What Happened In January

Hi folks! Hope the new year has started better than the catastrophic last year for y’all. Let’s catch up with the highlights of the first month in the architecture and design practice.
  • Heatherwick Studio has published a new residential project in Vancouver, featuring two curvaceous, light-filled towers and a publicly-accessible ground-level plaza for community engagement. 30 and 34-story-tall towers make the project the first high-rise project in Canada. Another news from the studio is that Vessel at Hudson Yard has been temporarily closed due to the third suicide death in a year. The mentioned concerns about low handrails, before the 16-story viewpoint sculpture was constructed, were re-emerged again.
Heatherwick Studio’s new residential project
  • Foster+Partners has unveiled Lusail Towers in Qatar. The landmark project consists of four high-rise buildings and is envisioned as a “catalyst for a new central business district in the city”. Two towers will be 70 stories, and the other two will be 50-story-high, arranged symmetrically around a central plaza.
  • Sou Fujimoto Architects has revealed the design for the top part of the tallest skyscraper in Japan, Torch Tower. He stated that the crown of the 390-meter-tall building creates the new typology of a high-rise building to have a large semi-outdoor Hill-like-Plaza in the middle of the building around the height of 300m, described by himself as “a Place for People” instead of “an object”. Fujimoto’s other design, the House of Hungarian Music, is nearing completion in Budapest. The museum complex has an undulating white roof emphasized with the existing trees. It is blended into Budapest’s City Park very well with the help of 100 individually designed holes for the trees of the park.
Design for the top part of the Torch Tower
  • Zaha Hadid Architects won the design competition to build Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base in China. The project consists of two linked towers nearly 400 meters tall including residential developments, a transportation center, botanical grasslands, coastal zones with wetlands, venues for international conferences, exhibitions, cultural and art programs.
  • MVRDV won DAM Preis 2021, which is the most prestigious architecture award in Germany, for their project in Munich. WERK12 is a mixed-use building containing restaurants and bars, offices, and a three-story gym with a pool with expressive 5-meters-tall letterings on the facade.
  • 3XN and IttenBrechbühl won the international competition to design wooden Tilia Tower in Lausanne, Switzerland. The 85-meter-tall tower has a mixed program consisting of apartments, a hotel, co-working, co-making, and various public functions such as bars, shops, restaurants, and cafés.
  • Lesley Lokko won the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize 2021, and Kate Macintosh won the Jane Drew Prize 2021. Both awards are known as “W Awards”, formerly Women in Architecture awards, which recognize architects who identify as women and non-binary to promote role models for young architects in practice and encourage respect, diversity, and equality in architecture.
  • Alberto Campo Baeza has been awarded Spanish National Architecture Prize for 2020.
  • We ended 2020 with the news of the partial demolition of Louis Kahn’s Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad due to leakages from the roof, dampness in walls, and replacing them with new structures. India withdrew the proposal after a worldwide outcry from organizations, architects, historians, and academicians. The dorms of the institute were built between 1968 and 1978.
  • You need to reschedule your Paris visit if it’s gonna be your first time because Centre Georges Pompidou is planned to be closed completely for 3 years starting at the end of 2023 until 2027. The heating and cooling system, escalators, and elevators, which are the inseparable parts of the iconic building, will be renovated. In 1977, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano won the cultural center design competition with their groundbreaking high-tech proposal.
  • Another renovation news came through Rome in the first half of January. A retractable floor covering the hypogeum will be added to Colosseum thus concerts and theaters can be organized within the arena. Minister Dario Franceschini stated that the technological intervention will offer visitors the opportunity to not only see the underground rooms but also appreciate the beauty of the Colosseum while standing in the center of the arena. The new floor is set to be built by 2023.
  • The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo announced the approved transformation of the famous Champs-Élysées avenue into an ‘extraordinary garden’. The plans aim to reduce space for vehicles by half, turn roads into pedestrian and green areas, and create tunnels of trees to improve air quality. The French studio PCA-Stream has prepared the proposal by focusing on nature and well-being, a more sustainable, inclusive, and desirable city. The transformation will be completed by 2030.
  • Saudi Arabia unveiled a zero-carbon city project called The Line, which is a 100-mile-long linear city without cars or streets. Around one million people will inhabit the unusual project. Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman argued people spending years of their lives commuting and dying because of pollution and traffic accidents. He stated that everything will be within a five-minute walk of home and it will take 20 minutes from end to end. Construction will start in early 2021.
  • London Festival of Architecture announced the 2021 festival theme as “Care” to examine how we can better care for ourselves, each other, our cities, and the environment. LFA will take place from 1 to 30 June 2021. The festival will be held in a new hybrid way including both physical events and digital events.
  • Italian architect Stefano Boeri designed a pop-up vaccine pavilion. 1500 timber circular pavilions will be built all around Italy starting from January. Boeri is best known for his project Bosco Verticale in Milan.
Vaccination Pavillion by Stefano Boeri Architetti
  • A permanent memorial to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing has been approved. The Glade of Light will include a stone halo centerpiece bearing the names of the victims. The garden would be a “tranquil space” used all year round, stated by Council leader Sir Richard Leese.
The memorial to Manchester Arena bombing
  • Rem Koolhaas+AMO designed sensory space for Prada FW21 Menswear Show.
  • Teeter-Totter Wall, designed by Rael San Fratello Studio, won the Beazley Design of the Year 2020. The iconic pink seesaws located between the United States-Mexico border are a manifestation that a border does not have to necessarily separate each side. It shows that a logically-designed borderwall can even connect both sides. Ronald Rael, one of the designer architects, stated that children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.
  • Another design pondering about frontiers is from a collaboration between Matter Design Studio and CEMEX Global R&D. The studio came up with a question “How do you unbuild a wall?AquíAquí  (Here Here) is an activist gathering space along the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border aiming to connect both cities. It offers the widest range of programming possibilities due to its kinetic adjustable nature.
  • CLB Architects designed an original illuminated artwork Undercurrent for an annual event GLOW Nights organized by Jackson Hole Public Art. The temporary exhibition intends to bring moments of light and interest to long winter nights. In Undercurrent, “CLB has carved out an occupiable space inside a forest of swaying rebar dipped in reflective paint, ensuring illumination by passive light all night long.” The energy themed event has augmented reality components as well, giving visitors messages about energy conservation.
photo by Aaron Kraft
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon launched The Met Unframed, the virtual version of the museum with digital galleries and augmented reality versions of iconic Met masterpieces. The Met Unframed can be accessed from any 4G or 5G smart device and is available for free for a limited five-week run.
  • Virgil Abloh created puffer jackets covered with 3D models of Paris landmarks and skyscrapers from multiple cities for the Parisien brand Louis Vuitton’s Fall-Winter menswear collection. The puffers include the Notre-Dame cathedral, a red version of the Eiffel Tower, the Arch de Triumph, the Panthéon, Le Grand Louvre pyramid, a section of the Centre Pompidou, the John Hancock Center, and the Bank of China skyscraper. Abloh also redesigned the iconic bottle of Evian entirely made from 100% recycled plastic. He said “My new hammer motif reflects how this new design has been reconstructed from waste materials”
  • Razer, a lifestyle brand for gamers, developed a concept of a smart face mask. Project Hazel is a transparent design made from clear plastic enhancing social interaction with others as they’ll be able to see you speak and pick up on your facial cues easily.
  • Other design news related to face masks is from South Korean furniture designer Haneul Kim. Kim upcycled disposable face masks and turned them into colorful stackable stools with a unique style resembling natural material texture. He piled 1500 discarded face masks on top of each other, melted them, and gave the shape in a mold to create one “the Stack and Stack stool”.
  • Those who love Burger King raise your hand because the final news is coming for you! Burger King revealed a new logo for the first time in 20 years. The logo, packaging, and uniforms are designed by creative agency Jones Knowles Ritchie. The simplified logo is designed to resemble the brand’s original iconic logo from 1969 and 1994.

That’s a wrap for highlights of January. See you in the next episode of What Happened In…

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