Japanese designer Michiru Tanaka has released a new product partnering with lighting manufacturer Kaneka to create a stainless steel tile that doubles as both an OLED and a mirror. A graduate of Tokyo’s Musashino Art University, Tanaka pursued a career in architectural lighting and her projects range from commercial installations, lighting at museums as well as product design. Coined “Kumiko,” the tiles come from a fusion of inspirations, ranging from traditional Japanese architecture and woodworking techniques to Manhattan’s gridded cityscape.
Visiting architectural masterpieces by the greats can often feel like a pilgrimage of sorts, especially when they are far away and hard to find. Not everyone takes the time to visit these buildings when traveling, which makes getting there all the more special. With weird opening hours, hard-to-reach locations and elusive tours we thought we’d show a selection from our archives of masterpieces (modernist to contemporary) and what it takes to make it through their doors. Don’t forget your camera!
“Vertical Landscapes” to Promote Cultural Exchange and Religious Coexistence for New York’s Muslim Community
New York based Büro Koray Duman Architects are collaborating with the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) to design a cultural center prototype, named Cordoba House, in order to facilitate the total integration of American Muslims, without compromising their religious identities. The center will be the first Muslim sponsored multi-faith community center in New York City, aiming to help promote “progressive change, inter-religious coexistence, and cultural exchange”.
Highlighting the necessity of such a project, the design team explain: “There are approximately 800,000 Muslims living in NYC. A majority of the gathering places for Muslims are Mosques that focuses on Religion as Practice, which does not leave enough room for developing Religion as Culture.”
The Driverless Future Challenge's Winning Entry Uses Plug-and-Play System to Reclaim Public Space for Pedestrians
Of the four finalists selected for Blank Space’s “Driverless Future Challenge”, which was announced last month, “Public Square” has emerged as the winning entry, with a plug-and-play scheme to transform New York’s public realm for its streets and pedestrians. Designed by FXFOWLE and Sam Schwartz Engineering, the proposal was selected by a panel of New York City commissioners, for its response to the competition brief with a flexible system that accommodates a variety of public space typologies, while creating a harmonious coexistence between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.
A series of new photographs of China’s “first major design museum” has been unveiled by Design Society, showing Pritzker Prize winner Fumihiko Maki’s design nearing completion in the Shekou district of Shenzhen. Commissioned by the duo of China Merchants Group (CMG) and the V&A Museum in London back in 2014, the project was envisioned as a catalyst for development in the city, given Shenzhen’s bustling creative sector of over 6,000 companies.
As the photos display, the building is formed through three separate cantilevering volumes, which sit atop a plinth overlooking the waterfront. An exterior corner staircase leads to a number of publicly accessible rooftop terraces, inviting the public to engage with the building at various levels. Finishing touches are being added to the construction with the envelope already complete, while interior spaces and the site landscaping are still undergoing further polish and are yet to be fully resolved. Check out all the photographs of the building below, which will be occupied by Design Society upon completion.
Polish architect, designer, and sculptor Oskar Zieta has unveiled his latest project: the arched NAWA pavilion on an island in Wroclaw, Poland. The pavilion forms part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations following the theme of “Metamorphoses of Culture” and was unveiled in June. The lightweight steel elements that make up the parametrically designed sculpture are made in a unique method called FiDU, a metal-inflating process created by Zieta during his PhD studies in ETH Zurich. Though Zieta has used FiDU successfully for various products (many exhibited in the Salone del Mobile in Milan), the NAWA Pavillion is the first project of this size to use the technology entirely, and is thus coined as “a manifesto of FiDU."
Street Artist Misha Most have finished a gargantuan project – a 10,800 square meter mural set to be the world's largest in Vyska, Russia. The giant mural, titled “Evolution-2” covers the facade of the "Stan-5000" industrial complex from the oldest Russian manufacturer, Vyksa Steel Works. The mural project was chosen in the course of the "Vyksa 10000" open competition and is part of the ArtOvrag urban art festival curated by Sabina Changina and Russian creative studio Artmossphere. Artmossphere is known for curating various art projects, exhibitions, and festivals connected with street art with both established and upcoming street artists.
Currently under construction, new renderings of SkyRise Miami have been released, showcasing the 1,000-foot tower’s numerous mixed-use entertainment facilities from its prime location at the heart of Miami’s downtown core. Designed by local heavyweight Arquitectonica, the city’s tallest tower is being developed by Berkowitz Development Group, since the project’s inception in 2013.
Architecture, as both a profession and the built environment, currently finds itself at a crossroads in trying to adapt to a world in constant flux. Cities and its people face continuous socio-economic, political and environmental change on a daily basis, prompting a necessary rethink in the evolution of sustainable urbanization. With a focus on housing, society and cultural heritage, RIBA’s International Conference, Change in the City, aims to offer insight into the “New Urban Agenda” and how architects can play an interdisciplinary role in future urban development.
Speaking in an interview ahead of the conference, Norman Foster is a strong advocate for a careful consideration of what aspects of urban life need to be prioritized when designing cities of the future. For an increasingly global society, Foster stresses the need for architecture to surpass buildings and tackle its greatest obstacle – global warming, honing in on its roots and factors involved to create viable urban solutions.
They exist for a reason.
Coined by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in Learning from Las Vegas, “Ducks” are buildings that project their meaning in a literal way . No architectural metaphors here - they are exactly what they look like. Many emerged alongside interstate highways, a lone doughnut or dinosaur punctuating the road trip across America. Places like Las Vegas and Macau have built their identity in the kitsch and literal language of architecture – with the duck a strong contributor. Though they get relegated to one of the weird forays of the postmodern era, ducks still make current-day appearances (like the Chicago Apple Store’s recent Macbook roof). Are they fun, kitschy, or just plain ugly? Love them or hate them, ducks have a light-hearted presence in our architectural history. Below are 9 weird and wonderful examples of buildings that make no apologies for being exactly what they are:
Foster + Partners have announced plans for the redevelopment of a major landfill site in Sharjah, UAE, belonging to Bee’ah – the foremost environmental energy and waste management company in the Middle East since 2007. Upon Sharjah reaching its “zero waste to landfill” target by 2020, the site is set for redundancy, sparking a proposed sustainable masterplan as an example of a circular economy and a reflection of Bee’ah’s vision of clean energy and sustainable innovation.
“We believe that this vision, as interpreted through our masterplan, represents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate just what can be achieved at sites like this which feature in every industrialized nation on the planet,” expressed Giles Robinson, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners. “The project will also serve to further showcase Bee’ah’s waste management center as a place where innovation, environmental best practice, and good design take center stage.”
A 440 feet (134 meters) tall stack of twisting cubes, Nexus is an upcoming residential tower planned for the northern edge of downtown Seattle, as the city experiences a shortage of for-sale housing amidst a thriving rental market. Designed by local practice Weber Thompson and commissioned by Vancouver-based Burrard Development, the tower includes 367 residential units and 3200 square feet of retail, aiming to offer one of few residential opportunities in Seattle’s downtown core.
MVRDV have broken ground on a 3,700 square meter creative office project in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Named “Salt,” the new flexible workspace is part of the Minervahaven port redevelopment located on the city’s harbor. Conceived as a response to the lack of flexible workspaces in Amsterdam, Salt aims to provide small, high-quality offices geared towards the demands of creative industries. The building contributes to Minervahaven’s ambition to redefine itself as the city’s new creative hub.
In response to the Yangjaegogae Eco Bridge Design Competition commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, SLOPEWALK is a mountain-inspired bridge designed by a Lithuanian team, KILD, proposing a structure evoking the “pictorial passage through the southern slopes of the two discontinued mountain peaks of Mt. Umyeon and Maljukgeori Parks.” Seeing a current infrastructural void, the project aims to unite the two neighboring mountain parks over the Gyeongbu Expressway, as a continuation of the sloped landscape.
International architecture non-profit Shelter Global has just announced the winners of its third annual Dencity Competition, highlighting innovative solutions that will improve living conditions for over 1 billion slum dwellers worldwide. The goal of the competition is to foster new ideas on how to spread awareness and handle the growing density of unplanned cities .
Russian architecture office Blank Architects have won a competition to design the Rzhevskaya Metro Station in Moscow, Russia. The open international competition searched for proposals to design three stations along the capital’s new metro line: "Rzhevskaya," "Sheremetyevskaya," and "Stromynka." Blank Architects is one of three architecture offices winning proposals for each station, with AI Architects chosen to design "Sheremetyevskaya" station and Map Architects winning "Stromynka." Designed as a sequence of arches and topped with a transparent pavilion, the proposal creates a dialogue between monumental and light elements - a modern addition to the city’s architectural identity.
Ground has been broken on a key component of Canada’s largest urban development undertaking, in the form of a 236,000 square foot mixed-use tower in the City of Vaughan, designed by Toronto-based firm Diamond Schmitt Architects. Situated at the core of SmartCentres Place with easy access to nearby retail and commercial spots, the tower will serve as the new home of PwC Canada, in combination with a 100,000-square-foot YMCA, a 20,000-square-foot public library, 10,000-square-foot community space and 3000 square feet of retail.
The PwC-YMCA Tower further illustrates the architectural quality and urban design excellence that is a hallmark of this smart, pedestrian-friendly precinct, explained Donald Schmitt, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects.
Rotterdam’s skyline is set to welcome a soaring new addition in the form of Cooltoren, V8 Architects’ 150-meter tower that upon completion, will become the city center’s tallest residential tower. Located in the Baan quarter, the design aims to integrate itself within the post-war urban fabric of the district and embody Rotterdam’s historical double layered characteristics – that of the low rise and the skyline.