Just when you were getting tired of more High Line copies, Dutch architects MVRDV has breathed new life into the genre with their winning proposal for the “Seoul Skygarden,” a 3,000 foot long section of disused elevated highway. Their design doesn’t simply reappropriate the space into a linear public parkway—it uses the original 1970s structure as the basis for an urban horticultural extravaganza.
The Architect’s Journal reported, somewhat melodramatically, that a “row” has broken about between MVRDV and the British firm LDA over the redevelopment of the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow. MVRDV’s competition winning scheme, which respected the existing historic factory buildings, has been dumped in favor of LDA’s swoopier Shanghai/Dubai/Where-am-I scheme. Hurt feelings aside, MVRDV might have dodged a dictatorial bullet. Russia isn’t exactly the most stable or desirable or reputation-burnishing place to work these days.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ilinois
Through January 4, 2015
Chicagoisms is an ongoing exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago that focuses on key historical principles—“Chicagoisms”—that went into creating and shaping the city that we know today. The exhibition was put together by architectural theorist Alexander Eisenschmidt and art historian Jonathan Mekinda working with designer Matt Wizinsky.
The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format.
Dutch firm MVRDV is creating a new office building in Hong Kong, and by the looks of the renderings, people will be really happy to work there. The project actually entails the transformation of the Cheung Fai Warehouse, a 14-story industrial building that currently sits on a busy corner in the city’s designated business area of East Kowloon. MVRDV will be stripping the structure to its concrete infrastructural core before filling the frame with glass and stainless steel in order to define the new office spaces.
Dutch architecture office MVRDV has placed a bid to create a 1,300-foot-tall skyscraper in Jakarta, Indonesia called Peruri 88. The complex arrangement of edifices, which resembles a city’s worth of buildings stacked atop one another along the lines of a massive assembly of life-size “building” blocks covered with greenery, is MVRDV’s answer to Jakarta’s need for densification and green space.
A fantastical sounding urban garden paradise imagined by Rotterdam-based MVRDV and made up of jasmine hotels, lily pond swimming pools, offices decked with planted interiors and bamboo parks, and an alphabetized plant library will be brought to reality over the next ten years in the city of Almere, Netherlands. Today, the Nederlandse Tuinbouwraad (NTR) chose MVRDV’s plan for Almere as the winner of the esteemed Floriade 2022 World Horticulture Expo, which takes place only once every ten years. The blanket of new city fabric draped over a 111-acre peninsula will transform it into a permanent green extension directly opposite Almere’s existing city center.
As East Asian cities continue to modernize and densify, monotonous and dehumanizing blocks tend to replace the finely-grained, small-scale architecture and urbanism such as Beijing’s Hutong, Tokyo’s small wooden houses, and Singapore’s traditional villages. These “urban ecologies that have evolved over the course of centuries,” as Dutch firm MVRDV explains, foster a social interconnectivity in these communities, forming the basis for a new exhibition currently on view in Seoul, South Korea.
Guy Horton, a frequent contributor to AN, here adds his thoughts on the still-steaming controversy over MVRDV’s twin towers.
MVRDV’s design for what they call The Cloud, a twin high-rise with a connecting “cloud” above the waistline, has resulted in an blitz of negative criticism. Americans who have never heard of the Dutch firm are now phoning and emailing threats and condemnation non-stop—some are personal threats aimed at individuals. They have even been called “Al Qaeda lovers.”