Two sister Middle Eastern media companies have commissioned REX to design a conjoined headquarters that references traditional Arab iconography. The result, two ultra-thin, stone-clad towers that are shielded from the Middle East’s “unrelenting sun” by an array of retractable sunshades whose shape was inspired by the Arab Mashrabiya pattern.
Measuring nearly 15 meters in diameter, these sunshades can be quickly deployed, transforming the building’s glass facade into a “blossoming” shaded tower within minutes.
“The headquarters’ instantaneous transformation forges a new kind of powerful iconography, one that rejects the tired—and ephemeral—pursuit of being the tallest,” described REX.
New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress has teamed up with the developers of Hudson Yards to transform the future 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood into the nations first “quantified community.” As Crain’s New York reports, the aim is to “use big data to make cities better places to live.” Information, from pedestrian traffic to energy production and resident activity levels, will be collected in order to study how cities can run efficiently and improve quality of living. You can read more on the subject, here.
RIBA has announced the first round of RIBA Regional Award winners, all of which will be considered for the RIBA national awards. From the list, Mecanoo’s Library of Birmingham takes center stage, as the artisan-inspired structure received a number of awards, including the West Midlands Building of the Year and Emerging Architect. Check out the complete list, after the break…
Within days of David Chipperfield being appointed to design the Nobel Foundation’s new home in Stockholm, heritage protesters began to assemble a campaign to prevent the project from fruition.
Declaring they are “opposed to star-architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel right in the middle of the protected historic environment, as monuments to themselves, at our expense and the city’s,” as stated in an online petition, the protesters are particularly upset that the project would require the demolition of multiple historic structures. Thousands have even joined a Facebook group to voice disapproval.
However, despite the backlash, the Nobel Foundation refuses to bow down and believes the protest will not succeed.
More on the protest, and structures slated for demolition, after the break…
Responding to the demand for healthcare services in rural Southeast Asia, Building Trust International launched an international competition – Moved to Care – to envision flexible and relocatable healthcare facilities. Over 200 entrants participated; one professional winner, a multi-disciplinary team from the USA, and one student winner were honored. Check out their winning proposals, after the break…
Seven architects have been shortlisted from nearly 200 international applicants for Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s 2014 Wheelwright Prize. The $100,000 grant, which is awarded annually to a single architect to support travel-based architectural research, is “intended to spur innovative research during the early stage of an architect’s professional career” and “foster new forms of research informed by cross-cultural engagement.”
Ranging from a Barcelona-based architect whose research proposal focuses on animal farming systems to a Croatian architect who wants to re-imagine the “border-scape” in Mediterranean countries, you can review all seven finalists after the break…
Sasanbell has been chosen to design the UK’s “most sustainable facility:” the £200 million Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC). The Glasgow-based company will provide a new home for the city’s existing exhibition and conference center, which will be redeveloped by Cooper Cromar, freeing up space for future development and providing a sizable venue that can accommodate ”large and popular events.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron has won journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize, for her “distinguished criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.” Passionate about cities, Saffron’s work has had a profound impact on Philadelphia’s city policy and development. You can learn more about Saffron’s selection and read her column, here.
Preparations have commenced to demolish Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects’ American Folk Art Museum in New York. Despite international backlash from preservationists, architects and critics, the neighboring Museum of Modern Art will raze the 12-year-old structure in an effort to make way for an expansion designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro. According to recent reports, scaffolding has arrived at the site and will soon be erected in front of the museum’s distinct, copper-bronze facade. More on the controversy, here.
Dear readers, as the phenomenal architects we are confident you are, it is time to enter the search for the 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards. Annually recognizing the globe’s most impressive works, WAF is the largest architecture festival (and live awards) on the planet.
If shortlisted, you will be invited to defend your project this October at the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore in front of a “super jury,” chaired by Richard Rogers, that includes architects Rocco Yim, Julie Eizenberg, Enric Ruiz Geli, Peter Rich and more.
Practices of all sizes from around the world will compete across 28 individual award categories for global recognition. The winners of these categories will then be considered by the jury for the coveted World Building of the Year award at the culmination of WAF 2014.
The live architecture presentations and debates will coincide with a seminar and keynotes by industry leaders focusing on “Architects and the City.” Though a complete list of participants have yet to be released, Richard Rogers and Rocco Yim, as well as policy makers and urban organizations, such as Thomas Wright, Executive Director of the Regional Plan Association of New York, are all expected to join.
The United Design Group (UDG) China has begun construction the “Xieli Garden” resettlement community kindergarten in Wuxi. The three-story building, designed as a “spiraling elliptical ring,” aims to create an ideal learning environment for children with ample natural light and a direct connection to outdoor space.
Placing sixth in the competition to design the Romanian Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo, Collective East Architects offered a “simple and powerful landmark” that focuses on the history of Romania’s agriculture. Serving as an “attractor and orientation mark,” the structure was conceived by repeating a traditional Romanian pattern that “transformed the pavilion into a sculptural object with a powerful national identify.” From a distance, the facade appears “introverted and impenetrable;” as viewers move closer, the building begins to expose its contents, revealing a level of detail one would expect in a “jewelry museum.”
AS.Architecture-Studio has announced the 2014 Young Architects in Africa. The award aims to highlight creative African projects and help a rising generation of young architects achieve worldwide recognition. Selected from nearly 200 projects, these three practices have been named as finalists: Architects of Justice (South Africa), Urko SANCHEZ (Kenya), and Andre CHRISTENSEN & Mieke DROOMER (South Africa).
Koichi Takada Architects (KTA) has released details on Australia’s biggest urban renewal project: Green Square. Shaped by the pedestrian and traffic flows that surround the building, the mixed-use, multi-residential complex is expected to serve as the gateway of Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre by its completion in 2016.
Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz has designed a mirrored, 60-meter monument to commemorate the 30 anniversary of the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA). The design, titled “A Cut between heaven and earth”, was “driven by an effort to analyze the process of abstraction and reinterpretation of the site.”
Zaha Hadid Architects has designed a 40-story luxury hotel for Macau’s premier leisure and entertainment destination known as “City of Dreams.” Perceived as a single “sculptural element” united by an exposed exoskeleton mesh structure, the “simple volume” was extruded from its rectangular site as two towers connected at the podium and roof levels, with two organically-shaped bridges punctuating the tower’s center external void. This central void is then celebrated by a 40-meter tall, “grandiose atrium” that greets visitors as they enter the hotel.
Take a digital tour through the building and into the atrium via a newly released video, after the break…
UPDATE: Foster + Partners have been granted planning permission for The Chirstie. The new Centre is due to open in 2016.
Norman Foster has applied for planning permission for a new Maggie’s Cancer Centre in his hometown of Manchester. Planned to be built at The Christie, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe, the new Centre intends to “provide free practical, emotional and social support for anyone living with cancer as well as their family and friends.”
“I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy,” Foster explains. “Within the Centre, there is a variety of spaces – visitors can gather around a big kitchen table, find a peaceful place to think or they can work with their hands in the greenhouse. Throughout, there is a focus on natural light and contact with the gardens. The timber frame, with its planted lattice helps to dissolve the architecture into the surrounding greenery.”
In Eastern Europe the assimilation of modernism proved a rather divergent process, correlated with tumultuous and contradictory socio-political events. The urban space suffered successive destructuring, caused by massive industrial insertions with direct impact at urban and demographic level.
Thus the Romanian Pavilion’s exhibition for the 2014 Venice Biennale, Site Under Construction will bring industrial architecture as generator of modernity into discussion. It suggests creating an initiatory journey from inter-war and socialist industrialization to post-industrial urban voids. Glory and void, past and present are mirrored and laid out to be contemplated, to raise awareness and be re-approached. Once industrial sites were closed down, the remaining locations became modern urban ruins, devoid of content, bare of utility, leaving behind an outer landscape, shattering and desolate.