MAD designs China Wood Sculpture Museum in Harbin
Monday, 10 January 2011 08:25
Beijing based architecture firm, MAD, unveiled yesterday their new museum for Chinese wood sculptures in Harbin. As the main city of Northern China, Harbin is in the process of defining itself as a regional hub for the arts at a time when the historic city is rapidly expanding.
MAD-NMWS-02Inspired by the unique local winter landscapes, the museum is a contrast between the elegance of nature and the speed of daily life. Its 200 meter long body is shaped as a frozen fluid that reflects and explores the relation between the building and the environment.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 09:32
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Steven Holl Architects - Horizontal Skyscraper / Vanke Center in Shenzhen, China
Monday, 24 January 2011 00:00
Horizontal-Skyscraper-Shu-He-03
© Shu He
Hovering over a tropical garden, this ‘horizontal skyscraper’ – as long as the Empire State Building is tall - is a hybrid building including apartments, a hotel, and offices for the headquarters for China Vanke Co. ltd. A conference center, spa and parking are located under the large green, tropical landscape, which is characterized by mounds containing restaurants and a 500-seat auditorium.

The building appears as if it were once floating on a higher sea that has now subsided; leaving the structure propped up high on eight legs. The decision to float one large structure right under the 35-meter height limit, instead of several smaller structures each catering to a specific program, generates the largest possible green space open to the public on the ground level.

Suspended on eight cores, as far as 50 meters apart, the building’s structure is a combination of cable-stay bridge technology merged with a high-strength concrete frame. The first structure of its type, it has tension cables carrying a record load of 3280 tons.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 08:28
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John Hancock Tower in Boston selected to receive AIA Twenty-five Year Award
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 14:26

Award recognizes an architectural design that has stood the test of time for 25 years

The John Hancock Tower in Boston, designed by I.M. Pei & Partners, has been selected to receive the 2010 AIA Twenty-Five Year Award.   The John Hancock Tower has demonstrated excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards.  The 2011 Twenty-five Year Award will be presented at the AIA National Convention in New Orleans.

Thirty-five years after its dedication, the lean, rhomboid reflective glass tower designed by Henry Cobb, FAIA, continues to dramatize this classic architectural question of aesthetic balance.  Built on a small site adjacent to some of Boston’s greatest architectural assets, the tower had to be massive enough to accommodate the owner’s requirements, yet absolutely mindful of its delicate and historic surroundings.

Located in Boston’s historic Copley Square, the Hancock Tower continues to serve as an office building.  The 60-story, 790-foot reflective glass tower remains the tallest building in New England.  Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell, FAIA, said the tower is “one of the greatest office towers of the second half of the 20th century.”

Past Honors and Awards

The John Hancock Tower received an AIA National Honor Award in 1977.  In 1994 a Boston Globe poll of architects and historians rated it as the third-best work of architecture in Boston history, behind only Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, its two closest neighbors.  The John Hancock Tower recently achieved LEED Gold Existing Building certification for energy use, lighting, water, material use, and other sustainable strategies--some of them (such as ample use of natural light) a part of the original design.

In addition to the 2011 Twenty-five Year Award, the firm of I.M. Pei Partners, Architects, previously received the 2004 Twenty-five Year Award for the East Building, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Founding principal I.M. Pei, FAIA, received the AIA Gold Medal in 1979, and his firm was honored with the 1968 AIA Architecture Firm Award.
 
Clive Wilkinson Architects - FIDM San Diego Campus in San Diego, California

Thursday, 20 January 2011 00:00

This project is a wonderful example of design as a statement. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) is a private college with a thirty-five-year history of offering degrees directed at placing students in fashion, design and business. Having completed three previous major projects, the college asked the architect to create a new San Diego campus that represents the school’s progressive attitude towards education. The result is a space that is both non-traditional and tangibly centered around the value of design, appropriate enough for a school with just such a focus.
FIDM-San-Diego-03
Photograph © Benny Chan/Fotoworks
The project occupies the entire third floor of a high-rise office building. Comprising approximately 30,000 square feet, the space needed to accommodate all of the elements of the school’s main campus within the smaller footprint of a regional campus. To achieve this, the school is designed as a sequence of zones: a public entry zone; an educational zone housing classrooms, the library, and technology resources; and an administration zone for the school’s staff.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 08:34
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Architecture Billings Index Continues Positive Momentum
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 14:12
Three out of past four months have seen positive business conditions

On the heels of its highest mark since 2007, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) jumped more than two points in December.  As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. 

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 54.2, up from a reading of 52.0 the previous month.  This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, up slightly from a mark of 61.4 in November.


“This is more promising news that the design and construction industry is continuing to move toward a recovery,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. However, historically December is the most unpredictable month from a business standpoint, and therefore the most difficult month from which to interpret a trend.  The coming quarter will give us a much better sense of the strength of the apparent upturn in design activity. ”

Key December ABI highlights:


Regional averages: Northeast (55.3), South (54.8), Midwest (52.9), West (48.4)
Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (60.1),  commercial / industrial (52.7), institutional (50.6),  mixed practice (47.8)
Project inquiries index: 62.6
 
WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism - Barnard College Diana Center; New York City




Wednesday, 19 January 2011 09:17

The Barnard College Diana Center's site is set within an intimate campus compressed within the dense urban environment of Manhattan. Comprised of an eclectic group of predominantly brick buildings, the campus is focused around Lehman Lawn with disconnected landscape spaces at the periphery.
BarnardCollegeDianaCenter_AlbertVecerka1
Photograph © Albert Vecerka/Esto
Located between the Lawn and Broadway, the Diana Center unites landscape and architecture, interior and exterior spaces, presenting a window onto the College and the city. The 98,000 square foot multi-use building establishes an innovative nexus for artistic, social, and intellectual life on the campus. The facility brings together spaces for art, architecture, theater, and art history, as well as faculty offices, a dining room, and a cafe.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 09:21
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Claredale Street Housing in Bethnal Green, London
Friday, 14 January 2011 07:38
Claredale-Street-Housing-05
Claredale Street Housing, Karakusevic Carson Architects’ latest project in Bethnal Green, East London for Tower Hamlets Community Housing is now complete and has been awarded the Richard Feilden Award in the 2010 HCA Housing Design Awards.

The project is the first phase of the regeneration of the Mansford Estates and Peachey Edwards, providing 77 homes (40 of which are family homes) in an estate of over 700 residences in a deprived area of Tower Hamlets, East London.

The Estates are characterised by 1960s high-rise towers and lower-rise 5/8 storey blocks interspersed by ill-defined spaces and walkways open to misuse. Claredale Street Housing replaces Bradley House, a medium-rise 8-storey Brutalist block, introducing high quality mixed-tenure housing and greater permeability into the estate. Bradley House was part of a cluster block scheme designed by Denis Lasdun in 1957. One aspect of that scheme – the Grade II listed 16-storey tower Keeling House - has been retained following a radical renovation in 2001 and defines the eastern boundary of the site.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 January 2011 08:07
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