Search results for "situ studio"

Placeholder Alt Text

Paparazzi Palettes

Seth Rogan and other celebs pair with designers for unique NYCxDesign pieces
Digital magazine Sight Unseen has paired 13 celebrities from film, fashion, and art with 13 interior and furniture designers to create one-of-a-kind objects for this year’s New York Design Week (NYCxDESIGN). Each of the items are available for sale, with the proceeds going to benefit a charity of the pair’s choosing. The collaboration is part of Sight Unseen’s fifth annual OFFSITE fair, which will be spread out across 13 separate venues across downtown Manhattan between May 17 and May 20. The collection, dubbed Field Studies, will anchor the fair’s central hub at 201 Mulberry Street. “The idea was to connect creatives across disciplinary boundaries so they could search for commonalities in their practices and discover what unexpected ideas might result,” said Sight Unseen in a statement. Contemporary design studio Bower and actor Seth Rogan have created a massive mirror inspired by “shared influences  —  midcentury  furniture,  street  art,  and  the  colors  of  1980s  pop  culture.” The six-foot-tall mirror is actually composed of glass strips positioned on top of a gradient painting, lending the illusion of a three-dimensional globe. Artist and designer Christopher Stuart and artist Julia Dault have produced a circular, backlit sconce that seemingly “peels” away from the wall it’s attached to, revealing a soft glow at the corner. Designer Fernando Mastrangelo and actor Boyd Holbrook have created a set of planters carved from massive lumps of coal, in reference to Holbrook’s father, a Kentucky coal miner. Creative consulting and interior design firm Wall for Apricots and actor Jason Schwartzman have designed a postmodern pastel pink-and-gold piano with matching stool. The team wrapped a classic 1970s Hohner Clavinet Pianet keyboard inside of a plywood console table to completely disguise the instrument within. Furniture and lighting designer Kelly Wearstler and fashion blogger Aimee Song have put together a shaggy sitting stool made from dyed goat hair, with brass legs ending in plunger-like red marble feet. Designer Harry Nuriev and artist Liam Gillick have fabricated a series of rectangular floor lamps that integrate stainless steel with the glass panels that Gillick is known for. Furniture studio Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and fashion designers Kaarem have encased custom Kaarem fabric swatches in resin to create a series of vases. Architect Drew Seskunas of The Principals and musician Angel Olsen have built a machine that translates sound waves into wax forms. The resultant shapes were then used to cast unique aluminum candlesticks. Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture at Large and fashion stylist Mel Ottenberg have translated the ribbed structural details of furniture into three quilts, each made of luxury materials like merino and suede. Designer Oliver Haslegrave of Home Studios and stylist Natasha Royt have reinterpreted the suit stand for the modern age, including stratifying different types of marble into the cubic base. Interior designer Kelly Behun and fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez have put together a sculptural, asymmetric lounge chair that forces its occupant into an unfamiliar situation where they need to rebalance themselves. Glass designer Thaddeus Wolfe and chef Ignacio Mattos have designed a hand-blown glass cake stand that resembles a hunk of ice. The glass is embedded with concave lenses, which appear to minimize whatever’s placed inside the case. Painter Andrew Kuo provided an artwork and furniture maker Tyler Hays of BDDW took the opportunity to turn it into a puzzle. The pieces and lettering within are obscured by Kuo’s design for an added level of difficulty. All 13 pieces are available for sale here.
Placeholder Alt Text

il cinema indipendente

The best of AN’s videos from Milan Design Week 2018
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a video, or, if you will, a moving image, is at least double that. And so The Architect's Newspaper (AN) brings you video highlights from Milan Design Week filmed by our editors onsite at Salone del Mobile, the EuroCucina circuit, and other satellite shows. From interviews with designers to panning views of in situ installations to product install shots, we hope this roundup gives a taste of what it’s like to see and experience it all in person. Laufen’s booth installation Onsite at the fairgrounds of Salone del Mobile, our editors enjoyed this bidet toilet fountain installation by the Swiss-bathroom brand Laufen. Floating mobiles at Rossana Orlandi Watch Martens and Visser’s kinetic sculptures spin and float like bubbles at Rossana Orlandi. AN talks to Studio OEO about their new accessories collection for Mutina Thomas Lykke and Anne-Marie Buemann of Danish architectural firm OEO Studio speak about their collaboration with Mutina, a new collection of home accessories that integrate as a system with Italian manufacturer’s ceramic tiles. Hay at Palazzo Clerichi Hay introduced several new products by the Bouroullec brothers, Stefan Diez, GamFratesi, Shane Schneider, and many repeat offenders. The exhibition showcases designs for everyday living as well as everyday working in the ornate ambiance of Palazzo Clerichi. Bellissimo! AN talks to Hella Jongerius about her tapestry collage for Vitra The Dutch industrial designer talks about the new sofa she developed for Vitra. The installation highlights the textiles she created for “textile nerds.” Apparatus’ ACT III The New York-based design studio debuted their new collection, ACT III, in their Milan showroom. The launch featured a series of alabaster and fluted brass lighting that references Berber jewelry. AN talks to Brussels-based designer Alain Gilles about his acoustic lighting designs Alain Gilles discusses his new acoustic lighting collection for BuzziSpace in the Brera district for Milan Design week. Gufram’s club-inspired furniture collection Disco Gufram is an electronic soundscape outfitted with furniture inspired by original 1970s designs by the studio. Loosely interpreted based on the found archival images, the series features sofas, coffee tables, and cabinets complete with Dali-esque melting disco balls based on their predecessors at disco clubs in the 70s. AN talks to Berlin-based Studio 7.5 about their new seating series for Herman Miller Burkhard Schmitz and Roland Zwick of Studio 7.5 talk about their new seating collection “For You Everyone” at the Herman Miller Showroom in Milan. The exhibition showcased the Cosm series, inviting visitors to sit back and recline. Nendo’s exhibition: Forms of Movement Nendo’s self-exploratory exhibition, Forms of Movement, surveys materials and technologies in 10 conceptual iterations of an object’s function, material, or production process. Here we see a series of furnishings articulated by different shapes and formations of plasticized fabric. AN talks to Space Copenhagen about their collection for Stellar Works Danish design duo Signe  Bindslev Henriksen and Peter  Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen detail the inspiration behind the new series and how similarities in Asian and Scandinavian cultures transpire in their designs. A 1929 tram by Christina Celestino renovated as a traveling saloon AN rode the Corallo tram with designer Christina Celestino to hear about her inspiration behind the exhibition on wheels. Traveling to-and-fro between three stops in the Brera design district, the interior is reminiscent of 1920s art moderne interiors, specifically the cinema and screening rooms. AN talks to Icelandic designer Hlynur V. Atlason about his commercial series for Ercol Icelandic designer Hlynur V. Atlason details his collection of modular furnishings for Ercol, their first venture in commercial design. He explains this new take and his inspiration point that departed from the English brand’s seminal reference, the traditional Windsor chair. The Diner by Rockwell Group The design world crowds into the American-style diner installation inside a railway arch designed by The New York-based firm. Rockwell Group teamed up with Surface magazine, design consultancy 2x4, and Design Within Reach on the American-inspired establishment located beneath the tracks that lead to Milan's Centrale railway station. See more videos and photos on our Instagram @archpaper
Placeholder Alt Text

New Affiliates on the Block

For New Affiliates, an aesthetic of imperfection and openness
Although design studio New Affiliates has only been in existence a short while, its list of bona fides is long: Jaffer Kolb recently worked on major exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Ivi Diamantopoulou spent time as an associate at MOS designing off-the-grid residences and a number of high-design interior projects—including, notably, the short-lived design gallery Chamber. These experiences set them up well as one of the most promising up-and-coming New York architecture studios and one of AN Interior’s top 50 interior architects. Jesse Seegers visited the duo in their NoHo, Manhattan, studio. New Affiliates officially started in August 2016, and yet you’ve already completed a house in Vermont, the Tunbridge Winter Cabin. How did that happen? Jaffer Kolb Well, we really started designing that in March 2016, and it was done nine months later. It was very fast. It was in this empty field, on a 65-acre property, and there was no infrastructure, so we had to build a 2,000-foot-long road, install phone lines, septic, etc. Ivi Diamantopoulou As we were about to finish Tunbridge, we got our client for the Bed-Stuy loft. A fashion designer came to us through her real estate broker and asked, “What does your work look like?” At the time, the cabin was mostly finished, so we thought it would answer the question. But the finishes were not in yet. As soon as it was completed and photographed, she said, “OK, yes, let’s do it.” Kolb But it’s true the clients that we’re working with now primarily want to know about a level of aesthetic taste. They’re less interested in the form of the cabin, so while someone might find these two intersecting volumes interesting in an architectural context, they’re just like, “What are the floors? What kind of counters are you using?” Fortunately for us, she liked them. That’s pretty funny because I was noticing that there is a real attention to light in a lot of the photographs, which really makes the interior seem much bigger and accentuates the carefully considered material palette. Also, it helps that your photographer, Michael Vahrenwald, is great. Diamantopoulou Yes! Michael is a gem. But we also studied how light would hit these two angled volumes and deliberately oriented elevations in all directions. The vignettes of the cabinet-handle detail and the baseboard seem like particularly important moments. Kolb It was one of many instances where we really tried not to reinvent the house and its parts, but instead to twist inherited details into something strangely simple yet fun. You know, we get it—we designed a dumb form that looks like a Monopoly block. The plan is basically two squares, and then two angles where the two squares meet, but playing with a pitched roof is the thing that makes it really interesting. Diamantopoulou What we worked toward with this project is a general idea of asymmetry and imperfection. It does come from two identical parts, but the way the interior is organized, it’s never a perfectly mirrored plan. You don’t stand in the middle of the space and see the same thing on both sides. There’s always something that’s off, and even with the cabinet pulls you mentioned: They’re not circles, they’re kind of a circle. Kolb This was Ivi’s idea, which I think is a brilliant one, because we didn’t want hardware. We drew it out on the actual, original cabinets for the contractor and he immediately started to plan uninstalling them to take them to his shop. Diamantopoulou And we stopped him and told him to do it on-site! Kolb He warned us he wasn’t going to be able to make a perfect circle, and we said we would much prefer a wobbly, funny, quasi-crafty thing than something that looks like it came from a catalogue. Not only were we fine with that, but we think it contributes a lot to the design. Diamantopoulou The exposed steel pipes are similar: They are not aligned with one another; they are not centered. Nothing in this project is trying to be at a specific location; everything is kind of relaxed. Kolb Yeah, it’s loose. We try to keep things informal. Diamantopoulou Designed but not design-y. There’s something refreshing about that attitude of open-endedness and relaxed acceptance of quote-unquote “imperfection.” Kolb It’s funny you say that, because we’re writing a text on imperfection and openness, and it’s not about the openness we took from the ’60s—let’s just make an open field and we can occupy it. It’s more like, “Why don’t we just make a thing and leave enough that is unsettled?” Diamantopoulou There’s this idea of an economy of means that comes from the world at large. I think also particularly our generation, living through the aftermath of 2008 and having to just do whatever you can with what you have. Kolb But there is a practical value to this. I think fussiness is out. I really do think that everyone we know works hard, but everyone we know also rejects the idea of working hard at the same time. I think it’s a new kind of labor politics around trying to resist the 24/7 work cycle we have been taught by the generations that preceded us—to let go a little, to engage architecture without trying to overly control it. Diamantopoulou And that inevitably translates into an aesthetic project—the implications of which become “making it work” with things we’ve inherited, from shapes to construction techniques. Kolb In some ways, the easiest thing to do is to make everything out of these inheritances. Design with circles and squares, but not even difficult circles and squares! Easy, flexible ones! Diamantopoulou Kind of flexible. Kind of… The art of the kinda.
Placeholder Alt Text

Preferred Palette

AN’s Top 50 Interior Architects’ favorite building materials and products
AN Interior’s inaugural top 50 interior architect list featured emerging and established firms across the U.S. The editors surveyed the Top 50 highlighted in the March issue and asked them to reveal their favorite building materials and products. The list below entails what made the cut. To honor them, the editors of The Architect’s Newspaper and AN Interior will celebrate 2018's leading design minds in New York's A&D Building. You can meet the acclaimed architects and AN’s editors inside over 20 participating showrooms, this Thursday, March 8. Architects and designers alike can register to attend here.
Toshiko Mori Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect “By designing sheet lights instead of bulbs, Kaneka OLED creates products that emit light evenly, softly, and with excellent color rendition—close to natural light. The LUCE Rotatable Floor Light’s ability to move allows for the creation of different atmospheres. The ambient glow is also bright enough for reading.”
Leonidas Trampoukis and Eleni Petaloti  Founders, LOT
“We needed a lightweight product to renovate an existing facade on a townhouse in Brooklyn that could be more than just paint, but also an extension of the interior materiality. We were amazed by the texture, availability, duration, fast installation, and clarity of Equitone fiber cement panels.”
(Courtesy Hank Mardukas Photography) Stephanie Wexler Interior Designer, archimania
“One of our favorite building materials is Richlite, a composite panel material made from post-consumer recycled paper. We recently used it as a wall and door material for renovations to the attic of the Tobias Residence, a home on the historic register. We envisioned a modern material that amplified the contrast between old and new construction, as well as something structurally sound that offered color all the way through and had finished edges. Once the product was coated with a sealer, the material produced an enhanced tactile quality that reflected natural light throughout the day.”
Benjamin Aranda  Principal, Aranda\Lasch “Technically sophisticated and visually shocking, the ALPI Lignum Wood Laminate by Ettore Sottsass is still, years later, so much fun to use.”
Andre Herrero Principal, Charlap Hyman Herrero “Sisal is a stiff fiber made from an agave plant of the same name, most commonly used to make rope or twine, but also found in fabrics, rugs, and wall coverings. For us, sisal is a subtle yet compelling material in interiors, lending a natural, summery feel to a given space. In a booth for Patrick Parrish Gallery at the Salon Art + Design fair, we covered both the floors and the walls with it for complete effect. Sisal has a way of visually situating the works of art and furniture; it supports them and gives them a warm backdrop.” Andrew Holder Co-Principal, LADG “Plywood is a beautiful product because it embodies so many contradictions. It can appear to be very refined and highbrow, but at the same time it is a ubiquitous component used in the roughest kind of ad hoc construction. The exterior surface is monolithic and continuous, but the cross section at the edge is exactly the opposite—clearly made of many trees in thin slices all oriented in different directions. It has the appearance of being effortless and low-cost, but is in fact a very difficult material with finicky tolerances, especially as you approach the limits of bending or machining it at a small scale. The big stacks of sheets at the lumberyard look like they are already buildings.”
Bryan Young Principal, Young Projects “We have worked with encaustic cement tiles in multiple scenarios, but recently have found success making custom colors and patterns through a partnership with a fabricator in the Dominican Republic. Locally, these tiles are very common and therefore are an economical selection for a custom finish. On our Playa Grande Retreat project, we created a custom pattern and color palettes for the bathroom floors throughout the building. More interestingly, we applied a different selection of tiles to clad the exterior facades of the Glitch House. The tiles create a shifting graphic pattern that visually reverberates with the physical geometry of the pixelated concrete block walls to create some really interesting optical effects.”
David Darling Founder, Aidlin Darling Design
“In the Bay Area, we are fortunate to have a handful of incredible ornamental metal fabricators that coax life out of seemingly innocuous metals. A favorite of ours is cold-rolled steel plate with a blackened patina. A great metal finisher can bring a subtlety and warmth out of this traditionally utilitarian material, affording us the ability to use it in more intimate, as well as communal spaces.”
Clive Wilkinson President, Clive Wilkinson Architects
“We often use rubber flooring on our projects for circulation and amenity spaces due to its excellent durability and sustainability. It’s also very comfortable and quiet underfoot. For the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, we worked with nora systems’ rubber to develop custom colors, which are much more saturated than the company’s standard offering. The bright, bold colors bring an incredible amount of energy into the labs and really encourage the patients to get up and move.”
Brian Johnsen Principal, Johnsen Schmaling Architects “Much of our interior work exploits the tactility and inherent textures of wood, concrete, and stone. We often use sheets of back-painted glass as an aesthetic counterpoint, one that contrasts the haptic qualities of these materials with a perfectly smooth, highly reflective finish. To avoid the green tint of regular float glass, we usually specify low-iron glass, which allows us to achieve the exact chromatic hue to complement the overall interior palette. Large sheets eliminate visible joints, further enhancing the appearance of immaterial perfection.”
Rafael de Cárdenas Founder, Architecture at Large “When working with hard surfaces, anodized aluminum is our preferred treatment for adding a saturated color. It has the ability to create a sense of refinement and contemporaneity, here, on the ceiling of Au Pont Rouge department store, it enhances other unusual materials and colors in the space.”
Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin Founder and partner, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin
“Recinto stone is a volcanic stone of great hardness, different types of porosity, and a special tradition in the colonial architecture of Mexico. We use recinto stone because it adapts to the chromatic and textural palette used in the studio. The material has allowed us to apply it in floors and walls, and consolidate objects of our own design. It achieves interesting finishes depending on its use, from honed surface for terraces and outdoor furniture to polished gloss for design objects, or natural finish in innovative pieces that celebrate the aesthetics of the raw element.”
Mark and Amy Leveno Principals, OFFICIAL “We like Filzfelt because of its quality and well-curated colors. For the Civitas Capital Group headquarters in Dallas, we used the Filzfelt ARO Plank system in the conference room niches both for sound absorption and as a backrest for the integrated bench. The deep grooves of the plank system added texture to assist in visually breaking up a large space.”
Aaron Schiller Principal, Schiller Projects
“In the Chilmark project, I collaborated with the principals of Gray Organschi Architecture. We were very interested in utilizing the structural walls of the house and the retaining walls of the property to express the nature of the rural ecology, slicing into the landscape itself. To that end, we went to Pennsylvania and bought a huge amount of throwaway wood used in large-scale farming. The wood appears extremely weathered due to the nature of the enzymes that leak into the boards during the farming processes. We upcycled this stock, milled it into usable formwork. I was on-site assisting in the carpentry and overseeing the proper layouts for weeks at a time. When the lining finally came off the wood, it revealed this deeply embedded graining and wood patterning on the face of the concrete. It was as if we were able to freeze the exposed landscape and use it as part of our building process.”
Alex Mustonen Partner and cofounder, Snarkitecture “We’re interested in the idea of a sphere as an architectural material to infill a space. The glass marble sphere is inherently playful and can be unpredictable in its movement.”  
Placeholder Alt Text

Across the Pond

Learning from Europe and Canada’s timber industry
If the steady stream of newly announced mass wood projects is any indication, mass timber building technologies are poised to take the American construction and design industries by storm over the next few years. As products like cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber (NLT), glue-laminated timber (glulam), and dowel-laminated timber (DLT) begin to make their way into widespread use, designers, engineers, and builders alike are searching for the best—and sometimes, most extreme—applications for mass timber technologies. But rather than reinvent the wheel, American designers can look to experienced mass timber designers in Europe and Canada for key lessons as they begin to test the limits of these materials in the United States. European and Canadian architects and researchers have long been at the forefront of mass timber design, starting with early experiments in the 1970s. By the 1990s, researchers like Julius K. Natterer at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, were developing initial CLT prototypes. Natterer’s work has been buttressed by that of many others, including research performed at the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology under Thomas Orskaug and experiments conducted at the Technical University of Munich under Stefan Winter. One key lesson European timber projects teach is that when it comes to structural systems, weight matters. On average, mass timber assemblies weigh between one-third and one-fifth as much as concrete structures, despite equivalent structural capacities. As a result, mass timber buildings are much lighter than concrete ones, a positive for building in tricky urban situations, for example—where underground rail yards, subway tunnels, and municipal utilities place limits on how heavy and tall buildings can be. London-based Waugh Thistleton Architects (WTA), for example, recently completed work on Dalston Lane, a 121-unit CLT midrise complex located above a tunnel serving the Eurostar train line in the city’s Hackney neighborhood. For the project, the architects worked with timber-engineering specialists Ramboll to develop a stepped tower cluster rising between five and ten stories tall. CLT panels are used for the external, party, and core walls of the building, as well as the stairs and the building’s floors. The variegated massing is due directly to the architect’s use of CLT construction, which resulted in a lighter building that allowed the designers to build taller without more extensive foundations. The resulting building, with its staggered massing, better maximizes daylight infiltration into apartment units. The added height allowed the architects to add 50 more units to the project than originally permitted, a testament to just how light CLT can be. Andrew Waugh of WTA said, “Timber buildings are just simpler, cheaper, and nicer [than concrete ones]. High-density urban housing should be built using mass timber.” Lighter mass timber buildings also perform better in seismic zones. Since the lighter buildings carry less inertia, the potential for catastrophic swaying goes down. The strategy was applied this year with the Brock Commons tower, an 18-story, 400-bed college dormitory designed by Vancouver-based Acton Ostry Architects for the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus. The tower is made up of a hybrid structural system that includes CLT floor slabs, glulam columns, steel connectors, and dual concrete cores. The concrete cores anchor the light mass wood structure in place, helping to counteract seismic and wind-generated forces. The 173-foot-tall structure is currently considered the tallest mass timber building in the world, and the construction is particularly multifaceted, utilizing a specifically fabricated set of interdependent building materials and finishes to meet structural and fire-safety regulations. The Brock Commons tower’s hybrid structural system brings to light another valuable lesson: that above certain heights—ten to twelve stories—the lightness of mass timber construction becomes a liability with regard to wind loads. The lack of physical mass at the highest parts of a prototypical timber tower results in increased deflection from wind loads. Ola Jonsson, partner architect at Swedish architecture firm C.F. Møller, recommended architects “go back to thinking about construction when designing mass timber structures,” as a way of rethinking approaches to dealing with difficult-to-manage structural conditions. He added, “It’s so early [in the adoption of mass timber technologies] that few really know how to do it well.” The architect said that with certain tall timber tower projects the office is working on, designers had to develop new massing strategies to limit wind loads. Jonsson continued, “Many engineers lack experience in mass timber, so architects have to become central figures in construction and design during this early phase of adoption.” The firm is currently developing over ten mass timber projects, an emerging body of work that came out of earlier mass timber competition entries developed by C.F. Møller that took the world by storm. C.F. Møller recently entered into a partnership with HSB Stockholm—Sweden’s largest housing association—to design a series of new mass timber housing towers, including the 34-story Västerbroplan tower designed with concrete cores and wraparound terraces. The tower’s columns and beams will consist of a blend of CLT and solid timber. The building’s terraces will come with integrated exterior curtains and will be fully enclosed by a steel superstructure containing glass panels. The tip of the building is designed to dematerialize as it steps back along two facades, creating a series of exposed terraces and planted areas. Like Brock Commons, Västerbroplan tower features a hybrid structural system that is “resource-effective,” according to Jonsson, meaning both lightweight and rigid. The firm is also at work on a 20-story bundled housing tower called Hagastaden for HSB Stockholm, this one designed as part of a new quarter of the city that will contain mixed uses and generous pedestrian areas. The tower features varied floor heights designed to accommodate divergent uses like student flats, penthouse apartments, and typical family-occupied units. Aside from the firm’s multiple mass timber projects, C.F. Møller is working as part of an interdisciplinary research team that is developing new strategies around mass timber towers rising 20 stories or more. The group—backed by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Växjö Municipality, and Linnaeus University, among others—will investigate mass timber construction from a fire-safety, life cycle, and construction technology perspective. Regarding the research project, Jonsson explained, "Massive wood constructions give urban planners, architects, and designers great possibilities to develop innovative and sustainable architecture,” adding, "but a broader knowledge and more practical experience in the industry is needed." Another paradigm-shifting impact mass timber construction has had on European building methods relates directly to the construction process. Because mass timber elements are factory-produced to order, the relationship between engineer, builder, and architect is extremely integrated. Cory Scrivner, mass timber specialist with Canadian mass timber manufacturer Structurlam, said, “For us, it’s all about the 3-D model. [Digital modeling and coordination] are all done before we go into production in the factory: Everything has already been approved by the architect, engineer, and our team.” Scrivner explained further that the intense coordination was necessary, as “we are designing a building made from components that are accurate within one to two millimeters of the digital model.” The designers behind Brock Commons utilized Structurlam as the mass timber manufacturer for the project. The advanced level of project coordination and off-site fabrication meant that project was finished roughly four months ahead of schedule, with a time-lapse video on a project website showing construction crews erecting upward of two floors per day. The first story for the project was built from cast-in-place concrete, while the remaining 17 stories are built in mass wood. The structural system utilizes glulam columns, steel connectors, and a two-way spanning CLT flat-slab. The design creates a floor beam–free structure that could be erected start-to-finish in nine and a half weeks. The rapid-fire construction time line, however, comes at the expense of longer planning and design phases prior to any work boots hitting the job site, as the teams must become absolutely synced prior to fabrication. Waugh of WTA explained that often with timber buildings, the firm asks its clients to “give us more time now [in the planning stages of construction] and we’ll save you even more time on the back end.” Waugh added, “The better programmed the construction process, the faster and more accurately the buildings come out.” Waugh said that after erecting several mass timber structures, the firm had “gotten so much better at it” than when they first started. One area of improvement has been material usage, which decreased with each project as the structural capabilities of mass timber have been further explored, tested, and certified. The Dalston Station project mentioned earlier, for example, utilized about two-thirds as much timber as the firm’s first mass timber project erected a decade ago. Part of the reason for the improvements, Waugh and Jonsson agreed, results from designers’ greater awareness of and comfort with the construction process. “To design well in mass timber, you need an architect who wants to understand that the nature of [the architect] is one of a ‘master builder’ as well as one of a ‘master designer,’” Waugh explained. Since mass timber construction methodologies are based on kit-of-parts assembly systems of mass-produced panel types and structural elements, there has been increased interest among European and Canadian firms in building high-density mass timber housing. These experiments have positive implications for the many American cities burdened with housing shortages and long project-approval times. Waugh explained that WTA’s focus rests on expanding the abundance of available housing through mass timber construction. He said, “We design everything in our office now as if it was a mass timber project. Concrete projects are becoming more and more rare.” Several projects in the works, like Shigeru Ban’s recently proposed 19-story Terrace House in Vancouver, Michael Green Architecture’s 35-story Baobab building in Paris, and PLP Architecture’s 80-story addition to the Barbican housing estate in London, point toward a wider adoption of tall and supertall mass timber housing towers. With faster construction times and fabrication that can occur in tandem with permitting, mass timber has the potential to help cities add housing rapidly, safely, and efficiently. Waugh added, “Humanity is becoming more urban, so the principal job of an architect in the 21st century is to develop high-density urban housing. In an era of climate change, it behooves you [as a designer] to reduce the amount of carbon emitted. Again, for us, mass timber is a way to do that.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Spicy!!

These are AN’s best hot takes of 2017
2017 was a tumultuous year for the news, but it was also a controversial one for architecture. We saw many of the same weird 2017 phenomena (social media, privatization, the post-truth) affecting AN and the subjects we cover. Here are some of our most controversial and critical opinion pieces, from the lackluster Chicago Architecture Biennial to the way that media is changing how we see and make architecture. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 posts here). Why are we wrecking our best modernist landscapes? by Audrey Wachs "Just as chokers and platform sandals are cool again, designers are expressing renewed interest in successful 1990s postmodern landscapes, like Wagner Park or Pershing Square. Despite their significance, these parks are now threatened by thoughtless development."

Architects must redesign their profession before technology does

by Phil Bernstein "Since society created the professional class to codify and distribute professional expertise, shouldn’t this trend to democratization be embraced? And since architects design a small percentage of the built environment, isn’t this trend, in theory, all for the good? Should architects cede our authority to algorithms, it’s likely we’ll lose all control and influence over the forces that often reduce great design aspirations to mediocre results."   Five fundamental problems with the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial by Matt Shaw "Some projects were about 'signs' or about 'steel construction,' but that label was more or less the extent of it. There was not much criticality in each individual project, and the overall idea of history seemed to simply be about picking a precedent. Precedent and history are two different things: the former is about legal or argumentative justification, while the second is about all the interesting social, political, and formal ideas. Perhaps the exhibition should have simply been 'Use Precedent (101).'" Splashy renderings hide the flaws of this shipping container house by Mark Hogan "While it would be easy to criticize yet another shipping container project on the basis of it being made out of shipping containers, what is more remarkable is the publicity one can get for renderings of a structure that has no connection to its site or program."   Does architecture have a crisis of ideas? by Matt Shaw "Where are the relevant ideas in architecture? While taking the latest philosophy or digital technology and applying it to architecture is at least a stab in the right direction, what happened to innovative formal ideas, or cultural innovations in architectural form? Where are the radical ideas that might spark our imagination and make us think differently about the discipline and the world in which it exists?"   The town hall as democratic monument: a manifesto by Adam Nathaniel Furman "We are living through what is perceived to be one of our democracy’s most intense crises in generations, which means it is in fact the perfect moment to build monuments to its rebirth. In crisis lies the greatest opportunity for reinvention... It is time for the town hall as a democratic monument: architectural plurality in compositional unity."       What happened to speculation in architecture? by Matt Shaw "While the discipline might be struggling to imagine new ways of living, it is not a boring time for architecture. The world around us is changing quickly, and we can see several new futures simultaneously developing before our eyes. It may not be about predicting or producing new futures, but about reflecting on the present and what plausible near futures could be on the horizon and how they will affect our cities." As the American Dream dies, we must rethink our communities  by Keith Krumwiede "Any new ideas about the way we live, if they are to dislodge us from our long-habituated connection to the single-family detached house, must be accompanied by new architectural models and delivered through compelling new narratives that situate the needs and desires currently manifest in the house within new patterns that make collective life more desirable."   Architects must do more to protect our threatened public lands by Antonio Pacheco "In the same way that architects have led the way in saving architectural relics via support for historic preservation and the National Register of Historic Places—also administered by the Department of the Interior—we must become more vocal in our support for retaining and, in fact, expanding public access to public lands."
Placeholder Alt Text

Neighborhood Boom

2017 Best of Design Awards for Unbuilt – Residential
2017 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt – Residential: 14 White Street Architect: DXA Studio with Nava Location: New York
Located in the Tribeca East Historic District, 14 White Street is a 30,000-square-foot mixed-use building clad in a distinctive patinated copper alloy panel. This contemporary metal envelope establishes a dialogue with the neighboring cast-iron manufacturing buildings through subtle references to proportions, cadence, and texture. Each panel is acid-etched with the very line work used during fabrication. The panel’s angles and resultant etching vary from window to window, capitalizing on the ease of customization in automated digital fabrication and allowing for smaller apertures for private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms, and larger for public areas like living and dining rooms. It will be an ultra-efficient build- ing with high-performance windows and a hyper-insulated rainscreen envelope beneath its metal-clad exterior. "In a city with an increasing number of one-off icons, it's refreshing to see a building that unapologetically situates its inventiveness at the scale of the detail, resulting in an elegant, cohesive whole.” —Eric Bunge, Principal, nArchitects (juror)   Honorable Mention  Project: Long Island City Oyster Architect: Carlos Arnaiz Architects (CAZA)  Location: New York LIC Oyster addresses the imbalance of a high-rise residential boom amidst the steady retreat of manufacturing in NYC, reinterpreting the local aesthetic of brick arches as a shell-shaped development on the Queens Waterfront. LIC Oyster’s built footprint occupies 55 percent of the total site area, leaving a public park measuring over 2.5 acres.   Honorable Mention  Project: Necklace Residence Architect: REX Location: Long Island, New York This residence is organized into a necklace of five homes and three shared pavilions for events, entertainment, and children’s play. The family compound’s exterior is wrapped in mirror glass to make it disappear into the site upon approach, reducing the perception of its large mass. A circular walkway overlooking the courtyard garden connects all the residence’s gems.
Placeholder Alt Text

Layered Design

2017 Best of Design Awards for Representation – Digital
2017 Best of Design Award for Representation – Digital: Three Projects Designer: SPORTS Location: New York Three Projects is a series of 3-D-printed model-drawings that represent three built projects by SPORTS. As hybrid representations, they are a collection of artifacts that unpack the layered and latent nature of the work. Each project—“Runaway,” “Rounds,” and “Stay Down, Champion, Stay Down”—is represented in multiple, highlighting the various layers of visual effects, formal details, and hidden programmatic potentials. The three projects represent a larger design campaign that embraces novelty and discovery in architecture, balancing precision and provocation. “It’s easy for architects to fall into old representational tropes or rely on computer-produced images. I like how the entrants are reimagining what a drawing can be and what it can do. Drawing and thinking are so related that radical representation techniques like this can really transform how we think about what we’re building. ”
—Morris Adjmi, principal, Morris Adjmi Architects (juror) Design and Fabrication: Greg Corso + Molly Hunker Honorable Mention Project: MIDDLE EARTH: DIORAMAS FOR THE PLANET Designer: NEMESTUDIO Location: Conceptual Middle Earth: Dioramas for the Planet explores the role of architectural representation in relation to climate change through dioramas depicting nature. The project is a speculative architectural proposal situated at the exact location on Earth where the equator crosses the prime meridian near the Gulf of Guinea, Africa. Each diorama displays a specific problem brought by climate change taking place at the "middle of the earth." Honorable Mention  Project: New Cadavre Exquis Designer: NEMESTUDIO Location: Conceptual New Cadavre Exquis speculates on architecture’s materiality in the context of digital accumulation, a critical reflection of global culture. The project consists of four architectural assemblies, which are created via a sampling process of digital ready-mades ranging from everyday objects and building elements to primitive forms and natural features culled from the 3-D Warehouse, an online open-source digital library of more than two million 3-D models.
Placeholder Alt Text

Outrageous!

The 12 best architecture controversies of 2017
As 2017 fades away, we look back at some of the controversies and debates that stirred up the waters. Here are our most memorable, outrageous topics of the year. We love it when our readers respond and add to the conversation! (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here.) Pier 55 It was dragged through the courts. It lived. It was taken back in, only to be killed again. Less than two months later, Pier 55 was resurrected for good, ending one of the most entertaining public spectacles of 2017, an epic troll-fest that had two of the city's richest men running to almost every New York paper to leak informationdrop disses, and escalate their mutual antipathy with a vigor rivaled only by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s pettiness. An October deal between stakeholders and opponents assures that key parts of Hudson River Park will be rebuilt, and the governor has promised state money for these projects. Zillow's legal crusade against McMansion Hell Back in June, real estate site Zillow told Kate Wagner, creator of popular architecture blog McMansion Hell, that she had violated Zillow's terms of use on her blog and warned she had just days to delete all offending images from McMansion Hell. When Wagner posted the shocking letter online, architecture Twitter brought the roof of wrath crashing down on Zillow. Just two days and one threat later,  Zillow backed off its legal claims, allowing us to resume laughing at and learning from the nubs and weird turrets of suburban America's mega-homes. The fake architect This year, Paul J. Newman, 49, president and sole employee of architecture firm Cohesion Studios, pled guilty to posing as a licensed New York state architect for work on multiple projects, including an Albany, New York senior center and townhouse developments in the Capital Region. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office dubbed its two-year investigation “Operation Vandelay Industries,” a nod to the fake company George Costanza invented on Seinfeld to collect unemployment benefits. In September, Newman was sentenced to a maximum of seven years in prison in Saratoga County, New York, with more arraignments to follow. Building Trump's border wall In late February, the Department of Homeland Security announced it was accepting bids for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, and the first prototypes for this highly controversial project were revealed in October. Beyond its dubious efficacy and shaky moral foundation, the wall's construction will also destroy wildlife preserves and homes in Texas and possibly other states. Trump tax plan guts Historic Tax Credit The House’s tax plan eliminates the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), an important revitalization tool for municipalities across the country. The Senate’s rules are only slightly better: Its bill would spread out the current 20 percent credit for recognized historic structures over five years, and eliminate the ten percent credit for buildings erected before 1936. When the bill (officially known as Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) went into conference early this month, the AIA said it would lobby hard against the proposed HTC cuts. The sinking Millennium Tower The 58-story Millennium Tower, designed by Handel Architects, has sunk nearly 17 inches since its opening in 2009. Recently, engineers with Arup—employed to work on the currently under-construction Salesforce Tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects next door—inspected the Millennium Tower’s rooftop height and found that the tower had sunk an additional 2 ½ inches beyond the initial 14 ½–inch drop recorded last year. Troublingly, the tower is not only sinking, but it is sinking unevenly, resulting in a measurable slant to the 645-foot-tall complex. As the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way, it continues to tilt precariously toward the Salesforce Tower. Whoops. The Oculus leaks Last year, we asked architects what they thought of Santiago Calatrava's Oculus, the train station in a mall near the World Trade Center. Besides its grand spindly dino bone shape and horrific interior detailing, leaks in the ceiling deposit puddles on the marble floors, and these slippery surfaces have sent multiple people to the hospital. Not only that, a malfunctioning escalator injured two passengers in April. It may prove to be an iconic transit hub, but watch your step for now. The Raiders hoof it to Las Vegas This year, National Football League (NFL) owners approved the Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas, heralding what could be the final play in the nearly two-year-long drama that has unfolded as several West Coast teams reshuffle hometowns. Las Vegas city officials courted the Raiders for months, offering $750 million in public financing for the team’s Manica Architecture–designed $1.9 billion (yes) stadium proposal. The 65,000 seat stadium—a recycled scheme left over from the team’s attempt to move to Carson, California last year—features a large-scale, retractable side wall that would allow the stadium to become partially open-air. In May, the team purchased a 62-acre site for their future stadium, but it can't move into its new digs until 2020, an awkward situation given the emotionally fraught pre-move negotiations. Zumthor's LACMA scheme The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's (LACMA) $600 million expansion by Atelier Zumthor's will demolish the entirety of the existing William Pereira–designed campus, including a 1986 addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer done in the postmodern style. The proposed changes would leave in place the 2008 Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum addition as well as the Japanese Pavilion by Bruce Goff from 1988. Despite the 390,000-square-foot expansion's hefty price tag and the sacrifice of several key works of late modern and postmodern architecture, Zumthor’s proposal will generate a net loss in gallery space for LACMA. Instead, the new museum will be designed as a singular mega-gallery carved up into differently-sized rooms. Plans call for the proposal to undergo further review over the next several months, and construction is expected to begin sometime in late 2018. Monument removal After white nationalists provoked violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and amid a national climate of heightened bigotry, cities and towns across the county are re-evaluating their public monuments. With little fanfare, under the cover of night, the City of Baltimore took down four Confederate monuments in August. After protests, New York City established an independent commission this fall to review the city’s public monuments for "symbols of hate." Other monuments are being tried in the court of public opinion: Is Christopher Columbus an Italian hero, or an imperialist monster? What about Teddy Roosevelt? The weight of history bears heavily on these questions. Zaha's sidelined Manhattan supertall The major redevelopment of the Kushner Companies' 666 Fifth Avenue building by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is stalled for good. Kushner’s partner on the project, Vornado Realty Trust, has decided to simply renovate the site’s existing structure. Kushner’s original plan with ZHA called for stripping the current building down to its steel core and extending it up into a 1,400-foot-tall slender cigarette of a tower. 'Hands off my Johnson' Architects took to the streets to protest changes to the AT&T Building, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic postmodern tower. Among other changes, the Snøhetta-led redo would glass in the building's signature 110-foot-tall arched stone entryway. Denise Scott Brown, Sean Griffiths, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Paul Goldberger, and others took to AN's pages to weigh in on the design (TL;DR glassing in the base is clearly a bad idea). Thanks to activists' efforts, the pomo marvel on Madison Avenue is now up for landmarking.
Placeholder Alt Text

Twice as Nice

2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Midwest
2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Midwest: Kent State Center For Architecture and Environmental Design Architect: WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Location: Kent, Ohio

The Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design is a beacon for the university’s creative research-based programs. A continuous gallery anchors the building’s main public level and opens to a new pathway between the university and recently revitalized downtown Kent. The ascending sequence of ground-floor spaces includes a cafe, a gallery, a 200-seat multipurpose lecture room, a library, classrooms, and reading areas. An expansive 650-seat design studio forms the heart of the program. The tiered arrangement of studios informs the massing of the building, which bridges the institutional and residential scales of its neighbors.

Stairways activate the north and south facades, and glazing along the north facade brings light into the studios and provides panoramic views. The color and texture of the iron-spot brick facade and custom brick fins, fired locally in a beehive kiln, adopt the vernacular of the surrounding campus and city.

"It is impressive that the Midwest continues to be at the front of the pack when it comes to high-quality educational buildings, and these two—and architecture school and a dorm—are indicative of this phenomenon. The dorms have a subtle yet articulated facade that expresses the care that went into an otherwise quotidian structure. The architecture school is a beautiful place to work I am sure for students, and it blends into the landscape in an interesting way."Matt Shaw, senior editor, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) Architect, MEP/FP of Record: Richard L. Bowen + Associates MEP/FP Design Engineer: Jaros, Baum & Bolles Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti Civil Engineer: Resources International Lighting Designer: Lighting Workshop Landscape Architect of Record: Knight & Stolar Fire Protection: Dynamix Engineering 2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Midwest: University of Chicago, Campus North Residential Commons Architect: Studio Gang Location: Chicago

Featuring a mix of student residences, dining amenities, classrooms, retail, and green spaces, the Campus North Residential Commons is designed as a welcoming new portal to the University of Chicago. The design situates three bar buildings in an urban fabric of inviting outdoor spaces, defining a new quadrangle in a previously ill-defined area of campus. The buildings are scaled to their context: The tallest structure fronts a busy thoroughfare; the shortest structure is attuned to the neighborhood. The precast concrete facades reinterpret the campus’s traditional neo-Gothic limestone buildings.

Supporting the University’s House system, which forms communities of students from different years to bolster social and academic success, the buildings are organized around three-story “House hubs,” cozy, home-like spaces where undergraduates can gather. Altogether, the project enriches the academic experience by encouraging exchange among students and strengthening their ties to the surrounding community.

Design-builder: Mortenson Construction

Associate architect: Hanbury Structural engineering dbHMS, MEP/FP: Magnusson Klemencic Associates Landscape architect: Terry Guen Design Associates
Placeholder Alt Text

Sandy Legacies

Five years later, AN considers Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New York’s built environment
Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City almost five years ago today. Since then, the built environment has undergone substantial changes. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reflects on those first few months post-Sandy, and looks at some initiatives that are reshaping the city to withstand future storms. Shortly after the storm, AN editors reflected on the extent of the infrastructural damage in a heatless Tribeca office. Though uncomfortable, the office was more habitable than many coastal neighborhoods, including Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Breezy Point, a Queens neighborhood at the tip of the Rockaway peninsula that was gutted by fire. In NYCHA developments citywide, 80,000 tenants were without heat or electricity for weeks, the result of floodwaters that topped 11 feet. After assessing the scale of destruction, FEMA updated its flood maps, a reflection of the epic scale of destruction, adding 35,000 structures to Zone A, areas most likely to be impacted in a major storm. The total scale of the loss was great; in New York and New Jersey, 182 people died, and the Northeast coastline sustained $65 billion in damages. In the months afterward, the Department of City Planning presented a guide to storm-proofing buildings. A little more than a year later, the Department of Buildings released building codes for new residential construction and apartments over five stories to make it easier for people to stay in their homes in the event of a severe storm. Architecture for Humanity and AIA New York rallied designers to help with relief efforts, and Garrison Architects was just one firm to answer the call to action. The architects, known for sustainable modular buildings, erected a prefabricated emergency housing prototype in downtown Brooklyn that still stands today. In June 2013, state, local, and national stakeholders launched Rebuild By Design, a federal competition to design more resilient coastline in New York City and the tri-state area.  In August 2013, then-HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced 69 rebuilding initiatives designed to stitch New York's built environment back together and prepare infrastructure for future floods. Flooding put the subways out of commission, and repairs to the heavily damaged L train tunnel will suspend Brooklyn-to-Manhattan service for 18 months, starting next year. The storm exposed the vulnerability of New York's aging infrastructure, but it also created a space for art and reflection. Situ Studio salvaged boardwalk planks from New York and New Jersey for Heartwalk, its Times Square Valentine's Day installation. MoMA PS1 opened a pop-up geodesic exhibition space in the Rockaways in April 2013 as part of EXPO 1: NEW YORK, showing museum-solicited ideas on transforming the city's waterfront.  Architect Roderick Wolgamott-Romero built a massive treehouse from Sandy-felled oaks at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

. . .

This is by no means a comprehensive look at the thousands of initiatives, local and national, that have shaped the city in the five years after Hurricane Sandy. Below, we scan some initiatives that are remaking the built environment. For housing, Build It Back is one of the city's key programs to quickly rebuild dwellings in waterside neighborhoods post-Sandy. So far, the city reports its Build It Back program has completed repairs on around 7,200 structures, or 87 percent of the housing in the program. Since its launch in 2013, the program has rebuilt almost 1,400 of the most severely damaged homes, raising them on stilts above the floodplain. Another 6,500 homeowners, many without flood insurance, received reimbursements for repairs and technical support. “As we near the end of the Build It Back program, we are continuing to make steady progress," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, in prepared remarks. "We have succeeded in getting more than 10,000 families back in safe and resilient homes and stronger communities. We have more work to do, and this program will not be done until every family is home.” Though the city is close to reaching its goals, last year the program's creator slammed Build It Back as a "categorical failure," largely because it didn't get residents back in their homes quick enough. "After the multi-billion dollar rebuilding process ends, neighborhoods will see a hodgepodge of housing types: elevations, demolitions, in-kind repairs—is that the best outcome?"asked Brad Gair, former head of the mayor's Housing Recovery Operations, at a July 2016 hearing. "Have the billions invested in infrastructure projects to reduce flood risk made our coastlines safer?" DNAinfo reported that Gair questioned the government's capacity to set up "what amounts to a multi-billion dollar corporation" in a few months to speedily re-home people. At that time, Mayor de Blasio stated that the program's work would be complete by the end of 2016. Today the Daily News reported that almost one-fifth of the 12,000-plus families in the program are still waiting for a buyout or work to wrap up on their properties.

. . .

All along the city's 520 miles of coastline, new dunes, bulkheads, and sea walls are intended to prevent the catastrophic flooding that characterized Sandy. Even with the latest interventions, is New York City really prepared for another superstorm? While offering hope for a more resilient future, new climate projections sow doubt on the city's viability over the next century and beyond. A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that floods that with a high-water mark of 7.4 feet could hit the city once every 25 years, and the same level of floods could come as frequently as every five years between 2030 and 2045. Superstorms could be more intense, but modeling indicates that they would move further offshore. In response, the city is tackling the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, a plan to flood-proof Manhttan's east side. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is erecting flood protection on Staten Island's east shore, and it is planning to build a barrier in Jamaica Bay, Queens. The Governor's Office of Storm Recovery is spearheading the Tottenville Shoreline Protection Project and Living Breakwaters, two resiliency strategies at the southern tip of Staten Island. None of these massive projects have yet broken ground.
Placeholder Alt Text

Big Tent

Highlights from L.A.’s socially-driven Facades+ conference
The Facades+ Los Angeles conference took place last week in Downtown Los Angeles, bringing together technical innovators, socially-driven practitioners, and visionary academics to discuss some of the most resonant topics facing architecture today. Here are some highlights from the event’s first day. The conference opened with remarks from City of Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub, who elaborated on the city's ongoing public improvement projects. Weintraub’s office is involved with many key regional projects, including the First and Broadway Park and the restoration of the Los Angeles River. Many of the day’s discussions straddled architects’ multi-faceted approach to addressing the region’s ongoing housing crisis. Opening keynote speaker Stanley Saitowitz of Natoma Architects motioned toward the crisis in his opening keynote, which touched on the frustrating state of affairs relative to building high-density infill housing in apartment-starved cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Nevertheless, Saitowitz vowed to push forward with his desire to provide “freedom of occupation” for city inhabitants through new apartment dwellings. The architect explained that he pursues this vision via an emphasis on the open plan and integrated service cores in his projects. The resulting unit arrangements allow for occupants to enjoy “better flooring, nicer kitchens, and more glass” in each apartment, Saitowitz explained. The architect chronicled several of his office’s most controversial high-rises, including the Palladium Towers in Los Angeles and several San Francisco– and Chicago-based projects. It is no coincidence that as rents and property values have skyrocketed across the region, more and more people are finding themselves homeless. Luckily, architects are leading housing justice discussions, especially those working with organizations like nonprofit housing developer Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) to develop affordable, well-designed social housing. The Architect’s Newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief William Menking led a panel discussion with Mike Alvidrez of the SRHT, Angela Brooks of Brooks+Scarpa, and Nathan Bishop of Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA) that discussed architects’ efforts at crafting thoughtful and impactful supportive housing projects. During the discussion, Alvidrez explained that SRHT’s projects were widely used to promote a recent ballot initiative aimed at raising taxes to fund more housing development and assistance. By pursuing a “housing-first” model that focuses social services on re-housing individuals first and foremost, SRHT has been able to spread design quality to over 1,800 inhabitants in projects as varied as Brooks+Scarpa's The Six and Michael Maltzan Architecture’s Crest Apartments. During the talk, Brooks described the social mission of the project as being focused on shared spaces, economy of structure, and sustainability. The discussion was a precursor for the afternoon keynote, which featured KEA principals Julie Eizenberg and Nathan Bishop discussing L.A.’s vernacular apartment types. Their discussion covered the quirks of apartment design in Los Angeles, which is guided predominantly by density restrictions and car parking requirements. The talk sought to situate the firm’s work amid a backdrop of increasing urbanization and density, especially the firm’s 500 Broadway project, which features 249 market-rate residences and is organized as a group of four buildings structured by prefabricated steel moment frames that allow for greater flexibility in placing interior partitions. These socially-driven discussions were bookended by a technically-driven examination of SOM’s new Los Angeles United States District Courthouse by Jose Luis Palacios, Keith Boswell, and Garth Ramsey of SOM. The project utilizes a dynamic, accordion-fold facade to maximize daylighting and minimize heat gain while also formally projecting democratic ideals regarding the nature of public space, justice, and building craft. The presenters focused on the beneficial aspects of the design-build nature of the project, a process with fostered conceptual and material innovation with regards to the building envelope and the architects’ overall seismic strategies. Later in the day, the Scholars and Skins discussion with Doris Sung of DO-SU Studio, Satoru Sugihara of ATLV, and Alvin Huang of Synthesis Design and Architecture covered myriad new developments in dynamic, technologically-focused material and formal innovation. Sung described her firm’s work with layered metal sheets that self-assemble and move into various shapes with the use of heat and sunlight. Sugihara focused his discussion on his firm’s facade work with high-technology and sustainability-focused firms like Morphosis. Huang detailed designs for a pavilion his firm designed for car manufacturer Volvo that utilizes a curving skin to create space and shelter. Huang described his treatment of the project's skin as “a canvas—everything has joints and patterning. There is no such thing as a monolithic surface.” The day’s events closed out with a talk by Alice Kimm of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK) that focused on the potential for so-called “selfie-architecture” to impact urban spaces. Kimm explained that as cities like Los Angeles grow, their reach will be buoyed by the proliferation of the images created by inhabitants and visitors of its streets and iconic structures. Missed the Los Angeles Facades+ conference? Meet The Architect's Newspaper in Seattle December 8th for the next conference installment. See the Facades+ website for more information.