Meet the incubators and accelerators producing the new guard of design and architecture start-ups. This is part of a series profiling incubators and accelerators from our April 2018 Technology issue. Trimble-owned Gehry Technologies (GT) launched a three-month design-and-technology-focused accelerator program called ZeroSixty that is geared toward helping a new generation of innovators revolutionize project delivery across the AEC industry. The accelerator program will help start-ups based out of its Marina del Rey, California, offices to “build and scale” their services by connecting new entrepreneurs with “people, networks, and technologies,” according to the company. The effort is aimed at turning back the increasingly common trend among mega-projects of being over budget and behind schedule. ZeroSixty comes three years after software developer Trimble purchased GT in an effort to integrate and disseminate innovations in technology-driven project delivery across its various platforms. GT was originally founded in 2002 by Frank Gehry and his team at Gehry Partners to adapt techniques from the aerospace and automotive industries and apply them to the firm’s most complex building projects. In the years since, the group has worked on a variety of challenging projects across the world for various high-profile architects, including the Beijing National Stadium with Herzog & de Meuron and the Louvre Abu Dhabi with the Ateliers Jean Nouvel. ZeroSixty was founded by German Aparicio and Lucas Reames, both GT veterans, earlier this year and is currently accepting applications for its first cohort of companies. “The idea is to help entrepreneurs scale their products and services by leveraging our past experiences, field expertise, and client base while continuously seeking to innovate,” Aparicio said. The GT team has always been at the forefront of this niche within the AEC industry, including back in the early 2000s when, working on the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, they were among the first to utilize virtual reality visualizations for on-site construction. Now, Trimble and ZeroSixty seek to build upon this legacy by focusing on new AEC-related applications for emerging technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and data analytics. “These technologies offer the opportunity to provide greater insights using a data-driven approach to project delivery and increase the quality and efficiencies of our industry,” Aparicio explained. With ZeroSixty and its no-equity support for emerging practices, Trimble has its eyes firmly set on building the future. Aparicio added, “These technologies promise to create services on the web that can be used on demand to automate everyday tasks so designers, project managers, contractors, and facility operators can focus on the more interesting or important part of their everyday lives.”
Posts tagged with "Herzog & de Meuron":
Buildings have been reliable photography subjects since the medium’s invention, and a new exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, tracks how architectural photography sells a narrative as much as the buildings themselves. Through careful selection by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture examines how architectural photography inherently creates subjective experiences. From now until June 17, 2018, patrons can view 57 images by 17 renowned and lesser-known photographers who shaped a language of architectural photography that’s survived well into the age of Instagram. Organized thematically intro three sections, Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, Image Building places historical photographs alongside contemporary images to track an evolution in style, technique, and places themselves. Modernism has proven an especially rich vein for these comparisons. Image Building places Julius Shulman’s carefully staged Case Study House photos against images of quotidian features from cookie-cutter, low-income housing. Each series is trying to sell something, whether it be an idealized life of post-war leisure, or commentary on the alienation that mass-produced housing induces. This dichotomy is on display throughout the exhibition, and hammers home the heightened artificiality of architectural photography. Buildings are three-dimensional structures and flattening them hands the narrative over to the photographer. For instance, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s fragile, out-of-focus takes on famously photographed architectural landmarks are a commentary on their now-lessened status in the world, having been sidelined and (literally) overshadowed in the years since their construction. But this series serves another purpose, as it highlights how vital the technical aspects–light, depth of field, the use of color–are to each photograph's meaning. Take Iwan Baan’s delirious photos of Torre de David in Caracas, Venezuela. Devoid of people, but featuring the scattered items they’ve left behind, Baan captures the chaotic energy present in the half-finished Torre de David skyscraper, now overrun with squatters, from the perspective of its inhabitants. Looking at The City and the Storm, Baan’s aerial photo of a Manhattan plunged into darkness following Hurricane Sandy, Baan singles out what he calls the “electricity haves and have-nots,” as viewers are drawn to the centers of finance that serve as islands of light in a darkened city. The Parrish Art Museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and shaped like an extruded “M,” built from simple materials and completed in 2012, played an important part in the foundation of Image Building. As Lichtenstein told AN, the Parrish itself was partly the inspiration for the show. The way it was sited, the photographs that Baan took of the building, and the long, uninterrupted views down the museum’s “wings” all stoked questions of how photography proliferates the ideas behind the buildings themselves. As it becomes easier and easier to proliferate images of buildings, looking back to the history of the form may provide an important tool for the professional and amateur architectural photographer alike. On Saturday, April 14 2018 at 5:00 PM, the Parrish Museum will host a dialogue between The Architect's Newspaper's Editor in Chief William Menking and photographer Iwan Baan on the use of photography to instill buildings with feeling and meaning. More information on the talk can be found here.
Prada has thrown its 2018 fall menswear collection back to the 90’s, with a fashion show in Milan that put utilitarian black nylon front and center. Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, and German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic were all invited to interpret the material through an industrial lens to create a unique item for the collection. Fashion designer Miuccia Prada’s rise to fame was built on black nylon in 1984; in weaving nylon, typically used for packaging at the time and not clothing, into the landmark luxury “Vela” bag, Prada transformed the luxury brand into a contemporary clothing company. The same waterproof “Pocone” nylon used in the original Vela bag was on full display yesterday at Prada’s preview of its Autumn Winter 2018 menswear collection in Milan. Instead of flash or color, the focus was on form and usage, and the menswear fashion week show was appropriately staged in an industrial warehouse with a Prada twist. The storage facility in Viale Ortles, Milan, was plastered with throwbacks to Prada’s past and lit with blues, reds and purples by AMO, the research and branding studio of OMA. This isn’t the first time AMO has worked with Prada, as they also designed Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer venue. OMA founding principal Rem Koolhaas contributed a backwards backpack to the show, designing a black nylon pack meant to be worn on the front of the body. The boxy container is meant to be first and foremost accessible, as Koolhaas notes that the convenience of a backpack is negated by having to take it off to access. “The shape of the backpack has the convenience of flexibility, the location–the back–the huge inconvenience that it is fundamentally inaccessible to the wearer,” Koolhaas told Prada. In the same way the Vela bag advanced the backpack through material, Koolhaas’s pack was meant to be the next step forward in the bag’s shape. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron chose to focus on the clothing side, designing a shirt patterned with what looks like statements in English, but reveals itself to be gibberish upon closer examination. Calling language useless, Herzog & de Meuron reduced words to nothing more than ornamentation as a commentary on the way untrue information has saturated our daily lives. “It has lost its seductive power. There is nothing new, nothing critical, nothing true in language that cannot be turned into its opposite and claimed to be equally true. Language has become an empty vehicle of information,” reads Herzog & de Meuron’s statement to Prada. OMA and Koolhaas have had a longstanding partnership with Prada, collaborating on everything from a 120,000-square-foot arts complex in Milan, to the Prada “Epicenter” in New York. All of Prada’s 2018 Autumn/Winter menswear collection can be found here.
Paris is not known for skyscrapers. Its largest, the plodding, 690-foot Tour Montparnasse, is also acknowledged as the ugliest building in the metropolis. (Buildings in Paris itself were banned from rising above seven stories two years after Montparnasse was constructed.) And its largest concentration of towers, the La Defense district just west of the city limits, has not produced a critical mass of towers since it was created decades ago. But if plans hold, this is about to change significantly, as French officials and business owners have announced plans to overhaul both Montparnasse and La Defense, while the city's largest tower since Montparnasse, Herzog & De Meuron’s Tour Triangle, continues to move ahead. The owners of Tour Montparnasse, Ensemble Immobilier Tour Maine-Montparnasse, last month commissioned French consortium Nouvelle AOM to reclad and renovate the Tour Montparnasse as part of a $350 million modernization. The firm defeated an illustrious shortlist of international competitors that included Studio Gang (the runner up), OMA, MAD and Dominique Perrault Architecture. Nouvelle AOM consists of French architects Franklin Azzi, Fréderic Chartier, Pascale Dalix, Mathurin Hardel and Cyrille Le Bihan. Their plan will not only reskin the muted tower in a crystalline shell of multi-directional glass panels, but it will incorporate gardens into its façade and interior, highlighted by a mammoth sky garden on top. It will also modernize its interior and improve the surrounding plazas and landscapes, knitting the aloof tower back into the city fabric. Meanwhile last winter French President Emmanuel Macron (then still a candidate for President), shared Defacto La Defense's (the group that manages the area) plans to build seven new skyscrapers in the La Defense district by famed architects incuding Jean Nouvel, Arquitectonica, Foster + Partners, Christian de Portzamparc and others by 2022. The goal—touted by a marketing campaign called “Tired of the Fog, Try the Frogs!”— was to reposition the area as a business alternative to London, where Brexit has cast a confusing pall over international corporations. The towers, if built, would be called Trinity, Alto, M2, Hekla, Sisters, Air 2 and Hermitage Plaza. Marie-Célie Guillaume, chief executive of Defacto La Defense, last winter told FT that they wanted to send a “powerful message to businesses that are uncertain about their future.” It remains to be seen whether all of these projects will indeed move ahead, although, for one, Foster's web site still lists Hermitage as a go. Finally, Herzog & De Meuron’s Tour Triangle, a 591-foot-tall tower that will be the first within the city limits since Montparnasse (that law banning tall buildings in Paris was overturned a few years ago), continues to move ahead since its approval back in 2015. Located on the site of the Parc des Expositions in the 15th Arrondissement, the crystalline building’s pyramidal form is meant, say the architects, to open up a massive internal atrium, reduce shadows on adjacent buildings, and to create an increased setback from the nearby peripheral boulevard. Herzog & De Meuron’s web site lists completion at 2020. Most agree that the Tour Montparnasse is in need of a facelift. As for the remaining towers, Parisians are unsurprisingly split. Many have hailed the influx of offices, residential space and modernity into what is a frustratingly-frozen city. But opponents fear the beloved character that makes Paris Paris is destined to be lost. "Unless someone stops them now, international starchitects and their developer and corporate patrons will succeed in vandalizing the horizon of Paris," exclaimed preservation group SOS Paris after the announcement of the Tour Triangle. On verra.
This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. Today’s Building of the Day tour gave participants an exclusive look at 56 Leonard Street, designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed the building's interiors. The tour was led by Mehmet Noyan, Associate at Herzog & de Meuron and Project Manager of 56 Leonard, which was developed by Alexico Group. Participants viewed a four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom penthouse and the amenity floors for the building. The tour began outside the building, with a discussion of its unusual structure. 56 Leonard Street was designed “from the inside out,” according to the designers. Each unit is meant to be personal and individualized, unlike most high-rise apartment structures. The structure is intended more as a “vertical neighborhood” than an apartment complex. The balconies, which jut out at staggered intervals, were intentionally designed to not block sunlight for those below. This design also adds increased privacy for residents, since direct views to other units are limited. The top units of the building take this aesthetic to the extreme, with large terraces that cantilever out at greater distances. It is these cantilevered upper units that give the building its Jenga-like appearance. The penthouse apartment that Archtober participants toured has been recently purchased for an undisclosed amount. The apartment is currently empty, which only served to emphasize the design features and, most importantly, the amazing views. The unit spans the entire floor, with views in every direction, but the wrap-around terrace outside the kitchen and living room was by far the most stunning. The views span the entire eastern side, with views into Brooklyn as well as up into midtown and down to the financial district. The unit featured 14-foot, ceiling-to-floor windows, solid white oak floors, a black kitchen island, and white and neutral colors in the bathrooms. Noticeably, the surfaces in the apartment, including those in the bathroom and kitchen, were all done in a matte finish, which worked well–the amount of light in the apartment would have made reflective surfaces an unattractive option. The two amenities floors contain a gym, pool, lounge, sundeck, spa, theater, and children’s room; both floors also have terraces. Perhaps most impressive on these floors was the giant spiral staircase of poured concrete connecting the two levels. The stairwell matched the concrete core of the building, but because of the windows and carpeting, the amount of poured material does not overwhelm the space. Join us tomorrow at the Staten Island Courthouse, St. George. Author: Mary Lib Schmidt
Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron has revealed renderings for a new 447-acre mountaintop campus for the Berggruen Institute, a policy-focused consortium of think tanks funded by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen. The complex—made up of a collection of subdued structures that occupy only roughly 10% of the overall site—is being planned to include a private residence for Berggruen’s family, 15 scholars’ residences, and a series of gardens strung along a publically-accessible linear park. The campus is anchored on its southern end by a low-slung research center with views towards Downtown Los Angeles. The campus will be located on a mountaintop that was formerly used as a landfill; the project site consists of a portion of the mountainside that was scraped and flattened in the 1980s in order to cap the landfill. That previously-disturbed 32-acre section of land will contain the development in its entirety, with the remaining 415-acres of the property persisting in a more-or-less natural state. The linear site is organized with the private residence at its north end, the scholars’ residences at the center, and the linear park and research center at its southern tip. The research center—dubbed “the Institute Frame” by the architects—consists of a rectangular structure containing a large courtyard at its center. The building is lifted 12 feet off the ground and contains a variety of indoor-outdoor connections along the elevated sections. The Frame’s courtyard will contain natural landscaping, a spherical 250-seat lecture hall, and a large reflecting pool, among other components. The frame structure will also house visiting scholars in a collection of apartments, with plans calling for 26 scholars-in-residence units and 14 visiting scholar units. The Frame Institute will also contain meeting rooms, study spaces, offices, artists’ studios, media spaces and dining and reception areas, according to the release. Regarding the pared-down architectural approach, Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron told the Los Angeles Times, “We want to use the spheres in the purest possible way, to make them almost immaterial. Not an expression of new technologies or a heroic engineering solution. They shouldn’t show any sign of effort or structural expression. We were just interested in this idea of the purity of the form—in its innocence, so to speak.” In a press release announcing the project, Nicolas Berggruen stated, “By building our campus here on the Pacific coast, we hope to advance the position of Los Angeles as a world center for ideas, linking the East to the West. By commissioning this visionary design from Herzog & de Meuron, we demonstrate our intention to make an important contribution to the architecture of Los Angeles and the world.” Gensler will work as the executive architect on the project, with landscape design to be performed by Michel Desvigne Paysagiste and Inessa Hansch Architecte. Although the project has already begun initial planning review, a timeline for the project has not been released.
Today, New York’s Park Avenue Armory unveiled an interactive exhibition by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei entitled, Hansel & Gretel. Emulating modern day surveillance, drones swirl overhead while infrared cameras document the viewers’ every move, screening the footage along the floor. Visitors in the installation are both watching and being watched, leaving digital “breadcrumbs” behind to be gathered and stored—hence the fairytale name. The effect is disturbing, thought provoking, and surprisingly fun as visitors posed themselves to create works of photographic art on the floor and took selfies (it is unclear if that was the designers’ original intentions). Visitors enter the Park Avenue Armory’s 49th Drill Hall through the Lexington Avenue side door rather than through the main doors. According to Herzog & de Meuron, this helped distance the Armory’s ornate architecture from the very modern display inside. “We wanted people to enter the space as you would a park, and we envisioned an entrance like a mouse hole, so we originally wanted to make a hole through the brick walls, but that was…complicated,” said Jacques Herzog at the opening. “The second best option was to use the existing two doors on Lexington Avenue and create a tunnel leading to the hall.” From the tunnel, a five-foot embankment leads up into the space, which hums with the sound of drones and visitors. Taking advantage of the area's scale, the room is dark and amplified with red laser lights. Upon exiting, the viewers can see the footage of the room being displayed in the Head House, realizing the extent of the “surveillance” at hand. In the hall, iPads allow visitors to use facial recognition software to find additional images of themselves and provide educational materials on drones and surveillance technology. Weiwei, who has been under surveillance in China, explained, “I think everyone is under surveillance to varying degrees. Human nature is searching for truths by any means necessary.” Hansel & Gretel is on view at the Park Avenue Armory through August 6.
What's it like to live on a 700-foot-high cantilever that looks out over Manhattan? Herzog and de Meuron's Tribeca tower, 56 Leonard, does just that and images of its luxurious interiors have been revealed. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, both from Switzerland, saw their structure realized in 2015 and the residential high-rise has quickly become an icon in the city due to the myriad of rectangular volumes that cantilever up into the sky. The 60-story, 145 unit building offers a plethora of amenities which can all be found on the ninth and tenth floors. Two levels comprise mostly concrete inside and cover 17,000 square feet, including a swimming pool and an elegant spiral staircase made of concrete of which is shown off in a double-height space. In a similar fashion and making use of the same material, cylindrical columns bridge more double-height spaces, drawing your attention to looped LEDs that hang from the ceiling, also made from concrete. In the swimming pool room, meanwhile, metal tiles make are used, surrounding a 75-foot-long pool and shimmering as they reflect the water. They cover the columns and ceiling, for which we already know the hidden material. Outside, beyond floor-to-ceiling fenestration is a terrace that comes complete with a hot tub. Additional leisure amenities can be found in the form a yoga studio, fitness center, and sauna that uses more reflective tiling on columns and timber strips for seating that wraps around corners. Leather, meanwhile, is the material of choice for seating in a theater donning an all-black aesthetic and using a metal lattice for the ceiling. Light is let in through another floor-to-ceiling curtain wall that spans the double-height space, facilitating views out onto a terrace and over the street. Furthermore, residents have access to a private dining salon, catering kitchen, conference center and a children’s play area. To check out more luxury living that was unveiled this week, take a look at Zaha Hadid's 520 West 28th Street in Chelsea.
Fancy a rooftop retreat in South Beach? Herzog & de Meuron's got you covered. The Swiss architects, in collaboration with developer Robert Wennett, have designed two spacious homes right near Lincoln Road in Miami Beach's South Beach neighborhood. Each three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home features 1,550 square feet of outdoor space anchored by a Raymond Jungles–designed "courtyard oasis"—fancy-speak for a lush backyard area. The development's parking garage opened in 2010, but this is the first time developers have released renderings of the homes, called 1111 Lincoln Residences. The clean-lined abodes are expected to open this fall. The 2,000-square-foot homes, predictably, cost a pretty penny. For those with the cash, each $3.8 million residence affords access to an events space, over 100,000 square feet of rentable offices, and Herzog & de Meuron's house-of-cards parking garage, a structure that stands out even in a city with a number of awfully good parking structures.
Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron are a dab hand when it comes to converting power stations, especially the brick kind. Slathered in graffiti, the "Batcave" in Brooklyn began life as a rapid transit power plant in 1904. Come the 1950s however, the Thomas E. Murray–designed station had been decommissioned and in the decades that followed morphed into a punk squat and venue for New York's edgiest parties. Now the 113-year-old building will be reincarnated once again, this time as a manufacturing center for the arts, courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron. The "Batcave" will be a place for metal, wood, ceramic, textile and print production. Emulating their hugely successful approach to the former Bankside Power Station in London (now the Tate Modern), the focal point of Herzog & de Meuron's renovation revolves around the existing Turbine Hall. Here, space will be configured to create workshops. In addition to this, the Boiler House which was once demolished will be rebuilt. "By preserving, restoring and reconstructing essential elements of the original Power Station—some still intact and some long-ago demolished—this design strengthens its relationship to the immediate urban context,” said Ascan Mergenthaler, senior partner at Herzog & de Meuron in a press release. “The aim is to demonstrate sensitivity to the program by integrating existing layers seamlessly into a functional, modern manufacturing facility.” Residing on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, the "Batcave" got its name at the turn of the century when it became a hotspot for young urban explorers and artists who enamored its walls. Graffiti expert Henry Chalfant was invited to the Batcave to see if there was any wall art of historical significance. "If this place is renovated, it would be great if these interior walls were kept as they were and not made pristine again," he told the New York Times. Construction is due to begin this year and be completed by 2020. The facility will be run by the Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation. The foundation picked up the site in 2012 for $7 million and began environmental remediation under the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program.
Those holding their breath in anticipation of seeing Herzog & de Meuron’s 6AM project—developed by Irvine, California–based developer SunCal and located in Los Angeles’s booming Arts District neighborhood—anytime soon are in for a long wait. Why? Because according to a preliminary report filed with the Los Angeles City Planning Department (LACPD), the $2 billion development is not expected to be completed until 2035. As reported by Urbanize.LA, the multi-phase project (the firm’s first in Los Angeles) is due to ultimately contain, among other components, a pair of articulated, 58-story housing towers. The project’s initial environmental report indicates that 6AM will function like a small-scale city, complete with a large grocery store, arts spaces, offices, a school, and other diversely-programed amenities, all developed, according to the document, in “a range of building types and heights that are based on the existing building typologies” and crafted from “rough, ‘authentic’ and typical industrial construction materials.” The 2,824,245-square foot complex will ultimately contain a total of 1,305 apartments, 412 hotel rooms, 431 condominium units, 253,514-square-feet of office space, an approximately 29,316-square-foot school, approximately 127,609 square feet of community-serving retail, and 22,429 square feet of art space. The project will be organized as a porous, mid-rise, mixed-use district on the ground floor, with the arts programs, school, commercial areas, offices and live/work lofts organized in a set of gridded blocks topped by a 40-foot-tall concrete platform. The four-story-tall platform—articulated in renderings that accompany the report by square-shaped, exposed concrete piers—will act as a tabletop for a second layer of program to be located directly above, mainly apartments. Generally speaking, those apartments are to be organized along five of the six linear bands that run from north to south along the short dimension of the 15-acre site. The band closest to the Alameda Street-fronting towers will contain office spaces throughout. The apartment blocks will contain a mix of unit sizes, with a section along Mill Street dedicated to hotel uses. The apartments, like the two towers at the opposite end of the site along Alameda, will look down on the ground floor areas via a series of openings designed into the concrete tabletop structure. Those towers, made up of a bundled set or square floor plates arranged at staggered heights, will rise along Alameda Street beside a potential light rail line to be built to Artesia in southeast Los Angeles. The lowest section of the northern tower is also being designed to contain a hotel.
- Building 1, located at the corner of 6th and Mill Street will contain a 152-room hotel and 22,429 square feet of arts programming. The 118-foot-tall structure will contain a hotel-focused “amenity deck” along the eighth floor. This building will also contain an undisclosed number of apartment units.
- Building 2, also 118 feet tall, will contain 245 condominiums atop the platform and approximately 41,852 square feet of retail along the lower levels. It is anticipated that this block will contain the site’s aforementioned grocery store in the lower shopping area, as well as restaurants and live/work units. This block will contain residential amenities at the fourth level and along the rooftop.
- Building 3 would rise to 110 feet in height and contain 532 apartments above the table top, with 62,966 square feet of retail functions underneath, including potentially, a food market hall, restaurants. The tabletop area is due to contain outdoor amenities, including a swimming pool. The under-table areas are also being designed to contain apartments and up to 21 live/work units.
- Building 4 will house 251 apartments, 17 live/work units and a 29,316-square-foot school. The planning document indicates the school program may exist in any number of configurations, including as a private or hybrid private/public school and will serve up to 300 K-12 students.
- Building 5 will rise to 126 feet in height and will contain 253,514-square feet of office uses.
- Building 6 would rise 58 stories to a maximum height of 732 feet and would include 186 condominiums, 260 hotel rooms and 7,020 square feet of retail that will share the below-table areas with residential and hotel lobby areas.
- Building 7 will rise to 710 feet in height and will include 522 apartment units and 7,228 square feet of commercial areas.
German architect Wilfried Wang critiques Herzog & de Meuron’s Museum of the 20th Century extension in Berlin
Herzog & de Meuron's winning proposal for the Museum of the 20th Century extension in Berlin has been called into question by German architect Wilfried Wang, the co-founder of Berlin-based Hoidn Wang Partner and (since 2002) the O’Neil Ford Centennial Professor at UT Austin's School of Architecture. Wang believes the Swiss firm’s design is severely lacking in both architectural and urbanist respects. Speaking in The Competition Project (whose editor translated Wang's commentary, which first appeared in the German journal Bauwelt last year), Wang first discusses the project's relationship with its immediate surroundings: Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie (completed in 1968) and the Hans Scharoun’s Berlin Philharmonic concert hall (completed in 1963).
By extending the form of this introverted structure to cover the entire competition site, little or no value is added to the immediate environs. To the contrary, that and the immense surfaces of the facades, right up to the edge of the pedestrian walkways, only serve to diminish the importance of the surrounding buildings. All the trees to the south of the site will disappear, and 90% of the outer walls of the building, regardless of the suggested use of porous brick detailing, are completely closed off.Next in the firing line was the proposal's program:
The corridors stacked over one another, labeled “Boulevards” by the architects, are connected in the quadrants by smaller corridors and stairs. The metaphor, “Boulevard,” is as misleading as was Le Corbusier’s “rue intérieur.” Boulevards are accessible 24 hours a day as open public spaces. In the evenings these corridors will be closed to the public. Rectangular exhibit areas are placed on three levels—not easily accessible to the visitor as a result of the labyrinth-like circulation plan.Wang wasn't too pleased with much of the competition's submissions either. Few, he argued, failed to mediate space between the two already existing icons that inhabit the vicinity. New York studios SO-IL, Snøhetta, and REX were in the running for the $218.8 million project, along with British firms Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects.
The most extreme anti-urbanistic example honored by the jury with a merit award was OMA’s pyramid-like scheme, completely blocking any relationship between Mies and Sharoun by inserting their own icon in between the two.By contrast, the shortlisted designs that entered the fray during the first open competition, Wang argues, were "more modern, sensitive, and led one to assume that a different solution would be in store." These notions did filter into the competition's final stage, said Wang, with SANAA and Sou Fujimoto's (both from Japan) less disruptive proposed interventions. Note: For his Master’s degree in 1981, Wang researched six cultural centers including London’s South Bank Centre, Paris’s Centre Beaubourg and Berlin’s Kulturforum. In 1992 he published a monograph on the work of Herzog & de Meuron.