Archive for the Architectural Territory Category

Quick Architectural Tour in Singapore

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2018 by vincentloy

I was in Singapore the past few days in a sudden move. Besides than attending a job interview, I also take this opportunity to travel around in this gorgeous island and visit some architectural icons. Besides than facing the interview with huge anxiety, I was actually enjoying the rest of my brief 3 days 2 nights trip to Singapore. The total cost spent on this trip is less than RM900. This amount covers bus ride to and from Singapore, parking fee at bus terminal, stay at budget hotel (not hostel), meals, phone data, and public transport in Singapore.

Here are 7 architectural icons in Singapore that I have visited during the trip:

1 – DUO Towers (Architect: Ole Scheeren, Year completed: 2017)

I am very intrigued by the unique form, hexagonal patterns and the balance of rigid geometry with curving surfaces of this complex of twin towers. They gave the design an overwhelming presence.

2 – The Gateway (Architect: I.M. Pei, Year completed: 1990)

This twin towers are located just opposite the DUO Towers and the former are here much earlier. A very simple modernist approach but still leaves a striking impression due to its sharp edges and angle that contributes optical illusion.

3 – Marina Bay Sands (Architect: Moshe Safdie, Year completed: 2010)

A ship-like structure suspended above three towers is definitely one of the landmarks of Singapore.

4 – Parkroyal on Pickering (Architect: WOHA, Year completed: 2013)

Massive curvaceous sky gardens and undulating layers of precast concrete forming parts of the design that created similar image to eroded rock formations are the highlights of this hotel building.

5 – The Pinnacle @ Duxton (Architect: ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism, Year completed: 2009)

An upmarket public housing project in Singapore, The Pinnacle @ Duxton features 7 residential towers with 2 sky decks that connect all of them. The highest sky deck at the 50th floor is accessible to the public.

6 – The Hive, Nanyang Technological University (Architect: Heatherwick Studio, Year completed: 2015)

A very unique university building. The design goes beyond the stereotype classroom layout; all the learning spaces are in circular plan with no corners to encourage collaboration. The building has a naturally ventilated central atrium surrounded by shared circulation spaces and informal garden terraces. The outer appearance of this building really reminds me of stacked ‘dimsum baskets’.

7 – The Interlace (Architect: OMA + Ole Scheeren, Year completed: 2013)

Multiple residential blocks stacked in playful manner while creating picturesque voids, dramatic overhangs and numerous courtyards, pools and gardens for the residents.  ‘The Interlace’ won Best Building of the Year from World Architecture Festival in 2015.

I do enjoy this kind of trip whereby I can visit and experience some amazing architectural projects. I hope for more of such trips in near future to other places too. Singapore is certainly a city with luxurious and unorthodox architecture that one should explore if you are an architectural enthusiast like me.

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post)

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B.V. Doshi wins Pritzker Architecture Prize 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2018 by vincentloy

You may not have heard his name. I didn’t know who he is before today. B.V. Doshi (Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi) is the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the highest honour presented annually to a living architect and is often referred as the Nobel Prize of architecture. Although he is not as popular as those star architects, but he now joined the elite group of past Pritzker winners such as Richard Meier, Oscar Niemeyer, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito, etc. He is the first Indian architect to win the prize.

Excerpt below is from an article in Archdaily (https://www.archdaily.com/890126/balkrishna-doshi-named-2018-pritzker-prize-laureatez):

Doshi has been a practitioner of architecture for over 70 years. Previously, he had studied and worked with both Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Doshi’s poetic architecture draws upon Eastern influences to create a body of work that “has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s,” cites the jury. 

Born in Pune, India in 1927, Doshi began his studies in architecture in the year of his country’s independence, 1947. After a period in London, he moved to France to work under Le Corbusier, and from there he returned to India in order to oversee work on Le Corbusier’s plans for Chandigarh, and on Le Corbusier’s projects in Ahmedabad such as the Mill Owner’s Association Building (1954) and Shodhan House (1956). Doshi also later worked with Louis Kahn on the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, beginning in 1962.

Since founding his practice Vastushilpa (now known as Vastushilpa Consultants) in 1956, Doshi has combined the lessons learned from these two modern masters with a local sensibility. His distinctly Indian form of critical regionalism synthesizes the sculptural concrete and brick forms of his mentors with recognizably Indian architectural layouts and urban morphologies. One of the clearest manifestations of this style is perhaps his own studio, known as Sangath, where striking concrete barrel vaults are combined with gardens, sunken communal spaces, and water features to mitigate the heat. In 1978, Doshi founded the Vastushilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design to develop planning and design approaches suited to the Indian cultural context; today, the foundation serves as a crucial link between the academy and the architectural profession.

In over 100 projects completed during his career, Doshi has also worked on a number of low-cost housing developments. After completing his first in the 1950s, he stated that “It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling.” The apotheosis of this oath was perhaps the Aranya Low Cost Housing development in Indore. Completed in 1989, this network of houses, courtyards and internal pathways provides housing for over 80,000 people ranging from low- to middle-income families, and won Doshi the 1993-1995 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Some of B.V. Doshi’s past projects are Sangath – B.V. Doshi’s Office at Ahmedabad (first picture), LIC Housing at Ahmedabad (second picture), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (third picture), Amdavad ni Gufa (underground art gallery) at Ahmedabad (fourth picture), Aranya Low Cost Housing at Indore (fifth picture), Kamala House at Ahmedabad (sixth picture), etc.

In recent years, the jury behind selection of Pritzker Prize winners is more inclined towards selecting those who use architecture to contribute critically to the community and to the lower class society rather than opting for those with highly popular names attached with ‘loud’ and extravagant projects. It is a good move.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

World’s Ten Tallest Cities in 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2018 by vincentloy

I have written a post on the top 10 tallest buildings that will be completed this year (2018) few days ago. Now, it’s time to proceed to another similar topic; world’s top 10 tallest cities in 2018. How do I decide which cities are taller? Taking reference from Ultrapolis Project website that sorted world’s tallest cities several years ago (and is now no longer doing so, hence the statistics on its website not being updated), I look to add up the height of top 20 tallest buildings in a particular city and divide them by 20 to get the average height of 20 tallest buildings in that city.

At first, I look to only add up the height of top 10 tallest buildings in a city only, and not 20. However, later I found that top 20 will make the data more credible and better visualize the ‘tallness’ of a city. Buildings mentioned here include the topped-out ones but exclude the telecommunication or observation towers as they are non-habitable structures. The list of top 20 tallest buildings of the cities across the world can be found from Emporis website, and it is a very reliable source of information besides than Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Before going down the list below, which cities do you think will be included in this list and which one of them is the tallest of them all?

WORLD’S TOP TEN TALLEST CITIES IN 2018

1.Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Points: 374.35

Tallest building in the city: Burj Khalifa (828 metres)

2. Shenzhen, China

Points: 338.60

Tallest building in the city: Ping An International Finance Center (599 metres)

3. New York City, United States of America

Points: 313.70

Tallest building in the city: One World Trade Center (541 metres)

4. Guangzhou, China

Points: 311.50

Tallest building in the city: CTF Finance Centre (530 metres)

5. Shanghai, China

Points: 311.25

Tallest building in the city: Shanghai Tower (632 metres)

6. Hong Kong, China

Points: 295.30

Tallest building in the city: International Commerce Centre (484 metres)

7. Tianjin, China

Points: 290.00

Tallest building in the city: Goldin Finance 117 (597 metres)

8. Chicago, United States of America

Points: 280.70

Tallest building in the city: Willis Tower (442 metres)

9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Points: 275.90

Tallest building in the city: The Exchange 106 (492 metres)

10. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Points: 267.30

Tallest building in the city: Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid (382 metres)

Hong Kong would have topped this list a decade or two ago. However, many other cities in China are now in skyscraper boom and some of them immediately overtake Hong Kong in the race to build taller skyscrapers. Hong Kong appears to have slow down a lot in recent years on that progress, and is now pushed down to 6th spot. China dominated the list again as expected with 5 of its cities in this top 10 list. I am also surprised that a much less known city, Tianjin made it to the list too. Although China is the top country in this trend of building supertalls, Dubai still took the crown for being the world’s tallest cities in 2018. A lot of points to push Dubai to the top definitely comes from Burj Khalifa, which stands at a whopping 828 metres high alone and is still the current world’s tallest building.

I’m delighted that my home city, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is within this top 10 list. Although KL is quite a small city, but we do have a number of tall skyscrapers. I have decided to include in the still under-construction The Exchange 106 Tower (492 metres tall) into the calculation because this building is definitely going to be completed this year and is nearly at the stage of topping out now.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Top 10 tallest buildings to be built in 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2018 by vincentloy

2018 will be another great year in worldwide achievement on building skyscrapers. China is again leading the way in building supertall buildings. My capital city, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia will also be included into this list for the first time after so many years due to the projected completion of 492 metres tall The Exchange 106 Tower mid of this year. So, what are the top 10 tallest buildings to be built in 2018? Here’s the answer:

  1. Goldin Finance 117 Tower, Tianjin, China (597 metres, 128 floors). The tower is now nearing the stage of topping out with the construction of the diamond-shaped crown to commence shortly. However, there are news that this project is put on hold due to budget constraint and may not be completed this year. If it is managed to be completed this year, it will be the world’s 5th tallest building. It is only 3 metres shy from 600 metres mark.

2. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, Tianjin, China (530 metres, 97 floors). The tower has topped out and is set to be completed this year while fate is still unknown for the Goldin Finance 117 Tower mentioned above that is located in the same city; Tianjin. When completed, it will be among the world’s top 10 tallest buildings.

3. China Zun Tower, Beijing, China (528 metres, 108 floors). The tower has topped out. When completed, it will be among the world’s top 10 tallest buildings.

4. The Exchange 106 Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (492 metres, 106 floors). The tower is now nearing the stage of topping out with the construction of the glass crown to commence shortly. This will be the first building in the country to have over 100 floors and will be the country’s tallest when completed.

5. Lakhta Center, St Petersburg, Russia (462 metres, 86 floors). The tower has topped out and will be the tallest building in Russia when completed. First time seeing Russia join in the race to construct building of this height.

6. Changsha IFS Tower 1, Changsha, China (452 metres, 94 floors). The tower is nearly completed with all exterior cladding already installed.

7. Suzhou IFS, Suzhou, China (450 metres, 98 floors). The tower has topped out and its exterior cladding is almost completed.

8. Wuhan Center Tower, Wuhan, China (438 floors, 88 floors). This one also has topped out. Another higher skyscraper, Wuhan Greenland Center is also rising quickly in the same city and when completed in 2019, the 125-storey tower will have a height of 636 metres.

9. China Resources Headquarters, Shenzhen, China (393 metres, 67 floors). Topped out. Shenzhen has been seeing record-breaking number of skyscrapers completed in recent years.

10. Shum Yip Upperhills Tower 1, Shenzhen, China (388 metres, 80 floors). Topped out. Another one in Shenzhen.

Out of the 10 building above, 8 are in China, 1 is in Malaysia and 1 is in Russia. We seldom see any supertall skyscraper completion in Russia and 2018 will be the year for that to happen. China dominated the race to build skyscrapers again from its cities like Tianjin and Shenzhen. United States, which is once known as the country of the origin of skyscrapers did not make it to the list. The first 8 in this list will have final height of over 400 metres respectively while the first 3 even exceeded 500 metres mark.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Last walk in KLCC for the year.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2017 by vincentloy

KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) is an area that I love to visit once in a while because that’s the area in Kuala Lumpur with the most prominent skyscrapers. I think I have been there for at least four times this year including my most recent trip to that area yesterday to have lunch with my friend. Earlier trips to that area were due to my task to do a site analysis for a location selected for my thesis project. One instant thing that I will do once I reached the train station there or in the Suria KLCC shopping mall, I will head out to the KLCC Park and gaze up to the sky to admire and view all the tall buildings around. Although the Petronas Twin Towers will soon no longer be the tallest buildings in the country, but they remains as the most iconic towers in my heart. By the way, they are still the tallest twin buildings in the world! Their beauty is timeless.

I’m fascinated that more and more tall buildings are popping out in that region. The exterior cladding for the already topped out 343 metres tall Four Seasons Place building looks almost completed. The same goes to the 235 metres tall W Hotel & Residences building. Both buildings that are right beside the iconic Petronas Twin Towers are to be completed and opened next year.

In the meantime, I am also disappointed with the very slow progress happening at the construction site for the Fairmont Towers development that claimed part of the KLCC Park. I have been seeing the ground works happening for several years and the towers are still not rising yet. How I wish that the construction speed of this project would be as fast as the Exchange 106 Tower. The Exchange 106 Tower which is projected to complete next year at a height of 492 metres has already reached 450 metres and made a bold visual impact to the city’s skyline already although it hasn’t been completed yet.

And lastly, it’s great to see the landscaping growing well all over the twin towers of the Le Nouvel Residences but they are still apparent enough. This complex has been completed for around 2 years already.

I noticed that there are still some empty plots in the region (within or around the perimeter of KLCC masterplan) and I’m hoping that they would be taken up for great developments soon so that the area will be more dense with awesome skyscrapers to enhance the overall city’s skyline.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post)

Exciting supertall projects to enhance KL’s skyline soon.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2017 by vincentloy

The city skyline of Kuala Lumpur has dramatically changed in recent years. More skyscrapers are being built in the city, dwarfing over older buildings and populating remaining low-rise areas in the city. Here below are some of the on-going skyscraper projects in KL along with their latest updates:

The Exchange 106

This 106-storey office tower is currently dominating the city’s skyline although its construction has not completed yet. Some sources revealed that the tower has now reached about 450 metres in height, making it as tall as the city’s current record holder; the 452 metres tall iconic Petronas Twin Towers. The Exchange 106 Tower by Mulia Group is expected to top out and complete next year with projected height of 492 metres. This tower is rising very quickly and it is now starting to work on its upper portion’s central core. The highlight of this design is on its crystalline-like crown. Hence, the tower now looks very massive yet plain (boring glass cladding all over) at this stage.

Four Seasons Place

After experiencing multiple delays and changes of design in the past, the Four Seasons Place has topped out this year and will be completed next year. It now stands tall besides the Petronas Twin Towers at a height of 343 metres (65 floors). It is the second tallest hotel building in the world and also the second tallest building in Malaysia (after the Petronas Twin Towers). Some criticized the building for leaving huge visual impact to the twin towers as the building is only slightly lower and is very close to the twin towers. Well, we have to accept the fact that the twin towers will soon be dwarfed by more taller buildings in the future (they can’t be the tallest in the city forever, right?!). But the twin towers would still remain iconic for the city. The ‘Four Seasons’ logo will be nicer if it is bigger in my opinion.

Merdeka PNB118 Tower

This project receives a lot of criticism earlier due to allocation of national funding for this huge skyscraper that is thought to be much more useful to be spent on other resources, the impact it leaves to its surrounding historical area, and the absence of need for another supertall tower in the city. Anyway, the project is back on its track now after setting aside those criticisms and also after some issues with its structural foundation. It is now set to rise quickly to be the tallest building of the country by 2021 at a height of 630 metres (118 floors).

(Renderings for Merdeka PNB118 Tower)

Oxley Towers and Fairmont Towers

Construction has been slow especially for Fairmont Towers that sit right besides the KLCC Park. The Fairmont development consists of three towers with the tallest one to reach 380 metres in height with 78 floors. They are projected to complete by 2020 but that is highly unlikely looking from its current construction progress. Work is still at the ground level at this stage which is very slow. The same situation goes to the adjacent Oxley Towers development. Once completed, the taller tower in Oxley complex will be 341 metres tall with 79 floors. I estimate their completion would be around 2022 or 2023.

(Oxley Towers’ development in rendering above)

(Fairmont Towers’ development in rendering above)

(Construction site on the left is the Oxley project while the construction site on the right is the Fairmont project. Four Seasons Place is in the middle in this picture above)

Angkasa Raya Tower

This project has been approved years ago but there is no sign of its construction yet in a plot of land adjacent also to the Petronas Twin Towers. I wonder what is the problem that is delaying this project now. Designed by famous architect, Buro Ole Scheeren, the tower has 65 floors and will have a height of 268 metres. Let’s hope that this project with kick-start very soon.

(Images and information in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2017 by vincentloy

The result for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016 was announced recently. It is an annual prize to honour highrise buildings with excellence in both aesthetic and functional design. The award first started in year 2000 ranks 10 best buildings worldwide annually which are chosen by Emporis editors. They are architectural experts from across the world. For your further information, Emporis is a real estate data mining company that collects and publishes data of buildings worldwide with particular emphasis on skyscrapers. The database now also includes low-rise buildings and other structures. Only buildings completed (built) in 2016 are considered for this award’s selection.

The winner for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016 is Via 57 West in New York City, USA. The pyramid shaped winner, designed by the Danish architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, was recognized by the award jury for its fascinating and extraordinary shape which breaks new ground in design. VIA 57 West is a hybrid between an European perimeter block and a classic American skyscraper.

Claiming the second place is Torre Reforma from Mexico City, Mexico. With a height of 804 feet, it is Mexico City’s tallest skyscraper and also the world’s tallest exposed concrete structure. The jury specifically praises the intelligent environmental solution for a skyscraper. The building is composed of two exposed concrete walls and one main glass façade. The concrete walls protect the interior from direct sunlight and reduces the cooling load. Mexico City is known for its high seismic activity. For this reason, Torre Reforma has a triangular footprint and combined with the latest engineering knowledge, it is supposed to withstand heavy winds and earthquakes for the next 2,500 years.

In third place the expert jury voted Oasia Hotel Downtown, in Singapore. The project stands out with a remarkable red façade and 21 different species of plants in 1793 planter boxes turning into an urban oasis. The facade is overgrown with different vines to ensure the building’s facade is always lush and resilient during different weather conditions. Moreover, the tower offers four open sky gardens which allows wind to pass through the building for good ventilation.

Here’s below is the Top 10 Skyscrapers for year 2016 as selected by Emporis that reveals the remaining 4th to 10th place winners.

  1. Via 57 West – 142 metres high, 34 floors, New York City, USA. Architect: BIG. (30 points)

2. Torre Reforma – 245 metres high, 57 floors, Mexico City, Mexico. Architect: LBR Arquitectos. (27 points)

3. Oasis Hotel Downtown – 190 metres high, 27 floors, Singapore. Architect: WOHA Architects. (25 points)

4. MahaNakhon – 314 metres high, 77 floors, Bangkok, Thailand. Architect: Buro Ole Scheeren. (23 points)

5. Elbphilharmonie – 110 metres high, 25 floors, Hamburg, Germany. Architect: Kallmorgen & Partner, Herzog & de Meuron. (18 points)

6. 56 Leonard Street – 250 metres high, 57 floors, New York City, USA. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron. (17 points)

7. CTF Finance Centre – 530 metres high, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China. Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. (13 points)

8. The L Tower – 205 metres high, 59 floors, Toronto, Canada. Architect: Studio Daniel Libeskind. (12 points)

9. Beijing Greenland Dawangjing Tower – 260 metres high, 55 floors, Beijing, China. Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. (10 points)

10. Sumitomo Fudosan Roppongi Grand Tower – 231 metres high, 43 floors, Tokyo, Japan. Architect: Nikkon Sekkei Ltd. (7 points)

The winner, Via 57 West is one of the precedent studies for my Masters’ thesis. It is not very tall, but made a huge visual impact to the New York City’s skyline due to its unique design that challenges the convention of skyscraper typology. I do like the 2nd place winner, Torre Reforma too as the huge vertical bare concrete wall is a stand out among typical fully glass-clad or solid painted walled skyscrapers. The 3rd place, Oasis Hotel Downtown is to be complimented for its striking red-coloured cladding that allows landscaping to grow on it. The other buildings look fantastic too and they are mostly designed by famous architects. I have personally visited the Bangkok’s MahaNakhon Tower. Although it looks nice with its pixelated feature, but the way the architect explained how it relates to the city context doesn’t resonate to me at all.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Reference:

https://www.emporis.com/awards/2016