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Architecture News

Burj Dubai, tallest building in the world almost finished

Some love this building, and some hate it. I´m impressed.

The Burj Dubai (set to be the tallest tower in the world, while the tallest structure as of now), is almost finished. Located in Dubai, it´s the centerpise of a mixed-use development that will include 30,000 homes, 9 hotels, 3 ha of parks, 19 residential towers, a man and a 12ha artificial lake.

I decided to Google about the Burj Dubai a little, and i found an interesting interview at Wired with SOM´s structural engineer Bill Baker, telling the story behind the design, the structure and construction. The foundations were overengineered just in case the client wanted to rise the height of the building during construction… which he did!. Now the final height won´t be disclosed until the construction is finished.

For now, enjoy this pictures the air on an helicopter by David Hobcote, seen at Gizmodo:

AD Interviews: C-Lab / Jeffrey Inaba and Benedict Clouette

While in New York a few months ago, we interviewed several architects with a set of standard and specific questions, gathering different opinions on current state of practice in contemporary society.

Volume #16: Engineering Society

A few weeks ago we received the latest issue of Volume Magazine, a joint effort between Archis, AMO and the C-LAB. Continuing with their tradition of thematic issues with suggestive names, number 16 is called Engineering Society.

It relates somehow to Volume #14 (Unsolicited Architecture), on which the editorial analyzes the lost of relevance of modern architects because of their failure to adapt to a market driven society, urging them (us) to answer current society questions from the field of architecture.

On this issue, Arjen Oosterman starts with -yet another- incredible editorial, Planning Paradise, that analyzes how architects tried to impose their utopias in the past, without a direct relation with the end user of these projects. But now, we can certainly tell that society can´t no longer be made, and it´s actually being driven and shaped by the users as a consequence of democracy, and free market economy and politics. And this opens a new opportunity for architects, to be the ones that present new futures to this users, an opportunity lost long time ago in “our consumer society of commodity logic“.

OMA´s CCTV facade completed

It’s not a rendering but an actual photo of the completed facade of the CCTV Building by OMA in Beijing. The visible face of this iconic building was finished just in time for the olympics, after 6 years of hard work between OMA, ARUP and chinese partners ECADI.

Dellis Cay: Starchitects in the Turks & Caicos archipielago

Super star architects arrive to the Caribbean, specifically to Dellis Cay, a 560-acre island at the Turks & Caicos archipielago. The project, set to be completed by 2010, will feature works by Shigeru Ban, David Chipperfield, Carl Ettensperger, Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Piero Lissoni, and Chad Oppenheim. In addition to the 124 villas and 154 residences, the island will have a 30,000 sq ft Spa operated by the Mandarin Oriental, a five star luxury hotel, a signature restaurant and numerous casual dining experiences.

Below you can see further images of the individual projects, done by d-box. There aren´t too many images available, but you can certainly notice the hand of each architect on this projects, specially the Zaha and Chipperfield ones.

From this project, two houses took my attention. First, a house by Chad Oppenheim, pictured above. I really like the public area of this house, which reminds me of contemporary brazilian houses: A unique concrete volume covering the open public space and an enclosed area for the bedrooms. You can really feel outside while being covered by the structure, which has a big span with no elements that block the views.

California approves the first statewide green building code

Once again Inhabitat tipped us on green news, and a very important one when it comes to buildings: the state of California unanimously approved a statewide green building code. The code will enter in full effect in 2010, to give industry and enforcement agencies the time to prepare for the new building standards.

New sustainable building for London by Sheppard Robson

The green guys at Inhabitat told us about a new iconic building in London by Sheppard Robson. Its glass skin will reflect sunlight in a rainbow of colors creating a crystal like effect that varies through the day. But don´t be fooled about its energy perfomance, because it has an excellent BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) rating, the British environmental standard for buildings.

The glass facade creates a buffer to control the temperature, and the air trapped between the skin and the building is collected for energy.

This “tube” building is 18 stories tall and has a central atrium that brings natural light to the offices as you can see on the further images. On its 345,000 square feet, it will include a 10,000 sq.ft. roof terrace to enjoy the view from the top.

At street level it will to the existing setting through extensive landscaping that will connect to Westminster Park Plaza and other nearby pedestrian areas.

I really like the structure. Personally, i´d like it to be made out of prefab concrete pieces, but now that i see its BREEAM rating i figure out it has to be done with a more eco friendly material (steel). But it´s impressive anyway. More pictures below, thanks Mike!

Mobile Performance Venue / Various Architects

Various Architects is a collaborative design office based in Norway, and they shared with us a very innovative project: a Mobile Performance Venue. Designed to host the performance “ID – Identity of the soul” (touring worldwide in 2009), the client requested a unique and iconic structure. Also, this venue needs to be mobile, so volume/weight were key on this design developed as a flexible ellipse structured with aluminium frames and an inflatable hexagonal skin.

Once built, it will be the world´s largest mobile performance venue, fitting on 30 standard containers for shipping.

Can´t wait till 2009 to see it? Be sure to check the test inflation of a full scale mock-up, a preview of how it will look like when finished. Below, project description, plans and renderings. Thanks to Jim Dodson from VA for sending this in.

An Architect´s Office

Expo Zaragoza 2008, architecture showcase

World Fairs have set miletones in architecture. The Crystal Palace (London 1851), the Eiffel Tower (Paris 1889) and the amazing buildings of the recent Expo Hannover 2000 are some examples.

This year, the Expo Zaragoza in Spain (June 14th – Sept 14th) features an astonishing pavillion/bridge by Zaha Hadid, and buildings by spanish architects Nieto y Sobejano, Francisco Mangado and Basilio Tobías. Below, pictures sent by spanish photographer Pedro Pegenaute.

iPhone replacement for the bubble level

The iPhone can be a very useful tool for an architect, as it allows you to check drawings and even do sketches on site. But today i found this new application for the iPhone OS v2.0: A-Level, an electronic version of the good ol’ bubble level. I have to recognize that it’s a clever use of the iPhone’s accelerometer. You can get it at the iTunes App Store for 99 cents. To download follow this link (it will open iTunes).

Alison Brooks Architects present new buildings for Liverpool

Alison Brooks Architects (ABA, previously featured in AD with their award winning Herringbone Houses) designed three buildings for Tribeca, a new development in Liverpool, UK. This three buildings are located on the corner of Great George Street and St James Street.

This buildings will provide 93 apartments and commercial space at street level. The design follows the Liverpool’s gothic architectural tradition, blending with the existing Wedding Shop. I like this new approach to tall buildings, away from the  glazed and lightweight looking contemporary towers.

The stone-clad facades stretch up toward the sky, gradually becoming lighter and more glazed as they increase in height. Within the windows are vertical strips of coloured glass, totally relating to old cathedrals.

By the way, “Tribeca” is a development by Urban Splash that will create over 700 homes. Four practices were invited to design the buildings: Alison Brooks Architects (London, UK), Shedkm (Liverpool, UK), Riches Hawley Mikhail (London, UK) and Querkraft (Vienna, Austria). The site for the project is formed by three triangles, so Urban Splash put the phrase “Triangles Beneath the Cathedral”, then Tribeca. It echoes from the Tribeca area in Manhattan, which consists on a series of triangular sites beneath Canal Street.

More pictures below.

Zaha Hadid´s project rejected due to heat

I just read on Design Boom that Zaha Hadid´s extension proposal for the Middle East Centre in St Antony´s College in Oxford has been denied approval by the the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). The comission wrote in their report “it appears unfortunate to position the archive and reading room behind the large south facing window; we wonder whether full sunlight and overheating could potentially compromise the usability of this space”.

Too bad for Zaha, but thank god the CABE took a closer look at the project before its occupants had to go trough the heat. I wonder how many built projects that we occupy every day should have been revised by a comission that take this in count.

More pictures of the denied project below.

Wallpaper* Architects Directory 2008

Every year Wallpaper* Magazine brings us a list of new architects from around the world. This year, they list -according to them- the world’s 50 hottest young architects practices.

I gotta recognize that they beat us with this selection, so far we only have buildings from 2 of the architects on this list: Murúa Valenzuela – Countryside House and works from BGP (Mexico), which will be published on ArchDaily shortly. We are contacting the rest of this practices to bring you their work, so stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, here´s the full list of this -so called- 50 hottest young architecture practices.

Tinker Hatfield: Pompidou Centre and Nike Air Max

Tinker Hatfield is an architect who started working at Nike designing showrooms, and ended up being VP of design. He was behind the design of the now classic Air Max shoes. On this short interview he tells how the Pompidou Centre by Renzo Piano influencied his shoe design, in terms of exposed systems and color.

Oslo Central Station / Space Group

Norwegian architects Space Group won the competition for Oslo´s new Central Station. The project consists on demolishing a big part of the existing station, to build a 4 stories tall structure that will unify the station. It will include 2 floors for offices hanging over the station. Also, an adjacent U-shaped building will be occupied by the biggest conference hotel in Norway.

Currently, the Central Station receive 150,000 travellers every day, number expected to double in the next few years, rendering the current structure obsolete. Space Group´s project will be able to grow in stages. Construction will start on 2013, during 5 to 10 years. Quite a lot, but since the project will be done in stages it will be able to be in use during all the time.

Below, more renders by Luxigon sent to us by Space Group.

V-Houses / Heinz Legler

Megan from Been Seen sent us V-Houses, an amazing jungle retreat near the fishing village of Yelapa in tropical Mexico. This rustic-modern aesthetic hotel was designed by Heinz Legler, who used to own a film set construction company and Veronique Lievre, previously a set decorator, from Paris. They started this project as their personal hideaway, but it ended up construction an hotel in a 5 acre area, with infinity pool, spa, restaurants, yoga hut and 8 guest rooms.

This year they expanded their hotel with V-Houses, 5 units with 3 units for hotel staff, 2 for guests, a kitchen and a shared bathroom. This three tower-houses have a particular structure, raising from a small concrete foundation as you can see on the construction pictures. The V Houses are made out of steel, plywood and red corrugated iron roofs.

You can check the great views by yourelf, and don’t mind about the windows. Trust me you won’t be needing them on this tropical paradise. More pictures below.

Public Farm 1 at PS1 finished in stop motion / Work AC

Public Farm 1, Work AC‘s installation for the PS1 opened on June 16th. The above video shows the construction process that took a month to be finished (May 15th to June 18th).

You can check the list of the DJs and artists that will playing at the PS1 this summer on the 10th version of the Warm Up Sessions (including LCD Soundsystem and Au Revoir Simone) here.

I still remember when i saw the cardboard tubes on their office, and now they are part of this innovative green canopy. Below, pictures sent by photographer Elizabeth Felicella of the completed structure. She has more pictures available for editorials.

Impressive Storm Sewer System / Saitama, Japan

To avoid floodings on typhoon season, the city of Saitama in Japan features an impressive storm sewer system. Its construction started in 1992, and its composed by giant concrete silos (65m tall, 32m wide) connected by 6.4km of underground tunnels 50m below the surface. It also has a giant tank: 25.4m tall, 177m long and 78 wide, with 59 concrete columns.

This impressive structure is opened for tourists. More pictures  and videos below. Be sure to check out the truck being lifted through the sewer!.

ITER, Complementary Buildings - CEA CADARACHE / Juan Herreros Arquitectos

Juan Herreros (from former Abalos & Herreros) won the 2nd place on the international competition for the new builings of the CEA Cadarache Research Center. Long buildings reduce the impact of the construction in order to keep the forest density.

YAMoPo 2008: Yet Another Most Popular Architecture Sites Ranking

We are architects, and during the last few years we have been reading and commenting on several architectural websites. As many of you do, we love to watch, learn and discuss about architecture online, with people from around the world. One day we decided to put all these sites together to get the whole picture on architectural sites, and then order them according to our likings. But in the meanwhile, we noticed it wasn’t that easy, because each one of us had different interests and approaches.  In our listings, several sites were repeated, but in different places.

So, we decided to find a way to make a standardized procedure to rank and order these sites. Then we noticed Michiel van Raaij at Eikonographia repeated the ranking he started in 2007, the MoPo (Most Popular Architectural Blogs). Although Michiel did a very accurate job, he restricted it to English blogs from individual authors, leaving out several of our favorite blogs from either foreign languages or multiple authors, and some other sitess that mix architecture with other related subjects (design, sustainability, trends, etc).

To expand this rank, we decided to put together some common criteria. The most logical criteria should be the amount of visitors, but this is almost impossible since most sites don’t publish these stats. But there are some other factors you can use to measure the relevance of a website: (a) Rank of websites based on an estimate of their traffic, by Alexa, (b) Google Page Rank and (c) and the frequency of the updates, an average of the entries published in the last 2 months (done by us). That´s how we came up with YAMoPo (Yet Another MoPo).

Metal Shutter Houses / Shigeru Ban

Starchitects are all over New York, giving an extra value to new condos in Manhattan. A few months ago i visted the Herzog & de Meuron and Bernard Tschumi projects on the lower east side, and they looked quite impressive. While most people didn’t liked the Tschumi’s Blu Condo, despite it’s iconic image, i had mixed feelings with HdM’s 40 Bond St.

But on West Chelsea a new 9 unit condo is under construction, designed by japanese Shigeru Ban. The project is located on the south side of West 19th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues in West Chelsea’s art gallery district, right next to the High Line, the Hudson River Park, Ghery´s IAC Building and Jean Nouvel´s 100 11th.

On this building, Shigeru Ban once again innovates on the material use by incorporating motorized perforated metal shutters on its -dynamic- facade, which act as light-modulating privacy screen at the outer edge of each residence’s terrace adjacent to the double-height living rooms.

Fundação Iberê Camargo in Porto Alegre, Brazil / Alvaro Siza

The new building for the Ibere Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre, Brazil designed by Portugal´s Alvaro Siza, is a big rectangular white concrete structure. It has a big central space enclose by circulations and exhibition spaces. Some of this circulations separate from the main body as arms going out through the facade.

I´ve always loved the big white orthogonal Siza buildings, and i think that this form is really informed by brazilian modernists, resulting on sculptural rock in front of the river with an amazing light use, a tradition on Siza´s works.

Pictures by Grazielle Bruscato, plans taken from Fundação Iberê Camargo.

AR Emerging Awards 2008

The Architectural Review informed us that they launched the 10th version of their Emerging Awards.

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