Foster+Partners, MVRDV, UNStudio and Zaha Hadid Architects – designing for the first time in Iasi



Four world acclaimed architecture firms are participating in the specialty competition with guests launched by IULIUS in Iași for the purpose of building an architectural landmark for the city. The solutions will be proposed by Foster+Partners, MVRDV, UNStudio and Zaha Hadid Architects. These architecture firms signed some landmark buildings across the globe and are working for the first time on a specialty competition in Romania. Their most ambitious architectural projects include the Apple Park corporate headquarters in California, the Markthal Rotterdam mixed-use building, the Four Frankfurt mixed-use complex and the National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome.


IULIUS wishes to invest in developing a landmark complex in the Sf. Andrei–Palace of Culture Square area of Iași City, a complex designed to observe the architectural values of the city, while also adopting a contemporary approach. This challenge was accepted by architecture firms Foster+Partners, MVRDV, UNStudio and Zaha Hadid Architects. They are major international players in the architecture industry, who have designed residential and office buildings, museums, stadiums, mixed-use developments and projects that significantly boost the image of a city or country.


The competition theme was developed by also drawing on how Iași residents see the future development of the city, as evidenced by a study conducted by IULIUS in November 2021. Most residents said they want a sustainable evolution for the city they live in, taking into consideration the heritage and residents of the city. A green, digital city of the people – this is the residents’ vision for the future of Iași City. To this end, IULIUS invited some of the most important international architecture firms to propose solutions that connect the architectural heritage of Iași City and the legacy the company wishes to leave for the city.


The international architecture competition with guests is now in the phase where the four architecture firmsare working on the solutions for the new iconic building. The architects of the four competing firms have visited the project site in Iași and are designing in accordance with the competition design theme. The new edifice will thus continue the series of historically and architecturally relevant monumental works in the center of the city, in a contemporary vision that observes the historical heritage and topographical particularities of the site; it will integrate and showcase the recently discovered archeological remains on the site, providing a sustainable contemporary solution that anticipates and generates the necessary transformation of the public spaces nearby.


This endeavor is coordinated by a team of specialists including historian Cătălin Turliuc and architects Șerban Țigănaș, Augustin Ioan, Dragoș Ciolacu, Mihai Corneliu Drișcu and Matei Bogoescu.


The international architects that designed famous urban attractions such as The Gherkin in London, the Tianjin Binhain library in China, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and the National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, are now designing for Iași

Foster+Partners – “Let us leave this world a better place than when we found it”


The Foster+Partners architecture firm is known for its modern buildings featuring simple, yet sophisticated designs, as well as state-of-the-art technologies. With offices in 14 metropolises and 380 completed projects, the Foster + Partners architects wish to “leave this world a better place than when they found it”. “Iași is a city with special people and an important cultural and historical heritage. We want the opportunity to breathe new life in to Iași and create a vibrant new destination that complements the heritage of the city and reflects the ambitions of its residents. As Romanians, we feel it is our moral responsibility to get involved and give something meaningful back to the country, and the prospect of contributing to the future of Iași is very motivating,” said Romanian architects Maximilian and Daniel Zielinski, Senior Partners at Foster.


The Foster and Partners portfolio includes major edifices, such as the Apple Park headquarters in California, the European headquarters of the Bloomberg news agency in London, the famous office building on 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) in London, the Great Court at the British Museum of London, the transformation of the German Parliament (Reichstag) building.


MVRDV – “We visited Iași City and fell in love with its rich history”


The MVRDV architecture firm has projects in 47 countries and provide solutions for contemporary architectural and urban planning problems from its 4 offices in Rotterdam, Shanghai, Paris, New York and Berlin. The architects always propose surprising and daring projects, which have become landmarks in their respective cities. We have never built in Romania and we were wondering whether our first project here should be in the capital, but then we visited Iași and we fell in love with its rich history, monumental buildings, hills, churches, and the Palace of Culture, and we especially liked the potential of the site. All this made us feel honored that IULIUS offered us the chance to participate in this competition,said Gideon Maasland, MVRDV Director and Architect.


Of the +600 projects in its portfolio, the most famous include the Markthal in Rotterdam (a mixed-use building that also includes a market often deemed ‘one of the most beautiful in the world’), the Tianjin Binhain library in Tianjin (China), the Seoullo Skygarden in Seoul, the Depot ‘art deposit’ in Rotterdam, and the Valley mixed-use building in Amsterdam.


UNStudio – “The new architecture is in line with the historical architecture and adds to the urban future of Iași City


The architects at UNStudio, operating in their Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai and Melbourne based offices, are also recognized for their avant-garde design and iconic buildings. Their 140 projects completed to date are spaces designed for the future, where people live and work in healthy environments, a concept they also wish to implement in Iași. The city center is culturally very interesting and historically very complex. Monuments from different historical periods are located in close proximity to each other, which is rare but creates a culturally and visually rich environment. This is a city with a bright and vibrant future, and UNStudio can provide it with a new architecture that will align with the historic one and add to the urban future of the city, says Arjan Dingsté, Director and Senior Architect at UNStudio.


The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Four Frankfurt mixed-use complex, the Arnhem Central Station, Doha Metro, the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam are only a few examples of famous buildings designed by UNStudio.


Zaha Hadid Architects – “Marrying Iași’s rich heritage with the city’s unwavering optimism for the future”


With more than 120 projects on 6 continents, offices in London, Beijing and Hong Kong, Zaha Hadid Architects is internationally recognized for dynamic works that showed the world a new future that had been impossible to imagine before and impossible to ignore from then on. Maurizio Meossi is Associate Director at Zaha Hadid Architects and finds the project in Iași challenging and fascinating. “Iași’s long history as a seat of learning and its international reputation for cultural innovation inspires an architecture that engages with the city and creates vibrant new spaces for its community in a design defined by concepts of connectivity, inclusivity and sustainability. Marrying Iași’s rich heritage with the city’s unwavering optimism for the future, we are honoured to be invited by IULIUS to work in such a fantastic city,” says Maurizio Meossi.


The spectacular buildings designed over the years by Zaha Hadid Architects include museums such as Maxxi: National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome, offices such as Galaxy Soho in Beijing, stadiums such as the Forest Green Rovers Eco Stadium in Stroud, UK (pending development), residential buildings such as 520 West 28th Street, New York, the Morpheus Hotel & Resort at City of Dreams in Macau.


The international architecture firms will present their solutions to the jury at the end of June.


Find out more at www.iasipentruviitor.ro.