With Great Height Comes Greater Challenges: Questions Linger as Construction Begins on Massive Kingdom Tower

kingdom_tower_00

(Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill)

A kilometer is less than a mile but still more than a Burj Khalifa. This truism means that Kingdom Tower is still set to be the worlds tallest building now that construction has begun in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Though the initial projected height of a mile has since been whittled down to a mere kilometer, problems continue to beset the oft-delayed $1.2 billion project.

More after the jump.

Miami Architects Add Visual Weight to City’s Major League Soccer Quest

East, Unveiled
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Miami_soccer_archpaper1

(Courtesy Arquitectonica)

A lack of a viable stadium had been seen as a key hole in Miami’s efforts to welcome a Major League Soccer franchise. Now local firm Arquitectonica has stepped in to fill that void, collaborating with 360 Architecture to design a potential waterfront soccer venue. The campaign has a rather dashing face in the form of soccer-star David Beckham, who has provided vocal and financial backing for the plan and apparently played active role in the design concept and siting of the proposed stadium.

More after the jump.

New Ideas in Vertical Thinking: eVolo reveals winners of 2014 Skyscraper Competition

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Vernacular Versatility, the winner of the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition. (Courtesy eVolo)

Each year eVolo Magazine hosts a competition soliciting new visions for vertical living. This year’s iteration of the nine-year-old Skyscraper Competition received 525 projects from 43 countries. Out of this vast field, three winners were announced with Yong Ju Lee of New York–based firm E/B Office taking first prize for his project Vernacular Versatility.

All the winners after the jump.

French designer imagines skyscrapers dripping with flowers in Casablanca

gardens of anfa 4

(Courtesy Maison Edouard François)

French designer Maison Edouard François has presented designs for The Gardens of Anfa, a project consisting of three residential towers, a low-rise office building, and several ancillary structures all situated within a large plot of parkland in Morroco. The four largest components of the design are clad in various flowers that pour down curved, irregular facades. The peripheral buildings are rectilinear and appear largely free of the organic attire found on their taller neighbors.

More after the jump.

High time for a High Line: Sydney Breaks Ground on New Elevated Park

Following it’s opening in 2009, urban planners all over the world have been keen on acquiring their own versions of New York’s much-lauded High Line. Sydney is the latest city to enter the fray, selecting a 500-meter stretch of abandoned railway as a foundation for the Goods Line, an urban park and public space, replete with bike paths, study pods and outdoor workspaces catering to local students.

Many more images after the jump.

Architects of Air Build Inflatable Cathedrals of Psychadelic Space

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

To build an inhabitable luminaire you need little more than colored plastic sheeting and an air compressor and the ability to expose said construction to natural light. The finished products are far greater than the sum of the parts, producing results that seem to suggest a series of more elaborately ornamented James Turrell installations. They are the brainchildren of Architects of Air (AoA), a British company that has erected temporary luminaires throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

More after the jump.

Shigeru Ban’s Mt. Fuji Visitors Center Flips the Mountain Upside Down

Fujisan

(Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

In the summer of 2013, Mt. Fuji was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation was of the cultural rather than the natural variety, in part because of the way the mountain has “inspired artists and poets.” Japanese architect Shigeru Ban plans to add a quite literal architectural chapter to this legacy of inspiration in the form of a visitor center commemorating the mountain’s recently-minted status.

More after the jump.

Philadelphia Green Lights New Riverside Park, Bartram’s Mile

Bartrams Mile1

(Courtesy Andropogon)

Consider it a mile-long step in Philadelphia’s ongoing architectural renaissance. Local landscape firm Andropogon recently received approval for the plans to re-work a vacant stretch of land beside the western banks of the tidal Schuylkill River. The goal is to convert the plot located between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street into public green space that provides riverfront access and recreational opportunities for local residents.

More after the jump.

Saturday> AN’s Bill Menking To Lead Seminar on Contemporary Domestic Architecture

East
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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(Courtesy Pieter Estersohn)

(Courtesy Pieter Estersohn)

The New York Times is hosting a series of seminars at this weekend’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show. As part of the program AN‘s very own Bill Menking will be joined by Mark Hutker of Hutker Architects, Dan Lobitz of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and Karen Stonely of SPAN Architecture to discuss evolutions in contemporary domestic architecture. The quartet will take the stage at Pier 94 on Saturday, March 22 at 3:00p.m. for an hour-long discussion. See you there!

Five teams in the running for London’s Natural History Museum Civic Realm competition

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The current grounds of the Natural History Museum in London. (courtesy of the Natural History Museum Realm Competition)

Deeming them to be not “appropriate to a world-class institution nor effective in accommodating day-to-day use,” trustees of London’s Museum of Natural History put out a call for redesigns to the grounds surrounding the building. The competition has now reached its second stage, with five firms selected as finalists for the project, though who is responsible for which proposal has yet to be revealed. The winning selection will have to ease access for the museum’s growing number of visitors and create a new civic ground for the city of London.

The entries after the jump.

Washington D.C. sees a park where a bridge once stood

A video illustrating the general concept behind the elevated park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

Washington D.C. is using the rebuilding of a local bridge as an opportunity to create a new 900-foot elevated park across the Anacostia River. Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. Office of Planning are hosting a competition for the design of this developing project. Participants are invited to think of the initiative as a blank slate sitting upon the extant structural piers, the only holdovers from the old bridge that will be preserved.

More after the jump.

Public Transit back to 1956 levels of usage

National, Transportation
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Public transit

(Courtesy Wilson Santos/flickr)

The U.S. has finally caught up to 1956. With the help of 146 million more people, the country has finally managed to match the number of trips American’s took on mass transit 57 years ago. Largely skirting the population elephant in the corner the American Public Transport Administration released a reported revealing some 10.7 billion trips were taken on US public transportation in 2013.

More after the jump.

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