small WAN logo 29 May 2013
Issue 436
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$5.5bn Oryx Island off the Doha coast unveiled by
Barwa Real Estate to house 2022 World Cup visitors
Barwa Real Estate has unveiled plans to construct a $5.5bn island off the coast of Doha at Cityscape Qatar with a short presentation of the development uploaded to YouTube on Monday 27 May. The Oryx Island
film credits HOK and ABS and spreads over 2 million sq m away from the hustle and bustle of the
thriving city of Doha. With five floating hotels, an open-air theatre pavilion, commercial district, leisure areas and various residential options, Oryx Island has been designed to provide temporary accommodation during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. A series of venues are also planned for spectators to enjoy the football matches from the island. Chief Executive of Barwa Abdulla al-Subaie told Reuters: "We anticipate that there will be a short-term demand for hotel rooms, so maybe it is not wise to offer all these hotel rooms for only a short time. Oryx Island can accommodate 20,000 to 25,000 people. Cruise ships can be docked for one week, two weeks. It can be mobilised and demobilised for a short time." Using the Arabian Oryx - a white antelope with lengthy horns native to the Arabian... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Sky City, Changsha, China
A true vertical city. This is the concept behind Sky City, a 838m-high tower destined for Changsha in Hunan Province and allegedly due to begin construction next month (June 2013). The team behind the project are Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), a Chinese construction group responsible for some of the swiftest building projects in the world including the 15-day construction... Read more
2 Casa CorManca, Mexico
Paul Cremoux Studio has completed the transformation of a terraced house in Mexico which is the epitome of the oft-used saying 'bringing the outside in'. The modest terraced property measures a humble 176 sq m and was in need of updating. The team converted this tired, dark building into a verdant property full of life, incorporating over 4,000 plants where... Read more
3 Amazon Headquarters, Seattle, United States
NBBJ is establishing itself as the architect of choice for internet giants after it partnered with Amazon for a Seattle Headquarters just over a year ago and Google in March this year. The team has just released glittering revisions for the Amazon HQ where one of three 'blocks' has been substituted for a shimmering cluster of biodomes... Read more
4 Minnesota Vikings Stadium, Minneapolis, United States
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), the Minnesota Vikings and HKS Sports & Entertainment Group have together unveiled the design of the new multi-purpose stadium Monday, 13 May in Minneapolis. Described as an authentic structure influenced by its Minnesota location, the new stadium exhibits a bold, progressive... Read more
5 Pop-Up Hotel
A design competition for 'the next big hotel concept' has been won by Danish practice PinkCloud. The young firm's design addresses the vast number of vacant buildings in some of the world's top cities and suggests a Pop-Up Hotel concept to provide temporary residential units for visitors in these under-utilised properties. The team took home the $10,000 first prize in the Radical... Read more
Winners of WAN 21 for 21 Award travel to Arup's London
offices from Brazil and France to collect esteemed awards
Charles Correa - India's greatest architect?
Charles Correa hadn't been on my radar. In the frenetic world of WAN's newsroom, it's more likely to be KPF's latest tower in New York or a new Zaha creation that has my focus on a Monday morning. But this is a Saturday, a rare sunny Saturday in London. I'm here on a mission, drawn by the intriguing title of the RIBA's latest exhibit, Charles Correa: India's Greatest Architect. It was a gripping title and it had my interest.

Portland Place is quiet, a welcome respite from the retail mayhem of Oxford Street just a few hundred yards away. Once inside, the venerable organisation's HQ has the air of a cathedral. The silence is only broken by the bright screaming of the banners confirming that I was in the right place at the right time to view the work of India's Greatest Architect.

In the gallery, where peace is now almost tangible, pervading a sense of reverence in this inner sanctum, a handful of architects and students amble around studying the displays of Correa's work.

A quick scan of the drawings and photographs on display reveal a subdued architecture, understated buildings muted by organic colours. Correa's work wasn't screaming 'Great' but it drew you in, the forms, the colour, looked so natural, so understated. I checked the date on a drawing of a timeless, magnificent apartment block. 1983.

As an architect, you will know that to achieve simplicity in a building, like most other designs, is actually extremely hard to achieve. It is often the result of a combination of a natural understanding of space and form, underpinned by rigorous research. For me, the notations alongside the designs were the most intriguing, providing a real insight into the workings of Correa's mind, his approach, his humanity.

Born out of a background of architecture schooling in the US, Anne Arbor and MIT in the 1950s, his body of work is almost reactionary. From the same roots came the glass and steel structures that dominate our cities today. Correa's understanding of a building's relationship with climate was religiously embodied in his designs and his use of passive environmental control at odds with the advent and almost universal adoption of mechanical AC by his architect peers in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

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Report suggests living in high rise blocks
elongates life. Antony Wood comments...
David Gensler: Designing a new town
square for our crowded urban future
Those living at the upper floors of a high rise block, i.e. on the eighth floor or above, are likely to enjoy better quality of health and therefore live longer, a study has shown. The examination was carried out by the University of Bern in Switzerland and demonstrates that those living higher in the sky benefit from longer hours of daylight, better air quality and more opportunities for exercise, for example when the lift systems in their buildings are out of order.
Those of us associated with the building of cities are often asked to do tricky things. Build a 632-meter-high skyscraper and give it the world's tallest and fastest single elevator, traveling at speeds of more than 40 mph so folks can soar to the top in fewer than 40 seconds with no transfers. Build a data center in Houston that makes its own electricity (handy during
The study was undertaken on 1,500,015 individuals in Switzerland living in 1,008,190 households and 160,629 buildings of 4 or more floors. It found that there were more single person households and households of couples without children living at the uppermost floors and the percentage of Swiss nationals, French-speaking residents and people with... Read more a hurricane) and turns rain water into an asset. Design an office building that makes people happy to come to work. But one of the biggest challenges facing us today requires, perhaps, one of our best magic tricks of all time: Creating open space when there seems to be none left. How do we give people in cities public spaces (parks, gardens, squares... Read more
Malcolm Reading on selecting the top
emerging architects for the 21st century
I was delighted to be asked to be one of the judges for World Architecture News' 21 for 21 Awards and the experience lived up to its promise. Now in its third year, this international competition aims to highlight the 21 architects who could be the leading lights of architecture in the 21st century. It broaches the question of how the future in architecture might look: offering recognition for potential, as well as evidence of
current brilliance.

Some criteria for success were self-evident: originality, innovation, form and special quality, sustainability and context. There were some subtleties though - as the day went on it, it became apparent that architects who had a clear sense of place and local context kept rising to the top of the sift. This is an intriguing change.

There was a very strong sense of confidence and exceptional quality in the submissions, from a diverse collection of countries. Architecture is clearly regaining a sense of delight and an appetite for originality. A decade ago, globalisation fuelled a belief that all architecture was international, and size became a dominating factor in design awards. Not surprisingly, this produced architecture characterised by a depressing global everywhere-ness, a homogenous product invariably made of glass that spoke little of context and scale. It looks as though this trend might be waning now.

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