Contemporary Architecture



  • Born in 1957 in Tokyo, Japan
  • Shigeru Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and later went on to Cooper Union’s School of Architecture
  • Profiled by Time Magazine in their projection of 21st century innovators in the field of architecture and design
  • Shigeru Ban was the winner in 2005 at age 48 of the 40th annual Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
  • Inspired by Architect John Hejduk
  • 2003 the finalist of the New York WTC Ground Zero Competition


  • Work reflects blend of his American Architectural training and his native Japanese influences.
  • Adopts a construction method in which the structure is integrated into an over all design.
  • Innovative exploration and Integration of materials so as to enhance their structural potential.
  • Materials ranging from Paper, wood, bamboo and steel.
  • As a Japanese architect….
  • …..uses themes and methods found in traditional Japanese architecture
  • …..the concept of modules taken forward – ‘Tatami’
  • —  Making the spaces free flowing with structures being ‘invisible’….
  • …..avoiding overtly expression of structural elements and incorporating it in the design….
  • As an Ecological architect….
  • …..” I don’t like waste” – Shigeru Ban
  • —  Most-famous now for his innovative work with paper and cardboard tubing as a material for building construction.
  • —  “…even in disaster areas, I want to create beautiful buildings, this is what it means to build a monument for common people…”
  • —  Known for his innovation with building materials

—  Known as the ‘Paper Architect’……


  • 2002 Forest Park Pavilion Prototype-Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, USA
  • 2000 PAM-A, Mishima, Shizuoka
  • 2000 Naked House, Kawagoe
  • 2000 Expo 2000 Hannover Japan Pavilion – Paper Tube Structure-13, Germany
  • 1999 Paper Tube shelters for refugees in Rwanda – Paper Tube Structure-10
  • 1997 Wall-less-House, Karuizawa, Nagano
  • 1995 Paper Church – Paper Tube Structure -08, Kobe, Hyogo
  • 1995 Paper Log House – Paper Tube Structure -07, Kobe, Hyogo, Bhuj
  • 1995 Curtain Wall House, Tokyo
  • 1994 Issey Miyake Gallery – Paper Tube Structure -06, Tokyo
  • 1991 Library of a poet – Paper Tube Structure -04, Zushi, Kanagawa
  • 1990Odawara Pavilion – Paper Tube Structure -02
  • 1987Villa K, Tateshina, Nagano
  • 1986Villa TCG, Tateshina, Nagano
  • 1986″Alvar Aalto” Exhibition design, Axis Gallery, Tokyo


  • This was the first project in which paper tubes were authorized for use as a structural basis in a permanent building.
  • a S-shape configuration comprised of 110 paper tubes (2.7m high, 275mm in inner diameter and 148mm thick) defines the interior and exterior areas of the paper house.
  • designing it in a big S-shaped circle, he retained the flow between inside and out with clear walls
  • tent-like curtains, which can be drawn for privacy in summer and shut in winter for warmth and insulation.
  • to link his interiors with the world outside.
  • “I always like to connect inside and outside space and make a kind of intermediate space in between”
  • The large circle formed by the interior tubes forms a big area
  • a free standing paper tubes column with a 1.2m diameter in the surrounding gallery contains a toilet
  • the exterior paper tubes surrounding the courtyard stand apart from the structure and serve as a screen
  • the living area in the large circle is without furnishing or details other than an isolated kitchen counter, sliding doors, and movable closets
  • the roof, supported by the colonnade of paper tubes, is visually emphasized


—  Ban assembled a team of students from his research center  banlab, and the Hironori Matsubara Lab at Keio University, along with volunteer teachers from around China, who were assigned by the country’s education ministry.

—  They can be moulded into load-bearing columns, bent into trusses and rapidly assembled, and can be made waterproof and fire resistant. Because paper tubes are available in various thickness and diameters, they can be added to a structure to support more weight as necessary.

—  The roofs are made of plywood, and polycarbonate and PTFE was used as insulation


—  Project completion date : August 2002

—  Set in a context of a private house and two storey regional hospital building

—  The main volume of the structure functions as a gymnasium as well as concert hall and annex spaces of the ellipse contain swimming pool, changing room and piano room.

—  980 square meter space enclosed by an elliptical dome.

—  The dome is constructed with LSL (laminated strand lumber) and steel pipe members

—  It has classic styles of Japanese technical purism by means of a construction method characteristic of technological globalization process.

—  The main structure is placed underground, only the dome and the eaves of the two entrances are visible

—  The region is known for its heavy snowfall piling up to shoulder heights.

—  The aesthetic structural components enhance the lighting quality of the space.

—  The plan of the dome is elliptical and is supported by 2 sets of arches.


—  Arches spanning in one direction generate lateral stability for arches in other direction

—  Pentagonal trussed arch along minor axis provide space within themselves for Vierendeel arches spanning along major axis

—  Interconnection of two arches in opposite direction generates multi skinned grid dome as one structure.

—  The whole assembly is then covered with strips of light weight polycarbonate sheets thus allowing diffused light to enter the space.

—  Both Arches are composed of LSL (Laminated Strand Lumber) and steel pipe sections and plates.

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Contemporary Architecture

Rem Koolhaas – CCTV HQ Beijing

The Architect

  • Born November 17, 1944 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Definitely a celebrity architect, at the opening of the Prada stores of his design in New York and Los Angeles, he was a recognizable figure
  • Former journalist and screenwriter who studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London
  • “Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design” at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design
  • In 1975 Koolhaas along with some other architects founded the OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), dedicated to finding “new synergies” between architecture and contemporary culture
  • In 2005, he co-founded ‘Volume Magazine’ together with Mark Wigley and Ole Bouman.


  • Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate for the year 2000
  • TIME Magazine Best Architecture for 2004 (Seattle Central Library)
  • RIBA Gold Medal (2004).
  • In 2005 Rem Koolhaas received the Mies van der Rohe Award for the Netherlands Embassy, Berlin

A Visionary Architect:

From the Pritzker Prize Jurors:

  • Rem Koolhaas is that rare combination of visionary and implementer —philosopher and pragmatist — theorist and prophet — an architect whose ideas about buildings and urban planning made him one of the most discussed contemporary architects in the world even before any of his design projects came to fruition.
  • He is not a formalist, yet he creates form. He is not a functionalist, yet programs are the generators of his solutions; he is not a theoretician, yet ideas dominate his work.

Design Philosophy

  • Boldly produces buildings that differ visually to their surroundings
  • Celebrates the “chance-like” nature of city
  • Interrogated the “Program“ to oppose the notion “ an act to edit function and human activities “ as the pretext of architectural design
  • His work emphatically embraces the contradictions of  two disciplines- architecture and urban design

Important Work:

  • Kunsthal, (Rotterdam, 1993)
  • Euralille (Lille, 1988)
  • Netherlands Dance Theater (The Hague, 1988)
  • Educatorium, (Utrecht, 1993-1997)
  • Netherlands Embassy (Berlin, 2003)
  • Guggenheim Museum, (Las Vegas, 2002)
  • Nexus Housing (Fukuoka, Japan)
  • Retail design for Prada stores (New York 2003, Los Angeles 2004)
  • McCormick Tribune Campus Center, (IIT Chicago, Illinois, 1997-2003)
  • Seattle Central Library (2004)
  • Casa da Música (Oporto, 2005)
  • CCTV HQ, Beijing (2008)

CCTV HQ Beijing:

Project Details:

  • Architects: Rem Koolhassand OMA,East China Architecture and Design Institute of Shanghai (ECADI)
  • Engineers: OveArup and Partners
  • Financing:Chinese Government (est. Investment: $1.2 Billion)
  • Location: New central business district in Beijing, China

Architectural Concept:

  • It takes the state-run broadcaster to a new level of global broadcasting, expanding from its previous operation of running 13 channels to over 200 upon completion.
  • Combines administration and offices, news and broadcasting, programme production and services – the entire process – in a single loop of interconnected activities
  • Consists of nine-storey ‘Base’, the two leaning Towers that slope at 6° in each direction, and the nine to 13-storey ‘Overhang’, suspended 36 storeys in the air
  • A visionary design, radical shape – defying the traditional skyscraper
  • A landmark building, reflects the new image of China
  • A major engineering design and construction feat


  • The design not only adds to the interest of the internal space but also complements the functionality of the building, which needs to support the full range of processes involved in TV production.
  • The variable space and the continual loop structure make the building ideal for creating the desired interconnected sequence of activity, and provide a fitting new home for CCTV.
  • The facade mirrors the form of the structural braces.
  • The leaning towers and the interconnecting section created a real challenge in engineering terms and required an innovative approach to make the uniquely-shaped building possible.


  • The weight of the floor plates is taken by structural cores
  • The forces at the skin are distributed along diagrid skeleton.
  • The positioning of the columns and diagonal tubes on the exoskeleton reflects the distribution of forces in the surface skin of the building
  • Forms irregular pattern on the façade
  • Uses about 20% less steel compared to a single tower of similar area
  • For better appearance exoskeleton under a curtainwall layer

Significance in the Contemporary Scene:

  • An influential architect of the contemporary scene  – Aspiring, adventurous, visionary and innovative
  • Creates new precedent with ‘top down skyscraper’ for a ‘top down organisation’
  • New Concepts of architecture and structure. First instance of a loop form implemented for a building
  • Emphasis on exploiting present day materials
  • Brings in technology, structure as a key component in buildings
  • Rem Koolhaas has extended the boundaries of the possible through his radical designs


  • Deconstructivist? Structuralist? Late modernist?
  • Often criticized for lack of aesthetic consideration.
  • Simply architecture that wants to be different
  • Though a landmark, the boldness of the “twisted loop” is out of place in Beijing’s skyline and Chinese culture.


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Contemporary Architecture

Marshall Strabala – Shanghai Tower


  • 1961 – Born in Seattle, U.S.
  • 1988 – Graduated from Harvard University
  • 1988 – Joined Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), Chicago
  • 1996 – Joined Gensler global architectural firm as Director of  Design


  • Burnham Prize of Chicago Architecture Club
  • American Institute of Architect Honor Awards (2004, 2005)
  • ASHRAE Excellence in Engineering Awards (1998, 1999)
  • USITT Architecture Award (2001).


  • A “Performance Designer”
  • Rather than clinging to a particular style, Strabala views his designs more in terms of their function.
  • “Style is an odd thing, mostly a category of time. I seek a timelessness in all my projects. I want to create a feeling of permanence over a particular style”.
  • He looks at every project with fresh eyes and a point of view that will allow constant discovery and continued improvement.
  • Every element of the building needs to perform two purposes. It integrates art and science, aesthetics and function, technology and beauty and knowledge and perception.“
  • There may be newer and faster computer tools and modeling systems to visualize building designs, but the ultimate tool that will create buildings is the human mind.
  • Got inspired by small Japanese and Korean architects, including Tadao Ando of Japan.


  • Shanghai Tower, a 632-meter super-tall office, residential and retail tower in Shanghai, China, scheduled for completion in 2014.
  • Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building at 808-meters
  • Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, a 420-meter office, hotel retail and apartment complex to be completed in 2009.
  • Besides Strabala has designed more than 50 prominent buildings worldwide

Case Study – Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China, 2008-2014

  • Marshall Strabala got this project for his firm GENSLER after a 21-month-long competition ended in
  • March 2008, when he beat out Foster + Partners, Kohn Pederson Fox, and even his old firm, SOM.
  • 632 metres (2,073 ft), have 128 stories, and contain an area of 380,000 m2.
  • It will be the tallest building in China and is slated to be the second tallest in the world.
  • Tower features office space, luxury residences, a high-end hotel, retail space, restaurants and a public observatory.
  • Tower features a soft triangular shape, the tower rotates as it goes skyward and concludes with an open-top design.
  • As the shape rises, a “strike” or open notch curves up and around the building which is an engineering feature to control the wind up and away from the building.
  • Uses 32 – 35% less structural materials ( concrete and steel ) than any other conventional buildings. It results in savings of 58million US$

Double skin Building:

With the double skin , the building will function like a thermos bottle.

This allows it to

  • harvest and use daylight,
  • reduce artificial lighting to a minimum,
  • increase the insulation of the building’s interior
  • reduce energy consumption and energy costs.“

The development will be separated into eight distinct bioclimatic zones, with each having its own atrium, lush gardens, indoor air controls and panoramic 360° views of city.

The building will be situated within a 10,000 sqm open green space that will become both a public park and the front entry to the tower.


  • Innovative skin technology is one of many sustainable design and renewable energy systems in the tower.
  • The spiral shape facilitates vortex shedding and creates an asymmetrical surface to reduce wind loads on the building by 24%. reducing the structural load on the building.
  • The building’s spiraling parapet collects rainwater, used for the tower’s HVAC systems.
  • Wind turbines located directly beneath the parapet generate on-site power. Thus energy consumption of building is 35-40 % less than any other conventional building.
  • 40% less water consumptioni.e. they save 675 million L/ annum =245 Olympic size swimming pools

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