Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The VD Guide - part IV

The VD Guide - part IV
Visiondivision gives you a brief tour of inspiring projects and phenomenon around the world.If you have more suggestions, dont hesitate to contact us at: For more VD Guide >>>
Ponte City- The tallest residential skyscraper in Africa
Location: Hillbrow, Johannesburg
Architect: Rodney Grosskopff
VD says: The core and the neon sign are pharaoic

Ponte City, originally called The Strydom Tower, is a skyscraper in the Hillbrow neighbourhood of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1975 to a height of 173 metres, making it the tallest residential skyscraper in Africa. The 54-story building is cylindrical, with an open center allowing additional light into the apartments. The center space is known as "the core" and rises above an uneven rock floor. Ponte City was an extremely desirable address for its views over all of Johannesburg and its surroundings.
During the 1990s, after the end of apartheid, many gangs moved into the building and it became extremely unsafe. Ponte City became symbolic of the crime and urban decay gripping the once cosmopolitan Hillbrow neighborhood. The core filled with debris five stories high as the owners left the building to decay. There were even proposals in the mid-1990s to turn the building into a highrise prison. The building came under new management in 1999, and this has improved security as well as the standard of repair. The sign on top of the building is the highest and largest sign in the southern hemisphere. It currently advertises the South African mobile phone company Vodacom.

Pepsi moon
Birth: the 70s
Location: The moon
Architect: The Pepsi crew
VD says: Shows the possibilities of thinking big

Pepsi´s advertising is once again feautered in the vd guide. Rumors says that Pepsi co had plans to project its logo when the moon was full, taking commercial signs to a new pharaoic scale. The diameter of the moon is roughly 3,476 km, therefore the total visible area for the logo would be 9,500,000 sq km. It is hard to find information about the project since this kind of attempts gets a lot of criticism from different organisations. Pepsis interest in space is however no secret, in 1996, the cosmonauts Yuri Ivanovich Onufrienko and Yuri Vladimirovich Usachyov took video footage of a giant aluminum and nylon Pepsi can and a banner with the text, "Even in space" .Video footage of the can and banner was shot both inside and outside Mir space station but the commercial never aired because Pepsi later changed the design of the can.

Mar del plástico- An ocean made of green houses
Birth: late 20th century
Location: Almeria, Spain
Architect: Industrial farming
VD says: Beautiful for aliens

Mar del plastico is a gigantic agricultural region in Almería province southern Spain and a workplace for thousands of illegal immigrants. The roofs of tens of thousands of closely packed plastic greenhouses forms this Sea of plastic (Mar del plástico).The glossy roofs making this place one of the most recognizable spots on the planet for passing satellites.

Antigone- Everybody should be entitled to live in a castle
Birth: 1979
Location: Montpellier, France
Architect: Ricardo Bofill
VD says: Scale and greatness somtimes follow each other

Antigone is an enormous project. While some of Bofill's earlier housing, in the Paris new towns, for example, were large, nothing compares with this. This is virtually a new town. It is almost one kilometer long. It includes about 4,000 new dwellings and 20,000 sq. meters of commercial space, much new office space, the Languedoc-Roussillon regional government headquarters, various city and other government offices, many restaurants and cafes, special housing for students and artists, schools, sports facilities, and underground parking.
All of Bofill's buildings at Antigone are built of prefabricated concrete panels which are rendered as a veneer of classical detail; pediments, plinths, capitols, friezes, balustrades, casement windows, moldings and other details.

Ponte Veccio
Birth: 1178
Location: Florence, Italy
Architect: Taddeo Gaddi
VD says: Smart concept, Beautiful outcome

The position of the present bridge dates to the flood of 1178, which swept away the IX century bridge; during the same year many of the houses along the streets leading to the bridge burned. The present three-arched bridge was built by Taddeo Gaddi in 1345. The reconstruction was made possible by the rent from the shops opened on the bridge.
It is said that the economic concept of bankruptcy originated here: when a merchant could not pay his debts, the table on which he sold his wares (the "banco") was physically broken ("rotto") by soldiers, and this practice was called "bancorotto Not having a table anymore, the merchant was not able to sell anything.

Shwezigon Paya a.k.a. the VD temple
Birth: 1102
Location: Nyaung-U, Burma
Architect: Anawratha
VD says: So good looking that we use it as our logo

Located near the modern village of Nyaung-U, Shwezigon was begun by Anawrahta (lower terraces), and completed by Kyanzittha in 1102. The zedi (stupa) is believed to enshrine one of four tooth relics of the Buddha that were brought over from Sri Lanka, and subsequently placed in four different stupas, to mark and consecrate the boundaries of Kyanzittha's royal city. The upper part of the stupa's anda (bell-shaped tower) was restored by King Bayinnaung in the 16th century. Shwezigon's shape was so well-liked that it greatly influenced the design of subsequent zedi in Burma.

The Palace of the People
Birth: 1983
Location: Bukarest, Romania
Architect: Mostly Ceauşescu
VD says: Only a villain could build this

The second largest building in the world (Pentagon is No. 1) has never been finished,The construction works started in 1983. The palace stands 12 storeys high with over 1000 halls and rooms and massive underground basements. There is a nuclear bunker, underground parking that could accommodate Buckingham Palace and a lobby stretching for 300 ft. The rooms are lavishly decorated in gold leaf and marble and over 4500 chandeliers (of 11,000 originally planned) hang in the Palace. This enormous building was originally known as the Casa Popularii, The House of The People, but the people instead coined it Casa Nebunului - the Madman's House."An entire quarter of the old town with 26 churches and over 7000 homes was destroyed to make room for the palace. In 1989 the dictator and his family fled the enraged crowd by helicopter from the roof of the building. It didn't help them much.

Notre-Dame du Raincy- The first good looking reinforced concrete piece
Birth: 1922
Location: Paris, France
Architect: The Perret brothers
VD says: A must when visiting Paris

The Church is situated in the eastern Paris suburb Le Raincy. It was designed by the brothers Perret and built in 1922-1923, this was the first church to be built in reinforced concrete, and with no external ornamentation. the extraordinary feature with this church is the painted glass walls with concrete muntin. Many of the visitors to the church comes from Japan, as a smaller replica of Notre Dame du Raincy was built in the Tokyo suburbs.

Marina city
Birth: 1964
Location: Chicago, USA
Architect: Bertrand Goldberg
VD says: Modernism at its best

Marina city is a mixed-use residential/commercial building complex occupying an entire city block on State Street in Chicago. The building complex was designed in 1959 by Bertrand Goldberg and completed in 1964. When finished, the two towers were both the tallest residential buildings and the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world. The complex was billed as a "city within a city", featuring numerous on-site facilities including a theatre, gym, swimming pool, ice rink, bowling alley, several stores and restaurants, and of course, a marina.

Loctus plague
Birth: Mother nature
Location: The Middle East
Architect: Evolution
VD says: Dosnet get more biblical then this

The 1915 locust plague, which lasted from March to October 1915, was a plague of locusts that stripped areas in and around Palestine of almost all vegetation. This invasion of awesome proportions seriously compromised the already-depleted food supply of the region and sharpened the misery of all Jerusalemites. Midhat Bay, who was the official appointed to fight the plague, helped enact a law which required every male between aged 15 and 60 in cities to collect 20 kilograms of locust eggs or pay a fine of £4.40. Research at Oxford University has identified that swarming behaviour is a response to overcrowding. Increased tactile stimulation of the hind legs causes an increase in levels of serotonin. This causes the locust to change color, eat much more, and breed much more easily. The transformation of the locust to the swarming variety is induced by several contacts per minute over a four-hour period. It is estimated that the largest swarms have covered hundreds of square miles and consisted of many billions of locusts.

Perito Moreno Glacier
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Patagonia, Argentina
Architect: Ice
VD says: Pure beauty

The Perito Moreno Glacier is a glacier located in the Los Glaciares National Park in the south west of Santa Cruz province, Argentina. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Argentine Patagonia. The 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system shared with Chile. This icefield is the world's third largest reserve of fresh water.

The "You only live twice" volcano
Birth: 1967
Location: Japan/England
Architect: Nature and Sir Ken Adam
VD says: Bond is delivering as usual

Spectre secret rocket base hidden in a hollow volcano
One of the best super villain hiding places ever. From the James Bond movie "you only live twice". The exterior is from the japanese volcano "Kirishima". the inside set was constrcuted in England's Pinewood Studios, where an elaborate $1 million set was constructed

Birth: 789 A.D
Location: Morocco
Architect: Idris
VD says: An impressive urban labyrinth

The Medina of Fes el Bali, the largest of the two medinas of Fes, is believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area in the world. Since the streets are for pedestrians, they are small and very randomly planed; making it one of the biggest urban labyrinths in the world.

Trellick Tower
Birth: 1966
Location: London, England
Architect: Ernő Goldfinger
VD says: A tough house by a tough architect

Trellick Tower is a 31-storey block of flats in North Kensington London. It was designed in the Brutalist style by architect Ernö Goldfinger, after a commission from the Greater London Council in 1966, and completed in 1972. It is a Grade II listed Building and is 98 metres tall (120 metres including the communications mast). The Architect where perhaps even more Brutal then the Trellick Tower Building. Goldfinger was a serious man and sometimes fired his assistants if they were inappropriately jocular.

A discussion about Ernő with Ursula Goldfinger's cousin on a golf course prompted Ian Flemming to name the James Bond adversary and villain Auric Goldfinger after Ernő. Goldfinger consulted his lawyers when the book was published in 1959 (which prompted Fleming to threaten to rename the character 'Goldprick') but eventually decided not to sue; Fleming's publishers agreed to pay his costs and gave him six free copies of the book.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Techos Azules II - La Escalinata

Michael Jackson and Beyonce is just a few of the world artists who have performed in Spanish, now it is visiondivision's turn to please the Latin American crowd.

Con este hotel querremos hacer un oasis calmo, moderno y barato.
El concepto es que hacer una escalinata lleno de la vida buena con una vista del mar desde todos los partes. Las turistas pueden estar en diferentes niveles y ver al atardecer, tomar cervezas, comer sándwich y asados desde el bar, usar la piscina y relajarse en las diferentes plataformas.

Lo que es similar a la propuesta anterior
(mira es que este también tiene un ambiente de un pueblo en niveles diferentes, como una extensión del hotel existente, que también tiene este cualidad. Este va a crear un ambiente de intimidad y bienestar.
Lo que es diferente de la otra propuesta es que aquí las zonas de privacidad y las zonas más públicos son más separadas, para dar una tranquilidad por los huéspedes y que la zona publico cerca del bar y la piscina puede admitir más ruido sin molestar los clientes que están en los cuartos.

Hemos diseñado este hotel casi totalmente con bloques; usando el tamaño 20x40x20 cm. Los bloques también es una importante cosa en la expresión del hotel porque juntos forman un sistema de líneas que se vean en todo la estructura.
Pensamos que toda la apariencia de este hotel puede ser más bonito si también el sitio en su alrededor es más arreglado y más denso, que el hotel va a tener una “pared” verde natural contra el camino, para dar más tranquilidad a la escalinata.

La construcción es muy básica; la piscina y cada habitación tienen una base de hormigón, y después bloques es apilado como paredes y como escaleras entre los niveles. Esta táctica es bueno porque las diferencias en alturas en este sitio es un poco complicado, pero las escaleras van a pegar todos los niveles en una forma natural y bonita, sin hacer demasiado trabajo con la tierra.

En la primera fase construyan la piscina, el bar y los dos habitaciones más cerca, y una segunda fase con dos cuartos mas es fácilmente incorporado en la esquema, también hay espacio por una tercera fase.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fire Bath in the Cauldron Claw

Here are some images and drawings for the Cauldron Claw project, if you haven't seen the movie about this project yet, we highly recommend you to do so:, please have patience while watching, it will pay off.

Cauldron Claw

Building process, carried out by a 85-year old welder in northern Sweden during the coldest month so that we could transport it smoothly through the woods while there was snow on the ground.
Prototype drawing; three custom made steel legs holds the heavy tub and is later placed in a local stream.
A perforated steel plate hangs underneath where you can make a fire to heat up the tub.
A fourth leg regulates the flow of water to the tub.

Heating up

The stream under the tub gives the fire a steady flow of air through perforations in the steel plate

Fire bath in the Cauldron Claw

Friday, March 6, 2009

Las Palmas Exhibition

Dear friends and fans, if you happen to be in Las Palmas for the Biennial, feel free to stop by their architecture school (Escuela Superior de Arquitectura) to see the legendary visiondivision project The Merchants of Venice, it may be the last opportunity to do so in full format, and Las Palmas is lovely at this time of the year.

More info:

The 2G Competition. Venice Lagoon Park exhibition travels to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Opening Saturday, 7 March 2009 Monday-Friday, from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm Escuela Superior de Arquitectura. Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Campus Universitario de Tafira n/n Tel: 928 277 530

As part of the Second Biennial of the Canary Islands: Architecture, Art and Landscape , the 2G Competition exhibition will be on view in Las Palmas from 7 March to 3 May. It can be seen at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura de Las Palmas from Monday to Friday, between 9.00 am and 7.00 pm. Admission free.

Launched in Barcelona in September 2008, the 2G Competition exhibition includes the winning projects, special mentions and a selection of the proposals chosen as finalists. In October 2008 the show travelled to Venice, where it remained until the end of November.
For more information:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Urban Fade

Competition entry for Koivusaari Idea Competition, to create a new city district on a small island just outside Helsinki, Finland.

View from the archipelago

Urban plan

The new district

In Koivusaari you will experience a great urban diversity on a
relatively small island; a dense city core that gradually fades
to smaller premises and that eventually becomes archipelago.
The island becomes a distillation of the best qualities
that each one of the urban typologies has to offer; the intense
city center with offi ces, shops and services close to the bus
and subway station, the medium sized town with more green
areas, restaurants and residential units, the small town that
lies almost in a park situation and fi nally the archipelago with
public piers and pavilions with good life activities.
By keeping it dense, the distances between the new districts
parts is kept short and you don’t have to do so much fi llings
around the island to get a lively city area. This is good for both
the environment and from a economical point of view.

Overlooking the island

Almost every residential unit has a sea view and they also have
a glass room that cantilevers from the façade, creating a new
typology, a deluxe room where you have a panorama over the
ocean and where you can enjoy the cityscape to the fullest.
The city grid is highly effi cient and has many advantages; it
creates lines of views, it has many options of moving around
in the district and it makes the variation in the building scales
even more dramatic, an optical illusion that enhances the
archipelago backdrop.
Koivusaari is planned to accommodate around 5000 people
and have 2500 working places. The island will have about
200 000 m2 residential space, 75000 m2 office space and
45000m2 business premises that makes a total built floor
space area of 320 000 m2.
The land area is a little bit more than 175000 m2.

Street view

Housing prototypes

Plexi model, partly made on the boat to Helsinki

The jury divided the different proposals into four categories; "Upper Class", "Middle Class", "Lower Middle Class" and "Lower Class".
Apparently we were placed in the "Lower Middle Class" category.

Here is the winner and an Upper Class project according to the Finnish elite thinkers;

Kuunari by Ilja Svärd, the winner and one of the "Upper Class" projects.
Congratulations wishes all of us at the lower middle class office visiondivision.
Hopefully we will one day be as good as you! Inshallah