After recently completing its eye-shaped library in Tianjin Binhai, China, Dutch design firm MVRDV is facing questions over the functionality of the shelves in its main atrium. After the building went viral for its visually stunning floor-to-ceiling shelving, patrons have reported that the books on display are either fake or printed onto the shelving itself. Commissioned by the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute as part of a master plan to create a new cultural district for the city, the Tianjin Binhai Library went from design to completion in only three years. Layers of white, terraced bookshelves in the atrium wrap around a glowing orb that anchors the library and doubles as a centrally-located auditorium. Slotting the building into an existing 393,000-square-foot master plan by German architects GMP, MVRDV rolled the required auditorium into a multi-use cavity that leads to reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, meeting rooms and computer labs. The building itself is only 6 stories tall, so every programmatic element is accessible directly from the atrium. MVRDV acknowledged that their original plans for accessing the top bookshelves through upper-level rooms had to be scrapped because of the tight construction schedule, with “perforated aluminum plates printed to represent books” filling the inaccessible spaces. However, as Yahoo reported yesterday, visitors have been met with empty shelves and dangerously uneven stairs. Most of the real books on display for the opening were only put out for a photo shoot, and have been moved to traditional reading rooms deeper in the library. The library's deputy director, Liu Xiufeng, told Yahoo, "We can only use the hall for the purposes for which it has been approved, so we cannot use it as a place to put books." The decision was made by local authorities and against MVRDV’s wishes, according to spokeswoman Zhou Shuting. Originally promising to house 1.2 million books, the library has stalled out at 200,000, although it hopes to eventually reach that goal. Still, the project’s online popularity has bolstered the number of visitors that the library receives to 15,000 every weekend. The lack of books isn’t the Tianjin Binhai Library’s only problem, and less attentive tourists have fallen victim to the irregularly shaped stairs. "People trip a lot. Last week an old lady slipped and hit her head hard. There was blood," a guard told Yahoo.
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MVRDV’s stacked desires, Zaha Hadid’s latticework roofs, and other updates from the architects of Instagram
At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Last Friday, Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV opened The Why Factory (W)ego: The Future City is Flexible, a bright new installation for Dutch Design Week 2017 in Eindhoven. According to MVRDV co-director Winy Maas, the project is "based on the hypothesis that the maximum density could be equal to the maximum of desires." https://www.instagram.com/p/BaguLgZBAbV/?taken-by=mvrdv AN contributor and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman shared an alarmingly value-engineered facade in the UK. Beneath the fake brick, a hollow duct–a compelling metaphor for our current newscape. In the comments, there is a bit of hope: Furman and friends list British architects who would never do such a thing, like Sergison Bates, FAT Architects, Outram, or Caruso St. John. https://www.instagram.com/p/Baqmp7ag80u/ Bloomberg is getting a new $1.3 billion, Foster+Partners-designed headquarters in London. The bronze fin-covered building boasts artwork and installations by Cristina Iglesias, Michael Craig-Martin, Olafur Eliasson, and Langlands & Bell. Eliasson's No future is possible without a past crowns a central room within the building, resembling the silvery surface of a pond inverted onto the ceiling. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ban9Gxvnt8u/?taken-by=studioolafureliasson Zaha Hadid Architects completed the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 70,000-square-foot, five-building complex includes an auditorium, library, exhibit hall, and a prayer room sheathed in white latticework (pictured below). https://www.instagram.com/p/Barov2bFJr6/?taken-by=zahahadidarchitects
Resilient by Design | Bay Area has chosen 10 multi-disciplinary teams to partake in the next phase of a design challenge focused on future-proofing California’s San Francisco Bay Area against the destructive effects of climate change and sea level rise. The 10 teams will partner with community members and organizations over the next nine months to develop innovative approaches for the region. The teams include several notable architecture and landscape architecture firms, including BIG, MVRDV, and James Corner Field Operations. Each of the selected teams contains at least one community member and several of the teams are entirely Bay Area–based. Resilient by Design is modeled on Rebuild by Design, a federally-funded New York City re-visioning competition held after 2012's Hurricane Sandy. The 10 selected design teams include:
BIG + ONE + SHERWOOD Bionic Team Common Ground HASSELL+ Permaculture + Social Equity Public Sediment The All Bay Collective The Field Operations Team The Home Team Team UPLIFTThe teams were each awarded $250,000 to engage in research over the next three months and to work with community members to analyze chosen sites with the eventual goal of crafting an adaptation strategy for a specific project location by May. “Resilient by Design is creating a blueprint for the world, bring together community members and experts to show how we can collectively tackle climate change,” Amanda Brown-Stevens, managing director of Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge, told The Architect’s Newspaper. “We know that it is time for something different, a new approach that matches our new reality but draws on who we are and what we have always been able to do: think differently, innovate, come together, and adapt.” Formal announcements for team and site pairings will be timed to coincide with California Governor Jerry Brown’s scheduled Global Climate Action Summit in December. The most recent announcement comes after the Bay Area Challenge was awarded a $4.6 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation earlier this year.
Currently on display at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale is MVRDV’s Infinity Kitchen. The invisibility of the design allows a seamless connection between the food product and its place in the kitchen. From the cabinet to the trash receptacles to the sink, almost everything comprising the Infinity Kitchen is clear. The only exceptions are the dishwasher and certain cutlery which Winy Maas, co-founder and Director of MVRDV, hopes to one day convert to transparency as well. The design explores the opportunity for a closer relationship with our food. In the Youtube video below, Winy Maas said: “If we imagine everything is transparent clear and clean, doesn’t it mean that the only thing that is colorful and visible is our food? Doesn’t it then imply that we are encouraged to love the food, in that way, and that maybe it even becomes more healthy, if not sexy?” This concept of transparency is appears in other MVRDV projects, notably Crystal Houses, a Chanel boutique in Amsterdam. In the facade of the building, glass has been substituted for traditional bricks. Additionally, on June 1, an office in Hong Kong will open designed by MRVDV to have glass interiors, furniture, and equipment.
MVRDV's Crystal Houses project, seen here, just opened on Amsterdam's upmarket shopping street, PC Hooftstraat. The Dutch firm from Delft employed a gradient that mixes terra-cotta and glass brick for the building's ornate facade. The tenant is Chanel and this is this is their flagship store in the city. The glass bricks, which form window frames and architraves, "evoke the vernacular of the area with the goal to maintain the character of the site," said the firm. Designed for investor Warenar, the building will occupy 90,420 square feet, of which 6,670 square feet will be used for retail. The rest will go towards housing. Emulating the original elevation, the glass facade rises up from the ground eventually dissolving into the terra-cotta brick used above. Due to updated zoning laws in Amsterdam, the building had to facilitate for more interior space and could increase in height. This allowed the facade to be stretched, leading to this unique treatment. As a result, the real brick structure appears to float above the street, with bricks being suspended as they crumble down. As for the actual bricks, terra-cotta brick was employed to comply with Amsterdam's regulations on building aesthetics. MVRDV argue that their design maintains the vernacular character of the site while responding to the contemporary demands of window space that modern high-end retails stores require. "The increased globalization of retail has led to the homogenization of high-end shopping streets" the firm said, adding that they hope their store to "stand out amongst the rest." The facade perhaps is a good example of how regulations on aesthetics can both preserve historic and cultural town character as well as breed creativity. The end effect is a building that is allowed to stand out but crucially not tastelessly outdo any of its counterparts. The glass bricks themselves are individually crafted by Poesia, a glass brick foundry in Resana, near Venice. Together, they are UV bonded with a transparent glue from German firm Delo Industrial Adhesives. The first facade of its kind, construction required up to ten experts working daily, year-round. MVRDV say that site during this process ended up looking more like a laboratory than a place for bricklaying. The time effort, though it must be said, appears to be worth it. As for doubters of the bricks' strength, MVRDV claim that "strength tests by the Delft University of Technology team proved that the glass-construction was in many ways stronger than concrete. The full-glass architrave, for instance, could withstand a force of up to 42.000 Newton; the equivalent to two full-sized SUVs." (Fun fact: The reason we see so many thin buildings in Amsterdam is due to a 17th-century taxation law that meant buildings were taxed on the width of their frontage.)
The Part-Dieu shopping center in Lyon, France, will be renovated by Dutch firm MVRDV as part of a wider scheme that will give the whole area a much needed face lift. Using what appears to be fractal aesthetic, parts of the facade appear to dissolve, revealing space within. The mixed-use development will house commercial and leisure facilities and supply a generous offering of public space including a roof garden. Such is the nature of the facade that the building becomes increasingly legible at street level, with the fragmented facade almost falling away, creating viewports and allowing people to see inside. This repetitive facade pattern is employed throughout the whole scheme unifying each individual program. Views from inside are also given significant attention, with the metallic tower of Fourvière and Lyons Basilica Notre Dame being awarded framed views. In the process of redesigning the area, MVRDV added 344,500 square feet of new space while installing a general hierarchy to the site, with lower levels being primarily for retail and upper levels for recreation. By moving the pre-existing car park, MVRDV was allowed to include green spaces and terracing while organising the site so that nearby transport could provide easy-access links to and from the area. By allowing public life to manifest within the vicinity, the scheme can easily coalesce with urban life in the general area. This aspect is amplified by the fact that the street and a railway are allowed to cut through the building as well as over other parts of the scheme via escalators and elevated walkways. "The terraces turn the vast roofs of the shopping centre into open, green space in which the public can meet and relax; a quality that is currently missing in this area," said Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, in a statement. "By rearranging the programme, we create an urban platform that is somewhere between tranquil park and vibrant market square, recreating an atmosphere inspired by the Lyon river side." "The redevelopment of the Part-Dieu commercial center is an opening act towards the city” continued Maas, "The formerly enclosed and defensive block is peeled open and thus becomes a place for the public to inhabit. It becomes part of the city."
MVRDV’s winning idea to convert an old shopping mall and parking garage into a public street and urban lagoon
MVRDV, with the Urbanist Collaborative and LLJ Architects, won a competition to transform “T-axis,” 590,000 square feet of China-Town Mall and Haian Road, in downtown Tainan, Taiwan. To reconnect the city and nature, the China-Town Shopping Mall will be removed, a green, public corridor will be built along Haian Road, and an urban lagoon will be created within the former underground parking garage. Construction is planned to begin fall of 2016. In 1983, China-Town Mall was built along the city's canal. However, the structure disconnected the city and its waterfront, “becoming like the rotten tooth of downtown Tainan,” according to MVRDV. The team's proposal aims to establish a city and waterfront connection. After disassembly, China-Town Mall’s exposed structure will be used in a new urban lagoon and green square. This public space will include playgrounds, small commercial units, a tourism info point, a teahouse, and a gallery. A green promenade and artificial beach along the canal will connect the city life to the previously obstructed view of the sea. Streets connecting to the T-axis will also receive greenery and traffic plans, in order to make the entire surrounding area pedestrian friendly. To relieve Haian Road of traffic, new transport nodes will be set in place east of the city. At nighttime, the road will be completely closed, giving pedestrians and small business more room for activities. Currently, pavements throughout T-axis are varied. The winning design proposes unifying pavements based on functions, in order to improve way-finding. To further create cohesion, ventilation shafts, elevators, and entrances to the underground parking garage will be wrapped in glass and extended to create pavilions, kiosks, and viewing towers. The team also worked with the sustainability/landscape consultant Progressive Environmental, structural engineers Urban Sculptor Planning & Designing Consultants, transport planners THI Consultants, and MEP engineers Songsing.
In 2013, Rotterdam-based MVRDV won the competition to design and masterplan the so-called Sustainable Business Park at Shanghai Hongqiao. With the firm's design set to open in early 2016, the first and main structure of the masterplan, the Flower Building, is now complete. MVRDV designed the Flower Building to have both strong formal identity and rental flexibility. Due to its programmatic adaptability and environmental aspects, the Flower Building is set to receive the 3-star Green Building Label, the highest energy performance rating in China. The project was developed by Sincere Property Group. The master plan will also include nine other MVRDV office buildings and one Aedas underground shopping center, that, together, will total 1.2 million square feet of offices, 506,000 square feet of retail space, and 590,000 square feet of parking. The Sustainable Business Park is adjacent to a high speed train station and Shanghai Hongqiao, the fourth busiest airport in mainland China. Originally dominated by boulevards and expressways, the complex is scaling down to embrace the pedestrian with walking streets and plazas, some meandering through the Flower Building itself. Four "legs" merge as they rise to form a single building topped with plazas and pathways. The ground floor consists of retail, and the top floor is connected, fitting either one or multiple tenants. The exterior facade consists of insulated paneling arranged in a shifting grid, creating a transparent ground level that becomes more opaque as the building rises. This contraction in the facade at the upper levels, along with the self-shading, cantilevered form, reduces the need for air-conditioning, according to MVRDV. All ten MVRDV buildings will have green roofs meant to create habitat for local species. With this environmental sensitivity, along with proximity to public transportation, rainwater collection, and permeable road surfaces, the entire Sustainable Business Park will receive 3 stars for the Chinese Green Building Label.
Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) is an arts institute for exhibitions, lectures, and research on architecture-and-design-based disciplines in Rotterdam. The institute's Dutch compatriots MVRDV have just signed a contract which will see the practices early work be uploaded to a new digital archive. The collection will feature MVRDV's work from 1993–2008 and both parties have agreed for the online database to be updated in the future. HNI also aims to make the collection open to the public at a later, yet-to-be-decided date. To quantify the scale of the database, it will boast 400 MVRDV projects, stored in eight terabytes. The archive hopes to illustrate the firm's architectural development over time. "We have discussed various possibilities with museums around the world, and we will also give parts of the archive to other collections," Jacob van Rijs, architect and co-founder of MVRDV, said in a statement. "But because our archive is digital, there is an opportunity to show every project book we’ve ever created at HNI. That will be a treasure trove for researchers." Some of the projects featured will include: Villa VPRO, the Silodam and the Markthal Rotterdam, as well as more theoretical projects based on data analysis, an early fascination of MVRDV: Meta City Datatown, Pig City, and 3D City Cube.
After nine years, MVRDV reclaims architecture’s coveted ArchiCup, beating Mecanoo, West 8, OMA, and others an the annual soccer matchup
After a seemingly never ending nine-year wait, Dutch architecture firm MVRDV finally reclaimed the ArchiCup in Rotterdam after a contentious soccer matchup. https://vimeo.com/139137485 Organized by GROUPA and Bekkering Adams Architects the competition was hosted at the Henegouwerplein in Rotterdam. Despite the questionable playing surface, MVRDV reigned victorious over bitter rivals Power House Company causing scenes of jubilation as they launched their captain into the air. Other teams included Broek Bakema, De Zwarte Hond, Hoogstad, Groosman, KCAP, Mecanoo, Nov '82, OMA, West 8, ZUS and RAVB.
This abandoned rail corridor in Singapore will soon be a nationwide linear park, and these firms are competing to design it
Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has shortlisted five winning design firms for an RFP to overhaul the Singapore Rail Corridor. Defunct since 2011 and once a prominent Singapore–Malaysia trade route, the railway spans the entire country from north to south starting at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to the Woodlands Checkpoint. A competition launched by the URA requested proposals to transform the 15-mile stretch into a public greenway connecting four important urban nodes: Buona Vista, the Bukit Timah Railway Station area, former Bukit Timah Fire Station, and Kranji. The five shortlisted design teams are as follows:
- West 8 and DP Architects
- Grant Associates and MVRDV with Architects 61
- Turenscape International and MKPL Architects
- Nikken Sekkei with Tierra Design
- OLIN Partnership and OMA Asia with DP Architects
Just when you were getting tired of more High Line copies, Dutch architects MVRDV has breathed new life into the genre with their winning proposal for the “Seoul Skygarden,” a 3,000 foot long section of disused elevated highway. Their design doesn’t simply reappropriate the space into a linear public parkway—it uses the original 1970s structure as the basis for an urban horticultural extravaganza. Form that structure, which was deemed unusable for cars in 2009, the designers have attached a series of stairs, lifts and escalators as well as new satellite gardens that will grow with the needs of the park. The design features 254 different species of trees, shrubs, and flowers, which are chosen to showcase the biodiversity of Seoul. The library of plants is organized alphabetically and will educate visitors. New leisure spaces such as flower shops, street markets, libraries and greenhouses will provide respite from the city. The new urban thruway will connect two zones that were previously separated by a railway station and a subsequent 25 minute walk. The now-pedestrian friendly path will reduce this walk to 11 minutes, while simultaneously producing an estimated 1.83 times its own cost for the city.