ground breaking: chinese “ghost mall” city gets another mega-mall

International
Friday, August 2, 2013
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Dongguan International Trade Center (Courtesy 5+Design)

Dongguan International Trade Center (Courtesy 5+Design)

In 2005, the doors to the New South China Mall first opened, promising a new age of Chinese consumerism and signaling the rise of the middle class. Located outside Dongguan, an industrial city located in the rapidly-growing Pearl River Delta with a population comparable to New York’s, the nearly 10 million-square-foot mall was the largest in the world in terms of leasable space. The developer, Chinese instant noodle tycoon Alex Hu, expected 100,000 daily shoppers, but the crash-strapped factory workers who populate the nearby metropolis never bothered to make the  2.5-hour trek to the overgrown shopping center, and so 8 years later 99 percent of the mall’s 2,350 retail outlets are still vacant. In the wake of this failure, a new developer, the Dongguan Minying Real Estate Development Company, has hired California-based architecture firms 5+Design and SWA to design yet another mega-sized mall in the rapidly growing city, this time with a few important adjustments that the team hopes will make their project a success.

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France’s FRAC Centre to Open New Tubular Prefabricated Center

(Nicolas Borel  / Courtesy Jakob + MacFarlane)

(Nicolas Borel / Courtesy Jakob + MacFarlane)

The Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain, known as the FRAC, will open its fourth location at the former Subsistances military site in the Centre Region on September 14th. The Orleans-based center dubbed “The Turbulences” is the brainchild of architecture duo, Jakob + MacFarlane, who have renovated the original U-shaped military base and created a bold prefabricated  structure in the middle of the courtyard to house the public reception area, cafeteria, bookshop, and auditorium.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Grimshaw to Design New Istanbul Art Museum

International, Newsletter
Friday, July 26, 2013
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(Courtesy Grimshaw Architects)

(Courtesy Grimshaw Architects)

Grimshaw Architects has been selected by the Vehbi Koç Foundation to design Koç Contemporary, a new art museum that supports cultural and social life in Istanbul and greater Turkey. Selected from a list of 20 globally renowned submissions, Grimshaw’s winning design calls for a stone-colored mosaic tile facade, a rooftop terrace offering sweeping views of the city, an education area, and an open layout.

Continue reading after the jump.

Happy 80th Mr. Rogers!

Eavesdroplet, International
Thursday, July 25, 2013
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richard_rogers_01

Richard Rogers turned 80 years old this week, making him the same age as Willie Nelson. You might think that’s a pointless comparison, but the Italian-born, British, self-described “left-winger” architect and the pot-smoking Texan Outlaw Country singer have more in common than one might at first suspect. At around the same time that Shotgun Willie was changing America by uniting the hippies and the red necks through music, Rogers and his buddy/collaborator Renzo Piano were converting critics into fawning admirers and altering the face of architecture with their design for the Centre Pompidou. “We thought of ourselves as bad boys who wanted to change the world, with the funny idea that you could do it through architecture,” is the way Piano put it in a recent article in The Guardian.

CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2013

International
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
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The Bow, Calgary, Canada. (Nigel Young)

The Bow, Calgary, Canada. (Nigel Young)

After reviewing over 60 entries from around the world, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has selected this year’s winners of its annual Best Tall Buildings. Regional winners from Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates have been announced, while an overall winner will be revealed at the CTBUH 12th Annual Ceremony in November. Projects are recognized for their impacts on the development of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for sustainability.

View the winners after the jump.

Daniel Libeskind’s Shang Shidong Industrial Museum Twists Steel in China

(Courtesy Studio Daniel Libeskind)

(Courtesy Studio Daniel Libeskind)

The illustrious 19th century Qing dynasty politician, Zhang Zhidong, is primarily remembered for modernizing the Chinese army and for establishing the steel industry in Wuhan. It seems appropriate then that the new Shang Shidong Industrial Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, should be built in the city of Wuhan. Even more fitting is that the museum, which will celebrate the city’s iron and steel culture, will be built on the manufacturing site of the Hanyang-made rifle and will preserve the famous Hanyang ironworks and Hanyang arsenal.

Continue reading after the jump.

Iconic, Not Ionic: Gehry Weighs in On Dictators and Design

Eavesdroplet, International
Monday, July 22, 2013
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Frank Gehry. (Montage by AN)

Frank Gehry. (Montage by AN)

In recent interview with the journal Foreign Policy, Frank Gehry held forth on how architecture and democracy don’t really go together. Just too many opinions, you see. “I think the best thing is to have a benevolent dictator—who has taste!” said Gehry. “It’s really hard to get consensus, to have a tastemaker. There is no Robert Moses anymore.” Why was Gehry on FP’s radar in the first place? We’re guessing it was Hillary Clinton’s Gehry name-check in one of her outgoing speeches as Secretary of State. Riffing on how institutions of the future must be dynamic rather than static, the stateswomen stated, “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.”

Architects have no work? Let them eat cake!

Palace of Versailles. (Courtesy Wikipedia / Montage by AN)

Palace of Versailles. (Courtesy Wikipedia / Montage by AN)

The planners of the AIA New York Chapter 2014 International Architecture and Design Summit have selected a pretty unusual conference venue: the Chateau of Versailles. Given the still sorry state of the economy, the choice left us scratching our head (under our powdered wig). Perhaps Rick Bell will point out the lessons in urban agriculture to be found in the Petit Trianon? Summit participants can display their work on easels in the Galeries Batailles, which will be handy if they want to do a little painting later en plein air. Apres tout, Giverny is less than an hour away by automobile, a bit longer by carriage though. Potential attendees are warned that the Plaza Anthénée will be closed for renovations. Sacrebleu!

KPF Plans to Extend 1970s London Landmark Tower

International
Thursday, July 18, 2013
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Rendering of KPF's addition. (Courtesy KPF)

Rendering of KPF’s addition. (Courtesy KPF)

International architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has several projects underway, such as One Hudson Yards and a new master plan for New York City’s Port Authority. Most recently, in a reinvention of spaces, KPF has submitted plans to build 11 floors on top of Richard Seifert’s 1972 30-story King’s Reach Tower, which has been renamed South Bank Tower. Located on London’s South Bank, the tower will be transformed into a mixed-use building consisting of 191 high-rise luxury apartments.

Continue reading after the jump.

Slow Boil.  Slow Boil The designers at New York-based Atopia Innovation, must have been stewing over the past year. Although the gag order imposed on all participating architects and designers by London’s Olympic Organizing Committee (a.k.a. LOCOG) was lifted in January, Atopia only stepped forward in late June to say that the Olympic Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick and used in the 2012 opening ceremonies seems to have been directly inspired by studies Atopia delivered to LOCOG between 2006 and 2008. Check out the sketchbook that seems to prove the point at atopiainnovation.com. (Photo: Courtesy Thomas Heatherwick)

 

Unveiled> Gehry Partners’ Renderings for National Art Museum of China Design

International
Thursday, July 18, 2013
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(Courtesy Gehry Partners)

(Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Frank Gehry has unveiled renderings of its shortlisted entry for the competition to design the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), the predestined showstopper of Beijing’s new cultural district. Gehry was shortlisted alongside fellow Pritzker Prize winners Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid for the high-profile project. Gehry’s submission incorporates transparent cladding, an interior comprised of lofty, geometric courtyards evocative of pagodas and temples, and a layout that would accommodate nearly 12 million annual visitors.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Bouroullec Brothers’ Quiet Motion Takes A Spin in Milan

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec‘s “Quiet Motion," Salone del Mobile, Milan, April 2013. (Courtesy Bouroullec)

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec‘s “Quiet Motion,” Salone del Mobile, Milan, April 2013. (Courtesy Bouroullec)

At Salone del Mobile in April, French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec demonstrated what it’s like to take a spin in a BMWi. Quiet Motion, the Bouroullec brothers’ interactive interpretation of the sustainable electric car brand, was an installation open for visitors to climb onto revolving platforms to relax as the world leisurely passed around them.

Continue reading after the jump.

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