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    Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium in Tianjin, China. Picture: Kris Provoost

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    Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium in Tianjin, China. Picture: Kris Provoost

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    Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium in Tianjin, China. Picture: Kris Provoost

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    Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium in Tianjin, China. Picture: Kris Provoost

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    Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium in Tianjin, China. Picture: Kris Provoost

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    Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium in Tianjin, China. Picture: Kris Provoost

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    Picture: Robin Hill

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    Picture: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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    Picture: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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of

2019’s most read civic stories

Georgina Johnston
17 Dec 2019

Museums, libraries, a design orchard and Canada’s largest net zero building all proved popular

Striking industrial museum for China

Bernard Tschumi Architects has completed a major museum, the Exploratorium, in China.

Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Exploratorium to relate to the rich industrial history of the area, the site of high volume manufacturing and research. 

A series of large scale cones create spacious rooms throughout the museum. The central cone, lit from above, connects all three levels of the Exploratorium. 

A spiralling ramp ascends to the top level, offering an unusual spatial experience of the modern vertical city by reinterpreting an ancient industrial typology. 

The roof is accessible to visitors and acts as a promenade with striking views over the surrounding city. 

The focal point of the exhibition complex is the grand lobby, cone, providing access to all public parts of the programme. 

Design marks new library era

Newly opened library building marks a new era for Finland, currently billed as the world’s most literate nation.

The flagship library, Oodi, embraces technology to provide a variety of services alongside its lending collection of books to the people of Helsinki, Finland. Its recent opening marked Finland's 101st anniversary as an independent country. The 17,250m² library was designed by Finnish architecture firm ALA Architects, led by Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki and Samuli Woolston. Oodi Central Library stands opposite the Finnish parliament, a site chosen to symbolise the relationship between the government and the populace. The €98m Oodi project will become the flagship of Finland’s internationally renowned network of public libraries.

The design was chosen following an anonymous international competition that attracted 544 entries. A swooping structure clad in planks of Finnish spruce seeks to extend the public space of the civic square into the enclosed public space of the library. A covered canopy blurs the boundary between the two and a balcony allows visitors to look across the square to the national parliament building.

WOHA goes green in Singapore

Singapore based architecture firm WOHA is nearing the completion of Design Orchard, a green building and public realm aimed at enriching the burgeoning creative community in Singapore.

WOHA and a multidisciplinary team will soon realise a shared vision for “incubating” Singapore’s next generation of design through the new public building.

Designed with a clean and modern palette of concrete, glass, timber and landscape, the concrete structural walls feature circular openings to allow views, light and ventilation through the building.

Playful postmodernism for new museum

Boca Raton Museum of Art recently underwent a major renovation of its exterior landscape, designed by Glavovic Studio and Studio Roberto Rovira.

The $1.8m project achieves a new prominent visibility for the museum located in Mizner Park, Florida.

The museum building, designed around 18 years ago by Donald Singer, is a classic postmodern structure with bold volumes abounding with cornices, windows, and rusticated masonry.

It is emblematic and evocative of Addison Mizner’s Mediterranean revival architecture of the 1920s that has left a distinctive and indelible stamp on Boca Raton.

Architects transform iconic police station

Purcell has helped design Hong Kong’s largest revitalisation project to date.

The grandiose former Central Police Station has been transformed into a new centre for heritage and art, marking a major milestone in building conservation and adaptive reuse.

The police station was declared redundant in 2006 but has now been transformed by architects Purcell into the Tai Kwun,  colloquial Chinese name, meaning “Big Station”, Centre for Heritage and Art.

Refurbishment opened a previously impenetrable six acre complex to the public while retaining its distinctive character and remaining embedded at the heart of the ex-colonial city of Victoria.

Tai Kwun is a joint venture between the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which funded capital costs of $3.8bn, £360m, and has committed to run the site on a not-for-profit basis for up to a decade.

Brutal and beautiful in Perth

A major redevelopment of a brutalist library will modernise the landmark building at the heart of a green campus.

Six storey Curtin University Library in Perth, Western Australia will be transformed into a more open, light filled building by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

For the past 47 years the TL Robertson Library has stood as an iconic brutalist structure that welcomes two million students visiting annually to the faculty and the greater community.

The Danish architects together with Australia based Hames Sharley is leading the redevelopment of the library that will modernise the building.

V&A Dundee is overnight sensation

V&A Dundee has proved a worldwide sensation a month after its official opening by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Scotland’s first ever design museum opened its doors for the first time to the public last September and since the royal opening, interest in the building has snowballed.

V&A Dundee has welcomed over 380,000 visitors since opening and has been recognised as one of the world’s best new public buildings.

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said the city was a UNESCO city of design, a place where culture was helping to transform people’s lives.

V&A Dundee’s construction and fit out took three and a half years and it stands at the centre of a £1bn transformation of Dundee waterfront.

Canada’s largest net-zero building opens

Students this fall were welcomed back to a new 96,000ft², solar powered and state-of-the-art research, learning and lab facility.

The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation is the newest addition to Mohawk College's Fennel Campus in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The new space will also be the future home to the Centre for Climate Change Management, and will create a new paradigm for sustainable building and education in North America. 

Designed by B+H in collaboration with mcCallumSather, the $54m centre is Canada’s largest, and the region's first net zero institutional building. It is also the first out of 16 selected buildings in Canada to be completed under the Canada Green Building Council's (CaGBC) new net zero carbon pilot programme.

High performance elements include 2,000 solar panels, a building envelope that minimises heating and cooling loads while maximising natural light, 28 geothermal wells that store excess heat during the summer for use in winter months, a storm water harvesting of up to 342,000 litres, and occupancy sensor controlled heating, cooling and LED lighting.

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