nArchitects’Library as Home has won first place in the 2016 International Young Architects Design Competition for the 110,000 square meter Shanghai Library East Hall in China. Hosted by the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government, the competition sought out designs that enhance Shanghai’s distinct cultural influence and promote community life.
Library as Home reflects these goals in its design as “a large house for all, with a rich variety of environments that Shanghai’s citizens could appropriate as their own.”
At this year's reSITE conference in Prague, speakers attended from around the globe to present differing perspectives on the challenges of migration, with topics of interest ranging from economics, to city planning to architecture. But as revealed by the following presentations, migration is a topic that requires interrogation on a number of different scales and in a number of different contexts: from the global economic focus offered by Saskia Sassen in her opening keynote lecture, to the focused challenges of designing micro-apartments shown by Mimi Hoang of nArchitects; and even to the unusual case presented by Krister Lindstedt of White Arkitekter, when a migration is undertaken not by individual people but by a whole town at once.
When we started talking about migration [as a conference theme], everybody said ‘don’t do it, it’s too controversial.’ We said that’s exactly why we’re going to do it.
This defiant attitude was how Martin Barry, Chairman of reSITE, opened their 2016 Conference in Prague three weeks ago. Entitled “Cities in Migration,” the conference took place against a background of an almost uncountable number of challenging political issues related to migration. In Europe, the unfolding Syrian refugee crisis has strained both political and race relations across the continent; in America, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has led a populist knee-jerk reaction against both Mexicans and Muslims; and in the United Kingdom—a country only on the periphery of most attendees’ consciousness at the time—the decision in favor of “Brexit” that took place a week after the conference was largely predicated upon limiting the immigration of not only Syrians, but also of European citizens from other, less wealthy EU countries.
In architecture, such issues have been highlighted this year by Alejandro Aravena’s Venice Biennale, with architects “Reporting from the Front” in battles against, among other things, these migration-related challenges. From refugee camps to slums to housing crises in rich global cities, the message is clear: migration is a topic that architects must understand and respond to. As a result, the lessons shared during reSITE’s intensive two-day event will undoubtedly be invaluable to the architectural profession.
In his recent article, Nick Axel puts forward a compelling argument for the (re)distribution of city-space according to use value: kickball trophies and absentee owners out, efficient use of space in. Distributing urban space according to use certainly makes sense. Along with unoccupied luxury condos that are nothing more than assets to the 1% and mostly empty vacation apartments, expelling (rarely accessed) back-closets to the suburbs frees more of the limited space in cities for people to actually live in.
nArchitects have released a trailer featuring the development of their “My Micro NY” proposal, which won the adAPT NYC competition in 2013. The competition was conceived as a way of addressing the need for 1-2 person apartments in New York City (see the winning scheme and finalists here). My Micro NY, which re-negotiates minimum size requirements for New York apartments, consists of a series of modular apartment units, that when constructed together, will form the tallest modular building in the city. Watch the video to see the building being erected, and stay tuned for the full feature to be released upon completion of the building.
With floor areas clocking in at as little as 260 square feet, My Micro NY housing units by nARCHITECTS are the latest singles-oriented housing option to enter the New York rental market. The modular units will be fabricated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for stacking in Kips Bay this spring, and are projected to welcome their first inhabitants by the end of 2015.
Current New York city zoning and density rules set a minimum apartment floor area of 400 square feet, yet this regulation was waived for My Micro NY in the interests of creating more affordable housing. An inflated rental market has long posed issues for those seeking housing in the city, particularly singles and students with tight budgets. My Micro NY will create 9 stories and 55 individual apartments, whose features include 9 and 10 foot ceiling heights, Juliette balconies, and concealed storage space.
At the New Cities Summit – held last year in São Paulo – we caught up with Eric Bunge of New York-based practice nArchitects outside of Oscar Niemeyer’s Ibirapuera auditorium. The summit’s theme was centered on the future of cities and Bunge was presenting his firm’s My Micro NY project, which was the winning design of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s adAPT NYC competition. “We’re kind of influenced by New York itself as a microcosm. Our project looks a little bit like a microcosm of the skyline. We’re interested in this idea of re-inventing what micro is and how much of New York you can inhabit,” Bunge said regarding the project.
According to Bunge, housing is based on regulation and therefore one of the most constrained things to design. “I think we can reinvent housing,” he told us.
Watch the full interview to learn more about Bunge's thoughts on reinventing housing, the inspiration behind his My Micro NY project and how he strives to address climate change in his projects.
James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) and nARCHITECTS have released updated renderings for their competition-winning redesign of Chicago’s 3,300 foot long Navy Pier. The slightly scaled-back, revised plans seemed to have dismissed the more “dramatic” and costly facets reviewed in last years’ submittal, such as the floating pool and sand beach, to depict a contemporary “park-like feel.” Highlighted features include the south-facing Wave Wall and grand stairway, inspired by the Spanish Steps in Rome, along with an interactive splash fountain-turned-winter ice skating rink at the beginning of a heavily vegetated promenade.
These updated plans for phase-one of the Navy Pier redesign were released alongside an announcement by the Chicago Mayor’s office that confirmed the project will receive $55 million in public funding.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the winner of adAPT NYC - a city-sponsored competition that challenged developer-led teams to design an innovative micro-apartment that responds to 21st century housing problems. With an all time high of 8.4 million people, and an expected million more by 2030, New York City’s shortfall of affordable one and two person apartments is continuing to grow at a staggering rate. In an effort to solve this imbalance, the winner of adAPT NYC will build an experimental project on a piece of city-owned land in Kips Bay, Manhattan, that has been alleviated from the 1987 density restriction that requires all new apartments to be greater than 400 square feet.
“The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations,” said Bloomberg.
Starting tomorrow, the five design teams selected to redesign the outdoor spaces of Chicago’s Navy Pier will begin to reveal their schemes to the public. Lead by AECOM, Aedas Architects, James Corner Field Operations, !melk and the Xavier Vendrell Studio, each team will be given thirty minutes to present their ideas, followed by a ten minute question and answer session. The presentations will take place on January 31st and February 1st at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Continue reading for the presentation schedules and more information on the competition.
Hometta is an international collective of designers, architects, builders, writers and editors who have banded together to improve the way residential architecture is designed and delivered today. We have been featuring Hometta’s houses designs in the past, which you can check right here.