New York City's Van Alen Institute have announced four new members—Haptic Architects, Mecanoo, Studio Libeskind, and Trahan Architects—to their International Council, a platform for exchange among leading architects, designers, developers, and planners. Furthermore, Jing Liu (SO–IL), Kim Herforth Nielsen (3XN), and Raymond Quinn (Arup) have joined its board of trustees to help guide the organisation's cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and design competitions.
In "People, Place, Purpose," the latest monograph of her Delft-based firm Mecanoo, Francine Houben explores the unique work which has enabled the firm to take their place among the world-renowned pantheon of Dutch architects. In the following excerpt from the book, Herbert Wright presents an introduction to the monograph and the themes running through Mecanoo's work in general, breaking down an architecture that is defined not by style or ego but by three overarching responsibilities - and perhaps a dash of color.
On a computer screen, architects can move virtual walls around with just a few clicks, but surely only superheroes can shift an actual wall around physically with their bare hands? So it was quite a surprise, while standing in the Saint Mary of the Angels Chapel in Rotterdam, to see Francine Houben, founding partner of Mecanoo, do precisely that. After some gentle fussing and tidying around the lectern and candles where the priest conducts ceremonies, she walks to a wall, and puts her hands firmly to it. It recedes to let in the sound of tree branches swaying in the wind passing through the cemetery outside.
Tradition and Modernity Come Together in Mecanoo and HS Architects’ Proposal for the Longhua Art Museum and Library
Mecanoo has released their proposal for the Longhua Art Museum and Library, designed in collaboration with HS Architects. The proposal was a finalist for a competition to design a new cultural center in Baoan Qu, a district of Shenzhen, China. Their design recalls the necessity of returning to the Chinese cultural context after years of foreign designs, blending modernity with place and purpose. Read more about the proposal after the break.
One year after scrapping Norman Foster's controversial redesign, the New York Public Library has commissioned Mecanoo to oversee the planned $300 million overhaul of its Mid-Manhattan branch and flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue. The Dutch practice, who is also renovating Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC, will work with the preservation experts of Beyer Blinder Belle - the project's architect of record.
"The building should be about the journey of learning," Mecanoo's founding partner and creative director Francine Houben told the New York Times. "Maybe you come in for a book but also take lessons in English."
Mecanoo has unveiled plans for a new £350 million engineering campus for the University of Manchester. Known as the "Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD)," the project will be the UK's largest, single construction endeavors ever conducted by a higher education institution.
"The campus will help demonstrate how UK engineering is one of the most creative industries in the world – a key feature on the ground floor of the main hall will be a dedicated ‘maker space’ which will provide dynamic workshops for students and academics to share ideas and innovate," says Mecanoo.
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.
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."
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.