Kanva revamps former Olympic venue the Montreal Biodome

Architecture studio Kanva has redesigned the Montreal Biodome, a science museum in Canada, to reveal its original concrete arches and create new homes for its animal occupants.

The museum, which was originally an Olympic sports venue, contains four miniature ecosystems filled with plants and animals that visitors can walk through and explore.

The building used to be an Olympic velodrome

Designed by French architect Roger Taillibert and completed in 1976, the domed structure was designed as a velodrome. In the late 80s work began on converting the building, and it reopened in 1992 as the Montreal Biodome.

Kanva won the competition to undertake the Biodome Migration project in 2014. Migration was chosen as the name to reflect the animals moving to new enclosures and symbolise the museum's commitment to shifting attitudes around nature and climate change.

Roger Taillibert designed the building in the 70s

As part of the project, a four-metre-high clay cliff was built for macaws to nest in while a 15-metre-long ice tunnel was installed to create an immersive entryway for the arctic experience.

The complex renovation involved zip-lining fish over from pond to pond in pouches of water to clear the way for construction, while nine rope technicians rappelled down from the roof to install netting over the bird enclosures.

Kanva opened up the ceiling to the original roof

Kanva made the original roof a focal point of the revamp, removing a low ceiling insert and revealing the concrete vaults and the geometric roof glazing.

The reception hall is painted white to reflect the light from the roof and create a neutral space in between the ecosystem areas that occupy the majority of the building.

Walls of stretched white fabric divide this central lobby from the biodomes. As visitors pass between the fabric they can experience the smells, sounds and shifts in temperature before they see nature.

Kanva explained this partition system was informed by biophilia, a concept formed in 1984 by entomologist Edward O Wilson that theorises humans are soothed by the presence of nature.

Montreal Biodome's ecosystems represent different types of terrain found across the Americas. The Tropical Rainforest is full of parrots, piranhas and poisonous tree frogs, while lynx roam the Laurentian Maple Forest that's based on Quebec's woodlands.

The Gulf of St Lawrence recreates the space where the Great Lakes meet the Atlantic Ocean. A mezzanine floor overlooks these three zones, accessible via a glass elevator. A bright yellow interactive display about nature occupies this level.

Ref: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/04/30/kanva-montreal-biodome-redesign/

Jiaxing Civic Center with roof shaped like a “tarp blown by the wind”

Architect: MAD

Architecture studio MAD has designed a three-venue civic centre in the city of Jiaxing, China, that will be topped with a continuous roof that has the form of a tarpaulin being blown in the wind, according to the studio.

Located near the canals of the historic South Lake and alongside the city's largest park, the Jiaxing Civic Center will contain three buildings organised around a 6,000-square-metre lawn.

Top: the Jiaxing Civic Centre was designed by MAD. Above: the building will have an undulating roof

"A civic centre, first and foremost, must be a place that attracts people; a place where children, youth, seniors, and families are willing to come together on a daily and weekly basis," said MAD founder Ma Yansong.

"We have created an undulating ring to serve as a garden-like living room for the city: an embrace."

Covered by an undulating, continuous roof the buildings will contain the Science and Technology Museum, the Women and Children Activity Center and the Youth Activity Center

By placing the buildings under a continuous roof, the studio hopes to create a sense of unity and coherence while also enhancing its energy efficiency and avoiding the duplication of spaces.

"The project's floating roof forms a continuous skyline, like a tarp blown by the wind, bringing a soft sense of wrapping to the form," the studio explained.

"The organic flow of the lines throughout the project echoes the softness and grace of the ancient canal towns lining the southern banks of the Yangtze River in eastern China."

Glazed walls connect the interior with the surrounding parklands

On the ground level, the three venues surround a large circular lawn that was designed to be a public park where people can gather, relax and socialise. It can also be used as an events venue.

A canopy roof will shelter entrances to the cultural buildings and their glazed exterior walls that will link the ground level with the central lawn.

This canopy roof around the lawn also forms a large landscaped terrace that circles the public green space.

The terrace extends and wraps around the perimeter of the cultural buildings forming a 350-metre-long raised walkway that leads to a sunken plaza and amphitheatre-style seating.

Floor-to-ceiling glazed walls will visually connect the interior of the cultural buildings with the exterior while a series of cascading terraces within the curved roof will form a collection of indoor-outdoor spaces.

Amphitheatre-style seating leads to a sunken plaza

Beijing-based architecture studio MAD was established by Yansong in 2004. The studio recently revealed its designs for the nearby Train Station in the Forest, which is nestled within a small forest.

It also recently completed a library in China that was cast in seamless concrete and a kindergarten in Beijing topped with red rooftop playground.



Supertall skyscraper on site of Trump’s Grand Hyatt New York

SOM to build supertall skyscraper on site of Trump's Grand Hyatt New York

Architecture firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill has unveiled plans to build an 83-storey supertall skyscraper on the site of Donald Trump's old Grand Hyatt hotel in New York.

Called 175 Park Avenue, the mixed-use tower will be 1,646 feet tall (500 metres) and contain office and retail space along with a new 500-room hotel run by hoteliers Hyatt.

The glass and steel tower will replace the Grand Hyatt New York, originally built in 1919 as the Commodore Hotel and purchased in 1980 by Trump. The former US president renovated the hotel and enclosed the structure in dark glass for his first major construction project in the city.

Developers RXR Realty and TF Cornerstone acquired the site in 2019 and the existing building is due to be demolished next year.

Glass and steel columns will encase a stone-clad core


Skidmore Owings and Merril (SOM) plans to use the project to replace Trump's "overbearing" design by rectifying overcrowding on the pavement and building a clear path between 175 Park Avenue and the nearby Grand Central Terminal.

The supertall skyscraper itself will feature a stone-clad core enclosed by an outer layer of glazing and structural steel columns. These columns will run parallel up the sides of the tower, crisscrossing over to form a decorative lattice at the top and bottom.

175 Park Avenue will have a tapered shape that will be set back in four tiers, as a nod to the shape of New York's original skyscrapers. The setbacks will also allow more sunlight to reach the street.

Its use of stone and visual symmetry will pay homage, SOM explained, to the Beaux-Arts style of Grand Central Terminal, which it will connect to via a new transit hall and an improved street-level passage and subway entrance via 42nd Street.


As part of the project, SOM plans to improve subway access

The project also sits directly over the 4/5/6 subway lines of the Grand Central-42nd Street subway station. The existing building's girders obstruct the subway mezzanine, so SOM plans to use the demolishment and rebuild process to carefully remove the girders and improve the layout for the underground train station too.

In collaboration with the MTA, SOM will build new and accessible entrances and expand circulation to ease congestion.

A new looping shortcut will also be created to link up the subway mezzanine, the lower-level Metro-North Railroad platforms and the almost completed East Side Access Terminal.

Ref: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/02/10/175-park-avenue-supertall-skyscraper-som-new-york/

Ritz-Carlton Tower

Ritz-Carlton Tower at The Star adds to Darling Harbour's rejuvenation

The Star Ritz Carlton Render. Image: Scharp 3D Visualisation & Property Marketing


Darling Harbour’s rejuvenation continues apace with this week’s news that the luxury hotel brand Ritz-Carlton will return to Sydney for the first time in 18 years. The six-star hotel will offer 220 rooms situated within the top half of a distinctive 61-storey tower to be built at the north-eastern corner of The Star in Pyrmont.

The mid-tower Sky Lobby for Ritz-Carlton hotel guests will offer a spectacular vantage point over Sydney Harbour and CBD. Image: FJMT

The hotel is poised to capture a slice of surging overseas visitor numbers, as well as taking advantage of its prominent harbour-side position, and proximity to both the Sydney CBD and Darling Harbour Convention, Exhibition and entertainment venues.

The tower design adopts a memorable form as it rises to its full height of 231 metres, branching into two distinct, interlocked volumes as it subtly twists to maximise and ensure the best harbour and CBD vistas.

The tower's distinctive form from Pyrmont Bay Park. Image: Scharp 3D Visualisation & Property Marketing

Given its relative isolation, its distinctive form will create a landmark architectural statement on Sydney’s skyline , providing a bookmark to Barangaroo’s towers on the opposite shore, framing the entrance to Darling Harbour from ferries and other vessels on the harbour.

Beneath the hotel, the bottom half of the tower will acommodate around 200 apartments as well as a five-storey neighbourhood centre. This will contain a social enterprise space, reading room, function space, collaboration hub, and rooftop terrace - useful additions to community infrastructure in the area.

As part of the development, the Pirrama Rd podium of The Star will be refurbished, adding a rooftop pool and terrace, public restaurants, two gyms, and a spa & wellness centre.

Fifteen food outlets will cluster around the path connecting the hotel tower to the rooftop social and leisure space, forming a ‘restaurant avenue’. No additional gambling floor space is included in the development.

Rooftop social and leisure space. Image: Scharp 3D Visualisation & Property Marketing

The project comes amid a spate of new developments entering the pipeline to cater to the rapidly growing visitor market. In the last year alone, visitor numbers in Sydney have increased by 5% to 14 million, 4.3 million of which were from overseas.

According to Destination NSW, visitors to the state have collectively injected $16.85 billion into the NSW economy. 

The $500 million project is a joint venture between the Star Entertainment Group and Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook and far East Consortium and will generate 1000 jobs during construction and a further 500 jobs once operational.

The design team is led by architects FJMT who are also responsible for a number of prominent projects in the area, including the new Sofitel at the International Convention Centre.

The new hotel and its dramatic tower will add a new layer to the Darling Harbour precinct, consolidating the area as a premier social and business destination.

far East Consortium is also introducing the Ritz-Carlton brand in Perth and Melbourne via developments at Elizabeth Quay and West Side Place. Both projects are currently under construction with Probuild at the helm, and architecture by Cottee Parker.