Milan expo 2015

Giant beehive showcase at Milan Expo 2015

Milan Expo opened its doors on 1 May, receiving a staggering two million visitors in the first month alone. That figure has now tripled, so if you are amongst those who have still to visit it and you are passionate about architecture, you have until 31 October to take advantage of an opportunity not to be missed!

With ‘Feeding the planet, energy for life’ as the central theme of Expo Milan 2015, it explores the complex and universal issue of food from an environmental, historical, cultural, anthropological, medical, technological and economic standpoint.

In addition, Milan has been turned into an architectural laboratory of excellence where both renowned and up-and-coming architects have let their imaginations run free, resulting in pavilion showcases that reflect the very latest in the world of architecture.

Indeed, one of the most striking pavilions built for the event is the contribution from the UK, which features an amazing structure inspired by bees. This structure, the result of a collaboration between Wolfgang Buttress and engineer Tristan Simmonds, is one of the highlights of the Expo due to its incredible design that recreates a real beehive. The project is also the result of ground-breaking research carried out by Dr Martin Bencsik from the University of Nottingham on the behaviour of honeybee colonies, around which the architectural design is based.

The pavilion in which this large structure is housed contains five areas: the orchard, the meadow, the terrace, the architectural programme, and the hive. Clearly the centrepiece, and therefore most important element of this sculpture, is the hive. This giant 14-cubic-metre metal structure was manufactured by Stage One, based on the outskirts of York. It is composed of three different types of aluminium component making a total of almost 170,000 individual pieces, which are assembled in 32 horizontal layers.

The spherical void in the centre is designed to offer the visitor a sensory experience based on bee activity. The idea is that visitors to the pavilion enter through the garden, where they will stroll through an orchard of apple trees, followed by a flower meadow, which in turn leads them inside the hive. Once there, they will have the feeling of actually being inside a beehive, hearing the buzzing of hundreds of bees courtesy of surround sound speakers. In addition, all the aluminium components that form the structure reflect the glow from small LED bulbs distributed throughout the space, which also pulsate to represent the activity within a hive. A unique sensory experience in an architecturally unique space.

This incredible pavilion merges art, science, nature and architecture to offer an incredible experience, which gives us a greater feeling for and understanding of the importance of biodiversity, and in particular of bees, within the food chain.

Wolfgang Buttress UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015 Walkthrough from Wolfgang Buttress on Vimeo.

LGS House metal house in tokyo

The metal LGS House: by Niji Architects

The LGS House is a metal structure that has been built in a suburb of Tokyo (Japan). The unique feature of this project is that, like a wooden house, it has been constructed from panels. The entire building, in this case made of metal, produces a look more reminiscent of a factory than a residential dwelling.

Niji Architects were responsible for overseeing the whole creative process and production, which involved cutting the channels and drilling the metal plates which, once assembled, form this innovative construction concept.

The two-storey 4.75 by 11.15-metre house showcases a steel structure throughout. The floor, walls and roof are made up of panels with sufficient strength and rigidity to allow them to be attached directly to the structure without the need for additional supports, a feature that greatly reduces the cost and construction time. The steel frames are exposed and the details of the structure are designed to be visible.

The design aims to facilitate the entry of as much natural light as possible at the same time as it offers much more privacy than other houses of similar characteristics through the unconventional placement of the building's windows. Thus a bright, comfortable and intimate space is created.

These particular characteristics make the house a unique proposal, full of character and style, reflecting the requirements of its owner, an experienced steel manufacturer set on starting a new wave of house building. The LGS House thus represents an initial prototype to that end.

The project design, with a focus on environmental sensitivity, employed best practice procedures to construct a house in line with concepts of social awareness.

The house also features various parking areas, both in the front and at the back.

This innovative project is only an initial experiment in the use of metal for house building. Increased development of this type of building is expected in the future towards the creation of more housing in a similar vein. This looks likely to be just the beginning of a concept destined for future growth.

mumbai skyscrapers buildings

Containscrapers, skyscrapers constructed from containers in Mumbai

We live in a society where there is increasing concern over the environment and the future of our planet. Recycling has become part of our everyday life leading to great interest in innovative projects that tackle this extensive issue, even more so when other concerns are also being addressed.

With that in mind, we are looking here at two skyscrapers aimed at solving the housing shortage in Mumbai (India) which use containers in their construction, part of an increasing trend for combining design, architecture and recycling.

The design is based on the containers being distributed as a cylindrical, structure, creating a unique volume, with the skyscrapers’ exterior form changing with height as though twisted.

This innovative form of architecture was awarded third prize in the Steel City competition. The project, managed by Spanish architect Carlos Gómez, was very well received, the jury considering it a compelling idea. Interviewed for the competition, Gómez said, ‘Cities are facing unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges’.

CRG Architects is the studio behind this fascinating project, founded by an association of Spanish architects with offices in New York, Barcelona, Lagos and Shenzhen.

As explained, the concept is for two towers, one of which stands at 400 metres high, with 139 floors made up of 2,344 containers designed for housing, plus a further 1,067 used for common spaces and water tanks. The other 200-metre-high tower features 78 floors and uses 898 containers for housing and another 290 for diverse purposes. Both use recycled shipping containers for their construction.

The maximum number of containers that can typically be stacked is nine, so a main structure is necessary to reach the required height.

The two buildings together will create a 105,076-square-metre residential area containing four distinct housing options, ranging in size from 33.48 m2 to 100.44 m2.
The building design includes a system devised to promote heat dissipation from the containers, with vertical gardens distributed in height across the buildings together with adequate separation left between each module.

Moreover, this project is based on principals of social awareness and environmental concern, tackling the issue of water reuse.

The colours chosen for the buildings provide for another interesting feature; reflecting the differing degrees of solar radiation, the south side is painted with warm colours and the north with cold.



Green light for the ‘Freedom Pyramid’ in Jerusalem

After several months of study, the Jerusalem Municipal Committee has finally approved the construction of a high-rise building in the heart of the Israeli capital, hoping to revitalize the city centre.

Conceived by Daniel Libeskind, a Polish architect and the creator of the Jewish Museum Berlin and the New York World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial, the ‘Freedom Pyramid’ will be located next to the Mahane Yehuda market in the centre of Jerusalem, atop the ruins of the ancient Eden theatre.

Libeskind is joined this time by the Israeli architect Yigali Levi, who designed the tower for multiple commercial applications, in addition to a number of residential units.

The structure will consist of stone and glass and have a height of 105 metres lined with Jewish motifs, such as stars of David embedded in its exterior. The 26-story tower will have 200 apartments, a boutique hotel, a public square flanked by shops, and an observatory and restaurants at the top of the tower, once it is finished in 2019.

Led by the deputy mayor Kobi Kahlon, the planning and local construction committee approved the project almost unanimously. Pepe Alalu was the only member of the Council who disagreed with the project, claiming that the tower exceeded the maximum permitted height with its 26 floors. Nonetheless, the committee approved the project last May, stating that the construction must begin within the next five years since otherwise the building permits could be revoked.

Finally, the ‘Freedom Pyramid’ will be different to what Levi and Libeskind had originally anticipated. In 2011 the two architects unveiled a 24-storey building and a glass tower. Since then, the building design has been modified to include more services and the four floors of the shopping area.

While the municipality of Jerusalem has been pushing to transform the city centre into a commercial, businesses and tourism centre in recent years, architects, urban planners and politicians have warned that high towers could harm the city's unique historical heritage. The Jerusalem skyline is now dotted with a number of skyscrapers built in the past when the municipality did not enforce the city's strict construction regulations. For this reason, Libeskind has declared that ‘the pyramid will be a bridge between ancient traditions and myths while providing a 21st century reinterpretation of this great construction... the design will complement the context and offer the neighbourhood a vibrant public space in the heart of the old city’.

The Messner Mountain Museum in dolmites

The Messner Mountain Museum opens in the heart of the Dolomites

After two years of intense and complex work at the summit of the Kronplatz (South Tyrol, Italy), the new Messner Mountain Museum Corones—the sixth museum by the well-known mountaineer Reinhold Messner, designed by the prestigious architectural firm Zaha Hadid Architects—has now opened its doors to the public.

The museum, devoted to the discipline of climbing, could not be better placed than as embedded in the great rocky walls of the mountain. This choice has seen it housed in a charming natural environment, the Kronplatz of the Dolomites, 2,275 metres above sea level. This aspect has lent a certain degree of complexity to this project and has kept the entire team on its toes due to the logical logistical difficulties of its construction, since many pieces had to be transported by lorry to the summit, where the work was often delayed as a result of the conditions on the mountain.

The MMM Corones looks just like any other rock and does not disturb the harmony of the mountain and the surrounding natural environment. It emerges from the rock through three large masses of fibreglass-reinforced concrete, which gaze out over the mountainous landscape. In homage to Zaha Hadid's style, characterised by curved shapes and elongated structures that avoid straight angles, concrete is the predominantly used material in this project. This substance was chosen for its adaptability and because, due to its natural colouring, it merges easily with the surroundings. It is a material that blends well with the rocks and can be seen from the outside only through the entrance.

Inside, a ramp links the exhibition spaces, and there are steps in the form of waterfalls carved into the belly of the mountain leading up to three temporary exhibition levels. The ramp also links the presentation areas and a small auditorium, allowing the museum to act as the showcase for its permanent exhibition of objects, images and instruments from the Messner archives.

The museum offers idyllic 240-degree views across the mountain landscape—which includes the Zillertal Alps, the Dolomites and the Marmolada glacier— and has transparent openings and balconies from which to admire them, while also providing natural interior lighting. The building was constructed in line with energy standards and has been awarded the KlimaHaus A certificate for buildings.

It officially opened its doors on 24 July and will be open every day during the summer months (from 10 to 4 pm). In winter it will open its doors from the first Sunday of December to mid-April (depending on opening hours of the cable cars). Access to the site is via cable car or on foot, as part of a tour of the mountain.

feature Industria del Acero Monterrey about FTC Groupama Budapest Stadium by Codina Metal

Codina Metal featured in Industria del Acero magazine

Industria del Acero, published by Grupo Milenio of Monterrey (Mexico), made the Groupama Arena project in Budapest a feature story in its May issue. In particular its original Codina stainless-steel mesh cladding.

The two-page spread describes the peculiarities of the stadium, home of Ferencvárosi TC, and its new avant-garde design, based particularly around stainless steel mesh, which is inspiring much admiration.

In general terms, the feature highlights the versatility of the Codina mesh which adapts to a great variety of forms and structures, as illustrated by the example of the stadium, and our company’s century of experience in creating a broad range of metal fabrics which have gained considerable renown in modern architecture in recent years.

Download feature in PDF format (pages 26-27)

Codina Architectural Icade Illot Kurvau-Routedu Rhin Strasbourg France Metal Mesh

New Project in Strasbourg

Codina is pleased to announce their involvement in a new project on which work is already underway consisting of a new complex of 31 homes and offices in the Rhine river area of Strasbourg.

AEA Architects are heading up the project which features Codina cladding on the building situated in the heart of the city's new engineering and architectural home.

The complex combines two key elements: commercial activities and shops in the northern zone and 31 social housing units in the area to the south.

The building is finished with the fine metal Codina Eiffel 40100 mesh cladding, which responds to environmental demands and sets the office area apart from the residential area with an air of finesse and elegance.

See the project here

beyoncé inspirates new skyscraper in Melbourne blog Codina Architectural

Beyoncé, the inspiration behind a new skyscraper

A skyscraper inspired by Beyoncé's curvaceous silhouette is the latest proposal from architectural firm Elenberg Fraser, who plan to erect a building in Melbourne which could become a place of 'pilgrimage' for the singer's fans.

The idea is to build a 78-storey skyscraper reflecting the artist's famous slender figure.

The building design takes inspiration from one of Beyoncé's most original videos, 'Ghost'—a short lasting a little over two minutes which, in fact, forms the first part of the song 'Haunted'. During the video, the singer is seen dancing encased in a tube of material which, courtesy of a wind machine, undulates and accentuates her curves.

The architects say that an oscillating shape is actually the most effective way to distribute the building's mass, providing, amongst other things, resistance against the strong winds that are a frequent phenomenon in that part of Australia:

'The complex form—a vertical cantilever—is actually the most effective way to redistribute the building's mass, giving the best results in terms of structural dispersion, frequency oscillation and wind requirements', explain Elenberg Fraser, architects of the building which aims to combine both art and science.

Ghost video:

FAD Awards

Winners of the 2015 FAD Awards

The 2nd of July saw the presentation ceremony for the 57th FAD Architecture and Interior Design Awards, organised by FAD’s Interdisciplinary Association for Spatial Design, ARQUIN-FAD. A total of 458 projects were entered for 2015, from which the 16 finalists were selected by a jury in May, with four finalists in the international category.

The jury, chaired by architect Victor López Cotelo, included Ignasi Bonet, Agustí Costa, Mònica Rivera, Mariana Pestana and Gabriel Valeri. The jury for the FAD International Award, now in its second year, was chaired by Oliver Thill with Ethel Baraona and Andrés Jaque as members. The entries submitted were from Spanish and Portuguese firms involved in work carried out on the Iberian Peninsula, with the international award for projects planned here and constructed elsewhere in the world.

The joint winners of the 57th FAD Architecture Award were Casa Bastida in Begur (Girona), by Ramon Bosch and Elisabeth Capdeferro, and the Ozadi Tavira Hotel in Tavira (Portugal), by Pedro Campos Costa. On the Bosch-Capdeferro house, the jury commended ‘the outstanding improvement in integrating the existing building within its privileged setting’, and how ‘the boundaries between construction and nature are blurred by light supportive elements of natural vegetation, which, in addition to increasing intimacy, provide protection from the sun and improve the relationship between interior and exterior space’. With regard to the Pedro Campos Costa hotel, the judges praised the ‘intelligence and sensitivity of planning, highlighting the values of the original construction’.

The City and Landscape award went to the access improvements for the Vitoria-Gasteiz historical centre, by Fernando Tabuenca and Jesús Leache.
The Interior Design award went to the São Paulo Library in Apelação (Portugal), from Patrícia Marques and Paulo Costa, while that for Thought and Criticism was shared by Desierto magazine, from Gabriel Ruiz-Larea, Nuria Úrculo and Natalia David; and Quaderns d'Arquitectura i Urbanisme, by José Zabala, Ethel Baraona, Guillermo López and Anna Puigjaner.

For further information, see:

wooden skyscraper for Paris

A wooden skyscraper for Paris

Paris could become home to an ecological complex in the near future, featuring, amongst other buildings, a 35-storey wooden skyscraper, which would make it the tallest tower of its kind in the world.

According to ArchDaily, Canadian studio Michael Green Architecture (MGA) has submitted a project for the construction, in Paris, of the world’s tallest wooden building, standing at 35 storeys high. The skyscraper would form part of an architectural complex called Baobab, which would also include a number of residential buildings, a market, a bus station, a car park, a hotel and other facilities.

The project was devised as an entry for the ‘Réinventer Paris’ [Reinvent Paris] competition, through which the French authorities are seeking an innovative urban development for the city. According to MGA, the idea has several advantages over other candidates, particularly from an environmental perspective given that the wooden tower would lead to a saving of some 3,700 metric tons of carbon emissions, an amount equivalent to keeping 2,207 cars off the road for a year.

The project, which its developers describe as ‘the next era of city building’ will, however, only go ahead if it wins the competition, the results of which are due to be announced this summer.

Source: ArchDaily