Archive for November 20th, 2011

November 20, 2011

Darling Quarter, Sydney | fjmt – Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp

Anew connection between the east and west of Sydney from fjmt


Darling Quarter is a 1.5-hectare precinct incorporating Commonwealth Bank Place, a new playground, children’s theatre, retail terrace and public park. This innovative public precinct includes a new east-west civic connector, linking Darling Harbour to the City, a north-south pedestrian boulevard along the western edges of the buildings with outdoor dining spaces for the retail tenancies and designated circulation pathways, a children’s theatre, open turf areas adjacent a grove of existing trees and a state-of-the-art playground.

The project provides a mix of commercial and retail functions, public domain improvements and sustainable architecture. Through considered integration with the city, the development emphasises the area’s viability: not only for tourist and leisure purposes, but as a key part of an expanded CBD, offering a diverse range of experiences.

Commonwealth Bank Place comprises two eight-storey Grade-A commercial office buildings with ground floor retail spaces and a 1000-sq-m children’s theatre in the North building. It is the new flagship campus for Commonwealth Bank of Australia and will house over 6,500 CBA employees. The total NLA is approx. 59,000 sq m with large and efficient contiguous floor plates. The four basement levels include 800 car parking spaces and 387 bike parking spaces.

Commonwealth Bank Place is a very different type of office building in a very special location. It is an architecture of human scale, natural materials and of a warmth of character appropriate to this very public parkland location. The long gently curving facade defines and enhances the public realm with a warmth and transparency unusual in any commercial building. The mullions are made of natural timber and irregularly spaced like rows of trees in a forest. Between these deep, profiled posts are adjustable timber louvres that control heat and glare automatically adjusted in relation to the position of the sun. Importantly this composed use of natural timber in layers behind very transparent glazing also creates a soft and warm backdrop to the tree canopies of the parkland.

November 20, 2011

Beijing CBD Plot Z15 | TFP Farrells

TFP Farrells designs new landmark for Beijing’s business district


The new ‘Z15′ Tower, located in the east of Beijing at the heart of the new CBD extension, will be the city’s tallest building at over 500m high, becoming an icon of the city and an emblem of China’s economic success.  The tower provides the focal point of a 30-hectare masterplan which will generate a thriving new district within the CBD. This masterplan includes 2,000,000 sq m of office space, six-star hotels, luxury serviced apartments and high-end retail – creating in effect a ‘mini-city’ which will be not just a place of work but a 24-hour living environment. The existing metro station and the new monorail transportation system are fully integrated into the masterplan, meaning that the site has excellent connectivity at both local and city-wide levels.

The 300,000 sq m tower itself includes Grade-A office space over 60 floors; 20 floors of serviced apartments, and an approximately 300-key/ 20-storey hotel, complete with state-of-the-art facilities. The tower’s elegant vertical curve will assist in maximising floor area at the top and provide structural stability at the tower’s base. The outward curve at the top of the tower brings to mind the floating kongming lanterns released at major Chinese festivals, whilst the overall form of the building takes inspiration from the hourglass shape of ancient Chinese zun wine vessels.

The site for the tower is located in the centre of a green spine of open space running through the CBD extension. Responding to this concept, the tower’s ground floor atrium is a public space, allowing pedestrian thoroughfare and public enjoyment of the building. In addition, the curved corners of the tower soften its shape to assist with pedestrian flow around the tower, whilst also reducing the wind load.

Z15 utilises the latest sustainable technology to tackle the demands of Beijing’s extreme seasonal changes, including ground source heat pumps and heat recovery systems. The design also sets ambitious targets for reducing water consumption by recycling grey water and collecting rainwater, and employs sustainable waste management systems.

The Z15 tower is set to become a new international icon of Beijing, symbolising the city’s prosperity and growth. It will also drive the creation of a sustainable mixed-use district within the CBD, which will be full of life and have a strong sense of place.

November 20, 2011

London Wall Place | Make Architects

Layers of site history permeate through contemporary design at London Wall Place

London Wall Place is a premium office scheme which replaces a 1950s podium and vacant tower with two landmark buildings. The original urban grain of the area will be reinstated, reconnecting this key section of London Wall with the life of the City of London and its wider context and enhancing the relationship between the existing historic structures.

A dual approach was adopted as a starting point – designing from both the outside in, and the inside out. A detailed study of the complex, multi-layered context of the site was combined with careful consideration of the quality of the environment for the building’s users.

Designed to accommodate constantly changing tenant needs and future environmental challenges, the buildings are easily reconfigurable. The highly flexible design takes the long term evolution of the structure into consideration and demonstrates true sustainability by minimising the disruptive impact of continual urban renewal.

The rich history of the site is visibly expressed in the layers of materials used in the buildings. The flint that forms the foundation layer of the area’s historic structures was a key influence in the architectural approach and is used as the conceptual response for the facade treatment.

Over half of the site is dedicated to open space, creating a new destination for the area and a vibrant public place with a strong local identity. The visual permeability of the site will be enhanced and access into the heart of the development improved to foster legibility and integration.

November 20, 2011

spaceport america | foster + partners

‘spaceport america’ by foster + partners in new mexico, USA

following up on our previous coverage of the project, here are some images of the completed
spaceport america‘ by internationally-recognized firm foster + partners in new mexico, USA.
the first commercial space terminal in the world, the new 11,148 m2 facility will offer
opportunities for tourists to travel into space. a dedication ceremony for the
virgin galactic gateway to space‘ was recently held to celebrate the milestone event.


lying low within the desert-like landscape of new mexico, the organic form of the terminal
and hangar rises out of the ground to form an undulating and continuous roof form.
the main entrance is created by a deep channel that cuts into the center of the design.
retaining walls on either side of the approach lines an exhibition space that highlights
the history of space exploration.

exterior view

using local materials and regional construction techniques, the project was a practice
in sustainability, seeking to make a minimal impact on the environment. the dug-in design
benefits from natural thermal mass effect, buffering the building from the extreme climates of
new mexico. a series of skylights enable the interior to be naturally illuminated while
the westerly wind facilitates ventilation.

to read more about the spaceport, click here for our previous coverage of the project.


during dedication ceremony
image courtesy virgin galactic gateway to space
image © mark greenberg

image courtesy virgin galactic gateway to space
image © mark greenberg

aerial view
image © mark greenberg

rendered fly-by view
image courtesy foster + partners, vyonyx ltd

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

interior view of spaceport terminal
image courtesy foster + partners

spaceport america – new mexico, USA by foster + partners
image courtesy foster + partners

the foster + partners and URS team has won an international competition to build
the first private spaceport in the world – the new mexico spaceport authority building.
the sinuous shape of the building in the landscape and its interior spaces seek to capture
the drama and mystery of space flight itself, articulating the thrill of space travel for
the first space tourists.

co-architects: SMPC architects, URS corporation (local)

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

image courtesy foster + partners

November 20, 2011

mclaren production centre | foster + partners

‘mclaren production center’ by foster + partners, surrey, england
image © mclaren
all images courtesy of foster + partners

london-based architecture firm foster + partners have officially completed the mclaren production center, the second building designed for the company
located by the rural fringe of london. the 34,5000 square meter facility will contain all future mclaren road vehicles. the assembly plant is a state-of-the-art production space which is connected to the existing technology center via an underground walkway which exhibits interactive installations.
both buildings share a common language in architectural details and materials with aluminum cladding tubes and a circular glass drum
mimicked beneath the overhang of the roof canopy.

the new structure is designed for efficiency and sustainability. the lower levels use the excavated soil from the site to conceal itself from the nearby
road carving itself into the landscape. the roof collects rainwater and has the ability to have photovoltaic panels integrated in the future.
the space is flexible in comparison to other modern manufacturing facilities with a wide span between columns and ceramic flooring.
acting more like an operation theater than a factory, the linear organization follows the flow of the production line showcasing the technology
of the plant and the system of networks where the components are delivered, assembled, painted, tested and finally detailed.

carved facility into landscape
image © mclaren

the site will be the location of the recently-launched MP4-12C high-performance sports car, house all activities related to the
manufacturing of the vehicle. built for speed the facility will be able to produce and build the product in 5 days at peak performance
with a new car joining the line every 45 minutes. leading to a creation of a large number of skilled manufacturing jobs in the community.

assembly station
image © nigel young

‘the mclaren production centre is a further leap forward in the evolution of industrial buildings, both socially and in terms of working
conditions and technologically in its flexibility and the sophistication of its services integration. the scale and grandeur of the main hall
is a fitting complement to the purity of the mclaren cars, which will emerge from its production line.’  

– lord foster, founder and chairman, foster + partners –

assembly line
image © nigel young

production floor
image © nigel young

MP4-12C high performance sports car
image © nigel young

car frame being assmbled
image © nigel young

appliation of body to frame
image © nigel young

final inspection of MP4-12C
image © nigel young

final manufactured product
image © nigel young

site plan
image © foster + partners

image © foster + partners

image © foster + partners

image © foster + partners

elevation / section
image © foster + partners

image © foster + partners

image © foster + partners

project info:

dates: 2009-2011
foster + parnters team: norman foster, david nelson, nigel dancey,
iwan jones, dominik hauser, nina linde, chris johnstone, kathleen mark, nicholas papas
client: mclaren group
structural + civil geothermic, fire, acoustics, CDM: buro happold
services and environmental consultant: PHA consult
landscape architect planning consultant: terence o’rourke
quantity surveyor: gardiner + thebold
gross area: 34, 500 square meters
external plant area: 620 square meters
building height: 6.6 meters
building length: 200 meters
building width: 100 meters
length of tunnel: 100 meters
number of levels: 2

November 20, 2011

shenzhen clubhouse | richard meier architects

‘shenzhen clubhouse’ by richard meier architects, shenzhen, china
all images courtesy richard meier architects

positioned upon an island within the OCT bay in shenzhen, china, the ‘shenzhen clubhouse’ designed by new york-based
practice richard meier architects is nearing completion. upon traversing a pedestrian bridge across the water, guests pass through
a promenade lined with and allée of trees towards an arrival court and central fountain. within view of the urban and
cultural district across the water, the internal spaces are radially arranged within the sweeping external form offering views
of the city. clad with signature white metal panels, daylight filters through the overlay of solid panes and voids producing
an interplay of light and shadow through the skylights and vertical screens.

approach to the complex

the 11,000 square meter complex will provide a restaurant, multipurpose area and a small gallery along with private
dining suites and recreational facilities. a lush landscape and pathway connect to the pool and fitness center at the southern end
of the isle. the outdoor areas are planted with indigenous flowers and orchards while a reflecting pool cascades from the lobby.
rooted within chinese philosophy, the meandering garden paths produce an intimate experience filled with delicate textures
and captivating vistas. the understated massing of the secondary structure compliments the entry building by reducing the overall scale
and instead opening the ceiling into a generous skylight above the 25 meter lap pool along with three glass perimeter walls with
prospects of the landscape.

arrival court and central fountain




(left) atrium under construction
(right) entry

(left) perimeter corridor
(right) fins lining the facade

front elevation under construction

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level 1

floor plan / level 2



November 20, 2011

conrad hotel beijing | MAD architects

‘conrad hotel’ by MAD architects, beijing, china
all images courtesy of MAD

construction for the the ‘conrad hotel’ by beijing-based architecture practice MAD architects is nearing completion.
scheduled to open in 2012, the venue will contain 300 guest rooms, recreational facilities, restaurants, a rooftop bar and
spa to break away from the bustling streets. although the complex is within close proximity to the lively pedestrian
shopping boulevard, wangfujing street, the immediate surroundings of the central business district are a conglomeration
of mundane office buildings whose exteriors are lined with a grid of curtain wall windows.

to contrast the established urban fabric, the facade of the hotel intends to revitalize the area and break away from the
monotonous rhythm by warping the orthogonal lines. similar to nervous tissue, the organic envelope changes in thickness
as it is stretched and wrapped around corners. the mass of the structure begins to gradually slope towards the entrance,
generating a welcoming atmosphere by inviting visitors inward while similarly revitalizing the city’s energy.

rendering at night

(left) under construction
(right) installation of facade
images © designboom

curtain wall installation

(left) rendering of facade
(right) installation of facade

ma yansong speaking about the project in his studio
image © designboom

elevation diagram

project info:

location: beijing, china
typology: hotel
site area: 7,779 sqm
building area: 56,994 sqm
building height: 106 m

November 20, 2011

paris parc | BIG architects + off architecture

‘paris parc’ by BIG architects + off architecture, paris, france
all images courtesy BIG architects

danish practice BIG architects and paris-based firm off architecture have collaborated to create the first place proposal ‘paris parc’,
a multidisciplinary research center for the university of jussieu in paris, france. the 15,000 square meter facility dedicated to
science and medicine will be placed between jean nouvel’s institut du monde arabe and a park within the campus. strengthening the
international appeal of the school, the building will unify scholars and the business community creating physical connections as well
as visual integration within the urban context.

front elevation

the exterior faces of the volume incline and indent to respond to the adjacent structures, opening views towards the
landmark buildings, green spaces and optimizing natural daylight within the interior. a glass enclosed atrium mimicking
the form of a canyon allows upper level laboratories and offices to have unobstructed sight lines between work areas.
a cascade of informal meeting spaces lead visitors to the roof terrace with panoramic views of the city skyline. oriented on
axis with the cathedral notre dame du haut, large glass walls offer an iconic perspective while they similarly reflect the
surrounding environment.

central canyon

‘as a form of urban experiment the paris parc is the imprint of the pressures of its urban context. wedged into a
super dense context – in terms of space, public flows and architectural history – the parc is conceived as a chain
of reactions to the various external and internal forces acting upon it. inflated to allow daylight and air to enter
into the heart of the facility, compressed to ensure daylight and views for the neighboring classrooms and dormitories,
lifted and decompressed to allow the public to enter from both plaza and park and finally tilted to reflect the
spectacular view of the paris skyline and the notre dame to the parisians.’
 – bjarke ingels, founder, BIG

central canyon

laboratory overlooking the atrium

interior space

roof terrace

at night

(left) site outline
(right) extruded volume

facade responds to jean nouvel’s building and adjacent structures

(left) outward views diagram
(right) reflected skyline within facade diagram

points of entry

(left) outdoor circulation diagram
(right) interior circulation diagram

(left) indoor public spaces diagram
(right) outdoor public spaces diagram

project info:

project: paris parc
type: competition
client: upmc university
size: 15.000 m2
location: paris, france
status: 1. prize

partners-in-charge: bjarke ingels, andreas klok pedersen
project leader: daniel sundlin
architect: gabrielle nadeau
team: camille crepin, edouard boisse, tiina liisa juuti, alexandre

partners-in-charge: manal rachdi, tanguy vermet, ute rinnebach
project leader: daniel colin, antonio rovira
team: akram rachdi, olfa kamoon

November 20, 2011

Learning & Research Building, Southmead Hospital | Avanti Architects

Avanti Architects use a palatte of colours insipred by nature in their Learning and Research Building at Southmead Hospital


Avanti were commissioned to design an integrated centre for hospital staff education and training, together with university research. The building was to act as the first part of a much larger redevelopment of the site and to mitigate between the suburban surroundings and the large scale hospital development to come.

The plan restores the original orthogonal order of the site reintroducing views and ‘green fingers’ and enabling natural wayfinding. The building and its neighbours are composed as a series of parallel brick planes that follow the natural terraces of the site, separated by open landscaped areas and fully glazed end facades allowing transparency through and between the buildings.

For the colour scheme Avanti worked in collaboration with lead artist Kate Blee, who says of her approach:
‘For this commission I looked at colour in relation to growth and hierarchy in nature. Earth, plant, bloom, leaf and sky. A palette inspired by nature to enliven these strong rhythmical façades. A rhythm of colour to be seen through and against the trees, by the residents living opposite the building, and to joyfully present the building across the hospital campus.’

‘I wanted the colour to be rich and saturated but not to cast distracting coloured light into the internal working environments. The colour was sprayed onto the internal face of the glazing units creating a colour light box effect rather than a stained glass effect.’

‘The commission extended into the building for the colour of the portals – visually marking the entrances into spaces along corridors and walkways. This was again about chromatic rhythms, and the colours taken from the external façade scheme were used to further connect the inside to the outside of the building and to inject placed and composed colour into the white and dark grey interior.’

November 20, 2011

Invest AD Tower | PTW Architects

PTW designs new corporate head office building for Invest AD in Abu Dhabi


This leading edge, sustainable office tower was specifically designed as the new corporate head office building for Invest AD, a leading UAE financial company. The flagship corporate Headquarters, consists of a 22-storey tower containing a total GFA of 22,000 sq m which is spread across a flexible rectangular floor plate with a side core configuration to minimise eastern solar heat gain.

The western elevation is articulated with a series of fixed and operable glass louvres which provide both solar shading and the potentially natural (winter) ventilation to the six-storey, upper garden atrium creating a luminous roof top lantern. The south façade is dominated by the building core which features two glass lifts. The east and north facades are set back on top of a podium rising 16.2 m from the ground level. All facades except for the south facade feature a super-grid frame structure with a curtain-wall skin behind. The east and west facades’ super-grid incorporate metal louvers for added sun shade.

At ground level along the west boundary a colonnade defined by the superstructure from the tower above forms part of the main entry into the building and car park areas. The ground level on the east side of the site combines retail with building service requirements. The crown of the building is articulated according to the functional requirements of service equipment (lift core and plant room) and to proportionally enhance the building tower. The west-facing super structure forms the pinnacle of the building crown assembly rising above the highest roof level to frame the sky and best feature signage and lighting. Currently under construction with completion due mid 2012.