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New Architecture From Broadway to Xinjiang Province

Broadway Malyan continues global expansion with first theatre design in China

International architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan has completed the design of its first theatre in China, the Kanas Lake Performance Theatre.

The new theatre, set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Xinjiang province of North West China, is a multi-purpose theatre for the Provincial Government. It will house a 1,200-seat auditorium for performance arts including theatre, opera, musicals and dance.

The design draws on powerful yet simple forms, with the theatre auditorium enclosed within two protective wings wrapping the shell as if protected within clasped hands. The smooth shape and flowing forms sit harmoniously within the natural contours of the site and dramatic background of the Kanas mountains. The sweeping forms rise around the theatre shell to evoke the dynamic movement of traditional Chinese ribbon dance.

Broadway Malyan has now delivered the design package to the local design institute and will monitor the detail design and site build. Enabling works are already underway and work on the main structure is due to start this summer.

Director Peter Vaughan said: “We have a broad project portfolio in the cultural and leisure sector. However, this is our first theatre project in China and it reflects our ever-increasing portfolio of high-profile, international projects, across all sectors.

“This portfolio is growing as the result of our strategic global push and focus on growing our business in the Far East and China, with the practice having recently announced that it earns just over half its fees outside of the UK and Europe.”

 

Via World News Architecture

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Architectural Landmark Near Completion as Cesar Pelli Tops Out Red Building at Pacific Design Center

LOS ANGELES, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Cesar Pelli celebrated a milestone for the Red Building on Monday, as the long-awaited final building of the Pacific Design Center nears completion. The Red Building is the third building of the landmark West Hollywood showroom-and-office complex whose design and construction span nearly 40 years.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110301/NE56547 )

At a topping-out ceremony, the architect joined developer and owner Charles S. Cohen to put in place a piece of red glass that completes the Red Building’s narrow triangular facade on San Vicente Boulevard. The 400,000-square-foot office building is slated for occupancy by year’s end.

“I am delighted to see the Red Building so close to fruition,” said Pelli, Senior Principal of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. “To know that the Pacific Design Center will soon be how I envisioned it is very exciting.”

Pelli conceived the 14-acre site to contain three buildings arranged around a plaza. The first, nicknamed the Blue Whale, was designed when Pelli was with Gruen Associates and completed in 1975. The Green Building, designed with his own firm, now Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, followed in 1988.

The most dynamic of the three, the Red Building is composed of two curved, sloping towers atop seven levels of parking. Between the towers will be a courtyard planted with palm trees. The six-story West Tower slopes inward against the Hollywood Hills. The eight-story East Tower curves upward.

The ceremony also paid tribute to the “Los Angeles 12,” a group of Southern California architects featured in a 1976 exhibition at the Blue Building. Pelli, Roland Coate, Raymond Kappe, Daniel Dworsky, Craig Ellwood, Frank Gehry, John Lautner, Jerrold Lomax, Anthony Lumsden, Leroy Miller, James Pulliam and Bernard Zimmerman were in the original show. Eric Owen Moss and Michael Maltzan we also recognized at the ceremony.

About Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Founded in 1977 and led by Cesar Pelli, Fred Clarke, and Rafael Pelli, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has designed some of the world’s most recognizable buildings, including the World Financial Center in New York, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong. The firm has been honored with critical acclaim and hundreds of design awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ Firm Award and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

SOURCE Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

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RELATED LINKS
http://www.pcparch.com

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Miami architect plans new Port-au-Prince

When I attended the University of Miami School of Architecture from 1974-1976 (before transferring to Pratt) my studio director was Andres Duany.  He was a relative unknown and had recently graduated from Columbia.  I have very fond memories of my time in his classes.

Andres Duany

A slide presentation is available at www.PortAuPrinceRP.com.

Famed Miami architect and planner Andres Duany’s government-commissioned blueprint for the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince’s quake-decimated historic city center envisions a new, middle-class residential, commercial and governmental district literally built upon the rubble of the old.

While sparing the few remaining viable structures — including, most significantly, the partially collapsed National Palace — the plan would start virtually with a clean slate. It calls for clearing much of the badly damaged city center, encompassing some 25 city blocks, which pre-earthquake contained a dense mix of government buildings, homes, a commercial district and a cruise port.

Duany’s Miami firm, known for its advocacy of traditional, pedestrian-friendly urban planning, was commissioned by the Haitian government to develop the plan in collaboration with The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, a charity backed by Britain’s Prince Charles that supports ecologically sound planning and building.

The planners outlined their ideas this week in Port-au-Prince after weeks of research and a weeklong public workshop. A final version of the plan, which would have to be adopted by the government, is due in mid-February. Whether Haiti can muster the will or the financing, though, remains an open question. Enacting the plan would require a blend of government funding, private investment and foreign aid.

On ground raised above flood levels by the use of demolition rubble, the plan calls for self-contained blocks mixing one- and two-story residential and commercial buildings to be constructed in small, incremental phases. While street fronts would be public, courtyard interiors would be secure and private and include parking. Small corner parks would dot most blocks.

The plan also proposes a Classically inspired, naturally ventilated prototype for new government buildings to replace those toppled by last year’s catastrophic earthquake.

Key to Duany’s overall rebuilding strategy would be luring back to central Port-au-Prince some of the Haitian middle class that had decamped for the city’s hilltop suburbs — the only financially viable way for the old city center to be rebuilt, Duany has said in interviews.

Reconstruction of the city would be impossible without the investment and income of middle- and upper-class property owners, Duany says.

The plan outlines three possible approaches to rebuilding.

To keep initial costs down, one approach would be to rebuild a single block at a time, with each urban “village” containing at its center its own power generation, water and sewer capabilities, at a cost of about $3.7 million per block. That would avoid the need for a large, upfront and improbable investment to replace destroyed utilities across the entire urban center.

But that approach would over time be far more expensive — a total of $440 million — than doing everything at once with centralized utilities, which the planners estimated would cost $175 million.

The plan would require new building codes and zoning rules to control what can be built. It proposes a range of rigor, with the loosest set of regulations allowing informal construction in the interior of each block.

A contemplated retail complex and waterfront promenade would cater to an incipient tourist trade from the cruise port to supplement government and small-business employment.

Along the waterfront, mangroves would be replanted to protect the shoreline from storms.

Duany, whose firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., drew up Miami’s new pedestrian-friendly Miami 21 city zoning code, also has designed prefabricated shelter housing for Haiti. He also has designed redevelopment projects for post-Katrina New Orleans, although only small parts have been implemented.

Via The Miami Herald

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Computers are great tools for architects, but don’t let CAD go wild

Designing using CAD

As an AEC staffing expert and someone who has sold, supported and trained in CAD products for years, I would love to know your thoughts on this article.  For example, why is BIM below the radar? 

Architects can now design buildings without lifting a pencil, thanks to computer technology. In fact, digitally conceived architecture can be too complex to draw by hand or to develop using conventional drawings, even those printed by machine. Yet there may be risks in abandoning the pencil and relying so completely on the computer.

Drawing manually used to be an indispensable architectural skill, and not just for mechanical drafting. Drawing by hand was how historic architecture was documented and analyzed, and how incipient design ideas were recorded and explored graphically. For many architects, drawing by hand is both inherently pleasurable and integral to critical design thinking, a way to directly and creatively connect the eye, brain and hand. But today, computers enable architects to do little or no manual drawing, and drawing less by hand may tempt some architects to think less critically.

In architecture offices today, you rarely find a drafting board with a parallel bar, rolls of tracing paper, measuring scales, triangles, drawing templates or boxes of pencils and markers. Instead you see a workstation with a flat-screen monitor, keyboard and mouse. Many designers use computers for “drawing” everything: diagrams, preliminary design studies, three-dimensional views and construction documents. Produced on large-format printers, drawings can even be made to look like hand-drawn sketches.

Computer-aided-design (CAD) has transformed architectural design methodology, not because it eliminates manual drawing, but because it allows architects to compose stacks of drawings at every stage of design. Architects can show clients countless design variations, create realistic renderings and graphic simulations, and produce detailed construction documents.

Once preliminary design studies – site plan and massing studies, floor plan layouts, sections and elevations – are undertaken and a preliminary digital model is created, the architect can obtain three-dimensional views, including animated walk-throughs or fly-throughs. The designer also can modify any part of the project, whether a house or a high-rise, and CAD software can automatically edit and update all parts of the design affected by the modification.

CAD software can manage a vast amount of layered data, keeping track of and coordinating all digital model components and systems, such as the structural skeleton, windows, doors, interior partitions, floor finishes, ductwork and plumbing. These programs can alert the designer if components conflict geometrically and can instantly recompute dimensions, floor areas and material quantities.

It gets even better. When a design is finalized and fully defined in a three-dimensional digital model, CAD programs can print annotated, two-dimensional drawings for bidding, building permits and construction. For highly complex designs that cannot be adequately represented and interpreted using conventional documents, the digital model itself can become the primary documentation.

Architect Frank Gehry’s work epitomizes and necessitates this approach. His design concepts begin as sketchbook squiggles or crumpled paper and are ultimately transformed into volumetrically complicated, expressively curvaceous buildings impossible to draw. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Stata Center at M.I.T. and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park could not have been designed and constructed without using digital models.

Contractors for these projects directly accessed Gehry’s digital models, not conventional drawings. That was the only way they could calculate and price the enormous quantities of materials and labor necessary to fabricate and install the thousands of steel structural members and metal panels that make up the complex exterior skins of these buildings. Only with advanced computer technology could Gehry’s idiosyncratic approach to design have evolved and his projects been implemented.

Yet if every architect emulated Gehry’s expressive approach, a lot of bad architecture would result. This is because CAD can seductively induce “I can, therefore I shall” thinking. Because architects can digitally model almost any form they can dream up, CAD can lead to excessively complex, overwrought building designs – form for form’s sake. Such CAD-gone-wild buildings may be inappropriate for their sites, functionally inefficient, difficult to construct, way over budget and perhaps even ugly.

During the preliminary design phase, CAD programs also can yield machine-printed drawings that make a schematic design idea appear more precise, refined and resolved than it really is. Before CAD, concepts drawn by hand often were sketchy and loosely delineated with wavy or fuzzy lines laid down by soft pencils, felt-tip pens or charcoal. The art and technique of manual drawing ensured that schematic ideas looked schematic.

The computer is a powerful tool, but still just a tool that must be used properly. Designers who never draw manually still must engage in critical thinking and rational invention, as if they were drawing and designing by hand, even though their hand grasps a mouse instead of a pencil.

 Via Washington Post

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Boston Society of Architects Headquarters by Höweler + Yoon Architecture

The following text and images are courtesy Höweler + Yoon Architecture for their competition-winning design — Splipstream Public Exchange — of the Boston Society of Architects Headquarters. The 154-year-old organization will move from 52 Broad Street to Atlantic Wharf.

SLIPSTREAM maximizes the BSA’s engagement with a larger public by creating a series of interfaces, both physical and informational. The physical design of the new headquarters introduces a “cloud” ceiling that capitalizes on the viewing angles between the sidewalk and the second floor, to create a highly visible signature feature that doubles as gallery ceiling and supergraphic signage. The information interface utilizes wireless technologies to deliver site specific content to visitors, while also creating a BSA application for smart phones and location-aware hand held devices.

BROADCAST
Drawing the public up to the second floor, a grand stair drops down from the ceiling above, and provides a fluid transition between floors with a single gesture. The stair and ceiling form the primary figure of the physical interface. Information technologies are also embedded in the “cloud” ceiling, allowing its edge to broadcast messages through an LED sign band, while projectors display a digital wayfinding entrance mat, and wireless transmitters stream video feeds. “Public Exchange” consoles are located throughout the space, allowing the public to access curated information about the built environment, construction billings index figures, and databases of designers, products, and services.

PERIMETER
The contoured media surface wraps around the perimeter of the space, creating a continuous gallery and event circuit. Program areas are held back from the edge, allowing the public circulation to flow along the perimeter. The gallery program is conceived as a series of fluid paths and not as a discrete room. The content of the exhibitions produce the programmatic “current” to the flow of the gallery. Placing the gallery along the edge reinforces the cognitive parallax between the contents of the exhibitions in the foreground and the city in the background. This is consistent with the BSA’s core mission to support the active engagement between the process of design and the resulting product of the built environment.

PODS
Conference rooms are distributed within the free-flowing gallery zone. The conference rooms form an archipelago of program distributed within the flows of public gallery, maximizing the contact between the BSA members, visitors, stakeholders, and members of the general public.

SLIPSTREAM
The new BSA produces “Public Exchange” through its organizational and material logics, as well as through its network and media strategies. The fluid spaces of the linear gallery parallel the constant streams of broadcast information. The archipelago of programs and exhibitions will create a smooth mixture of audiences and content within the flows and eddies of the BSA’s slipstream configuration, resulting in the productive discourse that is BSA’s mission.

Design Team:
Höweler + Yoon Architecture: J. Meejin Yoon, Eric Höweler (Principals in Charge), Ryan Murphy, Parker Lee, Liu Xi, Thena Tak, Cyrus Dochow.
Structural Engineer: ARUP
MEP Engineer: AHA Consultants

Hat tip to A Daily Dose of Architecture

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Grand Opening of China World Trade Tower in Beijing

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), along with China World Trade Center Co. Ltd., announced yesterday the grand opening of the China World Trade Tower, an 81-story, mixed use building set in Beijing’s Central Business District.

The tower, which was designed by SOM and contains office, meeting, restaurants, and the China World Summit Wing hotel, now stands as Beijing’s tallest structure and marks the completion of the third and most recent phase of the China World Trade Center development. The opening comes in connection with the 20th Anniversary of the China World Trade Center, which originally opened August 30, 1990.

“SOM is proud to take Beijing’s skyline to a new height with the completion of the China World Trade Tower,” said Brian Lee, design architect and partner, SOM, who attended the grand opening ceremony. “The business of China connects to the rest of the world, so we sought a design that further connected Beijing to the China World Trade Center. Not only does the Tower emphatically mark the Central Business District but the development also provides citizens of Beijing with quality buildings and open space for business, shopping, hospitality, culture, education and enjoyment in a high density urbane environment.”

To read full article via AIarchinnovations click here.

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Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With the Earth


This stunning underground home by Deca Architecture utilizes a natural palette of materials to maintain a low profile while complementing the serene Mediterranean landscape that surrounds it. Situated in a small valley with views of the coast, the Aloni house consists of two stone walls bridged by a beautiful green roof that spans two adjacent slopes. The home takes advantage of rustic materials that maximize energy efficiency while allowing the house to blend in with the rugged terrain of Greece’s Antiparos Island.


The Aloni house finds its inspiration in the landscape of the Cycladic Islands, which were shaped in the past by earthen retaining walls erected to create land fit for farming. Deca Architecture decided to incorporate this traditional building typology into the design of the house, and the result is a structure that resonates with the topography of its site while taking advantage of low-impact materials that impart high insulation values. The single-level 240 square meter home features walls made of retained earth that regulate the interior temperature thanks to their high thermal mass, while a green roof provides further insulation from the bright Mediterranean sun.

To read full article via Inhabitat click here.

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NYC Council Approves New Domino Project


The landmarked Domino Refinery complex will be preserved and adapted for residential, commercial, and cultural uses, including 30- and 34-story apartment buildings. Rafael Viñoly Architects developed the overall master plan as well as the conceptual design for all new buildings on the site; Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners developed architectural concepts for the refinery; and Quennell Rothschild and Partners developed the landscape design. The master plan will transform the industrial complex into a modular, mixed-use, and multi-income residential development that emphasizes open space and public access to the river while preserving the refinery and its famed 40-foot-tall Domino Sugar sign. The project will create approximately 2,200 residential units, 660 of which will be affordable. The more than 223,500 square feet of retail will include a grocery store that will adhere to FRESH zoning standards in addition to approximately 143,000 square feet of community facility space. A nearly one-acre open lawn will anchor a new public waterfront esplanade.

Read more posts from the NYC AIA via eOCULUS here.

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SFMOMA chooses architect for $250-million expansion: Norwegian firm Snøhetta

Snøhetta's Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo

Can an art museum in this economic climate raise $480 million for an ambitious expansion and endowment campaign without a world famous architect like Frank Gehry or Renzo Piano attached to the project?

SFMOMA has just placed a very big bet that it can, by selecting the critically acclaimed but not so commonly known Oslo-based firm Snøhetta — named after a mountain in Norway — as the architect for its large-scale renovation and expansion. The museum’s board of trustees approved the selection on Wednesday; an official announcement is expected Thursday.

The decision was not a complete surprise, as SFMOMA named Snøhetta in a shortlist released in May of four firms officially under consideration, which also included Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and, most established of all, Foster + Partners. But, as SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra admits, Snøhetta is “not terribly well known in our country, and especially not in the West.”

Though Snøhetta has other buildings in development in the U.S., including the National September 11th Memorial Museum entry pavilion at the World Trade Center site in New York, SFMOMA promises to be the firm’s first building on the West Coast.

Reached by phone Wednesday evening, Benezra said a visit made by several trustees to Oslo, part of a grand tour this summer to meet the four finalists and see some of their realized buildings, played a decisive role.

He said the museum’s selection committee was bowled over by Snøhetta’s Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo (pictured above), as was he. “When I saw it for the first time, it reminded me of Bilbao — it has that kind of impact,” Benezra said.

“Not only is it a fantastic concept, but it’s also a model of engagement, with people walking inside and outside and on top of the building. And that is what we need: a building of great imagination and excitement that works on a practical level in a specific urban context.”

He also praised the collaborative nature of the firm, which was founded in 1989…more.

For full article click here.

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Send in the Clouds – MIT in bubbly bid for London Olympic Tower

Thanks to writer Julie V. Iovine and the folks at The Architects Newspaper, I came across this project.  It looks fantastic and I would love to see it built.  Although I admit I am not so sure I would ever reach the top to put my head in the “clouds”.  My fear of heights and intended airy and light feel of the structure might stand in my way. This of course assumes I ever travel to London.

A proposal spearheaded by MIT's Senseable City Lab envisions an inhabitable sculpture for London's 2012 Olympics.

All Photos Courtesy Raise the Cloud

In early November, British architects discovered with dismay that Mayor Boris Johnson of London was conducting a secret competition to select a designer for a $33 million beacon for the 2012 Olympics. Brushing aside the standard procurement process—which involves publishing a notice in The Official Journal of the European Communities—Johnson invited 30 firms to submit proposals for a prominent addition to the city’s skyline.

A Guggenheim-like spiral wrapped in cable netting will support the clouds, with much of the structure open to the public.

Called “the Cloud,” the structure starts with a slender spire that is ringed by a spiraling ramp, stabilized with a cable net, and sturdy enough for strollers and bicyclists to mount to a sky full of bubbly spheres. This upper aerie would host three types and sizes of spheres: The largest and most structural are Buckminster Fuller–type geodesic domes; next, cable-net bubbles would cluster around observation decks; and then, blurring the edge, bunches of hot-air-filled balloons create that head-in-the-clouds feeling.

The EFTE inflatables would be covered in a new type of distributed LED that is readable from any direction and could provide a constant stream of information, including game statistics, weather forecasts, traffic advisories, alien greetings, and presumably, advertisements.

Olympic visitors at play in "the Clouds."

Intended to stand 400 feet tall, the Cloud will barely have a footprint, sustainability-wise. Photovoltaic film, whose effect will be magnified by mirrors, is spread over the spheres. And while visitors can only ascend the one-kilometer ramp on foot or by bicycle, they can descend by means of a “regenerative lift” that uses the same braking system as a Prius to recoup electricity, as will water-wheels embedded in the column through rain collection.

The exact size of the Cloud remains to be determined. Taking a page from the grassroots innovations of the Obama campaign, the team has organized a structure that can expand or contract depending on donations. The density of the cloud cover—the number of spires and individual clouds, in fact—will depend on how many people sign on to contribute.

London Mayor Boris Johnson envisions a beacon for the Olympics, and mit's is only one of several proposals thought to be under consideration.

While the contenders—said to include Foreign Office Architecture—have yet to be named, one team is already spreading the word about their entry on Facebook. Carlo Ratti, architect and director of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, joined forces with German engineer Joerg Schlaich, Arup, artist Tomas Saraceno, corporate sponsor Google UK, and others to create what Ratti described as “not a building for London but a symbol of global ownership.”

The Facebook page Raise the Cloud was launched on November 11 with 1,000 fans and counting, according to Ratti, who would like to see as many as three spires covered in clouds at the as-yet-unselected site. “We can build our Cloud with five million pounds or 50 million,” he said. “The flexibility of the structural system will allow us to tune the size of the Cloud to the level of funding that is reached.” Whether or not selected by Mayor Johnson to be the official 2012 Olympic Tower, the Cloud is certain to attract plenty of air time.

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