Charles Holland designs quirky country house for a hamlet in Kent

These characterful illustrations show a house designed by Charles Holland Architects for Kent, England, with exaggerated features including an extra-long roof and mismatched windows.


The house, which has just been granted planning permission, will be located in a hamlet, neighbouring a Grade II listed manor house.

Kent-based Charles Holland Architects‘ visuals for the 170-square-metre house show “a mannerist inversion of its neighbour”, which pays homage to the local vernacular in the southeastern county. Mannerism is a 16th century art style that exaggerates compositions to display technical skill.

Visual of the front elevation of Charles Holland Architects' country house in Kent
The house is designed as “a mannerist inversion of its neighbour”

The front elevation will be distinguished by a peg-tiled catslide roof that extends all the way down to the ground, while the rear is more formal in character.

The rear facade will have a mismatch of glazing, including a bullseye windows and large dormer windows. A triple-stack chimney will reference more traditional houses nearby.

Echoing the topography of the surrounding area, the house’s material palette will comprise red-brown brick on the front and side facades, contrasting with chalk-white bricks on the garden elevation.

“We hope it will be seen as an homage to the rich history of houses and gardens in the area, as well as to wider traditions of domestic architecture” said Holland.

Visual of the front elevation of Charles Holland Architects' country house in Kent
The rear facade will have a mismatch of glazing, including a bullseye windows and large dormer windows

The house was initially refused planning permission by Dover District Council. But was approved on appeal, thanks to Paragraph 79 of the revised National Planning Policy Framework – a clause that allows “exceptional and innovative” new-build homes in the countryside.

The scheme, which was developed closely with Louise Hooper Landscape Architects, was later praised by the planning inspector for its “exceptional quality” that will “help to raise the standard of design in the area”.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been granted planning permission for this house in such a sensitive and beautiful site,” said Holland.

“We worked very hard to develop a design that respects its site and is an enjoyable and innovative piece of contemporary architecture in its own right.”

Visual of the front elevation of Charles Holland Architects' country house in Kent
The front elevation will be distinguished by a peg-tiled catslide roof that extends all the way down to the ground

Holland was previously one of the three directors of FAT, an architecture studio that revived the postmodern style of architecture. Among his FAT projects was A House for Essex, on which he collaborated with artist Grayson Perry.

After the closure of the studio in 2013, Holland co-founded another London-based studio called Ordinary Architecture. But he later decided to move out of the city, establishing Charles Holland Architects in 2017.

He also recently completed a parrot-like pavilion in North Yorkshire.


Project credits:

Architect: Charles Holland Architects (Charles Holland, Daniel Stilwell, Elia Loupasaki)
Landscape architect: Louise Hooper, LHLA
Planning consultant: Tim Harbord
Environmental engineer: Alan Harries, Integration
Heritage consultant: Andrew Derrick, Architecture History Partnership

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David Adjaye creates Swarovski crystal trophy for Fashion Awards 2018

David Adjaye has designed a faceted trophy made from Swarovski crystal for the winners of this year’s Fashion Awards.


The British Fashion Council and event sponsor Swarovski commissioned the Ghanaian-British architect to create the bespoke trophy for the UK’s annual Fashion Awards, taking place in London on 10 December.

Intended to “create beautiful and unexpected refractions”, his design features a six-sided column with triangular facets that taper upwards.

David Adjaye fashion award trophy
Adjaye designed a faceted trophy using Swarovski crystal

Handcrafted from crystal by Swarovski craftsmen at the company’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria, each trophy is relatively light, weighing approximately 1.4 kilograms (an Oscar is approximately 3.8 kilograms).

It is the second trophy designed by Adjaye that has been unveiled this week – he also developed this year’s Brit Awards.

Adjaye said he hopes his Fashion Awards will “bring a certain magic and add to the celebrations on the night”.

“Swarovski crystal was integral to the design as I was captivated by the optical effects that you can achieve through geometry, creating refraction, distortion and reflection with the material,” he explained.

David Adjaye fashion award trophy
The design features a six-sided column with triangular facets that taper upwards

The bespoke trophies will be handed out in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall.

This year’s nominations include Balenciaga, Burberry and Gucci for brand of the year, while Virgil Abloh and Alessandro Michele are among designers nominated for the designer of the year category.

Other categories include accessories of the year, British designer of the year, British emerging talent of the year, model of the year, and business leader.

David Adjaye fashion award trophy
Each trophy is relatively light, weighing approximately 1.4 kilograms

“It is an honour to welcome Sir David Adjaye OBE as our latest prestigious design collaborator for the Fashion Awards,” said Nadja Swarovski, a member of Swarovski’s executive board.

“Sir David’s 2018 trophy captures the sparkling elegance and sophistication of these awards and celebrates the innovation, energy and creative spirit at the heart of this industry,” she added.

David Adjaye fashion award trophy
Adjaye was “captivated by the optical effects that you can achieve through geometry”

Each year the British Fashion Council and Swarovski collaborate with a designer to create a special trophy for the awards. Past examples include Australian designer Marc Newson in 2016, and London-based architect John Pawson in 2017.

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Five interiors that make use of Pantone’s colour of the year Living Coral

Living Coral is the colour of 2019, according to Pantone. Here’s a look at five contemporary interiors that have already put the striking shade to good use.



The best coral interiors: Waterfront Nikis apartment by Stamatios Giannikis

Waterfront Nikis Apartment, Greece, by Stamatios Giannikis

Architect Stamatios Giannikis used three colours to define different living areas of this Grecian home, but coral pink was the one he chose for spaces boasting views of the Mediterranean Sea. The colour is applied generously across walls, doors and wind frames.

“The use of bold colour is done in an effort to complement and strengthen the power of the sea view, not to suppress it,” he explained.

Find out more about Waterfront Nikis Apartment ›


The best coral interiors: Apartment in Born by Colombo and Serboli Architecture

Apartment in Born, Spain, by Colombo and Serboli Architecture

Colombo and Serboli Architecture applied different shades of pink in their revamp of this Barcelona flat, but chose coral for an arched volume that dominates the kitchen and living area.

This volume, which contains a guest bathroom, makes a strong impression against the paler shades.

Find out more about Apartment in Born ›


The best coral interiors: Suburban Canny by Tribe Studio

Suburban Canny, Australia, by Tribe Studio

Tribe Studio added an entirely coral-pink bathroom within this Sydney home. The shade was applied to its tiled walls, under-sink storage cabinet, and mirror frame.

The effect makes even white objects in the room look coloured.

Find out more about Suburban Canny ›


The best coral interiors: Hidden Tints apartment by Note Design Studio

Hidden Tints apartment, Sweden, by Note Design Studio

A coral armchair and storage closet stand out inside this renovated 19th-century apartment in Stockholm, where Note Design Studio swapped the typically restrained Scandinavian colour palette for bright pastel hues.

It creates a punchy impression alongside the other colours chosen for the interior, which include sage green and pale yellow.

Find out more about Hidden Tints ›


The best coral interiors: Breadway bakery by Lera Brumina and Artem Trigubchak

Breadway bakery, Ukraine, by Lera Brumina and Artem Trigubchak

Coral bench seats, chandeliers, and counters feature in this Ukranian bakery, which designers Lera Brumina and Artem Trigubchak decked out in various shades of pink to enhance the “warm colour of bread”.

Contrast is offered by the wall surfaces, which feature pale cobalt blue and reflective gold.

Find out more about Breadway ›

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“Any colour is fair game” at the Haas Brothers’ Ferngully exhibition

Los Angeles art duo the Haas Brothers’ first retrospective exhibition has opened at The Bass museum in Miami Beach, filled with their “fantasy reality of flora and fauna” in a spectrum of hues.


Named Ferngully after a 1992 animated film, the exhibition opened this week to coincide with the Art Basel fair and other events taking place across the Miami area.

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Twins Nikolai and Simon Haas have taken over two rooms on the ground floor of the recently renovated Bass Museum of Art, showcasing a progression of their furniture and sculpture – from early works to pieces created specifically for the show.

Three years in the making, the loosely chronological exhibition is summarised by the brothers as “a personal journal of our last several years” and “a portrait of our brotherhood”.

“Each piece somehow almost holds a moment of emotional output for us,” Nikolai told Dezeen. “It just feel into place as a journal.”

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Visitors first encounter a variety of pieces from the Haas’ beasts series, which range in size from handheld figurines to a chaise lounge.

Covered in hair and featuring bronze limbs, the monsters gained the twins international acclaim and led to a host of commissions – including for Bass president George Lindemann, who helped them secure this show.

The exhibition also demonstrates the gradual introduction, and then rapid progression, of colour in the artists’ work. They credit this shift to their experience working with bead artisans in South Africa – the outcome of which is displayed in the show’s second space.

“When we did our project in Africa, these women we collaborated together with on these pieces really cracked our brain for colour,” said Nikolai. “After that, literally any colour is fair game.”

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

This injection of bold hues manifests as a set of palm tree structures, with parachute cable trunks and intricately beaded fronds and fruit.

Accompanied by two brightly coloured furniture pieces and presented against a purple background, these designs mark the start of a new “language” that the duo will continue to explore.

“It’s really an evolution,” said Simon. “We always have plants and animals in our work, it’s own fantasy reality of flora and fauna, and they’ve just been evolving into where they are right now.”

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Running until 21 April 2019 at The Bass, 2100 Collins Avenue, Ferngully is one of several exhibitions opening during Miami art week.

These include the Design Miami fair – where the Haas Brothers will also be showing with New York gallery R & Company. See our guide to other highlights open during the week.

Read on for an edited transcript of Dezeen’s interview with the Haas Brothers:


Dan Howarth: Please describe the exhibition to me.

Simon Haas: It’s kind of a personal journal of our last several years. We were offered this show three years ago, and we’ve been through so much personally on the way here. It’s kind of a portrait of our brotherhood, which we can see clearly but I’m not sure if anyone else sees that.

Nikolai Haas: To us it’s plain as day, everyone else is like what the f*ck.

Simon Haas: It’s really an evolution. We always have plants and animals in our work, it’s own fantasy reality of flora and fauna, and they’ve just been evolving into where they are right now.

It’s kind of cool for us to see them all together too, because we can see where we started with the beasts and then moving through our South African project. The new pieces are really in the same vein as the beasts were doing but with a major South African spin on them. And all of this new work as also inspired by our trips there.

Nikolai Haas: There’s almost a chronological movement to the exhibition, from early to the future. Each piece somehow almost holds a moment of emotional output for us. It just feel into place as a journal.

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Dan Howarth: What’s your working process like? How is it divided up between the two of you?

Nikolai Haas: Simon is the materials genius in the family. He’s constantly thinking about how to use a material in a different way, and make it sing. This is parachute cable and sh*tty beads from China and it’s like one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen.

Simon Haas: And Nicky’s the sculptor. All of the spirit and attitude in all of the work comes from him. I’m kind of the surfaces guy. There’s actually a book called Surfaces and Essences, and I think that describes us well: I’m the surfaces; he’s the essences.

Nikolai Haas: Then the real thing about the work that’s important is you’re creating an aesthetic to get something across. We’re just talking about the practical application of our jobs – he does surfaces, I do sculpture, we both work on aesthetic and colour choice.

But the meat of the work is actually the philosophy behind it, and we do all of that completely together and there’s no way to separate where that comes from. Which is as it should be.

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Dan Howarth: Colour is obviously key in your work. How did that come about?

Nikolai Haas: You see the front is very blacks and tans and golds, then the ceramics there’s some colour. When we did our project in Africa, these women we collaborated together with on these pieces really cracked our brain for colour. After that, literally any colour is fair game. There’s no palette, it’s all about just putting things together.

Simon Haas: People respond to different colours based on how they feel at the moment. We sit down with a red-green-blue colour cube and both us say “I like this area” and “I like that area”, and we merge them together.

That’s what the whole palette of the exhibition is – this is what we’re feeling right now, which is really cool. I love purple. I really believe in synesthesia. This is not musical but it’s really about a feeling.

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Dan Howarth: What’s next for the Haas Brothers?

Simon Haas: We’ll probably stay in purple for a while, probably. I like purple and yellow right now.

Nikolai Haas: We have a show with Marianne Boesky in New York, September 2019. I think we’ll be in Frieze London, not sure, probably Hong Kong this year too.

Simon Haas: More of this stuff. These are really the first pieces we’ve made in this set, in this language, so there’ll be a whole lot more of this.

Nikolai Haas: I’ve been obsessed by the idea of the Madonna, and what that actually means and represents in society, and that’s what we’re exploring for our next show. I can’t tell you exactly what that means yet because we’re still figuring it out. But like ancient fertility goddesses.

Ferngully exhibition by Haas Brothers at Design Miami

Dan Howarth: And larger scale is something you’re sticking with?

Simon Haas: We like big.

Nikolai Haas: It’s all private, but we’re doing a lot more large-scale. At some point in the future, we will do a large-scale sculpture show. We can’t talk about it yet, but it’s going to be f*cking cool.

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MVRDV’s provides low-cost accommodation in India with Future Towers

Dutch firm MVRDV has completed an enormous apartment building in the Indian city of Pune, featuring a series of connected blocks with sloping roofs, which branch out to enclose multipurpose courtyards.


The firm led by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries designed the Future Towers development for a site in the Amanora Park Town community on the outskirts of the rapidly expanding city.

The Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

The project, which provides accommodation for around 5,000 people, forms part of the township developed in response to an influx of young professionals moving to Pune to work in the auto-manufacturing and technology industries.

The surging demand for low-cost mass housing has led to significant development within the area, typically comprising clusters of identical high-rise towers.

The Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

MVRDV’s proposal seeks to provide an alternative solution that also creates a more heterogenous mix of residents, by offering dwellings ranging in size from 45 to 450 square metres.

“In Asia cities are growing so fast, and uniform repetitive residential towers are the norm,” said Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV principal and co-founder. “With our design, we are making an effort to offer more variety and bring people from more different backgrounds together.”

The Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

Van Rijs added that the original masterplan for the site comprised 16 separate towers providing very similar accommodation.

But by grouping all of the living units together under one roof, the team was able to generate the desired diversity.

The Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

The nine accommodation wings vary in height from 17 to 30 storeys and are arranged around four circulation cores. The resulting reduction in the number of lifts required to service the 1,068 apartments provided a substantial cost saving.

The arrangement of the towers is based on a hexagonal grid that provides space at ground level for a variety of public courtyards. These spaces are dedicated to a range of activities and are linked by four-storey triangular openings in the facades.

The Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

MVRDV described the building as “a singular mountainous structure with peaks and valleys” due to the sloping roof that is angled to optimise daylight conditions and incorporates both private and communal terraces.

The main facades also contain recessed balconies that vary in scale to reflect the different sizes of apartments behind them. Interspersed among the smaller balconies are large, brightly coloured openings that help to define different areas within the building.

Interior photo of the Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

The brightly coloured “scoops” connect with the central corridors.

A necessary requirement to fulfil fire safety codes, these long passageways also provide communal spaces used for activities such as yoga or mini golf.

Interior photo of the Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

This building is the first of three planned phases proposed as part of the Future Towers project, which will eventually provide a total of around 3,500 accommodation units. MVRDV is currently working on the project’s second phase.

It is the first project completed by MVRDV in India. The firm is currently also working on a constructivist-inspired tower block in Moscow and a cluster of pixellated mixed-use towers in Abu Dhabi.

The Future Towers by MVRDV in Pune, India

In 2017, the studio’s co-founder Winy Maas told Dezeen that Asian cities are overtaking their western counterparts in the way they drive forward improvements to transport, housing and public space.

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Jac Studios creates delicate glass exhibition in Tadao Ando’s Genius Loci

Jac Studios has designed minimal glass display cases for an exhibition in a Tadao Ando-designed museum – a project that has just won top prize at the Inside awards.


The Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition is a permanent showcase at Tadao Ando’s Genius Loci, a museum made up of board-marked concrete walls, located on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

This exhibition features art-nouveau glass crafted between 1870 and 1940 by by French artist Émile Galle and her contemporaries.

The project was named Interior of the Year at the Inside interior design awards, which took place in Amsterdam last week.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Copenhagen-based Jac Studios chose to contrast the building’s austere and heavy walls with transparent glass surfaces and volumes.

“The architecture by Tadao Ando plays a magnificent setting for the exhibition. The architecture is in itself a piece of art and visitors cannot avoid being touched by its beauty,” explained Johan Carlsson, founder of Jac Studios.

“The proposal responds to the dramatic setting of the volcanic island of Jeju with emphasis on framing the artefacts, just like how the building frames the landscape.”

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Carlsson and his team worked alongside art-nouveau specialist Didier Laugault on the arrangement of the exhibition, ensuring that pieces are displayed in a way that draws attention to their ornate detailing.

In some of the exhibition rooms, pieces are shown individually inside central glass boxes, while in others they are shown in small groups behind glazed openings in the walls that are illuminated by spotlights.

Text signage for the exhibition has also been printed on pieces of glass, joined by tatami mats on the floor where visitors can sit and observe the works.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Panels of dichroic glass that appear to change colour when viewed from different angles feature on the building’s exterior, hinting at the subject matter of the exhibition inside.

The studio hoped the panels would also “animate” the site by reflecting oncoming visitors, the surrounding coastal terrain, and altering levels of light and shadow throughout the day.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Jac Studio’s interior for the Yumin Art Nouveau Collection topped Inside’s Display category, before going on to scoop the top prize.

It was commended by judges for its “crafted sensibility, to both the building and the Gallé glass to which the museum is dedicated to”.

Photography is by Yoonsung Choi, Jeongyoun Hong, and Mathias Kromann Rode.


Project credits:

Exhibition architect: Jac Studios
Lighting design: Fortheloveoflight
General contractor: Chang Creative

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UNStudio designs Lyric Theatre Complex for West Kowloon in Hong Kong

UNStudio is building a theatre complex in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, featuring three performance spaces connected by ramps.


The Dutch architecture studio is revealing its design for the Lyric Theatre Complex for the first time at the Business of Design Conference in Hong Kong this week, although the building has been under construction since April.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

Featuring a compact design intended to maximise visibility, the complex will contain the 1,450-seat Lyric theatre, the 600-seat Medium theatre, and the Studio theatre that seats 270.

There will also be a large rehearsal room and an eight-studio centre for the resident dance company, along with shops and restaurants.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

Each theatre will have its own foyer, allowing all three to be open simultaneously. Each of these foyers will have balconies and overlooks, so theatre-goers and the public can enjoy what the architects described as a “see and be seen” atmosphere.

In an inversion of the traditionally enclosed “black box” theatre design, UNStudio put transparency at the core of the building. Large sections of the facade will be glazed to allow the public to see inside the building and watch the dancers rehearse.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

The theatres will be stacked for compactness, connected by two ramps curving in a 3D figure-of-eight design. The first ramp will down to the Lyric theatre, while the second will ascend to the Medium and Studio theatres.

Located in the centre of the looping ramps, a large opening topped by skylights will allow natural light into the centre of the building and give views from the rooftop terrace into the spaces below.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

This central “spine” will run through the complex, acting as an “alleyway” connecting the Artists Square to the waterfront.

The three theatres will be differentiated by their own colour-coded palette, which will start at the foyers and build in intensity of hue as it reaches the auditorium.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

Intended to evoke baroque-era grandeur, the Largest Lyric theatre will be coloured red and bronze, with contemporary touches added through brown and grey wooden accents.

The Medium theatre will be decorated in deep purple with contrasting metal and walnut inlays, while the Studio theatre is to be realised in dark blue, in order to complement the smaller scale dramatic productions it will host.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

In order to fit the site, the Lyric theatre will be situated 11 metres underground. The seating will be stacked asymmetrically to make the best of the space, but will arranged to appear symmetrical to the dancers from the stage.

This arrangement is necessary to preserve the acoustics for each venue, which is further complicated by the Airport Express Line running underneath the complex.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

The Lyric Theatre Complex forms part of the Foster + Partners masterplan for the West Kowloon Cultural District – a vast new cultural district being built on reclaimed land on the waterfront.

The area will also soon be home to M+, a major new architecture and design museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and the Xiqu Centre, a centre for Chinese opera designed by Bing Thom and Ronald Lu.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

“The constraints of the site for the Lyric Theatre Complex presented numerous fascinating challenges for the arrangement of the various programmes within this very compact building,” said UNStudio co-founder Ben van Berkel.

“However, in the end we were able to create a vibrant building that celebrates the enchanting world of the theatre and will cater to the future needs of Hong Kong’s theatre-going public.”

Renderings are by DBOX.

Project credits:

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau with Garett Hwang, Shuyan Chan
Project team: Sean Ellis, Praneet Verma, Josias Hamid, Irina Bogdan, Alexander Meyers, Jeff Lam, Iker Mugarra Flores, Deepak Jawahar, Mimmo Barbaccia, Evan Shieh, Ben Lukas, Caroline Smith, Vera Kleesattel, Albert Lo, Arnold Wong, Emily Yan, Haibo He, Abraham Fung, Mihai Soltuz, Betty Fan, Johnny Chan, Berta Sola Sanchez, Eric Jap, Chuanzhong Zhang, Kyle Chou, Bennet Hu, Kenneth Sit, Kevin Yu, Weihong Dong, Stephni Jacobson, Piao Liu, Francois Gandon, James Jones, Mingxuan Xie, Iris Pastor, Jonathan Rodgers, Kaisi Hsu, Pragya Vashisht, Nora Schueler
Lead consultants: UNStudio / AD+RG
Structure, civil and geotechnical advisor: AECOM
MEP and environmental advisor: WSP
Theatre consultant: The Space Factory, Carre and Angier
Acoustic consultant: Marshall Day
Facade consultant: inHabit
Landscape consultant: LWK Partners
Lighting consultant: ag Licht
BIM consultant: isBIM
Traffic consultant: MVA

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Herzog & de Meuron turns Hong Kong buildings into Tai Kwun art centre

Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron has transformed a collection of historic buildings in Hong Kong into a vast arts complex, for the city’s largest heritage conservation project to date.


The Tai Kwun art and heritage centre spans 27,000 square metres across a sloping site, reflective of Hong Kong Island’s mountainous terrain.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron combined conservation and adaptive reuse to preserve the city’s former main police station, central magistracy, and prison, established by the British after they took control of the territory in 1841.

Most of the city’s colonial architecture was not protected, and therefore bulldozed for redevelopment.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

The studio has also added two new structures to the site, which was decommissioned and vacated in 2006, bringing the total number of buildings to 16. Overall, the transformation makes Tai Kwun the largest heritage conservation project in Hong Kong.

“What we have done in Hong Kong is to transform a former police station into a cultural centre,” said Herzog & de Meuron. “In Hong Kong and also in Mainland China this is still a totally new approach to architecture – an unusual thing to do because normally old buildings and entire neighbourhoods are being removed and being replaced by new ones.”

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Working with British conservation architecture firm Purcell, Herzog & de Meuron preserved the outdoor corridors, arches and pillars of the old brick structures. A series of outdoor staircases connect the site’s numerous walkways and alleys.

Tai Kwun is positioned on a corner lot and is walled-in with masonry structures along Hollywood Road and Chancery Lane. Their gabled roofs reflect a bygone era in the skyscraper-prevalent city.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Visitors walk through the main gates, past a series of former administrative buildings, and into the main plaza and former Victoria Prison. The prison now a museum that recounts the its former use, with many of the cells in their original conditions.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

As a whole, Tai Kwun arranged around two large courtyards: the Parade Ground and the Prison Yard. “From an urban perspective, the compound is a rare ‘courtyard’ in the middle of one of the densest cities in the world,” Herzog & de Meuron said.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

At the rear of the complex is a high masonry wall, which tops out at a sidewalk to reveal Hong Kong’s towering cityscape. Here, the two new buildings by the firm have a contemporary design language that contrasts with the surrounding historic structures.

Both are square-shaped and clad with cast aluminium facades. The grid system takes cues to the bricks used elsewhere, but also serves as sun shading and rain protection in Hong Kong’s subtropical climate.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

On the southeast corner of Tai Kwun is a new wing on Arbuthnot Road, with a volume that hovers above the retaining wall to create a covered public outdoor space, with stairs that also serve as seating.

Across the way is a contemporary art museum with a restaurant on its top level. Inside is a strong concrete materiality, reflective of the prison cells nearby, and a concrete spiral staircase that spans the building.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron is also working on another museum in Hong Kong – the M+ Museum in the Kowloon area – and has a wide portfolio of cultural projects globally, including the National Library of Israel and the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin.

The studio’s ability to turn decommissioned historic structures into impressive exhibition spaces was proven at the Tate Modern gallery in a former London power station, which also gained a contemporary addition in 2016.

Photography is by Iwan Baan.

Project credits:

Partners in charge: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler
Project directors: Edman Choy, Vladimir Pajkic
Project manager: Chi-Yan Chan
Project team: Raymond Jr Gaëtan, Abdulfatah Adan, Roman Aebi, Maximilian Beckenbauer, Aurélie Blanchard, Emi Jean Bryan, Alexander Bürgi, Soohyun Chang, Julien Combes, Massimo Corradi, Duarte De Azevedo Coutinho Lobo Antunes, Dorothee Dietz, Peter Dougherty, Piotr Fortuna, Luis Gisler, Carl Kristoffer Hägerström, Kelvin Ho, Justin Hui, Kentaro Ishida, Anna Jach, Sara Jardim Manteigas, Hauke Jungjohann, Anssi Kankkunen, Rina Ko, Johannes Rudolf Kohnle, Dannes Kok, Pawel Krzeminski, Jin Tack Lim, Mark Loughnan, Jaroslav Mach, Donald Mak, James Albert Martin, José Ramón Mayoral Moratilla, Olivier Meystre, Lukas Nordström, Cristian Oprea, Leonardo Pérez-Alonso, Thomas Polster, Maki Portilla Kawamura, Tom Powell, Günter Schwob, Oana Stanescu, Kai Strehlke, Fumiko Takahama, Zachary Vourlas, Kenneth Wong, Sung Goo Yang, Daniela Zimmer
Executive architect: Rocco Design Architects Ltd
Conservation architect: Purcell
Historic buildings: Stonewest Ltd, Yau Lee Construction Co Ltd, Harvest Century Holdings
Structural, civil, facade and lighting engineer: Arup
Landscape architect: AECOM
Client: The Hong Kong Jockey Club

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Foster’s 425 Park Avenue skyscraper tops out in New York

Norman Foster has declared that the stepped 41-storey office tower his firm has designed for New York‘s Park Avenue will “set new standards for workplace design”, as the building tops out in the city.


The British architect celebrated the construction milestone in New York City yesterday, as a beam was hoisted atop the skyscraper – the first office tower builr to occupy a full block on Park Avenue in 50 years.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners celebrated the topping out of the Park Avenue tower yesterday

Called 425 Park Avenue, the high-rise office features a tapered steel and concrete structure, which outlines three stepped volumes that rise 724.5 feet (221 metres) to the roof. A glass feature set to be added atop later will complete the formation, and add an extra 36 feet (11 metres) to the total height.

Foster + Partners‘ tower joins a host of modernist skyscrapers along the famed boulevard, such as Mies van der Rohe‘s 38-storey Seagram building – behind which the firm’s super-skinny One Hundred East Fifty Third skyscraper is nearing completion.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
The skyscraper comprises a tapered steel and concrete structure, which outlines three stepped volumes

“The design for 425 Park Avenue emerged as a response that is respectful of its historical context, while reflecting the spirit of its own time,” said Foster in a statement. “It will set new standards for workplace design and provide an enduring landmark that befits its renowned location.”

Triangular steelwork knits together the three glass volumes, as they gradually recess from the seven-storey-high base to form a central section, and a final slender portion on top.

Each of the diagrids will enclose double-height planted terraces to encourage tenants relax and socialise, with the staggered arrangement designed to optimise views towards the nearby Central Park.

The firm – which won a Dezeen Award for its Bloomberg Headquarters in London last week – has placed the vertical circulation to the rear of the structure. The elevators will be glazed to provide vistas of the East River on the other side.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
425 Park Avenue is designed to complement modernist structures along the boulevard. Rendering by Dbox, courtesy of Foster + Partners

The concrete and steel external structure will also allow for column-free and flexible workspace layouts inside.

An amenity floor will be located in the middle volume to make the most of the park view. Here, tenants will have access to dining areas, meeting spaces, as well as a relaxation and mediation room.

“The building’s design is about providing a sense of light, air and space within the dense urban environment of Manhattan – reflected in the fact that it will be the first WELL certified building in New York City,” said Foster + Partners’ head of studio Nigel Dancey.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
The tiered design tapers towards the top to maximise views of Central Park. Rendering by Dbox, courtesy of Foster + Partners

Another standout features of the tower is a three-storey entrance lobby, which will adjoin a new flagship restaurant from chef Daniel Humm.

“Everyone enters through the soaring triple-height lobby, which forms the social heart of the building,” Dancey added.

425 Park Avenue’s topping out was documented in true Foster style on his Instagram account. It rounds off a busy few months for his architecture firm, which recently unveiled plans for a tulip-shaped viewing tower in London.

Its unusual shape has sparked much debate, with London City Airport concerned that the structure could impact its radar system. Meanwhile, architect Peter Cook claimed the structure is “not spooky enough”.

Photography is by Nigel Young, courtesy of Foster + Partners.



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Design Museum research finds “shocking” lack of women in design

Just one in five designers in the UK are women, according to new research by the Design Museum.


The survey found that women make up just 22 per cent of the design workforce, even though seven out of 10 students taking design at A level are women.

“This uptake does not feed through to the design workforce where women continue to remain underrepresented,” the Design Museum said.

The percentage of women working in design has risen just four per cent since 2004 and women are under-represented in all design disciplines, including architecture, civil engineering, town planning, software design, fashion and product design.

“Failure to draw on all the talents out there”

The survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, was issued to coincide with the centenary of women being allowed to vote in UK elections.

The museum said the survey “reveals shocking gender imbalance in the design industry”.

“As we mark 100 years since the first UK general election in which a percentage of women were permitted to vote, these figures show just how far we have to go – in many spheres – in order to reach equality,” said Design Museum co-director Alice Black.

“The fact that the percentage of women working in the design workforce has remained virtually unchanged since 2004 shows a real failure to draw on all the talents out there, and promote inclusiveness in our industry.”

Women Design event at museum this week

Later this week the London museum hosts Women Design, a two-day programme of talks highlighting women in the industry.

In addition, the museum’s Designers in Residence programme, which starts on 8 December, will this year feature an all-female line up.

“We must take this moment to commit to work together to improve gender diversity in all sectors of the workforce,” said Black. “In the design industry, this means encouraging girls who take design-related subjects in schools to become product designers and civil engineers.”

Designers Hester Buck, Ella Bulley, Legrand Jäger and Helga Schmid will take part in the seven-month residency, which will explore the relationship between design and home.

Black said: “At the museum we are committed to finding new ways to make women more visible in the design industry and inspire change, and I am delighted that we have a cohort of talented women designers in the Designers in Residence project this year.”

“An impoverished future for design”

The Women Design talks take place on 7 and 8 December, and features architects Farshid Moussavi and Odile Decq, sociologist Saskia Sissen and graphic designers Marina Willer and Frith Kerr.

“While we might think that women’s voices are echoing around the world right now through the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, in design publications, conferences, judging panels and other public realms, women designers tend to be outnumbered by their male counterparts,” said curator Libby Sellers, who is hosting Women Design.

“Whatever the rationale behind the gender bias, it has already eliminated or repressed an overwhelming majority of talent in the industry. To continue without championing a balance, would only encourage an impoverished future for design as a result,” she added.

“Perhaps, as we will do through Women Design, by highlighting some of the historical injustices and also seeking out and celebrating role models we might be able to create a discernible difference.”

Last year, Dezeen’s survey of the 100 biggest architecture firms in the world found a “quite shocking” lack of women in senior positions. Just one in 10 high-level staff were women, while only three of the 100 firms were headed by a woman.

Photograph of the Designers in Residence is by Felix Speller.

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