Unveiled> OMA Designs an Academic Village Under a Single Roof in Suburban Paris

International
Monday, October 22, 2012
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Entrance to École Centrale from Metro Station (Courtesy OMA)

Entrance to École Centrale from Metro Station (Courtesy OMA)

OMA has won the design competition for the new École Centrale Engineering school in Saclay, France, a suburb of Paris. The final design calls for an enormous block composed of smaller buildings creating an open plan grid. According to OMA, the concept behind the design is a “lab city” where multiple events can take place while all being simultaneously observed.

More after the jump.

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Doha Tower Named World’s Best by Council on Tall Buildings

International, Midwest
Saturday, October 20, 2012
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Doha Tower façade (Jean Nouvel)

Doha Tower façade (Jean Nouvel)

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat held its 11th annual awards symposium Thursday, bestowing architect Helmut Jahn and structural engineers Charles Thornton and Richard Tomasetti with lifetime achievement recognition and awarding Doha Tower the title of 2012’s Best Tall Building.

Ateliers Jean Novel’s cylindrical landmark for the burgeoning Qatar capital is the first tall building to use a diagonal grid of reinforced concrete columns in a cross shape. This innovation leaves open the central core, creating a stunning space at the tip of the tower that makes perhaps the best use of the building’s intricately detailed facade.

Continue reading after the jump.

Höweler + Yoon Win 2012 Audi Urban Future Award

East, International
Friday, October 19, 2012
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Eric Höweler accepts the 2012 Audi Urban Future Initiative Award. (Courtesy Audi Urban Future)

Eric Höweler accepts the 2012 Audi Urban Future Initiative Award. (Courtesy Audi Urban Future)

Last night in Istanbul, Audi bestowed its 2012 Urban Future Initiative award to the Boston-based firm Höweler + Yoon Architecture for Shareway, their 2030 vision for the Boston-Washington corridor. In a ceremony designed to generate Oscars-level suspense, Eric Höweler accepted the award (which carries a €100,000 prize) from Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.

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Scotch on the Rocks.  Scotch on the Rocks RMJM may have been pushed into a corner financially over the last few years, but the firm is coming out swinging, with talking points that channel the British Bulldog himself, Winston Churchill. In a recent interview with Forbes.com, RMJM CEO Peter Morrison counts Churchill’s famous “We shall never surrender” speech as a source of inspiration and has taken to referring to the firm’s offices as “the War Rooms.” When asked about his goals, Morrison said, “Success, at all costs. We have sacrificed much, invested heavily, and we now find ourselves in a strong position post-recession with a global platform poised to support clients in all corners of the Earth.” If the RMJM outlook doesn’t improve, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Scottish management takes it up a notch by donning blue and white face paint, Braveheart-style.

 

Chinese Firm Plans to Build World’s Tallest Building in 90 Days

International
Monday, October 8, 2012
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Sky City.

Rendering of Sky City Changsha. (Courtesy Broad Group)

Move over Burj Khalifa, a group in China has its eye set on building the next world’s tallest skyscraper, and they plan to do it in just 90 days. Called Sky City Changsha, the tower envisioned for central China’s Hunan province could rise nearly 2,750 feet over 220 floors. That’s 32 feet higher than the current world’s tallest in Dubai. Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), an air conditioning manufacturer behind the proposal, will prefabricate building components to achieve the impossibly short deadline.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Awash in Psychedelic Light

International
Thursday, October 4, 2012
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Gaudi's Segrada Familia awash in psychedelic light. (Courtesy Moment Factory)

Gaudi’s Segrada Familia awash in psychedelic light. (Courtesy Moment Factory)

Residents of Barcelona had the opportunity to see Antoni Gaudi’s 120-year-old La Sagrada Familia in a new light recently as Montreal-based media studio and light artists Moment Factory projection mapped a multimedia display over the cathedral’s facade. While Gaudi’s signature stone carvings portraying dripping stone, fanciful plant forms, and intricate religious displays in their normally sand-colored hue are usually enough to dazzle the viewers eye, the gaudy splash provided one psychedelic experience.

Watch a video after the jump.

Video> The Sound and Light of Berlin’s Trees

International
Thursday, October 4, 2012
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(Courtesy BUND)

(Courtesy BUND)

Even as Berlin loses green space, the city remains Europe’s greenest with more than 400,000 trees. One of the grandest, a 100-year-old chestnut tree towering over Montbijoupark, was the center of Tree Concert, a public art project that took place in September to bring light, literally, to the city’s diminishing greenery with a glowing LED sculpture circling the trees trunk.

Continue reading after the jump.

Imaginary Doors in Paris

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
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Imaginary Doors. (Jonas LeClasse)

Imaginary Doors. (Jonas LeClasse)

Paris-based artist Jonas LeClasse’s Imaginary Doors (And the People Who Pass By Them) is as simple as it is beautiful. Amidst the continuous grit and grime of dirty, graffiti-filled urban walls in St. Dennis—a working-class Parisian suburb—LeClasse draws doors using chalk, provoking viewers to slow down and reflect. He then invites viewers to pause for a portrait with the “door.” Perhaps it is a gateway of sorts, a simple delineation of inside and outside, or the fact that the portrait always captures the subject within a double-frame (outside of the the door yet inside of the picture). In any case, LeClasse achieves poetry using subtle architectural gestures.

View a slideshow after the jump.

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Slideshow> A Promising Runner-Up for the Keelung Waterfront

International, West
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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Last week AN revealed Neil Denari’s winning scheme for the $140 million Keelung Harbor Service Project, a plan to redevelop the Taiwan city’s underexploited waterfront for arts, office, recreation, and industrial uses. Above and below is one of the impressive runners up, the scheme by  P-A-R (Platform for Architecture + Research) and Sériès et Sériès along with local architect Ricky Liu Associates. The project consisted of a cargo building, a 20-story office complex, and a three-story cruise ship terminal, all connected via a sloping, faceted landscape.

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Obit> Melvin Charney, 1935-2012

International
Monday, October 1, 2012
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Melvin Charney.

Melvin Charney.

The 77-year-old Montreal architect and artist Mel Charney died on September 17th in his home. Trained at McGill University and Yale as an architect, he was better known as a sculptor, architectural thinker, and academic. Charney represented Canada at the Venice Biennale twice—once for art in 1986 and once for architecture in 2000, created large-scale installations in Montreal including A Chicago Construction (1982) and Skyscraper, Waterfall, Brooks—A Construction at Place Émilie-Gamelin. Finally, he famously designed a block-long montage of photographs of buildings along Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street that had been destroyed to make way for development, which in turn was also destroyed by the city. The next print edition of AN will feature a full obituary and appreciation of Charney by David Grahame Shane.

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Arc de Jeggings: Some Say Chinese Skyscraper Resembles Pants

International
Friday, September 28, 2012
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(Courtesy RMJM)

(Courtesy RMJM)

You know low-rise skinny jeans are over when someone builds a monument to them. Oh wait, that’s the RMJM’s Gate of the East! Located in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, the building is six times taller than the Arch de Triomphe and intended to commemorate China’s entrance into the global economic market. But as the skeletal structure began to be erected, some Suzhou citizens asked, “Um, doesn’t that look like a pair of pants?” Indeed, the almost-pointed arch evokes a cross-section of a gothic cathedral, or, to the modern eye, a pair of really tight trousers. But these aren’t just any pants. In a response published on Dezeen.com, RMJM pointed out the building’s many “feats,” including the highest swimming pool in China and the most use of steel per unit volume. “While some critics view the unfinished skeleton as a laughable pair of low-rise jeans, the gateway is a far cry from a joking matter,” said RMJM. (Hey, quit smirking!)

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Urban Reef: Solving the Underwater Housing Crisis for Fish & Coral

International
Friday, September 28, 2012
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Urban Reef home in Cancun Mexico (Credit: Jason deCaires Taylor)

Urban Reef home in Cancun Mexico (Credit: Jason deCaires Taylor)

While many have dreamed about living underwater, until humans can inhabit on the ocean floor, perhaps it’s best to simply assist those that already reside there. In his exhibition, Urban Reef, artist and founder of the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), Jason deCaires Taylor has done just that.

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