Architecture People & Places


Sigmax Headquarters • Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter • Enschede, the Netherlands

The new Sigmax headquarters, in Enschede, the Netherlands, was designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects. Photo: © Pieter Kers
Located on a suburban office park site in Enschede, the Netherlands, a new headquarters building for Sigmax was designed by Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter. The four-story building features a horizontally uninterrupted glass facade that emphasizes access to daylighting. The building's interior spaces were designed by Ex Interiors.

The 2,500-square-meter (27,000-square-foot) building has been designed in the form of a "stacked pavilion," whose horizontal lines and extensive glass facade with rounded corners emphasize spaciousness and transparency. The glazing comprises large, rectangular floor-to-ceiling panels whose joints align with the building's structural grid. And quarter-circle glass panels form the rounded-corner bridge between adjacent facades.
The rectangular floor-to-ceiling glass panels of the Sigmax building's facade are sized to the building's structural grid. Photo: © Pieter Kers
The thin building floor plates provide minimal interruption of the glass facade and accentuates the building's sense of horizontality. The portions of each floor plate that cantilevers beyond the glazing work to provide shading of the glass and are intended to develop as a vegetal "roof." The architects intended this feature to produce a sense of connection to the landscape, even on the upper floors.
Each floor plate of the Sigmax headquarters cantilevers well beyond the glazing, providing shade. Photo: © Pieter Kers

Richard Neutra • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Richard Neutra designed the Cyclorama Building at Gettysburg National Military Park near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Photo: Don Wiles
On August 22, the National Park Service released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Final Disposition of the Gettysburg Cyclorama at Gettysburg National Military Park, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The study evaluates three alternatives for the future of the Gettysburg Cyclorama building (1962), which was designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra.

The NPS study was undertaken in response to a March 2010 decision of the United States District Court that directed the agency to undertake a site-specific environmental analysis focused on the demolition of the Cyclorama building, and to consider alternatives to removal of the building, before any action is taken.
A ramp allowed visitors to view the landscape of the Gettysburg Battlefield from atop the Cyclorama Building's rectangular wing. The building has been closed by the National Park Service and is slated for demolition. Photo: Courtesy University of Minnesota Press 
The Cyclorama Building was designed by Richard Neutra to house an 1883 cyclorama painting of the Battle of Gettysburg. The building was also intended as a visitor information center. The building is composed of a long, rectangular wing of offices and a multi-story cylindrical exhibition space. The two masses, stand along a single north-south axis and are functionally separated by the building's glass-enclosed entry.

In the years after its construction, the National Park Service gradually minimized the building's use, citing flaws in the building's design. In 1971, the visitor information center functions were transferred to another location. And in 1996, the NPS announced its intent to remove the cyclorama painting and to ultimately demolish Neutra's building.
Decades of deterioration ultimately led the National Park Service to abandon its use of the Cyclorama Building as a visitor center and even as home to the eponymous painting. Photo: Leslie Johnston

Marpillero Pollak Architects • Staten Island, New York

The new "Meadow Structure" pavilion at the Staten Island Children's Museum, in Staten Island, New York was designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects. Photo: Courtesy Marpillero Pollak Architects
Visitors to the Staten Island Children's Museum, in Staten Island, New York, will learn about renewable energy from a new 2,200 square-foot tensile structure featuring a translucent, photovoltaic fabric roof. Designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects, the  exterior pavilion (the Meadow Structure) uses thin photovoltaic strips affixed to its fabric cover to produce electricity.

A rooftop vertical-axis wind turbine also powers an exhibit inside the museum, and a skylight wind scoop passively ventilates the building's main stairwell.

The Meadow Structure's tensile roof combines photovoltaic film panels with a PTFE-coated fiberglass membrane, both fabricated by Birdair, Inc. Electricity generated by the photovoltaic film is sufficient to illuminate the pavilion for nighttime events.
The "Meadow Structure" pavilion features a tensile fabric roof with photovoltaic film attached to its upper side. Photo: Courtesy Marpillero Pollak Architects
The structure's main (northern) segment is a fanfold plate formed into shallow ridges and valleys. Electrical wiring for the panels is threaded through the structure's hollow steel supports. During storms, the canopy's ridges direct rainwater through strategically placed funnels, creating miniature waterfalls around the structure, which enter the ground through circular/oval dry wells.

"One challenge of this project was to balance the lightness, strength, and aesthetics of the structure with the need to maximize sun exposure for the photovoltaic panels." said Weidlinger Project Manager Gregory Freeman. To achieve this, Weidlinger engineers worked with the architect to shape the roof, originally designed with only small portions facing the sun, into a slightly flatter contour, accommodating the resultant loss of structural efficiency by using heavier steel beams.

Pittsburgh, PA is Architecture 2030 District #3

Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Duquesne Incline (foreground) as seen from nearby Mt. Washington. Photo: David Owen/ Artifice Images
Architecture 2030 has announced that Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the third U.S. city to launch a "2030 District," a zone designated to meet the energy, water, and transportation emissions targets in the 2030 Challenge for Planning.

The Pittsburgh 2030 District currently includes 61 properties and more than 23 million square feet (over 7 million square meters) of the city's downtown area. Pittsburgh joins Seattle, Washington and Cleveland, Ohio, which have already established 2030 Districts.

Graph of proposed reductions to energy, water, and carbon dioxide from transportation, for existing developments under the 2030 Challenge for Planning. Image: © Architecture 2030

EYP Architecture • Oslo, Norway

Rendering of the new U.S. Embassy building in Olso, Norway, designed by EYP Architecture & Engineering. Image: Courtesy EYP
Ground has been broken on a new United States Embassy in Oslo, Norway. The three-story building was designed by the Albany, New York office of EYP Architecture & Engineering.  Located on a 10-acre (4-hectare) site, the multiple-building embassy complex will include a chancery, an underground support annex, three entry pavilions, and Marine security-guard quarters. Upon its anticipated completion in spring 2015, the building will accommodate around 200 employees and staff.

The public face of the building will be its northeast corner  -- visible from the adjacent prominent roadway, Sørkedalsveien -- which contains a two-story cafeteria that also doubles as an events space. Tall windows, traditional in Norway, will take full advantage of the abundant summer sun while capturing as much light as possible during the dark winters. Metal fins further emphasize this verticality throughout the facade. 

RIBA • Forgotten Spaces Shortlist 2012 • Newcastle upon Tyne, England

The Lime Kilns Indistrial Museum at Marsden Lime Kilns, South Shields, England, by IMA, Ian McArdle, Jonathan Rixon & Tink Wilkinson Kindred Form Ltd.  Image: Courtesy RIBA
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the project shortlist for its Forgotten Spaces 2012 competition. Focusing on sites located within the RIBA North East region, and hosted by the eponymous regional office, the competition invites design proposals for left-over land.

According to RIBA, "A 'forgotten space' could be small or large - a grassy verge, a wasteland, an unused car park, a derelict building or underpass or flyover. The proposal could be simple or complex, commercial or public, a piece of public art or a new building, the only requirement is that it responds to the area and serves a function for the local community."

New City Industries, at 178-185 High Street West, Sunderland, England, by John Robinson Beattie. Image: Courtesy RIBA
Out of 39 entries, 21 were selected for the shortlist. Projects include small urban designs, such as Angular Flight, Behind the Side, Forgotten River, and Pink Plaza -- intended to heal and reconnect historically fractured urban fabric. The City Wall Circuit is a walking tour that traces the former town walls of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. And a number of project for the adaptation of various existing structures were proposed, including: Forgotten Relics, conversion of a ruined stone building into a reliquary; Home Surveillance, a proposal to adapt a disused theater for use as a homeless community; and New City Industries, which plans to fill a disused steel frame structure with an adaptable architecture system.
Forgotten Relics at St Mary's Chapel Jesmond Dene, Newcastle, England, by  Paul Jones & Will Campbell. Image: Courtesy RIBA

IBI Group • Vancouver, British Columbia

The new 50-story Hotel Georgia tower, in Vancouver, British Columbia, designed by IBI Group. Photo: Bob Matheson
Standing at 158 meters (518 feet), a new 50-story residential tower has been built adjacent to the recently refurbished Hotel Georgia (1927) in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. The tower was designed by the Vancouver office of IBI Group, known as IBI/ HB Architects. The combined mixed-use building, all of which bears the hotel's name, has hotel and commercial office space in the first 11 storys, with residential units on the upper 34 storys.
The facade of the renovated Hotel Georgia (1927), originally designed by Robert T. Garrow and John Graham. Photo: Bob Matheson
The shape of the tower is unusual. The first 35 floors angle outward on the building's south and east sides, providing passive solar shading and views of downtown Vancouver. The top dozen floors of the building lean back so that the balconies on the southeast corner have views of Seymour and Grouse mountains to the north.

The 11-story base of the new tower pays homage to the architectural detailing of the original Hotel Georgia.  The original hotel's terra cotta quoins were used to determine the color, size, and proportion of the stone panels covering the base of the new tower.
Typical residential floor plan of the Hotel Georgia tower. Image: IBI Group

SOM • New York City

A rendering of the updated design of the One World Trade Center tower in New York, designed by David Childs of SOM. Image: PANYNJ/ Durst Organization
As construction continues on the One World Trade Center tower, in New York City, the building's design team has released new renderings showing recent design changes. These updates to the 90-story, 1,776-foot (541-meter) building reflect adjustments to the building's base, comprising around 20 floors, and its spire.
Overview of a street-level entrance of One World Trade Center. Image: PANYNJ/ Durst Organization
The tower's metal-and-glass-clad base includes vertical fins arrayed in V-shaped pairs. The 3-million-square-foot (280,000-million-square-meter) building is currently scheduled for completion in 2014. One World Trade Center is also targeting LEED Gold certification.
The stone-clad lobby of 1 WTC. Image: PANYNJ/ Durst Organization

Frank Harmon Architect • Raleigh, North Carolina

The new three-story AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design, in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, was designed by Frank Harmon Architect and is the firm's new home. Photo: Courtesy Frank Harmon Architect PA
The offices of Frank Harmon Architect PA have been relocated to the third floor of the AIANC Center for Architecture and Design in downtown Raleigh -- the building that Mr. Harmon designed for the American Institute of Architects' North Carolina chapter.

Harmon's firm now occupies 1750 square feet (163 square meters) of the top floor of this three-story building on the corner of Peace and Wilmington Streets, near the Government Complex. The building itself was completed in December 2011.

Cannon Design • Cleveland, Ohio

The new Seidman Cancer Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, designed by Cannon Design. Photo: Mark Kempf Photography
The 375,000-square-foot (35,000-square-meter), 10-story Seidman Cancer Center, located on the  Cleveland, Ohio campus of University Hospitals, was designed by the St. Louis, Missouri office of Cannon Design. The new, free-standing building provides three times the area that was previously devoted to cancer care on the campus.

The 120-bed facility was designed with the capacity to be expanded to 150 beds. Inpatient bed floors offer cancer-specific facilities and programs. The building also houses outpatient services, including physician and clinical offices, and patient treatment areas organized to treat specific patient populations. The project is also registered for LEED certification.

At the base of the tower, a 13,000-square-foot (1,210-square-meter) sculpture garden is intended to provide patients with calm, comfort, and relaxation. Separated from the cityscape by a low wall, the garden features 120 varieties of plants including: trees, miniature evergreens, bamboo, flowers and shrubs. A wide curving path winds through the gardens and water features.

The narrow site designated for the hospital, and the building's substantial programmatic requirements, initially suggested that the hospital would take on the form of a thick rectangular box. Instead, the architects created a light-filled structure with curved walls clad in a metal-and-glass skin.
An upper-floor waiting room in the Seidman center. Photo: Mark Kempf Photography
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