Brooks + Scarpa’s Contemporary Art Museum Canopy in Raleigh

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Friday, January 6, 2012
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The adaptive reuse highlights Raleigh's red-brick vernacular (Brooks + Scarpa)

A folded canopy reinvents a former loading dock in the city’s historic Depot District

Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum chose its new home in the city’s Depot District carefully. Located in a former produce warehouse, the project calls attention to the city’s history of railroad transportation and red brick architecture while emphasizing its commitment to sustainability and adaptive reuse. Led by Brooks + Scarpa Architects, the project included renovation of the existing 21,000-square-foot structure and the addition of a 900-square-foot entry pavilion. The glass-enclosed lobby reinterprets the location of the original building’s loading dock with an expanded and folded canopy that announces the building’s new purpose and balances the effect of daylight on its interiors.

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BLOCK Research Group’s Freeform Catalan Thin-Tile Vault

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Friday, December 30, 2011
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The freeform vaulted structure is BLOCK Research Group's first built prototype (BLOCK)

A research project explores techniques from the past to learn about building stronger structures in the future

Sometimes research involves destruction in the name of creation. Architects and engineers from Zurich-based BLOCK Research Group at science and technology university ETH Zurich recently teamed up to build, and destroy, a vaulted masonry structure that was designed with advanced digital fabrication methods but constructed with traditional timbrel, or Catalan, thin-tile vaulting techniques. Through its research of freeform shells, tiling patterns, building sequences, and formwork, the group hopes to construct increasingly radical forms without sacrificing efficiency.

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LEAPfactory’s Gervasutti Refuge

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Friday, December 23, 2011
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Installation of the Gervasutti Bivouac on the Mont Blanc range's Freboudze Glacier (LEAPfactory)

Built to withstand extreme weather conditions, the alpine pod explores new frontiers for prefabricated architecture

Climbers on the Freboudze glacier can now take refuge from the punishing terrain of the Italian Alps thanks to a new prefabricated shelter commissioned by Italian alpine club CAI Torino. The New Gervasutti Refuge, which cantilevers from the rocky landscape in front of the east face of the Mont Blanc Range’s Grandes Jorasses, was designed and fabricated by LEAPfactory, an Italian firm specializing in modular structures with low environmental impact.

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Haresh Lalvani’s Morphing Fruit Platter 1D Series 300

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Friday, December 16, 2011
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One of 1,000 patterns created as part of the Morphing Fruit Platter 1D Series 300 (Moss)

The designer’s most recent collaboration with Milgo/Bufkin explores mass customization

Architect-morphologist Haresh Lalvani is continuing his longtime relationship with Brooklyn-based fabricator Milgo/Bufkin with the Morphing Fruit Platter 1D Series 300, which was unveiled at this year’s Design Miami as part of the Moss exhibit, Mass Customization of Emergent Designs. The 100 platters presented at Moss represent the designer’s latest thoughts about the intersection of mathematics and manufacturing based on a process he calls Lautomation.

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Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome Restoration: Goetz Composites

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Friday, December 9, 2011
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Assembly of the restored dome in Goetz's shop (Ian Garber)

Fabrication techniques honed for racing boats give the dome new life.

Racing boat builder Goetz Composites has crafted many icons of the sea, including ten America’s Cup boats. Now, the company is trying its hand at architectural icons. Several months ago, Goetz began the restoration of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, one of only three existing prototypes of the prefabricated shelters that the designer patented in 1965. The piece, a 24-foot-wide fiberglass shell with Plexiglas eyes, had been neglected for years and arrived at Goetz’s Bristol, Rhode Island, headquarters with chipped corners, peeling paint, and a patina of mold.

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a+i’s White Veil Wall: Ceilings Plus

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Friday, December 2, 2011
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The screen spans the ceiling and the three-story atrium of a Midtown Manhattan office (Magda Biernat)

A custom-perforated screen balances lighting and privacy in a three-story New York office space.

Ceilings are not just for the ceiling anymore. “With architecture becoming more organic in shape, we are becoming the architecture, not just a ceiling or wall,” said Nancy Mercolino, the president of architectural ceiling, wall, and enclosure manufacturer Ceilings Plus. This fall, the company completed a 33-foot-tall painted aluminum feature wall at the Manhattan offices of a global investment management firm. Designed by New York-based a+i design corp, the project was a consolidation of the firm’s offices in the city, adding three floors to the company’s existing three-story office space in a Midtown building.

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Brooklyn Navy Yard Gates: Ferra Designs

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Friday, November 18, 2011
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Designers abstracted photography of manufacturing scenes to create the gate's pattern (Ferra)

The Building 92 museum’s new gates were inspired by a history of manufacturing

Last week, the Brooklyn Navy Yard threw open its doors to the public for the first time in more than two centuries. With the opening of its new BLDG 92, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle in collaboration with workshop/apd, the Yard welcomed community members to the new 24,000-square-foot exhibition space and visitors’ center. From their first view of the building’s south-facing forecourt, visitors will be inspired to learn about the area’s industrial past by an operable gate made by Ferra Designs, an architectural metal fabricator that calls the Navy Yard home.

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Lawrence Argent’s Red Rabbit: Kreysler & Associates

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Friday, November 11, 2011
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Lawrence Argent's 56-foot-long aluminum sculpture (Kreysler)

A 56-foot-long aluminum sculpture leaps into Sacramento’s new airport.

Whether they need a reminder that they’re late (for a very important gate!) or welcome a distraction from the hassle of modern travel, visitors to Sacramento’s International Airport will not miss Denver-based artist Lawrence Argent’s Leap sculpture. Completed last month in the new Corgan Associates-designed Terminal B, the 56-foot-long red rabbit is suspended mid-jump in the building’s three-story central atrium. An oversize “vortical suitcase” placed in the baggage claim below completes the piece. Argent worked with California-based Kreysler & Associates, a specialist in the design, engineering, and fabrication of large-scale sculptural and architectural objects, to build his vision while meeting the airport’s safety requirements.
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WRL’s Allen Theater Renovation: Eventscape

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Friday, November 4, 2011
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Perforated scrims enhance acoustics in the 1920s Italian Renaissance-style theater (Eventscape)

Faceted steel screens solve acoustical problems while keeping the theater’s ornate 1920s architecture on view

The Allen Theater is one of eight venues in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square performing arts district. Opened in 1921 as a silent movie house, the Italian Renaissance-style building was renovated in 1998, when it began to host large Broadway productions and concerts. More than ten years later, the Broadway productions had moved to the nearby State Theater, leaving the door open to new resident companies Cleveland State University and Cleveland Play House. Last year, the 81,500-square-foot theater closed to undergo a dramatic transformation from its 2,500-seat format to a more intimate 500-seat proscenium theater. In the new space, designed by Westlake Reed Leskosky (WRL) and opened in September, faceted steel screens created by Toronto-based architectural fabricator Eventscape not only enhance acoustics but also hide or reveal the theater’s traditional interior finishes depending on the desired aesthetic.

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DesignByMany Pop-Up Shop Contest

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Friday, October 28, 2011
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M.Ling's concept for a temporary Amazon Kindle store (M.Ling)

Design of a prefabricated retail location is the latest competition hosted by a challenge-based design technology community

Launched last year, DesignByMany is a challenge-based virtual design community for architects, engineers, students, and construction-industry members interested in publicly sharing technical design knowledge. The site lets users post projects online in response to community-generated challenges or as submissions to frequent sponsored challenges (the sponsor is Hewlett-Packard).

With the goal of bringing more functionality to small, under-utilized urban spaces, the site’s current challenge is to design a rapidly constructible or prefabricated freestanding shop that occupies less than 200 square feet. While permitting issues were left out of the entry criteria, contestants were urged to consider foot traffic and visibility, as well as a location or multiple locations where the project could be deployed. Community voting will end Sunday before a panel of judges selects the final winner. AN‘s Fabrikator takes a look at three designs in the running:

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Studio SUMO’s Mizuta Museum

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Friday, October 21, 2011
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Light slits continue from the vertical to horizontal surface along panel seams (SUMO)

A sheltering facade wraps a new home for a university’s art collection

The Mizuta Museum of Art is building a new home for its important collection of Ukiyo-e, or Japanese woodcuts, on the Josai University campus in Sakado, Japan, just north of Tokyo. Scheduled to open on December 9, the museum was designed by New York-based Studio SUMO, who also completed the university’s School of Management in 2006. The Mizuta project began as a retrofit of two floors in an existing building, but seismic, mechanical system, and floor height requirements led SUMO partners Sunil Bald and Yolande Daniels to propose designs for a new two-story museum building on campus.

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Trahan’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

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Friday, October 14, 2011
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On-site panel mockup (Trahan)

Cast stone and steel become the medium for collaboration at Trahan Architects’ newest project.

Trahan Architects’ Louisiana State Sports Hall Of Fame and Regional History Museum was designed with northern Louisiana’s geography in mind. Located in Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, the 28,000-square-foot building overlooks Cane River Lake at the boundary of the Red River Valley. While the museum’s exterior will be clad in a skin of cypress planks, a nod to the area’s timber-rich building stock, the interior spaces will be formed by a skin of more than 1,000 cast stone panels resembling land shaped by eons of moving water. As the panels begin to be installed, AN went behind the scenes to learn how the project is taking shape.

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