September 19, 2006

Coup attempt in Thailand?

Apparently the PM of Thailand has been overthrown in an army coup. The Council of Political Reform has claimed responsibility and declared their loyalty to the king.
Breaking News via: Swissinfo/SDA, BBC World, CNN

Koolhaas unveiled Cornell Building

A computer rendering of how Milstein Hall, designed by Rem Koolhaas, will look behind Sibley Hall on the campus of Cornell University.

Rem Koolhaas was hired last January by Mohsen Mostafavi, the dean of the Architecture Department at Cornell.
The building will be a box, not a "...massive presence, but nevertheless a strong presence." “We didn’t want to do a literal masterpiece, but an almost mysterious single beam of modernity,’’ and furthermore Koolhaas said, that “The box is always an isolated thing. But here, we use the box as a connector. You could say it’s a postmodern use of the box.” However, the design will be very simple, according to Mostafavi, but pro- and diagrammed based on the research of the daily use. “It’s definitely an exercise in modest, discreet intervention."
The plans have now to be approved by the City Council of Ithaca, where the University is located Upstate New York.
Groundbreaking is expected in 2007 and completition in 2009.
via: NY Times

September 18, 2006

Herzog & De Meuron Art Museum for Miami

H&dM were recommended and picked by Terence Riley, the Miami Art Museum's new Director, and a commitee that was researching on works of various architects for months. A civic panel endorsed the choice.
The new home for the museum is expected to cost $208 million and will be the Bicentennial Park/Museum Park on Biscayne Bay.
First designs of the project will be reveiled at the Art Basel in 2007.
via: NY Times and Miami Herald.

September 15, 2006

The design weblog Dezain is my main referrer today. So thank you to Eizo Okada and his Dezain and to all of you readers for visiting my blog and I hope to entertain you in future with more interesting stories and posts.

September 14, 2006

The Architecture of Roche and Novartis

As mentioned in my previous post about the introduction of a new tower by Roche, design by Herzog De Meuron, 10vor10 shows that Novartis is building there too.

I will update this post tomorrow with some images and further information, but as a sneak-peak: Frank Gehry, Sanaa, Diener & Diener and others were hired for designs.

Neill Blomkamp - Aspiring Director

Once one of my professors at the ETH told us to go out become inspired, watch movies, go to the theater or dance. Well back than we hadn't much free time so we had to be inventive, but after my year in the US I consider myself a Hollywood-Movie pundit. That's right. So I'd like to introduce you in future to movies or directors I have on my personal watch-list.

Today It's Neill Blomkamp, a Johannesburg native, is a fairly gifted young aspiring director. One that grew up with all that new technology and computers and he doesn't fear using it in his shorts and advertisements, which he has been doing so far. He uses CGI as it is just a cutting method, you can't tell whether the shown object is a built prop or just digitally generated. Absolutely great to see.

He has done commercials for Nike and Citroen most notably.
Groundbreaking and certainly important for his future film making are his shorts Tetra Vaal and Alive in Joburg. The latter features some sort of aliens that are stranded on earth and live in the shantytowns of Johannesburg. You could clearly read it as a critique, because it describes a situation that resembles Apartheid.

Tetra Vaal continues by introducing a robot that performs as a modern police-soldier, replaceable and repairable fighting in a urban-war zone, that unmistakeably looks like Joburg's Townships.

He did another short about a robot that is introduced to a company as "co-worker" and his integration afterwards, or lack thereof; especially in means of love. That might sound absurd at first, but once again the 'bot seamlessly blends in and you even start forgetting that it's synthetic, or even cgi. The robots, although not having that appeal visually, perform "humanoid" what makes you symphatize.

The ad's for citroen, feature cars transforming into robots - again. After I heard that Michael Bay is re-adapting Transformers for the big screen, I hoped that Blomkamp would be involved in it somehow, since the two 'bots from the ad's would make pretty good 'Transformers'.
That seems quite unlikley, but Blomkamp will direct Halo - yes, the alien/marine-shooter-game big-screen adaptation. The project that Peter Jackson was to direct at first will be the cinema-debut for a director I hope hearing from much more in future. Jackson him self acts now as Executive Producer and the Halo-Project which is slated for screen in 2008 is in pre-production.

Of course his ability in utilizing CGI is astonishing and not much seen before, but his filmmaking where he is able to express his vision as a director I suppose is most visible in his short films. They are almost all a combination of a documentary-style, hand-crank-camera and "normal" filming. The intensity might not be there yet, but reminds me of a less graphical Tony Scott or a Michael Mann, actually two of my favourite directors. Actually Blomkamp is represented also by Ridley Scott's Production Company, RSA Films.
I hope I was able to share a little bit of my excitement of Neill Blomkamp's work and why I really look forward on seeing more of his work.

Below you'll find two excerpts from his collections of shorts and advertisements.
- The Citroen-Ad:

- and the new short yellow/adicolor, a darker version of Cameron's iconic Dark Angel:

Log 8

For a moment let's stay at 41W25th, Log 8 is out, so go get one!

Peter's minute - updated

Peter answered some questions.
He's reading Houellebecq's latest and thinks building a sacred space might be interesting.
Since we live in a super confidential world I won't comment much on it, except we all look forward for some more pics and his new "bible" Eisenmanual.

Although still no picture, here an article about the two Pompeii train stations that Eisenman Architects is designing.

Ceal Floyer at the Swiss Institute

Who ever walked south on broadway in SoHo, might have noticed a sleek flag with the letters S-I on it.
Well, that's the logo of the Swiss Institute of Conteporary Art, which this fall will host an exhibition about the British Artist Ceal Floyer between September 20th and October 21st. The opening reception is on September 20th between 6-8pm.

Herzog De Meuron Tower for Basel

updated on 15.9.06, 16.9.06
Here we go again, after the recent post about the redevelopment of the fair in Basel by Herzog & De Meruon, today at a media briefing in Basel their design for the new tower for Roche was announced and introduced.
Roche, a global health-care company, based in Basel, will be redeveloping their headquarters-campus, also by adding a 160m (524 feet) tower; which would become Switzerland's highest tower. The timetable suggests an approval by the city's council by the end of 2007 and once approved, construction would take place between 2008 and 2011.

First comments from politicians, no matter what couleur, suggest that they are excited about the project and really look forward to it. What pleased them most is the fact, that this tower by Roche is a bold statement for the city of Basel as location.

Take a look at some images, the official presentation and read the official media release.

The redevelopment of the Roche campus will cost about $640 million and will include two buildings by Herzog & De Meuron. The 160m tower mentioned above, will gather 2400 Roche-workplaces, that are currently spread over Basel. Additonally a new research and development (R&D) centre will be built to replace the old laboratory.

Roche is Switzerland's second-biggest pharmaceutical company behind its Basel-based rival, Novartis. It has a total workforce of 70,000 people worldwide, including 7,500 in Switzerland.
Roche, confident in maintaining a strategy of growth, created 1000 jobs in the city of Basel in the past years; their half-year net income rose a 37% to $3.6 billion.
Meanwhile Novartis will invest about $1.5 billion to redevelop it's own campus, not far from the Roche site, their masterplan has already been introduced and Novartis hired such architects as Frank Gehry, Sanaa and Diener & Diener to name a few (more about the Novartis plans here.)

Below a visualization of the project:

Furthermore an interview from from the guys at venicesuperblog (blogging about la Biennale) with Jacques Herzog from HdM about the ETH-Studio Basel and their project on Switzerland, which is shown in the Italian Pavilion:

September 13, 2006

My Celebrity look-alikes

fun isn't it?

September 11, 2006

9/11 - The New Cityscape of Fear - updated

Cityscape of fear
The online news magazine Salon recently featured an article about the Cityscape of fear, claiming that the American Architecture is still reeling from the 9/11 attacks. Security is the main concern, even five years since the attacks occured, and you can see the effects everywhere: from jersey barriers in front of the Lincon Center, posts and bollards became ubiquitous aswell as planters and fences. These barricades are sucking the soul out of urban life.
Highrise Boom
The San Francisco chronicle claims that altough the terror threat fails to stem the high rise boom, defensive measuers focus on fortifying the buildings bases against possible attacks. Currently there are five towers are under construction that will exceed 30 stories.While Chicago approved recently the 2000-foot Fordham Spire and Boston will maybe feature soon a 1000-foot tower in the historic finacial district. While Lord Foster's WTC-Design of the "kissing towers" has been rejected, he was able to lead on a series of new mayor towers in New York City that have been introduced after 9/11. Actually his Hearst Tower opened just last year. 2002 the design for the new 1046-foot New York Times Tower by Renzo Piano was hailed as breakthrough for the Manhattan Skyline, it's construction end is slated for 2007.

The World Trade Center Site
Last Thurday the plans were unveiled of the last three skyscrapes that will join the Freedom Tower around the former World Trade Center site. These towers altogether will reshape the current skyline of lower Manhattan but the future ensemble won't dominate as much like the former WTC's Towers did. Lord Foster also designed one of the three, which would mark his second tower in Manhattan. The other two were designed by Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki. Nicolai Ouroussoff, the NYTimes Chief Architecture critic, writes in his architecture review of the new towers that they illustrate how low our expectations have sunk since the city first resolved to rebuild the site. Mixed views allegorise fellow Archinecter's discussion of the new designs. BBC menwhile ask what exactly it means to build a skyscraper after 9/11 and examines the design of the centerpiece of the WTC site, the Freedom Tower.
The 1776-foot tower had to ensure maximum safety and security, and had to incorporate a number of features. Most notably is the multi-layered glass curtain wall to protect the building form explosions on street level, from which the curtain wall extends about 40 meters and mostly hosts building technology. The building's base, which more resembles a plinth, is probably the strongest sign of retreat and security that has been designed for future towers. "People that still are clinging to the expectation taht the tower will become a monument to the highest American Ideals, the current design should finally shake them out of that delusion." Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote in his review of the Freedom Tower.
Fear rising? - Epilogue
It is said that Americans are safer now more than they were before the 9/11 attacks. But whith Bin Laden still on the run, after three wars and maybe on the brink of a fourth, poeple feel less secure. Accordingly the Wired Magazine writes that security technology is booming. "Of course, even as technologies improve, none is likely to end the post-Sept. 11 era of hyper vigilance." BBC has again some interesting statistics that show how 9/11 changed America.

9/11 - Comments and upcoming posts

Today is Monday, the Sepetmber 11th. The Newspapers and TV-Channels around the world are remembering the terrorist attacks five years ago. CNN streams its live TV coverage of 9/11 through it's multicast service pipeline for free. Just navigate on the right side of the site to where it says "pipeline".

Furthermore I'll be posting some interesting articles, about the presumed state of being of the world today and of course what that means for the architecture of today.

Dialog now on blogger-beta

As you might notice, I run now the new blogger-beta which is powered by google. Most probably the whole service will run on a similar engine like gmail, so enjoy the slightly updated look.

September 02, 2006

Lange Nacht der Museen in Zürich

Die Lange Nacht der Museen findet heute wieder in Zürich statt, zwischen 19 und 2 Uhr. Gewissen Veranstaltungen laufen aber schon heute Nachmittag und das Kunsthaus feiert sogar bis 5 Uhr morgens. Also ab in die Stadt!