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The latest news on ArchDaily from Business Insider

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    The design for the Citadel Skyscraper by Victor Kopeikin and Pavlo Zabotin is a symbiosis of a skyscraper and a residential tank creating a defensive shield to protect the Japan from the inside against external natural and anthropogenic influences. 

    The project provides carrying the residential functions of cities in the land out to self-supporting residential units located in the sea (residential skyscrapers, citadels).

    These citadels interact with each other on the shoreline, forming a single closed defensive chain that operates both on the surface and underground. Thereby proceeds the mastering of new territories for the human life.

    See The Futuristic Skyscrapers >

    As of today, the most affected by natural disasters is Japan.

    As of today, the most affected by natural disasters is Japan. On that example we see that even the most economically and technologically developed countries of the world are helpless towards the destructive forces of nature.

    See The New House At Milton St Elwood Victoria / Jost Architects at Arch Daily>

    Our view on this issue is focused on the development of the concept of a prevailing type of alternative settlement system in Japan.

    Our view on this issue is focused on the development of the concept of a prevailing type of alternative settlement system in Japan. The main idea of the project is a creation of a “defensive shield” around Japan, graphically resembling a fortress. The so-called “defensive shield” is designed to protect the island from the inside against external natural and anthropogenic influences.

    See The Olympic Tennis Centre / Dominique Perrault Architecture at Arch Daily>

    The project is directed on the establishing of a new residential area and the creation of new economic nodes in the territorial structure of Japan.

    1. Reallocation of the territories

    The project is directed on the establishing of a new residential area and the creation of new economic nodes in the territorial structure of Japan. The whole residential function shall be carried out of the bounds of modern cities and it shall be concentrated along the coastline. It is suggested to relieve the overcrowded cities in Japan in such way, concentrating in it only economical and social function (enterprises, companies, state. institutions). Thereby a new functional area is forming.

    - Economic Zone: (a city in a modern context), infrastructure and government buildings will be left untouched
    - Residential function will be taken outside the cities.
    - Economic (“agrarian”) zone will be located between the two previous zones (orchards, gardens, greenhouses).

    See the New House At Milton St Elwood Victoria / Jost Architects at Arch Daily>

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Apple Store Shanghai

    With the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Shanghai.

    Shanghai is noted for having more Art Deco buildings than any other city, including László Hudec’s Park Hotel, which is not on our list but will be added in a future guide.

    Like many cities in China, Shanghai’s rapid growth has meant a boon in contemporary architecture styles.

    We put together a list of 12 modern/contemporary buildings that we feel provides a good starting point. It is far from complete. There are dozens of other great buildings that are not our list, and we are looking to add to the list in the near future. 

    The Shanghai Oriental Sports Center: The SOSC celebrated its opening for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in July 2011. It consists of a hall stadium for several sports and cultural events, a natatorium (swimming hall), an outdoor swimming pool and a media centre.

    Shanghai Museum of Glass: Located in Shanghai’s Baoshan District, this former glass manufacturing site covers a total area of 29,612sqm including thirty existing buildings varying in age and scale.

    Shanghai Houtan Park: Built on a brownfield of a former industrial site, Houtan Park is a regenerative living landscape on Shanghai’s Huangpu riverfront.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Organized in 2006 by eVolo Magazine, the Skyscraper Competition recognizes outstanding ideas for vertical living.

    After reviewing more than 600 projects from 83 different countries, the winners for the eVolo 2013 Skyscraper Competition have just been announced.

    First place was awarded to Derek Pirozzi from the United States, currently an intern at Olson Kundig Architects

    Second place went to Darius Maïkoff and Elodie Godo, from France. And third place was awarded to Ting Xu and Yiming Chen from China.

    1st Place / Derek Pirozzi / Project Umbrella

    513f81afb3fc4b33b0000007_evolo 2013 skyscraper competition winners_0480 polar umbrella 0 600x414 1

    During the last decades of global warming, the polar ice caps have experienced a severe rise in temperature causing the northern and southern ice shelves to become thin, fractured, and melt into the ocean. Rebuilding the arctic layers is the primary objective of this proposal which cools down the Earth’s surface by reducing heat gain in vulnerable arctic regions.

    The Polar Umbrella’s buoyant super-structure becomes a statement for the prevention of future depletion of our protective arctic region.

    Through its desalinization and power facilities, this arctic skyscraper becomes a floating metropolis equipped with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) research laboratories, renewable power stations, dormitory-style housing units, eco-tourist attractions, and ecological habitats for wildlife. A series of these structures would be strategically located in the most affected areas.

    Salt water is used to produce a renewable source of energy through an osmotic (salinity gradient power) power facility housed within the building’s core. In addition, the structure’s immense canopy allows for the reduction of heat gain on the arctic surface while harvesting solar energy. The umbrella’s thermal skin boasts a series of modules that are composed of a polyethylene piping system that pumps brackish water. Finally, the Polar Umbrella also regenerates the ice caps using harvest chambers that freeze the ocean water.

    2nd Place / Darius Maïkoff and Elodie Godo / France

    513f81a7b3fc4b231400000f_evolo 2013 skyscraper competition winners_0201 silverlining cloud 0 600x406

    The Phobia Skyscraper is a new form of modular suburban residential development for Paris, France. It is located over the “Petite Ceinture”, a former industrial site with excellent views of the city and an extensive transportation network.

    Two main ground slabs and an empty tower structure, constructed of recycled industrial materials, hold prefabricated units that are stacked to utilize the same plumbing system but are rotated to open to outdoor spaces. The units are grouped around outdoor common green spaces.

    These common areas, or “nuclei centers,” are equipped with displays that provide real-time feedback for residents on societal issues within the community, occupancy rates of the structure, and messages. It also contains water-collection equipment and solar power panels.

    Despite its solid skeleton, the Phobia Skyscraper and its modular units are designed to evolve as does society itself. Its materials are the byproducts of abandonment and recycling; the building itself could be abandoned and once again revitalized, depending on the desires and needs of its residents.

    3rd Place / Ting Xu and Yiming Chen / China

    513f81abb3fc4b7556000007_evolo 2013 skyscraper competition winners_0208 lightpark skyscraper 0 600x438 528x385

    The rapid increase of population within the major cities around the world has led to poor development and serious urban design problems, including the lack of infrastructure, housing, and recreational areas. In Beijing, a large portion of the historic center has been demolished.

    One way to make scarce green and recreation space available to residents of this crowded city is a skyscraper that floats above the land, taking new development to the sky. The Light Park stays afloat thanks to a large, mushroom cap-like helium-filled balloon at its top, and solar-powered propellers directly below. Programmatic platforms that host parks, sports fields, green houses, restaurants, and other uses are suspended from the top of the structure by reinforced steel cables; the platforms fan in different directions around the spherical vessel to balance its weight. These slabs are also staggered to allow for maximum exposure to sunlight on each level.

    Translucent solar panels cover the top of the vessel to power the uses below, and water collectors, also located at the top, direct precipitation towards filters that send clean water throughout the structure.

    Though it doesn’t completely solve Beijing’s serious traffic and overpopulation problems, the Light Park can return valuable green space to the public, and also help mitigate the pollution that comes with increased development – with parks and plants floating in the sky above the city, the air is partially cleaned.

    SEE ALSO: The 65 Best New Buildings In The World

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    “The rapid expansion of airport-linked commercial facilities is making today’s air gateways anchors of 21st century metropolitan development where distant travelers and locals alike can conduct business, exchange knowledge, shop, eat, sleep, and be entertained without going more than 15 minutes from the airport. This functional and spatial evolution is transforming many city airports into airport cities.” - Dr. John Kasarda

    Major international airports have developed over time into key nodes in global production and enterprise systems through speed, agility and connectivity.

    These transportation hubs are able to dramatically stimulate local economies by attracting a wide range of aviation-related businesses to their peripheries and resulting in what John Kasarda, a US academic who studies and advises governments on city planning issues, has dubbed the “Aerotropolis.”

    The Aerotropolis, like any other traditional city, consists of a central core with rings of development permeating outwards; unlike a traditional city, however, the city’s core is an airport and all neighboring development supports and is supported in turn by the airport industry.

    Several airports around the globe have organically evolved into these airport-dependent communities, generating huge economic profits and creating thousands of jobs, but what Kasarda is arguing for is a more organized and purposeful approach to the development of these Aerotropolises – what he believes to be the future model of a successful city.

    Looking back on city development, it quickly becomes clear that cities have almost always been an outcome of and had a strong relationship with the form of transportation that was relevant during the time of their establishments. In the US, the first modern cities developed around seaports (BostonCharlestonNYC) and then towns popped up along rivers and canals (BuffaloPittsburghDetroit).

    Next the invention of the railroad opened up previously hard-to-reach inland areas to manufacturing and distribution (AtlantaOmahaKansas City). In the 20th century, highways facilitated the greater dispersion of people and companies by creating suburbs, and most recently, the world’s airports have turned into “primary drivers of urban growth, international connectivity and economic success.”

    Kasarda claims that the cities that will thrive in the 21st century will be those with airports and their centers, for “efficient, large, well-connected airports matter to prosperity above everything else” and “the fastest, best-connected places will win.”

    These words certainly have not fallen on deaf ears. Airport cities have already appeared in Amsterdam Zuidas, Las Colinas, Texas and New SongdoSouth Korea‘s International Business District. Dubai is currently considered to be the world’s largest aerotropolis, connecting the East and West primarily through international air travel and commerce; however, OMA has just revealed masterplans for a competitive airport city in Qatar.

    Plans for a China Southern Airport City by Woods Bagot are underway, as well – in fact, China is reportedly building a total of 100 airports to be completed by the year 2020. Nearby Taiwan has allocated $8 billion for just one airport while the US allocated a similar amount – $9 billion – for all transportation infrastructure in 2008. With this kind of indifference towards its airports, Kasarda warns that America’s economy runs the risk of falling behind these other developing nations.

    A nation’s airports are undeniably vital contributors to the economy. Chicago‘s O’Hare International Airport is the 2nd largest office market in the Midwest and Washington Dulles’s airport area alone has more retail sales than any other American city besides Manhattan. Detroit, a city that is seriously considering a new airport development to stimulate its struggling economy, would generate $10 billion in annual economic activity, $171 million in annual tax revenue and would create and sustain 64,000 jobs after 25 years. Why would anyone living in Detroit today frown upon a proposition like this?

    Well, while the economic effects of the Aerotropolis are clear, its effects on an existing urban fabric and its people are much less so. This is evident in the current issues facing London and its new major airport in southeast England, a task that has drawn many of the world’s leaders in business, planning and architecture.

    After considering the Aerotropolis city model, Rowan Moore of The Guardian finds it “chilling: a model of a city driven by a combination of business imperatives and state control, with the high levels of security and control that go with airports. Under the dictatorship of speed, individual memory and identity are abolished. An airport shopping mall is, actually, not like a town square [as Kasarda suggests], for the reason that everything there is programmed and managed, and spontaneity and initiative are abolished.”

    In addition, he notes that Kasarda’s model envisions the Aerotropolis being constructed on “virgin greensward,” which is simply impossible for London and most existing metropolitan areas. It turns into a challenge of reorienting an entire city to focus on its airport – a monumental effort when working with a metropolis that has hundreds if not thousands of years of history and urban growth. The model could work seamlessly where there’s a blank slate, but there just aren’t enough of those left in the world.

    While the Aerotropolis vision is an economically enticing one and has already set many gears in motion around the globe, we need to stop and consider the bigger picture: how will this model change the way we experience cities? Will individual culture and character be lost to the fast-paced, constantly-connected and homogenized aura of air travel or allow for a greater cultural exchange? How will it affect the human psyche and will the preoccupation with money and control eventually replace all other knowledge or will it create new knowledge as a result?

    What do you think?

    SEE ALSO: The 65 Best New Buildings In The World

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    National Centre for the Performing Arts

    This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Beijing. Beijing has a range of architectural styles, but the three most prevalent are the traditional imperial style (the Forbidden City), the “Sino-Sov” style (boxy structures built between the 1950s and 70s), and lastly the explosion of a modern corporate style that is punctuated with Starchitect buildings like OMA’s CCTV TV Station HQ.

    We put together a list of 12 modern/contemporary buildings that we feel provides a good starting point. It is far from complete. There are dozens of other great buildings that are not our list, and we are looking to add to the list in the near future. 

    To check out other cities visit our world map or our Architecture City Guide page.
    The Architecture City Guide: Beijing list and corresponding map after the break.

    Bird's Nest National Stadium: Herzog & de Meuron designed this massive stadium, built for the 2008 summer Olympics.

    Watercube National Swimming Centre: The aquatic center for the 2008 summer Olympics was designed by PTW Architects.

    National Grand Theater Of China: The National Grand Theater, by Paul Andreu is home to three auditoriums. The curved building is made of titanium with a total surface area of 149,500 square meters.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Oslo Opera HouseAs you might have heard, ArchDaily is celebrating its 5th birthday

    We decided it was time to get a bit nostalgic and look back at the projects of yesteryear, the ones that struck a chord with you, our ArchDaily readers, and helped us get to where we are today.

    Floating House: Ontario, Canada

    Architects: MOS—Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample

    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Project year: 2005

    Vodafone Headquarters: Porto, Portugal

    Architects: Barbosa & Guimarães

    Location: Porto, Portugal

    Project Year: 2006-2008

    Reading Between the Lines: Looz, Limburg, Belgium

    Architects: Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

    Location: Looz, Limburg, Belgium

    Project Year: 2011

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    havneparken copenhagen denmark urban beach

    Last week the UK’s Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced that he was commissioning a review of the country’s architecture policy, to be led by Sir Terry Farrell along with a number of high profile advisors, including Thomas HeatherwickAlison Brooks and Alain de Botton.

    According to Vaizey, the review, expected to be complete by the end of the year, “will be a rallying point for the profession.”

    In his article in The Guardian, Olly Wainwright rather hopefully questioned: “might this year-long study result in an innovative new piece of legislative guidance – perhaps along the lines of Denmark’s architecture policy, introduced in 2007?”

    While Wainwright somewhat flatly concludes, “somehow, that seems unlikely,” there’s no doubt that the UK could only stand to gain from learning from Denmark’s innovative policy.

    So what lessons could the UK (and the world) learn from the Danes? Read on after the break…

     Lesson #1: High Quality Design Makes Economic Sense

    A key facet of the Danish Policy is an insistence that high quality design is not only admirable on its own terms, but makes economic sense as well. In a section on public sector construction, the document asserts:

    “Public construction development should continue to place major priority on the long term economic gains of high architectural quality – and not the short term financial gains that can be achieved if the owner compromises on demands for architectural quality.”

    The Danish Policy also focuses on generating a demand for quality in the private sector. With a much larger private sector than in Denmark, the UK could learn from its aims to encourage an increase in education and awareness of architecture for citizens, thus forcing private developers to up the ante with regards to design quality. This education is spearheaded by the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), which both runs exhibitions and events at its home in Copenhagen, and maintains an informative online presence.

    Lesson #2: Architecture is a Matter of National Pride

    This issue is particularly pertinent for the UK at a time when the government is enacting what BD’s Editor-in-Chief Amanda Baillieu called ”an almost McCarthy-like witch-hunt against anyone who believes design can improve people’s lives.” In contrast, the Danish Policy continually stresses pride in the country’s architects, and aims to cultivate an “environment of architectural ambition”.

    Lesson #3: Regulation Can Work With, not Against, Architecture

    Another keyword for the Danish Policy is ‘innovation’. In the UK it can seem that architectural ideas have stagnated recently, with news such as influential think tank Policy Exchange recommending a return to terraced streets instead of high-rise housing. Proposals like this present a false choice between two set options, whereas in Denmark the emphasis is on developing new ideas and better options.

    To achieve innovation, Denmark has actually relaxed building regulations. After ensuring that regulations on sustainability, accessibility and health and safety are kept, a relaxation in other regulations provides architects and construction companies with more flexibility in the design and more room to innovate.

    Lesson #4: Architecture is a Collaborative Effort

    The final lesson to be taken from the Danish example is that a commitment to improve architecture requires agreement from a number of governmental departments and non-governmental organizations: the policy cites “ministries of Culture, Economic and Business Affairs, Social Affairs, Foreign Affairs, the Environment and Transport and Energy as well as the Danish University and Property Agency, the Danish Defence Estates and Infrastructure Organisation, and the Palaces and Property Agency” as key players in the legislation, with organizations such as the DAC being instrumental to help them engage the public.

    Vaizey is similarly aware of the need to engage other departments, pledging to deliver the report to “all four corners of Whitehall.” However, with what appears to be strong opposition from the likes of Michael Gove, and with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles dismissing Vaizey’s request to call in David Chipperfield‘s Elizabeth House design for a public enquiry, Ellis Woodman of BD argued that ”it takes a considerable leap of faith to believe that Ed Vaizey’s latest initiative to elevate the importance of design at government level is going to have any effect.”

    The four focus areas of the UK report are certainly enough to successfully cover the same issues as Denmark’s architecture policy, but with the rest of the government seemingly ambivalent towards issues of good design, and Vaizey himself admitting that “I haven’t anticipated that the report will result in any changes to legislation”, it remains to be seen whether the review will generate any noticeable changes at all.

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    masdar city

    Arguably the biggest buzzword in urbanism right now is the ‘Smart City.’

    The idea, although certainly inclusive of eco-friendly practices, has even replaced “sustainability” as the major intent of cities planning for positive future development.

    Smart City thinking has been used successfully in countries as diverse as Brazil, the US, the UAE, South Korea, and Scotland (Glasgow just won a £24million grant to pioneer new schemes throughout the city).

    But what exactly are Smart Cities? What benefit do they bring us? And, more importantly, how can we best implement them to secure our future?

    The answer, in my opinion, lies in the hands of architects.

    A coherent definition of what makes a Smart City, as well as a ‘Future City,’ is often difficult to pin down. The idea is easily entangled in the swirling mass of utopian thinking that encompasses sustainability, technology, societal progress and economic prosperity. One useful explanation has been provided by Boyd Cohen of Fast Company:

    “Smart cities use information and communication technologies (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint – all supporting innovation and the low-carbon economy.”

    Rick Robinson, Executive Architect at IBM, has elaborated on this definition by defining the Future City as an economically successful city that is well positioned to continue that success, which creates sustainable and equally distributed growth, and operates efficiently to allow citizens to “do their best”. In turn he describes a Smart City as one that aims to achieve the goals of a Future City by implementing computing technology.

    Ideas to incorporate high technology into the operations of cities have been around for some time; a major factor in driving this thinking has been the moral imperative of sustainable development, which strongly links ideas of measurable efficiency with the process of building. The pioneers of this approach therefore ditched the inefficiencies of existing urban areas to develop a city from scratch, with the most well known of these being Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

    Among the most radical technologies used in Masdar are the public transport systems; cars are banned within the city and transport is provided by ‘Public Rapid Transit’ – automated electrical podcars that travel to the destination selected by the user, almost like an automatic taxi. The city also makes use of almost every green energy technology going: energy will be generated by a combination of photovoltaics (PVs), solar panels, wind farms, geothermal energy and a hydrogen power plant.

    Another highly successful example of this tabula rasa approach to smart cities is Songdo in South Korea. Whilst in its outward appearance Songdo seems more recognizable as a global city than Masdar, there is a ubiquitous information network underpinning the city. The primary motivation for this plan was once again environmental, with energy use and other essential city services monitored and in some cases controlled by city officials, using algorithms to provide efficiency. This network in turn provides citizens with useful tools such as video conferencing and a (non-identity linked) smartcard that acts as credit card, access pass and house key all in one.

    However the pioneering approach of entirely new cities has come under fire. Representatives of Greenpeace have indicated that whilst developments like Masdar are commendable, we need to place more emphasis on retrofitting the cities we have inherited from our unsustainable past. In an article for the Guardian, Richard Sennett outlines what he sees as a more fundamental problem in the social fabric of Masdar:

    “The city is conceived in “Fordist” terms – that is, each activity has an appropriate place and time. Urbanites become consumers of choices laid out for them by prior calculations of where to shop, or to get a doctor, most efficiently. There’s no stimulation through trial and error; people learn their city passively. “User-friendly” in Masdar means choosing menu options rather than creating the menu.

    “Creating your own, new menu entails, as it were, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In mid 20th-century Boston, for instance, its new “brain industries” developed in places where the planners never imagined they could grow. Masdar – like London’s new “ideas quarter” around Old Street – on the contrary assumes a clairvoyant sense of what should grow where. The smart city is over-zoned, defying the fact that real development in cities is often haphazard, or in between the cracks of what’s allowed.”

    What Sennett fails to realize though, is that many of the technology-sector advocates of Smart cities have already moved on from developments like Songdo and Masdar, and begun to learn from them – after all, the information technology industry moves at astronomical speed compared to the construction industry. Again, Rick Robinson is arguably the most enlightening source of information: he advocates “messy, informal, organic and bottom-up forms of innovation in hyperlocal contexts within the city” in order for existing cities to make the transition to smart cities. In order for this to happen, he recognizes the necessity of communication between government and other institutions and local communities.

    Similarly, Shane Mitchell of Cisco stresses a need to think outside of political boundaries: “The politically defined city insufficiently describes an emerging digitally connected city, and a multi-centred urbanised region.” Smart City theorists have already moved beyond the kind of political determinism that Richard Sennett was so put off by, now describing a highly interconnected, inclusive and holistic approach to developing the Smart City.

    This approach they hope will give rise to what is often called the ‘internet of things’. This concept is similar to Songdo’s ubiquitous data network except ever changing, constantly modified and added to by the businesses and individuals in the community. By using data generated by this internet of things on traffic flows, parking patterns, shopping habits, energy consumption and much more, planners can gain feedback on the efficiency of the city and use this information to inform future policy. Furthermore, information can be provided to citizens to allow them to make informed decisions.

    In Rio de Janeiro, a control center has been built to make responses to emergencies quicker and more effective. The center links normally discrete groups of information such as CCTV, weather information and reports of crime, and proved very effective last year when a building unexpectedly collapsed in downtown Rio. The control center quickly had gas and electric companies close off supply to the area, temporarily closed the subway, evacuated the area, closed the roads, alerted the emergency services and informed local hospitals. It also informed citizens of what to do via twitter and facebook.

    In San Francisco, each parking space has been fitted with sensors that detect whether it is in use. This feeds information to local government to monitor the efficiency of the car park, but is also used to power a real time parking app which drivers can download. Instead of circling endlessly around filled parking lots, drivers can now plan where to park before even entering the city.

    However, this proliferation of sensors, detectors and information inevitably raises concerns about citizens’ privacy. To quote Saskia Sassen, “when does sensored become censored?” An interesting phenomenon that has arisen out of the explosion of digital technology is a blog curated by James Bridle called the “New Aesthetic”. The New Aesthetic consists simply of images that reveal aspects of our new digital world, a sort of curiosity box of digital technology.

    However, in an article on the subject for Aeon magazine, writer Will Wiles highlights how “Instances of the New Aesthetic are often places where a glitch has exposed the underlying structure”, and that these glitches expose how these potentially intrusive technologies are being incorporated seamlessly into everyday life without us realizing:

    “In making these connections invisible and silent, the status quo is hard-wired into place, consent is bypassed and alternatives are deleted. This is, if you will, the New Anaesthetic.”

    This issue is certainly a thorny one when it comes to Smart Cities. Companies such as IBM and Cisco tend to generate seamless solutions which open up their Smart City projects to damning criticism. In a follow up to his article Wiles highlights design consultancy BERG as a company that works on ‘beautiful seams’ rather than seamlessness – in theory this approach at least does not ‘bypass consent.’

    But what if, when people can see the intrusion, they tend to deny consent? This eventuality would surely cripple Smart Cities initiatives.

    The benefit of designers is that they are usually better versed in engaging society and walking the tightrope between what could be perceived as either intrusion or improvement. They bring a different, often more human-focused understanding of technology which may complement the technology driven strategy of current Smart City advocates.

    This is not the only reason architects should be involved in the Smart Cities movement: as many have learned when dealing with the issue of sustainability, it is much easier to design a building with new technology already in place than it is to retrofit a pre-existing building. If we are really going to develop a ubiquitous ‘internet of things’, new buildings already ought to be designed with this in mind – however technology companies do not seem to have engaged with architects in this manner since the development of Songdo.

    After the grand projects of Masdar and Songdo, pioneers in technology such as IBM and Cisco have forged ahead with new concepts of the Smart City, leaving architects behind. Though clearly unintentional, this contradicts the theory that technology experts themselves present: that of holistic, integrated solutions that encompass all sections of society. What Smart Cities need most now are architects and designers.

    By better employing the skills of architects, who can mediate between new technology and the people it aims to serve, the “smart city” will cease to be a mere buzz word, and truly become an integrated movement towards intelligent urban development.

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    Wanjian SOHO HadidWhen we see another Eiffel Tower, idyllic English village, or, most recently, a Zaha Hadid shopping mall, copied in China, our first reaction is to scoff. Heartily.

    To suggest that it is – once again – evidence of China’s knock-off culture, its disregard for uniqueness, its staggering lack of innovation.

    Even I, reporting on the Chinese copy of the Austrian town of Halstatt, fell into the rhetorical trap: “The Chinese are well-known for their penchant for knock-offs, be it brand-name handbags or high-tech gadgets, but this time, they’ve taken it to a whole other level.”

    Moreover, as Guy Horton has noted, we are keen to describe designers in the West as “emulating,” “imitating,” and “borrowing”; those in the East are almost always “pirating.”

    However, when we allow ourselves, even unconsciously, to settle into the role of superior scoffer, we do not just the Chinese, but ourselves, a disservice: first, we fail to recognize the fascinating complexity that lies behind China’s built experimentation with Western ideals; and, what’s more, we fail to look in the mirror at ourselves, and trouble our own unquestioned values and supposed superiority. In the next few paragraphs, I’d like to do both.

    “The Happy and Harmonious Dream” 

    According to Thomas L. Friedman in his opinion piece for the New York Times, since China’s embrace of consumer culture in the 1980s, the Chinese people have been in a state of flux, consuming, along with products, the American ideals of individual wealth, identity, and uniqueness.

    But at the same time, they’ve been negotiating these concepts with their traditional values of collectivism, harmony, and balance. This negotiation has resulted in a yearning for a defined, modern Chinese identity – a Chinese Dream, if you will, that, while referencing the American dream, better aligns itself with traditional Chinese values.

    Friedman reports that this Dream is referred by some as a “Harmonious and Happy Dream,” one which allows for the Chinese people to express their individuality (sorely needed after so many years of suppression) but also emphasizes the collective, not just individual, access to improved goods and services.

    These contradictory desires reveal themselves in China’s new cities, many of which are moving away from the bland, chock-a-clock housing that traditionally characterized Chinese cities, and towards something … rather familiar.

    By choosing to live in a “copied” built environment, with the Italian or British or Austrian connotations of wealth or refinement or quaintness it may have, a Chinese person is not just aligning himself with a certain identity, but also to an entire group that ascribes to that identity. Individual choice, in collective form.

    “Never Meant to Copy, Only Want to Surpass” 

    When Ollie Wainwright reported on the copy of Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing Soho in Beijing, he mentioned that the slandered developers launched an advertising campaign, headed by this slogan: “Never meant to copy, only want to surpass.”

    The slogan is important to keep in mind. Despite the pain-staking detail in which Chinese copies are reproduced, from using the same exact Chantilly stone for a French chateau or replicating the Winston Churchill statues in a British town, it’s important to note that there are certain adaptations, changes,and “improvements” made upon these clones.

    In Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China, author Bianca Bosker notes that European cities’ typical, winding streets and tiny apartments, which don’t align with Chinese desires for order and space, are generally not incorporated into the Chinese versions.

    Moreover, developers, responding to the demand for the fantasy of Western built environments, are beginning to invest not just in copies, but in new interpretations of Western models (designed with the Chinese wants in mind). Michael Ellis, a partner at 5+designwho has, beyond working on a retail expansion of The China World Trade Center (CWTC), developed residential projects in China, describes his firm’s strategy as “going vertical with the American Dream.”  As Ellis puts it: “density does not have to preclude individuality.”

    Their project, called Luxehills (a name which reflects the homes and hills of California), is series of California-style high-rises that are “authentic” (using stones, stucco and tile) and provide plenty of public space  (including a lagoon, plaza, and many galleries). It’s a “copy” of an American model, which is in turn a “copy” of an Italian model, that perfectly encapsulates the negotiation of values happening in China now: a Western look, individualized units, density, and the collective access to amenities that serve the neighborhood as a whole.

    The Architectural Rift

    But let’s turn the mirror on ourselves for a moment. Really, the modified-copy shouldn’t feel foreign to us at all – it has been common practice in development all across the United States. We need look no further than Las Vegas (although we certainly could).

    Of course, you could make the argument that there is an inherent difference between copying villages, especially ancient villages where the original architects have been lost to obscurity, or copying certain typologies, and copying Architecture (with a capital A), which is, according to our system of beliefs, the intellectual property of the Architect who designed it. Thus, while most of these odd-ball copies remain largely laughable in the West,the case of Hadid’s Galaxy Soho invoked ire, outcry, and considerable debate on the ethics of copying.  In an article for ArtInfo, author and architectural historian, Mario Carpo explained it this way: it is “‘the rift between the new media and technologies we use and the old cultural frame of mind we have inherited and not yet updated’ that inspired this disquieting case of architectural mimesis.” I would agree with Carpo: there is certainly a rift between our “old cultural frame of mind,” one which holds as sanctified the purity of the architectural form and the ownership of the architect, and our modern day reality (in which computer technology make copying and manufacturing a design simpler every day); however, I don’t think the rift can be explained entirely by technology. Much of it comes from the confrontation with another cultural frame of mind, in this case that of China, which does not hold the same values dear.

    And while the idea of intellectual copyright for architecture is of course valid, it’s important to remember that this construct – of one’s ownership of an idea (that then becomes functional form) – is a relatively recent one. In fact, architecture wasn’t even covered undercopyright law in the United States until 1990. As Guy Horton wrote in his article “Architecture and Crime”: “While we like to maintain the legal and moral high-ground, the protection of ‘original’ works or the rights of copy are, having developed in the eighteenth century, relatively recent creations in Western civilization. We haven’t been at it all that long and it came into being largely in order to protect commercial interests. It had nothing to do with any sudden moral epiphany about the sanctity of the original.”

    Moreover, the line between copy and original, even in the eyes of the law, is awfully nebulous. As Michael Graves has noted, copyright protection is not for the pragmatic/technical characteristics of a building but only for the ”poetic language” of architecture. But when form follows function, whose to say where pragmatism ends and poetry begins? And with “copying”, from the masters who came before you or a colleague with whom you’ve shared ideas, being a foundational part of architectural design – does it really matter? So the next time we scoff at China’s “copies,” with no thought to their context nor history, I suggest taking a long, hard look at ourselves. We may recognize that what China is doing now is not so different from what we ourselves have done in the past (and what, with the improvement of digital technology, will only happen more in the future). Rather than sitting comfortably on our high-horses, we should begin to see the Chinese adaptation of architecture (and, for that matter, Architecture) as an opportunity to update our own beliefs and begin traversing the rift we have made for ourselves.

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    american folk art museum“There are of course the personal feelings — your buildings are like your children, and this is a particular, for us, beloved small child. But there is also the feeling that it’s a kind of loss for architecture, because it’s a special building, a kind of small building that’s crafted, that’s particular and thoughtful at a time when so many buildings are about bigness.” – Billie Tsien, quoted in The New York Times 

    After only 12 years, the Tod Williams & Billie Tsien-designed American Folk Art Museum is slated to be demolished. Despite the acclaim it has received from critics, including high praise from the likes of Paul Goldberger and Herbert Muschamp, and the importance it has been given in New York’s architectural landscape, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA, which bought the building in 2011) reports that it must tear down the building to make way for an imminent expansion.

    At the time of its construction, the building was of the first new museums built in New York in over thirty years. Unfortunately, the building will more likely be remembered for its short life, taking, in the words of The New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin, “a dubious place in history as having had one of the shortest lives of an architecturally ambitious project in Manhattan.”

    The Museum had had great hopes that Williams & Tsien’s renovation would bring visitors and revenue to the Museum; however, after remaining millions in debt, the Museum was forced to sell the building to the MOMA in 2011. With Yoshio Tanaguchi’s 2004 redesign of the MOMA increasing attendance from 1.5 million to 2.5 million, the Museum is keen to further bolster visitors’ numbers with an expansion.

    MOMA officials explain that it would be impossible to keep the American Folk Art Museum building, for both practical and aesthetic reasons: their planned expansion will connect a new tower by Jean Novel,Torre Verre (which will include exhibition space as well as apartments), to floors of the Modern (on the other side of the folk museum). According to MOMA officials, Williams & Tsien’s building will prevent the floors from lining up. What’s more, officials claim that its opaque facade isn’t in keeping with the MOMA’s glass aesthetic.

    Nouvel’s Torre Verre will give the MOMA about 40,000 additional square feet of gallery space; the folk museum’s demolition about 10,000. “It’s not a comment on the quality of the building or Tod and Billie’s architecture,” Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA’s director told the The New York Times, “We bought the site, and our responsibility is to use the site intelligently.”

    Of course, no matter how business-savvy the decision, the move has understandably appalled the architecturally-minded. The building, named “The Best New Building in the World in 2011” has attracted attention since its opening, particularly for its sculptural facade.

    As Andrew S. Dolkart, the director of Columbia University’s historic preservation program, told the The New York Times: “The building is so solid looking on the street, and then it becomes a disposable artifact. It’s unusual and it’s tragic because it’s a notable work of 21st century architecture by noteworthy architects who haven’t done that much work in the city, and it’s a beautiful work with the look of a handcrafted facade.”

    “It’s a building that kids study in architecture school,” Billie Tsien added, “They study it as a kind of precedent to understand how buildings are made and to understand the kind of space it is because it is a complex and interesting building in a very small site.”

    MOMA will soon begin interviewing architects to design the new addition, selecting one by the end of this year. They also expect to have Williams & Tsien’s building demolished by then, to make way for construction of the expansion, including Nouvel’s tower, in 2014. Both buildings should be completed by 2017 or 2018.

    Story via The New York Times

    SEE ALSO: Architecture Fans Say These Are The Coolest Buildings In The World

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    houses lower ninth ward new orleansEver since the New Republic published Lydia DePillis’ piece entitled “If You Rebuild it, They Might Not Come” — a criticism of the progress of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation — numerous blogs and journals have been in a uproar, defending Make It Right’s efforts at rebuilding the vastly devastated Lower Ninth Ward and presenting a much more forgiving perspective on the progress of the neighborhood since the engineering disaster that exacerbated the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

    To date, 86 LEED Platinum homes have been designed and constructed by world-renowned architects, including Frank Gehry and Morphosis, at a cost of approximately $24 million.  

    Make It Right has promised to build up to 150 such homes, but DePillis‘ article points out that amenities in the neighborhood are low and the number of residents returning to the neighborhood is dwindling.  

    Make It Right has made a commitment and the debate that ensues questions whether it is going far enough in delivering its promise to rebuilding community.

    Since August 2005, New Orleans, and the Lower Ninth Ward in particular, has received a massive amount of attention, first for the devastating effects of hurricane, then for the vastly disorganized emergency services and now for its recovery efforts.  

    Many foundations have been established in the city to address the needs of residents who have struggled to recuperate the tragic losses after the destruction of homes, communities, and the disruption of everyday life.  Some of these programs have been government sponsored, like FEMA, while others, like Make It Right, are privately funded efforts to address specific circumstances.

    The goals of Make It Right are simple, just take a look at this infographic: regenerate the neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward, which not only dislocated a substantial population through the loss of homes, but lost any semblance of stability and security.  

    The emotional trauma cannot be measured in the tangible loss of the neighborhood as a result of faulty levees and severe flooding.  Make It Right, when established in 2007, pledged to build 150 homes that former residents could return to — houses that were designed for their specific needs and that were built to sustain natural disasters.

    A tour through the neighborhood today is startling when realizing that this was once a populated portion of New Orleans; if the pictures don’t tell the full story just take a look at this map produced by  

    Vast stretches are completely vacant with a few houses scattered throughout.  Along some streets, new homes are being constructed, but for the most part what has retained since the flooding are homes with “death marks” scrawled on them by first responders indicating that they are unsuitable for use.  These have been abandoned and are gradually decaying from lack of maintenance over the course of seven years.  Those that have been destroyed or demolished, a startling number of about 4000, have left hardly a mark on the lots, which are now overgrown with weeds and brush.

    In some cases, a foundation is visible, a reminder that this land was once occupied by a developed neighborhood. The Lower Ninth is tragically under-serviced and suffice it to say — since we have all bore witness to the news coverage, photos and prolonged debate over recovery efforts — New Orleans and specifically this neighborhood, which once had the highest density of African American home-ownership and incidentally the highest poverty rate in the country, got the short end of the stick in that disaster.

    In light of how vastly undeveloped this neighborhood has become, DePillis’ criticism and dismay at the slow progress of Make It Right is understandable. The 86 homes, all of which have gained a LEED Platinum rating according to Make It Right, are grouped in a small portion of the Lower Ninth just above Claiborne Avenue along the Industrial Canal. This development stands in large contrast to the rest of the neighborhood. These tree-lined streets are bustling with activity of the residents.  

    The compactness of these new homes, though still sparse in density in relationship to other neighborhoods throughout New Orleans, has a much more exuberant community feel. Rather than living beside an abandoned or dilapidated home, these residents have neighbors and lawns that haven’t been tackled by weeds.  They even have a solar powered playground and established community gardens with the help of Make It Right — according to Martin C. Pederson of Metropolis Mag in an article entitled “In Defense of Make It Right.”

    Yet, navigating these streets also has its downside — once you leave the enclave of Make It Right, you return to a much more desolate place. There are few amenities to speak of here.  Run a quick search in Google for grocery stores and you will only find three listed. Walmart, which is a mile and a half out of the bounds of the Lower Ninth Ward, technically outside of New Orleans, is the closest store that can provide all of the residents’ needs but is most easily accessible by car.  

    Otherwise there are small grocery stores and gas stations along Clairborne Ave, once a commercial corridor, but these too, are sparse.  Amenities have been slow to recuperate here, which is one of the main arguments in DePillis’s piece.  So far, while Make It Right has delivered 86 thoughtfully considered, sustainable and resilient homes, it has been unable to reach out to the elements that revitalize a neighborhood — amenities.  

    DePillis brings this to light and questions whether or not these high-design homes are a legitimate use of the foundation’s resources, which has raised $45 million since 2007 and has already spent $24 million according to a rebuttal by Make It Right’s Executive Director, Tom Darden.

    DePillis poses legitimate questions that address the management of such a vast problem as the redevelopment of a neighborhood struggling with its own high rate of crime and poverty before Hurricane Katrina.  But Pederson makes a poignant response to DePillis’s critical analysis of the foundation: “Make It Right was aspirational from the start."

    "It was never about building the most houses, the most expediently; never about rebuilding an entire neighborhood. FEMA and the Road Home were supposed to handle that. It was about building for returning residents 150 affordable LEED Platinum houses by some of the world’s best architects. It was also about creating a model for sustainable development.”

    So far, Make It Right’s homes have proven to withstand the deadly weather of hurricane season with Hurricane Isaac’s hit last September. But as the number of residents signing up for Make It Right’s campaign is dwindling, the foundation has opened its roster to first responders and teachers. This may prove to be the jump-start necessary for the neighborhood to introduce the proper amenities for neighborhood redevelopment.  

    Despite DePillis’ criticism and scrutiny, and the superseding responses to her piece, Make It Right is one program among many that are making valiant efforts to recover neighborhoods and communities after the destructive forces of Hurricane Katrina.  We are still talking about this seven years after the disaster because these efforts take time, they take money and they take commitment.  

    Make It Right and its many counterparts have at least shown that the Lower Ninth Ward is a neighborhood worth rebuilding, that environmental and social justice is still a priority, and that despite the struggle it is worth the effort.

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    mercedes showroom demolishedIn late March, one of the few Frank Lloyd Wright designs in New York City was demolished quietly at 430 Park Avenue.  

    This seldom-noticed interior retail space was home to the Hoffman Auto Showroom for over five decades and just as it was considered for preservation by the Landmark Commission, the owners of the building applied for its demolition.  

    For many people, this may seem like an act of corporate greed or “corporate vandalism” and it may be so, but the landmark designation for interior spaces applies strictly to public space only according to NYC’s landmark laws.  

    So was this space ever anything more than private property? Aside from having been designed by one of America’s most famous architects, did the design have “special historical, architectural or cultural significance”?

    The Hoffman Auto Showroom was designed and built in the mid-fifties for Mercedes-Benz importer Maximilian Hoffman.  The original design for the 3,600 square foot space featured a turntable as its center piece and a winding ramp that served as a display area.  The ramp was reminiscent of the Guggenheim in New York City, which was being designed and built concurrently.  

    While the space was still “quintessentially Frank Lloyd Wright” , Ada Louise Huxtable criticized the design in a 1966 book, writing “The spiral ramp motif … which was to be so beautiful an element in the Guggenheim, is employed here, though far less effectively, in part because of the low ceiling and partly because the cramped, abrupt turning motion all too clearly recalls the ramps of multi-floor parking garages.” (Crain’s New York)

    If the LPC was able to designate Wright’s showroom as a landmark, it would have preserved a space that had already been altered from its original form.  In 1982, the showroom went through some renovations that incorporated mirrors on the ceilings and an addition of the Mercedes three-pointed star.  

    Two decades later, the display room was expanded and completely renovated.  In its state at the time of demolition, it is unclear how much of the showroom was in its original condition to warrant preservation.  Of course, the designation process would have taken these conditions into consideration when making its final decision, and in the wake of the demolition, the architecture community laments the lost opportunity.

    via Crain’s New

    SEE ALSO: 50 New York City Buildings That No Longer Exist

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    south korea dream hubAccording to Business Insider and a number of other real estate development outlets, the “Dream Hub” project in Seoul Korea that drew designs from internationally renowned architects including Daniel Libeskind -designer of the master plan – MVRDV, Dominique Perrault, BIG, REX, KPF and Tange Associates is on the verge of collapse.  

    The Yongsan Development Corporation reportedly defaulted on a major loan repayment, citing difficulties in raising funds due to the real estate slump since the 2008 global financial crisis.  The collapse of the project is still speculative, as it is unclear how the next round of loans that are to mature in June will fare.  

    The $28 billion real estate “Dream Hub” project was to develop 56-acres in central Seoul into a modern business hub.  In its planning it included shopping malls, hotels, department store, apartment blocks, and mixed-use office towers.  

    Here's a look at some of the planned buildings that may never come to be.

    The Harmony tower, designed by master planner of the Dream Hub Daniel Libeskind, is a 46-story office tower that is inspired by Korean Paper lanterns.  The facets on the building’s facade reflect the earth and sky in dynamic ways.  The tower tapers at the base to open more area to public space at the street level and create a more expansive pedestrian plaza.  It also contains unique winter gardens along its south and west facade, providing uses with natural ventilation and planted park settings within the high rise. The garden also functions to reduce heat gain and promote energy efficiency.

    The Dancing Towers, also by Studio Daniel Libeskind, are a trio of 41-story residential buildings that comprise of amenities  retail, parking and a commercial area at its podium.  The design of the towers is inspired by the Korean Buddhist Dance called SeungMoo.  Subtle rotations in the exterior frame along with the glass curtain wall give the illusion of motion.  The structure is composed of central concrete core and alternating cantilevered fin walls that support the buildings without columns, allowing them the “twist”.

    MVRDV’s luxury residential towers, The Cloud, features two high rise towers “connected in the center by a pixelated cloud of additional programs”.  The Cloud is accessible to all residents and provides community amenities and outdoor spaces that create a social environment for neighbors to meet one another.  When it was first unveiled, The Cloud was the center of controversy and criticism because of claims that its centerpiece resembles the collapsing twin towers of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks   MVRDV apologized, stating that it was not their intention to upset the public and that the inspiration for the design had nothing to do with 9/11 and that the inspiration came from a “real cloud”.

    The Blade, by French Architect Dominique Perrault, is a mixed use tower whose rhombus footprint gives the building a unique silhouette.  The facade is a textured and faceted curtain wall system that reflects a multi-faceted view of the Seoul’s skyline.  The tower includes retail space, office space, and wellness lobbies at various heights throughout the building.  The Blade has a series of sustainability and energy conservation strategies that range in the inclusion of landscape and green roofs, reusable energy measures, waste management measures and resource efficiency.  

    The Cross # Towers are a residential development designed by BIG.  It includes two vertical towers that are connected by horizontal bands programmed as public bridges between the two towers.   The bridges are landscaped and equipped for a variety of activities traditionally restricted to the ground.  The roof-scapes are imagined as traditional courtyards that inspired interactions between residents and a flexibility for the use of public space.

    Another residential tower, designed by Murphy/Jahn is the Pentominium Tower  which will include high end units in two towers that are unified in a steel and glass lattice structure.  The building offers four story skyparks that are designed within the high-rise to offer community space.  Floor to ceiling glazing provides expansive views onto the city, while a secondary steel structure creates a movable screen that enables residents to adjust their privacy and shading.  The bottom eight floors are reserved for office spaces along with retail concourses below grade.

    The C1-20 Tower by Tange Associates is a 25-story mixed use building that is comprised of educational institutions, a ‘synergy floor’ for events and exhibitions, a three-story fitness center, various regional headquarters for international companies, spaces for private clinics and a 3-star restaurant that opens up to the roof top terraces.  It’s unique faceted facade turns into a media wall that can be programmed to display digital artwork that contributes to the identity of Dreamhub’s skyline.

    REX designed Project R6  as an urban boutique residence for short-term business people, young urban professionals, and foreign residents.  The units are small to accomodate users that will only be using them for short durations of time.  To compensate for the small residences the building has a variety of communal functions within the building, and have generous views and daylight.  The building is stratigied with blocks being pulled out horizontally to create terraces and diversity of units.

    KPF’s Block H consists of a luxury 5-Star hotel and high-end serviced residential building.  The design incorporates a distinct urban landscape and diverse program at the lower levels of the building to engage the social aspects of the street  The tower contains casino, retail, and spa functions in the basement, and the firm proposed a podium building to accommodate a large banquet hall and other amenities for the hotel. 

    SEE ALSO: Take A Look Inside Korea's Futuristic 'Dream Hub'

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    Serpentine Pavillion 2002 Toyo Ito

    The Pritzker Prize had idealistic beginnings: recognising achievement within architecture, a profession that had long lost its status in public opinion. 

    Pritzker ‘seamed’ this fragmentation, celebrated the architect and broadcast this stellar contribution to society, as a creative, a singular author whose uniqueness set him/her apart from a field of practitioners.

    The Prize has since assumed a role of gatekeeper to the ‘starchitect’ it once helped define. While it is inspiring that architecture as a profession has reaffirmed its status and cultural significance, The Pritzker places itself on an archi-centric proscenium, running the risk of being consumed by a synthetic reality within the profession. If Pritzker and other similar models of recognition are to evolve, they must illuminate widespread transformations in practice and emphasise the changing of the guard within the profession.

    FirstlyDenise Scott Brown should be recognised retrospectively. Opinion does not change facts.

    Denise Scott Brown, in a recent interview, re-ignited the fury from the early 90′s, when the Pritzker jury unjustly excluded her in her husband and architectural partner Robert Venturi’s Pritzker in 1991. Ironically, Scott Brown comprises two-thirds of the practice title ‘Venturi Scott Brown and Associates’, the legendary practice partnership which has stamped its mark on contemporary architectural thought.  Scott Brown has been integral to the practice’s seminal theory and landmark architectural projects.

    The interview for the Architect’s Journal coincided with Toyo Ito’s 2013 Pritzker. It also overlaps with a time and period where architectural discourse is addressing the gender bias in the profession as a whole. The weeks followed with a petition signed by over four thousand, demanding Scott Brown be recognised as an equal partner. Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas, Pritzker laureates themselves, have been quick to support this petition.

    The logical extension of this debate is an active petition to ensure Patrik Schumacher be included in the annals of architectural history. Schumacher’s theoretical and processual contribution is inseparable from the practice that is Zaha Hadid Architects.

    The petition demands a renewed consciousness and calls on us to unshackle the profession from its hierarchical armatures and, as Scott Brown emphasised, to advocate for creative partnerships. Keep in mind, this position is diametrically opposed to the values initiated with the Philip Johnson mould of the architect at Pritzker’s inception.

    Stretching this paradigm- should OMA receive credit as being a vessel and think tank for Rem’s oeuvre? ‘Koolhaas’ is now a jargonistic catchword that describes a particular social and architectural evaluation. Does describing an OMA project as Rem’s personal  project construct a more impressive scenario? Are architects still drawn to cheer Koolhaas as the lone ranging dark knight of architecture?

    Atelier practices are often a front for self-aggrandising, as if architecture is a creation willed into existence without project staff. If the collective is still viewed as an agency that tarnishes individual contribution, that could explain the endeavour to make combined-efforts out to be an accessorising presence in the profession, at least in terms of recognition. This discloses a broader and more pertinent debate about ‘authorship’. Here the term is used quite literally, suggesting invention or ownership of ideas, and hence propositioning a professional sensitivity toward acknowledgement.

    In 2001, the year following Koolhaas’s Pritzker, Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron shared the Pritzker, and in 2010 Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese practice SANAA were jointly awarded the Prize. Maybe things are changing.

    Secondly, and rather honestly, who Cares?

    No matter which epoch you assess it in, recognition ostensibly adheres to a traditional sensibility. It is a half truth, well separated from worthiness. Architecture was once trapped in the skin of the visionary (the individual towering above the inferno of limitation, unfettered by convention and constraints, embodied by the cultural perception of a Howard Roark); it is progressively shedding this semblance. No single distinct definition accurately illustrates architecture’s breadth or intent.

    Architecture is, in a contemporary sense, a collaborative platform, an interactive practice, a knowledge mesh. It operates across disciplinary categories, dealing with scales, complexity and territories that no individual should receive exclusive acclamation for. In this light, one has to re-evaluate our affair with conferrals (that are obtrusively self-organising) and decoration for aesthetic valour. To objectify the singular is to glamorise.

    Scott Brown adds “there are other ways of being an architect that are very creative and lets salute some of those, and the notion of joint creativity.”

    It is reasonable to conclude that rather than having institutions swing to accommodate variable definitions of practice, architecture desperately requires new forms of recognition, that celebrate the assemblage and the expansive pool from which the profession draws.

    Is the profession prepared for an ensuing shakedown, one that drives at the very kernel of normalcy?

    If you buy into the assertion of the star, then Pritzker’s characterisation of the hegemonic titular head accompanied by the autocratic production of architecture is absolute. If you no longer see the award as a relevant determinant in the profession, then it should fail to matter either way. In 2006, Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee addressed its failure to award Gandhi a Nobel Prize, declaring “Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace Prize. Whether (the) Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question”. I believe it holds true for Denise Scott Brown.

    Ian Nazareth is a practising architect, urbanist and researcher oscillating between Melbourne and Mumbai. His interests include post-industrial landscapes, urban architecture, networked ecologies, speculative futures and the expanded field. Ian is also a consulting researcher at RMIT’s School of Architecture and Design in Melbourne. Follow him @wormholewizard 

    SEE ALSO: Meet This Year's Pritzker Prize Winner

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    wheelchairEach year, the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley bestows the Berkeley Prize(s) in order to promote the investigation of architecture as a social art. This year’s theme was “The Architect and the Accessible City.”

    The following essay, “A day in the life of a wheelchair user: navigating Lincoln,” written by Sophia Bannert of the University of Lincoln, in the UK, took first prize. 

    As Albert Einstein said: “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts”. In order to palpably grasp an understanding of what it is truly like to be physically disabled in Lincoln, I rented a wheelchair for one day to see for myself whether the facts fitted the theory. 

    Alone and small in the street, my self-awareness heightens. Large swarms of hurried people part when they see me approaching. My whole identity has changed in the eyes of the city within minutes. My wheelchair is my fortress and the enemy. With its large spindly wheels as my first and only defence, they are also my burden. Jarred into an utterly complex version of what I formerly knew as reality, my eyes begin scrutinising and dissecting the cobbled street surface ahead into zones which I can and cannot access.

    Never before had I seen the streetscape in such meticulous detail. Tiny height differences such as curbs and grooves between cobbles become mountains, cruelly halting progress and making small advances, exhausting. Whilst battling physical obstructions, I myself have become one. If the pavements were widened, perhaps disabled citizens wouldn’t be seen as causing an obstruction.

    One of the most historic cathedral cities of Europe, renowned for its vibrant fusion of old and new, Lincoln is situated in the east midlands of England. People are attracted to the city’s picturesque cobbled streets, which weave the city body together like capillaries, constricting the flow of people in places and allowing access via tangles of short cuts, in others.

    Currently witnessing an unprecedented population boom , Lincolnshire Research Observatory have released figures stating that since 2010 Lincoln has seen a sharp decrease in deaths and a dramatic rise in births. This correlation is unfolding on both a local and an international scale. Predictions from the World Health Organisation (WHO) state that within the next five years, the number of adults aged sixty-five and over will outnumber all children under the age of five. By 2050, these older adults will outnumber all children under the age of fourteen. The global population is rising at a rapid rate, raising questions about how the new third generation should be accommodated. Increased longevity may not be such a cause for celebration; this worldwide phenomenon is symbiotic with disability. WHO calculates that ‘two thirds of disabled people are over 60’. The process of aging is often accompanied by some form of disability- be it physical or mental. Disability is now more likely to affect your life than ever before. These predictions are threatening chaotic future repercussions. Our urban environment desperately needs to evolve at a rate which mirrors that of humanity.

    The architecture of Lincoln City tells of a rich and fascinating history. Divided across the foot and head of a hill, the Romans connected these two districts with Steep Hill. Named ‘Britain’s Great street’ in 2012 by the Academy of Urbanism, two-thousand year-old Steep Hill is well known for its difficulty in ascending and descending, boasting a one in seven gradient.

    My wheelchair rattles and comes to a halt, jammed in between the quaint cobbles at the foot of steep hill; I cannot access any further.

    Newly laid, flat cobble stones would alleviate this problem, whilst maintaining the historic beauty of Lincoln. A more level surface under foot will improve transitions for everybody. The installation of a funicular railway would bind the two city levels seamlessly, whilst becoming an attraction in itself. This has been discussed to improve the accessibility of Steep Hill by the city council, but is as of yet just an idea.

    In the words of Raymond Lifchez, ‘Architecture can be empowering, only if architects develop empathy.’ This quote rang true in my mind after being denied the use of the disabled toilet in the University of Lincoln’s architecture building. Whether the architect, Rick Mather, lacked empathy towards disabled users or whether he was designing according to poor minimum standards, the standing reality is that the disabled toilet was too slim to manoeuvre a wheelchair inside and close the door. In my opinion, minimum standards need to be raised to prevent faults such as this occurring.

    Article 9, ‘Accessibility’, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, states that: all parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure people with disabilities are treated equally to others. This includes ‘the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility’, as well as: ‘developing and monitoring the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public.’ Despite being a constituent of the United Nations Convention, Lincoln has not met the terms. Lincoln has also breached at least six of the articles included in The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000), regarding, non-discrimination, human dignity and respect.

    I am curiously perplexed how even after signing conventions stating otherwise, Lincoln is still creating inaccessible spaces alienating disabled inhabitants. The fact is that it is cheaper to serve poor access if no one is going to be prosecuted. This raises the question of whether the guidelines should become law; implementing a consistent universal design. The city council are being blind and deaf to the needs of their population. “Until these problems are resolved, policy statements that emphasise the importance of an inclusive urban environment will be perceived by at least some members of society to be little more than empty platitudes.” (Atkins, 2001)

    I make my way to a ramp situated at the back entrance of a supermarket, to buy lunch. After several attempts with different approaches; I still can’t heave myself up the ramp. The incline is too steep; with a final attempt my wheelchair falls behind me and I am hurled out of the chair onto the cold, mocking, concrete.

    This is a statement to all designers and architects. Within a mere few hours of navigating Lincoln in a wheelchair, my basic human rights have been breached more than once. Being denied the right to use a toilet as well as being unable to access a supermarket to buy food independently is simply unacceptable. The ramp’s incline should be lessened, to fully integrate all users.

    Internal environments are just as important as external environments. Visiting a well-known coffee chain, I soon unravelled a domino effect of obstructions which hadn’t been anticipated. With the counter being high above my head, reaching for a scalding hot drink proves just as tricky as holding it whilst manoeuvring a wheelchair with both arms. The severe lack of fully flexible wheelchair spaces is just as much of an inconvenience. Being a well-known global company, one would have expected a highly developed and ergonomic universal design which catered for all kinds of people, but this is, surprisingly, not the case.

    Discussing accessibility with wheelchair users of the city offers another perspective. Michael has been bound to a wheelchair since childhood. Having lived in Lincoln all his life, he is well aware of the barriers present; He has mentally mapped out the streets in his head knowing exactly where he can and cannot access, with a shockingly small area in which he feels confident to travel within. He has only ever ventured up to the upper half of the city on several occasions and with enormous difficulty. This constructs a feeling of inferiority; only the physically fit can easily visit and exist in the higher land of the city.

    He had longed to travel to the Usher Art gallery but had been wrongly informed that was inaccessible for the physically disabled. This illustrates a lack of information in the city regarding accessibility, leading to perceptions that the urban environment is unsafe. I believe that this can be greatly improved with local campaigning and media coverage.

    Public transport is another important element of accessibility within a city, which unlocks parts of the metropolis which would otherwise be unreachable for some. As Norman Foster said; “The spaces that spiral around buildings act as the lungs.” Regulating and guiding the flow of people in and out of the building membranes is just as important as the individual buildings themselves.

    When Michael tries to catch a bus, it is common for the bus driver to not stop for him. This is because some old busses are ill-equipped for wheelchairs. He was recently denied access to catching a bus five times in a row. However, one journey he did board a bus which did not have designated wheelchair space to secure his wheelchair down: his wheelchair tipped over on its side, crushing his arm; causing injury. Drivers of busses that are not fully equipped are understandably wary of carrying disabled members on board, and vice versa. Michael is now wary of travelling on buses. Lincoln can remove these fears by ensuring all busses are appropriately equipped with disability facilities such as the ‘kneeling’ feature and providing adequate disabled spaced.

    Throughout the discussion with Michael, I was appalled that he did not say one positive about accessibility in Lincoln. In the words of Helen Keller, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Participatory design involving an array of all types of people’s opinion would accurately manifest the physicality of society’s diverse needs.

    I have noticed positive aspects of accessibility working in Lincoln. Busy roads are controlled with pedestrian crossing points, each equipped with tactile, twisting and visual cues; excellent for the deaf and blind. Although these road safety design elements are implemented by the government’s Department of Transport as standard, it shows hope for integration of other disability aids in the future.

    I returned to the city centre at night time discovering an entirely altered perspective. A place usually bustling with people is now abandoned and quiet. ‘It feels not only empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs’.

    Seldom are disabled people seen at night time. I believe this is because of distrust that the streets are safe at night. The fear of being attacked must be attacked itself, in order for it to leave. The city needs clear signage and well lit, open spaces with removal of obstacles. Health and safety is paramount.

    The physical architecture overlaps into the psychological architecture formed in our minds. Subtle physical segregation influences the way that the separated individuals are perceived in society. Transition zones in the city, formed through voids between structures, have a continual stream of human activity filtering through them. Conduits of public life, these spaces are animated and brought to life via the energy of human existence. Thus, it can be argued that these spaces have become social organisms themselves; taking on their own psyche; echoing the combined individual minds filling the voids; a collective conscious and unconsciousness is created. Prejudice is embedded into the walls of the city.

    Within a society individuals learn social attitudes from one another. Individual thoughts merge into a collective consciousness, displaying ‘herd behaviour’ at an unconscious level. Disability prejudices are often learnt in this way. It can be said that social media sites have recently become a live stream of visualised collective consciousness. Therefore, this medium has great power to battle social barriers.

    A Louis Harris Poll showed that 58% of able bodied persons interviewed felt embarrassed and uncomfortable when in the presence of a person with a disability and 47% felt actual fear. Able bodied fearing the largest minority group in the world states that encountering disabled citizens is not a common occurrence; perhaps, this is because of poor access acting as a barrier to public spaces, which have been designed by these people, creating a schism, sectioning off the disabled. This occurrence begs the question of how well one can design a space for everybody, when they are unaware of the entire demographic. Indeed, a barrier ridden landscape is bound to have occurred in such a vicious cycle with detrimental results seen now in our cities.

    When observing disabled citizens in the heart of Lincoln, I note that their mere presence provokes undulating reactions from able bodied strangers. They swerve from being completely ignored, to being paid unnaturally full amounts of attention. Being either fully known or unknown, there is no comfortable middle ground of awareness. Swinging from two extremes illustrates how uncomfortable and inexperienced this society is in encountering people with physical disabilities. This unspoken barrier can be gradually removed with social activism and campaigning. More importantly, architecture has an absolutely essential role to play in breaking these stigmas down. If physical barriers are broken down, then the social barriers will quickly follow suit. Once our city is built for everybody then prejudices will vanish.

    Cities are in a constant state of flux. In the pursuit of equitable progress in Lincoln, a project such as this will have to be tackled step by step, until the steps have been worn down into a ramp. It will require incremental yet substantial investment of time and capital. But before all of that, the first stride requires a heightened social awareness in society, expanding the boundaries of understanding, engaging citizens; realising the collective need for a more accessible city. The larger the crowd of support; the louder the message; the more suitable the city will be for all, expressing a city belonging to everyone.

    We are part of a collective; we must include everyone and fight for all. After all, that is what community is all about, is it not? Failure to respond to the demographic changes occurring will betray our future generations. As Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking as we used when we created them.” We need to be forward thinking with guidelines which architects will want to obey for the good of their people.

    Egalitarianism is vital to successful accessibility for all. We need designs that are not inherently discriminatory and will facilitate security, access, equality and dignity, regardless of physical or mental ability. Lincoln’s beauty and history should be there for all to enjoy and appreciate. Everybody deserves equal access. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi, ‘A Nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.’

    Sophia Bannert is currently earning her architecture degree at the University of Lincoln. She aims to be an advocate for inclusive and accessible design, helping to eradicate the architectural and social discrimination prevalent against disability in our urban environments. Message her at

    See the article, with complete bibliography, at the Berkeley Prize website

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    beirut architectureFollowing a brutal 15-year civil war that tore the city apart, Beirut has recovered remarkably; it was voted the number one destination to visit by the New York Times in 2009, and, more recently, received a similar title by Frommer’s.

    The city is in the second phase of one of the biggest urban reconstruction projects in the world, run by Solidere, which has brought architects like Steven HollHerzog & DeMeuronZaha HadidVincent James, and Rafael Moneo to the local scene.

    In less internationalized parts of the city sit the landmarks of the 1960s and 1970s, Beirut’s pre-war glory days, including buildings by names such as Alvar AaltoVictor Gruen, and the Swiss Addor & Julliard.

    With a city growing as fast as Beirut it is impossible to have a final city guide, so we look forward to hearing your suggestions and building on this over the years.

    CGM CMA Headquarters / Nabil Gholam

    SJ Campus of Sport and Innovation / Youssef Tohme and 109 Architects

    Holiday-Inn Beirut / Andre Wogenscky

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    51893310b3fc4b639d0000ea_adrian smith and gordon gill architecture unveils proposal for mumbai s tallest tower_4

    Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture have unveiled a competition-winning prototype in which they hope will become Mumbai’s tallest skyscraper.

    Standing 400-meters about the crowded city streets, the 116-story Imperial Tower’s curvilinear form is aerodynamically shaped to “confuse the wind.”

    Its 132 “spacious and luxurious” residential units are punctuated by north- and south-facing sky gardens, which break up wind currents around the tower and provide unprecedented access to natural light and views of the Arabian sea.

    Providing a strong visual contrast to its neighbors predominantly masonry cladding, the tower’s “highly sustainable”, metallic skin blocks heat gain and diffuses direct sunlight in the hot and humid climate of Mumbai.

    Further sustainable measures will be used on greywater and rainfall collection, highly efficient mechanical systems, a green-wall podium and the use of native vegetation.

    Some renderings of the project:

    mumbai tall tower

    mumbai tall tower

    SEE ALSO: The Coolest Buildings In Beirut

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    glowing tree

    “We don’t live in nature any more – we put boxes around it. But now we can actually engineer nature to sustain our needs. All we have to do is design the code and it will self-create. Our visions today – if we can encapsulate them in a seed – [will] grow to actually fulfill that vision.” - Andrew Hessel in a recent ArchDaily interview

    “Engineering nature to sustain our needs” is exactly what the Glowing Plant Project aims to do. Synthetic biologist Omri Amirav-Drory, plant scientist Kyle Taylor and project leader Antony Evans are working together to engineer “a glow-in-the-dark plant using synthetic biology techniques that could possibly replace traditional lighting” – and perhaps even create glow-in-the-dark trees that would supplant (pun intended) the common street light.

    How is this possible?

    5192ef85b3fc4bd67500002b_can glowing trees one day replace electric streetlights _glowplant

    Bioluminescence – the production and emission of light by a living organism – is the overarching concept of the Glowing Plant Project, whose team members are essentially injecting flowering plants with genes for bioluminescence.

    The approach can be divided into three basic steps: designprint and transform. The design phase consists of creating the DNA sequence of the first glowing plant using a software called Genome Compiler. The print phase includes printing the DNA at Cambrian Genomics, the first hardware/system for laser printing DNA.

    Lastly, the transform phase consists of transforming that custom DNA into the target plant in the Glowing Plant Lab in California. The team hopes to then ship glowing plant seeds to those who support their cause, allowing for a more hands-on experience with the new technology and its mass reproduction.

    “The Glowing Plant is a symbol of the future, a symbol of sustainability and a symbol to inspire others to create new, living things,” says project leader Antony Evans. Inspired by fireflies and aquatic bioluminescence, Evans calls these methods “off-the-shelf” and old news in the biological world; the ends to which these methods are being utilized, however, might be revolutionary.

    Earlier attempts to make a self-sustainable and vibrantly-glowing plant have been rather unsuccessful, but with the necessary funding, Glowing Plant believes it can eventually create a product that will forever change the concept of lighting.

    Instead of consuming huge amounts of limited energy and producing as much carbon dioxide as cars, glowing plant technology could produce its own energy and oxygen, impacting the Earth in a positive way. No longer inorganic and inefficient, lights could one day be just as alive as we are, further blurring the line between nature and technology in a new and exciting way.

    To read more about the Glowing Plant project and to donate to the cause, click here.

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    taxi new york penn station

    Earlier this week, four architectural firms, invited by the Municipal Art Society(MAS), displayed how they would transform New York’s darkest & dingiest hub – Penn Station – into a space worthy of its site in the heart of the city.

    New Yorkers have been up in arms about Penn Station ever since its Beaux-Arts predecessor, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was demolished in 1963. Its replacement is a dark, cramped station that lacks both the operational and security features it needs to sustain the hundreds of thousands of travelers who use it daily.

    As Michael Kimmelman put it in his inaugural piece as architecture editor for The New York Times: “To pass through Grand Central Terminal, one of New York’s exalted public spaces, is an ennobling experience, a gift. To commute via the bowels of Penn Station, just a few blocks away, is a humiliation.”

    As we reported last month, Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) 50-year permit expires this year, and it will be either renewed without limit, or extended 10-15 years, by The  Council in the coming months.

    The problem, according to MAS, is that “MSG happens to sit on top of the busiest train station in North America [a.k.a, Penn Station] and constrains its ability to serve over half a million people every day. [...] 2013 presents  with a truly unique opportunity and together we need to seize this moment.”

    And so MAS invited Diller, Sofidio, & Renfro; ; SHoP; Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, to do just that.

    Here are their visions.

    Diller, Sofidio, & Renfro

    penn station rendering

    From MAS: Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Josh Sirefman offers Penn Station 3.0, which will be a city within a city, a porous and light-filled civic structure filled with diverse new programs that reflect the hybridity of contemporary urban life.

    Not just a gateway to New York, the station will be a destination in itself with fast, transit-oriented programs layered with slower destinations in a gradient of decelerating speeds from tracks to roof. The building will host transient and resident populations including commuters, office workers, fabricators, shoppers, foodies, culture seekers and urban explorers. In this plan, MSG will be located to the west end of the Farley building on Ninth Avenue, with access to Eighth Avenue.

    According to The New York Times: “DILLER SCOFIDIO & RENFRO Moves Madison Square Garden across Eighth Avenue next to the James A. Farley Post Office building; Penn Station becomes a multilevel public space with amenities like a spa and a theater. “We’re making waiting a kind of virtue,” said Elizabeth Diller, a principal of the firm. “In New York, we’re always late and we think of waiting as a waste. How could you turn that into a positive attribute and actually come there early and spend more time?””

    H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

    51a6312eb3fc4b39ee000278_penn station re imagined_h3_1_msg 1000x500

    From H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture: “In pursuit of making rail the “mode of choice”,H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture asserts that four inextricably linked interventions must be made to improve the City’s essential systems and better express its culture: 1) Public Space, Entertainment, and the Environment; 2) Transportation; 3) Education; and 4) Economic Development.

    A relocation of Madison Square Garden to a 16-acre site on the west side waterfront provides an enhanced venue with a singular new identity and expanded tourist, hospitality, and entertainment opportunities. The New Penn Station, including an eight-track high-speed rail expansion to the south, accommodates increased capacity and integrates community and traveler amenities, including a new 3 acre public park, retail complex, and 2 acre roof garden.

    Redevelopment of the Farley Post Office creates a centrally located Center for Education. And, perhaps most importantly, 24 million square feet of private development around Penn Station and up Seventh Avenue serves as an economic engine for improvements and a revived world-class commercial district.”


    51a625c3b3fc4b39ee000272_penn station re imagined_shop_architects_pennstationinterior11 1000x499

    From SHoP: “SHoP’s plan imagines an expanded main hall of Penn Station as abright, airy and easily navigable space that defines a center of a new destination district,Gotham Gateway. In addition to striking public architecture, the project proposessignificant security and rail capacity improvements that address major needs at the existingstation.

    The team proposes new development, as well as new parks and amenities, aroundthe station to help defray the required public investment, including an extension of the HighLine that connects the new station to a glorious and financeable new Madison SquareGarden.”

    According to The New York TimesSHoP ARCHITECTSExpands the existing site with a lightweight concrete structure that is meant to evoke the old Penn Station and seeks to make the station a social meeting spot. “When’s the last time you heard someone say, ‘Let’s meet for a drink at Penn Station?’” asked Vishaan Chakrabarti, a principal. “People say that about Grand Central all the time.”

    Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill

    51a62e93b3fc4b39ee000277_penn station re imagined_diller 1000x500

    From SOM: “Nearly 640,000 passengers use Penn Station every day, and yet it does not act as a dignified gateway to one of the world’s greatest cities,” states Roger Duffy, FAIA, Design Partner behind SOM’s vision. “What we propose creates a civic heart for Midtown West – one that is truly public and open to all – while allowing New York City to maintain its position as a global center of commerce, industry and culture.”

    “The plan calls for the expansion of Penn Station’s footprint by two additional blocks to accommodate high-speed rail lines for the Northeast Corridor, expanded commuter rail service for the entire tri-state area, and direct rail connections to JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports. This last connection would allow a passenger to go straight from the curb of 7th Avenue, through security at Penn Station, onto a train, and directly to the airport gate. [...]

    A central, transparent Ticketing Hall is placed at the center of the site, with dedicated vehicular drop-off and radial, pedestrian connections to the city surrounding it. [...] With all of these networks intersecting at Penn Station, its central hall would become the iconic gateway for nearly every visitor around the world. [...] In addition to creating one of the largest multi-modal stations in the world, SOM also proposes to build a public park four times the size of Bryant Park, a commercial development the size of Rockefeller Center, a city of Culture larger than Lincoln Center, and a residential neighborhood the size of Tudor City. The design will fully exhaust its potential air rights but preserve the full four block ground-plane exclusively for Public use. The natural location for Madison Square Garden would be adjacent to, but not on top of, the major transit hub.”

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    qatar fifa stadium

    Zaha Hadid Architects have been selected to work alongside AECOM for the design and construction the Al Wakrah Stadium and Precinct of the 2022 FIFA World Cup 

    The 45,000-seat stadium will be nestled within a rich cultural fabric of traditional Islamic architecture, historical buildings, distinctive mosques and archeological sites that belongs to one of the oldest inhabited areas of Qatar, just south of Doha.

    As noted by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, embracing the identify of this cultural heritage will be a crucial part to the success of the stadium. 

    The design will respond to the consistently hot temperatures of the region by integrating cooling-technology systems with climate-control requirements for renewable energy production.

    In addition to the stadium, programs will include an aquatics center and other sporting facilities, along with a spa and commercial space. Once the games concluded, the modular second tier of the stadium will be removed to reduce the stadiums capacity to permanent 20,000. 

    “We are delighted to be involved with the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ program and to support the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee,” said AECOM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John M. Dionisio.  “This is an exciting time for Qatar, and our global team of forward-thinking sports experts is well equipped to meet the challenges that a project of this caliber demands.”

    Work on the project is set to begin immediately.

    SEE ALSO: Zaha Hadid's Futuristic New Metro Station In Saudi Arabia

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