Let's take a look at some of the latest news and innovations in architecture and design. 

MVRDV to design “a Times Square for Taiwan”

Image: MVRDV

MVRDV has unveiled its design for Taipei Twin Towers, which the firm has called “a Times Square for Taiwan”.

According to MVRDV, the design of the Taipei Twin Towers is characterised by a pile of blocks that create a vertical urban neighbourhood, and by the façades of those boxes – including a number of interactive media façades – that artistically communicate the diverse program contained by those blocks. Working with CHY Architecture Urban Landscape to revitalise the surrounding area, the aim of the project is to create a vibrant and charismatic destination that re-establishes the central station area of Taipei as the city’s premier location for shopping, working and tourism.

“Arriving at Taipei Central Station is currently an anti-climax. The immediate area does not reveal the metropolitan charms and exciting quality that the Taiwanese metropolis has to offer,” says MVRDV principal and co-founder Winy Maas.

“We [will] break down the required program into pleasant small blocks that echo the surrounding urban quarters, thus fitting the density into its surroundings. People can climb over the blocks to the top – a true vertical village. And the space between [will] allow for social gatherings and natural ventilation.”

Bauhaus bus travelling the world in 2019

Photography by Van Bo Le-Mentzel

A mobile building designed to look like the Bauhaus school in Dessau will travel between four global cities in 2019, in an effort to “unlearn” its Euro-centric teachings and develop a more global viewpoint.

The 15sqm mobile building was designed by Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel. Externally, it features the school’s griddled glass walls and famous lettering down the side. On the inside is an apartment-like space that will serve as a space to host exhibitions and workshops, as well as a reading room with books detailing Bauhaus’ history and legacy.

During its 10-month tour the bus will travel from Dessau to Berlin, then travelling overseas to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, before finishing in Hong Kong. A range of workshops will be held during the tour, which will be open to the public.

World’s largest ice sculpture festival in China

china harbin ice festival international architecture
Image: Shutterstock

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Heilongjiang, North-Eastern China is the world’s largest ice festival. Open for a month until 5 February, the festival boasts 120,000 cubic metres of ice and 111,000 cubic metres of snow crafted by thousands of artists.

Described by some as an “icy Disneyland”, the frozen city is constructed in about two weeks.

The festival features many frozen architectural feats, including castles and replicas of iconic buildings from around the world. While the modern-day version of the festival officially began in 1985, an organised ice show started in 1963 and the event’s artistry can be traced back to the early Qing dynasty when makeshift lanterns were made by placing candles inside blocks of ice cut from the Songhua River.