We architects know full well the power of renderings to capture the imagination. Apparently – so too do politicians. Capitalizing on the popularity of adaptive reuse projects around the world (a trend instigated by the success of New York’s High Line), French politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has made converting Paris’ unused “ghost stations” a major part of her platform, promising that these projects will come to pass should she be elected mayor.
The renderings, by Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associés, show the Arsenal station (unused since 1939) alternately as a swimming pool, a green park, restaurant, disco, or theater. As there are in fact 16 disused metro stations in Paris, the idea behind these renderings is to instigate debate among practitioners as to how these spaces could best serve the city. See all the renderings, after the break.
As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.
The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.
See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break
The Design Museum in London has announced the 2014 “Design of the Year” nominees. Spanning the industries of architecture to fashion and furniture design, featuring NLE’s floating school in Nigeria, Toyota’s affordable environmental car, and a mobile phone made from detachable blocks, just one of 76 nominated works will be crowned this year’s most innovative design. Of the nominees, 14 are some of the world’s most renowned structures. Catch a glimpse of the architecture being considered, after the break.
Young Projects will be spending the week playing “Match-Maker” in New York City, as the Brooklyn-based studio has debuted their interactive Valentine’s Day installation in the heart of Times Square. Made in collaboration with fabricator Kammetal, as part of Times Square Alliance’s sixth annual heart design competition, the interactive heart-shaped sculpture is designed to cosmically connect people based on their zodiac signs by arranging curious passerby’s at twelve points surrounding the installation.
As Young Projects describes, “Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provides glimpses of each viewer’s four most ideal astrological mates, offering potentially novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers.”
Toronto-based RAW Design has been crowned winner of the annual Warming Huts competition, which is intended to “push the envelop of design, craft and art” by encouraging architects to design innovative warming shelters along the frozen Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg, Canada.
Moving away from the traditional notion of an enclosed shelter, the firm’s winning proposal “Nuzzles” engages skaters with a playful arrangement of “insulated appendages” (a.k.a. pool noodles) supported by a geodesic lattice structure that is illuminated and heated from within. Users are encouraged to “nestle into the structure” and manipulate its fur-like exterior into informal resting areas.
Third time’s the charm, at least in the case of Apple’s Foster + Partners-designed flagship store planned for San Francisco’s historic Union Square. After being sent back to the drawings boards on multiple occasions, the signature glass box’s third proposal (which was claimed to be “more iconic” than the company’s famous Five Avenue glass cube in New York City) has been awarded approval from the city.
Joshua Prince-Ramus of REX, together with Brookfield Properties unveiled today the $200 Million redevelopment of 450 West 33rd Street in New York. The 1.8 million-square-foot building will be integrated into the Manhattan West Development.
The architectural firm REX designed the redevelopment of Five Manhattan West, including a new pleated glass façade which will create floor‐to‐ceiling windows on every floor, maximizing daylight penetration while reducing solar gain through geometric ‘self‐shading.’ The interior program includes a redesigned lobby, upgraded and expanded elevators, and enhanced HVAC and other mechanical systems. New retail storefronts will provide a welcoming streetscape. The renovation is expected to be completed in 2016.
More details on the project after the break.
The College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets has announced the creation of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture. With an objective to “reward the daring contemplation of the intersection of the new metropolis and human ecology,” these two biennial prizes will “recognize the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents” while fostering research toward rethinking the metropolis.
MCHAP is an extension of the larger curricular and research initiatives of IIT, as established by Dean Wiel Arets, who states: “This new prize will not be bestowed to an individual or organization based solely off inventive form, however clever its design, or based solely off a submitted image, no matter how captivating. The prize’s jury will instead be holistic in their approach to selecting exceptional works. Architecture, as a discipline, will continue its pursuit of technology, so that it can further advance. And architecture is for people; it is strengthened by their presence.”
Congress budget cuts have officially stalled Frank Gehry’s controversial Eisenhower Memorial, according to a recent report, rejecting $49 million in construction funds and cutting the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s annual budget in half. Unless the commission is able to raise a substantial amount of private funds, as well as win support from the Eisenhower family (which is doubtful), Gehry’s “grandiose” memorial is unlikely to ever break ground. Despite this, the commission’s director is optimistic, stating that the FDR Memorial took nearly 45 years to get built. You can read more about the controversy here.
Traffic imprints found in Philadelphia’s record snowfall has revealed some clever opportunities for public space. As reported by This Old City, snow formations have carved examples of unused streetscape that could be easily reclaimed as pedestrian space. This would not only improve traffic safety, but would also enhance the city’s walkability and desirability. Learn more and see examples here.
Austrian company Klemens Torggler have recently invented the “Evolution Door,” a very cool new door that slides itself open/closed – without the use of tracks. A special system of rotating squares means the door just requires a gentle nudge to close, and then momentum takes care of the rest. Words can’t really explain the cool factor, so check out the video above and another after the break!
Inspired by the woods of Vermont, a US biotechnology startup have developed a system for using agricultural byproducts with fungal mycelium (a natural, self-assembling binder) to grow high performance insulation. Ecovative Mushroom® Insulation is seen as a viable competitor to plastic foams that can be found in both in packaging and building insulation, for which the project recently won second place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge.
Aside from the environmental and health benefits provided by biking, cycle cities are proving to be profitable, which has begun to attract support from many US business leaders. Not only do bike-friendly streets increase the visibility and desirability of real estate, they also reduce the need to waste money (and space) on ample parking. In addition to this, as the Guardian’s Michael Andersen points out, bicyclists are the “perfect customer: the kind that comes back again and again.” Learn why else biking is good for business here.
Ziya İmren Architects has recently won an invited competition for the design of the Beykoz School complex in Istanbul. The firm’s winning proposal distinguished itself by embedding its layout within the steep site’s natural surrounding and organizing school as a “cascading” hierarchy of spaces.
In a competition that ultimately crowned Frank Gehry as winner, Berlin’s Barkow Leibinger placed third with their 150-meter “faceted stacked building” proposal clad in glass. Aimed to be Berlin’s tallest building, the apartment and hotel tower is planned to be the city’s first high-rise residential development since the 1970s.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been appointed to be the U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change. Upon receiving the news, Bloomberg tweeted: “Cities are taking measurable action to reduce emissions, emerging as leaders in the battle against climate change… I look forward to working with cities around the world and the UN to accelerate progress [to combat global warming].” You can read more here on USNews.
Raimund Abraham’s last project, a “stunning” design for a building atop an unused NATO missile base in Hombroich, has been realized four years after the architect’s death. At the time of his passing, Abraham was working on this project as part of a unique outdoor art complex close to Düsseldorf, Germany. A competition has now been announced to determine the future for the space which has become an “an integral part of Hombroich’s cultural sphere.”
The Architectural League of New York has announced the winners of their 32nd annual Emerging Voices awards. The coveted recognition program spotlights eight emerging practitioners in North America whose “distinct design voices” have shown the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.
“The work of each Emerging Voice represents the best of its kind, and addresses larger issues within architecture, landscape, and the built environment,” described the League. “This year, in particular, saw firms entrepreneurial in spirit, pursuing alternate forms of practice, often writing their own programs or serving as their own clients.”
This year’s eight Emerging Voices are…