Salvaged Stadium: Harvard GSD Student Yaohua Wang’s Proposal for Post-Olympic Adaptation

© Yaohua Wang

Olympic host cities around the world are increasingly facing issues of post-event sustainability, with many stadiums and arenas falling into disuse and dilapidation mere months after the games. The soaring costs associated with constructing Olympic facilities have plagued organizers for decades, resulting in an all-time low number of bids from host cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to the International Olympic Committee. Yaohua Wang is a recent architecture graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a native of China - where facilities constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics are slowly being converted to new post-Olympic uses, typified by the transformation of the Watercube into the city’s newest waterpark. Wang’s thesis project, Salvaged Stadium, delves into the afterlife of Olympic facilities, providing a solution for arena reuse with potential for application worldwide. 

Find out how Wang re-evaluated the Olympic development problem after the break

Three Finalists to Develop Strategies for Vacant Land Reuse in New Orleans

NOLEX. Image Courtesy of VAI

Three finalists have been selected to move forward in the (VAI) and Redevelopment Authority’s (NORA) “Future Ground” open ideas competition. Each will be provided with a $15,000 stipend to investigate and develop long-term design and policy strategies for vacant land reuse in New Orleans.

“Too often, vacant land has been seen only as a remnant of or absence within the 20th century city,” described the VAI. “Today, with a critical mass of designers, policymakers, scholars, artists, activists, and residents creating pilot projects, thoughtful studies, and new kinds of urbanism on abandoned properties, it is possible to imagine this land as an integral part of the future city.”

COBE’s Adaptive Reuse of Nordhavnen Silo Marks Beginning of Redevelopment

Courtesy of COBE

Danish firm COBE is transforming the largest industrial building in Nordhavnen – a silo – into an apartment building with both private and public functions. For COBE, who also created the urban development plans for Nordhavnen, this project marks the beginning of the post-industrial area’s future. Nordhavnen is a harbor area located only 4km from Copenhagen‘s city centre.

“The exciting thing about old industrial property is how to preserve their soul and at the same time use them for something else,” said Klaus Kastbjerg, the owner of the silo, commenting on the adaptive reuse project. To preserve the soul of the silo, the architects will maintain a raw industrial feeling on the interior. Each of the 40 retrofitted will contain visible historic remnants such as existing concrete columns and walls.

Keep reading after the break for more information and images…

Rome Invites Ideas For Reuse of Europe’s Biggest Landfill Site

A major competition for reuse has just been announced for the Malagrotta Landfill, one of the European Union’s biggest landfill sites. After Malagrotta was closed in August 2013 due to its controversial size and negative impact on the surrounding community, the Municipality of Rome began a process of redevelopment through community engagement. Multi-displinary teams are tasked with a creating a proposal to reinvent the sprawling 240-hectare property while considering its original purpose. The competition is designed to begin a conversation on the long-term vision for the property.

Will Alsop Designs Apartment Tower on Stilts for London’s South Bank

Courtesy of

Led by Will Alsop, aLL Design’s funky apartment tower will soon add a whole lot of interest to London’s south bank. The tubular building, which tapers at the bottom and top, will rise above an existing four-storey building on purple stilts and be adorned with corten steel cladding, brightly colored balconies, and irregular rounded windows. Each apartment will include two balconies overlooking the River Thames and the neighboring heliport – bringing about the name “Heliport Heights.” To learn more about the lively design, keep reading after the break.

What Happened to Manhattan’s Lowline Project?

Courtesy of James Ramsey and

In 2011, the Tribeca-based design duo of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch proposed a radical project to transform an abandoned subterranean trolley terminal in Manhattan‘s Lower East Side into an underground park filled with natural light and vegetation, eventually proving their design with a full size mock-up of their design for light-capturing fiber-optic tubes. Since then, they haven’t had nearly the same level of publicity – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still working. This article by The Architects’ Newspaper catches up with Ramsey and Barasch as they attempt to make their $50 million project a reality by 2018. Read the full article here.

Amsterdam’s Glass Music Hall Faces Demolition, Seeks Home

Courtesy of Octatube

A mere twenty-five years after its inauguration, the Music Hall at the former Exchange of Berlage in Amsterdam is looking for a new home, where it will be relocated and reassembled for free. The innovative space, originally designed for the Dutch Chamber Music Orchestra, has garnered international attention and multiple awards, but sadly no longer meets the needs of the facility. 

Designed by architect Pieter Zaanen and structural designer Mick Eekhout, the Glass Music Hall sits in the center of an existing space, defying stereotypes about what glass can do. Being a hard material, the reverberation time in a blunt glass hall would be approximately 5 seconds. However, this number was brought down to 1 or 2 seconds in this instance, proving glass can be used to create a fantastical acoustical environment. 

Competition Asks Young Architects to Transform Abandoned Factory into Cultural Center

Mention: ECOLE/AAKAA (Adrien Durrmeyer, Martin Le Bourgeois, Nicolas Simon, Max Turnheim, Nicolas Violette). Image Courtesy of Young Architects

In our progressively digitized world, factories are often left behind. Outdated and no longer capable of serving their original purpose, these vast spaces become vacant and full of potential. A recent Young Architect Competition (YAC), entitled Space to Culture, recognized this trend and called upon young minds to turn such a factory in Granarolo, Bologna into a center for culture and entertainment. The competition asked entrants to focus on the idea of temporality and ensure the re-purposed factory’s longevity through dynamic and flexible spaces. To see the winning entries, continue after the break.

What If MOMA Had Expanded Underground (And Saved The American Folk Art Museum)?

Sculpture Garden, MOMA. Image © Andrew Moore, http://andrewlmoore.com/

In January of this year, the latest work by Smiljan Radic, the Chilean architect chosen to design the next Serpentine Pavilion, opened to public acclaim. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo de Arte Precolombino), located in de Chile, is a restoration project that managed to sensitively maintain an original colonial structure  – all while increasing the space by about 70%.

Two days before the The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art opened, the Museum of Metropolitan Art (MOMA) in New York issued a statement that it would demolish the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, in order to accomplish its envisioned expansion. Two weeks ago, preparations for demolition began.

Some background: MOMA had hired Diller Scofidio + Renfro a year earlier to design the expansion. The office asked for a period of six months to consider the possibilities of integrating the into the design. After studying a vast array of options (unknown to the public) they were unable to accommodate MOMA’s shifting program needs with the AFAM building. They proposed a new circulation loop with additional gallery space and new program located where the AFAM is (was) located.

What appears here is not strictly a battle between an institution that wants to reflect the spirit of the time vs a building that is inherently specific to its place. It represents a lost design opportunity. What if the American Folk Art Museum had been considered an untouchable civic space in the city of New York, much like the The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art is for the city for Santiago? Then a whole new strategy for adaptive reuse would have emerged.

Vancouver’s Granville Island: Setting the Standard for Urban Design

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In the 1970s, the principal designers at DIALOG, Norm Hotson and Joost Bakker, were commissioned by the Canadian government to redevelop ’s Granville Island, a former industrial site, into a people place. The architects envisioned a radically different type of waterfront characterized – not by beaches or – but by varied commercial and cultural programs. Today this iconic destination, popular with both citizens and tourists alike, is recognized as a pioneering precedent for urban development across Canada. In the video above, the DIALOG duo chronicles the success of the mixed-use design, touching on how it has influenced the city of Vancouver as well as the firm’s more recent work.

Winning Submissions Envision Gateway for Abandoned Railway in Queens

3rd Prize ($1000): Make It! Grow It! / Song Deng and René Biberstein of Toronto, Canada

The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) committee of the AIA New York Chapter has announced the winners of its 2014 biennial design ideas competition, QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm. In an effort to imagine the ways in which The Trust for Public Land and could transform an abandoned railway in Central into a vibrant urban greenway, entrants were challenged to design a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of a 3.5 mile stretch along the rail. 

Of the 120 submitted proposals from 28 countries, the jury selected the following winners to represent the diverse array of ideas generated:

A Proposal to Turn Paris’ Unused Metro Stations Into Parks, Pools, and More

Paris’ Arsenal Station as an underground park. Image Courtesy of Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

We architects know full well the power of renderings to capture the imagination. Apparently – so too do politicians. Capitalizing on the popularity of projects around the world (a trend instigated by the success of New York’s High Line), French politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has made converting Paris’ unused “ghost stations” a major part of her platform, promising that these projects will come to pass should she be elected mayor.

The renderings, by Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associés, show the Arsenal station (unused since 1939) alternately as a swimming pool, a green park, restaurant, disco, or theater. As there are in fact 16 disused metro stations in Paris, the idea behind these renderings is to instigate debate among practitioners as to how these spaces could best serve the city. See all the renderings, after the break.

‘Hacked’ Offices: The Future of Workplace Design?

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What does the workplace of the future look like? Shawn Gehle, of Gensler, explains in this Talk that with over 10 billion square feet of existing office space in North America, we may not even need to envision new buildings. Rather, by “hacking” existing buildings, architects can transform them into something completely new. For more on ’s “hacker” philosophy, read our article here.

Studio Gang Chosen to Convert Power Plant to Rec Center

Beloit College has chosen Studio Gang Architects to convert a century old power-plant into a campus recreation and activity center. The project was born out of an ongoing partnership with Alliant Energy Wisconsin, the local utility company that currently holds the space, who has been in talks within the college for over a year.

“The team is very excited to partner with Beloit College,” stated . “Together we can transform this historic structure into a new hub for wellness, green power, and great architecture. By reflecting Beloit’s core values in the design, values shared by our team, we will create a model that will bring many benefits to the college, city, and region. This is a project that has the potential to inspire other communities around the globe.”

Parasite or Savior? Ibelings van Tilburg’s Hovering New High-Rise

© Ossip van Duivenbode for Ibelings van Tilburg architecten

This article originally appeared in uncube magazine as “Saviour or Parasite?

The post-war city centre of 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 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 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 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.

Refurbishing America’s Shopping Mall

The Arcade © PBN/Brian McDonald via PBN

One thing about a recession is that it accelerates the demise of dying trends and struggling establishments. In this case, it is America’s beloved , which have been slowly in decline since their peak popularity in 1990. Now, in the wake of the 2008 economic catastrophe, American cities are riddled with these abandoned shopping meccas, from the mall to big box stores and shopping strips, whose oversize parking lots are equally as useless as the spaces themselves. The question is, how can we effectively repurpose these spaces?

A perfect example after the break…

KAA Design Group wins Best Adaptive Reuse for Latitude 33

Courtesy of KAA Design Group

Latitude 33, a luxurious collection of beach-side homes ranging from townhouses, penthouses, and single floor units, was partially designed from a forty year-old, nine-storey “eye sore for the neighborhood” that was once an office building. The mixed use development, designed by KAA Design Group, includes residential and commercial spaces in in Southern California. The strategic decisions involved with designing these apartments from an early 197os office building earned Latitude 33 two Gold Nugget Merit Awards, one of which was for Best .

Read on for more after the break.

Vissershok Container Classroom / Tsai Design Studio

Courtesy of

Located in rolling hills of Durbanville wine valley on the outskirts of Cape Town, Vissershok Primary School is a rural school dedicated to the children of farm workers and underprivileged communities living in Du Noon – a poverty-stricken township several kilometers away. Sponsored by three South African companies – Woolworths, Safmarine and AfriSam – the Vissershok Container Classroom is a 12 meter recycled container that was converted into an independent classroom for 25 Grade R (age 5-6) students. Continue reading for more.