Archive for architecture

I.M. Pei, an architect who had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I.M.Pei, a renowned Chinese-American architect has just turned 100 years old few days ago. A lot of major architecture websites do share news of his centenary birthday and a glimpse of his architectural projects under his career that spanned over six decades. He defied the typical saying that ‘architect do dies early due to the stress, heavy workload and constantly being all-nighter’.

Born on 26th April 1917 in Guangzhou, China, I.M.Pei moved to USA and studied architecture in University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was inspired by works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer during his years in architectural education. He was particular fascinated by modern architecture and International Style.

I.M.Pei’s design style is described as modernist with significant cubist themes. He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with progressive designs based on simple geometric patterns. He has designed over 70 projects across the world and has received multiple awards and honors such as the Pritzker Prize (known as Nobel Prize of architecture) in 1983, AIA Gold Medal in 1979, Royal Gold Medal in 2010, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, etc.

Here below are 10 of his most iconic works:

131 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, USA (1949) – I.M.Pei’s first project.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan (1963)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, USA (1973)

OCBC Centre, Singapore (1976)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Looking just at 10 of his works above, you will obviously notice that he applied strong geometrical shapes into his design. It has become his signature approach in architecture. He designed a variety of projects ranging from community centers to highrise towers. He is no doubt one of the greatest living architects of our generation.

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

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

My architectural highlight of 2016

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2016 by vincentloy

Year 2016 is coming to an end. It is the year when I stopped working (have worked for almost 4 years) and started my postgraduate study on architecture in Curtin University, Perth, Australia. If everything went well, I will be graduating with a Master of Architecture end of next year.

During these first two semesters of my study this year, I have undertaken two studio projects. The first one is to design a masterplan to rejuvenate the site of the present Perth International Convention Centre and its surrounding (for my Urban Design Studio in first semester). My concept is to create a Waterfront City, maximizing the potential of the river that has a lot to offer and enhancing various linkages to the CBD at north, Elizabeth Quay at east, King’s Park at west and Swan River at south. 3 images to best describe my project below:

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(Copyrights reserved to the images above. Please do not use the above images without my permission)

The next one is to design an indoor archery centre in Whiteman Park (for my Integrated Design Studio in second semester). The challenge of this project is that the building has to be low-cost, quick and easy to be built and maintained, phased, flexible to cater to other functions, and responds well to the present site and the archery sport itself. My idea is to create an archery ‘poly-house’, a warehouse-like structure enveloped with random polycarbonate cladding for passive design strategies and aesthetic purpose. 3 images to best describe my project below:

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(Copyrights reserved to the images above. Please do not use the above images without my permission)

Now, I’m looking forward to one more project (Complex Design Studio) next year before my Thesis project in my final semester. I’m hoping for an interesting design brief for my Complex Studio next year.

The three architectural websites that I have visited the most in 2016 remain the same as in the previous years:

www.archdaily.com

(The best website out there to check on countless amazing architectural projects every year with well-written articles and images. What’s great is that the website has new articles daily)

www.skyscrapercenter.com

(My favourite category in architecture – skyscraper. This is the database by Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat on all skyscrapers around the world that is constantly updated)

www.skyscrapercity.com

(Another site on skyscraper. This one is forum-based and is the best platform for me to view on latest images or updates of completed, proposed and under-construction skyscraper projects)

The three most striking architectural projects built in 2016 that captured my most attention are: (The three images below are from Archdaily)

World Trade Center Transportation Hub by Santiago Calatrava

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Antwerp Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects

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VIA 57 West by BIG

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The three most talked about events or happenings of the year that are related to architecture are:

15th Venice Architecture Biennale this year from 28 may to 27 November and is directed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Alejandro Aravena.

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(Image above from DesignBoom)

The Floating Piers project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude at Lake Iseo, Italy that made its round in social networking sites mid of the year when it is opened to the publicfrom June 18 to July 3. The project is now dismantled.

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(Image above from Blog.Daum)

And the heartbreaking news of the death of Zaha Hadid, one of world’s most famous architects and is arguably the most celebrated woman architect of the generation. She died on March 31, 2016 at age of 65 due to heart attack.

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(Image above from Architect Magazine)

That’s it for my architectural highlight of the year 2016.

7 Cool Architectural Visualization Styles

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I found a very interesting article that discusses the seven most popular architectural visualization styles produced by architectural firms or students out there. I myself is not good in computer renderings and so I’m very excited to look at the different styles and methods used to enhance rendering of each particular projects. I wish to learn (and hopefully) master rendering skills in near future which would be very beneficial especially when I step out to the working world after my graduation.

I would like to share the article below which is originally from Architizer at this link below:

http://architizer.com/blog/7-most-common-architectural-visualization-styles/

There was a time when no self-respecting rendering would allow itself to be seen in public without a zeppelin hovering somewhere in its desaturated sky. Supermodels in haute couture garments strutted across opera foyers, uninterested expressions and blasé attitudes adding to the exclusivity of the space. These gimmicks are still widely used, but since its early days architectural rendering has seen major technical advancements that allowed it to appropriate cinematic techniques relying on color, lighting, framing, composition, and angles to convey moods. This disciplinary overlap between architecture and film is fundamental in the use of similar software and modeling techniques and has brought the two closer through the idea of storytelling, a notion inherent to both disciplines. In architectural rendering, if the spirit or the main feeling isn’t persuasive and engaging enough, the function of images is reduced to regurgitating information already provided through drawings and schematics.

An overabundance of visual content, brought on partly by the democratization of architectural publishing, has produced an almost pornographic fixation on architectural representation, rendering techniques in particular. Computer generated imagery is no longer an intermediary between an idea and its realization, but a finished product on its own. Different rendering genres have emerged over the years, similar in approach and style to recognizable cinematic tropes.

The Mad Max

City lights dimmed, the “urban wasteland” awaits the appearance of the new development whose lights seem to be the only sign of life for miles around.

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Eleftheria Square by Zaha Hadid Architects, via Skyscrapercity

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Phoenix Towers by Chetwoods Architects

The Whodunit

These renderings sport a menacing atmosphere achieved by desaturating the image or using only dark blue and green tones. Stormy skies, shadowy figures, and strong contrasts create tension that transforms spaces into potential film noir crime scenes.

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Kaohsiung Port Terminal by RTA-Office

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Park51 by Soma Architects

The David

The David flaunts its perfectly mapped textures, lifelike grass, and clinically precise reflections to the point that, like the android boy David in Spielberg’s A.I., the architecture looks a bit too perfect.

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The Quest by Ström Architects

Paranormal Activity

Blended so well into their surroundings, these projects are practically not there. Buildings appear as dreamy echoes of themselves held up by light and memory, instead of concrete pillars and slabs.

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Camellian Opera House by Matteo Cainer Architects

The Gondry

The stubborn collage technique may feel anachronistic but, every so often, it makes a powerful comeback. The combination of photos, renderings and drawing can be surprisingly effective and reminds of Michel Gondry’s distinctive visual style. In its most experimental form The Gondry may include unicorns, movie stars, space ships, and a cutout photo of Le Corbusier.

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Boulders Resort by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Theodore

The Theodore could be a subcategory of Paranormal Activity, but, unlike the latter, it is found mostly among representations of interiors. Airy spaces and more than generous amounts of diffuse lighting make one want to lay back in an armchair and dictate a heartfelt love letter, just like Theodore in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

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Green Valley by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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The Katherine Heigl

Romantic snowbound streets, palpable silence of the first snow, kids having fun, couples holding hands, and a building in the background. The Katherine Heigl promises a happy ending and a lighthearthed story enacted in and around the omnipresent new building. This category includes sunsets, images whose large portions show meadows, forests, parks, and all kinds of pastoral scenery.

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Le Brassus by BIG

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Samaranch Memorial Museum by HAO Holm Architecture Office

Each styles above has their uniqueness and there is none than is better than the others because it all depends on the nature of the individual projects as well as the preferences by the visualizers. Well, there may be even some few more visualization styles out there that are not mentioned here. If you know about it, you can share it in the comments section.

(Information and images in this post are from the following source: http://architizer.com/blog/7-most-common-architectural-visualization-styles/)

 

Some interesting architecture in Rio de Janeiro to see besides than sports.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2016 by vincentloy

The world’s attention is on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil right now as the city is currently hosting the world’s largest sporting event, the Summer Olympic Games. Worldwide media will be covering all the competitions daily in over 2 weeks of intense sport events in Rio 2016. Besides than looking out for the best of each contested sports in this host city, why not take a look also into some very interesting architecture in Rio de Janeiro. I recently came across an article highlighting on that topic from Archdaily and I wish to share that here:

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Rio de Janeiro is a city of sights and sounds. As diverse as its people is the collection of impressive architecture found in Brazil’s second most populous city—from Eurocentric historical architecture to 20th century regionalist modern marvels, not to mention the city’s growing crop of contemporary cultural venues. The combination of mountainous terrain, lush rainforest, and the ocean inspires many to create lively and unique architecture.

In preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city has enlisted a crop of internationally renowned architects including Santiago Calatrava, whose work joins Rio’s existing masterpieces from architects such as Oscar Niemeyer. But apart from its “Capital A” Architecture, the city of Rio is home to thousands of residents living in the now-famous favelas—interesting subjects of inquiry for those interested in the concept of spontaneous urban growth. There’s a building for just about every architecture fan visiting Rio this year or anytime in the future.

International Architects

Museum of Tomorrow / Santiago Calatrava

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Built in Calatrava’s signature style, the recently launched museum feels ethereal and features various cutting-edge experimental exhibitions; it is an icon of the modernization of Rio de Janeiro’s harbor.

Cidade das Artes / Christian Portzamparc

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Located in the city’s developing southwest zone, Portzamparc’s masterpiece is a large cultural complex. A miniature City of Arts, it serves as a venue to multiple performances and exhibits throughout the year, as well as the home of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.

MIS Copacabana / Diller + Scofidio

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Set to open later in 2016, the new headquarters of the Museum of Image and Sound aims to represent Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca culture through lively and stimulating exhibits. The building’s design aims to reproduce the experience of Copacabana’s famous boardwalk.

20th Century Modernism

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum—MAC / Oscar Niemeyer

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The iconic saucer-shaped structure not only frames views of Rio de Janeiro but also provides a column-free exhibition space for contemporary art.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian / Edgar Fonceca

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Also dubbed as the New Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, the conically-shaped structure is Edgar Fonceca’s interpretation of Mayan architecture which he has combined with traditional Catholic architecture through the dominant presence of stained glass in the interior.

Ministry of Education and Health Building / Lucio Costa

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Known alternatively as Palacio Gustavo Capanema, this office tower is one of Brazil’s most iconic representation of the International Style. The building’s design credits read like a who’s who of Brazilian Modernism, designed by Costa with help from a team of young architects which included Oscar Niemeyer alongside Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Carlos Leão, Jorge Moreira, and Ernani Vasconcellos. This team was assisted by none other than Le Corbusier, while the building’s impressive roof top gardens were designed by Roberto Burle Max.

Museo De Arte Moderna / Affonzo Eduardo Reidy

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Affonzo Reidy’s design is one of the most beautiful examples of Modernism’s sculptural potential. The museum is located within Rio’s largest public space: Flamengo Park.

Parque Eduardo Guinle / Lucio Costa

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In 1943, Lucio Costa transformed the site of Parque Eduardo Guinle by building 6 residential towers. This is a prime example of Modernist architecture’s utopian aspirations in Brazil.

Historic Architecture

The Royal Portugese Cabinet of Reading / Rafael da Silva e Castra

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Appearing like a cathedral filled with books, the 19th century building houses books which began as a private collection by three Portuguese immigrants. The library now contains largest collection of Portuguese works outside of Portugal.

Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theater / Francisco de Oliveira Passos

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The Theatro Municipal is one of the most important and beautiful theaters in Brazil. The Paris Opera look-a-like is located in Rio’s city center and houses ballet performances and classical music concerts.

Parque Lage / Mario Vodrel

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Once the private home of industrialist Enrique Lague, the site is now a public park with walking trails through subtropical forest. In 2015, the artists Penny Duo transformed the site by placing an inflatable orange tarp that covered the building’s entire pool area.

Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

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Before it was replaced by the New Cathedral of Rio in 1976, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo was the seat of the Archdiocese of San Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro. It features stunning Rococo-style ornamentation.

Everyday Architecture

Santa Marta Favela

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The Santa Marta Favela is located in the Botafogo district of Rio de Janeiro and is home to some 8000 residents. In 2011, the Praça Cantão square of the favela underwent a colorful transformation through the Favela Painting Foundation of artist duo Haas and Hahn.

Teleferico do Complexo do Alemão / Jorge Mario Juaregui

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This cable car ride is composed of 7 stations and is taken by everyday commuters as it connects to the city’s railway network; the 45 minute ride provides a view of Rio de Janeiro’s various residential areas.

Contemporary Architecture

Rio Art Museum (MAR) / Bernardes + Jacobson Arquitetura

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The MAR is a large complex which contains not only a museum but also a school and leisurely cultural spaces. The 2013 construction of the museum required the unification and re-purposing of three pre-existing buildings: the Palacete Dom João, the police building and the old central bus station of Rio as one cohesive complex.

Uruguai Station / JBMC Architects

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This station used to be an old parking area for trains known as “Rabicho da Tijuca” before it was renovated to become part of the metro’s Line 1 extension. JBMC Architects were also responsible for the Cidade Nova Metro Station and Footbridge.

Homeless World Cup Legacy Center / Lompreta Nolte Arquitetos + Architecture For Humanity + Nanda Eskes Arquitetura

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After the 2010 Homeless World Cup, the structure from this multi-team collaboration, which also included Nike and Bola par Frente, has been re-purposed as a community and cultural center using football and play as a tool for empowerment in the underprivileged neighborhood of Santa Cruz.

Capela Joá / Bernardes Arquitetura

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This contemporary chapel literally hangs off a cliff and is a reconceptualization of church architecture; the traditional gable form of religious Christian buildings has been inverted from sectional to plan view.

Maracanã Stadium / Schlaich Bergermann und Partner

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The Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics are being held in this stadium, which adds to the long list of prestigious sporting events that the Maracanã stadium has hosted since its construction in 1950. A beautiful new roof structure was designed by schlaich bergermann und partner in 2013.

(Original source of the article above: http://www.archdaily.com/792656/city-guide-all-the-architecture-to-see-in-rio-de-janeiro-during-the-2016-olympics#_=_)

Also to add on from the list above for interesting architecture to observe in Rio de Janeiro are the newly built Barra Olympic Park where it is a cluster of nine sporting venues (2 of them are temporary structures) purposely built for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It sits on the former site of motorsport circuit of the city.

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And not to forget the iconic Christ The Redeemer Statue on Corcovado Mountain which is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and is the most important icon of the city. It somehow isn’t related to architecture, but it is still a spendid landmark that defines Rio de Janeiro and is a must-see when you are in the city.

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Rio de Janeiro is a very beautiful city full of intriguing built environment sets in picturesque natural setting. The city’s architecture has the old and new, rough and clean, humble and bold, which are more than enough to amaze everyone.

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

Urban design is fun.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Urban design is the first out of the three design studios I have to complete in my Master of Architecture course. It is generally defined as the process of giving form, shape, and character to groups of buildings, to whole neighborhoods, and the city. It is a framework that orders the elements into a network of streets, squares, and blocks. Urban design is also about making connections between people and places, movement and urban form, nature and the built fabric and the goal is usually to make the urban areas more functional, attractive and sustainable.

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Before I take on this design studio, I have had already some interest in urban design. I do like to see how and where the buildings were placed in relation to each other and their significance to the overall masterplan. I have been to many cities with unique urban planning before like Siem Reap (the ancient city of Angkor where the famous Angkor Wat temple is at the centre), Beijing (city spine or axis from Tiananmen Square to Forbidden City and then all the way up straight to Olympic Park, picture below), Paris (the streets and uniform building heights and patterns), Seoul (the Cheonggyecheon River and the public realm along it, picture below), etc. I like to research on the many urban case studies across the world from the ancient or historical city planning to the ones in the present. They are not only useful to my study in this particular studio but also beneficial for my extra knowledge on this field that involves a lot of parties (architect, urban planner, landscape architect, engineers, authority, etc).

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After this studio that I have completed, I do discovered many more useful information and knowledge behind a successful urban design. Here below are the top 10 urban design knowledge that I have learnt from my studio which can be seen as the basic principles or guidelines on creating a good urban planning:

(1) Be pedestrian-friendly. Pedestrian streets over vehicular roads.

Urban design is mostly about creating good environment for people to walk, to see, to play, to shop, to eat, etc. Having beautiful pedestrian streets or promenades gives a nice and safe ambience to people. Lesser attention to roads.

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(2) Activate ground level. 

Ground level is where all the things should be happening. Skywalks (those pedestrian bridges) are now very popular urban trend to link buildings away and above the roads. They may be useful but they are sometimes bad on preventing people to be on ground level. Try makes the public spaces on the ground to be interesting to draw people to that level.

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(3) Continue lines from existing urban or city grid. And create new ones too.

To start on your master planning, try as much as you can to link your newly proposed roads or streets to the existing ones outside your site boundary to create a continuity so that your masterplan isn’t in its ‘own world’. Linking to existing urban patterns (grids) is very important for a continuous uninterrupted flow around or within the urban area.

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(4) Have a driver or an overall concept.

It is preferred to have a main strategy before starting on the urban planning. A main concept or driver to your imagined urban development. For example, you can have your site to be transit-oriented (main focus on transportation links), or water-oriented (priority for water views or for various interaction or engagement with people from water). Have a look on some good examples of successful urban projects across the world. Research on them, make them as your precedent studies, and maybe you can find certain interesting elements to be incorporated in your urban design as well.

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(5) Emphasize on views, vantage points, visual axis or linkage. See at human scale.

View is important. When you are proposing a street here, try and imagine what would people see at the end of this particular street? It’s best that the planning is done to allow people to have certain intended view (for example, view of a river, view of a sculpture, view of an interesting roof, view of a major park, or view that directs people to another angle, etc). Always see from a human scale.

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(6) Have something as the centrepiece of the planning.

It’s always an ideal way to have something that stood out among the rest in your masterplan. It would be boring to have all proposed built forms in your masterplan to have uniform and similar strength, proportion, height or scale. Have one particularly large or tall building (a landmark) as the limelight of the overall masterplan. Or if you think that is unnecessary, have a main public square as the node of your planning. On the other hand, try to propose a few more civic or community buildings like library, aquarium, sports hall, shopping mall, museums, art gallery, etc to create a sense of place and to gives identity to the particular urban area or city.

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(7) More parks, plazas or squares. Public realm is the most important.

Create these spaces for people to walk, relax, interact, etc. Public space is the priority in an urban design. Have them designed in a way that it invites people, it engages people, it attracts people, at any time of the day if possible. It’s not about the quantity too as it’s about quality. Having a lot of parks or plazas may not be good as this approach will make people to go on separate ways since they have many choices to make (on which parks or plazas to go).

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(8) Connectivity and practicality in mind.

It would be cool to have the urban planning to feature extensive greenery, massive parks, huge waterways, etc. You can be daring in your design. However, kindly think of whether it is practical to have that. Will it interrupts flow of people? Can it be accessed by cars? Can the disabled go over there? Can goods or loading be done over here to cater for this building? Also think about the distance to reach a place from the office, from the mall, from the homes, from the hotel, etc. On the other hand, car park is an ugly building but it is very much needed even if you don’t like it. How are you going to have that in your masterplan while not being a waste of space or being an unpleasant sight? Avoid from having car park taking up ground level and preferably place it in basements or in a podium together with facility floors. You can even propose to treat the facade of the car park podium to be interesting. But let’s not get into detail of buildings as urban design is not about that.

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(9) Be green. 

Everything is about sustainability now in the architecture world. It’s good to bring the nature back into your masterplan by proposing parks with extensive landscaping (or even lakes, etc) as people love to enjoy the nature if it’s provided and it’s beautiful. Be green in this case also means having your masterplan to work in a way that you envisioned it to be energy efficient by having the future built forms in the site to have maximum exposure to natural daylight, making use of wind direction, sun orientation, etc.

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(10) Think about land use, setbacks and mass of buildings. 

This is where standard comes in. There is the setbacks to buildings that you have to provide when setting out your proposed location of new built forms. Each authority has their own set of guidelines on it, and it includes also on the mass of building (height, density limit, etc). As for the zoning, try to think over and over again why would you want to propose a hotel here instead of at the other places in your site. That’s one of the examples. If you can’t find good reason for it, then it’s not a good urban design decision. Work on it again.

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In conclusion, urban design is mostly about people and its about the spaces between buildings (roads, streets, parks, boulevards, lanes, plazas, walkways, etc). Social system goes above vehicular system. People over cars. A good urban design facilitates human interaction, activates dead spaces, ensures smooth flow and permeability, and caters to a demand-seeking future. A masterplan should be flexible, able to adapt to future changes or addition of new built forms if possible. It should be done to prepare the site to meet demands in the future especially when all the cities now are growing fast with increasing need for more residential, commercial, leisure or tourism developments. When you are designing a masterplan, imagine being in there yourself, what do you want to see, where do you want to go, what do you want to do once you are in that space? Have plenty of good reasoning to all the design making decisions you have make, and then you will have an excellent masterplan. There is no right or wrong but there is a point where we know whether it works or not. It requires a lot of thinking in macro-scale. That’s what differentiates urban design from architecture.

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

KL crossed a milestone by having 20 buildings in the city each exceeding 200 metres high.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Not many cities in this world could have over 20 buildings that are each at least 200 metres high respectively. To make it into that list, I can only think of some mega cities like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, Shanghai, Dubai, Tokyo, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing. And by 2016, my home-city, Kuala Lumpur will become the 10th city in the world to join the list with exactly 20 buildings that are each over 200 metres high in the capital of Malaysia.

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Yes, till 2016, only 10 cities crossed over this milestone and I’m quite excited that KL is part of it. We also love to build tall here in Kuala Lumpur, a trend that is particularly popular in rising cities in China as well as in Dubai nowadays. Having a lot of tall buildings in the city helps to create more city landmarks as well as enhancing the overall skyline. This also provides an ideal solution to short amount of land for development especially in dense urban areas.

Here below is the list of the current top 20 tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that includes the architecturally topped-out buildings, but not including television or sightseeing towers. You can see the building in the 20th place hit the 200-metres mark precisely to help push the city to join the 10-city club as mentioned above.

1 & 2 – Petronas Twin Towers (452 metres, 88 floors each, built in 1998, former world’s tallest buildings and current world’s tallest twin buildings)

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3 – Telekom Tower (310 metres, 55 floors, built in 2001)

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4 – Ilham Baru Tower (274 metres, 60 floors, built in 2015)

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5 – Petronas Tower 3 (267 metres, 60 floors, built in 2012)

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6 – Maybank Tower (244 metres, 50 floors, built in 1988, former city’s tallest building)

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7 – Banyan Tree Signatures (240 metres, 55 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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8 – Vista Tower (238 metres, 60 floors, built in 1994)

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9 – Vortex Tower (235 metres, 58 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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10 – Felda Tower (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2012)

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11 – Naza Tower 1 (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2015)

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12 – Maxis Tower (212 metres, 49 floors, built in 1998)

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13 – AmBank Tower (210 metres, 50 floors, built in 1998)

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14 – St. Regis Hotel & Residences (205 metres, 48 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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15 – The Troika Tower 3 (204 metres, 50 floors, built in 2010, tallest city’s full residential building)

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16 & 17 – Berjaya Times Square Tower A & B (203 metres, 48 floors each, built in 2003)

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18 – K Residence (202 metres, 52 floors, built in 2008)

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19 – Lot G Office Towers (200 metres, 45 floors, built in 2013)

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20 – Le Nouvel Tower 1 (200 metres, 49 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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There are actually several high-rise buildings completed recently along KL Sentral region of which their height would be around 190 metres to 200 metres respectively. However, there isn’t a formal database to confirm on this. Some also speculated that the Le Nouvel Tower 1 (the 20th tallest) is actually 199 metres tall, and not 200 metres. Well, there is only a 1 metre difference..so let’s just get over it. In few more years, there would be several more much taller buildings to be constructed in the city, particularly the city’s next tallest building, the PNB 118 Tower that will go beyond 600-metres mark once built.

(Information above is correct as of April 2016. Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)