The Monthly European Architectural Newsletter
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February/March 2011


Urban renaissance

Due to their ambitious and innovative nature, large-scale projects symbolise the dynamism of cities. They involve many challenges, e.g. revitalising the urban fabric through the redevelopment of spaces made obsolete by the deindustrialisation or rationalisation of certain functions (ports or railways, for instance). Reducing social and territorial disparities. Reducing the environmental impact. Ensuring economic and cultural development in a context of competition between cities, intensified by globalisation. The economic impact is considerable. Although it is difficult to measure, it is certain that major projects significantly meet the various needs of metropolises and strongly contribute to the metamorphosis of derelict areas. Often associated with the organisation of internationally renowned events (Olympic Games, world cups, world fairs, etc.), they have proven to be capable of radically changing the internal and external perceptions of these metropolises. In Lisbon, the ‘98 Expo was combined with a huge renovation project. In Barcelona, the Forum-Besòs and 22@ projects were two elements of an urban reconquest policy. In Berlin, a very strong political will-power, combined with an unprecedented experience, was aimed at building an entirely new city in the very heart of the old city, with the co-operation of many renowned architects. As the new far east of London, downstream from Canary Wharf, the Thames Gateway occupies a 100 000 ha site, which includes the future Olympic Park. Everywhere, from Genoa to Amsterdam, an urban intensity is pursued through centrality, density and diversity. Using images – our world is hyper-mediated after all – major projects are a vector and symbol of change.

The Archi-Europe Team

Portrait of the month










As a cha
nging city, Warsaw is well and truly a major European capital, looking towards the future. It is charming, always on the move and banking on contemporary architecture to restore its youth.

Visiting the Polish capital is the only way to fully experience its changed urban space. Located on the banks of the Vistula, the last wild river in Europe, Warsaw is a city that is very different from the rest of Central Europe. Reduced to ruins in 1945, it was nothing more than a name on the map. Only the old town planning outlines, some rare buildings and the poorest quarters on the right bank were left. Warsaw’s fate thus became the object of passionate controversies, exacerbated by the economic difficulties and the utopian visions which wanted to wipe out the city’s past. However, it took the people of Warsaw less than 15 years to rebuild the past centuries. In 1989, when the old regime fell, a genuine cultural revolution began. After a frenzied search for profit before quality, the late ‘90s saw the arrival of internationally renowned architects, e.g. the Praski port development plan with Ricardo Bofill’s co-operation (1998), the Warsaw Financial Centre by the Kohn, Pedersen & Fox firm (1998), the Metropolitan building of Foster & Partners (2003) or the Westin Warsaw Hotel by John Portman & Associates (2003). One of the most interesting works of Polish architects is the Warsaw university library (arch. Budzynski & Badowski 1993), immersed in greenery with its garden roof.

What is W
arsaw like nowadays?

The 234-metre-high Palace of Culture and Science already sets the architectural tone. Completed in 1955 in accordance with the era’s official artistic doctrine, this Stalinesque skyscraper now contrasts with the metal-and-glass architecture flanking it. The availability of many lands and the absence of building height regulations could result in the construction of a little Manhattan.

Poland was not spared from the crisis impacting the world in 2009, but the real-estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle has confirmed the signs of a market revival. The business district is one of the most modern in Europe and the entire city centre, which is being redesigned, is booming. Construction sites are everywhere. Still according to JLL, Warsaw remains the leader in high-class residential buildings, as it has been since the ‘90s. Nevertheless, in the very heart of Warsaw, the most prestigious projects are struggling, such as the Lilium tower, a 250-metre-high skyscraper made entirely of energy-efficient glass, shaped like a bud of a lily and designed by architect Zaha Hadid. According to the initial plans, the tower should be ready by 2012. The Zlota 44 tower (192 m high) by architect Daniel Libeskind should be completed this summer, The construction site, symbolising the optimism on the Polish market, is at a standstill due to the cancelled building permit. The project must be approved again by the city council. Nevertheless, the 43-storey Hines Tower (arch. Helmut/Jahn) will soon meet the highest Western standards.

As c
o-organiser of the UEFA soccer cup in 2012, Poland’s real-estate industry was significantly stimulated by infrastructure, tourist and sports projects related to the event, representing an investment of over four billion Euros in Warsaw. Seating almost 60,000 people, the new sports complex (arch. JEMS) will be completed in mid-2011.

The city and its museums

fully renovated former tramway power plant, a brickwork building typical of early 20th century industrial architecture, now houses the Warsaw Uprising Museum, one of Poland’s most modern and most interactive museums (arch. Wojciech Obtulowicz). Opened in 2004 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the city’s uprising against the German army’s occupation, the museum is an astonishing display of hundreds of objects, photographs, audio and video recordings and multimedia animations.

Since April 2010, the entirely refurbished former Ostrogski palace is an unusual and innovative place. The Migliore+Servetto Architetti Associati firm was responsible for refurbishing the building which now permanently houses the world’s largest collection dedicated to Chopin, containing over 5 000 items related to the composer’s work and life. Visitors are immersed in his universe through a state-of-the-art audiovisual setting. Opposite, linked by a tunnel, the Chopin Centre is a new glass building (arch. Stelmach i Partnerzy) which serves as an information centre, library, restaurant and bookshop. With the debate concerning Christian Kerez’ Museum of Contemporary Art project which should be inaugurated in 2014, the Warsaw centre of contemporary art, located in the former Ujazdowski château since 1985, remains a must-see place for fans of contemporary creations.

Another project, the future National History Museum of Poland (Paczowski & Fritsh Architects) will be built near the banks of the Vistula. Designed as a transparent pavilion, the project is characterised by high-tech innovations. Aimed at remembering a hidden past, the future Museum of the History of Polish Jews was entrusted to two Finnish architects, Lahdelma and Mahlamäki. This multimedia cultural centre with its translucent orthogonal volume dividing the entrance hall and playing with shadows and light, will open its doors in 2013 at the site of the former ghetto.

1. Warsaw 1945
© Warsaw Uprising Museum photo MC Regniers

2. Palace of Culture and Science 1956
© MC Regniers

3. & 3b Warsaw Library – 1993

4 Metropolitan (Foster & Partners) - 2003

5 Westin Hotel (John Portman & Associates) 2003

6 Rondo Tower (SOM - Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 2006) 194m - 2006

7 Warsaw stadium – under development

8 Hines Tower (Helmut/Jahn) – under development

9 Warsaw Spire (Jaspers Eyers &partners) 220m – project
© Jaspers Eyers & partners

10 & 10b Zlota44 (Daniel Libeskind)
© Libeskind Studio

11 Lilium Tower (Zaha Hadid) project
© Zaha Hadid & partners

12 & 13 Uprising Museum (Wojciech Obtulowicz) 2004
© MC Regniers

14 &15 Chopin Museum (Migliore+Servetto Architetti Associati) 2010
© MC Regniers

16 & 17 Museum of the History of Polish Jews Lahdelma & Mahlamäki) - project
© Lahdelma & Mahlamäki

18 National History Museum of Poland (Paczowski & Fritsh Architectes) - project
© Paczowski & Fritsh

19 & 20 Museum of Contemporary Art (Christian Kerez) - project

© Christian Kerez














Project of the month





Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw
Arch.: RAr-2 Studio Laboratory of Architecture

Recently, Warsaw was enriched with a must-see place. As a part of the Vistula riverbank redevelopment, this ambitious project has been Poland’s primary cultural centre for popular science since November 2010.

As the winner of the international architecture contest for the centre’s construction, the project of the RAr-2 studio (architects Magdalena Gilner and Jan Kubec) is in keeping with the urban context of this part of Warsaw. "The entire project is an experience and is proof of the opening up of Warsaw, a city where dreams come true,” says Jan Kubec. The main problem is the new centre’s site, near the river – as a result of which it is prone to flooding – and the proximity of the Wislostrada tunnel. That is why the building will be built on prestressed girders placed on both sides of the tunnel. Shaped like a wave, it features many structural innovations and an exceptional finish. The façades are made of coloured fibre cement sheets, developed by a team of artists, engineers and landscaping architects. An environment-friendly solution.

Occupying two floors and a surface area of 15,000 m², the building houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, laboratories, workshops, a conference centre, etc. The suite includes a multimedia planetarium covered with special glass resembling a large red meteorite, a roof garden with craters through the trusses to form atriums on the ground floor. These light wells bathe the exhibition rooms in natural light, while helping to keep the temperature and air circulation under control. It also features an "Explorer’s Park", open-air art gallery, amphitheatre, beach and pond.

The objective is to present original and playful exhibitions to arouse curiosity, to stimulate visitors, large and small, to become involved in scientific experiences and encourage social dialogue through knowledge. The Copernicus Science Centre, which has nothing in common with a traditional technology museum, should attract half a million visitors per year.

Pictures 1 / 2 / 3 © Copernicus Science Center
Pictures 4 /5 © M.C. Regniers

Product of the month

Penetron Admix™ - a 3rd generation crystalline, concrete-enhancing admixture

Penetron Admix™, a 3rd generation crystalline, concrete-enhancing admixture, is the most advanced formula to effectively waterproof and protect concrete structures. Once applied Penetron Admix™ becomes an integral part of the concrete, enhancing its properties and durability by sealing all pores, capillaries and microcracks with an intricate web of insoluble crystals. It eliminates problems related with 1st and 2nd generation admixtures such as loss of compressive strength and unusually long delays of the setting time.

Penetron Admix™ can be applied to any commonly-used concrete mix in todays’ construction industry. It doesn’t have any known incompatibilities with other workability enhancing admixtures such as retarders or superplastizicers and there are no limitations in regards to the w/c ratio of the concrete to be treated. With dosages rates as low as 0.8% (by weight of cement) it is not only one of the most cost-efficient and economic waterproofing choices, but an effective formula that has been proven in many international laboratory tests and on countless projects worldwide.

For more than 30 years Penetron® is an internationally trusted brand and acknowledged by major architects, developers and engineers, who are looking to enhance the durability of their concrete.

Penetron Admix™ is the system of choice for below ground and below water concrete such as basements, tunnels, potable water tanks, base slabs, elevator shafts, swimming pools, aquariums, sewage treatment plants and others.

For more information:

Events in the spotlight

Ecobuild your future

Ecobuild is the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment and the UK’s largest construction event of any kind.

The biggest showcase of sustainable construction products anywhere – more than 1,300 exhibitors
Over 100 free seminars – practical advice from real-life experiences
The renowned Ecobuild conference – world-class commentators tackle the most pressing issues facing the built environment
600+ highly regarded speakers
Dozens of interactive attractions and live demonstrations

Come and visit Archi-Europe stand N967

Get your free ticket here:

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CityBuild Abu Dhabi

CityBuild Abu Dhabi is the leading building and construction event of the year. The construction boom has slowed down in the UAE as it has elsewhere but there are still 1,600 projects worth over US$560 billion in execution or about to start construction. CityBuild will once again be co-located with the 5th edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi – a winning formula that offers the unique and unrivalled benefit of a guaranteed audience of decision makers from the real estate industry.

Abu Dhabi, which boasts the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, continues to forge ahead with long-term initiatives for continued real estate and infrastructure development. CityBuild Abu Dhabi 2011 will certainly be the powerful emirates premier offering for building and construction.

Come and visit Archi-Europe at CityBuild!

Click here to attend the exhibition for free. Please pre-register and you will receive an URN number, print this page and bring it with you to the exhibition and you will be allowed entry.

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Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2011

Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2011, now moving into its 5th year, provides THE best arena for the real estate industry to showcase projects and services, network with key investors and developers from around the world and participate in content driven discussions with industry leaders.

Once again from 17 – 20 April 2011, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Cityscape Abu Dhabi will bring together real estate investors, developers, consultants, architects and all other senior-level real estate professionals from the region and abroad to network, create joint venture partnerships and discuss the opportunities and challenges the current and future market will bring.

Click here to attend the exhibition for free. Please pre-register and you will receive an URN number, print this page and bring it with you to the exhibition and you will be allowed entry.

Competition in the spotlight
Archi-World® Academy

The first w
orldwide architecture contest for students in architecture
Archi-World® Academy Award (AWA) 2011/2013: "Energy-saving projects and ideas for the future of architecture and urbanism".

The launch of the Archi-World® Academy Awards was a big success! We are glad to announce you the 12 jury members, each of them world architects: Zaha Hadid, Françoise-Hélène Jourda, Bjarke Ingels, J-M Jaspers, Francine Houben, Daniel Libeskind, Kengo Kuma, Mario Cucinella, Christoph Ingenhoven, Jain Bijoy, Ma Yansong, Andry Bokov. President of the jury is Prof. Juhani Pallasmaa.

Registration is open starting April 15th 2011.


(01 - 05/03/2011) - Hannover (DE)
(25 - 28/03/2011) - Namur (BE)
(08 - 11/03/2011) - Cannes (FR)
(14 – 17/04/2011) - Batalha (PT)
(12 – 20/03/2011) - Vienna (AT)
(12 – 17/05/2011) - Milan (IT)
(31/03/2011) - Amsterdam (NL)
(01 - 03/03/2011) - London (UK)
>> read more


Holcim Awards For Sustainable Construction
Deadline : 23/03/2011
Project of the Year and the Emilio Ambazs Award for Green Architecture
Deadline : 30/03/2011
DawnTown Miami 2011
Deadline : 11/04/2011
BA AWARD 2011 (Biological Architecture Foundation -Futuristic Water and the bioreef diversity theory - City design Competition)
Deadline : 15/05/2011
>> read more


1. Choisir des solutions environnementales performantes à l’aide de fiches pratiques.
Bureau Veritas
208 pages | € 39.00
Editions du Moniteur
ISBN: 978-2281114942

>> read more

2. Gerrit Rietveld
Ida van Zijl

240 pages | € 75,00
Phaidon Press

ISBN 978-0714849430
>> read more

3. Modern Construction Envelopes
Andrew Watts

522 pages |

ISBN 978-3709102572

>> read more


Copyright 2011 Archi-Europe Group nv/sa
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor : Marie-Claire Regniers
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