small WAN logo 12 November 2013
Issue 460
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UNStudio and Studio ARCI-designed Kutaisi International Airport is a breath of fresh air
The Georgian city of Kutaisi, west of the capital Tbilisi, recently opened a key new addition to its infrastructure network: Kutaisi International Airport. Designed by UNStudio with local architects Studio ARCI and Arup
as Airport Planners, the airport was both designed and constructed within a two-year window.
Targeted primarily at low-cost airlines, Kutaisi International Airport is able to process up to one million travellers each year with 40 international and domestic flights expected each week in 2014. It has been designed with UNStudio's characteristic aesthetic flair, sporting a vivid splash of red on the façade and an arresting 'umbrella' across the ceiling of the main terminal building. These two main architectural elements define the bulk of the aviation facility, with the scarlet corner detail acting as a point of recognition for those passengers less familiar with the airport layout and the 'umbrella' inside acting as a roundabout for passenger flows. As Ben van Berkel explains: "The design for the new airport embraces the traveller by embodying the circumstance of the site. Moments of both... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Villa B, Lyon, France
Following a simple structure, this brightly-lit timber-framed house was erected on a concrete slab in the French city of Lyon, overcoming many unforeseen design complications and challenges. Villa B was designed by Tectoniques Architects on a bare site at the edge of a city in the middle of market gardens. Inspired by the image of Frank Lloyd Wright's... Read more
2 Changi Airport Terminal 4, Singapore
Construction has officially begun at Terminal 4 of Singapore's Changi Airport following a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday (5 November 2013). The large-scale project is the work of SAA Architects (lead consultant and executive architect) with Benoy Limited (concept and interior design). The new terminal has been designed to... Read more
3 Garden Bridge, London, United Kingdom
A period of public consultation has begun for a new Garden Bridge proposed to cross London's River Thames. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick with Dan Pearson Studio and engineers Arup, the concept has been developed in response to a call from Transport for London to enhance pedestrian links across the... Read more
4 Wanda Harbin Indoor Ski Resort, Harbin, China
Beijing-based architecture studio Patel Architecture has shared its latest scheme with WAN - an indoor ski centre in Harbin for the Chinese developer Wanda Group. The scheme captures the vibrancy of this rapidly growing area, with Harbin being awarded 'City of Music' status by UNESCO in 2010. Already approved and due to begin construction... Read more
5 Queens Museum, New York, United States
At a ribbon cutting ceremony for Queens Museum held 30 October attended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Museum Director Tom Finklepearl, museum leadership and city officials, the public got its first peek at the newly completed museum. Newly branded as Queens Museum, dropping Art from its name earlier this year, the... Read more
Frank Gehry brings his latest Fish Lamps to London's Gagosian Gallery
'The fish is a perfect form,' says Frank Gehry of his illuminating collection, currently on display at the Gagosian Gallery in London. WAN was fortunate enough to attend an exclusive preview prior to the opening reception of Fish Lamps in Mayfair last week, attended by the unassuming Gehry on a somewhat blustery evening.

Gehry's latest school of lamps are a leap ahead of the original Fish Lamps, first commissioned by Formica Corporation in 1983 as an experiment into the use of a new material: ColorCore. This plastic laminate shattered during the design process, inspiring Gehry with its ragged shards, reminiscent of fish scales.

The resulting collection was amassed between 1984 and 1986, with approximately 30 lamps in static poses, retrained by their wooden anchors and electrical wires. The refined shards of plastic laminate ColorCore were glued to wire armatures cast in slithering fish shapes and illuminated from within by hidden bulbs.

In 2012, Gehry revisited his series of Fish Lamps with an edgier eye. The resulting sculptures boast raw edges and a take a more active form, gliding through the air as they would water. Individual sculptures in the full collection range from life-size to grossly outsized, with the five pieces on display at the Gagosian Gallery in London measuring 135 x 152.4 x 152.4cm at the smallest to 244 x 183 x 91.4cm at the largest.

On entering the gallery, the visitor is met to the left by a shoal of eight elements, swirling together in a cloud of tattered scales and shards of light which reflect off the nearby window. Meanwhile, directly opposite the door, four sconces follow one another in a perfect semicircle across the wall. This quartet of lamps (seen left with Gehry) is arguably the highlight of the exhibition.

As the four fish slither across the wall in simulated motion, chinks in their scales permit bubbles of light to escape, splashing across the wall like water, further adding to this imitation of movement. Unlike the original Fish Lamps, the pieces in Gehry's latest collection do not have eyes, giving them a sense of mystery and an otherworldly quality.

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WAN's Jim Davis takes a tour of AHMM's Roeterseiland Campus in Amsterdam
The Roeterseiland Campus of the University of Amsterdam is situated on the Eastern edge of the old city. It is about to gain new buildings that are actually older buildings completely reinvented whilst breathing new life into an existing incomplete masterplan by Norbert Gawronski. My guides for the day on site were Davy Demmers, Deputy Director and Sanne Doelman, Project Manager from the Real Estate Development Department of the University of Amsterdam.

The main slab block left a low opening over the canal making it not particularly enticing for those passing underneath it. A four-floor, 40m section of the underside of the building across the canal has been removed and, as a show-stopper, a double-height catering space glazed on both sides inserted to give fantastic views across the city. Its floor is suspended on four rows of steel rods from a new exposed concrete box girder which also forms the ceiling. It takes Gawronski's original scheme and enhances it quite dramatically. A new low bridge will also be added over the canal rejuvenating outside circulation and communal areas.

Inside, ease of wayfinding has been accomplished by strong use of colour for doors and cores denoting a particular department or faculty. As a result, signage and visual clutter will be minimised. This allied to consistent views from the exterior glazing meant that there is near constant visual reference for orientation.

I arrived at the campus by bicycle. The team have worked to massively reduce car parking and car access on campus. In the Netherlands there are no Building Regulations regarding bicycle parking. The team calculated how many of the 22,000 students using the Roeterseiland campus would be on site at any one time and arrived at the figure of 3,100 to be located under the building. To try and prevent bicycles continuing to be casually left around the building creating clutter, a new direct stairway is to link to the main reception, making the basement facility as convenient as possible.

The project is due to complete at the end of 2013, opening later in 2014. The constant theme throughout the tour was on creating a place for all who use the campus to enjoy and create a place where students want to be; to study, to socialise and 'to daydream', as Demmers put it. With wonderful detail, great surrounding spaces and commanding views of an exciting city on the doorstep, it will easily accommodate all these aspirations.

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Cathedral Group raises £86,900
for KIDS at A Dolls' House auction
How are John Portman & Associates
supporting continuing care in China?
Last night, the developers behind The Old Vinyl Factory and Clapham One held a thrilling event at auction house Bonhams in London, raising an incredible £86,900 for the charity KIDS. This was the final hurrah in a colourful fundraising campaign by Cathedral Group who challenged 20 top architects, designers, artists, model makers and poets to create working dolls' houses for the charity auction. The event was hosted by Bonhams in their newly revamped venue
John Portman & Associates is working with Guangnian Investment Co., Ltd on a high-end retirement community in China. While the concept of a retirement community is relatively commonplace in many countries across the world, this is one of the first developments of its kind in China. WAN spoke to Walt Miller, RA, Principal and Design Director at John
on New Bond Street, designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and opened only two weeks ago. Cathedral Group packed the room to the rafters in the auction house's first charity event in its exceptional new space. Throughout the evening, attendees were invited to peruse the 20 dolls' houses on display and bid for their favourite using the hand-held devices at each station. Many of the artistic teams behind the inventive creations were also on hand to answer any questions about their designs... Read more Portman & Associates to find out why this type of community development is finding a new market in China. The Continuing Care and Retirement Community is one of the first of its kind in China. Why are there so few developments of this nature? Traditionally, the elders of the family were cared for by the younger generations. There has been a cultural shift in China, brought on by a number of factors. China's one child policy has resulted in smaller family sizes that make it more difficult for the... Read more
Shannon McElvaney on
Urban Planning and the DNA of the City
A city looks and feels the way it does because of human intention. Early civilizations built their settlements next to waterways, designing them to accommodate this resource accessibility and their own survival. During the beginning of the industrial revolution, cities were planned with ever-evolving rules ensuring that city streets were wide enough to accommodate the full turn of a horse and carriage. In this way, the values of the people were encoded into the very DNA of the city. A complex built environment can be reduced
to three basic elements: links along which travel can occur, nodes representing the intersections where two or paths cross and public spaces form, and buildings where most human activities take place. The functionalities of place are all defined by rules and procedures, which make up the core design vocabulary of a place. Procedural design techniques automatically generate urban designs through predefined rules which you can change as much as needed, providing room for limitless new design possibilities.

Procedural design of a new urban ecosystem starts with a street network. Street blocks are then subdivided into lots, resulting in a new urban form. By selecting all or some of the lots, you can then generate buildings with appropriate setbacks and architectural characteristics. Procedural design technology lets all buildings be made to vary from one another to achieve an urban aesthetic. At this point the city model can be re-designed quickly and iteratively by changing simple parameters.

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