"The works of our artists, architects, and preservationists provide us with another language of diplomacy. A transcendent language that allows us to convey values that are at once uniquely American yet speak to all of humanity. Increasingly in this world, art and architecture help us maintain our sense of openness and liberation." -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, April 12, 2010
An embassy is much more than a building or a work of architecture; it functions as a symbolic representation of countries' relationships to one another. It represents the universal language of diplomacy - "communicating values and ideals, extending well beyond any moment in time". An embassy has the difficult task of representing two diametrically opposed concepts: security and openness. The former typically overpowers the latter in importance, which is most probably why when we think of foreign embassies, it conjures up images of stately monolithic buildings surrounded by tall fences and menacing guards or "bunkers, bland cubes, lifeless compounds", according to Tanya Ballard Brown of NPR's All Things Considered.
Originally constructed for the 1939 World’s Fair, the resilient structure of New York’s Queens Museum of Art has been undergoing its fourth and most ambitious renovation since April 2011. This $68 million renovation, designed by Grimshaw Architects, will double the institution’s size, expanding the museum to a total of 105,000 square feet upon its completion in October 2013.
BIQ - the world's first algae powered building - is set to be completed in Germany later this month. Built for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg, this zero-carbon apartment complex will sport a bright green facade-cum-algae farm, while its interior proposes a radical new theory on how we will live in the near future.
The first prize winning design of the town hall sports center of Ceske Budejovice by Atelier 8000 is based on the existing town planning concept which dates back to the past and which has been proven by time. The project will offer premises for a variable range of activities, both for nearby schools and for sports concentrated in other sports centers in the proximity. The center is – and will be even more so in the future – a significant entrance “gate” for visitors to the town´s historical center. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Coming up this Friday, March 8th, at the Center for Architecture in New York, the 'Beyond New York: Organic vs Geometrical Context' lecture is part of the Architecture Dialogue Committee’s on-going series to introduce the next generation of architects not practicing in New York City. For this event, they have invited Spela Videcnik from OFIS arhitekti of Ljubljana, Slovenia to share insights about architectural and urban design from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Videcnik will present OFIS’s design approach through their most recently built projects, such as the Basket Apartments (Paris) and The Cultural Centre for Space Technologies (Slovenia), and how these different geometries inform their current work. For more information, please visit here.
Developers M. David Paul Associates and the Worthe Real Estate Group have commissioned Frank Gehry to design a mixed-use hotel and residential tower in his hometown of Santa Monica, California. The 22-story “Ocean Avenue Project” aims to stimulate the coastal city’s economy with street-level restaurant and retail space below a 125-room hotel and 22-unit condominium tower topped with a rooftop observation deck. As for accommodating the car-centric lifestyle of the West Coast, resident and visitor parking will be available in a three-story subterranean garage beneath the tower. In addition, the developers plan to integrate a 36,000 square foot museum campus that will add a cultural perk to the development just North of its two-acre site.
Although this project looks promising, the 244-foot, Gehry-esque tower is currently pending approval from the City. A vote by the end of March will decide its fate.
More images of the “Ocean Avenue Project” after the break...
Taking place this Thursday, March 7th, at 6:00pm, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)will present the first 2013 Mellon Lecture, a free event, featuring Japanese architect Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, founding partner of Atelier Bow-Wow in Tokyo with Momoyo Kaijima. Yoshiharu Tsukamoto will present his concept of Architectural Behavior, which investigates the physical responses to natural elements such as light, air, heat, wind, water, human behavior related to custom, and the way in which buildings relate to the city and their surroundings. For more information, please visit here.
Organized by the LIXIL JS Foundation, the 3rd LIXIL International University Architectural Competition invites university research laboratories from around the world for a site-specific challenge, with this year's theme of 'Retreat in Nature". The site is Memu Meadows in Taiki-cho, Hokkaido, Japan, which is composed of experimental sustainable projects including Mêmeby architect Kengo Kuma. Calling for innovative solutions for sustainable architecture, the winning team is invited to construct the project on the site. The deadline for submissions is March 29. For more information, please visit here.
Developer Korean Air has recently unveiled the designs for the new 73-story Wilshire Grand tower in the financial district of Los Angeles, California. AC Martin Partners designed the plans for the $1 billion mixed-use office and hotel tower that will reach 1,100 feet, making it the tallest tower west of Chicago once completed.
The proposal for the Industrial Arts Center by Stefano Corbo Studio pursues a double challenge: from one hand, to re-activate and reconvert the existing building through new functions and a contemporary language; from the other hand, to focus attention on the public character of the intervention, in order to allow citizens to gather and share the activities of the Art Center during the day, according to the prescriptions of the Brewery District. More images and architects’ description after the break.