Billed as the “Factory of the Future,” BIG’s latest design for the San Pellegrino production plant at San Pellegrino Terme, Italy, gives the company even more reason to celebrate its 120th anniversary. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $100-million campus took place on September 27, alongside BIG releasing a batch of new views of the project. “Today we lay the first stone of the future factory that will officially launch us toward the future,” said Frederico Sarzi Baga, managing director of the Sanpellegrino Group. “The philosophy with which the new structure is created best represents the values of the brand and the commitment of the ‘Made in Italy’ ambassador company.” BIG’s design provides views of the Alps of Bergamo, with clean, modern lines offsetting the rugged natural landscape—a perfect metaphor for the blend of old and new that makes up the company, which has bottled its mineral water at the source since 1899. BIG’s approach imitates classical Italian architecture, with hints of inspiration from local vernacular motifs—exposed concrete arches and glass surfaces forming arcades and piazza-style spaces for gathering. The implementation of a new road system and access bridge will reduce the local area’s traffic congestion by tourists and workers alike, combined with a number of initiatives aimed at bolstering the company’s dedication to sustainability. “Like the mineral water itself, the new San Pellegrino Factory will appear to spring from its natural source, rather than imposing a new identity on the existing complex, creating a seamless continuity between the environment of production and consumption, and preparation and enjoyment,” said Bjarke Ingels in a statement about the groundbreaking. The factory will include 30,000 square feet of new production space to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand in the near future. Other features include renovated offices and changing rooms, a new cafeteria, a fitness center, and of course, exhibition-style areas to accommodate tourists. The project, which presents a radical transformation of San Pellegrino Terme and the surrounding area, is scheduled to be completed by 2022. BIG was first awarded the sprawling 4.3-acre project back in 2017, and it looks like the design has remained consistent since then.
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It Takes a Village
Selldorf Architects completes new a Zambian school for the 14+ Foundation
Selldorf Architects has completed a 30,000-square-foot school in the Mwabwindo Village of Zambia, the second of its kind in the rural community. Built through the non-profit 14+ Foundation and designed as a multi-building education center, the Mwabwindo School gives over 250 students, ranging from preschool to 7th grade, the chance to learn in a safe and welcoming environment with a vision inspired by the scattered trees of the Central African Plateau. According to the architects, the center’s unique layout—built like a village—was prompted by the tall, individual trees in the savanna that protect people and animals from the oppressive heat and heavy rain seasons. As a nod to these natural shading structures, Selldorf integrated a 23-by-23-foot corrugated metal canopy over the series of mud-brick classrooms, all of which are situated around a courtyard and internal “street.” Joseph Mizzi, president of Sciame Construction and co-founder of the 14+ Foundation, told AN that it took over 150,000 bricks to build the structures, and each brick was handmade by local masons and fired using earth from the region. Based on the foundation’s work building the Chipakata Children’s Academy in nearby Lusaka, Zambia, in 2015, leadership wanted locals to be heavily involved in the construction process this time as well. “Our experience is that when parents of the school children and community members become integral to the building process, it allows them to feel more proud of the end result and more respectful of what the school stands for,” said Mizzi. In total, the Mwabwindo School contains eight classrooms, an art space, a library, support structures for storage, and a six-unit cluster of housing for teachers. It also features a community vegetable garden and playing field for the kids. In the near future, the center will include expanded teachers' housing and dormitories for students. The 14+ Foundation was started by Mizzi and Zambian-born stylist Nchimunya Wulf in 2012 in an effort to enhance education in the rural communities of Africa where most students have to walk over four miles each way to school every day. The Chipakata Children’s Academy, designed by Susan Rodriguez of Ennead, Frank Lupo, Randy Antonia Lott, and Nat Oppenheimer of Silman Engineering, is located in the same jurisdiction as the Mwabwindo School. With the two now open, there are four total schools in the village; the other two are run by the government. Mizzi said the new projects give children across the entire village better access to the personal education they deserve. “In addition to serving the students at both our schools, we’re also addressing a bigger issue within the larger community by reducing the teacher-to-pupil ratio,” he said. "At the Mwabwindo School, there are around 25 to 30 children in a classroom." The Mwabwindo School has already won numerous architectural awards both for its design and for its commitment to sustainability. Like the children’s academy, which dually features an angular, lightweight roof structure, the architecture isn’t supposed to be attention-grabbing but instead functional and beautiful. The village itself already runs on 100 percent renewable energy, so Selldorf specified solar panels and integrated a rainwater collection system into the community garden. While students will learn how these green resources are used on-site, they will also focus on arts-based programs at the school. It was recently announced that artist Rashid Johnson is working with the foundation on a site-specific mural with the help of students, expected to be completed next spring.
Unpack and Unroll
Can flatpack refugee housing be safer, faster, and more durable?
While refugee camps are generally designed to be temporary, they often end up staying up for many years and become full, functioning cities in their own right, housing generations of people—Dheisheh camp, in Palestine, for example has been continuously occupied since 1949. However, because the materials they are built with—often just tents or tarps over metal frames—are generally intended for quick deployment and a limited lifespan, it is becoming just one of many problematic facets of housing displaced peoples. Cutwork, an architecture and design studio based in Paris and Amsterdam, has developed a concept for quick-to-build, affordable, and durable refugee shelters that can be set up by just two people. Working with the building materials company Cortex Composites, they’ve created plans for homes that can be assembled by two people in just 24 hours. Cortex, which is classified as a Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mat, is a concrete-impregnated textile that can be shipped flat and simply rolled out and hardened with the addition of water, no additional equipment or specialized construction experience necessary. The half-inch-thick shell then hardens within a day and, the company claims, can last for as long as 30 years with compressive strength twice that of average concrete all while being as much as 90 percent less carbon-intensive. Cutwork’s design for the Cortex Shelter would roll these concrete textiles over bendable metal-tube frames. Washable insulation panels would be added to the shelter’s interior and the design has high windows that allow both natural light and privacy. Cutwork also imagines solar panels being placed on the roof to generate electricity, and, in theory, should there be the infrastructure to support them, there would be ample space for kitchens and bathrooms. While the Cortex Shelter is designed to be a repeatable home, the firm also imagines that in supporting the urbanization of refugee communities, schools, shops, other structures could be built with the same technology. Cutwork suggests that Cortex could be used to build permanent schools, shops, and even a sports stadium. While they admit urbanizing refugee settlements is not the ideal solution to this global crisis, the company believes that it can be one tool among many in making safer, more sustainable, and pleasant lives for the tens of millions of global refugees.
What is the architecture of degrowth?
The Oslo Architecture Triennale, now in its seventh iteration, has made a name for itself under the directorship of Hanna Dencik Petersson as one of the most prescient and timely showcases in the relentless stream of -iennales and -ennials, those beloved recurring art and design festivals where dreams are made. After a successful 2016 exhibition themed around migration and identity in the face of hyper-globalization, the program returned in 2019, this time examining climate change, resource allocation, and economic systems under the theme of “degrowth” with Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth. Curated by Interrobang, an architecture and engineering firm, with chief curators Matthew Dalziel, Phineas Harper, Cecilie Sachs Olsen, and Maria Smith, the exhibition is a fresh take on ecology, introducing the ideology of degrowth into architecture discourse and examining how it would help realize a more ecologically-oriented human civilization. Degrowth has recently gotten attention as a new paradigm for understanding a post-consumerist future where resource extraction and economic growth are decelerated, giving way to new social, political, and economic systems that are more harmonious with nature and the earth’s finite resources and terrain. For an exhibition, this is fertile intellectual territory to speculate on the ways in which we build, and how they can evolve in alternative worlds. It is a refreshingly positive take on politics today, as much of our discourse, in architecture and beyond, is overwhelmingly negative and aims to discount or problematize (cancel) rather than propose new ideas or provoke new thoughts. The main festival exhibition, titled The Library, was conceptualized as “a spatial infrastructure for sharing knowledge” and was organized as a series of four rooms or “collections” that featured works ranging from material samples and books to analyses of languages and economic systems. The range and breadth of types of thought experiments presented a holistic and clear vision—almost a manifesto—of what degrowth might look like as an architectural philosophy. It was not a set of solutions, but rather speculative, positive provocations on what this new area of discourse might look like. In the Library's first collection, “The Subjective,” personal identities and rituals were examined. How would life change in a degrowth world? How would we live, laugh, and love? The Aerocene backpack by the Aerocene Community is a personal, solar-powered balloon imagined as an alternative to carbon-intensive jet air travel. Helen Stratford’s Organizational Diagrams for Everyday Life is a set of schematic diagrams that redraw the rituals of a daily schedule to visualize new routines outside of the pressures of work and productivity metrics that define us today. Perhaps the most traditionally eco-friendly collection is the “Objective Collection,” which is about materials and building techniques. Like the rest of the Triennale, it attempts to take these decades-old sustainability ideas and pushes them into new places. Another Column by YYYY-MM-DD is a deployable textile column that can be filled with sand or aggregate to create a site-specific architecture to replace concrete. Multiplo by GUSTO is a simple brise-soleil made of discarded fan covers from an abandoned army base in Northern Italy. A host of other new, eco-friendly materials gave a glimpse into how resource extraction, especially fossil fuels, could be replaced by smaller-scale reuse and bio-engineering to architectural "degrowth." In the Collective and Systemic collections lie the big questions that both define a possible “Architecture of degrowth,” and are also impossible to answer now. How new collectivities and systems would be constructed is not clear in degrowth discourse at the moment, but the ideology is ripe for speculating on how we might live in a post-consumerist, post-growth society. Collective projects include Visual Ecolophonic by INDA and Animali Domestici examines and visualizes the Sami language of Northern Finland, which they describe as more in harmony than nature than most languages. ARPA by (ab)Normal is a theoretical world where artificial intelligence replaces market forces as an organizing principle. It is an important aspect to consider here, as questions about power structures and humanity’s proclivity toward violence have to be taken into consideration. The biggest questions are raised in the Systemic Collection, where entire social and political systems, networks, and environments are rethought at both the local and the global scale. This, according to the curators, is where degrowth departs from previous environmental movements. MassBespoke, a project to build quality housing out of timber, another replacement for concrete, was also on show at the Triennale. By allowing that flexibility in the system, these homes can now be personalized like custom homes. The Intentional Estates Agency (Jesse LeCavalier, Tei Carpenter, Dan Taeyuong, and Chris Woebken) is a set of real and imagined real estate models both new and old—from 19th-century utopias to seasteading—that speculate on alternatives to our current real estate metrics. In addition to the main exhibition, more than 100 events and other programming added to the degrowth chorus. Standouts included a workshop to make tote bags from recycled tote bags from previous events, as well as a spectacular, interactive performance by Rimini Protokoll that made the audience unwilling participants in the complexities and absurdities of our growth-fueled construction industry; politicians engaging in corruption, lawyers battling, financiers gambling, and precarious workers struggling. Perhaps what is the most interesting aspect of this festival are the questions about that come next. How is degrowth a helpful ideology for architecture? Can it provoke new ways of building at the individual level that can become communal and then translate into change at the systemic scale? What power structures are most susceptible to degrowth in architecture? How can the development and real estate industry be convinced to participate in this? How do democracy and degrowth interact? What would happen if the right were to take degrowth and use it as an excuse to enable eco-fascism? Conversely, what does a green, socialist utopia look like? Can every aspect of our lives be redesigned through the lens of degrowth? The answers don’t matter right now, it is the questions being raised that offer promise, and should echo through architecture at this most critical and important time for these eco-ideas.
For the Chicago Architecture Biennial opening on September 19, SOM debuted a concrete pavilion called Stereoform Slab to showcase the latest in material and manufacturing technology. As much as 60 percent of a building’s carbon footprint can result from the creation of concrete slabs, according to SOM. By developing new fabrication methods and integrating robotic construction, the firm reported that a 20 percent reduction in material use and waste equaled an equal reduction in carbon output. The fluid form of Stereoform Slab, designed as a full-scale abstraction of the single-story concrete bays you might find in a high-rise, was built in partnership with McHugh Construction, the developer Sterling Bay, Denmark-based Odico Construction Robotics, and Autodesk. Using robots, Odico fabricated EPS foam molds which were shipped from Odense, Denmark, to the U.S. “The shape is formed of a specific, but simple class of geometry—the ruled surface,” the interdisciplinary research team behind the project at SOM said in an email. “This formal constraint is derived from the nature of the fabrication method itself, a hot-wire spanning an eight feet width at the end of a seven-axis robotic arm.” While one might have seen this "constraint" as just that, a restriction, the designers said they saw it as a way of offering “geometric freedom,” and also enjoyed the high fabrication speed. While new technology has allowed for designers to conceive of “more sustainable and expressive structures,” the resulting complexity often makes them hard to realize with conventional construction techniques. “The impetus for Stereoform Slab, however, was to prove that emerging approaches to fabrication using advanced robotics could help close this gap, and that this type of formwork could augment more conventional concrete forming systems without adding additional cost to construction,” the SOM team explained. Odico used a proprietary technology called robotic abrasive wire cutting, which allows for the rapid creation of polystyrene formworks—reportedly at up to 126 times the speed of traditional methods. “Because of this advantage, formworks can be produced at very low cost compared to conventional timber formwork molds," said Asbjørn Søndergaard, chief technology officer of Odico, "which is the critical enabler for realizing more advanced, structural designs that save material through more intelligent use of material." SOM isn’t doing away with the human hand entirely, and they said that “This type of advanced fabrication is about augmenting human labor in order to expand design freedom and the potential to actually build what we can imagine and create with more advanced digital design methodologies” Though certainly smaller than a tower, working closely with the robotic manufacturers and with a firm, McHugh Construction, that focuses on high rises means that the Stereoform Slab has more in common with a construction prototype than a pavilion. The Stereoform Slab will be up until January 5th, along with a bench produced by the same process at the Chicago Athletic Association.
Mend the East End
Washington University in St. Louis and Sam Fox School receive a KieranTimberlake revamp
Just west of St. Louis’s Forest Park sits the compact urban campus of Washington University in St. Louis. At 124 years old, the Olmsted-designed masterplan has undergone several major changes, but nothing as dramatic as the recently-completed, 18-acre transformation of its East End. KieranTimberlake and Michael Vergason Landscape Architects (MVLA) led a handful of experts in the sweeping $360 million effort, which included the introduction of an expansive new park, an addition to the famed Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, and five new structures, one of which is the new face of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. AN spoke with James Kolker, university architect and associate vice-chancellor, over email about the project. He said the milestone has been a decades-long dream in the making to cover the site, which was previously lacking comprehensive character and full of surface parking lots, with a green landscape and sustainable stand-out buildings that will lead the university into its next 100 years. “Seeing the Ann and Andrew Tisch Park filled with people lounging, eating, snapping photos, enjoying art, and gathering movable chairs together to host a class, continue to delight,” said Kolker, “and are evidence that the variety of activities, both as a place and a campus thoroughfare, make the east end a great campus for all.” When originally planned in the late 1800s, the site was projected to be a park-like “front door” that connected the campus to Forest Park, but the popularity of cars led to cement flat blocks and walking paths being installed. The goal of the reimagined landscape, Kolker explained, was to make the Danforth Campus more open and accessible to the public and university students. Opened this week, Tisch Park now serves as the centerpiece of the East End while Brookings Hall, the Collegiate Gothic landmark atop the newly-landscaped hill, greets students as the home of undergraduate admissions. On the southeastern edge of the site is Weil Hall, the new 80,760-square-foot main entry to the six-structure Sam Fox School, which also includes the newly-renovated and expanded Kemper Art Museum. The latter structure, originally designed in 2006 by Fumihiko Maki, features a 34-foot-tall polished, stainless steel facade that, through a pleated surface treatment, reflects movement around campus. KieranTimberlake nearly doubled the space for the display of the museum’s permanent collection with the 2,700-square-foot double-height gallery for post-war and contemporary art. In addition, the team worked with MVLA to design and reinstall the Florence Steinberg Weil Sculpture Garden. The exterior of Weil Hall complements the museum to the north in its use of translucent glass and vertical aluminum fins. Instead of mirroring activity outside the building, the facade allows views inside to its state-of-the-art studios, classrooms, and digital fabrication labs. The design team added many energy-saving elements into Weil Hall as well, including a two-story green wall to regulate temperature and clean and filter the air. According to James Timberlake, principal of KieranTimberlake, these major moves reaffirm the private research university’s commitment to the arts. “The design of Weil Hall is about fostering intentional interaction among disciplines in a flexible, open, light-filled space that inspires scholarship, creative research, and bold experimentation,” said Timberlake in a statement. “This was an opportunity to give new life and purpose to the Danforth Campus by putting the vitality of the art and architecture programs on view front and center for all to see.” By far the most disruptive but innovative intervention that the design team made to the campus was placing an underground garage directly beneath Tisch Park. Large enough to accommodate 790 vehicles, electric charging stations, and more, the below-grade building by KieranTimberlake and BNIM features high ceilings and access to natural light. Should automobiles ever become obsolete, the university has contingency plans to convert the garage into classrooms and labs. The East End transformation also includes the build-out of a glass-clad pavilion that provides space for the school’s environmental studies program and the office of sustainability, as well as a new welcome center and hall for the department of mechanical engineering and materials science. Another structure by Perkins Eastman will house computer science and engineering when it opens in 2021.
Get them in by October 4!
This is the final week to enter the 2019 AN Best of Design Awards
With 50 wide-ranging categories to choose from and a modest entry fee of $150 per submission, there's no excuse not to enter the 2019 AN Best of Design Awards. This is a great opportunity to show off your latest projects, concepts, and skills and to reach an audience of over 1 Million+ Archpaper readers. Awards are given to everything from completed commercial and residential buildings to public and urban design projects; from interiors and small spaces to exhibition design and temporary installations; from research initiatives to architectural representations, and beyond. Students also have a chance to highlight their work in three dedicated categories: representation, individual work, and group work. Projects completed and initiated across North America are eligible. Our esteemed jury will select projects that demonstrate strong presentation skills, innovation, the creative use of new technology, sustainability, and, most importantly, good design. Winners will be featured in a special end-of-year Best of Design Issue and extensively across our online and social media platforms. In addition, they will receive a signed, limited edition print by famed British architecture collective Archigram, pictured here: With the Friday, October 4 (Midnight PST) deadline just four days away, there's no better time to enter than now. Don't wait too late and miss out.
Is Bleutech's Las Vegas smart city on the level?
“We’re working on a project that will blow your mind” is the first thing one sees when visiting the website for Bleutech Park, a Las Vegas “engineering firm” with the tagline “The future of infrastructure.” The firm is responsible for pitching what was anticipated to be the Las Vegas Valley’s $7.5 billion smart city, revealed earlier in August. The mastermind behind the futuristic development? Janet LeGrand, formerly known as Janet Garcia, a Florida woman with a history of alleged fraud and seeking out high dollar construction contracts, according to the Miami Herald. Announced earlier this Summer by Bleutech Park Properties, Bleutech Park Las Vegas was promised to be the “first digital infrastructure city of its kind in the world,” complete with autonomous vehicles, 100-percent renewable energy, AI, “supertrees,” and self-healing concrete structures, among other features that sounded perhaps too good to be true. It was expected to break ground this December and take six years to complete, despite the fact that many of the technologies promised in the proposal are still in their infancy (and commentators on AN's original article voiced similar suspicions). As it turns out, the Miami Herald has been reporting on LeGrand’s alleged transgressions since July 2017 when she first attempted to use an allegedly "fake" engineering firm, Bleu Network Inc., to score a $33.3 million construction contract with Homestead for a similar urban venture. She was then arrested, booked into Miami-Dade County Jail, and later filed a lawsuit against the city. In December 2017, she was charged again for wage theft, after allegedly failing to pay her employees hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the Miami-Dade charges are set for trial next month, that didn’t stop LeGrand from posting bail, relocating, and attempting an even grander undertaking in Las Vegas. From the beginning, the advanced technology seemed to promise lofty sustainability goals. Such goals included creating tech that would make its “own off-the-grid energy” powered by the sun, wind, and even footsteps; “supertrees” that would support a 95-percent reduction in water consumption; as well as entire building facades functioning as solar panels. Tom Letizia, a spokesperson for Bleutech, told Commercial Property Executive, “We hope to inspire other developers to commit to sustainability in a whole new way for our future and to put benefits ahead of costs.” Over email correspondence, Letizia delivered a statement to AN from LeGrand: "The Miami Herald story was a total misrepresentation. I have complete faith in our judicial system and I have total confidence that justice will prevail with this case." Bleutech’s key technology partners—Cisco, Knightscope, Pavegen, and Onyx Solar, all reputable companies with tangible products—demonstrated their respective contributions at an event held in Las Vegas on August 28, where the project designer, KME Architects, also presented a batch of new renderings. The aforementioned tech partners, as well as the general contractor, Martin-Harris Construction, expressed excitement in moving forward with the plans on time. Guy Martin, president of Martin-Harris, declined AN’s request to comment on the current situation. KME could not be reached for comment at the time of writing, and AN will update this article accordingly if they respond. It remains to be seen whether the project will be completed as originally scheduled.
Last September, Johns Hopkins University announced that they had hired Pritzer Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano to design a home for The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at the university’s Homewood Campus in Baltimore. Yesterday, the first glimpse of these plans were unveiled to city officials and according to The Baltimore Sun, elicited mixed reviews. The project was established in 2017 through a $150 million dollar gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, an interdisciplinary academic forum “committed to strengthening global democracy through powerful civic engagement and informed inclusive dialogue.” Piano stated in a press release that “The building is designed to reflect these priorities, in design, materials, and accessibility.” Accordingly, the design currently features two “floating” glass hemispheres that are said to embody the institute’s commitment to transparency and open dialogue. While intellectually stimulating, the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel voiced concern that the large glass cubes might have the opposite effect on those outside of the campus community. However, the University is hopeful about its new addition to Wyman Park Drive. “This new building promises to be a gathering place for scholars and citizens to model the robust exchanges of ideas that are essential for healthy democracies,” said Johns Hopkins University president Ronald J. Daniels. It is expected to house faculty offices, labs, and graduate student spaces as well as coworking areas. Reflecting on the spirit and purpose of the Greek Athenian Agora (Piano took a similar Grecian approach with Columbia's Forum), the building will also feature community space for conferences, art exhibitions, and a rooftop terrace. Partner Mark Carroll is leading the project on behalf of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, who have partnered with the Baltimore-based firm Ayers Saint Gross. The architects will attempt to meet, at minimum, LEED Silver Certification for their sustainability target. Lee Coyle, Hopkins’ director of planning and architecture told Baltimore Fishbowl, “we think it’s an opportunity for Johns Hopkins University to make a statement about commitment to sustainability as a true world issue.” Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2020 and conclude by Summer 2022. In addition to the Agora Institute, Hopkins is also planning on giving new life to the nearby old Baltimore Marine Hospital. An architect has yet to be selected for that undertaking.
Windy City Enclosure
Edward Peck discusses enclosure technology and Facades+ Chicago
Brought to you with support fromOn September 27, The Architect's Newspaper is returning to the Great Lakes for the sixth time to host Facades+ Chicago. The city is no stranger to architectural innovation, pioneering steel-frame construction, and the curtain walled skyscraper. The conference is, in effect, an appraisal of the most recent projects and research that keep Chicago ahead of the curve in architectural design and technology. Participants for the conference symposium and workshops are leading practitioners based in Chicago and the Midwest, including Brininstool + Lynch, the Chicago Department of Buildings, Gensler, Heitman Architects, Krueck + Sexton Architects, the Passive House Institute US, Sentech Architectural Systems, Sterling Bay, Thornton Tomasetti, and WJE. Edward Peck, managing director of Edward Peck Design and a facade expert with decades of experience, collaborated with AN as co-chair of the conference to curate the program and will also present on the panel "Ongoing Advancements in Glass Technology: From Smart Coatings to Connection Design," which will be expanded upon as an afternoon workshop. In this interview with AN, Peck discusses the themes and objectives of the upcoming conference. AN: Research and Innovation are at the forefront of this year’s conference in Chicago. What lessons do you hope will be garnered by the audience? Edward Peck: Correct. At this conference, we want to draw the connection between the two. To innovate, one needs to invest time and effort into Research (R&D). We are a profession where every project is a prototype yet we find ourselves with less and less time for the integration of Research and Advanced Analytics but to build meaningful architecture that is inspirational, sustainable and resilient we will need to find better ways to perform and collaborate on Research and new Innovations to meet the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. AN: How are firms in Chicago impacting design across the country and perhaps globally? EP: Architects in Chicago have a rich history for impacting architecture and urban conditions globally. We have a collective body of progressive work around the world-leading innovations in sustainability, performance and structural force pushing towers to new heights. With this comes a body of innovative engineers that are our primary collaborators on these projects enriching the entire practice of architecture and enabling Chicago to maintain our position as a critical thought leader in progressive architecture. AN: What do you perceive to be the most interesting design trends within Chicago today? EP: I try to stay away from trends. One needs to focus on the building’s performance; both its impact on the environment and the user while understanding its urban or contextual integration. If these conditions are your focus your work will transcend trends. I believe the Trumpf Smart Factory, a featured project at this conference does that; it is focused on its program while also exhibiting the values and capabilities of Trumpf as a company. AN: Facade materials are undergoing a significant evolution due to advanced research. Are there any specific materials we should be paying attention to? EP: I think smart or dynamic building skins and systems are worth paying attention to – There are a lot of products that are now moving into their second generation making them more attractive and feasible in the market. Buildings must perform in a wide range of conditions, systems that can adapt or transition within this range will undoubtedly be integrated into future designs. Further information regarding Facades+ Chicago can be found here.
A Tree Grows in Westchester
Historic Rockefeller Orangerie will become a net-zero art center
Lush, gated properties are not out of the ordinary in the Westchester village of Tarrytown, New York. However, set back upon the Rockefeller family’s former estate lies something entirely out of the ordinary—a stately greenhouse for growing oranges. Built in 1908 by architect William Welles Bosworth, the building served as a winter greenhouse for orange trees, an orangerie. More than a century later, New York-based architecture firm FXCollaborative wants to give "the Orangerie," a building on the estate, a new purpose, with plans to adapt it into a public arts center with net-zero carbon emissions. Plans for the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center began in 2015 at the Pocantico Center, a conference and community resource center developed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) on the former Rockefeller property in Tarrytown. The new center will include multipurpose performance spaces, a gallery, and a flexible art studio that will also accommodate community programs. “The repurposed building will give us space to elevate and nurture the creative process," said Judy Clark, executive director of the Pocantico Center, “for both emerging and world-class artists, and local community groups alike.” With an emphasis on sustainability from the very beginning, FXCollaborative’s designs include a rain garden for stormwater control and habitat restoration as well as on-site solar panels that will generate more energy annually than the building will consume. The firm will also seek LEED Platinum certification for the Orangerie in alignment with RBF’s “decades-long commitment to promote sustainable design,” as described by Sylvia Smith, a senior partner at FXCollaborative. “Our approach will elegantly fuse arts-drive and net-zero energy design,” said Smith. “The result will be a laboratory for creative production and a model for sustainable transformation.” The regeneration will present a new chapter in the Orangerie’s unusual history on the Rockefeller estate, which has played home to four generations of the family. Post-World War II, the building was used as a storage facility before ownership was transferred to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1979. Today, it operates as part of the larger RBF amidst terraced residences and gardens. “The goal of this project is to see artists and their work as a dynamic work in progress, instead of a static, finished project,” said Smith. “We know Mr. Rockefeller believed art changes the way one perceives the world, and we’re excited to play an important part in facilitating that change in New York.” Construction for the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center is set to begin later this year and conclude in the spring of 2021.
Three Dutch organizations—the materials company DSM, the engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV, and the 3D printer manufacture CEAD—have teamed up to create a printer capable of printing continuous glass- or carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics. Currently, they are demonstrating the capabilities of printing structural elements, and even, they hope, entire pedestrian bridges, with CEAD’s CFAM Prime printer which can create parts as large as 13 feet by six-and-a-half feet by five feet. While formwork molds have previously been created by large-scale printers and then used in turn create structural parts, this is one of the earlier examples of the potential of 3D printing to create large polymer structural elements, and, possibly, entire bridges. The firms say that combining polymers with continuous fibers allows for the construction of lightweight, high-strength elements ideal for infrastructure solutions, and while other 3D printed building materials have run into trouble when it comes to cold temperature and exposure to the elements, the designers hope that these fiber-and-plastic combos can weather storms as well as any traditional building—though it remains to be seen if these 3D-printed elements would be able to address the brittleness problem sometimes faced when plastics are used for larger structures. Maurice Kardas, the business development manager of Royal HaskoningDHV, told 3Dprint.com that “fiber-reinforced plastic bridges have been known for their long life spans and lower overall costs in comparison with steel bridges. Now we will be using a new 3D printing technology which lets us at scale make fiber-reinforced plastic parts. through adding sensors to the bridge we can make a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge itself. these sensors can predict and optimize maintenance, ensure safety and lengthen the life span of bridges.” While the team cites sustainability as a possible benefit—noting the polluting nature of concrete—these forms still rely upon plastics, in this case Arnite which is a rigid PBT or PET. Composites like these remain notoriously difficult to recycle, and are often petroleum-based. Still, additive manufacturing processes often produce less waste, take less time, and hopefully, will offer durability advantages over other existing processes.