Jul 29, 2008

The exterior of Richard Meier’s new condominium block

Surrounded by a bevy of New York’s traditional brownstones and architectural monuments Richard Meier’s latest glass condominium building is certainly an eye-catching addition to the prestigious location from which the building takes its name, On Prospect Park.
Situated perpendicular to the park’s spectacular arched main entrance the 15 storey building benefits from its location both by standing out in landmark fashion and by the spectacular views achieved from within. Meier’s design makes the most of these views, which give either a park or a cityscape view, by utilising floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall glazing. Acoustic and solar performance is ensured by the use of advanced low-E insulated lamination on the glass and an overall bright and airy design is created.

It is not merely the shell of the building that Meier has designed but features including the kitchen millwork in the 102 condominiums. Large balconies with ipe hardwood decking, terraces with jet mist granite and solid oak flooring throughout ensure that the building teams with the kind of quality indulgence that you would expect from a Pritzker prize-winning architect.
These exclusive first-look exterior pictures of On Prospect Park show how the building integrates into the arty Brooklyn district with distinction.

Jul 27, 2008

Big Three

Vornado's Port Authority tower plans unveiled
Plans were unveiled yesterday for three potential towers atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

It is the latest step forward for one of the city’s numerous projects that just refuse to dieHopefully it will not be accompanied by yet another step back.

At a public meeting today of the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, plans were presented by the Vornado Realty Trust for a 40-story office tower, according to the Observer, which got the scoop. Vornado offered three potential designs, all very striking, not to mention strikingly emblematic of the responsible firms: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Pelli Clarke Pelli, and Kohn Pedersen Fox.

It is worth noting that what had once been a lonely corner off Times Square could soon boast three impressive towers, if not more: this new one, which would block the dominant Jersey view of the second,the times building across 8th Avenue, and a third, the FXFowle-designed Eleven Tmes Square. It is becoming quite the architectural hub, especially with 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park just down the block.

Gallery: The Port Authority Tower Designs

Kohn Pedersen Fox

Courtesy PANYNJ

Pelli Clarke Pelli


Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Source: http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=2286

Jul 23, 2008

World's biggest mobile arts venue under inflation

Norwegian firm, Various Architects, have undertaken the design and engineering of a unique venue to host a series of arts performances in the world's biggest arena of it's kind. Mobile Performance Venue (MPV) is a 90 x 60 metres dynamic oval structure capable of holding 3500 people in a central performance space of 2000 sq m. The venue can also range from 10m to 17m tall.
MPV consists of the central performance chamber separate from an outer circle which hosts backstage and green rooms, office space, cloakrooms and toilet facilities. A mezzanine level is included in the design which will be able to cater for exhibitions or as a VIP area.

The venue has been specifically designed to suit the needs of the Arts Alliance Productions' 'ID – Identity of the Soul' production. The design accommodates five overhead cinema projectors in strategic positions around the circumference which project onto 12 x 7 meter screens. Live performance space was also necessary to accommodate dance performances which accompany the show.

The volume of the structure is constructed from interconnected, hexagonal inflatable modules in clear and white PVC. This structure is then supported by a ‘bicycle wheel’ truss providing lateral stability for the project and full or partial coverage of the performance space. Optional mesh or solid pvc covers will provide shade in hot dry climates or rain protection in wet countries.

Representing an ecological challenge, Various Architects believe the 100% recyclable inflatable elements of the design, which must be shipped to its destination when it moves, will significantly reduce any environmental impact. The entire project can be transported in 30 standard 40 ft containers (or 20 without the optional roof). The structure will require 2 weeks for assembly and one week for disassembly.

Shown in some of these images in well-known locations around the world, the MPV is currently in its schematic design phase but is set for departure next year.

Jul 22, 2008

Beijing architecture: Rem Koolhaas' design

Rem Koolhaas isn't someone you'd call a conventional architect.

A computer-generated image of the new CCTV building designed by Rem Koolhaas.

He is the type of person who writes books filled with pictures of skyscrapers being sliced in half, interviews with television chefs, and soft-core pornography.
He's the type of person who one minute tries to redesign the European Union flag, the next has coffee with Italian fashion designers.
More to the point, he is the type of person who, in emotional moments, says architecture is "too slow" to be relevant to today's world.
Rem Koolhaas then, doesn't have much in common with other architects from his native Netherlands, let alone Chinese ones.
Yet, it's exactly this balding, hawk-like, who may have a great impact on Beijing's architectural future.
CCTV in hyperbuilding
In April work will start on the new headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV), the national TV network, beside the central eastern Third Ring Road in Beijing.
The building complex is designed by Koolhaas and his firm, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).
It will be a building, Koolhaas says, of "barbaric beauty," of "unimaginable size and complexity." It will be a 230-meter-high arch formed by two L-shaped towers containing over 400,000 square metres of floor space; a building big enough to house 200 television stations.
It's a building, Koolhaas hopes, that will shift development in Beijing away from the "lonely" and "hideous" nature of skyscrapers towards "hyperbuildings" buildings that house such enormous populations they become urban centres themselves.
It's a building that will "revolutionize" the Beijing landscape, as well as the world of architecture.
The CCTV building isn't, though, the only way Koolhaas is influencing the future of Beijing: He's designed the city's new Xinhua Bookstore. He's leading a government study into how to preserve the city's architectural heritage. He was one of the judges of the Olympic Stadium design competition. And he's even contemplating moving his teaching practice from Harvard to the Chinese capital.
When Koolhaas said, during a lecture in London, England, "I want to be involved in the future of the city, not just one building," he certainly meant it.
Koolhaas was in London, officially, to collect the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the architectural world's equivalent of a lifetime achievement Oscar.
Unofficially, he was there to lecture Britain's architects about why they should be looking to China.
"Our creativity in cities stopped just as China's cities started to boom," he said. "We ceased looking to the future and started looking back, started listening to people like Prince Charles (a regular campaigner against modern architecture)."
There is, though, he said, an opportunity for change. "We are being called to build a new city in China, there is a chance there for a new architecture, and we should be involved in that."
Koolhaas has been trying to create a "new architecture" ever since he joined the profession in the late-1960s, after stints working as a journalist and Hollywood scriptwriter.
In 1978, just as many architects were looking for ways to control the spread and congestion of cities, Koolhaas published "Delirious New York," a polemical, slogan-led celebration of the "culture of congestion," and a promise to do all he could to fuel its growth.
The world was changing fast, Koolhaas said, architects could do little to stop it, but they could help it along.
If architecture in the late-1970s needed a dose of controversy, Koolhaas certainly provided it. "Delirious New York" instantly made Koolhaas into an architectural icon; an architectural icon, that is, who had never built a house.
New architecture
Since then, Koolhaas has continued to develop this "new architecture:" an architecture that embraces change and technology rather than trying to control it; an architecture that has pushed him to the verge of bankruptcy once and seen him lose numerous contracts; an architecture that has seen him build some of the most majestic buildings of recent years.
In Bordeaux, France, in 1998, he built a three-storey house for a paralyzed man and his family, the living space of which was made mostly of glass. Koolhaas put the house's study onto a piston so that it could move between all three floors, allowing the man to get from his bedroom to his wine cellar without having to feel like an invalid, and allowing his family to live in a house that didn't look like it was made for a paraplegic.
The house was named Time magazine's building of the year.
In New York, in 2001, meanwhile, he built a shop for Prada, a veritable maze of display cases, that features changing rooms with televisions in them so that a customer can see what the back of an outfit looks like without having to crane his or her neck.
For those buildings, and numerous others, Koolhaas has been called everything from "a giant on the international stage" to "a mechanical baseball-pitching machine."
The latter comment, made by Japanese architect Toyo Ito, was, apparently, a compliment about Koolhaas' ability to always hit the target with his designs.
Adventure in China
It is with his work in Beijing, though, that Koolhaas has found the perfect opportunity to realize his "new architecture." Although, in London, that "new architecture" seemed simply to mean, anything but skyscrapers.
"I have decided to launch a campaign against the skyscraper, that hideous, mediocre form of architecture," he said with typical overstatement. "In the 1970s there was a genuine creativity to it that changed the way we live our lives, but today we only have an empty version of it, only competing in height.
"The actual point of the skyscraper - to increase worker density - has been lost. Skyscrapers are now only momentary points of high density spaced so far apart that they don't actually increase density at all."
As Koolhaas sees it, because the skyscraper has failed to increase worker density, it can be removed from our cities. It isn't needed anymore. Density can be achieved through other, more communal, forms of architecture.
"We've (OMA) come up with two types: a very low-rise series of buildings, or a single, condensed hyperbuilding. What we're doing with CCTV is a prototype of the hyperbuilding."
CCTV's new headquarters then, Koolhaas hopes, will become its own city, its own community, where around 10,000 workers will eat, drink and attempt to produce kung fu movies to rival those of any Hong Kong studio.
Every part of the TV production process will be put into the building's arch, from the newsrooms, to the marketing men, to the tea boys.
It's the first time a television network of CCTV's size has been squeezed into one building. It's "an experiment," "a risk," which rival broadcasters will probably look at as a model of inefficiency.
Perhaps more exciting than the CCTV building, though, are the measures Koolhaas will soon put forward, through his Beijing Preservation Study, to help preserve Beijing's architectural heritage from the ravages of tourism.
In London, he talked about such revolutionary possibilities as the creation of "sacrifice zones" of historic architecture to allow other zones to be tourist free.
If anyone is hoping, though, that Koolhaas is champing at the bit to protect Beijing's few remaining siheyuan, the traditional courtyard homes found in the city centre, he or she would be mistaken.
As far as he is concerned, they are only as worth preserving as any other type of architecture in the city, be it 1960's workers' housing or sports stadiums.
It's true that the Chinese have treated their past unsentimentally at times.
"But this just means the texture of the city is more fragile than that of Western cities, so the whole notion of preservation needs to be reinterpreted in this context."
Whether that reinterpretation will actually occur, only time will tell. But, one thing's for certain, there are few other architects working today who think in such far-reaching terms, who think beyond the boundaries of bricks and mortar.

Angular Marvel-China Central Television

It's an audacious monolith that looks like two drunken high-rise towers leaning over and holding each other up at the shoulders.
The eye-catching building, which is nearly finished, will be the headquarters of China Central Television, the staid propaganda arm of China's ruling Communist Party , and it's perhaps the boldest and most daring of several new buildings that have given Beijing a stunning new appearance for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games.
In keeping with the playful nature of the new buildings, all have weird popular names. There's "the egg" and the "bird's nest." The "water cube" isn't far away, and lastly there's "short pants," also known as the "twisted doughnut."
The last of them is the new television building, the CCTV headquarters, and it can nearly make one dizzy standing on the ground and looking up at its odd, teetering 49-story towers connected by a multistory, cantilevered, jagged cross section over open space at a vertiginous 36 stories up in the air.
Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the building has been called an "angular marvel" and a "dazzling reinvention of the skyscraper."
Its engineering is so complex that the designers say such a building couldn't have been built a few years ago. That's because it took immense computing power to ensure that the design could withstand huge pressures in the earthquake-prone capital. Some 10,000 tons of steel were used in its construction.
As much as it's a challenge to gravity, the building is a challenge to the mind, critics say, defying conventions of skyscrapers as vertical shafts thrusting straight up.
"It captures the spirit of the country at this point in time, a really daring spirit to look into the future and try the impossible," said Rocco Yim , a Hong Kong architect who sat on the jury in 2002 that selected the winning design for the tower.
Yim dismissed the criticism that's poured in from ordinary Chinese, some of whom say the building lacks Chinese features. Others say it's too costly, at $800 million , or that its 44-acre footprint is too big for such a central city location.
" The Eiffel Tower was detested by half the population of Paris when it was built," Yim said.
Deng Xuexian, a professor of architecture at Tsinghua University , said new designs often generated opposition before they became recognized as global landmarks.
" The Sydney Opera House was criticized by many people, even members of Parliament. However, it has become a landmark construction of Australia ," Deng said.
Even admirers sometimes voice ambivalent feelings.
"It is a little bit weird. I don't know how it keeps steady," said Hua Jia, a university design student. "But I think it is great, very modern."
CCTV, the sole Chinese broadcaster, with some 15 channels, wants one day to rival CNN and the British Broadcasting Corp. Its new headquarters includes broadcasting studios, program production facilities, digital cinemas and enough space to make it the second largest office building in the world, after the Pentagon outside Washington .
The architects have built huge glass panels in the floor of the cantilevered cross section of the building, so that visitors can get the woozy sensation of walking above nothing but air.
In a statement, Koolhaas' partner, Ole Scheeren , said a new young generation was rising to power at CCTV and "the many publicly accessible functions of the new building point towards a democratization of the institution."
Since the building is like a large loop, usual hierarchies are diminished. The top floors will include public spaces for employees, rather than offices for top honchos, and communal corridors are designed to let employees and visitors peer into studios and see the inner workings of one of the world's biggest media companies.
Outside the building are a public entertainment area and outdoor filming areas.
Just how open the complex will be to the public is yet to be seen, however. Security concerns may limit entry, isolating the building.
Yim, the Hong Kong architect, said that the headquarters must generate vibrant activities and pull in people from the surrounding city in order to propel itself into the ranks of world-class buildings.
"That will be the test of whether it is a great piece of architecture rather than just an eye-catching structure," Yim said.

Jul 18, 2008

North Korea's "Hotel of Doom" wakes from its coma

North Korea's phantom hotel is stirring back to life. Once dubbed by Esquire magazine as "the worst building in the history of mankind," the 105-storey Ryugyong Hotel is back under construction after a 16-year lull in the capital of one of the world's most reclusive and destitute countries.

According to foreign residents in Pyongyang, Egypt's Orascom group has recently begun refurbishing the top floors of the three-sided pyramid-shaped hotel whose 330-metre (1,083 ft) frame dominates the Pyongyang skyline.
The firm has put glass panels into the concrete shell, installed telecommunications antennas -- even though the North forbids its citizens to own mobile phones -- and put up an artist's impression of what it will look like.
An official with the group said its Orascom Telecom subsidiary was involved in the project but gave no details.
The hotel consists of three wings rising at 75 degree angles capped by several floors arranged in rings supposed to hold five revolving restaurants and an observation deck.
A creaky building crane has for years sat unused at the top of the 3,000-room hotel in a city where tourists are only occasionally allowed to visit.
"It is not a beautiful design. It carries little iconic or monumental significance, but sheer muscular and massive presence," said Lee Sang Jun, a professor of architecture at Yonsei University in Seoul.
The communist North started construction in 1987, in a possible fit of jealousy at South Korea, which was about to host the 1988 Summer Olympics and show off to the world the success of its rapidly developing economy.
A concrete shell built by North Korea's Paektu Mountain Architects & Engineers emerged over the next few years. A proud North Korea put a likeness of the hotel on postage stamps and boasted about the structure in official media.
According to intelligence sources, then North Korean leader Kim Il-sung saw the hotel as a symbol of his big dreams for the state he founded, while his son and current leader Kim Jong-il was a driving force in its construction.
But by 1992, worked was halted. The North's main benefactor the Soviet Union had dissolved a year earlier and funding for the hotel had vanished. For a time, the North airbrushed images of the Ryugyong Hotel from photographs.
As the North's economy took a deeper turn for the worse in the 1990s the empty shell became a symbol of the country's failure, earning nicknames "Hotel of Doom" and "Phantom Hotel."
Yonsei's Lee and other architects said there were questions raised about whether the hotel was structurally sound and a few believed completing the structure could cause it to collapse.
It would cost up to $2 billion to finish the Ryugyong Hotel and make it safe, according to estimates in South Korean media. That is equivalent to about 10 percent of the North's annual economic output.
Bruno Giberti, associate head of California Polytechnic State University's Department of Architecture, said the project was typical of what has been produced recently in many cities trying to show their emerging wealth by constructing gigantic edifices that were not related in scale to anything else around them.
"If this is the worst building in the world, the runners up are in Vegas and Shanghai," said Giberti
Who are the architects of this building?
Baikdoosan Architects and Engineers. The building was started in 1987. Construction stopped in 1992 since North Korea ran out of money.

Jul 14, 2008

2009 Skyscraper Competition

The annual Skyscraper competiton organized by evolo has become
an important architectural prize with high media attention.for more
information about registeration and requirments look at the:

2008 winners
2007 winners
2006 winners

More Information and 2009 registration:

New Tent-Braga Stadium

Braga Stadium was created on the mountainside by levelling down a pit of the mountain Monte Castro and served as a hosting venue for the Euro 2004 tournament.

One tribune has been literally inserted and placed against the hill, while the other tribune stands free along the mountain's declivity. On the other side, the rocks have been excavated and there are no tribunes that hide the beautiful scenery of the valley. Accordingly, the stadium becomes part of the mountain.

In order to have the project executed with great precision, granite rock was removed through a series of small explosions. The space that was successively created supports the tribune that consists of two levels of tiers. On the other hand, the opposite tribune is supported by 16 centrings of reinforced concrete - it is particularly characterized by three circular galleries through which horizontal walk ways were inserted.

The entrances to the tribunes reflect heterogeneity: while one tribune is accessible at the bottom, the other one (that is placed against the hill) is accessible at the top. The height difference between the two tribunes equals 40 meters (131 feet).

The tiers are covered by a structure of steel cables which are tightened between the two tribunes. They go across the entire playing field and resemble the ancient and rusticated bridges that were constructed by the Incas.

The stadium offers an unusual and innovative frame. First, it was built in harmony into a natural environment characterized by granite walls on one side and an open space on the other, offering a natural scenery in proximity to the playing field. Second, the stadium is not conventional because it does not have stands behind the goals, which is an architectural choice that greatly deviates from the traditional European method. Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura counter-argued with a statement of large stature; moving his hand from left to right and vice versa, he said: "According to me soccer is watched like this!"

Jul 11, 2008

Best Street Painting

Kurt wenner is the painter of these unbelievable paintings.

Kurt Wenner is a Master Artist and Master Architect famous for inventing three-dimensional pastel drawings. Also known as: 3D Street Painting, 3D Pavement Art, 3D Chalk Art, or 3D Sidewalk Art, they are a form of anamorphic art. Ana morphism is usually considered a form of Illusion or Trompe loeil, but is really the logical mathematical continuation of Perspective.

Once known as Madonnari, Street Painters, Pavement artists, Chalk Artists, and Sidewalk Artists have designed impermanent or Ephemeral Art for centuries. Currently, Kurt Wenner is writing a Street Painting History, explaining how sidewalk art and pavement art transformed itself into a spectacular medium, popular in Advertising, Publicity and numerous Street Painting Festivals.

A Madonnaro or chalk artist in Italy may be a Strassenmaler in Germany, a Sidewalk Artist in the United States, or a Pavement Artist in Britain, but street painting and pavement art have been transformed beyond recognition. While studying classical architecture and perspective, Kurt Wenner applied the principles of classical drawing and classical design to the sidewalk, completely transforming the art form.

Masterpieces in Chalk was the National Geographic documentary that established 3D Street Painting as a new art form, but only after 15 years could other artists (with the aid of computer programs) replicate the illusions. Today, artists like Julian Beever, Manfred Stader, Edgar Muller and numerous artists create 3 Dimensional Pastel Drawings, sometimes original and often emulating Kurt Wenner early works.

In fact, 3D Pavement Artists, 3D Sidewalk Artists, and 3D Chalk artists can all trace the roots of their work back to the street art of Rome in 1982, where Kurt Wenner transformed the complex geometry of Classical Italian Architecture into a new form of Popular Art. Whether they are called Street Paintings, Chalk Paintings Sidewalk Paintings or pavement art, if they have a three-dimensional illusion they can be traced back to Kurt Wenner pastel drawings.

In addition to creating 3D Street Painting for Publicity and Advertising, Kurt Wenner designs Villas and Residential Architecture. He also creates lavish Interior design and classically inspired Product Design.

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