Posts tagged with "Washington D.C.":

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Hickok Cole and Facades+ will spotlight D.C. architectural design and technology

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As the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., is home to a thriving architectural culture, grounded in both historic and contemporary design. The upcoming Facades+ AM conference on February 20 will provide a forum for the city's design community to dive into the intricacies of some of the region's most significant architectural projects. The conference is co-chaired by Hickok Cole, a local firm with a significant body of work within the capital and across the country. Participating firms include the Center for the Built Environment, Front Inc., Heintges, REX, Steven Holl Architects, Thomas Phifer and Partners, Tishman Speyer, and Transsolar. Prior to the conference, AN sat down with Hickok Cole associate principal and co-chair Elba Morales, and director of sustainable design Holly Lennihan, to discuss the firm's ongoing projects and the programming of the morning symposium. AN: Over the last few months, Hickok Cole has guided the curation of Facades+ Washington D.C. What aspects of the capital's design culture do you hope are captured in the three panels, and what lessons do you hope are learned?  Elba Morales: As the Nation’s capital, DC is at the center of the news cycle spotlight. We say that national news is our local news because it unfolds blocks away from where we live and work. We understand that decisions at the federal level have a huge impact on our everyday lives. Because federal buildings—traditionally in light stone and with a monumental, institutional quality—dominate how DC is perceived architecturally, there is a misconception that the city’s new architecture is either stylistically undifferentiated from the traditional or is restrained. And the reality is that there are very interesting and forward-thinking buildings being built here, right now. There is a wide range of materials, scale, and placemaking power in a good number of buildings recently completed. We have very exciting and technically daring glass facades in the pleated glass veil of The International Spy Museum and in the fluted curved glass facade of 2050 M Street for example, which we’ll discuss in our first panel “Curved and Pleated”. On our second panel “Placemaking and Monumentality” we will feature two new civic buildings defined by their sculptural quality made possible by the use of solid facades. These buildings claim their place as objects in the landscape. The REACH at The Kennedy Center does so in an urban setting, while Glenstone emerges out of its pastoral setting. Both usher in a new contemporary monumentality that makes the case for classic modern and minimal architecture. And as a result of Mayor Bowser’s mandate, with the Clean Energy Act DC, we will transition to run on 100% renewable power and reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2032. This will require efficient and sophisticated facades that respond to the orientation and positively contribute to the overall energy efficiency of the building. In our “High-Performance Facades” panel, we will discuss case studies and assemblies that will be relevant to this effort of melding climate change mitigation goals with stunning architectural design. The convergence of these challenges and potential will inspire our planners, architects, engineers, and owners to keep elevating the quality of the architecture we produce. One panel, "Curved and Pleated: Advanced Applications of Glass," will feature the International Spy Museum. Which aspect of the project are you most excited to dive into, especially in juxtaposition to the second case study of the panel, 2050 M Street? We are thrilled that our first panel will feature two of the most daring and tectonically unique glass buildings in the city, The International Spy Museum and 2050 M Street. Hickok Cole is very excited to have partnered with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to collaborate on The International Spy Museum, because of its impactful architecture and the transformation of L’Enfant Plaza and 10th Street. The facade—designed by RSHP—draws inspiration from espionage by “hiding in plain sight” the program. The exhibit space is surrounded by an angled “black box” which is in turn, layered with an oversized pleated glass veil, supported by red fins and cantilevered over public space. The strong urban move creates a landmark at the peak of 10th Street that is visible from the National Mall. Internally, the veil houses the atrium and a grand staircase that connects the exhibits. As Architect of Record, we want to share the complexity of this feature facade, its tectonics, detailing, procurement, and construction to give the audience a sense of what it takes to follow through on a vision this bold. In parallel, we want to discuss with Tishman Speyer, REX, and Front, the stunning curved glass facade of 2050 M Street. This new office building features oversized, floor-to-floor, concave glass panels that take advantage of the structural properties of curved glass in compression to eliminate the vertical mullions typical in office building facades. The form of the glass panels—as well as the coatings— create an unusual pattern of transparency and modulated reflections that articulate the overall form. We are delighted to gain insights from the perspective of the client, the architect, and the facade consultant. The capital is no stranger to monumental design. From your perspective, what role does opacity place in the poignancy of The REACH and the Glenstone Museum? The most evident quality of opaque facades is the way in which the material itself reacts to natural light, the way it registers sunlight and shadows distinctly throughout the day and the nuances of the seasons. Opaque facades can convey weight and solidity, plasticity and sculptural qualities, scale, and monumentality, that afford them strong placemaking potential. The weathering of solid, opaque materials is distinct and specific. Natural forces continuously add architectural meaning and register the passage of time. And even though both of these buildings sit within—and relate to—the landscape differently, the openings in their facades frame views deliberately. The materiality, the sculptural qualities, and the solid to void interplay create a new kind of monumentality in the city, one that is minimalist and classically modern. We are thrilled to be able to hear from the designers at Steven Holl Architects and Thomas Phifer and Partners, as well as from Heintges, the facade consultant at Glenstone. Washington D.C.'s city council recently passed a stringent clean energy act. What techniques and methodologies is Hickok Cole practicing to meet the code, and how do you perceive Transsolar and the Center for the Built Environment's participation in the third panel, "High-Performance Facades and Materials Research" informing the processes of local firms? Holly Lennihan: There are several significant changes in Hickok Cole’s design process due to the experience of working on the American Geophysical Union headquarters renovation to Net Zero Energy. First, we now insist that the full engineering team start concurrently with the design team. This early participation is furthered by staging a conceptual design charrette that lays out the potential strategies to achieve net-zero energy. Second, we seek partners that are willing to undertake new technologies. One example is when we considered heated mullions for a glass facade. A D.C. colleague put us in touch with a New York City-based engineer and a fantastically useful conference call ensued. The facade was detailed and evaluated; ultimately the system worked better on a colder environment than in our region. Third, we connect with universities that host research around the built environment. We collaborated on a graduate-level course for the University of Oregon’s Institute for Health in the Built Environment master’s program and we participate in monthly calls to discuss their diverse research projects. We are part of the University of Washington’s Embodied Carbon Network because we know that carbon will soon play a bigger role in how we think about the materials that go in our buildings. Locally, we have partnered with George Mason University’s Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship on grant funding for cross-laminated timber research and indoor air quality studies. Transsolar conveys a certainty that design and engineering should produce elegant, effective, smart, and cost-effective solutions. We believe that their projects will provide enlightening information and show their dedication to doing work that goes beyond ‘building-as-usual’ and will energize the audience to aspire to do better work in the DMV. The Center for the Built Environment plays a key role in providing practitioners data and in-depth analysis of building components, especially facades. Their rigorous and unbiased look at high-performance case studies creates a means for architects to adopt groundbreaking facade systems knowing the benefits and challenges. This information is also useful for owners, developers, and end-users. We hope that in the future, case studies from DC will make their way to the Center for review! Further information regarding the speakers and websites is found on the conference website.
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Maryland towns band together to fight high-speed rail route

As plans move forward for a high-speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., an increasing number of small towns are banding together to fight the railway, which spans 40 miles and would provide service between two major business districts in 15 minutes. The towns are scattered across Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties in the direct path of maglev project construction. The Baltimore–D.C. segment is the first step in a proposal to eventually provide high-speed rail service between Washington and New York. Pushback has increased as the 20-year planning phase of the project has moved to its next steps: An environmental impact statement draft is expected in early 2020, according to The Washington Post. Although the train will run 75 percent underground at depths of 80- to-200 feet, residents between the two cities would bear the brunt of the construction, in close proximity to their homes without much payoff in return—the train, which stops only in Washington, Baltimore, and at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, would be of little use to those living in these small communities. Residents of Greenbelt, Maryland, have been some of the most vocal opponents of the project and formally denounced the proposal for the high-speed train two years ago. Now, the city of 23,000 is requesting legal counsel to aid its effort to halt the maglev route, sparking a debate over NIMBY mentality and the grassroots efforts to protect communities. Amanda Kolson Hurley, a journalist on urbanism who profiled Greenbelt’s history in her book, Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City, offered insight via Twitter: “We really screwed up by not building more subway & light-rail lines already. Greenbelt residents are not wrong to say they will bear the inconvenience while the main benefits go to DC and Baltimore… Greenbelt got carved up by the BW Parkway & Beltway, so there’s a history of being imposed on by big transpo projects.” Support for the high-speed rail project, however, comes from its potential to ease regional traffic congestion and create thousands of jobs. The railway is backed by Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan, and impact studies were aided by a $28 million federal grant. Pending the release of the environmental impact report and final approval, construction could begin as soon as next year.
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National Building Museum teams with the Folger Shakespeare Library for 2020 Block Party

The Washington, D.C.-based National Building Museum is shaking things up for its 2020 Block Party, a rambunctious summer-long exhibition that converts the museum’s great hall into an interactive installation. While the National Building Museum has traditionally commissioned architecture firms to head up Block Party (see last year’s Lawn from Rockwell Group or the mini Snarkitecture retrospective in 2018), today they announced the museum had instead chosen the Folger Shakespeare Library and University of South Carolina to realize Shakespeare’s Playhouse for the exhibition’s seventh outing later this year. From July 4 through September 7, visitors can experience an “Elizabethan-inspired” outdoor theater set within the great hall. More than just an exploration of how architecture and stage design converge, Shakespeare’s Playhouse will become a fully functional stage at night and host showings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Tuesday through Sunday until August 30. The Folger Shakespeare Library is one of the world’s largest Shakespeare and most-visited Shakespeare collections, and hosts exhibitions and shows both at home in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Beginning yesterday, January 6, the institution began a multi-year renovation and expansion of the 1932, Paul Cret-designed building that it calls home. “This colorful, portable, and freestanding theater,” said Robert Richmond, who will be directing the construction of Shakespeare’s Playhouse, “the installation provides a perfect platform for entering this dream of a play, where real and imagined worlds blend. Bringing favorite Folger actors and artistic team members to undertake this theatrical adventure is the extraordinary beginning of partnerships and performances off-site during the Folger’s renovation.” While no design details have been released as of yet, AN will follow up when images are revealed in the spring.
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Will this airport engineer be the next Architect of the Capitol?

On Monday, President Trump announced J. Brett Blanton as his nomination for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC).  Blanton is currently the deputy vice president for engineering at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority where he leads the planning, design, construction, and code enforcement for all properties controlled by the Airports Authority. While in the United States Navy he also oversaw “some of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken by the Department of the Navy,” according to the Whitehouse’s website All that said, Blanton is a licensed engineer (in the state of Georgia) but is not a licensed or practicing architect. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, followed by a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  If confirmed by the United States Senate, Blanton will serve a 10-year term and will be put in charge of maintaining the 18.4 million square foot Capitol complex, which includes Washington, D.C., landmarks such as the Library of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court building and Senate and House office buildings.  The previous AOC, Stephen T. Ayers, served from 2010 through November 2018 and oversaw the restoration of the U.S. Capitol Dome and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial. He also launched the renewal of the Cannon House Office Building, a monumental, five-phase project that Blanton would take over during his term. Ayers completed his Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Maryland and received his Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, as well as an honorary Doctor of Public Design from the Boston Architectural College in recognition of his work in historic preservation.  According to Engineering News-Record, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee will have a scheduled confirmation hearing for Blanton on December 12.
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2019 Best of Design Awards winners for Young Architects

2019 Best of Design Award for Young Architects: bld.us Location: Washington D.C. bld.us was founded by Jack Becker and Andrew Linn to make healthy buildings in the mid-Atlantic region that pay tribute to their context and gain integrity as they age. Based in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., bld.us looks for opportunities in economies of scale, of scope, of density, of means, and of materials. As in Grass House, above (and profiled on AN Interior), the firm integrates traditional construction methods with new technologies and organic materials ideally suited to the region—like wood, bark, cork, wool, mycelium, willow, hemp, and bamboo—to create an architecture of accommodation.
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SHoP Architects reveals an urban farm and wellness space for D.C.’s Ward 8

SHoP Architects has revealed plans for a new urban farm in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8. Spearheaded by local organization DC Greens, The Well at Oxon Run will cover 50,000 square feet of land next to the Oxon Run tributary in an underserved part of the nation's capital city known as Anacostia.  According to D.C. blog Urban Turf, residents in the area have a drastically lower life-expectancy rate due to diet-related chronic illnesses than people living in Northeast D.C. Poor access to quality, healthy food is a major source of strain for locals south of the Anacostia River. In an effort to combat this, The Well will grow over 150 varieties of fresh produce, herbs, and edible flowers while also housing space for events, programming, and a farmers market. DC Greens noted in a tweet that a youth classroom will also be built, and local art will be incorporated on-site.  Due to its location in a highly urbanized part of D.C.’s southeastern quadrant, the project will help beautify and activate a blighted piece of landscape next to the long-polluted, seven-mile-long stream. Friends of Oxon Run, which supports activities surrounding Oxon Run and the nearby Oxon Run Park, is working with DC Greens, as well as The Green Scheme, a local nonprofit that advocates for a healthier environment on behalf of communities of color, to bolster the area’s reputation.  Abby Bluestone, development director at DC Greens, told AN that The Well will be more than a community hub or food haven, it will also be an inclusive wellness space. "In this space, we will be growing crops, but mostly we'll be growing community," she wrote in an email.  "We are imagining an intergenerational space for community health and healing, centered around food... A farm space that honors the full power that food has to bring people together, and make people whole." The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation is collaborating on the project too, which slated to start construction sometime in 2020. Before breaking ground, DC Greens hopes to raise up to $1 million in an online campaign to cover construction costs. Additional renderings are expected to follow in the coming months.
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Five top landscape firms join forces to save the National Mall Tidal Basin

As the National Mall Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. weathers the impact of tourism and climate change, teamwork may be the best way to save it. The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the Trust for The National Mall have announced a partnership of five landscape architecture firms tasked with shaping the Tidal Basin’s future. “The National Mall Tidal Basin embodies freedom, perseverance, and democratic values, and it is a place where people come together from around the country and around the world to celebrate these ideals," said Katherine Malone-France, NTHP's chief preservation officer, in a statement. "That is why we must bring our best innovation and ingenuity to meet the challenges it is facing. DLANDstudio, GGN, Hood Design Studio, James Corner Field Operations, and Reed Hilderbrand are slated to join forces in order to maximize the Tidal Basin’s potential as a public space. The coalition exists within the National Mall Tidal Basin Ideas Lab, a forum for innovation and collaboration with regard to the future of the landscape. Surrounded by the iconic memorials of Washington, the Tidal Basin has played an important role in the city’s landscape throughout history. The heavily-trafficked Tidal Basin Loop Trail offers unmatched views of the National Mall and its surrounding monuments, but a crumbling sea wall has led to regular flooding that impedes sidewalk access and threatens the world-famous cherry trees around the basin. The Ideas Lab hopes to compile a broad range of perspectives from the firms in order to combat the many challenges faced by the Tidal Basin such as infrastructure issues, an overwhelming visitor experience, the need for intensive land conservation, and more. “Our goal, as a lead partner of the National Park Service, is to bring innovation and partnerships to expedite the fulfillment of the Master Plan for the National Mall,” said Catherine Townsend, president and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall. “These five visionary teams are a prime example of how collaboration between distinguished experts in fields aligned with our project needs will create solutions to help overcome the complex preservation issues affecting the treasured Tidal Basin.” The proposals will be presented in an Ideas Lab exhibition slated to run next summer through fall 2020, during which the public will have the opportunity to inform the design process before concepts are finalized.
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Steven Holl expands the Kennedy Center with semi-submerged pavilions

Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has designed and completed the first-ever expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Located southeast of the National Mall along the Potomac River, the three pavilions that make up The REACH opened this weekend to the public, marking the Washington, D.C.-based institution’s largest design upgrade in its 48-year-history. The $250-million addition spans four-acres of sweeping, waterfront landscape next to the main Edward Durell Stone-designed building that’s held all of the Kennedy Center’s programming for decades. Arranged in a series of angular, cast-in-place concrete structures that are semi-submerged underground, The REACH is strategically woven into the surrounding, sloping green space and features a contemporary vision that lightly references its parent building next door According to a press release, the new structures “break down the traditional barriers separating art and audience.” The Welcome Pavilion, Skylight Pavilion, and River Pavilion all emerge from the green lawns with shapely white facades and opaque glass windows. Together, they make up a porous and fluid, 72,000-square-foot facility that, though largely underground, includes ample access to daylight and features soaring, open interiors.  While the site doesn’t look very active from an aerial perspective, what you see above ground isn’t all that you get. Inside and below the pavilions is a large network of flexible rehearsal studios and classrooms, as well as performance and public spaces that are, by design, more welcoming to visitors—something the Kennedy Center previously lacked. AN wrote previously about the crinkled concrete walls that were integrated into the studio spaces to stop sound from echoing throughout the below-grade rooms. Performance-enhancing technology such as this was used at every level of the building project. For example, SHA worked with ARUP to make The REACH more sustainable than its predecessor; it’s now on track to achieve LEED Gold status. The site features a closed-loop, ground source heat rejection system, advanced temperature controls, an under-floor concrete trench system, and radiant floor heating made by ARUP’s in-house software suite, Oasys Building Environmental Analysis (BEANS). Much like other projects by Steven Holl, the integration of unique light cutouts on the sides or tops of the buildings and curvaceous walls made the structures difficult to heat or cool efficiently. Arup’s interventions will help the facility maintain proper temperatures year-round.  In addition to improving the Kennedy Center campus, The REACH was intended to bolster the memory of JFK. Some of the spaces within the pavilions were named after the 35th president, and a plaza with 35 gingko trees honors his life and accomplishments. Over time, the 130,000-square-foot landscape is expected to grow into a fuller, more vibrant addition to the riverfront and help activate a formerly-inaccessible area. SHA also designed a pedestrian bridge to cross the highway separating the Center from the water’s edge. 
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D.C.'s highly-anticipated bridge park by OMA and OLIN is coming in 2023

A High Line-like park for Washington, D.C. has been in the works since 2014 and was supposed to open later this year, but construction hasn’t even started. The 11th Street Bridge Park project, a 1.45-mile-long elevated landscape that aims to dramatically connect Anacostia to Capitol Hill, features a landscaped vision by OMA and OLIN that also comes with an amphitheater, public plaza, cafe, and hammock grove. Thanks to a recent $5 million donation by utility company Exelon, the ambitious public project is much closer to breaking ground and will now feature an 11,000-square-foot environmental education center.  DCist reported that local officials expect the latest news of fundraising to inspire others to support the plan. For the last few years, both Washington-based organizations, philanthropists, and large corporations such as JPMorgan have pledged millions of dollars, all of which will be dropped into what’s now being described as a $139 million capital community investment campaign—a number far higher than the $40 million initially projected five years ago. According to Scott Kratz, director of the 11th Street Bridge Park project, the money will go both toward the build-out of the revitalized bridge as well as a series of equitable development strategies. Kratz told DCist that this move is key in ensuring that the residents of Ward 6 in Capitol Hill proper, as well as 7 and 8 in Anacostia, get first access to construction jobs onsite and a say in the park’s overall development. Additionally, both the city and the Ward 8 nonprofit in charge of the proposal, Building Bridges Across the River at THE ARC, aim to keep the cost of living low surrounding the new park.  Another way the team is trying to elevate community life in the area is through the creation of the newly-announced Exelon Environmental Education Center, where kids can learn about science, engineering, river health, and flora and fauna. DCist reported that it will be run by the Anacostia Watershed Society and sit on the eastern end of the park. The site will be aptly surrounded by the 1,200-acre Anacostia Park, as well as a slew of highways separating it from residential and commercial properties nearby. So far, a design team for the new hub has not been chosen, but with Exelon’s gift, the entire project is nearly fully funded at a total of $111.5 million. Kratz said the 11th Street Bridge Park is slated to open in 2023. 
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Ennead to transform its Newseum building for Johns Hopkins University

Ennead Architects, the New York-based firm formerly known as Polshek Partnership, will team up with SmithGroup to redevelop the Newseum building in Washington, D.C. for Johns Hopkins University. The Baltimore-based university announced its plans to purchase the building from the nonprofit Freedom Forum earlier this year for $372.5 million. Johns Hopkins will consolidate its existing real estate holdings in the city at the new offshoot building on Pennsylvania Avenue, which will host various academic and administrative initiatives.

Ennead is an appropriate choice to head the project for obvious reasons. Led by architect James Polshek, the firm designed the current Newseum building before changing its name from Polshek Partnership in 2010. Opened in 2008, the building has several distinct features, including a 75-foot-tall marble slab engraved with an excerpt from the First Amendment. A so-called “window on the world” also occupies the structure’s Pennsylvania Avenue frontage, allowing for views between the street, the National Mall, and visitors inside the museum. Ennead has handled multiple high-profile museum projects around the world, such as the Rose Center for Earth and Space at New York’s American Museum of Natural History and the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Ennead submitted initial drawings for the major remodeling to the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) on July 3. Before construction can begin, the commission must provide informal feedback and officially approve of the final design. The filing sent to the CFA indicates that certain aspects of the building’s facade will change. The marble tablet with the excerpt from the Constitution, as well as the newspaper headlines that line the avenue, will be removed. The entrance will be reimagined as more transparent and open. Due to boundary line regulations on Pennsylvania Avenue, though, much of the structure’s original massing will remain in place.

The interior will undergo a significant transformation as well. The university has announced plans to reconfigure floor slabs and circulation within the building—currently, much of the museum is positioned around a large, multistory central void. With more than 400,000 square feet of floor space available inside, the facility will house classrooms, offices, and event spaces that will be open to the public. No plans for alterations to the 135-unit Newseum Residences have been released.

As for the Newseum itself, administrators at Freedom Forum have not yet announced where the museum will move. After years of serious budget deficits, the institution will close temporarily at the end of 2019. Employees will work out of a provisional office in Washington until a new home is found. Hopkins has suggested that construction on its facility could begin as early as 2020, and as late as 2023, with no estimated completion date.

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The Evidence Room embodies the architecture of Auschwitz at the Hirshhorn

According to Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, a Dutch author and architectural historian, constructing Auschwitz was “the greatest crime ever committed by architects.” Known for his work in what he coined as “architectural forensics,” van Pelt famously testified in the landmark libel case filed in Britain’s High Court of Justice in 2000, David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt. The evidence he gathered by studying the efficacy in the design of both the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau helped prove that the infamous concentration camp was intentionally designed by German architects to systematically kill over one million Jews during World War II. In tandem, it denounced the British Holocaust denier who filed the complaint and secured the widely-held belief that the horrific human massacre had actually happened. That trial inspired van Pelt to tell the story in his 2002 book, The Case for Auschwitz, which became the basis of a special exhibition commissioned for the 15th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016. That seminal show, The Evidence Room, is now on view for the first time in the U.S. at the Hirshhorn National Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washingon, D.C. The exhibition depicts van Pelt’s body of proof in the sculptural form of 65 wall-mounted plaster casts that replicate the blueprints, bills, survivor’s drawings, photographs, and artifacts he acquired on the construction and operation of Auschwitz from 1941 to 1943.  The ghostly, all-white installation also utilizes materials such as steel and wood and features three, full-scale building elements, dubbed “monuments,” that were part of the original killing rooms at Auschwitz. There’s a gas chamber door, which notably hinges outward and proves that architects revised the entryways of the on-site morgues to become gas chambers. There’s also a wall hatch and ladder, which guards climbed to throw the cyanide gas down into the chambers. Lastly, on view is a floor-to-ceiling gas column through which the deadly pesticide Zyklon B was routed down into the two underground chambers.  Though Nazis blew up the gas chambers at Auschwitz and other concentration camps in an effort to destroy evidence of the Holocaust at the end of WWII, van Pelt’s archival documents from the trial argue the truth of these atrocities point-blank: that the architecture was predetermined for mass killing. The Evidence Room is an immersive experience originally designed three years ago by van Pelt and his colleagues at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, including Donald McKay, Anne Bordeleau, and Sascha Hastings. This iteration of the installation was organized by the Hirshhorn’s assistant curator Betsy Johnson, in collaboration with The Evidence Room Foundation, a new nonprofit that will maintain and fund the exhibition. The version of the show at the Hirshhorn will run through September 8.
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Steven Holl's Kennedy Center expansion dampens sound with crinkled concrete

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Steven Holl Architects' (SHA) expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.—titled The REACH—is expected to open to the public at the beginning of September.  The $250-million expansion consists of a 4.6-acre complex with three semi-submerged pavilions rising with bright-white cast-in-place concrete and opaque glass facades. Notably, SHA's design features crinkled concrete sound-dampening walls that could potentially be used on facades. The use of concrete integrates the addition with the material palette of the preexisting Edward Durell Stone–designed complex, albeit the new buildings break from the rectilinearity of the older pagoda-like buildings by using soaring curves.
  • Facade Manufacturer Fitzgerald Formliners (Rubber Molds) Lane Construction (Cast-in-place concrete)
  • Architect Steven Holl Architects BNIM (Associate Architect)
  • Facade Installer Lane Construction
  • Facade Consultant Reg Hough (Concrete Consultant) Silman (Structural Engineer)
  • Location Washington, D.C.
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Structural Concrete
  • Products Custom-fabricated rubber molds.
A significant aspect of the Kennedy Center expansion is the insertion of performance and rehearsal spaces to increase the Center's cultural offerings. The challenge? The hardness of concrete, combined with its flush surface, inherently hurts acoustic performance. To solve this quandary SHA Senior Partner Chris McVoy and Senior Associate Garrick Ambrose got to work in the studio's in-house workshop. "The process started with making small one-foot by one-foot crinkled metal samples in our shop to determine the appropriate size and depth of the crinkle pattern that worked best visually and acoustically," Ambrose said. "After the pattern was finalized, we took a large 10-foot by 4-foot sheet of aluminum, thin enough to form by hand, and crinkled it in our shop. The crinkled metal panel was then fastened to a wooden framework and sprayed with foam insulation on the back to freeze the pattern in place before it was sent to Fitzgerald Formliners in California where elastomeric rubber molds were created." One of the challenges of the early prototyping was sourcing pieces of aluminum large enough to reduce seams across the surface whilst still being hand pliable. Luckily, manufacturer Alucoil donated the firm a large roll of aluminum. The research phase, from the creation of small mock-ups in-house to the first concrete pours on site, took approximately two-and-a-half years. SHA worked closely with acoustician David Harvey to determine the optimal depth of the relief, which ultimately settled between one-and-a-half and two inches. Following fabrication, the rubber molds were transported to the construction site and fastened to the rest of the formwork prior to the concrete pour. To avoid the visible repetition of the crinkled pattern across the performance spaces, the construction team flipped and rotated the rubber molds. The result is a remarkably detailed concrete finish with laps of light and shadow that not only acoustically dampens the space but is integrated into the complex's overall structure. Garrick Ambrose will be present The REACH at Facades+ Washington D.C. on February 20 as part of the "Placemaking and Monumentality: Opaque Facade Strategies" panel.