Fantasy Guggenheim Expansion

Athens based Oiio Architecture proposes a plan to expand Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum.  The designers are answering to a call of museums worldwide seeking to extend to accommodate larger collections.  Their proposal stretches the original museum skyward, by continuing its iconic ramp, creating an additional 13 floors.

The building would continue to grow in circumference as it rose, while the atrium would gradually taper inwards to a point.  The building would then culminate in a perfectly circular floor plan at the top where Wrights iconic glass dome would be rehoused.

For those of you who consider this Blasphemy, take a deep breath, for the designers have only proposed this plan as pure fantasy acknowledging that the Guggenheim museum is so iconic it can no longer be touched by architects.


Weinhof Synagogue; ksg Architects

The Weinhof Synagogue designed by Kister Scheithauer Gross Architekten was built for the Jewish community of Ulm, Germany.  Functioning as a synagogue and community center, the beautiful white stone structure features a large window incased in a Star of David motif facing the direction of Jerusalem.

In 2009, the Israelite Religious Community in Wurttemberg decided to build a new synagogue for its orthodox community in Ulm and, together within the city of Ulm, initiated a competition.  The city placed the building site in the middle of Weinhof, just a stone's throw from the former synagogue, which was destroyed during Kristallnacht.

The cuboid structure is 24 meters wide, 16 deep and 17 meters high much lower than nearby Schworhaus and shorter than initially planned, fitting like a glove into its surroundings without detracting from its unique character.  The rooms are arranged orthogonally.  Only the synagogue follows the line of the only, free-standing support in the building, in a diagonal direction pointing towards Jerusalem.  The Star of David window in the sacral room contains 600 openings, illuminated from many points, with the focal point being the liturgical centerpiece; the Torah shrine.  The prayer room offers space for 125 people, including 40 spaces in the women's gallery.


Rock Stadium; UAE

MZ Architects designed a contextually appropriate and innovate design concept for a new soccer/ football stadium in the city of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.  The design is inspired by the desert landscape, celebrating the game it hosts as much as it celebrates the site in which it lays.  S  The stadium is sunken 200,000 sqm, like a sunken treasure, into the cooler depths of the desert sand.  It presents itself to the visitor as a series of sharply inclined planes emerging from the ground.

Recognizing the powerful language of its surroundings and intelligently approaching the issue of scale and the intermittent use of the stadium architecture, the project turns the Jebel Hafeet rocky mountain into one of its main features.  The design merges architecture and landscape, blurring the boundaries of the built and the natural and creating a space that allows the visitor to interact with the desert as much as with the stadium activity.

Inspired by ancient examples of amphitheaters and temples, the project refers to the first greek amphitheater that worked with the topographic landscape of its site, taking it a step further and challenging the site to new measures by sculpting it, refining its elements and playing wit the mass and void relationship.

Source: archdaily.com


US Set to Achieve Top Oil Production by 2017

In the next five years the United States should be on course to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's top producer of oil and become a net oil exporter by 2030, according to an International Energy Agency report.  Although this scenario at the moment does not seem to paint a bright picture for our nation's environmental future, many are excited for an America independent of foreign oil with a move towards energy self-sufficiency.

Proponents argue that lower oil prices will create a decline in coal usage, and diminish the appeal of fracking.  Currently, domestic coal usage is already hitting record lows, due in large part to the increased natural gas production.  The entire scenario not matter what way you approach it  continues to pose unfortunate consequences at each end of the spectrum, creating untold, long-term effects on the US environment, from multiple large disasters to small consistent ongoing small-scale pipeline leaks.

The IEA points out in their report that, US energy self-sufficiency will not come from increased oil production alone, rather 55% will be a result of an uptick in home-drilled oil, and 45% from increases in energy efficiency.  While oil production may be good for the job market, so too is the emerging Green Economy.

About 3 million green jobs currently exist in the US, through wind and solar power, and other energy efficiency projects. The UN estimated that 15m and 60m additional jobs are likely in the next twenty years, if green policies are put in place to switch the high-carbon economy to low-carbon.

Read the full report Here:


Museo Soumaya

Mexico City's Museo Soumaya is both an iconic architectural symbol as well as a functional container for displaying art.  Designers at FR-EE architecture designed the museum to function both as a sculptural building that is unique and contemporary, yet one able to house a collection of international paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects dating from the fourteenth century to the present.

The exterior of the building is an amorphous shape perceived differently from every angle, reflecting the diversity of the collection inside.  The building's distinctive facade is made of hexagonal aluminum modules facilitating its preservation and durability.  The shell is constructed with steel columns of different diameters, each with its own geometry and shape, creating non-linear circulation paths for the visitor.  The building encompasses 20,000 square meters of exhibition space divided among five floors, as well as an auditorium, cafĂ©, offices, gift shop, and multipurpose lobby.  The top floor is the largest space in the museum, with its roof suspended from a cantilever that allows in natural light.


World's Tallest Vertical Forest; Bosco Verticale

Last year we reported on the construction of the world's tallest vertical forest, Bosco Verticale, in Milan, Italy.  The massive carbon filter is on schedule to be completed some time in the near future.  The structure is already shaping up pretty well, one can only imagine how it will blossom over the next 10-20 years!

The Bosco Verticale project aims to mitigate some of the environmental damage that has been inflicted upon the city by urbanization, a small band-aid for one of the most polluted cities in the world.  The design is made up of two high-density tower blocks with trees and vegetation planted on the facade.  The plants help capture CO2 and dust in the air, reduce the need to mechanically heat and cool the tower's apartments, and help mitigate the urban heat island effect experienced in the city.

The two towers rise 260 feet and 367 feet tall, together they have the capacity to hold 480 large and medium size trees, 250 small trees, 11,000 ground-cover plants and 5,000 shrubs (the equivalent of 2.5 acres of forest).  The types of trees were chosen based on where they would be positioned on the buildings' facades.  it took over two years of working with botanists to decide which trees would be most appropriate for the buildings and the climate.  The plants used in the project were grown specifically for the building, pre-cultivated so they would gradually acclimate to the conditions they will experience once placed on the buildings.

Source: Inhabitat