Although our digital age allows us to peruse the latest in fashion, furniture and leisure all digitally, sometimes, there’s nothing quite like mindlessly flipping through the pages of a catalogue. Yet, the digital world is quickly penetrating even the tangible pages of furniture magazines, such as IKEA’s latest 200+ million print copies which are replacing labor intensive sets with digital renditions of furniture layouts and color combinations.
As architects who are constantly bombarded with renderings and spend hours perfecting that chosen perspective, can we spot what’s real and what’s not in the catalgoue pages below? Does that glossy kitchen countertop or fluffy blue couch really exist? Or, did IKEA’s digital modelers work their magic and fool us with the renderings – a move that saves IKEA money and still maintains the desired effect.
More after the break.
As we shared earlier, the world’s 28-year old creative technological master will team with 83-year-old starachitect for Facebook’s newest addition to their Menlo Park campus. The two, although worlds apart in terms of forte, find common ground in the never ending creative process, and the desire to continually push boundaries of the expected and the ordinary. As we noted in our previous piece, the building will offer a equalized sense of status – no private cubicles or showy corner offices – and encourage a collaborative work environment, admix a warm splash of colors, textures and natural lighting.
Gone from the building will be Gehry’s flashy ways of manipulating sheets of metal, and the resulting superfluous sense of affluence often emitted from these grand structures. Rather, Gehry’s work for Facebook will offer an ”equalizier”, a massive one story warehouse measuring 420,000 sqf, to house the company’s future 2,800 engineers with the underlying intention of fostering a comfortable environment to allow Facebook to keep getting better.
More about the newest headquarters after the break.
As reported by David W Dunlap for the NYTimes, the safety-restoration applied to Philip Johnson and Richard Foster’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on the NYU campus near Washington Square is close to completion. While the library, which was constructed in the early 1970s, remains intact, the tremendous atrium space – a soaring 150 ft void – is proving to be more of a safety hazard than the magnificent architectural experience the architects intended. Since 2003, the library has been marred by claiming the lives of three students who leaped to their deaths (even after the university installed 8ft polycarbonate barriers). Charged with the task of eliminating the possibility for such a future occurrence, Joel Sanders Architect responded with a perforated alumium screen that completely walls off the atrium from the library’s levels.
More after the break.
In continuing our coverage of the Architecture Billings Index, we share this past month’s score of 48.7 While such a mark still falls in negative territory (any score under 50 indicates a decline in billings), July’s activity was a considerable jump from June’s meager 45.9. And, even better, July’s new projects inquiry index moved up almost two full points to 56.3. Regionally, the South is surprisingly leading the averages with 52.7, followed by the Midwest with 46.7, the West with 45.3, and lastly, the Northeast region capping out at 44.3. In terms of the sector breakdown, multi-family residential remains strong with 51.4 followed by commercial/industrial projects and institutional projects. AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, explained, “Even though architecture firm billings nationally were down again in July, the downturn moderated substantially. As long as overall economic conditions continue to show improvement, modest declines should shift over to growth in design activity over the coming months.”
Hopefully, we can hold on to this slight momentum upward and push toward higher numbers as we approach the Fall.
We love seeing a project through fruition, and after being introduced to the collaborative vision of the Iceberg for Arhus, Denmark, we were anxiously awaiting its construction. As we have previously shared, the Iceberg, or “Isbjerget” in Danish, was designed as an iconic waterfront marker to invigorate the harbor front’s transformation from a sole industrial entity to a residential and commercial hub. Construction is swiftly progressing on the four building block, and earlier this week, the team enjoyed the project’s “topping out” ceremony.
More about the Iceberg after the break.
Recently, we shared ODA’s honorable mention proposal for the National Library of Israel which fosters an open haven for learning and activity. The New-York based firm is also working on projects a bit closer to home in Manhattan that approach zoning restrictions with an air of optimism. ODA explained, “We embrace those parameters (zoning ordinances) and use them as the DNA of our buildings. If carefully studied, NYC’s zoning allows for many interpretations that follows logical principals.”
More about the residences after the break.
Staten Island, arguably New York’s most often forgotten borough, may finally be getting its moment in the spotlight. Talks are in the works of creating a giant 600 ft Ferris wheel near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to generate activity for the waterfront. To put 600 feet in perspective, think bigger than the Singapore Flyer at 451 feet and the London Eye’s 450 ft marker, and much bigger than Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel at 150 feet. While millions enjoy the free trip across the harbor on the ferry every year, few venture far from the boat. The Ferris Wheel is intended to capitalize on the Island’s amazing views of Manhattan and build up the Island’s visitor flow. “It’s the greatest thing that has been proposed for Staten Island, especially on the waterfront. This could landmark us. We have 2 million tourists a year on the ferry, so we have a built-in audience to use it, and it’s a different audience every day. Once you can attract them off that boat, you got them here,” James Molinaro, the borough president, stated.
More after the break.
While perusing the internet, I re-discovered talk about Architect Barbie by Alexandra Lange for Dwell. As part of Mattel’s Barbie I Can Be series, Architect Barbie was added to the company’s list of other arguably atypical professions for women (computer engineer, martial artist, marine biologist, race car driver, etc) in 2011 after partnering with AIA San Francisco. Equipped with a model dream house, hard hat and drawing tube, Mattel boasts that Architect Barbie will empower girls to play out different roles and “try on” fabulous careers. But, this doll was about more than giving young children a new outlet for their imaginations during play time; for, Architect Barbie would serve as a social experiment to generate long term feminine interest in a field where 17% of professionals are women.
More about Architect Barbie after the break.
Last week, we shared LCLAOFFICE‘s conceptual proposal for the Kiev Islands, a proposal which connected the urban with the natural through an activated network of activities. In their shortlisted entry for the Faroe Islands, the firm teamed with Lateral Office to relink the city of Klaksvik with both of its bays. Such a move allows the urban development, which has historically happened along the length of the bay, and the civic and public institutions, which have been concentrated in an urban corridor, to connect people with the water.
More after the break.
The London-based Delfina Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to facilitating cultural exchange with a special focus on the greater Middle East and North Africa, will expand from their townhouse at 29 Catherine Place, near Buckingham Palace, to an adjacent building at 31 Catherine Place. The expansion will double the Foundation’s residency to offer at least 32 residencies a year for artists, curators and writers, making it the largest international artist residency provider in London when it reopens in Autumn 2013. In keeping with the Foundation’s beliefs to promote collaborative understanding across cultures, London-based Studio Octopi and Cairo-based Shahira Fahmy Architects have been awarded first prize for their expansion proposal which will retain the domesticity of the two houses and explore the notion of the hearth in a home.
More about the expansion after the break.
Check out these new renderings of One World Trade Center from the Port Authority and the Durst Organization. The images were released to illustrate recent design modifications – such as a treatment for the tower’s first 20 stories and the elimination of the casing around the antenna. These fresh thirteen visuals offer a look at the tower from perspectives taken around the boroughs and New Jersey. While these renderings offer a taste of what can be expected, it is great to physical progress being made and how close we are to a completed tower.
More after the break.
Yesterday, we shared the appointment of Wiel Arets as the new dean of the IIT College of Architecture. And, to continue with news in the academic realm, the UNStudio pair of Caroline Bos and Ben van Berkel have been awarded Honorary Professorships at two leading international universities, the University of Melbourne and Harvard University Graduate School of Design, respectively.
In a conceptual master plan, Luis Callejas, Melissa Naranjo and Manon Mollard of LCLAOFFICE have created a series of operational clusters that can be inserted onto the Kiev Islands to preserve the natural essence of the islands, while providing outlets for experiences. The Kiev Islands represent the unique opportunity to allow those in an urban center to balance urban life with the offerings of these natural places.
More info, plus great diagrams, after the break.
In our final segment of Thinking Past Day 17 – our series examining the larger implications of hosting the Olympic Games – we conclude with ideas for the future host cities that involve dividing the Games across 7 permanent sites, complete with reusable architecture and a focus on sustainability at the urban level.
The effects of urban displacement coupled with post-Games housing concerns for the Athletes’ Village in Olympic Park – which we addressed in Part II - will definitely test the future viability of the Olympic Committee’s planning strategies. It is interesting to note that in relation to the entirety of the Olympic map, the area designated for the Village represents only a minuscule portion of the land that must be reintegrated post-Olympics. So, if we zoom out from the Athletes’ Village, what will become of the vast expanses of land currently supporting the major sporting facilities?
More after the break.
This past Saturday, we joined in the fifth annual Summer Streets opening weekend. About 7 miles of city streets were free of cars, allowing scores of bicyclists, runners and pedestrians to occupy the entirety of the pavement. And, at designated rest stops, participants enjoyed a variety of activities, such as zip lining above Foley Square, rock climbing at Spring Street while hearing how to fix a bike flat from REI volunteers, and Salsa lessons at 51st Street. Although the streets were full of life with bikes whizzing passed and the pavement buzzing with the sound of runners’ feet, we were struck by how quiet the streets were without the sounds of cars. In some spots, it was actually quite eerie to notice which cross street was just passed; for, even the busiest of intersections, typically filled with the all too familiar beeps and screeches, can transform into an entirely different environment with the elimination of cars. It makes one realize how much of our urban environment has come to be defined and dominated by the vehicle, and makes one wonder the possibilities of what major cities could be like without cars.
More about Summer Streets after the break.
Architect: UNStudio, Ben van Berkel Principal-in-Charge
Location: No. 5 Shenton Way, UIC Building, Singapore
Client: UIC Investments
Building surface: 85.507 m2
Project Team: Astrid Piber and Nuno Almeida with Ariane Stracke, Cristina Bolis; Derrick Diporedjo, Florian Licht, Gustav Fagerström, Hal Wuertz, Jaap Baselmans, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Rob Henderson, Patrick Kohl, Juliane Maier, René Rijkers, Martin Zangerl, Zhongyuan Dai, Jeong Eun Choi, Wing Tang, Stefano Rocchetti, Sander Versluis, Jay Williams, Jae Young Lee
Local Architect: Architects 61 Pte Ltd
Building volume: Residential tower 237m height; office tower 123m height
Building site: 6778 m2
Status: Finalize design development in 2011
Our friends at UNStudio have shared the firm’s latest urban regenerative project, a new UIC building which will help rejuvenate the area of Shenton Way in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District. Entitled ‘V on Shenton’, the part-residential part-office tower maintains a strong 15+ meter wide view corridor as the programmatic elements split and respond to their seperate demands. ”V on Shenton will have an incredible presence within the whole organization of the city and is in that respect a very public project. But we see it also as a sculptural object, where the continuous line of the chamfer highlights the form and where the different textures are not purely related to program, but also ‘dress’ the building”, explained van Berkel.
More about the project after the break.
In our second segment of Thinking Past Day 17 – our series examining the larger implications of hosting the Olympic Games – we explore social issues London must address while creating the necessary infrastructure for the Summer Games.
The forty-five minute proposal London presented to the International Olympic Committee in Sinagpore was filled with amazing flyovers of natural terrain depicting the most challenging obstacles, walk-throughs of state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and planning overviews of accommodations for athletes amidst a city speckled with old and new cultural offerings. When the final votes were counted and London won the bid, it was time to turn those glossy virtual images into reality.
Of course, we are accustomed to the blankness of a site transforming into the awesomeness of a dynamic rendering, but an entire city? Where is all the available space coming from as London is the most populated municipality in the European Union with 8.17 million residents? And, more importantly, what was on the land before the Olympic transformation?
More after the break.
Special thanks to Emmet Truxes, from Harvard GSD, for sharing this animated video of Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi Olympic Arena with us. Check out the amazing visualizations set to music by Gray Reinhard (we particularly love the build-up of the magnificently suspended roof around minute 5, which is then further detailed a few minutes later) which was created by a team of six students - Emmet Truxes, Nathan Shobe, Julian Bushman-Copp, Mijung Kim, Jeffrey Laboskey, Misato Odanaka - to understand the construction of the building’s innovate tensile structure.
More about the project after the break.
In keeping with the Olympic spirit, today we share a competition master plan entry for Rio by Colombia-based architect Luis Callejas, Una Arquitetos, Grupo SP e República Arquitetos. Although Callejas has been practicing professional for four short years, he has already made quite an impression on the architecture world. In that time, Callejas has designed and realized two of the most relevant recent projects in Latin America for public sports infrastructure: The aquatic center for the South American Games of 2010, and the complete renovation of the main soccer stadium in Bogota, Colombia. For his scheme for Rio’s Olympic Park master plan, the park functions sectionally as the sporting functions – both the main areas and the support spaces – are organized in a stacked manner rather than pulled apart in plan. This allows for a fluid and open space for audiences, and creates “No icons but one big vital scenario halfway between a small city and a big park.”
More about the competition entry after the break.
After a long design process, Herzog & De Meuron’s Parrish Art Museum is set to open the 10th of November. The project marks the first art museum to be built on the East End of Long Island in more than a century, and intends to become a cultural centerpiece as one of the most recognizable architectural landmark in the region. “We could not be prouder of this amazing accomplishment,” Director Terrie Sultan said. “The new building is a beautiful embodiment of the creative legacy of the East End…The Parrish will take its place as a real center for cultural engagement for the entire East End.”
More about the museum after the break.