Monthly News Round-Up, November 2015 Edition

by | 26. Nov 2015


This month’s top headlines include BIG’s Portland masterplan, OMA’s design for the Factory Manchester. Also, the American Museum of National History in New York gets a sculptural expansion and it would appear that Copenhagen gets its gate after all. Finally, Muji, the Japanese IKEA, reveals their coming line of off-the-shelf, pre-fab micro-cabins.



Pittsburgh masterplan. Image courtesy of BIG


BIG Plans (for a) Multifunctional District in Pittsburgh

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), along with West 8 and Atelier Ten, has unveiled a 28 acre masterplan for the Lower Hill district in Pittsburgh that includes 1,200 residential units as well as over 1 million ft2 (93,000 m2) of retail and commerce space. The design seeks to provide accessibility across Pittsburgh’s unique topography, creating a vibrant open space for the city’s residents to enjoy.

Building upon the city’s efforts from the past decade, the proposal redevelops the public space around the former civic arena – including a public space across from consol energy center – and connects the property to downtown, uptown and the rest of the hill district.


Pittsburgh masterplan. Image courtesy of BIG


BIG envisions a multifunctional and revitalized neighborhood that is centered along a meandering public realm that serves to connect the hill district back to its downtown core. The proposal combines individual buildings with a variety of functions bounded by a network of accessible paths and triangular plazas.



Image © OMA / courtesy of The Factory Manchester

Manchester Gets a New Factory

OMA has been selected ahead of a 48 proposals and a shortlist including Zaha Hadid, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Rafael Viñoly to complete a new arts complex in Manchester, England. The £110 million ($166 million USD) complex will be OMA’s first major public building in the United Kingdom.

Named The Factory, the scheme will be located at the former site of the Granada TV Studios, establishing a creative village within the city center, and will accommodate 2,200 seated observers or 5,000 standing guests.


Image © OMA / courtesy of The Factory Manchester

Construction is planned to start in 2016, with a targeted opening date of summer 2019.



Copenhagen Gate. Image courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

The City of Copenhagen Revives Holl’s Copenhagen Gate

Copenhagen Municipality has finally approved Steven Holl Architects‘ plans to build two skyscrapers joined by a pedestrian and bicycle bridge at the entrance to the city’s historic harbor. The design unanimously won an international competition in October 2008, but construction had been delayed for economic reasons.

Interestingly, the apparently impractical design (elevators in both buildings haul pedestrians and cyclists up to and down from the covered span), is largely a result of municipal regulations. In part, due to the fact that the residential units in the Langelinie Tower would be farther from the nearest public transport than the maximum allowed distance for Copenhagen dwellings (500 meters), as well as the fact that ship traffic in and out of the harbor must not be obstructed.


Copenhagen Gate. Image courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Work on the Copenhagen Gate is set to start in 2016.



The future AMNH Gilder Center. Image courtesy of Studio Gang

American Museum of Natural History Reveals Sculptural Expansion

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has unveiled plans to expand its existing campus with a $325 million renovation. Designed by Jeanne Gang, work on the new Gilder Center is set to begin in 2017, with a targeted completion date scheduled to coincide with the institution’s 150th anniversary in 2019.

The extension will include new exhibition and learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology and access to the museum’s renowned collections, as well as laboratories for advanced research.


The future AMNH Gilder Center. Image courtesy of Studio Gang

We uncovered a way to vastly improve visitor circulation and museum functionality, while tapping into the desire for exploration and discovery that are emblematic of science and also part of being human […] Upon entering the space, natural daylight from above and sightlines to various activities inside invite movement through the central exhibition hall on a journey towards deeper understanding. the architectural design grew out of the museum’s mission.
/Jeanne Gang



Hut of Aluminium by Konstantin Grcic. Image © Muji

Pre-fab Homes, Japanese Style

Looking to pick up your house the next time you go to buy a couch? Well, soon maybe you can.

Muji, the Japanese IKEA, recently commissioned prototype designs for three tiny prefab houses. Each home in the Muji Hut lineup was created by one of three high-profile designers: Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic and Naota Fukasawa.

The three houses – called hut of cork, hut of aluminum and hut of wood, respectively – was made in the image of kyosho jutaku, the Japanese style of micro-homes that is at once bizarre in its aesthetic variability and pragmatic in its consideration for dense urban living.

The Muji Hut project differs slightly from typical kyosho jutaku-style homes in that each house is more of a micro-cabin that show a consciousness towards careful consumption and affordability. The houses provide you with the basics, and little extra.

Read the whole story here.


Hut of Aluminium by Konstantin Grcic. Image © Muji