Ten architecture students at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have produced a working boat prototype, using expanding polyurethane spray foam as their primary material. The master’s students are following in the steps of the likes of Frank Gehry, Greg Lynn, and Zaha Hadid, who all have recently designed custom yachts. Paired off in twos, teams designed and tested a half dozen smaller prototypes, which they tested in the Grand Basin in Forest Park near the Washington University campus. Two of the prototypes were chosen to move forward to further development and a full size prototype. The goal of the project was to test the material possibilities of a product that is easily found in typical hardware stores, and usually used for housing insulation. The expanding foam for the project was provided by Fenton, MO–based manufacturer Convenience Projects. “The first half of the project was about learning what the material can do. What are its capacities?” Master’s candidate Benjamin Newberry, told WUSTL’s campus journal. “How do you convert it into something that floats?” https://youtu.be/XuG6f3jldh4 Frank Gehry, an avid boater, recently finished FOGGY 2.0, an 80 foot long sailboat he designed for his friend, real estate investor Richard Cohen. In 2013 Zaha Hadid unveiled plans for a 420-foot superyacht prototype which is being used a base design for further investigations by Hadid and Hamburg-based shipbuilders Blohm+Voss. Greg Lynn launched his own carbon-fiber 42 foot racing yacht last year. Lynn used the sailboat as a means of investigating the possibility of monocoque construction with composite materials.
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Can decay on the Bay be forestalled? In 2014, a local group floated the idea of murals, and now, two nonprofits, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Dade Heritage Trust, are renewing efforts to restore the Miami Marine Stadium on Biscayne Bay. Shuttered since 1992, both organizations have had their eyes on saving the seaside stadium for years. The National Trust listed the structure, built in 1963, on its annual 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2009, and declared it a National Treasure three years later. In a bid to cement its preservation in perpetuity, the stadium has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. If approved, the cost of the restoration would be reduced by $6 million, as the project would qualify for federal historic tax credits. To introduce attendees to the preservation cause, the Dade Trust and the National Trust will run an information kiosk at the Miami International Boat Show, in Virginia Key, from February 11 to 15. A petition that circulating there and online asks City of Miami commissioners to prioritize the stadium's restoration this year. Already, the city has created an advisory committee to decide on future directions for Virginia Key, which includes the restoration and reopening of the stadium. An RFQ for engineering and architectural services for the stadium is out, and so far Miami has spent more than $20 million on restoring land around the stadium. Designed by Hilario Candela, a 27 year old Cuban architect, the all-concrete, 6,566 seat stadium was built to watch speedboat races. The roof, as long as a football field, was the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world when it was built. The folded plate roof is anchored by eight concrete columns set back as far as physics would allow to afford almost unimpeded views of the bay. To draw attention to their cause and highlight the stadium's design, the National Trust will project vintage stadium footage in the evenings onto the structure this Friday through Sunday.
New York City has 520 miles of coastline. The city's coastline-to-swanky-offshore-vessel ratio, however, is seriously skewed. Although New Yorkers may enjoy drinks on the Frying Pan, at Chelsea Piers, or visit the oil tanker cultural center aboard the Mary A. Whalen, in Red Hook, there is certainly room for another moldering boat-turned-modern-recreation-and-entertainment-space. The Brooklyn Paper reports that John Quadrozzi Jr., owner of the Gowanus Bay Terminal in Red Hook, beamed an SOS to investors willing to put up between $50 and $200 million to convert the 63-year-old, 990-foot-long S.S. United States into retail, offices, and cultural facilities. Before air travel, the S.S. United States was a grande dame among ocean liners. The ship has half-a-million square feet of floor space and 13 decks. Quadrozzi would offer space to startups, a maritime school and museum, a swimming pool, gym, and restaurants. The vessel would be self-sustaining, retrofitted to produce and consume solar, waste, and wind energy. For almost 20 years, the S.S. United States has sat in a Philadelphia ship yard. Currently, it costs its owners, the S.S. United States Conservancy, $60,000 each month to maintain. The Conservancy will decide by November whether it wants to partner with Quadrozzi, or another (unnamed) Manhattan partner. If the conversion plan is ultimately deemed nonviable, the conservancy will haul the historic ship to the scrapyard.
Long interested in the potential of composites, Los Angeles architect Greg Lynn has just launched his 42 foot long by 32 foot wide carbon fiber racing sailboat. Created by Greg Lynn Form and a team at Santa Ana–based shipbuilding company Westerly Marine, the vessel was formed using CNC-formed molds, the resulting pieces held together with high tech adhesives. It's now docked in Marina Del Rey, and awaiting a new mast (the first one was damaged) so it can officially begin sailing. Lynn has started his own company, Greg Lynn Yacht, so he could begin producing more of the aerodynamic trimarans. “I used to think that aerospace was a great place to focus my research, but it became clear that racing boats were more interesting and more affordable,” noted Lynn. He believes carbon fiber will soon be more commonplace in architecture because of its strength, lightness, and malleability. “You only put the material where you need it. There’s so much less waste,” said Lynn. His boat, for instance, varies from 120 layers of carbon fiber to about six, depending on how much is needed. It's also his secret weapon to beat his friend Frank Gehry in sailing races. We'll keep you posted on how that turns out.
Sneaker and/or design aficionados take note: Nike released a new high-top model, called 'Dazzle,' on December 13, with snowboarding footwear to follow. While the shoes will definitely stand out in a crowd, that was not the original purpose of the Dazzle graphic. Developed by designers to foil World War I naval surveillance systems, the patterns were meant to confuse, not camouflage. Wikipedia explains the Dazzle camouflage concept:
Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other. Unlike some other forms of camouflage, dazzle works not by offering concealment but by making it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that dazzle was intended more to mislead the enemy as to the correct position to take up than actually to miss his shot when firing.More recently, the high seas have been graced by a contemporary version of the high-contrast optics. In 2013, industrialist and art collector Dakis Joannou commissioned Jeff Koons to detail his 115-foot yacht, Guilty. Perhaps Nike's next collectible shoe will dazzle in color.
When Frank Gehry’s renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is complete, the iconic institution won’t necessarily look like one of his signature works—at least from the outside. The architect isn't touching the icon's Beaux-Arts exterior, but is, instead, transforming the museum’s interior to improve circulation and boost gallery space. But even then, Gehry’s work won’t be all that “Gehry.” AN recently toured the museum’s exhibit on Gehry’s masterplan and got a chance to hear from the man himself about the museum renovations. On the tour, Gehry explained how he reimagined the building’s interior with a distinctive signature, but one that is inspired by the building’s DNA. “I think if it’s built, you’ll know somebody like me was here,” he said. This renovation has been a long time coming. And it will be a long time still before it's finally realized. The idea to update the museum was born in the 1990s and completing Gehry’s entire overhaul could take 10–15 years more. “If they wait five years, I’ll be 90,” Gehry said. “So for me, get going.” Given his age, and his storied career, AN asked Gehry about what else he wants to accomplish. “I’m so superstitious,” he said before explaining that he wants to increase his involvement in arts education. He mentioned his participation in the Turnaround Arts initiative—a presidential program, which aims to close the achievement gap through arts and music education. He told a story about going into a school in California and teaching kids how to plan and imagine cities. Gehry added that children are often marginalized in “ghetto schools.” “That’s what I’m interested in, that kind of stuff," said Gehry. "I am also designing a sailboat." Which, of course seems entirely appropriate given his predilection for sailing. He does, after all, already own a boat called FOGGY, which stands for his initials: Frank Owen Gehry. These days, it seems, every starchitect needs a boat in his or her oeuvre. Hear that Zaha and Norman? Frank will see you at the regatta.
Party boats are common in Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago’s more well to do neighborhoods. But local entrepreneur Beau D’Arcy wants to corner that market with Breakwater Chicago—a floating club and leisure destination anchored in the city’s downtown harbor year-round. The 33-year-old engineer told the Chicago Tribune he’s hoping to create the city’s “next Bean,” referencing Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture. To launch the project, which will cost $23 million total, D’Arcy is seeking Kickstarter donations in the amount of $30,000—one dollar for every square foot of Breakwater Chicago’s proposed plan. He hopes to take the vessel on its maiden voyage, as it were, by July 4, 2015. SPACE Architects + Planners designed the floating attraction, which would employ a large dome to shield the “tropical pool environment” during winter. Programming includes three restaurants, a bar/event space, a large swimming pool, a spa, and retail space. Breakwater would drop anchor about a mile off Navy Pier or a bit farther south in the Chicago Harbor during summer months, and be towed into shore during the winter. Private boat-owners could dock off Breakwater, while water taxis would ferry visitors without their own vessels, for a fee of about $20. The team behind Breakwater said they’ll comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding navigable vessels on Lake Michigan, but regulatory hurdles are no afterthought for the project. “At the completion of Detailed Design, scheduled for this summer, our team should have construction drawings submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard for final review and to shipyards for final bids,” reads the project’s Kickstarter. “Once a shipyard is chosen, construction will begin so that the vessel can be delivered to Chicago late in the spring of 2015.”
Taking her sleek, space-age forms to the sea, Zaha Hadid has teamed up with Hamburg, Germany–based master shipbuilders Blohm+Voss to launch a fleet of signature superyachts. Together they have created The Unique Circle Yacht, a family of five distinct 90m yachts based on the design philosophies and sculptural contours of a 420-foot master prototype that was recently displayed in an exhibition of Hadid’s work at the David Gill Gallery in London. The web-like design of the yachts’ distinctively-Zaha upper exoskeleton was supposedly informed by fluid dynamics, underwater ecosystems, and the structural systems of marine organisms, while the hull was the result of intense hydrodynamic research. Hadid broke with the traditional horizontal order of yacht design to create a fluid, naturalistic whole which seamlessly connects the ship’s various elements through a dynamic yet cohesive framework. As Hadid explained in a statement, a yacht is “a dynamic object that moves in dynamic environments,” and as such, its design “must incorporate additional parameters beyond those for architecture—which all become much more extreme on water. Each yacht is an engineered platform that integrates specific hydrodynamic and structural demands together with the highest levels of comfort, spatial quality and safety.” Out of the five Unique Circle Yachts, JAZZ is the first of which to be fully specified and detailed by the naval architects at Blohm+Voss. Each of the five yachts will be inimitable products of collaboration, combining the design language of the original prototype, specific technical refinements to address the distinct use of each yacht, and the individual requests of the vessels’ prestigious owners. As Dr. Herbert Aly, CEO and Managing Partner of Blohm+Voss explained in a statement, this formula allows for the creation of unique, exceptional objects of complete design, while offering an adaptable template for future innovation. “On an aesthetic level a superyacht is a great design task as everything is customised down to the last detail,” said Aly. “A superyacht is by definition an exercise in total design, where every detail is looked at with attention and refinement. In the past, in the era of steam liners, there has been an attempt of utilizing ship building elements in architecture. Zaha Hadid and her team have taken this ethos and created a bold new vision and a new benchmark in the design of superyachts.” “The idea of the Unique Circle Yachts allows for variation of a genotype and its phenotypes,” Aly continued, “offering a range of possible solutions based on an cognate platform. As a result Zaha Hadid’s design is malleable to suit the very individual wishes and needs of a potential customer, which lies at the heart of Blohm+Voss’ approach to yacht design. The strength of the design lies not just in its functionality and form, but also its effortless adaptability.”
Some recent tweeting by Paul Goldberger revealed that the Vanity Fair contributing editor had set sail off the coast of L.A. with architects/ seamen Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn. Broadcasting from FOGGY, Gehry’s Beneteau First 44.7 fiberglass sailboat, Goldberger sent out a rakish pic of Gehry at the wheel. (The name “FOGGY,” in case you couldn’t guess, it based on F.O.G., the maestro’s initials; the “O” stands for “Owen”). We hope to hear more about the voyage in an upcoming VF article and that the story involves pirates and lost treasure.
The famous clipper ship Cutty Sark was recently rehabilitated by Grimshaw Architects, who also built an exhibition hall around the vessel. The project, which opened in April, has just received the dubious distinction of winning Building Design’s 2012 Carbuncle (a.k.a. “ugliest building”) Cup award. Parked in Greenwich, England and categorized as a World Heritage site, the ship now floats on a blue glass base intended to suggest water. But the resulting effect is more bateau-en-gelée, prompting BD executive editor Ellis Woodman to write that the project had “the best of intentions and yet has tragically succeeded in defiling the very thing it set out to save.”