Posts tagged with "SO-IL":
When someone tells you that they won an international competition in Paris along the Bastille axis on a site at the junction of Canal Saint Martin and the Seine River, images of Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, I.M. Pei’s Pyramide du Louvre, Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de la Villette, or Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe come to mind. However, New York–based architects SO-IL took a much different route and made something almost as non-“starchitect” as possible.
Rather than leveraging the site into a spectacular, iconic object-building, the architects have deferred to the forces—cultural, economic, and environmental—of the Place Mazas site, resulting in something quite opposite of the aforementioned buildings. Not only did the team from SO-IL, led by partner Ilias Papageorgiou, decide against making a flashy building, they didn’t even max out the site financially, which they described as a “risk,” but one that paid off as they won the competition.
“We are very excited to work on such a unique site in Paris. Our proposal suggests a dynamic approach in city making, one that considers history as well as the complexity of today’s conditions while allowing room to accommodate future transformation,” said Papageorgiou.
Titled “L’Atelier de l’Arsenal,” the proposal is a nexus of future urban development and part of the Reinventer La Seine, a long-term urban design transformation of the river. The designers wanted to make it a flexible place that could be further transformed.
The proposal features co-living and social housing units in a seven-story wood structure that doesn't use all the allowable massing on the site, but rather divides the site in two, deferring to the Hausmannian axis and leaving the rest of the site open. On the other half of the plot will be public spaces and another smaller, temporary building that will accommodate facilities including public co-working spaces, a fabrication lab, and a multi-purpose room for cultural activities. The site will also house Aurore (a homeless facility already established on the site), as well as space for the Yacht Club of Bastille and new water-front activities, like a public swimming pool and pools for biodiversity research and water quality monitoring.
All of these programmatic features can be rethought after 12 years, as the public zone could be returned to the city for another use. It could be that this site will be incorporated as part of the pedestrianization of the streets along the river, and a possible initiative to create a swimmable river in the future.
The project was a collaboration of Paris-based Laisne Roussel and French real estate developers REI Habitat and Icade. “The design of the Atelier de L’Arsenal is motivated by our conviction that architecture is everyone’s business. In our view, urban resilience and the collective practices developed for and by users are two major challenges for the cities of tomorrow,“ said Nicolas Laisné and Dimitri Roussel, partners of Laisne Roussel.
The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Museum of Art on the University of California, Davis campus, designed by associated architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) and SO-IL and built by construction company Whiting-Turner, opened in late 2016.
The project was developed through a particularly strict procurement process that required designers to include builders on their teams. Those teams were expected to hold tight to a firm budget—$30 million—and deliver a design with balanced aesthetic, functional, and budgetary requirements. Ryan Keerns, associate at BCJ and project manager on the project said, “This process of design-build competition gave the client confidence that a builder had vetted the aesthetic and functional ambitions of the project and stood behind their ability to deliver the project within the parameters provided.”
The team did that and more, creating a 30,000-square-foot building that uses a range of social spaces to divide up more buttoned-up aspects of programming. The approach results in what amounts to a fully public space that does triple duty as art museum, office, and classroom. Those functions are articulated as a series of scattered, interconnected pavilions arranged in slipshod configuration. The whole thing is capped by an undulating, 50,000-square-foot perforated and folded aluminum screen canopy developed with help from facade design consulting firm Front, Inc. and fabricated from off-the-shelf components, including 952 honed-aluminum infill beams and 4,765 linear feet of steel joists.
The veil starts off low to the ground, lifted on slight, extruded steel columns. When the roof crests, it does so out of view, toward the center of the building. It eventually laps down to the sidewalk at the building’s main entrance, where it cantilevers 12 feet above the floor. Here, visitors get to bathe in the scattered, pleasantly fluorescent light created by the canopy. Ilias Papageorgiou, principal at SO-IL described the structure as a multi-sensory experience: “It works almost like a reverse sundial, where you become aware of the moving light and transformation of the shadows.”
In plan, the canopy is made up of a series of irregular gridded textures, “inspired by the agricultural landscape around the university,” as Keerns explained, a woven quilt of metal patterns going every which way. These angular divisions in the gently sloping surface—styled in section to resemble a silhouette of the area’s rolling landscapes—create jittery bits of structural framing, with joists and beams crisscrossing about. Steel columns of different diameters—40 in all—are deployed in a calibrated arrangement and are scattered about the entry pavilion. Interspersed amid this hypostyle courtyard are a series of bright yellow poles: multifunctional nodes for lighting, electrical outlets, and wireless internet.
The canopy is punctured by a large, oblong oculus that is mirrored on the ground by a dull, grassy knoll. The gesture is made to add another layer of functionality, as the opposing wall has been detailed to allow for film projection. The space ultimately succeeds in spite of this feature, not because of it. And the wall, entirely blank instead of delicately and intricately combed like the others, feels heavy-handed in what is otherwise a feathery plaza dancing with light.
The building, like the 2002 Boora Architects–designed Mondavi Center for Performing Arts directly opposite, is in axis with the center of campus. When approached from one of the campus’s main drags instead of from the parking lot, the entry pavilion acts as a type of outdoor living room for the university. As the canopy comes close to the ground at the sidewalk—and as a dissonant column causes one to step aside—it’s possible to experience a threshold condition and so properly enter into the designers’ domain.
The entry courtyard meets the fully enclosed portion of the building opposite this column at a convex section of glass wall. When sitting or standing in the courtyard, the effect of the columns and light posts is reminiscent of standing at a busy intersection in a city with broad sidewalks: It becomes possible to have almost private moments, both when no one else is in the space and when the various groups are passing through. Inside the building, a foyer contains a sinuous purple sofa—designed by an in-house team at BCJ—that turns a portion of the room into a viewing station, the now-convex arc of glass creates a televisual view of the courtyard and its many inhabitants. During AN’s visit to the museum, the courtyard and foyer were occupied by a diverse group of people: elderly couples, groups of moms with children, and even teenagers.
The museum works as a generic (in a good way) “somewhere else” type of place, not wholly any one aspect of its program, but as a place where lots of different types of things happen all the time. Simultaneously, the entry areas give the building a quality of comfortable domesticity, something akin to a grandparents’ living room, where shoes need to stay on, but one is free to feel at ease and gawk at whatever collection of curios might be on display.
Moving counterclockwise from the door, a projection room and the main galleries branch off to one side of the foyer. A second lobe, with ancillary functions, extends in another direction. A third wing peels off to the far left and contains a pavilion with a classroom and art studio that open onto the outdoors separately.
The galleries themselves are arranged as a variety of flexible spaces, with certain rooms casually arranged as educational areas, a result of the programming exercises the university brought to the designers. A larger gallery has soaring ceilings capped by extruded aluminum panels, with ductwork and piping visible beyond. The ancillary spaces, more intimate in proportion but correspondingly fussy in detailing, feature lower ceilings where the texture of the ceiling panels changes orientation to align with the long axis of the room. Because the museum’s permanent collection contains many sensitive works on paper, the galleries had to be designed to be completely artificially lit.
Papageorgiou explained: “Although daylight was not allowed in the galleries, we found moments for bringing the exterior through indirect light.” He refers to the central and generous hallway that connects the front galleries to the loading dock at the back of the building. That pathway is capped on both ends with glazing: one looking out onto the entry courtyard, the other, with a framed view of Interstate 80, cars and trucks whizzing by.
The following essay is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, Solid Objectives... Order, Edge, Aura, to be published in early 2017 by Lars Muller Publishers. For more on the The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, see here.The design of interiors has come to embody a line of egocentric thoughts. It purports to put our body—and possibly even our soul and individualistic existence—at its center. Womb-like sensations arise, promising warmth, safety, and other prenatal comforts. How do we sufficiently swaddle or cushion the self for it to survive our savage reality? The interior becomes a pure haven for the spirit, something that seems increasingly public. We create mobile cocoons, shielding ourselves with screens, headsets, and blank stares. We eschew or minimize contact with others. Absurdly, even though technology has seemingly brought the outside world in, our devices have diminished points of contact with it. The public realm is contained, compressed, and trapped behind thinner and thinner layers of glass. The exterior is powered up or down with the swipe of a finger. While this notion of interior design evokes thoughts of monastic disconnection, of dwelling in a shielded totality, we would like to consider its opposite: the interior as a locus for a new collective condition, an inside that fosters exchange. After all, it is mostly in the perceived comfort of our interiors that we let our guards down and allow for connections to occur. Up until modernity, humanity experienced its interiors—even those of the dwelling—as a public domain. The living room was a place for conflict and exchange. Even our beds were shared. Given this, let us regard the interior not as a space created by protective surfaces and moods, but rather as a porous field defined by realms and structures. Otherness will trickle in and a productive contamination will ensue. Beyond mere spatial definition, a new exchange must be fueled by content. This collective interior demands activation by things: Volumes and objects, elements that supersede their functional obligations to play suggestive and symbolic roles—think of the Kaaba, the Butsudan, the kitchen table, and the parliamentary mace. We see this as the vivid place that sociologist Bruno Latour depicts wherein “each object gathers around itself a different assembly of relevant parties. Each object triggers new occasions to passionately differ and dispute. Each object may also offer new ways of achieving closure without having to agree on much else.” In the place of comfort, the new interior instead offers devices of contestation and the promise of an active public. In order to accommodate differences, an architecture of the interior will be assembled with character-filled structures and objects that trigger discursiveness, to fuel the fire, the textures taking on qualities of the outside, rupturing and destabilizing. Think of sublime volumes, endless depths, infinity pools, and fillets. Think of Andrei Tarkovsky, the rain inside, cobblestones in the living room, and sand in the bathtub. The interior as a space of contestation might recoup some of the scope architecture has forfeited to the creators of soothing mood boards and Pinterest boards. As layered and fleeting realities of the exterior return indoors, condensed and redirected, they might unsettle the insulated, comfortable individual in pursuit of a more vital collective interiority.