Wednesday, June 2, 2010

1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron have produced not a new cultural behemoth but a strange sculptural structure, reviving the idea of the car park as a figure in the city.

1111 Lincoln Road
Design Team: Herzog & de Meuron
Location: Miami, USA
Status: Completed 2010

Multistorey carpark is always synonymous with paranoid, corrupt dystopia & denied its own architectural expression and buried - beneath the ground, unseen, uncelebrated, a poorly-lit, dirty secret. However, the latest building (carpark) from Herzog & de Meuron is a surprise to all of us.

Envisioned by developer Robert Wennett and designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the multistorey carpark is part of the 1111 Lincoln Road development. Robert Wennett, has used Miami Beach's parking shortage to smuggle in a layer of retail for which he otherwise would have struggled to get permission. Boutiques and bookshops at ground level establish a pattern of (upmarket) retail for (the now mid-market) Lincoln, while four condos on a new street at the side help with profits, leaving Wennett's own penthouse and a restaurant to occupy the top floor. There is even a shop halfway up the ramps, isolated and intriguing.

A stack of raw, sharply chamfered concrete layers is prised apart by wedge-shaped columns, which wind into each other and draw the eye into the slightly sinister shadows against the vivid blue of the Florida sky. It is almost shocking. As you ascend through the structure, its concrete planes fold themselves beneath you, each level exposing a yet more compelling vantage-point on the surrounding city. At one point a complex tangle of steel by artist Monika Sosnowska turns out also to be a safety feature, stopping kids getting struck beneath the ramp. By the time you reach the top, the city, the sea and the sky twinkle before you in a filmic panorama.

The idea is to create a series of layers that extend the public realm up into the building, to attract events, parties and life into the structure. Both architects and developer see the structure as an experiment in a new kind of downtown transport architecture, a building as exciting to enter as to emerge from, blinking into the Miami sun.

The public street in front of the car park has also been transformed. Artist Dan Graham has built a curvaceous glass pavilion outside. Beside the raw concrete, a gleaming white monolithic block provides one of the very few Swiss avant-garde drive-in banks.

This is not a conventional piece of regeneration, even if it is on a site that frankly needed it. A building dedicated to consumption in every way, most notably to fuel and fashion, it nevertheless becomes a stark and thoughtful reflection on the contemporary city. It strips architecture back to its sinewy muscles and the US city back to its autopianism. The diametric opposite of the sunny, pastel-tinted, much-loved art deco for which the city is known it is a vernacular derived from local conditions - sun, shopping, views and traffic.

via ft

Continue reading...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

M&G Ricerche by Samyn and Partners

The building is situated like an island in the middle of a rectangular pool and follows the outline of the foundations of a convent which once occupied this site.
M&G Ricerche Research Laboratory
Design Team: Samyn and Partners
Location: Venafro, Italy
Status: Completed 1991

As chemical industry research laboratory, the centre consists of two areas: a technical area with pilot plants for the development of production and processing methods, and a chemical-physical area with labs for the synthesis and analysis of chemical products. The implementation of these chemical and physical largescale experiments has a varying space requirement which is predictable only with difficulty. From this fact resulted the requirement to create an open, column-free space as large as possible, which at the same time would allow for separate tests to be carried out in smaller protected units.

The site eventually chosen, Venafro in the South of Italy, is a large valley surrounded by hills, fields and traditional buildings.

A light tentlike form appeared from the first sketches and evolved into an almost oval form, 85 m by 32 m, creating a single volume covered with a lightweight 15 m high structure, and supported by symmetrical metal lattice arches held by six longitudinal suspension cables.  This space, lit by the translucency of the membrane, as well as by the perimeter steel framed and arched window, is used for both types of research.

The structure is placed in the centre of an oval reflective pool, designed for security, thermal regulation, and to enhance the form and the landscape with its reflections and coolness.  The closed research areas as well as the offices are completely air-conditioned.

The membrane is made of PVC coated polyester, stretched between metal arches. At its base, a cable holds the feet to the arches positioned in the pool.  The junction between the membrane and the metallic perimeter half-arches is made of a supple transparent PVC material that is fixed into the perimeter of the half-arches and on to the membrane's main suspension cable.

Continue reading...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pearl Academy of Fashion by morphogenesis

The building is protected from the environment by a double skin which is derived from a traditional building element called the ‘Jaali’ which is prevalent in Rajasthani architecture.
Pearl Academy of Fashion
Design Team: Morphogenesis
Location: Jaipur, India
Status: Completed 2008

The Pearl Academy of Fashion, Jaipur is designed as a low cost, environmentally sensitive campus, first of its kind in India. The design creates a series of multifunctional spaces which blend the indoors with the outdoors seamlessly. Many elements of this thermally adaptive environment borrow from the tradition of passive cooling techniques prevalent in the hot-dry desert climate of Rajasthan.

Environmental design is also employed as a strategy to lower energy costs in the long run. Passive climate control methods reduce/eliminate the dependence on expensive mechanical cooling and heating methods in a state with scarce resources. The design takes two almost inviolable Rajasthani architectural motifs and gives them a contemporary twist: the stone screen known as the "jaali" and the open-to-sky courtyard.

A double skin based on the 'jaali' acts as a thermal buffer between the building and the surroundings. The density of the perforated outer skin has been derived using computational shadow analysis based on orientation of the fa├žades. The screen situated four feet away from the wall reduces the direct heat gain. Drip channels running along the inner face of the screen allow for passive downdraft evaporative cooling, thus reducing the incident wind temperature.

The traditional courtyards take on amorphous shapes within the regulated form of the cloister-like periphery. The shaded courtyards help control the temperature of internal spaces and open step-wells, while allowing sufficient daylighting inside studios and classrooms. The entire building is raised above the ground. The resultant scooped-out underbelly forms a natural thermal sink by way of a water body. The water body which is fed by the recycled water from the sewage treatment plant helps in the creation of a microclimate through evaporative cooling. This underbelly, which is thermally banked on all sides, serves as a large recreation and exhibition zone. Passive environmental design helps achieve temperatures of about 27 degree Celsius inside the building even when the outside temperatures are at 47 degree Celsius. During the night, when the desert temperature drops, this floor slowly dissipates the heat to the surroundings, keeping the area thermally comfortable.

Materials such as local stone, mosaic flooring with steel, glass and concrete help meet the climatic needs of the region while retaining the progressive design intent, keeping in line with the aims of the institute. It promotes rainwater harvesting and wastewater re-cycling through the use of a sewage treatment plant. While it has become a successful model for cost-effective passive architecture in desert regions, the design and facilities of the campus complement the ideology of the Pearl Academy of Fashion - a cutting edge design institute with a sustainable approach.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Safe Haven Bath house by TYIN Tegnestue

In order to leave the locals useful model for future construction, the project were highly localized, built with the help of locals, using locals materials and based on local traditional methods.
Safe Haven Bath House
Design Team: TYIN Tegnestue
Location: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
Cost: 3300 USD
Status: Completion 2009

TYIN Tegnestue is a non-profit organization working humanitarian through architecture. TYIN is run by five architect students from NTNU and the projects are financed by more than 60 Norwegian companies, as well as private contributions.

The Safe Haven Bath house is a community project done by TYIN for Safe Heaven Orphanage, which is located at Northern Thailand.   Safe Heaven Orphanage houses 49 children that is care by a fantastic woman, Tasanee Keereepraneed, a Karen origin.  While all the children come from different places, one thing they all have in common is their Karen heritage. ( The Karen or Kayin, are a group of ethnic peoples who reside primarily in southern and southeastern Myanmar. The Karen make up approximately 7 percent of the total Burmese population of approximately 50 million people. A large number of Karen also reside in Thailand, mostly on the Thai-Burmese border. Source: Wikipedia)

The new bathhouse covers basic needs like toilets, personal hygiene and laundry. A simple structure was already built and became the framework for the project.The most intimate functions are located in the two separate parts of plastered concrete blocks. In the central area you find a space for bathing that opens up towards the vast teak plantation. The bathing area is only partly privatized, adapted to Karen culture. A tilted facade of bamboo covers the front of the building and creates a passage, tying the functions together.

A great challenge in this project is that sewage and drainage had to be dealt with on-site and handle large amounts of water during the rainy season. The waste from the toilets passes through pipes into buried. Concrete tanks that are drained from the bottom and sides. Gravel and wooden floors are easy to keep clean and dry, and all wet rooms are drained by using layers of stone and gravel.

The existing sanitary facilities at Safe Haven Orphanage, as well in the district in general, are narrow, dark and have concrete flooring that accumulates water and dirt. With this bathhouse TYIN has tried alternative solutions that hopefully will be an important asset in the future development in the district. The climate of northern Thailand makes good personal hygiene essential to prevent diseases, especially for small children. With this bathhouse TYIN wanted to create well functioning and dignified facility for personal hygiene.

Continue reading...