The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Architect builds a shocking pavilion to explore society’s domination of nature
Starwood Hotels has announced that it will open The Westin Hamburg next year in the much-anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex. The 10-story, 205-bedroom hotel by architects Herzog & de Meuron will be housed within a glass-fronted, wave-shaped building that sits atop a historic warehouse on the banks of the river Elbe. Boasting a pointed, wave-shaped roof, the complex will also feature three concert halls, 45 private apartments and a more than 43,000 square foot, publicly accessible plaza offering 360-degree city views.
This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you.
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Composite facade brings new row house into harmony with its historic neighbors.
Florian Köhler, whose firm, Köhler Architekten, recently designed and built a new row house in Hamburg’s Ottensen quarter, observes a disheartening trend among his fellow architects. When designing for a site rich in historic context, they tend to shy away from all allusions to the past, opting instead for an antiseptic modernism. “Many architects only build cubic forms without reference to their environment, and cityscapes are becoming increasingly similar,” he said. “We deliberately wanted to go a different route.” Ice Loft, which is surrounded by protected properties dating to the mid-19th century, features a tripartite facade that translates familiar historic forms into smooth curves and planes. “Our unusual approach to the transformation of classical qualities into flowing forms seems to be a suitable alternative, at least at this point, in this urban district in Hamburg,” said Köhler.
The city of Hamburg is kicking off a massive effort to bury and cap two miles of a highway that cuts right through town. Fast Company reported that the $800 million project will create 60 new acres of green space which include “open meadows, woods, bike paths, community gardens, and tree-lined squares.” Capping the highway will also create space for about 2000 new homes, according to city officials.
Some of the biggest names in architecture have been whittled out of a competition to design a new Beethoven Concert Hall—or Beethoven Festspielhaus—in the composer’s hometown of Bonn, Germany. When the competition’s short list of ten proposals became an even-shorter list of three, the likes of Zaha Hadid, Snøhetta, JAHN and UNStudio were sent packing. David Chipperfield, however, made it through and is joined in the final three by Valentiny hvp architects from Luxembourg and Kadawittfeldarchitektur from Germany. The new hall, which is slated to break ground in 2016, is expected to host celebrations for Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020, and the 200th anniversary of his death in 2027.
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Ribbons of laser-cut metal lamellas envelop a glass curtain wall.
J. MAYER H. Architects designed the sculptural anodized aluminum facade of JOH3, a Berlin apartment building located near both the Friedrichstrasße and Museum Island, as a contemporary echo of its historic neighbors. “The project is located in an old part of Berlin, where there are lots of facades with stucco detail,” said project architect Hans Schneider. “We tried to do something as rich with a new design, something like Jugendstil [the German Art Deco movement] but in a modern translation.”
Joshua Prince-Ramus, principal at REX, has a bone to pick with modernism and its legacy. “For the last 100 years, architecture’s been involved in a silly tension between form and function,” he said. While high modernism privileged function over form, some of today’s top designers argue that architecture is about aesthetics and not much else. REX has a different take: architecture, the firm claims, is both function and form. “We really believe that architecture can do things. It’s not just a representational art form,” said Prince-Ramus. “We talk about performance. Aesthetics are part of performance [as is function.]”