Reflections At Keppel Bay, Singapore

Daniel Libeskind designed these luxury apartment towers at Keppel Bay in Singapore, completed in 2011. The six buildings are 24 to 41 floors high, for a maximum of 525 ft in height. The complex rises like a grove of trees. Each building has a solid core, a curved reflective body, and a ghost structure that extends up the top. It is a form that takes starts with natural fundamentals. Bridges span across building to building. Taller towers loom up into the skyline, while groups of smaller units scatter around them below, like young trees in a dense forest.

The ghost structure allows rooftop gardens to gaze through. The tiered green gardens visually connect with the rolling green landscape at ground level. Skillful patterning of the exterior glazing on a grid brings mathemetical complexity, with contortions toward optimal views. The contortion of the grid in the glazing and structure is stretched at some extreme points. Small areas for public and private gathering also open up.

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King's Cross Station, London England

John McAslan and Partners designed the 2012 restoration of London's historic King's Cross station. Built in 1852, King's Cross terminated the main line for the East Coast and connected the island's Northern Railway.

The platforms run north-south and extend into the brick St Pancras building. Great arched windows give a street view into the platform space, and smaller arched entryways provide generous circulation to pedestrian ways. Above that, a semicircular glazed entrance hall presses up against the west side of the platforms. Ribbed structure converges into this central point, just as the traveler makes the transition from the modern city to the historic brick concourse.

The platform space itself combines old and new more methodically. Arched skylights and their steel structure gingerly sit atop the brick structural walls.

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Dubai Marina Metro Station, United Arab Emirates

Aedas designed the Marina Metro in Dubai, completed in 2010. The exterior takes on the fabric of the city skyline, stretched out in a fast-paced pattern. The IIT Student Building in Chicago appears to be a precedent for this design, with a circular station that rises above the street and envelops the tracks. The pedestrian entrance takes the form of a tube, suggesting the transition to a circulatory system.


Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

Adamo Boari and Federico Mariscal designed Mexico's Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, completed in 1934. Italian architect Boari was not able to complete the project, and Mexican native Mariscal took it over. As a result, Boari's Art Nouveau exterior is curiously combined with an Art Deco interior. Depictions of Apollo muses are mixed with regional Art Deco art. Much of this detailing is Native American, as the building was built over a significant Aztec sacrificial site.

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Mövenpick Hotel, Hamburg Germany

The Hamburg water tower was originally designed by William Black in 1910. The brick vaulted base of the tower was reused from a 1863 structure. After its decommission in 1930, it was converted to a planetarium. For some time tower reportedly stood unused until 2007 when it was converted to a hotel for Mövenpick. The hotel preserved the tower's concrete core and exterior brick facades. It has 226 rooms, a conference center for 180 people, bar, sauna, fitness center, and restaurant.

Local residents strongly protested the conversion to hotel, arguing that the public structure should remain public.

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Dali Museum, St. Petersburg Florida

Yann Weymouth of HOK designed the Salvador Dali art Museum artin St. Petersburg Florida, completed in 2011. The cold concrete box refers to the old museum from 1982, a gray uninviting warehouse. Geodesic spills out the front in a sparkling organic geometry and pouring out into the landscape.

This surreal form is massive, at 75 ft high and 105 ft wide. The dichotomy between concrete and glass, rigid and organic, also involves safety. The building is designed to withstand 165-mph wind of any storm that might hit it. The exterior contcrete is 18 inches thick.

A staircase swirles up from the front lobby in a double helix to a kind of dome, diminishing as it rises. Concrete, steel, and glazing come together at this point, in a wonderful interplay of materials and form.

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