Around the world, zoos draw in hundreds of millions of visitors each year. For some cities, they’re major tourist attractions and economic hubs that generate taxpayer dollars and create long-term employment for thousands of people. But beyond these statistics, people have been criticizing the role that zoos play in our society and the way in which we design them that holds the potential a more positive and natural environment for animals.
Public Facilities: The Latest Architecture and News
In recent years, with the accelerated urban development of public spaces in China, public washrooms have been assigned numerous new roles. Designers have come up with a variety of proposals which suggest turning public washrooms into a place where social gathering can be redefined, and temporary stay can be more engaging. Although the scale of public washrooms is significantly smaller than that of any other type of architecture, Chinese architects have been working innovatively on fitting the public washrooms into the changing social contexts. Below are a few examples that demonstrate some current architectural experiments with public washroom design in China.
Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects have designed the Ottawa Public Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. In partnership with municipal and federal institutions, the facility will create an “inspiring place for gathering, learning and discovery”.
CBack in 2006, the team of Mecanoo and Ayesa placed first in an international competition with its winning proposal for a perforated courthouse in Córdoba, combining the area’s historical character with a modern twist. Now, after almost a decade, the Palace of Justice is set for completion later this year, having broken ground in 2015.
Inspired by Córdoba’s Moorish origins, the design balances a contemporary concrete mass with traditional exterior courtyard spaces; a reflection of the plan of the old city. These are faced by colored ceramic tiles, which break the façade’s uniformity.
Today we live in a rapidly aging society. The shift in the population pyramid means that traditional healthcare systems need to be reimagined in order to efficiently support an increasing senior population. This added pressure on healthcare is significant--the number of older adults in the US alone requiring long-term healthcare support is set to increase from 15 million to 27 million by 2050. By partnering with designers, healthcare providers can create valuable responses to address these growing needs.
One building typology that expresses this designer-provider partnership are centers for healthy living (CHL). CHLs help to bridge the gap between the senior living and healthcare sectors, and go beyond simple clinic or exercise spaces. Taking a more holistic approach, they seek to become accessible destinations for programs that nurture wellness while providing a sense of place and community.
In a new downloadable report, Perkins Eastman have explored this typology in great depth by investigating existing CHLs. Through spatial and market research, case studies and user surveys, their findings identify strategies for improving upon the CHL model in the future. Read on for our summary of their discoveries.
COOKFOX Architects has recently begun construction on The Neeson Cripps Academy, a high-tech and sustainable school to be built in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a gift from Velcro Companies to the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
The school, named for Cambodian Children’s Fund founder Scott Neeson and former Velcro Companies Chairman Robert Cripps, will employ multiple sustainable building practices, including water and energy efficiency via natural lighting, integrated solar shading, low energy lighting, and low flow water fixtures. An energy recovery system will further work to improve air quality inside classrooms by filtering outdoor air into the interior of the building, and on-site photovoltaic cells will provide a portion of the school’s energy needs.