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Winners of the 2011 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo magazine has run a tidy little competition for the last five years, inviting architects to innovative new skyscraper typologies. Today, the winners of the 2011 Skyscraper Competition were announced and we’ve got a recycling wind turbine, an energy- and water-harvesting horizontal tower, and a re-imagining of the Hoover Dam.

Jury members included SOFTlab principals Jose Gonzalez and Michael Svizos, architecture critic John Hill, Mitchell Joachim of Terreform One, CarloMaria Ciampoli of Live Architecture Network, and a host of other working and teaching architects (see the full list here).

FIRST PLACE: ‘LO2P Recycling Skyscraper’ by Atelier CMJN (Julien Combes, Gaël Brulé)

“The idea behind this skyscraper is to recycle the old cars and use them as building material for the new structure. The building is designed as a giant lung that would clean New Delhi’s air through a series of large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. Another set of rotating filters capture the suspended particles in the air while the waste heat and carbon dioxide from the recycling center are used to grow plants that in turn produce bio-fuels.”

“The idea behind this skyscraper is to recycle the old cars and use them as building material for the new structure. The building is designed as a giant lung that would clean New Delhi’s air through a series of large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. Another set of rotating filters capture the suspended particles in the air while the waste heat and carbon dioxide from the recycling center are used to grow plants that in turn produce bio-fuels.”

SECOND PLACE: ‘Flat Tower’ by Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans

Imagined for medium-size cities where vertical skyscrapers do not fit the skyline, the flat tower is a “new high-density typology that deviates from the traditional skyscraper. The medium-height dome structure is perforated with cell-like skylights that provide direct sunlight to the agricultural fields and to the interior spaces. The dome’s large surface area is perfect to harvest solar energy and rainwater collection.”

THIRD PLACE: ‘Reimagining the Hoover Dam’ by Yheu-Shen Chua, United Kingdom

This project merges the programs at the current Hoover Dam — viewing platform, a bridge, and a gallery – into a “single vertical super structure.”

There a long list of honorable mentions, and we’ve highlighted below some especial favorites (clockwise from top left):

 

‘Sports Tower’ by Sergiy Prokofyev and Olga Prokofyeva, Ukraine

‘RE:pH Coastscraper’ by Gary Kellett, United Kingdom

‘White Cloud Skyscraper‘ by Adrian Vincent Kumar and Yun Kong Sung, New Zealand

‘Seeds of Life Skyscraper’ by Mekano (Osama Mohamed Elghannam, Karim Mohamed Elnabawy, Mohamed Ahmed Khamis, Nesma Mohamed Abobakr), Egypt

‘Waste Collector Skyscraper’ by Agata Sander and Tomek Kujawski, Poland

‘Hopetel: Transitional High-Rise Housing’ by Asaf Dali, United States

Via Architizer.com

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SOM commissioned for FTP City in Danang

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP (SOM) has been awarded the masterplan commission for FTP City in Danang, Vietnam. SOM’s preliminary plan for a sustainable new high-tech community at the edge of the city has been applauded by local authorities, including the Head of Planning and the People’s Committee of the City of Danang. SOM is now working closely with these authorities to finalise the project’s design and ensure its delivery.

The plan has been commissioned by FPT, an up-and-coming national IT and telecommunications company with over 10,000 employees. Covering an area of over 180 hectares, the plan incorporates a wide range of uses organised into a series of distinct districts, including a Town Centre, a Business District, and a series of residential neighbourhoods. The plan also incorporates a new University Campus for FPT University – specialising in information technology, software development and e-services. The campus will also contain a research institute and training centre for FPT employees, allowing new technology to be developed further and put directly into practice.

SOM’s concept is formed on key principles to reduce energy needs and carbon emissions by promoting best practices in mixed-use development in an emerging local context of luxury resorts and single-use residential communities. Instead, FPT City will promote a diverse living community with integrated local services accessed via sheltered and shaded walkable streets. In addition to a web of natural greenways, the plan also incorporates a wide network of smart infrastructure. As a major national IT provider, FPT will ensure the delivery of state-of-the-art communications and information technology to every business and household in the community.

The design also brings to life part of a strategic regional river corridor initiative to be implemented between Danang and Hoi An, a national tourist destination, by establishing a new riverfront eco-park. The waterfront park engages a large existing lake at the river’s edge and will be designed to restore, protect and enhance the wildlife habitat along its entire length and around the lake’s perimeter.

Via World News Architecture

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New Architecture From Broadway to Xinjiang Province

Broadway Malyan continues global expansion with first theatre design in China

International architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan has completed the design of its first theatre in China, the Kanas Lake Performance Theatre.

The new theatre, set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Xinjiang province of North West China, is a multi-purpose theatre for the Provincial Government. It will house a 1,200-seat auditorium for performance arts including theatre, opera, musicals and dance.

The design draws on powerful yet simple forms, with the theatre auditorium enclosed within two protective wings wrapping the shell as if protected within clasped hands. The smooth shape and flowing forms sit harmoniously within the natural contours of the site and dramatic background of the Kanas mountains. The sweeping forms rise around the theatre shell to evoke the dynamic movement of traditional Chinese ribbon dance.

Broadway Malyan has now delivered the design package to the local design institute and will monitor the detail design and site build. Enabling works are already underway and work on the main structure is due to start this summer.

Director Peter Vaughan said: “We have a broad project portfolio in the cultural and leisure sector. However, this is our first theatre project in China and it reflects our ever-increasing portfolio of high-profile, international projects, across all sectors.

“This portfolio is growing as the result of our strategic global push and focus on growing our business in the Far East and China, with the practice having recently announced that it earns just over half its fees outside of the UK and Europe.”

 

Via World News Architecture

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Architectural Landmark Near Completion as Cesar Pelli Tops Out Red Building at Pacific Design Center

LOS ANGELES, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Cesar Pelli celebrated a milestone for the Red Building on Monday, as the long-awaited final building of the Pacific Design Center nears completion. The Red Building is the third building of the landmark West Hollywood showroom-and-office complex whose design and construction span nearly 40 years.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110301/NE56547 )

At a topping-out ceremony, the architect joined developer and owner Charles S. Cohen to put in place a piece of red glass that completes the Red Building’s narrow triangular facade on San Vicente Boulevard. The 400,000-square-foot office building is slated for occupancy by year’s end.

“I am delighted to see the Red Building so close to fruition,” said Pelli, Senior Principal of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. “To know that the Pacific Design Center will soon be how I envisioned it is very exciting.”

Pelli conceived the 14-acre site to contain three buildings arranged around a plaza. The first, nicknamed the Blue Whale, was designed when Pelli was with Gruen Associates and completed in 1975. The Green Building, designed with his own firm, now Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, followed in 1988.

The most dynamic of the three, the Red Building is composed of two curved, sloping towers atop seven levels of parking. Between the towers will be a courtyard planted with palm trees. The six-story West Tower slopes inward against the Hollywood Hills. The eight-story East Tower curves upward.

The ceremony also paid tribute to the “Los Angeles 12,” a group of Southern California architects featured in a 1976 exhibition at the Blue Building. Pelli, Roland Coate, Raymond Kappe, Daniel Dworsky, Craig Ellwood, Frank Gehry, John Lautner, Jerrold Lomax, Anthony Lumsden, Leroy Miller, James Pulliam and Bernard Zimmerman were in the original show. Eric Owen Moss and Michael Maltzan we also recognized at the ceremony.

About Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Founded in 1977 and led by Cesar Pelli, Fred Clarke, and Rafael Pelli, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has designed some of the world’s most recognizable buildings, including the World Financial Center in New York, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong. The firm has been honored with critical acclaim and hundreds of design awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ Firm Award and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

SOURCE Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

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Miami architect plans new Port-au-Prince

When I attended the University of Miami School of Architecture from 1974-1976 (before transferring to Pratt) my studio director was Andres Duany.  He was a relative unknown and had recently graduated from Columbia.  I have very fond memories of my time in his classes.

Andres Duany

A slide presentation is available at www.PortAuPrinceRP.com.

Famed Miami architect and planner Andres Duany’s government-commissioned blueprint for the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince’s quake-decimated historic city center envisions a new, middle-class residential, commercial and governmental district literally built upon the rubble of the old.

While sparing the few remaining viable structures — including, most significantly, the partially collapsed National Palace — the plan would start virtually with a clean slate. It calls for clearing much of the badly damaged city center, encompassing some 25 city blocks, which pre-earthquake contained a dense mix of government buildings, homes, a commercial district and a cruise port.

Duany’s Miami firm, known for its advocacy of traditional, pedestrian-friendly urban planning, was commissioned by the Haitian government to develop the plan in collaboration with The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, a charity backed by Britain’s Prince Charles that supports ecologically sound planning and building.

The planners outlined their ideas this week in Port-au-Prince after weeks of research and a weeklong public workshop. A final version of the plan, which would have to be adopted by the government, is due in mid-February. Whether Haiti can muster the will or the financing, though, remains an open question. Enacting the plan would require a blend of government funding, private investment and foreign aid.

On ground raised above flood levels by the use of demolition rubble, the plan calls for self-contained blocks mixing one- and two-story residential and commercial buildings to be constructed in small, incremental phases. While street fronts would be public, courtyard interiors would be secure and private and include parking. Small corner parks would dot most blocks.

The plan also proposes a Classically inspired, naturally ventilated prototype for new government buildings to replace those toppled by last year’s catastrophic earthquake.

Key to Duany’s overall rebuilding strategy would be luring back to central Port-au-Prince some of the Haitian middle class that had decamped for the city’s hilltop suburbs — the only financially viable way for the old city center to be rebuilt, Duany has said in interviews.

Reconstruction of the city would be impossible without the investment and income of middle- and upper-class property owners, Duany says.

The plan outlines three possible approaches to rebuilding.

To keep initial costs down, one approach would be to rebuild a single block at a time, with each urban “village” containing at its center its own power generation, water and sewer capabilities, at a cost of about $3.7 million per block. That would avoid the need for a large, upfront and improbable investment to replace destroyed utilities across the entire urban center.

But that approach would over time be far more expensive — a total of $440 million — than doing everything at once with centralized utilities, which the planners estimated would cost $175 million.

The plan would require new building codes and zoning rules to control what can be built. It proposes a range of rigor, with the loosest set of regulations allowing informal construction in the interior of each block.

A contemplated retail complex and waterfront promenade would cater to an incipient tourist trade from the cruise port to supplement government and small-business employment.

Along the waterfront, mangroves would be replanted to protect the shoreline from storms.

Duany, whose firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., drew up Miami’s new pedestrian-friendly Miami 21 city zoning code, also has designed prefabricated shelter housing for Haiti. He also has designed redevelopment projects for post-Katrina New Orleans, although only small parts have been implemented.

Via The Miami Herald

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1,517 new building permits in NYC last year

Mr. LiMandri, 45, is the commissioner of the Department of Buildings, which oversees nearly a million properties in New York City, by enforcing various building codes and laws. He was appointed in 2008, after the resignation of Patricia J. Lancaster, following a series of construction accidents, including a crane collapse in Manhattan that killed seven people.

Robert D. LiMandri

Q The department just released its 2010 annual report. Can you discuss some of the numbers?

A There are 975,000 buildings and properties in New York City and we have 1,109 employees, 337 of whom are inspectors. We performed 335,449 inspections last year; issued 136,294 construction permits and 1,517 new building permits and 67,069 violations.

What many people don’t realize is that we do about 450,000 plan reviews a year. Last year it was 457,375. That rivals some of the largest architectural firms.

Q Do you have more or fewer inspectors now?

A Slightly fewer, through attrition and budget cuts. But we’re doing more with less and using technology to be more efficient.

Q How so?

A We’ve been trying to make it easier for people to get permits, to do plan reviews, online. Electricians can go online as of last year: they put in their ID numbers, pay for the permit online and print it. Construction permits will also go online this year.

The other piece is dealing with plans online. We hope to pilot that by the end of this year. You would submit your plans — the simplest plans, not the big complicated ones. You open an account with us, send it to us electronically. We look at it when we’re available — we might ask questions or note objections — and e-mail it back to you.

Q Could this work with the big developers?

A The number of large buildings that get built every year is like 200 to 300. So if you are a large developer/owner like the Rudins or the Resnicks, you’re doing these kinds of filings on a regular basis. Instead of hiring someone to drop off stuff for us to look at, they can save transaction time.

Q How much time?

A We saw that when they went online for electrical permits, the processing time went from days or weeks to minutes.

Q Getting back to the annual report, what does it tell us about the city’s recovery?

A It’s in pockets. Permits for new buildings and major alterations fell around 19 percent last year, to 13,000 from 16,000. But permits for small-scale alterations — like moving a wall — rose 6 percent, to nearly 103,000. People are still doing smaller work, and that drives the economy as well.

We’re starting to see pockets of demolitions. We just had seven or eight sites in the last couple of weeks. When you see demolitions come back, it’s a leading indicator that development is coming.

Also, in Manhattan there are four or five large sites, where maybe they slowed construction, that are starting to pick up. It’s the heart of the winter so it’s going to be slow anyway, but we’re hoping that the spring will bring a set of new buildings.

Q It’s been over two years since you took office. What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

A We’ve been working on transforming this department — making it more accountable and instilling confidence in our training programs. We put G.P.S. tracking on our 337 inspectors, so we know where our people are. We conducted a facade safety initiative, and we investigated illegally converted apartments. We used Craigslist and posed as tenants.

Q Have you been able to curb construction accidents?

A We had a reduction in 2010 from the year before by about 28 percent. Clearly there’s been less large-scale construction, but also I am very satisfied that the industry has heard us and responded.

Contractors are using cocoon-netting systems to protect the top four floors during the very early stages of construction. These innovative systems prevent people from falling, as well as falling debris. I’m hoping it will become a city standard.

Building a building is complex, and there are a lot of people you depend on to do it well, and it takes just one of them not to do their job for things to go awry. Our job is to make sure that they put safety ahead of profit.

Q Let’s talk about some of the new regulations for this year.

A The big thing that’s coming down the pike is the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, which will rank buildings by energy efficiency. Owners have to benchmark their buildings — if they’re over 50,000 square feet — and upload information about utility bills into a federal Web site by May 1. The next step is that every 10 years they will have to go through an audit process.

Hat tip to the NYT

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NYC Council Approves New Domino Project


The landmarked Domino Refinery complex will be preserved and adapted for residential, commercial, and cultural uses, including 30- and 34-story apartment buildings. Rafael Viñoly Architects developed the overall master plan as well as the conceptual design for all new buildings on the site; Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners developed architectural concepts for the refinery; and Quennell Rothschild and Partners developed the landscape design. The master plan will transform the industrial complex into a modular, mixed-use, and multi-income residential development that emphasizes open space and public access to the river while preserving the refinery and its famed 40-foot-tall Domino Sugar sign. The project will create approximately 2,200 residential units, 660 of which will be affordable. The more than 223,500 square feet of retail will include a grocery store that will adhere to FRESH zoning standards in addition to approximately 143,000 square feet of community facility space. A nearly one-acre open lawn will anchor a new public waterfront esplanade.

Read more posts from the NYC AIA via eOCULUS here.

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245 10th Avenue may be eccentric, but at least it’s intentional

As a Manhattanite, student and practitioner of architecture, and lover of modern architecture I disagree with James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun who states in his post (below), “…we must pray is not the future of architecture.”  I like the unusual materials of these buildings and the unique sculptural elements they have.  But what I like best is how they have made their neighborhoods relevent again with a sence of high-style and hipness.  Tell me what you think.

To say that 245 10th Avenue (Photos) is Manhattan’s latest contribution to the cult of ugliness is not necessarily as disrespectful as it sounds. Like the rebarbative High Line 519 (3D View) one block south on 23rd Street, 245 10th Avenue is a particularly eccentric example of Mod-meets-deconstruction, with retro-glances to the aesthetics of the 1960s and forward glances to what we must pray is not the future of architecture.

But if this nearly completed development at 245 10th Avenue (Photos) is ugly, at least it is intentionally so, which is some improvement on the status of many another recent New York building, which is unintentionally so. As a fairly representative example of the deconstructed species in question, it buckles or recedes where you would rationally expect it to present a planar wall. Along 10th Avenue, its wobbly façade is a checkered curtain wall of darker and paler panels, while to the south it appears as a windowless expanse whose blinding silvery cladding, in the proper sunlight, might well wreak havoc upon cars speeding up 10th Avenue.

Integral to the design of the new building, conceived by the architectural firm Della Valle + Bernheimer, is its proximity to a Lukoil gas station, immediately to its south. The implications of blue collar authenticity supplied by the gas station are a priceless commodity in this stretch of Chelsea, precisely because there are so few blue collar types around, and ever fewer with each passing day.

In a similar vein, across the street, heading south is a car wash, and next to that another recent condo development, Vesta 24, which is only a little more conservative than 245 10th Avenue. And yet, it requires no gift for prophecy to foresee a time, in the very near future, when the gas station and car wash will themselves give way to new developments, which will be very much like their neighbors. But all of them, once deprived of their crucial blue collar props, will look every bit as misshapen as 245 10th Avenue (Photos) today, only more so.

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SFMOMA chooses architect for $250-million expansion: Norwegian firm Snøhetta

Snøhetta's Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo

Can an art museum in this economic climate raise $480 million for an ambitious expansion and endowment campaign without a world famous architect like Frank Gehry or Renzo Piano attached to the project?

SFMOMA has just placed a very big bet that it can, by selecting the critically acclaimed but not so commonly known Oslo-based firm Snøhetta — named after a mountain in Norway — as the architect for its large-scale renovation and expansion. The museum’s board of trustees approved the selection on Wednesday; an official announcement is expected Thursday.

The decision was not a complete surprise, as SFMOMA named Snøhetta in a shortlist released in May of four firms officially under consideration, which also included Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and, most established of all, Foster + Partners. But, as SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra admits, Snøhetta is “not terribly well known in our country, and especially not in the West.”

Though Snøhetta has other buildings in development in the U.S., including the National September 11th Memorial Museum entry pavilion at the World Trade Center site in New York, SFMOMA promises to be the firm’s first building on the West Coast.

Reached by phone Wednesday evening, Benezra said a visit made by several trustees to Oslo, part of a grand tour this summer to meet the four finalists and see some of their realized buildings, played a decisive role.

He said the museum’s selection committee was bowled over by Snøhetta’s Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo (pictured above), as was he. “When I saw it for the first time, it reminded me of Bilbao — it has that kind of impact,” Benezra said.

“Not only is it a fantastic concept, but it’s also a model of engagement, with people walking inside and outside and on top of the building. And that is what we need: a building of great imagination and excitement that works on a practical level in a specific urban context.”

He also praised the collaborative nature of the firm, which was founded in 1989…more.

For full article click here.

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‘Masterpieces’ on hold, waiting for better times

Hat tip to CNN Living

This article focusses on the job market as well.  Give it a read.

Aqua Building, Chicago, IL.

 

Some stunning buildings have appeared in American cities the past four years — buildings, like the Aqua skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, that attest to the creativity of 21st-century architecture.

But there might be fewer of them in the near future, because the recession has forced many architects to tone down their ambition.

“A lot of projects have been delayed, a lot of projects have been scaled back, a lot of projects have been scrapped. … It’s not a time to see a lot of architectural masterpieces being created,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the American Institute of Architects.
 
Baker said the emphasis today is on value.

 “I think most buildings that are being built are very much focused on managing cost,” he said. “So you tend to see less creativity in that environment, less exciting designs, less upscale materials being used in them.”

 At Aqua, the curved terraces vary slightly from floor to floor, giving the 82-story tower a soft, billowy look — as though Chicago’s celebrated winds are ruffling its façade. It’s an award-winning structure that stands out for its innovative design by Studio Gang Architects. But its construction was well under way before the recession.

 Now “we are hearing that there’s more renovation work than construction work — kind of retrofitting existing buildings rather than building new ones,” Baker said.

It’s really difficult … for students coming out of school to find appropriate positions … we’re afraid that we’re going to lose a generation of architects.
–George Miller, president of the American Institute of Architects

It might not be the most stimulating work for innovative minds, but at least it’s work in what industry experts say has become an intensely competitive market. Where there were once two or three firms competing for a small project, now there are 20 or 30 as larger firms move in to take whatever jobs they can get.

The larger firms might “rather do a skyscraper, but if they can get a much smaller job they will, to keep the firm going and to keep people employed,” said Robert Campbell, a free-lance architecture critic for The Boston Globe. “And that drives people out of the field at the bottom who would otherwise have been getting those small jobs.”

Many firms have had to lay off employees to stay afloat. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employed architects have dropped from an average of 233,000 in the first quarter of 2008 to 217,000 in the first quarter of 2009 and 198,000 in the first quarter of 2010.

George Miller, the president of the AIA and a partner at world-renowned architecture firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, worries about the long-term effects this job shortage will have on the industry.

“It’s really difficult, of course in these last several years, for students coming out of school to find appropriate positions in the field,” he said. “That really concerns all of us because we’re afraid that we’re going to lose a generation of architects.

… There are going to be fewer of us around to do the work that really needs to be done in the future.”

What will be the architectural work of the future? Miller says it will likely be energy-efficient design and a renewed focus on infrastructure, especially in urban areas.

“We’re going to be considering not only the individual building solution, but also the way in which our buildings fit in neighborhoods and communities and regions,” he said. “We really have to have a plan now that considers the infrastructure of our communities. … I think if we’re smarter in terms of designing our urban centers, we’ll be more efficient in terms of the utilization of our natural and physical resources.”

Experts agree that architecture is a cyclical industry and that the market will eventually rebound. The question is when.

“It’s always been highs and lows, highs and lows,” said Campbell, who is also a registered architect. “I remember in 1975 I was working for a prominent firm in Harvard Square, and we dropped from 68 [employees] to 20. And that was the oil embargo, ’74, and that led to an extremely steep recession but a short one — not like this one that’s lasted so long.”

Some architects think recovery might be around the corner.

“We are seeing the private sector picking up,” said Thomas Fridstein, head of global architecture for AECOM, a provider of technical and management support services. “I feel like we’ve been through the worst, we’ve sort of hit the trough of the recession and things are on the upturn. We’ve had some major commercial clients contacting us about projects potentially starting up again, so that’s a very positive sign.”

It’s a positive sign for the nation, too, because busy architects are a bellwether of economic stability.

“If you don’t design it, you can’t build it,” Baker said. “So [architects] are really the first step in the process toward seeing a recovery.”

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