Posts Tagged ‘Awards’

Gathering moss: Norwegian architects PUSHAK exhibit in London


Oslo-based architectural practice PUSHAK has won a competition to create an installation for The Architecture Foundation on Tooley Street, London SE1, to be launched in June 2010 at the London Festival of Architecture.

Partners Langeland, Gromholt, Melbye & Kleiva at PUSHAK

Introducing a surprising note of nature into the middle of its urban setting, the installation will “explore the relationship between contemporary architecture and Norway’s landscape and natural resources, responding to local conditions in London.”

PUSHAK's 'Moss your City' installation

The installation also lends an exhibition space to Bankside Urban Forest, with a nod in the direction of moss graffiti and Guerrilla Gardening. The latter is an informal global movement that stages green-fingered protests against the scarcity, privatisation and neglect of public spaces. As one guerrilla gardener puts it: “Let’s fight the filth with forks and flowers.”

Visitors to ‘Moss your City’ will be able to take postcards away with them, bearing different urban greening logos and giving the moss graffiti recipe at the back. Should you wish to make your own living, breathing graffiti, the recipe – including moss, buttermilk and beer – can be found on wikiHow.

Recipe cards for would-be graffiti artists

Aside from this recent competition entry, PUSHAK has completed a string of projects in Norway, often characterised by a low-tech, pared-down aesthetic. The primary focus for each design seems to be on local landscape, build techniques and materials. The structure’s function firmly guides its appearance – not the other way around.

The practice was commissioned by the Norwegian Public Road Administration to design a number of exposed roadside structures in the far North of the country – places for travellers to stop, rest, seek shelter from the elements, light fires or just take in their surroundings:

Roadside shelter at Reinoksevatn, Finnmark

Shelter and integral bridge at Lillefjord, Finnmark

Shelter visualisation, Ingøya, Finnmark

Box shelters at Snefjord, Finnmark

The unassuming, box-like shelters in the last image are a perfect solution to a typically Scandinavian problem – how to enjoy the stunning view without freezing to death. At once pragmatic and playful, the shelters form part of the landscape. PUSHAK’s own description:

The site of the road stop is a paradox. Often, the hardest winds blow off the sea, and yet the most attractive view is towards the fjord. The obvious response in order to shield tourists from the wind would be to construct a view-blocking wall. Instead, three ”bench-boxes” – prefabricated at a local wharf – dot the area, and their differing orientations allow visitors to choose where to sit according to wind and sun conditions. Two persons or groups can use each box at once while they retain some privacy. The structure is built using steel bars, with cantilevered benches and roofs. The interiors are covered with oak, and the exteriors are clad with copper sheets.


The Ocean Space Centre: how do you build a global knowledge hub?


OSC aquarium. Architects: Snøhetta. Illustration: MIR

Trondheim seems to be the place where it’s all happening these days, architecturally speaking. Is the city turning into the new Dubai? If so, it will hopefully avoid the more-money-than-taste extravagance and subsequent economic backlash.

The latest big project to be announced is the Ocean Space Centre. The architects are Snøhetta, the practice behind the widely acclaimed Oslo opera house, winner of the Mies van der Rohe award 2009.

Oceanlab from the air. Architects: Snøhetta. Illustration: MIR

The design includes a disc-shaped, fjord-based laboratory surrounded by artificial reefs and high-tech research equipment. The location of the lab, on the edge of a steep sea-bed drop, will allow scientists to recreate the conditions of a 3000m deep ocean basin.

Back at the harbour, eleven mushroom-like buildings perched on tall stalks will contain offices, lecture theatres and a visitor centre. Snøhetta has also included a masterplan for further urban development, including residential spaces.

OSC ground view. Architects: Snøhetta. Illustration: MIR

But far from being ‘just’ another iconic building project, the Ocean Space Centre forms part of an overall strategy to create a “supercluster” for maritime knowledge and research.

A report on the project by Prof. Torger Reve at the BI Norwegian School of Management (PDF downloadable here, in English) provides an interesting insight into how global knowledge hubs are created – and, by extension, how architectural design and infrastructure can help shape the socio-economic future of their location.

The report takes as its example the biotechnology and life science industry in Boston. The greater Boston area has a higher concentration of advanced universities, research labs and specialised biotech firms than anywhere else in the world.

See also Hans-Dieter Evers (2008): Knowledge hubs and knowledge clusters: designing a knowledge architecture for development.

Elevated offices. Architects: Snøhetta. Illustration: MIR

Lab entrance. Architects: Snøhetta. Illustration: MIR

From ICs to LEDs – the winners

Carbon Trust Low Carbon Innovation Awards 2009

Carbon Trust - Low Carbon Innovation Awards 2009

Carbon Trust Low Carbon Innovation Awards 2009
Technology Innovation | Buildings category

CamSemi won this year’s award for their work on intelligent power management integrated circuits and their potential to cut energy consumption within buildings.

‘The company’s current two major product families – C2470 and C2160 – were both highlighted for significantly improving the efficiency of power supplies and as a result, helping manage the rapidly growing electricity demand within buildings from phone systems and mobile phones, IT products, audio and video equipment.’

Runners up included Novacem, who were recognised for their ‘green’ cement systems. ‘Our cement uniquely combines the sustainability of timber and the recyclability of metal with the technical properties and high thermal mass of concrete. Its use therefore minimises CO2 emissions during building construction, operation and disposal.’

And Luminanz for their ultra efficient lighting technology which ‘exploits patents for using light wave guides and air gaps to convert point source light from LEDs into acceptable light output for all forms of lighting and signage.’

ESI references:

Stimulating development – sustainable concrete as a goal

Masdar City

Masdar City

Masdar, the Abu Dhabi-based developer of the planned carbon and waste-neutral Masdar City, has announced a competition for sustainable concrete.

• Produce concrete with minimum of 50kg/m3 of CO2 reduction compared to that of a Masdar baseline mixture
• Develop concrete at equal or lower unit cost than that of the Masdar baseline mixture
• Design concrete with equal or better performance than that of the Masdar baseline mixture in terms of workability, constructability, heat development, curing requirements, mechanical properties, shrinkage, durability and service life
• Ability to produce 500,000 cubic meter per year

Prize fund
• First – $150,00 for a sustainable concrete production method
• Second – $50,000 for the lowest-carbon footprint concrete mix

Other resources on the environmental impact of concrete
• The concrete industry is responsible for 5% of humanity’s carbon footprint – but it’s more complicated than you may think as concrete actually absorbs CO2 over its lifetime
Geopolymer concrete technology
• Is carbon neutral concrete an option?
• ‘Carbon Footprint of Concrete Buildings seen in the Life Cycle Perspective’, Danish Technological Institute

ESI references:

Darwin cocoon wins Concrete Society award


The world's largest curved, sprayed concrete structure

The Darwin Centre Phase 2 forms part of the western extension of the Natural History Museum.

It provides a climate-controlled home for 20 million plant and insect specimens.

It also creates a working space for research scientists, as well as an exciting visitor destination.

Designed by Danish architects C F Møller, the cocoon was declared Overall Winner at the recent Concrete Society’s Awards for Excellence ceremony.

Judges said the structure will become “a benchmark for the production of extreme shapes in concrete”.

The extension contrasts with the original 19th century building

ESI references:

World Building of the Year


Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, South Africa

  • The World Architecture Festival has just drawn to a close in Barcelona.
  • Winner of the World Building of the Year award was Peter Rich Architects of Johannesburg, for the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre.
  • Designed to illustrate the fragility of its national park environment, the centre uses local resources and cultural iconography in its construction.


    Mapungubwe marks the site of an ancient civilisation

  • Delicate walkways and vaults create a zigzag route through the complex.
  • Local people were trained in the manufacture of stabilised earth tiles and in building the timbrel vaults.

ESI references: