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Friday, November 28, 2008

Studen Apartmen, Paris

Competition win means Parisian students spoilt with swish halls of residence
Ofis arhitekti of Slovenia have won an invited competition to design a new 180 studio student residence in Paris’s 19th district Stade de Ladoumègue complex. Part of an urban development designed by France’s own Reichen & Robert architects, the halls are due for completion in 2011 before the tram system is due to include that sector in 2012. Designed with an ambition of minimal power consumption, the building will include sustainable features whilst creating a secure and quality environment of which most students are not accustomed to.

It was important to Ofis to allow the residence to not just interact with its environment but to integrate a piece of street, a facade composed of buildings and landscape. The residence follows the urban plot of two concrete blocks divided by a sharing landscape garden. The overall building rises to 29.2 m. Both parts are organized according to a simple and functional frame for a logical and economic optimization. On ground floor are the lobby, the rooms, common areas opened over the course and some studios (accessible for the disabled). Upstairs are all studios and a terrace. The plans are organized according to simple management and maintainance. Also the task was to provide students environment of indoor and outdoor quality with creating the meeting places in which each student can feel good and enjoy the indoor and outdoor landscape. Access to the residence is between the 2 buildings. For security and management reasons, there is only one entry.

The project focuses mainly on the idea of preventing heat loss towards sustainability, in line with the ‘climate plan’ of Paris. Thermal insulation and soundproofing of the building are designed to be extra efficient. The isolation of the project is done by outside insulation 16cm thick. This thickness makes the building very well insulated, while opening a large bay front to let maximum light into the apartments.

Design team for the project were: Rok Oman, Spela Videcnik, Robert Janez, Katja Aljaz, Andrej Gregoric and Javier Carrera
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American Commerce Centre, Philadelphia, United States

Mixed use tower set to reinvent Philadelphia skyline

What has been a parking lot of over 20 years between 18th and Arch in the centre of Philly might soon become the location of the tallest skyscraper in the East Coast city. The new design promises to join the ranks of superstructures of the world and become the 3rd tallest skyscraper in the USA, behind the Chicago Spire and the Freedom Tower.

Developer Hill International Real Estate Partners has chosen architects Kohn Pedersen Fox to design the ACC Tower: a 1,510 ft tall (460 mt) structure with a 300 ft spire (91 mt ) that would overtake by 535 ft (163 mt) the Comcast Centre, only crowned as the tallest building in Philadelphia in 2007.

The mixed use tower is set to house a 26-storey 5-Star Hotel with 320 rooms and a 3-story lobby, 300,000 sq ft allocated to retail space, a 63-story tower for Class-A Office space, dining facilities, a sky bridge ballroom, roof garden cafes, cinemas, a two-story health club and 360 below-grade parking spaces.

A 2-storey sky bridge will overlook the city streets and connect the tower allocated to office space with the hotel. The scheme will also incorporate a subway stop on site, directly connecting the structure and its employees with Philadelphia’s major subway line.

With its spire piercing the skyline and its glass curtain wall exterior, the American Commerce Center will undoubtedly reinvent the skyline, simultaneously complementing and modernizing the image of Philadelphia’s historic architecture. It is also set to become a major catalyst in the city's transformation from a satellite of New York City or Washington, D.C. into a global capital. Concerns around the current economical climate are being counteracted by the local rising demand for office space thanks to costs being 50% less that the neighbouring New York City.

Set to be progressive in every element of its design, Philadelphia's newest skyscraper is aiming for LEED Gold Certification in an effort to not only mitigate the skyscraper's impact on our resources but also to positively benefit the environment.

The project has raised mixed public opinion and it currently awaiting the official City Council approval. The hearing is scheduled for next week.

Laura Salmi
architecture NOW

Top Towers, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazilian office design utilizes simplicity of design to economic and dramatic effect

This project required the design of two very economic office towers, but with great visual impact as a response to its context, a point of great visibility within the city of São Paulo, Brazil.

It also required an extreme maximization of private floor areas in relation to the total built area, as well as the best possible relation between common and private floor areas, configuring a typical and strict real state equation.

Technically, the buildings enjoy great constructive simplicity, with a precise and economic structural modulation. The terraces that strongly characterize the towers are nothing beyond a simple game of displacements, and structurally they work as extensions of the great rectangular slab that supports each floor. The windows are also displaced in function of each unit’s terraces.

Conceptually this design references, albeit in a contemporary and renovated way, the playful modulated façades of so many of São Paulo’s buildings from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s that still stand in the city’s downtown.

Its impacting language of light and shadows is also related to today’s world contemporary production, one in which Architecture is again an expressive protagonist of the city’s built environment.

The general result of seeming complexity is actually born out of rigorously simple design, structural and modular principles.

Jorge Königsberger
Gianfranco Vannucchi

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CPH Arch, LM Project, Copenhagen, Denmark

3XN present their entry for Denmark capital’s LM Project

CPH City and Port Development and ATP Ejendomme had invited six architectual companies into a competition for the design of a new building complex on the Copenhagen waterfront – the LM Project. Earlier this month Steven Holl Architects’ Copenhagen Gateway was chosen as the winner presenting two contrasting buildings connected across the water by two separate bridges. The design has proven controversial with WAN readers, one stating: “As a architectural professional I constantly get annoyed with the megalomania that seems to have seised architecture of today. This project is just one more in a long row of completely out of scale schemes published throughout the world.”

With this in mind 3XN present their alternative - CPH Arch office tower and bridge:

“A bridge spanning a body of deep water, providing the only dry connection between two stretches of land, is one of the most powerful architectural experiences in the landscape. Another classical element is the town gate, which marks the boundary between the countryside and the town, and ‘contains’ the town, physically, structurally and aesthetically.

“3XN’s proposal for a construction on Marmormolen in Copenhagen is both: a town gate and a bridge that links Marmormolen with Langeliniekaj, creating a new coherent area in Copenhagen Harbor.

“The towers and the bridge constitute one single, floating dynamic movement, characterized by the bold span across the harbor entrance in terms of both the plan design and the facade. Establishing a connection across the harbor radically improves public access and creates brand new opportunities for life and growth in the area.”
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Massar Children’s Discovery Centre, Damascus, Syria

Dramatic discovery centre leads way for Syrian educational programme
As one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Damascus represents discovery all by itself. Evoking the necessity to embrace this spirit are the statistics - 40% of the Syrian population is under the age of 14. Embarking on a revolutionary project for the historical city are Henning Larsen Architects, Martha Schwartz Partners and engineers Buro Happold who will work together to create the dramatic Massar Children’s Discovery Centre and public park in the heart of Damascus.

The Massar project’s ambition is to create better educational opportunities for young people. The centre will comprise various scientific thematic exhibitions for children aged 5-15. The discovery centre – designed by Henning Larsen Architects - is located on a 170,000 sq m river bed site. It is located centrally in walking distance from Damascus’ historic city centre with the Umayyad Mosque and university, national opera and national museum in close proximity.

Louis Becker, Design Director of Henning Larsen Architects, said: “The discovery centre’s form is inspired by the unique Damascus rose. The shape provides shade and natural ventilation in the building. Its centre forms a large communal space. This is where the children will meet, share their knowledge and develop new ideas together. The idea of the project is to create a park which features a quilt of activities interwoven with the discovery centre. The visitors will be led through several intimate spatial experiences addressing all the senses. Water will be current theme – both as activity and as a visualisation of sustainable measures and educational media.”

Martha Schwartz Partners Ltd will provide the public realm and landscape design for the project. Based on the site of the old international fairground, the public realm acts as a ‘culture corridor’, connecting the public space of the Discovery Centre with nearby cultural venues. Lorraine Landels, Senior Principal at Martha Schwartz Partners, said: “This is a landmark project as the park and the discovery centre will be the focus for a new Syrian educational programme, and one that will help us develop our portfolio as we work in the unique cultural climate of Damascus”.

Tom Hay, Buro Happold’s project leader said “This project is unique in that it gives the children of Syria the means to view the world around them through Syria’s incomparable cultural heritage. This is a milestone that will empower the children of Syria, and the Buro Happold Massar team feels proud and privileged to take part in this process.”
architecture NOW

Monday, November 24, 2008

OUTrial House / KWK PROMES

Architects: KWK PROMES
Location: Ksiazenice, Poland
Project Architect: Robert Konieczny
Collaborator: Marcin Jojko
Structural Engineer: Jaroslaw Kaminski
Design Year: 2004
Construction Year: 2005-2007
Site Area: 1,440 sqm
Constructed Area: 180 sqm
Photographs: KWK PROMES

A green clearing surrounded by forest was the only context for the proposed small house. Hence the idea to “carve out” a piece of the grass-covered site, move it up and treat it as the roofing to arrange all the required functions underneath. When the whole was ready, the client came up with another request, to create some space for a small recording studio and a conservatory. The latter was obtained by linking the ground floor with the grassy roof through an “incision” in the green plane and “bending” the incised fragment down, inside the building.

This procedure turned the roof into an atrium, as the only way to reach it was through the interior of the house. As opposed, however, to a typical atrium, the newly-created space has all the advantages of an outer garden while remaining a safe, internal zone within the building.

This way, a new type of house was created, and its designation - outrial - is to convey the idea of an atypical atrium which is part of both the interior and the exterior of the building.

The studio was created in a similar way as the conservatory, but in order to ensure work comfort for a rock musician, it was isolated from the rest of the house by shifting it upwards.

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Temporary chapel for the Deaconesses of St-Loup - Localarchitecture

Architects: Localarchitecture & Danilo Mondada
Location: Hôpital de St-Loup, Switzerland
Project year: 2008
Structure: IBOIS - Hani Buri, Yves Weinand
Client: Deaconess Community of St-Loup
Photographs: Milo Keller ©2008

In the summer of 2007, Localarchitecture and architect Danilo Mondada were awarded the contract to renovate the mother house of the Deaconess Community of St-Loup. The commission involves the complete renovation of a historic building, including the community’s main chapel.

It was immediately apparent the mother house would have to be closed for the duration of the building works, in other words for 18 months starting from the summer of 2008. Instead of settling for a standard solution, like renting a tent or containers, the architects suggested building a temporary chapel to accommodate religious worship during the construction period.

Localarchitecture, which has a special interest in timber construction and new structural solutions, has made its name with several works exploring traditional and contemporary wood construction techniques. In this instance, the architects suggested working in partnership with Hani Buri and Yves Weinand from the IBOIS laboratory at the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), whose ongoing research into folded structures seemed particularly interesting and appropriate for this project. The team developed a structure using timber panels, which makes it possible to cover large areas with fine sections. The shape was generated using computer software that calculates the load-bearing structure, determines the dimensions and transmits this information to the machine that cuts out the 6-cm thick timber panels.

Built directly on the ground, the new chapel blends subtly and delicately with the landscape. The structure, which lies along the axis of the east-west valley and is open at each end, lets in plenty of natural light. Interpreting the traditional layout of protestant churches with their variations in width and height between transept and nave, the design creates a space whose horizontal and vertical dimensions vary via a series of origami-like folds, which give rhythm to the interior and exterior of the building. The folded volume generates a wide horizontal space at the entrance, before closing in and rising up to become vertical towards the centre of the chapel. Each fold in the facade reflects the light differently and thus emphasizes the progression and elongation of the volume. The structure punctuates the interior space, while creating an atmosphere conducive to reflection.

Transparent plastic panels in the gable side facades, covered with fabric, allow natural light to enter the chapel. The frame of columns and diagonals resembles the structure of a stained-glass window.

The wooden chapel in St-Loup is the first full-scale structure that incorporates design and structural analysis based on computer method of generating novel geometrical forms, but it is also a bright example of the spatial reinterpretation of a traditional religious space in harmony with its environment.

architecture NOW

Blue Coral, Castries, St. Lucia

Caribbean competition winning design nears completion
The concept design competition for the re-use and regeneration of an existing 1960s three storey building, was won in 2003 by St.Lucia/London based melon|design:architecture, and is nearing completion after a delayed start.

Occupying half a city block in Castries, the design for Blue Coral uses a desire path concept to generate the interior layout with enhanced pedestrian routes naturally flowing through the building, connecting streets outside and maximizing the exposure of goods and services on offer. At the intersection of the pedestrian routes the core of the building is penetrated with the curving form of a new freeform atrium, tapering as it rises through the building. Movement is via glass sided escalators, crisscrossing the atrium as they move from floor to floor, the atrium will bring light into the heart of the building, and will also be used as a passive ventilation device, venting hot air out of the top, drawing cooler air into the building.

The bottom two floors are dedicated to retail, and will include a cafe spilling out into a new landscaped courtyard at street level. A theatre/cinema auditorium, a lounge bar and contemporary arts gallery will be inserted on the third level, whilst above this, a new structure will house a new pavilion restaurant overlooking the Boulevard and the main thoroughfare of Bridge Street. The west facade is articulated with perforated aluminium fins, a modern interpretation of the traditional Caribbean jalousie shutters of the past, allowing light and air into the building whilst protecting from the tropical sun.

Although the design, detail and environmental intent conceived by melon|design:architecture has been watered down in execution by the executive architects, the client anticipates the building will be a unique landmark for Castries, and a significant catalyst for the regeneration of the capital city
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Art Vault & Valuables Services (AV&VS), Miami, United States

Groundbreaking to commence on Miami art house 'The Vault'
During this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach (4 - 7 December 2008), award-winning Miami- and Basel-based Oppenheim Architecture+Design, in partnership with Javier Lumbreras of Artemundi & Company, will break ground on Art Vault & Valuables Services (AV&VS) or as art insiders are calling it, “The Vault” in the trendy Wynwood Design District. The development of this 11-storey, 140,000 sq ft storage facility is slated for completion in early 2010.

As an important art collector with an extensive background in depository warehouses including Rodolphe Haller in Port-Franc, Switzerland, Day & Meyer in New York, Cadogan-Tate in London and Paris, SIT in Madrid, and Welti-Furrer in Zurich, South Beach-based investor Javier Lumbreras understands the importance of conservation and management. “We seek not only to minimize the burden of managing art collections and other valuables but offer our members the ability to enhance and refine them,” states Lumbreras.

Lumbreras chose noted Miami-based architect Chad Oppenheim of Oppenheim Architecture+Design, the firm behind Ten Museum Park and one of today’s foremost young architects, to collaborate on the project. The exterior of The Vault will serve as an important public art installation. With constantly revolving panels featuring art by emerging and established artists, the prototype facility will look unlike any other storage location in North America.

“Like the art to be housed inside, the façade of The Vault will engage the public in a dialogue and become a kind of social architecture that will enrich the lives of all who come in contact with it,” describes Oppenheim.

Oppenheim’s design of The Vault will also include a high-tech art storage facility with concierge-level services for owners seeking peace of mind and new ways of expanding collections. Client services will include a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory, collection and logistics management, and premium financial and insurance services. Members will have access to exclusive showrooms and exhibition spaces for their collections.

The development of The Vault is yet another example of the City of Miami establishing itself as a major player in the international art scene. During Art Basel Miami Beach, Lumbreras and Oppenheim will host a private collectors’ dinner featuring Lumbreras latest book, The Art of Collecting Art that discusses the impact of the economy on the art world and the importance of investing in art during challenging economic times.
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Museum of Conflict, Tripoli, Libya

Closed competition for Museum of Conflict in Libya is won by London firm
London-based architecture practice Metropolitan Workshop has won a closed competition for the new Museum of Conflict in Tripoli, Libya. The museum will house permanent and special exhibitions on Libya’s unique history, telling the story of campaigns and conflicts that have shaped the country from colonial power to independent state.

The building’s main design concept is inspired by tented structures used by the Bedouin. The 15,000 sq m museum will be enclosed by a light weight, camouflaging ‘veil’, giving the building a dynamic, environmentally responsive and functional form.

Underneath the large shaded canopy, a procession of museum gallery terraces spiral through the structure. This combination of terraced spaces and the angled exterior skin provides both enclosed conditioned spaces and open, non-conditioned spaces. Each gallery is adapted to the various artifacts and exhibitions on display including large exhibits such as tanks and planes, etc. Each floor plate was formed from an interlocking square module, which assists the interpretation of the museum programme.

Functionally, the external shell diffuses the heat of the sun in order to regulate temperatures. It provides shade and shelter, allowing the public to view all exhibitions in comfort even during the harsh summer climate. The environmental controlled areas increase progressively from the outside towards the core of the building. The entrance plaza requires shading only, the lobby requires comfort control whereas exhibits and displays require close environmental control.

In addition to the main galleries, the museum incorporates a café, museum shop, prayer rooms, an education centre with a library and reading areas, conference rooms, administrative offices, and conservation and storage areas.

The project site is located west of the city centre within the planned green belt and is near significant existing and planned public buildings such as the People’s Hall. The museum spaces are partially sunk into the ground and use site’s topography to integrate the building into the existing and proposed landscape. This includes a poppy field garden of remembrance that will flank the approach to the main entrance.

Work is planned to begin on site before September 2009 with estimated completion at the end of 2011.

Marko Neskovic, Associate, Metropolitan Workshop commented: “The Museum provides a unique platform to showcase Libya’s national story on a local and international level and educate future generations of the price of war. The challenge for Metropolitan Workshop was to design an appropriate vessel for communicating this message. We drew from several sources: Dune landscapes, traditional desert camps and military camouflage netting. The result is a dramatic structure that references the subject matter whilst responding to its immediate context, physically and environmentally.”
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Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Perkins Eastman designs Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital, new facility brings life-saving care to region
The 248-bed, 65,000 sq m (699,700 sq ft) Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, is expected to be the most state-of-the-art medical facility in the area designed to accommodate the unique terrain, culture, customs, and history specific to the region.

Perkins Eastman provided consulting, planning, architectural, and interior design for a facility that will create a new standard for innovative, patient-centered, specialty-care in the area. Designed to the highest tertiary care standards combining the most advanced medical technology, international design, and healthcare planning solutions available, the six-story structure incorporates major specialty program elements including oncology, cardiology, a trauma center, and an emergency department. Patient privacy and healing are emphasized through the project’s hospitality-like design including a genial network of calming lounges, sun-filled atriums, and other supportive environments throughout the facility.

The design team looked to the surrounding natural environment for inspiration and sought to create contemporary building forms that would forge a meaningful connection to the site. The exterior features a combination of stone, glass, and metal while the interiors maintain the desert palette with the addition of bright and warm colors. Overall, the design is modern, flexible, and sensitively integrated within the natural environment complementary to its function, its mission, and its location.
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International Criminal Court, ICC, The Hague, Netherlands

International Criminal Court will now consult with architects to develop final design
19 designs for the International Criminal Court in The Hague went on display yesterday in the Atrium of The Hague City Hall following the announcement of the winning firms. Ingenhoven Architects of Düsseldorf, Germany; Schmidt Hammer Lassen / Bosch & Fjord of Århus, Denmark and Wiel Arets Architects & Associates of Maastricht, The Netherlands were selected by an international jury chaired by Chief Government Architect of The Netherlands, Liesbeth van der Po for first, second and third prize respectively. Over the next three months the architects will consult with the International Criminal Court to develop their designs with each standing equal chance of winning the commission in early 2009.

Ingenhoven’s design was commended in the jury’s report for its approach to the criteria: “The ICC's values such as transparency, communication and efficiency are reflected in the view of the Jury, who states it as a 'happy building', which creates a new democratic image of a court and a deep philosophy to justice.”

Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Bosch & Fjord's design is made from rows of various-sized square towers united by a rectangular base and will be integrated into the dunes of dry and wet grasslands that surround the site. Creative Director and partner of SHL architects, Bjarne Hammer said: “We are delighted that the ICC jury has selected our design for this extremely prestigious shortlist. The practice has tried to create a building which reflects the ICC’s core values of compassion and impartiality, whilst also creating a striking structure that complements the surrounding landscape.”

Wiel Arets design is the boldest with the authors of the design comparing their project with 'precious gemstones set into jewellery'. The jury said: “The significant approach leads to a unique project, which corresponds with an interesting landscape concept; the hedge gardens can be integrated into the external security concept. At first sight the gesture seem rather introvert, but the openings in the facades soften this impression.”

The final design will be presented in 2010, after which construction is due to start in 2011. Work on the new building for the International Criminal Court is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Niki May Young
News Editor
architecture NOW

Seashell - Sundsvall performing art center competition project, Sundsvall, Sweden

Competition project not shortlisted
A huge crystal Sea-Shell is transported by the waves near the Kultur Magazinet. The Shell covers the “buildings” of the New Arts Centre (theatres, rehearsal rooms, etc.) gathered around a Piazza-Foyer, integrated with the Magazinet and the Urban Pattern. The Shell protects from the external noise and the harsh seaside weather conditions allowing a very inexpensive and refined cladding of the various “building” elements of the Centre. Maintenance and internal transformation cost are drastically reduced. Pleasant liveability increased. The cost of the Shell Envelop results from the “peeling off” of the weather and sound proof skin of the Arts Centre.
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Punta Diamante Mixed Use, Querétaro, Qro., Mexico

Mixed use building design uses an innovative approach to connect witht the city
Somewhere between the high place and Queretaro’s downtown, there is Punta Diamante, a unique project in Querétaro dedicated to equilibrate the rhythms of modern life.

The project integrates three spaces of time: dwelling, working and entertaining, allowing an experience of the pleasure of living in harmony with the city and with nature.

7300, sq m and a complicated geometry and topography gave Anonimous LED architects the opportunity to work with a rough horizontal plane and an extended vertical one.

In an attempt of 'belonging' to the site, a basement that links the city with the building is generated exposing the volcanic rock which creates self-identity and unveils different textures and hues throughout the public floor. The paving and stone walls integrate different uses, so that dwelling, offices and commerce are integrated through the colour black. The floors transform into walls beside the old airport highway in an attempt to link the project with the terrain’s slope.

The access leads to a staircase adapted to the topography and then to the plaza. Once there, it is possible to appreciate the whole complex.

The staircase is the strategic point of the project. It not only provides circulation, but also joins all spaces and frames the views to the city. As the result of its location, it also works as the scenario of users’ coexistence.

The architects believe in building for the natural environment, not against it. One of the most important specific conditions in the project has to do with its orientation. The facades speak the same language to archive an integrate project, the use of bands responds to the shapes and to the program. In the Office tower the bands are used vertically to emphasize and stylize the tower. At the west the bands get closer to protect from the sunlight. The apartment tower has the same bands but in a horizontal way. The northern facade faces the plaza and the office tower is more shut in order to have more privacy.

Another objective is to encourage the pedestrian itineraries and the public life of the plaza and the green zones
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United States Federal Courthouse, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Safdie’s Federal Courthouse opens in Massachusetts
Like a good wine, Moshe Safdie gets better with age. The architect’s new federal courthouse in Springfield Massachusetts is one of his finest works to date. Boston Globe Architecture critic Robert Campbell calls the building “remarkable” saying, “It sets a new standard for public buildings.”

In form, colour and materiality the new courthouse stands in contradistinction to its surroundings, a neighborhood of closely clustered red brick and dark stone buildings, mostly rectilinear in form. Into this mix of stalwart structures, is situated Safdie’s courthouse, a white curvilinear structure of precast concrete, limestone and glass that is remarkably transparent, considering the building had to meet stiff security requirements that called for minimal visibility. The building, which wraps itself around two heritage trees, houses three courtrooms with a fourth for expansion, court-related departments including clerks and probation and non court agencies including US Marshals, US Attorneys and US Congressmen. Unlike many Safdie-designed buildings which achieve their monumentalism through over-scaling, this building strikes the right chord in its scaling.

The building reveals itself in layers. The outermost layer is a curved colonnade, which like the Roman Coliseum and Safdie’s Vancouver library, functions as a public circulation corridor off of which is located the main program spaces. On the innermost side of this colonnade is a glass screen with minimal framing. Behind this screen is located a limestone wall with large openings and an inner wall. The innermost wall, which leads to the courtrooms, accommodates a 200 ft-long mural by the American artist Sol LeWitt.

The $57 million project completed in the fall 2008.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent
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Pionen White Mountain Data Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

Former anti-atomic shelter gets a second life
Cold War defence facilities do not often cross paths with contemporary architecture but when they do, the result can be quite unforgettable. Take Pionen - White Mountains: originally designed during the afore mentioned Cold War as part of the central defence of Stockholm, the bunker had office space and an operation centre for rescue personnel, beds, kitchens, a communication room, filters for radioactive dust, warehouse for gas-masks, etc. Prime aim of the bunker? To withstand - if not a direct hit by the hydrogen bomb - a close hit.

Years have gone by and now Pionen, still under the original code name, is a state of the art ultra secure hosting centre for co-location plus network operation for Bahnhof, one of Sweden’s largest Internet Service Providers.

The vision is a joint venture between Bahnhof’s team of techies lead by CEO Jon Karlung and the architect Albert France-Lanord who masterfully interpreted Bahnnof’s idea of a high tech space buried in rock inspired by films like Logans Run, Silent Running and the old Star Wars.

The surreal data centre covers a total of 1110 sq m, bang in the middle of central Stockholm, 30 m below ground, cocooned in solid granite. Jon Karlung enlightens WAN: "The reconstruction took place during 2007 and 2008. More than 4000 cubic metres of solid rock where blasted away to make even more space for technical hardware. Not much of the original facility is left - it now looks more like a space ship or James Bond base. All in all 15 senior tech-staff work here. We have simulated daylight, greenhouse, waterfalls, etc. All to simulate something like a space station - in some senses we are sitting in the real 'cyberspace'."

As far as power supplies go, Bahnhof kept to the Cold War theme and installed diesel engines that where originally designed for submarines and, just for fun, also installed the warning system of sound-horns from an original German submarine.

Jon Karlung emphasises that humans are the focus of the project: "Almost all conventional data centres are focused on the technical aspect. Our facility is of course state of the art in those regards but we also wanted to add a human dimension. First of all, people actually work in data centres and if you have an interesting environment you add an extra value.”

And extra value here comes in many different shapes: there is a space-design meeting and conference room and a huge fish tank of 2600 litre. Bahnhof conludes: "We where considering Piranha (but were told they are too boring) and octopus (but were told that they might escape the fish tank). Now we have a variety of salt water animals. In the cave outside the actual hosting centre – there is the occasional wildlife like bats and sometimes cave-spiders. We preserve the wildlife as much as we can.”

Laura Salmi
architecture NOW

Marchese + Partners Innovation, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia

M+P announce the launch of Marchese + Partners Innovation initiative

Innovation is going to provide the foundation of both our design process and the way we do business from this point forward. From unique systems for communicating with our clients to new benchmarks in building design; from land use solutions previously unheard of to cutting edge technology integration; Innovation is going to change the landscape of the architecture industry in Australia for good. Innovation includes workshops, where developers, builders, real estate agents, and green technology experts, can interact in order to develop the best possible design solutions for our clients. It also includes searching for development sites around Australia and then matching these opportunities to interested parties in order to help spark the next wave of the development cycle. Steve Zappia, Principal and Managing Director of Marchese + Partners, says the firm's ethos is to be 'bold and confident' despite an uncertain market place. 'We believe that from unprecedented challenges comes lasting and exciting changes,’ said Mr Zappia. ‘We aim to be at the forefront of those changes, a true pioneer in this new world.':
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Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York, United Kingdom

Rogers' firm beats rivals to win Port Authority commission

The Port Authority of NY & NJ announced today that it has selected London–based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to design a new 42-storey tower and renovations to the Port Authority Bus Terminal located in Mid-town Manhattan.

The proposed air rights development 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 40,000 sq ft within the existing North Wing for retail use.

Rogers bested US finalists Pelli Clarke Pelli and KPF to land the job. Work is estimated to start in the spring of 2009.source:
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Movement: Windsor Museum of Change, Windsor, Canada

Canadian Architects seek to explore the notion of “self-image”
Windsor, Ontario architectural firm, J.P. Thomson Associates, Architects, has proposed an unsolicited concept for a new museum near the city’s waterfront. A derelict existing building has been adapted to provide a centre piece and point of destination for a unique local neighbourhood. The site is rich in history. Over the past 100 years, this area has been highly charged with both economic activity and local character and is as apt a location as any to house this important institution.

The theme of the project seeks to create a facility which encapsulates the diverse and dynamic nature of our own society and embodies this existence in one singular notion. It has been named Movement. Envisioned as Windsor’s Museum of Change, Movement will showcase the objects, people and events that have shaped our city’s unique and evolving culture. Within this context, the museum has an even more important role – to explore contemporary issues that will provide provocative thinking about the nature of our future. The museum will act as an ever-changing space able to adapt, transform and reconfigure. It will act as a window into our own lives and will be driven by experiential exhibits, which elicit both emotion and discourse.

Conceptually, the design of the building draws on this notion of movement. A large addition is designed along the south face of the existing building - which is transformed and given a new life. The building and the surrounding site is conceived as playing a part in this idea of movement. In order to enliven and animate the spatial experience of the museum, consideration is given to the way in which the building responds to its thematic systems as well as its contextual environment. The scales of city, site, building and exhibit are imaginatively woven together to produce a place of constant activity.

Lying to the east of downtown, the intent of the project is to create a facility which not only re-connects to the city core, but which also acts as a catalyst for additional growth of local neighborhoods. The goal is to create new symbiotic relationships within the city core and to increase tourism in this area which already has multiple smaller destinations and points of interest.
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Riverside South, London, United Kingdom

JPMorgan invest in Rogers monumental design despite global job cuts announcement
A colossal development in London’s Canary Wharf received a major boost this week with the announcement that JP Morgan, a bank which also announced thousands of job losses this week, has bought the 999 year lease to the Richard Rogers designed building. Canary Wharf Group, who commissioned the build of a u-shaped multi-use structure in 2002, sold the lease to JPMorgan for £237million providing a vote of confidence for the development despite recent market conditions.

Canary Wharf Group, however, remain cautious stating, “If construction of the building is postponed, or put off altogether, CWG will be paid for completed work and also retain £76m representing a portion of Developers Profits related to the development.”

The 3 million sq ft structure, currently undergoing infrastructure construction at London’s most modern business district, Canary Wharf, was originally due to encompass the longest retail and leisure stretch on the banks of the Thames but the retail aspect has now been removed from the design and other elements of the design evolved. It will now be used as JP Morgan’s European Headquarters once complete, expected in 2012. The current design features two solid tower blocks of 43 and 31 floors, the former being the second tallest in Canary Wharf after One Canada Square, connected with 5 floors of football-pitch sized flexible spaces to be used for trading.

Niki May Young
News Editor
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The Interpretation Centre, The Pinnacles Desert, Australia

Building set on fire as part of Aboriginal ritual offering and design
The ritual burning of the Pinnacles Interpretive Centre in Western Australia, as part of its design and building process underscores the unique role of fire, both culturally and environmentally, in Australia.

Officially opened by WA Environment Minister, Mrs Donna Faragher today, this incredibly evocative gesture by Woodhead, project architect for the Centre, John Nichols, introduces this specific practice into contemporary Australian architecture.

While other artists, architects and designers may have used burning as an aesthetic strategy, like Belgian artist, Arne Quinze with his recent spectacular, wooden cathedral Urchronia set alight in Black Rock Desert and Marten Baas with his sacrificial seating series, Smoking Furniture, Nichols goes beyond the aesthetic.

The reference to traditional Aboriginal smoking and burning practices cannot be overlooked.

Nichols is careful to point out this is a respectful reference to such practices. He said, “The burning and the burnt remains are integral to the scheme and highlight the relationship between fire, the land and its inhabitants, particularly in Australia, which requires a specific way of engaging with space, which non-Aboriginal culture, is just beginning to engage with.”

“Something we are slowly coming to an awareness of through Aboriginal culture is the history of the land and that we must engage with space and conceive of architecture in a completely different way from the western tradition based on a concept of the heroic or heroic domination of space.”

The Pinnacles Interpretative Centre precisely challenges the heroic in architecture. It is consciously contradictory, non-heroic and embedded into a series of larger scale narratives about landscape, place and relationship. It is the latest in Woodhead’s trilogy of Interpretive Centres for the Department of Environment and Conservation, which include Karijini National Park and the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, which all explore these questions.

Nichols said, “How does one ‘build’ in response to a shifting landscape? What happens when architecture considers itself a small component of a larger system, as opposed to a self-referential all-encompassing whole? These are the type of questions that are of continual and specific concern to me.”

“With the Pinnacles Interpretive Centre, for instance, a series of staged ‘unfinished’ architectural insertions reflect the Pinnacles desert itself,” he said.

Located 250km north of Perth in the Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles is made of thousands of protruding limestone formations spread over a vast dunal landscape. The rock formations are the exposed eroded remnants of a formerly thick bed of Tamala Limestone, created over time by rain and wind.

This is a dynamic, ever changing landscape. The design principle for the centre is completely embedded in the mutable narrative of that landscape.

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23 Savile Row, London, United Kingdom

Eric Parry and Joel Shapiro on integrating permanent sculpture with architecture in London
American sculptor Joel Shapiro unveiled his first permanent public sculpture in the United Kingdom today; the piece is located in London's fashionable retail district Mayfair.

The bronze sculpture titled 'here' is suspended above the main entrance, contrasting with reflective glass surfaces, of new office-and-retail complex 23 Savile Row. The well-articulated design of what seems like a simple geometric piece 'five rectangular shapes strung up in mid-air' makes it such that the building looks altered from every possible angle: when the passer-by approaches it from different streets, and when they view it from within the building. Photographers would have a fun time here with the amount of deep shadows created by the piece contained within an intimate niche of the building and hanging over a canopy.

For Shapiro, the greatest challenge was coming up with an artwork that was "active, vibrant enough" to involve the entire building. This is the first suspended installation for the New York-based artist who has been working with geometric pieces for four decades. He enjoyed the fact that the piece is "small and modest" and that by not resting on the same plane as the perceiver, engages the space and viewer more.

The 100,000 sq ft building sits on the site of the now-demolished Fortress House, the former headquarters of English Heritage and the sculpture was a quintessential factor in the project's approval process. According to the complex's architect Eric Parry, "the building is a quiet backdrop to the sculpture" as the building is strong but well-behaved, and given to "laconic repetition". Parry even described the complex as "a continuum to Joel's solo".

Zijia Wong
architecture NOW

Wellesley Road, London, United Kingdom

Croydon Council launch design competition seeing Will Alsop's vision take a step closer to realisation
A major international design competition launched by Croydon Council promises to realise Will Alsop’s ambitious plans for Croydon. The competition marks a significant milestone for the implementation of Will Alsop’s Third City Vision, presented in November 2007, after a series of consultations with the local community.

The competition invites architects to respond to a key component of Alsop’s Vision – the re-development of Wellesley Road, a heavily trafficked dual carriageway which at present cuts through the heart of central Croydon making east/west access movement difficult and uncomfortable. Architects are asked to propose how they would inhabit the significant real estate that will become available along both sides of the one-kilometre long Wellesley Road when the road dramatically decreases in size from eight lanes in some places to a possible two.

The competition brief envisages that a mix of building types and forms, parks, meadows, squares and other aspects of public realm could exist to the east and west of the downsized road. Diversity is a key word - Will Alsop talks of a series of external 'living rooms', the furniture being relatively small-scale buildings sitting against the backdrop of the existing skyscrapers.

Alsop’s role in the implementation is to monitor the process and act as consultants to Croydon Council. Will Alsop sits on the competition judging panel along with representatives from London Borough of Croydon, CABE, Design For London, Transport for London and London School of Economics.

Will Alsop said of the competition: “This is a very exciting competition which is extremely important because it will be at the root of the regeneration of Croydon City Centre”

The competition is open to practices of all sizes; Croydon Council is keen to engage with a range of creative architectural practices. The competition asks for financial stability (rather than a financial track record as such) to extend eligibility to young and innovative practices.

The deadline for Stage 1 submissions is 1 December 2008 and the Stage 2 brief will be presented to shortlisted practices 15-16 January 2009. The winning designs will be announced end of May 2009.
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