Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition


RETHINK REUSE, an independent group whose goal is to inspire discourse on the topic of reuse is inviting all to participate in their Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition. The goal is to envision new, innovative reuse strategies. The 520 bridge will be decommissioned in 2014 due to high maintenance costs, damage, and the need for additional lanes. The State Department of Transportation is requiring of the new bridge’s design-build team that it be reused or recycled in a sustainable fashion; current trends for the reuse of pontoons have been floating docks, breakwaters and piers, but what else could be done with such a feat of engineering? More information on the competition after the break.

Infrastructure reuse has recently made headlines in architecture. Some examples include the High Line in New York, which converted a raised railroad track into a linear park; Kraanspoor in Amsterdam, a project which built an office complex atop a concrete shipyard craneway; and the current debate on New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge, which many are hoping to see reused as a park. The design community has begun to step up and take on challenges of large scale; this competition seeks to push that innovation one step further.

The Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition seeks design proposals which either utilize the bridge in its current state or take the bridge apart and reuse its pontoons at a new site on Lake Washington, Lake Union or in the Puget Sound in Washington State. Designers need to constantly assert the need for advancement in creative reuse; our ideas drive design forward. What is a floating bridge when its function is no longer needed? What can designers do when faced with the design problem of reusing thirty-three floating concrete pontoons?

Submissions are due August 15. For more information, please visit their official website here.

Williams Tsien and Davis Brody Bond selected for new U.S. Embassy in Mexico City

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has announced the selection of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Davis Brody Bond to design the New Embassy Compound (NEC) in , . After an intense round of presentations and interviews, the duo was selected from a talented shortlist of nine architectural/engineering teams. As reported on the Latin American Herald Tribune, the jury believed that “their portfolio of work is compatible to the local culture and shows sensitivity that highlights their connection to the character of the site.”

The Mexico City project is the first solicited under OBO’s Design Excellence program. It will embody a holistic approach that values the balance of aesthetics, cost, constructability and reliability. The design phase is expected to take place over the next 20 months and a construction contract is expected to be awarded in 2015.

Reference: Latin America Herald Tribune

Grimshaw and Gruen win Union Station commission

Grimshaw / Gruen Via The Source

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has selected L.A.’s Gruen Associates and ’s Grimshaw Architects to design the new master plan for Union Station in Los Angeles. The pair was awarded with the commission over some of the biggest names in the profession, such as Norman Foster and Renzo Piano (view the other five fantastical proposals here). They will transform the historic 1939 station and its surrounding 40 acres into a world-class, 21st century transportation hub that will host the future high-speed rail system that plans to connect L.A. and San Francisco.

The master planning process could take as little as 24 months. No surprise, considering both Gruen and Grimshaw have a great amount of experience with transit related projects. Gruen recently worked with Metro on the first phase of the Expo Line, while Grimshaw has extensive resume in Europe and is involved with the forthcoming Fulton Street Transit Center in Lower Manhattan, which is planned for completion in 2014.

Reference: The Source, Los Angeles Times

Foster + Partners, BIG and West 8 shortlisted for European research centre

An artist’s interpretation of the vision for the whole ESS, MAXIV, Science Village area around 2020 © ESS

Five international consortia of architect and landscaping companies have been shortlisted in a competition to design the future research centre of the European Spallation Source (ESS)– a Partnership of 17 European Nations committed to the goal of collectively building and operating the world’s leading facility for research using neutrons by the second quarter of the 21st Century. The 21st century, large-scale science centre will focus on sustainability, creating an attractive working environment and integrating well into its surroundings. It will be built in southern and is planned to open in 2019.

Continue after the break to view the complete shortlist.

ESS Shortlist:

  • Bethem Crouwel, West8, Arup, Mandaworks
  • Bjarke Ingels Group, HOK International Limited, Topotek1/man made land
  • Foster + Partners, Peter Walker and Partners, Research Facilities Design, Ramboll Group, Berg/CF Moller Architects
  • Henning Larsen Architects A/S, COBE ApS, SLA A/S, NNE Pharmaplan A/S
  • Tengbom, Mecanoo Architecten, Buro Happold

A jury will evaluate the proposals on the basis of several criteria: architectural design qualities, flexibility, economic and functional feasibility, safety and sustainability. At the end of October, the winning design will be announced.

The European Spallation Source – the next generation facility for materials research and life science

The European Spallation Source (ESS) will be a multi-disciplinary research laboratory based on the world’s most powerful neutron source. ESS can be likened to a large microscope, where neutrons are used instead of light to study materials – ranging from polymers and pharmaceuticals to membranes and molecules – to gain knowledge about their structure and function. ESS will be around 30 times better than existing facilities, opening up new possibilities for researchers in for example health, environment, climate, energy, transport sciences and cultural heritage.

ESS is an intergovernmental research infrastructure project, and it will be built in Lund in southern Scandinavia. Currently 17 European countries are Partners in the ESS project, and will take part in the construction, financing and operation of the ESS. Sweden and Denmark will co-host the ESS and cover 50 percent of the 1,4 B€ investment costs and 20 percent of the operating costs together with the Nordic and Baltic states.

The European Spallation Source ESS AB is a public limited company, today owned by the Swedish and the Danish states. ESS AB is currently working on finalizing the ESS technical design, planning the future research at ESS, preparing for construction, and planning the future international ESS organization. This is done in collaboration with a large number of research institutes, universities and laboratories around the world. Construction is expected to start in 2013, the ?rst neutrons to be produced in 2019 and the facility to be fully operational around 2025.

ESS is expected to support a user community of at least 5000 European researchers and will have great strategic importance for the development of the European Research Area. Near by there will be complementary laboratories, such as the synchrotron MAX IV in Lund and XFEL and PETRAIII in Hamburg.

Facility description via ESS.

Take the Mayors Challenge and Improve American City Life

New York Mayor Michael is searching for bold ideas that can “make government work better, solve a serious problem, or improve city life” in the . The Mayors Challenge encourages local architects and professionals to team up with their city officials and propose an innovative local solution that could be applied to a national problem.

Each city of 30,000 or more residents can submit one innovative idea under the direction of the mayor. As Architectural Record points out, there is nothing preventing architects from proposing a concept to their city leaders and working out a deal with them to prepare a submission. They can even negotiate some type of bonus if that idea wins! Those details will be left completely up to you.

However, the goal of the competition is to identify a need, solve a problem and share your knowledge so that other cities and citizens may benefit. Five boldest ideas with the greatest potential for impact will win funding as well as national and local recognition. The winning city will receive a $5,000,000 grand prize and four other cities will receive $1,000,000 to help implement their ideas.

Submit your RSVP by July 16th, 2012 and apply by September 14th, 2012. Find more information on

Think Space: ‘Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal’ Competition

As part of the 2012 cycle of competitions curated by Adrian Lahoud, Think Space is calling for entries in its Port Terminal competition. Simply put, the project actually started around the possibility of generating organization from a circulation pattern, which is basically a hybridization between a shed – a more or less undetermined container – and a ground, thus inventing a unique architectural/urban typology, one that would go on to influence a generation of architects. More images and information on the competition after the break.

“This is a project that we never planned to win”, say Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo in the introduction to The Yokohama Project, published in 2002. Some ten years later and looking back, Zaera-Polo continues: ‘The Yokohama project was the origin of my practice. And the opportunity to crystallize a type of investigation that I believe involved a whole generation of architects, and to test it with reality. The hybridization of infrastructure, landscape and architecture, the integration of computer-aided design into the practice of architecture, and maybe the exploration of a global practice were tested through this project into a real building. And of course, it was a huge personal experience.’

Rem Koolhaas, one of the original members of a jury that included Arata Isozaki and Toyo Ito, stated after its completion that the competition deliberations took a fascinating turn: in a jury divided between professionals (architects, planners) and non-professional members, it was the non-professional section that insisted on two key elements: uniqueness – the project had to be a landmark – and adventure – the project had to be an architectural experiment. Emboldened by this spirit, the winning design the jury selected, corresponds to the two criteria: It is unique (there never has been a pier like it), and it is architecturally an experiment: an investigation in a new, more fluent way of organizing flows – no longer ‘everything put in its place’ but a freer language that can make the familiar exciting again.

The project starts with what the architects have described as the ‘no-return pier’, an ambition to structure the precinct of the pier as a fluid, uninterrupted and multi-directional space, rather than according to gateways and fixed orientation. A series of programmatically specific interlocking circulation loops allowed the architects to subvert the traditional linear and branching structure characteristic of the building. Rather than developing the building as an object or figure on the pier, the project is produced as an extension of the urban ground, constructed as a systematic transformation of the lines of the circulation diagram into a folded and bifurcated surface.

To register and for more information, please visit here.

Think Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (1) Courtesy of Think SpaceThink Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (2) The Yokohama ProjectThink Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (3) The Yokohama ProjectThink Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (4) The Yokohama ProjectThink Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (5) The Yokohama ProjectThink Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (6) The Yokohama ProjectThink Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (7) drawings 01Think Space: 'Alejandro Zaera-Polo Never Planned to Win Yokohama Port Terminal' Competition (8) drawings 02

AECOM’s Urban SOS Student Competition

AECOM recently shared with us their 4th annual Urban SOS student competition brief. Created to engage students in urban planning and design, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental restoration, and engineering and allow them to propose solutions for the issues that are confronting modern cities, and viewed by established professionals in their field. The theme for this current year is Frontiers. AECOM is seeking proposals that engage urban sites that are currently facing chronic liveability challenges that are largely the result of a city’s location on a natural, political, cultural or economic border. Submitted proposals should fall under at least one of the following criteria; “On a political border,” Ports and trade,” Migration and population shift,” Transnational destinations,” and “Shifting geo-political conditions.” The winners have the potential for their project to be engaged by a local organization to assist in advancing the project.

Unlike many international competitions, there is no entry fee. There is, however, a sizable cash prize! The final deadline for submission is August 31, 2012. For more information regarding the details and competition brief visit AECOM’s site here.