All posts in Architecture

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Zumth(ingm)or(e)

Peter Zumthor lightens and shortens LACMA design
Peter Zumthor's office has released new renderings of its new building for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In this latest update, the building's amorphous "canopy" level still sprawls across Wilshire Boulevard, and several pavilions still connect the upper level to the plaza, but now those pavilions are shorter and do not rise above the upper level. The building's material also appears to have been toned down; previous renderings showed striations on the pavilions' exterior, but now all facades seem to be blank concrete. The building's color has come a long way since the building was conceived as a kind of oil slick, referencing the local tar pits. Originally, the building was a sort of black blob, but over the past couple of years, that color seems to have been phased out. The sprawling elevated floor has remained throughout the project's development. The new building will replace an existing William Pereira–designed structure and is scheduled to be finished in 2023.
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About Face

The Met premieres an annual facades series to spotlight contemporary work
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s flagship Beaux-Arts facade on Fifth Avenue will soon host art for the first time in the building’s 115-year history. Installing work along the museum’s historic frontage is part of a larger slew of contemporary art exhibitions announced by the institution last Thursday. The move to display new pieces, some of them site-specific, is a clear effort by the museum to fill the void created by winding down its presence at the Met Breuer. It was announced last September that the Met would be vacating the brutalist Breuer building in 2020, only four years after its renovation and rebranding, so that the Frick Collection can temporarily continue to operate there while its flagship house-museum undergoes an upgrade. From September 9 through January 12, 2020, sculptures from Nairobi-born artist Wangechi Mutu will adorn the facade's niches. Mutu’s designs will be the first in a newly-announced annual series of installations along the building’s stone facade, which was completed in 1902 by architect Richard Howland Hunt. Although Mutu's exact sculptures have not been revealed yet, her work has previously used collage to touch on elements of diaspora, African culture, and inequality. Additionally, Canadian Cree artist Kent Monkman has been tapped to create enormous, site-specific new paintings for the museum’s Great Hall, which will be on view from December 19 through April 12, 2020. Multidisciplinary Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson will also premiere Death is Elsewhere, an immersive multi-channel video installation in the Robert Lehman Wing atrium, from May 30 through September 2. Other than marking a shift towards highlighting contemporary and new pieces, the three exhibitions also make greater use of the Met’s building itself to display them. "Artists have long engaged with The Met's collection, drawing connections between contemporary practices and 5,000 years of world culture," said Max Hollein, Director of the Met, in a press release. "These projects are a manifestation of The Met's desire and ability to collaborate with artists and current artistic production in an unusual way. The Met itself, the building, and its public spaces will become temporary platforms for presenting new work, offering powerful opportunities to display contemporary art for our broad audience to experience."
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Sic Semper

Storefront for Art and Architecture’s latest show spotlights the infrastructure of tyranny
At what point do urban interventions designed to protect the public shift to stifling their freedoms? How do hostile urban interventions enable repressive regimes to control the public? A new show at the Storefront for Art and Architecture and an accompanying walking tour through Lower Manhattan look to put the physical artifacts of tyranny on display. From March 28 through May 4, State of Tyranny will expand on Theo Deutinger’s book, Handbook of Tyranny. The exhibition will explore the design of tyranny through seven categories, from walls and surveillance cameras, to hostile architecture meant to dissuade public gatherings, to less tangible means of controlling the flow of people and information, such as passports. The shaping of public gathering spaces by big government or well-moneyed corporate interests to head off public protests and dissent is a well-known tactic that State of Tyranny will examine by placing physical artifacts front and center. Videos and detailed descriptions of these objects, which seek to directly or indirectly control human behavior, will supplement and add further context to these items. The Tyranny Trail, a walking tour hosted by artists and activists, will take visitors from the Storefront’s gallery at 97 Kenmare Street all the way down to the World Trade Center Memorial. Every tour will highlight both obvious and subtle methods of control, from concrete barriers to spiked benches meant to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them. The Tyranny Trail serves to remind that many design choices nefariously seek to influence the behavior of the public. A map of the trail will also be posted at the Storefront so that visitors can explore the Tyranny Trail at their convenience.
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In Hot Water

Junya Ishigami’s use of unpaid interns draws criticism after Serpentine selection
Junya Ishigami, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion designer, has come under fire after an Architect’s Journal report brought the Tokyo-based Junya Ishigami + Associates’ internship policy to light. A student who reached out to the firm to apply for an internship reportedly told the Journal that they would be expected to work six days a week, from 11 AM to midnight, for free and would have to supply their own computer and accompanying software. The internship would last for 8 to 12 weeks, “or longer,” according to emails reviewed by the Journal. Prospective interns would also be on their own in relocating to Japan and in acquiring a visa. The student ultimately decided not to apply, citing the extreme workload and high price of living in Tokyo. Unpaid internship culture is still pervasive in Japan, but a number of British organizations have come out against the practice, including the Serpentine Gallery. A Serpentine spokesperson told the Journal that they weren’t aware of Ishigami + Associates’ use of unpaid labor and would be looking into the situation. Additionally, they noted that “the Serpentine only supports paid positions on all of its projects and commissions, and is a London Living Wage employer.” This isn’t the first time a Japanese Serpentine Pavilion designer has drawn flak for using unpaid interns. The 2013 pavilion architect, Sou Fujimoto, was accused of doing the same and defended himself in Dezeen, saying that "in Japan we have a long history of interns and usually the students work for free for several periods. It’s a nice opportunity for both of us: [for the employer] to know younger generations and for them to know how architects in Japan or different countries are working." AN has reached out Junya Ishigami + Associates for comment and will update this article accordingly.
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Stay Dry

PARTISANS’ Building Raincoat could help Toronto keep a street culture year-round
Toronto is known for many great things. Its weather isn’t one of them. For the city's architecture the question is: how can public, urban space be usable and comfortable throughout the year? The architecture collective PARTISANS thinks it might have an answer. Referencing the “maze of awnings…and glass arcades” that defined Toronto streets in the late 19th century, the firm has designed an adjustable awning, somewhat-humorously called the "Building Raincoat," that could be installed to protect the sidewalk (and its users) from the elements. Intended to be applied onto any building, or perhaps pre-planned in new construction, the ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) structure latches onto the facade and to street pavers to create a protected space that remains transparent and lightweight, but still maintains the necessary durability to handle any meteorological assault. The Building Raincoat's four layers of EFTE help regulate sun exposure, and the spaces between the two interior layers inflate and deflate automatically to shift the opacity of the surface in order to regulate temperature under the canopy. The firm expects the Building Raincoat to double the number of daylight hours that can be comfortably spent outside each year. Cofounder Alex Josephson told Sidewalk Talk, the publication of Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto's joint effort Sidewalk Toronto, which hosted a presentation of the prototype of the building raincoat earlier this week, that PARTISANS took inspiration from other similar architectural typologies, like inflatables, that have been used to deal with space in experimental ways. The team iterated an array of possible structures before deciding on the three main qualities they needed: organic, folded, tensile. The raincoats have been developed in collaboration with structural designers Maffeis Engineering and environmental engineers RWDI, which have expertise in sustainability and in climate-conscious architecture.  To arrive at the right stable, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing form, the collaborators have leveraged computer modeling tools from the get-go, integrating them into the design process, rather than just using them during later testing phases. Leveraging these technologies, they’ve developed what Josephson calls a “toolkit,” an array of different related shapes and systems that can be adaptably deployed and maneuvered. “This is real experimentation where the scientific method meets design,” Josephson told Sidewalk Talk. In addition to providing adaptable protection from the elements, engineer Gonçalo Pedro of RWDI said that the Building Raincoat acts as a natural extension of the space it is attached to. It creates flexible transitions and gradations between inside and outside, public and private. While still in the experimental phase, the team hopes that the building raincoat can help shape and shift our relation to public space, allowing us to occupy the street together as much as possible. This month, they've put it to the test and have installed a version of the Building Raincoat at 307, Sidewalk Labs' Toronto headquarters.
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Puttin' on a Show

Winka Dubbeldam’s work goes on view at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum
An exhibition of the work of Archi-Tectonics, the firm founded by Dutch-American architect Winka Dubbeldam, is now on view at the Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin. The show, titled Flat Lands & Massive Things - From NL to NYC & beyond, focuses on six projects completed by Dubbeldam and her partner Justin Korhammer. The projects show the firm's core work in New York and the Netherlands along with other projects in China. The show draws comparisons between the urban environments of New York and the Netherlands, namely the flatness of both areas and their relationships with intricate coastlines. In a statement, Dubbeldam said: "As architects, we often undervalue the inventiveness of industrial or car design…But at Archi-Tectonics we believe that we can and should be concerned with high-level design precision and the integration of design and technology.” The show will be up through April 25.
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Waterfront Forest

3XN reveals North America’s tallest timber office tower for Toronto
Danish studio 3XN has revealed renderings of its latest addition to the Toronto waterfront, a 10-story timber office tower. Once complete, T3 Bayside will be not only the third 3XN tower to spring up in Bayside but also the tallest timber office building in all of North America. The 138-foot-tall office building is being developed by the international firm Hines and will provide office space for the 2,000-acre Bayside redevelopment (not to be confused with Sidewalk Labs’ nearby “Quayside” project). T3 Bayside, and its adjoining plaza, will join 3XN’s two nearby residential towers, and according to the developer, the development is expected to cement Bayside’s status as a live-work neighborhood. Using cross-laminated timber (CLT) for the tower’s frame allowed 3XN to reduce both projected construction costs as well as the building’s embodied energy. The structural timber will be left exposed inside, creating a warm interior that, according to 3XN, will also regulate the indoor humidity as the wood absorbs and releases moisture. 3XN has wrapped the building in vertically-oriented exterior louvers, that are partially interrupted to create a stair-like pattern of terraces across the facade—a design flourish that’s becoming increasingly common among office buildings. T3 Bayside is expected to welcome up to 3,000 tenants across a variety of coworking and community spaces, and flexibility was a major design driver. Double-height adjustable spaces that directly connect to the lobby, event and community spaces, more traditional offices, and communal “social” zones will all be mixed. From the renderings, it appears that T3 Bayside will also integrate parking on its second floor. A new plaza at the tower’s base will connect cafes, lobbies, exhibition and gallery spaces, and retail at T3 Bayside’s base with the larger Bayside development. 3XN hopes that by activating the ground-level, the design can lead visitors to the waterfront promenade along Lake Ontario. No estimated completion date or budget for the project have been released as of yet.
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Down Where it's Wetter

Snøhetta’s underwater restaurant is open for business in Norway
Europe’s first underwater restaurant is complete and now welcoming guests below the North Sea in Lindesnes, Norway. The Snøhetta-designed “Under” lies partially submerged on the coast of southern Norway, terminating in a dining room 16 feet below the ocean’s surface. The restaurant and marine biology research station is wrapped in thick concrete for its entire length, creating an imposing, 111-foot-long “periscope.” The concrete at the lowest portion is one-and-a-half feet thick feet and surrounds a 36-foot-long, 11-foot-tall window wall in the dining room that provides guests with a view of the ocean floor. The structure’s finish was kept deliberately coarse to encourage mussels to anchor to the building, so that the structure will eventually grow into a reef and purify the surrounding water. Construction on the concrete monolith was done on a barge off-shore before the structure was lifted to its final home and tilted into place. Inside, Snøhetta chose to utilize materials that intentionally emphasize the transition from Lindesnes’s harsh environment to the dreamy marine world below. The oak-wrapped entrance gives way to ceiling panels clad in textile that gradually change color, which Snøhetta claims is “a metaphor for the journey of descending from land to sea.” Speckled terrazzo floors reference the mottled sea floor visible from the dining area. Under is expected to welcome 35-to-40 diners every evening, but when not in use as a restaurant, the building will act as a hub for studying the local marine life. The sea around Lindesnes is extremely biodiverse, and researchers will use an array of cameras and sensors mounted on the facade to document the population and behavior of local fish. That information will in part be used by the kitchen to help determine how to sustainably harvest sea life from the surrounding area. Interested in dining underwater and don’t mind a trip to Norway? Under is now taking reservations.
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Yabba Dabba Don't

California town sues owner of the “Flintstone House” over prehistoric additions
The owner of the Bay Area’s famed “Flintstone House,” a sprawling red, orange, and purple dome home that’s become a local landmark, is facing a lawsuit over her unlawful additions—namely a menagerie of dinosaurs. The house was originally built in 1976 and designed by architect William Nicholson, who used a novel construction method to define the building’s forms. By first inflating large balloons, then spraying shotcrete over mesh and rebar, Nicholson was able to create interconnected round volumes. The building was originally off-white but rose to social media fame after being painted orange and purple in 2007 (it should be noted that in the show, the Flintstones lived in a modern-style boulder). After sitting on the market for two years, 45 Berryessa Way was sold to Florence Fang, a retired newspaper magnate, in 2017 for $2.8 million. Now Fang is embroiled in a lawsuit with the town of Hillsborough, according to the New York Times, over what officials claim were unapproved additions. Those additions? Dinosaurs so large that the town says they qualify as unenclosed structures, mushroom and animal sculptures, multicolored letters spelling out “Yabba Dabba Doo” by the driveway, a retaining wall, new steps, gates, and a life-size Fred Flintstone statue. According to the lawsuit filed on March 13, Fang was cited multiple times for adding to her property without the required permits, and her home was ultimately declared a “public nuisance” at a hearing last October. Fang was fined $200, which was paid, but the town filed the lawsuit after her changes were not reversed. Ultimately the case seems to stem from the presence of such an “outlier” house in a neighborhood filled with multimillion-dollar properties. As the suit itself alleges, the basis of the complaint is that Fang’s additions were, “designed to be very intrusive, resulting in the owner’s ‘vision’ for her property being imposed on many other properties and views, without regard to the desires of other residents.” Fang is reportedly consulting with her lawyers at this stage, and AN will follow up when further action by either party is taken.
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Her Philly

Maintaining the footprint of female architects in Philadelphia
Architect Elizabeth Hirsh Fleisher designed a dynamic, midcentury modern pavilion in South Philadelphia that’s now under threat of demolition as the city gets ready to renovate the surrounding park. Inga Saffron, the architecture critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer, called out the building’s potential destruction last week in an article about its importance in the city’s cultural preservation landscape. She noted the pavilion’s likeness to the LOVE Park Welcome Center, the beloved “flying saucer” that’s currently under restoration with plans to become a restaurant this spring. Both circular structures were opened in 1960, Saffron noted, along with a wave of round buildings that shaped the country’s design style of that decade. Though the small pavilion doesn’t sit directly in downtown Philadephia (it’s in Columbus Square) and wasn’t the most iconic building in Hirsh Fleisher’s portfolio, it’s still a symbol of her enduring legacy in a place that’s overwhelmingly built by men.  From Anne Tyng to Harriet Pattison, Georgina Pope Yeatman, Denise Scott Brown, and Minerva Parker Nichols, the list of female architects in Philadelphia isn’t very long, but the projects they backed in the city are memorable. At the helm of some of the city’s most impressive 20th-century projects was Hirsh Fleisher, Philadelphia’s first female licensed architect. She was responsible for the Parkway House, a postwar luxury apartment complex that she designed with her partner, Gabriel Roth, in 1953. Situated alongside Century Park near the Rodin Museum, the 14-story megaproject features a distinct mountain shape. It’s been there so long it’s nearly synonymous with that area of downtown Philadelphia. Though the Columbus Square pavilion is minuscule in comparison to Parkway House, Saffron argued the 35-foot-wide park structure could live a second life as a yoga studio or café. The city plans to remove it and expand the adjacent dog park in its place. What’s just as pressing as the little building’s demolition is the fact it could potentially be the second project by Hirsh Fleisher to see the wrecking ball. In 2014, her Queen Lane Apartments, a post-war public housing project, was demolished by the Philadelphia Housing Authority to make way for a series of low-lying affordable housing units. That building started suffering serious structural problems only decades after its completion, but the Columbus Square pavilion is forcefully sound; it’s largely built from stone. In a time where projects by prominent female architects are more appreciated than ever, there’s much attention being paid to those that are being taken down by redevelopment and in some cases, capitalism. Last month, JP Morgan Chase filed for the demolition of its headquarters in New York, the Natalie Griffin de Blois–designed Union Carbide Building. The site, 270 Park Avenue, will feature a replacement structure by Foster + Partners Bringing down Griffin de Blois’s 52-story Manhattan tower—whether you believe it should live on or not—distinctly diminishes the already-small footprint that female architects made on New York during the 1900s. Getting rid of Hirsh Fleisher’s tiny building would do the same in Philadelphia. Luckily, today there is a slew of women-powered practices that are following in her footsteps, such as OLIN, the landscape studio, as well as KSS Architects, a multidisciplinary firm also based out of Princeton, New Jersey. While many Philadelphia firms have significantly more men in leadership positions compared to women, the women are there. Award-winning practice Interface Studio Architects (ISA), along with DIGSAU, EwingCole, and KieranTimberlake have women in top-ranking positions or more women than men on staff.
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Outside the Box

Cardboard coffee shop turns heads in Mumbai
Situated in Mumbai’s bustling business district, a café interior made almost entirely from cardboard forces passersby to do a double take. The unique establishment, known as "Cardboard Bombay,” is striking not only for its unconventional appearance but also for its sustainable design. Against the backdrop of ubiquitous glass high-rises and fine-dining restaurants, the playful café serves coffee and casual bites in style while taking advantage of cardboard’s many sculptural and textural qualities. Designed by Nuru Karim, founder of Mumbai-based architectural firm NUDES, the space aims to promote conversation about the role of sustainable design in today’s urban landscape, as well as its impact on the future of Earth’s resources. Cardboard is an eco-friendly alternative to other materials, in that it is 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable. While durable, it is comprised of 50 percent air, making it extremely lightweight and versatile. Cardboard also has excellent sound absorption properties, making it a great acoustic solution for the food industry. Before being able to build with cardboard, NUDES researched the material in depth, which included testing cardboard with humidity, water resistance, and temperature fluctuations. After conducting thorough research, NUDES took to sculpting the café's bespoke furniture, light fixtures, accessories, and architectural elements entirely from cardboard. Designers stacked layers of cardboard to create the base of the chairs, and they laminated the cardboard tabletops—some of which cantilever from undulating cardboard wall partitions—with a wax treatment to prevent food and water damage. Even the walls are crafted from sinuous waves of cardboard fluting that, when layered next to each other, form intricate patterns, textures, and free-flowing geometries. The project took about seven months to complete, including four months of model-making and three months of construction. While Cardboard Bombay is India's first café suited up with cardboard, let's hope that it won't be the last.
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Three-Headed Dragon

Studio Libeskind’s anthropology museum evokes the stark forms of the Chilean desert
A multi-level museum showcasing 6,000 years of history is slated to break ground Iquique, Chile, and Studio Libeskind has revealed the first look at its dramatic, seemingly-fragmented building. Iquique is a port city in the country’s north that, while built on mining, has transitioned towards a tourism economy in recent years, in part owing to the abundance of natural biomes found together there—mountains, desert, and the ocean all lie in close proximity. Appropriately enough, Studio Libeskind has drawn on the lush natural environment for the design of the new home for El Museo Antropológico Regional de Iquique (Regional Anthropological Museum of Iquique). The new building will replace the anthropological museum’s original home, where it has existed since 1892. While the current building can only display 20 percent of the museum’s collection, the replacement—which Studio Libeskind has dubbed “El Dragon de Tarapacá”—will be able to put 6,000 years of history on display. Focusing first on the indigenous peoples of the nearby Atacama Desert, the museum will also cover colonialism, nitrate mining in the region, and history up to modern times. El Dragon de Tarapacá was designed to harmonize with the surrounding landscape. Using three pairs of jutting, vertical walls, the massing of the museum references the Atacama Desert, nearby dunes, mountains, and the adjacent coast. The design team opted for a mixture of earth-colored concrete, which is intended to resemble the local stone historically used for construction in Iquique, and hardwood for the interiors. Programmatically, over 40,000 square feet of exhibition space will span two levels. A café over the entrance hall will look out over the shore to the south, while the educational spaces, such as classrooms and a theater, will be located below the entrance. Beneath that will sit the administrative spaces and offices, with underground parking below.

“The design is informed by acoustical space," said Daniel Libeskind. "The idea was to treat each space as a distinct atmosphere and mood as you move throughout the museum. Every volume references the surrounding landscape—dune, mountain, desert, ocean.”

The new museum will sit between two roadways leading into Iquique’s urban center, and on a serious grade. The topmost road is approximately 26 feet higher than the lower street. That means an elevated ramp was needed to unite both halves, creating a pass-through to the beach between the two streets for the first time. A sloped garden will rise from the lower side as well. Construction of the new museum is expected to begin in early 2020, though no completion date has been given yet.