Russian-Chinese consortium Turenscape and MAP architects was announced as winners of a major competition to redevelop the Kaban lake system embankments in Kazan, Russia. Their winning concept, “Elastic band: The Immortal Treasure of Kazan” aims to establish a "continuous system of landscapes along the bank line, which will preserve the cultural and historical memory and become a basement for future stage-by-stage development."
"The water is turning into a real living treasure and heritage of Kazan," said the competition's organizer.
Frank Gehry is said to be "quietly" working on a masterplan for the Los Angeles River in California. Prematurely announced by the Los Angeles Times, the City's mayor Eric Garcetti has confirmed the news, saying Gehry is producing "a master plan, in the truest sense of the word,” pro bono.
“To have the [Frederick Law] Olmsted of our time focusing on this, I think, is extraordinary,” Garcetti said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Alice Theodorou, a graduating masters student from London'sRoyal College of Art, has developed a project which attempts to combat the challenges that London is set to face over the next 10,000 years. Her scheme factors in projections for population growth and then decline, rising sea levels, stricter energy targets, material depletion, future space exploration and, most interestingly, language obsolescence.
Foster + Partners has won planning permission to realize the new Yuexiu International Financial City in Wuhan. Sited near Jingwu Road, once famous for its street vendors, the 147,000 square-meter masterplan aims regenerate the city's core by becoming a "walkable, highly permeable" new district that is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding context.
“Our aim has been to create a new urban model for Wuhan – a unique and exciting new destination, with a sustainable mixture of commercial and residential uses, but which feels familiar and of its place. Rather than create an enclosed ‘city within a city’, we have stitched this new quarter into the surrounding streets. It will have a distinctive new identity, but one that is inspired by local architecture, history and culture,” says Luke Fox, Senior Executive Partner, Studio Head of Foster + Partners.
SHoP Architects and West 8 have teamed up with developer Michael Simkins to propose a new 10-acre "Innovation District" in Miami's Park West neighborhood. If approved, the four-block area would foster the "growth of creative technology industries" within the city and provide "world-class urban amenities" to the surrounding communities.
"True innovation today requires the very thing that cities, at their best, have always provided: creative proximity. Even as it continues its rapid development, the city of Miami does not currently offer significant urban environments that meet the necessary criteria," said SHoP in a press release.
X-Architects has won a competition to re-masterplan Mecca. As designMENA reports, the UAE-based practice has proposed a number of safe and streamlined pedestrian routes to "enhance the movement during the 'Nafrah,' the ritual of moving from Mina to Haram and vice versa" during the religious Hajj. The plan also includes a proposed mixed-use development adjacent to Hima Al Masheir (the holy ritual territories) that would provide service and facilities to those taking part in the pilgrimage.
The Dubai Design District (d3) has tapped Foster + Partners to design its masterplan's second phase. Spanning one million-square-feet, the new development will be a "Creative Community" that will serve as a "thriving cultural epicenter" within d3, and an "incubator" for emerging designers an artists.
“This is an exciting initiative, which supports young creatives, and allows Dubai’s design scene to flourish from within," says Gerard Evenden, Studio Head at Foster + Partners.
In order to effectively guide and improve the development and construction of the low-carbon pilot zone and to strength its international influence, Shenzhen Public Art Center, under the request from the Planning and Construction Management Office of Shenzhen International Low-carbon City and Shenzhen SEZ Construction and Development Co., Ltd., has organized an international competition for the PINGDI Pilot Zone – the urban design for the zone’s one square kilometer and the architectural design for its 0.1 square kilometer. The number in PINGDI 1.1 is the numerical sum of one and 0.1 square kilometers, and also represents the improvement and exploration of the low-carbon development method.
Foster + Partners has been appointed through an international competition to develop the “architectural vision” for Jeddah’s city-wide public transport plan. The commission, made official today by the Makkah Province governor, seeks to establish a “long-term, sustainable” city network plan that will foster flexible growth and achieve efficiency through the integration of all modes of transportation, including metro, ferry, bus and cycle.
“The comprehensive plan extends from the design of the stations to the trains and branding,” said Foster + Partners. “In addition, the development of the metro system will create a new urban amenity for the city of Jeddah at key locations below the elevated track.” The masterplan will also allocate space for public squares and various nodes of development.
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has released a conceptual masterplan for Egypt's new capital city following its unveiling at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference. The 700-square-kilometer "Capital Cairo" hopes stimulate Egypt's ailing economy and alleviate Cairo's rising population density, while adhering to the cultural and climatic conditions of its site.
Developed for an international planning and architectural competition, this proposed masterplan for the Città della Scienza by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, coffice - studio di architettura e urbanistica, and Studio d'Architettura Briguglio Morales fuses sustainability with history to propose a self-sufficient urban ecosystem in Italy. Operating on the principle of living facades, the Città della Scienza revitalizes the forgotten military district into a vibrant, continually regenerating living city.
Read on after the break for a closer look at the plan.
Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies.
"It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”
A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has released plans for an ambitious $450 million expansion that will transform it into one of the largest art campuses in the US. The 14-acre masterplan will include three new buildings - one by Texas-based Lake|Flato Architects and two others by museum aficionado Steven Holl Architects - connected by a pedestrianized landscape of reflecting pools and gardens.
The first scheduled to break ground (this year) is the Steven Holl-designed, 80,000-square-foot new home for the Glassell School of Art. The L-shaped, pre-cast concrete structure will, as MFAH describes, pride itself as an extension of the campus landscape, featuring a stepped amphitheater that leads up to a walkable, trellised roof garden.
Russian practice Project Meganom has been announced as the winner in a competition to drastically transform the Moscow riverfront. Their masterplan proposal aims to create a series of linear green spaces, while also incorporating new cultural and education spaces along the waterfront and improving the surrounding public transport. Announced at the IV annual Moscow Urban Forum which opened earlier today, the goal of the competition was to return the Moscow river from a "barrier" into a "link" in the city, restoring its historical status as the city's heart and most important transportation route.
Read on after the break for more details of Project Meganom's masterplan
The City of Cardiff has unveiled plans by Foster + Partners to redesign the city's Central Square, close to the Millennium Stadium, adding over a million square feet of office, retail and residential buildings organized around a new civic square. Explaining that it is "the key gateway to Cardiff" for many visitors, City Council leader Phil Bale said that Central Square's "role in providing a positive image for Cardiff and Wales cannot be underestimated," adding that Foster + Partners' design is "reflective of the City’s ambition to be amongst the most ‘liveable’ cities in the world."
"Don't fight forces, use them." - R. Buckminster Fuller
SCAPE’s comprehensive climate change adaptation and community development project, Living Breakwaters has been announced as winner of the 2014 Fuller Challenge, “socially responsible design’s highest award.” Announced by the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), the proposal was selected over seven shortlisted humanitarian initiatives and will receive a $100,000 prize for their innovative solution to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems.
"Living Breakwaters is about dissipating and working with natural energy rather than fighting it. It is on the one hand an engineering and infrastructure-related intervention, but it also has a unique biological function as well. The project team understand that you cannot keep back coastal flooding in the context of climate change, but what you can do is ameliorate the force and impact of 100 and 500 year storm surges to diminish the damage through ecological interventions, while simultaneously catalyzing dialog to nurture future stewards of the built environment," said Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, a 2014 senior advisor and jury member.
Herzog & de Meuron has unveiled plans for the modernization of the Roche pharmaceutical company’s Basel headquarters. With the first tower already under construction, the overall vision is to consolidate and update all existing facilities, including a historic Otto R. Salvisberg-designed office building, as well as construct a new, four-tower research center and 205-meter tall office tower by 2022.
"The planned consolidation of the existing industrial site will eliminate the need to build over green zones", emphasizes Jürg Erismann, Head of the Basel/Kaiseraugst Site. "Instead, Roche will be making more efficient use of those parts of the site that have already been developed but cannot be expanded.”