Strelka Talks: Architecture and Community / Reinier de Graaf

“The ” might be the most frequently used term over the last 50 years of Architectural and Urban discourse. For decades, “the ” has served as a legitimization for anything from Team X to New Urbanism, from Celebration to “”. But what is “the community”? Where should we look for the proper definition? How did communities appear in the past and how do they form today? Can ‘the community” influence the design of its own space, territory or context? If yes, what could be the relationship between the community and architecture in the future?

In his Strelka talk Reinier de Graaf is trying to answer these and other, even more complex questions.

Via the Strelka Institute.

Construction begins on OMA’s Bryghusprojektet in Copenhagen

Courtesy of OMA

OMA has broke ground on a 27,000 square meter, mixed-use development on the banks of Copenhagen’s historic waterfront in the culturally rich Slotsholmen district. Upon its completion in early 2017, Bryghusprojektet will become the new headquarters for the (), while also providing housing, offices, retail, a restaurant, and an urban park. These programs will be stacked over and under the busy Christians Brygge, providing city dwellers direct and uninterrupted access to the water’s edge.

OMA Partner-in-charge Ellen van Loon explained: “Instead of stacking a mixed-use program in a traditional way, we positioned the DAC in the centre of the volume, surrounded by and embedded within its objects of study: housing, offices and parking. The urban routes reach into the heart of the building and create a broad range of interactions between the different program parts and the urban environment.”

More images and the architects’ description after the break…

OMA Proposes Radical Redevelopment Plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center

Aerial from SW; Courtesy of

just unveiled their master plan for the redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center site. Currently in a battle with BIG and Portman CMC for the right to overhaul the 52-acre site, national developer Tishman, international architecture firm OMA, international firm TVS, and Miami Beach developer UIA Management comprise the South Beach ACE team. The vision involves bringing to life one of Miami Beach’s most underutilized public sites with a fully-revamped convention center capable of luring major events from around the world, an iconic hotel, inviting green spaces, low-density retail uses, and cultural venues. 

More images and the team’s description after the break…

A Crash Course on Modern Architecture (Part 2)

High Line, New York, is a good example of what is to come. Image © Iwan Baan

Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup is associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This article originally appeared in GRASP.

Miss Part 1? Find it here.

Architecture is inseparable from planning, and the huge challenge for the current generation is the growth and shrinkage of cities. Some cities, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, are growing at exponential rates, while former global hubs in the northern are turning into countrysides. In the south, populations are still growing a lot, while populations are dwindling in Europe, Russia and North East Asia. The dream of the Bilbao effect was based on the hope that there might be a quick fix to both of these problems. Well, there is not.

A decade ago, few people even recognized this was a real issue and even today it is hardly ever mentioned in a political context. As a politician, you cannot say out loud that you have given up on a huge part of the electorate, or that it makes sense for the national economy to favor another part. Reclaiming the agricultural part of a nation is a political suicide issue whether you are in Europe or Latin America. And investing in urban development in a few, hand-picked areas while other areas are desolate is equally despised.

The one person, who is consistently thinking and writing about this problem, is Rem Koolhaas, a co-founder of OMA.

OMA to Masterplan Southern Neighborhood of Bordeaux

Courtesy of

In order to accommodate the expansion of the local tram system, La Fabrique Métropolitaine de la Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux has commissioned OMA to design a new major urban development in the southern district of Bordeaux, France. Over the next five years, the will regenerate the neighborhoods of Bègles and Villenave d’Ornon by forging new connections to Bordeaux’s central station and unlocking the potential for both city development and public space.

This project is part of the new identity for the “Porte Sud de Bordeaux” (Bordeaux south gate) and continues OMA’s intensive recent engagement in Bordeaux, as the office has been working since 2010 on the masterplan for 50,000 new housing units in the city.

More on OMA’s Bordeaux masterplan after the break…

Best Architect-Designed Products of Milan Design Week 2013

Tools for Life / © Ilan Rubin

This week at the 52nd edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, over 2,500 exhibitors showcased an endless collection of the latest international products and home-furnishing designs. Among them included a variety of elegant and intelligently designed items envisioned by some of our favorite architects. Continue after the break to scroll through a list of the best architect-designed products featured at the .

Coach Omotesando Flagship / OMA

© Iwan Baan

Architects: OMA
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Partner In Charge:
Project Architect: Rami Abou Khalil
Team: Yolanda do Campo, Benedict Clouette with Jackie Woon Bae, Cass Nakashima, Phillip Poon, David Theisz
Area: 444.75 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Iwan Baan

Architects Selected for Competition to Design Nobel Prize’s New Home

Blasieholmen at Nybroviken in Stockholm. Image © Jeppe Wikström

Out of 140 architects considered, 12 architects have been selected by the Nobel Foundation to compete to design their new home, a Nobel Center in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. The conspicuously European selection, chosen for their “design and artistic abilities and experience working in intricate urban environments,” includes some very names – including , David Chipperfield Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and OMA. The only non-Europeans to compete will be ’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

See the full list of competitors, and more information on the competition, after the break…

Fashion Retailer Commissions OMA to Convert Venice Palazzo

Courtesy of OMA

Both Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright can be found on a lengthy list of architects who have tried to build in Venice and lost their battle to conservationists. However, OMA has broke through this barrier, as the practice was recently approved – after five years pending – to go forth with a project to renovate a 16th century palazzo for the fashion retailer Benetton near the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal.

More details and statements from the architect after the break…

Lecture: Designing an Institute for Performance Art

YouTube Preview Image

Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently held a lecture featuring performance artist Marina Abromović alongside OMA principle Shohei Shigematsu in the anticipation of the Marina Abromović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art (MAI) 2014 opening. In the lecture, Shigematsu speaks about the process in which they transformed a former theater in Hudson, New York, into a structure that’s capable of assisting the institute’s mission to develop new kinds of performance, while functioning as a space for preserving and hosting historic performance pieces. Shigematsu references OMA’s history of designing spaces that combine architecture and art, such as the Quebec National Museum and a recent collaboration with Kanye West.

More on this discussion after the break…

OMA Masterplans Airport City in Qatar

Courtesy of OMA

After winning an international competition, OMA has been commissioned to masterplan a new 10km2 Airport City for a population of 200,000, linking the new Hamad International Airport with the city of , Qatar. OMA’s masterplan is a series of four circular districts along a spine parallel to the HIA runways, intended to create a strong visual identity and districts with unique identities. Phase One of the 30-year masterplan, which links airside and landside developments for business, logistics, retail, hotels, and residences, will be mostly complete in time for the 2022 World Cup, hosted by Qatar.

commented: “We are delighted and honored to participate in the exciting growth of Doha, in a project that is perhaps the first serious effort anywhere in the world to interface between an international airport and the city it serves.”

More on OMA’s airport city after the break…

Behind the Scenes of OMA’s Latest Tower with Sustainability Consultant Arpan Bakshi

. Image © OMA

Last month, we reported on OMA’s latest competition winner: the Essence Financial Building, a building that OMA Partner David Gianotten described as “a new generation of office tower” for the city of Shenzhen, China. To talk us through the building’s cutting edge sustainable features, we spoke with Arpan Bakshi, an architect, engineer, and Manager at YR&G, OMA’s sustainability consultants, who led the environmental design for the project.

Learn more about the Essence Financial Building, OMA’s collaborative approach, and Bakshi’s views on the future of sustainable design – for both China and the world – after the break…

Santa Monica Shortlists Three Teams for Mixed-Use Development

Project Site via BING and Architects’ Newspaper

Gehry’s chiseled, 244 foot tower is not the only mixed-use proposal currently being considered by the city of , as officials have selected three international teams led by prominent architects to submit proposals for a “significant” and “signature” development on a 2.5 acre site downtown. Located on Arizona Avenue between 4th and 5th streets, the parcel is currently occupied by a parking lot and two banks. Although the city did not specify a size constraint, the proposed designs will be expected to fit within the surrounding context and include an appropriate mix of of retail, office, hotel and residential space.

The following teams have been asked to submit proposals in May:

The Exhibition Hall / OMA

Courtesy of OMA

OMA is designing a new department store concept in . The Exhibition Hall, in the popular 360° Mall, will showcase the creativity of the region alongside international fashion brands through a flexible curated retail space, featuring cultural programs, exhibitions and installations. The project is led by OMA partners Iyad Alsaka and , in partnership with Tamdeen Real Estate Co.

Architects: OMA
Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Project Architect: Alessandro De Santis
Architects In Charge: Iyad Alsaka, Rem Koolhaas,
Collaborators: Tamdeen Real Estate Co.
Area: 9,400 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of OMA

OMA Wins Skyscraper Competition in China

Essence Financial Building © OMA

OMA has won the design competition for the Essence Financial Building in Shenzhen, China. Led by OMA Partners David Gianotten and , the design beat out four other entries by international and Chinese practices.

The skyscraper will be OMA’s second in Shenzhen (the first being the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which will be completed in April this year). By challenging many typical office tower conventions (such as a central core plan and curtain wall systems), OMA hopes their buildings will help lead the way for a “new generation” of office towers in the city.

As David Gianotten commented in the Press Release: ”OMA is very excited about its continuous and deepening participation in Shenzhen’s development, especially as the city makes its latest evolution: from a manufacturing city into a services hub. This next generation of calls for a new generation of office towers of which the Essence Financial Building could be one.”

More on the Essence Financial Building, after the break… 

Bocconi Urban Campus / OMA

Courtesy of

Looking to redefine the relationship between students, buildings and the city of , Bocconi University challenged architects world-wide to design a “campus for the third millennium”. Although first prize was awarded to SANAA’s courtyard-centric complex formed by a series of undulating figures, OMA’s proposal provides an interesting twist to intercity university campuses.

Formulating a composition of objects that “represents a three-dimensional re-learning of humanistic values”, OMA’s Bocconi Urban Campus proposal sets the stage for Homo Economicus. Two clusters of independent buildings – an “extroverted” new school of management and the “introverted” a-frame student housing tower – are centered around a public amphitheater topped by a canopy of “architectural” umbrellas. While the thirteen story tower shelters the more intimate campus programs and acts as a backdrop to the boisterous new school, all spaces remain permeable to the activities of the surrounding city and establish the most appropriate and stimulating connection.

More photos of OMA’s proposal after the break…

Video: OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu, On New York City


Shohei Shigematsu is the director of internationally renowned architecture firm OMA in New York. He has been a driving force in conceptual projects such as the Universal headquarters in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum extension in New York, the China National Museum and Prada Epicenters for Shanghai and London. Here we visit the New York offices to discuss urban planning, his latest project with Marina Abramovic and the role of architects in society.

HASSELL, OMA, and Populous To Redevelop Sydney Harbour

International Convention Center (ICC), view from the water. Image © SICEEP

Australian firm HASSELL Studio, OMA and Populous have been announced as the winners for the redevelopment of ’s new convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct (SICEEP) at Darling Harbour.

The 20-hectare, billion dollar project, which will stretch from Cockle Bay to Haymarket and Ultimo, will include Australia’s largest convention and exhibition facilities, Sydney’s largest red carpet entertainment venue,  a hotel complex with up to 900 rooms, and a new urban neighborhood in Haymarket.

More on this project, after the break…