In the United States, the architecture of power manifests itself in the stone edifice. Like the Roman and Greek precedents that gave rise to home-grown neo-Classical examples, stone is the material of choice for the monument. Marble, to the Western world, appeals to the upper echelons of society due to its ability to connote the democratic ideals Greek and classical architecture represents. "More marble was used in building in the United States in the years 1900–1917," wrote Marcus Whiffen, "than... in the Roman Empire during its entire history." Emphasizing the U.S.'s love of the eternal material, Whiffen continued: "Nowhere outside the United States were the classical orders... drawn up in so many parade formations." Of course, this is not to say that the style, or indeed use of marble, has come to an end. With typologies such as state capitols, courthouses (a phenomena well chronicled in Courthouses of the Second Circuit by the Federal Bar) and other governmental buildings that require a certain grandiose scale and presence, marble will be in demand for a long time to come. The thirst for marble nevertheless continues and the supply may lie in the sleepy rural town of Tate, Georgia. Located upstate, two hours north of Atlanta, Tate has an established white marble pedigree. Now run by Polycor, the huge quarry has been mining marble for over 180 years, supplying much of the U.S. with its white and gray marble which has been used for many national landmarks and emblems of power, notably the New York Stock Exchange, Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol. Now, it is also used for the vast majority of U.S. military gravestones. Polycor has pioneered advancements in marble manufacture, developing a new 3/8" (1cm) thick marble slab. This equates to being one third of the weight of a normal slab that is three times as thick, meanwhile the application of a proprietary composite backing increases the strength of the stone ten fold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6VXi1TVSQI This development means that marble can now be used effectively in cladding systems. A notable failure of marble being used for cladding in the past can be seen with the Aon Center tower in Chicago (formerly the Amoco building). Once built, the Amoco building was the world's tallest marble-clad building, utilising 43,000 slabs of Italian Carrara marble. While construction was still underway, however, on December 25, 1973, a 350-pound marble slab fell from the facade, puncturing the roof of the adjacent Prudential Center, an unwanted Christmas present. Now, thanks to the new stronger and thinner marble slabs, the material may once again be considered for such uses and indeed many more.
Posts tagged with "Power":
Tonight, Monday, November 9, at New York's AIANY/Center for Architecture, AN Senior Editor Matt Shaw will be moderating a book talk between Janette Kim and Erik Carver, the authors of The Underdome Guide to Energy Reform, a new book released by Princeton Architectural Press. Stop by at 6:00p.m. tonight for light refreshments and beautiful drawings alongside a discussion about the future of ecologically minded architecture and urbanism. The Underdome Guide to Energy Reform is equal parts architect's handbook and toolbox for effecting environmental change with the built environment. The book maps different approaches to energy management and performance to examine their implications for collective life. Underdome catalogs a spectrum of positions argued for by a diverse cast including economists, environmentalists, community advocates, political scientists, and designers. In turn, it highlights in architecture questions of professional agency, the contemporary city, and collective priorities in the face of uncertain energy futures. Check it out on our events page here.
Fossil fuel dependency is now a thing of the past for this municipality on Colorado's Western Slope. Aspen has just announced that it's only the third city to kick the habit and is fully reliant on renewable energy sources. Earlier this month, the Aspen Times reported that the city had reached the landmark after it signed a contract with electrical energy provider Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska. As part of this process Aspen swapped coal for wind power to make up for the non-renewable energy deficit with its energy also coming from hydroelectric, solar, and geothermal. Prior to this, Aspen had been running on an estimated 75 to 80 percent renewables. The feat was also able to be realized due to the recent drop in solar energy prices. In fact, the cost of solar energy is predicted to fall further still, dropping below $0.50 per watt in the next few years. Solar energy is not alone in this trend. In what's a good economic indicator of renewable energy's growing popularity, wind power is also much cheaper than it was just a decade ago. This trend toward renewables was likely aided by Obama's carbon regulations which made renewable energy alternatives increasingly competitive against fossil fuel sources such as coal. According to ThinkProgress, "already, more than one-third of American coal plants have been shuttered in the past six years, and the new carbon rules make it quite possible that no new coal plants will ever be built in the United States." “It was a very forward-thinking goal and truly remarkable achievement,” Aspen's Utilities & Environmental Initiatives Director David Hornbacher said. “This means we are powered by the forces of nature, predominately water and wind with a touch of solar and landfill gas. We’ve demonstrated that it is possible. Realistically, we hope we can inspire others to achieve these higher goals” Renewable energy has long since been on Aspen's agenda going back to the 1980s with the Reudi and Maroon Creek hydroelectric projects. Highlighting the accomplishment, former Project Coordinator Will Dolan said Aspen only began working toward its goal of 100 percent renewable energy about a decade ago. Beating Aspen to the 100 percent renewable landmark were Burlington, Vermont and Greensburg, Kansas.
Financial giant Goldman Sachs has received lots of attention recently for its headquarters at 200 West St. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman waxed poetic about the building’s glass canopy by Preston Scott Cohen. The canopy, said Kimmelman, “elevates what is really just a gap between two buildings into something almost as inspired as the nave of a great Gothic cathedral. That’s the power of architecture.” Or, in this case, the architecture of power. The latest, and more critical, take on Goldmans’ HQ by Times writer N. R. Kleinfield outlines the firm’s impact on the surrounding area which at the time of the buildings completion in 2009, was short on shops and restaurants. So using its $1.65 billion in Liberty Bonds plus $115 million in tax breaks, Goldman just created a neighborhood in its own image.