GDA Plaza China

A new high-rise building makes its impact on the skyline of Hangzhou, the Chinese metropolis with 9 million inhabitants. The 130-meter-high tower is part of the extension and redesign of the GDA Plaza, a business center in the traditional business quarter of the city, which includes a shopping mall and hotel. Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), who had previously won the competition, oversaw the design and implementation.

West Lake is considered a focal point and special attraction of the old, traditional city of Hangzhou. Its exemplary cultivated landscape is an outstanding feature of this 9-million-person metropolis to the south-west of Shanghai and, in 2011, was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. At Wulin Square, in the midst of the flourishing business center not far from the lake, the GDA Plaza Hotel and Business Center was reopened. As part of a redesign and extension, the existing complex with hotel and shopping mall was recreated and made into a completely new unit.

The architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), who had previously won the competition in 2007, oversaw the design and implementation. At one corner, the GDA Plaza was substantially extended by a new 28-story building with a gross floor area of 57,500 square meters, whilst the existing main building was retained as far as possible but completely reorganized. This has created additional offices and commercial premises, as well as new leisure facilities such as cinemas and restaurants.

S Pellegrino Flagship factory, Italy

Scheduled to open in 2022, the new production plant will showcase high levels of innovation, technological advancements, and social sustainability. The existing factory form is shrouded in a stainless-steel mesh that adapts to the contours of the buildings. The buildings take on a new form as edges are blurred. Depending on the viewing angle the mesh can appear closed and reflective or open and transparent, often at the same time.

Enhancing the touristic aspect of the Lombardy region in Italy, and strengthening its status as a global hub, the project, which involves the territories of San Pellegrino Terme and Zogno, has a design that will blend with the surrounding landscape, creating a building for its personnel, the local community and the international touristic scene. The “Factory of the Future”, promotes the territory and improves the quality of the produce. The production plant’s concept will put in place an immersive experience that will welcome visitors from all over the world. In fact, new accesses and infrastructural systems were drafted, with the creation of an entrance bridge to the facility, in order to reduce heavy vehicle traffic through the inhabited center.

Regarding the innovative design of the plant, BIG created a series of exposed architectural concrete arches that will frame the factory, and offer a view of the Orobie Alps. The facade of the project will be covered by a glass surface that will be symbolically reminiscent of the various physical states of water. Offices and changing rooms will undergo a complete renovation, and a new company cafeteria, break area, and fitness center will be added. Sustainability, part of the company’s policy is achieved through photovoltaic panels, high energy efficiency systems, and water recovery systems for rational consumption of water resources.

On another hand, the production plant will require a total investment of €90 million in civil works, systems for the production and logistics department, as well as for expending the project and creating the 2,800 square meters of new spaces dedicated to production operations, that will ensure the ability of the company to handle the increased production predicted for the coming years.

Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University, Florida’s newest university and only one dedicated to a curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, started its new campus building program with the 162,000-sq.-ft Innovation Science and Technology Building designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.

This two-story reinforced concrete structure’s signature element is the 250-ft-long glass atrium shaded by 94 operable louver arms all of which are supported by structural steel boxed plate assemblies spanning up to 72 ft. The box plate assemblies are designed to carry not only the load of the glass atrium but also the extreme loads of the shading system’s operable louver arms, which are as long as 62 ft. The louver arms move during the day to act as sun shades.

The arms are attached to a structural steel plate stanchion that is field welded to the structural steel plate box assembly. The load is transferred by the box plate assemblies and network of internal plate stiffeners to the foot assembly and then to a reinforced concrete ring beam.

The structural steel box assemblies were shop fabricated then most were shipped in two pieces due to length and joined in the center at the job site.

The lower portion of the plate assemblies are architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) and exposed to view from the grand hall below. The AESS element has such a smooth finish that most observers mistake this structural steel for another building material.

New Lab, Brooklyn

Brooklyn Navy Yard, New Lab, Location: Brooklyn NY, Architect: Marvel Architects

Expressing the innovative nature of this green research and manufacturing center and preserving the structure of the grand historic hangar that houses it is the concept behind the design of the New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Translucent office pods stand in this 82,000-sf building in dramatic contrast to the industrial armature left visible throughout. Communal meeting rooms and interior plazas on both floors emphasize the developer’s intention to create a collaborative design and fabrication center. A second-story mezzanine is widened to accommodate additional rooms, connected by a steel-grate catwalk lit underneath to mark the length of the building.

The central axis, preserved as a simple circulation spine, exposes building-through views, a recall of the building’s original factory floor layout.

Once a stunning cathedral of ship manufacture, buildings 128, 123 and 28 of Brooklyn’s famed Navy Yard are being transformed into a high-tech design and prototyping center where designers, manufacturers, fabricators, and institutions will converge to form a hub for innovation and education. Design and prototyping facility for the development of advanced technologies and new manufacturing techniques in robotics, artificial intelligence, urban technology, the built environment, energy, connected devices, additive tech, life sciences, and nanotechnology. Blend of Workspace, permanent and flex. 

Prototyping space for fabrication in wood, metals and plastics and advanced prototyping using 3D printers, CNC machining and electronics.

The building is listed on the National Register as a part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Historic District.

Royal Beach Restaurant, Russia

The restaurant building is located in the Primorsky Victory Park, in the center of St. Petersburg, in the western part of the Krestovsky Island. A regular flat site occupies a part of the artificially reclaimed beach on the western side of a small harbor on the bank of the Malaya Nevka River.

The building represents itself a complex shape structure of 50×26 meters, rectangular in plan, 9 meters high, covered by pitched green roof. The designed building in overall plan dimensions and location at the site repeats the structure of the restaurant which was located at this site until 2009 and was destroyed as a result of a fire.

The design proposals on the park development in the 1940s-1950s suggested including this fragment in the general composition of the park. According to the designs of the 1940s-1950s the park composition at the site under consideration was only partly realized. The architectural solution of the restaurant, executed in the “landscape architecture” style, develops the idea of A.S. Nikolsky to create park pavilions in the form of an “inhabited landscape”. The accessible roof is made in the form of a folded structure of a complex shape, which is a corrugated profile laid on steel trusses on top of which a make-up of the “green roof” is arranged. Large glazing plane in contrast with a folded roof makes possible to arrange a good view over the water area of the Malaya Nevka River.

Sheraton Moon Hotel, Shanghai

Sheraton Moon Hotel is located next to Nan Tai Lake in Huzhou, a city situated west of Shanghai and north of Hangzhou, overlooking Suzhou and Wuxi across the lake. The favorable cultural and geographical environment brings both traditional and modern atmospheres to the hotel, distinguished by its unique design which integrates the building into the waterscape of Tai Lake, subsequently creating a poetic yet artificial echo of the natural landscape.

The Moon Hotel takes full advantage of its waterfront by directly integrating architecture and nature. The circular building corresponds with its reflection in the water, creating a surreal picture and connection between real and phantom. Beneath the sunlight and the reflection of the lake, the curved shape of the building is crystal clear. Soft light wraps around the hotel and the water, resembling the bright moon rising above the lake, blending classic and modern through the reflection.

The mesh curved surface structure makes the building more solid and it is this solidity that is further enhanced by the bridge-like bracing steel structure that connects with the double cone structure at the top floor. The hotel façade is covered with layers of fine-textured white aluminum rings and glass, bringing about illusion and drama of the building scale. The Moon Hotel puts emphasis on the harmony of man and nature and enhances visitors’ sensual and spiritual experiences, undoubtedly becoming Huzhou’s new symbol of humanity and nature.

El Vergel Villa, Ávila

The Roman Villa of El Vergel is located on the outskirts of the town of San Pedro del Arroyo, Ávila. The intervention in the Roman villa has been planned in phases, based on a design strategy that consists of the construction of a walkway that generates the journey through the interior of the villa, which can be connected to different pavilions, built separately, protecting the mosaics independently.

In Phase I, the perimeter fencing of the village was made using micro-perforated corrugated sheet. In Phase II, the general access to the villa and the complete footbridge that allows the accessible route through the interior of the villa have been built. In Phase III, the first two pavilions have been built: a Visitors’ Pavilion, with a reception and exhibition area that partially occupies the baths space of the villa, with a large glazed aperture that reproduces the original width of the pool door; the rest of the pavilion shelters two of the first mosaics; the second pavilion completely protects the mosaic of Meleagro, in whose central scene the mythological hero appears killing the boar of Calidón. Between the two sides is the steel structure; that rests on precast modular concrete elements, which are located on the looting of the original Roman wall. The pavilions not only protect and shelter the archaeological remains, but also “complete”, in a certain sense, the ruin, giving more information to the visitor when recovering the interior space of the rooms.

Hong Kong West Kowloon Station China

Serving as a new gateway to Mainland China, the new section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail service, which is 142 km in length, connects with the National High-speed Rail network all the way to Beijing, the length of which is more than 25,000 km. The Hong Kong West Kowloon Station has a strong civic element, acting as a new landmark with an immediate sense of arrival, fit for the site’s prominence on Victoria Harbour immediately adjacent to the future West Kowloon Cultural District. The station is the first major construction project to complete in that district.

Andrew Bromberg’s design of the station introduces over 3 hectares of ‘green plaza’ to the site. The outside ground plane bows down towards the entrance, whilst the roof structure above gestures towards the sky. The resulting space is a 45-meter high volume, whose energy and focus are directed towards the south façade, Hong Kong Central skyline and Victoria Peak beyond.

People are furthermore encouraged to walk up on the station’s rooftop, aligned with mature trees and shrubs and enjoy the new views and gain new connections with the city. The curved ceiling is made of over 8,000 tonnes of steel which is almost the weight of the Eiffel Tower. The interior of the hall is almost like a forest, with leaning steel columns supporting a giant floating roof and lifting up 4,000 glass panels to bring in natural daylight into the building, and, a glimpse of the city even from the lower levels of the station.


911 Villa, Vietnam

Inspired by Villa Savoye and the openness of vernacular architecture, the house is a steel box sitting resting above columns, freeing up the ground floor space. The design is an answer to the minimal contemporary lifestyle of the young professional, who possesses an extensive collection of cars in the tropical climate of Ho Chi Minh City. The basement has the capacity for seven cars, with a central courtyard for natural light and ventilation. The main entrance begins here, following a ramp through this open space filled with greenery, leading up to the upper level with the open living, kitchen and dining space.

The ground floor is open and completely transparent, without any dividing wall, giving a visual connection across the whole site. The functional space is designed to be directly opened to the courtyard and the surrounding landscape. From this floor, residents can have a direct view of the automobile collection. The structure is minimized, utilizing long spanning beam, giving the space its openness and elegance.

The space is covered with an expansive canopy to protect the space from the harsh tropical sun and monsoon, while allowing users to experience these natural elements. The design is inspired by the act of layering present in Vietnamese tradition. Vietnamese vernacular architecture reflects the same ethos. Buildings are covered with layers of skins, made of timber or natural materials, or strategically covered through layers of awnings, corridors, and halls.

LLU House, Chile

The project is proposed with the concept of a “Family Lodge”, which aims to house a complete family of 4 generations, and friends. Located in the south of Chile, in the Region of Los Ríos, which is a very rainy place. The first words are; “a mantle to protect from the rain”, inspired by the precarious tents, which are made by the local lumberjacks, in the forest. With a nylon tensioned by threads, and sometimes with a central pillar to let the water run off the simple construction.

The house stands on a structure of steel pillars, which take the shape of the landscape, creating a space underneath, for the service facilities, a barbecue area and hot tub. The central element of the first level, is the access and common area, with the kitchen integrated with the dining and living room, raised in the concept of “ga-loft – mix of the North American loft with the traditional shed of the south of Chile. All accesses are done in steel ramps with a wood cladding.

This mix of local and contemporary typologies is made using a contemporary language, with the picturesque views offered by the place and the location in the landscape. Language achieved through these pavilions, linked together by the “mantle”, geometrized fuselage, coated on the outside in steel plates worked in situ, which were left to oxidized naturally and were then sealed once they took the desired color.