small WAN logo 27 November 2012
Issue 412
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Tsunami-resistant port planned for Crescent City, California
In March last year, shifting tectonic plates off the coast of Tohoku generated a catastrophic tsunami that tore across Japan and travelled across the Pacific to the shores of America's West Coast where the
tiny port town of Crescent City sat in wait. A humble community of around 8,000 people, Crescent City relies heavily on the smooth running of its harbour. Over the years the townspeople have become resigned to the danger their community faces from tsunamis; an earthquake in Alaska struck in 1964
creating a giant wave which destroyed large proportions of Crescent City and an 8.3Rs earthquake in the Kuril Islands in November 2006 generated a giant wave which rushed the port and caused major damage to its docks. In March 2011, the earthquake off Sendai, Japan produced an immense tidal wave which sank 11 boats, damaged 47 more and flattened two-thirds of Crescent City's docks. For the local residents this was the final straw and now funding has been made available to put measures in place to reduce the effects of future natural disasters. The main issues at play lie under the waterline where the topography of the seabed around Crescent City magnifies the effects of a tsunami, focussing this colossal energy past the boundaries of the port. The deep ocean floor topography sees a convergence of force at Crescent City, enabling the exaggerated waves to rise up and batter moored boats. In an article published by the Associated Press (AP) on 23 November 2012, Jeff Barnard explained that the 'churning water rushes into the boat basin and then rushes out, lifting docks off their pilings, tearing boats loose and leaving the city's main economic engine looking... Read more
Top stories this week
1 Peruri 88, MVRDV
This forward-thinking proposal by MVRDV (Rotterdam), The Jerde Partnership (Los Angeles) and ARUP (Dublin) is a competition entry for a prime development site in Jakarta. The scheme has already been presented to Peruri, the site owner, and if selected, will transform the existing block into a towering 400m-high mixed-use development comprising...Read more
2 Parrish Art Museum, Herzog & de Meuron
Earlier this month, the Parrish Art Museum opened its new home in Water Mill, NY. Designed by architecture duo Herzog & de Meuron, the 34,400 sq ft volume is a fitting base for this prestigious art museum. First established in 1898, the Parrish Art Museum now enjoys three times the exhibition space than it had at its former home in Southampton... Read more
3 Ivory Coast Redevelopment, DOS Architects
Barcelona, Singapore and Rio de Janerio all have one thing in common: thriving waterfront districts which draw in tourism and provide a haven for local residents. They have also all acted as sources of inspiration for DOS Architects + KOFFI-DIABATE's latest urban redevelopment scheme: Abidjan Lagune Waterfront. This large-scale waterfront... Read more
4 Alexander Forbes Headquarters, Paragon Group
The new building at 115 West Street, Sandton, Johannesburg was officially opened to staff at Alexander Forbes during November 2012. It occupies a prime position opposite the high speed Gautrain Sandton station. It is the first view that foreign visitors will get on arriving in Johannesburg City... Read more
5 Sustainable Market Square, TomDavid Architecten
A design competition for a new market square in Casablanca has been won by Dutch architecture duo TomDavid Architecten. The sustainable structure is similar in form to Jurgen Mayer's celebrated Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain but with the textured timber fronds substituted for concrete canopies. The almost mushroom... Read more
WAN AWARDS 2012 Adaptive Reuse Sector: View All Entries
Sustainability: Where are we going? Jerry Tate answers...
I think an issue that Sofie Pelsmakers brings up in her article is very interesting; the concept that all good architecture should be sustainable architecture. Until this thinking becomes the mainstream we will still need to have a sustainability award to highlight and communicate forward-thinking projects. The opportunity when judging a project for a sustainability award must be the integration of a low environmental impact with the core design
concept. As a profession we are facing a clear challenge; the reduction of resource consumption whilst meeting the demands of inevitable global growth.

We do however have a significant advantage over previous generations of architects; that is our ability to gather and analyse data and our connection to an extensive communication network. The Sustainable Building of the Year Award can build on these advantages, providing a global snapshot which will act as an inspiration for all those working within the building industry.

It is this inspiration that can be the most effective tool to help us move forwards. 'Sustainable' as a description can sound at best dull and at worst negative; selling a future where we use less resources is very difficult. But if this is described as lowering your energy bills, reducing wasted water, improving your local ecology or using local materials and craftsmen, then potentially clear outcomes frame the concept in a much more positive light.

For example as Alan Ford has observed, biomimicry is one of the most interesting trends in sustainable design, and whilst it is clearly not the only strategy available, it is a great example of a positive vision of our future. Buildings such as Mick Pearce's Eastgate Centre in Harare, based on the idea of a Termite Mound for climate control, have had a huge global impact in demonstrating how a strategic concept can follow through to an extremely successful development.

In the end without a vision a building cannot be delivered and as a profession it is our job to provide this.

Read more
Redefining the second home
Derelict 1920s cabaret theatre
to be transformed by LAVA
The Retreat is a groundbreaking residential project from quirky Shoreditch-based architecture and interior design firm BuckleyGrayYeoman. A modest and friendly firm whose offices can be found in Derwent London's spirited Tea Building, BuckleyGrayYeoman have experience in almost every sector and tote a variety of high-profile returning clients (including
Recently a semi-derelict music hall theatre, built in 1905 on Gartenstrasse in Berlin Mitte was accidentally discovered by Dirk Moritz, founder of the Moritz Gruppe, Berlin. The Music Hall Theatre has been buried in thirty tonnes of rubble since 1934 when it closed, perhaps as part of a crackdown on the cabaret scene by the Nazi regime. Moritz's search into the building's
Derwent London). Drawing on their wealth of design experience, BuckleyGrayYeoman started stand-alone initiative The Retreat several years ago. The studio was presented with a very basic mobile home brief and, determined that a more adventurous approach would reap better results, branched off with a series of architecturally-brilliant small-scale residential units ideal for those in the market for a second home. A review from the Architects' Journal claims 'they meet the demands and aspirations of society by... Read more history revealed that it was designed by famous Berliner businessman/architect Oscar Garbe, who designed other prominent buildings in Berlin such as the Samariterkirche and the Ullsteinhaus. Constructed in 1905, the theatre hall, complete with a stage and vaulted ceilings, was opened as a musical hall and restaurant, named 'Fritz Schmidt's Restaurant and Festival Halls' and was soon an established venue for Berlin's ballroom society. The building changed hands in 1919, and it became the Kolibri... Read more
Reader Image of the Week
Tony Alfortish
This week's Reader Image of the Week comes from Tony Alfortish from Mathes Brierre Architects in New Orleans. On a trip to Granada in southern Spain, Alfortish visited the breathtakingly beautiful channel of Muralla Nazari, Alto Ablaicn by architect Antonio Jimenez Torrecilla.

Torrecilla's punctuated pathway is part of repair works to the fourteenth century Nazari Wall which suffered a 40m break during an earthquake in the nineteenth century. The intervention is formed by stacking 3cm-thick blocks in light hues of Rosa Porrino Granite, sealed with epoxy resin.

Careful placement of these blocks enables shafts of sunlight to slice through the otherwise unlit passageway, illuminating the narrow volume with controlled natural light. Due to the historic nature of the site, the brief dictated that the design must enable the walls to be removed if necessary without harming the existing fourteenth century structure.

We're now welcoming photos and sketches from our readers for this new series so please send your creations to complete with your name, the practice you work for and a short description of the photo or sketch noting what it is, the name of the architect and why it captured your attention.

Read more
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