Skyscraper Expert Gordon Gill Talks High-Performance Facades

Facade detail of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture's Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China. (Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

Facade detail of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China. (Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

Architect Gordon Gill has one simple rule for facade design: seek performance first, and beauty will follow. Gill, who will give the opening keynote address at next month’s facades+PERFORMANCE conference in New York, is a founding partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a firm known for pushing the boundaries of what architecture is and does. Gill and his team start by “establishing a language of architecture that’s based in the performance of a building,” he said. “We’re trying to understand the role of the building in the environment it’s being built in, then shape the building in order to benefit it the best way. Once we take that approach, the facades play a pretty rich role in either absorbing or reflecting the environment.”

More after the jump.

#Amtrak Appeals to #Millenials in New #Video Touting Glamour of Train Travel

En Route to SXSW.  (Image via screengrab)

En Route to SXSW. (Image via screengrab)

Amtrak is out with a new promotional video, and it’s targeted right at millennials. As UrbanCincy reported, “On the heels of kicking off their new Writers Residency program, where writers can ride intercity passenger rail for free, Amtrak welcomed 30 prominent new media ‘influencers’ on a long-distance train ride from Los Angeles to SXSW in Austin.”

Watch the video after the jump.

As New York’s Bikeshare System’s Challenges Mount, Citi Bike’s General Manager Resigns

Citibikes like this one hit New York streets in May 2013. (Jesse Chan-Norris/Flickr)

Citi Bikes like this one hit New York streets in May 2013. (Jesse Chan-Norris/Flickr)

Citi Bike’s week of bad news just got worse. After reports that the program was short tens of millions of dollars, and plagued with technical  and maintenance problems, Citi Bike’s general manager, Justin Ginsburgh, has resigned. He is pedaling off to advise a construction firm. It’s not clear what’s next for the struggling, but popular program. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city will not bail out the program, but it may allow Citi Bike to raise membership fees.

 

With Great Height Comes Greater Challenges: Questions Linger as Construction Begins on Massive Kingdom Tower

kingdom_tower_00

(Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill)

A kilometer is less than a mile but still more than a Burj Khalifa. This truism means that Kingdom Tower is still set to be the worlds tallest building now that construction has begun in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Though the initial projected height of a mile has since been whittled down to a mere kilometer, problems continue to beset the oft-delayed $1.2 billion project.

More after the jump.

On View> “On the Thresholds of Space-Making” at Washington University in St. Louis

Midwest, On View
Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Shinohara Kazuo, Great room (hiroma), House in White, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, 1964‐66. (Murai Osamu / Courtesy Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Shinohara Kazuo, Great room (hiroma), House in White, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, 1964‐66. (Murai Osamu / Courtesy Tokyo Institute of Technology)

On the Thresholds of Space-Making
Sam Fox School, Washington University
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, Missouri
Through April 20

The work of Shinohara Kazuo (1925–2006), one of Japan’s most influential architects of the postwar generation, is surveyed in On the Thresholds of Space-Making. Shinohara gained popularity as an architect with his series of sublime purist houses designed over a thirty-year period that went through the 1980s. Shinohara scrutinized and reframed fundamental architectural conventions, such as public/private, body/space, and openness/enclosure.

Read More

Boulevard of Broken Bourbon Bottles: Louisville Ponders Its Waterfront Again

A re-imagined Louisville waterfront in the shadow of the elevated Interstate 64. (Courtesy MKSK)

A re-imagined Louisville waterfront in the shadow of the elevated Interstate 64. (Courtesy MKSK)

It’s beginning to sound a bit like a broken record, but for the umpteenth time, the conclusion has been drawn that the riverfront interstate, I-64, in Louisville, Kentucky, is a problem. That along with a lot of other advice—some insightful, some, like, “duh!”—was included in a new $300,000 master plan for the city developed by the firms MKSK, Development Strategies, City Visions, and Urban 1. The more insightful bits include ways of reconnecting Portland and west side neighborhoods with the urban core. The obvious, but still necessary, include the 42 million (that figure is a bit of hyperbole) surface parking spaces. Have you ever flown into Louisville? The downtown looks like a mall parking lot. Mayor Greg Fischer, don’t let this advice fall on deaf ears… again.

UC Santa Cruz Shortlist Narrowed To Three

West
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Image of portion of the site. (Courtesy UC Santa Cruz)

Image of portion of the site. (Courtesy UC Santa Cruz)

The shortlist to design UC Santa Cruz’s new Institute of Arts and Sciences has  been narrowed from seven to three teams: Allied Works Architecture, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and Patkau Architects / Fong & Chan Architects. Notable drop-offs include Steven Holl Architects and wHY. Finalists presentations will take place on April 3. The $32-to-40-million, 30,000-square-foot institute will include exhibition galleries, seminar rooms, events spaces, offices, a cafe and public gathering areas. The winner will be named by April 30.

Where is that Sculpture? Oyler Wu’s “Cube” Adrift Somewhere in China

Art, Design, Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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(Courtesy Oyler Wu)

(Courtesy Oyler Wu)

One of our favorite duos, Oyler Wu, recently completed its biggest installation to date: The Cube, a twisting, glowing steel and wire concoction for the 2013 Beijing Biennale. The dramatic project is now touring China, but when pressed for the latest news the firm admitted that it is not sure where it is. So if you spot a giant cube somewhere in the country, please give them a ring, will you?

Miami Architects Add Visual Weight to City’s Major League Soccer Quest

East, Unveiled
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Miami_soccer_archpaper1

(Courtesy Arquitectonica)

A lack of a viable stadium had been seen as a key hole in Miami’s efforts to welcome a Major League Soccer franchise. Now local firm Arquitectonica has stepped in to fill that void, collaborating with 360 Architecture to design a potential waterfront soccer venue. The campaign has a rather dashing face in the form of soccer-star David Beckham, who has provided vocal and financial backing for the plan and apparently played active role in the design concept and siting of the proposed stadium.

More after the jump.

Sonoran Desert Vernacular by CO Architects

Brought to you with support from:
facadeplus_logo1
CO Architects studied the Sonoran Desert to create a new urban vernacular for Phoenix. (Bill Timmerman)

CO Architects studied the Sonoran Desert to create a new urban vernacular for Phoenix. (Bill Timmerman)

Red-rock mountains and the saguaro cactus inspired the Health Sciences Education Building’s rippling copper facade.

Downtown Phoenix, observed CO Architects’ Arnold Swanborn, looks a lot like downtown Minneapolis. That feels wrong, given the two cities’ contrasting environments. So when it came to designing the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) at Phoenix Biomedical Campus (which won honorable mention for facades in AN’s Best of Design Awards), CO Architects went back to nature—to the Sonoran Desert in particular. “We’re building in a desert. We really, in the outset, wanted to understand what it’s like to build in a desert environment, to really go back and investigate the people who first moved there, or even some of the [American] Indians who lived [there],” said Swanborn. “The skin is really a response to some of the lessons we learned from going out to the desert, being out there and seeing how plants and animals adapted to that environment.” Read More

American Academy of Arts & Letters Issues 2014 Awards

Awards, International
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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american-academy-logo

The American Academy of Arts & Letters was formed in 1904 on the model of the French Academy. It operates today as a 250 member honor society, and, since 1955, has had an active yearly architecture awards program.

The Academy has just announced its awards for 2014 with its top award The Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize (of $20,000) going to the Italian artist and architect Massimo Scolari for his contribution to architect as art. Scolari had a retrospective of his drawings and models last year at Cooper Union and a pair of his iconic sculptural wings are still visible on Coopers second floor balcony.

The Academy also announced that two Arts & Letters Awards of $7,500 each would go to New York firms Christoff:Finio and Selldorf Architects under the leadership of Annabelle Selldorf for creating work which shows “strong personal direction.”

Finally the Academy gave well deserved awards to Michael Blackwood and Cynthia Davidson for their “exploration of ideas in architecture.”

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower Opening to Public Tours For First Time

Frank Lloyd Wright's SC Johnson Research Tower will open for tours in May. (PRNewsFoto/SC Johnson)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower will open for tours in May. (PRNewsFoto/SC Johnson)

An unusually vertical Frank Lloyd Wright building in Wisconsin will open its doors to the public for the first time since its construction in 1950. The Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin has housed SC Johnson for 32 years, anchoring its 153-foot tall mass with a distinctive “taproot” foundation.

More information after the jump.

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