Showing posts from category: modern buildings
As you are climbing uphill; what seems like a continuous climb throughout the many hills of Parc Guell, you bravely steel a glance or two downwards and think that this is it. This must be one of the more beautiful experiences of your life. Gingerly you take each step with your camera in hand, careful not to drop the camera or anything else as you find yourself looking at, well, everything. It’s an overwhelming experience, and in a good way. Earlier in the year, my dad passed away, thereby making this my first vacation in a decade where I did not suffer from any family distractions. No worries, but did I ever miss him! I still do. But it was one less thing to ponder as I was transversing uneven stone steps with nary a handrail in sight. But I was just starting to speak of the beauty about this park, a must-see for anyone who travels to Barcelona, when I hit a few detours. Count Guell was a prominent businessman in Barcelona at the early part of the last century. He engaged a prominent architect, Antoni Gaudi, to design a garden city with sixty houses on a hill called Montana Pelada. The venture was not successful and only two houses were built. But an unsuccessful venture led way to one of the more beautiful parks you will ever see. At the entrance, you will find the main staircase with a dragon fountain made of broken bits of glazed ceramic tile, a signature style for Gaudi. This leads to the Salon of a Hundred Columns which really number eighty-four, but who cares? The ceiling of the salon has more tiled mosaics. In fact, they’re everywhere in sight. The on-site museum contains splendid furniture that Gaudi designed. And so it goes; you’ve walked for three hours, and have a big smile on your face. You can’t wait to tell the story to all you know.
You’ve planned a week in Barcelona because you are wise and know that you will not be bored for a second. You will want to come back. As you continue drinking in the various Gaudi shrines throughout this beautiful city, you get to understand a bit more about the architect with each building. Casa Batllo is truly amazing and I would suggest to go early in the day to avoid crowds. The details on the doorknobs and locks; the center court and other means of ventilation were ahead of their time. The rooftop dragon is not to be believed. Next up is Casa Mila, his iconic monument to the Modernist movement. It does not seem very livable, but once again, it’s all in the details. The Sagrada Familia is no problem for anyone familiar with waiting on lines at Disney. Wear comfortable shoes! If you are able to go to the top of the towers, then you are lucky for you will view this beautiful city in the most unique way and it is breathtaking.
Okay, I lied. It’s not all about Gaudi. It’s also about the food. As I’m re-reading my diary, the secondary descriptions that do constant battle with architecture are of the fantastic food. As I read about the various meals of fish, meats and risotto, my mouth waters and I desire to savor them all over again. Since we are incapable of dining at 10:00 PM, we chose instead to have our main meals of the day at lunch and have a more casual al fresco experience in the evening.
I lied some more. It’s all about the walk. Ever since I was twenty and I traveled to San Francisco with friends, I have always made note of how compatible I am with the place I am visiting. San Francisco was fine but I quickly realized I couldn’t live with Californians. In Barcelona, at some point we stopped and thought, “could I live here?” Yes was the answer. It is walkable; it is friendly; it is safe and clean; it is modern; it is old. Barcelona is ideal. The week was brimming over with a travelogue of lists consisting of everywhere we ambled and places we didn’t quite get to at this time. Maybe, next time? Because there was so much good stuff that really good architects had the sense to design and get built all in walking distance of each other. More Gaudi, so much to see in the Gothic Quarter as you walk past what is left of a Roman aqueduct, the Picasso Museum and the Palau de la Musica Catalana (a music hall with a gorgeous stained glass ceiling). And then there’s Gehry’s Fish. Barcelona’s golden fish sculpture sits in Port Olimpic at the base of one of the tallest buildings in the city. Frank Gehry was commissioned to build the piece for the 1992 Summer Olympics and brought the city to the attention of the world! Wow!
aia, architect, architects, architecture, architecture critic, Art, buildings, built environment, Design, Engineering, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, Sculpture
architects, architecture, Barcelona, Disney, Frank Gehry, Gaudi, Gehry, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Parc Guell, Picasso Museum, Spain
north eastern corner overlooking the northern forecourt. images courtesy lyons, dianna snape, michael evans, nils koenning
the la trobe institute for molecular science (LIMS) by australian lyons architecture is a major new building on university’s bundoora campus, which will meet the school’s long-term needs in terms of student learning and research in the science disciplines. the project seeks a‘transformative’ identity of the campus, which had previously been built within the strict guidelines for materials and heights.
the lower levels of the building accommodate first to third year undergraduate learning spaces – with large open flexible labs (accommodating teaching cohorts for 160 students) connected with ‘dry’ learning spaces. this allows people to move between laboratory based project work, to digital and collaborative learning activities within the adjacent spaces. at ground level, these learning areas breakout to new landscaped interior environments, extending the idea of placing students at the centre of outside social and learning hubs.
the upper three levels of the building are research focused and based around a highly collaborative model. all laboratories are large open flexible spaces where teams are able to work together, or expand and contract according to research funds. these large ‘super labs’ are located immediately adjacent to write-up spaces, allowing a very direct physical and visual connection between all research work sections. the plan includes a major conference room, staff ‘college’ lounge and informal meeting spaces, are also located on the research levels. the design is fully integrated with the adjacent existing structure, which accommodates a number of other lims research staff and laboratories.
a major stairway rises through the centre of the building, connecting the student and research levels – as a form of representation of the ‘pathway’. the cellular exterior of the building is derived from ideas about expressing the molecular research that is being undertaken within the building, and is adjusted via the materiality of the building itself. the walls are primarily precast concrete, with the cells providing a ‘lower’ and ‘upper’ window into the various spaces, aiding the penetration of daylight. the cellular concept also creates a framework for a number of distinctive spaces for students to occupy or for research staff to meet and collaborate.
Continue reading on DesignBoom
architect, architects, architecture, architecture critic, Art, buildings, Consulting For Architects, Design, modern architecture, modern buildings, Sculpture
bundoora campus, climate, designboom, interior environments, la trobe institute for molecular science, lyons architects, research, science, science disciplines
A New York City Council committee has approved a modified version of a plan to add four new buildings to New York University in Greenwich Village.
The Land Use Committee voted 19-1 Tuesday in favor of a 1.9-million-square-foot expansion plan.
The proposal was reduced about 20 percent since it was presented to a public hearing on June 29.
NYU Senior Vice President Lynne Brown said the plan will help New York City remain economically vibrant.
Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the district, said NYU made significant concessions in its modified proposal.
But Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Preservation Society called the downsizing a drop in the bucket.
The full City Council vote is expected on July 25.
Via NY Post
architecture, architecture jobs, Hiring trends, jobs, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, recession, Urban Planning
AIA NY, architecture, jobs, unemployed architects
While many architects and engineers have been vying to construct the world’s tallest tower, a group in China has looked to build in the opposite direction.
Construction began last month on Shanghai’s first “groundscraper”—a structure built almost completely below the surface. The massive project will eventually take form as the InterContinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland, a 19-story, 380-room luxury hotel surrounded by a 428,000 square-meter theme park.
The hotel broke ground about 30 miles from the city of Shanghai in an abandoned quarry at the foot of Tianmashan Mountain. The building, located in the district of Songjiang, will be grafted onto the side of the quarry with 16 floors descending down and three floors resting above the crater.
Just as the top levels of a skyscraper are often filled with elegant restaurants and the most luxurious of rooms, the bottom two floors of the groundscraper will include an underwater restaurant, an athletic complex for water sports and 10-meter deep aquarium.
The quarry’s surrounding cliffs will be used for extreme sports like bungee jumping and rock climbing.
The project’s developers at the Shimao Property Group worked with British engineering firm Atkins to bring the idea to fruition and expect to near completion in late 2014 or early 2015.
The theme park and hotel are expected to cost at least $555 million and nightly room rates should start at approximately $320.
architecture, buildings, built environment, Green Architecture, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, Sculpture
architecture, Atkins, China, Hotels, InterContinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland, room luxury hotel, Shimao Property Group, skyscraper, Tianmashan Mountain, travel
The Taiwan Tower is a Sustainable Twin Syscraper for the 21st Century The Taiwan Tower is a proposal by Vienna-based architect Steven Ma in Collaboration with San Liu, Xinyu Wan, and Emre Icdem. This highly innovative project consists of a set of super slim twin towers that reach a height of 350 meters where an observatory and sky-park is located. The plinth of the towers is formed by an intrica…te set of museums that will exhibit Taiwan’s past, present, and future. Each of the three museums configures itself around recreational areas that include a water plaza, an outdoor theatre, a green house, and an event plaza. Another interesting feature is the location of four different types of hanging gardens along the towers’ structure with high-end residences and an aviary for endangered bird species. Among the sustainable features, the Taiwan Tower is equipped with water recycling plants, wind turbines, and a beautiful set of photovoltaic cells placed along the sky-garden and on top of the museums’ undulating surfaces.
architects, architecture, buildings, built environment, carbon-neutral office building, Design, eco building, Green Architecture, green buildings, Green Built Environment, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, skyscraper
Emre Icdem, San Liu, Steven Ma, Taiwan Tower, Xinyu Wan
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has recently added a new landmark to the skyline of Kuwait City: the Al Hamra Firdous Tower, now the tallest building in the country, peeks through the clouds with its quarter-mile-high torqued form. Unless record height is achieved, ‘supertall’ skyscrapers rarely sustain attention these days, but SOM’s latest tower has received notice for its unusual appearance. The Al Hamra Firdous Tower is the only skyscraper with an asymmetrical exterior; the structure wraps around like a robe, choosing to conceal or reveal depending on one’s angle of approach.
The Al Hamra Firdous Tower is notably constructed with malleable concrete as opposed to traditional steel. At ground level, curving concrete buttresses interlace to create stunning structural nets that again conjure allusions to fabric. The crisscrossing forms evoke the structural integrity of the Gothic as well as the latticed, exposed steel arms of architecture at the dawn of the industrial revolution.
In SOM’s design, 500,000 tons of concrete weave upwards to form a folded, monolithic tower culminating with a sharply asymmetrical, winged crown. The exterior of the ‘robe’ embraces the shiny, smooth façade of other buildings of its class, but its interior aspires to project a different image. Not only is this partially enclosed facade paved in lusterless concrete, but the windows also appear deeply set and unevenly coffered, casting a pattern of shadows on the matte surface that not only suggest the designs of Middle Eastern textiles but also make the building appear massive.
In doing so, the design refuses to fully conceal its core material and recalls a more vernacular building practice. With an unexpected turn to concrete, the Al Hamra Firdous Tower respects its site and innovates accordingly, creating an impressive building to match its own impressive views.
All images © SOM
architecture, construction, Design, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, skyscraper, som
al hamra, Al Hamra Firdous Tower, Kuwait City, middle eastern textiles
Last spring, developer Related Cos. became disenchanted with the design of the first phase of Hudson Yards, the gargantuan project on top of a train storage yard along the Hudson River.
The original design of Hudson Yards had three straight boxy towers.
“I could tell that Stephen wasn’t in love with it,” recalls Jay Cross, who oversees the project for Related, referring to the developer’s chairman, Stephen Ross. “He felt he wanted the buildings to be more dramatic. And we found that the marketplace was looking for bigger buildings.”
That made for a busy summer for Related and its architect William Pedersen, one of the name partners at the firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The result, which was recently unveiled, is an improvement in terms of the interactions of the buildings if not in the aesthetics of the buildings themselves.
With 26 acres and more than 12 million square feet of potential developable space overtop Hudson Yards competes with the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site as New York’s current, highest-profile development effort. Related has signed a deal with handbag-maker Coach Inc. to move its headquarters into 600,000 square feet in the south tower.
A new rendering shows two jagged towers
Kohn Pedersen’s original first-phase design called for three boxy steel office towers, the shortest one in the middle, along the east side of the site. Each building had the same square-jawed look of consternation: renderings showed stacks of long, plain blocks of steel and concrete arrayed to look like a cubist abstraction, or a screenshot from Tetris, the old block-stacking video-game. In between was to be four stories of retail space centered around a large glass box with a cyclone-shaped structure.
The design wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t the sort of arresting, statement-making architecture that one would expect a next-big-thing type of project. KPF’s early designs for the buildings were like Buckingham Palace bobbies: standing straight and erect, faces constant, but not saying much of anything at all.
The new plan for phase one, recently unveiled, describes a much different composition. The 30-story middle building is gone. New renderings show two jagged towers—the more northerly one 67 stories and sloping diagonally toward the city, the other, 51 stories and angled towards the Hudson—that slash through the skyline. Connecting the two buildings will be eight stories of retail and trading-floor space.
Hudson Yard’s New look Slideshow
The two office towers are disappointing as stand-alone buildings. Like most modern office towers they are brash and arrogant instead of being noble and poised. Their form is shard-like: all harsh angles with a jaggedness that evokes crystals or canyon rock formations.
But the new design helps make up for this in the way the office buildings interact. The mirror-image slopes of the two buildings, which would regard one another differently from nearly every angle of viewing, give viewers the sensation of two dancers in the midst of a paso doble. The southern building, which would house Coach, is, sensibly, the female of the pair —slightly shorter, with the atrium manifested as a slit in the dancer’s ball gown, giving a glimpse of a flash of leg underneath.
Mr. Pedersen talks frequently of the “responsibility of tall buildings” to interact rationally with the urban context around them. The towers, through their interplay, emphasize the presence of a long, open, park space—set to run east-west from the towers to the river—that will go in between them.
“The buildings have to be able to, by their internal biology, create social connections,” Mr. Pedersen says. “Too many buildings around the world have independent, sculptural shapes. The effect here is to connect the building directly to the city.”
This intent is certainly palpable in the design. And if Related eventually ends up landing another signature tenant for the north tower, the plan will be realized, and the two buildings will go ahead and dance their way around the fabric of the city’s newest cluster of statement-making skyscrapers.
architect, architects, architecture, architecture jobs, buildings, construction, Design, Hiring trends, jobs, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, recession, unemployed architects
KPF, Related Companies, William Pedersen
Frank Gehry, designer of Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, is seeking projects in Asian countries including China and India as slower U.S. growth crimps development in the world’s largest economy.
The architect said he’s competing to plan a museum in one of China’s fast-expanding metropolitan areas, as well as a “very spiritual kind of a building” in India. He declined to give further details. Gehry designed an aquarium as part of the recent redevelopment of the Ocean Park attraction in Hong Kong.
Gehry, 82, is turning to Asia as developers start few projects in the U.S. The Architecture Billings Index, an indicator of American construction, plunged to 46.9 last month from 51.4 in August, reflecting lower demand for design services, according to the American Institute of Architects. Any score less than 50 indicates a decline in billings.
Meanwhile, “there’s an art explosion in China,” Gehry said in an Oct. 25 interview at Bloomberg’s Los Angeles offices. “It’s really great — very exciting.”
He expects to sign a contract within three to four months should an agreement be reached for the Chinese museum. One challenge of designing in a country such as China is the lower pay for projects, Gehry said. Architects get paid a percentage of construction costs, which in China are about a third of what they are in the U.S., he said.
“If you take a percentage and you work with western salaries, you can’t make it work,” Gehry said. “So it almost forces you to open an office in China and work with local people.”
Staying Near Home
Gehry said he would prefer to travel less and focus on projects in California or New York. The lack of development in the U.S. along with employees at Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners LLP who depend on him are forcing him to look elsewhere, the architect said.
“I have over 100 people in my office,” he said. “At my age, I would love only to work in Los Angeles, maybe Santa Monica, maybe Beverly Hills.”
Construction of one of Gehry’s projects abroad, the 450,000-square-foot (42,000-square-meter) Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum, was halted earlier this month by Tourism Development & Investment Co. as the emirate scales back plans made before the 2008 financial crisis.
“The Abu Dhabi building we’ve been working on in the last five to six years has been stopped, and that’s painful,” said Gehry, who also has a contract for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington.
New York Apartments
Gehry, who designed a Manhattan apartment building on Spruce Street that opened earlier this year, also is seeking to win contracts by cutting construction waste, which often accounts for 30 percent of a development budget. His Los Angeles-based Gehry Technologies Inc. employs the same type of computer-aided, paperless, three-dimensional design used to build Boeing Co. (BA)’s 777 airliner.
“With two-dimensional drawings there’s a lot of room for error,” said Gehry, the 1989 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. “It creates so-called clashes that will result in costly change orders.”
There were few such conflicts at the 76-story Manhattan tower — called New York by Gehry, and developed by Forest City Ratner Cos. — even with its rippled and curved bay windows, according to Gehry. Almost 600 units of the 900-apartment building have been rented, he said.
“You’ve got to respect budgets because people are investing and building and have certain finite resources,” Gehry said. “So it behooves us to respect that.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at [email protected]
architect, architects, architecture, architecture jobs, Hiring trends, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, recession, unemployed architects
China, Frank Gehry
Flight of fancy? Spaceport America is billed as the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport
Phase one of the world’s first commercial spaceport, which will be the hub for Virgin’s consumer spaceflights, is now 90 per cent complete.
The 1,800-acre Spaceport America site, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the home base for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s most ambitious business venture yet.
It already boasts a runway stretching to nearly two miles long, a futuristic styled terminal hanger, and a dome-shaped Space Operations Centre.
The work is now just months away from completion, according to a spaceport spokesman, and is set to be done by the end of the year, well in time for the first expected Virgin Galactic spaceflights in 2013.
Christine Anderson, the newly appointed executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, told SPACE.com she was ‘jazzed’ about the progress made so far.
Pioneering: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is shown on its maiden flight from the Mojave Air and Spaceport in Mojave, California in this March 22, 2010 file photo
Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launch system is still in testing and she says it is up to them when they decide it is safe to fly tourists to the edge of space.
At a best guess, she told SPACE.com, flights could begin in the first quarter of 2013.
Construction of phase two has already begun and is set for completion in time for Virgin Galactic’s pioneering flights.
It will include the completion of the Vertical Launch Complex facility, two visitor centres in nearby towns and a further visitor centre on the main spaceport site
Source: Mail Online
Monumental victims of dwindling finances, public backlash and political roadblocks, many designs from the world’s most celebrated architects never broke ground. Promising much in their form and magnitude, the stunning structures exist only as colorfully rendered visions on a lost landscape. Here, man’s best unmade plans.
Zaha Hadid's proposed Dubai Performing Arts Center was a 2009 victim of the global economic slowdown.
In his classic novel “Invisible Cities,” Italo Calvino envisioned a building, in a city called Fedora, containing a series of small globes. The visitor peering into each would see a small city, a model of a different Fedora. “These are the forms the city could have taken,” wrote Calvino, “if for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today.” In the real world, one can stand on a street in Manhattan and look into one’s iPhone, where the app “Museum of the Phantom City: Other Futures” reveals the New York that might have been: from the fantastic (Buckminster Fuller’s projected Midtown-covering dome) to the nearly realized (Diller and Scofidio’s Eyebeam Museum).
Architectural history is told by the victors, city skylines their monuments. But there are also missing monuments, those projects which, by dint of political folly, the capricious tides of public taste or simple financial overreach, never break ground. The credit crisis, for example, has turned a presumptive architectural fantasyland in Dubai, that emirate of excess—where submerged hotels or $3 billion cities in the form of chessboards were the order of the day—into a graveyard of gauzy renderings.
The financial collapse claimed so many schemes that the architectural and design provocateurs Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym, known for their small metal replicas of such buildings as the Chernobyl plant (as part of the “Buildings of Disaster” series), began in 2009 to produce a series of so-called “Recession Souvenirs,” projects like Norman Foster’s Russia Tower. “But the series was short-lived,” says Constantin Boym, speaking from Doha, Qatar. “There was not much enthusiasm in this black humor any more.” (The few that were made, however, are highly collectible.)
As is suggested by their difficulty in getting built, unbuilt projects are often superlative in some sense, as much a statement as an edifice. Boris Iofan’s neoclassical Palace of the Soviets, for example, on which construction began in 1937, gradually morphed (with input from Stalin) into what would have been the world’s largest skyscraper. War intervened, however, and its steel frame was repurposed into bridges in 1941.
Norman Foster's Russia Tower. Photos: Renderings to Remember - These brilliant designs from some of the world's greatest architects never saw the light of day.
Even when absent, unbuilt projects can exert a curiously powerful hold on the cultural imagination: Étienne-Louis Boullée’s massively spherical 18th-century cenotaph for Isaac Newton still looms, like the Montgolfier balloon that was said to have inspired it, over the architectural landscape. The 1960s British proposal by Cedric Price for his Fun Palace, with its visual echoes in the Centre Pompidou, now looks prophetic.
Perhaps the most common, and salient, feature of unbuilt projects is that every architect, at some point in his career, will design one—or several. Will Jones, author of “Unbuilt Masterworks of the 21st Century,” says these are not necessarily negatives in an architect’s career. “If an architect can look back upon it without too much bitterness, it’s the perfect area to test out ideas,” he says. “It’s a proving ground, that they take on and can use in future buildings.” Jones notes that Richard Rogers’s Welsh Assembly building, for example, contains ideas from his unbuilt Rome Congress Center design, which itself, the firm notes, advanced themes from a competition for the Tokyo International Forum project.
The building itself hardly sailed to completion; Rogers was briefly fired from the project. But he ultimately avoided the fate of Zaha Hadid, whose Cardiff Bay Opera House, one of the most lamented unbuilt projects of the past few decades, crashed amid the rocky shoals of politics—nationalist, classist (The Sun denounced using Lottery funds for a project for “Welsh toffs”) and aesthetic. “It devastated us,” Hadid says. But this, and a subsequent slew of unbuilt competition entries, “tested our ideas on landscape topography, and you can see the results of this now in all of our work.” Hadid may be the only architect with two unbuilt opera houses (a project in Dubai was terminated), not to mention a celebrated—and built—opera house in Guangzhou, China.
Sometimes unbuilt projects turn out to have a rather unexpected second life. The young Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose firm designed the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, entered a competition in 2008 for a resort project in the north of Sweden. The firm lost the competition. But when they showed the work to a Chinese developer, he was struck by the fact that the building’s shape resembled the Chinese character for “people.” The firm hired a feng shui master, scaled the building up to “Chinese proportions,” and the “People’s Building” is now slated for Shanghai’s Bund.
With China’s expanding economic might, its low-cost labor, and relative lack of restrictions in blank-slate cities like Guangzhou, unbuilt projects have been a rarity. This is common in places where economic booms and cultural dreams conspire. As Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne argues, “Los Angeles was known for much of the 20th century as the city where anything—and everything—could and did get built, from massive subdivisions, to avant-garde houses clinging to hillsides, to hot dog stands shaped like hot dogs.”
On the flip side, however, sits another kind of “unbuilt” architecture—that which is torn down. And Los Angeles, Hawthorne says, rarely paused to reflect as it knocked down iconic architecture. Today, he says, with open land more scarce, seismic and other building codes constricted, it’s much harder to get things built. So now, as it is elsewhere, the destroyed and the unbuilt jostle in the collective imagination, and, as Hawthorne describes it, “the black-and-white photograph of the long-ago destroyed landmark is now joined in the collective imagination by the sleek digital rendering of the high-design project that couldn’t get financing.”
View Building’s slideshow
Article in WSJ
architects, architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, Urban Planning
Bjarke Ingels, Christopher Hawthorne, Constantin Boym, Invisible Cities, Laurene Leon Boym, Norman Foster, TOM VANDERBILT, Wall Street Journal, Will Jones, Zaha Hadid