Friday 31 May 2013

Build It Bigger - City of Culture of Galizia

We present in our blog another episode of the American TV show "Build It Bigger", this time focused in the project "City of Culture", an architecture program composed by libraries, performance spaces and museums, divided into six structures. The project is an example of a non efficient Cost Management, since it doubled its original budget, making the construction on site to stop before the project's completion due to this serious budget overrun.

"The City of Culture of Galicia (Galician: Cidade da Cultura de Galicia) is a complex of cultural buildings in Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, designed by a group of architects led by Peter Eisenman. Construction is challenging and expensive as the design of the buildings involves high degree contours, meant to make the buildings look like rolling hills. Nearly every window of the thousands that are part of the external façade has its own custom shape. In 2013 it was announced that after more than a decade, construction of the project would be halted. The International Art Center and Music and Scenic Arts Center will not be built.

In February 1999 the Parliament of Galicia held an international design competition for a cultural center on Mount Gaiás. The entrants were Ricardo Bofill, Manuel Gallego Jorreto, Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Jean Nouvel, Dominique Perrault, Cesar Portela, Santiago Calatrava, who later withdrew his proposal, and Eisenman, whose proposal was selected for both conceptual uniqueness and exceptional harmony with the place.

The concept of the project is a new peak on Monte Gaiás, made up of a stony crust reminiscent of an archaeological site divided by natural breaks that resemble scallops, the traditional symbol of Compostela.

The building site has also become the base for the development of a public transparency urban experiment by the Spanish architect and artist Andrés Jaque. With Jaque's 12 Actions to Make the Cidade da Cultura Transparent, the building site was equipped with devices that make the political implications and ecological extension of the construction works understandable for the general public." - transcription available on


Wednesday 29 May 2013

Messe Basel New Hall, by Herzog & de Meuron

The new project of the Swiss architecture office Herzog & de Meuron, "Messe Basel New Hall", is a multipurpose facility located in the city of Basel, Switzerland. We present in our blog the work made by the architecture photography duo Hufton + Crow, that owns the rights of the published images.

Monday 27 May 2013

ARCHITECTURE REFERENCES - Hambach Castle, by Max Dudler

Hambach Castle
Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany
Max Dudler, Germany

Area: 1.300 sqm
Year: 2011 
Photos: Stefan Müller
Project's description on
"Serving as backdrop to the so-called “German National Festival”, Hambach Castle bears unique witness to both German and European history and is regarded as the cradle of German democracy due to the Hambach Festival which took place amid its ruins in 1832. Since its founding as a late Roman hilltop settlement in 305 AD, the castle has been modified extensively over successive centuries. After its transferral to the Hambach Castle Foundation in 2002, plans were drawn up for the structure to undergo extensive modernisation, remodelling and new construction work. The architectural competition organised by the Foundation was won by the architect Max Dudler.

Dudler was insistent that any additions to the historical building should augment rather than overwhelm the existing structure. The architecture should “respect the language of the place by coming up with a suitable architectural response to the structure’s existing vocabulary”. Bearing in mind the building’s almost two thousand year history, his goal was to extend the existing historical structure through subtle means. A balanced architectural whole was created through use of a contemporary style embedded in tradition and history.
During the rebuilding work, Dudler attached great importance to exposing the building’s original substance. The existing walls were painstakingly cleaned, opened up and consolidated, thereby creating both spatial and chronological connections which had remained concealed until then. The new features, made from materials such as cherry wood, sandstone, steel and glass, blend into the space naturally, and all technical elements are well disguised.
The architecture of the castle’s “restaurant1832“ – with its panoramic stone terrace offering breathtaking views – also takes its visual lead from the defensive walls. These walls were strengthened to an extent, resulting in a sculptural building whose dining function also benefits the complex as a whole. The restaurant has many windows which are glazed flush with the interior wall. These deeply recessed forms in various sizes are distributed like paintings across the restaurant wall, creating sophisticated visual compositions which establish an enhanced relationship with the stunning landscape beyond. The light and rectilinear restaurant harmoniously nestles into the existing historical castle building, providing both an optical continuation of the medieval ring wall and a logical evolution of the building’s structural form. Made of local yellow sandstone, these walls heavily influence the site’s overall appearance and it was for this reason that Dudler chose the same material for new construction work.
The concept of “creating a building from the wall” resonates with the building ensemble as a whole. This results in unobtrusive, clean-lined structures which complement the principal castle building, thereby offering visitors a historically respectful reception.