Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Friday!

Its Friday People!

I actually had this one from my previous building of the week back in 2009 but wanted to share this with you again since it is sustainable...and quite nice :)

"While architecture magazines are saturated with images of soaring, wriggling towers and pristine, jewel-like structures, those buildings represent a small fraction of actual construction. Most of us live, work, and play in very conventional buildings—traditional wood-frame houses, steel-and-brick high-rises, concrete-and-glass shopping malls. And for much of the world’s population, the comforts of home—not to mention work and recreational facilities—are critically lacking. Governments around the globe are increasingly looking to architects to address the housing and infrastructure needs of impoverished communities, in the process hoping to improve the grim economic, educational, and security conditions that plague them. The resulting structures are almost always the antithesis of those complex, computer-driven designs that typically grace these pages. Because of limited financial resources, these projects rely on a low-tech approach using simple forms; local, unskilled labor; unusual or recycled materials; and alternative construction methods."
to read and view more images, go to this link below; 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Botanist Come Vertical Landscape Designer

Happy Friday!

Today’s Environment of the Week will be Vertical Graden of Quai Branly Museum, by Botanist Patrick Blanc. The building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel.
Thank you John Parker for today’s YEOW suggestion!
[If anyone else has any YEOW’s they’d like to share, please feel free to let me know! Thx J]

Plants have found a home on walls for centuries, but are sometimes incongruous with architecture, often breaking down the structural integrity of a building’s facade. Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden System, known as Le Mur Vegetal in French, allows both plants and buildings to live in harmony with one another. The botanist cum vertical landscape designer is probably best know for his gorgeous living wall on the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (shown above). But Blanc’s Vertical Garden System can be implemented anywhere: indoors or out and in any climatic environment.

The three-part system consists of a PVC layer, felt, and metal frame, providing a soil-free self-supporting system light enough to be hung on the wall, and even suspended in the air, weighing in at less than 30 kilograms (14.3 LBS/ SF= 30 kg/ m2) per square meter.

The Vertical Garden can be used as an impressive outdoor system, or can be used indoors, with the help of artificial lighting. The natural benefits of the Vertical Garden are many: improved air quality, lower energy consumption, providing a natural shield between weather and inhabitants. No matter where you live, urban or suburban, cold or hot, indoors or out, the Vertical Garden brings a little bit of green to all.

                                                           Botanist come Landscape Designer.

 View from street side.

 View from across the street.

 View from below

 Corner Detail

   Facade at Corner 

 This is a really unique transition in material.

You  can find more pics and info. about this building here:


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Friday!

Today we will be looking at:

BMCE Headquarters by Foster + Partners


BMCE Bank Branches
Morocco 2007 – 2011
Foster + Partners Team: Norman Foster, David Nelson, Stefan Behling, Michael Jones, Kate Murphy, Ingrid Solken, Tommaso Franchi, Charles Di Piazza, Lara Thrasher, Giuseppe Giacoppo, Rana Mezher, Susana Sousa, Benedicte Artault, Judith Kernt, Ben Cowd
Client: BMCE Bank (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur)
Collaborating Architects: Amine Mekouar, Karim Rouissi-Empreinte d’Architecte
Main Contractor: TGCC
Cost/Project Managers: Cap Advise
Structural Engineers: Buro Happold, Ateba
Mechanical Engineers: Buro Happold
Landscape Architect: Michel Desvigne
Lighting Consultant: George Sexton Associates

Foster + Partners have completed two modular headquarters for Moroccan bank BMCE in Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco. 

The design comprises a concrete frame enclosed by glazed panels, covered by screens made of cut and curved sheet steel.
The double-height entrance hall of each building features a bank of seating connected to the domed roof by a swooping ribbon of concrete.
Offices and meeting rooms are arranged on two floors in the remainder of the building.
Each branch is organized on a modular grid, to be repeated and adapted according to location.


Here are some more details from Foster + Partners:

Foster + Partners completes first project in Africa with BMCE branches in Morocco
The first regional headquarters branches for Moroccan bank, BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur) have opened in Rabat and Casablanca, with a further branch in Fez due to complete shortly – they are the first buildings by Foster + Partners to be completed in Africa.
The banks’ contemporary interior is wrapped by a traditional, energy efficient envelope and their design is based on a modular system, which utilises local materials and craftsmanship to create a striking new emblem for BMCE.
The design follows a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, with variations in colour and scale according to the bank’s location. Each building comprises a concrete frame, with an entrance colonnade and a series of bays repeated on a modular grid.
The bays are enclosed by glazed panels and 200mm-deep screens, which provide shade and security.
The screens are cut from sheets of stainless steel – a special low-iron mixture that does not heat up in the sun – which are curved to create a geometric design, based on traditional Islamic patterns.
The branches are designed to be highly energy efficient and use locally-sourced materials, such as black granite and grey limestone.
All BMCE flagship branches feature an ‘earth tube’, an electricity-free cooling system: fresh air is drawn into an empty pipe that encircles the building underground, where it is naturally cooled by the earth and released into the branch.
The dome, a recurrent element in each bank, is a reference to the design of a number of new schools in Morocco, which have received philanthropic support from BMCE Bank Foundation.
The interior of the dome is rendered in tadelakt, a local plaster technique, while the exterior is clad in zellige, traditional ceramic tiles.
The dome form sweeps down into the banking hall to create a sculptural curved bench.
Lord Foster commented:
“The BMCE flagship branches – our first completed buildings in Africa – reinterpret elements of traditional Moroccan architecture, combining these with a contemporary interior that reflects the Bank’s progressive approach to its customers.
This blend of ancient principles and modern technology is also reflected in an energy efficient design. The result is a series of buildings that are sustainable and each one, uniquely, of its place.”

Photographs are by Nigel Young, courtesy Foster + Partners.
More photos in the link above.