News: MVRDV and COBE win Danish Rockmagneten competition

MVRDV and COBE have been selected for the transformation of a former concrete factory into a multifunctional creative hub.
Rockmagneten © COBE MVRDV

Rockmagneten is a project competition for The Danish Rock Museum and Roskilde Festival Folk High School.
Rockmagneten © COBE MVRDV

The master plan consists of the transformation of the 45,000-square-meter site into a dense neighborhood, including 8,000-square-meter existing fatory halls, organized around a plaza for events.
Rock Museum © COBE MVRDV

This will lead to three icons that visually will attract visitors from Musicon main street, A Foreign, along a marked 'red carpet'. As a new and almost floating superstructures on the existing halls built Roskilde Festival's new headquarters with its distinctive round windows on the north, Roskilde University as a circle to the south, and the Danish Rock Museum in the center with gold-tinted façade and a large distinctive party that will define the entrance.
Rock Magnet Use of the halls © COBE MVRDV

It is annouced that other users will enter the abandoned industrial buildings, precisely a bydelshus for the whole area, as Mr Joy Mogensen, president of the jury and Roskilde Mayor, explains:
The winning proposal is a visionary reading Musicon. For me it is a great strength that the project has such good eye to invite other players and citizens within, because the interaction with the rest of Musicon is important in how we develop the district on.

The inclusion and transformation of industrial halls will be flexible in relation to a multi-stage expansion of rock magnet. Each of the three players will be able to take the halls in use and build his won 'icon' though the two others, build status and stroke.
Guests. Photo credit: Andreas Lindqvist

With three spectacular buildings occupy the Trinity really Roskilde new creative urban area. The judging committee expects that the rock magnet will act as a catalyst for development of the rest Musicon.
COBE MVRDV — Winning team. Photo credit: Andreas Lindqvist
Rock Museum will be the first to build and is announced to open by 2014.

Source: The Danish Rock Museum


Performative Photo Catalytic Structure by Mirco Bianchini

Mirco Bianchini recently revealed a complex and fascinating design proposal, Performative Photo Catalytic Structure, for the Nogara highway in Veneto, Italy. The aim is to link ecological thinking, host interaction and active materials.
Performative Photo Catalytic Structure © Mirco Bianchini

Mirco Bianchini uses digital generative and parametric strategies to produce this structure.
Performative Photo Catalytic Structure © Mirco Bianchini

Strongly influenced by biology, Bianchini's structure reproduces the behavior of coccoluti, namely marine microorganisms in order to reduce pollution.
Performative Photo Catalytic Structure © Mirco Bianchini

As the architect says, the material has been tested for photo catalytic integration and is under development.
Material studies © Mirco Bianchini
I am particularly interested in Bianchini's research in engineering materials both responsive and sustainable to produce an architecture programmed to respond to environmental changes, namely, an architecture capable of self-repair and/or repairing its surrounding environment.
Material studies © Mirco Bianchini
This proposal illustrates current research on addressing proactively beneficial environmental technology by generating new types of architecture and complex technologies that collaborate, do with rather than dominate environment.
Material studies © Mirco Bianchini

Bianchini's Performative Photo Catalytic Structure is particularly interesting for energy-efficient building, and in building adaptive material properties.
Performative Photo Catalytic Structure © Mirco Bianchini

Performative Photo Catalytic Structure gathers geometric physical, material and environmental matters.
Performative Photo Catalytic Structure © Mirco Bianchini

Source: eVolo

Rem Koolhaas on the Changing Definition of a City

 A video that I watched very late last night: Rem Koolhaas on the changing definition of a City posted by Spain-based Metalocus. Beside the video, you will find a file in pdf which is the translation of Koolhaas's interview and the presentation of City of Opportunity.


New Publication: CLOG

A new publication will be launched on October 7th at the excellent Storefront for Art & Architecture: CLOG. What is CLOG?
CLOG was founded with the aim of creating a deeper dialogue on topics that are important to the architecture field today.
Social media and online press have drastically increased to rate at which architectural imagery is distributed today. An unprecedented range of work is accessible to the public, but sadly the constantly updated avalanche of architectural imagery has reduced any single project's lifespan in architecture's collective consciousness to a week, a single post. This rapid flow of information has diluted the exposure of outstanding projects by giving them the same emphasis as mediocre projects. And in many cases, exposure is mistaken for architectural theory and criticism, eliminating dialogue.
The goal of CLOG is to provide aplace to reflect and discuss a singular topic. Three times a year, the editors of CLOG will curate a range of succinct thoughts on a focused subject which will be presented as an insightful, yet accessible pamphlet. For its first, CLOG has chosen to discuss Bjarke Ingels Group, a firm that can actually keep pace with online press. In the last 10 years, Ingels has published over 126 projects. His work has been published in virtually every architectural magazine, popular culture magazine, and architectural blog. But the firm's work has rarely been closely examined. CLOG:BIG looks at the success of BIG, the firm's move to America, their modes of representation, their design process, their first monograph, their collaborators, and their critical trajectory. With contributions by architects, writers, critics, philosophers, photographers, traceurs, and cartoonists, CLOG:BIG offers a holistic dialogue on Bjarke Ingels Group.

Of course, a publication cannot survive if there is any launch event, so CLOG is launching with the event at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York on October 7th, as mentioned above. This will be part of Storefront's Interrogation Series. Everyone and anyone (even internationally) can submit questions for Bjarke Ingels. CLOG will select 10 questions to ask Ingels during the event.
To pose your questions, click Here. And for more information: here. And CLOG is on Twitter. Please, follow them for more update.

About the editors:
Kyle May is the co-founder of CLOG and principal at Abrahams May Architects. He won the Sukkah City 2010 International Competition and PoTo:Type International Competition, and his work has been featured in Log, the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and Metropolis.

Julia van den Hout is the co-founder of CLOG and Press Manager at Steven Holl Architects. She is currently writing her thesis in the Design Criticism master's program at the School of Visual Arts.

Jacob Reidel is an architect working in New York City. He has been a studio critic at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a schoolteacher at P.S. 75 and P.S. 161 in the Bronx. He co-edited Perspecta 40 "Monster" and has contributed to 306090, Junk Jet, Constructs, and THE Bi Blog.

Human Wu is an architect currently working in Basel, Switzerland. He graduated from South China University of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has written for magazines including Time + Architecture (Shanghai) and MONU (Rotterdam), and his own blog Human's Scribbles.

The Office of PlayLab, Inc is the collaborative art and design studio of Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin, located in Brooklyn, New York. They are interested in everything and their approach is multi-disciplinary, ranging from architecture to the visual world.

First step toward Northeastern Japan's Reconstruction: Design proposals by young Japanese architects

While I am in Japan, it is interesting to see how young Japanese architects perceive their cities, particularly since 3/11 which is now considered as a new word, according to the conference AID40 UIA Tokyo 2011 Congress I attended yesterday — and confirmed by Dwell magazine.
Here some projects that I found on Dwell Magazine website that illustrate a desire for a city "confortable " enough for its residents. Starting with this constat that 20th century Japanese cities were not built as a city to live in, young architects have this charge to design cities more adaptive to users' specific needs.
Here are some proposals that I selected among many others:
© Sako Associates. Originally appeared on Dwell Magazine
> Moving to higher ground makes sense from a safety perspective, but history, culture, and convenience tie communities to the sea.
Keiichiro Sako, who works from both Tokyo and Beijing, has a (slightly far-fetched) solution:
65-foot-high oval Sky Villages located near the shore.
SO(C)I(A)L KITCHEN © Yu Shimada/Tato Architects. Originally appeared on Dwell Magazine.
>Yu Shimada's SO'C)I(A)L KITCHEN provides a place for villagers
to get together and make miso, rice cakes, or other foods traditionally cooked with friends.
Forest Island © Jun Igarashi Architects. Originally appeared on Dwell Magazine.
> The tsunami has made the already serious problem of rural depopulation much, much worse. Jun Igarashi, who
lives in a small northern town himself, envisions town planning
patterns in which "inhabitants become ever happier and more comfortable as their numbers dwindle."
His Forest Island draws remaining homes together in high-density clusters, while the abandoned
periphery grows into a forested buffer between village and farmland.
Fishing Villages © Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects & Associates. Originally appeared on Dwell Magazine.
> Fishing villages nestled into tiny mountain-backed bays suffered some of the worst tsunami damage.
Here's Osaka architect Ryuichi Ashizawa's vision of a futuristic fishing town. Crescent-shaped
breakwaters serve triple duty as a tsunami barrier, a fishing pier, and an energy source, with built-in
turbines capturing wave power.

Seeing these design proposals, I have this impression that what is hidden behind these proposals is a certain pessimism as if architecture and urban planning have failed to protect people from external issues such as natural disasters — to this, you can include global warming, and but that does not concern Japan of course, war, etc. There is also a seek for rebuilding (if not redefining the concept of) a community and architecture and urban planning could act as tools to link people to their environment.
An evidence: the more than I can say is that beside the word of 3/11 as now a key word in the recent Japanese history (probably we should say this date must be considered as a turning point, or a new era, who knows, for Japan), it appears that "comfortable" is the most important word for Japanese today's architecture, if I refer to these proposals and yesterday's conference. Namely: designing a city which provides best living conditions and businesses may be the new challenge for Japanese cities… Probably a new paradigm…

More on Ideas for Japan's Reconstruction can be found: Here.


MIT Inexpensive Housing Project Prototype designed by Ying Chee Chui

Ying Chee Chui, a graduate of the MIT Architecture, just revealed his inexpensive housing project prototype, a 800-square-feet built with hollow brick walls, reinforced with steel bars and wooden box beams. This house features a modular layout consisting of rectangular rooms, with a central courtyard-style space in the center.
MIT Inexpensive Housing Project Prototype © Ying Chee Chui

This very affordable house is able to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake, according to the architect Ying Chee Chui who started this project in 2009 following the 2008 earthquake which hit Sichuan Province, in China.
MIT Inexpensive Housing Project Prototype © Ying Chee Chui

This house can be proposed in a smaller version which price is announced to be about $4,000. According to MIT Architecture, "it might be possible to reduce the expenses further if a great number of these homes were built en masse", this by duplicating and rotating the module, "and then it becomes a houses. The construction is easy enough, because if you know how to build a single module, can build the whole house." Ying Chee Chui says.
MIT Inexpensive Housing Project Prototype © Ying Chee Chui

This ambitiously house is announced to be comfortable enough to house a family. According to MIT professor of architectural design Yung Ho Chang, "(…) when you look at living conditions in parts of China, India and Africa, they don't meet the basic standards of what we think of as real housing." This housing project is, indeed, low cost. Yet it is capable of providing a high architectural value. 

Source: Here.


Towards a new Tohoku. Some suggestions by students in architecture

Japanese Students in architecture and urban design take part in the reconstruction of Tohoku, northeastern Japan, too, according to Edan Corkill in an article titled Students' skills help to forge a new Tohoku published in The Japan Times of Sunday 25th September. Here is an abstract of Edan Corkill's report:
Changing Lives. Reconstruction plans for the Tohoku, Japan. Photo credits: Yoshiaki Miura Photos
>  As part of the ArchiAid Summer Camp in July, University of Tokyo students, along with architect Teppei Fujiwara, created a redevelopment plan for Hamagurihama on the Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture that involved the recolation of houses (indicated in red) to higher ground; Tokyo University of Science students, with architecture firm Salhaus, drew up a plan for Ajishima Island off the peninsula that used many houses left empty due to depopulation (indicated in blue); a plan for Tomarihama on the Oshika Peninsula by students from the Tokyo Metropolitan University; Toyo University students created this plan for Koamikurahama on the peninsula, including hillside settlements safe from any future tsunami; Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture students worked on this plan for the Oshika town of Ayukawahama; and Kyoto Institute of Technology and Kobe University found a means of moving key infrastructure to higher ground at Kugunarihama on the peninsula.

In late July, when the students of Osaka Institute of Technology's Department of Architecture first arrived at the tiny port of Oharahama, an air of negativity hung over the conversation of the locals.
"They were full of questions: Why did this have to happen to them? When were they going to be able to move into temporary housing?" foruth-year student Yuki Imamura recalled the survivors saying in this settlement that was one of about 30 virtually swept off the Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture by the March 11 tsunami. (…)
"We had a 1:1,000-scale relief model of their village's topography with us, and the moment we showed it to them, their mood changed. They could see how their houses could be moved to higher ground, and that facilities could be rebuilt. It was like they suddenly got a glimpse of their future," Imumara said.

The following images give an outlook of these fascinating design proposals:
A drawing of the port at Ayukawahama reborn with tourism facilities including cafes © ArchiAid
Consensus builders:
> Professor Masao Koizumi of Tokyo Metropolitan University work with students on proposals for redeveloping Tomarihama in Miyaga Prefecture (above) and shows them to the local residents (below), who themselves made enthusiastic contributions to the redevelopment project during the ArchiAid summer
camp. © Tokyo Metropilitan University
Consensus builders © Tokyo Metropolitan University

More: here. As for ArchiAid, you can also check out: here (but its in Japanese). In English, you will find an interesting interview of Yasuaki Onoda, cofounder of ArchiAid and professor at Tohoku University's Department of Architecture in Sendai, and collaborator with Toyo Ito on the Sendai Mediatheque Building, on the website of Dwell.

Registration - eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo Magazine just opened the 2012 edition of its Skyscraper Competition. As usual, the magazine is pleased to invite architects, students, engineers, designers, and artists from around the globe to take part in the eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition.

Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition is one of the world's most prestigious awards for high-rise architecture. It recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the implementation of novel technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations along with studies on globalization, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution. It is a forum that examines the relationship between the skyscraper and the natural world, the skyscraper and the community, and the skyscraper and the city.

The participants should take into consideration the advances in technology, the exploration of sustainable systems, and the establishment of new urban and architectural methods to solve economic, social, and cultural problems of the contemporary city including the scarcity of natural resources and infrastructure and the exponential increase of inhabitants, pollution, economic division, and unplanned urban sprawl.

The competition is an investigation on the public and private space and the role of the individual and the collective in the creation of a dynamic and adaptive vertical community. it is also a response to the exploiration and adaptation of new habitats and territories based on a dynamic equilibrium between man and nature — a new kind of responsive and adaptive design capable of intelligent growth through the self-regulation of its own systems.

These are no restrictions in regards to site, program or size. The objective is to provide maximum freedom to the participants to engage the project without constraints in the most creative way. What is a skyscraper in the 21st century? What are the historical, contextual, social, urban, and environmental responsibilities of these mega-structures?

eVolo Magazine is committed to continue stimulating the imagination of designers around the world — thinkers that initiate a new architectural discourse of economic, environmental, intellectual, and perceptual responsibility that could ultimately modify what we understand as a contemporary skyscraper, its impact on urban planning and on the improvement of our way of life.

Registration, schedule, submission requirements, jury, regulations, and awards are available: here.


This weekend's lecture: Adrian Lahoud's lecture: Post-Traumatic Urbanism

For those who could not be at the conference ProtoEcologics directed by Alisa Andrasek and Bruno Juricic, you can click here to watch Adrian Lahoud's lecture: Post-traumatic Urbanism.

MORPHotel by Gianluca Santosuosso, Blob Museum of Architecture by Yuliyan Mikov and Wine Museum by DRA&U

The most that we can say, recent architectural reseach are led by a tendency for mathematics, parametric modelling and scripting, form-finding tools. Here is three projects that I found very illustrative of this tendency: MORPHotel by Gianluca Santosuosso,  Blob Museum of Architecture by Yuliyan Mikov, and Wine Museum by DRA&U. Besides this remark, I noted some ineresting similarities.
Gianluca Santosuosso's proposal, MORPHotel, was conceived during the MAA Self Sufficient Building Development Studio directed by Willy Müller.
Yuliyan Mikov, a Bulgarian artist and designer, designed a proposal for the Museum of Architecture. Unfortunately I do not have any information on which city, and country this proposal is made for.
DRA&U's proposal is designed for the Wine Museum Competition launched by the city of Cerro Cristobal, north of Santiago.

MORPHotel © Gianluca Santosuosso
Each project has of course, its own history, objective, personality, and background. But aesthetically, I notice some possible similarities between these projects.
Blob Museum of Architecture © Yuliyan Mikov
First, these projects seek to adress this demand for adaptivity to the environment. They are developed by means of permeable, adaptive, responsive scenarios. To a certain extent, they are what we can call "responsible building typologies".
Wine Museum © DRA&U
Then, the aim of all these proposals looks similar, to a certain extent: they seem to be motivated by the desire of breaking away the separation between interior volumes, exterior volumes and the existing site.
MORPHotel © Gianluca Santosuosso
Interestingly, I noted some similarities in the treatment of the outer skin, particular the openings that the openings that cover entirely the surface of the skin, all rounded in form.
Blob Museum of Architecture © Yuliyan Mikov
Another aspect, yet concerning only both Santosuosso and Yuliyan Mikov's buildings, is the form of both, respectively, MORPHotel and Blob Museum of Architecture.
Wine Museum © DRA&U
Santosuosso's MORPHotel, first, consists of the assemblage of habitable units, with various size, capable of navigating on the seas thanks to floating systems.
MORPHotel © Gianluca Santosuosso
Some similarities can also be drawn with Yuliyan Mikov's Blob Museum of Architecture's shape. This building is, according to the artist, a "lofty" structure "supported by pillars and a core of vertical communication".
Yuliyan Mikov's building could act, all well-considered, as an unit for Gianluca Santosuosso's MORPHotel.
Blob Museum of Architecture © Yuliyan Mikov

Yuliyan Mikov's Blob Museum of Architecture and DRA&U's Wine Museum share this same objective of redefining the model of the classical museum, not the museum itself, but the building typology. Not only in terms of form — as mentioned above, based on algorithm growth, and so forth — but also as the idea of museum space, the articulation of the interior spaces. Blob Museum of Architecture is the result of an aggregation of organic volumes which goal is to create a responsive structure — if not to say "versatile" to say with the architect Yuliyan Mikov, that will house the interior spaces.
Blob Museum of Architecture © Yuliyan Mikov

As for the Wine Museum, DRA&U opts for a vertical organisational tower that will then shift into exhibition spaces. The idea of vertical museum is of course not new, but the difference, here, is the verticality of this museum is made to blend into the existing site of Cerro San Cristobal, in the North of Santiago.
Wine Museum — Plan © DRA&U

The building's shape, circular in form, — as well as its outer skin — is driven by internal organisational issues, which served as tools. As a result, the tower looks like an anamorphic sculpture — let's say a totem — that emerges out its site.
Wine Museum © DRA&U

While horizontally produced, Yuliyan Mikov's design reveals a seek for a new museum typology that can be both performative and artistic, itself. The museum will not act as a simple building but as art on its own.
Blob Museum of Architecture © Yuliyan Mikov

Source: eVolo, Gianluca Santosuosso, DRA&U


This week's map: The Rapid Growth of the Suburban Poor

To close this week, a map that reveals the impact of recent crisis: the impact of crisis on cities and suburbs with the growth of the suburban poor. Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berude (The Atlantic Cities) reported recently the growth of the suburban poor in America based on the 2010 American Community Survey in a very interesting article: The Rapid Growth of the Suburban Poor.
Change in Suburban Poor Population in the Largest 95 Metro Areas.
Credit: Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program
Map originally appeared on
The Atlantic Cities

According to this survey, in the ten years following the economic high-water mark catpured by the 2000 Census, poverty rates seemed to have risen in 88 of the nation's 100 largest metro areas, precisely across cities (3.0 percentage points) and suburbs (2.9 pourcentage points).

By 2010, the authors continue, more than one in five city residents appeared to be poor (20.9 percent) against 11.4 percent of suburbanites living below the federal poverty level.

More here.

Source: The Atlantic Cities


The architect of the day: Atelier Yukio Minobe

© Architectural Ecologies

I was watching an interesting lecture of a young Japanese architect Yukio Minobe (Atelier Yukio Minobe, also known as Architectural Ecology) that I just discovered. His lecture was organized by the Japanese magazine of Architecture Shinkenchiku/GA/JA/A+U.

Who is he?
Yukio Minobe is an architect and researcher based in Japan where he is the principal of Atelier Yukio Minobe, an agency exploring new forms on design towards integrations of nature and artefacts, ARCHITECTURAL ECOLOGIES, at the interfaces between design, biology, environmental engineering and computer science. He earned a Master of Architecture with Distinction from the Architectural Association School of Architecture's Emergent Technologies and Design in London and a Doctor of Engineering (Architectural Design) from Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan.
He was also an electronics and electrical engineering scholar in Kyoto University before entering Architecture.
Yukio has not only taught architectural designs at Okayama Prefectural University and Kokushikan University in Japan as weel as conducting academic researches, but his experimental design works have been awarded in numerous design competitions internationally. He practiced architecture with professor Kazunari Sakamoto during his PhD student in Tokyo Institute of Technology. Recently, he has given lectures at T.IT., Arup Japan and Oslo School of Architecture and Design.
Currently, he has also given environmental design consultencies with computer simulations for architectural farms, as well as pursuits of his research by design towards integrations between nature and artefacts.

His projects are among others: Red Venation Fence, Cellular Respiration Roof, Respiration Building 01, Parabo Spheric Flower, Catenary Respiration Roof, Branching Respiration Skin.
Red Venation Fence © Atelier Yukio Minobe
Cellular Respiration Roof © Atelier Yukio Minobe
Respiration Building 01 © Atelier Yukio Minobe
Parabo Spheric Flower © Atelier Yukio Minobe
Catenary Respiration Roof © Atelier Yukio Minobe
Branching Respiration Skin © Atelier Yukio Minobe

Source: Yukio Minobe Atelier

More info on Atelier Yukio Minobe: blog and website.

All images credit Atelier Yukio Minobe

Now in Japan for 3 months of adventures and challenges

This short post is just to warn my readers that I just arrived in Japan. Hence a short absence (in French in the text). I'm now writting from Tokyo until December. I am thinking of projects and will see from next week what I can do in Tokyo. Many things I think, like, for instance, interviews, conversations, etc.
I hope to be able to launch my website rapidly to shift from blog into a combination of blog/website.
Let's see…


Keyhole House, Kyoto, Japan by Eastern Design Office

Here I am in Tokyo for three months. I am thinking of developing some projects but I can't say more right now.
Here is a small-scaled housing project, in Kyoto, Japan, namely "Keyhole House" design by a Japanese agency, precisely Eastern Design Office, to start our Japanese adventures.
Keyhole House, Kyoto, Japan © Eastern Design Office. Photography credit Koichi Torimura

The particularity of this Keyhole House is its triangular roof certainly in response to site conditions — the house is implanted along a narrow street in a crowded town —, or urban laws. Or might it be influenced by the Keyhole on the front facade.
Keyhole House © Eastern Design Office. Photography credit Koichi Torimura

Then the name of the project itself can be explained by this keyhole shape, mentioned above, on the front facade.
Sketch © Eastern Design Office. Photography credit Koichi Torimura

Implanted on a 103.47-square-meter plot, this simple yet very functional house has two storeys linked by stairs. It is also equipped with a terrace located in the second story.
Sketch © Eastern Design Office. Photography credit Koichi Torimura

The door is colored in a mix of red and purple as a color coding. Mortar and sumi ink are applied to the exterior walls.
Section © Eastern Design Office. Photography credit Koichi Torimura

The arrangement of windows provides maximum of natural light inside the house.

Building fact
Project: Keyhole House
Architect: Eastern Design Office
Project Area: 103.47 sqm
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Photographs: Koichi Torimura
Number of storeys: 2

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