Before the Department of Homeland Security moves into its old insane asylum home, the National Historic Landmark will need some intense TLC

Architecture, East, News, Preservation
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
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(Courtesy GSA/Grunley/Shalom Baranes)

Aerial view of the site as it looks today. (Courtesy GSA/Grunley/Shalom Baranes)

Although a designated landmark, the proposed new site for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the heart of the St. Elizabeths West Campus, Washington D.C., is an intense fixer-upper. Working with architects Shalom Baranes Associates and contractor Grunley Construction, the General Services Administration proposes a total renovation of the 264,300 square foot Center Building, a collection of seven connected structures that served as patient treatment rooms and administrative offices for the original Government Hospital for the Insane. It later became known as the St. Elizabeths Hospital.

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Gensler opens parKIT, Washington, D.C.’s first-ever seasonal parklet

(Flickr/ aueagle2006)

(Flickr/ aueagle2006)

A new parklet has popped up in Washington D.C., and unlike the short-lived public spaces that appear in parking spaces for PARK(ing) Day, this one is sticking around until mid-October. The seasonal space, dubbed parKIT, opened on July 14 and takes over two parking spots.

More after the jump.

On View> In the Library: Setting the Scene with Theater Architecture and Set Design

Architecture, East, On View
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
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(Courtesy National Gallery of Art)

(Courtesy National Gallery of Art)

In the Library: Setting the Scene with Theater Architecture and Set Design
National Gallery of Art
6th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.
Through October 2

Performance venues have constantly morphed with the times, from the amphitheaters of ancient times to the digitally enabled entertainment centers of today.

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Last year a labyrinth, now a giant ball pit: National Building Museum hosts indoor beach in its Great Hall

Design, East, On View
Monday, July 13, 2015
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(Courtesy Noah Kalina)

(Courtesy Noah Kalina)

The magnificent, four-story Great Hall of the National Building Museum is now a site for executing cannonballs, rolling on the floor laughing, and other acts of gleeful revelry. A giant ball pit filled with recyclable translucent plastic orbs cuts between the colossal Corinthian columns, bounded by an enclosure made from scaffolding, wooden panels, and perforated mesh all painted stark white.

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Scandalous no more: The Watergate Hotel post-$125 million renovation looks more classy and elegant than ever

(Courtesy The Watergate Hotel)

(Courtesy The Watergate Hotel)

As Washington, D.C.’s first “unapologetically luxurious” stomping ground for the rich and famous, The Watergate Hotel recently underwent a $125 million modernizing facelift. Inextricably connected with the Watergate scandal, the hotel has maintained its avant-garde design and curvaceous, classic elegance in a nod to its 1960s design by Italian architect Luigi Moretti.

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This Week> Facades+AM Washington Three by Three

Facades+ AM is coming to Washington, DC on March 5. (Nicolas Raymond/Flickr)

Facades+ AM is coming to Washington, DC on March 5. (Nicolas Raymond/Flickr)

With its combination of iconic references to the nation’s past and the machinery that drives our political present, Washington, DC presents a particular set of problems and possibilities to facades innovators. Top experts in high-performance building envelope design and construction will this gather this Thursday, March 5, to explore some of these issues during Facades+ AM: Washington Three by Three, a morning seminar taking place at the District Architecture Center.

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LEGO Architecture honors the Great Emancipator with a miniature of the Lincoln Memorial

(Courtesy LEGO)

(Courtesy LEGO)

A miniature LEGO model of the Lincoln Memorial has just launched under the LEGO Architecture brand, a “Lego for grownups” product line that celebrates architecture and the chameleon capabilities of the LEGO brick.

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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.

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