Posted by : Anand December 23, 2008

Venice Architecture Biennale 08


Venice Architecture Biennale: twenty architects including Kengo Kuma (above and below), MVRDV, Julien de Smedt and Graft are designing villas for Next-Gene 20 - a residential development on the north-eastern coast of Taiwan.


The project, which involves ten international architects and ten Korean Taiwanese architects, was launched at the Venice Architecture Biennale yesterday. Top two images: Aimai House by Kengo Kuma.


Above and below: Observer by MVRDV.


A video by Squint/Opera introducing all 20 villas can be seen here.


Above and below: Shell Under Copious Rain by Graft.


We’ll publish more of the designs over the next few days.


Above and below: The Twirl House by Julien de Smedt.


Here’s some info about Next-Gene 20:

The NEXT-GENE20 is about to turn into reality. The official international presentation ceremony, which will be held in Venice during the 11th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia Out There: Architecture Beyond Building directed by Aaron Betsky, will show the outcomes of the wide program of architectural experimentation coordinated by Yu-Tung Liu. All 20 projects which will soon be realized in the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area in Taiwan will be presented.


The 11th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia will host the exhibition dedicated to NEXT-GENE20 in a collateral event which will be held close to the entrance to the Arsenale (Campo della Tana, Castello 2126/A - commissioner: Paolo De Grandis, Arte
Communications). A text by Aaron Betsky, director of the Venice Architecture Biennale, discloses some thoughts on the project.

As a preview for the press there is a video that will present NEXT-GENE20 to the audience of the Venice Biennale. The video, realized by Squint/Opera in collaboration with iMage, ironically introduces the project borrowing from the language of comic books and presenting the twenty architects as superheroes.

The NEXT-GENE20 project will be officially presented to an international audience during the 11th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia Out There: Architecture Beyond Building directed by Aaron Betsky. All of its protagonists will be present: the initiator of the project Tai-Nien Lu, the coordinator Yu-Tung Liu, the twenty architects. They will celebrate the results of the initiative which is aimed at defining the scenario for the realization of 20 villas in the beautiful Northeast Coast National Scenic Area in Taiwan.

Such a cohesive group participation will once again confirm and acclaim the success of NEXT-GENE20, a project which has already made a name for itself and that will have everyone talk about it still for a long time.

The presence of the project as part of the forthcoming International Exhibition of Architecture at the Venice Biennale is the first and most important occasion to go deeper into the project. From September 14 until November 23, the NEXT-GENE20 exhibition will be in Venice to present the project’s results and expectations.

A wide display of drawings, sketches, renderings and models will re-enact, for the audience of the La Biennale di Venezia, the scenario where the construction site of one of the most lively architectural projects in recent times will soon start.

The houses designed by the 20 invited architects (10 international, 10 from Taiwan) will be presented. Zaha Hadid has also been invited to contribute to the NEXT-GENE20 project by designing a residence (”Symbiotic Villa”) and a building for public use (”Next-Gene Architecture Museum.”).


The Venice Architecture Biennale opened today; here are some shots of the exhibits in the Cordiere building at the Arsenale, one of the Biennale’s two main venues. Above: Prototyping the Future: Three houses for the subconscious by Asymptote


This year’s exhibition is called Out There: Architecture Beyond Building and is directed by Aaron Betsky. Above: Lotus by Zaha Hadid Architects


Above: Ungapatchket by Gehry Partners


Above: Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf in digital age? by Penezić and Rogina Architects


Above: The Changing Room by UNStudio (see our earlier story for more info)


Above: Hyperhabitat: reprogramming the world by Guallart Architects/IIAC/MIT/The Centre for Bits and Atoms/Bestiario


Above: Aranda/Lausch


Above: naked saw-playing performance


Above: Singletown by Droog and KesselsKramer


Above: Recycled Toy Furniture by Greg Lynn


Above: Furnivehicle by Atelier Bow-Wow


Above: Formation(re)formation by Barkow Leibinger


Above: Iwasthere (Chile)


Beijing-based architects MAD have designed a conceptual, star-shaped, mobile Chinatown.


The architects describe the project as “MAD’s response to the redundant and increasingly out-of-date nature of the contemporary Chinatown”.


Moving around the world, the mobile town would produce all it’s own energy and recycle all its own waste, requiring no resources from its host city.


The town would be home to 15,000 people and include health resorts, sports facilities, drinking-water lakes and a digital cemetery.


The project will be presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale as part of the exhibition ‘Uneternal City’ curated by Aaron Betsky, which opens this week.


Watch a movie about the project here.

Here’s some more information from MAD:


A new project by MAD, ‘Superstar: A Mobile China Town’, will be featured in the exhibition ‘Uneternal City’ at the 11th Venice Biennale, curated by Aaron Betsky. The exhibition invites 12 young global architects to suggest interventions into an anonymous suburban area of Rome, which will exploit and represent new spaces and urban fabrics of a Rome of the future. It will be shown in the Arsenale, from 14th September to 23rd November 2008.


MAD’s proposal, ‘The Superstar’, takes the form of a New China Town.

Along with shopping malls, petrol stations and branches of McDonalds, the old China Town renders all of our cities boring and alike. It is nothing more than restaurant streets and fake traditional buildings representing a kitsch image of contemporary China, with no real life inside. It is a historical theme park that poisons the urban space. There must be a shock therapy to remedy this situation.


Superstar: A Mobile China Town is MAD’s response to the redundant and increasingly out-of-date nature of the contemporary Chinatown. Rather than a sloppy patchwork of poor construction and nostalgia, the Superstar is a fully integrated, coherent, and above all modern upgrade of the 20th century Chinatown model. It’s a place to enjoy, to consume Chinese food, quality goods and cultural events; it’s a place to create and to produce, where citizens can use workshops to study, design and realize their ideas.


Equally important to what this neo-community contains is how it operates. Superstar: A Mobile China Town is a benevolent virus that releases unknown energy in between unprincipled changes and principled steadiness. It can land at every corner of the world, exchanging the new Chinese energy with the environment where it stays. It’s self-sustaining: it grows its own food, requires no resources from the host city, and recycles all of its waste. And it’s a living place, with authentic Chinese nature, health resorts, sports facilities and drinking water lakes. There’s even a digital cemetery, to remember the dead. The Superstar is a dream that’s home to 15,000 people: there is no hierarchy, no hyponymy, but a fusion of technology and nature, future and humanity.


The Superstar’s first destination will be the periphery of Rome. The Superstar will provide an unexpected, ever-changing future imbedded in the Eternal past.

Welcome to the Superstar, the China Town of today.


MAD is a young and innovative architectural design office practicing contemporary architecture, urbanism and cultural analysis. Based in Beijing, we examine and develop our concept of futurism beyond the boundaries of architecture by exploring into sociology, technology and politics in today’s China.

MAD’s ongoing projects include: the Absolute Tower in Toronto, Canada, it is the international competition MAD won in 2006; the Tianjin Sinosteel International Plaza, a 358M high-rise building in Tianjin, China; the Mongolian Museum in Inner Mongolia, China and some large-scale public complex and residential housing in Denmark, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Costa Rica.

MAD’s work has been published worldwide. In 2006, MAD was awarded the Architectural League Young Architects Forum Award. The office has also presented its designs in a series of exhibitions, including the “MAD in China” exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennial, and the “MAD Under Construction” exhibition at the Beijing Tokyo Art Projects Gallery in Beijing. In 2007, “MAD in China,” a floating city of MAD’s work, was shown at the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2008, MAD published its first book MAD DINNER with ACTAR.

July 30th, 2008


Construction is underway on the Sinosteel International Plaza in Tinajin, China designed by Beijing-based architects MAD.


The development consists of a 358 metre-high office tower and adjacent hotel at 88 metres.


An external honeycomb structure incorporates hexagonal windows in five different sizes, arranged according to wind and solar direction on the site in order to regulate the internal temperature of the towers.


Building is due for completion in 2012.


The following information is from MAD:


A new MAD building is under construction. The Sinosteel International Plaza will be a new organic, honeycomb icon for the redeveloped city of Tinajin. The building will be completed by 2012.


The Chinese central government has named Tianjin, a port city one hour east of Beijing, as the next step in its economic plan. Within Tianjin, they will create the Binhai New District, the new economic hub of Northern China. This will be achieved in five years. Sino Steel, China’s state owned steel giant, commissioned MAD to create a landmark for this new central business district. They specified two towers: an office tower (358 metres) and a smaller hotel (88 metres).


We wanted to move away from the usual image of the central business district: rows and rows of glass and steel boxes. Our design is natural, organic and futuristic.


The shape of the two buildings is very simple: a rounded box. The façade is constructed from five different sizes of hexagonal windows, a traditional element in Chinese architecture. These windows flow across the building in an irregular, naturally occurring pattern: like cells multiplying. This pattern gives life to the building, changing the way it looks from different perspectives. The towers rise from a green hill which functions as the hotel’s podium, a further contrast against the hard surfaces in the rest of the Binhai New District.


The honeycomb façade is also what’s holding the building up: the skin is the structure. This removes any need for internal structures, freeing up the building to a much more flexible use. This bold new solution will challenge conventional construction technology, in order to achieve something unique. A perfect combination of strength and beauty.


The honeycomb also allows the building to be energy efficient. Although the pattern at first appears to be random, it actually responds to patterns of sun and wind on the building. By mapping the different air flows and solar direction across the site, we were able to position different sized windows accordingly, minimizing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.


Our design sees oriental features combined with novel, futuristic building methods. The Sinosteel International Plaza will become something natural, growing in the man-made environment of this new urban area.


Client: SINOSTEEL International Plaza (Tianjin) Ltd
Status: under construction. To be completed 2012.
Programme: Office, Hotel, Service Apartment
Site Area: 26,666 sqm
Building Area: 350,000 sqm
Building Height: 358m
Director in Charge: Ma Yansong, Qun Dang
Design Team: Eric Spencer, Liu Xiaopu, Tony Yam, So Sugita, Zhao Wei, Wang Xingfang, Li Jieran, Lu Lu
Associate Architects/Engineers: Jiang Architects & Engineers


Here are new images of Capital Hill Residence, a private house in Barvikha Forest close to Moscow, Russia by Zaha Hadid Architects.


The project, which is currently under construction, will be shown in the Russia Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale from 12 September - 23 November as part of a showcase of work by Russian and foreign architects working in Russia.


See our previous story for more information about the house.


Capital Hill Residence is due for completion in 2010.
















Credits - current execution stage

Project architect: Helmut Kinzler

Project designer: Daniel Fiser

Project team:
Anat Stern
Daniel Santos
Thomas Sonder


Zaha Hadid Architects will create an installation at Palladio’s Villa Foscari near Venice this autumn, to coincide with the Venice Architecture Biennale and to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Palladio’s birth.


Called Aura, the installation will take the “harmonic proportions” developed by Palladio - and employed at Villa Foscari - and manifest them as wave forms representing musical intervals.


Aura is at Villa Foscari La Malcontenta, Via della Stazione, 30176 Venice from 12 September – 23 November 2008.


Here’s some info from the architects:

PROGRAM: Installation celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Palladio’s birth
CLIENT: Villa Foscari La Malcontenta

ARCHITECT: Zaha Hadid Architects

Design: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Design team: Fulvio Wirz and Mariagrazia Lanza


“Aura” is an experiment in translating Villa Foscari’s Palladian design, which relies on a definite set of harmonic proportions, into a contemporary space whose elegance and dynamism is generated through a process defined by a non-linear set of rules elicited from Palladio’s theories.

Since the Renaissance architects tried to embed in their compositions the musical concept of harmony and the mathematical relations that underlie notes, intervals and chords while producing a sound. Palladio used this concept of Harmonic proportion to link his villa’s rooms, aiming for a global system of harmony.

The process of generating Aura’s form brings these linear proportions into their musical meaning. Each of them corresponds to a musical harmonic that in turn can be described as a frequency wave: a half is an octave interval, four thirds is a fourth and so on. By overlapping all the frequency curves generated from Villa Malcontenta’s proportional system and progressively changing them with mathematical algorithms it is possible to define a genotypic elementary space whose form contains in its DNA the whole Palladian set of rules.

At the same time the parametric nature of the process makes the form able to adapt itself to multiple environments within the villa, keeping track of every single variation or “phenotype”. The result is a new and more complex order that retains at the same time classical proportions but is not enclosed in a rigid and unique solution . In fact, like in Lorentz Attractor’s equation, every small change in the value of parameters will result in a different morphological confi guration that will keep the same order but with altered proportions.

This dynamic of differentiation helps in giving to the whole installation a spatial relationship whilst keeping every single space independent. This gives enough flexibility to create different scenarios within the villa and to configure a set of multiple relationships between two, three or four rooms.

Aura‘s design gives form to an ethereal space that doesn’t collide with the beauty and harmony of Palladian interiors nor does it hide the perception of its frescoes. Its proportions in plan are part of Villa Malcontenta’s harmonic system and allows to experience its spaces both walking through and circulating around. This puts in context the humanistic anthropocentric vision of architecture with contemporary spacial values tending to emphasize the skin, the interface, the environment rather than the interior.

Aura doesn’t claim to reinvent Palladian space nor to perform as a tool for reading hidden meanings through its gaps. Its stream of thin elongated curves painted in a glossy refl ecting fi nish catches the atmosphere and the colours of Villa Malcontenta bridging the past with the future.


UNStudio will create an installation called The Changing Room at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens in September.


The installation will be part of the main biennale exhibition curated by Aaron Betsky and called ‘Out there: architecture beyond building’.


The Venice Architecture Biennale runs from 14 September - 23 November.

The following information is from UNStudio:

UNStudio – The Changing Room, Venice Biennale of Architecture 2008

For this year’s international architecture biennale in Venice UNStudio has produced ‘The Changing Room’ as part of the exhibition ‘out there: architecture beyond building’ curated by Aaron Betsky.


The UNStudio installation in the Arsenale explores the transformative potential of the material world. Just like clothes designers, architects offer alternate looks and identities, age and income-appropriate shells. These constructions consist of a miscellaneous package of endogenous and exogenous values; things and ideas that inherently belong to architecture and its traditions, and things and ideas that do not, but that nevertheless profoundly influence architecture.


How to deal with this? Can architecture still have autonomy? According to UNStudio the lesson is to ‘switch it on, switch it off’… to find autonomy in brief moments of liberation.


The installation structure shows an architecture that is as supple as textile, in which floors, walls and ceilings flow into each other. On the inside, the visitor encounters a kaleidoscopic world of people posing, inviting voyeurism, and seeking transformation in their own conceptualizations of the changing room.


UNStudio, The changing room – couture of architecture

Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos with Christian Veddeler and Hans-Peter Nuenning, Steffen Riegas

Light design with:
meso digital interiors, Frankfurt

Engineering and building:
p&p gmbh, Fuerth/Odenwald

Subsidized by:
The Netherlands Architecture Fund, Rotterdam
The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, Amsterdam

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