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The Adventures of Robin Hood

The cutting-edge nonprofit Robin Hood Foundation has recruited a band of architects to give to the poor by designing libraries in some of New York City's neediest public schools. With its second phaseeand 31 librariessnow complete, the Library Initiative is an example of pro bono design at its best. Cathy Lang Ho reports.

Marpillero Pollak created a simple dropped perforated metal ceiling, with cut-out holes filled with colored Plexiglas and Jasper Morrison Glo-Ball Flos lights that echo the round foam seats by M2L below. With Milder & Co., they devised a set of tables (background) that can be pushed apart or linked together.
> peter mauss / esto

In 20011three years before Mayor Michael Bloomberg won approval for his $13 billion school construction and improvements campaign, which is just now beginning to be implementeddLonni Tanner, then director of special projects at the Robin Hood Foundation, decided that New York City's public schools needed serious attention. Robin Hood, a poverty-fighting, grant-giving nonprofit, had just funded the renovation of a library in a charter school in Brooklyn, undertaken by Karen Davidov and Henry Myerberg of the since-dissolved partnership Helfand Myerberg Guggenheimer. I was curious if other schools needed a similar resource,, said Tanner, so she canvassed 250 of the city's 650 public elementary schools. I was shocked at what I saw,, she said. I saw a few dusty books on some shelves, old Wang computerssnothing that could be close to being called a library.. At the time, 60 percent of New York public school students in grades three through eight were reading below grade level. Believing that education is the key to fighting poverty, Robin Hood, in a groundbreaking partnership with the city's Board of Education, launched the Library Initiative.

Today, the program boasts 31 alternatives to the bleak public school norm, created by 16 architects who worked mostly pro bono over the course of two phases (see sidebar for complete list). The highly publicized results of the pilot phase, completed in 2002, prove that there are myriad ways to skin a cat: Charged with creating distinct spaces for instruction, presentation, and private reading, accommodating 10,000 books (donated by Scholastic) and several computer workstations (donated by Apple), and ensuring clear sightlines throughout the space, among other requirements, ten firms produced wide-ranging prototypes of lively, child-friendly spaces that are rigorously programmed for learning as well as cost-efficient, durable, and easy to maintain. Because the libraries departed so dramatically from their standard-issue, institutional contexts, they quickly became magnets within their schools and larger communities, captivating students who regard them havens, retreatssplaces where they want to be.

Gluckman Mayner Architects used the library as a chance to explore sustainable materials, such as non-off-gassing Woodstalk for millwork, non-VOC adhesives, bamboo flooring, and recycled-content Interface carpet tiles. To counter the divisions of the floor area, the architects wanted a unified ceiling treatment. They gave it a sky motif, with wallpaper designed by 2x4 and customized light fixtures that are simple fluorescent bulbs with bent metal forms to evoke birds or flying books.

Custom responses were integral to conveying to students, many of them economically underprivileged, that they are important and deserve special attention. (Robin Hood selected schools where over 75 percent of students qualify for a free lunch.) But replicability is equally important to the Library Initiative. The idea from the outset was to develop a standard, since the aim is to get architects to all the schools eventually,, said Myerberg, who was instrumental in helping define the Library Initiative and worked with Tanner to recruit first-phase architects. But we didn't want a cookie-cutter approach, like Starbucks, either..

This inquiry into how to allow the libraries to be unique expressions of their contexts and their architects while capturing economies of scale has intensified in the second round of libraries, completed the last month.

In phase two, 9 firms produced 21 libraries. Four of the firmssTsao & McKown, Tod Williams Billie Tsien, Richard H. Lewis, and the Rockwell Group, where Henry Myerberg now worksswere architects returning from the first round, and who were asked to design multiple libraries, nudging the potential of serialization further. We love the idea of the libraries having distinct identities, but the cost pressure is continually growing so the impulse to standardize grows stronger,, said Robin Hood's chief of external affairs Joe Daniels, who oversaw the build-out of phase-two libraries. The libraries were budgeted at about $1 million each, encompassing the cost of construction as well as training and staffing librarians, which Robin Hood considers essential to the program's success. To date, Robin Hood has contributed $7.5 million to the initiative, which the Board of Education matched funding three-to-one, putting in $22 million. The libraries average about 2,000 square feet; the construction cost of each was roughly $400,000, or $200 per square foot.

Second-round architects, like many in the first, found vibrant colors, playful furniture, irregularly shaped spaces, and bold lighting and graphics to be effective accomplices in creating high-impact, low-cost gestures. Many new architects had the urge, like Weiss/Manfredi did with its award-winning first-round project, to extend the presence and magic of the library into the rest of the school. Rogers Marvel offered tantalizing views into their library at P.S. 105 in Far Rockaway by filling two unused doorways that face the adjacent corridor with alternately clear and frosted glass blocks, where they also sited benches so that silhouettes of readers inside would be visible to passers-by. Meanwhile, Marpillero Pollak Architects' library at P.S. 5 in Sunset Park beckons students with an entrance fronted by a window and an oversized bench, emblazoned with the Library Initiative logo created by Pentagram's Michael Bierut, who worked with all the architects to incorporate graphics into their spaces.

 

 

 

PHASE 1 completed Fall 2002

Della Valle + Bernheimer Design (PS 18)
Tsao & McKown Architects (P.S. 19)
Weiss/Manfredi Architects (P.S. 42)
Deborah Berke Architect (P.S. 46)
Helfand Myerberg Guggenheimer Architects (P.S. 50)
Alexander Gorlin Architect (P.S. 92)
Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates (P.S. 101)
Ronette Riley Architect (P.S. 149)
Paul Bennett Architect (P.S. 165)
Richard H. Lewis, Architect (P.S. 184)

PHASE 2 completed Winter 2005

Tsao & McKown Architects (P.S. 46, 86, 94, and 246)
Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates (P.S. 1, 28, and 32)
Richard H. Lewis, Architect (P.S. 10, 36, 93, 287)
The Rockwell Group (P.S. 5, 17, 106, 137, 145)
1100 Architect (P.S. 16)
Rogers Marvel Associates (P.S. 105)
Dean Wolf Architects (P.S. 151)
Marpillero Pollak Architects (P.S. 1)
Gluckman Mayner Architects (P.S. 192)

1100 Architects took its cue from the school's small reptile zoo, creating a long bookshelf that snakes through the space and creates distinct separate areas for private reading and group activities.

The learning curve was higher for new architects,, said Myerberg, but we all learned what worked and didn't work from the first round.. For example, for P.S. 50, he had designed a system of Lego-like bookcases arranged in a staggered pattern, but they confounded librarians' ability to uphold the Dewey decimal system. In his second set of libraries, the bookcases follow a more linear pattern.

The treatment of bookcases varied widely from architect to architect. Billie Tsien said that her firm learned early on to discern what was important and treatable versus what they could do little about, such as a wall of unattractive windows. To them, bookcases were key. We learned that your best friend is your cabinetmaker,, said Tsien. They can deliver the room for you in a beautiful way because they're making a container for people and books at the same time.

It's the cabinetwork, too, that's essentially replicable.. Many other library architects also emphasized the importance of custom casegoods to ensure maximum book capacity and a snug fit. And many insisted on wooden bookshelves, despite the expense, as if to reinforce the traditional idea of libraries and avoid the typical approach to children's or institutional spaces, to go plastic, hard, and cool. Richard Lewis' firm decided that all the furniture that was fixed would have a traditional look while all the movable furniture would be modern, so their bookcases are old-fashioned molded wood while chairs are by Arne Jacobsen and cabinets are by USM. Tsao & McKown designed shelving (made from medium-density fiberboard) that's almost constructivist in detail,, said Zack McKown, so that kids can reverse-engineer how they were built..

Rogers Marvel Architects used cheap VCT (vinyl composition tile), arranging two different shades of yellow in a random pattern, giving the floor interesting visual texture.

Interestingly, Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects had the opposite point of view about bookcases, using off-the-shelf metal frames. We didn't think it was the place to spend money,, he said. Why reinvent the wheel? Whenever possible, we wanted to use straightforward, utilitarian products to support the architecture..

Flooring was also an important realm for experimentation. Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Tsao & McKown, which both used cork in their first library, resurrected the soft, resilient, acoustically and environmentally friendly material in their second-round libraries. Richard Lewis, Marpillero Pollak, and Dean/Wolf followed their lead, specifying the material in different colors. The Rockwell Group used mostly Interface carpet, as did Gluckman Mayner, which paired the soft floor covering with bamboo, to denote the different areas of the room. Meanwhile, Rogers Marvel used perhaps the cheapest flooring material of all, vinyl composition tile (VCT), but picked a nice yellow in two shades and arranged them randomly, giving the floor some visual texture. These varied solutions raise the potential of developing standards or uniform elements for future libraries. We are looking for elements that can be applied across different projects, without restricting architects' designs,, said Daniels. For example, in the future, we could offer a choice of three or four flooring options or shelving solutions, and make a deal up front with a vendor or fabricator..

Marpillero Pollak Architects extended the presence of the library into the school, with an entrance bench/gathering area. The Library Initiative's logo was designed by Michael Bierut of Pentagram, who worked with the library architects to create site-specific graphics.

To counter the uniformity that might come with recurring elements, Robin Hood has been encouraging architects to emphasize site-specific graphic installations involving students. Marpillero Pollak created a window frieze using chidren's drawings of fictional characters. Meanwhile, Richard Lewis worked with Pentagram, as well as artists Dorothy Kresz, Peter Arkle, Raghava Kalyanaraman, and Lynn Pauley to create murals to fill the space between the tops of bookcases (which could be no higher than five shelves) and ceilings.

As the Library Initiative enters its third roundda list of 25 schools and architects will be determined this summerrcost savings will be even more crucial, as the Board of Education reduces its matching funds from three-to-one to two-to-one. But the Library Initiative has already developed a certain cachet in the architectural community, with many clamoring to be involved. The same goes for vendors, many of which have donated or discounted their materials and services. Luckily, there are plenty of libraries to go around. 31 down,, said Tanner, who left Robin Hood last month. 619 to go.. cathy lang ho is an editor at an.

Rogers Marvel Architects used cheap VCT (vinyl composition tile), arranging two different shades of yellow in a random pattern, giving the floor interesting visual texture.

 

CREDITS

1100 Architect
Dean Wolf Architects
Gluckman Mayner Architects
Marpillero Pollak Architects
Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates
Tsao & McKown Architects
Richard H. Lewis Architect
The Rockwell Group
Rogers Marvel Architects

Client: New York City Board of Education
General contractor: F. J. Sciame Construction Co.
Funding partner: Robin Hood Foundation
In-kind donations: Scholastic Books, Harper Collins, Apple, Maharam
Graphic design: Michael Bierut, Pentagram
Photography: Peter Mauss / ESTO

* It's worth noting that many of the companies involved with the Robin Hood libraries supplied their products or services pro bono or at discounted rates.

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Glass Menagerie

Since Joseph Paxton used almost a million square feet of glass to cover the Crystal Palace in 1851, architects have been experimenting with it in projects of every size, type, and context. For our annual Glass issue, we look at four projects that use the material in fresh ways. From the structural advances of a dome in Stuttgart to the conceptual layering of a house in upstate New York, the glass in each of these projects does much more than just let the sun in.

Museum
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,
Kansas City, Missouri
Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl's expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has been garnering awards since its design was unveiled in 1999, and now that the glass cladding of the five-volume addition is near complete, it looks as if the early praise was well founded. With the opening of the museum still a year away, the glazed envelopes are beginning to express Holl's winning concept of a series of lensess that traverse the museum's terraced sculpture garden.

Holl decided to break the 165,000-square-foot expansion into five interconnected, irregularly shaped low buildings rather than attach a single massive structure to the existing museum, a Depression-era Beaux Arts building, sited at the top of a 17-acre sloping park, designed by Dan Kiley. The all-glass cladding of the new volumes offers a striking counterpoint to the original building's heavy stone facade. Connected via substantial underground spaces, the buildings appear as isolated glass pavilions, their milky skin bringing light into the galleries and, at night, illuminating the garden's path that wind around them. Holl compares them to Noguchi's Akari lamps.

Each volume (first of five, at left) has a slight crank in plan to create new views (below) of the formal spaces around it.

Holl and project architect Chris McVoy refer to the five volumes as lensess because of the way they bring light into the galleries and subtly reshape one's views of the space. According to McVoy, the volume's forms were driven in part by the idea of a parallax view, or the apparent displacement of an object caused by a change in the position from which it is viewed. For example, the lens containing the lobby and the library begins on axis with the original museum, and then shifts slightly to lead one back towards the other new volumes.

The outer layer of the lens is double-interlocked glass planks with translucent insulation in between them. Though Holl had worked with similar industrial glass planks for the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, German manufacturer Lamberts worked to develop a new product specifically for this project, tested to ensure that they could span 18 feet without support, as well as meet standards for waterproofing and light transmission. The glass is also low in iron content, increasing its whiteness and minimizing the coloring the light that would shine on the art. The inside surfaces of the glass were sandblasted for further light diffusion. The inner layer is laminated, low-iron, butt-jointed glass, with a translucent white interlayer and acid-etched surface that provide for white light diffusion.

Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Between the layers of glass is a 3.5-foot wide cavity that, along with an upper-level plenum, provides a place for heat to gather in the winter or exhaust it in the summer. On southern walls, the cavities host a computer-controlled system of movable shades that darken the galleries as needed.

Holl's design is an elegant and complicated proposal for making a glass wall, creating perhaps the most spectacular daylighting conditions for art seen in this country since Louis Kahn designed the Kimbell Museum. william menking

 

House
Binocular House,
Ghent, New York
Michael Bell Architect

The J-shaped plan and glass walls of the Binocular House (now under construction) create a series of layered views through the living spaces and raised courtyard, out to the surrounding woods.

Because architect Michael Bell's Binocular House in Ghent, New York, is clad entirely in glass, it will inevitably draw comparisons to some famous precedents. According to Bell, though, The update [of the glass house] is one of experience, not form.. Bell and his clients, photo editor Philip Gefter and filmmaker Richard Press, looked to sources as varied as James Turrell, Michael Heizer, and jury duty for inspiration. While Bell said that he did think about the Farnsworth Houseehis clients even went to visit ittTurrell's ability to use light to imply an ambiguous depth was equally important. In the Roden Crater, you start to understand the shape of space,, he explained, even if you don't know how or why..

The house gets its name from its front faaade, where one can see through two different rooms straight to the woods beyond. Between these rooms, there is another large sheet of glass, but here it is opaque (a sheet of white film is sandwiched between its two layers) to shield the bathroom from view. According to Bell, this creates an effect whereby the opaque glass seems to project forward, and the landscape seen through the clear rooms seems to fall back. The house's transparency doesn't simply invite the landscape inside; it begins to tinker with one's perception of it.

In plan, the house is a J-shape that surrounds an open courtyard whose genesis was more prosaic: Last winter I had jury duty downtown, and even though it was very cold, the light reflecting off the buildings gave a sense of warmth. I thought, 'That house needs a courtyard!' and went home and redrew everything.. Beyond the suggestion of warmth, the courtyard creates a series of alternately reflective and transparent layers, and so adds another layer of visual depth to the house. The courtyard is also raised 20 inches above the level of the hallway that runs alongside it, so one must step up into it. Bell explained that he wanted the slight rise to reorient one's view upward towards the sky and out to the forest.

Courtesy Michael Bell architect

As in the Mies and Johnson versions, privacy isn't an issue for the Binocular House because it is set in 12 wooded acres that back up to a small mountain. Heat, however, was a concern. Because there is so much glass, the house will use a geothermal heating and cooling system to keep energy usage down. Consumption is still likely to be somewhat higher than in a typical house of the same size (about 2,300 square feet), but the 51-degree water drawn from deep below the house will help to keep usage closer to standard. The trees also play a big role in keeping the house cool: though Bell designed a nylon brise-soleil system that will be put in place each spring, he is relying on tree cover to keep heat gain down. And if it gets too hot? Said Bell, We'll plant some more.. ANNE GUINEY

 

Theater/Galleries
Shaw Center for the Arts,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Schwartz/Silver Architects

The Shaw Center for the Arts, which opened on March 4 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is not what it seems: While the theater and gallery building is clad entirely in glass, there is only one major window (albeit a big one) and it is anything but flat and reflective. The Boston-based firm Schwartz/Silver Architects devised a rain screen of channel glass that cover the building's corrugated aluminum skin, and gives it an improbably light and insubstantial quality. The channels are set vertically, with short edges facing outward to better catch sunlight and shadow and give the faaade texture.

According to principals Warren Schwartz and Robert Silver and project architect Chris Ingersoll, they wanted the building to evoke the movement of the waters of the Mississippi on whose banks it sits, and to borrow its colors from the reflection of the sky on the river. One day late in the afternoon, we saw the building change from gray to blue to gold to pink over the course of about 20 minutes,, said Schwartz. At night, the screen is lit from outside, so that the light fills the channels.

The rain screen on the Shaw Center is made out of channel glass set with the C-profile facing outward and reinforced with aluminum clips that tie back to the wall behind it.

If the glass screen is a metaphor for the ripples of the river's waters, it is a practical one. Hurricanes frequently hit the region, and the heavy rains can do significant damage to buildings by seeping into the walls. Rain screens work on the principle that a small cavity between a screen and a building's wall systemmin this case, eight inchessensures that the pressure inside the walls is not lower than the pressure outside, thereby keeping water from being forced into the walls. They saw the process at work when they tested the strength of the channels, which are reinforced with thin wires embedded in the glass. Ingersoll said that after a DC-9 engine blew water in a simulated 100 mile-per-hour wind at a mock-up of the faaade, there was no water in the cavity between the rain screen and the wall, just a fine mist.

courtesy schwartz/silver architects

The system that keeps the channels anchored to the wall behind them is a straightforward one that is fairly common in industrial buildings in Europe. Horizontal bands capture the channels at top and bottom, and intermediate clips that tie back into the wall stabilize each one along its length. The anchoring system is visible through the glass, and from afar, the bands and clips read as an irregular horizontal pattern on the faaade, some light and others dark as if just out of reach underwater. The Shaw Center is the largest building to date to use glass channels as a cladding, but its noteworthiness comes not from its size: It turns the prosaic need for protection from the elements into something that capitalizes on them. AG

 

Folly
Lighweight Dome,
Stuttgart
Lucio Blandini and Werner Sobek

>A soap bubble just floating over the groundd is young Italian engineer Lucio Blandini's description for his potentially revolutionary design for an entirely frameless glass structure. Blandini designed the project while a doctoral student at the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Lightweight Structures, founded in 1964 by Frei Otto. Since 1995, the institute has been under the direction of Werner Sobek, the noted German engineer who has done pioneering research on glass, including the development of carbon-fiber reinforced glass and load-bearing glass structures.

Blandini's prototype, which is installed at the University of Stuttgart and represents three years of research initiated by Sobek, is the world's first frameless structural glass dome. The elegant shell is 8.5 meters long and nearly 2 meters tall, comprised of 44 pieces of doubly curved, 10 millimeter-thick glass panels. The panels actually consist of two layerssan 8 millimeter-thick laminate and a second layer of 2 millimeters of chemically tempered glass. The technology [chemically toughened glass] is already used in automobile and aerospace applications but is new in architecture because it is still so expensive,, said Blandini, who is currently a Fulbright fellow in the architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania. The glass dome sits on a titanium ring that's lifted off the ground by 32 stainless steel columns, which Blandini calls a dematerialized support system.. Titanium's reaction to heat and cold is similar to that of glass and, unlike steel, will allow the glass to expand and contract freely. The key to this project is the use of adhesives as a joining system. The beauty of gluing glass panes together, of course, is the ability to create a continuous glazed structure, unimpeded by steel bolts and joints. Over the last three years, Blandini tested a variety of glues, including epoxies, acrylics, and polyurethanes, on different types, shapes, and configurations of glass, measuring strength and loads. The dome shape helps to alleviate the load from the adhesive.

Courtesy Lucio Blandini

The young designer and his professor both made clear that it's too early to introduce this technology into architectural projects. The major concern is the durability of the bonding agent, which needs to be tested in rain, heat, and various UV rating conditions. Another concern is how to repair a damaged glass panel. (In a conventional building, a broken pane of glass is simply removed from its frame, unbolted, or unclipped.) Blandini imagines the future development of a glue-dissolving solvent that would allow the panels to be individually replaced. This research project is young, yet. We are monitoring the long-term behavior of the shell,, said Blandini. So far, everything is behaving better than expected.. He promises to build a shell with an even larger span in the next year or two. WM

 

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Bright Lights, Big City

Though ethereal, light is one of architecture's most important materials. Whether natural or artificial, light can accentuate architectural genius, mask mistakes, grab attention, make a place feel sacred or safe. New lighting technology and educational programs are keys to keeping architecture's spark alive.

Technology
LEDs, the Latest Frontier on Architectural Lighting

LEDs are everywhere, and not just in traffic lights and digital alarm clocks where they started several decades ago. LEDs, short for light emitting diodes, have been steadily making their way into architectural applications around the world. Until recently, LEDs were considered impractical for widespread use in large environments but the technology has improved dramaticallyythey're smaller and brighter, use less power, can be computer controlled, and cycle through all the colors of the rainbowwenticing more and more architects and designers to integrate them in their work.

Many manufacturers (even those that only recently incorporated the technology into their lines) have now made LEDs, if not a core component of their product offerings, part of their R&D. We consider implementing LED technology for every new product under development,, said Ted Chappell, president of New Jerseyybased Erco Lighting, which did not bring LED-based products into its line until its 2002/ 2003 catalog.

Left and below: UN Studio and Arup Lighting, both based in Amsterdam, teamed up to give Seoul's Galleria West fashion mall a dazzling, Paco Rabannesque makeover. Concealing a nondescript 1970s concrete building is a layer of 4,330 frosted glass discs, shielding an equal number of LED luminaires. Each disc acts as a giant pixel; the building becomes a vast display screen. With Dutch company Xilver, Rogier van der Heide of Arup developed an RGB LED fixture that improves the color tone of the LEDs.
Courtesy arup lighting

The most common application of LEDssmany would argue to a faulttis in color-changing scenarios and as decorative details in a larger environment. If I need a saturated color, I look to LEDs,, said lighting designer Jim Benya, principal of Benya Lighting Design in Tigard, Oregon, who is currently creating a midnight sky scene for a hospital MRI room with blue LEDs. Another lighting designer, Ken Douglas, principal of Illumination Arts in New Jersey, is embedding the light source into the faaade of dark red brick building that lost its presence at night. In our designs, we are using it mostly as a secondary aesthetic element, to add a little flavor or as a highlighting element,, he said.

Courtesy arup lighting

Color-changing capabilities exist with other lamps like metal halide, which was used by Horton Lees Brogden to light the Met Life building in New York City with stunning results. But Douglas noted, With those lamps, there has to be a physical component moving around, or glass moving back and forth, or a color wheel, and every time you have a part that moves, you have a part that fails..

RGB fluorescent has traditionally been the source behind color-changing effects, and is still being used very successfully on certain projects, such as on the faaade of the 41-story Deutsche Post tower in Bonn, Germany, designed in 2003 by Helmut Jahn. However, more designers like Darren Nolan, an architect with Peter Marino + Associates, which recently completed an eight-story building for Chanel in Tokyo, turned to LEDs to illuminate its faaade. We made comparisons between fluorescent and LEDs, but issues of maintenance, heat generation, and consistency of color temperature convinced us to go with the latter,, he said. The architects were also charmed with the ability of the LEDs, imbedded on the modernist glass and metal faaade, to change light patterns each night, simulating for example Chanel's signature tweed. While the upfront costs of LEDs were higher, said Nolan, in the long run the architects felt LEDs would be more cost effective.

Chanel's new Tokyo headquarters, designed by Peter Marino, has a triple-glazed facade featuring view-controlled glass and LEDs that enable the building to be completely transparent by day and lanternlike at night. The building has art director who programs different patterns for the facade.

Courtesy peter marino + associates

The extremely long life of LEDs makes them a particularly sound solution in situations where fixtures are hard to maintain. Paul Gregory, principal of Focus Lighting in New York City, specified LEDs for the new Semiramis Hotel in Athens, Greece, for example, for areas where limited space would have made it hard to replace other lamp types. Gregory, who collaborated with Karim Rashid on the project, felt confident in the choice, having used LEDs on the Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia four years before, which he says has been extremely low maintenance and still looks good. The questions is always, Can you do something complex and still have it look great in four years,, he said. Not with Par cans [theater lighting]; not with MR16s..

While the overall lumen output from available LED sources remains low, there are extremely bright LED products for small-area applications, such as display cases or enclosed spaces. The technology is also ideal for low-light-level outdoor applications, like step lights and pavers, because the technology operates under a wide range of temperatures, unlike fluorescents which do not respond well to cold, and HID lamps, which do not start or extinguish immediately. Also, since they use few watts, LEDs can be solar or battery powered, which makes them appropriate to situations where uninterruptible power is important. Erco Lighting began its foray into LED-based fixtures with products dedicated to this application. We marketed them as orientation' luminaires,, said Chappell. They serve as excellent marker lights for pathways as well as safety lights for entrances and step applications..

Paul Gregory of Focus Lighting worked with David Rockwell on FAO Schwarz's renovation, which features a ceiling with 80,000 LEDs that can be programmed into different patterns

J. P. Lira / courtesy focus lighting

Since they do not radiate heat, LEDs work well in environments where heat may damage the object being illuminateddart or chocolate, for example. For this reason, task lamps are incorporating the technology, since users are generally in close proximity to the light source and can therefore be burned by it. The Arketto lamp, which Luxo released in 2004, produces virtually no apparent heat and has a 50,000-hour life, according to the company. That LEDs do not produce any heat is a myth, however, according to Benya. An LED does not radiate heat, which actually means it cannot cool itself in this way, but still has to conduct the heat away from the source. The higher the wattage, the bigger the heat problem.. If an LED source is not cooled, he notes, it negatively affects light output and longevity. He believes this problem is the Holy Grail for the industry; if it can be resolved, then LEDs will enter more standard architectural applications like downlightsand spots.

This and other shortcomingsslow overall light output, cool white range (lacking the warmth of incandescents), high priceehave kept LEDs out of mainstream architectural applications, but have also been the focus of manufacturers' research. For example, Color Kinetics recently introduced IntelliWhite, which offers an expanded range of temperatures. And, according to Dave Shepard, national sales manager with lighting manufacturer Luxo, which recently released an LED task light, the price of LED components seems to come down every six months or so. He notes that the industry is currently in the middle of a pronounced decrease.

Gregory also worked with Karim Rashid on the Semiramis Hotel in Athens, where LEDs work with colored glass for decorative effect.

Jennifer alexander / courtesy focus lighting

>I've never seen a technology in our field evolve so much over so short a period of time,, said Benya. Every time you stop and take a snapshot, remember that what you specify today is going to become obsolete faster than the computer you just bought.. This is in direct conflict with what Benya considers the purpose of architectural lightinggto design something permanent and durable. We call them light fixtures for a reason,, he said. He maintains a healthy skepticism toward LEDs, pointing out that when the source does fail, it often means the entire system must be replaced, not just a bulb.. The diodes need to be soldered or otherwise connected to a complex electrical system; when one goes, the entire lighting system may have to go. It's a monumental paradigm shift,, he said. A luminaire is now a throwaway wrapper around an expensive light-bulb, as opposed to the other way around..

Perhaps indicative of how far LEDs have come is that primary complaint about the technology from designers is not about their performance, but about their architectural applications. My criticism is about how the technology has been used in the last few years,, said Douglas. In the early 1990s, everything had to be MR16s; it didn't matter whether they were the right fixture or not. LEDs are like that. People are making things flash and dance even if it isn't a building that should be doing that..
Emilie W. Sommerhoff is the editor-in-chief of Architectural Lighting.

 

Urbanism
A Lighter, Brighter Jets Stadium

As the battle over the development rights of the Hudson rail yards enters its next phase (March 21 was the MTA's deadline for competing bids), the most prominent contender and mayoral favorite, the New York Jets, unveiled a revised design for its proposed New York Sports and Convention Center (NYSCC) that brightens and softens Kohn Pedersen Fox's (KPF) original scheme.

KPF's first try was a clunky, closed box plunked down between 31st and 33rd streets, split by a central axis that ran down 11th Avenue. The Municipal Art Society (MAS) put its carefully considered two cents in, and the architects listened. In the revised design, the structure's height is reduced by 120 feet. The wind turbines that were supposed to line the rooftop were also eliminated. Shrinking the structure improved it, but it was still a big awkward box.

courtesy l'observatoire international

>One of the initial driving forces in the new design was the Municipal Art Society's desire to create a strong axis on 32nd Street,, Bill Pederson said. They felt that the plan would be strengthened by a strong east-west orientation.. The architects responded by creating an asymmetrical faaade and reorienting the complex toward a new pedestrian-friendly entrance plaza on 11th Avenue, a planned retail corridor.

The most dramatic revision by far, however, involves the skin of the building. The designers have wrapped the core volume in a translucent glass veil, giving the structure the appearance of floating.

Toronto-based graphic designer Bruce Mau, originally brought in to develop wayfinding and graphic imagery, got into the collaborative design spirit and contributed by conceptualizing the entire 60,000-foot exterior surface as a single image, with each 6-by-12-foot pane of glass dotted alternately with translucent and transparent film. If you think about a pane of glass as a pixel, you can make an image that reads on an urban scale,, Mau said. From far away, it's very soft, light, and diaphanous; on an intimate scale it's very pop and graphic..

The Jets' desire to make the project less monolithic and more appropriately scaled to the neighborhood is furthered by the contribution of lighting designer Hervv Descottes, founder of New Yorkkbased L'Observatoire International. We wanted to work with different degrees of transparency,, said Descottes, discussing the wrap-around LED screen to be installed at the structure's ground level. The lighting designer envisions seven distinct lighting schemes that can be deployed, changing the building's profile from day to night and event to event. At times, the stadium would reflect the Hudson River, while at others it would shoot two beams of lighttone straight into the sky and one right into New Jerseyyto communicate game-day excitement. It's subtle but strong signage,, he noted.

Will the NYSCC's inventive use of media and light be enough to win over its objectors? Time will tell. Eva Hagberg is a New Yorkkbased writer.

 

Education
Parson's MFA in Lighting, the Nation's First to Incorporate Design

When Peter Wheelwright took over as chair of the architecture department at Parsons in 1999, he also inherited an ailing Masters of Arts program in lighting design. Shortly thereafter, the proverbial light bulb went off: Why not take advantage of the inherent synergy between the three fields in the departmenttarchitecture, lighting, and interior designnand at the same time extend the depth and breadth of the study of lighting design, which historically has lagged behind as an academic discipline?

Parsons has been a leader in lighting design since 1975, when Jim Nuckolls, a pioneer in both the practice and education of the discipline, launched the first incarnation of its MFA. Originally, the program was an appendage of the continuing education department. In the early 1990s, it joined the architecture program, yet after a decline in student enrollment, the school decided to turn it into a vocational one-year Master of Arts degree in 1998.

Lighting study by Azusa Yabe

courtesy parsons school of design

Wheelwright began the revamp by hiring the program's first full-time director, Joanne Lindsley, who had been the president of the International Association of Lighting Designers, and then resolved to transform the degree back into a two-year MFA with a fresh slant. The resulting program, which kicked off its first semester last fall at full capacity with 24 matriculated students, puts lighting design and architecture students in the same studio space. They share faculty as well as history and theory courses, and even work in tandem on the same design projects. It's radical for an architecture program to have such a strong relation to lighting design,, said Wheelwright. Although they think they do, few architects today really know how to design with light..

Key players in launching the new MFA are David Lewis, director of Parsons' graduate architecture program and a principal of Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, and lighting designer Linnaea Tillett. The program's advisory board includes lighting designer Paul Marantz of Fisher Marantz Stone. Since Lindsley left the program in 2004, Wheelwright has served as acting director, while talks of a search for a new head are in development. Said Wheelwright, The new MFA needs an academic to run it, someone who understands the relationship of design to social practice..

Lighting study by Jung Eun Park

courtesy parsons school of design

Extending his theory that cooperation yields greater benefits for related disciplines, Wheelwright has widened his students' access to educators and facilities by networking with Parsons' main competitor in the field, the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). RPI is doing something very different,, he said, explaining that their Master of Science is focused more on scientific research and development. They're inventing light bulbs; we're designing. So we've begun to strategize linkages.. Students from Parsons have already visited Rensselaer, and RPI faculty members have given lectures as Parsons.

Most other lighting design programs in the U.S., such as those at Illinois State, Florida State, and Carnegie Mellon, are concentrations within their schools' theater design departments. Wheelwright believes that Parsons is embarking on a program that is unique. I hope [this year's class] will be the first batch of students trained in the history and theory of lighting design, who will look at light from a phenomenological point of view, as well as learning its mechanics and techniques. If we do that,, he claimed, We'll be doing what no one else does.. Anna Holtzman is a New Yorkkbased writer.

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Emerging Voices
JEAN VONG

The Architectural League of New York has named its newest crop of Emerging Voices. Since its inception in 1982, the program has served as a coming out for architects and designers, giving promising new talents a platform to share their ideas and work. 2005's featured firms talk about beauty, vent pipes, blue trees, and asking whether or not a client actually needs a building.

March 17

Taryn Christoff
Martin Finio
Hadrian Predock
John Frane

6:30 p.m.
Scholastic Auditorium
557 Broadway

March 23

Claude Cormier
Douglas Reed
Gary Hilderbrand

6:30 p.m.
Urban Center
457 Madison Ave.

March 31

Pablo Castro
Jennifer Lee
John Ronan

6:30 p.m.
Urban Center
457 Madison Ave.

April 7

John Hartmann
Lauren Crahan
Zoltan Pali

6:30 p.m.
Urban Center
457 Madison Ave.

 

Christoff:Finio Architecture
Manhattan

Elizabeth Felicella

Taryn Christoff and Martin Finio founded their joint practice in 1999. The firm has since completed many New Yorkkarea projects at an intimate scale, including the Catherine Malandrino store (2004), the headquarters of the Heckscher Foundation for Children on the Upper East Side (2005), and a beach house in New Jersey (pictured below). Their design for an aquaculture center in Aalborg, Denmark (above), was included in the National Building Museum show Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete.

While Taryn and I come from the culture of crafttit is part of our makeuppthe practice is evolving to the point where we want to test and even antagonize this sense of ourselves. Emerging technology interests us, but in the sense that we can use the formal possibilities of new modeling technologies to let us explore ways to make the world around us less familiar. It can make you question anew how buildings are built and how we live in them. We're interested in the way it compresses the line between drawing and the realities of fabrication, and while we haven't done as much of that yet, the promise is definitely there.

We don't put much focus on form-driven architecture but are looking for an architecture that works, solves the problems of the program, and looks good. We've also been called emergingg for a long time and are still evolving, so next year maybe our processes and work will be different. Martin Finio

 

Claude Cormier Architectes paysagistes
Montreal

Richard Barnes

Claude Cormier established his five-member landscape architecture firm in 1995. His work includes large-scale master plans for Montreal landmarks such as Place-des-Arts (2002) and Old Port (2000), urban plazas like Place Youville (pictured below), and small gardens such Blue Tree (above), an installation at the Cornerstone Festival of Architectural Gardens in Sonoma, California. Cormier is currently working on a project for the University of Quebec and an urban beach for Toronto.

Janet Rosenberg

Three elements we think are important: that each project make good, logical sense; that it is visually interesting; and that it has a sense of humor. Everything is so serious! There is never a break anywhere, ever. Sometimes it's not bad to surprise people and show a touch of one's sensibility. We use a lot of color, since there is room for it in the public, urban landscapes we typically work in. Of course, it must be done with an understanding of the space around it, and that is where the logical common sense comes in. Sometimes there is a furorrpeople say A tree is not blue!!?but conflict is not always bad. It can challenge one's sense of perception. Art does this, and so why can't landscapes? Claude Cormier

 

Freecell
Brooklyn

courtesy freecell

John Hartmann and Lauren Crahan founded Freecell in 1998 and were joined by associate Corey Yurkovich in 2002. Recent projects include MOISTscape, an installation at Henry Urbach Architecture (2004), Reconfiguring Space at Art in General (2003, pictured above), and Type A Studio (2004). The firm is working on a roof deck on the Lower East Side, a house in Florida, and a brownstone
renovation in Brooklyn. Both Hartmann and Crahan teach design studio at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Photography, painting, and drawing are important parts of the background of our work. We're fascinated with the lure of cities, even if we can't explain the appeal of certain objects in them. Taking hundreds or thousands of photographs of things we are drawn to is a way of discovering what those things are and why we like them; the pictures reveal color and form, or density and sparseness, and those qualities inevitably inform the architecture created.

When people ask how we choose the colors in our projects, I think of pictures of the incredible saturation of the orange-yellow glow of sodium halide lights on the street. We wouldn't mimic the light, but we can draw on that atmosphere and its quality for a project. The repetition of vent pipes on a building is also appealing, so the same type of repetition shows up in the book cave we did for Shortwave Bookstore [pictured above].

With drawing and painting, it is as simple as strengthening your ability to observe and concentrate. Something about forced concentration leads to a much more detailed knowledge of a thing, and that knowledge then becomes a part of you and the way you think and work. John Hartmann

 

OBRA Architects
Manhattan

courtesy obra architects

Pablo Castro and Jennifer Lee left Steven Holl Architects in 2000 to found OBRA. Recent projects include an exhibition at the Rhode Island School of Design entitled Architettura Povera (2004, pictured above) and the Tittot Glass Art Museum in Taipei, China (below). The firm is currently working on three projects in New York: Rockville Center Apartments, Motion Technology Manufacturing Facility and Offices, and a residence in Long Island designed with Steven Holl Architects. A house in San Juan, Argentina, will finish construction in late 2005.

For us, competitions are the engines that propel us forward. While we try not to do the same thing each time,
we are always interested in things like trees, running water, and people, which can take either metaphorical or actual form.

We all live in a technological age, and sometimes design seems to come down to choosing from a series of products. We try to address, subvert, and finally transcend that. We're interested in laser-cutting, but not as an objective in itself. We want to use it in a way that looks beyond the limitations of the technology itself, and towards its unpredictability. Since so many things can be homogenized by technology, we want to look at the potential of architecture to bring back a sense of identity.

Architecture is a living thing, a strange mirror that can bring us back to our own forgotten condition. Pablo Castro

 

Predock_Frane Architects
Santa Monica

courtesy predock_Frane architects

Hadrian Predock left his father Antoine Predock's firm in 2000 to start a practice with John Frane. The duo's work was included in the 2004 Venice Biennale, and current projects include the Central California Museum of History in Fresno, and two projects for Zen Buddhist groups: the Desert Hot Springs Zen Retreat in California (pictured above) and the Center of Gravity Foundation in northern New Mexico (below). They are also collaborating with the elder Predock on an inn at the French Laundry in Napa.

jason predock

We don't like the word contextualism, because it is such a codified and constrained term. So often, when people use it, they are just referring to other architectures. You have to ask What is context?? It can be the culture of the people or an artificial, imposed landscape as much as anything original. At the French Laundry, there is both the culture of Napa, and also [chef] Thomas Keller's conceptual approach and set of tools. In the Mojave Desert [Zen retreat], we are dealing with a set of positive and negative environmental forces. There is always wind and usually people try to block that force or funnel it awayyit is a negative. But you can also use it to elaborate the spatial sequences you are creating. We think you find deeper meanings and more intricacy when you start to think about all of these relationships and interactions.

As for our process, there are two parallel tracks, the pragmatic and the conceptual. You have to know how many bathrooms there should be, but you can also question the programmdo they even need a building?  John Frane and Hadrian Predock

 

Reed Hilderbrand landscape architecture
Boston

courtesy reed hilderbrand
landscape architecture

Douglas Reed founded his landscape architecture practice in 1993, and was joined by principal Gary Hilderbrand in 1997. Recent projects include the Children's Therapeutic garden in Wellesley, Massachusetts (pictured above) and Hither Lane, a private garden in East Hampton (below). The firm is currently working on several projects in the Boston and Somerville area, such as the waterfront near the New England Aquarium, a commission from Harvard University, and, with Tadao Ando, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.

We are increasingly working in brownfield sites, but while the term is a relatively new one, the idea is not. In the 19th century, Olmsted took abused parts of the city and made something extraordinary. We see ourselves as engaging
in a long tradition, but in contemporary terms and with contemporary expression.

In our work, we look for clarity, brevity, and simplicity. It is a process of reducing a complex series of elements to something apparently simple and serene, but not simplistic. To endow an urban site with those qualities is a big challenge, but I think a great thing. Some of these characteristics are really ancient things, and we aren't afraid of gestures that are emotive or mysterious.

We have always celebrated the richness of vegetation, and are interested in the expressive use of plants and grading as a medium to convey ideas.  Gary Hilderbrand

 

John Ronan Architect
Chicago

courtesy John Ronan Architect

John Ronan founded his solo practice in 1997. In 2004, he won the competition to design a 472,000-square-foot high school for Perth Amboy, New Jersey (pictured above, left), and completed an addition to the Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. Current projects include a youth center for the South Shore Drill Team in Chicago (above, right), houses in Chicago and on Lake Michigan, and a residential conversion of the Yale Steam Laundry in Washington, DC.

I tend to work from reality backwardssI start off by asking what can I do with this?? instead of developing a notion, and then making that idea conform to what is already on the ground. That is a part of my interest in programmatic sustainability, or how buildings change and evolve over time. That often means designing spaces that can be manipulated by their users; the focus is on space over form. I start with spatial exploration, but material investigation also comes in very early in the process, and can have a truly generative role.

I think that one forges meaning through the interdependency of structure, materials, and space. At a certain point, the three come together, and you can't change one without changing the others.  John Ronan

 

SPF:a
Los Angeles

courtesy spf:a

Zoltan E. Pali established Pali and Associates in 1988, and in 1996 Jeffrey Stenfors and Judit Fekete joined Pali to found Stenfors, Pali, Fekete:architects, or SPF:a. The firm's recent work includes barn at the Sharpe House in Somis, California (2004, pictured above, left), and the Bluejay Way Residence in Los Angeles (2005, above, right). SPF:a is working with the Nederlander Organization on a project to restore Los Angeles' Greek Theater in Griffith Park and is transforming a warehouse into a charter school, also in L.A.

Some people want to wake up and reinvent architecture every Monday morning, but many of the results disappear pretty quickly. I'm not interested in being a formalist. Playing around with form is an un-objective way of going about design. I try to be as clear, concise, and objective as I can, so that it is not just my ideas that define a project, but what is there. I also enjoy the interaction with creative clients, and finding out what is in their heads.

I am much more interested in new materials and technologies and how you incorporate them into built structures for the betterment of the environment. That process is what generates the formmit comes from the way you choose to solve a problem. I always want to find beauty along the way. If I had to make a choice, I would sacrifice the new for beauty, since architecture is not about being the next new thing.  Zoltan Pali

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Philip Courtelyou Johnson

Issue 03_02.16.2005

Philip Courtelyou Johnson 
1906-2005

Johnson’s influence on architecture had extraordinary reach and took many different forms. Architects who knew and admired him—and some who didn't—remember a New York fixture and a legend.

© luca vignelli/esto

I recall a story following Philip’s retirement from the office and his departure from regular lunches at The Four Seasons Restaurant. One of his friends told him, “You know Philip, the Four Seasons is not the same without you.” Philip didn’t miss a beat and responded, “The Four Seasons is nothing without me.”
Another recollection I have is of one of the times when Philip Johnson and David Whitney had dinner in the corner of the Pool Room. Philip called me over to the table, which concerned me since I had recently replaced the rubber trees by the pool with preserved palms—a change from Johnson’s design. Philip told me, “I’m glad you didn’t ask me...they look wonderful.”
ALEX VON BIDDER, MANAGING PARTNER, THE FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT

Four Seasons Restaurant (1958)
 
ezra stoller © esto

I am grateful to have this opportunity to write a few words on my mentor of twelve years, Philip Johnson. Mr. Johnson preached that serving the client’s aspirations was an architect’s highest priority; he was proud to be in the service business. As proof, I can recall countless times that Mr. Johnson would destroy models, tear up drawings, or completely abandon ideas at the slightest sign of the client’s discontent. So confident in his purpose and his skills, he would never argue but simply start over. I feel fortunate to have spent all those years under the guidance of so noble a man as he.
DENNIS WEDNICK, PRINCIPAL, DENNIS WEDNICK ASSOCIATES

The loss that those of us who are two generations removed from Philip Johnson feel upon his death is at first surprising. He epitomized, after all, everything that we, the children of the 60’s, the post-structuralists/decosntuctivists/feminists, loathed: success built on male clubiness, not on architectural merit or social contribution; power built around the cult of personality; stylistic fickleness that not only bore no shame but contributed to media and academic hegemony; social elitism cloaked as “intellectual” discourse; gayness deployed not as cultural/institutional opening but as cultural/institutional closure. But we should not be surprised by our surprise. For all of the distaste surrounding Johnson’s tactics, he was the post-structruralist animal par excellence: flexible in identity genderwise, professionally and aesthetically; changing the rules of the game as he went, not just his position in it; astute about the ephemeral nature of historical acclaim; savvy in constructing a position not about a stable present but an unknown future; supremely ironic and self-conscious. We are sad because now we only have the generation ahead—the white/grays—to do battle with, and they are so much less fun, savvy, and robust. The architectural landscape just got infinitely more boring.
PEGGY DEAMER, ASSISTANT DEAN AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, YALE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE

Seagram building (1958, with Mies van der Rohe)
 
ezra stoller © esto

Johnson’s Second Act

Johnson’s second career overlapped with his first. Following World War II and his graduate education at Harvard, he would continue a lifelong relationship with The Museum of Modern Art, but would make a greater name for himself as an architect. His most important commission would be an ongoing one. In the late 1940s he began work on his home, the Glass House, in New Canaan, Connecticut, a project for him without end, which would be symbolic of most of the stylistic turns in Johnson’s portfolio.

Most people date the Glass House at 1949, which is correct for the first glass pavilion and original 5 acres, but Johnson used the title to refer to the entire property, now 42 acres, which included pavilions from each following decade through the 1990s. Johnson was passionate about the property’s landscape and considered it part of the architecture.

Johnson’s long career can best be summarized by decades. Beginning with houses similar in feeling to his Miesian-inspired Glass House in the 1950s, Johnson later took on institutional projects, such as libraries, museums and theaters in the 1960s, from the Sheldon Library in Lincoln, Nebraska to the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. The 1970s would offer larger projects like the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California and the seminal office buildings at Pennzoil Place, done for developer Gerald D. Hines, with whom Johnson would form a long relationship that would span more than a dozen buildings. These were done with then-partner, John Burgee. 

Also from the late 1970s and into the 1980s was Johnson’s iconic work for AT&T. Designed to bring back the glory of stone-faced skyscrapers to Manhattan, the building became a poster child for postmodernism. Johnson would not retire until two decades following its completion. Deconstructivism inspired the clever geometry of St. Basil’s Chapel in Houston and other projects of the 1990s done with his current firm, Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, but in time Johnson would explore sculptural forms beyond standard geometry, as seen in his recently completed, torqued and twisted clock at Lincoln Center. Similar forms were used in his monumental Cathedral of Hope, designed for a primarily gay congregation in Dallas, and today, still unbuilt.

Once significant numbers of visitors have strolled through his New Canaan property, eventually to be made public through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Johnson should be better understood. The property synthesized Johnson’s architectural ethos, where small, but monumental, structures embody architectural ideas and are integrated into varying conditions of landscape, from a smooth lawn to tall, wild grass within a total composition. Like his house, Johnson was at once urbane and traditional. He was also passionate about the next, new thing. HILARY LEWIS IS THE CO-AUTHOR OF PHILIP JOHNSON: THE ARCHITECT IN HIS OWN WORDS (RIZZOLI) AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF PHILIP JOHNSON (BULFINCH/TIME WARNER BOOK GROUP). SHE IS NOW COMPLETING A THIRD VOLUME ON JOHNSON FOR THE MONACELLI PRESS.

AT&T building (1984)
 

ezra stoller © esto

 

Philip and I had many encounters and conversations that were, for me, near historical. Yet some of my favorite memories of him were less consequential in the larger scheme of things and represented the often unexpected intermingling of his architecture and the random events of the moment. I remember the first time I had lunch with David Whitney and him in New Canaan. Seated at the corner dining table, I could see the entire room—the painting by Nicolas Poussin, the sculpture by Elie Nadelman and, of course, the incredible landscape in autumnal splendor—all while eating lobster salad, potato chips and chocolate ice cream.
TERENCE RILEY, CHIEF CURATOR, DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN, MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

Is he really dead? I assume that he’s languishing in cryo, in the vault next to Walt, awaiting reanimation or cloning—Boys from Brazil style—when the technology is sufficiently advanced. Philip 2100! What styles will he purloin then? What as yet unborn favorites will he play? Will a Campari still await at his table at the Four Seasons? Will the glass house be in move-back condition? Will the Fourth Reich be up and running to receive the frustrated imprint of his sinister genius? Will his membership at the Century still be active? Will anyone remember him?
I’m taking no bets.
MICHAEL SORKIN, PRINCIPAL, MICHAEL SORKIN STUDIO

Lipstick building (1986)

 

© peter mauss/esto

Johnson Comes to New York

Philip Johnson’s extraordinary influence on New York City’s architecture scene began almost by chance. An undergraduate at Harvard in 1929, his sister Theodate introduced him to Alfred Barr, who was then teaching a pioneering course in modern art at Wellesley College. Johnson soon began traveling to New York to meet with Barr to discuss modern art and the founding of the Museum of Modern Art. Through Barr, Johnson met the young art historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and in 1930, armed with introductory letters from Barr to the leading European modernists, the two set of on a tour of the continent’s modern architecture. This ultimately led to the Modern’s first architectural exhibit, the celebrated 1932 Exhibition of Modern Architecture, or as it usually called The International Style: Architecture Since 1922.

In 1931 he co-curated (with Barr and Julian Levy) the independent show Rejected Architects, which created a public furor and paved the way for the International Style exhibit. It featured work by young architects that didn’t meet the requirements of the conservative Architectural League. The show was staged in a rented storefront and Johnson hired a sandwich-board man to parade in front of the League’s offices with the message “See Really Modern Architecture Rejected by the League.” 

The League was outraged and tried to have the man arrested, but the attendant front-page publicity insured the show’s success and brought modern architecture to the public’s attention for the first time in the United States.

Although Mies van der Rohe had been announced as the designer of the International Style show, it was Johnson who, as the director of the Modern’s Department of Architecture, installed it. Alongside the standard private and public monuments it featured factories, hospitals, and a section on public housing prepared by Lewis Mumford and Catherine Bauer. The exhibit opened on February 9, 1932 and was visited by nearly 33,000 people before traveling across the United States. 

Johnson continued to promote modern-ism throughout the 1930’s at the museum. In 1934 he staged Machine Art that presented objects such as door locks, ball bearings and toasters as designs of aesthetic beauty for the first time in a museum. That year he executed perhaps his first architectural design in the exhibit Why America Can’t have Good Housing—he mocked up a typical slum apartment he said was “complete and perfect down to the last cockroach.”

In 1934, Johnson unexpectedly gave up his directorship at the Modern. He and the museum’s executive director Alan Blackburn announced they were forming a National party and moving to Louisiana to work for the radical populist Huey Long. His political career was short lived—its main accomplishment seems to have been the design of a grey shirted uniform. Johnson moved back to New York for good after graduating from Harvard’s architecture school in 1945. 
WILLIAM MENKING IS AN EDITOR AT AN

Philip Johnson in the Glass House (1949)
 

© ezra stoller/esto

I have lost a great friend; architecture has lost a great friend.
Philip Johnson possessed a great talent, but it was too little appreciated by those who confuse consistency with conviction. F. Scott Fitzgerald put it well when he wrote to the effect that a mind incapable of simultaneously entertaining contradictory ideas wasn’t much of a mind. Philip’s was the best mind of his time and, attuned to the contradictions of life, he did not sweep them under a carpet of conformity or consistency.
Philip was a friend to me for over forty years. I began as his student and remained such to the end. Whenever I encountered a problem I turned to Philip, not in the hope that he would solve it, but in the knowledge that he would be sympathetic and inspire me to move on to the next best thing.
Philip Johnson was a great rejuvenator.

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Back to the Future

With one foot in the 19th century and the other in the 21st, the most innovative young firms are tempering their love affair with the computer with a healthy respect for arc welders and chop saws. William Menking looks at why the future ain't what it used to be...

In their Williamsburg workshop, FACE erected a prototype of a moment bay a rigid freestanding component before the application of its stress skin. They are offering these components as a completed house for clients or as a prefab system for other architects and designers. Their 2004 Branford Point residence (below) is based on the system.

When pictures of the Korean Presbyterian Church in Queens by collaborators in Chicago (Douglas Garafalo), Los Angeles (Greg Lynn), and Cincinnati (Michael McInturf) were widely published in 2000, the building was recognized not just as formally innovative, but representative of a new model of practice. Architecture magazines joyfully crowed that the future had arrived, and that it was curvy and collaborative. Two years later, in an article in Architectural Record, the critic Michael Speaks claimed that architecture had changed fundamentally, but this time, it wasn't about form or process. From now on, architecture would follow the contours of the economy.. He pointed to the Dutch practice UN Studio, which claimed to have created the first virtual office that included finance people, management gurus, and process specialists as well as designers. Those methodologies are still important, but architecture keeps changing, and for some of the most interesting young firms right now, it seems that past is prologue. They embrace a working model that incorporates a workshop as an integral element of their design practice and philosophy. For such design/test/fabricate firms, the Eames studio in Los Angeles in the 1950s and the workshops of 19th century designer-builders are as influential as the possibilities of CATIA.

In the New York region alone there are scores of young architectural practices fabricating in workshop lofts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and other small towns in New York and New Jersey. A regional sampling of the better known of these firms include the architects FACE, Sharples Holden Pasquarelli (ShoP), Veyko, Freecell, and Bill Massie.

Speaks' claim that the economy is driving changes in architectural practice was true for some of these firms when they were starting out. FACE, a Brooklyn-based office created by Todd Fouser, Reuben Jorsling, Joe Godsy, and Sean Tracy, began as a design workshop in 1994. We wanted to develop our own projects from prototyping to fabricationnbut on someone else's dime,, said Tracy. They believed that fabrication was a more lucrative and interesting route to success for young designers than working in an office producing reflected ceiling plans. Early in the firm's life, it worked with Steven Holl and Vito Acconci on the design development and fabrication of the faaade of the Storefront for Art + Architecture. Other similar collaborations included partners such as Hodgetts + Fung, Gaetano Pesce, and Nam June Paik.

For members of the DUMBO-based firm Freecell, the choice to work in their shop as much as at their computers is a philosophical one, and informs the way they design. Principal Lauren Crahan, who has worked at Rafael Viioly Architects and Weiss/Manfredi, explained that it makes the firm integrate it's thinking about structure, material, and form in a way that would otherwise be difficult: On big projects, the process was typically linearrfrom schematics to design development, then all right, time to detail it.' This approach is more of a stew, in which you have to consider all the pieces at once.. Associate Corey Yurkovich added that fabricating also makes sense on a practical level. You can solve problems in a way that you just can't on a computer,, he said. It is the shop versus the dream world of design.. No one at Freecell (which also includes principal John Hartmann and associate Andree Pogany) is a closet Luddite, of course: I'd never say throw out the computer,'' said Crahan, but at the end of the day, AutoCad can't satisfy your curiosity..

To guide the contractors building the camera obscura ShoP designed for Greenport, New York, they provided a drawing that looks more like assembly instructions for a child's model airplane than standard construction documents. Each structural member of the camera obscura is numbered and corresponds to the drawing.

The Philadelphia architecture workshop Veyko evolved out of a day job founder Richard Goloveyko had at a British car restoration shop while studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. I was always more interested in the physical making of architecture, and it seemed a natural step to open a workshop rather than to go to work in an office,, he said. He formed a partnership with his wife Lisa Neely who, according to Goloveyko, prefers working from an overall sketch down to the details, while I work from details and materials up to an overall scheme. Our designs meet halfway in the workshop..

The Troy, New York, shop of architect Bill Massie is an outgrowth of his work as a graduate student at Columbia, where he was always fascinated with materials. Massie recently purchased a 12,000-square-foot building near Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute (where he teaches) and has divided it into a 7,000-square-foot shop and a 5,000-square-foot office. He intends to produce component parts of entire structures in his shop and ship them to the construction site, ready for erection. He has done this on several projects, notably his own Big Bend House in Montana, for which each curving structural member was machined in his shop.

Architects going back to Michelangelo have used models as both a design tool and presentation technique. But what makes today's workshops unique is that they can quickly fabricate models directly from laser milling machines and build one-to-one full-scale models. According to FACE's Tracy, In-house fabrication allows us to quickly see the limitations of a design and the complexities of its construction.. FACE can design and fabricate a steel column, send it to another shop to be treated with a protective surface and then mock it up back in their studio. ShoP's Gregg Pasquarelli was emphatic: Our workshop is not just for models and representation, it is a design tool.. It may come as a surprise for young graduates of architecture schools, where paperless studios reign, that SHoP (whose other principals are Chris Sharples, William Sharples, Coren Sharples, and Kimberly Holden) requires all architects coming into the firm to be able to free hand sketch, draw in 3D on a computer, and build in 3D in the shop. ShoP is growing rapidly and is about to add 3,000 square feet of new workshop space, allowing it to do more full scale modeling and prototyping. With several large-scale commissions in the office, such as the new building on Seventh Avenue for the Fashion Institute of Technology, they are also poised to prove that this working method can succeed at a much larger scale.

This trend is driven in part by an architect, fabricator, and contractor's ability to communicate via computer (and we're not just talking email) during every step of the design/build process. Further, these firms realize that technology now allows for mass-customized and differentiated parts that can create tailored forms for the price of a standard building. However, because of the newness of these forms they must be tested in a shop before they can even be prototyped. ShoP's Camera Obscura project in Greenport, New York, shows the potential of this thinking. The entire structure was designed and fabricated (by outside subcontractors) in pieces, and the builder was given an un-dimensioned but numbered plannjust like a child's plastic model airplane directions. The pre-cut and pre-tested pieces reduce the risk of communication glitches between designer and builder, and make sure the project is completed on time and without the usual designer-contractor problems. For his Big Bend House, Massie was able to create a full-scale template of its mechanical services in his shop. He then laid the template on the ground and poured concrete around it, leaving necessary voids for the placement of mechanical systems.

Sparks fly in Freecell's DUMBO workshop as architect John Hartman cuts the expanded metal mesh of Moistscape, which was installed at Henry Urbach Architecture last summer.
     

One can imagine that one day some of these firms may feel constrained by their shoppi.e., designing only that which they know they can fabricateebut for now, young workshop- based firms are raising expectations about the potential of this model to impart a more tactile, material, and less generic feel to architecture. Some complain that the computer is causing architects to distance themselves even further from the prosaic needs of building. With every new project, these firms are pointing the way back.

Eavesdrop Issue 18_11.02_2004

HERE WE GO AGAINN
Geesh, will people please stop sending us gossip about the Cooper-Hewitt? Just to recap, there was that tidbit we reported about a Dennis Kozlowskian $159,000 that the museum spent on a new admissions desk. And a proposed karaoke night that was meant to boost employee morale (yikes). Then there was that in-house PowerPoint presentation on e-mail etiquette (example: E-mail is NOT an outlet for emotionn), a copy of which happened to land in our inbox. And now we're told that, in an effort to stop further leaks, the museum temporarily shut down the e-mail accounts of at least two employees, simply because we were listed in their address books. We wonder what that did for morale. Apparently not much, because the stories keep comingglike about how the new Chief Financial Officer, Ellen Ehrenkranz, allegedly insists on being called Ms. Ehrenkranz.. Just as sassy is curatorial director Barbara Bloemink, who we've learned has a Vegas showgirl-style makeup table (with lighted mirror)) in her office, along with shelves of shoes for which museum workmen recently built concealing cabinet doors. We actually think this makes them both kind of fab. But we were disturbed by the museum's Orwellian crackdown on those e-mail accounts (and not because we got our scoops from themmwe didn't). That's just creepy.

NOTABLE NUPTIALS
The die-cut flowers were brought out for the October 16 wedding of Dutch-born design superstar Tord Boontje, 36, and his longtime partner and collaborator, glass artist Emma Woffenden, 42. With the help of a double-decker bus, guests at the London civil ceremony, at the Peckham registry office, were shuttled to a reception at the Royal College of Art, where the two met in 1994. That was followed by a shindig at an art gallery which, according to friend and hip London designer Ab Rogers, was full of their work, as well as a live band, lots of champagne, dancing and children. It was a very daytime affair.. He continues, I could send you very torrid photos of Tord's stag party, but he would never speak to me againn?If you've noticed an inexplicable bounce in Julie Lasky's step, it's because she also got marrieddthough secretly. That's right, on August 25, the 44-year-old I.D. Magazine editor-in-chief eloped with former Wall Street Journal reporter and freelance writer Ernest Beck, 52. The two clandestinely tied the knot, both for the first time, at City Hall. We got married to expedite the adoption process,, Lasky explains. Yep, they're also in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. But why elope? There's no amount of pomp and circumstance that beats the pleasure of a two-minute ceremony,, Lasky sayss Meanwhile, we've learned that the previously confirmed bachelor and golden-maned man-about-town Christopher Mount, 41, is finally engagedd or, rather, engaged to be engaged. The former Museum of Modern Art design curator and current Parsons director of public programs is planning to pop the question to girlfriend Stephanie Emerson, 36, who will leave her job ashead of publications at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to move to New York. I don't know,, Mount said when we asked when he would make it official. Soon. By Christmas. Yeah, by Christmas..

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com

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LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH (BUYERS) AND FAMOUS (ARCHIT

With the real estate market up and public appreciation for design surging, residential buyers are willing to pay more for the cachet of a big-name architecttand developers are catering to the new demand. But are designer buildingss adding quality to New York's urban fabric or just padding developers' pockets? Anna Holtzman finds it's a little of both.

Is residential real estate in New York finally catching up to its stylish inhabitants? The city seems to be going through a design boom: Richard Meier, Santiago Calatrava, Philippe Starck, Tsao & McKown, Winka Dubbeldam, Gwathmey Siegel, and Michael Graves have all recently made, or will soon make, their mark on the lower half of Manhattan. And there's talk of on-the-boards residential buildings by Frank O. Gehry and Christian de Portzamparc. The projects come with swanky names (the River Lofts, the Downtown), luxury amenities, and high-end price tags to boot.

If you suspect this designer craze is all about name-branding, you're right. The draw of well-known architects for developers is obvioussthey establish a certain price-point, like a designer label; they add status to a project,, said Bassie Deitsch of Boymelgreen, the developer responsible for the Starck and Tsao & McKown buildings, both on the lower west side. But before dismissing this phenomenon as a superficial trend, one must take into consideration the bigger picture. As New York architect and developer Peter Moore put it, any builder taking the risk of high design is a good thingg?whatever the initial motivation. And motives evolve. As Izak Senbahar, developer of the new Richard Meier tower on Charles Street, said, It raises the bar. Everyone is working for profit, but when you drive around the city and see something beautiful and elegant, you're encouraged to do more of that..

For Frank Sciame's first real estate development, 80 South Street, Santiago Calatrava proposes townhousess floating in the air.

Opinions vary on what has spurred this recent interest in design. Perry Street, and the amount of press it generated, did a lot to create that awareness,, said Meier, referring to the pair of gleaming residential towers he designed. Others see it as the result of broader influences: The time was right for this,, said Frank Sciame, developer of the Calatrava-designed South Street tower, currently in the works. Five years ago, we would have done a conventional tower.. Ironically, it was the tragic events of September 11 that indirectly led him to select a visionary architect for the project. After 9/11, given the great buildings that were going up at Ground Zero and the fact that this site was [relatively nearby and] at the river's edge, we decided that it should also be a tangible symbol of Manhattan's recovery.. What emerged was an unusual design by Calatrava comprised of 10 boxlike units that seem to float independently in the air.

Senbahar agreed that post-9/11, New Yorkers have a greater appreciation of good architecture. So if you create something of quality, people will pay more for it,, he said.

So why has it taken New York this long to wake up to design, when cities such as Miami and London started using architects to market residential buildings years ago? Senbahar posited, In New York, apartments sell from the inside out. Layout is important.. Meanwhile, faaade is secondary. There's also a greater demand for real estate in New York, so you have a captive audience,, said Senbahar. In Miami, you're talking about mostly second homes, so you have to entice the buyer with attractive buildings.. He continued, In construction, if you keep it simple, it's a lot easier.. So when the real estate market was lower, developers preferred to play it safe by sticking with conventional designs that were cheaper to build. Now that the market is up, developers are taking advantage of the fact that buyers won't blink at higher price-tagssand are using the added value of design to compete with one another.

Dubbeldam, who designed the interiors and undulating curtain wall of the Greenwich Street Project, cringed at this sort of thinking. Quality is not more expensive,, she stated emphatically, because it pays out more in the long run. It's better for the developer in the end.. Dubbeldam is appalled by the majority of American developers, saying that they have no consciousness about energy, no thinking about ecologyythey think that architects are just fancy picture-makers..

The glazed curtain wall of the Greenwich Street Project by Winka Dubbeldam of Archi-Tectonics cascades to the street.

Just how far developers are willing to involve architects in their grand plans varies from project to project. In many cases, as with the now two-year-old 425 Fifth Avenue designed by Michael Graves for developer Trevor Davis of Davis & Partners, the exterior and interior designs are done by a high-level architect, but considerations such as floor layouts and interior detailing are determined by a combination of real estate consultants and contract architects. The Sunshine Group is one such consulting firm. In addition to marketing, the group consults developers on pre-development planning, which architects to work with, apartment layouts, ceiling heights, number of bathroom fixtures, closet size, et cetera. Boymelgreen brought in Sunshine to consult on the Downtown, which in turn selected Starck to infuse the interiors and entryway with his signature playful style. Layouts and faaade, however, were left to project architect Ishmael Leyva.

Terraces, French doors, skylights, fireplaces, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, and spa-like bathrooms are among the amenities at the River Lofts, a combination restoration and new construction project by Tsao & McKown.

Some architects are pushing to increase the scope of their roles, however, and changing developers' minds in the process. In the case of Tsao & McKown's River Lofts, for example, Sunshine initially invited the architects to work on the project to add our particular brand of lifestylee to the interiors of the apartments, said Calvin Tsao. However, Tsao & McKown ultimately convinced the developer, Boymelgreen, to let them have a hand in the faaade as welllwith the support of Sherida Paulsen, then chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. When it came to the firm's next project with Sunshine and Boymelgreen, the Spring Street Lofts in SoHo, the architects were brought in at an earlier phase and were able to collaborate with the client in a much more organic way. Rather than look askance at being called in as lifestyle gurus,, said Zack McKown, we saw it as an empowering position..

The newest Meier tower, still under construction, echoes the first two completed in 2002, in design, luxury amenties, and price points.

A rare few architects are getting in on development at the ground level. Dubbeldam was brought onto the Greenwich Street Project by developer Jonathan Carroll of Take One before he even had a site in fact, Dubbeldam wound up find ing its location. In the case of Charles Gwathmey's Astor Place tower, the architect found himself in the unusual situation of starting out on the client side, as a board member at Cooper Union. Before signing on as the designer, he hired the developer, Related Companies, and selected the site himself. It was only later, after a series of unscripted events including Gwathmey leaving Cooper's board, that he was brought on as architect and was thus able to shape every part of the project, from the footprint to interiors.

What truly smart developers have come to understand is that taking architecture into consideration from the get-go can only benefit the value of their building in the long run. Senbahar chose Meier for Charles Street in deference to the Perry Street Towers, which were already built by developers Ira Drucker, Charles Blaichman, and Richard Born when he came on the scene. He wanted to maintain a consistent aesthetic among a grouping of buildings that he believes may someday be landmarked. In improving the neighborhood, this move also improves that which remains a developer's main concern: real estate values.

Charles Gwathmey's Astor Place is being touted by its developer, the Related Companies, as Manhattan's first rotational, asymmetrical, sculptural building..

Unfortunately, as Dubbeldam pointed out, the vast majority of developers are still stuck in the dark ages in terms of design. I think [these high-design buildings are] just isolated projects,, said Dubbeldam, but I hope they can inspire overall change.. Yet when it comes to the realm of affordable housing, even the optimistic have little hope that these high-end projects will inspire change. Unfortunately,, explained Senbahar, whenever design requires a higher level of construction, it's reflected in the cost, and therefore it would be very difficult, especially with the high land prices in New York.. Developer Moore lamented, We still have a long way to go [towards better design for the city as a whole]. That's where the city should get involved. There's no even-handed aesthetic control. We need an aesthetic cop..
ANNA HOLTZMAN, A FORMER EDITOR AT ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE, IS PRODUCING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT SUBWAY MUSICIANS.

Eavesdrop Issue 17_10.19.2004

FOR ART'S SAKE!
Stanford University is sure on top of the latest social trends. Now that things like civil liberties and secularism have gone the way of pashmina shawls (Why do so many of you still insist on wearing those? That was, like, literally eight seasons ago! Buy a jacket!), it seems university president John L. Hennessyhas decided to throw out artistic freedom, too. As reported earlier this month in several West Coast papers, Hennessy has vetoed a planned outdoor sculpture by artist Dennis Oppenheim that had been approved by his own Panel on Outdoor Art. The 22-foot-high work, appropriately entitled Device To Root Out Evil,takes the form of an inverted church with its steeple staked into the ground. This work frightened the university's conservative element, and the President's Office made a decision based on what the reaction might be,, Oppenheim said in a statement. This is the first time that a sculpture was ever rejected by the University President.. A version of the piece is still planned for Daniel Libeskind's forthcoming addition to the Denver Art Museum.

HARVARD'S HYGIENE, KARIM BLISTERS
Over at Harvard, it's the gender wars that are getting messy. In response to a bathroom shortage at the Graduate School of Design, administrators recently made most of the loos unisex. And it's caused a total, um, blow-out among women students and staff. Tempers are rising,, warns one unhappy female camper. We've had plenty of arguments about whether men should be required to lower the seat. Apparently, they don't all feel like flushing, either.. Ew. Meanwhile, female students are horrified by the thought of sharing their most private moments with male instructors, who should be ashamed of themselves for other reasons, too. Some of them touch the door handles without washing their hands,, our restroom reporter gasps. No male membersser, staff memberss could be reached by press timeeIn other plumbing news, Nooch, the new Karim Rashid>designed Chelsea hotspot, has had problems of its own. Andrew Yang, a contributor to these pages, has filed an eyewitness account of a recent Saturday night water malfunction. Water, trapped above the latex paint, had formed two large bubbles on the ceilingg he reports. They were dripping, like coffee, onto the vagina-shaped bar.. [Disclaimer: the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the columnist.] Rashid tells us the problem precipitated from a leak in an upstairs apartment. And I resent the term vagina-like,'' he snapped.

TERMINALLY BAD
At deadline, the Port Authority had just shut down Terminal 5, an exhibition of art including Tom Sachs, Dan Graham, and Vanessa Beecroft at Eero Saarinen's former TWA terminal at JFK airport. The reason? Its rowdy opening night party, where violations allegedly included smoking, graffiti, and vandalism in the landmark building. (We've also heard rumors of suspicious white powders, lewd acts in the VIP room, and champagne revelers on the tarmac. Apparently, security guards were too busy fingerprinting foreign-speaking grandmothers in customs.) We, however, prefer Susan Saarinen's response. Catching one drunk guest bowling beer bottles, the architect's daughter ran over and lashed out, My father didn't design this building for idiots like you to be bowling bottles!! Come hang out in the Meatpacking District, Susan! They need you.

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com

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NOW BOARDING: DESTINATION, JFK

Destination Unknown

Eero Saarinen's last work, the TWA Terminal at JFK, will soon enjoy a second, temporary life as a Kunsthalle. And after thattwho knows? As Cathy Lang Ho reports, the future of the modernist masterpiece is as open as the sky.
Photography by Dean Kaufman.

 

Long before Santiago Calatrava unveiled his architectural allegory for flight that will become the downtown PATH station, Eero Saarinen gave New York City a symbol that captured the grace and excitement of the jet age by mimicking the shape of a soaring bird. Since its completion in 1962, the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport has served as an icon of both modern air travel and modern design. But its daring gull-winged constructionna reinforced concrete sculpture that tested the limits of its material and of what modernism could beewas the source of its distinction as well as downfall. The building's stand-alone, sinewy form made it difficult to adapt it to the rapidly modernizing airline industry. Larger airplanes, increased passenger flow and automobile traffic, computerized ticketing, handicapped accessibility, and security screening are just a few of the challenges that Terminal 5 (as it's officially known) could not meet without serious alteration. When the terminal closed in 2001 (in the wake of TWA's demise in 1999), no other airline stepped up to take over the space.

 

 

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) did, however, receive dozens of expressions of interest from sources ranging from the Finnish government to the Municipal Art Society to the Partnership for New York City. We expected to hear from preservationists, cultural organizations, and business people, but what surprised us was the number of requests we got from the general publiccregular people, travelersswho are just deeply interested in this building,, said Ralph Tragale, manager of government and community relations for the Port Authority. One of the requests came from Rachel K. Ward, an independent curator who worked previously with the theme of tourism and the cross influences of global travel and global art in an exhibition in Switzerland. Her particular interest in tourist sites and destinations was the basis of an idea to stage a series of installations that respond to and are situated within the arch-symbol of commercial travel itself. The result, Terminal 5, presents site-specific works by 18 artists, as well as a series of lectures, events, and additional temporary installations (see sidebar), on view from October 1 to January 31. The building is such a potent symbol, representing so many thingssair travel, the 1960s, transitions, globalism,, said Ward. Each artist had a unique response.. First lady of text messaging Jenny Holzer has, naturally, staked out the arrivals and departures board, while Ryoji Ikeda has created a series of light and sound installations for one of the tunnels. In mid-September, Vanessa Beecroft filmed a live performance piece in the terminallher first since 20011 which will be screened in the space. Toland Grinnell, known for his penchant for luggage, will make use of the baggage claim area. What's exciting to me is that the artists are using the building's forms to create works that will only exist in this space,, said Ward. Organizers are trying to arrange a shuttle service from Manhattan, and encourage the use of the new AirTrain.

Ward's timing was an important reason why the PA accepted her proposal. The exhibition's run precedes a long period of construction that will not end until 2008. The exhibition is a great opportunity to let the public enjoy the space,, said Tragale, and to show other potential uses for it.. Plans for Terminal 5's future have been contentious, with a battle played out publicly last year between the PA and preservationists who objected to a new terminal design concept that would have engulfed the landmark. Critics blasted the inital plan's intent to cut off Terminal 5's views of the runway, which motivated the design's floor-to-ceiling windows. They also objected to the idea that it would no longer be used as a functioning terminal. At that time, Kent Barwick, the president of the Municipal Art Society, said, By eliminating use of the terminal, you're condemning the building to a slow death.. Even Philip Johnson, who knew Saarinen, weighed in, telling The Los Angeles Times earlier this year, This building represents a new idea in 20th-century architecture, and yet we are willing to strangle it by enclosing it within another building. If you're going to strangle a building to death, you may as well tear it down..

In October 2003 Jet Blue entered an agreement with the PA to expand its presence at JFK. The upstart domestic airlineethe busiest at JFK, accounting for 7 million of the airport's 30 million passengers yearlyy was initially interested in the possibility of actively using the Saarinen structure but found that the cost to retrofit the relic exceeded that of building an entirely new terminal. Jet Blue commissioned Gensler and Associates to design a new terminal adjacent to Terminal 5, which, though still in concept phase, was released last month. The $850 million, 625,000-square-foot terminal is much smaller and more respectful of its site than the initial concept that so riled preservationists last year. The sheer reduction in size makes it better, but we're still concerned about the terminal being an active space,, said Theodore Prudon, president of DOCOMOMO-US. If it becomes just a left-over space, it's a disservice to the building. Also, it's more vulnerable if it's economically unviable.. Terminal 5 will be used, but the question is how intensely,, said Bill Hooper, senior principal in charge of the project at Gensler. We're still in design development now, trying to figure out how to make as much of the original terminal work.. Gensler's design begins with the renovation of the two tunnels that extend from the terminal to connect to waiting airplanes, known as Flight Wing Tube #1, which was part of Saarinen's original design, and Flight Wing Tube #2, which was designed in the late 1960s by Roche Dinkeloo to support 747s that did not exist when the terminal was first built. A new plaza will occupy the space between the two terminals, allowing visitors a view, until now unseen, toward Terminal 5's backside.

 
   

Beyer Blinder Belle will oversee the structure's restoration to its 1962 state. The process will involve undoing four decades' worth of alterations and additions, such as new baggage rooms and a sun canopy that was attached to the faaade. For its part, Jet Blue has expressed its desire to integrate the Saarinen building into its corporate image. As a result, Gensler's design is low profile, which reflects both its placement behind Terminal 5 and the way Jet Blue does business,, said Hooper. Jet Blue has also made the Terminal 5 exhibition possible, signing on as a major sponsor. After the exhibition closes, the PA will issue an RFP for the structure's adaptive reuse. We've heard ideas for a museum, a restaurant, a conference center,, said Tragale. We're open to what the business community has to offer..
Cathy Lang Ho is an editor at AN.

Eavesdrop Issue 12_07.13.2004

TIMES BITES BACK
Looks like we'll have to find someone else to complain about now that Herbert Muschamp is stepping down as NYT architecture critic. Buttnothing against his successor, Nicolai Ouroussoff>we're still hearing calls for the paper of record to add other critics to its architecture coverage. Why? Because, as Architectural Record's Robert Ivy notably argued in a December 2002 editorial, two pairs of eyes are better than one. And one critic too easily engenders the kinds of ethical transgressions, megalomaniacal behavior, and general wackiness that marked Muschamp's tenure. First, I vigorously reject the assertion that Herbert was corrupt,, NYT culture editor Jonathan Landman told us when we checked in. It's nasty gossip.. (Nasty maybe, but not really just gossip.) All fields think they should have more critics,, Landman continued, and they all think they need it uniquely.. But why is architecture the only cultural beat with a single critic (even dance has more!)? It's not a competition. One architecture critic is what we've had since the 60s and that's what we'll continue to have because it's all we need,, Landman snapped. He did not elaborate. So there.

DEAN DILEMMAS
It's been two years since Bernard Tschumi announced he was stepping down as dean of Columbia's School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. But is a replacement in sight? At press time, anxious insiders were surmising that university president Lee Bollinger would choose none of his search committee's nomineessinterim dean Mark Wigley, Yung-ho Chang, and Mark Angelil. Fueling suspicion is the fact that Bollinger was a no-show at an end-of-semester faculty meeting where many expected he'd reveal his final choice. This is like the war on terror,, one exasperated observer laments. It has no end, but just goes on and on.. However, a decision is going to be announced very shortly,, Columbia vice-provost Stephen Rittenberg officially reassures us. I don't know why [Bollinger] didn't make the meeting,, Rittenberg added, but I'm sure he wasn't just trying to avoid it.. Meanwhile, Peter Rowe is stepping down as Harvard Design School deannand it hasn't been pretty. At a recent student reception, the good-bye presents included a T-shirt that we're told the portly Australian squeezed into before climbing atop a circular security deskkwhich happens to be nicknamed the Donuttand going into a bizarre monologue consisting of unidentifiable impersonations. He tends to amuse himself that way,, one colleague says, but it's kind of hard to watch.. The inexplicable imitations continued at his own faculty farewell dinner, where Roweewho has ties to Chinaahorrified guests with a screeching rendition of Chinese opera. People weren't sure whether to be bored,, reports one, or thoroughly appalled.. Rowe did not return calls. Harvard's own dean's list remains vacant, after president Lawrence Summers reportedly met (though didn't go for) GSA director Ed Feiner and SOM principal Marilyn Taylor.

IN THE AIR
TV design shows don't have to be about transforming humdrum homes into hokey ones. And Laurene Leon Boym agrees. We hear the kittenish designer is developing a pilot for a half-hour, weekly television show called Laurene's World. Scheduled to launch next year on the televangelist-sounding Neworld Millennium cable network, it will be an educational program that shows the public what design's about,, she explains, and will be anything but a makeover show..

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com