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AL_A to transform Paisley Museum

Lead News

Paisley Museum 

Ambitious £42m plans to transform Paisley Museum into an international-class destination have taken a step forward with the appointment of award-winning architects AL_A

AL_A’s founder Amanda Levete – a former winner of UK architecture’s top honour, the RIBA Stirling Prize – says the project to transform Paisley Museum in the UK  is ‘one of the most radical briefs she has read’. It will be the first Scottish commission for the London-based practice, who have designed landmark projects including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter – for which they this week won the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018. They were also this month shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower. The Paisley Museum transformation is the flagship project in Renfrewshire Council’s planned £100m investment in cultural venues and infrastructure – key to Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid legacy, and the wider plans t

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IMBE 2018

A Californian classic

A Californian classic

A challenging plot size dictated the design process for this unique Californian home

This 4,500 square-foot single-family home, designed by AUX Architecture, is situated in the Melrose neighbourhood of LA. It was designed to meet the economic demands of maximizing square footage while preserving indoor-outdoor living. A roof garden provides additional outdoor space that was otherwise displaced by the building footprint.  The material shift of white stucco against gray Equitone fibre cement board panels is intended to read as if the gray mass is being cut away to reveal the museum quality white interior—like a box with incisions made into it. A balcony off the master bathroom is the perfect example.  Challenged by a lot only 40 feet wide, the residence features living spaces designed to open to the outside. An existing pool was reduced in size and left in place so the main living spaces open to it. Nick Myall News editor

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The Pyramid of Tirana rises again...

The Pyramid of Tirana rises again...

MVDRV are set to transform an Albanian landmark building

MVRDV has revealed an initial design for Tirana Pyramid in the presence of Prime Minister Edi Rama, Mayor Erion Veliaj, The Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), members of the Municipality of Tirana and public. The 11,800m2 former communist monument will become a large multifunctional technology education centre for young people. Mayor Veliaj declared that this project ‘will completely change the current building, putting it in service of innovation, technology, art and culture, not only in Albania but to the entire region.’ The project will be completed in June 2019. Situated in the centre of Tirana, the former Enver Hoxha Museum was designed in the 1980s by a group of architects including the then president’s daughter Pranvera Hoxha and her husband Klement Kolneci. Throughout the years it has also served as a temporary base for NATO during the War in Kosovo, a night club and as an event space. In recent years there were plans to transform the structure into a national theatre. These plans never materialized meaning the building has been left to decay for more than a decade. The pyramid has a unique silhouette and a strong presence in the urban environment. It never left the public attention and was a centre point in numerous protest and a background for demonstrations. Despite the generous use of glass on its façade the building appears to be hermetically sealed and inaccessible. The attempt to transform the interior clogged the atrium and created even more obstacles for one to experience the space. The project aims to give the building back to the public. By opening the ground floor from all sides the structure becomes transparent. By making the façade roof accessible and scalable a new perspective to the city appears and by flooding the interior of the space with green the object becomes one with its surroundings. “Though in the past, there were plans to transform this monumental building into a national theatre, this never materialised which left this fantastic building in ruin for more than a decade,” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “The Pyramid of Tirana will rise again by becoming a new centre of technology and learning for young people. Maas continues “It is a symbol for many Albanians. For the older generation, it is a memory to the cultural events during communist times, for the recent generation it became the place to celebrate the new era. They will use it as a hangout, as a place to glide of, and for concerts and gatherings. We will open it up to its surroundings as a structure in the park, that can be populated by people, trees, and containers for co-working. We will make the beams accessible and safe so that we can all climb to the top and celebrate the structure, with views of the city of Tirana. We create an inhabited monument.” Nick Myall News editor

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Herzog & de Meuron reveal Stockholm images

Herzog & de Meuron reveal Stockholm images

The first images from the inside of Herzog & de Meuron´s and Oscar Properties gasholder in Stockholm have been released

Herzog & de Meuron is for the first time creating a landmark in Sweden. With its sparkling, glass-inspired villa architecture 90m above ground, in a landscape created by Piet Oudolf, this building will provide a wonderful experience, not only for its residents, but for the whole city. The new building combines public areas with customised residential services in a manner never before seen in Stockholm. Construction is planned to begin by the end of the year. Gasklockan will be a hub in the cultural characterisation of Stockholm Royal Seaport (Norra Djurgårdsstaden). The building and the landscape will simmer with life and public activities. The new apartment building replaces Gasklocka 4, which is a round sheet metal building from the 1930s that for many decades supplied Stockholm with energy. At 90 metres, Gasklockan is the same height as the old industrial building. “We are creating the entrance to Gasklockan in the form of an enormous atrium in the same impressive height as the building. The shape of the walls provides a nice connection to the facade in glass brick,” says Oscar Engelbert, founder and CEO of Oscar Properties. “Gasklockan is our first project in Sweden and the first building with this shape. Its floorplan opens like the pages in a book to the surrounding city and landscape, maximizing sun exposure and offering a variety of views. It offers a spatial experience not normally experienced when living in a tower,” explains Jacques Herzog, Herzog & de Meuron. Villa architecture Just like the old building, the basic shape of Gasklockan is round, but with protruding v-shaped arms that provide an attractive and elegant expression. Each v-shape equates to an apartment, which gives the impression of a well-planned villa, albeit high above the ground. This new architectural solution maximises the amount of natural light in the apartments, which enjoy far-reaching views over the city, the archipelago and Djurgården. “The interior concept in Gasklockan is characterised by pure and strong materials like plaster, stone and glass. Industrial, but at the same time warm and tactile,” comments Helena Piehl, Design Manager for Gasklockan at Oscar Properties. There is also a vertical concept, noticeable in everything from wooden sections and fittings to the grooved stone in the bathroom, that reflects Gasklockan’s shape and height. The kitchen has been designed and built as a standalone furnishing, and the same applies to the bathroom commode. Uniquely crafted solutions enhance the feeling of living in a villa. The ground floor, with its magnificent atrium, will offer everything from Oscar Deli (Oscar Properties’ new, proprietary deli concept), office space for creative businesses and areas for curated exhibitions to customised solutions and services for the building’s residents. Gasklockan is Oscar Properties’ first project in which their new digital platform Oscar Properties World, with its unique services and products, is built into the concept in its entirety. Some examples of features include help with managing deliveries of packages, a gym with personal trainers and access to a spa section, a cinema, a digital concierge for making restaurant reservations and booking trips and cultural events, a playroom for the children, booking of cleaning and other domestic services, and food deliveries direct to the door from Oscar Deli. “The size of Gasklockan, with its 317 apartments, opens the way for a totally new type of residential service and peripheral services. From the very beginning both Herzog & de Meuron and us have had an ambition to create a living solution of the future. We want to simplify everyday life for everyone living in the building and also create an open, creative urban space for the people of Stockholm,” says Oscar Engelbert. Gasklockan is part of northern Europe’s largest urban development project In Stockholm Royal Seaport, which is northern Europe’s largest urban development project, the former industrial area is the hub of trade, culture, attractions and service. At the same time the area is close to both the city as well as water and nature. Gasklockan’s residents will live but three kilometres from the city, with the Ropsten metro station just a couple of minutes from the door. When the development of Stockholm Royal Seaport is complete the area will play host to 12,000 homes and 25,000 workplaces. Great care has been taken to create a varied and dynamic environment with a true urban feel. Oscar Properties and Herzog & de Meuron have been working on the planning and design of Gasklockan since 2009. The zoning plan was approved in June 2016. Construction is planned to begin by the end of 2018, and the building is expected to be ready to welcome its new residents in 2022. The apartments go on sale in May, with prices starting at SEK 4,550,000 Nick Myall News editor

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IN BRIEF

Will Alsop 1947- 2018

Sad news today as we learn of Will Alsop’s death, one of archite

Perkins+Will strengthens its London architecture team with new senior appointment

Global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will has appointed Brandon

LIAM FOX LAUNCHES AWARDS FOR BEST BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS OF THE FUTURE

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

EVENTS

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 

Tracing tradition in Oxford

Tracing tradition in Oxford

Design Engine have completed the Hubert Perrodo Building at St Peter’s College, Oxford

Multi award-winning architects Design Engine have completed the Hubert Perrodo Building at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford, in the UK, thus marking the completion of Phase 2 of the Perrodo Project. The building was officially opened by the Chancellor of the University of Oxford Lord Patten of Barnes along with St Peter’s Master, Mark Damazer CBE, and members of the Perrodo family, whose generous donation to the college, one of the largest in its history, has made the work possible. Beginning in August 2014, the Perrodo Project has resulted in a transformation of the College’s public and teaching spaces. As part of the wider project, this brand-new building – now officially known as the Hubert Perrodo Building – has a quiet study space on the ground floor, six en-suite bedrooms and a meeting room on the top floor with a roof terrace that offers superb views over the College and beyond. It is the first multi-level building to be built on the College’s main campus in twenty years. The new building is a three-storey pavilion with a set-back fourth storey. The height reflects the surrounding buildings: both the New Building and the Chavasse Building that define the Chavasse Quad. The arrangement of functions is intended to replicate those of Chavasse with communal spaces on the ground floor opening onto the re-landscaped quad with private study rooms above.  Design Engine: Hubert Perrodo Building, Oxford from Stephenson / Bishop on Vimeo. This division in the use of spaces on different floors could present an incoherent façade but the applied ‘veil‘ or screen helps unify it and give coherence to the different levels and uses. An open filligree of square section ceramic rods constitute the primary facade and make reference to the stone tracery evident in a number of existing buildings on site. The ceramic has a natural finish chosen to match the texture and tone of the stone. The ceramic is layered in front of a bronze-coloured metal cladding which has been chosen to match the colour of the existing brick buildings. “Unifying the complexity of the brief within this historic but tight site was an exciting challenge. Working closely with the local planning authorities we were able to satisfy the planning demands of this beautiful city while maximizing the potential of the site. As the completion of the final elevation to the re-landscaped quad, the new building needed a presence of its own while respecting its (listed) neighbours. We hope we have designed a building which is contemporary in nature but achieves the same richness of façade evident in the surrounding quad, which will continue the tradition of quality architecture within St Peters College.” Richard James, Project Architect, Design Engine. James Graham, Bursar, St Peter’s College, said, "What we liked about the design is that it fulfilled its purpose… but it was ambitious. I don't think that most architectural practices would have been as ambitious and I'm not sure most colleges would have been as ambitious either." The Hubert Perrodo Building has already been Highly Commended in the Project of the Year category of the Oxfordshire Property Awards and is currently shortlisted for a RIBA 2018 Award. Nick Myall News editor

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The only way is up...

The only way is up...

Otis has finalised a contract for a major renovation project at the Willis Tower in Chicago

Chicago’s Willis Tower, designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is one of the tallest and most famous buildings in the world. The building’s owners have turned to Otis to modernise its 83 elevators and 97 passenger cabs, including their respective machine rooms, motors, cables and controls as part of a larger renovation project. Otis, a leading manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products, including elevators, escalators and moving walkways, is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX). Otis and Equity Office have finalised a contract to fully upgrade the building’s elevator cabs to Otis SkyRise® units using the CompassPlus™ destination management system. Otis SkyRise elevators are one of the world’s most advanced high-rise elevator systems, featuring stylish design, ultra-quiet operation, smart technology features and energy-efficient components. The CompassPlus system organizes traffic flow and provides a personalized passenger experience — sorting passengers into each elevator based on their destinations to get people where they’re going significantly faster than conventional dispatching systems. As part of the agreement, Otis will also provide maintenance service for the elevators for 10 years. “Otis is proud to provide our industry-leading technology to Willis Tower, one of the world’s most iconic buildings,” said Otis Americas President Tom Vining. “Our innovative SkyRise and CompassPlus products will transform the passenger experience for the millions of people who pass through the building every year.” The Willis Tower elevator system makes more than 46,000 daily trips and serves an estimated 5.8 million people each year. The modernization project will provide more efficient elevator service for tenants and visitors, reducing travel time during peak hours by up to 30 percent and cutting energy costs by an estimated 35 percent. The elevators will also better utilize new amenity services located on the building’s transfer floors. “The Willis Tower is pleased to collaborate with Otis on the modernization of our elevator system,” said David Moore, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Director, Equity Office. “More than 15,000 tenants and guests use our elevators each day and they deserve the absolute best in transportation within the building, from updated technology to sleek design, and Otis offers best-in-class installation, service and aesthetics.” A dedicated Otis team will be on site starting in June to ensure the modernization is completed on time and with minimal impact to the building’s tenants and operations. The Willis Tower elevator modernization project is part of a $500 million transformation by owner/manager Equity Office, a portfolio company owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds. Through the investment, Willis Tower will be reinforced as a civic destination and the city’s leading workplace, featuring unprecedented amenities and unique retail and entertainment experiences. This renovation is just one of many significant updates being made to vertical transportation within the Willis Tower. Escalators at key points throughout the building will be removed to streamline travel and upgraded security and turnstiles will improve traffic flow at the building’s entrances.   Watch a video that provides more information on the elevator modernization at Willis Tower. To learn more about the Willis Tower, including information for visitors, leasing and history, visit www.willistower.com Willis Tower: Facts and figures  The top of Willis Tower is the highest point in Illinois. The tip of its highest antenna is 1,729 feet (527 m) above street level or 2,325 feet (708.7 m) above sea level, its roof is 1,450 feet 7 inches (442.14 m) above street level or 2,046 feet (623.6 m) above sea level, the 103rd floor observation deck (The Sky deck) is 1,353 feet (412 m) above street level or 1,948 feet (593.8 m) above sea level, the Franklin Street entrance is 595 feet (181.4 m) above sea level. (The highest natural point in Illinois is the Charles Mound, at 1,235 feet (376.4 m) above sea level.) The building leans about 4 inches (10.2 cm) towards the west due to its slightly asymmetrical design, placing unequal loads on its foundation. The design for Willis Tower incorporates nine steel-unit square tubes in a 3 tube by 3 tube arrangement, with each tube having the footprint of 75 ft × 75 ft (22.9 m × 22.9 m). Willis Tower was the first building for which this design was used. The design allows future growth of extra height to the tower if wanted or needed. The restrooms on the 103rd floor, at 1,353 feet (412.4 m) high, are the highest (relative to street level) in the Western Hemisphere. The design was inspired by an advertisement for a package of cigarettes. The Franklin Street entrance is the point from which all building heights are measured. The Wacker Drive entrance is six feet higher than the Franklin Street entrance, lower Wacker Drive/Lower Level 1 is approximately 17 feet, 6 inches lower than the Wacker Drive entrance and 11 feet, six inches lower than Franklin Street. The 103rd floor observation deck is 1,354 feet above the Franklin Street entrance. The glass ledges in the Skydeck are on a raised platform 18 inches higher than the rest of the 103rd floor or 1,349 feet, six inches above the Wacker Drive entrance, 1,355 feet, six inches above the Franklin Street entrance and 1,367 feet above lower Wacker Drive/Lower Level 1. The Skydeck elevators rise from Lower Level 2 which gives a total rise of approximately 1,382 feet to the 103rd floor. The building's total building area stands at 351,846 m2 (3,787,200 sq ft) It remains the world's tallest steel-construction building. All taller buildings use concrete or composite construction Designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill In July 2009, U.S. Equities Realty led the design and construction of a multi-million dollar renovation of Skydeck Chicago, including the development of The Ledge, a series of glass bays on the 103rd floor that extend from the building providing visitors with unobstructed views of Chicago through the windows and glass floors – 1,353 feet straight down. In addition to The Ledge, the new Skydeck visitor center features museum-quality interactive exhibits.   Nick Myall News editor

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Remodel and reimagine

Remodel and reimagine

Continuing a pattern of renovating classic London Buildings this latest project from Squire & Partners features ‘woven’ green tiles that pay tribute to Soho’s textile history

Squire and Partners has extensively re-modelled an existing 1980’s building to create a vibrant development that maintains its previous office and retail uses, but makes a more meaningful connection with the surrounding Soho Conservation Area by creating a contemporary crafted design. High quality office and retail spaces are provided within the existing building structure behind a new facade, while a new top floor is expressed as an irregular folded mansard. The new facade establishes a rational brick frame with stone spandrels, animated with vertical bands featuring ‘woven’ green tiles that pay tribute to the area’s textile history, and relate to the glazed tiles which define the surrounding streets. A series of full height glazed bays at ground floor create impactful retail units, while a canopied entrance marks the office reception. The metal-clad top floor creates a bold interpretation of a modern mansard roof, the erratic playful form making a nod to Soho’s history of rebellion and the inherent creativity which defines the local culture. Commenting on the project  Tim Gledstone, Partner at Squire and Partners said: “Warwick street is the latest in a collection of Squire and Partners projects where the layers of history of a building are exploited in order to remodel and reimagine, rather than demolish and replace, offering more sustainable and time-saving possibilities that create more from less. In the case of Warwick Street the full site history was explored, starting with the origins of the site as home to master fabric weavers Holland and Sherry’s, through the abstract and rebellious spirit of local Soho resident Francis Bacon, to the post-modern 1980s façade subseqently applied to the 1950s shell. Traditional elements of the building, such as the façade, mansard roof and reception desk evolve through these layers and emerge surreally enhanced, capturing the playful and creative spirit of Soho.”   Nick Myall News editor

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Diamond Schmitt shines in Toronto

Diamond Schmitt shines in Toronto

Diamond Schmitt Architects have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to Canadian architecture

The Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, is this year’s recipient of the Prix du XXe siècle, an award that recognizes outstanding contribution to Canadian architecture of 20th century design. The prize, presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and Heritage Canada The National Trust, celebrates design quality and enduring excellence. The award can recognize a building in Canada designed by an architect from any country, or a building anywhere in the world designed by a Canadian architect. Completed in 1984, the Central Y is the flagship of the YMCA in Toronto. The 14,400-square-metre (155,000 sf) facility allowed the organization to continue its tradition of leadership and service to inner-city residents while responding to the lifestyle and cultural needs of a growing downtown population. The Central Y is considered one of the most successful in the world, with the highest membership utilization, according to metrics of YMCA International. The distinct program, articulated in five building types – each with its own functional and architectural form – is unified by spacious, logical and exciting circulation routes that reveal all major program areas and encourage public passage through the building. A distinguished three-member jury selected it “not only for its remarkable design qualities but also for its generous stance as a welcoming urban neighbour and humanist intervention in the heart of downtown Toronto.” The facility includes a full recreational complex with two swimming pools, double gymnasium, racquet courts, a dance studio, indoor and rooftop running tracks, a 300-seat multi-use auditorium and day care centre. A defining feature is the Athletes’ Stair, which connects all levels under a linear skylight.  “Recognition for designing one of the best buildings of the 20th century is an honour and validation for the design principles we maintain to this day,” said Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. The RAIC jury noted the building’s condition is in extremely good shape today. “This is a testament to the robust execution of the architecture, especially surprising given the number of users throughout the building,” said the jury. On revisiting the Central Y thirty years after first reviewing the design for Canadian Architect magazine, Larry Wayne Richards wrote in 2015 for the same publication, “Attention to the circulation armature of a building was (and still is) among Diamond Schmitt’s most admirable traits. They understand circulation as an opportunity for social engagement.” The presentation of the Prix du XXe siècle will take place at the RAIC Festival of Architecture in St. John, New Brunswick on June 1st. Nick Myall News editor

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Letting the light shine through...

Letting the light shine through...

Capital Bank's facade in Jordan has self-supporting LUCEM light-concrete walls. The concrete with translucency creates special effects through play of light and shadow

In the new construction of the Capital Bank in Amman, Jordan, LUCEM Lichtbeton has been used for the first time worldwide as the cantilevered walls of the façade. The most common application of translucent concrete is in the form of a curtain wall, where LUCEM concrete panels are mounted in front of LED light sources that illuminate the concrete. However, the material has even more potential, as the current object shows. Moving the light source farther away from the concrete panels, there will be space for a very special, dynamic effect: the silhouettes of the people in the building are projected through the translucent concrete panels like a "shadow theater". On the other side, the people inside the building experience the change of light and shadow during the day; Sunlight shines through the walls. The new Capital Bank VIP branch is located in an elegant residential area in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of the Jordanian capital Amman: Cairo Street in Abdoun. Creating a "boutique bank" experience for VIP customers was the requirement of the design concept of the bank building. An exceptional atmosphere and inviting design should include nature as the basic theme. The external appearance of the building should be emphasized from the neighboring buildings, but at the same time harmoniously integrated into the overall picture. Thus, in line with the local stone architecture, the façade was clad in Taffouh stone. Only minimal openings in the façade protect the privacy of the neighbors as well as the bank employees and customers. The team of architect Saja Nahashibi, founding partner of PARADIGM DH, Amman, came up with the requirement for a unique appearance using LUCEM translucent concrete panels. The 14-meter-high stairwell made of self-supporting LUCEM light-concrete walls was realized worldwide for the first time and until now uniquely. The 30 mm thick LUCEM light concrete panels are mounted on a steel structure above undercut anchors. The idea that nature flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays was the basis of the design. With the use of translucent light concrete, the architects and lighting planners are setting a striking example of how external walls can dissolve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency. Not backlit, LUCEM looks like light concrete as a natural stone. This is matched in color to the facade of the bank. When light concrete is backlit by sunlight or artificial light, millions of embedded optical fibers transmit the back-incident light through the material. This creates a translucent look and an exciting light and shadow effect. During the daytime, the stairwell is illuminated by the daylight that falls through the light concrete walls. At twilight and at night, the stairwell is lit from the inside. As the light is transmitted through the fiberglass walls through the optical fibers, the stairwell appears translucent to the outside. People in the stairwell are projected as shadows through the light concrete walls. The closer people walk along a wall, the more accentuated the shadow falls. The vertical LED stripes are integrated over the entire height of the stairwell in the design of the handrail of a steel / wood construction. In the case of colored lighting, the stairwell shines outwards accordingly in colored light. In addition to the use of translucent LUCEM light concrete panels, the team of architects decided to use LUCEM PURE concrete panels without fiber-optic fibers to cover non-translucent areas of the façade. This results in a combination of translucent and non-translucent LUCEM concrete panels with the same cement / sand mixture and surface finish in the same look. In order to give the interior design a "boutique" character, the traditional banking concept has been replaced by an approach that is privately, exclusively and individually tailored to the needs of VIP customers. The switch and waiting areas with traditional queuing concept have been replaced by individual office "boxes" as well as lobby and reception areas, which are tailored to all customers' needs. The theme of nature has been integrated into the design by designing an open-plan courtyard inside the building, which is inspired by the design of Japanese Zen gardens. A modern crystal chandelier, like an artistic installation reminiscent of fluttering birds, fills the center of the room almost to the ground. A sculptural-looking olive tree forms the optical center.  The offices, lobby areas, staircases and corridors around the courtyard have a fascinating view through glass walls and glass balustrades. In lobby and reception areas, the counters are also made of LUCEM light concrete panels. The ATM areas inside and outside were also designed with a backlit translucent concrete wall.

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Will Alsop 1947- 2018

Will Alsop 1947- 2018

Sad news today as we learn of Will Alsop’s death, one of architecture’s most colourful characters.

Monday Morning brought with it the sad news that architecture has lost one of its most colourful characters. Will Alsop, the undisputed Enfant Terrible of architecture has died at the age of 70 after a short illness. We have had the privilege of interviewing Will on many occasions. Most recently, in the summer of 2015 Michael Hammond met Will at his Battersea Beach, almost in the shadow of Foster’s HQ where, under the Heathrow flightpath, appropriately accompanied by construction noises of power-drills and adjacent scaffolding erection, he talks candidly about his life, his challenges and successes. Follow the link to listen to Will Alsop… Click here

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