Shenzhen Crystal Island @ OMA / Ole Scheeren
Shenzhen is one of the most active cities in China, and was recently appointed “City of Design” by the UNESCO (2008). A recent competition for Crystal Island, located in the center of the city, envisions the envisions the Shenzhen Creative Center, an iconic project in front of the city hall.
The project, won by OMA in collaboration with chinese firm Urbanus, includes a major new cultural center, transport hub, and public landmark. The Shenzhen Creative Center takes advantage of such a central location, and disaggregate the program over a 20-hectare landscape of parks and gardens, on which clusters of pavilions and small buildings form “Design Villages” creating a micro urban system which includes buildings for Design Administration, Tourism Center, buildings for design retail and expo and a design campus. It also includes a big open space, the Ceremonial Plaza.
All these buildings and open spaces are connected by an elevated pedestrian system, the “Ring Connector”, which also connects to existing and future train and subway stations.
At the center of this circular project, a spherical void becomes a landmark for the city: the Shenzhen Eye.
The disaggregation of the program on such an active area has the potential to mix the creative industry with the rest of the city’s activities, potentiating multiplicity, permeability, and openness towards creative activity.
The project collaboration between OMA and Urbanus includes the young Ole Scheeren and Rem Koolhaas, and Urbanus partner Meng Yan, with a team lead by OMA Associates Dongmei Yao and Anu Leinonen.
After the break, a schematic model of the program relations and another rendering.
A few weeks ago we were in LA for Postopolis!, and we toured around the city visiting interesting practices. One of our biggest surprises was Yazdani Studio. We started to see this firm because of their buildings for the Ordos project, so we decided to visit their offices and interview the principal, Mehrdad Yazdani.
Mehrdad Yazdani (BA Arch U Texas at Austin, M Arch at Harvard GSD) is a principal at Cannon Design, an international firm with several offices in the US and abroad. A big corporate office, with all the pros and cons it has. Given this, Mehrdad started Yazdani Studio as a small laboratory that benefits from the reach and resources of a large international practice, with the flexibility of a smaller design studio. This in-between position has allowed Yazdani Studio to work on several scales. Something I really liked when i visited their office was the large amount of test models I saw laying around for every project, a proof of the amount of experimentation at the practice.
Some of Yazdani Studio projects include the recent renovation of the Museum of Tolerance (and a 2nd phase that will be completed next), the UCSD Price Center, a new campus for Tata Motors and several institutional buildings. Yazdani Studio was also one of the first practices to start working in Ordos -before the Ordos 100 project- with a Villa currently under construction. Also, Yazdani Studio is developing a restaurant and a concert hall, as supporting programs for the cultural district envisioned for this emerging city on the Mongolian desert.
Well, enough with my intro. Just watch the interview.
Some pictures of our visit to the practice after the break.
It’s been a year and a couple of months since we first started ArchDaily.
With the one mission of “broadcasting architecture worldwide” we have already published 1,200 architecture related posts and our readers have engaged with more than 12,000 comments in architecture related discussions.
Architecture is the most frequent word we use. We are architects and we love architecture. With this in mind, we have again decided to search and rank the best sites devoted to architecture only. This is not an easy job and of course it can be considered a subjective topic (as it is with every ranking). In order to reduce subjective observations, this year we have decided to consider only a recognized third party ranking system: alexa.com.
Based in our extensive architecture and Internet experience complemented with previous feedback from our readers, we came out with a list of 20 English written sites devoted to architecture only and ranked them according to alexa.com. Alexa ranks with a number 1 the most popular website in the world, which is now google.com.
This project follows the recently announced Stone Towers by ZHA in Cairo, Egypt.
The new Cairo Expo City will provide a facilities suitable for the international conference and exhibition industry, making Cairo more competitive in a global scale.
This year we not only celebrate the 142nd birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright, but also the 50 years of the Guggenheim, one of his master pieces (completed the year he passed away). These dates are not only commemorated with Lego Kits and exhibitions, but also with a very interesting competition held by the Guggenheim Museum and Google Sketchup.
The interesting part of the Design It: Shelter Competition is that it invites people from around the world to do pretty much what Wright made his apprentices at Taliesin: If you wanted to study to be an architect with Wright, you had to design and build a shelter in the desert outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Then you had to live and study in it, as it have been for the past 7 decades (you can see more of this at the Learn by Doing exhibition).
So, the competition invites people to design a small structure where someone might sleep and work. Your shelter should be created for a specific site anywhere in the world and geo-located in Google Earth. It also should conform to size constraints and must not include running water, gas or electricity. Then it must be submitted to Google 3D Warehouse, as described on the video (more details on how to enter here).
You can submit your shelter until August 23. After that, Taliesin students will pick 10 shelters for the People´s Choice Prize, and a jury will pick a shelter for the Juried Prize. You can read more about the prize and the jury here.
I like that this competition is not aimed to architects only, but to anyone who has a good idea for a shelter. As Frank Lloyd Wright, you don´t need formal architectural training, just a good idea and a pen. Or in this case, a 3d modeling tool easy and powerful as a pen.
Bonus: Architecture for Humanity decided to “hack” the competition, by adding a social component to it: The Purpose Prize. Instead of designing your shelter anywhere, do it for a specific community that can use your design to improve their living standard. So after submitting your entry to Google 3D Warehouse, submit it to the Open Architecture Network following these guidelines and you will be running for the Purpose Prize (US$500 + 10th Anniversary AFH Moleskine Folio). But the most important, you will be helping a community with your design skills, even if you don´t get awarded.
whY Architecture (Workshop Hakomori Yantrasast) is a LA based architecture practice, directed by partners Kulapat Yantrasast, Yo-ichiro Hakomori and Richard Stoner. Kulapat received his Master of Architecture degree and Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo. Yo-ichiro received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Doctorate from the University of Tokyo. Richard received his Bachelor of Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and Master of Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles.
On ArchDaily we have featured some of their recent works, such as the Grand Rapids Art Museum (first new art museum in the world to receive LEED certification), the Royal/T project (an art gallery/cafe/retail shop in Culver City, highly recommended), Casa Wasaka (concrete patio house in Osaka, Japan) and their project for Hollywood House (a folded strip generating different open/enclosed spaces).
As of now, they are also working on the design for the new Tyler Museum of Art, Texas, and in the process of renovating the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago (Kulapat has also served on the Artist Committee for American for the Arts, the nation’s oldest organization for the support of art in society). Community projects include the renovation of the historic Venice Jail into the Social & Public Art Resource Center in Venice, California and the Art Bridge at the Los Angeles River. Recent projects also include Private residences, Art Galleries, Boutique retail, and Day Spas.
whY Architecture was also selected as one of the 13 young practices that presented their work at the closing session (Focus on Contemporary Architecture: Critical and New Opinions) at the AIA Convention 2009.
Architecture for Humanity is a a charitable organization that seeks architectural solutions to humanitarian crises and brings professional design services to communities in need. A few years ago they adopted an open source model to let architects share designs with a Creative Commons license, resulting on Open Architecture Network, an open collaborative tool that allows people around the world to implement these architectural solutions.
AFH also edited the book Design Like You Give a Damn, a compendium of innovative projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of design to improve people’s lives. A second part is currently on the works.
Cameron was included on the list of the 13 young architects that presented their work on the closing session at the AIA Convention this year. He is also a Green Giant and a World Changing contributor, and has presented the work of AFH on TED (in my opinion, a highly motivational presentation).
I have decided to split this interview in two, leaving the regular set of questions in one part, and other specific questions on the other. This part focuses on how AFH works, delivering architectural solutions to the ones who can’t afford it in an innovative way, and also on the current economical crisis as an opportunity and Katrina.
This year, we not only commemorate the 50 years of Frank Lloyd Wright’s death, but also the 50 years of the opening of one of his masterpieces: The Guggenheim Museum.
The museum will celebrate with the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, co-organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. On view from May 15 through August 23, 2009, the 50th anniversary exhibition brings together sixty-four projects by F.L. Wright, including privately commissioned residences, civic and government buildings, religious and performance spaces, as well as unrealized urban mega-structures. Presented on the spiral ramps of Wright’s museum through a range of mediums — including more than 200 original Frank Lloyd Wright drawings, many of which are on view to the public for the first time, as well as newly commissioned models and digital animations — Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward illuminates Wright’s pioneering concepts of space and reveals the architect’s continuing relevance to contemporary design.
The exhibition takes place between May 15 and August 23, 2009 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
You can also visit an online version of the exhibition.
Yesterday, Lord Foster was announced as the 29th laureate to receive the prestigious Prince of Asturias award for the Arts, a recognition to scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions, groups of people or groups of institutions whose achievements are exemplary at an international level.
This is the second fourth time an architect receives this award, previously given to Oscar Niemeyer in 1989, Santiago Calatrava in 1999 and Franciscco Javier Sáenz de Oíza in 1993.
More info at Foster and Partners website.
Just in time to commemorate the 50 years of the death of Frank Lloyd Wright, LEGO released two of his master pieces on their architecture series: the Guggenheim Museum (who opened 50 years ago) and the Falling Water House.
You can order them at the online store for US$45 (+ shipping).
Seen at The Coolist (thanks Mike!)
Vice Magazine went to Brazil to interview the legendary architecture master Oscar Niemeyer. A pioneer in reinforced concrete, played a crucial role in the modern movement, not only because of formal or material explorations, but also for designing the new capital for Brazil: Brasilia. The whole city was built in only 4 years, and was a sandbox to put in practice the ideals of the modern movement.
Oscar Niemeyer is now 101 years old, and he keeps working every day at his office in Rio de Janeiro, with on going projects in Brazil and Spain. I think that his secret is how passionate he is about architecture and women, and he has devoted his life to both.
mountains/waves/women = curves
It is not the right angle that attracts me. nor the straight line, tough, inflexible, created by man. what attracts me is the free, sensual curve. the curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the waves of the sea, in the clouds of the sky, in the body of the favourite woman. Of curves is made all the universe.
You can read a short version of the intervier at Vice Magazine.
During the AIA Convention 2009 we had the chance to talk to different AEC software companies, to learn how they are helping architects. We decided to keep the conversation on the same interview format we have been using, so you can hear it straight from the developers.
Our first interview was with John Bacus, Product Manager for Google Sketchup. We focused our interview on how SketchUp is helping architects by providing a cost efficient tool, both in price and time, that is also extendable via powerful plugins.
Stay tuned for more interviews.
As an architect, I have been involved/consulted on historic preservation proyects. Most of them never materialized, even after spending a lot of time/money between interested parties (government, institutions, communities). It´s Not that it was a waste of time, but after seeing what some communities are doing with almost no official support/money and just driven by their passion, it´s pretty much clear that it can be done in another way.
Let me show you an example: a group of architecture students from Universidad de Talca, in the south of Chile, decided to spend their summer working with a community in Lebu, an old city that was very active at the beginning of the last century thanks to coal mines nearby. Beautiful wooden buildings were erected during the bonanza, but once the coal mines started to shut down, the city lost its economic base and entered into recession until today. All of this beautiful buildings were endangered because of lack of maintenance, and as of today some of them have even been demolished.
So, these students decided to teach the community how to use Google SketchUp as a way to help them preserve their historic buildings. Being a free tool, all they had to go was to get a space and some computers. The local authorities helped them by providing a space for the workshops, and lots of people got interested on this program. They gathered old plans from the city hall and some historic archives, and each one of the 24 assistants to the workshop started to learn how to model in 3D using one of these historic buildings as a case study.
Project: Private house
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Architect: PRODUCTORA – Carlos Bedoya, Wonne Ickx, Victor Jaime, Abel Perles
Collaborators: Fernando Sánchez, Ross Adams, Jorge Cárdenas, Iván Villegas, Thorsten Englert
Structural engineering: José Ramón Castillo
Window Framing: Window Concept
Air conditioning: Corbik
Heating: Enrique Wide
Carpentry: Eduardo Morales
Kitchen Installation: Medel Rust
Garden Design: Rocio Amarante
Photography: Iwan Baan, for Abitare
While in LA we had the chance to visit Standard, a small firm doing residential and retail projects. We visited their Tree House, featured earlier on AD, where i was able to see for myself the minimalism found in their works. A simple work, but with lots of well executed details and spaces designed to benefit from the views and the shadow of the tree.
The practice was founded in 1996 by Jeffrey Allsbrook (M Arch USC, studies at the at the Städelschule in Frankurt, Germany and at the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam) and Silvia Kuhle (Architect Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, M Arch Columbia University).
Completed projects include residential, retail, educational, office and manufacturing spaces for a diverse clientele of artists, writers, filmmakers, clothing designers, educators and entrepreneurs in California, New York, Las Vegas, Paris and Mexico. While Standard continues to grow, its partners insist upon maintaining a practice that is rigorous and attentive. Direct accessibility and sustained dialogue between clients and the firm’s partners are viewed as essential to project success.
It was a very good talk, and i really liked their point of view on an central aspect of the profession: the clients.
The project, comissioned by Provast, includes an open air market, that due to new hygienic constraints of dutch laws has to be covered. It also includes 246 residences, that form an arc that covers the open market area.
This results on a 3,000sqm retail area, with a 1,600sqm catering area on the ground level and first floor, a 1,800sqm supermarket and an underground car park for 1,100 cars.
The interior face of the arc will be covered with LEDs for an ever changing interior. The front and backside are covered with a flexible suspended glass facade, allowing for maximum transparency and a minimum of structure.
This new icon for Rotterdam is expected to be completed in 2014. More images after the break.
Location: Barberà del Vallès, Catalunya, Spain
Architects: H ARQUITECTES – David Lorente, Josep Ricart, Xavier Ros, Roger Tudó
Collaborators: Anna Bullich, architect, Blai Cabrero, student, Iñaki de Mendiguchia, technical architect
Client: Barberà Del Vallès City Council
Built area: 320 sqm
Photographer: Adrià Goula
Rem Koolhaas’ latest project -The Prada Transformer- is not just a building, but also a statement on today´s state of architecture. Dubbed the anti-blob, this “object” rejects all common blobby shapes we have seen lately. Simple geometrical shapes (a circle, a cross, a rectangle and an hexagon) enclose a space that depending on its rotation results on different spaces suitable for fashion exhibitions, cinema, art exhibitions and other special events. Each face is the platform on which these activities take place, while also being served by the other faces enclosing the space.
© Iwan Baan
A few weeks ago we showed you part of the construction progress, which is already finished and opened in April 15th with a fashion exhibition (Waist Down – Skirts by Miuccia Prada, see video of animated skirts at the exhibition), that will be opened until May 31 when the Transformer will rotate into Cinema mode.
Architecture photographer Iwan Baan recently visited the Prada Transformer and shared with us this impressive photo set of the Transformer on Exhibition mode (see more after the break).
For me, search for the ultimate flexible space and the use of regular shapes puts several things in question. Transformable architecture is nothing new, but in times on which “mixed use” seems to be the 2nd typical characteristic of a building after “green”, this project makes a stand. No fancy shapes, no wind diagrams, no fancy structure, no shiny surfaces, no eye candy renderings. No blob. Just, a simple building.