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Let There Be Light

Foster + Partners wins competition to update the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Foster + Partners has been selected to design the future expansion and remodeling of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum in northern Spain. The team entered into an international competition in collaboration with local studio LM Urirate Arkitektura S.L.P under a pseudonym, and the winning proposal beat our six other design teams due to its respect for the existing architecture on-site. The 105-year-old institution has undergone two major renovations since first opening in the center of the city—it’s situated between an urban park and major plaza and surrounded by both aging buildings and new construction. Foster + Partners teamed up with Luis María Uriarte, who worked on the 2001 expansion, under the collective name of “Agravitas.” Their vision to update the historic space will re-orient it towards the city, and add over 21,500-square-feet of new galleries within an open and flexible floor plan.  According to Norman Foster, the heart of the project will be making the original 1945 building the central focus of the museum. They aim to freshen up its plaza-facing facade and enhance the structure’s permeability by building a new sun-lit lobby between the thin, brick building and the 1970s addition in the rear.  “Our design will restore the existing mid-twentieth century building and setting to its original glory,” said Norman Foster in a statement, “[and] create a new publicly accessible atrium space and add major new galleries for contemporary art in a floating pavilion.”  In true Foster + Partner’s style, this stacked piece of architecture will appear lightweight and fluid, with terraces on its western edge. On the outside of the museum towards the park, the slender addition will create a large overhang where visitors can gather underneath in the shade. In the atrium, which will be built over the exterior Plaza Arriaga, a massive skylight will stream natural light from the roof of the pavilion. The circular window will cut through each level to maximize views of the art below.  “Technological in its image, humanistic in its approach and ecological in its sustainability, the proposal combines architectural quality, urban sensitivity, and social responsibility to raise a luminous landmark in the historic heart of Bilbao,” the jury said in an official statement. This isn’t the first project Foster + Partners have done for the city of Bilbao. In 1995, the firm completed the Metro Bilbao Station, an understated but ultimately iconic glass canopy that leads commuters to an expansive underground.  No estimated date of completion for the project has been given yet.
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In Memorium

Remembering César Pelli
The death of César Pelli at 92 on July 19 marked the end of an era. Yet the firm he headed with Fred Clarke and his son Rafael Pelli continues, with dozens of important and innovative projects underway. Pelli’s modest demeanor belied the fact that he and his partners designed over 300 buildings and 68 unrealized or theoretical projects. The best known built works are the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (briefly the tallest buildings in the world), the colorful glass-skinned Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, the complex Cleveland Clinic, the American Embassy in Tokyo, and the recent Salesforce Tower and Transit Center in San Francisco (the tallest building there). In New York, they built the 1977-84 addition to the Museum of Modern Art and its residential tower, the World Financial Center—now dubbed Brookfield Place—in Battery Park City, the unusually contextual Carnegie Hall Tower, the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building in downtown Brooklyn, and the pioneeringly energy-efficient Verdesian apartment building in Battery Park City, along with numerous other buildings that fit into their surroundings so well that they are not easily recognized. An office building for Trinity Church on Wall Street, the Yale Biology Building, the one-million-square-foot Bulfinch Crossing in Boston, a Natural History Museum in Chengdu, China, the Google Tower in Austin, Texas, and 3.3-million-square-foot Union Park in Toronto are among dozens of buildings underway now. Given the size of the practice, the complexity of its projects, their international range, size, scale, and sensitivity to place, it is surprising that the work of Pelli Clark Pelli has not received more critical attention. It is not something the partners sought. Doing innovative work and treating colleagues well has always been the firm’s priorities. César Pelli was one of architecture’s real artists and intellectuals. He was born in the medium-sized city of San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, where one of the most innovative architecture schools in the world opened just before he matriculated. His father, Victor Pelli, was an innovative tinkerer who loved to make things. His mother. Theresa Pelli was a professor at Resistencia, who taught alongside the mother of the woman César would eventually marry, Diana Balmori. They got to know one another in architecture school, and then applied to various graduate programs together around the world. They ended up moving to the United States, where César earned a Master’s degree at the University of Illinois. It was not easy. Other young Argentinians they knew soon returned home. Diana once told me that they sold their wedding presents to make ends meet, but that fact that she spoke excellent English helped. Then, César’s professor recommended that he join the very busy office of Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. That move was not easy for Diana either, who had two young sons, but it was there, on the lush Cranbrook campus, that she developed an interest in landscape design. Saarinen’s office, enriched by the opportunity to design the $100 million, 320-acre General Motors Design Center, had attracted talented young architects from all over the world. César soon became the one Saarinen trusted with some of his most challenging projects. The firm was thriving with numerous enticing commissions. Eero had recently remarried journalist and architecture critic Aline Bernstein Saarinen, who wanted to move to the East Coast where her career, and increasingly Eero’s, was centered. Lonely in Michigan, she often invited the Pellis to join them for lunch. But soon after the birth of their son Eames, Eero developed a brain tumor and died within days. The firm moved to New Haven as planned to finish his work. César was in charge of two of the most challenging projects: the proto-postmodern Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale, which imaginatively acknowledged Gothic Revival buildings nearby, and the TWA Terminal at JFK (then Idlewild) Airport in New York, which has now been restored and turned into the centerpiece of a new hotel. When Saarinen’s work was completed, some associates formed a successor firm, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Partners, but the Pellis instead moved to the booming Los Angeles. César went to work first for the pragmatic commercial firm, Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall from 1965 through 1968, then to Gruen Associates from 1968 through 1976, often collaborating with young talented international architects he had known at the Saarinen firm, such as Anthony J. Lumsden. By the mid-70s, Pelli, who had been teaching part-time at UCLA, decided he would like to work in architectural education. He was offered deanships at UCLA, Harvard, and Yale, that last being where he moved in 1977 and had been living ever since. Soon he was invited to expand the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, so he opened the original Cesar Pelli & Associates office in New Haven, which continued to grow after he stepped down as Yale dean in 1984, but which still operates on an open-minded academic model. Over the years, Pelli worked on and off with Balmori, who herself developed an innovative practice in landscape design. She died in 2016. César Pelli is survived by sons Rafael and Denis, as well as dozens of colleagues, friends, clients, former students, and admirers. His legacy is enormous.
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On Mexican SO - IL

SO - IL is building a social housing prototype in the heart of Mexico
For many in Mexico, the phrase “social housing” conjures images of vast housing tracts falling into disrepair, abandoned by workers tired of two-hour commutes. While architects and planners look back to understand what went wrong in the country’s early-2000s push to build affordable housing on city outskirts, authorities and designers are also looking ahead to explore alternative strategies. The Municipal Housing Institute (IMUVI) of León, a city of 1.6 million people in the central state of Guanajuato, invited Brooklyn firm SO – IL to collaborate on the design of a new prototype for social housing in the city’s center, and the team broke ground on the result, the Las Américas project, in May. Designed for low-income families, the building includes 56 apartments, most of which will be sold at far-below-market rates. Guanajuato is traditionally known for its artisanal leatherworking, but more recently, rapid growth in the auto-manufacturing industry has transformed the region; León’s population has doubled since the 1980s. Like many Mexican cities, it grew outward, with limited government planning. Some new arrivals built informal settlements on the city edges or, with access to credit, bought into exurban subdivisions. IMUVI faces two monumental tasks: regularizing the informal settlements, which requires extending utility services and other infrastructure and building housing for those who still need it. According to Amador Rodríguez, director of IMUVI León, 45 percent of the city’s residents don’t have access to federal housing credit or traditional bank loans. Rodríguez estimates that the city needs another 80,000 housing units to meet the demand. Instead of building more units on the outskirts, far from schools, jobs, and services, IMUVI has committed to densifying the city center. Working with SO – IL, IMUVI identified a lot in a downtown neighborhood to build Las Américas, a 62,431-square-foot complex of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. SO – IL’s partnership with IMUVI began when Florian Idenburg, the firm’s Dutch co-founder, was invited to Mexico to share his experience with the firm’s New York City micro-housing project tiNY, lessons from which informed Las Américas. “Affordability should not go against quality,” said Idenburg. “And one of the qualities that is very important to us is light.” Thanks to single-loaded open-air corridors, the apartments in Las Américas receive natural light from at least two sides. No two units directly face each other, maintaining both density and privacy. The housing block wraps around two shared courtyards, while openings in the building’s mass create additional, elevated common spaces. Exterior stairwells link each level. Idenburg said these features foster interaction between neighbors and a sense of community. “It was very refreshing to work with this team in León,” Idenburg said. Even with a limited budget, he said, there are opportunities for customization in Mexico that can lend character to what could otherwise be a uniform building. The team worked with local fabricators to develop a precast concrete brick that can be installed in different positions, creating a variety of wall textures for the apartments. “We made really nice custom windows that are hand-welded,” he added. “You probably wouldn’t be able to do that in the United States because of cost.” The design process included workshops and meetings in León to understand the needs of low-income families. SO – IL worked pro bono on the project. “It was a very productive collaboration,” said Idenburg. “Everything was very collective.” While construction continues, IMUVI is identifying families to move into Las Américas. Out of a total of 56 apartments, 44 will be priced at just under half a million Mexican pesos (about $25,000), the legal limit for a social housing unit. The remaining 12 units will be available at market price to families with federal Infonavit (workers’ housing) credit. “I hope other people will see our project and think it is possible to achieve density and affordability in the city center,” Idenburg said. Finding central but affordable lots is an ongoing challenge for agencies like IMUVI, but Idenburg hopes Las Américas can become a model for social housing in city centers and inspire projects in developing economies facing similar conditions.
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Oh Sugar Sugar

PAU reinvents the center of a complex postindustrial waterfront
The conversion of a 137-year-old sugar factory into a contemporary office complex requires a delicate touch when the building is landmarked—and even more so when it’s the heart of a complex, 11-acre riverfront master plan. The Domino Sugar Factory sits along the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn on a SHoP Architects' master-planned redevelopment which also includes the James Corner Field Operations–designed Domino Park, SHoP’s doughnut-shaped 325 Kent, and COOKFOX’s mixed-use 1 South First. The facade of the Domino Sugar Factory is landmarked, but the interior, a tangle of sugar refining machinery, much of which acted as support infrastructure, was not. So, when Two Trees tapped Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) to helm the factory’s conversion, the studio proposed a radical solution. Rather than renovate the building, they would instead stabilize the historic brick facade, and drop in an entirely new structure with a glass curtain wall. “The original building has a simplicity and muscularity,” Chakrabarti, told AN, but the building's American Round Arch style arched windows rarely line up across floors and are a variety of different sizes. That meant that using standardized floor plates that touched the landmarked facade was infeasible. Separating the brick walls from the new structure negated the issue. By nesting the new building inside the old one, PAU has created a 10- to 12-foot-wide “breezeway” between the two that allows light to permeate all the way to the ground floor. This also affords each floor a different view of the facade. All of the original windows in the historic facade will be removed, creating a shell that will surround the new building, which will be stabilized with steel supports extending from the new structure. Chakrabarti, who helped lead the master plan while a partner at SHoP, described the site as a bridge between the past and the future, and the design fully embraces that philosophy. The glass topper that rises above the original factory’s roofline (but sticks below the smokestack facing Kent Avenue) consists of structurally-glazed mullions and heavily articulated glass at regular intervals. The barrel-shaped roof is reminiscent of an industrial skylight, but while it was a clear reference, the team didn’t want the contemporary addition to be too industrial nor compete with the heaviness of the surrounding brick. Rather than thinking of the building as having traditional front and back entrances—pitting Williamsburg versus the East River waterfront—PAU lowered the bottom all of the windows on the first floor of the brick facade to the ground, creating a permeable membrane and allowing the public to pass through. According to PAU, merging from the hardscape on Kent Street to River Street and Domino Park fulfills the pledge that SHoP made in the master plan to “pull” River Street out toward the public. While no tenants have signed on to occupy the offices yet, Chakrabarti expects that the building will attract creative industries thanks to the unique atmosphere. No completion date for construction on the Domino Sugar Factory conversion has been given yet, but interior demolition is ongoing.
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Nothing But Net

The Cayton Children's Museum turns an L.A. mall into a playscape
395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 374 Santa Monica, CA 424-416-8320 The 21,000-square-foot Cayton Children’s Museum is a new multilevel experience curated to engage children with the physical world. OFFICEUNTITLED (formerly R&A Design), a Culver City, California–based firm, has designed a space for children to explore unhindered, as the nets, colorful palette, costume lockers, full-size helicopter and firetruck, and even a wall covered in pool noodles are all intended to spur tactile interaction without requiring constant adult supervision. The museum is on the third floor of the open-air Santa Monica Place mall, an adaptive reuse project on the top floor of the Frank Gehry-designed building. Despite being titled as a children's museum, the space provides a welcome respite for parents and children alike. However, if visitors walk past the enormous aardvark carved from plywood that houses the reception desk, they’ll find the “Courage Climber,” an entire level made from nets, which only children can access and that spans 20 percent of the museum’s footprint. Other architecturally scaled objects house the museum’s various non-exhibition programmatic elements such as ticketing and security, including the “Armadillo, Porcupine, Onion, Egg, Houses and Drum.” The space is broken into five exhibition “neighborhoods” with distinct educational elements. Launch Your is a space for zero-to-two-year-old children to explore different topological arrangements through touch and is intended to help them strengthen their coordination. In Let’s Help, children can explore what it means to be a farmer, veterinarian, or first responder. The Together We section has been stocked with exhibitions meant to promote group activities and team building. In Reach for, visitors can stretch their legs and climb all over the web of nets. Finally, things slow down in Reflect On, where children are encouraged to take a more contemplative attitude about the world and consider how they can better connect with nature. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $14, but the museum will be free for low-income families during the first year.
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Precious Pine

Francis Kéré completes timber pavilion at remote Tippet Rise Art Center
After seeing Francis Kéré’s Louisiana Canopy installation at the Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art, Cathy and Peter Halstead were inspired to commission the Berlin-based architect to add a piece to their vast Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana. A few years on and Xylem, a piece developed in Louisiana, is now complete in Tippet Rise. The art center is home to a number of monumental art pieces, including three large concrete works by Madrid-based architects Ensamble Studio and a complex wooden construction by the New York-based artist Stephen Talasnik. While Tippet Rise stretches over 12,000 acres across southwest Montana’s broad, high plains, Xylem is located on one of the property's few intimate spaces. Rather than site the project on the top of a butte or at the base of a canyon, like many of the other monumental art pieces throughout the art center, Kéré’s pavilion sits nestled amid a stand of cottonwoods and aspens along the bubbling Grove Creek. Unlike the rest of the center’s collection, Xylem is meant to have a specific function as a gathering area for guests and a performance space for artists. “The Louisiana project was the inspiration for Cathy and Peter,” explained Kéré while walking through the new pavilion, “but Louisiana was in a museum, in a room, enclosed, protected. Here was have this landscape, which can be windy, hot, with a lot of snow. What can you do?” Kéré’s solution involved sourcing hardy local materials and playing with form and light, all while working to understand the clients' wish for an intimate, yet accessible, space. The 60-foot-diameter pavilion is comprised of thousands of linear feet of ponderosa and lodgepole pine logs. Each log was sustainably sourced from the nearby forests that had been ravaged by invasive mountain pine beetle or wildfires. Once stripped of their bark, the logs were cut to length and bound together to produce the bulk of the pavilion. These large masses of timber make up a series of lounging surfaces, as well as the expansive cantilevering canopy and the column cladding.  That canopy is comprised of specially configured hexagonal bundles suspended from an AECOM-engineered steel frame. This seemingly straightforward construction method has been the focus of Kéré’s office for a number of years and involves a title collaboration between architect and craftspeople. For Xylem, Kéré worked with local architects of record Gunnstock Timber Frames, who also served as wood fabricators for the project. Gunnstock Timber Frames is also responsible for the other buildings on the Tippet Rise main campus. Spaces for small groups or individuals were shaped and carved into the masses of logs as if they were a single volume, providing a cool space to sit and lounge in any number of positions.  The smoothed wood formations are dappled with light throughout the day, as sunlight slips between the gaps in the bundles of overhead timber and the steel frame. The careful positioning of the pavilion also directs views out to the often-dramatic setting sun, while maintaining a sense of enclosure in other directions. In its current state, the freshly constructed pavilion emits a fresh pine scent, which adds to the pleasant experience of being in the naturalistic surroundings. “The first instinct is not to consider this plot, why not build out there,” said Kéré as he discussed the siting of the pavilion with AN, while pointing out to the vast landscape. “We realized though, we had a chance to deal with this site, and respect the trees, and even to increase the feeling you have while listing to the water. Here you can focus on the sunset.”  
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Fincinnati

FC Cincinnati's stadium redesign will be wrapped in 513 glowing fins
An array of fins will now ensconce FC Cincinnati's soccer field, to be called the West End Stadium, after a total redesign from stadia specialists Populous that replaces the ETFE pillow facade previously proposed for the project. A total of 513 fins—a total of 5.4 miles—will be used to wrap stadium's facade, angled incrementally to create an undulating wave formation on the exterior (513 also happens to be Cincinnati's telephone code number). Each fin will be approximately two-to-three inches wide and 18 inches deep, situated in a way to provide a view into the stadium when viewed head-on and a more solid appearance when viewed down the length of the building’s façade. As with the previous incarnation of the stadium, which was designed by a team lead by Meis Architects, LED lighting has been proposed. With Populous' design, LEDs will illuminate each fin, allowing the stadium to glow at night for events, and will most likely be blue and orange as per FC Cincinnati's jersey colors. To make this happen, the LED lighting system will be integrated into the leading edge of each vertical element to create ambient light and experiential graphics predominantly along the building’s eastern-facing facade. Lighting operators will have to be careful not to follow in the footsteps of Bayern Munich FC in Germany, where multiple car accidents have been caused by the changing colors of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Allianz Arena's ETFE facade. FC Cincinnati's west facade, on the other hand, will utilize more glazing in order to balance the relationship to the surrounding neighborhood. When asked why the team was changing direction in realizing the new stadium, an FC Cincinnati representative provided the following statement: "Meis’ designs provided a great foundation for us and got us going down a design path that would deliver Cincinnati a truly unique stadium, which was important to us and one of the goals of this project. However, as we reached a critical point in our construction path, we decided to bring in Populous who had far greater resources behind them to ensure the project met ownership’s goals of delivering a state-of-the-art stadium on-time, on-budget and with an iconic look and feel." "Our goal was to create the jewel of the Queen City’s crown," Jonathan Mallie, a partner at Populous who led the current project's design, told The Architect's Newspaper. "The twisting motion of the vertically expressed fins speaks to the dynamics of the match and the tension between the two teams about to take to the pitch." Six entrance gates have been proposed for the stadium, though the main staircase will take Orange and Blue fans on a grand precession from Central Parkway, rising 30 feet in the process. "Several MLS teams have unique traditions —FC Cincinnati’s supporters have an incredible march to the match," said Mallie. "Their energy builds as fans approach the stadium. We were captivated by their presence - you hear the noise, you see vibrant orange and blue, you sense their excitement and passion for the team. Our aim... was to funnel the energy of the fan base as it ascends up the plaza staircase and underneath the exterior façade which gently hovers above." This atmosphere will be brought into and enhanced inside the stadium, too. Space has been allocated for 3,100 safe-standing seats in The Bailey, a designated home fan section that spans the stadium's entire north end. More lessons from Germany: safe standing has proved to be hugely successful, particularly in the case of Borussia Dortmund, where the spectacle of a "yellow wall" can be observed on match days. If you can, go, it's truly exhilarating. FC Cincinnati's decision to integrate safe standing is a progressive move, one that admittedly won't match Dortmund but will go a long way to bolstering the oh-so cherished stadium atmosphere. Even those sitting down can get in on the action, as the closest seat will be just 15 feet from the playing field, with the furthest being 130 feet away in the upper tier. The total stadium capacity has yet to be finalized but will be around 26,000, with every seat being protected by a canopy roof.

FC Cincinnati was founded in 2016. In a sign of remarkable progress, the West End Stadium is scheduled to open in March 2021, even with the design team switch.

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Old Landscapes in New Places

Decoding the colonial history behind Blue Origin's space settlements
In May 2019, Jeff Bezos made his case for why and how humans will occupy space, in a presentation titled “Going to Space to Benefit Earth.” The original presentation was made to a relatively small audience but is also viewable on the website of Blue Origin, the Bezos-owned spaceflight and rocketry company. In little less than an hour, he made the argument that for humans to continue to evolve and improve their living standards, we will need access to more resources and environments than the earth has to offer us. As part of the presentation, Bezos described his vision for what the off-planet colonies will look like and the short-term goals required to make them a reality. While most of the emphasis was placed on those short-term goals, which are to colonize and extract resources from the moon, the more compelling section of the presentation focused his long term goal for off-planet environments. Using a series of illustrative animations, Bezos explained how humans could inhabit space using O’Neil cylinders. This is technology initially imagined in the 1970s by Princeton University physics professor Gerard O’Neil. There are plenty of other people, such as Fred Scharmen, who have already written about the history behind extraterrestrial colonies and their cultural impacts, so instead, I would like to focus on the even older representational techniques that influenced Blue Origin's vision of the future. Bezos used four images to illustrate and emphasize a set of important points that he makes to re-enforce his vision. The first of these points is that Blue Origin's space habitats would not be made up of larger versions of the international space stations but of manmade environments capable of supporting populations that are the equivalent of small to medium-sized cities. The second is that these orbital landscapes could vary in use (and simulated gravity through the adjustment of their rotational speeds), including recreational, farming, and technical purposes. The third is, that despite being removed from the surface of the Earth, the architecture could be made to be both visionary and familiar, allowing colonizers to maintain their cultural and spatial references while experimenting with novel landscapes. Despite being new natures, the landscapes and ecologies presented by Blue Origin were highly familiar places. This was an important part of the presentation because it allowed the audience to imagine themselves as potentially occupying these places. The representational devices used in the renderings are part of a long tradition of landscape painting: most notably, passive cues that make the occupation of unfamiliar landscapes imaginable and palatable. For comparison, Thomas Cole and other artists of the Hudson River School created paintings that normalized the 19th-century expansion into the Northeastern United States. They celebrated agriculture and other methods of organizing nature to the benefit of European colonizers, "taming" what they saw as a wild place. Nature has been historically used as an adversary to be conquered in the form of weather and difficult-to-traverse topography. An example of this can be seen in the painting View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow by Thomas Cole. The painting illustrates an artist on a hill facing storm clouds and farmland in the distance. The use of perspective and distance used in the Blu Origin images echo the rules used by Cole, with the only significant difference being the threat that the environment poses. One of the animations places a stag on a mountain in the center foreground of the rendering. In the background, there is an expanse of artificial wilderness with a city in the distance. To the right of the stag, an eagle or other large bird of prey flies effortlessly through the cylinder. Adjacent to the settlement in the image, the earth slowly rotates into view from behind the wilderness section. Instead of the thunder clouds seen in Cole's work, the sky has been replaced with the dark void beyond the structure's enclosure and stars, with the explicit understanding that this is an off-planet landscape surrounded by a vacuum. In another animation, a city is present in the background and passenger cars moved along a light rail. The presence of rain seen in Thomas Cole's painting has been replaced with a drone watering crops as it drifts over land designated for agricultural use. Weather in these spaceborne enclosures, specifically rain events, would be fabricated and controlled by necessity. However, using drones to create rain events also speaks towards a need to experience weather to simulate “nature” to the highest degree possible. The drones provide a service, but they also normalize an extremely artificial landscape. The final two animations illustrated two forms of off-world urbanism. In one of the images, the "city" was created by collaging together a series of important architectural constructions and streetscape seen across the world. From one vantage point, a resident would see a blend of Swiss, Italian, and Chinese architecture. Architecture would work as a comforting set of references for the residents, tying them back to the Earth-bound cultural environments perceived as being valuable. This vision was a more densely populated habitat of tall buildings, parks, and athletic fields. As is the case with the landscapes, the city animations sampled a narrow segment of the Earth, and were meant to attract interest from a narrow segment of people. The primary audience is the people that were present in the auditorium, sharing privileged worldviews and experiences, who would recognize the imagery being referenced. The animations shared by Blue Origin represent a complex set of ideas and allowances. They presented a chance to revisit the romantic mythologies that the adults in the audience saw in their college art history courses. At the same time, those renderings validate their commitment to a future where technology is the best means to advance humanity. Like the Cole painting, they justify the presence of people in space habitats through the use of positive pastoral imagery. This leads to what is arguably the real goal of the presentation—building enthusiasm for resource extraction on the moon. Jeff Bezos makes it clear that the moon would need to be mined for the resources that would make these space habitats economically viable. He also stated that space would provide a limitless amount of resources for expansion. This is an argument of expansion and capitalism, one that edges out conservation on Earth. There is an implicit assumption that increased exploration will make the materials cheaper. This is an argument that has been made many times before, including in 1492 when Columbus lobbied for the investments that would allow him to reach the Bahamas. Marc Miller is currently an assistant professor at the Penn State Landscape Architecture Stuckeman School.
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Peaks and gables

NADAAA's Daniels Building complements gothic design with concrete and glass
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Opened last spring on the periphery of the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus, the Daniels Building is an approximately 700,000-square-foot academic building for the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. The project entails a new three-story addition added onto a 19th Gothic Revival former theological school, clad in grey concrete panels and a glass curtain wall. Boston-based architectural practice NADAAA took the design lead for the redesign and collaborated with the Toronto-based architectural conservation experts ERA Architects. The site for the Daniels Building is enviable; the building is the sole structure within the Spadina Crescent traffic circle and is visible along both the North-South and East-West axis. The Gothic Revival structure was built in 1875 as a Presbyterian theological school and has since served as a military hospital, an insulin manufacturing plant, and a service facility for the university. The historic structure was built according to a U-shaped layout, and NADAAA's intervention was laid partially within the former courtyard.
  • Facade Manufacturer TAKTL Alumicor
  • Architect NADAAA Adamson Associates Architects (Architect of record)
  • Facade Installer GAGE Metal Cladding
  • Facade Consultant & Engineer Entuitive Corporation
  • Location Toronto, Canada
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Alumicor custom framing system
  • Products TAKTL UHPC panels SPA1
Besides being pressed against the new educational facility, the Gothic Revival design of the former theological school also serves as a stylistic point of reference for the extension. "Perhaps the greatest challenge of maintaining the Gothic heritage building," said NADAAA Associate Richard Lee, "has been the project's greatest opportunity; the spires and edges of the historic Spadina Crescent create the ideal foil for a contemporary box with a deep floor plate requiring natural light." The east and west elevations of the addition are clad with 230 narrow grey ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) panels with different levels of dilation and lift according to interior daylighting needs. As a result of their narrow width, the windows partially resemble the steeply pitched Gothic lancet window, while the visible creases between concrete panels allude to mortar joints found in traditional masonry construction. Additionally, the zigzag cornice that rings the entire addition mirrors the angular gable and dormer details found adjacent. Measurements of the UHPC panels range from 4'4" by 20", to 10'10" by 30". The panels are fastened to a steel subframe mounted to the primary structure by a series of concealed clips. Panels serving as vertical louvers are held at their base and top to allow for varying rotational angles. The project also featured a significant architectural restoration aspect due to the original building's general neglect over the last half-century. The 140-year-old windows across the exterior were replaced with newly fabricated wood windows designed to match the old ones. According to ERA Architects principal Andrew Pruss, "The masonry at the roofline and the roof itself were badly deteriorated, and so all roofing was replaced with roof details rebuilt and flashed to properly protect them. The building was cleaned with a low impact detergent method to preserve the brickwork." In contrast to the concrete-clad elevations and the cream-colored brick of the historic structure, the north facade of the new school is defined by a sweeping fritted glass curtain wall fitted with aluminum fins. Its corners lift upwards on either end to match the cornice line of the east and west elevations. One of the project's most striking features is visible from the north; a jagged roofline topped with aluminum that allows daylight to pour into the third-level design studio through rows of diagonal clerestories. The project has received numerous accolades from the AIANY, the Boston Society of Architects, and The Architect's Newspaper's Best of Design Awards. NADAAA Principal Katherine Faulkner will be delivering a presentation on the Daniels Building during the "Repurposing Historic Ontario: Innovative Approaches to Architectural Heritage" panel at Facades+ Toronto on October 11.
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The Life of the Mind

HUTOPIA showcases the architecture of solitude

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

University of Chicago 5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue Chicago

Through September 6 Physical, social, and spiritual exile is a condition closely linked to the life of the mind. In HUTOPIA, a clever play on words, the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society has recreated a pair of the most well-known retreats: the cabins of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein. A scaled-down version of Heidegger’s cabin in Todtnauberg, Germany, forms the centerpiece of the show. A smaller model, rather than a full structure, of Wittgenstein’s hut in the Norwegian town of Skjolden, is also sited on the Collegium’s western terrace. Finally, Adorno’s Hut, a life-size re-creation of a sculpture by poet and artist Hamilton Finlay of an idealized Greek temple, has been built in the Neubauer Collegium gallery. All three huts are sculptures but will occasionally welcome visitors and solace seekers inside and will be used to host classes and lectures. The name of the exhibition comes from a long-form poem by Alec Finlay, son of Hamilton Finlay, printed in the catalog of Machines à Penser, an earlier show at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale that led to HUTOPIA.
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At the Royal Free

Studio Libeskind reveals its Maggie's Centre in north London
Studio Libeskind’s long-awaited vision has finally been revealed for the new Maggie’s Centre at the Royal Free Hospital in north London. Set to replace its existing Cancerkin Centre facility—with which Maggie’s merged in 2016—the sculptural structure is the product a 16-year planned collaboration with the charity and will be the 21st of its kind in the United Kingdom. While a slew of other high-profile architects including Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and most recently Steven Holl have completed individual Maggie’s Centres, Daniel Libeskind’s will be drastically different and more personal to his design style. He described it as a “modest building” that’s soft and intimate, according to the Architect’s Journal. Like Holl’s Maggie Centre in west London, Libeskin's center will have a minimal footprint, but will be much more subdued and will put the emphasis on a  series of more natural materials, such as wood.  Slated to be constructed on an underused southwest corner of the hospital’s parking lot, the Maggie’s Centre at the Royal Free will feature an undulating, prefabricated facade made of timber louvers designed to shade the exterior, maximize privacy inside, and evoke a sense of serenity for the cancer patients stopping by for drop-in support. Though it will be a small building with 26 total rooms, Studio Libeskind designed the structure to expand in form as it rises. Diffused natural light will come in through the window slats and provide patients with views of the outside gardens in the front and back of the building, as well as on the roof.  To Libeskind, the upcoming Maggie’s Centre and its architecture complement the Royal Free and its role as a place of healing. He told the AJ that unlike the hospital, “this is a home,” and, “It’s not like entering an institution, it is a place where people can come and find comfort.”  The Maggie’s Centre will be completed as part of a wider masterplan going on at the hospital, which includes the construction of a new emergency department and on-site research building by Hopkins Architects. A date for completion has not yet been made public, but the planning application for Libeskind’s Maggie Centre is expected to be filed in the fall, according to AJ.
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Library to critics: Shh!

The internet is up in arms over tank-like Edmonton Public Library
As the redesigned Stanley A. Milner Library in downtown Edmonton, Canada creeps closer to its 2020 completion date, residents of the city have begun to express concerns that the project won't end up as advertised. The building, which sits downtown and serves as the central branch of the Edmonton Public Library system, has prompted an online backlash after photos of the construction site began circulating in the last few days, with many on Twitter comparing the library to a tank or cruise ship.

The complaints have focused primarily on the structure's external appearance, which currently resembles something less graceful than a flagship library branch. It has been compared to everything from a naval destroyer to a fall-out shelter, with some simply calling the building “ugly,” and have laid the blame at the recladding led by Toronto's Teeple Architects. Others have been quick to contrast the Edmonton design to its neighbor to the north, Calgary’s brand new public library, which opened to great fanfare late last year. Executed by Snøhetta and DIALOG, the Calgary project was popular with the general public and remained consistent from renderings through realization, leaving some Edmontonians to wonder what went wrong in their own city.

The design for the new Stanley Milner Library calls for a complete remodeling of the original building. An Asgard zinc cladding is being used on the exterior, much of which is still covered in protective plastic wrapping. Strips of new windows will perforate the outer walls to allow significantly more natural light into the building’s interior spaces. The refreshed facility, which has been closed since December 2016 and is set to open next February, will boast considerably more space for the children’s library, a new venue for Indigenous ceremonies, and improved amenities for audio recording and play. As of right now, though, the sparkly new object promised to Edmontonians in the project’s initial renderings seems duller than expected, and the design has changed considerably over time. Twitter users are correct to notice that certain changes have been made. Structural issues and budget constraints early on prompted Teeple to remove or shrink some of the windows and focus their efforts on interior spaces and services—arguably the most important part of the project. But Pilar Martinez, CEO of the Edmonton Public Library, has joined city architect Carol Belanger and Mayor Don Iveson in urging patience for the public. The building’s appearance, they insist, will improve as it comes closer to completion. Protective materials will be removed, lights will be switched on, people will fill the space, and the full effect of the original design as represented in the drawings will be realized.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Martinez told Global News Canada. She may very well be right, and the controversy at hand may be little more than a distant memory by February, but at this stage in construction, residents can do little more than trust the process.