Putting together competition entries from all around the world, this week’s curated feature for Best Unbuilt Architecture showcases inspiring approaches and concepts. Submitted by our readers, the selection highlights uncommon proposals, part of international contests. While some are winning projects, others received honorable mentions.
Serie imagines stacked timber pavilion-like offices, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, LAVA, and Latz + Partner design new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Neckar River in Heidelberg, Germany and Aidia Studio create an Oculus in the Emirati desert. Other competition entries include a landscaped avenue by ZXD Architects in Hangzhou, a community school in Egypt by Hand Over, a winning pavilion for the Singapore’s Archifest 2020 by ADDP Architects and OWIU Design Studio; and a Baha’i House of Worship by SpaceMatters in India.
Read on to discover 12 selected projects submitted to international competitions and their descriptions from the architects.
The Rub’ al Khali Oculus
The design of the Oculus is inspired by how desert organisms through specific features in their anatomy are able to self-shade to reduce their internal temperature and in doing so are able to survive the extreme temperatures of desert climates. Adaptability is at the core of a discretionary performance letting them increase activity during the night where the heat recedes. So, in designing an inhabitable pod for the desert, we devised a form that morphs into different configurations depending on the time of the day, climate, and the programmatic needs of users.
Through miles of landscape
ZXD Architects successfully won the bid in the Central Landscape Avenue (Pinglian Road) in the North Borough of Hangzhou City. “Through miles of landscape” fully studies the characteristics of Hangzhou’s existing urban landscapes and the canal. It organically and naturally integrates the three major cultural elements: the canal, Mount Banshan, and the industry with the aesthetic connotation of the landscapes. The design is to lead the citizens into the picture of rippling water, green high hills, and the blast furnace while confronting the existing reality and existence of the modern urban traffic on both sides of the street.
Tower of Tables
An invited competition proposal for a future-oriented highrise office, ‘Tower of Tables’ emphasizes an architectural response to current climatic challenges. The project re-imagines the highrise tower as a series of stacked pavilions in response to its tropical context. The stacked pavilion concept—compartmentalizing four to six-story workspace communities with surrounding landscape terraces—facilitates the collaborative nature of contemporary office-based work.
Cycle And Pedestrian Bridge Heidelberg
Schlaich Bergermann Partner, LAVA, and Latz + Partner have won first prize in an international competition for the design of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Neckar River in Heidelberg. The design language is elegant, minimalist, restrained. With generously curved lines, the bridge provides a direct, accessible, and smooth north-south connection for cyclists and pedestrians. The 700m long bridge is a continuous path linking urban developments on both sides of the Neckar.
Force Majeure - Futura
For a future that must confront the consequences of climate change, destructive human patterns, food deserts, and resource depletion, a new ecosystem high above the ground is imagined for a post-pandemic middle school. Social distancing, health, and sanitation are addressed within a matrix of pods interconnected by a preprogrammed transit system, soaring classrooms with niches for each student, and controlled interactions with nature.
Al-Sheikh Hasan Community School
Al-Sheikh Hasan is a community school serving nine small villages of Ezbet El-Shaikh Hasan local village unit in Matay, Al Minya Governorate, where the students need to walk every day 10 km to go to the school and back home again. The purpose of the building is to evoke this long and arduous trip of children between the agricultural fields and transform it into a journey between active, dynamic, and educational spaces. The structure is translated by creating many paths around the building units. It provides a spatial experience for the kids by creating in-between spaces that allow them to through a learning experience journey depending on “unknowing then knowing”.
TLS Landscape Architecture (Berkeley and Shanghai) + AZPML Architecture LTD (London and New York) were announced as the winners of an international competition for the central green axis landscape design of the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base. Inspired by the open model of a college campus, the proposed “Super Campus” seeks to create an interactive model for multi-leveled open space as a collaborative hub of global interconnection.
Piscina Mirabilis is a Roman reservoir built by Emperor Augustus in the 1st century AD, in order to supply drinking water to his western Mediterranean war fleet. Converting this space to a Contemporary Art Museum, after almost twenty centuries, we used “TIME” as an inspiration. No matter the past or the future, even the present, the Piscina Mirabilis has an important history for people all over the world.
Reclaiming Connectivity Pavilion
Singapore’s ADDP Architects, in collaboration with LA-based architecture and design firm OWIU Design Studio, have been awarded first prize in the prestigious SIA-LES Archifest Pavilion Design Competition. The two firms will be commissioned to design and build their ‘Reclaiming Connectivity’ pavilion scheme for use as the main pavilion of Singapore’s Archifest 2020 - “Architecture Saving OUR World.” Launching as a Virtual Tour on September 25, 2020. The pavilion will test new architectural ideas for post-COVID-19 design from its total prefab construction to its spatial layout, sustainable wooden material composition, functional tectonic glass design, and light manipulation.
Baha’i House of Worship
Space Matters‘ winning entry for the Baha’i House of Worship in Bihar Sharif, India engages with the spiritual power of space and is based on the faith’s strong sense of spiritual oneness, equality and inclusion. The essential form is a dome. The relief work on the dome draws from fractals – patterns ubiquitous in nature – and the Madhubani folk art of Bihar; combining both universal and local influence. A complex combination of arches and squinches rises up – creating playful patterns and apertures.
Beijing Old Cement Factory Renovation Competition
HPP and BIAD
HPP and BIAD won the Beijing Old Cement Factory Renovation Competition. This project located in Huairou, a suburb of Beijing, is surrounded by mountains and a unique mine park. The design fully respects the historical trajectory of industrial culture, adapts the cement silos, air pipe corridors, red brick facade silos and red-brick buildings, and retains the original structure and materials in many places. At the same time, the addition of new features to increase the vitality of the park, the total building size of about 70,000 square meters.
Our proposal for the design of Plaza 3 in San Isidro seeks in the first stay to take advantage of its strategic location of "urban pivot", completing a circuit of public spaces in the area. This unification is evidenced through a physical but at the same time natural support: the green area and the “arborization” of this entire axis, as well as the incorporation of the cycle path network to the north. Once the urban plan has been defined, we intervene in the place with two specific strategies that arise almost simultaneously: Create and Enhance / Complement.
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