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 , 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.

Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750

Model of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye from Modern Architecture: International Exhibition [MoMA Exh. #15, February 9-March 23, 1932] Photo: Modern Architecture, International Exhibition. 1932. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photographic Archive.

Barry Bergdoll, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and professor of modern architectural history at Columbia University, will present the 62nd A.W. in the Fine Arts Series. The Mellons are among the most prestigious art history lecture series in the world and have been delivered annually since 1952 at the , Washington, D.C. For this year’s series, Bergdoll will present “Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750.”

More about the lecture series after the break…

FBI’s Brutalist Hoover Building Faces Serious Makeover

© Jeffrey MacMillan via The Washington Post

“Originally seen to reflect the democratic attributes of a powerful civic expression – authenticity, honesty, directness, strength – the forceful nature of Brutalist aesthetics eventually came to signify precisely the opposite: hostility, coldness, inhumanity. [...] Separated from its original context and reduced in meaning, Brutalism became an all-too-easy pejorative, a term that suggests these buildings were designed with bad intentions.” - “BRUTAL”/“HEROIC” by Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley and Mark Pasnik

Brutalism, an architectural movement that peaked in the 1960′s, inspired the development of countless governmental buildings in Washington DC as well as across the world. Though Brutalism’s original intentions may have been good, many believe that the actual manifestation of these buildings was not and consider them to be little more than an eyesore on the District’s landscape. One such concrete structure, the FBI’s J. Hoover Building, is currently facing possible as the government has decided to relocate FBI headquarters and given the private sector the rare opportunity to transform this so-called “monolith” into a new kind of monument.

More on the Hoover Building after the break…

Massive Waterfront Redevelopment Receives Green Light in Washington D.C.

Master Plan © Perkins Eastman

Hoffman‐Madison Waterfront, the master developer of the 3.2 million square foot Southwest Waterfront project - “The Wharf” - that stretches across 27 acres of land along the historic Washington Channel, has announced the approval of its Phase1 Planned Unit Development (PUD) by the District of Columbia Commission. The Commission’s action approves all of the architectural designs and specific plans for each parcel of the project’s first phase encompassing 1.5 million square feet of residential, hotel, office and retail uses along with three piers, numerous open spaces, gathering places and a 3‐acre waterfront park. 

“The unanimous approval last night by the commissioners participating in the hearings is exhilarating. It creates momentum for ground breaking later this year,” said Monty Hoffman, Managing Member of Hoffman‐Madison Waterfront. “After more than six years of planning and substantial investment, we are preparing to launch one of the highest profile redevelopments in the country. We are ready to put shovels in the ground for this $2 billion redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront.”

More on Washington D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront project after the break.

The Pros & Cons of Revoking the DC Height Act

© Flickr User Rob Shenk

Earlier this week, Architect Robert K. Levy optimistically declared that the study which will evaluate the federal law limiting Washington building heights is a “win-win” situation for everyone involved. Writing for The Washington Post, Levy states: “By conducting a detailed, comprehensive city-wide study, the D.C. Office of Planning and the NCPC [National Capital Planning Commission] will produce analyses and recommendations leading to a fine-grain, strategic plan for building heights across the District. [...] Ultimately this study is a win-win proposition for all stakeholders.”

But can the situation really be so rosy? While Congress spends 10 months studying and debating the possibility of making alterations to the capital’s policies, urbanists, planners and citizens have already begun weighing in on the matter – and opinions are decidedly divided. Many question the true motivations behind the possible changes, and whether those changes will truly improve the livability and sustainability of the city  - or just alter it beyond recognition.

We’ve gathered both sides of the argument so you can make your own informed decision – after the break…

Nevis Pool and Garden Pavilion / Robert M. Gurney Architect

© Maxwell MacKenzie

Architects: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA Architect
Location: , USA
Project Architect: John Riordan, Leed AP
Completion: May 2011
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie

Update: Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial / Frank Gehry

Gehry presenting original vision / via Architizer

Earlier this week at a meeting given by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, unveiled a revamped design for the controversial Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial for the Mall at the base of Capitol Hill,    This redesign responds to strong family objections in which Gehry’s vision had been criticized for largely misrepresenting the strength and achievements of the former Commander in Chief (check out our previous coverage of the controversial memorial and its heated meeting on March 20 here).   After being selected to design the memorial in 2010 by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, Gehry looked to highlight the President’s great achievements as a source of inspiration to children, to “give them courage to pursue their dreams and to remind them that this great man started out just like them.”

The original design featured an 80-foot high colonnade from which large metal tapestries hang, and a statue depicting Eisenhower as a youth gazing upon his future accomplishments.  To Gehry, the memorial celebrated a hero who was deeply proud of his Kansas roots and an icon children could identify with; to Eisenhower’s surviving family members, particularly granddaughters Susan and Anne Eisenhower, the design diminished the President’s accomplishments by depicting Ike as a “dreamy boy”.

More about the new design after the break.

National Geographic Headquarters / Weiss/Manfredi

previous project / Diana Center at Barnard College / © Albert Vecerka/Esto

Weiss/Manfredi has just been selected to transform the urban campus of the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. following a competition among top firms such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Diamond Schmitt Architects, and Steven Holl Architects.  The project will establish new connections among the diverse collection of buildings that span more than a century on the site and create a new expression for National Geographic’s international programs, museum, media, and research activities.

More after the break.

Update: National Mall Phase Three / Weiss/Manfredi + OLIN

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As we have shared previously on AD, Washington DC’s National Mall – America’s most visited national park with over 25 million visitors a year- is undergoing a total restoration.  The $700 million project will be the first major renovation in over 35 years, and will focus on three sites of the Mall: Union Square, Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the Constitution Gardens.  During an intensive three part competition, the jury first evaluated scores of portfolios to select up to eight designers per site; conducted team interviews to narrow the site designers to five; and finally, during Phase Three, the jury will hold a design competition for each site.  We have just been notified by Weiss/Manfredi and OLIN that their team has been chosen to develop two of the three sites; no small feat for a competition that began with over 1,2000 designers.   The multidisciplinary team of architecture, landscape and planning designers will develop proposals for both the Monument Grounds and the Constitution Gardens.  We are excited to see what the team will develop, and we will keep you updated on the other Phase Three finalists and their proposals as we hear more.

See Through Townhouses / Suzane Reatig Architecture

© Robert Lautman & Suzane Reatig

Architects: Suzane Reatig Architecture 
Location: 506 O Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Year Completed: 2006
Photographs: Robert Lautman & Suzane Reatig

   

Yale Steam Laundry Condominiums / John Ronan Architects

© Nathan Kirkman

Architects: John Ronan Architects
Location: Washington, DC, 
Photographs: Nathan Kirkman

   

AIA Embraces Transparency in Design

Courtesy the Center for Architecture NY

Earlier this month, a Washington D.C District chapter opened their doors to the streets near Chinatown and the Penn Quarter. The office joined other East Coast chapters in the movement promoting visibility, transparency and sustainability in architecture.

“It’s a clear, simple and concise concept,” says Thomas Corrado, project architect with Hickok Cole, the Washington firm that created the design. “The idea was about how to make the space a connection between architecture and the person on the street.”

The design exposes the inner workings of the chapter, building curiosity and creating an opportunity for conversation to the pedestrians passing by.

Via The Washington Post

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 , West Virginia, 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 Japan (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)

Barcode House / David Jameson Architect

© Paul Warchol Photograhy

Architects: David Jameson Architect
Location: Washington DC,
Project Architect: Alex Stitt
General Contractor: The Ley Group
Project Year: March 2011
Photographs: Paul Warchol Photography

Building 2345 / Höweler + Yoon Architecture

Courtesy of Höweler + Yoon Architecture

Located in the under-developed neighborhood of in southeast , Building 2345 stacks a series of interlocking uses in order to maximize the site. With an existing FAR of 1.5, and an additional FAR bonus of 1 for mixed-use developments, the building maximizes its FAR potential on a narrow lot, 25’ wide by 130’ long. The program includes a doctor’s office, retail and residential uses.

Architect: Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Location: Anacostia, Washington DC, USA
Project Team: J. Meejin Yoon, Eric Howeler, Carl Solander, Liz Burrow, Parker Lee, Daniel Sullivan, Dan Smithwick, Eric Maso
Structural Engineer: MGV
Contractor: FEI Construction
Mechanical Engineer: MepTech
Civil Engineer: CAS
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Courtesy of Höweler + Yoon Architecture

Anacostia Library / The Freelon Group Architects

© Mark Herboth

The Library creates a civic building of which area residents can be proud. A variety of spaces to meet a wide range of community needs are in the new facility. Spaces include a large public meeting room (for approximately 100 people), two smaller meeting rooms, a children’s program room, as well as smaller rooms for group study and for tutoring. There are shelving areas for print and non-print materials for all ages. Multiple points of access to virtual spaces through the public PCs and wireless access are included.

Architect: The Freelon Group Architects
Location: , USA
Project Area: 22,000 sqf
Photographs: Mark Herboth

The Lacey / Division1

© Debi Fox

Architects: Division1
Location: ,
Project area: 25,000 sqf
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Debi Fox Photography

GGA Offices / Group Goetz Architects

Courtesy of Group Goetz Architects

Group Goetz Architects’ objective for their office was to create a forward thinking workplace for its business with a new paradigm focused on flexible and collaborative space that would be a contributor of a healthful environment and lifestyle. Expanding on a simple program, GGA designed the 16,000 sqf offices without walls to improve communication and collaboration, to encourage learning and sharing of information, and to take advantage of the enormous amount of natural light permeating the perimeter walls of the space. The commitment to openness started at the highest level in the organization and therefore the workplace has no private offices. The design culminated in achieving LEED Platinum from USGBC, as the first design office in the Washington, DC area to achieve this distinction.

Architect: Group Goetz Architects
Location: 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC,
Project Team: Lewis J. Goetz, FAIA, FIIDA (Principal-in-Charge), Mansour Maboudian, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP (Principal, Director of Sustainable Design), Rina Li, LEED AP (Senior Designer), Amber Kwansiewski (Project Designer), Laura Madge (Designer)
LEED Coordinators: Gweneth Kovar, LEED AP (Designer), Gweneth Kovar, LEED AP (Designer), Joseph Siewers, LEED AP (Architect)
Contractor: Dietze Construction Group
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineer: CS Consulting Engineers
Developer: Carlyle Group
Project Area: 16,000 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Group Goetz Architects