The post-war city centre of Rotterdam is ruled by commerce. Only five percent of the city's inhabitants live in the centre, which is almost entirely occupied by highstreet fashion chains, fast food restaurants, and offices. After shop closing time, the shutters go down and the streets are deserted. The municipality would like to lure more inhabitants into the centre – but space for new residential buildings is scarce. So in recent years, a 1960s cinema and church had to make way for a huge new housing complex designed by Alsop Architects, and a residential tower by Wiel Arets was speedily attached to Marcel Breuer's department store, De Bijenkorf. It was not until the municipality suggested forcing new housing high-rises into the green courtyards of the Lijnbaanhoven residential complex, designed in 1954 by Hugh Maaskant, that there were protests and the project had to be cancelled. For the time being, that is.
One densification project, however, tried not to destroy or debase the post-war building originally occupying its site. In many respects, the Karel Doorman residential high-rise could even be called the saviour of the old Ter Meulen department store. It might be rather uncommon for a valiant hero to crouch down on the shoulders of the little old lady he intends to rescue – but that's more or less what happened here.
One of Coop Himmelb(l)au's latest competition winning designs is the Dawang Mountain Resort near Changsha, China, a combination of an entertainment ice world with an indoor ski slope, a water park and supporting restaurant and shopping facilities. Positioned directly on top of a historical cement mining quarry pit and lake, this proposal aims to combine "striking landscape with ambitious design" in a way that could redefine the idea and aesthetics of recreation for the south-central Chinese city.
In an article for Fast Company, Chris Congdon explains the key to designing workplaces that cater to the needs of introverts, extroverts and everyone in between. According to Congdon, most office workers need a mixture: places to be around others, encouraging collaboration, and places to work alone and focus on individual tasks. The solution? A "pallette of places" which give workers an ample choice of where to work. Read the full article here and learn more about how do design successful workplaces here.
As revealed in an article on Gigaom, NASA has recently added an extra $500,000 into a collaboration with Tethers Unlimited, a company researching ways to 3D print and assemble structures whilst in orbit. Using this technology, their SpiderFab robots reduce the size of the rockets needed to launch materials into space, and also allow for much larger structures to be created than in any previous technique - opening up new possibilities for construction in space. You can read the full article here.
Once labeled 'an empty useless city center,' by architectural commentator Norman Day, the city of Melbourne's transformation since the 1980s has been dramatic. Today, Melbourne is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most liveable cities, with a vibrant, urbane downtown. Currently on show until December 21st at City Gallery in Melbourne, this exhibition examines the impact and legacy of the Postcode 3000 planning policy. Curated by Rob Adams, the exhibition looks at the genesis and typologies of this change and its ongoing impact on the form and vitality of central Melbourne. It asks the question: do we fully comprehend the impact of this latest boom? For more information, please visit here.