The Indicator: Sheltering in Place

Rudolph’s UMass Dartmouth Library. Courtesy, UMass Dartmouth

Last Sunday James S. Russell, architecture critic for Bloomberg News and a former editor for Architectural Record, mused on his personal blog about the possible influence ’s Brutalist University of Massachusetts campus in Dartmouth may have had on Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two Marathon bombers who was also a student there.

Mr. Russell describes the campus as “a gigantic eerie, dozen-building concoction of grim ribbed-concrete hubris….” This is the sort of description that drives right to the heart of urban alienation. It’s Edvard Munch’s The Scream. This ability to sum up and drive the nail home is one reason he is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News. No side-stepping here.

Seattle Leads the Way in Tracking Building Energy Use

Courtesy of designbuildsource.com.au

Enthusiasm for water and energy data collection for commercial and residential buildings has been growing strong across the U.S. in major cities such as Austin, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. It’s no surprise to learn that Earth-friendly is ahead of the game when it comes to tracking its buildings; reports show that the city is receiving data for a whopping 87% of its commercial and multi-residential buildings over 50,000 square feet, which totals to 1,160 individual properties covering over 200 million square feet of the city.

But that’s not all. New cities are hopping on the data collection bandwagon, most recently Minneapolis – the first city in the Midwest to adopt rules for energy benchmarking and disclosure. Other cities who already have a green reputation, such as , are upping their game to adopt this beneficial practice in an effort to create even healthier and more prosperous urban conditions. With the President himself expressing support for cutting energy use by constructing more energy efficient buildings at last week’s State of the Union address, water and energy data collection is finally receiving the attention and consideration it deserves.

More on tracking building energy use after the break…

I Want to Be Metropolitan: Boston Case Study

Courtesy of ORO

I Want to be METROPOLITAN is a research project on small scale metropolises, MINI Metropolis, using as a case study to provide a different reading of the city. The study focuses on showing the efforts that the city of has made in order to grow with metropolitan characteristics while remaining at a much smaller scale than cities like New York, London, or Tokyo. The morphology of has been achieved through different metropolitan interventions that occur on different scales. These are divided on an infrastructural scale, urban scale, and architectural scale. By means of analyzing these different aspects, we can compose a vision of a future , or Fictitious , derived from its metropolitan potential.

ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX)

Courtesy of

Produced by the Boston Society of Architects, the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX) will take place November 14-16 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Boasting the most comprehensive education program and largest marketplace for the design and construction industry in New England, the event offers over 175 professional development opportunities. This covers a range of topics from building technology to design, software, social and code. The tradeshow and conference launches on Wednesday morning with Speaking of Architecture, an Opening Plenary panel discussion moderated by Renée Loth of ArchitectureBoston Magazine and Robert Campbell FAIA of the Boston Globe. Tours are also provided, allowing attendees an inside look into some of the most unique and interesting buildings in Greater Boston, including the recently re-opened Tea Party Museum, Hostelling International and the MassArt Tower Building.To register and for more information, please visit here.

Street Seats Design Challenge

Courtesy of Design Museum

Design Museum Boston recently announced the call for entries for Street Seats Design Challenge — an international outdoor furniture design challenge that will culminate in new waterfront seating, an outdoor design exhibition, and a walking tour around the channel. The Fort Point Channel links the waterfronts of downtown and South Boston – the seam between the Financial District and the emerging Boston Innovation District. o=Open to local and international artists, designers, and enthusiasts, Street Seats falls into the stated goals for the Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan, a 2002 vision to establish the Fort Point Channel as the next great (public) place in the City of Boston. Submissions are due no later than February 1. For more information, please visit here.

Boston: The Least Sucky American City to be An Architect

. Photo via Flickr CC User Raymond Larose.

According to a new survey published in Architect Magazine, Boston is starting to show “encouraging, though not significant, signs of improvement” in its architecture industry. Well, something’s better than nothing, right?

2012 Architectural Survey, conducted by accounting firm CBIZ Tofiasv, found that profit per hour increased from 2010’s $5.54 to $6.89; and the direct labor utilization rate (aka the portion of payroll that pays for income-generating labor, not training, administration, time off, etc.) also increased from last year, which in turn was an improvement over the three previous years.

But it’s not all rosy in Beantown. First of all, the 2011–2012 increase wasn’t huge, and, what’s more, the overhead rate didn’t drop. In 2007, it was $47.27; in 2011, $59.09, reported the Boston Business Journal.

We got flurries of responses when we asked “What’s the best country to find work?” but we didn’t think to ask: “What’s the best American city to find work?”

If these small economic flutterings are anything to go by, could Boston be the answer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Story via Architect Magazine

Museum of Medical History and Innovation / Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects

© Anton Grassl/Esto

Architects: Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects, Inc
Location: Boston, , USA
Principal in Charge: Jane H. Weinzapfel, FAIA
Project Manager: Winifred A. Stopps, Senior Assoc. AIA LEED AP
Project Architect: Alan Christ, AIA LEED AP
Design Architect: Tom Chung, Senior Assoc., AIA LEED AP
Project Team: Kevin Bell AIA, Susan Crowe Knight, Laura Duncan, Shih-Min Hsu AIA, Hannah Jackson RA, Irene Kang AIA LEED AP, Matt Petrie AIA, Jared Ramsdell, Marley Wright RA
Project Area: 12,270 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Anton Grassl/Esto

GLOW/SHIFTboston Copley Square Competition Proposal / Khoury Levit Fong

Courtesy of

Khoury Levit Fong shared with us their proposal for the GLOW/SHIFTboston Copley Square Competition. Their concept consists of an urban room, and hanging in the middle of it is a great chandelier. Dewdrop-shaped globes hang from a funicular mesh support, each illuminated by a wick-like row of low-energy addressable LEDs. It is light which is given weight and pulls down upon its supports to produce an inverted dome of scintillating light. Through the middle, the oculus at the center, the unobstructed sky is visible again. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Video: Ames Boston Hotel


Housed in Boston’s first skyscraper the Ames hotel effortlessly combines old world glamour with modern luxury. Designed by world renowned architect David Rockwell, the hotel is a design hotspot, featuring huge spiral staircases, installations made from thousands of mini metal discs and even old world New England curiousity cabinets. General manager Cate Farmer and director of sales Paul Sauceda take Crane.tv on a tour of the only hotel in the city worthy of your forty winks.

Tucker Design Award 2012 / Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge

Courtesy of GGN

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), with Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (CSS) of , were recently announced as the recipients of the biennial Tucker Design Award for 2012 for their North End Parks in , MA. First presented in 1977, the award is a nationally recognized architectural design award in both the building and landscape industries and honors those whose work demonstrates excellence in concept, design, construction and use of natural stone. More information on the awards after the break.

In Progress: MassArt Student Residence Hall / ADD Inc

© Paul Clemence

New York-based architectural photographer Paul Clemence has shared with us recent images and his thoughts on Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s new student residence hall that is being constructed in downtown . The 21-story, $61 million building is planned for completion this year.

Boston is not particularly known as a destination for trendy, contemporary architecture; but some new buildings are beginning to change that perception. From Diller Scofidio Renfro’s Institute of Contemporary Art to Norman Foster’s new wing at The Museum of Fine Arts to the recently completed Renzo Piano addition to the beloved Gardner Museum, the city’s urbanscape is getting a much needed updating. And now, a soon to be finished bold new project by the firm ADD Inc is bringing a colorful twist to the mix. They are the designers behind the new MassArt Students Residence Hall.

Continue reading for more.

Boston Medical Center / TK&A Architects

© Jeffrey Totaro

Architects: TK&A Architects
Location: Albany Street, Boston,
Size: 24,5000 sqm
Collaborators: MEP -Richard D. Kimball, Structural – Mc Namara / Salvia, Elevator – Lerch Bates, Cost – Vermeulens, CM – William A. Berry & Son, Inc
Completion: March 2011
Photographs: Jeffrey Totaro

BSA (Boston Society of Architects) Space / Höweler + Yoon Architecture

© Andy Ryan

The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) recently opened its new headquarters, BSA Space, Boston’s leading cultural institution on architecture and design. The design of the new headquarters by Boston-based firm Höweler + Yoon Architecture is centered around a highly visible “cloud” ceiling and an iconic stair. These two architectural elements act as brand markers for BSA Space and an invitation into the exhibits and meeting spaces above. More images and project description after the break.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Opens New Wing Today / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view - Outdoor art installation “Ailanthus” by Stefano Arienti (right) © Nic Lehoux / Building Workshop

The newly constructed wing for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, opens to the public today with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony accompanied by the City of ’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Designed to preserve the 1902 historic building, the 70,000 square-foot addition will offer purpose-built spaces for concerts, exhibitions and classes, along with enhanced visitor amenities. The museum will also be kicking off an inaugural season of exhibitions, performances and events that will highlight the buildings wide range of programming.

“This new wing is an extraordinarily elegant workshop, a bustling counterpoint to the historic building’s serenity. Here, the thinking and the work of the Museum is performed, so that the Palace, which had been put to uses for which it was not equipped, can once again give visitors the experience Isabella Stewart Gardner intended: a personal confrontation with art,” said Anne Hawley, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Museum.

Continue reading for more images and information.

Center for Life Science | Boston / Tsoi/Kobus & Associates

© Ed Wonsek

Architect: Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
Location: , Massachusetts, USA
Project Size: 777,600 square feet
Project Year: 2008
Photographers: Jeffrey Totaro, Ed Wonsek

Levinson Plaza, Mission Park / Mikyoung Kim Design

Courtesy of

Envisioned as an urban grove, this central gathering space represents the convergence of community in this diverse, mixed income, residential development. The design accommodates a complex program, layering the varied multi-cultural and intergenerational uses with a number of meaningful gathering and recreational spaces for the residents. Tai Chi, chess, children’s play areas, and contemplative seating areas allow for various groups to utilize the garden spaces in different ways. Lawn areas can be used for sunbathing in the summer and also provide the community with areas for flexible programming during larger gatherings, such as celebrations for the Chinese New Year, Russian Unity Day, and other cultural and civic events.

Landscape Architect: Mikyoung Kim Design
Location: Boston, Massachusetts,
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of Mikyoung Kim Design

BSA Lecture Series

Courtesy of WaterFire Providence

Boston Society of Architects (BSA) recently launched their lecture series which opens up on September 21st with Jeremiah Eck, FAIA as he considers a simple way to infuse and light in homes; Barnaby Evans does something similar for cities while Chee Pearlman enlists design for the betterment of humanity and Audrey O’Hagan, AIA looks boldly toward the future of the profession. All free BSA lectures take place at 6:00 pm at the BSA Space multimedia room (290 Congress Street, ). More information on the series after the break.

Seismic Considerations in New York City and Washington DC

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (1)
Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral

The U.S.G.S. recently reported that an earthquake struck the Washington, D.C. area with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 (later updated to 5.9). Initial reports of damage are minor however the National Cathedral’s central tower sustained some damage. “It looks like three of the pinnacles have broken off the central tower,” spokesman Richard Weinberg said of the tower, the highest point in Washington, D.C.

Update: The Cathedral has sustained some substantial damage due to the earthquake, and experts are currently assessing the structural and aesthetic damage. For a video of the Cathedral damage, or to help join the efforts of preserving the Cathedral click here.

Update: You can also see the effects of the earthquake on a building in Virginia here.

Felt in Philadelphia, North Carolina, Boston, New York City, Martha’s Vineyard, and even Wheeling, , the tremor raises questions of the importance of seismic considerations particularly in New York City.

Although earthquakes are not something a typical New Yorker would have cross their mind in comparison to other parts of the world such as (8.9 magnitude in 2011) and Chile (8.8 magnitude in 2010), the overal size and density of NYC puts it at a high risk for extensive damage.

More photographs of the Washington National Cathedral and discussion regarding seismic considerations following the break.

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (2) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (14) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (12) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (10)