While the final products of OMA’s oeuvre are well-documented and widely published, a large portion of the Dutch firm’s work goes unrecognized and relatively unnoticed: the contextual, solution-oriented research undertaken by AMO. OMA’s lesser-known twin, AMO is vital to OMA’s approach, allowing the firm to delve into a world of context and explore possibilities beyond the built form.
It was with this in mind that we sat down with Reinier de Graaf, a partner at the firm. In addition to the building and masterplan projects he also manages on the OMA side of things, de Graaf has been the director of AMO since 2002, overseeing a diverse portfolio of projects. Over the past few years, AMO’s energies have fueled the creation of the curriculum at Strelka; a “roadmap” for a de-carbonized power grid for the EU; and an exhibition that celebrated the architect as civil servant.
From our very first question (what is OMA’s mission?), de Graaf answered with his characteristic aversion to “general terms,” explaining that “[OMA's] mission is to explore unexpected subjects [...] without a preconceived mission.”
Santa Monica’s City Staff has recommended OMA’s competition proposal for a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. The building and surrounding plaza incorporates a civic plaza, cultural venue, retail, residences, offices and a boutique hotel. The City Staff selection panel praised OMA’s project for its iconic architecture and flexibility, saying it would “easily accommodate potential design modifications and adjust to market demand changes in the future.” Santa Monica’s City Council will review the recommendation on August 27th before the project formally proceeds in 2014.
The proposal’s plazas and terraces will add over 55,000 square feet of programmable open space. A cultural venue will sit inside of the building, anchored by office spaces for Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles’ growing tech industry. The project will be led by OMA’s New York office, headed by Shohei Shigematsu. He explained, “Our design provides residents, tourists, and entrepreneurs a dynamic new public realm – a stepped building that achieves a strong interaction between interior program and exterior environments.”
More images and information after the break…
After months of competition, debate, and quite a fair share of controversy (from the Miami politiicans that is), OMA and South Beach ACE have beaten BIG to win the Miami Beach Convention Center masterplan.
Despite the last-ditch efforts of the Miami politicians to keep the drama going (including a presentation on the supposed superiority of the BIG plan, due to time-sensitivity and cost-efficiency) and even the surprising revelation that negotiations with the teams had been taped (we assume to monitor corruption, as accusations of back-handed deals have haunted the vote), the Miami Commissioners approved the South Beach ACE team over the Portman-CMC team (with BIG) in a five to two vote.
The 52 acre mixed-used development will not only include an iconic new convention center and hotel, but will revitalize this underutilized area of Miami Beach with a network of undulating, green spaces that integrate into Miami’s urban fabric. As OMA Partner-in-charge of the project, Shohei Shigematsu, and Rem Koolhaas said in a statement: “We are thrilled to be chosen to develop one of the most significant urban districts in the US. Our design will reintegrate Miami’s vital convention center with its neighbors, offering new facilities as well as amplifying the character of this exciting city.”
Last month we interviewed Shohei Shigematsu about the Miami Project. Check out that interview, as well as a short video of the proposal itself, after the break…
Construction has begun on OMA’s competition-winning proposal for the BMVR (Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale) Library in northern France. Located at the tip of a peninsula in an old industrial port area of Caen, the 13,000 square meter public library is shaped by four protruding wings that point towards four of the city’s landmarks: l’Abbaye aux Hommes, l’Abbaye aux Dames, the train station to the south and a new urban development to the west.
More on BMVR after the break…
OMA, BIG and their partnering developers have until later today to decide whether they want to alter their plans for the Miami Beach Convention Center or walk away from the competition entirely.
The city was supposed to choose between OMA’s or BIG’s proposals, which have been in the pipeline for months, in the next few weeks. However, according to the World Property Channel, the city has now – in a disappointing turn of events – decided that the $1.1 billion project should be radically downsized by removing the residential units and cutting down retail space.
It’s a reversal that will, in the words of Kevin Brass in his must-read opinion piece, remove ”the opportunity for creativity and vision. Taking out the ambition won’t make it a better project, only a smaller project. Miami Beach is providing a textbook example of how not to create a great urban space.”
Story via World Property Channel
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named four distinctive towers from Canada, China, the UK and UAE as the best tall buildings in the world for 2013. Each winning project, judged by a panel of industry executives, has been selected for their “extraordinary contribution in the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, as well as for achieving sustainability at the broadest level.”
“The winners and finalists include some of the most striking buildings on the global landscape,” said Jeanne Gang, awards jury chair and principal of Studio Gang Architects. “They represent resolutions to a huge range of contemporary issues, from energy consumption to integration with the urban realm on the ground.”
The 2013 winners are…
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas will design a new project for the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. RIA Novosti and The Calvert Journal report that the new building will be “located in the museum’s storage facility in Staraya Derevnya in the north of the city” and that it “will house the Hermitage Library, the Costume Museum, the gallery’s publishing arm, and a public event space.” This projects marks Koolhaas’ continued presence in Russia; he has been collaborating and teaching at the Strelka Institute and is currently working on the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow’s Gorky Park.
Vanity Fair reports that Developer Robbie Antonio’s OMA-designed “Stealth,” a $15 million private residence/art gallery in Manila will be completed by the end of the month. The home is a series of stacked, irregular boxes in black concrete, with rooftop pool and waterfall.
Over the last few months, OMA and BIG have been vying for the opportunity to redevelop the 52-acre site home to the convention center in the heart of Miami Beach. With two award-winning, international firms at the center of the showdown, the media frenzy has been intense and the public’s imagination activated. It only remains to be seen if the results, which promise to be visionary, surpass expectation. With so much on the line, we decided to sit down with both OMA and BIG and discuss how their proposals differ.
For extended coverage of both projects see “BIG Unveils Design for Miami Beach Convention Center” and “OMA Proposes Radical Redevelopment Plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center”
City officials have selected OMA’s “stripped-down design” as one of two final projects for the Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc international competition in Bordeaux, France. Stretching over the Garonne River, the OMA-designed proposal seeks to rethink the civic function and symbolism of a 21st century bridge by designing a multimodal “platform that can accommodate all the events of the city.”
“We wanted to provide the simplest expression – the least technical, least lyrical, an almost primitive structural solution,” stated Clement Blanchet, the project architect working alongside Rem Koolhaas. “This simplicity allowed us to create a generous platform for pedestrians and public programs, as well as flexibility in accommodating the future needs of various types of traffic.”
More from the project description after the break…
The Miami Beach Convention Center, a giant box of a building constructed in 1957, is in desperate need of a makeover and two design teams have bravely accepted the challenge. Team 1 is dubbed South Beach ACE (Arts, Culture, Entertainment District) and is a collaboration between Rem Koolhaas‘s OMA firm, Tishman, UIA, MVVA, Raymond Jungles and TVS. Team 2 goes by the name of Miami Beach Square and includes BIG, West 8, Fentress, JPA and Portman CMC. Both proposals completely re-imagine 52 acres of prime beach real estate and cost over a billion dollars in public and private funds. So, who does it better?
Vote for your favorite after the break…
“The Community” might be the most frequently used term over the last 50 years of Architectural and Urban discourse. For decades, “the community” has served as a legitimization for anything from Team X to New Urbanism, from Celebration to “vancouverism”. 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.
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 Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), 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…
South Beach ACE 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…
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.
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 masterplan 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…
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 Milan Design Week 2013.