The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a YouTube channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural ‘vlogging’ can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.
Mecanoo has broke ground on its “Palace of Justice” courthouse in a residential area of Córdoba, Spain. The first-prize winning proposal of an international design competition in 2006, the project was significantly delayed by the area’s economic instability. Slated for completion in 2017, the building aims to unify the neighborhood’s mix of contemporary and historic influences while providing essential public services for the region.
Six years after the original announcement of the project, the first phase of Mecanoo’s new Train Station and City Hall complex in Delft, The Netherlands, has been opened to the public. Within the new station hall an undulating ‘vault’, which has been designed to evoke an “unforgettable arrival experience”, features a scaled 1877 map of the Dutch city rendered in blue and white. Columns wrapped in a mosaic of Delft-blue titles, also reminiscent of the colours of Delftware, one of the city’s most famous global exports. The station platforms below ground have been designed by Benthem Crouwel, the Dutch practice behind Rotterdam Centraal Station.
Mecanoo have shared with us a behind the scenes look at their upcoming exhibition at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum, entitled People’s Palaces. Presenting some of the Dutch practice’s recent public buildings, such as the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize nominated Library of Birmingham and the Maritime and Beachcombers Museum in Texel, the Netherlands, the timing of the exhibition also celebrates the company’s 30th anniversary. Founded in 1984, Mecanoo continues to develop a strong reputation for libraries, as well as cultural spaces and performance venues. This exhibition specifically traces the impact of Mecanoo’s public buildings on local communities.
The RIBA and the BBC have partnered to screen a series of interactive online films in the final week leading up to the announcement of the 18th RIBA Stirling Prize. As the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, given annually to “the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year,” the shortlist has garnered worldwide attention. Although the ultimate decision lies in the hands of a jury, headed by British architect Spencer de Grey, the BBC will host a public vote which is available as of today.
Mecanoo, in collaboration with engineering consultancy Movares, has been chose to redevelop the Ede train station in the Netherlands. An important entry for the city and Veluwe National Park, the design hopes to transform the station into a “showpiece” and vibrant center for the Veluwse Poort.
“The vision of the design is defined by an unobtrusive appearance; the natural environment serves as a starting point for the characteristic materialization that connects the buildings and the station square, emphasizing the area’s built identity,” described Mecanoo.
In an article for the New York Times, Alexandra Lange discusses a number of US projects which are “transforming, but not disrupting,” their respective communities. In this vein, she cites Mecanoo and Sasaki Associates’ new Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, Boston, as a prime example of a new kind of architecture which “comes from understanding of past civic hopes, redesigning them to meet the future.” Examining some of the key concepts that make for successfully integrated community buildings, such as the creation of spaces that actively forge personal connections, Lange concludes that perhaps it is now “time for strategic architecture.”
The idea that urban planning could build upon citizen action, rather than consisting of imposed boulevards or housing blocks (as with the urban renewal that originally gutted Roxbury) is gaining traction.
Read the article in full here.
Dutch based practice Mecanoo, nominated for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the Library of Birmingham, have begun work on vast cultural centre in Shenzhen marking their first project to break ground on Chinese soil. Comprising of a large public art gallery, a science museum, a youth centre, and a book mall, the 95,000 square metre development will strengthen Longgang District’s identity by “providing citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of place.” Forming a dynamic link between the high-rise of the city’s commercial district and the open spaces of Longcheng Park, the four sculpted forms emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered spaces to facilitate public events.
See the full set of images and an illustrative film after the break.
In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) ArchDaily wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Francine Houben of Mecanoo writes on behalf of Christian Richters.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has now announced the six projects that form this year’s Stirling Prize Shortlist, the award that is the ultimate prize for any British building. As the RIBA’s most publicly prominent award, the Stirling Prize is often a prime demonstration of the tension between architecture that is widely appreciated by the general populace, and that which is lauded by architectural critics and practitioners.
This year is no exception, with perhaps the country’s highest-profile project in years – the Shard - just part of the controversy. What did the critics make of the RIBA’s selection? Find out after the break.
The RIBA has announced the six projects that will compete for the 2014 Stirling Prize, the award for the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The six nominees will now be judged head to head for British architecture’s highest honour, based on “their design excellence and their significance in the evolution of architecture and the built environment,” with a winner announced on October 16th. See the full shortlist after the break.
With the recent news that Dutch practice Mecanoo, along with Penoyre & Prasad, have been selected for a £200 million new engineering campus at the University of Manchester, Amanda Baillieu of BDOnline argues that they ”need to set their ambitions a whole lot higher.” Alongside’s Manchester’s announcement, universities in Sheffield, Newcastle and Oxford also recently announced a big investment in their campuses. The trick, Baillieu suggests, will be in ensuring the architecture is not “safe and office-like” (which fits universities’ “business-like” mindset). As we enter a “golden age” in university capital investment, educational architecture will be playing a central role. Read the article in full here.
Mecanoo has been selected to design the new Engineering campus at the University of Manchester. At a value of £200 million, the project will be the largest ever completed by the Dutch Practice in the UK - slightly larger than the popular Library of Birmingham which they completed last year – and will involve both new build elements and a renovation of the University’s Grade-II Listed Oddfellows Hall. The new technology building is part of a larger £1 billion overhaul which the university aims to complete by 2020. You can find out more details at the Architects’ Journal.
Our friends at Mecanoo have shared a fascinating mini-documentary exploring the complex brickwork on display in their latest project in Boston’s Dudley Square, the Dudley Municipal Center(nearing completion). Called “Boston Bricks with a Dutch Touch,” this documentary features interviews with everyone involved in the project – from construction workers to architects – and focuses on the difficulty of using brick in this elaborate manner. Enjoy the video above and check out some fantastic images after the break.
In response to the honor, Francine Houben stated:“I feel privileged to be a woman, to be a mother and to be an architect, which was not always an easy combination. [...] I strongly believe that architecture is about teamwork, about being visionary and supportive at the same time. Women are especially good at that.”
More on Francine Houben, after the break…
The firm was founded in 1984 after Francine and a group of fellow students at the Delft University of Technology won a competition for a social housing complex. Since then the firm has developed a unique language with a special focus on the expression of materials, a strong relation with context, technical expertise, and the precise resolution of details, as can be seen in the TU Delft Library, the La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, the Montevideo Building, and the recently opened Birmingham Library, currently the largest library in Europe.
The firm’s logo, a falling diver ”represents a free spirit and unlimited creativity” according to @Mecanoo__.
In this interview Francine explains the challenges of designing a library, a program currently undergoing quick and constant evolution, and shares her experience running the practice.
Currently, the firm is directed by Francine and technical director Aart Fransen, joined by partners Francesco Veenstra (watch Mies.UK interview), Ellen van der Wal, Paul Ketelaars and Dick van Gameren. Mecanoo has projects under construction all around the world, including the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung (Taiwan, see watch construction video), the Dudley Municipal Center in Boston (USA) and the Shenzhen Cultural Center (China).
Projects by Mecanoo at ArchDaily: