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24 résultats trouvés

  1. Mondo_Grosso

    Tour Rogers Recladding - 24 étages

    Nom: 1200 McGill College Hauteur en étages: 24 Hauteur en mètres: 84 Bonjour à tous! Je suis un lecteur d'MtlUrb depuis un an maintenant. J'adore la passion que tout le monde ici a pour l'architecture à Montréal, même si elle est négative parfois! Je suis bilingue, mais je préfère écrire en anglais, donc vous pouvez me répondre en anglais ou en français. Merci! La Tour Rogers in the state that it is today is a disgrace to McGill College, one of the most beautiful streets in Montreal. If you are not familiar with the rusted and faded building, here it is: Bellow is my vision to refresh 1200 McGill College. The renders were created in Revit 2017, I'm studying to be architectural technologist and making these renders are a part of the job. The renderings that usually come with a proposal are created by a team with very powerful computers. I made these renders on my laptop at home in my free time, I still think it turned out well: In my vision, the bronze aluminum sections of the elevations would be replaced by a silver aluminum. This finish would be nearly identical to the finish on Place ville Marie, I think that would be a noteworthy integration. The windows would be replaced with black reflective windows, like the ones being installed on the new Holiday Inn on R.L. For the brick section, I would replace the brick with black prefab concrete slabs like the ones on Tour Des Canadiens. I also chose to add a billboard that would be used to advertise CityTv and Breakfast Television Montreal (I wanted to put a screen under the billboard, but didn't). This is done on the CityTv building in Toronto: I know some of you hate prefab and billboards, but I think in this situation they add character to a TV studio building. I did not do any design work on the commercial section facing St Catherines, so in the render it is just a glass box. If you have any ideas for the vision, let me know! If I have free time, maybe I will add some suggestions and post new renders. Thank you!
  2. http://www.mondev.ca/condo-for-sale-montreal/Plateau-Mont-Royal/QUARTIER+ST-DENIS-+28+NEW+CONDOS+IN+THE+PLATEAU/ - St-Denis and Ste-Gregoire, 3 floors. - 28-unit condos and lofts. - Ready: Fall 2015 Yet another project by Mondev, plate plate plate, yawwwwwwwn, if these guys were to be just a tiny bit more creative, with some minimal architectural effort, something distinctive!!! They could change the face of Montréal with the amount of construction they have at the moment, but as long as it sells, they will keep that recipe. That's unfortunate.
  3. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/good-architecture-pays-french-expert <header class="entry-header" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; font-family: BentonSans-Regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The good, the bad and the ugly: French expert assesses Montreal architecture MARIAN SCOTT, MONTREAL GAZETTE More from Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette Published on: April 13, 2016 | Last Updated: April 13, 2016 7:00 AM EDT </header><figure class="align-none wp-caption post-img" id="post-783124media-783124" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://wpmedia.montrealgazette.com/2016/04/montreal-que-april-6-2016-emmanuel-caille-is-an-edito.jpeg?quality=55&strip=all&w=840&h=630&crop=1" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text" itemprop="description" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Emmanuel Calle, editor of the French architecture magazine "d'a", at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Caille shared his thoughts on Montreal's architecture. MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER </figcaption></figure>SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT What would an international expert think of Montreal’s recent architecture? To find out, the Montreal Gazette took French architecture critic Emmanuel Caille on a walking tour of downtown and Griffintown. He also visited the $52.6-million indoor soccer stadium that opened last year in the St-Michel district. Caille, the editor of the Paris-based architecture magazine “d’a”, was in town to take part in a panel discussion last week on architectural criticism, organized by the Maison de l’architecture du Québec and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Caille’s verdict on our fair city ranged from a thumbs-up for the pricey new soccer stadium to shocked incredulity over a new hotel annex to the Mount Stephen Club, a historic mansion at 1440 Drummond St. <figure id="attachment_783141" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The Mount Stephen Club. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>Built from 1880-83 for Lord Mount Stephen, the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it has been in the news recently after suffering structural damage during construction of the annex. Caille, an architect as well as an editor, did not comment on the structural problems, but he did give a visual assessment of the hotel addition, an 11-storey cement-panel structure tucked behind the mansion. “It’s quite brutal in the city,” he said. From de Maisonneuve Blvd., the hotel addition presents a view of three blank walls with a shed-style roof. “It’s astonishing. It’s bizarre,” he said. Caille was also perplexed by the front façade, dotted with small windows of different sizes. “What is not obvious is what relationship there is between this building and the mansion. I don’t see any,” he added. The hotel addition shows why projects should not be conceived in isolation, Caille said. City planners should have put forward a vision for the entire block, which includes an outdoor parking lot on de la Montagne St. that would have made a better site for a high rise, he said. Interesting alleyways and outdoor spaces could have been included, he said. “Everybody is turning their back to one another,” he said of how the different properties on the block don’t relate to each other. At the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Sherbrooke St., Caille said a glass condo addition completed in 2013 is a good example of how to update a historic building for modern use. But he criticized white PVC windows on the hotel’s Sherbrooke St. façade for their thick frames and mullions, which don’t suit the building. “That’s horrible,” he said. “Windows are the eyes of a building. When women use an eye pencil to emphasize their eyes, it changes everything.” <figure id="attachment_783158" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 997px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Construction workers work on the District Griffin condo project in Griffintown. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>In Griffintown, Caille was unimpressed by the banal architecture of condo towers that have sprouted in recent years in the former industrial district, which is undergoing rapid transformation. But the former Dow Planetarium at 1000 St-Jacques St. W. caught his eye. Built in 1966, it closed in 2011. The city turned it over to the Université du Québec’s École de technologie supérieure in 2013. ÉTS announced it would transform the building into a “creativity hub” but so far the building has sat vacant. Caille said the domed landmark has great potential to be recycled for a new vocation. “When a building is dirty and dilapidated, people don’t see its beauty. You have to see the beauty underneath the neglect,” he said. Today there is a consensus that older heritage buildings should be preserved but it’s still difficult to rally public opinion behind buildings from more recent eras, like the 1960s, Caille said. <figure id="attachment_783147" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The 26-storey Deloitte Tower between Windsor Station and the Bell Centre. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>The Deloitte Tower, a new 26-storey glass office tower between the Bell Centre and Windsor Station, is nothing to write home about, in Caille’s opinion. “It’s developer architecture,” he said. “There’s nothing interesting about it.” Built by developer Cadillac Fairview, it is part of the $2-billion, nine-tower Quad Windsor project. That includes the 50-storey Tour des Canadiens, which will be Montreal’s tallest condo tower for about a year, until the even taller nearby L’Avenue tower is completed. Most people don’t notice the difference between good and bad architecture when a building is new, Caille said. But over time, the defects of bad buildings grow increasingly obvious, while the good ones become beloved monuments, he said. “People go to New York to see the architecture of the 1920s and 30s,” he said, referring to landmarks like the 1931 Empire State Building and 1928 Chrysler Building. “Good architecture always pays off in the long term.” Unfortunately, much development is driven by short-term considerations, he said. While a developer can walk away from a mediocre building once it’s sold, city-dwellers are stuck with it, he said. “For him, it’s no problem. But for the city, it’s a tragedy,” he said. “Today’s architecture is tomorrow’s heritage,” he noted. Caille is a strong proponent of architectural competitions, which he sees as a way to seek out the best talents and ideas. “It forces people to think and it shows that for every problem, there are many solutions. It’s a way of accessing brainpower,” he said. <figure id="attachment_783196" class="wp-caption post-img size_this_image_test align-center" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px auto 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none; max-width: 100%; width: 1000px;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Kids arrive at the the new soccer complex at the Complexe environnemental St-Michel. PHIL CARPENTER /MONTREAL GAZETTE </figcaption></figure>The St-Michel soccer stadium has been criticized for its high price tag but Caille hailed it as an example of excellent design. The ecological building designed by Saucier & Perrotte has three glass walls overlooking a park in the St-Michel environmental complex. Caille said the stadium could be a catalyst for improvements in the hardscrabble north-end neighbourhood. During Tuesday’s panel discussion, Paul Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former architecture critic for the New York Times and the New Yorker, said that unlike other types of journalists, architectural critics rarely have an immediate impact on public opinion. “Architectural criticism must take a very long view,” he said. “One learns to think of one’s influence as more gradual, as shifting tastes and judgment over time.” Goldberger, author of books including Why Architecture Matters, published in 2009, has written that the critic’s job is not to push for a particular architectural style, but rather to advocate for the best work possible. He said the time in his career when architectural criticism enjoyed greatest prominence was following Sept. 11, 2001, during discussions over the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. “It was a time when architectural criticism really was, I think, front and centre in the public discourse,” he said. “There it was so clear that an issue of architecture was intimately connected to significant world affairs and one did not have to struggle to help people understand the connection between architecture and the rest of the world,” said Goldberger, who now writes for Vanity Fair and teaches at The New School in New York. In a 2011 review of the new World Trade Center for the New Yorker, Goldberger said the design by architect Daniel Libeskind “struck a careful balance between commemorating the lives lost and reestablishing the life of the site itself.” The panel discussion followed the awarding of two $1,000 prizes to young writers for architectural writing on the topic of libraries. The winning entries by Marie-Pier Bourret-Lafleur and Kristen Smith will be published respectively in Argus and Canadian Architect magazines. mascot@montrealgazette.com Twitter.com/JMarianScott
  4. IluvMTL

    Héritage Montréal

    http://www.heritagemontreal.org/fr/ Héritage Montréal Promoteur de l’ADN de la métropole depuis plus de 30 ans ! Fondé en 1975, Héritage Montréal œuvre à promouvoir et à protéger le patrimoine architectural, historique, naturel et culturel du Grand Montréal. Au cœur d’un vaste réseau de partenaires, Héritage Montréal, un organisme privé sans but lucratif, agit par l’éducation et la représentation pour faire connaître, mettre en valeur et préserver l’identité et les spécificités de Montréal. Des objectifs découlant de sa mission Faire connaître le patrimoine et défendre sa protection auprès de tous les milieux Conscientiser et conseiller tout décideur dont les actions affectent le patrimoine Aider les acteurs publics et privés à se doter d’outils adéquats pour la protection Veiller au bon usage et au développement de ces outils ainsi qu’à la mise en valeur du patrimoine Apporter un regard critique fondé sur la connaissance et l’expertise Rassembler, mobiliser et concerter les intérêts Maintenir une organisation permanente, efficace et fiable Définition du patrimoine Héritage Montréal s’intéresse d’abord au patrimoine que l’on peut situer et décrire sur un plan. Ce patrimoine est constitué de biens immeubles et peut être traité par les instruments de l’urbanisme. Tout en reconnaissant qu’Héritage Montréal concentre son action sur le bâti, il y a cinq facettes à ce patrimoine immobilier montréalais sur lesquelles l’organisme se penche. Ce sont : Les sites d’intérêt commémoratif (bâtiments ou lieux associés à des événements ou des personnages historiques, toponymie) Les sites d’intérêt archéologique (sites ou vestiges, enfouis ou non, témoignant d’une étape de l’histoire qui s’est déroulée à Montréal) Les sites d’intérêt architectural (bâtiments exceptionnels ou typiques de toutes époques, ouvrages de génie civil, œuvres d’art public, aménagements paysagers) Les sites d’intérêt paysager (vues et repères urbains, fleuve, montagne, topographie, arbres de rue, grands parcs, canal, caractéristiques architecturales des quartiers) Les sites d’intérêt écologique (sites identifiés aux termes des sciences naturelles, hydrologie, évidences géologiques, écosystèmes forestiers, haltes migratoires)
  5. Avis de la Ville de Montreal http://applicatif.ville.montreal.qc.ca/som-fr/pdf_avis/pdfav10283.pdf The location and picture of the pukey building that will fall to the demo ball!!Yeah go to google maps and put in 1221 Hôtel de Ville, Montreal and see the building that is there now beurk!! The architectural firm is the following: I cannot find any renderings ..the site just seems to run a spool of the same images over and over... http://www.ateliervap.com/1/index.html :goodvibes:
  6. 4 étages et 20 unités sdns le Parc-Extension. C'est un quartier qui n'attend rien de spécial en terme architectural mais qui accueillera avec plaisir une densification accrue alors cet humble projet est le bienvenu. http://www.mondev.ca/le-champagneur-nouveaux-condos-a-villeray-1-et-2-chambres-a-partir-de-159-900_fr.html?ProjetID=113
  7. http://www.operationpatrimoine.com/ http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5798,42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=19577&ret=http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/portal/url/page/prt_vdm_fr/rep_annonces_ville/rep_communiques/communiques 22e Opération patrimoine architectural de Montréal : Une trentaine d'activités patrimoniales gratuites 20 septembre 2012 Montréal, le 20 septembre 2012 - La 22e édition de l'Opération patrimoine architectural de Montréal (OPAM) débutera dans quelques jours! Durant cette quinzaine (28 septembre au 14 octobre), les Montréalais et les visiteurs amateurs d'histoire auront la possibilité de prendre part à une trentaine d'activités patrimoniales gratuites : animations dans les musées, les bibliothèques et les églises, conférences, circuits de découverte à pied ou en autobus, etc. L'occasion pour toute la famille de se divertir de manière intelligente, enrichissante et entièrement gratuite! Le grand public sera aussi appelé à voter pour La maison coup de cœur 2012 parmi cinq des propriétés résidentielles primées le 12 octobre prochain (lamaisoncoupdecoeur.com). Toutes les activités offertes sont répertoriées sur le site de l'OPAM (operationpatrimoine.com). « Chaque année, les activités offertes dans le cadre de l'OPAM offrent une belle occasion pour les Montréalais et les visiteurs de se laisser inspirer par le riche patrimoine architectural qui définit le paysage de la métropole. Par une programmation gratuite et diverse, cette 22e édition est l'occasion parfaite de découvrir l'histoire de Montréal en parcourant les divers quartiers de la ville et en explorant des bâtiments et lieux historiques qui témoignent de son passé. J'invite donc les Montréalais à répondre en grand nombre à cette invitation et à découvrir la grande richesse architecturale de leur métropole », de déclarer Mme Helen Fotopulos, responsable de la culture, du patrimoine, du design et de la condition féminine au comité exécutif de la Ville de Montréal. Voici un échantillon des activités culturelles gratuites proposées par l'OPAM 2012 : • Maisonneuve, cité modèle (circuit de découverte en autobus) Visite commentée de l'ancienne cité de Maisonneuve, jadis considérée comme la Pittsburgh du Canada. La visite inclut notamment le Musée du Château Dufresne et le Studio Nincheri, le plus ancien studio de vitrail du Québec encore en activité. Le dimanche 30 septembre 2012 de 13 h 30 à 16 h 30 (en français). Réservations obligatoires (places limitées) : 514 259-9201 (http://www.chateaudufresne.com). • Visite extérieure de l'ensemble conventuel des Sœurs de Sainte-Anne à Lachine Accompagnés d'un guide, les participants découvriront l'histoire du développement des bâtiments abritant le Collège Sainte-Anne et le Centre historique des Sœurs de Sainte-Anne. Situé aux abords du Canal de Lachine, l'ensemble conventuel est un point d'intérêt majeur de l'arrondissement de Lachine. Il témoigne de l'héritage important laissé par la Congrégation des Sœurs de Sainte-Anne aux plans religieux, éducatif et culturel. Les samedi 29 et dimanche 30 septembre 2012 à 10 h (en français). Réservations (places limitées) : 514 637-4616, poste 212 (http://www.ssacong.org/musee). • Une petite promenade dans le village de De Lorimier (circuit de découverte à pied) Au fil d'une promenade tranquille commentée par Gabriel Deschambault, architecte et urbaniste, on découvrira quelques anecdotes et petits secrets de l'ancien Village de De Lorimier. De Papineau à Iberville, on fera connaissance avec quelques lieux particuliers aujourd'hui disparus, comme le couvent Mont-Royal ou encore les grands abattoirs de l'Est. Ce sera aussi l'occasion de parler de l'architecture et du patrimoine de ce secteur du Plateau-Mont-Royal. Le dimanche 14 octobre 2012 de 14 h à 15 h 30 (en français). Réservations à compter du 2 octobre 2012 (places limitées) : 514 527-6702. • Visite architecturale de la Maison LeBer-LeMoyne Magnifique exemple d'architecture française du 17e siècle, la Maison LeBer-LeMoyne fait la fierté du Musée de Lachine. Cette maison et sa dépendance ont été construites entre 1669 et 1671 pour la traite des fourrures. Accompagné d'un guide chevronné, on visitera ces bâtiments considérés comme les plus anciens de l'île de Montréal. Les samedi 29 et dimanche 30 septembre ainsi que les 6-7 et 13-14 octobre 2012 à 14 h (en français et en anglais). Réservations : 514 634-3478 (http://www.museedelachine.com). • Visite architecturale de Pointe-à-Callière Pointe-à-Callière invite le public à participer à un parcours guidé inédit du Musée. Les visiteurs pourront découvrir les défis relevés par les architectes, les archéologues et les muséologues lors de la construction du Musée sur des vestiges archéologiques. Les samedi 29 et dimanche 30 septembre 2012 à 13 h 30 (en anglais) et à 15 h 30 (en français). Réservations : 514 872-9150 (http://www.pacmusee.qc.ca). • Visite guidée du village de Pointe-Claire Les origines de Pointe-Claire remontent au temps de la colonie française. La visite guidée fera découvrir l'histoire du moulin à vent fortifié de 1710 et de l'église Saint-Joachim, de style néo-gothique, ainsi que la vie des premiers habitants. De l'information sera également donnée sur les anciennes maisons, témoins de différentes époques. Les dimanches 30 septembre, 7 et 14 octobre 2012 de 13 h à 15 h (en français et en anglais). Renseignements : 514 693-9114. La 22e édition de l'Opération patrimoine architectural de Montréal est réalisée par la Ville de Montréal, en collaboration avec le Ministère de la culture, des communications et de la condition féminine du Québec et Héritage Montréal. Surveillez la remise des Prix émérites du patrimoine 2012 et le lancement du Concours La maison coup de cœur le 12 octobre prochain!
  8. 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
  9. DESCRIPTION DE CE PROJET Occupation Septembre 2011 Cet immeuble de 5 unités construit dans les années 30 sera entièrement rénové en conservant son cachet architectural. L'immeuble sera intégré au nouveau projet adjacent le ''Papineau et St-Grégoire'' Près de la rue Laurier http://www.idevco.ca/fr/5505-5513-papineau.html
  10. What architectural wonder would you like to see as the next LEGO® Architecture model? Inspire us by voting for some of these suggestions. http://architecture.lego.com/en-us/inspire-us/
  11. December 19th, 2011 Confessions of a Condo Architect By Alanah Heffez // 7 Comments http://spacingmontreal.ca/page/7/ Right after completing her Masters degree in Architecture, Alex got a job with a local firm that designs those condominiums you always see cropping up in the Plateau, Rosemont and Villeray. We have all seen these new constructions and shuddered, or perhaps just sighed it could be worse. The blocks are neither offensive nor inspiring: they're mediocre at best. “We’re creating a generation of condos that are really ugly," Alex says,"It’s as bad as the 'eighties. Frankly, I think it’s going to be worse.” She runs through a list of all-too-familiar features: cramped juliettes where balconies should be; basement apartments with dug-out cours anglaises surrounded with bars that end up looking like jail cells; the use of different tones of brick to break up the façade; the random insertion of incongruous colours to add a semblance of architectural variety... As Alex describes it, designing condos is a constant give and take between respecting the building code while maximizing the client's profits that leaves little space for creativity. Here's an example: the City of Montreal requires 80% of building fronts to be masonry and monotone bricks in taupe matt, grey anthracite and Champlain orange-red are inexpensive (how cheap it feels to reduce the urban landscape to colours in a catalogue). The most an architect can hope to do is to add a splash of coloured plexiglass, and only if the borough's CCU lets it through. Within the envelope, the constraints are event tighter: Alex describes her workdays as "trying to shove too much into a space that’s inherently too small.” She recalls debating with a colleague about the ethics of sketching a double-bed into the plans when a queen simply wouldn't fit in the room. "'If you can’t fit a Queen-sized bed in your apartment, then it’s not an acceptable apartment," Alex insists. But most people don't have much experience reading architectural plans so they don’t necessarily realize what they’re getting. The developer, on the other hand, knows exactly what they want: "they come to you and say: this is the lot, and we want 8 condos in it." That leaves room for only a couple two-bedroom apartments, and the rest bachelors, all within the footprint of what was once a duplex or triplex apartment block. "It’s more profitable to sell more condos than to sell more bedrooms,” Alex points out. There's another catch: buildings under three stories fall within part 9 of the building code, which is more lenient in terms of fire safety regulations. But by sinking in a couple basement suites and adding a mezzanine (which must not exceed a certain percentage of the floorspace), it's possible to squeeze five levels into a building that is officially only three stories high. At least there's a sliver of good news: just this year the city stopped allowing windowless rooms. And while we may be in favour of urban density, tightly-packed residential units are not synonymous with density of inhabitants. "All these properties with great potential are being turned into one single type of real estate that is not family friendly: it’s all geared to young professionals without children. They’re not big enough for a growing family and there’s no flexibility in the space," says Alex. Another thing that she laments is that, with the requirement to transform every square inch of the lot into square-footage of floorspace, there's a tendency to lose the individual entrances, balconies and outdoor staircases that are typical of Montreal's urban landscape, and that create a dialogue between public and private space. Of course, being an architect, she also dwells on the aesthetics: “It’s all going to look very 2010," she sighs, "....and not in a good way.”
  12. Je suis surpris qu'il n'y ait pas déjà un fil sur les grands architectes. Alors je commence le bal avec celui-ci... Bernard Tschumi. Bernard Tschumi (born January 25, 1944 Lausanne, Switzerland) is an architect, writer, and educator, commonly associated with deconstructivism. Born of French and Swiss parentage, he works and lives in New York and Paris. He studied in Paris and at ETH in Zurich, where he received his degree in architecture in 1969. Tschumi has taught at Portsmouth Polytechnic in Portsmouth, UK, the Architectural Association in London, the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, Princeton University, the Cooper Union in New York and Columbia University where he was Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1988 to 2003. Tschumi is a permanent U.S. resident. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Tschumi http://www.tschumi.com/
  13. Espace MV - L'art de ne rien perdre Le Devoir Marie-Ève Maheu Édition du samedi 07 et du dimanche 08 mars 2009 Mots clés : Espace MV, Patrimoine architectural, Groupe Cardinal Hardy, Québec (province) Le Groupe Cardinal Hardy recycle un patrimoine architectural Un des éléments les plus intéressants du site est la rotonde, soit un pavillon circulaire en verre suspendu au-dessus d'un plan d'eau, qui servait autrefois de cafétéria aux employés de Ciba. Le clou de ce trésor architectural est une grande murale du peintre Jean-Paul Mousseau et du céramiste Claude Vermette, connus pour leurs œuvres exposés dans le métro de Montréal. Après le recyclage de l'ancienne raffinerie Redpath, la mise en valeur de l'îlot Anderson dans le faubourg Saint-Laurent, le réaménagement du Vieux-Port de Montréal et du secteur des écluses du canal de Lachine, le Groupe Cardinal Hardy se lance dans un nouveau projet d'envergure à Dorval. Avec Espace MV, Aurèle Cardinal, architecte et urbaniste qui a fait sa marque dans le domaine en remettant en valeur des bijoux du patrimoine industriel de Montréal, s'attaque maintenant à un patrimoine plus contemporain. Il s'est lancé un défi: recycler l'ancien siège social de l'entreprise pharmaceutique Ciba, construit au tournant des années 1960. Le projet Espace MV proposera 290 lofts, condos et maisons de ville, à moins de 15 minutes du centre-ville de Montréal, en bordure de l'autoroute 20. Le projet a été inspiré par la richesse du patrimoine architectural, raconte Aurèle Cardinal. «La multinationale Ciba y a créé un lieu de travail exemplaire. Quand on regarde l'intérieur, on comprend tout de suite que ce n'était pas juste une entreprise qui s'installait. Elle a engagé l'architecte Percy Booth, qui s'est inspiré de ce qui se faisait à Chicago et à New York. Il a aussi intégré des oeuvres artistiques à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de l'immeuble.» Lorsque le Groupe Cardinal Hardy s'en est porté acquéreur, l'immeuble était à l'abandon depuis cinq ans. «Tout le monde regardait ce bâtiment comme un édifice à bureaux et le considérait comme un obstacle au développement. Pour nous, c'est tout le contraire. On voulait en tirer parti pour faire quelque chose de différent.» Un des éléments les plus intéressants du site est la rotonde, soit un pavillon circulaire en verre suspendu au-dessus d'un plan d'eau, qui servait autrefois de cafétéria aux employés de Ciba. Le clou de ce trésor architectural est une grande murale du peintre Jean-Paul Mousseau et du céramiste Claude Vermette, connus pour leurs oeuvres exposées dans le métro de Montréal. C'est d'ailleurs à ces deux artistes qu'on doit le nom du projet: Espace MV, pour Mousseau et Vermette. On a ainsi voulu souligner la richesse patrimoniale du lieu. Projet d'envergure «On va transformer ce qui était un lieu de travail exceptionnel en un milieu de vie exceptionnel», explique Aurèle Cardinal, responsable du projet. Le campus résidentiel sera divisé en deux secteurs. Le siège social de Ciba -- un grand édifice de briques, de verre et d'acier -- sera transformé en 75 lofts. Deux sections en forme de «L» de 95 condos s'ajouteront à l'arrière du bâtiment rectangulaire, de façon à créer une cour intérieure avec, au milieu, la rotonde. L'ancienne salle à manger servira de lieu communautaire pour tous les résidants d'Espace MV, afin de rester fidèle à son ancienne fonction. Une salle d'entraînement sera aménagée dans la première moitié, et dans l'autre on trouvera un bar avec billard et soccer sur tables. Dans l'autre secteur du site, le Groupe Cardinal Hardy prévoit construire 78 maisons de ville de deux ou trois étages ainsi que 42 condominiums. Trésors recyclés Il n'y a pas que la coquille de l'ancien siège social de Ciba qui sera conservée. Humà Design, qui s'occupe notamment de l'aménagement intérieur, s'est affairé à récupérer tout ce qui était réutilisable à l'intérieur de l'édifice: vitres, poignées, portes, panneaux de bois en teck, etc. Un grand entrepôt, qui sera pour sa part démoli, a aussi été vidé de ses trésors. «C'est hallucinant qu'on ait eu la chance de pouvoir faire ça, parce que c'est coûteux, mais ça ajoute beaucoup de cachet et c'est très écologique comme démarche», dit Stéphanie Cardinal, présidente d'Humà Design. Construction verte Justement, Espace MV veut prendre le virage du développement durable. Il y a bien sûr l'importante récupération de matériaux. Ensuite, les logements seront construits de façon à assurer une bonne efficacité énergétique. De plus, le projet est situé à proximité de deux lignes d'autobus et d'une ligne de train, ce qui facilite les déplacements en transport en commun. Finalement, ce ne sont pas les espaces verts qui manquent sur le site, avec ses grands arbres matures et le ruisseau qui longe le terrain. Il faut dire que la propriété a déjà abrité un terrain de golf, le plus ancien club en Amérique, durant la première moitié des années 1900. Une partie de cette végétation est toujours intacte et le Groupe Hardy prévoit conserver 20 % d'espaces verts. «C'est un projet novateur qui propose un équilibre entre nature et design, en plus d'une philosophie de développement durable», résume Aurèle Cardinal. Intérieur sur mesure L'intérieur des unités a fait l'objet d'une longue réflexion pour coller à l'âme du projet. Pour les lofts, les nouveaux propriétaires devront faire le choix entre quatre styles bien différents. Connection Nature offre un environnement épuré avec un mélange de bois naturel et de matériaux bruts dans des blancs, des beiges et des gris pâle. Pour un look plus classique qui mêle le noir et le blanc, mieux vaut opter pour Connection Club, en référence à l'ancien club de golf aménagé sur le terrain. Le style Vintage, qu'on peut voir dans l'unité modèle, rappelle quant à lui l'époque des années 1960 avec des armoires en teck récupérées. Finalement, pour les plus audacieux, il y a le style MV avec des armoires rouges, bleues ou jaunes et un plancher de bois très foncé. Pour les maisons de ville et les condos, l'offre sera plus diversifiée, précise Stéphanie Cardinal. La construction débutera ce printemps. Dès l'automne prochain, les nouveaux propriétaires pourront commencer à s'installer. Malgré la crise économique, les acheteurs semblent être au rendez-vous. Avant même l'ouverture officielle du bureau des ventes, le 25 février dernier, 15 unités avaient déjà été vendues. *** Collaboratrice du Devoir http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/03/07/237702.html (8/3/2009 15H37 )
  14. On parle ici d'une maison à Westmount, qui est qualifiée de "Number one home in Canada" dans un article du Architectural Digest. Je vous en recommande fortement la lecture. L'article dans Architectural Digest. La firme d'architectes: http://www.ericjsmitharchitect.com Designer d'intérieurs: http://www.davideastoninc.com/
  15. boluda

    Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton)

    En lisant cet article d'aujourd'hui dans La Presse j'ai découvert le Art Gallery of Alberta, inauguré récemment. http://www.cyberpresse.ca/voyage/canada/201009/10/01-4314487-edmonton-la-ville-qui-fait-boom.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=cyberpresse_B2_voyage_264_accueil_POS1 Penser que les gens à Edmonton ont plus d'audace architectural qu'à Montréal...soupir.
  16. MTLskyline

    Sites emblématiques menacés

    D'après moi, la majorité de ces propriétés n'ont pas vraiment de grand valeur architectural. Particulièment l'Agora Charles Daudelin (beaucoup de vagabonds vivent dedans,,,) Le Secteur Paper Hill aussi est seulement ordinare, et le site a un grand potentiel. Le Planétarium aussi n'est rien de spéciale, et peu faire place a une future construction en hauteur aussi.
  17. (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
  18. Tuesday, July 21, 2009, by Lockhart Curbed.com Concept: bulldoze under Central Park and replace it with a modern, international airport. The idea is so simple, so beautifully elegant, so inevitable that it's hard to believe we didn't think of it ourselves. Rather, credit the shadowy figures behind The Manhattan Airport Foundation, who've worked up an incredibly detailed plan to turn Frederick Law Olmsted's bucolic paradise into a postmodern universe of runways, terminals, and baggage claims. Good news for purists, too: per the Manhattan Airport FAQ, "Whenever possible, vestigial architectural elements of the Park space be retained or reworked into the context of the new design." And they mean it! You've got to admire the Foundation's bravado: "Public dollars helped create Central Park in the 1850s. And public responsibility dictates that we transform this underutilized asset into something we so desperately need today. Manhattan Airport will prove New York City no longer allows it’s vestigial prewar cityscape to languish in irrelevance but instead reinvents these spaces with a daring and inspired bravado truly befitting one of the world’s great cities. The moment is now." Of course it is. (...)
  19. May 22, 2009 By IAN AUSTEN OTTAWA — Arthur Erickson, who was widely viewed as Canada’s pre-eminent Modernist architect, died in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Wednesday. He was 84. Phyllis Lambert, the chairwoman of the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, said Mr. Erickson, a friend, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Erickson established an international reputation for designing innovative complexes and buildings, often to critical acclaim. Among them are the San Diego Convention Center; Napp Laboratories in Cambridge, England; the Kuwait Oil Sector Complex in Kuwait City; and Kunlun Apartment Hotel Development in Beijing. He designed the Canadian pavilion, an inverted pyramid, at Expo 67, the world’s fair in Montreal; Canada’s embassy in Washington; and, with the firm of Mathers and Haldenby, the Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto’s main concert hall, a circular, futuristic building that tapers to a flat top. But Mr. Erickson is perhaps best known for providing Vancouver, his hometown, with many of its architectural signatures, the most successful of which he integrated with their surrounding landscapes, avoiding ornamentation and favoring concrete (which he called “the marble of our time”). Among his notable buildings there is the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. “His work always came out of the earth,” Ms. Lambert said. “He didn’t start the way most architects started. He actually started off with the earth, the landscape, and made something that inhabited the land.” Mr. Erickson also campaigned for buildings that strove to maintain a human scale. In 1972 he persuaded the province of British Columbia to abandon plans for a 55-story office and court complex in downtown Vancouver. Mr. Erickson’s replacement design effectively turned the tower on its side. He created a relatively low, three-block-long complex with a steel and glass truss roof and a complex concrete structure softened with trees, gardens and waterfalls. It was another Vancouver commission, however, that first brought Mr. Erickson fame. Much to his surprise, he and his architectural partner at the time, Geoffrey Massey, won a competition in 1965 to design the campus of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver. Its wide, low buildings mirror the mountains surrounding the city. Arthur Charles Erickson was born on June 14, 1924. His parents were influential promoters of the arts in Vancouver as the city began to grow rapidly in the early 20th century, and they encouraged Arthur and his brother to study the arts. Prominent Canadian artists in Vancouver became Mr. Erickson’s mentors, notably the landscape painter Lawren S. Harris. After serving with the Canadian Army in Asia as a commando and intelligence officer during World War II, Mr. Erickson began his university studies with the hope of becoming a diplomat. But in his autobiography, “The Architecture of Arthur Erickson,” he wrote that he changed his mind in 1947 after seeing, in Fortune magazine, photographs of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Modernist and environmentally sensitive house built in the desert in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Suddenly, it was clear to me,” Mr. Erickson wrote. “If such a magical realm was the province of an architect, I would become one.” He moved to Montreal to study architecture at McGill University. After his success with the Simon Fraser commission, Mr. Erickson was awarded other prestigious projects, including the Canadian Expo pavilion. That work raised his public profile, and Mr. Erickson used it to promote environmentalism and corporate responsibility. Mr. Erickson’s commission to design a new embassy in Washington generated some controversy when Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, a friend, awarded it to Mr. Erickson without any public process. The building, which opened in 1989, is on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the Capitol. Paul Goldberger, the chief architecture critic of The New York Times at the time, called it one of Mr. Erickson’s less-successful works. Over the years Mr. Erickson’s firm — today it is called the Arthur Erickson Corporation — opened branches in Toronto, Los Angeles, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Information about his survivors was not available. Il étudie à Montréal, mais aucune oeuvre ici? In 1992, Mr. Erickson, millions of dollars in debt, was forced to declare bankruptcy. But he continued to practice, producing work like the Museum of Glass, in Tacoma, Wash. He also continued to champion Modernism and decried a postmodern trend that emphasized ornamentation and decoration. “After 1980, you never heard reference to space again,” he said in a speech at McGill in 2000. “Surface, the most convincing evidence of the descent into materialism, became the focus of design,” and, he added, “space the essence of architectural expression at its highest level, disappeared.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/arts/22erickson.html?scp=1&sq=montreal&st=cse
  20. Developer floats alternate proposals for a $900 million tower project on Boston’s waterfront It’s not the best economic climate for building office space. But Don Chiofaro, a Boston-based developer seems unfazed. He is moving fast and furious to get approvals for a 1.5 million sq ft mixed -use project for Boston’s waterfront, betting the market will change by the time the project goes into construction. In January he proposed a two-tower scheme for the site, a prime location between the New England Aquarium and the City’s new Greenway. But when that scheme was met with little enthusiasm, Chiofaro unveiled yet another design last week, this three-tower scheme designed by New York architect Kohn Pederson Fox. While this scheme is reportedly the developer's favorite, he has an arsenal of ten different designs that he is prepared to launch on the public until one sticks. The current scheme, which has been likened to a "matched set of furniture" by Boston architecture critic Robert Campbell, features three tall slender glass towers framed with terra cotta walls. Pederson told the Boston Globe that the intent was to create a high rise that made sense in Boston, a city that has an architectural pedigree of brick townhouses and warehouses. “In both types you have long masonry bearing walls at both sides with large openings in the front and rear” said Pederson. The two "bookend" towers will be occupied while the middle tower is intended as sculpture and has no program. One tower will hold a 200-300 room hotel topped by approximately 120 condos. The second one will contain 850,000 sq ft of office space. The lower floors of the entire complex will contain 70,000 sq ft of retail space. Sharon McHugh US Correspondent http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11108
  21. 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
  22. The New York Times Printer Friendly Format Sponsored By June 8, 2008 Allez voir plus de photos sur le site: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/magazine/08mvrdv-t.html?_r=1&sq=montreal&st=nyt&oref=slogin&scp=1&pagewanted=all By DARCY FREY In the fall of 2002, a young Dutch architect named Winy Maas came to Yale to give a lecture on designing and building the 21st-century city, the challenges of which he illustrated by showing a 30-second video that could have been shot above any American metropolitan airport: a view of the tops of several buildings and then, as the camera rose, more and more buildings, more roads and bridges and asphalt lots, until an ugly concrete skin of low-rise development spread to all horizons. Maas was not the first architect to protest the unsightly sprawl that humans have left over much of the earth’s surface, but he may have been the first to suggest that we preserve what’s left of our finite planetary space by creating “vertical suburbias” — stacking all those quarter-acre plots into high-rise residential towers, each with its own hanging, cantilevered yard. “Imagine: It’s Saturday afternoon, and all the barbecues are running,” Maas said, unveiling his design for a 15-story building decked out with leafy, gravity-defying platforms. “You can just reach out and give your upstairs neighbor a beer.” He turned next to agriculture. Noting that the Dutch pork industry consumes huge swaths of land — Holland has as many pigs as people — Maas proposed freeing up the countryside by erecting sustainable 40-story tower blocks for the pigs. “Look — it’s a pork port,” he said, flashing images from PigCity, his plan for piling up the country’s porcine population and its slaughterhouses into sod-layered, manure-powered skyscrapers that would line the Dutch coast. Maas is the charismatic frontman for the Rotterdam-based architecture, urban-planning and landscape-design firm known as MVRDV, which brims with schemes for generating space in our overcrowded world. With his messy, teen-idol hair and untucked shirt, Maas strolled the stage extolling the MVRDV credo — maximize urban density, construct artificial natures, let data-crunching computers do the design work — while various mind-bending simulations played across the screen: skyscrapers that tilted and “kissed” on the 30th floor; highways that ran through lobbies and converted into “urban beaches”; all the housing, retail and industry for a theoretical city of one million inhabitants digitally compressed into the space of a three-mile-high cube. The Netherlands, prosperous and progressive, has long been one of the world’s leading exporters of architectural talent. By the mid-1990’s, not only Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture but also a whole new generation of designers — MVRDV, West 8, UNStudio — were trying to enlarge Le Corbusier’s definition of architecture as the “magnificent play of volumes brought together under light” and arguing for a process driven by research, information and a greater social and environmental awareness. Fighting their battles not just building to building but on a sweeping, citywide scale, Holland’s architects and designers were, in the words of the Dutch culture minister, “heroes of a new age.” Still, paradigms tend to fall only under pressure, and at the start of the new millennium an audience at the Yale School of Architecture could be forgiven for greeting vertical suburbs, pig cities and the rest of MVRDV’s computer-generated showmanship with the same slack-jawed disbelief that once greeted Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” or the 1909 Life magazine cartoon that promised an urban utopia of country villas perched atop Manhattan skyscrapers while double-decker airplanes whizzed through their atria. When Maas came to New Haven, MVRDV was barely 10 years old and had hardly built outside its native Holland. And yet there he was with his straight-faced scheme to “extend the globe with a series of new moons” — send up food-producing satellites that would orbit the earth three times a day. “Can you imagine,” he said with a boyish, science-fair enthusiasm that indulged no irony, “if we grew our tomatoes 10 kilometers high?” On the lecture-hall screen, New York’s skyline appeared just as the MVRDV satellite passed overhead, darkening Gotham with a momentary eclipse of the sun. Who were these Dutch upstarts? And in the so-called real world, would anything actually become of their grand, improbable visions? The 45 architects and designers who make up MVRDV (the name is formed by the surname initials of Mass and his two founding partners, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries) work out of a converted, loftlike space in an old printing plant in Rotterdam, a dull but industrious port city whose historic districts were leveled by the Nazis and whose jagged skyline of new office towers and construction cranes attests to its still-restless effort to rebuild. Inside MVRDV, a liquid northern light pours through a wall of high arched windows, and the occasional cries of foghorns and seagulls confirm its location just blocks from the city’s main shipping lane. But otherwise, the mostly 30-something architects who sit with a slouching intensity at rows of long communal tables, surfing Google Earth or manipulating blue-foam architectural models, seem to have their minds in other places. “Now here’s a nice project of ours,” Jacob van Rijs said, leading me over to a small cardboard model for a library near Rotterdam when I visited the firm this spring. Because zoning laws required that the library not exceed the height of the town’s steeple, MVRDV designed it like a barn and filled its spacious interior with a continuous spiral of book-bearing walls leading to a bar and a fireplace at the top. “It’s like a spatialization of a library filing system. Every title will be visible, so you won’t have to know what you’re looking for — you can just come in and browse.” Van Rijs — menschy, informal, with a skill for taking Maas’s flights of rhetoric and bringing them helpfully down to earth — guided me on to the next model, this one for a new housing block in a generic, somewhat featureless region of the Netherlands; from a distance the housing block will appear as giant letters spelling out the region’s name. “It’s like the Hollywood sign — you’ll see our building and instantly know where you are.” And on to the models for an arched, open-air market hall whose ribs are formed by apartment units (“so you can call down from your kitchen window and ask your husband to pick up some fruit”); the design-your-own mountain grottos with interchangeable rooms for a developer in Taiwan (“they’re like customizable Native American caves”); the new soccer stadium in Rotterdam that, because it replaces an older one fondly known as the Tub, will sit like a dish in the Maas River. “You know, what’s the best place for a tub? So we put it in the river!” Van Rijs gave a giddy laugh. “Some projects just make you happy.” Maas and van Rijs, who both worked for Koolhaas, and de Vries, who practiced with the Delft-based Mecanoo, formed MVRDV in 1991 after their design for a Berlin housing project won the prestigious Europan competition for architects under 40. Holland has always been a good place to think creatively about space, with its congested countryside (16 million people squeezed into an area the size of two New Jerseys), its faith in planning and the democratic welfare state and its keen appreciation for land that comes from having reclaimed two-thirds of its own from the edge of the North Sea. Meanwhile, young designers were hoping the economic boom and housing shortage of the 1990s would give them the chance to build domestically on a large scale. Still, two years after they formed MVRDV, Maas, van Rijs and de Vries were struggling to find work and practicing out of makeshift offices (during meetings with prospective clients, they’d sometimes recruit friends to keep the phones ringing and wander through in suits) when a Dutch public broadcasting company, VPRO, approached them about a possible new headquarters in Hilversum. The project’s constraints were formidable. VPRO’s 350 employees — “creative types,” van Rijs says; “individualistic,” de Vries adds; “a settlement of anarchists with an obnoxious attitude toward corporate identity” Maas concludes — were then spread out among several buildings, enjoying their fiefs and the company’s culture of noncommunication. Even if a new headquarters could bring them all under one roof, it was impossible to predict how the employees would actually use the building, given their fluid work patterns and chaotic organizational hierarchies. “The mandate was: How can we get them to start communicating with each other?” Maas says. “And the answer was: By putting them in a box.” Villa VPRO, which became the defining project of MVRDV’s early career, is a densely constructed, five-story box — a “hungry box,” as one critic called it — with an endlessly flowing and adaptable interior that renders in spatial form the company’s anarchic spirit. MVRDV created a concrete labyrinth of winding stairs, twisting ramps and narrow bridges; a continuous surface of stepped and slanted planes with no real walls, just colored-glass partitions so that sunlight could penetrate into the depths of its compact terrain. “Clearly, VPRO was a social-engineering project,” Maas says. “We built a vertical battlefield for the users, one place where they could all meet and argue and find out how to behave. Because of all the hills, slabs and stairs, they were forced to maneuver through the building. Some people hated it — they lost their way, they were overwhelmed by their colleagues. Others loved it. But they all had to deal with each other. I like that. That’s part of life.” A year later, MVRDV took social engineering to a new level when it won a commission to represent Holland in Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany. Expos are notorious excuses for creating second-rate architecture, piling up dreary national pavilions and Disneyfied theme parks around which crowds circulate in a candy-consuming stupor. At the Hanover expo, MVRDV stole the show with another vertical confection — this time a six-story tower of stacked and sustainable artificial Dutch landscapes that included an oak forest, a meadow of potted flowers, ersatz concrete sand dunes for purifying irrigation water and a “polder landscape” of dyke-protected turf powered by wind turbines spinning away on the roof. The MVRDV pavilion was, one critic wrote, “science class with the chutzpah of Coney Island.” Another predicted that it would “go down as one of the few truly great pieces of expo architecture,” alongside Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion and Moshe Safdie’s Habitat flats at the Montreal expo. Visitors lined up for hours to climb through what was inevitably dubbed the “Dutch Big Mac.” But beyond its playful innovation, MVRDV had lofty aspirations for its pavilion, hoping that it would carry the optimistic (and very Dutch) message that in the face of extreme population densities and the craving for open land, you could actually manufacture space — even create an artificial nature out of thin air — by condensing your landscapes on the floors of a building and reproducing them endlessly toward the sky. “The Dutch population is essentially antiurban,” de Vries says. “Therefore as architects in Holland we have a special responsibility to make living in cities and under dense circumstances not just habitable but preferable.” “It was sort of a test case,” Maas says. “At a time when urbanism is still dominated by ‘zoning,’ which is a very two-dimensional approach, we wanted to know: can we extend our surfaces? Can we develop an urbanism that enters the third dimension?” The Hanover pavilion was “a utopian formula born of necessity to allow the unlimited creation of new real estate,” wrote the critic Holger Liebs. It was “a practical model for the reinvention of the world.” At the architectural library at the Delft University of Technology, there’s a copy of a 736-page book by MVRDV called “Farmax: Excursions on Density,” which is a hodgepodge of essays, transcripts, photos, computer designs, graphs and charts, all examining the growing suburban “grayness” of the Dutch landscape and proposing different solutions for saving the pastoral landscape by “carrying density to extremes.” So many students have borrowed, read and plundered that copy of “Farmax” that it had to be pulled from circulation and has sat in a state of complete disintegration inside a kind of glass vitrine. When I mentioned this to van Rijs, he laughed and said: “Yeah, I’ve seen that. Our book is like a museum piece. Isn’t that fun?” While projects like VPRO and the Hanover pavilion were leading to design commissions in Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris, Tokyo and China’s Sichuan province, MVRDV was also reaching outside the realm of established architectural practice by producing a series of theoretical exercises — books, films, exhibitions, even computer games — that amounted to an ongoing propaganda war on behalf of the firm’s radical ideas about space. After “Farmax,” MVRDV put out another doorstop manifesto, “KM3: Excursions on Capacities,” which warned that if the global population “behaved with U.S.-citizen-like consumption,” another four earths would be required to sustain it. In the exhibit 3D City, they pushed ever upward, advocating giant stacking cities that, as MVRDV breathlessly described them, exist “not only in front, behind or next to you, but also above and below. In short a city in which ground-level zero no longer exists but has dissolved into a multiple and simultaneous presence of levels where the town square is replaced by a void or a bundle of connections; where the street is replaced by simultaneous distribution and divisions of routes and is expanded by elevators, ramps and escalators. . . .” Perhaps MVRDV’s most ambitious theoretical exercise was the traveling computer installation they called MetaCity/Datatown. Predicting that globalism and an exploding planetary population will push certain regions throughout the world into continuous urban fields, or megacities, MVRDV conceived a hypothetical city called Datatown, designed solely from extrapolations of Dutch statistics. (“It is a city that wants to be explored only as information; a city that knows no given topography, no prescribed ideology, no representation, no context. Only huge, pure data.”) According to its creators, Datatown was a self-sufficient city with the population of the United States (250 million) crammed into an area the size of Georgia (60,000 square miles), making it the densest place on earth. MVRDV then subjected this urban Frankenstein to 21 scenarios to see how they would affect the built environment: What if all the residents of Datatown wanted to live in detached houses? What if they preferred urban blocks? What could be done with the waste? (Build 561 ski resorts.) What kind of city park would be needed? (A million Central Parks stacked up over 3,884 floors.) “The seas, the oceans (rising as a result of global warming), the polar icecaps, all represent a reduction in the territory available for the megacity. Does that mean that we must colonize the Sahel, the oceans or even the moon to fulfill our need for air and space, to survive? Or can we find an intelligent way to expand the capacities of what already exists?” On one level, MetaCity/Datatown was a game and a provocation — architecture as a kind of thought experiment: can the urban landscape be reduced to a string of ones and zeroes? Is what we think of as outward reality nothing more than the physical manifestation of information? But MetaCity/Datatown was also a serious investigation: by translating the chaos of the contemporary city into pure information — or, as MVRDV called it, a datascape — and then showing the spatial consequences of that datascape through computer-generated designs, MVRDV set out to reveal how our collective choices and behaviors come to mold our constructed environments. “These datascapes show that architectural design in the traditional sense only plays a very limited role,” Bart Lootsma, an architectural historian, writes in one of many essays inspired by the exhibit. “It is the society, in all its complexities and contradictions, that shapes the environment in the most detailed way, producing ‘gravity fields’ in the apparent chaos of developments, hidden logics that eventually ensure that whole areas acquire their own special characteristics — even at a subconscious level.” Lootsma cites a number of these invisible forces — market demands precipitating a “slick” of houses-with-gardens in the Netherlands, political constraints generating “piles” of dwellings on the outskirts of Hong Kong, the cultural preference for white brick causing a “white cancer” of housing estates in the Dutch province of Friesland. These are “the ‘scapes’ of the data behind it,” he writes. Moreover, to the extent that MVRDV approaches architecture not as a conventional expression of aesthetics, materials and form but as an almost scientific investigation into the social and economic forces that influence our constructions, the datascapes were also a dry run for the firm’s own built work. That work, says Aaron Betsky, the former director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute and a longtime MVRDV-watcher, is really an ongoing project of “giving shape to those zeroes and ones,” of making the conceptual real, of turning abstract information into concrete form. When MVRDV begins a project, it starts by assembling information on all the conceivable factors that could play a role in the site’s design and construction — everything from zoning laws, building regulations and technical requirements to client wishes, climatic conditions and the political and legal history of the site. Architects often view these rules and regulations as bureaucratic foils to their creativity. MVRDV sees them as the wellspring of invention. In fact, believing that subjective analysis and “artistic” intuition can no longer resolve the complex design problems posed by the ever-metastisizing global city, the architects sometimes use a home-built software program called Functionmixer. When loaded with all the parameters of a particular construction project, Functionmixer crunches the numbers to show optimal building shapes for any given set of priorities (maximizing sunlight, say, or views, or privacy) and pushes limits to the extreme, where they can be seen, debated and, often, thoroughly undone. It creates a datascape that is the basis of the design. In 1994, for instance, MVRDV was asked to build housing for the elderly — an apartment block with 100 units — in an already densely developed suburb of Amsterdam. Because of height regulations and the need to provide adequate sunlight for residents, only 87 of the called-for units could fit within the site’s restricted footprint. Rather than expand horizontally and consume more of the neighborhood’s green space, MVRDV borrowed a page from its “vertical suburbia” and hung the remaining 13 apartments off the side. Their wonderfully odd WoZoCos housing complex takes the conventional vertical housing block and reorganizes it midair with these bulging extensions that seem to be levitating right up off the ground. Four years later, when MVRDV was selected to build economically mixed housing in Amsterdam’s docklands area, the firm held countless negotiations with the parties involved — local politicians, the planning authority, possible future residents — all of whom advocated for a different distribution of the housing. Eventually MVRDV threw all the data into a computer and came up with the Silodam — 157 apartments of various sizes and prices that sit together in one 10-story multicolored block that rises on stilts from the harbor like a docked container ship. From the outside, the Silodam looks simple enough — as literal as a child’s giant Lego construction — but inside the block is filled with a vast array of dwellings arranged into economically mixed “mini-neighborhoods,” while a series of communal galleries and gangways allow residents to walk from one end of the “ship” to the other. MVRDV’s radical, research-driven methodology has been a source of fascination to critics and competitors from the start. “No one else has found as convincing a way,” writes the historian Lootsma, of “showing the spatial consequences of the desires of the individual parties involved in a design process, confronting them with each other and opening a debate with society, instead of just fighting for one or the other, as most architects would.” And the urbanist and designer Stan Allen, now dean of the Princeton School of Architecture, points out that “rather than impose structure, leading to closure and more precise definition, MVRDV works to keep the schema open as long as possible, so that it can absorb as much information as possible.” In fact, MVRDV’s architects rely so much on gathering and metabolizing data, information and competing points of view that they insist they leave no formal signature on their work. “We try to avoid any sort of aesthetic aspect in our designs,” van Rijs told me. “Unlike Gehry, Zaha and others whose work is easy to recognize, we don’t have a strong personal style. Our methodology is based more on logic. Sometimes we call it an iron logic: depending on the situation, we come and take a look and say: ‘What’s happening? What should be done?’ Then we follow a step-by-step narrative, and when you see the building, you get the final result. It’s the only possible outcome. You cannot see anything else.” But if MVRDV’s design process is really so rational and objective — if, as Stan Allen says, the architects reject “fuzzy intuition” and “artistic expression” for a step-by-step pragmatism in which “form is explained only in relation to the information it encodes: architecture as a series of switches, circuits or relays activating assemblages of matter and information” — then why, Allen asks, are their creations so unexpected and witty, sometimes even so spectacular? Commissioned to build large-scale housing in a sprawling Madrid neighborhood already choked with monotonous low-rise construction, MVRDV designed a typical horizontal housing block with an interior courtyard. Then the architects flipped the block on its side to create Mirador, a towering 22-story icon for the neighborhood with the courtyard now transformed into an enormous, open-air balcony offering sweeping views of the Guadarrama Mountains. Some MVRDV designs are so logical they seem to turn reality on its head. In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of New Orleans, the actor and architectural enthusiast Brad Pitt asked 14 design firms to help his nonprofit Make It Right rebuild the city’s impoverished Lower Ninth Ward, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm. Specifically, he asked for designs for an affordable — but also floodproof — 1,200-square-foot house with three bedrooms and a porch. Maas, van Rijs and de Vries — citizens of a country that is continually defending its buildings from the threat of inundation — had already contributed to an exhibit of post-Katrina architecture: inspired by a child’s crayon drawing of New Orleans residents walking to safety up an imaginary hill, they conceived a new elementary school made safe from rising waters by tucking it inside an artificial, grass-covered mound, where balconies hung off the sides and a playground covered the top. Now, having received Brad Pitt’s call, they came up with an ingenious, almost whimsical solution to the problem of future flooding: their “Bend House” was a variation on the South’s traditional low-slung shotgun houses, this one hinged in the middle so that its front and back are raised above the waterline. Some critics were appalled. By creating a dwelling that already looked flood-damaged, perhaps even uninhabitable, MVRDV appeared to be using the New Orleans disaster to score political points or, worse, to be winking ironically at the residents’ ongoing plight. Others thought the Bend House was emblematic of MVRDV’s best work and of the architects’ knack for creating buildings whose formal inventiveness arises from the explicit display of the social or environmental problems that brought them to life: VPRO’s endless interiors signaling the need for social connection; WoZoCos’s hanging boxes showing how to preserve our green spaces; the festively striped Silodam offering ways to mix rich and poor. “The architecture that we make is part of the ordinary, part of our pop culture,” Maas told me. “At the same time, the buildings try to engage with society by questioning our behavior and offering alternatives. And they offer those alternatives by showing — visibly, obviously — in their actual design the social problems we were trying to address. When you see the object, you see the question.” Maas’s remark brought to mind an appraisal of MVRDV’s work by the French architect Alain Guiheux. “A great mystery in architectural projects surrounds the definition of what is acceptable to the client,” he writes. Where does the client’s caution and censorship begin? At what point does that caution become the architect’s own self-censorship? Guiheux goes on to say that MVRDV tries to resist society’s censorship — and overcome its own — by using playfulness to “soften up conformity” and by “pushing back the line between the reasonable and the incredible.” That, he says, is their “magic,” and has effected a break with architectural convention “like that undergone by painting at the beginning of the 20th century, pre- or post-Duchamp.” In the case of MVRDV’s New Orleans Bend House, the playful break with convention was not accomplished without considerable debate. “When you have a federal government that doesn’t invest in its levees, that makes people’s land completely worthless, that makes its own citizens insanely poor, you need a design that makes a protest, that rises up and says, What is going on here?” Maas said. “But in discussions with Brad and the others, we kept asking: Yes, but can we show that explicitly? Can we come out with that? It’s going to look ironic! How can you be ironic in the face of disaster? Will the American people be angry? “But even in the most tragic circumstances,” Maas went on, “there is often a moment of irony. Well, is it irony? Or is it really more like . . . ?” He paused, at an uncharacteristic loss for words. “There is this beautiful German word, Trost. It means empathy, or solace, or maybe consolation. I think that is what our building meant to express. You know, if the waters are going to come, let them come. Let’s do it. Let’s just turn and face it.” Darcy Frey is a contributing writer for the magazine. His last article was about bears who were overtaking a Canadian town. Home * World * U.S. * N.Y. / Region * Business * Technology * Science * Health * Sports * Opinion * Arts * Style * Travel * Jobs * Real Estate * Automobiles * Back to Top Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
  23. Step aside Toronto, the next housing boom is in Montreal Karen Mazurkewich, Financial Post Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 Gordon Beck/Canwest News Service What sets Montreal apart from other urban centers is the fact that it has retained its neighbourhood mosaic. When Montreal architect Henri Cleinge purchased an old wine depot in Montreal's Little Italy district in 2002, he transformed it into a contemporary three-unit condo with polished wood and concrete floors, iron staircases and stainless steel kitchens. He then flipped two of the units for seven times the original investment of $200,000. Mr. Cleinge had a few sleepless nights wondering whether the units would sell. He didn't have to worry. In Montreal, there's big demand for contemporary-design living. Much has been made about Toronto's big museum projects and condo lineups, but Montreal is also changing its shape. Toronto housing prices have experienced 58% growth since 2000. The island of Montreal, however, has seen housing sales jump 50%, but the city itself has gone up 94%. In addition, a new concert hall and 28-storey condo tower is being erected atop Place des Arts metro, two mega hospitals are under construction and Sotheby's International Realty recently entered the market. As well, the largest private real estate investment in decades, involving 4,000 dwellings and a shopping plaza, is scheduled to get a green light from city hall. Montreal's mojo is back. But its not the big urban projects that are redefining this city. What makes Montreal distinct from other urban centres is the fact it has retained its neighbourhood mosaic. The most famous is the northeastern district known as Plateau-Mont-Royal. The Plateau has become the most expensive address in the city, with its average housing price jumping 105% in the past seven years. It's also one of the reasons Montreal consistently ranks among the top 25 cities in the world for quality of life. Like Greenwich Village in New York or Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, the Plateau is where culture and haute couture intersect. In the 1980s, the Plateau was a string of shabby row houses. Owners lived on the main floor and rented the walk-ups. But the working-class enclave changed dramatically in the 1990s, when new legislation made it possible to subdivide duplexes and triplexes into condo apartments. "Instead of a single owner, who would rent one or two of the other floors, now each apartment is owned individually and people are now willing to invest," says Susan Bronson, a Montreal heritage conservationist. The artists and architects that moved into the area with nothing in their pockets can now afford to invest. The hood became hip because it maintained "high bohemian index," she says. Montreal's Mile End, a subsection within the Plateau immortalized by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, has seen the greatest upheaval. Gone are the icons: the discount grocery store Warshaw's, Simcha's Fruit Market and St. Laurent Bakery have closed. Instead, a slew of new high-concept design stores, including Interversion and Latitude Nord, have staked out Boulevard Saint-Laurent, turning it into the new fashion Mecca. Even the old rag-trade factories, religious buildings and empty lots have received a radical facelift. Architect Eric Gauthier, who created the landmark Espace Go on Saint-Laurent, is currently constructing the all-new Théâtre de Quat'Sous on formerly grungy Avenue Pins. The firm Lepointe Magne has also made its mark on the Plateau, redesigning the public swimming pool Bain Lévesque and converting an old fire hall into the high concept Théâtre Espace Libre. In Plateau's housing, one of the first innovations was Atelier Big City's 1989 Sept-Plex condominium project on Clark Street, which made creative use of the narrow street fronts and back lanes. Atelier Build reinvented the notion of infill with its 2004 "thin house" project along Avenue L'Hotel-du-ville. When she started her architectural company with partner Michael Carroll 12 years ago, Danita Rooyakkers of Atelier Build, says few others were betting on the Plateau. Political instability in the province was a deterrent for developers, but it was the perfect time for a young architect with modest means and big dreams. Ms. Rooyakkers biked around Plateau in search of cheap empty lots and made her mark by eschewing the traditional walk-ups, where every family gets a floor, and subdivided the property so each owner has a front door, backyard and terraces. By opening up the walls and adding skylights, the architectural firm created a vertical loft. It won awards because it offered another prototype for high-density Montreal living, she says. The design aesthetic in Montreal has been tempered by activism. The Plateau is not only governed by a planning advisory committee stacked with architects and landscapers, it has community watchdogs galore, including the Mile End Citizens Committee and Urban Ecology. Every architect working here has had to face fierce town hall forums before building begins. "As educated local residents, we have both a sense of entitlement and empowerment," says Owen Rose, an architect and head of the Urban Ecology group, which focuses on urban green spaces. "It's easy to get involved in issues because we are constantly bumping into each other on the street in this urban village," he says, adding that community involvement has permeated the local culture. As one of the first architects to help reshape the plateau, Mr. Gauthier was frequently forced to marry old facades with his slick contemporary style to meet the borough's strict guidelines. With Théâtre de Quat'Sous, he's been given an exemption: the historic synagogue in which the theater is currently housed didn't meet safety codes so it will be replaced by a showy new architectural structure. Mr. Gauthier is concerned about a public outcry, but he's excited about the new design. "If you want to keep the city alive, you need to add new buildings and new layers." While the strict development guidelines built a "cohesive" neighbourhood, he says, "we've passed the point where conservation should now trump freedom." Mr. Cleinge, the architect, is trying to exercise that freedom. In recent years he has revamped in his sleek industrial design look a microbrewery on Duluth Street as well as the Les Chocolats de Chloe of Roy Street East. He avoids wood stairs and plastered ceilings, preferring concrete and steel for urban living spaces. The look reflects the city's history, he says. "Montreal is an industrial city with a large garment industry so it's appropriate language to use in a residential context," he says. Luckily for him, clients such as Stéphane Dion and Éloïse Corbeil, typical Plateau dwellers, are looking to restyle their 1880s duplex. Ms. Corbeil's father purchased the building on Christophe Columb Street in 1996 when she and her brother needed a place to live while they attended university. Ms. Corbeil's brother has since moved to the United States, but the 33-year-old writer-filmmaker and her lawyer husband still love the mixed neighbourhood. They looked in the swank neighbourhoods of Westmount and Outremont after the birth of their two children, but decided to stay put. "We didn't want to go to the suburbs because we like the diversity here," says Ms. Corbeil. Conscious of their limitations but eager for a contemporary style, they hired Mr. Cleinge after seeing his work in a magazine. His mandate was to keep a portion of the "stacked wood" interior shell of the house, but rebuild the place from top bottom. He proposed a mezzanine open-style approach to filter more light into the home and create more space. Concrete floors and iron railings are part of the new plan. For most young buyers, the Plateau is now untouchable - meaning overpriced. Its evolution, however, has created a ripple effect across the city and intensive gentrification is happening in the shabby districts of Point St. Charles and the Jean Talon market area. "The Plateau has matured," says Mr. Cleinge. But the condoization of Montreal has only begun. Financial Post kmazurkewich@nationalpost.com http://www.financialpost.com/magazine/family_finance/story.html?id=231679
  24. jesseps

    Piazz'azzurri - 3 étages

    Construction: 2006 (Delayed, started in 2007) Completion: 2007 The actual billboard for the project has "Le Keg Steakhouse", guess they backed out or was just a rendition. Looks like a great complexe, its weird I move out of the West Island and they start building this thing