The Monthly European Architectural Newsletter - March 2013
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Cutting edge architecture

The Future is designed in the form of technology, waves and virtual. Unpredictable lines, special effects, impalpable materials, everything is possible. The lack of physical constraints creates a new expressiveness, excitingly seized by the architects. With the most recent computer technology tools, the innovating materials, the development of new aesthetically refined concretes, high technology steel and glass with unlimited possibilities, the architectural conception becomes fundamentally the art of sculpture. The construction styles are there to serve the form. In a recession climate, many architects wonder about the intention and the meaning of extravagance. Today, Libeskind, Hadid or Gehry’s imaginary exceeds with so much creative liberty their architectural practice that it finally looks close to surrealism. Eminently personal, their language intrigues without worrying, because their spectacular, even amusing character invites to dreaming. But their projects establish themselves in the city by requalifying it. Organic volumes winding up like a ribbon or standing up like a prow, the sculptural forms coming from technical researches, in the end manage to find a harmonious and respectuous insertion in the landscape. In Los Angeles (Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall), like in small cities (Libeskind’s Palais des Congrès in Mons, Belgium) they are tokens of irrepressible vitality. If the buildings are genuine works, they fulfill completely their functions. With the help of great names in structural engineering, like Ove Arup, famous for the Sydney Opera and the Pompidou Center in Paris, who reasserts with each project his reputation of supplying innovative and sustainable concepts reinventing the built environment. A great architect can and must help to answer all questions in relation with the way of living in a more sustainable, healthy and fair-minded world, between social responsibility and design excellence.

The Archi-Europe team

Portrait of the month

1) Steven Holl

2) Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3) Knut Hamsun Center

4) Linked Hybrid

5) Horizontal Skyscraper - Vanke Center

6) Hangzhou Music Museum

7) Cité de l’Océan et du Surf

8) Sliced Porosity Block - Capitaland Raffles City Chengdu
Steven Holl, New York

Sculptural and complex, Steven Holl’s architecture expresses a great curiosity and sensibility towards materials, forms and some details.

Honoured by the American Institute of Architects’ 2012 Gold Medal, Steven Holl is one of the most celebrated representatives of American Contemporary Architecture. His career is however quite international. Born in 1947 in Flushing (Washington) and graduated of the Washington University, he continues his studies in Rome and London. His first buildings were erected in Japan and his first major museum (Kiasma) in Helsinki. His practice is everywhere. Since almost four decades, Steven Holl, with remarkable consistency, generates reflections on architecture. Influenced among others by Henri Bergson’s and Juhani Pallasmaa’s work, he decides on architecture keen to change our way of living.

Space, light and time are given great attention in the projects of his office Steven Holl Architects. Forms, colours and textures are created with watercolours and small scale models. The watercolours are the movement of light on a surface. By bringing together figurative and abstract elements, emerges a formal and peculiar conceptual language. However, Steven Holl doesn’t consider the buildings as architectural gestures. On the contrary, he concentrates his attention on the significance of the work. Each project is unique: a site, a circumstance, a culture, a climate, a program. Looking for an original idea, he shows his ability to shape space and light with a great sensibility to catalyse the unique qualities of each project, from the home to large works or on urban scale.

Steven Holl includes in his projects the sustainable construction techniques taking advantage of the natural ventilation and light. He imagines structures adapted to their environment with an aesthetic and ecological approach. The large dynamic openings of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Simmmons Hall are like lungs, bringing natural light down and moving air up. In Hamaroy (Norway), the concept for the museum dedicated to the writer Knut Hamsen is « building as a body », creating a battleground of invisible forces. The stained black wood exterior skin is characteristic of the great wooden stave Norse Churches.

The Cité de l’Océan et du Surf Museum in Biarritz intends to raise awareness of oceanic issues and explore educational and scientific aspects of the surf and sea and their role upon our leisure, science and ecology. Designed in collaboration with the Brazilian architect Solange Fabiao, the museum rises towards the Atlantic ocean and a concave « under the sky » shape creates a central gathering plazza. In the exhibition spaces, the visitor has the impression of being « under the sea ». A very original architectural concept, designed on the transparency principle, associates the surrounding landscape with a functional museal space. The new Music Museum of Hangzhou is based on the idea of the « Eight Sounds » in traditional Chinese music. While the exterior of the building is clad in the same wood as the pergolas, the eight volumes are constructed from one of these eight materials: silk, bamboo, wood, stone, metal, clay, gourd and hide.

Two other projects in 2009 in China are symbolic of innovating conceptual methods. Linked Hybrid, in Beijing, a complex with 700 apartments, hotels, schools, restaurants, spread on 220.000 square meters, promotes the pedestrians with towers connected by a footbridge system. The public green spaces create a micro city community. The Vanke Center in Shenzhen, a sort of horizontal skyscraper with hovering gardens is one of the first LEED Platine projects in Southern China. As for the Sliced Porosity Block of 2012, it is a metropolitan public space in the center of Chengdu, shaped by three water garden levels, based on concepts of time of the Chinese calendar. The structure of the white concrete building is cut up by precise geometrical angles. The project is clearly sustainable: high-performance glazing, energy-efficient geothermal equipments, use of regional materials.

The questions being asked by these buildings involve global demographic shifts, economics, sustainability and the role of urbanism in the developing world. The answers draw from architecture, of course, but also from engineering, science, art, philosophy and literature. Steven Holl’s expressive architecture arouses curiosity and feeling research, really creating a sensitive dialogue between buildings and spectators.

1) Steven Holl

2) Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, USA, 1999-2002

3) Knut Hamsun Center
Hamarøy, Norway, 1994-2009

4) Linked Hybrid
Beijing, China, 2003-2009

5) Horizontal Skyscraper - Vanke Center
Shenzhen, China, 2006-2009

6) Hangzhou Music Museum
Hangzhou, China, 2009

7) Cité de l’Océan et du Surf
Biarritz, France, 2005-2011

8) Sliced Porosity Block - Capitaland Raffles City Chengdu
Chengdu, China, 2007-2012

© Steven Holl Architects
Project of the month

Archipelago 21, Seoul (South Korea)
Architecture: Studio Daniel Libeskind

With its independent islands of distinct forms and great presence of natural elements, the Yongsan International Business District is ready for a metamorphosis. An opportunity without precedent to reinvent the landscape and create a 21-st century way of life.

Well known for his new critical discourse into architecture, Daniel Libeskind was present in BAU Munich on Wednesday January 16th for the Archi-World® Academy Awards*.

The architect, with a continuous commitment to expanding the horizons of architecture and urbanism, underlined the importance of diversity, of the knowledge of the past, of the work on public space, and of the involvement of architecture to serve the city.

Taking as an example the Archipelago 21 project in Seoul, his first idea was to create a dynamic, sustainable and diversified place, ready to become the new 21-st century growth symbol. Let’s look back. In 2008, Dreamhub, a consortium of about thirty Korean companies, launches an international urbanism competition for the masterplan of the future Yongsan International Business Center. Studio Daniel Libeskind was named winner.

Among the fifteen distinguished international firms invited to build towers within the masterplan – in addition Studio Daniel Libeskind is also the architect for three residential towers (The Dancing Towers) and an office tower (Harmony Tower) – let’s mention Murphy / Jahn Architects, Tange Associate Architects, Coop Himme(l)bau, BIG / Bjarke Ingels Group, Dominique Perrault Architecture, MVRDV, Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Dramatically reinventing the landscape of Korea’s capital city, Archipelago 21 will be completed in 2024. This ambitious close to 3 million square meter project is displayed like an archipelago of verticalities linked between each other by a large urban park along the Han River. It is developed according to an enlightened urbanism plan, far from the concept of large monofunctional constructions, and proposes in addition to the service sector, shops, residential areas, cultural institutions, educational facilities and transport infrastructures.

The site is broken into « islands » creating together a composition in the natural landscape. The islands become distinct neighbourhoods with their own unique program area, character, community and atmosphere, to reflect the vertical and cultural complexity of the heart of Seoul. At human size, they create a real urban life breaking down the overall density and mass of the large urban development.

It is essential for Daniel Libeskind that buildings and urban projects talk to the whole surrounding community and find a fair balance between vegetation and built environment, nature and technology, work and housing.

* the largest worldwide contest for the architects of tomorrow in cooperation with Messe München

© Studio Daniel Libeskind
Product of the month

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Event in the spotlight
MIPIM is launching the MIPIM Innovation Forum, a meeting place for sharing ideas and debate for everyone involved in building tomorrow’s cities. This exclusive MIPIM programme puts buildings and users at the heart of this industry conversation in order to highlight the entire range of innovative solutions to maximize the value of property portfolios. Additionally, the Innovation Forum MIPIM will feature the “Porous city – Open the tower” exhibition presented at last year’s Venice Biennale for the first time.

“Porous c
ity – Open the tower” uses Lego towers to explore futuristic concepts of urban design imagined by the professor and architect Winy Maas, founder and director of the MVRDV architectural practice in Rotterdam and director of The Why Factory, a research institute for the city of the future. Nine three-metre high skyscrapers will rise up during the four days of the show, acting as visual support to debates on the new processes and the role of research in Europe’s urban future. The exhibition is combined with the conference on urban design given by Winy Maas on Wednesday, 13 March at 10:00am.

Organised by Reed MIDEM, a subsidiary of Reed Exhibitions, MIPIM will be held in Cannes from 12 to 15 March 2013.

>> Read more
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Ecobuild the future - 05- 07 March 2013

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 150 free seminars
• Free conference - three streams every day
• Renowned & influential speakers
• Dozens of interactive attractions and live demonstrations

Visit Archi-Europe at stand S800
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2-5 and 16-19 April 2013
MosBuild 2013

MosBuild is the largest annual international construction exhibition in Europe and Russia with 'UFI Approved Event' status.
MosBuild is one of the top five construction exhibitions in the world.
MosBuild is supported by government, public organisations, political and public figures from Russia and other countries, and Russian and international media.
• The exhibition will be staged for the 19th time in April 2013.

Visit Archi-Europe at stand F201
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02 - 04 March 2013
Cityscape Jeddah

Cityscape Jeddah brings the full spectrum of real estate professionals together to network and discuss the business critical issues affecting business decisions in the Jeddah and Saudi Arabian real estate market place.

An international marketing campaign capitalizing on one of the world’s largest business-to-business real estate databases will ensure participation from regional and international real estate investors and financiers, developers across all asset classes, architects and urban planners, consultants, representatives from investment and economic agencies and cities.
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Cityscape Egypt

Cityscape Egypt - in association with next Move – will open its doors again from 28-31 March 2013, giving participants’ access to one of the region’s largest real estate markets. With a clear mix of B2B and B2C visitors Cityscape Egypt 2012 showcased the country’s appeal to investors and real estate professionals from around the world.

Cityscape Egypt serves as a platform to bring further transparency and stability to this growing market and introduce its projects to an international audience made up of investors and senior real estate professionals. Cityscape Egypt has established itself as the only “must attend” real estate event in Egypt, be you a multi-billion dollar institutional investor, looking to expand your personal real estate portfolio or simply to buy your new home, there is now only one event in everyone’s diary.
Competitions in the spotlight

Deadline 07 March 2013!

MosBuild (2-5 and 16-19 April 2013) is proud to launch the second edition of this international contest for architects and students in architecture in order to select the best projects in two categories:

• Best architectural solution for creating an accessible environment
• Best sustainable architecture projects

Click here to register!
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Armstrong Green Buildings Award

Armstrong Ceilings and Archi-Europe are very proud to announce the launch of the first international competition for ideas open to students in architecture worldwide.

Ceiling systems are becoming a key element of energy conservation. Designing spaces with materials that can be endlessly recycled and reused contributes to the flexibility and longevity of buildings, and ceiling systems with their high recycled content, recyclability and use of rapidly renewable materials make a significant contribution to effective resource utilization through a full cradle to cradle approach.

Click here to register! - Deadline 07 October 2013!
(8 – 12/04/2013) Hanover (DE)
(22 - 25/03/2013) Namur (BE)
(30/04 – 12/05/2013) Paris (FR)
(9 – 14/04/2013) Milan (IT)
(11 – 14/04/2013) Batalha (PT)
(2 - 5 & 16 - 19/04/2013) Moscow (RU)
>> read more
TIMBER IN THE CITY: Urban Habitats Competition
Deadline: 06/03/2013
MADA - Mosbuild Architecture and Design Awards
Deadline: 07/03/2013
Innovative Minds 2013: Virtual Context
Deadline: 31/03/2013
Armstrong Green Buildings Award 2013
Deadline: 07/10/2013
>> read more

Concevoir et évaluer un projet d'écoquartier
Catherine Charlot-Valdieu & Philippe Outrequin

472 pages - € 59.00
Editions du Moniteur
ISBN: 9782281194999
>> read more
Bijoy Jain - Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2012

96 pages
€ 49.00
Rakennustieto Oy
ISBN: 978-952-267-023-6
>> read more
William Hall

240 pages
€ 39.95
ISBN 9780714863542
>> read more

© 2013 Archi-Europe
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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