Architects in Vienna plan to build this skyscraper out of wood

The tower will rise 276 feet. (Courtesy Rüdiger Lainer and Partner via The Guardian)

The tower will rise 276 feet. (Courtesy Rüdiger Lainer and Partner via The Guardian)

Last year, AN‘s Midwest Editor Chris Bentley reported on the advances being made in wood construction and how we were on the verge of seeing tall timber towers sprout up around the world. The AEC community has been talking about building high-rise structures with wood for years, but there obviously hasn’t been a major revolution with the building type just yet—the tallest modern wood building doesn’t even top 100 feet. Well, that record is about to be shattered by a new tower in Vienna that could usher in a new era of high-rise development.

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MVRDV’s twisting tower in Vienna looks like it might snap in half

MVRDV's "TURM MIT TAILLE." (Courtesy MVRDV)

MVRDV’s “TURM MIT TAILLE.” (Courtesy MVRDV)

MVRDV, the Dutch firm known for dreaming up dramatic designs, has stayed true to form with its latest project: a 360-foot-tall twisting tower in Vienna. The structure appears like a standard-issue modern glass tower that has been grabbed at its top and then violently twisted. The result—ten rotating, slightly cantilevering floor plates—creates what the architects describe as a “curving waist.” The tower is said to have an “elegant, hourglass figure,” but appears more like a top-heavy structure ready to snap.

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It’s okay, Zaha, building is a tricky game: Starchitecture that has struggled to keep it together

HADID’S LIBRARY AND LEARNING CENTRE AT THE VIENNA UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS. (FLICKR / POV_STEVE)

HADID’S LIBRARY AND LEARNING CENTRE AT THE VIENNA UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS. (FLICKR / POV_STEVE)

When a huge piece of a starchitect-designed building comes crashing to the ground, the architectural world tends to notice. We are of course talking about the recent reaction to the 176-pound piece of concrete that fell off Zaha Hadid’s Library and Learning Centre at Vienna University of Economics and Business. Making matters worse for Hadid, this is the second time the building has shed a piece of its skin. But Zaha is not alone; shed(-ding) happens.

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It’s Raining Zaha: Massive piece of Hadid-designed building comes crashing down in Vienna

Architecture, International, News
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
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Hadid's Library and Learning Centre at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. (Flickr / pov_steve)

Hadid’s Library and Learning Centre at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. (Flickr / pov_steve)

Until the end of time, people will disagree on the architectural merits of Zaha Hadid‘s work. Honestly, nobody gets AN‘s comment section going quite like the Queen of Swoop. But there is one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to Hadid: pieces of her buildings should not just fall off. But, well, that’s exactly what happened this week in Vienna.

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Congolese dance company, Studios Kabako, wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Art, Awards, Design, International, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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A Studios Kabako performance. (Courtesy Curry Stone Foundation)

A Studios Kabako performance. (Courtesy Curry Stone Foundation)

Studios Kabako, a Congolese theater and performance group, has won the Curry Stone Foundation’s 7th annual Design Prize, which honors designers who use their craft for social good. The arts group was founded in 2001 by choreographer and director Faustin Linyekula, and uses theater, dance, and music to help communities imagine a life beyond hardship and violence.

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Obit> Hans Hollein, 1934–2014

International, Obit
Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Hans Hollein

Hans Hollein

Pritzker Prize–winning Austrian architect, artist, engineer, and designer, Hans Hollein, has died at the age of 80. Born in Vienna in 1934, Hollein attended the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in that city and graduated in 1956. Following graduation he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship, affording him the opportunity to travel to the United States. He did graduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed his masters degree in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. During those years he met and worked with Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Richard Neutra.

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Transforming an Austrian Construction Site into a Choreographed Dance

International, Lighting
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Turns out the biggest construction site in Europe has got some moves. And all it takes to turn 42 cranes into a nimble-bodied dance troupe is some light choreography, a techno beat, and a fair amount of neon lighting.  The dance, or the Krenasee event as it is officially known, took place in Austria last month at the site of a planned 20,000-square-foot suburb called Urban Lakeside Vienna. FilmSpektakel caught the action in all of its glory and put together this impressive time-lapse video. [Via Gizmodo.]

This Week is SCI-Arc’s Viennese Week in Los Angeles

West
Monday, March 3, 2014
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WOLF D. PRIX WITH RAIMUND ABRAHAM (ALEKSANDRA PAWLOFF/COURTESY SCI-ARC)

WOLF D. PRIX WITH RAIMUND ABRAHAM (ALEKSANDRA PAWLOFF/COURTESY SCI-ARC)

Austria comes to Los Angeles with a lecture series dubbed “Viennese Week in LA.” The talks will take place at SCI-Arc as part of the Wolf D. Prix/COOP HIMMELB(L)AU design studio. Prix himself is the headliner, with a lecture on Raimund Abraham happening on March 5 at 7:00p.m. In “Visions in Exile or: Before we were so rudely interrupted,” Prix will talk about his mentor and friend’s influence on the early works of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU. He will also probe the digitization of architecture practice, asking how architects like Abraham would have designed using the tools available today.

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Wednesday> Architect Srdjan Weiss Examines Viennese Housing at the Austrian Cultural Forum

International
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
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New low-density housing in a Vienna suburb.

New low-density housing in a Vienna suburb.

The exhibit, The Vienna Model: Housing for the 21st Century City, currently on view at the Austrian Cultural Forum, is meant to provoke a discussion with housing advocates in this country. The Forum will host weekly tours of the exhibit by a variety of housing experts from various academic and professional fields. This Wednesday, the tour will be led by Srdjan Weiss, a Serbian-born architect and theorist based in New York City, with broad knowledge of the subject of housing in this country and Eastern Europe. The tour will be based on Weiss’ parallel living experience and expertise in housing design from former socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia.

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