The SYNTHe project is a 3,000sqf structure located on the top of The Flat, a mid rise residential building in downtown Los Angeles, and its the first green garden approved by city official. The idea of this “green blanket” over at the top of the building is to reduce the building heat gain, reduce storm water waste (80% is captured and used for irrigation) and to establish a sustainable plant ecosystem that collaborated with air pollutants filtering. It also reclaims the rooftop area from HVAC, ventilation and fire control systems, giving a new terrace for the users of the building.
Inside this blanket, 1,500sqf are dedicated to the production of edible plant species, and we had the chance to taste them at the restaurant during lunch, very good. The species planted include:
This morning Google announced Google SketchUp 7.1. This new version will be a free upgrade for existing Pro users, and has emphasis on three important aspects of this easy-to-use (yet powerful and extensible) software: performance, an improved version of LayOut (2.1) and collaboration.
As for performance, the engine has been improved and you will notice that orbiting, zooming and drawing can be quicker and smoother in 7.1, for both PC and Mac editions.
LayOut 2.1, the SU componente that enables you to create presentation boards and design documents straight from your model, has now the ability to apply dimensions to scaled SU models and vector graphics. Based on my personal experience, LayOut is very good to deliver quick construction documents and has helped me a lot working with furniture manufacturers. The new dimension tool is something I was waiting for.
LayOut 2.1 also includes snap to the model, an improveed Freehand tool, lists (bullet or numbered, very useful) in the text area, improved grids and improved copy/paste, making it easier to work with other design softwares. You can see more on the video and images below.
Yesterday, after a very long flight, we arrived to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, one of the most important cities in the region. Why? We are attending the opening of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, an international, graduate-level research institution. The mission if this academic institution is to dedicated to advancing science and technology of regional and global impact, with a fellowship program that provides full tuition to graduate students pursuing the M.S., M.S. to Ph.D., or Ph.D. degrees (more info here).
The University is located on a new campus designed by HOK, 80km north of Jeddah (aerial view of the site). The campus is part of a larger master plan, also designed by HOK: A new town of 10,000 to 12,000 people, surrounding and supporting the University, living in over 6.5 million sqf on a 3,200 acre site along the Red Sea.
The project started in fall 2006, and it was finished in just 3 years. To achieve this, the HOK Planning Group accelerated the process with a “Racing the Sun” design charrette in which planners from 10 offices across multiple time zones contributed to the plan over one 24-hour period. Each HOK office had a two-hour window to create its ideas and post them on a server. In the end, each contributed an idea that ultimately found its way into the final plan.
Another interview conducted live at the rooftop of The Standard during Postopolis! LA.
We invited Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (principals at Johnston MarkLee), mostly because I wanted to know more about the practice behind some interesting projects we featured prior to the event: The Hill House, the Sale House, the Mameg + Maison Martin Margiela store and their Ordos 100 villa, along with the View House in Argentina we featured earlier today.
We asked the usual set of questions, while the sun was going down in LA, and Sharon/Mark answers turned into a interesting conversation. I like Mark’s answer to “What should be the role of architects in contemporary society”: “Architects should be superstars – and solve all problems of the world“. Part of the talk on Social Networking was about Ordos 100 and the network behind this “architectural orgy”.
Mark Lee will be a speaker at CIP Talks 2009.
Feedback and comments are welcome.
Location: Rosario, Argentina
Architects: Johnston MarkLee & Diego Arraigada Arquitecto
Principals-in-Charge: Mark Lee, Diego Arraigada
Project Architect: Sharon Johnston AIA
Project Team: Juliana Esposito, Jeff Adams, Pablo Gamba, Nazarena Infante, Nadia Carassai, Anne Rosenberg, Anton Schneider
Site Area: 2113 m2
Interior Area: 297 m2
Total Built Area: 361 m2
Developer: Lucas Ma (President, Markee LLC)
Structural Engineer: Ing Gonzalo Garibay
General Contractor: MECSA, Ing Gustavo Micheletti
Materials: Exposed Concrete, Anodized Aluminum, Plaster, Polished concrete, Polished Terrazzo, Lapacho Hardwood
Photographs: Gustavo Frittegotto
Another issue of Mark Magazine arrived a few days ago to our mailbox. Another white stylish cover, this time with a golden finish that matches a seal as the winner of the Golden Cube Art Director´s Club New York 2009. So I´d like to congratulate Fee, Nils, Arthur and David from Mark, a well deserved award.
As usual, the Notice Board introduces us to recently awarded projects and other projects in the boards, such as the Planetarium by Saucier + Perrote Architectes, the Museo Tamayo by Michel Rojkind + BIG, the Cuajimalpa Tower by Meir Lobaton + Kristjan Donaldson, or The Tolerant City Masterplan by ADEPT + Schonherr landscape. Practices also included on this section: ECDM, Kythreotis Architects, KLNB, Allard Architecture, 51N4E, COBE, Transform, Avery Associates, DLA, X-TU, Taller Veinticuatro, MXG, MAPT, Dark Architects, Manuelle Gautrand, Antonini + Darmon, PAD, Stephane Bigoni, Antoine Mortemard, Joan Anguita, Agence R, AISTUDIO, Renato Perotti, TEN Arquitectos, Cardbondale, Zaha Hadid, UN Studio and Kaputt!. I particularly like the projects shown on the page above, interesting structures.
A few weeks ago we presented you photos from architectural offices that our readers shared through Facebook. And now, we bring to you the Facebook offices in Palo Alto, designed by Studio O+A.
Studio O+A is a San Francisco based practice, founded by Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander during the dot-com boom of the early 1990s, bringing quality design to start-ups and venture firms at Silicon Valley.
I wish ArchDaily was big enough to require such facilities… the interior space is amazing, specially the open working areas and several small meeting/working/relaxing spaces here and there, that reflect the spirit of collaboration inside Facebook.
Architect’s description and more photos after the break:
The skylines of the world´s most important cities (except for Dubai I guess) are shaped by the typical office tower. The reason is simple: it provides a flexible floor plan, with an economical structural system. “Bang for the buck” if you want to call it. To address lighting and cooling issues that these tower traditionally have, electric lighting and air conditioning were the solution.
But in times when energy is a big issue, we can no longer design buildings that depend on high consumption to provide a comfortable working environment, specially in tropical weathers. And this is what BIG had as a design principle for the Shenzhen International Energy Mansion competition they just won, proposing a tower based on an efficient and well-proven floor plan, enclosed in a skin specifically modified and optimized for the local climate.
We propose to enhance the sustainable performance of the building drastically by only focusing on its envelope, the façade.
We propose to make the Shenzhen Energy Mansion the first specimen of a new species of office buildings that exploit the buildings interface with the external elements – sun, daylight, air humidity, wind – as a source to create a maximum comfort and quality inside.
The Shenzhen Energy Mansion will appear as a subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper – a natural evolution rather than a desperate revolution.
More details on how this facade works, along with more information after the break:
Near the ending, Obama says “I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too”. Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, responds on Twitter “Sir, your welcome”.
This year the Open Architecture Challenge called architects, designers and engineers to rethink the classroom of the future. Sounds like a typical competition, but it is not: they were required to collaborate with real students in real schools in their community to develop real solutions.
The winner of this year’s Challenge is the Teton Valley Community School, with a project designed with the emerging practice Section Eight [design]. The Teton Valley Community School in a non-profit independent school located in Victor, Idaho, which is one of the most underfunded school systems in the nation. Currently the school is based out of a remodeled house, but thanks to this award they are closer to get a full classroom.
There are also other awards that I will describe later, but this is more than just prizes. The Challenge received over 1,000 entries, entries that can become real projects that can help improve the quality of education around the world. Architecture for Humanity established the Classroom Upgrade Fund, that hopes to provide seed funding and support to local schools in implementing the design solutions they have developed.
Today OMA sent us an update on this project, The Interlace, and more details appear.
The project is located on a green belt outside the capital city, and consists on 31 stacked apartment blocks, each six-stories tall and identical in length, resulting in 170,000sqm of gross floor area for 1,040 apartments.
What is interesting about the project is how these stacked volumes achieve a high density, while still maintaining privacy and long-range views as you can see on the renderings.
The second result of this “stacked” strategy, are the common spaces filled with tropical green. By looking at the plan view of the complex, a series of inner courtyards appear on the empty spaces between the blocks. The project turns then into a rich vertical community, apart from the single tower projects seen in the area. Extensive residential amenities and facilities are interwoven into the lush vegetation and offer opportunities for social interaction, leisure, and recreation.
In a previous post I told you about the competition held by the City of Rotterdam for a mixed used building to accommodate public services and a residential program, and we presented OMA’s entry.
After the break, find the entries by the five finalists: Claus en Kaan Architecten, Mecanoo Architecten, Meyer en van Schooten Architecten, OMA and SeARCH.
The City of Rotterdam held a competition for a mixed-use extension for the City Hall, accommodating public and administrative facilities and a residential program. The competition requests that the mixed-use building becomes “the most sustainable in the Netherlands”.
Five designs were presented by the City, and they will be on public display at the NAI until Sept 13th to receive public feedback, which can also be made through the website. The teams will present to the jury on Septh 23th, and the winner will be announced sometime in October.
The 5 finalists are: Claus en Kaan Architecten, Mecanoo Architecten, Meyer en van Schooten Architecten, OMA and SeARCH.
OMA shared with us their finalist entry, in collaboration with ABT and Werner Sobek Green Technolgies. The project adheres to the highest energy efficiency requirements, and it also considers a sustainable approach in terms of speed of construction and future flexibility of the building through a repeated and flexible structural system.
Images from the other proposals will be featured on another article. Rem Koolhaas’ statement and more images after the break.
During the last months, ArchDaily’s community has strengthen. Not only we have 50,000 daily visitors generating intense debates at our website, we also have more than 10,000 fans at our Facebook page and over 4,000 followers on Twitter.
But this is more than just numbers: These are architects debating, architects recommending, architects rating, architects suggesting, architects sharing… an evolving community of architects, with all the benefits this generates.
You have noticed that we do a big effort to present the projects with the best details and drawings as possible, because we are architects and that is the kind of information we´d like to see, and nothing less. That´s why presenting the images has been a big issue for us, and as of now it has become a valuable resource for all the architects that visit us every day.
In this line, we have always had the idea to create a database of architectural products, that can help us when specifying projects. Now I have the pleasure to announce that this section has just been opened, and we are starting it with the help of our first partner, Hunter Douglas Contract.
I think most architects already know HDC, as they are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of window coverings, ceilings, solar control systems and facades, working very close with the architects. On the products section you will find specifications, details and colors for some of their products on a periodic basis (and from more manufacturers in the future). We hope this sections turns into an effective (and helpful) link between the architects and the industry.
This section won´t interfere with our current format of projects and news, and it will stay on its own section. And by no means this will influence our editorial line.
During the following weeks we have lots of interesting projects from around the world that will be featured on AD, along with more video interviews with renowned architects. So stay tuned.
And finally, I´d like to thank you. Your constant feedback has helped us to include more and more architects, more and more projects, more and more details, more and more competitions… making ArchDaily THE website for architects.
During Postopolis! LA we invited a group of architects from Los Angeles to be interviewed by us, in front of a live audience. This turned out to be very interesting, as the attendants got the chance to do their own questions.
One of these architects was Whitney Sander, principal at Sander Architects. Why did I choose him? Well, just take a look at his projects recently featured at AD: Residence for a Briard, Residence for a Sculptor and the Tree House. These projects have one thing in common besides being good projects (personally, I love the Tree House), and that is the use of prefab components.
A big part of the conversation revolved around his Hybrid Houses “Part prefab, all custom™”, on which Whitney has proved that prefab is not just a fad, but a very good business… specially when clients see the final costs.
And remember, you need to know how to hold a Martini.
As usual, my words tend to stretch this… just go an watch the interview.
Soon, more interviews!
(HD version available at Vimeo)
Location: Wakatipu Basin, New Zealand
Client: The Hills Trust
Architect: Patterson Associates Limited
Project Manager: Douglas Consulting
Structural Engineer: Tyndall & Hanham
Mechanical Engineer: Professional Building Services
Electrical Engineer: Pedersen Read
Landscape Architect: Darby Partners
Quantity Surveyor: Ian Harrison and Associates
Contractor: RBJ Limited
Photography: Simon Devitt, Matthew Williams