On a site that also hosts the Olympic Sports Centre, the 2023 Asian Games complex, UNStudio has unveiled the design of the new Hiwell Amber Centre, a complex of four high-rise towers planned to add a mic of offices, apartments, hotels, art spaces and retail to the city center of Hangzhou, China. Responding to the area’s rapid economic and cultural growth, the new development aims to provide a wide range of services to residents and visitors alike. To open up towards the city, the smooth glass curtain wall of the towers peels apart to reveal a tapestry-like facade that envelops the main plazas and civic spaces, creating an ‘urban living room.’
Glass Facade: The Latest Architecture and News
Glass has become a central element in modern architecture with the introduction of new strategies for designing and experiencing buildings. Its transparency and material composition allow for natural light to enter, while creating seamless connections between interior and exterior spaces. However, the prevalence of this material has meant that every year, billions of birds collide into glass structures.
These collisions tend to occur during the migratory pathways of birds, as they fly through cities and are drawn to internal lights in buildings or misjudge outdoor reflections of trees and vegetation, causing a huge number of bird deaths and injuries. In response to this challenge, an increasing number of cities are now introducing legislation that requires new construction to feature bird-friendly glass. Without compromising on the aesthetic appeal of glass, Eastman has developed Saflex™ FlySafe™ 3D Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) interlayers. This additional layer features a three-dimensional reflective pattern that is highly visible to the bird’s eye from the outside while remaining subtle to the human eye from the inside. Delving into the application of this solution within architectural design, we showcase how The Helios School adopted this strategy.
Higher noise emissions, higher wind loads and a desire for greater energy efficiency – the structural requirements for façades in multi-storey residential buildings and skyscrapers are becoming increasingly demanding, for both new builds and renovations. This is the result of the urban densification that is taking place in response to the acute lack of available housing and the more extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change.
Sunshine has been an integral part of life ever since the sun and the earth began their merry dance. The feel-good ambiance provided by natural light is a recurring theme in human culture, from popular music, fashion, and photography, to our most luxurious environments.
But our bodies’ craving for sunlight is more than just a feeling. Scientific research has proven it helps our bodies to produce more melatonin which aids sleep and reduces stress, vitamin D which improves immunity and strengthens bones, and serotonin which fights depression. As well as helping us to live healthier and happier lives, research suggests the sun also helps us to live longer, too.
If you’ve been avoiding some of the latest news recently, here’s a quick update; European and North American countries have been facing one of the hottest recorded summers in modern history. Discussions over the climate crises have therefore been reignited and so has the role of the design and construction industry in providing solutions that would mitigate the experienced heat effects in our daily lives. While passive cooling solutions have always been used in some parts of the world, where local resources and vernacular builds are adapted to high temperatures, other regions are looking to technological and innovative manufacturing means that would maintain human comfort, aesthetic values, and energy efficiency/ cost.
Although early modernism with its signature high-rises and glass houses had made us think that glass enveloped buildings are mostly uncomfortable, over-exposed, and overheating settings; nowadays glass manufacturers are proving that glass, if well treated and well-placed, can be as versatile and efficient a material as one could want without compromising the visual comfort or the dwellers.
Ferdinand Heide Architekt have been selected to develop a high-rise complex in Frankfurt, Germany, following an international design competition. Titled “Millennium Areal”, the winning proposal features two twisted glass towers with a large public space at the ground level, responding to the particularities of the dense site, which include maximization of green areas and unobstructed views for apartments and offices. The project is expected to be complete in 2030 and upon completion, will be Frankfurt's tallest structure.
Following an international design competition win in 2018, Snøhetta and ECADI have been commissioned to design a new sub-center library in Beijing, offering visitors a contemporary space for learning and sharing knowledge while celebrating the rich cultural China and its capital. The library sets new standards for traditional library designs, featuring technology-driven designs and locally-sourced materials, as well as a glass enclosure of up to 16 meters, which will be China’s first self-supporting glass facade project.
Designed by award-winning architect Rudy Ricciotti, the designer of the MuCEM in Marseille, the Jean-Boutin Stadium in Paris, and the Islamic Arts Exhibition in the Louvre Museum, the Manufacture de la Mode reintroduces Chanel's intricate craftsmanship in an architectural and urban context. Architectural photographer Simon Garcia uncovers the newly-inaugurated fashion community in a series of photographs.
MVRDV was commissioned the design of Glass Mural, a new 3,716-square-meter office and retail building with a custom glass façade that integrates colorful murals by artists DENIAL and Sheefy McFly. Located in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood, the project will be MVRDV’s third mixed-use project in the United States and first in the Midwest.
In 1977, a New York Times article by Carter B. Horsley proclaimed that “Glamorous Glass Bricks Are Booming:” once a “less than first-class” material, it was beginning to gain acceptance among architects in residential and restaurant projects for its translucence, privacy, visual interest, and sense of order. However, following the industry’s brief but widespread use of glass bricks, many now associate the material with outdated 80’s architectural styles, an aesthetic that few seem interested in reviving. Yet pioneering contemporary architects have begun using this unique material in new and distinctly modern ways, whether for sleek and minimalist bathrooms, industrial bars and restaurants, vintage residential windows, or even experimental urban facades. As Horsley stated, it appears that glamorous glass bricks are booming – again.
In an effort to avoid disruptions to the coming football season (and by extension, any frustration among the passionate University of Iowa Hawkeyes’ fans), the challenge facing Iowa City architecture firm Neumann Monson was to rapidly deliver and install Kinnick Stadium’s new custom glass facade, all during the team’s off-season. Ranked top among Big 10 stadiums, Kinnick opened the 2019 football season with an expanded North End Zone after careful coordination by the design, manufacturing, and construction teams throughout the project.
Last April, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the construction of new all-glass buildings. Part of a larger effort to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent, other initiatives included using clean energy to power city operations, mandatory organics recycling, and reducing single-use plastic and processed meat purchases. The announcement came on the heels of the city council passing the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping response to the Paris Climate Agreement that included required green roofs on new constructions and emissions reductions on existing buildings.
Germany’s first wooden high-rise, the “Wildspitze,” is being designed by Störmer Murphy and Partners. At 18 stories and 64 meters high, this residential tower will be one of Europe’s largest urban development projects.
Located in Elbbrücken, a peninsula neighborhood within Hamburg's HafenCity, Wildspitze will add 189 residential units on its riverside site. Each apartment will feature a loggia behind a double glass facade.