A new exhibition at Architektur Galerie Berlin SATELLIT details the Polish firm BBGK Architekci and their recently completed Sprzeczna 4 apartment building in Warsaw, Poland. Manifesto of Prefabrication, on view through Saturday, September 29, explains why this multifamily complex is an innovative prototype for modular housing in the country. Most housing estates built in Poland during the communist period feature large-panel concrete in prefabricated designs. This typology is ubiquitous throughout the country, especially in the capital city of Warsaw, and it has a poor reputation for being ugly, impersonal, and unsustainable. BBGK constructed Sprzeczna 4 in protest against this conception and to show that prefabrication is a valuable construction method for 21st-century housing. The complex utilizes low-cost technology, prefabricated elements, and heated ceiling systems to achieve a cohesive, contextually appropriate design. Ample light infuses the apartments through large windows framed by exposed colored concrete. Sprzeczna 4 not only flips stereotypes about traditional modular construction in Poland, but it also sheds light on past improper building practices. Historically these buildings were built by poorly paid immigrants through a semi-feudal system, but BBGK implemented fair business practices and social responsibility to create this contemporary twist on conventional Polish housing. According to the curator, Marcin Szczelina, the project is a proposal for a new way of using the prefabrication method not only in Poland, but in Europe and beyond. Manifesto of Prefabrication can be seen this week only at the Architektur Galerie Berlin SATELLIT. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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Brought to you with support fromAn active light display animates the facade of a new office building in Warsaw, Poland, highlighting the Wola neighborhood’s transition from industrial manufacturing to a new residential and office district. The Prime Corporate Center was designed by Chicago-based architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz in conjunction with the Warsaw office of Epstein. The building’s design addresses varying vehicular and pedestrian arrival points by segregating car drop-off from those arriving by public transit. An additional 15 stories of offices above an eight-story base is coordinated with the scale of the street. Martin Wolf, principal at Solomon Cordwell Buenz, said the simplicity of the building allowed his team to focus on a sophisticated facade composition: "This project became an exercise in pattern, geometry, and very subtle layers of texture. We achieved this through the combination of fritted glass panels, clear view glazing, and a selective articulation of the curtain wall system." At night, a grid of LED lights incorporated into the unitized curtain wall system to produce a delicate, shifting array of color and pattern that dramatizes the exterior wall. Guardian Glass's Poland manufacturing facility provided glazing and worked with the project team to integrate LED wiring into the curtain wall. These linear lights are wired into a central computer housed in the building, which hosts a computer sequencing program. The technology allows for Prime’s facade to be easily programmed by the building operator, who can flexibly produce variation in lighting schemes. Prime’s building envelope features integrated building systems to control the MEP/FP systems, a monitoring system that optimizes water and electrical power consumption, a heating recovery system, and an interior shading system to help manage solar heat gain. The office plates are designed for future flexibility, incorporating a raised floor system and column-free interior space. These features contribute to the building’s BREEAM certification, a UK green building rating system. Wolf said the Solomon Cordwell Buenz’s office continues to have an ongoing interest in integrative lighting techniques, and that LEDs allow for an impressive amount of variables for any project team to work with. "The beauty about LED is that if you wire it properly, you have an infinite array of color, sequencing, intensity, and timing." Facades like Prime’s, which have the capacity for coordinated building-scale lighting schemes, have the opportunity to communicate with the city utilizing data analysis, upcoming cultural events, and atmospheric conditions. According to Wolf, Prime is an “incredible work of art,” and adds “a needed touch of whimsy” to the urban context. A video of the facade lights in action can be seen below:
Warsaw has risen. New York–based practice Thomas Phifer + Partners has released its plans for a new 160,000-square-foot museum, a 100,000-square-foot theater, and an outdoor forum in Warsaw, Poland. "The city must completely disappear from the surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Wehrmacht. No stone can remain standing. Every building must be razed to its foundation." Those were the chilling words of SS chief Heinrich Himmler in October, 1944 as Nazi forces in Germany organized the "Planned Destruction of Warsaw." Specialist engineers were deployed to demolish house after house—paying particular attention to historical monuments. An estimated 10,455 buildings, of which 923 were historical buildings were destroyed amounting to nearly 90 percent of Warsaw's architecture. Since the dark days of the second world war, the Polish capital has been on a long road to recovery, both socially and culturally. To save their city, residents after the war embarked on a five year project which UNESCO says saw a "near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century." Thomas Phifer+Partners' project is special. Warsaw has, of course, been developing, and rapidly so. but the majority of these projects are not architecturally unique to the city. Instead they have been the product of financial inflows and corporate demand, which does little to aid Warsaw's architectural diversity. Connecting the buildings to Defilad Square and Świętokrzyskie Park, the new Museum of Modern Art and TR Warsaw Theater by Phifer's practice are radically different from the context of their surroundings. A marked shift in typology and style, the designs look to both culturally and architecturally enliven the square in the city center, engaging the public with the art and performances inside. This is achieved via the use of an open auditorium and educational spaces of which can be accessed by visitors on all sides. The museum makes use of tactile materiality the firm described as "simple and honest." This is said to be inspired by abstract works of art. Wrapped in white scrim, the facade is intended to capture the light and shadows of the passing day. Meanwhile the theater emphasizes its permanence with a cast-metal facade. Such a contextual change in materiality offers a distinct abstraction in color tone and texture and perhaps indicates that Warsaw has entered a new era of development, design, and architectural identity.
The semi-dilapidated Eastern-bloc buildings of Warsaw may seem like unlikely candidates to be immortalized in paper miniature. Nonetheless that was the task undertaken by Hispano-Polish design studio ZUPAGRAFIKA, which has devised a series of intricate paper models that can be cut and folded into small-scale models of a number of the Modernist structures dispersed through the city. Each hand-drawn design constitutes a testament to the range of the color grey and is remarkable in its attention to detail. Black bleeds from balconies and stains concrete facades while graffiti peppers the structure's bases. Occasional satellite dishes emerge from apartment units. All but one of the collection appears devoted to residential towers, with the lone outlier being the circular model of the PKO Rotunda. The latter calls for a slightly more elaborate origami effort in executing the structure's zig-zag crown. Each building can be purchased online, though a working knowledge of Polish appears to be required in order to complete such a task. In rendering Warsaw's Modernist legacy with such precision, ZUPAGRAFIKA's project draws a stark contrast between the city's not-so-distant architectural past, and the glossier designs destined to populate its future.
At its 37th session held from June 16 to 27, 2013 in Phnom Pehnh and Siem Reap-Angkor, Cambodia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added 19 sites to the World Heritage List. The new additions bring the list to 981 noteworthy destinations. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of exceptional universal significance and satisfy at least one out of ten selection criteria, which are frequently improved by the Committee to reflect the advancement of the World Heritage notion itself. The following cultural sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. · Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, Qatar · Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora, Ukraine · Bergpark Wilhemshöhe, Germany · Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China · Fujisan, Japan · Golestan Palace, Iran · Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India · Historic Centre of Agadez, Niger · Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong, Korea · Levuka Historical Port Town, Fiji · Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, Italy · Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Canada · University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia, Portugal · Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region, Poland & Ukraine · El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, Mexico · Mount Etna, Italy · Namib Sand Sea, Namibia · Tajik National Park, Tajikistan · Xinjiang Tianshan, China
City Farming. Last week, the New York City Council amended the city's building code to allow for rooftop farming and greenhouses: now, rooftop greenhouses will not be considered an additional story. The bill also requires prisons to purchase locally grown food and calls for the city to maintain a record of spaces suitable for farming, Inhabitat said. Mobile Equity. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights argued in a recent report titled “Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity” that mobility must be a civil right. Recent studies indicate that low-income areas and the elderly lack adequate access to mass transportation, particularly in rural areas. With abut 80% of federal transportation funding marked for highways, mass transit is under-funded reported Wired. Home Slim Home. While Japan is famous for its narrow residences, the world's thinnest house will soon lie in Warsaw, Poland, says ArchDaily. Designed by Centrala, The Kennet House is 122 cm to 72 cm at is narrowest part and will serve as the residence and workplace for writer Etgar Keret. Perfect Pyramids. In a Wired post, a physics professor at Southeastern Louisiana University examined the construction of pyramids—how tall can pyramids be, and what is the best angle? Through mathematical formulas, he mused that 140 meters is the most efficient height.