David Basulto

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

Building of the Year 2009, Hotels & Restaurants: The Yas Hotel / Asymptote

Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Architect: Asymptote - Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture
Client: Aldar Properties PJSC
Size: 85,000 sqm
Start: November 2007
Completion: October 2009
Photography: © Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture, Courtesy of Bjorn Moerman

Go to project page

ArchDaily Building of the Year 2009: The Winners

At ArchDaily we strongly believe in our readers.

You have helped us to expand the debate in the site, sharing your thoughts around the buildings we feature every day. When we decided to award the best buildings featured during 2009, we could´t think of a better way to do this, than to handle this important duty to you.

You narrowed down the list from almost a thousand buildings to 5 per category. Said that, today we are happy to announce the winner of each category on the following articles.

Full list of awarded projects.

The winner of the iPod Touch is Pam Raymond, we will get in touch with you shortly.

Architecture for Humanity helping Chile

© REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

As we reported earlier, an 8.8 earthquake hit last Saturday.

The situation is very bad in the southern parts of the country, specially in coastal towns that were swiped by a tsunami.

Architects immediately started to volunteer, coordinated by the local architect’s institute and the government, with the help of our friends at Plataforma Arquitectura. First actions are to help the community by evaluating damaged buildings, so people can either go back and sleep inside or be relocated, and then proceed to reinforce structures or demolish buildings.

Further actions will include emergency housing, relocation, planning and construction of coastal cities, landmark preservation, and more.

Architecture for Humanity has once again offered their resources to help, as they have done in New Orleans, Haiti, and more.

If you want to help just go to this link at Architecture for Humanity to donate and support architects volunteering in Chile.

ArchDaily Building of the Year 2009 Awards: Final update

Dear readers,

As planned, voting was closed last night. We are now triple checking everything, and will announce the winners during the day.

Winners will be announced Tuesday, March 2.

Earthquake in Chile

Collapsed building in Concepcion, Chile © AP

Dear readers,

As you might have seen on the news, an 8.5 earthquake hit on Saturday at 3:30AM.

The country was seriously affected, specially in the southern part. A 15 story tall building (pictured above) fell to one side,highways collapsed,  several old buildings collapsed, and even  new buildings collapsed. It could have been way worse, if compared to Haiti (which was 7.something). This was due to the country’s seismic design code, recognized as one of the best in the world. So, the reason behind recent buildings collapsing seems to be bad construction, not design (contractors fault – NOT trying to point fingers, I just want to make clear that the code has been recognized as one of the best).

As I said, the southern part was heavily affected due to the fact that constructions were old, and a lot of them were built with rammed earth in rural towns. Also a tsunami that came a few hours after swiped several costal towns. 706 deaths were informed a few hours ago.

I´m happy to inform that our collaborators from Chile are ok.

Our friends from Plataforma Arquitectura are reporting about earthquake from an architectural point of view in Spanish. They are also reuniting architects, working with the local architecture institute, schools and government to prepare a unified architecture network of relief. Architecture for Humanity will provide technical support (as they are heavily working in Haiti this days).

We are going to keep you informed about this in case they need your help.

ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards: Last week

Last week to vote for the Building of the Year Awards! The finalists chosen by you represent a wide scope of projects, in terms of scale,  budget, materials, programs, location, etc.

Thousands of readers have already voted on the following categories, have you voted for your favorites yet?

Please remember that every time you vote, you can opt to enter our giveaway for an iPod Touch.

Head to the awards page to vote.

The future of architectural visualization

Zebra Imaging 3D brings the future of visualization, thanks to this thin holographic sheets.

Zebra Imaging makes digitally-mastered, actively-animated, true-color, full-parallax holographic images. These holographic images are available in full color, or in monochrome (green). Zebra’s holographic images can be scaled to any size, large or small. By tiling together multiple tiles, it is possible to create large city maps, full sized cars, humans, and machinery. The minimum you have to do is supply the digital data set–Zebra can do the rest.

More info here. Via Core77.

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 LEED 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.

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


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

© Architecture

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 will open its doors on Feb 22th.

The building, designed by the acclaimed Japanese firm SANAA, features one of the most impressive concrete 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


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


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 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: