small WAN logo 04 December 2012
Issue 413
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Peter Zumthor-designed houses available to rent for holiday season
While for many people, the festive season is about locking themselves at home with their loved ones to tuck into a week's worth of turkey and stuffing, indulging in sugary treats and the odd tipple, for others
Christmas signifies an opportunity to travel the world and rest up in a remote cabin or cottage with
select family and friends. If you fall into the latter category, you'll be pleased to hear that this year a beautiful timber residence in the mountainous region of Leis, Switzerland has become available to rent. For the first time ever, Peter and Annalisa Zumthor are opening up one of their cosy holiday homes in this quiet hamlet to the public, enabling them to rent The Unterhus for weeks at a time. Peter and Annalisa Zumthor explain: "In 2009 we built two timber houses, the Oberhus and the Unterhus, in the hamlet of Leis, just over 1,500m above sea level in the community of Vals in Grisons. From 1 December 2012 onward we are letting out the Unterhus for vacations. A third timber house, the Turmlihus, will soon complete this little ensemble. The Turmlihus will welcome its first guests in autumn 2013. We are... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Bicentennial Civic Centre, Lucio Morini
The Bicentennial Civic Center - designed by Lucio Morini and GGMPU Arquitectos - is the first administrative complex to have been designed specifically for that end by the Province of Córdoba, Argentina. It is located on the edge of the historic centre of the city on a lot that used to belong to the railway tracks. One of its sides...Read more
2 What do you see?, Architecture for Humanity
The first weeks post-disaster are vital for first-response and relief, but soon thereafter the focus turns to long-range reconstruction. This is focus of Architecture for Humanity's Reconstruction & Resiliency Studio. Since being founded in 1999, the nonprofit has responded to numerous disasters including focused efforts on Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake... Read more
3 21st Century Light Space Modulator, Jason Bruges Studio
Five months ago, WAN's Arts and Media Correspondent Amy Knight wrote a short post for our Culture Blog on the 21st Century Light Space Modulator, a kinetic light installation by Jason Bruges Studio in partnership with lighting specialists Havells Sylvania. Initially installed under the Hungerford Bridge and activated... Read more
4 Global Hub for Biomedical Research, HOK International
An international team of design professionals has been awarded the contract for the Ri.MED Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center (BRBC) near Palermo, Sicily. The St. Louis and London offices of architecture practice HOK are working with Buro Happold (London/Milan), Progetto CMR (Milan), De Cola Associati (Palermo) and Eupro... Read more
5 Prince Arthur's Landing, Brook McIlroy
Over the past year, Brook McIlory's Prince Arthur's Landing scheme at Thunder Bay, Ontario has claimed ten design awards from the likes of the Canadian Urban Institute and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The far-ranging project completed in December 2011, funded with $22m from the City of Thunder Bay... Read more
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Venice under attack once again due to the risk of flooding
Venice is recognised across the globe as a symbol of historic beauty, home to some of the world's most iconic architecture and art but in November this year, the city was once again under threat. The high tides, reckless winds and heavy rain along the Adriatic coast left Venice drowning, as two-thirds of it was submerged by 1.50 metres of water. Whilst the City of Water continues to fight against the Adriatic Sea, the clock is now ticking for the completion of the
MOSES project, an ambitious engineering system designed to protect the city.

MOSES - "MOSE" in Italian - a clever acronym for the project's name, Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, which conjures visions from the Biblical narrative of Moses parting the waves of the Red Sea. The project aims to achieve just that. The barriers consist of a series of breakwaters and mobile barriers, which are currently being built at the three inlets to the Venice lagoon (Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia). The construction of 78 giant steel gates and the 300-tonne hinged panels, 92ft wide and 65ft high will be raised whenever a dangerously high tide is predicted, in the hope to shield the city from powerful storms. Launched by the Infrastructure Ministry in 1987, MOSES, is part of the general plan to safeguard Venice and the lagoon. Construction began in 2003 and will be completed by 2014.

In 2011, to help finance the Venice flood defence scheme, The European Investment Bank (EIB) provided €480M (£433M) to the Consorzio Venezia Nuova (CVN). The co-operation in charge of implementing the MOSES project, was set up by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport via the Venice Water Authority. For the EIB, the operation meets a number of financing priorities such as support for infrastructure works and environmental protection. The contract signed in 2011, represents the first major installment of that loan and the agreement between the EIB and the Infrastructure Ministry to finance works included in the Italian Government's 10-year strategic infrastructure plan.

There is mixed feelings towards the giant flood barrier. Whilst the idea is seen as a practical solution to the ever-ending problem, environmentalists fear the natural breeding grounds for birds will be destroyed and the sea beds will be damaged. There is also fierce opposition from locals, city councils members and the charity Venice in Peril, who believes "The barriers will protect the city against any extreme weather events and the current, frequent small floods, but cannot mitigate this chronic problem, for which a solution has yet to be devised."

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Send us reviews of your
favourite buildings
WATERBANK School opens
in Kenya's Central Highlands
For the last News Review of the year on Tuesday 18 December 2012 we will be handing the reins over to you. Over the past twelve months you've received quite literally thousands - 2,198 at last count - of project pages from the WAN Editorial and Awards teams with news reports and case studies of some of the world's most original and varied architecture. And now it's your turn.
Ofttimes the best stories in architecture find you. They are not the typical stories announcing the next icon with the obligatory eye-popping images. But they are in some respects more powerful in terms of their ideas and the eventual good they will do. Such is the story of the WATERBANK school, a new school building in East Africa designed by Princeton,
We're inviting all readers of WAN to submit a review of their favourite building or structure to be enjoyed by their fellow subscribers, conveying exquisite architectural design from a professional standpoint. We want to know why that particular building captured your attention, how it made you feel and in what capacity it inspired you. Please remember to include details of where the building is located, who the architect was and into which sector it falls along with any images you have with the necessary... Read more New Jersey-based British architects Jane Harrison and David Turnbull of Atopia Research, that combines innovative thinking and modest means to get transformative results: The potential end to water wars in the region. How can architecture end the water problems in Africa, you might ask? The answer is to design for needs; in this case education, especially for girls, and to give them a reason to come, which is access to clean drinking water. It's no secret that in the semi-arid region of East Africa... Read more
SANAA'S Louvre Lens
opens in Pas-de-Calais
One of the most famous cultural institutions in the world, the Louvre, today celebrates the soft launch of its first satellite in Lens, Pas-de-Calais. The 300,000 sq ft building has been designed by Tokyo-based SANAA, young practice Imrey Studio in New York and Paris-based Mosbach Paysagistes. The official opening is scheduled for a week tomorrow on the 12 December 2012, but today, the institution will welcome a handful of journalists and photographers to explore its new €150m facility.

Of the new base, Celia Imrey, co-designer with Tim Culbert and Principal of Imrey Culbert, said: "Our design, reminiscent of the Louvre in Paris with its outstretched wings, was conceived to integrate the building into the park on a single accessible storey. Now that the project is complete, the 'museum-park' concept is finally a reality."

It is not only the 'outstretched wings' of the Louvre-Lens that references the original Louvre in Paris, but the central glass pavilion which is described as 'a variation on the pyramid of the Paris Louvre'. In essence, the satellite is formed of five individual one-storey pavilions connected by its corners. The entrance pavilion is a crystalline glass box while the others are coated in aluminium, reflecting the ever-changing sky above and the grassy landscaped surroundings.

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