When examining technology transforming the AEC industry, Dennis Shelden emerges as a thought leader. He is an expert in applying digital technology to building design, construction, and operations, with experience spanning across research, technology, and development, and professional practice, including multiple architecture, building engineering and computing disciplines. He was director of R&D and led the development of Frank Gehry’s digital practice from 1997-2002, eventually co-founding Gehry Technologies. Shelden has lectured and written widely on topics concerning computational applications to architecture. He currently directs the Digital Building Laboratory (DBL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. AN Special Projects Director Marty Wood sat down with Shelden to learn more. The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you talk about the DBL and the new directions you are pursuing given the trends in emergent technology and software tools? Dennis Shelden: The DBL has always been an academic institution oriented toward industry advancement through applications of technology. We’ve pursued that ambition through three mechanisms. First, the DBL serves to create a community among professional firms, technology companies, and academic programs across Georgia Tech. We are at our most effective when we can be a bridge among these three constituencies through “active education and research”—connecting research faculty and students to real-world projects and enlisting emerging technologies in new ways. Second, the lab has a research mission of its own. Under my predecessor Professor Chuck Eastman, the DBL has become an important source of innovation and leadership in design computing, specifically in BIM, collaborative processes, open information exchange, and interoperability. Third, we are focused on building the next generation of technical leaders in architecture and construction, through educational curricula at all levels of the architecture and building construction programs at Georgia Tech. I believe that these three functions and our historical areas of research set us up to tackle some of the emerging trends in technology for the built environment. BIM data is finally moving to the web and the cloud, which will create a host of new opportunities connecting to and making use of this data. Some of these possibilities include connections to real-time data from building systems, Internet of Things, and connected mobile and social networks. We are also seeing a convergence between building level and city level information, where you manage and interact with large-scale built environment data that scales down to the individual room, fixture, or device. How is the business of AEC technology changing, and is there a role for academia in building out these new directions? The nature of technology development is definitely changing. In the 20th century, it required very large companies with many different functions to be able to develop and sell a software product. The technology product business was completely different than professional consulting services. But today the barriers to “industrializing” technology to the point where it can be consumed by others are much lower, since there is so much infrastructure out there that can be leveraged, and the web makes marketing and distribution so much easier to scale. Professional practice is changing, too, and we’re seeing firms that are exploring new ways of capitalizing on the innovations they create. More firms are creating open source software, developing plug-ins, or creating spin-offs to either offer new specialized services or pursue product innovations. At the same time, the AEC world needs open platforms for these innovations to be built on and connect to. Some of these are offered by software companies’ plug-in and app development platforms, but the world really needs open standards and communications capabilities based on modern web paradigms that can bridge across AEC disciplines. I believe that academia and government have important roles to play in building these open industry platforms. Being connected through the cloud is one thing, but is this just about better design tools? There is a lot of emerging discussion of cyber-physical systems and the idea of the digital twin. The idea of the digital twin is essentially that BIM will become part of the post-occupancy delivered building and “run in parallel” to the building systems and experienced environment. We’ve historically focused a lot on the technologies for designing and delivering buildings, but the possibilities for these technologies to create a continuum of information is potentially a huge opportunity for the industry. We also see a lot of interest from the tech industry starting to come into the AEC industry precisely because it sees the built environment as the next platform for interaction with technology. Are these things you practice internally? University campuses are small, contained cities with all the necessary functions from design and construction to the daily delivery services under one umbrella. So if we get this right for Georgia Tech, then we have a model for delivering built environment technology innovation that we can scale to the broader industry. Again, I think the open platforms for industry innovation will be built by academia and nonprofit enterprises to start. There must be examples of industry, in terms of interoperable standards, that get shared and not privatized. Novel delivery systems can give you a competitive advantage. Think about what it took for government, academia, and industry working together to create the internet. I think that’s a model for what AEC needs to do now. The next layer of what AEC needs to make that kind of value creation a possibility for all the stakeholders still has to be built. That’s kind of the nucleus, that kind of vision of a possible industry state, that we are trying to help build out in the next phase of the DBL.
Posts tagged with "Frank Gehry":
Turnaround Arts: California recently announced a $1 million donation from architect Frank Gehry. A leading figure behind the proposed redesign of the Los Angeles River into a mixed-use district with substantial parkland, Gehry will direct his donation towards underserved communities abutting the river just south of Los Angeles. As he said in a statement, "I have been working on the Los Angeles River, and through this work, I have discovered the great need for this program in the districts closest to the river, especially south of the city of Los Angeles." Founded in 2014 by Malissa Shriver and Frank Gehry, Turnaround Arts: California is the state chapter of a larger initiative championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Coordinated by The Kennedy Center, Turnaround Arts strives to improve academic performance and improve schools through the arts by providing arts education to nearly one hundred underperforming schools in seventeen states and Washington D.C. With Gehry's donation being matched by an anonymous donor, Turnaround Arts: California’s program will be extended to ten more schools in the next five years, with the first of these three participating as of April 16. In total, 17,000 K-8 students in California will now be served by educational programs led by Turnaround Arts. In a statement, Gehry added, "Over the last forty years, I’ve spent time with kids in the classroom using architecture and art to get them engaged, focus their attention, and even introduce mathematics, civics, and other subjects that they might not have otherwise been receptive to."
The rumor mill is buzzing around the purportedly budding relationship between Boston-based architect and artist Neri Oxman and actor Brad Pitt. According to Page Six, Oxman met Pitt when he was referred to her for guidance on an architectural project. Since then, the two have developed what the publication called a "professional friendship." Celebrity gossip mag US Weekly took it a step further, claiming the two have been secretly rendezvousing for months, with Brad even tagging along on Oxman’s professional trips across the globe. The Israeli-American Oxman, a professor at MIT and founder of design group Mediated Matter, is known for her forward-thinking approach to architecture and design that fuses natural, biological forms with the growing capabilities of digital fabrication. Oxman has produced acclaimed pieces such as “The Silk Pavilion,” a CNC-fabricated scaffold coiled with silk thread produced by 6,500 silkworms, and “Gemeni” a solid wood chaise crafted to resemble a cocoon, adorned with cells of varying colors and rigidity. Her ventures into 3-D printed wearables also include a design for Björk's Vulnicura tour, a movable mask that mimicked the musician's own bone and tissue based on scans. Oxman’s work is exhibited widely, including at MoMa, San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, and the Centre Pompidou. This is not Pitt’s first flirtation with the world of architecture. The Hollywood star met and befriended Frank Gehry in 2001, leading to an internship focused on computer-aided design at the international architect’s Los Angeles office. Since then, Pitt has gone on to found Make it Right, a non-profit focused on delivering environmentally-friendly housing to post-Katrina Louisiana. During this venture, Gehry designed a duplex in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, his only residential project in the state of Louisiana. While Pitt has dabbled in architecture and design, he has nothing on Oxman’s impressive record of academic and design accolades, including the 2016 MIT Collier Medal, the Textiles Spaces 2015 Award, and the 2014 Vilcek Prize. Whatever the truth about their relationship is, Oxman is probably too good for Pitt.
The Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) has returned to Los Angeles over this last week and will continue into the weekend. In total, the film showcase will present over 30 architecture-related short-length and feature films that cover topics as diverse as the career of Frank Gehry, the works of Czech glassmakers LASVIT, and speculative student work from Liam Young and the Southern California Institute of Architecture’s M.A. in Fiction and Entertainment program. The traveling film festival will also showcase films on Bjarke Ingles, founder of BIG, and the life and career of Swiss architect Albert Frey. Saturday will see the presentation of the film The Experimental City, a film covering the storied history of the Minnesota Experimental City, a domed futuristic settlement for 250,000 people created to prevent sprawl. A screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion. Sunday’s offerings meanwhile, will include a double-feature that includes films on Greg Murcutt and Jean Nouvel. Other presented films over the course of the festival include a feature-length movie on the life of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, a documentary and panel discussion on Britain’s Maggie’s Homes program, and a documentary on the work of pioneering Mexican-American architectural photographer Pedro E. Guerrero. See the ADFF website for more information.
Frank Gehry has been selected to design a new expansion to the Colburn School performing arts center in Downtown Los Angeles, marking the architect’s third high-profile project in the area following the Disney Concert Hall and the long-forthcoming Grand Avenue mixed-use project. For this latest project, Gehry Partners will add a 200,000-square-foot structure containing three new performance venues, including an 1,100-seat, full-scale, orchestra-caliber concert hall, a 700-seat flexible studio theater for dance and vocal performances, and a 100-seat “cabaret-style” space, according to a press release. Gehry will be joined on the project by Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics—the same acoustician who worked on the Disney Concert Hall—and Michael Ferguson, principal of TheatreDNA, whose former office—Theater Projects—consulted on Gehry’s New World Center in Miami, Florida. The project comes as the second expansion to the Colburn School, following the addition of a 326,000-square-foot facility designed by Pfeiffer Partners Architects in 2007. The school’s original 102,000-square-foot home was designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates in 1998. The Colburn expansion will further boost Grand Avenue’s status as a premiere cultural district in the city, with the project joining the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Music Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Broad among other cultural venues and institutions In the area. Now that the project team has been announced, the designers will move into the conceptual design phase of the project. A detailed timeline or estimated completion date for the project has not been unveiled.
On February 23, French architect Yona Friedman was announced as the awardee of the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture. The award, named for Austrian-born artist and architect Friedrich Kiesler, is granted biennially by the City of Vienna and Republic of Austria and awards €55,000 prize (approximately $67,000) for innovative achievements in the fields of architecture and the arts. Previous award winners include Frank Gehry, Judith Berry, and Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid. Yona Friedman was born in Budapest in 1923, fled to Israel during World War II, and ultimately moved to Paris in 1957. Friedman’s views of architecture are linked to the physical and ideological traits of social structures and the diversity of users’ needs. Due to his own refugee background, Friedman is deeply attached to human architecture and the rising issue of migrant nomadism in European and global contexts. As quoted in the Friedrich Kiesler Foundation’s press release, Friedman describes his approach as one that believes “that ideas can be more important than objects themselves. An approach that goes back 2,500 years but is often forgotten…” Friedman’s work has been exhibited at the Shanghai and Venice Biennales, as well as in cultural institutions across Europe. His canon of work includes the 1958 manifesto, L’Architecture Mobile (Mobile Architecture), which advanced new spatial-concepts of urban living. The exact date of the award ceremony is yet to be determined.
Gehry Partners onto the project, though Krens and Gehry have a longstanding relationship: the pair worked on the Guggenheim Bilbao when Krens directed the museum's New York location.Visitors will start in the Berkshires (North Adams's home) and head towards New York City, London, Tokyo, the Southwest, and the Rocky Mountains. Firms the world over are contributing models to the project. Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum Inc. is leading the design and fabrication of the interior exhibitions, with Jarzyniecki as a consultant, while Gehry is in charge of the exterior. The project will anchor the redevelopment of Western Gateway Heritage State Park, one of nine parks Massachusetts established in the 1980s in its former industrial cities and towns to spur tourism. That park is expected to host two other museums and a distillery. The museum, a for-profit enterprise, is expected to be complete in 2021 at a cost of $65 million. Thomas Krens, the man behind MASS MoCA, brought
Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and Los-Angeles-based Frank Gehry have been chosen to design an undetermined number of residential towers for phase II of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards megaproject, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to “a person familiar with the matter,” the two sometimes-controversial architects were among a crop of designers chosen by the project’s co-developers, Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. As the first phase of Hudson Yards, development on the eastern half of the 28-acre site, has been racing towards the 2019 finish line, Related and Oxford have begun looking ahead to the project’s residential western portion. Phase one saw the rise of Thomas Heatherwick’s pinecone-shaped Vessel, the eventual completion of four surrounding office buildings, a subway extension on the 7 line, and the High Line-straddling cultural Shed. The second phase will see the rise of 4 million square feet of residential space spread out across seven towers, and another 2 million square feet of office space. The western portion of the site is bounded by the High Line to the west, and is where the elevated park dips to street level. Phase II will likely wrap up by 2024, the projected deadline for the entire project. Handing the reins over to Calatrava and Gehry is an interesting choice by Related and Oxford, as neither architect has realized many residential projects in New York City. While the billowing metal façade of 8 Spruce Street (aka New York by Gehry) is a familiar site on the skyline, Calatrava is most well known in New York for the soaring curves of the Oculus transportation hub. Gehry hasn't shied away from his tepid opinion of the High Line, saying "The High Line is a rusty rail bridge and they put some plants on it." Whatever flair either architect brings to the project will also need to fit within the context of the Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed master plan for the site. AN has reached out to the relevant parties for confirmation and will update this post when more information becomes available.
Since 2017, Facebook has stated its intention to establish a new British headquarters within the ongoing redevelopment of King’s Cross Central in London. The London Times speculates that architect Frank Gehry is currently in talks with the social media giant to fit out two adjoining buildings, currently designated T2 and T3, as well as a stand-alone building on a separate plot. The buildings T2 and T3 are designed by the British firm Bennetts Associates and are slated for completion in early 2019. In total, Facebook looks to add three buildings totaling more than 700,000 square feet to its London footprint. According to the Architects’ Journal, Gehry has designed numerous buildings for Facebook in the past, including its campus in Menlo Park and a ‘fit-out’ of Rathbone Square. The larger development surrounding Facebook's potential new headquarters, King’s Cross Central, is a 67-acre mixed-use redevelopment site encompassing fifty new buildings, 1,900 homes, twenty new streets, and twenty-six acres of public space. British developer Argent is leading the project and the master planners are Allies & Morrison and Porphyrios Associates. The transformation of King’s Cross from decrepit industrial district to emerging tech hub is influenced by its proximity to King’s Cross Station and St. Pancras International. These stations provide unrivaled rail transport access to international, regional and local transport networks. According to the Urban Land Institute, over 63 million passengers will pass through King’s Cross–St. Pancras by 2022, and approximately 45,000 Londoners will directly live or work in the district. Facebook is not the only tech giant shifting personnel to King’s Cross Central. In 2017, Google submitted plans for a nearly one million square foot headquarters in the sprawling redevelopment site. Designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studios, the 11-story building will extend horizontally approximately one thousand feet, a distance roughly on par with the height of London’s tallest building, the Shard.
Architects are no strangers to designing furniture, as they often strive for a visual homogeny throughout the interior and exterior of their built projects. At Friedman Benda in Chelsea, Manhattan, the historical legacy of architectural furniture is celebrated with Inside the Walls: Architects Design alongside its ambiguous future with No-Thing: An exploration into aporetic architectural furniture. Guest curated by Mark McDonald, Inside the Walls charts milestone furniture design across the 20th century from both domestic and international architects. The extensive survey extracts pieces of furniture designed for site-specific installations and displays them alone and with other items, drawing attention to how the designer’s influence and intent still shines through. The show’s focus might jump from piece to piece, displaying furniture by everyone from Charles and Ray Eames to Luis Barragán, but a “clarity of vision” threads throughout all of them. For example, a Frank Gehry-designed rocking chaise made from cardboard contains the same swooping curves and exploration of form as his buildings. Likewise, the collection of chairs, tables, and lighting fixtures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, despite their simplicity, are immediately recognizable as his. Wright is inarguably the centerpiece at Inside the Walls. The show displays ephemera from across the architect’s career and presents him as an auteur. Visitors can examine the cantilevering sets of outdoor lighting fixtures from Wright’s 1914 Francis W. Little House up close, then study furniture from his 1956 Price Tower without missing a beat. No-Thing is located in Friedman Benda’s basement project space, and puts new commissions from up-and-coming studios front and center. Curator Juan García Mosqueda assembled a group showcase under the guise of a furniture exhibition, with works that implore the viewer to project personal meaning on the furniture within. This “non-dogmatic approach to object creation” is in direct contrast to the rigid visions of Inside the Walls in the space above, creating the titular “no-thing,” a work that is bestowed value by its users. A seemingly normal table built from leftover construction materials (MOS Architects) mingles with a blacked-out mirror (Norman Kelley) that challenges the viewer to see much of anything, playing with preconceived notions of what to expect from that typology. No-Thing features work by Andy and Dave (Brooklyn), Ania Jaworska (Chicago), architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (Gent, Belgium), Leong Leong (New York), MILLIØNS (Los Angeles), MOS (New York), Norman Kelley (New York, Chicago), SO–IL (Brooklyn), and Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile). Both Inside the Walls and No-Thing are on display at Friedman Benda at 515 W. 26th St, until February 17.
Work on the long-stalled complex adjacent to Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall is finally about to begin. The Los Angeles architect is finishing up designs for the Grand, a $1 billion residential, retail, and entertainment complex right across the street from his famous concert hall. The parking garage, not-so-affectionately known as "the Tinker Toy garage" is a dead zone in the Bunker Hill neighborhood, which was itself bulldozed and made anew in a midcentury urban renewal scheme. The 24-hour, live-work-play district envisioned by civic leaders never materialized in full. According to developer the Related Companies, construction is expected to begin in the fall. The Los Angeles Times reported Related was slated to build the project in 2004, but concerns about the project's feasibility (a nice way of saying the design was too expensive), along with the 2008 recession, stalled work. This time, the developer is partnering with a real estate subsidiary of China Communications Construction Group, one of China's largest companies, to fund the project. Gehry told the paper he can "live within the constraints" of the budget. With its stylistic similarity to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the architect believes the Grand will stand out from other L.A. mixed-use developments he regards as uninspiring. He added that terraces and a big plaza between the Grand and the concert hall will draw visitors and residents into the space. And there will be plenty of people: the grand will feature a 39-story tower with 113 condos and 323 apartments, as well as a 314-key, 20-story Equinox hotel. One-fifth of the apartments are set aside as affordable housing. Just like the concert hall, the Grand's metal walls will be fitted with projection-friendly cladding so images can be screened on its surfaces. "You'll see a lightness in the building," Gehry told the Los Angeles Times. "That's in the way we are relating to Disney hall. We are not building heavy stuff."
The noted and influential Los Angeles artist Ed Moses has passed away. A fixture on the L.A. art and architecture scene for over 70 years, Moses died of natural causes at his Venice, California home at the age of 91 on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Moses was widely-celebrated for his ever-changing and provocative style of painting and was well-known among the L.A. architects of the 1970s and 1980s who gravitated toward the city’s then-burgeoning visual arts scene. Moses was also member of the so-called “Cool School” group of artists, a motley mix of contemporary visual artists that took root in the 1950s in L.A. and set a trailblazing path in the realm of Pop Art. The group was heavily associated with Ferus Gallery in L.A. and included Craig Kauffman, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Edward Kienholz, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, John Altoon and Wallace Berman among its members. Moses was also a mentor and friend to architect Frank Gehry, who told The Los Angeles Times, “He opened a lot of doors for me, doors of thinking, to a way of looking at life, of thinking about work and creativity and freedom and expressing oneself—taking chances.” Gehry added, “He was the first person that was in that world that sort of took me under his wing. He was very supportive. I think he influenced others by his sense of freedom, his personality, his willingness to step into the unknown. He epitomized that … I think of him as my north star.” Moses is survived by his wife, Avilda, his sons Cedd and Andy, daughters-in-law Pamela and Kelly, and grandchildren Maxwell and Violette.