Archive for May, 2010

May 31, 2010

Poland Pavilion in Shanghai World Expo 2010

Designed by Polish architects Wojciech Kakowski, Natalia Paszkowska and Marcin Mostafa, the basic facade of the Poland Pavilion appears incredibly delicate. The lace-effect exterior is actually based on the motif of folk-art paper cut-out or, as WWA put it, ‘a rendering of the motif, a transcription of an elementary aesthetic code into the contemporary language of architectural decor’. Whilst it may look immeasurably delicate, the facade has been constructed from impregnated CNC plotter-cut plywood with a steel substructure, making it deceivingly strong. WWA have stated that whilst they wished to present a pavilion that showcased the extent ‘of Polish design achievements’, it was imperative for them to create a structure that was intrinsically and unmistakably Polish. As such, their (almost feminine) design attempts to reinterpret old traditions, ‘by way of inspiration rather than replication’. The Polish Pavilion has the added bonus of being equally mesmerising by day and by night, and also from the interior and exterior. Visually striking during the day, at night, multicoloured lights seep through the extensively punctured facade with dramatic effect. From inside the structure, ‘the sun rays shining through…chisel, by light and shade, the space under the vault’, providing an equally impressive experience for visiting patrons. The basic form of the building can be compared to a folded sheet of card, with the wide adjacent ramp allowing visitor access to the roof, turning the entire structure into a huge exhibition space.

WWA Architects
Marcin Mostafa + Natalia Paszkowska

Client Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency
Collaboration Wojciech Kakowski, Maciej Siczek, Maciej Walczyna, Mikołaj Molenda, Maciej Burdalski
Area 2400 sqm
Year design 2007, construction 2010


In the contemporary world with its abundance of visual experience, with the pictorial language of communication reigning supreme, with the almost unconstrained and instant accessibility of iconographic material, an exposition piece of architecture will only be attractive insofar it can offer perceptual sensations attainable only through direct, unmediated exposure to out-of-the-ordinary, singular stimuli, insofar it can provide a quality of experience born out of the chemistry of inter-sensory stimulation. Given the nature of the exposition, the exhibition facility has to denote, by its esthetic distinctiveness, the country of origin, has to constitute, by the strength of its stylistic connotations, an evocative, recognizable and memorable cultural ideogram. In our design, the cultural idiom is primarily conveyed through the theme, the motif of folk-art paper cut-out. Or, more precisely, through a rendering of the motif, a transcription of an elementary esthetic code into the contemporary language of architectural décor. The transcription rationale was twofold. First of all, we did not wish the design to be literally folklorish, a mechanical multiplication of convention-approved set patterns. The intention was for the structure décor to draw on and make reference to tradition, but ultimately to be that tradition’s contemporary reinterpretation, a creative extension into the present day by way of inspiration rather than replication. Secondly, we aspired to make the structure in its own right, in a purely architectural dimension, a significant landmark, a showcase of Polish design achievements. That it should be an attractive, eye-catching exterior both in daylight, against the panorama of other Expo facilities, as well as a mesmerizing experience at night with the edifice drawn by the multi-colored light seeping through the cut-out patterns. And reversely, that it should provide inside visitors with comparable experience by shaping the outer skin patterning in such a way that the sun rays shining through would chisel, by light and shade, the space under the vault. The structure’s overall shape, with many slanting planes, on the one hand complements and rounds out, by the suggestion of a folded sheet of paper, the ‘cut-out’ narrative, on the other creates inside a geometrically intriguing and flexible space that can be creatively apportioned, by inner divisions, to different exhibition, performance and utility functions and uses.


The outside structure of the pavilion and its reflection in the proposed arrangement  of its inside functions  impose on the visitors taking and following a  route which is consistent  with the logic of the building. The entranceway – an interlude between an inside and outside body of the construction, is accessible from the square  marked out between the pavilions. The partial roof created by the fold  in the building, allows for arranging an open-air  restaurant  as well as for providing the queues of visitors a shelter  from the elements. The entrance opens onto the hall containing the information centre, a restaurant and a shop. Next the visitors proceed to the main, full-height exhibition area  of the pavilion. It is  the space painted with the light filtering through the cut-out patterns of the  elevation creating a ‘chiaroscuro’ effect. Consequently, the interior of the building  will create a background for scheduled  performances and presentations, e.g.directly connected with depicting the life of a typical Polish city.

Auxiliary functions have been designed in the lowest part of the building, under the ramp leading onto the rooftop.

Continuing the route the visitors enter the area of the exhibition proper,  devoted to the future of the cities. The wooden, ground-level floor is gradually rising, acquiring the form of terraced stairs and becoming an auditorium for performances taking place below. The stairs take the visitors  onto the mezzanine, where the exhibitions of Polish regions are to be located. Visitors on their way to the exit are passing by the restaurant and shop.


The outer layer of the elevation, with its characteristic design inspired by a traditional folk-art paper cut-out, is made of  impregnated CNC plotter-cut plywood mounted on steel construction modules with  steel substructure. Panel wall elements PC are mounted on the outer side of the modules. Both the exterior, entranceway  surface and the interior of the pavilion  will be covered with impregnated wooden flooring.

The choice of materials and the character of construction were to a large extent dictated by the idea of possible future reclaiming and recycling of the pavilion structure or its parts, e.g. by reconstructing it in one of the Polish cities after the closing of EXPO.

The colouristic effects were determined by the choice of plywood panels in natural wood colour. When the dusk falls the elevation will acquire different colours according to the changes of light penetrating  the cut-out patterns.


The entrance yard constitutes the integral part of the ground floor of the pavilion. The pattern of the exterior flooring divisions as well as the material used are continued inside the building.The form of outdoor and indoor furniture has been inspired by the elevation patterns.There is a conception of using the elements cut out from the elevation plywood for producing the furniture, in the form and material which will directly refer to the pavilion architecture.

May 31, 2010

Masdar Headquarters has been specifically designed to generate more energy than it consumes.

AS + GG’s energy-positive Masdar HQ to star at 2010 National Design Triennial

Masdar Headquarters, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is featured in the 2010 National Design Triennial, from 14th May until 9th January 2011, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.

Inaugurated in 2000, the Triennial series seeks out and presents the most innovative, forward-thinking designs at the centre of contemporary culture from the previous three years. The exhibition showcases design solutions that promote environmental stewardship, social equity, accessibility and creative capital in 134 projects from 44 countries.

Now in the early stages of construction outside Abu Dhabi, Masdar Headquarters has been specifically designed to generate more energy than it consumes. It is set to do so using an integrated approach that combines architectural form, passive energy-efficiency strategies and cutting-edge energy generation technologies. Its signature features include the world’s largest solar panel array and eleven soaring cone-like structures to give natural ventilation, introduce natural daylight into the interiors and provide structural support for the roof canopy.

Masdar Headquarters is to be the centerpiece of Masdar City – a carbon-neutral, zero-waste development. Masdar Headquarters is slated to host the executive leadership of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the developer of Masdar City, as well as the secretariat of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an international organisation promoting global use of energy from renewable sources.

Masdar Headquarters has been designed to fit this year’s Design Triennial theme, ‘Why Design Now?’ The show, which is presented every three years at the Cooper-Hewitt, explores the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields from architecture and product design to fashion, graphics, new media and landscape design. The exhibition examines why design thinking is an essential tool for solving some of today’s most urgent problems. Key developments across design disciplines will be presented through eight themes: energy, mobility, community, materials, prosperity, health, communication and simplicity.

Adrian Smith, of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the National Design Triennial. It’s a wonderful acknowledgement of our work and we’re extremely proud of it.” His partner, Gordon Gill, added: “Being represented in this exhibit at the Smithsonian is a great thing for our firm, for Masdar and for the cause of sustainable architecture around the globe. We’re thrilled.”

May 31, 2010

7,000 Miles Nonstop, and No Pretzels

…the bar-tailed godwits headed out over the open ocean and flew south through the Pacific. They did not stop at islands along the way. Instead, they traveled up to 7,100 miles in nine days — the longest nonstop flight ever recorded. “I was speechless,” Mr. Gill said.

May 31, 2010

Altstadt Garage Building / Lussi + Halter

Parking facilities are quite a challenge for architects, as we have seen on previous projects by X ArchitektenN+B Architectes and Guilherme Machado.

Architecture photographer Leonardo Finotti shared with us the Altstadt Garage Building by Swiss architects Lussi + Halter, a “quiet” project that reveals itself to the city during the night.

More photos after the break.

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

© Leonardo Finotti

May 29, 2010

PETER ROOTEphemicropolis 2010

100,000 Staples
Approx floor area 600x300cm

Stacks of staples were broken into varying sizes from full stacks about 12cm high down to single staples. These stacks were then stood up and arranged over a period of 40 hours.

you can watch the video here:

May 29, 2010

BlackBox Studio

Ross Wimer & Keith Besserud, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, USA

May 24, 2010

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