Search results for "morphosis"

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The Time Is Now

AIA|LA publishes equity, diversity, and inclusivity best practices guide
The American Institute of Architects' Los Angeles chapter (AIA|LA) has published an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) best practices guide that aims to provide a roadmap for how firms of all sizes can begin to transform themselves into more socially just organizations.  The guide is published as a PDF here and can also be acquired in hardcopy from AIA|LA staff.  The double-sided, tri-fold pamphlet is printed on cardstock to be a handy, easy-to-reference guide durable enough to be kept at one’s desk for long-term use, according to AIA|LA executive director Carlo Caccavale, the major force behind the guide. In terms of its content, the guide is focused on inspiring small but meaningful organizational tweaks that might help usher in an EDI-focused firm culture. To create this resource, Caccavale and AIA|LA executive assistant Kirstin Jensvold-Rumage scoured existing EDI guides published by universities, architecture firms, and other entities in search of a digestible list of incremental policy changes and cultural shifts any architecture firm could undertake.  “The whole idea,” Caccavale explained over telephone, “is to make it easy to read.” The guide is divided up into six categories and includes a section that covers how to mitigate unintentional and implicit bias in hiring, for example. The backside of the guide is split up based on approaches that can be taken by firms of various sizes.  Some of the measures that can be taken by larger firms include:
  • Making an internal commitment to launch a specific role or representative in the firm to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Encouraging 50/50 gender equity by 2020 by promoting gender equity in staff makeup, hiring practices, and project selection.
  • Building and embracing alternate workplace models that foster inclusivity like authoring internal anti-discrimination policies and offering flexible hours and telecommuting to reduce employee turnover.
Some suggestions for smaller firms include:
  • Sponsoring and participating in programs organized by ethnic or cultural minority groups in the field.
  • Participating in EDI trainings hosted by AIA|LA and other approved agencies.
  • Ensuring there is diversity and community representation in architectural renderings, imagery, and presentations.
Through the guide, which was instigated, supported, and approved by the AIA|LA board of directors, AIA|LA also emphasizes its own commitment to “walk the walk” by instilling EDI best practices across its own organization. Specifically, AIA|LA has pledged to increase the representation of ethnic and cultural minorities and women in leadership roles in the organization by 1%—7 people—by 2020. By 2030, the organization hopes to increase the number of minority and female AIA|LA members by another 20 individuals, as well. On top of all this, the organization also hopes to have its general membership better reflect the diversity of the City and County of Los Angeles by 2030. With the guide, AIA|LA is also looking to push how it recognizes and supports cultural diversity and gender parity by folding these objectives into its own advocacy efforts and awards programs.  A few of the planned changes include:
  • Advertising the opening of pre-qualification lists for government contracts to small firms (government contracts are often structured to benefit minority- and women-led organizations).
  • Infusing the organization’s Presidential Awards policy with EDI values as guidelines for the selection process.
  • Organizing college tours of Historic Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to allow firm leaders and hiring teams to see student talent and understand the legitimacy of HBCU architecture programs.
In a press release announcing the guide, AIA|LA President Tania Van Herle said, “The actualization of equity, inclusiveness, and diversity is fundamental to human dignity, leading to opportunity, fully realized careers, and thriving practices.” Van Herle added, “EDI also looks outward—it directly influences our capabilities to serve communities.” Caccavale explained that more changes are in the works from AIA|LA as well, including a possible new merit award that would highlight minority and female talent along the lines of the AIA’s existing Whitney M. Young, Jr. award, which is presented to firms and individuals that engage in socially-meaningful architectural work.  The unveiling of the EDI guide comes as the chapter has steadily increased its efforts to promote cultural, racial, and gender diversity among the ranks of architects and also precedes a set of new rules added to the national AIA organization’s Code of Ethics that relate to issues of sexual harassment, professionalism, and environmental concerns. The Los Angeles chapter launched a Women in Architecture Committee in 2016 to “promote positive change for women in the field of architecture” and has held its EDI-focused Encompass conference since 2017 to help “actualize diversity and inclusiveness to advance the profession.” On September 20, AIA|LA will host the fifth iteration of its POWERFUL event, a symposium to empower women in architecture. The event has grown steadily over the years from a small gathering to a full-on conference packed with panel discussions, keynote speakers, and break-out sessions.  The conference will showcase nearly a dozen speakers, two panel discussions, and 24 lunchtime discussion sessions. Speakers and panelists for the conference include:
  • Pooja Bhagat, principal, Poojabhagat Architects + Planners
  • Raven Hardison, lead designer, Parsons
  • Kerenza Harris, director of design technology, Morphosis Architects
  • Rachel Jordan, architect, CO Architects
  • Elizabeth Mahlow, founding partner, Nous Engineering
  • Elaine Molinar, partner and managing director, Snøhetta
  • Lisa Pauli, design director, R&A Architecture + Design
  • Anne Schopf, design partner, Mahlum Architects
  • Maria Smith, executive creative director, M&C Saatchi
  • Elizabeth Timme, co-founder, LA-Más
  • Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, dean, Woodbury School of Architecture
  • Deborah Weintraub, chief deputy city engineer, City of Los Angeles
Laura Friedman, assistant speaker pro tempore of the California State Assembly and Assembly Member, District 43/Glendale will be the conference’s keynote speaker.  For more information on EDI goals, POWERFUL, and AIA|LA’s other diversity and inclusion initiatives, see the AIA|LA website. 
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Going Down in Tinseltown

Facades+ Los Angeles will scale the heights of Southern California design

From October 25 to 26, Facades+ will bring local and national leaders of the architecture, engineering, and construction industry to Los Angeles for the fourth year in a row. The first day of the conference features keynotes by Thom Mayne, founding principal of Morphosis Architects; and Heather Roberge, principal of Murmur.

Founded in 1972, Morphosis has spread its distinctive presence internationally. In recent years, the firm has completed the Bill & Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University, 41 Cooper  Square in New York City, and Kolon One & Only Tower in Korea. Opening in late August, the 123,000-square-foot Kolon One & Only Tower features a sweeping primary facade built of high-tech fiber manufactured by the client. Each fiber appendage is latched to the curtain wall with traditional stainless steel brackets that knife through exterior joints to steel mullions that ring the structure.

Heather Roberge founded Murmur in 2008. The firm’s work is characterized by its experimentation with a broad range of materials to create projects unique in layout and form. In 2015, Murmur unveiled En Pointe, a group of conjoined, aluminum-paneled columns standing atop razor-like fulcrums. According to the architect, “to achieve a balanced state, the mass and silhouette of each column are eccentrically distributed to stabilize its adjacent columns.” Other realized projects, such as the pentagonal Vortex House and a multi-sided addition to a Beverly Hills Residence, highlight Murmur’s unique approach to facade fabrication and design.

Over the last decade, Downtown Los Angeles has experienced an upswell of high-rise development. At Facades+, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) and century-old Los Angeles–based firm AC Martin Partners will discuss the immense change underway. SOM’s Olympia complex is one of the boldest being undertaken in the area, composed of three towers of stacked terraces clad in translucent and clear glass wrapping visible concrete piers. AC Martin, with its long Angeleno history, has continually left its imprint in the downtown area with projects such as the twin-towered City National Plaza built in 1972 and the contemporary 73-story Wilshire Grand Center.

Representatives from Walter P. Moore, CO Architects, HKS Architects, and Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will also be on hand to discuss the assembly of complex facades at ever-rising heights as well as significant projects shaping the cultural scene of Los Angeles, such as The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Further information Facades+ Los Angeles can be found here.

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They Came, They Saw, They Glazed

In Buffalo, fired-clay terra-cotta facade systems take a leap forward
For the third year in a row, manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC) and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (UB/a+p) in upstate New York hosted the Architectural Ceramics Assemblies Workshop (ACAW). The weeklong event is a gathering of architects, engineers, and artists and offers a fast-paced opportunity for attendees to get their hands dirty physically testing the capabilities of terra-cotta design. Other sponsors of the gathering include Western New York’s Alfred University, an institution with expertise in glass and ceramics, and Rigidized Metals Corporation, a producer of deep-textured metal for exterior and interior cladding, among other products. “Architects designing with industrially produced ceramic components may have little material understanding of clay for large-scale production, while most artists trained in ceramics may have few opportunities to explore the medium at a scale beyond the individual object,” said Bill Pottle, BVTC’s Director of Business Development and organizer of the gathering. “At ACAW, architects, engineers, and educators collaborate with designers and manufacturers in order to deepen their understanding of designing with architectural terra-cotta.” BVTC was founded in 1889 as Boston Valley Pottery, a brick and clay pot manufacturing facility located on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York. The Krouse family purchased the facility in 1981 and transformed it into a cutting-edge architectural terra-cotta factory with a global footprint. Currently, projects range from the restoration of New York’s Woolworth Building to the cladding of Morris Adjmi Architect’s 363 Broadway and Kohn Peterson Fox’s One Vanderbilt. Keynote speakers, many of them workshop attendees, included Anne Currier, a clay sculptor and professor; Dr. William M. Carty, a ceramics professor at Alfred University; Christine Jetten, a ceramics and glazing consultant; Gerd Hoenicke, Director of Pre-Construction Services at Schüco; Matthew Krissel, partner at KieranTimberlake; Craig Copeland, associate partner at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; and Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP Architects. This year, over 60 attendees participated in the workshop, which emphasized the role of pre-design and research at the early stages of a design project. Both the number of attendees and the overarching objectives of the workshop have evolved since its 2016 inauguration. The first event was largely a sandbox tutorial, featuring 20 attendees learning the basics of terra-cotta production. In its second year, ACAW and its 40 attendees focused on the bioclimatic function of terra-cotta in contemporary design and the retrofitting of structures. This year, building upon their experience at previous workshops, the attendees, divided into six teams, began researching and developing their prototypes in March. Designs were submitted to BVTC prior to the conference for prefabrication. Throughout the week, the teams received technical support from both BVTC and UB/a+p.
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Fiber Cloud

Morphosis Architects created a cloud-like facade using reinforced fiber modules
  • Architects Morphosis
  • Facade Contractors/Suppliers POSCO (Steel Curtain Wall), ALU EnC (Aluminum Curtain Wall), Korea Carbon (GFRP), Korea Tech-Wall (GFRC), Han Glass (Glass), Steel Life (Interior Liner)
  • Facade Consultants Arup, FACO
  • Location Seoul, South Korea
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Brise-soleil system on the main, west-facing facade
  • Products Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) using one of Kolon’s own high-tech fabrics, Aramid
Magok is an emerging techno-industrial hub located on the outskirts of South Korea’s capital, Seoul. In 2013, The Kolon Group—a multinational corporation and leading Korean textile manufacturer—approached Morphosis Architects for a new consolidated headquarters within the district. The goal? A wholly unique design capable of housing the conglomerate’s diverse divisions while showcasing its array of manufactured products.

After half a decade of design and construction, the 820,000-square-foot Kolon One & Only Tower opened on August 23, 2018.

The project follows Founding Principal Thom Mayne’s preference for hyper-engineered, non-traditional forms. Sloped planes and yawning fissures wave across the facade and interior.

Carbon fiber–reinforced concrete piers, rising at acute and obtuse angles, are the primary compressive support for the structure.

The atrium is a vast space measuring approximately 140 feet tall and 330 feet long and provides inward and outward views. Dubbed “The Grand Stair” by the design team, the centrally-placed path of movement is meant to serve as a quasi-public space and a facilitator of vertical and horizontal circulation. Morphosis has lined the entire height of the atrium with 400 fiber-reinforced translucent polymer panels measuring 30 feet wide. Produced by Kolon, the panels are fastened to the interior structure by stainless steel armatures.

The west-facing facade has a dramatic inflection that defines the structure’s exterior. Morphosis describes the main facade as “an interconnected array of sunshades that form a monolithic outer skin, analogous to woven fabric.” The woven embellishment—featuring the Kolon-produced Aramid, a reinforced fiber with a greater tensile strength than iron—was designed parametrically to balance the interior’s need for outward vistas and shading requirements. Stan Su, director of enclosure design at Morphosis, views the sprawling sunscreen as carrying a “cloud-like plasticity in form while maintaining a remarkably high tensile strength.”

Each knot of “woven fabric” is fastened to the curtainwall with traditional stainless steel brackets that cut through exterior joints to the steel mullions that ring the structure.

While the western elevation is the primary face of the development, the facility was designed holistically. Stan Su states that “the pared-back embellishment of the three other elevations is a response to their interior functions; lab and office blocks comprise what can be considered the rear of the building.” The curtain wall wrapping these elevations largely consists of Han Glass’s low-iron glass and ALU EnC produced aluminum cladding, a measure to match the clear view and visibility requirements of the client.

In a bid to secure LEED Gold Certification, Morphosis added a number of sustainable and environmentally-friendly interventions; Kolon One & Only Tower is decked with a green roof, solar photovoltaic panels, and geothermal heating and cooling mechanisms. Additionally, Morphosis reduced concrete use by 30 percent through a bubble deck slab system which uses plastic balls as a form of reinforcement. Further projects by Morphosis Architects will be discussed during Facades+ LA October 25-26.
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Mighty Morphin Museum

Texas Tech taps Morphosis to design museum expansion
Morphosis has announced that it is developing a design and masterplan for a 150,000 square-foot expansion of the Museum of Texas Tech University. Established in 1929, the museum moved to its current 238,000 square-foot facility in 1970 and is cited as the largest and most diverse university museum in the nation. In its main building, it houses a massive collection of 8 million objects representing the range of subjects taught at Texas Tech and provides students and community members with relevant programming. Also part of the museum’s facilities are the Lubbock Lake Landmark, the Natural Science Research Laboratory, and the Moody Planetarium. According to a press release, the new Morphosis-designed masterplan will expand the focus of the museum beyond its permanent collections and will reflect the breadth of innovation happening at the university. The design of the “Universiteum of Texas Tech” will be led by firm founder Thom Mayne and principal Arne Emerson and will add 40,000 square-feet of flexible gallery space, a community engagement center, more laboratories, work areas, and a collection of storage facilities to the existing museum on the university’s campus in Lubbock, Texas. “We envision our design to act as a connector that knits together the existing museum and cultural buildings with the larger Texas Tech campus,” Emerson told The Architect’s Newspaper, “while providing a new gateway that engages the existing building and planetarium in a dialogue.” The architects will draw upon the rich history and ecology of the Western High Plains to develop a masterplan that highlights the school’s leadership in research and creativity across its various disciplines including STEM, health sciences, humanities, and the arts. The project is expected to also showcase a new model for university-community engagement. The new Universiteum will add additional research space for students within the university's Museum Science and Heritage Management programs, and it will also act as a gathering place for the public to further engage in special exhibitions and programming. In addition, it will feature the first large traveling exhibition gallery capable of housing major blockbuster shows in West Texas. The Museum of Texas Tech University is Morphosis’s second museum project in Texas. Their design for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened in Dallas in 2012.
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Striated and Stepped

Morphosis unveils striated, sculptural design for Orange County Museum of Art

Morphosis has unveiled renderings for a new 52,000-square-foot facility for the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in Newport Beach, California.

The new museum complex has been in the making for decades under various designs by several architecture firms; the current proposal represents the third design put forth by the Culver City-based architects. The Morphosis-designed proposal, once built, will increase exhibition space at OCMA by 50 percent, compared with the museum’s current location, according to the Los Angeles Times. Plans call for the complex to include: 25,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition space, 10,000 square feet of multipurpose, educational, and performances spaces, and a sculpture terrace with capacity for 1,000 occupants.  The proposal aims to stitch together an existing cultural campus in the Pacific Ocean-adjacent enclave that already contains a concert hall and repertory among other uses by activating and extending a grand pedestrian plaza located on the site with a monumental staircase inspired by the steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, according to Thom Mayne, principal and founder of Morphosis.  The museum, tucked into a hillside beside the staircase, would connect a lower plaza marked by a vertically oriented, Richard Serra-designed sculpture with the new sculpture plaza located atop the stairs. The upper plaza will hold another large sculptural element, according to the renderings. A linear tree promenade will extend horizontally from the upper plaza over the southern edge of the site, cantilevering over ground floor areas. Under the current proposal, roughly 70 percent of the site will be left open or contain public outdoor spaces.  Inside the complex, a variety of multi-functional public spaces like a public amphitheater and flexible gallery spaces will invite the public into the building. Renderings of these spaces depict multi-story volumes framed in glass and striated paneling, with sky-bridges and monumental stairs carving through many of the spaces.  The striated, shape-shifting structure will among be the final components of the arts complex in the city and is being planned with a future 10,000-square-foot expansion in mind. As such, its design will reflect the urban nature of the complex site, according to the designers. Plans call for OCMA to vacate its existing facilities this fall, with temporary facilities opening in 2019 nearby. Construction on the new museum is slated to begin in 2019 with the complex expected to be complete by 2021. 
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In-House Design

Take a peek inside the homes that architects have designed for themselves

Architects’ Houses Michael Webb Princeton Architectural Press $41.69

Thirty architects share their own houses in the recently published tome Architects’ Houses by AN contributor Michael Webb. Here, we share six of the diverse interiors that offer an in-depth look at what architects design when they design for themselves. Baan Naam, Venice, California, by Kulapat Yantrasast. The Thai-born architect mastered the art of concrete construction and put it to good use on the rear wall of his own house. House of the Poem of the Right Angle, Vilches, Chile, by Smiljan Radić. An espino wood sculpture by Marcela Correa hovers beneath the skylights of a house at the foot of the Andes. Tower House, Ulster County, New York,by Peter and Thomas Gluck. Living spaces are cantilevered from a stack of three bedrooms to command sweeping views over the treetops. Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, has buried his L.A. home in a sloping corner site. NOHO, or No House, will eventually be concealed from the street by dense plantings. This Puget Sound home in Washington is where Jim Olson goes to kick his feet up on the weekends. Longbranch is a continually evolving home, and Olson recently added several new rooms to the older house.
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The Unicorn's Horn

Morphosis reveals another winning design for China's Unicorn Island
Morphosis Architects is one of the four winning design firms in the running to design Chengdu’s Unicorn Island in China’s Sichuan province, competing with Foster + Partners, a team of Arata Isozaki & Associates and Jun Aoki & Associates, and OMA. As China transitions towards a technology-oriented service economy, Unicorn Island was imagined as a centralized location where start-ups and established companies would be given the resources to grow. Whereas OMA’s plan for the island involved a crosshatch of different buildings for start-ups ringed by headquarters for the Unicorn companies (worth $1 billion or more), Morphosis has designed a series of curvilinear facilities that wrap around the island’s edge. While the island in Chengdu is small, Morphosis took the opportunity to bring big ideas, designing a campus that would be walkable, sustainable, and accessible via mass transit while also building up the city’s skyline. The firm broke the 165-acre island up into four quadrants, with each representing a stage of a Unicorn company’s growth. Flexible office space can be found in all four sections, as well as shared community amenities and a central park and hub for each. The northwestern quadrant has been set aside for education and will contain offshoots of the universities found in Chengdu proper, while the convention and showcase quadrant to the southwest will allow companies to demonstrate their wares. The eastern half of the island would be broken into north and south innovation quadrants, holding accelerator spaces, labs, and administrative support services. At the island’s core would be a massive “Unicorn Tower,” which would serve as the headquarters for the campus’s most successful companies. Other than the central tower, Morphosis chose to keep the other buildings low-slung and accessible from the ground level. Pedestrian access across the island was prioritized, and park-to-park walkways were overlain across the entire site. A proposed metro station near the Unicorn Tower would put most of the island within walking distance from mass transit. For their scheme, Morphosis worked with engineers Buro Happold. No estimated completion or start date has been announced yet.
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Porous Edge

Steven Holl-designed Glassell School of Art opens at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston
On May 20, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) will open the first phase of its campus redevelopment project with the inauguration of the Glassell School of Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects. The building is the first of three to be realized as part of the museum’s $450 million expansion of its Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus. The remaining two buildings are in construction—the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, also designed by Holl, is expected in early 2020, and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation, designed by Lake|Flato Architects, is expected by late 2018—along with an underground parking garage and connecting tunnels. The new Glassell building, largely programmed as classrooms and exhibition spaces, doubles the size of its prior building, which was demolished to make way for the campus expansion. According to architect Chris McVoy, the Glassell School is a campus building formed in response to the institution’s public outdoor spaces. The L-shaped form faces Montrose Boulevard but is set back from its edge, creating a plaza that extends the Cullen Sculpture Garden by Isamu Noguchi to the north, defining a northern edge on the campus. The sloped roof extends the landscape up to the BBVA Compass Roof Garden, an outdoor space that provides views of the Brown Foundation Plaza and the city beyond. Structured over below-grade classrooms and underground parking, the plaza, designed by Deborah Nevins & Associates, takes cues from the Noguchi Sculpture Garden. Its south end is anchored by Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Column (1998–2006), and Eduardo Chillida’s Song of Strength (1966) is installed on the north side close to the café entrance. In the middle, a grove of Mexican sycamores and a fountain provide recreational space. The exterior of the Glassell School is the most striking aspect of the building, realized with Guy Nordenson and Associates as structural engineer in coordination with Cardno Structural Engineering, and Kendall Heaton Associates as Architect of Record. Its primitive stacked pieces of sandblasted concrete also act as structural supports (the 178 precast elements were made by Gate Precast, the same Texas company that fabricated the facade of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas by Morphosis Architects). The facade’s color was selected to work with the limestone materiality of the campus, which includes buildings by Mies van der Rohe, Rafael Moneo, and Carlos Jiménez. Using the 11-degree slope of the roof as a geometric starting point, each facade panel is angled on its long side, establishing a vocabulary of shapes for the lithic figures. Select panels are tilted, creating relief in the facade and casting shadows across the glazing. Each enormous piece of translucent glazing illuminates art-making spaces with diffuse light and is augmented by a square operable window. The design continues Holl’s interest in porosity but scales up to its current stacked stone expression. The Glassell might be the “most tectonic building we’ve ever done,” McVoy said. Inside, the spaces are spare but full of light, realized in white, shades of gray, and translucent glass. After entering through the interior corner vestibule, the forum space—another example of Holl’s facility in shaping spatially complex atria—is illuminated from above and works as a circulatory hinge between the two perpendicular wings. Here, visitors access upper floors, performances can be staged, and large-scale artworks can be installed. Above, independent steel stairs cross the void on their way up to the roof. Classrooms and a small auditorium are finished simply, with many rooms open to bottom of the precast concrete planks that structure the floors. The Glassell’s architecture operates in a contextually contradictory manner, in that it takes material cues from the campus but expresses them in its own articulations. Holl’s work shares a structural expressionism with Mies’s building; both projects show how they stretch their respective technical limits. It’s all about “using the technology of your time to get down to the simplest elements and put them together with the most advanced technology,” Holl said. So while Mies utilized steel and glass, the new Glassell advances a massive construction method. “Energy is more important today than structure,” Holl explained. The thermal mass and radiant heating and cooling loops within topping slabs indicate that this concern has been integrated—light, energetic performance, and structure are part of the united expression at work in the Glassell building. If it is energy the architects are after, then the building seems poised to deliver. It will soon host thousands of students of all ages learning artistic skills, and countless more citizens who will claim its plaza as a new public terrain in Houston.
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Floating Fantasies

OMA wins competition to design tech-focused "Unicorn Island" in China
Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, is rapidly transitioning towards a service-based economy and has enlisted OMA’s help in growing its local tech companies. Following an international design competition sponsored by the Chengdu government, OMA and three other high-profile studios have been chosen to master plan a Unicorn Island for startups and more established tech companies alike. OMA has designed a campus that weaves over the entire island, with skyways that overlap and interconnect, which they call a weave. At the island’s core is the Living Lab, a domed complex with working labs that will be open to the public. Branching out from the Living Lab will be the weave, which will hold startups and “Gazelles” (tech companies worth $1 million or more). The weave has been envisioned as a community space, and OMA has described the area as “village-like” in its project description; this interior section will contain residential housing for employees, a mix of office typologies, and amenity spaces meant to foster mingling between different companies. Along the island’s edge will be headquarters for the "Unicorns" (technology companies worth $1 billion or more), with room for expansion as the companies in the weave increase in value and relocate outwards. From the renderings, it appears that the complex will be massive and extend all the way across Unicorn Island. Interestingly, everything except the waterfront headquarters will be elevated; roads will pass below the floating weave, with four courtyards set aside, one on each block.  OMA has also revealed some of the tower typologies that will be present in the weave, including a circulation tower, sports tower, education tower, and relaxation tower for the 16 cores. With such a tightly-condensed campus, parking had to be moved underground. From the site plans, it seems that parking will run under nearly the entire island, with the exception of the area below the Living Lab, which will become an underground plaza. The design of Unicorn Island was led by Chris van Duijn, OMA Partner and Director of OMA Asia. Mobility in Chain provided the traffic consultation and Transsolar acted as the climate engineer. No estimated completion date or project cost has been revealed at the time of writing. The other three winners of the design competition include Morphosis, Foster + Partners, and a team composed of Arata Isozaki & Associates and Jun Aoki & Associates.
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Cedric Price's Fun Palace comes to life in a moveable exhibit at Prelude to The Shed
In the run-up to the opening of The Shed, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the Rockwell Group’s new arts center in the Hudson Yards development, a 2-week program called A Prelude to The Shed, featuring free performances, talks and events, took place in a temporary structure designed by Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works. A Stroll Through the Fun Palace, British architect Cedric Price’s 1961 project, developed with theater director Joan Littlewood, was presented in dynamic form by architects wheeling models and items from the project archives at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on carts throughout the site, and interacting with curious visitors. A Stroll was originally presented at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Swiss Pavilion, where it was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is also Senior Program Advisor at The Shed. On May 1, the evening panel discussion centered on Price’s Fun Palace and its impact on The Shed. Obrist and Prelude co-programmer Dorothea von Hantelmann set the stage by explaining why they included this work in the roster, and how its presentation explores the exhibition form itself. They correlated the Fun Palace’s interdisciplinary nature—opera, visual art, theater, dance—with Artistic Director Alex Poots’s background at the Manchester International Festival, the Park Avenue Armory and now The Shed. They were followed by Eleanor Bron, Cedric Price’s concubine (her preferred term for life partner), an actor best known for film roles in Help!, Alfie, Two for the Road, Bedazzled, and Women in Love, and Samantha Hardingham, interim director of the AA and author of Cedric Price Works, 19522003: A Forward-Minded RetrospectiveThey described the challenge for the self-described “anti-architect" to create a home for as many forms of fun in one spot as possible, and to open up science and culture to all. The Fun Palace, intended for the Olympics site in East London, was conceived as a permeable, moveable, gravity-defying open space without beginning or end, in contrast to the prevalent earthbound style of the times in Britain, Brutalism. It counted among is trustees Buckminster Fuller and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and it nearly happened except for a drainage problem on the site. In another connection to The Shed, in 1999, Price submitted a proposal for Phyllis Lambert’s Hudson Yards competition, the current site of The Shed. Titled A Lung for Midtown Manhattan, Price was one of five finalists, who also included Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, Morphosis, Reiser + Umemoto, and winner Peter Eisenman.  The jury consisted of Frank Gehry, Arata Isozaki, Philip Johnson, Rafael Moneo, Joseph Rose (City Planning Commissioner), and Elizabeth Diller. Notably, Diller voted for Price’s entry, which proposed leaving the space open with “wind-blinkers” to encourage breezes from the river to waft over Manhattan. Diller recounted the competition in the next panel, which also included David Rockwell and Kunlé Adeyemi. Diller and Rockwell discussed their approach to the design of The Shed:  to be forever contemporary, flexible but not generic, scalable, indoor and outdoor, unbranded and entrepreneurial. They said their key architecture reference was the Fun Palace, which was an architecture of infrastructure. They also questioned why we need one more cultural institution, since New York City already boasts 12,000. Referring to the moveable portion of The Shed, Rockwell pointed out that many theaters are meant to be flexible (think Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall), which are rarely utilized because it’s too difficult or expensive. For him, another lesson was from his TED Theater in Vancouver, an annual pop-up meant to be “live.” Here, the architecture does not dictate what happens inside. The evening was rounded out with Keller Easterling, an architect and Yale professor, who spoke on notions of theater in architectural spaces (in addition to being an architect, she has a background as a performance artist) and Caroline A. Jones, a professor at MIT Architecture, who found parallels in electronic technological modes of production in the art world.  They commented that presenters on stage facing the audience was the antithesis of the future Shed.
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Benny Chan to receive 2018 Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award
The Julius Shulman Institute (JSI) at Woodbury University has named Benny Chan as the 2018 recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award.  Chan’s work is well-known to AN readers, as he is among one of the favored photographers for Los Angeles-area architects. In recent years, Chan has photographed projects designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Shimoda Design Group, Neil M. Denari Architecture (NMDA), Standard Architecture, Belzberg Architects, and Johnson Favaro, among many others.  Chan, a Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) graduate, also maintains an art photography practice that compliments his architectural photography work. After graduating from SCI-Arc in 1992, Chan worked for NMDA and SOM before deciding to go all-in on photography. Chan, who grew up in Hong Kong—“there’s nothing there but buildings,” he explained—was drawn to photography after a stint spent traveling and photographing buildings abroad. Loathe to return to the “really, really dry” routine of everyday practice, he instead set out to help architects capture and propograte their work via photography. In the over 25 years since, Chan has built a reputation for bold and honest representations of Los Angeles architecture and the city’s human-made landscapes. A press release describes Chan’s straightforward and technically-precise work as constituting an “assembly manual for Los Angeles,” a comparison that will shine through in an exhibition that will go on display at Woodbury’s WUHO Gallery in Hollywood starting May 12. The exhibition, titled Above and Behind: The Architectural Photography of Benny Chan, will showcase photographs taken of some of the region’s most important new buildings while under construction. The works, abstract and looming, are drawn from Chan’s art practice, not the polished photos of finished architectural works we are used to seeing. Regarding his focus on in-process architecture, Chan said, “[Construction represents] a unique moment in a building’s life—It’ll never look like that again,” adding, “I see these shots as more like sports photography than architectural photography.” Describing Chan’s virtuosity and technical focus, architect Barbara Bestor, principal of Bestor Architecture and director of JSI said, “He builds his own cameras, reframes the act of construction as worthy of portraiture, and has a mad scientist/photo studio-as-laboratory where he crafts images as small as X-rays of his own cameras and as large as wide views of urban neighborhoods shot from a helicopter in his home made camera rigs!” Previous JSI Excellence in Photography Award honorees include: Helene Binet, Iwan Baan, James Welling, and Catherine Opie.  Above and Behind runs through June 24, 2018, see the WUHO site for more information.