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Reimagining traditional Chinese gardens with parametric geometry
For MoCA Shanghai’s exhibition MoCA Mock-ups: The Architecture of Spatial Art, USC American Academy of China (AAC) Summer Studio 2012 spent six weeks designing, fabricating and constructing “Minimal Relaxation,” a parametric canopy and undulating, LED-lit landscape that creates prime skyline viewing locations on the museum’s rooftop terrace. Inspired by Frei Otto, an architect and structural engineer famous for his complex canopy structures, “Minimal Relaxation” extends his body of design research into physical and digital form-finding processes for minimal surface structure through “dynamic relaxation techniques.”
Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on New York and New Jersey, and the current 55 to 60 mile an hour wind gusts tearing through Central Park have already taken their toll on Manhattan’s starchitecture, partially collapsing the construction crane at Christian de Portzamparc’s supertall One57 tower on West 57th Street.
We can’t resist when architects bring out the knives and engage in the fall ritual of pumpkin carving. Jenny Wu of the LA-based Oyler Wu Collaborative shared the results of their annual pumpkin carving contest set in front of the firm’s Screenplay installation. Happy Halloween!
Now this looks like a good idea: a group of architects and engineers called Urban Air are trying to turn a billboard next to LA’s 10 Freeway into a suspended bamboo garden. The technique: they remove the signage, install planters and then the bamboo, and then install water misters and sensors to make sure it’s properly irrigated. Voila! If it’s successful with the first sign the group wants to create similar gardens across the country. The ambitious plan is being crowd-funded through Kickstarter and with 46 days left has raised nearly $6,000 of its $100,000 goal as of this publishing. You can check out their Kickstarter campaign and contribute here.
If you ride your bike along Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn on your way to or from Williamsburg, you may have noticed a splash of color along the bike lane’s barrier. Similarly, the Flushing Bay Promenade in Queens got some color recently in efforts to bring art to the public. The New York City Department of Transportation, New York Cares and the Community Affairs Unit organized the event in collaboration with two Brooklyn-based artists Deanna Lee and Kara Lynch.
The Durst Organization is launching a composting pilot program for the 600-unit Helena apartment building on Manhattan’s West 57th Street. The program will start in the next few months and, if successful, will be implemented in Durst’s planned 32-story W57 tower designed by Bjarke Ingels and expected to finish in 2015. This composting scheme, potentially serving 1,350 apartments, will be the largest residential composting project in the New York City.
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Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture
Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive “light-sensitive barrel vault” created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone’s eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt. Read More
Starchitects are descending on Toronto. First it was Frank Gehry with his plan for three 80-story skyscrapers on top of an art museum, and now Norman Foster with a massive plan to redevelop the Metro Toronto Convention Centre area adjacent to the CN Tower and Rogers Centre Stadium. Developed by Oxford Properties Group and dubbed Oxford Place, the plan calls for upgrades to the current convention center and four new towers for housing, office space, a hotel, and a casino surrounding a five-and-a-half acre park spanning a railroad.
Several large-scale, eco-friendly projects at the intersection of landscape, architecture, and urbanism were honored at this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore. Building of the Year was awarded to London-based Wilkinson Eyre’s Gardens by the Bay (above), designed in collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates in 2003 for a competition to develop a reclaimed 250-acre site adjacent to a marina in downtown Singapore. Among the other top honorees were AECOM’s Heart of Doha Masterplan, winning Future Project of the Year, and Atelier Dreiseitl’s Kallang River Bishan Park, which took Landscape Project of the Year.
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.