London's Victoria & Albert Museum is preparing to construct an art installation by Zaha Hadid. Called Crest, the oval form takes its name from ocean waves and will appear in the museum’s John Madejski garden as part of the London Design Festival, which takes place later this month. The Crest, as Hadid’s team has named it, will hover over the pond within the V&A's Madejski garden, forming a swooping arc over the body of water. The futuristic pavilion will sport a metallic surface which will reflect the sky above and the water underneath it. The contrast between these two reflected images will play on the clear contrast of the ultramodern installation against the backdrop of the 19th century museum. Despite this contrast, Hadid designed the installation to create a sense that it had always been there. “We envisioned creating a piece that would emerge from the pool which is the centrepiece of the space, both visually and in terms of social interaction,” Hadid explained in a statement. “Crest is intended to offer an exciting new perspective with which visitors experience the courtyard. It will multiply the movements of the water and the historic backdrop within which it is sited. It will capture the attention of visitors as they enter the space and draw them towards exploring the new quality of space created within.” Hadid previously stated the installation would be comprised of a very thin aluminum material, making it light and easily transported. After the London Design Festival concludes, the Crest installation will be transported from the V&A Museum to Hadid's ultra-parametric ME Dubai hotel, where it will stand as a permanent sculpture. The hotel is expected to open in 2016.
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Bombay Sapphire is in the process of converting a historic paper mill into a facility for producing their famous gin. Overseeing this transformation is the ever-busy Heatherwick Studio, which has been brought on to renovate the 40 derelict buildings found on the site. Their most drastic intervention to the extant campus comes in the form of a soon-to-opened visitor's center that was recently awarded a BREEAM 'outstanding' rating for sustainability, an international system for ranking green buildings. The building is composed of the original structure and two new large glass outgrowths that are seemingly blown out of its interior and into a surrounding body of water. These alien forms are, in fact, drawn from the shapes of the curvaceous copper stills traditionally employed in gin distillation. One temperate, the other humid, the two greenhouses are populated by the various botanicals incorporated into gin production. The glass additions sit partially in the shallows of the River Test that snakes through the entirety of the mill. Integrated photovoltaic cells, a biomass boiler for recycling organic matter, and energy-producing water turbines all contribute to the center's elevated BREEAM status. The watery foundations of the greenhouses are indicative of Heatherwick's attempts to emphasize the role of the river in their refurbishment of the site. The firm hopes to increase the Test's visibility while using it as an organizational device for traversing the numerous buildings in the facility.
A British supermarket once lauded for its ingenuity and pioneering nature is now on the chopping block with a Swedish invader looming. When it was completed, the Greenwich branch of UK Mega-chain Sainsbury's was hailed as a breakthrough in eco-design and shortlisted for a prestigious Stirling Prize. Yet in early March the city council approved plans to demolish the structure in order to pave the way for a new IKEA warehouse outlet. The building was designed by Paul Hinkin during his time at Chetwoods Architects. Upon opening in 1999 it became the country's first retail space to receive an "excellent" BREEAM (roughly the British equivalent of LEED) rating. Design features contributing to this assessment include a reed bed that collects rainwater for use in the store, a liberal hand with recycled materials throughout the interior, and on-site wind turbines. Having since launched his own firm, Hinkin is passionate about preserving his 14 year old creation. Speaking from British sustainable building trade show Ecobuild, he vowed to "fight this until the wrecking ball goes through the roof," and called the decision to demolish "totally and utterly indefensible." Hinkin is not alone in this battle, as a campaign to save the structure has been brewing since November once it appeared that it might be under threat. In late February advocates for preserving the market put in a somewhat audacious bid to English Heritage to have the store listed as a Grade II, the second highest grade the organization bestows upon builds that are "particularly important...and of more than special interest." Approval would make the supermarket the youngest recipient of the honor. In light of the Greenwich Council's rulings these efforts would seem to heretofore have been in vain. Sainsbury's decision to sell the site on the condition that it not be filled by another food retailer essentially seals the fate of a structure that was explicitly designed for that purpose. In an essay written for the UK Green Building Council, Hinkin described bespoke, function-specific structures as a key component of his sustainable architectural philosophy. While they may be sustainable in the short-term, the problems buildings designed along such precepts eventually have in adapting to new programs would appear to make them decidedly unsustainable in the long term. The early success and what appears to be an increasingly likely untimely end of the Greenwich Sainsbury's illustrate the immediate benefits and eventual issues destined to plague this approach.
Sound recordist Chris Watson has returned home for his most recent project: creating an aural map of the contemporary landscape of Sheffield, England. Two years ago, the Guardian reported, Museums Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery asked Watson to undertake the project, mapping the noises of a town he has not lived in for thirty years. Over the past 18 months, the audio artist made a series of ambisonic recordings of the natural and urban environments of the city. The result is a 36-minute sound journey, Inside the Circle of Fire: a Sheffield Sound Map, on current exhibition at the Gallery. Well-known for his wildlife recording work for the BBC and Touch, Watson cites inspiration for the project as the multiple rivers that run through the natural landscape of the city. “Rivers have not only created and channeled the habitat but they have charged both the industrial development and a lot of the leisure [in Sheffield],” he explains. The sound of these waterways, therefore, was “crucial” to the audio. But, like most modern cities, Sheffield’s natural aural landscape is polluted by the sounds of industry and traffic: the built environment and its occupants. Steel mills, airplanes, and the Megatron railway station are as much a part of Sheffield’s map as its forest wildlife and Yorkshire moorlands. Transporting listeners to each environment through the soundscape, Watson’s piece leads a virtual journey through contemporary Sheffield. “Hopefully [Inside the Circle of Fire] stimulates people’s imaginations and strikes them in quite a personal way,” Watson said, “Because a lot of the sounds will be familiar - whether it is the sounds of birdsong in the Ecclesall Woods or downtown Fargate on a Friday night.”
The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2014 Watch List for cultural sites at risk by changes in economy, society, and politics within their respective countries and disrepair due to natural forces. For 2014, the Monument Watch List, compiled and released every two years since 1996, has cited 67 heritage risks in 41 countries and territories around the world. These sites range from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1911-built Taliesin home in Wisconsin, submissive to elements of weathering, to the tree-lined Palisades cliffs in New York and New Jersey, jeopardized by corporate construction plans, to all of the cultural sites of Syria, risked by current war conflict. Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin The World Monuments Fund explains:
The low-lying structures of Taliesin seem in harmony with the rugged landscape, neither feature imposing upon the other. But the forces of nature, including exposure to the elements over time, have put the complex at risk. Taliesin was included on the 2010 Watch to draw attention to these issues, and now the Hillside Theater, the most public of the spaces at Taliesin, is suffering from water infiltration, perimeter drainage issues, a failing roof, and other problems with the building envelope. Due to the experimental nature of the design and materials used to construct Taliesin, the structures face special conservation challenges requiring extensive research and innovative solutions.Cultural Heritage Sites of Syria The World Monuments Fund explains:
Escalating violence in Syria since 2011 has had devastating effects on the country’s cultural heritage. From the ancient souk, or marketplace, in Aleppo, to the iconic Crac des Chevaliers—two castles that were built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries as regional fortifications during the Crusades—to Qal’at al-Mudiq, an archaeological tell that forms part of the classical city of Apamea, the destruction of Syria’s most significant and symbolic sites is of urgent and primary concern, with irreversible implications for the country’s architectural legacy.The Cloisters and the Palisades, New York and New Jersey The World Monuments Fund explains:
The Cloisters Museum itself houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of European medieval art and incorporates monastic architectural elements in its design including stone and stained-glass panels for the doors, and windows. Since its opening in 1938, a defining feature of visiting the Cloisters is an extraordinary vista across the Hudson River to the Palisades. Plans are underway to construct a corporate headquarters and a residential complex on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, modifying zoning legislation to accommodate towers that rise above the once protected tree line of the Palisades. ... An appeal is underway, and it is hoped that inclusion on the Watch will raise awareness about the loss to future generations posed by this development and others that may follow.East Japan Earthquake Heritage Sites After a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and related tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, the World Monuments Fund set the heritage sites of the coastal regions of Tohoku and Kanto on its 2012 Watch List. Since then, the WMF collaborated with the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research to save over 700 national monuments affected by the disaster. Several historic architectural structures were damaged or destroyed by the power of the quake. Although progress has been made, the landmarks which are important to the tourism of the region, are still at risk, in need of grants for continued restoration. Güell Pavilions and Garden, Barcelona, Spain The World Monuments Fund explains:
After Güell's death the estate was converted into a palace for the Spanish Royal Family. The site was later acquired by the University of Barcelona during its expansion into this area in the 1950s, and it now forms part of the Avinguda Diagonal campus of the university. Public access to the garden has been limited, but a new master plan prepared by the university and the city's Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life provides for improved access to the site by visitors and expanded use for university events. Repairs to the structures are necessary, and a project to rehabilitate the roof of the stable is already underway with funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education. More resources are needed to implement this well-conceived plan for the benefit of all citizens of Barcelona, and the millions who visit this enchanting city every year.Elevators of Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile The World Monuments Fund explains:
The Elevators of Valparaíso have been included on the 2014 Watch to emphasize the continuing need for the restoration of the city’s most picturesque feature and an important vehicle for social interaction. The elevators have served as the main method of transportation along the city’s steep topography and were fundamental to its urban development. They symbolize Valparaíso’s preeminence as a maritime center, a position it lost after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Of the 31 original elevators, only 15 remain, of which just 7 are operational. The loss of these vital transit arteries has had negative impacts on the city. A plan unifying community, municipal, and private entities in a collective effort to protect and maintain the elevators is needed to ensure their long-term survival and the revitalization of important neighborhoods in Valparaíso.Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali Since armed conflicts began in Mali in 2012, the country’s heritage sites have been endangered and have suffered some damage. According to the WMF, “nine of the sixteen mausoleums within the World Heritage Site boundaries of Timbuktu were destroyed by rebel forces.” And now, troops are advancing to encroach on the Bandiagara Escarpment in Dogon country and the natural material architectural structures there. Christ Church at Zanzibar, Tanzania The World Monuments Fund explains:
Stone Town has a number of important sites that together have created a vibrant tourist industry, but sectarian conflict, lack of financial resources, and political issues pose ongoing challenges to implementing restoration projects on many of its sites. Nevertheless, plans are under development for formal training and capacity-building programs at Christ Church Cathedral, and there are strong networks in place for local stewardship of the site. Christ Church Cathedral and the Former Slave Market Site is included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch to promote its conservation and its role in a broader revitalization strategy for Stone Town; one that will be compelling to the international community but will also support Zanzibari citizens and their local economy.Battersea Power Station, London, United Kingdom The World Monuments Fund explains:
Since 1983, Battersea Power Station has been closed to the public, marking a thirty-year period of abandonment and lack of appropriate maintenance. The station was first listed on the Watch in 2004, and its impending demolition was averted. Ten years later, the Power Station’s future is once again in question. Located on prime London real estate, the site is slated for imminent redevelopment. There is concern that current plans do not adequately protect the iconic chimneys and the important viewsheds of the power station’s silhouette. The local community is engaged and vested in the future of their swathe of London, and the international community recognizes the cultural significance of this twentieth-century icon. Inclusion on the Watch seeks to reinvigorate and contribute to conversations regarding the long-term stewardship of Battersea Power Station.The complete list by country is as follows: Argentina · Church and Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena, Buenos Aires Armenia · Bardzrakash St. Gregory Monastery, Dsegh, Lori Province Belgium · Collegiale Sainte-Croix de Liege, Liege Brazil · Serra da Moeda, Minas Gerais Chile · Elevators of Alparaíso, Valparaíso · Palacio La Alhambra, Santiago China · Pokfulam Village, Hong Kong Colombia · Ancient Ridged Fields of the San Jorge River Floodplain, Córdoba and Sucre Departments Comoros · Funi Aziri Bangwe, Ikoni, Grande Comore Ecuador · Remigio Crespo Toral Museum, Cuenca, Azuay Province Egypt · Bayt-Al-Razzaz, Cairo Ethiopia · Yemrehanna Kristos, Amhara Region France · Churches of Saint-Merri and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Paris Germany · Gaslight and Gas Lamps of Berlin, Berlin Guatemala · Uaxactun, Petén Department Guyana · Georgetown City Hall, Georgetown India · Historic City of Bidar, Karnataka · House of Shaikh Salim Chishti, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh · Juna Mahal, Dungarpur, Rajasthan Indonesia · Ngada Villages of Flores, Flores, Nusa Tenggara · Peceren and Dokan, Karo District, North Sumatra · Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java Iraq · Khinnis Reliefs, Kurdistan Region Italy · Farnese Aviaries, Rome · Historic Center of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Abruzzo · Muro Dei Francesi, Ciampino, Province of Rome, Lazio · Venice, Venice, Veneto Japan · East Japan Earthquake Heritage Sites, Tohoku and Kanto Regions · Sanro-Den of Sukunahikona Shrine, Ozu, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku Jordan · Damiya Dolmen Field, Damiya, Jordan Valley Kenya · Lamu Old Town, Lamu Macedonia · Monastery of Poloshko, Kavadarci Municipality Mali · Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali Mexico · Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Nuevo León · Retablos de los Altos de Chiapas, San Cristóbal de las Casas and Teopisca, Chiapas Mozambique · Island of Mozambique, Napula Province Myanbar · Yangon Historic City Center, Yangon Nigeria · Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Osogbo, Osun State Pakistan · Shikarpoor Historic City Center, Shikarpoor Municipality Palestinian Territory · Ancient Irrigated Terraces of Battir, Bethlehem Governorate, West Bank Peru · Capilla de la Virgen Concebida de Kuchuhuasi, Quispicanchi, Cusco · Cerro Sechín, Casma, Ancash · Chan Chan, Trujilli, La Libertad · Gran Pajatén, Mariscal Céceres, San Martín Portugal · Fort of Graça, Elvas, Alentjo · Joanine Library of the University of Coimbra, Coimbra Romania · Great Synagogue of Iasi, Iasi · Wooden Churches of Northern Oltenia and Southern Transylvania, Northern Oltenia and Southern Transylvania Singapore · Bukit Brown Spain · Güell Pavilions and Garden, Barcelona · Iglesia Parroquial San Pedro Apóstol, Buenache de Alarcón, Cuenca Syria · Cultural Heritage Sites of Syria Tanzania · Christ Church Cathedral, Zanzibar, Stone Town, Zanzibar · Dar es Salaam Historic Center, Dar es Salaam · House of Wonders and Palace Museum, Stone Town, Zanzibar Turkey · Cathedral of Mren, Digor, Kars United Kingdom · Battersea Power Station, London · Deptform Dockyard and Sayes Court Garden, London · Grimsby Ice Factory and Kasbah, Grimsby, Lincolnshire · Sulgrave Manor, Sulgrave, Northamptonshire United States · Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas · George Najashima House, Studio, and Workshop, Bucks County, Pennsylvania · Henry Klumb House, San Juan, Puerto Rico · Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, Missouri · Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin · The Cloisters and Palisades, New York and New Jersey Venezuela · Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, Caracas
Architect Zaha Hadid is finally putting her stamp on the city she has called home for over 30 years with one of her signature curvaceous designs. The London-based architect has designed the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens consisting of both a $14.5 million curvilinear extension and the renovation of the The Magazine, a brick building originally built as a Gunpowder Store in the early 19th century. The new tensile addition rolls up and over the historic structure and houses a new 120-seat restaurant and social space. The building is composed of tailored glass-fiber fabric, steel columns, and glass. This project is not only Hadid's first permanent building in London, but it is also her first permanent completed tensile structure to date. "The extension has been designed to complement the calm and solid classical building with a light, transparent, dynamic, and distinctly contemporary space of the 21st century," said Hadid in a statement. The Guardian reported that the firm designed the Serpentine's firm temporary installation in 2000, and then were commissioned to do another one, dubbed Lilas, in 2007 for "The Summer Party" fundraiser. "But what we have here now is absolutely Zaha's concept from day one. And it isn't just about galleries, it was about creating social space, and supporting the parkland setting," said Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine, in a story featured in The Independent.
Designing for a specific space can be a challenge, but try designing a chair predestined to become a contemporary statement in the newly-refurbished Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, which has commissioned only its third new chair in 400 years. Earlier this year, three partnerships—Amanda Levete and Herman Miller, Barber Osgerby and Isokon Plus, and Matthew Hilton and SCP Ltd—were shortlisted to compete for the prestigious prize, which has officially been awarded to Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby with Isokon, for their low, round-backed design. Barber Osgerby's contemporary interpretation of the competition brief resulted in a surprisingly slender, three-legged oak design that unites craft heritage and sculptural form to inventively meet reader requirements. The victorious prototype represents a scholarly design approach, with early inspiration drawn from awareness of the library's history and culture. The chair will be produced for installation in the newly-renovated Weston Library over the next year. Bodleian’s estates manager Toby Kirtley told The Guardian that the institution “wanted something that would be iconic and representative of the library. It should be contemporary in style, but not out of place in a heritage setting—innovative and original, without being too experimental and risky.” Barber Osgerby seems to have hit the mark, as Bodley's Interim Librarian Richard Ovenden said, "the winning chair is characterized by a strong identity, creative approach, comfort and suitability for intense study and research." The commission was last granted in 1936 to Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed two heavy, leather-clad bucket seats to furnish the New Bodleian Library building, which is currently undergoing an approximately $105 million renovation by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, and it is set to open in October 2014. Judges included Librarian Sarah Thomas, Director of the V&A Professor Martin Roth, and industrial designer of Kenneth Grange, among others.
Dutch firm Mecanoo’s latest civic building represents a new era in library design. The new Library of Birmingham in the UK replaces the former James Hardin–designed central library, a brutalist concrete structure. The new library is a sleek expression of the evolving nature of education and learning in the 21st century. The modern, metal-clad structure houses a variety of services, including a multimedia center, two cafés, a music library, a performance space, green outdoor terraces, a shop and a gallery. The design vision is that the space will offer culture and entertainment, as well as learning and information. The library’s director, Brian Gambles, told the Guardian that libraries must be relevant to the community, and that the way people learn and use libraries, is changing. The building comprises of a stack of four rectangular volumes for a total of 10 stories and penetrated by a central void. Each rectangular volume is staggered to create various canopies and landscaped terraces. The expansive, open-plan floors are connected with weaving flights of escalators, which ascend from the library terraces, up through floating rings of bookshelves, to the light-flooded atrium above. A series of overlapping metal hoops of the facade create striking patterns of light and shade within the interior of the building. Francine Houben, founder and director of Mecanoo told the Guardian, "the interior is designed to create surprises and stimulate the senses." All photos by Christian Richters.
Jerry Tate Architects has revealed the design for a dynamic treehouse called the Biodiversity Nest to be built inside the Eden Project facility in Cornwall, UK. The London-based firm's design unites architecture and nature, much like the Eden Project's massive Grimshaw-designed overlapping geodesic domes comprising the world’s largest enclosed rainforest. The Biodiversity Nest, part of the new Rainforest Canopy Walkway project, will sit between two 52-foot-tall bridges in the Eden Project’s Humid Tropics Biome. The timber enclosure will provide a shady education space perched in the tree canopy. Due to a limited selection of materials that are able to handle such a challenging rainforest setting, the walkway and treehouse will be built of a galvanized steel superstructure and heat-treated softwoods as an alternative to unsustainable, though strong, tropical hardwoods, reported BD Online. The walkway will be constructed in several phases over three years with the first phase public launch set for June of this year. The Biome will continue to be open to visitors while the Nest is under construction. Further additions will consist of areas such as the “Weather Station,” the “Research Station,” and the “Waterfall Cave.” Architect Jerry Tate told BD that building the Biodiversity Nest for an incredibly humid environment "is an interesting technical challenge as we have to provide a spectacular education space which is comfortable for visitors in the rainforest environment, with a limited choice of materials that can cope with the aggressive environment." Tate is working with treehouse-builder, Blue Forest, a company known for building structures that echo the environment in which they are built.
In a letter to Building Design magazine, the Architects Registration Board in London, aka ARB, has requested that BD no longer refer to Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind as “architects.” Apparently, neither are registered as architects with the all-knowing ARB, therefore “they are not entitled to be described as such,” states the letter. BD Editor-in-Chief Amanda Baillieu immediately called out ARB’s high-handed mandate in an online editorial, writing, “there is no other word to describe ARB’s ban on calling Renzo Piano an architect except bonkers.” The registration board's Alison Carr later apologized for the letter, "Do I think that this was a great example to bring to BD’s attention and help raise awareness? No I don’t. We should have been more cautious so that we get the right message across at the right time, and for that I apologise."
The famous clipper ship Cutty Sark was recently rehabilitated by Grimshaw Architects, who also built an exhibition hall around the vessel. The project, which opened in April, has just received the dubious distinction of winning Building Design’s 2012 Carbuncle (a.k.a. “ugliest building”) Cup award. Parked in Greenwich, England and categorized as a World Heritage site, the ship now floats on a blue glass base intended to suggest water. But the resulting effect is more bateau-en-gelée, prompting BD executive editor Ellis Woodman to write that the project had “the best of intentions and yet has tragically succeeded in defiling the very thing it set out to save.”