Serenity now! Studies question trend toward open offices

National
Friday, November 22, 2013
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Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

The open office trend is rooted in some good ideas: encourage communication by breaking down barriers; give workers more space to breathe without confining cubicles. But a wave of new research is questioning the efficacy of the open strategy.

Continue reading after the jump.

Perkins+Will Canada’s VanDusen Gardens Orchid

Fabrikator
Friday, November 22, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
StructureCraft fabricated 71 timber roofing panels for Canada's first Living Building Challenge-targeted new construction project. (Nic Lehoux)

StructureCraft fabricated 71 modular roofing panels from timber for a Living Building Challenge-targeted new construction project. (Nic Lehoux)

StructureCraft fabricates an orchid-shaped roof that supports vegetation and Living Building Challenge principles.

After serving patrons at one of Vancouver’s oldest botanical gardens for nearly 100 years, the VanDusen Gardens Visitors Centre had fallen dangerously into disrepair. Perkins+Will Canada conceived of a new, orchid-shaped center that meets CaGBC’s LEED Platinum ratings, and is the country’s first structure to target the International Living Building Challenge with features like geothermal boreholes, a 75-square meter photovoltaic array, and a timber roof that supports vegetation. To help fabricate the wooden structure to Perkins + Will Canada’s vision, the team contracted StructureCraft, a Vancouver-based design-build studio specializing in timber craftsmanship and structural solutions.

Initial designs for the 19,000-square-foot building were delivered to StructureCraft as Rhino files. The uniquely shaped rooftop, which mimics an outline of the indigenous British Columbia orchid, had to be economically fabricated in a way that took net carbon effects into account. Within Rhino plugins—mainly Grasshopper—and with the help of strucutral engineers Fast + Epp, the StructureCraft team sliced the shape of the building into 71 long, curved panels of repeatable geometries. “Each curve is unique, so there’s a different radii for each beam,” said Lucas Epp, a structural engineer who worked on the project. “We optimized the global geometry of the roof so the radii of all the beams were in our fabrication tolerances but still achieved the architect’s desired aesthetic.” Read More

University of Oregon Students Propose Sustainable Wood Housing in Brooklyn

Dean's List, East, West
Thursday, November 21, 2013
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Courtesy Grow Your Own City

Courtesy Grow Your Own City

With their winning design for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s “Timber in the City” competition, three students from the University of Oregon have imagined wood’s viable potential in prefabricated low-cost housing. Wood construction has been a popular topic at AN recently and the topic of our recent feature, Timber Towers. Benjamin Bye, Alex Kenton, and Jason Rood entered the design competition last year with the mission to create a community of affordable housing and wood technology manufacturing in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Awarded first place, Grow Your Own City proposes the use of CLT (cross-laminated timber) for construction of nearly 183,000 square feet of mid-rise housing, a bike share and repair shop, and a wood distribution, manufacturing, and development plant.

Read more about the proposal after the jump.

MIT Media Lab Creates a Digital Interface That Reaches Into the Real World

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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(Courtesy Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab)

(Courtesy Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab)

Do you dream of a world in which your touch-screen could touch back? Where you can shape digital models with your hands, physically reach out to friends hundreds of miles away, and once again tangibly interact with the people and objects around you?

The Tangible Media Group at MIT’s Media Lab has begun to probe this future of 3D interactive interfaces with their latest creation: inFORM. Functioning similarly to the metal pinscreen toy, inFORM combines a state-of-the-art table-mounted “screen” of 900 movable “pixels,” a hacked Microsoft Kinect, projector, and nearby computer to transmit palpable content back-and-forth between the digital and physical realms.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Koolhaas’ CCTV Headquarters Crowned Best Tall Building in The World

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
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OMA's CCTV Headquarters in Beijing wins Best Tall Building Worldwide (Courtesy CTBUH)

OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing wins Best Tall Building Worldwide (Courtesy CTBUH)

One World Trade may officially be the tallest building in the West, but according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the honor of the Best Tall Building in the World goes to OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing–a fitting birthday gift to the architect who previously declared war on the skyscraper (Happy 69th Rem!).

Continue reading after the jump.

Is That A Dhow In Your Pocket, Or Just Zaha Hadid’s Stadium Design For The Qatar World Cup?

International, Newsletter
Monday, November 18, 2013
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The design is allegedly based upon the Dhow, a type of Arabian sailing ship. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

The design is allegedly based upon the Dhow, a type of Arabian fishing boat. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled its design for a 40,000-seat soccer stadium to rise in the Arabian kingdom of Qatar. The project is slated to be complete in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and is only one of several such facilities that the oil-rich nation plans to build—in addition to miles of roads, a seaport, airport, and a rail system—in a $140 billion spending spree to lay down the infrastructure necessary to support the event and the international crowds it attracts.

Hadid’s office has stated that the design of the stadium is derived from the dhow, a type of fishing vessel that is common among the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. Several commentators have pointed out, however, that the renderings more closely resemble the mounds, folds, and cavities of a certain very private part of the female anatomy.

Continue reading after the jump.

Hopkins Architects to Transform Harvard’s Holyoke Center into New Campus Hub

East
Monday, November 18, 2013
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Josep Lluis Sert's Holyoke Center at Harvard University (Courtesy Docomomo via Harvard)

Josep Lluís Sert’s Holyoke Center at Harvard University (Courtesy Docomomo via Harvard)

Harvard’s Holyoke Center, designed by renowned Catalan architect and former Dean on the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Josep Lluís Sert, will soon be undergoing major renovations, university President Drew Faust announced last Thursday. London-based Hopkins Architects, the designers of Princeton’s Frick Chemistry Laboratory and Yale’s Kroon Hall, have signed on to transform the 50-year-old, cast-in-place administrative building into multifaceted campus center by 2018.

Read More

REX + Front Studio Create Sun-Responsive Shade to Protect Dallas Museum

City Terrain, Southwest
Monday, November 18, 2013
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(Courtesy Lexigon)

(Courtesy Lexigon)

Renzo Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Center was designed with natural sunlight in mind. A roof covered by pierced aluminum screens allows dappled light to enter its art galleries in subtle warmth. The outdoor sculpture garden is open to the elements and a specifically-planted landscape by Peter Walker reaps the benefits of the Texan sun.

Since its construction in 2005, the museum has become an icon of the Dallas Arts District. In 2011, a 42-story condominium building went up across the street, banking on the popularity of Piano’s art haven. While the glazed curved glass facade of “Museum Tower” offers million dollar views of the museum below, it burns the artworks and plants with a directed glare.

Now, a pair of New York–based architects might have a solution.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

Tunnel Rats: Does Texas Favor Building Highways Over Subways?

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Monday, November 18, 2013
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The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

According to a very confidential source, engineers currently working on the Waller Creek tunnel believe that Austin sits on top of some of the most optimal conditions for tunneling in the entire U.S. These number-crunching problem solvers claimed that a subway tunnel beneath the Texas State Capital’s downtown would cost 1/10th of the amount it would in most places in the country. However, the brainiacs also said that there are those in high places who do not want that knowledge spread around (read TxDOT) because the construction of more freeways is making certain people a great deal of money.

Kammetal Tops Off SOM’s 1 World Trade Center

Fabrikator
Friday, November 15, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
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

Video> AN Visits the Solar Decathlon 2013

West
Friday, November 8, 2013
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For those of you who didn’t get to the Solar Decathlon this year, never fear. AN was at the event, which for the first time was held on the west coast, at the Orange County Great Park. Impressive teams combined edgy design and futuristic sustainability, with, of course, an amazing work ethic. (What were you doing in college? We bet you didn’t design and build a hi-tech house and build it in nine days on a former airplane runway.)

Team Austria took home the top prize, but every home in the competition—from sleek metallic forms to heavy wood cabins—produced more energy than it used, and implemented handfuls of emerging technologies that you’ll hopefully see in most homes in the next decade. AN took a visit to see the 19 homes in person. Take a look for yourself, and make sure to check out the next decathlon in two years.

Prentice Update: Many more images of Goldberg replacement released

Midwest
Friday, November 8, 2013
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Perkins & Will's submission for ex-Prentice site.

Perkins & Will’s submission for ex-Prentice site.

An update to our story from yesterday: Northwestern University released many more images from the three candidates vying to build a successor to the site previously occupied by Bertrand Goldberg’s old Prentice Women’s Hospital. The new images include floor plans, interior renderings, and additional elevations of the three buildings. Read More

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