Tag: Frank Gehry

Great Halls of Fire…

The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has taken another step to cementing its place in the annals of Australian design history with the unveiling of its dramatic new Great Hall.

An institution famed more for its brutalist and maligned 27 storey tower, UTS has of late embraced a forward thinking approach to campus expansion and facility development – arguably serving penance for its four decades unchanged behind imposing concrete slabs at number one Broadway.

With the Great Hall wanting a much needed refurbishment, the Sydney design firm DRAW (De Manincor Russell Architecture Workshop) proposed that beyond the Great Hall brief, a vast lobby be incorporated into the scope of works.

a soaring reception space annexed to the Hall that capitalises on a commanding view across the future Alumni Green. The Balcony Room adapts a previously underused terrace, enclosing it to provide a link between the main building foyer and the rich, warm interior.

The project, now completed, is part of a broader, ongoing multi-million dollar redevelopment of the UTS City campus.  Additional faculty buildings and facilities are being designed by PTWDenton Corker Marshall and Durbach Block Jaggers.  Perhaps as controversial as the original UTS Tower proposal, the big unveiling will be Frank Gehry’s new business faculty building… a development that when finally complete we’re sure will initiate much debate and heated discussion.

[Photography © Brett Boardman, all rights reserved]

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Wine Time…

Photovoltaics, gravitational reliance and thermal inertia.

Not your standard wine making terminology, granted, but inspired techniques employed to great effect by Norman Foster in designing the groundbreaking Grupo Faustino owned Portia Wineries in Gumiel de Izán, Spain.

Its striking design is based on the three stages in winemaking: fermentation in stainless steel tanks, ageing in oak casks, and bottle ageing.  These stages determine the building’s three volumes and are controlled by the operations centre at the heart of the building… the materials used also relate to the materials inherent in producing wine: concrete, steel and glass.

Foster + Partners approach here was to completely review the winery (Bodega) as a building type. Their challenges in topography and housing the winemaking processes alongside offices, warehousing and a hospitality precinct were ingeniously embraced in the final outcome.  Working with the lay of the land,  grape truck delivery was consciously placed at higher levels to sorting and fermentation plants thereby employing gravity to assist in the movement of the product.  This ultimately minimised use of energy-consuming machinery and lessens  the need for earth levelling and a greater impression on the landscape,  and this is just one of the ingenious devices employed to reduce envornmental impacts.

Having previously collaborated with Frank Gehry on the Marques de Riscal Winery Hotel, Andreu World‘s pieces are again prevalent in the internal furnishings of Portia Bodega.   The Lineal Collection, Mar Tables and extensive Nanda seating were selected by Foster + Partners to complement the materials used throughout the internal and courtyard spaces.

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Down By The Danube…

© Julien Lanoo

Pritzker prize winning Architect Jean Nouvel signed off on the Sofitel Vienna in December last year.

From the street, sheer walls finished in glass and steel – some at atypical angles, trade surprisingly well within the subdued hues of historic Vienna.  Ultimately though, these elements belie the moments of riotous colour and haphazard geometry that jump out sporadically from internal balconies, feature ceilings and wall detailing.  The panoramic double height top floor restaurant offers sweeping views across Vienna, the canopy of colour overhead imbuing a sense warmth even when the city beyond the huge panes of glass is dusted in winter snowfall.   Rafa Garcia‘s luxurious Artica Armchairs for Sancal were selected by Nouvel for the same reason. Their crisp, formal lines reflect the language of the external architecture all the while providing superior comfort and warmth for the user.

© Julien Lanoo

© Julien Lanoo

The prolific Frenchman has been turning his hand to International projects further and further afield with Australia soon to get it’s own taste of the  Ateliers Jean Nouvel at Central Park, Sydney.  Having designed One Central Park for Fraser Property Group, the Frenchman’s dramatic foliage-clad residential tower with cantilevered mirror elements and Babylonic gardens will play neighbour to Frank Gehry’s forthcoming  “Wrinkly” Business Faculty for the University of Technology, Sydney.

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When R&B meets A&D…

Increasingly, some of our favourite entertainers are making a bold leap and branching into the world of design, lifestyle and luxury goods.  Where fashion, perfumes and homewares have long been the stomping ground of celebrities wanting to “spread their creative wings” (and collect sizeable pay-checks along the way), the realm of architecture, interiors and industrial design has largely been untouched by thespians and musicians.

Whilst many of the often wishy-washy ventures into this arena can be seen as nothing more than short lived marketing grabs, there is undeniably a compatibility that streams between pursuits of creativity and, on occassion, it would seem some of our screen and stereo stars do genuinely pack some creative clout in their appreciation for, and involvement with A&D projects.

Spotlight on: Pharrell Williams.

DESIGN MIAMI 2010: local boy, musician and sought after producer Pharrell Williams once again dropped in to take part whilst the circus was in town. Williams joined a panel including Silvia Venturini Fendi and Ron Arad to:

investigate the role of craftsmanship and human creativity at the inception of a song, performance, exhibit, fashion collection, architectural project, design object, or other creative endeavour.

No stranger to self-promotion he also recently threw open the doors of his pop-infused Miami Penthouse to famed photographer Todd Selby from TheSelby.com.  Not content with hiring the latest celebrity interior designer, Pharrell capitalised on his own inherent creativity, turning the pad into a space more reminiscent of a modern art gallery with pieces by Kaws and Keith Haring dominating the domed multi-storey atrium.  Exercising what can best be described as a considered, minimalism his home sits at odds with much of the gaudy extravagance that has become synonymous with celebrity decorating we’ve become accustomed to via shows like MTV’s “Cribs“.

Pride of place is also given to Pharrell’s own exploration into Industrial Design such as his controversial “Perspective Chair” 2008 for French outfit Domeau & Pérès.  (Since then Williams has gone on to design “Tank Chair” and a one-off fixed-gear bicycle that features yellow dyed water buffalo hide in its construction).

Approaching his passion for design from a much larger scale is Brad Pitt.  Widely recognised as a design hound, Pitt has more recently indulged his interest through charitable works.  Focussed on the New Orleans area with his Make It Right (MIR) Foundation, Pitt sees the widespread damage from Hurricane Katrina reversed through a highly respected redesign and rebuild program. The much publicised exercise is one that demands of the invited designers a strong appreciation for ‘green’ processes, investing in each home a longterm, durable vision for the property and a sympathetic aesthetic that continues the traditional typologies for the New Orleans area.

Beyond this, Pitt – a self confessed design addict (reported to have spent over $1M USD in one day at Design Miami) cites Charles Rennie MacKintosh, Kenneth Cobonpue and Frank Gehry amongst his favourite creatives.  Credited with largely introducing the US to the wonder that is Filipino talent Kenneth Cobonpue, and already having collaborated with Gehry on small projects, his involvement in the GRAFT designed (Zaha Hadid, like) ecologically responsible hotel in Dubai, arguably sees Brad Pitt’s credibility in design circles increase with each project.

Heard it all before?  …Still not impressed?  Then perhaps the last word is best left to Babs.

After 46 years of recording albums, producing films, treading the boards, gracing the silver screen and directing… last year she launched her first book as author. Barbra Streisand introduced the world to her passion: design, in a book imaginatively titled: “My Passion For Design“.  A tome of tips that among the gems will outline why and how she matched the black and white Carp in her expansive pond network to:

the trim of the house, the shutters, the awnings…

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Very Gehry: Crinkly Wrinkly & Fascination With The Fold…

Only one year on from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) announcing Frank Gehry as it’s architect charged with refurbishment of their Ultimo based Business Faculty: the design has been unveiled.

Today in Sydney the “Crinkly, Wrinkly” faculty building with a glass and brick facade was unveiled with Gehry conceding controversy as an inevitable hurdle in Sydney-siders eventually coming to love the building.

junk is built in cities around the world and nobody really complains… This is a small building in the context of Sydney I don’t think it is going to destroy the town, I promise.

With admission that the building was very much designed from the inside – out, Mr Gehry has via lengthy consultation with student and staff bodies, avoided construction of a monolith unable to serve it’s primary internal purposes, effectively, whilst promoting interactivity.  It’s function as a mini-city within the fabric of it’s community was at the fore of the design process.

Externally the wrinkle and fold in one facade is attributed to the challenge of making a large scale architectural development of any kind; humane.  On the Harris Street frontage, the jutting angles of multi-stroey glass sheets juxtaposes wonderfully.

The 81 year old Gehry concluded by saying that once built he was confident the buildings would be embraced by the community.  The $150M project is due for completion in 2014.

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