Posts tagged with "Utah":

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Salt Lake City mayor boosts affordable housing with two new initiatives

The mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, recently announced two new initiatives to bolster affordable housing in the city, according to an article in The Salt Lake Tribune. Mayor Jackie Biskupski said that the city will be introducing fee waivers for projects including at least 20 percent affordable housing and that the city is developing new rules that would require affordable housing be replaced when it is redeveloped or demolished. According to a 2018 study cited by the Tribune, housing costs in Utah are rising much faster than wages, and one-eighth of the state's households are spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing. Biskupski, who was elected in 2015, has focused on housing access and renewable energy throughout her tenure. In 2016 she called homelessness a "humanitarian crisis" while announcing four new shelters in the city,  and along with other mayors across the country she has committed to pursuing the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement from which the national government withdrew last year. While cities like New York and San Francisco very visibly struggle with affordable housing and dramatic income inequality, smaller cities and towns across the country are facing their own forms of housing crises, albeit on smaller scales. A 2017 study by the Urban Institute found that every county in the country lacked enough housing for extremely-low income households.
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BIG to design Utah’s new Kimball Art Center

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is getting another crack at designing the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. After two unsuccessful attempts at renovating the art center’s historically-sensitive current home in 2011, BIG has now been tapped to design the organization’s new permanent home. BIG had originally proposed two schemes for the art center’s former location on Main Street. Both designs heavily referenced the city’s mining past and resembled different configurations of wooden railroad trestles (albeit with a much more subdued direction for the second plan). After both expansion schemes were rejected by City Hall as being too out of context for the historic neighborhood, the art center left its former home and has been without a permanent location ever since. Now the organization is eyeing a home in Park City’s new arts and culture district, which comes with a much less restrictive set of zoning regulations. The district is being created whole cloth by City Hall and has locked down Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute as their first tenants. “We are thrilled to be partnering with both the City and BIG on this project,” said Kimball Art Center’s executive director Jory Macomber. “After committing to becoming an anchor tenant in the future arts and culture district, we needed to select an architect that would help us design our new building while staying true to our mission — to inspire and connect through art.” BIG’s selection is just the first step on the art center’s journey to a new and improved facility. Kimball still has to negotiate ownership of their potential plot with the city, plan the building’s programmatic elements, and conduct community outreach with residents. If everything goes as planned, the new Kimball Art Center should open its doors in 2022.
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Precast concrete and plaster find coherence in Cedar City Southern Utah Museum of Art

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“When you look around the building, it’s more about what you don’t see than what you do,” Larry Scarpa, founding partner of Brooks + Scarpa, said of the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) in Cedar City, Utah. The museum has no back facade and as such, the traditional mechanical requirements were approached intentionally to create the appearance of a smooth, unbroken surface. Located within the facade are many seamless concealed doors, masking the mechanical requirements. One precast panel on the east facade, facing the sculpture garden, swings out to reveal the mechanical room behind it. All of the lights in the plaster soffit are trim-less and appear more as apertures than additive elements.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer TAKTL (concrete panels), BASWA (acoustic plaster), Harper Precast (precast concrete)
  • Architects Brooks + Scarpa (Design Architect), Blalock & Partners Architectural Design Studio (Local Architect)
  • Facade Installer Southam and Associates (concrete panels), Houghton Plaster (acoustic plaster)
  • Facade Consultants Van Boerum and Frank Associates (building envelope consultant)
  • Location Cedar City, Utah
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Concrete panel wall system, acoustic plaster soffit
  • Products TAKTL Architectural Ultra High Performance Concrete, BASWA acoustic sound absorbing plaster
The nearby sandstone landscape inspired the architecture, where the primary gesture of the roof echoes the geometry of a slot canyon. Brooks + Scarpa used this natural formation to generate a form that sheds water in the same way a canyon would shed water. They worked through several iterations and combined a slope analysis alongside a structural analysis to arrive at a final form that had the proper slope drainage and was optimally constructed. Rainwater and snowmelt follow the roof slope toward one of two slots on the east and west faces of the building. At the culmination of these two channels, where the channel meets the exterior walls, is a custom-fabricated precast concrete scupper that directs the water into a below-grade retention basin. The entire perimeter of the building is clad in five-eighths-inch thick precast concrete panels by Taktl in an open-jointed system. Everything behind the concrete is waterproofed and the rail mounting system is open to the air. The concrete panels hang with a consistent gap-joint to allow  for movement and expansion. Additionally there is a subtle curvature to the east and west facades that is not noticeable but, was detailed as a faceted curve to maximize the amount of flat, standardized panels. There were a few moments that called for a custom fabricated panel, namely one corner which has a filleted corner at the transition between two facades. The soffit of the building is constructed out of an acoustical plaster and fabricated in the field. The complex curvature of the soffit required intricate detailing of the x,y, and z coordinates to be constructed accurately. Following the lead of the exterior facade, the plaster expansion joints continue the lines between each panel. Initially, Brooks + Scarpa wanted to achieve a seamless transition between wall and roof. However, when they discovered this wasn’t possible they were forced to consider different options. Their solution was a quarter-inch flat aluminum channel that runs over both the TAKTL panels and the precast scupper to create a consistent cap where the wall meets the roof. There is a one-inch gap between the aluminum and the panels, however, the aluminum runs flat over the concrete scuppers. Conversely, where the concrete meets the plaster soffit, the plaster is held back the same one-inch dimension of the panels in a reveal. At the base of the facade, the concrete panels and acoustic plaster are held off from the ground in a similar dimension.
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Utah museum by Brooks + Scarpa echoes the surrounding desert landscape

Cedar City, Utah—about two and a half hours northeast of Las Vegas and three hours south of Salt Lake City—is a diamond in the rough. Or in this case, in the mountains. It’s surrounded by peaks and foothills and is in close proximity to a staggering array of national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Therefore, Brooks + Scarpa wanted to incorporate the timeless, yet eroded look and feel of these landscapes into its new building, the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA)—the newest piece of Southern Utah University’s Beverly Taylor Sorensen Center for the Arts campus. The vivid, white, 28,000-square-foot building, clad on its flanks with textured, ribbed concrete panels, indeed resembles many of these carved-out formations. Its most noticeable element is the sculpted roof that features a 120-foot cantilever protecting the museum’s 20-foot-tall west-facing glass curtain wall from solar gain and glare. It also creates a covered social and event space underneath. The underside of the roof is a continuation of the plaster surfaces inside the museum. “I wanted to make the museum’s interior available to people outside without going in,” noted Brooks + Scarpa principal Larry Scarpa, who calls the single ply roof, visible from almost anywhere around the museum, the museum’s “fifth facade.” The roof also collects snow and rainwater, pitching and bending into a canyonlike formation that funnels water and snow melt, without any drains, into concealed wells at the base of the structure, where they are collected and recharged back into the aquifer. The museum’s interior consists of a large, open orthogonal gallery space that can be easily divided via freestanding partitions. These will host traveling exhibitions, student and faculty shows, artists, and a permanent collection of landscape-inspired work by local painter Jim Jones. Smaller spaces edging this core include a large classroom, offices, and back of-house storage. One hundred percent high-efficiency LED lighting, green materials, drought-tolerant plantings, and a trigeneration system to create heat, electricity, and cooling in one process, all contribute to energy conservation. Brooks + Scarpa, along with landscape architects Coen+Partners, carried out the revised master plan for the five-and-a-half-acre, $39.1 million Sorensen Center for the Arts, which includes sculpture gardens, parks, a tree-filled allé, and exterior spaces for live performance and public use. Its buildings include the Engelstad Shakespeare Theater, the Randall L. Jones Theater, the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theater, and an artistic and production facility. “We wanted the facilities to have their own identities, but still work together as a single complex,” explained Scarpa.
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Brooks + Scarpa’s Southern Utah Museum of Art opens

Anchoring the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts campus in Cedar City, Utah, Brooks + Scarpa’s Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) has opened to the public. The L.A.-based architects drew from the surrounding sandstone canyons of Mount Zion National Park for inspiration when designing the dramatically dipped roof and arched overhangs for the 28,000-thousand square-foot institution. Shaped like a canyon cutaway section, SUMA’s roof naturally funnels rain and snow out of the openings and into hidden wells, where the runoff returns to the aquifer below. The museum's facade is also clad in ridged, undulating panels that recall the texture of a sheer cliff face, while the smooth, sheltering underside is similar to rock that’s been worn away by erosion. Cantilevering out up to 120 feet on the west side of the building, the roof creates 6,000 square feet of lit public event space that eases the transition between the indoor and outdoor areas. Besides fostering outdoor social interaction, these extensions shade the interior of the museum and allowed large windows to be installed without exposing any of the artwork to direct sunlight. Because of this solar shading, the museum uses 30 percent less electricity than a comparably sized building. Inside, the museum is using what Brooks + Scarpa has called a “trigeneration” process that integrates heating, cooling, and electricity into a single system. Through the use of radiant heating and a ground-level air supply, the system acts as a natural heat pump that diffuses hot and cold air throughout the building as needed. Speaking to Interior Design, Lawrence Scarpa described how his studio approached the project from a context-first standpoint. "I had never been to Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park before being hired to design the Southern Utah Museum of Art in Cedar City, and the slot canyons were pretty stunning,” said Scarpa. “The way you get in and out of the parks, in fact, is through the canyons, and they reminded me of my design process. A bit like water that seeks its own path, eroding the stone, I start with a general idea, not really knowing where it’s going to take me,” he added. The winner of an AIA LA 2017 Citation Award, SUMA will host contemporary and modern visual art from across southern Utah and the surrounding Colorado Plateau. By integrating performance spaces, classrooms and hands-on conservation training for MFA students and faculty at Southern Utah University, the museum will also become a powerful tool for the local community.
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International collection of firms enlisted to create visionary, 10,000-acre modern ski community in Utah

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

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

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

The community is called Summit Powder Mountain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Salt Lake City might add buildings in the medians of its extra-wide streets

Over the course of four years, the Granary District of Salt Lake City has been trialling "median development" whereby pop-up shows, stands, and other forms of temporary architecture exist literally in the middle of the street. Now, James Alfandre, director of the Kentlands Initiative, proposes something more concrete. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSXH_EEz144 To say Salt Lake City's roads are incredibly wide is an understatement. Initially, this width was derived from former Mormon Governor of the Utah territory who stipulated that a team of oxen and their cart should be able to turn around in the street. In fact, this phenomena is particularly prevalent in many Mormon cities in the United States. However, what was relevant and functional in centuries past is not so today. The width of the roads in a modern city is now an inefficient use of space and in Alfandre's eyes, an opportunity for entrepreneurship. https://vimeo.com/139990231 Building on the success of the trials that saw the streets be transformed into vibrant areas of social interaction, with the space being used for performances and predominantly as a gathering location, Alfandre now proposes a more long term solution. Median development in this respect would shrink the size of the street, dividing space between pedestrians and vehicles as outlined in the diagram above. In the trials, median development gave rise to shipping containers to form "Granary Row" (seen in the video's above). Using this template, the Kentland's Initiative is working with the city to lease the median for 99 years, allowing them to build permanent structures and even housing. Crucially, the median is already under city ownership, meaning that residential space be procured essentially for free. This can then either be sold as a profit or used for low income housing. Alfondre says, "In essence you’d be taking land that was once allocated to cars—or oxen and carts, if you will—and giving it back to the people."
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What’s a protected bike intersection? Salt Lake City would like to show you with the nation’s first installation

Let’s be honest, if you were asked to guess which American city is getting the country’s most advanced piece of bike infrastructure, you would say San Francisco, Portland, or maybe even Pittsburgh. A handful of you might point to Chicago or New York, but very few—if any—of you would go with Salt Lake City, Utah. https://vimeo.com/86721046 But lo and behold that is exactly where America’s first protected bike intersection is set to take shape. The idea behind the protected bike intersection is to extend the security cyclists have in a protected bike lane all the way through an intersection where traffic buffers typically disappear. In a popular video about the bike-friendly intersection (above), Nick Falbo, a senior planner at the Portland-based Alta Planning + Design, explains, "a collection of design elements makes left turns simple and secure, right turns protected and fast, and provide straight through movements that minimize or illuminate conflicts from turning cars." So, why is the first such intersection arriving in a city not typically known for innovative bike infrastructure? Well, the city was looking for a seamless way to connect an upcoming protected bike lane with one that already exists and the protected intersection was the best way to do that. “We looked at the entire range of possibilities, and this just made so much sense,” Salt Lake City’s transportation director Robin Hutcheson told CityLab. “We know that ‘protected’ is what people are asking for. It creates safety and comfort. We have the space. It solves some of our parking issues. We’re able to do so much with this one design.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=11&v=gCNJPOYg8G4 Construction is slated to start on the project this summer and last two months. [h/t Streetsblog]
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This year’s architecturally inspired films at the 2015 Slamdance and Sundance film festivals

This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you. https://vimeo.com/117273601 Concrete Love. Gottfried Böhm, the only German architect ever to be lauded with a Pritzker Prize (1986) is part of a long line of architects, from his grandfather, father, wife, and three of his four sons. The film’s title refers not only to the Brutalist architecture he favored, but also the love between husband and wife, father and children. Concrete is a shape shifter, a malleable liquid that takes the form of its mold—an apt metaphor. The filmmaking is a sensitive, knowing guide that is as reflective of the creative process as the architectural work itself. A model film which won this year’s Goethe Documentary Film Prize where the jury noted “the film tells a multi-layered tale of love, the passion for architecture and four generations of German history. With sensitive observations, intimate interviews and stirring filmic explorations of an extraordinary architectural legacy, the film creates a lasting impression of the buildings and the people.” Chinese Mayor. This is a rare look at the inner workings of a Chinese city that is remaking itself under an ambitious mayor, Geng Tanbo, who permitted a film crew to follow him around for three years. His goal is to transform China’s coal capital, Datong, population 3.4 million, into a city of culture by rebuilding the structures of its heyday 1,600 years ago including city walls with museums inside, and grottos with Buddhist sculpture and murals—all without residents. He states that Datong can be a new Paris or Rome. This necessitates tearing down much of the existing city and relocating 30 percent of the population or a half million residents, giving the mayor the nickname “Demolition Geng” or “Geng Smash-Smash.” There is not an architect or planner in sight. One of the more interesting meetings takes place with a large group of other Chinese mayors and party secretaries who are all rebuilding their cities into cultural meccas (it is worth noting that mayors are appointed, not elected). Geng deals with corruption (a shady developer made off with $12 million), incompetence (sewer pipes too narrow), shoddy work (paving without cement), delays (hospitals and roads are way behind schedule) until he is suddenly removed from office and transferred to another city, leaving 125 construction projects in Datong halted indefinitely. 99 Homes. Against the backdrop of the 2008 housing foreclosure crisis, a hard-working and honest man (Michael Shannon), cannot save his family home. A real estate shark throws him a lifeline—an offer to join his crew and put others through the same harrowing ordeal of throwing families onto the street that he experienced in order to earn back his home. A portrait of a man whose integrity has become ensnared in this recent American meltdown. The Wolfpack. Locked away from society in public housing on the Lower East Side, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch, which they re-enact with homemade props and costumes. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. A claustrophobic environment explodes. Forbidden Room. Guy Maddin’s familiar art-house filmmaking takes the locales of “forbidden” spaces—bathrooms, submarines, volcano, caves, elevators and gets lost in non-linear, episodic, absurdist storylines. An ode to the silent movie era, the visuals, sound and story are layered, while color schemes morph into one another. The Nightmare. Following his exploration of the hotel that inspired Kubrick’s The Shining, director Rodney Ascher now investigates the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, the trap between the sleeping and waking worlds. Eerie dramatizations of what the subjects see are created in an architectural moodscape. New Frontier exhibition, Dérive. In this installation, in the distance, you see a city glistening in the dark. The closer you get to it, the larger the city grows until it engulfs you in its presence. This interactive projection is driven by the viewer’s body motions to explore 3-D reconstructions of urban and natural spaces that are being transformed according to live environmental data, including meteorological and astronomical phenomena. Station to Station. Visual artist Doug Aitken embarked on a nomadic experiment of art creation, exhibition and participation in summer 2013 (see AN coverage of its launch from Williamsburg). Station to Station chronicles a train that crossed North America over 24 days making 10 stops, with a rotating roster of artists, musicians, and curators, who collaborated in the creation of recordings, artworks, films, yurts and happenings, across the country. Comprised of 61 individual one-minute films that form a high-speed trip through today’s culture. Films/Media Directors: 99 Homes, Ramin Bahrani Chinese Mayor,Hao Zhou Concrete Love, Maurizius Staerkle Drux Dérive, François Quévillon Forbidden Room, Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson The Nightmare, Rodney Ascher Station to Station, Doug Aitken The Wolfpack, Crystal Moselle
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This 400-foot-high hammock in the Moab Desert is a mid-air playground for climbers in Utah

A hammock suspended 400 feet above ground in Utah's Moab Desert has become an aerial playground for the professional base jumpers and highliners who flock to the canyons every year. https://vimeo.com/114147105 Satirically named the “Mothership Space Net Penthouse,” the approximately 2,000 square foot hammock was wrought by climber Andy Lewis with the help of 50 base jumpers using basic rope weaving techniques. Airspace being so vast, the climbers used to embark on their respective adventures while rarely rubbing elbows. Lewis’ pentagon-shaped net was hence conceived as a high flyer’s executive club, to borrow his sarcasm, and is now a mid-air hub for socializing, rest, and play. Base jumpers leap daily from the man-sized hole in the center of the hammock, while highliners attempt to tightrope-walk across the five legs of the net, some of which span 262 feet. Overhead, paragliders fly by while dropping wing-suit pilots from high above. In 2012, Lewis created a three-sided “Space Thong” (below) with a similar design but comparatively smaller, to bring together climbers who had come from all over the world to partake in the annual GGBY Highline Gathering (an unofficial gathering of slackliners from all over North America) and the Turkey Boogie, a Thanksgiving get-together for base jumpers.
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Amangiri Resort blends with Utah’s dramatic desert landscapes for one luxurious getaway

One of hospitality’s hottest hideaways is located—where else—on barren desert land solely accessible via a treacherously winding road. Booked to nearly full capacity for the first two years of operation, the Amangiri resort is nestled in a desert region called the “Four Corners,” where the borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona converge. The resort was crafted by architects and designers Wendell Burnette, Marwan Al-Sayed, and Rick Joy, and guest rooms overlook a sea of sand billows, presenting unhindered views of the Stud Horse Point of the Glen Canyon to the majestic Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. A bird’s-eye-view of the estate hints at an unimpressive, boxy encampment, but staying in this luxury enclave will set you back $1,100 a night for a desert-view suite and $3,600 for the Amangiri Suite. Designed to blend into the surrounding monoliths, the building features natural materials and textures, with a concrete facade subtly tinted pink, ocher, and light yellow to soften the building’s profile. The pavilion and main pool (which is heated to more than 80 degrees at all times) are configured around a dramatic stone escarpment which is more than 150 million years old. Adjacent to it is a communal great room with four fireplace niches, which serves as a reception area, dining room, gallery, library, and living room—as well as an optimal vantage point for drinking in the sunset. Two accommodation wings stem from the pavilion—the Desert Wing contains 16 suites, with 18 suites and the Aman Spa located in the Mesa Wing. In designing the building the architects deferred to the geometry of the looming cliffs, often slanting walls towards each other to provide slot canon views of the desert and mesa. Desert-dwelling pastimes touted by the resort include hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, equestrian excursions, hikes, and day trips to Lake Powell. The luxury resort is the brainchild of Singapore-based company Aman Resorts, which specializes in developing small, exclusive properties in locations that stray from the beaten path. [h/t Fubiz.]
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Red-Rock-Inspired Headquarters by ajc

Earth-toned GFRC panels and contrasting metal wrap Petzl's new North American hub.

When Petzl executives decided to move the climbing and caving equipment company's North American headquarters from Clearfield to West Valley City, Utah, they sought an opportunity not just to expand, but to design a facility that would reflect the brand's mission. "The two words we kept hearing from them were verticality and light," recalled ajc architects founding principal Jill A. Jones. "The types of products they design really have to deal with the vertical world." Working with a southwestern palette inspired by Petzl corporation founder and president Paul Petzl's recent visits to Mesa Verde National Park and Machu Picchu, the architects designed a combination administrative, training, and distribution center whose mesa-like bottom stories and punctuating tower appear as if carved out of desert rock.
  • Facade Manufacturer Tuscan Stoneworx (GFRC), Drexel Metals (metal), Cornerstone Concrete (concrete), B&D Glass (glazing and curtain wall)
  • Architects ajc architects
  • Facade Installer Tuscan Stoneworx (GFRC), Superior Roofing (metal), Sahara (general contractor)
  • Location West Valley City, UT
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System hybrid stone-backed GFRC panels, metal panels, tilt-up concrete
  • Products custom GFRC panels from Tuscan Stoneworx, Drexel Metals DMC panels, tilt-up concrete by Cornerstone Concrete
Given Paul Petzl's interest in the continent's arid landscapes, natural stone cladding would have seemed an obvious choice. But "to use stone would have been terribly expensive," said Jones—especially given the building's size, 80,000 gross square feet. "Getting a lot of stone in those larger panels would have been cost-prohibitive." Instead, the architects looked to GFRC, and worked with Tuscan Stoneworx's Dave Nicholson to develop a hybrid system of stone-backed GFRC panels. Rather than being hung on the building, the panels are adhered directly to it, thus avoiding any breaks in the thermal barrier. To perfect the look of the GFRC, the architects did no less than a dozen color studies before selecting three red-orange tones for application. The panels were sandblasted on site to render the color and texture more naturalistic. Nicholson helped ajc customize every aspect of the panel system, from color and texture to corner installation. "I don't know if he'll ever do that again," remarked Jones. The designers clad the tower and a bump-out over the front door in dark grey metal from Drexel Metals. "The tower itself was a sensitive area, because Petzl did something similar in their home headquarters in Crolles, France," said Jones. "It kind of felt dark and cold; we wanted to bring a lot of daylight into the space." The architects performed a series of daylighting studies, "to make sure we had daylighting opportunities in every occupied space." This led to the installation of high-performance glass on both sides of the office block to avoid glare. For the warehouse area, ajc chose tilt-up concrete. But as with the GFRC, achieving a natural look took some ingenuity. "We wanted not to paint the concrete, to get a more organic look," said Jones. "But staining the concrete was a challenge, because the form liners leave a natural coating on the panels." Contractor Sahara experimented with various solutions once the panels were in place to find a stain that the concrete would accept. Petzl's new North American headquarters is a fitting base camp for a company committed to pushing the limits of human exploration. Both inside and out—from its window-lit multi-story indoor climbing and training wall to its human-made, red-rock-inspired envelope—the building embodies a balance between reverence for the natural world, and celebration of the technology that makes that world a little more knowable.