Metaarchitecture… is the architectural future virtual

Metaarchitecture… is the architectural future virtual

Over the past ten years, architectural agencies have begun to familiarize themselves with virtual models and BIM. But now comes the metaverse… Can the temptation of virtual architecture allow us to find a space of creative freedom?

What is the metaverse?* It is presented to us as the ultimate achievement of the Internet, the development of a universe parallel to the real world where everyone can move around, acquire goods, live daily experiences… ‘hears. Equipped with a virtual reality headset, once you have crossed the barrier of the metaverse, you will be able to create your own life.

So you can choose the destiny of a multi-billionaire with a luxurious property, staff available, from the back of the sofa in your 35 m² HLM… When you take off your helmet, the shock can be quite violent!

If at first sight, it is all the failings of this new universe that are obvious, with the attacks on the psychological integrity of the users which will result from this mirror with larks, the fact remains that this new three-dimensional space is an architectural space and, as such, shouldn’t architects take up this subject?

I have always considered that the advent of BIM was for architects the beginning of the disappearance of the idea that “every building is a prototype”, a famous maxim capable of justifying all the malfunctions and poor workmanship of a building during its construction. delivery. BIM is a derivative of tools developed by industry to reduce prototyping costs before going into production. Manufacturers, accustomed to making prototypes of their creations in order to reduce the risk of poor workmanship during mass production, quickly understood the interest of making a virtual prototype, which is much less expensive and faster to use than an actual prototype.

To date it must be recognized that, having reached the level of complexity of our buildings, rare are the cases where integral prototyping proves to be profitable before construction because the building does not reflect the overall cost. However, the time required to produce a virtual prototype is very close to the construction time that the building will require.

So the interest is not found as for the industrialist upstream but downstream, in the exploitation of the building, the operator of which having to undergo for many years more or less embarrassing malfunctions. But, lately, clients have been putting off launching the construction of their new projects until the last minute: they are tightening study deadlines, construction deadlines, etc. As, most of the time, they don’t are not the future operators, if the spaces are not perfectly adapted to the use…

Our digital models have not yet revealed their full potential: here again, it is very rare to have future users survey the building virtually. In theory, however, it would be quite simple to pour the model into the metaverse, give its address to users who, wearing their virtual reality helmets, could walk through the corridors and rooms of their future universe.

Of course, an architect can imagine the worst, with the risk that the project owner or the company interferes in all the details of the project. But this tool could also make it possible to “sell” architectural devices that may appear obscure on a plan: a triple-height atrium is easier to sell when it is lived in than drawn on a plan! It is also possible to imagine that the metaverse could make it possible to test these devices and to analyze how they are perceived by users. A kind of place of research and experimentation where architects would model spaces to have them tested by everyone and thus collect the feelings of a large population. It could thus be easier to propose, for example, habitats closer to what the population expects and undoubtedly more intelligent than the simple normative application that is made of them today.

It is also allowed to imagine places of sensory experimentation in connection with research, in particular medical, making it possible to analyze how architectural spaces influence our psychic state, and thus to be able to subsequently implement them in physical buildings.

The object of architecture will remain to create real and concrete spaces and, despite the ever-increasing pressure of constraints on the act of building – justification of the smallest gram of material used, its environmental impact, its carbon footprint, the energy balance of each m² produced, the absolute control of the light contributions not in relation to a quality of space but in relation to an average standard, the inclusive will which tends to the production of a smooth architecture without asperity, etc. . – the temptation of virtuality can finally make it possible to find a space of creative freedom! Plus, no financial limit!

It would then be possible to envisage poetic and lyrical places without the risk of being sanctioned by a budget cut or any normative dogma.

So, is the future of architecture in the metaverse? In any case, architects will have to get down to it, starting perhaps with architecture schools! If this parallel universe must be made by computer scientists, it is not sure that quickly enough it will not become a hell. But perhaps this is its final vocation?

Desco Headquarters: When Commitment to Community and the Environment Inspires Architecture

Rather than creating a deep volumetric structure, the design calls for a building divided into two sections, which creates an opening in the middle. This provides air flow, light, and a visual connection for the adjacent community.

A couple of years ago, as a fresh graduate, I was tortured by the question – why do we study major subjects like medicine, architecture or even journalism? Later that year, when I interviewed an architect for an article I was working on, I coincidentally got the perfect answer to that question from him: problem solving is what inspires architecture, and that’s why we study different subjects.

I thought to myself that it made sense.

Years later, as I sat in front of my desk reviewing the construction plan and design for the new Desco (Dhaka Electric Supply Company) headquarters in Dhaka, I found that the concept of problem solving, and the commitment to community and the Environment, is what inspired the design of this project.

Still under construction, this current project is designed by a consortium of Roofliners – In Quest, while National Development Engineers Ltd (NDE) handles the construction part.

The very first thing that caught my attention was that by design the building is divided into two volumes – two vertical buildings built around a courtyard and connected by bridges and green terraces.

I thought that instead of leaving that void in the middle, they could have just designed a large volume building that could accommodate more people. Then why did they decide to waste so much space?

Architect Monon Bin Yunus, one of the team’s architects, gave an explanation. He said: “When completed, the building will stand on the Dhaka-Mimensingh highway, which will block the view of the residential area behind. Dividing the building in the middle creates an opening that will still provide light and ventilation.”

According to the team, this is because of the commitment to the community.

That’s not the only feature I found interesting. Desco, as a customer, wanted this building to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Where it all began

Desco is a joint-stock company that supplies electricity to the northern areas of the Dhaka Metropolitan Corporation and was established in November 1996. Since then, they have been operating in a rented building in the Nikunya-2 metropolitan area.

Mr. Zakir Hossain, project director of the Desco headquarters, told us that around 2013, the company decided to get its own space, and in 2014, they received land allocated by Rajuk (Rajdani Unnayan Kartripakha) to build a new head office on an adjacent lot.

The company intended to build a 12-story commercial building for their headquarters. But what kind of building did they want?

Mr. Said said: “The site is located right on the Dhaka-Mimensingh highway and very close to Shahjalal International Airport. This means that our office will be one of the first buildings that visitors will see. So we wanted to make a bold statement. with a structure, a physical essence that would become a corporate icon.”

With the idea of finding such a design, Desco, together with the IAB (Institute of Architects, Bangladesh), organized a two-stage open competition for architectural designs in 2016.

Six designs out of 69 submitted were selected for the final phase, and the design submitted by the Synthesis-Roofliners Consortium (now Roofliners – In Quest Consortium) was the winner.

So, the final design is a 12-story commercial building with six basements. Construction began in June 2021 and the expected year of completion is 2024.

The estimated budget for the project is 300k (approx.).

Features of Desco’s new corporate building

The design evolved around a central courtyard — a common area where people gather and enjoy the dramatic horizontal compositions upstairs — that connects the stunning vertical, open space.

The changing mood of daylight and its various patterns throughout the year were integral to the composition of the building’s main facade and shading device.

Three different scales were used in the design. The first is the urban scale around the site. The building will stand on a busy highway, and Shahjalal International Airport is very close by. This means there will be a lot of noise around, and also this building will be one of the last structures that people will see before they leave or arrive in Dhaka.

The second is the neighborhood scale, the community that lives around the building, for whom the building and its surroundings will become an everyday relationship.

And the third is the company itself. Desco is an energy-related organization that wants to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

These three scales, combined together, shaped the final design of the building.

The top-down method.

This is one of the few buildings in Bangladesh that will have so many basements. Instead of digging all six floors underground, NDE is using the top-down method.

“Otherwise, the foundations of neighboring buildings might be affected. We are building the second basement first, and then we will gradually dig deeper and build the rest of the basement,” said Habibur Rahman, one of NDE’s project coordinators who is working on the Desco project.

He said: “It’s difficult to build that many floors underground. But NDE has state-of-the-art equipment, so we can build it.”

He also said: “NDE is on schedule, and we have two more years to complete this project. Hopefully, by then we’ll be finished with construction.”

How the building interacts with the community

Instead of creating a deep, three-dimensional structure, the design team decided to split the building in two, which creates an opening in the middle that provides airflow, light and a visual connection to the highway for the neighboring community.

This separation in the middle provides abundant daylight and also reduces the load on the cooling system.

And the void in the middle also allows the design to include tiered horizontal bridges connecting the two buildings.

Beveled corners reduce heat absorption

Instead of right angles at 90 degrees, this building has angles from 45 to 60 degrees, which provides a wider view for neighbors and also works as a shade from the sunlight.

Seasonal trees and plants for landscaping

According to the architects, native seasonal trees and plants are used for landscaping and are designed in such a way that each element ages and changes in appearance over time.

This is a green building – both externally and practically

As an energy-related company, Desco wanted an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly office that would serve as a model for other corporate offices.

“We used a low-emissivity double-glazing system to reduce heat and sound absorption. This glass can withstand up to 35 decibels of sound,” said architect Monon.

In addition, solar panels will be installed, which will produce 72,500 kWh per year. The wastewater treatment plant is capable of treating 122 cubic meters of wastewater, which will purify the flush and reuse the water for further flushes.

The rainwater harvesting station will collect 22 cubic meters of precipitation

Industrial design

Industrial design will shape the modern economy

A creative workforce can make industrial design a mainstay of a national economy.

Today’s consumers are inundated with a huge variety of new products and services that have revolutionised the way we live. Indeed, iconic designs surround us everywhere, from smartphones and video games, minimalist furniture and electrical appliances to aircraft, transport, digital solutions and medical devices.

We’ve come a long way from the nascent stages of industrial design to today’s sophisticated innovations that promise to meet the needs of the economy and society in ways that are user-centred, functional, aesthetically pleasing and competitive.

Against this backdrop, governments must see industrial design as a creative force shaping today’s economy, in addition to solving many critical problems that require design-intensive solutions. Many governments and businesses have set up dedicated design agencies or units to incorporate and support design activities within their operations.

Praiseworthy benefits

This has led to many laudable benefits, as evidenced by a significant amount of data, such as increased sales efficiency, high levels of innovation, competitive advantage, business growth and job creation.

In 2018, consultancy firm McKinsey published a study on the value of design in business, drawing on data from 300 public companies over five years and covering a variety of industries. The researchers concluded that companies active in design managed to achieve industry benchmark growth at a two-to-one ratio, in addition to higher revenues and returns to shareholders.

Given the abundance of evidence of the value of design, it’s not surprising that many design-focused economies are paving the way in support of innovators who will move into fashionable, innovative design solutions. There are many lessons to be learned from those economies that are at the forefront of the design field.

Finland is a fantastic illustration of a country that has harnessed the power of design to increase economic returns and improve the quality of life in society. Interestingly, its design companies achieved a staggering €12.3 billion in turnover in 2018. Finnish Design, known worldwide for its magnificent Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic and original design, is leading many new product developments and service re-engineering projects.

His national programme, Design Finland, includes numerous pioneering programmes, such as introducing design literacy into pre-school and school curricula, launching special design training programmes for public sector employees to enable them to rethink public services, and publishing design toolkits to promote design. led activities such as crowdsourcing, participatory design, prototyping and piloting

Meanwhile, many countries have specific rules to protect designers’ creative ideas from unauthorised imitation or production by third parties. Notable examples are South Korea’s intellectual property system, which has a smooth registration process for specific patent requirements coupled with the Design Protection Act to protect intellectual property rights.

In the Middle East region, the UAE has been at the forefront of using industrial design as a key economic lever. The newly established Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology in the UAE was a strategic decision to develop the country’s industrial sector. A special set of policies have been formulated with many revolutionary measures such as attracting talent, providing design-supporting infrastructure and equipment to innovators, logistical support, technological advancement and provision of raw materials used in the manufacturing process.

Governments with a successful track record in industrial design have introduced a number of progressive policies. Understanding consumer needs and global issues can help steer design efforts towards customised solutions.

Education is at the heart of these policies: world-class design programmes are incorporated into school curricula, and full courses are offered at universities fully equipped with the latest technology and equipment to support innovators.

For example, leading universities in Japan offer state-of-the-art industrial design programmes that combine concepts of aesthetics, science and technology together with behavioural science to enable students to create innovative products or services.

Global goals

A set of core services can support the work of companies active in design, such as applying for financial support, providing incubation centres and design spaces with incentives for registration, advisory support, local and foreign matchmaking programmes to improve global value chains, rapid patent registration services. , tax incentives.

Special provision should also be made for the protection of intellectual property rights for industrial designs. In addition, the development of strategic partnerships between research centres, academic institutions, public sector institutions and private enterprises can ensure that domestic innovation reaches a critical market mass.

A special media campaign should be developed to raise awareness among different target audiences of the importance of industrial design as a key economic and social principle. Documentaries could highlight the unique industrial designs that have led to breakthroughs in our way of life today. In addition, the theme of industrial design deserves attention at renowned trade fairs and exhibitions as well as public exhibitions on the contribution of innovative designs to improving our quality of life and supporting our economy.

A number of world-class design museums have been established with ongoing exhibitions dedicated to design. For example, the Design Museum in London delights visitors with its magnificent architecture and interior beauty, as well as its design collection, which houses a wonderful collection from the nineteenth century to modern innovation, covering key elements of design such as fashion, furniture, architecture, product and graphic design, digital media and transport. On the other hand, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York boasts a stunning collection of more than 210,000 design objects spanning 30 centuries of history.

Governments can certainly use the ingenuity of their creative workforce to make industrial design a mainstay of their economy. Its potential contribution to the emerging economy today could be very broad.

Russia decrees that it will only trade its gas in rubles

This measure is directed against countries described by the Kremlin as “unfriendly”, a long list that includes the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and the nations belonging to the EU. This new law was adopted to counteract the freezing, by the West, of Russian foreign currency and gold reserves due to the military offensive on Ukrainian territory.

The presidential decree that obliges buyers of Russian gas to pay for supplies in rubles came into force this Friday while the gas giant Gazprom informed its clients of the new mechanisms but without yet closing its pipelines.

“Gazprom unquestionably and fully complies with the requirements of Russian law. We have today officially sent notifications about the new ruble payment mechanisms to counterparties,” the company said in a statement, assuring that it remains a reliable partner. and “continues to export the gas to consumers.”

The most preferable variant

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, stated that this measure, approved the day before by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was “the preferable and safest variant under current conditions”, after the West froze part of the Russian reserves in currency and gold for the military offensive in Ukraine.

Of course, he did not rule out that the payment mechanisms may vary “if conditions change.” “There’s nothing set in stone about it,” he said.

This measure is directed against the countries described by Russia as “unfriendly”, a long list that includes the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Ukraine, among others, without forgetting all the EU countries, many of which not only They are regular buyers of Russian gas, but rely heavily on these supplies.

Peskov sent a reassuring message by pointing out that the entry into force of the decree did not mean the immediate cut off of gas if it is not paid in rubles, since “payment for current supplies is not carried out now, but in mid-April or even in early May.

And it is up to Gazprom, he explained, to work with the buyers to fine-tune the payment mechanisms, which, according to Putin, would allow the West to deposit euros and dollars in Gazprombank, not included in the Western sanctions, which would be converted into rubles that the giant would charge. Russian gas.

Acceptable Terms

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Moscow’s proposed terms for gas sales “acceptable,” noting that the West pays Russia in foreign currency “and then freezes our accounts.”

Although Putin assured the day before that Russia offers “unfriendly countries” that will have to buy gas exclusively in rubles “a clear and transparent mechanism”, which does not convince importers.

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, whose country is one of the main buyers of Russian gas, which represents 55% of its consumption, reiterated the day before that Berlin would continue to pay for this fuel in euros and that he was not willing to change the form of payment. .

However, he ruled out the imposition of an energy embargo against Russia due to Germany’s dependence on gas from Moscow, especially when there are no conditions to supply these supplies, a position supported by his Austrian counterpart, Karl Nehammer.

Russian gas is of great importance to Europe, which imported 155 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021, 40% of total consumption.

Wet powder

In this context, the banking pirouette that allows customers to pay in foreign currency and Gazprom to collect in rubles, could be, according to what Mijaíl Krutikhin, an expert on oil and gas issues, told Efe in a telephone conversation, a sign that “the plan of Putin has failed.”

This announcement “was a step of patriotic propaganda”, but the Kremlin quickly understood that “the measure would have a disastrous effect on the country’s budget”, according to the analyst.

“Hence, to save face, they have designed a mechanism that will allow consumer countries to continue paying in dollars and euros,” said the expert.

In this sense, he insisted that “nothing will change” for importers of Russian gas, that they will not even have to open an account in rubles at Gazprombank, the bank authorized to receive payments in foreign currency and that it will be in charge of converting rubles currencies.

“Perhaps the only modification that needs to be made in the contracts refers to the name of the bank in which the payments are made, if it is not Gazprombank,” he ventured.

AGA Parts Co. offers reliable spare parts for heavy machinery produced by 90 international manufacturers

AGA Parts (Brooklyn, NY) supplies genuine and aftermarket spare parts for special-purpose machinery produced by leading manufacturers: Caterpillar, Cummins, Komatsu, Hitachi, CNH, Atlas Copco, John Deere, Volvo, Sandvik, and JCB.

AGA Parts offers an online catalog featuring extensive part number lists. Its auto-search system based on part numbers enables instant search of specific parts for the following gear:

  • Key systems and units (engines, transmission, hydraulics, fuel system, and brake unit);
  • Trucks and dump trucks;
  • Construction machinery (excavators, bulldozers, loaders, lifting cranes);
  • Roadbuilding equipment (asphalt and concrete pavers, road rollers, graders, scrapers);
  • Special forestry equipment (harvesters, forwarders, feller bunchers);
  • Agricultural equipment (combines, tractors, and attachment tools);
  • Special-purpose machinery for mining and processing industry (draglines, drilling rigs, crushers and screening machines, underground loaders and dump trucks).

“AGA Parts provides spare parts to customers from around the globe. Currently, our company supplies parts to 60 countries, including the UAE, Australia, Russia and India. About 100 clients are consulted by our department on a day-to-day basis. Some AGA Parts managers are not only fluent in English, but also boast of impeccable Spanish, German, China, and Turkish. Clients can get info on cooperation terms around the clock – our customer support center operates 24/7 ”, states Anastacia Mitchell, a client development manager at AGA Parts.

You can make a spare parts supply request online by filling out an electronic form on the AGA Parts website. Incoming requests are promptly reviewed. Perspective customers receive free price offers for the requested spare parts via emails within 24 hours. Before order batching starts, managers and client reach an agreement upon delivery timeframes, total spare parts cost, and other important aspects. In-depth information on cooperation terms can be obtained on the AGA Parts website or from our managers.

AGA Parts offers:

•          Affordable pricing policy;

•          Web-catalog featuring hundreds of pages with part numbers;

•          Supply of genuine and OEM parts, certified aftermarket;

•          Order delivery to any city around the globe on-time;

•          Accepting supply requests 24/7;

•          Servicing customers from 60 countries;

•          5 languages to communicate with customers;

•          Several communication channels (email, Skype, telephone, social media websites).

Official website of AGA Parts Co.:

Homes of the future and the present: five ‘green’ projects in architecture

In the hope of mitigating damage to nature, architects are experimenting with “green” materials and creating fantastic designs for houses of the future.

Tree house

Dutch architectural firm Waterstudio has developed a project called Sea Tree. The project is an artificial habitat for plants and animals in danger of extinction outside the

The structure is anchored to the seabed. There will be an above-water part and an underwater part. Birds, fish, rodents and insects will be able to live in the tree-house

Yacht house

The design company Arkup has created a solar-powered yacht house with special panels on the roof. It also has a local waste management system

The yacht house has a special purification system that can turn sea or rain water into fresh and drinkable water. The house can withstand winds of 251 km/h, which is equivalent to a category 4 hurricane

Floating city

Danish architecture firm BIG has developed a concept for a floating city of about 10,000 inhabitants. The project, called Oceanix City, will consist of six islands, each comprising six plots of land, which form villages

Houses will be built from natural and sustainable materials such as timber and bamboo. Oceanix City could save coastal cities, 90 per cent of which face rising sea levels and partial submersion by 2050

A hurricane-proof house

North Carolina-based design company Deltec Homes is developing residential homes designed to withstand hurricanes. The energy-efficient buildings, called Deltec, are circular in shape, allowing wind to circle around the structure instead of concentrating on one side.

Deltec is made of framed lumber that can withstand up to 1,200 kg per square inch – twice as much as conventional material

A plant-based home

British architect Maria Vergopolou has unveiled a micro-home project called Cocoon BioFlos, which people will be able to grow themselves. The houses will be made of thin fibres of bio-plastic produced from sunflower, potato and apple

The internal layout of each home will be tailored to the needs of its occupants. The buildings will be able to adapt to all climatic zones

What they gave the ‘oscar in architecture’, the Pritzker Prize 2021.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal find their signature style in West Africa

The Pritzker Prize is the most prestigious award in the field of architecture. It is awarded annually and is considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It was awarded to French architect duo Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal in 2021. In addition to recognition, they received $100,000 and bronze medallions.

Innovation is the main criterion for the award.

Lacaton and Vassal have an unusual architectural handwriting, shaped by their work in Africa.

Who are they – the top architects of 2021 – and what makes their projects unique?

Anne Lacaton, born in France, and Jean-Philippe Vassal, born in Morocco, met in the late 1970s while studying at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Bordeaux.

The architects owe their future success to France and Africa.

After graduating from architecture school, Vassal moved to Nigeria to work on urban planning. Anne Lacaton paid him frequent visits. In an interview with Oris in 2003 Lakaton recalled that the simple thatched-roofed, earth-built houses simply turned their minds. Both were struck by the architectural simplicity and the economy of resources in building houses in the desert landscape of the country.

“After a few months of living in Nigeria, we were completely freed from what we had been taught. We started to observe and analyse the details, the way people lived in that context,” Lacaton recalled.

In Niamey, Nigeria’s capital, Lakaton and Vassal built their first project together, a thatched hut made of local bush material. After that project, they made a promise to themselves – not to destroy what can be reconstructed and made sustainable, and to respect the luxury of simplicity.

On their return from Nigeria in 1987, Lacaton and Vassal founded the architectural firm Lacaton & Vassal in Paris.

Simplicity, functionality, spaciousness and the presence of nature were the ground rules on which the architects’ work was subsequently based.

In France, they often experiment with greenhouse technology to create bioclimatic conditions. The architects first used such technology in 1993 when they designed the Latapie house in Floirac. Solar ventilation, a botanical garden and solar shading helped them create a controlled microclimate.

“We studied the greenhouses of botanical gardens, the spectacularly fragile plants, and the play of light in the garden, as well as the ability to simply change the climate,”l Review.

Lacaton told The Architectura

The French duo of architects are committed to preserving the natural environment and old architecture.

For example, they built a private residence in Cap-Ferrat on an undeveloped site along the Bay of Arcachon in order to change the environment as little as possible. Instead of cutting down 46 trees on the site, the architects restored the natural vegetation, elevated the house and placed it in the middle of wooden trunks.

“The past has value, you have to take the time and effort to look at it carefully. That way you can understand how to change an object while retaining values from its past life,”

explains Lakaton.

Lacaton and Vassal are the founders of a new approach to the restoration and construction of social housing.

The architects rejected projects involving the demolition of social housing. Instead, they turned their attention to the interior renovation of dilapidated buildings and the expansion of interior spaces.

Together with the French architects Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hueten, they restored 530 flats in three dilapidated buildings in the Grande Parc in Bordeaux, France. They managed to improve the technical functions of the buildings and avoid having to displace the occupants during the renovation.

“We couldn’t do otherwise. We went to places where the buildings were to be demolished and met people, families who were attached to their homes. More often than not, they were against demolition,” says Vassal.

This innovative renovation of three large blocks of social housing won the European Union’s 2019 Mies van der Rohe Award for Contemporary Architecture. The building was praised for ‘radically improving the space and quality of life of its residents’ and for optimising their economic and ecological cost of living.

With their love of simple materials, the architects are building the most spacious living spaces possible at an affordable price.

They are currently working on the conversion of a former hospital in Paris into a 138-unit mid-rise apartment building, and on private housing projects in Belgium and Germany.
“Good architecture is a place where something special happens, where you want to smile just because you’re here,” shares Vassal. – “It’s also a relationship with the city, with a space that shares its emotions.

1,500 malfunctions: residents of a prestigious skyscraper in New York sue developers

If you live at 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan, you know you have extra-luxurious living space, and your neighbours are just as nice: Singer Jennifer Lopez, a member of the family that owns the tequila brand Jose Cuervo, Saudi tycoon Fawaz Al Khokair, and other millionaires.

At 426 metres, it is the third tallest building in New York City and the tallest residential building in the world. The views from the top floors, 85 in all, are breathtaking, as are the prices for apartments, 104 in total, which start at several million and end in tens of millions of dollars (the most expensive at $95 million is Fawaz al-Hokair’s penthouse with six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a library).

The skyscraper, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly on the principle of “pure geometric shape” and built for $1.25 billion, has everything you could wish for, from its own restaurant and fitness centre with sauna and swimming pool to a golf course.

But who would have thought the owners of the apartments would sue the developers for defects in the skyscraper’s construction, and the defects are about a thousand and a half, from stuck lifts and leaking ceilings to monstrous, inexplicable noises.

And yet the skyscraper was only commissioned six years ago, and the flats in it were selling for tens of millions of dollars.

Complaints from tenants and accusations of incompetence by the builders and the company that manages the property were first reported by the New York Times back in February 2021.

The article reported how, in 2018, a leak on the technical floor put two lifts out of service for weeks. Several flats were also flooded, and at least one potential buyer turned down the deal after learning of it.

Among other things, residents of the prestigious properties complained of lifts getting stuck in high winds as a result of the shaft deflecting, creaking noises made by the entire structure, unpleasant vibrations, as well as explosions in the electrical plumbing and the rubbish chute, which, according to one flat owner, made a bomb-like sound, making them shudder every time.

A study commissioned by a group of tenants found that 73 per cent of the building’s electrical, plumbing and mechanical infrastructure did not comply with design plans.

Residents also complained about the exorbitant prices of restaurant services, which are included in the rent. They jumped from $1,200 in 2015 to $15,000 in 2020. The cost of insurance has risen by 300% in just two years.

As a result, residents of the troubled skyscraper have filed a $250 million class action lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against the developers and developers, CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, citing life-risk issues as the cause. However, the amount quoted does not include possible punitive damages, nor the size of individual claims that may subsequently be brought.

“The owners paid tens of millions of dollars for the flats, but instead of the super-luxury apartments they were promised, they were sold a mess of breakdowns and defects,” reads the letter accompanying the lawsuit.

For their part, the developers insist in their own statement that 432 Park Avenue is considered one of Manhattan’s finest residential properties and an invaluable addition to the New York skyline.

To make matters worse, they cite the fact that the management company’s access to some flats is restricted, preventing them from fixing problems, and point to “some particularly vociferous tenants”.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of 2021 and when the lawsuit was filed, only one flat sale has taken place in the skyscraper, although buyers were offered a choice of 11 apartments.


CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI) announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a 90% interest in Sampierana SpA, a privately held Italian company specializing in the design and manufacture of earthmoving machinery, undercarriage and spare parts. Within four years of closing, CNH Industrial will have full control of the company. The €101.8 million deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“This strategic acquisition will further accelerate the profitability of our construction equipment business. Sampierana’s unique portfolio will strengthen our position in the most important market segments, and dealers and customers will have access to industry-leading products backed by our brand, dealer network and manufacturing expertise,” said Scott Wine, CEO of CNH Industrial. – I want to thank Construction President Stefano Pampalone and his team for bringing this transaction to completion and for their excellent work in transforming the construction side of our business, reducing our environmental footprint and returning it to profitability – an impressive achievement given the challenging market conditions.”

The Sampierana Group, which has built an excellent reputation in the construction sector with its line of Eurocomach mini and midi excavators, performed well compared to last year, particularly in Europe. Sampierana’s reliable, high-quality and innovative products are widely recognized. The company’s impressive product line, extensive customization options and existing electrical prototypes fit perfectly with CNH Industrial’s customer-focused and sustainable development approach. The agreement also means a significant expansion of the product range and technology offered by the group.

This acquisition will enable CNH Industria’s construction equipment division to integrate Eurocomach mini and midi excavators, Sampierana undercarriages and spare parts into its current range alongside the products of existing third-party original equipment manufacturer partners. The agreement confirms CNH Industrial’s commitment to invest heavily in its own construction equipment production and to develop it further, improving its position in the highly sought-after mini and midi excavators market.

Sampierana’s headquarters and production sites are located in Italy.

A new world capital of architecture has been named

The International Union of Architects (UIA) together with UNESCO has chosen the Danish Copenhagen as the capital of world architecture for 2023. For the city, the new status means recognition of outstanding construction solutions, taking into account modern requirements for environmental friendliness, reports ArchDaily.

The world capital of architecture is chosen every three years. According to the rules of the competition, in 2023, Copenhagen will host the 28th International Forum (28th World Congress) to discuss the organization of the urban environment. A series of events is planned, focusing on how architecture helps to achieve environmentally friendly and human-friendly development of large megacities.

“Our partnership with UNESCO reinforces the role of urban design to promote cultural values in society. Architects see the world for what it is,” said UIA President Thomas Vonie.

The International Union of Architects was founded in 1948 and is based in Paris. UIA members are engaged in promotion of new concepts and technologies in construction and render assistance to professional communities all over the world. The city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) was designated as the previous capital of architecture. The forum was held in mid-July 2021 in an online format because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In mid-July the World Design Capital (WDC) competition short-listed Moscow with Mexico’s Tijuana and San Diego in California (USA) in the efficiency of street furniture for economic, cultural and ecological development of the community.