In recent years, it's been no secret that Dubai has been attempting to diversify its industries, as the city moves on from being an oil-based economy. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Dubai: Making a Creative Capital from Scratch," Ali Morris investigates how the city is building its own design district to rival London or New York - and doing so despite starting from almost nothing.
In cities where a faded industrial area exists, a creative community often follows. It’s a well-established cycle of urban regeneration that has played out in Berlin, London, and New York. Attracted by cheap rent and large, empty spaces, the creatives come, building up areas with independent cafés and stores before inevitably being priced out of the market by the very gentrification they helped to bring about.
So what happens in a city so young that it doesn’t have a dilapidated area for the creatives to occupy? When the city in question is Dubai, which was still just a desert fishing settlement until around the 1960s, you build it from scratch, of course. With the second part of a three-phase build unveiled last year, Dubai Design District (known as d3) is a sprawling 15.5-million-square-foot (1.4 million square meter) development located in a desert plot on the eastern edge of the city. Circled by multilane highways and located between downtown Dubai and a wildlife reserve, d3 has been masterminded as a framework from which to grow and sustain a new design ecosystem.
The impacts of architecture on the quality of human life are often debated, and in the 21st century, projects are under greater scrutiny than ever for the experiences they provide for people. Buildings all over the world must address a specific context, responding to the cultural framework of their users.
In light of this, we’ve gathered 8 projects that have a different sort of user -- projects designed not just for people, but also for animals. Ranging from zoo buildings to aquariums, stables and shelters, these projects have the unique challenge of balancing a human and animal experience. See them all after the break.
Foster + Partners, BIG and Grimshaw Architects have won a competition to design pavilions for Expo 2020 Dubai. Under the Expo’s 2020 theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, the teams were selected from 13 invited practices to design three themed pavilions within the Expo's HOK-designed masterplan: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.
"A key criterion for the competition was ensuring that the designs not only embodied one of Expo’s core themes, but also had the flexibility and longevity to live on as landmarks and functional structures after the Expo is complete in 2021," said the organizers in a press release.
AL_A has won a competition to design a new mosque within the Foster + Partner-designed World Trade Center complex in Abu Dhabi. The 2000-square-meter project, envisioned as a "pathway to serenity" rather than a single building, leads visitors on a journey through an informal park of palm trees that slowly align with the mosque's shifted grid as users approach the Prayer Hall. Once inside, visitors are facing towards Mecca.
"The mosque is envisaged as a piece of the city, one that reflects the journey from the temporal to the spiritual," said AL_A director Ho-Yin Ng. "The mosque and the garden become one, with the trees and the columns forming an informal vertical landscape and allowing Friday prayers to spill outside."
Construction is underway on a new office and retail tower in the Dubai International Financial Center district (DIFC). Designed by Foster + Partners, the 1.5-million-square-foot "ICD Brookfield Place" has officially broke ground and is expected to be completed by late 2018.
"The beginning of construction at ICD Brookfield Place marks the next phase of one of Dubai's most prestigious developments at the DIFC. We were honored to be chosen by ICD Brookfield to design a project that we believe will become a new social focus for Dubai, combining world class office space with a major civic plaza," says Foster.
In the race to bring driverless cars from a futuristic fantasy to a present-day reality, developers have touted a plethora of advantages, from reduced traffic congestion on roads to improved safety thanks to the elimination of human error. But the potential widespread implementation of driverless cars could also have profound impacts on the form of our urban environments, fundamentally reshaping infrastructure and land use. As recently as a year ago, this new technology was seen as decades away; however, recently Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla, predicted that driverless cars will be capable of making cross-country treks within about two years, and a pilot program in the United Kingdom city of Milton Keynes plans to launch a fleet of driverless pod-taxis by 2018, matching Musk’s timeline.
The driverless car future could be just around the corner, and the normally slow-changing infrastructure of cities could be forced to apply quick fixes to adapt. At the same time, the full potential of driverless cars cannot be realized without implementing significant changes to the urban fabric. So how will driverless cars change how our cities work, and how will our cities adapt to accommodate them?
Humanity has become obsessed with breaking its limits, creating new records only to break them again and again. In fact, our cities’ skylines have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. At one point churches left their mark, followed by public institutions and in the last few decades, it's commercial skyscrapers that continue to stretch taller and taller.
But when it comes to defining which buildings are the tallest it can get complicated. Do antennas and other gadgets on top of the building count as extra meters? What happens if the last floor is uninhabitable? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has developed their own system for classifying tall buildings, measuring from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.” Using this system more than 3,400 buildings have been categorized as over 150 meters tall.
In this day and age, innovation is occurring at a faster rate than ever before. And while a majority of ideas may make a small impact before fading away, some inventions are able to slip through the cracks and become a real game changer in their field. Our field, of course, is architecture, and this year there have been no shortage of inventions that may change the way we live and work forever. In TIME magazine’s annual release of inventions of the year, at least 6 may have an impact on the world of architecture, encompassing inventions within the field of architecture itself and developments that could change how we design and experience space. Read on for those projects and what they might mean for our future.
Apple's new Foster + Partners-designed flagship store in Chicago is said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style Homes outside the city. Unveiled first by the Chicago Tribune, the store will feature a 14-foot entry pavilion that will usher visitors from Michigan Avenue down into the sales floor backdropped with views of the Chicago River. A "grand flight of stairs" will offer pedestrians an alternative route to the riverside walkway that flanks the bank.
As Norman Foster describes in his firm’s monograph, Foster 40, “Our transformation of the Reichstag is rooted in four related issues: the Bundestag’s significance as a democratic forum, an understanding of history, a commitment to public accessibility and a vigorous environmental agenda.” Foster’s description sounds straightforward enough, but the process of creating the New German Parliament at the Reichstag was only the latest entry in the long, complex, and contentious history of the building.
Foster + Partners has been shortlisted among 30 other finalists in the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge organized by America Makes and NASA. The proposal calls for a 3D printed settlement built by pre-programmed, semi-autonomous robots who use regolith found on Mars' surface to construct dwellings that can house up to four astronauts each.
"The proposal considers multiple aspects of the project from delivery and deployment to construction and operations," says Foster. "The habitat will be delivered in two stages prior to the arrival of the astronauts."
It is surprising then to find the man or his eponymous firm Foster + Partners absent from a list like Fast Company’s “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture,” organized into superlatives: MMA Architects, “for thinking outside the big box,” Heatherwick Studio, “for reimagining green space,” or C.F. Møller Architects, “for rethinking high-rise living.” This is not to say that Foster or his firm should be substituted for any of these deserved accolades, but rather that for five decades Foster and his firm have ceaselessly worked to enhance and expand on the human experience with architectural solutions that are both inventive and practical - a fact that is perhaps lost as a result of his position within the architectural establishment.
With that in mind, we thought it was worth highlighting the many occasions over the decades where Foster + Partners has shown themselves to be among the world's most innovative practices. Read on for more.
"The building should be about the journey of learning," Mecanoo's founding partner and creative director Francine Houben told the New York Times. "Maybe you come in for a book but also take lessons in English."
Foster + Partners has unveiled designs for a droneport in Rwanda, proposed in an attempt to bring more efficient medical care and commercial delivery services to communities in Africa where there is a lack of infrastructure required to meet the population's needs.
"Just a third of Africans live within two kilometres of an all-season road," explains the press release. "It would require unprecedented levels of investment in roads and railways to catch up with the exponential growth in Africa’s population, which is set to double to 2.2 billion by 2050." Foster + Partners instead proposes to leap that development hurdle by making use of 21st century technology - namely drones.
Overlapped with commentary by the late Steve Jobs, a new video update by drone pilot Duncan Sinfield has captured Apple Campus 2 taking shape. According to the report on MacRumors, work is still being done on the main building's multi-level underground parking structure, while the west campus parking structure is nearly complete. The auditorium now has interior walls and progress is being made on the Tantau development housing research facilities.