Posts tagged with "Connecticut":

Yale is set to renovate the landmark Peabody Museum of Natural History

Yale University is slated to renovate and expand one of its oldest campus institutions, the Peabody Museum of Natural History on Science Hill. Thanks in part to a just-announced $160-million donation from philanthropist and Yale alumnus Edward P. Bass, the project will be the first major update the landmark museum has received in 93 years. The master plan, conceived by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, marks one of the boldest and most thoughtful endeavors the university has taken on in recent years. After well over a decade of planning, the project will yield 50 percent more exhibition space for the museum and improve storage for its on-site collection of over 13 million artifacts. It will also include the addition of a new, four-story infill structure that will connect the neighboring Environmental Science Center. The sky-lit, glass-enclosed connector will give students seamless access into the museum, where Centerbrook will create more modern spaces for research and study. One of Yale’s main goals for the addition, said Centerbrook’s principal Mark Simon, was to complement the timeless architecture of the original Peabody building, a three-story, French Gothic Revival, sandstone structure by renowned campus architect Charles Klauder. Using fritted glass and bronze-colored aluminum framing, the cathedral-like tower will bring a contemporary edge to the aged institution. “The Peabody community wanted to maintain a family resemblance or identity throughout the new and old structures,” said Simon. “It’s always tricky to do something that’s up-to-date but connects well with the historic fabric, but we’re all very pleased with this design.” The building out of the glass tower will be done in the initial phases of construction, Simon said. After that, the renovation of the museum’s existing spaces can begin. So far, a timeline for construction hasn’t been announced as Yale is currently strategizing on how to safely remove portions of the Peabody’s collection to a facility on its West Campus. Both the museum, as well as the other science buildings being updated during the project, will remain open throughout construction to students, faculty, and the 130,000 visitors—which includes 25,000 regional school children—who visit the Peabody each year. Other elements of the master plan include creating new classrooms, labs, and learning spaces for collections-based teaching and scientific exploration. The museum, founded in 1866, has been home to some of the most important discoveries in history and Yale hopes the renovation will help carry on the Peabody’s legacy of advancement in the industry. “As one of Yale’s greatest resources, this museum will provide hands-on learning for students across various undergraduate programs,” said Simon, “and allow them to engage in the processes of the museum itself from research and restoration, to designing exhibits and presenting their work in the galleries.” Centerbrook is one of Yale’s long-time partners. The local firm has completed 12 projects for the university from Kroon Hall, which they designed in collaboration with Hopkins Architects, to the Child Study Center, the renovated and expanded Reese Stadium—home of the men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse programs—as well as an addition to the historic Yale Bowl. While Simon has worked extensively on many of these buildings, the Peabody renovation is a game-changer for the firm. “We are over the moon that this is finally coming to fruition,” he said. “Each year we spend on it, it seems more and more important to do. It’s more than just another university museum upgrade. You get a sense that this project will not only have a major impact on education at Yale, but on the world at large.”

Winning design chosen for Sandy Hook memorial

A final design has been unanimously selected for the Sandy Hook memorial in Newtown, Connecticut, the Newtown Bee reports. On Friday, the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission announced that out of the top three concepts unveiled in May, The Clearing by Ben Waldo and Daniel Affleck of SWA Group will be presented in front of the city’s Board of Selectmen at the end of this week as the commission’s official recommendation. The board is slated to make the final approval this month. It’s been five years since the commission was created to establish a public memorial honoring the 26 victims and survivors of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. From 189 international submissions, Waldo and Affleck’s vision for the 5-acre site became the top choice after a July 17th presentation by the three final teams. The Clearing features a sprawling landscape of winding pathways, trails, lakes, and flowery woodland centered around a young sycamore tree planted in a fountain. The names of the victims are prominently carved into the fountain's stone edge. The latest design iteration, which the team updated for the most recent presentation, includes an added manmade pond and an alternative entrance and pavilion. It also includes more details on the proposed materials for the site. Waldo and Affleck are based out of SWA Group’s San Francisco office. The design team also includes Justin Winters of SWA/Balsley, Jim Garland, AIA, of Fluidity, as well as Jason Loiselle, principal at Sherwood Design Engineers and his colleague, design engineer Gabe Duque. The Board of Selectmen will meet Friday, August 9 to review the commission’s recommendation.

Thom Mayne’s mentoring program is featured in showcase at Pratt

The educational mentorship program spearheaded by Morphosis principal and co-founder Thom Mayne headed into its third semester this year. For sixth graders at Hall Elementary School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Thom Mayne Young Architects program was a chance to receive an architectural education and access to design software via after-school classes led by Pratt Institute architecture students. Tonight, Mayne himself will host a closing reception of their final projects from last semester at Pratt Institute's Higgins Hall, beginning at 6pm. Founded in 2017, the Thom Mayne Young Architects program was spurred by Mayne's participation in President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Mayne partnered with TurnAround Arts, a 2012 program launched by Michelle Obama and the president's committee to bring arts education to the bottom five percent performing public schools, which includes Hall Elementary. The sixth grade students have been working on a site close to home–their own classrooms. Their design prompt is to create a "beautification proposal" for their classrooms. In the course of the 12-week program, students learn about design thinking, architectural design fundamentals and computer design, aided by the donation of Pixelbook laptops loaded with design software by Google. Beyond design skills, the program also includes lessons about photo editing, branding, marketing, and budgeting. The exhibit, which opened on February 12, closes on Saturday, February 17.  

Regional Plan Association unveils the final designs for the Fourth Regional Plan

The Regional Plan Association (RPA) has unveiled the final designs for the Fourth Regional Plan. The four schemes envision a New York–New Jersey–Connecticut metropolitan area 25 years into the future while addressing the emerging challenges the region faces and also capitalizing on new opportunities. Initiated by The Rockefeller Foundation, the competition began in January and asked architects, planners, and designers to incorporate elements such as policy changes, future investments, and growth patterns into the plans. The winning proposals were selected in March and, through a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, they were each awarded $45,000 to work with RPA and a team of professionals to develop their ideas further. In doing so, the four winners expanded their programs, looking at four regional corridors. Dubbed "4C," the RPA describes the designs as a "principal component" of its upcoming Fourth Regional Plan, titled A Region Transformed. The four corridors in question are: Coast Rafi A+U and DLAND Studio Creating what they call a "bight," the two studios propose an artificial coastline that bridges the boundary between the built environment and the water, addressing rising sea levels around Long Island with half-submerged communities able to continue living when change inevitably happens. https://player.vimeo.com/video/227158218 City Only If and One Architecture Defined as the "Triboro Corridor," the plan sees light rail utilizing already-laid freight rail tracks in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. The project would foster development around the new stations; new rail service would connect to existing subway and commuter rail lines. As One Architecture told The Architect's Newspaper, the plan aims to "transform the region’s transportation system from a hub and spoke system to a more resilient network with circumferential connections, greater redundancy, and community amenities." Suburbs WORKac Just as with Only If and One Architecture's scheme, WORKac's plan is centered around transit and connecting underserved neighborhoods around a ring of suburbs from the New York cities of Port Chester and White Plains, through the New Jersey cities of Paterson, Montclair, Rahway and Perth Amboy. Highlands PORT Urbanism and Range Covering the entire region, this proposal spans from the Delaware River to Northern Connecticut. The scheme allows wildlife—not humans—to enjoy the area and migrate north as a result of climate change. The Highlands Corridor would also utilize streams and valleys to connect to the coast. An exhibition of the of final design can be found at Fort Tilden through September 17. Find out more here.

Kayak office’s takes flight with an aeronautical design

When Beinfield Architecture set out to create a new headquarters for travel search engine Kayak, it turned out that client and architect both had movement on the brain.

Bruce Beinfield, principal at Beinfield Architecture PC, explained that Kayak wanted to entice young, educated professionals from New York City to come out and work for the company in Stamford, Connecticut. The “reverse-commute” would be worth making, the team postulated, if Kayak could deliver a cool place to work.

The resulting headquarters is located just off a Metro-North Railroad stop in a formerly abandoned police station designed by Yale University architect James Gamble Rogers. “We wanted to celebrate the raw materials of the existing structure and let those elements energize the space,” Beinfield said, adding that the existing building was largely untouched during the renovation as a result.

The long, narrow structure is wrapped in neo-Gothic-style ornamentation, its brick walls studded with grand, punched openings. The double-height main floor—partially subdivided during the renovation—is topped by a concrete roof supported by dramatic, open-web steel trusses. These elements frame the soaring space and are referenced throughout the project as visual and symbolic anchors.

Kayak envisioned the patinaed headquarters containing not only top-notch collaborative offices, but also an awesome accent piece: a full-scale section of a vintage airplane fuselage that would symbolize the company’s airline-travel focus. The historic building’s nature precluded altering the structure physically, so the 20-by-30-foot fuselage couldn’t be dropped in as was originally planned. Instead, Beinfield constructed a replica within the building from new components. The elliptical fuselage is installed on the far side of the main level and is used as a large meeting room and workroom. One end of the cabin is sheathed in glass, while the interior surfaces all around have been peeled away to reveal a ribbed structure made from castellated beams. A catwalk connects the aircraft body to the rest of the space, reaching a smaller mezzanine meeting room and a circulation core beyond.

The sleek fuselage is clad in reflective aluminum along its belly, which on the floor below creates a catenary-shaped ceiling for another glass-enclosed meeting room. Distinct offices and open-air seating areas populate the main level beyond. Large semicircular lamps hang from the rafters above, while lengths of ductwork and piping zoom in and out of workspaces—like travelers making connections at a busy airport.

One Connecticut town swaps a derelict mall for a 14.4-acre, community-centered green space

Malls, those slumbering gray boxes marching across the American suburban landscape, are steadily going extinct. Back in 2014, the New Yorker published “Are Malls Over?” in which Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated, was quoted as saying, “Within 10 to 15 years, the typical U.S. mall, unless it is completely reinvented, will be a historical anachronism—a 60-year aberration that no longer meets the public’s needs, the retailers’ needs, or the community’s needs.” The article continues, “Caruso flashed grim photos of their facades. He lingered on a picture of a deserted food court; you could practically smell the stale grease. ‘Does this look like the future to you?’ he asked.”

Even just three years later, it is difficult to imagine the “traditional” mall having a place, even in the most quintessential American suburb, 10 years from now. But while clearly the malls of the 1970s through the ’90s are not the future, the great irony here is that Caruso specializes in developing malls—luxury outdoor malls, such as the Grove in Los Angeles and the Americana at Brand in Glendale, California. And indeed, just as quickly as those once-ubiquitous beige shopping centers are being torn down across the U.S., shinier, flashier moneymaking entities are popping up in their place. The Mall 2.0, it seems, is an artificial landscape sans Sbarro and JCPenny’s, with a plethora of vaguely European structures and simulated boutique experiences in their place. Already, it feels like it’s time to reflect on whether or not these new “shopping experiences” will fare any better than their forebears.

However, in Meriden, Connecticut, a town located halfway between New Haven and Hartford, city leaders took an alternate route: transforming a former mall into a resilient 14.4-acre park replete with pedestrian bridges, a 2,150-square-foot amphitheater, a remediated landscape with a flood-control pond, and even drivable turf to accommodate food trucks and farmers markets. More radically, there are future plans to reduce the downtown infrastructure: “The downtown will go back to two-way traffic, like it was in the ’50s,” said Vincent Della Rocca, project manager at La Rosa Construction, a local family-owned business that helped create Meriden Green.

The $14 million project was no simple feat, involving an extensive overhaul of a formerly blighted area that locals called “The Hub.” In the 1950s and ’60s, the city began developing the space to bolster economic development, and in 1971 the Meriden Mall was built on the site. In the process, the Harbor Brook—technically three different brooks—was obstructed by a maze of underground pipes. The mall closed and in 1992 and 1996 flooding caused by the blocked water streams caused $30 million in damages to the downtown area. The city took possession of the property in 2005, and it was deemed a brownfield site. A Hub Site Reuse Committee was formed and began making plans to transform the area, creating the Site Reuse Plan in 2007.

Years of approval processes and funding grants later, the City of Meriden’s design team, engineering firm Milone and MacBroom, and LaRosa Construction broke ground in November 2013. Due to it being a former brownfield site, there were many unforeseen obstacles, such as underground oil tanks that had to be removed. The brook was exposed and diverted, “the site was cleaned, foundations were crushed, and six inches of topsoil were placed,” explained Della Rocca; additional landscaping included adding drainage channels, pedestrian bridges, and concrete pathways.

Meriden Green opened in September 2016, with future plans to build a new train station and a mixed-use commercial and residential building nearby. It is a soothing green space that brings families and community events to mind. Hanover Pond and the brook that feeds into it offer charm and respite in addition to their crucial flood-control functions.

It’s an optimistic project and one that simply makes good sense—the idea that green spaces offer the type of future-proofing no amount of luxurious shopping can ensure. “Today, ladies and gentlemen, is more than just the opening of a park, it’s more than just a grand flood-control measure,” Mayor Kevin Scarpati said at the opening. “This is the start of a new downtown; this is the start of a new Meriden.” And, if others take note, the state of the new suburban mall, as well.

This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.

Glass House taps Hilary Lewis as its new Chief Curator and Creative Director

Starting January 17, Hilary Lewis, a scholar of Philip Johnson in addition to her work as an author, journalist, and curator, will be the Glass House chief curator and creative director. In her work, she has focused specifically on Philip Johnson for over 20 years, collaborating with the architect in 1992 and then spending a decade co-authoring the book Philip Johnson: The Architect in His Own Words and The Architecture of Philip Johnson. As a curator, she developed the show and catalogue Philip Johnson: Architecture + Art and was named the Philip Johnson Scholar at the site in 2007. She most recently served on the Glass House’s advisory council. "Having sat side-by-side with Johnson for years, I feel confident that what would honor his and David Whitney's memory most would be for the property to evolve further as a center for the appreciation of architecture, design, and art not just as a museum of Johnson and Whitney's lives in New Canaan," Lewis said in a statement. "It's an honor to have the opportunity to work directly with the Glass House as it looks forward to its second decade of public engagement." The Glass House was built between 1949 and 1995 and is a National Trust Historic site located on 49-acres in New Canaan, Connecticut. In addition to the house itself, the property boasts sculptures and a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture as well as temporary exhibitions. "Hilary Lewis has influenced the Glass House site since its inception as a public museum. She will be a great addition to a great team. I look forward to her continuing contributions in programming content, visitation alternatives, site interpretation and team management,” said Gregory Sages, executive director at the Glass House. For more information and to learn more about its hours and tour season, check out its website.

Designs revealed for Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut

Boston-based firm Payette has unveiled its design for the National Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut. The proposal put forward sees four stories rise up along the water's edge next to the historic H.H. Richardson–designed Union Station. Initial proposals (for which there are no renderings available) had the museum located over the water. Instead, the building will rest on piles and feature a glass curtain wall that comprises the whole waterfront facade, facilitating views across the harbor. According to The Day, interactive exhibits would also be available as part of the building's frontage to establish a connection between the museum and shoreline area. Ideas for a "bridge simulator" and way of listening to dialogue between ferry captains over radio traffic were discussed at a meeting on Monday where the design was revealed. "These are design concepts that are likely to change dramatically over the course of the next year, year-and-half, two years as we design this building," said Principal at Payette, Charles Klee. Klee also said that much work had been done to ensure the Federal Emergency Management, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Army Corps of Engineers were happy with the plans. The museum is due to rest on a plot of land designated as a "100-year flood zone" (due to having a one percent chance of flooding every year). Most of the site is also located in an area where land is susceptible to high-velocity wave impact. Thanks to the historic and significant artifacts set to be housed in the building, the museum is reportedly working on ensuring that the approximately 80,000 square foot building inhabits a 500-year flood zone. The museum also faces funding issues. $9 million of the $100 million target has so far been raised with private funds.

2016 Building of the Year > East: Grace Farms by SANAA

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Building of the Year > East: Grace Farms by SANAA

Architect: SANAA / Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa Location: New Canaan, CT Submitted by: Grace Farms Foundation

The River, SANAA’s undulating creation for Grace Farms, seeks to marry the nature of its 80-acre New England estate with architecture in an effort to foster the formation of intentional communities that collaborate for good. Made with 203 individually curved glass panels and an anodized aluminum roof, the River’s unusual form follows the property’s natural slope and blends seamlessly into the landscape. Guided by Grace Farms’ dedicated programming in the areas of nature, arts, justice, community, and faith, the structure weaves together five enclosed volumes: an amphitheater-style sanctuary; a library; a commons dining room with tables hewn from trees felled on site; a tea pavilion; and a partially submerged, multipurpose court.

Executive Architects Handel Architects

Project Director Paratus Group Glass Roschmann Steel & Glass CRICURSA Roofing Zahner  Landscape OLIN

Honorable Mention: Building of the Year > East: The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability

Structural Engineers: Desimone Consulting Engineers Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Location: Staten Island, NY

As the first net-zero energy school in New York City and among the first worldwide, the Kathleen Grimm School exposes structural elements to celebrate its energy efficiency and foster environmental consciousness and awareness in all building users.

New Sandy Hook School, centered on the healing properties of water, light, and ducks, opens for its first class

Three years ago, the community of Newtown, Connecticut selected New Haven–based Svigals + Partners to design a new elementary school to replace the facility at the center of a horrific tragedy. This month, the new Sandy Hook School is ready to welcome its first class of students. In concert with local and state officials, the firm convened a wide cross-section of stakeholders—townspeople, parents, emergency personnel—for series of visioning meetings, the largest of which attracted 50 participants. The community was intent on preserving community traditions and ensuring continuity after the traumatic 2012 shooting in which gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 students and staff at the Sandy Hook School. Svigals+Partners designed the new $50 million Sandy Hook School around the healing themes of light, land, and water, all adapted to local custom. The undulating form references Newtown's rolling hills, explained Julia McFadden, associate principal at Svigals+Partners. The front facade is grounded by New England fieldstone and clad in contrasting Machiche and Brazilian Ash to accentuate the curving roofline of the partial two-story structure. A sense of play, balanced with passive security measures, permeates the 86,800-square-foot school. At the old Sandy Hook School—which was demolished in 2013—a family of migrating ducks would make a pilgrimage each year to the school's inner courtyard. In homage to Sandy Hook's verdant setting and visiting fowl, "Hanging Leaf," a leaf mobile by Tim Prentice, shares space with fiberglass duck sculptures by firm principal Barry Svigals in a light-filled central lobby. The lobby's glass curtain wall, interspersed with colorful panes, faces onto an outdoor courtyard with an amphitheater where assemblies and classes can be held. Bright vertical sunshades cascade over two of the courtyard's interior walls, while two treehouses overlook the main courtyard, providing an enviable and more intimate breakout classroom space. Instead of securitizing the 12.5 acre site with barriers and metal detectors, "we utilized natural observation as primary driver throughout—you create real security when you have great sight lines," managing partner Jay Brotman noted. The lobby's see-though wall creates a seamless sightline to the school's interior, while a "Main Street" orients shared spaces like the cafeteria and gym along a curved corridor that offers unobstructed views down the hall. Although the community debated design features that projected "security" overtly, stakeholders decided "it was essential to avoid features that signaled doom and gloom create a nurturing environment through passive measures," McFadden elaborated (strategically placed hidden cameras observe what human eyes may miss). The design was guided by new state security guidelines which encourage such passive design. The site is surrounded by woodlands, the architects noted, and the design sought to draw nature into the site. Referencing the bridges that crisscross the area's many streams, bioswales swoop underneath the three entrance ramps, providing an ecology learning opportunity for the school's 464 pre-kindergarten through fourth grade students that reference the "sandy hooks" for which the area is named. The river stones near the door transition to polished concrete flooring inside, offering cool calm material continuity. The school is set to welcome its first class of students this month for the 2016-2017 school year.

Deborah Berke named dean of Yale School of Architecture

Yale School of Architecture has a new dean today, as the university has announced that New York-based architect Deborah Berke will be the next dean to rule the concrete and paprika halls. The founder of Deborah Berke Partners will start in her new position effective July 1, 2016. Berke has been an adjunct professor at Yale since 1987 and will be the first woman to lead the School of Architecture. She received a B.F.A. and a B.Arch. from the Rhode Island School of Design as well as an honorary doctor of fine arts from the school. She holds an M.U.P. in urban design from the City University of New York. She succeeds the ever-colorful Robert A.M. Stern, dean since 1998. “As a practicing architect and a long-time faculty member in the School of Architecture, Professor Berke is ideally positioned to lead it toward a successful future as it begins its second century,” said Yale president Peter Salovey in a statement. “For more than 30 years, she has dedicated her career — in equal measures — to education and practice. She has taught architectural design using disciplinary approaches both integral to and less commonly associated with the world of architecture. This perspective, in her own words, helps students to understand they are part of a larger cultural conversation.” Berke is the co-editor, with Steven Harris, of The Architecture of the Everyday. In 2008, Yale University Press published Deborah Berke, a book focused on the firm’s work, which was also the first book on a contemporary American architect to be published by Yale Press. A new book on her firm’s work will be published by Rizzoli in 2016.

Be the one to restore Stamford’s fish-shaped First Presbyterian Church

Design professionals are being sought for a consulting role to provide a conditions assessment of the historic First Presbyterian Church complex in Stamford, Connecticut. As part of a multi-year campaign to repair, conserve, restore, and upgrade the complex, the selected team will be expected to complete an architectural analysis of the current conditions of the building and provide recommendations for its rehabilitation and restoration as part of Phase I. Phase II will see the implementation of these concepts by the same selected team. The complex in question includes the magnificent Wallace K. Harrison-designed sanctuary, completed in 1958, the 56-bell carillon tower, a community/education wing, and the surrounding 10-acre grounds. Over 20,000 pieces of faceted glass dapple the hushed sanctuary with its vaulted roof in sun-drenched color. The church itself is often likened to a fish, a symbol of early Christianity, and it, along with its sweeping complex, occupies an eminent spot on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. The conditions assessment in Phase I will help anticipate capital needs and outside grant funding needs in 2016 from the State Historic Preservation Office of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as private foundations. Specifically, the chosen architect should earmark and document comprehensive repair needs for the envelopes, structure and MEP systems, and the interior finishes, and then also provide recommendations and a phasing framework for the restoration. The facade itself is notoriously water-permeable and lacks weatherproofing, made from béton glass secured to side wall concrete panels with caulking. As such, high on the checklist for the chosen architect is to examine the extent of moisture infiltration of the sanctuary Dalle de verre and improve climate control in the sanctuary to facilitate summer use. The architect should also observe the structural movement of the Carillon Tower, with the end objective of establishing a preliminary project scope and expected cost of repairs in compliance with SOIS, budget, and schedule. The Highland Green Foundation and Fish Church Conservancy will oversee the entire multi-year restoration campaign, and will provide the architect with digital files of the original construction drawings of the complex. Leaders of the proposed teams must attend a mandatory walk-through at the church on July 9, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. RFQs must be received at the church office (1101 Bedford St) by 3:00 p.m. on July 24, 2015. For more information about entry requirements and the judging panel, click here.