Construction is underway for the new Datong Art Museum in China, designed by Foster + Partners. Referred to as China’s ‘Museum of the 21st Century’, the 32,000-square-meter venue will be one of four major new buildings within Datong New City’s cultural plaza. The museum will open in 2013 and represent China in the ‘Beyond the Building’ Basel Art international tour.
Luke Fox, a senior partner at Foster + Partners stated, “We are delighted to reveal designs for the new museum and look forward to working with the city to take the project to the next stage. When complete, Datong’s new quarter will be the center of the city’s cultural life, with the new museum as its ‘urban room’ – a dynamic space, open to everyone to meet and enjoy its different displays and activities.”
Continue after the break for more on the Datong Art Museum.
CIVITAS, the organizer of the Reimagining the Waterfront, has announced the winners of the ideas competition for the design of the East River Esplanade between 60th and 125th in New York City bound by the East River to the East and the FDR Drive to the west. Joseph Wood of New Jersey, USA; Takuma Ono and Darina Zlateva of New York City, USA and Matteo Rossetti of Italy claimed first, second and third prize respectively. The competition aspires to bring to new and fresh ideas to the conversation about this waterfront, which over the years has had many issues of disrepair. Anyone who has attempted to bike down this path can appeal to just how unpleasant it can be – massive potholes that take up the whole path, traffic rushing by just a foot away just beyond a shoulder (which is not provided everywhere) and cobbled paths that create a bumpy ride. The proximity to the East River, and the views of Randall’s Island, Queens, Roosevelt Island and the Queensboro Bridge are its saving grace.
There have already been many talks about the state of the East River Esplanade, particularly that it stops abruptly at East 53rd street at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge and starts up again around East 38th street. Last summer MAS, an organization in NYC that advocates for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation, hosted a day-long charette to design an esplanade along the ConEd piers located between East 38th and East 41st Streets. MAS appealed to the community for ideas for “The Next Great NYC Waterfront” and worked alongside W Architecture and Landscape Architecture to produce a report, which can be found here. With CIVITAS’s competition, the issues are again acknowledged to continue brainstorming the future of the waterfront.
The Architect’s Newspaper reviewed the competition winners in an article by Tom Stoelker, which are imaginative and considered. The proposals of the winners and honorable mentions will be exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York between June 6th and September 2012 which will give the public access to some possibilities for the future of the East River Esplanade.
Join us after the break for more on the proposals.
Tom Dixon took over Milan and the National Museum of Science and Technology during Salone del Mobile, transforming parts of an old monastery into an impressive exhibition space for the latest developments in design. MOST, Dixon’s ambitious environment for innovation and culture consisted of a handpicked selection of designer friends and brands as well as Dixon’s own work, Luminosity, an exploration of light. German industrial design manufacturing company Trumpf brought over eight tons of machinery to demonstrate how to make a signature Tom Dixon chair out of steel, stealing the limelight from other highlights including gelato-making classes taught by the Carpigiani Gelato University and a pop-up restaurant run by Dock Kitchen’s Stevie Parle.
The 2012 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has been awarded to Thomas Aquilina… of Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, part of the University of Edinburgh. He will be granted £6,000 to develop his proposal, ‘Material Economies: recycling practices
Poverty and violence, boarded windows and weedy lawns, immigrants jammed “by the dozen into houses conceived for the Cleavers.” In “Can this Suburb be Saved?,” New York Magazine critic, Justin Davidson, begins by painting a bleak but realistic picture of suburbia today. It’s these conditions that are making thousands flee to cities everyday, making headlines predict the “death of sprawl.” 
Davidson makes the case, and I agree, that the suburbs and architects need each other – now, more than ever. But Davidson ends with a defeatist conclusion. He seems to say, it’s just too difficult, that, ultimately: “suburbanites like the suburbs.” There are suburbanites like these, who believe nothing’s wrong, who shudder at the word “density.” But who are they? The ones jammed “by the dozens” into single-family homes? The ones scraping to make ends meet?
Herein lies the great complication of suburbia. Its myth – of wealth, whiteness, a steady-job in the big city, and a space to call your own – keeps getting in the way of the big-picture: the thousands in need of change. If architects are to “save” the suburbs, and redesign them based on their multiple realities, they’ll have to start by separating themselves from the myth. By bursting the ‘burbs’s bubble.
Read about the Myths and Truths of Suburbia, after the break…
Architects: Dominique Perrault Architecture
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Partner Architects: Corada Figueras Arquitectos
Local Architect: AIA Salazar-Navarro
Engineering: Perrault Projets (architectural engineering) BOMA Robert Brufau i Associats (structure), AIA Salzar-Navarro (fluids), Querol & Colomer (acoustics consultant)
Project Manager: Tag Management
Technical Controller: Socotec Iberia
Client: Hoteles Sol-Melia
Total Floor Area: 29,334 sqm
Photographs: André Morin, Miguel de Guzman
Located in Polk County, Florida, on a 16,000 acre property between Orlando and Tampa, the Streamsong Resort and Conference Center, designed by Alfonso Architects…, is a celebration of reclamation, of both land and spirit. The site is formerly mined phosphate
Designed by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, the Citylife Tower represents the future business and shopping district of CityLife in Milan (a subsidiary company of the Generali Group and in which Allianz has a shareholding), which is progressing quickly. By 2015 it will reach a height of 207 meters, with 50 floors of offices, and will be the tallest skyscraper in Italy. The foundation bed, which has just been built, is formed of a continuous block of concrete covering a total of 4,260 cubic meters and required 42 hours of continuous work. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Architects: Vaillo & Irigaray + Beguiristain - Antonio Vaillo, Juan Luis Irigaray, Iñigo Beguiristáin
Location: Pamplona, Spain
Collaborators: Daniel Galar, Josecho Velaz, Javier Gil, Lucía Astrain, Oscar Martínez, Juan Carlos de la Iglesia, Ángel Álvarez, Isabel Franco
Built Area: 289 sqm
Photographs: Iñaki Bergera
The HA Tower, designed by Frontoffice + Francois Blanciak, proposes a hybrid model for urban life that embraces the city, pulling it in the heart of the units, while still offering large open spaces that otherwise are only available on the urban fringe. Located in Higashi-Azabu, within walking distance of a cluster of rail lines, Shiba Park, and the iconic Tokyo Tower, the corner site is small, covering only 130 square meters and is constrained by a floor area ratio that limits construction to 8 floors. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Soon to be the tallest building in China, the 632-meter Shanghai Tower is beginning to take shape. Located in the center of the Pudong district, the tower will become the centerpiece of the city’s international financial district. The transparent, mixed-use building will work as a “self-contained city”, housing 550,000 square-meters of world-class office, hotel, entertainment, retail and cultural venues. It is designed to achieve both LEED Gold certification and a China Green Building Three Star rating.
Global powerhouse Gensler won the Shanghai Tower commission in an invited multi-stage competition among many other leading international architects. Upon completion, the Shanghai Tower will be the second tallest building in the world, behind the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Continue after the break for more information and the latest construction images.
Architects: Francisco Mangado
Location: Teulada, Alicante, Spain
Collaborators: Jose Gastaldo, Idoia Alonso, Birte Lattermann, Borja Fernández, Edurne Pradera. Jaime Sepulcre
Total Area: 5,100 sqm
Budget: 11,000,000 €
Client: Teulada Town Hall, Generalitat de Valencia
Photographs: Juan Rodríguez