Airmesh, Singapore

AIRLAB has completed an angular, mesh-covered pavilion at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, which has a structure made with 3D-printed stainless-steel nodes. Built using more than 200 rods connected by 54 3D-printed steel nodes the temporary pavilion was created by the Architectural Intelligence Research Lab (AIRLAB), based at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Called AIRMESH, it is the product of five years of researching and was assembled in two days using only hex keys.

Designed to remain on its site for three years, the pavilion has been oriented to frame four key views for visitors to the Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects-designed park: the nearby Dragonfly River, the SG50 Dome, the garden’s entrance path and the rooftop of the Moshe Safdie-designed Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Drawings its shape from what AIRLAB describes as a “three-dimensional complex neural network, the pavilion’s tetrahedral design means it can withstand loads of 16 times its 700-kilogram weight despite its delicate appearance.

As 3D printing technologies are maturing to match the mechanical, scale and speed requirements of construction, systematic research regarding applications and technologies becomes essential. A new kind of intricate aesthetics is obtained from using a tetrahedral typology in the structure that spreads the heavy loads into extremely slender elements. Two layers of plastic mesh cover the pavilion’s exteriors, shading the metal walkway inside while also allowing purple LED lights filled to either side of this path to illuminate the structure like a lantern at night. It unlocks immense possibilities for future architectural designs like transportation hubs, large span roofs and even skyscrapers.

Taksim Pavilion, Turkey

The most important public spaces of democracy for contemporary cities are squares. Those who live in the city come together freely in these spaces where their differences turn into acquaintances and a feeling of belonging to the city becomes open for everyone. Therefore, cities find a meaning through the presence of squares. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has initiated the process of redesigning several important public places with the participation of Istanbul residents in order to enhance the life of the city and to assert the right for a free urban life in Istanbul. Urban design competitions will be opened for important squares of Istanbul, especially Taksim Square.

The pavilion is an amphitheater made up of two wings that connect to the square through steps at both sides. The stage becomes an activity platform surrounded by two tribunes that face each other. The steps are made of wood modules that are placed on a steel structure. The stage hosts a surface of 180m2 where dance, theatre, music or spontaneous performances can be watched. More importantly, the urban design competition finalists will be voted by the Istanbulians here, making the pavilion a place to discuss new ideas for the city. Under the amphitheater an exhibition space includes an overview of the history of Taksim square. The envelope is made of thin steel elements that become also the handrails above. Joining Station designed by IND branch was built in Istanbul Taksim Square in 2020.

Xinhu Hangzhou Prism, China

Construction has begun on OMA’s pyramid-shaped mixed-use building – Xinhu Hangzhou Prism which forms the heart of Hangzhou’s Future Tech City in the new Technology Central Business District (CBD. Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, is known as one of China’s most beautiful cities with a high quality of life

OMA’s design for Xinhu Hangzhou Prism integrates modernity into the beauty of the surrounding natural landscape. The complex will house a hotel, retail space, lofts and an atrium garden. The 50,000 sqm prism is shaped by two radical oblique cuts through the building envelope, creating terraced lofts with generous scenic views. A large interior void creates a publicly accessible garden with water features and playgrounds.
A pinnacle reaching into the sky, the Prism pays homage to the ancient saying that the there is “paradise above, and Hangzhou below”. The Prism is complemented by an adjacent 35,000 sqm residential tower, reflecting the geometry of a prism in its façade. “Xinhu Hangzhou Prism will encourage the development of a creative community in the new CBD of Hangzhou,” saya Chris van Duijn. The design enables flexible programming and a broad repertoire of communal outdoor spaces, while maintaining a strong visual identity: striking in its form, archetypical yet contemporary.”

Vista Tower, Chicago

Vista Tower is a 95-storey hotel and residential skyscraper being built in Chicago, Illinois, US. It is expected to become the third tallest skyscraper in the city upon completion. Designed by Studio Gang, the project broke ground in September 2016. Magellan Development Group and China-based Dalian Wanda Group are developing the project at an estimated cost of $950m. The project is Dalian Wanda Group’s first project in the US.

The Vista tower will include a trio of interlinked buildings that will be 47, 71 and 95-storeys high, with the tallest building being 1,144ft-high. The entire development will be spread over an area of 1.9 million square feet. The tower design is based on the crystalline form called frustum, which is a truncated pyramid. Each of the towers will include a stack of these pyramids alternating in conventional and inverted form, creating a wave pattern of convex and concave surfaces.

The wavy exterior of the buildings will provide spectacular views for residents. The exterior will be clad in glass of five shades of blue to create a wave gradient across the height of the tower. The smaller floors in the tower will be clad in a slightly darker glass as they will experience more heat gain. The varying gradients of the glass cladding create different responses for various climatic conditions, thereby improving the building’s environmental performance. The developers are aiming to achieve LEED silver certification for the project. A projecting glass cube will house the restaurant area of the tower. It will be raised on stilt-like concrete columns to enable pedestrians and customers to pass through to roads and pedestrian areas located in Lakeshore East. “It is expected to become the third tallest skyscraper in the city upon completion.” Construction of the building structure is expected to be completed by April 2020.

Ilan & Asaf Ramon International Airport, Israel

The Ilan and Asaf Ramon International Airport was designed by Amir Mann-Ami Shinar Architects and Planners in partnership with Moshe Zur Architects. The Airport, servicing the Red Sea resort city of Eilat and surrounding region, was commissioned by the Israel Airport Authority (IAA) and was handled from A to Z by the architects in their role as Design Managers. Located in Timna, it is Israel’s first civil greenfield airport.

The architects developed a unique and minimal design language influenced by the futuristic world of aviation and its seemingly timeless natural desert surrounding. The decision of the IAA to appoint the architects as design managers responsible for budget, program, and planning schedule, allowed for the architects to implement the design across the entire airport – from the various buildings to each individual check-in counter, unifying the airport under one unique holistic design.

The Terminal’s envelope consists of a steel and concrete skeleton structure, cladded to the exterior with insulating aluminum triangular panels, continuous from wall to roof that create one single mass. The Terminal building’s minimalist interior scheme is based on a tightly organized high-ceilinged hall with low-level furniture and pavilions acting as dividers. Its entire infrastructure is hidden on a lower level. This allows for the roof to be free of any technical equipment as a fifth façade viewed from the airplane window, and for all passenger processes to be efficiently on one single level.

Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel, China

The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental hotel has opened within an 88-metre-deep abandoned quarry near Shanghai. Designed by London and Shanghai based Jade + QA, the 337-room hotel descends 16 storeys below ground level, within the former quarry and is described by the studio as a ground scraper. The concept for the building was inspired by the quarry itself and by its natural environment needing to be finely balanced with the new development following the using the Tao principles of yin yang.

The steel-framed building is attached to a cliff face on one side of the excavated water-filled quarry, with only two storeys rising above ground level and the lowest two floors descending below the water level. Rooms are wrapped around the walls of the quarry, with a “glass waterfall” structure containing the building’s observation lifts and giving access to all the floors.

The hotel’s public areas are located above and below the main room’s levels. The two storeys above ground contain the quarry hotel’s reception, a restaurant and conference facilities. Swimming pools and further conference facilities are on the lakeside, 14 floors below ground level. The two floors below water contain a restaurant and further bedrooms, which face onto an underwater aquarium. The unique location of the project, combined with the structural challenge of creating a tall building that is attached to the ground at both ends, meant that the hotel has taken 12 years to design and build.

China Resources Headquarters, China

Kohn Pedersen Fox has completed a 400-metre-high supertall skyscraper as the headquarters of the China Resources export company in Shenzhen, China. The 67-storey tower, which Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) describes as “inspired by the shape of the winter bamboo shoot”, is the third tallest building in the rapidly developing city. Named China Resources Headquarters, the skyscraper is located in the Houhai district of Shenzhen, a city that is already home to the world’s fourth tallest building.

The tapered China Resources tower is ringed with 56 prefabricated slender steel columns that allow the building’s office floors to be column-free. At the top and base of the building, the columns converge into a diagrid – a diagonal grid pattern – similar to that used in the Gherkin in London, designed by Foster + Partners. Following the diagrid, 28 columns continue to the building’s apex to enclose a 68.4-metre-high “sky hall”, which will be used as an events space. At the building’s base, entrance portals are placed within the triangular forms.

The conical tower design shows a geometric boldness that reflects China Resources’ pride in their past and confidence in the future. The skyscraper is in Shenzhen Bay in the western part of the city. It is the anchor building in a larger development being designed by KPF, which includes a pavilion containing shops, a 3,000 square-metre museum, a performance hall and an auditorium, along with 2,000 square metres of public space.

Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre

The Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre is located on the river in Hexi New Town; Nanjing’s new central business district. The project includes a 106,500 m2 conference centre, two towers totalling 258,500 m2, 100,000 m2 of basement areas and the plaza that terminates the CBDs main axis on the riverfront. The masterplan expresses the continuity and connectivity between the urban environment of Hexi New Town, riverside parkland, and the rural landscapes of Jiangxinzhou Island in the Yangtzer River connected by a pedestrian bridge. The Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre occupies a site area of 5.2 hectares with a construction floor space of 465,000 square metres. The two towers share a five-level, mixed-use podium that houses the Cultural Centre.

The towers create a dynamic transition from the vertical of the urban CBD to the horizontal topography of the river. The taller tower signifies the position of the plaza both within the urban grid of Hexi New Town and on the Nanjing Skyline. The natural landscapes of the river are connected to the urban streetscape of the new CBD through the fluid architectural language of the mixed-use podium and conference centre.

The centre is the first completely top- down/bottom-up tower construction in China – starting at street level and building upwards and downwards in tandem – constructed in only 34 months using ZHA’s expertise and experience in 3D digital BIM (Building Information Modelling) design and construction management to reduce the on-site programme by a year to only 18 months.

Passenger Clearance Building,China

The PCB is built on a new 150-hectare artificial island reclaimed from the open waters to the north-east of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), and, will benefit from the proximity to the HKIA’s transport links, including the Skypier Ferry Terminal, and the MTR’s Airport Express and Tung Chung line. It is the new crossing point over the boundary between Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao and the facilities will serve as a gateway for all those passing through it.

The building provides a unique opportunity to give Hong Kong an architectural ‘front door’ which celebrates travel, surrounded by water with views to a natural skyline of evergreen mountains and hills. The movement through the building is punctuated, with full height canyons allowing natural daylight to penetrate all levels of the building, and, ensuring there is a visual connection to the linear roof form to further reinforce clarity of wayfinding. The elegant modular roof form ideally lent itself to offsite pre-fabrication and has enabled an efficient construction process achieving a very high level of quality. The project is environmentally friendly, aiming to meet the highest standards for new developments and utilising innovative green technologies.

Weiwuying, Taiwan

Mecanoo’s 141,000-square-metre National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, described as the “world’s largest performing arts centre under one roof”, is now open in Taiwan. The extraordinary architecture of Weiwuying is inspired by the sinuous canopy created by clusters of banyan trees commonly found in the region. The single sweeping building covers a surface area of 35 acres, and, is set in the spectacular 116-acre (470,000 sqm) subtropical park in the heart of Kaohsiung, making it the world’s largest performing arts centre under one roof as well as Taiwan’s most significant cultural investment in a generation.

It incorporates five state of the art performance spaces: a 2,236-seat Opera House, a 1,981-seat Concert Hall, a 1,210-seat Playhouse, a 434-seat Recital Hall and an Outdoor Theatre linking the building to the park. The building’s flowing roof is defined by the scale and arrangement of the four auditoriums contained within. The art centre’s auditoriums are all accessed from a covered foyer, named the Banyan Plaza, which runs throughout the building around the venues, creating a publicly accessible area for people to gather.

Kaohsiung, with a population of around 3 million, located in the south of Taiwan, once a major international harbour, is now a modern, diverse city with a rich cultural offer. The new National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, occupying a site that was formerly a military training base, symbolises the developing outlook for the city of Kaohsiung and Taiwan – with a mission to connect local and global talent through arts and culture.