Since Bjarke Ingels graduated from Old Hellerup High School near Copenhagen, he's obviously become a bit of an architectural sensation. But that doesn't mean Ingels is too cool for school, specifically his former high school. In 2013, the architect created an undulating recreation center for the school's central courtyard that has a ribbed, almost cathedral-like wood ceiling. At the courtyard-level, the structure forms a a man-made hill where students can hang out between classes. And that was just the start of it.
As soon as that project was completed, BIG got to work on a two-story addition for the school which just wrapped construction. The new arts building provides a connection between the snazzy recreation center and the school's soccer—er, "football"—fields. BIG said the new space is intended to mesh with its first project, but not copy it. So where the rec center is primarily concrete with some wood finishes, the new building has wooden walls and concrete floors and ceilings.
The building meets the street from underneath the existing fields, which it lifts up by two stories. The building's roof extends the fields, creating a so-called "green carpet for informal activity." The result looks quite similar to Kiss + Cathcart's Bushwick Inlet Park pavilion in Brooklyn.
BIG also proposed a similar trick in its Smithsonian master plan.
“My high-school, formerly introverted and dispersed, has become open and integrated through two focused interventions. Even though each phase is autonomous and complete – their introduction in to the mix has completely reconfigured the sum of the parts," said Ingels in a statement. "Like a catalyst or an enzyme–once inserted–all the surrounding substance transforms into something completely new.”
Since this is the Bjarke Ingels Group, the announcement of the building's completion of course comes with a flashy video (up above). So you can watch as "'free-runner" Bjarke Hellden backflips through the school.
You may remember that at last year's AIA conference in Chicago, YKK AP released a video titled Do The Architect as part of their "I am an Architect" series. Now, with the AIA conference going on in Atlanta, YKK AP has released the next installment. While last year's video was all a mashup of architects dancing, the new video is about how some people just know they are meant to be architects when they grow up.
Earlier this year, AN kicked off its video series with a tour of Philly's Reading Viaduct, an abandoned elevated rail line that advocates hope to transform into a linear park. The project has been talked about for years, but the pace has really picked up over the last few months.
When we visited the site, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Rail Park, Leah Murphy, and the park's designer, Bryan Hanes, said they hoped to break ground on the first phase of the project—the spur—this year. Now, it looks like that is going to happen—possibly as soon as this summer.
In March, the Knight and William Penn foundations announced they would provide $11 million for five shovel-ready park projects around the city, including $1 million for the Reading Viaduct.
Since then, the chances of the project getting underway have solidified even further. PlanPhilly recently reported that Councilman Mark Squilla introduced legislation that would allow the city to purchase the 0.8-acre spur from Philly's transit agency, SEPTA, which currently owns the site. If SEPTA votes to hand over the property, the project will pass a major logistical hurdle.
As for funding, Friends of the Rail Park told PlanPhilly that the group has already raised about 65 percent of the $9 million required for the spur. It is also pursuing a $3.5 million grant from Pennsylvania's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
For more on the history of the Reading Viaduct, and its possible future as an elevated park, check out our video below.
While abandoned storefronts normally signal dereliction, Brooklyn-based design studio Urban Matter Inc. is using them to recreate the '80s arcade experience prior to personal gaming consoles—at least on the pilot test level. The Play Array pop-up storefront activation is a larger-than-life virtual pong game made of a 6-by-8-pixel grid.
Passersby can play the game by using their smartphone to control the “ball” using steering wheel-like maneuvers, hosted on website Playpong.me. The ball’s path is indicated by the lighting up of the interactive LEDs housed in 46 disc-like connected pixels manufactured using a rotomolding process.
Behind each polyethylene pixel are ultra-bright LED neopixels arranged in a 1.5-inch circle. Each horizontal row is embedded with a brain pixel which controls the LEDs in itself and the other seven pixels in the row. The pixels are then affixed to low-budget milk crates and then mounted in the window.
The large-scale participatory game board is currently on display at the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress in Brooklyn. “[Play Array] takes gaming out of our phones and computers and places it in the public venue for people to enjoy, and in turn create conversations and connections,” Urban Matter Inc. wrote on its website.
Developed over six months, the installation focuses more on play and participation instead of the bare-bones game itself, which draws inspiration from the classic Pong video game.
The installation will remain for a number of weeks not only to facilitate unforeseen friendships between players on the street—which Urban Matter’s website nostalgically attributes to the arcades of yesteryear—but to create awareness for urban and citizen science and innovation.
A rambling, gravity-defying structure in Willow, Alaska has drawn a bevy of curious onlookers, who have dubbed it “the Dr. Seuss house.” The structure was built in the aftermath of a forest fire once the trees had regrown, obscuring the owner’s view of nearby Mount McKinley and the Denali National Park.
The previous owner spent a decade adding floors, but when he died abruptly, the tower was abandoned for 10 years. Renovations were then taken over a by a new occupant to add more stories, and the sky-piercing structure now comprises 12 floors that gradually taper in square footage.
The building bears a striking resemblance to the winding, often structurally implausible structures incorporating endless staircases in Theodor Giesel’s fictional town of Whoville, which is rumored to be based on the Massachusetts town of Easthampton, as well as treehouse designs.
The Giesel Library by William Pereira at San Diego State University, almost as much a spectacle as the so-called “Dr. Seuss house,” is named after the legendary storyteller and illustrator himself. The brutalist structure features gravity-defying concrete levels extending from a tapered base.
A few blocks south of City Hall in Manhattan is 5 Beekman—one of New York City’s most intriguing historic landmarks. Behind the building’s brick facade is an ornate, nine-story, glass-pyramid-topped atrium that has been off limits for more than a decade. The Architect's Newspaper took a behind-the-scenes tour of the building with the architect who is bringing it back to life as a boutique hotel.
The Queen Anne–style structure, originally known as Temple Court, was designed by Silliman & Farnsworth and opened as an office building in the late 19th Century. It was one of New York's first tall fireproof buildings and a vanguard of early skyscraper design. But after Temple Court's last tenant left in 2001, the building sat vacant—save for some magazine, film, and TV shoots—for more than a decade.
In 2013, GFI Capital and GB Lodging started turning Temple Court—and its adjacent annex building—into a 287-room boutique hotel that will be known as The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel. It will be joined by the adjacent Beekman Residences, a 68-unit condominium tower. New York–based Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects (GKV) is leading the design of both projects.
The hotel is slated to open near the end of the year and the residences should follow in the first quarter of 2016. Before either project opens its doors, Randy Gerner of GKV gave AN an exclusive look inside.
Philadelphia has become the latest American city to offer a bikeshare system with the introduction of Indego. On Thursday, Mayor Nutter celebrated the long-awaited launch by pedaling around town on one of the system's first 600 bikes. The program will expand significantly over the next two years.
The city is taking advantage of its conspicuously late entrance into bikeshare by offering the most up-to-date equipment and pricing schemes that should make the system more accessible to more people. StreetsBlog was there for the launch and filed a video from Philly's streets about what the light-blue bikes mean for the city. Take a look above.
In addition to being AN's Midwest Editor, I was the special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2014, interviewing tall building designers, developers, and other experts at the skyscraper think tank's Shanghai conference, and its annual CTBUH Awards ceremony in Chicago.
In Chicago I interviewed two of the minds behind the recent overhaul to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City (technically, in an extraterritorial space contiguous with Midtown Manhattan). Michael Adlerstein, of the U.N. Capital Master Plan & John Gering, managing partner of design firm HLW International, discussed the retrofit of the 1953 United Nations Secretariat Building, a finalist in CTBUH's 2014 awards.
“Not many buildings in our time are looking at the exterior window wall and composition with the interior as one system. In many cases they're looking at them as either the exterior or interior,” said Gering. “What we looked to do was blend those two things together, and the end result was a lot of energy savings.”
The handsome glass skyscraper exemplifies midcentury office design, drawing on the expertise of its architects, Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, and Wallace K. Harrison. But its outmoded performance standards left it in need of a serious update. In that sense the project to retrofit the building—which also included firms Heintges & Associates, Gardiner & Theobald, Skanska, and Rolf Jensen & Associates—is a case study for repurposing aging office buildings around the world.
“All buildings need to be considered for recycling because they do incorporate tremendous embodied energy … And not just beautiful buildings and buildings where treaties were signed,” said Adlerstein. “I do feel the preservation movement has to move beyond iconic buildings.”
No, you haven't stepped inside a dream world made of suspended toilet paper tissues. You are, however, inside an ethereal installation crafted by New York–based design studio Snarkitecture and created for the 2015 Salone del Mobile taking place this week in Milan.
Principles Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen crafted this light-filled, monochromatic "cave" for minimalist fashion brand, COS, collaborating with the brand's in-house creative team. The designers were going for an aesthetic of clean lines and ambiguous spaces, and we'd say they achieved those goals. The subtly swaying gradients created by light filtering through strips of fabric create an incredibly peaceful environment appropriate for clearing one's head after a hectic day at Salone.
COS' creative team, headed by Karin Gustafsson and Martin Andersson, chose Snarkitecture for their design approach to "reduction," and the architects' work even influenced COS' Spring and Summer collections. The brand was sympathetic to what Snarkitecture described as "removing anything non-essential and focusing the viewer's experience." And in creating this ethereal cave of light, not even a blouse or pair of trousers can be found on display in the space. "Without the use of our garments, Snarkitecture have perfectly encapsulated the COS aesthetic, creating an installation that is unique in its simplicity and unexpected in its approach," Gustafsson said in a statement.
"The final space has a sense of calmness and wonder that we hope visitors will explore and return to," Arsham and Mustonen said in a statement. "The undulating spaces and the shifting quality of light seem to create a different experience with each visit." And while these views show the space in isolated tranquility, the flurry of visitors through the strips will reveal glimpses and continuously change the experience of the cave.
The installation is on view at Spazio Erbe in the Brera district through April 19—or for those of us without a press pass to Milan, here in video and photographic form.
Scientists at MIT dream of autonomous assembly lines that are free of machinery, human intervention, or fossil fuel expenditure—and still run 24/7.
Researchers at the Self-Assembly Lab recently debuted a chair that assembled itself in a water tank over a period of seven hours. Each of the six component parts is embedded with a magnet and like an enzyme or jigsaw piece, each one has a unique connection point for hooking on to the others, thus dictating the final form.
The assembly process, however, is anything but controlled. Fans at the bottom of the tank generate turbulence in the water, jostling the pieces and encouraging a series of trial-and-error collisions which eventually sees complementary pieces latch onto one another. “At close proximity, each piece should easily connect with its corresponding component but never with another one,” Bailey Zuniga, a student who led the research, told Wired. Self-assembly means finding a balance between randomness and control. One ultimate goal is self-repairing infrastructure, but too much leeway could make it very difficult to achieve a desired final form.
Before vowing to never shell out another extortionate check for furniture delivery and installation, note that the chair is a mere six inches tall. A human-sized chair is in the pipeline as part of the Fluid Assembly Furniture project led by Skylar Tibbit. At present, the team is amassing quantitative data to better understand material properties and why certain shapes work better than others. “Finding a way to make the pieces more interchangeable would increase the chances of the pieces finding their matches,” said Zuniga. Other recent forays into self-assembling modules is the Aerial Assemblies project, in which 36-inch helium-filled balloons with fiberglass frames self-configure into a structural lattice in mid-air.
The comedy geniuses at digital network Above Average have released a glorious sendup of gentrification in New York City's outer boroughs. "Settlers of Brooklyn" (pronounced Brook-LAWN) promises hours of good old-fashioned board-game fun for the next generation of power brokers: millennials.
A fictional update of "Settlers of Catan," "Settlers of Brooklyn" similarly encourages players to civilize Williamsburg and its surrounds by collecting resources and converting them into development—where "development," in the new context, equals upscale, hipster-oriented growth. "In the early 2000s, the land of Brooklyn was virtually uninhabited by young adults with wealthy parents," begins the voiceover. "Your goal is to be the first player to create a fully gentrified colony filled with used record stores, food trucks, and Urban Outfitters."
Every aspect of "Settlers of Brooklyn" is tongue-in-cheek, from the lineup of resources—coffee, bicycles, vinyl, skinny jeans, and kale—to the prizes rewarding players on their way up—condo conversions and intangibles like "longest brunch." Development cards include "loan from Daddy" and "grad school," and a player who rolls the number seven can use the "realtor" piece to displace existing residents "to make room for more colonization." ("I hope they open a gym there," said the player demonstrating the move in the faux-mercial.) The corresponding piece in the original "Catan" is, of course, "the robber."
The winner of "Settlers of Brooklyn"—the first player to 10 points—is "crowned Lena Dunham." Worried the fun stops there? Have no fear; the video promises expansion packs for Harlem and Astoria.
This black-and-white time-lapse video by Toby Harriman shows San Francisco at its most dramatic. The skyline emerges quietly from its famous fog as the city and its bridges twinkle in the distance—including Leo Villareal's Bay Lights installation. As the music builds, Gotham City SF picks up pace, showing dramatic angles at high speeds completely appropriate for an action thriller. You'd have to watch to really understand.
According to filmmaker Toby Harriman:
This idea came from the aether; it emerged over time. Several years ago (2012) while exploring my passion for black and white photography I found myself wandering into a look I call ‘Gotham’...I have collected and edited this footage while juggling my freelance career and time working at Lytro (a new camera technology).
The film's score was created by UK-based James Everingham and serves to heighten the drama of the city. The Gotham City SF logo was designed by David Hultin.