Search results for "east new"

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The Air up There

André Fu stages a model apartment in the MoMA-adjacent 53 West 53 tower
Celebrated interior designer André Fu has completed a model apartment on the 36th floor of the new Jean Nouvel-designed 53 West 53 residential tower. Sitting adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and incorporating portions of its soon-to-open expansion, the new building soars high among a slew of super-tall and thin residential projects reshaping New York City's Midtown neighborhood. Accentuating the 2,000 square foot, 2-bedroom unit’s southern and eastern exposures, Fu and his Hong Kong-based design team implemented a scheme that is indicative of the practice’s recognized “relaxed luxury” aesthetic. However, the accolated talent still took stock of cultural nuances and was careful to juxtapose his design vocabulary with the building’s sharp features and the city’s dynamic skyline. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Being John Malkovich

NYC Department of Buildings fines owner who split two condo into 20 apartments
This week, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) busted a Lower East Side landlord who had divided part of a building into hobbit-like warrens with ceilings as low as four-and-a-half–feet. Owner Xue Ping Ni subdivided his 634-square-foot condo on the fourth floor of 165 Henry Street into 11 tiny units by splitting the space with a new floor. DOB photos show a male inspector kneeling beside one lilliputian door, his head just below the top of the frame. The illegal units, home to nine people at inspection time, were climate-controlled with double-stacked window-mounted air conditioners. It almost goes without saying that the SROs lacked adequate egresses as well. During a later visit, a reporter noticed from the street that the air conditioners in the windows on the floor above were installed in a similar pattern. When inspectors entered the fifth-floor apartment, they found another nine diminutive single room occupancy units that looked like those in the first apartment. All tenants in the micro micro-units were evacuated. According to one, the closet-sized dwellings rented for $600 per month. The New York Post reported that the DOB slapped Ni with over $144,000 in fines for the sprinkler-less rooms and a lack of permits for plumbing, electrical, and structural work. According to paperwork on file with the DOB, the five-story building is supposed to have just 27 apartments.

Councilmember Ben Kallos likened the firetrap half floors to the 1999 film Being John Malkovich where John Cusack's character takes a job at Lester Corp, which is on the short-ceilinged seven-and-a-half floor of an office building in Manhattan. (Kallos does not represent the district that includes the building in question)

"It was funny in fiction, but a horror story in real life," he told the Post.

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Not your father's Garden City

Ron Arad Architect's Totzeret Haaretz contorts over Tel Aviv with glass and sintered stone
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The recently completed Totzeret Haaretz (ToHa) office tower on the eastern border of Tel Aviv offers a new public-facing approach to superblock megadevelopments, while simultaneously delivering a remarkably unique design merging glass, sintered stone, and brass. Designed by Ron Arad Architects with the help of executive architects Yashar Architects, the 29-story tower is the first phase of a larger project that will include an additional development of twice the height.
  • Facade Manufacturer Cosentino Guardian Digom Pellini Industries
  • Architect Ron Arad Architects Yashar Architects (Executive Architect)
  • Facade Installer Aluminum Construction
  • Facade Consultant Buro Happold David Engineers
  • Location Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom Aluminum Construction system
  • Products Guardian HD 67 DEKTON Cosentino sintered stone panels
The building rises on a trio of stiletto-like heels, which constitute a footprint of just under 16,150 square feet. Besides enhancing the nearly full-block public plaza surrounding the building, the seven-story plinths house the bulk of the tower's mechanical infrastructure—permitting the roof to function as an open space with a perimeter walkway and two terraces. To allow for the proper ventilation of the mechanical system while maintaining aesthetic standards required for a street-level facade, the design team developed a permeable system of cross-mounted DEKTON sintered stone panels supplied by Spanish-manufacturer Cosentino. The panels are approximately 10-feet tall and 2-feet wide and are fastened to a mullion between the respective floor plates. The panels were produced in six colors, creating a visual gradient across the weaved-stone street wall. Moving upwards, the tower rotates, widens, and tapers to dramatic effect. Each floor is cloaked in double-glazed Low-E glass curtain wall modules, measuring approximately 12.5-feet by 4.5-feet, inset from a protruding concrete floorplate. The double-skin glass system was developed in collaboration with the contractor, Aluminum Construction, and was tested at the IFC Rosenheim research lab on the southern border of Bavaria, Germany. "Each unit contains an integrated reflective blind manufactured by Pellini Industries and an automated air inlet system which periodically pumps air into the glazed cavity," said Ron Arad Architects. "The warm air exits the unit through an outlet opening at the top." Due to the unique geometry of the project's massing—no two floors of the tower are the same—there is a significant range of solar incidence across each elevation. Using computational tools, the design team determined the appropriate width of the floor plate extrusion, which serves as a passive shading device for the floor below. Similar to the base of the building, the extruding elements are clad with sintered stone panels measuring approximately half-an-inch thick and 6.5-feet wide. A particularly stylistic flourish is found on the south elevation facing HaShalom Road, as the first seven stories of the section are clad in a brass sheathing. The pattern for the sheathing mirrors and twists the extruding floor plates above, creating a complex matrix of sunlight reflection and shading that varies throughout the day. Over time, the sheathing will patina from its current gold-like composition to a more subtle shade of bronze. The entrance is demarcated by a nearly 100-foot-tall structural glass curtain wall, which leads to a seven-story high atrium with a view to the summit of the tower.
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New Nexus

WXY and city will reimagine Brooklyn’s Broadway Junction

In an ongoing effort to reimagine the transit nexus at Broadway Junction in East New York and its surrounding built environment, officials in Brooklyn have released preliminary ideas of what the area could look like. City leaders convened the Broadway Junction Working Group for the first time in October 2017 and, working with WXY Architecture + Urban Design, have since assembled a list of recommendations for improvements to the area in terms of transit equity, economic development, neighborhood amenities, and public space. With a series of interconnected subway stations that services the A, C, J, Z, and L lines, the area presents a significant opportunity to provide, as the recommendations suggest, “more good jobs, new retail and services, and active streets and public spaces—with an improved and accessible transit hub at its core.”

Currently, Broadway Junction suffers from a variety of factors that inhibit its potential as a hub of economic and social activity. Poor lighting under the elevated subway structures, as well as numerous parking lots in the immediate vicinity of the stations, make the surrounding blocks particularly hostile to people. With the integration of seating, greenery, public programming, and new infrastructural elements under the tracks, city officials and WXY hope to open up Broadway Junction’s public spaces for use by residents of the surrounding communities.

Overall, the plan calls for a mixed-use district that responds to the needs of the neighborhood without risking the widespread displacement of small businesses and residents that often accompanies major transit-related development projects. With the resources of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) at their disposal, business owners will be able to take advantage of commercial tenant legal services, business training courses, and other services. There will also be an effort to render the streetscape safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. Improvements to road circulation and various traffic-calming measures will ensure that those who drive, take transit, or walk in the area will be able to interact under less dangerous conditions. The subway stations at the junction will also be retrofitted to be more accessible to passengers with disabilities.

The Broadway Junction Working Group is supported by the Department of City Planning (DCP), the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR), among other agencies.

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Bridging Communities

D.C.'s highly-anticipated bridge park by OMA and OLIN is coming in 2023
A High Line-like park for Washington, D.C. has been in the works since 2014 and was supposed to open later this year, but construction hasn’t even started. The 11th Street Bridge Park project, a 1.45-mile-long elevated landscape that aims to dramatically connect Anacostia to Capitol Hill, features a landscaped vision by OMA and OLIN that also comes with an amphitheater, public plaza, cafe, and hammock grove. Thanks to a recent $5 million donation by utility company Exelon, the ambitious public project is much closer to breaking ground and will now feature an 11,000-square-foot environmental education center.  DCist reported that local officials expect the latest news of fundraising to inspire others to support the plan. For the last few years, both Washington-based organizations, philanthropists, and large corporations such as JPMorgan have pledged millions of dollars, all of which will be dropped into what’s now being described as a $139 million capital community investment campaign—a number far higher than the $40 million initially projected five years ago. According to Scott Kratz, director of the 11th Street Bridge Park project, the money will go both toward the build-out of the revitalized bridge as well as a series of equitable development strategies. Kratz told DCist that this move is key in ensuring that the residents of Ward 6 in Capitol Hill proper, as well as 7 and 8 in Anacostia, get first access to construction jobs onsite and a say in the park’s overall development. Additionally, both the city and the Ward 8 nonprofit in charge of the proposal, Building Bridges Across the River at THE ARC, aim to keep the cost of living low surrounding the new park.  Another way the team is trying to elevate community life in the area is through the creation of the newly-announced Exelon Environmental Education Center, where kids can learn about science, engineering, river health, and flora and fauna. DCist reported that it will be run by the Anacostia Watershed Society and sit on the eastern end of the park. The site will be aptly surrounded by the 1,200-acre Anacostia Park, as well as a slew of highways separating it from residential and commercial properties nearby. So far, a design team for the new hub has not been chosen, but with Exelon’s gift, the entire project is nearly fully funded at a total of $111.5 million. Kratz said the 11th Street Bridge Park is slated to open in 2023. 
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Diamonds are Forever

ODA's 10 Jay Street in DUMBO shines with a faceted facade
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Over the last two decades, Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood has undergone a significant degree of development, including the restoration of historic warehouses that dominated the neighborhood for centuries and plenty of new construction. ODA, which has a number of projects across the borough, recently completed the restoration and partial recladding of a decrepit 19th-century refinery and warehouse with a lively, iridescent glass curtainwall. The 130,000-square-foot development, which reaches a height of 10 stories, was originally built in 1898 as a sugar refinery for the Arbuckle Brothers and relied on a steel structural system with the brick elevations largely serving as curtainwall. Similar to other structures throughout the neighborhood, the building has undergone significant changes since construction; in 1925 it was converted to a winery, with the west elevation shorn off a decade later. The site was left vacant and in a state of continual decline from the middle of the 20th century until 1991.
  • Facade Manufacturer KPA Studio Hankuk Glass Industries
  • Architect ODA
  • Facade Installer KPA Studio
  • Facade Consultant SURFACE DESIGN GROUP
  • Location Brooklyn, New York
  • Date of Completion April 2019
  • System Custom KPA Studio unitized curtainwall
  • Products Hankuk Glass custom Low-E glass
The design from ODA draws from this history with a crystalline western elevation which shimmers and reflects the skyline of Lower Manhattan and the East River. According to ODA communications director Juan Roque Urrutia, "besides the construction challenges of dealing with an old structure, one of the main challenges was to actually convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission about the values of the original building and how a modern incorporation of a kaleidoscopic facade was not only respectful but also appeals to heritage stories." The glass modules are split between rectangular and triangular units, which rise perpendicular to the floor plate or inflect inward to effectively create concave bay windows. Minor segments of brick are interspersed throughout the western elevation and are located adjacent to the branch-like mullions. The average dimensions of the glass modules are approximately 11-by-5 feet, and each module was treated with a low-e coating to boost their reflectivity. Each panel spans from floor-to-floor and is held to the top of each floor slab with an aluminum anchor plate and hook. Grafting an entirely new skin onto a historic structure is a remarkably complex procedure, and ODA turned to facade consultant SURFACE DESIGN GROUP (SDG), who have established a particular expertise in facade retrofit and historic preservation. The retrofit uses a unitized glass and aluminum curtain wall system with angular facets and spandrel panels located at the slab edge. "As part of the north façade retrofit, the existing historic brick and terra cotta arched floors were extended with reinforced concrete to meet the new profile of the faceted facade," said the SDG team. "Given the complexity of both the curtain wall panel and edge of slab geometry, which is also faceted to mirror the form of the panels, standardizing the anchoring method aided in the efficiency of panel installation." Standing derelict for decades, the former sugar refinery also required an extensive degree of restorative work. First, stucco coating from the 1990s, and layers of old paint which hastened the decay of the brick masonry, had to be peeled away. The east elevation suffered the worst of the building's deterioration and required the complete reconstruction of the brick facade and the underlying steel structure. The remainder of the restorative work entailed brick replacement—nearly a third of them recycled, steel spandrel repairs, mortar repointing, and the application of a new weather resistant coating. The project is located in the DUMBO Historic District and required the input and approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission throughout the design and construction process.
 
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Close Clerkenwell Shave

Amin Taha wins fight to stop 15 Clerkenwell Close demolition
London architect Amin Taha has won his battle against planners to save his award-winning project, 15 Clerkenwell Close. Taha had previously been told his building faced a demolition order from the London borough of Islington. However, today, that decision has been overturned and the glorious, unfinished limestone that serves as a load-bearing facade will remain. For more than a year Taha has been embroiled in a disagreement over the building's appearance. In fact, the council had attempted to bring the building down twice before: In 2013, when the building was granted planning permission, a local argued that concrete was being used instead of brick, the facade material that was supposedly initially stipulated. A demolition notice that resulted from a site inspection from an enforcement officer and conservation officer amounted to nothing. The saga was far from over, though. 2017 saw another demolition notice, this time stating that the building must be rebuilt in brick. Taha disputed this, asking to see the notice report. Again, the notice was withdrawn. A year later, a third demolition notice was issued. "After an investigation, the council has come to the view that the building at 15 Clerkenwell Close does not reflect the building that was granted planning permission and conservation area consent in 2013," said the council. Taha, meanwhile, argued that the difference from what was sent to the planning department and was built was down to the fact that the limestone used was being taken from a quarry in France and left unfinished. Speaking to me last year, he likened it to complaining where knots in wood appear. The architect also said that the enforcement officer was relying on outdated and rejected plans for the design, as approved plans showing the stone facade had been redacted. Today it appears the architect has saved the seven-story building, where his studio's offices are also located. "It was taking so long and so much of our time it’s come somewhat close to a pyrrhic victory," said Taha in an email to The Architect's Newspaper today. "The battle is over and now we clear up the mess left behind." Planning inspector Peter Jarratt told the Architects' Journal in the U.K. that while he agreed there was a "difference" between the architects and planning authorities on what was submitted and approved, the building was in "general terms" not detrimental to the conservation area. "This is an unsatisfactory situation for both parties and it is not in the public interest if members of the public cannot establish what has been approved when examining planning records... Nevertheless, the principle of development is not in dispute and the building accords with the generality of what had previously been approved," he added. Despite all this, there is evidence of demolition, or at least that seems to be the case anyway. 15 Clerkenwell Close sits on the corner of the street, nestled into an enclave. Its rough, unfinished limestone facade, which still bears fossil marks in it, begs you to stroke it and feel the raw material. This is what stone is like before humans meddle with it and refine with technological precision, and in the author's experience, is wonderful to experience in this quiet forum in North London. As you approach it to do so, one will find a fallen Ionic pilaster—but fear not, it's only a joke, a tongue-in-cheek architectural moment that serves as a testament to how much this relatively simple building speaks. The planning department of Islington Borough Council may have lost, but this is a victory for everyone. An Islington Council spokesperson provided the following statement:
“We’re pleased that Mr. Taha has finally admitted that the building did not benefit from planning permission.  We are also pleased that the inspector has required 15 Clerkenwell Close to be modified to include more employment space, in line with Islington’s development plan.  The Inspector also concluded that the building should be modified to mitigate the harm caused to local heritage assets. “We’re of course disappointed that the inspector did not agree with the council’s view that the degree of harm the building caused to the Clerkenwell Green conservation area and the setting of nearby listed buildings warranted further modifications to the building.   “The council looks forward to the removal of the unauthorized and visually harmful solar chimney, changes to the roof garden, and alterations to the limestone columns and beams facing Clerkenwell Close, as set out in the Inspector’s conditions. “We’re also pleased that there will be a £420,000 payment towards badly-needed affordable housing, in line with Islington’s planning policies.” Additional notes: Par 1 of the Inspector’s Appeal Decision says: “… the appellant considered that no planning permission exists for the building as erected” Par 24 of the Inspector’s Appeal Decision says: “The appellant has been extremely critical of the failure of the Council officers to resolve apparent inconsistencies in the drawings at the appropriate time, which clearly should have been done. However, the appellant must also share a significant degree of responsibility for the errors made as it was his practice that submitted inconsistent plans in the first place.”
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No Thanks

Eavesdrop: Here are all the architects and designers in Jeffrey Epstein's black book

Just before financier and alleged pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died in a New York City jail, New York Magazine published the A-to-Z contents of Epstein's contacts book. Along with business tycoons, foreign royalty, and powerful politicians, there were a number of names from the worlds of art and design—including architects and interior designers.

Perhaps the most prominent of these is Alberto Pinto, the interior designer known for his lavish-beyond-lavish creations for the superrich. According to the magazine, Epstein's $56 million Upper East Side mansion featured silky leopard print armchairs and walls covered in custom-tooled gold-leafed leather. Interior designer and countess-by-marriage Muriel Brandolini—who's dreamed up luxe spaces for the prince and princess of Greece, among other high-profile clients—also made the list. Of course, association doesn't mean guilt by association—rich people hang out with other rich people, especially when working on a commission or reached out to and asked to take on a project.

Joining these A&D professionals in the book were luxury hotel genius Jean-Michel Gathy, Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, Peter Marino, and guitar-shaped Hard Rock Hotel interiors honcho David Rockwell.

The last architect in Epstein's contacts executed one of the most puzzling buildings in the entire Miami–Caribbean–New York City triangle of Epstein's real estate portfolio. For the late financier's private 70-acre island, Little St. James Island, resort designer Edward Tuttle designed the centerpiece "main house" in 2003. However, no designer has yet been named for the most enigmatic structure on the island, a blue-striped, gold-roofed "temple" on a white plinth that is surrounded by a red geometric pattern baked into the white plaza.

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Rigorous Regulations

AIA and NCARB establish new alliance to push for licensing standards
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) have helped form a new coalition intended to educate policymakers and the public on the importance of high, consistent licensing standards across various technical fields. Architects, engineers, surveyors, landscape architects, and certified public accounts make up the newly-established Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL). “Complex professions are at risk of being swept up in broad calls to reduce licensing requirements for occupations and vocations,” said NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong in a statement. “It is important for us to work with other technical professions to ensure public safety isn’t compromised by broad brush deregulatory efforts.” In other words, rigorous licensing standards across these industries should stay in place in order to keep their professional work from harming the American people. According to NCARB, it’s up to ARPL members to stop sweeping legislative cuts from stripping key standards of practice from authoritative licensing boards such as the American Society of Civil Engineers and more. Professional licensing is getting more political year after year. The debate and criticism surrounding architectural regulations, at least, has been going on for quite some time within the field itself. NCARB, for example, has been working to minimize the burden that licensure candidates have when trying to pay and study for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), as well as the amount of earned experience hours it takes to get there, by, as they've described it,  "modernizing the path" to licensure.  Together with the ARPL, NCARB will clarify their moves to make the licensure process stronger, while maintaining the rigorous standards that ensure a safe built environment. According to a press release, the coalition’s mission is exactly that: to protect the public and represent the voices of these various professions when it comes to reasonable regulation and licensing.  AIA CEO Robert Ivy echoed Armstrong’s statement, saying any attempts to “weaken or undermine” these requirements for architects harms both the profession and could endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the public they build for.  “When an architect designs a hospital or a school, the public must have confidence in its safety and structural integrity,” said Ivy. “The best way to maintain the public’s confidence is to continue to require that architects demonstrate rigorous and ongoing education, examination, and experience.”
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Greenhouse Glasses

RIBA sustainability chairman urges London to consider a glass tower ban
Following NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s "ban" on glass-clad buildings in April, a leading sustainability expert in London has spoken out against London mayor Sadiq Khan’s refusal to enact the same legislation—Simon Sturgis, an adviser to the Greater London Authority and a chairman of the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) sustainability group, believes that England's capital should follow suit. While de Blasio’s "ban" was in actuality proposed as a check on excessive use of glass and steel, glass is an inherently problematic building material to use in a world facing a climate crisis and rampant carbon emissions. Sturgis told the Guardian that, “If you’re building a greenhouse in a climate emergency, it’s a pretty odd thing to do, to say the least.” The two cities of New York and London are home to iconic skyscrapers like The Shard and the World Trade Center, both considered pinnacles of glass and steel construction, but while their uninterrupted views and the striking skyline aesthetic attract architects and high-profile tenants at the moment, the environmental irresponsibility may soon phase the desirability out.  “Big commercial tenants don’t like standing up in front of their shareholders and saying they’re doing embarrassing things,” said Sturgis. Glass facades have a short life span, only about 40 years, so the impact of their embedded carbon (how much carbon a product will emit over the course of its entire life) is significant, as a building's glazing is nearly impossible to recycle and inevitably necessary to replace. However, the more immediate consequences of these glass facades is a heavy need for air conditioning. The amenity's adverse environmental impacts are well documented—almost 14 percent of total global energy use stems from air conditioning, and the heat captured and retained in building interiors by glass curtain walls is significant, especially in the summer heat.  In the same article, head of sustainability at Mitsubishi Electric, Martin Fahey, stated that rising temperatures across the globe has led to AC equipment needing to work much harder than in the recent past. “Most air conditioning equipment is designed to give an internal temperature between seven-to-ten degrees lower than the ambient temperature,” he said. But when the recent heat waves struck London and New York this summer, cooling from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to a more comfortable 70 took a toll on local electrical grids as well the air conditioners themselves. Broken AC units and their subsequent replacements add to the embedded carbon footprint of our built structures.  Advanced glazing and passive cooling options exist today that can minimize the greenhouse effect of glass, like darkening to let in less light in the warmer months, for example, the double- or triple- glazing systems are still hindered by the short life span and non-recyclability, and often not nearly at the level needed to amend the footprints of commercial emitters. Sturgis warns that “the connection needs to be made between the climate emergency and all-glass buildings. But the connection hasn’t been made yet.”
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BSO in the Berkshires

Boston Symphony Orchestra gets a sunlit series of performance spaces for its Tanglewood campus
The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) may boast one of the most luminous performance halls on the East Coast thanks to a recent $32.5 million expansion at its Tanglewood campus in Lenox, Massachusetts. William Rawn Associates (WRA) has added three spaces spanning 24,000-square-feet to the Linde Center for Music and Learning, all flexibly designed as a nod to the firm’s seminal 1994 Seiji Ozawa Concert Hall, also on site.  The last time the 524-acre campus (where BSO has spent its summers since 1937) was put on the map was when WRA designed and completed the award-winning venue years ago. Now, with a new performance and rehearsal pavilion, as well as a 150-seat cafe that doubles as a cabaret room, the center will support BSO’s year-round program, the Tanglewood Learning Institute. Not to mention that these structures are the first climate-controlled buildings on the bucolic campus. In an interview, William Rawn and Clifford Gayley, both principals at WRA, said their “modernist impulse” is evident both in their 25-year-old Ozawa Hall, as well as in the four contemporary spaces built last year. Most importantly, though, their buildings feature clean, simple lines and were designed with a similar sense of place like the other structures on campus that were designed by modernist architect Eero Saarinen. “Saarinen’s work promotes a sense of simplicity, almost elementary," said Rawn and Gayley, "a real sense of transparency and a connection between the inside and the outside.” WRA’s 21st-century vision for Tanglewood aimed to echo that sentiment. Using a primary material palette of glass and wood, they were able to integrate stunning views of the Berkshire Hills from the multi-studio pavilion, cafe, and patio while also allowing light to energize the interiors. The largest of the spaces, a 270-seat performance and rehearsal area called Studio E, can house over 90 members of the BSO during shows. At more informal moments, a 50-foot-tall retractable glass wall on the stage side can open the space up to the elements, and allow visitors to walk in to listen to the practice sessions. Two of the three studios also have this feature.  According to Rawn and Gayley, this informality of setting—combined with the intensity of the music—is embodied in the new architecture. “There’s a sense of democracy, an egalitarian feel, that everybody is welcome,” they said. “The sense of connection between a rehearsal studio that has a barn door opening out, or Ozawa Hall, with its open back wall that allows the music being made to waft out onto the lawns.” Reed Hilderbrand built out the seamless landscape surrounding the Linde Center and added over 120 trees, 300 shrubs, and 10,000 square feet of woodland ferns and perennials. A large birch grove was planted in a courtyard garden in between the new structures and WRA created a windy pergola alongside the cafe.
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Homes for the Domeless

Zappos invests in startup Geoship to build domes for the homeless
Geoship, a startup with a plan to revolutionize single-family housing, has caught the attention of Zappos via Tyler Williams, director of brand experience at the shoe retailer's Las Vegas headquarters. The two companies are now working together to make geodesic dome structures the homes of the future, addressing a variety of mounting social and environmental concerns in what they're calling affordable, regenerative architecture. Geoship’s dome structures are made of bioceramic, a self-adhesive material made largely out of phosphate, which can be recycled from wastewater. The material is touted as being "nearly indestructible," making it suitable for a world hurtling towards a climate crisis—the homes can withstand a heat of up to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit without burning, resist insects and mold, and can weather tremors and storm surge from earthquakes and hurricanes alike. All of this?  “Essentially, it’s like Legos going together,” Geoship founder Morgan Bierschenk told Fast Company. The startup claims their domes cost 40 percent less to build than traditional existing construction methods. The geodesic domed shape, similar to that of a soccer ball, is made up of faceted triangles and pentagons welded together via the bioceramic’s self-gluing properties. The form and its translucent, light-filled nature were popularized by great 20th-century architect and engineer Buckminster Fuller, who used the form and technology to build structures like his pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal or the Dymaxion House. The shape is inherently strong and structurally sound and this is further enhanced by Geoship’s combination of the classic form with a new material. Zappos jumped on the fundraising wagon with Geoship when Williams recognized the domes’ potential to address homelessness around its Las Vegas headquarters. The idea of a collective of the domes, made available for free to the homeless adjacent to Zappos's office, was a shared vision of both Bierschenk and Williams. The solution combines low-cost housing with extreme environmental sensitivity; Geoship claims that there is even a possibility that the domes could become carbon negative, as bioceramic has the ability to absorb amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Geoship also argues some more theoretical points—the domes are supposedly said to align with Vastu Shastra, a traditional Indian theory of architecture. The goal, though, is to appeal to a mass audience and modernize home building: “We started to question why we’re still pounding nails in wood, like people were doing 100 years ago,” said Bierschenk.   It may take some time before the unlikely partnership bears dome-shaped fruit; Bierschenk estimates it will be at least two years before the structures begin production. Whether we can "envision a new future for Earth" as Geoship encourages us to do remains to be seen—as well as the company's claims that the interiors of their domes harmonize the electromagnetic environment with biological systems—but at least the homeless population in Las Vegas may be getting a new form of housing.
 
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Can you envision a new future for Earth? The converging global crises of ecosystem disruption, democratic dysfunction, unaffordable housing, and increasing chronic disease are clear signals that it's time to dramatically transform where and how we live. Geoship's vision for the future of home is a natural earth sanctuary that calms your senses and restores balance; a place of maximum efficiency, beauty, and resilience. Where the light and electromagnetic environment harmonizes with biological systems. Inside, you feel connected to all that exists outside – nature, community, and the universe. Your dome is calling! #futureofhome #buckminsterfuller #domesweetdome #newparadigm #domehomes #geoship

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