The October issue of a+u introduces 14 recent works from around the globe. In particular, the issue is focused on architecture that emerged from the relationship with the urban structures or the developmental history of the site. Over time, they influence and transform the surrounding environment. Architects employ diverse “tactics” in order to create such architecture: collaborating with the residents, relating to the neighboring buildings and open spaces, diversifying the building’s programs, and employing intricate construction details. In this issue, we focus our attention on the process of conceiving the projects driven by various tactics. We invite our readers to look beyond a single building and examine the works' possibilities to be used in a long span of time.
EL CROQUIS, number 173, a monograph on MVRDV, is the third monograph produced by the publisher on this office established in Rotterdam. The current publication collects MVRDV's most significant works from 2003 to the present −presented in full with several construction plans, and a profusion of photographs and sketches. The monograph is prefaced by an interview with MVRDV by the architects Charles Bessard and Nanne de Ru, and a critical essay on their work by Aaron Betsky.
Among the buildings and projects featured the most remarkable ones are the Gemini Residences, the Parkrand apartment building in Rotterdam, the rooftop house extension Didden Village in Rotterdam, the Balancing Barn holiday house in Thorington, the Book Mountain in Spijkenisse, the mixed-use centre Glass Farm in Schijndel and the shopping centre Chungha Building in Gangnam.
Today is Europe day in the EU, and to celebrate we're rounding up some of the best Europe-inspired architecture. First, two buildings designed for European institutions, the Court of Justice of the European Communities by Dominique Perrault and the Council of Europe by Art & Build Architect. Next, we've got a building which celebrates the achievements of Europeans, the Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies. Finally, two buildings which promote the very notion of Europe: the EU Pavilion by Senat Haliti, a message of hope for the 72% of Kosovans who wish to join the EU; and Le Monolithe by MVRDV, which has the first article of the European Constitution imprinted on the facade - expounding a belief in "a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity, and equality between women and men prevail."
Chief Architect of Moscow Sergei Kuznetsov yesterday announced MVRDV as the winners in the competition for the refurbishment of the Serp & Molot (Hammer & Sickle) factory in Eastern Moscow. The design by MVRDV is respectful of the history of the 19th-century steel factory, reinterpreting the existing fabric of the site into 1.8 million square meters of mixed-use space, including housing, offices, retail, schools and a local hospital.
Read on after the break for more project description
MVRDV, in cooperation with the Belgian furniture label Sixinch, have designed a playful furniture series that imagines an antidote to the sprawled, generic urban growth of East Asia's mega-cities. Each of the 77 large cushions in “Vertical Village” - currently on display at Milan's Design Week - take the form of small, densely-packed houses, colorful alternatives to the horizontal, block-like residential buildings that currently dot East Asia's skylines. From the exhibition:
"The Vertical Village - observation of the uncontrolled growth of Asian cities, which has lead to the disappearance of urban villages on a human scale, prompts the designers to develop a livable city model that promotes upward growth: a vertical village composed of small residential nuclei that ensure human relationships and, at the same time, leave room for green areas and gathering places. The installation is composed of 77 large cushions in the form of small houses, all different.”
Fast Company has announced who they believe to be the most innovative practices in architecture for 2014. Topping this list is New York’s SHoP Architects who has gone from “boutique to big commissions in only a few years.” See who made the list after the break and let us know who you believe is the world’s most innovative firms in the comment section below.
In the 20th century, it was going to be the site of the world's tallest skyscraper, but it became the world's largest hotel. In 2006, the hotel was replaced with a fence, the largest advertising space in all of Europe, enclosing acres of undeveloped, highly valuable land. In 2014, it will become Moscow's first - and most important - park in over 50 years.
Zaryadye Park, located on 13 acres of land just a minute's walk from the Kremlin and the Red Square, will become a gateway to Moscow, one that will "project a new image of Moscow and Russia to the world." Because of the Park's significance, the city of Moscow (with aid from the Strelka Institute for Media Architecture and Design) has decided to host an international competition for its re-design.
The 6 finalists shortlisted for this significant project, after the break...
Stretching beyond the natural constraints of Presqu’ile de Caen and into the neighboring towns of Mondeville and Hérouville Saint Clair, MVRDV’s competition-winning vision will transform 600ha of industrial brown fields into a collection of gardens punctuated by a mosaic of urban settlements. This ambition, titled ‘La Grande Mosaique’, is strongly based on respect for the existing structures and defined by small scale interventions that will result in a large scale structure vision for Greater Caen.
The proposal was selected from three submittals by the public development agency SPLA for being, as Caen Mayor Philippe Duron describes, the “most impressive plan”. It was commended by the jury for its “fresh view” on urbanism.
MVRDV’s “mountain of books” in the center of Spijkenisse’s town market square has just been announced as winner of the internationally acclaimed red dot design award for “high quality design” in the Architecture and Urban Design category. The jury selected MVRDV’s Book Mountain from 4,662 entries submitted from 54 countries, lauding the project for its “highly refined detail”.
More information on the building after the break...
Development corporation ADIM Nord with MVRDV and de Alzua+ have been announced the winners of an urban renewal competition in the French town of Villeneuve d’Ascq. Dubbed ‘The Beam’, the winning proposal will transform a cluster of disused parking lots and a former petrol station into a dense, pedestrianized haven, whose 15,000 square meters of offices, retail space and lodging will hover over the adjacent motorway as a icon of a larger urban regeneration effort for the town center.
More information on The Beam after the break...
Today the Nederlandse Tuinbouwraad (NTR) announced the City of Almere, along with it’s MVRDV-designed proposal, as winner of the prestigious world horticultural expo, Floriade 2022. The event takes place once every ten years in the Netherlands and is currently ending in Venlo.
The MVRDV plan for Almere is not a temporary expo site but a lasting green Cité Idéale as an extension to the existing city centre. The waterfront site opposite the city centre will be developed as a vibrant new urban neighborhood and also a giant plant library which will remain beyond the expo.
The ambition is to create a 300% greener exhibition than currently standard, both literally green and sustainable: each program on the site will be combined with plants which will create programmatic surprises, innovation and ecology. At the same time the site will be with a vast program such as a university, hotel, marina, offices and homes more urban than any other Floriade has ever been before, it is an exemplary green city. Continue after the break for more!
By invitation of Director David Chipperfield, MVRDV and The Why Factory will participate in the 2012 Venice Biennale. The main contribution consists of the collaborative project ‘Freeland’ forming part of the single exhibition in the Central Pavilion at the Giardini. Further contribution is made by Winy Maas and The Why Factory with ‘Porous City’ to the EU CITY Program, initiated by the European Forum for Architectural Policies (EFAP) representing Europe for the first time at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
More details on the two exhibitions after the break.
The City of Almere has revealed it’s MVRDV-designed proposal for the Floriade 2022 candidature! Almere is one of four Dutch cities competing to be the next location of the prestigious horticultural Expo, which takes place once every ten years in the Netherlands and is currently open in Venlo.
Rather than creating a temporary expo site, MVRDV has designed a lasting Cité Idéale, which would serve as a green extension to Almere’s city center. Drawing upon research from the radical DIY urbanism plan for Almere Oosterwold and the Almere 2030 master plan, MVRDV has designed an ambitious sustainable city that strives to be a 300% greener exhibition than the current standard.
Continue reading for more on this potential, exemplary green city!
Located in the city of Poznań, this 25.000 m² office building will be MVRDV’s first project in Poland. Sculpted by the restrictions of the site, the glass tower’s figure completely changes shape depending on the direction it is being viewed. Besides the large amount of office space, Baltyk Tower will feature retail space, a panorama restaurant and a proposed one room hotel. Completion is scheduled for 2014.
Continue after the break for the architects’ description.
Rembrand developers, the town of Schijndel and MVRDV recently started construction on the Glass Farm, a multifunctional building in the village square of the small Brabant town of Schijndel. The building, with a total surface area of 1600m2, will contain shops, restaurants, offices and a wellness centre. The exterior is printed glass with the motive of a typical local farm. Construction will be completed in December 2012. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Dutch firm MVRDV has received harsh criticism since they revealed the proposal for two luxury residential towers in South Korea, named after its inspiration, The Cloud. The two towers are connected by a “pixilated cloud of additional program.” Critics are outraged, stating the design resembles the collapsing twin towers of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Amsterdam. With its numerous canals, Renaissance architecture, and bike friendly culture, it is hard not to fall in love with Amsterdam. Also, if you love modern or contemporary architecture one could hardly argue against making this city the first stop on a tour of Europe. Our list of 24 buildings hardly does justice to this amazing city, but it will certainly give those less familiar with the city a starting point. We will be adding to our list in the near future, as we didn’t come close to incorporating all our readers’ suggestions. In the meantime add more of your favorites to the comment section below.
The prestigious recognition of France’s Legion of Honour, was recently bestowed upon MVRDV’s Winy Maas. A French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, on 19 May 1802, it is the highest decoration in France and was given to Mass by French Ambassador to the Netherlands Mr. Jean-François Blarel.