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eVolo’s 20 Most Innovative Skyscrapers

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 18:00

In the celebratory spirit of its recent 2015 Skyscraper Competition, eVolo has compiled a list of the contest’s most innovative submissions. 20 skyscrapers from 13 countries rose above the rest in terms of their unorthodox forms and imaginative solutions to socio-environmental issues. The avant-garde designs, which range from self-sustaining micro-climates to extensive sky-bound bicycle networks, address the cultural, social, and sustainable contexts of the future through groundbreaking means.

See all 20 innovative skyscrapers after the break.

Breeding Clouds Skyscraper / Davide Coluzzi (Italy)

To account for increasing aridity and the accompanying decrease in resources, this structure uses ionization technology to foster a controlled, vertical ecosystem.

Migratory Lantern Flock: Nostalgia Across the Formosa Strait / Cai Zeyu and Du Dikang ()

Migratory Lantern Flock aims to inspire a common cultural identity for the Taiwanese people by reusing a discarded vernacular structure as the framework for a glowing tower.

The Oculus: Regenerating Life Through a Vertical Topology / Rodrigo Carmona (United States)

Implementing a digital weather system, the Oculus is a self-sustaining mixed-use tower that aims to reinforce a sense of community in Manhattan and resolve imminent environmental concerns.

Xerophyte Tower / Allstair Lillystone and Shonn Mills (United Kingdom, Singapore)

This tower draws inspiration from desert plants that have adjusted to their climates, and implements a system of modular units to achieve a structure with similar adaptive capabilities.

Floating Waterfront Village: Trees of Life / Yi Wang and Jin Wei (China)

In an effort to preserve the traditional features of China’s Pearl River Delta, Floating Waterfront Village proposes a vertical shift to maintain the vernacular style through a suspended community.

A Thousand Splendid Suns / Bart Chompff and James Park (Austria)

This project employs technological strategies to utilize the power of the sun, harvesting the latent energy from its rays to be distributed for thermal control and energy production within the tower.

Bicycle Skyscraper Network / Si Hoon Choi, Do In Kim, Tae Joon Jeong, Chang Han Lee, Seong Hyun Yoon (South Korea)

To promote a healthier environment and decrease congestion at street level, the Bicycle Skyscraper Network redirects bicycle traffic into an elevated road system for a safer and faster commute.

Go Vertical: A City Designed for Volume / Margaret Rew, Taylor Hewett, Karilyn Johannesen (United States)

A City Designed for Volume reimagines the conventional highrise layout as a web of overlapping public and private spaces that redefine the lifestyles of mixed-use skyscraper occupants by creating new opportunities for interaction.

Favela Skyscraper / Rodrigo Carranca Hernandez (Mexico)

A future look at informal settlements, this skyscraper applies a methodical growth pattern to favelas to improve inhabitants’ standards of living and provide them with a self-sustaining environment.

Water Skyscraper in Somalia / Nurzhanat Kenenov (Singapore)

Driven by the scarcity of safe water in Somalia, this project proposes a series of towers connected by an aqueduct system that desalinate water from the Indian Ocean, transport it as needed, and in the process generate hydroelectric energy.

Elegy of Skyscrapers: Museum of Manhattan Skyscrapers / Yike Peng, Fan Wu, Youyi Wang (Hong Kong)

The Museum of Manhattan Skyscrapers presents a method of preserving today’s skyscrapers as concrete memories and tourist attractions for future generations.

The Habitable Obelisk / Jun Hao Ong (Malaysia)

Returning to the sanctity of ancient rock-cut dwellings, the Habitable Obelisk creates a unique social experience within the tower’s interconnected carved spaces.

Hi-Rise Waterfall / Gigih Nalendra, Nadia Vashti Lasrindy, Reza Arya Pahlevi (Indonesia)

This highrise addresses Jakarta’s annual flooding caused by insufficient infrastructure by introducing rooftop reservoirs that supply hydroelectric energy for the structure’s occupants.

Re-scraper / Zhou Ping, Yang Dongqi, Xie Mingxuan, Chai Wenpu, Sun Wei, Yang Hui, Liu Chengming, Qi Shan, Deng Honghao (China)

A solution to the problems associated with blasting demolition, the Re-scraper suggests reusing existing infrastructure as the basis of new construction, simplified by a top-down 3D printing system.

Termite Skyscraper / Chong Wang, Mingwei Sun, Zhen Wang (China, United Kingdom)

This structure aims to counteract food scarcity in agriculturally deprived areas by sustaining a regenerating supply of nutrient-rich termites in a vertical farm.

Capture Wind: A Wind Farm in the Tropopause / Jiaqi Sun, Chang Liu, Mingxuan Qin (China)

Seeking to lessen climate change caused by fossil fuels, this wind farm proposes a system of towers that harvest and store the high-velocity winds of the troposphere for clean, dependable energy.

Land Liberator Skyscraper / Ming Liu, Chen Chen, Chao Nie, Hua Deng, Yinhan Zhou (China)

The Land Liberator seeks to combat Beijing’s growing air pollution problem by incrementally absorbing the city, shifting its population vertically to allow ecological regeneration at the ground level.

Cloucity / Juerg Burger, Ge Men, Qingchuan Yang, Yin Li, Wei Hou (Switzerland)

A complement to existing infrastructure, Cloucity proposes three interconnected residential towers with a central void for recreational activities and public gathering.

Re2iffel Equalizer Skyscraper / Teemu Holopainen, Tomi Jaskari, Tuomas Vuorinen, Simon Ornberg (Finland)

Re²iffel examines a multipurpose structure that emphasizes adaptable public space and adapts to the predicted swings in climatic conditions.

Diffused Boundaries Skyscraper / Satavee Kijsanayotin, Ben Novacinski, Hannah Mayer, Haydar Baydoun, Mingxi Ye, Zhifei Chen (Thailand, United States)

This highrise investigates how “to blur the boundaries that create separations between public and private spaces, but also how to bring the rich civic and communal lifestyle that currently exits on the ground up into the sky.”

To read the full project descriptions, visit

eVolo's 20 Most Innovative Skyscrapers originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 03 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 1)

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 15:30

Architecture professor and photographer Henry Plummer has heightened the transformative power of daylight with his cameras and published several remarkable books about light and architecture. His deep interest in light, and his lyrical writing perspective, were formed through his contact with the designer and art theorist György Kepes while studying at MIT. Within his numerous photo journeys Plummer has documented the various facets of in Japan and the Nordic Countries, and of masters like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. As a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plummer also still has ambitious plans for future book projects. In the first part of this interview, Plummer shares a variety of insights about understanding light and approaching buildings for photography.

Thomas Shielke: How did you become fascinated with light, and why do you focus on daylight?

: I have always had a sense of wonder about light going back to my earliest years. Still etched in the back of my mind are childhood scenes in which light was a bewitching presence: stargazing at night in the backyard, the skyline of Manhattan at dusk, an ocean voyage on the Queen Mary lit up on a dark sea, and growing up in an eighteenth-century Dutch Colonial house whose deep windows were always aglow with changing light. Apart from their vocations both of my parents were artists, and as a young boy I was amazed with how deceptively simple oil paint could be used to construct radiant images on canvas. It became rather natural to sit in the studio for long periods and discuss light and color in unfinished paintings.

Although I studied art history in college, it came as a total revelation while a graduate student at MIT that light itself could be considered, and even manipulated, as a material in architectural design, and that something so ephemeral could be knowingly shaped to impart a spirit of place to buildings. The Department of Architecture at the time was a remarkable culture supportive of unconventional student initiatives, and offered the freedom to examine light from a variety of perspectives—light art with György Kepes, architectural design with Maurice Smith, metal sculpture with Michio Ihara, photography with Minor White, architectural history with Henry Millon.

My interests became focused on daylight, not because I was oblivious to the value of artificial light, but simply because I found daylight to be an inexhaustible source of miracles. While lighting fixtures are something added to architecture, natural light is inherent to it since every built form is a form of light. Moreover daylight is transformational, awakening and bringing to life the world around us—landscape and sky, buildings and cities, space and material, not to mention all living things on earth. It is inherently vital rather than static. It is always changing and moving, in a state of becoming, and its qualities at any moment are never quite the same as the moment before or the moment to follow. By contrast and despite its necessity, artificial light is inert and in this sense dead, for even when made to electrically move or transform, these changes are controlled and programmed beforehand, and thus lack the spontaneity and unpredictability of daylight.

A further significance of daylight as a creative tool in architecture is that it has moods, which are able to infuse physical things with a metaphysical spirit, and can totally alter the character of a building. These mysterious phenomena not only illuminate architectural form but also give it emotional depth, while keeping us tuned to the universe outside as well as the world hidden within us. Without the atmospheric presence of daylight, buildings might be able to support our bodies but they would never be able to sustain our spirits—something we require as human beings.

TS: When and how did you start photographing light and architecture?

HP: My interest in photography began as a youth, but I was not consciously drawn to light as a subject until taking studio courses in photography as a graduate student. Minor White had several years previously inaugurated the Creative Photography Laboratory at MIT (in 1965), whose classes as well as those of other teachers in the program, for me notably Jonathan Green, encouraged students to take an innovative approach in exploring the subjects of photographic images, handling light-sensitive materials and processes in an experimental way, and deepening the way images could be imagined and experienced, and their essence communicated to others.

My initial photographic interest was not architecture, but faintly abstract images in nature—simple things like twigs and leaves embedded in translucent ice, the fluid play of light and shade on snow, the chiaroscuro of dried mud, the glowing impressions of sand on a seashore. I was also drawn to the latent poetry of everyday things, which often involved buildings, such as shapes of light in a broken window, a beam of sun in an empty room, or sun glancing over an archaic texture. These subjects were no doubt inspired by Minor, as well as by other photographers close to him such as Edward Weston and Paul Caponigro, all of whom had explored realms of unknown beauty in the most ordinary things.

TS: What role did your MIT teacher György Kepes play in helping you to understand light?

HP: At the time I began to work with György he was already a legendary teacher in the areas of visual design and designing with light, the latter primarily with small constructions that were essentially works of light sculpture. My interactions with him occurred largely in the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, which he had recently founded as an artistic adjunct to MIT (in 1967) and of which he was then Director. A number of artists who were fellows at the Center, such as Otto Piene and Juan Navarro Baldeweg, were exploring different aspects of light art and were open to informal critiques with students, providing helpful feedback for my own ideas and aspirations. Particularly generous was Michio Ihara, a Japanese kinetic sculptor then working with elaborate webs of stainless steel, allowing me to work in his studio and guiding my own awkward attempts with mobile structures and light.

But it was György above all who opened my eyes to the possibility that daylight could be handled as a creative medium—that its flow could be deftly caught from the sky and then projected or reflected, focused or diffused, and sculpted at will with physical forms to make fleeting shapes of visible energy. The notion that buildings, in addition to their many other values and responsibilities, could also be considered “light modulators” was quite astonishing, and I rather crudely began to experiment with these possibilities in a number of aspects of architectural design, as well as in the realm of light art in the context of Kepes’ own ongoing projects.

TS: How did your apprenticeship with the American photographer Minor White influence your photography?

HP: I worked with Minor in two very different contexts. Initially I got to know him as a teacher at MIT, through studio classes and photography critiques, as well as through his organization and editing of thematic photographic exhibitions for the Visual Art Center at the Institute. But my primary involvement with him was outside academia, in a number of photography workshops in New England and overseas, and finally as an invited apprentice at his home and studio in Arlington Heights.

It is difficult to summarize the impact his teaching and way of seeing had on my photographic aims, for they were influential on so many levels. He was passionate about his own work and personified a way of life that revolved around the art of photography. He shared his joy in the patient search—through eye and camera—of undiscovered worlds lying within the sensual events of this world. And he exemplified artistic integrity, through a creative range that extended from pre-visualizing images to the technical precision of making photographic prints in the darkroom.

But more generally, and perhaps more importantly, Minor epitomized how photography itself could become a mode of heightened perception, a method to more deeply contemplate the world, and equally a way to intensely explore one’s innermost being. Beyond the process of making photographs, he was concerned with enriching how we imagine and see, experience and communicate, not only the sublime but also the humblest things around us—and how to transform these commonplaces into wonders. Towards this end, and in addition to photographic exercises, he employed a number of experimental teaching methods to expand vision and self-awareness—Gestalt therapy, modern dance, astrology, Eastern as well as Native American religions, and techniques of elevating consciousness related to the spiritual teachings of Georges Gurdjieff.

TS: How do you approach a building on site when you photograph it for a book project?

HP: Because daylight is so fleeting and elusive, I restrict the buildings about which I write to those I have personally experienced and photographed. This constraint poses many obvious practical problems, for one can only visit and see so many buildings. My general solution to this predicament is to plan research and photographic trips around particular projects, but to also photograph other buildings along the way for future and often still undefined projects.

A person’s initial encounter with a place, and the opportunity it offers for fresh perception, is quite precious and unrepeatable, so I prefer to avoid visiting buildings until I am ready to fully engage and photograph them. Also while there are many logistical problems involved in planning such trips, I try to forget all these concerns while actually in the moment of photography. My tendency on site—especially when photographing light in architecture—is to have no little or no plan at all, and to avoid thinking about building uses or history, the presence and distraction of other visitors, or the names of various rooms and parts. In this regard I have been often reminded of Robert Irwin’s famous comment, that “seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees.” Of course rational thoughts are always looming up in the back of the mind, but I try to press them down beneath awareness until I am finished photographing. My aim is to directly respond to whatever truly attracts and enchants me, free of any practical purpose, producing a rather spontaneous, unexpected, startling, and, if lucky, ecstatic journey through a building—and, for that time, becoming one with the subject of one’s contemplation.

Another set of pragmatic factors I find important to consider in advance, but then develop amnesia about while on site, stems from the cyclic rhythms of daylight. To avoid missing significant solar events, I make an effort while planning a trip to carefully assess the orientation of buildings and their openings, so as to anticipate the times and directions of sunrise and sunset, as well as the arrival of sun on important walls or its penetration of particular windows, according to the given latitude and season. Some of these solar happenings are so pivotal that the scheduling of a visit may revolve around them. This lesson was driven home to me over several decades of studying and photographing the light in Nordic architecture, for at such extreme latitudes the winter sun might appear for only a brief time in the south and make a dramatic appearance at noon, or conversely the summer sun might revolve around the entire building in a circle of impacts.

TS: What are the most challenging aspects of photographing daylight?

HP: Beyond the previous remarks, a further complication of daylight is its ethereal and impalpable nature—making it always unattainable and beyond our grasp. This is especially true with the most delicate tones of ambient light, which we barely notice yet can create a unity of spirit. I am thinking of the transparent veils of color produced by refracted light from the sky, the infinite range of faint shadows and highlights appearing on monolithic forms and textures, and the peaceful tones of light filtered through snow or rain, fog or clouds. More pronounced atmospheric effects can take on a space-filling presence, such as the golden ambiance of sunset or enveloping blue hour of dusk. Related as well as to these natural phenomena are elusive conditions produced architecturally, as in the diffusion of light through translucent membranes, from the dreamy white glow of shoji screens in Japanese houses and temples, to the sparkling hues of Gothic stained glass that bathe the darkness with a haze of color.

To observe and photograph these indefinable harmonies requires a kind of shift in vision, ratcheting down logic while expanding sensibility, replacing rational thought with an ineffable kind of touch or perception. Instead of resorting to intellectual comprehension through reason, I find it more effective to try to grasp atmospheric light through apprehension at a single glance by the senses. This allows one to go beyond the measurable forms of architecture, and catch sight of something immeasurable—a metaphysical presence that clings to the surface and imbues the air with a special flavor, vivifying the things it touches.

A related challenge is the evanescence of daylight. Obviously one can never witness more than a tiny part of the story of light in any building. But one can struggle to see and photograph certain key moments or enduring qualities that characterize a building, and convert its volumes into a place that we are able to experience deeply. This transiency often necessitates revisiting and re-photographing buildings in order to see them at different hours and seasons, or under different lighting conditions or weather.

One must also be prepared to move quickly, and make the most of momentaristic phenomena, for they might utterly change or unexpectedly disappear in a few minutes, or conversely the phenomena one anticipates might not appear until later in the day or months in the future. As a result photography turns into a kind of dance with the building and sky, a process that can be slow and pensive, even demand long periods of waiting, but also at times frantic and intoxicating, and may just as easily cause disappointment when the sky or weather leave built forms mute and dormant before one’s eyes.

Watch out for part two of this interview later this week.

Light matters, a monthly column on light and space, is written by Thomas Schielke. Based in Germany, he is fascinated by architectural lighting and works for the lighting company and academy DIAL. He has published numerous articles and co-authored the book “Light Perspectives”. For more information check or follow him @arcspaces.

Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 1) originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 03 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

Public Housing VPO in Ciudad Real / Rojo/Fernández-Shaw

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 15:00

Architects: Rojo/Fernández-Shaw
Location: Calle Gregorio Marañón, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real,
Architects In Charge: Begoña Fernández-Shaw, Luis Rojo de Castro, Basic AAP slp arquitectos
Year: 2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Rojo/Fernández-Shaw

Collaborators: Santiago Buraglía, Irene Hwang
Project Implementation: Santiago Buraglía, José Manuel Garrido Molina
Site Management: Sander Laheij, Itziar Vinagre, Marcia Neto Oliveira
Structure: Alfonso Gomez-Gaite
Conditioning Environmental: Úrculo Ingenieros
Oct: Control Técnico y Prevención de Riesgos (CPV)
Constructor: Juan Ramírez Proyectos y Construcciones (JRC)

From the architect. This is a public housing project of 74 units in Ciudad Real, on one of the new development areas of the city, near where the ring road will be constructed and, therefore, at its boundary. The project is confronted to the suburban and unformed landscape that surrounds the city, half agricultural half urban.

This is an area without homogeneous or coherent references, as it is surrounded by an office building, a school, and other housing of different types (blocks, condos, single family, etc.).

Due to the fact that the commission is the result of a public architectural competition, its purpose is also to explore contemporary models of domesticity and housing morphologies, as well as the construction of a suburban environment in which the structuring role of shared public spaces and a domestic iconography might play a significant role.

We started the project taking into account issues of scale and protection against external uncontrolled conditions, rather than trying to adapt to the external circumstances. The project is planned as linear blocks. Working within the strict limits of regulation parameters, and flexing them to our advantage, the normative volumes were reinterpreted ichnographically.

The solid volumes are repeated in their morphology and disposition, however carefully differentiated due to changing conditions of orientation, access and perceptual variation. They also suffer from strategic fragmentation and formal alterations in order to increase the role of exterior spaces, interstitial relationships and the role of the ground plane.

We believe that contemporary housing should be flexible to allow for different uses, to permit the possibility of change and transformations over time and we also understand the relation of the dwelling with the exterior space as a value that should be taken into account inside the housing at the present time.

Therefore these volumes, these homes, try to adjust to the new landscape that has been created, both interior and exterior, by way of 5 mechanisms implemented: to take into account the flexibility inside each unit, the flexibility in the combination of the different typologies, the role of intermediate spaces judged out of the volumes and the voids in between the blocks themselves and their capacity to create spaces of relationship between the dwellings.

Finally we located the parking area underground so that the space between the housing blocks may be of common use, and there is no need to worry about the car or traffic.

Public Housing VPO in Ciudad Real / Rojo/Fernández-Shaw originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 03 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

Spotlight: Aldo Rossi

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 14:00

Ada Louise Huxtable once described him as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” Italian architect Aldo Rossi (1931-1997) was known for his drawings, urban theory, and for winning the Pritzker Prize (in 1990). Rossi also directed the Venice Biennale in 1985 and 1986 – one of only two who have served as director twice.

Rossi is most appreciated for his contributions to architectural theory, which evolved from a wide range of influences: from architect and theorist Adolf Loos, to early Italian modernism, to surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. He rose to prominence in the mid-1950s through his contributions to the highly-respected Italian architecture magazine Casabella. He later became the magazine’s editor from 1959-1964.

His book, L’architettura della città (The Architecture of the City), is to this day considered a pioneering work in urban theory. The book argues that architects should be sensitive to urban/cultural context, making use of historical design precedent rather than trying to reinvent typologies. In practice, Rossi was unquestionably the master of his own theoretical approach, as evidenced by one of his most famous works, the San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena.

His legacy is still alive in Italy and around the world. In fact, Italian firm San Rocco, in 2013 named Icon Magazine’s inaugural Emerging Architecture Firm of the Year, is named after an unbuilt housing project by Rossi.

Find out more about one of Rossi’s work in our article about the San Cataldo Cemetery via the link below:

AD Classics: San Cataldo Cemetery / Aldo Rossi

Spotlight: Aldo Rossi originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 03 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

Central Art Depository Freiburg / Pfeifer Kuhn Architekten

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 11:00

Architects: Pfeifer Kuhn Architekten
Location: Freiburg, Germany
Architect In Charge: Günter Pfeifer, Prof. Christoph Kuhn
Design Team: Daniel Lenz, Alexander Unsin, Klaus Dömer
Area: 5690.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Claudius Pfeifer, Städtische Museen Freiburg, Kuhn und Lehmann, Hannelore Pfeifer

Users: Städische Museen Freiburg (Municipal Museums of Freiburg), Stiftungsverwaltung Freiburg, Erzdiözese Freiburg (Archdiocese Freiburg)
Structural Engineers: Theobald + Partner, Kirchzarten
Installations , Building Physics: Solares Bauen GmbH, Freiburg
Electrical Engineering: IB Hübner und Müller, Rastatt
Site Management: Krebs und Kiefer Ingenieure, Freiburg
Client: Freiburger Stadtbau GmbH

From the architect. The “ZKD” is a two story art depository used by several museums of the city of Freiburg (Germany) and by different foundations. It contains various art and museum objects with very different but constant conservational requirements on climate an temperature. Those conservational requirements had to be harmozied with high demands on fire protection and safety and the clients request on very low energy comsumption and sustainability for a very moderate budget. The building should be the First Art-Depository built as a „Passivhaus“.

The main function of the building is preserving cultural objects which are part of the societies cultural heritage and identity for future generations.
It is located in an industrial area in Freiburg.

The building is organized on two floors. Where the upper Floor is fully planned as depository, the ground floor is devided into a deposit space and a functional space which contains all the entries, logistics, technical rooms, and supporting workspaces such as studios. The asymmetric double pitched roof leads to variable ceiling heigts in the upper floor and also gives the building its characteristic shape. Its flat slope on the southern side is completely cladded with photovoltaic panels.

The main construction is of solid sand-lime bricks and concrete to preserve against quick temperature changes. Sand-lime bricks are used due to their minimum environmetal footprint. Concrete is only used, where its needed because of security reasons. Because of its required thickness for reaching teh Passivhaus-standard the insulation layer is built like a traditional timber construction which is attached to the solid wall and roof layer and covered with a wooden fibreboard Panel, which can be seen through the transparent parts of the fassade. The outermost layer is the rear vetilated fassade. Its cladding consists of polycarbonate wave panels, that change their opacity appearance due to the weather and the position of the sun and the base material of fibrecement which gives an opaque contrast to the shiny Polycarbonate. The entire insulation and fassade layers can be easily maintained, repaired or deassembled for recycling .

The seemingly “poor” cladding materials fit to the industrial context and on the other hand give the building an outward appearance of ambiguity. So it can be read as an oversized barn as well as a shiny industrial shed. This ambiguity effect plays with the theme of camouflage of the kind of “treasury”-building. It is highly secure and fulfils all the safety requirements but it shouldn’t appear as a fort-knox. We build more complex than that and this is reflected by the appearence of the building which even shows that literally to the passer by.

Central Art Depository Freiburg / Pfeifer Kuhn Architekten originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 03 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

INHAC / Atelier d’Architecture Brenac-Gonzalez

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 08:00

Architects: Atelier d’Architecture Brenac & Gonzalez
Location: ,
Year: 2014
Photographs: Sergio Grazia

From the architect. Lined on one side by a landscaped strip rising in a mound on the railroad tracks and on the other by the Place de l’Insurrection, the INHAC is a symbolic marker for the entrance to the city of Saint-Gratien. The entrance facade with its broad hipped gable echoing the other buildings that occupy the plaza.

The project is organized like a geometric shape that makes maximum use of the available space to the streets so as to allow for as much room as possible for the landscape and recreational inner courtyard.

Across from the Place de l’Insurrection and to the right of the broad front, an intentionally emblematic shape with its wide openings, signals the presence of distinguished premises composed of the reception hall, the amphitheater, dining rooms, hotel workshops and the library. This main facade acts as a genuine showcase enhancing INHAC’s ambitions and challenges.

The building’s general volume radiates around a reception area that here and there rises two stories high towards the restaurants, then on the next floor wraps around a central patio on two levels. Its dynamic flared shape makes connections visible and choreographs student movements.

These volumes fold, expand and hollow out depending on the use they are put to. Sculpted or sometimes hollowed out, they soften the building’s height and general scale.

This diversified volume composition enables the creation on the ground floor of a broad inner courtyard that naturally extends the reception’s volume towards the outside and, in the upper part, to a wide, shared terrace.

Like all training centers, INHAC provides two kinds of teaching: vocational on the one hand and general on the other. The vocational teaching is done in the building’s eastern wing, and the most symbolic premises give on to the gabled wall, for they represent the establishment’s symbolic base.  The general education creates a bridge with the rest of the establishment. On the top floor the recreational premises enjoy a terrace that extends from the cafeteria with a balcony over the courtyard on one side and the central patio on the other.

There are two main parts to the facades, which on the ground floor form a continuous ring, and the upper floors, clad in pleated anodized aluminum, use their relief to play with the light and reflections. The folding play of the metal clapboarding makes the building sensitive and very reactive to variations of light so that it changes appearance with the changing day and seasons.

The facades are animated by a repeated rhythm of fixed, vertical, window frames, each with a hidden opening frame composed of an opaque sandwich panel with aluminum clapboarding so as to vanish into the facade from outside.

Wide screen-print picture-windows alternate with these window patterns. Mostly located on the Place de l’Insurrection, they enhance the noblest of the areas like shapes in the building’s mass by revealing movement and use.

INHAC / Atelier d’Architecture Brenac-Gonzalez originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 03 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

IZB Residence / Stark Architekten

Sun, 03.05.2015 - 02:00

Architects: Stark Architekten
Location: Am Klopferspitz 2, 82152 , Germany
Design Team: Claudia Kammerer, Christine Röger, Markus Müller, Nicole Arndt
Area: 2000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Robert Sprang

Interior Design:
Project Manager: Jürgen Stark
Owner: Fördergesellschaft IZB mbH, Planegg/Martinsried
Project Management: Hitzler Ingenieure, München
Landscaping: Schegk Landschaftsarchitekten+ Stadtplaner
Structural Engineer: Behringer Beratende Ingenieure GmbH
Building Physics: PMI Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH
Hvac Engineer: Climaplan GmbH
Electrical Engineer: IB Ewald+Grau
Main Supplier: Occhio, Hotelys, Designfunktion, technogym, Schüco, Warema, Hain Natur-Böden

From the architect. Landmark at Campus

The eight story IZB Residence creates a significant center of Campus Martinsried with its organic shapes and becomes a distinctive landmark by its unique architectural language. “It was our aspiration to generate tension between organic, floating shapes and dynamic flow architectural language. At the same time a certain degree of harmony and well-being”, explains Jürgen Stark.


The hotel stands up as a solitaire within the surrounding of the Innovation Center for Biotechnology. The first two floors conclude the existing square and create an urban character. The unitized façade is covered by an additional white aluminum skin. External blinds could be avoided by solar control glass and decentralized A/C. Curtains and blinds allow for individual use in each room. The dynamic and distance between the floating and curved skin and the glazing behind creates a strong three dimensional appearance. The depth and layout of the façade cut outs implement a comfortable feeling in the rooms.

Interior Design

The dynamic, floating structure of the façade continues throughout the interior of the individual rooms as a multi-functional feature including desk, lounger and dressing table. The rooms appear more generous by the open character of the bathrooms. The high end standards in technical features as well as design makes each and every room to an oasis of comfort for communication, business activity or just for relaxation.

The ground floor offers exciting views between restaurant, lobby and the external surrounding. A distinctive, innovative lighting system emphasizes the atmosphere. Small areas and spacious rooms create a feeling of tension. The dynamics and the floating spaces within the plan connect the individual purposes in a very harmonic way, which gives the open space a high level of wellbeing.

The sophisticated color scheme from black, grey to white achieves an elegant ambiance. From the basement with dark tones ascending to the brilliant white faculty club on the top floor. The mixture of extravagant architecture, modern interior and innovative lighting design creates an exquisite atmosphere promoting communication and appealing ambiance. The first floor offers an additional gym for work out.

The faculty club with its floor to ceiling glazing on the seventh floor is the highlight of the building.  An exclusive 170m² spacious clubroom offers a stunning golden, metal bar. It provides cozy sofas for intimate communication, a private dining area and club chairs in front of a fireplace. The terrace extends the space and presents a breathtaking view to the Alps of Bavaria.

Hotel Concept

The concept of the IZB Residence is unique in the world. Everything aims to provide comfortable and inspiring atmosphere for guests coming from international elite research background visiting Campus Martinsried. The 42 rooms, six suites, twelve junior suites and 24 rooms accommodate scientists and business travelers from all over the world.

IZB Residence / Stark Architekten originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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3 Winners Announced for Bangkok Fashion Hub Competition

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 20:00

The winners of the international design competition ”Bangkok: I am Fashion Hub“ have been unveiled. Entrants were challenged with the task of unifying the functions of a community center, library, theater, and public space within a cohesive venue in Bangkok for both the local and international fashion communities.

Of the original entries, three winners were selected by an international jury based on their adherence to several design factors including conceptual clarity, creativity, integration within the existing urban fabric, and feasibility as a center for fashion. The winning designs, from Malaysia, Russia, and France, garnered monetary prizes ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. Check them out, after the break.

1st Prize: Ilya Pugachenko, Andrey Sayko, and Alla Aniskova

A semi-transparent volume, this design utilizes a system of translucent polymer tubes as an inventive facade that allows sight-lines into the building, inspiring curiosity and extending a visual invitation to the public. This strategy creates a dynamic atmosphere both within and outside the building as its many functions are highlighted through variances in lighting quality. The layout itself follows a simple, structured approach that maintains an element of unexpectedness through height differences, unified by a triple-height library at its core.

2nd Prize: Jun Hao Ong and Raphael Cheng

The irregular form of this design is grounded by a central retractable platform which provides the flexibility to accommodate the diverse programmatic requirements. Speaking to its location, the building abstractly employs traditional Thai typologies, namely a strong language between wat (solid) and sala (void) to mirror the fashion industry’s physical and experiential products. In addition, a central atrium flanked by a system of staircases creates a continuous “runway” spanning the full height of the structure.

3rd Prize: Quyet Tien Ngo, Mingbo Wang, Junwei Xie, and Arnaud Rossocelo

Consisting of a myriad of interconnected volumes, this design imagines the Fashion Hub as a campus. Branching off of a central seam, along which the programmatic functions are housed, the campus occupies much of the site while reflecting the scale of its surroundings and drawing in passersby from several directions as they disembark the neighboring train. Additionally, the design speaks to its location through vernacular climatic solutions, presenting a comfortable atmosphere year-round with shading and natural ventilation strategies.

For full project descriptions and to view the honorable mention recipients, visit here.

3 Winners Announced for Bangkok Fashion Hub Competition originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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Slice / Saunders Architecture

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 19:00

Architects: Saunders Architecture
Location: ,
Area: 15.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Bent Rene? Synneva?g

From the architect. As a consequence of the global economic recession and increase of centralization, architects worldwide take on the challenge of designing small houses. The design ideas are often proportionally inverted by the sizes.

A small building on just 15m2 is just as likely to give the architect a pleasurable task than a ginormous building on 5000 m2. A significant reduction of size and budget is not necessarily synonymous with a reduced ingenuity. Designing small houses even grant a greater sense of freedom. They are ideal for young architects to start of their careers with.

«How can we get the most out of this project?», was the question Saunders and his colleagues had in the back of their minds when they first sat down to draw the extra and outdoor guest room that the client wanted. They worked with the premises given by the site, and that meant preserving the old, existing plum trees in the garden. As a result the plum trees now grow through the triangular building, undisturbed. The contrasting colors of the black exterior against the white interior helps giving the impression of the building being «a slice» in the garden.

Artists sometimes work on the architects’ court, and sometimes architects work in the intersection between art and architecture. Saunders believe that it’s easier to let the fantasy run loose on small buildings. At least the chance of succeeding is greater. Artists such as Doug Aitken and Olafur Eliasson have too made small houses. Perhaps the small houses with their sculptural shapes are in an area bordering between art and architecture?

«Slice» describes the little house Todd Saunders drew in a small garden in Slåttevik just outside Haugesund in Norway. The challenge was: how do we design a 15 m2 sized house in the most exciting way possible? The buliding was supposed to be small, yet have a perfect design.

The fundamentals for this house are: it has to be a lovely place to spend an afternoon, spend a night, and a a good place to start the day. In the end, «Slice» became more than what we usually expect from a house, and also more unsual.

Stretching out the terrace resulted in a bigger room and a sculptural shape that frames the whole house while creating a yard.

Text: Tone Rønning Vike

Slice / Saunders Architecture originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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Photo Essay: The Evolution of Atlanta’s Ponce City Market

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 18:00

For almost a century, one of the largest buildings in the Southeastern United States has maintained a dominating street presence in Atlanta, Georgia. Now the Ponce City Market, the building was originally designed by Nimmons, Carr and Wright Architects and built in 1925 as a Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution and retail center, operating until 1989. In 1991, the City of purchased the building, renamed it City Hall East and  housed several public works departments, storing countless items among its 2.1 million square feet of space. As the city’s utilization of the building dwindled, Jamestown Properties stepped in and acquired the building in 2010.  Five years later, Ponce City Market is poised to become one of the greatest historic rehabilitation projects in the country.

In 2009, during the economic recession in America, I was fresh out of architecture school and unable to land a job in my field.  I was fortunate enough, however, to be hired by the City of Atlanta’s asset management office to help supervise the cleanup of the building that would become Ponce City Market. I was intrigued by the immense scale and detail of this largely empty edifice, and began taking photographs in an effort to preserve what I could, convinced that the building would be demolished.

Upon learning that the building would be completely renovated, I was granted permission to continue photographing the building.  Each visit presented new perspectives and challenges in the midst of an active construction site.  With unlimited access over the course of five years, I was able to build a comprehensive photographic record of the evolution of an architectural landmark.

Blake Burton is an architect and photographer living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is working on publishing a book on the Ponce City Market project. Learn more on his website here.

Photo Essay: The Evolution of Atlanta’s Ponce City Market originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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Unified Architectural Theory: Chapter 11

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 15:30

We will be publishing Nikos Salingaros’ book, Unified Architectural Theory, in a series of installments, making it digitally, freely available for students and architects around the world. In Chapter 11, Salingaros introduces and explains a list of 15 properties theorized by Christopher Alexander which give rise to the phenomenon of “life” in architectural designs. If you missed them, make sure to read the previous installments here.

Alexander’s Fifteen Fundamental Properties

We have come to the point in this course when we need to present the geometric properties responsible for the deep connectivity that I have discussed in previous chapters. has derived a set of 15 properties that all structures that we perceive to have “life” possess (Alexander, 2001).

Note that it is only after separating what has qualities of “life” from what does not that we have a body of examples from which to extract the sought-for geometric rules. Those rules are discovered by observation from these objects, as was achieved by Alexander. Once written down, we can then verify that all objects with the quality of life satisfy these rules.

The 15 fundamental properties uncovered by Alexander are the important beginnings of a massive ongoing investigation into the properties of matter. The 15 properties are phenomenological, yet we know from experiments that the phenomenon of life is based upon our biology and the physical properties of matter itself.

Therefore, starting from these 15 properties opens up a research program to discover why these geometrical rules are so important, and to explain them. It also drives us to seek further complementary factors that refine and improve our understanding of the phenomenon of life. Alexander himself has done this in Volumes 2 to 4 of The Nature of Order, and I have also been responsible for results in this topic. [Note: only the results of The Nature of Order Volume 1 are discussed in the current book.] Here is a list of the fifteen properties:

  1. Levels of scale
  2. Strong centers
  3. Thick boundaries
  4. Alternating repetition
  5. Positive space
  6. Good shape
  7. Local symmetries
  8. Deep interlock and ambiguity
  9. Contrast
  10. Gradients
  11. Roughness
  12. Echoes
  13. The void
  14. Simplicity and inner calm
  15. Not-separateness

I am going to use some notes on the fifteen properties from Lecture 6 of my book Algorithmic Sustainable Design (2010). The Leitner diagrams illustrating the properties are given there, and are now included in his own book (Leitner, 2015). A brief description of each property follows:

1. Levels of scale exist along with a scaling hierarchy. Repeating components of the same size and similar shape define one scale. Levels of scale have to be spaced closely enough in size (magnification) for coherence, but not too close to blur the distinction between nearby scales. Thus, a jump in scale by a factor of 15 is disorienting, whereas a factor of 1.5 is too close to distinguish one scale from another. A mathematical rule generates a distribution of scales via the logarithmic constant e ? 2.7 and the Fibonacci sequence: see “Applications of the Golden Mean to Architecture” (Salingaros, 2012). The whole point of adaptive design is to satisfy needs on the human scales, which range from 2 m down to less than 1 mm. The rule only says that you must accommodate all these scales.

2. Strong centers are formed when a substantial region of space is tied together coherently. It is useful to distinguish two types of centers — “defined”, and “implied” — that overlap and interact. A “defined” center has something in the middle to focus attention. An “implied” center has a boundary that focuses attention on its empty interior. Visual focus is a precondition for the use of spaces. Each center combines surrounding centers and boundaries to focus on some region. Centers support each other on every scale: this is a recursive hierarchical property.

3. Thick boundaries. A thick boundary is an “implied” center. According to the scaling hierarchy, a thick boundary arises as the next scale smaller than what is being bound. For this reason, thin boundaries are ineffective, because they skip over one or more terms in the scaling hierarchy, so the boundary is not connected by scaling to what it bounds. An “implied” center is defined only through its own thick boundary. Therefore, thick boundaries play a focusing role as well as a bounding role.

4. Alternating repetition helps in the informational definition of repeating components. Simplistic repetition is collapsible information, because what repeats is trivially coded (for example, take an empty or plain module X and repeat it 100 times): see “Why Monotonous Repetition is Unsatisfying” (Salingaros, 2011). Contrast, acting together with repetition, reinforces each component through alternation. This alternation helps to better define essential translational symmetry.

5. Positive space refers to Gestalt psychology, and links geometry with the basis of human perception. Convexity plays a major role in defining an object or a space, whether this is an area or a volume. We feel comfortable or uncomfortable in the spaces we inhabit for a combination of mathematical and psychological reasons. We strongly feel a threat from objects sticking out. We need to apply the positive space concept to both figure and background. Not only the building’s interior space but also urban space must be positive: see “Urban space and its information field” (Salingaros, 1999).

6. Good shape arises when symmetries reduce the information overload. Perceivable objects produce a represented shape from many separate 2-D views, which the brain can computationally manipulate in 3-D. “Good” means “easily graspable”, satisfying the brain’s innate need to compact information. Shapes that are not easily represented strain mental computation, hence they induce anxiety.

7. Local symmetries are symmetries within the scaling hierarchy. Symmetries must act on every distinct scale. “Symmetry” does not mean overall symmetry on the largest scale, as is usually understood. In organized complex structures, we have multiple subsymmetries acting within larger symmetries. All the symmetries should be nested hierarchically.

8. Deep interlock and ambiguity are other strong ways of connecting. Forms interpenetrate to link together. An analogy comes from fractals, where crinkled lines tend to fill portions of space, and surfaces grow with accretions. Two regions can interpenetrate at a semi-permeable interface, which enables a transition from one region to another. There is ambiguity as to which side of the interface one belongs while inside the transition region, and this is a good feature. Abrupt transitions such as a clean straight line, however, do not bind objects coming up to each other.

9. Contrast is necessary to establish distinct subunits and to distinguish between adjoining units. Contrast is also needed to provide figure-ground symmetry of opposites. Strongly contrasted regions can also be strongly connected. For example, the space under an arcade contrasts with open street space. False transparency reduces contrast, and reduced contrast weakens the design. An example of weak (ineffective) contrast is inside versus outside space separated by a glass curtain wall.

10. Gradients represent controlled transitions. They provide a method of getting away from uniformity, because that is a non-adaptive state. Subdivision also does this, however sometimes we should not divide a form into discrete pieces, but instead need to change it gradually. Examples include the urban transect: city transitioning to countryside, and in interior spaces: public transitioning to private realms.

11. Roughness. A fractal structure goes all the way down in scales — nothing is smooth: see “Scaling and Fractals” (Mehaffy & Salingaros, 2012). Ornament can be interpreted as controlled “roughness” in a smooth geometry. The relaxation of strict geometry to allow imperfections makes it more tolerant. So-called “imperfections” differentiate repeated units to make them similar but not identical — for example, hand-painted tiles. There is deliberate roughness in repetition that avoids monotony. Approximate symmetry breaking prevents informational collapse. Adaptation to local conditions creates roughness, since it breaks regularity and perfect symmetry.

12. Echoes. There are two types of echoes in design. First, translational symmetry: similar forms found on the same scale but at a distance. Second, scaling symmetry: similar forms existing magnified at different scales. Mathematical fractals are exactly self-similar. But all natural fractals obey only approximate, or statistical self-similarity — not exactly the same when magnified, but only “echoes”.

13. The void can be identified with plain structure at the largest scale of a fractal. The largest open component of a fractal survives as the void. It is not possible to fill in all of a fractal with detail. In “implied” centers, a complex boundary focuses on the open middle — the void. Therefore, an empty portion in necessary to balance regions of intense detail.

14. Simplicity and inner calm. This is a more subtle quality. Balance is achieved by an overall coherence and lack of clutter. Symmetries are all cooperating to support each other, with nothing extraneous or distracting. Coherent design appears effortless (but is in fact very difficult to achieve). We see this simplicity in nature, though it is never actually “simple” in the sense of being minimalist. “Simple” in nature means extremely complex but highly coherent. A system appears “simple” to us because it is so perfect.

15. Not-separateness comes after achieving coherence. Coherence is an emergent property — not present in the individual components. In a larger coherent whole, no piece can be taken away. Decomposition is neither obvious, nor possible. When every component is cooperating to give a coherent whole, nothing looks separate, and nothing draws attention to itself. This is the goal of adaptive design: a seamless blending of an enormous number of complex components. This is the opposite of willful separateness. Not-separateness goes beyond internal coherence, because the whole connects as much as possible to its environment.

The fifteen properties give rise to coherent form, which is so natural that it is hardly noticed — like nature herself! But we do perceive this coherence subconsciously, and it affects us deeply. Coherence is healing. We also immediately notice incoherence, in which the fifteen properties are absent. It disturbs, alarms, and excites us at the same time. This type of excitement is unhealthy in the long term. Architects and students most often wish to draw attention to their designs, and accomplish this by violating the fifteen properties. Doing so causes physiological anxiety for the users.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, architectural design since the beginning of the 20th century has cultivated the absence of the 15 properties. As a result, students and architects respond emotionally (very negatively) to them, reacting from their image-based conditioning. One cannot hide behind the excuse that what I’m talking about is only very recent knowledge, because architects have always been aware in some way of the fifteen properties. Form languages that we use widely today were developed to contrast with traditional form languages, and thus to deliberately break the 15 properties: see “Why Primitive Form Languages Spread” (Salingaros, 2006).

Since architects have avoided the 15 properties for one century, why apply them today to design the built environment? The reason is that we are still part of nature: human biology has not changed in one century. Yet during that time, we have been desensitized to go against nature and our reactions to natural and unnatural forms, denying our own biological makeup. Everybody agrees that our society is stressed, and that it would improve our health to go back to building structures and environments that help us to heal. This type of architecture can make a significant contribution to raising the quality of life.

It is true that part of the motivation for abandoning design according to the 15 properties was for practical reasons: a more rapid design process, standardization, manufacturing efficiency, strictly generic spaces to allow maximum flexibility of use, a “sleek, modern look”, etc. But now it’s time to recover what we have lost. It’s time to become reconnected with nature directly, as well as through the geometrical properties of what we build. With present-day technological sophistication, it is just as easy to implement architectural solutions that exemplify the 15 properties, as it is to continue to disregard the problem.

The question of styles needs some clarification. People grow tired of a style, then adopt another different one. But what we observe since the introduction of modernist architecture is a cycling through a related group of styles, all of which violate the 15 properties. Form languages did indeed change during the last several decades, but what they have in common is that they avoid the 15 properties. Innovative form languages have not come back to adopting the 15 properties, but remain in a geometrical domain of violation. This cannot be accidental — there is a meta-selection rule that keeps architects from using the 15 properties for design, considered as somehow “improper”. But we wish to focus on and implement what’s best for people, not to continue a biased stylistic dictate.

Order the International edition of Unified Architectural Theory here, and the US edition here.


Unified Architectural Theory: Chapter 11 originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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50 Housing Units / Bruther

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 15:00

Architects: Bruther
Location: Limeil-Brévannes, France
Area: 4000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Filip Dujardin

Partenaires: Evp, Michel Forgue, Cferm
Client: Batigère

From the architect. The problem in the understanding of inhabitation is that it is perceived as purely utilitarian. Perceiving it as such, is to deny it of all the structural aspects it has on one’s perception and thus on one’s way of thinking.

In redefining the habitat and in admitting its completive part, one realizes that it is closely related to aesthetics. In that sense, inhabiting would contain an essential aesthetic approach. However, the question is how one can think habitation beyond its purely functional use, and instead seeing it as contemplative and thus as aesthetic?

Wouldn’t it be denying its primary function of shelter and protection? In what way could inhabiting and dwelling, as a retreat from the world, be a space for reflection and contemplation of the exterior, and even be understood as privileged space?

50 Housing Units / Bruther originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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Percy Lane Luxury Homes / ODOS architects

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 11:00

Architects: ODOS architects
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Area: 174.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of ODOS architects

From the architect. This recently completed mews development consists of 3 mews houses in Dublin, Ireland. The area of each house is 174sqm with 39sqm external space in courtyards, terrace and roof garden. Total site area is 296sqm

The black zinc, curved-hat building with stone gables contains three dwellings which have been strategically planned to maximise light and spatial quality and benefit from a very carefully considered palette of complementary colours and materials.

The black zinc roof could be interpreted as a reference to that of the traditional corrugated iron barn roof both in terms of form and materiality. Internally the curve of the roof is experienced in the double-height space which links the kitchen and living spaces.

The internal concrete stairwell with a timber-finned wall acts not only as a physical connector but also allows natural , reflection and shadow to travel throughout the building uninterrupted.

Percy Lane Luxury Homes / ODOS architects originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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Rakafot School’s Grounds / BO-Landscape Architects

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 08:00

Architects: BO-Landscape Architects
Location: ,
Year: 2015
Photographs: Courtesy of BO-Landscape Architects

Landscape Architects: Orna Ben-Ziony, Beeri Ben-Shalom
Associate Designer: Idit Israel
Building Architects: Knafo-Klimor Architects
Developer: Kiryat Bialik Municipality, Engineering Head Department: Landscape Arch. Noam Massad, Israel
Development Contractor: Hisham Khmeisi, Hisham Group
Project Management And Supervision: Shirley Gazit and Gonen Pinhas, Nativ Engineering and Management Ltd

From the architect. About two weeks after construction was complete on the Rakafot School, for which we were the landscape architects, and the opening of the school year, we received a surprising phone call: “I wanted your opinion on adding frogs to the school’s ‘Winter Pond.’ It was the agriculture teacher “We received complaints about mosquitos, and it seems to be the right way to stop them is by using frogs. Besides, it will be wonderful to hear their croaks along with the children’s loud and cheerful voices.” “It’s a great idea,” we hastened to assure her, with a fantastic inner feeling, “yes, that works.”

The platform we designed for the school’s faculty and student body to sense, observe, discover and learn about the environment facilitates the creation of a rich and changing ecosystem.

The “pond” is a depression which gathers the runoff from its immediate environs after the plentiful first rains about the time of the beginning of the school year. The pool filled up with water and a variety of flora and fauna. Besides the water acting as a decorative element in the landscape, the reservoir presents a practical lesson in collecting runoff water for irrigation and gardening as well as an opportunity to observe the wide variety of life forms which enjoy the rich habitat.

The “winter pond” is just one example of integrating the principles of green construction in designing the schoolyard of Kiryat Bialik’s Rakafot Elementary School. The elementary school, with its 18 classrooms, is a pilot project of Israel’s Ministry of the Environment, in advanceof future construction of similar ecology-oriented schools. The extra added values accruing to this kind of school are manifold, including environmental awareness and preservation of the environment, efficient use of resources, optimum learning conditions, and environmental education.

Additional principles of green construction were assimilated into the planning of the grounds by creating areas where the rainwater could infiltrate the soil, and designing areas shaded with pergolas and local water efficient plantings. To restore local flora and fauna to the school grounds, we created varied habitats, such as the butterfly garden at the main entrance, where we planted species of plants forming habitats for varieties of local butterflies.

Sections of the main school pathway and the parking area were paved with recycled stone tiles to form the main space, on both sides of which stand the separate school structures: the classrooms building, library, administration module and gymnasium. This main pathway links the divisions of the school. All along its length, we planted poplars, which will soon grow up into the openings in the pergolas providing shade above the pathway.

Some of the principles of conservation of resources used in green construction will be implemented through the use of green roofs, which provide excellent insulation while preventing refraction of sunlight, as well as embodying a visually-interesting learning space. Thus the green roof helps assimilate the environmental values through having the students care daily for the plantings and maintain the herbs and spices in the roof garden.

We designed what we call the “adventure path” to provide a sense of adventure and replace the central pathway. Although it twines around the various buildings and the yard area, it is narrow, winding, and much more intriguing than the wider central pathway. It is made of asphalt, not stone, beginning from the parking lot and passing over grassy hills and vegetation which blur the school’s borderlines to create an interesting three-dimensional space. The path goes through the play spaces decorated with circles used for all types of games. In practice, we consider the pathway itself to be an extremely meaningful play environment facilitating movement and challenging the imagination.

In designing the open space, we strove to correspond with the architecture of the school buildings, with their diagonals, areas skipping over the space, and the circle patterns in the playground. The straight rows of the plantings and the elliptical platforms are complementary to the lines characterizing the school structures. The integration of the architecture and the surrounding landscape created a single, holistic environment.

Along with the integration of green principles, what we consider of utmost importance for school grounds is to envision the school grounds as a space complementing the classroom areas on many levels. The school grounds must be a flexible zone enabling play, movement, running and jumping. It is a changing space with soft forms, and should be as close to nature as possible. Although the open space can be considered a learning space, we see it primarily as a refuge from the classroom, a place in which to observe study closely and, with a little luck, discover little tadpoles which began a new generation of frogs.

Rakafot School’s Grounds / BO-Landscape Architects originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 02 May 2015.

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Kurumoch International Airport and VIP-Lounges / Nefa Architects

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 04:00

Architects: Nefa Architects
Location: Samara, Samara Oblast, Russia
Architect: Margarita Kornienko
Area: 22500.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Ilya Ivanov

Chief Architect: Dmitry Ovcharov
Airport Authors Team: Dmitry Ovcharov, Maria Yasko, Victor Kolupaev
Vip Lounge Authors Team: Dmitry Ovcharov, Maria Yasko
Navigation Design: Victor Kolupaev
Airport Project Visualization: Rustam Yusupov, Maxim Frolov
Vip Lounge Project Visualization: Rustam Yusupov
Airport Lighting Design: George Kelekhsaev
Vip Lounge Lighting Engineers: VIART
Chief Engineer: Sergey Kurepin
Airport Project Management: Maria Boyko, Daria Turkina
Vip Lounge Project Management: Maria Boyko, Daria Turkina
Management Company: Airports of Regions
General Contractor: Repair and construction firm «????????»

From the architect. The architecture and design of the new terminal reflect the space-related status of the city where space launch vehicles are constructed.

Kurumoch International Airport is the largest and most promising airport of Volga region and is among the Top 10 leading airports of Russia. The airport is connected by airlines from almost all regions of the , neighboring countries and the far abroad.


The challenge was to create a comfortable and esthetically pleasing space for business-class passengers with a vivid theme-based concept: for up to 60 people using domestic airlines and up to 50 passengers using international air services.

Design Concept:

The interior of the new international terminal is fully focused on the space-related status of Samara with the largest missile producing plant remaining since the Soviet era. It seems like an architectural volume with business lounges “soaring” under the dome roof in an open space of the airport and representing a huge media screen outside. When inside, passengers can see the reverse of this construction with wires and lighting bulbs in as if they are on board a spacecraft. The Interiors recreate the aesthetics of the era of space exploration that took place in the 1960s. There is everything here to feel as though you are a hero of the movies about aerospace: a portable smoking cabin with a view on the airfield and the tubes with meals. The soundtracks to famous movies such as “Solaris” and “Star Wars” are played here. Moreover, if one moves closer to the façade glazing, you can hear the sound of boarding aircraft and this just enhances the feeling of outer-space reality.

Organization of space:

The space accommodates two business lounges. Although one concept applies to both domestic and international airlines, the premises are not symmetrical. They form integrity of arrangement. The interior involves a unique structure organizing a space in the form of a flowing, never-ending wall, highlighted by a luminous end and sets the movement of a star track. The whole space is open, but is divided by the podia of different heights into specific zones like the lounge, media, and bar areas.

Lighting solutions:

Lighting solutions use a three-dimensional arrangement with rhythmical circles, glowing ends and up-to-date designer floor lamps, complementing the general concept. The WCs are no exception. The right atmosphere is supported by lighting tricks – you can really imagine yourself in a space cockpit of the future.

Kurumoch International Airport and VIP-Lounges / Nefa Architects originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 01 May 2015.

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Bienenhaus #3 / Massimiliano Dell’Olivo

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 02:00

Architects: Massimiliano Dell’Olivo
Location: 32020 Canale d’Agordo BL,
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Massimiliano Dell’Olivo

Translations: Caio Marcello Soppelsa
Area: 6,5 m2
Height: 2,4 m
Volume: 15,6 m3

From the architect. Introduction

I have always seen in the community life of bees an urban instruction; something that is very close to the motto “unity is strength”. A Bienenhaus is also this: a macrostructure can accommodate more living cells. The teaching must have come from the comb itself in those early beekeepers who decided to protect their hives in these small buildings. Personally I see in these rural buildings of architectural and urban references: first of all Le Corbusier with his Unitè d’Abitation and then again with the Arturo Soria’s Ciudad Lineal.

This small architecture from the minimum budget and self-built, a “Kunstwollen” led the composition of facades in their duotone. The design has been extended to small hives, designed to fit the alpine climate and then painted with bright colors to help the orientation of bees. Data: 6.5 square meters, 15 cubic meters volume built, 700 euro of materials, 16 hives inhabited by 120,000 bees that produce on average 200 kg of honey / year.

What is a Bienenhaus

The German word Bienenhaus literally means “house of the bees.” These small wooden buildings are spread throughout the Alps and they are born with the aim to protect the hives from cold and bad weather. they are building blocks, placed near the main house and have elongated rectangular plan. This is to allow to dispose along the facade facing south the most hives, aligned on one or more files replies on each other.


The frame system that characterizes traditional rural buildings of the Alpine valleys is reinterpreted by the project in a contemporary way. The need for structural bracing structure and functional necessity of supporting our hives have generated the aesthetic motif of the two main facades. The concept of structure / skeleton and infill / skin of the building is revealed by the two colors of the facades. The red color characterizes the structural elements and the wood left natural the wallboard. Red like the alpenglow, the natural phenomenon that colors the peaks of the Dolomites every sunset.

The internal volume of Bienenhaus consists of three distinct functional domains, found in three ideals bands parallel. Along the south facade of the hives are placed on two different levels, along the north facade are stored the supers and beekeeping equipment, and finally the middle is the work of the beekeeper during his visits to the apiary. Two doors symmetrically arranged along the lower elevations and masked inside the hanging wooden give access to the workspace. Coverage, slightly inclined to the north, is lightweight and highly dematerialized by the detachment wanted than the sheer volume of the building and by the shadow of overhang.

Environmental sustainability

The small building has been designed following the principle of disassembly: in fact, the components are linked together to dry by means of joints, screws and bolts. The building consists of eight main parts connected together, which have been designed to have weight and dimensions such as to be easily transported and installed by two people. The project led to the choice of natural materials and or recycled.

The fir wood frame and curtain walls comes from the local market at zero distance. The roofing corrugated steel aluminum ensures maximum recycling and the maintenance of its performance over time. The paints used were chosen to have the least impact on the environment being based on water. The attack on the ground is totally reversible, in fact the foundations consist simply of nine concrete bricks laid slightly recessed into the ground.

Bienenhaus #3 / Massimiliano Dell'Olivo originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 01 May 2015.

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Kategorien: Architektur

Raval of the Sea Hotel / VVArquitectura

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 01:00

Architects: VVArquitectura
Location: Vila-seca, Tarragona,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Joan Guillamat

Developer: Insagra uno S.L
Project Manager: Sergi Balsells
Engineer: Josep Maria Delmuns

From the architect. The Raval de la Mar Hotel is located in the historical center of Vila-Seca, where the urban lines are irregular and constructions are typically 3 stories high and narrow, limited by dividing walls. In this sort of urban layout, irregularities within alignments have ended up conforming the current existing grain.

The lot has a privileged location since it is delimited by three streets. The plot is the union of three preexistent properties on two single-family-houses sit and an empty lot. From the addition of the three we obtain our construction site with its final irregular perimeter.

Furthermore, the ‘Verge de la Pineda’ Street has a special role in Vila-Seca, it connects the Church’s square with the Mediterranean sea, passing through ‘Sant Antoni’s’ guarding tower. This street’s importance caused historic constructions to have a façade composition very different from their “back” façade, which were auxiliar constructions and closings.

The irregularity previously mentioned and the difference between the front-and-back façades becomes part of the project when designing the hotel’s exterior skin. This skin will break apart and differ where the past constructions met one another. The formalization of this concept are changes on the elevation, vertical incisions in the buildings, changes in the upper handrails or even just the addition of bricks where closing walls had been.

It is through these changes that façades differ and evolve from the front regular façade that reminds of the historic examples (‘Verge de la Pineda’ St.), transitioning to a more arbitrary and flexible back façade. (‘St. Josep’ St.)?This concept creates an anonymous exterior that blends with its immediate context creating a radical contrast with the interior design. An opaque and rock-solid exterior that opposes the interior, where spaciousness and brightness are achieved through an interior light well.

The hotel has 36 rooms distributed from the ground level all the way to the attic. They are organized on swastika layout that rotates around the central light well, which tiers to allow a better entrance of the south-west light beams. The upper level’s façade steps back to create exterior spaces both for public and private use.

The project reaches its peak with the metallic skylight that connects the interior fortress with the exterior nature. The skylight’s structure follows the building’s swastika layout and filters the entering light beams, becoming one of the organizing elements of the project.

For more information about this or other projects, please do not hesitate to contact the office.?We will respond to any inquiries or send more material upon request.

Raval of the Sea Hotel / VVArquitectura originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 01 May 2015.

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Open Call: PINGDI 1.1 Alternatives for Low Carbon Architecture

Sat, 02.05.2015 - 00:00

In order to effectively guide and improve the development and construction of the low-carbon pilot zone and to strength its international influence, Public Art Center, under the request from the Planning and Construction Management Office of International Low-carbon City and SEZ Construction and Development Co., Ltd., has organized an international competition for the PINGDI Pilot Zone – the urban design for the zone’s one square kilometer and the architectural design for its 0.1 square kilometer. The number in PINGDI 1.1 is the numerical sum of one and 0.1 square kilometers, and also represents the improvement and exploration of the low-carbon development method.

The consultation consists of two parts – design competition and parallel academic research. All outstanding university research teams and design institutes around the globe are welcome to participate. SLCCA is the research topic of “Shenzhen Future +”. The research results and the winning proposals of the competition will be exhibited at the 3rd Shenzhen Forum on International Low Carbon City. They will also be the recommended projects for the Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\ Architecture 2015. Registration closes May 6. Find more information and apply, here.

Open Call: PINGDI 1.1 Alternatives for Low Carbon Architecture originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 01 May 2015.

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Sonia Delaunay School / ADEN architectes

Fri, 01.05.2015 - 23:00

Architects: ADEN architectes
Location: Courbevoie,
Area: 3000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Sergio Grazia, Courtesy of ADEN architectes

Associates: Alexandre Olujic, Cyrine Busson
Engineering Firm : Gruet Ingenierie
Landscape Designer : Lydie Chauvac
Cost Of Construction: 5 400 000 € HT

From the architect. The town of Courbevoie took the decision to build the new Sonia Delaunay school after the joining together of Florian and Hugo, two existing pre-schools. The new school includes nine classrooms and five other rooms for after-school and extra-curricular activities spread over 3000m².

The programme included restructuring the existing premises and an extension with a new reception area with a lodge, three extra classrooms, offices, meeting rooms and toilet facilities, extensions to the motricity room and the canteen and an assembly hall. The premises were also brought up to norms in terms of accessibility, fire and the re-heating room. The outside spaces, playground area and garden (3000m²) were entirely refurbished.

Construction of a New Extension (on stilts, in the centre)

The existing slope on the ground and the disparity between the existing buildings (from the thirties and the eighties) meant that an extension would simultaneously be a “link” and an “articulation” inserted into the existing buildings thus providing the school with a “new identity”.

“Link”: the building located at the centre of the site physically links the two existing school buildings and allows children to go from one building to another sheltered from the elements.

“Articulation”: The construction of the building in half-floors that are accessible by half stairs (+ a double-entry lift), allows traffic to move from the existing level 0 to the three other levels:+1m50, -1m, +3m40 (classes on the platform).

“Tree House” Classrooms

“New identity”: the new building is located at the heart of the site and inserts itself with precision between the existing buildings, while standing out thanks to its contemporary style and architectural lines.

The activity rooms are elevated and open out in a curved balcony. Underneath them we find the extension to the canteen, the toilet facilities and a big hall. The lodge slots in between the two with a panoramic view both of the ramp that access the school and the playground.


The architects and the engineering office produced all of the plans and details for their execution. This included rundowns for all contractors involved on the building site (15 lots for general contractors Lainé-Delau, VINCI construction)


A technical detail was devised to avoid using slabs on paving supports that are not suitable for a school yard and to make the roof look like a real floor as it will be accessed by the children. The raised platform has a sloped concrete topping and a layer of tarmac. The hidden waterproofing is folded under the metal railing attached with chemical pegs “à l’anglaise” (mounted). The lack of acroterion and the transparency of the guardrail gives a lighter, almost vertigo effect. The children have a steep view of the yard below and a real connection with the sky. They feel like they can touch the tops of the trees.

A Rooftop Gardening Class

The roof of the canteen houses a large U-shaped flowerbed so the children can grow plants and flowers depending on the season. The activity rooms and the teachers’ meeting room open directly on to the roof garden.

Sonia Delaunay School / ADEN architectes originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 01 May 2015.

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MoMA’s Barry Bergdoll On “The Politics And Poetics Of Developmentalism” In Latin American Architecture

Fri, 01.05.2015 - 22:30

On display until July 19th, MoMA‘s Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980” is an attempt to bring the architecture of this global region, and this time period, to a greater audience after decades of neglect by the architectural establishment. Curated by Barry Bergdoll, the exhibition effectively follows on from MoMA’s last engagement with the topic of Latin American architecture, way back in 1955 with Henry-Russell Hitchcock‘s exhibition “Latin American Architecture Since 1945.” In an intriguing interview, Bergdoll sits down with Metropolis Magazine to talk about why he is revisiting the topic after so many years (or, indeed, why MoMA took so long to do so), and explains his ambitions to elevate the featured works and to frame itself as “not simply as a place where the pupils of Le Corbusier went to build, but a place of origins of ideas.” Read the full interview here.

MoMA's Barry Bergdoll On "The Politics And Poetics Of Developmentalism" In Latin American Architecture originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 01 May 2015.

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