Tag Archives: Architecture

Modern homes with unique architecture: Eccentric shapes and illusions dominate the designs

Gone are the days of you double window, single door, chimney houses. These days, the trick is to perfect the balance between design, functionality, and luxury — the ultimate home experience. From quirky locations to unorthodox shapes, these houses manage to blend both exquisite architecture with a taste of character. We take a look at some of these unique houses and their little quirks below!

The Wave House

Located along 1234 Morningside Way, Venice California is a house with a rather atypical shape. The Wave House bids adieu to your usual angular house designs and instead features a cascading white aluminium skin, emulating the movement of its namesake. Designed by architect Mario Romano, the organic structure is made up of 300 custom cut aluminium pieces, coming together to bring to life the fluid motion of waves. Rising two stories high, the house is 530 square meters, providing ample living space. Adopting an open concept, most of the house’s interior spaces such as the living room opens out towards the outdoor patio and pool. Because of the countless fin like tiles layered atop one another, the shadows cast throughout the day are constantly evolving.

Shell Residence

Nestled in the Karuizawa Forest in Nagano, Japan, are two oblong spheres that make up the Shell Residence. Made of reinforced concrete, the two-story shell shaped structure contrasts against the natural environment of the forest. Commissioned by Japanese architect Kotaro Ide, the house was made with the intention to co-exist within the harsh conditions of Karuizawa. Openings in the ceiling allow for natural light to stream in, creating an ambience that is tranquil. Staying true to traditional Japanese design, the interiors are dressed in earthy elements. Deck wood is used for the patio while cherry hardwood flooring lines both levels. Natural light is allowed to filter in through gaps in the ceiling, creating a warm environment for guests to lounge in. In essence, this house is both a contrast, as well as a part of nature, melding elements of nature into its simple aesthetic.

The Flying House

Upon first look, it’s difficult to see where this house starts and ends with sloping ridges and peaks. Built for a pilot and his family, the Flying House in Incheon, South Korea is an aviation themed home designed by IROJE KHM Architects. Painted in white hues, this 195 square meter space is brightened with semi-sheer roof canopies. In addition, each room opens out to the garden, creating an airy sensation throughout the structure. Traditional Korean elements such as the Rumaru pavilion meld into the contemporary design of flowing spaces and climbable terraces, bringing harmony to the space. The minimalistic design coupled with a hint of green throughout the house lifts the house to new heights.

House On The Cliff

Now, this house is a sight to behold! Constructed on a hill with an inclination of 42 degrees, The House On The Cliff resembles a villain’s lair. The most interesting portion of this house is its zinc roof. Made up of many overlapping zinc tiles, the house is part of an illusion itself. When seen from above, the roof tiles emulate waves of the sea. Yet, when seen below, they resemble the scales of a dragon. Designed by GilBartolome Architects, the two-story house is an architectural feat on its own, having to meld into the face of the cliff whilst still maintaining its status as a luxury abode. The unusual location, however, is a blessing in disguise, gifting guests with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Pole House

One of Australia’s most iconic homes, The Pole House is a spectacular piece of property with an even better view. Perched atop a 132-foot pole along Great Ocean Road, the house overlooks Fairhaven Beach and the ocean. Accessible only by a 76-foot glass balustrades bridge, you will no doubt feel as though you’re walking on air. Many have been awed by the illusion of the floating house, which had been built before the 1970s. Recently refurbished and renovated, the house is now a magnificent holiday home with a gorgeous 360-degree view of the coastline. Two walls of the house face the sea and have been replaced with floor to ceiling high glass panels, making the home the ultimate private paradise for a quiet getaway. A fun fact: The pole and foundation of the home were so strong that the entire base structure survived one of Australia’s worst bushfires in 1983. Talk about being in tip-top shape!

Chinese contemporary architecture: Reinterpreting traditional designs in the modern, urban China

A bird’s nest, a boot, a pair of trousers — some of China’s most infamous contemporary buildings resemble everyday objects more than edifices. And together, they have embodied China’s desire, throughout the latest building boom, to assert its superpower status through an extraordinary built environment.

But this flamboyant approach to design is poised to change. The Communist Party recently announced offensives against “bizarre” architecture and Beijing has unveiled rules making it harder for “strange” buildings to be given planning permission. Included in the new guidelines, released in a statement from China’s State Council last year, is a ban on buildings devoid of character or cultural heritage. Instead, the directive calls for buildings that are “economic, green and beautiful”.

The announcement made waves in the architecture and design worlds and was widely reported in the international media. But for many Chinese architecture firms the decree was far from revolutionary: for years, local studios have been quietly designing restrained buildings that are sensitive to their historical and urban contexts.

Beijing’s Haiting Villa townhouse by Arch Studio balances layering of wood with spare interiors.

Yung Ho Chang, an early pioneer of contemporary Chinese architecture established China’s first private architecture firm, Atelier FCJZ in 1993 and has long emphasised the need for architectural vernacular that is rooted in China. “Today, we have too many buildings in China that may look fashionable on the outside… and not at all connected with their locales”, the architect told me in 2012.

Chang’s most famous residence is the Split House. Unveiled at the 2002 Venice Biennial as part of Pan Shi Yi’s Commune by the Great Wall, it was one of the first projects of its scale that relied on Asian designers rather than Western “starchitects”. Poised on a steep slope, it is literally split in half, with a short glass bridge joining its two sides and forming a V-shaped plan that opens to the hillside. In many respects, the house is Chang’s take on the traditional Chinese courtyard dwelling. “When you see it from the outside, the house seems withdrawn, like any other courtyard house”, Chang describes, “But inside, you realise that it, in fact, is totally open to nature”.

Wang Shu, another pioneer of contemporary Chinese design, set up his Hangzhou studio, Amateur Architecture, with his wife Lu Wenyu in 1997 with the express aim of returning to traditional techniques of craftsmanship. The architect, who was later awarded the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, spent nearly a decade travelling to the countryside to remote villages to learn about traditional building techniques and he incorporated traditional motifs and materials such as bamboo, wood and recycled bricks into his own designs.

META-project’s Courtyard by the Sea adapts a traditional dwelling to modern lifestyles

One of his early residential projects, the Vertical Courtyard, also references historic lane and courtyard homes. Wang contemporized the traditional building typology by turning the quadrangle on its side and creating double-height courtyards on every floor. “Every family has a courtyard and a roof”, Wang says of the project. “And even though the building is 100m tall, it still maintains the feeling of living only two floors high”.

This detail is important to Wang, who believes that much of modern architecture is too concerned with the building and not its inhabitants and how they actually live and feel. Building at a human scale remains crucial given China’s rapid rate of urbanisation and its ballooning megacities. And, following in the footsteps of the early pioneers, a number of design studios are addressing this and other challenges by drawing from the Chinese vernacular.

ZAO/standardarchitecture which is based in Beijing, recently completed the Micro Yuan’er project, an adaptive reuse initiative that introduces a series of micro spaces, a children’s library, an art space, dance studio and craft studio, into the darshilar neighbourhood and thereby attempts to preserve the many layers of traditional hutong (a lane or alley in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city, especially Beijing) life.

The attitude toward Beijing’s courtyard dwellings has typically swung between total eradication and a kind of static preservation. With this project, Zhang Ke, founder of standard architecture aimed instead to recognise the unique topography of courtyard living that developed in Beijing over the past 60 years and he considers the project a statement about how China should treat its urban history. “Altogether [the many components] keep, maintain and conserve the special quality of this big messy courtyard”, he says. “It becomes a place people feel used to, but they clearly realise something contemporary is going on”.

The Niyang River Visitor Center in Tibet, by ZAO/standardarchitecture

Zhang believes that re-imagining the courtyard, which is at the centre of traditional Chinese culture, could help to propel China’s new phase of building. “I think it could generate a new revolution in urban renewal in China if we start with courtyards—the traditional dwelling units—which is a biological study where you do genetic research of cells then new forms of life can be created”.

When it comes to luxury residences, local design studios are also eschewing American-style suburban mansions and instead re-interpreting traditional Chinese dwellings for contemporary lifestyles. Beijing-based studio META-Project recently completed a renovation of Courtyard near West Sea for a client who wanted the building to accommodate a variety of programs, including a teahouse, dining and party space, office and living areas. The firm’s solution was a design that moves between the traditional, introverted qualities of a courtyard house, and contemporary, extroverted areas that encourage social interaction. “Intervention in the hutongs needs to be based on the true understanding of life and culture…instead of rigid protection to its physical appearance”, the studio says.

Even China’s industrial architecture is taking reference from history. Beijing’s Arch Studio is perhaps best known for the Haitang Villa, an elegant townhouse that blends indoor and outdoor spaces and balances layering of wood with spare interiors. But the firm also recently completed a 60,000 square foot organic farmhouse in Tangshan that is influenced by traditional courtyard buildings.

The firm’s idea was to create a magnified version of a courtyard house with a self-contained and flexible workspace that formed a harmonious connection with the surrounding flat fields. The resulting structure is made up of material storage, a mill, an oil-pressing workshop and a packing area. There is an external corridor at the boundary of the building that connects the four areas and an inner courtyard that spans out randomly around the building and lets in light and air. The structure also sits in a 60cm cement base, a method of moisture-proofing the wood, which makes the farm look as if it is softly floating above the fields.

“I think the current status quo of China, with more reflection and possibilities, is even more exciting than the previous period of wild development”, says Zhang Ke. Subtle architecture may not grab headlines, but it does tend to outlast the more garish designs. And with the Chinese government backing projects that exhibit restraint and cultural specificity, the next phase of construction may end up producing more long-lasting structures that improve the lives of those who inhabit and interact with them.

This article was first published in Palace 19.

Interview with designer Aldwin Ong of Wilson Associates

In his own words, Aldwin Ong started his career in design from humble educational beginnings. However, he was always pushing the envelope in where he gained his inspiration. From outside passions away from the industry, to attending classes unrelated to his field during university, his thirst for knowledge has given him a different insight. Based in Singapore with Wilson Associates, he has worked on diverse hotel projects such as the Four Seasons Serengeti and the New World Hotel in Beijing, experiences which give him an excellent viewpoint on the changing design landscape of the region.

What inspired you to take the leap into the industry?

Early on in my career, I had the pleasure of meeting a client who wanted to create the “best” hotel in honour of his late wife. It was his legacy to her. The tides were against him; time, the Asian financial crisis, and family and friends who did not share the same faith that he could complete his dream. Every single detail was scrutinised as I toiled with him for 18 hours a day to make his dream a reality. The experience I felt when we successfully opened the hotel was immeasurable. This further spurred my drive to give each project my ultimate effort.

What is a driving force in your design ethos?

I’ve always been fascinated by relationships and diversity. It is remarkable to see such a range of worldly cultures and yet to find a homogenous connection between them too. One can see it when travelling to remote destinations, only to see a familiar corner, or smell a particular scent that gives a sense of belonging. Best of all is in the common denomination of how food culture is experienced. The spirit of hospitality in every culture is communal; it has no divide. I’ve always wanted to capture that experience, so hospitality design was a natural inclination for me. I want to create designs with a soul.

Do you have a particular mentor who challenges and inspires you?

Four Seasons Serengeti

Architectural visionaries such as Mies Van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Tadao Ando; industry design leaders as Tony Chi, Yabu Pushelberg; and gastronomy mavericks like Heston Blumenthal. Each of these individuals do not compromise on the quality of their work and fight hard (despite obstacles in life) to aim for their ultimate goal; achieve the highest possible level of quality, and breaking boundaries.

Where do you draw your ideas from?

Design should be organic and unrestrictive. It does not mean that we do not conform to standards or rules, but guidelines need to be challenged. It is important to engage the client in this process and see how far we can go. By drawing upon stories that surround the locality– a colour, perhaps a game or even the direct opposite of what is expected– we take the client on a journey to discover and unravel layers in our design. We like to re-invent, and we like to play with contrasts; calm and frenzy, nostalgic and provocative, black and white. Lastly, details, details, details; I’m a self-professed control freak. I’m still under therapy for this!

Away from the studio, you are a prolific chef. How does the gourmet and the designer combine?

There is a fascinating symbiotic relationship between a chef and a designer. Both are passionate about their creations, take immeasurable time and effort to search for the perfect concept, then test, re-test and finally craft the “dishes” to solicit the ultimate response from the guest. It is interesting to see how chefs and designers hide in the background, hands clenched just anticipating how their work will be received.

Just like in design, I do not have a signature style or dish. I let my inspiration, audience and the moment influence what I create. When we conform, it makes us victims of cookie-cutter techniques.

You are also a keen photographer. Do you draw on this passion in your “day job” too?

Swimming pool at the Hilton Jinan

Photography, for me, is a way to capture feelings. In another life, I would be a portrait photographer as I find human emotions the most fascinating subjects to focus on. I draw on both of my passions and many many other influences every second I am conceptualising my designs. My culinary and photography obsessions guide me to study material or design proportions carefully as an incorrect furniture size or scale can destroy an entire space. It takes a while to ensure every piece fits the puzzle.

What will have the greatest impact on architectural design in the near future?

Interconnectivity is key; areas need to be multivalent. Spaces are becoming a prime commodity so they need to be multi-functional and able to fold and unfold into varying functions. Social media is dictating social behaviour. People do things at the same time and in shorter periods, so design needs to reflect that. I try to go beyond skin-deep approaches in design by trying to study social trends and human behaviour and so I need to integrate these social developments in my projects. Technology has, and always will be, a major factor in how humans interact and that dictates how we sculpt spaces. technology will be more integrated so we need to work out how to innovate this. Architects are supposed to be social sculptors and are often asked to create utopia. We may not be able to predict the future, but we can anticipate the wants, desires and needs of the people.

This article was first published in Palace 19.

The Louvre Pyramid, designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum

Parisian Louvre pyramid designer I.M. Pei turns 100

The Louvre Pyramid, designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum

The Louvre Pyramid, designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum

The Chinese-American designer endured a roasting from critics before the giant glass structure opened in 1989, with up to 90 percent of Parisians said to be against the project at one point.

“I received many angry glances in the streets of Paris,” Pei later said, confessing that “after the Louvre I thought no project would be too difficult.”

Yet in the end even that stern critic of modernist “carbuncles”, Britain’s Prince Charles, pronounced it “marvellous”.

And the French daily Le Figaro, which had led the campaign against the “atrocious” design, celebrated its genius with a supplement on the 10th anniversary of its opening.

Pei’s masterstroke was to link the three wings of the world’s most visited museum with vast underground galleries bathed in light from his glass and steel pyramid.

It also served as the museum’s main entrance, making its subterranean concourse bright even on the most overcast of days.

Pei, who grew up in Hong Kong and Shanghai before studying at Harvard with the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, was not the most obvious choice for the job, having never worked on a historic building before.

But the then French president Francois Mitterrand was so impressed with his modernist extension to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC that he insisted he was the man for the Louvre.

The Socialist leader was in the midst of attempting to transform Paris with a series of architectural “grands projets” that included the Bastille Opera and the Grand Arch of La Defense.

Already in his mid-60s and an established star in the United States for his elegant John F. Kennedy Library and Dallas City Hall, nothing had prepared Pei for the hostility of the reception his radical plans would receive.

He needed all his tact and dry sense of humour to survive a series of encounters with planning officials and historians.

One meeting with the French historic monuments commission in January 1984 ended in uproar, with Pei unable even to present his ideas.

“You are not in Dallas now!” one of the experts shouted at him during what he recalled was a “terrible session”, where he felt the target of anti-Chinese racism.

Not even Pei’s winning of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the “Nobel of architecture” in 1983, seemed to assuage his detractors.

Jack Lang, who was French culture minister at the time, told AFP he is still “surprised by the violence of the opposition” to Pei’s ideas.

As the Louvre is the former palace of the country’s kings, Lang notes that “the pyramid is right at the centre of a monument central to the history of France“.

“The project also came at a time of fierce ideological clashes” between the left and right, he added.

The Louvre’s then director, Andre Chabaud, resigned in 1983 in protest at the “architectural risks” Pei’s vision posed.

The present incumbent, however, is in no doubt that the pyramid is a masterpiece that helped turn the museum around.

Jean-Luc Martinez is all the more convinced of the fact having worked with Pei over the last few years to adapt his plans to cope with the museum’s growing popularity.

Pei’s original design was for up to two million visitors a year. Last year the Louvre welcomed nearly nine million.

For Martinez the pyramid is “the modern symbol of the museum”, he said, “an icon on the same level” as the Louvre’s most revered artworks “the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace”.

The Eiffel Tower, now synonymous with Paris, faced opposition during the time of its construction

The Eiffel Tower, now synonymous with Paris, faced opposition during the time of its construction

Pei is not alone in being savaged for changing the cherished landscape of Paris.

In 1887, a group of intellectuals that included Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant published a letter in the newspaper Le Temps to protest at the building of the “useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower“, an “odious column of sheet metal with bolts”.

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Brutalist Sydney Map: Exploring architecture and design of Brutalist buildings

Molecular Science and Biochemistry building, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Molecular Science and Biochemistry building, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

The Brutalist architecture aesthetic has always provoked extreme reactions. Considered “concrete eyesores” in the past, the perspective has shifted considerably, yielding a rising popularity and even a “design icon” status. London-based independent city guide publisher Blue Crow Media has accordingly placed a spotlight on this genre. A Brutalist guide to Sydney was released Monday (following three previous Brutalist maps of London, Paris, Washington; a Brutalist Boston Map will also be available in Spring 2017). The publisher has also released other internationally-minded maps highlighting urban Art Deco and Constructivism.

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Each two-sided guide includes a map, an introduction to the movement in the city, and stark black-and-white photographs. Details for each building include the precise location and the architects or practice responsible for the construction.

The Brutalist Sydney Map encompasses 50 of the most significant examples, within the city and suburbs. Lesser-known structures include the Buhrich House II (conceived by the émigré architects Hugh and Eva Buhrich) and the Eastern Suburbs Railway Vents (attributed to Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurcan). There are edifices that may need to be commemorated through the photographs, like the Sirius Apartments, by Tao Gofers and the former New South Wales (NSW) Housing Commission (likely to be sold without heritage listing), and Bidura Children’s Court, by former NSW Government Architect (now sold and likely to be demolished).

Bidura Children's Court, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Bidura Children’s Court, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Brutalism by the mid-1970s was well-adopted within the architectural practices of Sydney. The city’s luminous disposition seemed an ideal setting to highlight the textured surfaces of this architectural approach. Key to the adoption of this was the NSW Government Architect and the design architects of the NSW Public Works Department. The range of public projects in this style was pushed forward through collaborations with European-trained émigré architects.

Glenn Harper, a Senior Associate Architect and urban designer at Sydney’s PTW Architects, founded @Brutalist_Project_Sydney, and documented this aesthetic for the guide.

Charting the evolution of Bulgari B.zero1 ring and introducing B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Over a decade ago, Bulgari established the B.zero1 ring, inspired by the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. It was named B.zero1, to symbolise the “B” of Bulgari and the zero.1 of infinite beginnings.

The B.zero1 ring has since evolved into an iconic collection for Bulgari, engendering numerous reinventions, such as the 2010 B.zero1 designs by Anish Kapoor in celebration of the collection’s decennial. It has come to embody charisma, allure, independence, and spiritedness. In October 2016, the Smithsonian Institution declared the B.zero1 ring a “jewel of extraordinary design” in their compendium, ‘Gem: The Definitive Visual Guide’.

This year, Bulgari presents the B.zero1 Design Legend, conceptualised by the late Zaha Hadid. The Iraqi-British architect is well known for her daring ideas and the signature curves in her many architectural projects all over the world. These have garnered her many awards throughout her career, including the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, for which she was the first female recipient, and the Stirling Prize in both 2010 and 2011.

Art Republik discusses the B.zero1 Design Legend with Maha Kutay, Director at Zaha Hadid Design, to find out more the collaboration between Bulgari and Zaha Hadid, and the inspiration behind the ring’s design.

How would you summarise Zaha Hadid’s vision in architecture and other works? Moving forward, how will her vision influence the works of the firm?

Zaha’s vision undoubtedly redefined architecture and design for the 21st century and captured imaginations across the globe. Marrying concepts of integration and connectivity with technological advancements, ecologically sound materials and sustainable construction methods, she has never looked at the disparate parts, but worked hard to understand them as a whole, to raise standards and benefit all.

Zaha taught us to work with curiosity, integrity, passion and determination, and everyone at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is committed to continuing this legacy.

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

How did Zaha Hadid come to work with Bulgari for the B.zero1 Design Legend?

The discussion for this collaboration took place at the launch of the Serpenti Installation at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan in April 2015, when Zaha Hadid and Bulgari’s CEO Jean Christophe Babin first discussed the idea.

B.zero1 seemed to be the perfect project for a reinterpretation of its original design. As the original B.zero1 design was based on an architectural icon — the ColosseumBulgari decided to start this new collaboration with Zaha Hadid, one of the most renowned architects of our time.

Hadid looked back to the classical design of the Colosseum and reinterpreted it for her design of the B.zero1. How else has she looked back and reinvented past designs in her own style so that they become cutting-edge designs of today?

Not really; rather than being tied to a specific building, I would say that the inspiration comes from a variety of elements we have used and still use in the development of our architectural concepts: repetition; linearity; fluidity; explosion and vortex motion. We are always investigating existing ideas and established traditions — especially in this case, considering Bulgari’s bold and distinctive heritage — but then we reinterpret those ideas into something new.

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid pendant in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid pendant in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

What is it about fragmentation and abstraction that captured Zaha Hadid’s imagination for her work?

Zaha studied architecture at the Architectural Association where, at that time, they were addressing and deconstructing ideas of repetitiveness and mass production, and she became interested in the concept of fragmentation and with ideas of abstraction and explosion. Her work first engaged with the early Russian avant-garde — the paintings of Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky’s ‘Prouns’ and Naum Gabo’s sculptures, but in particular with the work of Kasimir Malevitch. Malevitch was an early influence for her as a representative of the modern avant-garde intersection between art and design; he discovered abstraction as a heuristic principle that could propel creative work to new and higher levels of invention.

The Evolution of the B.zero1 Ring

1950s

"Bib" necklace in gold with emeralds, amethysts, turquoises and diamonds, 1965.

“Bib” necklace in gold with emeralds, amethysts, turquoises and diamonds, 1965. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Amidst 1950s diamond-focused designs, Bulgari begins fashioning rebellious creations with semi-precious and precious stones together, inventing an unprecedented style with colour combinations.

1960s-1970s

"Tubogas" bracelet-watch in gold, ca 1972.

“Tubogas” bracelet-watch in gold, ca 1972. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari pursued the metamorphosis of bijouterie through the materialisation of motifs which employed atypical constituents, such as steel, silk, and ancient coins.

In addition, Bulgari unveiled the inaugural Serpenti Tubogas timepiece. Tubogas, or the mechanisms extrinsic to soldiering employed to construct bands of smooth, elegant curves, developed into a representative technique of Bulgari’s in the sixties.

1999

Bulgari B.zero1. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari B.zero1. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari debuted the B.zero1 ring. The ring was impelled by Bulgari’s appetency with the capital of Italy and the structure of the Colosseum. The inaugural B.zero1 was well received by jewellery aficionados, who characterised the ring as timeless and sui generis.

2000-2009

Several other variations of the B.zero1 ring as well as pendants, earrings and bracelets were introduced.

2010

Bulgari B.zero1 pink gold and steel ring by Anish Kapoor. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari B.zero1 pink gold and steel ring by Anish Kapoor. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The B.zero1 was reinterpreted by British sculptor Anish Kapoor. To commemorate B.zero1’s tenth anniversary, Anish Kapoor transformed the original tubogas-inspired spiral into a layer of shiny, mirror-like appearance, integrating contemporary art with B.zero1’s distinctive character.

2012

B.zero1 pink gold and blue marble four-band ring. Image courtesy of Bulgari

B.zero1 pink gold and blue marble four-band ring. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The noteworthy B.zero1 marble ring collection was revealed, which harmonised the external bands of pink gold with the exceptional green, brown and blue marble.

2014

B.zero1 Roma pink gold and bronze ceramic four-band ring. Image courtesy of Bulgari

B.zero1 Roma pink gold and bronze ceramic four-band ring. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The B.zero1 Roma Ring was released in celebration of Bulgari’s anniversary of 130 years, featuring bronze ceramic enclosed in pink gold bands, which evoke the monolithic structures of Italy’s capital.

2015

B.zero1 in pink gold and black ceramic with pavé diamonds along the edges. Image courtesy of Bulgari

B.zero1 in pink gold and black ceramic with pavé diamonds along the edges. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari presented the gamesome B.zero1 ceramic ring collection, enhanced with pavé diamonds on the edges highlighting the stylish motif of the circular double logo. The B.zero1 ceramic ring collection, informed by clean lines, elegance and finesse, paid homage to the Bulgari Chandra collection, launched in 1994.

2016

B.zero1 Perfect Mistake. Image courtesy of Bulgari

B.zero1 Perfect Mistake. Image courtesy of Bulgari

One of the most recent additions to the B.zero1 collection is the B.zero1 Perfect Mistake, which blossomed from a second prototype devised much earlier in 1999, that did not quite turn out the way it was intended, but seemed perfect to revisit for 2016. B.zero1 Perfect Mistake harmoniously amalgamates pink, white, and yellow gold, and exemplifies the conversion of a creative mistake into resplendent imperfection.

Additionally, the B.zero1 bracelet form materialised through a third prototype, which constituted a band that received maximum extension or stretching. The B.zero1 bangle bracelet expresses adventure, with nuances of delicacy.

2017

B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid 4-band ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid four-band ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

This year, Bulgari incorporates an adaptation of the inceptive B.zero1 ring by Zaha Hadid into the collection. The collection’s latest addition is cleped the B.zero1 Design Legend. Distinguishing the central body of the ring are oscillating waves framed by B.zero1’s signature two exterior bands.

The B.zero1 Design Legend has been unveiled in a four-band, pink gold manifestation alongside three-band versions in white or pink gold, and an avant-garde pendant in pink gold. The design incorporates the two Bulgari hallmarks — the BVLGARI double logo and the tubogas motif, in a deconstruction of its inaugural predecessor, and stretching the boundaries of bijouterie design.

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

The B.zero1 Design Legend by Zaha Hadid ring in pink gold. Image courtesy of Bulgari

Zaha Hadid’s Projects in Asia

The Peak Leisure Club, Hong Kong, Not Realised

The Peak Leisure Club, Hong Kong, Not Realised, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Peak Leisure Club, Hong Kong, Not Realised, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

In 1982-1983, Zaha Hadid won a competition to design a building divergent to existing skyscapes in Hong Kong. This design secured the architect global recognition. Her painted impressions of the Peak transpired from her voyage across China in 1981.

The Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, Completed in 2010

The Guangzhou Opera House, Completed in 2010, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography by Virgile Simon Bertrand


The Guangzhou Opera House, Completed in 2010, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography by Virgile Simon Bertrand

The Guangzhou Opera House took five years to complete. The double boulder structure represents two stones deposited on shore from the Pearl River. The stunningly detailed Guangzhou Opera House comprises a large performance hall which seats 1800 people and a multipurpose hall designed to seat 400.

Galaxy SOHO , Beijing, Completed in 2012

Galaxy SOHO, Beijing, Completed in 2012, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography by Hufton+Crow Photographers

Galaxy SOHO, Beijing, Completed in 2012, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography by Hufton+Crow Photographers

The Galaxy SOHO was Zaha Hadid’s inaugural project in China’s capital. Its construction generated controversy over the compromise of heritage in favour of modern development. Conceived with the intention to provide seamless access between retail spaces and office spaces, the project showcases the architect’s skillful play with unconventional shapes, geometry and lines.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, Completed in 2013

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, Completed in 2013, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography by Virgile Simon Bertrand


Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, Completed in 2013, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography by Virgile Simon Bertrand

The proposal for the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, or the DDP, conceptualised by Zaha Hadid and Samoo Architects and Engineers Construction, won a global design competition in 2007. The futuristic structure, which incorporates art halls, a museum, design labs and the Dongdaemun History and Cultural Park amongst other amenities, realised over seven years.

The Sleuk Rith Institute, Phnom Penh, Detailed Design Stage

The Sleuk Rith Institute, Phnom Penh, Detailed Design Stage, South Facade and Memorial Park, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Sleuk Rith Institute, Phnom Penh, Detailed Design Stage, South Facade and Memorial Park, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Sleuk Rith Institute was designed in 2014 as the site for documents relating to the devastating legacy of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Institute is determined to learn from Cambodia’s past in order to heal and shape Cambodia’s future, and Zaha Hadid Architects have provided a design that pays respect to the Institute’s mission while diverging from conventional monument forms.

This article is written by the Art Republik Editorial Team and was originally published in Art Republik 14.

Immerse yourself in the Bulgari B.zero1 Design Legend Virtual Reality Experience at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore from today to April 12.

Architecture exhibitions in Berlin: ‘Mind Landscapes’ on architect Zhu Pei to open at the Aedes Architectural Forum

Yang Liping Performing Arts Center in Dali, Yunnan, China | © Studio Zhu-Pei

Yang Liping Performing Arts Center in Dali, Yunnan, China | © Studio Zhu-Pei

Beijing-based Zhu Pei is part of a new generation of Chinese architects offering solutions to the country’s urbanization. An upcoming exhibition in Berlin will look at the architect’s approaches through five of his cultural buildings, seen in models, plans and films as well as his striking ink drawings. The exhibition, ‘Mind Landscapes’, runs from April 1 to May 28 at Berlin’s Aedes Architectural Forum, an institution devoted to contemporary architecture.

The show will feature projects that merge local narratives and traditional forms of expression with a new visual language, says the Forum. The five buildings to be featured, all currently under construction in China, include the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Dali, the Shijingshan Cultural Center in Beijing, the Shou County Culture and Art Center in Anhui province, and the Museum of Imperial Kiln in Jingdezhen.

While tackling urban growth, Zhu Pei’s work draws from traditional aesthetic concepts of space and structure, allowing him to create solutions that are specific to their location and region. The result, say organizers of the upcoming exhibition, are buildings with “a specific character within a contemporary architectural form.”

Zhu Pei studied architecture in Beijing and California and in 2005 founded Studio Zhu-Pei, known for its work on the Cai Guoqiang Courtyard House renovation in Beijing (2007), the OCT Design Museum in Shenzhen (2012) and, more recently, Beijing’s Minsheng Art Museum (2015).

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Museums to visit in Portugal: MAAT in Lisbon opens its doors in a new building with 2 exhibitions

After an initial opening in October, MAAT the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon reopens to the public on March 22 with two exhibitions that will show off the entirety of the new museum building.

Designed by the architecture and design studio AL_A, the museum is housed in a brand-new, low-slung structure that joins a recently renovated power station, together making up a greater art campus.

Located on the Tagus river in the neighbourhood of Belém, the MAAT building is designed so that visitors can walk over, under and through it. Inside, it contains four gallery spaces under an undulating roof, while outside, new public spaces have been created both atop the roof and along the water. The facade is made up of nearly 15,000 crackle-glazed tiles that capture the changing light.

MAAT is being completed in phases, and the first phase opened to the public on October 5. With this reopening, the museum will reveal its four galleries, a restaurant and further public spaces; also still to come are a park and a pedestrian bridge linking the campus and waterfront to the city.

Opening March 22 and ending April 24, ‘Utopia/Dystopia: A Paradigm Shift’ is being called a “manifesto exhibition” for the new museum examining how ideas of utopia and dystopia have been represented in art and architecture since the 1970s, and especially in the last five years. More than 60 works will be featured in the large group show, including Archigram, Archizoom, Didier Faustino, Yona Friedman and Aldo Rossi, as well as artists Kader Attia, Cao Fei, Cyprien Gailard and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Running from opening day through April 24 will be a new version of the performance/installation ‘Order and Progress’ by Héctor Zamora, for which the remains of traditional Portuguese fishing boats will occupy MAAT’s Oval Gallery.

Among the museum’s future programming, three exhibitions will open on May 17 to coincide with the second edition of ARCOLisboa.

ART REPUBLIK Issue 14 released in time for Art Basel Hong Kong 2017

Art Republik Issue 14

‘Crossover’ – ART REPUBLIK 14 is out now.

In this ‘Crossover’ issue, which marks a change in editorship, ART REPUBLIK shines a spotlight on artists whose work push and cross boundaries.

ART REPUBLIK is bringing themes back with this ‘Crossover’ issue, to mark the change in editorship, and more importantly, to explore how contemporary artmaking increasingly relates to other creative fields such as architecture, design and music. One such story in the new issues is that of the B.Zero1 ring by Bulgari. For 2017, the luxury brand unveiled the new design that had been conceptualised by celebrated architect, the late Zaha Hadid.

Under new managing editor Nadya Wang, ART REPUBLIK refreshes its focus on the artworld in Southeast Asia from its vantage point in Singapore, with an eye on Asia and the rest of the world.

As ART REPUBLIK continues to champion emerging artists from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the magazine plans to provide a more inclusive and expansive exploration of the art world, from public museums to commercial galleries, from policy-makers to artists as activists, and how they all connect to each other.

With the theme ‘Crossover’, the stories in the issue celebrate the openness and achievements of the people who embrace new fields, styles and ideas to make art. A special feature reveals the sources of inspiration five Southeast Asian artists look to, including Robert Zhao Ren Hui, Eiffel Chong, Alwin Reamillo, Zoncy and Anon Pairot.

Other artists featured in this issue include Filipino artist Ronald Ventura, Singapore avant-garde music performer Margaret Leng Tan, as well as the late Chinese photographer Ren Hang, among others.

Given the diversity of the art scenes in Southeast Asia and beyond, the magazine will include articles from more contributing writers, for fresh perspectives from individuals on the ground who are in the know. In the same vein, there will be more columns, from art law to the art market, to seek the views of industry experts on current trends and concerns. For this issue, read about the rise of the Vietnamese art market, as well as the new trend in corporate artist-in-residence programmes.

ART REPUBLIK 14 will debut at Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central. Previews of the art fairs are complemented by top picks for Hong Kong Art Week events, such as the ‘L’Arche de Noé racontée par Van Cleef & Arpels’ installation at the Asia Society Hong Kong, and ‘Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End to Experimentation’ at ArtisTree in Hong Kong. There are also reviews of art events in the region, including Art Fair Philippines, Galleries’ Night Bangkok, and Art Stage Singapore.

“While we strive to inform, we also aim to entertain with more light-hearted thematic features and regular additions to the magazine. In addition, we have redesigned the magazine to make it lighter and sleeker while staying true to ART REPUBLIK’s bright, fresh and lively identity,” says Nadya Wang, Managing Editor of ART REPUBLIK. “We remain committed to making art accessible to one and all, and we look forward to growing the magazine with your support.”

Mr. Olivier Burlot, CEO & Publisher at Heart Media, comments: “The ‘Crossover’ issue represents the ART REPUBLIK team’s efforts to engage more closely and creatively with the art community to put in the spotlight the very best the region has to offer through a thematic approach. Exciting times ahead for the magazine!”

Visit ART REPUBLIK’s digital page, for more art news. The tablet edition of ART REPUBLIK is also available for subscription on all Google Play and Apple Newsstands via Magzter, which is supported on all Android and Apple smart devices.

Follow ART REPUBLIK on Instagram (@art_republik), where a new social campaign has been launched, anchored by themed posts thrice weekly: #MustSeeMondays (new art exhibitions and events to check out), #WayBackWhenesdays (noteworthy art historical facts) and #FeatureFridays (people to watch in the artworld).

Kensington Gardens, London hosts Serpentine Pavillion 2017 designed by architect Diébédo Francis Kéré

Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré

African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been chosen to design the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion located in London’s Kensington Gardens. The Burkina Faso-born architect is the 17th architect to take on the task of designing a temporary structure on the grounds of the Serpentine Galleries. Inspired by a tree that serves as a central meeting point in his hometown of Gand, Kéré aims to connect visitors to nature and provide a space for community bonding. Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion will be open from June 23 to October 8.

The design is marked by an expansive wooden roof that mimics a tree canopy and is supported by a central intricate steel framework. Enclosed by several curving blue walls as well as wooden blocks in a tessellated pattern, the design is reminiscent of textiles worn by young men from Kéré’s village. The roof, while providing shelter from rain, allows airs to circulate freely, providing shade on sunnier afternoons.

 Kéré makes the British climate a central element of his design, with a structure that engages with London’s ever-changing weather. An open air courtyard in the center invites visitors to sit on sunny days; when rain strikes, an oculus funnels water that collects on the roof to create a waterfall effects. The roof and the wall system are made from wood and create dappled shadows by day, while by night the structure is illuminated as small perforations light up with the activity inside the pavilion.

“In Burkina Faso, I am accustomed to being confronted with climate and natural landscape as a harsh reality. For this reason, I was interested in how my contribution to this Royal Park could not only enhance the visitor’s experience of nature but also provoke a new way for people to connect with each other,” said Kéré.

Kéré follows on from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in designing the pavilion. BIG’s “unzipped wall” structure was visited by more than 250,000 people last year. In the new pavilion, the Serpentine will continue its public performance series, Park Nights, as well as hosting a program of events focusing on questions of community and rights to the city, inspired by Kéré’s commitment to socially engaged and ecological design.

Since 2000, Serpentine Galleries have been commissioning architects to create its pavilion each year, providing a chance for these usually international architects to create their first structure in England.

For more information, visit Serpentine Galleries.

Luxury properties in Pattaya, Thailand: Palace explores the Baan Plai Haad Resort near Wong Amat Beach

For those who crave the peace, relaxation and exclusivity of vacation resorts, luxury developer Sansiri introduces its latest residential development designed to bring the breeze and ocean waves to one’s doorstep. Situated in the prime location of Wong Amat Beach, the most peaceful and private beach in Pattaya, the Baan Plai Haad Resort Condominium promises a world of unparalleled comfort and serenity.

Designed by the award-winning Stephen J. Leach Architects Limited, who was selected as one of the TOP TEN Architects in Thailand 2013 by the BCI Asia Awards, this new beachfront property bears the perfect juxtaposition between modernity and the natural world. Residents are able to indulge in a beachside Jacuzzi offering exceptional respite close to the beach, a fully equipped Fitness Centre boasting beautiful sea views for a relaxing workout, a sprawling swimming pool set amidst lush tropical gardens created by the renowned world-class firm of T.R.O.P, and direct access to a private beach. The Infinity Sky Pool located on the rooftop also creates a stunning vision of an indigo sea connecting to a seemingly boundless horizon. At Baan Plai Haad, everyone is able to experience exceptional rest, from the young to the elderly, and the property features a specially fitted lift that easily connects residents down to the beach.

Staying true to a design concept that emphasises tranquillity, Baan Plai Haad offers a nature-inspired décor and an inspiring environment for relaxation and rejuvenation. Rooms with ocean views and a common area crafted to fit outdoor living are made with superb craftsmanship and fine materials, and a lofty and open lobby allows cool natural breezes to flow through. The development comprises one 31-storey building and one seven-storey building, with a total of 353 units. Sizes start at 431 sq. ft. for the single bedroom unit and increase to 1,658 sq. ft. for the largest three-bedroom apartment. With its serene beachfront lifestyle beckoning, the development is currently ready for immediate move-in.

For more information, visit www.sansiri.com

This article was first published in Palace 18. 

Architecture in London: Greenwich Peninsula to house the cultural hub called Peninsula Place

Famous for his ‘neo-futurist’ projects, Architect Santiago Calatrava will be behind London’s new landmark building, to be constructed on the Greenwich Peninsula. This project is part of 25-year regeneration project that aims to create 15,000 new homes on former gas works and agricultural land in south-east London. Dubbed Peninsula Place, the £1 billion glass building will boast some of the finest facilities including a tube and bus station, entertainment venues, bars, stores and a “well-being hub.”

Located in a neighborhood next to the O2 arena, the 1.4-million-square-foot complex will welcome visitors and residents in an 80-foot-high winter garden and glass galleria, topped by three towers of workspace, apartments and hotels. In the winter garden, an urban forest will sit beneath a glass cupola, providing natural light, while the towers will feature a stepped design that will reveal a series of green terraces.

In the 500-foot-long galleria, slim columns will create the effect of a tree-lined avenue and form a vaulting arcade above a promenade of cafes, shops and restaurants. A land bridge, featuring a mast and cables that create a giant sundial, will connect the Peninsula to a public park on the River Thames.

The building — for which a timeline has yet to be revealed — is part of a transformation of the Peninsula that is planned over several years in seven new neighborhoods surrounded by the Thames; In addition to providing more than 15,000 new residences, these areas will be home to the first major film studio in central London, a new design district and public spaces.

Peninsula Place is the first UK building by Calatrava, whose firm was behind projects including the 2004 Athens Olympic Sports Complex and 2016 World Trade Center Transportation hub in New York.

1 Undershaft Will Have London’s Highest View

1 Undershaft, designed by Eric Parry Architects, will be London’s second tallest building when construction is complete in 2020 and possibly the building with the most dubious name in the City; the tallest building in the UK is The Shard. The project was recently approved by the City of London.

Also known by the much nicer name ‘The Trellis’, 1 Undershaft will pierce the sky at 289.94 meters (approx. 951 feet), or 304.94 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level. For a little perspective, The Shard, is 309.6m (1,016 feet) in height.

The skyscraper will consist of 73 stories, mostly to be occupied by office space. A public square will be built at the base of the tower, along with a retail gallery for restaurants, cafes and shops.

At the very top, a viewing gallery will be open for the public, free of charge. This will actually be the UK’s highest.  The space will also have an education center for students to discover about London and its history.

“There could be no better place to observe how the fabric of London has changed over two millennia while thinking about what this means for the city of today and tomorrow,” said Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, which is working on the learning spaces at the top of the tower.

dbox_epa_1us_ae-a7f42112341-w768

An aerial view of 1 Undershaft by Eric Parry Architects © DBOX for Eric Parry Architects

Eric Parry is behind the St Martin-in-the-Fields project at London’s Trafalgar Square as well as 10 Fenchurch Avenue, an office development in the City of London.

The tower was commissioned by Singapore-based Aroland Holdings Limited, which is currently developing tall buildings in capital cities around the world.

While a timeframe has not been set, it is expected the building will open in the 2020s.

gingerbread city Moa london

Architecture Museum Hosts Gingerbread Exhibition

Gingerbread City is made up of Caramel Wharf, Pancake Rise, Puddington… These are some of the six districts you will have the chance to visit in London this month. And if they do sound like some parts of a city, they are a lot sweeter, though not actually for eating.

These ‘neighborhoods’ are part of Gingerbread City, the latest exhibition hosted by the Museum of Architecture (MoA) and entirely made of sugar. Here you’ll find galleries, small shops, cafés and bars: everything can be eaten – but not yet! All we can say is we hope they’ve figured out how to keep the ants away. They are indeed submissions from some of the UK’s leading architectural schools and firms such 4M Group, Arup, Foster & Partners, Hopkins Architects and spacelab to a great gingerbread structures contest. A total of 64 teams are taking part and will be judged – the story does not say if the judges will be pastry chefs.. or Hansel & Gretel.

Feeling crafty? Workshops will be hosted as well – some might say they are made for families with kids, but no doubt adults with a sweet tooth will be welcome too.

The very sugary event, celebrating of course the British Christmas Spirit, is held as part of the museum’s winter fundraiser. The money raised  (a fee is imposed for a “Plot Passport” on each submission) will be used to to support MoA’s upcoming exhibitions and 2017 program.

Gingerbread City at The Museum of Architecture (MoA) London. From Dec 7 to 22. General public admission: free

Can Good Design Fix World? Karim Rashid Thinks So

Can Good Design Fix World? Karim Rashid Thinks So

Canadian-American industrial designer Karim Rashid is on a mission to change the world and it is not for money or even greater fame, it is for his mother.

“The world is a mess, it doesn’t work,” the 56-year-old groans as he reflects on his path to global fame and how he can give something back to the woman who raised him.

“We throw function out of the door. I don’t know why. Every hotel I go to, it’s a disaster: the location of the bathroom, the lights,” he tells AFP at Rome’s University of Fine Arts (RUFA).

The man dubbed by Time magazine in 2001 as the “the most famous industrial designer in all the Americas” has designed everything from manhole covers to buildings, and prides himself among other things on having reclaimed the color pink for men.

But for all his prolificness, he is still frustrated by the poor design of ordinary objects, which have a real impact on daily lives – like the family car.

“It is such a simple, simple thing. Like getting out of a car. In 1967 Citroen makes a car where the seat rotated: you get in, you rotate, right? It’s so comfortable.”

But not so today. “I mean my mother, who is 85, she can’t get in or out of a car.”

Rashid, sporting pink jeans, a pink jumper and florescent pink nails for his appearance as guest speaker at the university, says he was inspired to become a designer by his father.

He was born in Cairo to an Egyptian artist and a British mother and lived in several countries during his youth.

Furniture and party dresses

“When I was two years old, we lived in Rome. My father was a set designer for Cinecitta,” the historic film studio in the Italian capital.

“I had a father who was an artist, a painter, but he didn’t stop there. He would every night make furniture for the home because he had very little money, so he would make his own furniture,” says the heavily-tattooed designer.

“Some days he would wake up and make sketches of my mother, design a dress, take the fabric, cut it, sew it and that night go to a party, and my mother’s wearing the dress.

“So imagine if you’re a five-year-old child and you see this. I think you’d become a designer.”

The neon-lover, whose work can be found in more than 20 permanent collections including at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, shrugs off critics who say he should stick to home furnishings rather than delving into real estate.

“Architects can design products, but for some reason product designers can’t design buildings. Why not?” he asks.

“I’ve said, for me, designing a mobile phone is more difficult than making a building. And everybody got very upset!”

Rashid designed his first hotel in Athens in 2001, then did another in Berlin in 2008, before being courted by New York developers.

His projects for HAP (social housing) investments in the United States proved controversial and had to be toned down, but he shrugs it off.

“For me it’s not even architecture. It’s like looking at building as industrial design,” he says.

Zaha Hadid Architects for Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) unveiled the visuals for Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza at the building’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The upcoming 167,000 square hectare complex was designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the first female architect to be honored with the Pritzker Prize. Satoshi Ohashi, director of the architecture firm’s China office, explained that she had designed the building “with concepts of integration, connectivity and fluidity.”

The 8-story building is divided into two sections, connected to each other with skybridges. Curves and waves remain as the main trademark of a Zaha Hadid building. One could see the building as a series of stacked rings. When viewed from above, the plaza will take shape of an infinity symbol – as implied in the ‘Infinitus’ of its name.

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Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza by Zaha Hadid Architects © Zaha Hadid Architects

The Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza is designed as a gateway to the new Baiyun Central Business District, which will sit on the site of the former Guangzhou airport. There are six communities to be developed in the vicinity of that area.

The studio is using a “unitized insulated glazing system” to maximize natural light inside the building and help reduce energy loss. Perforated aluminum screens will protect those inside from direct sunlight while also recovering rainwater. Sensors will even monitor weather conditions, energy use and lighting to ensure efficiency and save power.

The building is expected to be finished in Q2 2020.

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Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza by Zaha Hadid Architects © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid died of a heart attack in Miami in March 2016. She was a key figure of 20th-century architecture. Born in 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq, Hadid was the first woman to be crowned with the Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of the most prestigious in the profession. She is also the first woman to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Most Expensive: Eiffel Tower Stairs Set Record

Most Expensive: Eiffel Tower Stairs Set Record

A section of stairs from the Eiffel Tower in Paris sold for more than half a million euros, auctioneers said Wednesday – more than 10 times the pre-sale estimate. Yes, the estimate on this was 40,000 euros.

The 14 wrought-iron steps from a winding staircase between the second and third floors of the Paris landmark went for 523,800 euros ($556,000) after furious bidding at the sale in the French capital.

Auction house Artcurial said the dramatic sale on Tuesday had “unleashed the passions” of several international buyers, with bids rising rapidly from 20,000 euros, leaving the aforementioned 40,000 euro estimate far behind.

The prize eventually fell to a telephone bid from an Asian buyer.

Auctioneer Francois Tajan said “the battle over the phone and in the auction room for the stairs showed the profound attachment there is for a monument that is so emblematic of French culture.”

The stairs date from 1889 when the legendary French engineer Gustave Eiffel built the 324-meter (1,063-foot) edifice as the centerpiece of the Paris Universal Exhibition.

It soon became the most iconic feature on the Paris skyline, and is France’s most visited monument despite suffering calls for its demolition in the years after the exhibition.

It is still the country’s third tallest structure, and was the highest building in the world for 41 years until the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.

The stairs were removed from the tower in 1983 to make way for a lift and cut into 24 sections, ranging from two to nine meters high.

Several were bought by museums while others ended up in the gardens of the Yoshii Foundation at Yamanashi in Japan, beside the Statue of Liberty in New York and at Walt Disney World in Florida, next to its copy of the Eiffel Tower.

Artcurial sold a larger 3.5-meter section of 19 steps for 220,000 euros in 2013.

Tajan said he was particularly “moved by the sale… having watched the first sale of the staircases in 1983 which was presided over by my father Jacques Tajan.”

Although the Eiffel Tower stairs fetched “an exceptional price”, the highest from the sale of Art Deco artifacts was four monumental sculptures by Georges Saupique which went for 1.24 million euros.

Saupique is best known for his bust of Marianne, the woman who symbolizes the French republic.

‘Álvaro Siza, Sacro’ Exhibition at MAXXI Rome

Zaha Hadid Architects Design Timber Stadium

6 Projects Awarded Aga Khan Architecture Prize

A dome-less mosque designed by a Bangladeshi woman architect and a Beirut institute by the late Zaha Hadid were among six projects awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture Sunday.

The prestigious prize was awarded at a ceremony in Al-Ain oasis city, in the United Arab Emirates, to the projects chosen from a list of 348 works.

They will share a prize of $1 million.

“Gone are the dome and the ever-prevalent minarets, the decorative panels of designed relief and calligraphy. In their place stand intricately structured brick walls that imbue the structure within a unique aura of spirituality,” said the jury describing Dhaka’s Bait ur Rouf mosque designed by Marina Tabassum.

As well as Hadid’s Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, the winning projects included Tehran’s Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge and Copenhagen’s Superkilen kilometre-long urban park.

They also included the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, a training facility for the NGO Friendship that works with communities living in rural flatlands of northern Bangladesh.

Beijing’s Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre was also among the winners.

Awarded every three years, the prize was established in 1977 and is given to “projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture”.

The awards were presented by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and the Aga Khan IV, the wealthy imam of Nizari Ismaili Shiites.