Search results for "set design"

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Catwalk

AMO designs Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer set space

OMA's internationally-based research, branding, and publication studio AMO has designed the set of Italian fashion brand Prada's Spring Summer 2017 show.

Formed in 1999, 24 years after Rem Koolhaas founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), AMO is the architecture practice's research think-tank. Directed by Reinier de Graaf, a partner at OMA, AMO addresses issues surrounding architectural production and other mediums such as fashion, print, online media. Past projects include a redesign of the EU flag and being a leader in the production of Volume magazine.

In 2011, the group worked with Prada on the confusingly titled OMA*AMO for/with Prada, an exhibition in Venice. This year, OMA's Shohei Shigematsu designed the exhibition space for Manus x Machina at the Met.

This year's project for Prada, however, is on a much larger scale. The design features a catwalk runway divided into three zigzagging segments that slope down to the audience seating. The upper-most level, the entry gangway, is located behind a mesh-crafted colonnade.

Made from metal, the mesh dominates the interior space and allows an array of colored lighting to permeate through and illuminate the space. "Generating an abstract layer, composed of meshes with different patterns and dimensions...overlap to recreate a total space. The transparency of the cladding material unveils the underlying framework with Cartesian precision," the firm said in a press release.

Subsequently the resultant glow from the lights aims to de-humanize the space, "[dematerializing] all the surfaces, coloring the room, now reminiscent of a post-human scenario."

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In Beirut, a group of activists seeks to protect a coastal area by setting up a grassroots design ideas competition
In the last two decades, Beirut’s real estate market boomed and transformed the city. One of the yet non-developed areas of the city is a coastal area called Dalieh. Despite the fact that this area is privately owned, it was used as an openly accessible space by the public for years. However, recent development plans, aiming to build a high-end real estate complex, would largely change the open access and current character of this space. A group of activists called "Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche," rejects those plans and advocates for the protection of the social, archeological and ecological significance of this space. They addressed those concerns, for example, in an open letter to Rem Koolhaas, who was creating design ideas for the development of the site. However, this campaign is not stopping at opposing current development plans, they are also proposing alternatives for the future use of this space. Last spring, they organized a design ideas competition under the auspices of the Lebanese Ministry of Environment. The crowdfunded campaign set up an international jury of various professionals, including Jad Tabet, Lebanese architect and member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and the German landscape architect Hans Kienle. At the end of May, the jury selected three winning entries which were exhibited during the Beirut Design Week in June and will be published in a booklet in coming months. Sarah Lily Yassine, engaged in the campaign, said that “the competition was successful, to engage more people and to show the institutions that there are alternatives to consider on such a site.” Even though the competition was not aiming to directly implement the resulting ideas, it sought to generate a debate about urban issues in Beirut, and in cities in general. Marwan Ghandour, professor of architecture and juror of the competition, describes this as “a competition which talks about something which is claimed by the people as an open space rather than something which is delivered by the government as a public space”. As an example of those spaces, Dalieh is called an “open access shared space” by the campaign. The idea of a grassroots design ideas competition shows an interesting model to trigger a debate about these spaces and also to generate new ideas for the future of our urban fabrics. Below, some images of the three winning entries:
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Studio Gang to Design Interactive Set for Physics-Inspired Dance Performance
Studio Gang Architects are familiar with theatrical spaces, and with the rhythms of the natural world; their design for Writers Theatre in north suburban Chicago reaches out to nature with timber trusses and a raised promenade through the trees. But a new project may take those interests one step further. SGA announced Wednesday they will collaborate with Thodos Dance Chicago on a project "investigating the intersection of dance, architecture, and physics.” Working with University of Chicago physicist Sidney Nagel and his lab group, Gang’s interactive structure will draw inspiration from “jamming” — the research process of studying disordered materials. The world premiere dance performance will also explore the overlap of physics, dance, and architecture. As yet untitled, the work will debut as part of Thodos’ Winter Concert 2014 on Saturday Feb. 22, 2014 at 8 p.m. at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, IL. Tickets are available at northshorecenter.org.
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Design for the Younger Set
Perhaps one explanation for why there's so much mediocre architecture and planning in this country is that we were never taught anything about it as youngsters. In fact most kids don't even have access to an art history class until they reach college; and don't even try asking them who their favorite architect is. But a few new kids architecture books could help change that, or at least inspire younger people to start appreciating the built world around them. Where Things Are From Near To Far (Planetizen Press), by Tim Halbur and Chris Steins (with illustrations by David Ryan) introduces very young kids to basic concepts of urban planning, giving them an appreciation for the changing, dynamic urban environment. The colorful book follows the path of a young boy, Hugo, as he makes his way with his mom through six different environments; from a dense urban core all the way to the countryside.  The progression is based on the "urban-to-rural transect," developed by New Urbanist Andrés Duany, which divides cities into six different zones, and at its end introduces kids to the person who decides how all of this will be created: a smiling urban planner. Another, The Modern Architecture Pop Up Book (Rizzoli), by David Sokol and Anton Radevsky, includes pop-ups, fold-overs, and slide-outs (and short descriptions) of most of the best-known Modern architecture produced over the last 125 years or so. That includes London’s Crystal Palace; the Brooklyn Bridge; the Eiffel Tower; New York’s Flatiron Building; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, Chicago; Reitveld’s Schroeder House; Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye; Saarinen’s TWA terminal; Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao; Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum; and Foster’s 30 St. Mary Axe, a.k.a. the "Gherkin." A few of the moving parts don't work completely right, but overall the book is an engaging way to explore not only modern architectural history, but also to get a feel for the dynamic shapes of today's architecture. Indeed with its moving parts and easily grasped visual concepts, the pop-up architecture book might be the most accessible way into the field for kids. Several more have been released recently. They include Frank Gehry in Pop-Up (Thunder Bay Press), Architectural Wonders: A Pop-Up Gallery of the World's Most Amazing Marvels (Thunder Bay),  Architecture Pop-Up Book (Universe), California Missions Pop-Up (Geomancy), and Frank Lloyd Wright in Pop-Up (Thunder Bay).
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LDF 2018

What to catch at this year’s London Design Festival
The London Design Festival 2018 is underway and with it comes a host of events and exhibitions to enjoy. Building on last year, this year's festival is awash with an array of colorful installations and exhibits. The Architect's Newspaper took a look at the best to give a lowdown of what to catch in London this week. Out of Character: A Project by Studio MUTT At: Sir John Soane's Museum Exhibiting at Sir John Soane's Museum must be both a dream and a nightmare. It is easily one of, if not the most, exquisite interiors in London and seldom do the exhibits manage to shout over the building they inhabit. Before Studio MUTT had a stab, Return of the Past: Postmodernism in British Architecture was on view and Out of Character seemingly follows from it, embodying the colorful virtues allied with the current PoMo revival. In 1812, Sir John Soane imagined that in the future, those discovering his former home would presume that it was once occupied by four characters: a Lawyer, a Monk, a Magician, and an Architect. More than 200 years later, Studio MUTT realizes these characters architecturally, with each being defined by ornamental color and form. The architectural compositions can be found at different locations around the museum. Not only do they demonstrate the communicative capabilities of color and ornamentation, they work with the museum—each has been designed for its specific location—to produce delightful moments of architecture in conversation. Mind Pilot by Loop.pH At: London Design Museum A mind-powered hot air balloon is floating around the London Design Museum. Via a virtual reality headset, visitors can control the helium-filled balloon, dubbed an "airship" by its designers Loop.pH, while suspended in a sling to amplify the sensation of flight. How does it work? With the aid of electrodes the headset is attached to the pilot's head, which is then hooked up to a computer. Brain signals and pulse are translated into directions which are sent to robotics within the balloon, moving it around the Design Museum's central lobby mezzanine. Visitors are prohibited from going too crazy thanks to a frame which the balloon is tethered to. Alphabet by Kellenberger-White At: Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate Broadgate by Liverpool Street hosted a dazzling display from artist Camille Walala in 2017. This year's installation, a series of alphabetic chairs from designers Kellenberger-White, is toned down a notch, but still provides transient bankers with a much-needed dose of play. The 26 chairs can (of course!) be sat on as well as be used to form words. Each chair is in a different color, selected from specialist paint producers used for projects involving industrial metalwork. Colors such as "International Orange," used for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and "Cornflower Blue," the color of Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge, have been used. The project comes from Kellenberger-White's investigations into folded metal and draws influence from the Bauhaus, notably László Moholy-Nagy, Marianne Brandt, and Wilhelm Wagenfeld. MultiPly by Waugh Thistleton Architects At: The Sackler Courtyard, Victoria & Albert Museum British architecture firm Waugh Thistleton Architects has collaborated with engineers Arup and the American Hardwood Export Council to create MultiPly, a series of stacked timber Minecraft-like modules. Using 60 cubic meters of American tulipwood as cross-laminated timber (CLT), MultiPly aims to exhibit the benefits of modular architecture and the possibilities it provides. Staircases and walkways knit together the series of CLT boxes, creating a 3-D maze-like experience. MultiPly is carbon neutral. Carbon emitted through creating MultiPly  (timber extraction, processing, transportation, and manufacture) was offset by the carbon stored in the timber and the potential energy from its incineration. The best thing about the project, though, is the view you get of Amanda Levete's design for the V&A courtyard: a chance to see the project from a bird's eye view and almost in plan, which is a satisfying experience. Living Unit London by AKT II and OFIS Arhitekti At: Old Street Yard, Shoreditch Micro-living hopefully isn't the solution to London's housing crisis, but London engineers AKT II and Slovenian studio OFIS Arhitekti's study into temporary micro-sized dwellings fuels debate on the subject and the minimum space requirements for inhabitance as well as how to arrange such spaces efficiently. Composed as three stacked volumes, each measuring 14.7 by 8.2 by 8.8 feet, Living Unit provides a kitchen, bathroom, bed, and seating, supplying accommodation for two people. Like Waugh Thistleton Architects' MultiPly, the project is modular, meaning units for a kitchen or bed can be easily added and taken away. Modules can connect vertically and horizontally, able to create space for four-to-six people. On their own, units can serve as a retreat, easily used as tree-house, holiday cabin, or hideaway. Living Unit is currently being auctioned off on eBay with the proceeds going to The Architecture Foundation. The Institute of Patent Infringement by Los Carpinteros At: Victoria & Albert Museum Since 2010, Amazon has filed 5,860 patents. That's 732 every year. The Institute of Patent Infringement looks at these and hints a bleak digital future shaped by excessive patenting. The Institute exhibits the work of students, industrial designers, architects, urban planners, artists, programmers, and the wider public, which is invited to merge, reimagine, infringe, and hack existing Amazon patents. Traveling up from the Venice Architecture Biennale, the exhibition is housed within a timber latticed globe designed by artists collective, Los Carpinteros. Under the worrying overtone of Amazon's digital hegemonic ambitions, The Institute of Patent Infringement is laced with humorous proposals that delve into the absurd.
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Off Pitch

A new house in Atlanta raises the potential for roof-oriented design
A new exhibit at the Yale School of ArchitectureAdjacencies uses a multi-media approach to tell the story of various strange and tactile projects from 14 emerging firms around the country, and the show highlights a one-of-a-kind, ground-up residential project that’s set to open in Atlanta later this fallHaus Gables, designed by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, is a single-family home under construction along the Atlanta Beltline and a playful and surprising reinvestigation of the architectural zeitgeist using an exaggerated roof plan. The house is broken down in detail at Yale through a series of bright models, drawings, and ephemera that unveil her design philosophy for this inspired and irregular building. According to the architect, the project was influenced by Le Corbusier’s free plan and Adolf Loos’s raumplan—both residential design methods that called for unconventional interior spacing. Bonner’s aim was to “rework the spatial paradigms of the past” by organizing her architecture solely around the roof. She designed Haus Gables, a 2,100-square-foot structure, with six gable roofs that form one elongated canopy. The unique shapes of the resulting ceilings produced an interior filled with oddly-sized rooms, catwalks, and double-height spaces that are confined to the steep ridges of the pitched roofs. The idea for Haus Gables formed out of a 2014 course she taught at Georgia Tech School of Architecture, according to an interview with Curbed Atlanta. Bonner worked with students to imagine designs centered around individual architecture components. This exercise led Bonner to create her massive Domestic Hats exhibition for Atlanta's Goat Farm Arts Center, for which she studied Atlanta’s various roof typologies and created 16 models with alternative roof forms that challenged traditional domestic design. While Adjacencies provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Bonner specifically conceived the Haus Gables project, the real-life version is nearly complete on an 18 foot-wide plot of land in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. Not only is the design itself unusual, but so are the materials specified for the project. Most notably, it features a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the second of its kind in the United States, and prefabricated components that were quickly put together on site over the last year.   Haus Gables, once complete, will also include extensive faux finishes on the exterior and interior. From the black terrazzo to the marble and brick, nothing will be real, but everything will be cost-efficient. Bonner even plans to conceal the CLT in an effort to mimic, yet bring a contemporary twist, to the Southern architectural tradition of DIY and “faking it.” An inside look at the production of Haus Gables will be on view in Adjacencies, curated by Nate Hume, at the Yale Architecture Gallery through November 15. Bonner will give a gallery talk alongside the other featured designers this Thursday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m.
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Streets Paved With Gold

Hudson Yards park set to be the priciest per acre in New York’s history
An extension to the park running through New York City's Hudson Yards development could become the most expensive park per acre in the history of the city. As Crain's reported last week, the new section of Hudson Park and Boulevard will cost $125 million per acre. The extension will cost $374 million total. For reference, the city's next most expensive parks per acre were Bushwick Inlet Park at $54 million per acre, and the High Line at $36 million per acre. The sky-high cost is apparently a result of real estate prices. The city has to buy all of the property from private owners, and it will have to cover sunken railroad tracks that run under the site. The park lies between 10th and 11th Avenues and currently runs between 33rd and 36th Streets. The extension will go up to 39th Street. Hudson Yards, which calls itself "the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States," covers 14 acres of Manhattan's West Side, covering former rail yards with almost 20 million square feet of retail, office, and residential space. The first phase of the development, which includes towers designed by DS+R, SOM, and KPF around a public sculpture by Heatherwick Studio, is nearing completion, and some of the spaces are already occupied. Residences in the development are largely for the super-affluent, and the neighborhood more generally is booming with construction catering to the city's wealthiest. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates designed the park spaces, which extend northward through the center of the development's site. The relatively-straightforward design creates a central "greenway and boulevard" with a mix of paving, fountains, and plantings. The park's extremely high cost has come under criticism as the rest of the city's park system has struggled to find funding for basic maintenance and operations. A report earlier this year painted a dire picture of the NYC Parks Department being underfunded and overburdened. The city's Community Parks Initiative, an effort to upgrade 65 parks across the city, has a budget of $318 million, less than what the city will spend on the Hudson Boulevard Park expansion.
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Tricks of the Trade

SOM uses interdisciplinary collaboration to design innovative facade systems
On September 21, Facades+ is coming to Chicago for the first time in three years. The conference features moderators and speakers of leading firms from across the country. Skidmore, Owings & Merril—the architecture and engineering firm that has called Chicago home for over 80 years—will have a particularly strong presence at the upcoming conference. To learn more about what Chicago’s largest firm is up to and to investigate larger industry trends, AN sat down with SOM’s Dan O’Riley, associate director, and Lucas Tryggestad, technical director. The Architect’s Newspaper: For over a century, Chicago has been at the forefront of architecture and engineering. What do you find most interesting about facade and structural innovation in Chicago today? Dan O’Riley: What’s most interesting about innovation in Chicago is that, aside from all the advancements the industry has made in materials, design, and construction over the years, the city continues to innovate based on the same philosophy of discovery and collaboration that has always put Chicago at the forefront of architecture and engineering. Chicago is the city that “makes no little plans,” and while nothing is built without reference to the past, the city is constantly looking towards the future. For example, 400 Lake Shore Drive, currently under development, blends contemporary materials, such as glass, with traditional materials, such as terra-cotta, matching historical vernacular, but creating something totally new. We’re also seeing new designs and concepts that go beyond the standard limitations of glass, which are applied to facades at larger scales, such as the Apple Store in the shadow of the Tribune Tower. And projects such as the IIT Innovation Center are experimenting with new facade materials, such as ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) foil cushions. Together these types of innovations continue to keep Chicago at the forefront. Currently, what projects are you working on that demonstrate SOM’s longstanding synergy of architecture and engineering? Lucas Tryggestad: For 80 years, SOM has operated at the forefront of design, engineering, and urban planning. While each project is unique, collectively the firm’s projects represent the integration of these disciplines. Several of our current and recent projects represent this synergy through the facade expressions, the space layout, and how buildings interact with their contexts. In North Sydney, Australia, 100 Mount Street has an innovative, cross-braced exoskeleton structure and soaring glass curtain wall. It has an offset core and two rows of columns that allow for a 6-meter cantilever running the whole length of the facade. In Salt Lake City’s financial district, our 111 Main project is a Class A office tower anchoring a larger urban redevelopment in the area. To ensure that the project would not compromise the functionality of an existing theater at its base, the entire structure is suspended from a steel hat truss on top of the building, allowing the theater to slide under the tower’s south side. These synergies have always been integral to SOM’s buildings throughout the firm’s history, visible here in Chicago from the Inland Steel Building, the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly John Hancock Center), to projects currently underway, such as “The Porch” on 330 North Green Street. How can AEC firms confront the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainable design in facade systems, and how can fenestration and enclosure innovation to boost performance? DO: Innovations in sustainable design for facades and facade systems must begin from a holistic point of view. The initial stages of a project’s design should account for and integrate different building systems and programs within the building, drawing input and expertise from different design and engineering disciplines to create better and more informed high-performance solutions. The idea of high-performance design at SOM is an interdisciplinary collaboration integral to the total set of design activities that develop sustainable environments responsive to their environmental context and recognizing the impact of the built environment on the planet’s collective resources. By prioritizing collaboration, AEC firms have the opportunity to design and take advantage of integrated mechanical systems, active facades, and energy-efficient strategies for solar control, thermal comfort, glare, and other factors affection a project’s overall sustainable performance. For example, the Roche Diagnostics Learning and Development Center in Indianapolis, designed by SOM, has a building enclosure that utilizes high-performance, low-e coated, argon-filled insulated glazing units and a window-to-wall ratio of less than 60 percent. The east, west, and southern facades also incorporate computer-controlled exterior Venetian blinds to protect and regulate the building envelope. Interdisciplinary collaboration allowed the project team to respond to the needs of the client and the context of the project itself to achieve a very strict set of high-performance goals, with great success. SOM is increasingly taking on transportation-related projects; Moynihan Train Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2, Denver Union Station, to name a few. What lessons from these projects are translatable to tower and super tall construction? LT: SOM is active across a wide range of practices and research areas, including transportation, aviation, healthcare, urban planning, and interior design. While each project is distinct, the lessons learned from what we’re doing for an airport terminal, for example, inform what we’re doing for a rail and transit hub. This is the value of working within an integrated practice, where ideas and strategies are continually evolving to create buildings that are distinctive and synthesize programmatic function, structural rationale, and environmental sustainability.
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In the Name of Science

Yale is set to renovate the landmark Peabody Museum of Natural History
Yale University is slated to renovate and expand one of its oldest campus institutions, the Peabody Museum of Natural History on Science Hill. Thanks in part to a just-announced $160-million donation from philanthropist and Yale alumnus Edward P. Bass, the project will be the first major update the landmark museum has received in 93 years. The master plan, conceived by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, marks one of the boldest and most thoughtful endeavors the university has taken on in recent years. After well over a decade of planning, the project will yield 50 percent more exhibition space for the museum and improve storage for its on-site collection of over 13 million artifacts. It will also include the addition of a new, four-story infill structure that will connect the neighboring Environmental Science Center. The sky-lit, glass-enclosed connector will give students seamless access into the museum, where Centerbrook will create more modern spaces for research and study. One of Yale’s main goals for the addition, said Centerbrook’s principal Mark Simon, was to complement the timeless architecture of the original Peabody building, a three-story, French Gothic Revival, sandstone structure by renowned campus architect Charles Klauder. Using fritted glass and bronze-colored aluminum framing, the cathedral-like tower will bring a contemporary edge to the aged institution. “The Peabody community wanted to maintain a family resemblance or identity throughout the new and old structures,” said Simon. “It’s always tricky to do something that’s up-to-date but connects well with the historic fabric, but we’re all very pleased with this design.” The building out of the glass tower will be done in the initial phases of construction, Simon said. After that, the renovation of the museum’s existing spaces can begin. So far, a timeline for construction hasn’t been announced as Yale is currently strategizing on how to safely remove portions of the Peabody’s collection to a facility on its West Campus. Both the museum, as well as the other science buildings being updated during the project, will remain open throughout construction to students, faculty, and the 130,000 visitors—which includes 25,000 regional school children—who visit the Peabody each year. Other elements of the master plan include creating new classrooms, labs, and learning spaces for collections-based teaching and scientific exploration. The museum, founded in 1866, has been home to some of the most important discoveries in history and Yale hopes the renovation will help carry on the Peabody’s legacy of advancement in the industry. “As one of Yale’s greatest resources, this museum will provide hands-on learning for students across various undergraduate programs,” said Simon, “and allow them to engage in the processes of the museum itself from research and restoration, to designing exhibits and presenting their work in the galleries.” Centerbrook is one of Yale’s long-time partners. The local firm has completed 12 projects for the university from Kroon Hall, which they designed in collaboration with Hopkins Architects, to the Child Study Center, the renovated and expanded Reese Stadium—home of the men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse programs—as well as an addition to the historic Yale Bowl. While Simon has worked extensively on many of these buildings, the Peabody renovation is a game-changer for the firm. “We are over the moon that this is finally coming to fruition,” he said. “Each year we spend on it, it seems more and more important to do. It’s more than just another university museum upgrade. You get a sense that this project will not only have a major impact on education at Yale, but on the world at large.”
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Time Warp

Lebanese architect Raëd Abillama weaves Beirut’s history into contemporary designs
Beirut is a city of architectural collisions and contradictions. Buildings shelled out during Lebanon's protracted civil war, such as the much-celebrated “egg,” a half-destroyed brutalist concrete orb, stand next to glossy new construction by the likes of Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Herzog & de Meuron. Preserved 19th-century mansions endure while a Disney-fied mall overtakes the city center and Roman ruins sit casually in open-air excavations downtown. Though architecture, whether it acknowledges it or not, is always in dialogue with the past, that interaction certainly becomes more pronounced when you have thousands of years of built history to contend with. Raëd Abillama, with whom I spent three days touring his architectural oeuvre, is not afraid to confront history. The first building I visit with Abillama, designed by his eponymous firm Raëd Abillama Architects, makes this abundantly clear. It's a large private home situated near the city center painted in soft pink and originally built in the 19th century. He takes me through the subterranean garage-level entrance, and a few yards ahead of me in this highly contemporary catacomb is a floor of plate glass with a chandelier suspended above. As you approach the glass floor history quite literally comes to the surface—the tripartite glass reveals a triptych of stone sarcophagi, remnants from the Roman era. Builders happened upon them as they attempted to lower the foundation, which Abillama suspects was built on what 19th-century builders thought was bedrock but was actually a giant stone slab covering the graves. It became integrated, unplanned, into the home as part of what Abillama calls “the accident of the process.” Of course, the National Museum of Beirut was brought in to preserve the findings. While we visit other grand single-family homes—many of which share similar characteristics, but as Abillama points out, trying to pin down a “Lebanese architecture” is a hopeless task—we also tour luxe new apartments. A high-rise apartment tower, Saifi 606, featuring large open spaces wrapped around a central stairwell and elevator bay, is mere minutes from some of the resplendent single-family homes we visited. Like the first home Abillama took me to, which featured a manicured enclosed terrace, these apartments also blur the boundaries of inside and out. The large floor-to-ceiling windows can slide back such that even corners disappear and the terrace bleeds into the indoor space. From here one has a view of Beirut's delirious architectural irregularity with so many buildings in various states of completion: occupied, just-started, half-completed and abandoned, damaged, soaring high and laying low in all manners of style and scale. Just 35 miles outside of the city, we visit a winery Abillama designed. IXSIR (its name coming from the Arabic word for “elixir,” the English word itself of Arabic origin), as it is called, is set on top of a mountain that rises over 3,000 feet just a few miles from the Mediterranean coast. While from above a rather idyllic stone structure set in the vineyards is all that can be seen, below something entirely different comes into view: an angular, geometric lair. However, this shift from light, quarried-stone arches to angular concrete zigzags hardly feels severe or jarring. This is in large part because of Abillama’s approach to built history. The original stone structure, constructed in the 17th century, was missing a large wall. Likely a former family home, the apocryphal story behind the damage revolves around a tradition of families having to destroy parts of their homes during feuds with neighbors. Abillama chose to rebuild this structure with reclaimed local stones, but not out of an urge toward restoration or historicization. For him, it’s about respecting the character of the structure, developing a “reinterpretation” without “falling into the trap of what’s been done.” He remains inspired by building methods of the past, and when they make more sense, they make more sense. However, this is precisely why the additional structure, which houses the operational components of the winery, looks anything but traditional. It’s a relatively independent structure from the 21st century with its own needs and, Abillama believes, it should be built as such. This attitude toward the architectural past is clearly articulated in the massive hillside residence he designed for his brother Karim. The art-filled home retains a great deal of its original 18th-century structure inside and out. It also features concrete and glass additions and many other contemporary finishes that coexist without dissonance. Many questioned the wisdom of keeping the original structure—if you’re going to restore and add on, why not just destroy the original? But for Abillama, the old stones carry a story that can be witnessed from the present. “The original stones, even the way they’re placed on top of each other, retain the soul of the house,” he says. “There’s the soul of the people who put their sweat and their work and their talent and their knowhow embedded into the building and we have to respect that.” There is a deference to the history of work without a fetishization of the styles of the past. Abillama lets the building “tell a story.” This approach, to some extent, informs his first foray into New York City. Raëd Abillama Architects will be both the designer and developer of a 19th Street lot, which they are calling Abi Chelsea. A great deal of permitting trickery was involved to keep the commercial space below and to be able to build the 10 residences above, and the demands of the relatively narrow former-industrial space guided much of the design for the elongated building with its bifurcated facade. Like Abillama’s work in Lebanon, the design is guided by listening to “what the site is telling [him and his team] to do.” And it’s fitting that Abillama’s first building in the United States should be in Chelsea, a neighborhood packed with art galleries, given that nearly every place I visited with him was packed with all varieties of painting and sculpture. But when I asked whether he designs with art in mind he’s quick to say, generally, no. “I can’t design for art because it’s too personal,” he explains, “but still, you have to open up the possibility for tenants to feel they can take true ownership of the space. It’s about creating a great canvas, where you’re removing as much as the information as possible. Sometimes creating a volume can be enough.” He also described this approach as “atemporal,” which perhaps is the aptest description of his work in general—he's actively respecting existing structures, acknowledging history, but without bowing to it, or by the same token, without obsessing over contemporaneity. He's “respecting time passing by.” Much like the built landscape of Beirut, it is the improbable amalgams and competing trajectories of time that give form to Abillama’s buildings. Witnessing and respecting built history is, according to Abillama, “a good reminder that we’re just here temporarily, and we should enjoy every moment of life instead of thinking we’re eternal.” For Abillama, each building is a thrilling memento mori.
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HVAC systems that fit your design—not the other way around
Creating both attractive designs and occupant comfort in commercial buildings is easy with the right HVAC system. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems offer architects more design freedom than conventional HVAC systems. Designed to provide efficient, personalized comfort to almost any building design, VRF systems use small refrigerant lines to move refrigerant, instead of conditioned air, to every zone requiring heating or cooling. The conditioned air is made in the zone it serves. Easy to integrate into building designs, the systems are compact, flexible, and available in a variety of indoor unit styles including wall-mounted, floor-standing (concealed and exposed), ducted, and ceiling (cassette and concealed) options. Working in tandem with integrated controls and sensors to measure heating and cooling demand for each zone, the outdoor unit’s compressor seamlessly adjusts its speed to maintain the zone’s desired temperature. While fixed-speed compressors in conventional HVAC systems are either running at full power or turned off, the INVERTER-driven compressor of a VRF system continually adjusts the flow of refrigerant to precisely meet the conditioning requirements of the building. When ductwork is needed, it is often low-profile and short-run and can be installed in tight spaces. This saves ceiling space within the building while providing more efficient cooling and heating. For more information, visit Mitsubishi's website here.
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Roundup

Weekend Edition: Thomas Kinkade modernism, the limits of digital design, and more
Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered a few the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Peep these modernist homes transplanted into Thomas Kinkade paintings Ever looked at a Thomas Kinkade painting of a cozy cottage nestled into an impossibly golden landscape and thought: That picture would be better with some avant-garde architecture? If so, you're not alone. Zaha Hadid Architects exhibit presents promise and peril of parametric design Set up in 2007, ZHCODE is a computation and design research offshoot from Zaha Hadid Architects, the work of which is currently on display at The Building Center in London. Kansas City International Airport tones down design in new renderings Seven months after voters approved the massive reconstruction of Kansas City International Airport, SOM and developer Edgemoor have released new renderings that flatten out the previously-curved terminal building.