How officials in Portland, Oregon, have gone about treating the city’s sizable stock of earthquake-vulnerable unreinforced masonry buildings—roughly 1,600 of them in total including churches, apartment buildings, schools, businesses, and more—has been a contentious, even litigious issue for several years now. Now, in a new development of an ongoing controversy, the city has opted to pull an online public resource that listed—and not always with 100 percent accuracy—all buildings deemed as being not up to modern seismic standards. The list of the city’s unreinforced masonry buildings (or URMs) is now only available through a formal public records request. Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported last week that the database, which is maintained by the city’s Bureau of Development Services, had been “quietly taken down” following a push from the Portland chapter of the NAACP, which claimed that inaccuracies within the list made it “unreasonably difficult for building owners to get loans and investments.” Saying that the database acted as “modern-day redlining” in a letter sent to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners earlier this month, Portland NAACP president E.D. Mondainé argued that numerous buildings that appeared in the database have since been seismically upgraded by their respective owners or were erroneously included. Many of the buildings that appeared on the list, upgraded or not, are in historically African American neighborhoods. The NAACP argued that the presence of the database unfairly devalues buildings and could stunt economic recovery efforts in these neighborhoods during—and in the aftermath of—the coronavirus crisis. The city, as pointed out by OPB, does not currently offer financial assistance to building owners looking to take on often costly seismic retrofitting projects. “The NAACP calls—unequivocally—for the leadership of this city to remove any and all burdens on these property owners and any obstacles to their recovery from this crisis,” read the letter. “This regressive action by the City cannot be tolerated under normal circumstances, but is especially intolerable during an economic crisis.” The Portland Business Alliance also wrote a letter to city leaders in support of the NAACP’s campaign to have the database removed. The Alliance, however, did make clear that it does support some type of resource to help Portlanders identify unreinforced masonry buildings at risk of full or partial collapse during an earthquake although such a resource would need to take a different approach than the just-yanked database, and also, ideally, include some sort of upgrade assistance component. Last year, the city was sued by a group of property owners and stakeholders over an approved 2018 ordinance that would have mandated large signage to be placed on the exterior of older brick and stone buildings that appeared in the database. These placards identified the buildings as falling under the unreinforced masonry category and warned that they could potentially be unsafe during major earthquake events. The court-delayed ordinance would have also required landlords to disclose to prospective tenants whether or not a building was built from unreinforced masonry during the lease application process. “Portland is thinking small by targeting a small number of buildings built prior to 1994 while leaving all other structures out of the conversation. A conversation without a plan or funding,” wrote Save Portland Buildings, the group that led the charge in having the placards ordinance struck down alongside other organizations including the NAACP, on its website. Save Portland Buildings also pointed out that the city itself owns more unreinforced masonry buildings than any other entity. Per the Oregonian, the business owners that sued the city to stop the mandate argued that the ordinance violated their First and 14th Amendment rights “because they were being forced to promote the city’s message and were denied opportunities to appeal.” When the ordinance was officially repealed by the city council this past October, officials vowed to create a special workgroup dedicated to building safety with a specialized focus on unreinforced masonry structures, and how private building owners could receive a helping hand from the city in retrofitting them. “Quite frankly, we need more time,” the Oregonian quoted city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city’s Bureau of Emergency Management, as saying. “We need a better process. We need to be able to make sure that we’re bringing the community along with us in this process.” Some Portlanders, however, found the aborted placard ordinance to be helpful. “It's like living on the coast and you know tsunamis could be a thing,” resident Eric Agosto told KATU2 News. “There's signs to tell you at least.”
Posts tagged with "Masonry":
It should come as no surprise that Harvard University’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as it was founded nearly four centuries ago and is the oldest university in the United States, inhabits scores of historic structures that require methodical maintenance and programs of facade restoration. Harvard Hall, constructed in 1766, is one such building and recently underwent an extensive restoration led by Boston-based architecture firm Bruner/Cott & Associates, which included masonry restoration as well as the reconstruction of a wood cupola. Harvard Hall is a fine example of High Georgian design, and rises from a granite base to a lightly detailed classical arrangement of pilasters, capitals, entablature, and pediment, constituted of reddish-brown brick and brownstone. The lecture hall reaches two-and-half-stories and is topped by overlain pediment and hipped gables and surmounted at their intersection by a slender wood cupola. Typical for a building of such a long lifespan, Harvard Hall was slightly expanded in 1842 and again in 1870.For Bruner/Cott, which has led numerous reuse and preservation interventions across the Harvard campus, the project presented the familiar challenge of blending building investigation and historical research with contemporary material sourcing and construction techniques. Archival resources provided by Harvard University pertaining to the lecture hall were primarily a catalog of black-and-white images that did not provide much of a roadmap in terms of material guidance. The team turned towards building analysis to fill in the empty pieces. On-site investigation of the building’s masonry was led by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and Consigli Construction, and relied on hydraulic lift access for individual stone condition analysis and hand-sounding of the brownstone; information that was crucial to the development of recommended treatments and cost estimates. Masonry and brick, by virtue of the geological qualities of their quarries and pits of origin, range in permeability and porosity and testing is required to properly match to contemporary sources. “Ground level stone removals and coring helped to confirm stone thicknesses and wall construction at different locations around the building and from different eras,” said Bruner/Cott principal Henry Moss and preservation architect Adrienne Cali. “Extensive trials for redressing stone surfaces and in situ comparison of stones from multiple source quarries led to final decisions about when to employ inserts (Dutchmen), when to redress, and when to cut full stones longitudinally to expose a new surface and re-bed in original locations with mortar back-up.” Reconstruction of the cupola was confined to the middle section, or belfry. The existing cupola was lifted off of Harvard Hall and disassembled; Riggs Construction, based in Milford, Massachusetts, handled the restoration of existing carpentry and the crafting of an entirely new belfry out of laminated Alaskan cedar; the original construction material was oak. Following fabrication, the pieces were craned into position and fastened into place. A significant aspect of Harvard Hall’s restoration was the repainting of the historic wood trim found across the facade to replace a white color scheme deployed in the middle of the 20th century. Building Conservation Associates (BCA) took the lead in an extensive paint analysis of the cupola, cornice, and window frames; cross-sections of each were analyzed at the granular level through microscopy and revealed just under 40 layers of paint accrued over the centuries. Ultimately, BCA, Bruner/Cott and the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Planning opted for a warm gray paint of the same color applied during the building’s last significant expansion in 1870. “The Faculty of Arts and Sciences worked with the Cambridge Historical Commission and Building Conservation Associates on the selection and integration of the closest match of this color” continued Moss and Cali. “The paint was not stripped during this project to retain its important history for possible future analysis.”
Brought to you with support fromConstructed in the heart of Bodø, Norway, a new town hall designed by Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde (ALL) delivers a contemporary interpretation of masonry to weave together an integrated civic center. ALL was awarded the 130,000-square-foot project following an international competition in 2013 and opened the renewed town hall in 2019. The result is a compelling gesture of shifting mass according to the architectural era; a forceful intervention softened by deftly planned facade planes and details. Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Bodø is the largest metropolitan center in Nordland county, a sparsely populated region geographically defined by numerous fjords and fjells. The bulk of the town’s architectural stock dates from after the Second World War—its status as an Allied harbor led to significant destruction by the Luftwaffe. However, the preexisting town hall and adjacent bank building, built in the austere style of Nordic Classicism, survived the war and served at the primary point of reference for ALL’s intervention.
Brought to you with support fromArchitectural heritage is something of an anomaly in the city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Since 1950 the city has grown from 4,000 residents to nearly 1.5 million, many of whom are housed and working in miles-long rows of concrete tower blocks. The 18th-century Qasr Al Hosn castle stands as a rare historical monument in this remarkably modern city, and the local government just recently completed a decade-long architectural conservation program restoring and stabilizing its masonry walls. The Qasr Al Hosn was built by the ruling Bani Yas tribe in the 1760s as a coastal bastion defending the city’s fresh water well and regional trade routes. The walls and towers are built of coral and sea stone and are lathed in a render composed of burned and crushed seashells mixed with white sand and water. Rich in minerals, the render takes on a bright white and iridescent finish that glints under the sun. Apertures are located throughout the concentric rings of walls, naturally drawing ventilating gusts throughout the complex. And as a virtue of the thermal mass of the formidable walls, the sequence of courtyards is considerably cooler than the surrounding city.
masonry with a thick cementitious render and decorative layer of white gypsum, the castle was due for a significant restoration. The restoration of historic structures, especially those of major cultural significance, requires painstaking material and historical research. The Department of Culture & Tourism (DCT) deployed a team to “carefully remove strips of the modern render layer which enabled us to determine that a high extent of original masonry was still intact and to discover that the original render was still in existence in areas,” said Mark Kyffin, DCT Head of Architecture. “This enabled us to analyze the constituent parts of this material, under laboratory conditions, for replication and application in the ensuing remedial works.” With the information gathered by laboratory observation, the team developed a new render replicating the porosity and thermal qualities of the old. Research of preexisting masonry sections also provided insight into its original hand application, a process appropriated by the modern construction team. While the use of render shields masonry from the elements—think of it as a coated rainscreen—the condition of loadbearing elements determines the structural longevity of the building. The walls that surround the complex are just under two feet in width, with significant voids caused by internal stone deterioration. To fill these voids, the DCT set up a gravity-injected mortar grouting system. "Loose mortar was removed from the external facing masonry joints and temporarily replaced with cotton wool," said Kyffin. "This enabled the wall to be a sealed enclosure and prevented grout from seeping through the facade." The external cotton wool was removed once the internal grout had cured, with gaps in the masonry subsequently being repointed. Historical research also played a significant role in the conservation process. Researchers pored over photographs, diary extracts, and oral testimonies of those who lived in the building during the 1940s, gaining further knowledge of key building features. Abu Dhabi is surrounded by desert. For centuries, the city exclusively sourced its timber from an adjacent and expansive mangrove forest. The dimensions of internal rooms were dictated by the maximum height of the local mangrove forest; the tallest mangrove poles can measure close to twenty feet. In conjunction with the restoration of the Qasr Al Hosn, the Department of Culture & Tourism collaborated with Danish architecture firm CEBRA to landscape nearly 35 acres of open land surrounding the castle. Also unveiled in December, the design features polygon-shaped concrete formed to resemble the sun-baked earth and rolling water features that course pass shade-providing vegetation.After centuries of wear and tear, as well as the ill-thought coating of the original
Brought to you with support fromOn the corner of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street, the Nike House of Innovation announces its presence on this stretch of largely historic masonry structures with a striking slumped-and-carved glass facade. The 68,000-square-foot recladding and interior design project replaces the avenue elevation of the concrete-and-glass Pahlavi Foundation Building (formerly owned by the Shah of Iran and recently seized by the Federal Government).
Spanish glass manufacturer Cricursa. Based in Barcelona, the company has specialized in curved glass since the early-20th century. To give the glass its shape, the modules are slowly heated to the softening point, around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, where the materials slumps into customized molds. Once the glass panels have achieved their desired geometry, they are slowly cooled in a process called annealing. Installed as a double-glazed curtain wall, a low emissivity coating was applied to each panel to reduce heat transfer on both sides of the glazing. The size of the glass modules is largely standardized, measuring approximately 8 by 14 feet. However, where the entrance tapers upward, Cricursa fabricated three variations of trapezoidal panels and a singular triangular panel. The glass manufacturer fabricated five full-scale mockups of the modules to allow for thermal and structural load testing prior to full production. After testing, approximately 100 windows were shipped to Seele GmbH's facility in Augsburg, Germany, for assembly. Novel in terms of architectural application, the slumped glass was also CNC-carved with a series of striations perched at a 23.5-degree angle in the style of Nike’s iconic Swoosh logo. Andy Thaemert, Nike senior creative director, described this effect as accomplishing the brand’s goal to “create static architecture that feels like it's in motion.” From street level and within the House of Innovation, views through the glass present constantly shifting refractions of adjacent buildings. As a re-cladding project, the facade’s assembly is relatively straightforward. According to Heintges, the facade consultants for the project, "the glass facade is hung from the existing roof level with a grid of custom shaped steel mullions and transoms, pinned back for lateral loads at the 5th, and 3rd floor, and just above the ground." In total, the exterior envelope went from steel to glass in roughly four months. The project follows the Nike House of Innovation 001 constructed in Shanghai in October 2018, while a third is planned for Paris in 2019For the six-story structure’s recladding, the design team reached out to
Old and new technologies combine in renovated anthropology building.Tasked with transforming Harvard's 1971 Tozzer Library into a new home for the university's Anthropology Department, Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA) faced a unique set of challenges. In addition to balancing the desire for a distinct architectural identity with the building's literal and metaphorical connection to adjacent structures including Peabody Museum, the architects had to accommodate an expanded program within the old library's footprint and structure. As for Tozzer Library's facade, a mold problem and poor environmental performance meant that preserving the brick exterior was never an option. "It's a generic problem of envelopes from buildings that aren't that old, yet can't stand up to contemporary needs," said principal Sheila Kennedy. "What are you going to do with those buildings? The bold approach here was, 'we're going to build on [the existing] value." By stripping Tozzer Library down to its steel and concrete-slab bones, adding space under a two-story copper roof, and wrapping the exterior in a parametrically-designed brick skin, KVA seamlessly negotiated between Harvard's storied past and the mandates of a 21st-century curriculum. Both Kennedy and founding principal J. Frano Violich are quick to dismiss the notion that the problems with the 1971 building, designed by Boston firm Johnson, Hotvedt and Associates, were anything other than a product of their times. "Attitudes toward energy consumption were very different at the time," said Violich. "[Tozzer Library] was built by intelligent people, but everyone's understanding was different from today." In contrast, he said, for the new Tozzer Anthropology Building, "everyone was on top of every [LEED] point." (The project achieved LEED Gold.) KVA began by substituting 6-inch wall studs for the original 2 1/2-inch studs, making way for improved air circulation and insulation. In addition, they eliminated the potential for mold growth by increasing the air gap between the outside sheeting and the back of the brick veneer from 3/4 inches to 2 inches. With the mechanics of the exterior walls in place, "the challenge, aesthetically, was how do we get a sense of both thickness and thinness in the veneer?" said Violich. Luckily, the question of how to breathe new life into flat surfaces was nothing new for the architects. "At KVA we've been very interested in how one designs with contemporary wall systems, with materials that are thin," explained Kennedy. "How do we express their thinness, but by architectural means and devices give them an architectural thickness, manipulate them formally so there can be a game of thin and thick?" In the case of Tozzer Anthropology Building, the answer was a new entrance pavilion with a three-dimensional brick pattern meant to "seem like carved thick brick—like an archeological find," said Kennedy. Drawing upon their early experiments with digital brick, including those at the University of Pennsylvania Law School building, the designers used parametric design software to tie each brick unit to the building's overall form. "As we manipulated the physical form in 3D, we could see various brick patterns that could develop," explained Kennedy. "It was a hybrid of low-tech and high-tech," she said of the process of zeroing in on corbeling, a brick-stacking technique that allows for overhanging layers. The digitally-derived corbeled texture complemented the depth of ornament found elsewhere around Harvard's campus. "We didn't want to make something that was arbitrary and ornamental, but something that was authentic to our time," said Kennedy. To arrive at a final design for the multi-story entrance wall, the architects again combined cutting-edge technology with traditional expertise. "The actual pattern was achieved through physical experimentation," explained Kennedy. "We did a lot of dry stack work with local masons: We would take the designs out of the computer, then pass them to the masons to test. That was a really fun part of the process." KVA then took what they learned from their real-life experiments back into the virtual world, adjusting the digital design accordingly. Even the flat facades appear unlike typical brick walls, thanks largely to an unusual window arrangement. "When you're looking at the windows, you're not looking at traditional punch windows, or a strip window with a long relieving angle," said Violich. Rather, the windows are shifted to conceal the vertical control joints in the brick. "That helps defuse the veneer quality that brick sometimes brings on," he explained. The floor-to-floor windows further confound expectations by concealing the plenum and—because they are frameless, and punch out rather than in—appearing as much like light monitors as the actual skylights cut into the building's roofline. Tozzer Anthropology Building's recycled-content copper roof completes the dialogue between thick and thin established on the brick facades. "We worked hard in the massing of the design to give a twist to the building," said Kennedy. "That could really only happen in the two new floors." KVA textured the copper roof with vertical standing seams, again using parametric software to arrange different panel types in a corduroy-like pattern. "A lot of times people think advanced facades are super technical, but we can get lost in the technology and why we're using it," observed Kennedy. "[This project] is a good combination of an aesthetic agenda, an architectural agenda, and a technical agenda." For KVA, Tozzer Anthropology Building represents more than just a repurposed campus building. Rather, it offers a provocative answer to one of today's most pressing questions: how to rectify an inherited aesthetic preference for glass with the current push for improved energy efficiency. "Everybody loves glass—we love transparency in architecture," said Kennedy. "But as we move on in our energy transition, we're going to have to develop new ideas about mass and opacity. How can we go back to a pre-modern time, but create something that is contemporary?"
Before the Department of Homeland Security moves into its old insane asylum home, the National Historic Landmark will need some intense TLC
Although a designated landmark, the proposed new site for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the heart of the St. Elizabeths West Campus, Washington D.C., is an intense fixer-upper. Working with architects Shalom Baranes Associates and contractor Grunley Construction, the General Services Administration proposes a total renovation of the 264,300 square foot Center Building, a collection of seven connected structures that served as patient treatment rooms and administrative offices for the original Government Hospital for the Insane. It later became known as the St. Elizabeths Hospital. Once rehabilitated, the Center Building will house the DHS headquarters and the Secretary’s Office. Located north of the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, the 176-acre west campus was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1990. The Center Building was shuttered three years ago following the transfer of St. Elizabeths Hospital functions to the east campus, and photos submitted to the National Capital Planning Commission show that the building is deteriorating on the inside. Its exterior openings were boarded up in 2014 in advance of its reuse. "Basically, this project entails the integration of a completely new building within the envelope of the original and restored facades,” reads the submission to the NCPC. “Critical to the project's success is not only the preservation of important historic fabric, but the optimum interplay between historic planning ideals and modern, efficient workspace." The preservation and restoration project includes building stabilization from below grade, masonry repairs, window replacements, the removal and reconstruction of interior walls and floors, porch reconstruction, and landscape upgrades, among other fixes. To finance the repairs, President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request includes $379.7 million to fund the second and third phases of the DHS campus consolidation.
Studio Gang Architects' Arcus Center at Kalamazoo College in Michigan broke ground in 2012. Now photos of this sylvan study space are available, following its September opening. And they don't disappoint. The 10,000-square-foot building is targeting LEED Gold. Gang's press release said the new social justice center, a trifurcated volume terminating in large transparent window-walls, “brings together students, faculty, visiting scholars, social justice leaders, and members of the public for conversation and activities aimed at creating a more just world.” The open interior spaces are connected with long sight lines and awash in natural light—a cozy condition Studio Gang says will break down barriers and help visitors convene. The building's concave exterior walls are made of a unique wood-masonry composite that its designers say will sequester carbon. It also, says a release, “challenges the Georgian brick language and plantation-style architecture of the campus’s existing buildings.”
Competition winner uses composite materials to re-imagine Semper's primitive hut.The title of TEX-FAB's fourth annual competition—Plasticity—has a double meaning. It refers first to the concept at the core of the competition brief: the capacity of parametric design and digital fabrication to manifest new formal possibilities. But it also alludes to the material itself, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). “Plastics have the potential to push contemporary architecture beyond the frame-plus-cladding formula dominant since at least the 19th century,” said competition winner Justin Diles. Pointing to traditional stonecutting and vault work, he said, "I'm very interested in this large volumetric mode of construction, but I'm not at all interested in the stone. I think that composites probably offer the best way of addressing this old yet new mode of constructing architecture." Diles' proposal, Plastic Stereotomy, builds on his work as a KSA fellow at The Ohio State University. But where his earlier Eigenforms were two-dimensional freestanding walls, Diles' Plastic Stereotomy pavilion—which he will build at scale during the coming months—is fully three-dimensional. Inspired by teaching tools designed by Robert le Ricolais, Diles used a finite element analysis 3D modeling plugin to simulate surface buckling by superimposing volumes onto one another. "Those pieces are voluptuous; they create a lot of poché [thickness] as they overlap with one another," Diles observed. While the plugin developed by his friend was critical to the design process, Diles remained focused throughout on the end goal of fabrication. "What I'm really looking at is how we can use simulation to think about issues of construction rather than just optimization," he said. Custom fabrication shop Kreysler & Associates will provide technical support as Diles moves from design to construction. Diles cites the fire-resistant FRP cladding developed by Kreysler for Snøhetta's SFMOMA as an example of how composite materials can ease the transition from two-dimensional to volumetric design. "Even though the project still adheres to Gottfried Semper's model of a lightweight frame and cladding, the panels don't have a frame expression," he said. "They're massive, with ripples and indentations. They point to a new way of thinking about architectural surface and enclosure." Kreysler and Diles will work together to streamline the techniques he used to build his competition prototype, a scaled-down section of the Plastic Stereotomy pavilion. (Bollinger + Grohmann will provide additional structural and material engineering support.) For the mockup, Diles used a 5-axis CNC mill to shape EPS foam molds onto which he layered up FRP cloth. He then removed the pieces from the molds, painted them, and glued and bolted them together, adding stiffeners to the open-backed components. Because the FRP is so light, he used two solid foam blocks to weigh down the structure. "I'm interested in working with Kreysler around thinking through production to make it more efficient," said Diles. For the fabricators, the TEX-FAB collaboration represents another step in Kreysler's journey from boat-building to other applications of composite materials, including architecture. "We're excited to work on this with Justin," said Kreysler's Josh Zabel. "It's exciting to see designers put fresh eyes on these materials we're devoted to." Plastic Stereotomy will be on display at TEX-FAB 2015 Houston at the University of Houston College of Architecture, March 26-29. The conference will feature workshops, lectures, and an exhibition on the theme of Plasticity.
Installation investigates the future of facade design and fabrication.Unlike some student projects, AAC Textile-Block v2.0 was shaped by both practical and speculative concerns. In back-to-back courses at Pratt, undergraduates designed and fabricated a prototype section of a screen wall system made from autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC). Co-taught by Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino, the design studio and prototyping seminar encouraged students to look beyond their computer screens to real-world constraints including block size and light and air circulation. "The idea was that we wanted to make something that has an application later on," said Blough. "It was more than a run-of-the-mill digital fabrication project," added Ardolino. "It was really a comprehensive fabrication project." Each student in the design studio created a scheme for a four-story facade comprising modules cut from standard 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC bricks donated by Aercon AAC (additional funding was supplied by the Office of the Dean of the School of Architecture). All of the assemblies were required to be self-supporting; some students designed them to be structural or to act as a weather barrier as well. With help from structural engineer Robert Otani and facade consultant Erik Verboon, both of whom teach at Pratt, the students explored their designs using Rhino and wire-cut foam models before CNC-milling prototype wall assemblies from high-density foam. During the following semester, Blough and Ardolino's seminar moved into design-development. Again with Otani's assistance, the class modified one of the designs generated in the studio for fabrication. Among the issues the seminar students addressed was the balance between uniqueness and repetition in the final assembly. "Every block could have been unique, but then there's a question of whether or not it's more efficient to incorporate repetition," said Ardolino. "The students solved that one: they figured out how they could set up the system to be somewhat repetitive." The assembly as built contains 96 blocks of 20 different types. "The earlier stuff I'd done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could," said Blough. "Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization." Students milled the AAC modules from 8-by-8-by-12-inch half-bricks using a reconditioned auto-industry robot at Timbur, Ardolino's computer-aided design and fabrication studio. After considering their options, the team settled on an "in the round" strategy, in which the tool makes parallel passes around the Z axis of each block. The blocks were held to the table using custom-milled high-density urethane foam jigs. By working from the largest module to the smallest module, the students required only two jigs. "As the block got smaller, more and more of the jig got eaten away during milling—like a palimpsest," observed Ardolino. While Ardolino managed the off-site fabrication, Blough oversaw assembly in the School of Architecture lobby. Students volunteered their time between classes to lay courses of the milled blocks, using a high performance polyurethane construction adhesive in place of mortar. Slotted steel plates located two courses from the top and bottom of the 10-foot 8-inch by 4-foot prototype accept 1/4-inch rods, which also pass through channels milled into the faces of pairs of blocks. Thinner, staple-like steel rods provide horizontal reinforcement every fourth course. When the installation was up, the assembly team, realizing the floor was uneven, pushed it into plumb before shimming it and re-adjusting the tension on the rods. Though the installation is presently unsealed, Blough and Ardolino are investigating an epoxy-like coating that would protect the blocks from contact damage without obscuring the tool paths. "We like the tool paths—they make it look like dressed stone," said Blough. Though the multi-semester project was designed as a hands-on learning experience for the undergraduates, the professionals involved benefited as well. "I like the idea of this cross-pollination between what goes on in my office and in Ezra's office, and that we can then bring it back to the studio and really push it," said Blough. "It was really liberating for me to take it to this whole other level with Ezra and the students, because you have all these great minds working on it."
Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile Museum of the City of New York 1220 5th Avenue, New York Through September 7th Coming to New York City from Washington, D.C., this exhibition illuminates the legacy of architect and builder Rafael Guastavino. A Catalan immigrant, Guastavino created the iconic (and aptly named) Guastavino tile. By interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar to build his arches, Guastavino married old-world aesthetics with modern innovation. The resulting intersection of technology and design revolutionized New York City’s landscape, and is used in over 200 historic buildings including Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall, The Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House, and Ellis Island. Guastavino’s son, Rafael III, is part of the family legacy explored in the exhibition. MCNY has expanded this showing to include 20 more projects found throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The exhibition also boasts an 11-by-15-foot replica of a Guastavino vault, contemporary photos by Michael Freeman, previously unreleased drawings and materials, and a video gallery installation that visually immerses the viewer in Guastavino’s vaults.
From Andre Kikoski to Leo Marmol to David Mullman, top architects spill the beans on their favorite products—glazing, surfaces, and finish materials. Lasvit Liquidkristal A molded-glass sheet suitable for interior and exterior applications, the relief pattern is continuous between panels. “In Sophie’s restaurant at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago, we installed a wall of digitally-engineered Liquidkristal by Lasvit. The optical effects of cascading ripples of glass create playful reflections, painterly distortions, and elegant abstract patterns that are beautiful in their subtlety and striking in their boldness.” —Andre Kikoski, Andre Kikoski Architect, New York City Lutron Dorma Digitally controlled commercial lighting-control and monitoring system. Compatible with dimming ballasts. “Lutron and its EcoSystem node allows for multiple lighting atmospheres that enable us to create unique spatial environments, while saving our clients money on their electrical bills.” —Ricardo Alvarez-Diaz, Alvarez-Diaz & Villalon Architecture and Interior Design, Miami/San Juan Duravit Happy D.2 Offered in pedestal, console, and surface-mounted models; with or without tap platform. “We love the simplicity and rounded corners of the Happy D.2 sink from Duravit. It has enough presence to stand on its own as a wall-mounted unit, but can sit happily atop an elegant modern vanity as well. It’s our go-to sink!” —Susan Doban, Doban Architecture, New York City Heath Ceramics Sun Valley Bronze Seven in-stock collections of field, trim, and dimensional tile; custom orders accepted. LEED eligible. “We love the handcrafted, high-quality products that Heath creates; its wonderful tile adorns many of our projects, and we share a set of core design principles that celebrates the efficiency and elegance of modern design.” —Leo Marmol, Marmol Radziner, Los Angeles Luceplan Trama Available as suspension and ceiling/wall model, in 20-inch or 25-inch diameter. Aluminum with polycarbonate diffuser. “The Luceplan Trama fixture gives lots of beautiful light and it’s amazingly easy to change the bulb. For us, it’s often the vendor that is as significant as the product; nothing is more important than good service and help when you need it.” —David Mullman, Mullman Seidman Architects, New York City Vorwerk Re/Cover Green SPVC-free, roll-based floor covering. High slip-resistance. Offered in 30 solid colors and patterns. LEED eligible. “Engineered textiles sourced from sustainable materials—like the Re/Cover line by Vorwerk—is what made us select Relative Space as a design partner at Barclays Center.” —Ayumi Sugiyama, SHoP Architects, New York City Nawkaw LiTHIUM Concrete and Masonry Stains Suitable for use on masonry and pre-cast concrete surfaces, the stain is offered in 40 colors, as well as metallic and reflective finishes. “For exteriors where we can’t match the brick color or where some stucco or coating has been applied to the masonry, one of products that we like a lot these days is LiTHIUM by Nawkaw. It’s similar to paint, but it’s not a film; it actually forms a chemical bond with the surface of the masonry.” —Jerry Caldari, Bromley Caldari Architects, New York City Hansgrohe Croma Green Showerpipe Assembly includes both Raindance S 150 AIR Green 1-jet showerhead and Croma E 100 Green 3-jet handshower. “In hotel renovations, we see a trend to replace the traditional bathtub with a shower. The Croma Green Showerpipe, with its all-in-one, outside-the-wall design is easy to install and service—things which are always a concern, especially in the hospitality sector. The handshower is not only great for guest bathing, but also ideal from a housekeeping perspective.” —Foreman Arden Rodgers, TVS Design, Atlanta