Search results for "Richard Meier"

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Eating Champ & Starchitect Celebrate Damn Good Advice
Massimo Vignelli and George Lois. (Courtesy Phaidon) During festivities for the launch of his book Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent), legendary art director and advertising guru George Lois announced that he will donate his professional archive to the Vignelli Center for Graphic Design Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. At the launch, a star-studded guest list including Massimo and Leila Vignelli, architect Richard Meier, and competitive eating champion Kobayashi packed NYC's Art Directors' Club. The addition of Lois' work bolsters the archive's reputation as a world-class resource for design researchers.
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Architects Design Fashions for A+D Museum's Celebrate Fundraiser
This Saturday, LA’s A+D Museum will host its annual fundraising banquet, Celebrate. This year's event will not only include music from KCRW DJ Raul Campos (himself a trained urban planner) and some impressive celebs (including our favorite architecture fan Moby), but it will feature a runway show with custom clothing and accessories by architects and designers like Richard Meier, Neil Denari, Predock Frane, BMW Designworks, Karim Rashid, Robert A.M. Stern and  many others. The runway show and live auction will be hosted by LA humorist Charles Phoenix and by Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA. Click on a thumbnail to see the slideshow of the uber fashions.
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Zahner, Zaha's Schumacher, CASE, and More: Facades Conference 2012
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

Architects and fabricators discuss creating facades in the digital age

Yesterday The Architect’s Newspaper and the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York presented their first-ever educational conference at McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York. More than 250 professionals and students attended the event, themed Metals in Construction, which addressed facade design in an age when skilled collaboration between architects, consultants, and fabricators can more than ever affect a building’s performance and longevity. The day began with a presentation by Bill Zahner, who spoke of his company's forward-looking work with metal facades, then moved into discussions covering everything from new retrofit strategies to the latest projects from Zaha Hadid Architects with the firm's director, Patrik Schumacher. The day also included the official announcement of a new international alliance of academics, professional designers, hardware and software developers and digital fabricators. Born out of a regional organization known as Tex-Fab, the group will be called Digital Fabrication Alliance and offered a look at the kind of minds it will be bringing together at future events with a panel discussion with Phillip Anzalone, Anna Dyson, and Erik Verboon. Read on for AN's coverage of the day's events:
  • Who Architects, engineers, facade consultants, fabricators, and design professionals
  • Location New York, New York
  • Status Conference
  • Presenters The Architect's Newspaper, The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York
6:00PM Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects wrapped up the conference with a lush panorama of photos from the firm's portfolio. It was a real world anecdote of the behind the scenes BIM programing that was on display throughout the day. Schumacher set the tone by telling the crowd, "It's important that the expressed structure gives the whole project credibility." Before BIM, Schumacher recalled the early days of the firm of exploiting the "physics of the hand movement" through a "huge array of french curves," many custom made so as to satiate Zaha's desire for a "literal translation of the hand sketch." Before BIM, Schumacher recalled the early days of the firm of exploiting the "physics of the hand movement" through a "huge array of french curves," many custom made so as to satiate Zaha's desire for a "literal translation of the hand sketch." From the London Olympic's Aquatic Center to under-construction images of the Rabat Grand Theater in Morocco, the slideshow idealized the Zaha aesthetic where, in Schumacher's words, "you draw people into a tight curve to release them into a wider curve." But Schumacher said that the raison d'être of parametricism is to fight the Fordism of Modernism--and not just in the environment, but in society. "That era produced a handful of standards, a unified consumption standard: same car, same house, with everyone isolated in particular cells with everybody ticking away like little beavers," he said. He added that such production created zones separating society, which is virtually impossible in today's interconnected world where "hyper dense" communication is integral to the profession instead of "industrial clusters." "That need to transform, that's our repertoire," he said. "Architecture is where association and connections can make a difference." 3:15PM Anna Dyson, of the Center for Architecture Science and Technology, spoke about the latest developments in the HeliOptix solar panels, glass panels that harvest energy while allowing light to flood into a building's interior. Part of the presentation included a more detailed rendering HeliOptix wall intended for the SHoP-designed FIT building planned for an empty parking lot on 26th Street. After the lecture, Dyson confirmed that FIT is still hoping to close a $52 million gap left after City backed away from its share of the $148 million proposal. The solar panels have continued to develop over the past twelve years to about 83 percent efficiency for heat and power production--compared to 14 to 25 percent for a standard panels. We have the last three generations to show you here, but for proprietary reasons we can't show the last iteration (but check it out at the upcoming Smartgeometry workshop in Troy, NY where it'll debut next). 2:20 PM Representing what he called "the largest real estate organization in the world," GSA's Dirk Meyer said that  despite the organization's size, it's not what it used to be. The GSA had 70,000 employees in 1970 and now employs 12,600, of which the Public Building Services represent a mere 6,000. As such, the Feds literally must do more with less. But despite the cuts, the Design Excellence program keeps design standards high. "I walk into a Richard Meier courthouse in Islip, and I am in awe," he said. "It makes me proud to be a federal employee." When asked by AN's Julie Iovine whether he's concerned if a shift in government policy might further whittle away at the program, Meyer diplomatically demurred, "That question's way beyond my pay grade." Nevertheless, he looked to the future, particularly when it comes to facades. While acknowledging that the conference was metal-focused, he noted that glass facades remain a big concern at GSA. He quoted Walterloo University's John Straube who said "No glazed system that is presently available can come close to the level of performance delivered by a simple and relatively opaque wall system." Meyer said that glass mitigation concerns differ greatly for federal buildings--what's needed to sustain impact from a hurricane is different from sustaining impact of a blast. Consultants are hired for blast mitigation, water mitigation, bird mitigation… With his eight-year-old in the audience, Meyer indicated it might not be a bad idea for the next generation to look into becoming glass consultants. 12:45PM SHoP's Jonathan Mallie presented a detailed PowerPoint of the Barclays Center that was riveting not just for the building's millions of rivets, but for an iPhone app that allows the client to check in on placement progress of the building's 12,000 weathered metal panels. Allowing such client attention to detail may or may not always be a good thing, said Mallie. The firm is now reexamining how transparent the process should be in order to avoid unnecessary micro management.   11:00 AM ENCLOS's Mic Patterson delivered a presentation covering the current state of retrofitting affairs. While the company's work deals with some masterpieces of Modernism, Patterson expressed serious concern about the sustainability of new designs as well. Regarding older buildings, Patterson noted that there's no better place to talk about it than the conference's locale, at the McGraw-Hill building in Rockefeller Center. "Air infiltration is a huge problem, these buildings never did perform well to start with," he said. But Patterson's criticism wasn't limited to the past. He noted that while new facade designs have kept up with digital technology, they're often not designed to be retrofitted. He encouraged architects and manufacturers to take future retrofits into consideration in the design. He added that while today's architect has a million types of glass to choose from, most new glass is not recyclable. The glass may be designed to help attain LEED certification, but ultimately it doesn't make the sustainability cut if it ends up in a landfill. 10:00 AM Collaboration, the Facades and Digital Fabrication Conference sponsored by The Architect's Newspaper and the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York, got off to an intriguing start this morning with Bill Zahner's presentation of an otherworldly facade produced for the Sisters of St. Theresa in Kansas City. While Zahner showed couture projects from Gehry and Mayne, it was the humble lace-inspired facade that got the tears. As the nuns' Italian history was steeped in lace-making, the direct riff created for the client making them weep. "'We think you were sent by God,'" Zahner recalled them saying. "And I kept thinking, 'How am I gonna put that on my resume?'" On a more serious note, Zahner talked about the precision inherent in using negative patterns on metallic facades. "When you talk about selling voids here we're really selling nothing," he said of the of cutout patterns. But where the seams of the patterned panels meet provides the greatest challenge. "If you don't have it precisely located, it really ruins the design," he said. 8:00 AM The AN editorial team is on hand for the Collaboration: Facades and Digital Fabrication conference, now in progress at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center in Manhattan. We'll be live blogging and tweeting @archpaper with hashtag #facadeconference throughout the day, so check back and follow us on twitter for updates!
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Mitikah Tower
Courtesy Richard Meier & Partners

Mitikah Office Tower
Architect: Richard Meier & Partners
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Completion: 2014

Richard Meier & Partners have released plans for Mitikah Office Tower, located in the Delegación Benito Juárez in Mexico City, as part of a mixed-use master plan designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and developed by by Mexico City–based IDEURBAN/IDCity. The site incorporates commercial, residential, hotel, and office space into the existing residential community; a retail plaza to the north and an elevated highway to the south flank the tower while its translucent base makes the lobby visible from all approaching angles.


At 34 stories, Mitikah Office Tower will function as a visual transition between the commercial space of the development site and the highway and neighboring residential areas. The tower’s facade is composed of curtain glass; its low thermal emissivity panels maximize natural daylight while reducing solar energy intake. The south- and east-facing facade wraps around the tower, creating, as design partner-in-charge Bernhard Karpf describes, “a modern interpretation of Aztec forms.” Meier associate and project architect Ringo Offermann further explained that the history of Mexico City and geometric Aztec forms inspired the more sculptural southern facade of the tower, which faces the property line, while the northern facade defers to the collection of buildings within the master plan.

On the 19th floor, an orb-like conference pavilion and sky garden carve out a void in the floors immediately above, covered by a narrow brise-soleil that hangs off the south facade.A restaurant and bar on the top floor will provide a destination for visitors and a six-story parking garage underneath accommodates parking for the rest of the site. This is Meier’s third recent project underway in Mexico.

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Keeping Up the Good Fight
Richard Meier's Federal Courthouse in Islip, Long Island.
Douglas Palmer / Flickr

An unofficial 1962 memo entitled Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture is perhaps the most important piece of public policy to include architecture since the 1902 McMillan Commission. The memo will celebrate its 50th anniversary on May 23 but few architects have ever heard of the document. It seems to have been the sole creation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who at the time was an assistant secretary of labor under Arthur Goldberg. Goldberg was concerned about Washington D.C.'s growing federal bureaucracy and lack of adequate modern office and court room space (no major government building projects had been started in the capital since the 1930s), and he asked Moynihan to outline the problem and suggest some solutions. The result was something much more far reaching than the Secretary expected from the ambitious young New Yorker, and it may also explain why not much happened with it for thirty-plus years. In the 1960s as today, the General Services Administration handled all government building design and construction projects, but they also selected their architects. The results of this policy were that few buildings were built of any architectural merit (with some exceptions, like Mies van der Rohe’s 1964 design for Chicago's federal courthouse), and many were even considered eyesores in their communities.

Moynihan suggested that the government begin encouraging the country's best architects to submit designs and plans for federal projects. And in order to attract the best architects, he further suggested moving away from any notion of an official government style. As legal writer Daniel Brook pointed out in Legal Affairs journal (2005), Moynihan suggested that "It should be our object to meet the test of Pericles' evocation to the Athenians: ‘We do not imitate—for we are a model to others.’ Federal architecture, should embody the finest contemporary American architectural thought.” Fifteen years later, when Moynihan was elected senator from New York, he introduced a bill to require juried design competitions for federal projects, but the bill never made it out of committee.

The 1962 Moynihan memo did eventually lead to the creation in 1994 of the GSA’s Design Excellence program under its farsighted deputy director Ed Feiner. It was Feiner who, hoping to establish a proper selection process to ensure a higher quality of architecture, seized on Moynihan’s memo as the basis for the program. The program under Feiner and now Casey Jones has been responsible for drastically upgrading the quality of federal architecture and infrastructure projects all over the United States. This GSA policy has instituted juried competitions and peer review procedures that have produced an unprecedented number of important projects (at least since the time of Jefferson, Latrobe, H.H. Richardson and McKim, Mead and White). It is exactly the type of federal program that current groups like the Tea Party are itching to axe from the Federal budget.

Let’s hope this will not happen, but should the Tea Party and their Republican allies in Congress take political control in next year’s national elections, what they hope to delete from government includes banning HUD from spending money on the support of “ill-defined rubrics, such as ‘sustainability,’ ‘livability,’ ‘inclusivity,’ and ‘equity,’” according to an excellent policy paper President Barack Obama and The Forgotten Urban Agenda written by Greg Hascom in the environmental news and commentary website Grist. Under such circumstances, staying the course of good design will be even tougher than it was in Moynihan’s day, but just as essential, if not more so.

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Taking Stock
Residence by Thomas Phifer on Fisher's Island in New York.
Scott Frances / Otto

New York-based OTTO Archive, a new photo licensing agency specializing in architecture and design, takes the photographer’s mantra “You are what you shoot” seriously.

Eight well-established photographers have signed on with OTTO, launched in October by Bill Hannigan and Thea Vaughan. The partners, both veterans of the syndicating superpower Corbis Images, founded their first licensing agency, AUGUST Image in 2007 to represent the work of portrait and lifestyle photographers. The same year, they also started Vaughan Hannigan, a small artists management agency through which they met Scott Frances, an architectural photographer of works by Richard Meier, Thomas Phifer, and Kengo Kuma, among other well-known architects. It was by managing Frances’ career that the duo identified what they felt was an underserved market in licensing archival architectural photography. Soon after, Hannigan and Vaughan created OTTO, a name chosen both for its connection to their first company—August, the eighth month—and for the pleasing graphic symmetry built into a palindrome.

“It’s a very tailored, very tight roster. We have an elite bunch,” said Vaughan of OTTO’s photographers, who in addition to Frances include Richard Barnes, Ty Cole, and Michael Moran, to name a few in a hand-picked group that Vaughan guessed might grow to 20 but no more than 25. OTTO’s emphasis will be on presenting curated portfolios of work developed through the duo’s hands-on approach. If photographers who join OTTO have archival images already licensed by other agencies, say ESTO, OTTO plans to acquire selected images as those contracts expire.

On a crisp, minimalist Web site, users register at no cost in order to view photographers’ portfolios. But Hannigan and Vaughan have no intention of sitting back and letting potential clients discover them through a Google search. While the company is small, with only four fulltime staff, it promises a vast global reach thanks to partnerships with agents in more than a dozen cities around the world.

For Scott Frances, it’s this reach, agility, and proactive attitude that sets OTTO apart in archival licensing, a field with few players. “They can sell globally and quickly, and they’re not waiting for the phone to ring,” said Frances. With today’s publishers constantly hunting for content to fill newer channels like Web sites and iPad apps, high-profile architecture photography has the potential to stay relevant and earn residual fees for years. “Photographing a Richard Meier building isn’t like photographing a tube of lipstick or a dress,” said Frances. “One thing about architecture and design imagery is that good architecture has a long life.”

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Activists Press On for AIDS Memorial at Triangle Park
On the eve of World AIDS Day, dozens crammed into the City Planning building in downtown Manhattan where the Rudin Organization presented plans for the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site at a Universal Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) hearing.  The commission is set to vote on the plan on January 24, but over the last few months yet another issue has emerged at the long contested site. Activists from the Queer History Alliance continue to press for an AIDS Memorial to be placed at a proposed park across the street from the former hospital, which was considered ground zero during the height of the AIDS crisis. The so-called Triangle Park has played an interesting role throughout the ULURP. Privately owned by the Rudin family, the park, along with the old O’Toole building, holds air-rights integrated into the development plan across the street where the Rudins want to build a multi-use project that includes housing, retail and a school. The park sits atop an underground storage space. The Queer History Alliance would like to turn the park into a memorial and the storage space into a museum. Rudin representatives expressed concerns that ranged from above ground access via elevators and stairs, to a Certificate of Occupancy for an underground museum, and adjustments to the environmental impact study. Earlier this year, Queer History's Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, both urban planners, began lobbying for the memorial and by September the group announced a partnership with Architizer to sponsor an international competition for new designs, despite the fact that the Rudins had already retained landscape architects M. Paul Friedberg and Partners for the project. On Monday, Architectural Record signed on as a co-sponsor. The deadline for the competition is January 21 with winners announced on February 1eleven days after City Planning’s vote. Tepper said that the competition would seek to combine passive recreation with memorializing. “We don’t want a park that is designed independently from a memorial,” Tepper said in a telephone interview. “It’s about marrying those two ideas.” He added that the group is looking for a “thoughtful place holder and flexibility so that the design process can work its way through.” By proposing the memorial, the Queer History Alliance threw the latest monkey wrench into the Rudins' five-year odyssey, which saw the collapse of St. Vincent’s, an unrealized Pei Cobb Freed design, the preservation of Albert C. Ledner’s Maritime Union Building (aka-the O’Toole Building), and new design proposals for the Triangle Park, seen by many as a new gateway to Greenwich Village. The jury for the competition includes many arch-world stars, but jumps beyond borders. Michael Arad will chair. He is joined by Record's Suzanne Stephens, landscape architect Ken Smith, novelist Kurt Andersen, MoMA’s Barry Bergdoll, Elizabeth Diller, the High Line’s Robert Hammond, GMHC’s Marjorie Hill, choreographer Bill T. Jones, and Richard Meier. There has been some pushback from residents. While the community board supported the notion of the memorial, it also held reservations about using the below ground space. At a meeting in September one resident pointed out that the Village already has an AIDS memorial in Hudson River Park. Nevertheless, the board favored the memorial, as did Borough President Scott Stringer. At the hearing, Rudin executive vice president John Gilbert pointed out that the project encompassed practically every major urban issue, from education, to preservation, to housing, and open space. "All well meaning policies collide here," he said of the site. No matter the outcome of the competition, any commemoration would need support from the Rudins, as they own the property. Earlier M. Paul Freidberg designs did include gestures towards memorializing the AIDS crisis and the Sisters of Mercy who worked at St. Vincent’s through discrete pavement markers. But a discrete plaque is not what the Queer Historians have in mind. “No way is that type of marker commensurate with 100,000 New Yorkers who have died,” said Tepper.
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Paper Tiger
Titanic, 1978.
Courtesy The Yale School of Architecture

Ceci n’est pas une reverie: The Architecture of Stanley Tigerman
Yale School of Architecture Gallery
Through November 4

What does it say about an architect’s career if his best-known work, the largest image in a half-century retrospective, is a photo-collage of Mies van der Rohe’s 1956 Crown Hall, sinking slowly beneath the waters of Lake Michigan? I’ll tell you what I think it says about Stanley Tigerman: He’s better as a satirist than as an architect. And it isn’t only me that might have preferred a show titled, “The Provocations of Stanley Tigerman.”

Stanley Tigerman with the Instant City Model, 1966.

Reading curator Emanuel Petit’s opening text about how Tigerman (who graduated from Yale in 1961, and has practiced in Chicago ever since) embraces “the spiritual and ethical value of ambivalence” and “resist[s] the traditional aesthete’s credo of purging art of its disturbances” I rolled my eyes at Petit’s humorless, academicizing prose, but thought, So far, so good. Here we are in the territory of the Yale-educated post-modernists, who learned from Paul Rudolph (there’s some lovely Rudolphian and Kahnian early work by Tigerman in the section “Yaleiana”) and then headed West. That Tigerman was already looking beyond the reigning architecture gods is made clear by the inclusion of a set of his early 1960s experiments in Op Art.

One feels tremendous sympathy for the rage to get out of the long shadow of Mies, which Tigerman channeled into exhibitions and publications with a sort of Salon des Refuses, The Chicago Seven. You see how cheeky (literally) Tigerman’s cartoons were, with their filigree of naked putti. I get the joy inherent in designing a work like the 1976-77 Labadie House, shown here in exquisite large-scale cutaway axonometric drawings, with its cascades of Corbusian piano-curves, its repeated spiral stairs. There’s something tender about this 1970s work. When’s the last time you visited an architecture exhibit with no photographs? It may be hard to tell the built from the unbuilt, but it is an effective statement about self-representation.

But is it the Labadie house I would want to live in? No. It is a provocation as a house, Richard Meier with a stutter, mannerist in the extreme. It is the Vanna Venturi House ten years later, richer in execution but still architecture with more head than heart. The shadow of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown hangs over the exhibition, and I feel the same way about them as I do about Tigerman: respect the mind, feel nothing for the built work. More importantly, is it a house with followers? I don’t think so.

left to right: Romeo & Juliet Two Towers Drawing, 1982; Career Collage, 1978; Formica Showroom—Grid Axonometric, 1986; Architoon—Houston, 1983.

Petit has divided the show into fancifully-named sections (even more fancifully designated with cartoony clouds in a very post-modern blue): “Drift” and “Humor,” “Allegory” and “Death.” But most of the buildings could easily come under the category “Allegory,” which makes them seem like verbal stunts. There’s Anti-Cruelty Society Addition (1979) with a dog face. The Daisy House (1976-78) that looks like private parts in plan. And to show that he continues to design in this way, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (2000) with a dark building through which you descend, a light building through which you ascend. It may be effective as an exhibition, but seems too literal to be good, long-lasting architecture.

This sounds dismissive. I was hoping the exhibition would give me an image from Tigerman’s own architecture I could admire, and prove his importance. In an accompanying video Yale Dean Robert A.M. Stern says of Tigerman, “One of the best parts of Stanley is he’s outrageous.” But the outrages all feel past. Already the in-jokes and references from the 1970s are becoming hard to decipher, and soon the provocations and tiffs will also be history. Architecture needs shows like this so we can annotate the jokes before their meaning is gone, but that’s a narrow path to tread. It has nothing of the cheekiness and energy of the original sinking of Crown Hall.

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Going to the Chapel
Tadao Ando's Church on the Water in Tomamu, Japan.
Richard Pare

Constructing the Ineffable
Karla Cavarra Britton, editor
Yale School of Architecture / Yale University Press, $50.00

Constructing the Ineffable, edited by Karla Cavarra Britton, is a wonderful collection of intelligent essays about sacred space. For any architect who may be contemplating, or has been commissioned to design, a sacred space, this book is required reading.

Britton, who conceived and edited the book and is a lecturer in architectural history and urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture, begins the book with an intelligent introductory essay, where she raises the point that, “whereas the early twentieth century was a time when very little attention was paid to religion, the early twenty-first century has seen an enormous increase in the role and the importance of religion in every day life.” She lays the ground for her book in her prologue with Le Corbusier’s statement. “I am the inventor of the phrase ‘ineffable space,’” from an interview at La Tourette in 1961. Ms. Britton uses the introduction to pose the question answered by each of the contributors, “Is it possible to speak coherently of constructing the ineffable?”

Steven Holl's Chapel of St. Ignatious in Seattle.
Courtesy Yale School of Architecture

The book is divided into three parts. Part one encompasses a series of essays starting with “The Earth, the Temple and Today” by Vincent Scully. Scully, emeritus professor in the History of Art at Yale, points out how the rise of aggressive fundamentalism in all religions has made investigations of sacred space complex and even dangerous. Karsten Harries writes a provocative piece pointing to Johnson and Burgee’s Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California as a building that is no more sacred in detail, materiality, or place than a big box store. Miroslav Volf, the Yale Center for Faith and Culture director, addresses notions of the sacred from the perspective of memory. Mark Taylor, the chair of Department of Religion at Columbia, challenges us to understand what we see as sacred, and to distinguish this from the religious. Emilie Townes, professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale, lists and discusses provocatively named places of worship, including the “One Way Deliverance Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God,” for example.

Part two deals with precedents, and includes essays by architect Thomas Beeby discussing Rudolf Schwarz’s book The Church Incarnate, the Catholic Reform movement in Germany, and its influence on the works of Mies. Columbia architectural historian Kenneth Frampton discusses spirituality in the work of Tadao Ando and its dialogue with geometry and landscape. Harvard professor of Religion Diana Eck discusses her work investigating temples in India and the meaning of sacred space, beginning with the city of Banaras. Finally, Jaime Lara, a History of Art lecturer at Yale, contributed the essay, “Visionaries or Lunatics? Architects of Sacred Space, even in Outer Space,” which traces a history of visionary architecture starting with the works of Boullee, the writings of Jules Verne, the Futurists, the works of Oscar Niemeyer, and ending with the Doman Moon Chapel from 1967.

Left to right: Peter Eisenman's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Holocaust Memorial in Berlin; Interior of Oscar Niemeyer's Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil; Light cannons in Le Corbusier's Monastery of Notre Dame de la Tourette.

Part three presents essays from eight architects who have designed religious buildings: Stanley Tigerman, Richard Meier, Rafael Moneo, Fariborz Sahba, Steven Holl, Moshe Safdie, Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid, and Moshe Safdie. Safdie, in whose essay we have the words of a master paying attention to the small details, sets forth basic dilemmas: how the architect thinks about the site and how she/he understands the materials of the local region. Safdie relays a discussion about the Friday Mosque in Esfahan, Iran, beginning with a friend’s comment that the dome represents the Islamic vision of cosmic wholeness. To the contrary, Safdie points out: “The dome’s evolution is really a result of the fact that here, in Iran’s desert, there is no wood to make beams or trusses, only brick and stones to span. When you have no wood, you create arches, domes and vaults.” This point, seemingly obvious once stated, is striking in its intelligence, logic, and simplicity.

An impressive final epilogue by Paul Goldberger zips up the book and caps an engrossing read. Mr. Goldberger takes us through a final architectural tour and history, touching on unremarked, favorite works of architecture: the Friends Meeting House in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvannia; Plecnik’s Church of the Sacred Heart in Prague; Fay Jones’ Thorncrown in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Christ Church Spitalfields in London. Perhaps it’s my undergraduate art history background speaking, but for me the book was a joy in revealing new interpretations of favorite works of architecture, discussed incisively by intelligent and insightful historians and theologians, with contemporary architects to provide a counter-point to the heavy lifting of the academics.

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Making Meaning
Courtesy Silverstein


Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) established.

[ 01 ] A viewing platform overlooking ground zero designed by Diller & Scofidio, David Rockwell, and Kevin Kennon opens to large crowds.


AN 02_12.08.2003 > Read full article.

“Surely, we can afford to make Ground Zero a place of peaceable assembly for everyone. Indeed, if terror demands a civic reply, what better than a solemn memorial to those lost and a space for the most fundamental exercise of democracy in space, the freedom to gather in a place that is our own.”
-Michael Sorkin, Architect

AN 14_09.07.2004 > Read full article.

“The first and most difficult problem is so obvious that it is amazing that none of the brilliant architects assembled in the design competition dealt with the issue. The site of Ground Zero slopes down 30 feet from Broadway to West Street and the Hudson. This means that the site must be dealt with as a series of platforms from east to west and that north-south cross streets like Church and Greenwich must act as a series of steps across the site. Minoru Yamasaki’s World Trade Center design for the PA completely ignored the island’s topography.”
-D. Grahame Shane, Professor

AN 16_10.05.2005 > Read full article.

“Over the past two years, the tower has gradually been stripped of its best attributes. The final blow was delivered earlier this summer by the New York Police Department, which forced a total redesign when it demanded a greater setback from the street and a heavy barricade to resist potential bombs. Now, just after the fourth anniversary of 9/11, the Freedom Tower has become a bland prism with a forbidding 200-foot-high concrete base.”
-Jonathan Massey, Historian


January 17
The exhibition, “A New World Trade Center - Design Proposals,” 58 submissions by celebrated architects, draws long lines to Max Protetch Gallery in Chelsea.

LMDC releases Blueprint for the Future of Lower Manhattan with 15 points outlining the need for transportation, culture, commerce, memorial space, and a reestablished connection to the city grid.

Beyer Blinder Belle present planning studies at the Javits Center, plus two New Urbanism-inspired plans by Peterson Littenberg. All are widely reviled by the public and in the media.

LMDC announces Innovative Design Study, a call for qualifications. That it is not a competition is disregarded by all parties.

Teams are announced: THINK led by Frederick Schwartz and Rafael Viñoly; Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Steven Holl, and Charles Gwathmey; Foster & Partners; United Architects; SOM; and Studio Daniel Libeskind.

[ 02 ] The six designs are presented in the Winter Garden starting with Studio Daniel Libeskind’s “Memory Foundations,” the cheapest proposal at $330 million.


February 24
On the eve of LMDC’s selection, Schwartz, Viñoly, and Libeskind appear on Oprah Winfrey Show.

February 26
[ 03 ]The New York Times announces on page one that LMDC has chosen the THINK scheme.

February 27
Governor George Pataki officially selects the Libeskind plan.

An open competition for the memorial is announced.

By deadline, 5,201 proposals for the memorial are submitted.

After it is reported that developer Larry Silverstein’s architect David Childs from SOM and masterplan architect Libeskind cannot be left alone in the same room, LMDC announces that Childs and Libeskind are official collaborators on the $1.2 billion office, now named the Freedom Tower by Governor Pataki.

Libeskind floats a 59-page treatment for a memoir: “The Foundations of Optimism: My Journey from Communist Poland to Rebuilding the World Trade Center” that will ultimately be published as Breaking Ground: An Immigrant’s Journey from Poland to Ground Zero (Riverhead Trade) in October 2005.

Eight finalists for the memorial competition are announced.

[ 04 ] Revised design for the Freedom Tower is released.


[ 05 ] The Federal Transit Administration announces that Santiago Calatrava will design the WTC transportation hub.

[ 06 ] Libeskind’s Wedge of Light concept is displaced by and then absorbed into the transit hub.

[ 07 ] Michael Arad’s “Reflecting Absence,” now a collaborative work with landscape designer Peter Walker is selected for the memorial. The design does not include several Libeskind ideas, including the sunken bathtub and ramps. The focus on the tower footprints includes the names of those who died viewed through waterfalls.

Shortlists name potential institutions for the site’s cultural component: a 50,00-70,000-square-foot Memorial Complex (Museum of the City of New York; New York Historical Society; New York State Museum; Project Rebirth; Sound Portraits Productions); a 100,000-200,000-square-foot Performing Arts Complex (The Joyce Theater; New York City Opera; Signature Theater Company; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Tribeca Film Institute); and a 200,000–250,000- square-foot Cultural Building (Children’s Museum of the Arts; Drawing Center; Museum of Freedom; New York Hall of Science).

July 4
[ 08 ] Governor Pataki attends the ceremonial laying of a 20-ton block of granite as cornerstone of the Freedom Tower that will be removed again in June 2006.

Davis Brody Bond join the Arad/Walker team as associate architect for the Memorial, eventually becoming the architects of the underground Memorial Museum.

Tenants selected for the Museum Complex are the International Freedom Center and The Drawing Center. The Performing Arts Complex is to house the Joyce and the Signature theaters.

Shortlist of six firms for the Memorial Complex is released, including Moshe Safdie and Associates; Pei Cobb Freed and Partners; Polshek Partnership; Robbrecht en Daem architects with Pasanella and Klein; Stolzman and Berg Architects; Shigeru Ban Architect + Frei Otto with Dean Maltz Architect; and Snøhetta.

The shortlist for the Performing Arts Complex includes ten firms: Bing Thom Architects with Meyer/Gifford/Jones architects, Gehry Partners; Moshe Safdie and Associates; OMA and LMN; Polshek Partnership; Rafael Viñoly Architects; Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Ten Arquitectos and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

Snøhetta is selected to design the Memorial Complex, largely comprised of the the International Freedom Center; Frank Gehry is to design the performing arts complex for the Joyce and the Signature theaters.


[ 09 ]Snøhetta’s design for the Memorial Complex is circulated.

New York Police Department concerns about vehicular bomb forces Childs to rework base of Freedom Tower.

The Drawing Center withdraws over controversial plans to restrict exhibition content at the site.

Governor Pataki evicts the Freedom Center from the site. Officials say that the Snøhetta building will now be used in connection with the underground memorial museum.

Norman Foster’s design for Tower 2 is unveiled.


[ 10 ] Debate erupts over the cost and viability of the waterfalls in the footprints in wintertime. A $175,000 prototype is constructed to resolve the issue. In the final musuem design, the names are moved to the parapets surrounding the waterfalls that are no longer viewable from within the museum now located under the footprints.

Silverstein cedes control of the now $2 billion Freedom Tower to the Port Authority (PA).

[ 11 ] National Trust for Historic Preservation puts a twin tower original staircase still on the site on the Most Endangered List before it is razed to make way for constructions of Foster’s Tower 2. Renamed “Survivor Stair,” it is given to the memorial museum.

7 World Trade Center opens with three tenants: the New York Academy of Sciences, Ameriprise Financial, and Vantone Real Estate. Jenny Holzer’s eight hour stream of LED poetry and prose is featured in the lobby.

[ 12 ] Childs unveils revised Freedom Tower with concrete base clad in prismatic glass and aluminum..

June 21
LMDC receives a $2.78 billion block grant from HUD. Concerns about costs result in construction company owner Frank Sciame being asked to convenea design review panel. He invites Rick Bell, Thom Mayne, among others to evaluate the memorial in order to bring cost down to the $500 million cap established by Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki.

[ 13 ] Tower designs by Norman Foster, Fumihiko Maki, and Richard Rogers released.


Freedom Tower is now called 1 World Trade Center, and Durst Organization takes over leasing.

August 18
While the Deutsche Bank building is dismantled, a fire breaks out and results in the death of two firefighters.


[ 14 ] Snøhetta’s revised design is now for a pavilion entrance to the National Sept 11 Memorial and Museum.

PA announces simplified plans for the site. In addition to the scaled-back Snøhetta project, Calatrava’s transit hub is pared to essential elements but still budgeted at $3.2 billion.


PA announces that rebuilding at the World Trade Center will create 72,202 construction jobs over 10 years and $16.4 billion in economic activity.

March 19
PA and the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that was demolished on 9/11 deadlock over negotiations to rebuild the church just east of its original site plus a $20 million subsidy.

March 26
Vantone, a Chinese real estate company, is announced to be the first major tenant for One World Trade Center.

Silverstein and PA wage on-going battles over financing and the leasing of Towers 2 and 3.


[ 16 ] PA and Silverstein reach an agreement calling, in part, for the developer to raise $300 million in private investment to access $200 million each from the City, State, and PA.

[ 15 ] Fueled by Internet activists, an international uproar engulfs the plans of an established Tribeca mosque to move into a former Burlington Coat Factory two blocks from the World Trade Center site.


Conde Nast Publications is announced as a tenant for One World Trade Center.

The prismatic glass base of One World Trade Center is scaled back. PA claims it is too difficult to manufacture, while Childs privately complains of cost cutting.

LMDC announces that a board for the Performing Arts Complex will be selected by the end of the year. LMDC will contribute $155 million toward the $400-500 million cost.

[ 17 ] One World Trade Center reaches 960 feet.


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Piano Forte: Inaugural Renzo Piano Award Honors Young Italian Architects
Frank Gehry is looking to sell his archive, Richard Meier opens his Queens storage room for models to visitors by appointment, and now Renzo Piano is giving back, too. On June 10, his eponymous foundation launched a new awards competition to encourage young Italian architects, a rare breed these days. To that end, the competition was open to designers under 40 with an office in Italy presenting a constructed work. The jury, composed mostly of architectural magazine editors, whittled 69 entries down to three winners who demonstrated “innovative and poetic space research.” The purse for the prize was 10,000 euros each. The top honor, handed out in June, went to Iotti+Pavarani architects based in northern Italy. Piano was particularly impressed with their recently completed Domus Technica building, a training and innovation center for a manufacturing company in Brescello, Italy. Honorable mentions were bestowed upon ARCó and carlorattiassociati. Iotti+Pavarani carlorattiassociati ARCó
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John Gautrey, MEP Man
Michael Maltzan's San Francisco State University's Mashouf Performing Arts Center.
Courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture

John Gautrey is a partner and principal at IBE Consulting Engineers, who have worked with many of the west coast’s—and the world’s—top architects, including Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Hodgetts + Fung, Michael Maltzan, Daly Genik, Randall Stout, Tighe Architects, Rios Clementi Hale, Richard Meier, and Coop Himmelb(l)au, among many others. AN’s Sam Lubell sat down with Gautrey to discuss MEP, sustainability, and the future of construction.

The Architect’s Newspaper: You seem to be the architect’s choice for MEP (mechanical, engineering, plumbing) on the west coast. How did you develop such a list of architects to collaborate with? What are you doing right?

John Gautrey: I think some of it is historical. Alan [Locke, the company founder] and I have been in LA for 25 years. I was trained at Arup and learned that engineering is there to facilitate the architect’s vision. We wanted to get back to those roots. We’re there to help them in any way we can to achieve their architecture. It’s not about imposing on it but helping shape it from an engineering perspective to make it better. You never get the perfect solution, but we can investigate it until we see that it will work. Anything is possible if you want to pay for it—not in terms of fees, but in terms of construction costs.

With sustainability being such a priority, MEP has all of a sudden become sexy. What are some of the innovations in MEP that get you the most excited?

The buzz seems to be about stacked devices, radiant systems, and chilled beams—things that are hydronic based not air based. The tradition has been to blow a lot of air at things, but to use water rather than air is a lot more efficient. You have less big things running around the building—big ducts and big fans. The challenge, as always, is that it’s new. It’s not usually a challenge with the architects, but the owners. Sometimes they’re reticent to do something new. The responsibility is on us to explain the pros and cons. There are people out there that are prepared to take that leap. There are people out there who want to take the leap not to follow some proscribed system.

What is the biggest mistake people are still making with regards to MEP? How can you change it?

LEED—anybody can walk down a checklist and include this and that. But if it makes no sense for the building, does that make the building more sustainable? No. For us, sustainability is doing the right thing for the owner of the building and for the environment the building is in. Following a prescribed checklist doesn’t necessarily lead to that. Still, LEED is fantastic in creating awareness about what sustainability is. It’s phenomenal what the USGBC has accomplished. When I talked about sustainability ten or twelve years ago, people were laughing me out of the room.

Hodgetts & Fung's Menlo Park Performing Arts Center.
Tom Bonner

How do you see things changing in MEP in the next few years?

The rest of the world is getting rid of air conditioning completely. Just open the window. Wear a t-shirt. You have the ability to control your own environment. You get used to it. I never had air conditioning in a building until I moved to the U.S. Ultimately, I don’t think you’ll have a choice.

What are the future alternative energy sources?

You need to implement the right systems for the right locale and not just force something on it. Geothermal, while great, is a difficult one because it’s very climate driven. And there’s an assumption that PV panels are great, but I think a lot of people implement them just to say “I’m green.” I don’t think you should look at sustainability like that. Is it right for the building? Is it sustainable to put materials into a building even if they don’t achieve anything?

Solar hot water is underutilized. It’s 100 percent efficient. PV, on the other hand, is 14 percent efficient. We’re going to realize that we’ve got to invest in making PVs better, and they’re going to get better all the time. Wind is great in the right location. We’re looking at wind power for High School 15 in Los Angeles with CO Architects. It’s a perfect site for wind in San Pedro. It’s got a constant nine mile per hour wind. You need a big site as well because of safety concerns.

What about self-generation?

Carbon neutrality is the next thing we’re all going to get into. That comes down to regulation, which is very hard to change. So initially it’s going to have to be building by building. To make any building energy efficient, you need to start with the building form. If you’re not prepared to do that, you’re not going to make an energy efficient building.

Let’s talk more about that. How can engineering change architecture?

We can all throw energy at a building to make it more efficient. But to maximize it, the form and materials and site have to be taken into account. Then you look at your systems. Lighting, mechanical, how the building works, how you layer the building. Can you organize your building to allow the transitory spaces, which you’re not in for very long, to be at the perimeter? Can you create buffer zones? You can start letting the internal layout inform your energy in the building. With the Morphosis Federal building in San Francisco [IBE did the feasibility study], the air conditioning is in the middle and the outside is naturally ventilated. The ventilation informs the design of the building.

What is the biggest mistake architects make?

Not involving us early enough. By the time we’re involved it’s too late to inform how the building is going to be set up. By the time you’ve got an architectural concept and the others have signed off on the site, there’s not a lot you can do. Maybe you can add some shading devices. But if we had been there earlier we could say you should have turned it like this or we could get more daylight inside the building. We like to be there on day one. I think most of the architects we work with appreciate that.

What upcoming projects are you excited about?

Personally, I like doing museums. I’m very exited that BAM (The Berkeley Art Museum) came back, even as a different design. They’re using the print works [building] now: changing it and adding to it. That presents a whole new set of challenges. Trying to control a museum environment within an existing building is tough. I’m also excited about Michael Maltzan’s performing arts center for San Francisco State. No two planes run in the same direction. To understand the balconies and shapes, you can’t figure it out from a 2D plan. You don’t have a choice but to work in 3D.

I like to be challenged by my architects. I need someone to question what I’m doing. It makes it more interesting. I get bored if there’s a simple solution right away. Ultimately, it should be a solution that you implement with the architect. I would have loved to have finished the BAM project with Toyo Ito. That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It was so intricate that just to route a duct took a long time to figure out.

Is there sometimes tension between you and your architects?

Sometimes you can’t avoid it. You just need to be willing to be involved and be available to discuss issues. If you communicate bad news it keeps things smooth. Communication is king.