Architects: Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas
Location: 401, rue le Titien 34000 Montpellier, France
Year: 2007-2012: competition 2007, won competition April 2007, building site January 2010, Inauguration September 2012
Project Team: Damon Belusco (project leader), Michele D’Arcangelo, Nicola Cabiati (model), Ana Gugic (interiors)
Client: Région Languedoc-Roussillon
Contractors: GFC – structure, SMAC – façades, BARSALOU – frames
Consultants: ALTIA – Acoustics, NEVEUX-ROUYER – Landscape Architects, ALMA Consulting – Kitchen design
Net surface: 23,600 sq.m.
Gross surface: 25,736.80 sq.m.
Area surface:16,500 sq.m.
It began with the relocation of the Zappos Headquarters, now owned by Amazon, from its offices in Henderson, Nevada, to the former city hall in downtown Las Vegas: an idea to transform the struggling part of downtown Las Vegas into a vibrant community with economic opportunities for young professionals along with an incentive for a variety of companies to build their foundations providing jobs and income for the city. Despite America’s association with the Las Vegas strip, the downtown has a metro area dominated by unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy. Zappos CEO Tony Hseih saw this area, filled with vacant lots, liquor stores and motels, as an opportunity to develop something new and enriched that could foster an economy, bring young professionals and inspire natural growth of community and industry. Hseih’s Downtown Project aims to develop a community by listening to what people want and need from their physical environment, that is also dense, diverse and inspires economic growth.
Join us after the break for more. (more…)
Eric Höweler and J. Meejin Yoon of Höweler + Yoon Architecture have been announced as winners of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012, an international architecture competition focused on the future of urban mobility in the five metropolitan regions Boston/Washington, Istanbul, Mumbai, Pearl River Delta, and São Paulo. With “Shareway”, the Boston firm’s winning proposal called for the reinvention of the Boston-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region called “Boswash”.
Höweler+Yoon Architecture was one of the five architectural offices that were selected for the competition. Other participating firms were Superpool (Istanbul), CRIT (Mumbai), Node Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo).
We had the chance to interview the practices and ask them about the role of the architect in our society. We also talked to Eric Höweler about this project during the awards ceremony, video coming soon.
Project Description by Höweler+Yoon Architecture: (more…)
The Wall Street Journal announced Wang Shu as architecture’s “Innovator of the Year 2012”, commending his “deceptively simple” vision that is “drafting a new architectural blueprint for his country”. The 49-year-old Chinese architect, whose work has been described as China’s “new regional style”, is one of the most influential architects in what is becoming one of the most important countries in the world.
After founding Amateur Architecture Studio with his wife, Lu Wenyu, in 1997, the Pritzker Prize laureate has created a succession of acclaimed projects throughout China, from civic buildings to private homes to exhibition pavilions. Some of his most prominent works include the monumental Ningbo Museum of Art, constructed of locally salvaged materials, and the uniquely crafted Xiangshan Campus for the China Academy of Art. Both projects exhibit Shu’s innovative balance between traditional and contemporary Chinese architecture that remains deeply rooted within it’s context. (more…)
On October 9th, the Arizona Planning Commission met to discuss the proposed landmark designation for the house, an event which attracted over 100 people. According to The New York Times, only 3 people voted against the designation, including the house’s current owners, the developers of 8081 Meridian, John Hoffman and Steve Sells.
When the pair bought the house back in June for only $1.8 million (from the pair the Wright’s granddaughters had sold the house to for $2.8 million), they thought it was “too good to be true.” The property alone could make up to $1.4 million; the pair hoped that by splitting the lot they could make even more.
Unfortunately however, Mr. Sells had no idea of the house’s architectural significance. As he told The New York Times, he didn’t know the difference “between Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wright brothers. ”
More on the Developers’ side of this demolition tale, after the break…
Sou Fujimoto Architects have shared with us their first place proposal for the Beton Hala Waterfront Centre in Belgrade, Serbia. Contrasting the medieval fabric of the capital city, Sou Fujimoto’s “floating cloud” intertwines an array of social and transportation programs into an organized tangle of suspended ramps that emerge from the static platform of the Beton Hala. It was lauded by the jury to be a “brave proposal” that holds the “highest emblematic potential among all of Beton Hala entries”.
Learn more after the break. (more…)
The Brazilian Institute of Architects and Rio de Janeiro department (IAB-RJ) have announced architects Pedro Évora and Pedro Rivera of RUA Arquitetos as winners of a competition to design the 2016 Olympic golf course clubhouse. The competition, open to professionals who graduated within the last 15 years, attracted entries from 82 teams of architects and landscape architects from across Brazil.
RUA Arquitetos’ winning scheme captures the atmosphere of Rio by showcasing the lush tropical landscape of Barra da Tijuca with a large veranda whose lightweight roof collects rainwater to irrigate the course.
Continue reading for the architects’ project description. (more…)
The latest installment of SEEDocs, the series of fascinating mini-documentaries on award-winning public interest design projects was revealed today. While the first spotlighted an incredible community garden in New Orleans, designed/built with help from the Tulane City Center, and the last on the revitalization of an abandoned, abestos-ridden school in Kansas City, this month’s doc takes us out of the U.S., to a school in a poor neighborhood in the desert city of Lima, Peru.
More info on this incredible project, after the break…
Michael Van Valkenburg Associates (MVVA) and Thomas Phifer & Partners have been announced as winners of an international competition set to transform 15 blocks of the neglected Waller Creek in downtown Austin, Texas, into a vibrant local attraction. Co-sponsored by the nonprofit Waller Creek Conservancy and the City of Austin, the ambitious project intends to spearhead redevelopment within the city’s central business district with the 1.5 mile urban scheme that represents approximately 11 percent of Austin’s downtown.
“Today, we glimpse a transformation of Austin through a new community gathering place. This design team selection illustrates our City’s desire for great civic space, unique culture and opportunity for interaction with nature,” Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said during the City Hall announcement. “We look forward to each new milestone of this development.” (more…)
The preservation battle continues over the fate of Bertrand Goldberg’s 1970’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital. As we reported in July, an ever-growing community of prominent architects – such as Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien – have joined preservationists in the fight to save the late modernist structure that is at risk of being replaced by a new biomedical research facility for Northwestern University.
The seven-story concrete cloverleaf, cantilevered 45 feet from the supporting core and floating atop a glass and steel box, is an engineering feat ahead of it’s time as well as an important icon within the Chicago skyline. As architecture critic Michael Kimmelman argues, “Great late-Modernist buildings, innovative and ruggedly beautiful, deserve respect and, increasingly, careful custody. Prentice is a good example.” However, it is not suited for 21st-century research labs and many Chicagoans hate it. Currently, Northwestern University is leading the debate by arguing that a new building would “bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives”.
Could there be a compromise? Solutions are rarely black-and-white. Kimmelman has consulted Chicago architect Jeanne Gang to envision a proposal that would satisfy both opposing sides. Continue reading to learn more. (more…)
Construction has commenced on the US Air Force Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD), designed by SOM. This new building will be the most recent addition to the Air Force Academy’s Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which was also designed by SOM in 1954. The design and construction of the new facility gives SOM the opportunity to revisit the significant project of the 20th century and incorporate the values of the initial design to the addition.
Join us after the break for more. (more…)
Last year, we brought you images of what was planned to be the world’s narrowest house: The Keret House, in Warsaw, Poland.
Well, against the odds, this skinny project has actually come to see the light of day, thanks to funding from The Foundation of Polish Modern Art and Warsaw Town Hall.
The Architect, Jakub Szczesny of Centrala, designed the home with a semi-transparent, polycarbonate surface so light would enter and the resident wouldn’t feel claustrophobic. However, that fate may be difficult to avoid – after all, the 3×5 ft structure is wedged between two buildings, can only be entered via ladder, and has no windows. Even the fridge can only hold two drinks at a time.
Check out the images and renderings of the world’s skinniest house, after the break…
All three architects, asked by MAS to present at their 2012 summit in honor of Grand Central’s approaching centennial, considered not only how to improve and renovate the aging station (suffering from acute overcrowding) but also how to best adjust the surrounding neighborhood for upcoming changes in New York’s zoning laws (which will increase Midtown’s population density).
Much like the other two plans, WXY’s vision expands access points and public space, making the terminal far more pedestrian-friendly. However, the plan differs in that it focuses on harnessing the “untapped potential” of a few key locations along the station’s edge and proposes a tower with “sky parks” (to symbolize New York City’s commitment to green and healthy spaces). As Claire Weisz, Principal at WXY, said of the project, it would “make the Grand Central neighborhood a place people enjoy being in [and] not just running through.”
Check out WXY’s description of their plan for Grand Central Station, after the break…
October 24 marks the long-awaited grand opening of the Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Four Freedoms Park in New York City. Located on a triangular site formed by the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, the four-acre FDR memorial park stands for the “freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear”. It was conceived nearly four decades ago by the legendary architect Louis Kahn, shortly before his death in 1974.
British-American architect and historian Kenneth Frampton has been confirmed as this year’s winner of the Theory Prize of the Schelling Architecture Foundation. The jury is honoring Frampton for his “fundamental studies on tectonics and the architectonic large-scale form as predominant elements of urban landscapes. His theoretical range encompasses a vastness that no other prominent thinker in architecture has yet achieved. In addition, he will be honored for his accurate studies in which he has been analyzing current construction processes as well as the history of modern architecture since the early 19th century”.
As the winner of the 2012 Theory Prize, Frampton will now participate as a jury member in the selection of the Schelling Architecture Prize winner. Given that of the ten winners of the Schelling architecture prize four of them have already won the Pritzker Prize – most recently Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu – the nomination for the Schelling Architecture Prize is in itself a distinction.
The three nominated practices for the €20,000 Schelling Architecture Prize are: (more…)
The outcome of the 2012 United States presidential election will have global economic implications. In the midst of one of the most severe global recessions in history, policymakers around the world are waiting to see which way the United States will go this coming November. Will it stay the course of potential recovery—as yet incomplete—set by President Barack Obama? Or will it veer to the right into the still vague and undefined policies of challenger Mitt Romney?
For architecture specifically there is much at stake in this, the most expensive presidential race in history, where two contrasting visions of government’s role in the economy are boiling over. The Democrats advocate a course of continued federal investment and regulation to steer the country through rough economic waters they say were created by eight years of Republican policies. The Republicans point the finger and say Obama’s policies have not succeeded. They prioritize bringing down the deficit, reducing the size of the federal government and less regulation. Both sets of policies claim to be the answer to get the economy growing again.
Regardless of who wins the chances that economic growth will magically spring back to pre-recession levels are slim to non-existent. But whose policies would be more likely to at least make the long climb out of the well more tolerable?
Vote in our Presidential Poll after the break
Germany’s Leuphana University Lüneburg is venturing into global online learning with the launch of the Leuphana Digital School, a “cost-and-barrier-free” academic platform that offers collaborative web-based learning led by distinguished scholars and experts.
So-called social learning systems are radically changing the field of academic education and setting new standards for the communication of knowledge. Internationally distinguished scientists from the Columbia University New York, the Arizona State University, the London School of Economics, the Goldsmiths University of London, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the ETH Zurich, the Collegium Helveticum and the University of Zurich, the Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou and the City University Hong Kong, as well as leading experts from politics, media and economy will be advising students participating in Leuphana’s online-University, starting with the prototype course: “ThinkTank – Ideal City of the 21st Century”. (more…)
The Winners for this year’s coveted Curry Stone Design Prize, which awards talented designers who “harness their ingenuity and craft for social good,” have just been announced!
In honor of the fifth anniversary of the Prize, this year the five winners will share the $25,000 award equally. An awards ceremony will take place on November 15, 2012, at Harvard Graduate School of Design, followed the next day with a forum of presentations by the 2012 winners and panel discussions. The awards ceremony and daylong forum are free and open to the public.
A big congratulations go out to The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Liter of Light, MASS Design, and the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation! More info on these incredible organizations, after the break…