Cambridge Architectural’s Steel-Wrapped Embassy

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Cambridge Architectural's wire mesh facade screens the new glass atrium at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. (Eric Taylor)

Cambridge Architectural’s wire mesh facade screens the new glass atrium at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. (Eric Taylor)

Metal mesh bridges old and new in Davis Brody Bond renovation.

For their renovation and expansion of the South African Embassy in Washington, DC, Davis Brody Bond faced an unusual aesthetic challenge. Besides updating the two historic buildings housing the embassy’s offices and residence, they were tasked with building a new atrium for public welcoming, public events, and conference rooms—right in between the two older buildings. The architects turned to Cambridge Architectural, a Maryland manufacturer of wire mesh architectural systems. “Davis Brody Bond wanted to have this new building as a very contemporary element between the two limestone buildings,” said Cambridge Architectural’s Ann Smith. A wire mesh facade seemed a perfect solution to the problem of combining old and new, seamlessly bridging the two masonry structures, and providing crucial sun shading for the glass atrium.

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Gehry to Unveil New Eisenhower Memorial Plans Next Month

Proposed design for the 4-acre Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Proposed design for the 4-acre Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Frank Gehry has had a hell of time with this Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since the architect was selected to design the memorial in 2009, his plans to honor Ike have been met with sustained and scathing backlash.

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Eavesdrop> Gehry Gossip and Koshalek Clatter: Is a Frank Gehry Museum in the works?

Richard Koshalek. (Courtesy Southern California Public Radio)

Richard Koshalek. (Courtesy Southern California Public Radio)

We’ve known for some time now that ex MOCA director Richard Koshalek has returned to Los Angeles from D.C., where he recently stepped down as director of the Hirshhorn Museum. Now we know one of his exploits: We hear that he is consulting Frank Gehry on the organization of his vast archives. Maybe this means there will someday be a Gehry museum? Certainly the architect is not getting any younger, so we may hear more soon.

Washington Monument Re-Opens to the Public: Celebrate With These 22 Beautiful Photos

The Washington Monument stands tall over Washington, D.C. at sunset. (Victoria Pickering / Flickr)

The Washington Monument stands tall over Washington, D.C. at sunset. (Victoria Pickering / Flickr)

After two-and-a-half years of repairs, the Washington Monument is officially back open to the public. The District’s tallest structure had been closed since 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent more than 150 cracks shooting through the 555-feet of marble.

Continue reading after the jump.

Washington D.C. To Grow World’s Largest Urban Greenhouse

East, News, Urbanism
Monday, May 19, 2014
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Officials from BrightFarms inside one of the company's Pennsylvania facilities. (Courtesy BrightFarms)

Officials from BrightFarms inside one of the company’s Pennsylvania facilities. (Courtesy BrightFarms)

From junk metal and rubble to tomatoes and kale. That’s the plan for a vacant lot in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. located just under six miles from the United States Capitol building. Over the next few months, the 2.3-acre site, which has been covered in trash for years, will be transformed into the world’s largest urban greenhouse.

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Little BIG Maze: Bjarke Ingels Group Designs Labyrinth for National Building Museum

Design, East, On View
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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(Courtesy BIG / National Building Museum)

(Courtesy BIG / National Building Museum)

The National Building Museum was smart to wait till April 2nd to announce their latest project, lest anyone think it was a cleverly crafted April Fool’s prank. The Washington, D.C.–based institution said today over Twitter (“A-MAZE-ING NEWS”) that Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will design an unconventional maze to be temporarily housed in its grand atrium. Perhaps inspired by the summer tradition of the corn maze, the BIG installation will debut in the West Court of the building’s cavernous Great Hall on July 4th, bringing new meaning to Independence Day to those wandering within its walls.

More after the jump.

Washington D.C. sees a park where a bridge once stood

A video illustrating the general concept behind the elevated park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

Washington D.C. is using the rebuilding of a local bridge as an opportunity to create a new 900-foot elevated park across the Anacostia River. Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. Office of Planning are hosting a competition for the design of this developing project. Participants are invited to think of the initiative as a blank slate sitting upon the extant structural piers, the only holdovers from the old bridge that will be preserved.

More after the jump.

The Saga Continues: Congress Rejects Funding for Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

City Terrain, East
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial as it stands now. (Courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

Despite earlier indications of progress, Frank Gehry’s design for a planned Eisenhower Memorial continues to encounter stumbling blocks. In November the US Commission of Fine Arts asked Mr. Gehry to make eight revisions to the proposal, a request that was then echoed and amplified in January when Congress turned down the Eisenhower Memorial Commission‘s request for $51 million in funding, a denial that was accompanied by a message imploring the architect “to work with all constituencies—including Congress and the Eisenhower family—as partners in the planning and design process.”

More after the jump.

Ten Finalists Selected for Renovation of Mies-Designed MLK Memorial Library in DC

East
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington DC (Cliff1066™/ Flickr)

Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington DC (Cliff1066 / Flickr)

Out of a crop of 26, ten teams have been invited to present their technical proposals for the renovation of the Mies van der Rohe–designed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. District officials are hoping to transform the landmark 1972 building, Mies’ last built work and his only in D.C., into a state-of-the-art central library fit for the nation’s capital.

See the finalists after the jump.

Congress Meets to Consider New Bill Seeking to Eject Gehry’s Design of the Eisenhower Memorial

East
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
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Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Congress held a hearing today to discuss the funding and controversial design of the Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial designed by Frank Gehry. Representative Rob Bishop is leading the charge with a new bill that aims to oust Gehry from the $142 million project and hold a new competition to find a more “appropriate” design. The Washington Post reported that the main gripe is over the massive metal tapestries encompassing the memorial, which would display images of Eisenhower’s early childhood in Kansas. The Eisenhower family has expressed that the grandiose scale of the design, specifically the tapestries, is out of touch with the former president’s character.

Architect magazine live tweeted that there were few defenders of Gehry’s memorial at the hearing except for Rep. Holt, and a fair share of confusion over what this bill entails and ultimately means for the future of the memorial.

Smithsonian Taps Bjarke Ingels For DC Campus Master Plan

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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In the courtyard at the Hirshhorn Museum with Bjarke Ingels. (Holley St. Germain / Flickr; Montage by AN)

In the courtyard at the Hirshhorn Museum with Bjarke Ingels. (Holley St. Germain / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Since announcing his first North American project in New York and opening an office in the Big Apple, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels has been moving fast. His meteoric ascent into a Danish-American icon is happening so quickly, that the starchitect has landed himself in the Smithsonian, in a manner of speaking. The venerable institution has just hired Ingels to prepare a master plan for the museum’s Washington, D.C. campus, and we’re left wondering if that might mean a new mountain range rising off the National Mall.

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Quick Clicks> Hi-Def Paris, Subway Songs, Biosphere 2, and Starchitect Pigs

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
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The rooftops of Paris (Courtesy Paris 26 Gigapixels)

The rooftops of Paris (Courtesy Paris 26 Gigapixels)

La Vie Gigapixel. It’s Paris like you’ve never seen it — even if you have been there. A super-high-def 26-gigapixel photo of the city of lights (yep, that’s 26 billion pixels) was stitched together by a team of photographers and a software company in France. Go ahead, pull up the full screen view and wander away the afternoon. We won’t tell. (Via Notcot.)

Metro Music. When Jason Mendelson moved from Tampa to Washington, D.C., the city’s subway literally moved him to song. NRDC Switchboard says that he’s creating a tune for every Metro stop across the system, each stylistically indicative of the station itself. Listen to his completed songs over here.

Biosphere 2 at 20. Not often do we design entire mini-worlds, but then, Biosphere 2 was always unique. Now two decades old, the three-acre terrarium-in-a-desert is still helping scientists figure out life’s little lessons. The AP/Yahoo News has the story.

Scraps, Glass, and Stone. Curbed found a new book by Steven Guarnaccia transforming the classic Three Little Pigs story into three little starchitect pigs where Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright each build houses and the big bad wolf huffs and puffs (and critiques?) the walls down. (Guarnaccia also reimagined Goldilocks into a tale filled with chairs by Aalto, Eames, and Noguchi!)

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