Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has named Mecanoo architecten and Martinez + Johnson Architecture winners of a competition to reinvent Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. The Netherlands- and D.C.-based team aims to resurrect the neglected building by improving “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.” This includes opening up the boxy interiors to enhance flow and increase natural light and, most dramatically, sculpting two rooftop terraces by topping the historic landmark structure with a four-story, mixed-use addition.
We will keep you posted with more details as they come available. In the meantime, scroll through the renderings and presentation that landed Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson the commission, after the break.
Between Hurricane Sandy in the USA and ongoing storms and floods damaging large areas of Britain, the issues of flood prevention and coastal defense are now a top priority for planners on both sides of the Atlantic. This article in the Guardian asks whether it might be time to give in to the sea and rethink our affinity for coastal living; and this one on Architecture Boston asks to what extent society should be expected to foot the bill for those in high-risk areas, and wonders how, legally, the state could encourage people to live elsewhere.
Daniel Libeskind has unveiled a permanent sculpture at the Cosentino Group world headquarters in Almeria: “Beyond the Wall.” Inspired by the “infinite possibilities of the spiral,” the installation is intended to exhibit how the company’s ultra-compact, innovative surfacing material, Dekton® can be used to clad contemporary facades.
“This is not a traditional spiral with a unique center and axis, but a contemporary spiral that opens multiple paths in many different directions,” describes Cosentino in a press release. “In short, a polycentric spiral energy is projected to a dramatic peak.”
Four international teams have unveiled their shortlisted proposals in the final leg of a highly anticipated competition to design a new “cultural hotspot” on the edge of the Rhine. ArtA, the “catchy” new name of what was previously known as “The Arts Cluster,” is part of a larger redevelopment project for the City of Arnhem which aims to reconnect the southern district of Rijnboog with its waterfront and establish a new home for the Focus Film Theatre and Museum Arnhem.
A sneak peak of the shortlisted proposals, after the break…
See more of Pires’ images, after the break…
Spectrum Magazine, an annual publication by MIT to highlight the work of a cross-section of their professors and alumni, has recently released its 2014 edition. This year, the focus is on cities, with a great selection of architecture, planning and technology based contributions. You can download a pdf of the magazine here – or read on after the break for links to some articles of note.
From 1927′s Metropolis to 2002′s Minority Report, this article on the Guardian Cities explores film’s futuristic cities - utopias, dystopias, and those somewhere in-between – and asks: which of these cities would be safest? Most suited to under-30s? The best to live in? You can find out by reading the article here.
The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation have unveiled Viewpoint, a floating platform on Regent’s Canal in the centre of Camley Street Natural Park, London. Designed by Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of Finnish practice AOR, the platform will be operated by the London Wildlife Trust. The permanent structure is intended to bring visitors to London’s most central nature reserve, connecting them with the wildlife of the park and the Regent’s Canal. In addition, it will also provide the park with an additional workshop space and learning facility, becoming “an architectural focal point of King’s Cross.”
The Italian furniture brand Arper recently reissued Lina Bo Bardi‘s signature Bowl Chair. The pioneering project of the Brazilian-Italian architect presents a more relaxed approach to “sitting” – one that was fairly radical when it was originally released in 1951. The reissue of the chair – presented at the Salone del Mobile 2013 – is a testament to the forward-thinking vision of the architect.
Arper, who worked in partnership with the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi to produce the Bowl Chair, based the design on the original prototype drawings. The genius of the chair is in its simple execution: consisting of two loose parts – an upholstered shell on a metal structure – the seat remains free to move in all directions. It is a chair for living, not just for sitting, and (as with all of Bo Bardi’s works) places the human at the center of the design.
Smiljan Radic has been announced as the winner of the competition to design a landmark on San Cristobal Hill, in the heart of Santiago, Chile, that consolidates the hill’s numerous antennas into a single infrastructure.
According to the Contest Director, Luis Eduardo L. Bresciani, the purpose of this competition was to generate an innovative structure of iconic character, an architectural work of outstanding quality that would differ from other towers in other cities and give an identity not just to the hill, but to the city of Santiago. The jury also took into account the landscape of the site, particularly the care with which the park would be treated, as well as the tower’s relationship with the statue of the Virgin and the hilltop in general. Finally, the functionality of the infrastructure, which should act as both a telecommunications tower as well as a public space with panoramic views, was considered. See the six shortlisted proposals, after the break.
London based practice Juice Architects has unveiled designs for an offshore visitor centre as part of the proposed tidal lagoon for Swansea Bay, Wales. A series of overlapping shells are sculpted to form a bowl like structure, providing shelter from the wind and waves of the Welsh coast. Sat on a manmade island platform at the end of a collection of land piers, the building will act as a cultural and educational base housing public galleries, a café, a lecture theatre and exhibition space with working turbine propellors visible through the the ground floor gallery. As an entirely self sufficient building all energy will be captured from renewable sources.
A design team led by Carlos Marín and José Muñoz-Villers has claimed first prize in Mexico City’s “La Merced” competition for their masterplan proposal to re-conceive the popular marketplace, Plaza Central La Merced. The team’s design, which beat out about 100 other entries, proposed the realization of a new public square to centralize pedestrian activity and to anchor strategies for urban revitalization, such as the reclamation of local heritage sites, the careful manipulation of natural elements, and the installation of urban furniture as a means for placemaking.
J. Mayer H. has been crowned as winner of an invited competition to design a 19-story medical services and residential high-rise in the center of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. The “sculptural” tower, which is defined by the horizontal “cloud-shaped” aluminum strips that cloak its facade, is designed to “provide a natural atmosphere” enhanced by planted terraces and balconies overlooking the adjacent landscape of the Rheinaue and views of Duesseldorf.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Meades has named the “incredible hulks” of Brutalism with a thought provoking A-Z list that ranges from Hans Asplund, who coined the term “nybrutalism,” to California’s fascination with Zapotec-like adornments in the 1960s. Read the list in full and discover why Quebec City, Yugoslavia’s Janko Konstantinov, and Danish architect Jørn Utzon are all considered incredible hulks here.
The recent hire of temporary artistic director David Lan has indicated that plans for Ground Zero’s “world center for the performing arts” is moving forward in New York. The famed London director will work alongside Charcoalblue managing partner Andy Hayles to revise the original Frank Gehry-designed scheme which, according to the center’s president, was prematurely designed. This leaves Gehry’s involvement unclear, as the initial 1000-seat center will be abandoned for a scaled down, three-theater house that ranges from 150 to 550 seats. Competition for funding also remains an obstacle, in light of venues such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s 2017 Culture Shed. You can learn more about the center’s update here.
As the most ambitious architecture exhibition hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts in a generation, Sensing Spaces was inevitably going to be under a lot of scrutiny from architecture and art critics. According to the Academy’s Chief Executive Charles Saumarez-Smith, the momentous exhibition “represents a shift away from postwar modern architecture where it was about problem solving, to thinking about architecture in terms of experience, material, light and space.”
Fortunately the exhibition seems to have struck a chord with critics, who have almost universally praised the exhibition’s premise and have, to varying extents, been highly complementary about the individual exhibits.
Read on after the break for a round-up of the critics’ opinions