PHABRIK Magazine


Zaha Hadid Unveils First Building in Brazil

By João Paulo Nunes

Zaha Hadid Architects released the first images of their inaugural project in Brazil, an 11-storey apartment building on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Named Casa Atlântica (after its location on the waterfront Avenida Atlântica), the residential block will feature a skeletal façade design with each storey resembling a horizontal vertebra. The residential tower will comprise of thirty apartments serviced by a 6-star hotel. Features of the building include a spa, cinema and rooftop pool overlooking the beach.  

Best New Buildings in the United Kingdom & Europe Announced

By João Paulo Nunes

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winning buildings of the 2014 RIBA National and Europe Awards. Judged for their architectural excellence, the completed projects (forty-four in the United Kingdom and twelve elsewhere in the European Union) will form the shortlist of the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year, which will be announced on 16 October. The list of award-winning projects includes familiar buildings such as the Shard by Renzo Piano, the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo, the Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins, the London School of Economics’ Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects, the Nuovo Centro Civico in Scandicci (Italy) by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the Danish Maritime Museum in Helsingør (Denmark) by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, and the redevelopment of King’s Cross Station by John McAslan and Partners.

Dubai to Build World’s Largest Shopping Mall

By João Paulo Nunes

The Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, has announced that the world’s largest shopping centre will be built in Dubai. Entitled “Mall of the World,” the 4.45 million square meter project will comprise seven-kilometer promenades hosting a temperature-controlled indoor theme park that is covered by a retractable glass dome which opens in the winter. There is also a 280,000 square meter wellness center, a cultural celebration district for conferences and weddings facilities, and hotels with twenty thousand rooms to accommodate the 180 million expected visitors each year.

Reflections: Design That Expands and Renews

By Danielle S. Fuechtman

 - Photography by Ian Grant Because of modern building techniques and population growth, it is common to see new buildings sprouting up in record time. However, buildings that we pass by everyday have great potential to reshape their communities. With creative design, designers and architects can breathe new life into existing spaces. In 2010, LA-based design and fabrication studio Ball-Nogues set out to give a facelift to a parking structure located in pedestrian- and traffic-heavy Santa Monica Place. Measuring 39 feet wide and 35 feet high, Cradle’s structural design evokes its namesake, Newton’s Cradle, an iconic model demonstrating the conservation of motion and energy, frequently displayed as a desk ornament. Ball-Nogues’ installation works as a whole: each of its many metal spheres relying on gravity and surrounding spheres to stay in place. The organic structure creates a funhouse mirror effect on the space around it and the polished spheres create distorted reflections of the bustling city and people passing by. The installation is mounted on a building with a proud pedigree of its own—Frank Gehry designed the parking structure in the late 70s, early 80s. The soft ripple of Cradle’s dimensions complements the linear elements of Gehry’s structure. The Edmonton Art Gallery was originally a modest brick building in the Brutalist style located beside Churchill Square in the Arts District of the city’s downtown core. As the city matured, the gallery outgrew its space, and in 2005, the city held an architectural competition for the design of a new facility. The winning design, by Randall Stout, enveloped the old building instead of suggesting a completely new build. His plans maintained portions of the old structure and added upon it extensively. The design initially received polarizing views since it was a vast departure from the relatively conservative architecture present in the city; the design’s undulating metal façade mixed with angular windows intended to evoke the city’s river and the Aurora Borealis. Renamed the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA), the space blossomed to 85,000 square feet, with nearly twice the exhibition space, a 150-seat theatre, and dedicated gallery space for the permanent collection. Despite mixed opinions during the building process, the AGA has flourished in its new space, with approximately 30,000 visitors in the first six weeks after its reopening. Now, the art gallery is an iconic part of the city’s architectural identity and is host to a great variety of cultural events and programs. These two structures, an art installation and an extensive expansion, artfully show the effectiveness of recreating a public space. By revamping existing structures with modern design elements, these spaces merge function with artistry and provide unique reflections of the space they inhabit.

Foster + Partners Design UAE Pavilion for 2015 Milan Expo

By João Paulo Nunes

Architectural practice Foster + Partners have unveiled designs for the United Arab Emirates pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo. The proposal applies vernacular planning principles used in traditional desert cities. There are self-shaded pedestrian streets made from 12-metre-high walls that occupy the 140-metre site in a series of parallel waves that also evoke sand dunes. In addition, the pavilion responds to the 2015 Milan Expo’s theme of ‘feeding the planet’ by featuring a variety of dining options featuring modern Emirati food.

Walker Tower in New York Sparkles Once Again as an Art Deco Gem

By João Paulo Nunes

The Walker Tower is one of the most significant examples of Art Deco architecture in New York City. Inaugurated in 1929, it has reopened after extensive restoration by architecture firm CetraRuddy for developers Property Markets Group and JDS Development Group. Located in Chelsea at 18th Street and Seventh Avenue, the 24 storey building, named after its architect Ralph Walker, has been attracting the attention of celebrities. Actresses Cameron Diaz and Blake Lively, have shown interest in its ample 47 apartments with 14-foot ceilings, two-foot thick floors, underfloor heating and bedrooms of unusually large proportions for New York City. Some of the residences in the Walker Tower allow 360-degree views of the Manhattan harbour, and more than half have private terraces. Amenities for residents include a 24-hour doorman, concierge, library lounge with bar, children’s playroom, fitness centre, sauna and a common decked roof terrace.  

Art Residence

By João Paulo Nunes

The Armani Group announced their first residential project in China. They have partnered with the Mind Group to develop a luxury residential project in Chengdu in southwest China. Known as “Art Residence,” the development will be located near the city’s fashionable Jinjiang district and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. The project will comprise of two 65-story towers with apartments and common areas designed by the Armani/Casa Interior Design Studio, the division also responsible for other Armani residential ventures such as the Maçka Residences in Istanbul, the World Towers in Mumbai and the Century Spire in Manila.  

Zaha Hadid unveiled plans for first building in New York City

By João Paulo Nunes

London-based architect Zaha Hadid and property developer Related Companies have unveiled plans for an 11-storey building that will be built beside the High Line at 520 West 28th Street in New York City. The residential building, which will be Hadid’s first project in the city, will comprise approximately 37 luxury apartments and will include a double-height lobby, a large roof terrace, an indoor pool and a spa. Images courtesy of Related Companies and Zaha Hadid Architects

432 Park Avenue by Rafael Viñoly

By João Paulo Nunes

Uruguayan (and New York-based) architect Rafael Viñoly has designed what will become the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere when it is completed in 2015. Since it was launched in March 2013, the 96-storey 432 Park Avenue condominium has achieved over 1 billion USD in sales of apartments priced between 7 million USD and 95 million USD. The homes in the concrete and glass building will command views of Central Park, as well as of the Hudson and East rivers through 10 by 10 foot apertures that evoke Mies van der Rohe’s architectural compositions.

Liquid Glacial Tables by Zaha Hadid


Architect Zaha Hadid has unveiled the Liquid Glacial series of tables at the inaugural exhibition for the new David Gill gallery in London’s St James. The tables, which come in clear or in colour, resemble ice formations made from clear and coloured acrylic. The geometry of the flat table tops appears transformed from static to fluid by the subtle waves and ripples evident below the surface, which seem to pour from the horizontal through a vortex that forms the table legs. The transparent acrylic material, milled and hand-polished to create their finish, amplifies this perception, adding depth and complexity through a display of kaleidoscopic refractions. The result generates a surface dynamic that inherits a myriad of colours from its context and continually adapts with the observer’s changing viewpoint. The tables represent Zaha Hadid’s application of her architectural process to the design of furniture. Known for pushing the boundaries of architecture and design, her fluid forms are informed by multiple perspectives in defiance of accepted ways of working in space. Hadid’s key architectural projects include the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (MAXXI) and the Guangzhou Opera House in China. Hadid has lived in London since attending the Architectural Association in the 1970s. He work has been featured in several exhibitions worldwide and she has won numerous awards, including the Pritzker Prize, the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association, and the Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

©2013 PHABRIK Magazine