Posts tagged with "Columbia University":

Remembering historian Christiane Collins, who fought Columbia University to preserve Harlem’s parks

Christiane Crasemann Collins was born in Hamburg Germany, and immigrated first to Chile and then to the United States. She obtained a Master's degree in History of Art and later in Library Science from Columbia University, but her marriage to the late George R. Collins brought her closer to architecture. They both were prolific contributors to the architectural field in the United States. While George was known for many interests, he was most associated with the work of Antonio Gaudi. Christiane was proud of the avant-garde in Germany that she was born into, and, together, she and George published a path-breaking two-volume book on Camillo Sitte (1843-1903) and the Birth of City Planning—translating many German-language texts into English and putting Sitte into a historical context for English speakers. Their other major translation from German into English was The Architecture of Fantasy; Utopian Building and Planning in Modern Times (1962). This was initially authored by Ulrich Conrad and Hans G. Sperlich, and was the Collins's attempt to forge an end to the functionalism that proliferated after WWII and inspiring an appreciation of Expressionism. Her other feats in major architectural publications consisted of books on Werner Hegemann and the history of defeating Columbia University's plans for building a campus gym. She taught at Columbia University and Cornell University, where she started by substituting for architectural historian Christian Otto. Christiane not only honored her familial ties to the heritage of German culture but also to her Spanish roots in Chile, where her family had moved to avoid the horrors of WWII. She became an important contributor to avant-garde circles in Chile and other Latin American countries where she had many friends. Although she traveled extensively, she resided mostly in New York City and in Falmouth, MA. The grounds of her Falmouth house she oversaw studiously, and it is there, in her beloved house, that she cataloged the sizable library she and George had helped to accrue.

Towards Openness, Book Launch at NEW Inc.

Book Launch and Discussion with authors Li Hu and Huang Wenjing of OPEN Architecture Drawn from keen observation of the rapidly changing social economic landscape of China, and using OPEN Architecture’s projects as case studies, Towards Openness is a symphony of seven built projects and six idea chapters that are interestingly interwoven to offer an in-depth examination of OPEN’s unique practice and the critical thinking underlying its work. OPEN is a passionate team of designers, collaborating across different disciplines to practice urban design, landscape design, architectural design and interior design, as well as the research and production of design strategies in the context of new challenges. Authors Li Hu and Huang Wenjing will introduce the book and discuss current work. The book will be available for sale at the event. www.openarch.com If you are not a member of the GSAPP Incubator or NEW INC community and would like to attend this event, please RSVP.

The Graham Foundation announces 2017 Carter Manny Awards for architectural scholarship

The Graham Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Carter Manny Awards. Founded to recognize promising doctoral students engaged in advanced scholarship in architecture, the awards are given to two recipients for writing and research each year. Since 1996, the award has provided over $775,000 to PhD candidates. This year’s winners are James Graham of Columbia University for writing, and Razieh Ghorbani of UC Berkeley for research. James Graham’s dissertation, "The Psychotechnical Architect: Perception, Vocation, and the Laboratory Cultures of Modernism, 1914–1945," examines the influence of psychology on architectural pedagogy and practice during the period between the world wars. The research focuses on the rise of the interrelation of psychology, vocational education, and occupational therapy, all of which saw a rise in the mid-20th century. Comparisons are also explored as these fields are applied to architecture in the Soviet Union, the United States, and Germany. Ghorbani’s dissertation, entitled "The Space of Sanctions: Architecture and Construction in Contemporary Iran," looks at the “culture of sanctions” and its effect on architectural practice in Iran. Rather than a strictly political or economic understanding of sanctions, Ghorbani’s work explores the material and special implications of forced austerity. In particular, the research looks at how sanctions have transformed the way in which the design and building industries perform culturally and socially. This year the awards were also extended to three citations of special recognition. These three awards went to Kera Lovell of Purdue University, Nikki Moore of Rice University, and Matthew Mullane of Princeton University. The Graham Foundation awards three categories of grants each year to dozens of architects, designers, historians, and academics. Over the past 60 years, the foundation has awarded millions of dollars to support research in architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright and NYC’s first public housing development together in new exhibit

  This Friday, September 8, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University's Manhattanville campus will open a new exhibition, Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem, & Modern Housing. Developed by Columbia GSAPP's Temple Hoyne Buell Center, the Wallach Art Gallery, and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, the exhibition is presented in tandem with MoMA's current show Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive. This exhibit, however, will center two parallel narratives: Wright's vision for Broadacre City, an exurban solution to questions around housing as an alternative to dense urban environments, and the simultaneous development of Harlem's first public housing for working-class African Americans. Presenting a range of drawings, archival photographs and other paraphernalia from the late 1920s to the late 1950s, the show aims to present conflicts around what inclusive housing can and should look like, and the particular problems this question posed in an era of trenchant segregation and economic inequality. Tracing Broadacre's inception in 1935 and its afterlife in much of Wright's later work alongside the 1936 groundbreaking of the Harlem River Houses under Roosevelt's New Deal, Living in America abuts not just questions about housing but its social consequences, from the structure of the nuclear family to debates about the privatization of public space. The show's title is drawn from an inscription on panels accompanying the physical Broadacre City model – now iconic and highly disputed among planners, architects and landscape architects alike. In addition to the exhibit, The Buell Center will host a symposium on September 28 and 29 as part of its longer-term research project, Power: Infrastructure in America, which has previously presented programs with the likes of Forensic Architecture's Eyal Weizman and author Kim Stanley Robinson.
Location:
Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Gallery, Columbia University
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129th Street
Opening reception:
September 8 from 6 – 8 p.m.
On view:
September 9, 2017 – December 17, 2017

Liam Young’s films explore how technology will shape cities and daily life

Liam Young: New Romance is the first solo exhibition for the filmmaker, storyteller, futurist, and architect in the U.S., presented by the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery at Columbia. Young’s work is an examination of fiction, technology, and the near future through cinema and visualization. The exhibit will feature three of Young’s short films: In the Robot Skies (2016), an exploration of love in the time of drone surveillance; Where the City Can’t See (2016), a look at subcultures in the near-future world of data shot entirely with laser scanning technology; and Young’s most recent film, Renderlands (2017), a look at the half-realities of rendered worlds built with the leftovers of digital rendering projects. Alongside the films will be several props Young created for the work and research he utilized for his fictitious cinematic universes, emphasizing his focus on existing technologies and networks and how he begins to project them into unknown futures.

Liam Young: New Romance The Ross Gallery in Buell Hall Columbia University 1172 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City Through May 13, 2017

GSAPP to open new exhibition of architectural models of iconic projects

Stagecraft: Models and Photos at Columbia University's Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery will showcase newly commissioned photography of student-crafted models of major 20th-century buildings, along with the models themselves. The six models—which interpret projects by Peter Zumthor, Jørn Utzon, Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Foster, and Le Corbusier—were crafted by GSAPP students of Professor Kenneth Frampton during the 1990s through the early 2000s. Noted architectural photographer James Ewing is behind the new photography. "Experimenting with a range of photographic techniques, Ewing’s photographs of these models invite a reexamination of how architectural creativity and thinking unfold through the picturing of objects and the crafting of images," said the GSAPP in a press release. In the same release, GSAPP Dean Amale Andraos added:
This exhibition allows us to revisit a set of models that have long peppered the halls of our School.... They serve as an integral part of Professor Kenneth Frampton’s pedagogical project to teach both architecture and architectural history. While offering a critique of the ways in which architectural history is normally taught, the process of building models allows students to access knowledge about architecture through making it again.
Stagecraft: Models and Photos will be on view from Feb. 9 to Mar. 10. A discussion and exhibition reception will take place 6pm on the 9th and feature Kenneth Frampton, James Ewing, Amale Andraos, and Irene Sunwoo.

Building of the Day: Columbia University’s Knowledge Center

This is the twenty-fourth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! Columbia University came to Mitchell | Giurgola for the renovation of their Knowledge Center after the New York-based firm previously renovated their Learning and Teaching Center in 2008. Originally housing the Columbia University Medical Center’s library, Jill Wendorff and Carl Gruswitz wanted to take the space in a different direction as compared to the classic definition of a “library.” Recognizing that a university’s collections consist of more than just books, Wendorff and Gruswitz rebranded the area as the Knowledge Center, a place where tech and data outlets abound. To that effect, Mitchell | Giurgola moved the majority of books offsite and opened up the area to make it much more collaborative. Wendorff wanted to create an open area while having different zones with different purposes. Different furniture items and carpet patterns help designate these different zones. In the spirit of creating a 21st-century study space, Wendorff wanted to add as many power outlets as possible. When it became clear that it wasn’t possible to add hundreds of new outlets on the floor, which would make it structurally unstable, Wendorff worked with Steelcase to create furniture with outlets built into them, thereby distributing the power outlets throughout the room without having to add power outlets to the floor. Wendorff wanted the space to be as flexible as possible, so she added movable whiteboards throughout the Knowledge Center; these added study tools and help block off sections of the space. While the majority of the space is very open, there are rooms around the perimeter that students and educators to use as classrooms, conferences rooms, or just to have a quiet work room. In creating the new conferences rooms, Mitchell | Guirgola pulled back portions of the wall to create a new corridor space, connecting the first floor Knowledge Center with the Teaching and Learning Centers on the lower levels. Mitchell | Giurgola renovated the lower levels in 2008, which at the time contained the Medical School’s library. Gruswitz wanted to shrink the collection as much as possible to add new classrooms and learning spaces. Much of the collection was moved offsite, while other materials were digitized as much as possible. For the materials that had to remain on site, Gruswitz employed the use of compact shelving to further compress the collection as much as possible. A total of seventeen classrooms were added to the lower levels of differing sizes. Much like the Knowledge Center on the first floor, the classrooms are able to be divided into different sizes, depending on need. Movable walls allow the larger classrooms to transform into two smaller classrooms, adding much needed space when needed. The classrooms follow the very collaborative method of learning featured throughout the site. They have large tables with computer connections that allow students to share images with other students also connected at the table. Additionally, large TV screens allow them to display the images for the entire class when needed. The classrooms extend out into the sidewalk, and as Gruswitz told us, the space originally had a large supporting column through the middle. This column had to be removed to accommodate the classroom, so Mitchell | Giurgola instead installed a large horizontal girder through the ceiling for structural support. We ended our tour in the student lounge, which had large windows installed during the 2008 renovation. This allows those in the Knowledge Center to peer down to the lounge. The added glass also helps to bring light into the subterranean space. During the renovation, a new entrance was installed by cutting a doorway in the façade. All in all, the renovation of the space helps to create a totally new collaborative environment for the entire Columbia Medical Center. Join us tomorrow as we venture to Hudson Yards! About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Shadows Over Camelot!) and brewing his own beer.

Renzo Piano’s Jerome L. Greene Science Center of Columbia University edges closer to completion

Columbia University's building surge at its new Manhattanville campus appears to be on course as Renzo Piano's Jerome L. Greene Science Center edges closer to completion. The Italian architect with his firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), started design on the building in 2010. Piano was on hand to give a talk at the building yesterday, while Antoine Chaaya, a partner at RPBW, showed The Architect's Newspaper (AN) around. Despite iterating his distaste and "suspicion" for metaphors, Piano described the Jerome L. Greene Science Center as a "palace" and a "factory." "If it is a palace, then it is a palace of light—it is not obscure," he said at the event. "And if it is a factory ... then it is a factory exploring the secret of the mind, the brain, and behavior." Rising to nine stories, the 450,000-square-foot building will be home to Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Approximately 900 scientists will occupy the facility making use of the flexible teaching facilities available. The ground floor, meanwhile, delves more into the public realm. In what Piano describes as an "urban layer," the design gives the public full access to the street level concourse. Here visitors will find a community Wellness Center (offering blood pressure and cholesterol screenings as well mental health and stroke prevention training), an Education Lab (offering public programs on brain science), shops, and restaurants. These public areas are accessible via a main walkway that allows volumetric divisions from within the building's massing to be seen. Also along this wide-birthing corridor, interactive installations—part of what they've called "The Synapse"—will showcase the research that is being carried out within the building. Amid community opposition to Columbia moving to the site, Piano said, “a well-crafted building is a good thing to do, it's a promise of something good. It's not just aesthetics—making things well is more than aesthetics—it's ethics.” Transparency and legibility then were important aspects of RPBW's design. Zoning for the "Special Manhattanville Mixed Use District", which RPBW worked with, Skidmore Owings & Merrill,  the city and Vice President of Manhattanville Development at Columbia University Marcelo Velez to develop, meant that public accessibility was a priority at ground level. "The transparency requirement for the district [stipulated] that at least 70 percent of the surface of the street wall (i.e. ground wall/urban layer) required glazing and at least 50 percent of the surface of the street wall requires the glazing to be transparent," Velez told AN. "This was so the public can be reassured that nothing sinister is going on within the scientific research building and act as a form of community engagement." The result of this saw RPBW's design, from a tectonic angle, respond to its environment in multiple ways. On all four sides, the facade sees extensive glass fenestration encased by an arrangement of exterior bracing and steel beams that run up through the structure. In doing so, the building makes a nod to the tectonics of the subway line (#1 train) and Riverside Drive highway that can be seen on the east and west sides respectively, while providing vistas all around and allowing the public to peer into the center. However, while the subway line and highway can be seen, they cannot be heard. The curtain walling system, found on the northeast and southeast sides, uses a 16-inch-thick cavity between layers of glass the exterior of which has been coated to minimize solar gain. Inside, blinds—part of an automated building management system—can be dropped down to counter glare issues. Echoing Piano's "factory" sentiment, Antoine Chaaya described the building as a "machine to show science" as he pointed out a silent #1 train passing by. The sense of openness is conveyed inside, too. Interior spaces are segmented by floor to ceiling windows (that offer blinds for privacy if needed). In these working, teaching, and meeting areas, indirect light (through uplighting in some cases) is used to illuminate the spaces, with direct daylight only being used for circulatory areas. Pedestrian interconnectivity was also a key area of focus said Velez, who worked on the master planning of the site. The Jerome L. Greene Science Center is due to open in spring next year, as is RPBW's Lenfest Center for the Arts which sits next to it. Other builds are also in the pipeline in the vicinity. The Columbia Business School—two buildings, one from Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the other from FXFowle—are set to open in 2021. Three others: The University Forum and Academic Conference Center; The Studebaker Building, and The Nash Building should be open by 2018. Saying how trees will line the pathways and walkways in the area, Velez thinks that the design parameters (such as zoning) and continuous pedestrian scale will result in the creation of a cohesive architectural language for the site.

DS+R’s Vagelos Center masterfully balances verticality, high-tech medicine, and spaces for learning

It is easy to walk through the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center of Columbia University Medical Center by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and forget that one is on a campus. Where are the large lecture halls with auditorium seating? Is there really no cafeteria? Surely a medical and graduate education building requires dedicated spaces to accommodate the differences between orthopedics and cardiology? Although the building contains a dramatic auditorium with a spectacular view of the Hudson River, the Palisades, and the George Washington Bridge—not to mention a donated grand piano ready to be rolled in for concerts—it eschews traditional classrooms in favor of “active learning classrooms” with operable partitions.

Exterior terraces, stepped lounges, and the sky lounge on the top floor create a visually and kinesthetically beguiling feast of nooks and corners for conversation and the exchange of ideas. Although permeated by the most advanced media technology, which can disseminate the latest research or procedure to every screen in the school, its spirit is that of an ancient academy in which small groups of students and teachers collaborate, talk, listen, and learn. One can easily imagine distraught medical students finding comfort after their first anatomical dissections in one of the many study spaces or in the double-height student commons. In this building, the micro and the macro, the cell and the city, obtain a wondrous harmony.

That this 100,000-square-foot, 14-story tower is the tallest building yet realized by DS+R—and one of the rare medical school facilities designed as an integral vertical structure—inevitably raises the question of how successfully the architects have negotiated the jump to a larger scale and the challenge of building a Manhattan high-rise. Happily, nothing in the Vagelos Center, except perhaps the somewhat perfunctory lobby, misses a beat, from the circulation and separation of complex programs, to the small footplate that creates intimacy by eliminating long and alienating corridors, to the soundproofing that admits city sounds while maintaining a welcome quiet. The “study cascade” side of the tower evokes the “folded noodle” of the architects’ unrealized design for the Eyebeam, here subject to a rigorous logic that is likely to establish this building as the textbook example of a design strategy much discussed in the late 1990s and early 21st century but not often realized effectively.

One has come to expect unexpected design elements and technical solutions in a DS+R building. An anatomy classroom with glazed walls and views of the river, a load-bearing column through which one can walk, a landscaped garden space open to surrounding student residences, ceramic “frit” patterns on the north end of the building to filter and diffuse sunlight, and an exterior cladding panel system of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete do not disappoint in this regard. The architects, long known for their concern with the visual arts, performance, and media technology, designed the Mary and Michael Jaharis Simulation Center—about 18 percent of the building, where future physicians train with computerized whole-body mannequins and watch video footage—with a humility that reinforces the astonishment of watching medical robots perform open-heart surgery or deliver babies.

Nearly four decades since Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio began the collaboration that today is DS+R, they have completed their most perfectly resolved building, an amalgam of their interests and the lessons learned from earlier projects, such as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Lincoln Center, and the Juilliard School. The flexibility of the Granoff Center arts building at Brown University, completed in 2011, is taken to an entirely new level.

Deftly balancing reality and simulation, dialogue and image, science and art, the Vagelos Center is joyous and life-affirming, qualities all too often absent today in architecture and medicine. During a summer with no apparent end to bad news, it is a signal event and a credible ground for optimism.

Letter to the Editor> Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] Ready for some tough love, some bitter medicine? Looking back, we architects got our profession into some bad places with some serious mistakes. We were often so eager for fame and celebrity that we sometimes behaved irresponsibly. We did not use design in its best sense; we gave away our treasure. We were not always reliable regarding time and money. We handed over the leadership role in building to others who lacked the necessary skills and training, and who held no responsibility or liability. Left with less authority and control, architects instilled fear and distrust in our clients. We aided and abetted clients with unrealistic and unworthy ambitions. Specifically, when clients proposed projects where the scope, budget, and schedule didn’t fit together, we were so eager for the assignments that we did not blow the whistle, but jumped in feet first. I can think of three fine institutions with worthy missions and stellar reputations that committed virtual suicide. Those institutions (almost) betrayed their missions by creating inappropriate, overpriced Silly Buildings. The architects and the leadership of those institutions were co-conspirators and bad stewards. Their actions in pursuit of fame and recognition did irreparable harm to their institutions. We foolishly participated in competitions, an insulting process for selecting architects. What wise partnership was ever created by such a superficial beauty pageant? What smart client chooses an architect simply by how a building looks, without knowing what that architect is like to work with, or if they can execute the project well? What other profession gives its work product away for free? What bettor places a two dollar bet when the prize is two dollars? (And here often there is NO prize!) The field is littered with competition winners who end up losers: no built project, no fee, no valuable relationship. Competitions may have been a reasonable selection process in another time and place. They don’t work here and now. Competitions are abusive and counterproductive for everyone. The lack of self-worth actually begins with poor professional habits. Hiring young professionals without pay, or calling them consultants rather than employees, is illegal and unethical. We are not properly compensated for our services: we provide unpaid speculative designs for clients to try to secure assignments. We are not being paid on a timely basis. (These are circumstances under which no client would expect their contractor to continue working, but we do. Are we richer or dumber than the contractors?) We compete for projects by simply offering to do them for the lowest fees. This practice is unsustainable: if we continue to undersell ourselves, the profession will become a commodity. We allowed, even encouraged, the media to publicize projects whose main value is novelty and eccentricity, not quality. Maybe novelty is easier to spot and sell. While pandering to the public’s desire to stare ghoulishly at a highway accident, novelty hasn’t improved the work or the profession. Encouraging this bad behavior leads clients to ask for more silly buildings, which they (and society) often can’t afford. As young professionals, we are often eager to get a fast start, to break out of the gate early. We start before we have fully mastered the complex task of making buildings. It takes time to learn how to deal constructively and fairly with parties who have other agendas or financial interests. From these errors, we can learn what will lead us to a better future. First, let’s use design in its best, most holistic sense. Design is not simply about how the building looks on the outside (for that is simple). Design dictates how buildings are planned, and how they use resources (materials, energy, space, money, and time). Design informs efficiency, durability, and beauty. Let’s get the design and construction of our projects done on time and on budget. Let’s return to being our clients’ trusted advisors and partners. Let’s be more creative, not just about designing what we are asked to design, but in making new building types for the present and the future, not just the past. Let’s be inventive about the process of building, the largest segment of the American economy. The way we build now is antiquated and doesn’t work well, which leaves room for major improvements. Can you imagine a car produced the way we make buildings? You’d hire a designer, while another company puts together the components of body, engine, brakes, transmission, all made by other companies. You’d end up with a $3 million car that has never been prototyped or tested, and it wouldn’t run as well as a $20,000 Volkswagen. Yet this is how we make buildings! Let’s demand the fees that it takes to do great design. It does cost more to study more alternatives to get the very best one. It takes money to create better, more thorough, and accurate documents to build our designs, and to provide strong services in the construction phase. The client benefits. Better services result in better buildings, lower construction costs and fewer extras. Clients will learn that paying for increased services will make the buildings they own more appropriate and more durable. When we received the fees we deserve, we run better offices, with better staff and equipment, and fewer worries about money. Let’s sell these more relevant building types and these construction and fabrication processes not just to our clients, but to crowd-funding and to venture capitalists. Instead of working for a one-time fee, we would maintain ownership of our ideas and the income streams they produce. Our professionalism should be recognized. Why are we intent on measuring the energy a building uses (not even the energy materials and the building process consume), rather than the professional practice that created the metric? Let’s start a professionalism rating system to gauge architects’ service: firms would be rated by the appropriateness and usefulness of their designs, the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of their process, and the reduced risk to their clients. Let’s take back the leadership we once had in the building process, and again become our clients’ trusted, and compensated, partners. Paul Segal, FAIA Columbia University Adjunct Professor, author of Professional Practice: A Guide to Turning Designs into Buildings.

RPBW’s active double skin facade kick starts a “new generation” of campus design at Columbia University

Columbia University’s expansion has been selected by LEED for their Neighborhood Design pilot program, which calls for the integration of smart growth principles and urbanism at a neighborhood scale.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) is designing four buildings to be built over the upcoming years as a first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus expansion. The first of these four projects to break ground is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a research facility used by scientists working on mind, brain, and behavior research. The facility is ten stories wrapped in nearly 176,000 square feet of building envelope, consisting of transparent floor-to-ceiling glazing. “Columbia’s existing buildings are sited massively on the ground, and the campus— for many reasons—is gated. However, the new Manhattanville campus will express the values of this century: tolerance, openness, permeability, and transparency. It’s a new generation of campus design,” said Antoine Chaaya, the RPBW partner in charge of the Columbia project.
  • Facade Manufacturer Enclos
  • Architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Davis Brody Bond, LLP (Architect of Record)
  • Facade Installer Enclos; Lend Lease (construction manager)
  • Facade Consultants Israel Berger & Associates, A Vidaris Company, NY; WSP Cantor Seinuk, NY (Structural Engineer); Jaros Baum & Bolles (MEP Engineer)
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion Late 2016 (projected)
  • System structural facades, double skin walls, metal and glass canopies
  • Products laminated and insulated low iron glass wall assemblies by Interpane
An elevated subway track along the east facade generated 88 dB of noise, which needed to be significantly reduced for occupant comfort. To achieve this, the architects created a double skin facade system that was sealed from the outside. It represents the fourth double skin facade developed by RPBW, and the first to include active air circulation, according to Chaaya. “What helped us to create this fourth typology of double skin is the constraint: The fact that it cannot be permeable to the outside. It has to be sealed, and at the same time we have to fight against potential condensation. We solve the problem by active air circulation from the bottom to the top of the building.” The resulting facade system provides superior blast resistance and thermal properties, while reducing sound transmission by 45 dB. The cavity of the facade assembly is 18 inches deep, sized just large enough for maintenance access. Highly purified and dehumidified air is filtered three times and slowly cycled up vertically through the cavity at two feet per minute, a rate that ensures quiet operation and no disturbance to shading devices within the cavity. Air in the cavity cycles at a rate of six air changes per minute, managing heat gain and condensation buildup in the cavity. Variations in the facade are generated from functional responses to solar orientation due to orientation, honestly expressing the interior functions of the building. The result is a sophisticated building enclosure, abiding by a rigorously minimal design aesthetic while nimbly adapting to environmental criteria.

Archtober Building of the Day 12> LTL Architects’ Brown Institute for Media Innovation

The David & Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation is a busy hub of technology housed within a building from McKim, Mead & White’s late 19th-century campus plan for Columbia University. In subsequent years, the space, which occupies part of the eastern wing of the Pulitzer Building, was broken up into small offices. Marc Tsurumaki and his team at LTL Architects were hired to revamp the space for the Columbia branch of the institute, which is a collaboration between Columbia and Stanford Universities. Despite all of its high-tech screens, the institute’s facility really respects its history. Eleven double-height windows that had been partially blocked now bathe the room in natural light, although a scrim that covers the walls also serves as a shade to deflect daylight and prevent glare, a necessary consideration in a room that is always filled with people tapping away on laptops. Given the collaborative nature of the institute, the primary space was designed with flexibility in mind. It can host concerts, performances, workshops, seminars, and symposia, in addition to the more typical set-up that we saw today. Large walnut-topped tables are moveable but not easily moved – the architects allowed for flexibility, but only with intention. Although acoustical fabrics are used throughout (including hidden behind the scrim), additional nooks were carved out for greater intimacy. Small rooms dubbed “the garage” are nestled under the mezzanine level, which was located above the entrance to the institute to create an extended threshold opening up into the larger space. Niches along the northern wall of the room take advantage of its thick masonry construction. Waist-height walnut wainscoting gives the room a more human scale and links the niches to the larger space. The thick end-grain recycled walnut floor connects visually to the tables and wainscoting, and provides durability in an active setting. The scrim, which is suspended on a steel armature and hides HVAC and electrical systems, announces the institute’s purpose. Mark Hansen, director of Columbia’s branch of the institute told us that Mark Wigley, former dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and currently a GSAPP professor, talks about the space as both a laboratory that facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas among fellows, as well as a physical center that refers to and reflects the institute’s mission. This agenda is reinforced at the entrance to the institute, where a solid plate aluminum installation incorporates mirrored glass to reflect the surroundings back into the display. This subtle mirroring plays with the relationship of new media to the historic building. Join us tomorrow for a tour of another historic building: the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.