Posts tagged with "Academic Architecture":

Future Smart Cities 2019

A smart city initiative is the target of people to live in, it includes all different types of leisure and connectivity; electronic data, sensors and full information and communication technology ICT that used IT managing assets, commercial, industrial, traffic, networks and all matters that related to sustainability and Eco-system. It helps people to have a positive interaction with the place, where they find a high performance of infrastructure. Thus, the smart city is a crucial argument to improve the quality of life and strengthen the relationship between cities and citizens. IEREK organizes the second international conference on "Future Smart Cities" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the city has a promising potential of transformation to be smarter.

AURA Summer Academy 2019 / Istanbul: Past, Present, Future

The Architecture and Urbanism Research Academy (AURA) Istanbul invites you to its inspiring summer program, “Istanbul: Past, Present and Future” The melting pot of the East and the West, the great city of Istanbul, now a city of more than 15 million people, has been the capital of two glorious empires, the Byzantine and the Ottoman. With its eight thousand years of human history, it presents researchers a vast amount of architectural legacy to discover and analyze. Join us in Istanbul for a month of comprehensive analysis of the city with lectures from leading experts in their respective fields. Explore the mechanisms developed through the millennia to different sets of problems by the builders and inhabitants of this magnificent city! This summer research program will take place in Istanbul between July 8 – August 2, 2019. It is specially designed for undergraduate and graduate students of Architecture, Urban Planning and related fields. The four-week intensive coursework of lectures, on-site visits and studios will provide a valuable opportunity; while benefiting to learn from the distinguished researchers, there will be a chance to collaborate with a diverse group of participants from all over the world. For more information and application: http://aura-istanbul.com/index.php/aura-summer-academy-2019/
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KieranTimberlake's vision for Washington University to open this fall

Sweeping changes are coming this fall to half the urban campus of Washington University in St. Louis. For the past two years, construction has been underway on the 166-year-old institution’s east end—a $280 million vision that includes several new projects by KieranTimberlake for the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. The Philadelphia-based firm announced construction was nearly complete on the upcoming Anabeth and John Weil Hall, an 82,000-square-foot space with state-of-the-art graduate studios, classrooms, and digital fabrication labs. Further details were also released on the expansion and renovation of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, which is set to open in late September with a major thematic exhibition by Ai Weiwei. The lower section of the Danforth campus, which sits just behind St. Louis’s largest landscape, Forest Park, will be better connected to the city through these mega-enhancements and will serve as a welcoming entrance for visitors, students, and faculty alike. At the core of the project for the Sam Fox School is Weil Hall, the new hub for all art, design, and architecture programs which were previously scattered in different buildings. The new structure will feature a striking facade with opaque glass walls and vertical aluminum fins that allow natural light into the facilities and promote energy efficiency. Collaborative workspaces and loft-style studios will be arranged throughout but will be connected visually by a luminous, two-story central interior courtyard that will highlight the movement and activity going on within the school. Weil Hall will stand out in clear contrast to its surrounding structures on the southeastern corner of campus. Aligned on a stretch of land with two Beaux-Arts buildings and three seminal projects by former Washington University associate professor Fumihiko Maki (including the Kemper Art Museum), the contemporary structure embodies a new era for the Sam Fox School. KieranTimberlake has also designed an upgraded look for the adjacent Kemper Art Museum, one that complements the school next door and helps it stand out in the surrounding sea of institutional structures. Designed by Maki in 2006, the limestone-clad building will be completely renovated and expanded with a new, 2,700-square-foot gallery and a soaring, glass-lined lobby. It will also boast a shiny new exterior featuring 34-foot-tall stainless steel panels that will reflect the dynamic campus, its landscape, and the sky. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects has created an extensive masterplan for the museum’s grounds and sculpture garden that blends with the firm’s overall vision for the east end of the Danforth Campus. In collaboration with KieranTimberlake, MVLA will transform what’s now a series of parking lots into a car-free park, featuring native plantings and ample pedestrian space.

CTBUH 2019 Student Research Competition: Tall Building Performance

The goal of the 2019 Student Research Competition is to assist talented students, working in groups under the guidance of a professor, to focus on a relevant research question, and create an engaging output as a response. Research proposals should directly relate to the 2019 topic of “Sustainable Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat”. Proposals can come from any topic/discipline, including but not limited to: architecture, construction, energy issues, environmental engineering, façade design, financial & cost issues, fire & life safety, humanities, infrastructure, interiors, maintenance & cleaning, materials, MEP engineering, policy making, resource management, seismic, social aspects, structural engineering, systems development, urban planning, vertical transportation, wind engineering, etc. It is up to the students to interpret the theme, and outline how their research will address it, including how the funds will be used to support the intended outcome. In fact, the ultimate objective of this award is to give the chance to students of any discipline to immerse, for the first time, in detailed, academic research, under the guidance of a professor, in a topic that the students are particularly interested and invested in.

Submission Deadline

Proposals (via the online survey, accessed here) are due by Friday May 31, 2019 (12:00 p.m. Chicago time). To express your interest in participating prior to this date, to discuss the suitability of your proposal in more detail, or to ask any questions, please contact: research@ctbuh.org. Please Note: The Student Research Competition is open to students under the guidance of a professor, while the CTBUH International Research Seed Funding initiative is aimed specifically at research professionals. It is therefore not possible to submit a proposal to both programs.

Award

The award for this competition will be provided by the Funding Sponsor in the amount of $20,000, paid in two installments of $10,000. CTBUH will facilitate the transfer of funds to the appropriate university or professor involved with this project to support the students in their research activities. Please note: the budget cannot be used to cover costs to attend the CTBUH conference and collect the award, or to disseminate the findings at conferences, symposiums, etc. It needs to be used for the actual research in some way.

Key Dates

  • March 20, 2019 - Competition Formally Launched
  • May 31, 2019 - Submission Deadline
  • June 10 – July 1, 2019 - Judging Period
  • July 22, 2019 - Decision Communicated to Winning Team
  • October 28 / November 02, 2019 - Winner Announced at the CTBUH 2019 World Congress
  • Late 2019 / Early 2020 - Research Project Undertaken

Proposal Submission Requirements / Submission Template

All applications must be submitted in English. All proposals should include information/details necessary for the jury to understand the research ideas and anticipated outcomes. The award funds are intended to finance the student’s research work and may be used to cover all expenses which serve this purpose (including the necessary equipment and material, travel expenses directly related to the research itself, etc.). It may not be used to cover salaries, tuition, or indirect costs of the research, nor be used for dissemination (attending to conferences, publishing papers/books, etc.). CTBUH will assist with the dissemination of progress and findings to the international community through its normal channels – publications, website, newsletters, etc.

Team Submissions

Applications will be accepted from either students, as individuals or groups, or PhD candidates. In both cases, a professor of the belonging faculty will act as a primary student advisor. The academic professional must represent public or private institutions that can effectively carry out the research (i.e., non-institutional, individual private submissions will not be accepted). Each student or team can submit only one research proposal. The submitter or team members do not need to be CTBUH members, however, it is expected that the award recipient(s) will become CTBUH members and get involved in the activities of the Council more generally. Team projects may have as many students that are deemed necessary, but must designate one academic professional who will serve also as the communication liaison with the CTBUH.
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Johns Hopkins may tear down arts center by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Another Tod Williams Billie Tsien project appears to be headed for the wrecking ball. After years of planning and fundraising, Johns Hopkins University president Ronald J. Daniels announced this month that a new student center will be built for its Homewood campus at the intersection of Charles and 33rd Streets in Baltimore. The property chosen for the new building includes the current site of the Mattin Center, a 2001 arts complex designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Administrators indicate it will likely be demolished to make way for the student center. The announcement already has people upset. The Mattin Center would join the former American Folk Art Museum in New York on the list of Williams and Tsien buildings that have been leveled and replaced with even larger projects. Opened in 2001 like the Mattin Center, the Folk Art Museum was razed in 2014 to make way for an expansion of the Museum of Modern Art, currently under construction. The demolition was one of the biggest preservation controversies in the nation that year. Tsien has said she was unable to go by the site while the building was coming down and long afterward. There has been talk in Baltimore for the past several years that Hopkins was eying the Mattin Center as the site for a new student center, but administrators said they didn’t want to confirm anything until they had raised enough money to move ahead with the project. Hopkins is one of the few major universities in the United States that doesn’t have a full-fledged student center or student union on its main campus, and Daniels has wanted to build one to keep Hopkins competitive with other colleges and universities. On March 5, Daniels announced that the project is moving ahead with a target completion date of 2024. Without dwelling on demolition, his announcement was the most definitive statement he has made to date about securing funds and replacing the Mattin Center, which was built by a previous administration as a home for the visual and performing arts on campus. “As the needs of our student body have evolved, so has the desire for a different and dedicated student center taken hold,” he wrote in a message to the Hopkins community. “This will be a new kind of space for us—one that is not academically focused, but entirely social by design…It will be a site to which everyone lays equal claim and from which everyone benefits.” Planning for the student center began in 2013 when Hopkins formed a task force. A year later, it hired Ann Beha Architects of Boston and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol of Seattle to conduct a feasibility study and develop a preliminary design. Hopkins administrators have indicated the student center will cost between $100 million and $150 million. According to university spokesperson Karen Lancaster, an architect has not been selected and a final cost has not been determined, but “we have the funding we need to commit to this project” through a combination of institutional and philanthropic sources, including pledges from anonymous donors. The Mattin Center is the only project in Baltimore by Williams and Tsien. It cost $17 million and consists of three brick-clad structures that frame an open courtyard and together contain 50,000 square feet of arts-related spaces, including dance and visual arts studios, a digital media center, black box theater, music practice rooms, and café. It occupies a prominent site near the gateway to Hopkins’s Homewood campus, between the main academic buildings and the Charles Village neighborhood to the east. That site is largely what seems to have doomed the Mattin Center, because campus planners wanted to put the new student center in a “welcoming” location. At the nexus of town and gown, the Mattin Center site met their requirements more than any other property. According to Johns Hopkins’s news site, Hub, the final location was selected “based on the flow of students on and off campus from the Charles Street corridor and on its proximity to the heart of Homewood activity.” The Mattin Center’s size was also an issue, Lancaster said in an email. “While the building is less than 20 years old, our space requirements have evolved over time and the building, as designed, is not adequate to fulfill many of these specific needs—such as the larger gathering venues our students seek today.” In a further sign that Hopkins intends to demolish the Mattin Center, Lancaster noted that one of the next steps will be to figure out where to move the people and activities now based there. If the Mattin Center were to remain, planning for long-term relocation wouldn’t be necessary. “As part of the design and planning process,” Lancaster said, “we will be determining options for where to locate the groups and programs that are currently housed in the Mattin Center—both in the short-term during construction and permanently once a new center is opened.” Although the building’s design won a 2002 award from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, it has drawn criticism locally for “turning its back” on the city.   “It represents the end of an era when the university faced inward and was moving very gingerly to interact with the community,” said Sandra Sparks, former president of the Charles Village Civic Association, which represents the neighborhood next to the Hopkins campus. Williams and Tsien were selected by Hopkins after participating in a limited competition to design the arts center. The other competitors were Bohlin Cywinski Jackson of Pennsylvania and Heikkinen Komonen Architects of Finland. When they learned several years ago that Hopkins was considering razing their building, Tsien and Williams issued a lengthy statement defending its design. In it, they said Hopkins administrators at the time had expressed a desire for a secure setting. “When we won the competition to design the Mattin Center in the late 1990s, the City of Baltimore was a much tougher, more dangerous place,” they wrote. “A student, a musician, had been recently killed in a wooded section of the proposed site. So the university chose our design over the two others in part, because they wanted a protective environment for students to pursue their artistic interests which, at that time, were considered extracurricular. “The administration was concerned about the physical security of the students. The suggested program was not so large and that allowed us to organize spaces…around a large exterior courtyard at the heart of the site.” In their statement, the architects acknowledged that the university’s and the city’s needs have changed. They lamented that they weren’t involved in future planning for the site. “Today there is a desire to create a more direct connection to the city and for more socializing spaces for students,” they said. “The site of the Mattin Center is an important one for the University and campus, and we believe it can accommodate additional density and change. If the administration elects to demolish the Mattin Center, it should not be without very serious debate…because to do so is unimaginative, and unsustainable, and because it does not acknowledge the layers of history that are crucial to an understanding of our culture, our campuses, and our cities.” AN reached out to the firm last week but wasn’t given further information on Williams and Tsien’s thoughts about the recent announcement. In an email, the firm wrote: “We are aware of Johns Hopkins’s plan to build a new student center at the Mattin Center site, however, we do not know of any additional details regarding its development at this time.” The student center is one of several major projects that Hopkins has underway in Baltimore and Washington. Last fall it selected the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore to design the home for a new interdisciplinary center called the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute. In January, the school announced plans to buy the Newseum in Washington, D. C., and convert it into a new home for its academic programs there. An architect for that project has not been announced. For its medical campus, Hopkins has hired William Rawn Associates of Boston and Hord Coplan Macht of Baltimore to design an addition to its school of nursing.
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Irish architect Sheila O'Donnell wins this year's Women In Architecture top honor

Irish architect Sheila O’Donnell has claimed the top honor at this year’s Women in Architecture (WIA) awards, an annual prize hosted by Architects' Journal and The Architectural Review. Named Architect of the Year 2019, O’Donnell heads up the 31-year-old practice O’Donnell + Tuomey alongside partner John Tuomey. O’Donnell is being recognized specifically for her firm’s 2016 renovation and expansion of the Central European University in Budapest. The project is part of a multi-phase, campus-wide masterplan to connect and consolidate the institution’s physical footprint, which sits on a World Heritage site, while dually elevating its design with a 21st-century scheme. O’Donnell + Tuomey created a 376,700-square-foot vision that seamlessly linked the historic structures on the urban campus, all of which were previously disconnected from one another and included individual entrances. The design team also added two new contemporary buildings that became the public face of the school. One of those new buildings now serves as the main entrance to the university. Housing a giant, light-filled library and learning commons over a multi-purpose auditorium, it features warm yet bright minimalist materials that allow the structure to stand in contrast to the surrounding ornamented, sandstone buildings. The new construction boasts a geometric facade framed with local limestone and steel, two materials that are also used within the building, alongside slatted timber and concrete. Bespoke furniture featuring similar, natural-looking products dot the public spaces inside. The result of O’Donnell + Tuomey’s intervention is a university center that’s not only easier to navigate, but also an institution that’s stitched more thoughtfully into the urban fabric of central Budapest. The new structures add a modern feel to the historic site, thanks in part to the inclusion of a dramatic, pitched glass roof that hovers over the library and provides ample light, as well as a series of red-coated metal stairs. The highly sustainable structures also feature landscaped roof gardens that reduce heat gain and give views of the city’s downtown skyline. Courtyards in between the buildings also provide natural ventilation and respite for those indoors. The Women in Architecture Awards jury said O’Donnell exhibited a clear passion for constructing an improved physical environment for the university that resulted in a high-quality building people can admire. “She is a role model for young women in architecture,” the jury announced in a statement. “Sheila O’Donnell did not have to break the glass ceiling—she and John Tuomey created a new reality.” As of early December, the university announced it will be moving its operations to its sister site, a facility in Vienna, in the near future. It’s unclear how O’Donnell + Tuomey’s update to the school’s Budapest location will be used once classes cease. Other finalists for WIA Architect of the Year 2019 included Ellen van Loon of OMA, noted for the Quater National Library in Doha; Eva Prats of Flores & Prats for the Casal Balaguer Cultural Centre in Palma de Mallorca; and Carme Pigem of RCR Arquitectes for the De Krook Library in Ghent. Beijing-based architect Xu Tiantian, founder of the firm DnA (Design and Architecture), was also awarded the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture at this year’s ceremony. The honor, which goes to a woman designer under 45 years old, was presented to Xu for her body of work, which includes the Hakka Indenture Museum, a tofu factory, and the Wang Jing Memorial Hall, among others.
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Snøhetta’s Norwegian campus building features seawater-durable aluminum panels

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Snøhetta’s design for the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) consolidates six previously scattered academic buildings into one multi-use cross-disciplinary building. The cultural landmark offers new public space and symbolic connectivity between the university and its Norwegian town. The architects sought to produce a facility that offered an “ideal and malleable space for artistic expression." They utilized robust, durable materials to withstand harsh workshop-like interior environments and a climate that is notoriously rainy. “The objective is to free students and staff from limitations by surfaces and materials,” said Snøhetta in a recent press release.
  • Facade Manufacturer Metha (aluminum); Schuco (glazing)
  • Architects Snøhetta
  • Facade Installer Bolseth Glass
  • Facade Consultants Rambøll (structural engineering); Bolseth Glass (facade consultant)
  • Location Bergen, Norway
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Rainscreen wall assembly composed of approximately aluminum-clad 10-inch Rockwool sandwich panel, and 2-inch drywall cavity on interior side for electric infrastructure
  • Products Schuco glazing system delivered by Bolseth Glass; custom aluminum panels by Metha
KMD pairs two axes: an internal corridor dedicated to students and staff, and an external corridor open to the public. The two spaces intersect each other, forming what the architects call one of the most prominent features of the building: a 14,000-square-foot project hall. “It is here, in the transition zone between the public and the private sphere of the school, that the building offers exciting opportunities for students, professors, and visitors to connect, discover, and learn from one another.”  The building’s entrance is connected to a large outdoor public plaza, which together with the large glass wall of the project hall, makes KMD an inviting and open building in dialogue with the city center of Bergen. The building envelope features over 900 panels of pre-fabricated raw aluminum panels, specifically designed in variable dimensions and depths to produce a dynamic composition. The panels feature a custom patterning developed by Snøhetta and custom-made by local manufacturer Metha, based in the city of Røros just south of Trondheim.
The aluminum-folded rainscreen cladding panels offset approximately four, six, and eight inches from the insulation line. Each set folds at the same angle, creating variations in the sizing of the shadow gap between the cassettes. By varying the depth of the facade, the building offers unexpected shadows cast by dynamic atmospheric conditions along Norway’s west coast. The architects say durability and robustness were “keywords” that helped guide all decisions made throughout the facade design process. “The rainy and sometimes stormy coastal climate demands all exterior materials to not only withstand harsh conditions but to weather in a way that highlights their unique qualities over time. The crude aluminum surfaces will gradually age and naturally oxidize, heightening the variations in colors and textures.” This robust and playful expression gives great flexibility when planning for windows and lighting conditions. The windows of the building are set at different heights, slipping into Snøhetta’s intentionally varied compositional scheme. This seemingly haphazard positioning allows for opportunistic interior moments where usable wall space and daylighting considerations can be maximized based on programmatic necessities. Large delicately-detailed cantilevered glass volumes, the result of a successful collaboration with Bolseth Glass, interrupt the syncopation of aluminum at key moments in the building layout. Furthermore, a large glass roof aids in the distribution of daylight into the building. The building is currently in its inaugural academic year, having opened this past October 2017.
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Shingled glass and twisting terra cotta accentuate new music building in Iowa City

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Open last year in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building is a six-story, 184,000-square-feet academic building containing performance spaces, a music library, practice rooms, classrooms, and faculty studios and offices. It establishes a connection between the community and the school though specific massing articulation and building envelope detailing. LMN Architects credited their collaboration with W.J. Higgins (envelope), Weidt Group (energy consultant), Jaffe Holden (acoustics), and Design Engineers (MEP) with ultimately delivering a high-performance acoustic and energy-saving building envelope design. Among other awards, the building recently received the 2017 Excellence in Energy Efficient Design Award at at the 2017 AIA Iowa Convention in Des Moines.
  • Facade Manufacturer Wausau Windows (glazing); Foshan X+Y (terracotta)
  • Architects LMN Architects; Neumann Monson Architects (Associate Architect)
  • Facade Installer AWS (envelope contractor/installer)
  • Facade Consultants W.J. Higgins & Associates, Inc. (envelope consultant); Overgaard (envelope consultant to contractor); Magnusson Klemencic Associates (Structural); Design Engineers (MEP); Jaffe Holden (Acoustics & A/V); The Weidt Group (energy analysis)
  • Location Iowa City, IA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System unitized terracotta rainscreen; glass curtain wall
  • Products large format low iron glass from Wasau; custom terracotta from Foshan X+Y
Throughout the Voxman Music Building, the project team created an array of bespoke systems that responded to unique challenges presented by the complexity of the building type and programming. From facade components to acoustic systems, LMN worked to optimize the often conflicting needs of acoustic performance, aesthetic quality, and constructability. One of the most recognizable elements of the building design is a cantilevered “shingled” glass wall, containing a recital hall for students. Exposing this space, and expressing its function to the surrounding area, was central to the connective ideology of the project. It is here that students, in the words of LMN partner Stephen Van Dyck, learn about the art of performance. Prototyping scale models developed by the architectural team helped establish constructability goals and manage contractor bidding on the job. “We found that if we could build the design through models, it became much easier to have a discussion with contractors about our intent.” The unique facade was constructed as a series of rectangular units that produced a gridded, cantilevered steel frame for individual glass units to sit within. Aside from the shingled glass recital space, all other performance spaces were clad with a unitized terracotta system. The baguettes were composed of variable combinations of textures (smooth and grooved) and glaze finishes (matte and glossy). The resulting effect was a dynamic surface quality capitalizing on variable daylight conditions, including what the architects noted as exceptional sunrises and sunsets. Van Dyck said this idea of variable form and finish options within a base cladding material was one of the successes of the project and ended up guiding future facade designs, one of which is currently under construction. At key moments, terracotta cladding tiles formally twist into vertical fins. These moments accentuate a break between major program elements within the building. To ensure the accuracy of the complex form, the architects worked with the terra cotta manufacturer to develop a jig in which the extruded clay would be slumped, dried and later fired. “Buildings need to read at a variety of scales,” said Van Dyck. At a distance, the facade of Voxman reads at a solid/void compositional level. The medium scale allows for a reading of how program in the building is dispersed, through the cladding and aperture distribution. At a detail scale, the shimmering quality of varied terracotta tiles becomes legible. LMN’s Tech Studio, a small team within the firm, was integrated with the project team from the beginning of the design, playing a central role in the rationalization of surface geometry and interior acoustical surface detailing. Combining research in acoustic properties, material science and manufacturing processes, Van Dyck said the team approached each opportunity with a similar toolkit. Parametric modeling was central to the pursuit, enabling rapid ideation and precise geometric control despite vast complexity. In-house prototyping capabilities augmented the team’s abilities to test ideas well before finalizing documentation and procurement. Van Dyck said project opportunities often spawn unanticipated research problems that can be packaged to solve future design problems, and that the work from Voxman, which was completed last year, served as a basis for current and future projects. Further details can be found on LMN’s website documenting their acoustic related form-finding research and “Theatroacoustic System.” Van Dyck is co-chairing the upcoming Facades+ conference in Seattle, on Decemeber 8, 2017. More information about this conference and its participants, including registration details, can be found here.
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Eleventh edition of SCI-Arc’s academic journal Offramp hits the internet

The Southern California Institute for Architecture (SCI-Arc) released the eleventh edition of its yearly academic journal Offramp this week. This time, the journal pursues the theme of “Ground” and lists SCI-Arc director and CEO Hernan Diaz Alonso as Editor-In-Chief. In a brief for the issue, Alonso puts forth the following provocation: “Issue #11 of Offramp aims to momentarily divert our critical gaze away from the architectural object in order to reflect upon its other: the ground. In a world increasingly resistant to dichotomies between human activity and the natural environment, how should architects conceive of sites, territories, topographies and other manifestations of ground?” The online-only, submissions-based hodgepodge of neo-postmodern eye candy is made up of ten articles supported by heady text and flashy imagery. The issue features an interview with Tom Wiscombe by Zachary Tate Porter, 2015-2016 Design Theory Fellow at SCI-Arc and founder of Office of Contingent Affairs, a thought-experiment of extruded sandwich-inspired buildings by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, a review of Jorge Otero-Pailos’s “Ethics of Dust” by Carolyn Strauss of Slow Research Lab, and a musing on color and background by Erin Besler and Ian Besler of Besler and Sons. The eleventh issue also hosts essays by Nora Wendl, Florencita Pita, Neyran Turan, Alexander Robinson, Stephen Nova, and Benjamin Flowers. Current and past issues of Offramp can be accessed here.
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C. F. Møller Architects wraps glass house in a seemingly weightless pre-fab concrete screen

"The eye-catching screen reflects the innovation and creativity that characterizes the various institutes which it unites."

The University of Southern Denmark has a new, shared research and education facility by C. F. Møller Architects that combines four academic research institutes into one shared academic research facility. The various groups are connected by a central canyon-like social space with bridges that span the atrium overhead, linking the institutes. The organization of the building is primarily influenced by SDU’s 1970’s era structuralist campus design by architects Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen that incorporated reinforced concrete construction and cor-ten steel in a linear site layout. The building envelope is predominantly a glass curtainwall with a custom exterior concrete screen made from pre-fab panels of white CRC concrete (Compact Reinforced Composite, a special type of Fiber Reinforced High Performance Concrete with high strength) featuring circular openings with an underlying solar screen and natural ventilation.  
  • Facade Manufacturer HiCon (CRC panels); HS Hansen (window units)
  • Architects C. F. Møller Architects
  • Facade Installer HS Hansen
  • Location Odense, Denmark
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System compact reinforced panels on steel frame
  • Products "Hansen Fasad" windows from HS Hansen, custom fiber-reinforced high performance concrete screen
The architects say that the composition of the screen avoids a dull repetitive patterning, yet manages to save costs due to a modular assembly comprised of only 7 unique cast profiles. Data from key views, solar shading, and structural requirements provide parameters to control circular opening sizes (from 4 inches to 6 feet in diameter) and locations with respect to interior functions. Structural integrity of the panel connection points added further challenges to the design of the custom screen. Julian Weyer, partner at C. F. Møller, says a collaboration between the fabricator and installer simplified the process: “mockups were used to qualify the design process and especially the design possibilities and constraints of the concrete screen.” The circular patterning of the CRC screen extends onto the roof where variously sized circular skylights bring daylight into the central atrium. This establishes one of the most successful spaces in the building. “The experience of the day lit ‘canyons’ inside and between the labs feels both intimate and spacious,” Weyer says. The building meets the strict Danish building code requirements for low-energy class 2015, which addresses various environmental criteria including minimal energy consumption, good indoor climate and use of materials with a low environmental impact in a life cycle perspective. While the project was designed roughly at the same time as Henning Larsen Architects’ Kolding Campus, a mere 7-minute walk away, the two SDU projects were not directly influential on each other, however Weyer says both contribute to “an already solid Danish tradition for open ‘learning landscapes’ and innovative educational buildings” citing prior C. F. Møller projects such as the Maersk Building in Copenhagen, the A.P. Møller School in Schleswig and the Vitus Bering Innovation Park in Horsens as notable precursors.
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Everyone thinks Frank Gehry's new building in Australia looks like a paper bag

The most famous architect in the world agrees that his latest building kind of looks like a crumpled brown paper bag. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Frank Gehry, the creator of the very wavy, very paper bag-y Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology, Sydney. "It is a container, maybe it is a brown paper bag," said the starchitect at the building's recent opening. "But it is flexible on the inside; there is a lot of room for change and movement which I think in the world today is essential." The structure has been so universally compared to the disposable sacks used to carry a child's lunch because of its waving brown brick facade, which certainly looks like crinkled paper—especially from a distance. To allow light into the 11-story bag—sorry, building—there are prominent, rectangular windows punched through the rippling facade. There are also large expanses of glass tucked behind the paper—sorry, brick. Taken altogether, the starchitect’s first completed project in Australia looks like a throwback to some of his early work with its heavy use of masonry. An interior staircase that is sheathed in a warped metallic skin is more in line with Gehry's recent projects. Since Gehry said the design was inspired by a tree house, the paper bag comparison is not ideal. When he was was recently asked if he was happy with the final product, he reportedly replied: "Oh boy, I’m Jewish and I feel guilty about everything." Hey, chin up, Gehry. It's not all bad news, Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said the building looked like “the most beautiful squashed brown paper bag” he had even seen. So, at the very least, it beat the competition. You can watch a timelapse video of the building's construction below.
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Trojan Style? USC Shifts From Romanesque to Gothic

gothic-details-01 USC president Max Nikias is curious. Since taking over in 2010 he has held the torch for past president Steven Sample’s beloved “California Romanesque” style on the campus, resulting in the red brick and tight arches of buildings like AC Martin’s Ronald Tutor Campus Center and George Lucas’s School of Cinematic Arts. Now he’s shifted a few years in the future to Collegiate Gothic. AC Martin has been commissioned to design a Gothic-style building for the business school, and other firms are competing for a similar project, we hear from our moles. Perhaps he will move into French Renaissance next? Get ready for some chateaux!