The Monthly European Architectural Newsletter - June 2014
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Architecture and fashion

Which is the relation between the fashion designer’s seasonal ambition and the architect’s serious analysis? In practice, the links between fashion and architecture are well established. On one side, the couturiers dress the buildings like the future residential constructions in Montpellier, carrying the bright colours of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. On the other side, architectural materials close to the ‘Haute Couture’, if one refers to the black concrete fishnet of the MuCEM in Marseille (Rudy Riccciotti), real lace giving such a special atmosphere. In the same spirit, the Selfridges department store in Birmingham (architects: Future System) displays a façade made of chromed metal disks clearly inspired from the couturier Paco Rabanne’s metallic textures.
The relation fashion architecture has also a formal approach. Since the nineties, the prestigious groups’ showrooms have become an integral part of their marketing strategies. Playing a key role, renowned architects have expressed the enterprises’ brand values in attractive and recognizable images. In Tokyo, with transparency and lightness, two most emblematic realizations have appeared: Maison Hermès (Renzo Piano) or the Epicentro Prada, drawn by Herzog & de Meuron. Reflecting the special understanding between Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas and Giorgio Armani, the Armani shops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo refuse all forms of traditional architectural formalism. These spaces are not only sales outlets but also buildings capable of communicating with the city. Other innovative projects – the Prada Transformer in Seoul (Rem Koolhaas) or the Art Pavilion Chanel Mobile imagined by Zaha Hadid for the couturier Karl Lagerfeld, similar to a space vessel – confirm the idea that the universal culture is an experimental field for many identities.

The Archi-Europe team

Portrait of the month
Fernando Romero
1) Fernando Romero
© Todd Eberle

2) Eco Museum, Mexico City (2006-2007)

3) Inbursa Headquarters, Mexico City (2001-2003)

4) Torre Cervantes housing, Mexico City (2009-2010)

5) Teahouse, Jinhua, China (2004-2006)

6) Soumaya Museum, Mexico stad (2005 - 2011)

7) G20 International Convention Centre, Los Cabos, Mexico (2011 - 2012)

8) Miami Chapel, Florida (under construction)

9) Mexico City Aquarium (under construction)

10) Tulum museum, Mexico (ongoing)

11) FR-EE City (ongoing)

Fernando Romero

Recognized for his futuristic aesthetic and his studies on sustainability, the Mexican Fernando Romero is one of today’s most relevant international architects. In only twelve years, he has produced numerous fascinating designs and buildings, experimenting with new materials and methods.

Following his graduate of Mexico’s Universidade Iberoamericana, Fernando Romero (°1971) worked alongside Rem Koolhaas at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in the Netherlands from 1997-2000. Upon his return to Mexico, Fernando Romero started an independent architectural practice that became FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise), Opening a New York office in 2010. FR-EE is committed to the application of architecture as a tool to translate societal needs. For the architect, “architecture has that power of translation. « If you visit a town from the fifteenth century, he says, you are able to read, through its architecture, how a moment was translated and applied. » In the same way, he seeks to translate the contemporary moment through his architecture, using state of the art materials and technologies, supported by thorough, comprehensive research, and collaboration with other disciplines.

Fernando Romero’s strong research background has lead to the publication of several volumes. He has won numerous awards, including the Bauhaus Award (2004/2005) and Mexican Society of Architects’ Young Architects Award (2009). Romero has lectured at Columbia University, and is a member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and CAMSAM (Mexican Chamber of Architects).
Concerning his projects, El Eco Museum (2006-2007) is notable for its discreet and respectful conception towards the existing building (among the best works of Mexican architecture from the Fifties) while retaining a contemporary character. FR-EE was commissioned to design a big multiple-use building complex in a former industrial zone of Mexico City. Fifty percent of the land is for green areas; all rooftops will be green, and rainwater will be captured and recycled. The Inbursa Headquarters, an iconic blue glass building located in one of the city’s most exclusive areas of Mexico City is surrounded by vertical office towers and wealthy residential neighbourhoods. FR-EE wanted the new building to contrast with its urban context. In the Torre Cervantes housing (2009-2010), a mixed-use complex that includes a shopping mall, offices, apartments, and two new museums in a former industrial zone, sections are organized along a vertebral spine that provides structural rigidity where all vertical services are located. The asymmetrical plan of the center is consolidated with a continuous window façade that can open completely, allowing efficient cross-ventilation, minimizing inner energy consumption.

The office takes an active role in shaping and promoting long-term growth and development in México while preserving cultural heritage. In Acapulco, the restoration of Boca Chica (2011) reviving the neglected 1960s iconic hotel serves as a catalyst for the continued regeneration and transformation of Acapulco’s historical downtown area. Otherwise, in the spirit of an ambitious master plan designed for Jinhua in China, a teahouse was reworked formally to create a range of spaces on diverse levels that create privacy and intimacy, micro-atmospheres that generate distinct visual experiences (2004-2006). The teahouse explores the typological interaction between two traditional structures from the gardens of ancient China: a teahouse and a bridge. The bridge spans as a continuous concrete structure over a pond and stands out strongly in its flaming red color, traditionally the symbolic color of happiness in China.

FR-EE projects are currently spread between offices in Mexico City and New York (opened in 2010), ?where Fernando Romero aims to materialize ideas into projects that will enhance ?people’s living conditions and environment. Designed as a unique and contemporary sculptural building, the impressive Soumaya Museum in Mexico City (2005 - 2011) houses a collection of international pieces of art. An amorphous shape perceived differently from every angle is reflecting the diversity of the collection inside. Hexagonal aluminium modules facilitate the facade’s preservation and durability. Commissioned by the Mexican Federal Government, FR-EE also designed a convention center for the G-20 Convention in Mexico in 2012. Constructed in less than seven months, the facility welcomed international representatives and foreign dignitaries including U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The G-20 Convention Center features one of the world's largest green walls.

Fernando Romero is putting the finishing touches on the Miami Chapel in Florida. Designing a congregation space for the Miami Catholic community requires an understanding of the identity of a multicultural group and the ability to translate it into a representative building. The underground Mexico City Aquarium near the Soumaya Museum is expected to be completed soon. The new aquarium building will provide twelve different ecological zones for the various aquatic habitats. Among the ongoing projects, the Tulum Museum inspired by Mayan ruins is a perfect example of architect’s commitment to sustainability, integration with surroundings, and respect of local culture and history. With the FR-EE City, FR-EE proposes a new urban master plan that synthesizes three existing urban typologies: the radial city, the hexagonal connection and the urban grid. « Imagine a city where people in developing countries are able to contribute towards society and enjoy the liberties of urban life in a holistic economy. » Fernando Romero desires to create an urban model that integrates ideas of sustainability, population growth and urban interactions in an intelligent and systematic manner, prompting us to redefine the notion of a 21st century city.
« Architecture is produced through a continuous translation process, he says. What we do in our daily practice is the translation of restrictions, ambitions, challenges, conditions, political and economic moments into structures that contain usable spaces with unique identities."


1 Fernando Romero

2 Eco Museum, Mexico City (2006-2007)
3 Inbursa Headquarters, Mexico City (2001-2003)
4 Torre Cervantes housing, Mexico City (2009-2010)
5 Teahouse, Jinhua, China (2004-2006)
6 Soumaya Museum, Mexico City (2005 - 2011)
7 G20 International Convention Centre, Los Cabos, Mexico (2011 - 2012)
8 Miami Chapel, Florida (under construction)
9 Mexico City Aquarium (under construction)
10 Tulum museum, Mexico (ongoing)
11 FR-EE City (ongoing)

Images: © FR-EE

Project of the month







Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Main cultural centre created to welcome exceptional contemporary works, this new Frank Gehry architectural challenge reinvents the use of glass.

It is not the first contemporary art museum linked to a well known company – as an example the Foundation Cartier designed by Jean Nouvel in 1994 – but rarely has a building of this type reached such an extent. The Louis Vuitton Foundation harmoniously integrates in the ‘Jardin d’Acclimatation’ on the outskirts of the famous Bois de Boulogne at the east of Paris, and reveals forms never imagined so far, bringing together all the architect’s modes of expression whilst making a revolutionary use of glass to give life to an aerial, luminous and dynamic building.

To draw his first sketch, the architect was inspired by the lightness of the end of the 19th century garden architecture, explains Vuitton. The architect then produced many models, playing with lines and forms. The choice of materials has then become obvious: a glass envelop giving it volume and impetus. Taking distance from the classic glass approaches, Frank Gehry « developed a revolutionary shaping technique enabling to curve the glass with a tolerance of one millimetre, different for each one of the 3600 panels. » The glass manufacturing was at the same time an opportunity to rethink the know-how. A special furnace was created to meet the requirements for curves and projections imposed by the architect.

The 11700 sqm building conceived like a sailing boat stretches out its twelve glass sails, each one wrapping the inside structure with an immaculate white color, called « Iceberg ». Set on a basin, it was inserted in a garden, playing with the light and the mirror effects. The building of the Fondation Louis Vuitton is in conformity with sustainable development criteria with an exemplary environmental approach at each phase of the project, from the conception to the construction and operation. The preservation of natural resources is a permanent worry such as the recuperation of rainwater to feed the systems not requiring drinking water.

It is a great pleasure that this building was finally erected after overcoming all the legal and administrative obstacles. As it has always been in the past with the most emblematic projects.
See you in September 2014 for the opening to the public.

Photo 1 Frank O. Gehry
Photos 2 à 6 Foundation Louis Vuitton

Products of the month


The new Epson SureColor SC-T SERIES

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Events in the spotlight

Cityscape Global

Cityscape Global

Cityscape Global 21 - 23 September 2014 - World Trade Center

For more than a decade, Cityscape Global has been the annual meeting point for key real estate investors, developers, regional and city investment promotion authorities, architects, designers and other real estate professionals and end-users to drive growth in real estate investment and development across emerging markets globally.

With over 33,000 participants, Cityscape is the annual opportunity to build and maintain your presence across Middle East real estate markets.

The exhibition will be complimented by high level conferences discussing those key issues affecting business decisions and profitability, and the Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets, honoring those who have contributed to outstanding urban development and architecture.

For more details about the exhibition, please visit our
website: www.cityscapeglobal.com

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Bau China

BAU Congress China 8 - 9 July

Organized by MMI Shanghai, a subsidiary of Messe München International, the BAU Congress China will focus on a German-Chinese dialog dealing with all aspects of sustainability as well as integral planning and performance.

Internationally known planners and architects from Germany and China will present and discuss their ideas for a viable Chinese city of the future.

BAU Congress China will take place on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 July 2014 at China National Convention Center in Beijing.

Registration and participation to all events of BAU Congress China is entirely http://reg.bauchina.com/Bauchinaen/index/index?exhid=1

More about Bau Congress China: www.bauchina.com

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Competitions in the spotlight


We are happy to announce you that Piscine Global and Archi-Europe launch the second edition of the international award for Pool & Spa architecture: Pool Vision.

private pools
public/hotel pools

For this edition we are inviting also participants from Asia to participate actively as there will be a separate awarding ceremony for Asian projects on the Splash edition taking place in Singapore in May 2015.

Principle and aim:
Pool Vision 2014 will select and award prizes to outstanding swimming pool projects from around the world, judging them from the technical and aesthetic standpoints, water treatment, coverings, accessories, spas, etc...

Registration deadline Pool Vision Asia & Pool Vision global: 08/09/2014

More about Pool Vision 2014: www.poolvision.org
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Archi-World® Academy 2013-2015

After the extraordinary success of the first edition 2011/1013 (Archi-World® Academy registered 1287 entries coming from all parts of the world!) and the magnificent awarding ceremony in Munich on 16 January 2013 with top architects, Archi-World Academy Awards 2 is now on track!

This second edition of the Archi-World® Academy Awards will again involve students in architecture and architecture schools from all over the world that will have the opportunity to upload their project in a new topic: Architecture for tomorrow! It will give to 12 winning students the chance to win a prestigious traineeship in top architecture practices!

Archi-World® Academy is proud to announce you the new jury members of this second edition: Roger Duffy (United States) - Philippe Samyn (Belgium) - Ibrahim Jaidah (Qatar) - Yves Besançon (Chile) - Thomas Herzog (Germany) - Mario Cucinella (Italy) - Andrey Asadov (Russia) - Paul de Ruiter (Netherlands) - Madhav Raman (India) - Fernando Romero (Mexico) - Peter Stutchbury (Austria) - Juan Manuel Herranz (Spain)

Registration deadline: 30 September 2014.

Click here to register!
Click here for more information about this competition
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First InnoMatnet competition on the use of Sustainable Materials in building industry

The competition is open to practitioners, (architects, engineers, material designers) based in Europe.


Using Innovative Materials
Rediscovering Traditional Materials
Working with Recycled Materials

Deadline: 31 July 2014

Click here for more information about this competition: www.innomatnetawards.org

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A-Awards Armstrong

Armstrong Ceilings and Archi-Europe are very proud to launch a new international competition for architects: A-Awards!

A competition only open for projects using Armstrong ceiling products.

The winner will be invited to Bologna/Italy during SAIE construction fair (22-25 October 2014) in order to collect the trophy and present his/her winning project during the awarding ceremony.

Architects are invited to upload or send their top architectural projects into the categories below!


Metal ceiling solutions
Suspended ceiling solutions (ISLAND)
Mineral ceiling solutions
Wood ceiling solutions
Baffle ceiling solutions

Deadline: 19 September 2014

Click here for more information about this competition:

Bernard Tschumi
(30/04 – 28/07/2014) - Paris Centre Pompidou (FR)
Architecture en uniforme - Projeter et construire pour la Seconde Guerre mondiale
(24/04 - 8/09/2014) – Paris - Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (FR)
(> 31/08/2014) - Bilbao - Museum Guggenheim (ES)
Alfredo Jaar
(11/04 – 7/09/2014) - Helsinki - Kiasma (FIN)
Designs of the Year 2014
(26/03 – 25/08/2014) - London Design Museum (UK)
>> read more

PARIS River Champagne Bar
Deadline: 07/07/2014


Deadline: 31/07/2014


Urban SOS: Towards a new industry
Deadline: 01/08/2014

>> read more

books book book

Urgent Architecture
40 sustainable housing solutions for a changing world
Bridgette Meinhold

W.W.Norton & Company
€ 38.28
256 pages
ISBN 978-0393733587

>> read more

Federico Delrosso Architects: Pushing the Boundaries
Porzia Bergamasco

€ 39.00
184 pages
Italian / English
ISBN 978-88-572-1982-0
>>read more

Métropoles en débat
(dé)constructions de la ville compétitive

Presses universitaires de Paris Ouest
€ 24.00
422 pages
ISBN 9782840161790
>> read more

© 2014 Archi-Europe
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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