Posts tagged with "Studio Gang":

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AN Exclusive: Studio Gang beats out Michael Maltzan and Allied Works to design unified California College of the Arts campus

Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects (SGA) has been selected to design an expansion of the California College of the Arts (CCA) campus in San Francisco, beating out Michael Maltzan Architects and Allied Works for the prestigious commission. Over the next five years, CCA will work with SGA to develop a design for a comprehensive expansion of the existing arts campus to provide educational facilities for the college’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty members, 250 staff members, and 34 academic programs in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The expansion, outlined in the school’s Framing the Future visioning plan developed by Gensler and MKThink in 2015, will aim to absorb the school’s Oakland satellite campus as well as create on-site housing opportunities for students on a site adjacent to the existing San Francisco campus. In a press release announcing SGA’s selection, CCA Board Chair C. Diane Christensen commended the firm’s long list of ground-breaking educational projects, saying, “The selection process was extremely thorough, involving intense review and significant input from many constituencies. Studio Gang’s visionary work, commitment to innovation and sustainability, and collaborative work style makes the firm an excellent fit for this project and for CCA. Jeanne Gang leads an extraordinary team that is very familiar with San Francisco and our still-emerging neighborhood at the intersection of the city’s innovation corridor, the new DoReMi arts district, and Mission Bay. We are thrilled with the prospect of working with Studio Gang and have high hopes that our new campus will help redefine 21st-century arts education.” Studio Gang CCA Unified Campus from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo. In the same press release, Jeanne Gang, founding principal at SGA, focused on intrinsic potential for the project to yield innovative educational synergies, remarking, “We are excited to discover with CCA the possibilities that a unified campus in San Francisco presents for the future of art teaching, learning, and making,” adding, “The site has enormous potential to build an expanded, increasingly connected campus for CCA in a newly thriving design district. We are looking forward to a creative and engaged design process to help CCA continue to change the world through dynamic arts education.”
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Studio Gang’s research-based approach to ecological design rethinks the shape of urban waterfronts

As Studio Gang gains respect as an office that builds formally and programmatically ambitious projects, one aspect in particular has helped the firm continue to be a major force: It is an office that does its homework. Every project that the studio does is accompanied by a body of research as well as collaborations with experts often outside of architecture. “As architects, we think of our role as being that of the translator,” explained Claire Cahan, design director at Studio Gang. “Early on in the project we bring in experts from interdisciplinary fields to discuss the past, present, and future conditions of a site. Our job is to ask questions and translate ideas between disciplines.” This becomes particularly visible in projects that involve water ecologies.

After a yearlong study in collaboration with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), the studio released Reverse Effect (2011). The book explored urban and ecological implications of severing the link between the Chicago River and the Mississippi River, effectively reversing the flow of the Chicago River to its original direction (something that has actually happened three times). The book presented a new Chicago that embraced a reshaped river as part of its cultural and civic space.

“We’re interested in the intersection between built and natural environments,” said Cahan about the office’s broader vision and approach. “While building projects typically have distinct property lines and boundaries, natural systems often intersect with property lines in a fluid way. Through research, which includes conversation, mapping, and analysis, we seek to understand the natural, cultural, economic conditions far beyond a property line.”

A similar study, in collaboration with Milwaukee-based Applied Ecological Services and Edgewater Resources, looked at the 1,000-acre Milwaukee harbor. The Edge Effect master plan set out to establish a framework and logic for Milwaukee’s waterfront development. The master plan envisions relocating the current active inner harbor to a new outer harbor, while bringing the city to the water’s edge. The process would include softening the coastline to achieve a more complete and sustainable ecosystem by learning from stable natural coastlines and reefs. This concept is already being deployed in the Studio Gang–designed improvements to Chicago’s Northerly Island, which has a similar geographic situation.

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Studio Gang fuses storage and display in their design for a traveling photography exhibition

Studio Gang Architects, working with art advocate Project&, have produced a traveling photography exhibition that highlights the stories and photographs of 24 American workers. Studio Gang produced 18 modular display cases which double as the show’s shipping containers. The show, entitled Working in America, features the work of Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Lynsey Addario. The opening of the show corresponds with the anniversary of Studs Terkel’s 1974 book Working, which explored similar themes. The show consists of stories and images from across the country. Studio Gang’s design features seven-foot-tall display cases that can be locked together in sets of three. These cases were developed for ease of transportation and the ability to show in difficult situations. This was important as the show will be traveling through the United States on display at public libraries. Exhibiting in libraries presents a special challenge, in that work can be displayed on the walls. “I envisioned self-crating steamer trunks that held an entire world inside, and when opened, revealed the large-scale photographs and the working lives of Americans, putting their voices and narratives at the center,” explained Jane M. Saks, the show's curator. “The team from Studio Gang not only turned that vision into a reality, but they designed the displays so that they lock together and literally hold each other up. The design is elegant and almost poetic in the way it speaks to our interdependence as workers and human beings, and the strength of all of us when we join together.” The cases are built of Baltic Birch plywood and vegetable-tanned leather for the handles. “We wanted to give visual space and dignity to each of the individuals represented in the photographs,” said Jeanne Gang. Studio Gang’s experience with exhibition design includes shows for the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Basel Miami, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Working in America is currently on display at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center, and will run through the end of January.
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Studio Gang and OMA among architects competing to redesign Tour Montparnasse in Paris

A list of seven firms (three French and four international) have been selected by the Ensemble Immobilier Tour Maine-Montparnasse (EITMM) as part of the second round of a competition to redesign the much-maligned Montparnasse Tower in Paris. Built in 1973, the 690-foot (59 story) high-rise has been the regular subject of scorn from Parisians and architects alike. Now Dutch studio OMA; British practice, PLP; French architect Dominique Perrault, and Chicago firm Studio Gang among others are in the running to take on the tower's redesign. Known as the Tour Montparnasse, the building changed city planning policy after its completion 33 years ago. Buildings in the French capital were banned from rising above seven stories two years after it was constructed, a policy that has allowed the skyscraper to remain as Paris's tallest building. The full list of firms vying to re-imagine the tower can be found below: The list of seven came from a list of more than 700 firms that entered the first phase of EITMM's competition. In a press release, one stakeholder said the seven agencies were selected for their "reliability, expertise, audacity and their understanding of the challenges we face." Now the competition has briefed the chosen seven with submitting a proposal that will supply a "powerful, innovative, dynamic and ambitious new identity to the famous Parisian landmark, whilst integrating the challenges of usage, comfort and energy performance to the highest levels." These proposals are due in March 2017. The competition's third stage will see this list whittled down to two finalists from which a winner will be announced in July next year. The project is due to cost $326 million with one-third of this being privately financed by Tour Montparnasse's co-owners. Construction is set to start in 2019, being completed by 2023. Jean-Louis Missika, deputy to the Mayor of Paris, in charge of urban planning, architecture and economic development for the Greater Paris project, said: "We are delighted with this varied and audacious selection of architects which promises a great diversity of ideas, approaches, and innovations for the transformation of the Montparnasse Tower, the initial stage in the renovation of the whole area."
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Allied Works, Michael Maltzan, and Studio Gang compete for California College of the Arts campus design

Allied Works Architecture (AWA), Michael Maltzan Architects (MMA), and Studio Gang Architects (SGA) have been selected as finalists to design a new campus for California College of the Arts (CCA). The architects are vying to design a new extension to the school’s San Francisco campus that would unify the institute’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty, 250 staff members and 34 academic programs on one site. Currently, CCA’s students and programs are split between a campus in San Francisco and one in nearby Oakland, California. The new campus expansion would grow on a 2.4-acre lot bordering the existing facilities in San Francisco and would be developed over the following five years. The project also aims to address San Francisco’s housing crisis by supplying roughly 1,000 beds of on- or near-campus housing by 2025, a healthy increase over the 500 currently available beds split between the two existing campuses. The expansion will have a heavy emphasis on sustainable design practices, with the college citing the inclusion of sustainability strategies for water and energy generation, usage, and conservation, air quality, and environmentally safe art-making materials and practices as central tenets of the expansion. CCA will also engage in an effort to preserve the school’s current Oakland campus, which dates back to 1922. The university aims to redevelop that property, the historic Treadwell Estate, in a way that might “reflect and amplify CCA's legacy,” including, potentially, some sort of “mission-aligned” use like affordable housing or as the location of an educational institution. The planned expansion comes after several years of architect-guided planning at CCA, with architectural firms Gensler and MKThink producing a strategic framework for planning for the campus in 2015 that was followed by year-long comment period seeking to engage professors and students, alumni, and trustees. Following the comment period, San Francisco—based Jensen Architects created a space-planning guide from the Gensler and MKThink report that was then used to vet potential architecture firms, with the resulting selection of AWA, MMA, and SGA indicating the school is ready to move onto the next phase of fielding proposals from each team. In a press release announcing the finalists’ selection, CCA President Stephen Beal stated, “This is the moment for CCA to elevate and scale our distinctive, learn-through-making educational model by unifying our campuses to improve the student experience. We will develop future creative leaders and reimagine higher education on a campus like no other—one built with advanced measures of sustainability where every workspace, public space, and landscape serves as a living, learning laboratory for collaboration, risk-taking, and experimentation. We are looking forward to finding a partner architectural firm that can help us realize this vision.”
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Studio Gang’s AMNH expansion gets the green light from Landmarks Preservation Commission

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved plans for a major expansion to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. In almost 90 pages of presentation materials, representatives from Studio Gang, preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, and landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand demonstrated to the commission and the public how they would demolish three museum buildings constructed between 1874 and 1935 to make way for the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. In a radical but elegant departure from AMNH's mélange of Victorian gothic, Beaux Arts, Richardson Romanesque, and contemporary buildings, the 195,000-square-foot Gilder Center, inside and out, takes formal cues from geological strata, glacier-gouged caves, curving canyons, and blocks of glacial ice. "Sleekness was never a goal—we wanted a richness of texture," explained Studio Gang design principal Wes Walker, in a pre-meeting model walkthrough with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). The pink Milford granite the designers intend to use for the facade is the same stone used for Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the museum's main entrance on Central Park West. The Gilder Center granite will be sliced into two- and three-inch-thick bricks and arranged in diagonal bands on the facade to create the attractive variation that's produced by ornament on the neighboring 19th-century buildings. Bill Higgins (of Higgins Quasebarth) and Jeanne Gang detailed how the unconventional form will fit in with—and enhance—those buildings: The original, aggressively rectilinear master plan calls for architectural focal points on each of the museum's main facades. The angular forms are complemented by a playful, curvilinear landscape—plans show undulating paths that flank the imposing buildings. The rectangle/curve relationship remains at the Teddy Roosevelt entrance, and the Gilder Center, directly across the complex, extends and amplifies historic precedent—"[it's] an insertion into the historic fabric," said Gang. For AMNH, the new building is both an addition and connective tissue that bridges disparate programs. Museum president Ellen Futter explained that her institution needs to expand to accommodate five million annual visitors: Though its classroom and exhibition space will augment the museum's offerings, the Gilder Center is also a switchboard, connecting ten buildings at 30 different points. Inside and out, transparency and accessibility define the design. Vertical glazing on the facade lets visitors see deep into the structure, like looking into a fjord. Where the museums of past centuries defined their monumentality with great granite steps, the Gilder Center's no-step entrance allows for seamless access for people with mobility impairments or strollers. The addition will also open up sightlines to Building One, AMNH's first structure, via a passageway and additional gallery space. Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer, councilperson Helen Rosenthal's office, AIA New York, the Van Alen Institute, and the Columbus Avenue BID spoke in support of the addition, but preservation and neighborhood parks groups were not as bullish on the project. The Historic Districts Council (HDC), while offering that the Gilder Center "defers sensitively" to existing buildings, questioned the facade detailing and expressed concern about the building's exposed interior. The structural concrete columns that define the main space, HDC claims, are not clad in the same quality material as the facade. The group suggested Studio Gang refine the design further. Residents and members of park preservation groups spoke out against the Gilder Center because it encroaches on Theodore Roosevelt Park, and its construction requires the removal of seven mature trees. In response, Reed Hildebrand divided the layout into slow and fast programs—slow, or passive recreational activity will be directed away from the Gilder Center entrance, a meandering paved walkway shaded by (new) trees and curving flower beds. 80 percent of the addition will occupy the museum's existing footprint, and less than two percent of the 10-acre park will be sacrificed to AMNH. Noting the designers' willingness to adjust their designs in response to community concerns, the commissioners offered additional suggestions. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said that the cultural aspect of the museum was often absent from the conversation around the design, while other members suggested that the architects reconsider the stucco planned for a northern exterior wall. Commissioner Frederick Bland, an architect, noted that the essence of AMNH is its "excellent" architecture that has accrued on the site over time. He praised the design team's vision and level of detailing, adding that at this stage it can be dangerous to intrude on the details of another architects' design vocabulary. "Very seldom do you see a design this soaring and open," said commissioner Wellington Chen. "It's a stunning piece of architecture—the commission can be proud in approving the project," said Srinivasan. After hours of tension, a palpable wave of relief emanated from the assembled architects. After the LPC's vote, a smiling Jeanne Gang told AN that her team had to move the modeling and detailing much farther along than usual for this round of approvals. "We had to make the parametric model way ahead to figure out the coursing and interfaces with the masonry," she said. Next, the Gilder Center moves onto design development and through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process towards an expected groundbreaking next year.
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Studio Gang modifies plans for contentious American Museum of Natural History garden

Responding to community pressure, Chicago-based Studio Gang and Cambridge, Massachusetts-based landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand have changed the design of the controversial gardens surrounding their addition to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. This week the architects re-submitted plans for the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for approval. The $325 million expansion, designed to evoke glaciers and geologic formations, will augment the museum's classroom and exhibition space. The revised plans account for community concerns over the footprint of the six-story addition, particularly its encroachment onto Theodore Roosevelt Park, a public space in front of the AMNH at West 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. Instead of occupying a half-acre, as originally proposed, Studio Gang's scheme was whittled down to a quarter-acre in size. Pathways were reconfigured so leisure-seeking visitors can avoid quick-walking museum-goers seeking the most direct path the museum's entrances and exits. A service driveway was rerouted to save a stately English elm and pin oak; now only seven trees will be removed for the addition. Although flora will be saved, the addition actually grew eight percent in its latest iteration, to about 235,000 square feet, the Wall Street Journal reports. The schematic design shows that some passageways were altered and walls taken down to accommodate the upsizing, increasing the budget but not the building's footprint. The AMNH is hosting an information session next week where members of the public can learn more about the proposed changes.
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National Building Museum picks Studio Gang for 2017 summer installation

The National Building Museum has announced Studio Gang Architects as the designers of the 2017 Summer Block Party Installation. This year’s installation, ICEBERGS, was designed by James Corner Field Operations. Previous installations include BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingles Group and The BEACH by Snarkitecture. In 2003 Studio Gang designed another installation for the National Building Museum, a hanging translucent marble curtain that was part of  in the Masonry Variations exhibit. Firm founder Jeanne Gang has also served as an advisor for the National Building Museum’s Intelligent Cities project. “We are delighted to embark on a new collaboration with Studio Gang over the next year,” said Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum, in a press release. “With their creativity and impeccable design credentials, they are poised to reimagine the possibilities of this series.” Details will be announced in early 2017, with a public opening planned for July 4th through Labor Day 2017. “It’s great to return to the National Building Museum, where our Marble Curtain was such an important early project for Studio Gang, one that informed our thinking about material innovation and research,” remarked Jeanne Gang in a press release. “We are looking forward to building on the legacy and energy of the summer series, in the historic space of the Museum’s Great Hall.”
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Studio Gang proposes net-zero school with three-acre urban farm (complete with its own goat)

In the near future, students at the Academy for Global Citizenship will learn firsthand how a net-zero building works, as their campus will collect enough solar power to be completely off the grid. Chances are, though, the thing they will remember most distinctly about their unconventional school will be that it included a working farm, complete with a goat.

The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) on the Southwest Side of Chicago is already unlike nearly any other K-8 school around. Once it moves out of its now-cramped makeshift space into a brand-new, Studio Gang–designed campus, it will be truly one of a kind.

The charter school, as the name would suggest, was conceived with a focus on global stewardship and was in dire need of a space that better reflected its pedagogy and ambitions. With this charge, Chicago- and New York–based Studio Gang set out to produce a campus that would be a productive space for students, faculty, and the surrounding community. Conceived as a series of flexible “neighborhoods” with indoor and outdoor learning environments, the project is designed without typical circulation space. Rather, students will walk through “Wonder Paths” that wind fluidly though indoors and outdoors. Along these paths students will encounter laboratories, presentation spaces, learning stations, and play areas. A central courtyard will connect all of these diverse programs.

The main structure’s design takes cues from industrial building typologies to maximize natural light and solar collection. A sawtooth roofline is set at the optimal angle for solar power, while allowing copious amounts of north light into the learning spaces. Yet the passive and active solar aspects of the project are only part of the school’s sustainability goals. Perhaps the most notable of the school’s amenities is a three-acre urban farm. Along with producing its own power, the school will also produce a portion of its own food. Students will help grow breakfast and lunch for their classmates. The school believes the understanding of agriculture is an important part both of being a global citizen and of creating one’s relationship to food. Anchoring the farm is a greenhouse-barn where classes and presentations can be held for students and the community. “The whole thing is really all about growing a power- and food-conscious community and designing a replicable system that can be used by other schools in the future,” firm founder Jeanne Gang said. Working with Studio Gang on the project are Chicago-based landscape architects site design group, ltd. and New York–based environmental consultants Atelier Ten. The school will be completely one of a kind when finished, but the design is specifically done in such a way that it can be repeated around the world. To do so, prefabricated systems and readily accessible materials are being specified. While Studio Gang is garnering international attention for soaring skyscrapers, it continues to work on smaller-scale projects for socially minded clients. The Academy for Global Citizenship adds to the firm’s list of educational and community projects that includes the award-winning Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the SOS Children’s Villages Lavezzorio Community Center, and the Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center.
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Herzog & de Meuron, Studio Gang, and DS+R among those shortlisted for new Royal College of Art campus in South London

The Royal College of Art (RCA) in London has a unveiled a shortlist of seven invited studios that will compete to design the school's new $140 million campus in Battersea, South London. The list features practices from Europe and the U.S. including Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron, Chicago-based Studio Gang and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) from New York. Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, who claim that the college is set to "embark upon the most exciting phase of development" in its 179 year history, the RCA will align itself into being a primarily science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics-based institution. As a result, it aims to coalesce these disciplines to "create transformational impact in such areas as connected cities; robotics, the internet of things and intelligent mobility; sustainability, mass migration and city design." Specifically, this will include the expansion of the RCA's "research and knowledge exchange centers into the domains of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, and intelligent mobility." The shortlisted practices are:
  • Christian Kerez (Switzerland)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (U.S.)
  • Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland)
  • Lacaton & Vassal (France)
  • Robbrecht en Daem architecten (Belgium)
  • Serie Architects (UK/Singapore)
  • Studio Gang (U.S.)
"At the centre of the Battersea South vision are the practices of artists and designers," said Dean of Architecture Dr. Adrian Lahoud. "The project should support and inspire their work, offering an incredible opportunity to explore new frontiers in learning and research in art and design." Malcolm Reading, competition director, added: "This is a dazzling list of architectural thought-leaders who have connected with a project that will create a renewed sense of place in this part of Battersea.  We very much look forward to the teams’ analyses of the brief at the second stage of the competition." The selection panel members include:
  • Dr. Paul Thompson (Chair)
  • Professor Naren Barfield
  • Richard Benson
  • Dr. Adrian Lahoud
  • Professor Judith Mottram
  • Baroness Gail Rebuck
  • Alan Leibowitz (lay member of Council)
  • Professor Ricky Burdett (lay member of Council)
  • Professor Rachel Cooper OBE (lay member of Council)
  • Paola Antonelli
  • Marcus Cole (student)
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Studio Gang’s ecological firehouse and training facility breaks ground today

Ground has broke on the site of the Fire Department of New York's (FDNY) newest firehouse, designed by Chicago-based Studio Gang for the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Set to cost $32 million, the 21,000-square-foot building will sit on 1815 Sterling Place in Brownsville, Brooklyn and become the new home of the FDNY's Rescue Company 2.  Founded in 1925, Rescue Company 2 is one of FDNY’s five rescue companies, elite units that handle a variety of emergency situations ranging from building collapses, high-angle rescues, hazardous materials incidents, water rescues as well as fires. In their new location, Rescue Company 2 will use the building to train for all these scenarios and many more. The project is Studio Gang's first in New York and as a result they have opened up a new Manhattan office. The Architect's Newspaper attended the groundbreaking ceremony and spoke with Studio Gang design principle Weston Walker about the firm's design process and approach to the project. "We wanted the design to fit the [low-rise] scale of the street, while accommodating all the unusual training that will take place here" Walker said. Training facilities will also include specific areas for trench rescue and confined space rescue training as well as a room to simulate the smoke-filled environments in which firefighters operate, and an elevated area that allows firefighters to train to rappel from the roof of a building to perform a rescue. The project's design drivers were "apertures and openings" that paid heavy respect to both the site and typology traditions. Demonstrating this, he pointed out the numerous openings—visible in the renders above—that "ease the building's oppressiveness" in massing. A subtractive structure, the openings allow for interior landscaping as well as facilitate natural ventilation. This is also aided by the fact that the building will be the first firehouse in New York to have a drive-through concourse on the ground floor. The building aims to be as energy efficient as possible. Due to sit 500 feet below the structure is a geothermal heating system. A solar water heating system has also been included which is due to reduce the energy required to heat and cool the building by a third. In addition to this, a green roof and permeable pavement will be implemented to aid the reduction of stormwater runoff and further cut down on the firehouse's carbon footprint.  “In keeping with Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a healthier, more sustainable and resilient city, DDC is proud to partner with FDNY to provide New York’s bravest with a state-of-the-art training and housing facility that is energy efficient and can serve as a beacon of community engagement,” said DDC commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora in a press release. “The design aims to reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and contribute to a healthy urban environment through integrating environmentally responsible practices. A geothermal system, solar water heating system, permeable pavement and a green roof will contribute to this goal and strengthen the City’s commitment to building sustainable, environmentally friendly buildings.” “We are proud to break ground on a state-of-the-art new home for Brooklyn’s Rescue Company 2.  This firehouse will be a leader in energy efficiency, moving our city closer to an environmentally sustainable and resilient future. With ample space for tools and a training facility on the roof, this firehouse will be the impressive space that New York’s bravest deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press release. 
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National Aquarium in Baltimore to build North America’s first sanctuary for “retired” dolphins

Designers have created sanctuaries for elephants, chimpanzees and big cats. The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced today that it will design and build North America’s first “sanctuary” for dolphins. The project will enable the institution to move its eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins out of public display and into the protected seaside habitat by the end of 2020, paving the way for major changes to its Inner Harbor campus. A location for the dolphin sanctuary—likely farther south, in warmer climates closer to the equator—has not been selected, but aquarium officials say it will provide a new option for how dolphins can live in human care. No designer has been selected, but the aquarium has been working closely for the past two years with architect Jeanne Gang, of Studio Gang Architects. Gang’s office has prepared a rendering showing what the dolphin sanctuary might look like. Several years ago, she led an architecture class at Rice University and her assignment for the class was to design a dolphin sanctuary off the coast of Texas. Aquarium Chief Executive Officer John Racanelli announced the decision about the dolphins in a press release and an email message to members of the National Aquarium’s extended community. "Through more than 25 years of dedicated care for dolphins, we have realized that the relocation of our dolphins to a natural sanctuary setting is the best way to offer them an environment in which they can thrive," Racanelli said in his email message. "We now know more about dolphins and their care, and we believe that the National Aquarium is uniquely positioned to use that knowledge to implement positive change," Racanelli said. "This is the right time to move forward with the dolphin sanctuary." "There’s no model anywhere, that we’re aware of, for this," Racanelli told the  Associated Press. "We’re pioneering here, and we know it’s never the easiest nor the cheapest option." The aquarium disclosed two years ago that it was considering retiring its dolphins, as part of a movement in which institutions are rethinking the idea of holding cetaceans and other living creatures in captivity. Because the dolphins may not be able to survive if released into the wild, the aquarium has explored the idea of creating a sanctuary for them, in the same way Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus maintains a sanctuary for its retired elephants. As part of its evaluation, the aquarium hired Studio Gang to propose ways to repurpose a $35 million marine mammal pavilion that opened in 1991 and was designed specifically for the display of dolphins. Gang has proposed converting the building, on Inner Harbor Pier 4, to an attraction that would focus on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Drawings were made public last month. In its announcement today, the aquarium released some details about the proposed animal sanctuary. According to the aquarium, it will be in a tropical or sub-tropical climate, possibly in the Florida Keys or the Caribbean. The National Aquarium has formed a site selection team whose top priority is to ensure the health and welfare of the dolphins. The location will be chosen based on a list of criteria, including: ability to provide lifetime customized care for each dolphin; an outdoor location with natural sea water, with more space and depth than current facility; a warm weather climate, and natural stimulus for the dolphins, such as fish and aquatic plants “As we look at the future of the dolphins in our care, we are working very hard to provide them the best possible place to live out their years,” said Tom Robinson, the National Aquarium’s board chair. According to the aquarium, the institution and its directors began exploring new ways to care for the dolphins five years ago. Numerous options were weighed, ranging from rebuilding the existing Marine Mammal Pavilion in a more naturalistic style to moving the dolphins to other accredited facilities. After careful consideration, officials said, the decision was made to create a protected, year-round, seaside refuge with aquarium staff continuing to care for and interact with the dolphins. “We've evaluated this for five years and have decided that this is the right decision for the dolphins, and, thus, for our organization,” said aquarium board member Colleen Dilenschneider, who also served on a separate board committee that assessed this project. “We are excited to introduce this new option along a spectrum of human care for dolphins.” “This is a special time in history concerning evolving attitudes about treating all forms of life with dignity and respect—other humans very much included,” said Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer and author. “The idea of providing sanctuaries for elephants, chimpanzees, big cats—and now dolphins—is a sign of a maturing ethic of caring unthinkable in past millennia, centuries and even decades.”