small WAN logo 26 March 2013
Issue 427
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First illegal steel thinning, now substandard concrete.
The new scandal in Chinese construction
Back in September 2011 we reported on the concerning increase in steel thinning across China. Zhengzhou and Shaanxi Province were two of the regions highlighted in the piece but the rumours that manufacturers
of steel reinforcement rods were stretching their materials to greater lengths to maximise
profits regardless of the ramifications to the structural stability of the buildings they would be used in reached much wider. It has now emerged that another scandal has been bubbling under the surface of the Chinese construction industry where deadlines get shorter and buildings stretch further skyward. On 19 March, Shenzhen's Housing and Construction Bureau released an official statement which warned of the consequences of using substandard concrete and thin steel bars, suggesting that the latter is still an issue in this competitive market. Last week media reports began to emerge that 'inspections by state officials have found raw, unprocessed sea sand in at least 15 buildings under construction in Shenzhen, including a building which, when finished, was set to become China's tallest'... Read more
Top stories this week
1 National Convention and Exhibition Centre, Tianjin, China
German practice von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) have presented their winning concept for the Tianjin Exhibition Centre which beat international competition entries from Fuksas, HHP and NBBJ/BIAD among others. The firm has completed a number of projects in Tianjin including the Grand... Read more
2 Glass Farm Schijndel, Schijndel, Netherlands
A trip down memory lane is the intention behind inventive practice MVRDV's latest creation: Glass Farm in Schijndel. Now complete, this design was the firm's 7th proposal for a large market square in the town of Schijndel, and creates a public building situated between the church, town hall and the main street. Drawing on traditional... Read more
3 Mo Ventus House
Todd Fix of FIXd Architecture/Design has shared the firm's ambitious concept design for a luxury zero-energy home with WAN. The project is yet to move past the concept stage however the team are looking to press on with the construction of their first Mo Ventus House and are currently seeking financial backing. At the core of this bold design is a highly-flexible and... Read more
4 Waterfront Masterplan, Nanjing, China
Atkins has produced a landscape masterplan for the development of 30km of prime waterfront in Nanjing, one of China's four great ancient capitals and the second largest commercial centre in the East China region, in preparation for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. The masterplan will provide connectivity and access along... Read more
5 Shortlist announced for Nobel Prize Center, Blasieholmen, Stockholm, Sweden
Twelve architecture practices have been revealed by the Nobel Foundation as being shortlisted in an invited competition to design the new home of the Nobel Prize in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. The firms have been selected for their artistic abilities and previous experience working in areas with ... Read more
WAN 21 for 21 Award: View All Entries
Planning permission for southern hemisphere's tallest tower
Planning permission has been granted for what will become the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Australia 108 was approved for the city of Melbourne last week by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, who said: "Towers such as Australia 108 are consistent with the Coalition Government's drive to concentrate high-density development in defined areas and out of existing, quiet neighbourhoods. Every apartment in this tower is one less
apartment in an existing quiet neighbourhood."

The practice behind this 388m-tall tower is Fender Katsalidis Architects who designed the Eureka Tower in Melbourne which opened in 2006. This 297.3m-tall residential structure was inspired by the Eureka Stockade of 1854 where gold miners of Ballarat rebelled against the UK colonial authorities. The golden crown atop the Eureka Tower is a reference to this, as is the short red stripe near the crown which symbolises the blood split during the clashes.

When complete in 2018, Australia 108 will offer 646 apartments and a 288-room 6-star hotel, supported by a number of retail and dining options including a fresh food market and café. There will also be commercial office space to let. Inspiration for the design came from the Commonwealth Star on the Australian flag which can be seen in the 'starburst' feature at the building's summit.

Guy continued: "Australia 108 will be an outstanding addition to Melbourne's skyline. This tower signifies the best of Victorian architecture and a drive for enterprise and ingenuity that exists nowhere else in Australia. I am proud to approve a tower that will define our city for many years to come and which I am sure will become as iconic a Melbourne landmark as Flinders Street Station or Federation Square."

At this point in time the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere is the Q1 Tower in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast by Atelier SDG, the spire of which reaches 322.5m into the air. "Australia 108 has the ability to define Melbourne and signify our coming of age as a dynamic and progressive international city," said Nonda Katsalidis, co-designer of the project told CNN Travel. "Nothing like this exists in our part of the world."

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The engineering behind Sou
Fujimoto's Serpentine Pavilion
In the face of
extraordinary change
Every year the Serpentine Gallery in London invites an architect who is yet to complete a building in the United Kingdom to design and construct a temporary pavilion over the summer. The architect for the 2013 season will be 41-year-old Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who recently unveiled his concept of a cloud-like structure formed of 20mm steel poles which
Cannes, 13 March 2013, World Cities Network, in partnership with Arup, held the first of a series of Resilient Cities leadership debates. Founded in 2012, the purpose of World Cities Network is to bring together people who understand the urgent need to accelerate the development of urban infrastructure and the necessary operational systems
intersect one another like a gigantic nest. For the first time in 13 years, AECOM will be undertaking the engineering of the pavilion and WAN's Michael Hammond spoke to David Glover, Chief Executive of Building Engineering at AECOM to find out how they will make this 'transparent terrain' come to life... Read more to deliver resilience in face of the numerous stresses that cities face today. Commenting on the debate, Brian Kilkelly, founder of World Cities Network said: "Across the globe, cities are facing incredible challenges due to demographic shifts, resource depletion, climate change and... Read more
Cambodian housing
competition results announced
Three international architecture firms have been announced as joint winners in a design competition that hopes to provide Cambodians who have little resources with a better standard of living. The competition had over 600 registered entrants and a jury made up with representatives from Building Trust International, Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, Karuna Cambodia, MIT, Collective Studio, members of the Cambodian Society of Architects and - most importantly - the families that are going to live in the houses once
they are built later this year.

The design competition asked for designs of a $2,000 house that can withstand flooding and offer a safe and secure home for low income families in Cambodia. Habitat for Humanity Cambodia have supported the competition from the start and now plan to deliver these homes in the coming months, giving the families that they support a chance to choose a design that relates to their specific lifestyle needs.

The jury picked three designs that reflected the desire to have a large flexible space to meet changing family needs, a space to rear chickens and a design that allowed for a shop front on the ground floor.

A wide range of submissions made use of sustainable materials and highlighted the need for Cambodia to look at the nature of the booming construction industry and to think about more environmentally friendly ways of meeting the housing demand.

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