Jul 19, 2009

Serpentine Pavilion '09 - Why Cement Flooring?!

The much anticipated Serpentine Pavilion of 2009, by Kazuyo Sejima+Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA, has recently been completed and opened to the public in Kensington Gardens, London.

As promised in the descriptions spread throughout earlier, it has brought a refreshing impression for the pavilion series (this is the ninth) by being the antithesis of its Iconic predecessors designed by Ghery, Niemeyer, Koolhaas and others.
Indeed, the 'floating' structure appears formless and ephemeral, drifts around the trees and camouflages into the surrounding by its extreme reflectiveness. It shouts with a sense of oriental subtlety that seems more noble in a way.

Everything seems pretty brilliant by now, the 'floating smog' is brilliant; the occasional Perspex/acrylic walls are fine, too; but why the cement-rendered flooring which, worse, covers the entire floor area within the 'roof' profile?

For the 'roof', I meant the floating structure which initially, suggested to us as an immaterial, freely drifting matter that somehow, could've been seen as an original archetype, rather than a typical roof element. But unfortunately, the immediate result of laying down that gigantic piece of cement molded with the same outline as the 'roof', is it perceptually affixing the form of the floating structure, restricting its sense of free-flow and ephemerality, making it appear closer to a solid roof than it ought to be.

Furthermore, the unexpected cement flooring almost totally ruined the idea of 'casually passing through the pavilion from any directions, sitting on the shaded lawn doing leisure activities like picnic, reading, napping, walking the dog in an ordinary evening and etc...' which were so strongly expressed in the architect's initial renderings and models, where there were only the floating structure and no cement floor.
Who would want to do the activities mentioned above on a cold, hard slab, honestly? A green lawn or at least the dirt surface after construction, could have been more casual and natural than formal.
Rather than being an inviting space, it could've already rejected some people.

To conclude in comparing with the initial rendering, the actual built work appears less pleasant, energetic and transparent than it could be. It's got a bit too formal than the initial impression given!
I totally love the weightlessly undulating structure but, I personally think this pavilion, 'though not too much, is a disappointment I've received from SANAA.
*nevertheless, my opinion could change, if I were able to visit the pavilion personally.*


Archifest 2009 : Architecture for Humanity

(click imgs to enlarge)

The annual event in Singapore is back as Archifest 2009 : Architecture for Humanity

Information subjected to change every now and then.
Official website by SIA for the event is under construction and will likely be up by next week.
Or contact via email @ archifest@sia.org.sg

flyer acquired from the SIA.


Jul 14, 2009


OLIAROS, a young property development company, is calling architects up to 35 years old to submit proposals for the construction of a student housing unit in Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio (KM), an area in the historic centre of Athens, Greece. The aim of the competition is to encourage creativity among the next generation of designers while supporting architectural research and the implementation of contemporary architecture projects in Greece. The competition seeks to elicit designs which explore new ideas on urbanism and rethink existing housing models for communities. (to find out more..)

image and text from: http://www.upto35.com/

posted by afterrabbit

Jul 13, 2009

Yikes! Sears Tower’s 1353-Foot High Glass Balconies

Would you trust a glass floor that’s an inch and a half thick when suspended 103 stories in the air? People in Chicago today can find out at the Sears Tower, which opened its new set of glass balconies for public viewing. “The Ledge,” as they’re collectively called, hangs 1,353 feet in the air. With transparent walls and ceilings, visitors say its like floating in the sky, and the view is, of course, spectacular. Don’t worry, those glass floor can withstand five tons, but just to be safe, jumping up and down is probably not a good idea.

image and passage from:

posted by midori mizu

Melbourne’s Iconic Theater Buildings Scoop Victorian Architecture Awards

The Melbourne Recital Centre, and its neighbor, the first permanent home for the Melbourne Theatre Company, have taken out four of the highest honors at this year’s Victorian Architecture Awards. Presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, 37 awards and prizes were announced today at a dinner on Friday, July 10 attended by over 800 guests.

The recital centre and MTC buildings by ARM and the urban transformation of their formerly neglected Southbank site are honored with the 2009 Victorian Architecture Medal for successfully crossing design boundaries and taking out the top awards in three categories: the William Wardell Award for public architecture; the Marion Mahony Award for interior architecture and the Joseph Reed Award for urban design.

Chair of juries, Philip Goad, says the combined buildings make a significant contribution to Melbourne’s arts precinct and may well expand current audiences, sentiments echoed in the Victorian Medal jury citation. “The robust sculptural facades have already become iconic and the changes to traffic and pedestrian patterns at an urban level have transformed the area into an active domain,” praised the jury.(to find out more..)

image and passage from:

posted by midori mizu

Jul 9, 2009

JS Bach Chamber Music Hall by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects have created a unique chamber music hall specially designed to house solo performances of the exquisite music of Johann Sebastian Bach.A voluminous ribbon swirls within the room, carving out a spatial and visual response to the intricate relationships of Bach’s harmonies. As the ribbon careens above the performer, cascades into the ground and wraps around the audience, the original room as a box is sculpted into fluid spaces swelling, merging, and slipping through one another.(to find out more..)

image and passage from:

posted by midori mizu

Jul 1, 2009

UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 by Thomas Heatherwick

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office today reveals updated designs for the UK pavilion that will represent this country at Shanghai Expo 2010; its theme being ‘Better City, Better Life’. Developed by one of the UK’s leading creative talents – Thomas Heatherwick – the UK pavilion will provide a dramatic demonstration of creativity and innovation in the UK.

The centrepiece of the UK’s offering is the extraordinary pavilion building - a six storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which will extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of these 7.5m long rods will act like fibre optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior, thereby creating a contemplative awe-inspiring space. At night, light sources at the interior end of each rod will allow the whole structure to glow. The pavilion will sit on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that now lies unfolded on the site. The landscape provides an open space for public events and shelter for visitors making their way into the pavilion structure.(to find out more..)

images and passage from:

posted by midori mizu

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