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small WAN logo 17 September 2013
Issue 452
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Hard to find fault with - Foldes Architects' Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Center
Plumes of choking ash, creeping fingers of blisteringly hot lava and the often unexpected bolt of white lightening. Despite their ferocious power, there is something about volcanic eruptions that
has mesmerised the human population for many thousands of years. Scores of communities and religions hold volcanoes sacred or draw elements of these unpredictable peaks into their belief systems.
In Bali, people often sleep with their heads towards neighbouring volcanoes, residents of Flores are usually buried with their heads towards Mouth Ebulobo and the Aztecs considered Popocatepetl and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada sacred as rain clouds converged on them. The majesty of a former Hungarian volcano has now been captured by design practice Foldes Architects for the enjoyment and education of the general public. Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Center is a 932 sq m facility in Vas County, western Hungary near the former Sag Hill volcano. Having opened earlier this year, the €1.2m scheme shies away from the cliché of direct inspiration towards a more subtle representation of the subject material. Laszlo Foldes, Chief Designer at Foldes Architects explains: "Instead of the straight translation of the brief, such as creating a volcano shaped museum building, we wanted to capture the true substance of the location. According to our concept, the raw materials... Read more
Top stories this week
1 West 57th Street Tower, New York, United States
A single rendering has surfaced of an unusually slim tower overlooking Central Park in Manhattan. Designed by SHoP Architects for JDS Development and Property Markets Group, the project site is 105-111 West 57th Street, a stone's throw from the Museum of Modern art, Fifth Avenue and the aforementioned Central Park... Read more
2 High Roller Observation Wheel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Construction on the world's tallest Ferris wheel reached a milestone this week as its outer ring was completed, bringing the project full circle. The High Roller in Las Vegas, Nevada was designed by The Hettema Group with Arup Engineering and reaches a staggering height of 167.6m (550ft), 2.6m taller than the previous tallest... Read more
3 Taichung City Cultural Center, Taichung, Taiwan
Japanese practice SANAA with local Taiwanese studio Ricky Liu & Associates Architects + Planners has been confirmed as the winning team in a competition to design the Taichung City Cultural Center, comprising the Taichung Public Library and Taichung Fine Arts Museum. The original tender for the competition can be found here... Read more
4 The House Cast in Liquid Stone, Khopoli, India
Perched in the western highlands of Khopoli, Maharashtra is a fortress-like home by SPASM DESIGN Architects. The 638 sq m residence, entitled The House Cast in Liquid Stone, is a direct response to the local climate high up in the picturesque hills, frequently doused in heavy rainfall and blasted by heat during the summer... Read more
5 Court of Justice, Hasselt, Belgium
Designed by J. Mayer H, Architects with a20-architecten and Lensºass architecten, the Court of Justice in Hasselt, Belgium opens its doors today. The 28,000 sq m facility began construction in 2008 following a competition win in 2005 and combines courtrooms, a library for university students, auditoriums and a 64m-high office tower.... Read more
WAN AWARDS Residential Shortlist unveiled
Gail Taylor considers the incredible shrinking home
Fact: Average new-build property sizes in the UK are shrinking decade on decade, while we humans have been busy growing taller by 11cm (4in) over the last century. When it comes to new-builds, we now have one of the lowest average usable floor spaces in Europe at a rather cosy 76 sq m (818 sq ft). Why is this happening? Is it just developers being greedy - condemning us all to end up like poor Alice in Wonderland, squashed inside the
White Rabbit's tiny house with her head wedged against the ceiling?

Or are there other underlying reasons, such as the rise of the singleton and the fall of the large family? Has there been a move away from commuting to city centre living? Is biggest always best, or can small be perfectly formed? And is this purely a UK phenomenon, or is 'rabbit hutch syndrome' happening the world over?

These questions and others will all be hot topics for discussion at the World Architecture Day 2013 conference in New York this October during the 'Regional Influences in Housing' session. In the meantime, we took a whistle-stop tour round the globe to get an initial feel for emerging trends in the lead-up to WAD13.

Let's use the UK as a yardstick in our explorations around the world. It says something that electrical appliances, such as the new super-slim Dyson DC59 cordless vacuum cleaner, are being made smaller to fit into the nation's bijou living spaces. Many blame the fact that England and Wales are the only places in Europe not governed by some form of legal minimum space standards.

In recent times there has been a big drive to re-introduce standards along the lines of the 'Parker Morris' standards once used in the UK. The Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) is concerned about the size and quality of housing being built and its 'Case for Space' report states: "Based on our sample, the average new home in England is only 92% of the recommended minimum size. The average one bedroom home from our sample of 1,159 homes across 41 sites is 46 sq m (495 sq ft). It is 4 sqm short of the recommended minimum for a single storey, one bedroom home for two residents."

Read more
WAN attends exclusive KREOD Rio
2016 Olympic Games launch event
Coming soon on WAN:
Tender for Helsinki masterplan
As regular WAN readers will know we are always keen to meet the people behind the buildings featured on the website. Last week WAN attended a very exclusive event in Mayfair hosted by Chun Qing Li and Alexander Jarvis with Minister Counsellor, Embassy of Brazil Flavio Marega to celebrate the launch of the KREOD pavilion for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
This time a year ago World Cities Network was a budding initiative, reaching out to city administrations across the world to encourage change-makers to build more resilient cities. Today the organisation has announced that it is working with the City of Helsinki on a monumental redevelopment project with a tender due to be released in December. WAN's Business Information Service
The KREOD International Trade Pavilion is due to take a starring role in the Games, occupying a highly sought-after plot at one of the most architecturally important sporting competitions the world has to offer. The partnership of Chun Qing Li and Alexander Jarvis is an impressive one: the former a RIBA Part Two architectural assistant currently working at Pavilion Architecture; the latter the chairman of Blackbridge Cross Borders, an international company specialising in structuring, advising and facilitating arbitrages... Read more will be providing this tender and free trials of the service are currently available. The redevelopment masterplan will focus on a site 3km north of Helsinki and create the city's first high rise business and media district. In total, the Pasila masterplan will encompass 1 million sq m of office space and 500,000 sq m of housing, including 10+ high rise towers to be capped at 120m in height. Helsinki features prominently on WAN's Business Information Service with the team publishing 10 tenders for the city in 2013 alone... Read more
Karin Kloosterman asks: How do new
surroundings affect art and performance?
I live in a historical building that also serves as a music and performance hall. World music musicians, dancers, whirling dervishes, gurus from India and Kabala centers, spiritual seekers, TED talkers - you name it - have found 'divine' inspiration at my home in the heart of Jaffa. There is no doubt that old buildings have personality with their nooks and crannies to explore. Ghosts to meet. Ceiling heights, room dimensions, tiles, and fixtures are from another time and they affect how we create.

Once in a while the cracks and crumbling walls get to me though. No matter how much my husband patches them up, they blow open again. Sometimes I dream of moving into a condo that's small, fresh and clean; compact and super functional. A place with a clean slate.

Turns out that the New York Film Academy is going to get the best of both worlds - a clean slate and that old historical inspiration as it upsizes its old facilities in Soho to a massive campus at Battery Park. The new Battery Place facility just being polished off will replace the school's NYC location, 568 Broadway in SoHo at the corner of Prince and Broadway, which was also a contemporary facility. The film school's Union Square offices at 100 17th Street in the historic Tammany Hall will stay as the school's main headquarters and will remain home to a number of the New York Film Academy programs.

Read more
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