British-Ghanaian architect and Principal of Adjaye Associates, David Adjaye, will be appointed "Knight Bachelor" by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his "services to architecture." Adajye was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1966 and is the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, but has lived in London since he was nine years old. His name made the New Year Honours 2017 Diplomatic Service and Overseas List and will subsequently be known as Sir David Frank Adjaye OBE (he was named Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2007).
The official investiture ceremony will take place soon this year at The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood in St. James's Palace in London. In the official document of honoraries, Adjaye was recognized for his "contribution to architecture and design":
He is one of the leading architects of his generation and a global cultural ambassador for the UK. His designs include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo in the shell of a disused railway station and the Idea Stores in Tower Hamlets, London where he pioneered a new approach to the provision of information services, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and numerous private commissions. His most recent major achievement was the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.
You can read The Architect's Newspaper's review of the National Museum of African American History and Culture here. His most recent U.S. design–a master plan (in the works) for the expansive San Francisco waterfront–can also be seen here. Adjaye's Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio is also due to open next year.
Also included in this year's biannual honors list were British architects Bob Allies and Graham Morrison. The pair co-founded London-based firm Allies & Morrison and have both been appointed as Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), scheduled to open to the public tomorrow, is capping off a nearly decade-long highly publicized planning and construction process. The 400,000-square-foot building is notable for securing the last developable site on the National Mall, and will be the nation’s primary home for exhibiting and celebrating African-American achievements in art, history, and culture. While 60 percent of the structure sits below grade, the remaining 40 percent rises 85 feet above grade and is wrapped in an arresting daylight-filtering screen referred to as a corona. The three-tiered, inverted form merges African and American historical references, drawing from Yoruban caryatids and the Washington Monument. The corona’s pattern was developed by digitizing traditional shapes the team found in historic ornate ironwork from Charleston and New Orleans.
The project is the result of a collaboration among Adjaye Associates, who functioned as the lead designer, Freelon Group (now Perkins+Will), who covered the interior design scope above grade, Davis Brody Bond, who covered the interior design scope below grade, and SmithGroupJJR, who was responsible for the entire enclosure of the building from the foundations to the roof, and from curb to curb.
With four architects and numerous consultant teams on board, the NMAAHC’s design process was fast and highly collaborative. The client and representatives of each of the firms attended workshops and presentations at project milestones. Work on the facade design process proceeded with a smaller team coordinated by Adjaye Associates, who held regular meetings at its New York City office. For federally funded projects, three initial concepts must be presented before narrowing down to one final scheme. Only 14 months was allotted for the time between a final concept submissions to the delivery of bid documents.
Areta Pawlynsky, partner at Heintges & Associates, the consulting firm for facade engineering, said this timeframe was pressing, but ultimately benefitted the project: "This was incredibly demanding, but in a way, easier to keep the momentum going to work through all of these design decisions.” Throughout this process, Pawlynsky said, adhering to the competition-winning design vision was what drove the design development process. "The most challenging part of the project was making sure the facades remained true to the competition." She continued, "When we look back at the competition entry images and the verbal description, we are very proud the building's envelope was able to remain true throughout its development. That doesn't always happen."
Enclos / Northstar
Freelon Adjaye Bond / Smithgroup (The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond, SmithGroup JJR)
Clark / Smoot / Russell, a joint venture
Heintges & Associates; Guy Nordenson & Associates with Robert Silman Associates (structural engineering); Fisher Marantz Stone (lighting consultant); WSP Flack & Kurtz (Mechanical Engineer)
Date of Completion
Facade Construction Systems
Hung AESS truss and framing system with structurally glazed curtain wall units installed onto AESS from interior (corona framing & enclosure); cast aluminum with custom artisan 5 coat PVDF coated panels on AESS carrier frames (corona screen); bent laminated glass clerestory (oculous); Metal panel rainscreen; Various other structurally glazed curtain walls
With full height atriums on each of the museum’s four sides, the exterior envelope was conceptualized as an “inside-out” assembly, providing clear spans of glass to the interior. Guy Nordenson & Associates developed the primary structural system—a series of three horizontal trusses that wrap the building, giving the facade its signature tiered form. Construction detailing of the envelope was carried out through a design assist package awarded to a joint venture between Enclos and Northstar, who developed a cost-saving strategy to integrate vertical trusses within the curtain wall assembly. Heintges & Associates then engineered and developed technical options for systems that attached to this structure, including the screen panels and unitized glass panels.
Adjaye Associates’ decorative screen pattern was digitally manipulated—scaling up and down to produce four densities ranging from 65 to 95 percent opacity in response to key views of the surrounding monuments, and to solar orientation. Selective openings in the corona screen provide “lenses” looking outward to key views of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, White House, and U.S. Capitol.
The material selection process for the corona screen began with solid cast bronze, which was deemed too heavy with a variation that—over time—would cause undesirable performative and maintenance issues. The design team settled on a cast aluminum due to the material’s track record as a reliable cladding. A unique five-coat application of PVDF produced variation and depth to the bronze coloration of the panels.
The corona screen was assembled on-site from shop-fabricated steel plate carrier frames containing 13 cast aluminum panels each. A staggered paneling running across the facade required selective panels to be installed in the field. These “stitch panels” bridge the gaps between adjacent carrier frames, helping to conceal any visual clues to the pre-fabricated frame assembly.
The design team consulted with Fisher Marantz Stone on a subtle lighting scheme to incorporate backlit panels that bounce light off frit glazed walls to produce a glowing facade at night. These details and lighting effects were scrutinized through numerous design studies and mockups, and by regulatory agencies to ensure the lighting of monuments at night would remain balanced.
Hal Davis, senior vice president at SmithGroupJJR, said the building envelope design was “quite unusual.” Asked if there were any technical challenges associated with designing a curtainwall system with an inside-out weather line, Davis replied, “of course!” He explained that an off-the-shelf-system couldn’t simply be installed backward: "It’s a different approach and it did take quite a bit of effort. We worked with Enclos and Heinges and David Adjaye to get it right and to make sure we were going to maintain the integrity of the design, the tightness and the insulation quality of the system, preventing condensation. For this, we had to develop very subtle heating elements that would eliminate moisture.”
Pawlynsky concluded, "I think the real story of success here is the collaboration, including the contractors, Enclos and Northstar, and CM Clark. There was a strong commitment to executing this facade in the appropriate way, and it extended across the board."
London-based Adjaye Associates, New York–based SHoP, and Oslo/New York–based Snøhetta have been announced as design finalists for Syracuse University’s new National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC).
Selected out of 28 other firms, the three finalists will now visit and engage with the university and veteran community to develop proposals for the multi-use facility. The NVRC will be home to the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) as well as the school's Regional Student Veteran Resource Center, the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps, the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps, the National Center of Excellence for Veteran Business Ownership, Veterans Business Outreach Center and Accelerator, as well as the University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.
The building will be programmed with classrooms, a conference center, gallery space, and a 1,000 seat auditorium to facilitate local and national veteran-focused events. The site of the project is tentatively set for the western end of the Waverly block, which will be visited by each office in the coming weeks. Their visits will also include meeting with the campus community to discuss the possibilities of the project in preparation for the presentation of their final design proposals in April. Also planned for March, the Syracuse University School of Architecture will facilitate lectures by each of the firms.
In a statement David Adjaye discussed the relation of his practice to the goals of the University and the NVRC, “Syracuse University’s ambition to make the NVRC a combined educational and community centre as well as a national hub for America’s 22.8 million veterans and their families resonates deeply with my own commitment to architecture that empowers communities and has global resonance.”
Both SHoP and Snøhetta remarked on the honor of working on a project for the veteran community. William Sharples, principle at SHoP, noted, "The NVRC at Syracuse University will occupy a special place in the life of the city, the campus, and the community of veterans nationwide it is intended to serve. Everyone at SHoP is honored to be a part of this process."
Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta echoed Sharples, “The poet RJ Heller once wrote, ‘In the aftermath we are because they were.’ Courage is contagious and being a part of this process at Syracuse to benefit our veterans in a groundbreaking new facility is exciting and humbling for all of us at Snøhetta. This is more than a handshake: we are doing something revolutionary for those whose origins are from the same stuff.”
Along with competing to design the NVRC, each of these three offices is also contending to design the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.
The Barack Obama Foundation has announced the seven offices from which it is requesting proposals for the design of the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.
The seven firms include four New York–based offices, one London-based office, one based in Genova, Italy, and one local Chicago office.
The offices named are:
Picked from over 150 firms who submitted to the Foundation’s request for qualifications issued in August, the seven firms will now be asked to present designs to the President in the first quarter of 2016. If Adjaye or Piano are chosen, they will be the first foreign-based offices to design a presidential library.
The selection of the perspective architects comes after a long selection process for the site of the library itself.
Not without some controversy, the South Side locations were chosen out of possible sites in New York, Hawaii, and another in Chicago. Public space advocates, Friends of the Parks, argued that the library, technically a private institution, should not be allowed to be built in the city’s public parks, an issue the current Lucas Museum is also dealing with. This was overcome with the help of a deal made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel which would transfer control of the land away from the park system.
Each office will submit conceptual designs for both of the possible 20-acre South Side Chicago sites: one in Washington Park and one in Jackson Park.
The $500 million project will include the presidential archive, a museum, and office space for the Obama Foundation.
After reviewing the proposals, the Obama family and the foundation are expected to make a decision by summer 2016, the expected completion of the project being in 2020 or 2021.
After beating Jean Nouvel, OMA and Frank Gehry to commission, David Adjaye Architects have been granted planning permission for its residential, hotel and retail development in Mayfair, London which will sit opposite the Ritz Hotel.
Rising ten floors high, Adjaye's design for developer Crosstree Real Estate Partners will house street level retail while embedding a luxury hotel into the first and second floors. The rest of the building will be used for residential space and high-end condos.
The 119,900 square foot complex brings natural light into the lower interior floors via the use of a large circular void. Meanwhile the external curved and "textured" facade makes use of Portland stone cladding and glazing to offer a "contextually sympathetic design", described David Adjaye Architects, that "draws on the shapes, forms and textures of the neighboring historic buildings."
The building's proportionality and roofline emulate its counterparts on the street, including the Royal Academy and Burlington Arcade. "Referencing the classical arrangement of these iconic buildings, the facades of the new development are separated into three distinct sections with a central focal point" the architectural firm said in a statement on the project.
The development has also made vast improvements to the Dover Yard and has integrated it into the site so that it acts as a pedestrianized throughway and public plaza. The feature is intended to be an "urban retreat at the heart of the development."
"The treatment plays with the traditional sculpted silhouette of binary planes that curve, straighten and invert in a rhythmic sequence – reinterpreting and rearranging the traditional sequence to create a shifting plane of scalloped edges."
Design giant Perkins + Will has swallowed up Freelon Group Architects, one of the country’s most prominent African American–led firms. The firms announced Tuesday that North Carolina–based Phil Freelon will help lead Perkins + Will’s design efforts in the region and globally.
The local head of the combined practice will have nearly 80 professionals, creating one of the largest architecture and design practices in North Carolina. Freelon started his firm in 1990, growing it from a single-person practice to 45 employees. P+W will combine 18 staff members at an office in Morrisville, NC with Freelon’s office in Durham, as well as a 15-person staff in Charlotte.
Freelon Group is best known for its work on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, which they designed with David Adjaye, Davis Brody Bond Aedas, and SmithGroup. The museum is targeting a 2015 opening. Freelon’s firm also worked on the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore, and the Atlanta Center for Civil and Human Rights.
“There’s a sense that we’re contributing to society as a whole, and making people’s lives better through our buildings in my firm, and Perkins + Will—there’s a lot of public sector clients there,” Freelon told the Durham Herald-Sun’s Laura Oleniacz. “We feel good about creating design excellence and beauty for everyday people.”