Posts tagged with "Annabelle Selldorf":

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Annabelle Selldorf to receive Lawrence Israel Prize from FIT

Annabelle Selldorf has been named this year’s recipient of the Lawrence Israel Prize from the Interior Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. The prize, which has been given for the past 20 years, was endowed by the late architect Lawrence J. Israel to recognize architects and designers who “enrich students’ course of study.” Past recipients include, among others, SHoP Architects, Gaetano Pesce, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Billie Tsien. FIT says Selldorf, of the eponymous firm Selldorf Architects, is a “role model for all students of design” for her work in architecture, interiors, and furniture. Selldorf Architects has been making headlines with numerous projects in the city and further afield, including the recently opened Swiss Institute on St. Marks and their expansions to the Frick Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Selldorf will deliver a lecture when she accepts the award on Monday, October 29, at the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT in New York City.
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Revised Frick expansion clears Landmarks but still faces challenges

A revised scheme for the Selldorf Architects-designed expansion of Manhattan’s Frick Collection with Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) acting as executive architects has gained approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). While commissioners voiced their concern over the addition’s fenestration and whether enough was done to move the proposed programming underground, they ultimately voted to approve the presented plan. That approval still faces resistance from local residents and preservationist groups, including an injunction hearing scheduled for this September that could slow the project down further. In approving the expansion, landmarks commissioners noted the support the project had drawn from the public, including from architects, preservationists, art historians, curators, and landscape architects, but acknowledged they had also received emails in opposition as well. Four grandchildren of Henry Clay Frick have signed letters signaling their support, and the commissioners were quick to mention their prior approval of the more experimental, Jeanne Gang-led expansion at the American Museum of Natural History. Community groups such as the City Club and Landmarks Conservancy have also voiced their support. In the Conservancy's testimony before the LPC, they stated that their Public Policy Committee had “found that the new limestone-clad additions are appropriate in their height, massing, and materials. They draw inspiration from the historic buildings in a respectful manner. The rooftop addition to the Reception Hall will rise gracefully from the building, in the manner of a conservatory. The connecting link is modest, but well-considered. There will be no loss of historic fabric, and while some façade elements of the Library Building will be less visible, they will not be removed or altered by this project.” The original scheme for the Frick's latest expansion was presented at a May 29 hearing where the public was invited to openly comment. Selldorf and BBB had proposed increasing the floor area of the Frick by 10 percent­­­­(18,000 square feet) to provide room for new conservation areas, offices, and gallery spaces with 1,800 of that square footage to be placed underground. Perhaps the most debated portions of the expansion plan touch on the Russell Page-designed garden on East 70th Street which was added in 1977. Installing the proposed 220-seat auditorium below the garden will require removing the garden above and reinstalling it exactly as it was before. The north wall of the 4,100-square-foot garden, part of the 1977 Bayley, Van Dyke & Poehler addition that originally created the garden, is also on the block to be rebuilt. As the scheme calls for the library to rise directly over the garden’s northern wall, a series of hornbeam trees behind the wall that were planted in 2010 (replacing pear trees placed by Page to mask the back of the existing library building) would need to be removed. The original plan had placed the new library almost flush with the north wall, but the trees were ultimately spared in the final version. Annabelle Selldorf was on hand for the follow-up LPC meeting on June 26 and explained that by setting the addition’s massing back three feet from the north wall’s edge, they were able to carve out a shelf behind the cornice for replacement trees. The smaller hornbeams would be located in the same positions as their predecessors and are intended to recreate the trompe l’oeil, the sense that the garden stretches on past its confines, that the current trees bring to the landscape. Selldorf was adamant that shaving three feet off of the addition was the most that can be done, and that tightening the massing any further was impossible due to programmatic requirements. The circular John Russell Pope-designed Music Room, set to be dismantled to make way for more special exhibition space, was briefly discussed as commissioners prodded the Frick to explain why the space couldn’t be repurposed. Museum representatives explained the difficulty in staging exhibitions inside of a round room and the associated temporary architecture required, and that more space was needed to display their collection. The Music Room’s Versailles-patterned wood floors and non-structural wall panels will be reused in the replacement gallery space, and the entire room will be 3D scanned and included in the Frick’s collection. That is, if the room is actually taken apart. As the commissioners noted during this week’s meeting, an active Request for Evaluation (RFE) to designate the Music Room, West Gallery & Enamels Room, and the 1977 Reception Hall as interior landmarks is currently being processed. Questions were raised over whether approving the expansion would preclude the music room’s designation, but commissioners received clarification that the two items were not in conflict with each other. It was entered into the record that the LPC takes a meticulous approach to interior designations and that if the RFE is approved, the scheme will have to be retooled to include a circular music room. Though the commissioners questioned the design team on whether more of the proposed programming could be moved underground­, the plan presented was approved with six votes for, one against, and one commissioner choosing to abstain. The Frick is an individual landmark within the landmarked Upper East Side Historic District, but commissioners highlighted the fact that the Frick Collection is a campus of separate buildings from many different time periods when making their final decision. Opponents have compiled a laundry list of complaints against the Selldorf and BBB plan. The Stop Irresponsible Frick Development (SIFD) coalition, a collection of architects, preservationists, and activists gathered on the steps of City Hall on June 25 to make their voices heard about why the expansion should be halted. Citing the lack of time given to the public to review the revised scheme, the LPC’s failure to consider landmarking the Music Room first, the potential conflict of interest arising from interim LPC chair and BBB partner Fred Bland’s participation in the process, the necessity of the Frick to expand its collection to such a degree, and the addition of a glassy café topper above the reception hall, the group had tried to delay the June 26 vote. Although an emergency temporary restraining order was submitted by the group on June 25 to the State Supreme Court, the judge decided not to grant the measure. However, an injunction hearing has been scheduled for September, which will force the Frick to defend their decisions in court and risks throwing a wrench in the project’s timeline. Preservationist Theodore Grunewald was responsible for filing the Music Room RFE (at the May 29th hearing itself, a first in the Commission's history) arguing that the room deserves to be judged on its own merits. This is the first time that an RFE for a separate part of a project has been raised independently before the LPC. In an op-ed published to the New York Times on June 25, Martha Frick Symington Sanger, a great-granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick, laid the groups concerns bare. “Let us engage an independent professional to evaluate the feasibility of excavation for proposed new facilities,” wrote Sanger, although the LPC noted that they have, historically, never taken outside design considerations into account when making their decisions. “Revisit the possibility of modernizing and repurposing existing underground facilities; purchase the adjacent, 6,000-square-foot building that is currently on the market for less than 10 percent of the anticipated cost of the current proposal; and seek landmark status for the music room, which could just as easily be preserved as a gallery.” The full presentation given at the June 26 LPC meeting is available here. According to the Frick, construction on the addition will not begin until 2020. AN will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.
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Unpacking Selldorf Architects’ controversial addition to Venturi Scott Brown’s Museum of Contemporary Art

As postmodernism comes roaring back in the architecture world, the time finally seems ripe for many unfairly maligned buildings to receive their due respect. But at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), the opposite seems on the verge of happening: A proposed concrete-and-glass expansion threatens to severely damage a lovely and highly functional building by Venturi Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA). The agglomerated museum of today—built in pieces between 1915 and 1996—mixes austere concrete with playful color, oversize plaster columns with powerful round arches, large signs and neon with an intimate courtyard. The original portion, a spare house by the California architect Irving Gill, gently tussles with VSBA’s surrounding addition; together, they embrace the tensions inherent in preserving a house within the context of a museum’s more monumental scale. And yet the complex still manages to fit comfortably in its historic surroundings: a set of buildings also designed by Gill that together form a central green for the village of La Jolla. The proposed expansion, on the other hand, shows little interest in its surroundings. The work of New York City architect Annabelle Selldorf, it includes an interior renovation that would smartly turn the existing auditorium into gallery space with a pleasant set of oceanside terraces. But things go awry in the new galleries and glass-entrance atrium, which, in the architect's zeal for a sort of Tadao Ando–inspired minimalism, end up missing out on an opportunity to contribute to the building’s richness. The most alarming proposal, though, is the removal of VSBA’s dramatic colonnade and, consequently, the courtyard that it helps to form. Selldorf argues that the colonnade obstructs views of the original house, but she overlooks the way in which its exaggerated scale both projects the museum’s civic presence and creates a sense of shelter that allows visitors to experience the house in Gill’s intended intimate setting, separated from the traffic out front. Visitors pass through the compressed courtyard on their way into the building—but then upon entering suddenly encounter the double-height explosion of light, neon, and brightly colored patterns that is VSBA’s iconic Axline Court. Under the new plan, the house would indeed be more visible from the road, but it would appear small and insubstantial, overshadowed by the later additions. Visitors would enter via the glass atrium then proceed directly into the new galleries, undercutting the importance of the house and making the Axline Court into a kind of curious afterthought. Both Selldorf and museum director Kathryn Kanjo say they want the court to remain lively, but given the proposed circulation—in which most visitors will only come across it at the back of the bookstore or after passing through three galleries—it’s hard to see what purpose it could serve. The sum total of the new plan would be a mishmash: an unhappy family of buildings that refuse to talk to one another all jammed together onto a single site. It would lose the crescendoing choreography of spaces that gives it vitality and order, as well the carefully considered relation to the town green. And not for any good reason: it would be quite possible—and substantially cheaper—to add galleries where Selldorf proposes without fundamentally detracting from the existing building. Unfortunately, such an approach would require an appreciation on the museum’s part of its architectural legacy that has so far not been forthcoming. Officials I spoke to seemed to have given little thought to the impact of the new project on the VSBA building, and when pressed on their thinking offered no particular reason that the existing circulation or aesthetics needed to be changed. And the museum made only the feeblest of efforts to contact Scott Brown and Venturi about the plans—former director Hugh Davies says he left a single message at their office in 2014, though by that point they had been retired for several years and consequently never heard it. No follow-up was ever attempted; the duo were understandably surprised when I showed them the plans a few weeks ago. By contrast, when Renzo Piano undertook the renovation of the former May Company department store on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, he immediately contacted the office of the architects who designed it, A.C. Martin, and walked through his ideas with the firm’s current partners. Why are Venturi and Scott Brown, widely recognized as among the most important architects of the postwar era, not accorded a similar respect? The short answer to this question is simply that their work is unfashionable: too old to seem new but not old enough to have that nostalgic patina of “another era.” The longer answer is perhaps that architecture that engages the messiness of the world around it must fight an uphill battle for survival in the world of contemporary building—where architecture is too often seen as a formal game, as a matter of sculpting material and form with little concern for the complexities of place and identity. Too many of today’s architects and clients, not understanding the ethical imperative behind the VSBA mode of design, write it off as postmodern riffing—surface-level ornament without a coherent underlying order. But actually each element of the work relates to the larger whole—to symbolic meanings, to the physical and cultural context, to sequences of spaces. And in those relationships emerge subtle and sometimes even disconcerting distortions and juxtapositions—a traditional dome represented only through a bright neon outline in the Axline Court, an entry sequence that at first leads you toward the old front door of the Gill House and then suddenly turns you sideways. These moments allow us to look at the world a little differently: to see the familiar as strange and to reflect on what it means. This powerful but difficult way of making meaning, so well appreciated in many of the artworks of MCASD’s collection, seems to offend contemporary sensibilities when it makes its way into architecture. Indeed, this is not the first time VSBA‘s work has been mistreated in a contemporary renovation. The 2007 expansion of their 1991 Seattle Art Museum by the minimalist architect Brad Cloepfil similarly disregarded a carefully orchestrated entry sequence, replacing it with—drumroll please—yet another generic atrium. Though the VSBA-designed building’s exterior was ostensibly left alone, Cloepfil’s hefty glass tower flatly declines to engage with it (or with the rest of its context, for that matter). Now the original building has taken on the feeling of an eccentric side wing wedged up against a chunky office block. At this point nothing short of a total renovation could set things right. Fortunately, it isn’t too late for the San Diego museum to learn from Seattle and modify its course. It need not totally redesign the addition, but it ought to let the VSBA- and Gill-designed buildings continue on in their lively interplay of similarities and differences. It ought to leave the columns alone, or at least update them respectfully, and rethink the wisdom of having visitors enter through a generic atrium. As Scott Brown put it to me, “Making a more simple-minded entry could be, maybe, just that—too simple-minded.”

A compromise does seem possible. Earlier this year, value engineering eliminated one of the best features of Selldorfs proposal: translucent skylights above the new galleries and converted auditorium. Why not bring them back by saving money on the new atrium and entry sequence? The worrisome proposed circulation would be improved, as would Selldorfs own galleries. The Axline Court would retain its function as the hub around which the various other parts of the museum are clustered, and the Gill house would remain at the museums visual and circulatory heart.

Such a renovation would recognize a key thing: that effective renovations must be a labor of love. They cannot arise from a dislike of what was there before. If the new addition struggles against the Gill and Venturi Scott Brown buildings, if it chooses not to understand or engage with them, then no one will winnot Selldorf, not the museum, and certainly not the village of La Jolla. The rare vitality achieved in the current building will not be easily recovered.

A shortened version of this story appeared in AN’s June print issue. This story has been updated to reflect new information.
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Frick Collection reveals expansion by Selldorf Architects

Today the Frick Collection released a new set of renovation designs by Selldorf Architects that will increase the museum's square footage by ten percent.

The Upper East Side institution faced stiff opposition for the redesign scheme it unveiled in 2015, with critics condemning a six-story building by Davis Brody Bond that would have supplanted the museum's garden on East 70th Street. The new plans preserve the garden, while adding 27,000 square feet of space within the Frick's home, a 1914 Gilded Age mansion designed by Carrère and Hastings.

Instead of looming over the greenery, some of that new space will be underground. The institution is building a 220-seat auditorium under the garden, which was designed by Russell Page, one of the last century's most renowned landscape architects. In concert with the additions, New York garden designer Lynden B. Miller is redoing the greensward to honor Page's original design intent.

Above the ground plane, the tallest addition will sprout in two stories from the building's music room, while the lobby won't rise more than five feet above where it sits now. Another building behind the seven-story library will top out at the library's height. Collectively, these additions should preserve more expansive sightlines into the garden, and add much-needed room for the Frick's growing collection.

“The Frick has always been one of my favorite museums because you get up close to the art and you can respond to the domestic spaces in your own way,” firm principal Annabelle Selldorf told the New York Times. “You’ll be able to come to the museum and do the exact same thing you do today, except that you’ll be able to go up the stairs and see these rooms.”

The museum selected Selldorf Architects to lead the project in December 2016 after a string of failed expansion attempts.

Selldorf is using contextual materials like Indiana limestone to integrate the 27,000 square feet of new programming, exhibition, and reception space into the Frick's existing 60,000 square feet. Her New York firm is removing a circular stair in the reception area, and moving the gift shop up a floor to open up the reception area and improve circulation between the first, second, and lower levels. New York's Beyer Blinder Belle is the executive architect on the project.

If all goes according to plan, construction is expected to begin in 2020, at a cost of $160 million.
Correction 4/4/18: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that the 27,000 square feet will increase the Frick's footprint by ten percent, not 50.
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Selldorf-designed Hauser Wirth & Schimmel to open in Los Angeles with a Revolution

The March 2016 opening of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel’s Arts District complex is getting closer and the gallery just announced its inaugural Los Angeles exhibition: Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016. The all-female show will fill the galleries and outdoor spaces of the former Globe Mills complex retrofitted by Annabelle Selldorf of New York City's Selldorf Architects with Creative Space, Los Angeles. The campus will include a bookstore, a publications lab, a bar and restaurant, a garden and courtyards, and commissioned permanent artworks that engage the architecture. Co-curated by Paul Schimmel, former chief curator at MOCA, and art historian and critic Jenni Sorkin, Revolution in the Making highlights 100 works that illustrate a changing approach to practice, abstraction, installation, craft, and tactility. The press release makes a case for contemporary lessons from many of these now-historical works: “The exhibition examines how elements that are central to art today—including engagement with found, experimental, and recycled materials, as well as an embrace of contingency, imperfection, and unstructured play—were propelled by the work of women who, in seeking new means to express their own voices, dramatically expanded the definition of sculpture.” Featured artists include postwar practitioners Ruth Asawa, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Claire Falkenstein and Louise Nevelson, as well as radical influencers from the 1960s and '70s: Eva Hesse, Sheila Hicks, and Yayoi Kusama. The curators also included groupings of work by “postmodern” and contemporary artists working in environmental, installation, and performance modes, including Isa Genzken, Liz Larner, and Jessica Stockholder. Jackie Winsor’s sculpture 30 to 1 Bound Trees will be exhibited in center of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel’s outdoor courtyard. A 20 foot-high mast of white birch saplings and hemp rope, the piece is being recreated for the first time since 1971.
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New York City’s iconic Four Seasons Restaurant inside the Seagram Building is at the center of a renovation dispute

Four_Seasons_restaurant Traditionalists went into a tailspin over proposed modifications to the landmark Four Seasons Restaurant, a gastronomic and architectural emblem of New York City housed in the historic Seagram Building. The high-ceilinged enclave, clad with French walnut walls, plays daily host to high society a big business in Midtown Manhattan. The eatery garnered landmark status in 1989 for the building’s architectural prowess. Nevertheless, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) cautions that this designation does not shield the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, Florence Knoll banquettes, Eero Saarinen cocktail tables, and table settings by L. Garth Huxtable. Building owner and noted art collector Aby Rosen of RFR Holdings recently filed plans to make changes to the restaurant, reportedly without consulting owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder. While the LPC approved the proposed new carpeting without qualm, they balked at a removal of the cracked-glass and bronze partitions separating the dining area and bar. Originally installed by legendary architect Philip Johnson, who designed the space with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1959, the partitions would be replaced by movable ivy planters to open up the space. Selldorf Architects is also considering nixing the large walnut panels separating the square-shaped 60-foot-by-60-foot Pool Room from the dining room on the mezzanine. These will be replaced with five panels, the outer two of which would be operable for reconfiguration of the space. According to Rosen, this would improve the flow between the mezzanine and the Pool Room without the upper tier framing the space. “This landmark is elevated to a level where any kind of intervention would not be living with preservation,” objected LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. Conservationists bristled last year when Rosen entertained an eviction of the Le Tricorne Picasso tapestry hanging inside the restaurant in order to facilitate reparations to the wall behind it, where a “potentially serious steam leak” from the two-story kitchen had purportedly crippled the structure. The preservation commission retorted that removal of the tapestry would cause it to “crack like a potato chip.” A New York State judge issued an injunction prohibiting Seagram from removing the painting, but Rosen, a real estate developer and avid collector of post-war art, is in conservationists’ crossfire again for daring to alter a landmark. “These are features that are integral to the sense of space. Not just decorative but have architectural meaning and value,” said Commissioner Diana Chapin. Edgar Bronfman Jr., whose family owned Seagram, claimed that RFR’s proposal displays “utter contempt” for the icon. RFR representative Sheldon Werdiger maintains that the changes are restorative rather than invasive. “We’re not making changes as much as we’re restoring. Our local press is trying to make it into a controversial situation,” he told Arch Record.
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Archtober Building of the Day #30> Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility

Archtober Building of the Day #30 Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility 472 2nd Avenue, 29th Street Pier, Brooklyn Selldorf Architects Eadaoin Quinn, the education and administrative coordinator at the SIMS Municipal Recycling Facility presented a classroom full of Archtober enthusiasts with a detailed and informative presentation of the automated process of material sorting and recovery that is recycling. Quinn told us about the machinery of sorting, starting with the “liberator shredder,” which opens the large garbage bags that recyclables arrive in by truck or barge. Each step of the almost entirely automated process has a purpose-built system of conveyor belts and sorting machines that transform bags of trash into re-sellable bales of like material. The sorting processes themselves are interesting: the Ballistic Separator is comprised of rotating planes that push flat plastic bags up an inclined plane while, at the same time, glass is broken and sent downward to another conveyor. The Eddy Current separator can distinguish between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Optical sorters can “see” what kind of plastic is passing by on the belt, and signal a puffer to blow the lighter material out of the line onto another conveyor. Today was cleaning day, so we did not get to see all of these machines in action. But we did see 400 tons of trash waiting to make its way into the process. Selldorf Architects received an AIANY 2014 Merit Award in Architecture for the structure that houses the piles of trash and the machines that sort and bale them. The Design Awards jury stated: “Extraordinary project. Not many people are capable of recognizing how construction to cover garbage can be nice.” Alas, none of the building’s architects attended the tour. Too bad, because it was a spectacular day out there on the Gowanus waterfront. There was a good sized crowd, and a couple of really smart kids asking intelligent questions.
Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober:  Architecture and Design Month NYC.  She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell.  After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson,  held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. ckracauer@aiany.org 
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Meet AN’s 2015 Best Of Design Awards Jury

header_art_900px_final_blog While architecture and design firms across the country and around the world gear up to register (the deadline is November 3) for The Architect's Newspaper's 2015 Best Of Design Awards, we'd like to take the opportunity to introduce this year's jury. As with last year, we invited a group of prominent design professionals whose expertise covers the nine categories in which we are giving awards. Collectively, they will lend their broad experience and individual perspectives to what is certain to be the very difficult task of choosing the best of many sterling projects. Thomas Balsley is the founder and design principal of New York City–based landscape architecture, site planning, and urban design firm Thomas Balsley Associates (TBA). Founded in the early 1970s, TBA has completed a range of work from feasibility planning studies to built urban parks, waterfronts, corporate, commercial, institutional, residential, and recreational landscapes. In New York City alone, the firm has designed more than 100 public landscapes, including Peggy Rockefeller Plaza, Chelsea Waterside Park, Riverside Park South, and the Queens West parks Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point Community Park.  Winka Dubbeldam is founder and principal of Archi-Techtonics and the Chair of the Graduate Architecture School at PennDesign, Philadelphia. Since 1994, Archi-Techtonics has completed multiple ground-up buildings and renovations, including 497 Greenwich in New York City's Soho neighborhood, which combines the renovation of a 19th-century warehouse with the construction of an 11-story "smart loft." The firm has also received many awards, including The Architecture League of New York's 2011 Emerging Voices award.  Kenneth Drucker has been director of design in HOK's New York City office since 1998. During that time he's lead the design process on all kinds of projects around the globe, including the Harlem Hospital Modernization in New York, the Sheraton Incheon Hotel in South Korea, and the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in Buffalo, New York. He is also a member of HOK's board of directors and design board. Chris McVoy has been with Steven Holl Architects since 1993. He made partner in 2000. He has been the partner-in-charge and co-designer for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park, the Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University, and the Glasgow School of Art. He is currently partner-in-charge for the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, and the new Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa.  Craig Schwitter founded Buro Happold's first North American office in 1999. With more than 20 years of experience, he has led the multi-disciplinary engineering process on multiple project types, including educational, performing arts, cultural, civic, stadia, transportation, and master planning projects. Under his direction Buro Happold has developed the Adaptive Building Initiative and G. Works, both related industry efforts that address today’s critical low carbon and high performance building design issues. Annabelle Selldorf is principal of Selldorf Architects, which she founded in 1988. The firm has worked on public and private projects that range from museums and libraries to a recycling facility; and at scales from the construction of new buildings to the restoration of historic interiors and furniture design. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an Academician of the National Academy Museum, and seves on the Board of the Architectural League of New York and the Chinati Foundation.  Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon founded digital design and fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon in 2007. The studio has realized custom architectural elements and installations for a broad spectrum of clients that range from Asymptote Architects and Belzberg Architects, to Tiffany & Co. and The Museum of Modern Art. The firm works on every stage of a project, from conception to prototyping to fabrication and installation. 
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The Architect’s Newspaper Announces Its Second Annual Best Of Design Awards

header_art_900px_final_blog The Architect's Newspaper is proud to announce its second annual Best Of Design Awards. This year we are accepting submissions of completed works from students and design professionals in nine different categories. The categories showcase building typologies and building elements that reflect the interests of our readership, including residential work, landscape and facade design, fabrication projects, built student work, interiors, and the much coveted Building of the Year. Submissions will be judged by a blind jury made up of AN editors, prominent architects, and members of allied fields, including Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects, Craig Schwitter of BuroHappold, Kenneth Drucker of HOK, Thomas Balsley of Thomas Balsley Associates, and Erik Tietz of digital design and fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Registration opens today and will close on November 3. Submissions are due by December 7. The jury will convene on December 12. The winners will be published in AN's January 2015 print issues. For full details on the 2015 Best Of Design Awards, as well as to register and submit your projects, visit our Best Of Design Awards website. Last year AN accepted submissions in six categories.Check out all the winners and honorable mentions here: Building of the Year, Best Fabrication, Best Facade, Best Interior, Best Landscape, and Best Student Built Work.
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American Academy of Arts & Letters Issues 2014 Awards

american-academy-logo The American Academy of Arts & Letters was formed in 1904 on the model of the French Academy. It operates today as a 250 member honor society, and, since 1955, has had an active yearly architecture awards program. The Academy has just announced its awards for 2014 with its top award The Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize (of $20,000) going to the Italian artist and architect Massimo Scolari for his contribution to architect as art. Scolari had a retrospective of his drawings and models last year at Cooper Union and a pair of his iconic sculptural wings are still visible on Coopers second floor balcony. The Academy also announced that two Arts & Letters Awards of $7,500 each would go to New York firms Christoff:Finio and Selldorf Architects under the leadership of Annabelle Selldorf for creating work which shows "strong personal direction." Finally the Academy gave well deserved awards to Michael Blackwood and Cynthia Davidson for their "exploration of ideas in architecture."
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Selldorf's Paved Paradise

My antipathy toward 200 Eleventh Avenue was partly on principle. The 250-foot condo with a garage off every unit—“just like a house in the suburbs,” chimed a spokesperson—seemed a flagrant abuse of the New Yorker code of honor to use public transportation, even if it’s an idling town car. And the stainless steel east-facing facade that houses the vertical parking lot presents a largely blank and uncommunicative face to the city. But a tour with architect Annabelle Selldorf made a quick convert of me, and an entire group of design journalists, as we traipsed through some nearly completed rooms in this 61,000-square-foot condo made for 16 duplex apartments (95% sold). It wasn’t just the river views that are as spectacular as one would expect from an 11th Avenue luxury effort. It’s how Selldorf has framed those views with bold-mullioned floor to double-height-ceiling windows that echo the industrial buildings nearby and, as Selldorf said, provide “a layered vista that steps slightly back from the edge and the undulating facade to provide some sense of privacy.”  It’s a sophisticated response to the relentless glass fishbowl phenomenon that mars so many glass-box condos. The massive French doors that open not to a balcony but a glass and metal balustrade capture the best part of having a balcony—the chance to throw open doors and let the moonlight flood in. This may well be luxury beyond the average person’s pale but Selldorf has not lost sight of intelligent planning. In fact, there’s a fine appreciation for rational design and even a sense of modesty in the size of the bedroom suites recalling such residential icons as Corbu’s Villa Savoye and Mies’ Tugendhut House where a bedroom is after all just a bedroom not a private caliphate of earthly delights. There are no gilded swan faucets here, even if the generously swooping tub is custom made from a rare lava paste-based ceramic. (We’ve heard that the penthouses—that’s the top four floors of the building—have been sold to one person, a fashionista.) The main living space is the eye-popping feature with its 23-foot ceilings and an open floor plan where kitchen cabinetry, island, table and a folding door that hides the working bits, are all in teak. The sculpturally-placed staircase is also made of solid teak planks. And so, finally, after it is explained that the building’s small (at 5,400 square feet) footprint and other constraints did not allow for the requisite below-grade parking, the car elevator may still be an energy outrage but at least it is one offset by sensitive good design.