PHABRIK Magazine


Architecture + Interiors

Yongsan International Business District, Seoul, South Korea


Commissioned by South Korean developer DreamHub, the Yongsan International Business District is an ambitious new hub of commercial and residential buildings in Seoul masterplanned by architect Daniel Libeskind. The project, with expected completion in 2024, will include skyscrapers for business, leisure and living purposes by a number of renowned international architects including Renzo Piano, BIG, MVRDV, Murphy Jahn, REX, Dominique Perrault, Tange Associates, SOM and Libeskind himself. Herewith, a few images of the designs that have been proposed so far.

Jameson House in Vancouver by Foster + Partners

By João Paulo Nunes

Architecture firm Foster + Partners have unveiled images of Jameson House, a new 35-storey mixed-use tower in the heart of Vancouver and the practice’s first in Canada. Completed at the end of last year and almost fully occupied at present, the project combines the restoration of heritage buildings with new construction. The scheme integrates two 1920s Beaux Arts structures: the entire internal double-height volume of the A-listed Ceperley Rounsfell Building (which has been returned to its original configuration) and the B-listed Royal Financial Building (whose façade has been retained). The development comprises 11 storeys of offices and shops, topped by 23 storeys of apartments.The tower’s form articulates these different functions: the first two storeys continue the row of shop units at street level, while the uppermost office floor aligns with the cornice line of the adjacent building. Contrasting with the flush façade of the offices, the residential floors curve outwards in four wide bays, which are staggered to allow daylight to reach neighbouring buildings and oriented to provide uninterrupted views of the landscape. The tower’s flexible plan supports a variety of apartment types, with interiors by Foster + Partners and living spaces in the deep curve of the window bays. At the top of the tower are two-storey penthouse apartments and landscaped roof terraces.

Digging the Future of Vertical Gardens | What are you stairing at?

Digging the Future of Vertical Gardens By Denise Eichmann More and more businesses today are looking to green walls as a way to add natural beauty while dramatically improving energy efficiency by moderating indoor air temperatures and humidity levels. A green wall, which is also referred to as a living wall or vertical garden, is a wall that is free standing or part of a building that is partially or completely covered with a vegetation facade. Every inspired landscaper digs their shovel into their soul and plants their own nature into their work. Green walls provide an inspired palette for landscape architects to harness and cultivate the joyful power of nature to best serve their clients. As living walls are becoming “de rigueur” as the environmentally-forward plantings that every green conscious business desires to visually showcase its’ green initiatives, shoddy systems with poor long term performance are quickly flooding the market. Designing, building and installing beautiful yet functional and environmental beneficial green walls takes experience and practice. In a buyer beware marketplace, it is important to invest in a living wall system that has a proven track record of sustainability and to select an installer who has a well documented history of successful installations with full scale maintenance capabilities to warrant both plants and irrigation. Living plants require water, nutrients and light to survive. High quality commercial vertical gardens come complete with their own “life support” system which is comprised of a supporting structure to hold the plants vertically, a growth medium to ensure plant longevity, an irrigation/ fertilization system to deliver the correct amount of water and nutrients, and a drainage system to properly dispose of or re-circulate the spent water. Proper selection and design of a system for a particular locale necessitates plumbing and electrical considerations. Understanding the lighting needs required for the selected plants is also crucial for sustainability. I believe there may be countless reasons why vertical gardens are an important addition to any commercial property. However, for the purposes of this article, I limit my exuberance to my top reasons to invest in a living wall: Breath of Fresh Air – Vertical gardens provide a net positive impact to the environment over their life span. Foliage plants of indoor vertical gardens significantly improve indoor air quality by moderating temperature and humidity levels and filtering the air to remove harmful volatile organic compounds. VOC’s are “chemicals” which have significant vapor pressures which can be dangerous to human health and have adverse effects on the environment. The EPA has found concentrations of VOC’s in indoor air that is commonly 2-5 times greater than what is found in outdoor air. Sources of anthropogenic (man-made) VOC’s include new furnishings, wall and floor coverings, and office equipment like printers. In the span of a year, a 50 square feet vertical garden can consume as much CO2 as a 14’ high tree with as much as one pound of dust removed from the air per square foot. Sign Post Value of Living Wall – Living walls can provide a living barrier that gently guides people to where you want them to go. In many buildings there is a need to channel pedestrian traffic towards landmarks including check-in desks, escalators and common passageways. This is particularly important in premises with large, open areas such as those found in airports, hospitals, universities, and other large commercial spaces. Living walls provide natural divides and reference points that make any space come alive with vitality. Striking a Pose - Interior space planning is a fashion-driven business, and nothing “strikes a pose” more handsomely than an artful living wall. Interior living walls bring nature indoors, important especially in urban areas where the average person spends more time inside commercial or residential buildings than outside with nature. People are naturally attracted to plants and gravitate toward living walls where the sensory experience is captivating. Where else, other than the tropical plant houses of botanical gardens, will you see the variety of exotic and unusual plant species that can be found in some vertical gardens. If you have the green-light to move forward on your living wall, keep in mind the following factors which are crucial to the garden’s longevity and success: Location, Location, Location –The location of your living wall is significant. Not only from a visual standpoint but from a mechanical point of view. Is your desired location accessible to plumbing and electrical? What is the infrastructure of the supporting wall – is the green wall framing attaching to concrete, metal or marble? With the right infrastructure in place, nearly any location can be accommodated but the budget may be higher for a green wall location far from water lines and with no natural light for example. Plant Selection is Key – Your selection of featured green wall plants should be based upon microclimate conditions, plant growth habits, and the availability of light. An exterior north facing wall requires an entirely different plant palette than a south or west facing wall. For example, featured plants on exterior walls in the arid southwest climate differ from what can be used in the cold Midwest. Plants for interior walls are chosen to reflect low, medium and high light scenarios. Interior tropical plants require a minimum of 10-12 hours of at least 150 foot candles of light per day to flourish. In a typical commercial hotel environment, there are on average about 30-40 foot candles of light vs. 5,000 to 10,000 foot candles of light that can be found outside on a bright sunny day. Interior Plants that thrive in low light (75 to 150 foot candles) include the Scindapsus and Philodendron genus such as the Silver Satin Pothos, Neon Pothos, Goldon Pothos, Jade Pothos, and Heart-leaf Philodendron. Medium light thriving plants (100-250 foot candles) include the Dallas Fern, Cretan Brake Fern, Rabbit Foot Fern, Begonia and Peperomia species. For environments with maximum light (150-250 foot candles), plants such as the Alocasia Amazonica, Hawaiian Schefflera, Hedera Ivy, Purple Waffle Plants and Creeping Fig are ideal. The average person today spends about 90% of their time indoors with about half of the world’s population living in cities. Green walls improve a building’s air quality and enhance the emotional and physical well being of the people who come into contact with it. Green walls act as acoustic barriers which can counter the noise pollution which plagues urban dwellers. Green walls harmonize buildings with nature and provide a living canvas for green wall professions to add the beauty of nature to any man-made structure. What are you stairing at? By Liz Nandee Tired of looking at your staircase without pizzazz? Here is a unique look at taking stairs, whether leading to a basement or garage, entrance or landing. Here are some examples of things to look up too.

Tuft Love | ECO Decor | Green is the New Black

Tuft Love...(Hollywood Glamour for the 21st Century) - By James Kershaw - Photography: Ernest of Old Hollywood had a major impact on many facets of life in it’s heyday during the ‘30’s and ‘40’s. Edith Head created the fashion everyone craved, Max Factor, the glamorous faces everyone envied and the set designers of the era, the ultra luxe environs that everyone coveted. That sophisticated mood was created with tufted furniture pieces upholstered in velvet, leather or fabric. White metal accessories and mirrored surfaces upped the glam quotient. Eight decades later, the look is still relevant and desired. Juxtaposed with the wood beam ceilings, exposed brick or rough textured cement block walls and smooth polished concrete floors of the modern urban loft, the mood is decidedly 21st century. The look works equally well with a variety of architecture styles. Most will opt to introduce a few select pieces into their space, such as the uber chic Marc Antonio “Melrose” velvet sofa with it’s exquisite Swarovski crystal button tufted back at Posh at Home or the gleaming white deep tufted Phillips Collection “Crystal” ottomans at Inspired Home Interiors. What could be more Hollywood than a movie premiere spotlight? The “Sunset” by Four Hands will instantly add a silver screen feel to your space or create that certain “X” factor with the Nuevo “Prague” stainless console table or the Mobital high gloss “Stark” office desk. Hooray for Hollywood! ECO Glamour - By James Kershaw - Photography: Chris Chan Chic, smart, desirable, and exciting, are all words that can be used to define glamorous. What is considered glamorous in the 21st century? Taking care of the planet we inhabit! When decorating and maintaining our personal spaces, using items that will have the least detrimental effect on the environment is glamorous (and necessary) now. The use of non-toxic products, recycled goods, *up cycled materials ( *Taking lowly, everyday objects or materials and elevating their status through innovative design) A perfect example is 180 Design’s metal washer pendant light. Every room in the home can benefit, formaldehyde free FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified flooring and non-toxic paint, (free of volatile organic compounds) for all. Recycled glass and concrete counter tops in the kitchen, bar and bath, in the home office, a desk set, clock or MP3 ready radio made from sustainably harvested woods. Smart, attractive, live able and yes, glamorous environments achieved with a clear conscience. Green is the New Black - By Mark St. James - Marquis of Fashion The three environmental R’s have never been so chic! While many of us grew up with the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” amidst Saturday morning cartoons, the idea of Eco-friendly production is taking the fashion industry by storm. Droves of designers and brands are hopping on the latest trend and appealing to the environmentally savvy consumer by incorporating biodegradable fabrics, recycled or organic materials, boasting fair trade policies, and ethical treatment of workers. Sponsors and designers during the Spring/Summer 2012 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York (who used only post-consumer recycled paper for invitations) were adamant that “Green is here to stay!” On a local front, Vancouver is currently taking the Eco lead in Canada by hosting the biannual: Vancouver Eco Fashion Week (EFW), sponsored by Aveda. The EFW mission statement may be found on their website ( and includes their commitment to promote environmentally conscious trends in fashion, educate consumers about environmentally sustainable practices,and generate direct economic benefits for local environmentally friendly fashion. Major players and long time Eco Fashion advocates have been rallying support for improved sustainability in the fashion industry. Veterans include: • Luxury jewellery designer John Hardy, who’s very mission statement, is “Greener Every Day” (The John Hardy line is exclusively produced in a self sustaining factory compound in Bali). • Designer Stella McCartney, who’s clothing and cosmetic lines are completely vegan. • Marc Jacobs, who has recently begun advertising his incorporation of biodegradable fabrics into his collections, has termed Eco fashion as “a megatrend,” and said: “It’s a mentality, a way of thinking about business.” • Orsola de Castro, founder of: From Somewhere, which makes clothes out of the recycled offcuts of luxury materials. Along with her partner, Filippo Ricci, she curates Estethica, an initiative in association with the British Fashion Council that showcases Eco-fashion brands. •Aveda (run by Dominique Nils Conseil), one of the fastest growing brands in cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Companies Inc’s portfolio, has gone so far as to offset 100 percent of its electricity with wind power. But as any fashionista will tell you, the fashion scene can be a fickle one; does this new megatrend have what it takes to become as innocuous as the little black dress or the crisp white dress shirt? Or will it land up in some tragic 70% off bin? If consumer opinion and the draw to purchase Eco friendly merchandise holds out, and the industry lays out a standardized policy for what passes for Eco friendly materials and practices, it may just have a fighting chance.

World’s Tallest Building Unveiled

By João Paulo Nunes

Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS+GG) have released the first images for the Kingdom Tower, set to be the world’s tallest building. At over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square feet), the Kingdom Tower will be the centre piece and first construction phase of the Kingdom City development on a 5.3 million-square-meter site in north Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The tower’s height will be at least 173 meters (568 feet) taller than the world’s current tallest building, Dubai’s 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa, which was designed by Adrian Smith while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Kingdom Tower will feature a Four Seasons hotel, office space, luxury apartments and the world’s highest observatory. Design development of the tower is under way, with construction expected to begin imminently. Foundation drawings are complete and the piling for the tower is currently being tendered. The tower will cost approximately $1.2 billion to construct, while the cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be $20 billion. In addition to its status as an architectural landmark and economic symbol, the Kingdom Tower was conceived to have cultural significance. The tower is envisioned as a new marker of Jeddah’s historic importance as the traditional gateway to the holy city of Mecca. To this end, the design of the southeast leg of the Kingdom Tower’s tripedal base is on a direct line with the Ka’ba in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. Architect Gordon Gill has described the streamlined form of the tower as being inspired by the folded fronds of young desert plant growth: “The way the fronds sprout upward from the ground as a single form, then start separating from each other at the top, is an analogy of new growth fused with technology.” The three-petal footprint is also believed to be ideal for residential units, and the tapering wings are expected to produce an aerodynamic shape that helps reduce structural loading due to wind vortex shedding. The immense height of the Kingdom Tower will require one of the world’s most sophisticated elevator systems. The complex will contain 59 elevators, including 54 single-deck and five double-deck elevators, along with 12 escalators. Elevators serving the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second in both directions. Another feature of the design is a sky terrace, roughly 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter, at level 157. AS+GG also designed the master plan for the 23-hectare Kingdom Tower Waterfront District, which surrounds the tower and which will include residential and commercial buildings, a shopping mall, outdoor spaces and other amenities.

New York by Gehry

By João Paulo Nunes

Frank Gehry’s latest skyscraper, the residential tower simply branded as ‘New York by Gehry’, is now reaching completion. As its first residents get ready to move in, the building, located at 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan, has already made a significant impact on the architectural landscape of New York City. At 265 metre (870 feet) tall, New York by Gehry is the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth tallest building in New York. The stainless steel exterior, with its seductive rippling effect, covers three faces of the tower and creates bay windows for the apartments. At the same time, it reflects the changing light, transforming the appearance of the building throughout the day. The tower contains 903 apartments laid out in over 200 floor plans for studios, and one, two and three-bedroom residences. Gehry’s aesthetic is also carried across the 22,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces with personalized furnishings and installations. Frank Gehry is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated practicing architects in the world. He has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing excellence in architecture, including, in 1989, the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, which honours “significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” Over the past five decades, Gehry Partners LLP has designed numerous public and private buildings in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Calgary sTile | Rooms With A (point of) View

By James Kershaw

Calgary Stile Gone are the days of tile being just a natural subdued backdrop! Current tile design, whether it is for floor or wall applications, take a more intense approach in the world of design. Not only has tile itself become available in a great variety of hues, textures and sizes but also very attractive tile layouts and grout colors have helped to create an eye-catching feature. Here are just a few examples that the Calgary Design market is going crazy about this year. When a space seems to have no visual focal point those are a few examples of how designers have created show-stopping impressions. Take a look around you and see how you can express your own personal sTile! Photos provided by and product available at Stone Tile, Calgary location Liz Nandee, designer at Basic Black Designs Inc. Rooms With A (point of) View How we dress the environments we inhabit and the message that sends very often mirrors the way we dress ourselves and the message our wardrobe sends. Many of the hottest trends in fashion often apply to decor and this year it is hits of bright colour, oversized accessories, and an eclectic blend of styles popular from other eras The 50s, 60s and 70s are the “haute’’ decades now. Iconic mid-century modern classics such as the Womb chair and ottoman from Knoll designed by Eero Saarinen have become the LBDs of home decor. Introduce old Hollywood glamour into your space using lighting that incorporates 21st century technology. The Swarovski Architectural lighting available exclusively in Edmonton at Vivid Inc.Concepts Lighting + Design, is a great example of modern meets classic. For a comprehensive source of contemporary home furnishings in Edmonton, visit retailers such as Inspired Home Interiors, Vivid Inc. and the shops that comprise the Lightform Design Centre.

Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects


Phabrik is delighted to reveal to you the first photos of Guangzhou’s new Opera House, designed by Zaha Hadid and partner Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects, one of the most outstanding architectural firms in the world ( As the building nears completion, the 70,000 m2 complex intends to revitalise the city’s cultural life and establish a close relationship with the Pearl River named so for its pearl coloured shells that lie on the river bed in the section that flows through Guangzhou. The project is made up of two main areas covered in a triangulated skin of concrete, glass, and steel. Internally, the different and numerous levels of the building provide views of the main atrium space. In addition to the 1,800 seat main auditorium, the complex hosts a multifunction hall, and a number of auxiliary facilities and support premises. The Opera House is the first step of the local government to enhance the city and the quality of life of its inhabitants by opening access to the riverside and dock, and it intends to be an iconic architectural gateway to the city, to China and to Asia.

©2013 PHABRIK Magazine