Daily digest: No, Uganda didn’t lose its only international airport, Henning Larsen unveils another timber complex, and more

Tapered Timber

Daily digest: No, Uganda didn’t lose its only international airport, Henning Larsen unveils another timber complex, and more

Marmormolen, an eight-story office complex in Copenhagen designed by Henning Larsen, will be built from timber and house AP Pension, Denmark’s public pension fund. (© Sora)

Good afternoon and welcome back to a post-Thanksgiving survey of what’s going on today. From debunking viral internet claims to checking in on fashion in the metaverse, the holidays certainly didn’t slow the flow of news from around the world.

Here’s what you need to know:

Uganda didn’t lose its only international airport to Chinese creditors

Despite viral rumors over the past weekend, Uganda did not, in fact, hand over its only international airport to Chinese lenders, nor has it even considered it. After local reports that Uganda was at risk of losing the Entebbe International Airport in Kampala after struggling to repay a $200 million expansion loan from China’s Export-Import Bank, both nations issued statements clarifying that was not the case. Although the EXIM Bank controls the terms of the loan and any attempt to renegotiate them would be mediated by Chinese officials, Uganda stressed that giving up control of a piece of vital national infrastructure was never on the table and that it was still paying interest during the loan’s 7-year grace period.

H/t to Reuters

Henning Larsen reveals a set of towering timber cubes for Copenhagen

Henning Larsen has pulled the curtain back on its second timber building for Copenhagen, an eight-story office complex for AP Pension, Denmark’s public pension fund. Rising in the city’s formerly industrial Nordhavn neighborhood, the 301,000-square-foot project dubbed Marmormolen will be one of the largest timber buildings realized in Denmark once it opens in 2024. Ringed with outdoor terraces and facing the waterfront, busy streets, and a number of public transportation lines, Marmormolen has been envisioned as an airy antithesis to traditionally cloistered and inward-facing office towers.

Inside of a timber office block with skylight
Inside the airy Marmormolen office complex (© Sora)

The British Fashion Council branches into the metaverse with a Roblox awards ceremony

Will we all soon live in the metaverse, with Minecraft blocks beneath our feet rather than terra firma? No, of course not. But that doesn’t mean companies and institutions aren’t increasingly making forays into the digital, and the latest to do so is the British Fashion Council. Partnering with Roblox (those with kids of a certain age are probably familiar with it), the council is adding a “metaverse design” category to its 2021 awards season, presented in-universe by an avatar of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. Players can watch the awards as they happen in a virtual recreation of London’s historic Royal Albert Hall.

H/t to The Verge

An exhibition in Los Angeles explores sukkahs as structures, metaphors, and beyond

The week-long fall festival of Sukkot has come and gone, and the accompanying sukkahs have been dismantled, but reflections on the Jewish holiday are now on display at We Are All Guests Here at the Bridge Projects gallery in L.A. Celebrating both the 40-year period the Israelites spent wandering the desert after fleeing Egypt and the bounty of the fall harvest, the sukkahs built for the holiday are both temporary shelters for the week and open to the elements.

We Are All Guests Here, on display through January 15, 2022, re-examines both the structures of sukkahs as well as the more metaphorical longing for home and search for solid ground they represent. Photographs, sculptures, and full-sized sukkahs from eight contributors are on display, including Sukkah of the Signs/Homeless House by Rael San Fratello, which is as described and realized entirely in signs purchased from the unhoused. Especially poignant during the pandemic, when homelessness across the United States skyrocketed, the exhibition touches on transience and the longing for a permanent home through ancient (and modern) traditions.

H/t to Hyperallergic

Europe’s first fully driverless bus is up and running in Toulouse

The first fully autonomous bus in Europe has hit the streets of Toulouse, France, after receiving approval to operate without human supervision. Thankfully, drivers won’t need to be on their guard; it’s only a shuttle bus on the Oncopole medical campus. French startup EasyMile received approval from both the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Ecological Transition to run the bus on a public road, ahead of a broader framework for autonomous vehicles for the country expected to debut next September.

H/t to Global Construction Review