Kjellander + Sjöberg’s Swedish Urban Block to Increase “Civic Dialogue”

Courtesy of Kjellander + Sjöberg

Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, made international headlines last year when it was announced that the entire town would be relocated two miles to the east due to mining operations by the state-controlled company. Now, the first phase of the Kiruna square redevelopment is set to commence with a design by Stockholm-based Kjellander + Sjöberg for an urban block of units around the town’s central square.

Kjellander + Sjöberg, along with development group Skanska, won a competition held by Kiruna Municipality for the square’s regeneration. Under the moniker Fjällbäcken, the urban block responds to the idiosyncratic subarctic climate in a manner the architects describe as “sustainable in the long term.” When realized, the 2000m2 housing development will have 90 and feature a host of sustainable solutions. Onsite rainwater management facilities are incorporated into the project’s planning, alongside provisions for green space and ecofriendly heating and cooling systems.

Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.

New York to Complete First Prefabricated “Micro-Apartments” this Year

With floor areas clocking in at as little as 260 square feet, My Micro NY housing units by nARCHITECTS are the latest singles-oriented housing option to enter the New York rental market. The units will be stacked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this spring, and are projected to welcome their first inhabitants by the end of 2015.

Current New York city zoning and density rules set a minimum apartment floor area of 400 square feet, yet this regulation was waived for My Micro NY in the interests of creating more affordable housing. An inflated rental market has long posed issues for those seeking housing in the city, particularly singles and students with tight budgets. My Micro NY will create 32 stories and 55 individual apartments, whose features include 9 and 10 foot ceiling heights, Juliette balconies, and concealed storage space.

A look inside, after the break. 

Student Housing from República Portátil to Foster Stronger Community Ties

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Chilean architects República Portátil have revealed their proposal for temporary multi-residential housing in Concepción, Chile.  Responding to sites left vacant in the wake of the 2010 Chile Earthquake, the Vertical Student project would accommodate students and members of the general public alike.

Driven by a desire to “promote interaction and relationships among strangers,” República Portátil frame the housing project as a counterpoint to “standardized real estate projects” which, in their view, encourage “social segregation of the city.”

Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.

Creating A ‘Domesday Book’ Of Post-War Tower Blocks

Hulme Crescents, Manchester (c.1971)

The Edinburgh College of Art have announced that they will be creating a ‘Domesday Book’ catalogue of every multistory post-war project in the . The project – called Tower Blocks – Our Blocks! - will contain over 3,500 publicly accessible photographs from the 1980s, documented “at a time when post-1945 high-rise housing is continuously under threat threat across the [UK].” All images will be made searchable in a digital archive.

According to Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, “as the high rise towers that have dominated many towns’ and city’s skylines begin to disappear, it is important for us to capture this heritage and give voice to the experiences of those who live in these flats and communities. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to help make this happen.”

The project is set to be completed by 2017.

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Pei Cobb Freed Breaks Ground on Boston’s Tallest Residential Tower

© Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Cambridge Seven Associates

Construction has commenced on Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ 61-story tower in Boston’s historic Back Bay. The $700 million development will be the tallest residential building in the city, and the tallest tower to rise since the 1976 John Hancock Tower, also designed by Pei Cobb Freed.

“The project allows us to consider once again how a tall building, together with the open space it frames, can respond creatively to the need for growth while showing appropriate respect for its historic urban setting,” says Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

RSHP Reveals Plans for the “Ladywell Pop-Up Village” in Lewisham

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Addressing increasing demands in the London Borough of Lewisham, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has unveiled their plans for the “Ladywell Pop-Up Village,” which is to become one of the UK’s first temporary housing villages.

The short term housing will provide accommodation for 24 families, alongside community and commercial spaces at street level. Drawing its name from the site of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre upon which it is to be located, the Ladywell Pop-Up Village is fully demountable, thanks to its volumetric construction technology. It is envisioned that the housing units will remain at the Ladywell site for up to four years, after which point they can be relocated throughout the Borough as needed.

UK Housing Review Panel “Needs To Be More Balanced,” Admits Terry Farrell

© Agnese Sanvito, via Farrells Facebook Page

Last week the UK Government appointed a new design panel, intended to “ensure that new homes are not only lower-cost but also high-quality and well-designed.” The panel will be led by Terry Farrell, classical architect Quinlan Terry and aesthetics philosopher Roger Scruton, as well as representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the UK Design Council and lobby group Create Streets. However, the profession was quick to criticize the selection of the three lead members of the panel.

Video: Alison And Peter Smithson On Housing

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In 1970 the BBC followed architects Alison and Peter Smithson through the construction of their seminal housing project, Robin Hood Gardens (London). The impact of their architecture continues to resonate well into the 21st century, most recently in the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Robin Hood Gardens was demolished in 2013, bringing an end to the Smithson’s utopian vision. Listen to Alison Smithson explain the European Housing Condition (as the vision stood in 1970), the state of British as it was, and hear Peter Smithson discuss the impetus for their most famous collective housing project.

MenoMenoPiu Proposes Capsule Hotel for Short-Term Housing in Paris

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With nearly 120 museums, has the largest concentration of museums in the world. This, as MenoMenoPiu Architects believes, puts the city at risk of becoming a living conservatory. Therefore the Parisian practice has proposed the “EauBerge Paris Capsule Hotel” as a way to mitigate the need for short-term housing for tourists and preserve the quality of everyday life for residents.

“Just like the other European capitals such as Rome, Venice, or Barcelona, Paris risks to become a city museum,” says MenoMenoPiu. “The increase of tourists in the French Capital causes panic and also leads to a gradual decentralization from the Parisians.”

TED Talk: How to Reinvent the Apartment Building / Moshe Safdie

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Nearly 50 years after realizing Habitat ’67, when the need for high quality affordable housing is at an all time high, Moshe Safdie is expanding on his ideas first explored in the stacked Montreal utopia to discover just how natural light and the feeling openness can be achieved in today’s megalopolises. Watch as Safdie makes a case to do away with the high-rise in the short TED Talk above.

Four Steps to Fix the Global Affordable Housing Shortage

Mirador Housing Project by in Spain aligns with McKinsey’s goals for affordable housing. Image © Flickr User Wojtek Gurak; Licensed via Creative Commons

According to global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, the projected cost of providing affordable housing to 330 million households around the world currently living in substandard accommodation is $16 trillion USD. The firm’s latest report, A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge, assesses critical pathways for providing housing to families across a range of socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. According to the report, adequate and affordable housing could be out of reach for more than 1.6 billion people within a decade. The comprehensive report examines everything from income to cost of heating, boiling down the data into four key mandates aimed at solving the global housing crisis.

The proposed solution is one of ascending goals, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with a four-tiered plan targeted towards households earning 80% or less of the median income for any given region. The program is designed to meet McKinsey’s 2025 Housing Challenge which aims to provide housing to a projected 440 million households worldwide within ten years through community engagement,  gathering funding, appropriate delivery of housing models, and creation of governmental to sustain housing.

Find out the four steps to solving the global affordable housing shortage after the break

ODA Aims to Bring “Qualities of Private House” to Multi-Family Housing in Brooklyn

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ODA Architecture has shared with us “510 Driggs,” a multi-family project that aims to provide residents with the “qualities of a private house” within Brooklyn’s dense urban landscape. Each of the six-story building’s 100 units will be equipped with a large, functional outdoor space and at least two exposures to maximize light and air.

CEMEX Announces International Finalists for XXIII Building Awards

CEMEX has unveiled the international finalists for the XXIII Building Awards, which aim to recognize the best architecture and construction internationally. Spanning across three categories, the recognize housing, institutional/industrial and large-scale infrastructure projects that were built during 2013 and stand out for their constructive solutions, aesthetics and innovative techniques.

Both the international and national winners will be announced on November 5. Read on after the break for the international finalists and check out our coverage on the Mexican finalists for the XXIII Building Awards here

First Look: MVRDV Completes Largest Covered Market in the Netherlands

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Rotterdam’s very own, MVRDV has completed the Netherlands’ first covered market: the Markthal Rotterdam. Unlike any other market in the world, the Markthal presents a new urban hybrid that unites a market hall with .

Within the hollow core of the 228-unit, “horseshoe-shaped” residential building is an expansive, 40-meter-tall public market, offering 96 fresh food stalls, 8 restaurants and supermarket. Colorful murals cover the arch’s vaulted interior, peering through the largest single glazed cable net facades in Europe, which enclose the market.

This sense of transparency and openness was key, as the Markthal is the driving force to the rejuvenation of the Laurenskwartier area and hopes to attract thousands of visitors each year.

A look inside, after the break.

Will Alsop Designs Apartment Tower on Stilts for London’s South Bank

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Led by Will Alsop, aLL Design’s funky apartment tower will soon add a whole lot of interest to London’s south bank. The tubular building, which tapers at the bottom and top, will rise above an existing four-storey building on purple stilts and be adorned with corten steel cladding, brightly colored balconies, and irregular rounded windows. Each apartment will include two balconies overlooking the River Thames and the neighboring heliport – bringing about the name “Heliport Heights.” To learn more about the lively design, keep reading after the break.

Dutch Architects Transform Rotterdam House Into Terraced “Urban Paradise”

© Thomas Mayer

Two Dutch designers, collectively known as HUNK-design, have transformed their 19th century top floor apartment into a “unique city paradise.” Architect Bart Cardinaal and artist Nadine Roos, who have lived in parts of the house in central Rotterdam since their student years, have created a large outdoor terraced space amid the rooflines of a built up area. By demolishing the existing pitched roof, they have constructed what they describe as their “Cabrio apartment.”

Disaster Relief Housing For The Next “Superstorm”

Exterior Of The Prefabricated Relief Housing Units. Image Courtesy of GOTHAMIST / JAKE DOBKIN

With hurricanes Sandy and Katrina etched into recent memory, the need for post-disaster relief housing is now. New York City and Garrison Architects have developed a modular, prefabricated housing system to relieve displaced citizens during the next “superstorm.” At only 40′ by 100′ long, they can squeeze into the city’s smallest corners – all while having kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and storage spaces. The prototype is on display in  – but you can see the entire design at the A/N Blog.

Make It Right Unveils 5 New Designs for Housing in Fort Peck Reservation

’ Design. Image Courtesy of Living Homes

Make It Right, the organization founded by Brad Pitt to provide to those in need, has unveiled 5 designs for their new initiative in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. The designs – by GRAFT, Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Architecture for Humanity, Method Homes and Living Homes - are inspired by cradle-to-cradle principles, will be LEED Platinum rated and have been developed alongside community consultation with the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes of Fort Peck.

The organization is planning to build 20 new homes on the reservation, as well as developing a sustainable masterplan for the entire 3,300 square mile reservation, with construction planned to start later this year.

More on the development of Make It Right’s Fort Peck initiative after the break.