The Black Pearl

A local organization in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has taken it upon themselves to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods.  Studio Polf.fr+ Architecten has addressed the issue by taking large neglected town homes that were once split into apartment units, and converting them back into single family residences.  Most of the home was gutted but some attributes were same and repurposed such as windows and doors and old railings.

The modern aesthetic has completely changed the programing of the interior, altering floor levels, raising ceiling heights, and staggering solid and void spaces creating a unique experience in this old traditional structure.  This first prototype was named the "Black Pearl" because of its bold contrast to the surrounding community with its black exterior and white interior color choices.


Rio Celebrates 2012 Carnival in the Newly Renovated Oscar Niemeyer Sambadrome

The Oscar Niemeyer Sambadrome fills with thousands of spectators as brightly colored sequined samba queens dance the night away in Rio de Janeiro.  Designed by Brazil's legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Sambadrome was originally constructed and inaugurated in 1984 to provide Rio with an urban facility that would serve as the permanent location of the traditional spectacle of the samba school's parade.

Oscar Niemeyer

In preparation for growing popularity of future Carnival's and the 2016 Olympics, the Sambadrome was renovated to expand the 60,000 person capacity to 90,000.  Concrete stadium seating is broken into separate sectors, offering a variety of seating arrangements and amenities, as they line the 700-meter-long Parading Avenue.  The long catwalk, overcome by the Samba School of Brazil is marked by a grand arc, located in Apotheosis Square, which also serves as the location of the Museum of Samba.


The one year renovation project required nearly 600 workers to work 24-hour shifts to quickly complete the work before this years festivities.  Check out the time-lapse below.


Elevated skyscraper in Hong Kong; Urbanplunger

The architecture studio Urbanplunger was recently awarded third prize in the international competition to design a Night Club Hotel in the dense city of Hong Kong.  They proposed a uniquely suspended building structure described as an "architectural parasite" due to the way in which it occupies the city.  The structure leans on neighboring buildings in order to elevate itself above the ground.

Because the building is lifted above street level, it allows for a beautiful public green square beneath the building that increases the area of the existing recreation zone.  Suspended elevators provide public direct access to the building amenities, serving as a primary infrastructure linking the building to the ground.

The amenities are organized throughout the building the three parts.  The lowest section consists of the nightclubs, while the midsection offers the public programs for both business and pleasure.  It is comprised of a business center, retail space, restaurant and a spa center with a semi-Olympic sized swimming pool, along with the lobby and security access for the hotel.  The upper portion is dedicated to the hotel.

L' Ermitage, Residential Building

Surrounded by majestic trees, perched atop a hill with views of the sea and town below, there is no better setting for this modern mansion style apartment building.  Overlooking the town of Neuchatel, Switzerland, Andrea Pelati Architecte and Ipas Architectes designed the building in fragments, in order to play with views and outdoor private spaces.  The environment is reflected in the shimmering facade enliven by the varying colors through the seasons.

The disarticulated levels result in large outdoor spaces.  The apartments enjoy an uncommon relationship to nature, surrounded by the trees and opened on a panorama offered by the lake and the Alps. Each floor is dedicated to one apartment, designed according to the desires and needs of buyers.  A way to live, play and think freely.


G8-Life Completes First New Construction Project.

G8 Life's 2200 Amber residential project has proven a huge success, billowing through construction in a matter of months, but what may have seemed like forever to developers, getting through city permits and interjections from neighbors.  Like all new construction in Philadelphia, there is bound to be obstacles, but G8 successfully got one on the boards and is soon to have a second completed project at 2400 Amber.  The company has completed many renovation and rehab projects throughout the city, and now it has New Construction to add to its portfolio.

Take a look at the property as work comes to an end and the property is prepped for Sale.

New York; The Venice of The America's

A team of University of Pennsylvania students imagined what New York City would look like after global warming flooding and designed a unique solution that could theoretically keep the "Big Apple from becoming the Venice of the America's. Global warming will have a profound impact on New York in many ways, but the most pressing issue is flooding.  Some researchers suggest that in 200 years Manhattan can look like Venice.  Experts agree the city should do something to prepare for the inevitable.

U Penn students Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang think New York can protect itself the way a parent protects a baby's clothes during feeding, by a gigantic bib wrapped around Manhattan.  Its sort of funny how the outer boroughs are always left out of these mega design proposals, but thats another discussion.

In the Penn teams version of the "Bib", an intelligent weaved construction membrane would be draped over buildings in low-lying parts of the city, guarding precious infrastructure from incoming floods.  The membrane would feature a transforming surface that would adapt to different weather conditions, offering more protection in wet conditions than in dry ones.  The transforming surface can combine the multiple functions such as waterproof, lighting and agricultural planting.  Rather than a hierarchy design thinking, each component on the surface has equal essentiality.

Many architects and engineers now believe, post Katrina, that instead of trying to form a bulwark against flooding, cities should embrace it, while trying to minimize its effects.  They propose doing that with "soft infrastructure" –– spongelike sidewalks, marshes, manmade islands, and other absorbent surfaces that can slow storm surges and soak up excess water.  However these surfaces won't dry out the streets altogether.

The giant bib would allow the streets to flood at the same time it would safeguard the city's buildings and the people within them.  Although very abstract and quite unrealistic in design and execution, the idea is forward thinking and on the right track.  It just needs to pair with current and upcoming technology and be more economical to win over New York officials and landlords.


Massive Lego Chapel

If you think church is boring, try worshiping in a chapel made of huge legos, and equipped with a banging sound system and stage.  Thats what LOOS.FM did in 2011, they designed a temporary pavilion in the public space for the Grenswerk Festival in Enschede, The Netherlands.  A church was chosen because it is a community building where people come together.  In the same way that a lighthouse guards a border and bridges connect people, a church centers an area.

The pavilion called "Abondantus Gigantus" is made up of Legioblocks: concrete blocks that are very similar to the famous lego bricks.  The blocks are reminiscent of the toy-sized Legos while being the size of pyramid stones.  These Legioblocks are typically used in dumping grounds surrounding harbors, as well as iron scrap or for sheltering potatoes. Once a wall of Legioblocks has been placed, it usually remains there for years, even though they are easy and flexible to build with.  The Legioblocks are easily stacked and versatile in their use.

The concrete blocks are painted in 5 primary Lego colors and used indiscriminately to build the 65 foot spire and walls.  The blocks are stacked in a honeycomb brickwork.  Because the blocks are not stacked firmly together, a uniform perforation in the volume occurs.  This adds an extra dimension allowing sunlight to enter during the day and at night it emits an enchanting radiance.  Because of this the appearance of the object is continually changing.