Toyo Ito of Japan is the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari-shi, Ehime, Japan, 2011
(Photo by Daici Ano.)

Tama Art University Library (Hachiōji campus), Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, Japan. 2007
(Photo by Tomio Ohashi.)

Toyo Ito, a 71 year old architect whose architectural practice is based in Tokyo, Japan, will be the recipient of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize. It was announced by Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prize.

Pritzker Prize jury chairman, The Lord Palumbo, spoke from his home in the United Kingdom, quoting from the jury citation that focuses on the reasons for this year’s choice: “Throughout his career, Toyo Ito has been able to produce a body of work that combines conceptual innovation with superbly executed buildings. Creating outstanding architecture for more than 40 years, he has successfully undertaken libraries, houses, parks, theaters, shops, office buildings and pavilions, each time seeking to extend the possibilities of architecture. A professional of unique talent, he is dedicated to the process of discovery that comes from seeing the opportunities that lie in each commission and each site.”

Toyo Ito made this comment in reaction to winning the prize: “Architecture is bound by various social constraints. I have been designing architecture bearing in mind that it would be possible to realize more comfortable spaces if we are freed from all the restrictions even for a little bit. However, when one building is completed, I become painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project. Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future.

“Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works,” he concluded.


Albatha Bukit Kiara Holdings Sdn Bhd, the holding company of Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd (BKP) and Affin Islamic Bank Berhad (AFFIN ISLAMIC) have entered into a Musharakah Joint Venture (JV) Agreement to jointly develop a property project with potential Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM300 million.

The two parties formally entered into a Musharakah JV to form a specific JV company, KL South Development Sdn Bhd. A Musharakah joint venture is a joint enterprise formed for conducting business, in which all partners share profit according to a specific ratio.

Albatha Bukit Kiara Holdings and AFFIN ISLAMIC will hold 70% and 30% stake respectively in this newly formed company.

KL South Development will develop a project named “VERVE® Suites KL South” at Jalan Klang Lama, a well-established neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur. The freehold development will feature a total of 321 fully-furnished designer suites, 45 SOHO units and will retail at ground floor, all housed within two towers of 24 storeys.

Expected for preview in the second half of 2013, VERVE® Suites KL South will feature a first-of-its-kind, innovative ‘Sky Bridge’ that will link the two towers together. Developed by BKP, the first VERVE® Suites project in Mont’Kiara features the only fully-furnished designer suites in Malaysia that come with four unique sky lounges.


GALERI PETRONAS, in collaboration with Foster + Partners, launched an exhibition entitled The Art of Architecture. It is the first major exhibition of the studio’s work to be held in Malaysia and follows critically acclaimed recent shows in Hong Kong and Shanghai. This signature exhibition will run from 7 March to 12 May 2013 and showcases modern concepts of architecture where form follows functions with consideration in values of culture and sustainability.

(From Left to Right) : GALERI PETRONAS, in collaboration with Foster + Partners showcases two iconic Malaysian projects – IB Tower in Kuala Lumpur and a three-tower luxury condominium, The Troika.

(From Left to Right) : Dato Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Senior General Manager of Group Corporate Affairs Division, PETRONAS, Tony Collingridge OBE, Director, UK Trade and Investment Malaysia, David Nelson, Senior Partner & Head of Design, Foster + Partners and Rosli A. Rahim, Director, GALERI PETRONAS sharing their views about the architectural wonders of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, which received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007.

South Beach, Singapore is designed to exemplify Singapore’s ideal of a ‘city in a garden’ at the ‘The Art of Architecture by Foster + Partners’ exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

London’s first ecological tall building and an instantly recognisable addition to the city’s skyline – Swiss Re model at the ‘The Art of Architecture by Foster + Partners’ exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

IKEA Style Meets Marriott to Create Moxy Hotels

An Ikea affiliate has teamed up with Marriott International to develop a chain of hotels in the same affordable, compact, and stylish vein as the furniture store, The Wall Street Journalreports. Marriott has collaborated with a subsidiary of Inter Ikea Group, the parent company of Ikea furniture, to create a new brand of hotels called Moxy.

The first Moxy Hotel is expected to open in Milan in 2014, and Marriott hopes to franchise 150 Moxy Hotels across Europe over the next 10 years. Moxy Hotels are slated for Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway and, of course, Sweden.

The hotels won’t use Ikea furniture, but will be created using Ikea constructions techniques to keep costs low and lure younger, more budget-conscious travelers.

Source : Fast Company  

Who Are The Apartment Owners at London’s One Hyde Park?

In an April Vanity Fair article which also investigates the complicated reasons why London has become a tax haven for the world’s mega-rich, Nicholas Shaxson reveals just who owns what in London’s One Hyde Park, the apartment building built by two British brothers, Nick and Christian Candy, together with Waterknights, the international property-development company owned by Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, where apartments go for nearly $12,000 per square foot.

Shaxson concludes that we know two things for sure about the tenants of One Hyde Park: “they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don’t want you to know who they are and how they got their money.”

Shaxson’s research reveals the following names of apartment (and multi-apartment) buyers:

  • Anar Aitzhanova: this may be a Kazakh singer, who did not respond to Vanity Fair’s queries.
  • Irina Viktorovna Kharitonina and Viktor Kharitonin. The latter is likely to be a co-owner of Russia’s largest domestic drugmaker, though the couple’s representatives also failed to reply.
  • Rory Carvill, a British insurance broker.
  • Bassim Haidar, who appears to be the founder and C.E.O. of Channel IT, a Nigeria-based telecommunications company, and who also did not respond to queries.
  • Karmen Pretel-Martines, who could not be further identified
  • A Beijing-registered buyer named Kin Hung Kei.
  • Nick Candy himself owns an 11th-floor duplex penthouse.
  • Seven other apartments are believed to be owned by members of the Project Grande consortium, which is behind One Hyde Park. (The Candys will not confirm or deny this.)
  • The best apartment of all—a triplex on Floors 11, 12, and 13 of Tower C—is owned (via a Cayman company) by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, of Qatar, Project Grande’s partner.
  • Rinat Akhmetov, the Ukraine’s richest man, with an estimated personal net worth of $16 billion.
  • Vladimir Kim, who chairs the London-listed Kazakh copper giant Kazakhmys P.L.C.
  • Sheikh Mohammed Saud Sultan Al Qasimi, head of finance for the government of Sharjah, bought an $18.1 million apartment.
  • Russian real-estate magnate Vladislav Doronin, who is dating model Naomi Campbell.

Source : Vanity Fair



IKEA Malaysia : Meatballs Sold in Malaysia Contain only Beef from Australia

To the recent horse-meat issue, Casa+Living wrote to IKEA Malaysia this afternoon, the response from IKEA Malaysia as below :

“Meatballs sold in IKEA Malaysia contain only beef from Australia. The meatballs are halal certified and produced locally in Malaysia.

None of our ingredients are produced by the affected suppliers.

We do not tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories.

As a precautionary measure, we have issued a temporary sales stop of meatballs at the IKEA Swedish Food Market and IKEA Restaurant pending results from DNA testing. We expect the test results middle of next week to confirm that there are no indications of horsemeat in the meatballs.

Customer confidence and trust is of the utmost importance to IKEA. We are committed to serving and selling food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment and the people who produce it.”

The Wall Street Journal : IKEA’s Iconic Meatball Drawn Into Horse-Meat Scandal

IKEA’s store on the outskirts of Sweden’s biggest city teemed with the usual swell of activity Monday evening, as shoppers snapped up everything from AA-size batteries to flat-pack bookcases and sofas.

But one iconic product was absent: the meatballs.

The Swedish furniture giant was drawn into Europe’s growing food-safety scandal after food inspectors in the Czech Republic found traces of horse meat in a batch of IKEA’s signature food item.

Source : The Wall Street Journal

Oscar Niemeyer dies at 104; modernist Brazilian architect

Oscar Niemeyer, the architect whose soaring buildings form the heart of Brasilia, the instant modernist capital built in the wilds of Brazil in the late 1950s, has died. He was 104.

Niemeyer, who had outlived his contemporaries to become the world’s oldest practicing architect of international stature, died Wednesday at a Rio de Janeiro hospital. The cause was a respiratory infection, a hospital spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

Source : Los Angeles Times

Owning real estate is not part of Nokia’s core business _Nokia Selling Headquarters in Finland

Nokia is selling its 48,000 square meter headquarters in Espoo for 170 million euros ($222.4 million), the company has announced.

The stumbling Finnish mobile giant will not be moving out of the building, though — it will lease it back from the new owners, the Finland-based Exilion.

“Owning real estate is not part of Nokia’s core business and when good opportunities arise we are willing to exit these types of non-core assets. We are naturally continuing to operate in our head office building on a long-term basis,” said Nokia CFO Timo Ihamuotila.

While the bit about real estate not being Nokia’s core business is true, the company was probably forced to sell the building in order to improve its balance sheet. In Q3, the company posted a $755 million loss, continuing a trend that’s been going on since 2011.

Source : mashable

News_Spain offers residency to anyone buying a home worth more than £130,000 in bid to save its housing market

Spain plans to offer foreigners residency permits if they buy houses worth more than 160,000 euros – approximately £128,500 – to try and reduce the country’s bloated stock of unsold homes.
Spain currently has more than 700,000 unsold houses following the collapse of its real estate market in 2008.
Trade Ministry secretary Jaime Garcia-Legaz said the plan, expected to be approved in the coming weeks, would be aimed principally at the Chinese and Russian markets as the domestic demand was stagnant and showed no sign of improving.

Source : DailyMail(UK)