UNStudio recently unveiled plans for a series of flexible and modular “Stations of the Future” that would service a massive hyperloop railway network throughout Europe. The Dutch architecture firm, founded by Ben van Berkel, proposed a concept station made from “tessellating” modules that can flex, adapt, and expand to fit into various locations, such as a crowded city center, the edge of a town, or the inside of an existing airport. Stations have open and flexible layouts, and they can greatly differ in size. This makes it easier for the hyperloop system to provide each city with access to a mode of transportation that can travel at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. According to UNStudio, the gentle curves necessary to accommodate the vast speed of the hyperloop vehicles would give the buildings “an inviting organic form to soften the geometry of the module." In addition to the adaptable platforms and semi-transparent, curvilinear roofs, each station’s public level would contain luggage check-in modules, bicycle docks, daycare centers, and pocket parks. “Existing cities mean existing parameters, and UNStudio envisages a symbiotic relationship with its local environment: an integrated piece of an urban composition,” said the studio. One proposed hyperloop line would run from Amsterdam to Frankfurt in 53 minutes, surpassing airplanes that typically take over an hour to travel between the two destinations. Using solar-powered technology, the hyperloop would produce no sound or environmental emissions and could harness enough energy to power not only itself but also surrounding public amenities and modes of transportation. The firm has extensive experience designing rail stations, including the Arnhem Central Station in the Netherlands and the forthcoming Qatar Integrated Railway Project. UNStudio designed the station for HyperSummit, which took place in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and was organized by Hardt Hyperloop, a European technology and transportation company that seeks to revolutionize modern travel.
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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.
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and Midtown Detroit Inc. (MDI) have selected eight finalists for the “DIA Plaza and Midtown Cultural Connections” design competition. The competition seeks to improve the exterior campus of the DIA and refine the spatial relationship between other museums in Midtown, as well as educational institutions like Wayne State University and cultural stalwarts like the Scarab Club. “The overall quality and depth of the submissions far exceeded our expectations,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director and Chair of the competition jury in a press release. “This is testimony to the exciting challenge of transforming Detroit’s arts and cultural district, which represents more than 12 important cultural institutions in the city and benefits all the residents in the region.” The competition strives for a plan that provides the DIA and Midtown’s stakeholder institutions with a cohesive campus that has the flexibility to support events and public art, attracting both the local visitor and world traveler. The competition also aims to make the campus more accessible and user-friendly, considering ways in which people enter and exit each building while addressing parking and driveway issues. The eight firms will each make public presentations in the DIA’s Danto Lecture Hall on June 13 and 14. The eight finalists are local and global. They include Agence Ter (Paris), Hood Design Studio (Oakland, CA), Mikoung Kim Design (Boston), Spackman Mossop Michaels (Detroit), Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston), UNStudio (Amsterdam), Ten x Ten (Minneapolis) and WXY architecture + urban design (New York). Midtown, anchored by Woodward Avenue, has seen significant population and business growth in the last five years, attracted by institutions like the DIA. Yet the area struggles to resolve how to make surrounding streets and public spaces walkable while being bound geographically by freeways.
Self-described “open-source architecture studio” UNStudio is spinning off the tech startup UNSense, which will focus on collecting data from buildings to ultimately improve how people occupy them. UNStudio co-founder and Dutch architect Ben van Berkel has called the move integral to incorporating technology with architecture, and the first step in future-proofing potential new projects. UNStudio is no stranger to futuristic concepts or designs, having built an undulating train station for Arnhem in the Netherlands, proposed a revolutionary new urban-rural farming system, and designed a Zaha-esque cable car system for Gothenburg, Sweden. Now, even though UNSense will be run as a separate sister company, UNStudio will develop “‘hardware’ for the built environment, while UNSense, by contrast, uses very different expertise to develop ‘software’ based applications.” Citing an aim to improve the environment and health of cities through more efficient design, UNSense will focus on using sensors to cut waste, create seamless interaction between the occupants and the building systems, and track air quality. UNSense will be located in its own office at the Freedom Lab Campus tech hub in Amsterdam. While the company was only just formed, it’s hit the ground running with the launch of a power-generating “solar brick” and recommendations for planning sustainable, people-focused cities that learn from the data they’re collecting. “I see a great opportunity as an architect to create buildings and cities that are sensible and sensitive to human beings,” said van Berkel in a statement. “The digital revolution is driving change in every part of our lives, except within the built environment. Now it’s time to catch up with technology.”
In the works for two decades, the new UNStudio-designed train station for Arnhem, Netherlands—the city’s largest post-war development—has finally opened to the public. The 234,000-square-foot transfer hall, which features undulating steel forms reminiscent of Eero Saarinen’s futuristic TWA Terminal design, is a vibrant nexus and a core component of the Arnhem Central Masterplan. The project began in 1996 when UNStudio won a design competition to replace a mid–20th century train station. The building, designed in collaboration with engineering firm Arup, comprises facilities and waiting areas for trains, trolley buses and a bus station, as well as shops, restaurants and a conference center. Two underground levels serve as bicycle storage and car parking. With its unique design, founder and principal architect of UNStudio Ben van Berkel said in a statement that the aim was to "blur distinctions between inside and outside by continuing the urban landscape into the interior of the transfer hall, where ceilings, walls and floors all seamlessly transition into one another.” Skylights make for a space that is infused with natural light, further emphasizing the connection to the outside. The building's curving structure required a departure from typical construction methods and materials. Lightweight steel was employed using boat-building techniques on a scale never before attempted, resulting in a column-free space with a fluid expression. This seamlessness is translated into a complex network of ramps that move people around the station with ease and elegance. Additionally, purposeful lighting was designed to aid wayfinding. According to Van Berkel, the transfer hall “directs and determines how people use and move around the building.” The new station serves as a link between the city center, the Coehoorn area, and a nearby office plaza, and is designed to accommodate a daily flow of 110,000 commuters by 2020, establishing itself as not just a train station, but as a vital nucleus for Arnhem and for the Netherlands.
Brooklyn-based architecture firm REX will design the approximately 80,000 square foot Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PAC). The PAC will produce and show theater, music, musical theater, dance, film, and opera. The commission was previously given to Frank Gehry over a decade ago. “We are honored to design such a meaningful project on a site imbued with deep significance for the people of New York,” Joshua Prince-Ramus, REX's principal, said in a statement. “I am confident that our collaboration with PAC's exceptional team will help create a building that embodies and inspires the many dimensions of creative expression." REX topped a shortlist comprised of Copenhagen's Henning Larsen and Amsterdam's UNStudio. PAC Chairman John Zuccotti and President/Director Maggie Boepple selected the Brooklyn-based firm to design the project, although designs have yet to be released. Last week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) released $10 million of a pledged $99 million for the construction of the new venue. The project may cost more, but the difference will be made up through private donations. REX will collaborate with Davis Brody Bond (designers of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum), theater consultants Charcoalblue, and project managers DBI on the project. The PAC has gone through a few design selection cycles. In 2013, Frank Gehry was selected to build the center, but his proposal was downsized, and ultimately scrapped. The new venue is slated to open in 2019.
Richard Rogers beats Norman Foster and UNStudio for Taoyuan International Airport terminal commission
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have fought off fellow British architecture practice Foster + Partners and Amsterdam-based UNStudio to design the Terminal 3 building at Taoyuan International, Taiwan's largest airport. The firm won by a unanimous decision, AN has learned. In 2014, the airport was the world's 11th busiest passenger airport. The 158-acre airport terminus will see 45 million passengers pass through every year and will be situated adjacent to the China Airlines Headquarters and share some services with neighboring Terminal 2. The building is due to be complete by 2020. Rogers' firm worked with local practice Fei & Cheng Associates and Arup engineers. UNStudio, run by Ben van Berkel, also took the approach of appointing a local firm for the project in working with Bio-Architecture Formosana and April Yang Design Studio. Foster, on the other hand, chose to work individually. Taoyuan International Airport is based 24 miles outside Taipei, the capital of Taiwan and was once known as Chiang Kai-shek International. The winner was selected from a jury comprised Michael Speaks, dean of Syracuse University's school of architecture; Marcos Cruz, director of the Bartlett School of Architecture; and Kwang-Yu King, curator of the 2012 Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale.
Visual grace notes to architectural compositions, surface and finish materials can bring tactility, color, and pattern into a space. From floor to ceiling, from wood and tile to composites and carpeting, here's our pick of the current palette. Plank Floors Dinesen Founded in 1898, this family-run company sources Douglas fir and oak from the best forests in Europe, selecting trees between eighty and 200 years old for exceptional custom flooring installations. Route 66 Viridian Reclaimed Wood These reclaimed red oak and white oak planks and panels get their rustic character from their original use as decking on tractor-trailers. In a variety of lengths and sizes. Waldilla Offered in five wood species—oak, fumed oak, sycamore maple, American cherry, and birch—these free-form flooring planks are anything but straight and narrow. Linear Line Collection Smith & Fong These carved interior panels are LEED-eligible, as the 4-foot by eight-foot, 3/4 inch sheets are made of 100% FSC-certified bamboo. Aura Dekton These fifty-six-inch by 125-inch ceramic slabs can be bookmatched for exterior or interior applications. Available in three thicknesses: 0.8cm, 1.2cm, and 2.0cm. Deep Nocturne DuPont Corian A classic jet black, the solid surfacing can be used in residential, office, and hospitality projects. The material can be thermoformed or worked using conventional wood-shop techniques. Fossil DTS Offered in five patterns, these 24-inch by 24-inch floor-rated porcelain tiles are available in beige, brown, and grey. Designed by Kasia Zareba. Star Land Porcelanico Frost-resistant, this porcelain tile is thermoformed to achieve a three-dimensional surface. In 60cm by 60cm format. Tierras Artisanal Mutina Made of extruded natural terra cotta, this collection comprises five three-dimensional tiles. Designed by Patricia Urquiola. Luminous Carpets Durable, light-transmissive carpeting from Desso combined with super-thin, programmable LED units from Philips turns the floor into a canvas for communication or decoration. Launching in America in April 2015. Cell Lama Made of industrial wool felt, this carpet is pressed—rather than woven or loomed—into random patterns. The material is non-flammable, soundproof, and water-resistant. HEM Collection Carpet Concept This collection of woven carpet is based on non-directional patterns of colored dots. In thirty-four colorways. Designed by Ben van Berkel/UNStudio. Tatami Nanimarquina Soft New Zealand wool is loomed with crisp jute to create a unique textured floorcovering. Designed by Ariadna Miquel and Nani Marquina. Henrik Large Designtex A wallcovering on DNA substrate, the strong lines and colors produce a dynamic pattern; from a distance, the crisp edges blend into an overall design that recalls an Ikat weave. Tall Wolf-Gordon Bending lines weave foreground and background together to create the illusion of height. In seven colorways. Designed by Morgan Bajardi.
Enhancing acoustics, elevating comfort, and offering an attractive shot of color underfoot—carpeting can impact an interior in both subtle and obvious ways. Kick off your shoes and see what we’ve discovered. Tatami Nanimarquina The new Tatami collection by Ariadna Miquel and Nani Marquina are the first color pieces to be part of Nanimarquina’s Natural Collection. Inspired by Japanese straw tatami mats, Tatami is made with a combination of soft, New Zealand wool and bright, structured jute. These complementary fibers are hand loomed together to create the perfect marriage of style and comfort. Available in several colors. Cell Lama Cell carpet is not produced in a traditional way. No loom, knitting machine, or tufting technique is used; neither is it printed. The material creates its own pattern. The carpet is made of industrial woolfelt, which is pressed and then cut into strings. The strings are put together randomly, so an organic, cellular-like pattern evolves, along with a playful finishing of the edges. If damaged, the strings can simply be replaced with new ones. A natural product, woolfelt is non-flammable, soundproofing, water-repellent and breathable. Cell is available in 32 colors. The accent stripes are in black or wool-white; the dots are always wool-white. Hem Carpet Concept When designing the new Hem collection, Ben van Berkel of UN/Studio drew his inspiration from the lively structures of natural and urban landscapes. The collection is based on non-directional patterns of colored dots, which appear in ever-new graphic images and are perceived in various ways when viewed from different angles and distances. Van Berkel explains that part of the intention for the designs and the patterns was to give them more complexity through the use of different colors and the directionality. This creates a spatial layering which is unusual in a two-dimensional surface, but can often be found in the architect’s work. Hem combines the playful lightness of varying pixel-like patterns with an extremely hard-wearing and durable woven carpet suitable for offices and hospitality projects. Breaking Form Mohawk Group The Breaking Form Collection pushes past tradition, giving designers new approaches to color, shape, scale and movement via modular carpet planks. This collaboration with Mac Stopa of Massive Design explores bold lines and geometric patterns that transform the floor, a two-dimensional surface, into a seemingly three-dimensional plane. The 12-inch by 36-inch planks are available in three patterns and nine colorways. Cut & Compose Shaw Contract Group Letters, numbers and abstract elements are cut, rotated, deconstructed, and recomposed to graphic effect in this new collection of floorcovering. Transforming learning environments into motivational spaces, education makes a bold design statement in tile and performance broadloom. Offered in three 24-inch by 24-inch tile styles and two broadloom styles, Cut & Compose is easily installed in any configuration, and the unique color patterns, layered textures, and gradations allow dye lots to blend imperceptibly. Manufactured with Shaw Solution Q Extreme 100% solution dyed nylon on EcoWorx Performance Broadloom and EcoWorx backing, this carpet is Cradle to Cradle Certified at the Silver level. Common Theme Interface Skinny plank carpet-tile modules measuring 25cm x 1m are new additions to the Common Theme collection of squares, creating a series that can yield uncommon and distinctive flooring design for a variety commercial and workplace spaces. Featuring clean lines and a neutral palette, the trio of additions includes: CT111™, a seamless look with grids of varying scale that form a collage of latticework; CT112™, a diffused design that produces a marbled effect; and CT113™, a style that delivers a strong punch of geometry. Easy to configure into a customized design statement, Common Theme planks and squares can be combined through color, contrast, and complementary styling, all with the benefits of simple, glue-free installation and selective replacement.
Some of the biggest names in architecture have been whittled out of a competition to design a new Beethoven Concert Hall—or Beethoven Festspielhaus—in the composer’s hometown of Bonn, Germany. When the competition's short list of ten proposals became an even-shorter list of three, the likes of Zaha Hadid, Snøhetta, JAHN and UNStudio were sent packing. David Chipperfield, however, made it through and is joined in the final three by Valentiny hvp architects from Luxembourg and Kadawittfeldarchitektur from Germany. The new hall, which is slated to break ground in 2016, is expected to host celebrations for Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020, and the 200th anniversary of his death in 2027. Out of the three finalists, Chipperfield definitely presents the most conservative scheme with four stacked cubes made of glass and spun concrete columns. “Assembled at various depths, the four segments combine to create a whole of architectural virtuosity,” explained the competition on its website. The actual concert hall is wrapped in a grained walnut veneer that can be seen through the structure’s façade. Kadawittfeldarchitektur takes a more dramatic approach with an amorphous structure clad in rippling bands of stone. The main structure is separated from a landscaped seating area through a glass enclosure. Oddly enough, the plan from Valentiny hvp architects looks more like “Zaha” than what the Queen of Swoop submitted herself. The firm creates a series of "overlapping bands of waves" that are said to crest behind a massive, Rhine River–facing glass wall. You can see Zaha's proposal and the nine others that were short-listed on the competition's website. One of these three final proposals is expected to be selected next year, following a cost estimation. The project is being privately financed, but is getting an injection of 39 million euros from the German government. The concert hall is expected to open in 2019. [h/t DesignBoom]
UNStudio has completed a sprawling, flower-like campus for the 2014 Horticulture Exhibit in Qingdao, China. The Theme Pavilion consists of four metallic structures that stretch out over 300,000-square-feet and resemble a Chinese rose from above. And at the human scale, the metallic, undulating structures interact with their mountainous surroundings. The Pavilion includes a media center, conference and performance space, and an exhibition hall that collectively anchor the Horticultural Exhibit, which runs through October. "The architecture of the Theme Pavilion further responds to the dominant skyline of the mountains surrounding the Masterplan by means of carefully composed roofscapes on the individual buildings,” explained UNStudio in a statement. “These roofs are envisioned as elevated landscaped plateaus, each addressing a different portion of the Masterplan with its inclination and terracing, providing panoramic views which extend far into the surrounding landscape." After the exhibition wraps up in the fall, the space will transition into a hotel, conference center, and public space.
The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format. "In Architecture Animée, Axel de Stampa uses GIF format to develop a different approach. While the visitor doesn’t move, the building offers different perceptions, comes alive and reveals additional evidence," explained the artist in a statement. [h/t ArchDaily]