Now in its 20th year, Berlin-based firm TOPOTEK 1 has been an enterprising player in the field of landscape architecture and public design, with a portfolio of projects that emphasize the social and formal roles that landscape assumes within built work. Largely responsible for the firm’s success this far is the man at the helm, Martin Rein-Cano, who has served as one of the founding partners since 1996.
Founded in 1996 by Buenos Aires-born Martin Rein-Cano, TOPOTEK 1 has quickly developed a reputation as a multidisciplinary landscape architecture firm, focussing on the re-contextualization of objects and spaces and the interdisciplinary approaches to design, framed within contemporary cultural and societal discourse.
The award-winning Berlin-based firm has completed a range of public spaces, from sports complexes and gardens to public squares and international installations. Significant projects include the green rooftop Railway Cover in Munich, Zurich’s hybrid Heerenschürli Sports Complex and the German Embassy in Warsaw. The firm has also recently completed the Schöningen Spears Research and Recreation Centre near Hannover, working with contrasting typologies of the open meadow and the dense forest on a historic site.
Six exemplary projects have been announced as winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Presented once every three years, the award was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to “identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.” To be considered for the award, projects must exhibit not only architectural excellence, but also the ability to improve users overall quality of life.
Selected from a shortlist of 19 candidates, the five winning projects will receive a $1 million dollar prize as they join an acclaimed list of previous winners, which includes buildings from Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Charles Correa, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Hassan Fathy.
When it comes to urbanism these days, people’s attention is increasingly turning to Moscow. The city clearly intends to become one of the world’s leading megacities in the near future and is employing all necessary means to achieve its goal, with the city government showing itself to be very willing to invest in important urban developments (though not without some criticism).
A key player in this plan has been the Moscow Urban Forum. Although the forum’s stated goal is to find adequate designs for future megacities, a major positive side-effect is that it enables the city to organize the best competitions, select the best designers, and build the best urban spaces to promote the city of Moscow. The Forum also publishes research and academic documents to inform Moscow’s future endeavors; for example, Archaeology of the Periphery, a publication inspired by the 2013 forum and released in 2014, notably influenced the urban development on the outskirts of Moscow, but also highlighted the importance of combining urban development with the existing landscape.
Danish architects ADEPT Architects, together with an impressive group of collaborators, have been awarded with the 1st prize on the competition for the Dalarna Library in Sweden. The team includes Sou Fujimoto (Japan, see all his projects previously featured on AD), Topotek1 (Germany), Rambøll A/S (Denmark) and Bosch & Fjord (Denmark).
The new library, placed centrally at the Dalarna university campus, is organized as a ”spiral of knowledge” (see diagram below). The sloping terrain continues in a ramp through the building. Wrapping itself the ramp creates a spiral-shaped space – the heart of the building for information seeking and easy orientation. This organization of program creates a various learning environment where students can take part in the vibrant life of the library as well as retreat into various study niches. The different sound levels and activities create a diverse and eventful library.
Following an international design competition, Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) selected Topotek 1 as the preferred design team to develop the external spaces of the museum in Trafford. The selection panel felt that Topotek 1′s scheme, Camouflage Strategy, best addressed the need for zones of contemplation, creativity and play which would complement the Daniel Libeskind building.
Further project description after the break.