Starting April 17, the nonprofit Center for Architecture in Portland will host the first full-scale exhibit on Snøhetta (see AN’s interview with founding partner, Craig Dykers) in the United States. The Norwegian and American firm is known for their international institutional projects: public and academic libraries, museums, opera houses, and more. In the U.S. they are working on projects like the Times Square reconstruction to the upcoming James Beard Public Market in Portland, a concept for the Willamette Falls River Walk in Oregon, the SFMOMA expansion opening this May, and an extension to the French Laundry Kitchen in Yountville, CA. The exhibit, Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects, features sketches, renderings, and models that provide a peek into the firm's process. The firm's architects and designers produced and curated the exhibit, too: “Join us at the lunch table or inside the workshop, where 3D prototyping and traditional craftsmanship drive conversations and exploration of new forms,” they said in a release. It’s a traveling exhibit of sorts—the exhibit made its first appearance at the Copenhagen Danish Architecture Centre last summer. The exhibit starts the first day of Design Week Portland, a spring design-oriented festival in The City of Roses that ends April 23. There are events on restorative design, data storytelling, restaurant design, and more, as well as design studio open houses throughout the city. (Seattle, by the way, has an equivalent event in September, hosted by Design in Public. The theme this year is Design Change.) The exhibit runs through June 30.
Posts tagged with "Snøhetta":
Libraries are temples for books, though Snøhetta's plan for a new library at Temple University in Philadelphia argues that you can have one without the other. The design of the Temple University Library is influenced by the academies of ancient Greece, which privileged social spaces for discourse over the storage and management of written materials. It almost seems as if the Oslo- and New York–based firm is pioneering a new typology within its own practice. In December 2015, Snøhetta unveiled its "library without books," also based on the Greek stoas and agoras, for Toronto's Ryerson University. Including Temple, Snøhetta has designed eleven libraries, both standalone and as part of larger programs. Although Ryerson's library was built first, Snøhetta has been in talks with Temple about a new library since 2013. The library's wooden arches mark entryways that slice into the rough stone facade. Steel mullions support pleated frameless glass windows, increasing transparency from the outside at the main entrances. Arches continue into the sweeping main lobby, where a three-story, domed atrium features an oculus that serves as a wayfinder by opening up the library's upper-floor functions visually to students in the main lobby. A cafe and a 24/7 study space on the ground floor round out the interior program. Classroom space extends outside, with stepped seating on the green roof and ground-floor plazas to encourage congregation. To manage Temple's two million-plus books, periodicals, DVDs, and other materials, the new library uses an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) that allows the library to devote more square footage to "learning spaces" and less space to the stacks. The video below shows an ASRS in action at Santa Clara University. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez9Z7rHqk1Y The idea (ideal, to some) of libraries as musty repositories of hardcopy information is patently outdated. Librarians are quick to embrace their role not only as collection managers but as communication and content facilitators, whatever the medium. The impulse behind the design, however, recalls the failed 2012 Foster + Partners redesign the New York Public Library's main branch on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. Plans called for removing seven floors of stacks under the Rose Main Reading Room to create a 300-person workspace. New York culture leaders widely criticized the plan for moving most of the library's books off-site, or underground. (Dutch firm Mecanoo was awarded the commission in September 2015.) Though the top floor at the Temple Library is programmed for a sunny reading room with stacks, books are explicitly not the design's focus. It's worth noting that around 1,800 years passed between the founding of Platonic Academy and the invention of the printing press. The ancient Greek academies privileged social space over materials management because there were far, far fewer books; information transmission today takes place primarily though image and text. Perhaps the invocation of the scholarly ancient Greeks softens the capitulation to a depressing reality: the 2010 Collegiate Learning Assessment found that one-third of college students read less than 40 pages per week for classes. The library is one part of a $300 million campus expansion plan that includes a to-be-built quadrangle, the public space at the heart of the campus' new social and academic core. Construction of the library should be complete by 2018.
SHoP, Snøhetta, and Adjaye named finalists for the National Veterans Resource Complex at Syracuse University
London-based Adjaye Associates, New York–based SHoP, and Oslo/New York–based Snøhetta have been announced as design finalists for Syracuse University’s new National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC). Selected out of 28 other firms, the three finalists will now visit and engage with the university and veteran community to develop proposals for the multi-use facility. The NVRC will be home to the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) as well as the school's Regional Student Veteran Resource Center, the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps, the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps, the National Center of Excellence for Veteran Business Ownership, Veterans Business Outreach Center and Accelerator, as well as the University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. The building will be programmed with classrooms, a conference center, gallery space, and a 1,000 seat auditorium to facilitate local and national veteran-focused events. The site of the project is tentatively set for the western end of the Waverly block, which will be visited by each office in the coming weeks. Their visits will also include meeting with the campus community to discuss the possibilities of the project in preparation for the presentation of their final design proposals in April. Also planned for March, the Syracuse University School of Architecture will facilitate lectures by each of the firms. In a statement David Adjaye discussed the relation of his practice to the goals of the University and the NVRC, “Syracuse University’s ambition to make the NVRC a combined educational and community centre as well as a national hub for America’s 22.8 million veterans and their families resonates deeply with my own commitment to architecture that empowers communities and has global resonance.” Both SHoP and Snøhetta remarked on the honor of working on a project for the veteran community. William Sharples, principle at SHoP, noted, "The NVRC at Syracuse University will occupy a special place in the life of the city, the campus, and the community of veterans nationwide it is intended to serve. Everyone at SHoP is honored to be a part of this process." Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta echoed Sharples, “The poet RJ Heller once wrote, ‘In the aftermath we are because they were.’ Courage is contagious and being a part of this process at Syracuse to benefit our veterans in a groundbreaking new facility is exciting and humbling for all of us at Snøhetta. This is more than a handshake: we are doing something revolutionary for those whose origins are from the same stuff.” Along with competing to design the NVRC, each of these three offices is also contending to design the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.
The Barack Obama Foundation has announced the seven offices from which it is requesting proposals for the design of the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago. The seven firms include four New York–based offices, one London-based office, one based in Genova, Italy, and one local Chicago office. The offices named are:
- Adjaye Associates of London, headed by David Adjaye
- Diller Scofidio + Renfro
- SHoP Architects
- Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
- Renzo Piano Building Workshop
- John Ronan Architects
In October, Pershing Square Renew selected 10 teams as semi-finalists for the redesign of Downtown Los Angeles’ oft-maligned urban space. The international design competition drew hundreds of entries and the two-handfuls selected represent both local and global practices. Reviewing the initial presentation boards, there’s common interest in opening up Pershing Square to the surrounding urban blocks, a porosity currently lacking in Legoretta’s scheme. The teams’ approaches are split between active and passive landscapes with some concepts showing large lawns and water features meant for calm reflection and light recreation, others packed the square with programming: dog parks, cafes, yoga zones, performance venues, etc. Pershing Square Renew posed the concept boards on their website and are now asking the Los Angeles community to weigh in with comments for the jury. Soon, the organization will select four top teams out of the field of semi-finalists and have them each develop a more comprehensive final design. Until then, have a gander at the boards below.
National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion 180 Greenwich Street, Manhattan Snøhetta The Survivor Tree lived on the site of the original World Trade Center. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, the burnt and ailing pear tree was removed from its home and nursed back to health. It has since returned and continued to flourish, and has become a symbol for recovery and resiliency. From a spot beside the tree, the glowing National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion appears to grow straight out of the ground, itself representing the past and promise of the future. On the 27th Archtober tour, Aaron Dorf from Snøhetta explained that the firm had initially worked on a different project for the site that didn’t go forward, but the team was asked to return and design a welcome center that could address the museum’s security issues. The entrance to the museum presented an entirely new set of security challenges, and Snøhetta was tasked with finding a creative solution. The pavilion’s program expanded to include not only the security-screening lobby, but also a private room for victims’ family members, an auditorium, a café, and myriad back-of-house mechanical services for all of the buildings on the site. In addition to being a transitional space for visitors between the memorial plaza and the below-ground museum, the building is also a vent, allowing air to move through the slatted wood ceiling and perforated metals. Visible through the transparent facade, original steel columns from the World Trade Center anchor the building. After being removed from the rubble at Ground Zero, these imposing columns were rebuilt and re-engineered. Although they do not serve any structural purpose, the building was designed around them. Referred to as “tridents” because they branch out into three prongs that formed the small but distinct windows of the World Trade Center towers, the dark structures, standing amid the building’s muted tones, set the tone. A prefabricated web of steel beams provide the necessary structural support without distracting from the tridents. Their asymmetrical pattern, however, adds texture and movement next to the glass walls. From inside, they do not diminish views of the site and the surrounding buildings. The mix of raw and highly refined materials, rough concrete and polished wood side by side, creates an intimate space that gently leads visitors into the museum below, and also helps them readjust when they leave. The relatively small building rises like an urban bridge between the vertical towers around it. It is a bridge between the museum below and everything above, between natural and artificial light – and between the past and the future. Emma Pattiz is the Policy Coordinator at the Center for Architecture and the AIA New York Chapter.
A shortlist was announced for the Pershing Square Renew competition. Ten teams were selected to have a chance at a crack at redoing Ricardo Legorreta's scheme. The five-acre park is seen as the centerpiece of a revitalized Downtown Los Angeles and the competition, a public-private partnership backed by councilmember José Huizar, is a critical step toward that effort. The ten semi-finalists are global, national, and local—and often in combination. They include: Paris-based Agence Ter with SALT Landscape Architects, Snohetta, James Corner Field Operations and Frederick Fisher and Partners, New York-based W Architecture, San Francisco-based PWP Landscape Architecture with Allied Works Architecture, Mia Lehrer Associates with NYC’s !Melk, Peterson Studio + BNIM, Rios Clementi Hale with OMA, SWA with Morphosis, and wHY Architecture These teams will continue to develop designs, which will be reviewed later this fall and a group of four finalists will be announced in December. Pershing Square Renew will select a winner in February 2016. On bets as to who might emerge from the pack, it seems that the organization is looking for details over gesture. “Their challenge isn’t to win awards; it’s to win over hearts,” said executive director Eduardo Santana. “More than anything else, these groups need to focus on the experiences their design will inspire and the memories the Square will create.”
“The building is not static—it is designed to gracefully mature over time as life and art move forward together,” said Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers poetically wrapped up his opening remarks at the pre-launch event of their heralded new addition to the SFMOMA, which is slated to open May 14, 2016. These words captured well the essence of his presentation, one that focused on the new expansion as a landmark affair in the eighty-year history of the West Coast’s first museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. A development which witnessed an astoundingly successful fundraising campaign that topped off at $610 million which, in addition to covering construction costs, has more than tripled SFMOMA’s endowment. “This expansion enables us to tap more fully into the energy all around us, in a region known for its special creativity and beauty, while greatly increasing the presentations of a collection that includes remarkable concentrations of artworks that can be found nowhere else,” noted museum director Neal Benezra. A hardhat tour of the Snøhetta addition led visitors through a vastly expanded and exploded in scale and breadth building, which highlights new and unique spaces designed to house the large scale projects of modern art such as Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture Sequence (2006) and others. Soon, museum visitors will have access to more outdoor terraces that are scattered throughout the building offering exclusive and exceptional experiences of the downtown San Francisco urban cityscape. Previously a one entrance and exit museum this new building sports multiple access points and talks to current notions of porosity and an opening up of architecture as a fluid and dematerialized experience both programmatically and in the phenomenological. The focal point of the project, of course, is the eastern facade of the Snøhetta expansion, which is comprised of more than 700 individually shaped FRP (fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels fabricated by Kreysler & Associates, a local fabrication shop specializing in composites, affixed to a curtain-wall system, allowed for a much lighter structural frame because of their own lightweight nature, bringing costs down, and highlighting the technological versatility of sustainable, locally sourced materials, and digital fabrication. In celebrating the new building as a space for art, speakers at the topping off event ecstatically showed off new acquisitions their presentations and discussed the unique partnerships that allowed for these enormously expensive works to join the collection. Bob Fisher, the eldest son of Don and Doris Fisher, recounted his parents’ love affair with artwork and how they assembled over 1,100 art pieces that will become the focus point of many of the new exhibitions and offerings at SFMOMA over the next 100 years through an unprecedented public/private partnership. There was much discussion of the finances of the new building in addition to the artwork that has been added to the collection. Charles R. Schwab, chairman of SFMOMA’s Board of Trustees, focused on many of the unique collaborations and joint acquisitions of artwork through unique partnerships with other world renowned museums. Over 500 donors supported the campaign which both raised money and alongside it—the Campaign for Art has secured more than 3,000 artworks from over 200 donors, enhancing key areas of the museum’s holdings and providing visitors with a fuller, more textured view of contemporary art. In addition, the museum has added the Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest gallery, research and interpretive space devoted to photography in any U.S. art museum, and an increase in programs for children and families in the new Koret Education Center. SFMOMA will also now be free to anyone under 18, a gesture aimed at education and increasing accessibility for more kids and families to visit the space, in a time when ticket prices to exclusive culturally rich atmospheres seem to only get more and more expensive. This building sings a new song to the city of San Francisco and the world and one can only hope that more architects and designers (and most apropos developers) press forward with exceptional and forward thinking designs that help craft international and world-class destinations.
Today is World Architecture Day with an emphasis linking the built environment and climate—how are you celebrating?
Today is World Architecture Day. According to its organizers, the International Union of Architects (UIA), the theme of this year's World Architecture Day is architecture, building, and climate. Founded in 1948, the NGO is a coalition of national organizations representing approximately 1.3 million architects from 124 countries. The 2015 theme is a response to the United Nations' Climate Change Conference (COP21), held this year in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. On the first day of COP21, UIA will hold a conference to explore how thoughtful architecture and design can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Designers and architects will be asked to consider how design can be the central determining factors in a building's sustainability, and how cities can be transformed to better resist the effects of climate change. Conference panelists include Carin Smuts (CS Studio Architects), Pascal Gontier (Atilier Pascal Gontier), Manfred Hegger (HHS), and Kjetil Traedal Thorsen (Snøetta).
Aesop, the Australian cult skincare brand, just released its newest project—a microsite entitled Taxonomy of Design dedicated to the architecture and design behind Aesop's stores. In addition to the company’s reputation for high-quality bath products, Aesop has created a name for itself in the design realm thanks to stores designed by the likes of Snøhetta, Ilse Crawford, Torafu, and Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Taxonomy of Design is dedicated to these spaces, showcasing the special details and ongoing themes through their stores. The digital guide also offers a set of interviews with the designers and architects behind these stores, focusing on the creative process, material selection, and the store’s context in its surroundings. AN sat down with creative director Marsha Meredith to learn more and to hear a bit about Aesop’s newest Chicago location with Norman Kelly. The Architect's Newspaper: How do you approach designing each store? What elements stay consistent and what elements change? Marsha Meredith: Each of our stores is unique. We take inspiration from neighborhoods, past and current streetscapes, and then seek to add something of value. Collaborating with architects also allows new and poetic interpretations of Aesop, conceptually and physically, through the materiality and design features. Consistency for us means remembering at all times what our stores are meant to be: Places of respite where you can thoughtfully explore our skincare formulations. How does location factor into the materials palette? Are there essential materials you include in each store? Architecturally, our method is to work with what is already there, weaving ourselves into the core and fabric of the street rather than imposing ourselves upon a locale. Materiality often responds to a local history and allows us to be playful too. At Aesop Le Marais, in Paris, Ciguë repurposed 427 small polished steel discs—conventionally used to close plumbing pipes throughout the city— to create shelving for our products. For Aesop Nolita, our first U.S. store, Jeremy Barbour reclaimed 2,800 New York Times, cut them into 400,000 strips, and stacked them to craft “bricks” of paper that line the walls and create joinery. As the leaves yellow with the years, they become a testament to the time captured within and passing around the pages. How do you select an architect for each store? We select architects not only for the excellence of their work but also their personality; their capacity to communicate and connect with us is integral to the realization of new spaces. In order to understand their motivations, we like to meet in person for a meal and conversation. The minimum criterion to be considered for a signature store project is usually five years’ professional experience though we are also keen to work with rising talents. We’re opening this fall our first Chicago store, conceived by Norman Kelley. This is their first retail project—their work usually lives in a more conceptual, artistic area. We’re excited to see the mark they will leave on an Aesop space. Could you tell us more about Norman Kelley's upcoming Midwest store? Aesop Bucktown will open later this fall. Carrie and Thomas are working with the Chicago common brick as a primary material. Their design investigates the geometry of Chicago's urban city grid and overlays grid patterns, putting our perceptions at play. Carrie and Thomas’ work can be currently seen at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Architecture Biennal.
Although the Snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion won’t open until mid-2016, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Earlier this month the museum promoted Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher to the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design and head of the Department of Architecture and Design. Dunlop Fletcher (who joined the museum as an assistant curator in 2007) co-curated the impressive Lebbeus Woods, Architect exhibition in 2013. AN spoke to her about the future of architecture and design in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The Architect's Newspaper: What is your vision for your curatorial role and for the new space? Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher: That’s always the hardest thing to answer. First, we will have a new gallery dedicated to architecture and design on the sixth floor of the new museum, which I’m very excited about. In the previous building, we had three spaces cobbled together with different ceiling heights, so having a refreshed gallery is going to be great. Also, we will have another dedicated A&D space on the third floor. Second, we get to participate in more museum-wide programs. I see a lot of opportunity for us to expand outside of our gallery and take advantage of the way designers work and be flexible and responsive to different spaces. In terms of responsiveness, how might the new design impact how you approach exhibitions? So, the way that Snøhetta responds to the physical conditions of the site and social conditions of the site, I think we also recognize that the engineering coming out of Silicon Valley has been a tremendous attracter for many designers to come to San Francisco. Internally, we’ve been focusing on research funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that looks at how designer practice has changed so much in the last 30 years due to new software tools. And of course, that relates so much to what is happening just outside our door. If we can really study those practices and the migration from pen and pencil to software we will have a whole new collecting approach internationally. This is something that has changed and affected every single design discipline: graphic design, product design, and architecture. So, if we take the three-year period (which we’ve outlined in the grant) to really look at some key designers and understand their practice behind the scenes, it will affect how we move forward in collecting and displaying this integrated work. I think it’s going to be a very big difference. In what way? The twenty-first century has moved away from object-based presentation and museums need to recognize that. Everyone still loves to come into the museum and see an original object, but the way that designers communicate with each other and clients has changed. We can’t impose a kind of more traditional display on that relationship. So, can we expect an expanded idea of representation? Are we talking about more screens? Well, I’ve been warned not to really discuss exactly what’s happening in the opening, but I think screens, but not screens in a consumption sense, not in a passive, let’s just watch something unfold sense, but more in a dynamic sense. And maybe…oh, I wish I could talk about this one thing! How can I speak about it abstractly? New ways to experience design that is traditionally experienced kind of phenomenologically, all the senses. So there might be a way for screens or devices to enable a different kind of interaction. We seem to be talking a little bit more about design and industrial design. What about sort of the architecture part of the equation? I’m not trying to exclude the architecture at all. The architects I see here are very, very interested in poking holes in existing software and hacking software and responsive buildings and robotic mechanized buildings. It’s permeated all the design disciplines here.
The current focus on research in architectural practice normally means thinking out the design and materials of an upcoming project or a prototype for a hoped-for commission. But when Norwegian and American firm Snøhetta was given the chance to do a research project by the Zumtobel Group they created Living The Nordic Light, and it became an exhibition at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum. Snøhetta joined with artists, writers, and research institutions to investigate the relationship between natural light, people, and habitat in the northern region of Norway. By interviewing four centenarians living their entire lives above the Arctic Circle, they explored the irrevocable and inherent relationships of light and darkness, lived time, and individual perceptions of these relationships. It’s not the sort of research that has a direct relationship to building practice but will surely influence the intelligence with which the firm conceptualizes architectural projects and issues. A catalogue which is part of Zumtobel's annual report—a model which we wish was picked up by American companies—is available at Aedes. The exhibition is open at Aedes until October 1, 2015.