Posts tagged with "Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects":

Placeholder Alt Text

Design unveiled for Obama Presidential Center

As part of a community meeting in Michelle Obama’s home neighborhood of South Shore, the former president and first lady unveiled the first images and a conceptual model for the future Obama Presidential Center. Described at the meeting as “more than a building or museum,” the center will be a “working center for citizenship.” Classrooms, labs and outdoor spaces will be used for programming focused on giving visitors “real tools to create change in their own communities.” A video of the design can be seen below. Located in Jackson Park, on Chicago’s South Side, the center is being designed by New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Chicago studio Interactive Design Architects. As part of the Olmsted-designed park, the complex will include 200,000 square feet of space divided into three structures—a museum, forum, and library. The three structures will great a central public plaza, while landscaping will connect the green roofs of two of the buildings to the existing park. The tallest of the buildings will be the museum portion of the center, will hold exhibitions and public space, while the forum and library will be public resources to further the civic goals of the center. “The design approach for the center is guided by the goal of creating a true community asset that seeks to inspire and empower the public to take on the greatest challenges of our time," the architects said at the meeting. "The Obamas were clear that they wanted the Center to seamlessly integrate into the Park and the community, and include diverse public spaces. Our hope is that this design for the Center interspersed with Jackson Park honors the legacy of Olmsted and Vaux and unlocks potential and opportunity for Jackson Park, the South Side, and the City of Chicago." Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel also commented: "I am thrilled to join President Obama and Mrs. Obama as we outline the vision for both the Obama Presidential Center and Jackson Park as a whole," he said. "This vision will enhance the historic landscape of Jackson Park as originally envisioned by Frederick Olmsted, and we all look forward to engaging with residents as we begin the community process to turn this vision into reality in a way that maximizes economic development and opportunity in Woodlawn, South Shore and Washington Park.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designing $115 million expansion to Meijer Gardens in Michigan

New York firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) has unveiled plans for an expansion to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The $115 million project will see a variety of new spaces added to the center, including a Welcome Center (60,000 square feet), Covenant Learning Center (20,000 square feet), and two sculpture gardens. “For last two years 750,000 people each year have come out to visit Meijer Gardens. When the current entryway was built, we were getting 200,000 people coming in, so we need to grow,” said President and CEO of the park David Hooker speaking to local news station, WoodTV. "The new facilities will be an amazing expression of our mission never before imagined," he added, speaking in a press release. "We strongly believe the growth of Meijer Gardens will continue and that the organization will thrive for generations to come." Meijer Gardens opened in 1995 and since then has been a success, providing educational programs, housing art, and offering peaceful garden areas to the public. TWBTA's design will allow Meijer Gardens to expand annual horticulture exhibitions, include for galleries for sculptures, and incorporate more event spaces. In addition to this, circulatory space and parking capacity will be increased. Along with the aforementioned spaces, a new Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center; an expanded and upgraded Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater; a "Scenic Corridor"; outdoor picnic pavilion; and new Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden will be included in the scheme. “We are deeply honored to be have been selected by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for this special project,” said Tod Williams of TWBTA in a press release. “From our very first visit, we were struck by the incredible quality of the sculpture collection and its sensitive installation throughout the grounds, as well as by their magnificent Japanese Garden. We saw that the place and the people here are unique.” Ground is expected to break on the project in fall this year with completion due for 2021. So far $102 million of the proposal's projected costs have been raised through donations. A campaign is underway to raise the remaining $13 million in capital.
Placeholder Alt Text

Theaster Gates on his unique combination of art, architecture, and entrepreneurship

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates appeared in the Architectural League of New York’s Current Work series on November 21, which was co-sponsored by the Parsons School of Constructed Environments, Parsons School of Design and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. A star in the art world, Gates crosses many boundaries and disciplines, holding two degrees in urban planning, as well as ones in religion and ceramics. Billie Tsien of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architect introduced him by saying that his life resembled a fairy tale—he’s a reverse Snow White as the only boy of 8 children, mixed with a bit of Princess and the Pea. I would venture there’s also elements of Jack and the Beanstalk, along with shape-shifter qualities. Gates has been transforming the South Side of Chicago, his home town. But it’s taken him a while to get there. After studying at Iowa State University, then living in South Africa and Japan, he returned to Chicago in 1999. After trying to get his ceramics noticed by the art establishment while doing a day job at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) commissioning public art, then working as an arts programmer at the University of Chicago (both of which he found frustrating and ineffective), he rebranded himself as a conceptual artist and began to find his voice. He started to make installations from demolition-site debris such as shoe shine stands and sell the resulting “objects.” While in school, he became aware of Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio at Auburn University. He was also impacted by what could be called its city version, Rick Lowe’s Project Row House in Houston, which cast urban renewal as an art installation. Gates looked at his Chicago neighborhood, which was suffering from unemployment, violence, abandoned buildings, and more, and began acquiring run-down buildings (at first with sub-prime loans) and turning them into cultural centers, rather than housing. Music, yoga, discussions, gospel singing, film screenings, cooking, and more, take place in these spaces. Gates has learned to turn obstacles into advantages and reframe an argument, and he now has the track record to forward his ideas and projects. He talks about “preconditions,” the ground rules required to make transformations for fusing art and architecture with activism. Success is measured by the impact on the local community. At the same time, Chicago is an architecturally aware city with shining examples from various periods. Gates has talked about viewing Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on his way to high school. On Monday night, he mused, “It’s hard not to think about Crown Hall,” the Mies van der Rohe architecture building at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), when you’re located in Chicago. When Gates showed a project he did at the OMA-designed Prada Foundation in Milan, he discussed working with this form of modernism, using the term almost as “orthodoxy.” Looking at the buildings that Gates has transformed, a modernist craft aesthetic is evident. His signature structures, under the rubric of his Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit engine intended to “rebuild the cultural foundation of underinvested neighborhoods,” are the Dorchester Projects—the Listening House, Black Cinema House, Archive House, and now Stony Island Arts Bank. These buildings are just blocks away from the upcoming Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park, to be designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, giving an extra frisson to the evening. Close proximity has given new import and financial value to Gates’s structures, and though it makes him look like a clairvoyant developer (Jackson Park won out of a rival site), the trick may have been that Gates has stayed. With his notoriety and financial security, Gates could live anywhere in the city, but he is firmly installed in the Dorchester complex where he both lives and works. Gates has exported Chicago as well. At Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, he made a splash with the Huguenot House, an abandoned building transformed with detritus from the Dorchester buildings. The house was a continual work-in-progress over the course of the art fair by Gates and his 13 colleagues from Chicago, who lived in the house, constructed installations, performed, and conversed. Afterward, Gates combined elements from the building into objects that were sold for up to $120,000 each. Similarly, when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sold the 1923 Stony Island Avenue State Bank, an abandoned neoclassical structure slated for demolition, to Rebuild for $1.00 with the condition that he could raise money to renovate it, Gates took blocks of marble from the bathrooms and trim, embellished them with an acid-etched motto (“in ART we trust”), and his signature, and sold these art “bonds” at Art Basel for five thousand dollars each, raising half a million dollars. Gates now has a seat at the table. When he met with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana, only 20 miles from his South Side neighborhood, about a potential art project, he asked what she needed. She replied funds. Within six months, he raised $1.6 million from the Bloomberg and Knight foundations. This month, ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, an arts and culinary incubator, with an art gallery and pop-up cafe that will also host business workshops to support local entrepreneurs, was launched. It exemplified Gates’s ability to connect and convene. And it highlights his recasting of what it means to be an entrepreneur, which he says is the only word we have for broaching the meeting of an unemployed person and an abandoned building. Which brings us back to his consideration of “preconditions” and the ability to transform. Billie Tsien also talked about opening up a fortune cookie for lunch that day, and reading “If you can’t decide to go up or down, go from side to side.” Theaster Gates exemplifies just that.
Placeholder Alt Text

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects to design Obama Library

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) have been named the architect’s for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. The announcement was made today on the Obama Foundation website. The exact site of the project has not yet been decided. TWBTA will be collaborating with Chicago-based Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) on the project. Narrowed down from an original 150 firms, and then a short list of six, TWBTA were chosen for “their commitment to explore the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges.” In a statement on the Obama Foundation website TWBTA said, “We are deeply moved by the mission of the Obama Foundation and the role the Center can play in empowering that mission.” TWBTA is also responsible for another recent project for the University of Chicago, the patrons of the Obama Center. The Logan Center for the Arts is a multidisciplinary arts center on the southern edge of the South Side university.
Placeholder Alt Text

Further details emerge for controversial expansion of Charles Moore-designed Hood Museum of Art

In a moment of deep irony, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are in the center of another demolition controversy, this time—some allege—as the perpetrators. Their Folk Art Museum fell to MoMA’s wrecking ball in 2014, prompting a massive national debate, while two more of their projects face uncertain futures: The pavilion for Hurricane Sandy victims in Highlands, New Jersey, and the Mattin Center at Johns Hopkins University. Now, the pair is helming a project that would raze—but also renovate and preserve—parts of the Charles Moore-designed Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College.

Charles Moore and Chad Floyd of Centerbrook Architects and Planners—a firm that Moore founded in 1975—designed the building in 1985. The 40,000-square-foot structure is restrained compared to some of Moore’s other works: Tucked away between an 1884 red brick library and a 1962 modernist performance center, it’s a series of rectangular brick volumes with slanted copper-clad roofs. The most prominent exterior features are its exposed concrete gateway, which faces the Dartmouth campus, and a small cupola atop the rear of the museum. As part of the plan Dartmouth and Williams and Tsien are implementing, the gateway, the museum offices, and one Moore gallery would be destroyed, and a courtyard adjacent to the museum would be filled with new construction.

Kevin Keim, director of the Charles Moore Foundation, said that the Hood is Moore’s most important museums and among the top ten projects of his career. Hood Museum of Art director John Stomberg explained that the Moore building has acute architectural and programmatic failings that necessitated the expansion. “We have leaks, mold, vapor, and heat loss…some structural issues,” he said. To cope with snow and ice falling off of its strongly angled roofs, Dartmouth builds snow sheds along surrounding paths in the winter. Stomberg said that Hood, a teaching museum geared toward putting undergrads in contact with art, has drastically different needs since it was built in 1985. Three new “object-study classrooms,” designed for “the direct study of original works,” along with a new flexible-use atrium and 50 percent more gallery space, will take the place of the demolished sections and the courtyard.

As for the remaining Moore galleries, Stomberg said: “We’re spending so much time and energy painstakingly renovating [them].” One aspect of the redesign, said Stomberg, will actually help realize an original aspect of the Moore building: The original museum’s grand staircase was topped with skylights that were left closed to preserve the artwork. Those skylights, covered by the new Williams and Tsien addition above, will become illuminated lightboxes. “This is something Tod and Billie are very proud of; restoring the experience of ascending a Charles Moore staircase with the pacing of the fenestration just the way he had originally intended,” Stomberg said.

It may be the destruction of the gateway that has been the most polarizing. Inscribed simply with the word ‘HOOD,’ it connects the museum to the adjacent library and performance center. It’s also an opening for a walking path that runs through the museum courtyard and connects campus to the southern part of Hanover. However, the museum’s actual entrance is tucked away in the corner of the courtyard. While students will always find the museum, “that entrance has to tell the community that they’re welcome too. It hasn’t really done that,” said Stomberg. The new museum entrance, which will take the place of the gateway, will create a prominent facade facing campus and the main road that runs through it. The courtyard’s pathway will be enlarged and straightened.

Currently, this $50 million dollar project is scheduled for completion January 2019. Keim is at a loss about the project: “I honestly don’t know what else we can do to protest the expansion,” he said. However, Stomberg said the project was better received in Hanover: “We had a debut of the [expansion’s architectural] model and we had over 350 local people come and the response was really enthusiastic.”

Placeholder Alt Text

Obama Foundation announces seven offices to submit proposals for presidential library

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: Picked from over 150 firms who submitted to the Foundation’s request for qualifications issued in August, the seven firms will now be asked to present designs to the President in the first quarter of 2016. If Adjaye or Piano are chosen, they will be the first foreign-based offices to design a presidential library. The selection of the perspective architects comes after a long selection process for the site of the library itself. Not without some controversy, the South Side locations were chosen out of possible sites in New York, Hawaii, and another in Chicago. Public space advocates, Friends of the Parks, argued that the library, technically a private institution, should not be allowed to be built in the city’s public parks, an issue the current Lucas Museum is also dealing with. This was overcome with the help of a deal made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel which would transfer control of the land away from the park system. Each office will submit conceptual designs for both of the possible 20-acre South Side Chicago sites: one in Washington Park and one in Jackson Park. The $500 million project will include the presidential archive, a museum, and office space for the Obama Foundation. After reviewing the proposals, the Obama family and the foundation are expected to make a decision by summer 2016, the expected completion of the project being in 2020 or 2021.
Placeholder Alt Text

MOS Architects, Michael Graves among winners of the 2015 Cooper Hewitt Design Awards

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum started awarding a yearly Design Award in 2000. The award is a jury-selected process that includes among its ten categories honors for Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Design, and for Lifetime Achievement that has been won by architects. This year's awards were elegantly introduced by the Museum’s Director Caroline Baumann and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. They honored MOS Architects' Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith, landscape designer Shane Coen at Coen + Partners, and Commune, the Los Angeles interior design firm. In addition, Common Ground founder Rosanne Haggerty was given a Design Mind award, Jack Lenor Larson was awarded the Director's Award, and, fittingly, the late Michael Graves (whose partners claim he told them before he died that he would win the award this year) was given the annual Lifetime Achievement award.
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are the AIA New York’s 2015 Design Award Winners in architecture

A jury of architects, landscape architects, critics, educators, and planners has named the 35 winning projects of this year's AIA New York Chapter Design Awards. "Each winning project, granted either an 'Honor' or 'Merit' award, was chosen for its design quality, response to its context and community, program resolution, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique," AIANY said in a statement. "Submitted projects had to be completed by members of the AIA New York Chapter, architects/designers practicing in New York, or be New York projects designed by architects/designers based elsewhere." Take a look at the winning teams in the architecture category below. But before we get to that, let's start with the Best in Competition distinction which goes to SsD and its Songpa Micro Housing in Seoul, Korea (above). "Like the ambiguous gel around a tapioca pearl, this ‘Tapioca Space’ becomes a soft intersection between public/private and interior/exterior building social fabrics between immediate neighbors," the firm said in a statement. "Finally, as this is housing for emerging artists, exhibition spaces on the ground floor and basement are spatially linked to the units as a shared living room. Although the zoning regulation requires the building to be lifted for parking, this open ground plan is also used to pull the pedestrians in from the street and down a set of auditorium-like steps, connecting city and building residents to the exhibition spaces below." Okay, now onto the Honor Awards in the architecture category. Davis Brody Bond National September 11 Memorial Museum New York, NY
From the architects: "Remembering the fallen Twin Towers through their surviving physical structural footprints, the 9/11 Memorial Museum stands witness to the tragedy and its impact."
John Wardle Architects and NADAAA Melbourne School of Design Melbourne, Australia
From the architects: "The new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning responds to the urban design values identi- fi ed in the Campus Master Plan and enhances the existing open spaces within the historic core of the Centre Precinct of the Parkville Campus. It engages with the existing landscape elements, continues the sequence of outdoor rooms arrayed across the campus, and links strongly to the intricate network of circulation routes that surround the site. The new building compliments and enhances the sense of place that the Eastern Precinct of the Parkville Campus already commands."
REX Vakko Fashion Center Istanbul, Turkey
From the architects: "Turkey’s pre-eminent fashion house, Vakko, and Turkey’s equivalent of MTV, Power Media, planned to design and construct a new headquarters in an extremely tight schedule using an unfinished, abandoned hotel. Fortuitously, the unfinished building had the same plan dimension, floor-to-floor height, and servicing concept as another one of our projects, the Annenberg Center’s 'Ring', which had been cancelled. By adapting the construction documents produced for that project to the abandoned concrete hotel skeleton, construction on the perimeter office block commenced only four days after Vakko/Power first approached our team. This adaptive re-use opened a six-week window during which the more unique portions of the program could be designed simultaneous to construction."
ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers Henderson-Hopkins School Baltimore, MD
From the architects: "The new Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School and The Harry And Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, together called Henderson Hopkins, is the fi rst new Baltimore public school built in 30 years. A cornerstone for the largest redevelopment project in Baltimore, it is envisioned as a catalyst in the revitalization of East Baltimore. The seven-acre campus will house 540 K-8 students and 175 pre-school children."  
WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center Brooklyn, NY
From the architects: "A botanic garden is an unusual kind of museum: a fragile collection constantly in flux. As a constructed natural environment, it is dependent on man-made infrastructures to thrive. New York City’s Brooklyn Botanic Garden contains a wide variety of landscapes organized into discrete settings such as the Japanese Garden, the Cherry Esplanade, the Osborne Garden, the Overlook, and the Cranford Rose Garden. The Botanic Garden exists as an oasis in the city, visually separated from the neighborhood by elevated berms and trees."
WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology Philadelphia, PA
From the architects: "The newly-opened Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology demonstrates the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership in the emerging field of nanotechnology. Nanoscale research is at the core of cutting-edge breakthroughs that transcend disciplinary boundaries of engineering, medicine, and the sciences. The new Center for Nanotechnology contains a rigorous collection of advanced labs, woven together by collaborative public spaces that enable interaction between different fields. The University’s first cross disciplinary building, the Singh Center encourages the exchange and integration of knowledge that characterizes the study of this emerging field and combines the resources of both engineering and the sciences."
Merit Awards  Garrison Architects NYC Emergency Housing Prototype Brooklyn, NY H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center Brooklyn, NY Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects Toroishiku (Marc Jacobs Building) Tokyo, Japan Louise Braverman, Architect Village Health Works Staff Housing Kigutu, Burundi Maryann Thompson Architects Pier Two at Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn, NY OPEN Architecture Garden School Beijing, China PARA-Project Haffenden House Syracuse, NY Skidmore, Owings & Merrill University Center – The New School New York, NY Thomas Phifer and Partners Project: United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City Location: Salt Lake City, UT Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Project: Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts Location: Chicago, IL
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are the winners of the AIA’s 2015 Institute Honor Awards in architecture

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2015 recipients of its Institute Honor Awards, which it describes as “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” This year’s 23 recipients were selected from out of about 500 submissions and will be honored at the AIA’s upcoming National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. That event will be keynoted by former President Bill Clinton. Now onto the winners in the architecture category. 28th Street Apartments; Los Angeles Koning Eizenberg Architecture
From the AIA: The historic YMCA (1926) had been a focus of African-American life in the era of segregation but had fallen into severe disrepair. The design re-establishes the building’s role as a community focus, restores principal spaces for youth training programs, brings existing living quarters in compliance with contemporary standards and adds new housing units. Inventive integration of new building systems released the existing rooftop for outdoor social space that connects and anchors old and new. The new addition is thin and cross-ventilated. It is shaded to the south by a vertical photovoltaic panel array and wrapped to the north with lightweight perforated metal screens that contrast with the heft of the original masonry building.
Brockman Hall for Physics, Rice University; Houston KieranTimberlake
From the AIA:The campus of Rice University is a continuously studied and managed “canvas” that represents an intensive ongoing collaboration between architects, planners, and administrators. Its park-like environment—with live oaks, lawns, walkways, arcades, courtyards, and buildings—comprises a clear and timeless vision. The Brockman Hall for Physics needed to fit within this distinctive setting, to gather together a faculty of physicists and engineers working in as many as five separate buildings, and to house highly sophisticated research facilities carefully isolated from the noise, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations that could destroy experiments.
California Memorial Stadium & Simpson Training Center; Berkeley, California HNTB Architecture; Associate Architect: STUDIOS Architecture
From the AIA: The historic stadium is one of the most beloved and iconic structures on the UC Berkeley campus. The key goals for this project were to restore the stadium’s historic and civic prominence, integrate modern training and amenity spaces, and address severe seismic concerns. By setting the new athlete training facility into the landscape, a new grand 2-acre public plaza for the stadium was created on the roof. A new press box/club crowns the historic wall; its truss-like design acts as a counterpoint to the historic facade.
Cambridge Public Library; Cambridge, Massachusetts William Rawn Associates; Associate Architect: Ann Beha Architects
From the AIA: The Cambridge Public Library has become the civic “Town Common” for a city that celebrates and welcomes its highly diverse community (with over 50 languages spoken in its schools). With its all-glass double-skin curtain wall front facade, the library opens seamlessly out to a major public park. This double-skin curtain wall uses fixed and adjustable technologies to ensure that daylight is infused throughout the interiors and to maximize thermal comfort for the most active patron spaces looking out to the park.
Danish Maritime Museum; Elsinore, Denmark Bjarke Ingels Group
From the AIA: The design solution to the site’s inherent dilemmas was to wrap a subterranean museum around a dry dock like a doughnut, where the hole was the dry dock itself and the centerpiece of the museum’s collection. Three two-level bridges span the dry dock, serving as shortcuts to various sections of the museum. All floors slope gently, so that a visitor continually descends further below the water’s edge to learn about Danish maritime lore. The civil engineering and construction work for the museum were among the most complicated ever undertaken in Denmark.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice; New York City Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
From the AIA: Located in Manhattan, John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s new building provides all the functions of a traditional college campus within the confines of a single city block. SOM’s 625,000-square-foot addition doubles the size of the college’s existing facilities by adding classrooms, laboratories, auditoriums, faculty offices, and social spaces. These functions are arranged within a new 14-story tower and four-story podium topped with an expansive landscaped terrace that serves as an elevated campus commons. A 500-foot-long cascade runs the length of the podium and functions as the social spine of the campus. SOM’s design places a premium on communal and interactive space so that students may enjoy the experiences of a traditional college setting.
Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia WEISS/MANFREDI
From the AIA: Challenging the established model of laboratory buildings, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology is organized around an ascending spiral that hybridizes the tradition of the campus quadrangle with the public promenade. The Center for Nanotechnology twists its laboratories around a central campus green, opening the sciences to the University of Pennsylvania’s landscape while providing a suite of public spaces within the building for cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst scientists. Here, multiple types—courtyard, laboratory loft, ascending gallery—each with their own distinct histories, are grafted together to create a new, but recognizable hybrid.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park; Brooklyn, New York Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
From the AIA: This project restored 26 acres of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 19th century and added a new 75,000-square-foot, year-round skating and recreational facility. In the winter, the facility’s two rinks are open for ice skating, and in the summer one rink converts to roller skating and the other to a large water-play fountain. Clad in rough-hewn gray granite, the new LeFrak Center appears to be large stone retaining walls set in the landscape. Much of the structure is tucked into the land. The L-shaped plan consists of the east and north block, both one-story structures with roof terraces connected by a bridge.
Sant Lespwa, Center of Hope; Outside of Hinche, Haiti Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
From the AIA: The Center of Hope, commissioned by World Vision, is located in a rural region in Haiti and provides support, education, and skill building opportunities. The design process involved the entire community from children to elders. Construction included on-the-job skills training for over 100 residents. The courtyard scheme and breezeway capture prevailing winds while opening expansive views to the mountains beyond. Careful planning for natural ventilation, daylighting, water collection, sewage treatment, and electricity generation resulted in a completely self-sufficient building. The participatory and empathetic process created an uplifting environment that inspires hope.
United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Thomas Phifer and Partners; Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects
From the AIA: The design of the new United States Courthouse in Salt Lake City emanates from a search for a strong, iconic, transparent, and metaphorically egalitarian form to symbolize the American judiciary system. The primary nature of the courthouse’s cubic mass projects grounded dignity, immovable order, and an equal face to all sides. The 400,000-square-foot, 10-story courthouse resides on a landscaped terrace that spans an entire city block, uniting the new and existing federal courthouses as a public-access amenity while fulfilling a required federal security setback from the street.
Wild Turkey Bourbon Visitor Center; Lawrenceburg, Kentucky De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
From the AIA: Located on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, the visitor center is the newest component of recent additions and expansions to the Wild Turkey Distillery Complex, one of seven original member distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 9,140-square-foot facility houses interactive exhibits, a gift shop, event venues, a tasting room, and ancillary support spaces. Utilizing a simple barn silhouette (an interpretation of Kentucky tobacco barns common to the area), the building, clad in a custom chevron pattern of stained wood siding, presents a clear and recognizable marker in the landscape.
Placeholder Alt Text

New York Design Commission Announces Excellence in Design Winners

Winners of the 32nd Annual Awards for Excellence in Design were announced last night at the Thomas Leeser–designed BRIC Arts Media House in Brooklyn’s emerging Cultural District. Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand to honor the winning projects, which were selected by the city’s Design Commission. "While Brooklyn is my home borough, I am proud to be awarding a diverse group of projects representing all five New York City boroughs," the mayor said in a statement. "This year's winners exemplify the Design Commission's mission to enhance every New Yorker's quality of life through public design, regardless of their size or location of the project."  The 10 winning proposals are all unbuilt, but two special recognition awards were awarded to Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s LeFrak Center in Prospect Park and Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. Cornell Tech's First Academic Building According to the New York Design Commission:
Cornell Tech's first academic building establishes an inspiring atmosphere for graduate-level research that will foster interdisciplinary collaboration with shared work areas and flexible learning spaces. The dynamic facade features bronze-colored perforated metal panels with strategic openings to the glass curtain wall beneath to control natural lighting and capture views of Manhattan and Queens. A monumental stair tower extrudes from the main structure above the lobby space to unmistakably mark the entrance along the central pedestrian walkway. The expansive undulating canopy does double duty in shading the roof surface to reduce thermal load and supporting an array of photovoltaic panels. At the ground level, an outdoor cafe offers views south to the central plaza and lawn, which will ultimately form the heart of the campus.
Four Directions from Hunters Point According to the New York Design Commission:
Whether tucked between book shelves, pushing up through the roof deck, or peeking out of the Q in the library's sign, Julianne Swartz's portal lenses serve to engage, orient, and disorient the viewer. Each lens presents a different optical distortion of the vista beyond-capturing a wide angle of the sky, inverting the Manhattan skyline, or multiplying focal points of the library's garden. Taken together, the portals mirror the fundamental purpose of a library, where visitors seek out information, find themselves transported to new realities, and come away with a different perspective.
Sunset Park Playground Reconstruction According to the New York Design Commission:
This sensitive playground reconstruction maximizes play value while respecting the aesthetic established in the 1930s, when Robert Moses included the original playground as part of the Works Progress Administration reconstruction of Sunset Park. Within an enlarged footprint, undulating pathways define the perimeter, separate play spaces by age group, and unite all users at a central spray shower with in-ground jets. By incorporating grade changes, these paths double as play features-challenging children to climb, balance, and explore. The planting palette adds multi-stem trees, shrubs, and groundcovers to complement the mature shade trees and incorporate seasonal interest.
Peace Clock According to the New York Design Commission:
Located across First Avenue from the United Nations headquarters, Lina Viste Grønli's sculpture celebrates the legacy of Trygve Lie, the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Peace Clock is a 17-foot-diameter brass kinetic sculpture that functions abstractly as a clock. Twice a day, the hands of the clock form the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Symbol-more colloquially known as the Peace Sign. Inspired by the history of the UN's formation and Lie's dedication to peace and fundamental human freedom, Grønli's clock stands as a reminder that time is both fleeting and infinite, always offering the opportunity to achieve world peace.
Joseph A. Verdino Jr. Grandstand According to the New York Design Commission:
Since its inception 60 years ago, the South Shore Little League has been a vibrant community institution, enriching the lives of thousands of children. The new grandstand, named in memory of a young player, is formed by a series of glue-laminated bents clad in a perforated metal screen with white painted supergraphics and a standing seam metal roof. With covered seating for 275 spectators, an elevated press box, a conference room, and protected dugouts, this simple yet elegant structure is a home run!
Conference House Park Pavilion According to the New York Design Commission:
Perched at the water's edge, not far from the 17th-century stone Conference House, the pavilion presents a simple yet contemporary complement to the historic structure. Set atop piles to raise it out of the floodplain, the structure forms a light and airy overlook and event space. The pavilion's arched canopy layers translucent fiberglass over naturally moisture-resistant, glue-laminated cedar rafters to maximize natural light while shielding visitors from sun or inclement weather. A series of stone walls set into the upland lawn offers an attractive seating option but also works to control runoff along the slope.
New York Botanical Garden's East Gate Entrance, Edible Academy, and Family Garden According to the New York Design Commission:
The redesign of the east entrance literally bridges the gap from the neighboring community to the Botanical Garden's horticultural collections and programming. Visitors follow a winding path through a verdant slope and cross a domestic hardwood pedestrian bridge over the valley to find the state-of-the-art Edible Academy and Family Garden. Employing simple shed structures, the design showcases sustainable features, including a greenroof system, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling. With classrooms featuring glass hangar doors for easy access to the garden plots and a decked overlook with views of the Bronx River, the Edible Academy and Family Garden promises to be an engaging and bucolic learning space.
Alley Pond Environmental Center According to the New York Design Commission:
Set back from the busy thoroughfare of Northern Boulevard, the environmental center is nestled at the edge of Alley Pond Park. The redesigned center nearly doubles the size of the current facility, enhancing the staff's ability to serve the 50,000 schoolchildren who visit annually. While a glazed brick facade presents a buffer to the road, the classrooms have large windows providing views into the park, and access to an exterior deck. The two facade treatments are unified by a sloped standing-seam metal roof, which folds down to drain water into an adjacent rain garden. By incorporating good environmental building practices, the Center's new home is itself a teaching tool, helping the Center achieve its mission to preserve the city's natural landscape.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR COMPLETED PROJECTS  FDR'S Four Freedoms Park According to the New York Design Commission:
Four Freedoms Park commemorates President Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrates the freedoms articulated in his famous 1941 State of the Union speech: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Designed by Louis I. Kahn, the project was only realized nearly 40 years after his death. The design capitalizes on the island's thin, triangular tip with a tapered lawn extending from the top of a grand entry stair, flanked with allées of littleleaf linden trees. The symmetrical plan focuses the visitor's gaze toward the threshold of an openair room partially enclosed with monumental slabs of granite, which contain an excerpt from Roosevelt's speech. A master statesman and a master architect have, between them, given us a remarkable public space in which to contemplate these four essential freedoms.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside According to the New York Design Commission:
Constructed of rough-hewn granite and cloaked in earthen roofs, the LeFrak Center maintains a respectful low profile within the surrounding landmarked park. The one-story structures are linked with a bridge at roof level and frame an open-air elliptical skating rink and a regulation sized hockey rink. The hockey rink's monumental canopy features a midnight blue ceiling carved with silver shapes inspired by figure skating footwork. In the warmer months, the rinks are thawed out for roller skating, special events, and a water play feature for children. Combined with the restoration of the lakeside landscape, the construction of the LeFrak Center is the most ambitious capital project in Prospect Park since the park was completed in 1867.
Placeholder Alt Text

Brooklyn Dominates 2014 Municipal Art Society MASterworks Awards

For over 120 years, the Municipal Art Society has been an important organization in New York City's efforts to promote a more livable environment and preserve the best of its past. It's successful preservation campaigns and advocacy for better architecture—such as its advocacy to rebuild a better Penn Station—are well known. Now the organization has announced its annual MASterworks Awards, and of the nine buildings selected this year as honorees, many are in Brooklyn, confirming that borough's continuing upgrading evolution. The Weeksville Heritage Center (Caples Jefferson Architects) has won the top honor, “Best New Building,” while “Best Restoration” goes to the Englehardt Addition, Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory (Scott Henson Architect). The “Best Neighborhood Catalyst” award will be given to the BRIC Arts Media House & Urban Glass (LEESER Architecture), and “Best New Urban Amenity” will go to LeFrak Center at Lakeside (Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects). Brooklyn Bridge Park (Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates) will be recognized as “Best Urban Landscape.” Additionally, this year’s MASterworks also recognized two new design categories. “Best Adaptive Reuse” will be awarded to The Queens Museum (Grimshaw Architects) and the NYC DDC Zerega Avenue Emergency Medical Services Building (Smith-Miller Hawkinson Architects) will take home the award for “Best New Infrastructure.” Finally, “Best Green Design Initiative” honors will be given to Edible Schoolyard at P.S. 216 (WORKac) and P.S. 261 School and Community Playground (SiteWorks Landscape Architecture). The MASterworks Awards, recognize projects completed in the preceding year that exemplify excellence in architecture and urban design and make a significant contribution to New York’s built environment.
Placeholder Alt Text

UC Santa Cruz Shortlist Narrowed To Three

The shortlist to design UC Santa Cruz's new Institute of Arts and Sciences has  been narrowed from seven to three teams: Allied Works Architecture, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and Patkau Architects / Fong & Chan Architects. Notable drop-offs include Steven Holl Architects and wHY. Finalists presentations will take place on April 3. The $32-to-40-million, 30,000-square-foot institute will include exhibition galleries, seminar rooms, events spaces, offices, a cafe and public gathering areas. The winner will be named by April 30.