Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as AHR - 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 cities 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.
Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French photographer who captures the dizzying heights and uncommon densities of Hong Kong. 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 Horizon, after the break.
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 construction.
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
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 Asia, the Middle East 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.
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.
In 1994, a routine construction 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 Hong Kong 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
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 future urbanism, 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.
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: Hong Kong, Hung Hom, The Hong Kong 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
Photographs: Virgile Simon Bertrand, Doublespace, Iwan Baan
Twenty years ago, one of the world’s most unusual and unexpected pieces of architecture was razed to the ground: Hong Kong’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 documentary, bringing the city back to life and revealing why it holds a special place in world culture today.
MVRDV has begun construction on an adaptive reuse project that will transform a former warehouse in Hong Kong’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.
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, Shanghai 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 cities. 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
From: Sun, 29 Jun 2014
Until: Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Venue: Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai