As billings continue to decline in the US, the nation of Vietnam is quickly emerging as a hot spot for Western architecture firms seeking new work. About two dozen North American and European firms now have projects in the Southeast Asian country, including Foster + Partners, HOK, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Some are even reportedly opening permanent offices there.
Garden of Nations in Ramallah, one of the first modern public spaces in booming Palestinian capital was meant to become a representation space, where art pieces donated by different countries would coexist. The relatively small scale of the park leads to the inevitable effect of visual overcrowding and competition of free-standing sculptures donated by different national representatives. To minimize the danger of entering into the same logic The Lace is a shadow-maker “glued” to the wall encompassing the park. It allows people to hide from the sun being a sort of tridimensional pocket. The Lace is a steel structure made out of 220 circular modules referring to a decorative Polish folk art motive used for Christmas tree decorations made out straw.
Location: Ramallah, Palestine
Designer: Jakub Szczęsny
Collaborator: Tomasz Gancarczyk
Project Coordination: Barbara Urban, Office of the Representative of the Republic of Poland
client: Office of the Representative of the Republic of Poland to the Palestinian National Authority
Photographs: Barbara Urban and Centrala
The China Diamond Exchange Center is a 535,500 square foot office complex designed by Goettsch Partners of Chicago, Illinois. Located within Shanghai’s sea of massive and often overstated high-rises, this modest-by-comparison structure is brilliantly detailed, appropriately scaled, and aesthetically beautiful. The complex was completed in 2009 with the help of associate architects Zhong-fu Architects. The Diamond Exchange Center is sited within Shanghai’s Pudong district, an international financial and commercial hub and houses both the Exchange and additional relative tenants.
The Tastings Room is a new addition to the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, Marina Square with the fine combination of French/Italian bistro cuisine and wine cellar under one roof. The restaurant’s vision was to refresh the perception of wine and food culture in Singapore by providing them at affordable prices. The overall spatial experience sandwiches the crafted black volumes between two layers of industrial aesthetics: exposed ceiling and concrete screed floor, to juxtapose/merge opposing aesthetics of being sophisticated yet affordable.
The traditional wooden construction of Japanese architecture is extremely detailed. Its exacting precision and craftsmanship has stood the test of time for centuries. However, the process of handcrafting each wooden beam with mortises and tenons is quite labor intensive, and with an aging workforce, automation of the production process is key to continuing the tradition.
This impressive, LEED-certified, fifty-six-story office tower is Philadelphia’s newest and tallest. The Comcast Center’s stateliness and elegance are carried through to OLIN’s plaza at its base. However, the plaza is more than merely a suitable platform for the building—it is a vibrant, well-used, civic space, wholly connected to the city. It serves as a new destination for residents and workers, and as a principal entry to the regional rail lines, markets, and food court located beneath the site. The plaza elements are conceived as a series of vertical and horizontal layers.
Landscape Architect: OLIN
Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Project Team: Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, Yue Li
Consultants: Atelier Ten, Ballinger, Bartlett Tree Experts, Jonathan Borofsky, Kendall/Heaton Associates,
L.F. Driscoll Company, Lynch & Associates Ltd., Nancy Rosen, Parker Interior Plantscape, Paul H. Yeomans, Pennoni Associates, Quentin Thomas Associates, Thornton Tomasetti Group, Two Twelve Associates, WET Design
Project Area: 2 acres
Tea ceremonies have evolved a great deal since they first got their start in the ninth century, and as the ceremonies have grown and shifted in purpose, so have the tea houses that hold them.
Initially tea was seen as a medicine used to cultivate the mind, body and spirit; tea was seen as good for monks because it helped them to stay awake for long periods of meditation. For this reason, the military class sponsored the construction of large zen temples for monks to drink tea in. As tea began to grow in popularity beyond the temple, tea ceremonies became a source of entertainment for members of the upper class who could afford to gamble, read poetry and attend tea parties in extravagant pavilions. More information after the break.
The design team SUMoffice & Van Noten recently won the Open Call 21.14 in Moorsel, Belgium. The project consists of the conversion and extension of the presbytery into a meeting centre for youth and other associations and the redesign of the presbytery garden into a publicly accessible garden. More images and project description after the break.
Architect: NAC Architecture
Location: Aurora, Colorado, Unites States
Consultants: Kahler Slater Architects, Inc., Pamela Bartczak Design, University of Colorado Denver, Martin & Martin, S.A. Miro, M-E Engineers, Shen Milsom Wilke, InSite Design
Project Year: 2008
Photography: Frank Ooms
The new Education 1 Facility by NAC Architecture sets the tone for the new University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The building houses education facilities for multiple medical schools within the university. The design by NAC Architecture accomplishes a welcoming building that extends itself out into the campus and the students it serves.
Next week we will be taking our Architecture City Guide to Beijing and we need your help. To make the City Guides more engaging we are asking for your input on which designs should comprise our weekly list of 12. In order for this to work we will need you, our readers, to suggest a few of your favorite modern/contemporary buildings for the upcoming city guide in the comment section below. Along with your suggestions we ask that you provide a link to an image you took of the building that we can use, the address of the building, and the architect. (The image must be from a site that has a Creative Common License cache like Flickr or Wikimedia. We cannot use images that are copyrighted unless they are yours and you give us permission.) From that we will select the top 12 most recommended buildings. Hopefully this method will help bring to our attention smaller well done projects that only locals truly know. With that in mind we do not showcase private single-family residences for obvious reasons. Additionally, we try to only show completed projects.
This week we are headed to Beijing.
Example of the information we need for your suggestion:
Birds Nest National Stadium / Herzog & de Mueron
Olympic Green, Beijing, China
The statistics are in for the ABI July, and as we shared in our coverage for June, the numbers are quite bleak. After June’s 46.3, July measured in more than a full point lower at 45.1. The new projects inquiry index dropped dramatically from 58.1 in June down to 53.7.“Business conditions for architecture firms have turned down sharply,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Late last year and in the first couple of months of this year there was a sense that we were slowly pulling out of the downturn, but now the concern is that we haven’t yet reached the bottom of the cycle. Current high levels of uncertainly in the economy don’t point to an immediate turnaround.” Regional averages include the South at 46.9, West at 46.6, Northeast at 46.4, and the Midwest at 44.9. Hopefully, for our coverage of the ABI August, we’ll have more positive data to share.
Architect: Constantine George Pappas AIA Architecture/Planning
Location: Troy, Michigan, United States
General Contractor: The Dailey Co.
Project Year: 2008
Photography: Constantine George Pappas AIA Architecture/Planning
WAHAG Studio shared with us their competition entry in the international ideas competition to establish a design for the Busan Opera House, which is expected to begin construction in 2014. The opera house will include a variety of facilities that will foster a wide range of artistic activities all the while being accessible to the city’s citizens. The grand scale of this project will be suitable for Busan’s status as an international city. More images and architects’ description after the break.