The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced that Nicholas de Monchaux will be the new head of its School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) beginning July of this year, and will also maintain an affiliated faculty member position in the institute’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). As a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome with degrees in architecture from Yale University and Princeton University, de Monchaux comes to the program after serving as a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Center for New Media at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 2006. During his time at Berkeley, de Monchaux authored Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an expansive study of the technology and design behind space exploration that later won the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society and was shortlisted for the Art Book Prize. With Kathryn Moll, he maintains a principal role at modem, an architecture practice with a focus on social, ecological, and community-based projects. The news comes two years after J. Meejin Yoon, a cofounding principal of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, stepped down at the head of architecture at MIT to become the dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. While in that position, Yoon advocated for the school to focus on the intersection between technology, design, and climate science. Professor Andrew Scott has maintained the role of interim department head while the school appointed a new permanent head, and will continue in that role through the end of the spring semester. De Monchaux has not yet stated his goals as the new department head, but it is assumed that he will continue his focus on current environmental challenges and social shifts as he has addressed them in his professional and academic roles.
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Pratt Institute began in 1887 in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood as an affordable college accessible to the working class of New York. Founded by industrialist Charles Pratt, whose company, Astral Oil Works, was absorbed into John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust in 1874, it was run as a charity for many years. It still had a Pratt family member, Richardson Pratt Jr., as president in 1990, the fifth family member to serve in that position. Its ninth president, Henry Saltzman, who served from 1970 to 1972, was an urban studies specialist, but other non–Pratt family leaders came from the fields of education and academia. Now for the first time, the school has selected a president, Frances Bronet, who has degrees in architecture and civil (structural) engineering. This, in itself, is a unique background for someone leading a design institute, but of course, she was also selected for her accomplishments in and out of design academia. In this interview, we questioned Bronet about her design background, what it brings to the school, and how it informs what she hopes to accomplish as the institute’s 12th president. William Menking: You’ve had a distinguished 20-year career as an educator before becoming Pratt Institute’s 12th president. You have degrees in architecture and civil engineering, and a diploma in management. This is not a common degree path to becoming a college president. How did it happen that you went from being a designer to a president? Frances Bronet: I have always imagined what it would be like to be the head of a think tank, from the time I was 17. I may not have known exactly what that meant, but at this moment we can all agree that leading a college would qualify. In Montreal, I worked in prominent, faculty-led architectural offices, and ultimately in a partnership with two colleagues. After graduating from McGill, I began teaching at McGill, Vanier, and Montreal Technical College in the evenings after working in practice during the day. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to continue in the academy, and I came to New York City to study at Columbia University for grad school. As an engineer and an architect with solid experience as a teacher, I was offered a few jobs, from the University of Texas to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), as a tenure-related faculty member. It’s hard to believe when looking back, but I taught for almost 30 years. In my experience, the academy, somewhat like an ambitious office, offers an amazing amount of freedom. As a faculty member, you have an incredible bandwidth for experimentation, new ideas, and collaboration. In many ways, it is both an entrepreneurial environment and one that has manageable boundaries. As soon as I was tenured, I became associate dean (I was also a new parent!). This was a great experience. I love building relationships and brokering genius—and being in an administrative position lets me do that. There are certainly many architects who would avoid administration, but it can be unbelievably creative. And where else do you get to engage this extraordinary amount of intelligence and aspiration? I then left RPI to become dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts (now the College of Design) at the University of Oregon. Being dean across domains—from painting to architecture to public policy—gave me access to understanding the big picture. When an even larger university-wide landscape was made available to me as acting provost at Oregon, I couldn’t resist. The ability to take opportunities across disciplines and connect remarkable people, projects, and places was key, as was designing teams where the unexpected can unfold. From there, I went on to be provost at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago and now have the honor of being the president of Pratt Institute. The school has a massive external face, leading through design—and as an extreme extrovert, this position is perfect. WM: The next logical question is how did an architecture and engineering degree prepare you for your academic career? Did it give you particular and unique insights into design education? FB: Absolutely. Studying and working in these environments exposed me to various ways of thinking and unique modes of defining complex problems and solving them. I was impressed by how distinct expertise came together to make it all work. We all have different modes of learning and teaching, and people self-select these disciplines. For me, architecture, although tough, resonated with how I experienced and performed in the world; engineering put me in a place that was unfamiliar, so that very precariousness opened up a new universe. WM: Your resume highlights your publishing career “on multidisciplinary design curricula connecting architecture, engineering, STS (science, technology, and society), dance, and fine electronic art.” You’re now the president of an art and design institution of higher education. How will you expand or develop interdisciplinarity between schools at Pratt? FB: Ah! That would be the provost’s gig. And now that we have a strategic plan developed with all our constituencies, this very recommendation is central. I could guide, advise, and listen, but the provost is the chief academic officer. My work is how what is going on in the world impacts our strategic vision and how we share this beyond our own gates, building broad constituencies of support. We have 1,200 faculty members—many of whom have their own practices—already connected to the world at large and bringing the world here when they teach. How can these connections be magnified and supported? Many educational enterprises are building experiential, embodied, problem-based, and practice-oriented courses. Pratt has been doing this for more than 130 years. That is where we should take a leadership role. WM: What are the challenges of directing an art and architecture and design academy in 2019? How do you hope to change or expand the institute? FB: Some challenges transcend the institute—preparing students for careers that don’t yet exist, accessibility, including cost, and wellness, to name a few. But for us, it is that excellence will be measured by how a private institution works for the public good, from social and environmental to cultural metrics. We are part of the economic and social engine that has transformed our neighborhood into a new, creative economy. And we must do more to create an academic institution that can collaborate to make a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable community. WM: What are the challenges and advantages of directing an institution of higher education for creative thinkers and makers in New York City? FB: The world’s best and brightest are here or are coming to New York City. It is also important to be aware that some great talent is outside of New York City, too. When thinking about the great diversity of this city, we ask ourselves, how do we represent the communities in which we sit? How do we collaborate with all this extraordinary talent and get out of institutional silos? How can we leverage our practice-based faculty, who bring both new ideas to their students and their students’ ideas to bear on their practices? There is an incredible opportunity to ask what are the key projects, and how do we partner and get involved? How are we part of a larger ecosystem? Climate change, rapid urbanization, ethical practice, and so forth impacting our world will require research, working across many disciplines, universities, and other organizations. This infrastructure can serve as a frame for true participatory democratic practice. Pratt is uniquely poised to do this type of engaged work and be part of this ecosystem. Our goal is to equip our students as cultural, environmental, urban, design, and education contributors and leaders. We are sitting next to one of the great new emerging developments at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That’s where you’ll find our Consortium for Research and Robotics. It’s clear to me now that I was on the right track envisioning myself at a think tank. But in today’s world—with so much possible through technology and collaboration—we work in think-make tanks. There is so much possibility for partnership that, indeed, it will be the only way to address some of the most difficult issues confronting us. Designers are optimists. As Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon said, “Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”
For many architecture and design schools across the United States, 2019 marks a shift in institutional leadership. From Charlotte to Berkeley, new deans will assume the helms of some of the country’s most challenging—and exciting—programs. The deans will have the opportunity to shape design pedagogy and practice in significant ways, potentially guiding how academic institutions teach and address issues related to the built environment for years to come. But in an era of collaborative learning and community engagement, what does deanship look like? AN asked eight of the country’s new deans about their plans for the future of their schools and their discipline. Here’s what they have to say: Respondents’ answers have been edited and condensed in some cases. Vishaan Chakrabarti University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design A former principal at SHoP Architects, Vishaan Chakrabarti is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and the founder of the New York-based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. The Architect’s Newspaper: What is your vision for the school moving forward? Given the spatial nature of our three existential challenges—climate change, social inequity, and technological dislocation—I believe that schools of architecture are as relevant today as law schools were during the civil and equal rights era. I am keenly interested in exploring with students, staff, and faculty the questions of how to reconcile the demands of professional practice—which takes decades to do well—with the understandable impatience of many students to radically and immediately change our world in light of the environmental, intersectional, economic, and political crises in which they have come of age. How is your new school different from your previous institution, Columbia University? Because [Berkeley] is public, it serves disproportionately large numbers of first-generation college students, Pell Grant recipients, and other diverse groups relative to most private institutions. More broadly, Berkeley is part of the Pacific Rim and therefore exists at a healthy distance from the Eurocentric framework that still dominates many design schools. Harriet Harriss Pratt Institute School of Architecture Before assuming her role at Pratt, Harriet Harriss was the head of the postgraduate program in architecture and interior design at the Royal College of Art in London, where she explored new models of design education addressing gender imbalances that exist at many institutions. What is your vision for the school moving forward? The tradition of parachuting in architectural visionaries ready to superimpose their agenda and aesthetics upon an unsuspecting faculty—with little regard for the established expertise within a school of architecture— is no longer viable. The vision I have is the one I intend to co-design with the talented and dedicated educators, students, and administrators at Pratt Institute School of Architecture… What’s needed is a dean who is willing to facilitate, enable, and empower, who is committed to ensuring talented students’ and educators’ work gets the recognition and exposure it deserves, and one who will work toward ensuring the work is realized across an expanded field of professional practices and public contexts. Who would you consider a role model dean and why? Architecture’s habit of focusing upon an individual’s contribution over that of a collective does not reflect the reality of architectural practice or education. Instead, we need to recognize the achievements of collectives in shaping the most successful spatial outcomes and increase our capacity for collaboration in order to respond effectively to challenges ahead. What would you make your school’s mascot? Do we need mascots? Or actions that lead to meaningful impact? Branko Kolarevic New Jersey Institute of Technology Hillier College of Architecture and Design Previously a professor and administrator at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape at the University of Calgary, Branko Kolarevic is a designer and educator with experience at multiple universities across North America and Asia. How is your new school different from your previous institution, the University of Calgary? The urban fabric and the demographics of [Newark and Calgary] are very different, as are the local economies and politics. The school in Calgary was based on graduate and postgraduate education, while the Hillier College is mostly focused on undergraduate degrees, even though we have both professional and post-professional masters degrees (and also a PhD program)… There are similarities, as both NJIT and the University of Calgary place great emphasis on research; both are in the top tier research-wise. Who would you consider a role model dean and why? My role model is late Bill Mitchell, the former dean at MIT, who was my mentor when I was a doctoral student at Harvard GSD, and who provided unwavering support throughout my academic career. I also had a privilege early on to learn about leadership from two great deans: Marvin Malecha, who was dean of the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design in early 1990s when I taught there, and Roger Schluntz, former dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. They both radiate positive energy that is infectious and are great minds and compassionate leaders who care deeply about people around them. What would you make your school’s mascot? That's a tough one. Given that New Jersey is known as the “Garden State,” I would pick our state bird (American goldfinch) or insect (honeybee) as a mascot. Both the goldfinches and bees are designers and builders of their nests, so in my view they are appropriate mascots for a design school. Lesley Lokko The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York Beyond her training as an architect and her tenure as head of school at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, Lesley Lokko is a Scottish-born-Ghanaian-raised writer with 12 best-selling novels. How is your new school different from your previous institution, the University of Johannesburg? Managerially and administratively, they are very different, but the hunger that drives the staff and students is very similar. Both places have a desire to say what has previously remained unsaid: that issues of class, race, gender, and power are central to architectural production, not marginal; that diversity strengthens architectural, landscape, and urban culture; that difference matters, not because it is “different,” but because it enriches discourse. Who would you consider a role model dean and why? Alvin Boyarsky [chair of the Architectural Association from 1971 to 1990]. He made the marginal mainstream and was committed to change. What would you make your school’s mascot? A chameleon. Shape-shifter. Brook Muller University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture Brook Muller was an associate dean of the University of Oregon (UO) School of Architecture and Allied Arts, and his work focuses primarily on design theory and ecologically responsible practice. What is your vision for the school moving forward? I seek to build a shared vision for the College of Arts + Architecture, so the idea is to shape it when I hit the ground… My priorities include (1) Introducing [students] to an expansive set of issues and asking them to assume active stances…(2) [Building] community partnership…in the arts and design…(3) Promoting interdisciplinarity and other forms of intra-college community building; (4) Assuming a proactive stance in fostering equity… (5) Pushing the boundaries of sustainability and ecological responsiveness. Who would you consider a role model dean and why? Frances Bronet, my former dean at UO, who is now President at the Pratt Institute. [An interview with Frances Bronet is on page tktk] Frances was tireless, visionary, and enthusiastic, always one step ahead. I have seen many different models of leadership; hers was predicated on building effective collaborations and trust. It was a lot of fun to walk into work when Frances was at UO. What would you make your school’s mascot? I like UNC Charlotte’s current team nickname (49ers). This name came about as the institution was founded in the late 1940s after World War II in response to rising educational demand. Focusing on the city and on opening up educational opportunities for those who are deserving—that strikes me as a beautiful pairing. Dan Pitera University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture Dan Pitera served as the executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, a community-based nonprofit located at the University of Detroit Mercy. The center’s website describes him as “a political and social activist masquerading as an architect.” What is your vision for the school moving forward? We do not need to abandon the tools of our discipline to engage a wider variety of people in a collaborative way… Working in this way is often viewed as an alternative practice. Instead, I propose that we are working to alter how architects practice. Our school of architecture will interrogate and craft methods to meaningfully incorporate community-driven practice throughout the profession. What would you make your school’s mascot? A mascot for the Detroit Mercy School of Architecture would have to amplify and celebrate our values. It would stand for justice, be inclusive, have a global perspective, be daring and be fun. After consulting several students, we came up with the Canada goose. Yearly, two Canada geese nest on a visible section of roof at our school of architecture on their daring annual journey… The geese are unaware of political boundaries of countries, cities, institutions, or buildings. They have welcomed us into their home. Sarah Whiting Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) Previously the dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, Sarah Whiting is a founding partner of WW Architecture, a practice she established with her husband Ron Witte. How is your new school different from your previous institution, Rice University? The GSD is almost five times bigger than Rice, and it has three departments and multiple programs, whereas Rice was a one-department school. At the same time, both schools are filled with extraordinary faculty and students, and both schools situate design’s importance within global culture, so they really do share a similar ethos. Who would you consider a role model dean and why? Two figures who immediately come to mind as role models include Robert (Bob) Geddes at Princeton (dean from 1965 to 1982) and Harry Cobb at the GSD (chair of architecture at the GSD from 1980 to 1985). Both did a remarkable job of building up faculties of diverse yet precise voices—resulting in specific, yet unpredictable conversations within their schools—during extraordinary moments for architectural education. Meejin Yoon Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning Before joining the faculty at Cornell in early 2019, Meejin Yoon led the architecture department at MIT’s School of Architecture + Planning. She is a cofounding principal of the architecture firm Höweler + Yoon. How is your new school different from your previous institution, MIT? [Cornell and MIT’s] overlaps are probably more interesting than their differences. Specifically, I’m thinking of the underlying social and cultural values that drive creative imagination, breadth of scholarship, and depth of research across the domains of architecture, art, and planning at both schools. Who would you consider a role model dean and why? Dean William Mitchell… I will never forget Dean Mitchell’s response when I anxiously shared the news that my students, in fulfilling a studio assignment, had caught the building on fire. He acknowledged that no one was hurt, assured me that insurance would take care of the physical damage, and concluded by sharing that experimentation means taking risks and that he was happy that I was stirring up things in the department of architecture. His level of encouragement and support for taking risks that push boundaries was profound, and I have always admired him as a role model for academic leadership. What would you make your school’s mascot? A fire-breathing dragon.
The search to replace Thomas Hanrahan, the long-serving outgoing dean of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, is now over, as Pratt has selected Dr. Harriet Harriss to take over come August 20, 2019. Dr. Harriss will bring an international spin to the position, as well as one of inclusion and pedagogy, topics that Harriss has written about, lectured on, and researched extensively. Harriss currently leads the Post-Graduate Research Program in Architecture and Interior Design at the Royal College of Art in London, and before that, led the Masters in Applied Design in Architecture program at Oxford Brookes University. Harriss has also taught at the New School and Parsons in the past and has run international collaborations with the New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University, among others. Additionally, Harriss cofounded Design Heroine Architecture (DHA) in 2004 and has worked on projects in both the public and private spheres. “Buildings aren’t just products, they’re philosophies with the potential to lead the zeitgeist. Tomorrow’s most successful architectural designers will be those whose education has enabled their intellectual agility and fostered connectivity to their communities,” Dr. Harriss said in a statement. “These qualities are what make Pratt Institute so unique. I am incredibly excited to get started.” Harriss will replace Hanrahan after his 22-year tenure. In his “exit interview,” Hanrahan expressed his desire to stand aside and let the next generation take the reins, but he’ll stick around at Pratt in a more hands-on teaching role.
Higher education is in a state of flux. Emerging technologies and approaches to learning are upending norms of traditional knowledge transmission. Internet-based learning is continuing to increase while at the same time, campus architects are re-valuing social spaces as essential to the student experience. As a result, higher education leaders are looking into new ideas for university campus master plans, and rethinking and conceptualizing new academic buildings. As these initiatives and juxtapositions evolve, what will the academic building of the future look like? How will designers ensure classroom spaces are relevant --both now and in decades to come? Join BuroHappold and a panel of experts on Wednesday, May 22, when we convene a panel of expert practitioners and observers including an architect, institutional advisor, university administrator and journalist to hear their thoughts on this critical topic. These experts, working at the cutting edge of the future of higher education, will discuss the catalysts for the changes, transformational design approaches, and lessons for future academic facility and instructional designs. Moderator Sara Lipka, Senior Editor – The Chronicle of Higher Education Speakers Elliot Felix, Founder and CEO – brightspot strategy William Menking, Founder and Editor-in-Chief – The Architect’s Newspaper Others to be confirmed soon!
After 22 years as the dean of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York, Thomas Hanrahan announced today that 2018 would be his last full year at the school's helm. Under Hanrahan’s tenure, the architecture school grew dramatically from a combined six graduate and undergraduate programs to 17, and from 750 students to 1,050. When reached by phone, Hanrahan discussed his reasons for leaving the post and what was next. After hitting the 20-year milestone, Hanrahan thought that it would be for the best if he stepped aside and let the next generation lead. What’s next? Hanrahan will return to teaching at Pratt and engaging in a more hands-on approach to interacting with students. He’ll also spend more time practicing at Hanrahan Meyers Architects (hMA), where Hanrahan is a founding partner. "I think that I have fostered a design and research culture at Pratt where independent and creative faculty and students seek to transform their respective discipline,” said Hanrahan when asked about what he was most proud of during his tenure. “My hope is that this spirit of open inquiry into contemporary urban and ecological problems continues with the next generation of leadership. There is tremendous pressure right now pushing the design and planning fields toward sameness and formulaic methods, and Pratt has always stood apart for me as a place that strongly supports risk-taking, innovation, and truly diverse communities." Hanrahan will remain in his post until July 1, 2019, then take a leave of absence and return as a member of the teaching staff. Pratt will conduct the search for his replacement this year, and they except the new dean to begin next summer.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA) connected two preexisting buildings at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in New Orleans with a 46,000-square-foot addition. The overhaul also included the renovation of a classroom, two auditoriums, and two lecture halls, joining the complete sum of 85,000 square feet with the sweeping curves of a serpentine curtain wall that weaves around century-old oak trees and also loosely references the university’s team mascot, the Tulane Green Wave, an angry-faced cartoon wave holding a megaphone. Bathed in natural light, the distinctive skin provides transparency and openness to enhance the sense of community and collaboration in the new and existing spaces throughout, which include classrooms, an incubator space for student startups, breakout stations, a new financial analysis lab, and administrative offices. Designed to meet LEED Gold criteria and withstand local weather conditions, especially hurricane impact, the unitized, hurricane-resistant YKK AP YUW 750 XT curtain wall and the Viracon glass hybrid system were fashioned in factory-controlled conditions to mitigate risks relating to quality control. YKK’s thermal sunshades and light shelves were assembled as complete curtain wall system units, allowing for a climate-controlled environment that eliminates interior moisture and thermal transfer. The glazed exterior also features a custom frit pattern by Viracon that maximizes the visibility of the structure for birds. Achieving both performance standards and sinuous construction was not an easy feat. The design, development, and construction process was a multiphase project. Beginning with the layout, the serpentine steel curtain wall was preassembled while the structural steel beams and concrete were put in place on-site. This separate undertaking proved to be problematic, as areas in the curtain wall that didn’t line up with the prescribed 90-degree angle of the field layout had to be adjusted before fabrication. The whirly glass wall required an intricate five-mullion support system composed of two convex and two concave structural supports. This then required the sunshades and solar fins to be correctly positioned at various angles along the multifaceted surface, calling for many custom permutations of anchor brackets machined for specific locations. Other customization was necessary for the sunshades and fins, which had to be miter-cut due to the ever-changing nature of the undulating facade, resulting in massive opening-to-opening variations. Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Architect of Record: Manning Architects General Contractor: Broadmoor LLC Glass Fabricator: DeGeorge Glass Company Glass Manufacturer: Viracon Framing Systems: YKK AP America Inc. Panel Work, Sun Shades, and Fins: Performance Architectural Inc.
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The newest residence hall at Arizona State University in Tempe, the Tooker House, creates an impactful addition to the campus while addressing the intense solar radiation in Arizona. Solomon Cordwell Buenz’s (SCB) design consists of two parallel masses running east to west and interlocking diagonally in the middle. While the building has an expansive south-facing facade, the project mitigates solar radiation through multiple approaches.
There are two primary facade systems at work on the southern-facing portion of the residence hall. The first is a system of perforated aluminum vertical louvers. The second system is a sandstone panel facade with punched aluminum windows. The remaining portions of the building are clad with insulated metal panels and perforated aluminum screens that link the building’s massings together. SCB chose a material palette which was reflective of the surrounding desert context. Due to Tempe’s climate, the solar shading strategies were particularly important in the design approach. SCB conducted an intensive sun shading analysis on all facade exposures. The goal was to create a facade which achieved a 20-25% reduction of solar heat gain and offered visual transparency to the student rooms behind. The perforated aluminum louver system wraps one portion of the south facade in an intricately textured design. The louvers are spaced twenty-two-inches apart on center on the south facades, with a more generous spacing on the southeast-facing side. The louvers are then attached to a vertically suspended steel truss anchored into steel plates embedded in the concrete structure. A drainable exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS) is applied to the concrete as a backdrop to the aluminum louvers. Each louver has a unique rotation which results in an pixelated pattern stretching across the three continuous facades. Every louver’s angle of rotation is set with screws and required coordination with the subcontractor to achieve the specific angle. As seen in the diagrams, when viewed as a whole, the facade emulates the waves of sand dunes and other natural patterns contextual to the region. In coordination with the facade manufacturer, Kovach Building Enclosures, the project team analyzed different louver shapes and monitored overall effectiveness and design aesthetics but also worked to make sure the design was cost efficient. The louvers ended up with a unique “airfoil” shape which softens their visual profile, opening up the facade to increased daylighting and views of the campus. The material transitions to sandstone on the eastern portion of the south facade, and provides a change in scale in opposition to the louvers. It also delineates the dining hall program on the first level. The facade contains punched windows with aluminum surrounds extruded out, effectively creating external solar shading devices. Additionally, perforated aluminum cladding on stairs, bridges and terraces provides extra solar protection while maintaining ventilation in the open air spaces.
This past Wednesday, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) broke ground on its Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed (BCJ) Siebel Center for Design, a collaborative maker space for students in all majors. The 59,000-square-foot building is designed for flexibility, and UIUC students will have access to laser and water-jet cutters, a prototyping studio, 3-D printers, and CNC tools spread across five collaboration studios, with room for 400 students. Rooms have also been carved out for video and virtual reality spaces, as well as digital audio recording. Students at UIUC will be given the option to pursue their interests beyond the core curriculum via workshops and extracurricular activities that will be offered at the center once it’s open. "We wanted to create a building that focuses on human-centered design, one that encourages students to think more broadly,” said BCJ founding principal Peter Bohlin in a press release. "Everything will have multiple uses — we imagine people utilizing the spaces in ways neither you nor I can predict." It appears the BCJ has taken a characteristically glassy approach to the Siebel Center (named after tech executive Tom Siebel, who donated $25 million for the project). The low-slung building will be wrapped in windows broken up with vertical metal mullions, which should allow the collaboration spaces, common areas, and galleries to be naturally lit throughout. From the renderings, it seems the interiors will be spacious and flexible so that students can repurpose the more open areas for exhibitions. Outside, BCJ has included numerous cantilevering overhangs for students to gather under. Former executive director of the international design and consulting firm IDEO, Rachel Switzky, has been named as the center’s inaugural director. BCJ is no stranger to the University of Illinois, or Tom Siebel for that matter; the firm completed the $50 million Siebel Center for Computer Science in 2004. Construction in the Siebel Center for Design should be completed in early 2020.
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Nestled into a small inner-city suburb of Sydney sits a new business school facility for the University of Sydney. The building, designed by Woods Bagot across three of their fifteen global offices, consolidates facilities that were once scattered across nine buildings on campus while supporting a student body of over 6,000 students. The massing of the building weaves into the context of the neighborhood, unified by a terra-cotta cladding system with carefully selected coloration that help to blend in with surrounding Victorian-era worker’s terraces. The building envelope of the University of Sydney's Abercrombie Business School is composed of three components: an all-glass undulating base level, a window wall enclosing classrooms and offices, and an exterior screen assembly composed of terra-cotta baguettes. Matt Stephenson, senior associate at Woods Bagot, said a primary focus of the design team was developing a project that was contextually sensitive. “With the enclosure, the challenge was to maintain a singular identity and dynamic expression for the overall academic building.” The team conducted color theory research, arriving at a scheme that balances “background” coloration of insulated metal panels on the building envelope with “foreground” terra cotta screen colors. A color palette of unglazed and white glazed terra cotta was selected which allows the two facade layers to visually merge, creating a texture inspired by sandstone local to the area. The terra-cotta screen is composed of repetitive baguettes, dynamically arranged in response to program and solar orientation. The architects “unfolded” each elevation, designing orthogonally by setting up a series of operations that began with a uniform screen density. They overlaid a solar analysis and a programmatic analysis of the base building skin that differentiated between room type and activity level. This zoning of the elevation helped inform where baguettes could be eliminated within each facade. In active zones, the architects deleted over 35 percent of the baguettes to allow light and air into the active program spaces. Additional baguettes were culled in response to eye-height views, localized areas of seating, and areas of the facade that were obstructed by adjacent buildings. The last step was to rotate the baguettes on elevations that received the most severe sunlight in order to increase their ability to act as a sunshade while maintaining visual porosity. The result was a dynamic system assembled from standard componentry.The project evolved between Woods Bagot’s Sydney office, located 30 minutes from the site, and their New York and San Francisco offices. The project teams would share design models on a daily basis, which, thanks to time zone differences, allowed for nearly continuous project development. Stephenson said firm benefits from expertise in multiple offices around the world, and that in the years since the early design phases of USBS, cloud-based model sharing has significantly improved, enabling for more streamlined workflows.
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Originally built as a resort hotel, Carter Hall is a Tudor style concrete-framed stucco structure on the Covenant College campus outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Following a late-1970s recladding project, the landmark building was covered up in an effort to address ongoing moisture and thermal concerns. This rehabilitation project, led by Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS), uncovers the original building envelope, implementing a number of robust performance overhauls while rediscovering the historic architectural look of this mountaintop resort. The effort has led to the allocation of between $3.5 million and $4 million dollars in historic tax credits. With matching funds from donors, and a phased construction process that allowed the building to remain operational throughout much of the scope of work, the liberal arts college is fully debt free upon the completion of the renovations. The building opened for the 2017-18 academic year following over ten years in planning and construction. Before Covenant College was able to receive tax credits for renovations, Carter Hall had to claim a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a list maintained by the National Parks Service. To earn this designation, the building had to be “purged” of its 1979 modifications, and converted back to its original state. Beyond facade improvements, this included restoring the original roof and building porches on the north and south ends of the building. LAS utilized extensive historical research, referencing original drawings and photographs of the building throughout the design of the project. The architects developed measured drawings in Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which served as a foundation for the scope of work. One of the most illustrative examples of this is the crenellated tower of the building where precast concrete was introduced in parapet wall construction for durability considerations due to limited maintenance access. Four vertically-oriented high bay 2x4 LED fixtures with high lumen output were implemented into the custom top of the tower cap– a “lantern”–which was carefully reconstructed from historical drawings and photographs of the project.One of the most significant challenges of the project, according to David Steele, associate at LAS, was addressing moisture infiltration concerns with the original building envelope. After uncovering the original facade, the architects developed a multi-year, full-scale, two-story mockup process that compared the original assembly of the building against a new proprietary steel stud and stucco wall assembly. The mockups were pressurized to simulate driving rain conditions in an attempt to drive moisture into the assembly. After testing in back-to-back years and inspection throughout seasonal change, the architects were able to prove the original wall assembly met ASTM testing requirements. Previous concerns about leaks in the building were attributed to detailing at original window openings. Window units in the retrofit project paired energy efficiency with a historic look. A thermally-broken aluminum window system with insulated glazing units was specified to match original mulled configurations and divided lite styles. In this regard, the full-scale mockup process ultimately offered the project team invaluable moisture and insulation ASTM testing and feedback for window and wall detailing. The resulting wall system pairs the original clay tile infill wall with an interior furring wall which offers structural backup by means of six-inch steel studs, and an additional insulative layer to the building envelope. The exterior stucco is finished with a mineral-silicate coating that offers at 25 to 30 year lifespan. Durability and low maintenance considerations extend to the roof where a new Ludowici tile roof replaces the original tiles from the same manufacturer, which had endured 90 years of high wind and rain exposure. The project adds to a portfolio of educational and sustainable projects for the Atlanta-based architecture firm, which touts their design process as offering an “analytical approach to optimizing building performance.” Joshua Gassman, senior associate at Lord Aeck Sargent, will be speaking at the upcoming Facades+ conference in Atlanta. For more details, along with registration info, visit am.facadesplus.com. Gassman will be speaking about Lord Aeck Sargent and Miller Hull Partnership’s plans to deliver the first “Living Building” in the Southeastern United States. The 37,000-square-foot project on Georgia Tech’s campus aims to meet the International Living Future Institute’s rigorous certification. This effort supports LAS’ sustainability commitments as one of the first architecture firms in the country to adopt The 2030 Challenge, an initiative that called on the global building sector to immediately reduce energy usage by 50 percent in new buildings and major renovations in order to avoid hazardous climate change. More information about LAS Living Building efforts can be found here.
Brought to you with support fromThe result of a winning competition entry from 2011, the Mechanics Hall building carefully integrates new program within an existing campus framework at the campus of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The Swiss university is a research institute specializing in physical sciences and engineering. The design-build project—a collaboration between French-based Dominique Perrault Architects and Steiner SA—serves as a laboratory for research scientists, and consists of two wings connected by a large central atrium. The composition of the space is organized by an existing structure, which dates back to the early 1970s. The building incorporates industrial components and data processing technologies while preserving the circulation network and the structural grid established by the original master plan. The main entrance features a 40-foot-high self-supporting structure with a canopy that integrates water drainage through poles that double as lateral bracing members. The facades of the building combine two distinct architectural styles in one common material: a metallic mesh from GKD Metal Fabrics. The architects said this material is both a contextual response to neighboring buildings with operable elements that evoke the scope of mechanical engineering. A mechanical facade along the East, South, and West of the building involves shop-built modules dimensionally benchmarked off a geometry that was established by EPFL’s historic master plan. Each module is composed of an inner thermal and soundproofing layer paired with an outer solar protection layer. The modules are divided into three vertical panels, two of which are sliding with one static. These panels are operated through a building automation system, but can also be maneuvered manually by the user of the building. The solar screen is set at a staggered 5-degree tilt away from the facade, producing a super-scale woven pattern. The architects said the indoor lighting system provides a backlit effect at night, highlighting the translucency of the facade assembly: “With its blinds that shift and turn with the Lausanne skies, the slant of the frames and the weave of the mesh, and the visual clash between the threshold and the outer panels, the building offers a range of rich and contrasting perceptions.” A “historic” facade on the north elevation features original construction that was retrofitted to meet the stringent Swiss-based Minergie energy standard. Wide horizontal window units roughly 5-feet by 10-feet are mounted above an opaque apron mode of horizontal stamped sheet metal. On the interior, the architects said an open office layout was located at the perimeter of the building, and benefits from ample screened glazing: “Comfortable, luminous and spacious rooms are apt spaces for long hours of research work.” Beyond the facade, an atrium facilitates chance encounters and circulation through a series of flared diagonal corridors and straight staircases. The architects said this the circulation scheme of the atrium creates a “fantastic spatial experience” that was inspired by Piranesi’s Capricci: “Superimposed planes and crisscrossing lines create a dynamic tri-dimensional picture, which is deconstructed and reconstructed by each visitor passing through it.” Dominique Perrault will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Facades+ conference in New York City, April 6 and 7. Click here to learn more!