The number of design review panels has more than doubled in the last five years, so that now almost every local authority has access to high quality independent design advice. Over 80 panels are up and running across England.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host next April (2010) the First International Conference on Urban and Architectural Heritage in Islamic Countries (FCUAHIC) at the Saudi capital of Riyadh to discuss the role of urban heritage in the cultural, social, and economic development in the Islamic countries.
Australia’s major new arts, theatre and ‘culture palaces’ from Canberra to Melbourne to New York, and the architects who designed them, are among major winners at this year’s top architecture awards.
The Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards are the country’s most prestigious annual architecture prizes. The 2009 awards were presented to the nation’s most inspiring recent architectural projects and architects, at a special ceremony tonight (Thursday 29 October) in Melbourne. A total 32 awards and commendations across 12 categories were awarded to projects in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Topping the list of winners, is the recipient of Australia’s top annual national architecture award – the 2009 Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture, awarded this year to the National Portrait Gallery in the ACT by Sydney-based practice Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW). In a double win for the firm, the gallery also received a National Architecture Award for Interior Architecture. The gallery is the most recent in a long list of major arts facilities designed by JPW, including the New Asian Galleries at the AGNSW and the Museum of Sydney, and is their first Sir Zelman Cowen Award. For images of the other award winners and more go to The Age: Gallery gets gong, but could have been ‘grander’
The Chicago and China offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) were named the winner of an international design competition to expand the Beijing Central Business District (CBD). The competition was sponsored by the Chaoyang District Government and the Beijing CBD Administration Committee. Seven teams of the world’s leading urban planners, urban designers and architects were invited to participate. Philip Enquist, FAIA, Partner-in-Charge of Urban Design and Planning for SOM, led this effort.
The SOM plan calls for the establishment of three new districts anchored by signature parks and green boulevards. New modes of public transportation are proposed, including express commuter rail service between the Beijing Capital International Airport, the CBD, and high speed rail service at Beijing South Station. A new streetcar system is proposed to conveniently link all areas of the CBD. A network of small, walkable blocks is proposed to establish a pedestrian-friendly scale for development and every street would be bicycle friendly.
The SOM plan defines new strategies for building municipal infrastructure and high performance buildings. Implementation of the plan could reduce energy consumption within the district by 50%, reduce water consumption by 48%, reduce landfill waste by 80%, and result in a 50% reduction in carbon emissions. Reduction in emissions from office buildings alone would equate to a reduction of 215,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of planting 14 million adult trees.
SOM’s vision for the Beijing CBD provides the framework that will enable China’s capital city to grow as a global center for commerce, yet be a green and ecological setting for healthy life.