Eyebeam, a non-profit art and technology center currently based in Manhattan, has commissioned WORKac to design its future Brooklyn home. Planned for the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Ashland Place, the new development will not only provide the 27,000 square foot, WORKac-designed cultural space for Eyebeam, but it will also include market-rate and subsidized housing as well as a restaurant designed by Dattner Architects and Bernheimer Architecture. Developer Jonathan Rose Companies plans to begin construction next year with completion slated for late 2016.
“Award winning full service architectural firm seeks an intermediate level staff member with five to seven years professional experience. Bachelors and/or Masters degree in architecture required. Candidate must have experience in taking a small to medium size project through design and construction.
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From the architect. The house is situated in a former district of farmers in Colmar.
Designed around the garden, the “L” plan is articulated around a patio which is opened on the terrace. North and the East facades are very closed to favor the orientations which benefit from a consequent period of sunshine.
All the living areas are directed on the garden and the swimming pool so as to extend the house towards the outside.
The energy performances are about 30 % superior to the expectations of the current thermal regulations. The house is built in skeleton wood and use renewable energies for the heating and to the insulation.
The City of Montpellier has chosen Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associés and Manal Rachdi Oxo architects’ “White Tree (L’Arbre Blanc)” as winner of the “Architectural Folie of the 21st Century” competition. Inspired by the city’s tradition of outdoor living, and the efficient properties of a tree, the mixed-use residential tower will feed off locally available natural resources as it rises 17-stories and connects the new and old districts of Montpellier.
From the Winning Team: The new multipurpose tower called L’Arbre Blanc (The White Tree) is designed for housing, a restaurant, an art gallery, offices, a bar with a panoramic view and a common area. From the project’s concept phase, the architects were heavily inspired by Montpellier’s tradition of outdoor living. The tower is strategically located between the city centre and the newly developed districts of Port Marianne and Odysseum, midway between the ‘old’ and the new Montpellier.
It is also situated at the crossroads of several thoroughfares: the Lez River, the motorway and the pedestrian/cycling path along the banks of the octroi de Montpellier, or land grant. The project will kick off with a grand gesture to extend a landscaped park along the Lez and stretch out the length of Christophe Colomb Place. The eastern face curves along the edge of the roundabout while the western side on the Lez is convex to create the widest panorama possible. The curvature serves two purposes because this part of the facade offers the best exposure and viewpoint but does not block the view for neighboring residences.
The building was sited to meld with and defer to its surrounding environment, yet gives it just the right added flair. Arching like a pair of wings hugging the contours of the Lez River down to Pompignane Avenue, Arbre Blanc was intentioned as a natural form that was carved out or sculpted over time by water or wind. It perfectly mimics a tree reshaping itself to grow into its environment yet simultaneously enhancing it by offering much-needed shade.
Despite the name “white tree,” this is by no means an ivory tower. A beat integral to the urban song, the building is destined as a public high-rise built for every soul in Montpellier. The edifice will extend its limbs to all the city’s residents and visitors, from the ground floor restaurant and art gallery to the penthouse bar serving as vista point. This attainable passage will make the tower that much more attractive as a source of pride for Montpellians and a point of interest for tourists.
Of all people, the building is unavoidable for its inhabitants, so a common space has been added on to the public bar where all the co-owners from any floor can have a private taste of the scenic view. Spaces in the flats know no difference between inside and outside – you are free to move through them instinctively. The balconies are proportioned to make you gravitate toward the outdoors, like leaves fanning out to soak up the warm nourishing sunlight.
Rather than an interesting flat, future residents will find a versatile space. Each resident will select a setting (west-facing three-bedroom, southeast two-bedroom, etc.) and a preferred floor plan from a list of possible layouts.
The architects sought to encourage free-choice architecture, which they see as underpinning tomorrow’s housing trend where everyone starts with a “housing stock” when they buy their flat and are not confined to manufactured articles, regimented layouts, turnkey spaces. Instead they are given possibilities, modular interior spaces they can choose from a catalogue of optional features and floor plans.
Just like a tree, the tower will feed off its locally available natural resources to drastically reduce the energy it needs to expend. It will devise passive strategies to induce comfort and use as well as control environmental impacts and scale back emissions. An unconventional yet dialectical process will passively cool units with solar fireplaces.
Arbre Blanc is the tallest “Folie” in Montpellier’s architectural arsenal and is looking become the city’s focal point, a landmark that serves as a lighthouse or guiding star at night amid the regional urban skyline.
An exclusive outlook on the surrounding area, a gift to all the city’s residents and visitors. A starting point from where the vista branches out and your eyes can take it all in: the land’s silhouettes, the open water, the longing it creates for far-off lands and Montpellier’s rich historical heritage. Erected in a pivotal location for the city, at its core Arbre Blanc is the very symbol of the Mediterranean, the ‘mid-land sea’ that has forever been a crossroads, a meeting point between Europe, Africa and Asia.
Competition: La Folie architecturale de Richter
Award: First Prize
Project Name: L’Arbre Blanc (The White Tree)
Architects: Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associés, Manal Rachdi Oxo architects
Location: Montpellier, France
Sou Fujimoto Architect In Charge: Sou Fujimoto, Marie de France
Nicolas Laisné Associés Architects In Charge: Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel, Lucile Nicosia
Manal Rachdi Oxo Architects Architects In Charge: Manal Rachdi, Vincent Imfeld
Development: Promeo Patrimoine Gilbert Ganivenq, Cyrill Meynadier Evolis Promotion Francis Lamazère, Alain Gillet Surface
Structural Engineer: Andre Verdier
Design And Environmental Engineering : Frank Boutte Consultants
Landscaping: Bassinet Turquin Paysage
Lighting Designer : Odile Soudant
Inspections: SOCOTEC, Casso & Associes
Renderings: RSI studio, Manal Rachdi OXO architectes, Nicolas Laisné Associés
Area: 10225.0 sqm
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This person must be pro-active, willing to learn, and innovative. This support position offers learning potential to professionals newly entering the field. Travel is not anticipated. This position is located in Manhattan, New Yor…
An inventive and resourceful New York City design practice is looking for a Project Architect to join their team. The ideal candidate must have 5-7 years of experience and be licensed (preferred, but not required). Background in residential/multi-family housing projects in NYC and/or Jersey City along with knowledge in codes is a plus.
Wolf D. Prix of Coop Himmelb(l)au gave the 4th annual Raimund Abraham memorial lecture this past Wednesday night at SCI-Arc, honoring Abraham with a congenial discussion of his friend and peer’s work. When Prix first started Coop Himmelb(l)au over 45 years ago, Abraham served as a strong influence, and the two developed a strong (if not somewhat combative) relationship as co-conspirators and fellow Austrians. Prix’s lecture reflected on a variety of Abraham’s work, alongside pieces from Günther Domenig, Hans Hollein, Walter Pilcher and others.
After Eric Owen Moss’s introduction, describing both Prix and Abraham as “those who lived on an island where no one else lived”, Wolf’s lecture focused on the lasting futurism of Abraham’s work and its continuing relevance in the context of a digital society. While so few of his designs were built, his drawings’ “were architecture — why do we have to build these buildings if they’re already described so perfectly?”. Prix touched upon the conce…
One last reminder that BRACKET’s latest call for submissions, [takes action], is accepting submissions until midnight on Monday, March 10.Submit your entries here. If you’ve already submitted an entry, or plan to submit one soon, please note that you can continue editing your submission until the deadline. Just click on your name at the top of the submission system and select your submission to review and/or edit.
Bracket [takes action]
Our young century has already seen contested claims of design’s role in the public realm by George Baird, Lieven De Cauter, Markus Meissen, Jan Gehl, among others. Perhaps we could characterize these tensions as a ‘design deficit’, or a sense that design does not incite ‘action’, in the Arendtian sense. Amongst other things, this feeling is linked to the rise of neo-liberal pluralism, which marks the transition from public to publics, making a collective agenda in the public realm often illegible. Bracket [takes action] explores the complex relationsh…
From the architect. The owner is a successful Slovenian businessman who spends some of his spare time in the countryside. The property is situated on the edge of a small village on top of a hill, and consists of farm land, forest, residential building, barn house, apiary and wooden pavilion used as a tool shack. The client decided to replace the broken-down barn house with a new, multi-functional building, a sort of “modern Slovenian hayrack”. The building is intended for dispensing honey, sorting, handling and drying fruit, storage of crops and tools, while the spacious ground floor is intended as a meeting place to host partners from abroad and celebrate family events.
Although the client’s idea of a modern hayrack which would function both as a barn house and prominent protocol house seemed controversial at first, however, the idea revealed a great archetypal and development potential, which is inherent in the architecture of a hayrack in Slovenian cultural awareness. Professor Marjan Mušič compared hayracks with Greek temples due to their architectural purity and antique origin, as well as monumentality, derived from pure form. In terms of size, position and importance, the hayrack was a central structure of a homestead and the source of livelihood in general. This is where their almost sacral character stems from.
The beauty of hayracks should not be sought in luxurious décor but rather in their proportions, harmony of strict lines, functional credibility and installation in space, giving their surroundings a monumental character. This concept originates in the Antiquity and still has the expressive power for the modern times and new tasks.
The building was placed at the end of a ‘pier’, which concludes the site of the small village and from it panoramic views of the picturesque surroundings open up. Together with the residential building and the wooden pavilion this plot of land forms a large inner grassy courtyard of the homestead. The building has a semi dug-in basement, a ground floor and the attic. The construction basis is similar to that of the double hayrack with stone corner pillars. The corners of the new building feature four strong corner pillar structures, with a 12 meter bridge construction placed in between, thus allowing large unified spaces on the ground floor and in the attic. The construction is reinforced concrete with steel roofing.
The basement, accessible via pathway directly from the farm land, is designed for dispensing and storing honey, pressing and storing fruit, storing tools and similar. The basement also features a heat pump for heating and cooling the building, as well as a basement bathroom with a sauna.
The ground floor of the building is almost empty, which is similar to a hayrack. There is also a handy open kitchen, a fireplace, the entrance hall and a staircase connecting all three floors. The ground floor is glazed with large sliding doors which can be open wide and connect the ground floor with the natural environment or the backyard.
The first floor is mostly empty. In the summer the large space is intended for various farm chores, whereas in the winter time it is used as a billiard room and fitness. The first floor also features a mini guest bedroom with bathroom and a storage room.
The dimensions, appearance, colour and logic of inner division of the building are based on the tradition of the hayrack. The dark façade looks similar to old wooden barnhouses in the immediate surroundings and also allows a discreet inclusion of the photovoltaic roofing into the basic volume of the building. Due to the photovoltaics on the roof, the snow guards are replaced by wide jutting roofs placed above the ground floor openings. The interior is covered with bright ash tree panels which gives the impression that the interior is hollowed from a single piece of wood. Furniture is simple and accents clean lines of the spaces.
Even though the building is intended for agricultural activities of the homestead it is also an elegant »protocol« and symbolic architectural creation. With it the owner wishes to express a respectful attitude towards Slovenian cultural heritage and Slovenian constructional and architectural tradition and to the way in which buildings are placed into the environment. The bold construction of large spans which strikes us with hayracks also gives this new building an air of nobility, in harmony with the picturesque landscape of the surrounding pastoral scenery.
From Henning Larsen Architects. “Architecture is the opposite of the coca-cola-principle,” says Louis Becker, director of Henning Larsen Architects, in this interview with Louisiana Channel. He continues by explaining that architecture is, first and foremost, about seeing things grow. With architecture your dreams become physical: “We are building our ambitions for society.” If architecture was separate from life and society, it would be an uninteresting form and space. The inside of a building must have a relation to the outside; there has to be a dialogue between the life and hope inside, and the city as a whole.
Architecture is also a merger of cultures and ideas. Scandinavian ideas of transparency, democracy and equal access affect the way Henning Larsen Architects approaches architecture. But, at the same time, it is very important to think of what is necessary in the nature, culture and climate that you are working with. “When two different ways of seeing the world meet, that’s when something interesting happens.”
In this video, Becker explains these ideas in relation to two very different projects, one in Saudia Arabia and The Harpa Concert Hall in Reyjavik, Iceland (which was made in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson and won the prestigious Mies van der Rohe award in 2013).
Louis Becker (b. 1962) is a Danish architect and Principal Partner at Henning Larsen Architects. In 2008 Becker was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Department of Architecture and Design at Aalborg University. In 2011 he received the Eckersberg Medal by the Academic Council, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts as a recognition of his achievements of putting Danish architecture on the world map.
Louis Becker was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner Filmed by Jakob Solbakken Edited by Martin Kogi Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014 Supported by Nordea-fonden
Spanish firm Ensamble Studio has always captivated me with the high level of experimentation found in their built works. Their construction processes are unique, and their projects elegantly explore the tension between structure, matter and space with impeccable technical execution–as seen at the award-winning Hemeroscopium House’s delicately balanced intersected prefab elements.
From the small Truffle in the Mediterranean coast, to the delicate roof of the Cervantes Theater in Mexico City, their work is always reinterpreting materials. The Cervantes Theater roof, for example, stands elegantly between projects by FR-EE and Chipperfield, marking the location of an underground venue below through a carefully balanced steel structure. From certain angles, though, one sees a laminar structure that lets light pass through.
In this interview Antón tells us that architecture is part science, part poetry, and that Ensamble has found success by treating their practice as a laboratory, academy and consultancy company. Read the full transcript after the break.
ArchDaily: What is Architecture?
Antón García-Abril: Architecture is about constructing–putting parts together and providing some kind of order. This order has spatial consequences and to go beyond this through a poetic or spiritual approach of these spatial consequences is what we can call architecture as “the art of building.”
ArchDaily: What should be the role of architects in society?
Antón García-Abril: The architects need to serve the public, the communal needs and some desires of the people. I think this role is a generous mission that architects have to give to society.
ArchDaily: What is the importance of innovation in your office?
Antón García-Abril: Innovation is the basis of architecture. innovation is our daily practice; innovation is our substrate and our goal. This innovation could be materialized in a built project or as just part of this base over which we maintain our office. I also think that architecture is not about design. Architecture is about innovation and finding the opportunities to transfer this knowledge to society.
ArchDaily: What is the importance of networking for your office?
Antón García-Abril: It’s a very efficient system to optimize the individual work and talent. It’s not about growing, the way architects should work. It’s about being able to connect with other people’s minds, abilities and sensibilities. So I think [networking] is essential to understand contemporary practice and research in architecture.
ArchDaily: What is the importance of the internet for your work?
Antón García-Abril: I think the internet is something essential to understand that interface where we receive the information that we need, and also that we project our work. It’s has a bi-directionally that makes it so efficient and so interesting. In practical terms, it is a tool that has made possible the de-localization of the physical space of knowledge. It’s essential to understand our world.
ArchDaily: What would you recommend to someone who wants to study architecture?
Antón García-Abril: Life is what shows and teaches the most to an architect–to be able to complete this vision of the contemporary world. In terms of education I think that a young student also needs inspiration: inspiration from the professor that would show him the science that is beyond architecture and also the poetry that is part of architecture.
ArchDaily: What can you tell us about running an architecture office?
Antón García-Abril: I don’t think running an architecture office is different from running another kind of business. To work with the things that you are willing, you need to move, you need to carry on and be active. You cannot stop. And maybe the particularity of an architecture office is that it’s something between a lab, an academy and a consultant company. All that can be a contemporary office. In our case, the lab is a physical lab, an outdoor lab that we construct. The academy is all the research that we share with different schools with the research projects we do in-house. And the consultancy is the service that you have to give and deliver to those that require your projects. All these different activities could be the particularities of an architecture office today.
In this article originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Urban Hopes, Urban Dreams“, Samuel Medina reviews a new book on the work of Steven Holl in China. Focusing on five major projects, the book places Holl’s work in the wider context of his urbanistic influences – including ideas from his own early paper architecture that are just now resurfacing.
Steven Holl is the rare architect whose concepts are equally known as his buildings. Chalk that up to Holl’s prolific output, in both buildings and monographs, and his knack for branding his ideas. Urban Hopes: Made in China (Lars Müller, 2014), a condensed reader on Holl’s latest work in China, is the latest in a stream of small books that have continually repackaged the architect’s growing body of work.
Anchoring and Intertwining appeared in 1996 and expounded on architectural themes and spatial notions only partially evinced by his work up until that time. In both, the buildings were few and far between, scattered between pages imprinted with “paper architecture,” the primary outlet for Holl’s creative energies in the prior decades since his move to New York in 1976. These and more titles were followed up by Parallax in 2000, a blend of philosophical, scientific, and poetic references that invest the architecture with the aura of the Gesamtkunstwerk. Holl’s idea of “porosity” made its debut here, if prematurely, where it was applied rather literally to Simmons Hall at MIT and its sponge-like facade. It wasn’t until a few years later, when the architect first got his feet wet in China, that the concept would be baptised as a core tenet of 21st-century urban design. 2009’s Urbanisms advances as much, while further recapitulating the big ideas of the previous book installments.
Read on after the break for the review of Urban Hopes
The large-scale visions Urbanisms presented were still tentative, as nearly all were unbuilt or, for those sited in China, under construction. With Urban Hopes, the ratio of built-to-unbuilt projects is skewed towards the former. The volume centers around five urban complexes planned for different cities all over China, three of which have been since completed and are open to the public. According to Holl, they exemplify five points of the short, self-styled “manifesto” that opens the book and which could be titled ‘Towards a Geopolitical Architecture.’ The homology to Le Corbusier’s founding five points of modernism is, of course, intended, but perhaps not unfounded. The ghost of Corbu has long haunted Holl’s architecture.
Nevertheless, each point adequately captures the novelties of Holl’s Chinese work, even if it seems that he hurried the muse with the nomenclature this time round. The ideas come off as rather bland; categories such as “Space Formation,” “SuperGreen & Urban,” and, yes, “Idea” are simultaneously opaque and commonplace. The first and the fourth points, “Hybrid Buildings” and “Anchoring,” are more evocative and come across most forcefully in the built work, as at the Linked Hybrid in Beijing and the Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen. Both, along with the striking Sliced Porosity Block in Chengdu, were built in the last five years and easily rank among the best new buildings in China. Together, they represent some of the most adventurous and daring architectural projects of the young century.
It’s ultimately redeeming for Holl that the germ of these projects can be found in his erstwhile “utopian” and speculative plans of the late 80s. The irony, at least, isn’t lost on him: “The exploration of strategies to counter sprawl at the periphery of cities and the formation of spaces rather than objects, were primary aims of our ‘Edge of a City’ projects made between 1986 and 1990.” The ideas were long in place, but their implementation evaded Holl for 20 odd years.
China’s building boom and the country’s rising class of elites gave Holl the chance to dig out his youthful proposals and update them for a new millennium. The forms are familiar— “boxy” still prevails—but the “super green” gizmos are new. These include subterranean geothermal wells used to heat and cool the complexes, recycled water systems, PV roof panels, and more than an ample amount of green lawning. Just as important as a building’s performativity, Holl says, is its ability to meaningfully delineate and create urban space. “All of these projects,” he explains, “share urban ambitions: the ideals of pedestrian orientation, public open space formation, juxtaposition and variety of urban programs and super green architecture.”
Holl boils this soup down into the all-too-suggestive term of “social condenser,” a concept well familiar to students of architecture. Originally coined by the Soviet Constructivists to describe the sociological thrust underpinning their collectivist housing blocks, the phrase has been co-opted by architects ever since. What they, and Holl, really mean isn’t a radical restructuring of housing types, but instead a spatial model that’s aspiringly urban. This is clearly reflected in the plan and section of the Sliced Porosity Block. The complex, in the heart of Chengdu, consists of five irregularly shaped, interconnected towers clustered around a large central square, whose section reveals three distinct plazas. A shopping mall sits directly beneath one of the plazas and can be glimpsed through a shallow glass pond. Shops are located at the periphery, while offices and apartments loom overhead. Three art installations—one by Holl, another by Ai Wei Wei, and the last by the late Lebbeus Woods—are embedded in the crevices and leftover spaces between the towers. The act of walking through the “Block,” ascending its heights, crisscrossing its public spaces, and descending down into its subterranean mall constitute a real urban experience. Holl might be right in calling it a “city in a city.” (Not coincidentally, a new exhibition under the same name and devoted to Holl’s China works is currently open at the Schindler House in L.A.)
The remaining two projects explored in the book are harder to pin down. Where Linked Hybrid aspires to the rationalized urbanity of Rockefeller Center, and the Sliced Porosity Block imagines a futurist San Gimignano, these unrealized projects don’t have any clear urban precedents or reference points. The Tianjin Museums, designed for a new city currently under construction at Bohai Bay, breaks from the rectilinearity of Holl’s other China projects to embrace the sculptural. The twin museums, one devoted to ecology and the other to planning, resemble gigantic jigsaw pieces, as designed by Jean Arp. The Tropical Porosity Plan eschews ordering principles for something altogether different. Drafted in 2011 for Dongguan in southern China, this “city” is a Hedjukian collage of types planned for 7,000 people. The fanciful structures are laid out in a seeming haphazard manner, hemmed in only by the site edges. If built, it will be the densest collection of Holl’s architecture anywhere in the world.
If there is a quibble to be had with the book, it is its insistence on insinuating Holl’s cannon within a heritage of architectural precedents that don’t quite fit. Two essays bracketing either end of the bulk of the study (i.e. the buildings) are superfluous, while diagrams spuriously relate these massive urban complexes to the street layouts of the West Village or the urban compositions of medieval Italian “cities.” The end result feels forced. That said, an introductory essay about Chinese ink wash paintings and their influence on Holl’s own watercolors brilliantly supplements the photography of the built work. The inclusion of Lebbeus Woods’ “Slow Manifesto,” also, is as touching as it is timely. “The new cities demand architecture that rises from and sinks back into fluidity,” wrote Woods. The urban conditions of the 21st-century will need visionary architectural proposals like Holl’s, or that’s the implied suggestion. For Woods, new technologies and political conditions will produce “architecture drawn as thought it were already built—architecture built as though it had never been drawn.”