Posts tagged with "Norman Foster":

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Norman Foster proposes African Droneport to save lives and build economies

Who needs roads when you can fly? Norman Foster's latest project aims to support cargo drone routes that could deliver "urgent and precious supplies to remote areas on a massive scale." The scheme has significant potential in some of the barren heartland areas of Africa which are severely lacking in infrastructure, something that has proven a hindrance to the health and socio-economic well being of the region. Utilizing drones in such a way could change all that by connecting stranded communities and bringing valuable resources which are desperately needed. Unlike cars or trains, drones can easily (and cheaply) bypass the need to traverse across mountains, rivers, and lakes. Medical supplies are the main priority for Foster. He has teamed up with Afrotech, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); and the Norman Foster Foundation. Drones here have the potential to disperse a variety of life-saving packages within a range of over 60 miles. This would work by using two drone networks called the Redline and the Blueline. The Redline would carry smaller packages and would primarily be for emergency medical supplies. The Blueline would be more commercial and would be able to carry "larger payloads such as spare parts, electronics, and e-commerce." A drone port would be a new typology for Foster + Partners, adding to its growing list of aviation-based buildings that includes various airports and "lunar building studies conducted in association with the European Space Agency." The firm aims for the project's design to be very simplistic and able to be assembled by locals. The port could also be a manufacturing site for drones which would potentially give locals greater employment opportunities. To give some scale of the issue Foster wishes to address, currently "just a third of Africans live within two kilometers of an all-season road." With this in mind, Africa's population is set to double by 2050 and so a solution such as this will be necessary to cater for the growing demand of Africa's people. Africa is a continent where the gap between the population and infrastructural growth is increasing exponentially," Foster said in a statement. "The dearth of terrestrial infrastructure has a direct impact on the ability to deliver life-giving supplies, indeed where something as basic as blood is not always available for timely treatment." With a pilot project set to be built by 2020 in Rwanda, "a country whose physical and social geography poses multiple challenges," the drone service hopes to send supplies to "44% of Rwanda." "Rwanda’s challenging geographical and social landscape makes it an ideal test-bed for the Droneport project," Foster said in a statement. "This project can have massive impact through the century and save lives immediately.”
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Apple is planning to build a viewing platform and visitors center so you can gaze upon its Foster-designed headquarters

Apple's upcoming doughnut-shaped flying saucer of a headquarters is steadily taking shape in Cupertino, California. The Norman Foster–designed, $5 billion complex obviously strays from the typical office park setup of clusters of boxy, generic buildings, but despite its starchitect design, it has attracted plenty of criticism for how little it engages with the community and the non-Apple employees who walk among us. But apparently that's not the whole story. The Silicon Business Journal went digging through city documents and uncovered plans for a visitor's center at the headquarters which includes a viewing platform where civilians can look out on the campus and imagine what's happening inside the curved walls. (Hopefully it includes boosting iPhone battery life.) "The plans show a super-modern glass-walled structure topped by a carbon-fiber roof with extended eaves, punctuated by large skylights," reported the site. "On the ground floor: A 2,386-square-foot cafe and 10,114-square-foot store 'which allows visitors to view and purchase the newest Apple products.' Stairs and elevators take visitors to the roof level, about 23 feet up." The campus is expected to be completed in late 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB6_XkUFpAc
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Richard Rogers Calls on the Architecture Community to Save the Robin Hood Gardens

The clock is ticking yet again for East London’s Robin Hood Gardens, the 1972 Brutalist public housing complex designed by Alison and Peter Smithson. In a call to arms, Lord Richard Rogers and Simon Smithson, the son of the architects, have written a letter to over 300 members of the architecture and construction industries in support of the 20th Century Society’s campaign to protect the iconic “streets in the sky” buildings from being demolished.   The future of the seminal social housing estate has been in limbo since former Culture Secretary Andy Burnham granted it a listing certificate of immunity six years ago, essentially foiling any landmark designations that would ensure the buildings’ survival and preservation. Now that the certificate has expired, 20th Century Society, a conservation organization for modern architecture, is urging the new Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage to add the buildings to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural and historical interest. “The Smithsons were clearly great architects: the Economist Building, completed in 1964 and Grade I-listed in 1988, is without a doubt the best modern building in the historic centre of London. Robin Hood Gardens, which pioneered ‘streets in the air’ to preserve the public life of the East End terraces that it replaced, was the next large-scale job that the Smithsons embarked upon. It was architecturally and intellectually innovative. In my opinion, it is the most important social housing development from the post-war era in Britain,” wrote Lord Richard Rogers in the letter. RHG - model Composed of two long concrete blocks, the 7-story buildings in Poplar, London feature balconies that face a rolling, man-made green. Curbed reported that the goal was to “create a modern, bustling city in the sky,” but it has fallen into disrepair, beset with problems including crime and graffiti. Architects, including Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, and Rogers, stand behind the controversial postwar complex, lauding its architectural significance as an exemplar of the Smithsons’ New Brutalism—characterized by exposed materials, contextual design, and the marriage of regional styles and modernism. Below is the full letter from Lord Richard Rogers and Simon Smithson:   Dear Friends, I am writing to ask you to support listing Robin Hood Gardens as a building of special architectural interest, in order to protect one of Britain’s most important post-war housing projects, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson, from demolition. Previous efforts in 2009 to have the building listed failed, but the case has now been re-opened and we understand that the new Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage will be reviewing the arguments at the end of this week.  The buildings, which offer generously-sized flats that could be refurbished, are of outstanding architectural quality and significant historic interest, and public appreciation and understanding of the value of modernist architecture has grown over the past five years, making the case for listing stronger than ever. The UK's 20th Century Society has submitted a paper setting out why they believe Robin Hood Gardens should be listed (i.e. added it to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural and historical interest). Two further assessments are set out below: “Alison and Peter Smithson were the inventors of the New Brutalism in the 1950s and as such they were the ‘bellwethers of the young' as Reyner Banham called them. In many ways [Robin Hood Gardens] epitomizes the Smithsons’ ideas of housing and city building. Two sculptural slabs of affordable housing create the calm and stress free place amidst the ongoing modernization of the London cityscape. The façades of precast concrete elements act as screens that negotiate between the private sphere of the individual flats and the collective space of the inner garden and beyond. The rhythmic composition of vertical fins and horizontal ’streets-in-the-air' articulates the Smithsons’ unique proposition of an architectural language that combines social values with modern technology and material expression. Despite the current state of neglect and abuse Robin Hood Gardens comprises a rare, majestic gesture, both radical and generous in its aspiration for an architecture of human association. As such it still sets an example for architects around the world.” Dr Dirk van den Heuvel, Delft University, Holland. “The Smithsons were clearly great architects: the Economist Building, completed in 1964 and Grade I-listed in 1988, is without a doubt the best modern building in the historic centre of London. Robin Hood Gardens, which pioneered ‘streets in the air’ to preserve the public life of the East End terraces that it replaced, was the next large-scale job that the Smithsons embarked upon. It was architecturally and intellectually innovative.  In my opinion, it is the most important social housing development from the post-war era in Britain.” Lord Richard Rogers Last time listing was considered the views of the architectural community were ignored but we believe there is now a real chance of saving the building for posterity but only if the Minister hears, first hand, the views of the profession on the architectural merits of these exceptional buildings. Can we ask you to support the efforts of the 20th Century Society by writing right now to the Minster to support listing and saying why you believe Robin Hood Gardens should be saved? Click here to open an e-mail to the relevant Minister at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, Tracey Crouch MP: Minister-sportsandtourism@culture.gov.uk. For more information on the building click here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_Gardens, and for details of the 20th Century Society case, please click here, http://www.c20society.org.uk/casework/robin-hood-gardens/ For Tweets: #SaveRobinHoodGardens Also, can we ask you to forward this e-mail to anyone else you know who might be willing to help save these important buildings? Yours sincerely, Richard Rogers and Simon Smithson    
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Pictorial> Twenty-one of the best pavilions from Milan Expo 2015

Milano Expo 2015 is rolling along, with 145 countries and a host of international organizations, civil society organizations, and corporations displaying their food-centric traditions and the latest sustainable agriculture and food production techniques. AN reported on the Expo when it opened:

a handful of designs...stand out as attempts to rethink the way we build and how it relates to modern agriculture and sustainable food production for the next century. Most of the pavilions use sustainable materials and construction methods that utilize national building techniques. Inside, exhibitions—often interactive—showcase biodiversity, culture, and food traditions of each nation.

Beyond the focus on food and agriculture, there is also a wealth of eye-catching architecture at the Milan Expo as well. Here is a collection of some of our favorite pavilions from this year's rendition. And be sure to check out our coverage of the Expo here.
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With Foster rebuffed, Bjarke Ingels reveals his plans for a stepped Two World Trade Center

In late 2005, Norman Foster unveiled his design for Two World Trade Center—an 88-story tower capped in four diamonds to direct the eye down toward the 9/11 Memorial, which, at the time, was still years from completion. Then, the World Trade Center site was still in the design phase, and Bjarke Ingels was a little-known architect from Denmark. But in the decade since, Ingels' rise has been nothing short of meteoric. Now, Wired has the story that proves what has been reported for months: the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will replace Foster + Partners at Two World Trade Center, the second-tallest of the cluster of towers in Lower Manhattan. The 1,340-foot-tall skyscraper is being developed by Silverstein Properties and will serve as the joint headquarters for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and 21st Century Fox. If BIG’s building does, in fact, rise, then the final tower at the 16-acre site will have been designed by a firm that did not even exist when rebuilding began. With BIG’s growing portfolio of push-the-envelope architecture, the easy assumption for Two World Trade was that the building would step into the complicated—and politically fraught—site and loosen its buttoned-up, corporate aesthetic. If the redesigned tower accomplishes that, then it certainly does so gently. From the memorial, the 80-story tower takes cues from its neighbors, Three World Trade and Four World Trade, with an uninterrupted glass curtain wall. (Santiago Calatrava’s soaring Transportation Hub creates a brief stylistic rift along the crystalline campus.) But from every other vantage point, the tower appears like a staircase—or a classic mid-20th century Manhattan ziggurat-style building. The structure's massing appears as a series of seven, 12-story boxes that climb upward, stepping toward SOM's One World Trade next door. “On one hand it’s about being respectful and about completing the frame around the memorial, and on the other hand it’s about revitalizing downtown Manhattan and making it a lively place to live and work,” Ingels told Wired. "From Tribeca, the home of lofts and roof gardens, [Two World Trade] will appear like a vertical village of singular buildings stacked on top of each other to create parks and plazas in the sky," Ingels said in a statement. "From the World Trade Center, the individual towers will appear unified, completing the colonnade of towers framing the 9/11 Memorial.” BIG's involvement with the project came about after James Murdoch, Rupert’s 42-year-old son and a 21st Century Fox executive, reportedly expressed concerns over Foster’s design. James Murdoch was looking to create a more open-plan work environment. And BIG has experience doing just that—the firm recently presented designs with Heatherwick Studio for a sprawling Google headquarters complex comprising a series of glass canopies. At the World Trade Center site, BIG's main assignment was to take the spirit of a Silicon Valley, open-air campus and squeeze it into a Manhattan skyscraper. On a practical level, that's no easy assignment. But through generous setbacks, the building offers space for heavily planted gardens that at least serve as a nod toward the corporate campuses on the West Coast. Or so it would seem; Wired reported that the gardens are “supposed to evoke varying climates, from tropical to arctic.” But this is New York, not California, so by December all the gardens might lean toward the latter. Underneath these gardens, on the tower's cantilever reveals, are digital news tickers that will display headlines from the news giant operating inside. https://vimeo.com/130120622 Among the other challenges for BIG in redesigning Two World Trade was working within existing realities of the World Trade Center site—and a foundation structure that had already begun construction. The tower’s foundation is already set according to Foster's plan and includes air vents from the neighboring transportation hub. The new tower is also aligned along the axis laid out in Daniel Libeskind's master plan. When it came time to sell BIG's new design to the developer and client, Silverstein and Murdoch were initially skeptical. “I hadn’t seen a building like this beforehand, I hadn’t considered a building like this before, and certainly there was nothing down at the Trade Center to indicate that this would be a trend for tomorrow,” developer Larry Silverstein told Wired. Rupert Murdoch apparently agreed, but after the philosophy of the building was explained—and Ingels is a talented storyteller—Silverstein and Murdoch were on board. The architects behind the World Trade Center’s other three towers—David Childs, Richard Rogers, and Fumihiko Maki—all gave their blessing as well. News Corp. and 21st Century Fox recently signed a non-binding letter of intent to build Two World Trade, which brings the project closer to reality. And if all goes according to plan, Murdoch’s media empire should be setting up shop in Lower Manhattan as soon as 2020.        
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Hot Tub Design Machine: New York’s Van Alen Institute launches its annual auction of out-of-the-box architectural experiences

If you have ever longed to explore nature with your favorite architect or discuss the built environment in your bikini, now you'll have the chance. Well, for a few bucks, but in the good name of architecture. The Van Alen Institute has launched its online auction of Art + Design Experiences to coincide with its Spring Party, going down this Wednesday in Lower Manhattan. The auction list boasts exclusive and out-of-the-box experiences with top critics, famed architects, and professionals in the arts and design fields. Some of the more compelling items, or activities, to bid on, include: —A Fire Island hot tub roundtable with architect Charles Renfro at his mid-century modern beach house. —Testing the smoke ring generator at Copenhagen’s new waste-to-energy power plant with Bjarke Ingels. —A helicopter ride on Norman Foster's personal helicopter through London’s skyline, including the architect’s own icons. —A bird watching expedition in an iconic urban park with Jeanne Gang. —Joining Sotheby’s chairman Lisa Dennison for her daily salon blowout ritual as she offers tips on building a blue-chip art collection, followed by a personalized tour of MoMA's permanent holdings. Visit the auction site to check out and bid on the offerings. Bidding closes on Wednesday, May 20. Get your digital paddles ready.
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Norman Foster breaks ground on Maggie’s cancer center in the UK

Maggie’s, a UK-based charitable organization providing assistance programs to patients with cancer, is building a new center within the grounds of the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. Eschewing the antiseptic reek and impersonality of a traditional hospital, the center strives to provide a homey atmosphere and support programs for cancer patients and their families in an uplifting, non-clinical environment. Designed by Norman Foster and Foster + Partners, the building sports a 20-foot-high timber frame as its main structure, and will be bordered by extensive gardens. “Externally, this structure will be partially planted with vines, making the architecture appear to dissolve into the gardens,” said Foster in a statement, who cited his own brush with cancer diagnosis as a major galvanizer. The timber structure will be configured around a wide, central spine with a roof rising in the center to create a mezzanine level illuminated with natural light. Foster cited this in addition to “greenery and views” as the focus for the architecture in recognition of the therapeutic qualities of nature and the great outdoors. “I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy,” Foster added. “Great architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers, creating environments that are both calm and uplifting,” concurred Maggie’s Chief Executive, Laura Lee. The single-story structure will be the charity’s largest center, and is expected to receive around 60,000 visits per year from across Greater Manchester. Lightweight and simple are emphasized above imposing and spartan, with exposed beams and a timber lattice supporting the roof and partitioning various spaces. The interior palette, meanwhile, guns for a homey feel with warm, natural wood and tactile fabrics. “Visitors can gather around a big kitchen table, find a peaceful place to think, or they can work with their hands in the greenhouse,” Foster explained. A time capsule will be buried onsite containing personal mementos from donors and supporters of the center, as well as a sketch from Foster + Partners, the details of which are undisclosed. Maggie’s relies on charitable donations to fund the inception and maintenance of its current network of 17 centers across the United Kingdom, each one designed by a different architect based on the same brief. The centers provide free practical and emotional support for cancer sufferers including nutrition workshops, psychological support, tai chi and yoga, relaxation and stress management, and art therapy.
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Norman Foster or Bjarke Ingels, who will be designing the final tower at the World Trade Center?

A few weeks ago AN noted that the Norman Foster–designed 2 World Trade Center might finally rise after all these years. The New York Times was reporting that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and 21st Century Fox were in talks to lease half the building for a joint headquarters. If it were to happen, wrote the Times, Murdoch's team might bring in a new architect to update Foster's design. Now it's looking like that is exactly what's going to happen—and it's going to happen in an, ahem, BIG way. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that the media companies, along with developer Larry Silverstein, have tapped Bjarke Ingels to redesign the building. Given BIG's reputation for twisting, torquing, pyramidal forms, it's safe to say that the new design will be far from Foster's diamond-topped glass tower. But, at this point, all we know is that the building is expected to retain the size and height of the original plan—roughly three million square feet and 1,270 feet tall. The foundation, after all, has already been built, so any new tower would rise from the same footprint. "The planned 2 World Trade Center tower would have plenty of room, as the companies would occupy about half of the building," reported the Journal. "But the existing design was deemed problematic because it wasn’t considered ideal for studio space at the base—it was designed with bank-trading floors in mind—and because of the amount of infrastructure on the ground-level related to the PATH train station at the site, the [people familiar with the design] said." If financing is secured for the project, and 2 World Trade Center is ultimately finished, it would mark the complete rebuilding of the 16-acre site.
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Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, Norman Foster’s 2 World Trade Center might actually happen

Richard Rogers' long-stalled 3 World Trade Center finally climbing again, it's concrete core rising steadily above its nearly-complete podium. Now, it's Norman Foster's turn to bring the last of the World Trade towers to life, and it might happen this time with the help of a media giant. It's starting to look like Foster + Partners' 2 World Trade Center might actually get built, and it's all thanks to Rupert Murdoch. The New York Times reported that News Corporation and 21st Century Fox—both owned by the billionaire media mogul—are interested in using half the building (1.5 million square feet) as a joint headquarters. While there are no firm plans to speak of, the companies have reportedly been in talks for months with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry Silverstein, who has rights to build at the site. If the tower is built, it would effectively complete the drawn-out rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Two World Trade Center was originally scheduled to open in 2011, but, as is the case with just about everything with the World Trade Center redevelopment, that deadline didn't stick. The building, as designed by Foster, is widely considered to be the most architecturally adventurous of the glassy World Trade Center bunch. The 79-story structure appears as four rectangular forms, diagonally sliced at the top to form a set of four diamonds. “The building occupies a pivotal position at north-east corner of Memorial Park, and its profile reflects this role as a symbolic marker,” Foster + Partners said in a 2006 statement. “Arranged around a central cruciform core, the shaft is articulated as four interconnected blocks with flexible, column-free office floors that rise to level sixty-four, whereupon the building is cut at angle to address the Memorial below.” The building’s design was drawn up between 2006–2007 and is expected to change at least slightly if this deal moves forward—which the Times noted is far from certain. But if it does go through, the companies might select their own architect for changes. “Given that the foundation has been built, the two sides are assessing whether the structure can accommodate the changes they want for television studios,” reported the Times.
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Jeddah hopes a high-design transit network by Norman Foster can transform the Saudi city into a transit capital

British design firm Foster + Partners recently inked a deal reportedly worth upwards of $80 million to master plan a city-wide public transportation network in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Currently, just 12 percent of the population resides within a 10-minute walk from a transportation hub, and just 1–2 percent of commuters use public transportation. But can high design lead to higher ridership? The new network will encourage pedestrianization with shaded streets in deference to the sweltering climate, while the ambitious transportation grid will introduce a 42-mile light rail metro system and public spaces at key locations below the elevated tracks. The grid will also build on the existing ferry, bus, and cycling networks, and this three-line network will operate from 22 stations. In addition, a sea transport network with 10 stations will be built along the Corniche to boost tourism. The overarching "architectural vision" by the British firm will address everything from station design to trains to branding, all the while with careful regard for the “high-density, compact urban model of Al Balad,” Foster + Partners wrote in a statement, referring to Jeddah's historic district. “Each station node will create a new neighborhood with a unique characteristic.” The Norman Foster–owned firm has set a goal for a 2020 completion date and 2022 opening. According to the Saudi Gazette, the new transportation network could reduce traffic by 30 percent within the next 20 years. Also on board for the project are architecture and engineering firm AECOM, which signed an 18-month contract in May 2014 to provide pre-program management consultancy services. Meanwhile, French railway engineering firm Systra was appointed in July to provide preliminary engineering designs.
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Did Norman Foster design this New York City skyscraper?

A 900-foot tower is coming to Manhattan’s high-end Sutton Place and it looks like Norman Foster is the architect behind the geometric tower punctuated by inset terraces and gardens. New York Press reported that the commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield created a sales brochure for the project which it described as an “ultra-luxury, as of right, ground up, opportunity which will reach over 900 feet tall and feature unparalleled 360 degree views of Midtown, Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, Central Park and the East River.” While no permits for the project have been filed, the publication reported that the Bauhaus Group has assembled the necessary air rights for the 95-unit tower. While Foster’s named has not been officially attached to the new drawing, in March Curbed reported that Bauhaus had hired Lord Foster for a major tower in the area. This should all become clearer in the near future as Bauhaus is expected to release more information on the project.

Eavesdrop> Sunny Apple: Cupertino HQ makes a big buy for solar power

http://youtu.be/tZTRTv56k58 We have given Apple flack for the suburban nature of its new campus in Cupertino. But we’ve been impressed with the company’s recent attempts to make things more eco-friendly, adding shuttles, bike lanes, a bus transit center, and walking paths. Now we hear Apple is purchasing 130 megawatts worth of energy a year from First Solar. The purchase will power the new HQ as well as all of its other California offices, a large data center, and the 52 retail stores in the state.