Louis Kahn's Richards Medical Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, once deemed "the most consequential building constructed in the United States" since World War II by MoMA, has been notoriously hated by its users; scientists claim the building lacks privacy, has too much exposure to sunlight and is not suitable for lab experiments. Thus, the University's architect has just completed a full renovation of Richards' four brick towers, converting them into offices and computer labs for researchers, while, as Philly.com reports, restoring the structure to its original essence.
"The renovation has pared Kahn's spaces down to their essence, restoring a Zenlike calm, and revealing the muscular concrete structure that made the design such a revelation in the early 1960s, when International Style glass towers were all the rage," says Philly.com. Read the complete article here.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation recently launched its newest documentary as part of the ongoing Oral History series, this time focusing on the ideas and career of Laurie Olin, a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and one of the greatest landscape architects of our time. Olin's influential work as a practitioner, educator and author over the past forty years has helped to guide the future of landscape architecture and shape urban life around the world.
Though Louis Kahn turned down developer Steven Korman numerous times, the would-be patron persisted and eventually convinced Kahn to accept the commission for a residence which was to contain “rooms large enough to play football in.” Located in Forth Washington, Pennsylvania, the Korman house would be Kahn’s final residential project.
The house, considered a masterpiece, is characterized not only by Kahn’s assiduous sense of order, but also a unique combination of materials that create a play of structure and light. Decades after the original 1971 commission, Korman's son Larry has now selected New York based-designer Jennifer Post to take on the task of redesigning the interior space of the house.
United Airlines Flight 93 was one of the four planes hijacked during the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. It was on this flight that 40 passengers and crew members courageously gave their lives to thwart a planned attack on the Nation’s Capital. Tragically, the plane crashed in Western Pennsylvania with no survivors.
To honor these heroes, Congress passed the Flight 93 National Memorial Act in 2002 and launched a two-stage, international design competition in 2005. A Jury of planners, landscape architects, architects, designers, government representatives, family members and community representatives chose Paul and Milena Murdoch’s proposal, which treated the 2,200 acre former coalmine as a memorialized national park where visitors embark on a sequence of experiences that leads them towards the crash site of Flight 93.
Visitors poured into Longwood Gardens this past Saturday to see 23-acres of breathtaking ‘Light: Installations’ by artist Bruce Munro. Although Munro describes the installations as simply “sketchbook jottings realized”, this “large-scale one-man-show” is anything but a simple feat. Eight large outdoor installations, two installations within the 4-acre Grand Conservatory and a collection of illuminated sculptures in the Music Room are keeping visitors mesmerized for hours.
Munro’s ‘Light: Installations’ are being shown for the first time outside of the UK. They will remain open until September 29th this year. Continue reading for more images and information.
The American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania Chapter has awarded a Silver Medal, the institute’s highest honor, to Spillman Farmer Architects for their highly successful ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. Located on the landmark Bethlehem Steel site in eastern Pennsylvania, the dynamic performing arts, media and cultural center has served as an anchor for the revitalization effort in the City of Bethlehem that is transforming the once-abandoned historic industrial core into a dynamic, sustainable and livable mixed-use community. The 200-foot industrial ruins towering above the ArtsQuest Center is part of the country’s largest privately-owned brownfield.
AIA jurors praised the project saying, “The design captures the energy and utilitarian beauty that the best of the industrial revolution once offered. At the same time it demonstrates the power that a truly successful marriage of architecture and program can exert in bringing new purpose and hope to the most abandoned parts of our community.”
Continue reading after the break for more information and images.
Just last month, University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design announced their lecture series for Spring 2012. All lectures are held at 6PM in Meyerson Hall and free and open to the public unless otherwise noted with continuing education credits available. The series began on January 17th and concludes on April 28th. More information on the upcoming events after the break.
Vacant land is a looming problem for many cities, especially when it remains undeveloped for years or is transformed into garbage dumps and parking lots. But when designers begin to notice these voids within the activity of a city they are able to unlock the inherent potential in the land. That is precisely what “Not a Vacant Lot”, as part of DesignPhiladephia, did this October. Philadelphia’s 40,000 vacant lots are both a challenge and an opportunity for young designers, artists and architects to tranform these under-utilized spaces into experiences within the fabric of the urban environment. The focal point of the design intervention was at the University of the Arts lot on 313 S. Broad Street, just a few blocks from Philadelphia’s center. It featured a reinterpreted map of Philadelphia by PennDesign students and Marianne Bernstein’sPlay House, an 8′x8′ aluminum cube which, in its simplicity, could unlock the potential of this particular lot. But this engagement of vacant land was just one such intervention in a series artist installations throughout Philadelphia. Another such intervention, GroundPaper, was designed by two collaborating artists, Mike Ski and KT Butterfield. The site of their choosing was along the banks of the Delaware River in Fishtown, a neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Read on to see what artists can accomplish with no budget, a vacant lot and an inspired idea.
Portal to the Point is a design project initiated to honor the completion of renovations to Pittsburgh’s most visible National Historic Landmark, Point State Park. wHY Architecture is one of five finalists selected to redefine the space beneath the Portal Bridge that leads into 36-acre park.
Continue reading for more project information and renderings.
Spillman Farmer Architects’ proposal for the Dickinson College Kline Sports Facility takes advantage of the existing features, while striving to introduce more transparency and connectivity as well as making the building’s sustainability evident. The new three-level addition transforms the Kline Center into a dynamic campus gateway, a marquee building with bold daytime and nighttime presence. The addition is placed along the eastern side of the existing building, reaching east to Cherry Street and south to High Street and integrated with the existing topography. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The last chance to see the Barnes Foundation’s artwork in its original setting has passed. It is now being prepared for the move to its new home in downtown Philadelphia. Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien designed the new building for the Barnes Foundation with respect for its strong history and as a reflective addition of the foundation’s mission. The building is scheduled for completion in late 2011. More after the break.
The OLIN team’s award-winning submission to the Living City Design Competition responded to ambitious standards of sustainable development within the historically rich yet socially and ecologically underserved neighborhoods of Brewerytown and North Central in Philadelphia. Working closely with architects and urban planners Digsau and Interface Studio, OLIN explored how sustainable design can be implemented within an existing urban framework by utilizing local resources, community engagement, and respect for the vernacular culture and architecture.
A conceptual proposal for the retrofit of an old grain silo in Center City Philadelphia, Interface Studio Architects aims to integrate an existing, vacant structure into an urban, mixed-use project. Additionally, it raises interesting questions about old building reuse and innovative tactics for sustainability. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In search of the origins of architecture, Laugier presented a primitive hut using the three basic elements of architecture – the post, the lintel and the gable. Semper’s pursuit of the origin resulted in a primitive dwelling that was comprised of four basic qualities – earthwork, hearth, framework/roof, and enclosing membrane. While Laugier’s list of basic elements stemmed from the obsession with disciplinary origins, Semper‘s meditations were a vehicle to essentialize that which was previously seen as superfluous, namely the building enclosure. Semper wanted to put ornament to work. Butterfly House is an exercise in re-working three ubiquitous elements – window, door and roof – until they exceed their functional value and lead the way to new architectural effects. Butterfly House builds upon Laugier’s primitive hut as a model of fitness, updated to reflect a post-bubble economic climate rather than mythical origins, as well as Semper’s interest in the productive capacity of the apparently unnecessary. Our conceptual hut uses a limited quantity of elements to solicit rich qualities and characteristics and uncovers a zone of enchantment between the essential and the excessive.
This week our Architecture City Guide is headed to Philadelphia. The list of influential architects that have either worked, studied, or taught in Philadelphia is perhaps the only list that challenges the numbers of Founding Fathers that descended on this city of “Brotherly Love.” A brief list includes Sullivan, Kahn, Wright, Pei, Rudolf, Corbusier, Latrobe, Gropius, Mumford, and Furness. That being said, our list of 12 barely scratches the surface of buildings worth seeing in this great city. We would like to hear about your must not miss buildings in the comment section below.
This project by tvsdesign is an addition to and rehabilitation of Philadelphia’s historic 1893 Reading Train Shed. As the centerpiece of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the terminal building, Grand Hall, meeting rooms, ballroom and farmer’s market will be joined by a new modern convention center that weaves the style, scale and rhythm of the historic Philadelphia architecture with the new addition.
Saucier + Perrotte architectes have shared with us their finalist proposal for the Fallingwater On-Site Cottages Competition in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA. You can see more images and architect’s description after the break.