In just a few hours, the world will be watching the opening ceremony of London’s third Summer Olympic Games. For 17 high intensity days, more than 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries will battle for the most prestigious awards in the athletic world. However, what will remain hidden in the shadows during the excitement and energy of the opening ceremony will be the story behind the Games – the larger implications of hosting the world’s biggest sporting event, and its stresses at the financial, societal, and environmental level. This story – which lasts long beyond the 17 days – remains unwritten as the after effects of hosting the London Olympics Games will not be felt for years to come.
In this three-part series, we will delve into the effects of hosting the Olympic Games. Our first segment will share background about London’s hope for “legacy” during and after the Games, plus, a look into the financial challenges incurred from hosting such massive festitivies.
Stay tuned for our second and third segments which will address London’s Games with regard to social issues and sustainability.
More after the break.
CEBRA’s latest landscape project situated in Kildebjerg Ry near Arhus, Denmark, is a bit out of the ordinary. Moving beyond providing flora, walkways and simple playground amenities, the Pulse Park will feature three distinct activity zones that will provide a place for fitness, meditation and play to benefit the residential and business areas nearby. These zones create an activating framework for physical activities and exercise while forming an integrated part of the surrounding landscape.
More about the park after the break.
Designing a memorial is a challenge of crafting a moment of pause – a slight change in one’s daily activity to experience a sense of place to respectively reflect and acknowledge. While memorializing a historical event, such as a war or a cultural achievement, has a definitive beginning and end – a set number of deaths, or a memorable proclamation declared on a set date – the act of memorializing the AIDS epidemic has no such tangible point in history. ”AIDS is not a war, nor a disease conquered. In our design process, we emphasize the changing and varied ways through which AIDS affects us personally and as a society. It is important to create a space that conveys our sense of solemn respect, remembrance and loss, without resorting to symbolism around a date, image, or names, ” explained Mateo Paiva and Esteban Erlich of the Brooklyn-based firm studio a+i, the winners of an international design competition for an AIDS memorial at St. Vincent’s Hospital Park.
Set within the western tip of a triangular-shaped plot of land created by Seventh Avenue, 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue, the memorial will honor not only the city’s 100,000+ men, women and children who have died from AIDS, but also the efforts of the caregivers and activists who respond to the crisis. After drastically transforming the design to address community concerns about safety and to fit within the confines of a downsized site, studio a+i ’s new design has just received approval from Community Board 2 and will proceed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission.
More after the AIDS memorial after the break.
The June ABI has proven that we still have not been able to shake the weak activity of May - the score capped out at 45.9 from 45.8, marking the third month in negative territory. The market continues to show a drop in demand across all design services, in all regions. The poor conditions suggest upcoming weakness in spending on nonresidential construction projects, as each sector of construction shows negative growth commercial/industrial 46.9, institutional 46.0, and mixed practice 45.9. “The downturn in design activity that began in April and accelerated in May has continued into June, likely extending the weak market conditions we’ve seen in nonresidential building activity ,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While not all firms are experiencing negative conditions, a large share is still coping with a sluggish and erratic marketplace.”
Sorry for such harsh news to start the work week – but if it is any consolation, there’s always next month….and, the Olympics begin Friday.
Architect: Cook+Fox Architects
Location: 401 West 14th Street
Client: Taconic Investment Partners
Size: 37,030 sqf
Completion Date: 2008
When we received an amazing photo from our friends at Cook + Fox of their 14th Street project during the Manhattanhenge sunset, we just had to share it with you. A few years ago, Cook + Fox completed the renovation of this industrial mercantile warehouse situated in the Meatpacking District, turning the badly-weathered structure into viable commercial space (currently the space functions as an Apple retail store). In order to retain the building’s historic Arts and Crafts character, Cook + Fox worked to replaced every element while preserving the integrity of the whole.
More about the project after the break.
Two years ago, we featured David Adjaye’s affordable housing project for Harlem which was designed as a way to integrate urban and cultural offerings alongside 120+ units of affordable housing. Construction began on the building yesterday, and was celebrated by a ceremony attended by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Sugar Hill represents a new social engagement, which is at the heart of my practice. It is a symbol of regeneration for the community of Harlem that will integrate housing with a cultural and educational element – this is a real reinvention of the traditional model and I am thrilled to see the project break ground,” explained Adjaye.
More about the project after the break.
With the success of the Tate Modern (the museum hosts approximately 2 million visitors a year), in 2005, the museum selected Herzog and de Meuron to expand its gallery space by nearly 70%. Since that time, we have shared the transformation of the design which began as an irregularly stacked pyramid of glass boxes to a geometric faceted volume clad in perforated brick. Yet, the expansion plans also include a vital component that is buried underground – the Tanks – which opened earlier this week.
More about the Tanks after the break.
Utilizing the simplest of materials – a lightweight steel frame and rope - Oyler Wu Collaborative have crafted a dynamic 21-foot long screen wall conceived of as a ‘play’ on one’s visual perception. The geometry of the composition, strengthened by the care with which the 45,000 linear feet of rope is strung through the frame, results in a thick undulating screen that, although derived from technical complexity, is manifested in an elegant visual. The wall was displayed at the LA Convention Center during Dwell on Design this summer, and, as illustrated by the video, provoked the curiosity of the viewer to physically and visually engage with the work.
More about the wall, plus great photos, after the break.
Architect: KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten, Munich
Location: Ulm, Germany
Client: Universitätsklinikum Ulm
Competition: Awarded First Prize
Construction Date: April 2008
Completion Date: June 2012
Project Area: 68,500 m²
Photographer: Jean-Luc Valentin
KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten has recently finished a new surgical center in Ulm, Germany, which marks the largest hospital construction in the state of Baden Würtemberg. Opening this month, the building seeks to blend into the surrounding landscape, while catering to the demands and offering the functionality of a state-of-the-art medical facility.
More about the hospital design after the break.
For the redevelopment strategy for South Kilburn, Alison Brooks Architects have collaborated with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands to design better homes, in a more sustainable environment, for the existing and future residents. About a year ago, we shared the firms’ vision for Ely Court, a collection of three varied typologies that line a ‘spine’ of shared surfaces – play areas, gardens and public and private spaces – along Cambridge Avenue. Now, the duo has been granted approval for a new residential quarter of Mansion blocks which frame private communal gardens in the spirit of neighboring Maida Vale. ”We are really pleased that we are continuing to help Brent transform South Kilburn from an isolated Estate into a familiar and desirable residential neighbourhood. Our team’s scheme is as much about re-creating great streets as providing great family homes,” explained Brooks.
More about the project after the break.
It happens just four times a year (two full suns, and two half-suns) but you can bet New Yorkers make the most of it…Manhattanhenge, that is. Coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the merge of Manhattan and Stone Henge is used described the phenomen when the sun perfectly aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan. “Manhattanhenge comes about because the Sun’s arc has not yet reached these limits (of the solstice), and is on route to them, as we catch a brief glimpse of the setting Sun along the canyons of our narrow streets,” explained Tyson.
Standing far to the east side, the ArchDaily team stood shoulder to shoulder with dozens of anxious observers in Tudor City, an elevated niche that offers a clear shot down 42nd Street and is graced with the beautiful profiles of the Chrysler Building and the Bank of America Tower. Although the cloudy skies of Thursday only allowed a few red rays to run across the sides of the buildings, Wednesday’s crystal clear evening showed the red fireball in all its glory sitting between the grided streets.
More about Manhattanhenge after the break.
What do you think of the number 300? Mayor Michael Bloomberg found the number to be just the right amount of square feet necessary to attract a younger demographic to live in the city. In a city-sponsored competition entitled adAPT NYC, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is inviting developers to submit proposals for a new construction project in Kips Bay, Manhattan. The challenge is to design what Bloomberg calls “micro-units”, between 275-250 sqf of living space, complete with a place a kitchen and a bathroom, but no closet is necessary. “Developing housing that matches how New Yorkers live today is critical to the City’s continued growth, future competitiveness and long-term economic success,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “People from all over the world want to live in New York City, and we must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs.”
More about the competition after the break.
Performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mozart’s Don Giovanni shares the tale of a promiscuous nobleman and his eventual downfall to the throngs of Hell for his wrongdoings. Frank Gehry, who, in 2003, designed the Disney Concert Hall where Don Giovanni is being shown, was asked to construct the opera set which is paired with the costume design of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. In typical Gehry fashion, the set design includes an intensely layered backdrop of organically crumbled paper. The abstract sculptural forms – which can be interpreted as anything from icy waves to the bedsheets of his sexual conquests – create a neutral textured setting which make Rodarte’s colorfully detailed costumes pop.
More about the set design after the break.
The disappointment generated by the Shard’s opening laser light show is not so surprising for a project that has been grounded in controversy for over a decade. Since 2000, when Piano sketched his initial vision upon meeting developer Irvine Sellar, the project has consistently met obstacles such as English Heritage and the financial crash of 2007. But, the biggest opposition of the tower has been its height. English Heritage claimed that the tower, formerly known as London Bridge Tower, would “tear through historic London like a shard of glass” (ironically, coining the new name of the tower), and Piano counters that, “The best architecture takes time to be understood…I would prefer people to judge it not now. Judge it in 10 years’ time.”
Leading us to wonder…does the Shard simply need time to be fully appreciated?
After WWII, the East End of Long Island played host to a variety of architectural styles. From modernism, through post-modernism, and deconstructionism, architects experimented with social ideas and aesthetic expressions which culminated in “small” houses scattered about the Island’s natural backdrop. Now, with the advent of the mega-mansion and the desire for “bigger”, it is becoming increasingly difficult to preserve such iconic and progressive architectural projects.
More about the film after the break.
Tonight, Renzo Piano’s Shard will officially celebrate its opening complete with an amazing light show. A dozen lasers and thirty searchlights will beam streams of light across the city, creating a network between 15 other significant landmarks in London, such as the Gherkin, London Eye, Tate Modern, and Tower Bridge. (So, if you are in London, don’t miss the event at 10.15 this evening, and be sure to share some photos with us!)
Capping out at 310 meters, the Shard has become the tallest building in London, as well as the entire European Union. We have been following the history of Renzo Piano’s creation, and although laden with financial troubles, a change in developers, and criticism from Londoners, the project has finally reached completion.
More about the history of the tower after the break.
Yesterday afternoon, inside the playground of MoMA PS 1, we met Wendy - HWKN’s temporary summer installation for the 2012 Young Architects Program. As an experiment in pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do in an urban environment, Wendy certainly makes an impression. Her blue spiky arms shoot passed the confines of PS 1′s courtyard walls, immediately attracting the attention and piquing the curiosity of those meandering along Jackson Street. Conceptualized as a storm, Wendy intends to challenge the public’s notion of what architecture should be, as the structure’s ecological function will actually clean the air. ”Wendy does not play the typical architecture game of ecological apology – instead she is pro-active,” explained HWKN.
More about Wendy after the break.
Is it the perfect blend of sculpture and engineering, or it is a twisted form of nonsense? Opinions are quite varied on the subject of Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s observation tower, ArcelorMittal Orbit, which will serve as a permanent reminder of London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games. The red steel structure will rise close to 400 feet – taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty and London’s Big Ben – to be Britain’s largest piece of public art. Criticized for undertaking such a massively expensive project during the country’s recession, London Mayor Boris Johnson has claimed that the Orbit will not only enhance visitors’ experiences at the Olympic Games but will also be “the right thing for the Stratford site” beyond the summer time, calling on its potential to become ”the perfect iconic cultural legacy”.
More about the Observation Tower after the break.
With the economic stability of Europe still uncertain, Dame Hadid has recently spoken out against ideas of austerity, warning the UK government that such a move would lead to poor quality projects for the country’s citizens. Hadid told Kath Viner of The Guardian, ”I think that austerity is used as a cliche because people don’t have ideas, they want to crib (old ones) to do bad stuff. Schools, housing, hospitals – I think the government should invest in good housing.” Hadid went on to explain, “”There needs to be investment. We need some sort of quality. All the privileged can travel, see different worlds, not everyone can. I think it is important for people to have an interesting local nearby. Buildings need to do another job, enlighten people, space enlightens the same way as music art and technology.”
Hadid states that slashing budgets will lead to horrible developments such as the British buildings of the 1960s. While it would be a detriment to cut all project budgets, if a metropolis’ restructuring plan implements stricter budgets in order to more evenly distribute funds for the good of the whole, such a budget can not be ignored. Upon being asked about the cost of her projects, Hadid described her work as “not particularly expensive”; however, her latest Olympic Aquatic Center, which will be in high demand in a few weeks, was originally budgeted for 75 million British pounds and reached more than 250 million by completion date.
While we find Hadid’s words inspiring, we want to know your thoughts on if there can be a balance between implementing measures of austerity while still investing in quality architecture to shape cities and uplift society.
Yesterday, the final steel beam rose 977 feet into the air and was placed atop 4 World Trade Center – the 72-story tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. As gospel singer BeBe Winans sang “God Bless America”, the 8 ton beam, signed by all members of the team and adorned with an American flag, reached its final destination atop the city’s sixth tallest tower.
At over 80 years of age, Maki is making his New York debut in an elegant manner. The tower was designed to serve as a “respectful backdrop” to the National September 11 Memorial and not to compete with 1 World Trade. ”This is a special place with a sacred meaning and we felt we had to be respectful,” explained Osamu Sassa, Maki’s project architect, to The New York Times. Such a ideology offers a strong contrast with the other architectural statements that will eventually rise as part of the World Trade Center complex, such as Norman Foster’s 2 World Trade and Richard Roger’s 3 World Trade. While the minimalism of Maki may have kept the design under the radar during its design and construction stages, the grace of its simplicity will craft a dignified presence while visiting the site. ”The design of the tower at 150 Greenwich has two fundamental elements – a ‘minimalist’ tower that achieves an appropriate presence, quiet but with dignity, and a ‘podium’ that becomes a catalyst for activating the surrounding urban streetscape as part of the revitalization of lower Manhattan,” explained Maki.
More about 4 World Trade after the break.
At 97 years of age, the architect Gerhard Kallmann passed away on Tuesday in Boston. Kallmann’s career was ignited with the design of Boston City Hall, a neo-brutalist building that received mixed feelings of criticism and praise upon its completion. After escaping Nazi Germany in 1937, Kallmann studied at the Architectural Association in London before moving to the United States and teaching in Chicago and New York. It was in Columbia University where Kallmann met Michael McKinnell and the two would grow to co-found Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles in 1962 – the same year they won the competition for City Hall.
More about Kallmann after the break.