Posts tagged with "Germany":

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Robots sewed together this plywood pavilion in Stuttgart

The University of Stuttgart in South West Germany has recently established a history of creating audacious technically-complex pavilions. In 2014, the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) used robots to weave carbon fiber into the shape of the beetle wings. This year, robotics are once again being used by the ICD and ITKE in a similar fashion, drawing on more forms found in nature. Sewing together 151 plywood shell segments, inspired by sea urchins, the pavilion is the "first of its kind" to make use the industrial sewing of wood at an "architectural scale," rising 29 feet and weighing just over 1,700 pounds. The pavilion was created under the stewardship of Jan Knippers of the ITKE and Achim Menges of the ICD. Menges is also working on a very similar project in London, leading the design for the pavilion at London’s V&A Museum which will be built by robots to resemble construction patterns of beetles. https://vimeo.com/165006724 As for Stuttgart's ICD and ITKE pavilion, the installation is "research pavilions" that will advertise what robotics, computational design, and digital fabrication can do with the realm of architecture. The design team for that pavilion comprised a range of experts including biologists, paleontologists, engineers, and architects. Biologists from Tubingen University had identified Echinoidea (sea urchins) and the order Clypeasteroida (sand dollars) as "promising" studies. Research into the physical properties of their shells, focusing on the "transfer of morphological principles as well as procedural principles of growth" were then later used in an "integrative design process." Inspired by "natural segmented plate structures," the team tested numerous "textile connection methods" but sewing was the best option. In the final design, robots sewed custom-laminated, specially-flexible beech plywood into double-layered segments. https://vimeo.com/98783849  
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Festo’s AutomationCenter outsmarts German energy standards with a high performance automated facade

"The German EnEV (Energy Efficiency Act) challenges the ideal of a transparent crystal-like glass high-rise." - Priedemann Buildings Envelope Consultants

Festo is one of the world’s most prominent engineering companies and a market leader in technical training. For their new AutomationCenter in Southern Germany, Festo along with an interdisciplinary team of engineers, developed an innovative single-skin building envelope which features an “air-exhaust facade principle.” Rather than applying louvers and fins to the glass building, this system employs the use of an automated interior solar shade. Festo has already made a name for itself, writing a new chapter in industrial architectural history by applying new pneumatic multi-layer foil roofs and lightweight glass-cable facades. A 67-metre-high, full glass, diamond-shaped office building is the first component of a new company campus. A reinforced concrete structure, consisting of 16 floors and two basements, is placed on five supports. Two shafts with glass lifts provide further stability in the pointed corners. The office spaces are located in the middle of the stories. Striking the balance between EnEV compliance and a user-friendly full glass facade was only possible with an intelligent new system. The cooling load of the building was prioritized early on in the design process due to heat from the interior along with solar radiation. The design team produced a concept to shield the sun using an inside glare-protection screen. Between this screen and the exterior envelope is a ventilation channel through which waste air is exhausted. The cavity is fed also through ceiling plenums where exhaust air from the offices is expelled. This space functions as an insulated buffer – heat from the sun is absorbed by the inside solar screen and routed up through the cavity. At the same time, the surface of the screen which faces the interior is virtually room temperature. The inner glare protection screen is rail-guided, and operates dependent upon the quantity of solar exposure in the space. The material is light and translucent, helping to provide filtered daylight with low glare. The whole system can also be custom-controlled. The result is a weatherproof envelope and a facade system with a dynamically adaptable solar energy transmittance.
  • Facade Manufacturer Schindler Fenster + Fassaden GmbH
  • Architects Architekturbüro Jaschek
  • Facade Installer Schindler Fenster + Fassaden GmbH
  • Facade Consultants priedemann fassadenberatung (building envelope consultants), Schlaich Bergermann and Partners (structural engineering), Pfeil & Koch (building service engineering), Facade-Lab, Fraunhofer IBP (Mock-Up, in-situ measuring)
  • Location Esslingen, Germany
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System high performance single-skin unitized façade on reinforced concrete structure
  • Products Schüco customized aluminum unitized façade system, EControl electrochromatic glass, WAREMA SecuTex blind, GEKKO Facade cleaning robot
Andreas Beccard, Senior Projects Manager for Priedemann Buildings Envelope Consultants, told AN the success of the project was possible due to an interdisciplinary team. “The commitment of the whole team becomes obvious when looking into the development process of the active blind air-exhaust façade. Only thanks to complex simulations and a façade mock-up and its detailed in-situ measuring the façade system became feasible.” Facade-Lab and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Holzkirchen carried out a series of mock-ups to experiment with material fabrics, air flow, and user comfort criteria. The findings produced a reduction in the energy required for cooling of 10-30% compared with a standard building, depending on its size and air-exchange rate. The construction of the facade is realized as a 3 inch thick two-part modular system. This design’s efficient use of space is far better than with double-skin and closed-cavity facades.. A layer of permanent glazing (2.7m x 4m), and a layer of slim operable windows 27 inches wide by 13 feet in height. These windows operate via electrochromic glass panels, which incorporate electric current to adjust their level of opacity. This feature immediately responded to several requests made by employees, who wanted custom-controlled ventilation and to be able to see outside at all times too. This aspect equally responded to the fire service’s smoke-extraction requirements. Beccard said the building’s diamond floor plate provides a key performative aspect helping to improve occupant comfort: “Due to the building orientation, only 2 of the 4 sides have to be “activated” at the same time. Thus you always have 2 sides open for best view and the other 2 sides activated for the exhaust air.” The system has been in operation for nearly one year (completed July, 2015). Even as exterior temperatures have reached over 100°F, the room temperature remains at a constant mid to upper 70’s, saving energy required for cooling the space, and providing a consistent environment for user comfort. Since completion, this “air-exhaust” facade technology has been adopted for a second project – a retrofit of the old ECB high-rise in Frankfurt.
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Architects Campaign to Rebuild a Pre-WWII Mies House In Germany

If a group of architects, designers, and planners get their way—and successfully raise $2.25 million—then an early Mies van der Rohe designed house could be rebuilt. The lost structure would be reborn as the first Mies museum in Europe. Built long before his famous American works like the Farnsworth House and IBM Plaza, the Wolf House stood for nearly two decades in Guben, a town in eastern Germany at the border near Poland. The town was divided after World War II between Germany (Guben) and Poland (Gubin) as the Soviet Army pressed in from the east. In 1945, the Wolf family—that commissioned the Mies house and lived in it—left. The house was demolished soon after. Some designers see the Wolf House and its flat roof as a pivotal part of Mies’ oeuvre: when his architecture turned more experimental and broke from the typical residential architectural language of the era (pitched roofs, porches, roaring 1920s opulence). Others worry a plan to reconstruct the Wolf House is unrealistic, that anything built would be an incomplete reconstruction. The New York Times reports that “the debate has particular resonance in Germany, where reconstruction of structures destroyed in World War II has been a contentious issue, with some critics characterizing reconstruction as an attempt to erase memories of Nazism.” This would not be the first plan for rebuilding a Mies project: the Barcelona Pavilion, built for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, was up for less than a year before it was dismantled. A group of Spanish architects rebuilt the pavilion in the mid-1980s.
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Daniel Libeskind on Acoustics, his Unexpected Architectural Process, and his Latest Venture One Day in Life

Little known fact: As a child, Daniel Libeskind was an accordion virtuoso. Until he was about 18, Libeskind toured the world playing concerts on his accordion and busting out works like Flight of the Bumblebee before he was in high school. “I think I probably made more money per hour than I do now,” he joked last night in Cosentino’s showroom where he revealed his latest venture: A 24-hour musical experience with over 75 consecutive concert events in Frankfurt May 21–22. The event, One Day in Life, was meant to capture what Libeskind defined as the “18 dimensions of existence,” such as body, will, memory, gravity, secret, work, and waiting. These “dimensions of existence” correspond with 18 different venues throughout Frankfurt, including Alte Oper, whose artistic and managing director, Dr. Stephan Pauly, coordinated the event with Libeskind. Other venues include a bunker, the Hospital zum heiligen Geist, the Commerzbank Arena, VGF Betriebshofand rail yard depot, a boxing gym, a pool, and a moving streetcar. Libeskind also selected the performers and ensembles to play the music, which includes a mix of classical and modern pieces. The music is meant to evoke its venue’s assigned dimension, for example, French composer Marin Marais’s Tableau de l’Opération de la Taille will be performed at the hospital. In a trifecta of Libeskind’s artistic talents, he created a drawing of the intersection of music, architecture, and the city entitled Musical Labyrinth. The drawing corresponds with the locations of One Day in Life and will be etched in white on a large, inky black platform of Cosentino Dekton tile in front of the Alte Oper Concert Hall. After the unveiling of One Day in Life AN’s managing editor Olivia Martin sat down with Libeskind to discuss how music, art, and architecture can work in concert. The Architect’s Newspaper: Has music always played this prominent role in your art and architecture? Libeskind: Drawing is like writing, like making music, like architecture. It’s an art that has to do with the mind, the hand, and your heart. That’s the connection in music and architecture. Did picking these locations and working out the music to be played in them inspire you to build anything in the future? It made me think about concert halls—there are not enough new concert halls and when they are built, it is not in a 21st-century way. They are more like the Viennese concert hall, more nostalgia about old acoustics, I think we need contemporary 21st-century ways for people to form a community around music, I thought of that a lot. I built not long ago the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin and I especially took care with acoustics. I thought, what if I were up on stage? What does it look like? What does it feel like for someone performing? Do you always take an acoustic-centric approach to your buildings? I think of acoustics first. I think we are too addicted to the visual world today. It is a great medium to promote visual work but the inner ear when you listen and your orientation is more prominent than seeing. I also directed an opera, Saint François d'Assise by Messiaen. At first they asked me to do everything, including conducting, but then I looked at the score and it would take a year just to do the score—I’d have to give up architecture. So I said no, I cannot conduct, but I did everything else. I did the direction, the costumes, the stage, the lighting, everything except conducting. I’ve also done a lot of set design for opera, but I am an architect, I don't have time for stage design. So would you say you’ve picked architecture over music? No, I believe architecture is an extension of music. For me music is not a metaphor, it’s not the analysis of notes. It’s not an applique of music to architecture. It is a condensation of emotional intelligence and the sense of orientation in the ear and that is what connects it to the field. We should analyze our cities acoustically. How beautiful would it be to not only decorate our city with green but also think about the sound of New York? Every city has its own sound and it would lead to greater joy if people thought about the sound of their cities and the spectrum between silence and noise… and maybe it would give us more perspective than the simulation on our devices.  
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A “New Blue House” in Germany brings together energy industry, science and public sector

"To make sure that all sustainability criteria are considered, we coordinate an integrated general planning team with clear communication structures and a customized working process from the first conception until the phase of use." - kadawittfeldarchitektur

Kadawittfeldarchitektur has built a modern energy efficiency center on the campus of Hochschule Niederrhein in Mönchengladbach, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The zero emission building is constructed to Passive House standards which require thermal bridge free design, superior windows, ventilation with heat recovery, quality insulation and airtight construction.  The driving idea behind the project was to unite the science and energy industry with the university in a collaborative effort to share innovative energy technologies with the public. The building accommodates an energy center for NEW, an energy and water utility company, along with an academic library, a startup center for new business ventures, and an energy laboratory for students. The building is designed to be an object in the landscape – a “solitaire” according to Mathias Garanin, Project Manager for kadawittfeldarchitektur.  “Due to its conception as a solitaire, it is a building without a rear elevation, a building that faces public space in all directions.” Garanin and the kadawittfeldarchitektur project team say the building volume was based on setback distances from neighboring buildings, creating a compact, five-sided volume clad with oppositely inclined blue tinted glass and photovoltaic panels coordinated with the orientation and incidence of solar radiation. “The NEW-Blauhaus building is kept at a distance in order to establish new relationships.” Benefits to the volumetric shape of the building include a favorable volume-to-surface ratio for energy efficiency and a relatively short interior travel distances to maximize collaboration.
  • Facade Manufacturer ertex solartechnik GmbH (photovoltaics), SUMMER facade systems (glazing)
  • Architects kadawittfeldarchitektur
  • Facade Installer SUMMER facade systems, A.Frauenrath BauConcept (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Rache Engineering GmbH (engineering)
  • Location Mönchengladbach, Germany
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System curtain wall system on five-story reinforced concrete structure
  • Products black aluminum profiles; floor-to-ceiling sashes with exterior soundproofing, fall-protection panes; dark-blue enameled panes; photovoltaic elements integrated in opaque panes; exterior solar shading device
While the architects have produced a formally engaging homogeneous skin, loaded with performative features acknowledging insulation requirements, acoustics, durability, and user comfort, perhaps the most important role of the building is to clearly communicate a high performance energy agenda. This is achieved in two ways: in the facade, which is clad with photovoltaic panels, and at the base of the building, where an energy center doubles as a showroom visible to onlookers from the exterior. Here, visitors can engage in displays showcasing sustainable energy, along with a specialized highly efficient reversible heat pump system involving an ice storage tank and chiller plant. kadawittfeldarchitektur says the facade is the building’s most exclusive means of expression. “As a significant part of the advanced energy concept, it communicates the approach to conserving resources to the outside and determines the identity of the architecture and its users in the urban environment.” A 4-foot structural grid establishes stacks of window and photovoltaic units that are variably rotated to most effective solar angles. Soundproofing panes located in front of the widow units work to compositionally complete the building envelopes patterned ornamentation. The window units are operable, providing individualized user comfort as required. The north facade receives enameled glass in place of the photovoltaic panels along the north facade were omitted from the design due to performative issues, and replaced with an enameled glass. The elegance of the envelope system inspired an interior design scheme of clarity and communication through “color blocking.” Based on the activity of the building as an energy generation system from dusk to dawn, the coloration of interior spaces combines hues of a defined color spectrum found in sunset and sunrise conditions.
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Lunch at a Landmark: Norman Foster explains the creative process behind his iconic structures

On October 7, the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation hosted its annual “Lunch at a Landmark” at the top of the Hearst Tower. Guests, New York’s elite architectural, design, and preservation cognoscenti, were offered a rare insight into the building—one from Norman Foster himself. To best explain his old-meets-new approach to the Hearst Tower, Foster revisited five of his past projects: the Reichstag in Berlin; the Millennium Bridge over the Thames; the Millau Viaduct in Millau, France; La Voile in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France; and the Château Margaux in Bordeaux. The original Art Deco Hearst building by Joseph Urban was always intended to have a tower rising from its base. However, due to complications like the Great Depression, it was nearly 80 years before that tower came to fruition. To build the 46-story-tall skyscraper, Foster scooped out the building’s interior to introduce light and create a kind of “town-square.” This move was initially contested on the grounds of “facadism” but Foster persisted. “When someone says I can’t do something, that is when I get really excited about it,” he said. Now, the dynamic lobby with its dramatic entrance that takes pedestrians over an indoor waterfall to enter is one of the building’s most iconic design moments. Of course, Foster could make an educated guess that this would be the case. He took a similar approach to Berlin’s Reichstag in 1999. In that instance, the hollowed-out core was a historically sensitive move that visually helped to give the building back to the people. Even as he preserved the Russian graffiti and other emblems of the building’s past, the clear dome in the tower physically placed the people above the government as a bright symbol of democracy. Although bridges are markedly different from buildings, Foster also connected past and present with the Millennium Bridge and the Millau Viaduct, quite literally. Taking cues from St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern in London, the Millennium Bridge’s thin, steel profile frames picturesque views of the city for the approximately 4 million people per year who walk across it. While France’s Millau Viaduct didn’t have to contend with any historic buildings, it presented a similar challenge in that its location, the Massif Central Region, is a National Heritage Site. Using tall piers to support the slender bridge, Foster and Michel Virlogeux (the lead engineer at Eiffage, the same company responsible for the Eiffel Tower), created a structure that only lightly touches the land and enhances the landscape for everyone driving across it. These three projects illustrate Foster’s concept of a design “marriage,” a relationship that he likens to a family, where there is a new generation that may have a distinct style, but it has very strong ties to the older generation. In two other projects he discussed, La Voile in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France, and the Château Margaux in Bordeaux, Foster opted for a different approach. For La Voile, Foster ran up against a well-intentioned law in the South of France that protected the coastline. Unfortunately, this meant that a nondescript house on his client’s property was also protected. But, by hollowing out an old stone tower from the center, Foster created a new “skin,” a design that totally swallows the original home—perfectly preserving it without compromising the new design. In fact, the fit was so perfect, that the local police raided the house once to make sure the original one was accessible underneath (it was). Along similar lines, but less dramatically, Foster integrated a new structure for making white wine at the Château Margaux winery with an 1815 building by Louis Combes. Pulling inspiration from trees and farm structures, the resulting building appears to grow both organically from the site and from its 19th Century counterpart. These five projects offer a survey of Foster’s innovative and varying approaches to melding old and new architecture in ways both familiar and unique to each site. It will be exciting to see how these approaches unfold as he turns to more radical projects such as the drone port in Rwanda and beyond.
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Snøhetta's exhibit at Berlin's Aedes explores natural light and human habitat in Norway

The current focus on research in architectural practice normally means thinking out the design and materials of an upcoming project or a prototype for a hoped-for commission. But when Norwegian and American firm Snøhetta was given the chance to do a research project by the Zumtobel Group they created Living The Nordic Light, and it became an exhibition at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum. Snøhetta joined with artists, writers, and research institutions to investigate 
the relationship between natural light, people, and habitat in the northern region of Norway. By interviewing four centenarians living their entire lives above the Arctic Circle, they explored the irrevocable and inherent relationships of light and darkness, lived time, and individual perceptions of these relationships. It’s not the sort of research that has a direct relationship to building practice but will surely influence the intelligence with which the firm conceptualizes architectural projects and issues. A catalogue which is part of Zumtobel's annual report—a model which we wish was picked up by American companies—is available at Aedes. The exhibition is open at Aedes until October 1, 2015.
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One of these two first prize winners will build the new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany

In August in Dessau, Germany, a jury in the design competition for the construction of the Bauhaus Museum awarded two first prizes. By a majority vote, the joint winners are from New York and Barcelona with third and fourth place teams hailing from Zürich and Toronto. The design to be constructed from the shortlist of two is yet to be selected. According to the Bauhaus, the competition has shown that the museum typology is in a transitional phase. “The vertical is over—a new theme is flexibility," Chris Dercon, Director of the Tate Modern in London and one of the material prize jurors, said in a statement. "However, the new development has no clear direction. The two first prizewinners are very diverse. It will be a chance to start the discussion in the international public and with experts. To be the beginning of the New, Dessau and the Bauhaus are ideal places. This is exciting.” The winners were: Architects: Young & Ayata Michael Young, Kutan Ayata New York Landscape architect: Misako Murata New York Architects: Gonzalez Hinz Zabala Roberto González Peñalver, José Zabala Rojí, Anne Katharina Hinz Barcelona, Spain Landscape architect: Roser Vives de Delás Barcelona, Spain Third Place: Architects: Berrel Berrel Kräutler AG Maurice Berrel Zurich, Switzerland Landscape architect: ASP Landschaftsarchitekten AG Florian Seibold Zurich, Switzerland Fourth Place: Architects: Ja Architecture Studio Nima Javidi Toronto, Canada Landscape architects: JA Architecture Studio Behnaz Assadi Toronto, Canada Both joint winners will receive $36,800 in prize money while the third and fourth place teams will take home $20,100 and $12,300 respectively. The Bauhaus staid that it felt reinforced by its decision to have the competition open for international entries as Claudia Perren, Director and CEO of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and building contractor, stated that it is a "first-class competition.” The idea was also conceived to "offer young offices and international architects a real chance" which has no doubt been taken—the competition received over 800 entries.  
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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Architect builds a shocking pavilion to explore society's domination of nature

Bochum, Germany is host to Ruhrtriennale, a six week art festival which opened last weekend and gave Joep van Lieshout of Atelier van Lieshout a chance to create his biggest—and most shocking—work to date. In a place that, according to the exhibition's website, is "for everyone who is curious," Ruhrtriennale exhibits the Domestikator which aims to explore society's role with nature. The project explores domestication and domination from an ethical perspective, and, as the not-so-subtle sculptural reference to beastiality demonstrates, how boundaries can be crossed during this process. Domestikator also touches on man's relationship with technology, hinting that society itself is being domesticated by technologically driven systems. Van Lieshout further revisits themes such as utopia, dystopia, idealism, power, religion and love as part of an ongoing series called New Tribal Labyrinth which can be seen in previous projects such as The Farm, Hagioscoop, and the Saw Mill/Cheese Maker. The series tenders a dystopian, post-nuclear-fallout-like future whereby imaginary tribes return to basic agricultural and industrial ways of life with the Domestikator acting as a religious temple for the masses. New artistic director Johan Simons says van Lieshout's installation will "create a lively and aesthetically chaotic place for for artists, festival makers, visitors and everyone who is simply curious." Tickets and information on the event can be found on the Ruhrtriennale website. https://instagram.com/p/5nMF14QbCl/ https://instagram.com/p/5nMF14QbCl/
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Construction gone awry: crane driver accidentally extricates a house and causes car pile-up—or that's what the artists will have you believe

A house “mistakenly” unearthed from the soil by an inebriated crane driver hangs mournfully over a construction site in Karlsruhe, southern Germany. Torn roots sprout from its base to remind onlookers that it was once a happy home before its violent extrication. The hyper-real sculpture by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is suspended above a market square, where construction for a new tram network is in full swing. While it might appear to critique the built environment and associated human errors, the model house is intended to challenge resident’s perception of construction as an eyesore and something “divorced from the natural world.” "Pulled up by the Roots highlights this tension,” Ehrlich told Dezeen. “As living beings on an ever-changing planet, we can never be apart from the organic world; the architecture that we create is part and parcel of our environment." Inspired by the historical architecture of Friedrich Weinbrenner, Erlich’s reality-bending art addresses global themes of uprooting and migration, but it’s also there to remind people that “underneath the tons of metal and concrete of our cities, a vital organic presence remains.” Therefore, the roots are a sign of life and not destructive intervention. Pulled up by the Roots is part of The City is a Star, a series of realistic sculptures installed across Karlsruhe to commemorate its anniversary. Another spectacle to behold is a comically bent truck by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, whose rear wheels seem to be kicking off from the building behind it like a bucking bull. 2015-stadt-ist-der-star_truck_001 The artwork truck was recently slapped with a parking ticket, according to CityLab, but a report from KA News insists that the gag ticket was issued by a rare breed of city officials possessing a sense of humor, after the Center for Arts and Media (ZKM) publicly complained about having to pay the charges. The sculptures will be on view until September 27, 2015. Another satirical outlook on human foul-ups is a topsy-turvy pile-up of VW Beetles by Hans Hollein, titled Car Building. Were they also victim to the drunken crane driver’s clumsy hand? 2015-stadt-ist-der-star_car-building_001
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JAHN reportedly designing tower for Chicago's South Loop

JAHN (the firm formerly known as Murphy/Jahn) has projects all over the world, but a tower project announced Thursday by Crain's Chicago Business' Dennis Rodkin is on a site in the Chicago-based firm's backyard. Though not confirmed by the architects, news of a possible JAHN project at 1000 South Michigan Avenue (now a surface parking lot) has some local design and real estate observers abuzz. Principal Helmut Jahn is known around the world for highly engineered, structurally expressive towers and complexes that prize performance over prettiness. The 75-year-old German-American has earned numerous lifetime achievement awards and other accolades, and his high profile would likely lend some “starchitect” factor to any building that his firm might deliver on the South Loop site. His protege Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, with whom he co-runs the firm, is also sought-after for designs like Las Vegas' Veer Towers, which boast bright yellow, fritted glass facades and an unusual leaning profile. An area plan currently has a height limit of 35 stories, but Rodkin quotes Dennis McLendon, development and planning director of community group South Loop Neighbors, who thinks that won't apply in the event that the new project is confirmed:
"I don't have a lot of confidence that the current plan commission would observe a plan that was adopted back in 2004," he said. Now a surface parking lot, the site is one of only two gaps in the continuous 1.3-mile cliff wall along the west side of Michigan Avenue between Randolph Street and Roosevelt Road. In the early-2000s condo boom, it was the proposed site of a 40-story condominium tower, but developer Warren Barr was hit with a foreclosure suit and lost the property to First American Bank, which still owns it. First American representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
If it happens, the project would hardly be the firm's first in their hometown. JAHN (mostly under their prior moniker, Murphy/Jahn) designed the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare and the Ogilvie Metra station downtown, as well as the State of Illinois Center (the Thompson Center), 600 N. Fairbanks, 1 S. Wacker Dr., and others. Yet lately most of the firm's high-profile work has been abroad.
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The Westin Hamburg to be housed within the Elbe Philharmonic Complex by Herzog & de Meuron

Starwood Hotels has announced that it will open The Westin Hamburg next year in the much-anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex. The 10-story, 205-bedroom hotel by architects Herzog & de Meuron will be housed within a glass-fronted, wave-shaped building that sits atop a historic warehouse on the banks of the river Elbe. Boasting a pointed, wave-shaped roof, the complex will also feature three concert halls, 45 private apartments and a more than 43,000 square foot, publicly accessible plaza offering 360-degree city views. A head-turning assimilation of old and new, the bottom half of the complex is a former warehouse known as Kaispecher A, designed by Werner Kallmorgen and built between 1963 and 1966 on the site of the original neo-Gothic Kaispecher. Architects Herzog & de Meuron gutted and renovated the warehouse specifically for the project. Meanwhile, the upper half of the complex is an all-glass expanse of 1,100 panes, each measuring 13–16 feet wide, with carefully placed projecting curves that give each window a fingerprint-like accent. The windows were shaped with high precision and marked with small basalt grey reflective dots that prevent the building from overheating in sunlight while creating a shimmering effect that ripples as it catches different reflections. Sandwiched between the conjunction of old and new, the aforementioned viewing plaza is set off by the contrast between the bottom half’s brickwork and the top half’s iridescent glass frontage. The hotel lobby, a café and access to the foyers of the new concert hall are also located there. At the heart of the complex is a world-class concert hall with 2,100 seats that rise up on interwoven tiers on all sides of the stage like vineyard terraces. Enter acoustics specialist Yasuhisa Toyota, who was commissioned to seal the concert hall in a material he developed known as White Skin, which also guarantees perfect acoustics. As an added precaution against sleep-deprived hotel guests, the entire concert hall is enclosed in two concrete shells. Floor and ceiling flow seamlessly into one another as if from a single skin made of 10,000 gypsum fiber panels composed of natural plaster and recycled paper. Accessing the warehouse is a journey unto itself: visitors mount a 269-foot escalator with a concrete arch, whose end cannot be seen. The glowing spherical tunnel, speckled with glass sequins that refract the light, envelops one completely. If you’re wondering about that seafaring roof, its pointy undulations consist of eight spherical, concavely bent sections merged together. It is sprinkled with 6,000 giant sequins that make it ripple and shine like the water surrounding it. Those raring to visit should bear in mind three important dates: the Westin Hamburg is due to open in October 2016, the public plaza in November 2016, while the Elbe Philharmonic will be inaugurated on January 11, 2017.