Posts tagged with "I.M. Pei":

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Henry N. Cobb dies at 93

Henry N. Cobb, American architect and founding partner of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has passed away. Originally named I. M. Pei & Associates, the firm was founded in New York City by Cobb, I. M. Pei, and Eason H. Leonard in 1955. Their first building, the Gulf Oil building in Atlanta, Georgia, was completed four years prior to the official founding of their office. As a subtle yet unmistakably Miesian office building, its completion allowed the firm to quickly enter the American late modernist movement with a wide range of projects including Montreal’s Place Ville Marie (1962), Syracuse's Everson Museum of Art (1968), and Portland’s Museum of Art (1983), for which Cobb served as lead designer. Though his firm left behind a significant portfolio of buildings—over 250 in more than 100 cities, according to their own profile—an outsize portion of that legacy can be found in his native city of Boston, Massachusetts. Cobb was the lead designer of John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in New England and one of the firm’s most famous buildings in its nearly 70 year history. Though its mirrored facade was initially controversial for its proximity to the Trinity Church in Copley Square when it was completed in 1976, its sharp lines and clever siting went on to win the firm a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) the following year. Cobb later went on design other projects throughout his hometown, including Moakley US Courthouse & Harborpark (1998), Harvard University’s Center for Government and International Studies (2005), and 30 Dalton (2016). Like his working partner Pei, Cobb seemed to have never considered retirement as an option. At the age of 91, Cobb published Henry N. Cobb: Words & Works 1948-2018a 548-page monograph highlighting 70 years of design alongside his essays and transcripts from his many lectures. Reviewing the book in Log Journal, Jeffrey Kipnis called it “a tour de force of writing[...] ingenious, complex, gripping, hilarious, poignant, and profound for any reader.” The following year, Cobb presented a lecture that was projected on stage during Facades+ Boston that highlighted his work on Boston’s One Dalton, one of the architect’s last projects. Cobb passed away at the age of 93, one month shy of his 94th birthday on April 8.
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Indiana University reopens I.M. Pei-designed Eskenazi Museum

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art has officially reopened its I.M. Pei-designed home at Indiana University. After a two-and-a-half-year, $30 million renovation by Ennead Architects, the 38-year-old structure now features a more intuitive wayfinding system and enhanced lighting design throughout the different galleries, while increasing the museum’s capacity for education and conservation opportunities.  The Eskenazi Museum totals 112,000-square-feet, and with its concrete facade and Pei’s signature light-filled atrium, has been referenced as one of the late architect’s most striking works. While the design may seem like it features zero right angles, Pei, in fact, stitched the structure together using two triangular massings linked by a triangular atrium and its glass ceiling grid. Ennead’s upgrade to the museum, which was led by Susan T. Rodriguez (formerly of the firm) as well as Indianapolis-based Browing Day Mullins Dierdorf, was announced in 2016 after Sidney and Lois Eskenazi donated a $15 million gift to the project, along with several works from their personal art collection.  Originally named the Indiana University Art Museum, the rebrand reflects the institution’s efforts to expand its status as one of the most esteemed teaching museums in the United States. It now hosts 11,000 college and graduate school students while providing learning programming for up to 5,000 local K-12 students.  During the renovation, the team added room for the museum to display its more than 45,000 objects while also establishing space for its own centers for education, conservation, curatorial studies, and the study and display of prints, drawings, and photographs. They additionally designed a glass wall partition in the Asian and Islamic gallery that allows visitors to see into the Center for Conservation. The museum’s administrative offices were updated as well, and a sky bridge was built to connect the building’s east and west wings.
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Looking back on the great architects, designers, and curators we lost in 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we’re looking back on some of the events that made it memorable. We’ve rounded up this year’s funniest, most important, and most controversial stories, as well as homages to some of the people we lost. The world is a little less bright without these iconic designers, but from the Louvre pyramid to a series of architecturally-diverse cancer care centers, their legacies live on. I.M. Pei  Louvre pyramid designer I. M. Pei passed away at 102, bringing an epic career of international acclaim to a close. Born in 1917 in Guangzhou, China, Pei moved to the U.S. to attend architecture school at the University of Pennsylvania and later MIT, following by the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He founded Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (formerly I.M. Pei & Associates) in 1955 and decades later won the 1983 Pritzker Prize for projects such as the Mile High Center in Denver, Colorado. Among Pei’s other notable projects is the National Gallery of Art, East Building, in Washington, D.C., and the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. Kevin Roche Legendary Irish-born American architect Kevin Roche passed away at age 96 in March. His namesake firm, Roche-Dinkeloo, was founded in tandem with partner John Dinkeloo after the death of their boss and mentor Eero Saarinen in 1961. A modernist architect trained by Saarinen and Mies van Der Rohe, Roche designed over 200 buildings in his lifetime including the Ford Foundation headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the Oakland Museum of California. He was the 1982 Pritzker Prize Laureate and won an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1993.  Florence Knoll Bassett Midcentury modern designer Florence Knoll passed away at age 101 this January. Considered one of the most influential furniture designers in history, her sleek and minimal pieces became commonplace throughout American postwar office spaces and later in homes. In 1955, she took over Knoll Inc, the company started by her husband Hans in 1938, which continues to manufacture furniture by designers such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, and Knoll herself, among others.  Phil Freelon Phil Freelon, one of the lead designers of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, died at 66 this July. The Durham, North Carolina-based architect founded his eponymous firm, The Freelon Group, in 1990 and was responsible for projects like Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, and Houston’s Emancipation Park. The studio was acquired by Perkins+Will in 2016 and Freelon stepped in to lead its regional office. Henry Urbach  Former SFMOMA curator Henry Urbach passed away at 56 this summer, and his friends and family are opening new dialogues on the subject of mental health in his memory. Urbach, who more recently served as director of Philip Johnson’s The Glass House, suffered from Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder. He was an accomplished curator, having started his own New York-based experimental design gallery in 1997 in which he hosted over 55 exhibitions. At SFMOMA, he accumulated hundreds of works for the museum’s permanent collection and collaborated with Diller Scofidio + Renfro on one of his most famous shows, How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now Cristiano Toraldo di Francia Superstudio cofounder and iconic Italian architect Cristiano Toraldo di Francia died in July. In his 78 years, his work helped shape generations of avant-garde designers such as Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid. Best known for starting the radical collective Superstudio in the late 1960s, Toraldo di Francia produced highly regarded drawings, videos, and lithographs through the practice, eventually exhibiting work in the Milan Triennale, the Venice Biennale, and at the Museum of Modern Art, among other institutions. Up until his death at age 78, Toraldo di Francia designed and built several projects throughout Italy and taught at various universities throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S.  César Pelli  César Pelli passed away in July at the age of 92, leaving behind the legacy of an international firm and a monumental portfolio. Considered the father of the modern skyscraper, the Argentine architect designed some of the most famous towers in the world: the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, The Landmark in Abu Dhabi, and the recently completely Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. Pelli moved to the U.S. in 1952 and worked for Eero Saarinen in Michigan for a decade. From 1977 to 1989, he served as dean at the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven. During that time, Pelli received the commission for the 1984 expansion and renovation of the Museum of Modern Art, which more or less forced him to open his own studio, Cesar Pelli & Associates. After over 20 years designing projects like the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., among others, Pelli renamed his practice to Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in honor of his long-time partner Fred Clarke, and son Rafael. Charles Jencks Landscape architect and historian Charles Jencks died this October at age 80. Remembered for his embrace of theory, built practice, and connecting the cosmos, Jencks designed whimsical gardens and earthworks that promoted tranquility and play. He is best known for founding Maggie’s, a cancer research institute named after his late wife and whose patient rehab centers have attracted architects like Steven Holl, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid. In the middle of his career, Jencks authored several books on the subject of "Post-modernism" before taking up landscape design. Stanley Tigerman Chicago architect and theorist Stanley Tigerman died in June at 88 years old. Known as a member of the Chicago Seven—a group of architects that rebelled against the doctrine of modernism—his design style was fairly eclectic in his early years, gaining a reputation as an iconoclast, until later when he adopted a more organic approach to architecture. He established his own eponymous firm, Stanely Tigerman and Associates (later renamed Tigerman McCurry Architects), in the early 1960s and completed over 175 buildings in his six-decade career. Among his most prominent works were the Daisy House in Indiana, Lakeside Residence in Michigan, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and the POWERHOUSE Energy Museum in Zion, Illinois.
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MILLIØNS wins competition for new cafe at Syracuse’s Everson Museum of Art

MILLIØNS, the young Los Angeles–based firm headed by Zeina Koreitem and John May, has won the competition to design a cafe at Syracuse’s I.M. Pei-designed Everson Museum of Art. Thus ends an invited competition led by Michael Speaks and Kyle Miller of Syracuse University that solicited proposals from around the world before narrowing the field to four semifinalists, which included FreelandBuck, NATURALBUILD, and Norman Kelley. In addition to housing a cafe and event space, the renovation will also display selections from a 3,000 piece ceramic collection donated by artist and collector Louise Rosenfield. Renderings show a double-height feature wall made of open shelving with pottery arranged informally throughout, as well as display tables composed of clusters of inverted pyramids, a potential nod to the monumental geometries of Pei. The translucent wall of shelving will visually connect the museum’s atrium to the cafe on an upper level. Besides referring to Pei’s work, the design also evokes some of MILLIØNS’s earlier creations. Renderings of the new cafe show a ridged, mirrored wall and an ethereal bath of colors, as though the room were filtered through dichroic glass, which the duo used in the New York flagship for shoe retailer Jack Erwin. The design is centered around these few, big moves; detailing is sparse and most materials in the rendering are left abstract and flat, perhaps in keeping with the Everson building’s austere forms. Pei, who died earlier this year, designed the museum’s late-modern, brutalist home in the 1960s with the idea that the structure would sit like a sculpture on the surrounding plaza. It features a pinwheel plan and cantilevered galleries clad in brushed concrete, all signature features of the time. The building, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, was a relatively early project for the architect. The renovated spaces are scheduled to open in 2020.
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I.M. Pei’s $25 million art collection will go up for auction at Christie’s

Over the course of their 72-year marriage, Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei and his wife Eileen amassed a substantial collection of modern and contemporary art. The collection, which was kept privately in their home up until Pei’s death this past May, will be going up for auction at Christie’s this Fall with a total value expected to exceed $25 million. The collection of 59 works will be on sale from November 12 to December 4. A global tour of exhibition previews will begin in Paris this month before traveling to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and ending in New York in November. The auction will feature a diverse range of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper falling under Christie’s categories for Chinese painting, impressionism, modern, and postwar art. Their collection illustrates not only a significant moment in 20th-century abstraction but also the couple’s deep relationships and dialogue with influential artists of the time. Many of the works were commissions or personal gifts from the artists themselves.  “My parents’ collection is a reflection of how they lived. They shared a deep curiosity about the world,” said Pei’s daughter Liane in a press release, “no matter the country, they always seemed to have friends, many of whom were artists, architects, gallerists and museum directors, ready to welcome them.” One of the collection’s highlights includes two paintings by the couple’s close friend Barnett Newman. Untitled 4, 1950 and Untitled 5, 1950 were given to the couple by Newman’s widow, Annalee, in 1970, shortly after the artist’s death. The paintings were just two of a series of six—others can be found in the collections of MoMa and the Art Institute of Chicago. Additional notable works that filled the interior of the Pei’s Manhattan residence include paintings by Jean Dubuffet and Franz Kline as well as objects by Isamu Noguchi and Henry Moore. 
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In Memoriam: I. M. Pei

Ieoh Ming Pei—everyone knows him as “I. M.”—is a name that will live on in the annals of great people, talented architects, conceivers, gentlemen, and good friends. I see him through eyes that were always critical… and always respectful, admiring, and loving. I might start with his family. I. M. and his wonderful wife, Eileen, created a family of talented children who grew to be stalwarts in their own ways. When I visited their home in Manhattan, Eileen would often pull me into her kitchen, where she taught me to shuck oysters, peel potatoes, and the like. These personal relationships were a defining quality of working with I. M. But, of course, I. M. earned his position as one of the world’s leading architects through a dedication to his work, and by tackling that work with creativity, an inborn curiosity, eyes that perceived beyond what was known to the rest of us, and skills as a communicator. Preferring direct communication, he was not one to peruse a three-page letter. Indeed, I. M. and I exchanged countless sketches, but not writings; I have not a single piece of paper with his written thoughts. As a part of his early university education, he studied engineering, so it was easier for me to explain to him what I wanted to do in ways other than words. It was well into his career, around 1975, when I. M. called me regarding the Kapsad Development in Tehran. Before departing for Tehran, I read all that I could about the earthquake risk in the area and learned that the British had conducted a significant survey. As we drove north out of the city, we passed a construction site burdened with a vertical seismic fault, perhaps 60 feet exposed—and with new buildings to be constructed across it. I. M. understood perfectly that our construction could not be built across such a fault. In any event, we continued our journey and were able to hike into the area of our proposed site. There, I discovered a small hole in the ground; dropping a stone inside revealed that the area below our feet was deep and hollow and contained standing water. It was a remnant of Tehran’s aging water tunnels. Believing it prudent, I suggested that we return to the car, but discovered a pack of wild dogs glaring at us. We beat a hasty retreat—without I. M. being aware of either the cistern or the dogs. On returning to New York, we were able to develop a construction system that incorporated the fault, but the time and cost parameters were just too strict. I collaborated on several projects with I. M. Pei & Partners in the years that followed. In 1980, I. M. called regarding the Center for Arts & Media Technology at MIT, and in 1982, about the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. For BOC, I. M. asked that I come to his offices to discuss a very tall building. While I had worked on buildings in Hong Kong, none were tall. Armed with my careful research into the city’s high winds, I met with I. M., who presented a large model demonstrating the shape of the proposed building, which later withstood proposed changes. We discussed the reality of the winds of Hong Kong, with I. M. completely cognizant of their impact on the design of the building. I proposed the use of large-scale diagonal bracing, which he accepted with knowledge and enthusiasm. In short, we were off down an uncharted path allowing I. M. to create a new aesthetic in very tall buildings. His BOC design set the stage for a series of tall buildings by other architects and engineers. Indeed, in my view, BOC is outstanding in the vast field of high-rise buildings. Afterward, I. M. produced incredible designs for a one-room studio (in the United Kingdom), for the Joy of Angels Bell Tower (in Japan), for schools, modest laboratory facilities, research centers, museums (in both the United States and abroad), high-rises, and so much more. I. M. came to us often with “his last project”; knowing full well that Eileen Pei was pushing for his retirement, we accepted each one as “the last.” But it was the Miho Institute of Aesthetics chapel in Shigaraki, Japan, that finally proved to be. He called for a luncheon meeting for the two of us to discuss the project. For the overall shape of the chapel, he proposed a kind of extruded ellipse, but with a top rim that is offset rather than concentric. I. M. described its corrugated form as taken from a Japanese fan. Softly, I suggested to him that, to reduce costs, the roof could be changed to a smooth curving surface… a suggestion that, by the following morning, he had adopted. I’m attempting to show by example that beyond his incredible talent, I. M. was an informed architect, willing and able to alter his designs as the project developed. For a party celebrating the opening of the chapel, SawTeen See, my wife and professional partner, and I found I. M. and Eileen sitting by themselves. Of course, it is difficult for younger folks to approach a person as exalted as was I. M., a fact accounting for the dearth of others at their table. In front of each of them was an untouched glass of red wine. We knew instantly that the wine was of inferior quality. We suggested to them that the Japanese whiskey was very good, indeed, and we were able to con the bartender into pouring from a bottle of ultra-fine and ultra-expensive Japanese whiskey—which was consumed by the four of us. The other side of this coin came at Christmas, when we nodded to Eileen’s “suggestion” that a bottle of that wonderful and very expensive whiskey would make a fine gift for I. M. I’m just not able to explain the full extent of this imaginative architect’s outstanding talents and meaningful human relationships. His soft smile, his firm control over his own designs, his communication skills… all that made up this incredible person just escapes my ability to capture on paper.
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Former I.M. Pei–designed IBM campus in Westchester could become boarding school

The suburban corporate campus Pei Cobb Freed & Partners designed for computing giant IBM could become a private school focused on science, math, and the arts. The town of Somers, a small municipality in northern Westchester County, recently heard a proposal from a developer who wants to convert about half of the 750-acre campus and all its five buildings into a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) high school for day and boarding students. For-profit developers Evergreen Ridge told the town board that the campus's 1.2 million square feet would be converted into the school in three phases. Ultimately, the school plans to accommodate around 1,530 boarding and 270 day pupils, for a total of 1,800, lohud.com reported. Operations would kick off in 2021 with a summer program and the campus would reach full capacity three years later. Sports fields, a field house, and an arts building would be erected during the second phase of construction. The Pei Cobb Freed–designed campus, known for its pyramidal, zig-zagging buildings, was erected between 1984 and 1989. At peak occupancy, it hosted about 3,000 workers on the nine-to-five (they even had a song!). In 2016, however, IBM vacated the property and sold it to Sebastian Capital for almost $32 million. This isn't the only Pei news to emerge recently: Unless you're an architecture aficionado who's elected to live under a rock, you probably know that the Pritzker Prize–winning architect died last month at the age of 102.
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Finalists named in café competition at I.M. Pei’s Everson Museum

On the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the iconic, I.M. Pei–designed Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, the museum announced a shortlist of firms that will compete to redesign the café in the building’s lobby. The new café space will also serve as a display space for The Rosenfield Collection, a newly acquired collection of ceramic art brought to the Everson by Dallas-based Louise and David Rosenfield. The four finalists are FreelandBuck (Los Angeles/ New York), MILLIØNS (Los Angeles), NATURALBUILD (Shanghai), and Norman Kelley (Chicago/New Orleans). In September they will travel to Syracuse to give presentations of developed proposals to an international jury of leading professionals in architecture, ceramics, and the culinary arts. “This competition provides a tremendous opportunity for some of the world’s most talented emerging architects to propose an intervention in what is undoubtedly one of the late I.M. Pei’s greatest works,” Kyle Miller, Syracuse Architecture assistant professor, said. Miller and Syracuse Architecture dean Michael Speaks are working with the Everson Museum to organize the competition. “This unique project proposes new ways of thinking about the integration of art and architecture, which is a critical component of Pei’s original design,” said Everson director and CEO Elizabeth Dunbar. “This café will be unlike any other in the world.” The projected date of completion for the café is summer 2020.
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I.M. Pei passes away at 102

Legendary architect, founder of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (originally I.M. Pei & Associates), and 1983 Pritzker Prize winner I.M. Pei reportedly passed away last night at age 102. Pei’s influence could be felt all over the world, from the National Gallery of Art, East Building, in Washington, D.C., to the iconic pyramidal glass entrance to the Louvre in Paris, to the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. Pei’s lesser recognized, but still no less impressive, Brutalist museums like the 1968 Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, or the 1973 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, New York, reflected Pei’s relationships with modernists like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and their work, and introduced groundbreaking modern architecture to smaller cities. Not all of Pei’s most notable work still stands, and some of his grandest designs stayed on the page. Sunning Plaza in Hong Kong was demolished in 2013, Terminal 6, the Sundrome of New York’s JFK International Airport was pulled down in 2011, and the 102-story, nuclear bomb-resistant Grand Central replacement, the Hyperboloid, never got off the ground (but was later immortalized in Never Built New York). Pei, originally born in Guangzhou, China, in 1917, moved to the United States in 1935 to attend architecture school at the University of Pennsylvania. Pei was unsatisfied and eventually left for MIT, before graduating and later attending the Harvard Graduate School of Design. AN will follow this announcement with a longer obituary.
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Stunning new photos document I.M. Pei's early Brutalist museum

I.M. Pei, legendary designer of cultural and institutional architecture, designed his first-ever museum in downtown Syracuse, New York. Constructed in 1968, the 60,000-square-foot Everson Museum of Art was a brutalist building that broke the mold on traditional museum design. The geometric structure was made out of poured-in-place concrete and local granite, featuring four cantilevered galleries and a dramatic exterior. In the museum’s grand vision, Pei gave the city its first taste of groundbreaking modern architecture, and in turn, launched his own reputation as a world-class cultural architect. He went on to design other iconic museums like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, the famous glass pyramid at the Louvre, as well as the National Gallery of Art East Wing in Washington, D.C.  On the 50th anniversary of the Everson Museum’s completion, it’s hosting an exhibition on Pei’s design and the institution's history as a “monumental work of abstract sculpture and architecture.” Art Within Art: The Everson at 50, which opened in mid-October, showcases archival materials and never-before-seen plans, photographs, and models of the project.  “For 50 years, our one-of-a-kind arts venue has stood as a work of art to house art,” said Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO of the museum. “We are excited to celebrate our facility’s milestone anniversary and bring 50 more years of meaningful encounters with art and architecture to all those that visit the museum.” The Everson is home to over 10,000 pieces of art and features one of the largest collections of international ceramics in the United States. It has hosted the first solo exhibitions of several international artists including Yoko Ono, Bill Viola, and Marilyn Minter.
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LinkNYC brings never-built megaprojects to the streets of New York

New Yorkers can catch a glimpse of a parallel universe this summer. LinkNYC, the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, AN contributor Sam Lubell, writer Greg Goldin, and publisher Metropolis Books have teamed up to bring images from Never Built New York to the city' streets via LinkNYC kiosks. The display of unbuilt megaprojects from some of the biggest names in architecture follows the release of the Never Built New York book in 2016, and the accompanying show at the Queens Museum last fall. The kiosks won't display the full array of weird and wild never-realized projects, but the curated images will still depict how New York could have grown into a very different city. Some of the work on display includes I.M. Pei’s proposal for the Hyperboloid, a 102-story tower proposed in 1954 that would have replaced Grand Central, and Robert Moses’s heavily contested Mid-Manhattan Expressway. Images of the Dodger Dome, an enclosed stadium designed by Buckminster Fuller meant to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn, and Moshe Safdie’s tessellating Habitat New York (originally slated for the Upper East Side) have also been selected. LinkNYC will display images of each project on kiosks close to the location where they would have risen. LinkNYC’s 1,650 kiosks can be found all over the city following the program’s launch in 2016. The Never Built New York 'exhibition' follows a June show that presented historical New York City photos from the Museum of the City of New York’s ongoing Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs exhibition.
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Ian Ritchie advocates for subtlety and organic geometries in glass architecture

On April 19, for the afternoon keynote of The Architects Newspapers 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 sites 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 Peis 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 structures final design.

Next, in talking about the design of Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Arts 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 firms output.

Ritchies drive to bridge the highly technical, manufactured character of glass with natural objects and processes was also highlighted by his presentation of the firms recently completed, 150,000-square-foot Sainsbury Wellcome Center.

Located in Londons 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.