The “Googleplex” is back on. After the Mountain View City Council announced last year that they would be awarding the majority of the land needed to construct the futurist masterplan designed for Google by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick to fellow tech giant LinkedIn, the future of the ambitious glass-canopied corporate campus seemed to be dead in the water, with the architects even releasing images of a pared down design that would occupy a much smaller footprint. But all of that has now changed thanks to a surprising property swap between the two companies that will see over three million square feet of real estate switch hands.
Dutch firm LEVS Architecten won an international competition to design a new residential zone near the Russian city of Kazan. The winning design encompasses the 180-hectare masterplan for the area as well as its architectural content. Along with VLUGP landscape, LEVS used a "Dutch Approach," embracing pedestrian networks, green space and "spirited architecture." The extent of the project will form its own neighborhood, titled "Machaon Valley," and is intended to be fully realized by 2025.
Two conceptual plans designed by OMA have been unveiled for the redevelopment of Washington DC's 190-acre Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Stadium-Armory Campus site. Released by Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, the phased design concepts aim to "leverage the District's waterfront, provide neighborhood serving amenities and connect the current site with increased and sustainable green space, flexible recreational fields and natural access to pedestrian-friendly paths."
After two years of further development, MVRDV has released new images of their masterplan for Caen in Normandy, "La Grande Mosaïque." The masterplan, which was first revealed in May 2013, re-envisions a 600 hectare area of the center of Caen and the Caen Peninsula, connecting the city to the neighboring towns of Hérouville Saint-Clair and Mondeville.
The design attempts to counter the effects of the area's de-industrialization, integrating historic and environmental elements of the area into the new masterplan. The release of these new images also marks the opening of an exhibition of the design, which will be on public display in "Le Pavillon" in the old city port until the 13th March 2016 in an attempt to engage local residents.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Antalya Mayor Menderes Turel have announced their support for Perkins+Will’s sustainable master plan for Antalya, Turkey. The master plan will revitalize and preserve the Bogacay Creek Basin area of Antalya, improving its quality as a major tourist city along the Turkish Riviera.
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's Royal 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.
Grimshaw Architects has been asked to collaborate with New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle on a $10 billion masterplan that will modernize Washington DC's 1913 Beaux Arts Union Station. Along with the potential to triple passenger capacity, the plan aims to make the station more accessible and efficient, while integrate a new three-million-square-foot, mixed-use development by Amtrak and Akridge over its rail tracks.
"Washington DC deserves a station that serves the region on a practical level whilst celebrating the gateway to the nation’s capital," said Grimshaw partner Vincent Chang.
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.
All the details, after the break.
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.