Two sister Middle Eastern media companies have commissioned REX to design a conjoined headquarters that references traditional Arab iconography. The result, two ultra-thin, stone-clad towers that are shielded from the Middle East’s “unrelenting sun” by an array of retractable sunshades whose shape was inspired by the Arab Mashrabiya pattern.
Measuring nearly 15 meters in diameter, these sunshades can be quickly deployed, transforming the building’s glass facade into a “blossoming” shaded tower within minutes.
“The headquarters’ instantaneous transformation forges a new kind of powerful iconography, one that rejects the tired—and ephemeral—pursuit of being the tallest,” described REX.
Declaring they are “opposed to star-architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel right in the middle of the protected historic environment, as monuments to themselves, at our expense and the city’s,” as stated in an online petition, the protesters seem particularly upset that the project would require the demolition of multiple historic structures. Thousands have even joined a Facebook group to voice disapproval.
However, despite the backlash, the Nobel Foundation refuses to bow down and believes the protest will not succeed.
More on the protest, and structures slated for demolition, after the break...
It is rare to find an architectural project whose history makes such strange bedfellows as the New York State Pavilion: a master architect and millions of exhibition patrons, roller skaters and rock stars, stray cats and Iron Man . For three hours on April 22, in honor of the fifty year anniversary of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the city of Queens will open the long shuttered gates to Philip Johnson’s most futuristic work.
The Rijksmuseum, which reopened last year after a decade of restoration and remodelling, is a museum dedicated to “the Dutchness of Dutchness.” Pierre Cuypers, the building's original architect, began designing this neogothic cathedral to Dutch art in 1876; it opened in 1885 and has stood guard over Amsterdam'sMuseumplein ever since.
Over the centuries, the building suffered a series of poorly executed 'improvements': intricately frescoed walls and ceilings were whitewashed; precious mosaics broken; decorative surfaces plastered over; and false, parasitic ceilings hung from the walls. Speaking in his office overlooking the Rijksmuseum’s monumental south west façade, Director of Collections Taco Dibbits noted how the most appalling damage was incurred during the mid-20th century: “everything had been done to hide the original building […but] Cruz y Ortiz [who won the competition to redesign the Rijks in 2003] embraced the existing architecture by going back to the original volumes of the spaces as much as possible.”
For Seville-based Cruz y Ortiz, choosing what to retain and what to restore, what to remodel and what to ignore were, at times, difficult to balance. Cruz y Ortiz found their answer in the mantra: 'Continue with Cuypers'. They threw the original elements of the building into relief but did not act as aesthetes for the 'ruin'. In contrast to David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap's restoration of Berlin'sNeues Museum, for instance, Cruz y Ortiz rigorously implemented a clean visual approach that favoured clarity over confusion. What is original, what is restored, and what is new mingle together in a melting pot of solid, understated architectural elements. Sometimes this approach contradicted Cuyper's original intentions; however, more often than not it complements them in a contemporary way.
It seems to be part of the architect's daily life: hunching over drawing or model making, uncomfortably crouching to try get that perfect shot through your 1:100 model. Javier Cuñado, designer at Actiu, has tackled these perennial problems with Mobility, a desk that ascends or descends according to your needs. Available in an architect's range of colours - black, white or with an aluminium finish - this stylish desk is an investment your back will thank you for. Learn more in the video above and check out images after the break.
Responding to the bevy of critics slamming LG Electronics for building their new headquarters in the Palisades in New Jersey (half an hour north from NYC), Lee Rosenbaum, the Palisades-resident and architecture blogger known as CultureGrrl, maintains that "When it comes to preserving the 'pristine Palisades,' the boat has already sailed." Since LG's planned strip will be located on what is, according to Rosenbaum, already "a very commercial strip," she suggests that "that the incensed defenders of the purportedly unspoiled beauty of the Palisades [...] haven’t actually set eyes on them." Check out the images of her neighborhood as well as her very interesting Twitter tussles with The New York Times' Michael Kimmelman, Vanity Fair's Paul Goldberger, and New York Magazine's Justin Davidson at her blog, and let us know what you think of the debate in the comments below.
Responding to the demand for healthcare services in rural Southeast Asia, Building Trust International launched an international competition - Moved to Care - to envision flexible and relocatable healthcare facilities. Over 200 entrants participated; one professional winner, a multi-disciplinary team from the USA, and one student winner were honored. Check out their winning proposals, after the break...