Posts tagged with "Cincinnati":

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Props breathes new life into Zaha Hadid's Contemporary Arts Center

Nearly two decades ago, Zaha Hadid's vision for a building that housed art, but more broadly worked to catalyze an urban redevelopment effort in Cincinnati, was to create a structure that made art accessible to the public. She delivered on her goal as a spatially complex series of stacked galleries piled up high over a tight infill site. Accentuated on the ground level by virtually no threshold between the city and institution, Hadid's Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) has since become defined by it's airy public lobby, an "urban carpet" that transitions seamlessly from sidewalk floor to gallery wall, and Corbusier-inspired stairways that form a vertical street, tapping into a set of galleries floating seemingly impossibly overhead. It is only fitting that a show like Props could emerge in a space that set out to reimagine the idea of what a white box gallery could be. Props is a set of eight experimental sculptures from architecture-trained mixed media artist Lauren Henkin, who has found new productive uses for underutilized space in the 16-year-old building. Her solo exhibition joins two other compatible shows concerned with spatial awareness: Confinement: Politics of Space and Bodies, and Cincinnati-based photographer Tom Schiff's Surrounded by Art. The trio of exhibitions will remain open through March 1, 2020. Steven Matijcio, former curator of the CAC, and the current director & chief curator at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston curated the work. "Lauren [Henkin] and I wanted to challenge and expand the typical locations of artistic presentation at the CAC," said Matijcio. "By its very nature, Lauren's series of "Props" was meant to skew the habits, conventions, and assignments that coalesce in even the most avant-garde of structures." Each of Henkin's Props is assembled from an ad hoc material palette—concrete, PVC, wiring cable, plaster scraps, and so on. In one case, scrap wood was pulled from the CAC's basement and piles of debris discarded by installers of the concurrent exhibitions. The development of the work relied heavily on photographic documentation, drawing, and visits to the building. Henkin worked between her Maine-based studio, the CAC, and a nearby Kentucky-based fabrication studio. Props intentionally undermines the programming of the CAC's formal gallery spaces. Why have work in the gallery when it can exist outside of the gallery? Lacking any formalized infrastructure for art viewing (lights, art labels, etc.), the work feels at home amid and within the architecture of the building. The pieces dissolve into walls, hug corners, and playfully grow out from the floor. In this regard, the Props do not come off as menacing or insulting in any way. Instead, they feel like discreet, optimistically friendly characters, producing compelling moments of their own that stop us in our tracks. With no labels or signage, there seems to be a real possibility that some of these Props could be overlooked during de-installation and hang around the museum indefinitely. Henkin, whose background is in architecture, says movement is the organizational force underlying Props: "These pieces are meant to be viewed while in motion where the viewer is moving up and around the work." Henkin flips our traditional relationship to art: the work becomes static, while the viewer is set in motion. However, beyond Zaha's stair, Props can be spotted hiding out in spaces less trafficked, like the entrance to the fourth-floor women's restroom or a forgotten corner of a hall leading to a fire stair. Formalized art galleries offer no escape for visitors who become immediately incorporated into the spatial logic of the institution: you must walk up these stairs, and you must view the work in this order. Henkin, Matijcio, and co. offer an alternative to this. You inevitably pass Henkin's work, but it operates as a filter, or primer, for the other work in the galleries. "The element of play, whimsy, and revelry played an important role in the conception and execution of the project. Lauren's sculptural interventions in the CAC are meant to disorient and befuddle, and provoke," said Matijcio. "Some are imposing and seemingly precarious; others are quizzical and slightly comical. Each one is different, but the unifying thread was to reimagine the structure's non-gallery spaces as fertile terrain to reconsider and activate." While this iteration of Henkin's Props likely won't travel elsewhere due to its site-specificity, the show might still have a legacy. The problem that Henkin's show exposes is that austere, raw, underutilized display and circulation spaces of today's art museum do have the opportunity to be more critically used. What would it look like for an exhibition to spill out into these spaces? What trouble would this cause, between issues of security, lighting, and liability? However, what opportunities this could create, to reimagine the broader curatorial flow to the institution! Props beg us to consider and reinvent our normative, intuitive, choreographed movements through the museum, especially in Cincinnati, where 16 years of exhibitions have begun to familiarize and dull this incredibly significant architectural space. In an institution that prides itself as a "non-collecting" contemporary museum showing "work of the last five minutes," Props exist as a welcome sideshow to the CAC's ongoing spirited circus of traveling acts. Henkin reminds us that a white room can fit only so many paintings before overflowing.
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An architectural exhibition will dialogue with Zaha Hadid's first U.S. building

The first Zaha Hadid-designed building in the United States will host an exhibition that pays homage to the architect’s liberated geometric forms. Later this month, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) will present its winter exhibition, Props, by mixed-media artist and trained architect Lauren Henkin. The CAC moved into its current home in 2003, centered around a spacious, multistory atrium that creates a sense of free circulation. In a 1998 profile of the museum as a work-in-progress, the Los Angeles Times remarked that “Hadid is erasing boundaries—between inside and out, between a controlled and private inner world and the chaotic energy of public life.” Hadid herself described the building as a “jigsaw puzzle” of exhibition spaces—connected by zig-zagging skywalk staircases, the CAC's layout allows for new modes of exhibiting artwork. Henkin will present a series of eight sculptures scattered throughout the museum, each engaging with site-specific elements of Hadid’s architecture. Props will utilize more than 3,300 cubic feet of “unintended” exhibition space, making use of spaces in the museum which have not been previously used to display artwork. “Hadid so often blurs the line between architecture, furniture, and landscape,” Henkin explained. “It was important to me to extend that uncertainty by pushing the boundaries of how we engage sculpture, while also upending common perceptions of how to experience art in a museum setting. In many cases, the way the ‘props’ are experienced is atypical, placed purposefully in circulation spaces where one can only see the work from above or below, or while climbing or descending stairs.” Along with the unconventional use of space, Henkin makes it clear that she does not consider the sculptures to be the main attraction. Rather than to evoke beauty, the sculptures are meant to serve as catalysts to get viewers thinking about Hadid’s built environment and one's place within it. Additionally, Props will pose important questions about the context of objects displayed in institutional settings, for in addition to the unusual placement of the works, some of which are comprised of objects found in the building’s utility closets. “We’ve all had the encounter of walking into a contemporary art space and wondering if something that looks ‘half-way’ is intentional art or just a chance clustering of items, a renovation on pause,” said Steven Matijcio, curator of Props. “Lauren mobilizes that idea to loosen the absolutes of Hadid’s geometry and materials, and to amplify to more porous and fluid dimensions of the building’s design.” Props will be on view from November 22 through March 1, 2020, at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.
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FC Cincinnati's stadium redesign will be wrapped in 513 glowing fins

An array of fins will now ensconce FC Cincinnati's soccer field, to be called the West End Stadium, after a total redesign from stadia specialists Populous that replaces the ETFE pillow facade previously proposed for the project. A total of 513 fins—a total of 5.4 miles—will be used to wrap stadium's facade, angled incrementally to create an undulating wave formation on the exterior (513 also happens to be Cincinnati's telephone code number). Each fin will be approximately two-to-three inches wide and 18 inches deep, situated in a way to provide a view into the stadium when viewed head-on and a more solid appearance when viewed down the length of the building’s façade. As with the previous incarnation of the stadium, which was designed by a team lead by Meis Architects, LED lighting has been proposed. With Populous' design, LEDs will illuminate each fin, allowing the stadium to glow at night for events, and will most likely be blue and orange as per FC Cincinnati's jersey colors. To make this happen, the LED lighting system will be integrated into the leading edge of each vertical element to create ambient light and experiential graphics predominantly along the building’s eastern-facing facade. Lighting operators will have to be careful not to follow in the footsteps of Bayern Munich FC in Germany, where multiple car accidents have been caused by the changing colors of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Allianz Arena's ETFE facade. FC Cincinnati's west facade, on the other hand, will utilize more glazing in order to balance the relationship to the surrounding neighborhood. When asked why the team was changing direction in realizing the new stadium, an FC Cincinnati representative provided the following statement: "Meis’ designs provided a great foundation for us and got us going down a design path that would deliver Cincinnati a truly unique stadium, which was important to us and one of the goals of this project. However, as we reached a critical point in our construction path, we decided to bring in Populous who had far greater resources behind them to ensure the project met ownership’s goals of delivering a state-of-the-art stadium on-time, on-budget and with an iconic look and feel." "Our goal was to create the jewel of the Queen City’s crown," Jonathan Mallie, a partner at Populous who led the current project's design, told The Architect's Newspaper. "The twisting motion of the vertically expressed fins speaks to the dynamics of the match and the tension between the two teams about to take to the pitch." Six entrance gates have been proposed for the stadium, though the main staircase will take Orange and Blue fans on a grand precession from Central Parkway, rising 30 feet in the process. "Several MLS teams have unique traditions —FC Cincinnati’s supporters have an incredible march to the match," said Mallie. "Their energy builds as fans approach the stadium. We were captivated by their presence - you hear the noise, you see vibrant orange and blue, you sense their excitement and passion for the team. Our aim... was to funnel the energy of the fan base as it ascends up the plaza staircase and underneath the exterior façade which gently hovers above." This atmosphere will be brought into and enhanced inside the stadium, too. Space has been allocated for 3,100 safe-standing seats in The Bailey, a designated home fan section that spans the stadium's entire north end. More lessons from Germany: safe standing has proved to be hugely successful, particularly in the case of Borussia Dortmund, where the spectacle of a "yellow wall" can be observed on match days. If you can, go, it's truly exhilarating. FC Cincinnati's decision to integrate safe standing is a progressive move, one that admittedly won't match Dortmund but will go a long way to bolstering the oh-so cherished stadium atmosphere. Even those sitting down can get in on the action, as the closest seat will be just 15 feet from the playing field, with the furthest being 130 feet away in the upper tier. The total stadium capacity has yet to be finalized but will be around 26,000, with every seat being protected by a canopy roof.

FC Cincinnati was founded in 2016. In a sign of remarkable progress, the West End Stadium is scheduled to open in March 2021, even with the design team switch.

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Cincinnati's Terrace Plaza Hotel takes its first step towards landmark status

The first International Style hotel in America may not fall into disrepair or have its iconic exterior transformed after all. After a 5-1 vote in favor of a local landmark designation for the Terrace Plaza Hotel by the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board on February 25, the designation will advance to the City Planning Commission, and finally the City Council. Completed in 1948, the 20-story redbrick tower was the first hotel project from SOM. Natalie de Blois led the design team, which was responsible for everything from the interiors, to the staff uniforms, down to the ashtrays and matchbooks. The building’s most distinctive features are its windowless seven-story base, which projects an imposing presence on the street, and its circular steel-and-glass Gourmet Restaurant space on the roof. As photographer Phil Armstrong detailed in his historical documentation, much of the building’s interior has fallen into ruins. The building has unfortunately sat vacant for a decade, and plans began floating around from a prospective developer at the beginning of last year to strip the hotel’s monolithic base and replace it with a glass box. It should be noted that the building was included on the National Register of Historic Places on August 21, 2017, according to Docomomo U.S., but that this doesn’t provide the level of protection that a local designation affords. The hotel was sold in August of 2018 to the New York–based real estate investment firm JNY Capital. JNY nearly immediately faced the threat of a lawsuit from the city over its refusal to make necessary repairs to the building after ground-floor tenant complaints—and after a chunk of the building dislodged and smashed a parked car below. JNY has been looking into adding windows to the tower’s first seven floors, which it claims is necessary to attract office tenants following a redevelopment but would destroy the building’s historical significance. Now, that plan may be on hold as a landmark designation may be looming; the final decision should be handed down by the City Council sometime in the next six months. During the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board’s meeting, the economic feasibility of redeveloping the building while remaining true to its legacy was discussed, but the board’s members ultimately decided that it was beyond the purview of their discussion. JNY remains opposed to the designation and has stated it has no plans to demolish the hotel or its towering facade.
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The new director of Cincinnati's School of Architecture and Interior Design talks the future and Ohio

Ed Mitchell began his role as the new director of the University of Cincinnati's School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) one year ago. Notable for its innovative century-old cooperative education platform, the school's rankings have dipped in the past decades out of the country's elite programs. In this interview, Mitchell—whose resume includes an energetic mix of professional practice and academic positions at Columbia, Pratt, Yale, IIT, and more—explains his vision for the school and the move from the east coast to the midwest. The Architect's Newspaper: At the time you took the role of SAID director, you were in charge of the post-professional program at Yale and an Associate Professor there. Ed Mitchell: There were things we were doing in studios at Yale that I thought had the mission of a "school." What I liked about the students at Yale—especially the post-professional students—was that they were international. Their perspective on issues was very different from the standard American East Coast background that Yale typically gets. We were doing studios where the problem was wide open—but it was real. It wasn't a problem of program or constructional limitations. What was important was a real evaluation of the aesthetics and formal control of architecture to other disciplines. There were physical aspects of city-making that compelled me. People would come to both of us with questions like: "We've got 1,600 acres. What should we do? We need an answer in three weeks." That was the problem. As a result, our students would get involved in the actual project—meet with state officials, local politicians, developers, fishermen, industry workers, local immigrant communities—and actually stage the city they wanted to have happen. AN: Why did you apply for the job in Cincinnati? EM: Cincinnati, if you've never come out here, is an exotic place. Everything was new here for me. It was like being in a foreign country. As an architect, this is one of the most beautiful architectural cities I've been too, bar (almost) none. Cincinnati is the westernmost eastern city, the southernmost northern city, and the northernmost southern city in the country. Nothing is resolved here! The city has an incredible history that you feel around you all the time. This is the subculture that makes a place interesting. It's the kind of place that I always gravitated to—I lived in Providence as an undergraduate. I moved to New York and San Francisco in the '80's which were both like that. If you were talented and had energy, then people would find out about you, and they might just invite you to collaborate with them. It wasn't like you had to pay dues to gain access. What's interesting about a city like Cincinnati is that it's relatively easy to get into the community to do work. The cost of the education is relatively low—when high tuition cost prohibits at a point of entry from certain economic classes that isn't right. If you are eliminating talent based on income, you're not doing anything important anymore. This was the right school with the right kind of potential. AN: What are you most excited about in your new position as director of SAID? EM: $2 beers and cheap bowling. An exciting art scene of young people in the city. Adjunct faculty who looked like they might have the kind of energy to take this to the next level. I sensed people wanted somebody to push the energy level up—to keep it up and stay positive about it. A lot of people forgot about the University of Cincinnati. On the east coast, it had a reputation as a great school. The midwestern schools safeguarded and championed the discipline of architecture for several decades. I still think of it that way, but admittedly many students are not familiar with the place and its mission. People are a little intimidated about taking risks, and this might be a risky place to be. It's not New York or L.A. or London. But it's a place where culture arises from.
You have opportunities here that you wouldn't have elsewhere. This week was incredible. The first year graduate studio built a pavilion on the main campus in two and a half weeks that's pretty incredible; we have five books coming out next month after one year. We have a new dean incoming from Hong Kong who is bringing a global perspective to the college. AN: What plans do you have for the school? What's your vision for it? EM: A lot of people don't realize Cincinnati has a 100-year old co-op program where a portion of the curriculum is dedicated to students working in offices around the world. The idea of the cooperative was a radical political agenda in the midwest. It would be an exciting mission for the school to take it dead seriously. Not just as a service to professional offices—there's nothing wrong with that—but what the cooperative project really is. Whether that's questioning our urban futures, or taking a group of new students and in three weeks building a community structure to host events, or organizing the junior faculty in a three-city exhibition. There's an attitude here: an "all hands on deck" approach. Everyone pitches in to get things accomplished. I think this is fantastic—something you don't get in a lot of places. People here are competitive and want to do excellent work, but they're supportive and cooperative towards a larger cultural effort. AN: Explain the issues facing the school. EM: The school's reputation was in the accredited B.Arch program. I think we need to define what a Masters program is. The real question is what do we do different here than other schools? It's a relatively small program in size with a "down home" work ethic about what it does. However, that shouldn't stop it from being creative and original. Ohio is full of great subcultures in the arts and music from its utopian past to the birth of punk in Cleveland and Akron. We need to keep that spirit in architecture. There's too much focus on program and not enough critique of architecture. The good intentions of the students and faculty sometimes backfire: the moral is a way of dodging the physique. Some of our students travel internationally through co-op, but historically we haven't had strong enough partnerships with international academic programs. For example, our students will work in Beijing on a co-op, but they haven't actually done studio work there or looked at larger international problems that they'll probably be involved in within offices. So I'm trying to find a way that we can do research-based work within the school. Not only as a studio imperative but as an extended research project in a developing post-doc program or the existing doctoral programs. These projects can become longer-term sustained revisitation of a series of problems. In this way, international studies become less episodic and more engaged with a broader mission statement. AN: Since you were at Eisenman's office in the mid-'90s during the design of the school addition, what insights can you share about the building? Can you tell us how it operates? EM: The building has a legacy as one of the last buildings during the peak of a critical, theoretical approach in formalism. When I got out of school, I thought this was the only thing architecture would be left to do. It's an important legacy to retain, but not one to continually emulate to the point of exhaustion. It's like a medieval city—you have to learn it's internal routes. There are ways of moving about the building that inspire conspiracies, gang organizations, and new collectives. The main space in the building exists as a great gallery of work. SAID tends to occupy this space as much as it can. You can sit there, eat a sandwich, roll around on the floor, look at your work. People are in discussions there. It's a really active space and didactive for our students and faculty. AN: While SAID is one of four broader schools within DAAP, it contains two disciplines: architecture and interior design. Culturally, these programs feel like two different worlds, each with their own academic agendas and representational toolsets. EM: I'd like for the two disciplines to interplay more. There are things that each does better. Something is fascinating about how, in the 18th century, things like color couldn't be described scientifically. Issues like color and shape that weren't normative or relative to a platonic solid fell out of the discourse of architecture because they couldn't be documented, written, and transcribed. Interiors, as a discipline, didn't really emerge until the 19th century when "identity" became an issue. This led to a wide range of proto-formations of architecture and spatial matrices. Cincinnati is full of that because it emerged as a great city during this time of a shifting cultural spectrum. The result is that it's a place where you can invent stuff—there is great high modernism here, there's incredible Victorian architecture, and the landscape and river have its own unique presence. I think you can tap into that variety of circumstances, ecologies, and histories.  
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Renderings of pillow-clad soccer stadium revealed for Cincinnati

The Ohio soccer club FC Cincinnati has revealed renderings of a new stadium designed by Meis Architects. The design borrows features from some of Europe's best stadia. Meis Architects, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York, has designed the $200 million stadium to seat 26,500 people, with room to expand to 30,000. The new stadium is part of FC Cincinnati's bid to become a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. If successful, the club, which was founded in 2016, will leave the United Soccer League (USL), moving into the new stadium in 2021. Preliminary designs feature a U-shaped bowl which will be illuminated by LED lighting underneath an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) canopy. The canopy can be lit up in the club's iconic orange and blue colors, much like the ETFE lighting scheme at FC Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena designed by Herzog & de Meuron. A site has yet to be confirmed, but a proposed site across the Ohio River in Newport means views of Downtown Cincinnati will be framed by the stadium. A retractable roof canopy meanwhile will act to mitigate noise from the stadium during game time. The main homestand, to be known as "The New Bailey,"  will be a single tier and have a capacity of 8,000, echoing the famous "kop" stand at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium in the U.K. The New Bailey will sit behind one of the goals in the open end of the enclosed horse-shoe shaped stadium. "It will lay against a tight dramatic backdrop, providing an unparalleled MLS experience for fans and players alike," said Meis Architects in a description of the stadium on its website.
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DPMT7 design collective explores entropy at Cincinnati's Aronoff Center

Work by DPMT7, a Cincinnati-based architecture/design collective, is now on show at The Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in downtown Cincinnati. DPMT7: Un Teatro Del Nuovo fills the gallery with a scaffolding structure and examines the “role of Architecture (“A” for emphasis) in a world of entropy.” The unprogrammed web of frames and lines divides the two-story gallery into smaller intimate spaces. On the lower level, construction scaffolding, safety nets, and other rough materials define the space. “The simplicity of the line moves through the city,” reads the gallery statement, “reinforcing the degradation of the existing without masking it.” The upper level is filled with models of multiple scales, including a set of large columns built from numerous raw construction materials. These elements are augmented by large scale drawings and collages. DPMT7 is a collective based at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Led by Vincent Sansalone, the team also includes Ryan Ball, Kory Beighle, Sean Cottengim, Nicholas Germann, Whitney Hamaker, and Joseph Kinzelman. DPMT7: Un Teatro Del Nuovo Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery Aronoff Center for the Arts 650 Walnut Street Cincinnati, Ohio Through August 27th
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Cincinnati builds what will be the country's first Net Zero Energy police station

The City of Cincinnati has recently put the final touches on perhaps the country’s most sustainable police stations. Recently certified LEED Platinum, the District Three Police Station is set to become the first Net Zero Energy police station in the country. Designed by Cincinnati-based emersion DESIGN in close collaboration with Messer Construction, the project was conceived as design-build from the beginning. The team was responsible for the architecture, interior design, structural engineering, sustainable consulting, and public engagement. Landscape design was handled by Cincinnati-based Human Nature. The new station was a long time coming. The former District Three Police Station was over 100 years old, and the city as a whole has not built a new police station in over 40 years. In replacing the station, the city looked at 27 different sites and 14 neighborhoods in the district to find the most impactful location. The site the city chose is in the West Price Hill Neighborhood Center, which has been pegged for transformation. The hope is the station will help spur development, and add to the area's improved pedestrian and bicycle focus. The project team held a series of community charrettes and the design aims for a physical connection with the nearby area: a colonnade in front of the station corresponds with 14 identical columns located throughout the district. emersion Design used various energy models to test the project's orientation, massing, fenestration, and thermal envelope qualities. A compact building footprint, advanced storm water system, and extensive drought tolerant landscaping opens the project to the public and showcases its sustainability goals. Other sustainable technologies used include a roof covered in photovoltaics and 40 geo-exchange wells. The construction process was also carefully planned to reduce waste. A total of 80.34 percent of the project’s construction diverted waste away from the region’s limited landfills. The design also called for recycled and local materials, and 97 percent Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. The District Three Police Station is the City of Cincinnati’s way of setting a benchmark for other civic buildings in the city and across the country.
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University of Cincinnati breaks ground on Henning Larsen's first U.S. project

The University of Cincinnati (UC) has broken ground on what will be the first U.S. project for Denmark-based Henning Larsen Architects. The 225,000-square-foot Carl H. Lindner College of Business will take two years to build at a cost of $120 million. Henning Larsen’s design focuses on encouraging interaction and allowing for future flexibility. Specifically designed to work with UC’s West Campus master plan, the building will be a central meeting place for the entire campus. As a nexus of activity, the project is boarded by a new transit stop, the Campus Green, a bustling pedestrian way, the campus Library, and a new plaza. The ground floor interacts with the Campus Green's landscaped mounds and numerous pedestrian paths through varied stepped levels. The green roofscape continues the connection with the surrounding campus via multiple lookout points, all varying in height to address neighboring structures. The roof's curving lines also make reference to the pedestrian paths below. Large open-air atria puncture the four-story building at different levels, bringing in light and air to the heart of the project. The interior space planning aims to bring faculty, students, and the greater Cincinnati business community together. Public functions fill the completely transparent ground level. A lecture hall and auditorium make up the largest programmed spaces, while a seating staircase and indoor and outdoor furniture allow for more informal meetings. Quieter spaces line some of the atria, allowing students to work under natural light. Along with a goal of achieving LEED Gold Certification, the project utilized Henning Larsen’s dedicated sustainability specialists throughout the entire design process. The team analyzed everything from wind forces to solar loads and local microclimates. Simulations based on that data were used to inform the form and orientation of the project. Henning Larsen has lead the design of the project while Cincinnati-based KZF Design is acting as architect of record. The design was chosen through a competition, with the Henning Larsen/KZF team beating out a shortlist that included Foster+Partners . The competition was part of the University’s Signature Architecture Program, which has helped bring work by the likes of Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Thom Mayne to the campus.
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Under Construction> Early Childhood Center at Cincinnati Country Day School

Adding to an impressive portfolio of projects on Cincinnati Country Day School’s campus, Michael McInturf Architects (MMA) has completed designs for the private school's latest addition: a 4-classroom house-like structure for 18-month to 3-year olds. The campus, 15 miles from downtown Cincinnati, includes a high school structure designed in collaboration with Greg Lynn circa 2001.   Since then, the firm has engaged in multiple rounds of masterplanning studies yielding a new elementary school, a sports pavilion, and a maintenance facility. MMA is also currently planning a major renovation to the campus athletic center and anticipates a completion date of late 2016 for this Early Childhood Center project. The facility will include a sculptural playscape—an outdoor landscape that formally connects the school to its neighboring elementary school—and a nature trail for programmed outdoor activities. The architects say this new “home” for Early Childhood education at Cincinnati Country Day will provide a "welcoming, fun and inspiring environment to house such a critical aspect of the campus experience." While facilitating improved learning and safety for the newest members of the campus, the design seeks to reinforce a core value of the distinctive educational program: a connection to nature. The design is informed by spatial equity, light, views, and play. A continuous “Ribbon Wall” weaves the spaces together to create a playful interaction between interior and exterior. The wall, formed from custom bent plywood, will be clad in a dark stained hardwood rainscreen. Roof monitors register four classroom spaces equally distributed radially around a central gathering space. The building is organized along a solar axis that maximizes natural daylight for each of the classroom spaces with respect to their most active use periods. Construction is anticipated to be complete later this year.
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Frederick and Harriet Rauh Residence wins Residential Design Award of Excellence from Docomomo

A modernist dwelling in the leafy village of Woodlawn near Cincinnati has picked up the Residential Design Award of Excellence from the Docomomo 2016 Modernism in America Awards. Less than a decade ago, the house—formerly owned by Frederick and Harriet Rauh—was in a mire of dereliction and decay. Located on 10068 Leacrest Road and originally built in 1938, the Rauh residency was designed by architect John H. Becker but had fallen victim to vandalism and neglect. In 2010, daughter of the original owners, Emily Rauh Pulitzer (an in-law of Joseph Pulitzer) donated the house, and funds to return it to its former glory, to the Cincinnati Preservation Association. Carrying out the restoration process was construction firm of Crapsey and Giles. Such was the success of their work, the house has also won a Preservation Merit Award by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO). "Preservation of modern architecture is not always an obvious choice," said Paul Muller, executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, to The Architect's Newspaper. "Since modernist buildings are close in time to us, and have not taken the glow of the distance past, many are in danger of just looking wore out, or worse, out-of-date, but not yet historic. One of the most rewarding aspects of the restoration of the Rauh house was that, because it was such an innovative design when built in 1938, the building still has a powerful impact on visitors. It has an exceptional ability to show how the modern style incorporated flowing space, connected the inside to the exterior, used abstract shapes to make intriguing compositions and celebrated industrial materials. We are lucky to have such an important example of modernism the restored to its original glory."
Jury Chair, Frederick A. Bland, FAIA, AICP meanwhile said: “An unusual example of the International Style of modernism in Ohio, this scholarly and holistic approach to the preservation of this severely deteriorated house and site will provide future generations a rich example of the full spectrum of many components of modernism. Not only will the building itself be preserved but also the landscape, furnishings, and art. A laudable added feature, a public outreach program including tours and symposia, is intended to engage and instruct the public.”
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Cincinnati’s CAC to host a celebration of the life and work of Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid’s untimely death has triggered a global conversation surveying her work and status in the history of the discipline. A wealth of former educators, partners, and colleagues has illuminated Zaha’s professional body of work with deeply personal tributes. Their words help to break down her mystique for the rest of us, and perhaps add another dimension to a body of work that spans over three decades. Adding to the conversation is an upcoming event at the Hadid-designed Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. The building is notably her first project in the United States, and has been called the first major museum in the United States to be designed by a female architect. Part panel discussion, part celebration, the event will be, according to CAC Director Raphaela Platow, an “afternoon of storytelling.” The program will survey Zaha’s work to the present, speculate on her firm’s future projects. Beyond this, a discussion of the CAC’s commission and construction promises to share stories of the famed architect’s working process. “Equity in Architecture—Zaha Hadid’s mentorship,” presented by Associate Dean of DAAP Patricia Kucker, will explore Zaha’s influence to architects worldwide as a woman that broke through barriers and challenged perceptions.
Platow said Hadid’s selection to design the CAC was aligned with their mission to celebrate cutting-edge work: “When our committee selected Zaha as the architect of The Rosenthal Center she had only successfully finished one building but her ideas, plans, models, and competition submissions where beyond remarkable; they were back then already showing a future path for architecture.” “Celebrating the Life and Work of Zaha Hadid” will be held at the Contemporary Arts Center on May 7th from 1:00-3:30pm. Free and open to the public. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: EVENT SPEAKERS: