This review of Detlef Mertins’ book “Mies” – by Thomas de Monchaux - originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine as “Mies Reconsidered“. According to de Monchaux, Mertins reveals the modernist master as a voracious reader who interpreted a wide variety of influences to arrive at his stripped-down style.
The quintessential page of the 528 that make up Detlef Mertins’s monumental new monograph on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—entitled simply Mies (Phaidon, 2014)—is 155. There, you will find a reproduction, a page within a page, of page 64 of Romano Guardini’s 1927 book Letters from Lake Como—a book about modernity and human subjectivity—with Mies’s own annotations penciled in the margins, in a surprisingly ornate and delicate hand.
And there, you will find Mertins’s notes on Mies’s notes on Guardini: “Of all the books in Mies’s library, Guardini’s Letters is the most heavily marked. Mies highlighted passage after passage with bold and rapid margin strokes and wrote key words diagonally and in large script across the first pages of many of the chapters: Haltung (stance), Erkenntnis (knowledge), Macht (power).” Mertins’s vivid marginality, his attention to the divine details along edges, recalls the experience of reading the Talmud, that commentary on Jewish law and scripture in which, by marking and emending earlier readers’ marks and emendations, generations of rabbis enacted an intimate conversation across time and space.
Read on for more insight into Mies’ influences.
Mies—like so many architects a self-invented social climber, shape-shifter, and name changer—was an autodidact. Although he did a few years of Latin and arithmetic at church schools around Aachen, Germany, where he was born in 1886, his formal education was minimal. His rise from a family of stonemasons to a gentleman with the manner of a global aristocrat was largely a matter of apprenticeships (most famously to early modern master Peter Behrens, with whom Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier also trained). And he read. And read. Mertins, in his own scholarship another vast reader, catalogs the library with which Mies emigrated from Berlin to Chicago in 1938: “Mies brought with him books by evolutionary biologists, botanists, astronomists, physicists, and cosmologists, as well as philosophers, sociologists, zoologists, psychologists, theologians, architects, urbanists, art historians, and art critics. Once in America,” Mertins notes with sly understatement, “he updated his reading.”
By an eclectic mix of familiar and obscure authors, from Alfred North Whitehead to Max Scheler, those books were the kinds that capitalize words like Spirit and Age and Man. They featured—charmingly and disturbingly in today’s era of narrow specialty and technologically inflected immediacy—massively synthetic theories attempting to reconcile interdisciplinary readings of science, culture, history, and theology with the turbulent economic and political events of the first decades of the twentieth century. Mies’s first great patron, who taught him this kind of reading—and perhaps that it had implications for design—was the philosopher Alois Riehl, for whom, in 1907, the then-20-year-old architectural prodigy produced a gabled neo-Biedermeier weekend cottage in the fashionable Berlin suburb of Potsdam-Neubabelsberg.
In Architecture 101, that gingerbread house (with an inevitable emphasis on the proto-modern flat roof of its below-grade side porch) launches a half-century of buildings whose diversity and weirdness are masked by their ubiquity, in citation and imitation, in today’s curriculums and cityscapes. There’s the erudite classicism of the 1910 Bismarck Monument; the moody charcoal expressionism of the glass Friedrichstrasse drawings of 1921, in Mertins’s words “the first time anywhere that a skyscraper was envisioned as a monumental yet hollow crystal”; the all-too-tidy white boxes of the 1923 Weissenhofsiedlung housing project (epitomizing for MoMA curator and subsequent collaborator Philip Johnson, in his 1932 show of that name, the International Style); the slick chrome-and-marble modernism of the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion; the Nazi-era directorship of the Bauhaus and uneasy unbuilt works of that era; the daintily scholastic 1951 Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois (beaten into the history books by Johnson’s imitative Glass House of 1948); the iconic New York Seagram Building of 1956—all bronze and travertine and glass and steel, all spandrels and I-beam trimmings—that set the monolithic template for American skyscrapers for a quarter-century; and the late, brooding masterpiece, 1967’s National Gallery in Berlin, with its floating roof of infinite weight.
All that reading, that work, that mastery, that conclusive resolution and standardization of details, that tragic Churchillian face above that inevitable cigar—it’s a tough act to follow. Mertins gives his monograph’s first words, “Less is a Bore,” to postmodernist Robert Venturi—whose clownish buildings attempted to prove that assertion, a pun on Mies’s famous modernist-minimalist aphorism that less is more—and immediately quotes Venturi’s regretful retraction that “all architects should kiss the feet of Mies.” Mertins’s eventual thesis, as sturdy yet slender as a Miesian I-beam, is that although we usually think of Mies as an aphoristic absolutist, Mies the eclectic autodidact always contained this complexity and contradiction—between avant-garde and historicist, corporate and contrarian, blurry and sharp, heavy and light. And that in this sense, for all the ways in which Mies seemed always to have the last word, he was always starting over.
That narrow idea pierces an extraordinary breadth of biography and historiography, in which Mertins equals the massive syntheses and disparate fascinations of his subject’s beloved authors. Mertins, known as a generous scholar and kind teacher in an architectural academy that undervalues these virtues, died during his work on this book, which was finalized by his partner, Keller Easterling, and interlocutors Barry Bergdoll, Ed Dimendberg, Felicity D. Scott, and others. Their work confirms and continues a conversation between Mies and Mertins that, like those between ancient rabbis born centuries apart, is Talmudic in its compass and complexity, and that transcends the mere detail of death.
Design Team: Esan Rahmani, Michael Civovic, Diana Quintero Saul, Angela Selke
Engineers: Inhabit Group – Bruce Wymond, Ryan Hannam, Steven Lu
Facade Manufacture + Installation: Micos
Shop Drawings: Gehry Technologies
Stone Facade Manufacture + Installation: Stoneplus
Structural Engineers: M+G Consulting
From the architect. The site is located on Sydney’s historic Elizabeth Street on Hyde Park. and uses traditional elegant contextual materials such as sandstone and steel in a contemporary way using digital technology to mould the façade to the changing conditions on the skin.
The profile of every level is different. This responds to the differing unit plans, views and sun on each level. 3-D modelling software and Rhino scripting is used to create a façade that is progressively responsive to changing conditions.
The tapering shape of the penthouse maximises solar access and views to Hyde Park and terminates the fluid geometry. The façade is made from hundreds of individually shaped metal panels.
We sought a geometry which provided a degree of repetition but which could allow for every different floor plate. Its warping planes often results in double curvatures; diagonal cuts are used to ensure that we could use single curve panels to make the warped planes.
The panels were laser cut by robot as were the fluidly shaped sandstone panels. The support structure, also in steel, consists of multi-curved frames which were located in space by the computer to ensure everything fit together.
The shop drawings were prepared by Frank Gehry Digital studio. The 17 storey building contains 19 units with most levels having one 4 bedroom unit per floor with a 3 storey penthouse on top.
Tod Williams has broke his silence in his first interview since the Museum of Modern Art announced their decision to raze the former Folk Art Museum, expressing devastation that the building will be “reduced to a memory.”
“Yes, all buildings one day will turn to dust, but this building could have been reused,” Tod Williams. “Unfortunately, the imagination and the will were not there.”
Though MoMA has promised to preserve the building’s iconic copper-bronze facade, Williams is concerned it will forever stay in storage.
Proposals are being suggested on how to resurrect the facade, as the New York Times reported, including a concept from Nina Libeskind, chief operating officer of Studio Daniel Libeskind, and AIA New York executive director Fredric M. Bell that will be presented to MoMA next week. However, Williams expressed disinterest at the idea of installing fragments of the building elsewhere.
You can read more on the story, here.
Tod Williams Devastated Over Folk Art Museum's Fate originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 17 Apr 2014.
Location: Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Architect In Charge: Gonzalo Carro
Project Team : Oscar Ferreira, Javier Manjón, Aintzane Gastelu-Iturri
Area: 11,440 sqm
Photographs: Aitor Ortiz
Project Management: Gonzalo Carro
Costs: ATHOS (Pedro Berroya, Aitziber Goikoetxea)
Structures: Ángel Gómez, Alejandro Bernabeu
Environmental Engineering: Lorena Muñoz, Mikel Lotina
Lighting: Lorena Muñoz, Luz Bilbao
Public Health Services: Luis Alberto Ribacoba
Electrical Engineering: Lorena Muñoz
Telecommunications: Ibai Ormaza, Ignacio Alcazar, Isabel Luquin
Fire Strategy: Lorena Muñoz
Cad: Iñaki Zabala, José Ramón Rodríguez, Carlos Olmedillas, Imanol Eizmendi
Administration: Sonia López, Blanca Ugarte
Site Supervision: Gonzalo Carro
Construction Execution Management: ATHOS (Pedro Berroya y Aitziber Goikoetexea)
Construction Management: Gonzalo Carro
Contractor: UTE VIAS – ANTZIBAR
From the architect. The building, which is located in the Science Park of the University of the Basque Country, next to the university campus of Leioa, constitutes the main nexus between two worlds. It aims to be a meeting point between academia and industry.
The ground floor accommodates the main reception, meeting rooms and multipurpose rooms that provide service to the academic-business environment.
The vocation of union of the two realities is emphasized through the transparency of the curtain wall on the ground floor, creating a vision of the crossover of the campus and the science park, developing the concept of openness and communication. In turn, the ground floor is divided into two separate bodies with a passageway between them, further enhancing these concepts.
The upper floors are designed to accommodate both offices and laboratories. Open spaces have been designed without any inner elements and the vertical clearance considers the requirements for laboratory use. A window sill runs the entire length of the façade from north to south, encasing the installations to be distributed to the laboratory facilities. Large vertical conduits have been designed for the building installations to facilitate the progressive introduction of companies.
The unknown factor in terms of the number, type and nature of businesses that will occupy the building is reflected in the façade of the upper floors, forming an abstract volume which in turn enhances the concepts applied to the ground floor. The main façades on the north and south are composed of a double skin, consisting of a curtain wall on the inner face, and on the outer face, an expanded metal skin with a gateway for immediate maintenance. The expanded metal skin fulfils the functions of both solar protection and visual control of the proximity of the neighbouring buildings. The result is a building which is very bright in its interior despite the large expanse of expanded metal. The east and west façades are resolved with large vertical louvres that prevent direct solar radiation in the morning and evening.
We have designed a compact central nucleus of vertical communications, lavatory blocks and utility shafts, minimizing its size accordingly to achieve a usable surface area of 91.3% on the upper floors where companies will be accommodated.
On the roof, the building has a large installations platform which is raised to a height of one metre, allowing for maintenance and repairs without affecting functioning of the companies on the upper floor. This installations platform is directly connected to the utilities shaft or conduits which run throughout the building.
Below ground level are two floors mainly for parking, as well as meter rooms, and other installation which serve the entire Science Park.
Headquarter Building for the Science Park of the University of the Basque Country / ACXT originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 17 Apr 2014.
Building resilient and sustainable urban centers. That’s going to be the main issue that over 30 speakers will be addressing at the Cities for Tomorrow Conference next Tuesday, April 22 at TheTimesCenter, NY. The event, hosted by NY Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, will feature Shigeru Ban‘s first public appearance since winning the Pritzker Architecture Prize. His presentation will be on the eve of the conference, on Monday, April 21. Although the reception is invitation-only, we will be live-tweeting the presentation.
Title: Conference: Cities for Tomorrow
Organizers: The New York Times
From: Mon, 21 Apr 2014
Until: Tue, 22 Apr 2014
Address: 242 West 41st Street, New York, NY 10036, USA
Building on the success of their first Winter school in 2010, ManTownHuman’s “Critical Subjects” school returns this summer. The week-long event that will serve as a platform to debate vital architectural questions as diverse as “what is ‘nature’?”; “whatever happened to the avant garde?”; and “what is architecture for?” Applications are currently open – 30 of the UK‘s keenest architecture students will be chosen for their critical and innovative thought.
The school will visit a different venue each day, with hosts including Zaha Hadid Architects, Arup Associates and The Architectural Review. In a series of lectures, debates and design challenges, students will be expected to explore these topics in greater depth than is usually possible in architecture school, challenging the method of received wisdom that is increasingly taking hold in education, as explained by event organizer Alastair Donald in his article for The Architectural Review.
Applications are open until May 7th, with the event taking place between July 13th-19th. For more information and to apply, visit the event’s webpage here.
Title: Critical Subjects: A ManTownHuman Summer School
From: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:18
Until: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:18
Venue: Multiple venues in London
Applications Now Open for ManTownHuman's Summer School originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 17 Apr 2014.
Details have been released on the eight proposals competing to serve as the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Each design draws inspiration from the theme “Grown in Britain: Shared Globally,” which is intended to showcase Britain’s contribution in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to the global food challenges.
Presented anonymously, the proposals will be reviewed by an esteemed jury before a winner is announced in May.
Check out all the innovative proposals, after the break…
Team 1’s proposal would be “the first to visualize the entire world’s population (7.2 billion people) in three dimensions,” focusing on the challenge to feed our growing society.
Team 2 has designed a three-dimensional infinity loop – the UK Food Machine – that represents “the future imperative for a joined up food chain” and envisions an advanced agricultural nation.
Team 3’s forest of 1296 reusable telegraph poles “dissolves the border between exterior and interior” and takes visitors through an augmented reality that transforms the Pavilion’s physical environment and communicates the Expo’s “multifaceted and coherent style.”
Team 4 proposes a collaborative and interactive exhibition that shows just how British agriculture, technology and food have “positively impacted the world.”
Team 5 envisions “BE,” a pulsating virtual hive that highlights the plight of the honeybee and offers an “immersive sensory experience” that leaves visitors with a “lasting flavor of the British landscape.”
Team 6’s #silentcurrency uses water as a metaphor to address the Expo’s theme and inspire new support to help end our “profligate use of nature’s silent currency.”
Team 7 designed the “Strawberry Fields Forever” glasshouse to reveal the “remarkable story of how British scientific and technological innovations are benefiting global food production and consumption.”
Team 8 proposes a “collection of flexible built elements and experiences” that combines four themes of THINKERS + GROWERS + MAKERS = SHARERS to celebrate “the people and ideas that are leading scientific research, agriculture, food production and food consumption.”
The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has also announced the jury responsible for selecting a design:
You can review the eight shortlisted teams, here.
Milan Expo 2015: Shortlisted Designs Revealed for UK Pavilion originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 17 Apr 2014.
From the architect. This residence is a two storied residence built in wood, located in a residence area about an hour’s drive from Tokyo. To achieve a clear contrast, white has been added to the basic color of the mortar of the exterior walls.
As for the interior, when you open the front door, you will see an earth floored room like that of an old Japanese house, extending all the way to the yard beyond and you will see a tatami mat living room running along the earth-floored room (area).
By combining tatami and tiles, Japanese style and western style are harmonized.
The House of Kubogaoka / Kichi Architectural Design originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 17 Apr 2014.
From the architect. The client requested a design that would melt into the surrounding paddy landscape as well as provide a safe, stable living environment for generations to come.
The architect responded with a plan that incorporates multiple courtyards, ensuring the privacy necessary for an open lifestyle even if homes are built on surrounding lots in the future. If two generations with different schedules eventually share the home, the courtyards will also provide a comfortable degree of distance between the living spaces occupied by various members of the household.
From the architect. Newcastle Museum consists of a series of revitalised “turn of the Century” industrial brick railway workshop buildings – Blacksmith’s and Wheel Shop (1880), Locomotive Boiler Shop (1887), and New Erecting Shop (1920) located within the urban waterfront regeneration precinct of Honeysuckle. The challenge was to provide a linkage element to not only create a new sense of identity for the heritage structures and to provide an visually and physically accessible entrance to the three buildings, but to also upgrade them to accommodate a national standard museum and associated support requirements, without diminishing the integrity of the existing fabric.
The new building elements are conceived as a series of floating cloud like roof forms that hover in-between the heavy masonry of the existing workshops. These white cloud-like forms draw in natural light, shade and protect visitors and exhibits, while also creating a new sense of entry and central orientation for the Museum circulation.
Below the floating roof forms is the ‘Link’ structure in steel and glass that accommodates the foyer, temporary exhibition and circulation areas. The Link structure is joined to the adjacent Workshop buildings via metal tube-like forms that create extended threshold transitions into differing exhibition volumes.
Architects: David Pedroza Castañeda
Location: El Jonuco, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Architect In Charge: David Pedroza Castañeda (P+0 Arquitectura)
Project Area: 750 sqm
Project Year: 2013
Photographs: Sofia Flores Chapa
Contractor: Paralelo Estándares Globales en Construcción. Ing. Arturo Barbosa, Ing. Hyaell Briones, Arq. Beatriz Chavez.
Structure: Ing. Emilio Gonzalez
Phase 1 Construction Manager: Punto 3. Arq. Jesus González, Arq. Diego Gonzalez
Collaborators And Interior Design: Arq. Adriana Guisa, Arq. Oswaldo Salazar.
From the architect. We find Narigua House in “El Jonuco” a beautiful place where we enjoy from 360o of spectacular views. This mountain-enclosed neighbourhood reminds us of numerous Mexican towns where tall mountains limit the valley where its inhabitants settle. Here, its residents live alongside with the typical vegetation and wildlife found in northern Me?xico.
The site is densely populated by local trees that pose a serious design challenge: A house that enjoys the view of the mountains while respecting the existing ecosystem. Because of the horizontal growth of the cedar trees that block the view, a “forest of columns” is not an option. The only possible solution is to lift the house and make it fly above the tree tops. A mild slope road reaches the ground floor, 10m above the road, where all the essential spaces are located.
To preserve the existing greenery the floor plan is divided into zones that get around a group of old cedar trees. Because each level responds to different conditions each plan, in itself simple, is different to the others.
The building is divided in three different volumes. The first one contains the garage and storage spaces. The entrance hall, master bedroom and the staircase to the lower level are located in the second volume while the third volume contains the kitchen, service and social areas. Outdoor life occurs on the west side of the house in a group of terraces that overlook the focal point of the residence: two spectacular mountains that almost touch.
The lower level serves as a plinth for the ground floor and contains a number of “recyclable” chambers with furniture that allows them to transform into the guest bedrooms. This floor also contains two half-buried technical rooms that free the rooftop to enjoy an enormous belvedere surrounded completely by the landscape.
Contrary to its massive exterior image, inside the house the transparency of the glass makes the exterior views part of everyday life. Windows dialogue with thick walls, flat roofs and the timber beams we find in traditional Mexican architecture.
The material palette gives the project a rustic, timeless appearance that serves as background for various objects. Antiques live alongside with contemporary furniture while the parallel world of paintings, masks and sculptures claim our attention. The house’s treasures allure our eyes to stay inside before escaping to the natural scenario on the other side of the glass.
The different elements of the program, placed in a juxtaposition of volumes define the complex image that emerges from a simple distribution.
The coloured walls and enormous floor to ceiling windows reflect the landscape and make the house disappear. When seen from a distance it is easy to mistake Narigua for a geological accident.
The roads and walls are paved with the stones of the land and the colours of its dirt, its form contrasts with the mountains and trees. Narigua house is a stone work humbly placed in an impressive landscape.
From the architect. The building of 115 dwellings is located in the area of the northern entrance of Girona, in an area next to “Puig d’en Roca”. Promoted by the “Patronat Santa Creu de la Selva”, comprises varied apartment types, designed for people over 65 years old with a low rental cost. The project was developed especially taking care of the collective spaces of socialization, and at the same time, developing technological solutions in the field of sustainability and energy savings.
The building has an outdoor entrance space from which one can enter to the building, a bar-restaurant and a garden of 5000m2. On the ground floor, around a courtyard, there are services and communal spaces: living room, office, gym, conference room, audiovisual room, training room, hairdressing, social care, medical and nursing service.
The shape of the building contrasts two volumes in “T” of different height (P+2 and P+4) linked with a communication axis, organizing the circulations over large areas and covered walkways. The circulation spaces are wide with the purpose of improving relationships between residents. Moreover, the building has different outdoor patios from which the residents can access to the flats. At the same time, these patios lights the space and allow the cross -ventilation of dwellings, as well as the ventilation of services (bathrooms and kitchens).
Social housing for people over 65 in Girona / Arcadi Pla Arquitectes originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 16 Apr 2014.
Two sister Middle Eastern media companies have commissioned REX to design a conjoined headquarters that references traditional Arab iconography. The result, two ultra-thin, stone-clad towers that are shielded from the Middle East’s “unrelenting sun” by an array of retractable sunshades whose shape was inspired by the Arab Mashrabiya pattern.
Measuring nearly 15 meters in diameter, these sunshades can be quickly deployed, transforming the building’s glass facade into a “blossoming” shaded tower within minutes.
“The headquarters’ instantaneous transformation forges a new kind of powerful iconography, one that rejects the tired—and ephemeral—pursuit of being the tallest,” described REX.
When shade is not an issue, the towers’ translucent exterior is designed to have an x-ray effect that exposes the structure’s unique components to its surroundings.
From afar, the towers’ form a jumbo television screen, broadcasting the companies’ content to their environs in real-time.
The simple tower slabs also effectively create a huge sun screen for their adjoining landscapes. The shadow path on the Summer Solstice defines the extents of inhabitable courtyards, which are exposed when in shadow and covered by 6 meter square, retractable umbrellas when in sunlight.
Once complete, offices will be stacked above broadcast and news studios at the top half of the tower. The lower portion will be dedicated to common facilities, including an agora, amphitheater, auditorium, café, canteen, employee lounge, executive lounge, fine dining, gallery, health club, majlis, and theater.
Large studios, which require permanent blackout, are submerged below grade.
Key Personnel: Alberto Cumerlato, Tomas Janka, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Roberto Otero, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Aude Soffer, Alex Tehranian, Cristina Webb
Consultants: Barker Mohandas, Front, Magnuson Klemencic, !melk, str.ucture, Transsolar
Area: 240200.0 sqm
Photographs: Luxigon, REX
REX Designs Conjoined Media Towers with Retractable Facade for Middle East originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 16 Apr 2014.
Architects: Taller 13 Arquitectura Regenerativa
Location: Benito Juárez, Federal District, Mexico
Project Architects: Patricio Guerrero, David Mandujano, Eduardo Palomino, Ruben Coxca, Belinda Garcia, Paulina Garcia, Luis Garcia, Miguel Mercado, Rafael Hop
Project Management: Elias Cattan, Yair Wolff, Allan Betech
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Rafael Gamo, Courtesy of Taller 13 Arquitectura Regenerativa, Mayaan Fridman
Structure: Raul de Villafranca
Construction: Factor Eficiencia
Structural Engineering: Arco Radial
Building Services: Plastic Plumbers
Site Management: PCC Construcciones
From the architect. Nicolás San Juan is a housing project for ecological apartments located in Colonia del Valle. In addition to a good location, this neighborhood has tree-lined streets, parks and gardens where residents can stroll in one of the neighborhoods with more green areas of the city.
The concept is based on interlocking flows of energy and material with patterns that govern the natural world, that is, to create a home with a high environmental performance.
The project has 7 apartments in 2 and 3 levels and double heights, with an exceptional environmental performance. The project has terraced urban gardens where food and ornamental plants are produced.
The project has a responsible program for waste management and recycling. Rainwater is collected by a cascade type system, treated in a treatment plant and reused in toilets and terraces. The interior walls between apartments are made from straw bales, and the structure is inspired in native trees found in the area, optimizing the amount of material and its resistance.
Nicolás San Juan / Taller 13 Arquitectura Regenerativa originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 16 Apr 2014.
New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress has teamed up with the developers of Hudson Yards to transform the future 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood into the nations first “quantified community.” As Crain’s New York reports, the aim is to “use big data to make cities better places to live.” Information, from pedestrian traffic to energy production and resident activity levels, will be collected in order to study how cities can run efficiently and improve quality of living. You can read more on the subject, here.
NYU and Hudson Yards to Use Big Data to Improve Cities originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 16 Apr 2014.
Partners: GBD Architects (Core and Shell)
Leed Certification: NC Platinum
From the architect. The historic warehouse in the Portland’s Pearl District had been vacant for more than a decade before Vestas’s new North American Headquarters inspired its transformation into a vibrant hub for business. The design of the office’s interior celebrates the contrast of the historic, textural fabric of the building structure against a sleek and modern working environment.
One of the client’s main goals was to encourage collaboration and communication among employees, so connectedness and visibility in the design were critical. The response was a soaring five-story central atrium that floods the core of the building with natural light, maximizes views, and creates a transparency that is both visually appealing and practical.
The work areas occupy the perimeter of the building and are defined by glass walls along the atrium, allowing for maximum visual connections to other areas and offering optimal daylight. A “tool box” of support spaces flanks each small work group. The design is based on forward-looking research into workplace psychology and Danish models of working environments.
The finish palette is purposefully minimalistic to enhance the fabric of the former warehouse and maximize sustainable design strategies. Materials were selected in respect to recycled content, regional fabrication, low- or zero-VOC coatings, FSC-certified woods, and reclaimed materials. The building’s transformation achieved LEED NC Platinum and met requirements of the National Register of Historic Places.
Vestas North American Corporate Headquarter / Ankrom Moisan Architects originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 16 Apr 2014.
RIBA has announced the first round of RIBA Regional Award winners, all of which will be considered for the RIBA national awards. From the list, Mecanoo’s Library of Birmingham takes center stage, as the artisan-inspired structure received a number of awards, including the West Midlands Building of the Year and Emerging Architect. Check out the complete list, after the break…
RIBA EAST AWARDS
RIBA WEST MIDLANDS AWARDS
Reference: RIBA, BDOnline
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates, Scott Hughes, Associate
General Contractor: Owner and Bill Witt
From the architect. Rather than an addition, our concept was for a thin, linear framed garden pavilion set in contrast to the heavy masonry brownstone. The 19th century brownstone remains exactly as it was, while the new pavilion, with kitchen and informal social space, sits alongside, up against the original backyard wall with no mediating connection. Entering the pavilion from the house’s parlor floor feels like stepping into the garden.
The hybrid wood/steel framing members form a lattice-like structure open to the changing seasonal landscape of Brooklyn rear yards. The angled transparent and translucent glass planes pick up the landscape in shifted reflections, heightening views with diffuse and reflected light. Large windows pivot open, further shifting the planar glass composition and expanding the boundary between inside/outdoors. The parlor-floor kitchen with white-stained ash cabinetry connects via an open stair down to an oak-lined music room with sliding glass walls opening out to the garden. The clients are a poet, attorney/advocate and their two teenage daughters.
Within days of David Chipperfield being appointed to design the Nobel Foundation’s new home in Stockholm, heritage protesters began to assemble a campaign to prevent the project from fruition.
Declaring they are “opposed to star-architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel right in the middle of the protected historic environment, as monuments to themselves, at our expense and the city’s,” as stated in an online petition, the protesters are particularly upset that the project would require the demolition of multiple historic structures. Thousands have even joined a Facebook group to voice disapproval.
However, despite the backlash, the Nobel Foundation refuses to bow down and believes the protest will not succeed.
More on the protest, and structures slated for demolition, after the break…
The new centre, which is planned for a central water-front location along the Blasieholmen, will require the demise of an 1876 Axel Fredrik Nystrom-designed Customs House and the city’s last to remaining wooden harbor warehouses built in the early 1900s, as BDOnline reported.
Though protesters acknowledge the Nobel Center’s importance to Swedish history, they insist the project is relocated to another, less invasive location.
However, as the Nobel Foundation’s Annika Pontikis points out, the site was gifted to the Nobel Foundation by the city, who has preserved it for a significant cultural project “with international outreach” that would transform the area into a prominent cultural destination. Thus, believing the new centre would be the best choice.
Chipperfield plans to submit the project for planning by the end of the year.
Chipperfield's Stockholm Nobel Centre Faces Harsh Opposition originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 16 Apr 2014.
Structural Design: Mata y Triana Ingenieros Consultores
Installation: Zmp Instalaciones
From the architect. Vertiz 950 is a housing Project with 27 units located in Avenida Dr. José María Vertiz # 950, Mexico City.
The Project is located on an irregular site of 609.00 sqm. which has only a street front of 10 meters. The building has 6 floors plus 1 basement. The basement and first floor are destined for parking and lobby, and the last 5 floors are destined for housing, having 27 apartments in total.
The biggest challenge of the project was to make the most of the site which has terrible proportions. To achieve this, we designed 13 different typologies that adjust to the site in different ways so we could use as much as we could. The first step was to give the project a central and generous patio that could provide great lightning and ventilation to all the apartments. To reduce the horizontal circulations, we design duplex apartments which help reduce up to a 70% the space used by the hallways. Typologies vary from 62 to 114 sqm, adjusting to different markets. Penthouse apartments, although are the smallest ones, have a private roof garden which duplicate it´s surface.
The Project is divided in two towers connected by bridges and a shared central patio. A lobby is located on the first floor being directly communicated with the elevator. Every space in the apartments (rooms, kitchen, and bathrooms) has natural ventilation and illumination. The central patio has a 6 floor green wall giving privacy to the building as well as providing a fresh view to the apartments which are located in a central and noisy neighborhood of Mexico City.
To give certain privacy to the rooms of the apartments, we used a double façade made by Hunter Douglas. This façade gives great lightning to the inside and at the time it blocks the view from the outside to the inside. This façade also works as handrails when it reaches the hallways above the rooms.