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small WAN logo 03 September 2013
Issue 450
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Mecanoo's Library of Birmingham: Running rings around the competition
The striking new BREEAM Excellent £188.8m Library of Birmingham (UK) is 20% larger than its no longer fit-for-purpose predecessor and will display 400,000 of the institution's 1 million text collection to the public.
The exterior of the publically-funded library has gained a lot of attention over the past months as construction has drawn to an end.
Its filigree of metal circles is reminiscent of a Spirograph pattern and references the 'interlocking stories of industrial heritage, jewellery, people and knowledge' in the local area. Occupying a former car park adjacent Centenary Square flanked by The Repertory Theatre (1971) and Baskerville House (1938) the new 31,000 sq m Library of Birmingham sits in the middle of what Lead Architect Francine Houben from Dutch practice Mecanoo calls the 'red line'. Houben spent days mapping her experience of the city and responding to the architectural rhythm of the existing site and routes, creating a theoretical 'red line' which connects the Bullring Shopping Centre, New Street Station, Centenary Square, the ICC, the canals (Birmingham has more than Venice) and The Westside (one of the most vibrant and dynamic districts in the city centre).... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Mashreq Bank Headquarters, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The practice behind the recently completed Cayan Tower has just released glittering imagery for the new Mashreq Bank Headquarters, also destined for Dubai. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been selected to design the 32-storey commercial headquarters for Mashreq Bank and the single rendering... Read more
2 Changi Airport Project Jewel, Singapore
A team devised of Safdie Architects, Benoy and local firm RSP has been commissioned to design a mixed-use complex at Changi Airport in Singapore to encourage transiting passengers to lengthen their stay in the country. Approximately 30% of the passenger traffic at Changi Airport is transiting and it is the intention... Read more
3 Ecorium of the National Ecological Institute, Seocheon, South Korea
Located in Seocheon, Republic of Korea, the Ecoplex ecological park is a government-led initiative to preserve the natural environment of the region and to create a national hub to gather various ecological valuables for advanced research and exhibition in Korea. Within the Ecoplex lies the Ecorium... Read more
4 MUSE - Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy
A Science Museum in the emerging Le Albere area of Trento, Italy has opened to the public. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the glassy form sits at the far end of the main pedestrian route through the up-and-coming Le Albere development and overlooks a public park and Palazzo delle Albere. The 11 hectare Le Albere area is undergoing... Read more
5 Open House, Alabama, United States
Many towns and cities across the world have the odd abandoned house or dilapidated property, gnawed away by the elements and slowly succumbing to decay. In York, Alabama, one such property has been the focus of an artistic intervention by Matthew Mazzotta in partnership with the townspeople and The Coleman... Read more
WAN AWARDS Winners Revealed
Civic Buildings Performing Spaces
South Yorkshire family turn abandoned 1920s cinema into contemporary home
Here at WAN we're great supporters of adaptive reuse schemes, from monasteries dating back to the 1600s turned into music schools and cowsheds transformed into modern private homes, we are forever on the lookout for the most magical and experimental design projects.So imagine our joy when we came across an ambitious adaptive scheme in South Yorkshire, UK by Works Architecture, a London-based firm who have been working

closely with a young family to transform a 1920s cinema into a contemporary residence with plenty of space for two children to run and play. The entire experience has been avidly documented by the client family and will be broadcast this month on Channel 4 as part of the new series of Grand Designs, hosted by Kevin McCloud. The episode is scheduled for Wednesday 4 September at 9pm.

The Kensington Palace Cinema opened in the South Yorkshire town of Thorne in 1927 at the site of a former wooden picture house often frequented by adults and children from the local workhouse [Doncaster Gazette]. The construction and running of the cinema was overseen by the Austin family with Percy Russell Austin as proprietor and his son John as manager, John's wife Eveline taking over the position in 1942 when he was called up for war service.

Over the years the original Kensington Cinema has seen a range of uses, from a bingo hall to a night club, and now enters its next stage as a private home to the ap Harris family. A detailed history of the old cinema and its uses through the ages - including firsthand accounts from local people - can be found on the family's blog.

The family purchased the disused building for £90,000 and have managed to completely transform it into a modern family home with contemporary finishes, a projector room and landscaped garden (designed by Cheri LaMay from Earthworks) for less than £500,000. Since the old cinema was situated in a conservation area, the family were unable to raze the building and start again so plans were drawn up by Works Architecture to adapt the existing structure into something more suitable for a family with young children

Now complete, the house is a welcome addition to its estate. Its refreshed façade retains the character of the original cinema but has been reworked in a contemporary style...

Read more
From crowd-funded stoves to 3D-printed cars:
WAN Product of the Year shortlist unveiled
Villagers in Sangkhla Buri construct
temporary 450m floating bamboo bridge
Although the Product of the Year attracted global entries from an incredibly wide range of disciplines and applications, the judges had to simply decide the following; can this product show evolution in its respective area and does it bring anything new, fresh and innovative to the table. The judges that had the task of assessing such depth and breadth were: Andrew Best from Buro Happold;
Thailand's longest wooden bridge was completed this Thursday – by the residents of the two towns it connects. The previous "real" bridge, Saphan Mon, is said to have collapsed on July 28 after heavy rains and strong currents caused a build-up of weeds around its support struts.
Zoe Laughlin, Creative Director of the Institute of Making; Brendon Moss, Development Director for Land Securities; and Timo Tiainen, Design Director at KONE Corporation. First onto the shortlist was EBE85, an innovative window and door system with reduced visible frames from Secco Sistemi in Italy. Brendon Moss noted its sleek profile adding that it 'seems like an evolution to what's already there'. Next was the Natural Clay Plaster Interior Walls Finishes by Clay Works in the United Kingdom. Commissioned by Nando's restaurants, they were able to create... Read more 500 residents of the Sangkhla Buri district then took part in building a temporary floating bridge of bamboo, which now spans the Song Kalia river. The collapse had caused a devastating dividing effect on local communities. The construction of the 450m bridge, which was expected to require two to three weeks, took only six days. This, according to the Mayor of tambon Wang Ka Municipality Pakorn Noikate, was thanks to the desire and determination of locals – including Thais and ethnic Mon people – to demonstrate community strength and unity... Read more
46 breathtaking competition entries for
Astana 2017 World Expo venue revealed
In 2017 Kazakhstan will host a World Expo, following in the footsteps of cities such as Shanghai (2010), Brisbane (1988), Osaka (1970) and Seville (1929).

The country's capital (since 1997) Astana will be the location for the event and in February 2013 a competition was launched to find an architecture studio who could design a suitably eye-catching venue for this international celebration. The competition was published by WAN's Business Information Service and can be viewed here.

The organising committee received over 100 applications from 20 countries and has now selected its shortlist of 46. Major international firms sit level with local practices from Kazakhstan, awaiting a final result this September. The winner will receive a prize of £150,000 however the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested that a 'symbiosis project' is not out of the question.

He continued: "The theme of our exhibition is closely related to 'green economy', which takes into account the possibility of using alternative energy sources and the autonomous water and heat provision in each of the constructions."

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