Alejandro Zaera-Polo in front of his Yokohama Terminal project in Japan. (Wikipedia and Naoya Fujii/Flickr)
All pointers indicate that the next dean at Princeton University School of Architecture will be Alejandro Zaera-Polo. The last lap of the race to take Stan Allen’s position as dean had narrowed down to three with odds on one of the several female contenders including Sylvia Lavin and Keller Easterling. But when the London-based, Spanish-born architect was called in London on March 18 and asked to fly to Princeton, where he is currently a visiting lecturer, the die seemed cast. Allen and Princeton had not confirmed as of this morning.
Zarea-Polo is best known for his work with his former wife and co-founder, Farshid Moussavi, at Foreign Office Architects particularly for the award-winning Yokohama International Cruise Terminal in Japan and a design and media building for Ravensbourne which was shortlisted for a 2011 RIBA Award. FOA was “demerged” in 2009 and in 2011, he founded Alejandro Zaera Pola Architecture, at the same time that Farshid Moussavi established Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA).
The 49-year-old architect has also taught and studied widely. After taking a degree at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura in Madrid, he also studied with distinctions at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He worked in Rotterdam for OMA before opening FOA in 2003. He was dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and the first recipient of the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship at Yale in 2009.
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Amid the real estate and construction doldrums here in the US, it’s nice to see that exciting buildings are still being planned in other countries.
Copenhagen-based BIG, in collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, was awarded the first prize in the international competition to design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for the Shenzhen Energy Company.
Located in the center of Shenzhen, China the 96,000 square meter project will be integrated with the surrounding environment and designed to withstand the tropical climate of the city. BIG’s winning proposal was selected by the jury experts from Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau chaired by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and client representatives.
The headquarters rises 200 meters creating a new landmark visible from the highway in the cultural, political and business center of Shenzhen. BIG envisions combining a practical and efficient floor plan layout with a sustainable façade that both, passively and actively reduce the energy consumption of the building. The façade is conceived as a folded skin that shades the office complex from direct sunlight and integrates solar thermal panels, reducing the overall energy consumption of the building.
BIG explaining the project:
The tropical climate of Shenzhen calls for a new approach to designing office buildings. How can we create comfortable working spaces in a tropical climate while reducing our energy consumption? The construction principle of the typical modern office tower is replicated all over the world. It has the advantage of a practical floor plan, and economical structural system. But in tropical conditions the glazed curtain wall facades normally result in high energy consumption for air conditioning and poor views through coated windows. To achieve a comfortable working environment in these conditions an office building would especially need two things: Shading from direct exposure to sunlight, and dehumidification of interior air.
We are proposing a tower based on an efficient and well-proven floor plan, enclosed in a skin specifically modified and optimized for the local climate. We propose to enhance the sustainable performance of the building drastically by only focusing on its envelope, the facade.
architect, architecture, buildings, green building
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, ARUP, BIG, China, RADDblog, Shenzhen, Shenzhen Energy Company, Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau, Transsolar