Search results for "Eero Saarinen"

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Violet Crown Jewels

No two projects from Austin-based Miró Rivera Architects look alike

As Austin has become the hippest city in Texas (to the excitement of millennials everywhere), its architectural scene has also become the liveliest, with Miró Rivera Architects, the Texas Society of Architects architecture firm of the year for 2016, as one of its shining stars. The practice began when Juan Miró—born in Barcelona and educated in Madrid—was working for New York City firm Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects, and was dispatched to Austin to oversee construction of an opulent villa commissioned by personal computer magnate Michael Dell. When the Dell House was completed in 1997, Miró realized he preferred the sunny Hill Country—with its passably Mediterranean climate—to Manhattan. Much like another émigré, the Viennese architect, Rudolf Schindler, who was sent to Los Angeles in 1920 by his boss, Frank Lloyd Wright, to keep tabs on a then-under-construction mansion for oil-heiress Aline Barnsdall, Miró decided to go out on his own afterward using the connections from the Dell House to get commissions (and crucially at first, also to get a steady teaching gig at the UT School of Architecture). Three years later, he was able to coax his Puertorriqueño brother-in-law, and fellow Gwathmey Siegel alum, architect Miguel Rivera, to join him and the firm was officially established in 2000.

As would be expected from a firm begun by transplants with such sophisticated pedigrees, the approach is decidedly cosmopolitan. This contrasts in an interesting way with the typical emphasis on formal regionalism espoused by the best-known modern architects in Texas, like O’Neil Ford and his spiritual descendants, Lake|Flato. These regionalists take inspiration from pre-industrial, rural buildings and tend to use specific local materials like limestone and brick. Miró Rivera’s projects, with their markedly varied, but always starkly modern appearances, appear almost to be the work of multiple firms, much like the multi-faceted Eero Saarinen. According to Rivera, the firm seeks to create an architectural vocabulary or iconography drawing from a variety of sources specific to the requirements of each commission. In this way, each project gets its own identity, but through the same analytic process, and through this dialectical exercise, the local becomes cosmopolitan.

Chinmaya Mission Austin, Texas

An educational center and worship space for a Hindu spiritual organization is an unusual program for central Texas—not known for accommodating a large South Asian immigrant population. Although strict budget constraints precluded the traditional stone temple the clients initially hoped for, the architects were able to devise a vocabulary of forms that could be built of inexpensive materials, but still recall typical Indian architectural typologies specific to the school and temple. Simple strategies, like alternating the colors of the metal roof panels and building a stone precinct wall of limestone slabs that could be individually sponsored as part of the fundraising effort, combined pragmatism and poetry.

Pedestrian Bridge Lake Austin, Texas

This bridge connects the main house on a property facing Lake Austin to a separate guesthouse. Its structure is made of several 80-foot-long, 5-inch diameter welded steel tubes that arc gracefully over a watery inlet separating the two buildings. The deck and sides of the bridge are made of half-inch steel rebar wrapped around the tubes. These common elements combined in an unexpected way evoke wetland plants growing on the site and transform what could be an intrusive element into a symbiotic, almost invisible link.

LifeWorks Austin, Texas

This headquarters was built for a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk children and families reorient their lives through educational programs and counseling. The architects physically suggested the organization’s mission by orienting it outward and opening it up to the neighborhood. The building is aligned to the edge of its site along a curving street with parking set to the rear. A continuous, three-story colonnade runs along this front-facing elevation. Its columns are slightly askew, an oblique reference to the organization’s clients, who come seeking support and assistance.Another design element doing double duty is the mix of three different exterior cladding materials, which alludes to the organization’s three cornerstones: counseling, education, and youth development.

Circuit of the Americas Del Valle, Texas

The 1,500-acre Circuit of the Americas, just outside Austin, is the first purpose-built Formula 1 racing facility in the United States. For this project, the architects were commissioned to design a 9,000-seat main grandstand, a 27-acre Grand Plaza, a central greenspace with a 14,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, and a 251-foot-tall observation tower. (A specialist German firm designed the super curvy track itself.) Naturally, the team looked to cars and auto culture for formal design cues. This is perhaps most clearly expressed in the band of sinuous red pipes shrouding the observation tower, the most prominent element on the site. According to Rivera, the idea for them came from watching the endless taillights of cars in the evening commute on the notoriously crowded Austin freeways winding their way through the city.

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Start Your Engines

Deborah Berke completes new Cummins office building
Cummins Inc., the Columbus, Indiana–based diesel motor company has completed a new office tower in downtown Indianapolis. The nine-story building was designed by New York-based Deborah Berke Partners. The building will be home to distribution and select corporate offices. The slender profile of the new Cummins office, along with its orientation, are optimized to maximize environmental performance. Along with reducing heating and cooling loads, the shape allows for every worker to have direct access to natural light. The facade of the project is made up of a varied grid of glass and metal fins that are calibrated for the particular shading and daylight needs of each face of the building. J. Irwin Miller, Cummins’s former Chairman and CEO, had an intense interest in architecture and was a major architectural patron. The foundation which he founded helped fund many civic and cultural buildings by famous modernist architects in the small town of Columbus, Indiana. Cummins itself has facilities designed by architects such as Kevin Roche, Eero Saarinen, and Harry Weese. “Over the decades, Cummins has demonstrated a commitment to great design that benefits its employees, its customers, and the community,” said Deborah Berke in a press release. “This building carries that legacy forward with an environmentally sustainable design that dignifies the work going on inside while enhancing the urban realm. The building’s articulated facades and distinctive form serve a purpose—to create a comfortable, light-filled work environment for employees that adds to the vitality on Market Street. Adding some muscle to the great bones of downtown Indianapolis, the park is a public amenity that does double duty as a robust piece of green infrastructure.” The base of the tower includes a lobby and retail. Employee common spaces fills the second floor, including a space called the Square for large gatherings of employees and guests. The second floor also includes a conference center for employee development. Throughout the building flexible work spaces and connective common spaces allow for workers to collaborate and work in multiple configurations. Throughout the building, an art program will fill the workspaces with over 60 individual works of art. Three pieces by artists Kendall Buster, Odili Donald Odita, and the collaborative of Jennifer Riley and Emily Kennerk were commissioned specifically for the building. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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A Search for Environmental Harmony

The Architect’s Newspaper remembers Diana Balmori, 1932 – 2016

New York City and the world lost one of the most creative advocates for the now-threatened environment with the death of Diana Balmori on November 14.

An urban and landscape designer, author, historian, and professor, she made a significant impact on the world with her writing, teaching, built work, and advocacy. Her seminal book, Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony in 1993 (Yale University Press, second edition, 2001), was hailed by biologist Edward O. Wilson as a “manual for improving a large part of the American environment.” We need that thinking desperately now.

Plaza Euskadi 2011-2015 from Balmori Associates on Vimeo.

As a designer, Balmori created a Winter Garden with a grove of palm trees at New York City’s Battery Park in the World Financial Center. Her Plaza Euskadi and Campa de los Ingleses Park transformed the old port in Bilbao into the city’s greenest neighborhood. Her Beale Street Landing park in Memphis embraced the Mississippi River, and her master plan for the nine-mile-long hiking and biking trails in New Haven’s Farmington Canal Linear Park connected the Yale campus with surrounding neighborhoods and trails farther afield. Her 2006 master plan for Sejong, the new national-government city outside Seoul, South Korea, connected all the ministries with a landscaped two-and-a-half mile-long linear “Skypark.”

She was born in 1932, in Gijón, Spain. Her mother, Dorothy Ling, an educator and musicologist, was the first woman to receive a degree in music from Cambridge University. Her father, Clemente Hernando, was a linguist at the Instituto de Estudios Históricos in Madrid. The family fled politically turbulent Spain in 1936, eventually settling in Tucumán, Argentina, where Balmori’s father taught at the university and her mother created a network of primary and secondary schools with teaching based on play and folk music.

Balmori enrolled in the architecture program at the National University of Tucumán at 16, and then married a fellow student, Cesar Pelli. The young couple emigrated to the United States, where he went to work for Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and she studied and wrote about the landscape at Cranbrook. After Saarinen’s early death, Pelli finished some of his most important buildings, such as the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport. Then the couple moved to Los Angeles where he practiced architecture and she earned a doctorate in history at UCLA.

She taught history at SUNY Oswego and landscape architecture at Yale, and worked as partner in charge of landscape architecture and urban design at Cesar Pelli Associates.

Among her numerous books are Beatrix Farrand’s American Landscapes: Her Gardens and Campuses (2003) with Diane Kostiel-McGuire, A Landscape Manifesto (2010), Diana Balmori Notebooks (2011), and Drawing and Reinventing Landscape (2014).

Diana Balmori is survived by her husband, sons Denis and Rafael Pelli, granddaughters Delia and Iris Pelli-Walbert, as well as numerous friends and admiring colleagues.

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Final Five

Exhibit Columbus names Miller Prize winners
Exhibit Columbus has named the winners of the inaugural J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition. The winning proposals will be constructed as five installations spread across Columbus, Indiana, the small town two that is home to dozens of modernist masterpieces. The installations will be one of the main attractions at the 2017 iteration of Exhibit Columbus, a new yearly event which connects contemporary architecture with the city’s storied design past. A two-part architectural event, the inaugural symposium of Exhibit Columbus was held in the fall of 2016. The inaugural exhibition, which will include the installations, will open on August 26, 2017. The winners of this year’s J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition are: Milwaukee-based studio:indigenous’s Wiikiaami The copper-clad form takes cues from the dwellings of the Miyaamia, the indigenous people of central Indiana. It will sit near the Saarinen and Saarinen-designed First Christian Church. Boston-Based IKD’s Conversation Plinth Situated across the street from the First Christian Church, in the Plaza of the I.M. Pei-designed Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, Conversation Plinth plays off the conversation pit in the famed Eero Saarinen-designed Miller House, also located in Columbus. Los Angeles-based Oyler Wu Collaborative’s Untitled The project takes on Euclidean geometries, solid/void relationships, and tectonics to complete the implied spaces formed by the canopies of the Eero Saarinen-designed Irwin Conference Center. New Haven-based Plan B Architecture & Urbanism’s Anything can happen in the woods Built on the grounds of the Keven Roche John Dinkelloo Associates-designed Cummins Corporate Office Building, Anything can happen in the woods works with the sites existing colonnade to produce a forest of reflective columns. Tuscon and New York-based Aranda\Lasch’s Another Circle Constructed in the Michael Van Valkenburgh-designed Mill Race Park, Another Circle brings 2,800 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone into a 3.5-acre Stonehenge-like circle. The epic piece will tie together a pedestrian trail, the nearby river, and the park’s lake. The jury for the Miller prize consisted of Sean Anderson, associate curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art, Lise Anne Couture, co-founder and principal, Asymptote Architecture, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Dung Ngo, publisher, August Editions. The installations will be joined by 10 other installations by international designers and Midwest architecture and design students. Along Washington Street, in Columbus’s Downtown, five international galleries have each chosen one of the design practices they represent to participate in the event. Those galleries and designers include; London’s Dzek gallery, with designers Studio Formafantasma, Copenhagen’s Etage Projects, with designers Pettersen & Hein, Brussels’s Maniera gallery, with designers Productora, New York's Patrick Parrish Gallery with designer Cody Hoyt, and Chicago’s Volume Gallery with designers Snarkitecture. The university participants will build installations on the grounds of the Ralph Johnson-designed Central Middle School and the Gunner Birkerts-designed Lincoln Elementary School. The universities involved will be Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning, The Ohio State University Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design University of Kentucky College of Design, School of Architecture, and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Students from the Indiana University Center for Art + Design will also create an installation with the help of a designer-in-residence at the Eero Saarenin-designed North Christian Church.
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Staying Alive

The good, the bad, and the ugly: AN’s best preservation stories
In the trenches, preservation can feel cyclical—historic buildings are defended and saved, others destroyed, and public appreciation grows for once-loathed styles (looking at you, brutalism). This year's brilliant adaptive reuse projects are worthy of their own list, but we chose to highlight the epic sagas—new landmarks, victories against out-of-scale development, priceless buildings pulverized, and the controversies and cliffhangers that will shape preservation debates through next year and beyond. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) Marcel Breuer takes the East Coast by storm Brutalism has a healthy second life online, but in real life concrete buildings often seem a hair away from the wrecking ball. This year, though, fate was pretty kind to one of the masters of the genre. Although Marcel Breuer has been dead for more than three decades, the opening of the Met Breuer, and two other controversies surrounding his buildings, spurred a revival of interest in his imposing yet playful work. In Reston, Virginia, a Breuer building was threatened with demolition, then saved, then demolished—a heartbreaking tale. Further south, an Atlanta library designed by the architect was saved after a public outcry. While the Reston building is gone for good, see what Graves, Koolhaas, and Piano would've done to the former Whitney—it is possible to adapt brutalist buildings without compromising their essential character. Miami Marine The City of Miami declared in November it will borrow up to $45 million to preserve this stadium, an open-air venue for boat races on Biscayne Bay designed by architect Hilario Candela and completed in 1963. The cantilevered concrete structure was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and left to decay. Restoration of the original structure, as well as the construction of a new 35,000-square-foot maritime center adjacent to the stadium, will begin when funding is secured. Lautner’s Sheats Goldstein Residence has been gifted to LACMA James Goldstein has donated his landmark house, located on Angelo View Drive, Los Angeles, and designed by prolific West Coast architect John Lautner to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In addition, the dwelling'ss contents and surrounding estate have also been included in the donation. Johnson Fain takes on Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral Johnson Fain is renovating Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, California. Work on the building, which was completed in 1980 as part of a larger religious campus that contains notable structures by Richard Meier and Partners as well as Richard Neutra, began this year. Preservation across five boroughs While new city laws will make the preservation of controversial or hard-to-love buildings that much harder, this year the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) cleared its roster of almost 100 items that have been on its calendar for years, sometimes decades. As a result, the city has 27 new landmarks—including the Pepsi-Cola sign—to love. Modern architecture hearts were broken, though, when the LPC declined to landmark Alvar Aalto's conference rooms and lecture hall at 809 UN Plaza. Through rezoning, the city is trying to spur the development of more Class A office space in Midtown East, a push that encourages taller buildings but threatens many older ones. In that neighborhood, the commission decided that the Pershing Square Building and the Graybar Building, as well as the Shelton Hotel Building, the Yale Club of New York City, and seven smaller structures, all between East 39th to East 57th streets, from Fifth to Second avenues, were worthy of landmark status. Doing the Wright Thing This year the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation revealed its master plan to preserve Taliesin West, the architect's home and school in the Arizona desert. Harboe Architects drafted the 740-page plan, which outlines preservation strategies for a structure that Wright and his disciples modified many times over the years. The plan presents an approach to conserving deteriorating materials, preserving existing spaces, restoring viewscapes lost to new additions and landscaping, and supporting Taliesin West as a tourist site, education center, and foundation headquarters. The Ambassador Grill and Lounge After a huge push from preservation advocacy groups HDC, docomomo, and fans of postmodern architecture, the LPC is considering Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo Associate's glittery—but threatened—UN Hotel lobby and Ambassador Grill & Lounge for landmark status. At a November hearing, local luminaries like Robert A.M. Stern, Belmont Freeman, and Alexandra Lange, as well as a bi-coastal docomomo contingent spoke in favor of landmarking. The item would be the first postmodern interior to be designated a New York City landmark, and the “youngest” after Roche and Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation (1963-68) which has interior and exterior landmark status. Meanwhile, the Waldorf-Astoria's mega-glamorous art deco interiors are one step closer to landmark protection. The McKeldin Fountain is no more In Baltimore, contractors have begun demolishing a symbol of the city’s renaissance and the mayor who sparked it, the McKeldin Fountain at Pratt and Light streets. The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has led the effort to tear down the fountain, named after former Mayor Theodore McKeldin, and replace it with a landscaped plaza that members argue would be a more welcoming gateway to the city. The fountain and adjacent plaza were designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Todd, a founding partner of WRT, as part of the redevelopment of the Inner Harbor renewal area in the early 1980s. An example of Brutalist architecture made with a series of concrete prisms and walkways, the fountain is owned by the city and listed in the city’s official inventory of public art. It is dedicated to the former mayor who first proposed in 1963 the idea of rejuvenating Baltimore’s Inner Harbor waterfront. Time is running out for the modernist legacy of William Pereira Pereira is most famous for his iconic 1972 Transamerica Building, an 853-foot tall square-based pyramid tower in downtown San Francisco, and for the Googie-styled Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, a flying saucer-shaped observation floor supported by four-footed, sinuous frame. These projects are among Pereira’s diverse commissions that number more than 400 and include the masterplans for the Orange County suburb of Irvine, and the University of California at Irvine (UCI) campus. The city of Irvine’s urban plan landed the architect on the cover of Time magazine where Pereira was depicted in front of the suburb’s plan.
Those aspects of his legacy are more or less doing fine—there are serious and ongoing questions about incongruous changes being made to both the Irvine master plan and to the UCI campus —but several of Pereira’s other Los Angeles works are currently more deeply imperiled.
The challenge of preserving architectural heritage in Philadelphia This year Philadelphia—home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Rittenhouse Square—can boast of another historic attribute: It is the first and only city in the United States to be named a World Heritage City, one of 266 around the globe.

Despite its recent designation, Philadelphia has had a decidedly uneven record and reputation for historic preservation. Architects who come to the AIA convention will find Center City relatively intact. But other areas of the city are losing historically and architecturally significant buildings at a steady rate, largely due to development pressures and lack of landmark protection.

Saving the Columbus Occupational Health Association Columbus, Indiana is a small Midwestern city filled with buildings designed by a who’s who of American architecture including Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, César Pelli, Gunnar Birkerts, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, and many others. Now, its 1973 health center, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, (HHPA) is for sale. Despite its wealth of modern architecture and a forthcoming biennale, the town has no formal preservation laws, so a sale could mean the destruction or thoughtless modification of this important building. Yale's Beinecke Library is now open The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library reopened its iconic building in September following a 16-month renovation led by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects with Newman Architects of New Haven. Completed in 1963, Beinecke is considered Gordon Bunshaft’s masterpiece. One of the largest libraries in the world dedicated to rare books, its exterior grid of granite and Vermont marble panels are one of the most recognizable designs of that era and remains both inspiring and inimitable. The renovations restored the architectural landmark to its illuminated glory by refurbishing the six-story glass stack tower, preserving the sculpture garden by Isamu Noguchi, upgrading the library’s climate-control system, and expanding classroom space. Developer wants to put glass cubes on landmarked SOM plaza Fosun International, the Shanghai-based owner of Manhattan’s 28 Liberty Street (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), has commissioned SOM to revamp their own classic International Style building and 2.5-acre plaza design. Among its planned changes to the site, Fosun received LPC approval to build three glass pavilions on the plaza that will serve as entrances to below-ground retail. To do this, Fosun needs to make changes to the site's deed, a move that many preservationists say will disrupt the integrity of Gordon Bunshaft's original vision. Both the International Style building and plaza were designated a New York City landmark in 2009. SOM is updating the tower’s office space and plaza and reintroducing original details lost in prior renovations while transforming approximately 290,000 square feet (four floors) of basement space into retail. (AN first covered the design proposal, and ensuing controversy, in July.) With new rules regarding deed changes now in effect, it remains to be seen how—or if—these glass pavilions will be built. Stop the Pop "After the rollout of #StopThePop campaign last June, what actually popped to the surface was less a discussion about preserving architectural landmarks, and more a social media–facilitated debate regarding what constitutes good taste."
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Leaving the Big City

Goodbye New York: AN picks the best projects outside the Big Three
The Architect's Newspaper (AN) has editors in New York, Chicago, and L.A., but we're not city snobs. With a network of regional writers from Baltimore to Dallas, Seattle to Phoenix, our mission is to cover projects everywhere in North America—and in 2016, we printed far-flung stories that usually fly under the radar. Check out our 15 favorite projects below. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) WORKac Arizona House revives the Earthship typology “The desert house typology reached an ending point where it became all about overhangs and metal—a common vocabulary of what a desert house should be,” said Dan Wood, principal of WORKac. “We felt like that needed to be renewed.” The Memphis Movement A slew of new developments suggest Memphis, long plagued by high rates of poverty and unemployment, is on the up-and-up, but is the city really rebounding? Gensler designs a new vision for the unloved Milwaukee Post Office The long, low-slung Milwaukee Post Office is not a popular building, but Gensler's forthcoming revamp will inject much-needed vitality into the more-or-less dead space. Basket builders vacate Ohio’s famous basket building After nearly twenty years, the Longaberger Company, maker of wooden baskets, will be moving out of its trademark Longaberger Medium Market Basket–shaped building in Newark, Ohio. What will happen to the building? $1.9 billion Las Vegas Raiders stadium clears penultimate hurdle The odds for the Oakland Raiders football team’s relocation to Las Vegas are looking very good right about now. Not OKC See what's happening to John Johansen’s Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City. Ford begins work on new $1.2 billion campus in Michigan When Ford Motor Company took stock of its current 60-year-old Dearborn, Michigan, facilities, it became clear that the only way forward would be to take a big leap into two new high-tech campuses. Spearheading the master plans is the Detroit office of SmithGroupJJR. When completed, the estimated $1.2 billon, ten-year project will involve moving 30,000 employees from 70 buildings into a Product Campus and a Headquarters Campus. Throughout the project, the entire campus will also have to stay 100 percent operational. New renderings revealed for ambitious, highway-capping park in Atlanta Buckhead Park Over GA400 is a new park typology for the city. Like most great public places, it’s about creating a series of scaled experiences” for visitors, explained Rob Rogers, principal at Rogers Partners and one of the park's lead designers. The Mexico City designers forging a new path beyond modernism By combining high-design references with homespun folk art, the city's designers are able to create works that are contemporary, but also contextual and artisanal, and that speak to the contested and refined realities of their home city. With a grab bag of contemporary stylistic influences coupled with the methodical pedagogy of their elders, the current generation of designers is quickly moving past the orthodoxy of the city’s Modernismo traditions toward new enterprises that blend design, architecture, and furniture. This year the city hosted Design Week Mexico, and it will be the WorldDesign Capital in 2018—the sixth in the program and the first North American city to be named as such. Shelburne Farms Old Dairy Barn, a Vermont landmark, destroyed by fire Sadly, Vermont lost one of its agrarian and architectural landmarks in September when the historic Old Dairy Barn at Shelburne Farms was destroyed by fire. Saving the Columbus Occupational Health Association Columbus, Indiana is small Midwestern city filled with buildings designed by Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, César Pelli, Gunnar Birkerts, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, and many others. Now, its 1973 health center, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA) is for sale. Despite its wealth of modern architecture and a forthcoming biennale, the town has no formal preservation laws, so a sale could mean the destruction or thoughtless modification of this important building. Jean Nouvel eyeing North Adams The home of MassMoCA and the future home of Gluckman Tang's Extreme Model Railroad Museum may be getting a master plan by none other than Jean Nouvel. Residents say Celebration, FL is ruined by mold and shoddy construction Although the Walt Disney Company hired a cadre of leading architects to design Celebration, Florida, the sloppy construction of homes in the theme town is driving residents to grief and financial trouble.
Dallas–Fort Worth Branch Waters Network dovetails with rapid development Architect Kevin Sloan thinks American conceptions of planning and notions of “nature” need to be challenged. His Branch Waters Network project in Dallas aims to do just that. 
A torrent of new projects are reshaping Staten Island Okay, okay—Staten Island is part of New York City, but even in a city of islands, the borough gets no love. Islanders voted to secede in 1993, and city officials say it's too far for nice things like bikeshares. Nevertheless, AN visited this spring to check out some new developments shaping the Forgotten Borough.
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Critical Thinking

Our 12 top building reviews of 2016
The Architect's Newspaper strives to bring you candid and insightful takes on top projects from across the U.S. Here we've gathered some of our best reviews, which range from critical to commending and everything in between. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) World Trade Center Transit Hub by Santiago Calatrava Architects & Engineers Santiago Calatrava’s WTC Transit Hub opened with much anticipation and mixed reviews. AN reached out to New York’s architects, designers, and engineers to hear their thoughts on the structure. One Santa Fe by Michael Maltzan Architecture Architect Michael Maltzan describes his One Santa Fe as an example of “anticipatory architecture”—exercises in form making that endow architecture with the power to productively shape urban policy, planning, and the city at large. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) by Diller Scofidio + Renfro It is impossible to visit the new BAMPFA without inducing comparisons to DS+R's The Broad, even though the two museums—one budget-minded, one blockbuster—share few common approaches and features. 3595 Broadway by Magnusson Architecture and Planning 3595 Broadway’s non-confrontational formal language visualizes critical conditions about how Columbia University positions itself when speaking to their ivy-league-educated audience in their Manhattanville and Medical Center buildings in comparison to the public around their 3595 Broadway building at 148th street. The Salt Shed by Dattner Architects and WXY There's a collection of buildings in a city that always strike one as other, as something not easily reduced to the events of inhabitation. One example in downtown Manhattan that testifies to this quality is lower west side’s new Salt Shed. The Whitney by Renzo Piano Building Workshop A year after the initial “wait and see,” it is time to call the Renzo Piano–designed Whitney building what it really is: An architectural tourist trap. Pico Branch Library by Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA) The Pico library branch doesn't privilege one side of its park over the other, and its experiment in neighborhood connectivity is most significant in this spirit of quiet assertion—that a building can possess a multitude of functions, but is only successful in doing so if it remains a place of enjoyment and discovery for everyone. Gordon Parks Arts Hall by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) The University of Chicago features an impressive collection of buildings by notable architects: Holabird & Root, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, César Pelli, Rafael Viñoly, Jeanne Gang, and more. In October 2015, Chicago–based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) joined these prestigious ranks with their Gordon Parks Arts Hall, the latest addition to the University of Chicago Laboratory School. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) by J. Max Bond of Davis Brody Bond, Phil Freelon, David Adjaye, and SmithGroupJJR The NMAAHC truly delivers something that few pieces of architecture can: It is a cascade of metaphors for collectivity, but is also in harmony with its content and program. Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center of Columbia University Medical Center by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) Nearly four decades since Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio began the collaboration that today is DS+R, with the Vagelos Center they have completed their most perfectly resolved building, an amalgam of their interests and the lessons learned from earlier projects. Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick When Thomas Heatherwick unveiled his design for a new public landmark called Vessel at Hudson Yards, questions abounded. What is it? What will it do to the neighborhood? And what does it say that Stephen Ross, the president and CEO of Related Companies, the primary developer of Hudson Yards, is financing the entire $250 million piece by himself? Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) at the Air Force Academy by SOM Sited next to Walter Netsch's virtuosic 1963 Cadet Chapel, the CCLD is an artful study in conflict avoidance, restraint, and strategic power projection.
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Family Matters

PBS to air special on Eero Saarinen
As a belated gift to the architecture community, PBS will be airing a new documentary about Finnish-American modernist architect Eero Saarinen. American Masters — Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future will air Tuesday, December 27th on PBS and will be available on DVD January 3rd, 2017. Peter Rosen is the film’s director and producer, and Eric Saarinen, ASC, Eero Saarinen's son, is the film’s director of photography and co-producer. Eric Saarinen grew up surrounded by design and architecture at Cranbrook Academy, a campus designed by his grandfather Eliel Saarinen, who taught there alongside Eric's godparents, Charles and Ray Eames. Throughout the documentary Eric visits Eero's projects across the country, filming in 6k video and using drones to document his father’s work as never before. The show looks at the National Historic Landmarked North Christian Church and the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, the Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois, and MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The soon-to-be-renovated TWA terminal at JFK airport is also highlighted, along with his design for Dulles Airport. Along with archival interviews with Eero and his his second wife, The New York Times art critic Aline Saarinen, new interviews with architects and critics discuss his legacy. Architects Kevin Roche, César Pelli, Rafael Viñoly, Robert A. M. Stern, and industrial designer Niels Diffrient all speak about the influence Saarinen had on their own work, while architecture critic Paul Goldberger, curator Donald Albrecht, author Jayne Merkel, and Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, discuss his lasting impact on the field as a whole. “Closure was something I didn’t have with my dad. But I forgive him for his genius,” said Eric Saarinen. “He figured out a way to be important across time, so even though he died young, he is still alive.” American Masters — Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future airs Tuesday, December 27 at 8 p.m. on PBS as the series’s Season 30 finale.
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Head-to-Head

Ten finalists present installation proposals for Exhibit Columbus
On December 10th, ten finalists descended on Columbus, Indiana, to present concepts for the inaugural J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition. The competition is the part of Exhibit Columbus, a yearly architectural event held to highlight the city’s vast collection of architectural masterpieces. Along with the competition, all ten finalists participated in the opening symposium for Exhibit Columbus earlier this fall. The ten proposals took the form of temporary installations for five sites stretching across the city along 5th Street. Each site is associated with an architectural icon in the city, two of which are National Historic Landmarks. Judging the projects is a team of five guest jurors including Sean Anderson, associate curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art, Lise Anne Couture, co-founder and principal, Asymptote Architecture, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Dung Ngo, publisher, August Editions. Each project will be judged on “its formal/spatial relationship to the site, ability to activate the space, innovation in the use of materials, and ability to stimulate a dialogue with the context of the site.” The format of the competition is not typical in that teams are paired head to head on each of the five sites. From the ten proposals, five will be awarded the Miller prize, one for each site, and given the opportunity to develop and build their installation for the 2017 Exhibit Columbus. Winners are expected to be announced in January 2017. Joining the five installations will be more than ten other installations by international designers, students from universities across the Midwest, as well as local students. “With such a talented group, each project was an incredible new idea for the jury to consider. Our expectation is that this event will have a big impact on the Columbus community for years to come,” said Richard McCoy, director of Landmark Columbus, the organization that created and runs Exhibit Columbus. The sites and Proposals are as follows: Site number one is the First Christian Church by Saarinen and Saarinen, built in 1942. For the site, Boston-based Höweler + Yoon proposed Pattern Pavilion. Taking cues from the decorative motif carved into the stone on the church and referencing other Saarinen projects, the Pattern Pavilion extrudes the 2-D geometry into a volumetric canopy. The alignment of the project frames the Church and the I.M. Pei-designed library across the street. Also competing for the First Christian Church site is Milwaukee-based studio:indigenous. Inspired by the dwellings of the Miyaamia, the indigenous people of central Indiana, Wiikiaami is a contemporary take on the wigwam. Clad in copper scales, the project aligns with the church’s famed campanile and the autumnal equinox. Across from the First Christian Church sits the second site, the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, designed by I.M. Pei and Partners by 1969. Boston-based IKD’s Conversation Plinth was inspired by the conversation pit in the Miller House as well as the plinths that elevate the landmarks surrounding the Library. The design calls for large shifting timber plinths to wrap through the library’s front plaza. Competing against IKD is the collaborative team of Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee and Jonathan Olivares. Their View Room and Conversation Benches is a roofless structure which frames views of the library and the surrounding sculptures. The 1954 Irwin Conference Center by Eero Saarinen and Associates is the third site. Los Angeles-based Ball-Nogues Studio designed Bank and Trust in Paper (a reference to the building's original name) which echoes the plan and roof of the low-slung structure. Made of a waterproof treated recycled paper, the canopy is molded in forms reminiscent of Saarinen’s designs such as the iconic tulip chair. Untitled, by Los Angeles-based Oyler Wu Collaborative, is focused on three main concepts: Euclidean geometries, solid/void relationships, and tectonics. The design completes spaces implied by three canopies, originally part of the drive-up bank. The team adds new walls which are solid, built of thin lines, or carved away into voids. The fourth site is Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates’ 1983 Cummins Corporate Office Building. Los Angeles-based Baumgartner + Uriu’s Machines Suspended extrudes the saw-tooth pattern of the office building's layout into a three-dimension multi-directional object. Hanging in the building's colonnade, the object defines new spaces and ways of habituating the space. New Haven-based Plan B Architecture & Urbanism’s proposal Anything can happen in the woods transforms the site’s colonnade into an urban forest of reflective columns. The surrounding greenery and built structure reflect in project. The final site is the Mill Race Park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with architecture by Stanley Saitowitz in 1992. Another Circle by Tuscon and New York-based Aranda\Lasch adds a henge-like stone circle to the park. Using 2,800 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone, the 3.5-acre stone circle ties together the park's lake, pedestrian trail, and river. Tulsa-based artist Rachel B. Hayes Studio proposal Chroma Connection is comprised of colorful ripstop nylon. Stretching through the site's covered bridge into the lake at the heart of the park, the projects is meant to appear as if it is built out of pure color.
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A New Eero

Officials break ground on the hotel at iconic TWA Flight Center

Today elected officials, Port Authority higher-ups, and a whole cadre of former TWA pilots gathered in one of New York’s best buildings to break ground on the TWA Hotel, an extension of and homage to Eero Saarinen’s grand terminal at JFK.

The Beyer Blinder Belle–led (BBB) restoration of the existing TWA Flight Center and hotel extension is meant to bring back the ethos of Saarinen’s 1962 building, which has been closed to the public since 2001.

JFK is one of the country's busiest airports, and one of the only major international airports without an adjoining hotel. Today it accommodates 56 million travelers annually, but come 2050, 90 million passengers are projected to pass through its doors. 

Like President-elect Donald Trump, Governor Andrew Cuomo fixated in his introductory remarks on the nation’s lackluster airports. Invoking halcyon days when big projects got done quickly, Cuomo lamented that New York is not keeping up with the Dubais and Shanghais of the world. Unlike thorn-in-his-side LaGuardia or the Second Avenue subway, the airport hotel is a bright spot: He praised MCR Development, the hospitality investment firm spearheading the project. “They have built a hotel for the future," Cuomo said. "They’re not building a museum, they’re building a business. They're banking on the future.” 

Actually, there will be a museum. It's devoted to New York's role in the Jet Age, that hopeful time when people thought science and technology could resolve the profound contradictions of the human condition, and when women picked shoes to match their handbags. As befits the setting, there will also be exhibits devoted to midcentury modern design.

For travelers, the soon-to-be 500-room TWA Hotel will try to infuse some glamour into the New York airport hotel landscape, now thoroughly dominated by budget inns with gross carpeting. The new structure will sit behind the original terminal and flank its wings on either side: The landmarked flight terminal will be a lobby, and patrons will be able to access the structure via Saarinen's red passenger tubes that connect to Terminal 5. In that same vein, BBB's work will revive original interiors by Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy, and Warren Platner. 

A 40,000-square-foot events space will accommodate up to 1,600 people, and attendees can access a 10,000-square-foot observation deck to see planes take off. If hungry, visitors can dine in eight restaurants and six bars, one situated prominently behind Saarinen’s terminal, or patronize a food-hall-cum-incubator that features Queens- and Brooklyn-based vendors. When it's complete in fall 2018, the building will have its own power plant, totally off the grid.

No need to worry about another Calatrava mall (uh, transit center): The $265 million project is being executed with the Port Authority and other agencies, but it is privately funded.

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100 Years Old

Jens Risom, the man who helped introduce Scandinavian design to America, dies
Danish-American furniture designer Jens Risom passed away this month on December 9 in New Canaan, Connecticut at the age of 100. Risom moved to American shores in 1939 at the age of 23 and is best known for his Risom Lounge Chair. A product of his early work with German-American designer Hans G. Knoll, the chair hit the shelves in 1943, making use of unwanted military parachute straps. Risom's work helped paved the way for the emergence of midcentury modern design, riding the wave with compatriot Arne Jacobsen whose chair designs also dominated the 1950s and '60s. “Knoll had a car, and I didn’t,” said Risom speaking to New York Magazine last year, “and we drove around the country to any architect who had shown any interest in our furniture in New York, and stopped wherever there were people who’d liked our things. I don’t think we had a catalogue or anything—this was very primitive. We had drawings of things we had done.” The Danish-born designer was favored by many within the design world. Under Lyndon B. Johnson, a chair from Risom occupied the oval office and in 1961, and Risom even appeared alongside Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in an edition of Playboy magazine. Risom too wasn't seldom afraid to speak his mind. When meeting Frank Lloyd Wright, Wright asked Risom what he thought of his furniture work. Risom responded: "Not much."
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Opportunity Knocking

Why Airbnb should help save an architectural icon

If I had to guess, I would say that it has been forty years since Columbus, Indiana, was the hot topic of cocktail conversations at design-related get-togethers in New York City. In those days, it was the supercharged patronage of industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his relationships with designers like Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard that spurred a wave of innovative and provocative architecture in the small Midwestern town. Columbus, with a population of 45,000, has a Robert Venturi fire station, a John Johansen school, a park by Michael Van Valkenburgh, and several buildings by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, including the younger’s iconic Miller House.

However, Columbus is once again in the spotlight. Exhibit Columbus is an ongoing initiative that launched September 29 with a symposium that will set the stage for a large public design exhibition in 2017. Exhibit organizer Richard McCoy, with the assistance of local patrons and leaders such as president of the Wallace Foundation Will Miller, designer Jonathan Nesci, architect Louis Joyner, educator T. Kelly Wilson, and archivist Tricia Gilson, has built a local movement and amassed a group of world-class designers—Aranda/Lasch, Baumgartner + Uriu, Rachel Hayes, Höweler+Yoon, IKD, Ball-Nogues Studio, Johnston Marklee, Jonathan Olivares Design Research, Oyler Wu Collaborative, Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, and studio:indigenous—that are competing for the inaugural Miller Prize, an unusual head-to-head competition where ten teams will make site-specific installations for five sites in Columbus. Five will win the battle and build their proposals fall 2017.

All of this attention has once again launched Columbus into the design consciousness. Many people are excited to see what the 2017 exhibition will bring.

In parallel, there is another incredible opportunity in Columbus that could build on this momentum.

With renewed interest in the town, which thrives off of architectural tourism, the hospitality industry is booming. Notably, however, there are few Airbnb properties. A cursory search for a weekend in October returns only three listings, none of which are downtown where all of the action is. This matters because young tourists are looking for more exciting lodging options than a regular hotel. What would alternative lodging look like in Columbus today? There is a venue that would be perfect. The Cummins Occupational Health Association (COHA) was one of the most innovative buildings in Columbus, but it is now under threat because its owner, Cummins Inc., has no use for it. Originally completed in 1973 by Hugh Hardy of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, this late modernist, high-tech building is one of Columbus’s best-kept secrets. Its colorful, highly expressive exposed building systems celebrate building technology with mannerist exuberance. The spacious open plan is choreographed by a ramp that animates the space and was a revolutionary new way of building healthcare facilities in the 1970s. However, this ramp may render it inflexible for healthcare-related adaptive reuse in today’s world.

So what is the appropriate new life for COHA? One possibility would be lofts or student housing. While the town may not have the market for this typology, there might be another solution. If Airbnb bought the building, it could turn it into a cluster of rentals (like a hotel) that would be rentable on Airbnb and could piggyback off of its collaboration with Japanese architect Go Hasegawa in the Japanese village Yoshino. This project, Sugi No Ie (Yoshino Cedar House), acts as both a rental unit and community center for visitors and is owned by local community groups, thus giving back to the town and offering a community-based experience for travelers.

In this model, the town would own the space, and rent it out on Airbnb. Proceeds could benefit the Heritage Fund, which is invested in the preservation of the architecture through Landmark Columbus. Airbnb would be helping to preserve modern design.

The COHA building is perfect for this model. It needs a patron, and there is no cut-and-dry reuse for it. How cool would it be to stay or live in a radical, 1970s doctor’s office? Artists or designers could get long-term rentals, while visitors could stay for the night. It would take a visionary company like Airbnb that values design to revitalize this space into one of the world’s best design destination hotels. The company would be a hero. Let’s hope it can make this dream a reality.