Posts tagged with "Denver":

Placeholder Alt Text

Denver Art Museum plans major expansion

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has just received a major standalone financial gift in support of revitalizing the museum’s North Building. The iconic Gio Ponti-designed North Building will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021 with $150 million in expanded galleries, site upgrades, and expanded resources for youth programs. The $25 million gift came from Museum Board Chairman J. Landis Martin and his wife, Sharon Martin. When upgrades are complete the North Building will bear their name in honor of their gift. “The North Building is considered one of the most significant objects in the Museum’s collection, and our family is honored to support the much-needed rehabilitation required to bring it into the 21st century,” said Lanny Martin at a ceremony announcing the gift. “The Denver Art Museum is a beacon of creativity, representing the incredible depth of the cultural community in our region and it is critical that we continue to invest in it for the benefit of the entire community.” The North building is the only Gio Ponti building in North America and was designed in collaboration with Denver-based James Sudler Associates in 1971. The improvements to the building will include bringing the public to a seventh-story observation area, part of the original design that was never realized. A new welcome center will also unify the museum campus, which also includes a wing designed by Danial Libeskind. The project was master planned by Tryba Architects in 2015. Formal designs have been led by Denver-based Fentress Architects with Boston-based Machado Silvetti Architects. The plan is to complete the upgrades and additions to the museum by 2021.
Placeholder Alt Text

High-performance "science pyramid" at Denver Botanic Gardens

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
A 23-acre public botanical garden in Denver—which contains North America's largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world—has received a new science center inspired by biomimicry, technology, and the landscape. The project was a highly collaborative output from Burkett Design and StudioNYL. The appropriately titled “Science Pyramid” began formally as an inversion of an adjacent depressed triangulated amphitheater. The triangulated structure was initially planned as a self-supporting structural shell of honeycomb-shaped glass units, inspired by beehive structures. With a desire to control lighting for multimedia displays, the design evolved to an opaque shell with fiber cement panels, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), and electrochromic glass panels. Ben Niamthet, Associate Principal at Burkett Design, says the building was formally split into two halves, shearing down the middle of the pyramid to provide an opportunity for guests to locate themselves within the landscape of the gardens, and affording views to an adjacent historic fountain. The gap was clad with custom-made electrochromic panels that operate in coordination with rooftop light monitoring system to control daylight in the exhibition space below. Niamthet attributes this feature as one of the most successful aspects of the project. "It created a challenge, he said. "Not just an aesthetic challenge, but a structural engineering challenge." Niamthet said this challenge was met by a highly collaborative design process with StudioNYL's Skins Group—a team of facade designing structural engineers.
  • Facade Manufacturer Swisspearl (fiber cement panels) supplied by Specialty Architectural Panels; Cosella-Dörken (weather and air barrier systems)
  • Architects Burkett Design
  • Facade Installer NDF Construction (cladding), Alliance Glazing Technologies (glazing), Roadrunner Fabrication (perforated metal panels), United Materials (weather and air barriers)
  • Facade Consultants StudioNYL
  • Location Denver, CO
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System steel frame with fiber cement rainscreen
  • Products Swisspearl® CARAT, Black opal 7020R; View Dynamic Glass (electrochromic glazing); Onyx Solar with customized hexagonal shape (BIPV); Cosella-Dörken DELTA®-VENT SA self-adhesive water-resistive and air barrier; Cosella-Dörken DELTA®-FASSADE S (UV-resistant barrier); Cascadia Clip fiberglass thermal spacers
The facade construction doubles as both a wall and a roof, and is technically understood as an open joint roof-mounted rainscreen system. The unique assembly is one of the first of it's kind in the world. A primary steel structure of 18" diameter HSS tubes provide the basis for a layer of plywood sheathing that forms the building's iconic tent-like structure. A secondary layer of structural thermal isolator standoffs set at 2-feet-on-center support for two layers of rigid insulation totaling 5-inches. This outboard insulation layer is protected by a gypsum cover board and a UV-resistant moisture barrier. A tertiary layer of cladding subframing systems provides standoffs for the final layer of hexagonal-shaped fiber cement panels. Will Babbington, principal at StudioNYL, calls the project one of the most iconic projects the facade engineering firm has completed: "The nice thing with all of these layers affords the tolerance that is required for what ended up being a very fast tracked project." To manage increased UV exposure from a slanted rooftop orientation, Cosella-Dörken's DELTA®-FASSADE S product was specified because of its properties as a highly stabilized material against damage from UV exposure. The product is designed for use in cladding systems that have open joints of up to 2-inches wide which expose up to 40-percent of the entire facade surface. Marrying the hexagonal grid with the buildings pyramidal form produced inherent alignment challenges for the design team. Babbington recounts, "we rotated that pattern well into the double digits... maybe even triple digits... [at] times trying to find a way to minimize tiny slivers of fiber cement board which were too small for standard fastening methods." StudioNYL says the greatest challenge associated from detailing a rainscreen on a sloped surface is the reduction of a natural "stack effect" ventilation—a performance requirement of typical open joint rainscreens. Babbington said the problem required research into fluid dynamics which accounted for specific environmental factors of the system. A digital model was able to conclude that the gap between the fiber cement panels and the exterior wall construction heats up enough to provide an efficient upward airflow. This—despite the slope of the pyramid's walls—promoted a passive method for circulating air in the manner rainscreens are designed to perform. The fluid dynamics model specifically accounted for solar orientation of the facade surfaces, local climate data, and the dark coloration of the Swisspearl panels. The project team is awaiting data from this high-performance building to evaluate the efficiency of the Science Pyramid's construction assemblies and systems, which have now been in operation for almost two years.
Placeholder Alt Text

Denver's airport additions aims high, but the city needs more than one-off showcase projects

On April 22, the city of Denver inaugurated the Denver International Airport Transit Center, a commuter rail terminal that anchors the previously completed Westin hotel. The transit center provides Denver with a key piece of infrastructure (not to mention a signifier of ambition and status) while finally completing a plan that was over 20 years in the making.

In the transit center and associated hotel, Gensler’s steady hand has provided Denver with a handsome, if unexceptional, addition to the airport. Few designs, including Calatrava’s original proposal, could match the tectonic celebration that is the original Fentress Architects–designed terminal. However, Gensler carefully crafted a piece of architecture that is deferential to the unique and timelessly beautiful structure, while humbly presenting its own attractive qualities. From the catenary swoop of the Westin roof to the well-executed structural canopies interpenetrating it, this is a project that aspires to deliver great design in spite of the city’s traditionally conservative approach to architecture.

The transit center suffers from a common problem in Denver projects: an uneven approach to landscape. Denver-based landscape architects Valerian and studioINSITE provided a variety of landscaped spaces, but it seems that only those that are inaccessible and visible from afar are attractive. The crux of the project—the plaza between the new hotel and the existing terminal hall through which passengers pass when moving from the train station to the airport terminal—is a drab beige and lifeless expanse of brick pavers and an insult to the original terminal and the aspirations of this new addition.

 

 

A major component was the procurement of a wide variety of public art and its integration with the architectural and landscape design. In most cases, such as Patrick Marold’s Shadow Array, it supplements the design in a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing way. In the grand public plaza, however, Ned Kahn’s kinetic artwork only adds to the lifeless melancholia, making the traveler wish for a patch of swaying greenery, which, ironically, Kahn’s piece is supposed to evoke.

Denver’s new train line is anchored by exceptional architecture on both ends (SOM’s canopy at Union Station is a symphony of structure and simplicity), as well as generally impressive pieces of monumental public art at every station. Yet the project is being used to justify and support the unsustainable suburban sprawl slowly creeping eastward. The city has focused on the financial impact of additional airport hotels and conference centers being developed at the Peña Boulevard station, but one must wonder what value they add to Denver’s culture and what environmental and social debt we have incurred by supporting their construction. Not all commuters and visitors will use transit, and the burdens of commuting weigh unevenly on the most marginalized and financially strained citizens among us.

If the city does intend to stitch together the thirty mile gap between central Denver and the airport with new development, we should aim higher than lifeless beige boxes surrounded by parking lots in spite of the transit line just feet away. Conversely, while central Denver’s Union Station and the adjacent train canopy provide viable anchors for downtown revitalization, they are hemmed in and overpowered by ramparts of beige stucco and cement siding. Marketing materials for both the transit center and Union Station have championed the economic impact of the development they will spur, which is no doubt important, but architecture aspires to be measured by more than function and economic effect.

Just as the design of this new hotel and transit center ignores the spaces that knit the project together with the past, so has Denver ignored the workaday spaces that compose the majority of the city. City government (and, by extension, the voters) seem to believe that no matter how dismal the majority of urban infill is (or how unsustainable development in an empty field is), they can drop a Libeskind, Graves, or Calatrava in the middle of it and somehow lend Denver the cultural and aesthetic capital they feel it should have. The overlooked projects that make up the urban fabric have been so thoroughly neglected—in form and execution and analysis and criticism—that the city lacks the cultural vocabulary necessary to articulate what is off about its built environment. Like many American cities, Denver is struggling with its low zoning density, huge numbers of cars, uncultivated aesthetic standards, and particularly oppressive height restrictions. Projects like Denver International Airport’s Hotel and Transit Center (and the larger FasTracks regional transit initiative) are but the germ of a solution.

One attractive project alone cannot chart a new course for architectural and urban design in the city. Denver is blessed with many of the ingredients necessary for a sophisticated and expressive regional modernism to flourish: a native population that cherishes the city, a steady stream of immigrants, a strong environmental consciousness, plentiful local materials, robust building trades, advanced manufacturing and fabrication, and a unique climate. What the city requires is an elevated discourse around architecture and urbanism that goes beyond a limited number of showcase projects and is fostered by the same degree of cultural investment and education that Denver has put into its public art program and economic development initiatives—the results of which speak for themselves.

Placeholder Alt Text

While Google is photographing your street, its cars will also be mapping the air city dwellers breathe

Will we call it Air View? Google is collaborating with San Francisco–based, pollution-tech start-up Aclima to begin assessing air quality in metropolitan areas across the United States. Cars Google uses to capture its popular Street Views have been equipped with Aclima's environmental sensors and will be able to detect pollutants such as Methane, Carbon Dioxide, and Black Carbon. https://youtu.be/Ggkab1lKj6g In a test drive back in August 2014, three Google cars equipped with these sensors collected 150 million data points after driving 750 hours around Denver. The study, conducted by NASA and the EPA, successfully mapped the change in outdoor air patterns and has confirmed the effectiveness of mobile sensing."We have a profound opportunity to understand how cities live and breathe in an entirely new way by integrating Aclima's mobile sensing platform with Google Maps and Street View cars," Aclima CEO and co-founder Davida Herzl said on the company's blog. The Aclima–Google Street View cars are said to be maneuvering around the Bay Area next. They will eventually branch out to other cities to collect data that could help create healthier cities for people to live in. In the future, Aclima hopes to make the data accessible to the public.
Placeholder Alt Text

Nick Cecchi reflects on Doors Open Denver and the future of the city's architecture and public design

Doors Open Denver turned 11 this spring with the Denver Architectural Foundation hosting the showcase of Denver architecture and design from the recently renovated Union Station. The event ran April 25th and 26th and included open houses at some of Denver’s most notable historic buildings, as well as tours and open doors at many local firms. The event was headquartered at, and highlighted by, the newly renovated Union Station, a Beaux Arts masterpiece that has become the anchor of a vibrant and rapidly growing transportation district. Union Station’s renovated interior, by JG Johnson Architects, serves to enliven and activate the historic space, with the detailing and character of the many shops and restaurants forming a pleasing juxtaposition with the carefully restored and accented historical interior. Behind historic Union Station sits a new commuter rail terminal, designed by the San Francisco office of SOM. The soaring steel and fabric form is not to be missed and its nimble execution and tectonic expression does an expert job of subtly referencing Denver International Airport’s architecture, the destination of commuter trains departing the terminal. Other historical buildings that were open for visitors included the Oxford Hotel, the Historic Sugar Building with its two original Otis cage elevators, and Hotel Teatro in the Tramway Building. Distinguished contemporary buildings included the newly renovated Nichols Building, the deftly executed Clyfford Still Museum, and both Gio Ponti (North Building) and Daniel Libeskind’s (Hamilton Building) contributions to the Denver Art Museum. The theme of this year’s event was “Denver Classics: Then and Now” which Brit Prost, chair of Doors Open Denver and a partner at Davis Partnership Architects, described as, “ [a] showcase [of] how innovative new public spaces are transforming the urban landscape while complementing historically beloved buildings.” While Union Station and other select renovation projects have greatly improved the urban core, the small number of new public buildings cannot nullify the overwhelming onslaught of faceless residential mid-rise and high-rise towers assaulting the city’s aesthetic character. Jeff Sheppard’s (of SheppardRoth Architects) recent invective against this bland and developer-driven architecture should give pause to anyone celebrating the recent increase in Denver’s architectural cachet. One only hopes that as the citizenry experiences and learns about the exceptional public spaces being developed in Denver, the public will begin to demand the same level of design and civic and spatial engagement in residential architecture. Indeed, it is the role of events like this to educate the public and other designers and artist to the role good design plays in urban living.
Placeholder Alt Text

Heading to Denver for ASLA? Stop by the AN Booth and Say Howdy!

1375803_10152800252102180_1861736163455110674_n Are you heading to the annual American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting in Denver? AN is! Stop by Booth #415, recharge your phone, fuel up on free coffee, and pick up a free copy of the paper at the AN Lounge with furniture provided by Fermob. AN executive editor Alan G. Brake will also be on hand and he would love to hear about your new projects. When you're not in the convention center, check out this selection of things to see and places to eat and drink by AN marketing partner Bison. We hope to see you in Denver! Denver-ASLA-infographic
Placeholder Alt Text

Biomimetic Pyramid by Burkett Design/Studio NYL

Plate tectonics, honeycombs inspire new Denver Botanic Gardens research center.

For their new Science Pyramid, the Denver Botanic Gardens sought a design that delivered more than just aesthetic impact. "They wanted an icon, but they also wanted to show an icon can be high performance," said Chris O'Hara, founding principal of Studio NYL. Studio NYL and its SKINS Group worked with architect Burkett Design and longtime Botanic Gardens general contractor GH Phipps to craft a structure to house the institution's conservation and research efforts. "People think of the Botanic Gardens as a beautiful place to go, but what most of them don't realize is what happens behind the scenes," said O'Hara. "The whole concept was to showcase that, and to educate the public not just about what the Botanic Gardens are doing, but a little more about their environment." Clad in a Swisspearl rain screen that serves as both roof and wall, the Science Pyramid's biomimetic design reconsiders the relationship between the built and natural worlds. Tasked with building a pyramidal structure with dynamic glass elements, the Burkett Design team turned to two natural metaphors. The first was the tectonic shifts that created Colorado's mountains, the second, the defensive structures built by honeybees. The geological metaphor influenced the building's form, a twisting, reaching variation on a pyramid designed to take full advantage of its site. The biological metaphor informed the building's skin, dominated by cement composite panels cut into honeycomb-like hexagons.
  • Facade Manufacturer Swisspearl (rain screen), View (glazing), Cosella-Dörken (weather and air barrier systems)
  • Architects Studio NYL's SKINS Group (facade designer), Burkett Design (architect)
  • Facade Installer NDF Construction (cladding), Alliance Glazing Technologies (glazing), Roadrunner Fabrication (perforated metal panels), United Materials (weather and air barriers)
  • Location Denver, CO
  • Date of Completion September 2014
  • System FRC rain screen roof and walls with electrochromic glazing and high performance insulation
  • Products Swisspearl rain screen, View dynamic glass, Cosella-Dörken weather and air barrier systems, Cascadia Clip fiberglass thermal spacers
Though they originally imagined a heavily glazed facade, Studio NYL soon realized that transparency would be impractical, given the projection elements involved in the Science Pyramid's exhibits. They opted instead for a rain screen system comprising custom-cut Swisspearl panels. The rain screen reduces thermal gain by venting hot air before it reaches the building. It encases the roof as well as the facade's vertical elements, the second such use of Swisspearl panels worldwide, and the first in the United States. "Here you don't hear about rain screen roofs often," said O'Hara. "Using the technology as a roof system was a little different." Because they still wanted some glass, Studio NYL incorporated electrochromic glazing from View. "They can tune the building—the user has a flip switch to black it out," explained O'Hara. "At the same time, you can have a visual connection to the gardens." To further boost performance, Studio NYL worked with Cosella-Dörkin to layer a UV resistant weather barrier system under the open joint rain screen. "Whereas the form was about this iconic, biomimetic structure, on a technical level, everything was about performance," said O'Hara. Fabrication and installation were complicated by two factors: a compressed timeline, and a need to work around the Botanic Gardens' ongoing operations. To help with the former, the Burkett Design team leaned heavily on digital fabrication, including having the structural steel digitally cut. As for the latter, the construction crew was forced to develop creative solutions to spatial restrictions. "There were a lot of logistical problems given that we were in the center of an active botanic garden," said O'Hara, noting that only machinery below a certain size could be brought to the site. "The primary axis we had could only go up twelve feet, to the extent that we were pushing tree branches out of the way with a broom." The design-build team came through in the end. "It's really quite spectacular," said O'Hara. But while the Science Pyramid achieves the landmark status the Botanic Gardens had hoped for, it nonetheless defers to its context—the gardens themselves. "The building is very oriented to the paths you take," said O'Hara. "Everything has a different moment. If you enter one way, you see the glass spine; if you come another, you see the canopy. It's playing constantly against the juxtaposed landscape."
Placeholder Alt Text

Letter to the Editor> Golden Age of Rail

[Editor's Note: The following comment was left at archpaper.com in reference to John Gendall’s feature article on multi-modal transit hubs (“The Golden Ticket” AN 07_08.06.2914_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] The original design of all grand U.S. railroad stations fit the architectural design foundation “form follows function.” Unfortunately the years have not been kind to these railroad stations. Real estate developers have coveted the rail yard property for non-transportation development. In some cases these rail yards have yielded to interstates, highways, and streets. This has transformed the depot (waiting room, ticket offices, etc.) into just “a nice old building that used to serve the traveling public.” Denver is a prime example of a real estate grab. A beautifully designed rail yard gave way to developers interests. Look at the Google Maps satellite view. Transportation design was an obvious afterthought. The rail yard is stubbed, necessitating a time-consuming backup move for any train, namely Amtrak’s California Zephyr, using the original waiting room. Any future Front Range development will also require a backup. The light rail system is tucked away, far from the grand original structure. The wispy “Sidney-Opera-House-Denver” platform cover design is curious. It stands in stark contrast to the architectural elements of the original depot. A Google image search of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station does not reveal the austere feel purported in this article. What it may need is just a spit and polish rehabilitation. Those who want to remodel the structure seem to stand arrogantly. They claim the original designs were flawed and that somehow modern architects and planners can do a better job. So, will Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station become another depot from the grand era of passenger rail to fall to the modern architect? If the regal designs of the past are too ostentatious, then an entirely new depot should be constructed. The old should be left undisturbed until a new generation of architects discovers that their great grandfathers knew better how to design transportation facilities. Evan Stair Executive Director Passenger Rail Oklahoma
Placeholder Alt Text

ASLA announces winners of its 2014 Professional Awards and Student Awards

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced this year's winners of its Professional and Student Awards, which honor "top public, commercial, residential, institutional, planning, communications and research projects from across the U.S. and around the world." Each of the winning projects will be featured in the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and be officially presented by ASLA at its annual meeting and expo in Denver on November 24th. In total, 34 professional awards were selected out of 600 entries. General Design Category   Award of Excellence  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus Seattle Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Honor Awards Slow Down: Liupanshui Minghu Wetland Park Liupanshui, Ghizhou Province, China Turenscape Gebran Tueni Memorial Beirut, Lebanon Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture Segment 5, Hudson River Park  New York City Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. Salem State University Marsh Hall, Salem, Mass. WagnerHodgson Landscape Architecture Urban Outfitters Headquarters Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia D.I.R.T. Studio Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Grand Teton National Park, WY Hershberger Design for D.R. Horne & Company Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park Queens, NY Thomas Balsley Associates and Weiss/Manfredi Low Maintenance Eco-Campus: Vanke Research Center Shenzhen, China Z+T Studio Shoemaker Green University of Pennsylvania Andropogon Associates, Ltd.   Residential Design Category Award of Excellence Woodland Rain Gardens Caddo Parish, La. Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects Honor Awards Hill Country Prospect Centerport, Texas Studio Outside for Sara Story Design Vineyard Retreat Napa Valley, Calif. Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture Le Petit Chalet Southwest Harbor, Maine Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC Sky Garden Miami Beach, Fla. Raymond Jungles Inc. West Texas Ranch Marfa, Texas Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Inc. GM House, Bragança Paulista São Paulo, Brazil Alex Hanazaki Paisagismo City House in a Garden Chicago McKay Landscape Architects   Analysis & Planning Category Award of Excellence Midtown Detroit Techtown District Detroit Sasaki Associates Inc. Honor Awards The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization for Little Rock Little Rock, Ark. The University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect Devastation to Resilience: The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Houston Design Workshop Inc., Aspen, and Reed/Hilderbrand Zidell Yards District-Scale Green Infrastructure Scenarios Portland, Ore. GreenWorks, PC Yerba Buena Street Life Plan San Francisco CMG Landscape Architecture Unified Ground: Union Square - National Mall Competition Washington, D.C. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Communications Category Award of Excellence The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley The Cultural Landscape Foundation Honor Awards Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers James Richards, FASLA, published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. Monk's Garden: A Visual Record of Design Thinking and Landscape Making Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. Garden, Park, Community, Farm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Lands Louise A. Mozingo, ASLA, published by MIT Press   The Landmark Award Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square Boston Halvorson Design Partnership Inc.
Placeholder Alt Text

Video> "Oh Heck Yeah" turns downtown Denver into a communal video arcade

Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District's giant LED screens. Players controlled the games' characters with their body movements and had the opportunity to interact with them via Twitter profiles backed by local improv comedy group Bovine Metropolis. In addition to the games, Oh Heck Yeah's business and institutional sponsors put on a variety of "fun" happenings, such as karaoke, live music, dancing, and street theater. According to Brian Corrigan, the purpose of Oh Heck Yeah was to "use the power of play to connect people on the street." Connecting people, he said, makes the street safer and the city more "resilient," which has replaced sustainability as everyone's favorite buzzword. In its two months of operation, Oh Heck Yeah attracted 40,000 players and garnered Denver its fair share of national media attention.
Placeholder Alt Text

Denver’s Union Station Elevates Rail Travel in Colorado

Denver’s Union Station, a multi-modal transit hub built by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, opened up last month. The ribbon cutting ceremony severed the notion that transportation hubs are drab, gray places that smell suspiciously of food products and cleaning chemicals. What does the Union Station Bus Concourse do differently? Everything, apparently. Its sweeping design acts as a converging point for local commuters, airport bound travelers, and out-of-city destinations. Spanning the Amtrak train tracks is an outdoor canopy built from white arch trusses. The half-moon structures swoop up to 77 feet in height before touching back down 120 feet away on the opposite side. The majestic arches offer shade and weather protection to the platforms below. The interior’s design brings in terrazzo floors, yellow glass tile work, skylights, and glass pavilions. Beyond the terminal's attention to design, the station marks a critical economic and environmental breakthrough for transit systems. "This project represents a major investment in transit-oriented development with extraordinarily far-reaching social and economic consequences," said SOM design partner Roger Duffy. "The bus concourse is the result of nearly a decade of thoughtful public consultation and bold design. Its completion helps realize this community's aspirations for a truly transformational neighborhood and landmark public project." Union Station has the capacity for 200,000 daily trips—a number that officials expect to hit by 2030. Designers hope it sets a precedent not just for transportation abilities, but acts as a beacon for other public transit structures nationwide.
Placeholder Alt Text

Allied Works and Arup Find Common Ground in SketchUp

Fabrikator

Allied Works communicates with project collaborators Arup Daylighting via SketchUp plugins.

When Joe Esch, Brad Schell, and a small group of AEC and CAD industry veterans launched SketchUp nearly 13 years ago in Boulder, Colorado, many of the 3D modeling tools on the market had been developed for the entertainment industry. Google acquired the company in 2006, and Trimble bought it in 2012, yet in spite of these changes in ownership, the team has continued to develop SketchUp into an intuitive design-build program to develop sketches and 3D models for the AEC industry. With its user-accessible Ruby API (application programming interface), the generic modeling program of yesteryear has become a full-blown, application specific design tool capable of detailing architectural projects faster and cheaper than in the past. In addition to the program’s capabilities that facilitate 2D drawings and 3D models, the latest release of the software—SketchUp Pro 2013—includes a categorized selection of plugins organized within the new Extension Warehouse. According to John Bacus, product management director at Trimble for SketchUp, a study conducted several years ago revealed 45 percent of SketchUp users had used plugins, but without an organized search and retrieval system those benefits were underutilized. “There was some chaos in that world, with people writing extensions that didn’t perform particularly well,” said Bacus. A team of developers has worked to compile and format 167 extensions that have been downloaded more than 200,000 times since its release less than two months ago.
  • Fabricators Sunders Construction
  • Designers Allied Works
  • Location Denver
  • Date of Completion 2010
  • Material concrete, structural steel
  • Process SketchUp, Maxwell Render, site casting
Portland, Oregon–based Allied Works Architecture has embraced these specialized plugin capabilities. The firm relies heavily on SketchUp’s modeling capabilities, in addition to a regular cache of plugins. Brent Linden, director of Allied Works’ New York office, noted how the flow of programming through the buildings they design is easily made the focus within SketchUp. “Since the design process of the Clyfford Still Museum, we’ve moved away from rectilinear into curvilinear,” said Linden. “When you add curves to rectilinear order, space can continue to flow through structure and the Curviloft lofting tool made that possible for our whole team.” The extension was instrumental in developing the perforated concrete ceiling, one of the museum’s most distinguished features. Lessons learned in lighting design from the Clyfford Still Museum have also been applied to the firm’s work on the Spaulding Paolozzi Center, a new project currently underway for joint use by Clemson University and the College of Charleston. For both projects, Arup provided daylighting consulting services. “We’re trading SketchUp models of individual perforations and the span of a wall so the amount of daylight being mitigated is where we want it to be,” said Linden. “Arup first gave us a CAD file, we made a 3D model in SketchUp, and now we’re communicating through that program.” In addition to the capabilities of distinct extensions, Linden praised SketchUp for its wide adaptability across his entire team and the speed at which it can be learned. Even as new people come into the Allied Works office and introduce a host of different modeling tools, they can all find common ground in SketchUp. “On the fly, sitting as a team and walking through a 3D model, we can push and pull walls or edges, and change the way the form looks inside and out. Its speed has lent it to being an iterative design form in our process.”