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Crystal Clear

Snøhetta shows off a gleaming crystal workshop for Swarovski
When Snøhetta was approached to design a flexible fabrication space for crystal manufacturer Swarovski in Wattens, Austria, the intent was to design a light, airy space that didn’t directly reference the physical geometry of crystals. The complex opened on October 24, 2018, but Snøhetta has released a new suite of photos that explore the cavernous space. The Swarovski Manufaktur is an all-in-one workshop that brings design offices, rapid prototyping capabilities, and a presentation space under one roof. The 81,000-square-foot, three-story building (one floor is below ground) displays the experimental design process and allows clients to conceptualize, fabricate, and display small-batch product lines before realizing them on an industrial scale. A 45-foot-tall “chandelier hole,” as Snøhetta’s coined it, extends from the first floor into the basement, allowing for truly massive prototypes to be put on display. Manufaktur’s defining feature is its 14,000-square-foot ceiling that floods the interior with natural light. A deeply-coffered ceiling is made of 135 “cassettes,” 20-foot-long-by-10-foot-wide steel window bays. Each cassette has been clad in acoustic paneling, and Snøhetta claims that the height of the ceiling, which ranges from 27 to 45 feet, combined with the paneling, makes conversations audible despite the sounds of active machinery. The material palette was kept cheerful, with white walls and light birch panels used for the flooring and the cladding of the “sculptural” platform that holds the second floor. Glass-walled offices, presentation spaces, and conference rooms have been arranged on the platform, and they look out over the main floor and central staircase. “We tried not to interpret the physical properties of crystals in our building geometry,” said Patrick Lüth, managing director of Snøhetta’s Innsbruck, Austria, office. “Instead, we have tried to understand what makes crystal so special and attractive, and to use these ephemeral qualities to create a specific atmosphere. The space has an incredible amount of daylight penetration, which we believe is unparalleled in the typical production facility context. Crystals only come to life with light, so for us, it is the intense presence of that daylight that is the most important aesthetic aspect of this building.”
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Building a Just Future

Over 80 architect-activists join Women's March on NYC
Last Saturday, over 80 architects, engineers, and construction professionals gathered to raise awareness on women's contributions to the AEC industry at the Women’s March on NYC. Sporting neon pink hard hats and bright orange signs that read, Women BUILD, the group’s message was loud and clear. Over a dozen organizations were represented; teams came from Thornton Tomasetti, Perkins Eastman, Marvel Architects, FXCollaborative, Silman Engineering, ArchiteXX, BuroHappold, and CannonDesign, among others. The leadership from FXWomen said seeing everyone march in solidarity, from young engineers to managing principals, men and women alike, was encouraging.  "The group that represented our industry at the Women’s March showed that gender equity isn’t a 'women’s issue,'" they told AN in an email. "It affects everyone and is supported by a diverse group that reflects the communities we design for." The day’s event was organized by Dattner Women’s Group. The team began reaching out to design-related companies across New York in November to get the conversation started about last weekend's march. At a community meetup last month, the firms came up with the #WomenBUILD2019 campaign and created matching posters that would boost their presence among the crowd. “Women Architects Here” some signs read, and others encouraged youth to “Join Us, Think Big.”  Carisima Koenig of the Women's Forum at CannonDesign said throughout the morning her team met other architects not directly affiliated with the Women BUILD cohort who ended up joining alongside them. "We had extra signs, so we distributed them along the march route," she said. "As a group, it made an impact to have a cohesive message and for the city to see we are here." Not only did the city take notice, but children—who marched alongside the Women BUILD group—did too. “At one point during the march, a mother and daughter were pointing to our signs and discussing what kinds of jobs the different icons represented," said Dattner's Rebecca McCarthy. "That was a really special moment. I hope that young people who saw our group will feel they can grow up to be whatever they want to be, and that we demonstrated that’s really possible.” Employees from other firms at the march issued similar sentiments about the group's influence and what the future of the industry could look like if people continue to take a stand against the problems that have long plagued architecture. They believed their shared presence together, not as competitors but as proponents of an equal society, only amplified some of the recent discussions that have come online as a result of the #MeToo movement. "We want everyone considering a career in architecture, engineering, and construction to know that the industry has a place for them," said FXWomen. "We're waiting for them and transforming this profession into one that is worthy of their talents."
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Thin Red Line

Artist draws the U.S.–Mexico border outside Houston
Artist Molly Gochman is drawing her newest land art piece directly on the surface of the earth, at a large enough scale that it will only be legible as a whole to passengers flying in or out of the nearby George Bush International Airport in Houston. Border US-MX, 2018, International Airport Houston will be a temporary artwork in the shape of the U.S.–Mexico border drawn in a bright red color in the middle of a highway interchange. Gochman said in a statement that the work is meant to raise awareness about human trafficking. Her ongoing Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork that invites people to fill in cracks with red sand, and then document and share the result to encourage discussion and activism on the issue. Gochman said in a statement: "The undulating, irregular border of Texas—created by the natural curves of Rio Grande—in contrast with the straight lines and edges of the other states, highlights the arbitrary ways in which borders are drawn." The 650-foot-long work evolved out of "the ways in which borders and migration connect to vulnerabilities and susceptibility to exploitation," Gochman said in a statement. The work will be up through the end of April.
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Spring Awakening

Preview Heatherwick Studio's upcoming New York City projects
Three of Heatherwick Studio’s monumental projects are taking shape along Manhattan’s High Line, part of the transformation of the Meatpacking neighborhood from a gritty industrial landscape to a playground for the ultra-wealthy. From Hudson Yards at the elevated park’s northern-most tip, to the manmade island taking shape on the coast off of 15th Street, AN recently checked in on the status of the London studio's rapidly rising projects. Pier 55 Pier 55 seemed like it was on the verge of financial collapse just a year ago, as the cost of the Barry Diller–backed project rose to $250 million and the nonprofit Hudson River Park Trust was buffeted by lawsuits. Diller withdrew his support of the 2.75-acre pocket park in the Hudson, and the floating island, supported by sculpted concrete piers, looked like it was never going to happen. Then, thanks to Governor Cuomo stepping in at the last minute to mediate between billionaire Douglas Durst, the City Club of New York, and Diller, the project was declared back on. When AN last toured the site in April of 2018, piles were being driven into the Hudson’s riverbed for the two walkways that would lead to the park. Now, at the start of 2019, it appears that construction is picking up steam. Most, if not all, of the piers appear to be in place, and the 132 sculptural, wave-like concrete caps are being installed. Each of the “pots” was fabricated in Upstate New York from custom foam molds and it’s expected that they’ll be fully installed in March 2020. The installation is on hold for the winter and should begin again in May of this year. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will be handling the landscape design proper, and the park is expected to open in early 2021. Once complete, Pier 55 will include an amphitheater and two landscaped staging areas. 515 West 18th Street Further north on 18th Street, the first tower of the two-pronged 515 West 18th Street has already topped out. The 425,000-square-foot development was only first revealed in January 2018 thanks to a video aimed at luring foreign investors, but the project has already made considerable progress in a year. The split project drew polarizing reactions for its bulging, barrel-like bay windows, which almost seem to be inflated from the inside. The two towers (connected via a single-story annex under the High Line) are expected to bring 181 condos to the neighborhood. The 10-story tower on the eastern half of the High Line has topped out as of January 2019, and the western tower, which will reach 22 stories so that residents can catch views across the Hudson River, is already above ground. It’s likely the condos in the finished development will be pricey, as developer Related Companies has promised high-end interiors, plenty of amenities, and 175 parking spots. Coincidentally enough, Thomas Heatherwick’s High Line–straddling project is going up right next to BIG’s; on the southern side of 18th street is the XI, the Bjarke Ingels Group’s pair of twisting, travertine-clad towers. Once complete sometime in mid-2020, Heatherwick’s bulging towers will sit comfortably between the Gehry-design IAC building to the west, and venerable performing arts space the Kitchen to the north. The Vessel At the High Line’s northern terminus, looming over the entire park is the glass-heavy presence of Hudson Yards. At the center of this massive public-private development is the Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s $150 million, 150-foot-tall, bronzed-steel-and-concrete staircase sculpture. Completely climbable (an elevator will also be included for those unable to take the stairs), the Vessel features over 154 flights of stairs, 80 landings, and over 2,400 treads. The installation expands as it rises, going from a 50-foot-wide footprint at the base to a 150-foot-wide diameter at the top. Once at the top, visitors can expect unobstructed views across the Hudson River, down the city, and of the surrounding Hudson Yards neighborhood. The piece was prefabricated in 75 large parts in Italy, then assembled on site, with the last segment installed in December of 2017. When AN visited the site last, construction workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the sculpture’s rails and lights. Phase one of Hudson Yards, which includes the Vessel and the development’s five-acre public plaza in which it sits, is expected to open to the public on March 15 of this year.
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DUMBO Gets BIG-ger

BIG shows off its new full-block office in DUMBO
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed its move to Brooklyn, setting up shop in a new 50,000-square-foot office space only a stone’s throw from the Brooklyn Bridge. BIG has consolidated its 250-person office onto a single full-block floor near the top of 45 Main Street in DUMBO. Designed by BIG’s in-house interiors team, the office is full of furniture and lighting fixtures from the Danish design firm and frequent BIG collaborator KiBiSi. The move to a larger office meant that the studio was able to quadruple the space allocated to its two fabrication and assembly spaces. Completed pieces can then move to an extra-height, skylight-lit room for displaying large-scale models and mockup furniture. A gallery on the south side of the floor connects the office’s eastern and western wings. The chairs inside of the glass-enclosed conference room are color-coded in reference to the studio’s monograph Hot to Cold and range from mild to vibrant, a flourish repeated in the perimeter-lining bookshelves. Rounding out the new office’s perks is a private roof deck that the studio can use for events and conference meetings, which is separate from the building's 9,500-square-foot green roof designed by James Corner Field Operations.
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Holiday Parti

Architecture holiday cards are here
We are not big fans of holiday cards that feature new buildings by architects even if they are hidden behind photoshopped snow or holly. But we are making an exception for Studio Gang's Chicago boathouse. Though we kinda like Steven Holl’s card with the architect in a saffron robe blowing a body size Tibetan horn. Our favorites are an abstract silver pattern, inspired by the Chestnut trees of Malcantone, Ticino, printed on heavy brown paper stock from the Swiss Consulate, Rockwell Group's four-page Happy Holiday from Irving Berlin and Santa in a red truck from Cummings Printing. Here are our best from 2018 including the image of the Viaduct over the Polcevera, Red Zone, Genoa, by Emanuele Piccardo.  
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Shin On

Detroit's Shinola Hotel flaunts finished interior photos
The first hotel from Detroit’s luxury watchmaker Shinola and developer Bedrock is open for business. The adaptive reuse project in Downtown Detroit, which has placed three new buildings as connective tissue between the former Singer Sewing Machine store and the Meyer Jewelry Building, is now taking reservations for stays beginning January 2, 2019. To celebrate the project’s completion, Shinola and Bedrock have released a batch of new photos detailing the hotel’s interiors, and the Shinola touch is prevalent throughout. The 129-room Shinola Hotel was a collaborative design effort between the New York–based Gachot Studios and the Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group. The end result features 50 different room configurations, ground-floor retail, and a line of Shinola products specially made for the hotel (including a desk clock, alpaca throw blanket, and a candle) across the complex’s five buildings. 1400 Woodward Avenue, built in 1915 and expanded in 1925, has been described by the Kraemer Design Group as “Detroit’s best example of art nouveau Sullivanesque-style architecture.” The former department store is the largest building in the full-block hotel, and a 1,600-square-foot Shinola store opened at the building’s base on November 23. The other existing building, a much shorter neo-classical storefront at 1416 Woodward, was built in 1936. Two of the new buildings, one five stories tall and the other eight-and-a-half stories tall, will open on Woodward, with a final, retail-oriented building on Farmer Street. A multi-story sky bridge will cross the alley at the back of the development and encourage circulation throughout the complex.
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Compact Discs

Iwan Baan captures Jean Nouvel's crystalline new Qatar museum
Oil-rich cities of the Persian Gulf that fifty years ago were sleepy fishing and pearling villages have remade themselves into spectacles of architectural pomp in the 21st century as they seek to cement their geopolitical prominence. Cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become synonymous with the decadent post–Guggenheim Bilbao era in which municipalities have used spectacular architecture by brand-name architects to lend their locales international glamour, and the close concentration of rival states in the Persian Gulf has spawned a sort of starchitect arms race, with neighboring cities jockeying for aesthetic supremacy. Pritzker winners like Zaha Hadid have raced to the area to show off the full extent of their talents, despite reports of widespread abuse of construction workers. The National Museum of Qatar, designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, fits squarely in this moment, although it has not been associated with reports of labor abuses. When it opens in March, 2019, it will set a new benchmark for stylistic exuberance in the area. The design, an almost literal translation of desert rose sand formations, is dizzyingly intricate, almost unbelievable in its complexity. Nouvel said of the design in a statement: “Qatar has a deep rapport with the desert, with its flora and fauna, its nomadic people, its long traditions. To fuse these contrasting stories, I needed a symbolic element. Eventually, I remembered the phenomenon of the desert rose: crystalline forms, like miniature architectural events, that emerge from the ground through the work of wind, salt water, and sand." The 430,000-square-foot institution will house displays that tell the story of Qatar's rise from its deep geological history to its cosmopolitan present. Displays will emphasize the power of the Qatari royal family, showing the nation's history culminating "in the very heart of Qatari national identity, the thoroughly restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah," according to Qatar Museums, the state organization led by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani focused on promoting Qatari culture. Iwan Baan, the photographer-par-excellence of architecture's millennial gilded age, has captured the nearly-completed building in images that testify to the architects' ability to realize the bedeviling design. This is not Nouvel's first foray into the area. His Louvre Abu Dhabi, another daring dish design, opened last year in that United Arab Emirates capital city. Museums by Frank Gehry and Norman Foster were scheduled to join Nouvel's work there, but construction on those projects appears to have been indefinitely delayed. The National Museum of Qatar joins I.M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art, OMA's Qatar National Library, and Nouvel's own Burj Doha in Doha, Qatar's capital city. The country is in the midst of a construction boom as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
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Gourd-geous

Architects vied for gourd glory in this pumpkin carving competition
It’s October, and that can only mean one thing: New York–based architecture teams congregating to carve pumpkins at the Center for Architecture. During this year’s Pumpkitecture! competition, 20 teams battled it out for a chance to take home the coveted Pritzkerpumpkin and People’s Pumpkin Award. Of course, despite the full range of talent on display, not every team could take home 2018’s top honors. The jury, consisting of Laila Gohar, chef and conceptual artist, Jing Liu, principal and co-founder of SO-IL, Harry Parr, director of Bompas & Parr Studio, and Omar Sosa, founder of Apartamento Magazine, ultimately awarded the Pritzkerpumpkin to Alloy for their high-concept “Jack-in-the-box”, and the People’s Pumpkin to SITU’s “Pretentioulicious desiccated pumpkin strands.” Teams entered pumpkins that ranged from high-brow—see SOFTlab’s quartered and reflected pumpkin, or SITU’s aforementioned popular vote-winning spiralized vegetable strings—to more classic takes on the jack o’lantern typology. Much like the first Hat Party on the High Line earlier this year, each firm brought a taste of their distinctive design philosophy to their entry.
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A Neoclassical Education

Brush up on the designs of despotism with the new monograph on Napoleon's official architects
Napoleon, a man with ambitions to conquer the world, was not known for his small designs. The architecture that he favored, on view in a massive new monograph, shared his grand self-confidence and fascination with a mythologized imperial past. The French architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, the official architects of Napoleon, introduced a neoclassical style informed by an archaeological approach to the Greco-Roman urban past to the 19th-century French architectural landscape. Their tremendous output has been collected in the new monograph The Complete Works of Percier and Fontaine, now available through Princeton Architectural Press. The substantial and definitive tome pulls together four separate volumes, reproducing the pair’s entire written output along with numerous extravagant illustrations. While a full appreciation of the monograph text requires reading knowledge of French, their vibrant images offer universal appeal.    
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Through a Scan, Darkly

Tech-savvy wall coverings and interior surfaces

A 3-D laser scans an amalgam of textures, creating point clouds of data from the tops of wall coverings and interior surfaces. It transmits their exact size and shape into the computer world and reimagines them as digital three-dimensional representations. The four surfaces below encapsulate some of the new manufacturing techniques and the latest developments in synthetic materials.

Images by Dustin O’Neal

Module Carnegie Fabrics

Fabricated by 3-D-printed rollers, this wall panel is embossed with raised relief patterns that are soft to the touch. Notably, the material makeup is not vinyl, but an olefin-based film that is free of PVC, heavy metals, and chemicals.

Romance Evitavonni

Embroidered with a silvery floral jacquard motif, this melange surface makes a pleasantly unexpected wall covering. The cotton-linen blend involves an aged dyeing, a coloring process that yields three neutral hues: soft white, oatmeal brown, and muted turquoise.

Lamberts Mouth-Blown “Reamy” Bendheim

These sheets of glass were mouth-blown and then flattened by the heat of an 800°F oven. The process creates a motif that resembles glassy currents moving across the surface of a lake.

Ultra Carnegie

This soft PVC-free alternative to vinyl is complete with veining and textures found in animal skin. The 50-50 silicone and polyurethane composition makes it perfect for varied surfaces across applications for both residential and commercial typologies.

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Construction wraps up on Moshe Safdie's Sky Habitat towers in Singapore
Reaching up into the sky in Bishan, Singapore is Moshe Safdie's recently completed development, and aptly named, Sky Habitat. Safdie's design includes walkways that connect the the two structures up to 38 storey's up, offering views across the suburban sprawl of Bishan. Views aren't the only thing offered to residents who take to the bridges at the complex either. As pictured above, a swimming pool spans the majority of the highest bridge (on the 38th floor) complete with palm trees. Below are two more bridges connecting the towers. They provide circulation between the buildings and facilitate airflow through the structures. In fact, ventilation was somewhat of a priority in the context of the Singapore's tropical and climate. As a result, by separating the volumes, Safdie has maximised exposure to each dwelling to combat the humid conditions. That's not to say that they too have been left bereft of vegetation, something which has been a key feature of Safdie's design. The inclusion of such greenery has lead to the bridges being termed as "sky gardens," offering a natural counter to the surrounding urban environment. Bishan, by comparison, is one of Singapore's fastest developing cities. The two volumes of the towers show off a staggered facade that maximizes each dwelling's views and sunlight exposure. Sky Habitat, by name, builds on Safdie's most recognized work, Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada. Equally hierarchical and arguably more complex, Habitat 67 had its roots in his Master's thesis at McGill University. http://www.skyhabitat.com.sg/assets/video/commercial.mp4