This spring ‘Aqua’ an 82 story mixed-use residential tower in the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago will open for business. The tower can be found on the 200 block of North Columbus drive in an area that is pretty dense with other skyscrapers.
The building itself is a relatively simple glass box structure that isn’t much to shout about, however the building is wrapped with a series of balconies that flow in and out of the tower similar to waves and the striated limestone outcroppings that are often found in the topography of the Great Lakes region. The Architect Jeanne Gang, cited the the limestone as an inspiration for the balconies.
In some case the balconies stretch out as far as 12 feet from the building itself to allow residents to capture views of the city around and below them. While designed to look good and differentiate the building from the other glass boxes the balconies were refined to maximize solar shading.
The building also has a number of other efficient features that include rainwater collection systems and energy efficient lighting. The tower base also has a green roof.
In an increasingly dense city like Chicago, views from a new tower must be negotiated between existing buildings. Aqua tower considers criteria such as views, solar shading and function to derive a vertical system of contours that gives the structure its sculptural form. Its vertical topography is defined by its outdoor terraces that gradually change in plan over the length of the tower. These terraces offer a strong connection to the outdoors and allow inhabitants to occupy the building facade and city simultaneously. S
The roof terraces added an extra element of complication to construction. As each wave is different, so too is each floor plate in the tower. (what you didn’t think that they just stuck them on did you?) This made the construction process more complicated then your standard glass box. The building has also had some other economic complications, originally Strategic Hotels & Resorts was to have been a major tenant with a plan to purchase 15 floors in the building to expand the neighbouring Fairmont Hotel across the street, but the good ol recession put a stop to that and the company cancelled its contact in 2008. Sales of the residential properties have good good however and on the Aqua website there are only about 23 residential units up for sale. S
Architect: STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS
Architect of Record: Loewenberg & Associates
Owner: Magellan Development
Program: Hotel and Residential High-rise with retail and commercial spaces
Size: 1.9 m SF including parking, 823 feet high
The City of New Songdo or Songdo New City as it is known in Korea is the country’s bid to take city building into the future. City officials say that it will be a “compact, smart and green city,” at a press conference covered by The Korean Herald. Songdo is being built on reclaimed land in the western port city of Incheon, which is currently known more for the international airport, (which incidentally is rated one of the best in the world to fly through, and I can attest to from experience) S. New Songdo wants to change that and become known as a compact sustainable city that provides all necessary services in close proximity.
To achieve this goal the city will have facilities for business, health care, education, leisure, shopping and high tech industries all within a five kilometre radius. In the central city, residents will use bicycles or public transportation rather than cars to get around according to city officials, of course the six lane roads that form the block structure of the city and my experience with living in ‘green Ulsan’ (and its massive petrochemical complex) makes me wonder just how likely this assertion will be.
“(In the compact city,) all functions are located within the city center, unlike conventional cities which have a business complex in the center and the residential area in the suburbs,” Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo said.
New Songdo residents may work in the 68-floor Northeast Asia Trade Tower that should be completed this year, or the 151-floor Incheon Tower set to to be completed in 2014. The city has a Central Park, which is Korea’s first park to have a seawater filled canal. Student in the city will go to “Songdo Global Campus,” which will host foreign universities like North Carolina State University and the State University of New York.
The city is being wired by Cisco and will set up to allow residents to communicate through a variety of wired and wireless portals and devices based on ubiquitous computing technologies.
“The ‘smart’ city means a city equipped with ‘ubiquitous’ infrastructure that manages and control the city’s functions automatically at an optimal time. This enables the cost-effective management of the city,” Ahn said.
To learn more about New Songdo check out the article in The Korean Herald, or if you are interested in taking a look at the housing and office space options in New Songdo Check out our article on The Prau, or on The # First World. You can also take a look at what they are doing with container architecture.
A 100 million square foot new city on 1,500 acres. S
|Commercial||40 million SF|
|Residential||35 million SF|
|Retail||10 million SF|
|Hospitality||5 million SF|
|Public Space||10 million SF|
Looking like something out of Star Trek or some other futuristic vision the Homerizon stands 80 feet high, is off the grid and has solar panals, windmills, radiant floors, wind turbines and a cool aerodynamic shape that helps it to capture the breeze. The Homerizon is the brainchild of inventor Jean-Pierre Désmarais who sees it as a way that is easier then you think to get off the grid. Of course at the moment that ease comes with a price tag of $3.5 to $5 million but lets not worry about that. The Homerzion.
A music video about the relation of light, music and architecture.
Music by Saltillo
“The Opening” from the album Ganglion.
The Prau is a mixed-use office-apartment building going up in the New Songdo free economic zone in South Korea. The instant smart city being built by Gale International, Cisco and other partners. Kolon construction is another of the partner firms involved in New Songdo and has built one of the most fiercely speculated on residential towers in the last couple of years. One of the unique things about the Korean real estate market is the lottery. Due to intense population demands and real estate speculation most affordable housing, or price stabilized housing is handed out using a lottery system. Put down your deposit and wait to see if you get lucky.
The Prau attracted a flurry of interest due to its relative low cost compared to other developments in the New Songdo area. Each Pyeong, (3.3m²) is priced at 6.5 million won which is about $6954 which is about 3 million won less then equivalent properties in near by buildings. The smallest units in the development at 55.98m² are expected to sell for about 65 million won or 56,705.742 USD. The units are especially hot because they are eligible for immediate resale because they are not in one of the ‘speculative areas.’ In the ‘speculative areas’ residents are not allowed to resell apartments that have not been occupied. Overall 257,706 people applied for the lottery of the 27 smallest units, (those under 66m²) with a required deposit of 5 million won. S 597,192 people applied in total for the 123 studio apartment/officetels. As the building is a mixed apartment/officetel the units can be used as either residences or offices.
According to the Korea Times the National Tax Service intends to audit the 123 people who won the lottery for units in the building to hunt down speculative buyers and sellers. The government sent tax officials out to monitor the streets around the construction site and the showroom to monitor back-door sales of property rights.
“We decided to launch meticulous tax audits as the Songdo officetels can encourage speculative investment on the real estate market, which has been stabilized recently’’ S
by Serie Architects
The Tote is a series of renovated pavilions at the Mumbai Race Course that have been converted to a wine bar, restaurant, pre-function and banquet facilities. The goal of the project was to maintain the shell of the pavilions themselves but to give them a new interior. The Tote is a heritage structure and in its past hosted bookies and hopefulls trying their luck on the races. The project sought to maintain the roof profile for three quarters of the pavilion structures and preserved the full roof for the other quarter. From the outside the Tote pavilion maintains its colonial facade, but when you pass through the doors it is like passing into an enchanted forest, its almost like you fell into Narnia. Up in the ‘branches’ there are strategically placed skylights in abstract shapes that mimic the effect of sunlight breaking through foliage.
One of the most striking aspects of the site isn’t so much the buildings themselves but the Rain Trees that surround it. The Rain trees cover the open spaces around the pavilions and providing shade and extensive outdoor space that can be utilized for events and programming. These mature Rain Trees influenced the design of the steel support trusses which echo their shape. This, combined with the expansive glass creates a transparency between the indoor and outdoor spaces and and meets the firm’s goal of a ‘continuously differentiated space’ with no clear boundary into the conservation building. The branches af the support trusses are also differentiated depending on their location within the pavilions.
“Therefore each dining program (wine bar, restaurant, pre-function, and banquet facilities) is captured within a different spatial volume, defined by the variable degree of the branching structure, the structure branches into finer structural members as it approaches the ceiling. When the branches touch the ceiling, the ceiling plan is punctured with a series of opening corresponding to the intersection of the branches with the purlins and rafters. These openings become light coves and slits. “
Juxtiposing the lightness downstairs the 40ft long bar upstairs has dark chocolate wood pannels that give the impression of looking at a folded orgami figure or kaleidoscope. The original cubbyhole betting windows, were left.
The city of Oklahoma has had some great news recently, two differrent energy companies have decided to construct or revamp their headquarters in the core. Sandridge and Devon Energy Corporation have both announced plans to move their operations into the downtown.
Devon Energy broke ground on its 50-story tower in October for its tower and the building is among the tallest under construction in America. The new headquarters building will also be the state’s tallest building when it opens in 2012. As part of their construction plans the company is also contributing to $140 million worth of upgrades in the downtown, including new sidewalks, bicycle lanes and two-way streets. The company is also pretty with the current construction climate. “It’s a great time to build a building. We can get it done faster and cheaper than during the boom,” said Larry Nichols, Devon’s chief executive. “We’re ahead of schedule and under budget.”
Devon’s building, however, is not the only construction project in Oklahoma City. In December, city voters approved a $777 million tax package for a 70-acre central park, streetcar system, convention centre, boating facilities, aquatic centers, and trails that will be built over the next nine years.
“It’s the best possible example of how a populace must tax themselves if they want public works,” says Rogers Marvel principal Rob Rogers. “I just wish we would recognize that nationally.”
When the city of Oklahoma bottomed out in the 90s, voters approved the Metropolitan Area Projects Plan (MAPS) as a means to finance the reconstruction of downtown. The MAPS initiative was the first-of-its-kind one-cent sales tax, it had a strict time limit of five years. Though voters later agreed to extended it. MAPS raised $360 million through taxation and was assisted by more than a billion dollars in private investment which went towards building a new central library, a minor-league ballpark, the Bricktown entertainment district, and other public works. Later a second “MAPS for Kids,” was implemented for city schools, and a third MAPS initiative, the previously mentioned $777 million package, was passed by voters in December. This one for the “Core to Shore” plan, which will rerouting the I-40 elevated expressway that cuts through town and expand the downtown toward the Oklahoma River.
The other booked to the downtown renewal came through the unveiling of Sandridge’s plans for a $100 million expansion of its downtown headquarters across three city blocks. What is different about the Sandridge plan however is that their plans include a renovated 1960s Pietro Belluschi tower, and a renovated Braniff Building–built in 1923 by the brothers who started the airline that the building was named after.
Sandridge’s plan goes against local practice by reusing existing buildings, rather then heading for a corporate campus out in the suburbs. The CEO of Sandridge, Tom Ward was a major reson the company stayed downtown when most of its employees wanted to head for the hills. Ward found the suburban campus plans were both too expensive and too inflexible for his growth plans and his desire to take the company from 600 to 1,500 employees.
“Their first response was that it was going to be a longer commute, and the idea was not one they embraced originally,” Ward says. “And then the Thunder came to town and a lot of things started changing.” (Ward incidentally owns a minority stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder).
If there is one thing that can be learned from downtown Oklahoma it is that resident iniatives like the MAPS program supported by private investment can make a difference in the vitality of our cities.
“If you’re an urbanist, vacancy of any kind is super tough,” said Rogers. “So the decision to go downtown and be a part of the city, to redevelop and reuse, is fundamentally about reinvigorating downtown. Everybody talks about being green, but one of the greenest things you can do is simply reuse things.”
The roof of the Vancouver BC Convention Centre is covered with over 2.5 hectares (6 acres) of native grassland. Usually closed to the public, here is a tour and interview with the landscape architect of the project, Bruce Hemstock.
Construction began in November 2004 on the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project (VCCEP), a 340,849 ft² (31,665 m²) expansion. The new structure was built on the waterfront beside Canada Place, with 60% on land and 40% over the water. The architect for the expansion was DA/MCM + LMN Architects.
The building, now known as the West Building, opened to the public on April 4, 2009. It effectively tripled the capacity of the convention centre. The West Building features a “living roof” featuring native plants, and an apiary. The building will host the international media and broadcast centre in the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics. Connecting to the new centre will be The Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel. Wiki
Built over land and water, with floor-to-ceiling glass throughout that treats guests to phenomenal harbour and mountain views, the new West Building is a masterpiece of design, inspiration and sustainability. The building makes a commitment to green technology that can be found in every corner: the “living roof,” seawater heating and cooling, on-site water treatment and even a fish habitat built into the foundation.
Lego was my first experience with design and planning, I used to build giant complexes out of Lego, multiple rooms and buildings for my little Lego men to move around it. The original castle, boat, space facility, or gas station that came with the instructions tended not to last very long before I made my own modifications.
Brick Architect Matija Grguric has taken his Lego to another level recreating the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier.
The Villa Savoye is considered by many to be the seminal work of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Situated at Poissy, outside of Paris, it is one of the most recognisable architectural presentations of the International Style. Construction was substantially completed ca. 1929.
This was an apartment post over at the best of craigslist. It was such a good read that I thought I would bring it over here to read as a great description of both a residence and a portrait of people who live in the city. The photo above may not be of the apartment itself but its from the intersection where the apartment is located.
Four people live here but now that winter is coming, three are moving away. One is homesick, one is done with school, one is dealing with the sudden death of two close friends. All three are leaving the province. This leaves me with a rather large hole to fill, in both quantity and quality, because these are three of the best people you’d hope to meet.
I need three more. Reddit trolls welcome.
About the space
Top story is divided in half; one half is my room, the other is a common room. One entire wall is windows, so both rooms look out over the city and the freight railyard. Giant roof to enjoy before winter fully kicks in. Tall tower to climb, good for whiskeying and sunsetting.
Second story is divided into three bedrooms, centered around a fourth, smaller common room. Walls are made of doors and windows, coated in schematics. One room does not have a door but it does have an indoor balcony, and the bed is built into a door-box made of both doors and functional windows, which looks down into the first floor. Another room has skylights with sliding sail-like curtains and a trapdoor leading to the third-story common room. The last room has an indoor windowledge, a view down to the first floor, a small but perfect workdesk-like area built into the i-beams, and a mysterious portal in the ceiling.
The first story is a kitchen, wood- and metal- working shop, lounge, bike shop, bathroom, loft, and bedroom. The ceilings are very high, tall windows fill up most of one wall. The top of a pagoda hangs about the kitchen counter, strung up with airline cable, and from it dangle pots and pans, dried peppers and christmas lights. There’s an upright piano that needs a little fixing but plays pretty well. The ceilings are so tall that we actually built a small loft in one corner. The powertools, saws, grinders, handtools etc live underneath in a decently-sized workshop. The tools will be mostly leaving with a departing housemate, so if you have your own or want to pitch in, we can set up a second, amazing shop. There’s a six-bike hanging rack to keep your precious bike safe. We built a small fifth bedroom over the bathroom, and at only $100 rent have had some fucking great housemates live there who don’t mind living in a room you can’t stand up in. This knocks the rent down for the rest of us, too. The downstairs will most likely become at least partially a sewing studio, so if you’re into sewing it’s a big, big plus. We used to supplement our rent with shows here until the neighbors complained, but earlier-starting shows could be a real possibility. We’ve had over a hundred people show up for some shows and parties here.
The story of Fiddler’s Castle on Honeycrock Farm in Salfords England has been going on for years now. We first highlighted the story back in July 2008 and ironically because of the spelling mistake that post continues to be one of the highest traffic drivers to urbanneighbourhood.com. Yesterday the Homes From Hell feature of Fidler’s Castle must have been shown again because there was a spike of visitors. Because of all the interest we decided to do some more research and see if we could find any new news.
On November 19th 2009 Mr Fidler went before the British High Court in a bid to convince High Court Judge Sir Thane Forbes to overturn the decision of the government planning inspector who ruled that the structure had to be torn down in May of 2008.
The key aspect of the case revolves around a decision as to when the construction of the house was “substantially completed”. Mr Fidler and his counsel argue that the home was finished in 2002 when Mr Fidler and his family moved into the building and no further modifications were made to the structure for the next four years.
Planning law in the Reigate & Banstead Borough states that if a property is “substantially completed” for four years, it is legally allowed to exist.
In 2006 four years after construction of the house itself was completed Mr Fidler removed the barricade of straw bales and tarpaulin, believing that since the building had been completed for four years it should be granted planning permission.
The government planning inspector argued otherwise finding that “the removal of the straw bale disguise constituted part of the building works” and as a result the inspector found that Mr Fidler could not rely on the four year immunity period which starts from “substantial completion,” and the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council issued a demolition notice.
Mr Fidler’s appeal, launched on the 19th of November centres on the question of when exactly the castle was “complete.” The town argues that the removal of the hay bales was a substantial part of construction, the lawyers for the Fidler family argues that it was not. “The appellant’s case is that the removal of the bales was not part of the building operation against which the enforcement notice was directed.” The Fidler’s argue that the removal of the straw bales was a separate operation and as such doesn’t breach planning control. Consul argued that the building was “substantially complete” more then four years earlier in 2002 when the family moved into the home and that “no other reasonable conclusion is possible… construction was complete and it was in occupation… the removal of the bales cannot even be classified as part of a building operation. The decision was wrong in law and should be quashed”.
High Court Justice Thane Forbes Stated “The key point in your case is whether the inspector was right to conclude that the removal of the bales and the tarpaulin formed part of the building operation.”
At the end of the two days of arguments before the High Court Justice Forbes reserved judgment and is expected to give his decision in writing soon.
Of course even that may not be the end of it, Robert Fidler has already stated “We are determined to take this all the way to the top. We are quite sure that ultimately we will win”.
The new Facebook headquarters is a former Agilent Technologies property that has been retrofitted and restored as a lab to measure intangible things like creativity and social interaction. Facebook requested that O+A build a headquarters that would express freedom of expression, individuality, and creativity. Just like on Facebook employees are encouraged to write on the walls.
Before moving into to the new location the 850 employees that work for Facebook were in ten different offices. The new headquarters building located in Palo Alto brings them all to the same office but maintains the sense of identity unique to each division. Each of the ten separate offices had each cultivated their own aesthetic and culture, studio O+A’s design sought to preserve these aesthetics by creating a number of ‘neighbourhoods’ in the new office. The redesign uses partitions and strategic spatial mapping to the neighbourhoods that make up Facebook’s city of workers.
The Facebook headquarters is the first commercial project in Palo Alto that was completed under the 2008 Green Building Ordinance. O+A restored millwork from the original lab and re-purposed industrial pieces for office use.
Shopping malls are have a long history of being unattractive here in North America, when seen from the outside they tend to look like giant boxes with acres of parking around them, giant intteruptions in the urban and suburban fabric. Suburban malls are usually built on fringe sights and surrounded by ‘new’ land and appear as a hulking mass up ahead, but a shopping mall doesn’t have to look this way, the acres of parking are a result of zoning requiring extensive parking allowances and cheap land which makes it less expensive to buy the acres then to pay to put the parking underground.
What then if you envision a different kind of mall? What happens when common sense moves the parking inside and the mall is conceived as a land form and a park that is integrated into the urban fabric. The sloping park connects to the street, making it easy for passers-by to enter its groves of trees, clusters of rocks, cliffs, lawn, streams, waterfalls, ponds and outdoor terraces. Beneath the park, a canyon carves a path through specialty retail, entertainment and dining venues.
Then you might get something like Namba Parks in Namba-naka Nichome, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Japan. Namba parks is a shopping mall in Japan that opened in October of 2003. In the days before sustainability really caught on, and there was little fanfare on the International scene. Namba Parks was the result of a visionary design, in a city that wanted something great and didn’t have real estate to waste on parking spaces. The resulting commercial mall and mixed use residential complex is what a mall should be.
From the Project Page:
When Osaka’s baseball stadium closed its doors, it opened the door to a prime redevelopment opportunity in a new commercial district adjacent to Namba Train Station, the first stop from Kansai Airport. Given the location, owner Nankai Electric Railway asked Jerde to create a gateway that would redefine Osaka’s identity. So Jerde conceived Namba Parks as a large park, a natural intervention in Osaka’s dense and harsh urban condition. Alongside a 30-story tower, the project features a lifestyle commercial center crowned with a rooftop park that crosses multiple blocks while gradually ascending eight levels. In addition to providing a highly visible green component in a city where nature is sparse, the sloping park connects to the street, welcoming passers-by to enjoy its groves of trees, clusters of rocks, cliffs, lawn, streams, waterfalls, ponds and outdoor terraces. Beneath the park, a canyon carves an experiential path through specialty retail, entertainment and dining venues. Namba Parks creates a new natural experience for Osaka that celebrates the interaction of people, culture and recreation.
Built in October 2003, “Jerde Partnership Architects “conceived Namba Parks as a large park, a natural intervention in Osaka’s dense and harsh urban condition. Alongside a 30-story tower, the project features a lifestyle commercial center crowned with a rooftop park that crosses multiple blocks while gradually ascending eight levels. In addition to providing a highly visible green component in a city where nature is sparse, the sloping park connects to the street, welcoming passers-by to enjoy its groves of trees, clusters of rocks, cliffs, lawn, streams, waterfalls, ponds and outdoor terraces.”
|Site Area||8.33 acres|
|Total Building Area||130,000 sq meters|
|40,000 sq meters Retail/Entertainment|
|60,000 sq meters Office|
|25,000 sq meters Common space|
|2,700 sq meters Cultural|
|2.2 Acres Open Space|
|1,251 Parking Spaces|
|75,000 square meters Retail & Entertainment (124 shops, 2,164-seat cinema)|
|38,000 square meters Residential|
|2009 ULI Awards for Excellence Asia Pacific Winner|
|2004 Good Design Award, Architecture and Environment Design (Japan)|
|2005 SADI Grand Award, Retail Traffic Magazine|
|2005 SADI Award for New Open-Air Center, Retail Traffic Magazine|
|2005 Certificate of Merit, Innovative Design and Construction of a New Project, ICSC|
|Clients||Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd.|
|Project Architect||Obayashi Corporation|
|Landscape Architects||EDAW, Inc.|
|SPD Collab Inc.|
|Lighting Designer||Joe Kaplan Architectural Lighting|
|Water Feature||WET Design|
|Environmental||Selbert Perkins Design Collaborative, Inc.|
While cruzing across the interweb the other day looking for images of homes with wood slats for my little write up on Metropolis Mag’s editorial diss to Dwell, I came across the site DistinctivePhoenix.com, it is primarily a real estate blog and it isn’t updated all that often but there are a number of profiles of notable properties that can give you a look at what is available in the area. Plus they even have some tips on renovations, and how to think long term when it comes to altering your property.
Here’s a useful question: “Would this make sense to me if I were buying this house?” If the answer to that question is not an obvious yes, don’t make the change. No matter what you might want, if your house doesn’t make sense to buyers, it won’t sell.
If you want a take a look at real estate in Phoenix, take a gander at distinctivephoenix.com
The Danish architectural firm 3XN is designing a pavillion for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art with the intent to show cutting edge possibilities at the meeting point between sustainable and intelligent materials. The resulting pavilion is built of bio composites and has integrated intelligence that interacts with its users and surroundings.
Sustainability does not equal architectural compromise
The pavilion is called ‘Learning from Nature’ and everything about the pavilion is literally inspired by nature itself: The biological cycle of nature is the fundamental basis for the shape, the materials and the dynamic energy generation. The pavilion is shaped as a Moebius band to symbolize the biological cycle; and the properties of the construction are very like those of nature – for example, the pavilion has a coating of nanoparticles that helps clean the surfaces and clean the air. Additionally, the pavilion is built of biodegradable materials; and as for energy, the pavilion is 100 percent self-sufficient.
Kim Herforth Nielsen, Principal of 3XN, comments on the project:
– The Pavilion has given us the opportunity to showcase the possibilities which exist in building with sustainable and intelligent materials. Our objective has been to show that Green Architecture can be dynamic and active. We often think that we need to minimize use of resources at all costs. Instead of focusing on consuming the least amount of energy, we need to focus on producing and using energy and materials in a more intelligent way than is the case today.
The development of the pavilion is a natural continuation of 3XNs extensive focus on new technologies and materials; a focus that led to the establishment of a unique in-house Research & Development unit in 2007. Since then, 3XN has built an international reputation as one of the most visionary and ambitious architecture firms in the field.
’Learning from Nature’ can be seen at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, until October.