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It’s All Wood, Man
Mass timber is taking off across the U.S.—here's what you need to know
Mass timber is gaining steam and is set for another major boost, as recently passed code updates will allow structural timber up to 18 stories high. To keep up with the industry and its quickly changing landscape, we have mapped out the major players and the big issues surrounding wood innovation, from completed projects to boundary-pushing proposals that could shape the future of wood construction.Get caught up on the most important news with our latest timber issue: International Code Council moves to embrace taller mass timber buildings Legislation is slowly but surely easing up the restrictions on mass timber construction, and this code update should help tall timber reach the market. The U.S. mass timber industry is maturing while it branches out In the U.S. mass timber is moving from niche construction technique to industry standard, and manufacturers across the country are rising up to provide. Explore these maps of North America's blooming timber industry AN mapped the schools, organizations, and manufacturers across the U.S. and Canada that are powering the domestic timber boom. Shigeru Ban Architects burnishes its status as a leader in mass timber Known for experimenting with paper tubes and bamboo, Shigeru Ban Architects is burnishing its reputation in tall and mass timber. …
As mass timber becomes more viable, it is being envisioned for a wider range of project types and structures. Here are four designs from around the world that signal what wood's future could look like.Can Sidewalk Labs realize a totally timber smart city? Sidewalk Labs is planning a timber smart city to showcase state-of-the-art technology with help from Michael Green Architecture, Beyer Blinder Belle, and more. CRÈME proposes floating timber bridge to connect Brooklyn and Queens Brooklyn-based CRÈME/Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design's LongPoint Bridge could connect Brooklyn and Queens, offering a new path for commuters. Kengo Kuma is crafting a timber temple to sports for the 2020 Olympics Kengo Kuma's National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics is marching to completion and wading through some controversy over its timber. This 18-story building went up in 66 days thanks to the right mass timber products The Brock Commons Tallwood House designed by Acton Ostry Architects was erected in only 66 days thanks to products provided by Structurlam.
Art Hanging on the Waller
Waller Creek Conservancy stages fifth annual Creek Show
What's the Quay?
Can Sidewalk Labs realize a totally timber smart city?
Can one of the world’s oldest building materials form the foundation of a sensor-integrated “smart” neighborhood? Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs is making a go of it on the Toronto waterfront, and has enlisted wood advocates and Katerra partner Michael Green Architecture (MGA) to design flexible, mixed-use timber buildings for its 3-million-square-foot Quayside project.
If the 12-acre site is developed as planned, it would become the largest timber project in the world.
The ground-up development in Quayside is leaning on mass timber because Sidewalk Labs has touted the material as sustainable and as tough as steel, as well as because cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels work well in prefabricated structures. MGA has designed a kit-of-parts that can be used for buildings of every scale, and Sidewalk Labs is reportedly looking at constructing a collection of 12 mass timber towers, with the tallest topping out at 30 stories.
Sidewalk Labs is aiming to build within Quayside’s existing zoning, which would entail 90 percent residential development.
The neighborhood will encourage street-level interaction through a combination of design and environmental control. MGA has anchored the base of each building with a “stoa,” or an open-air covered walkway supported by a colonnade (in this case, V-shaped heavy timber columns) that will contain retail and communal gathering places.
Of course, Toronto’s winters are especially punishing, and doubly so on the waterfront. Sidewalk Labs tapped the architecture studio PARTISANS to design an “outdoor comfort toolkit,” including a computer-controlled retractable canopy that will clad the stoas. The umbrella-like structures will block out wind, rain, and snow while heated pavers will keep snow off of the streets; the company claims that both advancements will double the amount of time residents will be able to spend outdoors.
Beyer Blinder Belle is responsible for the site’s master plan and Toronto-based PUBLIC WORK will be designing the landscape. Sidewalk Labs also reached out to the Ontario-based gh3*, Toronto’s Teeple Architects, and Toronto-based Dubbeldam Architecture + Design to create residential unit concepts. Sidewalk Labs will submit its final Master Innovation and Development Plan for public comment sometime this spring.
Columbus, Ohio’s new National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) seems to gently lift off from the banks of the recently redeveloped Scioto River like a 3-D spirograph drawing. Allied Works Architecture, in collaboration with OLIN, sculpted seven acres of the riverbank to accommodate a building composed of intersecting bands of structural concrete that thread down into the earth and coil upward. This spiral banding leaves room for a processional ramp that winds from the ground level to a rooftop sanctuary from which one can take in the views of OLIN’s reflective landscape of memorial groves. As the concrete bands cross to form the building’s exterior structure, a custom dark wood acoustic ceiling—not unlike the underside of a mushroom—creates a comfortable gallery space inside. The museum galleries, designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, are filled with the personal stories of veterans. While other museums are dedicated to individual branches of the military or specific conflicts, the NVMM is the first museum of its kind in the United States that tells the story of American veterans as a whole, focusing specifically on how they, as civilians, continue to affect their communities.
Pratt exhibition looks at architecture of the Anthropocene
Tortoise and the O'Hare
Five finalists release their visions for O'Hare expansion
Higher and Higher
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill designs tallest building in China
Explaining the reasoning behind the merger, Mithun president Dave Goldberg said, “Finding such strong design talent and fit with Craig and Ming is remarkable, and we are very excited about the positive impact we will be able to make together in Southern California and beyond.”
But don’t think this is a path toward early retirement for Hodgetts and Fung, who have been practicing together for over 35 years. Hodgetts explained that the merger is, in fact, the opposite of that, saying, “Some well-established firms look for a merger as an exit strategy, but this is a re-entry strategy for me, Ming, and our firm to expand to a much larger stage which, quite frankly, is not readily available to a smaller practice.” Fung added to the sentiment, saying, “We have been approached to join other firms before, but from the very first conversation, it was clear we had a lot in common with Mithun in design approach and studio culture.”
With the merger, the firms will share a name in Los Angeles—Mithun | Hodgetts + Fung—for now, but that could change in a few years as the new entity becomes more established.
The union will give HplusF the “right muscle” to go after more employee-heavy housing-focused projects, Hodgetts explained, an interest the firm has always wanted to explore but has so far been unable to fully undertake until now. With local and state governments, especially in California, stepping up their efforts to rein in housing costs through new construction, housing of all types is set undergo drastic expansion on the West Coast in coming years. In exchange, Mithun will gain access to diverse culturally-driven clients, a realm the growing, design-focused firm has been hungry to enter itself.
UCSB Campus Architecture: Design and Social Change was a fascinating exhibition at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Art, Design, & Architecture Museum (ADA) that used master plans, drawings, photographs, and models to chart the profound changes in urban planning and public architecture design that took place at the university.
The exhibition also challenged several long-standing myths that plague California’s post–World War II urban planning legacy, including the persistent idea that many of the era’s plans were designed to remain static over time.
For one, the exhibition, curated by ADA reference archivist Julia Larson, was a subtle homage to two of the most prominent but largely forgotten regional urban thinkers of the postwar era—William L. Pereira and Charles Luckman—who together in 1953 crafted a cinnamon-hued urban design language for the university imbued with elements of vernacular modernism.
Their initial approach—dubbed the “Campus Standard” plan—was eclectic but extremely tasteful. In early buildings like the Ortega Dining Commons and Anacapa Residences, Ennis House–inspired concrete block piers mixed with hipped roofs, adobe-style stucco massing, and expressive modernist design elements to create solid, stark buildings that instantly rendered the barren site sophisticated.
The remaining grounds were exposed to ocean wind, because the site’s topsoil had initially been scraped away. In response, the first buildings by Pereira & Luckman were laid out in slender, interlocking L-shapes, each squat structure separated by concrete breezeblock walls and new plantings that curbed windblown dust.
When Pereira & Luckman dissolved their partnership in 1958, Luckman and his new office, Charles Luckman Associates (CLA), stayed on at UCSB as campus planners and executive architects. The new firm updated the Campus Standard plan in 1963 in preparation for a period of profound expansion; among these updates were new rules for taller and denser buildings. Although the updated guidelines CLA crafted were extremely particular, they also lent themselves well to adaptation. Again, hipped roofs, an almost classical use of columns, awnings, and screens, as well as thin-shell concrete spans soon became emblematic of a grown-up Southern California modernism, and an aesthetic touchstone for the state’s public and educational facilities.
Luckman’s seminal work at UCSB distilled several of the contemporaneous aesthetic trends coursing through American design into a coherent sensibility for the state’s burgeoning university system.
For example, Harold Frank Hall, built in 1967, stands out as a key example of this cohesive but open-ended style. The gridded, six-story complex is anchored by a long, low volume that features dentil-topped arcades; the taller, attached building is wrapped in sculptural concrete window hoods that bring geometric patterning to the campus skyline.
As detailed in ADA’s exhibition, Luckman’s vision is significant because the system CLA refined uses the humble markers of small-scale architecture to designate entrances, create shared qualities between structures, and frame views of the campus and surrounding landscape to the benefit of larger buildings. That modern architecture of the time espoused these qualities is often forgotten in the glimmer of the more abstract and singular Palm Springs–style Modernism that is so popular today.
Because of this and other efforts across California’s public universities, UCSB’s campus planning and architecture stand alongside the state’s cookie-cutter suburbs as some of the chief products of its post–World War II economic and social transformations. That is partially by design, as Pereira, Luckman, and others worked in both planning and design across the state during this era—pursuing new visions in different arenas.
In presenting this pioneering body of work and its ability to adapt over time, the exhibition also provided a unique lesson about the potential of midcentury urban planning to gracefully absorb change, a quality readymade in some other designs. A key lesson is that Luckman’s plans continue to succeed today because they were built on the campus’s earlier visions; accommodations were made for history, height, and size, concerns that would only increase in coming decades and are now ever-present.
Lastly, UCSB Campus Architecture was a timely analysis—with the current century fully underway, the UC system is once again set to expand. Across the state, university campuses are making changes to boost enrollment and housing offerings. UCSB itself is slated to add 5,000 students and housing for 1,600 students and faculty to its campus over the next eight years.
We can only hope that a century from now, a new exhibition probing these contemporary approaches will be as rich and fruitful as UCSB Campus Architecture.UCSB Campus Architecture: Design and Social Change Art, Design & Architecture Museum University of California, Santa Barbara January 13 – December 2, 2018