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small WAN logo 12 February 2013
Issue 421
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London Aviation Debate: 64% of expert audience vote East at WAN event
On Tuesday 5 February, World Architecture News and World Cities Network joined forces to host a crucial debate at the Royal Geographical Society in London focusing on the future of the UK's transport network.
At the centre of the panel discussion and following Q&A was a basic but somewhat loaded question:
Should the UK expand Heathrow Airport or create/expand an airport to the East? In an anonymous vote from the audience of over 100 architects, engineers, economists and key figures from within the industry, 64% of attendees were in favour of constructing or expanding an airport in the East, while 21% voted for additional runways at Heathrow (West). 15% were in favour of alternative developments. Following introductions from Events Director Tessa Schubert and CEO of World Cities Network Brian Kilkelly, Richard Gammon, an aviation expert from HOK's London office gave a keynote address for the West during which he promoted a 'practical solution' to Heathrow's capacity issues. After highlighting that the existing airport is running at 99% capacity at this point... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University, California, United States
Opened in the New Year, Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall has been designed by Ennead Partners with Dr. Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics and Fisher Dachs Associates. The first performances on 11-13 January 2013 were sold out at the California campus with all 842 seats at the vineyard-style concert hall... Read more
2 Pavilion Siegen, Siegen, Germany
This dual-use pavilion's dramatic, planar form articulates an assured, yet subtle compression of space, framing views of the lake and the local topography. Designed by Ian Shaw Architekten, the building's tectonic rigour is palpable, its seemingly gravity-defying configuration enabling the floor plate and ceiling to cantilever... Read more
3 Sowwah Central, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
A new mixed-use development which will create Abu Dhabi's first super-regional urban shopping centre has been announced. Designed by Boston-based firm Elkus Manfredi and developed by Gulf Related, Sowwah Central will cover an area of 214,000 sq m and features a shopping centre together with... Read more
4 Hut-to-Hut, Kagala, India
An environmentally-friendly hut has been designed in Kagala, Karnataka in India. Entitled the 'Hut-to-Hut Project', the scheme was developed in a design and building workshop with Norway-based architects Rintala Eggertsson and students from the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway after a seminar on the future of tourism in... Read more
5 Podcetrtek Traffic Circle, Podcetrtek, Slovenia
A traffic circle structure using distinctive concrete blocks has been constructed in Podcetrtek, Slovenia. The 380 sq m structure was designed by Ljubljana-based architectural firm Enota and completed in 2012. Located on a busy road, the structure is situated between the local sports hall with open-air sports grounds on one side and a thermal... Read more
WAN AWARDS 2012 Shortlist Announcements
Sustainable Building of the Year Residential Sector House of the Year
As part of the ECOWAN programme, this year, WAN are proud to introduce the Sustainable Building of the Year Award. This category provides a platform for exciting developments in environmentally-conscious design and construction techniques to be showcased and rewarded. The WAN team was delighted to see that the inaugural challenge was met by a great wealth of visionary and ambitious ideas from around the world. Representing the vast and ever-developing industries of sustainability, architecture, and their vital collaboration, the judging panel was made up of four industry experts. The attending panel included Jerry Tate, of Jerry Tate Architects, Chartered Architect and Environmental Designer Sofie Pelsmakers and Mike Beaven of Arup Associates. With the comments and... Read more The WAN Residential Awards 2012 saw entries fly in from across the globe from practices of all sizes tackling a variety of problems from difficult sites to social and affordable housing. From a longlist of 30, the jurors narrowed their selection down to 8; 2 unbuilt and 6 built projects. These 8 shortlisted schemes all pushed and redefined the boundaries of the residential typology. In the unbuilt category BIG's Beach and Howe Tower in Vancouver caught the judges' eye with juror Neil Billet, Partner Buro Happold commenting that the scheme 'dealt with the challenges of a difficult site in a new and interesting way'. The cleverly twisted sculptural form of the tower starts as a triangle on the ground plane and ends with a square floor plan on top, impressing the jurors who ultimately came to the conclusion that if this scheme would be built not only would it be... Read more The longlist for the WAN's 2012 House of the Year Award provided an impressive array of submissions from architects all over the world, and it was the judges' hard task to whittle the list of 32 down to 6. Submissions ranged from a variety of cultures and briefs; from cliff-top homes in Hawaii to the East African jungle and holiday homes to affordable housing prototypes, the longlist was studded with exciting projects which tackled each brief in its own unique way. For the esteemed jurors it was projects which had a story to tell about the site and local culture which placed them at the head of the pack. Studio Seilern's Gota Residence in East Africa in particular drew the judges' attention. The project described by Ellie Stathaki, Architecture Editor of Wallpaper as having the 'wow factor,' impressed the judges with its uncompromising attitude... Read more
Engineering the Living City
For the past half century the human race has grown at an alarming rate, along with the urban areas in which many of us now live. It is estimated that over half of the world's population live in cities, and that figure is predicted to increase to 70% by the second half of this century. The UN estimates that there are 40 million new city dwellers in Asia every year, and by 2030 there will be over two billion new urban residents worldwide. While many governments in developing
countries grapple with the challenge of accommodating this shift of demographics, some cities in the developed world are facing a different set of problems, such as economic stagnation and a shrinking population.

This leaves concurrent issues: many cities are growing too rapidly for the existing infrastructure and services to cope, leaving them struggling to provide essentials such as adequate water, waste treatment, energy and food, while other cities have an infrastructure which is too big for current needs and too costly to maintain. With cities also being responsible for a reported 75% of the world's carbon footprint, a radical set of solutionsis needed to tackle the social, economic and environmental issues that are becoming increasingly familiar.

One major solution that is finding its way into debates about our urban environments is the 'smart city' - a city that is built around new and emerging information and communications technologies, focusing on the opportunities that applied science and technology can provide in relation to management of city systems and advancements in knowledge communication and social infrastructure. Technology giants IBM claim that the smarter systems are already making a huge impact on today's cities - in 2011, 400 cities globally used smart traffic systems, saving their road users 100,000 hours in delays and saving each municipality $15m. IBM claims that smarter cities offer 'tangible outcomes and benefits' to cities across the globe, saving energy, money and time. It's clear that integrating ICT systems with city planning is working effectively.

But does smart city thinking really go far enough? Or do we need to think beyond the technology? Andrew Comer, Infrastructure and Environment Director at Buro Happold,
thinks so.

Read more
Full Report: West
London Aviation Options
Full Report: East
London Aviation Options
Opening the case for West London at WAN's East or West? Aviation Debate was Richard Gammon of HOK's London office whose strong belief in a practical solution rung clear through his entire keynote address. Gammon's argument looks towards a long term solution to the UK's airport capacity to 'safeguard London's future'. During his keynote speech,
The opening argument for the East was given by Daniel Moylan, Aviation Advisor to Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Moylan swiftly explained that the capacity issues faced by the UK's transport system have a direct effect on the country's economy and that Mayor of London, Boris Johnson 'knows there must be a compromise'. This is one aspect of the aviation challenge that all involved parties seemed to agree on; that the answer is not as simple as
Gammon explained that the debate should keep 'a central focus on London, not the merits of one airport over another'. What he does believe however is that the short term answer to the UK's problems is the expansion of the existing Heathrow Airport as it has been 'proven as an international airport, and a regional and national economy booster'. One point that both Gammon (East) and Daniel Moylan, Aviation Advisor to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson could agree on was that 'there is undoubtedly... Read more east verses west and we need to consider a variety of potential sites and timescales if the UK is to find a successful solution to its current airport capacity issues. Moylan gave a strong argument for the East panel, which includes proposals such as Foster + Partners' Thames Hub, Gensler's London Britannia Airport, Luton Airport redevelopment by Weston Williamson and Goodwin Airport in Kent by Beckett Rankine. One of the strongest points raised in Moylan's presentation was the increase in noise... Read more
schmidt hammer lassen's Cathedral
of Northern Lights opens in Norway
A 47m-high cathedral from which the northern lights can be viewed has been officially opened by Mette-Marit, the Crown Princess of Norway. Designed by international architectural firm schmidt hammer lassen in cooperation with Link Arkitektur, the Cathedral of Northern Lights is situated 500km north of the Arctic Circle in Alta, Norway. The architects started work on the cathedral after a competition in 2001 for a new church from which the northern lights could be observed was organised by the city council of Alta.

Costing €16.2m and covering an area of 1,917 sq m, the city council wanted the building to be perceived as an architectural landmark in the region. Not only can the northern lights be seen from the cathedral, but the facade of the cathedral has been clad in titanium, allowing the lights to be reflected off the surface. Speaking about the building, John F Lassen, founding partner at schmidt hammer lassen, said: "The cathedral reflects, both literally and metaphorically, the northern lights: ethereal, transient, poetic and beautiful. It appears as a solitary sculpture in interaction with the spectacular nature."

The significance of the northern lights is also reflected in the architecture of the church with the contours of the cathedral rising as a spiralling shape to the top of the belfry tower.

Read more
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