In theory, parking spaces serve only one function: park a car safely until it is used again, and in terms of design, car garages are flexible and straightforward, requiring minimal design interventions. However, parking spaces nowadays are no longer considered one-function buildings. The emptier the space, the more potential it has to integrate additional functions. Architects and urban planners have redefined traditional parking lots, adding recreational and commercial facilities to the structure. Instead of a typical structured grid plan with yellow and white markings on the floor, we are now seeing inviting structures that incorporate green facades and rooftop playgrounds, car washes, cafeterias, and work/study zones.
Refurbishment: The Latest Architecture and News
Kengo Kuma and Associates, together with Bekim Ramku and OUD+ Architects, has recently been awarded first prize in the competition to redesign the Gërmia building into a concert hall and will lead the conversion of Prishtina’s architectural icon into a cultural landmark for Kosovo. The proposal preserves the existing structures and articulates the program within and around the modernist buildings. The design envisions a canopy weaving together the different volumes and creating a new layer of public space.
After an extensive renovation, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) completes the transformation of the Willis Tower observation deck and inaugurates a new interactive exhibition showcasing how architecture shaped Chicago’s identity through the city’s history. Now reopened to the public, the Skydeck is part of SOM’s ongoing design stewardship of Willis Tower, which started with the building’s conception and continued in 2009 with the addition of the Ledge.
Designed by Studio Gang architects, together with landscape design firm SCAPE and Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (AMFA) reaches an important construction milestone with the recent completion of its signature new roof. Spanning the entire length of the project and connecting the various buildings, both renovated and new, the folded plate concrete roof establishes the museum’s new architectural identity as the leading cultural institution for the state of Arkansas.
After surpassing many hurdles, SANAA's renovation of La Samaritaine Department Store is set to open its doors to the public. The redesign of the Parisian retail institution reinstates its historical value while bringing a contemporary contribution to its architecture.
The height of the ceiling of a space heavily influences our perception of it. Generally, local building codes regulate the minimum dimensions for ceiling height, which are calculated to ensure adequate quality of life in the environment. But the exact height of the ceilings is often defined by the dimensions of other materials that make up the building, the height of the constitutive slabs, or even by rounding the dimensions of the stair steps. It is common, with the densification of cities aimed at increasing profitability, for entrepreneurs to design with minimum ceiling heights in houses and offices, reducing construction costs. On the other hand, in older structures, more generous ceilings can be observed, which generally enable a greater degree of design freedom. But how can architects make the most of these spaces?
Foster + Partners is leading massive refurbishment works on a historic building in Madrid. The renovation project that will put in place an office building for Acciona, seeks to revitalize an abandoned old industrial building built in 1905, generating over 10,000 square-meters of new spaces.
According to the United Nation’s “The World’s Cities in 2018”, it is estimated that, “by 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.” Also, between 2018 and 2030, it is estimated that the number of cities with 500,000 inhabitants or more is expected to grow by 23 percent in Asia. China, as the largest economy in Asia, with a GDP (PPP) of $25.27 trillion, is expanding rapidly, both economically and demographically.
With more and more migrant workers coming into the bigger cities in China, it has become increasingly difficult for workers to find an affordable place to live. Some people decide to move away from urban centers and bear with the lengthy commute time, while others are seeking creative design solutions to transform their home into a tiny, functional space to meet their daily needs.
Chinese courtyard houses are one of the most common housing typologies spanning all the way from the northern capital of Beijing to the poetic southern cities Hangzhou and back to the picturesque regions of Yunnan. Typically referred as heyuan, these courtyards homes are simply a “yard enclosed on four sides."
Warehouses, whether industrial or rural, are a type of building that can easily be found all around the world. Some of these shelters are century-old and have probably been built to store products or to accommodate factories. However, due to urban phenomena and new technologies, many of them stopped operating as they were originally used to and started to spark interest in several businesses whose aim was to re-adapt these structures to meet new purposes.
The use of brick plays a very important role in the architectural history of the United Kingdom. Construction techniques that involve brick and stone have been in constant progress. In fact, brick production improved over time, making the material the most popular one in the construction industry. From the 18th century onwards, brickwork was predominantly used in domestic and industrial architecture, but later on, it was introduced to the structure of warehouses and factories, as well as other various forms of infrastructure.
While many of these buildings are still operating to this day, it comes as no surprise. Refurbishment and reuse are highly recommended techniques, and in many cases, the only methods to maintain densely populated European cities. Therefore, the challenge lays in reusing these buildings and recycling the materials available, always trying to retain as much of the original structure as possible.
Luís Pedro Pinto has won the tender to expand The Order of Architects Headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal. Selected out of 66 works presented, part of a public design competition, the project, according to the jury, was praised for “its cohesion, coherence and unitary image”.