Touring The World Of Architecture: Week 10
By Christopher William Reeves
Week 10 has been and gone and with it a flurry of architectural news. Here you can find some of the best stories this week including White Architecture’s big move, Barkow Leibinger’s Berlin complex win, the Utøya memorial and an insightful look at a project in South Africa. Have a great weekend from all here on the arcspace team.
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“Ideally, we would close downtown on Friday and open in the new location on Monday”
Well this is a crazy one and a project I’m sure most readers would love to be involved in, simply because of its wow factor! The project in question is the relocation of the town Kiruna in Sweden. With a population of 18,000, the entire town is planning to up sticks and shift over 3km east. No small feat I hear you say! Indeed. The reason for the move comes as the local iron ore mine, the biggest in the world and one upon which the town is based, is planning to expand. In doing so the mine would shake the foundations of 3,000 homes and buildings, the railway station and a century old church.
To combat this problem local authorities have commissioned the ‘Kiruna 4-Ever’ proposal, by Stockholm based White Arkitekter and Ghilardi + Hellsten. This proposal will provide a new location for the 3,000 displaced homes, local services and hotels whilst developing two million square foot of new office, government and commercial space aimed at diversifying the towns current mono-functionality.
Local businesses have a ten year transition period so as to not diminish their customer base and the new design is set to improve the lives of local inhabitants with a dense city design. What an exciting project which will no doubt teach those involved and the wider architectural community many valuable lessons over the coming decade.
We’ll feature the completed project here on arcspace in 2024…don’t forget!
Last year White Arkitekter were winners of the New York Resilience Competition with their design ‘small means to great ends’, redesigning 80 acres of New York coastline in a climate resilient manner.
Berlin’s New Quarter
Berlin based architects Barkow Leibinger have won a competition to design the Estrel, the city’s highest hotel tower and conference complex. This one is all about triangles, with the design taking influence from the children’s game ‘Tangram’. This means the building will be organised in the form of extruding triangulated volumes of differing sizes and heights, allowing its features to descend both into the local neighbourhood and the surrounding water. Well, that’s the plan anyway! The hotel tower will reach 175 meters and will form part of the new gateway area from Schönefeld International Airport.
Barkow Leibinger are known for such projects as the Trutec Building in Seoul, an event pavilion for Trumpf in Stuttgart and the Tour Total office high-rise in Berlin. Be sure to check out the jam-packed project list here.
This Weeks Win
Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg has won Oslo’s July 22 Memorial Competition this week with his ‘wound’ proposal. The Memorial is to set to remember those who were lost in the terrible 2011 Utøya terror attacks. Dahlberg commented, “My concept for the Memorial Sørbråten proposes a wound or a cut within nature itself. It reproduces the physical experience of taking away, reflecting the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died”.
A three and a half meter wide break will be excavated from the Utøya Island with the exhumed material, trees and plant life used to build the foundations for a temporary and later permanent memorial at the Government quarter in Oslo, also a site of the attacks.
Friday fun is postponed this week because there simply wasn’t anything funny enough to deserve a mention! Instead we are featuring something useful and actually what architecture is all about, making the world better. Here is the design strategy collective Urban-Think Tank and its prototypical house built as a part of an initiative to improve housing conditions for slum dwellers in some of the 2,700 informal settlements across South Africa.
Urban-Think Tank has teamed up with ETH Zürich university to search for ways that architects can help improve the environment and security of these slums that house approximately 15 percent of the country’s entire population. Working under the title Empower Shack, the team organised a design-and-build workshop in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town that is one of the largest in South Africa, and developed a design for a low-cost two-storey shack for local resident Phumezo Tsibanto and his family.
They then worked together to replace Tsibanto’s existing single-storey dwelling with the new two-storey structure, giving the family a new home with a watertight exterior and its own electricity.
The designers are now exploring different configurations of the prototype that will allow it to adapt to the needs of different residents, extending up to three-storeys when necessary. This in turn becomes part of a wider strategy for the rationalising the layout of the entire community, known as blocking out. This involves creating access routes for emergency vehicles and providing basic services such as sanitation and water.