Urban Buildings: Architectural Discussion

Urban Buildings, Architectural Discussion, Article, Project, Built Environment Design

Urban Buildings : Architectural Discussion

Architecture aticle by Roland Wahlroos-Ritter

8 Feb 2011

Urban Architecture

Urban Buildings

UNStudio’s enticing design for the Urban Library in Gent deploys a similar strategy as for their Mercedes Benz Museum. UNStudio elegantly weaves together a complex set of programmatic elements into a spatially astonishing architectural form. The monolith gracefully lifts from the ground level in an intricate play with the urban space within which it is situated. It is at the same time formally provocative and yet sensitively woven into the urban fabric, extending the urban space and scale of the city.

Waalse Krook Gent, Belgium
UNStudio
Waalse Krook Gent
render © Mir_www.mir.no

Equally sensitive, if not obsessed with its urban context, is the Aachenmünchener Headquarters in Aachen by kadawittfeldarchitektur. The now completed project skillfully dissolves what could have been a typical, massive corporate headquarter into an alluring sequence of urban spaces and building parts, that reference the scale of their urban context. The building complex echoes the ambitions of Candillis, Josics, Woods’ to design the Freie Universität in Berlin as a city rather then a building. But unlike the Freie Universität the Aachenmünchener Headquarters allows the public space to pass through the complex and establishes visual references to the city from almost every point within the buildings.

Aachenmünchener Headquarters, Aachen
kadawittfeldarchitektur
Aachenmünchener Headquarters
photo : Jens Kirchner, Düsseldorf

But perhaps the most surprising news item this week is the Energy Report, a comprehensive study developed by the WWF, AMO and Ecofys. The report outlines in Part one with visual eloquence and verbally provocative the global status quo of our energy situation and possible future scenarios and strategies. Part two, the Ecofys Energy Scenario is a more in depth elaboration of a three part strategy to a global, sustainable energy system; by reducing energy demand to a minimum, providing renewable energy resources and cleaning up ‘traditional‘ energy sources.

Energy Report news
Vision by AMO
Renewable Energy Report
image © AMO

Surprisingly AMO, OMA’s provocative counterpart, resisted the natural instinct of the architect to elaborate on the role of architecture and architects. Although buildings account for about 40% of the EU’s energy demands, only about 3 pages in the Ecofys are dedicated to buildings. AMO’s report, genuinely operating beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture, is a refreshingly optimistic call to bold action not to architects, politicians, investors, communities but to all of us. The encouraging message is that, a future with renewable and clean energy is a possibility and it is in our hands to make it happen.

Roland Wahlroos-Ritter

Roland Wahlroos-Ritter is one of two Principals of WROAD. Recent design work includes the Bigger is Better House, an extended family residence in California, the Y-Project, a 17 level office high-rise in Seoul South Korea, Leg Avenue Office Extension in City of Industries California, Korean Embassy in Tokyo, Mason Residence in Santa Monica California and the experimental Wall Project in Los Angeles California.

Roland Wahlroos-Ritter:
Roland Wahlroos-Ritter

He was a Assistant Professor at at the TU Vienna. In 2002, he was a Visiting Professor at the Cornell School of Architecture. After teaching at the Bartlett School of Architecture he taught at SCI-Arc until 2006 and is currently a Adjunct Assistant Professor at USC School of Architecture. Roland Wahlroos-Ritter is an SBA registered architect, and holds a license in The Netherlands.

Architecture Context : article by Trevor Tucker. 21 Sep 2010

Sizing Identities : article by Sergio López-Piñeiro. 11 Jan 2011

Sustainable Building Design : article by Trevor Tucker. 18 Aug 2009

Design Narrative : article by Lee Miles – 7 Sep 2010

Planetization : article by Mphethi Morojele – 17 Aug 2010

Sustainable Architecture – Building Issues : article by Adrian Welch

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Urban Buildings