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, . To talk us through the building’s cutting edge sustainable features, we spoke with Arpan Bakshi, an architect, engineer, and Sustainability 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 is designing a new department store concept in Kuwait City. 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, . Led by OMA Partners David Gianotten and Rem Koolhaas, the design beat out four other entries by international and Chinese practices.

The 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 urbanism 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 . He has been a driving force in conceptual projects such as the Universal headquarters in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum extension in , the China National Museum and Prada Epicenters for Shanghai and London. Here we visit the 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, and Populous have been announced as the winners for the redevelopment of Sydney’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…

The architect at work: 425 Park Ave

YouTube Preview Image

A few months ago we informed you about a competition to re develop the massive “wedding-cake” style building at 425 Park Ave in NY, near Mies’ Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House. The objective of the developer, L&L Holding, was to turn this project into the next iconic building of the city, and for that they invited a group of eleven renowned practices, including ten Pritzker laureates.

The shortlist was announced in October, and included , Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Foster + Partners, which was later announced as the winner of the competition a few weeks ago.

Over the last days, the presentations of the architects to the clients appeared on YouTube, and now we have the opportunity to see these interesting group of architects doing a fundamental part of their work. In the videos we see each architect using their own presentation style, either a PPT, video or just physical boards, connecting it to the practice’s research and discourse, projecting their passion about certain features of their projects and engaging with the client around their main objective: to turn this into an iconic project.

Four videos that take us further into how we understand projects, showing insights that we often don’t have access to, turning the competition into a particular moment of architecture this year.

Zaha Hadid Architects, OMA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners presentations after the break:

OMA’s Plans for “Iconic” Qatar National Library

Courtesy of National Library (http://www.qnl.qa/)

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser has announced the launch of the Qatar National Library (QNL), to be designed by Rem Koolhaas of .

The QNL, a public access library, will symbolically connect the country’s past and future. As her highness explained: “The library’s vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar’s heritage and future demonstrates the significant role QNL will play in unlocking human potential as Qatar builds a knowledge-based economy. A modern dynamic National Library for the country is essential in reaching this goal.”

As such, Rem Koolhass – an architect known both for his iconic structures as well as his success with the Seattle Public Library - has been hand-picked for the important design, soon to be, according to the QNL website, ”one of the most [...] iconic landmarks in Qatar and the region.” As a library on the cutting-edge of digital archiving, the building will require innovative facilities (including over 300 public computers, wifi and multi-media production studios); however, it will also serve the community as a relaxed, social gathering place.

More images of OMA’s plans for the Qatar National Library, after the break….

BIG and OMA Neck-to-Neck For Miami Beach Convention Center

Courtesy of Curbed Miami

High profile architects BIG (Bjarke Ingels) and OMA (Rem Koolhaas) are in a close battle to win the redevelopment competition for the design of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Recently put on hold by a corruption probe and procedural concerns, Miami Beach’s ambitious plans to create a 52-acre convention center district are again progressing toward a crucial vote by elected officials. The committee’s recommendations will be reviewed by interim City Manager Kathie Brooks, who will issue her own recommendation to city commissioners. Commissioners could vote on the project and development teams Dec. 12. More information after the break.

OMA’s Maggie’s Gartnavel wins 2012 Doolin prize

© Nick Turner

The RIAS (Royal Incorporation of Architects in ) has announced OMA as the tenth recipient of the prestigious Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for the firm’s “welcoming, light and spacious” design of Maggie’s Gartnavel in Glasgow.

Serving as an exemplar for alternative healthcare design, OMA’s single story composition for the cancer care center laces together a series of interlocking rectangular spaces that form around a lush courtyard. Transparent walls of the building’s light-filled interior promenade connect patients directly to nature, as the building accommodates for the complex needs of the facility by providing spaces of interaction, personal privacy, and discrete counseling rooms, along with private nooks and corners. A notable characteristic of Maggie’s Gartnavel is the rich use of materials, from the flush inlaid timber and concrete ceiling to the simplistic concrete exterior and expansive floor-to-ceiling walls.

OMA generously donated their £25,000 prize to the Maggie’s Cancer Care Center.

More images after the break…

Video: Ellen van Loon, Architect Profile


Ellen Van Loon is an architect at the forefront of her field. Alongside six partners, including Rem Koolhaas and Reinier de Graaf, her work at the Dutch architecture practice, OMA, has encompassed some of the most iconic modern buildings in the world, including the award-winning Casa da Musica in Portugal. Two of her projects, The Rothschild Bank headquarters and ’s Centre near Glasgow, were recently nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize. She joined the practice in 1998 to lead the design for the headquarters of Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Her specific expertise lie in the balance of business acumen and an in-depth understanding of all technical and operational aspects. Here we profile Ellen, with The Rothschild Bank as a backdrop, learning about the strong bond that forms between architect and building.

425 Park Avenue: OMA’s proposal

View from Pepsi Cola Building © Courtesy of OMA

OMA has shared with us their proposal for the 425 Park Avenue competition, organized by  City developer L&L Holding Co to replace the existing, ageing tower with a new state-of-the-art, LEED-certified . The competition was awarded to Foster + Partners, as reported earlier.

The competition also included Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, KPF, Maki and Associates, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Richard Meier, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects; and all the projects will be presented today at the MAS NY Summit.

OMA’s project was led by partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas. Shohei is in charge of the NY office, where he has been researching strategies for towers in NY and other areas, including a skyscraper in Madison Park, a mixed-use project in Jersey and the  Bicentennial Tower in Mexico.

More information after the break:

100 years under the Dome : 1912-2012

Festival de la mode, David Lachapelle, 1999 © Archives

Beginning on October 16th, 2012, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France, will be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Dome designed by architect Ferdinand Chanut and artist Jacques Gruber in 1912.  100 years under the Dome will be held at the flagship store of the boulevard Haussmann, a true Parisian symbol.  In addition, the gallery will launch an exhibition called 1912-2012. Chronicles of a Creative Itinerary by architect Rem Koolhaas and his studio OMA, along with a collaboration called Chrysalide between visual artist Yann Kersalé and Djuric Tardio – Architectes.

Join us after the break for more stunning images for the anticipated celebration.

National Art Museum of China competition entry / OMA

© OMA (15)
©

OMA has shared with us their proposal for the new National Art Museum of (NAMOC) in Beijing. The Rotterdam-based practice is one of the all-star contenders competing to design the 1.3 million square feet NAMOC that will be built next to the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Bird’s Nest. Even though rumors are flying about a potential winner, the jury won’t announce the final results of the competition until November.

Given the epic proportions of the NAMOC, OMA has chosen to treat the massive structure as a small city by integrating a variety of city-like districts throughout. The proposal includes a range of experiences in both “classical, orthogonal” museum spaces as well as contemporary, open-plan areas. Continue after the break to learn more.

OMA wins competition for new engineering school in France

Entrance from the metro station – Image courtesy of OMA

OMA has been selected from four competing international architectural practices to design the new École Centrale engineering school and its surrounding urban development in the research and innovation zone of Saclay, southwest of Paris.

Spearheaded by Clément Blanchet, director of OMA projects in , the winning “lab city” concept contrasts the corridor linearity of the typical laboratory. The design proposes a low level, -roofed superblock that contains an interior open plan grid, where various activities can interact and be overlooked simultaneously. Continue after the break to learn more.

Venice Biennale 2012: Public Works, Architecture by Civil Servants / OMA

© Nico Saieh

“Forty years ago the public cause proved a powerful source of inspiration.  Given the numbers of architects that chose to serve it, one might even speak of a common ground. In the age of the ‘starchitect’, the idea of suspending the pursuit of a private practice in favor of a shared ideology seems remote and untenable. In the context of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, this exhibition hopes to provide a small contribution towards finding that common ground once more…” – OMA Partner , August 2012

Throughout Europe in the late 1960s and early 1970s, large public works departments employed architects to design a multitude of public buildings in an effort to serve the public cause. Reinier de Graaf describes this “heyday of public architecture” as “a short-lived, fragile period of naïve optimism – before the brutal rule of the market economy became the common denominator.”

Koolhaas to be the Biennale’s next Director?

OMA © Dominik Gigler

Hot on the heels of the Jencks Award, yet another accolade is rumored to be coming Rem Koolhaas‘ way. The claims are flying about the twitterverse: OMA’s Koolhaas will be the next Director of the Venice Biennale.

Dezeen first reported the story after reading a tweet by the Biennale’s current Assistant Director to David Chipperfield, Kieran Long (Long’s also the architecture critic for London’s Evening Standard as well as the former Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Review/The Architect’s Journal). You can read the tweet for yourself below:

Of course, it’s all still rumors at this point, but we’ll keep you updated of any developments in the story.

Story via Dezeen