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

Giant Pixel’s Binary Star Wars Canopy

Fabrikator, Interiors, West
Friday, February 7, 2014
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The steel canopy introduces a Star Wars theme with a binary translation of the trilogy's opening text. (Jasper Sanidad)

The steel canopy introduces a Star Wars theme with a binary translation of the trilogy’s opening text. (Jasper Sanidad)

A software developer gets a subtly intergalactic theme for its new San Francisco headquarters.

For the Giant Pixel corporation’s new headquarters, Studio O+A evoked the feel of a sophisticated galaxy far, far away in a renovated San Francisco workspace. With the help of Chris French Metal, Nor-Cal Metal Fabricators, and Seaport Stainless, O+A designers Denise Cherry and Primo Orpilla designed an interior environment that invokes themes from the client’s favorite movie, Star Wars, without delivering a set design for the Spaceballs parody. One of the office’s most notable features is an entry canopy constructed from ¼-inch hot rolled steel plate with laser-cut perforations that sets the office theme with a binary translation of the trilogy’s opening crawling text. Read More

At SCI-Arc, the Magic is Inside the Box; Eric Owen Moss Explains Why

SCI-ARC IS PLANNING A NEW DIGITAL FABRICATION LAB KNOWN AS THE "MAGIC BOX" (SCI-ARC)

SCI-ARC IS PLANNING A NEW DIGITAL FABRICATION LAB KNOWN AS THE “MAGIC BOX” (SCI-ARC)

“Actually, the box isn’t magic, so don’t be disappointed you didn’t get ahold of Merlin the Magician,” Eric Owen Moss said at the start of a recent interview. Moss, director of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), was referring to the school’s new digital fabrication lab.

Dubbed the Magic Box, the two-story, prefabricated steel structure will be constructed at the south end of the SCI-Arc building. But Moss didn’t want to focus on the laboratory itself, which was designed by several architects affiliated with SCI-Arc (including Moss’s own firm). Instead, he said, “the game is, what’s inside is magic. It’s not so much the object, but what the object contains.”

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Thomas Balsley Reaches Destination with Landscape Forms

Fabrikator
Friday, December 13, 2013
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The Transit Bench was fabricated in Landscape Forms custom project division, Studio 431. (Michael Koontz/Thomas Balsley Associates)

The Transit Bench was fabricated in Landscape Forms custom project division, Studio 431. (Michael Koontz/Thomas Balsley Associates)

Aerodynamics of transit inform the design for new public seating in busy pedestrian areas like train platforms.

Landscape architect Thomas Balsley has been shaping public spaces in urban settings for more than 35 years, from the Bronx to Dallas to Portland. Even at large scales his work underscores attention to detail, all the way down to the furniture that adorns his sites. As a resident of New York since the 1970s, Balsley is all too aware of the way public benches and seating function in densely populated cities. For Transit Bench—fabricated by Landscape Forms custom project team at Studio 431—he designed a seating option for busy pedestrian areas, like train platforms and street-side parklets, where movement engulfs stationary seating.

“I started thinking of the aerodynamic aspects of transit and airline design, where the skin of the plane is an important structural component,” Balsley told AN. “I had the idea that this folded piece of skin could be the structure.” The bench, which rests on two sled base legs, is one solid form, made from a single sheet of stainless steel with laser cut perforations that suggest motion.

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Architect Elena Manferdini Completes the Colorful, Laser-Cut “Nembi” Installation in South Los Angeles

Architecture, West
Thursday, December 12, 2013
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(Atelier Manferdini)

(Atelier Manferdini)

Until recently, talented Los Angeles–based architect Elena Manferdini had practiced all over the world, but barely  in her own city. That has definitely changed. Earlier this year she worked on two shops in Venice, and her latest project is an art installation at the entry way of the Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center in South Los Angeles. The colorful project is part of the LA County Art Commission’s Civic Art project, a one percent program for county facilities.

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Kammetal Tops Off SOM’s 1 World Trade Center

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Friday, November 15, 2013
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Kammetal fabricated 48 triangular panels for the beacon of 1 World Trade Center in Manahattan. (courtesy DCM Erectors)

Kammetal fabricated 48 triangular panels for the beacon of 1 World Trade Center. (courtesy DCM Erectors)

Seven tons of glass and steel clad a structural stainless frame on the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building.

Brooklyn-based metal fabrication company Kammetal and DCM Erectors of New Jersey were selected to fabricate and install the crowning beacon atop the spire on 1 World Trade Center. The fabrication team executed SOM’s design for a dynamic and complex adornment to one of the country’s most anticipated buildings, along with the help of engineers at Buro Happold to ensure safety at 1,776 feet.

To craft a 15-ton, 50-foot beacon that accounted for thermal expansion and movement, Kammetal modeled and drew their designs in SolidWorks. The company’s team laser cut 48 triangular 316 stainless steel panels with ¼-inch thickness in a nondirectional finish to clad DCM’s square tubular steel frame. “Before we started the project, we had the structural frame 3D scanned to generate a point cloud,” explained Sam Kusack, president at Kammetal. “Because the structure was so dynamic—it contains zero right angles or reference points—we had to verify the conditions.” Read More

Halloween Masterpiece: Dan Funderburgh’s Laser-carved Jack-o-lantern

East
Thursday, October 31, 2013
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Dan Funderburgh's Laser-carved jack-o-lantern, courtesy of DesignSponge

Dan Funderburgh’s Laser-carved jack-o-lantern. (Courtesy DesignSponge)

Happy Halloween! With Jack-O-Lantern’s popping up on stoops across the country, it was only a matter of time before some creative type ran one through a laser cutter. Brooklyn-based design bloggers at DesignSponge have launched a contest for the most creative pumpkin carvings and artist Dan Funderburgh rose to the challenge and delivered an incredible deconstructed pumpkin, carved from lasers instead of by hand. After playing with a few different design motifs, Funderburgh decided to go with an intricate pattern inspired by Mexican punched tin lanterns.

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Blurred Lines: SOFTlab and Cosentino

Fabrikator
Friday, October 11, 2013
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SOFTlab's ATRIUn model is on view through the month of October, as part of an ongoing exhibition featuring designs with Dekton. (Creative Whirlwind)

SOFTlab’s ATRIUn model is on view through the month of October, as part of an ongoing exhibition featuring designs with Dekton. (Creative Whirlwind)

A new exhibition helps a New York-based firm explore indoor and outdoor applications of a new building material.

Cosentino is celebrating Architecture Month with Surface Innovation, a multi-media exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York that presents innovative applications of its new Dekton material. A combination of raw, inorganic materials found in glass, porcelain, and natural quartz, the new indoor/outdoor surfacing material is made with particle sintering technology (PST) that recreates the natural process of stone formation. The company invited six local architecture firms to design unique projects featuring the material, including SOFTlab, a design/build firm known for its mix of research, craft, and technology in large-scale installations and building projects.

For SOFTlab, working with a product that could be used for both interiors and exterior applications was an opportunity to reconcile the growing inverse relationship between the skin and volume of large buildings. “We came up with the idea of building something a little more dense than a single story or residentially scaled building, where Dekton may be used,” said Michael Svivos, founder and director of SOFTlab. “We went to a larger scale building, that blurs the inside and outside.” Read More

Snøhetta and Architexas Make Leaves of Steel

Fabrikator, Southwest
Friday, September 27, 2013
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The pavilion's design is inspired by the surrounding tree canopy. (Courtesy Architexas)

The pavilion’s design is inspired by the surrounding tree canopy. (Courtesy Architexas)

A Dallas pavilion’s exposed structure demanded extremely tight tolerances of Irving, Texas–based fabricator, CT&S.

Ten years ago, the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department launched a revitalization project to update 39 decrepit pavilions throughout its park system. One of them—which was to be designed by the New York office of Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta in partnership with local practice Architexas—sat at the mouth of a meadow lined by old pecan and oak trees on the southern side of College Park. Speaking about the site, Snøhetta director Elaine Molinar said, “You’re aware you’ve left the surrounding neighborhood and entered a more rural setting.” This is the feeling that the team wished to encourage in its design for a new pavilion.

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PROJECTiONE’s Engrained Parametrics

Fabrikator
Friday, September 6, 2013
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PROJECTiONE fabricated 280 fins from polystyrene for a 12-foot, free-standing architectural panel. (courtesy PROJECTiONE)

PROJECTiONE fabricated 280 fins from polystyrene for a 12-foot, free-standing architectural panel. (courtesy PROJECTiONE)

Designers in Indianapolis fabricate a graphic, splintered design.

Indiana-based design/build studio PROJECTiONE employs a multidisciplinary approach to its work that runs the gamut from digital to analog fabrication. Founders Adam Buente and Kyle Perry craftily bridged that gap with Synthetic Grain, a set piece for the Young & Laramore advertising agency of Indianapolis that explores the natural knotting and grain of lumber. The team used parametric software to create a graphic, 3D pattern system for an architectural screen that mimics natural variations of wood.

Working in Rhino, parallel lines—or the wood grain—were drawn and points were defined within. Each point served as a knot, around which the lines would gently curve. “Our only input for this project were those points in 3D space,” said Perry. To ready the design for fabrication, curves and cut holes for the plywood backing were generated in Grasshopper. Read More

Fallen Angels Rescued Parametrically

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Friday, July 12, 2013
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Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored four original 20-foot decorative angels in New York. (courtesy Boston Valley Terra Cotta)

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored four decorative angels from the 23rd floor of a Beaux Arts building in New York. (courtesy Boston Valley Terra Cotta)

Classically trained sculptors breath new life into four 20-foot angels with the help of Rhino.

When Old Structures Engineering engaged Boston Valley Terra Cotta in the restoration of the 1896 vintage Beaux-Arts building at 150 Nassau Street in New York—one of the city’s original steel frame structures—the four decorative angelic figures, or seraphs, that adorned the corners of the uppermost story were in serious decay. “Up close, they were in an appalling state,” said Andrew Evans, engineering project manager. “The biggest issue we had with the angels was understanding what happened with the originals.”

The seraphs were carved from stone by Spanish immigrant Ferdinand Miranda in 1895 and had suffered years of exposure and improper maintenance. By the time the facade was up for rehabilitation, the angels were haphazardly strapped to the building with steel bands and supported with bricks. Their state was such that repairs would not suffice and Boston Valley’s artisans began the task of recreating the 20-foot-tall Amazonian figures.

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