UNStudio Designs Future-Proof Cable Car for Amsterdam

1 day 12 hours ago
Courtesy of Plompmozes Courtesy of Plompmozes

UNStudio has released images of its design for IJbaan, a green, future-proof cable car linking West and North Amsterdam. The result of a crowdfunding campaign started by founders Bas Dekker and Willem Wessels in 2015, the project is to be implemented by 2025, marking the city's 750th anniversary. The “all electric” transport scheme forms part of Amsterdam’s ambition to be a European center for urban innovation, integrating forward-thinking technology with existing public transport modalities.

Stretching over one mile (1.5 kilometers), the cable car links the two thriving residential districts of Amsterdam-West and Amsterdam-Noord through a system of three slender pylons and two stations. The cable car has been designed to accommodate a future third station depending on the pattern of growth for surrounding districts.

Courtesy of Plompmozes Courtesy of Plompmozes

In order to allow large ships to pass under the IJ waterway, the towers vary in height between 150, 340, and 450 feet (46, 105, and 136 meters). The towers draw inspiration from the ports and ship cranes which define Amsterdam’s industrial heritage, with a sculptural form striking a balance between playfulness and elegance. 

Courtesy of Plompmozes Courtesy of Plompmozes

Meanwhile, the two stations are designed to be more than transport hubs but to become destinations in their own right. The Amsterdam-West station features a vibrant urban plaza along the water with restaurants and bars, while the Amsterdam-Noord offers a viewpoint for the “blossoming cultural hotspot in the North.” 

Courtesy of Plompmozes Courtesy of Plompmozes

A cable car is an extremely sustainable public transport system. It is a very fast and green way of traveling, which is attractive for cyclists, commuters, students, residents, and visitors. In Amsterdam, you see a growing need for connections across the IJ, with the new metro and bridges. The city is growing enormously and such an 'air bridge' contributes to the development of the entire region. Transport by air also relieves the increasing pressure on traffic and the existing transport network on the ground. It is not only efficient but also fun. People are going to see and experience their city in a whole new way.
-Ben van Berkel, Founder, UNStudio

Courtesy of Plompmozes Courtesy of Plompmozes

The journey is expected to take under five minutes, traveling at an average speed of over 20 kilometers per hour. Cabins will have a capacity of between 32 and 37 passengers, with additional cycle cabins for up to six bikes.

Courtesy of UNStudio Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio Courtesy of UNStudio

For the scheme’s design, UNStudio were able to draw on previous knowledge of cable car design, having won a competition for the design of a three-kilometer-long cable car system in Gothenburg, Sweden earlier this year.

News via: UNStudio

ArchiWeb

How Can We Fix the Architecture Crit? First, Ask for Evidence

1 day 17 hours ago
© Andrea Vasquez © Andrea Vasquez

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "To Fix Architecture, Fix the Design Crit."

In architecture, the act of formally critiquing design is ubiquitous. The crit, as its called, is almost a rite of passage. And while the format of this practice is universal, its objective, goals and ultimate purpose are unfixed, beyond a broad and often vague imperative to make a given design better. This is a problem, because it leaves a foundation of the profession to take the form of whatever discussion happens to arise between a designer and a critic. If the expectation of empirical evidence for design decisions were introduced as the basis of a design crit, the cumulative effects of this change could improve the credibility of the entire discipline.

Whether in a working group, a studio classroom or a client meeting, a staple of architectural design occurs when a proposal is evaluated by someone who didn’t create it. As architecture’s native and relatively unique form of peer review, this practice is useful, but also remarkable in lacking a burden of proof for the claims of designers or critics. Despite being widespread, the rigor of the design crit rests on a disconnected patchwork of participants’ personal experience, beliefs and speculation.

This lack of an empirical basis is damaging. Both an expectation of evidence and an aptitude for applying it is de rigueur in disciplines like medicine, education and law, fields with an equally fundamental impact on the public as the provision of shelter. Practitioners in these fields are frequently tasked with drawing from, and contributing to, a formalized, common body of knowledge when making decisions.

"Architects who specialize in healthcare, workplace, and educational facilities regularly face clients who derive their demands from a methodical, well-informed understanding of how patients, employees or students use their spaces". Image © Andrea Vasquez "Architects who specialize in healthcare, workplace, and educational facilities regularly face clients who derive their demands from a methodical, well-informed understanding of how patients, employees or students use their spaces". Image © Andrea Vasquez

It’s been pointed out repeatedly that both architectural practice and education lack a consistent, widespread system of research, analysis and reporting in their work, as well as the culture to even value such a thing. Certain parts of the profession, however, have been doing this independently for some time. Architects who specialize in healthcareworkplace, and educational facilities are no strangers to the term “evidence-based design,” and regularly face clients who derive their demands from a methodical, well-informed understanding of how patients, employees or students use their spaces.

Architects in these areas of practice are frequently expected to validate the basis of many of their design decisions as completely as possible, and have thus developed their own systematic methods to reach evidence-based conclusions and report their findings back into a shared bank of knowledge for other designers to draw on in the future. What’s notable about this development is that the profession has only embraced such a system when other disciplines have demanded it for the design of their spaces. Despite existing for decades, the practice of evidence-based design has never caught on across the entire profession.

This reactive stance may be a significant force at work in the fracturing of the profession into specialized sub-disciplines that’s also occurred over the past few decades, ceding many of an architect’s traditional responsibilities to consultants. In light of this, it seems a proactive embrace of an evidence-based system of practice could substantially help architectural design retain independent value. What makes such a system difficult to implement is that it requires more than just a knowledge of designing spaces—it also requires deep knowledge, and training, in conducting structured, effective research and reporting.

"Evidence-based practice requires the learning of skills—of evidence finding, understanding, interpreting, evaluating and using". Image © Andrea Vasquez "Evidence-based practice requires the learning of skills—of evidence finding, understanding, interpreting, evaluating and using". Image © Andrea Vasquez

Fortunately, this can be taught. Basic research methods are already a standard part of training for many other disciplines, so there are plenty of existing examples for architecture to follow. As noted by architect Barrie Evans when considering a comparable use of research in the medical field, “...evidence-based practice requires the learning of skills—of evidence finding, understanding, interpreting, evaluating and using. These skills may seem basic but they do need teaching, as they are in medicine.”

Architecture education runs into problems introducing new material, due to time constraints. Studio class schedules are already lengthy, but much of that time is spent on individual design crits while remaining students either observe or wait patiently at their desks. Watching someone else be critiqued is a worthy form of education, but considering this sort of activity can occupy the vast majority of a student’s class time with a relatively small amount of that time being spent on their own crit, it’s easy to see a point of diminishing returns in this format. It’s not hard to imagine existing studio class schedules recalibrated to include a significant, consistent amount of instruction in conducting research methods.

Where this new knowledge can be best refined is within the crit itself, which, even if the time currently devoted to it was cut in half, would still be a primary component of architectural education. With a solid base of instruction in research methods, the purpose of the design critique can be modified specifically to evaluate the use of empirical evidence in design decisions, as opposed to speculating on open-ended claims. Of course, not all design choices can be fully substantiated, but if the basis of the critique prioritized evidence-based decisions over conjectural ones, it could become a bridge between the critical thinking needed for well-structured research and the creative thinking necessary to turn that research into a design solution.

Though if it starts there, the need for this form of design crit extends beyond education. Graduates would bring the expectation of verifiable claims for design decisions with them into practice. That’s where the effectiveness of reforming this act begins to take hold, as the design critique is equally fundamental to professional practice as it is to education, even if it only occurs in five-minute bursts between two architects or in occasional client meetings. If the point of this act was modified to focus on the substantiated claims employed in making design decisions while the rest of it remains ostensibly intact, an evidence-based culture of design could quickly spread throughout the profession.

It’s precisely because the design crit is central to the practice of architecture that this change could reform the entire profession in a way that would make evidence-based design the norm. If this were the case, architectural design would necessarily become far more robust and relevant for the people it serves, putting the profession in a more valuable and trustworthy position than it is today.

Ross Brady has built a multi-faceted career spanning architectural practice, marketing and journalism. His work ranges from residential renovations to urban design proposals, to most recently marketing and communications. He maintains an architectural license in New York.

Images for this article were kindly provided by Andrea Vasquez.

ArchiWeb

Systems to Incorporate Natural Lighting in Your Projects

1 day 18 hours ago

There is nothing more rational than taking advantage of natural lighting as a guarantee to improve the spatial quality of buildings, as well as saving energy. The awareness of the finitude of natural resources and the demands for reducing energy consumption has increasingly diminished the prominence of artificial lighting systems, forcing architects to seek more efficient design solutions. With this goal in mind, different operations have been adopted to capture natural light.

These systems can also guarantee excellent spatial properties if projected correctly. Below we have gathered five essential systems for zenithal lighting.

Skylights

© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

Established as horizontal openings strategically positioned on the roofs of buildings, skylights allow the direct entrance of natural light into the internal region of the construction. It commonly receives an application of translucent glass on its upper side, allowing a higher percentage of light into the space. They should be used with care, since they tend to favor the gain of thermal loads in the building, increasing the internal temperature. Therefore, they must be strategically positioned and projected regarding dimensions and sealing materials.

Vila de Carvão Sangdong / Studio suspicion . Image © Ryu In Keun Vila de Carvão Sangdong / Studio suspicion . Image © Ryu In Keun

As an alternative to the upper sealing, they can receive a layer of laminated glass or polycarbonate to allow light to enter indirectly and reduce the light percentage. Being one of the most used zenithal lighting systems, they are recommended for less permanent spaces, such as circulation areas, halls, or bathrooms for example.

In addition, these skylights range in a large number of models and vary in design, dimension, and material, from the traditional opening on the slab to more complex tubular models. 

Sheds

© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

Recurrently used in industrial buildings and warehouses that have metal roofs, this type of lucarnes are configured as devices based on the sawtooth geometry of the roofs, with inclinations strategically arranged to receive a certain amount of light. They are usually positioned in relation to the facade with less sunlight (south in the southern hemisphere and north, in the north), allowing natural light without direct sunlight. In some cases, they also contemplate openings to ventilation.

Hospital Sarah Kubitschek Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon Hospital Sarah Kubitschek Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon

Its variations in terms of dimensions and inclinations are designed based on the luminous percentage requirement of the interior space, allowing a greater or lesser light input. In this system it is essential to close by glass frames, preventing infiltrations from the rains.

Lanternins

© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

Conformed by openings that protrude in relation to the roof, they can appear as small roofs superimposed on the ridges, creating small glazed projections that receive the entrance of natural light through their two sides.

Light Folds / WY-TO Architects. Image © Svend Andersen Light Folds / WY-TO Architects. Image © Svend Andersen

In addition to the light input, the system allows the continuous renewal of the air if mobile frames are used, allowing constant changes from the assumption that hot air tends to rise.

Domes

© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

Domes provide a more far-reaching lighting effect compared to the previous cases. However, due to the large dimensions assumed, in most cases, they tend to generate large thermal loads inside the buildings. Therefore, they are generally used in short-term spaces, such as circulations, courtyards or central areas.

Panteão Romano. Image © Cortesia de Flickr user lysander07 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Panteão Romano. Image © Cortesia de Flickr user lysander07 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Atriums

© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

As well as skylights, atriums open directly on roofs, in most cases with pyramidal or gabled geometries, built with metal profiles and a glass closure. Contrary to the aforementioned cases, this typology is recommended for buildings with a greater number of floors, allowing the entry of a greater luminosity without generating high thermal loads.

Viviendo con la luz del sol / MOVEDESIGN. Image © Yousuke Harigane Viviendo con la luz del sol / MOVEDESIGN. Image © Yousuke Harigane

Solar Tubes

© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

As well as skylights, solar tubes can be installed in different types of roofs, flat or inclined. With a variety of lengths and widths, they can be flexible or rigid. The difference is that they carry light through reflections, in spaces and roofs where it is not feasible to install systems such as those above.

Internally the tubes are coated with reflective materials, generating different light intensities as a result of their dimensions and materiality, and presenting an optimal solution for industrial and commercial projects. There are also fiberglass models, marketed especially for projects with short distances between the sky and the slab, as homes or smaller buildings.

Biblioteca Viipuri / Alvar Aalto. Image Cortesia de The Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library Biblioteca Viipuri / Alvar Aalto. Image Cortesia de The Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library
ArchiWeb

Frida Escobedo's Serpentine Pavilion Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

6 days 10 hours ago
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Following the opening of the 2018 Serpentine Pavillion this week, designed by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to London. Ghinitoiu’s images, which you can discover below, capture the elemental beauty of Escobedo’s pavilion, defined by a permeable cement tile façade inspired by Mexican celosias.

Fusing elements typical to Mexican architecture with local London references, the pavilion centers on a courtyard enclosed by two rectangular volumes constructed using the characteristic celosia method.

A gallery of Ghinitoiu’s photographs is collated below. You can find out more about the design and development of the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion from our extensive coverage here.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu
ArchiWeb

Saint-Gobain Announces Winners of the 14th Edition MultiComfort House Students Contest

6 days 16 hours ago
© Saint-Gobain © Saint-Gobain

Students from South Africa, Belarus, and Germany have been chosen as the winners of the 14th edition MultiComfort House Students Contest, a contest created in 2004 and organized by Saint-Gobain. Entrants were to develop a project based on the principles of the multi-comfort concept, that is, "an optimum indoor environment ensuring the right level of fresh air, thermal, visual and acoustic comfort provided in a sustainable and energy efficient manner," as explained by the organizers.

In close collaboration with the Department of Planning of the Municipality of Dubai and the Dubai Properties Group, Saint-Gobain presented the challenge of designing a cross-cultural community project in the cultural village of Dubai, on the shores of the Al Jaddaf inlet.

Considering Dubai's hot and humid climate, the students had to find a way to reconcile reducing the energy consumption of the refrigeration and ventilation systems without compromising any of the comforts of the inhabitants; while at the same time providing an optimal relationship with the environment.

Regarding the results, Pierre-André de Chalendar, president and CEO of Saint-Gobain, commented that this edition will be remembered for "the high-level quality of the projects submitted by the students. I am always amazed by their innovative spirit to use the Saint-Gobain Multi-Comfort solutions to create better and great living places everywhere."

First Place Vahin Parmananda + Mthokozisi Sibisi / KwaZulu-Natal University, South Africa

First Place: Vahin Parmananda + Mthokozisi Sibisi / KwaZulu-Natal University, South Africa. Image © Saint-Gobain First Place: Vahin Parmananda + Mthokozisi Sibisi / KwaZulu-Natal University, South Africa. Image © Saint-Gobain

Second Place
Veronika Supruniuk / Brest State University, Belarus

Second Place: Veronika Supruniuk / Brest State University, Belarus. Image © Saint-Gobain Second Place: Veronika Supruniuk / Brest State University, Belarus. Image © Saint-Gobain

Third Place
Tobias Bretz + Dill Khan / Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany

Third Place: Tobias Bretz + Dill Khan / Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany. Image © Saint-Gobain Third Place: Tobias Bretz + Dill Khan / Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany. Image © Saint-Gobain

Additionally, the jury awarded honorable mentions to the team consisting of Alejandra González, Paulino Poveda, and Santiago Rodríguez (Spain), and Joanna Wnuczek (Poland).

"The MultiComfort House Student Contest sheds light on the incredible efforts of a young generation of talented architects who will be key contributors to ensuring that Dubai will enjoy a sustainable environment in line with our leadership vision," said Samira AlRais, Senior Director of Policy and Strategy, Sustainable Development of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai.

David Basulto, a member of the jury and founder and CEO of ArchDaily, commented that the contest "provides a unique and strong framework for students to develop their skills, by operating on a real site and dealing with the challenges of comfort on extreme conditions."

50 teams of students from 28 participating countries presented their projects in four presentation sessions before an international jury that included representatives from the Municipality of Dubai, as well as architects and experts.

News vía Saint-Gobain

ArchiWeb

These Time-Lapses Capture the Construction of the 2022 Qatar World Cup Stadiums

6 days 18 hours ago
via screenshot from video via screenshot from video

As the 2018 World Cup approaches, we architects can already look ahead to the next tournament. The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar offers the most exciting opportunity in stadium design for decades, with the competition relying on an almost entirely new footballing infrastructure. Several world-renowned designers have submitted proposals, and the following set of newly released time-lapse videos show the progression of each stadium, as we approach four years to the competition’s start. Emphasising the structural shells, the videos highlight a sometimes overlooked facet of stadium design. To materialize the effortless magic of the initial renders - like those produced by Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects - phenomenal levels of engineering and problem solving are required, and in the early stages of construction, this becomes the visual focal point. Read on to see the beauty of these structural marvels, but be warned - you may develop World Cup fever.

Project: Al Bayt Stadium
Location: Al Khor City
Designer: Dar Al-Handasah
Capacity: 60,000

via screenshot from video via screenshot from video

 

Project: Al Wakrah Stadium  
Location: Al Wakrah
Designer: Zaha Hadid Architects
Capacity: 40,000

Courtesy of Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Courtesy of Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

 

Project: Al Rayyan Stadium 
Location: Al Rayyan Municipality
Designer: Pattern Architects 
Capacity: 44,740

via screenshot from video via screenshot from video

 

Project: Education City Stadium 
Location:
Education City, Al Rayyan Municipality
Designer: DR. Omar Jamal, SENSI Moe and Sons, Dr. Demonichaos (Wareface CO.)
Capacity: 40,000

via screenshot from video via screenshot from video

 

Project: Al Thumama Stadium  
Location: Doha
Designer: Ibrahim J Aidah  
Capacity: 40,000

via screenshot from video via screenshot from video

 

Project: Lusail Stadium   
Location: Lusail
Designer: Foster + Partners 
Capacity: 86,250

via screenshot from video via screenshot from video

 

Project: Ras Abu Aboud Stadium  
Location: Doha
Designer: Fenwick Iribarren Architects 
Capacity: 40,000

via screenshot from video via screenshot from video
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