Coalesce Skyscraper

By:  | March - 7 - 2011

Honorable Mention
2011 Skyscraper Competition

Justin Oh

The final height of this skyscraper has not yet been decided, as perpetual development of the project has continued for more than twenty years. Its rich history can be witnessed and analyzed through the changes in the facade, the same way history can be seen in layers of stone or the rings of a tree. The architecture of the skyscraper changes as each firm contributes their own unique design proposals for the next addition to the tower’s elevation – mankind’s skyscraper project of the twenty-first century.

Hong Kong’s Kowloon side is Corbusier’s Plan Voisin, compressed and multiplied. Victoria Harbour has decreased to accommodate endless developments as the majority of the population live and work in skyscrapers. The principles of Coalesce are to discontinue Hong Kong’s public housing estate-style developments and remove existing estates in order to unite the parks on the Kowloon side. The equation of the project: recreational green space substitutes each estate razed, and with each estate razed, the equivalent amount or more leasable area is added to the central skyscraper. With an increase in green concentration at the heart of Kowloon, the district is expected to experience a drop in its uncomfortable temperatures and filter polluted air, while providing recreational space and facilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Zaha Hadid Architects announced the completion of the Guangzhou Opera House. The opening ceremony was held this weekend with representatives from various countries around the world. Like pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion, the Guangzhou Opera House sits in perfect harmony with its riverside location. The Opera House is at the heart of Guangzhou’s cultural development. Its unique twin-boulder design enhances the city by opening it to the Pearl River, unifying the adjacent cultural buildings with the towers of international finance in Guangzhou’s Zhujiang new town. The 1,800-seat auditorium of the Opera House houses the very latest acoustic technology, and the smaller 400-seat multifunction hall is designed for performance art, opera and concerts in the round. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the 14 finalists for the 2011 Brisbane Ideas Competition (BIC) organized by the Heise Pty. Ltd. Group, Waterground by French firm Collectif MAP is a complete re-imagination of the Brisbane, Australia. Entrants were asked by Heise two quite broad questions, “What is missing from Brisbane?” and “What does Brisbane need for the future?” Heise hoped that the broad entry requirements would solicit broad entries, and judging by their 14 finalists the diversity exceeded expectations.

For their top 14 entries, Heise chose a great mixture of entries, ranging from studies and solutions for Brisbane’s pedestrian routes to proposals for towering water collection/sprinklers to be strewn throughout the city. Waterground however, is perhaps the project that would change Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia the most.

Waterground is a proposal to create a network of canals to run throughout the city off the Brisbane River, which runs directly through the city. Waterground would expand the network of the already well-known and widely used ferry service that already operates 26 vessels in its fleet. The project would use existing passages as well as construct new passages to create a more efficient water transport platform. Read the rest of this entry »

Boston’s TREEPODS INIATIVE proposes to embody, and artificially enhance, the most important biological characteristic of natural trees: the capacity to clean the air, taking the CO² and releasing O².

Boston’s TREEPODS INIATIVE is a sustainable project leaded by Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston. The aim ff this collaboration is to allow the achievement of Boston’s global goals in terms of carbon reduction programs in the short time, giving us enough time to make the change from the present fossil fuel economy into a new Zero carbon energy economy.

The proposal could be define as a CO2-scrubbing living machine. Treepods may well redesign in an urban radical new way our polluted urban environment, interacting with natural trees, and enhancing its carbon absorption capacity. In that way, those artificial trees don’t replace the natural ones, but they act like small urban “air cleaning infrastructures”. Advanced technologies are actually already developed that allow the capture of the atmospheric carbon dioxide from ambient air in an efficient, economic and sustainable way. Developed by Dr Klaus Lackner, Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia University, this revolutionary process is based on the discovery of the ‘humidity swing,’ a technology that enables the energy-efficient capture of CO2 from air, allowing to close the carbon cycle and creating a valuable product for beneficial use. Read the rest of this entry »

The Emperor’s castle designed by Thomas Hillier originates from a mythical and ancient tale hidden within a woodblock landscape scene created by Japanese Ukiyo-e printmaker, Ando Hiroshige. This tale charts the story of two star-crossed lovers, the weaving Princess and the Cowherd who have been separated by the Princess’s father, the Emperor.

The story begins with four acts that explore the relationships between these characters. Act I introduces the characters illustrating the moment the Princess and the Cowherd fall in love. As time passes the happy couple begin to neglect their duties. The Emperor being a stern ruler who does not tolerate idleness decided to punish the lovers, separating them by a deep and swift lake unassailable by any man. In the final act the Princess’s flying friends the magpies form a feathery bridge across the lake allowing the Princess and Cowherd to renew their pledge of eternal love.

These characters have been replaced and transformed into architectonic metaphors creating an Urban Theatre within the grounds of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. The Princess, a flexible, diaphanous knitted membrane, envelopes the spaces below and is fabricated using the surrounding Igusa rush to knit itself ever larger in aim to reach the grass parkland perimeter representing the Cowherd. Linked within this skin is a series of enormous folded plate lung structures. These origami lungs of the Emperor expand and contract creating the sensation of life. The lungs, deployed around the site act as physical barriers that manipulate the knitted skin as it extends towards the outer parkland, these manipulations are controlled and articulated by the Emperor’s army using a series of complex pulley systems which pull back the lungs and the surrounding skin. Read the rest of this entry »

Award-winning Mexican firm BNKR Arquitectura just completed a stunning chapel that overlooks the famous Acapulco Bay in Mexico.

“Our first religious commission was a wedding chapel conceived to celebrate the first day of a couple’s new life. Our second religious commission had a diametrically opposite purpose: to mourn the passing of loved ones. This premise was the main driving force behind the design, the two had to be complete opposites, they were natural antagonists. While the former praised life, the latter grieved death. Through this game of contrasts all the decisions were made: Glass vs. Concrete, Transparency vs. Solidity, Ethereal vs. Heavy, Classical Proportions vs. Apparent Chaos, Vulnerable vs. Indestructible, Ephemeral vs. Lasting…

The client brief was pretty simple, almost naïve: First, the chapel had to take full advantage of the spectacular views. Second, the sun had to set exactly behind the altar cross (of course, this is only possible twice a year at the equinoxes). And last but not least, a section with the first phase of crypts had to be included outside and around the chapel. Metaphorically speaking, the mausoleum would be in perfect utopian synchrony with a celestial cycle of continuous renovation. Read the rest of this entry »

The Varyap Merkez is Emre Arolat Architects‘ (EAA) contribution to the RMJM designed Varyap Meridian luxury development currently nearing completion in Atasehir, Turkey. The sleek design earned EAA a commendation in the “Retail and Leisure” category at the 2011 MIPIM AR Future Project Awards, and was the only Turkish firm to win a MIPIM award.

EAA designed the Varyap Merkez with the goal of dissolving both the physical and figurative barriers that divide many modern buildings. And because environmental sustainability is a key goal of the larger Varyap Meridian development, green space and natural lighting were fundamental parts of the design theory. Like in many of their past designs, EAA created green space by incorporating green roofing. The roof slopes upward along the outside of the footprint and around a central open courtyard. The open design connects the interior space, green “hill” space, and the surrounding Varyap Meridian cityscape. Read the rest of this entry »

The Canteen House designed by endemic architecture is a small agriculture housing concept that saves water in a bladder skin for use during dry periods. The home’s exterior is split into quadrants which are lined with a rubberized bladder that can store storm water runoff during the wet season. Each section can hold 17,000 gallons for use when irrigation water is difficult to come by. The home is connected to an irrigation system to distribute the water directly from its storage skin. With a total of 36,000 gallons of storage the architects estimate that the system can irrigate one acre of land for six weeks. The distribution of the water as well as type of crop, soil and weather make the estimate more of an art than science. Using rain collection to feed its water collection system the structures swelling and contracting creates a visual representation of the overall environmental conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lunar Cubit is the winning design by the New York based team of Robert Flottemesch, Jen DeNike, Johanna Ballhaus, and Adrian P. De Luca for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) design competition. Competing firms were tasked with fusing art and sustainable power generation in a pragmatic design for one of three predetermined locations in the United Arab Emirates. The Lunar Cubit will be fittingly located just outside Masdar City, a beacon of environmental friendliness and the proposed world’s first carbon neutral city.

The centerpiece of the design is a 50-meter high pyramid, the exterior of which is entirely covered by frameless solar panels. The main pyramid is surrounded by a circular arrangement of eight proportionately scaled 22-meter tall pyramids that are also wrapped with solar panels. Energy absorbed by the eight smaller pyramids is channeled through buried cables to the center pyramid where it will be connected to the Utility Grid. The Lunar Cubit is expected to produce enough energy to power 250 homes daily. Read the rest of this entry »