Posts tagged with "Heatherwick Studio":

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Heatherwick Studio to overhaul massive London exhibition center

Thomas Heatherwick’s studio has released renderings of their plan to overhaul Olympia, an events center in west London. The design would transform the Victorian exhibition hall into a high-profile mixed-use space. Heatherwick Studio, along with London-based architecture firm SPPARC, will transform the 130-year-old exhibition hall into a mixed-use district that will hold a hotel, theatre, museums, co-working spaces, restaurants, and entertainment spaces. The $920 million project will completely overhaul the space to make way for almost 600,000-square-feet of office and studio space, and 70,000-square-feet of co-working space. Another 2.5 acres will be dedicated towards public areas. The renderings also reveal plans to pedestrianize Olympia Way and add new public and community spaces while preserving the historic facade, as well as a new, modern building for a theater and performing arts space. The redevelopment of Olympia is set to position it as a global destination for creative industries, as well as having a significant impact on its surrounding area, like the regenerations of Covent Garden and King’s Cross. The owners of Olympia, Deutsche Finance and Yoo Capital, first announced that they were planning to develop the site in 2017. Olympia was completed in 1886 and designed by architect Henry Edward Coe. It’s key features, a massive domed window and an arched roof supported by ironwork, will not be affected by the redevelopment. The 15-acre site hosts exhibitions and events annually, such as 100% Design, part of the London Design Festival, and welcomes 1.6 million visitors every year. “As caretakers of Olympia London, we are investing to protect this iconic site and promote it on the global stage as a world-leading destination for the creative industries," John Hitchcox, chairman of Yoo Capital, said. The current designs were developed with feedback from event organizers, exhibitors, and visitors. There will be a period of public consultation before a planning application is submitted in September of this year. Meanwhile, Heatherwick Studio is working on Google’s headquarters in King’s Cross with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Unbuilt – Landscape

2017 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt – Infrastructure: Maker Park Architect: STUDIO V Architecture Location: Brooklyn, New York Maker Park proposes a vision to address Brooklyn’s disappearing industrial waterfront—reimagining what a public park for the 21st century should be. The design pays homage to Williamsburg’s legacy of manufacturing and culture of collaboration. Ten oil tanks are redesigned as community gardens, performance venues, and art installations. Each tank houses groves of trees, reflecting pools, vines, a theater, or an adventure playground. The restored inlet supports wildlife and boating, and a sloped lawn promotes performances while protecting from floods. “So many people would just see this industrial site as an eyesore—if they saw it at all. The designers found the beauty in it. Better still, their scheme helps others see that beauty. Preservation isn’t always about quaint neighborhoods and ornate cornices; it’s about former manufacturing sites and old oil tanks too. It’s all part of our shared heritage.” —Morris Adjmi, principal, Morris Adjmi Architects (juror) Landscape Architect: Ken Smith Workshop Cofounders of Maker Park: Stacey Anderson Zac Waldman Karen Zabarsky   Honorable Mention  Project: The Statue of Liberty Museum Architect: FXFOWLE Location: Liberty Island, New York The Statue of Liberty Museum is an extension of Liberty Park, which merges architecture with landscape. Monumental steps activate the large circular plaza by providing sitting, climbing, and viewing spaces for more than four million annual visitors. The 26,000-square-foot museum will include visitor services, a theater, and support spaces, and will feature Lady Liberty’s original torch. Honorable Mention Project: Pier 55 Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Location: New York  Within the cancelled Pier 55 project is a story that never received its due: the landscape. Elevations 40 to 60 feet above the water treat the visitor to views which encompass the grandeur of the river and focus the eye on the delicate plants at one’s feet. Microclimates mitigate winter winds, buffer highway noise, and allow sunlight to reach marine life. Structural, Civil, & MEP Engineering, Events: Arup Designer: Heatherwick Studio Executive Architect: Standard Architects
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Heatherwick’s London bridge falls, but his London collaboration with BIG gets approval

This week, designer Thomas Heatherwick saw his studio's Garden Bridge project for London officially scrapped as the trust backing it closed down. However, in a turn of fortune, Heatherwick Studio, which is working alongside the London office of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been given the green light for a design for Google's headquarters at King’s Cross. After a highly controversial process, the Garden Bridge, which was initially backed by former London Mayor Boris Johnson, never came to fruition after incumbent Mayor Sadiq Kahn withdrew tax payer–backed financial support for it. Prior to this stage, some $48 million had been plowed into the project which was touted to cost more than $260 million. "Sadly, we're winding up. Without backing from [the Mayor of London] we cannot make the dream of the Garden Bridge a reality," tweeted the Garden Bridge Trust earlier this week. Others, notably the ardent opposition Twitter handle "Folly for London," weren't quite so dismayed. Bad news, it seems, had a habit of following Heatherwick around. In January, Khan canceled orders on the double-decker London bus he designed due to costs. In March, his Pier 55 project—a 2.75-acre garden over New York’s Hudson River— was stopped by a federal court ruling, though it received a reprieve in June. More solidly good news, though, came from the London borough of Camden where Heatherwick Studio and BIG's Google headquarters scheme was approved this week. The 869,900-square-foot building occupies a slender site by Kings Cross railway station, following the tracks down toward a canal. Hosting more than 5,000 employees—and capable of housing up to 7,000—Google's $780 million new headquarters neighbors the David Chipperfield–designed One Pancras Square which boasts Aldo Rossi overtones with its moulded cast iron columns. The clunky classicalism of that building is not emulated by BIG and Heatherwick's work, and in further contrast, the Google headquarter's design emphasizes its horizontality through timber mullions which double-up as louvres. The ground level will house retail and the eleventh floor will support a heavily-vegetated green roof. An 82-foot swimming pool and 660-foot running track will also feature within the scheme. Speaking to Richard Waite of the Architects' Journal (AJ), Heatherwick—whose studio is based out of Kings Cross—said, "Strong support for an ambitious building in an important part of the city is more proof that London is not afraid of its future. We’re excited to start building." Bjarke Ingels, meanwhile added: "The unanimous planning approval of our first project in the U.K. is obviously great for us and our London office—but more importantly Kings Cross will get a very lively new neighbor and the U.K. Googlers will finally be united." Across the pond, Heatherwick and Ingels are also collaborating on another Google project, the tech giant's Charleston East campus, in Mountain View, California. (It should be noted that Google's main headquarters will remain in Mountain View; the Heatherwick and BIG collaboration is just a London headquarters.)
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Heatherwick’s Hudson River pier is a no-go

It looks like the Heatherwick pier on the Hudson is a no-go.

A federal court vacated the permit for building Pier 55, which was designed by Thomas Heatherwick and largely funded by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband, financier Barry Diller.

Envisioned as a performance and events space that extends from Hudson River Park near 13th Street, the $200 million pier has sparked controversy from its inception.

Opponents, led by advocacy group the City Club of New York, found little public benefit in the project. The group asserted that the pier's undulating topography, supported by distinctive mushroom-cloud piles, would block views across the river from Hudson River Park, stir up pollutants in the silt, and block sunlight from hitting the water, making it a threat to marine life in the Hudson River estuary. From certain angles, the pier could be much flatter than initial renderings suggest.

In turn, the Hudson River Park Trust, the nonprofit that manages the park, declared that the 2.75-acre structure would provide much-needed recreation areas and cultural programming for thousands of New Yorkers.

The City Club brought multiple lawsuits against the Trust. In the latest, Judge Lorna G. Schofield of United States District Court said that Pier 55, despite its name and location, was mostly a park and a concert venue, and therefore wasn't dependent on the Hudson River for its existence. Unlike kayakers who depend on a boat launch, or swimmers on the beach, concertgoers and joggers could just as easily listen to music or work up a sweat somewhere else.

"We're very happy," said Michael Gruen, president of the City Club, told The Architect's Newspaper. "It looks like this ruling may be very beneficial for the public in terms of finally being done with a project that would obscure the view of the water and could very well go somewhere else."

Schofield's ruling, moreover, determined the pier would interfere with the Trust's fundamental obligation to maintain the Hudson as a fish and wildlife refuge.

“The Trust was given a duty to protect the estuarine sanctuary—and it failed to steward the river appropriately," said City Club lawyer Richard Emery. "Instead, it tried to put in a concert venue in one of the most important rivers in the world.”

The Trust shared the following statement when reached for comment: "We have won four challenges in four courts on this project. Not one of those decisions determined the proposed project would harm the environment—and neither does this one. But even if largely procedural, we are deeply disappointed by this ruling, and are reviewing it carefully to determine our next steps."

To continue the project, the Trust could re-apply for a permit with the Army Corp of Engineers, but the ruling (below) would make it almost impossible to build out Heatherwick's vision.

This post was updated with more information on the March 23 ruling.

 
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BIG and Heatherwick Studios unveil new Google campus renderings

Heatherwick Studios, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and Hargreaves Jones Landscape Architecture have revealed new renderings and designs for the firms’ Google Charleston East campus in Mountain View, California. The renderings, shared via public documents made available by the municipality in advance of a public meeting scheduled for March 7th to discuss the plans and first reported by 9to5Google, showcase a distinctive, tent-shaped structure located on a large, landscaped site.   The canopy is square-shaped in plan and rises gently out of the tree-lined site, rising to a peak of 111 feet above grade. The structure measures 576 feet on each side and is configured as a solar panel-clad canopy hung from a gridded field of steel support columns. The structure’s cascading roof structure is designed to be supported by structurally glazed clerestory walls that have been treated to minimize their impact on local bird populations and are designed to bring diffuse light into the office areas. The 595,000-square-foot, two-story structure is bisected by an interior 15,300-square-foot pedestrian path that turns into a small public square at the center of the building. That path is lined on one end with retail. Retail functions appear again surrounding the central square, which totals 10,000 square feet in all. These areas connect to an expansive, landscaped site that is mostly accessible to the general public and connects to the city’s expansive network of greenways and pedestrian paths known as the Green Loop. According to other documents shared by the municipality, the project will require the removal of 196 heritage trees from the site. As part of a California Environmental Quality Act compliance, those trees are being replaced with 392 new specimens. The publically-accessible ground floor of the structure and the site will be open to the public during daylight hours. The non-public areas along the ground floor will be laboratory spaces, quasi-public assembly areas, and shared employee leisure areas. The second floor of the structure will contain Google’s offices. The floorplates of both levels are punctured throughout with interior courtyards that will bring light into the work areas and also act as circulation cores. The project has yet to be approved by Mountain View officials. Once approved, the designers expect the project to be completed in roughly 30 months.
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NY court lifts injunction on Pier55, allows construction to continue

The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court decided Monday to waive a temporary injunction against Pier55, a new 2.7-acre park along/in the Hudson River, to allow construction to continue at least until September when the full case is heard before the court. Pier55 is designed by Heatherwick Studio. Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller are major funders of the $130 million project. Construction on Pier55 began in late June. Although the project has been approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the local community board, the City Club of New York has sued to block the project. Workers may now continue pile-driving for the balcony that will sit over the river. A spokesperson for Pier55 today released this statement in response to the Court’s decision: “With the City Club’s latest charade behind us, we will get back to building the new public park that local residents have sought for years. Now that both state and federal courts have denied its demand for an injunction, the City Club should take this cue to finally end its absurd crusade against the wishes of the community. We remain committed to making Pier55 a reality and providing new green space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.” Both the Pier55 development team and the City Club have aired their grievances on The Architect's Newspaper's op-ed page. Read their letters here, and here.
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NY State Supreme Court green lights Lower West Side Pier55

The controversial lower west side project, Pier55, just got the green light from the New York State Supreme Court this past Friday, April 8, to continue moving ahead. Last spring, the City Club of New York (a nonprofit organization) filed a lawsuit against Pier55 Inc. and HRPT to stop the project. Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller are major funders of the planned $130 million, 2.7 acre island of public space off of the lower west side of Manhattan. They established the nonprofit organization Pier55 Inc., and are working in a public-private partnership with the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT). U.K. based firm Heatherwick Studio (known stateside for their collaborating with Bjarke Ingels Group on Google’s planned Mountain View headquarters) and landscape architecture firm, Signe Nielsen, are designing the project. The City Club believes the project will hurt wildlife and is against public interest. “The project would require driving about 550 piles in an area of the Hudson protected as an estuarine sanctuary,” the City Club wrote in an AN op-ed published this January. “Diller and von Furstenberg would receive a 30-year lease to operate the island as a performing arts venue and naming rights to the island in perpetuity.” In response, the Pier55 team wrote a letter to the editor, published this early February on the AN blog: “The project has also been through a rigorous and transparent environmental review process and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has already determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required,” said the Pier55 development team. “It must also be noted that Pier55’s 2.7-acre size is within the scope of what is allowed based on a 2013 law amending the state’s Hudson River Park Act. This amendment, crafted based on input from the local community board and other stakeholders, allowed HRPT to rebuild the former pier outside its original footprint.” Construction is expected to start this spring, with an opening in 2019.
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Letter to the Editor> Pier55 responds to City Club of New York criticism

[Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to an op-ed from the City Club of New York. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] There is a pressing need for new public open space and programming along the Lower Manhattan waterfront. When Hudson River Park’s Pier 54 closed in 2011, New York City lost vital parkland that had served both local community and citywide residents. The problem was that there was never enough public funding to support a new pier at that site. Pier55 will revitalize that waterfront space with nearly three acres of new public parkland, a unique design and new arts, educational and community programming. A public-private partnership between the Diller - von Furstenberg family and the Hudson River Park Trust will ensure Pier55 will remain sustainable for generations to come. As former City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has written, this use of a public-private partnership follows a long tradition that has supported other public parks across New York City, such as the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as public arts spaces like Central Park’s Naumberg Bandshell and the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. That is all part of why Pier55 has received an overwhelmingly positive response from local families and park advocates who are excited about the future of the Hudson River Park. The project has also been through a rigorous and transparent environmental review process and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has already determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Unfortunately, the City Club of New York disagrees. Instead of engaging the community — as the Hudson River Park Trust and Pier55, Inc. have done over the past year — the City Club continues to make false claims about Pier55 and its public process. The fact is that Pier55 underwent a comprehensive Environmental Assessment which found that the park would have no significantly adverse impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife. The Environmental Assessment remains publicly posted on the HRPT website to this day, and it was distributed publicly for a two-month comment period that went well beyond what is required by state law. Additionally, it has already been stated that pile driving for Pier55 will not occur between November and April, when wildlife like winter flounder and striped bass are found in higher densities in the area. The City Club has provided no actual evidence refuting the Environmental Assessment or proving why any further environmental review would be required. Pier55 will provide a diverse array of programming, but it should be noted that boating activities are already found at numerous other piers along Hudson River Park. Contrary to opposition claims, as determined by the United States Coastguard, Pier55 will not obstruct navigation in the Hudson River because that particular area has never been used for boating activities. Pier55’s commitment to public programming is also based on a commitment to public access. The park will remain open to the public all year round and the vast majority of events at Pier55 will be offered for free or at low cost. It must also be noted that Pier55’s 2.7-acre size is within the scope of what is allowed based on a 2013 law amending the state’s Hudson River Park Act. This amendment, crafted based on input from the local community board and other stakeholders, allowed HRPT to rebuild the former pier outside its original footprint. Aside from all that, it is odd to see the City Club argue that Pier55 — one pier among many at Hudson River Park — will block views of the river. The pier will provide park visitors with new and unique views of the Hudson River, and it will replace a fenced-off site that currently provides no public benefit. Overall, Pier55 is a public benefit that is being funded by necessity through a public-private partnership. Pier55, Inc. is not a corporation — it is a nonprofit organization. It will not reap profits from any events held at Pier55, and all programming revenue will go back into funding the park and serving the public. As New Yorkers for Parks and other supporters have noted, this public-private model will ensure that the new pier remains sustainable for generations, even in the absence of public funding. The City Club’s arguments against Pier55 may be numerous, but they are without merit and do not reflect the overwhelming community support for the project, which has only grown as more local residents hear what the new park will provide for their neighborhood. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders on making Pier55 a success for the community and the city. We hope the City Club will reconsider its inaccurate claims and join us in that effort. —Pier55 Development Team
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A Plant-Infused Health Center to Crop Up in Leeds

Hospitals can often be bleak settings, awash in florescent lighting and beige hues that do little to bolster the mission of healing and recovery. However, Maggie's Centre— an organization that provides free support and services for people living with cancer and their families—has made great strides in elevating the healthcare environment (and experience) through design, making it an uplifting, welcoming, and aesthetically-pleasing place to heal. This has been accomplished by tapping some of the most well-known talent in the field—Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Snohetta, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Richard Rogers—to design centers at NHS cancer hospitals, which boasts 18 facilities and several more in the process of being built. Now Heatherwick Studio is on board with a garden-inspired center on the campus of St. James's Institute of Oncology, one of the largest cancer hospitals in Europe. Planned to be one of the largest centers, according to Heatherwick Studio, the new building is made of a series of different-sized containers, resembling "a collection of garden pots," enclosed by flat sheets of glass that protect against the elements. Intended for both visitors and passersby to enjoy, the building's exterior will overflow with greenery as trees and plants sprout from the roofs and flora grows in and around the structures. Wallpaper reported that the center will be built adjacent to the hospital's oncology unit and sit among several gardens designed by Marie-Louise Agius of the landscape design firm Balston Agius. "Surrounded by the huge and complex medical machine for healing we wanted to capture the positive and therapeutic experience of plants and see if it could be possible to make a whole building out of a garden," explained Heatherwick Studio on their website. The center will open its doors in 2017.
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World Architecture Festival Finalists Revealed

Ribbon Chapel for weddings, Seto Inland Sea, Japan, by Hiroshi Nakamura ... Architects and designers from 47 countries are competing to win prizes in the 2015 World Architecture Festival Awards following the announcement of the shortlist today. Nearly 400 designs in 31 categories have been chosen ranging from small family homes to huge commercial developments, landscape projects and interiors. Major world architects taking part include Foster Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Rafael Vinoly Architects and the designer of the controversial Garden Bridge in London, Heatherwick Studio. As usual there are also small practices unknown outside their own countries, who will be presenting their shortlisted work, along with big names, at the annual World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore this November. This is the eight year of the WAF awards, which cover completed buildings, future projects, landscape designs, and interior architecture and design. WAF programme director Paul Finch commented: ‘ We are delighted that our entry numbers were up this year, and the quality of submissions is as high as ever. ‘What is fascinating about these awards is the opportunity they provide to compare how different architects and designers tackle the same sort of problems in completely different parts of the world.’ For more information www.worldarchitecturefestival.com
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Google trumped (for once) by LinkedIn, leaving Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick swoopy plans in limbo

Mountain View, California's city council has decided that LinkedIn and not Google will be able to develop the majority of its North Bayshore area, leaving Google's ambitious plans by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick in jeopardy. According to Silicon Valley Business Journal, LinkedIn will be able to develop 1.4 million square feet of the 2.2 million square feet of the area's available commercial space, leaving Google with enough room for only one piece of its four-part plan. “I’m not sure how I make any of this economically viable with one building,”  David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services for Google, told the council. Google's four structures were to be draped in glass canopies and connected by walking trails. plazas, community gardens and oak groves. Now they may face the same fate as Google's former plans for a new Leed Platinum campus in Mountain View's Charleston East area by Ingenhoven Architects and SHoP Architects, which were proposed in 2012 and 2008, respectively. According to public documents, LinkedIn's plans (left), designed by Studios Architecture (the firm that, ironically, designed the building that currently serves as Google's main headquarters) call for six office buildings, a new theater, health club, and a retail street. LinkedIn's rectilinear site plan is much more conventional than Google's looping, twisting, and intertwining complex would have been. Most of the office buildings would surround a public space called "The Green." According to the Business Journal, the decision does not approve LinkedIn’s project, rather "it merely gives the company the green light to turn in formal plans." So this saga isn't over yet.
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Learning in the Round by Heatherwick Studio

A custom concrete curtain wall complements a Singapore university building's unique form.

The new Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore looks nothing like a typical campus building. School administrators conceived of the facility as the embodiment of a pedagogical sea change, and commissioned London-based Heatherwick Studio to design an iconic structure emphasizing small-group learning and cross-disciplinary interaction. Eschewing perpendicular classrooms and isolated corridors, the architects developed a unique plan in which rounded meeting rooms are arrayed around a central atrium. The Learning Hub's textured concrete facade, punctuated by zig-zags of glazing and pockets of greenery, translates the interior program to the building's exterior, and announces the arrival at NTU of a new way of teaching and learning. The Learning Hub's plan, said project leader Ole Smith, "is basically the whole story of the design." The first challenge was to accommodate a radical departure in the university's mode of instruction. In lieu of traditional master classes, students meet in groups of six with a professor as facilitator. NTU asked Heatherwick Studio to eliminate corners where possible; once the architects observed that the classes would meet at round tables, the next step was to consider rounding the classrooms themselves. Knowing that the windows in the classrooms would need to be small in order to reduce thermal gain, they looked for another way for students to connect with one another and decided upon a central courtyard. "That was part of the brief as well, to enable the students to mix," said Smith. "It's the only building on the campus of 33,000 where they all come together. Art students might have class next to math or engineering students; the hope is that they'll meet up and inspire each other, or develop a business plan together."
  • Facade Manufacturer LWC Alliance Pte. Ltd.
  • Architects Heatherwick Studio
  • Facade Installer LWC
  • Location Singapore
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System textured concrete curtain wall with zig-zag glazing, bronze-mesh balconies and staircases
  • Products custom LWC concrete panels, glazing, bronze mesh, hydroponic plants
Singapore's stringent environmental standards necessitated the use of concrete on the building's facade as well as its structure. "That scared us a little," recalled Smith. "In northern Europe we see a lot of Brutalist buildings, and that's not the direction we wanted to go in. We started looking at how we could use the material in a different way." With local concrete contractor LWC, the architects played with pigment, using different colors to signal structure and ornament. In terms of form, they sought a balance between uniqueness and standardization. Heatherwick Studio's 3D modeling specialists came up with a set of 10 curvatures that, distributed across a total of 1,050 facade panels, could be recombined to deliver a unique shape to each classroom—thus streamlining fabrication without introducing obvious repetition. To further camouflage the facade's standardized elements, and to avoid swerving into Brutalist territory, the architects introduced a texture of horizontal bands, spaced, per local code requirements, to be pigeon-proof. In the end, explained Smith, "the panels are all unique because of the system we developed to treat the facade pattern." The system involved applying stripes of glue-like retardant onto the formwork, pouring the concrete, allowing it to set 24 hours, then hosing it down to remove the still-wet material. "We didn't add anything to the facade; we subtracted it," said Smith. To minimize solar gain, Heatherwick Studio introduced narrow bands of glazing around the perimeter of each classroom. Having rejected curved glass as too costly, but wishing to avoid a faceted appearance, the architects arranged the flat panes in a zig-zag pattern. A slight floor-by-floor cantilever further cuts the heat, turning each story into a natural sunshade for those below it. Meanwhile, induction units positioned under the windows passively ventilate the classrooms. Rounded bronze-mesh balconies situated between each classroom wing draw air into and through the courtyard, producing a cross breeze no matter the direction of the wind. The final pin in the Learning Hub's sustainability cap (the building achieved the highest sustainability rating awarded by the government of Singapore) is the hydroponic greenery distributed across the balconies and rooftop garden. For Smith, the ongoing collaboration with concrete fabricator LWC was a crucial element of the Learning Hub's success. The contractor's ingenuity and willingness to work with the architects provided the level of distinction required by the NTU brief. "We spent a lot of time with the consultants working on colors and texture," said Smith. "The concrete has a handmade feel; we're very happy with that. In Europe you pick your facade from a catalogue, but in this situation we were able to design it from scratch."