Posts tagged with "College Campuses":

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New USC complex cloaks modern construction in Oxford- and Hogwarts-inspired gothic styling

With its recently-completed $1 billion expansion to the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles campus, the architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) has taken a definitive stance in the ongoing debate over resurgent neo-traditionalism in architecture by cloaking a strikingly contemporary complex behind filigree and lace. The 1.25-million-square-foot USC Village is spread across six Collegiate Gothic–style buildings on a site occupying the former University Village, a 1960s-era student-geared retail site that was recently purchased and torn down by the university. The new USC Village houses eight residential colleges, an 8,000-square-foot dining hall, a campus power plant, 130,000-square feet of retail spaces, and 2,500 beds of student housing spread across a six courtyard structures that surround a collection of retail-lined plazas and paseos. Initially, USC planned to have a traditional developer sign a long-term lease for the right to build on the site. The arrangement would have probably yielded, according to Mark Skiles, project architect at HED, a typical stick frame commercial complex designed to last only long enough for the developer to net a profit. Instead, the university opted to develop the property for itself, treating the project not just as a shiny and new student amenity, but as a full-fledged campus expansion. The change in vision resulted in a conceptual shift for the architecture, as well. “These are 100-year buildings,” Skiles explained while touring the site with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). “They are concrete frame construction.” The shift in construction technique—which comes with a slew of particular qualities different from those of stick frame construction—results in significant shifts to the prototypical architectural qualities of the complex. For one, the buildings stand taller and prouder than would normally be the case: concrete construction typically yields floor-to-floor heights of 10 feet, 9 inches that net dorm dwellers roughly an extra foot of overhead space over traditional stick frame construction. This results in taller buildings, overall. The 60-foot-tall blocks cast deep, cooling shadows on the hardscaped spaces between the buildings. Los Angeles–based landscape architecture firm RELM—formerly Melendrez—has successfully planted these areas with fine sycamores that will grow to stately heights in coming years. A central bosque adjacent to the main plaza—which will eventually be populated with benches and umbrellas—serves to cool the main square and aligns with one of the university’s main axes, mirroring the tree allées across the street on the main campus. The construction method is also reflected on the building’s panelized facades which were manufactured offsite and craned into place. The brick veneer-faced panels were fabricated by contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie in reverse order, with a layer of ⅝-inch brick veneer arranged in a mold that was then filled in with cement. The architects designed 80 unique panel types for the project. Protrusions covering the facades—sandstone-colored concrete tracery, window aprons and frames, and swept cornicework—serve to hide the seams between each panel in plain sight. The stylistic treatment—a requirement set by the client, who wanted to instill a sense of “history” on the 137-year-old university—elaborately invented as it may be, is a tour de force in contemporary construction practices. As such, sometimes these efforts are a bit ham-handed, especially along many of the windows, where awkward, cross-shaped concrete muntins stand proud of run-of-the-mill window frame assemblies. This detail of “old” architecture physically draped over modern construction is repeated throughout the complex, to sometimes great effect. The entry sequence at USC Village on Hoover street—the main community and parking entrance—suffers, however, from the blended approach. There, a large, overwrought gothic triumphal arch swallows cars underground, effectively disrupting the sidewalk with its wide ramp. The move is congruous with the university's uneasy community connections, including the need to close off and secure the campus. The omnipresent gates and entry kiosks can lend a hostile nature to the overall scheme. In other places, however, the details shine by deploying a consistent material and tectonic methodology that renders a great deal of relief to each facade and throughout the complex. The sandy-colored arched colonnades lining the courtyard, for example, are supported by the structure’s real concrete columns, not hollow concrete veneer tubes as might be the case in typical revivalist construction. The over-sized arches rest on squat, 18-inch thick Romanesque-style columns that were cast in circular footprints in order to be expressed in an evocative style, simultaneously revealing and obscuring the true scale of the building’s structural system. Behind the concrete panel arches above, furred-out soffits contain prosaic components like lighting and sensors that terminate in expanses of curtain wall. Like other aspects of USC Village, what you see is what’s there—the architects make little effort to hide the contemporary nature of their buildings. The aesthetic treatment for the project is interesting because it combines, in bits and pieces, symbolic elements of its derivative style from primary and secondary sources alike. The mess hall, which features a soaring wooden roof studded with dormer windows, for example, is inspired equally by Christ Church at Oxford University and Hogwarts Castle, according to the architects. The blend is not necessarily notable given the Los Angeles context, where historically-speaking, paper and white-wash pass for architecture more often than not. It is inventive nonetheless because those vernacular proclivities are blended by the designers toward creating a built language that is rooted not simply in image-based reference, but in surface relief and construction detail alike. Here, for example, lateral structure convincingly populates the ceilings of the clear-span space, adding detail and texture despite the chunky candelabra and the building’s overall squat proportions. Successful too are the student lounge courtyards that punctuate each residential college. Decked out in trees and planters, the spaces feel comfortable and useful all at once and provide necessary social and green spaces accessible to dorm rooms. Again, when the trees grow in, these spaces will be beautiful. Overall, the complex works as an exploration of how traditional style can be explored with a contemporary construction vocabulary. Regardless of whether the buildings lend today’s USC an air of much-sought “history,” one thing is for sure: like the original examples of their style, these Collegiate Gothic edifices will be around for a long time.
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Northwestern University builds a new curving, glassy home for its business school

Dubbed the Global Hub, Northwestern University’s latest addition to its Evanston campus is a grand new home to the Kellogg School of Management. The recently opened five-story building sits immediately along the shore of Lake Michigan on land reclaimed by the university decades ago. Defined by four large wings, which produce a plan that resembles the letter K, the curving form of the building makes no small reference to the waves on the water it overlooks.

“The first inspiration was the action of the water and the waves, and how they round off materials and forms to make them smooth,” explained Bruce Kuwabara, partner at Toronto-based firm KPMB, which designed the new building. “It was beautiful, the power of Lake Michigan and nature.”

The project is composed of a series of vastly different-sized spaces, accumulating to a whopping 415,000 square feet. The building is the new home to full-time business students, faculty, and administration offices. Collaboration areas throughout can accommodate from two to twenty individuals, and larger gathering spaces can handle from 200 to 2,000.

The largest space in the complex is the massive multistory center atrium, where all four wings connect. The structure’s exterior curves continue into this space in the form of flowing balconies and staircases. Two of the large wooden staircases at the heart of the building double as seating for formal and informal events. Another atrium on the upper levels acts a second major space. Both allow for copious amounts of natural light.

The building’s high-tech envelope not only allows in all of that light, but also contributes to the project’s goal of achieving LEED Gold certification. Throughout, double and triple glazing provide daylight and energy efficiency, while automated shading controls glare and solar gain. A series of undulating fritted glass fins adds an additional layer of shading. On the interior, borrowed light is distributed through glassed office partitions. Perhaps even more than daylighting and energy efficiency, the glass facade provides something the building takes ample advantage of: unmatched views of the lake and the downtown, 15 miles to the south.

Called the “Global Hub,” it is part of the University’s larger building program that includes the 2015 Goettsch Partners–designed Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Both new additions to the campus run counter to its existing catalogue of Brutalist and gothic-revival structures.

The stark contrast between old and new on Northwestern’s campus is the school’s physical manifestation of its vision for the future of education. And Northwestern is not alone—dark wood–lined halls and oak tree–filled quads are being replaced by brighter, more transparent and generous collaboration spaces at many traditional campuses. It is only a matter of time before the image of the elite campus is less about spires and more about sunlight.

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Emory University to replace a remarkable John Portman building with a new campus center

Emory University celebrated the opening of its new postmodernist campus center designed by hometown architect John Portman in 1986. Today, the school is preparing to knock it down and replace it with a contemporary structure that, according to Emory, aligns better with the school’s founding aesthetic: Mediterranean-style buildings in pink and gray Georgia marble. What does Emory’s decision tell us about aging modern buildings on more traditional American campuses?

In the early 1980s Emory University picked an architect with an oppositional style—Portman—to design its campus center and largest dining hall. Portman, whose Peachtree Center and Hyatt Regency define the Atlanta skyline, merged new and old at the Dobbs University Center (DUC) with the same drama of his supersized work. The three-story, 150,000-square-foot DUC adheres to the rear facade of one of the older 1920s buildings on campus. The two structures meet in the Coca-Cola Commons, a capacious indoor piazza and tiered dining hall that references Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy.

As a campus center (and main student dining hall), the DUC must do the heavy lifting of an increasingly commoditized typology. At American colleges and universities today, the campus center is both a social nucleus and a potentially powerful marketing tool. Emory decided the existing DUC was not fit for either task.

Though some schools like Emory have commissioned progressive architecture (or works by high-profile “starchitects”), universities competing for talent are almost obligated to furnish their campuses with ample, top-of-the-line amenities to lure prospective students. Middle-aged modern buildings—perceived as ungainly or unlikable—are the first obstacles to be eliminated in this fierce race.

Late modern architecture, in particular, can feel totalizing—deeply proportional, but scaled to giants—and outright hostile to context. But where does a school draw a line between saving a semi-dysfunctional building or demolishing it, potentially losing a structure of merit?

Emory studied renovation options for the DUC, but ultimately concluded there was no reasonable way to fix all of its issues, university architect Jen Fabrick said. As a dining hall, the DUC’s service layout makes food delivery massively inconvenient: Pallets have to be unpackaged at the loading docks and lifted in small elevators to third-floor kitchens, a daily labor-intensive task. The kitchen is too small to accommodate a growing student population and, in true Portman fashion, the dining commons is almost completely windowless.

The new Campus Life Center (CLC), designed by Durham, North Carolina–based Duda Paine Architects, addresses the DUC’s shortcomings while honoring its neighbors both materially and in orientation. A central stair divides a dining area, meeting rooms, and offices arranged on limestone plinths and connected by a wraparound terrace. University officials said the $98 million project, complete with a solar panel–clad roof, is expected to cost only slightly more than a renovation of the Portman addition.

In keeping with university design guidelines that honor tradition but don’t necessarily call for strictly traditional forms (there are new buildings with glass curtain walls, for example), the CLC “is very non-traditional in many aspects,” Fabrick said. The new design is tied to a 2005 campus master plan, which aims to “bring back a sense of place and then build on that as we go forward with our newer buildings,” she said. “In the 1980s there was an attitude to do something different and modern—I don’t know that they realized what they were doing.”

The original Beaux-Arts plan for the Emory campus was conceived by Pittsburgh architect Henry Hornbostel, who arranged its first buildings around central quads surrounded by lush ravines. Through World War II the campus retained its classical orientation, but after the war, campus design bent to the automobile. Buildings were oriented toward roads, and according to the college, experiments with modern architecture in the 1970s “ignored the original design etiquettes” of Hornbostel’s positioning, volume, and materiality.

Since then, university officials spent almost two decades determining how, and what, to build. The master plan, initiated in 1998 and updated seven years later, puts pedestrians before cars at every opportunity. To the university, as well as planners Ayers Saint Gross, a walkable campus was a beautiful one, and this included replacing some modern buildings with those that channeled the campus’s original architecture. So far, construction under the plan has added 3.8 million square feet of new space to campus.

Despite the crisis calls of preservation discourse, especially online, American colleges and universities aren’t out to sack every modern building—many have a strong history of stewardship for outmoded, expensive-to-maintain structures that could be easily replaced with lower-maintenance, high-performing alternatives. Off-campus, though, there’s growing concern that hard-to-love buildings of the modern movement are disappearing, only to be replaced with neo-traditional, historicist, or plain old contemporary structures that may be easier to live with but lack the radical appeal of their predecessors.

By choice or necessity, universities are essential custodians of modern architecture, but they also play to the market. “If a campus doesn’t look put together, or have a cohesive atmosphere, students may choose to go elsewhere,” said Barbara Christen, an architectural historian and former director of the CIC Historic Campus Architecture Project. “At the heart of this is an audience issue—there can be valid reasons why people don’t like late modern buildings especially, but by the same token, they might not know about what the architecture represents or how it expresses American culture.”

That’s especially true for Portman. Through the 1990s, he was best known for self-contained buildings in city centers that replaced the city center itself. In addition to his Atlanta work, Portman built his reputation on Detroit’s Renaissance Center, New York’s Marriott Marquis, San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center, and—critic Fredric Jameson’s favorite—the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, each of which offered lavish cities-within-cities that turned their glass backs on a decaying urban core. Lauded at the time for their vertiginous atria and theatricality, today, when walkable downtowns and energetic streetscapes are enormously popular with practitioners and the public, Portman’s holistic work can seem cold, corporate, and downright anti-urban.

The firm Portman founded tracks evolving public attitudes toward his work and its place in history. Walter E. Miller, principal and design director at John Portman & Associates, said he noticed a desire for campus buildings to be more “traditional in appearance” beginning in the 2000s. He added that the trend seemed more prevalent at public schools, with many buildings catering more to the preferences of alums and parents, rather than current students.

The trend plays out broadly: In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California (USC) sold and relocated an International style steel post-and-beam structure to build Fertitta Hall, a historicist new home for its business school, while in New London, Connecticut, Connecticut College redid the facade of its 1961 North Complex (“the Plex”), by Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon (the architects of the Empire State Building) to hide its distinctive modern features. DePaul University in Chicago is replacing its “cheese grater building,” designed by Holabird & Root in the 1960s, with a contemporary music school by Antunovich Associates. While not a replacement, Yale honors a preference for neo-traditional forms with a new $600 million collegiate gothic residential college by former architecture school dean Robert A.M. Stern. In 2011 Ezra Stiles College, designed by Eero Saarinen and completed in 1961, reopened to students after a sensitive $55 million dollar renovation that created more common areas and softened some of the complex’s harsher features. Recollections of veteran preservationists yield countless other buildings that survived, but barely.

To check changing taste, Christen said campuses should think about what the Class of 2100 will see: “The goal for campuses is to not only have a grasp of what their architectural and landscape inventory is, and consider what it represents about their past, but also to have a system in place for good guidance around future decisions.”

Emory cares for a particularly strong portfolio. Its stock of late modern architecture includes contributions from the giants: The Michael C. Carlos Museum by Michael Graves, William R. Cannon Chapel and the Pitts Theology Library interiors by Paul Rudolph, and the George W. Woodruff Physical Education Center by Portman. The school, Fabrick assured, has every intention of keeping these buildings.

Commissioning exciting contemporary buildings is a way for schools to visibly strengthen commitments to new ways of knowing, but modern architecture, especially late modern architecture, has a lot of catching up to do in eyes and minds of the public. What can be done to build appreciation? Christen, Miller, and other preservation experts all emphasize education that brings historical context into the conversation. They praise Docomomo’s education and advocacy work, and Christen noted that her alma mater, Williams College, has a semester-long course on reading the university’s (and American) history through the campus built environment. It’s a start.

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Valerio DeWalt Train transforms an east Michigan college

Chicago based-Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) has transformed Walsh College in Troy, Michigan. The adult business school caters to students who work full-time and attend classes at night. Since the 1970s, the college has grown organically. In order to better unify the campus and increase its visibility in the community, VDTA was asked to master plan, renovate, and build new buildings. The latest and the final phase of the project is the Livernois Road addition. The new addition re-imagines the public face of the college by adding three glass and steel pavilions to the street side of one of the oldest buildings on campus. The geometry and materials of the new addition reference a previous VDTA-designed project on campus. The pavilions provide new spaces for student services, a student lounge, and a “success center” for students to practice their professional communication skills. The master plan also called for improved circulation throughout the campus. The confusing floor plans of the existing buildings were rationalized and two primary paths were used to organize the entire complex. Media Objectives, an interdisciplinary design studio within VDTA, handled site-specific graphics to aid in wayfinding and the schools overall visual identity. Throughout the project, spaces were re-positioned to the advantage of the students. The existing administration space was reconfigured to eliminate all private offices. This freed up a substantial amount of space that was converted for student use. Extensive use of glass on the facade and the interior was used to bring light into the project and add transparency and light to passageways. Walsh College’s curriculum includes project-based learning, which requires students to often work in teams. Collaborative workspaces, leisure spaces, meeting rooms, and work rooms were all added for use by students, faculty, and staff. These new collaborative spaces are meant to emulate the latest in business work environments.
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1100 Architect combines an 1851 cottage with a modern research center on University of Pennsylvania’s campus

In 1865, “hat and cap merchant” Robert D. Work purchased a Gothic Revival cottage at 3803 Locust Walk in West Philadelphia, riding the wave of the migration to the suburbs. This cottage, designed by prolific architect and author Samuel Sloan, was built in 1851. It now forms part of the Perry World House—a new destination on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus courtesy of New York studio 1100 Architect.

Work’s cottage 165 years ago featured fake limestone—stucco scored to look like a French stone chateau in suburban Philadelphia. Today, the new structure, which officially opened September 20, employs a closed facade featuring real limestone blocks hanging from a steel, barn-like perimeter cage.

“The project presented the challenge of putting history adjacent to modernity in the most blunt and direct way,” said cofounder of 1100 Architect David Piscuskas. Though limestone carries connotations of weight, the facade respectfully resists falling flush to the cottage’s shingles, following this sight-line down the rest of the front elevation.

In addition, a cage structure facilitates a more or less column-free interior. This provided freedom when mapping out areas of circulation and spaces for interactivity. (The building has a capacity of 554.)

“Any structural columns that are there are hidden very well,” said Piscuskas, the soon-to-be AIA president of the New York chapter. Despite the closed facade, the building maintains a sense of transparency from both outside and within. “The way that you move through this building is celebrated and is on view at all times,” Piscuskas added. From the outside, wide, metal-framed oriel windows facing the street allow passerby to see inside: Bridges, staircases, and open social spaces are all on display.

Elements of the original structure can be found inside, too. An original wall from the cottage is near the foyer. On the second floor, a meeting room translates the language of the facade as an extrusion through the space. A pitched ceiling creates a sense of verticality resulting from combining the cottage’s original second floor and attic and restructuring the roof.

On South 38th Street, the Wharton School’s imposing building once jarred with the quaint stylings of this 19th-century cottage six lanes of traffic away. Now, its impact is less severe, thanks to the new massing that still manages to mirror and echo the former suburban vernacular. Made up almost entirely of glass fenestration, the double-height venue gets a generous dose of daylight, making it an attractive place to meet. The roof comprises a series of pitches, all varying in height, which creates a contemporary expression of the original gables.

Form was also guided by inconveniences, such as a manhole encroaching on the building’s footprint. “We saw this as an opportunity to have more fun,” said Piscuskas, who described how a chunk carved from a corner was a workaround that aligned with the rest of the building’s similar geometry. The site’s topography, too, falls in line with the angular aesthetic as open space in the rear slopes down to the street.

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Steven Holl creates dramatic contrast with his two buildings on University of Iowa campus

While it is rare that an architect is given the chance to build adjacently to a former project, this was the case for Steven Holl Architects’ latest addition to the University of Iowa campus, in Iowa City, Iowa. Not only does Holl’s new Visual Arts Building sit next to his 2006 Arts Building West, together they create one of the campus’s major outdoor quads. For Holl, the challenge was not just to build a great building, but to build one that was even better than his much-loved first addition to the campus.

After the 2008 Iowa floods, a record-breaking, devastating natural disaster, the University of Iowa needed to replace its original 1936 Visual Arts Building. Rather than go directly to Holl to build the new project, the university held a design competition, which Holl won. The approach to the project would be vastly different than that of the 2006 building.

“You have to make it as good or better,” Holl explained. “That is why it took 30 schemes to get it right. We took the approach, as we have done before in terms of historic buildings, of complementary contrast. The first building is Cor-Ten and planar, with the steel structure exposed. This building is volumetric, not planar and concrete, not steel, and a different strategy altogether.”

Comprised of four offset levels, seven vertical cutouts produce outdoor balconies and indoor atria, bringing light deep into the new building. Other apertures lay behind the outer porous zinc skin system, arranged and sized with the Fibonacci sequence. Together, the cutouts and windows allow for studio spaces to be completely daylit. The interior cutouts also provide space for the buildings major vertical social and circulation areas. These communal spaces were at the heart of the project’s design.

“The seven cuts of light vertically penetrate the laminar shifting section,” Holl said. “We give them all equal weight as social spaces. These become places where you take a break and talk to a friend or someone from another department. The formal operation becomes a social operation, and one of bringing in light.” 

The structure of the 126,000-square-foot project plays an important role in realizing the bright, open interior. The floor plates are poured-in-place biaxial voided slabs, or “bubbledeck” slabs. This technique, used for the first time in the United States, allows for integrated mechanical systems, including radiant heating and cooling. With lighter-than-typical floor slabs and zero ductwork, the interior could be more readily dedicated to programmed space.

The Visual Arts Building will be home to art history, ceramics, 3-D design, metal arts, sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing, graphic design, multimedia, video art, and photography.

[As part of our 2016 Best of Design Awards, this project won 2016 Building of the Year > Midwest. Click here to learn more!]

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Allied Works, Michael Maltzan, and Studio Gang compete for California College of the Arts campus design

Allied Works Architecture (AWA), Michael Maltzan Architects (MMA), and Studio Gang Architects (SGA) have been selected as finalists to design a new campus for California College of the Arts (CCA). The architects are vying to design a new extension to the school’s San Francisco campus that would unify the institute’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty, 250 staff members and 34 academic programs on one site. Currently, CCA’s students and programs are split between a campus in San Francisco and one in nearby Oakland, California. The new campus expansion would grow on a 2.4-acre lot bordering the existing facilities in San Francisco and would be developed over the following five years. The project also aims to address San Francisco’s housing crisis by supplying roughly 1,000 beds of on- or near-campus housing by 2025, a healthy increase over the 500 currently available beds split between the two existing campuses. The expansion will have a heavy emphasis on sustainable design practices, with the college citing the inclusion of sustainability strategies for water and energy generation, usage, and conservation, air quality, and environmentally safe art-making materials and practices as central tenets of the expansion. CCA will also engage in an effort to preserve the school’s current Oakland campus, which dates back to 1922. The university aims to redevelop that property, the historic Treadwell Estate, in a way that might “reflect and amplify CCA's legacy,” including, potentially, some sort of “mission-aligned” use like affordable housing or as the location of an educational institution. The planned expansion comes after several years of architect-guided planning at CCA, with architectural firms Gensler and MKThink producing a strategic framework for planning for the campus in 2015 that was followed by year-long comment period seeking to engage professors and students, alumni, and trustees. Following the comment period, San Francisco—based Jensen Architects created a space-planning guide from the Gensler and MKThink report that was then used to vet potential architecture firms, with the resulting selection of AWA, MMA, and SGA indicating the school is ready to move onto the next phase of fielding proposals from each team. In a press release announcing the finalists’ selection, CCA President Stephen Beal stated, “This is the moment for CCA to elevate and scale our distinctive, learn-through-making educational model by unifying our campuses to improve the student experience. We will develop future creative leaders and reimagine higher education on a campus like no other—one built with advanced measures of sustainability where every workspace, public space, and landscape serves as a living, learning laboratory for collaboration, risk-taking, and experimentation. We are looking forward to finding a partner architectural firm that can help us realize this vision.”
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Gensler given the green light for new Del Mar College campus

San Francisco firm Gensler's proposal for the new 96 acre Del Mar College campus in Corpus Christi, Texas has been given the official go-ahead. The campus will be located in the city’s Southside on the corner of Yorktown Boulevard and Rodd Field Road.

A timeline and funding for the scheme hasn't yet been established. However, planning for the project is due to total $1.8 million, financed from a bond package which was given voter approval in 2014. According to the Caller Times, officials have said a “funding source to build the campus will likely be in the hands of voters.”

Last year the college saw more than 24,000 students take part in credit and continuing education courses. "What we have is an opportunity to enlarge theses programs,” Del Mar’s vice president of Workforce Development and Strategic Initiatives Lenora Keas said. She also reiterated the necessity for the college’s expansion, saying that the courses offered are almost at capacity. Enrollment numbers for workforce and continuing education courses have witnessed growth of 76 percent over the last five years. "The demand is there like never before," said Escamilla.

Continuing education courses would be offered at the new campus—which would serve up to 20,000 students—as well as engineering, computer science, hospitality and architecture, among others.

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Steven Holl unveils proposal for Franklin & Marshall College’s Visual Arts building

New York-based firm Steven Holl Architects has been awarded commission for the new Visual Arts Building at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The firm presented their scheme, which features trees and vegetation encapsulating the pavilion, to the College’s Board of Trustees on campus on May 5th. Covering 35,000 square feet, the new Visual Arts Building is set to replace the existing Herman Arts Building which is just under half the proposal's size at the cost of $10 million. Dubbed by Steven Holl as a "pavilion on the park," President of the College, Daniel R. Porterfield commented that the project inspired everyone. "Great architecture is itself educational," he said. "It inspires all of us to reach, to imagine, to expand our ideas. It helps us envision the future of liberal arts education for the world we inhabit today." The all-white "pavilion" uses the curvature of its concave form to gain presence and respond to its woodland context which boasts wide-spanning trees, many of which are more than a century old. At the center of the design is a forum on the ground floor. Enclosed by glass, the spatial arrangement facilitates circulation around the periphery as well views into the pavilion itself and beyond onto green landscape of Buchanan Park. The forum will also be joined by a specialized space that caters for large-scale stone and metal sculpting. Above on the second floor, a series of studios will be dotted around a central common area. Film labs, a cinema-screening auditorium and lecture hall will also be included to serve many of the College's programs. Classrooms and office/studio spaces for faculty and advanced students will be located on the third floor, offering a view over the park and studios below. Speaking of the building's aesthetic, Holl said his firm didn't have any "single 'style." "We always try to shape a unique experience, and our approach is the same with this project," Added Holl. "We look to create something of this place, to inspire future students." Aside from looks and spatial configuration, the new visual arts building will also feature underfloor heating integrated with a geothermal heating and cooling system. Ben Winter, Vice Chair of the College's board of trustees, said "No effort of generosity comes without being inspired—by a place, by people, by a project. In this case, it's all of those things."
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Sculptural infrastructure and carefully crafted facade strengthen an Australian campus community

© Peter Bennetts © Peter Bennetts

"It has never looked the same on any two times I have been to site."

JCY Architects and Urban Designers have created a student services building on the Australian campus of Edith Cowan University that acknowledges the cultural identity of local Aboriginal community while providing sculptural infrastructure linking the campus community through a series of landscaped environments. The major elements of the building are an elevated concrete podium helping to negotiate a steep grade change, and a perforated aluminum solar shade. The project acts as a web with a central internal vertical spine atrium linked to various programs with a set of interconnected timber clad stairways. An elevated concrete podium navigating a significant grade change is formally derived from fluid dynamics studies of the flow of water through Australian billabong waterways. The podium's folded and sculpted white concrete soffit and faceted columns create their own seductive landscape, 'eroded' and opened up as would be found in nature when stone is sculpted by water. The architects designed the building in a way that makes future conversion to classroom space possible. This was achieved by incorporating “bubbledeck” concrete floor plates. This voided-slab forming system reduces the weight of the slab, increasing efficiency and reducing overall cost. The long span system allows for more slender columns, a generous structural grid spacing of around 30 feet by 30 feet, and a reduction of the shear walls required within the open plan layout. The architects also accounted for the maximum future utility spaces that would be required with a future change of use, which they say required over 30 percent redundant floor area.
  • Facade Manufacturer Penguin International Pty Ltd
  • Architects JCY Architects and Urban Designers
  • Facade Installer PACT Constructions (Contractor); Penguin International (Sub-Contractor); CR Steel (Structural Steel)
  • Facade Consultants ARUP (Facades); BG&E (Structural Steel)
  • Location Joondalup, Western Australia
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System faceted concrete podium and a gold perforated aluminum sun-shading skin, ceramic frit glazing
  • Products Alucobond Spectra; gold anodized perforated aluminum by Penguin International, Fielders TL-5 (roofing); Darley Skywall 150mm Unitized Curtain Wall Double Glazed System (Supplied/Installed by Penguin International)
Embedded within the fabric of the interior and exterior skins are a number of themes which were developed through a collaboration between the architects and ECU’s Cultural Liason Officer from Kurrongkurl Katitjin and the local Noongar community.  One outcome is a gold anodized perforated aluminum screen that folds around three upper levels of the building. Patterning is derived from curved, overlapping patterns of the chest feathers of a Carnarby Cockatoo, and creates a layered undulating effect. The perforation of the panels derived from manipulations to photographs of chest feathers from a black cockatoo. Hole diameters correspond to light values on the photograph – the darker the pixels, the larger the openings. Data from the open percentage of each panel was used in shading calculations to comply with Building Code Glazing Performance Criteria. Will Thomson, Principal at JCY, says the major constraints with this shading system were related to costs: “We could have no more than 8 different hole punch diameters to fit the project budget, and once these had been determined they were carefully set-out at 1:1 shop drawing over the panel drawings. They varied between 20-40% open area to meet the ESD requirements.” This aesthetic is introduced to the interior glazing system through a custom ceramic frit pattern and textile design of the carpeting. The fabrication and assembly process included several full size prototypes, which helped to resolve panel geometry. Thomson says the mockups resulted in many fabrication changes to allow for tolerance, movement of dissimilar metals, panel assembly details, material selections, and structural connection details. The anodized finish of the aluminum skin is inspired by the shimmering scales of a butterfly wing. Thomson says the anodized finish consists of a range of colors: “This has created an amazing patina of differing gold panels across large swatches of elevation and added a texture to the facade that would otherwise be lacking. The way the building changes color during the day, across the seasons is always a welcome delight. It has never looked the same on any two times I have been to site since the cladding works have been completed.”
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Obama Library proposal calls for an enormous park over Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway

A lush green park reaching over the Eisenhower Expressway. Bus rapid transit connections. Economic invigoration for the North Lawndale neighborhood. Those are some of the visions outlined in the University of Illinois Chicago's proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, made public Monday. AECOM, Isaiah International and Morphosis consulted on the proposal, which splits its ambitious plans for the nation's 14th presidential library across two sites: a vacant 23-acre city-owned site in North Lawndale and an institute on UIC's Near West Side campus. The Lawndale plot is bound by Roosevelt Road and Kostner, Kildare, and Fifth avenues. Among the benefits the authors say their proposal will bring to the community—predominantly Black, with nearly half of residents below the poverty line—are a linear park and bikeway, as well as commercial development in the surrounding area. UIC's 85-page proposal invokes a history of progressive politics and urban planning in Chicago, from Daniel Burnham and Jane Addams to Walter Netsch and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The plan calls for establishing a social service center named the O-4 Institute (the O's stand for “one world, opportunity, optimism and outreach) on UIC's existing campus, which would serve as a hub for academic research, fellowships and activities for university students and community members alike. In a video outlining the proposal, UIC positions its plan as a continuation of Obama's social service, which began when he worked as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side. “UIC offers an expansive plan that prioritizes social and economic equity. This is a rare and extraordinary opportunity: a presidential library and museum reimagined, to not only celebrate history but to make it; to preserve Barack Obama’s legacy and expand it,” reads text accompanying the proposal video. UIC's proposal is up against plans from Columbia University and Hawaii University. Closer to home it's competing with the University of Chicago. UIC's hometown rival, where Obama taught law, submitted plans for three possible sites in and around South Side parks. You can download the full proposal here.
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ZGF Builds a Suit of Armor for The University of Oregon

The glass, stone, and metal exterior of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex evokes the strength and agility of a college athlete.

The superhero and the Samurai. That’s where Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) began their design of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex at the University of Oregon. The football player, the architects imagined, is like Batman: stealthy and strong, he came to his powers not by supernatural accident, but through relentless training. At the same time, the athlete is a highly skilled warrior, the modern-day equivalent of Japanese military nobility. The facade of the new football training facility materializes these ideas in glass, stone, and metal. Dominated by horizontal expanses of tinted glass, it is powerful but not foreboding. ZGF offers the analogy to a suit of armor: the building’s skin balances protection and connection, solidity and agility. The most direct expression of the armor metaphor is on the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex’s west exterior. In Eugene, the real solar challenge comes not from the south, but from the west, where the sun hovers near the horizon for long periods all winter long. To minimize glare, the designers placed a floating sunscreen across the western face of the building. Using elevation studies and interior models, they determined the optimal placement of a series of tinted glass panels held in an aluminum frame developed by Benson Industries. The result is seemingly random arrangement of overlapping rectangles, which ZGF’s Bob Snyder likened to scales on a Samurai’s costume. On the other three sides of the building, ZGF installed a curtain wall of fritted, triple-pane insulated glass units supplied by SYP. The frit pattern was inspired by the nearby John E. Jacqua Academic Center for Student Athletes, which ZGF also designed. The Jacqua’s facade comprises two layers of glass, five feet apart with a stainless steel wire screen in between. At the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, the designers achieved a similar texture on a single layer of glass. “We saw that as a microcosm of the five-foot wall [at Jacqua],” said Snyder. The frit pattern was developed to be visible from both outside and inside the building, and to suggest movement as one passes along the facade.
  • Facade Manufacturer Benson Industries, SYP, Western Tile & Marble, Streimer Sheet Metal Works
  • Architects ZGF Architects LLP
  • Location Eugene, Oregon
  • Date of Completion August 2013
  • System triple-pane insulated glass curtain wall with frit, floating glass sunscreen, stone, metal panels
The final components of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex exterior are stone and metal cladding. ZGF chose granite and basalt from Western Tile & Marble, which was treated with water jets for a striated texture. The designers used stone primarily on the first three floors of the building. “We established that as the stone zone, we wanted the weight of that material, the high durability of that material down low where folks would come into contact [with it],” said Snyder. Above, the stone transitions to aluminum panels for a lighter feel. “We worked with [Streimer Sheet Metal Works] to get the tightest radius we could get on the ribs of the metal panel,” explained Snyder. “We really struggled with that material [to make it] as fine as the stone, so it didn’t look like you were wearing tennis shoes with your tuxedo.” Plate-steel fins at the mouth of the parking garage and near the entrance sidewalk suggest the hard back of a dinosaur—yet another reference to armor. For Snyder, the combination of materials on the building’s facade achieve a balance between groundedness and ambition. Like the athletes inside it, the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex remains tied to the earth even as it appears to float above it. “The idea is that to be really good at football, you need to be right on the edge,” said Snyder.