Andre Balasz and architect Jean Nouvel have collaborated on a 13-story loft/retail homage to glass 40 Mercer. When this design was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, way back in 2001, Times critic Herbert Muschamp called it the "most significant architectural initiative we've seen from city government" since the landmarks law passed in 1965. After praising the building's use of glass from every conceivable angle, Muschamp got to the point.
"Not least," he wrote, "this design is about sex...Modulating the visual texture of glass with reflectivity, fretted patterns, screened-on images, blurring, veiling, coloration, support systems and other techniques, these projects summon forth states of narcissism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, veiling, vamping, elusiveness, disconsolation, Hitchcock's blonde."
The office wing of the controversial new Quai Branly Museum, designed by Jean Nouvel in Paris has a "vertical garden" installed by Patrick Blanc. The construction of the vertical gardens include layers of felt, plastic and metal sheeting which provide a barrier against damaging roots. According to Business Week, Le Mur Végétal, or Plant Wall, is a dense sheet of vegetation that can grow against any surface, or even in midair. It works by doing away entirely with dirt, instead growing plants hydroponically in felt pockets attached to a rigid plastic backing.
An underground rice and vegetable field has been planted beneath an office building in Tokyo's Otemachi business district. This urban farm - in what used to be the vault of a major bank - is maintained using computer-controlled artificial light and temperature management. It was brought into being by a personnel company as a means of providing agricultural training to young people who are having trouble finding employment and middle-aged people in search of a second career. The hi-tech vegetable patch, called Pasona was launched by the temporary staffing agency Pasona Inc. When Pasona moved its headquarters to this building, it decided to lease the second basement floor - formerly the Resona Bank vault - and turn it into a vegetable garden.
This 500,000 sqm building will be the headquarters for Chinese state TV and is Rem Koolhaas’ attempt to create “an unbelievably beautiful building”. It also sees him making a bid for global recognition: Koolhaas has yet to produce his definitive building, and this could be it. Koolhaas was invited to enter both this competition and the one for Ground Zero in New York; his new-found opposition to skyscrapers and a distaste for George W Bush’s America persuaded him to focus on Beijing. “We felt that CCTV was more legitimate territory for experimentation than Ground Zero would be,” he says. The building takes the self-consciously unskyscraper-like form of a giant loop and is as much an exercise in extreme engineering and icon-mongering as an attempt to house the diverse functions of a major broadcasting outfit that employs 10,000 people. “A new icon is formed … not the predictable two-dimensional tower soaring skyward but a truly three-dimensional experience,” he writes in Content.
Recently opened the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan. According to Foster and Partners "as a non-denominational contemporary building form, the pyramid is resonant of both a spiritual history that dates back to ancient Egypt as well as a symbol of amity for the future."
Michael Hansmeyer is an architect who uses L-system growth processes for architectural design. He explores the interpretation of L-system strings into geometric forms, through mappings and turtle graphics. His process is well documented and provides a good picture of the potential of L-system-derived 3D forms. His work shows different methods of mapping strings through vertices, surfaces, objects and groupings of strings and generations. His designs are created in Maya, using MEL (Maya Embedded Language). I would like to experiment with some of the methods he has used in the visual interpretation of strings.
The Maison Folie is a new urban art center in Lille, France by architect Lars Spuybroek of NOX. it was renovated from an old textile factory and now contains exhibition spaces, artist-in-residence homes, clubs, turkish baths, small restaurants, and sound studios.
The Plastic House in Tokyo, 2002 by Kengo Kuma is surprisingly made of plastic: Translucent, golden green fiberglass forms the exterior walls, stairs, and slatted screen walls that define key spaces, lending the interior a pleasant glow during the daytime and a lanternlike ambience at night. In this sense, it is very Japanese: traditional in an unexpected way, synthetic but organically textured.