Best Architectural Projects

Across a survey of international architects Metropolis Magazine has published a list of the sixteen best architectural projects of the 21st Century (so far). These are projects ‘that have helped to define the cityscape of the new millennium’ and one Sydney project made it onto the list. Frank Gehry’s The Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building (2014).

Design Tackles Big Issues

Late last month Dutch Design Week highlighted the increasing link between design and wider social issues. DDW is often seen as an early trend setter ahead of some of the bigger European events that go onto influence design at the domestic level in new projects, including residential developments. DDW has a reputation that challenges what we might think about design. This year graduating bachelor and master students at DDW addressed topics ranging from material life cycles to climate change, mass migration, gender inequality, and even food production. One standout work taped into the emerging trend of reusing E-waste as a possible material for furniture design. One example was turning obsolete server parts into table tops.

Night Life

The week plans were floated to allow 24-hour trading in the City of Sydney with the idea of re-starting the cities nightlife which is currently pretty dull. The idea has not been welcomed with a big dose of enthusiasm. In Toronto the cities nightlife was also a topic in the recent elections for mayor. One suggestion from a candidate was to bring back ‘buck-a-beer’ nights. Needless to say, support for this style of alcohol subsidy was mute.

Large Format Retail

Almost any new housing estate or apartment project will be all the more appealing if there’s associated retail facilities or easy access to shopping. However, of late retail has been doing it tough, in particular some large-format centres. Large-format malls in the USA still attract some 1.5 billion visits a month. To be a success large centres need to meet the needs of the local community and be interesting, it’s no longer a one size fits all market, well-designed centres add great value to a location and can boost an area’s residential appeal.

Mixed Use on a Big Scale

Bangkok will soon be home to an impressive mixed-use development. Icon Siam which is due to open soon will include two shopping centres five times the size of Harrods in London, there will be two residential towers, one under the management of Mandarin Oriental and an amusement park. The two towers will be the tallest in the city.

Energy Wise

Cities consumer a lot of energy and this year there’s been some friction between power utilities and government as Australia sorts out its energy needs, driven to a large extent by industry but also by rapid population growth. However, spare a though for those who are mainly dependent on imported energy: Hong Kong 99%, Lebanon 98%, Japan 93%, Ireland 86% and South Korea 81%.