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.
By now you have probably heard that UNStudio, the Dutch firm led by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, is on target to relaunch this June as an open-source web-based knowledge hub… that, by the way, will still pursue adventurous architecture. We could say they are “launching” this initiative, but it seems more accurate to say they themselves are “relaunching”.
Because of the difficult economic climate in Europe, van Berkel and Bos began to reimagine the practice along the lines of something more fluid, flexible, and agile, a knowledge-based approach to how they work within the office and how they engage the larger world. They are basing this around four topics or “knowledge platforms”: sustainability, materials, organization, and parametrics.
Our friends from UNStudio shared their latest completed residential project, a villa nestled on the outskirts of Stuttgart that offers amazing vistas over country vineyards which are juxtaposed with cityscape panoramas. The sinuous curves of Haus am Weinberg are governed by the idea of creating a “twist” which organizes the programmatic flow of the residence. Ben van Berkel explained, “The Haus am Weinberg adopts a stereovisual spatial effect, acting almost as an optical instrument, whereby not a parallax view, but a parallax experience is created. Moments of parity with the surrounding landscape from inside the house form a constant experiential connection and awareness of its immediate context.”
More after the break, including a great photography set by Iwan Baan.
Yesterday, we shared the appointment of Wiel Arets as the new dean of the IIT College of Architecture. And, to continue with news in the academic realm, the UNStudio pair of Caroline Bos and Ben van Berkel have been awarded Honorary Professorships at two leading international universities, the University of Melbourne and Harvard University Graduate School of Design, respectively.
UNStudio has unveiled their design for the redevelopment of Singapore’s UIC Building (1973), located in the heart of the city’s Central Business District. The concept integrates lush sky gardens throughout a 53-story residential tower and a 23-story office tower, while distinguishing itself with a unique facade made up of five different textures that represent various programs. The climatically responsive structure is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Continue after the break for the architects’ description.
Architect: UNStudio, Ben van Berkel Principal-in-Charge
Location: No. 5 Shenton Way, UIC Building, Singapore
Client: UIC Investments
Building surface: 85.507 m2
Project Team: Astrid Piber and Nuno Almeida with Ariane Stracke, Cristina Bolis; Derrick Diporedjo, Florian Licht, Gustav Fagerström, Hal Wuertz, Jaap Baselmans, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Rob Henderson, Patrick Kohl, Juliane Maier, René Rijkers, Martin Zangerl, Zhongyuan Dai, Jeong Eun Choi, Wing Tang, Stefano Rocchetti, Sander Versluis, Jay Williams, Jae Young Lee
Local Architect: Architects 61 Pte Ltd
Building volume: Residential tower 237m height; office tower 123m height
Building site: 6778 m2
Status: Finalize design development in 2011
Our friends at UNStudio have shared the firm’s latest urban regenerative project, a new UIC building which will help rejuvenate the area of Shenton Way in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District. Entitled ‘V on Shenton’, the part-residential part-office tower maintains a strong 15+ meter wide view corridor as the programmatic elements split and respond to their seperate demands. ”V on Shenton will have an incredible presence within the whole organization of the city and is in that respect a very public project. But we see it also as a sculptural object, where the continuous line of the chamfer highlights the form and where the different textures are not purely related to program, but also ‘dress’ the building”, explained van Berkel.
More about the project after the break.
Landscape Architect: !Melk Landscape Architecture
Location: Qingdao, China
Client: Office of 2014 Qingdao World Horticultural Expo Executive Committee
Building site: 35.000m2
Program: Main Expo Pavilion with integrated Landscape Design
Status: Awarded Competition
For the International Horticultural Expo 2011 in Xi’an, we followed the design, construction and completion of Plasma Studio’s geometric design that extended from the grounds into the water. Currently, Qingdao, a major city in the Shandong province of Eastern China, is preparing for the 2014 Expo under the thematic notion “Let life walk into nature.” The event, which will be held from April through October, will feature three different pavilions (a theme pavilion, plant pavilion and garden culture center) and seven different themed areas that will display local horticulture and allow visitors to experience international gardens, such as displays from Europe, America and Oceania. The focal point of the Expo will be marked by a 28,000 m2 thematic pavilion designed by UNStudio and !Melk Landscape Architecture. The design focuses on the relationship between Science and Nature, using scientific achievement as a source of inspiration to “communicate the essential generative and structural principles of nature through architectural gesture,” explained the firm.
More about the pavilion after the break.
Architects: UNStudio, Ben van Berkel with Arjan Dingsté and Marc Hoppermann, Marc Herschel, Derrick Diporedjo, Kristin Sandner, Rein Werkhoven
Location: Arnhem, the Netherlands
Client: ProRail, utrecht
Contractor: DAM-Dura Vermeer
Gross Roof Area: approximately 8700 m2
Dimensions: 4 platform roofs of approximately 210 metres long, with varying widths from 9-14 metre
Structure and materials: steel, aluminum and cold formed glass roofs
Start of construction: 2009
Planned completion date: 2011
In terms of scale, we typically feature massive projects by UNStudio – such as their Kutaisi Airport, planning scheme for Union Station, and grand performance venues – which all bring the contemporary aesthetic of Ben van Berkel to meet the projects’ respective programmatic and contextual demands. Recently, van Berkel’s team has crafted a covering for the Netherlands’ central rail line, bringing their elegant touch to a structure blanketing four train platforms measuring 210 meters in length.
More about the platform coverings after the break.
We recently shared six conceptual visions for the transformation of Los Angeles’ Union Station. Upon the release of the vision boards, the team’s proposals (EE&K, a Perkins Eastman Company, in association with UNStudio; IBI Group with Foster+Partners; Grimshaw with Gruen; Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners, with Ten Arquitectos and West 8; NBBJ with Ingenhoven Architects; and Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Parsons Transportation Group Inc.) sparked much public interest. As we reported earlier, the Metro staff will recommend a winner to the Metro board on June 28th, but in the meantime, we’d like to share a closer look at some of the proposals.
UNStudio’s proposal with EE&K imagines Union Station as a multi-modal transit hub filled with mixed use development and outdoor spaces. The conceptual vision board explores possibilities for the station and its surrounding areas, highlighting a key integration of transportation and outdoor park spaces with its “green loop” strategy.
More about the vision board after the break.
Metro officials have released six conceptual visions that suggest how the historic Los Angeles Union Station could be transformed by 2050. Preliminary “Vision Boards” were released in a public forum at Union Station last week, and although they are not part of the formal evaluation process, they have ignited an immense amount of public interest in the competition.
In an article posted on The Source, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa described that this competition is “about preparing for the future.” As plans for the California High-Speed Rail System evolve, it is imperative that Union Station is redeveloped to meet the standards of a 21st century transportation hub.
Continue after the break to view each Vision Board provided by the six well-known practices shortlisted for the competition.
European real estate investment firm, Orion Capital Managers, teamed with development company, Groveworld, and received permission to move forward with a 30-storey tower for 257 City Road Basin in London. Designed by UNStudio, the tower will become a new landmark residential development with waterside vistas. Aref Lahham of Orion Capital explained, “The Canal Basin is being transformed into one of London’s most stylish waterside residential quarters…With such an exciting design, 257 City Road will be a highlight of this regeneration effort and a landmark for the area.”
More after the tower after the break.
Earlier this week, we shared a great clip of a comparison video betwen Lady Gaga and SANAA’s new Museum – if the comparison has you scratching your head, be sure to check out the video! Great Spaces has also made a short video of UNStudio’s Amsterdam Pavilion. Upon its opening back in the summer of 2009, we had the opportunity to interview van Berkel about his inspiration for the design. Since then, the landscape and hardscape around the pavilion have been completed, giving it a stronger presence in front of the Staten Island Ferry terminal as it seems more integrated into the swirls of the bike and pedestrian paths. Thanks to Delaine Isaac for sharing the clip.
We are continually impressed by the variety of projects from UNStudio’s office. The firm just unveiled a new vertical city highrise for Singapore previously featured on AD, and recently, the Dutch studio’s international air terminal and traffic control tower for Kutaisi was officially presented by Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia. The country is growing quickly and changing rapidly, with new tourist and economic activity, plus different political developments. As such, the design for the new airport seeks to showcase Georgia new identity by providing a contemporary gateway to the country.
More about the airport after the break.
Last summer, we had the opportunity to discuss Ben van Berkel’s design ideas behind his New Amsterdam Pavilion for New York (see our past coverage here). At that time, while the pavilion’s sleek sculptural form was complete, the interior the pavilion was still under construction. Now, with the interior and landscape complete, the pavilion has opened for public use. Situated outside the South Ferry terminal in Peter Minuit Plaza, the pavilion will serve as a new cultural hub in the middle of an intersection crossed by more than 150,000 residents each day. Conceived as a contemporary “outdoor living room”, the project will provide visitor information, locally grown gourmet food, and a space for spontaneous and schedule activities. Plus, at 12:00, the pavilion will glow with an array of colors in tribute to Peter Minuit whose name translates to ‘midnight.’
More about the pavilion after the break.
In recent years, UNStudio – which has been internationally recognized for its approach to developing dynamic forms – has also grown to focus on sustainability with the intent to decrease C02 emissions. With this in mind, the firm, with consortium DUO², has realized one of the most sustainable large office buildings in Europe for two governmental offices, the Education Executive Agency and the Tax Offices. “The design contains numerous new innovations related to the reduction of materials, lower energy costs and more sustainable working environments. It presents a fully integrated, intelligent design approach towards sustainability,” explained Ben van Berkel.
More images and more about the project after the break.
This year, I Saloni of Milan will be celebrating its 50th year! The cultural institution has grown dramatically over the years from an initial 328 exhibitors featured in 11,000 square meters to over 2,500 in an area now measuring over 200,000 square meters. The Salone Internazionale del Mobile is almost here and several architects will be presenting new furniture. Ben van Berkel of UNStudio has shared three new seating designs that will be featured this month: My Lounge Chair for Walter Knoll, the New Amsterdam Chair for Wilde+Spieth and the SitTable for PROOFF. “The architectural approach to furniture is different from that of the industrial designer as the architect begins with the space and the environment that the chair will become a part of. All the details of the chair are considered for their spatial effects. This architectural approach to furniture is connected to a very personal ideology of space,” explained Ben van Berkel.
More about the chairs after the break.
Our friends from UNStudio have shared their latest 66,000 square meter Galleria in Cheonan, South Korea, with us. The Galleria attempts to re-define the traditional typology of such a place, as changing societal norms in Asia have led supermarkets to operate as “social and semi-cultural meeting places,” according to Ben van Berkel. As a result, the project blends the functional aspect of a large scale commercial store, while placing emphasis on maintaining a sense of public space for social and cultural aspects.
More information and photos after the break.
This weekend on April 2nd, Ben van Berkel of UNStudio will be presenting a lecture during the Smart Geometries 2011 Copenhagen – an event that focuses on the role of digital parametrics in architectural experimentation and design strategies. van Berkel, an avid believer in computational design, will focus on his firm’s projects, such as the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Raffles City mixed use development in Hangzhou and the Star Place Luxury Shopping Plaza in Kaohsiung, to illustrate their application of smart geometries. ”"Parametric design is in itself not so interesting. It needs meaning. We need to combine the possibilities of the virtual with how we discipline the real in a new way,” explains van Berkel. With digital modeling allowing for greater innovation, creativity and experimentation, van Berkel explains how such technologies improve communication on projects to such an extent that design and construction can be much more compact, accelerated and efficient. “In the 90s we were fascinated with the potential of these emerging techniques and their ability to control geometry. However our interest was never solely focussed on the geometry, nor on the computational techniques themselves. Our interest lay largely in the possibility to carry out spatial experiments and to see how the resulting structures could actually be constructed,” states van Berkel. For more information about the lecture, check out the Smart Geometries website.
When Ben van Berkel of UNStudio first unveiled his vision for Five Franklin Place, the elaborate façade of layered strips offered a dynamic picture of what TriBeCa’s newest architectural creation could be. A contemporary take of the area’s traditional metal facades of the 19th century, the 20 story residential tower incorporated a series of metal bans that became the building’s trademark. The black undulating lines served more than a mere aesthetic as they branched from the building’s vertical plane to become spatial entities – providing balconies for residents, and even dual functioning as sun screens. Yet, as Liana Grey shared with ArchRecord, van Berkel’s artistic vision may quickly be coming to a hault.
More about the status of the project after the break.