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Building faces

Used as the constructions’s face, the façade allows to make a quick evaluation of the type of architecture. To highlight materials and appropriate concepts leads to enormous challenges. All the more as the creative possibilities are almost unlimited. Use in an innovative way the materials and the new technologies is what the WAN Façade Award wants to underline, as the major international competition celebrating the best architectural façades. If EPR Architects, laureate of the 2015 edition, didn’t want to show too much extravagance when they had to intergrate their project in the very classic Savile Row district in London, they nevertheless proposed a façade covering with 10000 tailormade and handmade enamelled ceramic tiles, with the cooperation of Kate Malone, the famous ceramicist. Among the nominees of this competition, was the extension of a primary school in Nanyang (China) by Studio505 and LT&T Architects. This colored and dynamic visual image was cleverly realized by applying low cost paint on prefabricated concrete. Also in China, the ondulating form of the Wanda Movie Park (Stufish Entertainement Architects) is covered with tailormade aluminium geometric panels, with a fluorocarbon, golden and selfcleaning paint. The façade is made lively by LED bands giving a vibrating glimmer during the night. The tall buildings are also involved in the image research. For instance, the twin Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi (Aedas Architects) show their sensitive façades thanks to a «moucharabieh», a traditional oriental shading system. The screen works like a curtain-wall. Each triangle is covered with fiberglass and programmed to react to the sun’s movements, as if the building’s exterior was shifting. These examples, underline the importance of integrating the architectural form in the structure and the sustainable design strategies. It is clear that the quality of a building will only result from the consistency of these elements.

The Archi-Europe team

Portrait of the month

1 Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries

2 Wilhelminapark House

3 Matsudai Center

4 Celosia

5 Book Moutain

6 Glass Farm

7 The Chungha building

8 Markthal

9 Pushed Slab

MVRDV, Rotterdam

This collective belongs to the wave of super architects which appeared in the years 1990 in the Netherlands. Their unlikely structures can be found in the whole world from Oslo to Tokyo. Buildings seeming to float and towers off balance…

The acronym MVRDV comes from the names of its founders Winy Maas (1959), Jacob van Rijs (1964) and Nathalie de Vries (1965) who met each other at the Delft University 25 years ago. Recently graduated in architecture and urban planning, all three opened their office in Rotterdam in 1993. One of their first residential projects was in Ypenburg – the houses were considered as a simple addition of the inhabitants personal ideas – where they combined privacy and collective character. It is also clearly visible in the Wilheminapark House in Utrecht, in which two different families share a single site. This house creates a game between the public openings to outside and the individual approach for inside

The international reputation arrives very fast with the V.P.R.O. (National Radio Broadcasting Company) headquarters building in 1997 in Hilversum or the construction of the Retirement House WoZoCo the same year in Amsterdam. Among the most outstanding projects, can be mentioned the Netherlands Pavilion for the EXPO 2000 in Hannover. The building places like a sandwich, on top of each other, natural landscapes on five levels, dunes, fields with flowers, a forest and windmills on the roof. Let’s note also Flight Forum, an area with an innovative business park and the musical centre De Effenaar in Eindhoven, the Silodam residential complex in Amsterdam, the Matsudai Cultural Centre in Japan or the DNB Bank headquarters in Oslo.
The Glass Farm, a very interesting project on the Schijndel’s market square, required a lot of time and energy to overcome heated debates, polls and polemics. The 1600m² building, which consists primarily of series of public amenities, is entirely covered by a glass facade using fritted procedure to give the form of a traditional farmhouse. Realized by the artist Frank van der Salm after having photographed historic buildings, the print varies in translucency depending on light requirements and views. Another reference to the agricultural past, the pyramidal shaped library, situated right in the center of Spijkenisse. The pitched roof refers back to traditional Dutch farmhouses. Through its glass façade the books are visible from all sides. The building appears like a mountain of books, hence it’s name: the Book Mountain. Sophisticated heating and cooling systems and the use of recycled materials further distinguish the library as a benchmark of sustainable design.

At the same time, the enormous Markthal in Rotterdam has led to extensive press coverage. The elongated horseshoe shaped building features about a hundred fresh produce units, 15 food shops, 8 restaurants as well as 228 apartments making the entire structure somewhat of a self-contained living space. It’s awkward profile is a reaction to the environment created by the imaginative forms in this district. (It must be recalled that Rotterdam was completely flattened during the second World War and has served as a fertile architectural playground for the last 50 years.). If its covering has the same grey colour as the surrounding pavements, inside you can find an enormous mural created by the artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. It features brightly coloured fruits and other market goods ascending into the sky like the ceiling mural of a cathedral.
The new façade concept of the Chungha Building in Seoul is convincingly simple, despite it’s multiple identity. Transformed in a collection of shop Windows, so each commercial venture imposed onto the façade would have a fitting canvas for it’s display. Even the architects say that the building’s façade, with it’s Italian mosaics, becomes more advertisement than architecture. Built in cooperation with Blanca Lleo Asociados, the Celosia apartment block in Madrid assembling 146 apartments is positioned in a checkerboard pattern next to and on top of each other. If most apartments offer additional outdoor space in the shape of a loggia, the inhabitants have the possibility to gather in the communal high-rise patios which offer views on the city and the mountains and provide natural ventilation in summer.
The Pushed Slab office building is a proven efficiency energy building, located in a Paris eco-district. The architects have created an «urban window» and provoked an apparent distortion of the floors, offering multiple terraces which can be directly accessed from the work areas as well as from the external staircases.

MVRDV has recently won a competition for the construction of a new tower next to the Gasometers in Vienna. The 110m high project, called Turm mit Taille, was shaped to minimize the effect of the building’s shadow cast onto the neighboring buildings. In spite of the building regulations initially restricting allowable construction to a 75-meter-high volume, which should be trapezoidal in plan, MVRDV proposed a more compact and efficient square layout, which resulted in a taller volume to make up for the reduced footprint.
Through this operation, an elegant, wasp figure emerged that responds to its surroundings by opening up views towards the Gasometers and the rest of the city.

1 The current projects include also some large scale visions, such as the masterplan for the Logrono eco-city (Spain) or the Grand Mosaic in Caen (France). Being studied since two years , this 600 hectare visionary masterplan approaches the problems relating to the fast disappearing industries of the region. The project shows very progressist ideas in terms of application methods, ambition and context. It integrates the site’s historical aspects with the natural environment and favours the diversity of the functions, linked together by a land planning tool, the «offset», created by MVRDV.
The MVRDV approach enables a great variety of projects: buildings of all types, urban plans, publications, installations and exhibitions. To develop them, 120 people in Rotterdam and 4 in Shanghai are fully involved in a multi-disciplinary conception process. This collaboration method brings together the customers, all the participants and the experts right from the beginning of the creative process. The results are exemplary. In the documents explaining their works and ideas, from Farmax (1998) to Vertical Villag e(2012), MVRDV mentions the importance of sustainability. Together with Delft University of Technology, MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute where Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries provide an agenda for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future.

1 Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries
2 Wilhelminapark House, Utrecht (Netherlands) 1997
3 Matsudai Center, (Japan) 2004
4 Celosia, Madrid (Spain) 2009
5 Book Moutain, Spijkenisse (Netherlands) 2012
6 Glass Farm, Schijndel (Netherlands) 2013
7 The Chungha building, Séoul (South Korea) 2013
8 Markthal, Rotterdam (Netherlands) 2014
9 Pushed Slab, Paris (France) 2014

Project of the month

Europe Building, Amsterdam
Architect : DUS Architects

Built to welcome the meetings of the European Union Council Presidency, a temporary building combines traditional construction techniques with some XL elements printed in 3D.

Since January 1st 2016, the Netherlands are in charge of the Presidency of the European Council for the coming six months. Most of the time, the European politicians presently meet in the Europe Building, especially created for this event. This temporary structure, situated in a booming district of Amsterdam, accomodates flexible offices, working areas, a space for events, a café and a roof terrace. Having started with 3D Print Canal House, the project of the first 3D printed house, the Dutch office DUS Architects had decided to use their avant-garde resources to create the façade. A way to show that architecture can be a catalyst for cross-sectoral innovation. The architects cooperated with Henkel, a multinational corporation specialized in materials research, to study the possibilities of creating new applications. «We have developed a special plastic manufactured with linseed oil, underlines Hedwig Heinsman, co-founder of the DUS Architects office. The advantage of this material is that it is not only composed of plants, but it also can be shredded and reused in the printing cycle. We can from now onwards create elements up to five meters high, two meters wide and two meters deep » The Europe Building is the first public project using the FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technique, which is the most common way of producing small objects. The main façade is composed of a tensile fabric structure combined with bio-based 3D-printing filaments, which can be entirely recycled once the Presidency is ended. The building’s entrance is covered with vertical panels that appear to have been lifted up at the base to create triangular openings reminiscent of tent openings. The intention was for these playful forms to reference the sailing ships that were historically built in this area. Equipped with benches, these alcoves are coloured in the European Union blue with printed motives illustrating the variety of the EU’s countries. During the night these sails are lit up. This innovative façade was achieved in a very short time thanks to the close cooperation of different partners: DUS Architects (design), Actual, start-up based in Amsterdam who created the on-line personalization software for the construction elements relating to the 3D XL printing (parametric development and 3D printing), Henkel (materials development), Neptunus (temporary structures), TenTech (engineering), Philips (lighting) and Heijmans (construction and assembling), an innovative minded building company.

Product of the month

MASTER-SOFT Source of light and softness

With its quilted pattern inspired from the world of luxury goods, this textured glass enhances light to create an effect of exceptional privacy.

In the minds of Savinel and Rozé, the designers behind this restyled and rather touch-inviting material, MASTER-SOFT breaks all the codes of standard textured glass to surprise and seduce.

“We wanted to get away from traditional cold and clinical aesthetics, and encourage a new sensory awareness. We took our inspiration from other fields, like luxury goods and furniture, to create a softer, mellower effect.”

Our aim was to offer a totally new glass touch experience. MASTER-SOFT fits in perfectly with the line of mat and velvety effects increasingly present in interior design these days. Such material effects are most inspiring: “The current trend is to feel the grain of the wood under your fingers or touch materials with a definable weave” the designers feel.


Light screen, internal structure, furniture, MASTER-SOFT’s architectural applications are endless:

• indoors: partitions, all-glass or framed doors, shower and bath screens, stair treads, floor panels
• furniture: cabinet doors, tables, counters, shelves
• outdoors: windows and glazing in façades, balcony screens
It is ideal for use in private environments such as homes and offices, but also in public places such as shops, hotels and restaurants.


• MASTER-SOFT is modern, state-of-the-art glass and a proud winner of the “Best of the Best” Red Dot Award.
• With its mat, soft and flexible texture, structured by two diagonals, MASTER-SOFT offers maximum light while maintaining privacy.

More information about the Master-Soft

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Belgian company Kreon acquires Belux

Effective 1 January 2016, Kreon became the new owner of Belux, the renowned Swiss-based designer and manufacturer of sophisticated lighting solutions

The Belgian lighting manufacturer Kreon became the new owner of Belux on 1 January 2016. Founded in Switzerland in 1970 , Belux has worked together with such prominent international designers as Frank Gehry, Naoto Fukasawa, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Herzog & de Meuron and Hella Jongerius to develop and produce a range of remarkable, poetic designs including Cloud, Lantern, Jingzi and Blossom.

Kreon is a family-owned business based in Belgium. Belux represents an ideal addition to the Belgian lighting expert and will enrich the company in many areas. Kreon plans to maintain the brand name, product strategy and orientation of Belux and will operate in the market with the dual brands Kreon and Belux.

Visit Kreon at Light+Building 2016 in Frankfurt (from 13 till 18 March) Hall 3.0, booth B61 and discover more about the new Diapason and our other novelties.

This year we see the reshaping and technological upgrade of our design classic: Diapason.
The new range harks back to the original concept which was launched a quarter of a century ago, but has been redesigned with contemporary styling and state-of-the-art LED technology to provide a superior tool for architectural and display lighting.

More information about Kreon

Events in the spotlight

15-18 March 2016, Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France

MIPIM, the world’s leading property market, brings together the most influential players from all international property sectors - office, residential, retail, healthcare, sport, logistics and industrial, offering unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide.

Key figures
21.400 participants, 351 stands, 89 countries, 2.445 exhibiting companies, 17.700m² exhibition area, 4.800 investors.

More information about MIPIM 2016.


Located in the Gare Maritime, next to the Palais des Festivals, the MIPIM Innovation Forum is a 1,300 m² pavilion gathering all innovation stakeholders to showcase the most innovative solutions and practices to increase the value of property assets.

Alongside the exhibition hall, a dedicated programme of conferences takes place at the MIPIM Innovation Forum and its extension: case studies, pitching sessions at the Vitra lounge or private talks with famous architects and startups.

• Smart buildings & technologies
• Energy efficiency
• Occupiers comfort
• Design & architecture in new buildings
• Disruptive innovations in buildings

Find out more about the programme.

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Cityscape Abu Dhabi: Date: 12 – 14 April 2016 - Venue: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE

Event Info: Widely regarded as the key barometer for the region’s property sector, Cityscape Abu Dhabi acts as a platform for developers, investors, real estate professionals and government entities to meet and do business. With hundreds of developments from Abu Dhabi and overseas being showcased, Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2016 is the home of real estate investment for the residential, retail, hospitality and commercial sectors.

In the spirit of the 10th year anniversary edition, the Cityscape Abu Dhabi Conference will return with a special programme examining the main areas for growth and development in the capital’s real estate market. For 2016, we will celebrate thought leadership in the real estate market by bringing together a number of senior and influential figures for a series of presentations, panels and high-level discussions. In marking this important milestone, the conference will assess the current market, as well as consider the exciting future plans that will continuously change the skyline of Abu Dhabi.

For more information please visit us on
or contact us on

Competitions in the spotlight

Archi-World® Academy 2015 - 2017 - III edition

After the great success of the first two editions 2011/1013 and 2013/2015 with the active participation of 24 world renowned architects as jury members, we are now launching Archi-World® Academy Awards 3.

We have the pleasure to present to you the jury members of the 2015 - 2017 edition: Sergey Romanov, Rudy Ricciotti, JKMM Architects, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Poponcini & Lootens, Labics, Guz Architects, SBA Architects, Grafton Architects, CHIASMUS, Ercan Çoban Architects, Emilio Ambasz and Associates

This third edition of the Archi-World Academy Awards will again involve students in architecture and architecture schools from all over the world and give to 12 winning students a fantastic opportunity to win a prestigious traineeship in top architecture practices which will definetely boost their carreer !

Challenge us with your best projects in a new topic "Responsible Future Architecture".

Registration is open:

More information:

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Piscine Global and Archi-Europe have the pleasure of launching the third edition of the international award for Pool architecture: Pool Vision. The competition is divided into three geographical zones: Piscine Global, Piscine Middle East and Piscine Asia

CATEGORIES for Piscine Global:
• The most beautiful residential pool
• The most beautiful tourism and leisure pool
• The most beautiful public pool
• The most beautiful renovated pool
• The most innovative pool

CATEGORIES for Piscine Middle East and Asia:
• The most beautiful residential pool
• The most beautiful tourism and leisure pool
• The most innovative pool

Principle and aim:
Pool Vision 2016 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 Middle East: 01/05/2016
Pool Vision Asian: 16/05/2016
Pool Vision Global: 17/06/2016

Register here:

More about Pool Vision 2016:

Henry van de Velde Awards & Labels 2015
(14/01 – 24/03/2016) - Brussels Bozar (B)
Decades of Finnish Architecture 1900–1970
(27/03/2010 – 31/12/2020 (FI)
Jesús Rafael Soto. Une rétrospective
(12/12/2015 – 30/04/2016) – Rodez Musée Soulages (F)
(29/10/2015 – Spring 2016) – Brussels Atomium (B)
Don’t Touch
(27/11/2015 – 17/04/2016) - Zürich Museum Bellerive (CH)
>> read more

The 2016 Core77 Design Awards
Deadline: 06/04/2016

PARIS PAVILION : The Art of Peace
Deadline: 30/05/2016

TIMBER IN THE CITY: Urban Habitat Competition
Deadline: 25/05/2016

>> read more

Mecanoo Architecten. People, Place, Purpose
Francine Hoube

Artifice Books on Architecture
€ 49.95
352 pages
ISBN 978 1 908967 61 9

>> Read more

Détails de maisons écologiques
Oscar Mira

Editions du Moniteur
€ 49.00
242 pages
ISBN 9782281117783

>> Read more

Dutch Design Jaarboek 2015
Timo de Rijk, Joost Alferink, Jan Konings, Richard van der Laken

NAI 010 Uitgevers
€ 34.50
184 pages
Dutch / English
ISBN 978-94-6208-246-5

>> Read more

© 2016 Archi-Europe
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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