The Power of Paint: Three Case Studies on Colour in Architecture

Based at the Architectural Association school of Architecture and linked to the Phd research program at UIAV, Saturated Space takes a comprehensive look at the “grammar” and history of colour in architecture, the perceptual and phenomenological principles of colour in relation to the human subject, and the socio-political aspects of colour as a culturally active agent. This article, written by architect and CLOG editor Jacob Reidel, originally appeared as “Powerful Colours” on Saturated Space‘s website, a forum for the sharing, exploration, and celebration of colour in Architecture.

Let’s admit it, architects are suspicious—if not a little scared—of colour. How else to explain the default contemporary architect’s preference for exposed finishes such as concrete, brick, , stone, and wood? Perhaps this is because an architect’s choice of applied colour may often seem one of the most subjective—and hence least defensible—decisions to be made over the course of a project.* Indeed, applied colour seldom performs from a technical standpoint, and it is the architect’s taste, pure and simple, which is often on the line whenever a specific colour is proposed to the client. Or perhaps architects’ mistrust of applied colour owes something to the profession’s well-known controlling tendencies and the fact that colour is one of the most mutable aspects of a building; better, we architects are instructed, to focus on “important” and “architectural” decisions such as form, space, materials, program, and organization. Indeed, it is far easier for a future owner to repaint a wall than it is to move it.

Washington D.C. – The Most Walkable City in the US?

Chicago is the fifth most walkable city. Image © Vincent Desjardins via Flickr

new report from Christopher Leinberger and Patrick Lynch at The George Washington University School of Business has unexpectedly named Washington D.C. the most walkable city in the U.S., trumping expected favorites like New York, which ranked second.

Respectively rounding out the top five were Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago. Although a mere 2.8 percent of the population is estimated to walk to work, the report’s authors believe the results are indicative of urban development moving away from automobile dependency and sprawl - an event they consider as significant as Frederick Jackson Turner declaring the “closing of the frontier” in 1893.

Four Teams to Envision Proposals for D.C. “Bridge Park”

Artist Rendering. Image Courtesy of THEARC

The four teams moving on to stage three of Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park competition has been announced. Selected from over 80 qualified design firms from across the U.S., the following multidisciplinary teams will receive $25000 stipends to envision a new civic space spanning the Anacostia River by early September:

Exhibition: TALL DC / New Monumentalism

Since it was enacted by Congress, the Height of Buildings Act of 1910 has restricted how tall buildings can be designed in the District of Columbia.

TALL DC: New Monumentalism features student work from the Catholic University of America’s School of Architecture and Planning (CUA) that provocatively explores what Washington could look like in the absence of this law.

Working within CUA’s Emerging Technologies and Media graduate concentration, students analyzed two of Washington’s most recognizable structures, the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument, and questioned the definition of “monument” in the contemporary context of global commercial markets, residential migration, and iconic skylines.

Three distinct proposals for a mixed-use ‘skyscraper’ were created for the Department of Commerce site located near the National Mall. Using radically different design strategies, each concept offers a creative and controversial idea for building a TALL DC.

More information can be found here.

Title: Exhibition: TALL DC / New Monumentalism
Website: http://aiadac.com/sigal-gallery/tall-dc
Organizers: Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning
From: Thu, 22 May 2014 
Until: Tue, 10 Jun 2014 
Venue: District Architecture Center
Address: 421 7th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20004,

Shortlist Released for D.C. “Bridge Park”

East River Blueway Plan – a recent project by shortlisted contestant WXY Studio (Click to learn more).

Six teams have been invited to form interdisciplinary teams in Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park competition. Envisioned as a “21st century play space,” the project intends to unify two disconnected parts of the city with a single, multi-use parkscape that will span the width of the Anacostia River. If approved, the Bridge Park will host array of programs, from an education center and performance space, to a cafe and water sport activity areas. Review the complete list of shortlisted teams, after the break…

Competition Seeks Architects to Design Massive “Bridge Park” in D.C.

Artist Rendering. Image Courtesy of THEARC

A nonprofit (THEARC) has launched a nation-wide competition soliciting designs for the proposed 11th Street Bridge Park from architects and architects. With the culmination of the competition, the committee hopes to select a design that connects and re-engages residents from both sides of the river with the each other and the water, while establishing a new civic space that serves as stimulator for economic development.

Designated as a “21st century play space,” the new park will occupy a space spanning the length of three football fields across the Anacostia River. If approved, it would host a performance space, education center, cafe, water sport and activity areas, as well as integrate public art throughout landscape.

You can learn more and register for the 11th Street Bridge Park competition here. A video providing insight on the location can be found after the break…

Mecanoo, Martinez + Johnson Selected to Redesign Mies’ MLK Memorial Library

© with Martinez + Johnson Architecture

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has named Mecanoo architecten and Martinez + Johnson Architecture winners of a competition to reinvent ’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. The Netherlands- and D.C.-based team aims to resurrect the neglected building by improving “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.” This includes opening up the boxy interiors to enhance flow and increase natural light and, most dramatically, sculpting two rooftop terraces by topping the historic landmark structure with a four-story, mixed-use addition.

We will keep you posted with more details as they come available. In the meantime, scroll through the renderings and presentation that landed Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson the commission, after the break.

Shortlisted Concepts Unveiled for MLK Jr. Memorial Library Renovation

© STUDIOS Architecture with

Preliminary designs have been released by three shortlisted teams competing to renovate Mies van der Rohe’s historic Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. Preview each proposal and learn how you can submit your feedback to the D.C. Public Library before they make their decision, after the break.

Congress Aids the Impending Doom of Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

©

Congress budget cuts have officially stalled ’s controversial Eisenhower Memorial, according to a recent report, rejecting $49 million in construction funds and cutting the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s annual budget in half. Unless the commission is able to raise a substantial amount of private funds, as well as win support from the Eisenhower family (which is doubtful), Gehry’s “grandiose” memorial is unlikely to ever break ground. Despite this, the commission’s director is optimistic, stating that the FDR Memorial took nearly 45 years to get built. You can read more about the controversy here.

Washington DC Metro Awarded AIA 25 Year Award

© Flickr CC User Sergio Feria

The AIA has given the 25 year award - for architectural projects which have stood the test of time – to the Washington DC Metro System. Designed by Harry Weese and opened in 1976, the metro system has been praised for its application of a sense of civic dignity to the function of transportation, as well as the consistency of the design across its 86 stations. You can read an accompanying article about the design of the Metro System here.

Three Firms Shortlisted for MLK Jr. Memorial Library Renovation

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes

Three teams have been shortlisted from a longlist of ten for the of ’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by Mies van der Rohe. The three competing teams are:

Mapdwell Expands to Washington D.C.

National Mall. Image ©

Mapdwell announced today the unveiling of Mapdwell Solar System for the Washington, D.C. The MIT-born project has formed an alliance with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) to provide its state-of-the-art rooftop solar resource to the U.S. capital.

DDOE was the first of several organizations to partner with Mapdwell after the platform was introduced in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The District’s map comes only seven months after the initial rollout of Solar System, and constitutes the first step in Mapdwell’s expansion in the and abroad.

Ten Firms Shortlisted to Renovate Mies’ MLK Jr. Memorial Library in D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig . Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes

In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the of Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies’ only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library’s future spaces and services.

The ten firms that made the cut are:

Spotlight on Design: Toyo Ito

Tama Art University Library (Hachioji Campus) / Courtesy Ishiguro Photographic Institute

The innovative work of the 2013 Pritzker Prize Laureate Toyo Ito is often driven by an internal critique and struggle towards perfection. In this translated program, the principal of & Associates, Architects will discuss his design philosophy and remarkable work, which includes the Sendai Mediatheque in Miyagi, Japan, and Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library and TOD’S Omotesando Building.

This program is presented as part of Architecture Week. Additional support for this program is provided by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information and tickets please click here.

Title: Spotlight on Design: Toyo Ito
Website: http://go.nbm.org/site/Calendar/1506336692?view=Detail&id=115401
Organizers: National Building Museum
From: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 18:30
Until: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 20:00
Venue: National Building Museum
Address: 401 F Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., DC 20001,

Request for Qualifications: MLK Jr. Memorial Library

Courtesy of District of Columbia Public Library

In honor and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, which took place August 28, 1963, the RFQ for architectural services for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library was officially launched today by the District of Columbia Public Library. Currently a building, which is his only library and the only Mies building in D.C., people using the public library more than ever to seek assistance in navigating the complex networks of information available to them and in converting that information to knowledge for their personal needs (education, lifelong learning, enjoyment, jobs, business development, and so on).

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library will be a place for residents to explore, connect, create and engage. They seek an inspiring design for the library of the future that will accommodate great flexibility in library uses and in technology. The RFQ’s are due no later than September 23. A pre-proposal conference is also set to take place September 10. For more information, including the full RFQ document, please visit here.

Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Takes Major Step Forward

Courtesy of , LLP, 2013

Frank Gehry’s revised design for the controversial Eisenhower Memorial has been approved by US Commission of Fine Arts in a 3-1 vote – a major step forward after the project’s funding was nearly scraped last year. Though Gehry’s redesign was welcomed by the commission, BDOnline reported that they’ve requested he removes the three woven metal tapestries that border the site, as they believe the scale “undermined Gehry’s attempt to convey the president’s humility.” Gehry accepted this request and now awaits re-authorization from Congress.

Farmers Fishers Bakers / rizForm

© Eric Laignel

Architects: GrizForm
Location: 3000 K Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., DC 20007,
Project Team: Griz Dwight, Brooke Loewen, Michelle Bove
Engineering: CFR Engineering
Area: 9662.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Eric Laignel

Architecture 101 Lecture Series

Bilbao / © Flickr user EEPaul

Taking place during the National Building Museum‘s Summer Block Party, the Architecture 101 lecture series explores iconic styles during significant periods in architectural history. The two lectures, titled ‘Miesian’ (July 20) and ‘Expressionism’ (July 27) will serve as a refresher course for the professional or student or providing the novice with a chance to learn more about the world of architecture.  More information after the break.