Do the twist....

Nikken Sekkai's stunning building sets the standard for educational architecture

Mode-Gakuen Spiral Towers located in busy Main Street of Nagoya city in front of Nagoya Station. The towers are designed for three schools that represent the school of fashion design, computer programming and medical support. The concept of the towers are derived from the enthusiasm of students from three schools, twining and rising up to the sky then departing to the real world. Three buildings of class rooms around the spiral core are called “Wings”. The towers' wing-like shape, narrow at the top, changes the rotation axis as they rise and create an organic curve. Spiral Towers appears to change shape slightly when viewed from different angles, giving an elegant yet dynamic impression. The strong inner truss tube is visible through gaps between the three wings, highlighting the bold design and structure while demonstrating the overall consistency.

The towers are highlighted with many ecological features, such as a double-glassed air flow window system and a natural air ventilation system. The central core of the building is a highly rigid cylindrical structure. Like the central pillar in a house, this structure securely protects the building against twisting and earthquakes. This cylindrical structure is called an inner truss tube and comprises concrete-filled, steel tubular columns, with braces deployed around the core. The towers are integrated with mass damper systems, expanding columns and AMD for restraining seismic vibration. The latest structural engineering provides the highest safety even in the case of the more severe earthquakes.

Steven Holl Architects Wins Master Plan in “Shenzhen 4 Tower in 1” Competition

Steven Holl Architects have been selected as the winning firm for the design of the master plan of the “Shenzhen 4 Tower in 1” competition
Bird’s eye view of the winning “Shenzhen 4 Tower in 1” master plan proposal by Steven Holl Architects

Close up of the Public Promenade

This competition was for an office tower complex around the new Shenzhen Stock Exchange Headquarters located in Shenzhen’s Futian commercial business district. It was organized by the Shenzhen Planning Bureau to create a unified urban plan, around the Headquarters, for the new office towers of Shenzhen Media Group, China Construction Bank, China Insurance Group, and Southern & Bosera Funds.
Model photo of the master plan proposal

A six-member jury chaired by Arata Isozaki selected the winners of the competition. Other participants, including Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Atelier FCJZ, Hans Hollein, and MVRDV, won for their individual tower designs.
Rendering of the Social Bracket

Rendering of am office interior

Rendering of Tower B Entrance

Steven Holl Architects’ design for the master plan is based on the concept of tropical skyscrapers as Shade Machines with a Social Bracket connecting the towers and the street level with a horizontal structure containing public programs and a rooftop water garden.
Watercolor by Steven Holl The Social Bracket gathers the public programs from all four towers, combining them as one continuous element that links the four sites with the city streets and pedestrian traffic. Supporting programs for the towers, such as cafeterias and gyms, are combined in the Social Bracket and enhanced with cultural programs such as art galleries, auditoriums, and a cinema. The Social Bracket’s sculpted form allows it to negotiate between environmental restrictions and the requirements of the public programs. It features a continuous roof garden park that collects storm water and recycles all the greywater from the four skyscrapers.
Watercolor by Steven Holl

Roof garden ponds and plantings utilize the combined storm water and greywater after passage through a central ultraviolet filter system. A public route connects the subway into the Social Bracket, linking directly to all four towers. Connecting across the Stock Exchange Plaza, the new elevated bracket acts as an urban interface between the business-centric district to the south and the residential area to the north.
Diagram: 4 + 1 = 2

Steven Holl Architects’ design for the four towers as Shade Machine utilizes circular building footprints to maximize the interior space and open views while minimizing the exterior envelope. The optimized office floors are connected via double-height and triple-height social spaces on alternating sides of the towers.
Diagram: Winter / Garden Infrastructure

Automatic solar tracking screens made of perforated PV cells make one full rotation per day around the circumference of each building, collecting enough PV energy to cool the towers completely. Always oriented towards the sun, the moving shades harvest solar energy and block solar heat gain, their louvered sections tilting to horizontal orientation at noon to gather maximum sunlight.
Diagram: Social Bracket

The one-meter deep louvers block high-angle solar gain and bounce diffused natural light onto the ceilings deep into the floor plate. The screens’ full rotation per day allows the towers to act as an urban clock with synchronized rotation in time even on cloudy days.


Diagram: “Social Program Isolated in Towers” vs. “Collected Social Programs Create Urban Interface”

Images & Diagrams: Steven Holl Architects; Watercolors: Steven Holl

Source: Bustler

American Dream of a Customized Home

Inspired by the permeability and spatial qualities of Modernist houses and the great American dream of a customized home, Herzog & de Meuron has replaced the usual extrusion of standardized skyscraper floor plates with a staggered progression of structural slabs turning slightly off axis by degrees as they ascend, creating constant variety among the apartment floor plans.

This structural arrangement of floor plates create an irregular flurry of cantilevered terraces up and down the building, making plays of light and shadow that give the tower a shimmering, animated appearance on the skyline.

The building contains five key zones ascending from street to sky: lobby, townhouse residences, amenities, tower residences, and penthouses. Appearing to rest upon Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, a massive, reflective stainless steel piece, the building base will have the appearance of a stack of cantilevering volumes with varying degrees of transparency and opacity.

The lobby zone contains a dramatic double - height lobby with an entrance on Leonard Street adjacent to a verdant exterior vertical garden to the west. Above the 18-foot-high lobby are several floors of townhouse residences, that relate very directly to the immediate scale and panorama of the neighborhood, and two full floors of amenities spaces custom-designed to the last detail by Herzog& de Meuron.

Photo © Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, 2008

Photo © Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, 2008
Screening Room
These spaces include a 75-foot infinity edge pool, one of Manhattan’s largest, surrounded by a black terrazzo deck inlaid with spherical glass aggregate. An adjoining outdoor sundeck cantilevers 20 feet over the block to provide extraordinary Tribeca views and a sense of connection to the district.

The building’s residences are located above with balconies and terraces arranged in varied schemes that provide uninterrupted views of the city. The dramatic nine-story crown containing its apex penthouses, will appear on the Manhattan skyline as a chimerical geometric sculpture of stacked, glimmering glass volumes. Soaring window walls open onto panoramas of the city and sky.

“We approached the design process from the inside out, from the homes themselves. But we also considered the outside in terms of the Tribeca neighborhood. Here you have the small townhouses, the old manufacturing buildings, and the high-rise buildings, but also a lot of little corners and surprising things between. The different scales characterize the neighborhood and we wanted to establish a dialogue among them. For us, creating a building is a research process. We call it a journey.”
Herzog & de Meuron

The 57-story residential building is located at the intersection of Church Street and Leonard Street in the Tribeca Historic District of downtown Manhattan.

The Huaxi City Experiment

In 2008, MAD organized and invited 11 young international architects to carry out an urban experiment: to design the Huaxi city centre of Guiyang, in South Western China. The architects invited by MAD included: Atelier Manferdini (USA), BIG (DENMARK), Dieguez Fridman (ARGENTINA), EMERGENT/Tom Wiscombe (USA), HouLiang Architecture (CHINA), JDS (DENMARK/BELGIUM), MAD (CHINA), Mass Studies (KOREA), Rojkind Arquitectos (MEXICO), Serie (UK/INDIA), Sou Fujimoto Architects (JAPAN). The masterplan was developed by Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute, Studio 6, together with MAD.

In the past 15 years, around 10 billion sqm of built space has been created in the urban areas of China. In 20 years time, another 200 to 400 new cities will be built. Until now, the results of this overwhelming urbanization have been defined by high-density, high-speed and low-quality duplication: the urban space is meaningless, crowded and soulless. Are we going to continue copying the skyline of Western cities created over a hundred years of industrial civilisation? Will Manhattan and Chicago continue to be our model city, even after 15 years of urban construction in China?
Is there an alternative future for our cities that lies in the current social condition, where new technologies leave the machine age behind, and where the city increasingly invades the natural space? Based on an Eastern understanding of nature, this joint urban experiment aims to explore whether we can use new technologies and global ideas to reconnect the natural and man-made world.
The site of Huaxi is famous for its dramatic and beautiful landscape, as well as a diverse mix of minority cultural inhabitants during its history. Its future is defined by the local government’s urban planning as a new urban centre for finance, cultural activities and tourism. MAD brought the young architects together here in the summer of 2008, for a 3-day workshop to create an experimental urban vision for Huaxi.

Each architect provided a unique design for a single part of the masterplan, based on their own understanding and interpretation of the local natural and cultural elements. The result is a series of organic individual buildings, growing from the natural environment, and working together to produce a compound of diverse urban activities.
In this high density urban environment, the limits of urbanization are controlled and set by nature; the buildings take on the dynamic topography of the site, touching the landscape in a more interactive way. Generic verticality is replaced by a complex taxonomy of urban activities, defined by a multiplicity of connections, detours and short cuts. The natural and the artificial are fused together, revealing an image of a future architecture.

The ecological method here is not just focused on saving energy; rather, the goal is to create a new, balanced urban atmosphere which can evoke the feeling of exploring the natural environment. The city is no longer determined by the leftover logic of the industrial revolution (speed, profit, efficiency) but instead follows the ‘fragile rules’ of nature. This collaborative experiment thus provides an alternative, responsive model for the development of the urban centre: a man-made symbiosis, in harmony with nature, in which people are free to develop their own independent urban experience.
China has become the global laboratory for urbanization, where the logical endpoint of current architectural trends can be seen, and the effects of leaving private developers to create cities can be most keenly felt. This urban experiment is not intended as an idealized urban reality, but as an attempt to push these trends to their purest forms, with all of the benefits and problems that this brings. MAD is aware of, and actively encouraging, the failings and successes of this project.
(Source: Archinect))

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics / Saucier + Perrotte architectes

Riding the controversial line between public and private space, this research institute attempts to subvert the usual hard thresholds established by private enterprise in the public realm. The site is on the shore of Silver Lake, at the northern edge of Waterloo’s downtown core and the southern edge of the city’s central park. Adjacent to the primary pedestrian access between the university campus and the city center, the site is an urban wilderness between clearly defined worlds.

Architects: Saucier + Perrotte architectes
The design takes inspiration from the wide-ranging, hard to define concepts that make up the subject matter of theoretical physics, at once micro- and macro-cosmic, rich in information and of indeterminate form and substance. Between city and park, the Perimeter Institute expands and inhabits the improbable space of the line separating the two. The building defines the secure zones of the Institute’s facilities within a series of parallel glass walls, embedded in an erupting ground plane that reveals a large reflecting pool. The north façade, facing the park across this pool, reveals the Institute as an organism, a microcosm of discrete elements. The south façade, facing the city across train tracks and the city’s main arterial road, presents the Institute as a unified but transforming entity, of enigmatic scale and content. Entry to the Institute is possible from both the north, along the reflecting pool, and the south, under the new ground plane.

The interior of the Institute is organized around two central spaces, the main hall on the ground floor and the garden on the first. Spaces for administration, meeting and seminar rooms, leisure and fitness spaces, and a multipurpose theatre for symposia and public presentations, have direct access to the main hall. The circulation corridors running east-west are positioned between the opalescent glass planes, which are occasionally punctured and shifted to reveal views across the interior space of the hall. Vertical circulation climbs these walls, tendrils of ground that run from the garden through the building. The garden - nature emerging from the vacuum - is crossed by three bridges that puncture all the planes, as well as the north and south façades. The bridges provide quick access to information, facilities and research colleagues. These conduits, which formally bind together the Institute, are routes crossing the improbable space between theoretical physics and everyday life.

More pictures and plans at ArchDaily

The Commons / debartolo architects

The leadership of a large local church in Arizona challenged DeBartolo Architects to design a building that would be strategically located in the new core of the campus and serve as the social center for all activities. As the first building of a new masterplan, the commons has transformed the campus, by becoming an inside-out building that literally opens on all sides.
This unique structure was birthed as a “pavilion” based on the challenge to enter the building effortlessly, where users are literally within the building without the customary sense of “entrance”. The interior spaces totaling 8,000 sf are composed of a bookstore, coffee shop, fellowship space and support spaces. The exterior shaded space is over 10,000 sf and can accommodate another 150 people at tables.
Oriented at the 45° angle of the other campus buildings, the 60′ long northwest wall of glass vertical-lift doors open to the future worship center and plaza, where there will be a closely related sense of entry between the commons and worship center entrance. This plaza will be filled with large native desert trees and will provide a shaded connection between the two new structures.

Once within the conditioned space of the commons there are three major spaces. The fellowship space with its ground concrete floors and a perforated wood (acoustical) ceiling is the major social space on campus where temperate climate will alter the use of the space permitting it to be opened or closed. This space can accommodate up to 200 people, but with the unique geometry and transparency, achieves intimacy with even small groups. The space provides 18 wood-top tables with 72 chairs; in addition six bar-height tables along the side near the coffee counter with another 18 chairs. Computer stations are docked against the southeast wall near the bookstore.

The second area is the café with its 40′ long ‘counter’ that is distinctively designed to accommodate the surge of traffic that will be served before and after services, permitting the staff to spread out the users and serve multiple people efficiently. The innovative use of inexpensive custom printed signage will be employed to inform people of items for sale or specials, and are easily change permitting the character of the café to be altered meeting the changing needs.

The third element is the bookstore, a more intimate space dedicated to Christian education and books. This space currently accommodates approximately 5,000 books and has the potential for more than 10,000. The entries open into a common space where tables will display the most commonly requested items and soft goods, with a 4-station counter for support and purchasing. Behind the counter, the flooring changes to carpet, the ceiling drops to quiet the space and there are chairs for reading and tables for more display. The unique bookshelves are more like ‘book boxes’ - integrated with window boxes - where titles are organized within the composition of movement, light and texture.

The remaining element is the service core, made up of indoor-outdoor accessible restrooms, storage, and the new campus central server room; all elements critical to the growing campus.

floor plan
Photographs: Bill Timmerman