Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Flood Houses of the Future, United Kingdom

Winners announced for Norwich Union and RIBA innovation competition
Floating homes, sunken pontoons and timber drawbridges are just some of the innovations presented by architects across the world in a bid to design a flood proof house for the future.

The competition launched by Norwich Union, with the support of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), aimed to see how architects would tackle the problem of building on flood plains in a liveable, workable and insurable way.

A total of 85 entrants from across the globe delivered plans for a family home and garden, that would form part of a larger residential development situated on a flood plain.
A panel of judges, from across the architectural and insurance industry, have selected four overall winners. Today in a special reception at the Thames Gateway Forum, each will receive their £3,500 prize money from Robert Napier, Chair of the Government’s newly-formed Homes and Communities Agency.

“We were looking for innovative real-life solutions to what is an ever increasing threat to all of us,” said Simon Black, head of flood mapping at Norwich Union.

“Clearly we would rather homes weren’t built on flood plains, but we have to be realistic – with the Government planning to build three million new homes by 2020 there is a real likelihood this will happen. So how do we build homes that balance development needs with environmental change? This was the challenge and the results show excellent potential for homes of the future.”
The four winners are:
Nissen Adams LLP based in London
Eleena Jamil Architects – based in Malaysia
Pohkit Goh – based in Edinburgh
Hopper Howe Sadler – based in Newcastle

While presenting some unique new ideas from timber-skinned glass living rooms, to concrete dados and roof gardens to raised footpaths, three main solutions were evident throughout the entries: Raising properties and their surroundings above ground level, allowing part or all of the house to float in the event of a flood and allowing the continuous use of a property if water does enter the home.

Sunand Prasad, RIBA President, said, “It has been fascinating and instructive for the RIBA together with Norwich Union to explore how design-led solutions can respond to the flooding challenge.
Reducing the risk of flooding does not begin and end with concrete walls and buildings on stilts, as the results of the competition show. Good design lies at the heart of creating communities that are more resilient against flooding, of lessening the cost caused by flooding when it does occur and of minimising the impact it has on local livelihoods and safety. The variety of the approaches demonstrated by the entrants shows the enormous potential of design-led solutions.”

Norwich Union and the RIBA will now present the winning ideas to developers and town and country planners in the hope that it will stimulate new ideas and solutions on how to deal with homes and flood risk.

Ria Showroom, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Showroom for speed
Racey design for car showroom in Malaysia
Ria Showroom in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, is designed as a commercial building that incorporates a property showroom, an exhibition space for Mitsuoka,(an antique Japanese car brand), with additional display areas for international, high-end vehicles like Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Aston Martin and BMW.
Mak Arkitek Konsult's design is divided into three blocks; Block A – a property showroom with a corporate office on its top floor, Block B – the Mitsuoka car showroom with an upper conference and entertainment lounge, and Block C – the mixed luxury car showroom with an accounts and administration block on its upper level. Two triple-volume foyers were created in between these office/showroom spaces to welcome and shade visitors. Vehicles are transported to upper floor levels via hydraulic elevator.
The project features an efficient layering of levels, free spaces and vehicular circulation, giving an impression of vast, generous open areas in this 5,000 sq m triangular site. The innovative architecture uses simple but efficient bio-climatic design solutions that reduce energy consumption costs for the overall building. Meticulously-designed details for structural connections, drainage and M&E services are all designed for sustainability, flexibility of usage and adaptability to changes in the building’s current and future commercial activities. The upper level floor space between the building’s canopy roof and office spaces is a secondary car display area that can also be used by the client to host official functions and events.
The visual impact of the building’s sleek red, silver and green metal skin encasing this new commercial building embodies the speed, glamour and excitement of a high-end sports car. The striking and futuristic facades and its soaring metal roofs stand out as a new architectural landmark amid a stretch of two-storey residential houses in this suburban area.
The architect provided an innovative design solution that was not only efficient in its spatial planning but also went beyond the client’s expectations in terms of aesthetics, image and commercial branding. The language of architecture used creates a sophisticated, high-end image that reflects the high-rolling lifestyle of luxury car owners.

Lot 46, Vanda Precinct, Mines South Lake, Malaysia II

Extreme home design
Modern resort living in an exclusive urban enclave
Lot 46 is an extreme 3 storey luxury home in Mines South Lake, Malaysia. Designed as a self-contained unit for maximum comfort in the tropical heat, the project works to create a carefully measured balance between the indoors and outdoors.
A series of elements such as an infinity pool, pavilion and landscaping articulate the exterior of a double volume living and dining hall and full height glazing simultaneously maximizes the views to the outside, merging interior and exterior into one seamless space.
Both the interior and exterior spaces are highly stylised with dramatic integrated artistic touches, such as a stairwell void populated by coloured metal circles. Circles work throughout the project contrasting with the otherwise severe dominant edges. A circular hole through a suspended canopy roof structure to the exterior is dramatized by a tall towering tree growing through the void.
The service areas - the wet kitchen, laundry and maid rooms - are allocated to the east of the house. The first floor level provides three bedrooms connected by a central family hall, overlooking the living area. The spacious master suite with 2 rooftop sky gardens occupies most of the second level furthering the symbiotic relationship between the luxuries of the indoors and the comfort of outdoor water and garden terraces. The house also features parking for two automobiles.
Arkitek Axis

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Lot 2C5 - Precinct 2, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Like a flock of seagulls...
New commercial development inspired by the flight of local birds

The site is located in the hearth of the new administrative town of Putrajaya, Malaysia. This specific project of 80,000 sq m of office building faces the main boulevard. Paolo Cucchi was inspired by a storm of seagulls flying on the nearby lake whilst visiting the site one morning. Based on this idea, the new complex is raised out of the water as posts for the seagulls.
The blocks appear as crystal tower enveloped by a metal pattern reproducing the intricate roots system of the mangroves, gigantic trees spread along most of the coastal areas of Malaysia, a precious natural resource that offers a protective action against erosion, losses and damages. The architect wanted to emphasise the uniqueness of this eco-system, offering an iconic gateway between institution and leisure.
Around the building an artificial pond has been created and the crystal rocks emerging from the water aim to create with their visual effect a balance between the relaxation of the lake side and the dynamicity of the boulevard, punctuated by the solemnity of the Government buildings. A vast water-court, glass waterfalls define this oasis of refreshment and spaces of encounters. Cool fluidity and greenery make particularly captivating the setting, considering the uncomfortable hot and humid weather of Malaysia.
The main part of this architectural exercise has been a conscientious programme of green languages that has translated advance technologies into imagery. The metal mangrove roots create natural shadows inside the working spaces reducing energy consumption. As the roof of each building is transformed in hanging gardens, the rainwater harvesting contributes to maintain the landscape and save additional energy.

Meydan Grandstand and Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Size is still everything in Dubai
As the Meydan Grandstand and Hotel prove...
In a land where so many icons exist that, paradoxically, icons now struggle to exist, a wounded construction industry has proven that it's work is not yet done. While Dubai has suffered greatly in the financial crash, the completion of its latest grand design has proven that not all is lost.
Meydan Grandstand and Hotel welcomed their first guests in the opening week of the races at the end of January. The centrepiece of the Dubai Racing Club (DRC), the grandstand spans 1.5 kilometres and can accommodate up to 60,000 visitors. Racing is big business in Dubai and the addition of the Grandstand has made it more so, with the prize money for the winning jockey of the Dubai World Cup increased to US$30million as a result of the build.
But like a good porche, nothing in Dubai looks right without a bit of polish - in the DRC, that polish is the Meydan Hotel. Following in the footsteps of Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track-side Yas hotel, project consultants Teo A. Khing (TAK) of Malaysia have helped to deliver the world's first five star track-side hotel at the races. Curving around the periphery of the racetrack 95% of the 290 rooms and suites in the hotel benefit from their location with an unobstructed view of the races. With enormous proportions the hotel incorporates high end restaurants, the Meydan Museum and Gallery, a spa, an IMAX Theatre and the Meydan Marina which itself contains shops and restaurants. A covered car park accommodates up to 8,600 cars. All for a tidy US$1.3billion.
With reports that flagship company Dubai World is sinking the news that this project has completed, let alone on time, may come as a surprise. But what's more surprising is that the DRC project is just one of several project incorporated in the 200 million sq ft Meydan City masterplan. Also under construction are the 3.7 million sq m Meydan Horizons business and residential park costing approx US$2.1 billion; Meydan City Metropolis with an expansive commercial, retail and residential mix; and Godolphin Parks whose centrepiece is a 40-storey mixed use tower with a thoroughbred horse-shaped void cut through its middle. It seems Dubai will not let the dust settle just yet.
Teo A. Khing Design Consultants

Meydan City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates by MALAYSIAN

Land of the giants
Dubai strikes again as Meydan City projects go to tender
There appears to be no hint of recent financial difficulties as far as the developers of Meydan City in Dubai are concerned. Having recently opened one of the largest horse racing facilities in the world, complete with trackside hotel and destination marina, the other major elements comprising the business, sporting and lifestyle district have gone to construction tender.
The 200 million sq ft masterplan designed for Meydan Group LLC is based on a green oasis, separated into four distinct areas: the Racecourse with Meydan Hotel; Meydan Horizons; Godolphin Park and Meydan Metropolis. The newly completed racecourse sector is the showpiece of the development covering 67 million sq ft providing much more than equestrian enjoyment. The attached Meydan hotel has 290 rooms, 95% of which overlook the racecourse, the marina nearby provides retail and corporate opportunities, while Meydan Museum and Gallery and an IMAX Theatre add to the cultural offerings.
Nearby the 15 million sq ft Horizons development is set to provide a new business and residential centre as a phased development. Containing its own marina, the development is also inter-weaved with bicycle paths, canals and pedestrian promenades, attempting to decrease negative environmental effects and provide a pleasant cosmopolitan atmosphere. The key structures of Horizons are the sail shaped Meydan Gateway Towers and the Horseshoe Plaza.
Metropolis is designed to be home to the world's most powerful companies. Inspired in its design by earth and metal and their 'associated values of strength energy and determination', Meydan hope Metropolis will be 'the undisputed choice for companies who really mean business.'
"This prestigious address will offer business towers equipped with spacious lobbies, lush gardens, void roof tops and lobbies that offer views as distinct as its residents. State-ofthe- art high-speed elevators keep up with the pace of modern business today, perfect for executives on the move," say Meydan.

The final and perhaps most controversial of the sectors is Godolphin Parks with its 40 storey Godolphin tower featuring a thoroughbred horse image cut through its fa├žade. The corporate usage of the tower will be balanced by an enormous retail element in the Signature Mall, a linear 1.4 km structure with views out the the river.

Malaysian architect Teo A. Khing (TAK) is responsible for designing and consulting many of the main building projects in the development.

Teo A. Khing Design Consultants

Lot 46 Vanda Precinct, Mines South Lake, Malaysia

A taste of the tropical life
Striking new home in Malaysian resort from Arkitek Axis

Mines Resort City is a famous resort located south of federal district of Kuala Lumpur in Seri Kembangan. Over years of development, that area now consists of premier bungalow lots, apartment buildings, shopping centres, hotels, business complexes and theme parks connected by an artificial canal. The premier bungalow lots in Vanda Precinct of Mines South Lake offer evocative tropical homes in a secured environment and landscaped walkways to create quality lifestyle in this much sought after development. Situated in a quiet environment, the site measures about 8,564 sq ft with a built-up area of 9,313 sq ft.
Houses designed for the tropics should address the contextual elements inherent in the region; the need for cross ventilation, shading from sun and rain, the flow of interior space to exterior spaces, the abundance of lighting and the opportunity to incorporate landscaping into the design. The design objective of the house was to create a modern home whilst addressing elements mentioned above and provide good views to the surrounding environment based on the client brief.
Lot 46 is a 3 storey luxury home with 2 separate car park spaces located at both sides of the entry to the living and dry kitchen area. A series of elements like an infinity pool, pavilion and landscape articulate along the edge of double volume living and dining hall. A circular void of suspended canopy roof structure is dramatised by a tall tower tree via the void. Full height glazing along the living and dining hall simultaneously maximise the views to the outside essential pool area and pavilion.
The services areas like the wet kitchen, laundry and maid room are allocated at the east side of the house. The first floor level is provided with three bedrooms connected by a central family hall, overlooking the living area, whereas the spacious master suite with 2 roof top sky gardens occupies most of the second level, bringing the luxury of the indoors out to the comfort of an outdoor water and garden terrace.

Arkitek Axis

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Brittany House, George Town, Malaysia

Traditional methods, modern techniques

BYG's Brittany House, Malaysia uses traditional methods of construction to apply modern sustainable techniques
15 Muntri Street, George Town was a typical early 1900s Chinese Straits Eclectic Shop House until it was transformed into a modern Peranakan home with details of contemporary retro interior architecture, integrated green requirements such as natural lighting, ventilation and rainwater harvesting yet constructed using traditional methods with lime plaster and finishes which allow moist to permeate to the surface, evaporate and form a natural cooling system for the house.
The spaces within the building were first opened up as a clean slate and reorganized around the 2 original courtyards. The forecourt was converted into an atrium with a glass roof cover and high fixed louvers to generate a “stack” effect whilst the rear court was enlarged and converted into a private garden.
The living hall now opens into the dining area through the atrium where a new spiral staircase is introduced as a centerpiece to bring vertical contiguity to the upper floor as well as between the public, semi private and private space. The open kitchen, formerly a dining room now views into the garden that is buffered away from the hustle of the city.
Level 2 consists of front section comes with 2 bedrooms that look out into Muntri Street and a private loft with a mezzanine study looking inward into the atrium. The back section meanwhile, features the Master Bedroom that overlooks the private garden, with an attached bathroom that peers into the atrium through the entirely louvered window wall. The view of the 3 tiered spaces through the atrium from the ground right up to the upper mezzanine study offers a unique and intriguing sense of space.
BYG Architecture Sdn. Bhd.

The Idea House, Malaysia

Test bed for sustainable design
Broadway Malyan develop utopian sustainable house design
Broadway Malyan were approached by Sime Darby Property, Malaysia’s largest property developer, in August 2008 with a brief to develop a house design for the 'green consumer', of which it was envisioned there would be many, awoken to the global sustainability consciousness. ‘The Idea House’ was to be "a socially, economically, and environmentally responsive prototype dwelling that would provide an insight into future tropical living", producing the first carbon zero residence in South East Asia.
In order to create a viable model of sustainability it was necessary for architects, engineers, contractors and suppliers to work in close collaboration. The response approached the problem by looking at all elements of the design - from topography to form, to climatic response to waste and water management - in order to create a hybrid of sustainable solutions.
A modular solution was reached which would reduce the need for specialist labour and wet trades, speed up the construction process and allow easy expansion or reduction of living modules to accommodate family growth and change. Extra modules can be added to void areas where new residents are introduced, or taken away when they leave.
In following the topography by raising and lowering the building to the pattern of the land it is possible to avoid deeply disturbing the land and save on construction time. Lifting the building on stilts also has the benefit of increasing natural ventilation allowing air flow around and under the house to cool the interior spaces.

Water management is incorporated to a great extent within the design using a filtration device to capture around 50% of all grey water (from showers and wash basins) and reusing it within the toilets. A green roof system will also minimise storm water run-off to prevent flooding of drains and reusing the water for irrigation in the landscape. Energy is produced through photovoltaic panels on the roof. While the individual elements of the design are not necessarily ground-breaking, it is the comprehensive approach from design through to completion that enables The Idea House to act as a test bed for sustainability.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BOH Visitor Center, Sungei Palas Estate Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

ZLG Design of the BOH Visitor Center in Malaysia
The choice to use metalwork was based strictly on the need to reduce on site construction activities. ZLG Design contemplated to expedite erection of steel frames in order to mitigate delivery problems of the tea leaves to the currently operating factory near by. The structural components were kept very simple, utilizing mainly standard section sizes. No major welding was done, except for smaller components. 
The side windows and facade were fabricated off site and assembled quickly and put into place between posts on a span of 9m girds. The steelwork is limited strictly to the upper storey structure; this is then assembled in situ manner to sit atop a reinforced concrete frame consisting of 350x1000 deep beams spanning a 9m grid. The floor slabs are then finished and exposed but sealant treated cement render, these were applied with a dark receding colour.
The ramped concrete floor allows for a truck and general vehicles to pass under for the next phase of construction. The roof was constructed of simple mild steel edge capping assembled to terminate the open trussed metal beams. Such devices were used to reduce the weight of the structure overall and also to ease the distribution of services inside the voids between the trusses. A slight slope towards the back allows draining of the rainwater on the roof towards only one side of the roof, which simplifies building elevation treatment. The bamboo and cementitious board panels are designed to be externally exposed to weather, and are also arrange to provide concealed lighting, using very simple fluorescent battens. These are mounted in between strips of cement boards with sufficient gaps for mounting these luminaries.
Boh Visitor Centre has just won the prestigious 2007 International Biennale Barbara Cappochin Foundation Award for Architecture and Construction Elements Prize, from Padova Italy.