The Monthly European Architectural Newsletter
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December 2011/January 2012

Facts and Beneficial Effects of Architecture Competitions

There are more and more architecture contests in the world. Some through companies active in a precise sector; others gathering around heritage, sustainable architecture or emerging countries’ needs. It is not, in this instance, an ideas competition for a given project with a determined functionality, but more precisely to thoroughly examine already executed or future projects, or graduating projects. Highlight young architects’ and students’ work as they will be shaping to-morrow’s architecture, offer them an immediate international visibility, expose the diversity of means to rally people to limit environmental footprint, that is the outcome of the competitions organized since a few years by BolognaFiere and Archi-Europe. Under the leadership of Mario Cucinella, who was kind enough to again preside the jury and with the support of famous professionals, the SAIE Selection has fixed its important objectives. The young Indian agency Anagram Architects was singled out last year at the SAHRDC in Delhi. They appealed again this year to the jury of SAIE 2011 and received the Second Price. As a highlighting of the New Wave of Indian architecture, symbol of a booming economy. A part from the sky-scrapers or commercial centres with a futurist design in this globalization era, some architects, proud of their heritage, focus on a strong national identity. Not simply by transposing motives and symbols of the vernacular architecture, but giving priority to environment friendly building materials whilst also respecting alternative technologies. Their approach shows a contemporary architecture active in a society ethically, civic-minded and socially conscious, innovating in ecology and progressive with new equipment standards.

The ArchiWorld® Team

Portrait of the month

1. Valbhav Dimri & Madhav Raman

2. SAHRDC - South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center

3. Gairola House

4. Metabolic House

5. Vansaa Eco-resort

6. Ring Rail

7. Land Customs Station

8. Interstice House
Anagram Architects

Portrait of two Delhi architects juggling with creativity and limited budgets.

The extravagant façade of the office building where the NGO SAHRDC – South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre- is located gave the duo of architects Valbhav Dimri and Madhav Raman a worldwide reputation The project is however quite modest : built on a 50 sqm plot. With few resources, the architects have conceived the external wall as a dynamic skin which reflects the busy pedestrian street with complex brick motives, whilst preserving some intimacy. Architectural effects generated by a simple brick are also to be found in the Gairola House, a peri-urban multiple apartment house for the rental market. The animated play in volumes and voids is further fleshed out with juxtaposition of materials and textures. The surface cladding patterns correspond to the openings. As a result, a dynamic concept with urban lifestyle fulfilling the need for privacy and individuality.

In the same spirit, the Metabolic House, wrapped with its ceramic tiles, is conceived as a residence of manipulated volumes capable of complex environmental process and meaningful spatial interactions, through its juxtaposed spaces, its light wells, its voids, its cuttings and its buffer spaces. The light system uses an open façade for maximum day-lighting and traditional shading screens, inspired by the Rajasthan traditional architecture. To minimize the building’s environmental footprint, the traditional passive systems are supported by modern active systems: green walls, photovoltaic panels, hybrid cooling systems, double glazing, rain water collection, grey water treatment, etc. The idea of this project is to think of a house where one lives, breathes and produces more than just a dead object.

Working for an environmental friendly architecture and for responsible lifestyles is the guide lines of the two architects and their assistants. They describe themselves as an architecture and consultant practice in spatial design. Anagram Architects was founded in New Delhi exactly ten years ago by Mahdav Raman and Vaibhav Dimr, just after graduating in city planning and architecture. As well as traditional architectural practice, they are also involved in design for films, television and theatre. Enthusiastically they explore these as opportunities to investigate spatial design and endeavour to provide innovative and fresh design solutions by delving into their rich experience in various fields, remaining open to all the new building materials technologies whilst respecting the traditional construction methods. High-end green development, the Vansaa-Eco-resort is intended to preserve the sense of place, the local culture and be environmentally sensitive (large scale plantations of local species). The conception enables a permanent integration in the surrounding landscape. .Big rain catcher umbrellas are key elements on the site.

Among the public projects, it is important to point out the Ring Rail which will rehabilitate the urban transport network of Delhi and create a very busy pedestrian area, the important installation of a Land Customs Station at the border between India and Bangladesh to take care of all customs and immigration formalities for goods and passengers travelling between the two countries. The LCS is to become a portal between two culturally linked populations. Sustainable material, the bamboo, in its multiple forms, is a deeply significant cultural anchor for people on both sides of the border. Inspired by the ubiquitous gateways and fences of the region, the design reinterprets their traditional sophistication in bamboo craft in a modular steel-bamboo construction with the aim of keeping this deeply sustainable material, relevant to modern construction. As a conclusion we want to mention a not yet executed project the Interstice House, an endeavour to bring in a new way of life. The residential spaces are ensconced in a structural exo-skeleton zigzag between the two introverted vegetal façades irrigated by harvested rainwater. Because of its meandering structure, an internal area and a lot of interstitial spaces are created. From the glass boxes that jut out, one can view the inner lawn as well as the vegetal walls of the other residences, thereby contributing to greater visibility and emotional contacts between inhabitants, as opposed to the block systems which “block” the vision and level of interaction between people. The building looks definitely modern: sharp angles, straight lines, geometric motives. However the underlying theme remains traditional. “Today our cities have become enclaves, underline the two Anagram architects. In order to sustain the almost paranoid desire for extreme privacy and private ownership, we have forgotten the community spaces and the shared resources” In all their projects Valbhav Dimri and Madhav Raman want to enrich elemental modernity and intensive research into traditional as well as non-conventional practices evolving culturally relevant, contextually responsive and resource efficient design solutions.

1. Valbhav Dimri & Madhav Raman

2. SAHRDC - South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center

3. Gairola House
© Asim Waqif

4. Metabolic House

5. Vansaa Eco-resort

6. Ring Rail

7. Land Customs Station

8. Interstice House

Project of the month

Don Milani School - Bettini + Studio Des – Nicola Bettini

Résidence étudiante - LAN Architecture

Architecture school (ETSAV) at Sant Cugat del Vallès - HArquitectes + dataAE

Val d’Oca Wine Center in San Giovanni di Valdobbiadene - CafčArchitettura
Organized by BolognaFiere and Archi-Europe, the great contest Saie Selection 2011 has highlighted 24 projects on the theme “ Innovating, Integrating, Building Highly innovative and sustainable buildings” We have chosen to give more details on the four First Prizes of young architects, in four different categories.

Don Milani School – Vicchio (FI), Italy
Architects: Bettini + Studio Des – Nicola Bettini (Italy)

The extension project of this school complex aimed to give it a great green space. The new school is conceived as a vast system with many levels and different accessibilities. In the original kernel of the system, the classrooms are in close relation with the external space designed like a garden. For the inside communication, a tunnel winds through the patios and study rooms, rest rooms and leisure spaces. A dry construction with wooden skeleton was chosen as constructing system, giving a great flexibility to the inside space, whilst simplifying operations on the spot and reducing considerably the time needed to finish the construction. The building is environment friendly and the bioclimatic strategies enable energy savings and well-being: radiant floor heating system fed by roof solar panels and condensation boilers, controlled mechanical ventilation with heat recuperation, photovoltaic panels, rain water catching systems, etc. The project also includes wooden outside screens to control the sun radiance.

« Résidence étudiante », Paris
Architects: LAN Architecture (France)

This 143 furnished room project spreads over many buildings with spaces and voids adapted to the context: three six story volumes and, at the bottom of the plot, different heights depending on neighbouring works. This movement opens on a square courtyard (17m x 17m), key item of this project. Its large size works like a green lung bringing plenty of sun to the lodgings. The entrance and the courtyard façades are covered by a larch cladding, contrasting with the street façades wrapped with slate colour bricks. Leading ideas of the project: answer the necessity of an urban integration, optimize the comfort conditions and create a friendly and intimate complex. Compactedness, envelop treatment, solar contributions coupled with performing ventilation, as well as an efficient heating system (city heating plus solar panels) make these lodgings pleasant and comfortable. The thermal insulation is reinforced thanks to a12 cm mineral wool layer on the outside of the structure and double glazing windows.

Architecture school (ETSAV) at Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona), Spain
Architects: HArquitectes + dataAE (Spain)

Based on the conception of piled up concrete modules and installed in about 10 days, this 57 student apartment project aims to adapt to the low density of the urban environment, giving priority to the direct relation between the students and the nature. There are four stages to be followed: manufacturing, transporting, installation and connexion. The first phase made in a factory is economical and takes less time and energy, with a better control and less waste. Furthermore the modules can be dismantled and reused elsewhere. A part from the central kernel (bathroom and kitchen) the available space in each module can be freely organized. One of the main objectives was the excellent sustainability and energetic efficiency thanks to the ventilated façades with solar protection reinforced by plants on galvanised meshes, vegetal roofing protecting against solar radiance, the condensation boiler heating system fed by solar panels, the rain water collecting systems, etc. The lodging units are of high thermal inertia level accepting the production of passive free cooling during the night. And by covering the collective patio one generates a 1000 sqm bioclimatic space.

Metal and glass
Val d’Oca Wine Center in San Giovanni di Valdobbiadene, Italy
Architects: CafèArchitettura (Italy)

Spread over an area of 3390 sqm, 490 sqm being for sale and exhibition purposes, this building with irregular planimetry is striking by its perforated aluminium façade suggesting the effervescent Prosecco bubbles. More especially at nightfall thanks to the play of the multicolour LEDs. The conceptual choices aim to reduce energetic needs and the environmental footprint, mainly by creating a low thermal transmission envelop, with the use of biocompatible materials: load bearing structure and armed concrete foundations, performing thermal insulation, controlled ventilation, heat recuperation, thermal glazing, etc
The energy is produced almost exclusively by renewable sources: photovoltaic panels of about 300 sqm feeding the geothermal heat pump.

Product of the month

VIEWGLASS is laminated glass with a transparent printed PET interlayer (polyester film). For centuries artworks have had a significant role in the interior & exterior decor of buildings as revealed through history. In the modern day, artworks continue to be desirable for display and admiration within building environment of all kinds. However it is felt that the expectation for the application and function of artworks has remained much the same - artworks are usually limited to display on a wall out of potential harms way.

VIEWGLASS is determined to revolutionize the integration of artwork in building environments. Through the application of photo quality artworks and designs with safety glass, unique design opportunities and solutions are enabled both structural and decorative, with VIEWGLASS.

Download here the Brochure of VIEWGLASS

Download here the Glassolutions Catalogue


Competitions in the spotlight
Archi-World® Academy

The first worldwide 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".

Click here to see the Archi-World® Academy Trailer

Click here to register!

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MosBuild (2-5 and 10-13 April 2012) is proud to launch its first international contest in architecture. The competition is open to young architects (max 45 years) and students in architecture worldwide. The projects may be carried out individually or in groups, with no restriction on the number of members of the team. Deadline for presenting the entries is 15 March 2012.

Projects can be presented in the following topics:

Solutions for disabled people or people with limited abilities
Sustainable and Energy saving solutions in new buildings as well as challenging projects of renovation
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The Piscine 2012 international exhibition is launching Pool Vision 2012, an international architecture and interior design competition, in collaboration with Archi-Europe.

Pool Vision 2012 will select and award prizes to outstanding swimming pool projects from around the world, judging them from the technical and aesthetic standpoints, with the aim of drawing together an overview of pool construction trends world-wide.

Click here to register!

Event 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.

• More than 1,500 exhibitors
• Over 130 free seminars
• Free conference - three streams every day
• Renowned & influential speakers
• Dozens of interactive attractions and live demonstrations

Álvaro Siza – von der linie zum raum
(> 4/03/2012) - Neuss (DE)
Design Brazil
(> 05/02/2012) Brussels (BE)
L’hôtel particulier
(05/10/2011 - 19/02/2012) Paris (FR)
(26 - 29/01/2012) - Milan (IT)
(22 – 25/01/2012) - Birmingham (UK)
(24 – 27/01/2012) Kiev (RU)
Paul Klee. hilarious
(> 18/03/2012) Bern (CH)
>> read more
eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition
Deadline: 17/01/2012
Deadline: 01/03/2012
MADA - Mosbuild Architecture and Design Awards
Deadline: 15/04/2012
Poolvision 2012
Deadline: 31/05/2012
Archi-World® Academy Awards 2011-2013
Deadline: 30/10/2012
>> read more

Ten years Serpentine Gallery Pavilions
Philip Jodidio

332 pages
€ 39.99
English – French - German
ISBN: 978-3-8365-2613-5

>> read more
Urban Asymmetries Studies and Projects on Neoliberal Urbanization
Tahl Kaminer, Miguel Robles-Dúran, Heidi Sohn

288 pages - € 29.50
010 Publishers
ISBN: 978-90-6450-7243

>> read more
Von der Linie zum Raum / From Line to Space
Alvaro Siza

120 pages
€ 22.68
Geman - English
ISBN: 978-3-7091-0853-6
>> read more

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

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