Posts tagged with "Washington D.C.":

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Explore these two major adaptive reuse projects in Washington, D.C.

Arlington, Virginia—based practice Antunovich Associates has recently completed two adaptive reuse projects in Washington D.C. through Douglas Development: The former Hecht Company Warehouse and Uline Arena now offer living units and offices respectively, while both are home to new retail spaces. Located along New York Avenue, NE and a stone's throw away from the U.S. Capitol, the Hecht Company Warehouse is now home to 335 loft-style apartment units and 150,000 square feet of retail. Kevin Sperry, senior principle at Antunovich Associates, said the warehouse is "an esteemed Washington landmark." The firm has retained the building's historic and iconic glass block exterior, which stands six stories tall and runs along both New York Avenue and Fenwick Street. The glass block crown that sits atop its rounded corner is a rejuvenated beacon whose life and vitality is mirrored by new street-level activity. Here, a series of shops—notably a Nike outlet—now line New York Avenue, joined by broad sidewalks and shade-providing trees that accommodate outdoor dining and sidewalk cafes. In addition, an exterior court to the southeast of the historic portion of the Hecht Company Warehouse will accompany a grand entrance to the building. Residents, meanwhile, live in the five floors above. To cater to its new inhabitants, as well as the influx of people to the neighborhood, a garage and street parking facilities were built to the east of the building. This was achieved through the partial demolition of the one-story warehouse additions that adjoined the building. Southwest of Ivy City, in the NoMa neighborhood, Antunovich Associates undertook another mixed-use historical re-working. The 2.5-acre site of the Uline Arena encompasses the arena itself and an Icehouse building. The former hosted the first live Beatles performance in the United States in 1964, meanwhile, the latter, as its name suggests, featured a skating rink and ice hockey events. Work on the project saw the addition of more than 50,000 square feet of retail space and three times that of office space. A new above-ground parking structure accommodates 175 spaces while an interior courtyard (also new) provides abundant natural sunlight and a tranquil space for office tenants. Founder of Antunovich Associates, Joseph Antunovich will be speaking at the next Facades+AM conference in D.C. this March 9. There he will discuss his firm's adaptive reuse work in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to am.facadesplus.com.
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$2 billion waterfront project in Washington, D.C., adds SHoP Architects, Michael Van Valkenburgh, HWKN, and others

It’s awards season, even in the architecture world. This week developer Hoffman-Madison Waterfront (HMW) announced the 11 architects chosen for the second phase of the District of Columbia’s waterfront development, The Wharf. The Wharf is a $2 billion project that runs along nearly one mile of the Washington Channel’s Southwest neighborhood. At completion, The Wharf will bring more than three million square feet of mixed-use space to the D.C. area. Phase 1 of The Wharf project (about 1.9 million square feet of mixed-use development) is currently scheduled to open in October 2017, with Phase 2 breaking ground sometime in mid-2018. “We have selected a diverse group of locally, nationally, and internationally renowned designers, knowing they will bring their talent and expertise to The Wharf, building a waterfront neighborhood that is an integral part of the city,” said Shawn Seaman, AIA, principal and senior vice president of development of PN Hoffman. Washington, D.C.–based firm Perkins Eastman DC will continue to act as the master planners and master architects of The Wharf, allowing for continuity between Phase 1 and Phase 2. Firms (all New York City–based, unless otherwise noted) joining the team are as follows: SHoP Architects will design two office towers in Parcels 6 and 7 with related retail spaces in collaboration with WDG Architecture, who will act as the architect of record. ODA will design mixed-income multifamily apartments and related retail on Parcel 8 of the project, while Rafael Viñoly Architects will add luxury condominium residences in Parcel 9. Morris Adjmi Architects will be designing their first commercial building in Parcel 10, adding more office space to the development. Washington, D.C.–based STUDIOS Architecture has been chosen to design the multi-use marina services building. Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) will be designing the Wharf Marina, and S9 Architecture will be responsible for Wharf Marina Operations and the Cantina Marina Pier. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) will design M Street Landing, the outdoor space connecting the waterfront to the Arena Stage. Wolf | Josey Landscape Architects will continue their work from Phase 1 of the project, which included the detailing of The Wharf Promenade, The Channel rooftop, and other public space. The first phase of The Wharf will open on October 12, 2017. More information about The Wharf is available here.
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Not your grandfather’s two-by-fours: A new exhibition showcases modern wood construction

Here we are in the year 2016, getting ready to ride in robot cars and eat meat grown in labs, but a skyscraper built out of wood still seems outlandish. Why? Wood is one of the world’s sturdiest and most versatile building materials. It has a single raw ingredient that doesn’t require intensive energy to produce: trees. The Horyuji temple precinct in Japan has wood structures that have been standing since about 700 AD. The onion-domed wooden churches on Russia’s Kizhi Island date to the early 18th century.

Today we have an innate distrust of tall wood buildings, a sense that they’ll roar into flame at the first spark. This distrust is, in part, a legacy of terrible 19th-century conflagrations like the Chicago Fire of 1871 and the Boston Fire of 1872. Those disasters and others led to the adoption of fire codes that prohibited wood structures above a certain height, saving lives in the process.

But it’s the 21st century, and a new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington challenges us to let go of our fear and embrace the future. The structural wood products that have recently entered the market are not your grandfather’s two-by-fours. Engineered timber beams have been proven in tests to be just as fireproof as steel, and arguably more so, since their cores as less likely to melt in a fire. They are also surprisingly strong.

In 2009, a nine-story apartment block in London was completed with an all-wood structure—load-bearing walls, floor slabs, elevator cores. Building with modern timber calls for a front-loaded process, which begins with sustainable forest management and expert milling (in close collaboration with the architect), and ends with a relatively quick assembly of prefabricated components. In other words, it changes how materials are sourced and how buildings are built. An overused cliché seems warranted here: Mass timber (the catch-all term for a host of different products) could disrupt the design and construction industries.

On display through May 21, 2017, Timber City occupies a single long room and part of the adjacent hallway on the second floor of Washington’s cavernous National Building Museum. Happily, wood is both the message and the medium in the exhibition design, by Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura of the Boston-based firm IKD. Information is presented on tall wooden boards propped against the walls. Large wood lozenges, stacked like pennies, hold the models. It’s a tactile and even olfactory show: Visitors can run a hand down a curved glu-lam beam, count the layers in a sandwich of cross-laminated timber (CLT), and compare laminated veneer to laminated strand lumber. Groups of tree stumps at either end of the room let you sit down for a moment to sniff the air (with so much wood, the room smells great).

Among the projects featured is a carousel pavilion in Stamford, Connecticut, that is just shy of completion, and a charter school in New Haven that opened a few months ago, both by Gray Organschi Architecture. The model of the carousel pavilion shows the undulations of precisely milled CLT in a cupola with three skylights, supported by a glu-lam rim beam. The UMass Design Building by Leers Weinzapfel Associates, now under construction in Amherst, Massachusetts, also makes extensive use of timber, including in its zipper-trussed atrium.

Those structures don’t exactly pierce the sky (the Design Building is four stories). But Framework, a project by Lever Architecture, will rise to 12 stories after it breaks ground next year in Portland, which will make it the tallest timber structure in the United States so far. Framework and another wood tower design by SHoP Architects, 475 West 18th (planned for a site on the High Line), won a prize from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is promoting tall timber—another sign this is not a passing fad.

For a small show, Timber City packs in a lot of information, and at times I wished it had more space to breathe. The Timber Over Time mural on one of the short walls is based on a clever conceit: It presents the history of wood construction through concentric tree rings. But as elsewhere, the text is small and dense. A board explaining the “forest-to-frame” life cycle is compelling—it really does seem to be a virtuous circle, with trees harvested at their carbon-storing peak, milled with little waste, and replaced by new growth—but I missed a more vivid sense of how trees become beams and boards. Too bad there wasn’t room to show footage from inside a factory or a time-lapse video of one of the buildings going up. (There is, however, a neat case of different wood byproducts that explains their uses.)

The exhibit is sponsored in part by the lumber industry, and it feels a bit like a sales pitch. But perhaps that’s necessary. The concrete and steel industries are huge; building codes are entrenched and slow to change (many of the early mass-timber buildings have gotten special code exemptions). Still an upstart, the timber camp may have to shout to make itself heard. Timber City proves that we all should be listening.

Timber City National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., through May 21, 2017

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OMA reveals design for sports complex around RFK Stadium

Even if the Redskins keep their name and leave D.C., the city is taking steps to ensure the area around RFK Stadium offers ample space for residents to play, too.

Events D.C., the city's semi-independent convention and sports authority, has unveiled plans to replace the ocean of surface parking that fronts the soon-to-be-demolished stadium with recreation space and a food market. The whole scheme, pictured in the gallery above, is designed by New York–based OMA.

The estimated $500 million proposal includes three ballfields (two for baseball, one for youth soccer), a 350,000-square-foot recreation and sports complex, and a 47,000-square-foot market selling groceries and concessions. According to the Washington Post, the sports center will host bowling, go-kart, and video-game facilities; a memorial to Robert F. Kennedy will be installed nearby, as well. To tie the programming together, three pedestrian bridges will connect the site to Kingman and Heritage islands.

“The RFK Stadium Armory-Campus—currently under-utilized—is poised to be transformed into a vibrant place that connects D.C. to the Anacostia River," OMA partner Jason Long told the Washington Business Journal. "Working together with Events D.C., we have formulated a plan that strategically locates new facilities that will draw people to and through the site, while refining the vision for larger redevelopments in the years ahead.”

As the 190-acre site is owned by the federal government, federal and local agencies must approve the plan before any shovels hit the soil. Half of the project will be funded by Events D.C. while the city, hotel tax revenue, and team leases will pay for the rest.

Although the Redskins moved to the suburbs years ago, the team is scoping sites for a move—maybe to D.C., or maybe not, if the team refuses to change its racist name. Regardless, the D.C. Zoning Commission gave its initial blessings to the BIG-designed stadium last month, and the commission is expected to give its final okay for the project at its February meeting. Right now, Major League Soccer's (MLS) D.C. United plays at the stadium, and it will continue to play tournaments on-site until the new stadium is complete in 1–2 years.

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Foster-designed Apple store proposed for historic Carnegie Library in D.C.

The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, a historic building next to Washington’s Convention Center, is likely to become the home of a flagship Apple store designed by Foster + Partners of London. Events D.C., the convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, last week entered into a letter of intent with Apple to lease portions of the 63,000-square-foot library, which is under its jurisdiction. If negotiations are successful, the development will reimagine the historic site for the 21st century, while remaining consistent with its original purpose. The plan calls for the tech giant to renovate the 1903 library at 801 K. Street N. W. and pay market-rate rent to operate a store designed by Foster + Partners, which was founded by Norman Foster and also designed Apple stores in San Francisco and London. “This is an extremely important repositioning of an iconic building—a building whose original purpose was about community, information and sharing of knowledge,” said Max Brown, chairman of the board of Events DC. "Amid rapid change in our city, we are confident the space can become a true blend of the square’s past and future.” “We are excited that Apple is interested in joining our growing tech ecosystem,” said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The store’s proposed location… will link D.C.’s rich history to our continued economic renaissance, will demonstrate the strength of our retail market, and will tell companies across the globe that the District is open for business.” According to Events DC, the proposed arrangement calls for Apple to lease portions of the library’s ground floor and basement levels under a 10-year lease, with two five-year options to renew. Events DC will have certain rights to use non-retail areas of the library for special events, and Apple will “co-locate” in the library with its existing tenant, The Historical Society of Washington. “A partnership with Apple would be a tremendous opportunity for Events DC, for the Historical Society, and for the District,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “Not only can this new partnership cement the Shaw neighborhood as a convention and entertainment district in the city, but it can also drive economic impact with substantial revenue opportunities. Designed by Ackerman & Ross in the Beaux Arts style, the Carnegie Library was one of thousands of libraries funded by steel industry titan Andrew Carnegie, and it was the first fully-integrated public building in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Congress granted $2 million and a 99-year lease to the historical society to use the building as a history museum about Washington, D.C. After $20 million worth of renovations funded by local donors, the library has served as the home of the historical society’s exhibits, public programs, and renowned Kiplinger Research Library since 2003. The area around the library has seen rapid growth in recent years, with the opening of the Marriott Marquis Washington and a series of new restaurants, stores and housing developments. In 2014, Carnegie Library was considered as a new home for the International Spy Museum, which had outgrown its current location at 800 F. Street N. W. But the museum and its architect, MGA Partners, wanted to build additions to the existing structure and their plan was turned down by historic preservationists. Now that Events D. C. has shown support for Apple’s project, plans still must be approved by the National Capital Planning Commission and Washington’s Historic Preservation Review Board before construction can begin. It would be the second Apple store in Washington, after one in Georgetown.
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture proves that architecture is still relevant

In September, the most important American building of the 21st century opened in Washington, D.C.  The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) truly delivers something that few pieces of architecture can: It is a cascade of metaphors for collectivity, but is also in harmony with its content and program. Together they are a vehicle for the triumph of African-American history on the national stage. (While the completion of New York’s One World Trade Center might fulfill some myth of national pageantry, as a building it does not offer very much of architectural note.) To truly appreciate how great this building is, let us start with the story of how it came to be. Exactly 100 years ago, the National Memorial Association was founded, starting a serious debate about the possibility of some kind of monument or museum to African-American history in the United States. The project received funding in 1929 from President Calvin Coolidge but fell through in 1933. Efforts continued, and from 1988 to 2003, Georgia congressman John Lewis introduced a bill every single year that would have finalized the plans for such a museum. President George W. Bush gave the final go-ahead in 2005, and in 2009, the winning team was announced. That team consisted of a trio of black architects. J. Max Bond—of Davis Brody Bond and the namesake of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at City College of New York's Spitzer School of Architecture—joined Phil Freelon and David Adjaye in collaboration with the Smith Group. The collective calls itself FAB/S, and they beat out a high-profile group of competitors, among them Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Foster + Partners, and Moshe Safdie, all heavy hitters in the cultural building sector. The making of the museum, which is the newest building on the National Mall—the country’s public commons—was an expectedly daunting process of building consensus. Who decides on a building that represents an entire group of people? According to Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC, there were many opinions. “The building must be monumental and marble; it must be boldly black; it must look African; it must not look African. In every case, they said, it must not obstruct the public's view of surrounding monuments,” he said in his introduction to Mabel O. Wilson’s book, Begin with the Past, which tells the story of the museum in detail. The result is an object-building that at first seems like an out-of-place, estranged box that confronts and withdraws simultaneously its surroundings. However, it is exactly the opposite of that as an urban experience. Site What makes this building so great is that this backstory—while intensely interesting—really only sets the stage for the building to enact one of the greatest American history stories on one of the most important sites in the country. The large, brown building stands four stories above grade, with the Washington monument in the near distance. While most of the other buildings and memorials on the mall are white, what does it mean to be a brown building that recognizes the contributions of a non-white group? And what does it mean that it is also the closest building to the Washington Monument, a white marble obelisk to a single man who was the slave-owning first president of our country? Now that this building has taken its place on the mall, and thus American history, it cements the story of African American struggle as a part of the American story, which in itself is a great step of progress for both African Americans and the nation in general. One of the ironies of its site is that George Washington actually gave some of his land to former slaves, most notably at Gum Springs, Virginia, where some of his former slaves formed a community. So perhaps he wouldn’t have minded this situation almost 250 years later. Of course, some figures from history would be appalled. But this museum isn't about a confrontation of people, it is about collectivity, sharing, and inclusion. Threshold On the south side of the building, facing the mall, this attitude of inclusion and coming together manifests in the building’s formal site strategy. A covered outdoor space is a scaled-up version of the vernacular American covered porch, which represents a black space that has historically been used by the African diaspora as a place for sharing, socializing, telling stories, and giving lessons. Here, it acts as a mediating threshold between the normative history of America as told through the national mall, and the new story that is being anchored with the NMAAHC. It is meant to be a welcoming place for visitors of all backgrounds to share in this incredible story. This means that the entrance on the ground floor is completely open to the Mall, giving visitors spectacular views and creating a welcoming transparent and continuous space that represents openness and inclusion—foundations of a collective future that the museum might allow us to envision. The overhang is also a shading device, a formal nod to vernacular passive strategies. Form The overall form of the museum’s exterior is what the designers call a "corona"—inspired by a sculpture by Nigerian artist Olowe of Ise that shows a crown with similarly angled masses. The shape also references a group of people with their arms raised in celebration, as if to telegraph the one hundred year triumph that is exalted so proudly in the galleries within. It announces the arrival of African American history in the official Smithsonian. The angle of its tilted facade matches the top of the Washington monument. It is meant to fit in with its surroundings, not confront them. The iconic profile should serve as a marker for those looking for the museum, and it certainly sets the new structure apart from its neighbors in the vicinity, both in color and ornament. Symbol The ornament is an important and complex part of the narrative of the building. Adjaye produced a single patterned cast-aluminum panel that is tessellated to create the iconic, translucent facade. The pattern was abstracted from cast-iron work produced by black workers in Charleston and New Orleans. Adjaye mapped out the welded connections, literally the points where the work was done. There is some artistic license here, and the pattern comes off as somewhat arbitrary, but the story remains. This particularly American form of modernity is a perfect glimpse into the unique history of the American South, but also the contributions that African Americans have made to the country—many of which have gone underreported due to institutional racism. The bronze facade reflects the patterns and creativity that enslaved people brought to the ironwork of Charleston and New Orleans, and thus to American history itself. Experience Which brings us to the galleries. Of course, a building cannot serve only as a metaphor, it must also serve a purpose. In this case, this purpose is to function as a museum that has all of the same goals as the building itself. The 100,000 square feet of exhibition space is home to items selected from roughly 40,000 artifacts assembled over a decade. It is fitting that this building's facade and programs, such as education center, theater facility, and public spaces, represent a collective celebration of African American history and a new space dedicated to it. The galleries extend the metaphors into physical, phenomenological architectural experience. To experience the choreographed architecture of the galleries designed by Davis Brody Bond, visitors start by descending 65 feet below ground in an elevator. Deep underground, the exhibition starts with an overview of the earliest days of the slave trade, in a global seafaring economy. Diagrams of how to pack the most humans in a slave ship are just a few of the haunting artifacts displayed here, where a low ceiling and dark walls recreate the feeling of being in the hull of a boat, with nowhere to go. Working through the timeline of American history, the galleries provide a sensory spatial experience that works in harmony with the content. Much like the museum is a chorus of many people distilled into one building, the curators sought to tell larger stories through single artifacts or single people who could collectively encompass larger narratives. The year 1776 is shown—rather shockingly—with Thomas Jefferson standing on a plinth as if to suggest that he is at a slave auction. A pile of bricks is next to him, each one representing one of his slaves. The museum’s narrative is surprisingly self-reflexive. It is not confrontational with any group of people, but it certainly sheds light on some of the darker parts of a normally whitewashed past. In this moment of freedom, the path opens up to an open, massive four-story space. The story of Jefferson’s slaves problematizes the notion that 1776 was the birth of a free nation. Because freedom from Britain did not mean freedom in any literal sense for all African Americans, it is back into the constricted hallways of history, as visitors work through the antebellum era, with slave memorabilia and Civil War artifacts that include a slave cabin as well as a tent from one of the “contraband camps” of freed slaves who were put up by the government during the Civil War. These proto-refugee camps were dotted all over the south, as many freed slaves worked for the Union Army. Once again, upon the completion of the Civil War, we re-enter the large open space but are immediately back in the dark, constricted space of the pre-civil rights era. This is probably the most poignant part of the museum, where architectural artifacts are brought in at full scale, including a guard tower from Louisiana State Penitentiary that was previously a plantation—an unapologetic reference to contemporary mass incarceration. There is also a segregated rail car, as well as the best part of the whole museum: The actual Greensboro lunch counter where students staged protests against segregation. The museum has rebuilt it, but integrated interactive screens to educate people who can sit at the counter and learn. The final stretch, after the murals and “Whites Only” signs, is the popular culture of the 80s and 90s, followed by the ultimate (symbolic) triumph: the inauguration of President Obama. Walking up the ramp toward this moment is the perfect metaphor for struggle and overcoming. Of course, there is still much work to do, and a screen right next to the image of the 2009 inauguration shows clips of people addressing issues of white privilege and unequally distributed, state-sponsored violence. It will be interesting to see how the museum evolves along with its content, as the two are in constant dialogue. In another perfect metaphor made real in a spatial experience, the above-ground galleries are filled with a celebration of black culture, from sports and entertainment to the contributions of African Americans in society, from science to the military. The circulation spaces in this museum are not very good. They have the feeling of an airport, and the main lobby is sloppily organized and too big. But that is not really the point. The galleries work really well as a narrative, and the symbolic content of the facade and overall form of the building work so well in the context of the National Mall that we can easily forgive some of the shortcomings. Most importantly, the National Museum of African American history transcends its value as a museum and casts a narrative of inclusion, as one of the most important yet marginalized and unrecognized groups of people takes a bold new position in the image of society, partly through architecture that has been carefully calibrated to do just that.
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There’s a ton of Brutalist architecture in Washington: Here’s how to find it

The love for Brutalism is on the rise in the U.S., especially on the East Coast. In late 2015, the book Heroic compiled buildings in Boston built between 1960 and 1977. This was based on an exhibition of Boston’s concrete buildings at pinkcomma gallery, itself born from the city's architectural community move to save Boston City Hall. As more concrete looks destined for demolition, interest in Brutalism has swelled: Cue #SOSBrutalism and the like. Boston, of course, isn't the only Brutalist haven. Washington D.C. too is home to many post-war relics/icons (the choice is yours) and now a map is out to help you find them. When Blue Crow Media published their Brutalist London Map, they didn't disappoint. Now the British publishing firm has released another Brutalist map, "Brutalist Washington"—their fourth to date after their Art Deco London and Constructivist Moscow maps. Founder of BrutalistDC Deane Madsen was also on hand to help with the map, which features 40 examples of "concretopia" ranging from Harry Weese's Gallery Place Chinatown Metro Station to the Hirshhorn Museum and the Sculpture Garden by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). “As more and more examples of classic Brutalism face demolition by neglect, we hope that putting these examples of D.C.'s Brutalist architecture on the map will foster public appreciation that ensures their longevity," said Madsen in a press release. In post-war America, Washington D.C. witnessed a plethora of Brutalist architecture rise up in wake of the 1945 Redevelopment Act. Nathaniel Owings (of SOM) and Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei were the forebearers of the master planning process of the city, notably for the National Mall vicinity and Weese's subway station in the 1970s. The Brutalist Washington Map is available for $10.00.
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Freelon Adjaye Bond / Smithgroup’s Crowning Achievement on the National Mall

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The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), scheduled to open to the public tomorrow, is capping off a nearly decade-long highly publicized planning and construction process. The 400,000-square-foot building is notable for securing the last developable site on the National Mall, and will be the nation’s primary home for exhibiting and celebrating African-American achievements in art, history, and culture. While 60 percent of the structure sits below grade, the remaining 40 percent rises 85 feet above grade and is wrapped in an arresting daylight-filtering screen referred to as a corona. The three-tiered, inverted form merges African and American historical references, drawing from Yoruban caryatids and the Washington Monument. The corona’s pattern was developed by digitizing traditional shapes the team found in historic ornate ironwork from Charleston and New Orleans. The project is the result of a collaboration among Adjaye Associates, who functioned as the lead designer, Freelon Group (now Perkins+Will), who covered the interior design scope above grade, Davis Brody Bond, who covered the interior design scope below grade, and SmithGroupJJR, who was responsible for the entire enclosure of the building from the foundations to the roof, and from curb to curb. With four architects and numerous consultant teams on board, the NMAAHC’s design process was fast and highly collaborative. The client and representatives of each of the firms attended workshops and presentations at project milestones. Work on the facade design process proceeded with a smaller team coordinated by Adjaye Associates, who held regular meetings at its New York City office. For federally funded projects, three initial concepts must be presented before narrowing down to one final scheme. Only 14 months was allotted for the time between a final concept submissions to the delivery of bid documents. Areta Pawlynsky, partner at Heintges & Associates, the consulting firm for facade engineering, said this timeframe was pressing, but ultimately benefitted the project: "This was incredibly demanding, but in a way, easier to keep the momentum going to work through all of these design decisions.” Throughout this process, Pawlynsky said, adhering to the competition-winning design vision was what drove the design development process. "The most challenging part of the project was making sure the facades remained true to the competition." She continued, "When we look back at the competition entry images and the verbal description, we are very proud the building's envelope was able to remain true throughout its development. That doesn't always happen."
  • Facade Contractor Enclos / Northstar
  • Architects Freelon Adjaye Bond / Smithgroup (The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond, SmithGroup JJR)
  • Construction Manager Clark / Smoot / Russell, a joint venture
  • Facade Consultants Heintges & Associates; Guy Nordenson & Associates with Robert Silman Associates (structural engineering); Fisher Marantz Stone (lighting consultant); WSP Flack & Kurtz (Mechanical Engineer)
  • Location Washington, D.C.
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • Facade Construction Systems Hung AESS truss and framing system with structurally glazed curtain wall units installed onto AESS from interior (corona framing & enclosure); cast aluminum with custom artisan 5 coat PVDF coated panels on AESS carrier frames (corona screen); bent laminated glass clerestory (oculous); Metal panel rainscreen; Various other structurally glazed curtain walls
With full height atriums on each of the museum’s four sides, the exterior envelope was conceptualized as an “inside-out” assembly, providing clear spans of glass to the interior. Guy Nordenson & Associates developed the primary structural system—a series of three horizontal trusses that wrap the building, giving the facade its signature tiered form. Construction detailing of the envelope was carried out through a design assist package awarded to a joint venture between Enclos and Northstar, who developed a cost-saving strategy to integrate vertical trusses within the curtain wall assembly. Heintges & Associates then engineered and developed technical options for systems that attached to this structure, including the screen panels and unitized glass panels. Adjaye Associates’ decorative screen pattern was digitally manipulated—scaling up and down to produce four densities ranging from 65 to 95 percent opacity in response to key views of the surrounding monuments, and to solar orientation. Selective openings in the corona screen provide “lenses” looking outward to key views of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, White House, and U.S. Capitol. The material selection process for the corona screen began with solid cast bronze, which was deemed too heavy with a variation that—over time—would cause undesirable performative and maintenance issues. The design team settled on a cast aluminum due to the material’s track record as a reliable cladding. A unique five-coat application of PVDF produced variation and depth to the bronze coloration of the panels. The corona screen was assembled on-site from shop-fabricated steel plate carrier frames containing 13 cast aluminum panels each. A staggered paneling running across the facade required selective panels to be installed in the field. These “stitch panels” bridge the gaps between adjacent carrier frames, helping to conceal any visual clues to the pre-fabricated frame assembly. The design team consulted with Fisher Marantz Stone on a subtle lighting scheme to incorporate backlit panels that bounce light off frit glazed walls to produce a glowing facade at night. These details and lighting effects were scrutinized through numerous design studies and mockups, and by regulatory agencies to ensure the lighting of monuments at night would remain balanced. Hal Davis, senior vice president at SmithGroupJJR, said the building envelope design was “quite unusual.” Asked if there were any technical challenges associated with designing a curtainwall system with an inside-out weather line, Davis replied, “of course!” He explained that an off-the-shelf-system couldn’t simply be installed backward: "It’s a different approach and it did take quite a bit of effort. We worked with Enclos and Heinges and David Adjaye to get it right and to make sure we were going to maintain the integrity of the design, the tightness and the insulation quality of the system, preventing condensation. For this, we had to develop very subtle heating elements that would eliminate moisture.” Pawlynsky concluded, "I think the real story of success here is the collaboration, including the contractors, Enclos and Northstar, and CM Clark. There was a strong commitment to executing this facade in the appropriate way, and it extended across the board."
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Winner announced for the “Memorials for the Future” competition

The National Park Service (NPS), National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and Van Alen Institute has announced the winner of the Memorials for the Future ideas competition. Initiated in March this year, the competition has been a six-month process in which participants were encouraged to "reimagine the way we think about, feel, and experience memorials in Washington, D.C., and inspire new memorial approaches around the country." The winning team: Climate Chronograph, comprised Bay Area-based landscape architects Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter. The winning pair imagined "a living observatory for the unfolding global story of climate change." Drawing submissions from more than 300 participants, Climate Chronograph triumphed after four finalists were chosen by a jury who looked for "innovative, distinct approaches." In this last stage, finalists were urged to consider practicality, especially within real "technological limitations" and the "current requirements of the commemoration process." Conceived as an "evolving memorial for future conditions," Climate Chronograph is situated in Hains Point, Washington, D.C. Here, the memorial can transform into a new ecosystem as its site—a grove of cherry trees—floods. The memorial is intended to be experienced over a lifetime. In this timeframe, visitors will witness "a legible demonstration of generation-paced change." In doing so, the site memorializes the future and the effects of climate change that come with it. As a result, the memorial can be interpreted as a site that encourages visitors to combat climate change. Meanwhile, the memorial will still remain as a space for the activities such as fishing, picnics, and sports that take place there. During the competition, the Van Alen Institute has documented some "key findings" they observed. The findings, in their words, present "ideas that best push forward our collective notions of memorialization." They are:
  • Engage The Present And Future As Much As The Past
  • Allow For Changing Narratives
  • Universal Experiences In Addition To Places, People And Events
  • Use Local Settings For National Issues
  • Create Memorials With The Public As Well As For The Public
  • Consider Ephemeral, Mobile, And Temporary Forms
  • Memorials Beyond Physical Space
  • Challenges Our Future Memorials Face
This evening, Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter's work will be on display in the Hall of Nations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Members of the four finalist teams will be present from 7:00pm to 8:00 p.m. The exhibition, which also showcases the three other finalists' work, will be free and run through October 20, 2016. The teams will also present their proposals at the National Capital Planning Commission meeting at 1:00 p.m. today, which will be live-streamed at www.ncpc.gov/live.
“The National Park Service Centennial challenged us to think about new ways to engage the next generation and tell stories relevant to them. Memorials for the Future challenged us to think about how we will take the imagination displayed in this ideas competition and use it to spark a new generation of national park visitors, supporters and advocates, not to mention artists, architects and philosophers,” National Park Service Regional Director Bob Vogel said in a press release. “We’re committed to continuing this conversation and engaging people in the stories and commemorations that are important to them and to the shared heritage of our nation.”
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Washington, D.C.’s new digital kiosks and sensor network will harvest a wealth of urban data

At seven feet tall and featuring 55-inch screens, the 30 kiosks coming to downtown D.C. will be much more than glorified digital ad machines. Designed by New York–based Smart City Media, the kiosks will feature timely information relating to nearby restaurants, retail, events, and public transportation. This pilot program is led by private nonprofit DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID), which is supported by the property owners within its 138-block area northeast of the White House and Constitution Avenue.

The kiosks will monitor noise levels, temperature, air quality, humidity, and barometric pressure. This data will be supplemented by an array of sensors placed on the BID’s buildings that will also monitor the surroundings. Unlike the kiosks, these sensors won’t have a conventional data connection; they’ll use a technology specially developed for “Internet of Things” applications: Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). LPWAN devices send small bursts of encrypted data over radio to a base station. While the data bursts can’t be large—you couldn’t transmit a song or movie—the sensors gain range and long battery life (up to 10 years, depending on usage). Companies like Portsmouth, New Hampshire–based Senet—which is building a new LPWAN network in D.C. for this project—arebetting that LPWAN is the future backbone of smart-city technology. Conventionally connected sensors elsewhere within the BID’s buildings will monitor energy and water usage, along with waste production and data related to occupancy. Combined with public data—such as bike share usage—a formidable data set emerges for the entire D.C. BID.

Much like New York’s LinkNYC program, these D.C. kiosks will offer free wi-fi and pay for themselves with new digital ad revenue. However, the BID’s efforts will tap into deep technological infrastructure already in place in the nation’s capital. Soon, researchers will be able to map loads of information onto D.C.’s urban landscape.

After the sensors collect this data, but before it’s distributed to stakeholders, software from New York City–based maalka will aggregate that information and—in the words of its CEO Rimas Gulbinas—“slice and dice” it for easy sharing. BID members will log into maalka’s software to track the performance of their buildings, and the BID will roll out a private/public access point in the future. (The BID is currently determining what data sets will be public, as some information may be sensitive.) Once released, this information could be used for an endless amount of analyses, including exploring connections between the environment and health, measuring the impact of policy initiatives, tracking sustainability, and optimizing transit. “Once this data becomes available and collaborative cities provide data in the same way, it creates an opportunity for app development that is cross-city which has not existed until now,” said Wilfred Pinfold, CEO of Urban.Systems, a consultancy working with the BID.

As for the data itself, the BID isn’t claiming ownership. “We don’t plan on owning any data,” said DowntownDCBID director of sustainability Scott Pomeroy, “but we will protect data that our stakeholders want to have protected.” He added that transparency and openness are actually the main objective: “There’s a value in that transparency because it can be analyzed and worked with” by app developers, researchers, and policy makers, Pomeroy added. Nearby shops will be able to broadcast ads on nearby kiosks, meaning, “you’re going to get stuff that’s locally relevant as opposed to [the big box businesses] out on the street now,” said Smart City Media CEO Tom Touchet.

Among the many entities behind this kiosk project—including the BID, maalka, Smart City Media, and more—there is a strong consensus that this effort represents a recent convergence of technological know-how and political will-power. For example, the BID also operates an EcoDistrict initiative that’s committed to improving sustainability; the U.S. General Services Administration owns 30 percent of the buildings within the BID and has been a key driver of the initiative. D.C. city government also has its own PA 2040 initiative, a similar “Internet of Things” undertaking that may eventually integrate its data streams with the BID’s. Working at a district-wide scale, according to Gulbinas, there are new opportunities to experiment, engage with citizens, and get feedback: “What we’re creating is this living lab of live data…and if things work, they can be translated to other districts.”

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AN exclusive: First look at David Adjaye’s completed National Museum of African American History and Culture

Filling the last prominent spot on the National Mall—just east of the Washington Monument—the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has already proven itself a striking addition to the tapestry of monumental architecture at the heart of the nation's capital. Set to open September 24th, the exterior of the building is complete: 3,600 bronze-painted aluminum panels clad the museum's three-tiered structure. The panels reference the intricate cast iron designs that African American slaves produced across the American South; the building's "three-tiered crowns" were inspired by Yoruban art from West Africa, a region where many of the United State's slaves were taken into bondage. As an institution, the museum was established in 2003 and, in 2009, Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was selected from a group of six invited teams to design the museum. Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup includes Durham, North Carolina-based Freelon Group, London and New York-based Adjaye Associates, New York-based Davis Brody Bond, and Detroit-based SmithGroupJJR. Ground broke on the museum in 2012. The building extends four stories underground; visitors can start at the lowest level to learn about the era of ”Slavery and Freedom,” advancing upwards to the “Era of Segregation,” “1968 and Beyond,” and finally a special exhibitions gallery, theater, and other programming. Notable artifacts range from Nat Turner's Bible to Chuck Berry's convertible and a former slave's two story house built during the Reconstruction Era. Upper floors feature education facilities, staff offices, and multiple galleries. Enjoy this first look at the NMAAHC's exterior! The Architect's Newspaper will continue to cover this project in the near future.
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Reagan National Airport gets $1 billion revamp on its 75th anniversary

Last month, Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. celebrated 75 years of operation. During its tenure, the airport has witnessed an unprecedented surge in passengers. Serving more than 23 million passengers last year, National has arguably surpassed even President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision for it when he watched its first arrival, an American Airlines DC-3, touchdown in 1941. Now plans courtesy of AIR Alliance, a joint venture between engineering firm AECOM and Houston-based PGAL, are set to replace Gate 35X with a new building that will ease passenger congestion. Known for its pedigree in the typology, PGAL is also working on Newark Liberty, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles international airports. Financed by the airlines, the scheme is set to total $1 billion and will increase the airport’s square footage by about five percent. For some time now, National has been a headache for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). Currently, Dulles International Airport sees fewer flyers pass through its gates, yet is 14 times larger than National. Additionally, Dulles is located more than 25 miles from D.C., whereas National is only approximately five miles away and a mere 30 minutes via public transport. “The project is focused on improving the customer experience at Reagan National Airport,” said Chris Paolino of MWAA. “We aren’t increasing any airfield capacity—there will be no new flights—but the project will better accommodate the record growth in passengers we have already had.” The way the notorious Gate 35X is set up, passengers saddled with flights out of there have to take a shuttle bus and brave the conditions when climbing up outdoor stairs to board aircraft. Paolino said that the new concourse will operate like a “traditional gate” where passengers can finally find shelter from the elements. The security checkpoint location is another aspect slated for an overhaul. “At this point, the plan is for the security checkpoints to be located near the end of the walkways from the garages and metro station, which will shift the large expanse of shopping and dining locations that had been pre-security to post-security,” Paolino said. “We will also be shifting the security checkpoints from the base of each gate area in the B/C Terminal to more centralized locations. This will allow for better flow of passengers between gate areas and ease crowding in the gate areas, especially during irregular operations, such as winter weather, where flight delays compound the problem.” Presently, connecting passengers must go through security twice (coming out and then back in) or take a bus to get from one gate to another. Despite being in the pipeline since 2014, renderings have only just begun to be leaked. Work is due to start this fall, and Paolino said passengers will begin to see more evidence of the construction next spring. Heading up the construction is New York–based Turner Construction Company. Completion is slated for 2024.