AD Interviews: Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, on Appoaching Densification in London

Keith Griffiths. Image Courtesy of Aedas

Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as  - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas’ global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects’ Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London’s Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK’s capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas’ scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European  based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.

To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the ‘urban hub’ typology for London’s metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.

Capturing Hong Kong’s Dizzying Vertical Density

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French photographer who captures the dizzying heights and uncommon densities of . Inspired by “the geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters,” Jacquet-Lagrèze has not only captured the verticality of Hong Kong’s built environment, but also compiled a new book, Vertical Horizon, “a photographic journey between the buildings of a relentlessly growing city.” See more of Jacquet-Lagrèze‘s images, and read an excerpt from Vertical Horizonafter the break.

Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre Wins Inaugural CTBUH Performance Award

© KPF

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates‘ International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong as the winner of its first ever Performance Award. The new award recognizes the project with the lowest measured environmental impact on the urban realm, as measured using actual data from the completed .

The CTBUH explains the need for the prize, saying: “Most awards programs focus on design intent, as opposed to actual performance – often well-intentioned projects are not revisited, and thus not held accountable.” KPF‘s 484-metre tall office tower won the prize based largely on its policy of collecting and sharing performance data.

Read on after the break for more on the award

Aedas Announces Demerger Into Two Separate Companies

As of this week Aedas, which was recently ranked as the 5th largest and influential practice in the UK by the Architects’ Journal, has demerged into two separate practices. The thirteen offices in China, South-East , the and the US, will continue to operate under the Aedas brand whilst the eight UK offices and the offices in Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan will operate under a new name: AHR. According to the outgoing board, the demerger “will allow both companies to focus on their respective strengths and will enable them to grow the businesses in different directions.” The intention is that both groups will continue to work together on projects in the future.

Urban / Joey Ho Design

Courtesy of

Architects: Joey Ho Design
Location:
Artist: VHILS
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Joey Ho Design

Rocco Designs New Campus for Chu Hai College of Higher Education

Courtesy of

Modeled after its dense urban surroundings, Chu Hai College of Higher Education’s new campus in Hong Kong meets a complex program while giving students a fantastic view of the ocean. Designed by Rocco Design Architects Limited, the building’s geometry stacks different programmatic uses on top of each other and connects them with a vertical boulevard. The result is a sculptural entity, partially inspired by Chinese calligraphy, that seeks a balance between solid and void.

Kwun Tong Swimming Pools and Playgrounds / Ronald Lu & Partners

Courtesy of Ronald Lu & Partners

Architects: Ronald Lu & Partners
Location:
Area: 39,000 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Ronald Lu & Partners

Metamorphosis in Hong Kong Documented in ‘Cocoon’ Photo Series

© Peter Steinhauer

In 1994, a routine technique that has been practiced in Hong Kong for over 100 years caught the attention of photographer Peter Steinhauer - and led him to put almost a decade of work into capturing this unique urban phenomenon. The bamboo scaffolding and fabric wrappings he photographs serve the simple purpose of catching construction debris, but at a glance they look more like works by Christo and Jeanne Claude, the artists that have made their name wrapping buildings like the Reichstag in Berlin.

The resulting photos showcase the colossal towers of wrapped in brightly-colored fabric; their usually varied facades are made monolithic, like a plastic massing model rendered full-size. Steinhauer named his photo series “Cocoons” due to the effect they create over time: the buildings metamorphose under cover and emerge transformed.

Read on for more photos of these urban cocoons

Crafting Urban Life in Three Dimensions: An Interview with Adam Snow Frampton by James Schrader

Footbridge in Central, Hong Kong. Image by Adam Frampton

The following are excerpts from one of 41 interviews that student researchers at the Strelka Institute are publishing as part of the Future Urbanism Project. In this interview, James Schrader speaks with Adam Snow Frampton, the co-author of Cities Without Ground and the Principal of Only If, a New York City-based practice for architecture and urbanism. They discuss his work with OMA, the difference between Western and Asian cities, his experiences opening a new firm in New York, and the future of design on an urban scale.

James Schrader: Before we get to , I thought it would be interesting to look a bit into your past. Could you tell me about where your interest in cities came from? Were there any formative moments that led to your fascination with cities?

Adam Snow Frampton: I was always interested in cities, but not necessarily exposed to much planning at school. When I went to work at OMA Rotterdam, I was engaged in a lot of large-scale projects, mostly in the Middle East and increasingly in Asia, where there was an opportunity to plan cities at a bigger scale. In the Netherlands, there’s not necessarily more construction than in the US, but there is a tradition of thinking big and a tendency to plan. For instance, many Dutch design offices like OMA, West 8, and MVRDV have done master plans for the whole country.

UNStudio Selected For Fifth West Kowloon Venue

Foster + Partners’ now abandoned ‘City Park’ Masterplan for West Kowloon Cultural District. Image © Foster + Partners

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has selected UNStudio, in collaboration with AD+RG, to design its fifth major arts venue, the Lyric Theatre, which will sit alongside Herzog & de Meuron‘s planned M+ arts venue at the Western end of the Cultural District. The 1,200-seat theatre will be Hong Kong‘s first world class dance performance venue for ballet, contemporary and Chinese dance. It will also temporarily serve as a venue for drama, opera and musical performances during the of the other venues in West Kowloon Cultural District.

Read on after the break for more on the West Kowloon Cultural District and UNStudio’s appointment.

Jockey Club Innovation Tower / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Iwan Baan

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: , Hung Hom, The Polytechnic University, Jockey Club Innovation Tower 賽馬會創新樓
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Project Director : Woody K.T. Yao
Project Leader : Simon K.M. Yu
Area: 15000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Virgile Simon Bertrand, Doublespace, Iwan Baan

House in Sai Kung / Millimeter interior design

Courtesy of

Architects: Millimeter interior design
Location: Sai Kung District,
Architect In Charge: Michael Liu
Area: 455 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Millimeter interior design

City of Imagination: Kowloon Walled City 20 Years Later

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Twenty years ago, one of the world’s most unusual and unexpected pieces of architecture was razed to the ground: ’s Kowloon Walled City, the most densely populated area on earth. Squalid, dark, and labyrinthine, the informal city was not only a hotbed for organized crime, but also a vibrant community of commerce and hope. Now, the Wall Street Journal has released this short , bringing the city back to life and revealing why it holds a special place in world culture today.

Pak Loh Times Square Restaurant / NC Design & Architecture

© Nathaniel McMahon

Architects: NC Design & Architecture
Location: Times Square Car Park, Causeway Bay,
Area: 6,000 sqft
Photographs: Nathaniel McMahon

Boathouse Home Office / Bean Buro

Courtesy of Bean Buro

Architects: Bean Buro
Location: ,
Area: 1,200 sqft
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Bean Buro

MVRDV Begins Work on Cheung Fai Conversion in Hong Kong

©

MVRDV has begun construction on an adaptive reuse project that will transform a former warehouse in ’s newly designated business area of East Kowloon – the Kwun Tong district – into a “luxurious loft style working environment” for creative companies. The 14-story structure will be stripped down to its raw concrete bones and reconstructed with glass and stainless steel to provide up to 37 naturally lit, affordable office units.

Spring / Joey Ho Design

© Dick Liu

Architects: Joey Ho Design
Location: Centre Point, Wan Chai,
Architect In Charge: Joey Ho
Design Team: Noel Chan
Area: 697 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Dick Liu

International Summer Programme: Cities in Asia

Cities in Asia HKG-SHA-SIN is a four-week design and research studio organized by the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Architecture. Taught with daily learning activities by a diverse group of faculty members from the University of Hong Kong, and speakers from internationally renowned universities and independent research groups, this course offers participants a design studio experience within Asia’s most vibrant contexts.

This credit-bearing course will introduce participants to different architecture and building types that have emerged from the current state of rapid urbanization in Hong Kong, and Singapore. These urban building types are unique in the way they resist and subvert, or become mutated or subsumed by the prevailing socio-political and economic conditions of the three . Participants will learn about new architectural and urban theories and analytical methods that will broaden their knowledge of architecture and the city. The course will expose students to the inter-disciplinary nature of the subject, promoting more diverse attitudes towards difference and change, and encouraging greater confidence in applying the use of such knowledge to design and the broader society.

Registration deadline is April 16. To register, please go to the event’s official website.

Title: International Summer Programme: Cities in Asia
Website: http://fac.arch.hku.hk/summer/cities-in-asia/
From: Sun, 29 Jun 2014
Until: Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Venue: Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai