For those in the northern hemisphere, the last full week in January last week kicks off with Blue Monday - the day claimed to be the most depressing of the year. Weather is bleak, sunsets are early, resolutions are broken, and there’s only the vaguest glimpse of a holiday on the horizon. It’s perhaps this miserable context that is making the field seem extra productive, with a spate of new projects, toppings out and, completions announced this week.
The week of 21 January 2019 in review, after the break:
Mecanoo has unveiled their design for the Qianhai Data Center in Shenzhen, China, from which they received second prize in an international design competition. The 63,000-square-meter scheme, imagined as an urban beacon, consists of an opaque tower atop an open plinth with offices and support spaces.
The 113-meter-tall “digital lighthouse” is to be located within the 15-square-kilometer Qianhai Free Development Zone, where it will mark the arrival to the district and symbolize its innovative ambition.
Architecture is a profession deeply dependent on the visual. It’s imagined, sold, critiqued and consumed almost entirely on the strength (or lack thereof) of drawings. We pick and prod at images presented at angles we’ll never be able to see, admiring the architectonic qualities of elements we’ll never actually experience.
Opened on October 13th 2018, the scheme is set across a subtropical park in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, occupying a former military training base to symbolize the city’s transition from a major international harbor into a rich, diverse, cultural hub, connecting local and international artistic talent.
Mecanoo and Metaform Architects have won a competition to design a new Velodrome and Sports Complex in Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg. Sited in the countryside outside the city, the project was designed as a destination for recreation. The new project will include a new national velodrome with an aquatic centre, multisport hall and climbing wall. The design aims to be a sporting hub that could host national and international cycling events while also remaining open to the community and future international school on site.
Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect and founder of the Rotterdam-based firm OMA, has been announced as the closing keynote speaker at the World Architecture Festival. The event will take place in Amsterdam at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre on from 28-30 November.
That’s the goal, at least. Mecanoo has released designs for a large-scale development in Utrecht inspired by “blue zone” regions - areas where residents tend live atypically long and healthy lives. Currently there are only five recognized blue zones worldwide: Sardinia, Nicoya, Loma Linda, Okinawa, and Ikaria.
Architecture is always evolving. The practice and business of architecture are undoubtedly evolving alongside the more obvious technological advances, but what we often forget is that there are no new ideas. When it comes to design, what we see manifested in our daily lives is the result of evolution. And at the root of that design evolution is inspiration.
A new initiative from Gianpiero Venturini and his firm Itinerant Office titled Past, Present, Future aims to open a research path based on the analysis of successful practices in the 21st Century while ultimately providing a new form of inspiration for the next generations of architects and designers. The documentary series begins with a select group of 11 international architects, including Jacob van Rijs, co-founder of MVRDV, Mario Cucinella, and Simone Sfriso, co-founder of TAMassociati. Each architect is featured in three video interviews in which they reveal the methodology behind their designs, the themes and approaches within their architectural practice, and the predictions they have for architecture in the near and distant future.
Mecanoo has released images of their proposed Taichung Green Corridor in Taiwan, set along a mile-long (1.7-kilometer) former railway line cutting through the city center. Once a valuable means of connection, the railway currently acts as a barrier due to its awkward position along a dyke, impeding circulation across the railway lines.
The Mecanoo scheme seeks to reuse the railway line to connect different parts of the city through a green corridor centered on biodiversity, cycling, and walking. Throughout the design process, Mecanoo addressed factors including urban regeneration, public participation, historic preservation, and green and water resources along the Green River waterfront.
Mecanoo has released images of their competition-winning social housing proposal for the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The 234-unit-scheme embodies Mecanoo’s philosophy towards social housing, “defined by flexibility, the right balance of private and communal spaces, mixing housing types, connection with the environment and identity.” Comprised of two buildings linked by a green canopy, the scheme is designed for a variety of users, including students, young families, the elderly, or people with special needs.
Set across a 116-acre (470,000-square-meter) subtropical park in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, the scheme will occupy a former military training base, symbolizing the city’s transition from a major international harbor into a rich, diverse, cultural hub, connecting local and international artistic talent.
https://www.archdaily.com/892518/worlds-largest-single-roof-performing-arts-center-by-mecanoo-nears-completion-in-taiwanNiall Patrick Walsh
The New York Public Library has revealed plans for the transformation of their iconic main branch on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Led by Mecanoo with Beyer Blinder Belle, the $317 million masterplan will increase accessibility to the library as well as increase public space for research, exhibitions and educational programs by 20%.
“For over a century, the Schwarzman Building has been a beacon of open access to information and a tireless preservationist of the world’s knowledge,” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. “We have a responsibility to preserve its architectural wonder and its role as an important civic space, while also preparing it for the future, and another century of best serving the public. We believe this plan does just that.”
The Austrian firm Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekte has been selected as the winner of an international competition for the design of a signature new concert hall in Munich, Germany, beating out proposals from 30 of the world’s most notable architecture practices.
The competition tasked architects with designing a stand-alone new structure on a 5,300-square-meter site near the Ostbahnhof train station in the neighborhood of Werksviertel. The building program included an overall floor area of approximately 9,500 square meters, including a larger 1800-seat concert hall and a more intimate 600-seat venue that satisfy “the most exacting acoustic requirements.”
Mecanoo has been selected to design the renovation of the historically landmarked Perth City Hall in Scotland, transforming the building into a new cultural facility through a series of sensitive interventions and a reimagined space flow. Envisioned as a new gateway to Perth, the scheme will pull from the city’s history and culture to create a place that is accessible to all.
The UK’s postals service company, the Royal Mail, has launched a new special stamp series celebrating 10 buildings “that represent the renaissance of contemporary architecture in the UK of recent years,” including Zaha Hadid Architects’ London Aquatics Center, Herzog & de Meuron’s Switch House addition to the Tate Modern and Mecanoo’s Birmingham Library.
Mecanoo and MAYU Architects+ have begun construction on the new Tainan Public Library in Taiwan. The joint proposal was selected as a winner of a competition by the Tainan City Government held in February 2016. The proposal’s program hosting people of all ages, combined with its distinctive stepped façade will serve as a key addition to Tainan's cultural landscape. The design has gone through revisions with updated drawings released by Mecanoo.
Construction has begun on the LocHal, a new mixed-use complex in Tillburg, The Netherlands. Designed by CIVIC Architects (a submember of The Cloud Collective) in collobaration with Braaksma & Roos architecten, Arup and Inside Outside, the project will be located in a former Dutch Railways hangar and maintenance facility, serving as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the city’s 75 hectare railway district. Opening up the area to the public, LocHal will offer visitors a large public hall and plaza, work spaces, conference areas, galleries, a library, a music hall and restaurant.