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Un Studio: The Latest Architecture and News

Skyscrapers of 2018: Soaring Beyond the Archetypal Crystal Tower

© Viktor Sukharukov
© Viktor Sukharukov

Either as singular outcroppings or as part of a bustling center, skyscrapers are neck-craning icons across major city centers in the world. A modern trope of extreme success and wealth, the skyscraper has become an architectural symbol for vibrant urban hubs and commercial powerhouses dominating cities like New York, Dubai, and Singapore.

While skyscrapers are omnipresent, 2018 introduced new approaches, technologies, and locations to the high-rise typology. From variations in materiality to form, designs for towers have started to address aspects beyond simply efficiency and height, proposing new ways for the repetitive form to bring unique qualities to city skylines. Below, a few examples of proposals and trends from 2018 that showcase the innovative ideas at work: 

Courtesy of Plompmozes © Rafael de la-Hoz Arquitectos © Virgile Simon Bertrand Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects + 13

UNStudio Named Winner of Landmark Melbourne Skyscraper Competition

UNStudio and Cox Architecture have officially been announced as the winners of Melbourne’s landmark Southbank Precinct overhaul. Selected from a range of high-profile offices, including BIG, OMA, and MAD, UNStudio's vision for the $2 billion project includes a pair of twisted towers called Green Spine. As the largest single-phase project in the history of Victoria, Australia, the Green Spine is designed as a state-of-the-art, mixed-use environment centered around innovation in architecture and design.

Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture + 30

Celebrate International Museum Day With These Exceptional Museum Designs

Not all architects get the opportunity to design a museum. Between budget, scale and factors external to the field of architecture, designing a museum--and actually getting it built-- may mark the pinnacle of one's professional trajectory.

These public buildings provide an invaluable service to the communities in which they are located; from education to commemoration and (occasionally) the provision of public space, museums are "shining lights" in which architecture plays a fundamental role. 

UNStudio Triumphs in Competition for New Budapest Bridge Over the River Danube

UNStudio, in collaboration with Buro Happold Engineering, has won an international competition for the design of a new bridge spanning the River Danube in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Their scheme will serve as a blueprint for the "Galvani Bridge" connecting South Buda and Csepel, balancing graceful aesthetics with strong performance.

The competition for the bridge was conceived with the goal of decreasing the 600,000-strong daily traffic load on existing bridges across the Danube by 40,000. As well as easing traffic congestion, the bridge is intended to embody a liveable, loveable, healthy image of 21st-century Budapest.

© VA Render © VA Render © VA Render © VA Render + 10

BIG, OMA, and MVRDV Among Shortlisted Firms for Melbourne Landmark Competition

The shortlist for a new landmark project in Melbourne has been announced, comprising award-winning global architects such as Bjarke Ingels Group, MVRDV, and OMA. For the “Southbank by Beulah” mixed-use development, the shortlisted architects will engage in a design competition working in collaboration with local Australian firms, each producing a design proposal for Melbourne’s BMW Southbank site.

With an end value in excess of $2 billion, Southbank by Beulah will be the first large-scale private project adhering to the Australian Institute of Architecture guidelines, while the design competition will be chaired by a jury of seven regarded individuals from academic, architectural, property and government sectors.

What Motivates and Inspires UN Studio's Ben van Berkel?

Last week ArchDaily attended the 2016 World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin. Following his opening keynote address, we talked to Ben van Berkel of UN Studio who spoke of his interest in using technology in architecture to improve not only user experience, but to affect qualitative aspects of design itself. Together with his partner Caroline Bos, Van Berkel recently published Knowledge Matters, a book positioned "to help architects to run a better studio and to share knowledge."

Knowledge Matters

The profession "architect" has expanded in recent years, not just in terms of the cultural influences, but equally with respect to scientific advances. The inventive economy has also led to new lifestyle choices and a new role for the architect and architectural practice. We talk of an architecture that is either pre-crisis or post-crisis, the latter resulting in a call for responsible architecture (affordable, sustainable, attainable, and healthy).

This development led to changes in the UNStudio practice; with the introduction of Knowledge Platforms and the development from a network to a knowledge practice. Now compiled into an inspiring publication, Knowledge Matters

UN Studio Announces 20th Anniversary Exhibition of Erasmus Bridge, New Book and App

Marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of their iconic Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, UN Studio, along with the Kunsthal and Heerema Group, have organized an exhibition demonstrating “the many and varied ways that the bridge has been embraced by the public and become a symbol of the city of Rotterdam.”

SCI-Arc’s Close-up Exhibit Explores the Potential of Digital Technologies on Architectural Detail

SCI-Arc’s “Close-up” exhibition is currently on display at the SCI-Arc gallery, featuring architectural details designed with the use of digital technology by top architects in the field. The exhibit, curated by Hernan Diaz Alonso and David Ruy, seeks to explore the impact of new computational tools not only on large-scale building analysis, but also on the “traditions of tectonic expression” associated with architectural detail.

“Out of the many critical shifts that the discipline has gone through in the last 25 years with the explosion of new technologies and digital means of production, the notion of the construction detail has been largely overlooked,” Diaz Alonso said. “This show attempts to shed light on the subject of tectonic details by employing a fluid and dynamic movement of zooming in and zooming out in the totality of the design.”

The 16 exhibitors include architecture firms like Morphosis, Gehry Partners and UN Studio – see preview images of them all after the break.

By UN Studio. Image © Joshua White By Gehry Partners. Image © Joshua White By P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S. Image © Joshua White By Tom Wiscombe Architecture. Image © Joshua White + 37

Mercedes Benz Museum / UN Studio, photos by Michael Schnell

© Michael  Schnell
© Michael Schnell

Ten kilometer south from the Porsche Museum we featured last week, we find the Mercedes Benz Museum, designed by dutch architects UN Studio and photographed by Michael Schnell.

The 35,000sqm project designed by UN Studio between 2001-2006, includes also a restaurants, stores, offices and an auditorium.

The design is based on the geometry of a clover, with the spaces connected between two helical ascending ramps, around a central atrium.

According to Ben van Berkel, joint founder and director of UNStudio “The Mercedes‑Benz Museum sets up an interface for a series of radical spatial principles in order to create a completely new typology”.

And by this, he refers to how visitors experience the museum: They do not begin their visit to the exhibition at a conventional entrance at the base of the building. They are transported by lift to the top floor. Here they have the choice of two tours, during which they descend through the building. The paths of each tour meet on each floor, enabling visitors to switch between tours – the Collections tour and Legend tour – should they wish to do so.

After this project was completed, several tried to imitate it and these kind of circulations became a cliché among architects (and students).

You can see more details of the lift system at NotCot.

More photos by Michael Schnell after the break: