Posts tagged with "New York City":

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You can dodge trash fires and the Pizza Rat in this new MTA video game

For New Yorkers, it’s no secret that the MTA is rapidly deteriorating. Practically defined by delays and diversions—and not to mention the impending L train shutdown—the financial and political behind-the-scenes of the subway system has come under increasing scrutiny. While numerous articles, commentaries, reports, and angry tweets have been published on the state of the MTA and its causes, Everyday Arcade has released what might be the first video game on the crumbling system, MTA Country. Styled after a classic Nintendo-style platformer (its name references the 1994 SNES game Donkey Kong Country), MTA Country is a ride through a roller coaster of subway tunnel. For players, the goal of MTA Country is to get its main character, Gregg T (Gregg Turkin, a lawyer, NYPD Legal Bureau member, and much meme-ified face of the NYPD’s “If You See Something, Say Something” subway campaign) to work. Luckily, he has help from his friends Bill (de Blasio) and Andrew (Cuomo). After watching the trio be launched from a trashcan, gamers can ride down tracks collecting coins as they leap over track fires, stopped trains, broken rails, the notorious Pizza Rat. Graffiti in the background reads “Giuliani was here,” among other commentary. Without giving away any spoilers, users skilled enough to collect all the letters that dot the tracks will be in for a special high-speed transformation à la Elon Musk and rocketed off to a new destination. Luckily for New Yorkers, MTA Country also works on your phone, making it an ideal way to pass time when your train inevitably gets stuck.
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Allied Works to design Pratt Institute's new fine arts building

Pratt Institute has selected Allied Works to complete a new building to house its Master of Fine Arts and Photography programs on their 25-acre Brooklyn campus, providing the School of Art “a distinct...identity on campus for the first time.” The project will feature flexible classroom, studio, and tech lab space, as well as room for public galleries. The new School of Art is designed to be a “cultural anchor” for Brooklyn and for the broader New York art world. The project intends to “catalyze both the campus and community, [and become] a wellspring of art and creative energy,” according to Allied Works founding partner Brad Cloepfil. Allied Works, which was founded in 1994 and has offices in Portland, Oregon and New York City, has completed a number of other cultural and educational commissions, including the National Music Centre of Canada in Calgary and a creative arts center for Portland’s Catlin Gabel School. While they have completed an array of projects in New York, including the 2008 transformation of the Museum of Arts and Design, this will be the firm’s first foray into Brooklyn.
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studioSTIGSGAARD designs a "25th century" space for Rammellzee retrospective

Rammellzee (1960–2010), a seminal New York artist, is finally getting his due with the expansive and explosive two-floor retrospective RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder at Red Bull Arts New York. The celebration of this multi-hyphenate artist, writer, and musician is no staid, white cube exhibition. The paintings, sculptures, videos, drawings, and ephemera that comprise the exhibition are brought to life in a deservedly elaborate space designed by studioSTIGSGAARD, helmed by its namesake architect Martin Stigsgaard, also of Voorsanger Architects. Though perhaps no longer as well-known as some of his contemporaries, Rammellzee was certainly renowned in the downtown scene in the 1980s and 90s. Referred to as the “King of the A Line” for his tagging chops during his early street art days, he collaborated with the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat (who designed the album art for one of his music releases) and appeared in numerous films, including Jim Jarmusch’s cult classic Stranger than Paradise (1984). At the peak of his notoriety and commercial success, Rammellzee rejected art world trappings and retreated to his Tribeca loft, which he called the Battle Station, where he would spend 20 years working on his Gesamtkunstwerk, a constantly evolving mythical world. Stigsgaard’s design, which was developed in close collaboration with curators Max Wolf, Carlo McCormick, Candice Strongwater, Jeff Mao, and Christian Omodeo, honors the legacy of Rammellzee’s Battle Station, without trying to replicate it, something they felt could not be done by anyone except Rammellzee himself. Instead, Stigsgaard tried to “create a framework...to set his work off,” relying on the body of work to bring visitors into his world while still providing an intelligible timeline and order in an immersive environment. Upon entering the exhibition space you are confronted with a tunnel of mesh walls with irregular, geometric apertures that create a spatial “compression.” Stigsgaard says this references not only a subway tunnel, the site where Rammellzee first began mobilizing language by tagging the A train in Far Rockaway, Queens, but also a tank firing range, apt for an artist who felt that he was leading a war against the cultural tyranny of the alphabet. Down the tunnel are some of Rammellzee’s early visual works, as well as a script he developed, and an original 12th-century manuscript. The manuscript serves as a touchstone for Rammellzee’s approach to language as a visual, and eventually, performative and spatial, practice and his self-identification as a “gothic futurist.” He was constantly fighting against normative order—his own manifesto Gothic Futurist describes the symbolic battle of letters against the alphabet’s stultifying standardization, as realized in his graffiti and his later Letter Racers. The central upstairs gallery manifests Rammellzee’s military obsession and his invented linguistic theory of “Ikonoklast Panzerism.” For this space, Stigsgaard used what he described as Panzerkeil formations, which refer to a V-shaped arrangement of tanks used by the Germans on the Eastern Front. The formation leads to a strong exterior defense with a weaker interior. Here, the formation acts as the parti for the exhibition space; the structure presents a full-frontal approach for larger work with a more intimate interior to observe smaller pieces, simultaneously organizing the space and causing one to be “put off balance.” The formation’s visual logic extends even to the angular vitrines and other details. The final stage upstairs exemplifies the unorthodox use of lighting in the exhibition. Shifting on a timer, the lighting in this last space goes between the usual white light to black light that makes Rammellzee’s paintings and sculptures pop and glow. As you come around towards the stairwell, you see Rammellzee’s Letter Racers, hung ready for battle, spiraling downstairs. These Letter Racers are 26 fighter plane-style assemblages of detritus and consumer goods mounted on skateboards and remote-controlled cars, each a letter in Rammellzee’s invented alphabet. Light confronts you in your face as you take their mass in. This is hardly unintentional. As Stigsgaard says, “It's not about creating a comfortable lighting. I like that you get a big blast in your face. This is not a white box, ordinary gallery. You need to be a little bit thrown off.” The downstairs takes on a more cave-like quality. Ceilings are low and the space is almost unnervingly dark. We have entered the physical realization of the 25th century, a major era in Rammellzee’s extensive cosmology. Metal mesh walls that conceal and reveal—again in Panzerkeil formation—are on islands of what at first appears to be stone or gravel, but upon closer investigation are shredded tires. Here are perhaps the most memorable pieces in the exhibit, his Garbage Gods, full-scale armored sculptural costumes made of found objects and sidewalk trash. This cast of characters each has their own place within Rammellzee’s sci-fi mythology, with personalities he would adapt by wearing and performing the costumes. In the rear of the space is a glowing polystyrene “rock formation” that holds scale model Garbage Gods in its niches. This strange hybrid of natural and artificial, urban and prehistoric, creates a space that Stigsgaard describes as “outside of time.” The gothic meets the space-age, suits accumulate and reconfigure the histories of the found objects that comprise them, boundaries breakdown and time falls into itself—both in Rammellzee’s art and in the design of the space. After passing the final massive Garbage God, slivers of red light hint at an additional space. Though relatively large, tire shreds take up most of the room, allowing you just small passage. At dead center is a pyramid. Suspended on acrylic it seems to be floating. Red light hits its reflective surface, again creating an almost blinding moment. Lurking in the right corner is another Garbage God and at the right is one of Rammellzee’s bricolage luggage pieces. The room certainly feels significant and has a certain stillness, but without reading the wall text the space’s real weight might be missed. This pyramid is an urn, designed by Rammellzee, to contain his own ashes. This Garbage God is Reaper Grimm. This luggage is what he wished to carry into the next life. It is here, with Rammellzee present, that you realize this is no mere exhibition; this is a temple, or perhaps even, a mausoleum. RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder Red Bull Arts New York 220 West 18th Street, New York, NY Through August 26th
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edg creates customizable 3D-printed concrete molds

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A different conversation about the capabilities of 3D-printing is happening at edg, a New York architecture and engineering firm which focuses on technology-driven design and the restoration of buildings. For the past five years, edg has been engaged with research into the combination of 3D-printing technologies and methods of casting in concrete.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer VoxelJet, XunDa (3D printing manufacturers)
  • Architects edg Architecture | Engineering team: John Meyer, Jonathan Shea, Steven Tsai, Richard Unterthiner, Phillip Weller , Maggie Zhang, Yujing Nico Cu
  • Facade Installer edg Architecture | Engineering
  • Facade Consultants VoxelJet, XunDa (3D printing manufacturers)
  • Location New York City
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Cast concrete with 1/16” wire mesh reinforcement
  • Products Sika concrete ornamentation cast in custom 3D printed formwork
Inspired by the initial buzz surrounding 3D-printing within architecture, Founding and Managing Partner John Meyer and his team began prototyping with a small MakerBot Replicator Z18. The desire was to move the conversation beyond small, fragile parts and into real-world implications of methods in additive manufacturing. Rather than focusing on solid 3D-printed parts, which are usually expensive but aren’t durable or aesthetically pleasing, edg’s research team began investigating the potential of 3D-printing as a method of complex concrete mold-making. The research implications were amplified once edg understood how to apply it. When it learned of the impending demolition of 574 Fifth Avenue, a 1940 building with intricate ornamentation, edg turned the project into a case study, a perfect prompt for thinking of alternative ways to restore and maintain deteriorating ornamentation. Conducting its fabrication work on a rooftop near its New York office, edg exhaustively explored materials and mold thicknesses until the team arrived at what it considered to be the right combination of material cost efficiency and strength. As seen in the firm’s prototypes and its diagram of the assembly, the 3D-printed plastic form is inlaid with a laser cut wire mesh as well as stirrups to provide reinforcement for the cast. Edg also designed a simple plate connection system which is formed into the printed area to facilitate easy attachment to the facade. The final prototypes were manufactured by VoxelJet using their VoxelJet VX1000 printer for the casting molds and were fabricated in-house with Sika concrete. This project has far-reaching implications for historic preservation, but this research isn’t nostalgia for lost fabrication techniques: it has broader possibilities within facade construction and design. As edg stated in a press release, designers are allowed to “shape and ‘mold’ building elements in unprecedented detail.”
edg plans to move forward with this technique through two projects in the works.  The first is a multi-family project in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, pictured in renderings [TK - above/below]. These projects will apply the same methodology but through a more contemporary lens. “This technique allows for more textures, finishes, flowing shapes, and unique patterning which you can only get when you're not paying for a precast form,” Meyer told AN. To complete this and other projects, he and his team are building a customized 3-D printer suited for their size and material constraints. Furthermore, edg is planning a design competition for the potential uses of this technique on architectural facades, in part to open up the facade design process to professions beyond architecture.
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New York City report urges good design in affordable housing

The New York City Public Design Commission (PDC) has released new guidelines for designing affordable housing, painting quality of life as an integral part of any such development. Quality Affordable Housing in NYC, a case study of affordable housing throughout the city, was released at a roundtable presentation at the Center for Architecture last night. Innovative housing is nothing new in New York, but with Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to build or preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026, a cohesive plan was needed to standardize the new buildings being designed. Quality Affordable Housing pulls together the best aspects from its seven case studies and presents eight guidelines for building more resilient, contextual low-income developments. According to the findings, infill developments that favor pedestrian circulation and an integration with the existing community fabric should be given preference over cloistered, standalone projects. The massing should visually connect the new building with its surroundings, and materials should complement the project’s neighbors. Circulation, both air and pedestrian-related, should be maximized, and the ground floor condition should be inviting to the rest of the neighborhood. All of these suggestions seem like common sense improvements, but tight budgets, strict deadlines, and site constraints often tamp down ambitious social housing projects. Thankfully, Quality Affordable Housing uses its case studies to put projects that have met these goals on display for reference. The PDC has collected projects large and small, from the 16-unit Prospect Gardens, a pilot infill prototype in Brooklyn designed by RKTB Architects in 2004, to 2015’s massive 911,000-square-foot Hunter’s Point South Commons and Crossing in Queens from Ismael Leyva and SHoP. What connects all seven projects is their integration with the surrounding community, attention to landscaping, and most importantly, that people want to live in them. As presenters at the Center kept coming back to, neighborhood residents were overjoyed to move in, and winning the housing lottery often felt like a dream come true. The full PDC guide and breakdowns of all seven case study projects can be found in full here.
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Historic Trinity Church begins decades-overdue restoration

Today, Manhattan’s historic Trinity Church commenced an approximately two-year restoration project. The last restoration of the church occurred over seven decades ago in 1946. New York’s Murphy Burnham & Buttrick is leading the restoration of three-century old church. Trinity Church is one of the oldest parishes in New York City. The congregation moved to its Richard Upjohn-designed Gothic Revival house of worship in 1846. Since then, Trinity has built three additions to Upjohn’s original design, including the All Saints’ Chapel. Upjohn was a cofounder of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a prodigious ecclesiastical architect in New York and New England. The nearly $100 million project will bring the church to contemporary accessibility and environmental standards through the construction of wheelchair-accessible ramps along the church’s entrances, gender-neutral restrooms, and a new steel-and-glass canopy adjacent to the south elevation. While a significant portion of the project is dedicated to new alterations, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick are fully repairing and restoring the church’s stained-glass windows, redesigning historic pews, and replacing non-original clerestory fenestration. Additionally, the church’s chancel will be adapted to Upjohn’s original design, boosting seating capacity by 140 seats. In a statement, Trinity Church Vicar Reverend Phil Jackson said the decades of deferred window maintenance shrouded the church’s interior detailing under a layer of shadow. Through the restoration, Jackson hopes to highlight the nave and main body’s impressive Gothic rib vaults and collenettes by giving “back its light.” Murphy Burnham & Buttrick has amassed a wide scope of residential and religious restorations across New York City, including an expansive top-down project for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which involved the conservation of interior and exterior masonry and stained glass windows, and even the insertion of a nine-well geothermal plant below the cathedral. During the restoration process, Trinity Church’s nave and main body will be closed off to parishioners and visitors. The project is slated to be completed  by spring 2020, and Trinity Church hopes to reopen the nave soon after.
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A closer look at BIG's rotating towers on the High Line

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Bjarke Ingels Group’s twin rotating towers are under construction along the High Line in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The Eleventh (also known as the XI) will include luxury residences, multiple restaurants, retail, an art area and a new public promenade adjacent to The High Line. The project joins nearby buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Renzo Piano, among others.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Pioneer Window MFG. Corp.
  • Architects Bjarke Ingels Group, Woods Bagot
  • Facade Installer Pioneer Window MFG. Corp.
  • Facade Consultants GMS (Building Envelope), Entek Engineering (Facade Maintenance)
  • Location New York City, NY
  • Date of Completion 2018 (in progress)
  • System Travertine composite panels, unitized curtain wall system
  • Products Custom fabricated  travertine panels with honeycomb backing by TerraCORE Panels and unitized curtain wall windows with bronze finish
The two towers, one each on the east (No. X) and west (No. I) portion of the site, will rise to 300 feet and 400 feet, respectively. Each are clad in a travertine composite facade expressive of the underlying concrete structure behind it, with expansive punched windows with a bronze finish. “With its punched windows and gridded structural facade, The Eleventh echoes the pragmatic rationality of the neighborhood’s historic warehouses, while its sculptural geometry gives it a kinship to the local arts community,” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, said in a statement. “The past and present of Chelsea [are] merging in a new hybrid identity.” The choice of materials helps the pair stand out among the surrounding concrete and steel structures. The facade combines high-performance composite technology with the durable travertine to reduce the dead load on the structure. The panels are composed of a thin layer of travertine with an aluminum honeycomb core which provided a lightweight solution and an easier fabrication and installation as an alternative to hand-cut travertine. The design contains multiple ruled surfaces which resulted in challenges in the process of detailing the facade system. The travertine is flat, rigid material and, as such, the facade required the ruled surfaces to be panelized with a roughly four-by-eight-foot grid. This arrangement resulted in a number of unique panel shapes and sizes. To follow the geometry, the panels are offset to one another and scaled. Since the travertine is one inch thick, the scaled panels require a travertine return to avoid any open gaps. During the design process, BIG and the facade consultants were forced to evaluate the travertine panel variation versus the window module size variation and, for various reasons, the window modules became the organizational device for the facade. Sitting within the geometry of the building is a series of unitized curtain wall windows that punch through the facade. While designing these apertures, BIG, alongside architect of record Woods Bagot and building envelope consultant GMS, looked at a unitized system which would be suspended in front of the floor slabs but, due to the complexity of the structure, the curtain wall will span between each slab. The unitized system is a structurally glazed, aluminum and glass curtain wall system with a bronze finish. As the renderings of the project show, the unitized system is met with an aluminum metal composite panel enclosure with the same bronze finish as the curtain wall. Due to the complexity of the facade, all elements were custom engineered and fabricated.
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Congolese sculptor's elaborate cityscapes go on view at MoMA

On May 26, MoMA is opening Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams, the first retrospective of the late Congolese sculptor and artist’s three-decade career. Born in 1948 in what was then the Belgian Congo, Kingelez was known for creating what he termed “extreme maquettes.” The exhibition will feature over 30 of these maquettes, built of colorfully detailed everyday objects, ranging in size from individual buildings to miniaturized utopian cityscapes, some measuring over 70 square feet. Kingelez’s work is described as attuned to world events, versed in contemporaneous architectural trends, and knowledgeable of foreign vernacular forms. For example Kinasha la Belle (1991) incorporates a distinctively Dutch gabled house wedged into a pastel-coloured circular residential complex, sporting cardboard pendants and a markered frieze. Towards the end of his career, Kingelez’s work grew more adventurous in terms of scale and material composition. MoMA points to Nippon Tower (2005) as a particularly idiosyncratic architectural model by the artist, built of “a plastic Smint box, packaging from a milk carton, BIC razor blades, light bulb boxes, and a playfully shaped spoon.” The cityscapes created by Kingelez are diverse in their architectural forms and scales. Crafted of plastic, paper, and paperboard, Ville de Sete 3009 (2009) is a futuristic city populated by shard-like, sheer, and terraced skyscrapers, which are connected by an illuminated network of Haussmannian boulevards. Ville Fantome (1996), Kingelez’s largest cityscape on display, will also feature a virtual reality component developed by Third Pillar. Through VR, visitors will be able to traverse through the utopian city which Kingelez described as “a city that breathes nothing but joy” and “a peaceful city where everyone is free.” City Dreams is curated by MoMA’s Sarah Suzuki and Hilary Reder, and closes on January 1, 2019.
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Giant inflatable flowers are taking over Sixth Avenue

Starting May 2, New York-based creative studio PLAYLAB, INC. is decking out the glass canyon of Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan with a broad stroke of color in the form of giant, inflatable flowers. The public art installation is sponsored by the Avenue of the Americas Association. GROWN UP FLOWERS consists of six different inflatable pieces, which PLAYLAB describes as “sitting, lounging, floating, standing tall or even bending down to greet passerbys” between 44th and 55th streets. PLAYLAB hopes to harken back to Manhattan’s pre-colonial landscape, one where the “island was covered with wild and beautiful flowers.” As a result of their gargantuan size, the installation’s flowers will be able “to compete with the scale of their surroundings.” Each of the six flowers is assigned a unique stance and personality. For example, Jack of 1221 Sixth Avenue measures 30 feet in height and “loves to draw portraits.” Wilt bends towards passing bystanders and enjoys “all kinds of people and can be a little bit of a talker.” PLAYLAB, INC.’s projects often activate public space with interactive installations, including giant slinky-like tents for the Storefront for Art & Architecture and an ongoing collaboration with Plus Pool to design a water-filtering floating pool on the East River. Inflatable Images, an Ohio outdoor advertising company specializing in custom inflatables, fabricated the oversized flowers. The colorful installation will be up through June.
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New York's latest napping destination Nap York expands to meet demand

Nap York, a nap and meditation center that recently launched in New York City, has just completed an expansion of its rent-by-the-hour sleeping pods and a renovation of its yoga and lounge facilities. Part of the growing trend of meditation studios and wellness centers cropping up around New York City, the Midtown napping location opened in late February 2018, promising New Yorkers and tourists alike a secluded respite from the surrounding neighborhood. In the renovation, and probably due to popular demand, Nap York expanded the number of pods available from 7 to 29. Due to budget constraints, the design and renovation was conducted in house. The “Pods” are split into three categories: Stacked Pod, Standalone Pod, and VIP Pod. As the names suggest, the nap cubicles range in size and arrangement, with the stacked pods being similar to Japanese kapuseru hoteru, or capsule hotels. Each pod is built out of locally sourced reclaimed wood, both plain and painted charcoal black, faintly illuminated by dotted LED lights fashioned to resemble a miniature constellation. Ringing each row of pods is a course of hanging vegetation, a component of the more than 250 plants found throughout the location. The renovation includes the installation of cocoon-like “egg chairs” and workstations in the Yoga Studio & Lounge. Located on 36th Street & 7th Avenue, one of Manhattan’s busier corners, Nap York has successfully cut off the Midtown racket through the complete soundproofing of the building. Currently, Nap York is hoping to add a greenhouse and hydroponic farm to its rooftop lounge, which currently consists of hammocks and communal tables built of reclaimed wood.
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A High Line in Pittsburgh? Officials bet big on elevated park in Steel City

Move over, New York. Earlier this month, developers McKnight Realty Partners held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Highline, Pittsburgh’s newest mega-conversion. Developer McKnight Realty teamed up with local firm Indovina Associates Architects to redevelop the Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse and Transfer Company (map) on the city’s deindustrialized South Shore. The $110 million complex will bring 600,000 square feet of office and retail to the area. The building—they are one, but appear to be two—is connected by a five-hundred-foot-long elevated roadway that will be converted into a park-like space with lighting and seating. The walkway will be extended to the abutting Monongahela River and face north towards the city’s Downtown. Similar in name and form to Manhattan’s High Line, which brought a disused freight railway line back to life as a public park and spurred a development boom on Manhattan’s Far West Side, Pittsburgh's Highline project seeks to revitalize a significant site within the city's post-industrial landscape. Indovina’s design incorporates vegetative and hardscaping features, such as raised planters and textured concrete pavers. Below the Highline, and along the facility’s loading docks, there will be a lower park dubbed the Yards which will serve as an extension to Pittsburgh’s preexisting river trail system. Restoration is key to the project. Notably, all of the complex’s damaged windows will be replaced with historically accurate units and both the cast-iron detailing and brick curtain walls will be entirely restored. Completed in 1906, The Terminal Building was designed by prominent Pittsburgh architect Charles Bickel. Like the former warehouses adjacent to Manhattan’s High Line, the facility was designed to integrate freight and warehousing logistics in an urban setting. The conversion of The Terminal Building joins Pittsburgh’s ongoing restoration and construction trend that has brought similar warehouses back to life, such as the city’s Produce Terminal and the Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard. The Pittsburgh Tribune reported the project will receive approximately $17.5 million in federal and state financial incentives, and construction should be complete by 2019.
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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.