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North of South

A new book surveys little-known modern Mexican architecture

Edward R. Burian, an architect and professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has produced an informative survey on a subject not well known to a general audience. Although northern Mexico is a large, well-populated region, to many Americans it still conjures images of a largely empty, dusty land of vaqueros or the setting for Pancho Villa’s daring exploits. Its situation as a place of contemporary cultural production in the Mexican national imagination is even more limited. There, cultural discourse is dominated by the capital, Mexico City, in a manner much more profound than equivalent United States centers like New York and Los Angeles. Architecture of this region, which spans the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Baja California Norte and Sur has been almost completely excluded from systematic study in its own country. The continued neglect makes this book, the first written in English or Spanish on the subject, valuable as a groundbreaking effort to draw attention to a historically under-recognized region.

The book is organized state by state, starting in Tamaulipas on the Gulf Coast and ending with Baja California Norte and Sur. Each chapter begins with a brief overview of each state’s geography and history and then proceeds, city by city, to describe significant works of architecture and urban design. These descriptions are short in the manner of an architectural guide. About a third of the buildings are illustrated with a mixture of new and historic photographs. There are some extremely detailed maps of the central portions of the larger cities, but no architectural floor plans are included.

There is a great variation of geography and climate across the region. The easternmost section is flat and humid, with abundant rainfall and semitropical vegetation. As one progresses west, the land becomes hillier and more arid with isolated oasis-like microclimates. Toward the Pacific Coast, vegetation is again lush (a word the author likes to repeat), while just across the Gulf of California, the Baja California Peninsula is desert. However, despite these climatic variations, nearly all the buildings included in the book are made of brick, concrete, or stone and as the author frequently writes, have “wall-dominant” exterior elevations. Climatic adaptation seems to be accommodated by porches, changes in wall thickness, and fenestration patterns. (Here, plans would have helped to show more specifically how buildings physically varied from region to region.)

Monterrey, the major city of Nuevo León and Mexico’s third largest, seems to have the most vibrant contemporary architectural culture of all the cities in the book. Founded in 1596, it became a major city after World War II when its industrial capacity dramatically increased. Some outstanding early projects include Enrique de la Mora y Palomar’s parabolic-vaulted Iglesia La Purísima (1940–1946), one of the first modern churches in the country, and his 1942 master plan for the newly-created Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey “Tech”). This plan, as well as many of the early buildings, recalls those of the better-known Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City that were inaugurated about 10 years later.

Monterrey architect Rodolfo Barragán Schwarz, who studied under Paul Rudolph at Yale in the early 1960s, is a notable figure. His postwar modern designs fused American and Mexican sensibilities in unusual and compelling ways. In the past two decades, local architects including Cecilia Rangel and James Mayeux, Agustín Landa Vértiz, Alexandre Lenoir, and Gilberto Rodríguez, have produced work that holds its own against that of the many Mexico City and foreign architects also designing projects in Monterrey.

As a pioneering work, however, the book is rough around the edges. Its format is halfway between a traditional architectural guide and a textbook. Although the buildings’ names are highlighted in bold text, their addresses are not given, and only a small handful are marked on the infrequent city maps, making them difficult for visitors to locate. Also, the book, which measures approximately 9-by-12-inches, is awkwardly sized for a traveler to carry conveniently. Finally, the maps of the states showing the locations of the cities appear to be cropped from a larger map and are all but useless for navigation. A model the author and publishers might have consulted is the outstanding Buildings of the United States series, which covers an equally wide-ranging area and is very rigorously organized.

However, these complaints become quibbles when considering the massive amount of work and dedication that the author almost single-handedly expended to gather the information for this book. He should be commended for setting up—in a very deliberate and conscious way—a larger discussion about the architecture and culture of our southern neighbor.

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Wax On Wax Off

SITU Studio crafts unique, textural concrete panels for One John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park

From the glass-encased lobby of One John Street, residents will be able to take in some incredible views: The 12-story, 42-unit condominium is located on the eastern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Manhattan Bridge soars over the East River just a stone’s throw away. In fact, Alloy, the building’s architects and co-developers with Monadnock Development, scaled up the windows and the floors to combat the increased noise pollution and solar exposure. But Alloy wanted more than just a glass box on the East River, so it tapped Brooklyn-based SITU Studio. “They came to us to create these sculptural panels that wrap around the structural core of the building,” said SITU Studio partner Wes Rozen.

SITU Studio, the firm behind the new Brooklyn Museum entrance, the NYSCI Design Lab, and the Heartwalk in Times Square, has a heavy emphasis on fabrication and material experimentation in their practice. For this project, the creative process began with a building being torn down: The Tod Williams and Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum. “We [SITU and Alloy] both were sad to see [the museum] go,” said Rozen. “So that was an inspiration for what we were trying to achieve, just in terms of the texture in the concrete. From there, we began by looking at various things we could cast to get texture: different types of plastics, fabrics, things that we could put underneath or on top of the fabric, to create different patterns and textures. We wanted something organic.”

SITU Studio undertook several months of experimentation in a rented space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (its other fabrication spaces were at capacity). Early on, the firm challenged itself to create panels where the artists’ hands weren’t too visible: “We wanted a texture that seemed like it could’ve been just found in nature,” said Rosen. “We wanted to author the process, but the materials themselves would be given the freedom to do what they wanted.” Eric Weil of Oso Industries, a Brooklyn-based studio whose specialties include concrete installations, consulted and assisted during the fabrication process.

The team found their wabi sabi sweet spot with a mixture of salt and beeswax. For each panel, SITU Studio stretched acetate over a sheet of crumpled paper on a table; this surface created a gently irregular topography to cast against. After encasing the acetate on four sides with a one-inch-deep casting formwork, they poured pools of melted beeswax on the acetate, along with pellets of beeswax and salt granules to achieve a fine texture. SITU Studio then poured on concrete (colored with black pigment) that was further reinforced by mixed in loose fiberglass, and a carbon-fiber mesh overlay.

Once dried for three days, the panels were heated inside a custom-made oven that could angle upward. “The reason why the oven lifts is so that, as the wax is heated and melts out of the panels, it stains these vertical lines, little drip lines, into the concrete, which is something we were excited about as a subtle feature,” said Rozen. After that, the wax and salt could be easily dissolved or washed out.

The end result looks like it’s been pulled from a blast furnace or a foundry wall: “In the right light, the panels look almost metallic where the concrete has cured against the acetate,” Rosen said. Other parts of the surface are cratered and pockmarked like a lunar surface. In total, 63 panels from 17 to 11.5 feet tall (all two feet wide) stand in the lobby facing John Street and within the stairs around the core. They will also be visible from the street when the building opens this summer.

RESOURCES Concrete Services OSO Industries

General Contracting and Construction Management Monadnock Construction

Structural Engineers De Nardis Engineering, LLC

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Walking Under Sunshine

SITU Studio designs a “Solar Canopy” to popularize rooftop solar systems in urban areas
A recently developed product, the Solar Canopy, may solve many of the problems related to having solar panels on residential urban rooftops, according to a recent press release. The Solar Canopy, a collaboration of Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm SITU Studio and Brooklyn SolarWorks, is a raised platform of solar panels. The project’s development also included Solar One, an advisor, and Laufs Engineering Design (LED), a structural engineering consultant. This approach to incorporating solar panels on rooftops in New York City attempts to resolve concerns such as fire code regulations, rooftop obstructions, and wind and snow loads. The Canopy has a minimum size requirement of 6’ wide x 9’ high, based on requirements set forth by the Department of Buildings (DOB). The product was initially designed for brownstones and row-houses in Brooklyn but can be produced in larger sizes. Aluminum, with its solid-but-lightweight properties, was chosen for the Canopy's frame. “The buildings might not [stand the test of time] but [the Canopy] is built to really last,” stated T.R. Ludwig of Brooklyn SolarWorks in an interview with AN. The Canopy consists of standard components—trusses, beams, and angled columns. A T-extrusion is used to attach the structure securely to the roof. Using a parametric formula, these components can be easily reproduced to yield a customized Canopy, potentially double the size of a rooftop solar system. A video included in a press release, seen below, shows the assembly of the Canopy. The Solar Canopy will hopefully allow homeowners to save considerably in energy costs. Tax credits from the Federal government, the State of New York, and the City of New York can be used to cover 60 to 90 percent of the cost of a rooftop solar system. Ludwig told AN that it is possible for homeowners to take out loans to have the product installed and that affordability is one of the project team’s priorities. Brooklyn SolarWorks has a background in solar finance. So far, ten Solar Canopies have been installed in Brooklyn with several others going through the permitting process. The product will likely be available for commercial use in the fall of 2016.
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Make It Happen

“Maker Park” emerges as newest idea for development of Bushwick Inlet
A new idea recently emerged for a piece of property, which has long been in dispute, along the Bushwick Inlet. The initial plan for the Bushwick Inlet was to convert the industrial “wasteland” into a 28-acre park. That was what was promised to the people of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in 2005 following the Waterfront Rezoning Agreement, introduced under the Bloomberg administration. Advocates for this proposal, including Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, have continually voiced their desire that the property be used for green space. However, Citistorage owner Norman Brodsky still possesses an 11 acre triangle of land needed for the park. It currently holds the old Bayside Oil Depot. Brodsky wants to sell the property for $250 million to the city. However, the city has far exceeded initial cost estimates for the park—$60 million to $90 million—having already spent around $224 million. Rumors are circulating that city may use eminent domain to take the land. If that were to happen, the city would have to compensate Brodsky for a certain amount, then additionally pay for the extensive environmental remediation needed to make the site usable. As of yet, the city has not make decision. More recently, however, local stakeholder Zac Waldman has floated a vision for a “Maker Park” at the site's industrial facilities. In fact, Waldman has assembled a team of supporters to translate that vision into a more definitive plan. They include the events coordinator for the Municipal Art Society (MAS); Stacey Anderson, a creative director at Kushner Companies; Karen Zabarsky; and architect Jay Valgora of New York City–based firm STUDIO V Architecture, along with other designers and developers. Valgora is known for his adaptive reuse projects, such as Empire Stores, the redevelopment of an empty and neglected brick storehouse in DUMBO, Brooklyn. While no definitive plans have been revealed for Maker Park, the development team is working to devise a strategy to convert the warehouses, garages, and cylindrical fuel containers into an artisan marketplace and industrial playground. The Maker Park website describes the vision as “a beautiful and otherworldly industrial topography.” However, Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, has stated that Maker Park is not a feasible use of the site due to the need for environmental remediation, according to The New York Times. Previous projects of this nature have proved successful, notably the on-going Freshkills Park project and the Croton Water Filtration Plant. Freshkills was the world’s largest landfill until 2001, when it stopped receiving trash (save the debris from post-9/11 cleanups). Over the course of two decades, each of the Staten Island landfill’s massive mounds have been capped, allowing development of 2,200 acres of parkland that offer hiking, biking, playgrounds, and a number of other amenities not typically accessible to residents and visitors of New York City. The site even harvests natural gas from the contained landfill. The Croton Water Filtration Plant, designed by New York City–based Grimshaw Architects, is situated beneath a golf driving range in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. An article in The New York Times notes that 290 million gallons of water are treated each day at the $3.2 billion plant. Additionally, the plant provides 100 million of gallons of water each day to the western edges of Manhattan and areas of the Bronx. While adaptive reuse has played a significant role in breaking up the monotony of the congested metropolitan landscape in these projects, the concept of an "industrial theme" for the Maker Park remains vague. Although the use of existing infrastructure presents advantages, there are still many considerations to take into account before this is deemed feasible and worthy of the community. The fact remains that Citistorage still owns 11 acres of the property needed to pursue any development for public use of the site, or development, period, since anyone could snatch up the property.
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Pool Play

Moon Hoon designs four bright pink pool villas in South Korea
Last month, we covered the fingerprint YDP Tower, a residence planned for Seoul, South Korea. The architect, Moon Hoon of the South Korean firm MOONBALSSO, has designed another colorful and playful project: a series of candy-colored pink pool houses in Miryang, South Korea. Miryang (also called Milyang) is a land-locked city in the south with lots of natural splendor—valleys, two rivers, and the Yeongnam Alps rising in the distance. MOONBALSSO’s pool villa project is in the countryside, a little over 30 miles north of the port city Busan, the second largest city in South Korea after Seoul, known for its giant beaches. The pool villa site—about a third of an acre—is “mainly a flat piece of land on a gentle hill with irregular property lines,” says Moon Hoon. “It is rather isolated which provides an ideal situation for private pool villas for weekend and holidays.” The series of four neon, bubblegum pink pool villas share external dividing walls. The walls are extra high to provide ample privacy. Three of the pool villas each feature a one story house, with lots of glass. At one end, the fourth villa is two stories, with room for more residents or guests. The interiors are all white, in sharp contrast to the bright pink surroundings. The pool configurations are each a bit different, but all have views of the verdant rolling hillside beyond. “Angled walls and floating double walls and girders add sculptural quality to a spatial experience of expansion and visual pleasure,” Moon Hoon says. “The bright pink adds to the festive nature and holiday atmosphere. The greenery surrounding the pool villa emphasizes the pink even more…a contrasting existence, helping to make each other more vivid….” We’re guessing Elle Woods would be an instant fan of the playful and bold aesthetic.      
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BeMA

13 architects shortlisted for just-named Beirut Museum of Art
Last mid-April, the non-profit arts organization Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL) announced a group of 13 shortlisted architects for their new initiative: to design and establish a new modern and contemporary art museum in Beirut, Lebanon. At the time, the museum was unnamed. This week, we learned the official name of the museum: Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA). Lord Peter Palumbo is chairing the independent design competition jury that includes a mix of international curators and artists, as well as the architects Lord Richard Rogers, Fares Al Dahdah, George Arbid, and Rodolphe Khoury. The late Zaha Hadid was also on the jury. "The museum will not only alter the panorama around it, but also recuperate at an urban scale the cultural dimension that local developers and municipality members envisaged for the city as early as 1915," said jury member and architect Fares el Dahdah. "It has the potential to form a new cultural center of Beirut." The jury selected the thirteen firms from a group of 66 architects of Lebanese origin working out of 16 countries. They include: 109 Architectes s.a.r.l. Bernard Khoury / DW5 Hashim Sarkis Studios, LLC HW architecture ibda design IDC / Verner Johnson ETEC SA L.E.FT Architects Lina Ghotmeh / DGT Architects Najjar Najjar Architect Raëd Abillama Architects / Nadim Khattar WORK Architecture Company (WORKac) Yatsu Chahal Architects (YCa) Said Jazari Consulting Office (SJCO) Youssef Tohme Architects and Associates (YTAA) New York City-based WORKac is helmed by Dan Wood and GSAPP Dean Amale Andraos. For the competition's phase two, the thirteen firms are tasked with creating concept designs and strategies for the Université Saint-Joseph-owned site in Beirut. "Physically, the building will naturally respond to the needs of its program; it will feature multiple gallery spaces, a community art space, and spaces that can be used for conservation, documentation, public education or discussion programs, and artists-in-residence," said APEAL president, Rita Nammour. "A goal of the project is also to provide respite from the surrounding vibrant cityscape by providing a public green space." APEAL is searching for a director and assembling a curatorial team. While the modern and contemporary art collection is still under development, Nammour said it will include "visual arts, painting, sculpture, works on paper, new media, photography, video, performing arts, film, architecture, and design." The museum will feature mostly Lebanese and Middle Eastern art, but also include works by international artists. "Situated adjacent to the demarcation line of the country's devastating civil war, the new museum aims to be a unifying national platform that will bring together diverse populations and narratives as well as strengthen civil society and participation," said Nammour. "BeMA: Beirut Art Museum will be an anchor within Beirut’s new 'museum mile,' home to the National Museum and Museum of Lebanese Prehistory, the Mineral Museum (MiM), and will soon include Beit Beirut (House of Beirut), and Metropolis Center."   APEAL is working with Temporary.Art.Platform on an artist-in-residence program called "Works on Paper" that is connecting commissioned artists with four daily Lebanese newspapers. "In the lead up to its opening BeMA will continue to build connections through key bridges with other existing cultural institutions," said Nammour. Beirut has seen a flurry of arts and culture museum development in the past few years. "The creative ferment is happening even as unrest in the region and domestic political instability have ground the economy and tourism to a near halt and threaten to embroil Lebanon in new conflicts," reported the New York Times this past October 2015. "How the city can contain such contradictions is a testament to its vivacity, history of surviving sectarian conflicts and long-established art scene." The jury will select the winning design this fall 2016. The museum is expected to open in 2020.
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The Greg Lynn Show LIVE: Schumacher, Denari, and more at the CCA
The Architect's Newspaper (AN) is live at the taping of the Greg Lynn Show at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Greg Lynn, curator of Archaeology of the Digital, is hosting a talk show that will serve as the public program for the opening of part 3: Complexity and Convention. "It will be all about the 90s" today, as the exhibition focuses mainly on the genesis of digital design and production. Part 3 is about seminal projects that have set standards for today's buildings. Live updates will come throughout the day. Lynn starts the show off by introducing the guests, including "stand-up comedian and special effects guru Neil Denari," and Patrik Schumacher, who is promoting his new book, "Para-Patrik Schumacher," which is about being Patrik Schumacher. UPDATE 2:32 EDT Denari is the first guest is Denari, who said that not much has changed since the 90s, as the software is not that much different, just easier to use. The impetus now is on pushing the concept further. This sort of supports Lynn's thesis for the show, which is that these are the seminal projects that still impact designers today. Denari thinks that drawing is still very important today, as 80-85 percent of the work today exists only as drawings, so much lives only in the digital world. It is very important to preserve and care for these files. Also, he said that figuration, abstraction, realism, and hyper-realism are as important today as they were in the early days of digital. OCEAN North was a collaborative that had several factions across Europe in the 90s. Kivi Sotamaa and Johan Bettum comprised OCEAN North, whose Jyvaskyla Music and Arts Center was at the front of digital and collaborative knowledge. They were using the computer to produce forms and working processes that included many actors. Sotamaa mentioned that the aesthetic they liked happened to be suitable for this type of work—if they were minimalists, they probably would not have used it. Bettum continued, "We had some radical political ideas about architecture that challenged existing conceptions of social space, and the computer allowed us to confront those." Up next is Enric Ruiz Geli, whose Villa Nurbs is still under construction after more than a decade of innovating and inventing new construction methods. The new relationships between clients, builders, manufacturers, and architects took many of the middlemen out and made the design closer to the architect's vision. "We were sending files like emails," he explained of this radical new way of working. UPDATE 3:04 EDT The always provocative Francois Roche up next, and Lynn says that there are several projects under plexiglass to protect the objects, but Roche's spiky Water Flux models are under plexiglass to protect the show from Francois. "I am not a digital masturbator," said Roche. "I wish I were a masturbator." The political agenda of Roche's project extends from ecology, but today he was discussing more about how "tooling is not innocent," as the new methods allow new meanings and relationships on the site. He said he is interested in how machines can transform a situation as an assemblage of parts. Ulirch Konig of Chemnitz Stadium fame explained how industry and military industries are innovating with digital technology. Cars went through the digital revolution a decade before architecture because architecture is slow. Lynn disagreed. Konig says that the digital revolution changed the visual language of architecture and what is possible aesthetically, but will now change how we live and how cities work, for example with autonomous driving. Peter Testa and Devin Weiser wrote some of the first scripts that were used in generative architectural design. They made scripts for weaving and braiding, which was different than some of the typical surface projects of the time. They told stories of how they crashed many computers and still do today, as they push the boundaries of what is possible through computation. Nader Tehrani claims that his work, Witte Arts Center by Office dA, is the least digital in the show. "We will be the judge of that," said Lynn. Their brickwork benefitted from the computer in the possibility of composition and construction, but not really as much in aesthetics. They pushed bricks further than they had been, such as finding all the increments in between the Flemish and standard bonds. Photoshop also came up in the conversation. Alejandro Zaera-Polo "was just a peasant from Spain," which made him interested in the hard work of drawing the Yokohama Port Terminal in AutoCAD himself. Rafael Moneo once told him it was interesting in the worst way possible. Japanese architects, however responded much differently, as they were surprised at the efficiency with which it was produced. Wolf Prix is up next, and makes an illusion to his inflatables in the 1960s as a proto-cloud. This connection between pneumatic structures and data comes from his idea that he doesn't care about the computer, but about new ways of making spaces that haven't been seen before. The BMW Welt project and its film are in the show. Prix explained how BMW wanted a huge model to demonstrate how the building would work and look. They couldn't do a 1:1 model, but instead made a very intricate movie that involved mixing physical models and digital surfaces, and a film crew of 30 with catering and everything. The final cost was 800,000 euros, but it convinced BMW to make the building, mostly because they saw a scale car, and it let them know it was a big building. Patrik Schumacher is here to talk about the Phaeno Science Center, a seminal work by Zaha Hadid Architects. MAXXI and the CAC in Cincinnati were also completed around this time. The delivery of the building required sophisticated millwork to produce the formwork for curved waffle-slabs. Some of these projects had the benefit of German engineering, but projects in places like Azerbaijan and China, where construction technology was not as sophisticated. The early work in Europe was good practice for these more complicated contexts. He explained that the modernist movement came about in the 20s, but only transformed the world in the 1960s, after an interruption from WW2. Likewise, he said, the digital came about in the 90s, and has been interrupted, but it is time now for the digital and parametric to transfrom the world: not as art, but as a complete reworking of the way we make society.
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Kings County Craft

Brooklyn shows off its design chops at BRKLYN DESIGNS this weekend
This weekend at 72 Noble Street (near the Greenpoint stop on the G), BKLYN DESIGNS is showcasing a wide range of work from Kings County's craftsmen, architects, designers, and educators. The venue—the Brooklyn Expo Center—is a wide, open space that puts all the exhibitors in a single, easily navigated showroom floor. Visiting early this morning, highlights included the ability to take a virtual tour of the modular Pod Hotel, designed by Garrison Architects, that will soon be rising in Williamsburg. I also especially enjoyed a 3D printing station by Peru Meridian Studios and products from Think Fabricate, the sister studio of Brooklyn-based Doban Architecture.   The atmosphere was convivial as dozens of Brooklyn designers, including a large contingent from Pratt, showed designs ranging from specially-cast concrete planters to mobile meeting rooms/lounges designed for offices and homes alike. Tickets are $15. Events this weekend include, on Saturday: "Adaptability and Scale in Green Architecture" (a recap of lessons learned from City Tech's 2016 Solar Decathlon), "Kickstarter for Designers 101" (with Kickstarter outreach experts), and "Design Fabrication Methods in Interactive Architecture" (with AN's own Matt Shaw, Wes Rozen of SITU Studio, Michale Szivos of SOFTlab, and Emily Abruzzo of Abruzzo Bodziak Architects). On Sunday, visitors can attend "The Right Sized Life: Designing Around What Matters" (featuring Resource Furniture's founders and Jim Garrison of Garrison Architects), as well as "True Calling: Authentic Design for Hospitality" (which features a host of Brooklyn-based designers).
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Argentinian firm Estudio Besonia Almeida unveils concrete dwelling in Buenos Aires
Argentinian firm Estudio Besonia Almeida has published their recently constructed Casa Berazategui residence on their website. Located in Buenos Aires, the dwelling is formed from concrete planes that intersect in perpendicular arrangements that allow for the creation of voids pertaining to both interior and exterior space. As a result, two facades at the front and rear of the building evoke two different Bauhaus-esque qualities. At the front, hints of Marcel Breuer (who trained at the Bauhaus) can be seen with concrete massing that provides privacy. Meanwhile, an L-shaped plan allows for a much more open style to look onto the garden in a Mies van der Rohe (who taught at the Bauhaus) style that makes use of horizontal planes and decking. Timber and glass are also interspersed throughout the building and serve mostly as detailing and furnishings. Glass panes also cut through the building in a similar fashion, often horizontally to form clerestory windows. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors are also used extensively to the rear of the building, opening it up and visually connecting interior spaces such as the kitchen and dining room to the garden. The intersectional planar and massing strategy derives mostly from the study of light. "This is a topic that interests us particularly, so there is, in all the projects, a special intention addressed both to control the incidence of sunlight on glass surfaces as to improve natural light as a project material which brings wealth to the living spaces," the firm said. "If we understand the openings as such, not as standardized elements with preset measures and positions, but rather as carved into the buildings which, of course permit ventilation and lighting environments, but also leave undefined the indoor-outdoor relationship, framing the landscape, filtering light, reflecting it on a wall, etc., these perforations will be the result of the special way in which we want to establish these relationships. The L-shaped plan also facilitates a variety of programs within the building too, accommodating for community and social-based areas. These are situated along the lengthier axis of the plan while bedrooms and offices are situated on the other. As a result the house is clearly divided into private and semi-private sections with the bedrooms being able to gain a view over the garden. According to the firm, the client required room for family growth. "It was clear they needed a generous gathering place with an integrated kitchen, a veranda with barbeque and a swimming pool that should be protagonist," they say on their website.    
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The 16th Serpentine Pavilion will be designed by Bjarke Ingels, with four accompanying Summer Houses
Bjarke Ingels has come a long way since he designed the Denmark Pavilion, pictured above, for the Shanghai Expo 2010. His eponymous Copenhagen- and New York–based firm BIG, the Bjarke Ingels Group, today deals with skyscrapers and other large-scale projects in major cities around the world. But this summer, the firm will take a step back to design the 16th Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London. Each year since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery's Pavilion Commission selects an architect known "for consistently extending the boundaries of architecture practice," according to a press release. The selection is intended to introduce "contemporary artists and architects to a wider audience." Whether Bjarke Ingels needed an introduction is a matter for debate, but he joins other notable architects including Frank Gehry (2008), Zaha Hadid (2010), Peter Zumthor (2011), Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Sou Fujimoto (2013), among others, to have the distinction of building a pavilion. Last year's pavilion was designed by selgascano. The 3,230-square-foot pavilion will be built and displayed for four months on the Serpentine Gallery's lawn in Kensington Gardens, London. The structure is used as a café during the day and "a forum for learning, debate and entertainment" in the evening. The Gallery claims the pavilion is "one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world." There is no budget for the project, which, this year, will be paid for with the deep pockets of lead sponsor Goldman Sachs and eventual sale of the pavilion structure itself. “After 15 years, the Pavilion programme has expanded," Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Galleries, said in a statement. "It now comprises five structures, each designed by an architect of international renown, aged between 36 and 93." This year, the Serpentine also announced that four 270-square-foot Summer Houses will be designed by firms from Amsterdam/Lagos, Berlin/New York, Paris, and London. Like Ingels, each Summer House winner works across architectural scales, from pavilions to skyscrapers. "The Pavilion, which will be situated on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery, as usual, will be joined by four 25sqm Summer Houses designed in response to Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical-style summer house built in 1734," Peyton-Jones continued. "All projects have been thrilling to commission and will be equally exciting to realise. We cannot wait to unveil them all this summer.” The four winning firms for the Summer House program are: Kunlé Adeyemi – NLÉ, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, and Asif Khan. "The four Summer Houses are inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical style summer house, built in 1734 and a stone’s throw from the Serpentine Gallery," a press release about the Summer Houses reads. "In line with the criteria for the selection of the Pavilion architect, each architect chosen by the Serpentine has yet to build a permanent building in England." The Summer House program will be submitted to Westminster City Council Planning Office and District Surveyor’s Office this month for review. View examples of the winning firms' pavilion-scale work below. According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Kunlé Adeyemi (born 7 April 1976) is a Nigerian architect, urbanist and creative researcher. His recent work includes 'Makoko Floating School', an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project - 'African Water Cities' - being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities and communities. NLÉ is currently developing a number of urban, research and architectural projects, including Rock - Chicago Lakefront Kiosk; Chicoco Radio Media Centre; Port Harcourt and Black Rhino Academy in Tanzania. Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA he led the design, development and execution of several large prestigious projects around the world. Adeyemi is a juror for RIBA’s 2016 International Prize and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York.

According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Barkow Leibinger is an American/German architectural practice based in Berlin and New York, founded in 1993 by Frank Barkow (born 1957, Kansas City) and Regine Leibinger (born 1963, Stuttgart). Both taught at the Architectural Association in London and Harvard GSD, among other instutions. Regine Leibinger is Professor for Building Construction and Design at the Technische Universität Berlin. Barkow Leibinger’s work is wide ranging in scale and building types, including building for the work place (industry, office and master-planning), cultural, housing, exhibitions and installations. Important milestones are the Biosphere in Potsdam, Germany; the Gate House and the Campus Restaurant in Ditzingen; Germany, the Trutec Building in Seoul, Korea, and the Tour Total office high-rise in Berlin. Recently completed is the Fellows Pavilion for the American Academy in Berlin. Their work has been shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008 and 2014, the Marrakech Biennale 2012 and is included in the collections of MoMA, New York and other museums. They have won numerous awards such as the Marcus Prize for Architecture; three National AIA Honor Awards for Architecture; the DAM Prize for Architecture and a Global Holcim Innovation Award for sustainability.

According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Yona Friedman (born 1923) is a Hungarian-born French architect. His theory and manifesto L'Architecture Mobile, published in 1958, champions the inhabitant as designer and conceptor of his own living space within spaceframe structures. Friedman’s work, developed to facilitate improvisation, influenced avant-garde groups such the Metabolists and Archigram. His projects have included the College Bergson in Angers, France; the Museum for Simple Technology in Madras, India, for which he received the Scroll of Honour for Habitat from the UN; and other projects for which he received the Architecture Award of the Berlin Academy, the Grand Prize for design of the Prime Minister of Japan and many other international honours. Universities where he has taught include Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Princeton and Berkeley. He has participated in the Venice Biennale three times (2003, 2005, 2009) and the Shanghai Biennale in 2004, among others. He has been, and continues to be, the subject of international exhibitions,  the latest of which took place in 2015 at the Power Station Museum of Art in Shanghai. Hundreds of articles and more than forty books have been published about him. Most recently he was voted by Blueprint Magazine readers as the winner of the 2015 Blueprint Magazine Award for Critical Thinking.

According to the Serpentine Gallery:

Asif Khan (born 1979, London) founded his architecture practice in 2007. The studio works internationally on projects ranging from cultural buildings to houses, temporary pavilions, exhibitions and installations. Notable projects include the ‘MegaFaces’ pavilion at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion at London 2012 Olympics and most recently he was a finalist in the competition for the Helsinki Guggenheim Museum and the British Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Red Dot award for Design, Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Innovation, a D&AD award, Special citation in Young Architect Programme 2011 MAXXI + MoMA/PS1, Design Miami Designer of the Future in 2011 and Design Museum Designer in Residence 2010. Khan lectures globally on his work, sits on the board of Trustees of the Design Museum and teaches MA Architecture at the Royal College of Art.

 
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Arquitectonica gets real wavy with new seaside tower in Florida
Arquitectonica tests the surf with ocean-influenced Regalia, a newly unveiled 488-foot-tall luxury condo in Sunny Isles, a city northeast of Miami. But the Florida skyscraper is leaving us with a distinct sense of déjà vu. The tower looks strikingly similar to Studio Gang's Aqua in Chicago. While Gang's undulating concrete balconies extend as far as 12 feet to maximize views in the skyscraper-dense downtown, Arquitectonica's balconies in the same style afford uninterrupted views of the Atlantic on the building's sea-side. Gang's curving terraces were based on striated limestone outcroppings in the Great Lakes region, while Arquitectonica's are modeled on ocean waves. Although Chicago's lake-affected weather presumably hinders Aqua residents from enjoying their outdoor spaces year-round, Regalia's residents will have unfettered access to their sunny terraces all the time, if the barrier island the building is situated on doesn't flood or sink in the meantime. Regalia's 39 floor-through units and two penthouses are spread over 46 stories. "A rectangular glass prism houses the functional requirements," explained Bernardo Fort-Brescia, founding partner of Arquitectonica, in a statement to designboom. "Its transparent surfaces connect inside and outside, linking the occupants with the surrounding environment. Its orthogonal geometry creates elegant, serene, classical, zen-like spaces. Each floor is wrapped by a sensuously undulating terrace. The resulting walk-around veranda protects the glass surfaces from the sun, as in traditional Florida homes. It is this veranda that shapes the architecture." This is not the first curvy tower the Miami–based firm has designed for the Sunshine State. Last year, their 42-story residential tower, also inspired by (far choppier, it seems) ocean waves, opened on Miami's Biscayne Bay.
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Apartments in Disguise
Rafael Vinoly Architects

There is no public space in Chicago more recognizable than the stretch of parks, museums, and lakefront along Michigan Avenue east of the downtown Loop. Walled in on the north and west by skyscrapers dating mostly from the 1880s–1970s and by the lake to the east, the space is an expression of the rigidity and possibility of the city’s relentless grid. It was only a matter of time before the wall of buildings would be completed to the south of the parks, where some of the last undeveloped space was available. With the approval of a new 829-foot-tall, 76-story tower by New York City’s Rafael Viñoly Architects (RVA), the long-stalled development along Indiana Avenue is finally going to be realized in what will be one of the most visible changes to the city’s skyline in years.

“This development bears a tremendous responsibility to provide a visual anchor at the south end of Grant Park, bookending the park with the Aon Center.” Rafael Viñoly commented in a press release. Unlike the 83-story Edward Durell Stone–designed Aon Center, the Viñoly project, known as 1200 South Indiana, will be a residential tower, adding to the South Loop neighborhood’s growing housing market. Despite this programmatic difference, Viñoly was conscious of the city’s pedigree of modern office towers, and the form of the new project is a direct homage to some of Chicago’s modernist icons. With step-backs reminiscent of the Bruce Graham–designed Willis Tower, as well as expressed structural lines referencing Graham’s John Hancock Tower, the project will no doubt evoke a legacy with which Chicagoans are familiar. Viñoly is also conscious of the grain of the building’s envelope, opting for larger material units—a feature that will give the building a bold monolithic appearance, rather than the varied surface of a typical balconied residential tower. It is here, though, that the similarities to the commercial typology end and the tower’s program takes over.

With 792 rental units ranging from studios to three bedroom apartments, the project is packed with all of the amenities expected in luxury apartments, including indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, retail space, and more amenities awaiting announcement. The 36- by 36-foot rooftops produced by the setbacks are used as private terraces, while 30-foot-wide balconies for other units are recessed within the facade of the building. A large community space is situated on the 17th floor roof of the building’s plinth, which includes the outdoor pool.

Perhaps the least apparent, but the most striking, difference from its modernist forbearers is that the tower will be concrete construction rather than steel. This is in line with most residential towers that have been built recently in Chicago, including Pappageorge Haymes Partners’ pair of towers at One Museum Park immediately to the east of the project. Like those towers, 1200 South Indiana is part of the larger Central Station planned development, which has shaped the 80 acres south of the parks for the past 25 years. When completed, the tower will be the tallest in the development—surpassing the 62 stories of One Museum Park. Also similar to the One Museum Park projects, 1200 South Indiana is just one of a planned three-phase project. The second and third phases include adding another 648-unit tower directly to the east and a lower 100-unit development and park to an adjacent site, anchoring the Grant Park with sibling towers.

Understanding the project’s position in the city, its aspirations are nothing short of grand. “It is a special residential building that has a relationship to these other big buildings that have an impressive scale.” Chan-li Lin, partner at RVA explained to AN. “What we are trying to do is be part of the family of the iconic buildings in Chicago without looking like just another residential building.”