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Friday, 29 May 2009

AIA and ALA Name Library Award Winners

The American Institute of Architects has just found a partner to assist in its award-giving: the American Library Association is teaming with the AIA to present the organization’s biennial Library Building Awards.The AIA and the ALA has honored eight firms this year for the top library designs among licensed U.S. architects. The awards will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on July 13th.Winners include Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects for the Minneapolis Central Library, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects for the University of California Berkeley's C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Perkins Eastman for the Chongqing Library in China, and 1100 Architect for the NYPL Francis Martin Library in Bronx, New York. Also honored are Richard + Bauer Architecture, Pei Partnership Architects, Marlon Blackwell Architect, Gould Evans, and Wendell Burnette Architects.This year's jury consisted of Douglas Ashe of Ashe Broussard Weinzettle Architects, Robert M. Woodruff Library's Charles Forrest, Sarah Graham of AGPS Architecture, Johnson County Library's Donna Lauffer, professor Claudia Morner of the University of New Hampshire, and Ann Voda of Bentz/Thompson.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Aedas designs the Empire Island Tower in Abu Dhabi

Empire Tower was challenged through a client request of not "pushing the limits" too far. The concern is that the residential project was located in the middle of a masterplan filled with potential icons. The design standardizes the units to accommodate the client request but manipulates the section to develop a very dynamic solution, which holds its own amidst the visual clutter of its neighbors. This was deemed important for the financial viability of this project that is dependent on presales within a very competitive market. The design maximizes the towers presence on the street with vertical layers spreading out to the property lines. The building then bends back away from the street across from a large commercial tower allowing for an enlarged view corridor between the central park of the community and the sea, one block away. The splayed vertical layers converge while rising up before bending forward together as the 230meter tower rises toward the sky and maximizing its views between the park and sea.

Jean Nouvel's design of the Tower Verre in New York City

With his design for the Tower Verre, Jean Nouvel proposes to take the strict respect of the zoning envelope to the point where its shape becomes the tower itself. Governed by its legal envelope and the steel framing needed to withstand the wind loads, this structure is as unique and singular as the parcel it stands on. From close up, its receding stealth geometry makes it surprisingly discrete and unobtrusive for its height. Seen from Central Park, the bridges and most locations on the river banks, its triangular silhouette stands out and is very recognizable in the Manhattan skyline, inscribing the MoMA unmistakably as one of New York’s most famous and successful cultural institutions. The fa├žades of the tower are a structural glazing in standard glass dimensions and the bracing structure follows the simplest and most economical geometry. Living inside this building feels like inhabiting a power fully present and reassuring structure, similar to that of a large tree. The tower draws its shape from the desire for more daylight in the streets and the same daylight feeds its solar panels with energy. Its character is the structural expression of the wind bracing and the same wind moves its Aeolian turbines. The solar panels and wind turbines fill the narrow triangular top section, putting its unusually thin silhouette to a reasonable use. This tower is a monument to the rules of shadow and light, and to the forces of the wind.

New look headquarters for Harley Davidson

Tony Owen NDM Architects have designed the new Australian headquarters for Harley Davidson as part of the new West Lane Cove business park. The building has been designed as an iconic gateway to the site. The architects sought to design a building that reflects the uniqueness of Harley Davidson, which is not simply a brand, for many it is an entire lifestyle and attitude.
For design inspiration they looked to the bikes themselves; their emotion and efficiency. The geometry of the engines and frames can be seen in the lines of the building. The building does not copy them, however, it suggests this movement and style.
The brief for the building was a reflection of the Harley Davidson culture, giving as much emphasis to the gymnasium and break-out areas as the office and storage space. The building has been designed to reflect this; with the location of all of the recreational and break-out areas near the entry. You enter into a central mezzanine. From there you can see all of the areas that reflect the Harley lifestyle. You can also look down into the technical and training areas. You are immediately aware of what Harley Davidson is all about.
The facility will contain administrative offices, technical training and storage facilities for the iconic motorcycle company. The landmark building will form the striking centrepiece for a new high-tech business park on the Lane Cove River, currently being developed by Demian Pty Ltd.
The business park will provide 41,000m2 of prestige commercial and industrial space on a picturesque bushland site, adjoining the existing industrial zone in Lane Cove. The site is zoned for industrial uses and the master plan is currently being assessed for approval.

The Legs, Middle East

"The Legs" was conceived to challenge the convention of high-rise construction and structural limitations which has restricted its own evolution. The project consists of a 5-star hotel, service apartments, residential and offices. The service apartment and hotel both wanted to have the higher floors for views but also can share the lobbies and amenities. The offices and residential components are the financial base for the project which could occupy the lower floors. It was decided that express elevators could take guests up to a sky lobby system for the upper components and then could transfer to their own cores. The design utilises a system called “an exo-skeleton”. This structural approach is based on a tube and uses the skin of the building as the structure and thereby not dependent on the core. The project pursues these two basic principles to produce two legs which bend and sensually interlock around each other. One leg reaches over 330m with the hotel on top. Both legs are organically contained with a structural stocking and linked discreetly in the centre with a sky-bridge connecting the upper lobbies as well aiding the project structurally. The result is two legs which reach into the sky and seem to defy gravity, creating a project which is not only unique for the Middle East but for the entire region of U.A.E.

Construction begins at Abu Dhabi's new cultural beacon

A ceremony attended by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan marked the start of construction yesterday at the site of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum to be built in the capital city. In recognition of the importance of the event, the two world leaders accepted a time capsule for the museum from children of both the UAE and France.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is sited at Saadiyat Island's new Cultural District, developed as the world's largest single concentration of premier cultural institutions.
“Abu Dhabi’s ultimate goal in creating the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and indeed the entire Saadiyat Island Cultural District, is to build a platform for deeper and more meaningful exchange among people from our own region and from all parts of the globe,” stated Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. “We move forward today with warm gratitude toward the people and government of France for joining us in the unprecedented cultural partnership that is creating the Louvre Abu Dhabi.”
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a 24,000 sq m complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals 'evoking the image of a city floating on the sea'. Hovering over the complex will be a form inspired by traditional Arabic architecture: a vast, shallow, perforated dome—some 180 metres in diameter.
A presentation of Nouvel's design, an illustrated talk and a guided tour of selected artworks to be displayed will be presented through 2 July in Gallery One of Emirates Palace. The building is set for completion in 2012/13.

Kuwait office development, short listed for MIPIM award

An Atkins Bahrain project, the Al Sharq office complex, has been short listed for the 2007 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Award - Offices category. The 180m tower will cover an area of 56,400sq.m. Commissioned by Al Mar & Aqar, the complex combines work and leisure, internal and outside spaces, and offers a variety of scenarios for business within a sustainable and environmentally responsible design. Hovering above a glass fronted entrance is a podium with a sky garden food court. Office spaces are hung from a pairing of parallel blades topped at roof level with a gym, spa, health club and pool. Floating above this pool deck is a suspended high-panoramic views. Solar panel cladding contributes to the green building’s energy needs while the foliage camouflage provides office workers a place to step outside and recharge.

Integrated sports centre honoured at AIA Top Ten Green Projects awards 2009

The Charles Hostler Student Center by VJAA in Minneapolis on the campus of the American University of Beirut has been commended by the AIA as one of the Top Ten Green Projects for 2009. The awards recognise projects as examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment.
According to the AIA the Centre, "provides a model for environmentally responsive design that meets the social needs of the campus and the larger region." Situated on Beirut's seafront and main public thoroughfare, the new 204,000 sq ft facility accommodates competitive and recreational athletic facilities for swimming, basketball, handball, volleyball, squash, exercise and weight training. The space also includes an auditorium with associated meeting rooms, cafeteria with study space, and underground parking for 200 cars.
The program is organized as a cluster of interior and exterior spaces rather than a single building, allowing the building forms themselves to redistribute air, activity and shade. The east-west orientation of the building forms helps to shade exterior courtyards, reducing the amount of southern exposure. The orientation also directs nighttime breezes and daytime sea breezes to cool outdoor spaces.
Green spaces on the rooftops allow for a more pleasing physical and visual integration with the upper campus, providing usable rooftop areas for activities and reducing the amount of exposure to the sun. Usable program area on the site is increased through shading and ventilation of outdoor spaces.

Leading the way in sustainability, ten projects by American firms

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2009 National Convention and Design Exposition in San Francisco.
The 2009 COTE Top Ten Green Projects program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.
“In architecture, performance and aesthetics are inextricably linked. The COTE Top Ten is one
of the very few awards that evaluates performance and design,” said jury members. “Other awards and organizations look strictly at performance without care for how a building looks.”
The winners are:
Charles Hostler Student Center, Beirut, Lebanon by VJAA
Gish Apartments, San Jose, CA by OJK Architecture and Planning
Chartwell School, Seaside, CA by EHDD Architecture
Great River Energy Headquarters, Maple Grove, Minnesota by Perkins+Will
Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC), Evanston, Illinois by Ross Barney Architects
Portola Valley Town Center, Portola Valley, CA by Co-Architects: Siegel & Strain Architects; Goring and Straja Architects
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Orange, Texas by LakeFlato Architects
Synergy at Dockside Green, Victoria, British Colombia by Busby Perkins+Will Architects Co.
The Terry Thomas, Seattle, WA by Weber Thompson
World Headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Yarmouth Port, MA by DesignLAB Architects

Coop Himmelb(l)au designs the BMW Headquarters in Munich

The BMW Group is planning in close proximity to their headquarters and the Olympiapark in Munich a center for brand experience and vehicle delivery. The main element of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU design proposal is a large, permeable hall with a sculptural roof and the double cone which emerges in relation to the existing headquarters complex. The hall is a marketplace for differentiated and changing uses and an unmistakable sign for the BMW Group. The interior topography creates differentiated spatial densities and fluid subspaces. The heart of the building is the "Premiere" vehicle delivery area. Hanging above this space are the customer lounges which allow views through the event space and toward the BMW headquarters.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

petra architects: 'blossoming dubai'

Greek firm petra architects have designed 'blossoming dubai' for their proposal forthe zaabeel park tall emblem structure competition.they based their design on the form of a blossoming flower. the tower is equipped with two elevators running on spiral rails (spiral of the most simple geometry turning 135 degrees while ascending 138 meters). these lifts ascend from lower ground floor (where the visitors enter) to the cafeteria level and the viewing platform above. apart from the previously mentioned elevators that can cover all visitor access (including disabled access), there are also two staircases fitted in the spiraling elements of the building. the latter can be used on an emergency case.spaces:main building access is on the ground floor and through the two symmetrical structures located on each side of the tower’s base. one of the structures houses the children’s library while providing (through skylights) an excellent view of the tower above. the children have the chance to use both the enclosed library as well as part of the park outside. the conference rooms are located on the lower ground floor offering a more controlled environment. all thisarea is flooded with natural light from skylight-like holes on the ground above while framing views of the tower. the building’s cafeteria is located 135 meters above ground and provides a 360 degree view of dubai and the surrounding zaabeel park. there are also two staircases connecting the cafeteria level with the viewing platform above providing a connection between the two.