I noticed these images by Lebbeus Woods of his proposed High Houses popping up in a couple places on the interwebs yesterday and figured ‘why not on AMNP, too’. I realize many of you are probably familiar with the project – but I thought some eye candy would hold the site down for the day until I could get some new posts up. Enjoy.
The High Houses are proposed as part of the reconstruction of Sarajevo after the siege of the city that lasted from 1992 though late 1995. Their site is the badly damaged â€œold tobacco factoryâ€ in theÂ Marijn dvor section near the city center.
The concept of the project is simple. The houses rise up high into the airspace once occupied by falling mortar and artillery shells fired by the cityâ€™s besiegers in the surrounding mountains. By occupying the airspace, the High Houses reclaim it for the people of the city. Balancing on scavenged steel beams welded end-to-end, they are spaces of a new beginning for Sarajevo, one that challengesâ€”in physical termsâ€”the cityâ€™s past and present, aiming at a future uniquely Sarajevan. Stabilized by steel cables anchored to the site, the houses, poised like catapults, fulfill the paradoxical desire to fly and at the same time be rooted in their place of origin.
These houses are not for everyone. Indeed, probably only a few could master their challenges. Yet each mastery would manifest a spirit of courage and inventive skill in the name of all who must reinvent a city transformed by destruction.
The winners have been announced for theÂ 2010 eVolo Skyscraper Competition.
The winning entry – a ‘Vertical Prison‘ that isn’t actually vertical – looks like an oil rig suspended over a city and repurposed to house inmates. It’s not that the project isn’t interesting or lacks merit – but winner of the competition? My ninjas, please.
Seriously – I suppose I’m just confused as to what the competition is about, if ‘Vertical Prison’ takes first place. It seems to me that the value of this project lies in the sociopolitical implications of integrating our prison systems and our society in the proposed way, rather than in skyscraper design. Under different circumstances I’d actually feel entirely different about this project – but as the eVolo winner? It almost seems unfair to the other entrants that a competition that has been [let’s face it] largely about form-making is going to change gears.
Any thoughts on this year’s winners?
The video is pretty self-explanatory, but here’s the text from YouTube that goes along with the video.
Time lapse animation of the demolition of 660 W. Division, one of the last remaining buildings within the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago. Since late 1999, Chicago has been working to replace the old model of isolated low income residences with new, low rise, mixed income communities. As of this posting, there are four more buildings to be demolished (two whites, two reds). For more information, please visitÂ http://www.Cabrini-Green.com
Say it with me now: My ninja, PLEASE.
Dubbed “BOA”, for Boston Arcology, the project was designed by E. Kevin Schopfer as a floating arcology much like the one proposed for New Orleans a few months back. Capable of housing over 15,000 people in new apartments, condos, hotels, offices, and a new city hall, the �BOA [Bank of America might sue…] extends as a long linear box from Rowe’s Wharf – supposedly in an attempt to preserve existing views and sitelines, while emulating the general massing of Boston by “exud[ing]a rigorous geometric format.”
What? It’s a huge box on the waterfront…
The proportions are, of course, based on the Golden Ratio – and the diagonals within the rectangular frame are actually meant to be a reference to the Boston Common [criss-crossing paths contained within the rigid boundary of the city].
Really, I just had to share this with everyone, as it’s awesome in its ridiculousness.
I would like to take a brief moment to defend the Burj Khalifa (formerly known as the Burj Dubai) – if only a little bit. While there have been many middle-of-the-road articles on the opening of the building – and many supportive ones as well – I feel as if the building is being unfairly used as a scapegoat, taking the hit for the current rally against “excessive” architecture.
For starters, look at the damn thing – it’s absolutely feckin’ awesomely ridiculous. 2,717 feet tall, all curvy and shiny and all that? I think we can all take a second to marvel at the fact that it’s an incredible structure. I mean, any fan of Star Wars / SciFi has been waiting for a tower this absurdly tall since their youth, as the Burj Khalifa looks like Coruscant, step one.
Now this is hardly a reason to build this thing. I’m all about admitting that this project seems kind of ignorant, and like little more than a pissing contest. “Now we have the tallest building, bitches”. But so what? Aren’t nearly all buildings over a certain height an exercise in ego? Outside of the few places where there is actually not enough land (NYC, parts of China + Japan), what’s the justification for a building over 20 stories or so? There are a number of towers here in Boston that have been sitting here half empty for a minute now – and our tallest building is under 800 feet.
Also, this design is nearly plagiarizing Frank Lloyd Wright’s proposal for a super tall skyscraper – and that man is by far the US’s most beloved architect.
Moving on to a less rational argument – what does this matter to any of us? How could some rich people building a super tall building in the desert be offensive? Did they spend your money? Because I’m pretty sure that those of us in the US should focus on the fact that our trends in housing are gross and inefficient, or that the government doesn’t adequately support progress and innovation in the construction fields. Plus, where the hell is all our infrastructure spending going? We have our own problems with shitty architecture of another sort. Fortunately, we can apparently afford to throw stones – modernism never took in housing.
The world is falling apart around us, and we’re going to take shots at this building for being too tall? Or, for that matter, a Zaha building for being too curvy? A Gehry building for looking too much like a melting chunk of metal? Let’s do this: the next time you read about ‘the architecture of excess’ – or anything similar/related – prep some ninja stars and go attack a brokerage firm, or a bank that gave out bad home loans.
My ninjas, please – get a grip on reality. The Burj Khalifa is a lot of things – including wasteful and unnecessary. That said, it’s also wicked cool for being over half a mile tall. Let’s take a moment to focus on that, and quit projecting our problems onto the people pushing the boundaries of design and construction.
The Burj Dubai – now the tallest building in the world, and renamed the Burj Khalifa – opened yesterday with 160 inhabitable floors, and topping out at 2,700 ft tall (including the spire). And you can get your own office space there for only $4,000 a square foot! What a bargain!
They must have pre-paid for all the theatrics – because you know they don’t have any money left at this point.
And (obviously) not everyone’s into it – German architects have come out slamming the building:
In Europe, the emphasis was on refurbishing and upgrading existing buildings rather than building more, bigger developments, according to the German architects’ association DAI.
‘Nobody knows where the planning hubris of the sheikhs will lead,’ said the DAI’s president, Christian Baumgart.
‘One thing is sure though: what has become a glass and ferroconcrete desert hardly represents a sustainable contribution to building practices around the world,’ Baumgart added.
German architect Meinhard von Gerkan called the skyscraper ‘an economically pointless symbol of prestige, representing the power of money.’
Awwww, shoot – you gonna take that, sheiks and Burj Dubai?
This video is kind of horrifying – and that’s all I really have to say.
[vimeo width=”492″ height=”277″]http://vimeo.com/7218371[/vimeo]
I linked to this great list compiled by the Architects’ Journal of the 10 best comic book cities a while back, but I just came across this video [I think it’s new?] and thought it was worth mentioning a second time – if only so people will check out some of these comics.
Really, I love the idea that people are passionate about their city and their surroundings, but let’s get real here – these ninjas live in New York. When people here in the Bean started to freak out about Renzo Piano designing a 1,400 feet-tall skyscraper downtown, I understood where they were coming from – the thing would’ve been about 600 feet taller than Boston’s current tallest structure. But let me say it again – these ninjas live in New York.
Is Nouvel’s proposal tall? Of course – but it’s also SICK. Those shadows they show it casting in the video look like they’ll be pretty lost within all the others – it’s not like this tower will suddenly block the sky. Will some people lose specific views, and some direct sun? Yes, obviously – but that’s been going on for the past century in NYC.
My suggestion: if you don’t want a new skyscraper going in across the street, move to Brooklyn.
Now this thing right here is AWESOME. Designed by NL Architects, this project was submitted to the Taipei Performing Arts Center competition [which was actually won by OMA]. Nothing against the good ninjas over at OMA – but this proposal is dope.
NL Architects’ scheme transforms the TPAC into much more than a performing arts center – starting at ground-level. The structure is, diagrammatically, a table with four legs – leaving a large open area within/underneath the structure, which can serve as open public space [see images below]. The three upper floors would contain more public functions, including cultural facilities such as a media library, retail space, restaurants, etc. Additional public areas, like swimming pools and parks, could also be scattered throughout the staggering volume.
The performance spaces themselves are then located throughout the structure, distinguished by the variations in the projects massing.
The performing arts center structure will contain three theaters: a 1500 seat grand theater and two 800 seat theaters for repertory performances. The theaters are positioned on different altitudes. The proscenium playhouse is placed at the base of the southeast ‘leg’. The lobby is placed under this theater so that it is flush with the square activating the space around it. The multiform theater is connected to the southwest leg close to the top. The volume of the grand theater is suspended under the horizontal slab. It hovers over the square while being part of it.
All this makes for an interesting exterior – essentially a cube from which spaces are carved-out. But what I find really incredible is the possibility of this ‘internal’ public space created underneath the ‘tabletop’ – both the stacking / staggering / hanging effects of these volumes, and the staircases connecting the varying levels look as if they would make for an incredibly dynamic space.
An additional component that I haven’t mentioned but that I was really feeling is that the elevators have been pulled to the exterior face of the building – so they, and their passengers, will be seen going about their business from the outside. Additionally, these elevators don’t run vertically in the traditional sense – but instead follow an inverted-‘u’ shaped series of tracks on each of the building’s facades. Pretty sick…
And I love the renderings – just to toss that out there.