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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.”