“The design is informed by acoustical space," said Daniel Libeskind. "The idea was to treat each space as a distinct atmosphere and mood as you move throughout the museum. Every volume references the surrounding landscape—dune, mountain, desert, ocean.”The new museum will sit between two roadways leading into Iquique’s urban center, and on a serious grade. The topmost road is approximately 26 feet higher than the lower street. That means an elevated ramp was needed to unite both halves, creating a pass-through to the beach between the two streets for the first time. A sloped garden will rise from the lower side as well. Construction of the new museum is expected to begin in early 2020, though no completion date has been given yet.
Posts tagged with "Studio Libeskind":
A multi-level museum showcasing 6,000 years of history is slated to break ground Iquique, Chile, and Studio Libeskind has revealed the first look at its dramatic, seemingly-fragmented building. Iquique is a port city in the country’s north that, while built on mining, has transitioned towards a tourism economy in recent years, in part owing to the abundance of natural biomes found together there—mountains, desert, and the ocean all lie in close proximity. Appropriately enough, Studio Libeskind has drawn on the lush natural environment for the design of the new home for El Museo Antropológico Regional de Iquique (Regional Anthropological Museum of Iquique). The new building will replace the anthropological museum’s original home, where it has existed since 1892. While the current building can only display 20 percent of the museum’s collection, the replacement—which Studio Libeskind has dubbed “El Dragon de Tarapacá”—will be able to put 6,000 years of history on display. Focusing first on the indigenous peoples of the nearby Atacama Desert, the museum will also cover colonialism, nitrate mining in the region, and history up to modern times. El Dragon de Tarapacá was designed to harmonize with the surrounding landscape. Using three pairs of jutting, vertical walls, the massing of the museum references the Atacama Desert, nearby dunes, mountains, and the adjacent coast. The design team opted for a mixture of earth-colored concrete, which is intended to resemble the local stone historically used for construction in Iquique, and hardwood for the interiors. Programmatically, over 40,000 square feet of exhibition space will span two levels. A café over the entrance hall will look out over the shore to the south, while the educational spaces, such as classrooms and a theater, will be located below the entrance. Beneath that will sit the administrative spaces and offices, with underground parking below.
University College Dublin (UCD) revealed the latest design proposals from the six shortlisted teams for Future Campus—University College Dublin International Design Competition. Six teams were chosen from the 98 firms that submitted proposals earlier this year, and the latest renderings reveal competing visions for the university's future. Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York) John Ronan Architects (Chicago) O’Donnell + Tuomey (Dublin) Steven Holl Architects (New York) Studio Libeskind (New York) UNStudio (Amsterdam) The design competition consists of two design initiatives—one is a sixty-acre Entrance Precinct master plan and another is the Centre for Creative Design, a new building to house a maker space and a “living learning lab.” UCD, Ireland’s "Global University", is one of Ireland’s largest universities with more than 30,000 students. The university moved to its current 330-acre Belfield campus in 1963, which was masterplanned by Polish architect Andrzej Wejchert through another competition. The current campus consists of a collection of estates, including period houses and four- to five-story Brutalist structures within a landscaped setting. The master plan is envisioned to be “a highly-visible and welcoming entrance precinct” to introduce placemaking and establish an identity for the university. The new masterplan will house the 90,000 square foot Centre for Creative Design, which is meant to be an emblem of UCD’s creative identity. Another aspect of the masterplan is to increase the permeability of the campus boundary, potentially by introducing a new vehicular entrance and working with planned public transportation connections and other transport modes. “We are seeking an integrated design proposal that improves the experience of our campus for its users and that better connects us to our surroundings, orientating us outwards to the world and inviting our communities to engage with us,” said Professor Hugh Campell, professor of architecture at UCD and member of the competition jury. The university is now seeking comments on the design proposals from the UCD community, whose feedback will be fed to the jury. The winner will be announced in August 2018.
University College of Dublin (UCD) has just announced the finalists of its Future Campus – University College Dublin International Design Competition. Of the ninety-eight firms that submitted proposals, six have been chosen for the project’s shortlist: Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York), John Ronan Architects (Chicago), O’Donnell + Toumey (Dublin), Steven Holl Architects (New York), Studio Libeskind (New York), and UN Studio (Amsterdam). The Future Campus Competition is for two connected projects on the university’s campus, a sixty-acre master plan and a new academic building. With over 30,000 students, University College of Dublin is Ireland’s largest university. Founded in 1854, the university migrated to its current 330-acre Belfield campus in 1963, which was designed by Polish architect Andrej Wejchert. Wejchert’s design is primarily composed of four- to five-story Brutalist structures within a landscaped setting. The campus is located on the edge of Dublin, just over two miles from the city center. UCD views the future master plan as a “highly-visible and welcoming entrance” establishing an “urban design vision that values high-quality placemaking, architecture, and public realm.” Within the master plan area, UCD envisions an approximately 90,000-square-foot academic lab dubbed The Centre for Creative Design. The estimated budget for the project is just under $60 million. Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President of University College Dublin, describes the competition process as a rare moment to build “a design that will become an icon for the University – representing our vision to create something extraordinary and brilliant.” All six firms will conduct a site visit at the campus by the end of the month, with a winner announced in August 2018.
Daniel Libeskind has been a New York City resident since his teenage years, but, as has been noted, the acclaimed architect has yet to realize a ground-up project there. That may be about to change, as Studio Libeskind has released renderings of its geometric Sumner Houses Senior Building, set to rise in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. The collaboration between Libeskind and the city is part of the broader Housing New York 2.0’s “Seniors First” program, a commitment to build affordable senior housing on land owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The move was first announced in a January press release where NYCHA, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) jointly announced four new partnerships under its 100% Affordable Housing program, its NextGen Neighborhoods program, and its FHA Vacant Homes program. Libeskind has been tapped to design senior housing on the western “site 2” parcel of the Sumner Houses superblock, a NYCHA-owned plot on the northern edge of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The 10-story, 129,928-square-foot apartment building will hold 197 permanently affordable units, along with over 10,000-square feet of ground-level community space for residents along Marcus Garvey Boulevard. “I am extremely grateful and inspired by this opportunity to contribute to the Bed-Stuy community,” said Libeskind in a statement sent to AN. “I believe I can speak for our entire team that our goal is to serve the senior community by creating homes that give a sense of civic pride and create more much needed affordable housing in New York City.” The firm’s design is a definite break from the boxy brick buildings commonly seen in affordable housing throughout the neighborhood. Libeskind has taken a more geometric approach, twisting and cutting away at the typical rectangular form to create an almost crystalline structure. According to Libeskind, the alternating open and solid elements and series of lifts and cuts are meant to create a lively interaction with the street and surrounding area. The building’s mass twists and lifts as it rises, and the double-height, glazed entrance lobby should give expansive views of the surrounding Sumner Houses block. Inside, corridor sightlines have been aligned to look inward on a central public courtyard. Construction on the Sumner Houses Senior Building should be complete in 2020. A comprehensive fact sheet on the building's affordability breakdown can be found here.
On Wednesday, Canada opened its first Holocaust memorial, making it the last Allied nation to erect a structure of remembrance for the victims of the genocide. Designed by Studio Libeskind, the memorial was chosen in 2014 from a shortlist of proposals by other familiar names like David Adjaye and Ron Arad. The completed structure is located in Ottawa, and was supported by the National Holocaust Monument Development Council as well as the Canadian government. Landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky and museum planner Gail Dexter Lord served principal roles on the design team alongside Daniel Libeskind, and were joined by Claude Cormier as the landscape architect and the University of Toronto's Doris Bergen as a content advisor. Seen from above, the memorial clearly resembles a stretched Star of David – the same star Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. It is also meant to honor the other groups persecuted – including Jehovah's Witnesses, queer individuals, political prisoners, the mentally ill, and others – many of whom were forced to wear differently colored stars or patches to distinguish their identities to Nazi officers. Constructed of six concrete and metal walls, the monument forms chambers of reflection at varying sizes, including a tall triangular contemplation room nearly closed off to the rest. Huge in scale, some of Burtynsky's photos are painted onto the walls by an artist's team led by William Lazos. They depict concentration camps, the railways that led people to them, and other eerily vacant landscapes. Conifers are planted surrounding the memorial, giving an even heightened sense of stillness. According to the project's Instagram, these plants were meant to typify Canada's boreal forest, and represent "the struggle of immigrants — those who’ve come to Canada and survived and thrived in difficult conditions." The choice to focus on landscape was well-considered – particularly, as Lord outlined to The Art Newspaper, because of the importance of landscape imagery in Canadian history, identity, and popular imagination. “You can look at a landscape and just think it’s just beautiful, but in fact, some of the most terrible things that have ever happened to human beings happened there,” Lord said. Lord went on to say that she hoped the monument inspired visitors to reflect on the horrific deeds committed not just during the Holocaust, but by colonists to the indigenous peoples of Canada. Pastoral landscapes often have a disturbing habit of distracting from the violence of their history, and Canada's green hills are not exempt. This point also resonates with one of the central stories behind the monument: that Canada refused to offer asylum to many victims of the Holocaust. In one devastating instance, a German ship called the MS St. Louis containing 937 Jewish refugees was turned away from Cuba, the U.S., and finally Canada. After returning to Europe, 254 of its passengers perished in concentration camps. They are memorialized in many places, most recently by a Twitter account that went viral after the travel ban at the beginning of President Donald Trump's term of office (which has similarly denied refugees seeking asylum from political unrest). Canada's new monument is meant, in part, to honor their lives as well, and acknowledge the state's role in their demise at a time of extraordinary need. Another narrative highlighted by the memorial centers on the contributions of Holocaust survivors to Canadian society after the war – some 40,000 of whom moved to Canada upon release from concentration camps.
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This direct commission in Germany brought Daniel Libeskind back to Berlin for his first residential project in the city. The project, located on a busy corner in the Mitte neighborhood in central Berlin, presented a design challenge: How to carve out 73 desirable one- to four-bedroom apartments on a plot measuring a little less than half an acre? The result is a faceted mid-rise building that negotiates Berlin’s zoning code with varied setbacks, angular windows, and canted walls. In select locations, the building envelope subtly pulls away from the primary facade, creating intimate outdoor balcony nooks. Stefan Blach, principal at Studio Libeskind, said the balconies not only give the facade more depth but also enhance the quality of the units. “There are 70 units, most of which are very small, and even those have a balcony that wraps from the living room to the bedroom. A lot of work went into developing these units—each plan is unique. The coordination between facade and plan was really special in this building.” The project is a showcase for Libeskind’s signature tile design, which wraps all of the street facades and as well as some key interior moments. Produced by manufacturer Casalgrande Padana, the three-dimensional geometric-patterned stoneware tiles, named Fractile, measure approximately two-feet by four-feet and feature unique advanced technology to self-clean and aid in air purification. This is achieved by the application of a specialized titanium dioxide coating that breaks down organic deposits when exposed to the Sun's UV light. The coating is the result of a master agreement signed between Casalgrande Padana and TOTO, a global leader in photocatalytic technology. Fractile is part of Casalgrande’s ongoing efforts to produce bioactive ceramic products capable of interacting with the environment. Of the 3,600 tiles supplied, only 500 were made in a standard production format. The remaining 3,100 tiles are custom shapes made using controlled linear and water jet cuts according to precise drawings. Additionally, every tile was specifically positioned to reflect the A or B sides of the pattern (the two positions of the tiles when rotated by 180 degrees). This specificity allowed the architects to control the overall patterning and reflective effects of the facade. The tiles were delivered in 15 different batches to the site and, due to the complexity of the order, each piece was identified with a unique number to ensure they were correctly positioned. The delivery of the tiles took nine months, with installation taking an additional four months—an outcome that the manufacturer called “high satisfactory, given the parametric complexity of the shapes that needed covering.” The ventilated facade was assembled utilizing a standard anchorage system from Casalgrande in combination with micro-anchors from KEIL. The facade has been built by general contractor PORR Germany and specialized facade consultant Medicke Metallbau. The building had to adhere to the 2013 EnEV energy code, one of the most stringent codes in the world. This limited the quantity of glazing in the project and, in response to the code, the project team specified high-performance triple-glazed units with external louvers. Operable units conform to a standard dimension, while fixed panels absorb irregular geometries of the facade. Studio Libeskind’s project team, led by architect Jochen Klein, encountered some zoning regulations as well, which affected massing strategy. The maximum height of the building was determined by zoning regulations. The required setback from the centerline of the street is minimum 0.4 times the building height, a rule that works to limit the height of the building. This introduced the need for a parapet configuration to allow for a primary street front volume and secondary taller penthouse volume. Blach said the overall height, which was taller than neighboring buildings, was successfully negotiated by the project team due to its prominent corner lot location. "There is a tradition in Berlin that the corner buildings are sometimes even a full story higher than their neighbors." Another regulation relates to the oriels, which are not allowed to consume more than one-third the overall length of the facade, and are limited to a projection of around five feet from the building. In the case of Sapphire, an agreement with the city allowed to the architects to cantilever a freeform volume of space over the sidewalk beyond the plane of the primary facade. With retail shops on the ground floor, underground parking, and a common outdoor area, this high-spirited, contemporary complex stands on land where the Wulffersche iron factory once operated, before being expropriated from its Jewish owners during World War II. Blach said the individuality of the plan and spatial layouts and the translation to the facade were the celebrated successes of this project. "Catering the building to all of the individual tenants who moved in was very special for us—each has inherited a unique apartment that's unlike their neighbors."
This article was originally published on ArchDaily as "Studio Libeskind Wins Competitions for 2 New Projects in France." Studio Libeskind has won competitions for two new mixed-use projects in France, the firm announced at the MIPIM world property market conference this past week in Cannes. The first project comprises a retail, conference and transportation center for the city of Nice, while the second will see the firm complete a 150-meter-tall skyscraper in Toulouse. “With these important projects in two of the main French cities, we unveil our new development strategy to create urban mixed-use buildings. Once completed, both will become new landmarks for Nice and Toulouse. With Studio Libeskind, we are up to great things!” said Philippe Journo, CEO of Compagnie de Phalsbourg, the developer behind both projects. Gare Thiers-Est, Nice In Nice, Studio Libeskind has collaborated with Fevrier Carre Architectes and landscape architect Jean Mus to design the “Gare Thiers-Est” (East Thiers Station), a keystone project of a major urban redevelopment of Thiers Central station and its surroundings. The sculptural, faceted building will contain 18,300 square meters of luxury commercial space featuring shops, terraced cafes, and restaurants with panoramic city views, as well as a Hilton hotel, a 600-seat auditorium, and co-working facilities. The project will reconnect the severed urban fabric by creating new pedestrian connections between the street and the station, united the North and South neighborhoods currently separated by the railways and the Pierre-Mathis road. “This project represents the forward thinking of the City of Nice to create a major architectural landmark and to rejuvenate the surrounding area near the Theirs Station in this historic city,” said Daniel Libeskind. “For Nice, my aim was to create a building that is seen from all angles – that will become the connective tissue between two sectors and reconnect the neighborhoods. It will serve to reflect the city, the light, and the landscape.” Drawing inspiration from the mineral forms of azurite, the project will feature a glass and metal facade that will reflect the scenes of the city, landscape, and sky, rising 40 meters to obscure the rail tracks. The facade will also allow the building to be visible from the hills above the city, creating a beacon that is a celebration of infrastructure. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2017, with an estimated completion at the end of 2019. Occitanie Tower, Toulouse About 450 kilometers to the west, Studio Libeskind has designed the 150-meter-tall Occitanie Tower to serve as a new landmark for the business district of Toulouse. Located on the site of a former postal sorting center, the folding glass form will rise 40 floors, becoming the first true skyscraper in the city. Also a mixed-use project, the tower will include 11,000 square meters of office space, a Hilton hotel, approximately 120 apartment units, and a restaurant featuring panoramic views, as well as commercial and office space. A ribbon of vertical gardens designed by landscape architect Nicolas Gilsoul will spiral up the tower, acting as a natural extension of the lush park and waterway of Canal du Midi that winds through the city. “With its suspended gardens that change color during the seasons, the slight silvertine of the glazing of the façade will reflect the pink tones of Toulouse and the brightness of this material will change perception of the space, according to the variation of light,” explained Libeskind. “The tower becomes a unique object in a vast urban space—the tower will not only become a destination, but also a defining public space.” Sited east of the city center, the building will feature views of the Garonne River and the Pyrenees, located less than 100km away. The project is hoped to become the gateway to the city’s burgeoning business sector. “Toulouse is poised to assert itself as a new business hub in the region,” said developer Philippe Journo. “ The Occitanie Tower will create both an iconic landmark for the city as well as create a strategic economic generator for the district.” Studio Libeskind will collaborate with Toulouse architect Francis Cardete on the project. Construction is slated to begin in 2018 and complete by 2022. News via Studio Libeskind. Written by Patrick Lynch
Studio Libeskind comes out against Trump travel ban, will boycott companies that support the administration’s policies
In case you missed it, last Friday President Trump signed an executive order that immediately prevented refugees and immigrants from seven mostly-Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen) from entering the U.S. (The order halts the entry of refugees for 120 days, immigrants for three months, and indefinitely stops refugees from Syria.) The move caught everyone by surprise, including the Justice Department. The Department of Homeland Security scrambled to implement the order. Even those with valid visas and green cards were barred entry or forced to return to their point of origin. In the wake of the order, there have been spontaneous protests, condemnations from corporations and both sides of the aisle, as well as a flurry of legal activity. Now, New York and Zurich-based Studio Libeskind has added its voice to those opposing the ban:
Studio Libeskind would not exist without immigration. Daniel Libeskind immigrated to the United States, fleeing persecution and Communist rulers in Poland. His wife, Nina, co-founder of the practice, is Canadian. Daniel and Nina run the studio with three partners from the US, Germany and Afghanistan. Our Studio in New York is comprised of the most dedicated and talented architects and designers from more than a dozen countries. On any given day one can hear French, Spanish, Farsi, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish, Swedish, Arabic, and Korean spoken. This diversity makes us stronger and makes this practice uniquely American, not the other way around. The Trump travel ban is an affront to our freedom and core values. It affects our employees, colleagues and collaborators. Now is the time for us to join hands and take a stand. On January 21, the Studio brought nearly a 100 people to march on Washington DC. We are actively boycotting companies that support the current administration’s policies. But there is still more to do. We invite our colleagues in the architecture, design and construction communities to join us.Where does your firm stand? Let us know in the comments or email us at: editor[at]archpaper.com (Also see: SCI-Arc issues statement in support of immigrants, students in light of Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban)
Daniel Libeskind has released the design for a 33,400 square-foot, contemporary art center in the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania, a city famous for its baroque architecture and medieval old town. The center, which represents Vilnius past and present, was designed by Studio Libeskind in partnership with Do Architects and Baltic Engineers. It is the first center ever to be dedicated solely to modern and contemporary art by Lithuanian artists. “We wanted to create a museum for the people of Lithuania, and also give this collection a home and an international audience," Viktoras Butkus, co-founder of the nonprofit Modern Art Center (MAC), said in a statement. "This collection is about the cultural legacy of the country. Libeskind’s work is expressive, innovative, and, most importantly, has the power to tell the story of the past while connecting to the future of the city.” The museum will house works solely by Lithuanian artists, ranging from the 1960s through the present day. Works include: Vincas Kisarauskas "Falling Broken Man" 1965; Arvydas Saltenis "Woman" 1972; and Kostas Dereskevicius "Mailboxes" 1987; photographs by Antanas Sutkus "J. P. Sartre ir S. de Beauvoir in Lithuania"; video by Deimantas Narkevicius "The Dud Effect." Being a Modern Art Center in a historic city, the design takes into account the local architecture both formally and materially, according to Libeskind. For instance, the structure is comprised of two intertwining forms that create indoor and outdoor spaces, while the exterior is clad in white concrete—already a prevalent material throughout the city. An interior courtyard cuts through the entire building, featuring a staircase that runs to a public planted roof and sculpture garden which connect to the street-level piazza. “The Modern Art Center not only creates a home for this extraordinary collection, but the design connects the galleries to the street and the urban fabric—giving the citizens of Vilnius a new cultural center infused with public space,” Libeskind said in a statement. The design calls for floor-to-ceiling glazing that will flood the interior galleries with light, and a 16-foot cantilever will provide shading, regulating the southern facing exposure. The north side has a three-story, 33-foot-tall glazed entrance, which opens into a sun-filled lobby. An open floor plan connects all the galleries, in which 10,800 square-feet are dedicated to both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The design also includes a café, bookstore, educational areas, auditorium, and a storage and administrative space. The Lithuanian Modern Art Center will begin construction in 2017 and should be complete by early 2019.
Expo Milano 2015, with its theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” closed Saturday, October 31st. Although investing $1.8 billion into a 184-day event and transporting designers and materials across the globe isn’t quite sustainable, the results were revolutionary—exhibiting new, sustainable building methods and promoting food production. But now, the big question is: what’s going to happen to these temporary structures? Here are three notable participants repurposing their structures with minimal waste. Palazzo Italia: Becoming a university campus Palazzo Italia, designed by Nemesi & Partners, is clad with 2,204 tons of smog-filtering concrete, eighty percent of which is sourced from recycled materials, like Carrara marble. During the expo, the interior’s interactive spaces promoted Italy’s agricultural and culinary traditions, and now it will serve as the headquarters of a university campus for innovation. Having been repurposed on site, Palazzo Italia will not be disassembled, making it the only permanent structure designed for the Expo. Breathe.Austria: Reforesting South Tyrol Breathe.Austria, “The Breathing Pavilion,” by Team.Breathe.Austria, Terrain, is a miniature Austrian forest, designed to provide around 138 pounds of fresh oxygen per hour, without filters. Climate engineers will release the actual measurements within a week. However, this estimated rate is enough oxygen for 1,800 people in an ideal climate and demonstrates the benefits of a reforestation policy. Now that it’s time to leave the Expo, the reforestation pavilion has to deforest, but the 12 Austrian forest ecotypes—ranging from mosses and shrubs to towering, 40-foot trees—will get a home in a reforestation project in South Tyrol, Italy. Vanke Pavilion: Funding the restoration of a Chinese temple Vanke’s corporate pavilion, by Studio Libeskind, was designed and constructed as a “kit,” making it easy to disassemble and recycle. The 4,000 red metalized tiles, designed by Libeskind and Casalgrande Padana, will be sent to Vanke in China, formed into a piece of art, and auctioned off for charity, funding the restoration of a Chinese temple. The Pavilion’s contractor, Bodino, will reuse and resell the structural and mechanical components. These are only a few examples of how the Milan Expo has set the stage for expos to monitor consumption, minimize waste, and create long-serving structures.
Daniel Libeskind plans three “interlocking” towers in Rome’s Tor di Valle district as part of urbanizing masterplan
Designs revealed by starchitect Daniel Libeskind for a trio of office towers in Rome’s Tor di Valle district beget interlocking building blocks, despite varying in height and shape. Arranged in triangular formation on a 32,000 square foot public piazza, the structures, peaking at 721 feet tall, work "in conversation" with one another as if the product of a single stone block. Landscaped with vegetation and reflecting pools, the interiors strive to perpetuate a similar nature-inspired aesthetic. Each asymmetrical tower is clad in a mesh of opaque panels that punctuates its glass facade. Folded glass planes reveal interior garden expanses containing multi-level office and recreational spaces. These form atrium-like areas providing unobstructed views of the city and central piazza, while simultaneously abetting climate control through natural shading, air filtering and circulation. Tower one has two vertical gardens on opposite sides—one on the lower half and the other shielding the upper floors for efficient layout of office space. Meanwhile, all three towers will contain café and retail outlets at ground level. Developed by Eurnova SRL, the three-million-square-foot business park is one of numerous jostling components of a masterplan for a sustainable urban district connected to Rome’s historic center. Plans envisioned by Studio Libeskind and New York–based Meis Studio include the A.S. Roma Arena stadium, training facilities, high and low-rise offices, retail, dining, and cinemas. The three towers will be linked to the A.S. Roma Arena via a retail boulevard running from the Tor di Valle Metro Station to the stadium. “Making an architectural contribution to the eternal city is a treasured opportunity,” said Libeskind. “Rome will have world-class business park connected to the stadium that will provide a vibrant, sustainable neighborhood in this ancient city.”
Daniel Libeskind’s recently completed Congres Centre, in Mons, Belgium, has opened its doors just in time to kick off the city’s year of festivities as the 2015 European Capital of Culture. The new convention center bears the architect’s signature jagged style, featuring two sharp protruding and overlapping volumes, and is designed “as a new architectural landmark for Mons” and “connector between the old and the new,” explained Studio Libeskind in a statement. On the exterior, a band of anodized aluminum sits atop and intersects the lower section, resembling a hull of a ship. The lower walls are clad with a vertical framework of robinia wood. On top of the roughly 41,010-square-foot building, a steel viewing platform provides views of the medieval town center as well as the new Calatrava-designed train station in the new “Grands Pres” neighborhood. Inside, there are three auditoriums, ranging in size and capacity from a larger 500-seat hall to a more intimate space with 100 seats—all outfitted with bright orange Tangram seats. An entrance hall dubbed the “Forum” can hold exhibitions and special events, and feature narrow skylights—another Libeskind trademark—which crisscross the ceiling to let in “shifting patterns of natural illumination.” The complex will also include a 4,000-square-foot multi-event space and 16 meeting rooms of various size.