Posts tagged with "Monuments":

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Beneath this 200 year old monument to George Washington, a time capsule filled with 3D printed scans will send messages to the future

What do you put in a 21st century time capsule inside the cornerstone of a 19th century landmark that’s undergoing restoration? If the landmark is the nation’s first monument to George Washington, you put in a 3D printed likeness of the first president, hot off the 3D printer, of course. That’s the idea behind the four shiny objects that will be sealed within an 1815-era cornerstone and placed below the base of the Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland, home of the aforementioned first monument to Washington. The city-owned monument, designed by Robert Mills as a centerpiece for Mount Vernon Place, is undergoing a $5.5 million restoration that’s nearing completion. Planners say this is one of the first instances, to their knowledge, of 3D-printed objects being placed in the cornerstone of a restored monument for future generations to discover—and the objects actually mirror elements of the monument itself. “It’s a twist on history,” said Lance Humphries, an architectural historian who serves as chairman of the monument restoration committee of the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, a nonprofit group that’s working with the city to restore Baltimore’s Washington Monument and improve the public squares around it. “We like the idea of using this 3D technology as a way of leaving a record for the future… It’s incredible technology.” The restoration work will be complete and the monument will reopen to the public on July 4, 2015, exactly 200 years after the cornerstone was laid to signal the start of construction. It has been closed for repairs since 2010. The four objects, displayed publicly for the first time during a media event Sunday, April 12, include a mini bust of Washington, a mini statue, a mask-like reproduction of the face on Washington’s statue, and a life sized replica of one of his hands, holding a scroll. All four objects were made with 3D scanning and printing technology by Maryland based companies whose principals specialize in the process and wanted to apply it to historic preservation. Noting that time capsules and cornerstones often contain newspapers from the day they were sealed, Humphries said 3D printing is essentially a 21st century way to impart information that was previously conveyed in print form. He said the conservancy’s goal, in placing miniature replicas depicting pieces of the statue inside the cornerstone, was to leave behind information that could tell future preservationists about the statue’s condition after 200 years. “These 3D images will show the future the condition of the statue in 2015,” he explained. “We don’t know when they will be found, but when they are, they will help future generations understand how the statue appeared during the monument’s bicentennial year.” Unlike Robert Mills’ Washington Monument in the nation’s Capitol, which is a marble clad obelisk, Baltimore’s 178-foot-tall monument is a classical Doric column atop a stone base, with a larger-than-life statue of Washington at the top. The standing figure, by Italian sculptor Enrico Causici, depicts Washington resigning his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1783. For years, visitors could climb to the top of the Baltimore monument and enjoy unobstructed views in all directions. But the monument was closed to the public after Humphries, from an outdoor café a block away, noticed imperfections in the stonework near the top of the monument and reported what he saw to city officials. That triggered a chain of events that led to the current repair effort. During the restoration, workers discovered the 1815 cornerstone, with contents from that year, and a second time capsule from 1915. The 1915 time capsule has not been opened but will be soon. The 1815 cornerstone was opened in February. Its contents included newspapers from 1815, glass jars, coins, and a likeness of Washington. As part of activities leading up to the 200th anniversary of the cornerstone laying in July, conservancy members wanted to re-bury the 1815 cornerstone, again with objects that might send a message to future generations. Museum conservators recommended that they not re-bury the fragile artifacts from 1815, to ensure their preservation. That’s when Humphries came up with the idea of turning the 1815 cornerstone into a time capsule containing miniature versions of parts of the Washington statue, made with 3D printing technology. Humphries said he thought it would make sense to include another likeness of Washington, since the cornerstone originally had one, and he thought it would be reflective of the changing times to have the 2015 likeness made with 3D printing. In the early 1800s, he said, “printing was about reading. Now it’s about making something in three dimensions, which is a big change over 200 years.” Humphries said he doesn’t know if any other time capsules or cornerstones have been sealed containing 3D-printed objects, but he isn’t aware of any and hopes this is one of the first cases. He said he thought it would be a good way to give people in the future an idea of the technology available to Americans in 2015. “I’m sure in 3015, they are going to say, ‘That was a really primitive thing they used,’ but that is what we use today. “ While scaffolding was still up around the monument, Washington’s statue was documented with 3D scanning technology by Direct Dimensions of Owings Mills, Maryland. A digital scan was taken to create a record of the statue’s condition in 2015. The same scan was used to print the miniature 3D images of the statue that are going in the cornerstone. The four objects were printed in nylon by NextLine Manufacturing of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Then, to ensure that they would last, the 3D models were electroplated for durability, first in copper and then in nickel, by a Halethorpe company called RePliForm. Although the coatings give the objects a metallic appearance, the figures are relatively light, as if they were made with plastic. Michael Raphael, the founder and chief executive officer of Direct Dimensions, said Baltimore’s collection of objects may be the first of its kind, “a set of miniature replicas of an historical monument enshrined back into the cornerstone for future generations to see.” Raphael said 3D scanning can be a valuable tool in preserving statues and other works of art that are kept outdoors. “We strongly believe that cultural artifacts, especially those exposed to the elements... are among the most important treasures requiring 3-D digital documentation,” he said. “Three dimensional scanning provides a fast, accurate means for permanent documentation and future restoration of cultural artifacts under constant risk of destruction by weather, pollution, or other disasters.” One of the four objects, the hand, is hollow in the middle and will contain a handwritten letter, like a message in a bottle. The letter, written in English, will describe the restoration project and the statue’s condition at the 200-year mark. Whoever finds the four objects, Humphries said, will be able to compare the condition of the statue in 2015 and the condition whenever they next open the cornerstone, showing how much the statue has eroded or otherwise changed over time. In that sense, he said, the 3D images will provide useful information to conservationists of the future. This week, the 1815 cornerstone is scheduled to be placed back in its original underground position with the new objects inside, so work can continue on the restoration. Humphries said the cornerstone might be reopened in 100 years or 1,000 years. “It’s just when the next guy finds it and wants to dig it up again. It was a lot of work.” Humphries added that conservators advised his group not to include newspapers this time because most newspapers printed today are “so acidic” that they might damage other objects stored with them. The monument will reopen during a daylong “Monumental Bicentennial Celebration” that will include a Naturalization Ceremony, a formal ribbon cutting, and a “family friendly” fair. Admission is free. As exhibited Sunday, the mini-statue of Washington is reminiscent of similarly sized replicas of the Statue of Liberty that are sold to tourists in New York City. Conservancy representatives say their organization may eventually fabricate and sell copies of the cornerstone objects as souvenirs, to raise funds for additional phases of restoration work around Mount Vernon Place.
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This Week> Facades+AM Washington Three by Three

With its combination of iconic references to the nation's past and the machinery that drives our political present, Washington, DC presents a particular set of problems and possibilities to facades innovators. Top experts in high-performance building envelope design and construction will this gather this Thursday, March 5, to explore some of these issues during Facades+ AM: Washington Three by Three, a morning seminar taking place at the District Architecture Center. Facades+ AM is a quick-take variation on the popular Facades+ conference series. Over the course of the morning, three panels of three experts and one moderator each will take up questions concerning facade design and construction in the nation's capital. Session one, "Design Opportunities in a Blast Resistant World," moderated by Steve White, president of AIA DC, will consider how innovative designs can flourish despite security restrictions. Washington Post columnist and University of Maryland professor emeritus Roger Lewis will moderate session two, "Innovative Facades Come to Washington," highlighting cutting-edge facades in the DC area. Session three, "The New Face of Monumental Washington," moderated by Washington Architectural Foundation president Janet Bloomberg, will describe the role played high-performance building envelopes in both old and new monuments. Mark Strauss, senior partner at FXFOWLE, and AN's editor-in-chief William Menking will deliver opening and closing remarks. Seats are limited; register today for Facades+AM: Washington Three by Three. For more information, include a detailed agenda, visit the symposium website.
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LEGO Architecture honors the Great Emancipator with a miniature of the Lincoln Memorial

A miniature LEGO model of the Lincoln Memorial has just launched under the LEGO Architecture brand, a “Lego for grownups” product line that celebrates architecture and the chameleon capabilities of the LEGO brick. Featuring recreations of landmark buildings such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the latest set honors the memorial completed in May 30, 1922 in homage to the 16th president of the United States. The final cost of the memorial approached $3 million, although just $2 million had been initially allocated. Despite not being immediately apparent to the naked eye, the building’s columns and exterior walls are slightly inclined toward the interior to compensate for visual perspective distortions that would make the building appear to bulge at the top. Honoring the 57th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, the memorial designed by Henry Bacon resembles a Greek temple, with 36 fluted Doric columns to represent the number of recognized states at the time of Lincoln's death. Visible from the outside is the famous oversize statue by Daniel Chester French, with Lincoln’s left hand clenched to symbolize strength and determination and his right palm open in a show of charity and compassion. While the LEGO model measures a mere two inches tall, 4 inches wide, and 3 inches deep, it has an easily removable roof for viewing the statue inside. Aspiring towards a true-to-life remake, the model includes the steps leading up to the building from the reflecting pool. The set includes a sorely-needed plastic brick separator for detaching those notoriously clingy flat bricks, as well as a 65-page instruction manual.
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Washington Monument Re-Opens to the Public: Celebrate With These 22 Beautiful Photos

After two-and-a-half years of repairs, the Washington Monument is officially back open to the public. The District’s tallest structure had been closed since 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent more than 150 cracks shooting through the 555-feet of marble. At the cost of $15 million—which was financed by the federal government and a private donation—all of the monument’s damaged stones were either removed or resealed, and the 55-story elevator was repaired. Some of the monument’s new marble even came out of the same Maryland quarry that supplied material for the structure when it was first built over 100 years ago. During construction, the structure was wrapped in 500 tons of scaffolding, which was designed by Michael Graves. At night, the supportive envelope was entirely lit up and appeared like hundreds of glowing bricks. To celebrate the re-opening, AN's editors gathered up 22 of the most beautiful photos of the Washington Monument through the years, dating all the way back to the beginning. Take a look below. (And also check out the monument's moving shadows on Google Maps.)
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San Diego Re-Imagines Balboa Park With Car-Free Transportation, Increased Connectivity

It’s been nearly 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the world’s fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, was held in San Diego. In preparation for the centennial, AIA San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art recently held an ideas competition for improvements to Balboa Park, the site of the fair. The 1,200-acre park is home to a number of museums and other cultural facilities, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art, plus cultivated gardens and family-friendly amusements. The Balboa Park Centennial Gateway Competition received 44 entries from both professional and non-professional designers. The jury met December 7th to award five merit prizes and two top-place awards. “Overall, the jury was impressed by the quality of the presentations and the renderings and grateful for the time and effort expended on their preparation,” an AIA San Diego press release stated. The five entries earning special recognition from the jury included two transit-oriented designs. A submission from San Diego Historic Streetcars showcased that organization’s ongoing efforts to bring streetcars back to the city, while a team from Place Architecture proposed an elevated tramway connecting Balboa Park to the waterfront and Petco Park. The three other merit-award winners were “P.R.A.D.O,” from Di Donato Associates; “Balboa Park Experience,” from NewSchool of Architecture + Design, and “Soaring Above,” from a team led by Jonathan Chau. In a modern take on City Beautiful logic, “P.R.A.D.O.” features a series of architectural monuments placed throughout the park, with a covered pedestrian walkway along its eastern edge framing views of the city beyond. “Balboa Park Experience,” which the press release called a “surprising green solution,” threads a linear park under and around the freeway entrance to the south end of the park. “Soaring Above” envisions a network of towers orienting visitors within the park, and offering elevated viewpoints in and around the green space. The People’s Choice Award, selected by visitors to theSan Diego Museum of Art, was “Reflections” by Jeffrey Taitano, a student of NewSchool of Architecture + Design. Taitano proposed the installation of a large abstracted gate at the park’s entrance, with other park elements—including event boards and bus stops—built to match the main structure’s minimalist aesthetic. The Balboa Park Centennial Gateway Competition jury awarded the second-place prize to “Hillcrest Fruit Farm,” from an undergraduate team at NewSchool of Architecture + Design. The submission imagines the creation of a fruit orchard along the northern boundary of Balboa Park, paying homage to horticulturist Kate Sessions as well as landscape architect Samuel Parson’s vision for the park as the city’s food producer. Finally, the jury split the first-place award three ways, recognizing elements of submissions from De Bartolo + Rimanic Design Studio (“Gateway of Connectivity”), domusstudio architecture (“Park the Dump/Dump the Cars”), and N. Looney Architecture (“Park Boulevard is not an Edge”). “While the Jury felt that each had individual flaws,” the press release explained, “collectively they captured important goals for the Park.” “Park the Dump/Dump the Cars” and “Park Boulevard is not an Edge” both addressed the disposition of the former landfill within Balboa Park, as well as the reabsorption of land currently used for parking. All three winners emphasized the need for to better connect the park and neighboring communities.
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Egg on Face at Louis Kahn's Four Freedoms Park?

You can’t make a monument without breaking some eggs. Fabergé cosmetics heir Reed Rubin is protesting a decision by the board of Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park to not include a donor inscription on the Louis Kahn-designed FDR memorial. For a $2.5 million donation in honor of Rubin’s parents Vera D. and Samuel Rubin, founders of the cosmetics firm and the Reed Foundation, the foundation claims it was promised an inscription in a prominent spot (preferably near the bust of FDR on a slab facing Manhattan). The board of the park, not wanting to compromise the monument’s design, proposed an inscription in another location in the park. Rubin and the foundation are fighting back, and had tried to postpone October's dedication. The New York Daily News quoted a letter written by the park’s board chairman William vanden Heuvel to the foundation: “You may prevail in a courtroom. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory, dear friends, a scar not a medal on the list of your achievements.”