Category Archives: ARCHITECTURE


Slide - © David Hotson Architect

Skyhouse / David Hotson Architect & Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design

[highlight1]  Skyhouse  [/highlight1]

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he special 4 level penthouse apartment is situated atop of 1 of New York City’s earliest steel skyscrapers built in 1896. It was entirely re-created by NYC-primarily based studio David Hotson Architect, in collaboration with interior style studio Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design. The penthouse features an wonderful polished steel slide that spans from the attic to the entrance floor.

Architect David Hotson and interior designer Ghislaine Viñas collaborated on the renovation, which involved restructuring the uppermost storeys of a late nineteenth century tower in lower Manhattan to accommodate a family residence. The apartment are connected to one another with indoor balconies and a faceted stairwell, but that residents can also climb up one of the existing steel columns or glide down using the two-stage slide.

exterior view 01 - © David Hotson Architectexterior view 01 – © David Hotson Architect

In the intervening decades this penthouse has been gradually surrounded by the astonishing vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan. From the private elevator vestibule, lit by a skylight which frames the apex of the adjacent skyscraper sixty stories above, the ramped entrance hall passes through the facetted shaft of the stairwell. The original riveted steel structure –among the very earliest steel frames used in skyscraper construction in New York City- threads through the stairwell, slipping past the seamless glass bridge to reach the glass floor of the attic four stories above the entrance level.

In the main living space the original steel frame was reconfigured to allow the space to ascend to the underside of the hipped penthouse roof four stories above. The 50-foot-tall living space tapers upward past a mid-level balcony suspended in the steel framework, to an inclined glass wall which encloses one end of the at the attic level –and provides a vertiginous view down to the main level four stories below.

Living Room - © David Hotson ArchitectLiving Room – © David Hotson Architect

At the other end of the attic, a circular hole cut into a similar outward sloping glass partition provides the entrance to the slide. The mirror polished tubular stainless steel slide provides for a quick descent –sweeping over a bedroom, out through a window, and over the stair, before coiling down through the library ceiling to arrive at the flared rectangular exit opposite the penthouse entrance.

All of the spaces of this residence exploit its situation above the Manhattan cityscape with vistas channeled through all four levels of the penthouse structure at a range of scale to capture framed views of iconic structures in the surrounding three-dimensional cityscape. While the true nature of these spaces can only be revealed to a visitor encountering them in the experienced present, the images re-presented here provide a glimpse of the experience of this house in the sky above the city of New York.

Living Room - © David Hotson ArchitectLiving Room – © David Hotson Architect

David Hotson Architect


SkyHouse is residence constructed within a previously unoccupied penthouse structure at the summit of one of the earliest surviving skyscrapers in New York City. With its steep hipped roof of projecting dormers and chimneys set over a base of enormous arched windows, the exterior of the penthouse gives the impression of an ornate Beaux-Art mansion suspended midway within the iconic vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan. But this exterior shell was essentially an ornament for the skyline; inside was a raw space with only the original riveted steel structure -among the earliest steel frame of any surviving tower in New York- providing evidence of the late 19th century when the building was built.

exterior view 03 - © David Hotson Architectexterior view 03 – © David Hotson Architect

The enormous angel caryatids at the corners of the four-story penthouse which crowns this building serve to advertise its original role the headquarters of the American Tract Society, a publisher of religious literature which constructed this early skyscraper in 1895.

The American Tract Society building is one of the earliest -and one of the oldest surviving- steel framed skyscrapers in New York. It is the last survivor of a group of early skyscrapers, built across from City Hall to house competing publishers, which were the tallest buildings in the world at the time they were constructed in the late 19th century. The New York Tribune Building just to the north was constructed in 1875 and the domed New York World Building was the tallest in the world when completed in 1890. The World was demolished in 1955, and the Tribune in 1966, leaving the Tract Society Building as the only surviving skyscraper from Newspaper Row.

The height of the penthouse and the configuration of the existing steel framing supporting it, permitted four interior levels: a main level occupying the full floor at the base of the penthouse, a mezzanine of home office space overlooking the main level, a third level of bedrooms set at the base of the tapering roof, and a fourth attic level set into a triangular prism of space just beneath the truss which supports the roof ridge.

exterior view 06 - © David Hotson Architectexterior view 06 – © David Hotson Architect


The private elevator landing opens into a tall vestibule, tapering upward to a seamless rectangular oculus which provides a view of the sculpted summit of the adjacent skyscraper. From the elevator vestibule, the floor slopes gently upward, passing under the twisting shaft of the stairwell to arrive at the main level of the penthouse.

Entry & Stairwell - © David Hotson ArchitectEntry & Stairwell – © David Hotson Architect

The stairwell shaft ascends through the full height of the penthouse, visually linking the entry hall with the structural glass floor of the attic four stories above. The stair itself wraps around the stairwell. The facetted surfaces of the stairwell converge on apertures, trimmed in mirror polished stainless steel, which provide views into and through the stairwell from the surrounding spaces.

Entry & Stairwell - © David Hotson ArchitectEntry & Stairwell – © David Hotson Architect

At the third level a structural glass bridge traverses the stairwell shaft passing through stainless-trimmed openings at either end. The original riveted steel structure –clad in intumescent paint- threads through the faceted stairwell slipping through apertures into adjacent rooms.

Entry & Stairwell - © David Hotson ArchitectEntry & Stairwell – © David Hotson Architect


The entrance to a tubular slide, constructed from mirror-polished stainless steel, emerges through a circular hole cut in the seamless sloping glass partition at the south end of the Attic. The cylindrical helical slide flares to an ellipse which is sectioned on the angle of the inclined glass wall resulting in a circular opening where the slide emerges through the glass. This circular opening creates an illusion of flatness contradicted by the sideways path of the slide as it begins its descent.

Slide - © David Hotson ArchitectSlide – © David Hotson Architect

​Visitors are invited to select a yellow cashmere blanket from the pile beside the entrance to speed their trip to the bottom…. The first leg of the slide passes through the attic glass, coils around the column and over the double-height guest bedroom, then slips through a second seamless glass window and out over the stair.

Windows in the slide admit natural light from the dormer windows and provide a fleeting vistas through the entire length of the penthouse. To compete with the drama of the slide as it sweeps through the space and out the window to the stair, interior designer Ghislaine Vinas installed a startling mural, inspired by Michael Jackson’s Neverland, in the only vertical wall in the room. The saturated colors of the mural are fractured in the mirror polished facets of the slide, scatting patterns of color along the inner surface of the slide.

Slide - © David Hotson ArchitectSlide – © David Hotson Architect

At the bedroom entrance a landing provides an opportunity to make a local stop at the third level or to re-enter the slide to continue down to the entrance level. ​The lower slide coils down through the ceiling and into the Library on the main level, suspended from a single point within the floor structure above. As it reaches the end, the helical slide tube flares out to create a distorted rectangular mirror which forms the wall of the Library and deposits the intrepid visitor back in the Entrance Gallery at the foot of the staircase.

Slide - © David Hotson ArchitectSlide – © David Hotson Architect

Living Room:

The main living space occupies the entire north end of the penthouse. Here the ceiling rises to the underside of the third level terrace and then tapers upward through the full fifty-foot height of the penthouse structure. At the midpoint, a reading balcony is suspended on the exposed structural girders. At the attic level the outward sloping glass wall provides a vertiginous vista down to the Living Space four levels below. Furniture, fabrics, and finishes were designed by Ghislaine Viñas of Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design.

Living Room - © David Hotson ArchitectLiving Room – © David Hotson Architect

Center Bedroom:

The vault of the arched dormer window extends into the center bedroom, carving out a volume of space over the glass topped desk. In addition to providing a well-lit surface for working and a perfectly framed view of the spire of the 1914 Woolworth Building, the glass desk provides light to the dining area and stairwell below; the enclosure beneath the glass desktop folds in to create space for sitting but the open space beneath the glass extends through to the levels below, allowing light from the third level dormer window to spill into the entry and creating inexplicable views between the different levels of the penthouse.

Center Bedroom - © David Hotson ArchitectCenter Bedroom – © David Hotson Architect

Set into the dormer at the opposite side of the bedroom, the alcove bed occupies a wedge of space extending up to the attic level oculus window.

Center Bedroom - © David Hotson ArchitectCenter Bedroom – © David Hotson Architect

North Bedroom:

In order to provide more sources of natural light for the tall pyramidal living room, the volume of the vault of the dormer windows at the third level is extruded in through the dormer window on one side of the penthouse, across the entire width of the third level, and out the window on the opposite side.

North Bedroom - © David Hotson ArchitectNorth Bedroom – © David Hotson Architect

​This linear volume intersects with the sloping surfaces at the pyramidal living room volume, creating voids through the light from the dormers spills in to reach both the bedroom and the living space below.

A shutter slides across the dormer volume to provide privacy when the bedroom is in use.

North Bedroom - © David Hotson ArchitectNorth Bedroom – © David Hotson Architect

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Skyhouse
Location: New York, United States
Coordinates: 40.711610,-74.006020
Type: Apartment Interior
Project Year: 2011
Status: Completed
Completion Year: 2012

  • 2013 – Architizer A+ Awards – Category: Residential Interiors – Jury Winner
  • 2012 – Interior Design Magazine Award – Category: Residence – APARTMENT Over 2,000 – Best of Year (BOY Awards) – Winners


[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: David Hotson Architect – 151 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor, New York City, 10013 United States
Interior Designer: Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design – 67 vestry street, no.8b ny 10013, United States
Project Team: Celso Oshiro, Jean Oliveira, Paulo Maignardi, Rafael Miliari, Raphael Lima, Vanessa Bercini
Builder: SilverLining Interiors
Text Description: © Courtesy of David Hotson Architect, architizer
Images: © David Hotson Architect

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© flickr-Daniel Mease

The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs / E. Fay Jones

[highlight1]  The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs  [/highlight1]

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Ark., The small but soaring glass and cross-braced pine chapel, designed by the late E. Fay Jones, the 1990 AIA Gold Medalist, nestles into an eight-acre woodland setting on a sloping hillside in the Ozark Mountains. It stands 48 feet with 24-foot-wide by 60-foot-long dimensions for a total of 1,440 square feet. Its 425 windows, made of 6,000 square feet of glass, filter woodland light across its upward diamond-shaped pine trusses to form ever-changing patterns of light and shadow throughout the day and night.

Chapel at Dusk - © The Thorncrown ChapelChapel at Dusk – © The Thorncrown Chapel

Built in 1980, the Chapel immediately began winning design awards from national and international groups. The first award came in 1981, and in 2006 the building was again honored with a 25 year award by the American Institute of Architects, which uses the award to recognize buildings that have had a dramatic impact on the profession. Widely studied, the design principles of the Chapel have been seen in imitation buildings as far away as Nebraska.

The materials of the building are further remarkable in that almost all the materials came from the Eureka Springs area. It was a local, green project before such things were hip. Designed to allow people to enjoy God in nature, the Thorncrown Chapel is open to the public. April to November it is open from 9 am to 5 pm, and 11 am to 4 pm in March and December. The Chapel is completely closed in January and February.

Thorncrown at Night - © The Thorncrown ChapelThorncrown at Night – © The Thorncrown Chapel

Due to the popularity of the Chapel, there is a long list for those who wish to have events at the building. Overflow space has been created to accommodate additional requests to use the area for ceremonies, but for those seeking a June wedding in the Chapel it will be necessary to book far in advance or consider a Friday or Sunday wedding.

Five million people have visited Thorncrown Chapel since it opened in 1980. The nondenominational Christian chapel serves as the site for an average of 300 weddings each year. Thorncrown, which received a national AIA Honor Award in 1981, is fourth on the AIA’s Top 10 list of 20th-century structures. Robert Ivy, FAIA, architecture scholar, critic, and Jones’ biographer, described Thorncrown as “arguably among the 20th century’s great works of art.”

Chapel from Side 02 - © The Thorncrown ChapelChapel from Side 02 – © The Thorncrown Chapel

Ozark Gothic architectural landmark:

Thorncrown Chapel sits in the Ozark woods, inspired by Sainte Chappelle, Paris’ light-filled Gothic chapel. Jones referred to Thorncrown’s style as “Ozark Gothic” since he wanted to use solely native woodland elements to form the chapel structure matched to its natural setting.

The vertical and diagonal cross-tension trusses support a folded roof and are made from local pine but are no larger than what could be carried through the woods (larger trusses were assembled on the floor and raised into place). All of the wood was hand-rubbed with a grayish stain to blend with the bark of the surrounding trees and stone. Hollow steel joints link the cross-braces to form diamond-shaped lighting. The walls are just clear glass. The floor is made of flagstone and surrounded with a rock wall to give the feeling that the chapel is part of its Ozark mountainside. Looking upward inside the chapel a visitor will see the complex of trusses to perceive a crown of thorns.

© flickr-Daniel Mease© flickr-Daniel Mease

Traditional exterior Gothic buttressing was replaced by Jones with interior, interlocking wooden arms to keep the exterior walls upright. Jones called this reverse result of Gothic cathedral architecture “operative opposite.” Openings at each end focus attention on the altar and the Ozarks. Visitors enter through an angular Gothic doorway. The only steel is in the diamond-shaped patterns in the trusses.

The minimal furnishings consist of uniform oak pews; 12 oak lanterns; blue cloth; and sculptural metal in places such as the chapel cross, lectern, pew support bars, door handles, and lighting grates. The overall effect is considered a forest within a forest. It’s a place, Jones once said, “to think your best thoughts.”

© flickr-Keith Ewing© flickr-Keith Ewing

Let the outside in:

“Let the outside in” was a principle of Jones’ chief mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the most important element of Jones’ design at Thorncrown. Thus, Thorncrown never looks quite the same. Its appearance changes during each hour of the day and during the different seasons of the year. Jones stated he “saw the potential for light play on the structure.” So he enlarged the roof-ridge skylight to increase “the sense of drama.” At night, the 12 wall lanterns, each attached to a column and illuminating a cross, form infinite reflections in the glass to give the perception of infinite crosses throughout the forest. The chapel’s skylights also reflect the pine beams at night through the glass to form crosses that appear to surround the entire building.

View from Pulpit - © The Thorncrown ChapelView from Pulpit – © The Thorncrown Chapel

With light come shadows. As example are the shadows of trusses that dance on the flagstone floor to emulate the outside branches, while also reinforcing the truss right angles and diamond patterns to generate a patterned perspective through the entire chapel. It’s interesting to note that despite its small, gabled-shed structure, the chapel appears, on approach, as if it were the largest tree in the area because of the sunlight, generating a manmade and natural appearance. The 1981 AIA Honor Award jury noted, “One experiences pleasure and a sense of discovery upon arriving. Using minimal means, this chapel is a spiritual space.”

Chapel Lights - © The Thorncrown ChapelChapel Lights – © The Thorncrown Chapel

A dream made real:

Thorncrown was the dream of retired teacher Jim Reed, a native of Pine Bluff, Ark. In 1971 Reed purchased the land that is now the site of the chapel to build his retirement cabin. However, other people admired the location and would stop at his property to view the beautiful Ozark hills. “It became evident to us that the tourists liked our driveway,” Dell Reed, widow of Jim Reed, said in a 2004 interview. “They would come into our driveway and have picnics. One afternoon Jim said ‘wouldn’t it be great if somehow, way back in the woods, we could build those folks a glass chapel?’ They all seem to want to get off the highway and into the woods.”

© flickr-Keith Ewing© flickr-Keith Ewing

E. Fay Jones

“I saw opportunity here to create architecture. The distinction I am making is that all building isn’t architecture, just as all writing isn’t literature or poetry, even though the spelling, grammar, and syntax might be correct. There is something in architecture that touches people in a special way, and I hoped to do that with this chapel.”

  • Jones passed away on August 31, 2004, at his home in Fayetteville, Ark., at the age of 83, survived by his wife and two daughters. He will always be recognized as the man who built Thorncrown Chapel, and remembered as one of the leading architects of the 20th century.

E. Fay Jones - © AIAE. Fay Jones – © AIA

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: The Thorncrown Chapel
Location: 12968 Highway 62 W, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632, United States
Coordinates: 36.416264,-93.772819
Type: Chapel
Materials: Steel and glass
Site Area: 7.6 acres (3.1 ha)
Project Area: 1,440 sq.ft
Status: Completed
Completion Year: 1980

  • 2013 Tripadvisor Awards – Ranked No.5 of 25 attractions in Eureka Springs
  • 2006 The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – Twenty-five Year Award

Visit The Thorncrown Chapel’s website: here

[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Domenic Alvaro
Architects: E. Fay Jones – Arkansas 72632, United States
Text Description: © Courtesy of The Thorncrown Chapel, AIA
Images: © The Thorncrown Chapel, flickr-Daniel Mease, flickr-Keith Ewing, flickr-PhotoFan32, flickr-Elise Johnson, flickr-BrianinLR

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© Hufton + Crow

CMA CGM Headquarters / Zaha Hadid Architects

[highlight1]  CMA CGM Headquarters  [/highlight1]


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he CMA CGM tower is one of the highest towers for offices, in the city of Marseilles. Situated in the Euromediterranée area of the city, this tower – designed by Zaha Hadid – houses the head offices of the maritim transport company CMA CGM, 3rd world groupe of containers maritim transport.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Rising in a metallic curving arc that slowly lifts and accelerates skywards into the dramatic vertical geometry of its revolutionary forms. With its ultimate coordinate 142.8 metres above the ground, a gateway to the city from both land and sea, an iconic vertical element that interacts with Marseille’s other significant landmarks.

Connected by a curved glass bridge, the fluid shape of which is an elegant extension of the façade, the “annex” reproduces the main building’s measurements horizontally (135 m long). Contrary to what the name implies, this annex plays a vital role as it contains all the equipment required to ensure life runs smoothly in the Tower: information systems, generators, refrigeration units, boiler rooms and so on.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The project features:

  • 147 m high, this tower is the highest in Marseilles and the second highest tower of the province, after the Part-Dieu in Lyons.
  • It will shelter 2,400 employees of CMA CGM which were working on 7 separate sites before then.
  • The embankment, foundations and structural works were given to GTM (Grands Travaux de Marseille – Big Works of Marseilles).
  • By the tower, a secondary building will house the technical premises, an underground 5-storey high parking lot, a company restaurant and the IT rooms.
  • Four years of works were necessary to complete the construction of this tower according to seismic parameters, the first in Marseilles.
  • The architect multiplicated technical challenges, such as assembling 1,172 piles with different shapes in order to adapt the building to the mutliple shapes of the identity of CMA CGM. Nothing will transpire: just like a second skin on the outside façades, an elegant glass layer ensures the necessary opacity.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow


The new Headquarter tower for CMA CGM in Marseille, France rises in a metallic curving arc that slowly lifts from the ground and accelerates skywards into the dramatic vertical geometry of its revolutionary forms. The disparate volumes of the tower are generated from a number of gradual centripetal vectors that emerge from within the solid ground surface, gently converge towards each other, and then bend apart, towards its ultimate co-ordinate 142.8 metres above the ground. The tower’s structural columns define, and are enclosed within, a double façade system that reflect these centripetal vectors, generating a dynamic symbiosis between a fixed structural core of this Head Office and its peripheral array of columns.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Marseille, one of the largest cities in France, is an historic Provencal city centred around the centuries-old harbour, with a rich past of several cultural interventions from Phoenician, to Greek, to the Romans. This fortified city has grown into a cosmopolitan metropolis due to its development into one of the most important international ports in Europe. With the city’s distinguished naval history, and the unique sighting of the CMA CGM tower beside both the harbour and the major motorway interchange, there is an opportunity to provide a highly visible landmark building to act as a gateway to the city from both land and sea. This new tower would be an iconic vertical element that interacts with the other significant landmarks of Marseille: La Major; the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde; the Fort St. Jean; and the Chateau d’If.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The key challenge for the design of the CMA CGM Headquarter tower is the integration of the building environment and the creation of a totally unique, iconic edifice. The current CMA CGM headquarters distinguishes itself with a prominent position within immediate vicinity of the Mirabeau site. Flowing past the site on both sides is an elevated motorway viaduct that bifurcates at the western edge of the new tower’s location. At ground level, a major new transport interchange will allow pedestrians to access the new public transport facilities for the this district of Marseille. Whilst the quai and its waterways are also adjacent to site of the new tower. Directly at the confluence of this dynamic urban movement, the new Tower would accentuate its verticality and create a signature feature that would set a commanding new presence.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Environmentally-friendly elements:

  • A chilled beam air conditioning system combining comfort and lower energy costs
  • Better natural lighting (all offices, most in open space configuration, are receiving direct sunlight)
  • Dual-skin façade for better heat efficiency
  • Energy efficient building facilities

A substantial project:

  • 2 millions working hours,
  • 45 semi trucks, that is 1000 tons of building materials delivered every day
  • A monthly volume of concrete equivalent to 3 Olympic swimming pools
  • 6,300 glass panels equivalent to 5 football fields
  • Electric cable as long as the distance between Marseilles and Paris (900 km)
  • 65,000 cubic meters of concrete (168 000 tons)
  • 7,000 tons of steel
  • 100,000 cubic meters of excavation

© Christian Richters© Christian Richters

Zaha Hadid Architects

The disparate volumes of the tower are generated from a number of gradual centripetal vectors that emerge from within the solid ground surface, gently converging towards each other and then bending apart, towards its ultimate coordinate. The tower’s structural columns define, and are enclosed within, a double façade system that reflects these centripetal vectors, generating a dynamic symbiosis between the fixed structural core of the Head Office and its peripheral array of columns.

The key design challenge was the integration of the building environment and the creation of a totally unique, iconic edifice.

© Christian Richters© Christian Richters

Flowing past the Mirabeau site on both sides is an elevated motorway viaduct that bifurcates at the western edge of the new tower’s location. At ground level, a major new interchange allows pedestrians to access new public transport facilities, whilst the quay and its waterways are also adjacent to our site.

Directly at the confluence of this dynamic urban movement, the new tower accentuates its verticality and creates a signature feature that sets a commanding new presence.

The unique design strategy of the new CMA CGM Headquarters divides the overall volume into smaller fragments and reassembles them in a way that maintains the integral uniformity of the tower but with design elements that optimise its relationship with the city of Marseille.

© Iwan Baan© Iwan Baan

Detailed exploration and research has created the possibility of a more elegant fluid, sculptural form. The building maintains regularity in the upper levels whilst the lower portion ‘morphs’ from the vertical to the horizontal to relate to the extreme horizontal energy of pedestrian, automobile, tram and shipping movements at ground level.

The curving profiles on the exterior façades work with the central core of the building, bringing a rigid frame and a sense of movement to this completely new typology of tower.

© public domain© public domain

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: CMA CGM Headquarters
Location: 4 Quai d’Arenc, 13002 Marseille, France
Coordinates: 43.315085,5.365877
Type: Office Building, Skyscraper
Specific Use of Building: Office Tower
Project Area:

  • Site Area: 8,400 sqm
  • Total floor Area: 94,000 sqm
  • Gross floor Area: 64,000 sqm
  • Footprint Area: 6,000 sqm
  • Total Exterior Glass Surface Area: 53,000 sqm

Building Details:

  • 147 meters tall
  • 75 meters at its widest point
  • 33 stories high (each story measuring 2.8 meters)
  • Total capacity: 2700 persons
  • 20 elevators (including 2 with panoramic view and 5 freight elevators) in the Tower and “Annexe” building
  • Parking lots: 12,500 sqm 5 parking levels (770 parking spaces for cars and 200 for two-wheel vehicles)

Project Year: 2005-2010
Status: Built
Cost: € 120,000,000
Completion Year: March 2012

[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: CGA CGM
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects – Studio London, 10 Bowling Green Lane, London, United Kingdom
Design Architect:Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Project Director: Jim Heverin
Project Architect: Stephane Vallotton, Karim Muallem
Project Team: Karim Muallem, Simone Contasta, Leonie Heinrich, Alvin Triestanto, Muriel Boselli, Eugene Leung, Bhushan Mantri, Jerome Michel, Nerea Feliz, Prashanth Sridharan,Birgit Eistert, Evelyn Gono, Marian Ripoll, Andres Flores, Pedja Pantovic
Competition Team: Jim Heverin, Simon Kim, Michele Pasca Di Magliano, Viviana Muscettola
Partner Architect: SRA–RTA (Paris/ Marseille)
Structural / Services: Ove Arup & Partners (London)
Facade: Ove Arup & Partners (London), Robert-Jan Van Santen Associates (Lille)
Cost / QS: R2M (Marseille)
Text Description: © Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, CMA CGM
Images: © Zaha Hadid Architects, Hufton + Crow, Iwan Baan, Christian Richters

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© Hufton + Crow

Musée du Louvre-Lens / SANAA

[highlight1]  Musée du Louvre-Lens  [/highlight1]

Situated on a former coal mine in Lens, a quiet town in northern France, the newly opened branch of the Musée du Louvre stands as a stunning essay in transparency and geometry. Designed by the Japanese firm SANAA in collaboration with the Manhattan studio Imrey Culbert.

Inside the 260,000-square-foot space—where works are exhibited in century-spanning thematic displays rather than chronologically—wall surfaces alternate between soaring expanses of glass and aluminum panels that reflect the art and landscape like shifting abstract murals.

The 360 meter long, steel and glass structure is integrated within a 20 hectare wasteland that was originally used as a coal mine before the 1960s. It is expected to attract 500,000 visitors every year and envisioned to help revitalize the post-industrial town.

© Iwan Baan© Iwan Baan

A Park Museum:

Providing a huge exterior area for a museum is an integral part of the Louvre project in the regions. The Louvre-Lens, designed in close coordination between architects and landscapers, presents an unprecedented relationship and dialog between the museum and the landscaped setting surrounding it. This porous relationship between architecture and setting is often reflected in the term «Park Museum». Despite its impressive size, the museum is harmoniously and subtly embedded into its surroundings, the former coal mine taken over by nature, whose fragile beauty and entire breadth have been preserved.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The Architectural Design:

The choice of placing the museum on a former mine illustrates the intent of the museum to participate in the conversion of the mining area, while retaining the richness of its industrial past. The Louvre-Lens site is located on 20 hectares of wasteland that was once a major coal mine and has since been taken over by nature since its closing in 1960. The land presents some slight elevation, the result of excess fill from the mine.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The Japanese architects from SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa wanted to avoid creating a dominating fortress, opting instead for a low, easily accessible structure that integrates into the site without imposing on it by its presence. The structure is made up of five building of steel and glass. There are four rectangles and one large square with slightly curved walls whose angles touch. It is reminiscent of the Louvre palace, with its wings laid almost flat. The architects wanted to bring to mind boats on a river coming together to dock gently with each other. The facades are in polished aluminum, in which the park is reflected, ensuring continuity between the museum and the surrounding landscape. The roofs are partially in glass, reflecting a particular advantage to bringing in light, both for exhibiting the works and for being able to the sky from inside the building. Natural light is controlled by means of a concealment device in the roof and interior shades forming the ceiling. Designed as an answer to the vaulted ceiling, the surface retains in its light the change of seasons, hours and exhibitions.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The entire structure of 28,000 square meters extends over 360 meters long from one end of a central foyer in transparent glass to the other. The buildings located to the East of the entrance – the Grande Galerie and the Glass Pavilion – primarily house the Louvre’s collections. To the West of the entrance is the temporary exhibition gallery and La Scène, a vast «new generation» auditorium, whose programs are in direct relation with the exhibitions.

The museum also includes a large, invisible, two level space, buried deep in fill from the site. This space will be dedicated to service functions for the public, but will also be used for storage and logistical functions of the museum. Two independent buildings house the administrative services, to the South, and a restaurant, to the North, thus establishing a link between the museum, the park and the city.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The Landscaping Design:

The park is an essential component of the museum’s identity and it helps to make a visit to Louvre-Lens an enriching and wide reaching experience. It combines a diversity of places and fixtures, to include a forecourt, a clearing, pasture areas, grasslands, terrace, a small lake, a pioneer forest, gardens, paths and an esplanade, serving a variety of functions:

  • Orient and guide visitors to the museum. From the station, the various parking lots and the surroundings, featuring no fewer than 11 entrances into the park, will guide visitors along walking paths to the museum entrances.
  • Extend the museum outside of its walls, through cultural and show events such as concerts, screenings and shows. The museum park is set up to be able to greet a large group of people, especially the North esplanade and the meadow to the East of the park.
  • Promote the adoption of the museum by all inhabitants of Lens and its region: The park is also intended to be a place for life, relaxation and leisure. A nearby garden, ideal for walks and meeting up with neighbors.

© Julien Lanoo© Julien Lanoo

The park will furthermore provide a strong link between the museum, the city and the surrounding territory: This place has been designed to highlight the memory and history associated with the site. The designers used the vestiges of the mining operations on the site, known as «Shaft number 9» for inspiration. Thus the paths follow the course of former paths, rails that linked the pits to the station for moving coal dug out of the mine. The historical site and mine entrance have also been preserved and incorporated as benchmark elements of the project.

From the park, the qualities of the entire territory hold the place of honor through view points over the urban landscape and distant horizons.

Vegetation also received particular attention through the preservation of rare species on site and planting of native species as well as non-native plants, intended to set the conditions for a sustainable landscaped environment that infuses the museum with long-term vitality.Access to the park is free of charge and it will be open outside of museum hours.

© Julien Lanoo© Julien Lanoo

Presentation of the project by SANAA architects: Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa:

In keeping with a desire to maintain the openness of the site and to reduce the ascendancy of this large project, the building was broken down into several spaces. Through their size and layout, which follow the gradual changes in terrain elevation, the buildings achieve balance with the scale of the site and the shape of the paths, landscape features evoking its mining history.

In order to visually and physically open up the site, the main glassed area features a hollow in the core of the building. This delicate glass box serves as an entry hall to the museum and is a genuine public space for the city of Lens. It is transparent and opens up to several directions of the site, and it can be crossed through to get to different quarters of the city.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The project avoids the strict, rectilinear shapes that would have conflicted with the subtle character of the site, as well as of free shapes that would have been overly restrictive from the perspective of the museum’s internal operations. The slight inflection of the spaces is in tune with the long curved shape of the site and creates a subtle distortion of the inner areas while maintaining a graceful relationship with the artwork. The spaces are contained by a façade of anodized, polished aluminum that reverts a blurred and fuzzy image of the sites contours, reflections that change as one strolls by depending on the landscaping and available light. The main exhibition buildings flank the entry hall, the Grande Galerie on one side and the temporary exhibition hall on the other. The entrance hall leads to a lower level that contains storage space and artwork restoration areas. The museum thus opens its rear areas to the public.

In the park, two free standing buildings house the administration offices and the restaurant, linking the museum to the city. The entry to the museum is located at the center of the former pit and is the historical access to the site, rising gently from Paul Bert street. The transparent areas in the building provide views of the surrounding wood and the city of Lens. This entry point provides a perspective of the entire building and of the panorama over the park reflected in the glass and aluminum surfaces. The entry area was designed as a void that is part of the landscape and visible from everywhere. It takes in visitors arriving at the museum from the main North entrance, as well as from the grassy areas to the East and the wood from the West. This large, transparent area of 68.5 X 58.5 meters is an ample space within which diverse functional areas exist for the museum’s visitors. There is a bookshop, a cafeteria for meeting friends, a place to obtain information about the exhibitions; or one can simply cross the hall to go from one side or the other of the park or the site. The glass «bubbles» are 3 meters high and seem to float within the interior of the hall. They are primarily for publicrelated functions and provide areas for individual experiences.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Access to the first lower level of the building is at the center of the hall, inciting visitors to enter the art storage area and the services area containing washrooms and dressing rooms. Also on the first lower level may be found the group meeting area, providing a specific greeting location without interfering with the normal flow of individual visitors. Staff areas have their own entrance and are located in the center of the museum, also on the first lower level. The sitting room is located to the south of the hall, in one of the glass bubbles. Although it is closely connected to all museum activities, it is still a more intimate space apart. The floor of the hall is a layer of concrete with a light colored finish.

Slim steel columns painted white support the metallic roof structure.Openings overhead reflect the geometric themes present in the hall, to the right of openings in the slab that direct light to the lower level. The ceiling is covered with sheets of perforated aluminum of a very light color, reflecting natural light and drifting over the entire underside. The facades are large, full-height glass bays that are double insulated. A system of roll-down shades provides protection from the sun.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Presentation by Catherine Mosbach – Landscape Design:

From as far as the view carries from the four horizons of the Loos-en-Gohelle hills, visitors follow the former paths under locust trees. The Louvre-Lens museum park occupies a horizontal hillock resulting from the storage of mining operations waste that attains elevations of up to 4 meters above the adjoining «garden cities».

The terrain is joined to the four points of the compass over several kilometers by what remains of the paths: rail infrastructure installed for transporting coal to stations and ports. Through this the Museum Park profoundly irrigates the surrounding land, just as the garden cities naturally come up through these gentle paths to the threshold of the Louvre-Lens exhibition galleries. Here is where rhythms oscillate between light and shade contrasts of the forest edge and the glare of the clearings. The vectors of the five principal paths wind through the parallel to visitor service routes.

© Hisao Suzuki© Hisao Suzuki

Alongside the main routes, which are direct paths, an array of smaller paths invite people to less purposeful strolls, slower paths, to visit the garden and the flat show areas.

The oblong shape of the park that traces its industrial goods flow logic softened the way the land was landscaped. The abandoned railways were the first enclaves for vegetation to flourish, resulting in a volunteer forest to the west and flora and fauna laden corridors on the borders of overgrown pathways. The critical mass of this spontaneous, flourishing vegetation as well as that of the adjoining garden cities is a major advantage for this urban setting. What was needed was to connect the original vegetative vitality to the attractiveness of the terrain and the cultural dynamics of the museum itself, to the show platforms and the gentle slopes of the paths that are a vestige of the mining base. In other words, the park revives the living memory the cycle of plant materials to coal transformed into an economic resource, then in inverse symmetry, from coal to plants that becomes an heritage resource.

© Hisao Suzuki© Hisao Suzuki

Among the reception facilities are rest areas, hemmed grassy areas around relaxation spots on the forecourt, or monoliths in hollows backing silt garden beds. These provide picnic locations, pedagogic aids associated with the temporary gallery exhibition, memorial gardens calling to mind the plant to coal cycle or simply nearby green spaces with full southern exposure. The area of the cleared park is anchored by prairie formations surrounded by wood borders: high grassy fields going from East to West peppered with mown grass avenues, miniature gardens near the residential quarters, grassy couches and mossy halos near the
center, a cortege of young plants everywhere as undergrowth.

The contours of the project mix exterior with interior, open to the paths of the populations like the work of time, water, vegetation, forming to produce landscaped areas and the work of people in real time.

  • This is neither a public park nor a peri-urban forest: It is a museum in a regenerating natural park.

© Julien Lanoo© Julien Lanoo


The choice of placing the museum on a former mine illustrates the intent of the museum to participate in the conversion of the mining area, while retaining the richness of its industrial past. The Louvre-Lens site is located on 20 hectares of wasteland that was once a major coal mine and has since been taken over by nature since its closing in 1960. The land presents some slight elevation, the result of excess fill from the mine.

The Japanese architects from SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa wanted to avoid creating a dominating fortress, opting instead for a low, easily accessible structure that integrates into the site without imposing on it by its presence. The structure is made up of five building of steel and glass. There are four rectangles and one large square with slightly curved walls whose angles touch.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

It is reminiscent of the Louvre palace, with its wings laid almost flat. The architects wanted to bring to mind boats on a river coming together to dock gently with each other. The facades are in polished aluminum, in which the park is reflected, ensuring continuity between the museum and the surrounding landscape. The roofs are partially in glass, reflecting a particular advantage to bringing in light, both for exhibiting the works and for being able to the sky from inside the building.

Natural light is controlled by means of a concealment device in the roof and interior shades forming the ceiling. Designed as an answer to the vaulted ceiling, the surface retains in its light the change of seasons, hours and exhibitions.

The entire structure of 28,000 square meters extends over 360 meters long from one end of a central foyer in transparent glass to the other. The buildings located to the East of the entrance – the Grande Galerie and the Glass Pavilion – primarily house the Louvre’s collections.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

To the West of the entrance is the temporary exhibition gallery and La Scène, a vast – new generation – auditorium, whose programs are in direct relation with the exhibitions.

The museum also includes a large, invisible, two level space, buried deep in fill from the site. This space will be dedicated to service functions for the public, but will also be used for storage and logistical functions of the museum. Two independent buildings house the administrative services, to the South, and a restaurant, to the North, thus establishing a link between the museum, the park and the city.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Studio Adrien Gardère

In 2005, the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa – SANAA agency, 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate – and Their team (SANAA + I / C + Mosbach) won the international competition to design the Louvre-Lens museum.

In 2009, SANAA contracted Adrien Gardere the Studio to design all the museography museum and exhibition spaces. The Studio Adrien Gardere Collaborated with JM. Sanchez and J. Roger of On-Situ for all multimedia and mediation, and the Swiss designers D. Bruni and Mr. Krebs of Norm , for all the graphic design and signage of the museum.

The Louvre-Lens museum displays some two hundred artworks icts in the permanent gallery called Expired ” Time Gallery “measuring over 125 meters long and with a surface of area of over 3,200 sqm. This exhibition space contains masterpieces from every department of the Louvre, and is one-of-a-kind gallery, designed to present a single stream of artworks, source of discovery, knowledge, and wonder for visitors. The strictly chronological presentation illustrates and Reflects the history of the empires of the Middle East, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and finally of Islam and Europe.

  • The Louvre-Lens was Inaugurated by President Francois Hollande on December 12th, 2012 and opened to the public on December the 12th 2012.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Musée du Louvre-Lens
Location: Lens, Pas-de-Calais, France
Coordinates: 50.430689, 2.803303
Type: Museum, Gallery, Memorial & Museum Space
Specific Use of Building: Art museum and exhibition spaces
Floors: 1 +1 under ground
Project Area:

  • Site Area: 20 acres
  • Total floor area: 28,000 sqm
  • Total exhibition area: 7,000 sqm (3000 m2 of permanent exhibition halls / 2,500 m2 temporary exhibition halls)
  • Gross floor space: 14,000 sqm
  • Façade area: 6,600 sqm
  • Roof area: 12,500
  • Auditorium: 280 seats
  • Total parking area: 20 ha

Number of visitors expected in the first year: 700,000, with an average of 500,000 from 2014 onwards
Competition Year: 2005
Project Year: 2009 – 2012
Building period: 2010–2012
Opening Date: December 12th, 2012
Status: Built
Cost: EUR 150 million
Completion Year: 2012
Visit Musée du Louvre-Lens’s website:  here

[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Regional Council of Nord-Pas de Calais
Architects: SANAA / Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa – Tokyo, Japan
Museum design: Studio Imrey Culbert, New York
Museography: Studio Adrien Gardère – 62, rue Tiquetonne 75002 Paris, France
Landscape Design: Mosbach Paysagistes – 81 rue Fishmongers, 75018 Paris 18ème, France
MEP and Structural Engineers: Betom Ingénierie
Energy and Comfort Concept: Transplan
Environmental Design Engineers: Hubert Penicaud
Structure Concept Consultant: Sasaki & Partners
Structural and Facade Engineering: Bollinger & Grohmann, Frankfurt am Main
Artificial and Natural Daylighting: Arup
Text Description: © Courtesy of Louvre-Lens, SANAA, Studio Adrien Gardère, louvrelens.claudinecolin
Images: © SANAA, Studio Adrien Gardère, Iwan Baan, Hufton + Crow, Hisao Suzuki, Catherine Mosbach

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© Hufton + Crow

King’s Cross Station / John McAslan + Partners

[highlight1]  King’s Cross Station  [/highlight1]

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he refurbishment of the Grade I Listed Western Range is a fundamental part of the overall King’s Cross redevelopment programme. The design and construction teams from Arup, John McAslan + Partners, and VINCI Construction, along with key external stakeholders English Heritage and Camden Council, have sympathetically restored the 150 year old building to reflect its heritage, meet the current operational needs of the station and its staff, and complement the new Western Concourse.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

  • Creating an integrated transport facility above and below ground at London’s busiest station is an enormous challenge, and the engineers have risen to this by creating a truly elegant and world class solution.
  • The achievement of the new diagrid roof in the form of a dramatic half-dome structure is a testament to the skill of the structural engineers, who have managed to disguise the many technical challenges to make the structure appear to float effortlessly overhead.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

King’s Cross Station, London, has become the heart and pulse of Britain’s biggest nexus of mixed-use urban regeneration. After decades of profound urban blight, the commercial and social transformation around the station has been astonishing. The gradual regeneration of the Regent Quarter, along York Way, east of the station, started the process. Now, the £2 billion King’s Cross Central scheme is creating 8 million sqft of mixed-use space in new and modernised Victorian industrial buildings to the north.

King’s Cross Station demonstrates Network Rail’s commitment to improving rail infrastructure, and our daily lives, through strategic investment. The Grade I listed 1852 station, designed by Lewis Cubitt and operated by Network Rail, is nearing the end of its decade-long £500 million modernisation by John McAslan + Partners (JMP). The building is pivotal, anchoring the junctions of Euston Road, Pancras Road, York Way, Gray’s Inn Road and Pentonville Road. The Station serves in excess of 60 million passengers a year; millions more drive or walk past it.

By 2012, the Station’s meticulously restored façade, and the forthcoming public square in front of it, will carry Cubitt’s architecture into the 21st century, creating the gateway to a unique rail travel experience – and an architecturally commanding landmark at the main approaches to King’s Cross Central and the Regent Quarter.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

The modernised station’s most compelling feature is the 185 metre wide glass and steel canopy over the new western concourse, which radiuses outwards like a graceful wave over an architecturally unique mixed-use threshold to the new booking hall and gateline. It recalls the extraordinary parabolic structures designed by the Italian master, Pier Luigi Nervi, and the form of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal in New York.

The concourse’s steel and glass structure begins its dramatic ascent next to the Station’s refurbished western range façade, flowing upwards and outwards in a fountainlike filigree of crossing parabolic trajectories. The concourse is the most strikingly innovative moment in British transport architecture for a quarter of a century, matching the impact of Stansted Airport and the Waterloo Eurostar terminal.

The retail and catering segment that sweeps around the outer edge of the concourse at mezzanine level is equally dramatic. The five million small, circular white tiles applied to prefabricated, geometrically varying surfaces made at the Dalbeattie works of Swift Horsman Ltd, will add a brilliant sense of finely crafted detail to the bulkheads and edges of the mezzanine level.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

JMP’s project leaders, Hiro Aso and Simon Goode have worked closely with Arup to ensure that the structure met the ground at 17 points, without posing any structural threat to the London Underground concourse beneath it – a series of big subsurface spaces connected to St Pancras International, and serving six Underground lines. The JMP team has worked equally closely with English Heritage and 24 stakeholder groups.

And so, King’s Cross Station becomes the most visible mark of social and commercial change in an area that, only a decade ago, was edgy and synonymous with human deprivation and poverty. What a difference now: the polychromatic Nido student tower in Pentonville Road … the Gagosian Gallery in Britannia Street … the London Wildlife Trust’s Camley Street Natural Park … children playing in Coram’s Fields … sought after small terraced houses in nearby Keystone Crescent … classical music at King’s Place, where The Guardian newspaper is edited … youngsters learning how to make more of their lives at the New Horizon Youth Centre … and, now, tens of thousands of students, professionals, and householders will throng into King’s Cross Central and the Regent Quarter.

And at the centre of it all, the glistening canopy of King’s Cross Station’s western concourse, and the hurly-burly of people coming and going.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow


London’s King’s Cross railway station in London opened in October 1952. It is one of the terminal stations on the UK’s East Coast main line, and more than 50 million commuters use its 11 platforms each year. The station was developed in two phases and involved the construction of two railway buildings. The land acquired for the station cost £65,000, while construction cost £123,500.

Operator Network Rail announced a £500m terminal restoration project in 2005. The project was approved by Camden Council in 2007, and the first phase of construction began in 2008.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

Part of the second phase of the restoration – a $250m expansion the terminal’s metro station – has been scrapped since the project began. This is because the project cost has doubled since the work began in 1999. The final cost of the whole scheme is now estimated at £650m.

The redevelopment contract for the second phase was awarded to NG Bailey in February 2010. NG Bailey will carry out the development work along with VINCI Construction and is expected to complete the project in by 2014.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

History of King’s Cross station:

The development of King’s Cross dates back to December 1848. It was constructed between 1851 and 1852, replacing the then existing temporary station built at Maiden Lane. It was designed by architect Lewis Cubitt and constructed by John and William Jay. The station has been rebuilt several times with the increase in suburban traffic. A secondary railway building was also constructed. A single-storey extension of the terminal, designed by British Rail, was completed out in 1972. The façade of the station is scheduled for demolition.

© public domain© public domain

Redevelopment project:

The redevelopment project involves replacing the arched roof of the station, building a semi-circular concourse and demolishing the existing one-storey extension. The new concourse is designed to be three times the size of the existing concourse and will integrate shops and restaurants.

The new hall will also replace the commercial area and East Coast ticket office. The concourse will provide greater access between the terminal’s intercity and suburban sections. It will improve access to London Underground, Thameslink and Eurostar services from the nearby St Pancras station.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

A third ticket hall opened in November 2009 to ease the passenger traffic and reduce waiting times. The total size of the station has been increased to from 2,000m² to 8,000m².

The roof of the station, which will be completely restored, is 105ft-wide and 800ft-long. It includes two vaults of clear arch construction. The pillars supporting the roof were initially laminated timber but later replaced with steel.

© Phil Adams© Phil Adams

Infrastructure and facilites:

The station is in the London Borough of Camden and is next door to the British Library. Two other major stations, St Pancras and Euston are within walking distance. King’s Cross has 11 platforms; the original building houses platforms one to eight, while a second is home to the remaining three. Services from the station run to northern England and Scotland, serving major cities including Cambridge, Dundee, Leeds, Peterborough, Hull, Doncaster, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The station is served by six London Underground metro routes: the Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria and Circle lines. The new ticket hall has 10 new escalators, six new step-free access lifts, 300m of new tunnels linking the ticket hall to the Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria line platforms. The Great Northern Hotel is adjacent to the terminal. The hotel, also designed by Lewis Cubitt, was opened in May 1854. There is a luggage storage facility opposite the station at the entrance of Euston road.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

John McAslan + Partners

The redevelopment of the Grade I listed King’s Cross Station is almost complete, with the demolition of the old concourse and construction of the new Southern Square under way. Major remodelling of the station has delivered improved passenger facilities, rationalised operational activities and significantly increased retail opportunities at the station. The practice has played a key role in the wider transformation of the King’s Cross area – infrastructure, social and commercial changes now connect the station with the substantial King’s Cross Central scheme north of the station, as well as improved interchange links with the London Underground, St. Pancras Station, Thameslink services, taxis and buses.

© Hufton + Crow© Hufton + Crow

This enormously complex £547m redevelopment project required a series of layered interventions involving three very different areas of architectural specialism: re-use, restoration and new build. The train-shed and range buildings have been adapted and re-used, the station’s previously obscured Grade I listed façade is being precisely restored, and a new, highly expressive and visually striking Western Concourse has been designed as the centrepiece and the ‘beating heart’ of the project.

Our ambitious transformation of the station creates a remarkable dialogue between Cubitt’s 1852 station and 21st-century architecture – a quantum shift in strategic infrastructure design in the UK. The station was officially opened by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on 19 March 2012. The multi-award winning station now provides a modern transport super-hub fit for a major capital city.

© John Sturrock© John Sturrock

  • “The judges were impressed by the way the structural engineers cleverly managed to deal with the missing shell action, because the roof is only half a dome, and still achieve a slender and elegant solution. In addition to creating a well-engineered and dramatic new space under the new diagrid roof, the engineers also had to deal with the redevelopment of the existing Western Range Building which was done with admirable restraint and respect for the existing structure.” – Judges’ comment / Institute of Structural Engineers Awards
[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: King’s Cross Station
Location: Euston Road, London, Camden, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51.531574,-0.124401
Type: Terminal / Station, Adaptive Reuse
Project Year: 2012
Status: Completed
Cost: £550 million
Completion Year: March 2012

  • 2013 MIPIM Awards – Category: Special Jury Award – Winner
  • 2013 MIPIM Awards – Category: Best Refurbished Building – Winner
  • 2013 London Transport Awards – Category: Rail Station of the Year – Winner
  • 2012/2013 London Planning Awards – Category: Best Built Project – Winner
  • 2012 Bentley Awards – Category: Innovation in Building – Winner
  • 2012 National Rail Awards – Category: Project of the Year – Winner
  • 2012 Elle Decoration British Design Awards – Winner
  • 2012 Institute of Structural Engineers Awards – Category: Infrastructure or Transportation Structures – Winner
  • 2012 British Construction Industry (BCI) Award – Conservation Award – Winner
  • 2012 National Transport Award – Tom McCarthy Award – Category: Infrastructure Project of the Year – Winner
  • 2012 New London Awards – Category: Transport – Winner
  • 2012 AJ Retrofit Awards – Category: Transport Building – Winner
  • 2012 Network Rail Partnership Awards – Category: Heritage and Best Large Project – Winner
  • 2012 ICE London Civil Engineering Awards – Winner of the Special Award for re-engineering London
  • 2010 Network Rail Partnership Awards – Category: Heritage – Winner


[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Network Rail
Masterplanner and Lead Architect: John McAslan + Partners – 7-9 William Road, London, NW1 3ER, United Kingdom
Sponsor: Department for Transport
Engineer: Arup, Tata, Fourways
Principle Contractor: VINCI Construction
Contractor: Vinci, Kier, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke
Local Authority: London Borough of Camden
Text Description: © Courtesy of John McAslan + Partners, railway-technology
Images: © John McAslan + Partners, Hufton + Crow, Phil Adams, John Sturrock

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© Mikkel Frost

Isbjerget – The Iceberg Dwellings / JDS, CEBRA, SeARCH and Louis Paillard

[highlight1]  Isbjerget – The Iceberg Dwellings  [/highlight1]

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]DS Architects, Danish studio CEBRA, together with the Dutch firm SeARCH and French architect Louis Paillard are currently completing the Iceberg housing complex in the new Aarhus Docklands development area in Aarhus, Denmark.

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost

Isbjerget (the Iceberg) was designed in collaboration with JDS, Louis Paillard and CEBRA after winning a limited design competition and is on schedule for completion early 2013. The building is 21.500 m2, situated in Aarhus, Denmark – right at the front row harbor – and contains numerous dwelling types as well as smaller commercial facilities at ground level.

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost

Basically the project is a respond to a three dimensional building envelope determined by the municipality. The envelope allowed a building of 21.500 m2 rising to a maximum height of seven to eight stories. But to allow better views toward the ocean and better daylight conditions, the roofs are pushed up and down to create a mountain like series of buildings. The tops and bottoms of the mountains are constantly shifting so that views between the volumes become possible. This strategy keeps the building at the average height of the allowed seven to eight stories, since the roofs are as much over as under the maximum building height. But it also creates views to future buildings behind the Iceberg site, and this generous feature made it possible to bend the rules and planning regulations.

© Julien de Smedt© Julien de Smedt

The varied building shapes are used to create a multitude of different apartment types. At ground level a number of town houses in two levels are integrated into the volume, and obviously the peaks of the buildings contain spectacular pent house apartments also stretching across several stories. Between these a variety of apartments with different balconies, shapes and orientations are found – all to insure an urban environment with a social diversity of people of different ages, incomes and family relations living together. This supports the radical idea of mixing condos with rental apartments, not only in the same building but around the very same hallways. One has to imagine the benefits of for instance elderly people looking after kids in return for shopping favors or students helping with the homework or setting up your computer – a community of different people insuring that the complex is alive around the clock, and that people who cannot afford to buy a home will have a chance to rent one. Thus the complex becomes a neighborhood instead of just a group of buildings.

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost

  • The Iceberg Project is a renovation of the out-of-use waterfront container terminal of the city and has its name from the buildings’ peaky design and white façade.
  • The project is part of a transformation of the waterfront into a socially sustainable residential area, comprised of a multitude of cultural and social activities, a generous amount of workplaces, as well as a highly mixed and diverse array of housing types. A third of the project’s 200 apartments will be set aside as affordable rental housing, aimed at integrating a diverse social profile into the new neighbourhood.
  • The buildings’ peaky design is not just for aesthetical purposes, but ensures that all apartments are supplied with a generous amount of natural lighting and waterfront views.

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost


Dream House With Sea View:

iceberg is the first line on the drawing board designed to optimize amenity value. Sea views are a priority in every home, and all the apartments can enjoy a stunning panoramic view that stretches from Aarhus city and moves over Marselisborg Forest, Aarhus Bay and Kalø bay and all the way to Helgenaes and Sletterhage.

interior render 01 - © isbjergetinterior render 01 – © isbjerget

Housing for Everyone:

The distinctive building rises in 10 floors on top of the associated underground parking. The property consists of 208 apartments ranging in size from 55 m2 to 227 m2. And with homes in two levels, housing split-level and homes with spaces in double height there is something for everyone in the iceberg.

iceberg is created by the hottest materials. The facade’s white terrazzo stands in beautiful contrast to the soft, tropical wood paneling on the balcony floor. From the moment you step inside, witnesses everything from the polished marble tiles for the elegant, handle-less kitchens on an uncompromising design.

interior render 03 - © isbjergetinterior render 03 – © isbjerget

Diversity for sale and rent:

The diverse housing supply makes the iceberg for the obvious home for all who want to stay with unique views and first line to the bay. There is room for the couple who want to enjoy retirement near the sea, for the single of all ages who want to stay near the city offers, for the young couple starting a new life together, and for families with children who both want space, nature and city life.

Iceberg has both renting and owning homes. So whether you’re walking around with a dream of owning your own home, or whether you prefer the freedom of staying a tenant, iceberg also a home for you.

interior render 08 - © isbjergetinterior render 08 – © isbjerget

JDS Architects

The Aarhus Harbour development provides a huge opportunity for Denmark’s second largest city to develop in a socially sustainable way by renovating its old, out-of-use container terminal. The area is meant to become a living city quarter, comprised of a multitude of cultural and social activities, a generous amount of workplaces, and of course, a highly mixed and diverse array of housing types. The Iceberg Project seeks to locate itself within the goals of the overall city development. A third of the project’s 200 apartments will be set aside as affordable rental housing, aimed at integrating a diverse social profile into the new neighborhood development. The project’s main obstacle is the density set up for the development, the desired square meters are in conflict with the specified site height restrictions and the overall intentions of providing ocean views along with good daylight conditions. The Iceberg negotiates this problematic, by remaining far below the maximum heights at points and emerging above the dotted line at other moments. “Peaks” and “canyons” form; eliciting the project’s iconic strength while ensuring that all flats will be supplied with a generous amount of natural lighting and waterfront views.

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost

“With the Iceberg we get unique housing qualities as well as a city architectural expression of the highest quality”, says Kent Martinussen, adm. dir. of DAC (Danish Architecture Centre).

“Århus will get a fantastic harbour front with unique architectural buildings that both in appearance and functionality prove that we are a city of grand ambitions. Our desire for this area goes beyond just a façade without life and purpose. We want a living city where everybody thrives. Both those who live and those who work in this “City near the harbour / De Bynære Havnearealer”. Projects of this calibre are a big step towards this goal.” -Mayor, Nicolai Wammen

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost


Isbjerget (Iceberg) located on a stunning site on the waterfront of Aarhus, takes its inspiration from floating icebergs in continual motion. The design team reshaped the masterplan that consisted of closed blocks, into four L-shaped wings. Its peaks and canyons elicit the project’s iconic strength while ensuring that all apartments take in a generous amount of natural light and feature waterfront views. At 7 and 8 stories and 21,500 m2, Isbjerget houses 155 one or two story apartments and commercial space on the ground floor. The varied building shapes create a series of apartment types. At ground level a number of 2 story townhouses are integrated into the volume. Penthouse apartments are located within the stunning peaks of the building. Balconies feature glass changes in gradations of deep blue at the base to transparent at the top in keeping with the color of an iceberg. A mix of apartments with different balconies, shapes and orientations ensure an urban living environment with social diversity.

© Mikkel Frost© Mikkel Frost

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Isbjerget – The Iceberg Dwellings
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Coordinates: 56.164916,10.23001
Type: Housing, Apartment
Specific Use of Building: social housing Development, Housing comprising of 200 apartments
Site Area: 6,300 sqm
Project Area: 21,500 sqm
Project Year: 2007-2013
Competition Year: 2007
Status: Ongoing
Budget: 32,600,000 EUR
Completion Year: 2013

  • 2013 Architizer A+ Awards – Category: Residential Mid Rise (5-15 Floors) – Jury Winner
  • 2013 MIPIM Award – Best Residential Development – Winner


[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Pension Denmark, Braband Boligforening

JDS Partner in charge: Andrew Griffin, Henning Stuben, Julien De Smedt
Project Leader: Edna Luddecke, Kristoffer Harling, Heechan Park, Andy Vann
Text Description: © Courtesy of JDS Architects, SeARCH, Isbjerget
Images: © JDS, CEBRA, SeARCH and Louis Paillard, Mikkel Frost, Julien de Smedt, Isbjerget

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© Adrià Goula

IGuzzini Ibérica Headquarters in Sant Cugat / Mias Arquitectes

[highlight1]  IGuzzini Ibérica Headquarters in Sant Cugat  [/highlight1]

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he “il Cielo” iGuzzini lighting headquarters in Spain is the last of a series of constructions that have adopted sustainable energy and natural and artificial light management as the cornerstones of their design. The building, located in the Parque de Actividades Empresariales Can Sant Joan in Sant Cugat del Vallès, is the result of optimised energy efficiency, not just in terms of consumption but also in the way that energy is generated.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

iGuzzini Sky is located at one of the major highway interchanges of the Barcelona area, in an extremely very fragile landscape. In order to avoid modifying the existing topography, a large part of the building’s programme is underground while the rest, the office building, stands above the ground, suspended in the air.

iGuzzini Sky is, at heart, an R&D centre for the development of technical knowledge and expertise in lighting systems, the facilities for which are located both inside and outside the building.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

Most of the programme is housed in the huge underground container—built with concrete walls and screens, and barely disturbing the natural lay of the site—volume it shares with spaces for stock and distribution, product management, a showroom and a garage. Of these only the stockroom requires natural light, and thus is equipped with some skylights in a roof that also serves as a showroom for outdoor lighting systems.

The north side of the building houses the technical installations and is somewhat offset from the natural terrain to provide direct access for maintenance of the latter.

Concrete proved the ideal material for the construction of this container, employing conventional concrete retaining walls around the perimeter and precast concrete columns and screens inside. This system also provides high thermal inertia, reducing considerably energy consumption.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

The indoor showroom features a large indoor exhibition space for the entire iGuzzini product range and space, including an auditorium, designed as a centre for product presentation and the dissemination and sharing of knowledge.

Another space—known as the theatre of light—is dedicated to the simulation of a range of lighting conditions for the purpose of precision testing and design of virtually any sort of system the company makes, including prototype development. The high-ceiling theatre, a key facility in iGuzzini’s research efforts, is equipped with movable structures, height-adjustable platforms and a high ceiling adaptable to changing needs in the placement of lighting systems.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

Like the indoor showroom, the outdoor showroom is designed to provide the optimum setting for the exhibition and testing of the company’s entire outdoor product range. It is conceived as a large pixelated space with different interchangeable pieces in order to provide the broadest possible range of supports for product testing and display. Based on systems normally used in the interior of buildings, it features a height-adjustable raised floor for easy access to wiring and a great deal of freedom in the placement of mains connections. The enormous flexibility of this floor makes this large, open showroom one of the most advanced in existence.

Like the underground volume, the corporate office building hovering above it and the landscape, is equipped with the latest technology in technical and climate management and control systems. The principal rationale of its design is to optimize natural light. The building does not seek orientation toward any roadway in particular, but rather avoids imposing this sort of hierarchy on its environment. A large open courtyard framed by the main structure—the pentagonal column system from which the building hangs—ensures homogeneous light in the workspaces. This lightwell acts as a centre point of the office spaces and plays a key role in overall energy management of the building. The column system, meanwhile, leaves the work spaces free from structural elements, opening them up to both the courtyard and the surrounding landscape. A sunscreen covers the building only where absolutely necessary. Indeed, this is another rationale of and way of reading the project: as an expression of bare necessity.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

Mias Arquitectes

Il Cielo iGuzzini does not belong to the ground on which it sits. Like a balloon, Leonidov’s aerostat, it will attempt to escape from this world, seeking a new sky. It will describe the conditions of the light, natural and artificial, in its interior, it will refer to its origins, recognizing a geometric order, but above all it will want to speak to us of aspirations.

  • Moored to the ground, it belongs to this place, and to all other places.

In reality there are forms that can only be drawn once, buildings that can only be built once. The second time is a replica. We believe in this opportunity for iGuzzini.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

Because this form, imperfect, slightly deformed, belongs to the world of iGuzzini; its identification is easy, and not everyone can, with authority, appropriate this profile, this geometry.

A light, a big world, a big atrium around a shared central court… where the sense of belonging is proudly made explicit.
Il Cielo iGuzzini does not seek to boast of explicit technological innovation, since that would soon date it as new technologies rapidly superseded its own content.

But it does seek to be an example of current development towards well understood sustainability in both technological and energy terms.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

Our proposal seeks to exemplify, in architecture, the conditions closest to humankind, of collectivity, of ambition, of excellence… and to survive the passage of time because its origin is in the formal search that expresses such conditions.

Il Cielo iGuzzini is located by one of the roadway hubs of Barcelona, in a fragile condition of stability on the site where it sits. Without modifying the topography, a large underground space is previously delimited, regular in form, providing for storage, parking, showroom, auditorium, technical services. Its roof is proposed as an exterior technical floor such that it works like an outdoor showroom.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

Atop this underground container emerges the company building, spherical in form though slightly deformed on the south side.

A large central void, occupied by the single column from which the entire building is suspended, permits greater light and energy control inside. The spaces within the sphere are offices and, on the upper floors, research facilities.

© Adrià Goula© Adrià Goula

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: IGuzzini Ibérica Headquarters in Sant Cugat
Location: Avinguda Generalitat, 168, 08174 Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Coordinates: 41.491269,2.057528
Type: Office Building, Reseach / laboratories Center
Specific Use of Building: R&D centre for the development of technical knowledge and expertise in lighting systems
Project Area: 9,000 sqm
Project Year: 2006, Competition: First prize
Construction Year: 2008-2011
Status: Built
Cost: < 12M €
Completion Year: 2011

  • 2013 Architizer A+ Awards – Category: Office Building Mid Rise (5-15 Floors) – Popular Choice Winner
  • 2012 Catalunya Construcció Awards – Innovation in construction – Selected
  • 2012 World Architecture Festival Award – Category: Office – Shortlisted
  • 2011 ArchDaily Building of the Year Award – Category: Institutional – Winner
  • 2011 Plataforma Arquitectura Work of the Year Awards – Finalist


[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Miquel Chiva – iGuzzini Illuminazione Ibérica S.A.
Architects: Mias Arquitectes – Barcelona, Spain
Principal Architect: Josep Miàs
Project Leader: Silvia Brandi
Technical Advisor: Carles Bou
Project Team: Pablo Varesi, Adriana Porta, Fausto Raposo, Hélène Barbot, Andrés Dejanon, Mario Blanco, Horacio Arias, Anna Mañosa, Janine Woitoshek, Stefania Carboni, Margherita Corbetta, Mannick Eigenheer, Isabelle Glenz, Diogo Henriques, Silvia Lai, Pier Francesco Lisci, Roberta Luna, Francisca Marzotto, Ines Reis, Diego Romero, Emanuela Scano, María Tapias
Civil Engineer: Carles Bou, Josep Miàs
Environmental Engineer: Josep Juliol – PGI Engineering
Lighting Consultant: Josep Masbernat – iGuzzini Illuminazione Ibérica SA
Structural Engineer: Agustí Obiol, Josep Ramón Solé – BOMA
Sustainability Consultant: Josep Juliol – PGI Engineering
Text Description: © Courtesy of Mias Arquitectes, iGuzzini Ibérica
Images: © Mias Arquitectes, Adrià Goula

[highlight1]  Materials & Suplier  [/highlight1]

Curtain wall: JANSEN AG
Lighting: iGuzzini Illuminazione SpA
Metallic structure: NG – TRUMSES
Raised floor – floors: Marazzi Engineering – Marazzi
Tensile membrane: IASO SA
Textile solar protection: Serge Ferrari SAS

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]
© Sergio Pirrone

Morerava Cottages in Easter Island / AATA Arquitectos Asociados

[highlight1]  Morerava Cottages in Easter Island  [/highlight1]

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]esigned by AATA Arquitectos Asociados, Prefabricated Cottages that are put on the terrain with the aim of transforming the land as less as possible. In it`s design special attention was given to sun light and cross ventilation to avoid the usage of mechanical systems to achieve thermal and luminance comfort.

© AATA Arquitectos Asociados© AATA Arquitectos Asociados

The Cabins have a rainwater collection system which stores and treats the water for the re-usage in the cabanas. Water from the network is only used in case this supply runs out . This avoids the over consumption of a resource which is rare on the Island.

Hot water comes from solar heating tanks to the solar panels located on each cottages roof, avoiding the use of gas or electricity (which in the island is generated from petrol) for this purpose.

© AATA Arquitectos Asociados© AATA Arquitectos Asociados


Our cottages in Easter Island, combine the concepts of ecology and exquisite rest. The Cabins are designed and built kind to the environment and the Island.

© Morerava© Morerava

Morerava Cabins in Easter Island, where the best resting experience is mixed with adventure and respect for nature at the stunning scenery of Rapa Nui, so called “belly button of the world.”

© Sergio Pirrone© Sergio Pirrone

Designed and built with high standards of quality and comfort, Morerava Cabins in Easter Island offer everything needed for an unforgettable experience, surrounded by nature, dances, music and the mystery of the “moais”.

© Morerava© Morerava

AATA Arquitectos

“When we started to design the cabins we realized a very bespoke design would be required in order to correspond to the unique and delicate context of the island. The construction process, material resourcing and daily usage of the cabins had to have minimal impact on the very fragile environment of Easter Island.

© Sergio Pirrone© Sergio Pirrone

Taking everything into account we developed the idea of a prefabricated design. The entire prefabrication was finally executed on the continent and then shipped by boat. This ensured minimal local impact and avoided the use of any material from the island. The design of the module emerges from the optimization of common materials available on the market. For example, modulation between pillars is 120cm is half the length of a plate, resulting in less waste of material.

© Sergio Pirrone© Sergio Pirrone

A space between ceiling panels and zinc cover thermally insulates the roof structure, allowing the natural air ventilation to remove any built-up heat.

© Sergio Pirrone© Sergio Pirrone

Cabins hover over ground on single pillars. This preserves the natural water absorption of the earth and allows for natural air ventilation underneath the floor, eliminating any potential moisture problems. Additionally we managed to conserve local species of plants and shrubs making them an integral part of the overall design and ambience.

© Sergio Pirrone© Sergio Pirrone

Continuous windows on either side of the huts in order to allow for sufficient interior luminance and cross ventilation avoiding the need of any mechanical systems. The location of all windows prevent visual connections from cabin to cabin allowing for the necessary privacy amongst all visitors.”

© Sergio Pirrone© Sergio Pirrone

  • Each cabin has 60 sqm plus 17 sqm on terraced decks and is equipped for up to 6 visitors.
[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Morerava Cottages in Easter Island
Location: Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile
Coordinates: -27.13539,-109.415073
Type: Lodge & Tented Camp
Project Area: 4 cottages 60 interiors sq mt (646 sq feet) plus 17 sq mt (183 sq feet) of covered terraces.
Project Year: 2009
Implementation: December 2009-July 2010
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2010

  • 2013 Architizer A+ Awards – Catagory: Hotels & Resorts – Popular Choice Winner & Jury Winner
  • 2013 Tripadvisor Awards – Ranked No. 9 of 24 Specialty lodging in Hanga Roa

Visit Morerava Cottages in Easter Island’s website: here

[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Cabañas Morerava
Architects: AATA Arquitectos Asociados – San Pio X 2460. Of 604, Providencia, Santiago, Chile
Construction: Alejandro Martinez Z.
Text Description: © Courtesy of AATA Arquitectos Asociados, Morerava
Images: © AATA Arquitectos Asociados, Sergio Pirrone, Morerava

[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]