Saturday, August 21, 2010


If you suffer from arachnophobia this probably is not the place for you. You had better stay away from this former stock exchange building in Vienna where you might get entangled in the world’s largest spider web ever spun.

You might, however, be surprised to know that this giant spider web has not been spun by any spider. It is the handiwork of humans like us. Amazing, yet very true. The idea behind the construction of the whole structure was a dance performance. The web form evolves from the movement of dancers between the pillars. The dancers stretch the tape as they move, resulting in the formation of the web like creation. The choreography recording results in the final shape.


The spider web formation has been given shape by the designing firm known as numen/for use. The efforts of three people spread over a period of five days resulted in the creation of this awe-inspiring piece of work. In a period of 120 hours, 270 rolls of adhesive tape were used which measured 14480 meters and weighed 30 kilograms.
Giving shape to a structure as magnificent as this was not an easy task. Rolls and rolls of adhesive tape were wound around the various pillars of the hall to create the basic structure. Over this basic structure, additional rolls of tape were wound over and over again giving it the final shape. Hanging in mid air, the structure is so strong that is could easily support an average tree house.
The strength of this massive spider web is not difficult to believe based on the fact that adhesive tape is the only material used in its creation. Adhesive tapes have a pressure sensitive material coated on a plastic film. These tapes are normally resistant to weathering, sunlight, aging and have withstood numerous strength tests over time. When such tapes are laid layer upon layer, the weight bearing capacity increases massively. This is exactly what has happened here.
The hollow routes created inside the web can comfortably allow people to walk or crawl through them. Enter the world of a spider. For the first time in the history of man, someone will be able to enter a spider web, walk through it and come out unharmed. Or shall we say, emerge with a whole new experience. This is a must see for all who can make it to the venue. For those who cannot, do make it a point to view the pictures. One cannot afford to miss something as wonderful as this.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Futuristic Hogwarts for Rich Weirdos

A flying saucer is really the perfect place for packing in pasty rich kids.

Bernard Tschumi Architects won a competition to design a performing arts center for an exclusive prep school this month. Entirely befitting a school made up of the malformed spawn of the astronomically rich, the place looks like a flying saucer.
The new building at the Institut Le Rosey--finishing school to the likes of the king of Belgium, the Aga Khan, the progeny of Liz Taylor, and many, many others whose parents have more money than God and a tiny gene pool--is a low-slung, shiny steel dome destined for the shores of Lake Geneva. The shape is meant as some sort of eco-friendly thermal shield, though to us, it has a vague martial quality; you half expect Gort to march out at any moment and start fire-beaming the Rothschilds.

According to the school’s clearly out-of-date Wikipedia entry, Carnal Hall (named for the school’s founder, not students’ pubescent yearnings), was supposed to be designed by the architect Paul Noritaka Tange, son of the great Kenzo Tange and himself a Rosean. Not sure what happened there. Our guess: The design was scrapped because it was kinda’ blah--not at all what you'd erect for the crownheads of Europe.

In any case, Tschumi is probably a better choice. The former dean of Columbia’s architecture school, he is best known, in recent years, for designing the controversial New Acropolis Museum in Athens. If he can navigate a political minefield that cuts to the bone of who owns ancient history, surely he’ll be fine answering to pernickety boarding-school types.

[Images courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects]

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Museum That Says Bond. James Bond.

And it's located in the tiny town of Momence, Illinois.
Gensler has just revealed the design for a museum housing the world's largest collection of vehicles used in James Bond films, backed by the prestigiously named Ian Fleming Foundation. But it's not in London, Monte Carlo, or even Russia (with love), it's in tiny Momence, Illinois, located 50 miles outside of Chicago. Mysterious? Indeed.
While not the first museum devoted to Bond (there's a James Bond Museum in Keswick, U.K.), the Museum of Bond Vehicles + Espionage itself has a double mission, if you will. The museum could help revitalize Momence, a 3,000-person city that missed the development boom from Interstate 57 when it chose to locate 20 miles to the west. "If this draws in 20,000 people a year, like they're planning on, Momence will see a major resurgence," says Gensler's design director for the project, Brian Vitale, who notes that the museum could have easily been located somewhere like Chicago or Vegas. "They're going through a lot of hurdles to make sure it stays here."

[Note how the right-side edge of the panoramic window echoes the "7" in "007"]
The museum is not a shiny new building dropped into Momence's historic downtown, but rather a former car dealership in a residential area. The undercover location is paired with cues from the Bond character: It makes a statement, yet is slightly enigmatic. "We wanted the building to say something," says Vitale. "But it also had to feel like a building that he would go to." The most revealing detail is the front window with a specially angled corner that resembles a "7," preceded by the double "0"s which are graphics made from all the film names and actors who starred in them. The building is cloaked in simple black, horizontal corrugated metal, perhaps like a
suave yet understated suit, but also with one very important Bond-like feature, says Vitale. "It always appears as a silhouette."

That the museum be a good civic resident as well as pay homage to Bond was important to its founder, Doug Redenius, who is a postal worker in Momence in addition to serving as vice-president of the Ian Fleming Foundation, which houses and maintains the Bond vehicles. When Vitale first arrived in Momence, he had a very Bond-like moment as Redenius revealed the collection. "They took us to two metal barns in the middle of the cornfield and opened the doors and there were all the cars I've ever dreamed of as a kid," he remembers. Among the goods are the Lotus Submarine Car used in The Spy Who Loved Me, the Aston Martin Volante seen in The Living Daylights, and Bond’s BMW R 1200 C Motorcycle used in Tomorrow Never Dies. Redenius has become such a prominent collector that producers often call him when they're finishing a Bond film; some vehicles have even been donated to the collection.

Vitale, who is partial to the Roger Moore Bond but also enjoys Daniel Craig's character, borrowed some of Bond's understated cool when designing the building. "It's a good lesson for designers--use restraint," he says, although not to say he wasn't caught up in the thrill of it all, just a little. "It's impossible not to hum the theme song as you're working on this project."
The museum is planned to open in 2012, in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No.a

Monday, July 19, 2010

World’s 10 Largest Construction Projects

Engineering News-Record, a sister publication to Architectural Record, has released its list of the 10 largest construction projects around the globe. The projects range in scope and purpose, from creating a vacation hot spot in the Persian Gulf to diverting water to quench North China’s thirst.
The projects here have been ranked by cost, based on U.S. dollars. Costs are not adjusted to reflect the significant differences in purchasing power among countries.

1. South Valley Development, Egypt
$90 billion

In an attempt to disperse densely populated areas in the Nile Valley, the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation has embarked on a 2,300-square-mile reclamation project in the Saharan Desert. The project calls for channeling water to the arid region in hopes of transforming it into inhabitable land. The first major component, completed in 2003, was the Mubarak Pumping Station, which is the world's largest pumping station. With the capacity to handle 25 million cubic meters per day, the station pumps Nile River water into the 72-kilometer-long Sheikh Zayed Canal and its various branches. While some aspects of the South Valley Development are complete, much work remains, and most of the land meant for farming sits empty. Still, Egypt hopes the region will someday house six million Nile Valley transplants.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

2. Jubail II, Saudi Arabia
$80 billion
Already one of the industrial centers of Saudi Arabia and the world, Jubail is getting an $80 billion expansian, courtesy of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The 22-year project, dubbed Jubail II, will double the city's population to over 300,000. The scheme calls for up to 100 industrial plants, an expanded port, several new highways and railways, an 800,000-cubic-meter desalination plant, and an oil refinery capable of producing 400,000 barrels a day. Jubail II also will include three new residential districts, each of them spanning 10 square kilometers and accommodating 50,000 residents. The entire project is slated to be finished in 2024.

Photo courtesy Bechtel

3. Dubailand, Dubai
$64 billion
Dubai has something to say to "everything's bigger in Texas." Already home to the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and the world's largest man-made harbor, Jebel Ali port, Dubai decided to turn its attention to amusement parks. Spanning 278 square kilometers, the $64 billion Dubailand, developed by Tatweer, will be three times larger than Walt Disney World. It will have six components: theme parks, sports venues, eco-tourism, health facilities, science attractions, and hotels. Its superlative features will include the world's largest hotel,
AsiaAsia (6,500 rooms), and one of the largest malls, Mall of Arabia (10 million square feet). Dubailand is scheduled to be finished by 2025, although much of the project is now on hold.

 Photo courtesy Wikipedia
4. International Space Station, Space
$60 billion
Located in low earth orbit at an altitude of 360 kilometers, the International Space Station has been circling Earth every 92 minutes since 1998. The project was created through a partnership of five space agencies representing 15 nations. All-in-all, the countries collectively will spend $60 billion on the continued construction of the station (over half of the money is coming from the U.S.). Ultimately, it will include four laboratories and a dozen other habitation, service, and cargo modules. The structure’s main truss stretches 310 feet and its photovoltaic arrays are equivalent in size to two football fields. The 19-year project is nearing completion; the final three components—the Permanent Multi-Purpose Module, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, and Nauka—will be

5. South-to-North Water Transfer Project, China
$58 billion
Drought-prone North China is home to half the country's people but only 19 percent of its freshwater resources. To alleviate water shortages, the government is undertaking the largest water diversion project in history. Water from four of China's largest rivers—the Yangtze, Yellow, Huai and Hai, all of which flow from west to east—will be carried north by three canals, each over 600 miles long. The government has already begun construction of two canals, with one nearing completion; the third however, is still in planning. The 48-year-long, $62-billion project will have major impacts, both social and environmental. It will require the relocation of 300,000 people, and scientists have raised concerns about potential flooding, increased sediment, and poor water quality. The entire system is expected to supply 44 billion cubic meters of water annually when completed.
Photo courtesy Construction and Administration Council Of South-to-North Diversion

6. Yas Island Mixed-Use Complex, Abu Dhabi
$39 billion
Aldar Properties is quickly transforming the 25-square-kilometer Yas Island into a major vacation destination. The island is located 20 kilometers from Abu Dhabi's city center and 20 kilometers east of Saadiyat Island. The project's first major component is Yas Marina Circuit—a Formula One racetrack with a 5.8-kilomenter course that hugs the marina and runs under the curvy Yas Hotel, designed by Asymptote. Another centerpiece of the development is Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, designed by Benoy Architects. Slated to be the world's largest indoor theme park, it will include a 6,300-square-meter display of famous Italian landmarks, including the Colosseum, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. When completed in 2010, Yas Island is projected to draw 300,000 visitors.

Photo courtesy Aldar

7. Songdo International Business District, South Korea
$35 billion
A new urban center is rapidly taking shape in Incheon, Korea, a port city 30 miles west of Seoul. Work is under way on 100 buildings across 1,500 acres reclaimed from the sea. When Songdo City is finished in 2016, its population is expected to reach 65,000. Several major aspects of the master plan already are finished, including three projects by Kohn Pedersen Fox: Convensia Convention Center, an international school, and the 100-acre Central Park. KPF also designed the 65-story Northeast Asia Trade Tower, slated to open next year; at 305 meters, it will be South Korea’s tallest building.

photo courtesy Wikipedia

8. Sellafield Nuclear Site, England
$30 billion
Sellafield is the U.K.'s primary nuclear-fuel reprocessing facility. Located in Cumbria, 70 miles north of Liverpool, the plant covers 700 acres and employs 11,000 workers. Perhaps most notably, it is home to world's first commercial nuclear power plant, Calder Hall, which ended its 47 years of duty in 2003. In 2008, Nuclear Management Partners Ltd. (a consortium made up of Amec, URS and Areva) was hired to operate, clean up, and ultimately decommission Sellafield. The process will take more than a century. By 2120, the NDA expects the Sellafield site will have achieved brownfield status.

9. Saadiyat Island Entertainment and Leisure Destination, Abu Dhabi
$27 billion
If all goes as planned, Saadiyat Island will be a 27-square-kilometers cultural paradise by 2018. The owner, Tourism Development & Investment Co., is selling land plots on the island to private investors under the premise that they will develop them in accordance with a masterplan created by Gensler and Skidmore Owings & Merrill. The glitziest drawing card will be four cultural venues connected by canal: a Louvre branch designed by Jean Nouvel, a Guggenheim branch by Frank Gehry, a performing arts center by Zaha Hadid, and a cultural heritage museum by Foster & Partners. The development also will feature a beach district with hotels and luxury residences, and a marina district with businesses and a maritime museum designed by Tadao Ando. Completion is slated for 2018.

Photo courtesy Tourism Development & Investment Co.

10. Great Man-Made River Project, Libya
$27 billion
As part of a massive water-transfer scheme, Libya has been working since 1985 to irrigate 387,000 acres of arid land and provide several major cities with water. Twenty-five years in, the Great Man-Made River Authority has irrigated around 50,000 acres of land, despite several pipeline blowouts. The project calls for extracting water from sandstone aquifers deep beneath the desert and piping it to the country's coastal regions. Three phases of the project have been completed; phase four is under way. Work should be finished by 2030.

Photo courtesy Price Brothers Co.

Future of air travel: giant floating hotels

The giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and dubbed the Aircruise, is a hotel in the sky designed to carry travellers in style and luxury.
It is many travellers' desire to reach out a tiny aeroplane porthole and touch the clouds.
It could soon become a reality with a giant, kite-shaped airship that may herald a new era of luxury transport.
On the Aircruise - a towering airship packing 330,000 cubic metres of hydrogen gas, capable of lifting 396 tonnes - travellers will be able to float through the clouds, literally.

Design company Seymourpowell has unveiled a new transport concept, the Aircruise - a giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and designed to carry travellers in style and luxury. Photo: Seymourpowell
Design director Nick Talbot says guests aboard the airship can “bathe in the clouds” standing on an open air promenade deck, the size of a standard football field.

Mr Talbot, who has worked on the interiors of the world's first private spaceship to be launched by Virgin Galactic, said the concept of Aircruise is almost a romantic, philosophical statement.
In Brisbane this week to address a conference on Tourism Futures, Mr Talbot said the Aircruise was born of his desire to create the antithesis of a hurried, crowded passenger jet.

With London-based design and innovation company Seymourpowell, he set out to challenge the traditional mode of air travel on the premise "slow is the new fast".
"It kind of intuitively felt like a bit of a shame that the act of travelling seemed to be becoming devalued. It was all about just getting there," Mr Talbot said.
"We looked back at the very romantic days of travel with big ocean liners [that] were unbelievably elegant and delightful ways to get around.
"And the journey itself was in fact the destination."

Airships had their heyday in the 1930s with the famous German zeppelins, until the ill-fated Hindenburg, but there has been renewed interest in the concept with advances in materials and clean propulsion technologies.
"We thought, 'How can we reinterpret that for the 21st century?"' Mr Talbot said.
The result was the silent and pollution free Aircruise, towering 265 meters from base to tip, which could theoretically ferry 100 guests from London to New York in a leisurely 37 hours, occasionally dropping down to a few hundred feet to allow travellers to "smell the roses".

"None of us know how to stop, but there is a slow move - hundreds of millions of people just want to slow down a bit and actually enjoy life," Mr Talbot said.
"This is about accessing that [desire] to ... actually enjoy the journey.
The Aircruise combines solar power with a primary hydrogen drive for a cruising speed of around 145kmh.
It straddles the concepts of a cruise ship and a hotel floating 12,000 feet in the air, with 50 rooms, including a penthouse and four duplex apartments.

"There is a three-level cocktail bar at the bottom of the ship, with a thing that we call a Moon Pool - effectively it's a transparent floor - so on sunset you can sit there with your chums, sip a cocktail and look at the earth passing by underneath you, like [you're] a goddess," Mr Talbot said.
The Aircruise will also house six flight crew including two flight engineers, while 14 support staff will operate the hotel.
The airship will virtually leave no carbon footprint. Four envelopes, which extend from the main cavity of the airship will contain 330,000 cubic metres of hydrogen gas, and will be fitted with solar panels.
Seymourpowell's early Aircruise designs attracted the attention of Korean giant Samsung Construction and Trading - the primary contractor of the tallest man-made structure the Burj Khalifa in Dubai - who commissioned Seymourpowell to produce a detailed computer animation.
The challenge is now to create a building material to support such a large structure in the air.
"If they could do that they would have developed a whole new way of constructing buildings," Mr Talbot said.
Tourism Futures conference convenor Tony Charters said the Aircruise concept was particularly significant for Australia.
"We're in an era where it is crucial is to make us think about what the future options might be for accommodation and transport," Mr Charters said.
"Air (travel) is a very important source, particularly for a country like Australia, as it is our lifeline to our markets overseas."
But he acknowledged that cost is the key inhibitor here.
"The price of carbon and the price of fuel will be very important in those financial decisions," he said.
"But I hope it will help the Australian industry push forward with creative and innovative ideas."
Mr Talbot will hold a brainstorming session and workshop in Brisbane on Thursday with several tourism operators and Tourism Queensland.
"I don't know if Aircruise will ever be built," Mr Talbot said.
"The fundamental reason for the project was just to get people to think about the way we travel and the way we're going to travel in the future.
"Even if it isn't an Aircruise maybe it will be something else - some other mode of transport - that sort of captures the spirit of Aircruise; much more gentle, much more delightful, and just a bit slower.
"I hope it happens, but who knows."

Friday, July 2, 2010

A glimpse of a car-friendly urban future, courtesy of--no surprise--a car company

A glimpse of a car-friendly urban future, courtesy of--no surprise--a car company.

Visions of the future have long revolved around the automobile, from the ubiquitous flying car of sci-fi flicks such as The Fifth Element to the garbage-guzzling, Mr. Fusion–retrofitted DeLorean that Doc Brown pilots through time in Back to the Future.

So a car company sponsoring a competition to dream up a vision of the future actually seems to make a lot of sense. The Audi Urban Future Award is a contest among six international architecture firms to envision futuristic cityscapes, circa 2030, with an emphasis on, ahem, personal transportation. ("Audi is confident that there will be cars in the city of the future," the competition Web site declares.)

The winner of the competition will not be announced until the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, which begins August 29 in Venice, but the firms met May 28 at a conference in London to present their preliminary concepts. Some are fantastical, such as Standardarchitecture's vision for the future of Beijing, where the firm is based. The "harmonious Beijing" (pictured) is ringed by pillarlike buildings known as "metamountains"; the roads become conveyor belts that transport people around the city—whether on foot or inside Audi-branded pods.

The New York City–based firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro imagined a future in which transportation and housing are more closely entwined. Riffing off the concept of the recreational vehicle, the architects proposed that in the future an increasingly mobile population may want to have a modular, portable personal space to bring along with them in the form of a shoebox-shaped modular unit. Audi could, according to the concept statement, "provide new ways of living, working and moving within the city
beyond the categories of the car and the house." Buildings might become scaffolds, essentially, with slots to accommodate the units.

Other firms eschewed grand visions of the city to focus on the vehicle itself. Barcelona's Cloud 9 loosely conceived of a vehicle that is both light and flexible—a bubble with soft skin and photovoltaic dots that generate energy. The Bjarke Ingels Group of Copenhagen turned to the long-running fantasy of
the driverless car, which in this case is also presumed to be clean-running. The firm's concept statement ponders how a city might look without traffic and automotive pollution but skirts the details, noting that foretelling the long-term future is a tricky business—witness the nonarrival of the flying car.

But what the heck? It's fun to prognosticate, and there's a cash prize. The award comes with an endowment of 100,000 Euros, or about $120,000—enough for two Audi A6s with a nice option package.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A grand gathering of the world cultures

On Friday, the Shanghai World Expo 2010 opening as "a grand gathering of the world cultures," a kind of international "We are the world" singalong. As many as 100 million visitors are expected, and they'll descend on on 189 pavilions, created by all but seven of the countries in the entire world. In the design of each, there's not supposed to be any politics. No international posturing. But really? Why did North Korea put clouds on its building? And what is America's just dying to tell China?

Here, we've drawn up a handy guide to pavilion architecture, a secret decoder ring, of sorts, to the World Expo. What are these buildings really saying?
With its slender acrylic rods jutting out every which way like a porcupine, the UK Pavilion, by Thomas Heatherwick, is in turns gorgeous and frightening.

Message to China: We could take back Hong Kong, if we felt like it.

Diplomacy FAIL: The United States put about as much effort into designing its pavilion, by Canadian Clive Grout, as it would a Walmart.
Message to China: We couldn't care less about you. And the $61 million this old pile cost to build: We borrowed it from you! Ha?

Switzerland's pavilion, by Buchner Bründler Architects, is weirdly shielded behind a fence, as if it were World War II all over again.
Message to China and the world: Stay out.

Mass Studies's pavilion for South Korea manages to be both open and guarded.
Message to China: We love you. No wait, we hate you. No wait, we love you. No wait, we hate you. Aw, you know we love you!

North Korea's pavilion (the one with clouds on it) is clearly some sort of Potemkin village.
Message to China, courtesy of the Greatest Noblest Dearest Leader, Kim Jong-Il: This is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful pavilion in the world. Also, we have nukes.

Denmark's pavilion by Bjarke Ingels Group. That's the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen's most cherished tourist attraction, presiding over a sea of Danish saltwater, which is said to be so pure you can swim in it. Contrast that with Shanghai's waters, which are said to be so polluted, no one would dare swim in them, not even Blinky the three-eyed fish.
Message to China: Clean your crap up!

The Spanish pavilion by Miralles/ Tagliabue EMBT looks awfully luxe, considering that the country's struggling to pay its massive national debt and threatens to bring down Europe with it.
Message to China: Let's do business! Seriously, let's do business, please?

Portugal, too, with a design by Carlos Couto. How did they afford this thing?
Message to China: We bought this with a credit card.

Iceland's pavilion by +Arkitektar is about as plain as it gets: a box covered in some sort of ice graphic, which is fitting given their dire straights after a credit bubble destroyed their economy.
Message to China: Brother, can you spare a dime? Or perhaps a bank bailout?

Iceland's pavilion by +Arkitektar is about as plain as it gets: a box covered in some sort of ice graphic, which is fitting given their dire straights after a credit bubble destroyed their economy.
Message to China: Brother, can you spare a dime? Or perhaps a bank bailout?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Right up there with the best in the world

David Kennedy, chief executive of Eden Park Trust, [and ex Fletcher employee] writes about a new stadium 'experience' in store for sports fans.

Eden Park will get all the trimmings in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2011. Eden Park will get all the trimmings in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2011. Photo / Supplied From the ticket purchase to the final whistle, Eden Park is gearing up to give rugby fans a world-class sporting and entertainment experience - and not just for Rugby World Cup 2011.

Redevelopment at Auckland's traditional home of rugby is on track to ensure fans old and new enjoy every minute of the action in vastly improved surroundings. It will earn Eden Park its place among the great international sporting stadiums, in terms of atmosphere and amenities. With the park having its biggest transformation in its 100-year history, we will have a $350 million regional asset that Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Sneddon has dubbed the "surprise package" of the Rugby World Cup. With Government funding helping transform the park, the new Eden Park Trust Act requires that the Government-appointed trustees operate the park for the benefit of the people of Auckland. That certainly starts with our traditional rugby and cricket fans, whose support over many years has helped create the Eden Park legacy that is famous the world over.

Their support has been tested at times, as the Eden Park experience has not always lived up to expectations. But our redevelopment is offering a prime opportunity to turn every rugby fan's wish for a much better Eden Park into reality - although the results on the field will still be beyond our control.

Over the next 18 months, patrons will notice many improvements including:
• Electronic ticketing.
• Faster, smoother access through four main gates.
• An integrated full walk around concourse (no more ducking outside the park to access another stand).
• Top-line electronics - all the action, on screen.
• Better lighting and sound systems.
• About 80 per cent of seating covered and better seats all round. Also 48 new corporate boxes and two VIP lounges.
• Upgraded food and beverage outlets, better toilet facilities, easier access to enter and leave the ground and improved and streamlined transport options.

These enhanced features aren't just for the RWC but are permanent and are designed to start Eden Park on the journey to become New Zealand's number one sporting and entertainment stadium. That is a big ambition but one the new trust is determined to fulfill. The new Eden Park experience begins with the ticket. New electronic ticketing facilities will mean fans will be able to buy online and get bar coded tickets that can be swiped at one of four enlarged main gates, which will be a feature of each corner of the park. These will replace the 27 gates of the past, which were needed because there was no concourse linking all parts of the park.

The old Eden Park was six buildings around a patch of grass. The new stadium is a fully integrated facility with the concourse a key part of the redevelopment. Fans will be able to access all stands in the park without leaving the park. The concourse, with its internal TV monitors linked into the two 110sq m superscreens in the stadium, means not a second of on-field action will be missed if fans move around to catch up with friends or to buy refreshments. With our food and beverage outlets, the redevelopment is the perfect opportunity to lift our game, with permanent outlets replacing some of the former temporary setups, enabling better variety, better service and easier access. Our new catering facilities include Auckland's second-largest kitchen.
Better lighting and sound systems will enhance the sporting atmosphere inside the grounds, while minimising disturbance to neighbouring properties.

Recent visitors have been impressed by the vision taking shape with 60,000 seats planned for Rugby World Cup 2011. That includes the new three-tier 22,000-seat South Stand, with 50 corporate boxes, the new two-tier East Stand replacing the eastern terraces and the extension of the ASB Stand with a 2000-seat lower bowl. After the cup, Eden Park will return to a permanent capacity of 50,000 seats. We'll be working hard to deliver an experience that gives fans every reason to fill the stands. In the near future, holders of Eden Park combination membership will no longer have to toss up between the prime seating for winter and summer codes. With the cricket pitch being aligned to the north-to-south axis, that perfect block of seats between the 22s will also be in the ideal cricket sightline, right behind the bowler. Redevelopment also means rugby fans can indulge their love of other sporting and entertainment options, without leaving "home".

To ensure our new stadium pays its way, both as the heartland of Auckland rugby and cricket and a community asset, the trust will be opening it up to other codes and entertainment events - starting with the rugby league international double header in November. This more diverse use means more opportunities to enjoy the park in a variety of sporting and entertainment settings. As anyone attending big games overseas can attest, getting to them can be as much a part of a great day out as the game itself. Eden Park visitors will now be able to share the anticipation of a "last leg" walk to the ground, in common with other major sporting stadiums.

Direct car access to the stadium will now be a thing of the past - if you still come by car then get used to a final short walk. If you want more direct access then public transport options are vastly improved.
A new bus terminal has been incorporated into the development, which will make bus access to the stadium very easy. Patrons will be dropped at the door and can catch a bus at the same spot at the end of the game.
A new walkway from the transformed Kingsland Station will also make pedestrian access quick, safe and easy.

It's all change at Eden Park - change we believe is for the better. We hope rugby fans share that view when they come to experience the full amenity later this year. Eden Park has a wonderful sporting legacy which the new trust intends to build on through this redevelopment.

In discussions earlier this year with Auckland mayors who agreed in principle to underwrite a $40 million loan to Eden Park to complete the upgrade, the trust directors made it clear their intention was to explore all commercial opportunities - including sponsorship - to help the park pay its way and not be a burden on rugby or cricket fans, ratepayers or taxpayers.

We said then that nothing was off the table but fans can be assured the trust will be doing everything in its power to try to preserve the traditional name of Eden Park.

By David Kennedy

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Japanese Architects win 2010 Pritzker (Highest Honour in Architecture)

31 March 2010

KAZUYO Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the architectural firm, SANAA, have been chosen as the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The Pritzker Prize, considered the highest honour in architecture, is regarded by many as equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

2010 Pritzker Architecture prize winners Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima. (Photo by Takashi Okamoto, courtesy SANAA.)

Pritzker Prize jury chairman, The Lord Palumbo quoted from the jury citation to focus on this year’s selection: “For architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever; for the creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain, creating a sense of fullness and experiential richness; for a singular architectural language that springs from a collaborative process that is both unique and inspirational; for their notable completed buildings and the promise of new projects together, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are the recipients of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize.”

While most of their work is in Japan, Sejima and Nishizawa have designed projects in Germany, England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the US, under their combined name SANAA. The first SANAA project in the US began construction in 2004 in Ohio – a Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art. Completed in 2006, it houses the museum’s vast collection of glass artworks, reflecting the city’s history when it was a major centre of glass production.

Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. (Photos by Hisao Suzuki, courtesy SANAA.)

While that building was still under construction, the New Museum of New York City broke ground in 2005. Completed in 2007, the building has been described as “a sculptural stack of rectilinear boxes dynamically shifted off-axis around a central steel core.” The jury citation specifically mentions these projects as well as two projects in Japan: “the O-Museum in Nagano and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.” The Ogasawara Museum was one of their first projects together.

The formal ceremony will be held on May 17, 2010 on Ellis Island in New York. At that time, a $100,000 grant and bronze medallions will be bestowed on the two architects. This marks the third time in the history of the prize that two architects have been named in the same year.

The De Kunstline Theater and Cultural Center in Almere, the Netherlands, and a more recent Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland are also major projects of SANAA. Other works in Japan include the Naoshima Ferry Terminal and the Christian Dior Building in Tokyo. In Essen, Germany, in 2006, the Zollverein School of Management and Design was inaugurated in a new building designed by SANAA on an historical coal mining site. The building is described as an oversized cube with an unusual arrangement of openings and windows of four different sizes.

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City. (Photos by Hisao Suzuki, courtesy SANAA.)

The Serpentine Pavilion in London, their first built project in the United Kingdom, was in place for three months on the gallery’s lawn – the ninth such commission in the Serpentine’s series of pavilions. In Valencia, Spain, SANAA provided a unique expansion solution to IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) in which their existing building housing eight galleries will be completely enclosed by a translucent skin covering an entire block, and thus creating new indoor/outdoor public spaces between the building and the skin. The proposed skin is a light weight perforated metal that allows daylight, wind and rain to pass through. Construction has not yet begun. Both architects have extensive lists of completed works and projects as individual architects.

The Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photos by Hisao Suzuki, courtesy SANAA.)

Upon learning that she was being honoured, Kazuyo Sejima had this reaction: “I have been exploring how I can make architecture that feels open, which I feel is important for a new generation of architecture. With this prize I will continue trying to make wonderful architecture.” And a similar reaction from Ryue Nishizawa: “Every time I finish a building I revel in possibilities and at the same time reflect on what has happened. Each project becomes my motivation for the next new project.”

For more than 15 years, the two architects have worked together in their collaborative partnership, SANAA, where it is virtually impossible to untangle which individual is responsible for what aspect of a particular project. Each building is ultimately a work that comes from the union of their two minds. Their architecture explores the ideas of lightness and transparency and pushes the boundaries of these concepts to new extremes.

Naoshima Ferry Terminal, Japan. (Photo by Hisao Suzuki, courtesy SANAA.)

The field of architecture was chosen by the Pritzker family because of their keen interest in building due to their involvement with developing the Hyatt Hotels around the world; also because architecture was a creative endeavour not included in the Nobel Prizes. The procedures were modelled after the Nobels, with the final selection being made by the international jury with all deliberations and voting in secret. Nominations are continuous from year to year with hundreds of nominees from countries all around the world being considered each year.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Prince wails at Jean Nouvel

Mr Nouvel's pavilion features table tennis tables, an auditorium and a 12m wall tilting over the space at a gravity-defying angle

A superstar architect whom the Prince of Wales tried to remove from a £500 million development next to St Paul’s Cathedral will complete his first British project in Hyde Park this summer. 
Jean Nouvel, one of the most decorated and unpredictable architects in the world, has designed an extraordinary scarlet pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery featuring table tennis tables, an auditorium and a 12m wall tilting over the space at a gravity-defying angle.  

It will be the tenth such summer pavilion for the gallery, the latest and brashest installment in what has become a highlight of the art and architecture year.  

Julia Peyton-Jones, the director of the Serpentine, said that the scheme offered an unmatched level of democratic engagement with the world’s most important architects, which is why it typically pulls in around 250,000 visitors a year, twice as many as the Venice Architecture Biennale.  

“The public own the structure as soon as they can get into it. They can move the furniture, have picnics in the pavilion or play games in it. They can engage with the work of architects who will be in the cannon in a hands on way that would never be possible anywhere else in the world.”  

The gallery has no budget for the pavilions, which are turned around in six months from invitation to completion. 
Usually sponsorship, sponsorship in kind and the sale of the structure at the end of its lifetime fund the project, although this year the Serpentine is receiving help from Arts Council England’s Sustain fund, designed to help organisations to maintain artistic excellence during economic downturns.  

Zaha Hadid was the first to accept the challenge and the parade of international architects who have followed her includes Daniel Libeskind, Oscar Niemeyer, Rem Koolhaas, Olafur Eliasson and Frank Gehry.  

Last year’s commission was a swooping, delicate aluminium structure by the Japanese architects SANAA, which was praised for its lightness of touch and reflective qualities.  

Mr Nouvel will offer something different. The 64-year-old Frenchman has a reputation for eccentricity in both his habits (he dresses only in black in winter and only in white in summer) and his buildings. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The WHY 58X38

 The WHY 58 x 38 

A French shipbuilding ship company joined with one in Monaco to build this yacht. It’s enormous, the WHY 58x38. (58 meters long by 38 meters wide), and released these pictures.

The yacht, an area of 3400 m2 with seating for 12 passengers and 20 crew.

This is a "green" yacht.

Wally et Hermès use green energy for 20 to 30% fuel savings and 40 to 50% electricity consumption on board. There are 900 m2 of solar panels, producing a daily output of 500 kW.


Three decks, a 25 meter pool, a spa, helicopter pad, sauna, gym and massage room, a 130 meter promenade, music room, dining room, cinema, sun decks, suites, terraces, lounge.

The decks are connected by stairs but there is also an elevator.

The owner’s suite:

With an area of 200m2 and completely covers the third deck. (This is the bedroom) The sea view is great and there is a private terrace of 25 meter long.

A sea of light.

The yacht has the shape of a horseshoe and has a roof so everything is bathed in a sea of light.

The spacious lounge.

On the lower deck are the common premises, such as lounge, piano bar and dining area.

Dining Room

The dining room opens onto the sea view.

For the guests, 5 suites with sea views (on the middle deck). There is also a fully equipped reading room.