Posts tagged with "Skylab Architecture":

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International collection of firms enlisted to create visionary, 10,000-acre modern ski community in Utah

From the highest point of land, it’s possible to see four states. There are eight national parks within a day’s drive. The closest towns are named Eden and Paradise and the area gets an average of 500 inches of snow every year.

This is the mountain setting where entrepreneurs have set out to build a visionary arts and skiing community aimed at inventors and other creative types from around the world.

To guide construction, they have assembled a diverse team of designers, land planners, and specialists in alpine architecture from places like Studio MA in Salt Lake City, Utah, Skylab Architecture in Portland, Oregon, and Saunders Architecture in Bergen, Norway.

The community is called Summit Powder Mountain.

The site is a 10,000-acre parcel (including 8,464 skiable acres) in Utah, an hour’s drive north of Salt Lake City. It’s in the region where Utah meets Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. The owners say it’s the largest ski area in the country.

Plans call for 500 single-family, ski-accessible home sites connected to a village of similar size, as well as “cultural amenities and miles of walking, biking, and Nordic trails.”

Its name comes from Powder Mountain, part of the Wasatch Range in northern Utah, and the Summit Series, an organization that was founded in 2008 and hosts conferences and events for young entrepreneurs, artists, and activists. The community is aiming to take its place among other well-known ski and resort destinations in the Western U.S.

Summit Powder Mountain is a joint project of Greg Mauro, chairman of Powder Mountain, and the Summit Series. Principals of the Summit Series are Elliott Bisnow, Brett Leve, Jeff Rosenthal, and Jeremy Schwartz. They have formed a company called SMHG LLC, trading as Summit Powder Mountain, which operates the Powder Mountain Ski Resort and serves as developer of the community. Summit Series is its anchor tenant.

The developers have studied other planned communities, including Sea Ranch, California, and Serenbe, Georgia, and developed a set of standards and controls. They talk about pioneering a design aesthetic they call “modern mountain” architecture.

“We love Aspen and Telluride and Sundance and Park City,” said Sam Arthur, Summit’s vice-president of design and marketing. “We just happen to be building our own community…We’re seeking to attract artists, entrepreneurs, inventors—people who are really pushing the envelope in the areas they’re pursuing.”

Investors include Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group; Island Records founder Chris Blackwell; Gayle Troberman; Sue Turner; Ken Howery; and Bob and Darcy Bingham.

The developers claim that Summit Powder Mountain will be a place for intellectual stimulation as well as recreation, a setting for “leading-edge dialogues and hosted discussions, world class performances and farm-to-table dining experiences.” Besides their flagship event series, they have a resident chef, and are planning opportunities for crafts, sports, and wellness programs.

The Summit community shares “a philosophy of innovation, creativity, cultural enrichment, and environmental conservation,” according to its website.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, no stranger to skiing and Alpine architecture, has come to lecture several times, but is not working on any specific project. Other visitor-lecturers have included Daniel Arsham of Snarkitecture in New York and Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler from the Oyler Wu Collaborative in Los Angeles and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). In 2014, Wu took part in the Summit Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program.

In shaping this self-sufficient community, the team has developed a strong vision for architecture and land planning. “Modern mountain design and natural preservation” are core values, and architecture will be “subservient” to the landscape.

The community will have two distinct areas. One is called the Ridge, where home sites and “nests” will offer “unrivaled multistate views, easy ski access, and mountain quietude,” said Arthur. Many of these homes will sit on parcels of more than half an acre.

The second area is called the Village, which will contain residences spaced more closely than in the Ridge, including multifamily clusters. It also will be home to “the main lodges, cultural residences, and a walking street with juice bars, eateries, and shops,” making it the community’s central gathering place. The master plan calls for “unique spaces, intentionally designed to foster strong relationships, deep conversations, and inspire new ideas.”

“Preservation of the existing natural environment, which includes an elk reserve, natural waterways, and a thriving wildlife population, is one of the leading design principles,” said Arthur. “‘Homesites’ and ‘nests’ will be tucked in clusters of pine and aspen trees to maintain natural views for all community members, and the Village will be dense with living accommodations to allow for more open space in wildlife-sensitive areas.”

Arthur explained that “modern mountain” architecture does not necessarily mean a throwback to midcentury modernism. He said the buildings would be modern in the sense that form follows function, and floor plans are open and take advantage of natural light and views. “It’s modern in the way they are used, not modernist” as a style, he continued.

The land was originally a ski resort started by the Cobabe family in 1972. Before that, it was the family’s sheep ranch. Summit Powder Mountain has been in the planning stages for several years. One of the first new buildings is the Skylodge, which was designed by Jeff Kovel of Skylab and completed in 2013. The project moved to a new phase last summer, when construction began on the first residences.

Phase one will consist of 154 homesites reflecting the “modern mountain” approach that Summit Powder Mountain “will come to define,” the developers said. “Each building design will meet recognized environmental standards, and energy conservation guidelines will be provided to incorporate cutting edge sustainability systems and materials.”

The developers are working with a number of architects and planners. Besides Studio MA, Skylab, and Saunders, the list includes: Elliott Workgroup in Park City, Utah; Langvardt Design Group in Salt Lake City; and R&A Architects in Los Angeles.

Other architects involved include Sparano + Mooney in Salt Lake City; Marmol Radziner in Los Angeles; Bicuadro Architects in Rome; Bertoldi Architects in Ogden, Utah; Olson Kundig in Seattle; PBW Architects in Seattle; and Grupo H in Slovenia.

The initial elements of the Village will take about 24 months to complete. Construction of the entire community is expected to take place over the next 20 years.

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Skylab’s new golden Portland high-rise divides opinion

In Burnside Bridgehead, off the Willamette River in Portland, a chocolate-brown high-rise is turning heads. Designed by native architecture firm Skylab, the residential building—called the "Yard"—is due to officially open in the coming weeks. However, not all are happy with the latest addition to the area. "It's great! It's like O.J. Simpson in Towering Inferno. It looks like a ship's bow," remarked one enthusiast of the building to Oregon Public Broadcasting's (OPB) radio show which covered the building. Not all the responses were positive, though. One commenter stated how it was the "perfect symbol of Portland's soul being sold down the river." Another questioned: "Why for the love of god do architects and designers think that black and gray buildings, in a place that's gray eight months of the year, is a good idea?" Resting on a site that has a 40-foot variation in elevation it has been dubbed by critics as "one of the most complicated high-rises ever built in Portland." Boasting a 8,000-square-foot spa, two bars and restaurants, parking facilities, and bike lockers, the four-story housing complex will offer 60 units at 60 percent of area median rents for lower-income households. The structure also lies adjacent to one of Portland's most prominent skateparks. Jeff Kovel of Skylab, the architect behind the project, was acutely aware of the park's counterculture importance, noting in a video (below) how numerous friends make use of it. Going one step further, light is even provided by the building for the skatepark so people can use the facility all day and night. Speaking of the East Side Big Pipe, a large sewer line and tunnel that runs under the building, Kovel said "40 percent of this site was unbuildable for anything over five or six stories. That had a big impact in the engineering for the tall building foundations." "I would actually prefer the building to be darker, to be honest with you," he added in response to some of the building's criticisms. "At the predesign review we were encouraged to lighten it up. I don’t have an issue with the color that it is, but it’s interesting that a number of the other buildings in the neighborhood have actually became the same color—that wasn’t intentional.” “All of the towers in Vancouver are using it, Toronto," Kovel continued, speaking about the reflective glazing system employed on the Yard's facade. "It’s generally a product that is visually kind of banal; it’s not something that you get super excited about. When we learned that we had to use it we were kind of exciting for the opportunity to use it and innovate with something that hadn’t really been innovated with. We started working with the manufacture to design custom venting, to work on essentially taking a run-of-the-mill system and elevating it to a higher quality of design and detail. I think if you were to look at this building in a portfolio of buildings using this system it would really stand out as one of the premier examples of what you can do with this system, so I’m really proud of that aspect of it.”
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W Seattle Hotel’s Parametric Pilings

LIT Workshop fabricated sleek lodge poles to complement the city’s heritage.

When Starwood Properties began to reimagine a new living room concept for the W Seattle, the existing first floor space featured a disconnected bar, restaurant, and lounge area, much like the traditional layout of a formal home. Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm Skylab Architecture was charged with knocking down the visual barriers for an open floor plan that resembled a more modern, casual living space. Several preexisting columns could not be removed for structural reasons, so a truly open plan had to be amended. “In some ways you could see them as a negative, or they could be seen as a positive,” Skylab principal Brent Grubb told AN. “We try to turn those perceived negatives into a design element and make it unique.” Researching the city’s cultural and maritime history inspired the architecture team to combine the water-worn patina of shore-front pilings with the physical mass of wooden totem poles. The solution was a parametrically streamlined form that was fabricated in modular sections for swift installation.
  • Fabricator LIT Workshop
  • Designers Skylab Architecture
  • Location Seattle
  • Date of Completion April 2012
  • Material furniture grade plywood, kerfed core substrate, walnut veneer, paint, clear coat sealer, concealed proprietary fastening system
  • Process Rhino, SolidWorks, MasterCam, CNC Milling, hanging, stacking
The team designed seven different variations on a crescent shape that rotates and stacks to create unique profiles: round, recessed, and beaked. Depending on the stacking pattern, the lodge poles provide downlighting or uplighting, or exist as a solid mass. Because the sections had to accommodate wiring, Skylab worked with their local fabricator, LIT Workshop, to find a solution for an open interior to the column casing that relayed the weight and size of solid wood poles. Similar to a boat’s construction, furniture-grade plywood was CNC milled from an interior radius to form ribs. The ribs were then wrapped with a kerfed core substrate, over which a walnut veneer was applied. Due to the irregular curves of each piece geometrically even cutouts would not suffice. LIT modeled at least two article parts in SolidWorks as a visual reference that was refined according to feedback from both the architects and the fabricator. Each section was clear coated and embellished with a nine-coat paint process to mimic the ombre appearance of waterlogged pier pilings. According to Jon Hoppman, Director of Manufacturing for LIT Workshop, CNC routers were instrumental in fabricating the framework of the lodge pole sections. “Due to the size and scale of the elements, as well as the process of installation, the sections were required to be produced and repeated under tight tolerances,” he explained. An extensive period of research, design, and prototyping—that included the development of a proprietary fastening system—resulted in an installation period of approximately one week. The resulting columns blend into the W Seattle’s surroundings like bespoke furniture components, at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional crafting techniques. “At once, they’re heavy and permanent, but also light and eroding,” said Skylab’s Grubb. “Technology tells us you can really do something customized with an economy.”