Posts tagged with "OMA":

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OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu spreads his wings in Québec City

As with much of OMA’s recent work, the firm’s latest building is exemplary for what it lacks. Instead of the complex structural flourishes of the CCTV Headquarters and many of the firm’s other mid-aughts projects, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is a lesson in more subtle design maneuvers: Its stacked massing, articulated in three varieties of glass, contains contemporary Québécois art and design galleries connected by a curvilinear glass balustrade and a predominantly white palette. Yet the most notable absence at the June 24 inauguration was that of OMA founder Rem Koolhaas. Instead, Shohei Shigematsu, who heads the firm’s New York office and served as partner-in-charge on the MNBAQ addition, spoke on behalf of the firm and explained that changes are indeed underway inside OMA as he led press and visitors through the new building.

Koolhaas’s absence at the inauguration by no means signals his retreat from design duties at the firm that, until recently, derived nearly all of its notoriety from the prestige associated with his own work and name. He continues to lead many of the firm’s most high-profile projects, last year’s Fondazione Prada in Milan and next year’s Taipei Performing Arts Center among them. Yet the pronounced emphasis at the recent inauguration on Shigematsu’s tenure as director of OMA New York bespeaks a new phase in OMA’s trajectory, one in which numerous of the firm’s seven partners work with greater autonomy from Koolhaas himself. “Me being recognized or other partners being recognized — not just Rem, actually reinforces the identity of the organization,” Shigematsu told The Architect's Newspaper at the Québec inauguration. He is by no means an outlier in this development. Rotterdam-based partners Reinier de Graaf and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli have also grown prominent within the OMA cosmology in recent years, the former as a polemicist and the latter for his preservation work and leadership of the firm’s ongoing, manifold collaboration with Prada. The present devolution of design authority is markedly different from the firm’s operations a decade prior, when numerous of the leading architects at OMA, like Bjarke Ingels, Ole Scheeren, and Joshua Prince-Ramus, began leaving to open their own offices. “I’m basically, probably doing the same thing inside [the firm],” Shigematsu noted, “A lot of senior people have started to stay.”

On the Grande Allée in Québec City, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion acts as an intermediary between traffic along one of the city’s main arteries and the National Battlefields Park where the museum’s three other buildings are situated. The new building also expands connections between the capital of Francophone Canada and the international art milieu, as it shares formal tropes with recent cultural institutions designed elsewhere by OMA (the MNBAQ’s gold elevator core shares a chromatic palette with Prada and Laparelli’s recently-completed Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, Italy). Shigematsu is quick to note that the shared color schemes across partners are part and parcel of an expanding practice: “Not just metallic, but the attention to detail and refinement that we can bring,” he mused. “We have the luxury to now build so much with a sense of maturity as an architecture firm.”

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What could have been: OMA’s proposal for Chicago’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

  International firm OMA submitted a design for the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago. Though the project has fallen through (Michael Sorkin wants to keep it in Chicago, but move it farther South), and the museum was to be designed by New York studio MAD Architects, the original OMA proposal has now been released. The Lucas Museum aimed to showcase the the art of storytelling though various collections including digital art, multi-media displays, and illustrations, all alongside educational programs. Opposition from public advocacy group Friends of the Parks stopped the museum's realization; now Lucas will try to bring his proposal back to California, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Lucas Museum aimed to showcase the the art of storytelling though various collections including digital art, multi-media displays, and illustrations, all alongside educational programs. Opposition from public advocacy group Friends of the Parks stopped the museum's realization; now Lucas will try to bring his proposal back to California, according to the Chicago Tribune.
OMA's submission, led by New York-based partner Shohei Shigematsu, made use of an ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) skin that formed pillows, wrapping around the building in a dome-like fashion. The fluorine-based polymer would aid the creation of an atrium and sky park that would make way for vertical gallery spaces. Light would permeate through the membrane while the structure would take on an easily identifiable form. In articulating the gallery space in such a way, space underneath could also be used for a new urban park that would amplify the building's blurring of open and closed spaces. In addition to this, the building would also house a theater and a series of lecture halls that would be accommodated at the base of the building. Aside from letting light in, the building's ETFE skin would also serve as a canvas for projections, turning the park below into an outdoor cinema.
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AMO designs Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer set space

OMA's internationally-based research, branding, and publication studio AMO has designed the set of Italian fashion brand Prada's Spring Summer 2017 show.

Formed in 1999, 24 years after Rem Koolhaas founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), AMO is the architecture practice's research think-tank. Directed by Reinier de Graaf, a partner at OMA, AMO addresses issues surrounding architectural production and other mediums such as fashion, print, online media. Past projects include a redesign of the EU flag and being a leader in the production of Volume magazine.

In 2011, the group worked with Prada on the confusingly titled OMA*AMO for/with Prada, an exhibition in Venice. This year, OMA's Shohei Shigematsu designed the exhibition space for Manus x Machina at the Met.

This year's project for Prada, however, is on a much larger scale. The design features a catwalk runway divided into three zigzagging segments that slope down to the audience seating. The upper-most level, the entry gangway, is located behind a mesh-crafted colonnade.

Made from metal, the mesh dominates the interior space and allows an array of colored lighting to permeate through and illuminate the space. "Generating an abstract layer, composed of meshes with different patterns and dimensions...overlap to recreate a total space. The transparency of the cladding material unveils the underlying framework with Cartesian precision," the firm said in a press release.

Subsequently the resultant glow from the lights aims to de-humanize the space, "[dematerializing] all the surfaces, coloring the room, now reminiscent of a post-human scenario."

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OMA looks to break new ground with the Faena Car Park in Miami

Shohei Shigematsu, partner at OMA and the director of its New York office, had never designed a parking garage until Alan Faena requested one. The Argentine real estate developer and arts patron hired the New York branch of a firm based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to design Faena Arts Center, a forthcoming arts and luxury retail complex in Miami Beach, which will open to the public in late October. Upon completion, the complex will be the anchor for the Faena Arts District—a sliver of land on Collins Avenue sandwiched between Indian Creek and the Atlantic Ocean—which Faena and his partner, Ximena Caminos, plan to turn into a hub for multidisciplinary cultural activity.

OMA is designing all three of the buildings slated to open in Miami Beach come fall: The Faena Forum, a two-volume space that imitates a superimposed cylinder and cube, will contain exhibition spaces and hotel and meeting facilities; the Faena Bazaar, a luxury retail complex located in the former Atlantic Beach Hotel, which was built in 1939 and that the firm is partially preserving; and the Faena Car Park, a mechanical valet parking garage with a perforated precast concrete facade, ground-level retail, and a rooftop pavilion with panoramic ocean views.

The car park proved to be an unexpected challenge, due in part to the building’s straightforward program. The firm has experimented with various facets of parking design since the early 1990s: a 1993 proposal for the second of two libraries at Jussieu, a university in Paris, features interior ramps typical of a self-park garage, and the firm incorporated parking facilities in its 2004 Souterrain Tram Tunnel project in The Hague. However, in each case, parking was only a relatively minor consideration in projects otherwise defined by their programmatic hybridity.

The Faena Car Park is OMA’s first freestanding car garage, and the sheer absence of complex activity that stood to transpire inside the building gave Shigematsu and his design team pause when they began working on the building in 2012. “We were crippled by not having enough context or content of program,” he reflected. As they scrambled for programmatic constraints from which to begin generating a scheme for the garage, they realized the project was in fact fertile ground to set aside their usual working methods. Instead of analyzing the program, they began by developing the facade in response to code regulations stipulating that half its area should be porous to facilitate ventilation.

Parking is, famously, a prime commodity in Miami. Indeed, both the forum, which will serve as the district’s locus for arts programming, and the car park are being built on the sites of former grade-level parking lots that flanked the Atlantic Beach Hotel. Upon its completion, OMA’s car park will become part of a constellation of architect-designed parking garages that are now architectural calling cards for the city. Among these, the best known is Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road, an open-air, multistory garage completed in 2010 that doubles as a mixed-use development with luxury retail, fine dining, and yoga facilities located next to parking spots. Frank Gehry completed a parking facility adjacent to his New World Center in 2011—the same year that Perkins+Will finished its Miami Beach City Hall Annex garage. Enrique Norten’s Mexico City–based firm, TEN Arquitectos, completed the Park@420 car garage in 2010, and until mid-April, when municipal commissioners rejected the late architect’s designs for a garage in Miami’s Collins Park neighborhood, Zaha Hadid was also slated to build a parking structure.

The typology’s newfound prominence is a welcome change from the previously prevalent reputation of parking garages as dull, even dangerous, structures that have little in the way of architectural merit. “Whether you like the idea of cars or not, the reality is that parking as a structure is the first and last experience that is made,” explained Rand Elliott, founder and principal of Oklahoma City firm Elliott + Associates, which has designed five lauded car garages and published extensive research on the design of car parks. Elliott noted that institutions often underestimate the influence of their parking, treating its architecture as an afterthought: “They just don’t think it through well enough to realize how valuable [parking] is.”

On Collins Avenue, OMA leads the vanguard in Miami parking design by working both above and below the city’s surface. Approximately three dozen of the 235 parking spaces at Faena Car Park will be located below grade, a feat given the high groundwater level in the surrounding neighborhood. “When they started excavating the underground parking, there was a gigantic pool,” recalled Shigematsu. By way of resolution, the firm filled the entire cavity with a concrete lining that hermetically sealed the underground lot from liquid.

Above ground, the structure initially appears to be simple in front elevation: OMA’s facade responds to the tropical climate by imitating the brise-soleil common in Brazilian architecture. Yet the southern elevation exposes the building’s interior mechanics—an elevator that moves vehicles into place—to create a kinetic facade with relatively few elements. For all its functionalism, this feature is just as well conceptual: “The idea,” said Shigematsu, “is making the elevator itself a celebration of this building.”

The car garage emerged as a new typology, derived but distinct from storage warehouses and former horse stables in the 1920s. In 1925, Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov designed two never-built, but prescient, car parks for Paris. One was, in effect, a bridge over the Seine, with ramped decks that spanned the river and a dynamic curvilinear structure; the second was to be built on land, a cube pierced by four winding ramps that ran through its volume.

Though Melnikov’s Paris garage schemes will probably forever remain unrealized, their expressive geometries and implicit recognition of car parks as platforms for viewing the surrounding city foreshadowed the work recently completed by prominent international architects in Miami. Nearly a century later, the designer car park is just as well a destination in its own right: not merely a promontory, but itself a definitive feature of the city’s architectural landscape.

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OMA to design expansion of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery

This is OMA week. After unveiling the refurbished Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, the New York- and Rotterdam-based firm announced that they have received the commission to design an $80 million expansion to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. This will be the firm's first art museum project in the United States: OMA beat out four other offices—Snøhetta, BIG, Allied Works, and wHY—for the job, dubbed AK360, which will expand exhibition space for Albright-Knox's modern and contemporary art collection. Firm principal Shohei Shigematsu will be leading the design team. The board of directors approved a development and expansion plan two years ago to accommodate a collection that's quadrupled in size since 1962, the year of the museum's last major (SOM–designed) expansion. Currently, Albright-Knox can only display 200 to 300 of the 8,000 works in its permanent collection. The expansion will double exhibition space, as well as add space for education facilities, dining, and events space while better integrating the museum with the Olmsted–designed park around it. The commission comes fresh off of the completion of the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, another project that knits a city's landscape to a museum. It's fitting that OMA will be working in Buffalo, a city that capitalizes on its rich architectural heritage to spur tourism and investment. The museum, which is situated adjacent a local cultural district, hopes that the OMA project will have a spillover (uh, Guggenheim) effect on the ailing postindustrial city that's nevertheless experiencing a modest uptick in economic fortunes compared to neighboring cities. Shohei Shigematsu, along with artist Mark Bradford and Albright-Knox's director Janne Sirén, will give a talk at Art Basel next week on the role of art museums in social change. There's no date for construction as of yet, although the next phase of the "envisioning process" will begin this September.
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OMA unveils their refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice

International practice OMA has completed a refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. Originally constructed in 1228, rebuilt in 1508 after a fire, then given a concrete structure in the 1930s, the Italian Renaissance-styled building is an emblem of Venetian Republic. Having served many purposes throughout its lifetime—used by German trade merchants, then as a customs house for Napoleon and a post office for Mussolini—the Fondaco dei Tedeschi was granted "Monument" status in 1987. In 2008, the building was purchased by Italian fashion brand Benetton, who commissioned Rem Koolhaas to transform the space with its primary use being for retail. However, conservationists from Italia Nostra objected dubbing the Palazzo's proposal as a "megastore." In 2012, during the midst of the debacle, Benetton's spokesman Federico Sartor said: "A city with just museums will die. There is lots of culture in Venice but you cannot find a sandwich." Four years later, Benetton and OMA's plans have been scaled back to incorporate an artistic element, thus maintaining Venice's cultural pedigree. Opening the courtyard piazza and rooftop to pedestrians facilitates views down into the building and, more impressively, over Venice along the city's canals.
The most drastic intervention comes in the form of the structure's circulation. Timber-clad escalators rise up through the volumes, punctuating the space with their dark red coloration, seemingly an amplified reference to the pink hues found in the worn bricks of the interior. In order to encourage circulation to the building, new entrances from the Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto have been created, while the existing entrances into the courtyard have been retained for the locals. OMA created a new rooftop through the renovation of the existing 19th Century pavilion at the top and the addition of a large wooden terrace, which now offers spectacular views over the city. Both the rooftop and the central courtyard below will remain open to the public. "The transformation of the Fondaco is based on a finite number of local interventions and vertical distribution devices that support the new program structure a sequence of public spaces and paths, from the central courtyard to a new roof terrace overlooking the Canal Grande," said OMA. "Each intervention is conceived as a brutal excavation through the existing mass, liberating new perspectives and unveiling the real substance of the building to its visitors," they continued. "With an almost forensic attitude, each new component serves as a way to show the stratification of materials and construction techniques." As for the retail space itself, Jamie Fobert Architects from London will lead the design. The renovated building is due to open in October this year.
 
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OMA’s Pierre Lassonde Pavilion in Quebec City edges closer to completion

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ)'s new Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, designed by International firm OMA working alongside with Provencher_Roy architectes of Montréal, is set to open in just over two months time. As work edges closer to completion, MNBAQ has announced that the building will open on June 24 of this year, coinciding with the Québec’s national holiday, “La Fête nationale.” As a result, there will be three days of free public programs and festivities. Once open, the pavilion will offer 160,380 square feet of space—an increase of 90 percent on the MNBAQ's current capacity for exhibition space. Here, both permanent and temporary exhibits will be hosted inside column-free galleries that make use of a hybrid steel truss system for structural support. Also included will be a 250-seat auditorium, café, and museum store, all encapsulated by three tiered cuboid volumes, the highest of which (at 87 feet) will overlook the street. Within the staggered volumetric space, a series of mezzanines will create a visual link between the exhibition spaces and aid spatial orientation through a spiral staircase that offers "orchestrated views." On top, roof terraces will provide space for outdoor displays and activities while the 41-foot-high Grand Hall will connect the building to the street, looking onto the sheltered Grande Allée. Also on the pavilion's exterior, a pop-out staircase symbolizes the visual connection of the cascading volumes from an external perspective, also giving users views on to the park. Pierre Lassonde, chair of the MNBAQ board of directors, said, “We are delighted to be only weeks away from welcoming the public into this brilliantly conceived design by OMA, which will do so much to help us celebrate the art and artists of Québec. With this beautifully functioning and symbolically important addition, our museum now rises to a new level of service for the people of Québec City, and a new prominence for visitors from around the world.” “Our design stacked three gallery volumes in a cascade that continues the topography of the park. The activity of the city extends below, providing a new point of interface between the city and the park,” said OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu. “Art becomes a catalyst that allows the visitor to experience all three core assets – park, city, and museum – at the same time.”
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OMA unveils ideas for transforming RFK stadium property to an urban playground for the nation’s Capital

RFK Memorial Stadium would be torn down to create an urban playground along the Anacostia Riverfront for residents of Washington, D.C. and beyond, under plans by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) that were unveiled at a citywide meeting last night. OMA partner Jason Long and associate Laura Baird of OMA’s New York office outlined two design proposals—"The Stitch" and a "North-South axis"—for a 190-acre stretch of riverfront known as the RFK Stadium-Armory campus. Currently, it's covered mostly with the 55-year-old stadium, the armory, and surrounding parking lots. The Dutch firm OMA, founded in 1975 by Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, was hired last year by Events DC to explore ideas for the RFK stadium property after consultants concluded that there is no economically feasible way to renovate the building for continued use as a sports facility. Events DC is the District’s sports and conventional authority. The 75-year old armory would remain. Ideas in both proposals included a 20,000-square-foot arena for the Washington Wizards and Capitals, to replace the Verizon Center in Chinatown, or a 65,000-seat stadium for Washington’s NFL team, which has hired the Bjarke Ingels Group as its lead designer but has not settled on a site. There was also an option for no stadium or arena at all but other sorts of sports-and recreational facilities. Other ideas included playing fields, a field house, a water park, an aquatic center, art pavilions, a science center, a new home for the National Aquarium, and a sports complex comparable to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Also, hiking and biking trails, community gardens, a floating pool, a picnic area, a skatepark, an ice rink, an ecology lab, and an exercise park. There were short term and long range ideas. Two manmade islands just off the shoreline, Kingman and Heritage islands, could be made more accessible by a series of pedestrian bridges. OMA’s Long said that since the property is owned by the National Park Service and leased on a long term basis to the District of Columbia, the design team explored recreational uses consistent with the Park Service’s mission. But Long said OMA also wanted to use the planning effort to introduce a wider range of recreational, cultural, and entertainment offerings. OMA wants to show the potential for creating a new gateway to the nation’s Capitol, including taking advantage of efforts to clean up the Anacostia River and providing more public access to the water’s edge. He noted that the RFK property is just about as long as New York’s High Line and just about as wide as Central Park, two of the most popular and heavily-used urban recreational areas in the country. However, it has essentially been devoted to a single use for decades. “We wanted to be much more diverse, in terms of programming,” he said. “This site has the scale to be an amazing place in which the city could connect to the riverfront.” The design team did not provide construction cost estimates. The cost of an NFL stadium or basketball arena alone, experts say, could approach $1 billion. The difference between OMA’s two design options was the way buildings were set along the waterfront and how open space was used to connect them with the waterfront and the rest of the city. One option, called “North-South axis,” would use the site’s sloping topography to conceal a linear “plinth” that spans the length of the site and provides underground parking. On top of this plinth would be a multi-structure sports complex, with a retail promenade at street level. The linear sports complex could contain either the arena, the stadium, or no large sports anchor at all. A series of stairs and ramps would draw visitors down to the waterfront, which would be transformed with parks, fields and possibly an “urban beach.” The existing road network would be restructured to accommodate traffic while providing multiple access points to the plinth so parking is evenly distributed along the site. The second option, called “The Stitch,” builds on the site’s existing “funnel-shaped” road network by adding two pedestrian boulevards and weaving circulation access routes through an urban campus. The plan “stitches” together elements of culture, sports and recreation into three zones.  To the north, amenities include a sports complex, aquatic center, and farmers’ market. The central zone lines up with the National Mall and features a “grand plaza” for outdoor events. To the south would be a marketplace and retail-lined parking structures. Again, this option could accommodate the arena, the NFL stadium or no large sports anchor. Long said the OMA team was aware that the Bjarke Ingels Group has been designing a football stadium, but the two design teams have not meet to discuss how BIG’s design might fit onto the RFK site. One of the features of the BIG design, unveiled last month, was a moat around the stadium that could be used for kayaking and other activities. The football team is considering sites in D. C., Maryland, and northern Virginia. Nearly 400 people came to the two hour presentation at the Washington Convention Center and expressed a variety of opinions. There seemed to be no clear preference for one option or another, or whether a football stadium should go on the site. Audience members asked questions about a number of issues. They wanted to know whether the plan could be modified to include housing; how traffic flow and access from the Metro could be improved; how to make the site more walkable, and whether a beach would make sense with Washington’s  mosquito-infested summers and cold winters. One man suggested moving the National Zoo to the site and selling the zoo property in Woodley Park to help pay for construction. Long said OMA designers will take the comments into consideration as they refine their plans and analyze costs in preparation for a follow-up community meeting in a few months. He said he was impressed by the turnout and the “high level of discussion” about the preliminary design concepts. “It’s good that people want to hear more,” he said.  “It’s great that they want to push it to the next stage.”
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OMA submits sculpted proposal for L.A.’s FAB Civic Center Park

Working alongside landscape architects Mia Lehrer + Associates and design firm IDEO, OMA has put forward a sculpted proposal that features a partially covered green roof, curved steps, and elevated solar panelling. The project was submitted as part of a competition to design the First and Broadway (FAB) Civic Center Park in Los Angeles and will include a café, beer garden, test kitchen, and amphitheater seating. OMA hopes to introduce a "new type of park space" that is a versatile habitat for art and socializing. In doing so, space to eat, relax and escape the hectic downtown L.A. life results in a sculpted design that reflects and shades the selected areas. Mature oak and sycamore trees have been planted in and around the vicinity to harbor the tranquil environment. Almost mimicking this, elevated parabolic solar panelling are dotted around in a similar fashion, forming a cluster, orientated to achieve optimum efficiency. On the underside, they reflect the greenery below and thus maintain the sense of being a natural environment. The gentle curve that these panels produce (as seen in the first image) are emulated throughout the design. This can be seen in the "edible" green roof where sculpted forms break away and juxtapose the rigid orthogonal form of the building's structure. Likewise, another prominent example exists in the steps that offer an inviting recluse and alternative space to sit. While the building prides itself on being a getaway, a dialogue with the surrounding streetscape is maintained. "The corner of First and Broadway provides a new connection—visually and physically—from the cultural corridor of 1st Street to the front steps of City Hall," the firm says. "The extensive system of low seat walls will create an undulating ribbon of informal seating and shaded areas which define a series of 'park rooms' for intimate gatherings or spaces for art and cultural programming, while larger capacity amphitheater seating integrated into the restaurant is available for watching performances in the main plaza." OMA has also installed a hierarchy to the structure, divided by its corresponding story. Two distinct environments can be found with "quick and casual" spaces on the ground floor and "refined and elegant" above. As a result, each level responds to the "district's surrounding civic and cultural landmarks."
Energy efficiency, as mentioned before is also on OMA's agenda.  The proposal offers "net-zero" efficiency with regard to water and energy use thanks to the solar panels and water conservation facilities which are part of the "Golden California" landscape.
Three other firms—AECOM, Brooks + Scarpa, and Eric Owen Moss—submitted proposals, as well.
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Weird, but not so wonderful, says China as it bans “weird” architecture

Question: What has three Arcs de Triomphe, an Eiffel Tower, an Egyptian Sphynx, a Louvre, London Bridge and ten White Houses all over? The answer: China, of course. If the Chinese government has its way, that will soon change.

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The duplicate architectural icons may end there as the country's authorities have said no to anymore "oversized, xenocentric, weird" architecture, The New York Times reports. The State Council and the Communist Party’s Central Committee last week stated that there is to essentially be no more copycat architecture, and instead urged new builds to be “suitable, economic, green and pleasing to the eye.” The directive also stipulated that "the chaotic propagation of grandiose, West-worshipping, weird architecture" should be ended, while gated communities have also been vetoed.

Guidelines arose after meetings discussed issues regarding the alarming rate of urbanization that China is undergoing. Just two years ago, President Xi Jinping expressed his views on China's architectural scene, again deeming it "weird" saying there was to be "no more weird architecture." He went on to say that the current climate displayed "a lack of cultural confidence and some city officials’ distorted attitudes about political achievements," though only now does action appear to be being taken.

According to a translation by the Wall Street Journal Blog, Yang Baojun, vice director of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPA), commented on the directive, saying that "the document is a wake-up call for those places where [there has been] a one-sided pursuit of architectural form over function, where cultural orientation has been compromised by an excessive desire to show off."

The New York Times meanwhile reports that experts have warned of "stricter design standards for public buildings." It also added that, an online forum for the Communist Party newspaper, People's Dailypredicted that "in the future it is unlikely that Beijing will have other strangely shaped buildings like the ‘Giant Trousers’ " referring to the China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV) by OMA.

Feng Guochuan, an architect based in Shenzhen spoke about how the President Xi's words had already begun to have an impact on decision making regarding new projects. He was also worried that Xi was meddling with matters that should only concern urban planners, and not the President. "Generally speaking, local governments now tend to approve more conservative designs," he said.

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However, Wang Kai, vice president of CAUPA, said these stricture design guidelines would mainly be applied to public schemes, while private projects would still have freedom. "For private housing or commercial projects, there is still space for innovation."

Mr. Wang also added that "we shouldn’t go overboard in pursuit of appearances," going on to say how functionality should be the main concern in public buildings.

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Four competing schemes for Downtown Los Angeles’ First & Broadway Civic Park

First there was the Grand Park, then Pershing Square decided to spruce things up with a design competition, and now four competing schemes for a third Downtown Los Angeles park were presented to the city in a public meeting this week. The proposals were from teams lead by AECOM, Brooks + Scarpa, Eric Owen Moss Architects, and Mia Lehrer + Associates with OMA and IDEO. The two-acre First & Broadway Civic Park will take over a full block in the heart of the L.A.’s Civic Center near City Hall and the Gordon Kaufmann’s Art Deco Los Angeles Times building. The overall greening of Downtown Los Angeles is consistent with its ongoing renewal. As such, each of the teams provided ample amenities in the park—canopies, cafes, music venues, movie screens—in addition to the standard fare of gardens, trees, and benches. AECOMmodel AECOM’s proposal takes iconic modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo’s 1946 Landscape for Living as a starting point, and then updates his California dream to be a collective experience. Hints of fifties modernism show themselves in the irregularly shaped lawn, which is framed by “The Wingnut,” which houses a gallery, and a 200-seat restaurant “The Paper Plane.” Undulating ribbons—green space above, amenities underneath—define Brooks + Scarpa's plan. The team suggests that the scheme is ecological with drought-minded plantings and integrated terraces and cisterns that lead to an expansive dry well. Hidden within the proposal is some programming sure to excite the design community: the Architecture and Urbanism Festival, a possible 3-month long curated event that would include temporary installations and public programs. Eric Owen Moss Architects, never a firm to shy away from odd forms, proposed a large cocoon-like structure dominates a rolling and grassy green space. Ready to compete with the nearby crowning towers of City Hall and the Times, EOM’s event pavilion seems equipped to screen films and host events. Mia Lehrer + Associates powerhouse team also includes OMA, IDEO, and Arup, among others. Their proposal takes food as its design driver. While the scheme shows a central paved plaza and side gardens lush with alien-ish shade canopies and mature trees, the main emphasis is on a multi-use pavilion building that includes a beer garden, a test kitchen, a restaurant, and an amphitheater. Presentation boards and models of the designs are on public display at the Department of Building and Safety at 201 North Figueroa.
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LAN Architecture’s Euravenir Tower fills the open last site in OMA’s Euralille master plan

In 1989, OMA was commissioned by Euralille to masterplan 8,611,100 square feet of urban activities in the urban quarter of Lille, France. Approximately 27 years later, the last free parcel of Phase One is filled. The project, Euravenir Tower, was designed by Paris-based architecture firm, LAN Architecture, at the foot of Avenue Le Corbusier. The site "occupies a strategic position at the intersection of major axes and close to well-known landmarks of Lille’s infrastructure, such as the Lille-Europe train station and the ring road, among others," LAN said in a statement. "This location inspired us to view the project as a way to articulate and make a heterogeneous ensemble of architectural and urban elements work together." The building is wrapped in large, clear, glass windows, giving a 360 degree view of Euralille. A copper facade varies in perforation patterns and is either smooth or corrugated, depending on the neighboring condition. "The perforations give depth to the facade, while the corrugation provides a sense of movement," LAN claimed in a statement. The ground level of the tower provides public space. Because LAN was prohibited to build to the edge of the parcel, the firm designed a portico that "provides a sense of porosity as well as protection from inclement weather," says LAN, "It is a lively outdoor space where people who live and work in the building can mingle with passers-by and shop customers." For more information, visit LAN's project page here.