Snøhetta Chosen to Design Le Monde Headquarters in Paris

© Snøhetta

French media company Le Monde Group has chosen Snøhetta to design their new headquarters in . Clad with a pixelated matrix of glass that offers varying degrees of transparency, the building’s distinct facade will be embedded with clusters of LEDs that project “abstracted levels of data,” symbolically representing the group’s continuous “flow of information.”

“The intention is that the façade gives the building a homogenous character when viewed from distance, but at the same time reveals a greater level of complexity as the view approaches – like headlines and detailed content in a news story,” says Snøhetta. “The façade patterns are intended to represent the building as a complete volume, while the distorted pixel map creates a rich tapestry from inside and out.”

Jean Nouvel Boycotts Opening of the Philharmonie de Paris, Saying It Is “Not Finished”

The concert hall under construction. Image © Yves Chanoit

Ateliers Jean Nouvel’s long awaited opening of the Philharmonie de  concert hall took place yesterday at a VIP event in which the French President, Francois Hollande, officiated the ceremony three years after it was scheduled to take place. Jean Nouvel, however, did not attend the event, instead writing an incendiary column for French Newspaper Le Monde, and releasing a statement saying he feels that the building has opened “too early” and it ”is not finished.” He argues that “there were no acoustic tests of the concert hall [as] the schedule did not allow the architectural and technical requirements to be respected, [...] despite all the warnings which I have been giving since 2013.”

SANAA’s Plans For La Samaritaine in Paris Blocked Once Again

Rendering (2011). Image ©

An appeals court has revoked permission for SANAA’s restoration of the landmark Art Deco La Samaritaine department store in . The plans, which would see a comprehensive overhaul of the 19th-century structure that finally shut its doors in 2005 following four decades in decline, would create an all-new shopping centre and luxury hotel as part of a 70,000m² mixed use development.

The project, commissioned by the LVMH conglomerate – which owns brands like Dom Pérignon, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and BVLGARI - was halted because “the wavy, etched-glass facade proposed [SANAA] did not meet local planning requirements and was out of character with the surrounding buildings.” It is understood that La Samaritaine will now appeal to the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court. The city of has mentioned in a separate statement that it would also support this latest appeal.

Videos: Bjarke Ingels on His Europa City Project for Paris

In 2013, Bjarke Ingels Group came first in Paris‘ Europa City competition, an 800,000 square meter cultural and recreational facility on the far North-Eastern outskirts of the city. In an attempt to explain the design of this huge project, filmmakers Squint/Opera have enlisted the help of Bjarke Ingels and a green screen to describe the project - Minority Report style – with a combination of live action and futuristic video effects. In a second video, a detailed walkthrough of the building enlists both 2D and 3D graphics “to capture the excitement and energy of this unique centre.” Read on after the break for both videos.

Françoise Dorleac School / DE-SO

© Hervé Abbadie

Architects: DE-SO
Location: Paris,
Area: 4680.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Hervé Abbadie

Vincent Callebaut’s 2050 Vision of Paris as a “Smart City”

View of the comprehensive city plan. Image Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture

Addressing Paris’ and density issues, French firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has developed a proposal for multiple high-rise buildings with positive energy output (BEPOS). Comprised of eight multi-use structures inhabiting various locations within Paris, the plan strives to address major problems affecting each district, while providing key functions for the city. 

Videos: The Best Architectural Firework Displays of New Year 2015

© Flickr CC user Bengin Ahmad

As any self-respecting world city now knows, when the time comes to change the calenders, you’d better also have an iconic building from which to hang some fireworks. With people all over the world looking out for the most impressive New Year’s celebrations, we’ve picked the most impressive architecturally-focused displays. Not surprisingly, Dubai - the world capital of ”go big or go home” – probably had the most impressive show of the year, with a combined light-and-firework show to turn the Burj Khalifa into the world’s largest celebratory canvas. However, a special mention goes to Paris‘ Arc de Triomphe, where a tasteful 14-minute light mapping display paid homage to the city’s other great architectural works, from the Eiffel Tower to the Centre Pompidou, before moving onto stylized scenes of life to bring in the new year.

Continue after the break for all the videos of the world’s best New Year celebrations.

Ricardo Porro, Architect of Cuba’s National Art Schools, Dies at 89

School of Ballet by Vittorio Garatti . Image © Adrián Guerra Rey via places.designobserver.com

Ricardo Porro, the leading architect behind Cuba’s National Art Schools - one of the largest architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution – has died of heart failure in at the age of 89. After spending nearly a half a century in exile, Porro lived long enough to see his two arts schools reemerged on the world stage as “crown jewels of modern Cuban architecture.”

“When I received this commission, I thought there had not been a good expression of revolution in architecture,” Porro said in a 2011 interview with The Atlantic. “I wanted to create in that school the expression of revolution. What I felt at that moment was an emotional explosion.” Read the full New York Times obituary, here.

Eiffel Tower’s First Floor Refurbishment / Agence Moatti-Rivière

© Michel Denancé

Architects: Agence Moatti-Rivière
Location: Champ de Mars, 2 Allée Adrienne Lecouvreur, 75007 Paris,
Area: 4260.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Michel Denancé

MenoMenoPiu Proposes Capsule Hotel for Short-Term Housing in Paris

© MenoMenoPiu Architects

With nearly 120 museums, Paris has the largest concentration of museums in the world. This, as MenoMenoPiu Architects believes, puts the city at risk of becoming a living conservatory. Therefore the Parisian practice has proposed the “EauBerge Paris Capsule Hotel” as a way to mitigate the need for short-term for tourists and preserve the quality of everyday life for residents.

“Just like the other European capitals such as Rome, Venice, or , Paris risks to become a city museum,” says MenoMenoPiu. “The increase of tourists in the French Capital causes panic and also leads to a gradual decentralization from the Parisians.”

KILO Pitches Woven Tent Outside of Jean Novel’s Arab World Institute

© IMA

In conjunction with the Contemporary Morocco exhibit (Le Maroc Contemporain) at the Jean Nouvel-designed Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, a giant tent has been constructed on the plaza in front of the building. Designed by and Linna Choi of KILO, the tent harmonizes contemporary design and technical innovation with traditional fabrication methods. Constructed from more than 650-square-meters of camel and goat wool woven by female cooperatives in the Saharan desert, the tent serves as an urban landmark and a symbol for the Contemporary Morocco exhibit. The rhythm and scale of the tent’s silhouette renders a topographic dimension to the structure which pays homage to the nomadic traditions of southern Morocco.

Uncovering Viollet-le-Duc’s “Unexpected” Career

Half of a rhombohedron. Remains of a crystal system separating the glacier of Envers Blaitière Vallée Blanche (Viollet-le-Duc). Image © Médiathèque de l’architecture & du patrimoine

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the French architect most famous for the ‘restoration’ of Notre-Dame de , is a person we unequivocally associate with 19th century . Although there is no doubt that his interpretive restorations of medieval French monuments were some of his greatest achievements, a new exhibition at Paris’ Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine seeks to uncover a “well-connected character who pursued an uninterrupted career drawing, building, teaching, restoring, and many other things.”

In a review for DomusLéa-Catherine Szacka examines this first major retrospective dedicated to the designer, theorist and artist since 1980 in celebration of the bicentennial of his birth. According to Szacka curator Jean-Michel Leniaud has, in this exhibition, shifted focus to Viollet-le-Duc’s artistic output, thereby presenting “the less known and the more unexpected aspect” of his career.

Pushed Slab / MVRDV

© Philippe Ruault

Architects: MVRDV
Location: ,
Design Team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Frans de Witte, Bertrand Schippan, Catherine Drieux, Victor Perez, Delphine Borg, Billy Guidoni
Co Architect: North by North West, Paris, FR
Area: 19000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Philippe Ruault

The 9 Most Controversial Buildings of All Time

It is now just over a year since the unveiling of Zaha Hadid’s Al-Wakrah Stadium in Doha, Qatar, and in the intervening twelve months, it seems like the building has never been out of the news. Most recently, remarks made by Hadid concerning the deaths of construction workers under Qatar’s questionable working conditions created a media firestorm of legal proportions. Hadid’s stadium has been widely mocked for its ‘biological’ appearance, not to mention the fact that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for which the stadium will be built, has encountered a storm of controversy all of its own.

The criticism surrounding Al Wakrah has prompted us to look far and wide for the world’s most debated buildings. Could Al Wakrah be the most controversial building of all time? Check out ArchDaily’s roundup of nine contenders after the break.

Find out which buildings top our controversial list after the break

ZAC del Lilas Multi-Purpose Building / SCAPE

© Francesco Mattuzzi

Architects: SCAPE
Location: Porte des Lilas, 75019 Paris,
Area: 3800.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Francesco Mattuzzi

Zac Boucicaut In Paris / Ameller, Dubois & Associés Architectes

© Takuji Shimmura

Architects: Ameller, Dubois & Associés Architectes
Location: , France
Area: 7700.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Takuji Shimmura, Frederic Allinne

Paris’ City Council Rejects Herzog & de Meuron’s 180-Meter “Triangle Tower”

© Herzog & de Meuron

Widening the debate on whether or not should preserve its 19-century skyline or “embrace innovation,” Parisian city council members have rejected the controversial, 180-meter “Triangle Tower” designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Despite the 83-78 vote, the fight carries on; Mayor Anne Hidalgo has declared the veto to be invalid and hopes a new round of balloting will rule in favor of the tower. Though, in a city that fears of loosing its “existing urban fabric to skyscrapers,” it seems unlikely that the tower will be built. 

Climb Inside Numen/For Use’s Membrane of Packing Tape at Palais de Tokyo in Paris

Courtesy of Numen/ForUse

They began with a single roll of tape, frenetically navigating the space between columns with the help of a ladder and a lot of creativity. Ten days and twelve sets of hands later, Tape Paris was completed at Palais de Tokyo for ‘Inside,’ an exhibition of site-specific projects designed to be interactive and introspective. Tape  delves into the physical and psychological experience of interior space through an experiential model of exploration. Visitors travel through a matrix of elastic tunnels suspended precariously above the traditional exhibition space, as guests observe their movements from below. The biomorphic skin is a playground for the senses, offering opportunities to climb, relax, and discover.

Enter the elastic world of Tape Paris after the break