Monday, July 27, 2009

The Concourse, Kallang, Singapore

The Concourse is a high-rise commercial and residential building on Beach Road in Kallang, Singapore.

The Concourse is a mixed-use development, comprising a 41-story office tower, a three-level retail podium and nine storeys of serviced apartments. The three distinct components, with their different usage, have separate entrances. These overlook the traditional low-rise shophouses and office blocks in the Beach Road area.

Approaching the city from Singapore Changi Airport, The Concourse's tower stands out as a landmark because of its distinctive silhouette when viewed from across the Kallang Basin. The tower is octagonal in plan, as the number "8" for the octagon is associated with prosperity in Chinese culture.

It is supported by huge pilotis. The distinctive soaring effect of the tower is accentuated by these lofty columns on the first storey which also effectively elevate the building, but is mitigated by the faceted façade of the serviced apartments and retail podium.

The Concourse's most prominent architectural feature is the aluminium curtain wall system incorporating inclined windows that form clusters of units. These interlocking clusters are stacked vertically, like dinner plates, one above the other, rotating around the building.

Due to its unique and unconventional building design, a scale model of The Concourse once went for an architectural exhibition tour around the world.

Architect : Paul Rudolph

Lippo Centre, Hong Kong

The Lippo Centre is a pair of twin office towers in Hong Kong, previously known as the Bond Center. The buildings are located at 89 Queensway, in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island. The height of the taller tower is 186m.

The buildings, completed in 1987, were dubbed "The Koala Tree" because they resemble koalas clutching a tree.

Architect : Paul Rudolph

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rose Center for Earth and Space, New York, US

The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a notable part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Center's complete name is The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. The main entrance is located on the northern side of the museum on 81st Street near Central Park West.

The center is an extensive reworking of the old Hayden Planetarium, which dated back to 1935. An entirely new building opened to the public on February 19, 2000, featuring a seven-story-tall glass cube that encloses the 87-foot-diameter Hayden Sphere. The top half of the Sphere houses the Space Theater, one of the world’s pre-eminent planetariums, which incorporates high-resolution fulldome video to create “space shows,” based in scientific visualization of current astrophysical data.

The Big Bang Theater occupies the bottom half of the Hayden Sphere.

Architect : James Stewart Polshek & Todd H. Schliemann (Polshek Partnership Architects)

Lewis Katz Building (Dickinson School of Law), Pennsylvania, US

Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law marked its 175th anniversary with the opening of its new 114,000 sq ft Lewis Katz Building.

The focal point of the Lewis Katz Building is its glass-enclosed H. Laddie Montague Jr. Law Library with a volume capacity of 100,000 and seating for 294 students. The architecture draws from the idea that the law library is the theoretical and physical heart of the legal educational experience. As the center in which students spend much of their time, the library is conceived as a floating element, sheltered from the rest of the school’s program beneath. The ground plane flows unimpeded, linking interior and exterior space to foster the feeling of openness and accessibility emblematic of the school’s goals.

“The sinuous building form is a direct response to the presence of the surrounding mountains and geology of the valley,” says the architect. “The curving library is clad in glass to create a constantly changing backdrop of reflected sunlight throughout the day and a beacon of light at night.”

The Lewis Katz Building was constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements, utilizing numerous sustainable initiatives and local and recycled materials throughout its design. From its continuous planted green roof to its reintroduction of pervious surfaces on what was a massive parking lot, the building helps reduce the amount of rainwater runoff generated by the site. To reduce its energy consumption, the building maximizes its use of natural day lighting in public spaces as its mechanical systems allow for operable windows and individual climate control in most of its individual offices.

Additional building features include the 250-seat Greg Sutliff Auditorium; a courtroom equipped with the latest in trial technology; four 75-person classrooms; several intimate seminar rooms; legal clinic and student organizations suites; and outdoor terraces and reading gardens.

Architect : Richard Olcott (Polshek Partnership Architects)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, US

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened its doors on October 21, 1959 and is one of the best-known museums in New York City and one of the 20th century's most important architectural landmarks.

the museum––which is often called simply The Guggenheim––is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art, and also features special exhibitions throughout the year. Located on the Upper East Side in New York City it is the second museum opened by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation which was founded in 1937. The Museum recently underwent an extensive, three year renovation.

The distinctive building, instantly polarized architecture critics upon completion, though today it is widely revered. From the street, the building looks approximately like a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack, slightly wider at the top than the bottom. Its appearance is in sharp contrast to the more typically boxy Manhattan buildings that surround it.

Internally, the viewing gallery forms a gentle helical spiral from the main level up to the top of the building. Paintings are displayed along the walls of the spiral and also in exhibition space found at annex levels along the way.

Most of the criticism of the building has focused on the idea that it overshadows the artworks displayed within, and that it is particularly difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow windowless exhibition niches that surround the central spiral. Although the rotunda is generously lit by a large skylight, the niches are heavily shadowed by the walkway itself, leaving the art to be lit largely by artificial light. The walls of the niches are neither vertical nor flat (most are gently concave), meaning that canvasses must be mounted proud of the wall's surface. The limited space within the niches means that sculptures are generally relegated to plinths amid the main spiral walkway itself.

The museum was registered as a National Historic Landmark on October 6, 2008.

Architect : Frank Lloyd Wright

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Casa da Música, Porto, Portugal

Casa da Música is a major concert hall space in Porto, Portugal which houses the cultural institution of the same name with its three orchestras Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Orquestra Barroca and Remix Ensemble.

It was built as part of Porto's project for European Culture Capital in 2001 but was only finished in the first half of 2005 and immediately became an icon in the city.

The building's design has been highly acclaimed worldwide.

Architect : Rem Koolhaas

Bangunan Lembaga Urusan Tabung Haji, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Bangunan Lembaga Urusan Tabung Haji (also known as BLUTH Tower) is located in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

It is 152 meters high (38 Floors) and was completed in 1984. It is an commercial use building and the construction components include concrete, glass and steel.

Architect : Hijjas Kasturi Associates

Menara Telekom, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Menara Telekom (or Menara TM) is the headquarters of Telekom Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

It is 310m (1,017ft), has 55 floors, and shaped to represent a sprouting "bamboo shoot". It is located along the Federal Highway, Sprint Expressway and Jalan Pantai Baru. It was constructed between 1998 and 2001.

The complex also includes a theatre able to seat a 2,500 audience, a large prayer hall (surau) and a sports facility. A unique feature of the tower is its 22 open skygardens alternating every three floors. The office floors are separated into north and south wings served by express double-deck elevators.

Architect : Hijjas Kasturi Associates

Dual Towers (BFH), Manama, Bahrain

Bahrain Financial Harbor (commonly abbreviated as BFH) is a large-scale commercial development project, currently under construction in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

The two tallest twin-towers (Commercial East and Commercial West (also grouped as the Dual Towers)) are currently listed as the highest completed structures in Bahrain, with a height of 260 m (853 ft) with 54 floors.

Architect : AJ Architects

Friday, July 17, 2009

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Niterói, Brazil

The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói — MAC) is situated in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is one of the city’s main landmarks.

The MAC-Niterói is 16 meters high; its cupola has a diameter of 50 meters with three floors. A wide access slope leads to a Hall of Expositions, which has a capacity for sixty people. Two doors lead to the viewing gallery, through which can be seen the Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. The saucer-shaped modernist structure, which has been likened to a UFO, is set on a cliffside, at the bottom of which is a beach.

Architect : Oscar Niemeyer