12/28/2011

Today's Discussion: Léopold Lambert and Ahmad Barclay on Forthcoming Book Weaponized Architecture

A forthcoming book to have is Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence written by Léopold Lambert. This book will be published by Dpr_Barcelona and is announced to be launched by January/February 2012.
Los in the line, 2010, Léopold Lambert and DPR-Barcelona, 2011.
Originally appeared on Arena of Speculation
—> Fictitious representation of the power of the line in the physical world as well as an attempt to
use it as a weapon: the line here becomes porous and hosts in its "thickness" a three-dimensional labyrinth whose
control has escaped from its creator.
What will it be about?:
Weaponized Architecture is an examination of the inherent instrumentalization of architecture as a political weapon; research informs the development of a project which, rather than defusing these characteristics, attempts to integrate them within the scene of a political struggle. The proposed project dramatizes, through its architecture, a Palestinian disobedience to the colonial legislation imposed on its legal territory. In fact, the State of Israel masters the elaboration of territorial and architecture colonial apparatuses that act directly on palestinian daily lives. In this regard, it is crucial to observe that 63% of the West Bank is under total control of the Israeli Defense Forces in regards to security, movement, planning and construction. Weaponized Architecture is thus manifested as a Palestinian shelter, with an associated agricultural platform, which expresses its illegality through its architectural vocabulary.

I suggest my readers to read the discussion between Ahmad Barclay and Léopold Lambert titled Weaponized Architecture: A Discussion with Léopold Lambert to have more information on the book.
Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence, a book by Léopold Lambert
published by DPR-Barcelona.
—> The image is extracted from the forthcoming book mentioned above.

Below is the abstract of this discussion:

Ahmad Barclay: Your book takes a novel approach in juxtaposing Israeli colonial practices with trends of global capitalism in the privatization and commodification of public space, and the surveillance and control of populations. How did you come to focus on Isreael-Palestine in your research? Did you start from this specific place, or was it your research that brought you here?
Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence, a book by Léopold Lambert
published by DPR-Barcelona.
—> The image is extracted from the forthcoming book mentioned above.


Leopold Lambert: I resolutely oriented my research in a very general realm as I wanted to make a point about something absolutely inherent to architecture, which is that architecture is never politically innocent whether it has been conceived as a political weapon or not. I thought that many research studies had been made around this thesis but was always disappointed to see that architecture was always considered at a symbolic level or that its weaponization needed to be activated somehow. What I wanted to really insist on is the fact that architecture is violent in essence — the act of transforming lines into walls etc. — and that the conditioning and use of this violence was the political act inherently involved.
Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence, a book by Léopold Lambert
published by DPR-Barcelona.
—> The image is extracted from the forthcoming book mentioned above.

You can continue to read this discussion at Arena of Speculation and visit DPR-Barcelona for further information on Weaponized Architecture.

12/27/2011

JDS Architects Unveiling its Hangzhou Waves Proposal

The establishment of JDS Architects agency in Shanghai is accompanied with a new project in Hangzhou Xintiandi district, China. JDS Architects just unveiled its Hangzhou Waves consisting of a back-to-back 120.000 square-meter Five Star Hotel and Class A Office Complex.
Hangzhou Waves © JDS Architects

The relationship between these two buildings will be punctuated by a landscaping project consisting of a park and a canal.
Hangzhou Waves — Rendering © JDS Architects

The first building, the Class A Office, will be implanted in a triangular site surrounded by streets accentuating design, process and construction constraints.
Hangzhou Waves — Office Building Site © JDS Architects.
—> Occupying a triangular site, the Class A Office building will profit
from a spectacular view. As surrounded by streets, the site conditions
may accentuate design, process and construction constraints.

In response, the volume of the office building will be manipulated using the push/pull technique to generate a smooth wave-like sloping façade.
Hangzhou Waves — The Class A Office Building volume © JDS Architects.
—> A simple building volume composing in fact of 2 volumes. Angles of elevations are rounded due to site conditions.
Hangzhou Waves — Class A Office Building Volume Manipulation © JDS Architects.
—> The use of push-pull manipulation will modify the building profile generating a wave-like sloping face.
The top of the building will be then perforated to create an inner courtyard and facilitate the diffusion of natural light within the building.
Hangzhou Waves — Class A Office Building. Opening for natural daylight © JDS Architects

Two corners will be slightly lifted to facilitate access to the office building as the diagram and the rendering show.
Hangzhou Waves — Diagram: Lift For Access © JDS Architects.
> Both corners will be lifted to provide an access to the building.
Hangzhou Wave — Rendering © JDS Architects.
—> This results in a lighting entrance.

The second building, the Five Star Hotel complex, will follow the main principles of the Class A Office building design process. 
Hangzhou Waves — 5 star Hotel building volume © JDS Architects.
—> Note the arrangement of the two blocks that will be then manipulated…
A push/pull-type of manipulation will modify the building volume generating once again a sloping surface.
Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel Volume Manipulation © JDS Architects.
—> Using the push/Pull technique, a similar form as the Class A Office Building will be created.
This building will be perforated at top to create an opening for natural daylight and an inner courtyard.
Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel. Opening for Natural Daylighting © JDS Architects.
—> A same perforation will be generated at the top of the building to allow for natural daylighting.
Note nevertheless the orientation of the sloping face and the opening.

Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel. Hotel rooms
have views to the park and canal of Hangzhou Xintian Di… © JDS Architects.
—> The orientation of the sloping surface will be selected in accordance with the place:
rooms will have views to the park and canal.

Yet, while the sloping surface of the Class A Office building will be a smooth green roof, that of the Five Star Hotel will be a terraced green roof. The Hotel surfaces will then be pixellated.
Hangzhou Waves — Class A Office Building. Green Roof © JDS Architects.
—> A smooth green roof will be created while…
Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel. Terraces will also act as green roof © JDS Architects.
—> the Hotel will have a terraced green roof.


Such as the first building, two of the corners of the Hotel will be lifted allowing for the access to the building.
Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel. Inlet for Pedestrian Access © JDS Architects.
—> Two corners of the building will be lifted to allow for the access to the building…
Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel. Inlet Provides More Ground Level Space © JDS Architects.
—> Given the fact the building will be slightly lifted up, this inlet process
will also provide more ground level space with the possibility of creating a external
courtyard.

As mentioned above, the two buildings will be accompanied with a park and canal to enhance the site and offer spectacular views to the users and clients.
Hangzhou Waves — Class A Office Building — External Landscape © JDS Architects.
—> The site will be developed to provide not only the buildings but also a
park with trees and a canal.

Hangzhou Waves — Aerial view of the site with the two buildings © JDS Architects.
While different in profile and materials, the arrangement of the buildings and their landscape
on site will enforce their relationship.




Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel — External Landscape © JDS Architects
Hangzhou Waves — Five Star Hotel © JDS Architects.
—> By refering to this aerial view, the Five Star Hotel appears to be taller
than the Class A Office Building.

Hangzhou Waves — Class A Office Building and Five Star Hotel © JDS Architects
—> While the buildings are back-to-back, materials and façades treatments will be different.
The buildings types might be determined  by their programm and orientation.
Each building building will be identified by materials and envelope treatments:
the Class A Office Building will have a standard façade system: a curtain wall creating a regular grid of the skin,
while the Five Star Hotel having a perforated façade that will generate a pixel-type of skin.

Depending on the program, the two buildings will have their own profile and materials. This will lead to a scaleless affect, exploiting not only the program but also the site conditions.
Hangzhou Waves — The Five Star Hotel Profile © JDS Architects.
—> While the principle of lift of corners being the same to the two buildings,
the treatment of those of the Five Star Hotel will reinforce the scaleless quality.
Hangzhou Waves — Aerial view of the Five Star Hotel © JDS Architects
Hangzhou Waves — Interior views © JDS Architects
Hangzhou Waves © JDS Architects
Hangzhou Waves © JDS Architects
JDS Architects' design might make the two buildings more visually prominent not only in frontal view but also when seen at angles. Let's wait and see.

Building Fact
Project: Hangzhou Waves
Program: Office Space, Hotel
Architects: JDS Architects
Team: JDS, MUDI, China CUC
Project Leader: Junhee Jung, Charlotte Lieske
Size: 120.000 sqm
Location: Hangzhou, China
Budget: Confidential
Type: Invited Competition
Status: Settled 2011


12/26/2011

A slow shift into a new editorial project

A new editorial project will be partly launched by January 2012. The first part will be the broadcast part declining into podcasts and videocast.

A website will be launched later in 2012. As for the name, it will be different from ULGC but will be part of ULGC.

The content will articulate mostly interviews, books, magazine reviews, etc.. It will look ahead at the events, people, ideas that shape our urban lives. As a multidisciplinary project, this new editorial project will talk with architects, engineers, urban planners as well as collaborators — contractors, curators, geographers, editors, biologists, and so forth, on whom architects, urban planners and engineers depend to realize their projects.

To say the least more soon so stay tuned.

12/24/2011

Video of 2011: Architecture for Humanity: Moving from Relief to Recovery

While the Tohoku Planning Forum continues to implement a rebuilding strategy and implementation process for the Tohoku region, here is a video that marks this year 2011. As we are slowly but surely go to the end of the year, it is time to pause and look back over 2011 to deliver ULGC's best (or worst) news, videos, etc. This first video will be that of Architecture for Humanity.
But firstly, as regularly mentioned, I am working hard in a set of new editorial projects that will be added to this blog. It requires time, hence I am late. Then I just went back from Tokyo after a happy and rich 3-month trip where I met interesting people among others Christian Dimmer, Chris Berthelsen, Tanijiri Makoto, or Julian Worrall, to quote but a few. I attended many conferences among others that of which was organized in the framework of the UIA2011 Tokyo and gathered architects such as Fujiwara Teppei.
Let's move to the first video of best of 2011: Architecture for Humanity: Moving from Relief to Recovery. As it was reported on ArchDaily:
Design Open Mic, led by Cameron Sinclair and Chapters Coordinator Frederika Zipp, updated staff and attendees on their current relief efforts in response to the Sendai earthquake in Japan. Currently a Program Advisory Board has been assembled and Architecture for Humanity is continuing to focus their efforts on developing a rebuilding strategy and implementation process.
Originally appeared on Archdaily.



12/22/2011

News: Snøhetta unveiling the preliminary design of The National Academy of Arts in Bergen

Snøhetta, once again, just unveiled the preliminary design of The National Academy of Arts in Bergen.
The agency presents the project as:
The new institution is going to be a generator in Møllendal, the new part of Bergen. The school appears as a background to the new public place Byalmenningen and will be very visible from the other side of Store Lungegarsvann.
The National Academy of Arts in Bergen © Snøhetta.

Connected to the entrance of the school, the public will get access to the plaza; Kunstalmenningen. At the plaza the Academy of Arts will have exhibitions and events.
The public will also have access to the most special room of the school; the big project hall. A large hall being used both for public functions and as an internal workshop area for the school. From the project hall the public will have access to the auditorium, cafe and library.
The school will contain a large amount of workshop areas supporting the studies of metal, wood, graphic, textiles, ceramics, video and photo. In addition there will also be projectrooms, workshop area for the students, an administration and a studio for the employees of the school.
The facade is opened up with large glasswalls or by using many small and large draws, that have been pulled more or less out.

The National Academy of Arts in Bergen © Snøhetta.


Snøhetta unveiled its proposals for the Maggie's Cancer Caring Center, in Aberdeen, Scotland

Snøhetta revealed its proposals for Maggie's Cancer Caring Center for Aberdeen, Scotland. This single-story Cancer Caring Center consists of a curvilinear pavilion-like building with two voids.
Maggie's Cancer Caring Center in Aberdeen © Snøhetta

Located at the southern boundary of Foresterhill at the edge of the Westburb field, the 350-square-meter Center will profit from its environment to provide the best climate for its patients facing cancer. A lush grass field, with existing tree line along the Westburn, new planting of Maple trees, a group of Beech trees constitute the natural elements of the site. A courtyard created by a big void will be covered with a mix of hard and soft surfaces with a centrally planted Flowering Cherry Tree, as the section below shows, the agency says.
Maggie's Center — Section CC © Snøhetta

While being connected to the hospital, the Maggie's Center is announced to be independent.
Maggie's Cancer Caring Center in Aberdeen — Plan © Snøhetta.

As mentioned above, the big void operates as not only a courtyard but also a skylight, allowing the connection between interior and exterior. It can also double as a lighting system by night. The building will be clad in a hard concrete.


Maggie's Cancer Caring Center in Aberdeen — Section AA © Snøhetta

This Cancer Caring Center will be conceived to allow for the best environment for its users: personal, patients and visitors. As Charles Jencks argues: "Snøhetta, coming from the Norwegian culture, has great insight into the life and landscape of the Scots — particularly Aberdeen, a short hop from Oslo. Their mixture of a warm interior of furnishing embraced by a protective shell strikes just the right balance for Maggie's."
Maggie's Cancer Caring Center in Aberdeen — Section BB © Snøhetta.

Its interior will reflect the exterior environment by selecting soft timber materials. In this context, the interior will contrast with the exterior cladded with hard concrete.
Maggie's Cancer Caring Center in Aberdeen — Ground Floor Plan © Snøhetta.
The Cancer Caring Center consists of one ground floor level and a small mezzanine devoted to the office functions. The mezzanine allows to break the linearity of the plan.

Building facts
Project: Maggie's Cancer Caring Center
Architects: Snøhetta
Category: Installations
Size: 350 sq. m.
Status: In progress
Location: Aberdeen

News: French Group Egis to redevelop Misrata City, Libya

French Group Egis will be in charge of the Misrata (Libya) reconstruction plan, French news agency AFP reports. Misrata is one of the Libyan cities most heavily damaged in the war.
Before the civil war, Misrata enjoyed its modern infrastructure: new roads, electricity and communication.
Misrata, also spelled Misurata or Misratah is situated 187 km (116 mi) to the east of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast near Cape Misrata. With a population just over 350,000, Misrata is the third largest city in Libya after Tripoli and Benghazi. The Key element to this city is its geographic characteristics: Misrata is bounded by the sea to the north and east and to the south by golden sands dotted with palm and olive trees. Other particularity: green plains surrounding the center of the town.
Misrata urban space consists mostly of modern buildings, wide streets, large factories such as the iron and steel complex and carpet and textile factories and a number of establishments, companies and trade centers.
Misrata, Libya. Credit: Google
It will be interesting to follow whose plan the French group Egis will implement to reconstruct the city. How to erase profound impacts of the civil war? It is obvious Egis will be confront with a set of constraints such as population growth, economic recovery, global warming, well-being, healthcare, education, remodernisation of infrastructure, etc.
Indeed, given the participation of Egis, it will not be surprising to note an acceleration of population growth attracted by a rapid redevelopment of the city. And if so, this may have a serious impact on the spatial but also social and economic dynamics of Misrata in the future. Hence the importance of implementing a reconstruction plan that measures all pressures — be they positive or negative — that will shape the city in the future.

Who are they?
Egis, a subsidiary of the French "Caisse des Dépôts" and "Iosis Partenaires" (shareholdin by executive partners and employees) on a 75%-25% basis, is a consulting and engineering group working in the fields of construction for transport, urban development, buildings, industry, water, the environment and energy. The group is also active in project financing and road and airport operation.
The new group results from the merger, on 1st January 2011, of Egis, a leader in infrastructure engineering and Iosis, a French leader in construction and civil nuclear engineering.
With 11,000 employees, of whom 7,000 in engineering, and a turnover of €800 million in 2010, the new goup is present in over 100 countries and has around 50 offices in France.
It is the only French construction engineering group amongst the first ten European groups and the first twenty groups in the world.
Close to local and national stakeholders, Egis proposes engineering services in the field of urban development, from buildings to transport infrastructure: hospitals, tertiary buildings, stadiums, museums, stations, airports, tramways, etc. It is an internationally-recognised actor for its experience in major transport and civil engineering, etc. Its state-of-the-art expertise also covers sectors such as water, environment and landscaping.

Source: AFP, Wikipedia

12/21/2011

Today's video: Sou Fujimoto by Studio Banana TV

Plataforma Arquitectura posted an interview of Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto realized by Studio Banana TV.

Credit: Studio Banana TV. Video originally appeared on Plataforma Arquitectura

Comments: IKEA Urban Project in London

What to think of IKEA and its urban project in Stratford, East London. This will be a 26-acre site near the Olympic Park with two waterways that will surround the site with the aim of creating a "mini-venice" according to Pop up City.
Model of the IKEA Urbanism. Originally appeared on The Pop Up City

This urban project will provide all the specific needs for its resident: moorings, water taxi service, and even a floating cocktail bar. As The Huffington Post reports, The aim is to create a friendly neighbourhood idyll, with courtyards and a public square to encourage interaction, and the unsightly aspects of life will be kept to a minimum. Cars will be parked underground and rubbish will be discreetly disposed of through undergound tunnes. A school, health surgery and nursery will be built to minimise inconvenient travel.

According to the model above, this IKEA Urbanism seems idyllic. It will propose 1,200 affordable housing in a simple but efficient design. Blocks of housing with two and more storeys including balconies, green areas and courtyards are surrounded by green area. As for the buildings, the design will be simple and minimalist. The key element to this project is to provide flexible, comfortable and efficient housing at low cost. Housing aside, it will provide shops, cafés and a 350-room hotel.
Housing model by IKEA and BoKlok. Originally appeared on The Pop Up City

This is time to pause and look at this project in another way. Indeed, this IKEA Urbanism raises lots of questions among others: As Pop Up City pointed out, can IKEA do the same to urbanism as what it did to interior design? What does IKEA Urbanism propose, of course affordable housing, shops, cafés, hotel, and a dreaming site aside? Will this neighborhood project really produce positive outcomes — outcomes that will allow this new neighborhood to contribute to environmental sustainability? These questions, but also many others, will find their answer when the project being completed, say, by 2013. Yet let me share my skeptical view about the result. I might be wrong but IKEA project seems be nothing but the reflect of this assembly-line buildings model quoted by Rem Koolhaas. I cannot stop repeating: the fact of providing affordable buildings is a good idea as housing weakness is no doubt an important issue not only in the UK but also, broadly, in Europe, the U.S. However it would worth being better to avoid "standardized buildings". It's worth figuring this project out, and beyond the issue of neighborhood design: How to design neighborhood that will be affordable, flexible, as well as ecologically friendly, while avoiding the 'standardization' of housing? Even though I have no doubt that the neighborhood design will be impressive, I am afraid this project beeing labelled "IKEA" as it is the case with IKEA's interior design and products. But let's wait for the building being completed…

Source: Huffington Post, Pop Up City

12/12/2011

Tohoku Planning Forum Part I: An Introduction to a research on a New sustained Tohoku


The Tohoku Planning Forum #1, organised at Tokyo University, Tokyo, on December 12th, is closed and a second part is in preparation. It is scheduled for December 20th. I will be in Paris. Sadly.
Tohoku Planning Forum #1. Credit: Urban Lab Global Cities

This first part was very instructive. It should be considered as an introduction of a long-term conversation-led project as participants raised topics that should be discussed before been translated into plans or projects to participate in the reconstruction of the damaged Northeast.
Unsurprisingly, the main idea of the project and its articulation aside, the idea of "share" (共有), mutual aid (互助的関係), community building, etc. dominated the conference. Other subjects such as housing, to quote a few, occupied a large part of the condference.
In my view, the question of temporary housing will gradually be posing a serious problem in particular concerning the elderly people who are the most numerous in the temporary housing. That was the case in 1995 (The 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake): temporary housing already raised lots of issues. This is once again the same with the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami/Fire/Radiation. As Noritoshi Tanida argued (See —> "What happened to elderly people in the great Hanshin Earthquake", Noritoshi Tanida, 1996), the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake was the worst natural disaster in terms of its effect in elderly people. More than half of the fatalities were among those over 60 years old, and most of this group of age were female fatalities. Elderly people were left to their own devices and many of them were relegated to the marginal space in shelters. In this context, many died even long after the earthquake struck Kobe. This is what Japan wants to avoid by proposing a maximum of temporary housing to house the evacuees encouraging volunteers to support the most vulnerable victims, the elderly people.
It has not been said in this conference, but as the reconstruction plan is not fixed yet, people will continue to live in temporary housing. Yet up to when? As it is difficult to determine a date, it is consequently important to considering temporary housing as a place where people want to live in, at least temporarily. A place providing minimum living conditions that will help wait for the reconstruction. It is also important, as one participant, Liz Maly (Kobe University), pointed out, to avoid mistakes of 1995, say: people, in particular elderly people, were relocated far away from where they lived leading to a serious trauma.
Another point that the conference highlighted is the relationship between evacuees and volunteers. People want to talk, talk, and talk. In fact, they want to share their experience in order to help reconstruct the damaged areas. Once again, if we go back to 1995, the elderly people and the vulnerable groups (injuries, orphans) were left behing in temporary accommodation. 
This is why the question of temporary housing should be reconsidered until the reconstruction as a place where people can meet one another. Kamaishi City in the Iwate Prefecture has many temporary housings for the evacuees. Heita is one among many examples. Mr Ohtsuki designed a plan showing a spatial arrangement that can be instructive for temporary housing, in particular where elderly people and various groups are numerous. This plan contains a care zone, a childhood zone, general zones (一般ゾーン), Support center zone, office, retails, a public space, a parking lot, etc., dedicated to the temporary dwellers. As for the community zone it allows for people to gather. But for those who dislike community, privacy zone must be considered in order these people to isolate themselves from the others. In few words, temporary housing must take into account each dweller' territory, privacy as well as safety. And this is the most difficult especially when the victims are numerous. This is a considerable task for those who are involved in "community building".
Another aspect highlighted is the disaster itself which was in fact multiple disasters-in-one disaster: not only earthquake but also tsunami, fire and radiation. A recent exhibition at TOTO Gallery Ma, Tokyo, (until December 24th) mapped these four events and their effects on the northeast cities. These multiple disasters must be taken into consideration in the reconstruction plan. It is certain that Japan will face with increasing similar events in particular coastal cities.
To conclude, as a participant pointed out, this earthquake/tsunami/fire/radiation will have a strong aftershocks not only physically and socially but also economically as it was already the case after The 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. Japan will face many challenging issues including its population aging. If Japan succeeds in designing a place to live, 'habitat cities' for its dwellers, if Japan succeeds in planning human-scale smart cities (I am not talking of technologies but of living conditions, well-being and health) that will provide a high quality of life and standard of living for the most vulnerable, the elderly people as well as children, the country will unsurpringly serve as example for societies that are concerned with this issue of population aging (the United States for instance) as health and well-being will be key urban standard of living.
Then a sustained and self-sufficient area. See these 3.11 events as an opportunity to implement a sustained and self-sufficient area for people who live in. This has not yet been discussed but the region needs a redistribution of urban activities that will allow young people to go back and invest in the region. While the rate of elderly people increases, the number of young people has decreased considerably over the last few decades, young people tending to move to the Capital for work. As Tohoku is considered as the granary of Japan — rice, and other farm commodities —, task will be to rethink the future of these areas as sels-sufficient and sustain areas so that young people will not only go back but also, and if so, revitalize this region.
Finally, as LSE Cities/Urban Age pointed out, it is clear that Japan will continue to rethink its risk management policies as the recent 3.11 events revealed serious limits of the natural prevention planning. The first part of the Tohoku Planning Forum did not discuss this point of risk management but it is important if not crucial to include improvement of risk management policies  in particular when the damaged area gathers all the weak points: threatened areas, high concentration of eldery people, wooden structures, etc.
The conference can be watched: Here. See also Tohoku Planning Forum website for detailed information.

12/09/2011

News: Zoning law: Japan: Reconstruction Zoning Law Passes Diet

Japan. EBC announced that Reconstruction zoning law passes diet. According to EBC:
A key law aimed at helping munipalities devastated by the March earthquake and tsunmi was enacted Wednesday, almost nine months after the calamity struck.
Considered by the government as a core piece of its disaster recovery effort, the legisslation covers 222 municipalities in 11 prefectures and allows them to be designated as special zones for tax breaks, deregulation and subsidies.
The central pillar of the law is a drastic relaxation of zoning. For example, farms can be rezoned as residential properties. Also, food processing and other facilities that help promote the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries can be built on farmland.
The tax breaks include a five-year waiver of corporate taxes for businesses that set up operations in the disaster areas.
The government is to hold a meeting of the committee on rebuilding measures later this month to finalize the basic guidelines for the reconstruction zones. This expected to be approved by the cabnet early next year.

Source: EBC.

China's rapid urbanization in bird's eye pictures

Sustainable Cities Collective has posted a video on China's Rapid Urbanization that I warmly recommand to watch.
As Sustainable Cities Collective reports, China is urbanizing at pace never seen before. In the last two decades, thousands of new developments have sprouted along the fringes of cities across China. Farmlands are rapidly converted into urban land as the pictures below show.
Xi'an, The sourthern edge in 2005. Originally seen on Sustainable Cities Collective
Xi'an in 2009. Originally seen on Sustainable Cities Collective
Xi'an in 2010. Originally seen on Sustainable Cities Collective
Unsurprisingly, villages are replaced by large-scaled developments poping up here and there: buildings, infrastructures, etc. High-rise fill these blocks of lands rapidly. As China is engaging in a sustainable plan, it will not be surprised that these new towns will be embracing latest technologies. Yet a question raises: will these new towns be inhabited? Or will they be other ghost cities which abound in China.
The video can be seen: Here.


12/05/2011

Today's project: Biopole, Rennes, France by Peripheriques Architects

Located in Rennes, France, Biopole, designed by Paris-based Peripheriques Architects consists of a 2,560-square meter (SHON) business incubator on a quadrangular site. This building will house biotechnological activities including laboratories and private offices with laboratories, logistic rooms and common tertiary sectors.
Biopole, Rennes, France, © Peripheriques Architects

Below is the architects' presentation:


The side that we have taken in the urban implantation as well as in the architecutral expression consists of a large quadrangle around an atrium-patio.
The ambivalent needs to create a program that will not only preserve the confidentiality of the companies but also provide a good facade insulation which leads to a sort of a "fortified" architecture quite in the opposite of the desired convivial working space.
Biopole — Details, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects

We have got around this obstacle by proposing an organisation around a partially planted atrium situated on the first floor. Given the good orientation, this space would be at the same time an access, a space to relax and an opening to the reception. A large staircase partially planted links it to the ground floor plan and to the parking. The patio is the reference space of our project.
Biopole — Atrium, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects

On the exterior, the facade is covered by a protective and filter envelope. This sinusoidal stiles form a sensitive, thick skin acting also as a canopy. The gap is created by superimposing the sinuosoidal timber frame on the vertical stiles of the passageways. It produces a dynamic watering affect.
Biopole — Entrance, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects

The Biopole consists of two noble levels and a technical terrasse based on a retreat. The building is organised around the central landscape atrium.
Biopôle — Plans, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects

The interior spaces are totally flexible and rational. The building is based on a frame of 1 meter 55 of spacing determining the structure implantation, the façades, the subdivisions, etc… The project owes to be perfectly rational.
Biopole — Rond-Point, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects

Allied to the frame, the perfect square plan is controlled in an annual disposition. This organisation allows for a total flexibility in the interior fitting in the service of the young companies in creation phase.
Biopole — Rond-Point, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects
Biopole — Scheme, Rennes, France © Peripheriques Architects
The budget is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

Project fact
Project: Biopole
Program: Business incubator hosting biotechnological activities comprising laboratories and private offices with laboratories and private offices with laboratories, logistic rooms and common tertiary sectors
Architects: Peripheriques Architects — Emmanuelle Marin + David Trottin + Anne-Françoise Jumeau
Project manager: Julie-Laure Anthonioz
Assistants: S. Raza, C. Oiry, T. Dantec, J. Piffaut
BET TCE, HQE: Iosis Centre Ouest, Agence Rennes
BET Acoustique: Peutz & Ass.
Rendering: Autre Image
Client: Territories, representative, acting on behalf of the Community of Rennes urban area
Area: 2560 sqm SHON (net floor area)
Location: Atalante Champeaux, Rennes (35), France
Cost: 4,89m euros not including VAT (Value of 09/2009)
Competition: October 2010
Date of completion: by October 2013


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