Back in 2009 when Norway’s Kunt Hamsun Center was unveiled, the faceted volume topped with an a-typical vertical grass roof gained international attention for its reinterpretation of Nordic aesthetics complimented by Holl’s fascination with interior light quality. This year, Holl + Oslo-based LY Arkitekter, have been awarded the prestigious 2011 Byggeskikkprisen for their collaboration on the project; rising above over 90 submitted buildings. The prize, which is granted by the Norwegian government for outstanding architecture, was presented by Local Government and Regional Development Minister Liv Signe at the Norwegian Design and Architecture Center in Oslo. “The Hamsun Center is a piece of original architecture that is deeply moving on many levels and meets all of its functions in exceptionally exciting and unique ways,” said the jury. “It both provokes and delights through its strong, clear and non-traditional form, and it finds its natural place in the dramatic skyline of the northern landscape.”
New Yorkers can’t get enough of James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro‘s High Line as millions meandered along the refurbished rail tracks enjoying spectacular views of the skyline. And yet, the opening of the High Line in 2009 offered a mere preview of the project’s total grandeur as parts two and three of the 1.45 mile project were still to come. Today, the second phase of the High Line has opened to the public – a section which stretches from West 20th up to West 28th Street. This segment includes a hovering frame that will display people’s silhouettes against the evening sky, an elevated pathway which brings visitors to the level of the trees’ canopy, and a Great Lawn which will be perfect for sun-bathing and a summer time picnic.
Last May, we shared NYU’s expansion plan, NYU 2031: NYU in NYC – a 20 year developmental framework to help the campus provide adequate facilities for its growing student body. Yet, as we reported, the conceptual plan was met with much resistance as residents of the Village claim that the plans will diminish the character of the area. Only time will tell whether NYU will successfully expand into the Village, however, in the meantime, as The Journal reported, NYU is putting more attention on its expansion to Brooklyn and Manhattan’s East Side. The university has just leased 120,000 sqf in Brooklyn (a move that has increased the existing Polytechnic Institute of NYU by 20%); plus, NYU has chosen Kohn Pederson Fox to design a 170,000-square-foot campus between 24th Street and 34th Street which will be home to a new bio-engineering program and provide more space for the dental school, as well as the relocation of the nursing school from Washington Square. NYU’s vision for a presence on Governors Island is still in the works as the university is looking to develop one million square feet for academic and residential use. We will keep you updated as we hear more about the plan.
Earlier this week, we shared the news of Steven Holl + BCWH recent commission for the Institute for Contemporary Art in Virginia. It seems Holl will also be busy working on a conceptual design for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston as the museum recently announced their short list from ten international architects to three. In addition to Holl, the museum has selected Morphosis and Snohetta to submit design proposals for the expansion project. “This decision marks an important step forward for the future MFAH,” said Richard D. Kinder, chair of the museum’s long-range planning committee. “Even before Rafael Moneo’s Audrey Jones Beck Building opened, in 2000, MFAH director Peter Marzio and the board recognized that it would not be the final step in expanding the MFAH.”
More after the break.
“With the collections now numbering some 63,000 objects—more than half of them works of art created after 1900—the need for a building dedicated to these expanding collections is unquestioned,” continued Kinder.
The three firms will develop concepts for a new building which will be situated on a two-acre and will house post-1990 art. In addition, the projects must address the needs for a parking garage and integration with the surrounding MFAH buildings. It is an exciting competition as the new building will be adjacent to the Isamu Noguchi-designed Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, across from Moneo’s Audrey Jones Beck Building and Mies van der Rohe’s Caroline Wiess Law Building. We’ll keep you updated with the proposals.
As seen on Bustler.
Steven Holl Architects just shared the news that the firm has won the commission for the new Institute for Contemporary Art for Virginia Commonwealth University with BCWH Architects. The 32,000 square-foot building will provide gallery spaces for traveling and school exhibits, classrooms, offices, art storage spaces and an auditorium, and accommodate a sculpture garden and a café. Joseph H. Seipel, Dean of the VCU School of the Arts, exclaimed, ”We are honored to have Steven Holl, internationally recognized as one the most inspired and significant architects of our time. With Holl leading this endeavor, I am confident the ICA is destined to become an iconic building for VCU and the city of Richmond and will find its place as a prominent example of Steven Holl’s contributions to the history of architecture.” As the selection process was organized to find an architect-led team, and not a specific design, we will keep you posted on the progress of the project.
KLab Architecture shared their latest project, a Placebo pharmacy in Athens, with us. By wrapping the existing orthagonal footprint in a dynamic circular skin, KLab has created a sophisticated spiraling form which seeks to create a relationship with the rapid motion of Vouliagmenis Avenue, the urban artery on which the building stands. The 600 sqm structure houses a pharmacy on the ground floor and ancillary office space on the upper mezzanine. Clad in metal panels that are perforated using Braille – a move that both alludes to the system’s use on pharmaceutical packaging and boosts visibility by allowing the light to find its way into the interior – the compositional quality of the material selection creates a polished exterior that attracts passers-by.
More images and more about the project after the break.
A few weeks ago, we shared a whimsical architectural version of the children’s tale “Three Little Pigs” by Steven Guarnaccia. Today, we have another great architecturally inclined book featuring Mordecai Mole – a thief who steals iconic buildings from various skylines. Thanks to our reader Julian Hector – who also wrote and illustrated the book – for sharing it with us. We hope you enjoy the storyline and the graphic illustrations.
Read the rest of the story after the break.
When we came across the work of Michael Hansmeyer, we were struck by the complexity and the seemingly delicacy of his work. Educated as an architect and computer programmer, Hansmeyer intends to create a new kind of architectural expression using the mathematics of algorithms. “On the one hand, their [algorithms] computational power can address processes with a scale and complexity that precludes a manual approach. On the other hand, algorithms can generate endless permutations of a scheme. A slight tweaking of either the input or the process leads to an instant adaptation of output. When combined with an evaluative function, they can be used to recursively optimize output on both a functional and aesthetic level,” explained Hansmeyer. His Subdivision project features geometrically intricate surfaces that create an artistically articulated variety of columns. The 2.7 meter high columns are fabricated as a layered model with sheets 1mm thick.
More about the process after the break.
Continuing our coverage of Xi’an Horticultural Exposition, a new garden exhibition by Dutch firm West 8 with DYJG Beijing has recently opened at the expo. Entitled Garden of 10,000 Bridges, the project features gently curving red bridges that are speckled across a wild landscape. According to the designers, “As both a distinct sense of enclosure and vantage points are provided, the Garden plays with the sensation of surprise. In the design advantage is taken of the strategic, central position of the plot, and views to other parts of the exhibition are integrated with those to the features of the park and surrounding landscape.”
More about the project after the break.
Each week, progress is being made on Manhattan’s Freedom Tower as it slowly rises to meet its 1,776 ft mark. In addition to the skyscraper, we’ve shared Calatrava’s Transit Hub design with you and we are excited to see the completed complex. Although the new project will offer dynamic architecture in conjunction with a spiritual environment to remember the victims of the attacks, many wonder what companies will occupy the 2.6 million sqf of office space. A few days ago, media company Conde Nast (a publishing company responsible for the likes of Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker, among others) announced their plan to lease 1 million sqf, giving the Tower its first high-profile anchor. Christopher O. Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, told the Times, “We built a new reality at the World Trade Center, and this transaction will be the exclamation point on that turnaround.” This deal has appeased rising concerns that the Tower would be solely occupied with government offices; with such a progressive company slated to move in, hopefully others will follow suit. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo told the Times, “[Conde Nast's lease] sends a message to the global business community that Lower Manhattan is alive, growing and open for business.”
In the past, we’ve shared several TED Talks videos with you as the speakers offer interesting commentary on a variety of issues within the creative realm. In this presentation, Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio shares five projects ranging from a new bus to a moving bridge to a biomass power station. Each project illustrates the architect’s inherent interest in bio-inspired designs focusing on materiality and the relationship between human interaction and the scale of the built object. The talk shows a diverse body of work where the architecture is infused with a type of ”soulfulness” as the result of re-examining form, function, aesthetics and materiality. Plus, Heatherwick’s personality adds to its charm. Enjoy the video!
Keeping with our coverage of the Architecture Billings Index, while the past index saw a slight decrease from 58.7 to 55.0 in March, the AIA has just announced that the index has dropped quite a bit to 47.6 for April. This billing marks the first point since October to register below 50. As the AIA explained,“It remains unclear if this month’s downturn is a bump in the road to recovery, or indicative of a longer-term reversal in the two-quarter recovery in design activity. Firms reported that the threatened federal government shutdown, tornadoes though the Southeast, and the winding down of federal stimulus funds for building activity all were impediments to design activity in April.”
Regionally, the South and West regions are still struggling to break 50, with the South reporting 48.3 and the West 47.7. Yet, as the AIA reports, some Southern firms may see a possible increase in work activity to rebuild from the recent storms and flooding. The Northeast and Midwest reported 51.2 and 51.1, respectively, and the multi-family residential sector holds strong at 53.9; followed by commercial / industrial at 49.9, institutional at 45.9 and finally, mixed practice at 45.2.
Last summer, we had the opportunity to discuss Ben van Berkel’s design ideas behind his New Amsterdam Pavilion for New York (see our past coverage here). At that time, while the pavilion’s sleek sculptural form was complete, the interior the pavilion was still under construction. Now, with the interior and landscape complete, the pavilion has opened for public use. Situated outside the South Ferry terminal in Peter Minuit Plaza, the pavilion will serve as a new cultural hub in the middle of an intersection crossed by more than 150,000 residents each day. Conceived as a contemporary “outdoor living room”, the project will provide visitor information, locally grown gourmet food, and a space for spontaneous and schedule activities. Plus, at 12:00, the pavilion will glow with an array of colors in tribute to Peter Minuit whose name translates to ‘midnight.’
More about the pavilion after the break.
Yesterday, we shared the news of the Folk Art Museum’s announcement to sell its 53rd Street building to the MoMA due to financial troubles. As we reported, with the MoMA looking to expand its gallery square footage, speculation is growing as to whether the Folk Art museum will be preserved. The situation is a little complicated as the Folk Art building stands between the existing MoMA and an empty lot sold to the developer Hines which is where Jean Nouvel’s West 53rd tower will stand in the future. Some feel the MoMA will demolish the Folk Art to utilize the empty lot to its fullest potential. Yet, the MoMA has said the Folk Art museum will be used as gallery space.
Architect Todd Williams has expressed concern over converting the building into anything other than an art museum, stating, “It wouldn’t make any sense to gut the structure” and adding that, “When you make a building, you put your heart and soul into it and send it out into the world.” While the Folk Art is set to relocate to its 5,000 sqf gallery on Columbus Avenue, the future of the 53rd Street structure is still to be determined.
Surrounded by the Museum of Modern Art, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Folk Art Museum has created a strong aesthetic identity with its stoic tombasil metal exterior. Upon its completion, the museum was named the ”Best New Building in the World in 2001” and has attracted art lovers to experience galleries filled with a wide variety of American Folk Art as well as the architecture itself [check out our AD Classics coverage of the museum]. However, the museum has been financially struggling in recent years as efforts to balance the budget have made little progress. After a thorough review of the situation, the board has decided to sell the museum to the Museum of Modern Art.
More information after the break.
Rafael Viñoly Architects [RVA] has just shared the opening of their Translational Research Center at Penn in Philadelphia with us. The project, which is part of a larger master plan for Penn Medicine, accommodates research facilities and clinical functions allowing the practices of scientific investigation and patient care to inform one another through close proximity. Building upon an existing structure, RVA’s addition contributes a functionally organized facility while respecting the spirit and urban character of the Perelman Center.
More about the project and more images after the break.
Arup, the engineering firm behind dozens of architectural masterpieces [check out our coverage of ARUP here], has opened three new architecture offices, officially known as Arup Associates. Stretching to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzehen, the overseas expansion marks the first of its kind for the 65 year old practice. These offices will employ about 15 architects and 12 engineers. While Arup’s London office has faced declined in the recent years, the Chinese offices are already thriving with the design of a campus for Nokia and an insurance building for Ding He in Shenzhen. Declan O’Carroll, Arup’s head of global architecture, told the British publication Building Design, “The traditional model of the Western international practice has been to have a shop window in developing countries but with the work executed back at home. We are looking at a much more fluid, unorthodox model.”
We received this tragic news from reader, Johan Nordstedt, concerning Stockholm’s School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology. Early Wednesday morning, the roof of the lecture hall situated on Östermalmsgatan quickly filled with smoke. From 7.10 in the morning until 7.30 in the evening, fire fighters worked to contain the flames and prevent the building from collapse. More than 80 fire fighters were on call to put out the flames, yet due to the building’s old construction, the fire spread quickly.
The Architecture School, which measures approximately 600 students and 130 staff members, was evacuated from the affected buildings. “I am very pleased that no students or staff were hurt in the fire. We will now do our utmost to minimise the effect on the school’s activity,” the principal Peter Gudmundson said in a statement on Thursday. Meetings have been held to discuss how to proceed if a student’s work was lost in the fire. “That we have to discuss, there are a few months remaining. But we follow all the examination work and the events of today have to be taken into account. Our goal is that students should not be affected,” explained Leif Brodersen. Luckily, the university has reported that all servers are functional and all data has been backed up.
The fire damaged the lower part of the building and the upper stories have suffered damaged due to smoke and, to some extent, water. KTH has not yet been allowed access into the building, so there is no information regarding interior damage. The building has been voted as one of Stockholm’s ugliest buildings, so it will be interesting to see how the public reacts if it must be torn down with a new building taking its place. “If the building is heavily damaged the chances are it will be removed completely and the discussion is bound to crop up as it always makes the top of the list of Stockholm’s most hated buildings,” Martin Rörby of the Council for the Protection of Stockholm’s Beauty.
We are relieved no one was injured in the fire and wish the students luck with finishing their semesters.
Get your architecturally inclined taste buds ready for this! Coolhaus – a creative gourmet ice cream sandwich line served from a vintage mail truck – is currently roaming the streets of Manhattan. After beginning in LA and moving to Austin, the truck is now on the East Coast satisfying architecture lovers with their delicious all-natural creations such as the Mies Vanilla Rohe (Vanilla ice cream + Chocolate Chip Cookie) and the Frank Berry (Strawberry ice cream + Snickerdoodle cookie). The brain child of two women who share a love of architecture and of course, ice cream, this funky business is a triple entendre and a play on three factors: the Bauhaus as an influential modernist design movement of the 1920′s and 30′s, Rem Koolhaas who challenged the mantra “Form follows function”, and “Cool house” – an ice cream sandwich deconstructed into a cookie roof and floor slab with ice cream walls.
Video interview conducted by Alissa Walker. More after the break.
Check out this beautiful restoration project by Pascale Guédot and Michel Corajoud which transforms an industrial factory into a Multimedia Center. Situated in Oloron Saint Marie, the site is part of a larger urban renewal project intended to reconnect the abandoned site to the center of the city and infuse a new spirit into the building while reclaiming the site’s natural setting.
More images and more about the project after the break.
Check out this charming twist we spotted on childhood classics such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs. This new take, by Steven Guarnaccia, modifies the beloved tales into a new architecture-infused storyline complete with new protagonists [Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wrighth] and the Big Bad Wolf “huffing and puffing” to blow down Fallingwater. We enjoyed the humorous graphics and hope you do too! Guarnaccia is the chair of the illustration department at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.
More graphics after the break.