for completion in 2011.
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World Architecture Festival Awards

Architects shorlisted to win World Building of the Year 2008
224 projects from 43 countries have been shortlisted for the inaugural World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards, the global architectural awards programme which compares and contrasts buildings completed within the past 18 months.

An expert panel of judges selected the shortlist from 722 entries from 63 countries worldwide. The UK, USA, Australia and Mexico submitted the highest number of entries to the Awards, whilst emerging markets such as China, Russia and India have strong representation on the shortlist.

Buildings by internationally renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Skidmore Owings Merrill, Kohn Pederson Fox, Nikken Sekkei, Denton Corker Marshall and Foster & Partners as well as smaller practices are represented among the shortlisted projects submitted in 17 different categories.

Due to the incredible volume of entries in the Home category, a further category has been created by splitting the projects into Housing and Private Homes.

A public toilet in Texas (designed by Miro Rivera Architects), a fire station in Mexico City (bgp arquitectura), a doctor’s surgery designed with help from the elders of a Nova Scotia tribe (Piskwepaq Design Inc), a women’s health centre in Burkina Faso (FAREstudio) and a Christian church in Beijing (WSP) are among the shortlisted projects competing with cutting edge airports, museums and Olympic stadia.

Wembley Stadium (designed by Foster & Partners), O2 Arena (HOK Sport), Manchester Civil Justice Service Centre (Denton Corker Marshall) and the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea (John McAslan & Partners) are among the UK projects shortlisted.

All shortlisted architects will present their work live to juries and audiences during the World Architecture Festival, over three days, from 22 - 24 October 2008 at the Centre Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB). On the final day the winners of each category will compete to win the top award, the World Building of the Year 2008, the industry’s ultimate accolade.

Headed by Lord (Norman) Foster, the international judging panels will comprise architects, allied professionals, clients and critics.
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Trump Ocean Club, Panama City, Panama

Trump brings luxury with Ocean Club tower
Trump Ocean Club is a first of its kind for Panama City. Situated on Punta Pacifica, the 70 storey tower is set to offer the luxury of hotel-living for its residents combining amenities such as a wellness spa, yacht club, private beach, gourmet restaurants and a state of the art business centre with condominium residences and bay lofts.

Covering 2.8 million sq ft the tower will offer accommodation in 509 condominiums, 126 bay lofts and will open 369 hotel condominium suites for visitors. Other amenities will include a 45,000 sq ft Trump Casino, an Elite sky lobby and a 24 hour medical service. Apartments will range from $400,000 to $1million.

Designed by architect Arias Serna Saravia the project will take three years to build with completion expected in 2010.

architecture NOW

Bamboo Forest House, Ilan, Taiwan

ROEWU's Bamboo Forest House: a showcase for fledgling architects
Emerging UK based architect ROEWUarchitecuture recently completed this vacation house for an extended family in Eastern Taiwan. Located in a dense urban area and confined on two sides by party walls, the house gains light and air through its street façade, which is treated with an undulating bamboo screen that also provides privacy and security for the building’s occupants.

The interior is intended to be experienced as an organic forest. Sunlight and air filter in through the bamboo poles changing the character and use of the space over the course of the day and the changing seasons. In winter, a karaoke lounge and spa on the second floor form a focal point for bathing and singing. During the summer, the roof deck, with its variably patterned sunshade system and surrounding bamboo, invites cool breezes and becomes the family’s favourite gathering spot.

Natural ventilation is provided to the entire house through several double and triple-height void spaces that penetrate through the heart of the house and open to the roof.

architecture NOW

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tate Modern extension, London, United Kingdom

Herzog & de Meuron's design swaps glass for brick
In an unusual turn for today's architecture Herzog & de Meuron have swapped the glass of their 2006 Tate Modern extension design for bricks in their 2008 redesign. The redesign follows a revised brief after consultation with artists and curators. At the heart of the updated plans are the unique oil tanks of the former power station which will be retained as raw spaces for art and from which the new building will rise. The new brick exterior will blend with the existing exterior of the former power station.

The original design featured glass blocks that towered to form an obscure pyramid but these blocks are eradicated from the recently unveiled redesign and replaced by a perforated brick pyramidal structure comprising the tankers at the base of the structure.The revisions have been shaped by a desire to integrate the new building both with the existing building and the local environment. The oil tanks lead directly into the Turbine Hall and these interconnecting spaces will become the foundation of the new Tate Modern.

The revised building will also set new benchmarks for museums and galleries in the UK for both sustainability and energy use. By exploiting heat emitted from EDFE's relocated transformers and employing passive design principles wherever practicable the scheme will use 40% less energy, and 35% less carbon than building regulations demand.

The redevelopment has been funded to date with £50 million from Government, £7 million from the London Development Agency and £13 million from the private sector towards the overall costs. New planning permission will need to be sought but provided this is achieved the project is due for completion in 2012.

Niki May Young
News Editor
architecture NOW

artspace|Architecture and Landscape Digital Design competition

CG artists provide other-worldly inspiration for architecture
Inspiration comes from many places but more often than not, it comes from the inspired. Perhaps this is why CGSociety and NVIDIA held their artspace|Architecture and Landscape Digital Design competition earlier this year. While more typically associated with the worlds of gaming and cinematic effects, hundreds of CG designers had a go at showing us what future and other-worldly landscapes could look like, if we just used a little more imagination.

More and more, gaming is about telling a story and the more dramatic the better. The NVArt competition allowed digital artists to inject life into stationary structures, adding narrative to help define the structures and to stretch the technical boundaries of design. But while by today's abilities the designs are unlikely to reach fruition, they also exhibit a strong regard for contemporary architectural considerations.

In third place, citing inspiration from Zaha Hadid, is 'Mega Village 2108'. This spiral design reaches up from a single-point base, defying gravity as it heads horizontally across a valley-scape. The design's artist explains that advances in technology could allow similar structures to exist in the future: “In the near future new materials like carbon nano tubes make new kinds of buildings possible. 50 times stronger and many times lighter than steel.

"This mega village houses half a million people. With a very small footprint and the majority of travel in and out done by air, this building has very little negative impact in the surrounding environment,” says Xdroo.

One of several designs which did not receive a prize but did receive a notable mention was 'Solaric Glass Anemone Structure II'. This design is certainly one of the most awe-inspiring, bestowing a wonderfully realistic sheen onto the dark glass clover petal-like design. Inspired by nature the structure represents an oxymoron in an overbearing black anemone design with smooth, rounded spines. With a nearly concealed entrance at the mouth of the structure the Anemone is perhaps the greatest example of art replicating life in the competition.

Combining the concepts of technology and nature in a masterplan snippet is '5:45 to Santa Monica: now boarding!'. This design features the use of nano technology in creating man-made structures which are symbiotic with nature. It's designer, Zemplinski, says: “What you see is the future Los Angeles where most of flat areas of suburban-like sprawl have been transformed into a dynamic landscape. The world I am presenting is a result of symbiotic relationship between organisms that we could help evolve and grow to provide us with structural support, shelter, a framework for our living and working spaces without destroying them in the process like we have been doing for centuries.”

Bridging the virtual world and reality, artspace|Architecture and Landscape Digital Art Competition showcases a world of inspiration for architects and designers alike whilst also creating a space for debate and discussion. The designs showcase a fusion of fantasy and reality with a futuristic understanding of architecture and upcoming technology. These incredible designs will be showcased at NVISION ‘08 in August in San Jose, California and in the mean time further images can be viewed at

Niki May Young
News Editor
architecture NOW

Clarence Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

Norman Foster’s Clarence Hotel design given go-ahead
Following over a year and a half of planning Norman Foster’s design for the redevelopment of Dublin’s Clarence Hotel has been approved. The significant move ends a cascade of doubts over the project which will see the hollowing of the interiors of six protected buildings leaving only the original facades and the enclosure of much of the site under a glass atrium.

Several heritage groups put forward appeals to An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s agency dealing with planning appeals, stating that the virtual demolition of 4 Georgian buildings, one Victorian building and the Clarence’s own Art Deco building was inappropriate. The Irish Conservation Group, The Irish Georgian Society, Middleground Ltd and Superbelle were among the appellants on several grounds including inappropriate scale, uncharacteristic design and historic preservation.

The project was initially brought into the spotlight due to its ownership - Bono and Edge from the world-renowned band U2. In April this year the pair stated that the future of the Clarence Hotel would be unsure if the redesign was rejected.

Foster has also been in the news this week amid protests against his Bulgarian masterplan Black Sea Gardens which conservationists say will destroy one of the few remaining virgin beaches on the Black Sea Coast.

Today's order on Clarence Hotel read:"In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission, the Board considered that the development proposed, which involves the part demolition of protected structures, is permissible because the exceptional quality of the design of the proposed development, allied to the continuation of the historic hotel use on the site constitute exceptional circumstances..."

Now that the Clarence Hotel design has been approved with minor changes, including the assurance that all interiors be preserved by record, the construction which will incorporate 114 rooms, 14 suites and a world-class spa, will soon be under way. The design team for the €150 million revamp hope the Clarence will become one of the top ten hotels in the world.

Niki May Young
News Editor
architecture NOW

Visitor Center at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, United States

Design unveiled for Visitor Center at Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts today unveiled the design for its new Visitor Center. Designed by New York architects Tod Williams Billie Tsien, the Center transforms the former Harmony Atrium, an indoor, underutilized, privately owned public space (POPS) located between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, into a vibrant community gathering space. Performances and civic events will be at the space which will also act as a gateway to the 16-acre arts complex, which is currently undergoing a multi-billion dollar transformation.

The 7,000 sq ft atrium is being transformed into a “theatrical garden” where residents and visitors can purchase discount theatre tickets, lounge and dine, and connect to the worldwide web. The design blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor space. At the Center’s entrance on Broadway, is a large canopy that is treated with the same materials as the ceiling on inside of the space. Once inside, the space has been opened to the outdoors with large overhead “occuli” and two twenty foot high moss walls that constitute “the garden”. Stone benches made of Connemara Irish Moss marble contribute to the sense of a garden.

Complementing the green walls is prominent water element incorporating roads of water falling from ceiling to floor. Working with Pentagram, the architects have re-imagined the north wall of the atrium as a 40-foot long Media Wall for digitally projected images and information.

The project, which is currently in the public review process, is expected to open in the fall 2009, to coincide with Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
architecture NOW

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, United States

Museum of Arts and Design set to open
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), designed by Portland–based Allied Works Architecture, will open the doors of its new Columbus Circle digs on September 27. The 54,000 sq ft building triples the space of the Museum’s previous home while transforming the former “lollipop” building, a Venetian-style palazzo designed in mid 1960s by Edward Durell Stone, into a fitting home for the Country’s leading arts, craft and design institution. The project is a New York debut for architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, who bested Zaha Hadid, Toshiko Mori and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson in a competition to design the building.

Cloepfil’s design dramatically opens up the building to natural light and views while putting the Museum’s core mission of “craft”, front and center. While the essential form of the existing 12-storey building has been maintained, right down to the lollipop-style arcade on which it sits, the fortress-like building has been given a new transparency by opening up the façade with a series of horizontal and vertical slices of fritted and clear glass that let light in while providing visitors views of the City beyond. On the building’s interior these cuts further serve to unify the space while providing connections among the galleries.

To celebrate the Museum’s craft tradition, Cloepfil has reclad the structure with a stunning new skin comprised of 22,000 custom-made terra cotta plates finished in a light iridescent glaze that subtly shifts in tone depending on the time of day and perspective. (The glaze was developed in conjunction with Dutch ceramicist Christine Jetten and the Internationally renowned ceramic manufacturer Royal Tichelaar Makkum). At its base, the building is further eroded, replaced by glass that encircles the entire floor, inviting a dialogue between the Museum and surrounding neighborhood. Glass also stretches across the ninth floor of the building, giving visitors to the Museum’s restaurant panoramic views of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

The new museum, dubbed the Chazen building, will house permanent and temporary gallery space; a resource center and gallery for contemporary jewellery; an education center; open studios for artists in residence and a renovated auditorium and theatre. A new restaurant and an expanded Museum store complete the space.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
architecture NOW

Monday, July 14, 2008

BNA Cube 2008 Award, Netherlands

Cepezed are the recipients of the illustrious Kubus
The Royal Institute of Dutch Arhcitects has granted its highest honour to cepezed for its complete body of work.

The extraordinary qualities of cepezed's architecture and work methods have been unanimously praised by the jury who underlined the practice’s professional skills and consistent quality of work. The panel of adjudicators emphasized that cepezed never deploy the technical and innovative approach for which they are known solely for the sake of technique and innovation itself, but always for the benefit of high architectural quality. cepezed do not distinguish architecture from construction but employ integral design methods that have brought the practice an enormous know-how and competence in fields such as the organization of the construction process, innovation and the development of construction components; all exerted for the purpose of architectural excellence. In cepezed’s words:” Success has many fathers, particularly in an industry like construction, which is so knowledge-labour- and capital-intensive and in which so many parties are involved, joining forces is an absolute must.” In the domain of sustainability they intensely collaborate with consultants from different subject fields, ranging from stability consultants to construction physicists and from climate professionals to lighting specialists. In order to further develop and test specifically designed construction elements, cepezed team up with producing industries both in and outside the field of construction: this has repeatedly resulted in innovative solutions which by now are widely applied in contemporary architecture.

Following the motto:” Architecture that does not think about its future has no future.” the Delft based practice founded in 1973 has become a synonym of sustainability, efficient execution techniques, technological progression coupled with sober and stylish open and human architecture . Some of their distinguished latest projects include the extension and renovation of the Audax Textile Museum in Tilburg and the intricate and large-scale combination of new and existing construction for various sections of the Dutch Department of Public Works for the Westraven office complex in Utrecht. Associated architects of cepezed are Jan Pesman, Michiel Cohen and Ronald Schleurholts.

BNA Kubus Award has been presented yearly since 1965 and is the highest decoration of the institute and arguably the most prestigious Dutch architecture prize. Last years’ Kubus was awarded to Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

Laura Salmi
architecture NOW