“Layering and changeability: this is the key, the combination that is worked into most of my buildings. Occupying one of these buildings is like sailing a yacht; you modify and manipulate its form and skin according to seasonal conditions and natural elements, and work with these to maximize the performance of the building.” – Glenn Murcutt, 1996
Today, on the 77th birthday of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge the lasting impact Murcutt’s career has left on the profession of architecture. Since establishing his practice in 1979, Murcutt has steadily developed a series of small, yet exemplary projects that have become the touchstone of sustainable architecture.
A selection of his work, after the break…
The rumors are true: Jean Nouvel has been selected as the official winner of the highly acclaimed National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) competition in Beijing. According to Dezeen, the news has been confirmed by Nouvel’s adviser, Oliver Schmitt. Though little has been released about the winning design, earlier reports have described it as a “vast structure” based on the simplicity of a single line – “a single brush stroke.”
In an interview with Financial Times, Nouvel quoted the Chinese artist Shi Tao (1642-1707): “A single line is the source of everything in existence. [...] We started with calligraphy. [...] Pupils used to spend half a year just on that first line with a brush. That first line contains all of Chinese culture – painting, writing and the energy of Chi.”
Norman Foster’s Swiss Re Headquarters, a.k.a. “The Gherkin,” has been selected as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) first 10 Year Award recipient. The uniquely-shaped skyscraper, as described by CTBUH, “cleared the way for a new generation of tall buildings in London and beyond. Ten years on, its tapering form and diagonal bracing structure afford numerous benefits: programmatic flexibility, naturally ventilated internal social spaces that provide user comfort while reducing energy demand, and ample, protected public space at the ground level.”
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remained positive again in June after the first decline in ten months in April. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 51.6, down from a mark of 52.9 in May. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, up sharply from the reading of 59.1 the previous month.
Key ABI highlights and details on the construction industries remaining threats after the break…
SCAPE and Rogers Marvel have been unanimously selected from 27 international applicants to create a schematic design for one of the most visited destinations on the Mississippi River: Water Works in downtown Minneapolis. The SCAPE-Roger Marvel Team, which also includes New York-based James Lima Planning + Design and Minneapolis-based SRF Consulting, will be responsible for transforming the historically significant Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, within which the Water Works district exists, with a master plan based on a series of “visionary” parks and trails.
Daniel Libeskind has been selected to design a new “landmark” building for Durham University’s Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics in England. The state-of-the-art facility, which will house the industry-leading Institute for Computational Cosmology and Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, is expected to “complement” the traditional buildings that surround it while serving as an exemplar for sustainable design. Completion is planned for December 2015, depending on planning permission.
Gehry Partners has just released their highly anticipated proposal for the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing. Though rumors from last year reported Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel as the competition’s top contenders, with Nouvel taking the lead, a winner has yet to be confirmed.
Gehry’s design, which is intended to promote cross cultural understanding and appreciation for Chinese contemporary art, aims at setting a new standard for 21st century Chinese architecture. Perhaps the most defining element of the design is the “translucent stone” facade, which is made of a new type of glass developed by Gehry Partners that is said to have the qualities of jade.
More images and the architect’s description after the break…
Identifying connectivity as the key to prosperity within the 21st century, London Mayor Boris Johnson acknowledged the wider economic and regeneration potential of a new hub airport at a City Hall meeting today.
In his speech, Johnson recommended three optimal locations for the new airport: the Isle of Grain in north Kent; Stansted; or on an artificial island in the middle of the Thames estuary. These three suggestions come as a result of a year-long, independently peer-reviewed investigation by the Transport for London, which confirmed the inability of London’s current major airport, Heathrow, to meet demands due to space restrictions.
More on London’s future hub airport after the break…
Spearheaded by New York developer Related Companies, the “sculpted” glass and steel residential development hopes to lure buyers with its expansive, double-height entrance lobby, communal garden, generous terraces, private courtyards, and, of course, exclusive views of New York’s most beloved attraction: the High Line.
Building a skyscraper? Forget about steel and concrete, architect Michael Green says build it out of wood. As he details in this intriguing talk, it’s not only possible to build safe wooden structures up to 30 stories tall (and, he hopes, higher), it’s necessary.
Read more about Green’s ‘Case for Tall Buildings’ here and share your comments below.
On the occasion of James Turrell‘s new site-specific installation at the Guggenheim, the American artist joined Michael Govan, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and co-curator of James Turrell: A Retrospective, in conversation about the different aspects of the artist’s singular oeuvre on view in three concurrent exhibitions in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.
Southwark planners have recommended an ambitious proposal by international practice Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) and engineer Adams Kara Taylor (AKT II) to add 11 floors to an existing 30-story tower in London. The “incredibly complicated” feat, which would be the world’s first of its kind, would extend Richard Seifert’s 1972 King’s Reach Tower on the South Bank by 44 meters, more than a third its original height.
With the rise of urban dwellers comes the rise of urban waste. And, although the hidden life of garbage is still ignored by many, there is no way of escaping one of modern societies most pressing issues: unsustainable waste management. Though many plausible and obvious solutions have already been suggested and are ready to be implemented, some experts are proposing radical solutions that may one day be a reality.
Could our rubbish be refabricated to become the fundamental building block of our future cities? This is the latest radical idea being suggested on the BBC’s Building Tomorrow series by Terreform ONE architect Mitchell Joachim. Read Joachim’s complete article on the BBC here and let us know if you think our ‘smart cities’ could be made of ‘smart trash’ in the comment section below.
In an effort to protect Turkey’s historic skylines from uncontrolled urbanization, the Turkish Parliament has passed an amendment that would grant zoning authority to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization as well as set up an aesthetic architectural commission. Continue reading to learn more.
Imagine a pervious asphalt that not only significantly reduces noise pollution, but saves millions in maintenance and repairs by its ability to self-heal. Well, this type of super-asphalt is not far from being distributed world-wide as experimental micromechanic pioneer Erik Schlangen of Delft Technical University has been studying the material’s potential on a test track in The Netherland’s for the past few years.
Basically, with the introduction of small steel wool fibers, Self Healing Asphalt is capable of repairing micro-cracks and significantly extending the service life of roadways by self-healing through induction heating. Similarly, Schlangen is leading the research on Self Healing Concrete, where by infusing concrete with a harmless limestone-producing bacteria that feeds off of calcium lactate – a component of milk – the material has the potential to self-heal micro-cracks in the presence of rainwater.
Showcasing the “best of healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research,” the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) has unveiled the 2013 recipients of the AIA National Healthcare Design Awards program. Each project is said to exhibit conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns as well as the requisite functional and sustainability concerns of a hospital. See them all, after the break.
The Victorian Coalition Government’s design competition to re-imagine Flinders Street Station in Melbourne has entered its final phase with the six shortlisted competitors submitting their final designs. Selected from 117 entries, the shortlist includes the following Australian and international firms:
Construction has begun on OMA’s competition-winning proposal for the BMVR (Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale) Library in northern France. Located at the tip of a peninsula in an old industrial port area of Caen, the 13,000 square meter public library is shaped by four protruding wings that point towards four of the city’s landmarks: l’Abbaye aux Hommes, l’Abbaye aux Dames, the train station to the south and a new urban development to the west.
More on BMVR after the break…