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Usa: The Latest Architecture and News

Pitch House / Carl Hampson & Eunike Design

21:00 - 28 July, 2009

Carl Hampson and Eunike Design recently designed the Pitch House for Belmont, Massachusetts. The home is the reinterpretation for the ideals of early European modernism as it “evolves the universal machine for living concept into a site-specific contemporary dwelling shaped by the local forces of climate, culture, and sustainability.” The main living spaces sit under a pivoting roof that responds to the changing seasons by providing the correct amount of sunlight and shade to the interior throughout the year. The constantly changing roof “provides a centerpiece for year round outdoor activities.” An open ended site strategy responds “to the transformation of suburban ideals facilitated by the influx of information technology” while the home’s orientation, active and passive solar strategies, thermal mass, and earthen berms collectively reduce year round energy loads.

More images after the break.

Afterparty, P.S.1 2009 Installation / MOS Architects

10:33 - 28 July, 2009

© Florian Holzherr
© Florian Holzherr

A few months ago we presented you the winning entry for this years YAP competition for the P.S.1 summer installation, awarded to MOS Architects (Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample) as we reported earlier.

This competition has been a field for experimentation on digital manufacturing, new materials and new construction techniques -all under a tight budget-, as we saw in 2008 with the P.F.1 by WORKac.

To keep the courtyard fresh, a series of “hut” like structures conformed by inverted catenaries (part of an on going research by the practice) acting as chimneys: The faux fur that covers them collects heat from the sun, transfering it to the air inside the huts creating a chimney effect that keeps air flowing to cool the lower level.

© Florian Holzherr
© Florian Holzherr

The resulting space corresponds to the after-party concept envisioned by MOS:

The main purpose of the afterparty is to provide a relaxing environment, as compared to the earlier venue, where the atmosphere is usually more frenetic. During an afterparty people often sit down, relax, and chat freely, meet new people in a more controlled setting. If the original party was one that continued until late at night, the afterparty will often include a morning snack, which usually counts as breakfast. …. Possibly in contrast to relaxation, the afterparty can provide a chance for people to get away from the eyes of people who were overseeing the main party. This tends to be more common in events such as school balls where alcohol consumption is not allowed, and provides a location where the partygoers will be allowed to drink. In this case, the afterparty may turn out to be more lively than the main party, as the people are freed from the restrictions that were placed on them during the main party.

All photos by Florian Holzherr. See more after the break:

High Line 23 / Neil M. Denari Architects

14:00 - 21 July, 2009
High Line 23 / Neil M. Denari Architects

High Line 23 / Neil M. Denari Architects High Line 23 / Neil M. Denari Architects High Line 23 / Neil M. Denari Architects High Line 23 / Neil M. Denari Architects + 17

Reef, an installation at Storefront for Art and Architecture

13:00 - 17 July, 2009

Our friend Rob Ley sent us info on their latest installation, Reef, which we’ll be checking out next week. Reef, an installation by Los Angeles Designers Rob Ley (Urbana) and Joshua G. Stein (Radical Craft) is currently on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. This kinetic sculptural installation takes advantage of new Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) technology to create a responsive environment.

Open International Design Competition for Lavender Lake

13:00 - 16 July, 2009

The editors at suckerPUNCH are sponsoring an open international design competition. Perfectly situated but notoriously maligned, the Gowanus Canal borders the vibrant Brooklyn neighborhoods of Red Hook, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens. As a result of heavy industrial pollution, the canal took on an iridescent purple sheen gaining it the nickname “Lavender Lake.”

Spaceport America began construction last Friday

13:00 - 22 June, 2009

Spaceport America, the first spaceport ever began construction last Friday in New Mexico. The spaceport, designed by Foster + Partners and URS Corporation will host commercial operations by private space travel companies, like Virgin Galactic.

The 110,000-plus square foot facility will use cost-effective, energy-efficient green building practices and will be built to be LEED-certified. From earth-tubes that will pre-condition the air to reduce HVAC costs by 50-70% to solar thermal panels on the roof for hot water to the embedded in-floor loop system, Spaceport America is both unique and iconic in terms of visual and environmental design.

Seen at Gizmodo. More images after the break.

Loft House / Ryan Stephenson, Joey Fante, Kait Caldwell, Aimee O'Carroll

18:02 - 17 June, 2009

“Learn by doing” sounds like something very obvious when it comes to education in most fields, and specially in architecture schools.

I have taught at schools that embrace it in different ways, either by doing a collective small project during the semester, or building a complete project over the development of the final graduate project. This last method was inspired by the work of the good ol’ Rural Studio.

For those of you that don´t know what Rural Studio is, Wikipedia describes it as:

The Rural Studio is a design-build architecture studio run by Auburn University which aims to teach students about the social responsibilities of the profession of architecture while also providing safe, well-constructed and inspirational homes and buildings for poor communities in rural west Alabama, part of the so-called “Black Belt“.

The studio was founded in 1993 by architects Samuel Mockbee and D. K. Ruth. Each year the program builds five or so projects – a house by the second-year students, three thesis projects by groups of 3-5 fifth year students and one or more outreach studio projects. The Rural Studio has built more than 80 houses and civic projects in Hale, Perry and Marengo counties.

And so, it´s not only building for educational purposes, but also to engage future architects with their community, establishing a true link between the needs of the society and the profession. The importance of Rural Studio has been recognized at Into the Open: Positioning Practice, the official US exhibition at the past Venice Biennale.

Future architect Joey Fante shared with us his project for 20K (team: Ryan Stephenson, Joey Fante, Kait Caldwell, Aimee O’Carroll), the Loft House, part of the 2007/2008 thesis class at Rural Studio. The idea is to design a build a house for $10,000 in materials and $10,000 in proposed labor cost.

Project description after the break:

Sapphire Gallery / XTEN Architecture

13:00 - 5 June, 2009

Our friends from XTEN Architecture just sent us one of their latest projects. The Saphire Gallery is a residential gallery addition to a private residente in Los Angeles, California. It is designed to display a private collection of contemporary art while also providing for a home office with views to the sorrounding hills.

More images and architect’s description, after the break.

AD Round Up: Houses in USA Part I

18:30 - 12 May, 2009
AD Round Up: Houses in USA Part I

Architecture can tell us a lot about the places in which the projects are located. So to start comparing different architecture in different countries, we bring you previously featured houses in USA. Next week, houses in Latin America.

Global Holcim Awards 2009 Winning Projects

21:00 - 11 May, 2009

The second cycle of the Holcim Awards competition has reached its pinnacle: the top sustainable construction projects out of thousands of submissions from all continents have been selected. THOLChe four winning entries are a river remediation scheme in Morocco, a greenfield university campus in Vietnam, a rural planning strategy in China, and a shelter for day laborers in the USA. A series of prize-handovers will be held at the site of each project to celebrate the winners and their highly-acclaimed examples of sustainable construction.

Almost 5,000 sustainable construction projects and visions from 121 countries entered the five regional Holcim Awards competitions in 2008. Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in each region automatically qualified for the Global Holcim Awards competition in 2009. The global jury was headed by Charles Correa (architect, India) and included Peter Head (structural engineer, UK), Enrique Norten (architect, Mexico/USA), Saskia Sassen (sociologist, USA), Hans-Rudolf Schalcher (civil engineer, Switzerland), and Rolf Soiron (economist, Switzerland).

More images and description of the winning projects, after the break.

Glass Tower / Eric Owen Moss

12:30 - 25 April, 2009

The glass tower by Eric Owen Moss Architects is encouraging the re-development of South Central Los Angeles with this project. The building has been in planning since the nineties but was stalled for some years until it was re-designed in 2006 as a single tower.

A rail line installed nearby spurred the redesign. The structure is part of the redevelopment of South Central LA, an area plagued with poverty and violence for many years. The project was originally conceived of with a structural strategy, consisting of curvilinear ribbons wrapping two main volumes.

The new design remains very similar with the same ribbon theme, but as a single volume. as the area’s only high-rise, office tenants will enjoy wide, open views of the city. a train stop sits directly outside the building, but car parking was also a main concern for the architects. The aforementioned ribbon scheme provides the building’s structure, making each floor completely open. The ribbons are made from steel tubes filled with concrete. Each floor was the same flexible plan but comes in three distinct heights of 13, 16 and 24 feet, to offer further flexibility.

Seen at designboom. More images after the break.

David Adjaye wins competition for the National Museum of African American History and Culture

12:30 - 17 April, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, we featured the six finalists for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Finally, the Smithsonian Institute chose the team lead by Tanzanian-born, London-based architect David Adjaye.

A New Infrastructure, Los Angeles

07:30 - 17 April, 2009

Los Angeles is often portrayed as the example of the car-friendly city. The traditional image of the town is an endless pattern of single family dwellings, interconnected by traffic-clogged freeways, where transit is undeveloped and the air is choked with smog.

However, Los Angeles is changing. The city’s Transport Authority has planned in the last years a series of measures aiming to improve quality of life through improving transit and walking and providing alternative to car commuting.

The Architectural League NY lectures / Alejandro Aravena

18:30 - 15 April, 2009

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena will continue with The Architectural League NY lectures today in The Urban Center, at 7:00pm.

Aravena has been in practice since 1994 and since 2006 has also served as Executive Director of ELEMENTAL S.A., a “Do Tank” for the design and implementation of urban projects of social interest and public impact. His work includes the Mathematics Faculty, the Medical Faculty, the computer facility “Siamese Tower,” and the Architecture School at the Universidad Católica, Santiago, Chile; House for a Sculptor; House in the Pirehueico Lake; new residence and dining halls for St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas; children’s workshops and training facilities for Vitra in Weil am Rhein, Germany; a Villa in Ordos, Inner Mongolia; and social housing and urban projects for Elemental. In 2009, Aravena was appointed a member of the Pritzker Prize Jury.

He has received several awards, including Silver Lion at the XI Venice Biennale, 1st Prize in the XII and the XV Santiago Biennale, the Erich Schelling Architecture Medal 2006 (Germany), finalist in the Mies van der Rohe Award (2000), top 10 finalist in the Iakhov Chernikhov Prize 2008 (Moscow), and finalist in the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2008 (Paris).

Tickets are required for admission to League programs. Tickets are free for League members; $10 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: rsvp@archleague.org. Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets online here.

For more information, click here. All the lectures after the break.

Chicago Union Station / Graft Architects

12:30 - 12 April, 2009

Chicago Union Station, by Germany-based Graft Architects will treat the user group as two: the traveler and the inhabitant.

The traveler has a destination, a purpose, a need to get through the process as efficiently as possible. The penetration into the site will be minimal; the tickets purchased en route, the space and time between the city and the outbound areas are optimized. The inhabitant seeks an extended stay; the coffee shop, the sunday morning market, life anchored to the city. The station becomes a rock jutting out of a raging river. The place of the inhabitant is at the center of the chaos, a place to better experience the city, a place to relax, a place to watch the chaos unfold.

The station serves as infrastructure for the city. It’s not a singular building, a place confined by boundaries. The interface with the city is blurred, inside and outside undefined.

Seen at designboom. More images after the break.

Spacebuster in New York

21:00 - 6 April, 2009

Storefront for Art and Architecture, in collaboration with Goethe Institute New York, present Spacebuster, a project by Raumlabor. Spacebuster is a mobile inflatable structure that serves as an entirely portable, expandable pavilion. A new iteration of a past Raumlabor project, the Küchenmonument (presented in Europe in 2006-8), Storefront will bring Spacebuster to the US for the first time this April, when it will travel throughout New York for 10 consecutive evenings hosting various community events.

The pavilion is comprised of an inflatable bubble-like dome that emerges from its self-contained compressor housing. The dome expands and organically adjusts to its surroundings, be it in a field, a wooded park, or below a highway overpass. The material is a sturdy, specially-designed translucent plastic, allowing the varying events taking place inside of the shelter – dance parties, lecture series, or dinner buffets – to be entirely visible from the outside and likewise the exterior environments become the events’ backdrops.

Each of these ten evenings will be organized in conjunction with a community group, nonprofit organization, university, or arts organization. Events will include artist talks, film screenings, communal dinners and many other events. For full information on the lineup of events please visit the official site.

More images after the break.

MYhistoricLA - Preserving Los Angeles

21:00 - 3 April, 2009

What’s Your HistoricLA? Do you know a special story about a local building or the neighborhood you live in? Come join like-minded amateur historians and Los Angeles aficionados for the public kickoff of SurveyLA, Los Angeles’ first-ever citywide survey of its historic resources. A full day of activities will include opportunities to share your knowledge on L.A.‘s hidden gems, screenings of the SurveyLA video, and a panel discussion moderated by Larry Mantle, host of KPCC’s Air Talk.

Finalists for the National Museum of African American History and Culture

12:30 - 3 April, 2009
Foster + Partners and URS
Foster + Partners and URS

The Smithsonian Institute has announced the finalists for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. The museum will be located at the end of the Washington Mall, being the latest addition to this location. The design concepts will be on show at the castle building until April 6. The, a jury will select a winner. The museum will open in 2015, at a cost of 500 million dollars.

Finalists are: Foster + Partners and URS Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with Klingstubbins The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates and Davis Brody Bond Devrouax & Purnell and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Moody Nolan in association with Antoine Predock Architects Moshe Safdie and Associates in association with Sulton Campbell Britt & Associates

Seen at designboom. More images after the break.