Adding to the Vienna Museum: Foreground or Background Building?

by Stanley Collyer

Stanley Collyer
Winning entry by Winkler + Ruck Architekten
If you were to make the argument that the present Vienna Museum on Karlsplatz presents a commanding presence to the casual viewer, you would find few takers. Not only is it lower by a story or two than its immediate neighbors, the neighboring St. Charles Church (Karlskirche) on the square’s south side immediately draws most of the attention of those entering the square. In other words, the church is a foreground building, and, in its present form, the Museum can only be characterized as a background building. And this all holds true, even though there certainly is no problem with the somewhat understated architecture of the existing building by Austrian architect, Oswald Haerdtl. Read more...

Placemaking to the Forefront: Sydney’s Green Square Library Competition

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Winning entry by Stewart Hollenstein Image©Stewart Hollenstein

 

When reaching a final decision on the winner of a design competition in Sydney, Australia, clients and jurors alike will invariably hark back to the controversy surrounding the Sydney Opera House competition. Because of the large cost overruns associated with that project, it has cast a long shadow over local projects decided by the design competition process. With this in mind, organizers of the more recent Green Square Library competition went to great lengths to address buildability and budget issues associated with the various designs. Their precautionary measures seemed to validate the selection of Stewart Hollenstein as the winner. As unconventional as that entry might have appeared to some, it not only got the green light from a bevy of cost consultants who were brought on board; the feedback from the community turned out to be very positive.

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Taiwan’s Taoyuaong Airport Terminal 3 Competition

 

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If you are flying either into or departing from Taiwan after the year 2020, you may
wish to arrange your flight so that you either arrive or leave in the evening, as it could well be an unforgettable experience. The winning design by Rogers Stirk Harbour of London for the new Terminal 3 promises an illuminating show that can match that of Curt Fentress’s Denver airport.
As an international open competition, and for a project of this magnitude, it was astonishing to find that only four international firms decided to enter this contest. According to one juror, the posting of a $500,000 bond required of serious contenders was probably enough to scare off most firms. This is not to say that the final four lacked expertise in the area. The only firm from Stage 1 not shortlisted, ADPI of Paris, had numerous completed large commissions to its credit. And due to the very extensive experience of the other firms, it could be anticipated that the quality of the entries would be more than adequate. Read more...

Expansion Strategies for a Challenging Campus Site

by Stanley Collyer
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Winning proposal by Office 52 (courtesy ©Office 52)
Already ranked as one of the top engineering programs in the U.S., Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is hardly resting on its laurels. Scott Hall, anew Nano‐Bio‐Energy Technologies building scheduled for completion in early 2016, will undoubtedly enhance the University’s standing as a cutting edge research institution. Contrary to most curricula in the field of engineering, Nanotechnology is not based on a narrowly defined area of study; rather it is interdisciplinary in nature and can span the sciences and even reach into the arts. As a landlocked campus, a major challenge facing Carnegie Mellon is finding space for the construction of new facilities. The site chosen for Scott Hall in 2011 was at the western edge of the historic campus property, perched at the top of a neighboring ravine, Junction Hollow, and barely separated from three adjacent buildings. Although the campus master plan had already pinpointed a location for the new building, the University conducted a design competition to explore alternative solutions to a challenging site and a demanding interdisciplinary program. Read more...

More Variations on a Theme in Dessau?: Germany’s Third Post-War Competition for a Bauhaus Museum

by Stanley Collyer

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First prize by Young & Ayata with Misako Murata (image courtesy Bauhaus Museum)

Germany is not about to let the world arts community forget about the unique role played by the Bauhaus movement in the evolution of modern art and architecture. There is already a Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, moved there from Darmstadt in 1971, and the building it now resides in was completed in 1979. It is hardly recognizable from Walter Gropius original 1964 intended design, except for the shed roofs. Since the Berlin Archive can only accommodate 35% of the institution’s holdings, a competition was staged there in 2005 to expand the capacity of the site. The invited architects for that competition were Diener & Diener (Basel), Nageli Architekten (Berlin), SANAA (Tokyo), Sauerbruch & Hutton (Berlin) UN Studio (Amsterdam), and Volker Staab (Berlin). SANAA was chosen as the winner, but the City withdrew its support from that project in the wake of the world economic crisis in 2009. In 2012 a Bauhaus Museum competition took place in Weimar, where the Bauhaus was originally founded under Gropius in 1919. That competition was won by the Berlin architect, Heike Hanada, with Benedict Tonon. The new building, which will replace the existing Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, is to be completed by 2018. After the Bauhaus moved from Weimar to Dessau, where the Bauhaus resided until the 1930s when the Nazis came to power and where the main building by Walter Gropius has achieved iconic status, a recent international competition for its own Bauhaus Museum took place. Although one may assume a lot of overlay between these three museums as to exhibits, the plan for the new museum in Dessau could be deemed somewhat of a logical move, as the present school is still located there, setting the tone for the ‘international style’ we now are so familiar with. The Competition Contrary to what one might have anticipated, the Dessau competition did not choose a site for the new museum near the present school, but instead envisioned a downtown location for it in a park-like setting. This was an open, international competition, and the organizers were not disappointed with the size of the interest. What was surprising, was that the top four premiated entries were all from abroad, with the two first place winners from Barcelona and New York. Not surprisingly, with the exception of the one first place winner from the U.S., all of the others were variations on easily recognizable themes out of the Bauhaus annals. Since the Bauhaus was not only about architecture, but also art, one might understand the top, contrasting choices in architectural expression as representations of both disciplines—one having very functional, straightforward lines, the other more whimsical in the manner of an organic biological creation. Jurying a competition with this challenging subject matter could hardly have been easy.

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Reinventing the Rustbelt: UD4U Urban Design Competition

by Stanley Collyer

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1st Place entry "High Res," by Lasha brown, Sandra Arndt, Emilija Kaia Landsbergis, and Robert Hon

As a mid-sized rustbelt city in the Midwest, Kenosha, Wisconsin was especially hard hit by auto plant closings. First it was the American Motors plant in 1988. Then, to compound matters, the Chrysler Engine plant closed in 2010. Such closings not only resulted in the loss of high-paying jobs, but left a desolate void in the urban fabric. Some of these vacant spaces have recently become the object of design competitions, staged with the intention of generating ideas to reinvigorate abandoned areas. One of these was the Redesigning Detroit competition, focused on the previous site of Hudson’s Department Store in the city’s central business district (2013 COMPETITIONS Annual). ÂÂ ÂÂ

More recently, UD4U, a Chicago-based non-profit, staged a planning competition for the abandoned Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The site, located in the city less than a mile from Lake Michigan and would seem to be an ideal location for housing and other similar projects. This was a large, open site—107 acres—surrounded mostly by detached residential housing. The location of eight schools within one-half mile attests to the residential density of the area surrounding the site. Since the plant closing, the structures have been demolished, and only the concrete slab surface remained from what at once was a productive industrial plant.

Chrysler Plant map
Crystler Plant Site

The competition was international and "open to professionals and students of all countries, with the requirement that they either be in, or previously graduated from, a professional/registered university with a degree in one of the following: architecture, urban design, urban planning, landscape architecture, or engineering. Participants of the competition were asked to create their vision of what the site should become. The program was completely open, so the use and function of the structures, open spaces, etc. was completely up to each team. However, every team was asked to address 4 aspects that are vital to the site being a success and beneficial for the community." Those 4 aspects were: • history of the site and city • the site’s surrounding urban fabric • industries of Kenosha • transportation options. The problem with many of these abandoned manufacturing sites is their environmental history. They normally would require a massive cleanup, and, as “hot sites,” may never be regarded as a location for a viable project. In Kenosha, $10M has been set aside for a cleanup of the site, and, at this writing, the remediation process has already begun. As has occurred with other similar sites in Kenosha, it is assumed that local, state, and federal government entitities will contribute additional funds as needed until the cleanup process is complete. All that aside, the very nature of the size and location of the site made it ideal subject matter for an ideas competition. And, although this was just an ideas competition, it provided a number of workable ideas for the site and could give the city fathers some food for thought. The jury was made up of three outside experts and three members of UD4U:

• Andrew Moddrell, Director of PORT
• Christine Carlyle, Urban Planner
• Andrew Vesselinovitch, City Traffic Planner
• Elizabeth Fallon, UD4U, Architect
• Matthew Clapper, Planner, UD4U Principal and Founder
• Kaleb Quirin, UD4U Project Manager

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The Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition

by Stanley Collyer

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Winning entry by Ultramoderne

ÂÂÂÂÂ Ki-osk: 1. in Turkey and Persia an open pavilion; 2. a building of similar construction such as a newsstand, etc. What is a Biennial with architecture as the central theme without a competition?

The Chicago Biennial not only has invited a number of high profile architects from around the world to participate in various events stretching over several months, but looked for a suitable theme and site to showcase what modern architecture is all about. They settled on a Kiosk Competition on the city’s lakeshore next to Millennium Park, a high traffic area in all but the winter months. There are to be four kiosks—one to be the result of the competition—and all are to be permanent structures. It is no surprise that scores of kiosks are already commonplace on Chicago’s lakeshore, taking advantage of the streams of summer visitors who are drawn to the shore of Lake Michigan. Overseen by the Chicago Park District, over forty kiosks punctuate the shoreline, which during the summer offer food, retail, and recreational services—ranging from beverages to clothing to surf rentals.

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The shoreline of Lake Michigan has always played a central role in Chicago’s urban identity. During the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, architect Daniel Burnham sought to incorporate the lake into the fairgrounds, and his 1909 Plan for Chicago proposed to reclaim the entire length of the lakefront as a place of leisure for all inhabitants of the city—an idea realized during the 20th century. Today, the lakefront is a celebrated and heavily used public space that is a major destination for both visitors and local residents. It features over twenty miles of public parks and beaches, as well as pedestrian and cycling routes.

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The Competition

Organized in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago, The Lakefront Kiosk Competition issued a call for an inventive design of a new kiosk to be installed on the lakefront. The competition attracted wide interest, both domestically and internationally: 421 entries were received from 40 countries. The winning competition entry and the three commissioned kiosks are to be displayed in Millennium Park during the Chicago Architecture Biennial (October 2015 – January 2016). Instalation of all four kiosks on the lakefront is scheduled for the spring of 2016.

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The competition’s announced winner, Ultramoderne, received the BP Prize, which includes a $10,000 honorarium and a $75,000 budget to realize the design.

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The competition jury was comprised of:

David Adjaye, Adjaye Associates, London, U.K. Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects, Chicago Joseph Grima, Chicago Architecture Biennial Sarah Herda, Chicago Architecture Biennial Sharon Johnston, Johnston Marklee and Associates, Los Angeles Michael J. O’Brien, BP, Chicago Rob Rejman, Chicago Park District

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Designing for the Workplace: UNO/WHO Headquarters Extension Competition

by Stanley Collyer

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Winning entry by Berrel Berrel Kräutler AG (image courtesy BBK)

For all its perceived shortcomings, the United Nations Organization (UNO) can make a good case for its approach to the design of its facilities located in Geneva, Switzerland. Leading up to the most recent competition for the Headquarters Extension of the WHO offices, it staged three successful competitions: • For the 1966 World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters building, won by Swiss architect, Jean Tschumi; • For the 2000 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) building, won by the German firm, Behnisch Architekten; • For the 2006 WHO/UNAIDS building, won by the Austrian firm, Baumschlager & Eberle As the principal anchor of the WHO headquarters complex, the 1966 building, now over a half century old, has not only seen the deterioration of its basic mechanical systems and programmatic changes, but has not kept pace with the needs generated by the world’s health crisis. This necessitated the on-site construction of seven temporary or precast structures, none of which were the result of any architectural guidelines or urban planning and did not conform to present code standards. Studies undertaken by the client indicated that future requirements of the organization would be best served by eliminating the seven temporary/precast structures and undertaking the construction of a brand new building to facilitate the incorporation of the various programs in closer proximity, while completely retrofitting the 1966 structure. According to the study, “the analysis showed that it would be possible to reduce the energy consumption of the HQ site in Geneva of 8.25 Kwh/year to potentially 3.37 Kwh/year by investing more in high quality long-term energy efficient solutions, which would consequently result in potentially important cost savings in the HQ operating budget over the next 40-year lifecycle.” The competition brief outlined seven requirements, which had to be included in the design of the new building: • The new building is to accommodate a minimum of 770 work places (administration, office spaces); • Reception, exhibition and entertaining spaces; • Conference space (with a capacity for 500 to 600 people, divisible into four rooms, which could be used simultaneously); • “SHOC room” area • Underground garage with 500-700 parking spaces • Archives and technical services The success of this concept was dependent on phasing, which foresaw more of the programs moved to the present Main Building during demolition and construction of the new building. With the completion of the new building, programs could be moved into that structure, while the Main Building was undergoing renovation. The Competition The design competition for the new building was run according to Swiss competition rules, with anonymity being maintained during both the first and second stages. An international jury was impaneled, and the jury had to sign off on the competition brief before the competition launch. According to the competition brief, “The Jury shall approve the regulations, specifications and program of the competition, and shall answer queries from the candidates. It shall assess the competition proposals, decide on their ranking, and award the prizes and any awards. It shall produce a report on its final decision and issue recommendations for further action.” The Jury thus signed up for a comprehensive set of obligations, in excess of what is usually required of most juries, and indicating that this competition was not only well conceived, but well financed in light of the time demands required of the panel. The First Stage jury* was composed of: Mr. Dominique Perrault (Chair) Architect, France Members: Dr Mariyam Shakeela: WHO EB, Chair of the Executive Board Dr Margaret Chan: WHO, Director-General Dr Hans Troedsson: WHO, Assistant Director-General –

Mr. Alexandre Fasel: Mission of Switzerland (DFAE), Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Switzerland

Mr. François Reinhard: FIPOI, Director Mrs. Isabel Girault: Canton of Geneva, Director-General, Urban Planning Department Mr. Bernard Tschumi: Architect, USA Mrs. Momoyo Kaijima: Architect, Japan Mr. Diébédo Francis Kéré: Architect, Burkina Faso Mr. Bernard Kouhry: Architect, Lebanon Mr. François de Marignac: Architect, Switzerland Mrs. Julia Zapata: Architect, Switzerland To satisfy entry requirements, architects not only had to establish their credentials as registered architects, but also pay a registration fee in the amount of CHF 250 or 200 €. It can probably be assumed that the size of this registration fee was intended not only to attract firms with considerable resources, but also discourage small firms from participating and keep the numbers of entries at a manageable level. As a result, 327 paid registrations were received, and 253 entries were submitted and deemed complete and presented for preliminary review, excluding two entries, which were identified as identical and submitted twice. From the latter, The shortlisted teams for participation in the Second Stage were to receive CHF12,000 in compensation. The top-ranked teams were also to receive substantial prize money.

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The Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Draws 1,715 Entries From Around The World

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Winning Entry by Moreau Kusunoki Architectes

The Guggenheim Helsinki Winners on Stage in New York by Jayne Merkel

 

Staging a completely open, international competition for one of their museum projects marked a significant departure for the Guggenheim Foundation. The Bilbao Museum had been an invited competition won by Frank Gehry, and the more recent Whitney Museum project in New York was a Renzo Piano commission. So the Helsinki Guggenheim project—though without any guarantee from the Finns that it will be built—was open to all comers, completely absent of shortlisting based on size of office or any history of built projects. But this was Finland, and that Scandinavian country is known for opening up important projects to international competitors—the most recent Helsinki Library and Serlachius Museum competitions being prime examples.

The soothing circular auditorium beneath the rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright’s New York Guggenheim Museum was an unusually suitable setting for the revelation of the winning design for the proposed Helsinki Guggenheim and a discussion of the process that led to its selection. On July 1, the winners of the competition, Hiroko Kusunoki and Nicolas Moreau, of Moreau Kusunoki Architectes in Paris, took turns describing their scheme as they showed an impressive series of drawings and models. After their presentation, they joined a discussion, moderated by Architectural Record Editor Cathleen McGuigan, with Guggenheim staff members Ari Wiseman and Troy Conrad Therrien. Wiseman, a Deputy Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, has shepherded the competition from the conception stage in 2013. Therrien, the Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives, has created the state-of-the-art digital archive that has brought this competition and its entries into the public domain. Although their English was sometimes halting, Kusunoki and Moreau managed to explain the thinking process that brought their scheme into being with a charming combination of confidence and modesty. Then they showed a few other projects they have already managed to build at their young firm. The couple met in Tokyo, where Kusunoki worked for Shigeru Ban after graduating from the Shibaura Institute of Technology there. Moreau, who was educated at l’École Nationale d’Architecture de Belleville in Paris, started out at SANAA, where he worked on the New Museum in New York, then joined Kengo Kuma and Associates. The two paired up to start a Parisian office for Kuma in 2008 and formed their own firm three years later.

 

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From left: Jan Wurm, technical team leader, ARUP; Hiroko Kusunoki, Principal, Moreau Kusunoki Architectes; Nicolas Moreau, Principal, Moreau Kusuonoki Architects; Pekka Pakkanen, Architect, Huttunen Lipasti Pakkanen Architects. Photo: Ritta Supperi

 


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Mesa’s Answer to Urban Sprawl: The Major Redesign of a City Center

 

by Stanley Collyer

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Winning Entry - Image courtesy Colwell Shelor
Designing a city plaza as a “people place” is no small challenge. One only has to recall the various redesigns that Pershing Square in Los Angeles went through, or Seattle’s Pioneer Square, to recognize how intent and reality were often in conflict. In both of these temperate climate municipalities, the image of an otherwise welcoming destination was tarnished by an unforeseen presence of the homeless. The City of Mesa, in sunny Arizona, believes that a new plaza, well connected to the surrounding urban environment, can present “a signature public space” that will not only serve as a destination for public activities, but also as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. It would appear that a number of favorable conditions already exist: city administration buildings are located directly within the two block site area; Arizona’s largest art center borders the area to the south; and the city library is in the block immediately facing the site to the north. With this kind of built-in pedestrian activity, the site should be well positioned to attract a higher-than-average number of locals and visitors. To flesh out the best design for the 18.3-acre site, the City decided to stage an invited design competition. The first step was a call for expressions of interest, to which 18 firms responded. Of these, three were shortlisted to compete in the subsequent design competition. The competing teams were undoubtedly aware of the passage of a $70M City bond issue, which is allowing Mesa to allot $750,000 for design of the plaza site. Because this was a real project, each firm was to receive $25,000 upon completion of their entry. Under the supervision of Jeffrey McVay, a planner and the Manager of Downtown Transformation, a committee made up of principals from the City administration with only one exception—the Director of the Downtown Mesa Association—convened to arrive at a shortlist for the competition. It consisted of:
  1. Jeffrey McVay, AICP – Manager of Downtown Transformation
  2. Christine Zielonka – Director, Development and Sustainability Department
  3. John Wesley, AICP – Planning Director, Mesa
  4. Marc Heirshberg, CPRE – Director, Parks, Recreation, and Commercial Facilities
  5. Cindy Ornstein – Director, Arts and Culture
  6. Zac Koceja, RLA – Landscape Architect, Engineering Department
  7. Vincent Bruno – Engineering Designer, Engineering Department (At time of competition, he represented the Transportation Department)
  8. Lori Gary, CEcD – Project Manager, Office of Economic Development
  9. David Short – Executive Director, Downtown Mesa Association

The selected finalists were:ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ
• Woods Bagot, Sydney/Portland (lead) with Surface Design, INC., San FranciscoÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ
• Colwell Shelor, Phoenix (lead) with West 8 urban design & landscape architecture, Rotterdam/New York and Weddle Gilmore, Scottsdale, Arizona
• Otak, San Francisco (lead) with Mayer Reed, Portland, Oregon ÂÂ

This initial phase of the competition was replete with site visits and public forums and left no stone unturned when it came to interaction between the competing firms and the client and public. The City thought this phase of the process worked well, and the Colwell Shelor team was especially active in fielding public input during this phase. Each team then had to translate those public priorities into a feasible design concept. As they say, this is where the rubber hits the road.

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