One Seattle architect’s much ballyhooed basement isn’t built from LEGO bricks, but it houses 250,000 of them in 150 meticulously sorted bins. Jeff Pelletier, who runs a small architecture practice Board & Vellum, has amassed a collection worth an estimated $25,000, with containers categorized by color, food, Lego leaves, heads, torsos, Lego latticework, satellite dishes, legs, gold bricks, red bricks, and lime. When Pelletier bought the unfurnished house in 2006, he found a lone red Lego brick in the attic and construed it as a sign that it was the place to put down roots–and his LEGO man cave. Like many aficionados of the self-adhering plastic bricks, Pelletier has been collecting since toddlerhood. At age 16, he relegated his collection to the storage room, unearthing it again in 2005 when he resumed collecting and acquired the collection he has today. When he remodeled his whimsical-looking lime-and-raspberry home in 2011, he decided to transform his basement into a media room, bar, and giant Lego repository, where Pelletier has built a Lego library, ships, bars, houses he’s lived in and even a miniature version of his brightly colored home. “Since I was 2 years old, I always wanted to be an architect. I think a lot of that was because of LEGO,” Pelletier told Komo News.
Posts tagged with "Washington":
Richlite-clad museum expansion inspired by industrial context and Old West art collection.Commissioned to craft an extension to the Antoine Predock–designed Tacoma Art Museum, Olson Kundig Architects sought inspiration in both the history of the site and the art collection itself. Located in the city's Union Depot/Warehouse historic district, the museum is surrounded by brick buildings formerly dedicated to industry and transportation. "The new addition needed to respond to both the neighborhood context as well as the existing building," explained design principal Tom Kundig. "It has clean lines that recall the existing structure but recalls more directly the natural, earthy materials found in the neighborhood." In contrast to the stainless steel-clad original wing, which houses the museum's modern art collection, the new wing—dedicated to the art of the American West—is wrapped in layers of Richlite sunscreens. "The addition's use of exterior shutters references symbols of the American West—fences, filtered barn light, and railroad box cars," said Kundig. "It's fitting that the Haub Family's Western American Art collection now sits at the westernmost terminus of the rail line established by President Lincoln." A new 30-foot-high canopy serves as the junction of the museum's old and new wings, and creates an exterior gathering space for museumgoers. "The intersection between the existing building's modern collection and the new structure's western art collection became the focal point of a new museum experience," explained Kundig. Built from a combination of aluminum grating and stainless steel panels reused from demolished portions of the original structure, the canopy's material palette mediates the gap between the architectural languages of the two spaces. It also suggests a seamless integration into the Predock-designed building, despite the fact that it is structurally isolated for seismic safety. For the exterior of the new galleries, Olson Kundig chose Richlite, an earth-toned composite product made from waste paper and resin, both because it is locally manufactured, and as a reference to Tacoma's lumber industry. The architects used Richlite in two forms: as panels for straightforward cladding; and as dimensional lumber to build overlapping sets of shutters. Comprising both fixed and operable screens, the shading system controls the amount of sunlight that enters the galleries and allows museum staff to adjust visibility into and out of the building. The moveable screen panels, each 16 feet 4 inches wide by 16 feet 6 inches tall, are controlled by a hand crank located in the lobby. The Tacoma Art Museum expansion project held special meaning for Kundig, whose firm is located in Seattle. "Tacoma is an important part of our local community, so it was deeply important for me to create something significant in this place with so much history," he said. "That the project is a Western art collection adjacent to a modern art collection, is incredibly exciting. It's an opportunity to explore the similarities and differences in American art, to examine our history and contemplate our future."
The Vancouver-based New Buildings Institute (NBI) tracks energy efficient built work, and their 2014 update, “Getting to Zero”, provides a snapshot of the emerging U.S. market for net-zero buildings—those are structures that use no more energy than they can gather on site. In the United States, California leads in the number of low and zero energy projects with 58, followed by Oregon (18), Colorado (17), Washington (16), Virginia (12), Massachusetts (11), Florida (10), Pennsylvania (10), Illinois (8), North Carolina (8), and New York (8). NBI also compiled a database of all their buildings. They say architects and developers interested in pursuing net-zero design could find inspiration there, searching according to their local climate and/or building characteristics. The database includes energy-efficient and high-performance buildings that are not net-zero, as well. Though the trend has succeeded in garnering attention and excitement among many designers, true net-zero buildings remain elusive in the built environment. So far NBI has only certified 37 buildings as net-zero. That ranking is based on performance—each building underwent a review of at least 12 months of measured energy use data. If piece-meal projects aren't yet adding up to a groundswell of net-zero design, NBI is also pushing systemic change—rigorous energy efficiency standards recently adopted in Illinois took cues from the group's Core Performance Guide.
Despite the fact that most state licensing boards require registered architects to pursue continuing education, not all AEC professionals take full advantage of the educational opportunities available. That’s a shame, says Mic Patterson, VP of Strategic Development for Enclos, given the value of the many workshops, seminar programs, and conferences aimed at practicing architects. The Facades+ conference series, co-sponsored by Enclos and AN, is one such offering. “The intent was to start a dialog involving the building skin that bridged the various fragmented sectors of the building industry,” said Patterson. “We’ve been very successful in doing that. Now I’m interested in taking this dialog to other locations.” Accordingly, Facades+ will launch a new initiative next month: Facades+ AM, a half-day forum debuting in Seattle on November 11. “Skin in the Game: Seattle 9-for-19” distills the best of the Facades+ 2-day conference into a four-hour event including nine 19-minute TED-talk-style presentations by the movers and shakers of building envelope design and construction. The speakers, who include Kjell Anderson, Architect and Sustainability Coordinator for LMN Architects, Perkins+Will’s Carsten Stein, Miller Hull principal Brian Court, and Brad Liljequist, Technical Director for the Living Building Challenge, are grouped into three themed sessions. “Biting the Bullitt: Facade Futures and Living Buildings” will take Seattle’s own Bullitt Center as its focus, while “Facades Futures: Drivers, Innovations, Integrations, and Renovations” will examine dominant trends in facade technology. The third session, “Bright Lights Big City: Daylight and Glare in the Urban Environment,” will explore the challenge of balancing competing concerns in designing energy-efficient skins. In addition to participating in the Q&A period following each panel, Facades+ AM attendees will have the opportunity to network with speakers and fellow audience members at a continental breakfast and mid-morning networking break. To learn more, or to register for Facades+ AM’s Seattle premiere, visit the event website.
Robert Hull, FAIA, founding partner of The Miller Hull Partnership, has died from complications following a stroke. Hull, who was 68, was on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Hull earned a bachelor of architecture from Washington State University, where he met his long-time business partner David Miller. From 1968 to 1972 he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Afghanistan. There he designed and built the headquarters for the National Tourism Agency, helped establish an architecture program at Kabul University, and designed more than 100 sustainable schools. Upon his return to the United States, Hull worked in the New York office of Marcel Breuer. He joined Rhone and Iredale Architects in 1975 and, with David Miller, opened the RIA Seattle office. Miller and Hull established The Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle in 1977. Hull’s design credits include projects throughout the Pacific Northwest and in San Diego, notably The Open Window School, Epiphany School, Bertschi Center, and The Bush School, all in Seattle, Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University Science Building and University Center for Performing Arts, Discovery Park Visitors Center, and Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, Tillamook Forest Center and Yaquina Interpretive Center in Oregon, The Wharf and Pier 32 in San Diego, and a number of private homes throughout the San Juan Islands. Hull had recently returned to Afghanistan, where he was at work on both a health clinic and a girls' school. Hull and Miller jointly received the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor in 2010, seven years after their firm earned the 2003 AIA National Firm Award for sustained design excellence. The pair were also awarded the Washington Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. Hull was an accomplished public speaker and a mentor to many younger employees at Miller Hull. “Hull was regarded for his natural ability to grasp the essence of a project and translate it into an inspired physical manifestation of client values,” the firm said in a statement. “His buildings fit amazingly well in their setting—urban or rural—and were extremely comfortable to occupy, but most of all, they were beautiful.” Hull’s family held a private funeral service in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, April 13, 2014. The date for a public Seattle celebration of Hull’s life will be announced soon.
LIT Workshop fabricated sleek lodge poles to complement the city’s heritage.When Starwood Properties began to reimagine a new living room concept for the W Seattle, the existing first floor space featured a disconnected bar, restaurant, and lounge area, much like the traditional layout of a formal home. Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm Skylab Architecture was charged with knocking down the visual barriers for an open floor plan that resembled a more modern, casual living space. Several preexisting columns could not be removed for structural reasons, so a truly open plan had to be amended. “In some ways you could see them as a negative, or they could be seen as a positive,” Skylab principal Brent Grubb told AN. “We try to turn those perceived negatives into a design element and make it unique.” Researching the city’s cultural and maritime history inspired the architecture team to combine the water-worn patina of shore-front pilings with the physical mass of wooden totem poles. The solution was a parametrically streamlined form that was fabricated in modular sections for swift installation. The team designed seven different variations on a crescent shape that rotates and stacks to create unique profiles: round, recessed, and beaked. Depending on the stacking pattern, the lodge poles provide downlighting or uplighting, or exist as a solid mass. Because the sections had to accommodate wiring, Skylab worked with their local fabricator, LIT Workshop, to find a solution for an open interior to the column casing that relayed the weight and size of solid wood poles. Similar to a boat’s construction, furniture-grade plywood was CNC milled from an interior radius to form ribs. The ribs were then wrapped with a kerfed core substrate, over which a walnut veneer was applied. Due to the irregular curves of each piece geometrically even cutouts would not suffice. LIT modeled at least two article parts in SolidWorks as a visual reference that was refined according to feedback from both the architects and the fabricator. Each section was clear coated and embellished with a nine-coat paint process to mimic the ombre appearance of waterlogged pier pilings. According to Jon Hoppman, Director of Manufacturing for LIT Workshop, CNC routers were instrumental in fabricating the framework of the lodge pole sections. “Due to the size and scale of the elements, as well as the process of installation, the sections were required to be produced and repeated under tight tolerances,” he explained. An extensive period of research, design, and prototyping—that included the development of a proprietary fastening system—resulted in an installation period of approximately one week. The resulting columns blend into the W Seattle’s surroundings like bespoke furniture components, at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional crafting techniques. “At once, they’re heavy and permanent, but also light and eroding,” said Skylab’s Grubb. “Technology tells us you can really do something customized with an economy.”
A new bill before the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to build consensus to junk Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial on the National Mall. The bill, known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Completion Act, was proposed by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). It cites concerns over the controversial nature of the design and its escalating costs (currently estimated at well over $100 million) and seeks to "facilitate the completion of an appropriate national memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower." Opposition to Gehry's proposal has been brewing for some time. The antagonists include members of Eisenhower's family and the National Civic Art Society, which published a 153-page report that called Gehry's scheme a "travesty" and a "Happy McMonument." The AIA feels differently. The association released a statement opposing Rep. Bishop's bill. The statement does not express an opinion about the value of Gehry's design, but rather disapproves of the "arbitrary nature" of this exercise of "governmental authority." Lodge your feelings about the bill and/or Gehry's design in the comments section of this post.
Washington, D.C., is often admired for its monuments. Now there is another part of our nation's capital that its 19 million annual visitors can tour and enjoy. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has recently announced the launch of an online mobile-friendly guide meant to give not only tourist, but also locals a new perspective on the historic, modern, and contemporary landscapes in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA. Created by the ASLA in partnership with 20 nationally recognized landscape architects, The Landscape Architect's guide to Washington, D.C., elucidates each site with the knowledge and perspective of a professional. Each designer was asked to present their site in a manner that would allow visitors to gain an understanding of how the location's design influences them and their sentiments about the area. This free online guide covers more than 75 landscapes organized into 16 distinct tours, highlighting how the city's lively public realm has evolved and developed over the years. Demonstrating the importance of landscape architecture in urban design, the website shows the greater role that this field plays in designing the interstitial spaces between a city's buildings and its public realm. Each tour includes printable walking or biking maps. The guide is free so as to be accessible to all and is noted as the first of many guides to come. To view the guide visit www.asla.org/guide
Apple takes another bite. Once famous for its oysters, Grand Central will now be known for its Apples. Cult of Mac reports that the computer giant plans to open their biggest retail outlet yet, which will, no doubt be as busy as Grand Central Station. High speed posturing. If you don't want it, we'll take it! That's the message being sent out by Democratic governors to their Republican counterparts who are rejecting infrastructure dollars. Huff-Po's Sam Stein notes that governors from New York, Washington, and California are lining up to take Florida Governor Rick Scott's rejected $2 billion in federal funding for high speed rail line. Goal! One more hurdle to go. DNA reports that Columbia's Baker Field got the green light from the City Planning Commission to build the Steven Holl designed Campbell Sports Center. Part of the plan includes a James Corner/Field Operations-designed park and 17,000 square feet of restored marsh and shoreline. Pool Hall Banking. A 1916 bank building on Philadelphia's Chestnut Street will take on an adaptive reuse that its architect Horace Trumbauer surely never dreamed of. PlanPhilly reports that developer Paul Giegerich is thinking of turning the architect's two story cathedral of commerce into a swanky pool hall with food created by a star (Steven Starr to be exact).
It's been a busy week for Ray LaHood, our favorite Transportation Secretary. On Monday, he sat down with the Times' Green Inc. blog to discuss a range of topics, most notably his recent declaration (video above, shot from atop a table at the National Bike Summit) that cyclists and pedestrians would get equal time, money, and consideration on America's streets. The next day, a blog post, ostensibly by the secretary, featured an interesting study showing that a staggering amount of us—Americans, not just readers of this blog—want more and bet transit options. And this goes for the nation's waterways as well, all delivered through a more transparent DOT. And in an unusually unbureaucratic move, the department is even sharing some of its responsibilities, partnering with the EPA to set fuel efficiency standards. The week was capped off today in a sweep through New York to press drivers stop texting and stump for high-speed rail, one of his pet projects. And to think people were afraid he'd be reactionary just because he was a Republican Congressman. Revolutionary is more like it.
Hard to believe Glenn Beck isn't already up in arms over the president's decision to nominate his long-time friend and former Weatherman (some might say terrorist) to become the Architect of the Capitol. Oh. Wait. Wrong Ayers. Stephen Ayers, who has actually been serving as AoC for the past three years on an interim basis, was nominated to take over full-time on Tuesday by the Obama administration. Previously, Ayers held the position of Deputy Architect of the Capitol, taking over when his predecessor, Alan Hantman, retired after a decade of service. Ayers has had a distinguished career of public service, including a stint in the Air Force, then a turn in the public sector followed by work at Voice of America, the government-run radio network in Europe. By all appearances, his experience in facilities management in general and at the Capitol in particular should silence critics who have been giving the industry grief over the AoC position in recent years. As we reported shortly after Hantman's retirement, some on the Hill had been agitating for a non-architect to take over the AoC position partly because of huge cost overruns and delays at the much-maligned (particularly by critics) new Capitol Visitor Center. But that's not the AoC's only responsibility, as the office also manages the entire Capitol Complex and surrounding grounds, a job the AIA and others said required an architect's unique and varied skill set. The institute issued a statement today calling for Ayer's timely appointment:
"Christine W. McEntee, Executive Vice President/CEO of the AIA, said, "Mr. Ayers has shown leadership, foresight, and a steady hand as he led the Architect of the Capitol’s office for the last three years. Mr Ayers has addressed many goals for the office in an exemplary manner. However, there are still urgent needs facing the Capitol complex, from reducing its carbon footprint to renovating buildings in need of repair, and the Office of the Architect of the Capitol will benefit from Mr. Ayers’ capable leadership."Best of luck. He'll probably need it.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released its energy bill today. The main talking point is that the bill sponsored by Barbara Boxer and John Kerry takes a tougher stance on emission reductions than the House bill, shooting for 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, as opposed to 17 percent. But the bills share some comforting similarities, at least for architects. Just like the house bill, which we wrote about in July, the Boxer-Kerry bill includes important measures targeted at buildings, among them stricter building codes and retroactive efficiency standards for retrofitted buildings. Along with the bill passed by the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June, which called for other efficiency standards, Andrew Goldberg, the senior director for federal relations at the AIA, said the Senate stands to create strong, architecturally intensive standards Goldberg said one piece of the House bill that is missing is the GREEN Act, which encourages banks to offer better loans to sustainable projects. Because of the nature of the Senate, such provisions would actually have to be worked out in a separate committee, though Goldberg said he remains confident in the act's prospects. Another issue where the AIA is looking for improvement over the House bill is the allocation of funds generated by the sale of cap-and-trade credits. The Senate has yet to divvy up those credits—of which there could be more, in light of higher standards—but Goldberg is hoping for more than the 10 percent given over building related initiatives like training building operators and funding green public housing. "With the built environment accounting for 40 percent of greenhouse emissions in the country, we want to keep hammering home that buildings are the key to energy efficiency," Goldberg said. Which is not to say the AIA expects 40 percent of the cap-and-trade funds—improving the energy grid and using more renewable energy will go a long way toward addressing buildings' energy usage, though the feeling is buildings deserve more than they are getting in the House bill. Plus, building improvements not only mean greenhouse reductions but more of those vaunted green collar jobs.