Seeming Inevitability: Reconsidering Renzo Piano’s Addition To Louis Kahn’s Kimbell

South view. Image © Robert LaPrelle

When Renzo Piano’s addition to the Kimbell opened in late 2013, critical responses ranged from “both architects at the top of their games” (Witold Rybczynski) to “generous to a fault” (Mark Lamster) to “distant defacement” (Thomas de Monchaux). In this excerpt from a special issue of Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, Ronnie Self gives a deeply considered assessment of the two buildings after a full turn of the seasons. The special issue also includes a review by Christopher Hawthorne of Johnston Marklee’s plans for the Menil Drawing Institute, a review by David Heymann of Steven Holl’s expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and an essay by Walter Hood and Carmen Taylor about Project Row Houses. Also featured are interviews of the directors of all four museums and their architects (Piano, Holl, Johnston Marklee, David Chipperfield, and Rice Building Workshop), making for a very comprehensive issue.

Piano’s main task was to respond appropriately to Kahn’s building which he achieved through alignments in plan and elevation and by dividing his project into two major bodies: a concrete walled, glass roofed pavilion facing Kahn and a separate, sod-roofed structure behind that should integrate a significant portion of the project with the landscape and thereby lessen its overall impact. Still, the loss of the open lawn that existed in front of the Kimbell where Piano’s building now stands is regrettable. Kahn’s Kimbell was conceived as a large house or a villa in a park, and unlike much of the abundant open and green space in the Fort Worth District, that park was actually used. Piano’s new outdoor space is more like a courtyard – more contained and more formal. It is more urban in its design, yet less public in its use.

Aside from lamenting the loss of the open lawn, how might we judge the addition?

Pool House La Lunera / Nicolás Pinto da Mota + Victoria María Falcón

Courtesy of Nicolás Pinto da Mota

Architects: Nicolás Pinto da Mota, Victoria María Falcón
Location: Soriano, Uruguay
Area: 160.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Courtesy of Nicolás Pinto da Mota, Courtesy of Eduardo Moras

See ArchDaily's exclusive complete coverage of the Mies van der Rohe award

AD Interviews: Barozzi / Veiga

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Earlier this month, during the award ceremony for the 2015 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture-, we had the opportunity to speak with winners Barozzi / Veiga, who won for their Philharmonic Hall Szczecin. We asked Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga, founders of the eponymous, Barcelon-based firm, about their project and their office. 

The architects describe the process of incorporating and filtering many influences to arrive at the final design for the Philharmonic Hall, emphasizing that they strove to ”create a quality” that transforms from day to night. Learn more about the project by watching the video above, and see what the jury had to say after the break. 

AD Classics: Austrian Cultural Forum / Raimund Abraham

© Photo by David Plakke,; Courtesy of Austrian Forum

Before the impossibly “super-thin” tower became ubiquitous on the Midtown Manhattan skyline, Raimund Abraham’s Austrian Cultural Forum challenged the limits of what could be built on the slenderest of urban lots. Working with a footprint no bigger than a townhouse (indeed, one occupied the site before the present tower), Abraham erected a daring twenty-four story high-rise only twenty-five feet across. Instantly recognizable by its profile, a symmetrical, blade-like curtain wall cascading violently toward the sidewalk, ACFNY was heralded by Kenneth Frampton as “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Museum of 1959.” [1]

National Theatre / Haworth Tompkins

© Philip Vile

Architects: Haworth Tompkins
Location: South Bank, SE1 9GY,
Area: 16309.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Philip Vile

via CityMetric
via CityMetric

Ooze Architects Unveil A Natural Bathing Pond In London’s King’s Cross

A new pool has just opened in the heart of London’s King’s Cross. In the centre of one of the city’s largest mixed-use development projects Ooze Architects, in collaboration with artist Marjetica Potrc, have developed and realised “the UK’s first man-made fresh water public bathing pond” as a piece of and art. The oblong pool is forty metres long, built two metres above ground level, and is surrounded by “pioneer plants, wild flowers grasses, and bushes so that the environment evolves as the seasons change.” It will be purified through “a natural closed-loop process, using wetland and submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water.”

Casa Lela / Oficina d’Arquitectura

Courtesy of Oficina d’Arquitectura


Architects: Oficina d’Arquitectura
Location: , Portugal
Architect In Charge: arch. Florêncio da Costa, arch. José Pinho
Year: 2015
Photographs: Courtesy of Oficina d’Arquitectura

Kahrizak Residential Project / CAAT Studio

© Parham Taghiof

Architects: CAAT Studio
Location: , Tehran, Iran
Architect In Charge: Mahdi Kamboozia
Design Collaborator: Helena Ghanbari
Assistant: Alireza Movahedi
Area: 1660.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Parham Taghiof, Ashkan Radnia

Cubo House / PHOOEY Architects

© Peter Bennetts Photographer

Architects: PHOOEY Architects
Location: VIC, Australia
Design Team: Emma Young, Peter Ho , Adam Gordon, Jessie Cook, Rob Chittleborough, Helen Duong, Anne-Claire Deville & Lucinda Arundel.
Area: 410.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Peter Bennetts Photographer

© Bas Princen – Fondazione Prada
© Bas Princen – Fondazione Prada

Rem Koolhaas On Preservation, The Fondazione Prada, And Tearing Down Part Of Paris

With the opening of their Fondazione Prada building in Milan at the start of this month, OMA got the chance to show off a skill that they don’t get the chance to use very often: preservation. In this interview with Kultur SpiegelRem Koolhaas talks at length on the topic, explaining that he believes “we have to preserve history,” not just architecture, and arguing that the rise in popularity of reusing old buildings comes from a shift toward comfort, security and sustainability over the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. “The dimensions and repertoire of what is worthy of preserving have expanded dramatically,” he says, meaning that “we shouldn’t tear down buildings that are still usable.” Still, he says, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tear down and start again in some cases - an entire Parisian district beyond La Défense, for example. Read the full interview here.

12 Projects Win North American Copper in Architecture Awards

University Center – New School / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Image © SOM

The Development Association (CDA) has announced its selections for the 2015 North American in Architecture Awards (NACIA), now in their eighth year. The awards celebrate stellar projects that incorporate copper in their designs. The 12 award-winning works span three categories and include educational, residential and healthcare buildings in addition to historic landmarks.

Winners were selected by a panel of industry professionals based on their overall design, incorporation and treatment of copper, and distinction in either innovation or historic restoration.

City View Garage in the Miami Design District / IwamotoScott

© Craig Scott

Architects: IwamotoScott
Location: , FL, USA
Area: 1403.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Craig Scott, Daniel Balean, Robin Hill, Vernon Jones

AIA Signs Cooperative Agreement with Africa Union of Architects

Butaro Hospital / MASS Design Group. Image © Iwan Baan

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the  Union of Architects (AUA) has signed a cooperative agreement to “share practice tools and resources, creating a framework for American and African architects to work collaboratively in achieving development and infrastructure goals in Africa.” The agreement articulates their mutual interests to advance the “Africa Sustainability Campaign” in spirit of the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to reinvigorate and formalize the ’s relationship with our colleagues in Africa,” said 2015 President, Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. “We look forward to increased knowledge sharing on topics such as health and resilience which are critical to the sustainable future of our planet.”

Archiculture Interviews: Thom Mayne

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“It’s amazing how resilient our society is, and that resiliency includes architecture. It’s resilient in terms of the society, it’s resilient economically, and that’s a really good thing.”

In this installment of Arbuckle Industries’ Archiculture interviews, architect, educator, and Morphosis Architects founder Thom Mayne discusses the underpinnings of the architecture world. Starting from what he sees as architecture’s under-representation in the public consciousness, he touches on the cycle of planned obsolescence in the built environment and its consequential dynamics, provides his perspective on architects’ responsibilities, and explains where he believes the future of architecture is headed thanks to a new generation of politically engaged students. Mayne also argues that clarifying the role of cultural forces on architecture could broaden the public’s acceptance of designs: “look at the Lunar landing module, is that a beautiful thing or an ugly thing?” Mayne asks. “If you really admire what it did… you find it interesting, you find it beautiful because you understand it in context.”

The Paleisbrug / Benthem Crouwel Architects

© Jannes Linders

Architects: Benthem Crouwel Architects
Location: ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Design Team: Mels Crouwel, Job Schroën, Marleen van Driel, Moon Brader, Carel Weber, Volker Krenz, Sergio Bostdorp, Ronno Stegeman
Area: 2500.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Jannes Linders

Please Touch the Art: Jeppe Heine’s “Labyrinth NY” Installed in Brooklyn

“Mirror Labyrinth NY”, Jeppe Hein (2015), High polished stainless steel, aluminum,106.5 x 346.5 x 338.5 inches

For the next year, visitors at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park will have the chance to interact with “Please Touch the Art”, an exhibition of works by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Playful, inventive, and immediately striking, Hein’s work engages audiences as “active participants,” inviting spontaneity and user interaction. Curated by Nicholas Baume, the exhibition contains three bodies of work by Hein: the soaring water jets of Appearing Rooms, the sixteen bright red benches of Modified Social Benches, and the reflective vertical planks of Mirror Labyrinth NY.

The exhibition is a project of City’s Public Art Fund, a non-profit organization responsible for numerous free exhibitions offering “powerful experiences with art and the urban environment”.

Learn more about the Mirror Labyrinth NY  and view selected images after the break.

Quarter of Nations / Gerber Architekten

© HG Esch

Architects: Gerber Architekten
Location: Wilhelmsburg, , Germany
Architect In Charge: Eckhard Gerber
Area: 10520.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: HG Esch, Hans-Jürgen Landes

High School Monserrate / Marques Franco Arquitectos

© José Campos Architectural Photography

Architects: Marques Franco Arquitectos
Location: , Portugal
General Contractor: Soares da Costa
Area: 14000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: José Campos Architectural Photography