Coop Himmelb(l)au to design “Snow World” in Changsha, China

International
Friday, September 13, 2013
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(Coop Himmelb(l)au)

The resort will be built atop a quarry pit. (Coop Himmelb(l)au)

Coop Himmelb(l)au recently won a competition to design the Deep Pit Ice and Snow World in the Dawang Mountain Resort area near the city of Changsha. The quarry project, which also featured proposals from Gensler and Asymptote, is the second of its kind in China, following the Songjiang Shimao Hotel outside of Shanghai. It is one of many new schemes for Changsha from international architects such as Zaha Hadid. The 394,000 square foot project is positioned directly on top of a historic cement mining quarry pit and lake, and consists of an Entertainment Ice World, Indoor Ski Slope, Water Park and restaurant and shopping facilities. The design emphasizes the existing quarry pit and the 560 foot spanning sculpted shell of the Snow and Ice World.

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2013 Aga Khan Award Winners Improve Quality of Life

International
Thursday, September 12, 2013
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(Courtesy AKAA)

A winning project: Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project, Morocco (Courtesy AKAA)

From an Islamic cemetery in Austria to a 330-meter bridge in North Africa, the five recipients of the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture each address a concern within their culture to improve quality of life. Awarded every three years since its 1977 initiation, the competition grants a collective $1 million to a number of projects that exist in areas with a significant Muslim population. Each project must be culturally receptive and increased merit is given to those that use local resources in ways that may motivate analogous ventures in the future.

The 2013 Award Recipients After the Jump

Taking the Park by Swarm: Bike-Powered Public Space Pops Up Worldwide

International
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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(Courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat)

(Courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat)

That old saw about how you can’t take public space with you is bound for the trash heap. Landscape architect John Bela, co-founder of San Francisco–based Rebar, and artist Tim Wolfer of N55 have developed Parkcycle Swarm, a green space initiative that puts people and green space together—on wheels. The basic Parkcycle module is a mobile green space made of an aluminum frame, plywood, standard bicycle parts, and astroturf. Each one measures 2.6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 7.4 feet long. Parkcycles offer instant open space to neighborhoods. All users have to do is park the Parkcycle and sprawl out on the turf to enjoy a bottle of beaujolais or play some hackie sack. Four of the small mobile parks are currently making the rounds at the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Continue reading after the jump.

London’s Design Museum Invites Public to a Virtual Tour of It’s Future Home

International, Newsletter
Monday, September 9, 2013
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Former Commonwealth Institute building and new home for the Design Museum (courtesy pixelhut, Flickr)

Former Commonwealth Institute building and new home for the Design Museum (courtesy pixelhut, Flickr)

The Design Museum of London has welcomed over five million visitors since it opened in 1989, and now for the first time on September 22nd, it will open it’s doors virtually, via an online platform called Stickyworld. The web-based platform allows people to digitally navigate their way through the museum from the comfort of their own home. This is achieved by means of 360 degree renders, panoramic images and plans. The new location for the design museum is the former landmark Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, which will provide three times the space of the current museum.

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State Department Shortlists Three Design Teams for U.S. Embassy in Lebanon

International
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Aerial view overlooking Beirut, Lebanon. (Ahmad Moussaoui / Flickr)

Aerial view overlooking Beirut, Lebanon. (Ahmad Moussaoui / Flickr)

With the ongoing attacks on American interests in the past, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has moved it’s government buildings from the heart of Beirut, to the calmer suburbs of the north of the Lebanese capital, specifically Awkar. OBO is currently evaluating a group of design teams to be commissioned for the design and construction of the new US embassy in Awkar, just 7 miles north of Beirut, and in close proximity to the existing embassy. Six firms participated in Stage 2 evaluations, and the list has now been shortened to three finalists.

View the shortlist after the jump.

Artek Joins the Vitra Family

International, Product, Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Artek's Lukki Family

Artek’s Lukki Family

On September 6, 2013, Vitra announced it acquired Artek. The Finnish furniture company was established in 1935 by architect Alvar Aalto, his wife Aino,  Maire Gullichsen, and historian Nils-Gustav Hahl to produce furniture that promoted modern living. Over the company’s last 80 years, it has expanded its business to include rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection and collaborations with renowned designers and artists such as Shigeru Ban, Eero Aarnio, and Enzo Mari.

Artek will continue operations as a separate entity but it is anticipated the purchase will expand the furniture company’s reach further beyond Finland, where contract and residential domestic sales account for 60 percent of its business. “The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized,” said Artek’s CEO Mirkku Kullberg in a statement. “That arena is where we want to be and alliances or ownership arrangements are one way of building the future.” Read More

Unveiled> SOM Designs Mashreq Bank Tower in Dubai

International
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced last week it would design a new headquarters for Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. The 32-story tower is “a quiet sculptural form within Dubai’s skyline,” SOM Design Director Ross Wimer said in a statement. Its L-shaped floor plate is cantilevered around an empty volume between the building’s eight-story podium and its top levels.

The building’s massing shields that courtyard from solar gain, while opening up views to Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa to the east. Executive offices occupy the top two floors, where the square floorplate resumes, with Mashreq’s Board Room suspended from an interior opening at the middle.

Wiel Arets wins design for Europaalee Site

International
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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Courtesy Wiels Arets Architects

Civic space and facade of building (Courtesy Wiel Arets Architects)

Wiels Arets Architects recently won a competition to design the “Europaallee site D” building in Zurich. The building is a pivotal component in the emerging mixed use district of “Europaallee,” a major infrastructure project which will incorporate 6,000 workplaces, 1,800 study spaces, 400 flats, one hotel, shops, restaurants, and other leisure activities. The winning entry accommodates retail activities and circulation spaces on the lower floors, while the upper volumes contain flexible office space. The building has been designed with scope for a residential component in the future.

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Unveiled> OMA Master Plan Wins Bogotá’s International Design Competition

City Terrain, International
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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(Courtesy OMA)

(Courtesy OMA)

OMA has been selected to design the Bogotá Centro Administrativo Nacional (CAN) new civic center, situated at the heart of the city’s main axis, Calle 26. Steered by partner-in-charge Shohei Shigematsu, the 680-acre mixed-use design occupies a footprint as large as Washington, D.C.’s National Mall and will operate as the city’s government headquarters with intermixed residential, educational, retail, and cultural developments, all which encourage continuous activity within separate districts. The design intends to integrate civic and public life while connecting to local destinations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Norman Foster Resigns from Pushkin Museum Expansion Before Russian Ultimatum

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Pushkin Museum Expansion Project Rendering (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Pushkin Museum Expansion Project Rendering (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts expansion project, one of Russia’s most prominent and contentious building schemes, has spiraled into disarray. Since Foster + Partners’ winning plans to expand and modernize the 101-year-old institution were originally approved in 2009, the development has been confronted with a series of delays including disputes between officials and preservationists. Now, to cap it off, the firm has officially resigned from the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Richard Rogers Builds a Prefabricated Multi-Level House In 24 Hours

International
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Homeshell House in the Royal Academy Courtyard. (Courtesy Miguel Santa Clara via Royal Academy)

Homeshell House in the Royal Academy Courtyard. (Courtesy Miguel Santa Clara via Royal Academy)

With modular homes on the rise, it seems to be time to bid farewell to long months and even years of construction and salute fast-paced, pre-fabricated systems arriving across the globe. At the Royal Academy in London as part of the Inside Out exhibition, Richard Rogers’ firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has introduced an innovative, environmentally efficient, three-and-a-half story home called the Homeshell. It is meant to inspire discussion about affordable mass housing. The flat-packed home on display contains individually installed windows and boasts a low environmental impact. Colorful facade materials enliven the closed timber frame system.

More after the jump.

2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalists Propose Designs for Humanity

International
Friday, August 23, 2013
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Fly's Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller

Fly’s Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller (Courtesy NYCDOT / Flickr)

Just as soon as they were announced, deliberation has begun on the nineteen semi-finalists in the 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. In the spirit of architect Buckminster Fuller’s call for revolutionary scientific design, this international design competition summons participants to innovate sustainable, long-term solutions for “humanity’s most pressing problems.”  This year, the jury has chosen projects that vary in subject and method, re-envisioning current global systems or addressing specific gaps within them. Read More

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