King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Grand Mosque / Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Architectural Design: Omrania and Associates
Completion Date: 2017
Area: 6.103 sqm
Photos: Mohammad Ballool, Omrania, Faisal Bin Zarah
The King Abdullah Financial District project is a smart city project on 17 million square meters area with many promising designs in it. At the core of the project, which will host G20 Summit in 2020, KAFD Grand Mosque appears. Inside of the 6.103-square-meter structure, the column-free space can accommodate 1.466 prayer spaces over two levels-a large central hall and a mezzanine. The general concept of the KAFD Grand Mosque is inspired by the desert rose, a naturally-occurring crystalline structure commonly found in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. The specific geometries of the building are based on traditional Islamic patterns. It provides integrated sun shading as well as a sculptural articulation that is consistent with the design principles of the KAFD plan developed by Henning Larsen. The 60-meter-tall minarets rise in the public square apart from the main building. This image of desert rose allows the mosque, which is located in a way that resembles the giant dunes, to resemble an architectural flower that appeared in the urban desert of the valley. The local stone cladding reinforces the idea that the building is part of the desert landscape. As it is one of the top 10 contemporary mosques that challenge traditional Islamic architecture, the mosque manages to stand out among the many high-rise buildings in Riyadh with its angular cuts of the mosaic stone roof and elegant triangular glass.
Susch Museum / Susch, Switzerland
Architectural Design: Chasper Schmidlin and Lukas Voellmy
Completion Date: 2018
Area: 1.500 sqm
Photos: Andrea Badrutt Chur, Studio Stefano Graziani, Muzeum Susch,
Art Stations Foundation CH
Natural Stone: Amphibolite
Located among the picturesque remnants of a 12th century rural monastery and former brewery in the idyllic and remote setting of the Engadin valley, Susch Museum were preserved to protect its existing structures carefully. Their aim was to respect and honor the existing architecture, while working to highlight the artwork in the best possible way. Meanwhile, elements of the site’s natural rock formations remain exposed and the museum is connected to the surrounding natural landscape. Designed by Zurich-based architecture firm Voellmy Schmidlin Architektur-led by Chasper Schmidlin and Lukas Voellmy – the new contemporary art museum is founded by Polish entrepreneur and art executive Grazyna Kulczyk to house her collection in a series of site-specific installations as well as temporary shows, set to become part of the global art crowd’s cultural schedule. In the first phase of the project, explosions carried out over a period lasting more than a year to shift 9.000 tons of amphibolite, a local rock type. Susch Museum which includes over 1.500-square-meter of temporary and permanent gallery spaces, comprises four buildings; the Bieraria (brewery) and Bieraria Veglia (old brewery) which interconnected with the tunnel, will host the exhibition space, foundation headquarters, and a restaurant; Chasa della Santa and the house for the artists’ residence, Temporars Susch. The challenge for the architects has been to unite these structures visually as well as functionally. As the complex of buildings has strong historical and landscape value, protected by Cantonal Historical Preservation Law its additional rooms have been created by excavating into the solid mountain rock below and beside the brewery. To connect the monastery complex with the later added main building, an underground passageway has built.
Lanyang Museum / Yilan, Taiwan
Architectural Design: Kris Yao / Artech Architects
Completion Date: 2010
Area: 39.426 sqm
Photos: Jeffrey Cheng, Chi-Yi Chang
Natural Stone: Granite
Located in Toucheng village, Yilan Province of Taiwan, the museum building was designed by a team led by Kris Yao. Its design was inspired by the cuestas commonly seen along Beiguan Coast. The museum adopts the geometric shapes of the cuestas where the roof, which took 6 years to build, protrudes from the ground at an angle of 20 degrees meeting a wall which rises from the ground at an angle of 70 degrees. Thus the building emerges from the ground in a similar fashion to those cuestas. The museum spaces, inspired by the natural “cuesta” rock formation, shift in and out of the “rock”. This museum is adjacent to the Wushih Port, a once prosperous harbor that is now a wetland. The museum is designed to reflect the unique history, the culture, and the landscape in Lanyang. In addition to reconstructing the harbor’s history, the museum also introduces Yilan’s rich wetland ecology as a part of an outdoor exhibition. By inserting the triangular mass into the ground at an angle, the minimalist architectural geometry mimics the nearby terrain. A range of granite and cast aluminum panels are used on the building’s exterior to represent the reef’s natural erosion process while incorporating the image of seasonal changes over the Lang Yang plain. These panels of varied textures and sizes translate the musical notes and the rhythmic tempos. The music that chosen to represent is Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons Concerto”. The gaps between the volumes provide natural lighting and divisions between different functional spaces. The building consists of interlacing solid and glass volumes, where the solid volume is reserved for exhibition and administrative spaces and the glass volume serves as the main lobby and the restaurant area.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina / Alexandria, Egypt
Architectural Design: Snøhetta
Completion Date: 2002
Area: 69.677 sqm
Natural Stone: Granite
In 1974 with the campaign of Alexandria University to revive the ancient library, the Great Library of Alexandria, the coast of Alexandria was selected a plot of land for its new library. In 1988,former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak organized an architectural design competition with the collaboration of UIA and the Egyptian government. The competition was won by Snøhetta, a Norwegian architectural office, from among more than 1.400 entries in 1989. The architects intended the pure geometry of the circular plan to recall the cyclical nature of knowledge, fluidity throughout time and to reflect the circular layout of the Alexandrian harbor. The library complex, as characterized by its circular, tilting form which spans 160 meters in diameter, contains four museums, a planetarium, virtual reality environments, academic research centers, art galleries and a conference center. The 11-story library can contain up to 8 million volumes of books. 3 floors underground level are below sea level, therefore, to protect the building against water pressure the sand-based foundation was used. One outer wall of the structure is made up of red aswan granite panels bearing characters from all the known alphabets. In the building where stone, glass, wood and reinforced concrete is used, there are areas for cultural and educational activities in addition to the reading room of 20 thousand square meters. The distinctive “curved disc” form of the building gives the building a monumental appearance. The light infiltrating through the roof is further spread by the roof’s interior geometry and that of the many columns which rise up to meet it.
The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet / Oslo, Norway
Architectural Design: Snøhetta
Completion Date: 2008
Area: 38.500 sqm
Natural Stone: Marble and granite
In 1999, a design competition was held for a new opera house in Bjørvika, a harbor area of Oslo and the competition, of the 350 entries received, was won by Snøhetta. The award-winning building which took 8 years to build is impressive with its landscape as well as its architectural character. The conceptual basis of the design of Oslo Opera House as the cornerstone of Oslo’s “Fjord City” is a combination of three elements, the wave wall, the factory and the carpet. The wave wall represents a symbolic threshold which is embodied as a large wall on the line of the meeting between land and sea, the capital city and the world, public and the art. The carpet is the 18.000-square-meter roofscape on the wall that gives the building its monumental quality. The idea of joint ownership and open access for all became the main function of the building to respond the invite for the opera and ballet as relatively young art branches for Norway. The factory, on the other hand, represents the solutions created by aesthetic and user-friendly items, receiving 300 shows and 250.000 visitors per year without losing functionality and flexibility. For each these three themes of the building, a material is assigned to: The Italian marble, La Facciata for the carpet which retains its brilliance and color even when wet, the oak tree for the wall as it can be shaped with an acoustic character, and aluminum for the factory to ensure the longevity and flexibility of the opera house. The glass has added later to the carpet as the fourth material. The north facade and all the stone cladding which is in contact with water is a Norwegian granite called “Ice Green”.
Himalesque Radio Broadcasting Station / Jomsom, Nepal
Architectural Design: Archium
Completion Date: 2013
Area: 747 sqm
Photos: Jun Myung-jin
Natural Stone: Gneiss
Korean architect Kim In-cheurl from the Archium practice in Seoul designed a radio station, located in a plateau of Nepal that not far from Tibet’s border, by using local materials in accordance with the
topography and climate conditions in a functional and aesthetic architecture. The building, called Himalesque, is in Jomsom, the main settlement in the remote northeastern Mustang District, Jomsom. It is home to the local Mustang Broadcasting Community station and also serves as a camping facility for trekkers exploring the nearby Annapurna range. Natural stone which is one of the most basic building materials, was used in the building designed in a modern and multipurpose language, to meet all needs. At 3.000 m above sea level, not only expedient, but also locally sourced labour and materials were used. “Gneiss”, a metamorphic rock, was used as a material. Studios and meeting rooms are arranged around the central courtyard while deep canopies provide shade. This courtyard is further protected from the strong winds and extreme weather conditions by porous, outer walls, also fashioned from local gneiss, which also enables the building to blend into the surrounding landscape. Site conditions facing strong winds with changing directions, from rainy seasons to dry seasons, and environmental conditions require that a cool, unheated space is
maintained, in spite of the extreme daily temperature differences, reorganized by contemporary methods with local materials. Although concrete was used in the courtyard portico columns, the rest of the building was designed with natural stone, just like the tables in the recording rooms.
Temple in Stone and Light / Barmer, India
Architectural Design: SpaceMatters
Completion Date: 2016
Area: 138 sqm
Photos: Akash Kumar Das, Anand Lakhani, Krishna Shrivastava,
Natural Stone: Sandstone
In the northwestern state of India, Rajasthan, has dozens of dazzling temples in a harsh climatic zone. Given this legacy, to design a contemporary Hindu temple set in the sand dunes of Rajasthan has been an enormous challenge. Lord Shiva, to whom this temple is dedicated, dwells in paradoxes and apparent dualities. In Hindu scriptures and mythology he manifests as both – the preserver and the destroyer. In unison with goddess Shakti, he transcends the duality of the masculine and feminine principle. In Indian philosophy, this is approached as a continuum rather than a binary. This symbolism is used to evocative spatial clues to deliver this project. The architecture of the temple combines the heavy materiality of the stone with the lightness of the form, where the solid looking stone exterior dissolves as the night dawns and transforms into a delicate lantern in the dunes. During the day, light filters into the sanctum of the temple. At night, light turns the temple inside-out, extending an invitation to those outside while rewarding those within. This gesture also subtly seeks to illuminate the need for inclusion in contemporary religious spaces, which still tend to exclude based on old age biases of gender, class, caste or orientation. The state of Rajasthan is known world over as the source of natural stone and stone craftsmanship. The team used the local Jaisalmer yellow sandstone to carry this heritage. Yellow sandstone’s glowing surface reflects that golden desert sun that is strongly associated with Rajasthan. The yellow sandstone gives the temple an appearance of having risen from the surrounding sands.
O’biz Tower Lobby / Anyang, South Korea
Architectural Design: Luca Villa – anD Studio and MOTOElastico
Completion Date: 2015
Photos: Ulla Reimer & YuJin Yeon, anD
Natural Stone: Gray granite and green-oriental marble
The lobby of an office building is a place where people transits and pass through; it is a ‘non-place’, almost by definition, as the airport waiting area, almost devoid of their own identity. It is home to almost strangers or people who have closely job relationships. The team worked on a space to create that would have its own identity, more intimate, and also it would be functional at the same time. The first idea of the design was to provide continuity to the external guidance lines in the meeting and waiting areas. To enhance the graphic features of the project, a striped three dimensional pattern was used that goes well beyond the limits imposed by the interior space. The pattern starts on the pavement of the public plaza around the building, and it leads the users towards the main reception area. The stripes work as a filter: They collect the visitors from outside and redirect them towards their final destination within the building. The lobby becomes a landmark, a geometric progression, where a simple design feature is used to organize all the elements of the space; floor, walls, ceilings, furniture and lighting uniformly. The team decided to lighten up the construction of the higher areas in the lobby which is more than 11 meters high without compromising the pattern composition. In the project, alternating two different kinds of stone, green oriental marble and gray granite were used. Also for the ceilings, laser-cut punched metal panels in two colors and different patterns were used.
Museo Jumex / Mexico City, Mexico
Architectural Design: David Chipperfield Architects
Completion Date: 2013
Area: 6.700 sqm
Photos: Simon Menges
Natural Stone: Travertine
The travertine-clad Museo Jumex, which is home to the private collection of Latin American contemporary art, gives a peculiar look in the city with its roof design resembling a chimneyless factory. Founded by Eugenio López Alonso, Museo Jumex opened its doors to the public in November 2013 as an institution devoted to contemporary art, whose aim was not only to serve a broad and diverse public, but also to become a laboratory for experimentation and innovation in the arts. It was conceived in response to its surroundings and local context, incorporating domestically sourced materials. The primary exhibition space is located on the two upper floors and optimises the use of daylight for the top floor gallery. The lower floors comprise a series of spaces that provide the more social and community-based aspects of the program. An open-sided multifunction loggia sits between the upper galleries and the ground floor, and allows visitors to enjoy elevated views of the landscape and the urban life of the street. A distinctive saw-tooth roof creates a rhythmic geometry that defines the third-floor gallery. Resting on 14 columns the whole property sits on a raised plinth, allowing the ground floor to merge with the public plaza. The plinth, the columns, the ground and first floor cores and the soffits throughout are made of concrete, while the façades, the roof and the floors from the plinth upwards are made of locally sourced travertine from Xalapa, Veracruz. The continuity of the travertine coating lends the building a solid character reminiscent of indigenous sculptural traditions.
Sancaklar Mosque / Büyükçekmece, İstanbul
Architectural Design: Emre Arolat Mimarlık
Completion Date: 2012
Area: 700 sqm
Photos: Thomas Mayer
Natural Stone: Bodrum slate
Sancaklar Mosque located in a prairie landscape, is separated from the surrounding suburban gated communities by a busy highway in Büyükçekmece. The high walls surrounding the park on the upper courtyard of the mosque depict a clear boundary between the chaotic outer world and the serene atmosphere of the public park. The long minaret stretching out from the park becomes the only architectural element visible from the outside. The building is located below this minaret and can be accessed from a path from the upper courtyard through the park. The building blends in completely with the topography and the outside world is left behind as one moves through the landscape, down the hill and in between the walls to enter the mosque. The natural stone stairs following the natural slope of the landscape with over 6 meters long. The ceiling resembles a cave with its interlocking, geometric shapes deepening towards the center. Slits and fractures along the Qibla wall optimize daylighting in the cave – like interior and enhance the directionality of prayer hall. The rectangular style in Umayyad mosques was used to reduce the number of the row. Qibla wall is long and the carpets are the same color as Qibla wall. The back and side facades are built with natural stones brought from Bodrum and there is no ornament on the wall except for a single calligraphy.