During the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, we had the opportunity to speak with David Gianotten, partner-in-charge of OMA’s Hong Kong office. Gianotten launched the Dutch firm’s Asian headquarters in 2009, where he supervises major projects such as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Taipei Performing Arts Centre.
Standing outside of the recently completed Stock Exchange headquarters, he answered our questions about urbanization, innovation and the intricacies of running an office in an environment with such rapid urban growth. Shenzhen has proven an experiment of economic openness and is a vivid example of China’s recent growth. The city’s skyline is practically a physical graph of an upward-trending economy, with buildings designed by nearly every internationally renowned architecture firm. But OMA’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange building stands apart from the rest not only because of its impeccable construction (a rarity in the fast-paced building booms of Chinese cities), but also because it houses the institution that lists China’s biggest companies.
The 254 meter tower is an elegant structure that combines pure volumes with an exoskeleton grid clad in translucent glass. It represents a characteristic OMA-approach to innovative architectural solutions, made possible by extensive programmatic and technical research.
Read the full interview (which includes Gianotten’s insights on the study of architecture, the role of architects, and the importance of simplicity when communicating complex innovation) after the break.
It’s official: Taipei has been selected as the 2016 World Design Capital (WDC). This doesn’t come by surprise, as back in August they were the only city selected by International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to move onto the competition’s final round.
The city campaigned under the slogan “Adaptive City: Design in Motion,” focusing on how design can improve the living standards of their citizens. To strengthen their campaign, officials proposed 20 projects under the “Public Policy by Design” program that intended to strengthen the connection between designers, the public and funders. Over 600 workshops have already been conducted, encouraging collaboration between the city’s top officials and design professionals, and many more are scheduled to take place.
With the recent news that Rafael Viñoly Architects’ 20 Fenchurch Street (or the “Walkie Talkie“) in London has been producing an unusually hot solar reflection, dubbed the “Death Ray,” we’ve put together a list of seven architectural blunders around the world – from the worrying to the downright absurd.
Taipei has been selected by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) as the only municipality to move on to the next phase in the process towards becoming the 2016 World Design Capital (WDC). The selection committee is expected to conduct an onsite evaluation and comprehensive report prior to releasing an official announcement in September.
As an update to last year’s post on WOHA‘s ‘Breathing Architecture’ exhibition, their work has seen great success in Frankfurt and Taichung. Now on its last leg, it will travel to Taipei and be on display from March 22-May 10 at the “Mobile Museum – SEED project”. Reminding us of bold visions of the future, in which plants reclaim nature for themselves, the architects realize the permeation of buildings and landscape, and of interiors and exteriors in projects. WOHA’s tropical architecture is permeable, leafy and interspersed with community spaces, which truly capture the essence of how architecture is breathing. For more information, please visit here. More images can be viewed after the break.
Exhibited at the ‘Next Play: Shifting Ground’ Exhibition in Taipei, the Tower of Colony is the Hong Kong project by Groundwork, which responds to a theme of ‘Displacement’, to transform a one acre site at Huashan, a cultural district at the heart of Taipei City. The architects were interested in how migrants react on a foreign land. By building on the site, they ‘colonized’ one acre of grassland from site, therefore colonizing a fragment of Taipei. Hong Kong, a colony by nature, now has its own colony. Their abstraction of the act of colonization can be observed at two scales: The Tower and The Performance. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Nearly two years after OMA was announced winner of a two-stage international competition, the construction of the new Taipei Performing Arts Center has commenced. This ambitious project, led by OMA partners Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, generated a lot of debate among architects when it was announced back in 2009 due to its particular form. Morphed by a series of programatic operations, the form intersects three types of theater in order to accommodate a variety of performances.
The main theater, which seats 1,500, is expressed on the exterior as a large sphere while the two smaller theaters, each capable of seating 800, are represented as peripheric cubes. All the stage accommodations are brought together within the central cube, allowing for more flexibility as theaters can be used independently or combined, thus expanding the possibilities for experimental performances – an art which is very strong inTaiwan. At the same time, and in a similar way as OMA’s CCTV building in Beijing, China, a “public loop” channels circulation through the building, exposing the spaces that make the TPAC work, areas typically hidden from the public but are as revealing as the performances themselves.
In this aspect, the building is like a machine at work with its engine exposed, somehow reminding me of OMA’s Prada Transformer – a machine-like building (the anti-blob) that changed its configuration to host different types of events.
The 180 million dollar project is set to be completed in 2015. More details, including sections and updated renders, after the break: