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Is the industry ready for 2016?
© 2016 Brian Gassel Photography
There is a growing surge of activity focused on developing new learning environments in response to demands for increased interaction, collaboration, connectivity, engagement, and community. This movement is spearheaded by the need to accommodate the variety of identified ways in which students learn. Innovative school facility design is the key integrator of multi modal learning concepts, academic customization and technology synthesis for existing and new K-12 schools.

Non-traditional, Immersive Learning Environments, or “Learningscapes,” are generally designed around five distinct types of learning activities, namely: Individual study, collaborative small group, breakout lecture,community classroom, and exploratory workshop spaces.

Each of these has specific needs in terms of space, configurations, technologies, finishes, furniture, acoustics, and lighting. For example, individual study areas define intimate spaces designed for individual investigation, critical thinking and assessment. Collaborative small group areas integrate flexible team spaces for project-based learning and collaboration.

Workshop areas accommodate hands-on exploration and testing, similar to a science lab. Breakout lecture areas include gathering spaces intended for short discourses and distant learning. Community classroom areas are shared spaces planned for social learning and co-planning in groups. The relationship and configuration of these spaces, in conjunction with a central teaching-team planning area, are the design components used to develop such environments.

Mutual Education and Learning

“Immersive Learning Environments, also known as active learning, personalized learning or project-based learning, promote diverse teaching strategies aimed at changing the idea of one teacher in one room in favor of a more migratory educational experience,” explains Kirk Marchisen, principal and vice president of Stevens & Wilkinson, Georgia. “The variety of space typologies permits a team of teachers to jointly devise the curriculum and workflow into “neighborhoods” of learning to improve teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction and educational outcomes.”

Learning neighborhoods are better for both students and teachers. Rather than transitioning from one fixed classroom to another, or remaining with the same teacher all day, students may be given the choice to work either individually, or study collaboratively in groups of varying sizes and learning abilities.

This expanded learning format requires more interaction and cooperation among the teaching team to develop plans that are unified yet diverse in their offerings. Professional development focused on activity coordination and the utilization of these varied areas within the neighborhood is imperative to successfully realize the full potential of an Immersive Learning Environment.

Students educated in an Immersive Learning Environment have the opportunity to become more engaged in the learning process within a creative atmosphere that blends interaction, collaboration, modernized curriculum, and the enhanced integration of technology. The setting provides activity-based instruction and student-led participation, which significantly improve attention and promote retention and understanding of new concepts.

“Today, there are many ways to gather and test knowledge,” says Marchisen. “This evolution of educational space design is a value-added proposition to accommodate the innumerable ways in which students learn, understand, recall, and apply information.”

© 2016 Brian Gassel Photography
The Role of Architecture and Design

From a design perspective, there is not a prescribed formula that dictates the planning of these spaces. Each design is oriented to promote intercommunication between the variety of spaces and activities; to take advantage of available natural light and site views; and to support the culture of the school, district or community.

The main goal of Immersive Learning facility design is to provide a spatial response to the multifaceted learning needs and abilities of students as well as the demand for improved educational results. Design solutions are developed to facilitate team-based interdisciplinary curriculum and stimulate confidence in communication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and technology. Successful design will also support the development of a team approach to instruction and coordination between the teachers.

“When we design Immersive Learning Environments, we envision a student easily transitioning from class to lab, or being part of a small group in a more specialized space to watch a video or perform tasks without disturbing the rest of the class,” says Marchisen. “The design is a critical component to the evolution of each student’s learning process.”

For several years, Marchisen and his colleagues at Stevens & Wilkinson, a full-service architecture, engineering and interior design firm with offices in Columbia, S.C. and Atlanta, have worked closely with various county leadership committees and school administrations to implement a series of architectural prototypes of the Immersive Learning Environment concept.

In 2012, leaders of the Fulton County School system in Atlanta hosted a two-day charrette to discuss and address the challenges of 21st century transformative education. Stevens & Wilkinson, in collaboration with Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, worked closely with Fulton County to develop a range of ideas to tackle the challenges of the changing educational landscape.

The outcome of the charrette led to transformational changes for Fulton County and its approach to facility design with the introduction of Immersive Learning strategies. The district felt a strong responsibility to develop these concepts in their schools and be an example for the State of Georgia as a leader in promoting nontraditional learning environments.

Results: Cases in Point

The Ronald E. McNair Middle School, located in Fulton County Georgia, was Fulton County Schools’ first example of a reimagined facility based on the principles of Immersive Learningspaces.

Based on a prototype originally designed by Stevens & Wilkinson in 1998, the school formerly had three separate wings for sixth, seventh and eighth grade core instruction. Each grade had self-contained classrooms and labs flanking a traditional circulation corridor.

By introducing Immersive Learning design and further developing ideas originally presented in the 2012 charrette, Stevens & Wilkinson and Immersive Learning design consultant Little Diversified transformed the conventional wing design into the concept of “neighborhoods.”

Individual classrooms and science labs in each wing were reconfigured into three distinct yet interconnected neighborhoods, also known as learning communities. “The neighborhood concept is successful because there is a social aspect to it,” Marchisen says. “A neighborhood has a more open feel without all ofthe doors of more conventional classroom design, but is totally different from the open plan designs popular in the 1970s.”

The redesign allows teachers to interact with more than one class at a time, evoking a greater sense of community and communication between learning areas. Students can remain in their neighborhoods for the better part of a school day, freely circulating between productive spaces designed for class, labs and teamwork.

The neighborhood includes four connected classroom areas and a workshop / lab, along with a series of adjoining spaces for individual study, small group study, and a tiered lecture space. In addition, a centrally located teacher planning area is within the neighborhood.

The outcome of this effective Immersive Learning design has proven so positive for McNair Middle School, the same design principles were developed for a series of middle school additions in a separate part of the county.

Bright colors, natural light and attention to acoustics and indoor air quality contribute to Immersive Learning Environment schools, with the goal of serving as places of joy and well-being for teachers and students.Students are happier being able to work in group settings or self-sufficiently as an alternative to former confines.

As observed by Luqman Abdur-Raman, principal at McNair Middle School, “Students benefit from understanding that in real-world problem solving, it is not only about lecture or group work; it is also about coming together to present and share ideas.”

In South Carolina, Richland School District Two’s new, LEED-accredited Lake Carolina Upper Elementary School includes flexible learning spaces that coexist with new Immersive Learning Environments. These spaces are inclusive of traditional classrooms with multiple, smaller breakout spaces that open to large commons areas used for flexible team teaching, project-based learning and collaboration.

“The new school continues to receive rave reviews from the students, faculty and, most notably, the parents,” says Martha Jones, director of strategic partnerships for Richland School District Two. “Everyone is enjoying the new campus model, the state-of-the-art design and the innovative layout of the classrooms.”

The classrooms and breakout spaces are defined by large glass doors that provide physical and visual connectivity to the larger commons area which, by design, encourages team teaching and relationships or associations between the different groups. In turn, defined teacher work areas are integrated within the neighborhood cluster of learning spaces to enhance supervision, utility and teacher support.

According to Marchisen, the supervisory element is also part of the design team’s architectural considerations. “Teachers should be able to position themselves in the neighborhood and effortlessly see through an interior windowpane or open doorway to adjacent learning areas. In essence, the design yields a good amount of visual connection for teachers and students alike.”

Tim Williams, AIA, associate vice president, senior architect with Stevens & Wilkinson, S.C., stated the design team met with Richland School District Two’s leadership to help them develop goals and objectives, in order to create a mission statement for a design concept that became known as the “Treehouse for Learning.”

This unique concept, similar to the Immersive Learning model, encompassed multiple design challenges, supportive of the learning environment, such as how to best approach the school; how to instill a sense of exploration; and how to stimulate imagination and encourage collaboration. The Stevens & Wilkinson, S.C. project team helped revise the Richland School District Two’s detailed program. The team was ultimately invited to design a new pre-K through 5th-grade elementary school reflective of the district’s revised philosophy for flexible and multifaceted instructional space.

Former board chair of Richland School District Two’s Board of Trustees, Calvin “Chip” Jackson believes the building will serve the school and district well for decades to come. “Everyone enjoys the school’s collaborative work spaces and natural lighting. It is handsome, colorful and energy-efficient, all aspects the community are proud of,” he says.

Emergence of Immersive Learning Environments

While the narrative of fewer walls and greater visual connectivity can often give rise to mistaken perceptions of noise and student control, the benefits become obvious when the spaces are active with students, and teachers can fully utilize the range of space options. Once these concepts are embraced and implemented, everyone involved - teachers, students and staff- easily realizes the positive impacts and potential of the new designs that address the wide variety of teaching and learning opportunities.

To accelerate the transition to Immersive Learning environments, school authorities have a leading role to perform. In both Georgia and South Carolina, school districts are considering ways to incrementally add new learning environments to existing conventionally designed schools and new school buildings. In fact, the move to embrace the concept is beginning to take shape throughout the region and country.

“As designers, we believe in the Immersive Learning concept. As school leadership boards and administrators explore the possibilities and seethe benefits, we would like to see the concept evolve and become even more successful,” agree both Marchisen and Williams.


Architectural and interior design are integral parts of the development of Immersive Learning Environments. Through the design of more varied neighborhood-oriented spaces, learning happens in a community context. Visual transparency contributes to greater connectivity between groups of teachers and students. Together, these are transforming the way our next generation of leaders are being educated for a promising future.

Contributors to this article:
1.    Kirk Marchisen, principal and vice president, Stevens & Wilkinson, Georgia.
2.    Tim Williams, AIA, associate vice president, senior architect, Stevens & Wilkinson, South Carolina.
3.    Don Eberly, president / CEO, Eberly & Collard Public Relations.

Editor
Ryan Holland, ArchitectWeekly

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Pochin’s has secured a £10.8m contract to develop a 165,000 sq ft warehouse for BAE Systems next to its F-35 Lightning jet manufacturing site in Samlesbury, Lancashire.


© BAE System Defence & Logistics Centre
The facility will be among the first major developments in the Lancashire Enterprise Zone that sits alongside BAE Systems’ advanced manufacturing facility where it employs more than 4,000 people.

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You may have heard that the construction industry is set for yet another momentous change, as every single construction project in the public sector is required to be BIM Level 2 compliant by the start of 2016. Is the industry ready though?

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©  SydneyTafe 2012
From the majestic Taj Mahal of India to the mysterious pyramids of Egypt, the world is filled with structures which not only baffle minds but also induce a sense of feeling small and insignificant as we stare at their gigantic sizes. What is more amazing is the fact that all these structures were built by people with minds similar to those who are astonished at these structures. The only difference was: those minds were trained in a discipline called Architecture.

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Construction sites haven't changed much within the past 20 years. Sure, as the Health and Safety Executives have got a bit more of a look in the procedures that have been put in place are much more rigorous, but as technology rapidly improves in other sectors, what advances can we expect in the near future.


SMARTPHONES AS STANDARD
Work phones are an essential tool in everybody's working lives. We would be dramatically hindered in our capabilities if we were not able to call a specific person whether you happen to be. It is sensible then that everyone from  the project manager to the site foreman has access to one.

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© Kansas City Car Park
As an avid book lover and passionate literature student, the sheer delight which I felt when taking a peek at Kansas City’s beautifully renovated car park is understandably quite intense. It’s not just about the books, either – great selection that they are. It’s about turning a drab, generally un-motivating environment into one which is colourful, uplifting and, most importantly, one which introduces ideas. It’s impossible to walk or drive away without thinking, “Hmmm... it’s been a while since I’ve picked up that book. I wonder if I should give it another go?” And hereby a place as blasé as a car park suddenly becomes a place of transformation. It’s places like this which make cityscape's such a fascinating arena for creativity in various shapes and forms – of metamorphosing what would once have been a passing thought in a pedestrian’s mind into something more, and transcending what even the most ambitious of large-scale architectural projects can sometimes fail to achieve.

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Pochin Construction, a North West based construction firm, are currently in the final snagging phases of completing the highly anticipated 75,000 sq ft Altrincham Hospital. The hospital is a 6 storey concrete framed build, containing an assortment of services that will replace those at the existing hospital, less than 200 meters away. 

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The critics of Brutalist architecture draw from a modest stockpile of clichés. Say ‘Brutalist’ and expect to hear the words ‘ugly’, ‘car park’, and from the lips of the more discerning viewer, something similar to this sentence: ‘it projects an atmosphere of totalitarianism’. Brutalism’s rough exteriors seem to encourage the kind of brickbats rarely thrown toward dainty, pretty constructions; as though their cold appearance, so often linked to another cliché – ‘urban decay’ – is so resilient it can take such condemnation, simply because it’s unattractive and can stoically absorb the hits; because it’s impossible to offend something that looks so offensive. As Brutalism chose to be ‘ugly’, with its designers discarding all make-up, seductive architectural clothing, and instead wishing to expose their structure’s blemishes, what should their creators expect?  In all fairness to the critics, Brutalism is rather strident and uncompromising. But to think of Brutalism as nothing more than dour concrete high rises that evoke Orwell’s 1984 (that’s our fourth cliché already), is to overlook the considerable theory and innovation of this sub-genre. It’s been prosecuted enough. It deserves some PR.

© National Theatre 2015
In London, it begins with the Southbank Centre. Built in 1951 to demonstrate Britain’s war recovery, Robert Matthew and Leslie Martin’s Royal Festival Hall was the first in a complex of cultural buildings that revived what used to be a bleak, industrial side of the Thames. When joined by its neighbour in 1976 – Sir Denys Lasdun’s fervently Brutalist National Theatre – this group of radical upstarts were considered as obdurate as the pop culture that coincided with the times, the architectural equivalent of the Sex Pistols calling Bill Grundy a ‘dirty fucker’ on live TV.  

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Dubai has changed a lot in the past 30 years, it's construction industry is now one of the most proficient in the world, and most buildings appear to hold some Record Breaking title, from World's Tallest Building (Burj Khalifa), to the most luxurious hotel (Burj Al Arab). It's no surprise then that, due to the endless amounts of money and investment available, architects are able to try out new groundbreaking designs, with limited risk.

Architect Dr. David Fisher, Founder of Dynamic Architecture has envisaged a slightly different future for the construction industry in Dubai, than what can currently be seen. He sees a way for buildings and skyscrapers to be able to become self reliant, constantly changing, and all whilst providing the comfort and home necessities that Dubai's elite have come to expect.

The firms latest innovation, known simply as 'Dynamic Tower', is a 80 floor, 420 metres high skyscraper, which is capable of generating it's own electricity via the output of 48 wind turbines mounted between each floor level. Our only concern would be how loud these wind turbines actually are, as the ferocious desert winds flow through the building.


There is another interesting addition however. As you may have guessed, each floor is able to rotate independently in both directions. This means that as you sit in your office, or read a book in bed, your view will be constantly changing every time you look up, sounds great, right?

Externally, things begin to get really interesting. The almost 'rectangular' floor sections create a constantly changing pattern, from fluid and smooth, through to random assortments of angles, which vaguely resemble a Jenga game gone horrendously wrong!
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Villa Savoye, a monstrous structure in reinforced concrete, designed by Swiss architects Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, was built between 1928 and 1931. Its visual language is iconic of the ‘International Style’ and Corbusier’s five points of architecture (pilotis, roof gardens, free-plan, ribbon windows, free-façade). The villa derives its reputation in the world of architectural and design history, primarily due to its radically innovative, breaking-away-from-the-past aesthetic. The analogy of houses as machines for living, boosted the ideas of humanism and the belief that man is, in fact, the centre of everything that exists and the tapping of human potential can result in substantial progress. The appearance of the Villa Savoye was unconventional and its indifference seemed appealing initially.   

In an attempt to rid architecture of Classicism and any references to it, Corbusier created a set of principles that would set his buildings apart from earlier buildings. He contrasted the massive solidity of earlier buildings, with slender pilotis that created the illusion of spacious, airy, uncluttered living. Highly ornate window frames were replaced by horizontal strips of openings, devoid of any attention-seeking borders or frames. In other words, he rejected the generic, stylised Classical boxes and created a module to clone buildings in a manner befitting the modern age- the generic, stripped-of-embellishment box. To break away from one style, one had to create another one. 

In ‘The Ten Books on Architecture’, Vitruvius says that the three most desirable and vital properties of any built structure are firmitas, utilitas and venustas (solid, useful and beautiful). People interpreted and developed these ‘principles’ into rigid, tangible elements, the repetition of which conditioned a general, public expectation of buildings to appear a certain way. It didn’t matter what the purpose of the building was- a bank, a post office, a governmental institution, a residence or a hotel- every space was marked by columns, domes, a raised entrance, lavish decorative elements and a pediment squeezed in, somehow. Earlier, the ‘problem’ was one of marking civilisation, ancestry and tradition, for which, the sciences and geometry were looked upon. Symmetry, balance, unity and proportion were the answers to doubt, disbelief and a lack of confidence. 

Architecture of the Classical age was a result of politics and the need for approval seeking from the masses. The eye determined what pleased it and since there was no precedent to compare, it trained itself to seek harmony, unity and balance in repetition. The power of kings was symbolised by the solidity and sturdiness of built forms, apart from their towering scale. Even today, architecture of the Classical era, creates awe and appreciation for precisely the same reasons. However, one must take note that the buildings we often discuss when talking about the Classical age, were largely for public use. We talk about temples, palaces and market places. We seldom talk about houses in which subjects lived. Architecture, like any other science, has a typology that dictates its relevance. It would be absurd to re-create a building of the past today, as well as to recreate a building for a purpose not originally intended for it.

The aesthetics of the Villa Savoye are subjective. However, its purpose as a dwelling for people to grow, nourish and nurture is highly questionable and a step back in the evolution of architecture. Man has addressed his need for accommodation in a variety of ways in the past, the earliest being caves. The cave was a perfect habitat to protect one from unfavourable weather, wild animals and any other disturbances. When the most basic needs of our shelter are addressed, then, we seek sensual stimulation through tangible and intangible experiences.    

It is rather difficult to conceive of man in the centre of the universe, controlling nature and advancing towards the future with science and its developments when the roof of your house is leaking and your rooms are flooded with water.   

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When it comes to designing a new home or even extending an original home it can become a stressful endeavour. By taking the time to make sure that you hire the right architect, you can lessen the level of stress drastically. This process does not have to be painstaking or overly complex. There are eight questions that you should ask an architect before hiring them. The answer to these questions will provide the lucidity necessary to make an educated decision.

1. Do you like their current projects?

As a general rule, an architect's portfolio reflects their passion — revealing the type of projects that excites them; however, there are those times that an architect's portfolio is so diverse that it requires that you ask them about their latest projects to get an idea of where they are currently at.

2. Which projects represent their best work?

Imagine that you have become familiar with the work of a particular architect, and you have developed an affinity for several of their past projects. By asking the architect to share their best work it will allow for you to determine if you share the same ideas and inspirations.

3. What is the potential of my project?

After an architect has visited the potential site, or in the case of a remodelling project, walked through your home, ask them what they see happening with the project. One architect may want to emphasise the view while another may want to accentuate the landscaping. You are asking this question to determine if you and the architect at least have some ideas in common.

4. How do they manage the permit review and regulations process?

Actually, the methodology is not as important as timing in this particular area. Whether the architect prefers to use a meeting or a checklist is irrelevant; however, when they start the process is highly important. This should be done immediately after they have been assigned the project, not after the design is finished.

5. How do they document decisions, and is there a way that you can refer back to previous decisions?

There can be 100's of decisions that a client may have to make over the course of a project from room dimensions to glazing types. Unfortunately, with many architects, the only way to reference these decisions is in the final construction drawing; however, there are some architects who keep a user-friendly document that displays all of the decisions for easy referencing.

6. How will they manage your budget?

The vast majority of architects will provide a preliminary estimate for the cost of the project. It is important to get this before moving past the schematic phase of the project. It is also important to determine how the architect will ensure that the works are within the allowed budget.

7. Will they be actively involved during the construction phase?

The majority of the architectural profession has moved from a purely design and consultation practise into a more project management role, especially on smaller projects. You will want an architect who either, includes construction services as a part of the fee or at least offers it as an additional option. If this is not the case, it should send up an immediate red flag.

8. What is and is not included in the final price?

Simply getting the final price is not enough. You will need to understand what will be included and what you may end up paying extra for. If at all possible, attempt to get an all-inclusive estimate.

Asking these questions should provide a solid foundation on which you will be able to make an informed decision. Once your residential project is completed recommend checking out Modernize for home design ideas!

Tim Smith


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Only a concept at this stage, but a new design proposed by Australian based prefab architecture specialists, Modscape Concept, has had the Internet in a frenzy today as computer generated images were released of their new 5 storey 'Cliff House'. 

The positioning of the 3 bedroom house allows for 180 degree, uninterrupted ocean views, although we hope a thorough structural analysis has been completed on the rock face, as the house is supposedly cantilevered on steel pins.

One benefit we can see is that at least purchasing the land to build this house on will be extremely cheap!


© Modscape Concept
© Modscape Concept
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Home to some of the greatest pieces of architecture, Australia best presents itself as a land of free-spirited people if the designs of these masterpieces are anything to go by. 

If  you are planning to visit 'the land down under', there are numerous places that are a must-visit, purely due to the architectural prowess on display. Below are the 5 most amazing Australian architectural delights.


Sydney Opera House
Copyright: Alpha Coders (link)
  • The Sydney Opera House was tendered in an open competition in 1956, receiving 232 entrants. Jorn Utzon's design only just won, since three of the four judges were unimpressed and rejected the design immediately. It took the foresight and imagination of the fourth judge, Eero Saarinen, to convince the other judges and eventually bring Jorn Utzon's design to fruition.
  • So significant is this architectural piece that it was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2007, aptly described as a 'masterpiece of 20th century architecture'.
  • The Opera House is constructed from a concrete frame and the roof was precast in sections and slotted into place. 
  • Completion of the project in 1973 meant that the total cost of the structure was around $859million in today's money.

Sydney Tower
Copyright: Get Your Guide (link)
  • It is not only Sydney's highest view point at 305 meters, it also offers magnificent aerial views of the city.
  • In addition to an exhilarating view point, Sydney Tower also avails 4D cinematography showing the best views the city has to offer.
  • The architectural genius behind this outstanding structure was Donald Crone who envisioned a 'needle in the skyline'.

Stadium Austrialia (ANZ Stadium)
Copyright: Populous (link)
  • The grand Sydney Olympic Stadium is to date, the largest facility ever constructed that is specifically used for the Olympic Games. 
  • Designed by Bligh V. Nied, the stadium is one of the outstanding pieces of architecture in Australia. What's more, the factors below make it worth mentioning in Australia's grandest works of architecture:
  • The roof is made from translucent material, thus making daytime transmission from the stadium seamless.
  • With Australian weather, the natural ventilation present makes the stadium a perfect temperature. In addition, the stadium also enhances environmental-awareness by using rain water for washroom purposes.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Copyright: BoomsBeat (link)
  • Commonly referred to as the 'Coathanger' due to its design, this is Australia's (and the world's) tallest steel arch bridge, reaching its highest point at 440 feet above the harbour. 
  • Visitors who want to experience panoramic views of Sydney for a fee can take the Bridge climb for the experience of a lifetime, whether in the early morning or late at night.

Parliament House, Canberra
Copyright: Destiny Rescue (link)
  • The design of Australia's Parliament House was decided on following numerous applications from all over the world overseen by the Parliament House Construction Authority.
  • The House rises out of the Australia landscape, perhaps symbolic of true democracy. The designer of this grand structure, Romaldo Giurgola asserts that the House was not built on the hill as this would seem to impose power on the people.
  • The arms of the House extend downwards, seemingly as a welcoming gesture.
  • Notable features within this House include The House of Representatives, The Senate Area, the Ministerial Area as well as the public arena.

Anna Taylor

About the Author:
Anna is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing. Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle and fitness. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest. Her articles where published on different blogs namely golfgurls, pricestylist and many more. She is a permanent Guest Contributor at ArchitectWeekly. Currently she works for Australian visa.
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The America population is one of the populations in history with a vast social culture. The country has an astonishing number of states each with an array of unique man made features. 

Many of the structures built in America have a world-wide reputation of being an architectural work of art that have no equal. Statistics has it on good authority that the structures are well distributed among the states. 

There are over 150 structures that have made it into history books due to their unique nature and unparallelled beauty.

Golden Gate Bridge
Copyright: Light Galleries (link)
One of the greatest structures on record is the Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco, California. It is a suspension bridge designed by Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow and Charles Ellis. The bridge spans a length of 3 miles between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by American Society of Civil Engineers. 

The project began in 1933 and had a total budget of $35 million. Unusually, for a bridge of this scale, the project was completed underbudget ($1.3 million), and ahead of schedule.

Lincoln Memorial
Copyright: Kid Port (link)
One of the most striking structures with great historical significance is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It was built in the period between 1914 and 1922. The Memorial was constructed to honor the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln who was an outstanding man and leader. 

It was built by architects Henry Bacon and Daniel Chester and was registered on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15th 1966. The exterior of the building is covered in marble and is surrounded by 36 fluted Doric columns, each to represent the 36 states in America by the time of Lincoln’s death. 

The Chrysler Building
Copyright: D Guides (link)
The Chrysler Building is a picturesque skyscraper in east Manhattan, New York City. The structure held a record of being the world’s tallest building for 11 months before being surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. Despite this, it still maintains the record of being the world’s tallest brick building. 

It is a perfect example of art deco architecture, with its jewel-like glass crown. In 2007, it ranked 9th on the List of American Favourite Architecture. It is also considered to be one of the finest New York buildings by many contemporary architects.

Washington Monument
Copyright: Washington Post (link)
Another fine work of art is the Washington Monument. It is located due east of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The tall obelisk was built to commemorate George Washington, the first American President. The monument was completed in 1884, using granite, marble and blue stone gneiss as it's core materials. 

It is the world’s tallest stone structure, standing at 169.294 meters. The monument was damaged a few times in the Virginia earthquake and Hurricane Irene where it remained closed to the public during repairs. It is an iconic structure in Washington and has featured in several Hollywood movies.

The Brooklyn Bridge
Copyright: Poesy Plus Polemics (link)
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is a sight to behold. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It was completed in 1883 by designer John Augustus Roebling. It connects Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River and has a total length of 486.3 meters and was the flagship steel-wire suspension bridge constructed in America. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Anna Taylor

Guest Contributor

About the Author
Anna is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing.  Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle and fitness. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest. Her articles are published on many different blogs, namely golfgurls and pricestylist. She is a permanent Guest Contributor at ArchitectWeekly. Currently she works for esta.

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Hong Kong covers an area of 1,092 square kilometres, and is officially recognised as being the most densely populated city on earth. There are twice as many skyscrapers (buildings of at least 14 stories) in Hong Kong, when compared to its nearest rival city, New York.


Copyright: Artofhdr (link)
Architectural influences are typically gathered from traditional Chinese designs. Feng Shui, the consideration of wind and water, is also taken into account by many Hong Kong based architects who aim to 'harmonize everyone with their surroundings'.



Due to Hong Kong's lack of available space, there are very few historical buildings left, as many have been cleared to create modern high technologically innovative skyscrapers. Hong Kong has, unbelievably, the most amount of skyscrapers, over 150 meters in height, compared to any other city in the world. This gives Hong Kong the right to be classed as having the best skyline in the world.

Prior to being a British Colony, Hong Kong was mainly dominated by traditional Chinese buildings, mainly temples, serving the population. 

After Hong Kong became a British Colony, the British introduced Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles in the mid 19th century. Notable buildings that have survived the test of time include the Legislative Council Building, the Central Police Station and Murray House.

File:Chi Lin Nunnery 8, Mar 06.JPG
Traditional Chinese Architecture meets modern western Architecture
The first building in Hong Kong classified as a High Rise building was constructed between 1904 and 1905. It consisted of five buildings, each stacked 6 stories high. 

Most high rise buildings that were built after this time were mainly for business purposes, such as the HongKongBank, built in 1935, now replaced by the HSBC Main Building. 


In the 1990's the demand for high rise buildings was around the location of 'Central' (the main business district of Hong Kong).

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong is also home to the the Hong Kong International Airport, completed in 1998, and located on Chek Lap Kok island. Widely considered to be one of the most impressive feats of civil and structural engineering, and designed by English architect, Sir Norman Foster the island is mostly reclaimed land, designed specifically for the airport.

Bridges, roads, tunnels, services and rail routes where are included in the project, which had a very ambitious and optimistic 10-20 year programme.

Hong Kong International Airport is built upon an artificial island
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Image Credit: Ryan Holland, 2013

The View from the Shard is the new public viewing platform, occupying the highest habitable levels of The Shard. 

Shard Fact File:



  • 309.6 metres (1,016ft) high.
  • 11,000 glass panels.
  • 54,000 m3 of concrete.
  • The total piles supporting the building would measure 13.7km if laid end to end.
  • 44 lifts, including double-decker lifts.
  • 306 flights of stairs.
  • 95% of the construction materials are recycled.
  • There are 72 habitable floors.
  • The top 9 floors in the 'Spire' are open to the elements.
  • The Shard is the tallest building in Europe.

Spread over 3 floors, 69 through to 72, the viewing gallery allows awe-inspiring panoramic views over London. Floor to ceiling windows allow a 35-40 mile viewing range on a clear day.

The journey to level 69,  is comprised of two lift journeys. The first is to level 33 and from the their you travel the remaining distance. Both lifts travel at about 6 metres per second, meaning the entire time to get to the top is around 2-3 minutes, pretty impressive! 

When the lift doors open you are faced with a Western view of London.

The view from the lifts
Image Credit: Ryan Holland, 2013
Level 69
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
When you are satisfied that you've worked out were the most famous of London's landmarks are, it is time to take the 3 flights of stairs up to the 72nd floor. When you reach this floor you may be surprised to find that it is open to the elements, not a room as you may have imagined. This is lovely on a summers day, but otherwise...

Not for the faint hearted!
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
In the foreground, the Walkie Talkie building
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Level 72
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Don't forget to look UP!
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
Image Credit: Ryan Holland 2013
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The south facade of the Public Library Car Park, in Kansas City has been transformed into a gigantic and rather striking bookshelf. We are no stranger to unusual architectural design on ArchitectWeekly, from buildings made of beer crates, to floating stadiums, but this is the style of design that really brings architecture to life.

Each book spine measures a colossal 9 feet wide (2.7m) and is 25 feet (7.6m) high. There are twenty two books shown, and each of them reflect the diverse culture of Kansas City. They were chosen by public members of the library via a poll.





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China has an assortment of what we shall call 'experimental architecture projects'. They range from counter-balanced CCTV buildings, to a bird's nest inspired Stadium

A new development in Songjiang, China has to be one of the largest scaled projects attempted, and also the most unusual project yet. The proposal? A 19-storey, 428,000m2, 5-star quarry hotel, with almost all of the 380 hotel rooms being underground. All of these rooms will have a spectacular view over a thundering waterfall. We assume these windows will be soundproofed?

16 storey's below, with 3 poking out at the top
A proposed 'Experience Centre' located somewhere in the labyrinth of rooms will provide a stress free relaxation environment, with leisure and entertainment activities. The extreme sports section, making use of the unusual location of the site (the foot of the Tianmashan Mountain), will be more suited for the adventurous type of person, not something you'll see me on anytime soon. Activities include extreme rock climbing and extreme bungee jumping, not like the regular ones already scary enough! There is also a 10 metre deep aquarium located in the depths of the underground skyscraper for casual viewing before heading over to the restaurant.

The people in charge of this gargantuan project are the Shimao Property Group, with help from British firm Atkins. The Shimao Property Group already have a host of unusual projects, including the Hangzhou Shimao Qiantang Royal View. The senior manager, Li Xuyang states that 'the project features a magical and lively atmosphere, and perfectly meets the demand of city dwellers for a relaxing weekend outing, leisure trip and exciting theme park.'

Every Hotel room looks out over the expansive cavern and a view of the 'thundering' waterfall.

Construction Beginning? Final completion expected in early 2015
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