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Architects update pre-Columbian building method with modern tools and materials.
Matter Design‘s latest installation, Round Room (on display at MIT‘s Keller Gallery last fall) was born of a “marriage” between two of the firm’s ongoing interests, explained co-founder Brandon Clifford. First, Clifford and partner Wes McGee had long hoped to work with Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC). Clifford, moreover, had been impressed during a trip to Cuzco by the Incan wedge method of masonry construction, in which precisely-carved stones are aligned on their front face, then backfilled with mortar. “This seemed like a tremendously rational way of building,” he said. “Ever since then we had been wanting to do a project that translates that process into digital design.” With Round Room, designed and fabricated in cooperation with Quarra Stone, Matter Design did just that. Though inspired by pre-Columbian building practices, the installation firmly situates the wedge method in the digital age.
Harvard’s Holyoke Center, designed by renowned Catalan architect and former Dean on the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Josep Lluís Sert, will soon be undergoing major renovations, university President Drew Faust announced last Thursday. London-based Hopkins Architects, the designers of Princeton’s Frick Chemistry Laboratory and Yale’s Kroon Hall, have signed on to transform the 50-year-old, cast-in-place administrative building into multifaceted campus center by 2018.
The West Coast edition of AN’s 2012 Facades Conference, “The Art and Science of Building Facades,” held at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center on July 26 examined the state of the art in building envelope design. The common thread: collaboration. The first speaker, Phil Williams, VP of Webcor Builders, set the tone by emphasizing early team integration in developing innovative design. Dennis Sheldon, CTO of Gehry Technologies, spoke on how their software facilitates a deeper and more integrated collaborative process between architects, contractors, and fabricating teams.