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Retrofit: The Latest Architecture and News

Berlin Plans Smart Residential District and Research Park on Former Tegel Airport

The former Berlin-Tegel Airport is set to be redeveloped. The master plan includes the Schumacher Quartier, a new residential district with 200 hectares of landscaped area, and a research and industrial park for urban technologies, Berlin TXL – the Urban Tech Republic. Besides creating a space for industry, business, and science, the innovation park aims to research and test urban technologies. The park will focus on major themes in the development of cities: the efficient use of energy, sustainable construction, eco-friendly mobility, recycling, networked control of systems, clean water, and the application of new materials.

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Nieto Sobejano and Richard Faure Design the New Vannes Museum of Fine Arts

The jury's verdict for the competition for the new Museum of Fine Arts in the city of Vannes, Brittany, France, was recently revealed, and the winner of the first prize was the renowned Nieto Sobejano studio (based in Madrid and Berlin), with French architect Richard Faure as associate.

8 Stories of Architects Embracing Refurbishment and Adaptive Reuse

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OMA / Jason Long's Adaptive Reuse of Historic Houston Post Office. Image © Leonid Furmansky

Over the past year, established practices have continued to champion the transformation of existing structures, with adaptive reuse and renovations increasingly becoming a defining aspect of contemporary architecture  From the renovation of landmark structures to the adaptive reuse of obsolete facilities, the idea of giving new life to existing buildings has been embraced as the premise for a more sustainable practice, but also as a means of reinforcing the urban and cultural identity of cities. Discover 8 designs and recently completed projects that showcase a new common practice of reusing existing building stock.

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How BIM Can Make Building Renovations and Retrofits More Efficient

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an increasingly common acronym among architects. Most offices and professionals are already migrating or planning to switch to this system, which represents digitally the physical and functional characteristics of a building, integrating various information about all components present in a project. Through BIM software it is possible to digitally create one or more accurate virtual models of a building, which provides greater cost control and efficiency in the work. It is also possible to simulate the building, understanding its behavior before the start of construction and supporting the project throughout its phases, including after construction or dismantling and demolition.

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PMC House / PRISCILLA MULLER, Studio Arquitetura e Design

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OMA / Shohei Shigematsu to Reimagine Sotheby’s New York Headquarters

Renowned auction house Sotheby’s has unveiled a dramatic OMA/Shohei Shigematsu-designed expansion and re-imagination of their New York City headquarters. Together with OMA Associate Christy Cheng, Shigematsu has redesigned the headquarters to include vast new exhibition galleries for fine art, precious objects, luxury goods, and more. Comprising 40 galleries of varying size across four floors, the new space will increase Sotheby’s exhibition space from 67,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet.

In the proposal, nine galleries will facilitate discreet private sales for dedicated small objects such as watches and jewelry. Three two-story spaces will be set aside for exhibitions, along with a 150-foot-long space for full collections, according to The New York Times. The new space will include “dynamic repertoire” of "spatial conditions", including a white cube, double height, enfilade, corridor cascade, octagonal, and an L-shaped space.

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Diffused Light: How to Design 'Lantern Buildings' With Self-Supporting Glass Walls

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Recurrently we see how architects opt for translucent facades to create the envelopes of their buildings, promoting the entry of a large amount of natural light, while simultaneously controlling it during the day. Illuminated during the night, many of these projects can be seen in the dark, appearing as lanterns or lighthouses for their neighbors and community. Being exposed to changing conditions – day or night – to choose the right material, it's necessary to study in detail the orientation and location of the building, the pre-existing context, and the configuration of the interior spaces.

We present a system of glass panels that allow buildings with this type of façade –spanning from floor to ceiling without interruptions – with minimal frames and different colors, textures, thermal and acoustic performances. 

Construction Begins on MVRDV’s Redesign for Europe’s Biggest Urban Shopping Center

In the 3rd Arrondissement of the French city of Lyon, construction has begun on Lyon Part-Dieu, an MVRDV-designed scheme seeking to transform the city’s main shopping center. Featuring partly-transparent glass and a public green roof, the MVRDV scheme will revitalize and integrate what was formerly an introverted complex built for an era dominated by the car.

At 166,000 square meters, Lyon Part-Dieu is the largest downtown shopping center in Europe, built in 1975. In order to improve the existing outdated complex, MVRDV worked with co-architects SUD to produce a design that offers a contemporary update to the existing façade and a re-organization of the interior program.

Suspended LED Lighting Installation Projects The Pulse of City Life in Stockholm

Designed by David Svensson, a total of 400 meters of a neon resembled warm white LED from GE is a work of art representing the pulse of city life in busy Stockholm station.

The project, a piece of suspended light, is built by metal profiles and a ceiling where the warm and white light of a series of LED strips is projected, in the quest to represent the basic visual language of the line. 

Custom Bamboo Skylight Illuminates the Interior of a Historic Building in China

In response to the overwhelming growth of cities and neighborhoods in China, architects from Atelier Archmixing’s Shanghai office, have developed a series of proposals that seek to return value to sensitive interior spaces and improve the user’s quality of life through design.

The project consists of an interesting light fixture; a bamboo structure similar in shape to an umbrella, that lets natural light and fresh air into the building.

Harvard HouseZero - A Retrofit Response to Climate Change

As part of a global, interdisciplinary effort to tackle climate change, architects are devoting resources towards optimizing the energy efficiency of buildings old and new. This effort is more than justified, given that buildings account for almost 40% of UK and US emissions. Although sustainability is now a hallmark of many new architectural schemes, the energy inefficiency of structures from the 18th and 19th centuries still contribute to global carbon emissions on a vast scale.

In order to address the challenge of intelligently retrofitting existing buildings, the Harvard Center for Green Buildings (CGBC) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, in collaboration with Snøhetta and Skanska Technology, are retrofitting the CGBC’s headquarters in a pre-1940s timber-framed building, aiming to create one of the world’s most ambitious sustainable buildings. HouseZero is driven by uncompromising performance targets, such as 100% natural ventilation, 100% daylight autonomy, and almost zero energy required for heating and cooling. The result will be a prototype for ultra-efficiency, reducing reliance on energy-intensive technology whilst creating a comfortable indoor environment.

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Domus International Prize for Restoration and Conservation

The Prize conceived and promoted by the Department of Architecture at Ferrara University and Fassa Bortolo company gives visibility to contemporary restoration and recovery projects (in this fifth edition of the competition only for professionals) of interest with a total prize money of 13.000 euros.

Estudio Guto Requena Creates Interactive Light Façade for São Paulo Hotel

Estudio Guto Requena has designed a new façade, which also doubles as an urban art intervention, for the Hotel WZ Jardins in São Paulo. Dubbed “The Light Creature,” the 30-story facade is visible both during the day and at night, changing to interact with its surroundings and responding to stimuli like air quality and sound. During the day the façade has a pixilated blue, gray and gold skin that serves as “a visual reflection of the soundscape of São Paulo’s iconic Avenida Rebouças,” and at night it is illuminated by interactive light patterns.

Learn more about The Light Creature after the break.

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Hawkins\Brown Selected to Design the University of Reading's New School of Architecture

Hawkins\Brown has been chosen to design the new School of Architecture for the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire, in the United Kingdom. The new School “will be housed in a retrofitted 1970’s concrete brutalist building originally designed by Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis,” which is currently the University’s School of Construction Management and Engineering. Brutalist buildings, like the Prentice Women’s Hospital and the Preston Bus Station are continuously at risk of being demolished, which makes this retrofit all the more valuable. While the University seeks to modernize the building and improve efficiency, they also plan to respect the original design. Construction is set to begin in January 2017 and wrap up by December 2018. Learn more about the project here.

Light Matters: Le Corbusier and the Trinity of Light

For his three sacred buildings, Le Corbusier has played masterfully with orientation, openings and textures to create kinetic architecture with daylight. His pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp, the monastery of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, and the parish church of Saint-Pierre in Firminy reveal distinctive and individual approaches that each render contemplative spaces with light. In his book “Cosmos of Light: The Sacred Architecture of Le Corbusier,” Henry Plummer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has analysed these projects with outstanding photographs taken over 40 years and brilliant writing.

Read on for more about how Le Corbusier created his cosmos of light.

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CASA REX / FGMF

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São Paulo, Brazil
  • Architects: FGMF
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year :  2012
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers :  Lafarge Holcim, Gradesteel, Itaim Iluminação, Leo Madeiras, Maccaferri, +8