Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

House of Arts and Culture, Beirut, Lebanon

Posted by ewanvfe on 18/05/2009

Alberto Catalano design chosen as winner for House of Arts and Cutlture
Ten months since the Lebanese Minister for Culture, Mr. Tarek Mitri, launched the international competition for the design of the House of Arts and Culture in Beirut at the UIA General Assembly in Turin, last year, a winning design has been chosen. Located in the Ghalghoul neighbourhood sorely affected by the conflicts, the new dynamic and interactive edifice, will offer a vast range of spaces devoted to creativity, exchange, debate, education and cultural diffusion for all publics and all generations.

An international jury met in Beirut examining 388 projects and the italian team led by Alberto Catalano was chosen as the first prize winner. The jury commented that they appreciated the sensitive approach of the Milanese team, the idea of designing the building as a public plaza, as a “non-building”, and its integration in the urban fabric thus achieving one of the important objectives of the programme: the engagement of the public realm.

The awards were given as follows:

1st prize: Alberto Catalano, team leader, with Giulia Lurcotta, Barbarangelo Licheri, Daniel Piludu, Celestino Sanna, Mariangela Murgia, Emanuela Forcolini, Souraya Frem (Milan, Italy)

2nd prize: Beatriz Ramo López de Angulo, team leader, with Simone de Lacobis, Iñigo Paniego de la Cuesta, Jean-Vianney Deleersnyder (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

3rd prize: “Project Meganom” – Yuri Grigorian, Natalia Tatunashvili, Tatiana Kornienko, Yuri Kuznezov, Elena Uglovskaya, Irina Livieva, Artem Staborovskiy, Ruben Grigoryan (Moscow, Russia)

Dorell, Ghotmeh, Tane (Paris, France)

Spiridon Kakavas, Dimitris Giannis, Eleni Klonizaki (Athens, Greece)

Polymur Ltd – Chris Yoo (London, United Kingdom)

Format 21 – Gerd Röschke (Francfort, Germany)

Atelier 2/3/4 – Jean François Patte, Emilie Sopena, Sylvain Rety, Elie Marçais (Paris, France)

Bernd Upmeyer (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

INCH – Roberto Otero Arbide (Mexico city & Madrid, Spain)

KAPUTT! – Rita Ferreira, Kirill de Lancastre Jedenov, Sérgio Antunes, Irene Bonacchi, Ana

Brütt, Sofia Reis Couto, Filipe Moreira (Lisbon, Portugal)

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Tate Modern 2, London, United Kingdom

Posted by ewanvfe on 11/04/2009

Herzog & de Meuron brick design commended by inspectors
The revised plans for the new development of Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron have been granted planning permission by London’s Southwark Council.

Southwark Council commended the revised plans in their report: “The proposed new building will be an extraordinary and unique addition to London’s townscape. There have already been great regeneration benefits for the area following the opening of Tate Modern at Bankside. It is anticipated that Tate Modern 2 will further contribute to, and form the focus for the future regeneration of this area. The application can be strongly recommended for approval.”

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: “We are delighted that Herzog & de Meuron’s revised plans have been granted approval by Southwark Council. We look forward to creating one of the most exciting cultural buildings in Europe which will bring direct benefits to Southwark and London as a whole.”

In an unconventional move, the original Herzog & de Meuron design of glass and steel blocks was scrapped for a brick pyramidal redesign revealed in July last year. The new design’s perforated brick lattice will now blend with the original Tate Modern building’s distinctive exterior. At the heart of the new plans are the unique oil tanks of the former power station, which will be retained as raw spaces for art and from which the new building will rise. The structure will glow at night with light being emitted from the perforations.

The revised building also sets new benchmarks for museums and galleries in the UK for both sustainability and energy use. By exploiting waste heat emitted from EDFE’s relocated transformers and employing passive design principles wherever practicable the scheme will use 54% less energy, and emit 44% less carbon than building regulations demand.

Overall the project will also address some of the strains on the current building. The gallery was originally designed for 2 million visitors. With current visitor numbers reaching up to 5 million, there is serious overcrowding particularly at weekends. Changes in contemporary art practice mean that different kinds of spaces are desirable and additional space is needed so works can be brought out of storage and shown on a more permanent basis. Since 2000, there have been more than 2 million participants in Tate Modern’s learning programmes and existing spaces cannot satisfy demand.

The project is due to be completed in 2012 at an estimated cost of £215 million at 2012 prices. To date Tate has raised £74 million, which represents a third of the overall costs.
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Taniyama Hospital, Kagoshima, Japan

Posted by ewanvfe on 10/04/2009

Japanese rehabilitation hospital designed to coexist with its neighbours
The gateless entrance approach to the Jiaikai Foundation’s Taniyama Hospital opens to the community, much greenery and flowers are arranged on the periphery, a tea room and gallery hall are located on the 1st floor to accept neighbours, and the structural design in which echelon hospital rooms shifted by 45º are set back gradually to avoid the sight line interference with neighbour houses. All of these express the intention that the hospital would exist in cooperation with the community.

External sound is muted with fabric-like expressive green tiles, and the illumination resembles starry skies seen through large windows at night, indicative of the architects’ intention to achieve such an environment as to accept patients gently and liberally, and that doctors, nurses and staff are proud of.

The rehabilitation building is located at the southeast corner nearest to the local community, and a gallery hall and tea room are provided to positively encourage interaction with the community.

Hospital rooms are provided in the echelon layout, and light courts are effectively inserted into corridors having various spatial changes, so that light and wind enter even the innermost places. Windows are provided also at inner corners surrounded by hospital rooms, so that such corners can be used for simple day care.

Natural materials including Japanese oak, linden plywood, cork and bamboo which are often used in houses are adopted inside the building. The contrast between such natural materials and effectively laid-out as-cast concrete walls tightens up the space.source:
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house 147, Madrid, Spain

Posted by ewanvfe on 10/04/2009

House design synthesises evolution of Spanish firm
The Spanish architecture firm A-cero, directed by Joaquin Torres, has built a new house in the Madrid outskirts that synthesizes the evolution of the studio’s signature design language and its technical experimentation over the last years. The house can be aesthetically inscribed in the series of projects made by the studio since its international expansion, in places like the Dominican Republic and Dubai, presenting a greater spatial complexity and and use of shapes that underlines the relation between A-cero’s architecture and contemporary sculpture.

At first impression the house clearly shows its intentions, with the dominance of stylized curves and bold shapes that relate harmonically to its natural context while keeping a clearly modern character. The horizontal shapes pile up one on another, creating a stratified building that seems to emerge from the earth like a natural formation, the façades are treated with a texturized dark concrete, completing the mineral analogy.

In this capacity to be at once natural in its matter and artificial in its forms, the house is reminiscent of the work of minimalist sculptors like David Nash, or a piece of land art.

The interior contains a varied program, solved with a very complex array of spaces with different heights and levels, as well as the particular shape of some of the rooms. The lower level contains the main hall – covered by a curved ceiling that accentuates its relevance -, living and dining rooms, master bedroom, gym, interior pool, kitchen and service areas. On the upper level is located a painting studio, under a long curved ceiling, flooded with natural light and the best views over the surrounding landscape. The basement is dedicated to health and leisure, with a bar, games room, chill out, massage room, projection room, cellar and gym.

The spaces are freed of columns and other elements that would alter its fluidity and openness, light materials have been used in the interior design to improve this aspect. The floors are covered with big format white ceramic tiles and the bathrooms are finished in white aluminum.source:
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40 Broadway, London, United Kingdom

Posted by ewanvfe on 31/03/2009

In with the new office and residential scheme at 40 Broadway, London

On behalf of The Great Victoria Partnership (a joint venture between Great Portland Estates Plc and The Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society) Allies and Morrison have achieved planning consent from Westminster City Council for the proposed redevelopment of buildings at 40 Broadway, London SW1.

The scheme is located opposite St James Park tube in the Broadway and Christchurch Gardens Conservation Area and backs onto a number of Grade 1 listed houses in Queen Annes Gate, adjacent to St James Park.

Replacing a series of buildings dating from the 1920s to 1980s, the project comprises a new 8-storey office building (10,875 sq m) fronting Broadway as well as seven residential flats and one family ‘garden house’ along Carteret Street.

Allies and Morrison developed the design over 18 months; an extensive consultation process with Westminster City Council and local residents formed an integral part of the design process.

The Broadway elevation to the office building curves gently to respond to the street alignment and comprises a composition of Portland Stone wall and metal roofing punctuated with metal lined windows and dormers that fold out of the façade. A sloping cornice line ties the top of the wall into a formal composition with the adjacent buildings. The residential buildings feature hand-laid brick with punched window openings and timber and metal detailing.
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Gravesend riverside renewal, Gravesend, United Kingdom

Posted by ewanvfe on 27/03/2009

KPF wins planning approval for Gravesend riverside renewal project

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (London) have won planning approval for a new riverfront development to the north-west of Gravesend Town Centre that combines affordable housing, public amenity space and the restoration of Thames riverside heritage.

Clifton Wharf will occupy two brownfield sites separated by West Street. The unique location includes a disused iron railway pier extending out into the Thames. KPF’s proposed re-development advances both the Kent and Medway Structure Plan and the Gravesham Local Plan by redressing the legacy of decline to the environment and infrastructure of this area. It will revitalise Gravesend town centre by bringing life into the neighbourhood though the creation of jobs and much needed accommodation.

The scheme comprises 145 residential apartments, a retail unit and provisional river-related uses. The design overcomes the challenge of a split location by means of five sliced ellipsoidal buildings. Cutaway roofs allow for terraces at the top levels; punctuations in the wooden façades provide balconies for lower flats. The buildings, pebble-like in form, sit on a landscaped podium that stretches out in line with the pier. Every building in the cluster uses cutting edge morphology and careful positioning to maximise variety, giving the appearance of differing volumes and heights and taking advantage of the site’s access to unique views and natural light.

KPF’s scheme restores the old iron pier and introduces steps and ramps to allow members of the public to get close to the original engineering. The shape and orientation of the pier is echoed and extended inland by the podium which unifies the site and reinforces the connection with the river. The new public walkway, which extends across the road to the pier, provides pedestrian access to the terraces and viewpoints on the water. The relocation of the old river defence wall creates space for proper pavements on West Street and an improved flood protection barrier further to the north.
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Selborne House and Wellington House, London, United Kingdom

Posted by ewanvfe on 27/03/2009

London borough revitalisation brought closer with approval for 2 schemes

The run down Victoria borough in London, is taken one step closer to regeneration with the approval of two key schemes by Westminster City Council. Selbourne House and Wellington House, will join further Land Securities’ projects in the borough: Cardinal Place, which completed in 2006; and VTI2 which gained permission last month, providing a mix of offices, shops, cafés, restaurants and homes to the area.

Colette O’Shea, Head of Development of Land Securities’ London Portfolio, said: “Victoria is on the way to becoming the commercial centre of the West End. Land Securities’ relationship with Victoria spans decades and our understanding of its changing needs underpins everything we do in the area. Selborne House and Wellington House form the next exciting chapter of the improvement process along Victoria Street. We will continue the regeneration ripple effect, attracting new residents, businesses and visitors.”

The current Selborne House, an outdated 1960’s office building, will be replaced by a new building offering premium office accommodation suitable for modern occupiers. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Swanke Hayden Connell, the building will also create street-level shops and restaurant/café spaces fronting onto both Victoria Street and a new canopied pedestrian area that will be opened up to connect Victoria Street, Spenser Street and Seaforth Place, providing opportunities for pavement cafés and outdoor public seating.

Selborne House has been designed to be environmentally sensitive. Its systems have been selected to limit the use of energy and emission of carbon dioxide and several green walls and a landscaped terrace will be installed to enhance bio-diversity and reduce urban rainwater run-off. This approach is part of Land Securities’ wider commitment to make London a more sustainable city.

Responding to Westminster City Council’s priority of residential land use within the London Central Activities Zone, the redevelopment of Wellington House will deliver 59 high-quality contemporary residential apartments, all designed to meet Lifetime Homes specifications, with 10 per cent of apartments being wheelchair accessible.

The new Wellington House has been designed by award winning architectural practice John McAslan + Partners and is intended to complement the traditional London red-brick mansion block, of which Victoria has many.
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Z10 Towers, UAE, United Arab Emirates

Posted by ewanvfe on 04/03/2009

Architectonics International diversify with Z10 Towers holiday concept

Specialising in architecture for the consumer, Architectonics International, a practise from Long Island, New York, generate most of their work from retail projects. Progressing in their advancements in architecture and engineering the firm have now designed the Z10 Towers, conceived as a resort/vacation destination, located on the Dana Island Ras Al Khaimah UAE (manmade islands on hold for construction).

Illustrating an aptitude for technological practise, it was important to the firm that the Z10 Complex should remain on the cutting edge and never fall short in the eyes of the global community. Their vision consists of a seven star hotel, luxury residential apartments, and satellite offices for the avid businessmen. This complex dubbed “Z10 COMPLEXS” becomes the focal point of the project and in turn also the welcoming structure of the complex. The architects hope the Z10 Complexes could be seen as a beacon for miles around symbolizing the emergence of new age architectural thinking.

The main towers are backed with a group of six separate complexes consisting of high end living, providing its residents with their own elevators/party terraces, pools and Jacuzzis for private use while enjoying the soft breeze of the Persian Gulf and its many breathtaking views. The intended sense is one of luxury and escapism.

The walkways and the road below would breeze thru the entire project to enhance the interrelationships of the various activities of the complexes, truly becoming the arteries of the project. The sunrise and the sunset parks would define moments in the visitor’s life making their stay memorable and better yet unforgettable.

The vocabulary of architecture has never been challenged on this scale before -The engineering requirements needed for this project will set it apart from any the world has seen to date. The angled towers will require the foundations to be counter balanced; vertical transportation is inclined or tilted. The outer skins of the buildings are thermal protected with an even sized diamond shape to enhance the richness of the buildings while creating magnificent 360 degrees of panoramic views.
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Swarovski Veil, Wattens, Austria

Posted by ewanvfe on 20/06/2008

German architects design a swish of stainless steel elegance for Swarovski
This sophisticated and fantastic veil has just been completed for the Swarovski works in Wattens, Austria. Upon entering Swarovskistrasse in Wattens, one gains access to a very special world. After all, visitors treat the factory gate as a threshold to a secret, to the origin of the crystal myth per se. With this in mind, Markus Langes-Swarovski and the site office team initiated a competition which was won by the architectural office d e signstudio regina dahmen-ingenhoven.

The veil embraces the works grounds so that the entire entrance area becomes a “landmark”, a synthesis of the arts. It not only veils, but also functions as a gate. The semi-transparent material does not disclose the Swarovski secret. Instead, it allows the onlooker to surmise it.

Even the opposite side of the street is incorporated in the shape of a grove lined with silver limes. This creates a fluid transition to the public space. Veil, landscaping, illumination and the design of the space merge to become a breathtaking backdrop. The veil is made of a corrosion- and weather-resistant stainless steel mesh. It gives rise to a varied play of light and embodies a never-before seen materialness, held in place by a 10-meter high steel stringer. A group of illuminated pads creates a seating arrangement and doubles as the boundary to what lies beyond.

During the day, rays of sun and traveling clouds revel in this space, triggering a constant change. When night falls, a spectacle takes place that lives in harmony with the hues of the sky. This setting forms the groundwork for a permanent and enchanting transformation.

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China earthquake, Chengdu, China

Posted by ewanvfe on 19/05/2008

Trevor Colman talks exclusively to WAN about the way forward in China
It has been a very dark week for China. An earthquake which reached 7.9 on the richter scale caused huge devastation as the whole world was watching. Where many were busy condemning Chinese oppression in Tibet or preparing for the Olympics, their focus swiftly changed as, suddenly, China is in need of aid. Thousands have died. And an estimated 5 million people have been made homeless. Questions are now arising about the recent spurt in construction in the lead up to the Olympics and how this relates to safety standards and the utter devastation.

Architect Trevor Colman has a vested interest in this Chinese tragedy. Just two months ago he opened his first international office in Chengdu in the Sichuan province, just a few miles from the epicentre. He spoke exclusively to WAN about his move and where Colman Architects and the Chinese government will go from here.

Colman decided to open an office in China just a year ago when an enthusiastic employee told him that she wanted to make the move. Encouraged by her enthusiasm and the local contacts she had, they set about opening the office in Chengdu, the employee’s home town.

“Having contacts,” he said, “is very important in business so Chengdu was a good place to start”. Coleman Architects have a strong ambition to grow in China. They already have developers in Beijing and have begun their first instruction to develop a strategic masterplan for the development of a new neighbourhood in Jintang, an area 30 miles outside of Chengdu, on behalf of the local authorities.

The recent events, however, mean things will run a bit differently. While Colman’s office in a shared block in Chengdu still stands, there has been serious damage to the interior walls and they are now conducting work from a residential address.

There have been many allegations that the Chinese are picking and choosing which buildings to make safe, and making the wrong choices. While government buildings stayed largely intact after the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, (which are still being felt), school buildings collapsed like dominoes. On Channel 4 News on Friday, Jon Snow asked Construction Lawyer Ashley Howlett in Beijing if he thought that the speed at which buildings are being constructed has led to lax building practice. He responded:

“Inevitably standards will suffer. I think that that is a conclusion that people have drawn and it may well prove to be the case in some cases. Certainly in China the country is developing at a tremendous pace and when that happens obviously there are down sides. The environment is one that has been well publicised, I think quality, safety – compromises are often made because of the pace of development. The government are very concerned, very serious about remedying that.

“The ministry of construction takes great efforts to try to enforce the regulations but in a country that is as geographically diverse and as populous as China it’s not an easy task.”

Jon Snow then asked, but what of the schools which fell when the government buildings never?

“There have been reports of that. I think the internet, blogs and various things are talking about it. Concern from Chinese citizens that construction standards have not been enforced. Again, I can’t comment on whether that is true or not but there is certainly talk on that.”

Colman is similarly reticent about the potential for the Chinese government and safety officials to have failed in their capacity to protect the Chinese public from this suffering. He said of the accusation that buildings regulations have not been followed:

“That is not a reasonable assumption to make at all. There are a lot of restrictions and they are pretty stringent. There are a lot of earthquakes in China and in general terms buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes. The ones that didn’t were in the main the older buildings. Earthquake protection, when over the epicentre is still very tough,” adding, “The Chinese are very proud of what they do and want to do a good job.” Speaking of the damage in Chengdu, he said: “Chengdu, if you go through it today you wouldn’t necessarily think there had been an earthquake. A few buildings are down, yes, but it is largely fine.”

While the official death toll raised to 34,000 it is feared as many as 50,000 have died and President Hu Jintao has acknowledged the concerns and beliefs of many Chinese and told reporters that if the regulations had been ignored there would be extreme punishment.

So we are left to think about where to move forward from the quake. Colman hasn’t let the earthquake deter him from expanding in China. When asked what the implications for his business in China would be he responded:

“It’s a difficult one to assess,” he continues, “We are doing building work in the outskirts of Chengdu and around China so we have to keep doing work from the office – it seems almost sinister to say but there will be a huge amount of regeneration so one would imagine we will be working on that.”

Colman believes that the Chinese now have an opportunity to create a sustainable way of living and the best way to do this is to build communities: “Building communities means that people can use bicycles or walk to the shops…Our masterplan in Jintang accommodates exactly that principle – we have the opportunity to build health facilities so people don’t have to travel for miles to see a doctor and nurseries so that parents can walk their children there and not use their cars.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity and the scale is difficult to comprehend in the west. Sustainability is a huge issue and an exciting issue to be working on.”

Colman’s plans for China are partly to do with his distaste for much of the current architecture: “In my opinion they are using rather too much of American-style buildings which are not too hot on sustainability…Some buildings just now are horrendous – they are literally car-palaces.”

While the Chinese are presented with an opportunity to turn things around, WAN asked Colman if they were likely to take heed of the damage done and encourage enforcement of regulations more fiercely:

“They will redouble their efforts for safety, I have absolutely no question of a doubt on that. They will almost certainly start to regenerate the areas. They are keen to clear buildings that are not of standard.”

If President Hu Jintao’s statement to the press is to be believed, Colman could be right.

Niki May Young
News Editor
source :
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