Friday, February 15, 2013

This Week in Architecture: Episode IV (part ii)

Continuing the articles for this week!

Essence Financial Building

A recent competition has determined OMA the winner of a skyscraper competition in Shenzhen, China, beating out four other entries by both international and Chinese practices. This will be OMA's second tower in Shenzhen (the first will be the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, expected to be completed by April 2013)

The firm expressed their excitement of being involved to further the development of the city, and especially so in being a part of a drastic change in the city, from 'a manufacturing city into a services hub'. The new necessity for services means that the city can really become a center of towers, of which the new financial building would be one.

The coolest part of the design is the giant open space about halfway up the building, which acts as a platform overlooking the Shenzhen Golf Club. The fact that it's shaded by the top half of the building means that there is plenty of opportunities for just about anything, even if the weather is poor!

Check out the full story here.

New Jerusalem Orphanage

Shipping container architecture is, in my opinion, one of the up-and-coming styles of architecture. It may not be the prettiest thing you've ever seen, but in terms of repurposing, it's about one of the coolest options.

4D and A Architects took this concept and not only repurposed old shipping containers, but actually turned it into a vibrantly colored orphanage for South African orphans. The outside includes playful colors, while the inside mixes more muted tones with bright accents. The containers are fully furnished on the inside, and, had you not been able to see the ribbed walls of the container, look just like a normal living space!

The orphanage was originally established in 2000 to care from children who had been abandoned because of poverty, HIV, or other social problems. Because of the large amount of children, they needed a new place to house the kids, and 4D and A Architects were enlisted.

Check out the full story here.

Hurricane Sandy Relief

This story really hit close to home, as I grew up and still have my permanent address in central Jersey. Hurricane Sandy really devastated the shore, and not many people know that the cleanup and rejuvenation effort will take years. Boardwalks were wiped out, homes destroyed. Some towns close to leveled. The summer tourism industry is one of Jersey's biggest contributors to income, and that industry is going to be seriously hurt this summer, and many summers to come.

However, Governor Cuomo of New York is attempting to put together a plan for those whose homes were ravaged in NYC's coastal region. First, obviously is the money to help aid those with damaged homes cover the bills. But more importantly, there is a goal to help create a natural barrier to storm surges in the future, with everything from flood gates to barrier reefs.

With over 300,000 New York homes destroyed by flooding, winds or fires during the storm, it is imperative that there is a plan for future storms of this caliber. This may not be closely architecture related, but it's good to see that the homes and communities are really going to have lots of aid going their way to keep them going.

Check out the full story here.

Infinity Tower

Moving to the luxurious city of Dubai, SOM is working on a 73 story skyscraper which began construction in 2006 and is finally getting close to completion. The tower's defining characteristic is the a full 90 degree twist from bottom to top (that's 1.2 degrees of rotation per floor).

SOM claims that in order for a building to survive, 'the exterior form must be a direct expression of its structural framework.' The building is just that, but with some really amazing visuals. The spiral shape is designed to expressed the always-changing shapes of the deserts, winds and seas in the area.

When completed, the tower will be the tallest twisting tower in the world (Dubai's architecture has a knack for breaking some serious records).

Check out the full story here.


HAT is the home base for Komada Architects, located in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is a small residence built in front of the gate of a large park in Tokyo, and quite honestly, look far more like a small modern suburbanite home than a representation of Japanese architecture.

The first floor is extremely open, offering easy circulation between the external and internal space. The second floor fits over the top like a hat, offering a very secluded and private residency for the family. The contrast between the two spaces is, in my opinion one of the coolest things about the building.

Check out the full story here.

Thanks for tuning in this week; hope you enjoyed part ii, stay tuned next week for episode V!

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