Archive for December 27th, 2010

December 27, 2010

The future is a high-rise world

Philip Hopkins
December 22, 2010

AWARD-WINNING architect Thom Mayne is certain of one thing: city populations will continue to grow – and that will be good for architects.

Mayne, a winner of the Pritzker Prize – often referred to as the Nobel prize of architecture – says the tall apartment tower is about to come into its own. Big cities such as Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles and London have reached their boundary limits. For all cities, at some point, ”there will be no choice”.

”They are no longer serviceable and sustainable in terms of services, whether moving goods, people, energy or transport. You can’t say ‘I don’t like high-rise as a building type’. High-rise is the solution for intensification,” he told BusinessDay.

Mayne was in Melbourne as a guest of the Australian Institute of Architects for its international speaker series.

”The enormous scale involved, when the problems are going to become more complicated, more intricate – this will be good news for architects. It’s no longer about style … it will be about dealing with complex issues and an integral strategy.”

This revolution has now come to Paris, whose city centre architecture Mayne describes as the biggest open-air museum in the world. He has won the right to build the tallest building in Paris – the Far Tower at La Defense, just outside the ring road that encircles Paris’s historic centre. ”It’s been controversial there, but we just got it passed by the mayor,” he said.

”The idea of a city within a city is nothing new. You zone the place with areas of intensity and people make their choices. We live in a free-market society, but you can’t build without plans. They [buildings] don’t happen outside some connectivity …

”Paris is building a new subway around the freeway. At the stops they will change zoning, intensification … transport is a walk within three blocks.”

Mayne is considered one of the most innovative and influential architects. Apart from the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2005, he has won 25 Progressive Architecture awards and 75 American Institute of Architecture awards.

He sees demographic and lifestyle changes as big drivers of the move towards apartment living in cities. The new generation is getting married later, and living in the inner city. In his home town of Los Angeles, ”the suburbs are no use to them”. ”They don’t want the house, the backyard … they wanted activity, street life, cafes. It’s super good news for cities,” he said.

”Lots of these people will not take a ‘normal’ life. They will decide, ‘I’ll raise my kids in apartments, the cultural facilities are nearby’. You get a 21st century life. You get used to a certain amount of cacophony, and the multi-tasking, the energy that comes out of a city, the notion of being street-wise.

”As you get this first younger wave, x amount will stay in the city and they will choose to have their families and stay in the city. It’s in favour of urban development. It’s where you expect it to happen with the next generation.”

Mayne said he had noticed this difference in Sydney compared with when he first visited 15 to 20 years ago. ”Young people are down town, it’s full of life and good restaurants.”

His career reflects the dramatic changes in architecture as a profession. Aged 66, he represents the shift from working with a classic graphic board, pencil, the triangle and compass, to the age of the computer.

”With these simple tools, we made fairly complex things. We now operate on a computer and can make shapes and can distort them in a complex way, connect with another shape and interact with it, and do that three more times,” he said.

December 27, 2010

Viken Skog Headquarter / Stein Halvorsen Sivilarkitekter

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Viken Skog Headquarter - Stein Halvorsen Sivilarkitekter © Kim MüllerViken Skog Headquarter - Stein Halvorsen Sivilarkitekter © Kim Müllerplan 01 plan 01plan 02 plan 02plan 03 plan 03plan 04 plan 04section section

Architects: Stein Halvorsen Sivilarkitekter
Location: Hønefoss, 
Collaboration: Stein Halvorsen, Magnus Rynning-Tønnesen, Thomas Lykke Nielsen, Kjersti Poulsen, Beate Eikrem
Interior Design: Beate Ellingsen as
Landscape Architect: 
Builder: Viken Skog BA
Contractor: Tronrud Bygg as
Project Area: 2,275 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographer: Kim Müller

Viken Skog is formed as a large display window in order to present  both as modern construction material and as contemporary surface material – against one of the main roads to Oslo. The pine forest and the prepared  exterior starts the story. Blueberry and heather grow close to the building.

The high pine trees create an open filter between the main road and the building. The Glass prism stretches against the  and the road – and invites you into the mystery of trees. The main entrance gives a sense of walking through the darkest part of the forest and seeing the meadow open up – you meet the entire lobby area.

When the forest worker has left the forest, the logs remains in the ”battle field” in all directions, they are waiting for the next step in the process. Two solid logs – or walls – shape a constructive triangle and embraces a central area. In the middle of this area a cone is growing and shapes organic rooms – as the rooms between the trees in the forest.

In the open lobby you meet the bonfire that spreads a warm atmosphere – when sensing to bee in the middle of the forest. The cone’s growing through all floors – are exposed by the glass slit.

All elements and constructions, except the lift shaft, are in . Different sorts of  is used in accordance with qualities. Hard oak in stairs and on floors, light aspen on walls, light spruce in massive floor slabs – creating ceilings in the rooms down under.

Offices – with requirements of sound separation and visual abilities – are located in the more solid part, wings, while coffee places, meeting spots are located in the open triangular space in between. Meeting rooms – where new ideas are born – are located in the seeds, in the cone.

Between the pine trunks, between the different elements, new sights continuously open in the mystic of the forest. At the top of the cone is the board’s meeting room, where big decisions are made – under the star sky. The cone is also a constructive element, all floor slabs are fastened with visible brackets in the glass slits.

The office wings stands as separate volumes – also in the interiors. All elements are exposed as naked forms – as trees’ poetical expression of structure and energy source. The round penetrating wooden pillars have the pine trunks character and make sure that the massive  floor slabs come forward as branches.

The wild grown forest is transformed into contemporary constructions and surfaces. Simplicity expresses cultivated use of tree trunks on the outside. The story about the process, about our modern use of  – is exposed in both exterior and interior.

Vertical dividing plates are part of offices’ dividing walls and function as sun protection against low Nordic sun. Solid timber elements are exposed as naked pine trunks. Exposure to weathering through time leaves traces as patina. Seeds of the forest – exposed as a gilden cone in the dark nordic forest.

Although Viken Skog is a small office, it’s a landmark and a display window for future building materials, a future where sustainability and renewable resources will be in focus – also for architects’ work. Viken Skog is a pioneer building in use of , in use of constructive elements through many floors – a reminder that also the alchemist must be given sustainable free hands.

December 27, 2010

Luce Memorial Chapel / I.M. Pei

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Named after an American missionary of the late 19th century, the  was added to the campus of Tunghai University in . It was designed by Chen Chi-Kwan, an artist and architect, in collaboration with the infamous architect .

More on the  by  after the break.

Initially beginning in April of 1954, the construction of the  took place from September 1962 until November 1963. Upon culmination of the construction period, the Chapel ended up costing the university around $125,000 total.

Set on an irregular hexagonal base, the chapel occupies a site of 12,000 square meters of the campus, providing 477 square meters of floor area, including a nave with 500 seats, a chancel and robing rooms. The four manipulated planes that make up the walls of the church stretch 19.2m high, establishing a central focal landmark on the campus. was careful to design specific to the environmental context of , with walls made of reinforced concrete to provide earthquake stability and durability in the humid and typhoon-prone environment. Construction of the intricate and elaborate formwork was done locally by craftsmen. To work with the desired form, ribs reinforced the curvature of the surfaces and thicken as they descend, in order to prevent buckling of the materials.

The exterior of the chapel is covered in glazed diamond-shaped tiles that stand out against the sky and green backdrop of the university. The interior reflects similar diamond shapes, as the concrete coffers become thicker and the shapes gradually diminish in size as they near the bottom of the structure, since stresses are concentrated near the ground.

The upward extending swoop of the walls culminates in a steel cross, which marks the chapel as a sanctuary for students and professors of the university. The walls seem to stand independently of each other, but are actually connected by glazed slots and by small structural bow ties that are cast into the high ridge beams at the top near the ceiling.

Project Year: Planned in 1954, constructed from 1962-63
Photography: Anonymous BloggerPei Cobb Freed
References: Michael CannellLouise Slavicek

December 27, 2010

Contemporaine / Perkins + Will

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Contemporaine is a 28-unit condominium building located on a corner lot in the River North area of urban . The building consists of an eleven-story residential tower and a four-story retail and parking base. The sculptural quality of the tower and the articulation of its functional parts work to mediate the building to the varying scales of the surrounding context.

Photographs and drawings of Contemporaine following the break.Architects: Perkins + Will
Design Principal: Ralph Johnson
Project Manager: Dave Gutierrez and Nicol Chervenak
Technical Principal: Fereidoon Afshari
Project Designer: Bryan Schabel
Project Architect: Marius Ronnet
Specifications: Raymond Coleman
Additional Team Members: Curt Behnke, Cengiz Yetken, Nicolette Daly, Steve Santucci
Structural Engineering: C.E. Anderson & Associates
MEP & Fire Protection: McGuire Engineers
Civil Engineering: Terra Engineering
Mechanical Design Build Contractor: AMS Mechanical Systems
Electrical Design Build Contractor: New Aspen Electric
Plumbing Design Build Contractor: C.J. Erikson Plumbing Co.
Fire Prot. Design Build Contractor: US Fire Protection Illinois, Inc.
Client / Owner: CMK Development Corporation
Construction Manager: McShane Construction
Project Area: 96,000 sqf
Photographs: Steinkamp/Ballogg Photography

The mass of the tower is broken down by a series of slots scored down the façade with small cantilevered balconies. The east façade undulates to further break the mass as well as to provide more opportunities for views of the city skyline. Two concrete shear walls and the plane of the roof frame the design and provide a distinctive profile from Wells Street.

To bring the base to a pedestrian scale the structure of the parking garage is exposed with floor-to-ceiling glass between the floor slabs, similar to the tower above. On the north side of the building the dynamic expression of the sloped ramps leading to the upper parking levels adds relief and movement to the otherwise rectilinear structure.

At the entry corner the erosion of the mass, the projection of the cantilevered balconies above, and a 45-foot column, all reinforce the urban energy of the Contemporaine’s surroundings.

A narrow slot separates the base and tower, allowing necessary transfers of the building systems as the floor programs change from residential to parking. This detail also provides an aesthetic dialogue between the two elements and allows for a reading of the building as a series of combined parts of varying scales.The top of the tower is sculpted to offer large terraces for the penthouse units and a gesture to the surrounding skyscrapers.Typical floors at Contemporaine provide up to four condominiums with two and three bedrooms plans that can be combined to allow for larger units. Each unit has at least one private outdoor balcony. Unit sizes range from approximately 950 square feet to 2700 square feet.The condos offer open floor plans with large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass allowing natural light and dynamic views of the downtown skyline. Four penthouses on the top floors feature living spaces with 20 to 32-foot glass walls to further capture the daylight and the views.The building stands out from most of its contemporaries in the city. Through simple manipulations of modern materials—the sculpted mass, dynamic resident entry, and the texture of the window mullions—the building makes a strong statement on the cityscape.