David Basulto

Graduate Architect. Co Founder and Executive Editor of ArchDaily.com. Architecture geek.

City Center Las Vegas: 6 LEED Gold certifications

CityCenter Crystals Veer Aria and Harmon

With over 16,797,000 square feet (1,560,500 m2), the recently opened City Center Las Vegas has become one of the largest certified projects in the world. The project included some of the world’s largest firms: Pelli Clarke Pelli, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Helmut Jahn, RV Architecture LLC led by Rafael Viñoly, Foster + Partners, Studio Daniel Libeskind, David Rockwell and , and Gensler.

City Center

Inside the complex we find several towers, with hotels, casino and residences, from which the Mandarin Oriental, ARIA Resort’s hotel tower, ARIA’s convention center and theater, Vdara Hotel & Spa, Crystals and Veer towers have received LEED Gold certification.

More photos and information about each building after the break.

King Abdullah II House of Culture & Art / Zaha Hadid Architects

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The new King Abdullah II House of Culture & Art in designed by Zaha Hadid Architects has been announced this week.

The project comes after a competition awarded in June 2008, which included Snøhetta (Norway), Atelier Christian de Portzamparc (France), Delugan Meissl (Austria), Henning Larsens Tegnestue (Denmark) and Kerry Hill Architects (Singapore).

The project consists in a performing arts and cultural centre that includes a 1600-seat concert theatre, 400-seat theatre, educational centre, rehearsal rooms, and galleries.

As you can see on the renderings, the building is mainly a carved volume, with voids crossing it creating several visual relations.

On the outside, the volume looks very simple, contrasting with the carved spaces that express themselves on the facade.

More info about the project after the break:

US Embassy in London / KieranTimberlake Architects

View from Consular Plaza
View from Consular plaza (rendering by Studio amd)

KieranTimberlake has been announced as the winner of the design competition for the new US in .

According to a statement by the US Embassador in the UK, KieranTimberlake´s design “meets the goal of creating a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century.”

Regarding the “safety” issues, KT’s design shows an interesting solution away from embassies from the early 90s surrounded by large walls with no urban considerations, using a park with a pond instead. The Embassy is no only an icon, but an urban piece “honoring the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for many civic buildings”, connecting the Thames embankment to the new pedestrian way to the south.

view from Embassy park (rendering by Studio amd)

“Viewed from the north at the proposed plaza, the embassy grounds will provide the prospect of an open park, a landscape of grasses rising gracefully to the new embassy colonnade, with the required secure boundaries incised into the hillside and out of view. Instead of a perimeter-walled precinct, the site to the north and south is a welcoming urban amenity, a park for the city that fuses the new embassy to the city of London. Alternatives to perimeter walls and fences are achieved through landscape design.”

The pure geometry of the cube is fragmented by a highly specialized ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluroethylene, used in several recent buildings) facade optimized to shade interiors from east, west and south sun while admitting daylight and framing large open view portals to the outside. If you take a closer look to the renderings from the inside you will notice that the ETFE foils include thin photovoltaic film that intercepts unwanted solar gain in certain angles. The scrim also renders the largely transparent façades visible to migratory birds to discourage bird-strikes.

More information and renderings about the Embassy after the break. I also recommend to read our interview with Stephan Kieran.

Contemplating the void: Iwamoto Scott

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As promised, more projects for the Guggenheim’s .

This time we feature Iwamoto Scott‘s proposal.

LIGHTCONE uses fiber-optic lines to turn the void into a light channel with different purposes:

BIArch Open Lectures: Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow

The Barcelona Institute of Architecture (BIArch) is an international institution set up to further interaction between academic research, specialized practice and the dissemination of contemporary architecture. The academic core of the Barcelona Institute of Architecture as a postgraduate institute is its MBIArch Post-Professional Master’s Degree program, currently open for applications for the 2010-2011 term.

The Open Lectures series is part of their public program, which included from the Japanese firm Atelier Bow-Wow. Atelier Bow-Wow has conducted an extensive research on japanese micro architecture, presented on their books Pet Architecture and Made in Tokyo

This is also seen on their works, such as their own House & Atelier (video here).

After the break, the second part of his lecture “Architectural Behaviorology”.

Eric Owen Moss Construction Manual 1988-2008

When I visited ’ office to interview him, I saw a big book on a desk titled “Eric Owen Moss ”. Given the complex type of works he does, I first thought it was a guide for new architects that joined the office, regarding file naming, color codes, etc.

But after talking with Eric, he told us about his new monograph published by AADCU. The book (3″ thick) presents 40 works (built and unbuilt) by EOM designed between 1988 and 2008, including recent buildings such as the Multimedia Tower and 3555 Hayden Studios, and projects such as the Warner Parking and Retail, Republic Square and Glass Tower.

The works are very well documented as you can see on the below photos, including several physical models and detailed drawings used to study the complex forms developed by EOM.

More after the break.

Rolex Learning Center / SANAA

The Rolex Learning Center at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland will open its doors on Feb 22th.

The building, designed by the acclaimed Japanese firm SANAA, features one of the most impressive surfaces I have ever seen, creating a fluid space for students to enjoy. Interesting comments by Ryue Nishizawa on the relation between organic forms in architecture and human life. While the building is a perfect rectangle when seen in a plan view, the curves and slopes which define the interior space give the building a totally organic look.

More photos after the break.

AD Interviews: Bostjan Vuga / SADAR + VUGA

While in Croatia, I took the time for a short trip to to meet SADAR + VUGA, one of the practices from eastern Europe that have been on my mind since I saw a low rise residential building (Condominium Trnvoski Pristan) published back in 2004.

On ArchDaily we have seen some of their projects (and expect more in the next days) such as Villa Beli Kriz (awarded with the Golden Pencilby the Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning of Slovenia ) or a large scale sports park in Ljubljana currently under construction.

Something that took my attention when visiting their office was the work methodology, with a very clear structure. Several models around the office are proof of a constant research, testing a series of formulas on different programs as you can see on their website.

Also available in HD at Vimeo.

Contemplating the void: MAD

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Another proposal for “” (all the proposals featured at ArchDaily here).

Entitled “State Fair Guggenheim”, the proposal by Chinese firm MAD uses a floating habitable balloon, located at the top of the void, to mediate between interior/exterior:

“As the core of the museum, the spiraling rotunda inherits the classic relationship between human and the divine. The delicately glazed domed roof transforms the natural light into distilled radiance, allowing the visitors to feel the distance from the mystical, and reverence to the sublime. Wright designed the continuous ramp encouraging visitors to ascend, becoming closer to the light with each step; however, one would find himself bounded by the glass ceiling at the top of the ramp. The anti-climactic ending to this experience seems to hint at advancement to the future of this rotunda. ”

Contemplating the void: JDS

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During 2009 the celebrated its 50th anniversary. And now, the museum commissioned nearly 200 artists, architects and designers to imagine their dream interventions on the most significative space of Frank Lloyd Wright’s building, the central void. “Contemplating the void” will be on exhibit at the Museum from Feb 12th until Apr 28th.

We are going to present you some of the interventions proposed by the architects, starting with “Experience the void” by danish practice JDS.

JDS/Julien De Smedt Architects proposal is architecture turned into enjoyment and participation. Instead of contemplating the void we propose to experience it by letting a trampoline net spiral down the rotunda space.  The experience plays with Wright’s original scenography for the Guggenheim: to visit the exhibition downwards.

The below image corresponds to the project featured on the new book by JDS “Agenda: Can We Sustain Our Ability to Crisis?“, published by ACTAR. Expect a review soon.

Richmond Olympic Oval / Cannon Design

© Nic Lehoux

The 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics taking place in , Canada open today and we’d like to introduce you one of the most important venues designed for the event.

The Richmond Olympic Oval designed by Cannon Design, is located on a 32 acres of city-owned land along the banks of the Fraser River. Olympics have been a big opportunity for cities, and the facilities built for the event have the challenge to start a new development, as it has been in this case. The Oval will be the centrepiece of a major new urban waterfront neighbourhood featuring a mix of residential, commercial, and public amenity development. The new Oval neighbourhood will be a destination and meeting place offering diverse indoor and outdoor recreational activities, shopping, and services.

After the games, the building will become an international center for sports and wellness, and thanks to its flexible design it can be used for a wide variety of sport and community uses.

More details after the break:

Urban Farming in numbers

Interesting study by MVRDV, The Why Factory and Stroom Den Haag.

A lot has been said (through) on Urban Farming, but many don’t consider their feasibility.

I´m not being pessimist (I grow some of my own vegetables and herbs), but I think that urban farming goes more in the direction of the last phrase of the video: “could it (urban farming) help bringing some agriculture into the cities to bring us closer to our food again?”.

Animation by Wieland Gouwens

Update: The same study applied to

P.S.1 2010 entry: P.S. 1 out of 7295 by BIG

Pool lounge ©

To close our coverage of this years YAP competition we present you BIG‘s proposal.

BIG’s invitation to the P.S.1 is not only rare for not being based in NY or in the US (they are based in Denmark), as it has been the common denominator over the years, but also because they have built several small-medium-large scale projects.

But personally, this was the proposal I wanted to see the most: BIG’s P.S.1 out of 7295 is a “cloudscape” formed by
translucent recycled PVC “bubbles”, with a cradle to cradle life-cycle design on which 7,295 bags will be made out of the ballons after the installation, completing the cycle that started as recycled truck bed covers and bags.

Check our P.S.1 coverage (2008 until 2010!) here.

More on BIG’s proposal after the break:

ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards 2009: The Finalists

After thousand of nominations in the last 3 weeks, we are proud to announce the finalists for the Awards, a selection made by our readers.

65 projects in 13 categories are now running for the award, with a very good selection of buildings, ranging from large campus buildings to small libraries with no budget, featuring renowned practices such as DS+R, OMA, REX, Tadao Ando, and small young firms from from around the world.

To thank our readers we have decided to give away an iPod Touch, more details at the Awards page.

Remember that you can vote once per day here: Building of the Year Awards page.

And the nominees are:

Rosa Muerta / Robert Stone

North view
North view © Brad Lansill

After visiting his website, I got in touch with Robert Stone and exchanged a few emails… He is a reader of ArchDaily and was very excited to share his work with the readers, and I was also very excited about it after learning more about him and what is behind Rosa Muerta and other projects he has been working on in the .

Robert was born and raised in Palm Springs, Ca. in a decent copy of a Craig Ellwood house and across the street from a real Schindler house. After his masters degree at UC Berkeley, Robert spent over a decade in a studio in Los Angeles making experimental social-sculpture projects that were exhibited internationally. I mention this because it’s a clear influence on Rosa Muerta and Acido Dorado, two projects that came out of Robert’s passion for art, his architectural background, and his D.I.Y. punk roots:

Instead of looking for a client, Robert went solo to the desert to build vacation houses for rent, turning into an entrepreneur with Pretty Vacant Properties and probing that independent D.I.Y. architecture is possible.

South view
South view © Brad Lansill

It is basically the American punk D.I.Y. approach that has engendered all contemporary independent music and film since the 1970′s. . .  now finally applied to architecture.

The passion Robert puts on his work is really inspiring, specially for young architects that debate between working at some else’s practice or kick start their own firm/business.

I hope to bring you more about Robert’s work in the near future. In the meanwhile, more about Rosa Muerta after the break:

MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2010

Mixed use & overall winner: One New Change, London, UK designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Sidell Gibson Architects- St Pauls view

While doing some research for a real estate project I found the MIPIM awards, a competition established 9 years ago to promote good design, related to a market for international property trade that takes place in Cannes every year. As this event is aimed to real estate and property professionals, the award gives visibility to what we usually see on architectural magazines to another -very important- audience. In previous years it has recognized works such as the Meydan Umraniye Mall by F-O-A or the Mountain Dwellings by , two programs in which market dictates, but where good design can give added value.

Today 8 projects have received the 2010 award in different categories: Offices, Regeneration & Masterplanning, Residential, Tall Buildings, Sustainability, Big Urban projects, Mixed Use and Retail & Leisure. Also, 16 projects received a “Highly Recommended” mention on those categories.

And the overall award went to One New Change, a massive mixed use project in the City of London by Jean Nouvel and Sidell Gibson Architects. The project includes over 35,000 sqm commercial and 25,000 sqm retail space, and it was a challenge in terms of design and planning, due to its proximity with St Pauls Cathedral.

The Judges applauded the new landmark for transforming the whole image of this part of the financial centre, providing a new focal point for visitors and city users alike. They also observed that One New Change provides a refreshing contrast to the surrounding retro-architecture, providing a successful combination of ancient and modern, praising both the developer and the planning authority for showing “great independence of mind” against pressure to submit a more historicist approach.

Full list of awarded projects after the break:

P.S.1 2010 entry: LUX NOVA by EASTON+COMBS

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We continue featuring the proposals for this years summer installation competition (awarded to SO-IL, read our full coverage of the PS1 competitions here).

This time we introduce you EASTON+COMBS, a practice ran by partners Rona Easton and Lonn Combs.

The firm has a focus on material innovation, which could be seen at LUX NOVA, their proposal for the P.S.1, which includes “Strong Light”, a 100 percent recyclable and exceptionally strong featherweight building component.

© EASTON+COMBS

The initial system is developed as a permeable featherlight structural skin that engages an environmental play of translucent and polychromatic effect. The system offers an 80% weight reduction over an equivalent glass system with no compromise in strength and stability at a significantly lower cost.

More about LUX NOVA after the break:

AD Interviews: OFIS Arhitekti

While in Croatia, I took some time to visit Ljubljana, , and interview OFIS Arhitekti. The practice was founded in 1998 by partners Rok Oman and Spela Videcnik, both graduates from the Ljubljana architecture school and the Architectural Association.

OFIS has produced a high amount of buildings in the last years, with very good examples in housing: Izola Social Housing, Shopping Roof Apartments, Tetris Apartments, Lace Apartments, Student apartment studios and the Backbone Village Houses.

Izola Social Housing /

But the firm has also being involved in retail (Mercator), religious architecture (Farewell Chapel), and some houses such as the Alpine Hut and Villa Old Oaks (full list of OFIS projects previously featured at ArchDaily). Clearly, dealing with different types of clients (individuals, state, real state) is not a problem for this young office.

What I liked about the interview was to see how responsible this young firm feels as a generation in terms of building the image of Slovenia, a new nation that has been trough many changes in the last years, specially in terms of opening to the rest of the world.