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Concrete Dystopia

Massachusetts considers partial- to-full removal of Paul Rudolph’s Hurley Building
The future of the Paul Rudolph-designed Boston Government Service Center (BGSC) rests in the hands of the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Last October, the state announced the redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley Building and this week, a new report was sent to the commission detailing four options for the Brutalist structure in downtown Boston that include partial or full demolition. Produced under the auspices of the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, the document is the result of deep dive by engineers and architects into the Hurley Building and its notoriously challenging interior layout. The first option explores removing a small part of the 237,000-square-foot structure to make way for a new, high-rise construction. A pedestrian-level walkway would splice throughout the site in an effort to open up the complex to the street. Each of the other options considers demolishing half, two-thirds, and eventually the entire building for the contemporary tower, respectively, with added urban design elements thrown into the mix.  In the coming months, the Massachusetts Historical Commission will either green light or scrap these options. If one or several are seriously considered, it could help bidding developers make more informed decisions about their individual plans for the 3.25-acre site. AN previously reported that solicitations for a development partner are expected to be issued by mid-2020 and that construction slated to begin within three years. The state is also making moves to relocate the various agencies and 675 government employees within the Hurley Building ahead of future work. Part of the allure for preservationists lies in the fact that it’s a Paul Rudolph design. Located just yards away from the 50-year-old Boston City Hall designed by Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles—which is currently undergoing a five-year-renovation, the Hurley Building and the rest of the complex further connect locals to Rudolph’s legacy of Brutalism in the city. One group, the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, believes the report didn’t fully acknowledge the fact that Rudolph designed the building from 1962 to 1966, which could hurt its case in the eyes of the historical commission. “They fully note the importance of his design guidelines for the project, and his direct work on the other [Lindemann] building—but are weaker on acknowledging the intensity of his influence on the design of the Hurley Building,” the foundation stated in a press release on its website.  This debate has been going on for quite some time and it’s unclear just how serious the state will take preservation. What is clear is that Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker prefers to completely redevelop the site with little focus on adaptive reuse. 
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The big apple

John Cetra of CetraRuddy talks recent projects and Facades+ New York
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On April 2 and 3, Facades+ is returning to New York for its largest annual conference, which is split between a full-day symposium followed by the second day of intensive hands-on workshops led by dozens from across the country. Co-chair John Cetra, founding principal of New York-based practice CetraRuddy, collaborated with The Architect's Newspaper in the curation of panels themes and speakers. Panels include; “Materiality & Fabrication: Bespoke Facade Solutions,” “Scaling up Passive House | For the Greater Good,” “Optimizing the Form,” and “Adaptive Reuse Challenges in NYC Historic Icons.” UNStudio founding principal Ben van Berkel and WXY principal-in-charge Claire Weisz are leading the morning and afternoon keynotes, and Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto of Reiser + Umemoto will dive into their spate of recently completed projects. Prior to the conference, AN sat down with Cetra to discuss architectural trends reshaping New York City and the firm’s recent body of work. AN: Over the last thirty years, CetraRuddy has successfully navigated New York's real estate landscape to deliver scores of projects across building scales. What lessons have been learned and what advice would you give young firms today? John Cetra: We’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past 30 years. One of the most salient is that to successfully navigate the New York real estate landscape, architects need to understand the unique context we have to work in and in particular, the zoning resolution and its nuances. In our practice, an advanced understanding of the requirements has allowed us to create unique buildings forms like One Madison and ARO. This applies across the board, whether in contextual zones, landmarked districts, or not. We value context and history, but we are also open and receptive to new thinking, and we like to weave the two together through design. At Fotografiska, we created a new multi-use event space on the top floor of an 1890s-era building by exposing the structural beams holding up the roof. This is an entirely new space—but it celebrates the original materiality and design of the building in a very respectful way. One of the panels will include your recently completed ARO. Can you explain the significance of the project from the perspective of facade design and engineering? ARO’s facade is crucial to its design—it enhances and clarifies the building’s massing, and works in harmony with the tower’s shape. The signature fenestration pattern is comprised of a glass curtain wall with a light metal net that creates a singular graphic overlay or a ‘second skin.’ This net employs 18-inch-deep “fenders" that act as an integrated solar device, reflecting light as the glass areas absorb light. In this way, the sun is a friend of this building—the sky is reflected in its glass and the metal fenders protect the interiors from sunlight at high angles. As the light changes throughout the day, the articulation of the facade creates depth and visual interest, responding to the time of day and weather. From a technical perspective, the unitized curtain wall system required the design team to minimize the number of custom panel sizes and conditions. Even though the massing undulates and projects forward in cantilevered sections, there are only six different shapes and unit sizes that made up the entire facade. You worked closely with AN to co-curate the upcoming conference. What do you hope will be the primary takeaways of the conference? I think the conference will show that there are no set, universal rules, and that building facades can be of very high quality because of the tools we as architects and designers have at our disposal. Digital technology combined with architectural creativity, a thoughtful understanding of context, and understanding of program can result in beautiful buildings that are sustainable, a pleasure to live or work in, and thoughtful additions to our built environment. Additionally, in terms of contextuality, façade design can successfully contribute and respond to the local built environment. The technology exists now to create site-specific, context-aware facade solutions that are also really attractive and, most importantly, climate-responsive. This is a heartening advance that will be discussed in detail at the upcoming conference. Further information regarding Facades+ New York can be found here.
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Cultural Lensing

Access for All aims to inspire New York through São Paulo's urban design
From an urban design perspective, São Paulo, Brazil, Munich, in Germany, and New York could not be any more different—they exist on separate continents, have vastly different densities, and utilize space in their own distinct ways. So, what, you might ask, could these cities possibly have in common? The answer, according to Andres Lepik and Daniel Talesnik, is more than you think. Access for All: São Paulo’s Architectural Infrastructures, which opened this week at the AIA New York’s Center for Architecture, sets the stage for comparison between São Paulo and its peer cities across the globe. Curated by Talesnik, a trained architect and Bauhaus expert, the exhibition was originally presented at Architekturmuseum Der Tum under the direction of Lepik. Although São Paulo has a significantly greater population density than Munich, Talesnik felt that the German city had plenty to learn from the Brazilian city’s avid use of public space. For decades, the megacity of 12 million has seen a growing investment in public infrastructure in order to ease its open space shortages and respond to the demand for cultural and recreational programming. Access for All presents a selection of these projects since the 1950s, organized into three categories: large-scale, multi-programmatic projects; open public spaces; and projects located along the iconic Paulista Avenue. The exhibition comes 10 years after Lepik’s curation of Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement at the Museum of Modern Art, which highlighted architectural projects on five continents that aided underserved communities. Lepik’s research was an appropriate precursor for a case study in São Paulo, a city deeply affected by economic inequality, high crime rates, traffic congestion, and public health hazards. Talesnik views the selected projects as microcosms of urban life. From the pedestrianized Minhocão highway to the multi-story SESC Pompeía cultural center, the projects are analyzed through sociocultural impact rather than formal characteristics, highlighting the dynamic relationship between the built environment and its inhabitants. In its new home at the Center for Architecture, the exhibition intends to teach New York a few lessons. The large infographic at the start of the exhibition has been stripped of its “Munich” column and replaced with a “New York” column to compare and contrast figures alongside São Paulo’s. At the exhibition’s opening, visitors wanted to know what exactly New York might take away from the São Paulo method. Figuring out that mystery is one of Lepik’s and Talesnik’s favorite parts of the exhibition: “Who knows,” Talesnik laughed. “But we’re certainly curious.” Access for All is on display through May 23.
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Spy Craft

The International Spy Museum is veiled in cantilevered glass megapanels
The International Spy Museum presents a striking figure in the relatively staid streetscape of Washington, D.C. The building opened in May 2019 and was designed by London-based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) in collaboration with architect-of-record Hickok Cole, and replaced the original home of the Spy Musem that was constructed in 2002. The project is a demonstration of high-tech architecture; notably, the pleated glass veil shrouding an atrium and circulation space—both cantilevered off the primary black aluminum-clad exhibition-space structure. L'Enfant Plaza is not the most exciting corner of Washington, D.C.—the megaproject, designed by I.M. Pei and developed by William Zeckendorf, is often derided for its overwhelming massing and dearth of pedestrian amenities. The International Spy Museum is located within a forecourt of the megaproject and, in its idiosyncrasy, establishes a formidable presence in the area. The project rises to a height of 130 feet, the height limit within the city, and is primarily encased in a tapered aluminum black box lifted off the ground by pilotis. Total square footage for the museum comes out to approximately 120,000 square feet divided across seven stories.
  • Facade Manufacturer AGC Interpane Roschmann Macalloy Sadev Sika
  • Architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Hickok Cole Architects (Executive Architect)
  • Facade Installer Custom Glass Services
  • Facade Consultant Eckersley O'Callaghan
  • Location Washington D.C.
  • Date of Completion December 2019
  • System Custom glass veil system
  • Products AGC Interpane Ipasol Neutral 74/42 Macalloy stainless steel tensions rods
The location proved a challenge for the design and construction teams; the museum stands atop the L’Enfant Plaza metro station, a subterranean shopping mall, and, for good measure, a parking garage. To minimize operational disruption to the sites below, the design and structural teams opted to use lower impact hollow-bar micropiles for the foundation and established a schedule to allow multiple construction crews to operate simultaneously. Harking back to the design of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano's 1977 Centre Pompidou, all of the structural elements and principal routes of circulation are fully presented at the primary west elevation. Sloped red steel fins rising from the collonade of pilotis that ring the structure and, quite literally, do the facade’s heavy lifting. Each rises to a height of 70 feet and were shipped from Virginia to the site in two pieces and assembled in-situ. “From these five points, the facade is suspended on a trapeze of bespoke steel fabrications, that collectively resolve the gravity loads and lateral forces, in addition to the potential differential drift,” said Hickok Cole senior associate Bryan Chun. “Along with RSHP, we engaged Eckersley O’Callaghan as the facade consultant from the onset of the design process, their expertise and acumen were essential to define the limits of each member, and we selected Roschmann Glass specifically for their ability to engineer in a design-assist capacity.” The panels for the fritted-glass veil are massive and measure 7'-6" by 18'-6" each, and stacked, the total height of the glass curtainwall is 60 feet. In lieu of mullions, the veils are held together with stitch plates that lend sufficient stability to allow the laminated glass to run less than an inch thick. While the primary elevation is the project’s showstopper, the curatorial spaces are equally impressive. Aided by 3D-modeling software used during the design process, each structural beam is outfitted as a conduit for the museum’s MEP and HVAC systems, a strategy that allowed for nearly undisrupted 22-foot floor-to-floor heights as well as clear 60-foot floor spans.
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Eastward Bound

Nicholas de Monchaux appointed to lead department of architecture at MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced that Nicholas de Monchaux will be the new head of its School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) beginning July of this year, and will also maintain an affiliated faculty member position in the institute’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). As a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome with degrees in architecture from Yale University and Princeton University, de Monchaux comes to the program after serving as a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Center for New Media at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 2006. During his time at Berkeley, de Monchaux authored Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an expansive study of the technology and design behind space exploration that later won the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society and was shortlisted for the Art Book Prize. With Kathryn Moll, he maintains a principal role at modem, an architecture practice with a focus on social, ecological, and community-based projects. The news comes two years after J. Meejin Yoon, a cofounding principal of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, stepped down at the head of architecture at MIT to become the dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. While in that position, Yoon advocated for the school to focus on the intersection between technology, design, and climate science. Professor Andrew Scott has maintained the role of interim department head while the school appointed a new permanent head, and will continue in that role through the end of the spring semester. De Monchaux has not yet stated his goals as the new department head, but it is assumed that he will continue his focus on current environmental challenges and social shifts as he has addressed them in his professional and academic roles.
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Shedding Light on the Future

The oracular visions of Agnes Denes are on display at The Shed
Agnes Denes’s watershed retrospective at The Shed, the sliding art hall at New York’s Hudson Yards, Absolutes and Intermediates (open through March 22), feels at times audaciously oracular. With its global environmental themes, conceptual graphs of the totality of human knowledge, and exaggerated post-human scale drawings, the exhibition speaks to a millenarianism powerfully present today among anyone paying attention. Yet, much of it she conceived a half-century ago. At times, it makes Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion domes and the previous heroic gestures of land art look like frivolous child’s play. “I asked her once how she knew in the early ’60s what we know now about this place, where in the early ’60s you didn’t have phrases like climate change,” said curator Emma Enderby, who organized the show. “She just said that it was there. Scientists were talking about it. You just had to have your ears open and your tentacles out. You had to be reading the texts and reading between the lines.” Before joining The Shed as a curator, Enderby worked at Public Art Fund, where she became familiar with Denes through her landmark Wheatfield—A Confrontation (1982), which the organization sponsored. Back in 1982, Denes planted two acres on landfill dug up from the World Trade Center while the site sat empty waiting to be developed into Battery Park City, arguably her most famous work. Enderby suggested a retrospective, along with the idea of commissioning unrealized pieces, in line with The Shed’s mission to support original cross-disciplinary work. The work is well organized and emphasized thanks to the work of the New York-based New Affiliates, who designed the exhibition. Photographs of Wheatfield staged by a TIME Magazine photographer show Denes standing Moses-like with a staff in the field of golden wheat, the gray towers of Wall Street on the horizon, contrasting the subduing, objectified, and commodification of the built environment with an image of resurgent nature. The figure of a woman projected as a life-giving force alongside one of the earliest human technologies, agriculture, hinted at a possible regeneration of incessant urban verticality and sprawl. “It was insane. It was impossible,” Denes wrote. “But it would draw people’s attention to having to rethink their priorities and realize that unless human values were reassessed, the quality of life, even life itself, was in danger.” The exhibition sprawls through two floors of The Shed’s double-height galleries, taking its title from a radically-scaled parametric chart Denes plotted on a sheet of AT&T Bell Labs graph paper in 1970. Absolutes and Intermediates visualizes nothing less than the history and future of the universe, from its formation to its disappearance into nothing, sweeping through the emergence of human life, the development of abstract reasoning, the creation of superintelligent machines and artificial life forms, and the evolution of a future species of homo sapiens. Expansive, minutely detailed drawings of Denes’s grand alternative systems and condensations of knowledge are displayed in long vitrines—some of them longer than 20 feet—beside study models and video interviews that show Denes as much a thinker as a visual artist. Another uncanny early piece from 1970, Matrix of Knowledge, predicts information overload in ways that are halfway too optimistic, halfway right on the mark. Charted using dialectic triangulation, in which Denes represents interconnected fields of knowledge as intersections of that construct larger geometric structures, she wrote that the sum of accumulated information doubles every ten years, more than the mind can handle. In the future systems will have to be set up to preselect and reduce incoming data, leading to loss of freedom. “Mass media is already making choices for us,” she wrote at the time, “a[nd] specialization is also leading in that direction by trapping valuable data within each specialty where it remains undigested, hindering accurate deductions and combination as the flow of communication is blocked.” A maximalist ecological intervention conceived in 1982, Tree Mountain-A Living Time Capsule—11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years is breathtaking in its ambition and gets a dedicated display room at The Shed. Commissioned on the occasion of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and realized by 1996, 11,000 trees were planted in a gravel pit in Ylöjärvi, Finland, that was being reclaimed from environmental destruction. Each tree was assigned a dedicated custodian, along with a certificate naming its owner. Planted in a swirling pyramidal pattern, Tree Mountain would take on its full meaning over the course of centuries, Denes wrote, changing from a shrine to a decadent era to a monument of a great civilization to benefit future generations. The entire second floor is devoted to a large number of Denes’s conceptual pyramidal drawings, along with three special commissions created for the show. The pyramids are largely thought experiments expressed as drawings on a crazy scale, such as her iteration of Pascal’s Triangle, no. 3 (1974), which extends halfway across the gargantuan Shed gallery, displayed in a glass case, all drawn by hand in painstaking detail. Others use dots, thin lines, and stick figures to sketch out eccentric forms—probability, a flying fish, silk, reflection, a flexible space station—creating pyramids in which slight individual variations result in reverberating distortions in the whole. The gallery commissioned a version of the probability pyramid, Model for Probability Pyramid—Study for Crystal Pyramid (2019) and built it from nearly 6,000 3D-printed corn-based bricks, taking advantage of the venue’s unusual ceiling height and technical capacity. Illuminated from the inside, the crystalline structure stretches to 30-feet-by-22.5-feet at its base and reaches 17 feet in height. As originally conceived, the pyramid would be constructed of 100,000 glass blocks, rivaling the ancient pyramids and carrying mathematical information into the future. Another special commission was a translucent, teardrop-shaped object, also lit from inside, and hovering mid-air. A custom electromagnetic circuit in the base and a magnet within the sculpture suspends the teardrop as if by magic. It’s a model for a monumental architectural structure, a floating city conceived in 1984 as a part of a series of organic forms. The structures reference back to 4000 B.C Egyptian pyramids and were created for a future in which their inhabitants live in space or self-contained floating environments. They’re intended as mandalas that define benevolent destinies: The structures “break loose from the tyranny of being built,” Denes wrote, becoming “flexible to take on dynamic forms of their own choosing. At this point they decide to fend for themselves and create their own destiny.” The other special project, Model for a Forest for New York (2014— ), is a much more recent one: A plan to plant 100,000 trees in a form that looks like a flower from the sky on a 120-acre landfill in Edgemere, Queens, with support from the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. The forest’s conception is also more straightforwardly contemporary, appealing to public health concerns, as it would address asthma problems in the adjacent neighborhood, remove carbon dioxide from the air, and help clean the groundwater. That makes the project somewhat more prosaic, and in a way disappointing—in the same manner as a waterfront berm with a park on top, which suggests the greater truth of her aesthetic project. Well-known ecological artists like Peter Fend have complained for ages that artists are not taken seriously when proposing environmental interventions because they are not trained engineers, and the resultant projects are often wildly out of scale and untested. But with the world as we now know it is coming to an end, be it the current political order or via the climate crisis, Denes’s visionary planetary-scale retorts have a fitting rejoinder: Absolutes and Intermediates suggests the potential of aesthetic imagination—not just quantitative trading and tech engineers—to regenerate it anew.
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Minimal Me This

Feuerstein Quagliara puts its own twist on the traditional side-gable house
Deep within New York’s Catskills region, this reinterpreted American side-gable house casts an impressive profile. Set back on a 45-acre lot, the black-stained, pine-clad structure incorporates a diverse set of interior environments with expansive views of pastoral farmland. Brooklyn-based firm Feuerstein Quagliara implements a so-called “program bar” that makes the most of the site’s undulating perch and southern exposure. Extruded along an east-west axis, the house segments into six equal blocks: a guest bedroom, entry foyer, dining room, kitchen, living room, and master suite. As the more intimate bedrooms offset from the central array, residual alcoves and impromptu patios form within the core’s recesses. Tying the home together, the gabled roof evenly covers both indoor and outdoor spaces and creates a crystalline mass. Sliding glass doors maintain an even flow throughout the entire interior and forge a strong connection with the exterior. Anchoring both bedrooms on either side is a central communal core. This main, open-plan living space has large skylights and vaulted ceilings. Two Baltic birch kitchen islands float in the center of the space and delineate between a lounge and dining room on either side. A clever interplay of stark white walls, wooden built-ins, and polished concrete floors and countertops makes for a minimalist yet inviting interior scheme. The same contrast of materials and textures carries through to the home’s bathrooms, where custom wooden cube tubs sit pretty in the white-tiled volumes. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Roll Out

OLIN receives design approval for D.C. Desert Storm memorial
Plans are well underway to build a National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial in Washington, D.C., now that OLIN has taken over as lead designer. On November 21, 2019, the memorial’s design concept won approval from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), a milestone that helped push the memorial closer to the goal of completion by the end of 2021, as basic items such as the layout and structure were determined. The design approval from the CFA on January 17 of this year, but the National Capital Planning Commission still needs to review and approve both preliminary and final plans before construction can begin. Early efforts are owed to Indianapolis-based CSO Architects, who since 2012, dedicated much of their time (pro bono) in developing design concepts for the memorial. “If it wasn’t for CSO’s participation, this wouldn’t be where it is right now and in fact, it wouldn't have even got off the ground,” Scott Stump, president and CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association (NDSWMA), told the Indianapolis Business Journal Since 2010, the NDSWMA has secured a site for the monument, received concept approval, and raised almost a quarter of the $40 million needed before construction could begin. Stump is responsible for the idea of the memorial, wanting to preserve the memory and military significance of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations so it wouldn’t be perceived as a “footnote in history.”  It was the American Institute of Architects that recommended some “veteran-friendly” firms to Stump when he realized he was lacking in the visual representation needed to get the project moving. CSO had done numerous projects for military clients and principal Randy Schumacher took lead on the project. Landscape architecture firm Context Design has also contributed to the original design. Schumacher worked alongside Stump to develop ideas and also solicited feedback from veterans. The result was a design that featured a curved wall ranging in height from six to sixteen feet meant to suggest the “left hook” military maneuver. Once the site was secured (a location just north of the Lincoln Memorial and west of the Vietnam War Memorial) adjustments needed to be made to the design. The new design has lower walls that meld into the ground and includes a central water feature, which symbolizes a desert oasis as well as the international coalition that participated in the operations.  With OLIN’s work on the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Ohio (which also features a similar swirling site plan), the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington, and the grounds of the Washington Monument, they seem like a natural pick to take over as lead designer. CSO and Context still remain involved and Schumacher is honored to play a part in the project, saying, “It’s the most important thing I’ll ever do, as an architect and as an American.”  A few elements in the design are still awaiting approval and the push to raise the 110 percent of the funding required by law to begin construction is an ongoing fundraising effort. The association’s goal is to complete the fundraising by March.
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Concrete Treat

Thomas Phifer and Partners’s Glenstone Museum rises from the landscape with subtle monumental tectonics
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With an extensive private collection of contemporary art ranging from the large-scale sculptural work of Michael Heizer to the oil-on-canvas abstracts of Mark Rothko, the new Glenstone Museum addition—opened in Fall 2018 and located in suburban Potomac, Maryland, just 15 miles from the city center of Washington, D.C.—is a testament to the role of placemaking as a tool of monumentality. Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners in collaboration with facade consultant Heintges, the expansion of the Glenstone Museum consists of a single interconnected structure built of gargantuan precast concrete blocks semi-submerged into the landscape and illuminated by deftly placed moments of curtain wall. The project, formally dubbed The Pavilions, is a significant expansion of the preexisting Glenstone Museum and adds 204,000-square-feet of built space to the complex. Although one continuous structure, the varying heights of the pavilions and their position within the surrounding landscape lend an illusion that each exhibition space is an independent pavilion.
  • Facade Manufacturer Gate Precast MBM Konstruktionen GmbH
  • Architect Thomas Phifer and Partners
  • Facade Installer National Enclosure Corp Gate Precast
  • Facade Consultant Heintges
  • Structural Engineer SOM
  • Location Potomac, MD
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Hand-set, monumental architectural precast units Moment-Clamped and bi-directional offset glazing units
  • Products Custom Gate Precast concrete blocks Laminated, double glazed units with flush stainless steel finish plates
For Thomas Phifer and Partners, the choice of precast concrete stemmed from the client and design team’s intent to work with materials that clearly expressed the museum’s construction and structure. The concrete blocks were produced by manufacturer Gate Precast, who developed a custom blend of sand, fine aggregate, and a consistent mixture of white and gray cement. The design team collaborated closely with the manufacturer, testing a range of concrete mixes and forming techniques, and ultimately traveled to Gate Precast’s plants in North Carolina and Tennessee for review of the 26,000 concrete blocks prior to the shipment to the site. “The beauty and diversity that is evident in the finished blocks were a true expression of the variability of working in concrete,” said Thomas Phifer and Partners director Michael Trudeau and Heintges associate principal Aaron Davis. “The vagaries of casting, stripping, seasonality of fabrication, temperature and humidity during curing are allowed to express themselves in the overall palette of the installed facades.” The precast blocks were arranged in a standard running bond pattern—every succeeding row of bricks is offset from that below—and typically measure 12"-by-12"-by-6". The weight of each block is formidable; each weighs approximately 900 pounds and were craned into position individually. While the monumentally-scaled masonry appears load-bearing, the design team utilized various subtle structural techniques to offset the overwhelming mass of the project. The blocks bear onto a concrete haunch rising from the foundation wall and are further held by continuous bands of spliced stainless steel rebar. A thin layer of mortar was applied between the narrow joints of the running bond to allow for setting and leveling, while concealed breaks mitigate expansion and contraction. Natural light for the museum primarily derives from two sources; monumental glass walls and fogged skylights. For the former, the design team hoped to blend the characteristics of both unitized curtain walls and storefront facades—a high-performance enclosure with maximum transparency. The solution is remarkably complex—the glass panels measure 9'-by-22' and cantilever from the floor and ceiling slabs, and are moment-clamped at the base of the panel and framed in steel. “The outer-most glass plies on both inner and outer laminated layers of the IGU are offset from one another in plan, providing recesses where the stainless steel plates can be connected—gaskets sit between the inner face of the stainless steel plates to protect the glass from contact with the metal and providing a high-performance dual-deal connection between units,” continued Trudeau and Davis. “The poetic rigor of the design is revealed here again; the width of the stainless steel plate is identical to the depth of the IGU. In plan, the unit-to-unit joint is a perfect square.” Thomas Phifer and Partners director Michael Trudeau and Heintges associate principal Aaron Davis will present the Glenstone Museum at Facades+ Washington, D.C., on February 20 as part of the “Placemaking and Monumentality: Opaque Facade Strategies” panel.
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New York Clearing highlights the East River, with help from K-pop band BTS

British sculptor Antony Gormley’s large-scale installation at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open to the public. New York Clearing (2020) consists of an 11-mile continuous “line” of square aluminum tubing that loops and coils without a beginning or endpoint. Standing nearly 50 feet at its tallest point, the sculpture welcomes visitors to interact with its swooping lines from a variety of perspectives, and walking through New York Clearing is encouraged. Born in London in 1950, Gormley has had a number of high-profile solo exhibitions of work that grapples with the relationship between self and spatial environment. “This is the first time that I have attempted to make Clearing without architectural support,” said Gormley in a press statement. “I am enormously excited about the opportunity of making this energy field in conversation with Manhattan across the waters of the East River. It can be seen as an evocation of human connectivity, a materialization of the energy of the people that view it and the people that made it.” Appropriately enough, the sculpture resembles a frenetic line drawing, with swoops and curves that flow into the Manhattan skyline. Gormley’s commission is part of CONNECT, BTS, a global art initiative launched by the Korean boyband BTS. The project aims to create a more connected world through collaboration with curators across five cities on four continents: London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and New York. Drawing from the work of 22 contemporary artists, CONNECT, BTS hopes to create a self-described “cross-pollination” between the visual arts and pop music under the artistic direction of independent Korean curator Daehyung Lee. Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau welcomed New York Clearing to Pier 3 on Tuesday, saying that “we have a long history of incredible art installations in the Park, and can’t think of a better place than Pier 3 for this amazing piece.” New York Clearing is on view at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 3 from February 5 to March 27, 2020. Viewing is free and open to the public.
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Join Us!

Apply for a paid internship at The Architect’s Newspaper
Calling all architecture writers! If you are interested in:
  • All things architecture, urbanism, and design
  • Immersing yourself in a fast-paced publishing environment
  • Seeing your byline attached to articles in print and online
  • Unlimited espresso
…then you may be a good candidate to join The Architect’s Newspaper as an editorial intern! AN is a national publication with a dynamic online presence that publishes breaking news, reviews, and features on what matters right now in the world of architecture, urbanism, and design. We’re looking for a New York-based intern who will be available to work with our editorial staff in AN’s Tribeca offices two days per week. Ideal candidates will be strong writers with an eye for detail, game for covering breaking news, openings, and announcements, and knowledgeable on the basics of WordPress and Photoshop or quick to learn. Interns will be expected to write both for web and print as well as update the website with events and competitions postings. Duties may also include fact-checking, event support, and photo research. Internships are paid on an hourly basis. The duration of the internship is flexible, from a few months to a semester, and we are looking for interns who can start this summer (around May 1, 2020). Interested? Please send your resume/CV and three short (no more than 1,000 words each) writing samples to Jack Balderrama Morley at jmorley@archpaper.com.
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Yale and Architecture Office explore the building codes of a Swiss-themed Wisconsin town
Interested in the architectural transformations that occur in towns founded by European immigrants in the United States, Swissness Applied, curated by Swiss-born architect Nicole McIntosh, cofounder of the Texas and Zurich-based firm Architecture Office, focuses on one in particular—New Glarus, Wisconsin, the self-proclaimed “Little Switzerland” of America. With similarly themed towns in Michigan and California, the exhibition, currently on view at the Yale Architecture Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, investigates the appropriation of imagery and translation of architectural styles into mutant cultural heritage sites.  Through models, drawings, and photographs, Swissness Applied describes the codification of cultural heritage into building law. Founded by Swiss immigrants in the late 19th century, New Glarus capitalized on its Nordic connection by converting the town's storefronts into the classic “Swiss Chalet '' style. The drive to preserve a traditional national architectural style in New Glarus, ironically, has simplified and combined many varied forms of Swiss architecture in a completely novel and artificial architectural style. Rather than critiquing the appropriation of Swiss architectural styles, the exhibition instead uses the building codes as a generative tool to imagine and design new forms of Swiss architecture.  The exhibition is split into three sections that each document New Glarus’s unique style. In Tell no Cabbage, 10 intricate wooden models show the construction style of New Glarus’s buildings. Folding paper models document the facades of 14 existing buildings in John what Henry. The section subtitled It has as long as it has is comprised of 18 fictional New Glarus buildings, all designed by Architecture Office, that offer a new interpretation of the town’s building codes.  This is the third presentation of the exhibition, having previously shown at SARUP Gallery at the ­Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning and at Kunsthaus Glarus Güterschuppen in Switzerland. Swissness Applied is on view at Yale until February 15. The exhibition will also take part in a gallery talk and panel discussion on February 13th.