Arup and GXN Innovation’s Biocomposite Facade Wins JEC Innovation Award

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Arup and GXN Innovation have been awarded with the JEC Innovation Award 2015 in the construction category for their development of the world’s first self-supporting biocomposite facade panel. Developed as part of the €7.7 million EU-funded BioBuild program, the design reduces the embodied energy of facade systems by 50% compared to traditional systems with no extra cost in construction.

The 4-by-2.3 meter panel is made from flax fabric and bio-derived resin. Intended primarily for commercial offices, the glazing unit features a parametrically-derived faceted design, and comes prefabricated ready for installation. The panel is also designed to be easy to disassemble, making it simple to recycle at the end of its life.

Arup Reveals Image Of Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge ‘Cupro-Nickel’ Cladding

New image showing the copper-nickel (cupronickel) cladding. Image Courtesy of

Arup have released a new image of the proposed copper-nickel alloy cladding that will adorn Heatherwick Studio’s Garden Bridge in London. According to a report by the Architects’ Journal, the “concrete structure will be coated in ‘cupro-nickel‘, from its feet on the riverbed up to the base of the balustrades on the bridge deck.” The copper will be donated from Glencore, a multi-national mining company, forming ”a protective skin to the carbon structure giving it a maintenance free 120-year life, protecting the bridge from river and environmental corrosion.” More than 240 tonnes of the metal alloy, which often finds use in medical equipment and ship propellers, will be used.

Arup Unveils Plans for New A.C. Milan Football Stadium

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Arup has unveiled a proposal to construct a new stadium for the Italian football club A.C. Milan in a central area of Milan. If built, the venue would integrate a “modern stage” for the team’s home matches with a hotel, sports college, restaurants, children’s playground and public open space.

“The project has been developed with a fully holistic and integrated approach where all the design components have been carefully balanced around the spectator’s experience,” stated Arup in a press release.

Inequality and Informality in New York: SITU Studio’s Proposal for MoMA’s Uneven Growth Exhibition

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When it comes to discussing informal housing, it’s usually cities in developing nations that take the spotlight – however, as revealed by SITU Studio’s contribution to MoMA’s Uneven Growth exhibition, issues of informal housing are indeed present in cities across the spectrum of development. In this interview, originally posted on Arup Connect as “Inequality and informality in New York,” Sarah Wesseler speaks to SITU Studio principle Bradley Samuels about their unconventional proposal to address an issue that is frequently overlooked in  city policy.

Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, a newly opened exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, focuses on the complex relationship between urbanization and inequality. Over the 14-month period leading up to the launch, six interdisciplinary teams explored how these issues are playing out in different parts of the world, each developing an architectural response for a specific city.

Architecture firm SITU Studio (together with Cohabitation Strategies [CohStra]) was tasked with studying its home city, New York. (Arup transport planner Michael Amabile also consulted with the team.) We spoke with SITU principal Bradley Samuels about the project.

Garden Bridge Gains Final Approval From Mayor of London

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London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved plans for the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge. The approval from the mayor is the third and final green light for the bridge, having previously been accepted by both Lambeth and Westminster councils. The project is now likely to begin construction within a year – in line with a self-imposed deadline by the Garden Bridge Trust that will allow them to complete the project before works on the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel cause disruption on the site.

Westminster Council Approves Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge Plans

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Update: Today Westminster Council approved the Garden Bridge proposals - the second of three required approvals - with councillors voting 3-1 in favour of the . Though London Mayor Boris Johnson still has to officially rule on the plans, it is almost certain that he will ultimately give the go-ahead to the project as he has previously voiced his support for the idea. The following article was originally published on November 13th, after Lambeth Council granted the its first approval.

Is Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge “Nothing But A Wasteful Blight”?

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After a fortnight of highs and lows for Thomas Heatherwick and British celebrity Joanna Lumley’s campaign for a garden stretching across London’s River Thames, Rowan Moore of The Observer has meticulously described the project as “nothing but a wasteful blight.” Although he acknowledges that support for the bridge “has been overwhelming,” he argues that Heatherwick – though an “inventive and talented product designer” – has a past record in large scale design which “raises reasonable doubts about whether his bridge will be everything now promised.”

Garden Bridge Plans Face Fresh Attack After Initial Planning Permission

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After gaining the first in a series of required planning approvals last week, Thomas Heatherwick‘s highly controversial Garden Bridge proposal has once again come under fire from a variety of opponents, with campaign group Thames Central Open Space (TCOS) dubbing it a “luvvies’ folly,” and the Guardian’s architecture critic Oliver Wainwright saying that it is “not in fact a bridge – in the sense of being a public right of way across the river – but another privately managed tourist attraction, on which £60m of public money is to be lavished.”

Much of this new assault is the result of the 46 conditions which came with Lambeth Council’s recommendation to grant the bridge planning approval, which as BD Online uncovered, include closing the bridge between 12 and 6am, a ban on cycling, and a restriction of group sizes to 8 people or fewer, unless booked in advance.

Five Teams Shortlisted To Design Bristol Arena

Vision of the masterplan (commissioned in 2007). Image Courtesy of Bristol Temple Quarter

Five practices have been shortlisted to put forward designs for the Bristol Arena, a cultural and sporting hub which is set to have a 12,000 seating capacity and is due to open towards the end of 2017. The city’s Mayor, George Ferguson (who is himself an architect-turned-politician), has said that “we now have five very capable and talented design teams with a wealth of experience between them drawing up proposals” that will contribute to the regeneration of the city’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (a site close to Temple Meads Station). The five shortlisted multi-disciplinary design teams are consortiums experienced in delivering major cultural venues in the or overseas. A team led by Populous, who completed the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, are running in collaboration with Feilden Clegg Bradley, who were shortlisted for the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize. They are competing against teams led by Grimshaw and Wilkinson Eyre, who recently installed a cable-car across London’s Millennium Dome.

See details of the five teams after the break.

Video: Jan Wurm and Lukas Verlage Discuss Arup’s “Solarleaf”

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In this video from Zumtobel Group, Jan Wurm of Arup Deutschland GmbH and Lukas Verlage, CEO of Colt International GmbH, discuss the unique technological developments in “Solarleaf,” which recently won first prize in the Zumtobel Group Award’s Applied Innovations category. In addition to functioning as an effective shading system, this façade system uses solar panels to produce energy from algae to provide a new source of sustainable energy.

EDA Breaks Ground on the University of Utah’s Newest Place to “Live, Work, and Create”

Exterior. Image Courtesy of Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

A collaboration of EDA Architects, Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, and Arup, the ’s newest project for the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute – “Lassonde Studios” – has broke ground. Slated as a space to live, work, and create, the building supports the mission to make the Lassonde Institute an international destination for student entrepreneurs, innovators and “makers.” The Studios will open for students in fall of 2016.

Architects Envision Buoyant “Thames Deckway” for London Cyclists

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On the heels of Mayor Boris Johnson’s announced plan to construct an 18-mile protected bike lane by March 2016, architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill have released their vision for relieving ’s congested streets with a floating “Thames Deckway” for cyclists. The proposal, though just in its preliminary design phase, claims the river Thames is currently a missed opportunity that could serve as a major travel artery for cyclists. If constructed, the £600 million project would run east-west for seven miles along the river’s southern bank, from Battersea to Canary Wharf, and harness it’s own energy through solar, tidal and wind power. Nixon and Hill have founded the River Cycleway Consortium in support of the project, which includes Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects.

Elemental, Arup, and Studio Tamassociati Win Zumtobel Awards for Innovation

Courtesy of Massimo Grimaldi and Emergency ngo

Jury chairman Winy Maas has announced three projects by Arup, Studio Tamassociati and Elemental as winners of the 2014 Zumtobel Group Awards. With a goal to promote innovations for sustainability and humanity in the built environment, the awards represent three categories: Applied Innovations, Buildings and Urban Developments & Initiatives. This year’s winners were selected from 15 nominees, shortlisted from a competitive pool of 356 submissions. 

The winning projects are marked by their innovative and ground-breaking character: “The voting to find the number one project was very close in all three categories, because in each case we were able to choose from among a large number of heterogeneous projects of high quality,” Described Maas. “One key criterion for the jury this year was the innovation factor, both in a technical sense and with a view to planning and participation processes as well as ecological and social challenges.”

See the winning projects, after the break.

Video: First Look Inside Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner’s “Cheesegrater”

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In a short film for The Guardian Lead Architect and Partner of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Graham Stirk, tours Robert Booth around the almost-complete Leadenhall Building. The building is referred to as a relative of it’s neighbour, Lloyds of London, which was completed by Richard Rogers‘s practice in 1986. Leadenhall, dubbed the “Cheesegrater” due to its angled façade, is twice the height of Lloyds and is considered to be the physical manifestation of the evolution of Rogers’ architectural and tectonic language. Although less “structurally showy” than its counterpart, the building is still unconventionally bold when it comes to structural expression.

Arup Engineers Explain: How the MoMA PS1 YAP Winners Grew Ten Thousand Mushroom Bricks

This year’s MoMA PS1′s Young Architects Program opens tomorrow (you can see the schedule of events here). Find out how the innovative winning design (a tower of fungal bricks), by The Living‘s David Benjamin, was tested and built with this article, originally posted on  as “Engineering a mushroom tower“. Soft, spongy, and delicious on pizza, mushrooms have approximately as much to do with structural engineering as alligators or lawnmowers. Or so we thought, until architect David Benjamin of firm The Living walked into our offices with a brick grown from fungi. This brick was the key to his concept for an entry to MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program competition. Every year, the museum commissions a designer to build a centerpiece for its popular outdoor Warm Up concert series. If architectural design competitions are where brave, innovative ideas rise to the top, The Living’s mushroom tower (official name: Hy-Fi) checked all the right boxes. In addition to the novelty factor, mushroom bricks offer a host of sustainability benefits. The raw materials needed to produce them — mushrooms and corn stalks (waste material from farms) that the spores feed on — are as eco-friendly as they come. Bricks can be grown in just five days, and the process produces no waste or carbon emissions. When the structure is taken down at the end of the summer, they can be composted and turned into fertilizer.

The Dutch Royal Picture Gallery at The Hague to Reopen Following Extensive Renovation

Courtesy of Mauritshuis, The Hague. Image © Ronald Tilleman

The Mauritshuis, a Dutch 17th century city palace in The Hague, will reopen this week following a large scale renovation and extension designed by Hans van Heeswijk with servicing and fire engineering undertaken by Arup. Similar to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, which reopened after a ten year restoration and remodelling in 2013, the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery exhibits one of the finest collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings including Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring. Alongside a large scale renovation, Hans van Heeswijk have also extended the with new exhibition spaces, an auditorium and educational spaces.

Arup’s Latest Solar Panels Produce Energy From Algae

A view behind the BIQ House Solarleaf panels. Image via GOOD. Image

Architects have been experimenting with the potential of building envelopes for years. Now, Arup has an interesting, Zumtobel Group Award-nominated proposal: the Solarleaf bioreactor. Developed in collaboration with SSC Strategic Science Consult GmbH and Colt International GmbH, this thin, 2.5 x .07 meter panel, when attached to the exterior of a building, is capable of generating biofuel – in the form of algae – for the production of hot water. More efficient than electricity and more sustainable than wood, algae is ideal kindling for producing heat, especially since it can be grown on-site. Moreover, the water in which the algae grows also collects solar energy, providing an additional supply of heat. More details on this sustainable innovation, after the break. 

Arup Develops 3D Printing Technique for Structural Steel

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A team lead by Arup has developed a method of designing and 3D Printing  joints which will significantly reduce the time and cost needed to make complex nodes in tensile structures. Their research is being touted as “a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing” which provides a way of taking “firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction.”

Aside from creating more elegant components which express the forces within each individual joint - as you can see in the above photo – the innovation could potentially reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector.

Read on for more on this breakthrough