COBE unveils LEED Gold-seeking affordable housing units in Toronto

March 11, 2019 by  
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Danish architectural firm COBE has unveiled a new mixed-use residential development in Toronto designed for LEED Gold certification. Created in collaboration with Toronto-based architectural firm architectsAlliance , the project will comprise three buildings — two designed by COBE — set in West Don Lands, a former industrial area on Toronto’s waterfront. The housing development will consist of 761 market rental apartments, including 30 percent affordable rental units indistinguishable in design from the others. Designed to celebrate the area’s different building typologies, the mixed-use residential buildings are made up of three architectural styles stacked one atop of another. The first layer at the street level will be a contemporary take on the redbrick warehouses found in the neighboring Distillery District; the middle layer is an interpretation of the Canary District warehouses north of the site; and the uppermost section is built of light concrete in reference to the existing industrial silos found on the harbor front. The resulting towers will be an “urban ensemble of unique structures,” the architects said. These three architecturally distinct layers are stacked and staggered to make way for large landscaped terraces to serve as shared outdoor amenity spaces, where residents can enjoy urban farming  and al fresco dining as well as landscape gardens, a playground and a pool area. This strong sense of community is strengthened in the center-most building containing additional amenities such as a cinema, fitness center, spa and music and childcare facilities; the other two buildings will also have local resident lounges and dining areas. Publicly accessible retail and restaurants will be located on the ground floor. Related: Former concrete factory is reborn as a unique music-inspired high school in Denmark “We want to create attractive homes that appeal to many different types of people,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “We have been working alongside the client team to develop a concept of radical mixed-use that provides all residents with a generous apartment, flooded with light through floor-to-ceiling windows  and access to attractive amenity spaces.” The project is expected to begin construction in mid-2019 with completion scheduled for early 2022. + COBE Images by COBE

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COBE unveils LEED Gold-seeking affordable housing units in Toronto

Uber transforms 19th-century industrial buildings into hub for futuristic tech

March 6, 2019 by  
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A row of historic industrial buildings long considered at-risk of collapse has been saved thanks to Uber . The Uber Advanced Technologies Group R&D Center, a group that develops experimental and futuristic transit projects including self-driving technologies, is now housed within part of San Francisco’s Pier 70 — the best-preserved 19th century industrial complex west of the Mississippi. A sensitive undertaking, the adaptive reuse project breathed new life into the decrepit structures yet stayed true to the complex’s architectural integrity. With masterplanning efforts spearheaded by San Francisco-based urban studio SITELAB, Pier 70 in the city’s Dogpatch neighborhood has been undergoing a renaissance of change from a former industrial site to a mixed-use development consisting of offices, retail, residences and public space. Drawn by the site’s history with transportation — Bethlehem Shipbuilding was once a Pier 70 tenant — and the spacious interiors, Uber leased out 130,000 square feet within the complex across four continuous buildings (Building 113, 114, 115 and 116), an area approximately equivalent to two city blocks. Damaged from years of neglect and vandalism, the four buildings needed a gut renovation before Uber could move in. In a process the firm described as a “labor of love,” Uber restabilized the structures with steel braces and columns carefully chosen to complement the historic architecture. To retain existing elements and abide by the regulations put forth by the National Register of Historic Places, the project used a “building-within-a-building concept” that allowed for the insertion of mezzanines, stairs, rooms and other free-standing programmed elements without damaging the historic perimeter brick walls. Nods to the building’s history can be seen in the industrial-inspired architectural lighting and minimalist material palette. Related: Uber just gave the world a first look at its air taxi prototype “The project’s contribution to the community and industry is immense in that it revitalizes a crumbling shipyard facility into a vibrant place for work and public gatherings,” Uber shared in a statement. “Precision craftsmanship is required to both refurbish deteriorated existing construction and accommodate new building components into the highly complex and diverse existing structures. The approach retains and repairs salvageable elements . If un-salvageable, the replacement element or material is specified to be historically compatible and environmentally benign.” + Uber Advanced Technologies Group Via Architectural Digest Photography by Billy Hustace Photography via Uber

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MVRDV unveils a three-dimensional city skyscraper for Shenzhen

December 31, 2018 by  
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MVRDV is shaking up skyscraper design in its competition-winning proposal for Chinese real estate developer Vanke’s new headquarters building in Shenzhen. Envisioned as a “three-dimensional city,” the striking 250-meter-tall Vanke Headquarter Tower — dubbed the Vanke 3D City by MVRDV — will consist of eight mixed-use blocks stacked together in a sculptural arrangement optimized for views. Accessible green roofs top the staggered volumes to create a lush, park-like environment integrated with water collection and recycling systems. The Vanke Headquarter Tower will comprise eight interlinked mixed-use volumes, beginning with a base of four blocks and culminating into a single crowning tower. With 167,000 square meters of floor space, the development will consist of leasable offices, retail space, a restaurant, a hotel and plenty of outdoor space. The design and placement of each block was inspired by the core values of Vanke: ‘health’, ‘energy’, ‘open’, ‘team’, ‘green’, ‘nature’, ‘future’ and ‘creative’. In addition to the pedestrian-friendly ground level, four blocks also feature indented facades — dubbed “windows to the world” — to create semi-public spaces lined with greenery for engaging the urban fabric. “Vanke 3D City can be seen as a new type of skyscraper. By stacking the required programmatic entities, initially proposed for two separate plots, on top of each other, the two individual Vanke Group Headquarter buildings are turned into a Vanke City,” said Winy Maas, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “They turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. By opening the buildings, a series of giant collective halls are created with a view over the bay and to the world. The plazas , gardens and halls are connected by a series of stairs and elevators, linking the many blocks into a continuous urban fabric high off the ground — a true three-dimensional city.” Related: MVRDV completes massive, mountain-like vertical village for 5,000 residents in India The development’s multiple green roofs and gardens are designed for responsible stormwater management in keeping with Shenzhen’s “sponge city” program that aims to reduce the impact of the city on the environment. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2019. + MVRDV Images by ATCHAIN via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils a three-dimensional city skyscraper for Shenzhen

Historic Luxembourg building is metamorphosed into an eco-friendly powerhouse

October 3, 2018 by  
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Paris-based Vincent Callebaut Architectures has placed first in POST Luxembourg’s international design competition with its chrysalis-inspired vision for transforming the telecommunication company’s historic headquarters building into a carbon-neutral city landmark. Dubbed the Metamorphosis of the Hotel des Postes, the winning design includes nearly 120,000 square feet of mixed-use space comprising housing, co-working, retail, a brewery, restaurant and a permaculture rooftop garden. Although the design calls for a significant revamp of the structure’s energy systems, the architects will also take care to preserve the building’s historic architectural elements that date back to the turn of the 20th century. Designed by the government architect Sosthène Weis in the early 1900s, the historic building is mainly built of stone and reinforced concrete but has also been remodeled over the years with several extensions. Vincent Callebaut Architectures will begin its “metamorphosis” of the property by removing three of the extensions and then carefully inserting new changes, which include transforming the interior courtyard into a covered atrium. Central to the redesign is the addition of a chrysalis-inspired, multi-story volume in an oblong shape as well as a photovoltaic cell-studded glass “solar dome.” “[Our goal is to] reveal the intrinsic heritage qualities of the building and highlight them with contemporary architecture that assumes its era,” the architects explained. “Between history and modernity, between heritage and innovation, this metamorphosis presents a project reinforcing the patrimonial identity of the place by transforming the historic building into a showcase of contemporary, ecological architecture. Low-Tech and high-tech are therefore in tune to serve this exceptional project.” Related: Five bridges topped with urban farms could revitalize war-torn Mosul Designed to meet carbon-neutral status, the project aims to consume less than 30 kWh of energy per square meter annually and meet near net-zero energy targets. The building will not only be powered with renewable energies such as solar, wind and biomass, but it will also be renovated to follow passive design principles and updated with an airtight building envelope, double-glazed windows and highly efficient insulation. Metamorphosis of the Hotel des Postes is currently seeking approval from the local government. + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

June 4, 2018 by  
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A new adaptive reuse project is looking to save a sweet piece of history in China. International design firm Woods Bagot  unveiled plans to revitalize the disused Hongqi Zhen Sugar Factory in Zhuhai’s Jinwan District, turning it into a spectacular new cultural park. Designed to include a sugar industry museum and a chocolate factory (among other facilities), the mixed-use development will aim to offset its carbon footprint with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Located in the Pearl River Delta in south China’s Guangdong province, Zhuhai is one of China’s premier tourist destinations and has even been nicknamed the Chinese Riviera. The revitalization project will tap into the existing tourist infrastructure and offer a wide suite of attractions on a 78,877-square-meter plot. A large park will occupy the heart of the project and will be ringed by landscape features including a floral garden walk, a sculpture garden, a farming experience, and scenic waterscapes and wetlands transformed from former industrial waterbodies. The development is divided into different thematic zones that range from the bustling retail street to the tranquil wedding lake and wetland boardwalk. “It is a privilege to create a place where a whole community can capture and celebrate their proud industrial history,” said Charlie Chen, Studio Leader at Woods Bagot. “At the heart of our strategy is a desire to inspire and engage the diverse people that will enjoy the site – from locals and former factory workers to tourists, families and children alike. The result will be a showcase of old and new, and provide Zhuhai with a rich cultural landmark for generations to come.” In addition to diverse retail and restaurant offerings, the firm plans to add a boutique hotel , wedding venue, and start-up offices. Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center One of the firm’s major design goals is to repurpose as many of the existing sugar factory buildings as possible. New buildings will be designed to match the industrial aesthetic and will only rise two to three stories in height in order to differentiate themselves from taller historic architecture. Murals and other artistic installations will commemorate the site’s history. + Woods Bagot Images via Woods Bagot

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Curvaceous algae-covered towers proposed for Hangzhou

May 11, 2018 by  
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Paris-based studio XTU Architects recently unveiled designs for a futuristic high-rise in Hangzhou that blends sustainable technologies into an organic, sculptural design. Cloaked in a “bio facade” of micro algae -covered panels, the curvaceous towers can produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Dubbed French Dream Towers, the mixed-use complex would also incorporate rainwater harvesting, a greenhouse, and an aquaponics system. Currently under review, French Dream Towers comprises four buildings clustered around a central water body. The towers feature sloped facades that give the project its organic shape and help facilitate rainwater collection . The mixed-use complex includes a French Tech Hub with offices and co-working spaces; an Art Center comprising galleries, artist residences, and market space; a hotel with wellness facilities; and a luxury restaurant with French fusion cuisine and a bar. Related: Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen “The culture of micro-algae on the building facade is a process developed by XTU for several years,” said the architects of their patent-pending micro-algae panels. “It allows the symbiosis: the bio facade uses the thermal building to regulate the culture temperature of algae and at the same time these facades allow a much better insulation of buildings.” + XTU Architects Via Dezeen Images via XTU Architects

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Henning Larsen to revitalize Brussels region with rooftop farming and co-housing

April 6, 2018 by  
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A post-industrial region in Brussels will find a new lease on life thanks to the vision of Henning Larsen Architects . The Dutch architecture firm, in collaboration with Architects A2RC , recently won a design competition to redevelop Brussels’ Key West development with a strong focus on livability. The masterplan will introduce new housing, community facilities, and stronger ties to the waterfront and urban farming. As part of a plan to redevelop its old industrial areas, the Government of Brussels launched the Canal Plan, the biggest urban development project in the Brussels region. The Key West development, headed by Henning Larsen Architects and Architects A2RC, aims to bring greater socio-economic cohesion to a challenged region, particularly Anderlecht, a municipality with a rough reputation. The masterplan will inject new life along the canal and add 46,000 square meters of housing in addition to 17,000 square meters of community spaces including public spaces, sports facilities, and urban farming initiatives. “We were inspired by the Government of Brussels’ ambitions to tap into the spirit of the old industrial area by introducing ‘second generation industries’ ? local production facilities such as e.g. microbreweries, a cookie factory, coffee roasting facilities. As architects involved in urban planning one of our most distinguished tasks is to create the physical framework for an area like Key West to regain economic growth and community cohesion,” says Partner at Henning Larsen, Jacob Kurek. Related: Natural light floods this solar-powered business school in Frankfurt In addition to an inviting mixed-use streetscape, Key West will enjoy a stronger relationship to the canals through new waterfront infrastructure that will use biotopes to improve water quality and rainwater collection to handle impervious runoff. Residences will be stacked atop first-floor retail and restaurants and will include co-housing options that offer large 8 to 9 bedroom apartments for shared living. Rooftop urban farms will be made visible from the street and the locally grown produce is tied into a scheme for a farmers market to be located in the south-facing town square. The Key West development is slated for completion by 2022. + Henning Larsen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs BREEAM-seeking brewery renovation in Riga

March 23, 2018 by  
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has beaten the likes of Henning Larsen and Zaha Hadid Architects in a competition to design Kimmel Quarter, a major urban revitalization project in Riga, Latvia . Located in the capital’s Central District, the project will be centered on the redevelopment of Brewery Kimmel, a 19th century beer brewery rich in history. The adaptive reuse scheme will preserve the site’s historical roots while adding new mixed-use programming that follow sustainable design principles. The 11,500-square-meter Kimmel Quarter will become Riga’s new destination for working, shopping, and recreation. The abandoned industrial buildings that occupy nearly an entire city block will be restored and transformed into a 30,000-square-meter office building, a hotel, a public gym, a child care center, a cafe, a spa, a food court, and a convenience store. Inviting courtyards and plazas will tie the various spaces together. “We wanted to create a new composition of building volumes as pragmatic and straight forward as the old industrial complex with a dynamic façade that pushes back and forth and up and down,” said Rasmus Kierkegaard, Associate Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “The resulting architecture is distinctly modern, but in a rewarding dialogue with the old restored buildings. We have designed a new Kimmel Quarter in which history and the future are bound by timeless architecture.” Related: Lookout Loop bird observatory in Latvia doubles as a temporary shelter Sensitive adaptive reuse, passive solar orientation, and use of recycled materials and rainwater are part of the design’s focus on sustainability. Kimmel Quarter will follow BREEAM standards and is expected to serve as one of Riga’s model project for meeting the European Union’s 2020 climate and energy package goals. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Japanese builder unveils plans for worlds tallest timber skyscraper in Tokyo

February 15, 2018 by  
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Japanese builder and developer Sumitomo Forestry has unveiled designs for the world’s tallest timber skyscraper in the heart of Tokyo. Designed by Nikken Sekkei , the 1,148-foot-tall wooden tower will form part of the W350 Project, a mixed-use environmentally friendly development that the firms aim to complete in 2041 to mark Sumitomo’s 350th anniversary. The company says these steel-and-timber structures will help “transform the city into a forest.” Early renderings of the W350 project show the timber buildings covered in greenery and filled with natural light as part of Sumitomo’s message of promoting a healthier living environment. The buildings will be built to withstand earthquakes and be constructed with a 9:1 ratio of wood to steel. The development’s skyscraper centerpiece will house a hotel, offices, retail and residences. When complete, it will not only be the tallest timber tower in the world but also the tallest building in Japan. Related: Magnificent timber skyscraper will sequester carbon and add greenery to Bordeaux W350 is estimated to need over 6.5 million cubic feet of wood and cost approximately 600 billion yen. While the building framework will be made of a hybrid timber-steel structure, the interior will feature exposed wood in an attempt to bring people closer to nature. The company hopes that the project will popularize timber architecture and help jumpstart a revitalization of the forestry industry in rural areas and interest in reforestation . + Sumitomo Forestry + Nikken Sekkei Via Telegraph Images via Sumitomo Forestry

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David Chipperfield Architects reveal designs for Hamburgs tallest tower

February 12, 2018 by  
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Hot on the heels of Herzog & de Meuron’s recently completed Elbphilharmonie , David Chipperfield Architects has revealed designs for the German city’s next big architecture project: Elbtower. Towering above the skyline at 230 meters (755 feet), the sculptural mixed-use building will be the tallest building in the city and serve as a counterpoint to Elbphilharmonie to the west. David Chipperfield Architects’ designs for Elbtower won an international design competition that sought a building that was modern yet also captured the historic and unique character of the riverfront location. Its sculptural form features a long multi-level podium that then curves upwards to form a 230-meter-tall tower with tapered edges. The podium will comprise a bar, hotel, restaurant, retail, and exhibition areas. The building will also enjoy easy access to the train and underground station as well as a bicycle bridge. Related: Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie Plaza is the highest public square in northern Germany “We are delighted to have won the competition for the Elbtower project together with SIGNA and are happy to be invited to work in Hamburg again, especially on such an important site,” said David Chipperfield. “As architects we are increasingly aware that the city depends on the quality of projects from the private sector to create a strong civic dimension that engages with the complexities of the city. We look forward to positively embracing this responsibility with the Elbtower project.” The Elbtower will be sheathed in a specially designed glass facade equipped with lighting technology—designed by by Studio Other Spaces in collaboration with Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann—that will transform the building into a “kinetic sculpture” at night. + David Chipperfield Architects Via ArchDaily Images via David Chipperfield Architects

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