Boston Valley Brings a 100-Year-Old Dome into the Digital Age

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BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored the Alberta Legislature Building’s century-old dome using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.

Restoring a century-old terra cotta dome without blueprints would be a painstaking process in any conditions. Add long snowy winters and an aggressive freeze/thaw cycle, and things start to get really interesting. For their reconstruction of the Alberta Legislature Building dome, the craftsmen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta had a lot to think about, from developing a formula for a clay that would stand up to Edmonton’s swings in temperatures, to organizing just-in-time delivery of 18,841 components. Their answer? Technology. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Omar Khan at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Orchard Park, New York, firm’s employees are as comfortable with computers as they are with hand tools.

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After Record-Breaking Concrete Pour in Los Angeles, Wilshire Grand Reaches for the Sky

THE $1.1 BILLION WILSHIRE GRAND IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN DOWNTOWN LA (AC MARTIN)

THE $1.1 BILLION WILSHIRE GRAND IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN DOWNTOWN LA (AC MARTIN)

The Wilshire Grand, a 73-story tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles, hasn’t yet risen out of the ground, but it’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s thanks to a February 15–16 event promoters called the Grand Pour, in which construction crews poured 21,200 cubic yards (82 million pounds) of concrete in 18 hours—the largest continuous concrete pour in history.

Why all the fuss?

This Week is SCI-Arc’s Viennese Week in Los Angeles

West
Monday, March 3, 2014
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WOLF D. PRIX WITH RAIMUND ABRAHAM (ALEKSANDRA PAWLOFF/COURTESY SCI-ARC)

WOLF D. PRIX WITH RAIMUND ABRAHAM (ALEKSANDRA PAWLOFF/COURTESY SCI-ARC)

Austria comes to Los Angeles with a lecture series dubbed “Viennese Week in LA.” The talks will take place at SCI-Arc as part of the Wolf D. Prix/COOP HIMMELB(L)AU design studio. Prix himself is the headliner, with a lecture on Raimund Abraham happening on March 5 at 7:00p.m. In “Visions in Exile or: Before we were so rudely interrupted,” Prix will talk about his mentor and friend’s influence on the early works of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU. He will also probe the digitization of architecture practice, asking how architects like Abraham would have designed using the tools available today.

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The High Roller: A Party in the Las Vegas Sky

West
Thursday, February 27, 2014
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THE HIGH ROLLER IS A 550-FOOT OBSERVATION WHEEL DUE TO OPEN IN LAS VEGAS THIS SPRING (HETTEMA GROUP)

THE HIGH ROLLER IS A 550-FOOT OBSERVATION WHEEL DUE TO OPEN IN LAS VEGAS THIS SPRING (HETTEMA GROUP)

The Las Vegas skyline just got a lot taller. The 550-foot High Roller, set to open this spring, is the world’s highest observation wheel, towering above both the London Eye (443 feet) and the Singapore Flyer (541 feet). A project of Caesars Entertainment, the High Roller is the anchor of the new shopping and nightlife complex known as The LINQ. “As we settled on the idea of a giant wheel, we just began brainstorming: well, what does that really mean?” said Phil Hettema, whose Hettema Group designed the structure. “We looked at the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer and tried to understand those. We really talked about what we liked about those, and also about what we wanted to do differently.” Read More

Transparency by Design: Weiss/Manfredi’s Nanotechnology Center

Envelope
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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UNLIKE MOST LABORATORY BUILDINGS, THE KRISHNA P. SINGH CENTER FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY IS DESIGNED AROUND A COURTYARD, WITH GLASS TO ALLOW IN DAYLIGHT (ALBERT VERCERKA/ESTO)

UNLIKE MOST LABORATORY BUILDINGS, THE KRISHNA P. SINGH CENTER FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY IS DESIGNED AROUND A COURTYARD, WITH GLASS TO ALLOW IN DAYLIGHT (ALBERT VECERKA/ESTO)

Multiple layers of glass combine with corrugated metal panels to balance visibility and privacy in the University of Pennsylvania’s new research center.

As an experiment in interdisciplinary research, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania is not a typical science center. It follows, then, that the university would not want a typical laboratory building, with a central corridor and minimal public space. Instead, the University of Pennsylvania asked Weiss/Manfredi to design the Singh Center around two principles. First, the building should create a new campus green for the school of engineering and applied sciences, in keeping with both the university’s and the city’s tradition of building around open quads. Second, the building should maximize natural light and visibility without compromising the integrity of the research itself. Read More

Public’s Tree-Like Transit Shelters for UBC

Fabrikator, West
Friday, February 21, 2014
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THE TRANSIT SHELTER'S DESIGN WAS INSPIRED BY THE TREES LINING UNIVERSITY BOULEVARD (PUBLIC: ARCHITECTURE + COMMUNICATION)

THE TRANSIT SHELTER’S DESIGN WAS INSPIRED BY THE TREES LINING UNIVERSITY BOULEVARD (PUBLIC: ARCHITECTURE + COMMUNICATION)

An abstracted version of a street tree, a canopy of tessellated irregular polygons balances atop slim steel posts.

When Public: Architecture + Communication visited the site of the transit shelters the University of British Columbia had asked them to design, they found that something was missing. The main point of entry to the campus, University Boulevard is lined with trees—except where the bus shelters would go. “There was this language of gaps that we noticed,” said Public’s Christopher Sklar. The shelters themselves, they decided, should fill in the tree line. The designers were left with a question, articulated by Sklar: “How does it be a quiet piece but also something interesting and unusual that relates to its surroundings?”

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ZGF Builds a Suit of Armor for The University of Oregon

Envelope, West
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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THE HATFIELD-DOWLIN COMPLEX SUGGESTS A COMBINATION OF GROUNDEDNESS AND AMBITION (JEREMY BITTERMANN)

THE HATFIELD-DOWLIN COMPLEX SUGGESTS A COMBINATION OF GROUNDEDNESS AND AMBITION (JEREMY BITTERMANN)

The glass, stone, and metal exterior of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex evokes the strength and agility of a college athlete.

The superhero and the Samurai. That’s where Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) began their design of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex at the University of Oregon. The football player, the architects imagined, is like Batman: stealthy and strong, he came to his powers not by supernatural accident, but through relentless training. At the same time, the athlete is a highly skilled warrior, the modern-day equivalent of Japanese military nobility. The facade of the new football training facility materializes these ideas in glass, stone, and metal. Dominated by horizontal expanses of tinted glass, it is powerful but not foreboding. ZGF offers the analogy to a suit of armor: the building’s skin balances protection and connection, solidity and agility.

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Among the Sequoias, a 3D-Printed Refuge by Smith|Allen

Fabrikator
Friday, February 14, 2014
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ECHOVIREN IS THE WORLD'S FIRST FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATION (SMITH|ALLEN)

ECHOVIREN IS THE WORLD’S FIRST FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATION (SMITH|ALLEN)

Smith|Allen’s 3D-printed forest refuge is inspired by the site’s patterning and historical cycle of deforestation and regeneration.

When Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith first visited the sequoia forest in Gualala, California, they saw patterns everywhere. “We were really intrigued by patterning at many scales, from bark on the trees to light through the trees and also, at a micro scale, [the cells of] the sequioas,” said Allen. Two months later the pair was back, this time with 580 sculptural bricks forming the world’s first 3D-printed architectural installation. Translucent white and 10 by 10 by 8 feet in size, Echoviren resembles a cross between a teepee and a tree stump, a mass made light by the organic porosity of the bricks.

Echoviren is intimately tied to its site on the grounds of Project 387, the residency in which Smith|Allen participated last fall. Besides the sequioas’ patterning, the designers drew inspiration from the primitiveness of their surroundings. “The overall form was driven by what is the most basic space we could make,” said Allen. “It turns [out to be] just a small oblong enclosure with an oculus, a small forest hermitage.” The oculus draws the eye up, to the natural roof formed by the sequioas’ branches. In addition, Smith|Allen address the history of the site as a place where regrowth followed the trauma of deforestation. Built of bio-plastic, Echoviren has an estimated lifespan of 30-50 years. “The 50 year decomposition is a beautiful echo of that cycle” of deforestation and resurgence, said Allen.

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Look Out, Los Angeles: The Architecture & Design Film Festival Is Headed Your Way

On View, West
Thursday, February 13, 2014
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THE FEATURE-LENGTH FILM THE HUMAN SCALE EXAMINE'S JAN GEHL'S URBANISM (ADFF)

THE FEATURE-LENGTH FILM THE HUMAN SCALE EXAMINE’S JAN GEHL’S URBANISM (ADFF)

This March, Angelenos will get front-row seats to the nation’s largest art, architecture, and urbanism–oriented film festival. Founded in 2009 in New York, the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) is coming to the West Coast for the first time March 12–16. The ADFF’s program includes 30 feature-length and short films, plus panel discussions, Q&A sessions with directors and subjects, special receptions, and a Hennessey + Ingalls pop-up bookshop.

Continue reading after the jump.

The History and Future of the Los Angeles Dingbat

West
Friday, February 7, 2014
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DINGBAT 2.0 EXAMINES THE DINGBAT APARTMENT AS BOTH HISTORIC ARTIFACT AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEM (LA FORUM)

DINGBAT 2.0 EXAMINES THE DINGBAT APARTMENT AS BOTH HISTORIC ARTIFACT AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEM (LA FORUM)

“Dingbat” is a word with many meanings. It’s a synonym for nitwit. In typography, it’s a symbol used in place of a letter. And in Los Angeles, it’s a particular type of multi-family housing, dominant in the 1950s and 1960s and alternately maligned and embraced over the decades.

Dingbat 2.0, an upcoming publication from the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design (LA Forum), explores the history and future of dingbat apartments. The subject of a current Kickstarter campaign, Dingbat 2.0 brings together essays on the origins of the Los Angeles dingbat with highlights from the LA Forum’s 2010 Dingbat 2.0 competition, in which participants were asked to reconfigure the dingbat for today’s urban reality.

Continue reading after the jump.

Restoring Wright: A Preservation Master Plan for Taliesin West

Preservation, West
Friday, February 7, 2014
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TALIESIN WEST WAS FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S WINTER HOME, STUDIO, AND ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL (FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION, PHOTO BY ANDREW PIELAGE)

TALIESIN WEST WAS FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S WINTER HOME, STUDIO, AND ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL (FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION, PHOTO BY ANDREW PIELAGE)

After almost eight decades of constant use, Taliesin West is ready for a makeover. The Scottsdale, Arizona site was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, studio, and architecture school. Today, the campus houses the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and is also a popular tourist destination, with over 100,000 visitors annually. Now, time, climate, and footsteps have taken their toll on the landmark.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gregory Marick Named President at San Diego’s NewSchool of Architecture & Design

Dean's List, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Thursday, February 6, 2014
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Gregory J. Marick. (Courtesy NewSchool)

Gregory J. Marick. (Courtesy NewSchool)

The NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NSAD) in San Diego has a new president. Gregory J. Marick is a career educator and former president of the Orange County and Hollywood divisions of the Art Institute of California (AIC).

“This is an exciting time for NewSchool of Architecture & Design. We’re creating a dynamic, interdisciplinary environment that provides opportunities for students to specialize not only in architecture, but in other related design fields such as game programming and interior design,” Marick told AN.

More about Marick after the jump.

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