Australia loomed large in the news this week following the announcement for the continent's tallest tower in Melbourne. The competition, which was won by a joint bid from UNStudio and Cox Architecture, boasted designs from some of the world's best-known firms including MVRDV, OMA, MAD, and BIG.
The winning design, named Green Spine, features a pair of twisted towers that stretch an astonishing 360-meters high and connect to the ground with a large, multi-level public plaza. From street level, the spine of the tower twists to form a series of outdoor spaces along the façade, culminating in residential program at the top of the tower.
"In addition to providing the towers with a twisting, sculptural silhouette, the Green Spine is an architectural element that incorporates a multitude of functions in one fluid gesture," said UNStudio founder Ben van Berkel.
And while news of the tallest tower naturally cast a long shadow, this wasn't the only news out of Australia this week. Fender Katsalidis (interestingly, part of a joint bid from BIG for the Southbank tower competition) received approval for their Seafarer's Place project. The building is part of the Northbank Goods Shed development, an effort to redevelop the previously industrial Yarra waterfront. The area, developed following World War Two, is recognized as “the oldest surviving shed specifically designed for modern mechanized goods handling.”
In other district development news, Sidewalk Labs shared their vision for Toronto's Quayside neighborhood. The project, which is part of Sidewalk Labs' smart city initiatives, features heated pavements, large public spaces and mass timber buildings. Located east of the city's downtown area on the edge of Lake Ontario, the Quayside project would be the first neighborhood in Sidewalk Lab's major redevelopment.
In lighter fare, Snarkitecture's ebullient installation expertise enchanted both Washington D.C. and Hong Kong, with their Fun House and Bounce installations (respectively) drawing massive summer crowds. But there's even more fun to be had in the deserts of Black Rock City, where preparations are underway for the 2018's Burning Man. The event, which combines arts, spirituality, technology, music, and so much more is set to open next week. But the burning question for architects remains: will BIG's crowdfunding campaign for the ORB succeed?
Right now the Indiegogo is hovering - much like the proposal itself - around halfway towards it's $50,000 goal. This isn't the first time the office has turned to crowdfunding to make their visions possible: in 2015 the Danish office also called for donations to make their "White Trash" project in Amager, Denmark possible.
But the news of the week came out of Genoa, where the collapse of a bridge claimed nearly 40 lives and opened the world's eyes to issues of infrastructure, maintenance, and funding. The incident occurred on Tuesday 14th August, when one of the bridge’s structural components, comprising of pre-stressed concrete stays and trestles, collapsed onto a railway line and warehouse 150 feet (45 meters) below. The cause of the collapse is not yet known, however, attention is now turning to the bridge’s maintenance record, concerns of its integrity stretching back decades, and how the collapse sits within the broader context of aging Italian infrastructure.
The event has drawn attention and outrage across the globe, and brings issues of infrastructure to public attention. Renzo Piano spoke to Italian newspaper La Repubblica about the event, saying "...this was no accident," and drawing attention Italy's ineffective site diagnosis. While this tragedy took place in Italy, it calls into question ageing infrastructure across the globe.
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A review of architecture and the Olympics from Tom Dobbins. Hosting the Olympics has become both a financial drain and an honor in recent years. And while architecture is far from the only culprit, can out-of-the-box approaches to Olympic design enable Games' that are both eye-catching and affordable?
Homelessness is an issue whose roots are complicated, deep-seated, and systematic. And while architecture certainly can't solve the problem, can novel approaches help mitigate the crisis? This issue gained particular prominence in the last month as newly-elected San Francisco London Breed stated that homelessness crisis in the Californian city was the worst she'd ever seen it.