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.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

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:
Fabrikator
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.

Product> 2013 Architect’s Holiday Gift Guide

National, Newsletter, Product
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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(Snowflake photos by Alexey Kljatov / Flickr; Montage by AN)

(Snowflake photos by Alexey Kljatov / Flickr; Montage by AN)

As architects, we know you’re overworked and probably underpaid, and we’re guessing you haven’t had time to draft your holiday wish list quite yet. But don’t despair. AN has compiled a list of high-design, unique gift ideas for you and your colleagues, friends, and family members with good taste, most of which are also attainable for budget-conscious buyers.

Continue reading after the jump.

Baltimore’s Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus

City Terrain, East, Urbanism
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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BALTIMORE'S HOPSCOTCH CROSSWALK (COURTESY GRAHAM CORELL-ALLEN/ VIA FLICKR)

BALTIMORE’S HOPSCOTCH CROSSWALK (COURTESY GRAHAM CORELL-ALLEN/ VIA FLICKR)

Crossing the street in Baltimore just got a lot more fun. The city has just unveiled its newest dispatch: a “hopscotch crosswalk” transforming the downtown street crossing at the corner of Eutaw and Lombard streets into an entertaining diversion for pedestrians. The project was a component of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts for the Bromo Seltzer Arts & Entertainment District’s desire in incorporate public art in various areas of the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Northwestern University Picks Perkins + Will for Prentice Tower Replacement

Midwest
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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Perkins & Will's submission for ex-Prentice site.

Perkins & Will’s submission for ex-Prentice site, depicted after one of two construction phases.

Perkins + Will’s beveled, glassy facade looks likely to replace to a modernist icon whose long battle for preservation ended earlier this year.

Last month Northwestern Memorial Hospital released three finalist designs for its new biomedical research center, the successor to Bertrand Goldberg’s partially demolished Old Prentice Women’s Hospital. Northwestern spokesperson Alan Cubbage told the Tribune, “the combination of the elegant design and the functionality of the floor plans were key.”

Read More

Organization Rescues Cape Cod Modernist Homes

East
Monday, December 9, 2013
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Designed by prolific local architect Charles Zehnder, the Kugel Gips house was built on Cape Cod in 1970 (Courtesy CCMT)

Designed by prolific local architect Charles Zehnder, the Kugel Gips house was built on Cape Cod in 1970 (Courtesy CCMT)(Courtesy CCMT)

Built in 1970 by prolific Cape Cod–based architect Charles Zehnder, the Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired Kugel Gips house spent nearly a decade unoccupied and in disrepair while under ownership of the National Park Service (NPS). Abandoned and rotting, the compact Modernist home was nearly lost to the idyllic peninsula’s salty winds, and worse yet, the wrecking ball, until Wellfleet, Massachusetts–based architect Peter McMahon and the Cape Cod Modernist Trust (CCMT) stepped in.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pier Carlo Bontempi Named 2014 Driehaus Laureate

International
Friday, December 6, 2013
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LaMasoneMaze_1

La Masone Maze in Fontanellato, Parma, Italy by Bontempi.

The Italian classicist architect Pier Carlo Bontempi has been named the 2014 Driehaus Laureate.  A native of Parma, Bontempi’s work in Italy and France re-imagines the traditional city with projects like a master-planned block in Parma and the Quartier du Lac outside Paris.

“His buildings, seamlessly woven into their urban environments, demonstrate principles of the new classicism and urbanism,” said Michael Lykoudis, dean of the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, in a statement. “Their durable construction, adaptive interior spaces and sensitive siting make them exemplars of architecture as an art of conservation and investment as opposed to consumption and waste.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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