International update

March 01, 2002 |

Helsinki's latest high-rise, the 18-story KONE Building, incorporates a transparent façade, exposing the tower's elevators. "The idea was that because the client is an elevator company, we would have a 'moving façade' to the south by exposing its four elevators," says Antti-Matti Siikala, project manager from local design architect Sarc Oy. The elevators run in a glass elevator shaft that extend the entire height of the building, which is clad with a double-skin glass curtain wall to control heat gain and protect the core against wind and water pressure.

Other innovative features include the use of colored concrete and screen-printed glass. "The screen-printed glass is decorative as well as functional," adds Siikala. "It takes as much as 50 percent of the solar energy away as it enters the building." Completed in May 2001, the building was constructed by the Skanska Oy, Helsinki, the Finnish affiliate of Sweden-based contractor Skanska AB, and sister company of Skanska, Whitestone, N.Y.

Construction is expected to begin this summer on China Electronics Corp.'s new 1 million-sq.-ft., 19-story office tower in Beijing. DMR Architects, Maywood, N.J., is partnering with JAO Design International, Beijing, to design the $54 million high rise, which includes four levels of underground parking. This is DMR's second major international project. In 1990, the firm designed the National Educational Technology Center, a 500-acre, $100 million university in Kaduna, Nigeria. It hopes to partner with JAO on future projects in Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The first phase of a 7.4 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use job in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, will begin construction this spring. Designed by RTKL Associates, Baltimore, the project involves construction of an 11-story shopping center, called Dream Mall, incorporating retail, entertainment and an eight-story parking structure.

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