small WAN logo 25 June 2013
Issue 440
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Rudy Ricciotti Architecte's J4 MuCEM completes with elaborate double facade
The latest building in a multi-stage development in Marseille, France has now completed, offering a breathtaking new base for visitors to learn about the culture and history of the Mediterranean region. A
series of schemes are currently underway in Marseille as part of the cultural regeneration,
including the Euromed Center (Massimiliano Fuksas), Center for Conservation and Resources (Corinne Vezzoni) and Frac (Kengo Kuma), however the stunning images shown here showcase one scheme in particular: Rudy Ricciotti Architecte's J4 Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et de Méditerranée (MuCEM). A brand new building encompassing 15,000 sq m, the J4 MuCEM is the core of this vast cultural scheme. The MuCEM development is split into three parts: J4; Fort Saint-Jean; and the Center for Conservation and Resources. Visitors will begin their cultural journey in Rudy Ricciotti Architecte's J4 building, travelling through a series of exhibition spaces to a glorious suspended footbridge from which they can enjoy far-reaching views across the Mediterranean. This footbridge... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Leadenhall Building (The Cheesegrater), London, United Kingdom
The 224m-high Leadenhall Building by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has topped out, becoming the tallest tower in the City of London financial district. A celebration yesterday was attended by the Major of London Boris Johnson who was characteristically enthusiastic about the scheme... Read more
2 Gongyi Xintiandi, China
In line with the current five year government plan commitment to improve social infrastructure and social safety nets, assisting disadvantaged groups within the city, 'The Nest' was created in 2009 as a platform for collaboration and promoting the development of social entrepreneurs in Shanghai. The Nest pilot program was established with the... Read more
3 Henning Larsen (1925 - 2013)
Henning Larsen, founder of the self-titled Henning Larsen Architects, has died at his home in Copenhagen. The 87-year-old architect is highly respected around the world by both industry peers and architecture lovers, many of whom have taken to social media site Twitter to pay their respects. A heartfelt statement on the Henning Larsen... Read more
4 Exbury Egg, River Beaulieu, United Kingdom
The Exbury Egg has been officially launched into the estuary of the River Beaulieu. Designed by SPUD, PAD, Boat Builder Paul Baker and Naval Architect Stephen Payne for artist Stephen Turner, the Exbury Egg is a floating office space in reclaimed timber. The pod will be tethered to the side of the River Beaulieu for 365 days during which... Read more
5 Dalian Wanda invest in Nine Elms site, London, United Kingdom
Yesterday, Chinese hotel and property developers Dalian Wanda announced plans to construct a 205m-high residential scheme with hotel units as part of the highly-publicised Nine Elms development on London's South Bank. Nine Elms is a widescale residentail and commercial scheme incorporating... Read more
The Lotus Praxis Initiative and WOHA to share Hotel of the Year Award
Israel's architectural predicament: A search for identity,
the case for localism, and a call for a 'tempered globalism'
The next thing landing in Israel may not be a flight from New York; it may be a new building designed by a famous architect. Calatrava designed the Chords bridge, the symbol of Jerusalem's new light rail system; Richard Meier is designing a luxury residential tower in Tel Aviv, Preston Scott Cohen's extension to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art recently opened, and Herzog & de Meuron has been selected to design Israel's new National Library.

SANAA, Pawson and Fuksas also have projects there. Indeed, the built environment in Israel is rapidly changing and starchitecture is everywhere. Some fear it may be Israel's undoing by eroding local character whilst also being an indictment of local architects, who include among them many promising up-and-coming practices and third generation architects who are 'local stars' and ripe for the world stage.

The dispute is about globalization and turf wars and there appears to be no end in sight. One only needs to read the local newspapers like the Haaretz or The Jerusalem Post to see that this is an active and ongoing debate. Many of the new projects in Israel clearly show that those who procure architects for new buildings there - the city officials, the developers and the investors - are at odds with the local architecture community as to what is best for the country's architectural future - whether going global or cultivating local talent is the answer. One thing is for sure: Nearly every new project in the state, built, underway, or recently awarded, is contested.

The recent expansion of The Israel Museum is an example of project that balances the aspirations of global and local architecture. In 2010, the Museum held a competition to expand its facilities, a 20 acre campus designed by Al Mansfeld in 1965 comprised of intimately scaled modular form-cast concrete structures set on a hilltop. The American architect James Freed of Pei Cobb and Freed & Partners was selected for the project and later dismissed for what was deemed a 'monumental' expansion on a 'Herodian scale'. The Museum's director, James Synder justified Freed's selection on the grounds that the Museum is a 'national treasure that belongs on the world stage' thus making the case for tapping global architects for the job.

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Claims that idea behind Heatherwick's
Cauldron first pitched by another firm
The ups and downs
of vertical living
This week accusations emerged that one of the most popular Olympic Cauldrons in recent history was born of an idea from a practice other than that taking credit. Heatherwick Studio, headed by world-renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick, was fully credited for the designs however a number of allegations have now been made that the story behind the copper bloom concept was originally pitched to LOCOG by New York and London-based design
Two weeks ago at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) annual conference John Mizon, Vice President Advanced Programs at Schindler Limited, talked about the human appropriation of an unfinished office block in Caracas. Torre David, a 45-storey office tower in Caracas designed by the distinguished Venezuelan architect Enrique
studio Atopia Innovation. The London 2012 Olympic Cauldron was, for many, the architectural highlight of the Games. During the Opening Ceremony, each of the 204 countries brought with them a copper petal which was affixed to a long horizontal rod. At the climax of the ceremony, these rods were set alight and rose to an upright position in a moment that silenced the stadium. An excerpt from the expanded text Thomas Heatherwick: Making reads: "Our idea was that each country would bring a unique object to the... Read more Gómez, was almost complete when it was abandoned following the death of its developer, David Brillembourg, in 1993 and the collapse of the Venezuelan economy in 1994. Today, it is the improvised home of a community of more than 750 families, living in an extra-legal and tenuous occupation that some have called a vertical slum. Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, along with their research and design teams at Urban-Think Tank and ETH Zürich, spent a year studying the physical and social... Read more
City Brake: Charity riders compare how cities
deal with cyclists
Officially the City of Chicago has gone for hard and soft measures to increase cycling in the Windy City. The 'hard measures' of bicycle tracks and lanes along with the 'soft measures' of education, traffic awareness and advocacy. Chicago currently has more than 170 miles of on-street, buffered and shared bicycle lanes with more in the way of off-street paths (including the Lakefront Trail which is a shade over 18 miles). In its Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, the city is aiming to have a 645 mile network of
bicycle facilities in place by 2020 - the aim being that there is a quality bicycle facility within a half mile of every citizen of Chicago. They have also just launched a bike share scheme.

Into all this rode the Portland 2 Portland team on their way across the USA, The Republic of Ireland, Wales and England to the RIBA headquarters in London. The riders led by Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA: London's Centre for the Built Environment, had been pedalling away since 27 April. The team stayed in Chicago for a couple of days as part of their research project.

I had a chance to ask a couple of riders about their experiences so far. In particular, what they feel would improve cycling in Britain. Especially as the North American experience of motor car dominance in their cities is very similar to the United Kingdom including the solutions they are looking to.

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