The World Architecture Festival is in its third year of existence, and, despite the worldwide recession, seems to have more attendees, trade show participants, and strong projects in its awards program. In what is surely a sign of the times, however, there seem to be many more strong projects in the “future” category than completed buildings. As it has been for the past three years, AN was the event’s American media sponsor, and this year I juried projects in the category of “Future Health and Education Buildings.” The “future” presented several problems for the jury, as the various projects were all in different states of completion. In fact, one of the buildings the jury selected, the Kuwait Children’s Hospital by Madrid-based AGi Architects, had no window openings on its facade—at least not yet—or a credible entry into the complex. Nonetheless, we decided to give it an award for its adventurous design, in hopes that the client would actually see the project through to completion. What it will look like at the end is anyone’s guess, but at this point it stood out in the Health category. We gave our Future Education award to another Kuwait project, Sabah Al-Salem University in Kuwait, designed by Perkins+Will’s office in New York City. For this project, the future seems much nearer, as it was more developed and seems to have financing in place. It was recommended for its balancing of large-scale planning issues with small-scale detailing—the building’s facade was particularly well thought out, as it creatively dealt with the harsh climate of Kuwait. When this project moved through to the final round, however, where it was considered for the award as the outstanding future project of the year, it was attacked by jurists Will Alsop and Charles Jencks for its monolithic facade, which uses a repetitive flange system to shade 80 percent of the surface much of the day and thus reduce energy consumption in this hot climate. I also think Alsop actually wanted a brighter color on the facade (it’s white) and asked the Perkins+Will presenter Anthony Fieldman: “Do you really like the building?” To his credit, Fieldman stood his ground with a firm Yankee “Yes!” In a final comment that would only come from a Brit, Alsop asked Fieldman, “What’s it like to work in a country that does not allow the consumption of alcohol?” Thank god for the British! The festival’s Best Building winner was no surprise: Zaha’s Maxxi Museum in Rome. Zaha may stand triumphant in Barcelona, but Americans should be proud of the Los Angeles (and Palestine) based firm Suisman Urban Design, which won Best Future Project for the ARC Plan for occupied Palestine. Winning the student category was the Campus Catalyst Project in Port Au Prince, Haiti, designed by Harvard University students Robin Bankert, Michael Murphy, Caroline Shannon, and Joseph Wilfong. According to the jury’s notes, this project offered a powerful statement, built around the premise of education as a driver for reinventing the landscape after the 2010 earthquake. The project focused on practical applications like agronomy and carpentry, while developing education centers on unoccupied or damaged land adjacent to the current tent villages, where they are most needed. The team won a $16,000 prize courtesy of AECOM, which sponsored the student competition. Among the other category winners recognized by the juries: Check the WAF winners site for a full list of winning category projects, and check back here for more on the overall winners.
Posts tagged with "Perkins + Will":
AN recently took a sneak peak at late night preparations for the fifth annual Canstruction LA, a charitable design competition—whose pieces are currently on display in the lobby of 5900 Wilshire Boulevard— that taps teams of architects, designers, builders and engineers to create large-scale sculptures using canned goods (and even a few water bottles) that will eventually be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. What we found was a furor of activity, many boxes of pizza, and a bit of competitive banter among teams. “It’s like Christmas morning,” said Damian Carroll, one of the founders of Canstruction LA. The eight teams worked way past their normal office hours putting together their closely guarded designs. “You’ll see them, going to peek at the other ones and thinking, ‘What are they building? What is that thing?'” said Carroll. And how do these firms get all these cans? “You get to know the store managers really well,” said Cassandra Coffin of HKS Architects, the team that brought a yellow-skinned Despicable Me minion to life this year. This year’s awards went to: JURORS’ FAVORITE: “Can-on Picture a World Without Hunger” by Gensler and Arup
Last night CANSTRUCTION LA, organized by the Society for Design Administration, announced the winners of its 2009 competition at 5900 Wilshire Boulevard. All 60,000 cans—from anchovies to pumpkin pie filling— used to build the amazing structures will go directly to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, as will over $7,700 in donations. The structures will be on display at 5900 Wilshire through this Sunday. Check out this fantastic teaser video for the competition, which shows a clever can making its way from the supermarket to the venue. And here's a video of winning team Gensler putting together their entry. All 10 participating teams produced stellar constructions, but a few stood out. They were: JURORS FAVORITE: Gensler and Arup for "Pump-can" Pictured top, a full Thanksgiving meal in the shape of a giant, glowing, gravity-defying pumpkin. STRUCTURAL INGENUITY: Morris Architects and Walter P. Moore for "Where the Wild Cans Are" Notice the sharp teeth and claws..yikes. BEST USE OF LABELS: Perkins and Will for "Global Hunger Munny" Using label colors to demarcate world hunger trouble spots. Genius BEST MEAL: HKS for "Filling the Void" Tuna, sardines, anchovies, beans and green chiles. A light, sophisticated, protein-packed meal. HONORABLE MENTION: CO Architects for "Melt Away Hunger" How to make cans look like melting, cascading drips? Ask these architects..
REVEALING BITS Stephen Ehrlich is known to be a mild-mannered LA architect. But it looks like that wasn’t always so. As part of his tribute at Julius Shulman’s memorial service in September, Ehrlich bared not only his praise for Shulman, but also his butt cheeks. He wasn’t at the event, but the Getty presented an image that Shulman took of him in his—shall we say—perkier days. He was obviously hitting the beach a lot then, because we saw some serious tan lines. Uncle Julius, maybe you had another career waiting in the centerfolds? YOUR PINK SLIPS ARE SHOWING The layoffs continue unabated. But it’s even more painful when the firm doing the layoffs just bought your company. Our always (well, almost-always) reliable sources tell us that architecture giant Perkins + Will has just laid off more than 25 people in its San Francisco office. Around ten of them are former employees of SF firm SMWM, which merged with Perkins + Will about a year ago. Guess that M&A plan wasn’t such a good idea, was it? EASY LISTENING The gossip goldmine that is the Monterey Design Conference has delivered yet again. ... Send tips, gossip, and job fairs to Eavesdrop@archpaper.com
Architecture for Humanity just announced the winner for the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom. The global competition involved 1,000 registered design teams from 65 different countries. The challenge for the architecture, design, and engineering community was simple--partner with actual students and their schools to create real solutions for a classroom of the future. The winner, Teton Valley Community School in Victor, Idaho, was designed by local firm Section Eight. The concept is centered around the idea of place-based education in the school, a mode of learning that gives more importance to cultural and environmental sustainability than technology and consumerism. The design is set on an existing two-acre site. An open-flex learning space includes collapsible and foldable partitions, allowing the reconfiguration of the area as needed. Section Eight collaborated with students, parents, teachers, and members of the community to create an environment which also teaches its students. Apertures, which let in light, also allow students to see the thickness of the strawbale walls. The mechanical systems for the geothermal heating and cooling system are visible through large viewing windows.--Christina Chan Other notable entries include:Founders’ Award: The Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf, Bogota, Colombia . Designed by Arquitectura Justa, Bogota, Colombia . Best Urban Classroom Upgrade Design: Rumi School of Excellence, Hyderabad, India. Designed by IDEO, San Francisco, CA. Best Rural Classroom Design: Building Tomorrow Academy, Wakiso and Kiboga, Uganda. Designed by Gifford LLP, London, UK . Best Re-locatable Classroom Design: Druid Hills High School, Georgia. Designed by Perkins + Will.
Big. Bold. Visionary: Chicago Considers the Next Century, another event commemorating the Burnham Plan Centennial, taps local architects, planners, and landscape architects to envision the ideal Windy City of the future. Some designers took a creative and sometimes whimsical approach, while others offered up more practical concepts. Filter out the public relations boosterism and the show offers plenty of inspiring ideas to further Burnham’s goal of creating a beautiful lakefront accessible at all points north and south. On the far south side of the city, Phillip Enquist of SOM envisions a high-density mixed-use development at the 573-acre site of a former steel manufacturer. The surrounding neighborhoods, many of which are economically depressed, could benefit from Linda Searl’s temporary three-year functional structures, designed as infill for empty lots. The infill structures would act as a catalyst for commerce, development, and to improve the overall quality of life of the neighborhood. Other proposals took the title of the show to heart: big and bold. Adrian Smith’s two mile-long eco bridge would arch out into the lake from Monroe Harbor, the center of which would stand a tall tower to harvest wind and solar energy. Others inspired strong reactions, like the Jeanne Gang’s shudder-inducing eco-casino or Ralph Johnson of Perkins + Will’s international airport developed in Lake Michigan at the terminus of Congress Parkway. The show, while not as flashy as the Centennial’s other events, is no less important. Building on the legacy of Burnham, it will help facilitate conversations about future planning and showcase the city's current design talent. Big. Bold. Visionary: Chicago Considers the Next Century is at the Chicago Tourism Center Gallery, 72 E. Randolph St. through October 4.
Sixty-eight degrees happens to be the best angle for the streets in San Francisco's Treasure Island project, a utopian vision of green, pedestrian-centric living. The planners have realized that nobody will walk if they're buffeted by blasts of wind that sweep the island from the southwest, so they came up with a compromise that blocks wind while giving cars enough clearance to turn. It was just one of the interesting factoids that came up during yesterday's tour, organized by the AIA SF for their Architecture + the City Festival, going on right now (still time to catch one of the other tours and get in on the learning and schmoozing!). The main presenter, Karen Alschuler of Perkins+Will--who was involved with the project from the start, when it was just SMWM rather than the many firms in the mix today--gave a thorough presentation with a new aerial rendering: She painted a vision of how residents would commute to the city. "You'll be drinking your coffee at the kitchen window, and see the ferry leave from San Francisco, which takes about 13 minutes to arrive, and you'll walk down to catch it." All homes on the island will be designed so they are a 10 to 15 minute walk to the ferry building. But the really primo residential real estate will not be on the island itself, but on adjoining Yerba Buena Island. The west-facing half of the island will be redeveloped as part of the Treasure Island project, with a series of townhomes stepping down the hill, with truly amazing views. Anyone like me who has driven around and around Yerba Buena looking for a spot to take in that view and has been thwarted will be glad to hear there's going to be a new public park right at the top. That park's in addition to the 300 acres of open space on Treasure Island itself, which is only 400 acres altogether. To encourage fewer cars, the neighborhoods are built up densely around the ferry building. The current plan is to have retail and restaurants at the ferry terminal, and the hangar behind will be a farmer's marketplace (a la the Ferry Building). Besides Perkins+ Will, the team working on the master plan currently includes: CMG Landscape Architecture, SOM (condo tower), BCV (marketplace) and Page & Turnbull (historic restoration). Why so many cooks? The developer, Wilson Meany Sullivan, likes to encourage collaboration--and a little competition--to get the best results. Just joining the group is Seattle-based Mithun, which is working specifically on the neighborhood areas. Talking to Gerry Tierney of Perkins+Will, the plan for the 6,000-8,000 residences is to put parcels out to bid by developers, who will work with individual architects, in order to avoid an architectural monoculture. The design guidelines they are putting together will be "steadfastly modern"--definitely no historical pastiche. Their hopes are for something akin to the jolly Borneo Sporenburg in Amsterdam. On this brilliant day, where the city was so bright and clear, the vision seemed so close.
The healthcare reform battle's getting ugly, but at least it can play out against some pretty backdrops. The two built winners of this year's AIA National Healthcare Design Awards, both in Portland, Oregon, are glossy and inviting. Mahlum's Providence North Portland Clinic runs alongside a transit line downtown, greeting the street with a long wall of windows revealing glimpses of murals within. And a dramatic new pavilion at the Oregon Health and Science University (by Perkins + Will in joint venture with Petersen Kohlberg & Associates) spans a 75-foot change in elevation, creating a cascade of expansive vistas and terraces with a pedestrian walkway snaking through them. Congratulations, Portland—you clearly have a thing or two to teach the rest of the country about designing quality healthcare facilities. If only you could teach us how to design quality healthcare, too. But don't get complacent, either, Oregonians. The remaining winner is a not-yet-built cancer research institute by HKS, in joint venture with UHS Building Solutions, that would entwine elegantly around a "major river" in the northeast. HKS insists the exact location is top secret... perhaps fearing the flashbulbs of those infamous architecture paparazzi?