Future Watch

Monument Building, London


A new Grade A office development has quickly taken shape adjacent to one of the capital’s most famous landmarks – the Monument, which was erected to commemorate the Great Fire of London. All of the upper floors of this nine-storey structure will accommodate offices, some of which – floors four, five, seven and nine – feature outdoor terraces.

Structurally, the building has been designed with a steel frame based around one eccentrically positioned concrete core. Below ground level the structure is founded on concrete raft foundations, while a basement and ground slab have also been formed with concrete.

To minimize the structural floor zone, and hence maximize the number of floors, a steel-framed option was the best solution for this project. Steelwork contractor Severfield has fabricated, supplied and erected 650t of structural steel for the project. Utilizing a coordinated multidisciplinary Building Information Modelling (BIM) approach, the project team was able to streamline the design, which in turn helped optimize the steel tonnage to its most efficient amount.

The steel erection was sub-divided into four phases for each floor, starting in the south east corner and erectors then working around the core in a clockwise direction. Once steel was unloaded from the delivery trucks it was stacked on laydown points, which corresponded with the four phases on top of the completed frame.

Aside from the terraces formed where the building steps back along its northern elevation, the frame is fairly regimented in design all the way from ground floor to roof level. The only exception is a pair of storey-high cantilever trusses along the same northern elevation, which ensure that the building does not load an adjoining party wall by transferring the perimeter column, loads inwards.

Selecting steel for its light structure, which came in handy on the more complex areas of the development where it was close to the underground system. Also known for being an efficient material with sustainable qualities, it was an appropriate choice for the design of The Monument Building. The architects have been able to achieve an efficient design that works with both the architecture and building services. The Monument Building is scheduled to be completed by May 2016.

Hanking Center Tower, China


Hanking Center Tower is a 350m-tall mixed-use building that is under development on Shennan Boulevard, in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, China. Los Angeles-based Morphosis Architects designed the high-rise structure, which is expected to be the tallest steel braced frame building in China upon completion.

The slender building will consist of two towers separated by a 10.5m gap along the entire height of the structure. The main south tower will contain the commercial office space, and the north tower will house elevators to transport people across the building, VIP elevators, freight elevators, and mechanical services. By offsetting the circulation core, the structural footprint of the main commercial tower will be minimized and large, open and flexible office spaces will be created. A series of sky bridges and diagonal mega-braces will connect the two towers at each level. Unlike conventional towers, the public space in the podium will be merged with private commercial space to create a sun-lit atrium at the main tower’s core. Glazed lobbies and sky gardens will be situated every five floors, and will act as a communal hub that is accessible to all tenants.

The facade of the building will comprise a transparent glass shell, which will provide a glimpse of the interior mechanics and structure. The glazed facade will offer panoramic views of city, as well as allow abundant natural light and airflow from operable windows into the building. The south face of the building will have a sloping facade with slope reversals in three locations, thus creating four different planes on the facade. The podium structure will have a facade made of folded angles, which will merge seamlessly with the tower component of the building.

The building is designed to withstand large wind loads during typhoon and seismic events that are common to the Shenzhen region. The lateral load resisting system chosen to strengthen the structure is a braced steel frame with concrete-filled box columns. The use of concrete fill reduces the cost of the columns as well as making them heavier, therefore minimizing uplift tensions caused by wind or seismic load combinations. Vertical columns will be placed far from the center of the tower to carry the overturning compressive and tensile forces created by the large wind loads. The columns will be connected by mega bracing consisting of steel box shapes to create a closed tube to resist the lateral shear forces.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Chicago


The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is an art museum currently planned for Chicago, slated to be completed in 2018. The museum will be endowed and built with a grant from George Lucas. The Museum’s building is designed by award-winning architect Ma Yansong of MAD Architects. Chicago-based VOA is the project’s architect of record. Studio Gang Architects and SCAPE Landscape Architects are designing the landscape.

The new museum design has a 25-per cent smaller square footage, now clocking in at 300,000 square feet. The footprint has also been reduced by 40-per cent. The revised design also includes plenty of windows so that visitors can see the lake, the city and nearby parks. The museum’s cost is tagged at $300 million dollars, all paid for by George Lucas.

The design resembles a spaceship inspired by famed architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies Van Der Rohe — both of whom had strong ties to Chicago: a 400,000-square-foot building made from concrete and steel complete with a 360-degree-view circular observation deck and restaurants open and free to the public.

Located south of Soldier Field on an existing parking lot, the place would house a visual art center, film. The impact of the museum will be minimized by building it on existing surface parking lots, and an underground garage will be added to replace the lost parking. The new site plan also adds 4.5 acres of green space with paths and trails laced throughout, all with the goal of respecting the lakefront environment and helping the museum to blend in seamlessly with it.

Once completed, the museum will host the private art and memorabilia collection belonging to George Lucas, along with a lecture series, exhibitions on the history of cinema and the digital arts and an educational outreach program. The updated plans will now head to the city planners for approval of the museum, education center and three theaters, among other amenities.

Shanghai’s Taopu Sci-tech City


Ennead Architects has designed a new research and development community for Shanghai. Located on the city’s western edge, as part of a new district being planned around one of Shanghai’s largest future public parks, Taopu Sci-Tech City will be a vibrant and well connected research district that engages its context by establishing a multilayered pedestrian network.

“Our design goal was to create something greater than a single building; our goal was to create a memorable and connected civic district,” said Peter Schubert, a partner at Ennead International. To achieve this goal and given the relatively low FAR for the project’s various blocks, the design includes a series of linear building edges that enclose five primary public park nodes. Each node creates an individual spatial identity, while together creating a cohesive identity for the entire R&D campus.

Critical to the success of the project is the design’s utilization of a multi-level pedestrian network. Multilayered pedestrian spaces combine the lower ground level, street level and upper ground level together to create a fluid architectural landscape experience that activates symbiotic relationships between retail areas, park spaces and streetscapes.

Each public node provides opportunities for the creation of retail hubs at these three primary pedestrian levels and for clear pedestrian connections to the site’s existing subway and transportation infrastructures. Sustainable landscape systems are a critical component that helps merge the architectural and urban-scale designs with the surrounding landscape and infrastructure. These systems include: 1) green roofs and planted terraces, which, along with a maximization of green area at the ground level, help minimize the storm-water run-off from the site; 2) a network of connected ponds and canals that serves as an important component of a larger regional storm-water management plan, while also creating visual beauty and recreational landscapes for the district; and 3) an integrated and connective network of pedestrian pathways and landscape corridors that help create a walkable district, connect directly with the subway and other regional transportation networks, and minimize the need for individual travel by car.



Oklahoma firm Kinslow, Keith & Todd has presented its vision to build a skyscraper shaped like a tornado on top of a Tulsa parking garage. The towering structure, proposed within the region known as Tornado Alley, is designed to include a museum dedicated to weather, a storm research center, a revolving rooftop bar and restaurant, and a grassy roof. Lighting would also be added so that the whole building would appear to be slowly spinning to passing drivers.

Kinslow, Keith & Todd came up with the design after being asked by Tulsa People magazine for explore ways to rejuvenate the downtown area of the US city. The concept started as a way to get a revolving restaurant up high enough to have great sight lines of downtown, the Arkansas River, and the Osage hills. As they worked on ways to make it more interesting than just a stick with a round restaurant on top, the swirling of a tornado concept was born.

Conceived with a height of between 75 and 90 meters, the tower would be built on top of a two-storey 1920s-era warehouse, believed to have once housed trucking and vending companies. This location is a convenient distance from two local tourist attractions – the BOK Center and Cox Business Center. Known as the Oklahoma Weather Museum & Research Center, the building could also include a training center for storm chasers – researchers who follow tornados – as well as a broadcast station and cameras for local TV channels and weather reporters.

The exterior would be a mixture of glass and perforated metal, and the planted roof is envisioned as a garden of native Oklahoma grasses and plants. The architects do not currently have a client for the project, but have been approached by several developers keen to add houses and offices into the design. They hope to collaborate with science and technology consultant Kerry Joels, who has also been exploring the idea of a weather museum in Oklahoma.



Danish architecture firm BIG has designed a 58-storey skyscraper for telecommunications company Telus in downtown Calgary, Canada. Working alongside local architecture firm Dialog, BIG proposes a mixed-use 750,000 square foot vibrant mixed-use tower that will incorporate office, retail and residential space.

The building will offer 40,000 square metres of office space, of which 15,000 will be occupied by Telus. The upper levels will contain 341 rental apartments, while the ground floor will accommodate shops. Downtown Calgary has developed as a typical North American city centre with a cluster of corporate towers surrounded by a periphery of low density suburban homes. The Telus Sky is an attempt to create a lively mixture of living and working at the intersection of light rail and arterial roads in the heart of the centre, to help create a more varied and walkable city centre for Calgary.

At 227 metres high, Telus Sky will be one of the tallest buildings in the city, just 20 metres shorter than The Bow, which was recently completed by Foster + Partners and is located nearby. The tower will replace the existing Art Central building on 7th Avenue but will include a 500 square-metre public gallery dedicated to exhibitions of work by local artists. Telus Sky will be a LEED Platinum signature development for Telus created by world-renowned architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Dialog, along with partners: developer Westbank and real estate investment trust Allied Properties.

With the addition of Telus Sky, Telus has become the largest current lease holder of LEED Platinum space in North America. Following the highest environmental standards, Telus Sky will be the most significant next-generation property in Calgary’s history. It will also feature a storm water management system to recycle rain water for washroom toilets and outdoor irrigation, reducing water use by millions of litres per year. When complete, Telus Sky will use 35 per cent less energy than similar size developments, setting a leading example in sustainability. Plans are underway to improve upon that energy efficiency, with the goal to have the final development use 80 per cent less energy than similar developments.

“Building on the success of TELUS Garden in Vancouver, we are proud to be continuing in our commitment to sustainability with the launch of TELUS Sky,” said Ian Gillespie, CEO of Westbank. “Developing a LEED Platinum building means taking a look at every aspect of design and having ownership that is committed to working harder to integrate those elements. With TELUS and Allied, we have assembled that team and we look forward to working to ensure that TELUS Sky exceeds the LEED Platinum requirements, including a whole block energy sharing centre. Most importantly, we look forward to using every opportunity we have to create a beautiful building for Calgary.”

The development, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2017, will provide approximately 250 jobs for Calgarians, and engage local trades and companies to complete our vision.



The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki revealed early designs for China‘s “first major design museum”, a project in the Shekou district of Shenzhen commissioned by China Merchants Group (CMG) in collaboration with London’s V&A Museum. The Japanese architect unveiled models to coincide with the formal signing of an agreement between the V&A and the Chinese development company. The developers and the V&A claim it will be China’s first major design institution, piping to the post the Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ museum of visual culture in Hong Kong. Due to open at the end of 2016, the Shekou Museum is part of Maki’s Shenzen Sea World Cultural Arts Centre project, which is already under construction. It will host a permanent gallery space for the London institution as well as offer additional space for it to present major exhibitions. Model images released by Maki’s studio show a four-storey building with three projecting volumes and a grand external staircase. Featuring three severely cantilevered volumes that extend from a low sitting stage, the Shekou Museum will offer four stories of presentation spaces. A stairway on corner of the external surface leads visitors towards the tops of the plain of the three expecting structures which open up onto an open green zone; from which to get a kick out of points of view of the nearby via ocean. Flat roofs will host gardens and public terraces, while the entrance area of the concrete and steel structure will feature a triple-height glazed atrium. In a statement released, the V&A said it had signed a collaboration agreement to support China Merchants Group with its plan to develop “the first major museum of design in China”. The new design museum located in Shenzhen aims to promote Chinese design to an international audience, as well as present the best international design in China. It will advise the Chinese museum in the development of its own collections and train its senior management team, with a senior V&A curator. The curator of the M+ Aric Chen said that he would not be duplicating the efforts of other museums like the V&A, which tended to put Asian design on the periphery. “I see our Hong Kong perspective as being something very organic, natural, and hence perhaps more authentic,” said Chen.


An oval museum filled with robots and other technological inventions has been scheduled for construction in Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, revealed plans for the Museum of the Future – an institution dedicated to innovation in design and technology.

The Dubai ruler said that the museum will be a destination for the best and brightest inventors and entrepreneurs, offering an integrated environment empowering creative minds to test, fund and market ideas for futuristic prototypes and services.

Set for completion in 2017, the museum will be located beside the Emirates Towers on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. The name of the architect has not yet been revealed.

A two-minute movie fly-through reveals designs for a hollow oval structure, with a holographic billboard at its centre. Steel panels will clad its exterior, inscribed with some of Sheikh Mohammed’s Arabic poetry. Large sections of the structure are also expected to be built using 3D-printed components.

The building’s motto will be “See the future, create the future”. It is expected to bring together inventors, designers and researchers, presenting a range of technologies in automotives, robotics, genetics and more.

The Museum of the Future will be an incubator for ideas and real designs, a driver for innovation and a global destination for inventors and entrepreneurs. The world is entering a new era of accelerated knowledge and great technological revolutions. UAE aims to lead in the era, not to follow and lag behind. The Museum of the Future is the first step of many to come, marking the beginning of great achievements.

The museum will be located a short drive away from the 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest built structure.