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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.

Ernst & Young Headquarters, Amsterdam / Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners just finished the first tower in Amsterdam, at the Vivaldi-park area of the new Zuidas district, south of the city.

The 24-storey building is divided into two twelve metre-wide column free towers with open, flexible floor plates. The blocks are staggered in plan to admit as much natural light as possible, helping this tower to be ten per cent more efficient than the target Dutch environmental standards. Plus, it has a very nice looking lobby.

OMA presents design for Coolsingel mixed use building in Rotterdam and announces construction at The Hague

There’s nothing more exciting for an architect than to shape the form of his own city with a new building. And that’s what Rem Koolhaas is about to do in Rotterdam with a large scale mixed use building. Also, a project developed for The Hague, also in the Netherlands, will start construction as of next year. Site visits will be closer to the central OMA headquarters this time.

First, we’ve got a 120.000m2 (30.000m2 for retail, 70.000m2 for office, residential, culture and leisure) mixed use building in the Rotterdam’s shopping district, the Coolsingel. This district is actually the true centre of Rotterdam, where the most important streets in Rotterdam merge (Coolsingel, Lijbaan, Binnenweg and Beurstraverse).

Your Wall House

Undoubtly, Wall House was one of the most innovative house designs in the last few years. But after winning the AR Emergent Awards 2007, being selected as one of the Record Houses 2008 by Architectural Record and their clients response, FAR frohn&rojas architects decided to go one step ahead and now they present Your Wall House, a customizable kit to build your own Wall House.

The kit goes from squematic drawings to a full custom climate concept, which will result on a variaton of the original Wall House according to personal needs, interests, local building code and the local climate conditions.

Kits and prices:

Winner announced for the Tour La Signal at La Defense, Paris: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

The La Defense is a 160 ha business district in the west of Paris, currently under a renewal plan to strengthen its place among the great international business districts. The plan is managed by the EPAD (The Public Establishment for Installation of La Défense), an organization formed by local authorities, government and neighbors focused on developing the La Defense for the best interests of its 20.000 residents and 150.000 inhabitants in floating population.

The renewal includes several high rise sustainable towers. One of this towers, the Tour Signal, entered an international closed competition for teams of architects/investors/developers, on which EPAD didn’t impose a site. The candidates were thus able to choose their sites either from among the entrances to the business district (South Gate and West Gate), either from sites subject to demolition operations. The Tour Signal will thus endow the business district with a new landmark in 2013.

The finalists for this project were Jacques Ferrier Architectures, Foster + Partners Ltd, Studio Libeskind Architect, Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Wilmotte et Associes SA.

And a few days ago, the winner was announced: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, project shown on the video above.

More pictures of the Jean Nouvel proposal, and the rest of the candidates/finalists after the jump.

In Progress: Mountain Dwellings / BIG

by HOME
by HOME

Right next to their VM Housing project, BIG is currently finishing their new project: Mountain Dwellings. But this time, the client asked for a specific program with 2/3 parking and 1/3 living. Rather than doing 2 separate buildings, BIG decided to combine the splendours of the suburban backyard with the social intensity of urban density, resulting on a terraced housing over the parking area.

Berlin Philharmonic Hall on fire

Another fire on a remarkable building. Today, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall by Hans Schauron caught fire. Firemen were able to control it, but its outer metal skin collapsed. Structural damage is unknown at the time, but it was seriously damaged by fire and water.

This building, finished in 1963, was an icon for the Expressionist movement, with a great acoustic work achieved trough it´s inner spaciality which conditioned its external appearance.

Pictures before and during the fire after the break.

AD Interviews: Amale Andraos & Dan Wood / Work AC

As I had previously mentioned we visited Work AC in New York a few months ago, where we interviewed Amale Andraos and Dan Wood. This turned out to be a great interview, where they shared their thoughts on the current state of architectural practice, the role of architects in current society, humor, networking, media and something that really interested me: the importance of knowing how to manage the growth of your office.

On their office we saw the amazing model for their Cadavre Exquis Lebanese, a proposal based on a series of interventions to re-create Downtown Beirut presented at the 2007 Rotterdam Biennale. We also got to see their on on going projects and a 1:1 prototype of their Public Farm 1 structure soon to be opened at the PS1. You can check the construction progress at the PF1 website.

Pictures of Work AC after the jump.

Willis Headquarters at Lime Street / Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners just informed us that the new Willis headquarters at Lime Street in London is complete. As usual, the firm lead by Sir Norman Foster developed a urban piece that integrates with the city at street level and features environmental strategies to reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint.

This two buildings are developed as a series of overlapping curved shells while its section is arranged in three steps. The roof terraces overlooking the plaza on the lower two steps are directly accessible from the office spaces. Both buildings have a central core to provide open floor plates and maximum flexibility in use.

The entire development is visually unified by its highly reflective façade. The pressed form of the panels and their mica finish give them depth and texture. A dynamic effect is established through the interplay of solid and glazed panels arranged in a saw-tooth pattern, the fins also increase insulation while reducing glare and solar gain.

Together with the highly efficient services equipment and systems in the building, the façade design is integral to the energy strategy, which is rated BREEAM Excellent. What surprised me is the parking capacity: 42 Cars, 88 motorcycles, 264 bicycles

According to Sir Norman Foster this building has come out of a very different design process, yet continues the practice’s commitment to developing humane, flexible and dynamic workplaces that are both informed by, and woven into, the urban fabric. Foster has some very interesting approaches when it comes to sustainable design and urban spaces. I recommend checking his presentation at DLD we posted last week.

b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos unveils design for new market in Barcelona

b720 just informed us that they won the ideas competition for the new Market dels Encants in Barcelona, Spain, commissioned by the city.

TU Delft Architecture School devastated by fire

TU Delft Architecture School was devastated by fire today. The fire, belived to have been started by a short circuit in a coffee machine caused by a faulty water pipe, was so poweful that the fire brigade couldn’t get close to it and decided to stand back and let the fire burn itself out.

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