The Kingdom Tower by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

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Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is slated to become the home of the world’s tallest building.

Jeddah, a city of three million in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will soon be known for having the world’s tallest building. The Kingdom Tower, as it will be called, is a design conceived by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), a Chicago-based firm. Smith, while at SOM, partnered on the design of the current tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Designing a NYC Icon: One Bryant Park / Bank of America Tower

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The first skyscraper in the United States to achieve LEED Platinum also utilized the principles of biophilia in its design, helping to bring the feeling of nature into the heart of New York City.

When One Bryant Park – also known as the Bank of America Tower – was completed in 2009, it became the second tallest structure in New York City (after the Empire State Building). It was also the first skyscraper in the United States to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The list of its energy-efficient and environmentally friendly features is impressive and has been much discussed.

The Bacardi Building

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The Bacardi Building provides a striking example of Miami Modern (MiMo) hybridized with the International Style in Miami, Florida.

Some combinations are just irresistible: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, Bacardi and Coke. That such a relationship exists between two buildings may seem to be a little of a metaphorical stretch – that is, until you encounter the two superbly crafted buildings that make up the Bacardi building complex here in Miami. One building stands tall and proud, the other spans wide and colorful. If the Bacardi buildings were a song, they might be that famous Lennon and McCartney recording, "A Day in the Life" from the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Lennon's more caustic lyrics rise in tone, defining the plaza of their music, and McCartney's optimistic retort playfully provides a backdrop. Bacardi's tower, designed by Enrique Guitierrez in 1964, rises cool and architecturally fecund from its concrete roots, and Bacardi's cube, designed by Ignacio Carrera-Justiz in 1973, dances atop a hopeful plinth behind the scenes. It’s a very graceful juxtaposition. To extend the metaphor, it is like the juxtaposition afforded by Lennon and McCartney in "A Day in the Life," in which the contrast is emphasized by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing backward. In the Bacardi complex, the work of Guitierrez and Carrera-Justiz is divided by Bacardi's corporate logo, the Bat. Stroll through the plaza and find yourself transported into a world of modernist sophistication, spatial clarity, and a cool urban rhythm that Vitruvius would have delighted in.

Columbus, Indiana Rediscovered

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Columbus, Indiana is an architectural destination that continues to reinvent itself. A major infusion of modernist structures in the mid-20th Century established a precedent for place building that continues today.

Most people who know and love Columbus, Indiana have moved beyond its story of unlikeliness. Still, a great deal of what’s written about Columbus plays up the improbability angle: how does a city like this, with more than 70 modernist masterpieces designed by internationally-acclaimed architects and artists, spring out of soybean fields? Unlike the obvious architectural hubs in the United States, such as Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., Columbus has a ‘have-to-see-it-to-believe-it’ quality. But it has earned its stripes: the American Institute of Architects rated it sixth in the U.S. for architectural innovation and design— next in line after the aforementioned cities.

Eero Saarinen’s Miller House

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In May of 2011, a domestic modernist masterpiece opened its doors to the public at last, after spending 50 quiet years situated amid the architectural treasures of Columbus, Indiana.

J. Irwin Miller and Xenia Simmons Miller were like a lot of their contemporaries: raising children in a home they cherished on a quiet street in a friendly Midwestern town. Their children chased each other, roller-skated on the patio, had slumber parties with their friends, and scattered their toys on the floor. The only difference is that this family was living in one of the most spectacular modernist houses in the country, designed by Eero Saarinen, one of the most important modernist architects of the day. The home’s interiors were brought to life by designer Alexander Girard, and the landscape was designed by Dan Kiley.

Hotel Santos Porta Fira

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Toyo Ito & Associates and b720 Fermin Vazquez Arquitectos collaborated to create "the best skyscraper in the world." The Hotel Santos Porta Fira in Barcelona earned the prestigious designation when it won the Emporis Skyscraper Award 2010.

Sometimes it is what’s on the outside that counts, and that’s just the case with the Hotel Santos Porta Fira. The Barcelona, Spain, skyline received a burst of fiery red coloring with the addition of the towering skyscraper. The 369.78' spiraling masterpiece features 26 floors, 320 rooms, and luxury amenities and services, such as an on-site health club and massage center. The hotel also offers nine large, state-of-the-art meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology and a plenary room. The hotel has a meeting capacity of 1,357 and the largest meeting room can accommodate 740 occupants.

Marina Bay Sands SkyPark: An Iconic Singapore Destination

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A rooftop observation deck spans three hotel towers and creates a dramatic element in the Singapore skyline.

The SkyPark is an architectural masterpiece that rests atop the three 55-story hotel towers of the Marina Bay Sands mixed-use resort in Singapore. Recognized as one of the world’s largest public cantilevers, the SkyPark defies gravity as it extends 213' beyond the towers and boasts incredible panoramic views of the Singapore skyline, the South China Sea, and Marina Bay.

SHoP Architects' Barclays Center Comes to Brooklyn

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The new Barclays Center will not only provide a home for the Brooklyn Nets but will offer the surrounding community a civic space and an architectural  icon.

Not since 1957, when the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles, has this popular New York borough been so close to finally having a major league sports team to call its own. Despite significant public opposition, a faltering national economy, a Supreme Court case over eminent domain, and a Frank Gehry design deemed too expensive, the Barclays Center is well underway, with construction due to be completed in September 2012. Designed by SHoP Architects and the sport facility practice at Ellerbe Becket, this voluptuous mass with weathered steel skin will be the $4.9 billion home of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team.

HOK / Vanderweil Process Zero Concept Building: As Green As... Algae?

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HOK / Vanderweil's retrofit of a government building takes the notion of incorporating nature into design to a whole new level. The facade uses algae-housing tubes to serve multiple functions, including using algae as a fuel source.

When building green, it’s easiest to start from scratch, but the blank slate is an ideal rather than a reality: our stock of existing buildings necessitates energy-efficiency retrofits.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College: Child of the Sun

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The Florida Southern College campus offers the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on a single site. The 10 interconnected structures offer an unparalleled view of how Wright intended buildings to be part of a larger, organic whole.

"Out of the ground, and into the light, a Child of the Sun": Wright’s simple but powerful statement describing Florida Southern College offers us a glimpse into the mind of America’s most influential, iconic, and (yes) poetic architect. It also informs us of the organic nature of his architectural thought and practice and is a signpost of his philosophy. Simultaneously, it gives us something of a prophecy regarding the possibilities of biophilic design. Wright championed his own philosophy of organic architecture and, while not 100% compatible with today’s ideas of biophilic design, it certainly laid a strong foundation of intellectual and philosophical support for the movement. Wright’s statement also conjures up images of the profound relationship his buildings displayed with regard to Nature (that’s Nature with a capital N, as he was fond of saying). It is worth noting here that his words could have easily come from one of his creative heroes, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, or Walt Whitman, all of whom had a galvanizing effect on Wright’s thinking and his philosophy of how nature and architecture can be part of an organic whole.

Ross Barney Architects: The University of Minnesota Duluth’s James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building

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Structural and mechanical systems used in the Swenson Civil Engineering Building, located on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, serve as a teaching tool for the program’s students.

In 2008, The University of Minnesota Duluth began offering a B.S. in Civil Engineering. The new program required the construction of its own building, and Ross Barney Architects were hired to design the 35,300 sq. ft James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building, which was completed in 2010.

London 2012: Velodrome by Hopkins Architects

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Hopkins Architects’ design for the London 2012 Olympic Games Velodrome reflects the elegance, efficiency, and sustainability of the sport it supports.

The Olympic track cycling venue, or Velodrome, by Hopkins Architects, is considered the most sustainable venue in the Olympic Park in terms of design and construction. The overall inspiration for the design was the bicycle – a fitting choice, considering the building’s purpose. In a monograph published by The Architects’ Journal, Hopkins Architects senior partner Mike Taylor says, “Right from the off, we wanted it to feel like a bicycle in terms of its engineering, i.e., very taut and nothing superfluous. Everything trimmed down to the minimum.”

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