Martha Schwartz’ Hillside Mountain Range

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Fengming Mountain Park features a series of metal pavilions imagined as abstracted mountains. (Terrence Zhang)

Fengming Mountain Park features a series of metal pavilions imagined as abstracted mountains. (Terrence Zhang)

Illuminated steel pavilions mimic Chinese peaks.

The hillside site of Fengming Mountain Park, in Chongqing, China, presented Martha Schwartz Partners with both a practical challenge and a source of inspiration. Asked by Chinese developer Vanke to design a park adjacent to the sales office for a new housing development, the landscape architecture and urban planning firm quickly gravitated toward the metaphor of a mountain journey. “That’s why in the plans you see a zig zag pattern” to the path leading down to the sales center from the car park, said associate Ignacio López Busón. Steel pavilions scattered along the walkway pick up on the theme, taking the form of abstracted mountain peaks. “That’s something the client really liked,” said López Busón. “Once the idea was clear, it was all about developing the shape of them, and trying to make them look special.”
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Prefabricated Glamping Tents by ArchiWorkshop

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ArchiWorkshop's semi-permanent glamping structures reimagine the conventional platform tent. (Courtesy ArchiWorkshop)

ArchiWorkshop’s semi-permanent glamping structures re-imagine the conventional platform tent. (Courtesy ArchiWorkshop)

Dynamic steel and PVDF structures shelter campers in style.

In South Korea, glamping—or “glamorous camping”—is all the rage. The practice combines conventional camping’s affinity for the outdoors with hotel amenities, including comfortable bedding and fine food. Seoul firm ArchiWorkshop’s prefabricated, semi-permanent glamping structures are a design-minded twist on the traditional platform tent. “We [set out to] create a glamping [tent] that gives people a chance to experience nature very close, while also providing a uniquely designed architectural experience,” said partner Hee Jun Sim. “There are many glamping sites in Korea, but they’re actually not so high-end. We were able to bring up the level of glamping in Korea.” Read More

Tex-Fab’s Rigidized Metal SKIN

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Friday, November 8, 2013
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University at Buffalo's Nicholas Bruscia and Christopher Romano's 3xLT project won first place in Tex-Fab's SKIN. (Raf Godlewski and Stephen Olson)

University at Buffalo’s Nicholas Bruscia and Christopher Romano’s 3xLP project won first place in Tex-Fab’s SKIN. (Raf Godlewski and Stephen Olson)

A structural, textured metal system wins first place in a competition and the chance to develop a façade with Zahner.

Reinforcing the idea that time fosters wisdom, Nicholas Bruscia and Christopher Romano’s third iteration of a structural architectural screen was awarded first place in Tex-Fab’s digital fabrication competition, SKIN. According to Tex-Fab’s co-director, Andrew Vrana, the team’s 3xLP project was selected for its innovative façade system, which uses parametric design and digital fabrication.

The 3xLP designers’ exploration of the relationship between academia and manufacturing merged at the University at Buffalo’s (UB) Department of Architecture. Starting their collaborative research with a digital model, Bruscia and Romano solicited the help of local manufacturer Rigidized Metals, (RM), who helped realize the second stage of the project’s evolution with two thin gauge metals featuring proprietary patterns. “The project is important because we’ve partnered so closely with Rigidized Metals,” Roman told AN. “We’ve brought digital and computational expertise, and they’ve provided material knowledge for textured metal—it’s a reciprocal team.” Read More

Rojkind Arquitectos’ Mexican Treehouse

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Friday, October 25, 2013
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Templates for a 14-foot wooden treehouse were printed on an HP Designjet T920. (courtesy Rojkind Arquitectos)

Templates for a 14-foot wooden treehouse were printed on an HP Designjet T920. (courtesy Rojkind Arquitectos)

Francisco Saavedra fabricates a template to scale with large-format, Designjet printers from HP.

Founded in 2002, Rojkind Arquitectos is leaving an imprint across its native Mexico through a combination of civic, retail, residential, and hospitality projects. Its innovative design and production methods have garnered international recognition, particularly for projects like Nestlé’s Chocolate Museum is in Toluca and innovation lab in Querétaro, and Mexico City’s Tori Tori Japanese restaurant, but the firm also engages in smaller projects and creative diversions that explore new avenues of the design/build process.

Casa del Arbol is one such example. Conceived as an add-on for a venerable client, the project is a tree house for the family’s three young daughters. “There was a bird’s nest in the garden when we visited the site,” said Gerardo Salinas, partner at Rojkind. “And a 2-meter space between two trees in the yard was an ideal location that wouldn’t damage the existing trees.” Read More

The Twisting Tour Total

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Friday, October 18, 2013
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Aesthetic dynamics for the 18-story tower were designed in Rhino. (Ina Reinecke)

Aesthetic dynamics for the 18-story tower were designed in Rhino. (Ina Reinecke)

Barkow Leibinger designs a precast folded facade that puts a gentle spin on surrounding traditional architecture.

On one of the last urban tracts of available land in Berlin, Germany, local architecture firm Barkow Leibinger recently completed an 18-story tower, Tour Total. Highly visible from a neighboring train station, and the first completed project in the site’s 40-acre master plan, the tower has a raster facade with precast concrete panels that were geometrically computed in Rhino to create twisting inflections, conveying a sense of movement around the building’s four sides.

As a load-bearing facade, 40 percent of the surface is closed, and 60 percent is triple-glazed, with every other window operable. In addition to integrated energy management strategies—the first building tenant is French energy company Total—partner Frank Barkow said the firm’s extensive background in digital fabrication and research allowed the efficient development of the dynamic facade. Drawing from the surrounding, traditionally quadrilinear brick facades of the 1920s and 30s, the tower’s lines are imbued with an engrained depth that twists optically to read differently in direct sun or cloudy weather, without actually moving. Read More

Situ Fabrication Cracks Google’s Code

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Friday, September 20, 2013
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Situ Fabrication crafted 27 12-foot-panels for the lobby of Google's New York City office. (courtesy Situ Fabrication)

Situ Fabrication crafted 27 12-foot-tall triangulated panels for the lobby of Google’s New York City office. (courtesy Situ Fabrication)

HLW’s binary design for Google’s New York office supports the company’s product offerings.

Google is renowned in design circles for its unique offices around the globe, and the main lobby of the Internet search giant’s New York City office is no exception. Architecture firm HLW took its inspiration for the design of the space from Google’s Code of Conduct. The architects rendered the document’s stipulations in binary code, and applied those perforations on a series of 27, 12-foot-tall triangulated aluminum wall panels. This digital-age design feature is a nod to Google’s domain as well as to the process by which the panels themselves were created.

Brooklyn-based Situ Fabrication, the newly established fabrication arm of Situ Studio, worked with HLW to achieve a monolithic appearance across each of the 27 panels. Since the design called for “folded-looking planes,” Situ Fabrication opted to work with 1/8-inch-thick aluminum composite material (ACM) for ease of manipulation and the clean edges that the material would produce when processed on wood working machines. To reinforce the ACM sheets, Situ designed and fabricated a triangulated frame from welded aluminum tubing, resulting in a 2-inch-thick panel section. Read More

Ceilings Plus Soars in Texas

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Friday, August 23, 2013
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280 custom-fabricated ceilings panels are installed across 18 planes at the University of Houston's Quiet Hall. (Ryan Gobuty/Gensler)

At the University of Houston’s Quiet Hall, 280 custom-fabricated ceiling panels are installed across 18 planes. (Ryan Gobuty/Gensler)

Gensler’s design at the University of Houston is realized in a cloud-inspired, sound-absorptive ceiling solution.

Gensler and Ceilings Plus have brought a touch of the Big Apple to the University of Houston’s recently completed Quiet Hall in the Classroom and Business Building. Gensler drew its design inspiration for a ceiling in the new building from the New York Central Library’s Rose Reading Room. The firm hired the California-based Ceilings Plus to translate its interpretation of this classical interior, which includes perforations and geometric folds, into an affordable, buildable, and installable ceiling solution.

Ceilings Plus used digital software to marry the design architect’s vision with a workable model that offered minimal joint tolerances and maintained compatibility with HVAC systems. “Since the architect was interested in doing something completely new, it was important to realize that process together,” said Michael Chusid, who works in marketing and business development for Ceilings Plus. Gensler produced three conceptual renderings in Revit, then turned them over to project engineer Robert Wochner, who developed sound-absorptive perforations and a suspension system that could support the various angles of the Quiet Hall’s multi-planar ceiling. Read More

Aidlin Darling’s Ribbed Canopy

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Friday, March 22, 2013
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Aidlin Darling Design's 46-foot-long canopy evokes plumes of smoke.

A 46-foot-long canopy of painted MDF evokes plumes of smoke in a San Francisco barbecue restaurant. (Matthew Millman Photography)

With the help of Laser Alliance and Chris French Metal, Aidlin Darling Design crafted a hanging ceiling canopy composed of 180 wooden ribs.

Wexler’s refined spin on farm-to-table barbecue in San Francisco’s financial district offers guests an authentically char-grilled dining experience, minus the smoldering cinders. Inspired by its progressive grill menu, local multidisciplinary firm Aidlin Darling Design dreamed up a 46-foot-long billowing ceiling canopy that hovers over the dining room like a plume of smoke. The feature also extends to the exterior, doubling as an awning over the main entrance that beckons passersby.

“The original design, based on an undulating plane of smoke, was designed in both AutoCad and Rhino, [using the] lofting feature that extrapolates geometry between two curves,” said Adrienne Swiatocha, project architect for Aidlin Darling Design. The canopy’s softly curving profiles at the exterior and at the end of the wall were hand-drawn. The architects used Rhino to amplify and adjust these curves throughout the center portion of the canopy. This varying amplitude echoes the way smoke dissipates across a room. “[Then], we sliced the three dimensional plane every few inches to generate a bunch of curved line profiles, and offset it by 5 inches to create a second, curving, thickened line.” Read More

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