Taichung Tower 2 Competition

 

A Final Building Block for the Taichung Cultural Center

 

Night view of tower ©Elizabeth de Portzamparc

 

Everyone is well aware of the measures one encounters when entering almost any tower, residential or office, in this era of high security. We are not just talking about protecting the occupants of a residential

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Interview: James Mary O’Connor FAIA (Winter 2017)


Playing the China Card: The MRY Example

 

 


Chun Sen Bi An Housing, Chongqing (competition 2004; completion 2010)

 

COMPETITIONS: Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY) has had a reputation as an international player since the 1980s. How did you manage to become involved in China?

 

James O’Connor: We were first invited to take part in a (developer) competition in Beijing in 2002, the Beijing Century Center. We won, but the project was never built. The client was not that serious, and we never got paid. After that, we said that we would never enter another competition in China. But, what turned out to be a real clientele kept after us to participate in one of their projects. After turning them down several times, we finally relented. That was a competition for the Tianjin Xin-he New Town Master Plan and Housing in Tianjin—which we did win.

 

 


Chun Sen Bi An perspectives (above)


Chun Sen Bi An Housing Master Plan

 

COMPETITIONS: Once you have become established in China, it would seem that you almost can pick and choose between competitions and projects.

 

O’Connor: Right before the time of the Olympics, there were few foreign firms working there so we were interviewing clients as opposed to clients interviewing us. And every time we would go out, we would be involved with another project, or another competition. It all started in kind of a shaky way; but that’s kind of how it evolved.

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Designing Taichung Central Park: Presenting a Holistic Philosophy Structurally

 

 

Park Rendering (all images © Catherine Mossbach & Philippe Rahm)

 

Parks have become more than leisure destinations. Cities, as clients, have insisted that parks should include more than tennis courts and swimming pools; but they should also stimulate the brain beyond what nature might have in store. Thus, the winners of

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Designing on a Small Budget: A New Front Yard for the Berkshire Botanical Gardens

Berkshire Botanical Center House from road

 

The front yard of one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in this country is getting a much needed arrival gateway. To provide a design solution to complement the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s newly renovated and expanded Center House last spring, the BBG announced the launch of a design

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Tallinn Port Masterplan 2030 Competition

Winning entry by Zaha Hadid Architects (image © Zaha Hadid Architects)

 

During Soviet rule until its independence in1991, Estonia, as a Soviet Republic, gained a reputation as a Silicon Valley hi-tech region, which set the stage for its evolution as one of Europe’s primary hi-tech centers today. Looking to the West instead of

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Competitions as Stepping Stones for Young Architects Example: Weiss Manfredi

 


Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus Photo: ©Iwan Baan

 

In the early 1990s, Weiss Manfredi emerged as one of the most interesting young architecture firms in the U.S. How did this happen? Winning two important competitions in 1990/91—the Women’s Military Memorial in Washington, DC, and the Olympia Fields Mitchell Park competition in a Chicago suburb—served to propel this relatively unknown pair into the national limelight. From then on, the firm began to receive invitations to participate in invited competitions, winning several high-profile competitions, which included the highly acclaimed Seattle Art Museum Olympia Sculpture Park and the more recent Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design competitions.

 

What marked their rise was not simply their expertise in developing landscape plans to fit a specific site, or detail in retrofitting or realizing significant buildings, but recognizing that architecture does not cease to exist at the front door. As a result of their success in those early competitions, the firm has received a number of commissions, such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Nanotechnology Institute and Cornell Tech’s recently completed “Bridge,” at their Roosevelt Island Campus. Not known for their high-rises, the firm seemed to strike just the right chord on this project. As a major piece of the Roosevelt Island campus ensemble, this building can hold its own with any of its neighbors—a tribute to the firm’s versatility.

 

Would all of this have been possible without those winning competition efforts? It’s clear that those experiences smoothed the path to career advancement…as both a learning experience and raising the firm’s profile.

 

 


Exterior and interior views Photos: Iwan Baan

 

See Weiss Manfredi interview:
https://competitions.org/2016/07/interview-weiss-manfredi-architects/

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Edinburgh’s Ross Pavilion Competition



Winning entry by wHY (Image © wHY Architecture)

 

By winning the Ross Pavilion International competition, Los Angeles-based wHY Architecture’s efforts as a competitor in several recent high-profile invited competitions has finally borne fruit. Among the seven shortlisted finalists from the 125 teams that submitted EOIs from around the world, wHY’s design separated itself from the others by featuring their pavilion as an integral part of the landscape, rather than a pavilion as activities structure representing a central focal point of the site.

 


Winning entry by wHY (Image © wHY Architecture)

 

 

Even while concentrating on the landscape, wHY’s sustainability concept revealed an interesting tactic, using one of its favorite curvilinear ideas as a principal design element. To anyone who remembered the wHY design for the Mumbai City Museum extension, this was combining architecture with landscape in their representation of a “butterfly” motif. By doing so, a garden is transformed into something almost magical, while lower key on an intellectual level. According to the jury, “The team’s concept design as ‘a beautiful and intensely appealing proposal that complemented, but did not compete with, the skyline of the City and the Castle.’ They liked the concept of the activated community space with a democratic spirit, potentially creating a new and welcoming focus for the City’s festivals while appreciating that the team’s design balanced this with a strong approach to the smaller, intimate spaces within the wider Gardens.” Finally, the performance function did not simply turn into a high-profile icon, but became a logical extension of the landscape.

 


Winning entry by wHY (Images © wHY Architecture)

 

 

The shortlisted finalists were:

• wHY, GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth (Winner)

• Adjaye Associates with Morgan McDonnell, BuroHappold Engineering, Plan A Consultants, JLL, Turley, Arup, Sandy Brown, Charcoalblue, AOC Archaeology, Studio LR, FMDC, Interserve and Thomas & Adamson

• Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with JM Architects, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, GROSS.MAX., Charcoalblue, Speirs + Major, JLL, Alan Baxter and People Friendly

• Flanagan Lawrence with Gillespies, Expedition Engineering, JLL, Arup and Alan Baxter

• Page \ Park Architects, West 8 Landscape Architects and BuroHappold Engineering with Charcoalblue and Muir Smith Evans

• Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter with GROSS.MAX., AECOM, Charcoalblue, Groves-Raines Architects and Forbes Massie Studio

• William Matthews Associates and Sou Fujimoto Architects with BuroHappold Engineering, GROSS.MAX., Purcell, Scott Hobbs Planning and Filippo Bolognese

 

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SO-IL Re-invents Place Mazas in Paris


View of site from south Rendering ©SO-IL

 

In Paris, it’s no longer just about Grands Projets. Lately, the French have become more focused on areas bordering the Seine River, and how to turn them into more attractive destinations for locals and visitors alike. The most recent projet, and the subject of a competition, was Place Mazas, located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 12th District. Partially because of the bordering highway’s proximity to the river, the site is underused and hardly regarded as a high profile destination.

 

Now that may all change. The competition, won by the New York-based firm, SO-IL, has conceived a plan, which will create a series of park areas and structures relating to the current needs of the community. Sustainability is almost always on the front burner in these competitions, and this was no exception. SO-IL’s plan for the site’s only major building is a seven-story structure made primarily of wood. Although situated all by itself at the end of a street—bordering on the Seine—its shape and size serve to address the composition of the streetscape in a very logical, spatial manner. According to the intent of the winner, “This volume includes a housing program in co-living typology, with several interior and exterior shared spaces for the residents as well as a public restaurant on the ground floor.”

 

 



Arsenal Basin Rendering ©SO-IL

 

The rest of the site is devoted to “public activities,” opening up views to the Seine River and includes a repurposed 1905 lockhouse and a “temporary pavilion” hosting facilities like public co-working spaces, a fabricaion lab, an event room and a terrace offering views on the Arsenal Basin, the river, and the surrounding city, “as well as a facility for homeless care already established on site.” Labeling the pavilion as a “temporary” structure is based on the assumption that neighborhoods are always evolving, and that future changes could be in store.

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Qatar Art Mill Competition

 

 

ELEMENTAL was selected by an international jury, from 26-strong longlist, based on their strategies for the site and its links to the city. ELEMENTAL’s concept design for the historic waterfront site in the centre of Doha took as its inspiration the rhythmic monumental grain silos that are the industrial legacy of the original Flour Mills on the site, which have produced bread for the State since the 1980s. However, in a creative riff, the team added to the strict geometry of retained silos a looser grouping of new silos that will act as cooling chimneys circulating air through the site that extends spectacularly on three sides into Doha Bay.

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Remembrance on the Pacific Rim: The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial Dedication


Winning entry:
Graga Vezjek Architect (Image © Simon Baker)

 

Living on the Pacific Rim can be a risky business. In L2010, Christchurch, New Zealand suffered a devastating series of earthquakes, resulting in the virtual destruction of half of the city’s urban fabric in the downtown area, the destruction of 100,000 homes, and the deaths of 185 of its inhabitants.

 

When we first heard of this disaster, one of our concerns was the survival of the new Christchurch Art Gallery, a stunning modern structure, which was the result of a 1998 design competition won by the Buchan Group of Sydney.* Based on the success of that competition, and its strong support by the local populace, using a similar process to select a design for a memorial to commemorate the victims of this disaster would have seemed to be a logical strategy.

 


Christchurch Art Gallery by Buchan Group (Sydney, Australia)
Competition (1998)
Completion (2003)

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