Text description provided by the architects. Tucked away in the busy commercial basement of Shanghai’s Kerry Center, Ethai Café offers a fresh take on traditional Thai cuisine, focusing on simple light dishes created from healthy ingredients. The earthy color and material palette is based on gradients reminiscent of central Thailand’s archaeological sites and lands, and its nooks and sitting areas appear to have been carved out of the rammed earth that envelops the façade.
Given the secluded and constrained nature of the site, we imagined a space that could provide a peaceful and transient retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. In order to achieve this, the project follows the directional concept of an enveloping geometry. Consequently, the facade is willingly designed give a slight cut to the space from the public area, through a lowered ceiling and a low wall, unfolding like a ribbon from within the restaurant and draping the exterior. An opening of the low wall, which reveals a banquette on the inside, creates an inviting entrance, naturally guiding customers into the space. These volumes are slightly offset from the site boundaries, enforcing this feeling of “space within space”.
The layout gives customers a certain level of privacy, while still feeling somewhat connected to the rest of the public space. Overlooking the customers stands a dome-shaped ceiling, formed by a grid of wooden beams, in which conceals the space’s lighting. This structure defines a vaulted space that feels private yet convivial, like a contemporary interpretation of the primordial hut.
The material selection further enhances this idea of quiet sobriety by deploying a palette rich in earthy tones and alternating rough and smooth textures. Welcomed by the rammed earth gradient at the entrance, the customer then notes with interest the coarse terrazzo flooring that guides them into the space. Lifting further their eye-level, they will discover a rich texture on the vertical surfaces, covered by white arched tiles. Simultaneously, the environment feels natural from the wooden surfaces on the furniture and the grid ceiling, as well as the vegetation. Finally, pieces of artwork constitute different focal points of the restaurant, bringing a traditional Thai touch and finalizing the integrality of Ethai Café.Bookmark
The Miami-based architecture, interior design, and planning firm Oppenheim Architecture shared images of their latest luxury mixed-use project, the Jewel. In February 2020, we connected with firm founder Chad Oppenheim for a Studio Snapshot interview. During the interview, we discussed the firm’s work and design ethos. “The practice is much more about creating a platform for expression,” he shared.
“We started by doing projects in up and coming areas and using architecture as we way to extract the best return on investment for our clients,” shared Oppenheim. “Further down, we wanted to see how architecture can be as elemental as possible. Little by little, we were brought onto projects on spectacular sites, and we wanted to make the most out of them – bringing feeling and emotion as part of our ethos.”
Commenting on the project, Oppenheim shares, “It was crucial for us to understand and uncover the spirit of place – the site’s histories and ecologies, so the architectural “object” wasn’t an arbitrary form, but one that resonated with the land and its people. These three crystals of varying proportions and relationships were captured with 3D scanning and, with minimal modification, translated into the full-size towers that illuminate the coast today.”
According to the firm, the project is the first beach-front development built along Australia‘s Gold Coast in over 30 years. The Jewel is the winning competition proposal lead by the developer RDG. Oppenheim Architecture collaborated with DBI Design to develop the project’s interior design.
Johns Hopkins University has selected BIG to design its new Student Center, regenerating the heart of its campus and reviving the social experience, from a shortlisted list of 4 offices, after a months-long international competition. Entitled “The Village”, the proposal is an “open, modern, and welcoming facility envisioned as a social engagement hub for all members of the Hopkins community”.
Set to begin construction in spring 2022 and to be completed by fall 2024, the new Hopkins Student Center, received overwhelmingly positive reviews from students, staff, and alumni, who contributed to the selection process. BIG’s third academic building in the United States -following the Isenberg School of Management Business Innovation Hub for the University of Massachusetts Amherst and The Heights Building for Arlington Public Schools, both completed in 2019- is in collaboration with Shepley Bulfinch as Architect of Record, along with Rockwell Group for interior design and Michael Van Valkenburg Associates for landscape design.
Having taught at a number of world-renowned universities on the East Coast, it is an incredible honor to have been chosen to create the framework for the life of the Johns Hopkins students. We have attempted to imagine and design the Campus Center like a village condensed from a plethora of different spaces and pavilions for the greatest possible diversity of activities, interests, and sub-cultures. — Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.
Supporting the university’s sustainability goals, the imagined scheme was praised for its open feel, connections to surrounding exterior spaces, abundance of natural daylight, and integrated sustainable features. The 150,000 square foot building, located just south of the iconic open space on the Johns Hopkins, will encompass spaces for relaxation and socialization, creative and performing arts spaces, student resources and support services, lounges, a digital media center, a performance space with seating for 200 people, and a dynamic dining hall. Generating connectivity with the neighboring Charles Village community, the project creates a new dynamic entry point, at the crossroads of student activity.
Often the greatest ideas and breakthroughs occur away from the desk, when minds have a chance to wander, to play, to riff with others. The new Hopkins Student Center is designed to provoke the sometimes-necessary distractions that complement rigorous academic life – a place for a future generation of Salks, Curies, and Cricks to unlock their next great discovery. — Leon Rost, Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.
“Not academically focused, but entirely social by design, Open to all, reserved for none, and boasting the kind of flexible spaces that invite connection and collaboration” states Ronald J Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University. The proposal imagined as a central living room is surrounded by a collection of spaces tailored to the needs of the community. With entry from all four levels, the building maintains a friendly human scale, while the open façade reveals dining areas, spilling out onto the plaza.
Regarding the structure, the mass timber provides a warm and acoustically comfortable environment as light filters in between the photovoltaic roof panels. In fact, the open design allows light to enter the clerestory windows and leaves all student activities and school spirit on display. Finally, the indoor area of “The Village” is comprised of a cluster of flexible spaces, which open out on to four rejuvenated public spaces, and the landscape around the building generates outdoor spaces for student activities and events.
Project Leaders: Jason Wu, Lawrence Olivier Mahadoo
Team: Alex Wu, Xi Zhang, Chia-Yu Liu, Guillaume Evain, Jakub Kulisa, Kig Veerasunthorn, Mike Munoz, Tom Lasbrey, Tony Saba Shiber, Blake Smith, Corliss Ng, Florencia Kratsman, Francesca Portesine, Jamie Maslyn Larson, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Kevin Pham, Josiah Poland, Jialin Yuan, Ken Chongsuwat, Duncan Horswill, Ben Caldwell, Margaret Tyrpa, Terrence Chew, Tracy Sodder, Chris Pin, Alexander Matthias Jacobson, Tore Banke, Frederic Lucien Engasser, Xingyue Huang,Jesper Petersen, Kaoan Hengles
MVRDV has completed a new flagship store in Paris for French lingerie brand Etam, renovating a 19th-century Haussmann building by removing its internal barriers and adding a glass floor to allow light to fill the interior.
The project sits at a corner site on Boulevard Haussmann, in one of the prime shopping locations in Paris near the Opera Garnier. MVRDV cut back the exterior of the building to highlight its classical appearance whilst allowing natural light to enter the store at both ends.
This “stripped down” approach moves to the interior, where the design reveals the original stone structure through the removal of interior walls and part of the mezzanine floor above. At ground level, a glass floor stretches as one of the project’s defining features. It allows light to enter the basement level and connects visitors at the ground level to the level below and vice versa.
The floor is treated with a special film that makes it transparent when viewed at an angle, but clouded when viewed directly above or below, MVRDV said in a statement. This is intended to provide privacy and prevent vertigo for those standing on the floor.
“‘Unravelling beauty’ is almost a generic and eternal value that can be learned somehow from the world of lingerie. The revealing – but directional – glassification of the store allows for a delicate balance between transparency and privacy, for intimacy and distance, unravelling the beauty of Haussmann and Etam’s products, users, and visitors,” said MVRDV Founding Partner Winy Maas in a statement. “In the stores we design, we often like to try new, unexpected materials and love to play with different types of glass. The Etam flagship store is the first time we have brought these approaches to a building where so much of the existing structure must be maintained.”
Designed by OMA and led by Reinier de Graaf, with Alex de Jong, Michel van de Kar, and Roza Matveeva, with Oscar Properties as developers on board, Norra Tornen was awarded the International Highrise Award by an international jury consisting of architects, structural engineers, and real estate specialists. Criteria of evaluation included the overall narrative, the sculptural qualities, the structural concept, and the mix of uses, among others. The project that has received international attention is the “result of a land allocation competition held by the City of Stockholm in 2013, won by Oscar Properties”.
OMA’s first built project in Sweden, Norra Tornen is currently the highest residential building in Stockholm’s city center. On the accomplishment, Reinier de Graaf, OMA Partner in Charge of the project stated that “For me, the award came somewhat unexpectedly since I never thought of the Norra Tornen towers as high-rise buildings. They are different from the conventional idea of a skyscraper. They are not monumental but homely, their aesthetics are informal and they rely on repetition only to produce diversity”. Moreover, Peter Cahorla Schmal, Director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) added that “Norra Tornen is a refreshing entrance to the city, recalling structuralist models of brutalism from the 1960s such as the Habitat from Expo67 in Montreal, skillfully transforming them and enriching the city with a new urban dominant, with apartments for all.”
After winning the competition for a massive urban redevelopment project in their hometown of Basel in 2017, Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron now released updated material that shows a more refined and detailed concept.
The Dreispitz Nord scheme seeks to transform a former customs depot into a mixed-use urban district, expanding the reach of downtown Basel.
“The urban proposal for Dreispitz Nord is based on what would seem to be the paradoxical aim of developing and increasing density, while simultaneously creating large, public green spaces,” explains a statement put out by the architects.
“Density is achieved by three high-rise towers and an open perimeter block of individual, tightly spaced mid-rise buildings. This block frames a publicly accessible park in contrast to the perimeter blocks in Gundeldingen with their primarily private inner courtyards.”
One of the key features to achieve useful densification is a middle school for 600 students that will sit on top of the development’s central shopping center, a move that Basel city authorities in collaboration with the client and developers announced last month: “The location of the school and a multipurpose gymnasium on the elevated Adele Duttweiler Field is ideal. In the evenings the gymnasium and playing fields can be used by sports clubs and associations, and for many other activities as well. The school’s athletic and recreation areas will occupy only part of the entire field. Gardens and other outdoor areas will be accessible to the residents of Gundeldingen and public at all times.”
The zoning plan is scheduled to be presented to the cantonal legislative in mid-2021.
ODA-Designed Hunter’s Point South, the newest development by TF Cornerstone, and the largest affordable housing project in NYC has launched its housing lottery. The master-planned, mixed-use and mixed-income community, park, school, and playground, situated along the East River in Long Island City, Queens, the first of its kind to hit the market since COVID-19, brings 1,194 rental units and a new park to Long Island City waterfront.
In collaboration with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and NYCHousing Development Corporation (HDC), 5241 Center Boulevard and the newest phase of Hunter’s Point South, were just launched, bringing forward the first 185 affordable units in a pair of matched ODA-designed towers, anchored by a new 22,000-square-foot park designed by Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA).
Designed by ODA, with SLCE as the architect of record, the buildings take on a mix of rich façade materials and highly articulated shapes and arrangements of apartments within. Tied together with a large courtyard, public park, and amenity facilities, the two structures will offer a mix of studios, one, and two-bedroom apartments. “Sixty percent of the apartments will be permanently affordable to low, moderate, and middle-income residents, with 100 apartments set aside for low-income seniors”. Moreover, half of the affordable units are destined for the local community within Queens.
This project was unique for us thanks to the collaboration with the City and TF Cornerstone. The private-public partnership allowed us to create a more holistic vision for this new neighborhood, one that is reflective of the types of communities ODA is trying to build,” said Chen. “The opportunity to combine affordable housing with market-rate and senior housing, surrounded by a curated amenity package, with retail shops and a direct connection to the park is a winning formula we hope to emulate in future projects. — Eran Chen, Founding Principal, ODA.
Located on the waterfront in Long Island City, the Transformative mixed-income development maximizes light and air and increases the number of corner units on every floor. In fact, Eran Chen, Founding Principal, ODA explained that “a typical tower of this scale would have 12-15 apartment per floor, with four corner units,[…] With Hunter’s Point South, we broke up the flat face of the building, creating a three-dimensional façade with pockets or grooves which creates more corner units with light, air, and views on each floor.”
Heatherwick Studio has designed the Cove, a new waterfront experience for San Francisco. Seeking to activate and improve the beachfront, “while future-proofing the historic district and the City against the risks of earthquakes and climate change”, the Cove will put in place a next-generation, high-performance waterfront community that uniquely identifies with San Francisco.
The San Francisco waterfront, although visited by 24 million locals and tourists each year, has its facilities empty, closed to the public, or under-utilized. In fact, the vacant 100-year-old piers continue to deteriorate. Driven by the need to save the architectural heritage as well as the waterfront, of one of the Most Endangered Historic Places, the Cove will generate “a colorful, contemporary model destination that celebrates the classic California coast and the history of the Embarcadero, while serving as a warm, inviting urban (re)treat, a high-value oasis, just steps away from the generic gloss of FiDi and Mission Bay.” The existing piers will be removed completed and replaced by new modern structures to safeguard human health and safety and to create an enduring asset for future generations.
The Cove creates a two-building workplace campus with a central 5-acre, an ecological public park. These structures of 550,000 gross square feet will feature large 117,000 square foot floor plates that can accommodate workspace for a single tenant or multiple tenants and a curated mix of retail. The project also encompasses an Eco-Transect park, with a multi-use plaza, a rolling softscape of native terpene-laden trees and dune grasses, a carbon-sinking, floating wetlands, an oval boardwalk, etc. Smaller than the original pier footprint, the entire Cove has less bay fill and is highly sustainable, and plans for net-zero carbon and International Living Future Institute certifications.
Anticipated in late 2026, the project covers Piers 30-32 and excludes Seawall Lot 330. The EPX2 team developing this initiative, a twenty members group include Earthprise, Sares|Regis, Heatherwick Studio, Paradigm Strategy, CMG Landscape Architecture, Page & Turnbull, Kendall/Heaton Associates, WSP USA Maritime, Fugro USA Land, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, MKA Civil, stok, PAE Consulting Engineers, Biohabitats, McLaren Engineering Group, Edgett Williams Consulting, Michael Schwab Studio, Manson Construction, DPR Construction, Concrete Technology Corporation, Mammoet, Consolidated Engineering Laboratories, SWCA Environmental, and Reuben, Junius & Rose.
Gensler has unveiled 545wyn, “the first Class-A office tower in Miami in over a decade”. In collaboration with office developer Sterling Bay and local development partner Joe Furst of Place Projects, the project introduces a new generation of office space, aiming to attract a new type of innovative, forward-focused tenants. In fact, GenslerMiami will be the building’s first tenant of the 10-story tower.
Imagined as an expressive backdrop to the community, 545wyn is a celebration of the city and the community, while also contributing to the future of the neighborhood. Located in Wynwood, a former garment district full of long, low-slung warehouses, in which the walls served as an inviting opportunity for graffiti artists, the project incorporates the neighborhood’s unfinished and industrial nature. Moreover, part of the integration of the 10-story tower with these surroundings, Gensler included the energy of the colorful graffiti canvas under the parking floor slabs.
Creating interlocking elements, the project takes on a floating volume for the office space, while the parking structure is an efficient open-air space. Reducing significantly the mass, the absence of exterior walls allows the art of the neighborhood to be pulled in with murals and installations, each visible to all who pass by from as far as the highway. On another hand, a pedestrian “Paseo” on the east side between the buildings, generates “a circuit of walkable space at the base that offers shade and lush gardens, engages pedestrians with artwork familiar to the neighborhood, and provides dining and retail experiences that allow workers and the community to immerse themselves in the vibrancy of the surroundings”.
Inspired by the site’s earlier life as a zipper factory, the interior space of the highly active mixed-use space, preserves found objects within the old building, putting them on display in the new lobby. Actually, sewing machine pieces are hung from colorful sewing “strings” at the front glass, and a feature wall finish is made of repurposed shirts by Eileen Fisher.
Set to be delivered in late 2020, 545wyn taking on 325,000 sq. ft of total space, defines furthermore the work experience in Miami’s creative district, with expansive floor plates at the upper levels. Designed to appeal to the tech-focused tenants and the community at large, these elements were made possible by interlocking the office and parking and by creating a side core building. Providing additional outdoor space, each floor was built to bear 14-inch slab-to-slab heights and floor-to-ceiling glass.
KAAN Architecten has been investigating methods to ensure that cities continue to flourish. Working closely and experimenting primarily with the city of Amsterdam, the firm’s projects have been focusing on developing a healthy design and finding alternative possibilities to high-density architecture.
Amsterdam, a living laboratory of large-scale urban development, where urbanization, above all, means intensification and diversification, has very limited possibilities for interventions in its center. Focused mainly in the ring around the epicenter, new developments are introducing new forms of the built environment. KAAN Architecten is actively helping in defining and constructing a new image of the city through a series of recent projects ranging in scale and function. Located in all current hot spots of expansion, these projects have provided the firm with a profound understanding of the city’s development. Discover below 4 main interventions from KAAN Architecten, aiming to rethink the city and develop innovative architectural ideas.
This residential project comprised of two buildings connected with underground parking took on the challenge “to translate and express the oxymoron of individuality and collectivity which are both seen as specific qualities in this kind of urban living”. In fact, this was achieved by a refinement of the building contours and elongated balcony slabs, increasing space and views upwards. The terraced design generated different lengths of balcony slabs, depths, and balustrades. Creating a personal bond with a place, the design allows “residents to point out their own home and identify themselves more easily”. According to KAAN Architecten, the project is “a reversal of the formal city with stately buildings and invisible personalized courtyards into an informal neighborhood with accessible buildings and expressive personalized balconies”.
Design Team: Andreas Alevras, Beatrice Bagnara, Timo Cardol, Di Fang, Michael Geensen, Cristina Gonzalo Cuairán, Thomas Hayat, Narcisa Ionita, Kees Kaan, Laura Ospina, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio, Katarzyna Seweryn, Aldo Trim, Claudia Vermeulen
DE WALVIS (Dutch for ‘the whale’)
De Walvis, the only remaining office building on Bickerseiland, built in the early 60s, no longer complied with contemporary day workplace standards. KAAN Architecten was commissioned by the Maarsen Groep to renovate the building, taking on the mission of updating the structure and integrating it in our present times. “Within an exacting functionality that includes pragmatic and practical considerations, seemingly contradictory elements can turn into ingredients for an attractive environment”. For this project, the emphasis was put on sustainable use and ergonomic qualities with a sense of beauty as an implicit demand, by bringing in more daylight, increasing interior heights, and upgrading all installations to the highest standards including BREEAM Excellent certification. After a year of construction works, De Walvis has been delivered in Spring 2020.
Main Contractor: Dura Vermeer Onderhoud en Renovatie Midden West
Design phase: 2017 – 2019
Construction phase: 2019 – 2020
GFA: 10.400 m2
Programme: offices, parking, meeting rooms, coffee bar
Design Team: Rita Alessio, Andreas Alevras, Sebastiaan Buitenhuis, Timo Cardol, Alice Colombo, Paolo Faleschini, Michael Geensen, Joost Harteveld, Kees Kaan, Nicki van Loon, Hana Mohar, Jennifer Nam, Laura Ospina, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio, Katarzyna Seweryn, Christian Sluijmer, Joeri Spijkers, Aldo Trim, Ziwei Zhu
In progress, one of the larger urban transformations in Amsterdam is taking place in the south-east part of the city. Questioning how to redevelop the Hogehilweg area, KAAN Architecten proposed to transform the neighborhood into a cosmopolitan mixed-use area over the next few years, with approximately 1,090 new homes and 15,000 m² in facilities for around 2,200 new residents. The master plan establishes “different atmospheres simultaneously, creating both an intimate inner-city environment and an expanding metropolis, the village and the city in one”. Envisioning a space of urban dynamics, with a strong emphasis on the residential atmosphere, the program introduces considerable density, resulting in a green inner-city environment. Moreover, the architectural bureau is also designing three buildings, following a similar concept, with brick city blocks, a variety of towers on top, and sheltered arcades.
Located at the intersection of the Zuidas and Parnassusweg, replacing the previous judicial complex, the New Amsterdam Courthouse is the largest in the country. Opening up to both employees and passers-by, the building engages with the surroundings, putting in place a vast square offering an unobstructed view of the public area with the courtrooms. Commissioned for the new Courthouse design in 2016, KAAN Architecten is expecting to complete the building by the end of the year with the construction being in its final stages.
Main Contractor: consortium NACH (Macquarie Capital, ABT, DVP, KAAN Architecten, Heijmans, Facilicom)
Design phase: 2014 – 2017
Construction phase: 2017 – 2020
GFA: 47.257 m2 (+ 11.500 sqm parking)
Program: public square, foyer, 70 courtrooms, offices, lobby, restaurant, conference center, and library
Design Team: Michael Baas, Sjoerd Boomars, Koen Bosman, Dennis Bruin, Robin Cals, Marten Dashorst, Luuk Dietz, Lisa Goes, Narine Gyulkhasyan, Thomas Hayat, Marlon Jonkers, Kees Kaan, Lianne Klitsie, Marco Lanna, Antony Laurijsen, Yinghao Lin, Johandry Martina, Julian O’Neale, Laura Ospina, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio, Claudio Zampaglione
Finally, KAAN Architecten for the past two years has focused on the theme AMSTERDAM 2050 with Complex Projects, AMS Institute, and the municipality of Amsterdam. In fact, “the research-through-design process of documenting and analyzing the present urban conditions of the City of Amsterdam and investigating various trends directing future urban development resulted in design solutions and visualizations of the predicted development of these locations”. By using Amsterdam as a living laboratory, graduate students, researchers, and teachers have been exploring how these changes might affect the city, to provide input for the decision making of the redevelopment plans 2025-2050.