Archive for November, 2011

November 28, 2011

Infinite Free Iraqi Constitution Proposal | Manhal Al Habbobi

How can you condense more than ten thousand years of civilization into a single project that faithfully tells the story of a great nation? The answer is in the winning design of a prestigious architectural competition, to design the new compound for the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers in Baghdad. Zaha Hadid and more than 30 other international architects participated in this competition, won by the Iraqi Architect Manhal Al Habbobi (Master in Philosophy of Architecture) with his ‘CAP Emirates’ design.

The design concept evolved as a logical and natural outcome of the system approach, concluding that an ‘Infinite Free Iraqi Constitution’ would be the perfect translation for the objectives of the project, as it represents now the virtual ruler that it is to house and maintain.

The four stages of the concept’s evolution covered searching for a design statement that would convey the ‘raison d’être’ for the project; deciding on some characteristics within the statement that could be visually realized; symbolizing characteristics in a linear presentation, and finally, symbolizing a metamorphosing of form in a way that resembles the biological process by which a living creature physically develops after birth or hatching.

The architect suggests that if you can imagine a gigantic cylindrical seal, which was used in ancient Iraq as an administrative tool, engraved with all the significant features of Iraq’s past, present and future aspirations, that image is the design used to mark the ribbon connecting the land with Tigris River. Carved with the story of Iraq, the landscape of this ribbon evolved, through a process of metamorphosing, into splendid architectural spaces delineated by elegantly defined thresholds.

Manhal Al Habbobi goes on to say that in the future, if you happen to stand in front of a building that speaks to you and tells you that inside are people looking after the Infinite Free Iraqi Constitution, then you’ll know that you are in Baghdad in front of the General Secretariat for Ministers Council. Enjoy your stay!

November 28, 2011

China-Taiwan Master Plan for CBD | 10 Design

10 Design architects has recently been awarded a 93 ha Masterplan for a CBD in Pingtan, a New Cross-Strait District for  and It’s Trading Partner, . Pingtan is planned as a new commercial hub to drive communication and commercial trade between China and . Part of the competition included the design of a new Cross Straits Forum including theatre, convention, exhibition and auxiliary commercial and cultural facilities.

At the center of the CBD and Forum district is a newly created fresh water lake that conserves fresh water from run off through the urban grain. The masterplan caters for some 3.3 million sqm of urban development, while the Cross Straits Forum would be in the first phase of development.

To reflect the aspiration of transparency and dialogue the buildings are formed by converging elements that combine with the landscape and waterfront to create a fluid and open series of public spaces that meld into the buildings themselves.

Service traffic, roads and trams are integrated into a series of terraced landscape levels to minimize impact of car traffic on pedestrian circulation routes and to create free access from the central axial park canal through the lake towards the waterfront through a series of leisure and retail lined canals.

Architects: 10 Design
Location: Pingtan, China-Taiwan
Design Partner: Gordon Affleck
Architecture Team: Brian Fok, Francisco Fajardo, Frisly Colop Morales, Laura Rusconi Clerici, Lukasz Wawrzenczyk, Maciej Setniewski, Mike Kwok, Ryan Leong, Shane Dale
Landscape Team: Ewa Koter, Fabio Pang
Site Area: 93 hectare
GFA: 2,315,000 sqm
Function: China-Taiwan Cross Strait Forum Venue, Theatre, Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre, Auxiliary Commercial & Cultural Facilities, and 5-star Hotel

November 28, 2011

Shenzhen Archive Towers | Jaeger and Partner Architects

Jaeger and Partners Architects’ design for the Shenzhen Archive Towers recently received a Design Excellence Award in the AIA Chicago 2011 Design Awards program. This competition scheme was acknowledged in the Unbuilt Design Award category. Shenzhen’s Meiling District resides between City Center and new north railway station, forming an urban center with the Archive site at its heart. Creating an authentic urban space, the design unifies four parcels (city blocks) by removing dividing streets. Circulation is re-organized, thereby harnessed, by introducing a perimeter one-way street system. The enlarged spatial boundary establishes an appropriate scale and symbolic relationship with the City Plaza.

Defining the Archive precinct, a continuous floating perimeter block embraces four discrete volumes: three towers and a cube. This framework defines an internal landscape – an escape from city into garden. Circular green zones denote building entries inviting traversing pedestrians. Public functions, exhibition spaces and select retail reside under the permeable perimeter, encouraging through circulation and urban interface.

Discrete functional elements establish a new internal urban realm within the frame. The spatial focus – a carefully positioned cube contains public functions, exhibition hall, conferencing and archival information center. Inspired by traditional forms, three shimmering archival towers embody abstracted pagoda characteristics, symbolically protecting archive documents within. The ‘pagoda’ towers vary in height and façade treatment – creating individual identity expressing that different archives are internally stored. Shaped apertures strategically populate the double façade, protecting valuable contents, while creating an energy efficient envelope.

he 91,930sm project engenders a communicative quality, setting the Archive in dialogue with the surroundings

Architects: Jaeger and Partner Architects
Location: Shenzhen, 
Team: Johannes Jaeger, Wang Lingjiang, Matthias Wolff
Associate Architects: Saltans Architects_International, Ltd.
Client: Shenzhen Archives Bureau


November 28, 2011

Cinepolis Headquarters | KMD Architects

Architect: KMD Architects
Location: , Michoacan, 
Project area: 75,000 sqf
Construction cost: $25 million
Project Year: 2009
Owner/Tenant: Cinepolis
Photographs: Michael Calderwood

KMD Architects was selected as the winner of an International Design Competition for their design of the new Cinepolis Headquarters, the sixth largest “Multiplex” chain in the world and the leading theatre operator in Mexico.

The building is set on the top of a hill on the outskirts of Morelia, a booming city approximately one hundred miles west of the country’s capital. The new headquarter is a 75,000 SF low rise building articulated in a campus-like setting around a central tower.The composition is arranged in a four level solution that incorporates a strikingly bold design feature of two balancing volumes, which appear to defy gravity. Architectural and structural design are integrated into an iconic design which features cantilevers of up to 135 feet, which make it one of the world’s longest of its class.

Almost all the facades are built in aluminum profiles and transparent windows covered with a technology film to reduce heat from the sun without minimizing natural lighting from within.

The facility includes common employee amenities such as a cafeteria, and break rooms where staff can relax and interact during the day and enjoy open views of the landscape. The building is designed to be energy efficient in accordance with LEED standard guidelines, using natural lighting throughout and natural ventilation among other “green” features in order to respect the local environment setting.Paying close attention to the overall vision of the company, KMD provided a creative, forward-thinking work environment.

Cinepolis Headquarters

November 28, 2011

City Municipal Office Complex | ECDM Architects

ECDM Architects’ proposal is for a unifying building, a building that represents both the Mériadeck neighborhood and the old city, that participates in defining an urban landscape and carries the values of a society more open to its environment. It was therefore around the creation of an open space, a space of convergence and exchange that they wanted to organize the program, a space framing the city, organizing open programs and services around the borders, a space animated by its users and actors. It acts as a beautiful and lively space, where the dynamism of  is displayed for a close and urban administration.

The project is foremost about a relationship with the exterior, a proposal for a continuation of public space within the plan of the building. The city and the municipality are thought of as an amalgamation of spatial conditions. There is the potential to create a strong interdependence between the two: we are in one of the hearts of the city.

Here, more than elsewhere, the building must unify the city; it must be the structural element of a distended urban landscape that still suffers from the scars of modernity. In one direction a historic quarter of the city, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in the other direction Mériadeck, a urban idea increasingly anchored in the Bordeaux landscape to become an important element of the city, equally classed by UNESCO.

The uniqueness of the site, located between a town built-up through iteration, and a planned neighborhood, at the frontier of two radically different urban conditions, gives our building the role of an interface to unify two incoherent areas.

It is notably in front of the Galerie des Beaux-arts that we notice residual spaces, unstructured surfaces leftover at the boundary of the two regions, blanks left at the border of two separate urban conditions. Alignment and repetition have lost their framing role, gaps struggle to articulate discontinuous programs and typologies.

One of the major difficulties of the site was the orientation perpendicular to the Avenue d’Albret, a large parcel of land without joint ownership, upon which there is a risk that something severe and autonomous, existing between two voids, might be built. Our project is a urban response that balances the relationship between the two regions of Bordeaux. The building is situated perpendicular to the geometry of the site, in line with the Avenue d’Albret in order to build a relationship between two parallel parcels currently without a dialogue.

On three levels, a height of about 10 m, we have freed a large volume aligned with the Galerie de Beaux-Arts. This notch in the volume permits the development of a surface between our building and the Avenue d’Albret of about 40 m deep, and a length stretching between Rue Bonaffé and Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. It is a linear space that will follow the Avenue d’Albret. The historic town slips by the modern city and vice versa, a grid of trees will run along the avenue to extend the linearity of the public space.

Architects: ECDM Architects
Location: at the entry of Mériadeck, Bordeaux (33), 
Contractor: ADIM Sud Ouest
Net Area: 21 000 m²
Cost: 42 M € Before Taxes
Realization: 2011

November 28, 2011

CLC & MSFL Towers | REX

REX  proposal for two of ’s major financial institutions, CLC and MSFL, which chose to consolidate their new headquarters on a single site within ’s CDB. Although the planning regulations permit tall buildings on the site, the maximum allowable building area and the proposed combination of offices and retail seemingly dictate a perfunctory tower-and-plinth scheme. Instead, CLC’s and MSFL’s offices are organized into two highly efficient blocks with: an ideal 9 meter distance between core and façade; an entirely flexible, column-free plan; the largest floor area allowed by code and urban design requirements; and an efficiency ratio of 80%.

The ideal office blocks are raised to the planning regulation’s height limit to maximize their property value, views, daylight, and iconographic potential.

On the given site, a typical podium would compress retail and collective programs into an undifferentiated mass that would reduce property value, limit daylight, and eliminate most public space. To avoid this condition, the retail and collective programs are amassed into two billboards of attractors, providing each program a unique identity and amplified visibility. Further, maximum pedestrian space is reclaimed and a new, dynamic urban room is created to boost the vitality of Shenzhen’s CBD.

The two towers are shifted to make the best possible day-lighting relationships between them and their neighbors, and are sheathed in vertical fins of aluminum (CLC) and stone (MSFL) for self-shading and glare control. The resulting towers combine the clients’ desire to project the image of elegance, responsibility, and stability with their wish to stimulate innovation, creativity, and public engagement.

To create the desired typological duality in each building,each structure’s pair of concrete cores holds aloft a “launch pad” truss that supports a conventional high-rise gravity framing system and conventional office plans.

The launch pad trusses free the lower levels from normative structural constraints associated with high-rise construction. Hence, retail and collective functions can become an “ant farm” of highly individuated attractors.

Navigating Shenzhen’s complex urban design requirements, the lobbies and landscape wrest rare public space from an otherwise deplete CDB. The CLC & MSFL Towers playfully impregnate the elegance of Mies van der Rohe with the provocation of Archigram.

Architects: REX
Location: Shenzhen, China
Key Personnel: Adam Chizmar, Danny Duong, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Dongil Kim, Romea Muryn, Roberto Otero, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Lena Reeh Rasmussen, Yuan Tiauriman, João Vieira-Costa
Executive Architect: JET/AIM
Consultants: MKA, Transsolar
Client: CBD Leasing Company (CLC) and Minsheng Financial Leasing Company (MSFL)
Program: Headquarters buildings for two of China’s largest growing financial institutions, including owned and leased office space, operations halls, multi-purpose rooms, boutique and “big box” retail, high end dining, cafeterias, gyms, gallery, executive club, shared lobby, and parking
Area: 131,600 m² (1,416,000 sf)
Core & Shell Construction Cost: RMB 1.024 billion ($160.3 million)
Status: Limited competition, submitted 2011

November 28, 2011

Grödians | Richard Gibson Architects

Grödians, [a Special Mention for the RIAS/Andrew Doolan Best Building in  Award 2011], is a new-build social housing development comprising a mix of 1, 3 and 4 bedroom dwellings in flatted, semi detached and detached housing. It is the most recent of a staged housing development in the outskirts of Lerwick.

Architect: Richard Gibson Architects Ltd
Location: Lerwick, , Scotland
Client: Hjaltland Housing Association Ltd
Contractor: E&H Building Contractors Ltd
Quantity Surveyor: John Duguid Partnership
Structural Engineer: Mott Macdonald Ltd
CDM Coordinator: Michael Thomson Surveyor
Photographs: Phatsheep Photography and Richard Gibson Architects

DESIGN – The quality and principles of the design, as well as the high standard of the finish have set new benchmarks for the provision of housing in Shetland. As can be seen from distant and close contextual observation, Grödians has a strong identity within itself but also relates well and respects its neighbouring scale and boundaries. It provides a large part of the civic centre of Quoys and the neighbouring areas. Houses are orientated towards the street for improved access and security observation. Large windows to living areas provide good morning and afternoon light & sun. The houses were positioned closely to create shelter for habitants and to encourage tree and shrub growth for added shelter, reducing wind chill of houses and heating demand. A gavel frontage approach brings visual interest within the streets and makes reference to Lerwick’s distinct town centre gavel frontages. A distinct external colour palette was used to maintain a cheerful vibrancy from within and outwith the scheme particularly during the dark winter months, while complimenting Shetland’s natural colours.

ACCESSIBILITY & SPACE STANDARDS – All but six dwellings have fully compliant access throughout. Street gradients are virtually level with the link road being slightly steeper. The entire development is connected by foot path access on three corners of the site with wheel chair access to the majority of the development. Children can play in the street or the central green space with good overlooking provision from most kitchen or living rooms. Houses fully comply with Varying Needs, Secure By Design and Building Standards requirements for space, security and accessibility as required by the Client.

ENERGY & SUSTAINABILITY – Grödians exceeded P.A.N. 84 requirement to be 15% above the Building Standards’ baseline in terms of Energy and Carbon use. Air tightness testing has proved the houses are well above the housing standard. The development is served by the Lerwick district heating scheme, providing heat from incinerating rubbish. Open plan living areas provide flexibility in layout and can adapt as families grow. Ground level WCs can easily be adapted to form level access showers without reducing the WC size. People can live in these houses for the longer term, without having to move to/ build a new larger house. Although car use is prevalent on our island, parking is minimised by use of communal parking but will be sufficient should private ownership take over, negating the need for construction of extra spaces. The site is well serviced with a bus lay-by, local church, community facilities and a children’s play area with two grassed open play spaces on site. Three specially constructed recycle areas are situated within Grödians allowing residents to dispose of glass, tins, paper and plastic in separate containers. Excavated rock was reused extensively to construct stone retaining walls within the scheme. Timber kit construction was used as a sustainable, fast and familiar method in the harsh Shetland climate. Four of the five design consultants, contractor and sub contractors were local to Shetland which sustains local employment and maintains the high standard of the local skill base. It also minimises transportation and travel e.g. Carbon emissions to within the isles.

ROADS & UTILITIES – Based on the Homezone streets concept: makes for safer, more accessible environment for pedestrians to use with 15mph speed limit. Considered planter designs incorporated into road layout as visual & physical obstacles. Varied use of surface materials also bring visual richness and interest. All roads and utilities designed to higher adoptable standards of local authorities and utility providers.

OTHER COMMENTS – Initial tenant feedback to the Client has been very positive in terms of the design, layout and finish. Local councillors and MSP Tavish Scott have also commented on the high quality of Grödians. By providing over 100 local people with a home in their own area, it reduces unwanted relocation outwith Shetland. The Homezone aspect of Grödians is intended to cultivate more community interaction between residents. It has also allowed the local authority to provide a new children’s accommodation building in a “normal” setting within Grödians. Predominantly detached housing is favoured by residents and the client due to increased sense of ownership and reduced noise pollution between dwellings. The connection to, and support of the local district heating scheme benefits the residents of Grödians and the wider community of Shetland both economically and environmentally. Communal recycling points encourage environmental awareness and responsibility. By incorporating features such as heat recovery systems, underfloor heating, air tight & well designed and constructed houses, economic and environmental benefits are brought to the residents at Grödians, Hjaltland Housing Association and the wider community of Shetland on many levels.

Richard Gibson Architects Ltd retain copyright on all photo images, drawings and text forming part of this submission.


November 28, 2011

Guangfa Securities Headquarters | Jaeger and Partner Architects

The Guangfa Securities Headquarter, designed by Jaeger and Partner Architects, is a 308-meter tall class-A high-rise office building that will serve as the new landmark for the eastern portion of ’s new CBD. Its orientation is rotated slightly from the dominating orthogonal grid of the surrounding area to mark the site as a transformational pivot point of the urban fabric.

The gentle rotation of the tower, about 13 degrees, not only captures the view of the adjacent city park for an increased number of users, it foremost expresses its obelisk-like, sculptural character signifying the building’s role as a vertical terminus to Guangzhou’s skyline. As a counterpoint to the linear arrangement of the CBD, it embraces the expansive park within a suspenseful relationship and enhances its connection to the heart of the city.

Underlining the crystalline form, the tower’s corners are chamfered, with the corner glass surface tapering from the base towards the ‘waistline’ and then widening towards the top. At the base, this leads to the illusion of a tapering volume while the façade in fact is strictly vertical, in contrast to the façades upper portions, which are angled less than 1 degree. These subtle moves, together with the addition of the subtracted volumes on top, generate a slender and elegant proportion of the 61 storey high rise, and reduce the impact on the neighboring residential buildings’ views.

A 24-meter tall podium building complementing the tower adds human scale to the plaza and balances the overall composition of volumes. The podium building’s widely cantilevering shape acts as a majestic gate under which the visitors pass as they enter the plaza, making a visual connection to the park. The landscape design includes an expansive pool which extends the tower’s shape to appear continuing under the surface while providing a cool micro climate for the plaza.

The tower is divided horizontally into two zones. The upper part accommodates the Headquarter offices of Guangfa Securities, while the lower portion offers first class tenant space for companies in the financial industry. The tower core, designed for maximum flexibility and efficiency, employs a cross corridor which offers a wide variety of layouts for circulation and program. The headquarter offices are served by a sky lobby, which is conveniently accessible through a sophisticated vertical circulation strategy. This concept ensures a high level of floor plan efficiency as it allows for stacking elevator groups on top of each other in the same shafts, thus reducing the size of the core significantly. Additionally, the core is cut back in the upper third as one elevator group is discontinued, thereby compensating for the loss of area usually associated with tapered building shapes.

The two vertical zones are expressed by repeating the motif of a tapering base at the particular bottom of each portion. In the upper part, the recess appears to be carved out behind a transparent skin, generating the impression of a building inside the building. An internal façade covering the divergent base includes a media skin and defines a four storey high atrium space in the sky lobby.

The unitized façade system combines several measures for saving and generating energy in a functionally and aesthetically integrated approach. Low-E insulated glazing and a vertical sun shading system minimize heat radiation input while a gradient pattern of horizontal lines consisting of solar active layers on the glazing not only blocks suns direct radiation but simultaneously transforms it into electric energy. Solar cells are equally incorporated in the glazed spandrels which form the bottom of each façade unit and cover the elevations of the technical levels. Their tilted shape improves the efficiency of energy extraction significantly and facilitates decentralized natural ventilation.

The façade’s overall appearance gives the impression of a membrane being tautly stretched between the slender corner columns. In an expressive sensual manner, particular parts of the building are pronounced by sculptural forms emerging from the fins. At the sky lobby, the fins move along the inner façade to emphasize the repetition of the tapering base as well as forming a contrasting arc shape to the expression at the top levels. There, the fins gradually change form and emerge as braced supports to carry the curved glass covering the sky club. The repetitive arc theme offers homage to traditional forms of Chinese architecture. With the retreating movement of the facade at the entrance level an inviting gesture for visitors and tenants is given, while the opposite shape of the canopy provides shelter from the elements.

The Guangfa Headquarter Tower is currently going through the schematic design approval process and is scheduled to begin construction in spring 2012.

November 28, 2011


November 28, 2011

Bispevika Development in Norway | PUSHAK

Competition Entry for Bispevika Development in Norway 

The Bispevika mixed-use development proposal by PUSHAK maximizes the views of the harbor and integrates passive design methods to minimize energy use. The proposal is part of an invited competition that will conclude in January 2012.

Architects: PUSHAK
Client: HAV Eiendom
Location: Bispevika, , Norway
Project Size: 35000 sqm
Project Status: Invited Competition Entry

 proposes a 35000 square meter social hub on a former brown-field site in a Oslo harbor. Each mixed-use building opens up to the harbor and frames the view of the “species-rich” islands. The buildings wrap around a wooden terraced courtyards, providing play spaces and introducing the island-like nature into the site.

In order to satisfy code, 10 percent of the seawater will be treated in three floating basins, separating the courtyard from the public promenade. Due to the low water quality, the basins can be both closed and partially closed, allowing control of the water circulation. The basins will also be used by local restaurants for oyster, lobster and seaweed farming.

Passive solar heating is made possible with the geometry of the structure while a compact building strategy minimizes heat loss. The courts allow for natural ventilation in the summer and shield cold winds in the winter. Solar energy, seawater-based heat pumps and sustainable district water heating is also proposed.

Nearly all units have a private balcony or terrace. Semi-public pavilions further buffer the boundary of public and private while creating pleasant outdoor spaces. Common rooftop terraces provide all residences access to the ultimate views.