Search Engine

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Manama Urban Oasis / Influx Studio

The main strategy of the Bab Al Bahrain Urban Oasis is to introduce a strong pedestrian condition to Bahrain’s capital, the city of Manama. Strategically situated in an area that demarcates the traditional part of the city from its waterfront, the project hybridizes two distinct urban narratives.  It attempts to link and gather the historical urban fabric and the new modern city front, creating a large unifying pavement surface. By implementing a bioclimatic passive strategy, architects at Influx Studio have developed a proposal that acts as an urban ecological device.
The geometrical roof structure activates the use of outdoor spaces throughout the day. Current vehicular circulation is moved down to the underground level, relieving traffic congestion and enhancing connectivity with a more fluid express way. This leaves the ground level free for pedestrian circulation and enhances the position of the building as a gateway to the City.
The canopy provides shade and shelter, along with pleasant areas of garden patios and green slopes. Among the green areas proposed to reduce the ambient temperature while creating the new squaremicroclimate, there are very special green features: seven circular sunken gardens which will be showcased as world vegetal biomes, and which will enhance local and foreign biodiversity. Those gardens of scents will be like glazed clusters, as special protected areas.
In terms of function, instead of proposing a conventional design which segregates different programs, Urban Oasis seeks to create programmatic overlaps. Different functional spaces are assembled in a way which creates a living, round-the-clock open public space. Through a synergetic relationship between programmatic elements, potentials of smaller urban amenities such as shops, restaurants, bookstores and cafes are amplified.
Very careful attention has been given to sustainable design principles, in terms of creating a passive bioclimatic strategy.  It allows several possibilities to integrate a solar photovoltaic system, powering the complex, saving energy consumption and reducing CO2 emissions. To reduce water consumption, the gardens will filter a part of the waste water produced by the cultural facilities using purifying natural plants.

Capital Hill Residence in Russia / Zaha Hadid

The Capital Hill Residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects is located on the north-face hillside of Barvikha, Russia where pine and birch trees grow up to 20 meters high. A villa with fluid geometries emerges from the landscape and its programme is divided in two main components: one merging with the hillside and another floating above the ground with panoramic views overlooking the amazing forest.

Tripode Amphitheater / Sid Lee Architecture and Régis Côté et Associés

Located halfway between Montreal and Quebec, the city of Trois-Rivières was looking to build a venue for hosting summer festivals with internationally renowned bands, and housing its symphony orchestra during the summer. The competition site was situated along the St. Lawrence River, adjacent to the park, the city center and St. Quentin Island. For the first phase of the contest, Sid Lee Architecture and Régis Côté et Associés banked on the project’s historical roots and awed the jury with a vision that reflects the site’s industrial past. Their competition entry was awarded as a finalist.
The project was design with one main concern: minimizing acoustic constraints caused by the project’s positioning and the direction of the sound from the amphitheater. To enhance the sense of closure the architects added an access gallery along the southern flank that makes the amphitheater’s presence and the prefunction role of the new public square more obvious. Animating the venue also called for a special focus on pedestrian access, both through landscape design and entranceway functionality. Three public entry points punctuated the approach area to the amphitheater’s performance zone. Artist and spectator intimacy is enhanced by a rolling landscape, designed to follow the natural curve of the terrain. The broader design strategy was aimed at establishing a dialogue between the amphitheater, the Hangar building and the adjacent Borealis Museum. This was achieved by creating a riverside promenade that connects the three buildings.

Woven Tower Mimics Local Palm-weaving Techniques

Designed in cooperation between Giuseppe Farris and Stefan Schöning, the proposed structure aims to capture several aspects of Arab culture: its tribal society and the transregional entrepreneurship. The building’s appearance refers to the date palm which, along with fruits and fronds continue to be an important product in Dubai’s everyday life, both as a commodity and as a material used in local palm frond houses, fishing boats and the local palm-weaving craft. The twining maze of the building’s exterior simultaneously represents the network of trade and commerce routes that have, through history, arrived and departed from Dubai. The exterior also commemorates the tribal legacy and reminds of the dynamic maze of tribal affiliations that has given Dubai’s society its basic cohesion.
Functionally, the building’s interior continues this celebration of the tribal cornerstone of Dubai identity, and it is designed to promote its rich values and its relevance for the 21st century. More in particular, visitors can enter via different routes, each time discovering different aspects of Dubai’s tribal culture and history. At ground level, it is an open structure, hence symbolizing the hospitality of the Dubai people and inviting all to enter. Visitors may find at different levels outside and inside the structure different kinds of majlis.

L.A. Union Station Master Plan / UNStudio

The conceptual launch pad for the design of the ‘vision’ for the L.A. Union Station Master Plan byUNStudio was focused on integrating the transit experience with new outdoor park spaces, providing a much sought after amenity in downtown L.A..
At a large scale, the vision creates a ‘green loop that includes plans for the revitalization of the L.A. river and possible park extensions connecting Union Station across the 101.
Key to the future architectural development of the site is the maximum preservation of the historic Union Station building and gardens. City and regional transit will be given the stage, with a focus on increased ridership and transit connections, as well as considerations for the introduction of high-speed rail.
A uniquely programmed urban park with large-scale open spaces, extending the ideas of the existing historic courtyards, is envisioned as being integrated into the transit experience. The introduction of a vertical, layered strategy for the transit program show the possibility of an open-air station that takes advantage of city’s light and climate, creating a distinctly L.A. response to the future of this important transit hub.
Ben van Berkel: “With our vision for the LA Union Station area we envision not simply a train station, but a new, flexible and lively transit location, catering for bikes, bus, train, cars and taxis for a wide variety of users. The mixed use programme would ensure a 24 hours cycle of activity and liveliness for residents, tourists, students and business people alike. Along with the preservation of the existing station, the extension of its open air courtyards into a large public landscape would guide and orientate all the various user groups by means of one large gesture.”

ENI Foundation Headquarters Inspired by the Renaissance Palazzo / UNStudio

UNStudio’s competition proposal for the ENI Foundation Headquarters takes cues from the company’s tradition. The ENI Foundation is a non-profit organization, operating in the field of sustainable development and global governance. With offices in several Italian cities, it is organized as a research center, providing analysis on a wide range of environmental issues. The design proposal draws inspiration from the traditional form of the renaissance “palazzo”, historically close to the organization, extending the concept of horizontal looped systems to the contemporary issues of communication and energy preservation.
The VI Palazzo was designed for the San Donato Milanese municipality, in the province of Milan. Severalcircular structures are superimposed, each with its own “cortile”, generating a larger scheme with interconnected green spaces. The circular communication generates an efficient and simple dynamics between people.  The adopted layout of the complex doesn’t simply reference the traditional Italian architecture, but has its role in the overall energy concept of the masterplan. The VI Palazzo conforms to the Kyoto Protocol, to which ENI has agreed. Energetically sustainable, the project will be able to input energy into the local smart grid, improving significantly the quality of life not only for the employees of ENI Foundation, but also for the inhabitants of the entire neighborhood.

Opening of the Thematic Pavilion for the EXPO 2012, Yeosu, South-Korea / SOMA

The Thematic Pavilion for the EXPO 2012 planned by the Austrian architecture office SOMA will be opened in Yeosu on 11th of May. Soma’s design proposal One Ocean was selected as the first prize winner in an open international competition in 2009.
The main design intent was to embody the Expo’s theme The Living Ocean and Coast and transform it into a multi-layered architectural experience. Therefore the Expo’s agenda, namely the responsible use of natural resources was not visually represented, but actually embedded into the building, e.g. through the sustainable climate design or the biomimetic approach of the kinetic façade. The cutting-edge façade system was developed together with Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering and supports the aim of the world exhibition to introduce forward-looking innovations to the public.
The pavilion inhabits the thematic exhibition that gives visitors an introduction to the EXPO’s agenda. The Best Practice Area on the upper level functions as a flexible stage for organizations and institutions. The permanent building is constructed in a former industrial harbor along a new promenade. After the EXPO the pavilion will stay an attraction for tourists and local residents.

Zhengzhou Mixed Use Development / Trahan Architects

Located in central China, Zhengzhou is experiencing rapid re-development. Part of a broad scale master plan labeled “The Rise of Central China”; Zhengzhou is implementing a two part initiative: ecological and infrastructural development. Ecological development prioritizes the surrounding natural resources; forest park, scenic areas, wetlands/reserves, rivers/lakes & urban green space. Infrastructural development addresses an emerging market identified as “Logistics Industry”. Zhengzhou is to serve as an integrated hub for the import/export of goods and mass transportation which connects the east and the west. The project site is located in the historic city center which is the primary shopping district just north of the main train station and just south of the People’s Park (a large public park). The Erqi Monument resides to the south west corner of the site and is the primary tourist attraction in Zhengzhou. The monument is a 27 floor double pagoda dedicated to a worker strike that occurred February 7, 1923.
Challenging the conventions of this typology, the proposed design blends the hotel and live/work top with the retail base. In order to maximize and prioritize the corners of the site, the hotel and live/work program are rotated over the corners to frame the exterior/interior of the site. The green boulevards flow into and up the edges of the site to create a green urban space at the mezzanine level. Envisioned as an entertainment level, patrons can enjoy amenities and an elevated view of the city. The retail base steps down in plan and section for greater connectivity to the adjacent urban edges. The gradated triangulated façade reinforces the corners and programmatic relationships from floor to floor.
Principal Architect: Trey Trahan, FAIA
Senior Designer: Mark Hash
Project Team: Art Terry, Michael McCune and Kim Nguyen