Friday, July 27, 2012

Maxxi, The National Museum of 21st Century Art – Rome, Italy

After 11 years of design and construction, curators at Rome’s new 130 million euro (about $175 million) contemporary art museum may now be wondering what art they’ll install—and how they’ll hang it—in Zaha Hadid’s long, tubular gallery spaces, which overlap each other as they zoom around an old army barracks site like a frenzied highway project gone awry. Early viewers can’t seem to get enough of Hadid’s gravity-defying, frozen-motion theatricality, even as pundits declare the end of the era of architectural spectacle.

Goldman Sachs headquarters – New York, U.S.

Ground was broken on the new headquarters for Goldman Sachs back in November 2005, well before the bank became a focal point for those indignant at Wall Street excesses in the post credit-crisis era. Heavily subsidized by tax breaks, the $2.5 billion building, in downtown Manhattan, rises 43 stories and was designed by Harry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to house six trading floors and 2.1 million square feet of office space. As its 9,000 inhabitants finish moving in, speculation is rife about just how posh Goldman’s trappings are, but the company is not drawing attention to swank these days.

Novartis Headquarters – Basel, Switzerland

Daniel Vasella, chairman of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, remade an obsolete manufacturing complex into a showcase of contemporary architecture and art, including an office building by SANAA that’s so minimalist it seems to consist only of white planes of floor and sheer walls of glass. The centerpiece is a lyrical composition by Frank Gehry that piles tilting curved forms on top of each other.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beekman Tower – New York, U.S.

Of celebrity-architect-designed skyscrapers slated for Manhattan, only the Beekman Tower, by Frank Gehry, survived the meltdown. Topped off last year in shining crumpled metal, it almost lost half its 76 stories as its developer, Forest City Ratner, struggled to keep its massive Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn afloat.

CCTV – Beijing, China

Built to coincide with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the sinister donut designed by Dutch architecture firm OMA was started in September 2004 and was supposed to be completed by the end of last year. OMA now says it doesn’t know when the building will open. Its intimidating form increasingly reflects the state television network’s function as China clamps down harder on dissent. One part of the complex, including the Mandarin Oriental hotel, burned down early in 2009. Ole Scheeren, lead architect on the project, is adamant that reconstruction will take place.

Rolex Learning Center – Lausanne, Switzerland

If Salvadori Dali had designed a Swiss student center, it would probably have looked something like this undulating, drooping building/landscape in sheer curving sheets of glass and pristine white surfaces that opened in February. SANAA, its Japanese architect, designed the 289,000-square-foot high-tech art library and a host of other resources for students and faculty at the Swiss Institute of Technology to frame a variety of views of nearby Lake Geneva. The traffic-stopper cost some 110 million Swiss francs (about $102 million). A journalist for the British Observer wrote at the opening, “if you could live inside an iPad, it would look something like this.”

The Shard – London, England

Construction began last year on The Shard, London’s only skyscraper to hit the 1,000-foot-tall mark. Proposed almost 20 years ago, it’s something of a miracle that this ambitious mix of offices, hotel, and apartments is rising at all, given the numerous political and economic obstacles to building in London’s historic center. Numerous design revisions by architect Renzo Piano have cost this 87-story pyramid of overlapping glass planes a considerable degree of elegance. Get used to it. Rising from London Bridge, a rail station on the south bank of Thames River, it may dominate the skyline for decades.

Elbphilharmonie – Hamburg, Germany

The new home for the NDR Symphony has turned out to be an ironically extravagant icon for Hafencity, a $10 billion rebuilt port district designed to resist global-warming floods. The undulating tiers of seats in the concert hall, by Swiss duo Herzog and de Meuron, nestle within a brooding 1960s warehouse topped by a swooping glass tent. The cost of the project (which includes a luxe hotel and apartments) has spiraled from $313 million in 2007 to a yet-to-be-determined point north of $500 million. The opening has been delayed two years, to 2012.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Marina Bay Sands – Singapore

Marina Bay Sands – Singapore: Singapore isn’t necessarily synonymous with Vegas. The city state is more sterile than high stakes. Nonetheless, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. is set to fling open the doors to an ambitious, $5.5 billion casino/convention complex later this year. Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson describes the jaw-dropping design, by Moshe Safdie, as “a catalyst for the economic future of Singapore,” not to mention the hoped-for salvation of his struggling company. Three 50-story hotel towers are linked by a two acre Sky Park.

Chicago Spire – Chicago, U.S.

 Chicago Spire – Chicago, U.S.: Work began on the Chicago Spire in 2007. But what was supposed to be the largest residential tower in America fell apart as the credit crisis hit home. Both developer Garrett Kelleher and architect Santiago Calatrava remain outwardly optimistic that the project may be resurrected. Nonetheless, the Chicago Architecture Club is running a competition for ideas to fill the big round hole in the ground that’s there now.

Atlantic Yards – New York, U.S.

Atlantic Yards – New York, U.S.: This super controversial megadevelopment may yet rise from the dead after years of legal problems compounded by the credit crisis. Original architect Frank Gehry was canned in 2009, in favor of local architecture firm SHoP and San Francisco’s Ellerbe Becket. The $4 billion development is ultimately supposed to incorporate 336,000 square feet of offices and 6.36 million square feet of homes. The Barclays Center, the new home of the New York Nets basketball team, is due to be completed by 2012.

Saadiyat Island – Abu Dhabi, U.A.E

Saadiyat Island – Abu Dhabi, U.A.E: Having bailed out Dubai earlier this year, Abu Dhabi still has cash to build what could be the world’s most ambitious cultural complexes (this artist’s rendering was released in 2007). Saadiyat Island is just 500 meters off the nation’s coast and set to contain museum designs by five winners of the Pritzker Prize (the Oscars of the architecture world.) The Jean Nouvel-designed outpost of the Louvre museum broke ground in 2009.

Masdar – Abu Dhabi, U.A.E

Masdar – Abu Dhabi, U.A.E: The Masdar Initiative launched in Abu Dhabi in April 2006. Run by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), with British architecture firm Foster & Partners acting as master planners, Masdar is being advertised as the world’s first zero-carbon city. Ground broke on the ambitious project in 2008 (this image shows the headquarters, designed by the Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill). It’s unlikely to be finished in 2010, but it’s one of the many “eco cities” touted for the Middle East and China that might have any hope of completion.

Burj Khalifa – Dubai, U.A.E

Burj Khalifa – Dubai, U.A.E: The year started on a literal high, as the world’s tallest skyscraper opened for business on Jan. 4, 2010. The Burj Khalifa tower, designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, stands at 2,717 feet, more than 160 stories high, with an Armani hotel, offices, and homes all included in the massive structure. The architecture industry has been reeling in recent years, walloped by everything from mortgage meltdowns to the deep-rooted global recession. As the financial crisis has hit home(s), construction has slowed on both residential and commercial projects, leaving architects and builders to come up with creative ways to keep their firms afloat. Here are some of the projects set to open their doors, break ground, or gain attention in 2010.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scariest Bridges of the World

No doubt those people are really brave heart who cross these bridges everyday one once in their lives. Here is collection of 15 most terrifying bridges of the world.

1. Hussaini Hanging Bridge, Pakistan

Cooki Construct Gingerbread Houses

1. Baba Yaga Gingerbread House
Location: The New York Botanical Garden’s 2009 Gingerbread Adventures (Bronx, NY)
Irina Brandler, a Russian immigrant and owner of Sugar and Spice Bake Shop in Bronx, NY, headed a team of four bakers to make a gingerbread house for Baba Yaga, a witch-like character from Russian folklore who lives in the forest in a hut that stands on chicken legs. Irina’s version of the house stood more than two feet tall and featured a roof covered in shredded wheat cereal and Necco Wafers, pretzel fences and ladder, a trail formed with Boston Baked Beans candy, and Christmas trees made of frosted ice cream cones and pretzel rods. Three domes on the top of the house were all shaped out of fondant—one dome made of a Hershey’s chocolate kiss melted and had to be replaced. Each of these themes and more are represented in this year’s best gingerbread house creations chosen by Food & Wine editors. Bakers and confectionary designers from New York to Hawaii have been hard at work crafting these sweet-scented masterpieces, employing thousands of gallons of icing, as well as thousands of pounds of chocolate, gingerbread dough, fondant, and candy to capture the essence of the holiday season.

Absolutely Brilliant Architectural Photographs

Professional photographers combine creativity, artistic vision and technical mastery to take photographs. People in this profession use a wide range of equipment, some of which is specific to certain career fields. Good photographers have a natural eye for composition and can often create an aesthetically appealing photograph out of anything. Here are 15 absolutely incredible architecture photography examples to make your day fresh.

Cuba Gallery, France

Sydney Opera House

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ark Hotel World's New Most Unique Hotel

The Ark project was designed by Russian firm Remistudio with the assistance of the International Union of Architects’ program Architecture for Disasters Relief. The dome-shaped hotel is constructed with wooden arches, steel cables and a “self-cleaning” plastic layer instead of glass. The slinky-like Ark hotel can be adapted to suit both land and water. It is built to stay afloat in the event of floods or rising seas. The 14,000 square metre shell-like construction of arches and cables distributes the weight evenly, meaning it can withstand earthquakes. Daylight is filtered through to internal rooms due to the hotel’s see-through structure, reducing the need for lighting.

Mexico City's Hottest Buildings

Visitors to Mexico City are often surprised by its breadth of architectural styles, from 16th century churches to oddly shaped skyscrapers of the past decade. Here, take a virtual tour of some of Mexico City’s architectural head-turners.

1. Soumaya Museum

2. Conjunto Arcos Bosques

Largest 20 Hotels in the World

Here is the count down list of World’s top 20 largest hotels. Any hotel that has 3,000 rooms or more can be included in this list.

20. Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas – 3,002 Rooms

19. The Mirage, Las Vegas – 3,044 Rooms

World's Coolest Design Destinations

1. Herzog & de Meuron’s showroom at VitraHaus, in Weil am Rhein, Germany
Furniture manufacturer Vitra’s grassy headquarters at the meeting point of France, Germany, and Switzerland (just outside Basel) has been an architecture destination since its Frank Gehry–designed museum opened in 1989. There are also buildings by Zaha Hadid and Tadao Ando, but the most remarkable sight may be the new showroom and store designed by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The architects have taken the archetypal pitched-roof house, elongated it, and stacked 12 of them up like fireplace logs. Inside, you can follow winding staircases through the dreamlike space and look for home furnishings.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Most Beautiful Buildings of the World

Here is most beautiful and original buildings from around the world...

1. Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE

2. Sagrada Família, Barcelona

Best Watery Hotels of the World

At the 5 star Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, you’ll stay in one of the 50 villas built on stilts – some up to 500m out to sea – with views of the lagoon and the Indian Ocean. You can also have dinner at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which is 16 feet below sea level with views of the reed and marine life.

The Porcelain House of Tianjin

Facade of the “Porcelain House”, built by Chinese collector Zhang Lianzhi, on November 1, 2008 in the Heping district of Tianjin, China. Over 400 million porcelain fragments, 5,000 ancient vases, 4,000 antique china dishes and bowls, over 20 tons of crystalline rocks and agate, 400 white marble stone carvings were incorporated in the five year refurbishment of the unique French styled house. Valued at over $65 million, ‘Yuebao House’ is open to the public as a museum, displaying wares of china, wood, lacquer and bronze collected by the owner over the past two decades.

The upside down house

“The World Stands on its Head” (“Die Welt Steht Kopf”) House on the Baltic Sea Island of Usedom stands nearly completed on September 3, 2008 in Trassenheide, Germany. The upside down house, complete with upside down interior furnishings, is the brainchild of Klaudiusz Golos and Sebastian Mikiciuk.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Maritime structure – neither house nor ship

There are regular houseboats, and then there are these high-concept homes. These homes are anchored to land but they sit on planks that float in the water. According to the company’s Web site, “what was required was the development of a uniquely maritime structure – neither house nor ship.”

The Ennis-Brown House

The Ennis-Brown House, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1924, is seen March 7, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The historic 10,000 square foot home was yellow tagged (limited occupancy allowed) by the City of Los Angeles after a retaining wall began to fail after recent rain storms in Southern California. Named “House for an Art Lover” this home was built in 1901 by Glasgow’s most famous architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The design was submitted as part of a competition to build a house for an art lover and disqualified because it was sent in after the deadline. However, it was awarded an alternative prize for its uniqueness and built in Glasgow.

Residential Car-House (Salzburg, Austria)

This residential car-house in Salzburg was designed by architect Markus Voglreiter, who invested about one million euros for the exceptional building constructed in the shape of a Volkswagen-Beetle-car. The home was rented for 2500 euros monthly. Search for homes for sale and for rent in New York.

Fallingwater House

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s designed house, Fallingwater, completed in 1939 as a weekend cottage for Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, sits over a waterfall May 20, 2002 in Mill Run, PA. The house is undergoing an $11.5 million restoration project targeted at preserving the home.

Ice House Detroit

This crazy-looking home will make you feel a little, er, cold. Two Detroit artists are encasing this home in ice in an effort to draw attention to the housing crisis that has ramsacked America. They call the project “Ice House Detroit.”

Futuro House - Home of the Future

While at first glance this house looks to be a UFO, it’s actually the earthly product of a Finnish architect. Called the Futuro House, it was designed in the late 1960s by Matti Suuronen and was light enough to be moved by helicopter, according to the New York Times.