Monday, May 31, 2010

HOK Takes Models to the Masses

Architecture firm HOK has opened a "model shop" in downtown Saint Louis.

The shop is in the Millennium Building at 312 North Sixth Street.  While it's a showcase for HOK's work, it's also an actual working facility.

If you're in that portion of the Midwest, stop by for a chance to see master model makers at work.

There are photos at the Count On Downtown web site.

Profile: Rehabilitation of Al-Qaraouiyine Mosque, Fez

Each day for the next couple of weeks, we will profile one project that has been nominated for the 2010 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture.

Today's project is the Rehabilitation of Al-Qaraouiyine Mosque in Fez:

Since 859 AD, when construction commenced, and especially since the twelfth-century expansions under the Almoravid dynasty, the Al-Qaraouiyine mosque has been a vital presence at the heart of the medina of Fez, not only as a place of worship but as one of the world’s oldest universities. The aim of the rehabilitation project was not only to preserve the historic fabric of the mosque but also to revive its cultural and social role in the life of the citizens of Fez and to enhance its use as a place of worship and a place of learning. The rehabilitation team, relying entirely on Moroccan experts and professionals, adopted a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach in the project. Their strategy involved the critical examination of the haphazard interventions of the past 60 years and rigorous documentation work. New technologies were employed to reverse the process of slow degradation that was undermining the structure’s physical integrity, and previous inappropriate interventions were removed where feasible. The work was completed in such a way as to not interfere with the daily use of the mosque by worshippers. Al-Qaraouiyine’s academic role has also been broadened after the completion of the rehabilitation project, and it has once again started accepting female students for courses of study.

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / Amir Anoushfar

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / Amir Anoushfar

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / Amir Anoushfar

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / Amir Anoushfar

Friday, May 28, 2010 Phase One Completed

Seattle Daily Photo notes that the first phase of the new campus in Seattle's Lake Union neighborhood has been completed.  We've been following the project off and on mostly because of the way it's already helped transform a formerly industrial area of the city into a exploding residential neighborhood.

You can see the completed portion on SDP here.

And here are a couple of our photographs of the project in progress:

Profile: Chandgaon Mosque, Chittagong

Each day for the next couple of weeks, we will profile one project that has been nominated for the 2010 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture.

Today's project is the Chandgaon Mosque in Chittagong:

This mosque on the suburban periphery of the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh seeks to fulfil the traditional role of a mosque as both a place of spirituality and as a gathering place for the community. The architect began by identifying the essential elements of a mosque to create a new form and articulation for a typology that goes back for a millennium and a half. The result is this monolithic and spare mosque, pared down to two identical cuboid structures. The first is the front court, its heavy masonry walls punctuated with low, wide openings onto the surrounding landscape, with a large eyelike opening above. In the second volume, the naturally lit mihrab wall is balanced by an iconic, cut dome. While the apertures give a sense of openness and draw in light and ventilation by day, by night they allow light to shine out of the mosque like a beacon. With its stark, geometric clarity, the Chandgaon mosque stands apart from many such structures that have reduced architectural features associated with the usual mosque type to the level of kitsch. It makes a definitive architectural statement in a different direction, pointing to the contemporary, to a desire to live in spaces that reflect the universal values of the present day.

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Thursday, May 27, 2010

MainPlace Tops Out in Houston

If you're interested in what's happening in Houston or Southeast Texas, then HAIF is the best web resourced there is.

Today there's a note and press release about the latest Hines project, MainPlace topping out.

The 46-story skyscraper is the latest building in the revitalization of the city's downtown.

You can read all about MainPlace in this forum thread.

Here's a photo that was posted on the forum:

One Victory Park Greenlit

Got a note from Hines today about One Victory Park in Dallas.  The 17-sotry skyscraper has been granted LEED Silver status.

The full press release follows:

See History in Architecture

Sometimes an architect's job is to hide the past.  For example, to turn an elementary school into a retirement home.  Or to turn a craptastic shack into a beautiful home.

But other times, letting the history of a building shine through is an asset.  Case in point: One Grant Avenue in downtown San Francisco.  This building clearly had a life long before it was turned into an Armani store.

It began its existence as the Savings Union Bank back in 1911, as the city was getting back on its feet after the Great Earthquake and Fire.  Years later, the bank would be absorbed by others and its name passed into history.

Today, the columns and pediments continue to stand strong, as they were intended, to symbolize the eternal strength of the bank that built them.  A bank that is now long gone.

Profile: Wadi Hanifa Wetlands, Riyadh

Each day for the next couple of weeks, we will profile one project that has been nominated for the 2010 Aga Khan Awards for Architecture.

Today's project is the Wadi Hanifa Wetlands, in Riyadh:

Located in the middle of the Najd Plateau of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Wadi Hanifa (or Hanifa valley) is the longest and most important valley near Riyadh, a natural water drainage course for an area of over 4,000 square kilometres and a unique geographical feature in this dry region. Until recently, many segments of the valley had been exploited in an aggressive and environmentally destructive manner. In an effort to redress the balance between the resources of the wadi and the people living around it, the Arriyadh Development Authority has implemented a comprehensive development strategy, a programme of works that aims to restore and develop Wadi Hanifa as an environmental, recreational and tourism resource. Project works so far have included the introduction of landscaping, the conservation of the natural environment, the development of recreational areas for the people of Riyadh, the enhancement of agricultural land in the wadi and the creation of an environmentally sensitive wastewater treatment facility that provides additional water resources for the rural and urban inhabitants of the region.

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture  / Arriyadh Development Authority

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture  / Arriyadh Development Authority

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture  / Wael Samhouri

Photograph © Aga Khan Award for Architecture  / Arriyadh Development Authority

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2010 Aga Khan Architecture Award Nominees Announced

This year's nominees for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture have been announced.  The nominees include a broad range of buildings, mostly in the third world.  Interestingly, this isn't one of those naval-gazing exercises that the architecture and engineering community so often engages in.  Instead, it rewards architects along with cities, construction firms, and other organizations responsible for turning great ideas into great buildings.

The winner will be announced in Doha in October, 2010.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll profile one nominee each day here along with pictures of the project.

Click here for more information on the Aga Khan architecture award.

The full press release follows:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis Goes Green

We got a note from the people down at Hines today, letting us know that the iconic Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis has been given LEED-EB Gold status.

The press release follows:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hines Breaks Ground in Poland

Hines, the Houston-based international real estate developer, has broken ground on its latest project -- Twarda 2/4, a 43-story skyscraper in Poland.

The residential tower was designed by Chicago starchitect Helmut Jahn.  The full Hines press release follows.


(WARSAW, POLAND) - The Warsaw office of Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today that construction has begun on Twarda 2/4, a 43-story 274-unit residential tower located at the center of Warsaw on Twarda Street adjacent to Grzybowski Square and near the Palace of Culture and Science. Project completion on the for-sale apartments is expected in the third quarter of 2012.
World-renowned architect Helmut Jahn, principal of the Murphy/Jahn design studio, was chosen through a competition in 2007 to design the 344,320-square-foot tower.   Apartments will range from 560 to 3,766 square feet.  In addition to the refined finishes and spectacular views, Twarda 2/4 will include state-of-the-art building features to meet the highest Western-European and American apartment standards.  The ground floor will contain 77,000 square feet of retail and office space for sale in the five-level horizontal podium of the project.  Below-grade parking for 299 cars will be provided.
Hines is managing the development on behalf of a consortium of private investors. HOCHTIEF Polska is the contractor on Twarda 2/4.  Site preparation work began in November of last year. 
 "We are delighted to bring this high caliber project to Warsaw, and are happy to be joining forces with HOCHTIEF for the second time in the city," said Mieczysław Godzisz, managing director for Hines Poland.  "As demonstrated with our previous undertaking, Metropolitan office building located at Piłsudskiego Square, we will add to our track record of delivering technically sophisticated, architecturally significant buildings."
"The high-rise apartment tower at Twarda Street is one of the largest residential projects under development in Warsaw," said Henryk Liszka, head of the management board of HOCHTIEF Polska.  "Every new development poses new challenges.  To ensure the highest quality working and living standards for the future inhabitants of Twarda 2/4, we will draw upon our expertise gathered over our history of constructing numerous upscale projects."
 "Since the market has experienced several false starts on comparable residential projects, we believe it is important to rebuild consumer trust in upscale projects such as Twarda 2/4," explained Iwona Strzelecka, project manager for Hines Poland.  "Sales will commence in late autumn, when construction is well underway and a sales office is in place to give potential buyers a feel for the quality that will be contained in the project." Pricing for the apartments has not been set; however, it will be competitive with the market.
Hines entered the Poland real estate market in 1997 with the development of Metropolitan, a Class A office building at Piłsudskiego Square in Warsaw.  Metropolitan received the MIPIM Award in Cannes in 2004 for the Best Office Building in the World.  Hines also developed the Impresja apartments in Wilanow.  Currently, the firm is developing the Arboretum residential complex and the Sterlinga Business Center in Łódz and the Quattro Towers residential complex in Gdansk.
Hines is a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide. The firm's historical and current portfolio of projects that are underway, completed, acquired and managed for third parties includes 1,111 properties representing more than 451 million square feet of office, residential, mixed-use, industrial, hotel, medical and sports facilities, as well as large, master-planned communities and land developments.  With offices in more than 100 cities in 17 countries, and controlled assets valued at approximately $22.2 billion, Hines is one of the largest real estate organizations in the world. Hines is also a world leader in sustainable real estate strategies, with extensive experience in LEED®, ENERGY STAR®, BREEAM in the United Kingdom, France's Haute Qualité Environnementale and with the German Sustainable Building Council.  Visit for more information.

Monday, May 3, 2010

TweetEcho: April 15-May 2, 2010

For those of you who don't subscribe to our Twitter feed, here are the items we tweeted in the last week or so:

    1. #Fairmont Hotel Revitalization And Tower Rebuilding in#SanFrancisco:
    2. Just added 209 photographs of #SanFrancisco #skyscrapersand other #architecture to the Towrs Flickr pool:
    3. #AIA's 2010 top ten #green #buildings, in depth - #architecture #greenbuilding #climate(via @archweek)
    4. Three hours early, and I'm still 15th in line for the new #iPad.
    5. Noted #architect Chick Herbert dies at 84
    6. Landmark Chicago Skyscraper Redevelopment Complete
    7. Global Architecture Blog: Firm Offers Architecture Tours of Japan
    8. New London Skyline Competition | Dexigner
    9. Architecture Foundation Competition - A New Landmark for Aldgate | Dexigner
    10. Sculpture being installed at Anchorage Museum: AP Alaska |
    11. Houston is building distributed solar energy grid for use in disasters:
    12. Energy Hog Buildings Compete to Become The Biggest Losers
    13. Armani hotel opens in Dubai's Khalifa tower-ET Cetera-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times
    14. We've added a couple of hundred #Houston #skyscraperphotos to our Towrs beta site:
    15. Vintage Seattle skyscraper sells at discount price:
    16. 6:00am at the Pike Market in #Seattle.
    17. Here's a list from #CBRE of 101 things that you can do to make your office greener:
    18. Here's a list from #CBRE of 101 things that you can do to make your office greener:
    19. Granite stone installation begins in 9/11 Memorial's North Pool:
    20. While #Dubai Stumbles, Abu Dhabi Marches On #UAE #skyscrapers
    21. Controversial Plans for #NewYorkCity Domino Sugar Plant Now on View
    22. Building a New History in #Tokyo --
    23. #Minnesota Orchestra Hall to Get $40 Million Makeover :
    24. Slideshow: World's Fair Shanghai Expo 2010
    25. Architecture Foundation holds competition to design Aldgate landmark for Olympic year -
    26. Dresden: The new 'Florence of the Elbe' -
    27. Travel Q&A: Finding Regency-era landmarks in London -
    28. Hotel rumored at Hollywood sign:
    29. Private Seattle Green Roof Garage:
    30. 1800 Larimer: Downtown Denver's quirky new skyscraper
    31. World Trade Center steel makes way home to Pa.
    32. Tallest skyscraper in London is topped out:
    33. City of London's oldest skyscraper to be auctioned for £300m -
    34. Volcano keeps Dubai waiting for Armani hotel - BusinessWeek
    35. Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai to Open 10 Metro Stations:
    36. Earl Santee talks about his Target Field architecture -
    37. I-beam at the eye of architectural storm
    38. ‘Smurf House’? ‘Chinese Hat’? Museum Intrigues -