London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved plans for the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge. The approval from the mayor is the third and final green light for the bridge, having previously been accepted by both Lambeth and Westminster councils. The project is now likely to begin construction within a year – in line with a self-imposed deadline by the Garden Bridge Trust that will allow them to complete the project before works on the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel cause disruption on the site.
In some projects, preservation isn’t just about retaining what’s there, but also about putting back an element that has been forgotten to history (not always, though). This was the case at the Stella Tower in Manhattan, where as part of the building’s recently completed condo conversion, JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group, along with architects CetraRuddy have reinstated the dramatic Art Deco crown of Ralph Walker’s 1927 design.
Throughout its eight-century-long history, Chartres Cathedral has been consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest religious spaces, charming countless architects thanks to its dramatic interior combining brooding stone vaults and delicate stained glass windows. But this legacy is severely threatened, argues Martin Filler for the New York Review of Books, by a “foolhardy” restoration in its zeal for recapturing the past “makes authentic artifacts look fake.”
OMA has won a competition to design the Lujiazui Exhibition Centre, a 1,500 square meter space in Shanghai Pudong on the site of the former “Shanghai Shipyard.” The design aims to create a concentrated culture and event space within the surrounding financial district, on the edge of the Huangpu River, one of the most photographed waterfronts in the world.
More on the design after the break
Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, or simply Oscar Niemeyer, was one of the greatest architects in Brazil‘s history, and one of the greats of the global modernist movement. After his death in 2012, Niemeyer left the world more than five hundred works scattered throughout the Americas, Africa and Europe.
Niemeyer attended the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro in 1929, graduating in 1934. He began working with the influential Brazilian architect and urban planner Lúcio Costa also in 1932, a professional partnership that would last decades and result in some of the most important works in the history of modern architecture.
Russian practice Project Meganom has been announced as the winner in a competition to drastically transform the Moscow riverfront. Their masterplan proposal aims to create a series of linear green spaces, while also incorporating new cultural and education spaces along the waterfront and improving the surrounding public transport. Announced at the IV annual Moscow Urban Forum which opened earlier today, the goal of the competition was to return the Moscow river from a “barrier” into a “link” in the city, restoring its historical status as the city’s heart and most important transportation route.
Read on after the break for more details of Project Meganom’s masterplan
The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is set to pass new legislation aimed at curbing the spate of large basement extensions in the area. The trend for these “mega-basements” is a result of the strict planning guidelines applied to the borough’s many historic buildings, forcing the area’s wealthy and space-hungry residents to extend downwards instead of upwards or outwards. However, with a ten-fold increase in the number of basement extension plans since 2001, work on these complex underground projects was becoming a nuisance, causing Kensington and Chelsea Council to freeze the planning applications of 220 basement proposals while it sought a resolution.
CVDB Arquitectos has won a competition for a new student accommodation block at Lisbon University’s Pólo da Ajuda campus. The building consists of three interconnected but structurally separate units arranged around a central courtyard, with the internal layout being determined by the modular unit of the individual bedrooms. On the South side of the building, at street level, the building’s communal spaces and vital services provide a sense of transparency in the otherwise opaque building, connecting the central courtyard and the life of the students to the street outside.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has begun construction on a new whiskey distillery and visitor centre in Speyside, Scotland. Designed for The Macallan, a core brand of the major Scottish spirits producer Edrington. The proposed building is buried into the surrounding landscape of The Macallan Estate, revealing itself as a series of grass covered mounds overlooking the river Spey.
Read on after the break for more about the design
The latest designer of the prestigious Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has been named as SelgasCano, the Spanish practice known for their use of the latest synthetic materials and new technology. The Serpentine Pavilion, which has grown to become one of the most visited annual architecture attractions in the world, aims to provide architects who have never built in the UK their first chance to do so. In the past, this has led to pavilions by globally-recognized names such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Oscar Niemeyer, and Peter Zumthor, but in recent years the Serpentine Gallery seems to have changed course a little, instead bringing lesser-known, emergent stars to a much wider audience. This was true of Smiljan Radić and his 2014 pavilion, and will likely prove true for the duo of José Selgas and Lucía Cano.
Although designs for the 2015 pavilion will not be released until February, SelgasCano have promised ”to use only one material… the Transparency,” adding that “the most advanced technologies will be needed to be employed to accomplish that transparency.” This coy description perhaps calls to mind the design of their own office, a partially sunken tube of a building with one side made entirely of curved glass, which won them widespread recognition in 2009.
To give a better idea of the design style that SelgasCano will bring to the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, we’ve rounded up a number of their major projects for your viewing pleasure, after the break.
A legal challenge against Steven Holl‘s design for the new Maggie’s Centre at St Bart’s Hospital in London has been dropped, after Holl and Maggie’s agreed to change the design. The challenge was brought by the Friends of the Great Hall, a group that has been campaigning against Holl’s design and arguing that it would have a detrimental effect on the adjacent Great Hall designed by James Gibb in the 18th century.
UK start-up company The Photon Project has announced its plan to launch the Photon Space, the world’s first intelligent all-glass living unit. Motivated by the major positive benefits that natural light can have on our energy levels, sleep pattern and overall health, the goal of the Photon Space is to create a dwelling that allows its occupants a maximum connection to the outside world.
Posited as an ideal addition to hotels, spas, health retreats, medical centres, and other resorts, the skin of the Photon Space is made of smart glass supported by curving glass beams, switching from transparent to opaque in seconds with the help of an iPhone app.
The UK Government has announced £140 million in public funds will be granted to the planned “Olympicopolis“ cultural quarter in East London, in the former 2012 Olympic Park. The museum and educational district is planned to feature a new outpost for the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum and Sadler’s Wells theatre, and a new campus for the University of the Arts London.
The site, which is just North of Zaha Hadid‘s Aquatics Centre, is the focus of an ongoing design competition which reportedly attracted almost 1,000 expressions of interest in the contest’s pre-registration phase. The winner of the competition will be announced in March.
New York-based firm M Castedo Architects have unveiled their designs for the “Silver Pearl Hotel”, a 1000-room luxury resort and conference facility for the Qatar 2022 World Cup located 1.5 kilometers off the Doha coastline. The $1.6 billion design consists of two 30-story semicircular towers connected by a full height, transparent climate controlled atrium, with unimpeded views of the sea beyond. Access to the hotel will be provided by a four lane elevated causeway over the sea – or alternatively by private yacht or helicopter, say the architects.
Almost 50 years to the day after President Lyndon B Johnson broke ground on Edward Durell Stone‘s design for the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, today Vice President Joe Biden will do the same for Steven Holl Architects‘ design of the Kennedy Center Expansion, a largely below-ground addition that will add an extra 60,000 square feet to the Center.
It may or may not be the tallest building in North America, but one thing’s for sure: when it comes to costs, no other skyscraper comes close to New York‘s One World Trade Center. This is the conclusion of Emporis, whose list of the world’s top ten most expensive buildings puts 1WTC way out in front at $3.9 billion. Originally estimated at just half that cost, this sets a trend in the top ten list, with many of the featured buildings suffering staggering overruns. The second-place Shard, for example, overshot it’s original £350 million ($550 million) budget nearly four times over (although this is to be expected in London).
On one of Qatar‘s many World Cup construction sites, another Nepalese worker dies. The worker is not named; their death does not make the news, and work resumes on the site as soon as possible in order to make the 2022 construction deadline. But, in the desert outside Doha, a crane driver solemnly prepares to add one more concrete module to what has rapidly, and tragically, become one of Qatar’s tallest towers.
This is the vision presented by Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux, of the Paris and Santiago-based practice 1week1project, with their “Qatar World Cup Memorial.” Designed as one of their week-long “spontaneous architecture” projects, the monument memorializes each deceased worker in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.