Category Archives: towering pagodas

Cook+Fox: Beantown Towers

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[Image: Cook+Fox, via Boston Globe]

Boston developer Ted Raymond [of Raymond Property Co.] filed plans with the city of Boston to push ahead with a $2.2 billion development on the site currently occupied by the Government Center Garage.

The proposal, design by NYC firm Cook + Fox,  calls for two new glass towers – one 42 storeys, and the other 52 storeys [taller than Boston's Prudential tower] – containing a hotel, retail space, restaurants, and a pair of residential buildings, all along the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

One issue currently up for discussion with the BRA is the developer’s desire to buy land currently home to a newly renovated Boston Police station [Raymond would tear it down to expand his proposal]. Let’s hope the issue can be resolved – for the money this could bring to the city – without the unnecessary demolition of usable buildings [not very 'green', is it?].
Still searching for more images – more on this as we find it.

.:via the Boston Globe->

CPH Arch by 3XN

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By now I assume that most of you have seen Steven Holl’s wining design for the harbor entrance in Copenhagen. That said, we got this in our mailbox last week [I know, I slept - my fault] from 3XN, showing-off their proposal for the competition. From what I understand, 3XN designed the original masterplan, upon which the competition itself was based – which you can read more about here.

Essentially, the concept of the masterplan is to give the residents of Østerbro direct access to the harbor and the Sound while creating a ‘gateway’ for the city. Now, I’m not coming down on Holl’s design, but how sexy is this thing 3XN submitted? I mean, I’m not even necessarily a fan of this kind of curvy architecture usually – but this makes Holl’s proposal look dated and clunky by comparison.

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The design results from an evolution of three forms: a low, broad structure to the West [Marmormolen], a high-rise tower to the East [Langeliniekaj], and a ‘classic’ arched bridged to connect the two and span the water. The three forms then twist and melt together, emulating the flowing movement of the water, and the directionality of the desired movement across/through the site. Sick.

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From the architects:

A bridge spanning a body of deep water, providing the only dry connection between two stretches of land, is one of the most powerful architectural experiences in the landscape. Another classical element is the town gate, which marks the boundary between the countryside and the town, and ‘contains’ the town, physically, structurally and aesthetically.

3XN’s proposal for a construction on Marmormolen in Copenhagen is both: a town gate and a bridge that links Marmormolen with Langeliniekaj, creating a new coherent area in Copenhagen Harbor.

The towers and the bridge constitute one single, floating dynamic movement, characterized by the bold span across the harbor entrance in terms of both the plan design and the facade. Establishing a connection across the harbor radically improves public access and creates brand new opportunities for life and growth in the area.

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On both sides of the harbour entrance there is, in terms of both architecture and development, a movement towards the water, which is reinforced by the urban traffic patterns and the public flow in general. Extending this movement in an arch across the harbour creates a progression that connects the buildings on either side of the harbour. While the tall tower will be perceived as a natural extension of the existing buildings on Langeliniekaj, the lower tower on the opposite side will be bound to the coming development on Marmormolen: in towards Østerbro in a snake that forms the desired noise screen; and towards the water in a more open construction which opens up for views. On the Marmormolen side, pedestrians will emerge onto the gently arching bridge from the tower’s central atrium. On the Langelinie side, when you step ashore, so to speak, from the bridge, it will be possible to take a lift down to the foyer. A key element in the design has been to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists will experience the public link across the harbour as a continuous route and as an easily accessible continuation of the infrastructure on both sides.

.:More info on the project [3XN and Holl]->via

.:Additional info on 3XN’s proposal->via their website

::Special AMNP thanks to Lise of 3XN for the email/links/info::

Libeskind’s [green] NYC Condos

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That’s right – this is a Daniel Libeskind project. Sure, the dbox rendering helps to sell it – but either way this looks to have some potential [and as many of you know, AMNP is not much of a Libeskind fan]. I mean, where are the jagged edges and weird diagonally cut windows? Could be a trick…I’ll wait to see more renderings before making a final decision.

Six years after Daniel Libeskind alighted in the middle of the World Trade Center circus, bearing images of glass towers dripping with sky gardens, the architect has unveiled a proposal for his first New York building: a glass tower dripping with sky gardens. Libeskind’s One Madison Avenue would swoop up next to, and past, the 700-foot Met Life tower. One diagram in Libeskind’s new book, Counterpoint, suggests that the 54-story condo, hovering on columns over an existing building, could top out just shy of 937 feet (Rem Koolhaas’s proposed 23 East 22nd Street is a block away.) Initial designs show a glass-curtained tube with cutaways spiraling up and around the façade to reveal segments of terraced verdure, like cultivated patches on the side of a steep alpine slope. “We didn’t just fill up the tower,” the architect says. “We’ve taken space away [from the apartments] to create the gardens,” which are actually balconies tucked within the envelope. “It’s as if nature has come back into the city,” he says. The whole project has an air of fantasy about it, but the developer is betting that the current fiscal misery will end before the approvals process does. “The assumption is that by the time construction starts, we’re going to be looking at a different economy,” Lloyd Kaplan, an Elad spokesman, says.

.:Text by Justin Davidson -> via NY Magazine

::thanks to Jill Weiskopf of NY Mag for the text/link::

The Green City: Jumeirah Gardens

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[Image: Master-plan aerial]

Say what you want about the construction boom in Dubai, but one thing is for certain: this place is the future, but now. Seriously – expect sci-fi movies to be filming there, and for the rest of the world to be playing catch-up for decades. May or may not be a good thing – but its the truth, my ninjas.

Despite the fact that these towers and individual structures are interesting themselves, I’m personally much more interested in the master-plans / urban design coming out of the emirate, as they offer an opportunity to investigate what the 21st century urban fabric truly is / should be [whereas in most other places designers aren't afforded so many liberties, and basically zero context]. These projects also have the funding/space/political backing to be feckin’ HUGE, really creating whole new cities [or in this case, cities within cities] in a rather short amount of time – in contrast to urban design in the US, for instance, which must account more for the existing fabric and history, etc [neither is better or worse necessarily, and AMNP isn't advocating for one or the other - just making a point.].

While the architectural palimpsest of Europe, the US, and parts of China emphasizes the dichotomy that exists between ‘old’ and ‘new’, ‘classic’ and ‘contemporary’, etc., these new large scale projects in Dubai and the U.A.E. [and some in China] leave that conversation behind and look towards the future. I can’t say that I believe that’s better than building an urban area over a longer period of time – hundreds of years, whatever – but it will definitely propel design, planning, and construction [along with all technologies involved] into the 21st century in a serious way. I’m interested in seeing how the international involvement in these projects [in terms of architects/designers anyways] starts to influence the building in other countries, namely the countries of Europe and the U.S.

Moving along, here are images from the proposal for the Jumeirah Gardens master-plan by SOM Chicago and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, with 3 major new towers [each of which you'll see all over the 'net and in all the design rags, I'm sure] by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

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[Image: 1 Dubai]

Proposed by Meraas Development, the development will be a mixed-use project ranging from low density all the way to super-high Dubai density [yes, that's a technical term] zones for housing, businesses, retail, leisure, recreation, parks, and anything else they can squeeze into the 95 Billion dollar project.

The centerpiece of the masterplan is a tri-part tower called simply “1 Dubai”, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. The project is three towers that share a connected base, and are further connected to one another at various heights through sky-bridges. Not to be taken lightly, “1 Dubai” will be one of the tallest buildings in the world at over 2,000 feet – and will house two world-class hotels, office and retail space and some of the world’s highest condominiums and luxury facilities, for a total area of 13 million sq ft.

I mean, just look at how big the sky-bridges are themselves [below]. Ridiculous.

From Smith + Gill:

The development’s unique form is also highly functional: soaring clusters of cables and occupied sky-bridges connect the towers together as they ascend. The towers are designed to the highest environmental and performance standards and will serve as a strong symbol of Dubai’s commitment to sustainability.

A true “city center,” the complex is accessible directly by both land and sea. At the base of the buildings, grand arched entrances allow boats to travel underneath the building and into a central atrium space, an oasis in the center of the development. The atria oasis, open from water to sky, is framed by the three towers and the sky-bridges above. The space has the potential to transform into a premier entertainment venue [via].

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[Image:1 Dubai, suspended bridges]

The other individual project of note being proposed for the ‘Gardens’ is called ‘Park Gate’ [I'm skipping over the '1 Park Avenue' project, as it looks like a fairly typical phallic and curvy tower], and consists of 6 towers that are connected in pairs by large hanging canopies of greenery [images below].

From Smith + Gill:

[The six towers are] arranged to form a grand garden space and create a shaded microclimate unlike any other place in Dubai. The six towers are positioned into pairs linked together by soaring vaulted canopy structures that umbrella the landscape below. The space beneath the canopies is transformed into a verdant grotto. Vegetation is enmeshed with the canopies and exterior balconies of the towers, creating a highly sustainable 360 degree garden. The space acts as an outdoor “great hall”, providing an unparalleled retreat.

Each of the six towers is 30-40 stories. The development includes residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and entertainment spaces [via].

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[Image: Park Gate]

A common thread through all the project, and the  master-plan itself, is sustainability – another aspect of architecture that these project in the UAE are all over. The developer has stated that “green buildings and construction, resource conservation and overall sustainability will inform every aspect of this new district, with tools such as intelligent infrastructure technology and cutting-edge eco design serving to reduce the district’s collective ecological footprint.”

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[Image: Park Gate]

So, book some kind of cruise tickets now for 2020 [the project is underway - but there won't be any cheap airlines left by then, sorry people]. The only thing these ninjas need is some cars that fold into suitcases, and Dubai will be like wherever it was that the Jetsons lived…

.: originally seen over at WAN ->

Work on 1 km Tall Towers!

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Woods Bagot, designers of the proposed 1km tall Nakheel Tower in Dubai are opening a US office!

Woods Bagot, a global architecture and consulting firm employing more than 1,000 professionals worldwide, announced today that it opened its first North American office to service the growing interests of the firm’s international clients.

The San Francisco office expands Woods Bagot’s network of 14 offices currently serving Australia, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The move advances the firm’s “one global studio” strategy, which uses proprietary technology to deliver its international expertise to clients around the world.

“Competing in the global economy requires a different approach, one that is agile and innovative and driven by the best talent worldwide,” said Ross Donaldson, Group Managing Director of Woods Bagot. “The new North American office adds an important link to our knowledge network, tapping into the remarkable design and technological expertise that resides here. We foresee exciting collaborations that will continue to elevate our worldwide presence as an architectural innovator and better serve our clients’ interests in the region.”

Thank the architecture gods – maybe now we’ll get something like this ridiculousness built in the US! Because size matters, my ninjas, and good design does not…

Seriously though – why doesn’t someone just build FLW’s mile-high skyscraper? That thing was nice-looking, anyways. This thing here just looks like some kind of torturous vibrator.

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to take it here, but this was too amusing not to post – a co-worker of mine had this to say of the announcement:

Employment opportunity : Woods Bagot Design

We are looking for those who have high ego and pretentiousness that can only be matched by the size of the towers that we are specialized in.

Qualification : Men. Small genital, less than 1/4″ from the base to its tip (preferably uncircumcised).

Hilarious. All those interested [meeting these criteria], leave a hater-ish reply in the comments.
.: Woods Bagot ->

H & de M: The Parisian Pyramid

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You know, until pretty recently Herzog & de Meuron were some of my favorite designers – but seriously, WTF guys. First they decide to go all Jenga-like in the NYC [which you can see over at our ninja's site, Arch Daily], stacking a bunch of glas boxes in a not-so-nice [and pretty vague, I hope] arrangement. Then a week or so after that project makes it’s way around these internets, we get this thing: a glass pyramid in Paris. IM Pei must be thrilled.

Now I know what many of you in the know are thinking: they don’t build skyscrapers in Paris. Well, it seems that the 30 year ban on high-rise structures has been lifted – this new project by H & de M should be completed sometime around 2012, and will be the first of 6 newly planned high rise buildings.

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Nicknamed the “Delanoë tower”, after Paris’ Socialist mayor who fought to get new high-rises for the city, the pyramid stands 180m tall [50 storeys] and will sit at the outskirts of the city [damn near the suburbs, apparently]. The program hasn’t been nailed down exactly – but expect retail to run along the lengthy base, energizing the street level. The majority of the tower is currently planned as office space [enough for 5,000 workers], but the developer hasn’t ruled-out adding a hotel component to the program – which would probably have some major impact on the ‘look’ of the building itself.

The base of the tower should host a convention center. Then upstairs, we must find a luxury hotel from 300 to 400 rooms and offices. But the mayor of Paris has also wanted the implantation of businesses, including luxury, style restaurants, including pan, bars, shops. Equipment should also have their place: swimming pool, library, public gardens suspended. The municipality would also present a “museum of world languages.” [translated text from France3.fr]

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So there’s hope for this [probably not for our previously featured Parisian tower] project, as it might be changing/evolving/looking better in the future. That said – unless the drop this ‘pyramid’ business, it’ll continue to earn a ‘My ninjas, PLEASE‘ from us.

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And oh yeah – the ninjas over at BIG want their steez back

.:more over at bd online ->

Greening La Défense

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To be honest, we here at AMNP thought that Paris had laws to prevent this type of thing from being built at La Défense. Apparently not. As part of EPAD‘s [La Defense Management & Development Office] “2006-2015” plan for the Parisian business district a number of buildings are being updated/renovated, and new skyscrapers are being built [currently 6 new high-rise towers are scheduled].

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Designed by Valode & Pistre Architects [who, in their defense, have better work than this on their site] for the Group Gererali along with the developer Vinci Immobilier, the building [known as the Generali Tower] aims to help rejuvenate the La Défense area through contemporary, green/sustainable design. The 90,000 square meter tower will house a number of different programs, including office space [obviously], auditorium space, a lounge/club, restaurants, and a daycare [or as the French call it, "crèche" - yay for real socialism!].

Sustainability is at the heart of the architectural concept of the Generali Tower. The building’s innovative structure and envelope, as well as the choice of its technical and mechanical equipments – opening windows, suspended gardens at all levels – will enhance the user’s comfort whilst reducing energy consumption. The production of renewable energies has also been incorporated in the tower’s design, 18 vertical axis wind turbines, 1,700 sq m of photovoltaic cells and 600 sq m of solar panels are located in the towers central spire, giving it a unique silhouette in La Défense.

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But for real tho – thing is kind of gross, right? I mean, maybe if there wasn’t that TERRIBLE antenna going on in the middle of everything. But even still, the building looks as if it’s unsure of what it wants to be – and that that uncertainty has somehow caused it to form legions on its facade. Go big or go home, my ninjas – carve out a corner/side of the building, or leave things be. But hey, why bother worrying – this project is being designed for a developer, so all those carved-out gardens will be gone in 6 months or so…

Anyone else tired of bad design getting a pass because it’s ‘green’? Just a thought.

Expect more on new developments involving Paris and tall buildings later this week.

.:The Generali Tower, Paris, France -> via WAN

The Superstar

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The Superstar: appropriately named because it more than likely thinks too highly of itself, and it’ll get a lot of press without a ton of merit. Looks like the fortress of solitude designers read Bigness while staring at some Lebbeus Woods drawings…[would make a good ninja arithmetic, no?].

Featured as part of the ‘Uneternal City‘ exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Superstar was designed by Beijing-based MAD Architects and is meant to travel from city to city – serving as a contemporary, mobile Chinatown. A self-contained city, the Superstar will house 15,000 people, and contain sports facilities, resorts, drinking water lakes, and digital cemeteries [what's that?]. It will also produce all its own power and food, and recycle all of its waste. How, you ask? It powers itself by consuming raw materials from the surrounding city it is ‘visiting’ at any given time [not unlike these little guys], and then shoots all its waste into space via the central vertical ‘spike’.

Well, that may be untrue – but it would be cooler if that was the way it worked…

From MAD:

Superstar: A Mobile China Town is MAD’s response to the redundant and increasingly out-of-date nature of the contemporary Chinatown. Rather than a sloppy patchwork of poor construction and nostalgia, the Superstar is a fully integrated, coherent, and above all modern upgrade of the 20th century Chinatown model. It’s a place to enjoy, to consume Chinese food, quality goods and cultural events; it’s a place to create and to produce, where citizens can use workshops to study, design and realize their ideas.

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.:found via Dezeen->

Perkins + Will: Green Ribbons

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Check out Perkins and Will’s Heping Residential Development in Tianjin, China. Originally commissioned to design a residential tower as part of a larger masterplan, P&W was then asked to design 5 additional towers, a community building, and [of course] underground parking.

Now, the towers are okay. In terms of design, they’re very ‘Perkins and Will’ [so they're nice], and the masterplan has that ‘towers in the park’ thing going on [it is in China, people] – resulting in an ‘alright’ product. Anyways, what I liked about the design was this community building bit – which slips underneath the ‘green ribbons’ of this public park space.

The residents of this development will benefit from the amenities of the three pavilion community building. One pavilion will house a fitness center with exercise areas, swimming pool, and spa facilities. The second will house educational and entertainment facilities for children, and the third pavilion will house a restaurant and coffee shop.

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I recently worked on a masterplan in Beijing at the day-job, and something I found interesting [that we didn't really investigate that much, actually] is the requirement for this ‘community building’ in a residential neighborhood. They’re really not just ‘community centers’, where kids play checkers after school with local retirees – they’re gyms and spas, like little resorts for these high end residential areas sprouting up all over China. What I’d be interested in knowing is if this is based on some tradition in China [as I suspect] that has simply been translated into something for the growing middle + upper classes – or if this is just a response to the increasing number of people with disposable income.That – and do you have to pay to use these facilities? Or do you just need to be a local resident? I bet the people in those walled-off slums can’t go swimming here…

Anyways – cool looking renderings, no?
.::more info at Perkins + Will