giovedì 4 giugno 2015

SKY CONDO - NEW YORK CITY FARM TOWER // FIRST PRIZE - Joseph Varholick & Posin Wang - U.S.A.

The organism is complex: born of man, serving nature, subjugating nature. It is a dichotomy of agrarian and industrial - of old ways and new technologies. It is the homestead and the factory, sited on worn grounds and new frontiers. The vertical farm defines an altogether new way of life, a culture that is not easily reconciled with the schemas of our society and as such creates the illusion of contradiction and confusion. The education and installment of a new society of urban agronomists, with a currently inaccessible understanding of a deep, cultural and spiritual commitment to ecology is perhaps the greatest challenge facing agriculture in an urban environment. The vital movement towards the production of sustenance in our cities is by its nature radical … and in order to be embraced, it must turn our culture on its ear.

It is the urban farm’s necessarily unorthodox mindset which leads us to the most radical, yet rewarding of schemes. New York, the city of towers has been pursing verticality for over a century. It was here that the first elevators were installed, where the steel-frame skyscraper was pioneered and brought to new heights. In this place that reaches the sky
we continue to challenge the occupant’s orientation to the ground plane. We have taken the farm and the field and turned it skyward; it becomes the literal connection between earth and heavens, as New York truly becomes oriented vertically. Our ephemeral fields are kinetic looms of vegetation, held aloft by buoyant dirigibles in the atmosphere. Urban agriculture is liberated of the dimness and grime of the street-level city, and opened up to light and air. It is the deployable hanging garden, an icon and a park of an entirely different experience, the new lungs of the city. It adds new dimension to the natural aspect of the city by adding a vertical axis to the highline viaduct, opening the possibility for greenery and agricultural growth in three-dimensional space. We envision
the vertical field as a set of movable and re-configurable parts. These may be re-oriented to grow different crops, hangared in the building’s atrium for winter, or set aloft at

a separate location until ready for harvest. While this kinetic field is woven into the permanent structure of the building it provides a sort of urban theatre within the void of the open atrium, allowing another enthralling experience along the highline path. The high- line and street levels are interconnected and programmed with an open market that allows for social interactions and the sale of produce to the local population.

The residencies in the two wings of the building are interconnected by a doubly-helical path, punctuated by communal gardens which are each meant to accommodate 3-4 units. With the addition of balconies to each unit, the act of growing as prescribed by the provided spaces, becomes a socially-scalable event. There exists the private or individual garden at the scale of the household’s balcony, the communal garden, at the scale of the terrace which is shared and maintained by several households, and the public farm, which is main- tained by the entire building and provides food for the local urban population. These are functional, yet social spaces, all intertwined with the intent of supporting a culture ca- pable of the deep ecological values needed for the venture of urban farming.

We propose a program that produces food in proportion to healthy human diet, using a local labor population which in term consumes the produce.      This ensures a high quality of crops and a meaningful connection to the ingredient. A culture has the opportunity to thrive and mature around this mutual endeavor to provide, and the sharing of labor’s rewards. New jobs are created, and a popilation is educated about their own livelihood ad well was the greater environment's. The culmination of these practices is an architectural organism that stands as an icon in the city. It is an urban event, a metropolitan asset, and an object of progress.

The vertical farm employs a variety of technological innovations aimed at sustainability and productivity. High-altitude balloons sheathed with screens for moisture harvesting are an artificial raincloud, returning water to the farm via a drip-line. Using stored electri- cal power from photovoltaic arrays this water can be split via electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen. Like an inverted lung, the farm vents oxygen into the carbon-rich city. The hy- drogen is used to inflate dirigibles that hold the farm aloft. Windmills continually rotate the farming system, ensuring all crops are equally exposed to light, and allowing the field to be used as its own water lift for irrigation. As the farm passes into the atrium, crops are harvested and the growing medium is replenished and re-sown in a giant loom-like appa- ratus. All of these systems are made lightweight and mobile through material and structural innovations, such as the use of lightweight composites and alloys. In the colder months it is intended that the vertical structure is stored within the building’s atrium and used for greenhouse growing as durable plastic drop sheets are used to enclose the void, and trap solar radiation (this serves the double-purpose of creating an insulated air-void around the heated residences). All organisms in the farm are selected as part of a sustainable ecological web that can operate as a closed loop, or aid in the support of other endemic species, supporting and enhancing the biodiversity of the island, and extending the mission of the highline.

Our proposal not only allows for a radical alteration of the Chelsea neighborhood, but also envisions a flexible and deployable system, reconfigurable for a variety of environments and circumstances. The production of food in our urban centers is a vital step towards the sustainable city that may be realized only through the mass deployment of these practic-
es and infrastructures. The adaptability of this scheme is paramount to its implementation and the general proliferation of vertical, urban farming. We see this model as an archetype that establishes a timeline, one which matures with a new urban skyline of filled with sus- tainable agrarian-urbanity, with skyward fields of green.

domenica 28 dicembre 2014



As the new model of library for the future, the new library of Copenhagen is intended to be such a urban connectivity spot over a standard library which could improve the social life quality for the citizents and preserve the brand of Copenhagen as the most livable city in over the world; on the other hand it’s intended to be well interactive with the specific site context which has great historical significance and architecture. Grasping this idea, the proposal was implemented with the prior aim of satisfying the context adaptability and the performability in encouraging people communication of the new library.
After research about the location and neighbours of the new library, the site was found as an invisible entity that currently splits the surrounding context to different pairs of spatial parts with distinct features and functions (Urban zone - Open Space, Residence - Public Garden). Therefore, the building form was intentionally shaped from the need of a smooth transition in terms of space to fit and gently connect the surrounding space together. The model then was developed with the purpose of making the the new library to be not only well adaptable, sustainable but also enjoyable from inside-out. It is designed to offer a flexibly countinuous space that facilitates the users for browsing information and stimulates the communication between them. The external zone was designed as a highlight of the library where the visitors could find for themselves a free zone for outdoor activities and enjoying the beautiful landscape of the sea. The proposed sloping form of the building not only brings the novel visually experience for the people but also has a efficient energy consumption due to the shadow utilization and natural ventilation stimulation. In addition, with the original mass skin and external lighting system, the new building’s presence is supposed to transmit the fresh air to the context’s appearance by interacting as the decorative lighting system suporting for the urban context.
As a fundamental building the culture of Copenhagen in the future, the proposal for the new library is expected to make the building to be as a urban connectivity sport -  as the name of the project – ‘urban “hygge” seed’ with the desire of becoming the pioneer-building offering the good social atmosphere beside the fundamental function (education) in that people could be well communicated and be sastisfied with enjoying their life in Copenhagen.


The new central library promote the use of technology as important knowledge vehicle. For this purpose, all digital items are stored in the main server that can be consulted using laptops, tablets or smartphones thanks to the library software.  This app connects the users devices with the main server using the internal Wi-Fi and it permits to read -in cloud- books, magazines as well as watch movies or listen music.
The app also manages the entire paper books catalogue, that is stored in a big framework that is both structure and bookshelf.  The low-rise bookshelf part is a “classic” shelf and it is used for the kids and the bookshop areas. Differently, the higher shelf are managed by the library apps that uses an automated drone system to find and deliver the stored books.
The whole building is wrapped in a polycarbonate skin, creating a translucent surface able to show both internal and external activities and transforming the building during the entire day.
The envelope homogeneity transfigure the library in an abstraction of the Danish traditional buildings, introducing a new and modern element into the historical Copenhagen cityscape.

 Two big volumes (the telescopes) suspended into the internal building void host most of the functions strictly related to “classic” library. The control area, the info point , the consultation and the lecture rooms taking place in these two volumes that are principally silent holding spaces for individual study or researches. In these areas there are different types of seats and light solutions, ensuring a good psychophysical comfort according to the different users’ needs. Moreover all the seats are oriented to big windows that frame some of the best city landmarks, amplifying the users’ sensorial experience.


"A room without books is like a body without soul."
Cicero, Marcus Tullis

In recent years society and our environment have become more and more digital.
Due to the internet we can now access information, texts, pictures, videos, books and their stories wherever and whenever we want to.
The huge success of  the internet is mostly based on the enormous participation factor of millions, or even billions of users worldwide, who share their skills, their knowledge and their passions with others.  They make their knowledge available and accessible to others and therefore they take an active role in shaping the internet.

With the emergence of the internet and the steady availability of information, modern libraries are currently facing new challenges. The sales figures of Kindles, iPads, Ebooks etc. are growing since several years compared to stagnating sales output of classic books. Nevertheless the classic book outlived a number of different other printmedias.
The submitted project BogSamler / New Modern Library attempts  to convert the basic idea of the internet (formally and content-wise) and its participative aspect into real architecture; with a new and innovative, functional and building concept.
Similar to the internet, the New Modern Library provides a simple „naked“ structure that, over time, will be filled up with book contributions by the people of Copenhagen .
In the end it will host a unique and rare accumulation of site-specific books and stories of the city’s inhabitants. Old, unwanted books, magazines or records don’t need to be thrown away anymore but can be contributed in a sustainable and recycled way to the library.

You can either contribute your object personally by going there or you send it via a new launched website Just click on contribute and your book will be picked up at your place. At the library the book will get a selfmade unique slipcase to protect it from any damage or direct sunlight. The colour of the slipcase indicates the genre of the contributed object (book, record, magazine etc; documentary, fiction, fairytale etc.). Therefore the pattern of the building will change by different arrangements (sorted by author, by year or by genre)
The BogSamler is embedded into a network of 20 libraries across the city of Copenhagen. Its very one time book-stock will give it a very special character in this network. The project site is located in the centre of Copenhagen close to the water at the major intersection of  Frederiks Kirken, Amalienborg Slot and Operaen, as well as the former historical industrial brick storage buildings alongside the old harbour. In recent years the city of Copenhagen has put a lot of effort into successfully reactivating former underused plots alongside the waterfront.
The green park Amaliehavn, built in the eighties, and the walkway along the water are a very popular and well-visited leisure destinations  for both residents and tourists.

In size and volume the BogSamler refers to the historical storage buildings alongside the water and completes by mirroring along the Frederiks Kirken-Amalienborg Slot-Operaen axis the urban landscape. The building fits functionally as a „library of the people“ complimenting its neighbours, Amalienborg Slot and the New Opera House.

From the outside, the facade of the BogSamler looks like an oversized bookshelf which will be filled over time with books. The fine and small size of the books reflects the construction method of the nearby brick storage buildings.

A nice detailed and transparent glass skin façade protects the timber frame supporting structure and library from cold temperature and rain, while the horizontal bookshelves protect the interior from direct sun in the summer.

Niches of different sizes and shapes integrated in the facade provide hyggelig spaces for reading, working, relaxing, surfing and meeting. From them you have a nice view either of the nearby  Amalienborg and the waterfront as well as a view across to the cityscape of Copenhagen, or to the inner Bog Samler Forum. In this way  the library can already be used by the people in its „naked“, unfilled state.

Most of the public functions like the entrance area, the Info Point, the Book Store and the Cafe are located on the open, transparent and from all sides accessible ground floor. Toilets, lockers, storage, technical rooms and smaller meeting rooms are located in the basement.
The existing trees alongside the project site will be preserved to improve the quality of a stay in the functions based on the south-facing ground floor by providing shade and protection from the direct sun.
A direct walking path leading from Amalienborg Slot to the Kastellet/Den lille Havfrue  will be guided through the heart of the building, the BogSamler Forum.
This space is meant to serve as a public area in which the people of Copenhagen can come together on events, lectures, presentations, discussions, concerts etc.
Interaction and communication amongst the people of Copenhagen are the heart of the building.
From the BogSamler Forum two tribunes with integrated stairs lead to the first floor of the library. On them you can also linger comfortably, read, or listen to any ongoing events.
The northern part of the library makes up the central core, security, distributed workshop spaces and the child daycare with a playground on the top floor.

The BogSamler wants to be the opposite of a top-to-bottom-project or classic project-developer-architecture. Basically, it is a democratic  project that encourages the people to take part in designing their environment and to improve it by making a personal contribution.

sabato 3 maggio 2014

NATURAL CITY - Berlin Natural Science Museum // FIRST PRIZE - NAS ARCHITECTURE - Giraud Guillaume, Balalud De Saint Jean Hadrien, Laure Johan - FRANCE

The design of the Museum is supported on a wish of mix different programs related to research, education and exposure to create an interactive and interconnected space. The first idea is to build on the foundation of a Museum of Natural Sciences in the approximate maximum nature and which is exposed to the interior. Not to build a tall building we have chosen to bury most of the museum and offer a ground floor open (visually) playing with a topography featuring a cityscape. To be found on the Museum volumes rational that resume surrounding typologies and street alignments. These volumes are intended for easy operation and remain in connection with the Museum with large patio overlooking exhibition spaces.
The facades are treated to reflect the surrounding landscape while protecting from the sun. The inclination of the reflecting Pannels is to open to the north and capture the indirect light.
The facades of the ground floor are very transparent in contrast to let the look to exhibitions, distributed throughout the topography. Museum comes to blend into the landscape and the post is in response to the trunks of trees. 
Front of the Museum, a large plant site is available to visitors and residents. This space is penetration into this landscape in which we wander at will. Museum unfolds gradually as we advance and stimulates curiosity is not fully visible from the street.
The museum wants to be the transition between nature and urbanity kind of wink to the evolution of man in his environment.