In 1844 the Scottish city of Dundee eagerly anticipated its first royal visit in almost two centuries. Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert’s stay was a resounding success and to mark the occasion, the city erected the “Royal Arch” in 1853. It was an instant icon. A monumental structure, it towered over the nearby docks and could be seen all around the city, and indeed the world as Dundee capitalized on its marketing potential. In 1964, however, the Royal Arch was shamefully demolished so the Tay Road Bridge could be built as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. Fast forward 54 years and Victoria and Albert have returned, albeit in the form of a museum, and with it, Dundee once again has an icon worthy of global attraction. The V&A Museum of Design, colloquially known as the “V&A Dundee” has been designed by Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. Bizarrely, yet also somewhat endearingly, train station departure and arrival boards display the architect and his nationality. The city is undeniably proud of its revived, post-Victorian internationalism. “I was inspired by Japanese temple archways,” Kuma told The Architect’s Newspaper. “The archways connect the mountain and nature to the city.” Composed as two inverted pyramids, the V&A Dundee forms an archway of sorts of its own, framing a view on the River Tay and the Tay Road Bridge that spans it. Kuma was also keen to keep the museum decidedly Scottish. It’s ragged, craggy facade is inspired by Scotland’s cliff-edged coastline and comprises 2,429 pre-cast concrete slabs. These lean over the River Tay, mimicking the prow of a ship. One segment of the museum does, in fact, edge out into the river, while porthole-like windows looking over the Tay create the impression of being on a ship when inside. On the Tay’s banks, even at the end of summer, the wind is ferocious. The shallow pools that circle the V&A’s base produce miniature waves, enhancing the sensation of being, as Kuma calls it, “in conversation with nature.” Externally the V&A Dundee is an impressive structure. Walking around the building, it’s staggered facade undulates and unwinds, revealing views onto the building and the River Tay beyond. As a result, the museum has become an instant photo opportunity, with the public (myself included) capturing its curvature to send straight to their Instagram feeds. (The hashtag #V&ADundee already has more than 2,000 posts). This is a digital building for the digital age. “Twenty years ago, we could not have built this building,” said Kuma. “It’s curves and structure are too complex.” Such a distinctive form has its pros and cons inside. The structure works in tension, with a steel truss spanning roof to link up with the outward leaning facades. As a result, the new museum has the largest column-free exhibition space in Scotland, allowing it to host exhibitions that were previously only available to Scots and Dundonians willing to either fly or take a six-hour train to London. Gallery spaces are located on the museum’s upper level. The fittingly nautical Ocean Liners exhibition, sailing up from the V&A in London, inaugurates the museum. The Scottish Design Galleries, meanwhile, host permanent exhibitions, showcasing Scotland’s design prowess. Of the 300 objects on display, one has American roots: a model and sketches of Frank Gehry’s Dundee Maggie’s Centre. The most notable exhibit is Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s “Oak Room” which was designed for the Ingram Street Tearooms in Glasgow. The beautifully crafted ensemble from one of Kuma’s “heroes” has been restored and rightfully put on display, marking its first outing in half a century. Alongside the two galleries on the upper level are studios and an auditorium. These are joined by an open gallery, free to the public and restaurant, both of which look down into a lobby below via a mezzanine with the latter also offering views along the River Tay. It’s here, though, that the museum’s shape causes problems. An outdoor terrace for the restaurant feels like an afterthought. Up here it’s even windier than at ground level and the tight space is encased by the concrete cladding system meaning there isn’t even a view worth braving the elements for. A similar story continues downstairs in the lobby, too. Oak veneered panels emulate the external facade and as a result are too steep to be sat on and truly useful. An auditorium may already be upstairs, but these panels could easily become bleachers, creating an informal auditorium in the process. This would even dovetail with Kuma’s notion of the museum’s lobby supposedly being a “living room for the city.” “This is not a space just for art lovers,” the architect said, but in reality, the lobby is just a cafe area and museum shop. The V&A Dundee has come at a price: $105 million, twice the initial budget. It’s also four years late. Dundonian’s, however, don’t seem to mind. “I’m just pleased that that kind of money is being spent of Dundee!” said one local, though on it’s opening day, a small protest by anti-poverty campaigners did take place. For all the efforts gone into making the museum happen, considerably less has gone into improving the surrounding area. An awful train station-hotel greets those visiting by rail and another, equally drab hotel is currently going up opposite the V&A. This is all part of a $1.3-billion waterfront masterplan which rehashes the work of planners 60 years ago. It’s just as well Kuma’s museum makes all that comes before instantly forgettable. The V&A Dundee is the icon Dundee has craved, turning the city into a genuine Scottish destination. https://vimeo.com/284710327
Posts tagged with "Kengo Kuma":
A new home for Rolex within Dallas’s Harwood District will mark the first project completed by Kengo Kuma in the southern United States. For Gabriel Barbier Mueller, founder of Harwood International and one of the largest private collectors of Japanese armor and artifacts, the project is a coming together of values for a group at the forefront of rethinking Dallas's Uptown area 30 years prior. The existing Rolex Tower neighboring the site was the first in redeveloping a neighborhood whose transformation was accelerated further with the development of the Dallas Arts District and nearby Klyde Warren Park. Kuma’s office and Harwood’s internal group, Harwood Design Factory, collaborated closely from inception through construction. Kuma creates a simplicity in form from the site, a high point within the Harwood District near the location where street grids in Dallas shift. In a nod to the Japanese castle metaphor of reaching toward the sky, Kuma and landscape architect Sadafumi Uchiyama turned to the 15th-generation stonemason Suminori Awata to construct a plinth upon which the seven-story volume would sit prominently among its nondescript neighbors. Awata implemented traditional techniques to design and construct a wall without the help of technical drawings. “Since there are no plans drawn for walls,” Awata explained, “I go to a quarry where I spend a day or two to walk around, memorizing the characteristics of each stone and figuring out where each stone will be set.” The stone wall is a highlight that is in harmony with the building and commands its own measure of respect through clear delineation and craft. The building is a twisting abstraction of Japanese architectural tradition on a reflective glass backdrop. The form is clear, and the structure carries the intention of the form upward from the stone plinth toward the sky. The details, however, appear challenging, as there are multiple points where the fins fail to negotiate the form cleanly. Reflections during the day obscure an interior volume that at night reveals spaces that leave something to be desired, primarily consisting of lab spaces that have been finished for function rather than aesthetics. The interior comes into one with the exterior form at the lobby level where the texture of the exterior is scaled down into more detailed wood fins, stone, and glass. The landscape is ever present, with views looking out toward reflecting pools and native plantings. Uchiyama’s gardens pair with labs on alternating floors where the form torques, providing green space in line with the Harwood District’s commitment to the fifth facade as a design element. The penthouse is capped with a double-height gathering space for employees behind the continuous screen of the facade. Finishes carry over from the base of the building, and a series of furnishings custom-designed by Kuma specifically for the project accentuate the space. In many ways the Rolex Building is the anti-Dallas because of its modest size and contextual design. As architecture, the composition is clear and to the point, commanding one to discover details and intricacies. Not all of these discoveries are deeply satisfying, but they still manage to provoke thoughts and conversations often absent from similar projects in the region. But on the whole, the Rolex Building is a welcome addition to Dallas that is worthy of a visit, and an example that developers should internalize.
Situated on a narrow Lower East Side lot between Delancey and Rivington Streets, ODA’s just-completed 100 Norfolk is designed to maximize square footage, starting with a tightly-constricted base, and widening as it rises; taking advantage of its neighboring buildings’ air rights. This reverse-ziggurat strategy is a time-honored one, particularly in tightly-packed cities like New York. Some, like ODA’s, max out tight spots, others create unique programs, or are simply meant to impress by defying gravity. Here are some of our favorites, both realized and not: OMA 23 E 22nd Street A luxury condo set on a tight site down the street from the Flatiron Building, OMA’s 23 E 22nd Street was set to widen over the neighboring building, still leaving room for light and views above and beneath. KPF 40 E 22nd Street For its glassy residential tower just down the street from OMA’s site, KPF used almost the exact same strategy — albeit less dramatically. It’s 40 E 22nd Street, aka Madison Square Park Tower, may have “borrowed” OMA’s idea, but it also actually got built. Adjaye Associates, Bond/SmithGroup National Museum of African American History and Culture David Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture uses this strategy to help tell a story: in this case African Americans’ passage from slavery into freedom. The museum starts underground, and—thank to bronze-colored walls hanging from massive girders—opens up as visitors progress upward. Kengo Kuma, V&A Dundee drone footage of kengo kuma's V&A museum of design, dundee from designboom on Vimeo. Sometimes inversion works effectively simply for its wow factor. Kuma’s three story building for the V&A in Dundee, Scotland is made up of 21 wall sections, composed of 2,500 pre-cast rough stone panels—none of them straight—creating the appearance of a Scottish cliff face. Harvard Jolly, W Architecture, St. Petersburg Pier (courtesy Harvard Jolly) Located at the end of the St. Petersburg Pier, Harvard Jolly's steel-framed inverted ziggurat (top) served as a festival marketplace from 1973 until 2013. Michael Maltzan was first slated to replace the design, but that plan fell through. Now the project is being led by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, who seem to be creating yet another inverted structure (bottom), lifted high off the water. Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles, Boston City Hall Another example of the symbolic use of the inverted ziggurat is Boston City Hall, a structure whose glassy base is designed to welcome local residents (whether it does that or not is very debatable,) while offices above shade this space and through their extension announce the importance of the public officials inside. Konstantin Melnikov, Rusakov Workers Club Constructivist master Konstantin Melnikov created ever-changing, ingeniously adaptable buildings, including this communist workers club in Moscow, whose upper balconies protrude noticeably from its façade, allowing them to be closed off (via moving partitions) as independent spaces for art, athletics, and so on, or moved into place as theater seating.
Ace Hotels, the boutique chain known for its eight design-forward locations across the United States and the United Kingdom, is expanding its global reach with a Kyoto location designed with architect Kengo Kuma. The hotel is intended to become a new cultural hub in the city and connect with Kyoto’s environment as part of a general push towards urban redevelopment. Ace Kyoto will be taking over Tetsuro Yoshida’s 1920 Kyoto Central Telephone Office building, and the Kuma redesign will nod to both the area’s industrial and imperial legacies. The building hotel will be centered around various gardens, some of which date to the Heian period (794 to 1185). This, for Kuma connects “communities, as well as the past and the present...to this venerable land.” Wooden grids will be added to the existing red brick structure, along with louvers and meshes that manage light and wind. In a unique warm hue derived from combining concrete with iron oxide, they will also provide a unique aesthetic accent. Various artists and craftspeople will be invited in to work with the hotel and, as Kuma puts it, “every detail and material was thought through to connect the building, land, and history together.” Ace Hotels is also no stranger to high design for their buildings, having worked with firms such as GREC Architects and Commune Design. They’ve also partnered with a number of art organizations and have an artist in residence program currently running in New York. The Kyoto hotel follows many Japan-focused projects from Ace including collaborations with artists, designers, and brands such as BEAMS, Porter, Isetan, Takahiro Miyashita of Number (N)ine, Kenzo Minami, and others. They’ve even developed a bike (for sale at bike stores in select cities) with tokyobike. The hotel is being built in partnership with NTT Urban Development Corporation. Kuma has also worked on a number of hotels in Europe and Asia, including the ongoing 10,000-square-meter hotel in Yunnan, China. Ace Hotel Kyoto is slated to open in Winter 2019.
Kengo Kuma and Associates and Natoma Architects have been added to the project team for the recently-revealed 1111 Sunset Boulevard development slated for the former Metropolitan Water District (MWD) headquarters on the edge of Downtown Los Angeles. The announcement of the expanded team—which also includes SOM and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)—came this week along with a fresh set of renderings for the 5.5-acre project. With the project, Los Angeles–based developer Palisades is looking to transform a derelict section of William Pereira’s MWD headquarters into a 778-unit mixed-use enclave containing retail, public open spaces, and a boutique hotel designed by Kuma. The development consists of three high-rise towers that sit atop a continuous and permeable podium spanning the sloped site. According to the renderings, the complex will contain a cluster of low-rise apartments at one corner surrounding underground parking for a pair of housing towers. As those apartments terrace up the hill, they will give way to a shared plaza at the base of the high-rise towers. Project renderings depict a pair of 30- to 40-story tall towers along this section of the site. Each of the towers rises from the podium on a gigantic pod containing a solid, monolithic core. Roughly five stories up, the tower’s typical floor plates begin to cantilever over the plaza, leaving an open viewshed several stories high from the plaza. The move is an attempt by the designers to minimize the heft of the project along its lower levels and an effort, as well, to preserve certain views for existing hillside residences located directly behind the development. The renderings also depict certain portions of the Pereira structure reused as ground floor amenity spaces. JCFO is developing the project’s more than two acres of landscaped areas. In terms of plantings, renderings depict clusters of palm trees, jacaranda trees along the street, and succulent-bordered lawn areas overlooking Downtown Los Angeles. The project will share the site with Linear City’s Elysian tower development, a portion of the existing Pereira-designed complex that David Lawrence Gray Architects repurposed in 2014. 111 Sunset is among several high-rise, high-density projects slated for the area. An official timeline for the project has not been released. See the project website for more information.
Danish studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been award the commission to design a subway station in Paris. Working with local firm Silvio d’Ascia Architecture, BIG has designed the Pont de Bondy station situated northwest of Paris. The station will one of 68 new stations which will form the Grand Paris Express—a new infrastructure project in the French capital which is due to add 124 miles of rail to the existing subway network. Clad in terra-cotta, the looped "P"-shape design bears an orthogonal frame in section and spans the Ourcq canal, providing a sheltered walkway for pedestrians. Inside the P's counter will be the station area itself, meanwhile the other main entranceway extends along the canal's banks. This will elegantly connect with the sidewalk while passing under the existing tram and road bridge. Keeping with the typographic theme, "PONT DE BONDY" appears to be emblazoned on the structure in BIG's distinctive typeface. The Pont de Body station will be a major part of the Grand Paris Express, being one of nine special "emblematic stations" throughout the new subway network. Conceived by the Société du Grand Paris (a public agency for industrial and commercial transport development), the scheme aims to reduce travel times, link business districts with each other and the center of Paris, as well as connect airports Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Le Bourget. BIG and Silvio d’Ascia Architecture's station will be part of Line 15, a ring route surrounding Paris, and be the main access point for the business hub that joins the Bondy, Bobigny, and Noisy-le-Sec districts. Other notable architects such as Kengo Kuma and Dominique Perrault are also part of the scheme, with both, like BIG, having won the commission to design a business district node. Kengo Kuma Associates has designed the Gare Saint-Denis Pleyel station located north of Paris and Dominique Perrault Architecture has designed the Gare Villejuif Institut Gustave-Roussy situated south of the capital. Both stations will be on the Line 15 ring route and connect to Pont de Bondy.
This summer, House Vision, curated by Muji creative director Kenya Hara, is showcasing a dwelling from Airbnb and Go Hasegawa (the Yoshino House), as well as a slew of Japanese architects including Sou Fujimoto, Atelier Bow-Wow, Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban. On display at the exhibition are twelve housing prototypes that respond to the theme of "CO-DIVIDUAL̶ Split and Connect/Separate and Come Together." Architects and design firms were tasked with addressing the idea of connectivity between individuals. In a press release, House Vision stated: "Japan faces significant issues with this topic, as a country struggling with economic stagnation, a decreasing population, an aging society, disasters striking one after another, and increasing friction in interpersonal communication." "That is precisely why Japan is the ideal place to examine the form of the house from many different perspectives, exploring specific survival strategies with the potential to show how we will live in the future," the statement continued. Talks are due to be held at the exhibition, which runs through to August 28 of this year, at the Rinkai Fukuroshin, Jarea, 21 A omi, Koto, Tokyo. Visitors to the exhibition can find the Yoshino House, a product of Airbnb’s newly announced design studio, Samara, who worked with Tokyo-based architect Go Hasegawa. Earlier this year, AN's senior editor Matt Shaw sat down with with Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia to discuss the house and the future of housing and community. Tickets for House Vision can be purchased here and as well as at the gate.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has designed a billowing geometric pavilion for the Phillipe Gravier Gallery at the biannual Design Miami/Basel 2016 design forum. Called Owan, Kuma's pavilion aims to establish a dialogue between architecture and the landscape by employing an undulating mesh-like structural shell. Owan's design also derives from the curvature often found in fish scales and traditional tea bowls from Kuma's homeland. The pavilion's shell can be altered, changing its relationship to the site and its interior dimensions. Though appearing porous, Owan is lined with a thin waterproof membrane that can move in the wind along with the lightweight structure. https://vimeo.com/164417666 In the video above, you can see how the structure responds to light. Given the structure's intended natural environment, the trajectory of the sun should play in important role in the pavilion's performance. Design Miami/ (June 14 - 19) is a forum that has a strong pedigree in the world of design collectables. Kuma’s Owan will be presented at the forum's “Design at Large,” which will also exhibit further large-scale installations under the theme of "tea house," notably Ron Arad’s Armadillo Tea Canopy by Revolution Precrafted.
Japanse architect Kengo Kuma has been awarded commission to design the expansion for the Hans Christian Anderson museum in Odense, Denmark. Fending off compeition from Barozzi Veiga and Snøhetta, and Denmark's own Bjarke Ingels Group, all of whom remained until the contests latter stages. The project aims to create a new home for the author behind childhood classics The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Little Mermaid. In order to achieve this, the museum's expansion will carry a fairytale theme, captured in Kuma's plan for the museum that features a large garden filled with tall trees that are encompassed by circular timber structures. Covering 64,600 square feet, these volumes will house new multipurpose spaces as well as an underground level. A "Tinderbox Cultural Centre for Children" also part of the scheme, will aim to instill a sense of empathy and imagination in visitors, echoing the themes in Christian Anderson's tales while also teaching the children of his work. Odense's mayor Anker Boye, who was also the jury chairman for the competition said: "The proposal has a unique quality that captures the spirit of both Hans Christian Andersen and Odense, has striking international calibre and is locally embedded at the same time. It is a project that I can only imagine taking place here in Odense. But at the same time, it points far beyond anything local or national. It is internationally "Odensean"." Kuma's scheme revolves partly around what the British exhibition design firm Event Communications submitted as a winning proposal earlier in the year. Jane Jegind, Odense's Alderwoman for Urban and Cultural Affairs said that this was an "unusual" procedure, but was one of Kuma's project's strengths. "In planning the project, it was important to us that gardens, building and exhibition design were envisaged as an interconnected whole that clearly captures the spirit of Andersen and brings out the essence of the City of Odense at the same time, she said. The project's funds look set to be finalized by the end of this year, with ground breaking shortly after. Kuma himself will then open both the Olympic stadium in Tokyo and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense when the two projects are due to be complete in 2020.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has given an office in Nomi, Japan, a carbon fiber curtain that spans outwards from the roof edge in an undulating, wave-like fashion. The building, known as "fa-bo," is home to the company Komatsu Seiren who uses it as a "fabric laboratory" to manufacture, research, and exhibit new clothing materials. Kuma's renovation isn't just for aesthetics: in a first, the carbon fiber makes the building more earthquake resistant. According to Kuma's website, the fiber rods are supposedly ten times stronger than iron. In a video (see below) Kuma explains how carbon fiber was an obvious choice as it facilitated "transparent quake resistance." https://youtu.be/SIorJpr784o The feature also draws on a local technique of braiding ropes which makes it possible to "add further flexibility to the carbon fiber," something Kuma described as a "fascinating" development. "I find it very interesting that the answers were right there. Bringing together technologies that are both old and new and then mixing them together...is outstanding" he said. Although a helpful solution to counter seismic activity, fixing the rods to the building forced Kuma and his team to meticulously focus on every detail in the joinery. Kuma also believes that the carbon fiber rods have the potential to shape 21st century architecture. "We believe there is something new in this construction material," he said. "As far as materials are concerned, fibers are very strong and gentle to people....In fact, it has the potential for creating a major revolution in the world of construction," he went on to say. The rods are also employed inside the building too, allowing light to filter into spaces. On the roof, "experimental greening" uses porous ceramic panels (called Greenbiz) that are created as a byproduct of the fiber manufacturing process.
Using aluminum casts that have been drilled to allow light to filter through, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has created a tranquil space that is the Vanke Art Gallery. Located in the Wuxi province, just West of Shanghai, the gallery's amoeba-like footprint is derived from the shape of the local Taihu Lake stone that was once at the epicenter of Taihu culture in China. Kuma's project also involved the renovation of a former cotton mill that is also part of the gallery complex. The curvaceous aluminum-panelled facade wraps around the main structure, clad with glass, giving it a wide berth. These panels allow light to permeate through myriad gaps and gently illuminate the interior gallery. Because the facade was placed in front of the actual glass elevation, the effects of shadowing are exaggerated. Meanwhile, light is also allowed to reflect off water that bridges the gap between these two facades. In some places, this shallow pool of water's footprint extends beyond that of the aluminum facade. As a result, three distinct footprints interplay, with the water acting as the initial threshold, of a series of three, between the public and private space. The water, as the primary threshold, also establishes a calm and tranquil environment, something Kuma was eager to construct with the area's history of being home to a bustling brick-built cotton mill. This is then reinforced via light filtering through and the choice of materiality. Kuma, while disrupting the function within the immediate vicinity also instills a sense of tradition, drawing on the history of Lake Taihu, where the form of the Taihu stone comes from. Wuxi Vanke Art which occupies a combined 112,375 square feet also offers spaces for commercial functions and offices within the two structures.
At last, design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium has finally been decided with Kengo Kuma's winning commission. The Japanese firm fought off a plan by Toyo Ito to claim the prize. Zaha Hadid, however, was less than complimentary of the decision. The 80,000 capacity stadium will cost $1.2 billion, almost half the cost of Hadid's proposal and will crucially be constructed by Taisei Corp, a major firm in Japan. That's not to say that decision isn't still mired in controversy. Nicknamed the "hamburger," several architects, according to the Financial Times, claim it bears “remarkable similarities” to a an earlier design that was scrapped in July. Utilizing a wood and steel roof, Kuma's design creates a green space within the city of Tokyo with the facade’s horizontal lines seemingly referencing the 1,300-year-old Gojunoto wooden pagoda at Horyuji Temple. Meanwhile the environment is completed via the implementation of Jingu Shrine trees and other foliage found within the vicinity of the stadium. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the design, saying "I think this is a wonderful plan that meets criteria such as basic principles, construction period and cost," when he announced the winning practice. Hadid, though, has other ideas. “Sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world,” Zaha Hadid Architect's said in statement. "This shocking treatment of an international design and engineering team ... was not about design or budget." "In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today," she continued. Completion is set to be around November 2019, though there are doubts that it will be ready in time for the Rugby World Cup that Japan is hosting that year. This was initially a requirement that was demanded by the Japan Sports Council and one that Hadid says her firm would have been able to meet. “Work would already be under way building the stadium if the original design team had simply been able to develop this original design, avoiding the increased costs of an 18-month delay and risk that it may not be ready in time for the 2020 Games.” Meanwhile, president of Tokyo 2020, Yoshiro Mori, has said, “The stadium incorporates the views of experts in the construction field and we are looking forward very much to using the new stadium as the centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Games.”