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22 February 2012
Architecture People and Places

Wang Shu Pritzker PrizeDaniel Libeskind in SingaporeMVE Institutional in Los Angeles, CaliforniaSOM in Beijing, ChinaBIG with Architectural Nexus in Park City, UtahStéphane Maupin and Nicolas Hugon in Paris, France  

Ningbo History Museum (2008) in Ningbo, China, designed by Wang Shu. Photo: Lv Hengzhong/ Courtesy Amateur Architecture Studio Extra Large Image

Wang Shu Pritzker Prize · 2012.0227

The 2012 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is Chinese architect Wang Shu. At only 48 years old, he has designed some two dozen works in China, in a variety of styles. "Wang Shu's architecture is exemplary in its strong sense of cultural continuity and re-invigorated tradition," commented the prize jury, noting the "exceptional nature and quality of his executed work."

Born in western China in 1963, Wang earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture at the Nanjing Institute of Technology. He then worked at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou doing research on the environment and architecture in relation to the renovation of older buildings.

His first architectural project, a youth center, was completed in 1990. For most of the next decade, he worked with craftsmen to gain experience in construction. Wang earned a Ph.D. in architecture from Tongji University in 2000, became a professor at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou that same year, and has served as dean of the academy's architecture school since 2007.

In 1997, Wang and his wife, Lu Wenyu, also an architect, founded Amateur Architecture Studio in Hangzhou. His first major project, the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University, was completed by 2000. In keeping with traditions of Suzhou gardening, which suggest that buildings located between water and mountains should not be prominent, Wang designed the building to be nearly half underground.

Another representative project is the Ningbo History Museum (2008). Motivated in part to remind people what life was like historically in the harbor city of Ningbo, Wang collected reclaimed building materials from the area to use in the construction of the museum. Similarly, for the two-phase Xiangshan Campus of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou (2002-2007), over two million tiles were salvaged from demolished traditional houses to cover the roofs.

Other completed works include the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum (2005), Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo (2006), the Ceramic House in Jinhua (2006), the Vertical Courtyard Apartments high-rise development in Hangzhou (2007), and the Exhibition Hall of the Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty (2009), also in Hangzhou.

The prize jury remarked: "His approach to building is both critical and experimental. Using recycled materials, he is able to send several messages on the careful use of resources and respect for tradition and context as well as give a frank appraisal of technology and the quality of construction today, particularly in China."

Wang will formally receive the Pritzker Prize at a ceremony on May 25, 2011, in Beijing.


Reflections at Keppel Bay, a residential development designed by Daniel Libeskind, was recently completed in Singapore. Photo: Courtesy Keppel Bay Pte Ltd - a Keppel Land Company Extra Large Image

Singapore · 2012.0209

Reflections at Keppel Bay, a high-end residential development designed by Daniel Libeskind, was recently completed in Singapore. Located on a 20-acre (eight-hectare) site at the entrance to historic Keppel Harbor, the project comprises 1,129 apartments divided among 11 low-rise waterfront "villas" and six high-rise towers behind them.

The gently curving towers vary in form. Each of three 41-story towers stands adjacent to a 24-story tower to which it is connected by landscaped skybridges. No two floors are alike in shape in size, infusing this high-density development with a sense of variety. The towers' patterned facades combine anodized aluminum panels with large windows. Rooftop gardens provide expansive views of nearby Mount Faber, Labrador Park, and Keppel Bay.

Completed in December 2011, the project has already received the BCA Green Mark Gold Award from Singapore's Building and Construction Authority. The architect of record for the project was DCA Architects Pte Ltd, and the client was Keppel Land International.


MVE Institutional designed the LEED Gold-certified new Port of Los Angeles Police Headquarters. Photo: Anthony Gomez Extra Large Image

Los Angeles · 2012.0222

MVE Institutional (MVEI) of Irvine, California, designed the new Port of Los Angeles Police Headquarters in the San Pedro district of Los Angeles, California. The $43.6 million building is home to the Los Angeles Port Police.

The four-story, 92,000-square-foot (8,500-square-meter) building features a curving roof and a cylindrical three-story glass entry tower. Because extensive perimeter windows were not practical due to security concerns, daylight was brought into the building through a central atrium, which also acts as a circulation hub and focal point. Workspaces were designed for maximum flexibility and adaptability. Most security features, such as artful bollards, are unobtrusive, and a clock tower provides a landmark to an adjacent landscaped civic plaza and charter high school.

The building just earned LEED Gold certification. Sustainable design features include rooftop photovoltaic systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, bioswales, and drought-tolerant landscaping. The facility is designed to use about 28 percent less energy than required by California's Title 24 building codes. The LEED consultant was CTG.

MVEI, an affiliate of MVE & Partners, also designed an adjacent two-story, 37,000-square-foot (3,400-square-meter) parking garage and one level of below-grade parking.


SOM has revealed its competition-winning master plan for Beijing Bohai Innovation City in China. Image: SOM Extra Large Image

Beijing · 2012.0221

International architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has revealed its competition-winning master plan for Beijing Bohai Innovation City. Located along the high-speed rail line linking Beijing to the port city of Tianjin, the city expansion will include 17.6 million square meters (189 million square feet) of mixed-use development on 1,473 hectares (about 5.7 square miles), with a focus on providing a premier headquarters location for advanced industries.

The master plan is designed with a central business district organized around a high-speed train station and five distinct neighborhoods offering diverse housing, education, shopping, and work destinations. The plan modifies the street grid to incorporate existing road alignments while enhancing connectivity to the high-speed rail station and creating view corridors to landmark developments. The plan also provides an advanced multimodal transportation network, enabling an estimated 80 percent of the city's personal transportation to be by transit, walking, and bicycling.

Half the site is allocated to open space and nature. The scheme builds upon landscape design firm Turenscape's proposed central wetland park by calling for functional environmental systems to filter and clean stormwater before returning it to adjoining rivers.


BIG has revealed its competition-winning design for a renovation and expansion of the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. Image: BIG Extra Large Image

Park City · 2012.0213

Architecture firm BIG of Copenhagen, Denmark, and New York City has revealed its competition-winning design for a renovation and expansion of the Kimball Art Center in central Park City, Utah ó home to Sundance House during the annual Sundance Film Festival. The 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) project will include an interior renovation of the existing building and the construction of a new building directly adjacent to it.

BIG's design for the new building features a twisted facade of massive stacked timber elements in reference to the city's mining heritage. The addition will stand 80 feet (24 meters) tall to match the height of the Coalition Building, a former neighbor that burned down in the 1980s. The center's new ground-level gallery will be aligned with Main Street and the street grid, while an upper gallery volume will be rotated to align with Heber Avenue, which runs from the nearby state highway to intersect Main on the diagonal.

The twisting facade will enclose a continuous spiral staircase leading visitors from the ground floor to the roof terrace. The existing building will be converted into an educational hub with a flexible double-height auditorium for screenings and exhibitions. A sculpture garden will be installed on its rooftop, adjacent to a restaurant in the addition.

LEED Platinum certification is targeted. Planned sustainable design features include daylighting, rainwater harvesting, solar thermal panels, a ground-coupled heat exchanger, and operable skylights to provide natural ventilation via the stack effect.

The local architect is Architectural Nexus. The construction is expected to begin in mid-2013 and be completed by mid-2015.


Stéphane Maupin and Nicolas Hugon designed the newly completed M Building housing project, named for its section diagram. Photo: Cecile Septet Extra Large Image

Paris · 2012.0208

The M Building apartments have been completed on the north side of Paris, France. Designed by Stéphane Maupin Architectes and Nicolas Hugon Architectes of Paris, the building occupies a narrow rectangular site bounded by the Batignoles cemetery on one side and the back entrance of an international high school on the other.

Local planning rules limited the views facing the cemetery. To address this, the architects created an 1,800-square-meter (19,000-square-foot) building that is six stories tall at either end, reducing to one story tall at its midline, thus forming an "M" shape in section. The residential units are oriented toward the center of the "M" in a cascade of terraces down each 45-degree slope. This configuration helps assure light and views for all the units.

Materials accentuate the composition. The outer facades of the building are a homogeneous white, while the terrace-facing sides of the units are clad in reflective corrugated metal. Parquet wooden decks add texture to the view from the apartments.

The client was Paris Habitat, and the budget was €2.5 million.

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