Kevin Gerrity

China as Architectural Testing Ground

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The emergence of on the global economic stage has been discussed at nauseum in myriad publications. But this emergence has had an impact on the world of architecture, providing a testing ground where architects can experiment with new ideas about sustainability and urban growth. These new ideas have been realized in recently completed structures, and more are just beginning construction or have been proposed for the future. More on these new buildings after the break.

Studio Addition / Bohl Architects

© Ron Solomon

Architect: Bohl Architects
Location: Annapolis,
Project Architect: Chip Bohl
Consultants: Berliner Construction Co., Inc.
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Ron Solomon, Bohl Architects

Camelback Ranch Spring Training Facility / HKS

© Blake Marvin

Architect: HKS, Inc.
Location: , Arizona
General Contractor: M.A. Mortenson
Project Area: 118,000 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Blake Marvin, , Inc

Detroit: Urban Renewal and the Great Recession

Photo by ifmuth -

The recession that began in 2007 technically ended in 2009, but you wouldn’t know it from visiting . The capital of U.S. auto manufacturing has been hit particularly hard, and stories of its plight during the economic downturn abound. Less reported, though, are the ideas and proposals put forth to return this city to its former glory. The urban renewal projects proposed are some of the latest in a long line of design projects that attempt to bring renewed prosperity and well being to the downtrodden sections of cities throughout the world. More on urban renewal and after the break.

Crab Creek House / Robert Gurney Architect

© Hoachlander Davis Photography

Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Location: , Maryland,
Project Architect: Brian Tuskey, Associate AIA
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Hoachlander Davis Photography


The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

© Pedro Moura Pinheiro

To visit the Exclusion Zone, a 30-kilometer ring that surrounds the plant, is a haunting, sobering experience. Located north of Kiev, on the border between the Ukraine and Belarus, Chernobyl is the site of the worst power plant disaster in history. The disaster occurred in 1986, and since then the power plant and Exclusion Zone surrounding it have been off-limits for human inhabitants. But earlier this year, Ukraine opened the Exclusion Zone to tourists, highlighting the interest in this area and the possibilities it provides for rebuilding. More on the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone after the break.

Jacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney Architect

© Hoachlander Davis Photography

Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Location: ,
Project Architect: Brian Tuskey, Associate AIA
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Hoachlander Davis Photography


ABC Cancer Center / HKS

© Blake Marvin

Architect: HKS, Inc.
Location: City,
Project Team: Enrique Greenwell, Bruce E. Johnson, Dulce Torres
General Contractor: Abitat
MEP Engineer: Hector Gomez Engineers
Structural Engineer: Correa Hermanos S.A. de C.V.
Project Area: 65,000 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Blake Marvin, Inc.

Peterson Residence / Robert Gurney Architect

© Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer

Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA
Location: Chevy Chase, ,
Project Architect: Claire L. Andreas
Contractor:  Peterson and Collins Inc.
Interior Designer: Therese Baron Gurney, ASID
Landscape Architect: Lila Fendrick Landscape
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer

The Rise of Prefab Design

Photo by SteveRapport -

design has been around since at least the 1940’s, but has lately seen resurgence in popularity. By assembling off-site, prefab gives homebuyers attractive alternatives to the standard residential developments that have become commonplace. While homes are not without their disadvantages, they are an interesting component of the post- bubble residential market. More on prefab design after the break.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards: A Watershed Moment for Sports Stadiums

© Shoshanah / Wikimedia Commons

The most influential decision in sports in the last twenty-five years was not made by a general manager, coach, or athlete. In fact, it wasn’t even made on a field, pitch, court, or rink. Instead, this decision originated in the office and on the drafting tables of the architecture firm HOK. The architects and engineers decided, going against three decades of stadium designs, some of which were their very own, to not create another generic multi-sport indoor arena for the next Oriole park. Rather, they designed a stadium that was considerate of its context, integrated beautifully within the city, and invited the citizens of to enjoy watching their Orioles play. More on stadium design and Oriole Park after the break.

The Greek Debt Crisis and Historical Landmarks

Photo by Eurokinissi -

Any trip to Athens, would not be complete without a visit to the Acropolis, the purest remaining form of what the Greeks thought architecture should be. And yet, if you stopped by a few weeks ago, you might have been surprised to find large banners proclaiming support for a communist trade union adorning the Acropolis hill. These banners are the most visible and literal signs of the Greek crisis affecting the historic landmarks in the country, but they are not the ones doing the most damage. That honor goes to the drop in tourism that Greece has experienced since the beginning of the global recession and runs through the country’s fiscal problems to the present. More on how the crisis is affecting historical landmarks after the break.

Berlin’s Bunkers

© Nicor / Wikimedia Commons

When one mentions the architecture of Germany during World War Two, the first ideas that come to mind are not the possibilities for new growth in the 21st century. But that is exactly what the Nazi bunkers that were built provide for us today. In , these bunkers are a monolithic and often oppressive reminder of the past, but are also ripe for intelligent thought about what they can be used for in the future. More information and images after the break.