The sky is not always the limit when it comes to building vertically – rather, elevator technology is often the restricting factor when it comes to skyscraper height. With current technology, a single elevator can travel approximately 500m before the weight of the rope becomes unsupportable. This means that ascending a mile-high (1.6km) tower would require changing elevators up to 10 times. However, UltraRope, a recently unveiled technology by Finnish elevator manufacturer KONE, may change the heights of our cities. A new hoisting technology that will enable elevators to travel up to one kilometer, UltraRope doubles the distance that is currently possible.
In an article for The Guardian, “The new lift technology that will let cities soar far higher,” Rory Hyde looks at the current limitations of elevator technology, how its development over the years has shaped our cities and the impact that UltraRope could have skyscraper design. Read the whole piece, here.
The French government has announced that it is committing €200 million towards restoring the Grande Arche de la Défense, the 110m tall hollow cube which marks the Western end of Paris‘ Axe Historique. The arch was completed in 1989 to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution, however in its 25-year lifespan it has not fared well: an elevator scare in 2010 forced the rooftop facilities to close, and the area around the North tower has been closed to the public due to the risk of falling marble tiles. Studies conducted between 2004 and 2010 concluded that one in six of the facade tiles had been severely damaged by rain.
The €200 million investment will focus on the arch’s Southern tower, where workers for the French ecology and housing ministries who occupy the space have complained of a lack of natural light and poor working conditions.
More on the Grande Arche’s future after the break
Design and engineering firm Atkins has been commissioned by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to design a series of new office buildings in Guanzhou. Their proposed design takes the form of three independent buildings, two of which form large, window-like structures. With a working title “Window of Guangzhou,” these buildings will commemorate the city’s history as the first Chinese port city opened to international trade along China’s legendary Silk Road.
The Cineroleum, a self-initiated project built in 2010 by London based practice Assemble Studio, transformed a derelict petrol station into a “hand-built” cinema on one of capital’s busiest roads. Aimed at raising awareness to the wider potential for reusing the 4,000 empty petrol stations across the UK for public use, the adapted structure on Clerkenwell Road was ”enclosed by an ornate curtain” strung from the “roof of the petrol station’s forecourt. Described as an “improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age,” classic infusions of cinematic iconography were integrated into a space built from only cheap, reclaimed or donated materials.
We sat down with Leong Leong Architecture, designers of the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale to discuss their concept for OfficeUS. Commissioned by Storefront for Art and Architecture, Leong Leong was tasked with designing a temporary and multi-functional space for architectural practice and exhibition. The minimal, airy US Pavilion features over 1000 projects designed by American architects abroad, set amongst a functional office space.
Seated in the work space of one of the “partners” and surrounded by a steady stream of visitors, Dominic Leong described the design process: “The mission of the project was to generally try to understand modernism in relationship to architectural office.” The firm strived to adapt the space in keeping with the Biennale theme of “Absorbing Modernity” set by Rem Koolhaas: ”A large part of our design was to reconfigure the perception of a very neoclassical building – the US Pavilion.” Leong added: “The project was boiled down into two main components: the repository and history of architecture researched by the curators, and an architectural office which was conceived as a prototype for a new mode of architectural production.”
Take a look at the full interview to find out more about Leong Leong Architecture and their concept for the US Pavilion. Make sure to check out our full coverage of the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale here.
What happens when seven internationally acclaimed architects are invited to design sculptural bus stops for a tiny Austrian village of 1000 inhabitants? Collaborating with local architects and utilizing local materials to design the pavilions, Alexander Brodsky, Rintala Eggertsson, Ensamble Studio, Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu, Smiljan Radic, Sou Fujimoto, and Wang Shu’s Amateur Architecture Studio worked with Austria’s Verein Kultur Krumbach to carry out the BUS:STOP project and usher in a unique new facet of culture to Krumbach. We brought you images of the design proposals earlier, and now we have photos of the incredible results: Hufton + Crow has just released a stunning new set of images showcasing the completed bus stops.
Hufton + Crow’s brilliant photography captures the inimitable originality and sensational quality of the uniquely crafted pavilions embedded within the Austrian landscape. Immerse yourself in Krumbach and check out the latest images after the break.
Set in the bucolic fields of Csórompuszta in the Hungarian countryside, the annual Hello Wood camp was recently back for its fifth year. Every year, students have one week to create wooden installations under the instruction of specially selected tutors, each of whom provide an outline idea of a project in response to a theme. This time around the challenge from the organizers was to “play with balance,” which generated ideas that investigated the balance between opposing concepts – but also generated a whole lot of play, too. See all 14 of the weird and wonderful results after the break.
IE School of Architecture and Design announces IE SPACES FOR INNOVATION Prize for young architects and designers worldwide, seeking to attract top architecture and design talents to invite them to take part in the IE Master in Design for Work, Retail and Learning Environments starting next February 2015.
Each summer, the French cities of Montpellier and La Grande Motte host Le Festival Des Architectures Vives (Festival of Lively Architecture). These twin festivals seek to raise awareness about architecture among the public, and to give needed exposure to the work of up-and-coming designers. In the process, they also draw attention to previously unknown places in the two cities—in Montpellier, many of the private courtyards in the city are opened to the public specifically for the festival. In La Grande Motte, the exhibition weaves its way through the city center, a site designated as “Heritage of the 20th Century” due to the prevalence of works designed by architect Jean Balladur. This year’s festivals featured a total of 18 temporary installations. Read more about the festivals, and view photos, after the break.
According to Will Doig of NextCity, world renowned contemporary artist Damien Hirst has received planning permission to build a town from scratch on the British coastline. Working alongside Rundell Associates the project, which has been dubbed “Hirst-on-Sea” near the town of Ilfracombe, will consist of 75 affordable homes built over the next ten to fifteen years. Most famous for his 2007 diamond-studded skull entitled For the Love of God and, more ubiquitously, glass cases containing sharks and cows preserved in formaldehyde, Doig wonders that, “given Hirst’s history, it’s hard to imagine he’s not trying to make some sort of statement.” Time will tell as to what that might be.
Breaking New Ground is an international design and ideas competition addressing the urgent affordable housing needs for farmworker and service worker families in the Coachella Valley, where efforts to improve living conditions suffers from a lack of funding and coordination. Going beyond design, the competition seeks to envision new precedents, mechanisms, and policies for affordable housing implementation and development, with implications for California and the nation.
At the competition’s conclusion, The California Endowment and County of Riverside will work together to build an affordable housing project based on the winning entries. The winning team may also be selected to participate in the design and construction of the new project.
The Coachella Valley is an important agricultural and tourist center, generating $4 billion in economic activity annually, and relying on both permanent and seasonal workers for both industries. However, the region currently lacks affordable housing and thousands of people live in non-regulated mobile home parks. The competition seeks to find holistic housing solutions, implementing architecture, policy and financial solutions.
There will be an Open Division as well as a Student Division, and registration opens October, 2014. A total of $300,000 will be shared between four finalist teams. You can review all the details in the competition’s official website.
With the World Architecture Festival (WAF) just around the corner, the festival’s full program has been unveiled, featuring three days of fascinating talks, an impressive list of key-note speakers and networking opportunities.
“Architects and the City” is the overarching theme for this year’s main conference sessions, and the talks will focus on the contributions architects can make to cities and how they affect – and are affected by – politics, infrastructure, planning communities and technology. Conference talks include “Greening the urban landscape: strategies for environmental urbanism,” “Question time- is ‘iconic’ architecture out of control?” and “Connecting the city; regenerating communities.”
The festival also features an impressive line-up of key note speakers, including Rocco Yim of Rocco Design Associates who will speak on his involvement in the West Kowloon Cultural District, the largest arts and cultural project in Hong Kong to date, and Richard Rogers who will speak candidly about his life as one of the most influential global figures in architecture and his future agenda. Moshe Safdie will close the Festival, looking back over his extensive career to talk exclusively about the defining moments that shaped its path.
More WAF program highlights after the break…
Architectural Record has released its annual list of the “Top 300 Architecture Firms” in the United States, based on architectural revenue from 2013. Gensler was the number one firm earning $883 million, with recent projects including Terminal 2 of Korea’s Incheon International Airport and the Shanghai Tower, which is set to be the world’s second tallest skyscraper. CH2M Hill and AECOM Technology Corp came in second and third, respectively, switching places from the previous year.
See the top 50 firms after the break…
The AIA has announced 8 projects as winners of their annual National Healthcare Design Awards, rewarding the best in medical architecture from built projects to research excellence. The 8 projects were selected in four categories: built (less than $25 million); built (more than $25 million); Unbuilt; and Innovations in Planning and Design Research.
In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) ArchDaily wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Fernando Forte of FGMF writes on behalf of Fran Parente.
Imagine a material that shifts and moves according to the temperature of the outside air - like a flower opening up for sunlight and closing its petals at night. New high-tech smart materials have allowed this idea to thrive and the possibilities are endless. Originally posted on Design Curial, the designer and smart material guru Chris Leferti answers a few questions behind these mysterious materials.
There are many materials that are defining the future: renewable resources, completely new materials such as graphene, but one of the biggest and most fascinating groups — that continues to grow — is smart materials.
Find out more about these amazing materials after the break
If you like magazines, then you’ll love this: the New Yorker, celebrating their recent redesign, have made their archive free for a limited period only. And, making up for their hiatus as they wait for a redesign of their own, Places Journal has gone to the effort of rounding up the best architecture reads from the last few years. Here are our top three:
In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) ArchDaily wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked 15 architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Thom Mayne writes on behalf of Roland Halbe.