Week in review

April 15, 2012

Frank Gehry’s Opus ‘most expensive real estate’ in Hong Kong, the IKEA neighbourhood planned for London, and Fritz Hansen’s fight against fakes.

On the weekend, The New York Times reported on a number of Modernist buildings under threat of demolition. “Architecture’s ugly ducklings may not get time to become swans,” claimed the headline. Brutalism, as usual, seems to bear the brunt of it: the Orange County Government Building in Goshen, N.Y., designed by Paul Rudolph and competed in 1967, has been earmarked for demolition – to the delight of locals, and the horror of preservationists. ““Preservation is not simply about saving the most beautiful things. It’s about saving those objects that are an important part of our history and whose value is always going to be a subject of debate,” argues Mark Wigley, dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
Image via The New York Times. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

Paul Rudolph's Orange County Government Building, Goshen


Allen key haters, look away now. Flat-pack specialist IKEA is reportedly planning to build an entire neighbourhood on an 11-hectare plot in east London. The Swedish furniture giant is branching out into urban design, announcing a proposal to build over 1,000 homes and apartments on the land, not far from the London Olympic site. According to Time, LandProp Services – the property development arm of IKEA – plans to offer affordable rental accommodation and pedestrian-only zones, with the project including “townhouses, apartments, two- and three-story homes, condominium towers up to 11 stories tall, offices and a hotel.”
Image via Designboom

LandProp's scheme for Strand East in London


Developers in Hong Kong are set to cash in on the Frank Gehry brand, with the news that the Pritzker Prize winner has completed arguably the city’s most expensive piece of residential real estate, Bloomberg reports. Gehry’s 12-storey Opus tower is his first residential project in Asia, and is located on The Peak, one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. Built for developer Swire Properties, the project cost approximately HK$27,000 (AU$3,340) per square foot to build and is set to be “enormously expensive by any standards,” Swire Properties CEO Martin Cubbon says.
Images via Architizer

Frank Gehry's Opus tower, Hong Kong


The facade of Gehry's Opus, Hong Kong


Lastly this week, a video we discovered via Dwell: Fritz Hansen fighting the good fight against knock-off furniture. The real vs. replica debate has been simmering lately, after Herman Miller’s settlement with Australian replica furniture giant Matt Blatt in 2011. The video is basic, but it proves their point well: the quality and durability of fakes are no match for the genuine article. Head to the Fritz Hansen website for more on their fight against fakes.

  • kirk April 16th, 2012 12:08 pm

    hmmm, I’m totally on side with the good fight, but that video wasn’t very convincing. He clearly was a lot harder on the fakes.

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