AD Futures #1: ICE – Ideas for Contemporary Environments

AD Futures #1: ICE – Ideas for Contemporary Environments

During our interviews, we have noticed that most practices have a milestone on their careers, that marks their “jump” on the scene: a competition, one of their first buildings, an innovative project…

While searching for new works and offices to feature on AD for our beloved readers, we have found several practices that are about to take that jump, and that we are sure will put them on the spotlight.

So, we decided to start a new series of articles featuring this practices, so you get to know them before you start seeing them on the traditional magazines/websites. Every Monday, you will find one of this practices featured on AD. And yes, we are open for suggestions (specially if you can show us something exclusive).

Our first chosen practice is ICE, an international practice based in Hong Kong.

ICE stands for Ideas of Contemporary Environments. I got to know this practice after talking with the founder and principal at ICE, Ulrich Kirchhoff. He was the head of design at OMA Asia/RAD for seven years and is now teacher at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

This practice is in the middle of the most vibrating economies, and has been working on master planning, mixed use developments and corporate buildings in the area. This includes CB3, a very exciting mixed use building in Hanoi, Vietnam set to start construction in late 2009; GSXC Steel Exchange Building in Donguan, China; 3V an interesting mix of villas/business hotel in Shenzhen, China and the recently finished offices for Shenzhen Goldi Trading Co in Foshan, China.

I think that CB3, once completed, will be a remarkable building. Hopefully it makes it through the crisis, as many big developments are being put on hold across the world, it´s an interesting project i´d like to see built. And now, onto the projects:

Project name: CB3 Location: Hanoi, Vietnam Client: Asean International Collaborators: Hyder Consulting (Engineering, Site Management), ACLA (Landscape) Design Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff, Claudia Wigger, Louise Low, Bonix Chung Site area: 18,000 sqm Construction Area: 191,000 sqm

The project is a mixed use development in a very dense urban area of Hanoi. Programs are Office, Hotel, Apartments and Commercial. The challenge of the site is the large area to be developed versus the limited street frontage. With those limitation, the design takes advantage of the mixed-use development itself and maximizes connections and program sharing in section as well.

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The connections will be provided by the hotel, putting the public function both into the very top as well as the very base. The top connection form a three story panorama zone. The recreation functions of the hotel (Bar, Pool, Spa, Gym) will be located on top of the hotel. Leisure functions such as Restaurants and Karaoke Rooms will be located on top of the apartments, so that they can be easily share by the residents. Above the office tower Ballroom and business facilities will be located to create a synergy with the offices below.

With offering a great view over the city, the panorama zone will have a rooftop observatory as well.

Project Name: GSSO Location: Foshan, China Client: Shenzhen Goldi Trading Co. Ltd. Start Date: 1 May 2008 Completion Date: 1 Aug 2008 Design Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff, Claudia Wigger, Louise Low Construction Area: 180 sqm

The sales office in Foshan is linked to a series of projects of a construction steel trading company. The design of all projects tries to establish a corporate identity for the client, which uses the traded goods as a main material of the space as well as developing a clear formal relationship between the individual projects.

The main hall of the sales office is a 6 m tall space. The idea is very simple: Once entered, the user faces the main sales counter, which is a continuous development of the wall behind. Wall, floor and counter are made out of the material the company trades. The visitor is confronted with all stages of perception of quality of the traded steel: From the far view to the very physical close encounter.

Project Name: 3V Location: Shenzhen, China Client: Victory Go Group Co. Ltd. Design Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff,  Louise Low Site Area: 2,940 sqm Construction Area: 3,422 sqm

The three villas form the heart of a live-in factory. Targeting business travelers and management, the idea was to create a hotel-like typology with a highly spatial public core, which connects through all three floors.

As the villas face mainly the factory buildings and with the absence of any view, we decided to focus all spatial experience onto the interior. Taking the ‘Miesian’ open plan concept and stretch it through all floors created an open plan, without walls, but distinct areas of function.

The spatial organisation is based on the developed program of BEL (Business – Entertainment – Living), where the public areas offer BEL cluster with a specific spatial quality. These areas are eventually connected through the 3-dimensional open plan.

The materialisation of the villas should follow the industrial character of the site. However, being rather luxury buildings, we researched on how to create luxury finishes out of standard construction materials. Exploring the adding of concrete with graphite, we managed to develop a tiling system, which creates a dynamic reflective effect, similar to the amethyst. The exterior will employ different stages of this mixture: From rough, 3-dimensional tiles to embedded and polished floor finishes.

Project Name: GSXC Location: Donguan, China Client: Shenzhen Goldi Trading Co. Ltd. Collaborators: ACLA (Landscape) Design Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff, Louise Low, Bonix Chung, Ashley Or Site Area: 22,141 sqm Construction Area: 16,000 sqm

The project serves as an iconic center for a construction steel trading organization. The building contains not only the warehouse, but also offices, international trade, leisure facilities and guest rooms.

Given the specific site context of being located at a very prominent junction along the Dongguan/Shenzhen highway, we decided to combine all the program under once roof. The warehouse volume merges into the volume of the other program.

As the site is only leased by the client for twenty years, we were asked to design a building, which can be fully/mainly recycled after that period. With the client being in construction steel, we decided to build everything in steel. Making the facade a showcase for the traded goods, the facade will display the quality of their material. The challenge will be on how much of the building can be recycled after the lease is up.

She studied at the Technische Universitaet in Berlin, Germany and worked for internationally acknowledged companies such as Foster + Partners, SauerbruchHutton and RAD/OMAAsia.

She is a registered architect at Architectural Association Berlin, Germany.

About this author
Cite: David Basulto. "AD Futures #1: ICE – Ideas for Contemporary Environments" 02 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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