The Mecanoo + Royal Haskoning design team was recently announced as the winner for the realization of the new Eurojust headquarters in The Hague, 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 The Hague’s ‘Green Heart’. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Architects: ESA Architects
Location: Newbury, Berkshire, England
Client: Stryker UK ltd
Project Area: 10,000 sqm
Project Year: Sept. 2011
Project Team: Alastair Roberts, Nic Sampson, Ralph Humphrey, Samiul Kamal-Uddin, Claire Lewis-Smith, James Gott, Nigel Height.
Photographer: Jaap Oepkes
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 Canada Great Lakes 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.
Architects: H Arquitectes -David Lorente, JosepRicart, Xavier Ros, Roger Tudó
Location: Parets del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Collaborators: Blai Cabrero Bosch, Montse Fornés Guàrdia
Quantity Surveyor: Iñaki González de Mendiguchía
Surface Constructed: 160 sqm
Photographs: Pedro Antonio Pérez
Architects: Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
Address: Allée de Bourgogne, Nanterre, 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
Photographs: David Boureau, Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
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 World Water Day. Continue reading for more.
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.
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 …
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 green!” 
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.
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. 
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.)
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.
Architects: Studio Stratum – Polona Filipič, Peter Šenk, Marko Pretnar, Grega Tramte
Location: Postojna, Slovenia
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
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…