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.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Cincinnati Art Museum seeks new director; Aaron Betsky steps down

Art, Midwest, Shft+Alt+Del
Monday, January 6, 2014
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The cincinnati art museum. (Erica Minton via flickr)

The cincinnati art museum. (Erica Minton via flickr)

Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum for seven years, announced Thursday he’ll step down.

Cincinnati’s WVXU reported that the museum’s board will set up a search committee, and that Betsky will help pick his successor. Betsky, an architect, oversaw the first phase of a renovation for which he helped raise more $13 million, and increased the art museum’s endowment by 18 percent. His leadership was at times controversial, as when he oversaw an exhibit by artist Todd Pavlisko that included firing a .30-caliber rifle in the 132-year-old museum’s Schmidlapp Gallery.

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UNStudio’s Ballsy Move: Hanjie Wanda Square Mall Completed in Wuhan, China

Architecture, International
Friday, January 3, 2014
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01-archpaper-Wanda

Main entrance and facade covered in steel spheres (Courtesy UNStudio, Edmon Leong)

Construction has recently been completed on UNStudio’s Hanjie Wanda Square, a new luxury shopping center in Wuhan, China.  The firm boldly coated the exterior of the building in over 42,333 metallic spheres, bestowing a fluidity to the facade that extends into the interior of the structure.  There, curved walkways and corridors flow together in order to carry shoppers throughout the upscale retail stores, catering outlets, and movie theaters within the center. Read More

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A New Bench-mark at Governors Island

Fabrikator
Friday, January 3, 2014
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Over three miles of curbs and benches were fabricated from precast concrete. (Timothy Schenck/courtesy The Trust for Governors Island)

Over three miles of curbs and benches were fabricated from precast concrete. (Timothy Schenck/courtesy The Trust for Governors Island)

Southside Precast Products fabricates landscape architecture firm West 8’s designs for an organic system of concrete benches and curbs.

When Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 envisioned a new terrain for Governors Island in New York’s East River, part of the plan included a section dubbed The Hills. The recently completed curving expanse of green space is defined by nearly one dozen curved sections, or “petals,” of seamless, white concrete bench and curb edges fabricated by Buffalo, New York-based Southside Precast Products.

Ellen Cavanagh, Director of Park Design and Construction for the Governors Island Trust, said that the concrete pathways along the petals help define areas where the ground was formed to rise and recede. “They call it eyeliner,” she told AN in a recent interview. “Thick and bold white stripes give your eye an anchor so you have a better sense of depth as opposed to one solid color.” At approximately 24 inches in width, the curbs along Governor’s Island are decidedly more massive than standard street curbs. Read More

Cooling Los Angeles, From the Roof Down

UNDER LA'S NEW COOL ROOFS ORDINANCE, ALL NEW OR RENOVATED BUILDINGS MUST HAVE REFLECTIVE ROOFS (HEAT ISLAND GROUP - LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY)

UNDER LA’S NEW COOL ROOFS ORDINANCE, ALL NEW OR RENOVATED BUILDINGS MUST HAVE REFLECTIVE ROOFS (HEAT ISLAND GROUP – LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY)

What’s the coolest place in Los Angeles? It may be right over your head. Starting in 2014, thanks to an update of the Municipal Building Code, all new or refurbished buildings will be equipped with “cool roofs.” A cool roof is built of reflective rather than absorptive material. Compared to traditional roofs, cool roofs can be as much as 50 degrees cooler on the roof surface, and can lower interior building temperatures by several degrees. Los Angeles is the first major American city to pass a cool-roof ordinance.

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Miró Rivera Architects’ Formula (Number) One

Fabrikator
Friday, December 20, 2013
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The 250-foot observation tower was designed, engineered, and constructed in approximately 11 months. (courtesy Miro Rivera Architects)

The 250-foot observation tower was designed, engineered, and constructed in approximately 11 months. (courtesy Miro Rivera Architects)

Austin’s Circuit of the Americas gets an iconic observation tower using 350 tons of steel.

The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, will host the United States Grand Prix from 2012 to 2021. While German Formula 1 specialist Hermann Tilke designed the racecourse and technical facilities, COTA’s owners hired local firm Miró Rivera Architects to turn out a main grandstand and amenities for the 9,000 fans expected to attend the races. In addition to imbuing the project with a variety of programmatic functions that go beyond racing, Miró Rivera created a sleek observation tower that gives spectators unrestricted views across the racetrack’s twisting expanse.

“Our idea for the tower was to be able to go way up and see the track from one focal point in a structure that was an iconographic symbol for the track,” said Miguel Rivera, founder and principal of the architecture firm. “Our inspiration came from Formula 1 cars, where speed and efficiency are so important.” Just like the track’s feature attractions, the tower’s design didn’t feature any excesses. Structural engineers at Walter P Moore helped ensure every piece of steel did some kind of work so the tower was as efficient as possible. Read More

Second Hinterlands Proposal Poses Urban Snow as an Asset, Not a Nuisance

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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Second Hinterlands_NYC_2x

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

Now that we’re well into this winter’s snow season in New York and elsewhere, Chicago-based designers Natalya Egon and Noel Turgeon offer up some inspiration for alternative means of dealing with the wintery accumulation. The duo calls for an approach to snow clearance more deliberate in nature than the hastily-formed soot-grey masses so often seen lining city streets. Their Second Hinterlands project advocates reshaping snow over outright removal, treating the snow as a material that can be used in the creation of interactive landscapes within designated urban areas.

Read more after the jump

Public Opinion Keeps BIG’s Kimball Art Center Renovation on Hold

Architecture, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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(Courtesy BIG)

BIG’s log cabin design for the Kimball Art Center is in limbo after being received by an unimpressed public. (Courtesy BIG)

Despite winning the Kimball Art Center renovation commission in February of last year, Bjarke Ingels Group’s design proposal is far from beginning construction in Park City, Utah. After a seven-member jury of officials, architects, and a Park City resident chose the BIG museum revamp from a shortlist of designs from several prominent firms, the public made their dissatisfaction clear. The building is on hold and without community approval it will continue to sit in stasis for an indeterminable amount of time.

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Review> The New Normal: Penn Symposium Explores Generative Digital Design

Review
Monday, December 16, 2013
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Interior rendering of Neil M. Denari Architects' competition-winning design for the Keelung Harbor Service Building, Taiwan. (Courtesy NMDA)

Interior rendering of Neil M. Denari Architects’ competition-winning design for the Keelung Harbor Service Building, Taiwan. (Courtesy NMDA)

[Editor's Note: The following review was authored by Gideon Fink Shapiro and Phillip M. Crosby.]

A generation’s worth of experimentation with generative digital design techniques has seemingly created a “new normal” for architecture. But what exactly are the parameters of this “normal” condition? On November 14th and 15th Winka Dubbeldam, principal of Archi-Tectonics and the new Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, called together some of contemporary architecture’s most prominent proponents of generative digital design techniques for a symposium, The New Normal, examining how these techniques have transformed the field over the past twenty years. According to Ms. Dubbeldam and her colleagues in Penn’s post-professional program who organized the symposium, digital tools have “fundamentally altered the way in which we conceptualize, design, and fabricate architecture.” Participants were asked not only to reflect upon the recent past, but also to speculate on future possibilities.

Continue reading after the jump.

Thomas Balsley Reaches Destination with Landscape Forms

Fabrikator
Friday, December 13, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator

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.

Read more after the jump.

Payette Designs a Curvy Research Building, Parks for Boston’s Northeastern University

Architecture, East, News, Newsletter, Unveiled
Thursday, December 12, 2013
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Northeastern University's new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (Courtesy of Payette and Northeastern)

Northeastern University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building. (Courtesy Payette and Northeastern)

Boston is well known for both its thriving biotech industry and for its high concentration of universities, and now the city’s two largest economic sectors are overlapping with several academic institutions shrewdly expanding their science departments. Northeastern University is one of several schools to hop on this bandwagon. The school just announced that it will build a 180,000-square-foot academic facility, called the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (ISEB). Boston-based firm Payette won the commission to design the six-story building along with adjoining green spaces after participating in a six week design competition.

Continue reading after the jump.

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