New Eurojust Headquarters / Mecanoo + Royal Haskoning

Courtesy of Mecanoo + Royal Haskoning

The Mecanoo + Royal Haskoning design team was recently announced as the winner for the realization of the new Eurojust headquarters in , Netherlands. This design concept illustrates a strong connection with Eurojust’s neighbouring organisations, the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and Europol. The atmosphere of soft slopes and grassy vegetation is designed to sit within the lush surroundings of ’s ‘ Heart’. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New Flagship Office / ESA Architects

© Jaap Oepkes

Architects: ESA Architects
Location: Newbury, Berkshire,
Client: Stryker UK ltd
Project Area: 10,000 sqm
Project Year: Sept. 2011
Cost: £15million
Project Team: Alastair Roberts, Nic Sampson, Ralph Humphrey, Samiul Kamal-Uddin, Claire Lewis-Smith, James Gott, Nigel Height.
Photographer: Jaap Oepkes

SOM announces Urgent “Call to Vision” for the Great Lakes

Courtesy of SOM

Today the world celebrates its most precious resource: water. Countries world-wide suffer from water shortages so extreme that they cannot produce enough food to support their basic needs. In an effort to protect the World’s largest source of surface fresh water, the City Design Practice of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is gaining international support in their pro bono pursuit to create a 100-year vision that will environmentally protect and economically revitalize the entire U.S. and region, a vision known as The Great Lakes Century.

“The availability and quality of fresh water to sustain a radically urbanizing world is unquestionably a core issue of our time and requires holistic environmental thinking at an unprecedented scale,” said Philip Enquist, SOM partner in charge of urban design worldwide.

Continue reading for more information on this important cause.

House Reduction / MAKE Architecture Studio

© Peter Bennetts

Architect: MAKE Architecture Studio
Location: 2 Hodgson St Kew, Victoria,
Completion: November 2011
Site Size: 470 sqm
Floor Area: 215 sqm
Project Architect: Melissa Bright
Project Team: Shelley Freeman, Bruce Rowe, Gillian Hatch
Photographs: Peter Bennetts

AD Round Up: Hotels Part IX

© Courtesy of Safdie Architects

If you could choose one hotel to stay from the many we have featured in the past few years, which one would it be? Tough choice isn’t it? Maybe you would choose the magnificient Marina Bay Sands, designed by Safdie Architects in Singapore. Or maybe you want something smaller, like the Vivanta Hotel in Bangalore, India. Perhaps something even smaller: the Caldor Hotel in . If you want something more familiar, let’s go with the Katowice Hilton, in Poland. Now, if you want something more private in a spectacular beach, you’ll definitely stay at the Makenna Resort in Brazil. Any favorite?

House 804 / H Arquitectes

© Pedro Antonio Pérez

Architects: H Arquitectes -David Lorente, JosepRicart, Xavier Ros, Roger Tudó
Location: Parets del Vallès, Barcelona,
Collaborators: Blai Cabrero Bosch, Montse Fornés Guàrdia
Quantity Surveyor: Iñaki González de Mendiguchía
Completion: 2011
Surface Constructed: 160 sqm
Photographs: Pedro Antonio Pérez

School Center Lucie Aubrac / Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

©

Architects: Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
Address: Allée de Bourgogne, , France
Design Team: Mathias Neveling, Anna Zottl, An Vranken, Markus Himmel, Jeanne Stern, Maria Joao Pita, DI Katja Pargger, chef de projet; Barbara Fellmann, DI Dorit Boehme, Petra Meisenbichler
Area: 7,116 sqm
Completion: 2012
Photographs: David Boureau, Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

   

The RAINS Project / Sabrina Faber

Sana'a, © eesti via flickr

Sana’a, Yemen is at risk of being the first capital city in the World to run out of renewable, reliable and clean water supplies. With seasonal rain, expensive bottled water and polluted reservoirs, the residents of Sana’a are constantly faced with waterborne diseases and severe drought hazards.

In celebration of World Water Day, we would like to catch you up with the progress Sabrina Faber who was selected as winner of the 2010/2011 Philips Livable Cities Award – a global initiative designed to generate innovative, meaningful and achievable ideas to improve the health and well-being of city-dwellers across the world. Although the project went on hold due to political unrest, The Rainwater Aggregations (RAINS) Project was still able to complete three sites just in time for . Continue reading for more.

Franke / Hastings Architecture Associates

© Jim Roof Creative

Architects: Hastings Architecture Associates
Location: , TN, USA
Completion Date: 2009
Client: Franke
Building Area: 225,000 sqm
Photographs: Jim Roof Creative 

  

Tetra Shed / Innovation Imperative

Courtesy of Innovative Imperative

Tetra Shed is inspired by the growing need to accommodate the desires of more and more people wanting to establish a home office.  The architects at Innovation Imperative designed this garden office as a challenge to the notion that a home office is simply a converted room in one’s house.  It is an alternative solution to the “cuboid offices” that have grown in popularity over the last few years. This concept and mock-up will be on display at Grand Designs Live London between May 5th and May 13th.

Read on for more about Tetra-Shed after the break.

It’s all about the narrative

In approximately 3 1/2 months I will be standing on a stage in Washington D.C. at the American Institute of Architects 2012 National Convention talking about blogging and social media for architects. Most of the people who swing through here probably don’t much care about that – and I don’t blame you (you already know that I’m making it up as I go). However, what struck me this morning as I was standing in the shower (where I do some of my best problem solving), was how blogging, my presentation for the convention, and architecture in general, all have something really important in common …

the narrative.

Botanical Research Institute of Texas / H3 Hardy C​ollaboration Architecture

© Chris Cooper

Architect: H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture
Location: , USA
Completion: 2011
Size: 70,000 square feet
Cost: $25,000,000
Client: Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Photographer: Chris Cooper

   

Journey to the Center of New York: Can Design “Cure” Our Cities?

Plans for the Delancey Underground, an underground park made possible by fiberoptic technology. Photo courtesy of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch

Walk into the cafeteria at the Googleplex and you are nudged into the “right” choice. Sweets? Color-coded red and placed on the bottom shelf to make them just a bit harder to reach. “Instead of that chocolate bar, sir, wouldn’t you much rather consume this oh-so-conveniently-located apple? It’s good for you! Look, we labelled it !” [1]

Like the Google cafeteria guides you to take responsibility of your health, Google wants to transform the construction industry to take responsibility of the “health” of its buildings. They have been leveraging for transparency in the content of building materials, so that, like consumers who read what’s in a Snickers bar before eating it, they’ll know the “ingredients” of materials to choose the greenest, what they call “healthiest,” options.[2]

These examples illustrate the trend of “medicalization” in our increasingly health-obsessed society: when ordinary problems (such as construction, productivity, etc.) are defined and understood in medical terms. In their book Imperfect Health, Borasi and Zardini argue that through this process, architecture and design has been mistakenly burdened with the normalizing, moralistic function of “curing” the human body. [3]

While I find the idea that design should “force” healthiness somewhat paternalistic and ultimately limited, I don’t think this “medicalized” language is all bad – especially if we can use it in new and revitalizing ways. Allow me to prescribe two examples: the most popular and the (potentially) most ambitious urban renewal projects in New York City today, the High Line and the Delancey Underground (or the Low Line).

More on “curative” spaces after the break. (Trust me, it’s good for you.)

Courtesy of Studio Metar

City Library Extension Proposal / Studio Metar

The concept design for the extension of the city library by Studio Metar… results from the thesis that a contemporary library is a source of information with unlimited access. The message of the design lies in the mentioned thesis, but

Fire Station and Mountain Rescue Building / Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten

© Bruno Klomfar

Architects: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten
Location: Mellau,
Area: 6,353 sqm
Photographs: Bruno Klomfar

  

Update: ABI / February

Last month, our reporting of the Architecture Billings Index was a little pessimistic, as the slight upward movement was no sure sign of a stable recovery.  Yet, February marks the fourth month the Billings Index has remained in positive territory (a score of 50 or more indicates as such), and while we are cautious to mark the volatile index’s movement as a trend, we sure hope it is!  February reported a score of 51.0 and a significant jump was reached in the new project inquiry index (up from 61.2 to 63.4).  In fact, the 63.4 score is the highest inquires for new projects since July of 2007.   “This is more good news for the design and construction industry that continues to see improving business conditions,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “The factors that are preventing a more accelerated recovery are persistent caution from clients to move ahead with new projects, and a continued difficulty in accessing financing for projects that developers have decided to pursue.”  Breaking the index down regionally, the Midwest leads with 56.0, followed by the South, Northeast and finally the West with scores of 51.3, 51.0, 45.6, respectively.

Exhibition and Retail Pavillion in the Concert Hall in the Postojna Cave / Studio Stratum

© Miran Kambič

Architects: Studio Stratum – Polona Filipič, Peter Šenk, Marko Pretnar, Grega Tramte
Location: ,
Collaborators: Marko Šenk, Peter Emil Grošelj
Client: Postojnska jama, d.d.
Structure: Spit d.o.o.
Services: Winky d.o.o., Arctur d.o.o.
Biological Treatment Plant: Cid d.o.o.
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Miran Kambič

1923. Ola Kolehmainen 2011, C-print, diasec.

Latest Works by Artist Ola Kolehmainen Exhibition

Being held at the Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä, Finland, the exhibition for the latest works by artist Ola Kolehmainen is currently on display until July 29th. A contemporary artist of international importance, Kolehmainen is known for his large abstract…