Posts tagged with "Washington D.C.":

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Watch 24 Architecture and Design Teams Create “Canstructions” in Time Lapse

On Sunday, November 22, twenty four teams from architecture and design firms in Washington, D.C. built sculptures out of canned food inside the National Building Museum. The theme this year is transportation and sculptures included the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, a full-size smart car, a Mayflower bean soup ship, CAN-nook Chopper to the Rescue, a Lunar module, and more. Canstruction is a national food drive for the Capital Area Food Bank. Last year, Canstruction teams donated 56,000 pounds of food and $18,000—the equivalent of 42,000 meals. More than 275 tons of food has been donated through CanstructionDC since the event began in 1998. The sculptures will be on display until Monday, November 30, and visitors can vote for their favorite to win the “People’s Choice Award” by donating a can of food in the “ballot box” next to each sculpture. For those who can’t make it to D.C. (or who want to see more) Work Zone Cam created a time-lapse video for the event. To get completely up to speed on National Building events, check out The Beach by Snarkitecture from this past summer and The Maze by BIG, both in the National Building’s great hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrixcmmsP3s To learn about Canstruction in your area, check out this website.
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Joshua Zabel talks digital collaboration in facade design

Kreysler & Associates' Joshua Zabel knows more than a thing or two about collaborating with architects to produce complex facades. "On the design side, increasingly complex projects call for earlier and earlier involvement from us for material and fabrication input," said Zabel. "With increasing frequency we're being called on by architects to contribute during SD and DD phases." Zabel will share the fabricator's perspective on teamwork in high performance envelope design and construction later this week at Facades+AM Seattle. His co-presenters on "Digital Collaborations: Applications, Realities and Opportunities in the Delivery of Complex Facades" include Jeffrey Vaglio (Enclos), David Sandinsky (NBBJ) and Marne Zahner (Magnusson Klemencic Associates). Digital design tools play a critical role in enabling an ongoing dialogue between designers and fabricators, said Zabel. "There's obviously a lot to be said for the ability to pass a 3D model back and forth or share drawings on a screen in real time with someone thousands of miles away," he explained. "It seems easy to forget it wasn't anywhere near as fluid, say, 15 years ago." More specifically, said Zabel, "It's interesting to me when we're able to communicate with architects at the level of programming the toolpath strategy for making molds with our CNC machine. Everything about that notion is enhanced by the collaborative use of technology." Zabel compares contemporary developments in design and fabrication technology to the introduction of another collaborative tool: the telephone. "CAD and digital fabrication processes are such useful tools for construction and collaboration, I imagine one day, like the telephone, we won't marvel at how useful it is, we'll just take it for granted," he said. At the same time, there remains room for improvement. Construction documentation standards, for instance, often necessitate creating traditional 2D models that are "simply impractical" in particularly complex cases such as SFMOMA rainscreen or Bing Concert Hall, said Zabel. The ease of communication "can also lead to overload and an environment where it can be difficult to find a foothold or pinpoint the important thing to focus on where everybody has access to all of the information all the time." Join Zabel and other movers and shakers in the facades world December 4 at Facades+AM Seattle. Register today on the symposium website.
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Energy strategist Sangeetha Divakar on the role of digital techniques in facade design

Digital techniques including parametrization play an increasingly important role in the work of many architects, engineers, and builders, especially those involved in the design and fabrication of high performance facades. "Parametrization is a critical path for facade design," observed Perkins+Will energy strategist Sangeetha Divakar. "A choice set of digital tools are being used to achieve this, especially when design options are optimized in response to several end goal parameters." Divakar will share lessons learned from her work in Seattle and elsewhere next week at Facades+AM Seattle. Her co-presenters on "Combined Modeling Efforts for the Optimized Facade: Models, Methods, Materials" include Morrison Hershfield principal Stéphane Hoffman and Richard Green, of Front, Inc. As someone particularly attuned to environmental performance, said Divakar, "What excites me the most in facade systems optimization now is that the line demarcating design parametrization and energy analysis parametrization is fast disappearing." But while the worlds of aesthetics and energy analysis are more integrated than ever, gaps remain elsewhere. In particular, Divakar pinpointed a need for "a direct integration of facade parametrization with engineering parametrization." Hear more about cutting-edge digital design tools including parametrization from Divakar, Hoffman, and Green on December 4 at Facades+AM Seattle. The symposium, a half-day version of the popular Facades+ conference series, features three sessions on hot topics in facade design and construction, with a special focus on designing and building for the Pacific Northwest. Learn more and register today at the Facades+AM website.
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Japanese government to fund a maglev train line between DC and Baltimore

You can do a lot in fifteen minutes: cook some surf-and-turf, blast through paperwork, star in a mediocre crime drama, or travel 40 miles between major East Coast cities. Well, not yet. Given the excruciatingly slow pace of infrastructure modernization in the U.S., there will be a wait on that last one, probably for decades. Yet, the U.S. is taking small steps towards twenty-first century transportation. Last week, the U.S. Transportation Department granted $27.8 million in Federal Railroad Administration funds to the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation to conduct feasibility studies for a maglev train line that will run between DC and Baltimore.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffwhalan/16578045553/in/photolist-6ZNtXq-bkjuSb-byeyp6-qdzcUH-u8F6rc-9DN21-byeq9i-bkjwuj-7sUSTT-4TEqye-qZoBxP-78WXSR-7ya8wK-rfWPnB-7sYQD7-7sYQLS-ziKfWR-6pTxyU-4SpKK-21THR5-4jpRM-Ab3VT-aans1n-aansdz As the above video illustrates, Maglev trains move very, very fast, reaching speeds up to 375 miles per hour. If built, the DC-Baltimore maglev train would be a 40 mile demonstration project to determine how to best bring maglev trains to the United States. Overall, the track will cost an estimated $10 billion to build. Japanese transportation companies and the Japanese government are keen on spreading their products and expertise to the United States, a potentially lucrative market. This spring, Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn rode on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Track. The Japanese government has committed $5 billion to the project, and the train operator, the Central Japan Railway Company, will not levy licensing fees for the technology. Stateside, The Northeast Maglev, a private investment group, will also contribute to the project. For those who can't delay gratification, ferroequinologists the world over love to share their love for ultrafast trains.  
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What's hot in Seattle at Facades+AM, December 4

For Seattle's AEC professionals, the city's thriving high-tech industry is both a blessing and a challenge. "The architecture scene in Seattle is red hot and exciting," said Mic Patterson, vice president of Strategic Development for Enclos. "The migration of tech and related companies into the area is driving a new wave of architectural expression in which the building skin is playing a role." Next month, Patterson co-chairs Facades+AM Seattle, a half-day version of the acclaimed Facades+ conference series, with Perkins+Will senior project designer Carsten Stinn. But while the influx of capital and design-minded entrepreneurs presents an unparalleled opportunity for architectural experimentation, Seattle-area architects, engineers, fabricators, and builders, may have some catching up to do when it comes to the technical side of the building envelope. "There is a long history of great architecture in Seattle, yet the advanced facade systems are relatively new to the area, and there are many in the local design and construction scene unfamiliar with the technology," observed Patterson. "In fact, the pace of development of facade technology has accelerated to the point that keeping up takes a deliberate effort, even by the experts, or they won't be experts for long." "Our Facades+AM event will throw some of this up for a quick but deep dialogue that will provide equal parts information and inspiration," promised Patterson. The morning's agenda is divided into three case study-based presentations punctuated by networking breaks. Jeffrey Vaglio (Enclos) and Joshua Zabel (Kreysler & Associates) will follow Patterson and Stinn's opening remarks with "Digital Collaborations: Applications, Realities, and Opportunities in the Delivery of Complex Facades." The second presentation, by energy strategist consultant Sangeetha Divakar and Morrison Hershfield's Stéphane Hoffman, is "Combined Modeling Efforts for the Optimized Facade: Models, Methods, Materials." The final offering, from Devin Kleiner (Perkins+Will) and Peter Alspach (Arup), is "Aspirations vs. Reality: Analysis of Built Projects." Additional speakers are being added to the program. To learn more or join the Seattle dialogue, visit the Facades+AM Seattle website today.
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REX unveils a fluted glass office building in Washington, D.C.

As the United States capital,Washington, D.C. is a de facto magnet for smart people who want to make an impact on government. The city doesn't often make headlines for its contemporary architecture, though occasionally, a sharp new project breaks into the parade of undistinguished office buildings. One of those is a newly unveiled 11-story structure by Brooklyn-based REX at 2050 M Street, between Washington and Dupont Circles. While the client is Tishman Speyer, CBS will be the 400,000-square-foot building's primary tenant. The project's executive architect is Houston's Kendall/Heaton. The building responds to D.C.'s strict zoning codes and its prevailing office building typologies: the Neoclassical, Beaux Arts, or Brutalist box, and the smooth, soulless glass box. Zoning requires buildings to have similar height and mass, but do not regulate, or encourage, aesthetic harmony. As a result, statement buildings with similar width and height, but widely divergent styles, compete for attention. To reconcile this peculiarity, REX's building combines the mass of a stately Neoclassical building with a transparent, fluted glass facade. According to REX, the facade is comprised of "nine hundred identical, insulated-glass panels—11.5 feet tall by 5 feet wide—are subtly curved to a 9.5 foot radius through a heat roller tempering process." The floor-to-ceiling "mullion-less" windows allow sightlines that extend through the interior. The result is an exterior that catches light at regular but unexpected angles and throws pleasantly distorted images of its neighbors back at the viewer. To offset the rigidity of glass, the lobby is clad in decidedly non-vegan cowhide, and is large enough to accommodate a site-specific sculpture by an as-yet-unnamed artist. When it is complete in 2019, 2050 M Street hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification. See the gallery below for more images of the project. 2015 was a successful year for REX. In September, principal Joshua Prince-Ramus won the Marcus Prize. The biannual honor (and cash prize) is given to an architect "on a trajectory of greatness." As part of his Marcus Prize acceptance, Prince-Ramus will teach a graduate studio on adaptive reuse at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee School of Architecture this Spring.
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OMA selected to master plan Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium–Armory Campus

Washington, D.C.'s rundown Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium–Armory Campus, home to soccer team D.C. United, is finally edging closer to redevelopment. The New York office of Rem Koolhaas' Rotterdam-based firm OMA has been commissioned to master plan the 190-acre site. The stadium, located in the Southeast quadrant of the District, boasts a significant soccer pedigree, having hosted five World Cup matches in 1994. Constructed in 1961, the RFK Memorial Stadium was famed for being one of the first multi-sport sports venues, pitched as both a baseball and soccer arena. After almost 60 years of service, the stadium is now long overdue for a facelift. The project is being overseen by Events DC and the Sports Authority for the District of Columbia. OMA will also work with management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey to develop long- and short-term concepts for the future usage of the site. The project will be managed by OMA's New York office, with the intention of creating a "holistic conceptual plan" that "resonates with the surrounding community" forming axis points and public meeting points, acting as a social hub for residents. Jason Long, partner at OMA, said in a statement that the plan will seek to to play an "important role in reconnecting the city to the Anacostia waterfront.” No renderings have been released to date. OMA will seek to integrate the stadium into the 190-acre site, a vast expanse currently covered by surface-level parking lots, underutilized green spaces, and wide roadways. The windswept campus today appears eerily abandoned. “The goal of the project is to develop conceptual master plans for the entire Campus that complement the site, benefit the community, and create access points and public areas of convergence for residents and visitors” Laura Baird, associate at OMA, said in a statement. Plans and concepts for the project will be released in January 2016. The campus master plan is OMA's second commission in Washington, D.C. The firm also won a design competition, with landscape architecture firm OLIN, to build the 11th Street Bridge Park that spans the Anacostia River.The so-called "Anacostia Crossings" proposal configures the bridge into an X-shaped , multi-story linear park. According to AN's October 2014 report on the bridge, nearly $16 million had already been raised for the project, with a goal of $40 million more.
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Gallaudet University announces four finalist teams to create the "first urban environment for the deaf"

Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. is doubling down on design for the deaf. The university has announced four finalists in an international design competition that will add to an ambitious program to build DeafSpace, the "first urban environment for the deaf." Designing public space with the deaf in mind brings its own unique challenges. "Do crosswalks have to heighten visibility? If sidewalks have to be wider, do they cut into sidewalk cafes and increase the area of surfaces impermeable to rainwater?" Gallaudet turned to the design community to come up with ideas in its competition. The two-part competition garnered responses from 51 multidisciplinary teams (comprising 320 architecture firms, consultants, and specialists). The brief called for a space specifically tailored to the needs of the deaf community and required the design team to propose a new campus gateway and "redefine the university's urban edge as a vibrant, mixed-use, creative and cultural district." The shortlisted finalists are:
  • Hall McKnight Architects with AECOM, Nomad RDC, Whybrow Wayfinding, L’Observatoire International, Dr Adams-Costa, and Patrick Cullina (UK)
  • Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd., with Richard Burck Associates, Landscape Architecture Bureau, Bohler Engineering, Small Design Firm, Tillotson Design Associates, Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc, Pentagram, Jensen Hughes Associates, Buro Happold, Tarek Atoui and Jacob Shamberg (US)
  • Marvel Architects with Quennell Rothschild Partners, ARUP, Local Projects, James Lima Planning + Development, Future/City, Jim Conti Light Design, Doyle Partners, Tom Fruin (US)
  • MASS Design Group with Jeffrey Mansfield, DLR Group, TENxTEN, Small Stuff, Urban Ingenuity, Integral Group, Wendy Jacobs, Michael Gulliver, Chisato Minamimura and Sarah Pickthall (US)
Located on the southwestern edge of the university, the competition is sited along 6th Street NE and hopes to connect the deaf and hearing communities. The university is calling the larger area "DeafSpace" and aims to fit the competition project into an existing 10-year master plan. In what will be the "first urban environment for the deaf," public spaces in and around the campus and four sizeable plots will be developed under the master plan. Started in 2012, the ten-year master plan is well under way. In 2014 architect Morris Adjmi was chosen to design the four plots totaling 1.3 million square feet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=14&v=PcSnNMSkbf4 The competition project will feature "DeafSpace" design principles, which are based on the knowledge that the built environment, largely constructed by and for hearing individuals, presents a variety of challenges to which deaf people have responded with a particular way of altering their surroundings to fit their unique ways-of-being. Examples of DeafSpace design elements can be found on the Gallaudet campus in two of its buildings. This project is the first time these design principles will be incorporated into a public space off the Gallaudet campus. The university "realized its campus didn't suit how the Deaf use buildings and streets," according to Greater Greater Washington. DeafSpace hopes to correct that. The design of DeafSpace takes into account the visual nature of sign language—American Sign Language (ASL) requires view of the whole upper body. Practitioners use lots of personal space when communicating with their hands, so in DeafSpace, "there are as few manually opening doors as possible." Hallways and corridors are designed to be wider. Hansel Bauman, leader of the DeafSpace project is keen to take the idea further. To "design spaces more tightly around human behaviors and sensations, irrespective of specific abilities." He noted how easy it is for society to forget how humans physically and visually interact with our surroundings. "The design competition is an important first step in one of the most dramatic neighborhood revitalizations the District has seen in some time," Fred Weiner, assistant vice president of administration at Gallaudet and CEO of the Gallaudet University Foundation, said in a statement. "This integration into the surrounding community will allow for greater opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to engage with those that live and work alongside us, and for those outside the campus boundaries to better understand our culture and the deaf ways of being." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBBdQnni9Go  
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Developers get smart on the eventual redo of D.C.'s Brutalist J. Edgar Hoover Building

A long-standing fortress of state secrecy is under siege. The federal government is selling Washington, D.C.'s J. Edgar Hoover Building to a developer who, citizens hope, will turn the FBI's headquarters into a mixed use development. Designed by Charles F. Murphy and completed in 1975, the 2.8 million square foot Brutalist building is praised and reviled for all the reasons Brutalist buildings are praised and reviled. Despite its historical significance and because of $80 million in deferred maintenance, the building will likely be replaced with development that creates a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape. There are, however, massive bureaucratic hurdles to clear before the property can be developed. First, the congressionally-approved 1974 master plan must be revised s0 the site can be developed as a non-office building. However, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, the entity that created the plan, folded in 1996. Its responsibilities are now shared by the National Park Service, the General Services Administration (GSA), and National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The three agencies must agree on every step of the plan for it to move forward. When and if these master plan revisions are approved, the agencies can develop design guidelines for the site. The design guidelines must be adopted before developers can bid on the property because of a particular arrangement the federal government requires of this site. The GSA, the federal office responsible for securing land for a new complex, must offload underperforming assets (like the J. Edgar Hoover Building) before acquiring new ones. The developer will take a risk in buying this property because the exchange must occur before what can be built on the property is absolutely final. Finally, the developer's plans will go though the city's design review boards. Developers willing to endure a potentially Kafka-esque wait will be rewarded with prime land on the capital's most prestigious avenue.
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The White House is up for auction—or at least an old piece of it

Here's your chance to own a piece—a very small piece—of the actual White House. No large lobbyist pockets required. A relic from the presidential mansion will go up for auction at a live event later this month. The piece is an architectural ornament from the main hall of 1817 that President Madison rebuild after an 1814 fire. The wooden ornamental plinth was actually removed from the White House in 1902 during Theodore Roosevelt's renovation. It's part of an architectural ensemble forming the trim around a doorway and was used as a base, sitting at the bottom of the frame. Measuring approximately 14 x 30 x 4 inches, it was constructed using a pine base with pine moldings, cast composition ornaments, and hand-forged nails. In addition, it has 17 layers of paint of which three are gold leaf. From this evidence one can assume the that White House was repainted for each president, thus allowing the plinth to be representative of 17 terms of U.S. presidency. The auction will be hosted by RR in Boston later this month on Monday, September 28 at 1:00 PM EST.
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Architects design an interactive installation at the Smithsonian that calls for participants to overthrow dictators

Viva la revolución? A new interactive installation in Washington D.C. named Starry Heavens aims to use architecture for anarchy by unifying participants and encouraging them into carrying out collective acts of mobocracy. The brainchild of game designer Eric Zimmerman and architect Nathalie Pozzi, Starry Heavens is a quirky neo-political game (of sorts) which features a sleek white, snake-like form that sits above the participants. Below is a grid with black, grey and white interconnected bases, which if anything, is emulative of molecular lattice-like structure. According to The Creators Project, users have to stand on these bases and can only move when instructed to do so by a "central ruler," who is the only one allowed to talk. The aim of the game is for the players (who can join at any time) to overthrow the dictator. After meeting on Craigslist in 2008, Zimmerman and Pozzi have collaborated on similar projects prior to this one. In their first venture in 2009, they created BlockBall for the Come Out and Play festival. This isn't the first outing Starry Heavens has had either as the game in fact was initially designed for a MoMa event, exhibited in 2011. Speaking to The Creators Project, Pozzi explained why the exhibition space at the Smithsonian was a pulling factor. "For the installation at the Smithsonian, the white curve was very much a response to the physical space, we wanted to design a visually striking element that connected the play on the ground with the stunning Kogod Courtyard. The curve serves as a theatrical backdrop for the project and also as the 'heavens' of the title, Starry Heavens." The installation was fabricated by Erik van Dongen of Air Design Studio. Clara Ranenfir contributed to the design. Described by the pair as a "political fable" the installation seeks to use the physicality of the space to enliven themes of power and control, amplifying how this can shift via collaboration of the masses. "Starry Heavens tells an absurdist story of a pointless conflict. Players conspire with and against each other to overthrow a central Ruler, who commands where they can step. Whoever becomes the new Ruler takes over the nonsensical goal of trying to pull down a gigantic helium-filled balloon before they themselves get overthrown and replaced." "The way an architect structures space through material is very much like the way a game designer structures behavior through game rules," Zimmerman explains. "Perhaps architecture can learn to think of itself as a responsive discipline that reflects its environment and its users in a more honest and immediate way." The physicality of architecture in particular appeals to Zimmerman. "Maybe games can learn to be less disposable," he says. "I love the idea of designing a game that—like a building—is meant to last for decades or centuries."
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Report: Red tape and deferred maintenance balloon U.S. infrastructure costs to $3.7 trillion

A new report attempts to quantify the cost of our national reluctance to fix aging bridges, railroads and power lines. Delays in approving infrastructure projects cost the United States some $3.7 trillion, according to the nonpartisan think tank Common Good—more than twice what it would take to fix the infrastructure in the first place, according to a report titled Two Years, Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals. That staggering price tag includes the costs of prolonged inefficiencies and unnecessary pollution that continues while local, state, and federal agencies forestall fixes to infrastructure that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates is due for $1.7 trillion in repairs and maintenance through 2020. The New York–based think tank based their numbers on a six-year delay, which they reasoned was accurate according to available data about how long projects typically take to get shovel-ready:
Although large projects often take a decade or longer to permit, we assume that the avoidable delay on major projects is six years. There is ample anecdotal evidence of actual years of delay in the US for different types of infrastructure projects, but little cumulative data. The Federal Highway Administration estimated that the average time for approval of major highway projects was over six years. Five to ten years is a common timeframe for interstate transmission lines, and for wind farms and solar fields on federal lands on either coast.
Infrastructure maintenance and repair is, of course, a thoroughly unsexy topic. But, as the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial about Common Good's report, it's important—and perhaps politically viable even in a presidential election cycle:
Common Good suggests building a process that shuttles projects through in a prompt two years. Environmental reviews should be handled by one designated official and kept to 300 pages; litigation should be restricted to the first 90 days after the permit is issued; the White House should be granted authority to appoint an agency as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for interstate projects. Congress could address the permitting morass this fall as part of the transportation bill, and the presidential candidates could include the issue and a horror story or two in their agendas for faster economic growth. It’s hard to imagine a more sensible and politically achievable idea—and one better suited to restoring public confidence that government can carry out its basic duties.