Posts tagged with "I.M. Pei":
On April 19, for the afternoon keynote of The Architect’s Newspaper’s Facades+ conference in New York, architect Ian Ritchie discussed his decades-long involvement in forward-looking glass architecture. Beginning with the tongue-in-cheek statement, “Glass is the answer; what was the question?” the British architect detailed the technological specifications and design considerations behind his projects. Ranging in size from personal residences to convention centers, the projects convey his expertise with manufactured materials.
As head of his own practice, Ian Ritchie Architects, Ritchie’s process is influenced by a range of fields, from neuroscience to poetry.
Ritchie began with one of his earliest projects, the self-constructed Fluy House (1976). Composed of a prefabricated set of materials, including a lightweight steel frame and pre-cast concrete floor slabs, Ritchie described his early curtain wall as “glass acting as a windbreaker,” a thin protective barrier between shelter and the site’s surrounding countryside.
Ritchie also described projects he worked on as a founding partner of the engineering firm, RFR Engineers. For example, he talked about unique projects such as engineering I.M Pei’s Louvre Pyramids, which entailed the creation of a full-scale Kevlar mockup and the use of "phantom fixing” to insure the transparency of the glass structure’s final design.
Next, in talking about the design of Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art’s circulation towers and the Messe-Leipzig Glass Hall, Ritchie described how unique engineering devices such as externally suspended and grid-worked glass panels bring the tectonics of design and engineering into public view while creating open and accessible spaces.
In line with his firm’s straightforward forms, Ritchie was critical of the contemporary trend of hyper-engineered glass facades with multiple curves and contortions, asking, "Is architecture intelligence or indulgence?" Instead, he emphasized the natural, biological forms that influence his creative process and, ultimately, his firm’s output.
Ritchie’s drive to bridge the highly technical, manufactured character of glass with natural objects and processes was also highlighted by his presentation of the firm’s recently completed, 150,000-square-foot Sainsbury Wellcome Center.
Located in London’s Fitzrovia, a central city district surrounded by architectural conservation areas predominantly comprised of Georgian architecture, Ritchie saw the Sainsbury Wellcome Center as a “melting ice block spilling into the surrounding neighborhood." To fulfill this analogy, the firm opted for translucent cast glass with vertical, corduroy-like detailing that imitated the stone rustication and brick-and-mortar facades of the surrounding area.
Ritchie concluded with a call for architects to recognize that current glass design and architecture may be surpassing contemporary engineering capabilities. In his view, too many architects are acting as sculptors, an approach that will fail to “make glass warm and haptically friendly” to the public.
Creating a bridge from the Mall to North Coast Harbor and lakefront attractions including the Rock Hall has been something of a holy grail in Cleveland city planning for nearly two decades. Yet until now, the city has been unable to mobilize support and fund the project. The city failed three times in recent years to win a federal grant for the project under the TIGER program, short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.But now, Litt wrote, the city and county each agreed to kick in $10 million, which led the state to close the $5 million gap. A 2013 city-county partnership and the news that Cleveland would host the next Republican National Convention apparently provided the incentive they needed to take on the project, which officials said will be complete by the convention in 2016. The three design options are as follows: The suspension bridge option: The cable-stayed option: The arch option:
While many architects speak of creating transparent spaces, Mr. Pei actually achieved the effect through the complex engineering that underlies the seemingly straightforward structure. The main pavilion of Terminal 6 sits under a deep steel roof truss that rests on the spherical tips of 16 enormous cylindrical concrete columns. That eliminated the need for load-bearing walls, which allowed Mr. Pei to design a pioneering all-glass enclosure that is suspended from the roof truss. Even the supporting mullions between the main window bays are made of glass. One can look all the way through the terminal and out the other side. All sorts of subtle maneuvers make this transparency possible. For instance, rain is drained off the roof in channels that run through the spherical joints between the roof deck and the supporting columns, eliminating the need for any visible ductwork.In other words, no lovable wings on this hub. Instant image points helped get a last minute reprieve for that other threatened terminal, Saarinen’s TWA, while this one has the slight chill of a grainy B&W that appeals more to connoisseurs. The web-wide chorus of shock and disbelief that got twittering this morning is too late and too little to stop the destruction. Meanwhile Saarinen’s TWA may have been saved, technically, but its current state of limbo is way too far off the beaten path for eager travelers racing to get on security line, and it is far from secure. We keep asking Andre Balazs about his plans to turn it into that utter oxymoron—a hip airport hotel—but no plans have materialized, and he’s busy rescuing hotels that already exist in the East Village. Good luck, Terminal 6, and see you in the history books.