WAN Awards 2018

TUESDAY 24 APRIL 2018

SEARCH   
Subscribe to News Review free now
  • SEND US NEWS
  • WAN AWARDS
  • ECOWAN
  • SECTOR NEWS
  • METRO NEWS
  • Tech Spot
  • News in Pictures News in Pictures
WAN Jobs
News Review
Podcasts
WAN Urban Challenge
WAN Awards

At one with the landscape

Lead News

Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter 

Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter are bringing cutting edge architecture, design, spa facilities and food culture to Breitenbach in France

Designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, Breitenbach Landscape Hotel will have a prominent role linking the hotel activity to the site and local traditions. At the same time, it will gather the best of architecture, design, spa facilities and food culture in the region. It will connect the local character and landscape with new characteristic forms and create a specific architectural expression. The hotel will offer an unusual, comfortable experience in the middle of the French countryside and will answer to the visitors’ desire for quality.  Located on a French hillside surrounded by nature, the project will blend within the landscape. Rooms are organized in separated Norwegian inspired cabins and offer luxury and privacy to the customers. They will be designed as comfortable units with stunning views to the valley and will have a material palette referring to the Nordic tempe

... read more
IMBE 2018

Perkins+Will create new ‘landmark’ for Hawaii

Perkins+Will create new ‘landmark’ for Hawaii

The design of this new university building is influenced by the vivid history of its surroundings

Construction on the University of Hawaii’s new Administration and Allied Health Building is nearing completion. Designed by Perkins+Will’s LA Studio in collaboration with Hawaii-based KYA Design Group, the campus building will be a visually dynamic addition to the University of Hawaii West Oahu.  Defined by campus administration as a ‘Landmark Building,’ the architectural design is influenced by the vivid history of the land, informed by the site, and shaped by its function.  Consolidating office space for campus leadership into a single location, while also providing general purpose classrooms and wet/dry teaching laboratories for Microbiology, Cellular / Molecular, Anatomy / Physiology, and Organic Chemistry, the project aspires to create a variety of flexible, engaging workplace and learning environments for students, faculty and staff. Mark Tagawa, associate principal at Perkins+Will’s LA Studio says, “The challenge was how to best consolidate the distinct functions of teaching labs and classrooms within the same building as office space for the campus administration. We wanted to create a facility that interacted with the landscape in a sympathetic way, through water management, landscaping, and materiality. Cultural and ecological appropriateness was our filter for all design decisions.” As the first phase of the campus was influenced by historic sugar mills, the Administration and Allied Health Building is inspired by the additive nature of this building typology’s gable roof form. The building enclosure utilizes CMU (concrete masonry unit) as a monolithic skin with its texture and pattern inspired by traditional Hawaiian kapa (cloth).  “The building serves to greet those entering the campus on one end while also completing the mauka (mountain) side of the great lawn at the other.  While the administration wing acknowledges the ceremonial campus entry, its allied health component points to the commuter entry currently being developed with the new light rail line.” said Tagawa. Located within the Honouliuli ahupuaa (traditional Hawaiian land division), the campus is on former sugar can land with a legacy of over 100 years of agriculture.  Decades of sustained tilling has depleted organic matter in the topsoil decreasing the ability to retain water and support new plant life.  This project seeks to demonstrate the University’s leadership and stewardship for new development in Kapolei. It aspires to restore, heal and rebuild the topsoil through nitrogen fixing planting; to implement onsite ecological water and nutrient management; and to regenerate and revive native landscaping. Acting as sunshading, deep open air lanais (balconies) on the southern facade became a key design feature by connecting both interior and outdoor circulation. The Lanai is a natural gathering space and an extension of the classroom. It is a campus amenity that is physically and visually connected to the Great Lawn.   Tagawa says, “The design of this building through its siting, its form and its engagement with the land was influenced by the ecology and history of its location. It is a site-specific solution that will support and continue the University’s mission of embracing the culture and tradition of Hawaii while fostering excellence in advanced education.” The New Administration & Allied Health Building opens to students in the Spring of 2019. Bonnie Arakawa, Director of Planning and Facilities, UH West O?ahu, said: “As part of our strategic planning efforts, Chancellor Maenette Benham and the UH West O?ahu community have been working toward identifying our future growth strategies, and the Administration & Health Sciences Facility is a key component in strengthening our 21st Century Learning infrastructure and fostering kai?ulu – creating community – both physically and socially. “The Administration & Health Sciences Building is our first major capital improvement project since the Kapolei campus opened in 2012 and it couldn't come any sooner. As the only UH campus posting enrollment increases, coupled with a shortage of space, we are looking forward to the addition of a mix of learning spaces, including classrooms, laboratories, and covered breezeways that extend collaboration and learning outdoors. In addition, the facility will finally provide us with centralized administrative offices, which are currently scattered throughout our 5-building complex. “Positioned strategically at our campus gateway, the building's Administration wing will help to frame and define our mauka plaza with its dramatic 2-story entry portal and lanai, inviting students, staff, and visitors to learn, work, and engage together.” Nick Myall News editor

... read more

London’s skyline set to be filled with 510 more towers

London’s skyline set to be filled with 510 more towers

Canary Wharf, Docklands and Greenwich Peninsula continue to be the focus for high rise development

London’s skyline is set to be transformed by 510 tall buildings over 20-storeys. Work has already started on 115 towers according to research from New London Architecture (NLA) and GL Hearn. Canary Wharf and the Docklands area continue to be development hotspots as well as Greenwich Peninsula with 40 applications for tall buildings last year. More than 90% (458) of the tall buildings coming forward are residential and could deliver up to 106,000 new homes. Delivering towers has become more challenging with only 18 tall buildings completed in 2017 – a 30% drop from 2016 when 26 were completed. There was also a 25% fall in the number of tall buildings coming out of the ground with work only starting on 40 in 2017. Political and economic uncertainty brought about by the BREXIT vote may have caused this. Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture said: “We continue to see a steady increase in the number of tall buildings coming forward and with London’s population continuing to increase and the demand for new homes only getting higher, our view remains that that well designed tall buildings, in the right place, are part of the solution. “Uncertainties and challenges to deliver these tall buildings remain, which is perhaps why we are seeing a slight slowdown in the in the number of applications, construction starts and completions. However our reports over the past five years show us in the right places, towers allow us to use the finite resource of land very efficiently.” Stuart Baillie, GL Hearn said: “Inner London remains the focus for the majority of tall building but Waltham Forest and Bromley feature in the pipeline for the first time.” Nick Myall News editor

... read more

How will we build and live in the future?: Winy Mass of MVRDV

How will we build and live in the future?: Winy Mass of MVRDV

BAU is the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials and systems. Here we talk to Winy Mass of MVRDV...

Speaking at BAU 2017 in Munich, Germany, Winy Maas of MVRDV considered… How will we build and live in the future? Why is transparency within processes so important? And how can individualism be combined with increased population densities?  “I have shown what is possible with our new nanotechnology and that we can create a completely changeable environment. This is a great image, but also a terrible image and there should be a debate about it. “Another factor is of course that we have more opportunities to do what we want to with our new societies, which are more mature and more intellectual - particularly the middle classes. Similarly there are more options for bringing a social project together. The third aspect I have illustrated is that we need transparency in our processes in order to integrate criticism and influences in our construction processes, we need to become a transparent society so to speak. I need a methodology and a symbol. I also think the transparent society continues in our interior spaces and our cities in order to reduce claustrophobia. “And of course we ultimately want to carry out projects that we dream of so we can advance our own dreams. This is, essentially, the dreamland project we are also showing. “One of the most important points, not for architects but for urban planners, is to keep city blocks as small as possible and have streets every 20-30 metres. Why? Because this yields a city with 50% porosity. That means that it is not a problem to do what you want. A second aspect. If you get a block then the architect is responsible for it. If there needs to be a space for doing things communally we have many ways of creating public or pseudo-public spaces together with the private sector. I think that is important. This concentration helps us further support the sub topics in this element. Mixed uses, for instance: how we can make a lift shaft with which to reach apartments, but also offices or a supermarket? “Outdoor spaces become an issue too of course. How can we advance the ‘garden feeling’ in a densely populated area to ensure that people don’t want to move to suburbia, how do we make this possible and affordable in our cities? To do that you need large balconies, huge elements but how can I combine individualism with population density? The staggered villages we have developed show this is possible. Vertical villages in Asia where everything is stacked on top of everything else and in the end, these vertical villages become interlinked: then we see individualism combined with density.”   Nick Myall News editor

... read more

IN BRIEF

LIAM FOX LAUNCHES AWARDS FOR BEST BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS OF THE FUTURE

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, today launched the GREA

NBBJ London office announces strategic leadership additions

NBBJ, an international architecture firm celebrating its diamond anniv

Casey Jones joins Perkins+Will

Global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will has announced that Ca

EVENTS

10.05.2018 

National Planning Summit 
This year’s National Planning Summit is the must-attend forum for planning  

07.06.2018 

The LA Design Festival 
The LA Design Festival honors our city’s rich design culture and celebrates 

29.06.2018 

Immersive Technology in the Built Environment 
Immersive Technology in the Built Environment is a brand new conference loo 

‘Neuron Pod’ begins to take shape

‘Neuron Pod’ begins to take shape

The Neuron Pod is a new addition to Centre of the Cell – an award-winning science education centre at Queen Mary University of London’s Whitechapel campus

Construction has begun on ‘Neuron Pod’ - a striking 23-metre long and 10-metre high free-standing structure which will be used as an informal science learning centre at Queen Mary University of London’s Whitechapel campus. The pod is a new addition to Centre of the Cell – an award-winning science education centre helping to inspire local school children to pursue careers in the sciences, and engaging the local community with medical research. Neuron Pod will be constructed from 13 large steel sections, each arriving one by one through the Dartford Crossing. The biggest piece, the ‘axon’, is expected to arrive by police escort towards the end of April, and construction will be completed towards the end of the year. Centre of the Cell’s Director, Professor Fran Balkwill said: “We are all very excited about Neuron Pod – this unique building will allow us to fulfil our potential and offer so much more to our visitors. What’s really important to us is that it increases our ability to interact with the local community. It will be exciting to see how this space evolves and we’re hoping it will become a space where people can let their imaginations run riot.” Since opening in September 2009, over 155,000 people have participated in Centre of the Cell activities. The current embryo-shaped science education centre was the first in the world to be located within working biomedical research laboratories, suspended above the laboratories at Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute. Planned to address demand, Neuron Pod will help increase visitor numbers, and provide a multi-functional space for live science shows, hands-on workshops, experiments, debates, films and exhibitions. The space will also assist in hosting new adult initiatives in the evenings and at weekends, provide activities for Key Stage 4 (age 14 - 16) and sixth form school visits, improve disabled access, and increase the Centre’s ability to develop programmes for young people with learning difficulties. There are also plans to lease the space for community and corporate events. Neuron Pod is designed by leading architect Professor Will Alsop OBE RA, creator of the existing Pod and surrounding Blizard Institute, which has won numerous design awards. Its design is inspired by images of a nerve cell, following on from the four pods inside the building that were inspired by other cells or molecules. Professor Peter McOwan, Queen Mary’s Vice-Principal (Public Engagement and Student Enterprise), said: “We’re incredibly proud of our award winning public engagement activity at Centre of the Cell, and are delighted that construction of a new space to grow our capacity has now begun. “The Neuron Pod will allow us to run new research engagement initiatives aimed at adults, and grow our existing work, helping to create the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals. Our additional plans to use the Pod for activities beyond bioscience and as a unique venue for public events will further strengthen our work with our local community.” Architect Will Alsop of aLL Design said: “I feel proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this amazing institution. Their work in encouraging young people is extraordinary. I think the new pod will help give young people an even more positive experience.” Funders of the project include the Wellcome Trust, Barts Charity, the Wolfson Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Hobson Charity, Gosling Foundation and Queen Mary University of London. Design and construction also involved Total Construction, Littlehampton Welding and AKT II. Take a virtual tour here... Nick Myall News editor

... read more

A blueprint for healthier living

A blueprint for healthier living

The UK-based Design Council has published a report on ‘Healthy Placemaking’ and a film on housing which focus on themes that will be relevant to cities across the globe

The Design Council launched a film in the UK Houses of Parliament on 18.4.18 highlighting the housing challenges faced by young people today in the UK. At the event the Design Council’s report  ‘Healthy placemaking’ was also launched and discussed by UK government officials and other key influencers . The report is focused on healthy placemaking and it examines the barriers identified by people building and designing communities to creating places where people are healthier and happier. The design of buildings, streets, parks and neighbourhoods can support good physical and mental health, help reduce health inequalities and improve people's wellbeing. Conversely, car-oriented environments and hostile public spaces can contribute to sedentary lifestyles and social isolation, increasing people's risk of disease. The need to move away from planning cities around vehicles and encourage people to walk more were two of the  common themes touched on during the speeches made at  the event. The film, ‘Living outside the box’ highlights the challenges faced by young people as they take their first steps to securing a place of their own against a backdrop of the ongoing UK housing crisis. The film, which was commissioned by Design Council and made by Film Roundhouse, considers the challenges faced by its three participants, who were also present at the launch to give their own perspective to an audience of professionals from a variety of different backgrounds. Each tells their own story to highlight the challenges they face, and the ingenious methods they incorporated to overcome what is the most basic need for a person – the need for a safe place of shelter.   Design Council CEO, Sarah Weir OBE gave an introduction to the ‘Healthy placemaking’ report and also spoke about the film saying: “At Design Council, we have been working with Film Roundhouse to explore some of the housing challenges that young people face today. Our film ‘Living outside the box’ follows three young people who take very different approaches to solving their own particular housing challenges. It highlights the lengths young people are going to in order to find themselves the safety and shelter that they, and we all deserve. We hope that through our film, and our healthy placemaking research launched today in Parliament, we will be able to bring about positive change, and influence government to consider the benefits that design brings to the mainstream housing challenges faced by the population each day”. In attendance, and at the launch of the film were members of government including Ed Vaizey MP, Kevin Brennan MP, Heather Wheeler MP (Minister for Housing and Homelessness), Mark Prisk MP, Lisa Nandy MP and Sadie Morgan, Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission. The attendance from government officials as well as other key influencers demonstrated a real commitment to overcoming and delivering on a need for a safe, comfortable and healthy place for people the live and call home.  “I was delighted to be involved in the making of this film, as the issues raised are at the heart of the discussion today for young and old across the country. How do young people achieve a safe, secure and healthy place to live? These are the questions that drive the discussion, and questions I encounter in my work as a film maker each day” said film maker Ravi Lloyd “I hope that the film will drive further discussion across central government, local government and developers to deliver what is an absolute basic human need. It was clear when making the film that the greatest concerns for the people we spoke to were around the lack of access to the housing ladder, building equity, living in a safe environment and affordability of space”.  The film is available to watch now on the Design Council website, and can be found here  To find out more about the Design Council’s Healthy Placemaking research and to download a PDF of the report please click here. World Architecture News also focuses on creating a cleaner, healthy urban environment. WAN's Reclaiming the Streets initiative is looking at the opportunities presented by the advent of autonomous vehicles and an increasing awareness of the health risks from vehicle pollution.   FULL DETAILS HERE    Nick Myall News editor

... read more

Rooms with a view

Rooms with a view

The vaulted classrooms of this school are orientated for the best natural light conditions and to frame views the surrounding landscape

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, Lushan Primary School will be an educational institute for 120 children located 160km north-west of Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province. It will serve 12 local villages with a total population of about 1,800 people. Surrounded by mountains as well as the rivers and lakes fed by the Zhelin Reservoir, the school is within an agricultural region that also has a rich tradition in the production of ceramics. The school’s curriculum is a synthesis of Chinese and international academic systems; combining an education in the creative arts with a comprehensive syllabus of STEM subjects that also includes advanced internet-based learning technologies. Visiting teachers and artists will make the school a focus for the community it serves. The campus includes the school, dormitory and utility buildings within vaulted spaces that connect directly with their rural surroundings. The classrooms have flexible learning arrangements and outdoor teaching areas. Composed as a network of barrel and parabolic vaults that open towards the river, the vaults stretch and intersect to accommodate the  school’s varied programme. A long central courtyard acts as the school’s main circulation space and play area. The vaulted classrooms are orientated for the best natural light conditions, as well as to frame views to the surrounding landscape. Cantilevers protect the classrooms from the solar gain of Jiangxi’s sub-tropical climate and extend the teaching spaces into the landscape to provide a varied and interactive learning environment. The barrel and parabolic vaults act as the school’s primary structure and enclosure, with each vault performing as an individual structural element. To minimise construction time and also reduce the number of separate building elements required to be transported to the school’s remote location, ZHA proposes to combine the local skills of in-situ concrete construction with new advancements in hot-wire cut foam formwork that can be prepared on site by an industrial robot to create the barrel and parabolic shaped moulds. The modularity of the vaults enables moulds to be used multiple times, further accelerating the construction process and reducing costs. The region’s long history of producing the highest quality ceramics dates from the Ming Dynasty. These traditions are continued in the school’s ceramic external finishes laid in a gradient of tones that express the differing programmes within. Located on a small peninsula surrounded on three sides by water and bordering farmland to the north, the school is on an elevated escarpment five metres above the 50-year flood level. Its surrounding landscape incorporates outdoor teaching spaces and sports facilities, and also serves as a natural water catchment area to further protect the school from flooding. This surrounding landscape rises towards the school, creating natural areas within its raised courtyards. Nick Myall News editor

... read more

Schmidt Hammer Lassen strengthens leadership

Schmidt Hammer Lassen strengthens leadership

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects doubles its partner group with the appointment of seven new partners

With an eye toward future development and growth, acclaimed Danish architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects strengthens its leadership group with the appointment of seven new partners. Trine Berthold, Bente Damgaard, Kasper Frandsen, Mads Kaltoft, Rasmus Kierkegaard, Tiago Pereira, and Nathan Smith join founding partners Bjarne Hammer, John Lassen, and Morten Schmidt, along with Kim Holst Jensen, Kristian Lars Ahlmark, Chris Hardie, and Rong Lu to form a robust new partner group. The announcement comes three months after Schmidt Hammer Lassen joined international architecture and design firm Perkins+Will in a strategic partnership that expands Schmidt Hammer Lassen's geographic reach, and adds world-class design research, advanced digital technology, and an even broader base of interdisciplinary talent to its arsenal of global resources. "When Morten, John, and I established the firm 32 years ago, our vision was to create an internationally-recognized architectural studio known for high design with a strong Scandinavian ideology," says Bjarne Hammer. "We realized that vision with the help of an extraordinary group of architects and professionals, many of whom are now poised to lead the firm into the next generation. Now that we are part of Perkins+Will, we can aptly recognize their achievements, while also giving them new tools and resources needed to take the company to even greater heights." A diverse blend of world-class talent Schmidt Hammer Lassen's seven new partners bring a vast array of experiences and expertise to the firm's leadership group. Trine Berthold, whose career at Schmidt Hammer Lassen began in 2003, has been a key figure in the development of some of the studio's most significant competition wins for cultural and civic projects, including Dokk1, the 35,600-square-metre public library that is Scandinavia's largest, and represents a new generation of modern hybrid libraries. Berthold is known for her use of drawings as a tool for communication and development of architecture, and is active in guiding the next generation of architects. The Aarhus School of Architecture appointed her Vice Dean with a special focus on international partnerships, a position she held from 2014 to 2017. Bente Damgaard joined Schmidt Hammer Lassen in 2004 as Chief Financial Officer, and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer the following year. In her new role as Partner and Managing Director, she will continue to oversee the business performance and strategic development of the practice. Her primary task is to maintain the firm's position as one of Scandinavia's leading international architectural studios, while managing a smooth integration with Perkins+Will where she is a member of both the Managing Director Group and the European Strategy Committee. Kasper Frandsen is a talented, ambitious architect whose high design skills cultivated over his 18-year career at Schmidt Hammer Lassen is matched by his keen ability to inspire and guide the next generation of architects. As a generalist, Kasper has been instrumental in both the development of the firm's healthcare portfolio and in the competition phase of a variety of projects domestically and abroad. He currently oversees the development of an all-timber office building extension in central Denmark, and the University of Bristol Library, an £80 million library development in southwest England. Kasper injects his strong belief in the human-centric approach at the heart of the practice's Scandinavian design principles into each of his projects. Mads Kaltoft is an experienced architect with a wide range of skills that span from conceptual design to fine details in construction work. The strength of his professional skills lies in his unwavering dedication to his trade paired with a holistic approach to architectural design. Since joining Schmidt Hammer Lassen in 2001, he has developed a distinct management style that combines creative dexterity with strategic ingenuity, and has led teams on projects located across Scandinavia and greater Europe. In a nod to his leadership, Mads was a lecturer at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts' School of Architecture from 1998 to 2005. Rasmus Kierkegaard has spent the last decade leading Schmidt Hammer Lassen's Concept Development department in Aarhus. He has a rich, diverse portfolio that includes the strategic conceptual development of complex cultural projects such as Vendsyssel Theatre, Denmark's first newly built theatre in over a century outside of Copenhagen. Rasmus has worked with projects in a variety of cultural and geographical settings and has been heavily involved in architectural competitions of all types-from initial idea, to an expanded concept, and all the way to a final design. Quality, sustainability, and creative approach are the hallmarks of his work. Tiago Pereira brought his international experience working in Holland, Portugal and Spain to Schmidt Hammer Lassen in 2006 and has since led the Concept Development department in Copenhagen. During his tenure, he has been responsible for the design of key projects such as Malmö Live, a 54,000-square-metre concert hall, conference centre and 400-room hotel complex in southern Sweden, and an 85,000-square-metre mixed-use complex in Boston, USA. Tiago was a visiting professor in the Architectural Engineering department at the Danish Technical University, and lectures regularly at international conferences, seminars and architectural events. Nathan Smith, Schmidt Hammer Lassen's Chief Commercial Officer responsible for the firm's global business development operation, joined the company in 2015 and, in the short time since then, has led the firm to new international markets including Australia and the United States. Nathan brings his dynamic leadership style to the firm's executive board, where he sets international strategy. Educated in industrial design, Nathan has forged a career within business development and marketing for companies such as Bjarke Ingels Group, AECOM, EDAW and Reuters for more than 15 years. Schmidt Hammer Lassen also promoted five architects to associate partner roles. They are Nuno Cruz, a project architect on the Monroe Blocks project in Detroit; Mads Engel, project development manager and director of the firm's Copenhagen office; Masahiro Katsume, a seasoned architect with more than 35 years of global experience; René Nedergaard, design lead on projects in the U.S. and across Scandinavia; and Elif Tinaztepe, a recognized global leader in library design. All new partner and associate partner appointments were effective 1 April 2018.

... read more

Following the Plot in Beirut

Following the Plot in Beirut

This new development on the outskirts of Beirut adds to the recent wave of striking projects in and around the city

Plot # 1282 is a residential project located on the northern periphery of Beirut in the proximity of one of the city’s abandoned and unused railway terminals, military barracks, leftovers of agricultural land and a 30m wide highway. The zone in which the project is located is not presently considered residential and the program consists of 95 industrial lofts with surfaces ranging from 100 sq m to 650 sq m on a total built?up area of 25,800 sq m. The floor slabs are organized around nine exposed cores, each core feeding a maximum of two apartments per floor. The proposed lofts feature high ceilings of 5.3m with open space plans and minimal interior partitioning. With a surface area of 5,400 sq m, the site perimeter is of 430m of which less than 12m are facing a public access road. This implies that 97% of the site’s periphery faces parcels on which buildings could be erected at some point in the future. In its present state, the site enjoys unobstructed panoramic views on all orientations along the totality of the plot’s perimeter. As a result, all proposed loft spaces benefit from full exposure to the exterior through floor-to-ceiling glazing on all elevations. In an unforeseeable future, as the surrounding plots are constructed and with the gradual densification of the immediate environment, the extensive permeability of the building’s facades will face unpredictable situations. The project’s morphology, with its continuous setback along the totality of the perimeter, as well as its gradually diminishing floor plates foreshadows and responds to this potential condition. The implemented gesture guarantees generous breathing corridors along the site’s entire periphery, for our scheme as well as the future surrounding buildings in question. In many sectors along the periphery of Beirut, relatively high exploitation factors are applied on zones that are still undeveloped. In the absence of a master plan, the rapid gentrification of these sectors has led to catastrophic urban conditions. In most cases, the general guidelines of the very complex and archaic municipal building laws are the only leading rules and references on which developers build their schemes. In such situations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to define the integration of a project and its relationship on the long term with neighboring sites. The architect’s project does not only celebrate the present state of its environment, the absence of buildings and the scarceness of the urban fabric on which it sits, it also anticipates the future expansion of its surroundings and its rapport with the unpredictable conditions that will be implied by the development of the sector.

... read more

Qatar National Library opens its doors

Qatar National Library opens its doors

The QNL by OMA includes the National Library, a Public Library and a University Library

The Qatar National Library (QNL) in Doha, designed by OMA, was officially opened on April 16 by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and the CEO of the Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al Thani, in the presence of multiple heads of state from the region and beyond. QNL encompasses the National Library, the Public Library, the University Library, and the Heritage Collection, which consists of valuable texts and manuscripts related to the Arab-Islamic civilization. The public library houses over a million books and space for thousands of readers over an area of 42,000 sq m. The National Library is part of the Education City, a new academic campus which hosts satellite campuses from leading universities and institutions from around the world. Other OMA designed buildings on the new campus include the Qatar Foundation Headquarters and a new branch for the Research Institute. The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books. The edges of the building are lifted from the ground creating three aisles which accommodate the book collection and, at the same time, enclose a central triangular space. This configuration also allows the visitor to access the building at its center, rather than laboriously entering from the perimeter. The aisles are designed as a topography of shelving, interspersed with spaces for reading, socializing and browsing. The bookshelves are meant to be part of the building both in terms of materiality – they are made of the same white marble as the floors – and infrastructure – they incorporate artificial lighting, ventilation, and the book return system. The heritage collection is placed at the center of the library in a six-meter-deep excavated-like space, cladded in beige travertine. The collection can also operate autonomously, directly accessible from the outside. Commenting on the project Ellen van Loon of OMA said: “Classically, libraries were vibrant spaces for the exchange of knowledge. With the immediate accessibility of information in the current era, the library’s role as public meeting space is more significant than ever. We pay tribute to the region’s rich culture with the Heritage Library, excavated from the ground like an archeological site, holding historical and priceless Islamic texts for visitors to study and contemplate.” Rem Koolhaas went on to say: “We designed the space so you can see all the books in a panorama. You emerge immediately surrounded by literally every book – all physically present, visible, and accessible, without any particular effort. The interior is so large it’s on an almost urban scale: it could contain an entire population, and also an entire population of books.” Iyad Alsaka added: “The library is a testimony to Qatar’s significant regional role and influence in bridging knowledge, tolerance and greater dialogue within the region and to a global reach. QNL is an extraordinary public space in the region that will promote knowledge sharing, physically and digitally.” Qatar National library is the latest expression of OMA’s long-term interest in the library, which goes back to the competition for the National Library of France in 1989. Following the Seattle Central Library in the US and the Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville in Caen, France, this is the third library built by OMA. The project was led by Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Iyad Alsaka, Vincent Kersten and Gary Owen. Nick Myall News editor

... read more
BHA Digital for WAN
WORLD INTERIORS NEWS WAN URBAN CHALLENGE WORLD CITIES NETWORK

Sign up to News Review

Weekly news and features direct to your inbox

Thank you
for subscribing to
WAN News Review