Designed in Chicago, Made in China: Blair Kamin, Chicago designers mull Chinese urbanization

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Blair Kamin convened a panel of designers at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last Wednesday for a discussion around themes explored in his recent series “Designed in Chicago, Made in China,” in which the Chicago Tribune architecture critic assessed the effects of that country’s rapid development on urbanism and design. Read More

Huggable high-rises? Chicagoans look to kickstart a line of plush skyscraper replicas

squeeable skylines

Skyscrapers are usually admired for their mighty feats of structural engineering. Respect though you might the elegance with which Chicago’s Willis Tower lifts steel and glass 1,451 feet into the sky, you probably wouldn’t want to nuzzle it.

But a Chicago startup is out to change that.

Pittsburgh’s Transformation: The 11 Projects Moving The Steel City Forward

The re-opening of Point State Park. (Courtesy Bridgett Kay / Riverlife)

The re-opening of Point State Park. (Courtesy Bridgett Kay / Riverlife)

From its streets to its rivers to its skyline, Pittsburgh is a city in transformation. The Steel City is diversifying its economy, improving its streetscape and becoming a new hub for the creative class. Business Insider has even declared Pittsburgh to be “The Next Hipster Haven.” But the transformation has meant more than coffee shops, bike-share, and startups—even though that’s certainly playing a part. As the city changes, though, it’s too easy to ask if Pittsburgh is the “Next [Enter City Here].” Because the “Next Pittsburgh” will not be the “Next Austin,” or even the “Next Portland.” It’s shaping up to be something entirely it’s own. Simply put, “The Next Pittsburgh” will be just that.

Read More

The Grand Macau Hotel: Zaha Hadid Behind Parametric Addition to Chinese Casino Resort

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid has designed another seemingly-structurally-impossible parametric building form that is set to touch down in Macau in 2017. The building, which could be equally at home in Miami or Dubai, is a large block that has been punctured by three curvaceous openings. The entire mass is encased in an exposed exoskeleton that twists and turns along the structure’s contours.

More after the jump.

Skyscraper Expert Gordon Gill Talks High-Performance Facades

Facade detail of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture's Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China. (Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

Facade detail of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China. (Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

Architect Gordon Gill has one simple rule for facade design: seek performance first, and beauty will follow. Gill, who will give the opening keynote address at next month’s facades+PERFORMANCE conference in New York, is a founding partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a firm known for pushing the boundaries of what architecture is and does. Gill and his team start by “establishing a language of architecture that’s based in the performance of a building,” he said. “We’re trying to understand the role of the building in the environment it’s being built in, then shape the building in order to benefit it the best way. Once we take that approach, the facades play a pretty rich role in either absorbing or reflecting the environment.”

More after the jump.

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.

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.

Teenager Climbs to the Top of the World Trade Center

East, Media, Skyscrapers
Friday, March 21, 2014
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The view from the top. (Courtesy Time)

The view from the top. (Courtesy Time)

In a story that’s equal parts Spy Kids and Man On Wire, a New Jersey teenager climbed to the top of World Trade Center on Sunday because… YOLO? The New York Post reported that the 16-year-old climbed through a construction gate a Ground Zero and got into an elevator at the World Trade Center where a friendly (confused?) construction worker took him up 88 flights. He then got out, climbed up the remaining 16 flights, snuck past a sleeping security guard, and hung out for two hours atop the tallest tower in America.

Read More

Must See TV> PBS Explores the World’s Super Skyscrapers

Rendering of the super-tall Shanghai Tower.

Rendering of the super-tall Shanghai Tower. (Courtesy Gensler)

PBS’s four-part TV series, Super Skyscrapers, deals with uber-high buildings around the world. It is rare to follow the process of constructing a building, let alone a monster-sized one. Yet here, a special characteristic of each of the four skyscrapers is highlighted within the context of maximum height: One World Trade Center’s safety measures, Leadenhall’s prefabrication, One57′s high luxury, and Shanghai Tower’s vertical city aspirations.

Continue reading after the jump.

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