BTEK- Technology Interpretation Center

BTEK is an interpretation center for new technologies, aimed at student visitors located in Derio, Bizkaia, Spain.  The sites location on one of the highest points of the Vizcaya Technology park and close to the Bilbao airport's flight path for takeoffs and landings, helps with the aim of making the building a landmark in its landscape.

Project architect Gonzalo Carro set out to achieve these most important guidelines:

  • Create a very flexible a varied exhibition space, able to accommodate all types of exhibitions.
  • Installations should be highly energy efficient (geothermal systems for climate control) and that use renewable energy sources ( a building-integrated photovoltaic system connected to a 60kw network).
  • The geometry of the covering where the solar panels are integrated should be triangular-similar to the shape of Technology Park's logo.

The genius of its design is the way in which it juts out of the earth as natural rock or gems penetrate through the surface.  The continuous green surfaces camouflage the building in some areas, yet allowing it to have prominence in the landscape where the structure reveals itself.

Zaha Hadid; Shortlisted For Iraqi Parliament Complex

Zaha Hadid has been confirmed  as one of the architects shortlisted for the international competition to design a new, $1 billion Iraqi parliament complex in Baghdad.  Located in the middle of the city, the new complex will be challenged with the remnants of a partially built super mosque planned by Saddam Hussein.  Massive 50m (165 ft) reinforced concrete columns tower over the site, as construction was halted by the US-led invasion in 2003.

The parliament building promises to be still a potent symbol of the new Iraq.  Baghdad- based Dewan Architects, London- based firm Assemblage and possible some French and German architects will also be joining the shortlist.

The project briefing revealed that the firms may keep or demolish the columns, as it will be an important aspect as to how those columns are treated.  Entrants will return their proposals to technical committee by the first week of July.  An international jury will then be drafted to choose a winner toward the end of the year.  In addition to the complex, the finalist will also be asked to produce a master plan for the surrounding city, as well as additional government buildings, a new hotel and public parks.


Landscape Fence

Vienna architects Heri&Salli conceive a cocoon like temple structure to surround the swimming pool of a private builder-owner in Austria. The adornment of mounted panels and interior constructions which are more or less depending on their function, the parametric organized spatial element describes possibilities of a usable and experienceable surface.

In an attempt to redefine an existing garden property with views of the lake, and simultaneously create provisions on views and develop a sense of privacy from surrounding properties and neighbors, the theme of the classic rustic fence was taken up.  In the simplest case a fence functions as protection or demarcation, a visualization of a line that wasn't visible before.  In this case the fence becomes- proceeding from a diagonal constructional arrangement-a possibility of space.  It doesn't demarcate the space, but creates it and renders it experienceable, the function as a demarcation slides into the background and is only a byproduct.

The objective of the opening element similar to a cocoon is to create different spatial qualities and experience space.  Partly covered, withdrawn and protected, then opening and finally in the middle or in the end in the water of the pool where you can swim out of it.  The curves convey a feeling of vastness and create in the interior of the house an optimal resonant behavior.  Different integrated constructions like stairs, seats, lying areas or a table with backrest and pool covering are in its definition in a geometrical relation with the original construction; emerging only to become part of the structure again.  The integrated panels follow a dynamic course from the orthogonal edge into the interior space, emerging from the center revealing itself from the inside to the outside.


Kanayama Community Center

Located at the foot of Kanayama Castle in Gunma, Japan, the Kanayama Museum and Community Center incorporates guidance facilities for this historic place and a workshop for local residents to learn handcraft and dyeing.  Because the site is divided by a 6m ridge, half of the building is built atop this ridge, joined by a community plaza.

The exterior wall is a thin and light screen, a transformation of the "stone wall" characterizes the historic site.  The pattern of the screen is derived from the two shapes the original stones were cut in.  The shapes were determined by the weight that can be carried by one person, developed in a regular pattern to gain a sense of lightness.  The ceiling of the interior is made of cement excelsior board and rectangular panels layered top and bottom and plastered in a pattern, showing varied degrees so that its fractionalization and spatial gaps would develop in three-dimension.  It is an attempt to link the material and the space by patterns.

Stacking Green

Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia compiled the cultural elements of the city of Saigon, Vietnam into a design that celebrates the Saigonese love affair with a having large varieties of tropical plants and flowers in their balconies, courtyards and streets.

The house, designed for a 30 year old couple and their mother, is a typical tube house constructed on a 13'x65' lot.  The front and back facades are entirely composed of layers of concrete planters cantilevered from two side walls which gives it its name "Stacking Green".  The distance between the planters and their height is adjusted according to the height of the plants, which varies from 10 to 15 inches. Automatic irrigation pipes are used for watering.

The house is constructed using an RC frame, widely used in Vietnam.  The partition walls are very few in order to keep interior fluency and view of green facades from every point of the house.  Daylight is diffused as it filters through the leaves of the plants providing a comfort and privacy through natural shading for the residents.  The planters also serve as noise barriers and a natural air filter producing oxygen and consuming CO2.  Skylights and air grates of the roof also serve to release hot air as it rises in the house, allowing for a healthy flow of air, reducing the need for air conditioning.  This sustainably beautiful design shows the immense possibilities of building green in dense cities with small building plots.


Museum of Image & Sound

Diller scofidio +Renfro's dynamic design for the Museum of Image & Sound takes Copacabana Beach as its inspiration: its coastline, its wraparound building wall, its mountains, and its distinctive beach promenade designed by Roberto Burle Marx.  The promenade captures the key element of the beach – a space of the public in motion–on foot, bicycle and automobile.

The building is conceived as an extension of that boulevard, stretched vertically into the museum.  the "Vertical Boulevard" gestures toward inclusiveness: it gently traverses indoor and outdoor spaces and branches to make galleries, education programs, spaces of public leisure and entertainment.  The building inherits the DNA of Burle Marx but radically reorients his public surface upward into a thickened facade for the new museum.

The vertical circulation sequence connects the street with the building's entertainment programs–from the clearstory view into the Auditorium at street level, to the elevated Terrace Bar and Cafe, the Piano Bar at the third level, the Restaurant at the sixth, and outdoor cinema at the roof.  The building is also conceived as an instrument to observe the city in a new way.  The panoramic view before it, overexposed to tourists in the hotels and restaurants of Copacabana Beach while restricted for many residents, is perhaps the central image at stake.  Through framing strategies, the skin of the MIS curates the view for the visitor moving through the gallery sequence.