Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Build It Bigger - Rio de Janeiro Power Grid

Brazil is building one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the world, tunneling through 7 mountains and building 2 dams, all to create enough power to keep Rio de Janeiro from going dark during the upcoming Olympics and World Cup. It's another episode of the TV show "Build It Bigger", that follows some of the most interesting projects from the Engineering point of view.

Monday, 29 April 2013

ARCHITECTURE REFERENCES - Residence in Kifissia, by Tense Architecture Network

Residence in Kifissia
Kifissia, Greece
Tense Architecture Network, Greece

Photos: Filippo Poli

Project's description on ArchDaily:
The residence’s plot is small and an adjacent building almost blocks the southern sun. The main part of the field should remain free and become the residence itself: an austere prism, centrally supported, hovers above theliberated ground. At first, an area was defined: a cubic shell of plants creates a limit for the house. In order to reside, ones withdraws in. Three metallic columns support a net of inox ropes where plants have already started to climb in order to generate a volume equally important to the house’s prisms.
When the plants are grown the green screen will be penetrated only by the black, central column of the concrete shelter. The basalt-watery surface on which it is based reflects the light in the interior. Exposed concrete is dark tinted where a greater depth, a sense of anchoring was necessary. Artificial light is cautiously managed in order to protect the night and the intimacy that dim light offers.
The shell remains intact towards the main façade. The public image of the residence will eventually recede behind the plants and the house will claim the whole field. The vigorously detached prism lets the sun enter and functions as a shelter: living space lies beneath. When the sliding panels retreat, the merging with the garden is complete.
The space that the elevated prism creates is the main compositional gesture. The manner that this gesture is performed is crucial:  it is the manner through which the hovering prism is supported by the central column. A calm tension is realized, a simple yet clear correlation of forces. The synergy between structural and architectural design gives a residence where the shell is not more important than its field. Those are juxta-posed: one to one.


Friday, 26 April 2013

DOCUMENTARY: Abu Dhabi - Between Tradition and 21st Century

"How the capital of the United Arab Emirates has merged its ancient customs with the modern world, preserving traditional activities including camel racing. The people of Abu Dhabi are rightly proud of their history and heritage, key aspects of the emirate's attraction to visitors. Given the pace of development and change in recent years, it is considered a priority to safeguard the unique crafts, artefacts and architecture that define the emirate's culture. The Future While looking back with pride, the Government and people of Abu Dhabi are also looking forward to a still brighter future. Blessed with substantial untapped oil wealth to safeguard the emirate's growth and development, Abu Dhabi is nevertheless seeking to diversify its economy and enhance its environment still further. In this quest, tourism has been earmarked for a specially important role. As a clean, green industry that promotes international friendship and goodwill, tourism is seen as an ideal means of applying Abu Dhabi's strong tradition of hospitality to good effect." - Youtube's video synopsis

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

DIMSCALE is looking for new collaborators - architect / quantity surveyor

DIMSCALE has been growing overtime as a result of an effort to transmit the importance of our work for the success of the projects. We have been earning the trust of our clients, being also able at the same time to establish partnerships with new clients that bring us new exciting projects and ideas. With new already awarded projects and several others in perspective, DIMSCALE decided to increase its Production team. We are looking for architects/quantity surveyors to work in our headquarters in Portugal, area of Lisbon. 


As a company specialising in the provision of the services of Project Management, Quantity Surveying and Procurement with strong expertise in the economic area, we seek for an Architecture/Quantity Surveying professional. The chosen professional must have excellent organisational skills and an effective management of priorities and objectives. The ideal candidate will be someone proactive, curious, with researching capacity and initiative, good communication and interpersonal skills. Discipline, rigor and predisposition to scheduling individual/team qualities will be considered.  


  • Market Consultations (procurement);
  • Survey of project amounts (measurements);
  • Direct contact with suppliers and customers;
  • Budget Estimates;
  • Preparation of Tender Documents.

Skills and Specifications:

  • Degree in Architecture;
  • Knowledge in Project Implementation and Measurements;
  • Solid knowledge of Windows system / MAC, Office and AutoCAD;
  • Fluency in English and French (knowledge of other languages ​​would be an asset);
  • Flexibility to work trips;
  • Immediate availability.

If this is an interesting challenge for you, send us your application (CV + motivation letter) with ref DIM00113. We are available to receive both Portuguese and international intership programs.

You should send your application to recursoshumanos@dimscale.com until May 1st 2013.

ARCHITECTURE REFERENCES - Parkroyal on Pickering, by WOHA

Parkroyal on Pickering
WOHA, Norway

Year: 2013
Area: 29,811 sqm
Photos: Patrick Bingham-Hall

Project's description on ArchDaily:
Singapore-based WOHA Architects have long been advocates of the ultimate ‘green city’ – one that would be comprised of more vegetation than if it were left as wilderness – and the PARKROYAL on Pickering was designed as a hotel-as-garden that actually doubled the green-growing potential of its site.
Massive curvaceous sky-gardens, draped with tropical plants and supporting swathes of frangipani and palm trees, are cantilevered at every fourth level between the blocks of guest rooms. Greenery flourishes throughout the entire complex, and the trees and gardens of the hotel appears to merge with those of the adjoining park as one continuous sweep of urban parkland.
Most of Singapore’s recent architecture – especially in and around the city centre – is nothing more than generic and can be seen anywhere in the world, regardless of climate and culture. An equilibrium point of architectural anonymity has been derived from a number of factors – corporate and bureaucratic risk-avoidance, a desire to promote a global (homogenous) image rather than local, and the ubiquity of semi-famous international architects – but a uniquely progressive tropical city has been sold short.
WOHA paid no attention to the placeless blandness of the modern Singapore skyline, and finally the city has a uniquely expressive urban landmark that reinterprets and reinvigorates its location. The PARKROYAL on Pickering was a purely commercial development, with well-defined budgetary and programmatic constraints. But as with many of WOHA’s projects built throughout Asia over the last decade, the hotel performs unambiguously as a public building.
WOHA are reconciling the excessive (and almost exclusively privately funded) construction of 21st century Asian cities with the remediation of the built environment. And WOHA are proposing that commercial architecture must respond to the city as its civic duty… as public architecture.
The PARKROYAL on Pickering occupies a long and narrow site on the western edge of the central business district, between Hong Lim Park and the HDB apartment blocks of Chinatown, and overlooks the historic shophouse district between the park and the Singapore River. The development could thus respond to many separate and disparate environments, it could provide public connections between those zones, and as the building would be extremely visible – from and across the parkland to the north ­– the architects could make a grand (and green) urban gesture.
Perched above the open-to-all-the-elements pool deck of a five-storey podium, a twelve-storey tower forms an E plan, so that all guest rooms look north to the park and/or into the sky gardens, whilst the services and the external connecting corridors were placed on the southern elevation. As the hotel is ‘self-shaded’ – by the projecting sky gardens and the adjacency of the three room-blocks – and shielded from early morning and afternoon sun by adjoining buildings, the rooms could be fully glazed (by low-emissivity glass) without external screening devices.
The podium is a remarkable piece of architectural theatre: it presents a monumental embellishment to the Singapore streetscape, and has thus immediately achieved something that no other recent building has even attempted. Referred to by WOHA as ‘topographical architecture’, the stratified undulating layers of pre-cast concrete wrap around, through and above the car park and the public areas of the hotel, as contour lines weaving through a modular grid of cylindrical columns. Cascades flow down from swimming pools and garden terraces on the podium roof, over the ‘eroded rock-forms’ of the striated mass and into crevices and ledges from which trees and vines can thrive.
The geological metaphor – green architecture at its most elemental – is one that WOHA have used in many, if not all of their large-scale public buildings, but here the geometry and the allusions are more nuanced and more complex. The snaking bands of fluted concrete weave through the length and breadth of the podium without interruption, and without acknowledgment of the boundaries between exterior and interior.
The architecture is fundamentally organic, but the fluid geometry has a loftier sense of purpose. The ascending vistas, the scenes above the external and internal spaces of the ground floor (and the fifth floor public area), whilst not spiritually preordained – the geometry is topographic, not cosmic – draw unambiguously from the heavenly gaze to be had within a mosque, a temple, or a church. It might be observed that the business hotel plays a similar role in contemporary culture to that of the cathedral in 17th century Europe, so it may not be impudent to describe WOHA’s exuberant tableaux as Baroque: just a touch of Borromini for the 21st century.
The elaborately composed timber mouldings above the reception area reveal WOHA’s fondness for utilising crafted ornament as interior design, thus incorporating the traditions of vernacular Asia within the modern city. However, the decorative forms of the PARKROYAL on Pickering tangibly pay homage to the lingering legacy of the mosques of the Moors and the Persians, to the exotic patterning of Isfahan and the Alhambra.
The great volume of the porte-cochere appears to be inordinately over-scaled in terms of its perceived functions – a drop-off zone for hotel guests and an entry to the car park – but it has a grander purpose, a larger agenda. The space serves as a link, as an axis, between two distinctive and discrete areas of the city: Chinatown and the apartment blocks to the south, and Hong Lim Park and the commercial district to the north. A visual connection has been established by the monumental void, as it effectively constitutes a ceremonial gateway between the precincts.
WOHA’s desire to restore a feeling of community to Asian cities is crucial to their architecture, and reciprocity is intrinsic to their vision of the city at large and to their projects in particular. The PARKROYAL on Pickering is a very public and very Singaporean hotel. The scale of the architecture responds to the intricacies of the city: the height of the ubiquitous tree canopies, the size and orientation of the adjoining tower blocks, and the proportions of the historic streetscapes.
WOHA calibrated the massing and the details so that the entire development retains a human scale at all times, in stark contrast to all-pervading abstraction of the city’s office buildings. The podium mirrors the density and height of the shophouses across Hong Lim Park, the raintrees of the park frame the podium and screen the blocks of guest rooms above, and the mass of the building is horizontally segmented by the great open verandah on the fifth floor and by the projecting shelves of the sky gardens above.
The over-riding concept was that of a building-as-garden for an idealised green city. As WOHA say… “We wanted to recreate an urban street scale, so that people walking and driving could pick up interesting details. And we wanted to work with the building’s mass and appearance, so we could avoid the usual city scale of building-as-silhouette, and so we could implement a garden-themed aesthetic.” text by Patrick Bingham-Hall


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Grand Designs - North London refurbishment project

"Grand Designs" is a British show that focus on several refurbishment projects. This episode follows the process of transformation of a large open space "trapped" between buildings into an unique living space. This project, located in London, is also an example of several problems that can occur when the project is not properly managed regarding its costs. The presence of a cost manager since the design and site survey phases can avoid situations that will translate into an aggravation of the project's costs.

Friday, 19 April 2013

DIMSCALE training program - Interview with LanguageUk's director

As we published last week, one of the members of DIMSCALE's Marketing team joined recently an English training program in the school LanguageUk, located in Broadstairs, UK. David talked with the school director (Mrs. Joanna Sessions) about their experience with students coming from companies.
David with LanguageUk's director Joanna Sessions

For how long does LanguageUk exists?
We have established since April 2008.  Just five years!

Why this location? 
Simple,  I live here!  No....... I do really like it here. We are not far from London which is a real plus.  The town is essentially English and in general the people are pretty friendly around here.  I particularly like the area in that it is unpretentious and many people are unaware of what the area has to offer.  There is a good mixture of people living here from all different backgrounds and I think this gives the students a good "all round" image and experience here in the UK.

What are the most common nationalities among students?
I would say that during the winter months we do have quite a few Arabic speakers but they are all from different countries.  Throughout the year - Spanish, Russian and Swiss are probably the most popular.

What’s your experience with students that come from companies? What are their objectives when they come here?
Unfortunately we don't have enough students coming from companies.  We have recently established a very good relationship with a large Dutch legal corporate and in May we will have our second student from this company. We have also received just a few students who have come here with very specific needs.
In my experience and certainly nowadays, there is no such thing as "Business English"  -  "English for work",  "Life skills in English"  are probably far better phrases to use when teaching students from companies.  

We do find that many "business students"  already have quite a good level of English (intermediate plus) and it is mainly confidence the students  lack and they need a refresher course.  Sometimes we discover from the need analysis that the students' needs are very specific and we will spend 25 hours attending to this.  The most popular requests are:

  • Giving presentations/seminars
  • Emailing and report writing
  • Entertaining

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Palm Island
Chongqing, China
Hassell, China

Year: 2012
Area: 9,600 sqm
Photos: Luo Wen

Project's description on ArchDaily:
"Located to the north of Chongqing on the banks of Palm Lake and the Taiping Reservoir, the Palm Island project is a new hospitality precinct designed by HASSELL.
The key element of the design is water and it has been melded with light and reflections for the project concept. When viewed from afar, the five buildings housing six different restaurants appear to float on the lake, which is the unique feature of the project by Palm Springs Real Estate Development.
Patrons at each restaurant enjoy views of natural water vistas on one side and a private `water courtyard’ on the other, integrated visually through the creation of an infinity pool-style water feature. This gives the architectural impression that the buildings are ‘floating’ on water. 
The designers drew inspiration from the geography of Chongqing, which sits at the convergence of the mighty Yangtze River and Jialing River, giving the city its nickname of being ‘connected by two rivers’.
Palm Spring also features the unique interplay of crystal-like glass structure and an external white ceramic covering that interacts with the lake waters to give off a musical quality. The ever-changing reflections during the day give change to a dreamlike quality at night."