Archive for world

Pyeongchang 2018 kicks off with eye-catching opening ceremony.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2018 by vincentloy

Pyeongchang 2018, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games is held from 9 to 25 February 2018 (some events being held on 8th and 9th prior to the opening ceremony). This international sporting event brought Pyeongchang, a once quiet town 180km from the capital Seoul, South Korea into spotlight. The games feature 102 events in fifteen sports disciplines. 2,952 athletes from 92 National Olympic Committees are slated to compete, including the debut of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

Wow…I can’t wait to see how Malaysia will perform in this Winter Olympic Games. I don’t think Malaysia will win any medal since this is only the first time Malaysia is participating in Winter Olympics. We have only two athletes competing (Jeffrey Webb will compete in alpine skiing while Julian Yee will compete in figure skating). Although we have lack of experience (hard to get involved in any winter sports in Malaysia where no winter is observed), but I’m still wishing all the best to these two Malaysian athletes in Pyeongchang 2018.

Pyeongchang defeated Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France) back in 2011 to bid for the hosting job of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Previously, Pyeongchang had bid to host the 2010 and 2014 editions but lost out respectively to Vancouver and Sochi (Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics while Sochi hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics). Success is finally observed in the third time bidding. Third time a charm for Pyeongchang.

The opening ceremony was held yesterday’s evening at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, a stadium with 35 000 seating capacity purposely built for the games and will be demolished after the games ended. The Games were officially opened by President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in and the ceremony was also attended by Kim Yo-jong (representative of North Korea and sister of Kim Jong Un), Mike Pence (Vice President of USA), Shinzo Abe (Japanese Prime Minister), Antonio Guterres (United Nations Secretary General), Thomas Bach (President of International Olympic Committee), etc.

I didn’t watch the full ceremony but I do looked at the highlights of it from many news sources. Some of the major highlights of the ceremony include the marching of North and South Korea together in the athletes’ parade under a unified Korean flag, two men impersonating as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in the stadium and being kicked out, the world’s largest drone show in history during a performance segment of the ceremony, etc.

(Images in this post are from Vox at https://www.vox.com/2018/2/9/16995150/2018-winter-olympics-opening-ceremony-photos) 

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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)

New Year 2018 fireworks from across the world!

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2018 by vincentloy

Happy New Year once again!

I went to KLCC yesterday to join in the countdown and watch the fireworks display at the stroke of midnight. As expected, the area is very crowded as KLCC is the biggest venue for new year countdown every year in Malaysia. I think there is around 300 000. Try to imagine that you are one of the 300 000 and you are surrounded by all the people, all the noises and all the chaos. Well, it is still a one great experience to be able to observe such happening atmosphere and celebrating the arrival of new year with so many people including both locals and the foreign tourists. While others were busy blowing the horns or cheering, I was concentrating on looking up to admire the beauty of the Petronas Twin Towers in the evening. I won’t be bored seeing the towers all these years.

Here’s the video that I captured during the countdown to usher in year 2018 and the fireworks display from the KLCC Park. It is about 10-minutes long.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It took almost an hour for most of the crowd to disperse and leave the area after the fireworks. Traffic congestion stayed for another two hours. That was insane. I was only able to reach home at around 2.30am and sleep at 3.00am. Although it was a cool experience, but I don’t think I will be joining countdown anytime soon again.

Alright, here comes the much more better new year 2018 fireworks displays from other parts of the world:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – there is no fireworks this year at the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building), and it is replaced with a spectacular light show instead.

Taipei, Taiwan – usual fireworks display from Taipei 101 with visual projection on the building.

Hong Kong, China – fireworks display from the Victoria Harbour with the breathtaking city skyline as the backdrop.

Sydney, Australia – one of the biggest new year events in the world with massive fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour and the bridge. The fireworks in Sydney never disappoints.

London, United Kingdom – fireworks display from the London Eye ferris wheel.

That’s it for the fireworks’ videos. Have an awesome year!

(All videos from this post are from YouTube and they are not of my possession except the first one)

 

 

Winners at the World Architecture Festival 2017.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2017 by vincentloy

World Architecture Festival 2017 was held recently in Berlin, Germany from 15 to 17th November. This annual festival contains events for the architecture industry and one of the main highlights of the festival is the awards presentation. The festival honors architectural projects across the world in various categories and will select a project to be declared World Building of the Year. Here below is the full list of winners for this year’s World Architecture Festival:

Completed Buildings

Civic and Community – Streetlight Tagpuro, Tacloban, Philippines (Eriksson Furunes + Leandro V. Locsin)

Display – The Smile, London, United Kingdom (Alison Brooks Architects)

Housing – Superlofts Houthaven, Amsterdam, Netherlands (Marc Koehler Architects)

This housing project receives this year’s newly created award; Director’s Special Award. 

A new co-housing concept that aims to create a global network of local building co-operatives, judges said the concept is “a game changer – a replicable and transferable model which could extend in terms of scale.”

Culture – The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine (Heneghan Peng Architects)

House – Binh House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)

New and Old – Post earthquake reconstruction and demonstration project of Guangming Village, Zhaotong, China (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

This project is also the winner for World Building Of The Year.

The project was initiated in response to the catastrophic Ludian earthquake in 2014, which destroyed most of the traditional rammed-earth buildings in the village of Guangming. When replacement materials such as brick and concrete proved to be too costly for most of the village’s residents, the architect team developed a new technique of constructing rammed-earth homes that will be more resistant to future seismic activity.

A prototype house built for an elderly couple was completed last year, proving the method could provide a safe, economical, comfortable, and sustainable reconstruction strategy for the village and the wider region of Southwest China.

The judges believed this to be an extraordinary project in terms of the scope of ambition, exemplified in the addressing of profound problems facing ordinary people. They applauded the re-use of traditional material and construction methods but with the addition of new technology – combining ancient wisdom with modern know-how.

The judges were also impressed by the iterative research process which could be re-applied to anywhere in the world affected by seismic problems and low levels of wealth. “The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” WAF Programme Director Paul Finch commented. “This building is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.”

I am delighted that the juries decided to go for architecture that is really useful and resistant rather than picking those fancy designs. This is a fresh direction.

Office – Co Op Kyosai Plaza, Tokyo, Japan (Nikken Sekkei)

Production, Energy and Recycling – The Farm of 38 – 30, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey (Slash Architects and Arkizon Architects)

School – East Sydney Early Learning Centre, Sydney, Australia (Andrew Burges Architects)

Sport – US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, United States of America (HKS)

Health – Westbury Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa (Ntsika Architects)

Higher Education and Research – Maersk Tower, Copenhagen, Denmark (CF Moller Architects)

Hotel and Leisure – Vegetable Trellis, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Cong Sinh Architects)

Mixed Use – Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris)

Religion – Bushey Cemetery, Bushey, United Kingdom (Waugh Thistleton Architects)

Shopping – Victoria Gate, Leeds, United Kingdom (ACME)

Transport – Transformation Chemnitz Central Station, Chemnitz, Germany (Gruntuch Errnst Architects)

Villa – Bach With Two Roofs, Golden Bay, New Zealand (Irving Smith Architects)

Future Projects

Leisure-led Development – Bodrum Loft, Bodrum, Turkey (Tabanlioglu Architects)

Competition Entries – New Cyprus Archaeological Museum, Nicosia, Cyprus (Pilbrow & Partners)

Health – Desa Semesta, Bogor, Indonesia (Magi Design Studio)

Experimental – Sharjah Observatory, Mleiha National Park, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (3deluxe Transdisciplinary Design)

Office – Viettel Offsite Studio, Hanoi, Vietnam (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)

Civic – Consulate Building, Staff Housing & School Complex, Karachi, Pakistan (edgeARCH)

Infrastructure – The Bridge, Ras, India (Sanjay Puri Architects)

Commercial Mixed Use – Battersea Power Station Phase 2, London, United Kingdom (WilkinsonEyre)

Education – Aga Khan Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios + SHATOTTO Architecture)

Culture – Kulturkorgen – A Basket Full Of Culture, Gothenburg, Sweden (Sweco Architects)

Kulturkorgen6-Sweco Architects

House – Queenstown House, Queenstown, New Zealand (Monk Mackenzie Architects)

Masterplanning – Sydney Fish Markets, Sydney, Australia (Allen Jack + Cottier Architects)

Residential – Goksu Residences, Istanbul, Turkey (EAA Emre Arolat Architecture)

My country, Malaysia did have few projects that were able to make it to the finalists. However, none of them succeeds to be listed as winner. It shows that there are a lot to do to improve the architectural field in Malaysia.

(Images and information in this post are from Archdaily)

References:

https://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/

https://www.archdaily.com/883888/guangming-post-earthquake-reconstruction-project-wins-world-building-of-the-year-2017

https://www.archdaily.com/883761/2017-world-architecture-festival-announces-day-1-award-winners

https://www.archdaily.com/883814/world-architecture-festival-reveals-day-2-category-winners-of-their-2017-awards

 

 

Which is the better way to measure a building’s height?

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) which is considered the foremost authority on tall buildings has made it clear that it has four ways of measuring a building’s height. Out of the four, height to the architectural top is officially used to determine the list of world’s tallest building. Architectural top here includes unoccupied spires/pinnacles/parapets that are permanent and critical to the overall design while disregards antennae, signage, flagpole or other ‘functional technical equipment’.

This is the reason why the Petronas Twin Towers won over Sears Tower (now renamed Willis Tower) to become the tallest buildings in the world back in 1997. The twin towers reach the height of 452 metres including their architectural spires while Willis Tower goes up to 527 metres including its antennae. However, antenna is not included and hence the official height of Willis Tower is just 442 metres.

The other three methods on measuring a building’s height that can be seen as alternatives or extensions of the main measuring method are height to top of roof, height to highest occupied floor, and height to highest point (tip). The latter method is the one that counts everything from a building from its base to its very top including those ‘functional technical equipment’. Once Taipei 101 was built in 2003,  the skyscraper cools down the controversy by topping the world’s tallest ranking in three out of the four methods. Then, Burj Khalifa came in 2009 to take all the top spots including the world’s tallest man-made structure and it is still holding the title now. The current list of world’s top ten tallest buildings is shown below which is measured in height to architectural top: (click on the image for larger version)

Besides than these four methods, other professional industries in this field of tall buildings such as the Emporis has its own set of methods too. But not to confuse anyone further, we will just stick to the more precise ones by CTBUH at this point.

There are still many parties who are not happy with these methods. They each has its flaws. The height to tip method rewards vanity height of all stripes, which could allow designers or developers seeking a height accolade to cheaply take the top spot using any poorly designed, extraneous addition to the roof. On the other hand, height to highest occupied floor does not acknowledge the impact that a building has on the experience of the urban environment – for example, the Burj Khalifa does not appear 584 meters tall but 828 meters, and as most of us will never be lucky enough to visit its topmost floor, it seems only sensible to judge its height based on its impact on the city’s appearance.

How about height to top of roof? In the variety of design of skyscraper nowadays, it’s very hard to judge the actual roof of a particular building. Is it just the roof over the highest occupied floor or roof covering the very highest portion of the building although the floor below it is not habitable.  The Burj Khalifa has 244 meters of vanity height, but where exactly is the roof over its top floor? The tapered design of this building does not allow for such simple definitions. The definition provided also repeats the flaw of the “height to top floor” method, in that many skyscraper designs have significant architectural additions above this, which impact how they are perceived by those on the ground.

Hence, which of the four methods are the best? Of can you define what’s the ‘best’ or the ‘better’ here? Louis Sullivan, an architect who is always known as the father of skyscrapers, says “It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line”.  If we take this to be true then it is clear that measuring the height to the tip, including – and rewarding – any and all of the clutter that often adorns the tops of skyscrapers is a move against design quality.

By contrast CTBUH’s official measurement tool, at the very least, holds designers accountable for ensuring that the way a building’s height is expressed is also a factor in establishing its quoted height. As architects, shouldn’t we support any tool which encourages tall buildings to be expressed elegantly? Recently, once the 1 World Trade Center in New York City is completed, another heated argument surfaces. Some claims that it is US tallest building but some said it’s Willis Tower. Many don’t see the antennae-like, awkward-designed and out-of-proportion spire on top of 1WTC as the key architectural element of the building. I too stand in that opinion. However, CTBUH has approved to have the spire as part of its architectural component in measuring its building height to the architectural top.

Increasing a building’s height with poor design is a big NO for me. Putting in a huge spire that is not proportionate to the overall building is a bad decision too. On the other hand, I do think it is necessary to have vanity height (non-usable height) to ‘complete’ a skyscraper especially when it is a tapering design on certain occasions. This issue actually leaves up a lot of questions and is open for multiple discussions.

Nevertheless, what’s important is that ‘the architects shouldn’t be arguing over which building is taller, but rather which building is better.’ 

Reference:

http://www.archdaily.com/548829/in-defense-of-rewarding-vanity-height

http://www.archdaily.com/881090/the-10-different-ways-to-measure-a-skyscrapers-height

(Images in this post are from the two sources listed above)

 

 

First time to the Premium Outlet in Genting Highlands.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2017 by vincentloy

The Genting Highlands Premium Outlet has opened its door for a month and yesterday is the first time I paid a visit to the outlet. With only about a month staying in Malaysia before flying back to Australia, I pick last weekend as the time for me to go up to Genting for at least once. I treat it as a short getaway to catch the colder air on the resort up on the hills.

The last time I went to Genting was in the past January. That was just 6 months ago. When I went up this time, I’m lost in direction. The whole First World Plaza is now closed and is replaced with the new Sky Avenue Mall. The mall is partially open when I visit in the last January. Some areas in the mall now are still empty and unfinished. The former casino in the First World Hotel’s building has also moved to a much more grand setting in the Sky Avenue Mall. It is now re-branded as ‘Sky Casino’.

That is the place where I lost RM500 on the roulette game on last Saturday’s evening. That was after a not-so-good meal in Madam Kwan’s Restaurant. The food served there are too sweet (the chef love to pour a lot of sugar into the dishes), the quantity are small and the price are unreasonable. Me and my parents moved to the other casino in the Genting Hotel on midnight to try our luck but we lost again. Another RM300 gone from my wallet. Hmm…I will take it as a charity donation to Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay to further develop the resort. View from the hotel room below:

So, we ended up not going into the casino anymore on Sunday on fear of losing more money. We instead had an awesome lunch at Din Tai Fung Restaurant. The food is delicious, the service is excellent, the price is reasonable, and the quality of every aspects are magnificent. Everything is great. Highly recommended place to have a nice meal. After the lunch, we took the new Awana Skyway (RM8 for a person) cable car ride down to the Premium Outlet as mentioned earlier. From there, we get to see some amazing views of the surrounding (the resort, the Chin Swee Temple, Awana Resorts, Gohtong Jaya, the Premium Outlet, and the hills).

From the ride, we also noticed that the construction of the 20th Century Fox World Outdoor Theme Park is super slow. There are still a lot to be done and I think it is highly likely that the opening for the theme park will be delayed again to possibly end of 2018.  Okay…back to the premium outlet. It is the second outlet of its kind in Malaysia (first one is in Johor). It is just an outdoor mall with famous branded stores selling slightly cheaper stuff. There are a lot of people there because it is still new. I won’t go there often if I have been there once.

On our way back home, we stopped by at the Chin Swee Temple for a short visit. The last time I visited the temple was way back many years ago when I was still a teenager. There are many new stuff (new plaza with Genting founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong’s statue, new sculptures depicting Chinese legends or beliefs, new vegetarian restaurant and observation tower building, etc) or things to visit and discover in the temple complex now. It also manages to attract a lot of foreign tourists. I’m tired during the visit and so I didn’t climb the pagoda tower. I always climb the tower every time I visit the temple in the past. Not this time.

That’s the end of our short trip up at Genting. Very ‘costly’ (due to gambling…haha) but rewarding in other sense that I got to visit new places this time. In the past, it is always the same for every corners in this mountain resort that has been here for like 50 years. It’s good news that the resort is now evolving to stay relevant and to continuously attract more visitors.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post.)

Top 10 Landmarks in the World on 2017 by TripAdvisor

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2017 by vincentloy

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel website company that provides reviews of travel-related content and also includes interactive travel forums. The website has been here since year 2000 and has claimed to have more than 315 million members and over 500 million reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses. Recently, the website released a ranking of the top 10 landmarks in the world on 2017 as reviewed by its online members. Besides than posting the 10 landmarks below, I will also delighted to share to you which one I have personally visited too.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. *

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy. *

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. *

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia.

Great Wall at Mutianyu, Beijing, China. *

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain.

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy. *

An asterisk at the end of the landmarks’ names indicate that I have personally visited the place. Out of the 10, I have visited 5 of them. Not bad. I enjoy travelling (who doesn’t?) and my family has this habit of travelling oversea at least once in a year and it usually takes place during our lengthy Chinese New Year break annually. We just went to Hanoi, Vietnam early this year (awesome to see the beauty of Halong Bay as the main attraction of Hanoi) and we will go to Bangkok, Thailand next month during the Hari Raya holiday. That’s the time when I’m already back to Malaysia for my mid-year break.

Out of the 5 places I have visited and mentioned above, the ones that fascinated me the most are Angkor Wat, St. Peter’s Basilica and Taj Mahal. I noticed most of the 10 listed landmarks are religious buildings. I think people are more friendly towards religion-sensitive sites when putting their reviews. Whatever they are, they are all impressive man-made structures. Of the remaining 5 that I have not visited, I would love to visit Machu Picchu and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’m also surprised that no landmarks in North America made it into this Top 10 list. On the other hand, if there is a chance that one of Malaysian landmarks get to contest in this top rankings, I think it must be our iconic Petronas Twin Towers which now still stand tall as the world’s tallest twin buildings.

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