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Going Up

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners brings high-tech industrial chic to Manhattan
The first renderings of New York's Otis Elevator building revamp have trickled out, and it appears that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P) will be preserving the historic far West Chelsea building while adding their own industrial flair. Developer and investor Vornado Realty Trust purchased the seven-story brick building at 260 11th Avenue in Manhattan in 2015, with plans to convert the former Otis Elevator headquarters into office space for new companies. The office market in New York is still going strong, particularly on Manhattan's lower west side, and Vornado revealed their plans for the building in the trust’s latest investor report. As CityRealty notes, Rogers has hearkened back to the “inside-out” style of his Centre Pompidou for 260 11th Ave, exposing the structural and HVAC elements, and including a freestanding, glass-clad circulation core. A 10,000-square-foot parking lot facing 27th Street currently sits behind the original Otis Elevator building, which Vornado will be developing into an eight-story, glass-fronted building with a structural steel facade. From the renderings, it appears that RSH+P will set back the new building at the sixth floor, and cantilever a two-story atrium over the roof of the neighboring 549 West 26th Street, with a connection to the new glassy topper at 260 West 11th. Both rooftops will also be converted into accessible green space. The new addition and any exterior changes to the 235,000 square-foot existing building will need to pass muster with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. While the headquarters, built in 1911, has historical cachet (the Otis Elevator Company supplied elevators to some of N.Y.C.’s most famous buildings), it isn’t an individual landmark. Both lots fall inside the West Chelsea Historic District.
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In Memoriam

Critic and historian Martin Filler remembers Robert Venturi
During my four decades as an architecture critic, I developed close personal relationships with several of my subjects, including Charles Moore and Frank Gehry, although, unsurprisingly, our dealings became far less amicable when my enthusiasm for their work waned. My longest direct connection to those I’ve written about has been with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. But that intimate bond had both its rewards and perils, as I recalled after his death on September 18 at the age of ninety-three. Criticism of architecture is complicated in ways that differ significantly from other mediums. Authoritative evaluations require that you get inside the works in question to make a responsible judgment, especially in the case of private houses or other properties not open to the public. One must also have technical information in order to provide an accurate account of a building’s physical characteristics. An art critic may easily determine the dimensions and components of a painting by seeing it on a gallery wall, a theater or music critic by purchasing a ticket for a performance, or a book reviewer by obtaining a copy of the publication. But an architecture journalist had best be on speaking terms with his subjects, a lesson I repeatedly learned the hard way with Venturi and Scott Brown. Early in my career I wrote a puerile review of their Penn State Faculty Club (1974-1977) in State College, Pennsylvania. Today that article makes me cringe. In an attempt to shock, I called their charming homage to Shingle Style domesticity “a whorehouse without a second floor” because its upper-story fenestration was purely ornamental. Their jest was no crime, but I was trying to establish street cred as a tough critic. My crude epithet outraged the architects, of course, and I was in the doghouse for years afterward. Fortunately, Bob and Denise, as I came to know them, were very fond of Rosemarie Haag Bletter, the architectural historian who had been among the first academicians to include their work in college-level modern architecture courses in the 1960s. She would also become my future wife. After we married, I tried to make amends with the two architects, whose susceptibility to feeling wounded was exacerbated by their having lost numerous architectural competitions they deserved to win. To my relief, I eventually received a handwritten letter from Venturi in which he announced, with courtly formality, that because Rosemarie had accepted me in matrimony, they forgave my youthful indiscretion. However, the dangerous flip-side of being shunned by one’s critical subjects is becoming too close to them, and I admit that I gradually did cross the line into friendship with Bob and Denise. They were prominently featured in Michael Blackwood’s 1983 documentary film Beyond Utopia: Changing Attitudes in American Architecture, which Rosemarie and I wrote and for which we conducted the interviews. When we were guest curators for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 1985 exhibition High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design, we recommended that they be hired to create the show’s installation; they were, and their work—a witty Pop mounting that reflected their love of the decorative arts—was widely admired. It was no surprise that around that time they were also designing equally delightful furniture for Knoll, china for Swid Powell, flatware for Reed and Barton, rugs for V’Soske, and even a cuckoo clock for Alessi. Still, there were risks. In 1991, having heard from the National Gallery’s board chairman, Jacob Rothschild, that Venturi and Scott Brown’s problem-plagued Sainsbury Wing was nearing completion, I gained access to the closed construction site on Trafalgar Square by posing as a member of the architects’ firm—hardhat, clipboard, and all. Exhilarated by the nearly finished project, I urged the magazine I worked for to run pre-completion photos of the new building in order to land a scoop. Breaking the press embargo caused an initial Venturi eruption—he concealed a volatile Italian temper beneath his buttoned-down Philadelphia preppiness. But after an interval I was absolved once more and the Sainsbury Wing is now justly considered their masterpiece. Thereafter, considering their advanced age and towering historical stature, I decided to write about them only when I had something positive to say. And I was delighted when I could praise without reservation a late-career gem, their Dumbarton Oaks Library of 2001-2005 in Washington, D.C., a veritable concerto in patterned brick, alive with architectural syncopation and functional logic. It would be my last review of their work to appear during his lifetime. He retired from practice in 2012, as Alzheimer’s disease sapped his formidable creative and intellectual powers, a loss all the more poignant because he was the most learned architect I’ve ever known. Bob’s funeral was held six days after his death, on a cool, overcast afternoon when some seventy family members, colleagues, friends, and caregivers gathered in Newtown Square, on the outskirts of Philadelphia, at the Willistown Friends Meeting, an eighteenth-century Quaker meetinghouse of exquisite rigor and simplicity. The tranquil, timeless setting—a rural scene of rolling hills and low fieldstone walls—seemed like an Andrew Wyeth painting come to life (the artist lived at Chadds Ford, fifteen miles to the southwest). It was hard to believe that one was still in the violent and hate-saturated America of 2018. Venturi’s parents, both from Italian Catholic families, converted first to Unitarian Universalism and then to Quakerism. Their only child took their faith’s precepts of nonviolence and pacifism seriously enough to become a conscientious objector during World War II and defined himself as “a proper Quaker” until the end of his life. The officiant at his ecumenical funeral was not, however, a Quaker elder, but rather Father John McNamee, a retired Roman Catholic priest with early ties to the Catholic Worker Movement and who was honored for his social activism in inner-city Philadelphia. He had also been responsible for overseeing the Venturi firm’s 1968 reconfiguration of St. Francis de Sales Church in Philadelphia, which was spurred by new liturgical practices advanced through the Second Vatican Council. As Father McNamee pointed out during the funeral service, Venturi’s respect for ordinary Americans’ values and aspirations remained paramount. The priest began by reading the Beatitudes, the very kernel of the Christian message, albeit one ignored by many present-day American Evangelicals, and then quoted Father Daniel Berrigan, the 1960’s Jesuit antiwar crusader. The ceremony featured two of Quakerism’s hallmarks: ten minutes of silence, followed by spontaneous contributions from congregants who spoke as the spirit moved them. The emotional highlight of the gathering came in a sequence of personal reminiscences by four home health-care aides who cared for Venturi during his final years. The crucial role that such unheralded heroes of everyday life play in our society has never been more immediately expressed nor as touchingly clear to me. And although each spoke separately, their shared sentiments resounded as if they were harmonizing soloists in a gospel choir. One of them, Pat Thompson, was too overcome to speak directly, so her heartfelt tribute was read by a colleague, Wanda Whittington. In their moving and funny anecdotes, Verna Wood and Carolyn Heller likewise told of growing to love their sometimes difficult but inevitably appreciative client. Several of them said that they had no idea at the outset of their service that Venturi was a world-renowned architect, and that although they came to appreciate his exceptional stature, it was the man, not the artist, they would miss most. This was the all-pervasive feeling in the room. After the eulogies, the mourners filed out to the cemetery, shaded by mature trees and dotted with low headstones of nearly identical design. After the squared-off, unfinished wood coffin was lowered into the grave, Venturi and Scott Brown’s only child, the urban planner and documentary filmmaker James Venturi, laid a homemade wreath of laurel leaves next to the grave; the victor’s laurels with a down-to-earth ethos.
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West Side Wonderland

New renderings revealed for western expansion of Hudson Yards park
Finally, we have a visual of what the rest of the rail yards at New York City's Hudson Yards will become. CityRealty reported that new renderings have been revealed of the expansion of the 17-million-square-foot megaproject, detailing how the development will take over the entirety of the Amtrak railyard. Phase two of construction on Hudson Yards’ intertwining parkland will add winding stone paths, a lush open lawn, food kiosks, and a bright children’s playground overlooking the Hudson River next to the High Line. Manhattan-based landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBWLA)—which also designed the currently-under-construction Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards—will bring more, much-needed green space to the West Side enclave that’s recently gotten flack for its record-breaking price tag The expansion also includes the final build-out of Michael Van Valkenburgh (MVVA)’s Hudson Boulevard Park that runs directly through the site from 33rd to 36th Streets. Once complete, the extension will bring it up to 39th Street. MVVA finished the first phase of the elongated greenway in 2015, which included the MTA’s 7 train extension in what’s known as Eastern Yards. Together with the boulevard and far West Side parkland, the long-awaited landscape at Hudson Yards will cover a total of 12 acres. NBWLA’s renderings show that the park will sit on the same level as the adjacent High Line, meaning the team will likely use the same engineering to construct a ventilation cover for the rail yard below and a deck to support the landscape. Officials say groundbreaking on the second phase of parkland at Hudson Yards will begin in late 2020 and is slated to open in winter 2023. Once complete, Hudson Yards Development Corporation, which is building out the plan, will transfer care of the parkland over to the city’s parks and transportation departments.
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A Funny Thing Happened...

Columbia rounds out its Manhattanville campus with Renzo Piano’s Forum
The third of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s academic buildings for Columbia University is now complete, filling in the first phase of the school’s Manhattanville campus extension in West Harlem. The Forum, a triangular concrete-and-glass building on the campus’s south section, is the smallest of the Manhattanville trio but cuts an impressive, ship-like figure with its concrete entrance “prow." While Columbia’s factory-like Jerome L. Greene Science Center and stepped Lenfest Center for the Arts tower over the three-story, 56,000-square-foot Forum, all three buildings are elevated and glassy at street level to evoke a sense of openness. Whereas the Science Center houses Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and Lenfest now holds Columbia’s Wallach Gallery, the Forum was designed to hold conferences, meetings, public events, and a 4,200-square-foot public café and program space at ground level. On the upper two floors, the Columbia World Projects initiative, which brings university research projects across the globe, will take offices, as will the Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia. “In designing the master plan for the campus and its first three buildings, we wanted to help Columbia as a global university in the city and for the city,” said Renzo Piano in a statement, “so New York’s streets and sidewalks are woven into the fabric of the campus. This is not like the campus of earlier centuries. All the buildings are transparent, open to the public, and have amenities for the local community at street level, including plazas and green spaces for everyone to share.” In mentioning the “campus of earlier centuries," Piano is referring of course to Columbia’s central Morningside Heights campus, which is technically open to the public but bounded by walls and gates. The Forum’s materiality is tied to this openness and its programmatic requirements; the entirely glazed first floor invites in passerbys, and the stepped, precast concrete topper holds a 437-seat auditorium. The auditorium, topping out at 31 feet at its highest point, is clad in rough stone and wood acoustic paneling, while polished concrete and exposed pipes are used on the first-floor common areas. Bright orange carpeting and rounded rectangular windows further delineate the office and meeting spaces from the rest of the building. While every building in Piano’s Manhattanville triptych serve a specific purpose, dialogue with each other in both material use as well as planning, and are now finished, the Forum is far from Columbia’s last West Harlem project. Diller Scofidio + Renfro are designing the Henry R. Kravis Building and the Ronald O. Perelman Center for the business school, both slated to open in 2021, and Columbia still holds several open parcels in the area. Interested in touring the Forum? The building will open its doors to the (ticket-holding) public on October 23 as part of Archtober.
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On the Books

WORKac to design Brooklyn Public Library’s first new branch in 35 years
For the first time in 35 years, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is building a new branch dedicated to serving the communities in DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and the Farragut Houses. With a design by New York firm WORKac, the library is set to become the 60th branch in the system. So far, no design details have been announced, but WORKac will begin an extensive community engagement process this fall to determine the main design priorities for local residents. It will be located at 135 Plymouth Street—just underneath the Manhattan Bridge inside Alloy Development’s One John Street residential complex—and will feature 6,500 square feet of space for flexible programming, book lending services, and desks for working. The project is part of BPL’s major effort to update aging infrastructure in one-third of its branches over the next five years. Thirteen libraries will undergo full-scale renovations while three libraries (Brooklyn Heights Library, Greenpoint Library, and Sunset Park Library) will be entirely reconstructed. The newest branch in DUMBO is expected to be completed by 2020, with an estimated construction start in mid-2019.   WORKac has a long history of working on public projects with the City of New York, including libraries, schools, and historic retrofits. The firm finished the much-anticipated renovation and expansion of the Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens last fall, bringing structural upgrades, a bright new interior, and an elongated green roof to the 10,000 square-foot space. In addition, WORKac designed the inaugural Edible Schoolyard for P.S. 216 in Brooklyn as well as the more recently-completed second schoolyard at P.S. 7 in East Harlem.
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Gold Plated

A former Connecticut factory will transform into a job incubator
The Swift Gold Leaf Factory in Hartford, Connecticut, will be converted into a major community job incubator by New York-based nonprofit Community Solutions and Massachusetts design firm Bruner/Cott Architects. The $34-million adaptive reuse project aims to spur investment in the low-income neighborhood of Northeast Hartford and bring restaurant industry job opportunities to a place where the unemployment rate has hit 26 percent in recent years.  Since 2005, the 65,000-square-foot facility has sat vacant on a narrow plot of land in the middle of the residential area on Love Lane. Once the world’s leading manufacturer of gold leaf, the brick-clad megastructure has begun to deteriorate due to neglect and lack of use. Community Solutions, founded by West Hartford native Rosanne Haggerty, best known for transforming the Times Square Hotel into supportive housing, has worked for over eight years to get construction started on the historic, industrial brownfield site. Designed by renovation experts Bruner/Cott, the project will be twofold: It will update the 1887 main factory building into a complex that will include commissary kitchens for local restaurants, including its anchor tenant Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue. It will also feature an incubator kitchen space for up-and-coming local businesses as well as a hydroponic farm. The other buildings on site will be potentially used as arts spaces or healthcare facilities. As a whole, Community Solutions hopes to provide job training options and improve well-being amongst the locals. In an interview with the Hartford Courant, the group’s community outreach coordinator, John J. Thomas, explained that the redevelopment is being built on an anti-gentrification model. They want to target area residents—largely African American and Latino families—who are in need of work, instead of developing and displacing those already there. The idea is to train people in the food industry to eventually move on to higher-paying jobs or start their own businesses.  The project is slated for completion by end of 2019 and is expected to bring at least 150 permanent jobs to Northeast Hartford. Post-construction, Community Solutions plans to stay in the neighborhood to help build out more sustainable and healthy projects that will drive economic growth in the area.
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On Display

Two new art galleries join Zaha Hadid’s condo building in New York City
Two new Chelsea galleries are popping up underneath the High Line in New York City as part of a multi-artspace build-out by Related Companies, developer of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA)’s 520 West 28th Street. Designed by New-York based studioMDA, the new flagship for Paul Kasmin and the High Line Nine galleries broaden the art and architectural appeal of the adjacent elevated park. For Kasmin’s fourth show space in the neighborhood, Markus Dochantschi, founder of studioMDA and former architect at ZHA, envisioned a column-free, 3,000-square-foot gallery with a boxy, angled exterior featuring white concrete and a subtle wood texture. Inside, large-scale sculptures can fit smoothly in between the 22-foot-high walls and below a coffered ceiling with 28 individual skylights that diffuse natural light into the space below. This super-waffle grid also creates a pattern for the building’s rooftop sculpture garden, with a landscape designed by Future Green Studio. Visible from the High Line, it has an undulating form that allows plants to be set deep within the soil. Dochantschi and studioMDA also created the multi-tenant High Line Nine gallery next door, the face of which provides a stark contrast to the bright, inviting Kasmin gallery. Sporting a brutalist-inspired, curved facade cast in white bronze, the building is situated directly underneath the rail park and stretches in arcade form from 27th to 28th Streets via a central corridor. Each tenant within the High Line Nine will receive a space ranging from 650 square feet to 1,800 square feet accessible via the core passageway. The elongated facility will take on an industrial feel thanks to the exposed High Line columns and steel beams connected to the structure above. At the end of the High Line Nine, there will be a café and wine bar called il Piccolo Ristoro. So far, Leila Heller Gallery, Valli Art Gallery, Polich Tallix, Hollis Taggart Gallery, ZieherSmith, and Burning In Water as well as the adjacent Kasmin have signed on as part of the group.
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Glenstone Greenery

AN tours the Glenstone Museum’s new Pavilions
The Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, may not be a recognizable name to non-art historians, but with the opening of the institution’s new Pavilions to the public, a 204,000-square-foot collection of galleries, that may all be about to change. The original Glenstone building opened in 2006, as an invitation-only showcase of cofounders Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales’s private collection of post-war art on their property, in the vein of New York City’s Frick Collection. The squat, modernist assemblage, designed by Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, only held 9,000 square feet of gallery space. It’s estimated the facility only welcomed approximately 10,000 visitors from its opening in 2006 through 2013 when the Pavilions were announced. The Pavilions, an assemblage of what appears to be 11 separate volumes, but is actually one interconnected building, was designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners (no strangers to high-end museum design) and vastly expands the Glenstone’s exhibition space. The new complex adds 50,000 square feet of gallery space to the campus, with one room per Pavilion section. Phifer and PWP Landscape Architecture have smartly sited the Pavilions, hiding the double- and triple-height buildings amid 230 acres of restored woodlands. The parking lots have been kept on the opposite side of the property, forcing visitors to take a winding path on which the complex rises and reveals itself along with Jeff Koons’s monumental and ever-changing plant installation, Split-Rocker. Guests must first pass through the new visitors’ center, a smaller Phifer addition that foreshadows what’s to come. The center extends the Pavilions’ presence by using the same material palette; smooth-to-the-touch precast concrete blocks that wrap both the facade and interior, cast-in-place raw concrete ceilings, a terrazzo-epoxy mixture for the floors, full-height windows, and a white maple cladding in the more intimate areas. After descending into the main galleries through the entrance hall, visitors realize that the seemingly disparate volumes spied from outside are all linked by glass hallways and that the pavilions are oriented around an 18,000-square-foot “water court” at ground level. The windows, up to 30-feet-tall in some places, flood the hallways and gallery spaces with natural light, and in the enclosed rooms, clerestory windows and acid-etched skylights create an ever-changing lighting condition. The Pavilions proper were designed around the philosophy of what Emily Wei Rales, also Glenstone’s director, described as “slow art.” The close attention to natural lighting, the spotty cell service, the meandering paths through the landscape, and the guides in each room that will replace information placards, are meant to encourage visitors to slow down and pay close attention to the art. Visiting the Glenstone is free, and the Raleses hope that the changing of the seasons, different weather conditions, and changing light over the course of the day will give guests unique views of the art on each visit. According to Rales, the architecture, landscape, and art are meant to act in harmony and balance each other. Though the Pavilions are a bit austere and over-scaled in places—9 of the 11 rooms are given to a single artist, and some hold only a single piece—small surprises abound. Turning the corner and spotting Martin Puryear’s red Big Phrygian at the end of a hallway is a joyful experience, and noticing how slabs of concrete seem to “float” overhead above the skylights adds an element of danger to sometimes staid rooms. One of the 11 rooms, clad entirely in maple, consists solely of a library, bench, and a massive window that looks out on the landscape, turning the ecosystem and other guests into something to pause and reflect on. Other than the Pavilions and the entrance hall, the $200-million project includes two more intimately scaled cafes and an environmental center that are expected to open in 2019. Glenstone’s newest additions, including the Cafe and Patio buildings, will open their doors to the public on October 4. Visiting hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
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Big Terminal Energy

Pelli Clarke Pelli creates a collection of new civic nodes in San Francisco
The Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA)–designed Salesforce Transit Center and its 5.4-acre rooftop park in San Francisco are now officially open to the public. Decades in the making, the opening of the $2.1 billion, 1.2 million-square-foot terminal this August capped off eight years of construction and followed the completion of the 1,070-foot-tall Salesforce Tower next door in February. Taken together, the three elements—terminal, tower, and park—represent the beginning of a new era that, according to the planners behind the transformative project, is driven by a focus on public space and public transit. Dubbed the “Grand Central Terminal of the West” by its civic boosters, the new multimodal transit center is meant to be the crown jewel of a new high-rise, mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood anchored by the multifunctional rooftop park and capped off by the tower. The arrangement is one of the many by-products of a far-reaching district plan crafted to embrace the terminal and reshape the city’s skyline. Designed as a massive, skylit, indoor-outdoor living room sandwiched between transit and a park, the terminal is geared for public use first and foremost. Inside its cavernous halls, terrazzo-based flooring by Julie Chang, a light installation by artist Jenny Holzer, and a fountain by James Carpenter enliven the grand and formal spaces designed by PCPA. A total of 3,992 perforated white aluminum panels—designed in collaboration with British mathematician Roger Penrose—wrap the terminal, skinning a bulbous, undulating object that sneakily cuts across the neighborhood. The lacey wrapper brings light into a second-story bus terminal and helps to dematerialize the massive complex. This visual transparency becomes physical porosity along the ground floor, where the multiblock building spans over city streets, weaving through the commercial district with its 85,349 square feet of retail space. Fred Clarke, a founding partner at PCPA, described the transformative project and the whirlwind of construction it has engendered as “transit-oriented development at a scale we haven’t seen before” in the United States. Clarke observed, “Our car-oriented society typically works against this building type, so we feel like we are cutting new ground here.” The expression is quite literal in this case, as the complex begins 125 feet below ground, where a five-block-long concrete box acts as a massive foundation for the complex containing below-grade ticketing, retail, and concourse levels. For seismic resiliency, the 1,000-foot-long terminal is designed as three structurally isolated sections connected by a pair of 2-foot-wide expansion joints that allow each piece to move independently. Thornton Tomasetti is the engineer-of-record for the project and served as a sustainability consultant for the Salesforce Tower project, as well. The also building comes outfitted with one of the largest geothermal installations in the world, according to the architect. It is a design that not only allows for impressive energy efficiency, but also reduces the need for the clunky air handling units on the roof that would typically accompany conventional HVAC systems. Situated 70 feet above grade, the terminal is topped by a new public park designed in partnership with PWP Landscape Architecture. Flower beds and tree pits of varying depths meander around the rooftop, where the verdant park is home to 100 trees, a 1,000-seat amphitheater, three sculptural lanterns, a playground, and a 1,000-foot-long fountain by artist Ned Kahn, among other elements. The stormwater-retention-focused park is also sculpted by artificial mounds concealing elevator overrides and mechanical equipment. Standing beside all of this is the Salesforce Tower, a tapered pinnacle defined by rounded corners, “classical proportions,” and a large crown that lights up with a large-format LED video artwork by artist Jim Campbell. The 61-story tower connects directly to the park and touches the ground with a light, open lobby that is meant to enliven the district, “in a simple, elegant way,” according to Clarke.
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Be Heard, Be Seen!

AN picks must-see West Coast lectures for the fall
As the fall semester kicks into gear, institutions across the west coast have begun publishing their event and lecture series offerings.  Generally speaking, west coast schools have a reputation for being more open-minded and accessible than their eastern counterparts, conditions that often allow young and emerging faculty and designers to thrive. This focus on newness carries over to the lectures and events these institutions put on, which often showcase emerging designers as well as rising international firms. This fall is no different. The region will play host to diverse practices from far and wide, including Salvador Macías and Magui Peredo of Guadalajara, Mexico-based Macías Peredo, Walter Hood of Oakland, California-based Hood Design Studio, and Aurélie Hachez of Brussels, Belgium-based Aurelie Hachez Architecte among many others.   Southern California Institute of Architecture  Alisa Andrasek, director, Wonderlab Wednesday, September 19 Michael Meredith, principal, MOS Architects, Wednesday, October 3 Aurélie Hachez, principal, Aurélie Hachez Architecte Wednesday, November 7   University of California, Berkeley Molly Wright Steenson, senior associate dean for research, Carnegie Mellon University Architectural Intelligence Wednesday, September 12 Jack Halberstam, professor of gender studies and English, Columbia University Unbuilding Gender: Trans* Anarchitectures In and Beyond the Work of Gordon Matta-Clark Wednesday, October 3 Takaharu Tezuka, president of Tezuka Architects Nostalgic Future Monday, October 15   University of California, Los Angeles Dana Cuff, urbanist and architectural theorist; Andrea Ghez, astronomer; Rodrigo Valenzuela, artist; Paul Weiss, nanoscientist What is Space? Tuesday, October 2 Susan Foster, choreographer and scholar; Jennifer Jay, environmental engineer; Tracy Johnson, molecular, cellular and developmental biologist; Greg Lynn, architect What is Body? Tuesday, November 6 Catherine Opie, artist; Willem Henri Lucas, designer; Abel Valenzuela, labor and immigration expert; Alfred Osborne, global economy and entrepreneurship expert What is Work? Tuesday, November 20   University of Southern California Andrew Watts and Yasmin Watts, CEO and CFO, Newtecnic Wednesday, October 3 Walter Hood, principal, Hood Design Studio Wednesday, October 10 Amanda Williams, principal, Amanda Williams Studio Wednesday, October 24   University of Washington College of Built Environments, Department of Architecture Salvador Macías and Magui Peredo, principals, Macías Peredo Wednesday, October 10 Anda French, principal, French 2D Wednesday, October 24 Lene Tranberg, partner, Lundgaard & Tranberg Wednesday, November 14   Woodbury University Andrew Kovacs, principal, Office Kovacs Friday, October 5 Carmelia Chiang, principal, Carmelia Chiang Architecture Friday, October 26 Four Ecologies Panel Discussion: Bruce Appleyard, planner; Margaret Noble, artist; Colleen Emmenegger, academic; Hector Perez, architect; Bruna Mori, author; Moderated by Rebecca Webb Sunday, November 11
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This Ain't Your Parent's CAF

The new Chicago Architecture Center offers informative, tangible experiences
Chicago’s long-salient architecture non-profit, the Chicago Architecture Center, formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation, has swapped out its old digs at the Railway Exchange Building for a high-visibility space just steps from the south end of Michigan Avenue. With the fresh location in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 111 East Wacker Drive, the Center's new home sits just ashore of where the world-famous architecture boat tour has launched since 1983. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture with exhibit designer Gallagher & Associates, the Center's spaces are designed to expand and contract with current and future exhibits, but also across Chicago’s long and continued dialogue with architecture and design. The Chicago Gallery is located inside a cavernous interior space, with a newly expanded model of the city, which has grown from 1,300 to 4,500 3-D-printed resin buildings and now includes subtle topographic features and neighborhoods as far south as Cermak Road and as far west as Sangamon Street. Interactive touch screens are positioned around the model, where visitors can search for buildings by architect or style, view data about changing land use, or explore the “10 Buildings You Should Know” feature. A film playing at intervals behind the model provides a dramatic narrative of the city's built history and is heavy on neighborhood content. This emphasis on everyday architecture continues across the rest of the Chicago Gallery, where Chicago’s vernacular architecture gets some significant airtime along with familiar names like Wright, Sullivan, and Burnham. Exhibitions continue upstairs, where the Skyscraper Gallery riffs on the Chicago invention and studies its international forms. The Building Tall exhibit features 23 skyscraper models at the scale of 1:91, including a composition of five models of buildings all of which were, at one time, the tallest in the world. These models are offset by a 40-foot-tall wall of glass where one can get up close and personal with some of Chicago’s most iconic and notorious buildings, including the Wrigley Building, Trump Tower, and the new flagship Apple store across the river. New exhibits at the Chicago Architecture Center draw from contemporary issues and reflect the profession's desire to draw in a wider audience. All are heavy on technology, but here there is a marked absence of Instagrammability, even in the supersized models of the Skyscraper Gallery. Whether intentional or not, this emphasis on physical experience over social media photo ops feels freshly genuine in contrast to made-for-Instagram museums. Exhibits are readable and tangible, but are also adaptable and future-forward, with enough variety in content to appeal both to visitors who know everything about architecture and those who know nothing at all. There is an emphasis on current and future projects, with not only Adrian Smith + Gordan Gill, but with other architects influencing the shape of Chicago to come, including Studio Gang and Goettsch Partners, as well as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whose design for 400 North Lake Shore Drive on the former Chicago Spire site when completed in 2023 will do more to change the skyline of Chicago than any other structure in fifty years.
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Lets Talk About Steel, Baby

Facades+ Chicago will explore structural and facade systems at dizzying heights

On September 21, Facades+ is coming to Chicago for the first time since 2015. At the conference, speakers from leading architecture, engineering, and facade consultant firms will discuss their bodies of work and lead in-depth workshops. Workshops will cover modular facade design, the challenges and triumphs of large-scale work in Chicago, and how to control the quality, quantity, and directionality of light through facade design.

Dan O’Riley, associate director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), and Lucas Tryggestad, technical director at SOM, are the conference co-chairs.

Located on the southwest corner of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the metropolis of the Great Lakes and has the architectural output to prove it. Since the second half of the 19th century, the city has been at the forefront of design and engineering, pioneering both steel-frame construction and the skyscraper.

For over 80 years, SOM has called the city home. Over the course of its nearly century-long operation, SOM has designed and engineered thousands of projects in over 50 countries. These include the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s approximately half-mile tall Burj Khalifa, the ongoing conversion of the 1913 Beaux Arts James A. Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Train Hall, and the forcefully engineered Hancock Tower.

Founded in 1979, Chicago’s Kreuck + Sexton has stamped its footprint across the country. Institutional projects such as the Grogan | Dove FBI Building and the Spertus Institute feature faceted and folded glass facades that are coordinated with the functions of interior spaces.

Outside of the realm of supertall and infrastructural projects, local firms such as Landon Bone Baker are demonstrating the creative and sustainable possibilities of affordable and mixed-income housing across Chicagoland. Nearby projects Terra 459, Rosa Parks Apartments, and The Jackson serve as templates that can be emulated across the country.

The rise of Chicago’s broad portfolio of stone and glass-clad skyscrapers could not have occurred without the great density of engineering and facade systems firms located in the region. Ventana and other Chicago firms continue to push the envelope of facade and structural systems with projects such as the Kellogg School of Management, a collaboration with Toronto's KPMB Architects, which features an undulating 160,000 square-foot curtainwall.

Further information may be found here.