Out of 55 entries in an international design competition for a mixed-use cultural center and hotel, Swedish firm White Arkitekter’s 19-story “Sida vid sida” (“Side-by-side”) design won the bid, according to a press release from the firm. When built, the Kulturhus i Skellefteå will be the tallest timber tower in the Nordic countries. The city of Skellefteå, Sweden, is surrounded by forests which will provide the wood for the construction. The city has a reputation for its abundance of timber and its applications, both in buildings and building techniques. One of the lead architects, Oskar Norelius, stated, “A cultural centre in Skellefteå just has to be built with wood! We’re paying homage to the region’s rich tradition and we’re hoping to collaborate with the local timber industry. Together we will create a beautiful venue, open for everyone, which will both have a contemporary expression and timeless quality,” according to the press release. The tower will be built with prefabricated glue-laminated timber modules reinforced with concrete slabs and steel trusses. The facade will be fully glazed while interior retractable walls will allow for versatile rooms. A green roof will top the building, “providing thermal insulation, sound insulation, biodiversity and rain water absorption.” The county theater, city library, Anna Nordlander Museum, and Skellefteå’s art gallery will be located on the lower floors of the building, accessible to the public. The top sixteen floors will comprise the building’s hotel. White Arkitekter is working with structural engineering firm Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS (DIFK) for construction detailing and specifications. Completion of building is slated for 2019.
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Sweden-based firm White Arkitekter has been named the winner of the "For a Resilient Rockaway" (FAR ROC) design competition. The team's winning proposal, Small Means & Great End, offers a set of design strategies to transform an empty swath of land, known as Averne East, along the Rockaways in Queens, New York into a resilient, mixed-use community. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), along with private developers and the AIA New York Chapter, shortlisted four finalists back in July, including Ennead Architects, Lateral Office, and Seeding Office. Ennead's design, "Fostering Resilient Ecological Development," was recognized by the jury for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design for its diverse ecological design solutions. White Arkitekter, which has been granted a $30,000 prize to realize its plan for the 80-acre site, has proposed implementing "a series of small, affordable, and smart interventions," which aims to mitigate damage, provide improved access during a storm, and create what they call an "antifragile" environement that fares better during and after extreme weather conditions.
Four teams of architects have been selected to envision new possibilities for a long stretch of vacant land along the Sandy-battered coast in the Rockaways. The ideas presented at Thursday's announcement range from practical resiliency tactics to creative design solutions such as dune sand filters, elevated undulating boardwalks, and clusters of low-rise and mid-rise housing. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) along with private developers and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, launched the Far Roc Competition back in April to generate proposals to turn an 80-plus-acre site, called Averne East, into a resilient mixed-use waterfront community. The competition calls on architects to think expansively about the challenges facing the Rockaways and come up with a multi-layered proposals that offer concrete ideas for sustainable mixed-income housing, flood protection measures, and recreation and park land. "We need to build durable, affordable infrastructure for those who really need and deserve it," said Bomee Jung Enterprise Community Partner, an affordable housing organization. The competition yielded 117 submissions from more than 20 countries. The jury panel whittled it down to four finalists, all hailing from across the globe: New York-based Ennead Architects, Toronto's Lateral Office, London-based Seeding Office, and Scandinavian firm White Arkitekter. "We don't have a choice. We have to conquer this challenge if we want to ensure the viability of our waterfront community," said HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua. "We are eagerly anticipating the final presentation of your visions [addressing finalists]." Plans to develop this site have been brewing for several years. In 2007, HPD and developers—the Bluestone Group, L+M Development, and Triangle Equities—were in talks to build a mixed-income development, but held off when the economic crisis hit. The four finalists will be awarded $30,000 to continue to fine-tune and develop their ideas. The proposal deadline for the second phase of the competition will be on October 7th. In addition to the four finalists, there were six honorable mentions, which included: Michael Cowdy from Sydney-based firm McGregor Coxall; John Ellis from San Francisco and Seatte-based firm Mithun; Iljoong Kim from New York-based firm ijKim Architect; Giuseppe Lignano from New York-based Lot-EK; Pablo Oriol from FRPO Rodriquez & Oriol in Madrid; and Zhang Quian Christopher from Los Angeles and Honk Kong-based eLandScript.