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28 résultats trouvés

  1. Je vais déménager à Manhattan au mois d'Août. Je garde un pied-à-terre à Vancouver et reviens fréquemment à Montréal. Je viens de voir cette nouvelle toute fraiche. Je vais habiter tout juste à côté de Washington Square, et ce nouveau développement m'intéresse au plus haut point. J'esssaierai de vous en faire part régulièrement. Voici l'article du Wall Street Journal: First Look at NYU Tower Plan University Wants 38-Story Building on Village Site; Critics Fret Over Pei Design By CRAIG KARMIN New York University on Thursday expects to unveil its much-anticipated design plans for the proposed 38-story tower in Greenwich Village, one of the most ambitious projects in the school's controversial 25-year expansion plan. Before and after: The space between two towers designed by I.M. Pei, above, would be filled by a new tower, in rendering below, under NYU's plan. The tower, sight-unseen, is already facing backlash from community groups who say the building would interfere with the original three-tower design by famed architect I.M. Pei. Critics also say the new building would flood the neighborhood with more construction and cause other disruptions. The concrete fourth tower with floor-to-ceiling glass windows would be built on the Bleecker Street side of the site, known as University Village. It would house a moderate-priced hotel on the bottom 15 floors. The 240-room hotel would be intended for visiting professors and other NYU guests, but would also be available to the public. The top floors would be housing for school faculty. In addition, NYU would move the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center farther east toward Mercer Street to clear space for a broader walkway through the site that connects Bleecker and Houston streets. The sports complex would be torn down and rebuilt with a new design. Grimshaw Architects The plan also calls for replacing a grocery store that is currently in the northwest corner of the site with a playground. As a result, the site would gain 8,000 square feet of public space under the tower proposal, according to an NYU spokesman. NYU considers the new tower a crucial component of its ambitious expansion plans to add six million square feet to the campus by 2031—including proposed sites in Brooklyn, Governors Island and possibly the World Trade Center site—in an effort to increase its current student population of about 40,000 by 5,500. The tower is also one of the most contentious parts of the plan because the University Village site received landmark status in 2008 and is home to a Pablo Picasso statue. The three existing towers, including one dedicated to affordable public housing, were designed by Mr. Pei in the 1960s. The 30-story cast-concrete structures are considered a classic example of modernism. Grimshaw Architects, the New York firm that designed the proposed tower, says it wants the new structure to complement Mr. Pei's work. "It would be built with a sensitivity to the existing buildings," says Mark Husser, a Grimshaw partner. "It is meant to relate to the towers but also be contemporary." Grimshaw Architects NYU says the planned building, at center of rendering above, would relate to current towers. He said the new tower would use similar materials to the Pei structures and would be positioned at the site in a way not to cut off views from the existing buildings. Little of this news is likely to pacify local opposition. "A fourth tower would utterly change Pei's design," says Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. He says that Mr. Pei designed a number of plans about the same time that similarly featured three towers around open space, such as the Society Hill Towers in Philadelphia. Watch a video showing a rendering of New York University's proposed 38-story tower, one of the most ambitious projects in the university's vast 2031 expansion plan. The tower would be located near Bleecker Street in Manhattan. Video courtesy of Grimshaw Architects. Residents say they fear that the new tower would bring years of construction and reduce green spaces and trees. "We are oversaturated with NYU buildings," says Sylvia Rackow, who lives in the tower for public housing. "They have a lot of other options, like in the financial district, but they are just greedy." NYU will have to win permission from the city's Landmark Commission before it can proceed. This process begins on Monday when NYU makes a preliminary presentation to the local community board. Jason Andrew for the Wall Street Journal NYU is 'just greedy,' says Sylvia Rackow, seen in her apartment. Grimshaw. While the commission typically designates a particular district or building, University Village is unusual in that it granted landmark status to a site and the surrounding landscaping, making it harder to predict how the commission may respond. NYU also would need to get commercial zoning approval to build a hotel in an area designated as residential. And the university would have to get approval to purchase small strips of land on the site from the city. If the university is tripped up in getting required approvals, it has a backup plan to build a tower on the site currently occupied by a grocery store at Bleecker and LaGuardia, which would have a size similar to the proposed tower of 270,000 square feet. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704198004575311161334409470.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsForth
  2. Très très belle rénovation du Palais de Justice de Montmagny!! Beautiful restoration project for the House of Justice of Montmagny, a small city of about 12 000 people, situated 45min north east of Quebec City. Architects: ccm2 of Quebec City Photographer: Stéphane Groleau http://www.architectureduquebec.com/blogue/palais-de-justice-de-montmagny?rq=montmagny
  3. Architects Building - 17 floors (1932-1955) Southeast corner of Rene-Levesque and Beaver Hall. Demolished for the enlargement of René-Lévesque Blvd in the 1950's (then named Dorchester Blvd). http://imtl.org/montreal/building/Architect-Building.php?noter=1&note=10 (SSP) (SSP) http://coolopolis.blogspot.com/2009/11/where-ine-mtel-were-these-olde-thyme.html **************************** Monctezuma : j'ai modifié ton message pour y ajouter un backup photos, au cas où les liens se briseraient éventuellement.
  4. http://www.smart-magazine.com/en/jan-gehl-architect-interview/ Jan_Gehl_Portrait The city whisperer Portrait 3 minutes read - Oliver Herwig on November 3rd, 2015 Jan Gehl champions something that few architects have mastered: cities for people. The Dane favors compact neighborhoods over grand master plans. The 79-year-old city planner values the wishes of residents over architecture. And his resounding success proves him right. Ssssshhhhhrrrrr. In the background, a cordless screwdriver buzzes away. Jan Gehl apologizes for the distraction; “Excuse me, they’re doing some work in the kitchen.” Life is quite busy for the professor emeritus and city planner. As a city planner, Gehl‘s detail orientation and screw-tightening skills come in handy wherever mayors or councilors realize that something needs to change. Over the past few years, they have been beating a path to his door: Gehl is considered a top global expert on humane cities. “I’m an idealist,” states the 79-year-old. “And the projects I’m working on are all about creating better environments for pedestrians and public life.” To Gehl, both of these are intrinsically linked – people should be able to experience their city on foot. He goes on to scoff that we know more about the perfect habitat for Siberian tigers than a good environment for people. His wife Ingrid and he started out studying life in the cities – and then traveled to Italy on a grant in 1965. In 1971, “Livet mellem husene,” life between buildings, was the first result of their studies between streets and squares – and turned out to be quite a flop. Yet Gehl labored on and continued to hone and develop his methods over the years, by then a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts. Jan Gehl Brighton “My projects are all about creating better environments for pedestrians”. Photo: Gehl Architects Gehl’s foremost success is Copenhagen Today, his successes prove him right. And the standout example is Copenhagen – the city of Gehl’s alma mater, teaching career, and a company he co-founded. In a way, it serves as an open-air lab for his ideas: All the way back in 1965, the city – advised by Gehl – created Europe’s longest pedestrian zone, the Strøget. Copenhagen has become a template for the fundamental shift from post war car-centric cities to more pedestrian-friendly 21st century metropolises. “In order to reclaim a human dimension, city planners need to re-evaluate the many capacity-friendly ideas,” he states in the recently released “Cities for People”. This means: Our cities are filled with too many traffic lights, narrow sidewalks, and multi-lane highways that squeeze in pedestrians and force them to cross streets in a rush. According to Gehl, that’s not a given: “There is a good, pedestrian-friendly solution for any traffic planning issue.” And he adds that “it is high time to revisit our priorities.” To this end, Gehl has introduced a check list of small changes that – taken together – produce great results. He favors “polite reminders” (as in Copenhagen) over flashing traffic lights that “encourage hasty crossings” (as in New York City). Gloomy pedestrian underpasses (like the one near Zurich’s train station) should be replaced by sunlit “zebra crossings at street level.” Copenhagen stroget Jan Gehl Advised by Gehl, Copenhagen installed Europe’s longest pedestrian zone, the Strøget. Photo: Yadid Levy / Getty Images From New York City to Shanghai: a globally sought-after urban consultant Gehl knows cities better than most. Paraphrasing a well-known analogy, some people are good with horses and become horse whisperers, while others are good with people. The latter usually become doctors, nurses, or priests. As a city planner, Jan Gehl is a little bit of all. First and foremost, however, he is a self-professed “missionary.” He preaches human scale development and has been consulting for cities around the world for years, helping them to redesign entire neighborhoods to benefit their residents. The formula is simple: go to the city, observe, and listen. And then join together to effect change. A fun video on his website tells the story behind it all. It took the love of developmental psychologist Ingrid to open the builder’s eyes: Architecture should serve people. In this spirit, Jan Gehl draws on insights by sociologists and psychologists to turn ivory tower planning into bona fide collaborations. The Herald Square before Jan Gehl The Herald Square in New York City before … Photo: DOT The Herald Square after Jan Gehl … and after Gehl Architects. Photo: DOT Gehl’s top priority: the human scale His drive really picked up in 2000 when Gehl and Helle Søholt, a former student, joined forces to found the company Gehl Architects. Maybe, it’s all just a question of scale. Modernism delighted in completely redesigning metropolises or conjuring up abstract plans on the drawing board. Builders like Le Corbusier, who considered rented dwellings “housing units” or “living machines,” liked to subdivide cities by function. This is a kind of thinking Gehl would like to leave behind. The architect is less interested in models and buildings than in their residents. Over the years, Gehl came up with a range of basic principles that support and define thriving communities around the world. One of these rules might be not to build skyscrapers since six or more levels up residents lose touch with the street and feel removed from it all. Or: consider the ground floor. It shouldn’t be uniform or forbidding, but varied and full of surprises. MarDelPlata Jan Gehl Gehl’s formula is simple: … Photo: Municipality of Mar del Plata Mar Del Plata Jan Gehl … go to the city, observe, and listen. Photo: Municipality of Mar del Plata “Better city spaces, more city life“ Nowadays, Gehl provides coaching for cities like New York City, Shanghai, Singapore, St. Petersburg, or Almaty. And his insights sound so simple, matter of fact, and even trivial that it can be hard to fathom how our modern cities, divided by functions, could ever have forgotten these wisdoms. “Better city spaces, more city life,” one of his premises states. High quality spaces encourage leisure activities and interactions. “It’s so obvious, we have simply overlooked it.” P.S. The interview was conducted over an old telephone on the fifth floor of a building in the center of Munich. Sao Paulo Jan Gehl “Better city spaces, more city life.“ Phpto: Luis E. S. Brettas Header image: Sandra Henningsson / Rights Gehl Architects sent via Tapatalk
  5. IluvMTL

    Montreal Re-Imagined

    http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/montreal-re-imagined/montreal-reimagined-cityscape-is-more-than-only-a-view The Montreal Re-Imagined section is presented by Concordia University Concordia University Montreal Reimagined: Cityscape is more than only a view MONTREAL, QUE.: April 02, 2015 -- Logo staff mugshot / headshot of Luca Barone in Montreal Thursday April 02, 2015. LUCA BARONE, SPECIAL TO MONTREAL GAZETTE Until I graduated, my daily hike up to McGill’s Faculty of Law on the corner of Peel St. and Dr. Penfield Ave. began at the corner of de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., where I would emerge into daylight from the métro station. Ascending into the world from the underground takes a little readjusting: you look around to get your bearings, check the weather, and let your eyes readjust to the sunlight. I was never afforded much to look at until I began walking north up Peel and glimpsed the mountain. The east-west view along de Maisonneuve is disappointing. Look left or right and the view is the same: dark towers pockmarked with windows rise up on the horizon. When a building obstructs a view down a street and becomes the focal point of what you see, it is known as a terminated vista. They can be a blessing and a curse. They also can help create a sense of destination and diversity in a city and can be manipulated to highlight significant landmarks. The view of McGill’s campus against the backdrop of Mount Royal from McGill College Ave. is one of Montreal’s iconic landscapes. Looking south down St. Urbain St., the view of the Art Deco waterfall of the Aldred Building on Place d’Armes is another example of a successful blocked view that beckons rather than repulses, as is the view of the dome of the Hôtel-Dieu looking north along Ste-Famille. These landmarks create a sense of place and they are symbols of our city. But look south down Parc Ave. toward Place du Parc (the Air Transat building) and the view is hardly inspiring. When the view down a street ends in a blank tower, the terminated vista does not help create a more livable city. Not every building should be monumental or iconic, but any urban building should make you want to walk toward it rather than avert your eyes. Downtown towers should be built because they have many virtues, from proximity to public transit to the lower environmental effect of higher population density, but we should not ignore how these buildings relate to their surroundings. Uniformity should not be the goal, either: a building should not have to look exactly like its neighbours, but it should complement them. Without exaggerating the importance of the look and shape of buildings, Montrealers deserve more than what we’re getting from urban planners, architects and real estate developers. We should trudge out of the métro and be delighted by what we see. In a city full of talented architects, much of the blame for uninspired buildings lies with real estate developers who don’t hire local talent, and city councillors and urban planners who give construction permits without paying sufficient attention to buildings’ visual impact. The Louis-Bohème building on the corner of Bleury and de Maisonneuve is an example of a building that succeeds on many levels. Its apartments make the best use of the land by increasing the density of residents in the area. It also has underground parking and shops at ground level, from where you can also access the Place-des-Arts métro station. In many ways, the building represents exactly the kind of development Montreal needs. But it fails as an element of the urban landscape. When you see it rising above Parc or de Maisonneuve, the view of its charcoal concrete panels leaves you unmoved at best and intimidated at worst. In a city that suffers from interminable winters exacerbated by short days and little sunlight, buildings clad in light-absorbing, dark materials are not merely ugly — they should be considered a public health concern. One way to improve urban design would be to develop a sustainable local architecture that is responsive to our climate. Initiatives like the Quartier des Spectacles’ Luminothérapie winter light installations are a great start, but the city should take a more active role in promoting architecture that makes long winters more bearable. For example, Edmonton has issued specific winter design guidelines that promote architectural features that block wind, maximize sunlight, and enliven the cityscape as part of its “WinterCity Strategy.” It is not easy for a building to enrich its surroundings while responding to the demands of a city and its inhabitants, the climate and the economy. But our buildings speak eloquently about who we are and what we value. We have to live with them for decades, if not centuries. It’s worth getting them right sent via Tapatalk
  6. http://www.architectmagazine.com/Architecture/the-best-and-worst-architectural-events-of-2014_o.aspx Voir le lien pour les images BEYOND BUILDINGS The Best and Worst Architectural Events of 2014 Aaron Betsky presents 10 lamentable moments and 10 reasons for hope in architecture. By Aaron Betsky New National Stadium, by Zaha Hadid Architects New National Stadium Tokyo, Japan Zaha Hadid Architects Everywhere this last year, we heard the call for a return to order, normalcy, the bland, and the fearful. Herewith are ten examples, in no particular order, of such disheartening events from 2014—and ten things that give me hope. Reasons to Despair 1. The demolition of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Idiosyncratic both in layout and façade—and absolutely breathtaking. The MoMA monolith keeps inflating its mediocre spaces; I despair and wonder if Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) will be able to rescue it from almost a century of bad and too-big boxes 2. The defeat of Bjarke Ingels Group’s proposals for the Kimball Art Museum in Park City, Utah. The second proposal was already less exciting than the first, an award-winning, spiraling log cabin, but even the lifted-skirt box caused too many heart palpitations for the NIMBYists 3. The protests against Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Olympic Stadium design, which left the building lumpen and unlovely. At this point, Arata Isozki is right: they should start over 4. The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, leading to the selection of banal finalists 5. President Xi’s call for an end to “weird” architecture. What is truly weird is the amount of mass-produced boxes in which China is imprisoning its inhabitants and workers 6. Prince Charles’ recitation of the kind of architecture that makes him feel good. The ideas are very sensible, actually, but a beginning, not an end [Ed. note: The linked article may appear behind a paywall. Another reporting of Prince Charles' 10 design principles may be found here.] 7. Ground Zero. Actually, almost a farce since it was a tragedy that now has turned into just a dumb and numbing reality 8. The New York Times’ abandonment of serious criticism of architecture 9. The reduction of architecture to a catalog of building parts in the Venice Biennale’s Elements exhibition 10. A proposal from Peter Zumthor, Hon. FAIA, for a new LACMA building that looks as weird as all the other buildings proposed and built there, but is just a curved version of a pompous museum isolated from its site. It is a mark of our refusal to realize that sometimes reuse—of which LACMA’s recent history is an excellent example—is better than making monuments Credit: © Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner Reasons for Hope 1. The addition to the Stedelijk Museum of Art in Amsterdam: a strangely beautiful and effective bathtub Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, by Benthem Crouwel Architekten. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, by Benthem Crouwel Architekten. Credit: © Jannes Linders 2. The renovation of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam—though not its Louvre-wannabe entrance The ribbed, tiled vaults of the Museum Passageway beneath the Gallery of Honor were restored; arched windows overlook the renovated courtyards on either side. The ribbed, tiled vaults of the Museum Passageway beneath the Gallery of Honor were restored; arched windows overlook the renovated courtyards on either side. Credit: Pedro Pegenaute 3. The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s plan to go gloriously underground 4. The Smithsonian’s plan to do the same Aerial view of the South Mall Campus with proposed renovations. Aerial view of the South Mall Campus with proposed renovations. Credit: BIG/Smithsonian 5. The Belgian Pavilion exhibition at the Venice Biennale: looking reality in the eyes and making beauty out of it 6. Cliff Richards rollerskating through Milton Keynes in the same; ah, the joys of modernism 7. Ma Yansong’s proposal for the Lucas Museum in Chicago—especially after the horrible neo-classical proposal the same institution tried to foist on San Francisco; though this oozing octopus sure looks like it could use some refinement, or maybe a rock to hide part of it South view. South view. Credit: Lucas Museum of Narrative Art 8. The spread of bicycling sharing in cities like Barcelona and around the world, if for no other reason than that this way of movement gives us a completely different perspective on our urban environment 9. The spread of drones, ditto the above, plus they finally make real those helicopter fly-through videos architects have been devising for years 10. The emergence of tactical urbanism into the mainstream, as heralded by the MoMA exhibition Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities. I hope that shows the way for the next year Aaron Betsky is a regularly featured columnist whose stories appear on this website each week. His views and conclusions are not necessarily those of ARCHITECT magazine nor of the American Institute of Architects. sent via Tapatalk
  7. Pavillon John-Molson Architectes: KPMB Architects – FSA Architectes Fin de la construction:2008 Utilisation: Nouveau pavillon de l'université Concordia Emplacement: Quartier Concordia (Centre-ville), Montréal 76 mètres (253 pieds) - 17 étages Lien: http://www.johnmolson.concordia.ca/building/index.html Description: - Le projet coûtera 60 millions de dollars.
  8. On vient de me recommander ce livre; sûrement qu'il y en aura ici qui seront intéressés... The Endless City At the turn of the twenty-first century, the world is faced with an unprecedented challenge. It must address a fundamental shift in the world’s population towards the cities, and away from mankind’s rural roots.Over the course of two years, a group of internationally renowned professionals from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds gathered together in six world cities to take stock of the new urban condition and to offer an approach to dealing with it. The Urban Age conferences – organised by the London School of Economics and Political Science and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society – centred on six very different cities. In Shanghai and Mexico City, the urban population is experiencing rapid growth and change,while Berlin is coming to terms with shrinking expectations.The result was a sometimes passionate, always challenging and informed debate on how architects, urbanists, politicians and policy makers can constructively plan the infrastructure and development of the endless city, to promote a better social and economic life for its citizens. 34 contributors from across Europe, South America, China, Africa and the U.S. set the agenda for the city – detailing its successes as well as its failures. Authoritatively edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic, The Endless City presents the outcome of this pioneering initiative on the future of cities. It has a follow-up volume called Living in the Endless City (2011). http://lsecities.net/publications/books/the-endless-city/
  9. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2013/dec/30/ten-new-years-resolutions-for-architects-2014 Ten new year's resolutions for architects in 2014 Remember that buildings shouldn't burn things, windows should let in light and copying others is fine – but just try not to annoy the skateboarders <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-101b839c-7d6d-4e7a-b448-a5fd5be930f4" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">I shall not burn … the Walkie-Scorchie 'fryscraper' melted car parts and singed shop windows. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images</figcaption></figure> Don't melt things It might sound obvious, but it's usually good if your buildings don't actively attack their neighbours or melt passing vehicles with laser death rays. It is a lesson that has evaded Rafael Viñoly, purveyor of “fryscrapers” to London and Las Vegas, who seemingly can't resist channelling the powers of the sun into beams capable of singeing sun-loungers and scorching Jaguars. This year, if you find yourself designing a south-facing concave facade in a highly reflective material, maybe best think again. Or at least don't let “value engineers” remove the sunshades. Be nice to old buildings <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-21cdf4b3-61b7-4565-b340-7c733eae853a" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Parametric hat … Zaha Hadid's Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Photograph: Martin Godwin</figcaption></figure>They were there before you, and the chances are they're better made and more beautiful than anything you will be able to replace them with, so treat listed buildings nicely. Try to resist the urge to use them as ahatstand for your latest undulating parametric headpiece. Nor is it probably a good idea to rip off the back and use the front as a picturesque mask to distract people from your monstrous shed looming behind. If in doubt, the Stirling Prize-winning Astley Castle has some pointers. Don't stand for modern-day slavery <figure class="element element-video" data-canonical-url="http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/dec/22/abu-dhabi-migrant-workers-video" data-show-ads="true" data-video-id="2011826" data-video-name="The dark side of Abu Dhabi's cultural revolution – video" data-video-provider="guardian.co.uk" data-video-poster="http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/audio/video/2013/12/11/1386776622909/Saadiyat-island-off-the-c-001.jpg" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"> <figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">'Happiness Island' … Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, home to iconic buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Norman Foster.</figcaption></figure>OK, it might be hard to turn it down when the Louvre asks you to build agigantic upturned colander on Abu Dhabi's pleasure island, or when Sheikh Zayed phones up asking for a museum in the shape of his prize falcon's wings. We all want our icons in the desert, but let's face it, your construction workers will probably do a better job if they're not living in squalor, 10 men to a room, trapped in labour camps with their passports confiscated, working for a year just to pay back their recruitment fees. Be nice to skateboarders <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-761d4c25-c7fd-4114-b65a-e9ecf0a991e9" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">South Bank skaters … as precious as bats and great crested newts when it comes to planning applications. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>They might seem like an unsightly addition to your prize-winning public space, with their low-slung jeans and strangely oversized trainers, but, just like bats and great crested newts, skateboarders hold a lot of sway when it comes to planning applications. So treat them with respect. It's probably not a good idea to turn their hallowed Mecca into a themed retail experience, nor to rub salt in the wound by commissioning ageing has-beens to design an “as-found skate space” down the road. You'll be in for a long, tough ride if you do. Don't be ashamed of copying <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-f8a5308f-2b7c-4aad-ab10-498e7e572fc9" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Look familiar? … A copy of Zaha Hadid's Wangjing Soho building, under construction in Chongqing. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>It's nice to imagine that every one of your designs is a genius idea channelled from the heavens, forged by a single hand in the white heat of the workshop, but that's not really how the design process works. The history of architecture and design is a history of copying, sampling and remixing, so why not celebrate the fact? After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the Chinese continue to demonstrate, so go ahead and build an homage to your favourite architect – and make it a bit bigger than the original while you're at it. Design windows that let in light and views <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-d62c73a6-5ef4-4692-93f5-b4a18604dc5c" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Shadow gap … UCL's New Hall housing, 465 Caledonian Road, was declared the worst building of 2013. Photograph: Ellis Woodman/BD</figcaption></figure>A window, according to the OED, is a device used “to admit light or air and allow people to see out”. It is a definition best remembered when designing openings in buildings, but one that little concerned the architects of UCL's latest student accommodation block. The Carbuncle Cup-winning hulk on Pentonville Road houses cramped cell-like rooms that look directly out on to the blank brick wall of a retained Victorian facade, only one metre away. No matter – the planning inspector ruled the conditions were “unlikely to be perceived as overly oppressive by the occupiers”. They're only students after all. Bring fleeting joy <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-fb2bf44f-2f01-4e4c-a55e-aea58288bb3a" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Half packing crate, half temple … The Shed at the National Theatre. Photograph: Helene Binet</figcaption></figure>You might want your every creation to last forever, but some of the best things are good precisely because they disappear. The Shed at the National Theatre proved to be one such joyful fleeting visitor to the South Bank last summer, looking as if Lasdun's concrete fly-tower had leapt down and daubed itself with red face-paint to join the riverside fun. A simple timber box, it showed how the rambling concrete terraces of the Southbank Centre can be enlivened with nimble intervention – proving they don't really need to be smothered with giant glass containers of shops and restaurants. Don't ruin views <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-d41d6d76-28ee-4a9f-b72e-a9fd3e90479d" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">'Like building a skyscraper next to Stonehenge … Port Meadow before and after. Photograph: Save Port Meadow</figcaption></figure>This year, when presented with an idyllic pastoral site on the edge of a rolling expanse of millennium-old common land, fringed by the prospect of dreaming spires poking above the treetops, you might want to think twice before plonking an army of inflated toy-town houses down in the middle of it all. Such has been the effect of Oxford's new Castle Mill student housing development on the edge of Port Meadow, a group of bulky blocks that despoil the landscape and block the long-cherished view, in a move slammed by critics as like “building a skyscraper next to Stonehenge”. Kill-off your practice before it kills you <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-b17cb976-9f90-4f4a-bf3b-e3ef9db79ebb" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Die young … the Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet in Rotterdam, by FAT. Photograph: Maarten Laupman/FAT</figcaption></figure>Running out of work, on the brink of financial collapse and always coming runner-up in competitions? Why risk fading into obscurity and beckoning forth the debt-collectors, when you can go out with a stylish bang and break up your practice instead, boy-band style? A premature death guarantees teary-eyed obituaries, friendly missives from long-standing rivals and nostalgic reviews of your final projects. So bite the bullet before it bites you and go out early with a kamikaze boom. Design more yonic buildings <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-a1fbdae8-1bf1-4086-8e2e-39e9d3ff72f3" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Yonic wonder … the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, by Zaha Hadid and AECOM. Image: AECOM</figcaption></figure>Architecture has always been a male-dominated profession, inevitably leading to a propensity for priapic forms. Our city skylines are brimming with teetering towers of phallic ambition, endlessly choked with competing monuments to the male member. But now Zaha Hadid has shown there can be another way. Her proposal for the Al-Wakrah World Cup stadium erupts from the Qatari desert in a great vulvic bulge, its roof framed by dynamic labial sweeps, in a magnificent demonstration that the vagina can be an equally noble form for a building – and ushering in 2014 as the year of the yonic.
  10. http://www.ecologieurbaine.net/2012-10-18-udem-jan-gehl Conférence-midi - UdeM | Jan Gehl : Pour des villes à échelle humaine Ajouter à mon horaire 18 octobre 2012, 12h00 - 13h30 CONFÉRENCE-MIDI de 45 minutes en anglais. La présentation sera suivie d'une brève période d'échange avec le public et d'une séance de signatures. INSCRIPTION fortement conseillée Places limitées - Entrée libre Inscrivez-vous dès maintenant ici, ou à partir du bouton au bas de cette page UNE CO-ORGANISATION du Centre d'écologie urbaine de Montréal avec Université de Montréal Amphithéâtre Hydro-Québec (local 1120) Faculté de l’aménagement 2940, ch. de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine Montréal QC Métro Université-de-Montréal Itinéraire Google Maps Conférence-midi Cette conférence résumera la vision et les propositions de Jan Gehl pour des villes à échelle humaine. Jan Gehl est de passage à Montréal pour le lancement de l'édition française de son livre Cities for people publié par les Éditions Écosociété, en collaboration avec le Centre d'écologie urbaine de Montréal, l'Ordre des urbanistes du Québec et Mission Design. Pour des villes à échelle humaine, qui est le fruit de 50 années de travail de cet important penseur et praticien de l’urbanisme, est appelé à devenir un outil indispensable pour construire les « écocités » de demain. M. Jan Gehl Professeur émérite de design urbain de l’Académie royale des beaux-arts du Danemark et membre honoraire de plusieurs organisations, dont l’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada. Fondateur et associé de Gehl Architects, il a travaillé au réaménagement de villes comme Copenhague, Londres, Amman, Melbourne, New York, Seattle et San Francisco. Architecte MAA et FRIBA, M. Gehl a reçu le prix Sir Patrick Abercrombie pour ses contributions exemplaires à l’aménagement des villes de la part de l’Union internationale des architectes ainsi qu’un doctorat honorifique de l’Université Heriot-Watt à Edimbourg. Jan Gehl a obtenu un post-doctorat international honorifique de la part du Royal Institute of British Architects (Int. FRIBA) en 2006 ainsi que de l’American Institute of Architecture et d’Architecture Canada en 2008. Jan Gehl est l'auteur de plusieurs livres incluant Life between Buildings, Public Spaces, Public Life, et Cities for People. Pour des villes à échelle humaine est le premier livre à être traduit en français. S'enregistrer maintenant
  11. Urban design: we are falling behind Montreal seems to be lacking ambition when it comes to architectural statements By Luca L. Barone June 26, 2012 Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Urban+design+falling+behind/6838583/story.html#ixzz22o4Z0new In 2009, New York City converted an old elevated railroad on the west side of Manhattan into a park of ingenious design. The High Line is a triumph of civic engagement and urban planning. The park’s brilliant designers, the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, recently unveiled exciting plans for the High Line’s final section. Why is my own city, so rich in history and creativity, lacking similarly enchanting public spaces, and treading water when it ought to be steaming forward? A city as difficult to govern as New York has accomplished this extraordinary feat, while Montreal seems stuck with meagre ambitions and unimaginative leadership – not to mention the blight of festering corruption. Parsimonious rather than provident, we end up with oppressive mediocrity in our built environment. Too much of that environment is neither inspiring nor graceful. To quote Samuel Butler: O God, O Montreal! This is not a question of green space; Montreal is full of parks. The High Line embodies an innovative approach to the adaptive reuse of urban structures that integrates environmental and economic sustainability, historic preservation, and creativity in design. It is an approach to urban planning that is not yet evident in our city. Montreal exhibits some of the best and worst aspects of Europe and North America. Neither genuinely French, nor British, nor American, our city is a fascinating hybrid with an eclectic beauty made up of unusual juxtapositions drawn from both the Old and New Worlds. Yet we inhabit a purgatory somewhere between Houston and Paris, afflicted by car-fuelled urban sprawl along with imported European architectural inhumanities like the brutalism of Place Bonaventure. We need to regain our lost cosmopolitan ambition, that sense of limitless opportunity combined with cultural sophistication that makes things happen that has not been seen in Montreal since the glory days of Expo 67, the opening of our pioneering métro, and the 1976 Summer Olympics. The High Line’s greatest lesson for us should be how profoundly constructive the convergence of proactive civic participation, business and excellent design can be. By adopting the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement, a comprehensive urban planning scheme that emphasizes transit-oriented development, the Montreal Metropolitan Community has taken a step in the right direction. It has wisely heeded Harvard economist Edward Glaeser’s advice to increase population density around transit hubs. But builders and architects need the liberty to be bold. Development in Montreal is in a negative recursive loop: a byzantine bureaucracy imposes its banal tastes on those taking the financial risk on real-estate ventures, while many developers lack the aesthetic judgment or the civic pride to take on the challenge of building something of lasting architectural value. New York’s Standard Hotel was built suspended over the High Line on massive piers – an unconventional ensemble that has created a remarkably attractive, unique sense of place. Had such an idea been proposed for Montreal, would it ever have seen the light of day? That kind of audacity would probably have been ignored by developers indifferent to innovative design, or buried under the weight of municipal red tape. Encouraging local talent and participating in international cultural life are both important. Montreal fails on both counts. Little of note has been built in Montreal for decades, with the exception of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s IBM building at 1250 René Lévesque Blvd. – and that was in 1992. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square, I.M. Pei’s Place Ville Marie, Pier Luigi Nervi’s Tour de la Bourse – these are all buildings from the past that garnered the city positive attention and allowed Montreal to participate in a broader international cultural life. Peter Zumthor, Steven Holl, SHoP Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Renzo Piano – none of these leading contemporary architects are now on their way to Montreal. Montreal may never be New York or Paris, or build projects on the same scale as these global centres, but it was once closer to being a world city than it is today. Size is not the issue; another sinkhole of public funds like the Olympic Stadium would do us no good. We need civic competence, wise economic policy, and architectural excellence. Surely all are within our reach. One upcoming project stands out as a chance for Montreal to redeem itself. The rebuilding of the Champlain Bridge is an epochal opportunity to create an impressive monument for today’s Montreal. People marvelled at the Victoria Bridge when it was completed in 1859. In the early 21st century, we can again dazzle the world, with an elegant new Champlain Bridge built to exacting international standards. Mayor Gérald Tremblay has already said the federal government should devote one per cent of the project’s total budget to finding an innovative design for the bridge, just as the provincial government has set aside one per cent of the Turcot Interchange’s reconstruction budget to generating new ideas. Ottawa should hold an international competition judged by a jury of global experts to choose an outstanding design for the new Champlain Bridge. All Montrealers should support this initiative to ensure that we end up with a work of public infrastructure that is worthy of our city. Let’s do great things together again. Luca L. Barone of St. Léonard is a McGill University law student and a developer. He studied at New York’s Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. CORRECTION: An Opinion column in Tuesday’s Gazette, headlined “Urban design: we are falling behind,” which made mention of New York City’s High Line park, failed to mention one of the two firms that were partners in the design of that park. The designers were landscape-architecture firm James Corner Field Operations and architectural firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Urban+design+falling+behind/6838583/story.html#ixzz22o4dmlEb
  12. http://westislandgazette.com/bluenotes/23052 Blue Notes Thursday, May 26, 2011 When did the decline of Montreal really start? posted by BOFarrell at 7h15 I spent some of my early childhood in the beaches area of Toronto. My father was in the marine insurance business. He, like many of his colleagues, would have to go up to Montreal once a month to meet with "head office." That was when Montreal was the largest inland ocean port in the world. That was when Montreal was in charge of the country. He used to bring me back Tintin books in French, thinking that it was a way to inculcate me with culture. Luckily, there were pictures. But I did learn the phrase: "Tonnerre de Brest." I am still waiting for an opportunity to use it in conversation. Captain Haddock was my favourite character. He was crusty and drank too much. Even then I had an inkling of my own future. Those of us who can see clearly know full well the impact of Quebec nationalism and the subsequent language laws on the decline of Montreal. Those of us not protected from reality by the spin of the Quebec political class. But is it not probable that Montreal's economic decline began even before that, with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959? That was when trans-oceanic shipping no longer had to stop here. And trade could bypass Montreal and go directly into the great lakes. That was when the ascendancy of Toronto began in earnest. I wonder if the architects of the seaway foresaw the coming political crises in Quebec. If they understood that Montreal would end up being on the wrong side of the Quebec border and, therefore, they had to make a preemptive strike. The seaway had a large effect on the ecology of the great lakes. Ocean-going vessels brought various species into the water that had never been there before, Zebra mussels to name one. These consequences are well documented in books. But there is not much to be found on the political motives of the major players in this engineering feat, which was built between 1954 and 1959 as a federal government project by Louis St. Laurent's Liberal government. Most of the literature I could find only talks about the politics between Canada and the U.S., the rocky road to how it eventually became a bilateral project. Because it happened before the rise of Quebec nationalism, there is no discussion about that as a motive for its creation. But in retrospect it has had so many detrimental effects to the economy of Montreal that one would figure that some of its more astute architects must have foreseen them. Before it ships had to be unloaded in Montreal and the goods put on trains. Wheat and other commodities were trained from the interior to Montreal and put on ships here. That diminished after the seaway. And the national railroads that once had their head offices here have moved out. So was there a "Bay Street conspircy" of some kind? Montreal did experience its zenith in the late '60s, when it hosted Expo 67. But perhaps this is what sociologists call a "sunset effect" - just before a society is about to collapse, it goes through a colourful cultural explosion. Right after that Montreal began to lose its position as the economic metropolis of Canada. And ever since, it seems that it has been losing out to Toronto. Rick Blue is a resident of Beaconsfield and is half of the musical comedy duo of Bowser and Blue.
  13. LindbergMTL

    Prix d'architecture

    Les prix d'architecture au Royaume Uni, 2010 Royal Institute of British Architects
  14. City planners take new look at urban vistas Frances Bula, Special to the Globe and Mail, March 30th, 2009 --------------------- Vancouver’s famous view corridors have prompted more anguished howls from architects than almost anything else I can think of over the years. Now, the city is looking at re-examining them. (And, as the sharp-eyed people at skyscraper.com have noted, the posting for people to run the public consultation went up on city website Friday. You can see their comments on the whole debate here.) You can get a flavour of the arguments from my story in the Globe today, which I’ve reproduced below. --------------------- Vancouver is legendary as a city that has fought to prevent buildings from intruding on its spectacular mountain backdrop and ocean setting. Unlike Calgary, which lost its chance to preserve views of the Rockies 25 years ago, or Toronto, which has allowed a highway plus a wall of condo towers to go up between the city and its lake, Vancouver set an aggressive policy almost two decades ago to protect more than two dozen designated view corridors. But now the city is entertaining re-examining that controversial policy, one that has its fierce defenders and its equally fierce critics, especially the architects who have had to slice off or squish parts of buildings to make them fit around the corridors. And the city’s head planner is signalling that he’s definitely open to change. “I’ve got a serious appetite for shifting those view corridors,” says Brent Toderian, a former Calgary planner hired two years ago, who has been working hard to set new directions in a city famous for its urban planning. “The view corridors have been one of the most monumental city-shaping tools in Vancouver’s history but they need to be looked at again. We have a mountain line and we have a building line where that line is inherently subjective.” The issue isn’t just about preserving views versus giving architects free rein. Vancouver has used height and density bonuses to developers with increasing frequency in return for all kinds of community benefits, including daycares, parks, theatres and social housing. A height limit means less to trade for those amenities. Mr. Toderian, who thinks the city also needs to establish some new view corridors along with adjusting or eliminating others, says a public hearing on the issue won’t happen until the fall, but he is already kicking off the discussion quietly in the hope that it will turn into a wide-ranging debate. “The input for the last few years has been one-sided, from the people who think the view corridors should be abolished,” he said. “But we’re looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks. Most people who would support them don’t even think about them. They think the views we have are by accident.” The view-corridor policy, formally adopted in 1989, was the result of public complaints over some tall buildings going up, including Harbour Centre, which is now, with its tower and revolving restaurant, seen as a defining part of the Vancouver skyline. But then, it helped spur a public consultation process and policy development that many say confused the goal of preserving views with a mathematical set of rules that often didn’t make sense. One of those critics is prominent architect Richard Henriquez, who said the corridors don’t protect the views that people have consistently said they value most from the city’s many beaches and along streets that terminate at the water. Instead, he says many of the view corridors are arbitrarily chosen points that preserve a shard of view for commuters coming into town. That has resulted in the city losing billions of dollars of potential development “for someone driving along so they can get a glimpse of something for a second.” And, Mr. Henriquez argues, city residents have a wealth of exposure to the city’s mountains throughout the region. “Downtown Vancouver is a speck of urbanity in a sea of views,” said Mr. Henriquez, who is feeling the problem acutely these days while he works on a development project downtown where the owners are trying to preserve a historic residential hotel, the Murray, while building an economically feasible tower on the smaller piece of land next to it. The view corridor means the building has to be shorter and broader and is potentially undoable. His project is one in a long list of projects that have been abandoned or altered because of view corridor rules in Vancouver. The Shangri-La Hotel, currently the tallest building in the city at 650 feet, is sliced diagonally along one side to prevent it from straying into the view corridor. At the Woodward’s project, which redeveloped the city’s historic department store, one tower had to be shortened and the other raised to fit the corridor. And architect Bing Thom’s plan for a crystal spire on top of a development next to the Hotel Georgia was eventually dropped because city officials refused to budge on allowing the needle-like top to protrude. But one person wary about the city tinkering with the policy is former city councillor Gordon Price. “When people talk about revisiting, it just means one thing: eroding,” said Mr. Price, still a vocal advocate on urban issues. “People may only get this fragment of a view but it’s very precious. And those fragments will become scarcer as the city grows. The longer they remain intact, the more valuable they become.” It’s a debate that’s unique to Vancouver. Mr. Toderian said that when he was in Calgary, there was no discussion about trying to preserve views from the downtown to the Rockies in the distance. --------------------- cet article n'est pas tres recent, mais je sais pas s'il avait deja ete poste sur ce forum. meme s'il y a des differences, a mon avis beaucoup de ces arguments pourraient s'appliquer aussi pour Montreal. est-ce qu'on devra attendre une autre vague de demande bousillee pour relancer le debat ?
  15. LindbergMTL

    America's Top 150 Buildings

    The American Institute of Architects recently turned 150 and to celebrate they decided to put together a list of 150 favorite American buildings (do they know how to party or what?). Click forward to see which buildings made the top ten (you can see if any of your other personal favorites made the list here: http://www.favoritearchitecture.org/afa150.php
  16. (By Roger K. Lewis For The Washington Post) Enlarge Photo Real Estate Search By Roger K. Lewis Saturday, October 17, 2009 Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid was rejected, but the city hardly needs the Olympics. Chicago 2009 is already uniquely "Olympian" thanks to its soaring urban architecture and architectural legacy, its skyscraper-flanked downtown river, its Lake Michigan waterfront and its beautiful public parks. Chicago is "my kind of town" and a kind of Mecca for many architects. Even if you are not an architecture aficionado, you can't help appreciating the Windy City's size and scale, bustling street life, aesthetic bravado and innovative design traditions. And Chicago is not just a magnet for architects. Unlike residents of most other American cities, Chicagoans generally seem more knowledgeable about and more proudly respectful of their well-publicized architectural heritage. A conversation topic on a par with politics, sports and weather, Chicago's old and new buildings, along with the city's architectural heroes, get star billing and are among the city's top attractions. Horizontal and vertical size is the most visible of Chicago's unique urban and architectural characteristics. The Chicago metropolitan area stretches for dozens of square miles north, south and west of the lakefront. Like metropolitan Washington, Chicago is a sprawling mosaic of diverse municipalities, villages and neighborhoods. Fortunately, they are woven together by extensive networks of roads and transit. Chicago's downtown is huge, and during the past 20 years it has grown even larger. High-density commercial and residential real estate development has spread along scores of blocks to the north and south. Chicago's well-known Loop, the central business district encompassed by the century-old elevated transit line, today constitutes a small percentage of downtown. Central Chicago is blessed with a rational grid plan of north-south and east-west streets forming comfortably walkable city blocks. And many east-west Chicago streets, perpendicular to the lakefront, afford views of the lake and lakefront parks. ad_icon But it's Chicago's vertical dimensions that are most awe-inspiring. The city is famous for tall buildings, although its urban fabric is layered in height. The oldest layer of buildings, constructed after the 1871 fire that destroyed the city, are only a few stories high. With the advent of Otis's elevator, America's first skyscrapers -- short by today's standards -- appeared in Chicago. Instead of thick masonry-bearing walls, multi-story buildings were structured using steel skeletons to which non-bearing curtain walls of glass, terra cotta, brick, stone and metal could be attached. Chicago lays claim to inventing the skyscraper, with authorship attributed to local engineers and architects. Their turn-of-the-century designs and aesthetic language became known around the world as the Chicago School. Subsequently, buildings grew larger and soared higher as construction materials and structural technology advanced, and as land values and real estate market opportunities increased. The Sears Tower (recently renamed the Willis Tower), built in 1973 and reaching over 100 stories, was for many years the tallest building in the world. Half a century earlier, Chicago's Merchandise Mart was briefly the world's largest building in floor area. Varying greatly in height, mass, geometric composition and materials, Chicago's buildings exhibit every architectural style and decorative motif: neoclassic, Victorian gothic, Romanesque, art nouveau, art deco and limitless varieties of 20th-century modernism. Observing the city via the Chicago River is equally memorable. Threading through the heart of downtown, the river is one of America's most extraordinary urban spaces, a veritable architectural fiord. Countless historic and modern buildings rise next to the river. Whether on a boat or riverside promenade, you can readily perceive the city's fabric of streets and blocks, in part thanks to the iconic steel-truss drawbridges spanning the river at each street. It's easy to understand why architects are such heroes in Chicago. Recall some of the talents who produced original work there during the late 19th and the 20th century: Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Architects following in their footsteps include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as well as Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, designers of more Chicago skyscrapers than any other firm. A few years ago, Frank Gehry arrived on the lakefront scene with his trademark stainless steel shingles to design the curvaceously exuberant Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a band shell, in fabulous Millennium Park, along with the BP Bridge snaking its way from the park over a road and eastward toward the lake. Celebrated architect Renzo Piano recently designed the latest addition to the Art Institute of Chicago, immediately adjacent to Millennium Park. The museum's new wing is rectilinear and rational, glass and pure white metal, elegantly composed and immaculately detailed. Its cool, controlled geometry contrasts sharply with the exploding form of Gehry's visually hot pavilion rising in the park a few hundred yards to the north. The museum addition and Millennium Park, completed five years ago after substantial delays and huge cost overruns, reaffirm a Chicago tradition: Architecture and architects deserve to be front and center. Roger K. Lewis is a practicing architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/15/AR2009101504559.html
  17. Completed Vancouver Convention Centre West goes for Leed Gold certification Vancouver's waterfront has a spectacular new addition in the completion of Vancouver Convention Centre West, the city's latest flagship eco-development which triples the total square footage and functional capacity of the Centre and completes the development of the public realm. With 6 acres of green roof it boasts the largest in Canada, and the largest non-industrial green roof in North America. This combined with many other eco-measures is set to help the project achieve LEED Canada Gold certification. The project consists of 1.2 million sq ft divided into exhibition space, meeting rooms, 90,000 sq ft of retail space, a 55,000 sq ft ballroom and 400,000 sq ft of public realm including walkways and bikeways. All in, the project promises to be “a celebration of people and place and a model of sustainability”. Architects LMN worked in collaboration with Vancouver-based Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects & Planners to design the centre which will be used as a hub to support 7,000 media during the XXI Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. But not suffice to support homosapians, a key element of the design was the restoration of the shoreline and marine habitat. Having worked with marine scientists, an underwater habitat skirt or artificial reef was developed as part of the centre’s foundation and now provides new habitat for barnacles, mussels, seaweed, starfish, crabs and various fish species. The green roof too is home to 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, providing natural habitat to birds, insects and small mammals. But it will also provide vital insulation for the building. Other eco-measures include black water treatment and desalinization, a heat pump system that takes advantage of the constant temperature of adjacent seawater, extensive use of controlled daylighting and energy efficient fixtures. Local materials including locally harvested Douglas fir and Hemlock have been used for wood finishes reducing the harmful effects of transportation on the environment. Vancouver is a mixed bag of spectacular natural environment with an impressive urban core. This latest addition attempts to blend the two and create a synergy, acting as a powerful visual ambassador of the Pacific Northwest region’s commitment to sustainability. Niki May Young News Editor http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11387
  18. The largest hospital project in Danish history has been won by a consultancy team led by C. F. Møller Architects and including London practice Avanti Architects. The hospital complex will comprise 400,000 m2, with the new addition providing 250,000 m2. The hospital is intended to function as a teaching hospital, a regional centre of excellence and a basic hospital for local residents. The hospital design incorporates a large degree of flexibility to accommodate future requirements regarding new technology, forms of treatment and working practices, and it will also introduce a considerable qualitative improvement in both the experiences of patients and the working conditions for the staff. Avanti Architects and C. F. Møller Architects have developed a collaboration allowing them to bid for significant health projects in the UK and abroad. Aarhus is the first and a very important success. A total of four teams competed in the final round for the New University Hospital. The winning consultancy team, DNU consortium, included the following architectural practices: C. F. Møller Architects, Cubo Arkitekter A/S, Avanti Architects http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=1884
  19. Technology and patient experience are key in €1billion design After 9 years in the making, the Akershus University Hospital near Oslo, Norway has opened. Designed and constructed by C. F. Møller Architects, it has a total area of 137,000 sq m and cost €1 billion to construct. During construction, from 1 March 2004, to 1 October 2008, some 1,400 people from 37 different nations contributed over 6.2 million man-hours erecting the new ‘super hospital’. The large-scale building will serve the 340,000 inhabitants from surrounding municipalities and boasts space for 50,000 in-patients with 4,600 staff members, including 426 doctors. The vision was to create something economical, innovative and a place people can relax and be at ease. Klavs Hyttel, partner in C. F. Møller Architects and lead architect of the project commented, “The concept of security should encompass both efficiency, technology and the familiar patterns of the daily routine. It is through this balancing act that we have created the architectural attitude of the building." The building differs in form throughout, yet notions of light and the outside environment are a common factor linking the assorted areas. Achieved through a glass covered main entrance, brightness is promoted throughout the main artery of the building. Coupled with the overriding use of wood as a key component in the structure. Adding colour and inspiring recovery, a €2.3 million art programme is in place mixing work from fresh and established Scandinavian artists. Contrasting with the organic materials in use are the advanced technological incorporations: Doctors can order medicine via PC which is then automatically dispatched to the patient; robotic un-manned trucks deliver bed linen and each patient bed comes with a TV, telephone and internet access. These futuristic practises give patients a more relaxed stay and increase the contact time they receive whilst enhancing the efficiency of such an institution. David Shiavone Reporter http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10465
  20. Hazel Blears gives nod to two major projects on banks of the Thames Two schemes poised for construction at the popular tourist and culture spot of London’s South Bank have been given the go ahead by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears after their planning applications were taken in for review. Matters were taken over the heads of the Southwark Council planning committee in March last year following fears that they may conflict with national and regional policies on issues including height restrictions and landmark significance. 1 Blackfriars Road by Ian Simpson Architects and 20 Blackfriars Road by Wilkinson Eyre Architects were both found to be compliant with the London Plan, English Heritage guidelines and the commanding planning guidelines for the City of London. Being outside of viewing corridors towards the Westminster heritage site and St James Park it was found that “both proposals would satisfy the policy framework relating to the location of tall buildings, including that they would have excellent accessibility to public transport facilities and be at a point of landmark significance,” said the inspector. Ian Simpson Architects’ project will provide a landmark, sail-shaped, luxury hotel and residential tower with 96 apartments and 261 hotel rooms. An undulating public landscape is formed at the base and a public observation deck will be accessible at the top of the building. Wilkinson Eyre’s scheme at 20 Blackfriars Road consists of two towers of 23 and 42 storeys and a public square. The smaller of the two towers will be used for commercial space and the larger for residential. The inspector praised the potential of both schemes: “One of the proposals would bring a hotel; the other would bring offices; both would bring housing, shops/cafes/restaurants and open space,” reads the inspectors report, “Whether individually or jointly, it is difficult to see how the two proposals could not, by consolidating and adding to what is there, ‘help to provide a coherent location for economic clusters of related activities’.” Jim Eyre, Director of Wilkinson Eyre, said of the news: “We are very pleased for our client, Circleplane and, of course, for the team at No. 1 Blackfriars. We are absolutely delighted with the Inspector’s ringing endorsement of the quality of our design and his clear and positive position on both the impact of our scheme from the Blue Bridge in St. James’ Park and on the beneficial contribution in urban design terms to London and in particular Southwark. “We look forward to further discussions with Circleplane on how the project is taken forward in what we all recognize is an exceptionally difficult market.” Niki May Young News Editor http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11356
  21. LindbergMTL

    Bangkok: The future for Levete

    Three projects revealed as Amanda Levete Architects rises 2009 presents a challenge to all architecture practices, big and small. But to Amanda Levete the challenge presents a steeper climb than most. Having agreed in 2007 to separate business activities with her ex husband and business partner, the late Jan Kaplicky, Levete embarked upon the creation of an entirely new firm, leaving the Future Systems name to Kaplicky, who sadly passed away in January. With all eyes now on Levete, she has remained committed to works from the Future Systems portfolio such as the City Academy in London and Naples Subway, which are currently under construction. But now, Amanda Levete Architects has released details of the firm’s first three projects to be designed independently of Future Systems, launching the new firm at an international level and leaving voyeurs in eager anticipation of her creations. In London, Levete’s campus design for News International’s new headquarters will facilitate the media giant collective of international firms including 20th Century Fox, News of the World and MySpace. A second London project of lesser significance is Huntington on the banks of the Thames. But the signature project that could re-affirm Levete, commonly regarded as one of the parents of ‘blob’ architecture, as a heavy-weight in the architecture community, is the Central Embassy in Thailand. A major retail and hotel complex in central Bangkok’s primary commercial artery Ploen Chit Road, Central Embassy will be a new age architectural landmark for the city which has thusfar avoided the blatancy of contemporary architecture. The 1.5 million sq ft project will occupy the former gardens of the British Embassy in Nai Lert Park, and will consist of a 7-storey retail podium and a 30-storey 6-star hotel tower. “Central Embassy will be the first contemporary landmark building in Bangkok. It is demonstrably of its time but rooted in Thai heritage and culture. Our architectural ambition is matched by the ambition of Central to create the best and most exciting retail and hotel destination in Thailand,” said Levete. At first look, it is difficult to see where these roots take hold. But, as Project Director Alvin Huang explains, the design’s intricacies are wear the heritage is threaded. “Our design for this project has been underpinned by two strands of parallel research. “We carried out extensive studies in Thailand exploring and documenting traditional patterns, materials and fabrication methods. In tandem, we’ve experimented with the application of advanced digital design techniques such as scripting and parametric modelling as a means of abstracting our hands-on research to create an innovative synthesis of technology and heritage that is specific to the context of Bangkok.” And so Levete’s renowned attention to detail is married with the Thai’s own propensity for the same to create a very modern interpretation of Bangkok culture. Set to commence construction next year and complete in 2013, Central Embassy will provide a benchmark for the future success of Levete's solo ambitions. Niki May Young News Editor Key Facts Status Design Value 0(m€) Amanda Levete Architects http://www.amandalevetearchitects.com http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11351
  22. ErickMontreal

    World's Most Stunning City Skylines

    World's Most Stunning City Skylines 13 Greatest urban silhouettes Forbes Traveler.Com What makes a skyline great? It has to be more than merely memorable, it must have some exceptional characteristics: It not only should be instantly recognizable but, from the traveler’s perspective particularly, it should be an enticing view of great buildings and monuments. If it’s really special, you want to be a part of it. So we’ve asked a group of star architects to help us make the choices. See our slideshow of World's Most Stunning City Skylines. It’s no surprise that New York’s skyline is mentioned the most often—and this despite the dolorous replacement of the Twin Towers with Ground Zero. A single iconic building can make a skyline stand out, as can geography, and New York City is a case study for both. According to Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, partners in Stamberg Aferiat Architecture in New York, the city’s great skyline “is partly a result of Manhattan being a long narrow island, maximizing the impact. And the agglomeration of New York skyscrapers has as its centerpiece the Empire State Building, which is such an iconic romantic building, and through the accidents of economics and zoning, it stands alone.” They architects also cite Chicago as a city of great architectural monuments and major iconic skyscrapers like the Sears Tower. But while the great race for height in which Chicago and New York were longtime contestants has largely shifted overseas, the vertical element in skylines still figures prominently across the board. “The image of a city in the 21st century still depends on the skyscraper idea,” says Andres Lepik, architecture and design curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and author of the book Skyscrapers. “City governments know that the economy is pushing forward to gave high-rise buildings in city centers.” Examples? Lepik says London and Frankfurt are standouts. Still, high-rises are not a prerequisite for a great skyline. “City skylines aren’t necessarily defined by skyscrapers,” say Aferiat and Stamberg. “There’s Sydney with its Opera House, for example, which defines the city, St. Louis with the arch,” they add, “and Seattle has the Space Needle.” For that matter, we’ll always have Paris, which thanks to its concentration of historic slate gray-roofed six and seven-story buildings, many of which date from the mid-19th century and before, has a remarkably uniform and distinct skyline. Most architects would agree that a great skyline takes time to develop. “A skyline is something that comes up and comes together and somehow it’s unplanned,” Lepik says. “If you go to Shanghai right now, there are hundreds of skycrapers but they don’t form any really beautiful skyline,” he adds. By contrast, he says, “New York had a certain slow development, which sped up in the 1920s and ‘30s with the Art Deco skyscrapers such as the Chrysler Building and Empire State—but it took 30 years to get the coherent skyline.” What of a future-forward city like Dubai? “I wouldn’t call Dubai’s skyline beautiful,” says Lepik, “because it has grown too fast, without a general idea of what they’re trying to achieve.” But if there is beauty in boldness, Dubai has an incontestably sensational skyline in progress: It started with the erection of the 1,053-foot-tall Burj al Arab Hotel in 1999, a “seven-star” hotel on an artificial island and complete with helicopter landing pad. And soon it will have the tallest skyscraper in the world: the 1,900-foot Burj Dubai tower. Financial crisis or not, more brash towers are in the works for the desert sheikdom. It’s hard to beat Asian tigers like Hong Kong for urban audacity, but our round-up of great skylines holds some surprises, such as… Pittsburgh? Indeed. The city is “right at the intersection of three fairly large rivers, and you approach it through a mountain tunnel, so you arrive completely deprived of a view—and then you’re on a bridge looking at the city,” say Stamberg and Aferiat. “It’s very beautifully proportioned the way it starts fairly low at the river and then climbs to the U.S. Steel building, which is the tallest one there.” As for Europe, it’s not just about historical aesthetics—modernity is moving in. In his book on skyscrapers, Lepik features two Frankfurt towers, one designed by Norman Foster. Cities like London and Paris increasingly represent a mixture of old and new in which traditional icons mingle memorably with new visions of star architects like Jean Nouvel and Renzo Piano. By accident or by design, the result is urban landscapes even more compelling for today’s travelers to discover and explore.
  23. LindbergMTL

    New Glass City

    March 15, 2009 KEY | SPRING 2009 By JIM LEWIS New York is the capital of glass, the city of windows. Other cities get their gravitas from marble or stone, but New York is made of silica, soda ash and lime, melted to make this vitreous stuff: transparent, translucent and opaque; reflective, tinted, frosted, coated, clear. The slightest shift in the angle of sun fall can hide or reveal entire worlds, and as evening comes the city gradually turns itself inside out — the streets go dark and the buildings open up, offering their rooms like stagelets upon which our little lives are played. 25 Cooper Square: The Cooper Square Hotel Completed: 2009 Architect: Carlos Zapata Developer: Sciame Photo date: Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 As old as the material is, glass remains a mystery. No one quite knows what goes on, down where the molecules bind — whether it’s a slow-moving liquid, an especially mutable solid or something in between. Still, new compounds appear regularly, with new qualities that promise new possibilities. The substance has never been exhausted, and may yet prove inexhaustible, an endless inspiration to architects and designers as it grows stronger, lighter, clearer and more flexible. 731 Lexington Avenue and 1 Beacon Court: Global headquarters for Bloomberg L.P. and other offices, as well as retail and residences Completed: 2005 Architects: Cesar and Rafael Pelli (Pelli Clark Pelli Architects) Developer: Vornado Realty Trust Photo date: Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 For this issue, In Sook Kim, an artist with a special interest in intimacy and display, photographed five buildings in Manhattan — chips in the kaleidoscope of the city and homes to some of its most emblematic activities: business, the arts, putting up tourists and, of course, staying in for the night. 405 West 55th Street: The Joan Weill Center for Dance, home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Completed: 2004 Architect: lu + Bibliowicz Architects L.L.P. Photo date: Friday, Jan. 16, 2009 For each photograph, Kim, who is based in Germany, lit interior rooms with colored gels and arranged the occupants of the buildings in everyday tableaux. She then parked herself across from the buildings with a large-format camera, the glass of her lens facing the glass of the facades, creating portraits of the city as a crystalline beehive, always bright and always busy. 48 Bond Street: Condominium residence Completed: 2008 Architect: Deborah Berke & Partners Architects Developer: Dacbon L.L.C. Photo date: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/realestate/keymagazine/15KeyGLASS-t.html?ref=keymagazine&pagewanted=print
  24. ErickMontreal

    The Battle for the World's Skyline

    [IMG]http://images.businessweek.com/gen/logos/bw/bw_255x54.gif[/img] The Battle for the World's Skyline Cities like London and New York don't have the money to keep up with Asia, Russia, and the Persian Gulf. Is the Western urban landscape out of date? by Ulrike Knöfel, Frank Hornig and Bernhard Zand For an entire century, New York was the city of skyscrapers, the epitome of the vertical city. It just kept growing into the sky, faster and faster. It was an exhilarating adventure in stone, steel and glass — and seemingly unsurpassable. In "Delirious New York," his legendary 1978 book about the giant city of skyscrapers and its magic, the young Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas raved about what he called the "colonization of the sky." Even the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center have not diminished the enthusiasm the now world-famous architect has for the skyscraper as a model of success. Despite the disaster, says Koolhaas, the skyscraper is still "about the only type of building that has survived the leap into the 21st century." Koolhaas is apparently right. The tower has survived as both a form of architecture and a status symbol. The impressiveness of a city's skyline is seen as a reflection of its prosperity. Skyscrapers serve as a physical expression of an economic upswing, and bear witness to an economy's level of adrenalin. Go East! From a Western perspective, at least, this is precisely the problem. Economically booming megacities — such as Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai — where extravagant skyscrapers are shooting up all over, mean that cities like New York are beginning to look old and outdated, despite attempts to modernize. In Europe, the eastern part is beginning to look more modern than the western part. Cities like Istanbul and Moscow are more dynamic than London, Paris or Milan. There have never been this many skyscrapers on the drawing boards, with most of them planned for the world's new boom towns. The West is eying this development with jealousy, all the more intense for its inability to compete. The massive downturn in the American credit market has caused the cancellation or postponement of many major architectural and urban-planning projects. The battle for the best skyline, which has been underway for more than 100 years, is entering a new round. And it already seems to be clear who the winners will be: the Middle East and the Far East. Kazakhstan and Qatar could soon be aesthetically more dominant than Europe or the United States. It is an architectural clash of civilizations. One of the most ironic aspects of this development is that, in many cases, it is the West's leading architects who are driving this transition. Working for newly enriched governments and real estate tycoons, they are now being given free reign to do what would now be inconceivable in their home countries. An angular building in the shape of a colossal triumphal arch? One designed by Koolhaas was recently completed in Beijing to serve as the headquarters of China Central Television. A landscape of tall, asymmetrical buildings reminiscent of icebergs? One designed by American architect Steven Holl now stands in the Chinese city of Chengdu. A pyramid for Moscow that climbs 450 meters (1,476 feet)? Both are the work of prominent London architect Lord Norman Foster, who is also designing the Crystal Island, the Moscow development that will include it. According to Foster, it is the "world's most ambitious construction project." The All-powerful 'Wow Effect' The megalomania of this boomtown euphoria demands more than just tall buildings. Nowadays, spectacular shapes and glittering surfaces are in demand, eccentricities that are noticeable even from great distances. The "wow effect" is everything; it translates into structures mimicking lilies, harps, trophies, tents and other unconventional shapes. Hamburg architect Volkwin Marg, who runs a thriving business in China with his partner Meinhard von Gerkan, isn't fond of this tendency toward representational building. For Marg, these "iconic buildings" lack social significance. Peter Schweger, another architect from Hamburg, even describes the current trend as "absurd, atrocious blossoms of sculptural architecture." He has also noticed an impact on Western architectural aesthetics, where "buildings are starting to be designed like commercial products that can be aggressively marketed." Schweger describes his own skyscraper designs, such as the reflective Twin Towers he designed for Moscow, as rational. The investor and the other architect collaborating in the Twin Towers project are Russian, while most of the construction workers are Chinese. At 500 meters (1,640 feet), the larger of the two towers — with its so-called "panorama needle" — will go down in history as one of the tallest buildings in Europe. But not for long. A Matter of Standards Schweger has just signed a contract to design a new business park in Moscow. The development will consist of 400,000 square meters (4.3 million square feet) of office space. Compared with its surroundings, though, this almost seems modest. As Schweger puts it, the amount of new construction underway in the Russian capital "is almost difficult to fathom." Schweger is critical of Russian building standards. "Many buildings are 10 years behind the Western standard technologically," he says. "The developers have no interest in questions of energy efficiency." There are other good reasons to criticize today's hectic global building trend — aesthetic, environmental and ethical reasons. But few investors or architects are interested. Instead, they prefer to immortalize themselves and watch their towers grow. Calling it "too brutal," Schweger says he's not interested in China. Instead, he focusing his design efforts on a collection of skyscrapers in Dubai, which are part of a development somewhat cheesily named "Dubai Pearl." Building Up The emirate of Dubai is the promised land for real estate speculators. It is said that half of all construction cranes in the world are in Dubai. But is architectural history really being written there? Dubai consists of two peninsulas on its western side and an older section on the eastern side, with a kilometer-long line of skyscrapers in between. The skyscrapers look somehow familiar — and not accidentally so. Many of the building's architectural elements — including the bell tower from St. Mark's Square in Venice and the silver arches of New York's Chrysler Building — are borrowed. Giant billboards line the highways cutting through the desert. They advertise the names of urban visions to come, names like Arabian Ranches, Emirates Hills, Springs, Meadows, The Old Town — all in English. Even the names seem borrowed from America. "Almost everything here is paid for with oil money," says a man employed by the ruler of Dubai, "but not our own." The emirate has little more than a few puddles of oil left, and only 4 percent of its current economic output stems from the oil business. Instead, it has created a real estate bonanza that is attracting billions in investment money that in the past would have gone to New York. The area's slew of real estate fairs — with names like "Cityscape Dubai," "Cityscape Abu Dhabi" and "The Property Shoppe" — attest to how eager investors are to invest here. Building Down The situation in the West is radically different. In the United States, the current guiding principle appears to be: The more glamorous the utopian vision, the more potential investors are determined to back away from the project. Until recently, borrowing money — and even huge sums of money — was relatively easy. "If I or someone else needed money," says Donald Trump, America's most prominent real estate czar, "all it took was a quick call to the bank, and they'd send the cash over in a car. There was a huge amount of money floating around." This is how it was — until the financial crisis hit. The crisis itself was triggered in 2007 in the United States by an overheated market for mortgage loans that private citizens had taken out to buy houses and condominiums. Since then, the banks have been far more tight-fisted. Ironically, it is more or less the real estate industry's own fault that it has now been so difficult to borrow money. The boom is over. A high-profile casualty of the credit crisis is a complex in Las Vegas called the Cosmopolitan Resort Casino. The shells of the two 180-meter (590-foot) skyscrapers are already up. For the lobby, developer Ian Bruce Eichner had ordered nine-meter (30-foot) robots that would play the song "Disco Inferno" on oversized guitars. The project is now headed for foreclosure, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. One of the investors, Deutsche Bank, is at risk of losing about $1 billion (€645 million). Another example is in Los Angeles, where construction on the Grand Avenue Project has been delayed several times. The collection of hotel, apartment and retail towers was intended to revitalize downtown Los Angeles at a cost of $3 billion (€1.9 billion). The complex was designed by Frank O. Gehry, another top name in the US architecture scene known for buildings clad in stylishly shimmering materials. The work, initially scheduled to begin last December, has now been postponed until next February. The developers, Related Companies, blamed the delays on the real estate crisis. Soon one of the investors — Calpers, which is California's largest pension fund — withdrew from the project. Now the developers hope their new primary shareholder, the royal family of Dubai, will take a more patient approach. Part 2: Hard Times, NY Yet another of Gehry's urban improvement ventures has run into difficulties. Gehry was commissioned to transform an industrial wasteland in Brooklyn into a mixed-use architectural pearl. The price tag of the Atlantic Yards project — which New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised as a "colossal achievement of one of the world's leading architects" — was $4 billion (€2.6 billion). But demand has been unsatisfactory, and Gehry was forced to reduce the size of the largest tower in the complex. According to the developers, construction of several of the planned buildings will be placed on hold. It's a tough blow for New York. For real estate aficionados, it remains the "ultimate 24-hour American city," a place that attracts the global elite. But it takes some effort and a constant series of facelifts to keep it that way. Where else but in New York is there so must distaste for any form of inertia? The mayor had a plan to revitalize Manhattan, the heart of the city, with a special focus on the west side. His vision included building a modern train station, which would have required tearing down the well-known arena, Madison Square Garden. But now Bloomberg no longer knows how he is going to raise the $14 billion (€9 billion) the project is estimated to cost. The original plan also called for an ambitious expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, a project that has now been considerably scaled back. And the search for an investor for the new Hudson Yards business district — a project that even jaded New Yorkers describe as "megalomaniacal" — recently became nothing short of embarrassing. Tishman Speyer, a real estate development company, had initially planned to cooperate on the project with German-American skyscraper architect Helmut Jahn. But then it surprisingly withdrew. Now Related Companies has stepped in to take advantage of what may well be a historic opportunity. It could take months before the contracts are worked out and before a series of cliffhangers finally comes to an end. This in a city where the sky has traditionally been the limit. Old Europe? And what about Europe? Will the old world have to start getting used to the idea of becoming a museum — picturesque, but without any real chance of keeping pace with the iconography-rich growth of other continents? According to a study by the Washington-based Urban Land Institute, a large number of major European deals that were until recently in the planning stages are now "clinically dead." Perhaps Vittorio Lampugnani, an Italian architect who works in Milan and teaches architectural theory in Zurich, is merely trying to comfort himself when he says that he doubts whether cities like Shanghai will remain attractive in the long term. As he sees it, with their "layers of history," European cities "offer the sort of quality of life that will be in demand in the future." This is what Lampugnani calls "enduring cityscapes." At the same time, a sharp division is naturally emerging. Lampugnani admits that the newly minted architects who opt to go to Asia are essentially building skyscrapers right off the bat, while graduates who stay in Europe can count themselves lucky if their first commission is to design a weekend home for their parents. Still, he says, "if Europe manages its heritage intelligently," Lampugnani say, "it can be a huge opportunity, not just for culture and the quality of life, but also for the economy." But, more than anything else, the economy is standing in the way. In Spain, for example, the association representing Spanish construction companies estimates that the number of new projects in 2008 will decline by more than 70 percent over the previous year. Many European cities are not at all interested in becoming open-air museums. For example, London — as Europe's most important financial center — would like to liven up its Victorian grandeur with a few more futuristic landmarks. When Norman Foster placed a bombastic, egg-shaped tower into the center of the old city early in the new millennium, it kicked off a wave of modernization. For the most part, Londoners approached the update of their skyline with humor, and Foster's skyscraper immediately earned the nickname of the "erotic gherkin." With plans to construct at least 20 other towers in the coming years, London is enthusiastically planning to build itself into the 21st century. Although few of these projects have left the drawing board, some have already acquired nicknames. One skyscraper project has been dubbed the "cheese grater," and another is the "splinter." Others are called "head over heels," "boomerang" and "walkie talkie." But even in London, where prices had been headed steeply up for a long time, the real estate industry is grappling with a softening market. Investment volume there is expected to decline by 30 to 40 percent in 2008, and Londoners are no longer accustomed to this sort of slowdown. Almost all major projects in London are now considered highly speculative. And what about the fate of the controversial "walkie talkie" venture? The investor won't say. A New World for Architect Of course, shopping malls rarely prove to be aesthetic highlights, and architecture fans probably won't bemoan the prediction that 40 percent fewer shopping centers than planned will be built in Great Britain over the next five years. But the decline in new construction also affects more ambitious projects. A London architectural foundation that had commissioned British architect Zaha Hadid to build its new headquarters pulled out of the venture, citing "economic nervousness." When stock prices fall, so does charitable giving, and the foundation relies heavily on private donors. Although she made it clear that she was disappointed, Hadid has already moved on to other projects, for example, in Dubai and Warsaw. The modern architect has become a nomad. Like the itinerant tradesmen of the Middle Ages, architects go where the work is. A route that once may have taken them from court to court, now leads from continent to continent. German Builders Germany boasts 121,000 architects, the largest number in Europe. Although the country is considered one of the more stable markets, major urban projects — such as Hamburg's HafenCity — are the exception. Architects are upset that there are so few competitions open to everyone and that the opportunities for young, avant-garde architects to prove themselves are few and far between. Project cancellations, no matter how discreetly they are handled, are noticed. BMW, for example, decided to cancel plans to build a new "Designhaus," although it now intends to "prioritize" other projects. It's been only a year since the Federal Foundation for Building Culture was founded in Potsdam, outside Berlin. The new organization has already been sharply critical of the mediocrity of German architecture. Unfortunately, as the foundation's president, Michael Braum, puts it, it's been standard in Germany for quite a while "for owners to want everything, but for half the price." Distant lands, where developers plan in larger dimensions, seem seductive. Léon, Wohlhage, Wernik (LWW), a Berlin-based architecture firm, made a splash in 2007 when it won a competition with well-known competitors to design the new government district in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The architecture named their design "Tripoli Greens," combining arabesque minarets with park-like settings. However, construction has been postponed and architect Hilde Léon speaks of "a holding pattern." As a rule, says Léon, she believes that it is important to work in places where high-quality architecture is in demand. "Some countries simply have some catching up to do," Léon says. At the same time, though, cooperating with controversial regions like Libya's doesn't seem to bother her. Léon already has her sights set on the next market. It is only a matter of time, she says, before all of Africa will be "the next big thing." In this context, the word "big" is no exaggeration. What a paradisiacal concept for architects: all that undeveloped land for what Friedrich Nietzsche called representative architecture's "eloquence of power." Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan Source :: http://www.businessweek.com/print/globalbiz/content/jun2008/gb2008069_320569.htm