Defying the standards of conventional landscaping, living walls take vegetated ground cover to the vertical extreme. For the past 30 years, French botanist and green enthusiast Patrick Blanc has made a quantum leap forward in the art of gardening by designing and building these living walls all over the globe. Blanc's latest project—One Central Park Tower—is in Sydney, Australia, where nature’s tranquil features join forces with dynamic city life. The project is a collaborative effort between Blanc and Jean Nouvel. When completed, the major mixed-use urban renewal housing plan will boast the world’s tallest vertical garden. The building consists of two adjoining residential towers connected by terraced gardens, built atop a retail center. Each tower measures 380 feet in height and consists of shops, cafes, restaurants, offices, 624 apartments, and 38 luxury penthouse suites. Over the years, Blanc has perfected the art of the vertical garden by using synthetic moss instead of soil for the growing medium. At One Central Park, he envisions covering up 50 percent of the building’s facade by incorporating 1,200 square feet of plants stretching from the 2nd floor to the 33rd floor. On the 24th floor, an immense sky garden projects 100 feet out over the park below. At night, the cantilever will act as a canvas for an LED light installation designed by artist Yann Kersale, with vines running up its supporting cables. The lower part of the cantilever will be equipped with an apparatus containing a heliostat, which will reflect sunlight down onto the surrounding gardens and naturally illuminating the building. The lush green tapestry of the structure's facade will be entwined with the foliage of the adjacent park in order to replicate the natural cliffs of the Blue Mountains, which are located in the Western part of Sydney. By using plants and natural sunlight, the design projects to reduce energy consumption and will help cut down the city's greenhouse gas emissions. One Central Park represents a shift towards a new contemporary design era; one that encapsulates all that the age of living and breathing architecture has to offer. Estimated completion date is set for January 2014. Images courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel / Patrick Blanc / Fraser Properties. Image below: Courtesy the messiah website.
Posts tagged with "skyscraper":
Norman Foster is expected to design a new skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia, according to sources cited by the Philly Inquirer. Media company Comcast has outgrown its current home in the city's tallest building—Robert A.M. Stern's 975-foot-tall Comcast Center. Details of the planned tower are being guarded, but architecture critic Inga Saffron reported that Comcast is exploring plans to build a "vertical campus" including several new towers, potentially beginning with a new structure on a 1.5-acre vacant lot at the corner of 18th and Arch streets (indicated above). The site was previously approved for a 1,500-foot-tall tower in 2008 but Saffron said the new tower would likely be shorter. Developer John Gattuso of Liberty Property Trust told the Inquirer, "The tower will be as big as it needs to be."
Manhattan's 57th Street continues its ascent as New York City's new gold coast with a skinny skyscraper unveiled by SHoP Architects and JDS Development today. SHoP most recently celebrated the groundbreaking of another skyscraper for JDS along the East River, but has now been tapped to build a lean, luxury high-rise on West 57th Street that could climb to a whopping 1,350 feet tall. If built, the condo tower would stand 100 feet taller than the Empire State Building. The Wall Street Journal reported that while developers JDS Development and Property Markets Group will not comment on whether financing has been secured, they have already presented plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Stepping back from the street as it rises, the quarter-mile-high skyscraper will emulate steps and be clad in bronze-and-white terra-cotta stripes. SHoP partner, Vishaan Chakrabarti, told the WSJ the materials would create an effect that "sparkles during the day and has a soft glow at night." The developers were able to add height to the building by purchasing air rights from other properties in the vicinity. Elsewhere on 57th Street, BIG is building a pyramidal "court-scraper," Raphael Viñoly has designed the 1,380-foot-tall 432 Park Tower, Christian de Portzamparc's One57 tower is nearing completion, Cetra Ruddy has designed an ultra-skinny 51 story tower, and SOM's Roger Duffy is planning a prismatic, 57-story tower. Chicago's skyscraper experts, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, have also been tapped to design a skyscraper near 57th and Broadway, but no design has been released. The developers said they hope to break ground by 2014.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced last week it would design a new headquarters for Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. The 32-story tower is “a quiet sculptural form within Dubai’s skyline,” SOM Design Director Ross Wimer said in a statement. Its L-shaped floor plate is cantilevered around an empty volume between the building’s eight-story podium and its top levels. The building’s massing shields that courtyard from solar gain, while opening up views to Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa to the east. Executive offices occupy the top two floors, where the square floorplate resumes, with Mashreq’s Board Room suspended from an interior opening at the middle.
In 2005, the doors to the New South China Mall first opened, promising a new age of Chinese consumerism and signaling the rise of the middle class. Located outside Dongguan, an industrial city located in the rapidly-growing Pearl River Delta with a population comparable to New York’s, the nearly 10 million-square-foot mall was the largest in the world in terms of leasable space. The developer, Chinese instant noodle tycoon Alex Hu, expected 100,000 daily shoppers, but the crash-strapped factory workers who populate the nearby metropolis never bothered to make the 2.5-hour trek to the overgrown shopping center, and so 8 years later 99 percent of the mall’s 2,350 retail outlets are still vacant. In the wake of this failure, a new developer, the Dongguan Minying Real Estate Development Company, has hired California-based architecture firms 5+Design and SWA to design yet another mega-sized mall in the rapidly growing city, this time with a few important adjustments that the team hopes will make their project a success. Developers of the 11 million-square-foot Dongguan International Trade Center (DITC) hope to succeed where the New South China Mall failed by offering an accessible downtown location with integrated public transit, lush landscaping, and a diverse, mixed-use program. Situated at the intersection of several public transit lines in the center of the city, the 1 million-square-foot site will be connected to multiple subway and bus routes, as well as provide pedestrian and bicycle access to offer an enticing alternative to the traditional car-based mall. The development will be composed of five towers gathered around a compact, 6-story retail complex. The towers, while all rendered in reflective glass and metal paneling, each have their own distinct design and program. The tallest of the five, coming in at 1,409 feet, will be the 25th tallest building in the world and contain offices and a club, while the others will house offices, a hotel, creative technology studios, residential spaces, and a bank. At the center of the DITC will be the retail center, containing a wide spectrum of tenants to cater to the city’s economically diverse population, as well as a below-ground market hall, exhibition spaces, an ice rink, amphitheater, rooftop park, health club, and a 15-screen cinema. But, still, many may ask, why build a 11 million-square-foot mall in a city with an empty 10 million square foot mall? According to 5+Design principal Michael Ellis, a lot has changed in the years since the New South China Mall opened, and Dongguan is ready for something new. “There is a new generation in China that likes the conveniences of great shops and dining experiences near where they live,” Ellis told China Daily USA. “You see that in the US too, with young people moving to downtown Los Angeles for the same reason. It’s a worldwide trend, but new development is happening so quickly and at a large-enough scale in China that it allows us to operate freely there.” Construction of the DITC is set to be completed by 2015.
Rafael Viñoly Architects has unveiled plans for a new 70-story residential tower located just a small block from the World Trade Center at 22 Thames Street. The developers are looking to replace the 10-story, former American Stock Exchange building with an 870-foot skyscraper. Fisher Brothers, who bought the site for $87.5 million in 2012, asked Rafael Viñoly to design the building and initial plans were presented to members of Community Board 1 last week, where Curbed and the Tribeca Tribune snapped photos of Viñoly's rendering. The glass building would include space for 450 apartments and commercial use on the ground floor. Under the existing zoning, the developers have the right to construct an 85-story tower. However, the company unexpectedly has decided to build a shorter, wider tower better suited for the area. The layout would create space for more spacious apartments and not block the neighboring 1,776-foot One World Trade Center. The skyscraper would act as a transition between the soaring World Trade Center and the low-rise masonry buildings on Greenwich Street. The requested zoning variance would reduce the required setback of the building from 20 feet to 10 or 13 feet, allowing for a wider building. While the number of apartments in the building may change, at least 20 percent will be set aside for affordable housing. The project will integrate environmentally-friendly design and energy efficiency. In the fall, Fisher Brothers will supply a more comprehensive presentation to CB1’s Financial District Committee when it seeks advisory approval for the zoning variance. The city will make the ultimate decision regarding the zoning amendment. A Fisher Brothers representative has revealed a completion goal of September 2017, if all goes as planned.
International architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has several projects underway, such as One Hudson Yards and a new master plan for New York City's Port Authority. Most recently, in a reinvention of spaces, KPF has submitted plans to build 11 floors on top of Richard Seifert’s 1972 30-story King’s Reach Tower, which has been renamed South Bank Tower. Located on London’s South Bank, the tower will be transformed into a mixed-use building consisting of 191 high-rise luxury apartments. KPF and collaborating engineering firm Adams Kara Taylor (AKT II) have applied to Southwark Council to raise the tower an additional 144 feet. The offices no longer meet modern day requirements and have remained vacant for about six years. An extensive overhaul proposal to transform the building into a mixed-use space – including creation of retail space, pool and gym on the ground floor, and various extensions – was approved in October 2011, so the firm already has authorization to add six floors. In seeking approval for five additional floors, KPF wants to take the 364-foot structure to 508 feet, which will extend the tower by more than a third of its original height and will offer space for 36 additional residential units. The extended tower would become part of a new group of tall buildings on the southern bank of the River Thames, which includes the recently completed Shard by Renzo Piano and the impending One Blackfriars by Ian Simpson Architects. Extending South Bank Tower by a third is a world first, according to an AKT II project engineer. KPF has become a frontrunner in skyscraper development, but despite the fact that the tower is a different approach than the firm’s customary sky-high towers, sustainability remains a focal point of the plans.
The winners of eVolo magazine’s 7th Skyscraper Competition have been announced! This year the publication, which has hosted the prestigious competition since 2006, received 625 submissions from 83 different countries, but only 3 of the most thought-provoking projects were selected as the winners. From floating (on-water and in-midair) skyscrapers to morphing structures, each of these futuristic designs not only resembles something out of a sci-fi film, but more importantly, radically defies our understanding of vertical architecture, creatively explores new technologies, and proposes solutions for a more sustainable urban future. First Place: “Polar Umbrella” (Pictured at top) Derek Pirozzi United States Pirozzi’s ambitious design not only addresses issues of global warming but also aims to rebuild the arctic ice caps. According to eVolo Magazine, “The Polar Umbrella’s buoyant super-structure becomes a statement for the prevention of future depletion of our protective arctic region. Through its desalinization and power facilities, this arctic skyscraper becomes a floating metropolis equipped with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) research laboratories, renewable power stations, dormitory-style housing units, eco-tourist attractions, and ecological habitats for wildlife. A series of these structures would be strategically located in the most affected areas.” Second Place: “Phobia Skyscraper” Darius Maikoff and Elodie Godo France With their innovative design for the “Phobia Skyscraper” Maikoff and Godo have envisioned a residential development constructed out of reconfigurable recycled industrial materials that, according to eVolo Magazine, “seeks to revitalize an abandoned industrial area of Paris, France, through an ingenious system of prefabricated housing units. Its modularity allows for a differentiation of various programs and evolution in time.” Third Place: “Light Park” Ting Xu and Yiming Chen China Xu and Chen’s design for “Light Park” endeavors to ameliorate Beijing’s issue of traffic and overpopulation. As said by eVolo Magazine, “One way to make scarce green and recreation space available to residents of [Beijing] is a skyscraper that floats above the land, taking new development to the sky. The Light Park stays afloat thanks to a large, mushroom cap-like helium-filled balloon at its top, and solar-powered propellers directly below. Programmatic platforms that host parks, sports fields, green houses, restaurants, and other uses are suspended from the top of the structure by reinforced steel cables; the platforms fan in different directions around the spherical vessel to balance its weight. These slabs are also staggered to allow for maximum exposure to sunlight on each level.” Honorable mentions were given to several other commendable projects, including but not limited to “a pH conditioner skyscraper that resembles a jellyfish and purifies polluted air,” a “volcano skyscraper that harvests geothermal energy,” and “a cluster of artificial islands that create the 7th continent in the Pacific Ocean.” A gallery of the Honorable Mention winners; more information of each of the Honorable Mention projects available on eVolo. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy eVolo.
Dutch architecture office MVRDV has placed a bid to create a 1,300-foot-tall skyscraper in Jakarta, Indonesia called Peruri 88. The complex arrangement of edifices, which resembles a city's worth of buildings stacked atop one another along the lines of a massive assembly of life-size “building” blocks covered with greenery, is MVRDV's answer to Jakarta’s need for densification and green space. The somewhat literal rendition of an 88-story “vertical city” will comprise 3.87 million square feet with an extensive list of offerings including retail, housing, office space, a luxury hotel, four levels of parking, a mosque, a wedding hall, an Imax theater, an outdoor amphitheater, semi-public roof parks, and an abundance of gardens. The commercial podium of the structure alone will house reflective pools of water and a sunken garden plaza among its restaurants and shops. Overall, Perruri 88 has truly compounded a enormous city onto one site. “Peruri 88 is vertical Jakarta," MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas said in a statement. "It represents a new, denser, social, green mini-city, a monument to the development of Jakarta as a modern icon literally raised from its own city fabric.” This green-mix use project was presented to site owner Peruri as a competition bid to assist in Jakarta’s urban growth and, if chosen, construction would begin immediately at the the desired location of Jl. Palatehan 4 Jakarta. MVRDV worked with American firm Jerde and engineering firm ARUP on the proposal.
Next time you visit old town Pasadena you may be in for a suprise. When you slink down an alley off of Fair Oaks and Colorado, the next thing you see will be a four-story, 35-foot-tall skyscraper, sitting in the middle of a courtyard. It's an installation by artist Chris Burden (yes, he's the one that did the cool lights and all the matchbox cars at LACMA) called Small Skyscraper (Quasi Legal Skyscraper). Burden collaborated with LA architects Taalman Koch on the open design, which conists of slabs of 2x4s supported by a thin aluminum frame. Burden started envisioning the project back in the 90s, but at that time the idea was for a solid structure made of concrete blocks. This one is lightweight and seems almost like an erector set. Presented by the Armory Center for the Arts, Small Skyscraper will be on display until November.
A "supertall" building is one which tops out at over 1,250 feet. Right now, there are 18 completed supertall buildings and 21 under construction. Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) will break ground on Tuesday on the 1,740-foot-tall CTF Tower in Tianjin, China. It will be the tenth supertall building to begin construction for SOM, the most of any firm in the world. The building is a carefully-crafted design which deliberately merges structural challenges with program and form. The mixed-use tower in the Tianjin Economic Development Area, an area planned for new growth, has retail at the base, topped with offices, 300 residential units, and a 350-room, 5-star hotel. "The functional aspects of program were integrated with the structure," said SOM design partner Brian Lee. "And the form was also developed alongside the structural scheme." Larger floor plates are needed for the office spaces, which are placed near the base of the building. Residential units with smaller floor plate are at the top. The gentle curves of the building and the large, sloped, concrete elements form a "mega-column," which acts as an external frame. Environmental conditions also affected the final design. Wind slots, a porous crown at the top of the tower, and a gradiated opacity toward the higher floors all help to decrease wind loads, and the corners are rounded to prevent a vortex effect on the back side of the building.