Next-Level Learning at Facades+ Dallas

Facades+ Dallas participants can register for a full day of dialog workshops.

Facades+ Dallas participants can register for a full day of dialog workshops.

Dialog, whether between teacher and student, master and apprentice, or a group of peers, has been an essential element of architectural practice throughout history. At next week’s Facades+ Dallas conference the tradition continues, with a series of dialog workshops following day 1’s symposium. Facade geeks from around the world will gather at the premier conference’s Dallas debut to chew over both abstract and concrete challenges, from designing envelopes for resilience to dealing with the problem of glare.

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Facades+ Dallas Co-Chair on the Big D’s Coming-of-Age

As Dallas comes of age, its built environment is a subject of debate among designers, city leaders, and residents. (David Herrera / Flickr)

As Dallas comes of age, its built environment is a subject of debate among designers, city leaders, and residents. (David Herrera / Flickr)

Dallas is growing up. And just like the rest of us, the city is doing some soul-searching on its way from adolescence to adulthood. “Growing up doesn’t necessarily mean growing out; bigger isn’t necessarily better,” said Heath May, director of HKS LINE and co-chair of the upcoming Facades+ Dallas conference. “People are starting to understand that it’s time to start thinking about public policy and the way it relates to placemaking.”

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HiWorks Architecture Redesigns Houston’s Rocket Park, Without Being Asked

HiWorks' scheme posits a segmented building with glass sections that allow views in to the moon rocket. (Courtesy HiWorks Architecture)

HiWorks’ scheme posits a segmented building with glass sections that allow views in to the moon rocket. (Courtesy HiWorks Architecture)

When I was a boy growing up in Houston, Texas, one of my favorite field trips was the drive down to Clear Lake to tour NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. One of the highlights of the visit—in addition to seeing Mission Control, eating astronaut ice cream, and picking up a new zero-gravity pen in the gift shop—was the enormous Saturn V rocket, lying on its side in sections, that greeted you as you approached the facility at the corner of Saturn Lane and 2nd Street.

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Grappling with Glare in High-Performance Facade Design

Portions of Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall were sandblasted after construction to reduce glare. (Pedro Szekely / Flickr)

Portions of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall were sandblasted after construction to reduce glare. (Pedro Szekely / Flickr)

Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Scott Johnson‘s Museum Tower in Dallas, and Rafael Viñoly‘s Vrada Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas have at least one thing in common. All three provoked the ire of their neighbors when glare from their reflective facades raised sidewalk temperatures, blinded drivers, or—as in the Museum Tower case—jeopardized the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center’s collections. Glare is increasingly a problem in facade design, says Curtainwall Design Consulting president Charles Clift, in part because of the tools contemporary architects have at their disposal. “The conclusion I came to is that the digital age of architecture has allowed designers to create anything they can imagine, but with that comes some unintended consequences.”

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Dallas as Architectural Destination

Architecture, Southwest
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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Dallas is home to the largest concentration of Pritzer Prize-winning projects. (skys the limit2 / Flickr)

Dallas is home to the largest concentration of Pritzer Prize-winning projects. (skys the limit2 / Flickr)

If Dallas is not already on your list of top United States architectural destinations, it is past time to make a correction. The city boasts the largest concentration of Pritzker Prize–winning architects’ work anywhere, including Philip Johnson‘s Thanks-Giving Square, I.M. Pei‘s Dallas City Hall, Fountain Place, and Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Renzo Piano‘s Nasher Sculpture Center, Foster+ Partners‘ Winspear Opera House, and MorphosisPerot Museum of Science. The thriving Dallas Arts District is bursting with performance venues and architectural gems like Edward Larabee Barnes’ Dallas Museum of Art, SOM‘s Trammell Crow Center, and REX/OMA‘s Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. And more projects are in the works: Cesar Pelli is designing an office complex for Uptown, and a second Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge is planned to span the Trinity River. Read More

Dig Deep into Digital Design at Facades+ Dallas

Facades+ tech workshops offer hands-on exposure to cutting-edge design software.

Facades+ tech workshops offer hands-on exposure to cutting-edge design software.

Today’s AEC professionals are more to reach for a computer mouse then they are a drafting pencil. Understanding and being able fully utilize cutting-edge digital design tools is essential to contemporary architectural practice, particularly the design of high-performance building skins. Attendees at next month’s Facades+ Dallas conference can choose among four hands-on tech workshops in a unique program designed to deliver in-depth exposure to platforms including Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Vasari, and Grasshopper.

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Antoine Predock’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights Opens In Winnipeg

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Antoine Predock–designed Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened in Winnipeg last Friday with a ceremony featuring an indigenous blessing, performances by Ginette Reno, The Tenors, Maria Aragon, and Sierra Noble, plus remarks by several Canadian government officials as well as representatives of the museum. Read More

Marlon Blackwell on the Power of Everyday Design

Marlon Blackwell Architects' Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell Architects’ Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell, principal of Marlon Blackwell Architects and distinguished professor and department head at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, practices in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the temptation to design according to a derivative vernacular—and the risk of descending into quaintness—is great. Blackwell seeks instead to operate in the space between the vernacular and the universal, to create buildings that are simultaneously both and neither. “What emerges is something that I like to call the strangely familiar,” he said. “We’re working with forms in a cultural context that have a first reading of being familiar, but on a second, third, or fourth reading are clearly transgressive to either the local typology or the vernacular. What we try to do is kind of de-typify things—it’s really about trying to find or develop an idea about performative surfaces.” Read More

Antoine Predock on Strata, Motorcycles, and the Building Skin

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Antoine Predock Architect’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights. (Aaron Cohen/Canadian Museum for Human Rights)

Despite his reputation for designing buildings with aesthetically and technically interesting envelopes, Antoine Predock, who will deliver the opening keynote address at next month’s Facades+ Dallas conference, does not spend a lot of time thinking about the facade as a separate entity. “I never use the term facade, because I work spatially,” he said. “I work from an inner process; then all of a sudden, whoops, there’s a facade.” Rather than designing from the outside in, Predock digs deep. “I talk about strata—like geologic strata,” he explained. “Every project has layers of meanings and understandings that finally culminate in this physical thing, but there’s all these strata below that.”

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Video> “Oh Heck Yeah” turns downtown Denver into a communal video arcade

City Terrain, Southwest, Urbanism
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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A series of custom, family friendly video games occupied three blocks of downtown Denver this summer. (Courtesy Oh Heck Yeah)

A series of custom, family friendly video games occupied three blocks of downtown Denver this summer. (Courtesy Oh Heck Yeah)

Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District’s giant LED screens.

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Marlon Blackwell Puts on a Clinic with Vol Walker Hall

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Marlon Blackwell Architect's Steven L. Anderson Design Center embodies the recent history of architectural technology in its massing and materials. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell Architect’s Steven L. Anderson Design Center embodies the recent history of architectural technology in its massing and materials. (Timothy Hursley)

University of Arkansas  addition celebrates the future with a contemporary rewrite of Neoclassicism.

As head of the architecture department and distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, Marlon Blackwell was uniquely qualified to oversee the renovation and expansion of the school’s home, Vol Walker Hall. To unite the school’s landscape architecture, architecture, and interior design departments under one roof for the first time, Blackwell’s eponymous firm designed a contemporary west wing to mirror the east bar on the existing Beaux-Arts style building, constructed in the 1930s as the university library. But the Steven L. Anderson Design Center—which tied for Building of the Year in AN‘s 2014 Best of Design Awards—is more than a container for 37,000 square feet of new studio, seminar, and office space. It is also a teaching tool, a lesson in the evolution of architectural technology writ in concrete, limestone, glass, steel, and zinc.
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Letter to the Editor> Allure of the Glass Ceiling

02-alessandra-hotel-houston-archpaper

(COURTESY GENSLER)

[ Editor's Note: The following comment was left on archpaper.com in response to our Unveiled on the Gensler-designed Alessandra Hotel in Houston (AN 03_04.30.2014_SW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

“Glass ceilings permit guests in the lobby to see through to the top floor restaurant.” That lobby will become the biggest gentlemen’s club in Houston.

Bill Wood
Rangeview High School

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