Moscow planners have approved Lord Foster’s design for the world’s biggest building – likened by critics to an alien spacecraft and a “dahlia stuck in a string bag”. The British architect’s £2bn “city within a city”, Crystal Island, will be built on the banks of the Moscow river, with a total floor area of 2.5m square metres, making it the largest enclosed space ever to be constructed.
Crystal Island’s steel mega frame is to feature a “smart skin” to buffer against extreme temperatures and is expected to contain 3,000 hotel rooms, 900 apartments and a school for 500 pupils. Its 620m-wide base will taper to a spire almost 500 metres high, giving it the form of a vast transparent wigwam.
Moscow rises to Foster’s space-age vision | Art & Architecture | Guardian Unlimited Arts.
In Hong Kong, where land for construction is scarce and commerce has long ruled, preservation has usually given way to a tide of urban development. Few of the British expatriates and Chinese immigrants who came to the city with the moniker “borrowed place, borrowed time” saw it as a permanent home. But since the territory was returned to Chinese rule from Britain in 1997, its local identity has come to the forefront and heritage conservation has taken on the overtones of a populist struggle.
Rendering of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s proposal for the Central Police Station (inset) and Victoria Prison
Recently battles have been waged over buildings that in most cities would have little historical appeal. In the past year, the demolition of two 1950s ferry terminals to make way for a highway and commercial property developments spurred demonstrations, hunger strikes and arrests.
“These recent heritage battles represent a desperate search for a cultural anchor,” says Lee Ho Yin, director of the architectural conservation program at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s part of Hong Kong people seeking their own identity and roots.”
A Borrowed Place on Borrowed Time – WallStreetJournal.com.
Philadelphia has a new sound. Home to the Declaration of Independence and the famous Liberty Bell, the city now hosts an installation of bell-like public sculpture by conceptual artist Dennis Oppenheim. Wave Forms is spectacular, featuring six, 20 foot, bell shapes made of aluminum tube and perforated aluminum, in open-air courtyards adjacent to a new apartment complex at the University of Pennsylvania.
Oppenheim refined his proposal in consultation with the landscape architect Sara Peschel. The work was engineered, transported and installed by La Paloma Fine Art of Sun Valley, California.
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