Deep Underground, Researchers Testing Giant Elevators for the World’s Tallest Building

KONE Ultrarope (Courtesy KONE Online Bank)

KONE Ultrarope (Courtesy KONE Online Bank)

Where there are tall buildings there are also tall elevators. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower, designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will be the tallest building in the world if constructed as planned. The building is expected to stand 3,281 feet tall and will require elevators the likes of which the world has never seen. Luckily for the Kingdom Tower, one elevator company is researching the extremes of vertical circulation.

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Researchers Train Robots to 3D Print Architecture

Minibuilders (Courtesy Iaac)

Minibuilders (Courtesy Iaac)

The future of architecture is upon us, and thanks to a team of researchers led by Sasa Jokic and Petr Novikov, construction workers may soon be made obsolete. A team from the Institute for Advanced Architecture Catalonia (IAAC) is currently tackling the challenge of making “mini-builders”: drones that are capable of applying 3-D printing at a large, architectural scale.

Continue reading after the jump.

Facade Expert Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido on the Perils of Homogenous Design

Leatop Plaza in Guangzhou, China. (Courtesy JAHN)

Leatop Plaza in Guangzhou, China. (Courtesy JAHN)

According to Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, president of Chicago-based JAHN, contemporary facade design neglects one of the building envelope’s foremost responsibilities: storytelling. “There is a focus now on using the building massing to convey the key message,” he said. “However, I think it’s through the facade that we can bring a more compelling narrative about how the building functions.” As an example, Gonzalez-Pulido pointed to Mies van der Rohe’s One IBM Plaza, which he can see from his office. “When you look at the mechanical floors, they’re treated differently,” he said. “In the lobby, the glass is different. This is actually the responsibility of the facade—it’s more than a piece of glass and metal to cover the building.” Read More

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation to build sustainable homes for Native Americans

GRAFT-home-design (Courtesy GRAFT)

GRAFT-home-design (Courtesy GRAFT)

Brad Pitt’s home-building operation, Make It Right, was initially established in 2007 to rebuild homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. The non-profit has built dozens of starchitect-designed houses in New Orleans and a subsequent expansion to Kansas City, near where the actor grew up. Now the organization has taken up its latest charitable challenge: the construction of several sustainable housing developments in Fort Peck, Montana for a Native American tribe there.

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Gehry on his Philadelphia Museum of Art commission and his future nautical plans

New space in the museum. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

New space in the museum. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

When Frank Gehry’s renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is complete, the iconic institution won’t necessarily look like one of his signature works—at least from the outside. The architect isn’t touching the icon’s Beaux-Arts exterior, but is, instead, transforming the museum’s interior to improve circulation and boost gallery space. But even then, Gehry’s work won’t be all that “Gehry.” AN recently toured the museum’s exhibit on Gehry’s masterplan and got a chance to hear from the man himself about the museum renovations.

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James Timberlake to US AEC Industry: Bring Facade Manufacturing Home

KieranTimberlake's Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion, James A. Michener Art Museum. (Michael Moran/OTTO)

KieranTimberlake’s Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion, James A. Michener Art Museum. (Michael Moran/OTTO)

KieranTimberlake has long pushed the boundaries of conventional facade design. The Philadelphia-based firm started using pressure-equalized rain screen systems in the 1980s, well before other architects brought the technology on board. Their Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall, at the University of Pennsylvania (2003), was the first actively ventilated curtain wall in North America. The designers at KieranTimberlake have introduced new materials and assemblies, such as the SmartWrap building skin deployed at Cellophane House, part of MoMA’s Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling exhibit. One of the firm’s latest projects, the Embassy of the United States, London, incorporates an outer envelope of three-dimensional ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) panels with integrated photovoltaic cells.

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Chicago announces inaugural architecture biennial to begin in 2015

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Chicago, in a bid to boost its tourism industry and cultural cachet,  will host an international design exhibition next year modeled after the Venice Biennale, which every two years draws contributions from architects and artists from around the world. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the Chicago Architecture Biennial Tuesday.

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Resilience and the Building Envelope: Facades+ Chicago, July 24–25

Leading facade design specialists will gather in Chicago July 24-25 for the facades+ Chicago conference.

Leading facade design specialists will gather in Chicago July 24-25 for the facades+ Chicago conference.

As the consequences of climate change become more apparent, “resilience” has replaced “sustainability” or “green building” as the goal of environmentally-sensitive design. The concept of resilience is particularly pertinent to the building envelope—the protective barrier between a structure’s occupants and the environment. But what, exactly, does resilience mean in the context of designing and engineering facades? This question is at the heart of the facades+ Chicago conference taking place July 24–25 at the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

More information after the jump.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Sprouting Glass Superlatives Around New York City

101 Tribeca's pinnacle. (Courtesy Kohn Pederson Fox)

101 Tribeca’s pinnacle. (Courtesy Kohn Pedersen Fox)

Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is racking up an impressive collection of superlatives with a host of new glass towers in New York City. Of course there is Hudson Yards where a glossy KPF-designed building will become the tallest tower at the country’s largest private development site, but that is just the start of it.

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UNStudio Completes Flower-Shaped Pavilion for Horticultural Exhibit

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

UNStudio has completed a sprawling, flower-like campus for the 2014 Horticulture Exhibit in Qingdao, China. The Theme Pavilion consists of four metallic structures that stretch out over 300,000-square-feet and resemble a Chinese rose from above. And at the human scale, the metallic, undulating structures interact with their mountainous surroundings.

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Winning Crowdsourced Designs Unveiled for New York City Hotel

The work space. (Pierre Levesque via PSFK and Prodigy Network)

The work space. (Pierre Levesque via PSFK and Prodigy Network)

It is only fitting that a crowdfunded hotel slated for New York City has a crowdsourced design as well. For its new, extended-stay hotel at 17 John Street, developer Prodigy Network, along with design blog PSFK, launched the Prodigy Design Lab, which allowed designers from around the world to submit plans for the project’s interior spaces and digital services. After 70 submissions were received and 10,000 votes cast, three winners have been announced.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Bjarke Ingels’ Winding Design for a Swiss Watch Museum

APM Design (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

APM Design (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won a design competition held by Audemars Piguet, a Swiss watchmaker, and are now tasked with creating the Maison des Fondateurs museum in Le Brassus, Switzerland. The 25,800 foot Maison des Fondateurs will be located in the midst of numerous workshops and factories embedded in the history of the Swiss watchmaking company.

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