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New learning center gives an in-progress look at lightweight structural design
Construction is underway on the first academic facility in almost two decades to be built on the Claremont, California, campus of Harvey Mudd College. Designed in 1956 by Edward Durrell Stone, the 39-acre school is a private engineering, science, and math institution, which is planning for growth in the coming decade.
“A lot of their current classrooms are underground so they were literally wanting to bring these into the light,” said Amy Donohue, a principal at Boora Architects. The Portland-based firm has designed a new 70,000-square-foot Teaching and Learning Center to create a bridge between academic facilities located to the west and dorms to the east. Though the design emphasizes transparency, energy efficiency, and a range of academic and social functions, a unique bi-axial hollow slab structural system concealed in the building’s concrete will have one of the greatest impacts on reducing material use as it targets LEED Platinum certification.
[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.]
Even for most Washingtonians, the name “Union Square” evokes a place in New York City. But the National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for this disconnected, little-used area—which has a reflecting pool and large equestrian statue of Ulysses S. Grant on the west front of the U.S. Capitol—to become a prime site for demonstrations and other large gatherings, thereby relieving some of the strain on the Mall. (The Mall receives 25 million visitors per year.)
Recently, control of the square passed from the National Park Service to the Architect of the Capitol, raising doubts about how a renovation would proceed. The National Mall Design Competition is organized by the Trust for the National Mall, a private organization that partners with the National Park Service.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has registered promising gains since late last fall, and, according to the AIA’s latest report on March billings, the ABI continues to find its footing in positive territory—but just barely. The overall March score was 50.4, indicating slight growth in demand for services (any score above 50 reflects increase in billings) but less growth than the previous month (the ABI was 51.0 in February).
The Sun Pavilion, winner of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s design competition in conjunction with their Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World Fairs, 1851-1939, is now open. Completed in 81 days, the pavilion is an expression of the innovation that reflects the ideals of World’s Fairs. Read More
“I don’t have time to read, because I trot about with the gardeners. And the little monk’s garden at Fenway Court is very dear too,” Isabella Stewart Gardner wrote to her art advisor Bernard Berenson in 1908.
The walled “monk’s garden” flanks the Gardner Museum‘s Venetian-style palazzo (the house originally known as Fenway Court that became today’s museum) and was first planted in 1903 in an Italianate-style with elegant evergreens running along the walls and pathways. In the 1940s museum director Morris Carter resdesigned the Monks Garden using a Japanese style plan but seeding it with New England wildflowers. For the garden’s last update in the 1970s, Sasaki Associates added bluestone pavers and wooden benches. And the recent addition to the Gardner campus by Renzo Piano included a repositioning of the museum’s main entrance, a move that gives the Monks Garden a much higher profile, warranting another facelift. Read More
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LEED Gold-certified building protects old documents with a modern mesh design
The new Taylor Family Digital Library houses some of the University of Calgary’s prized documents—more than 800,000 architectural drawings, one million maps and aerial photographs, and thousands of print monographs are among the nine million items in the collection. The university built the library as part of its mission to become one of Canada’s top five research libraries by 2016, the year of its 50th anniversary. But the library also serves the practical goal of protecting the special documents and art collections that were relocated there from other facilities. To that end, architect Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning envisioned the 265,000-square-foot building enshrouded in a veil of mesh that would provide solar protection while creating a semi-transparent facade and day-lit interiors to be enjoyed by students and community members.
A massive new urban farming project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was announced last week by New York City-based Bright Farms, a company dedicated to building hydroponic farms close to supermarkets. The Sunset Park project will be the largest rooftop farm in the city, and possibly the world. At 100,000 square feet, it could potentially yield 1 million pounds of produce a year and joins several other agricultural projects in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange, another rooftop farming operation located in Queens, is planning to open a 45,000 square foot urban farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and farm-developers Gotham Greens will be opening a new location in the borough as well.
As architects like Herzog & de Meuron and Jean Nouvel tap into the potential of vertical gardens, they’ll often seek the expertise of Patrick Blanc. For the past thirty years Blanc developed vertical gardens while researching adaptive strategies of plants at the National Center for Sceintific Research in France. His research of plant growth in nature’s more hostile environs, such as hanging off of stone cliffs or springing from rocks next to waterfalls, has yielded a uniquely urbanistic solution for gardening. For the next ten days there’s a small window of opportunity left to see the work of Blanc at its most luxurious. The botanist designed the New York Botanical Garden‘s annual Orchid Show which ends on April 22. As a bonus, this also happens to be the moment that the Gardens’ 250 acres are at the height of their springtime burst.