Architecture People & Places


EPA National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement

by Kaid Benfield

BLVD Transformation, Lancaster, CA (courtesy of San Diego chapter, American Planning Assn)

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced seven winners of its 2012 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement.  As I have noted in the past, the smart growth awards are given for creative, outstanding initiatives that protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies.  One of this year’s winners is a personal favorite, Denver’s Mariposa (South Lincoln) revitalization.

The 2012 award winners are being recognized in four categories, below:

 BLVD Transformation, Lancaster, CA (courtesy of Sargent Town Planning)

Overall Excellence
BLVD Transformation Project, Lancaster, California
The redesign of Lancaster Boulevard helped transform downtown Lancaster into a thriving residential and commercial district through investments in new streetscape design, public facilities, affordable homes, and local businesses.  Completed after eight months of construction, the project demonstrates how redesigning a corridor guided by a strategic vision can spark new life in a community.  The project has generated almost $300 million in economic output and nearly 2,000 jobs.

Mariposa equitable planning process (courtesy of Mithun)

Equitable Development
Mariposa District, Denver, Colorado

It’s hard for me to overstate how much I love this project.  In particular, the redevelopment of Denver’s historic and ethnically diverse South Lincoln neighborhood is turning an economically challenged area into a lively and transit-accessible community enthusiastically supported by current residents.  The community’s master plan preserves affordable housing while adding energy-efficient middle-income and market-rate homes.  Influenced by extensive community engagement, the newly named Mariposa development will include actions to improve the health of residents, reduce pollution, and control stormwater runoff.

Lord, Aeck & Sargent in Dahlonega, Georgia

Single-pane floor-to-ceiling lobby windows were replaced with more energy-efficient glazing as part of the remodel of Gaillard Hall designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent. Photo: © 2012 Jonathan Hillyer
Atlanta-based Lord, Aeck & Sargent (LAS) recently completed a renovation of Gaillard Hall, a 1950s military barracks building on the campus of North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Georgia. The architects worked to preserve as much of the International-style building's character as possible, while meeting the modern needs of a college dormitory.

So, while changes to the exterior were fairly minimal, the concrete-and-brick building's interior underwent extensive remodeling and modernization. One result of the reconfiguration is that the building now includes accommodation for 166, compared with the original bed count of 280.

The firm chose to largely preserve the building's dramatic split-level lobby, which helps to mediate the building's interaction with a significant site slope.

Inside the split-level lobby of Gaillard Hall. Photo: © 2012 Jonathan Hillyer

Another preservation decision made by the LAS team was to keep the building's exisiting glazed-terra-cotta hallway walls. This was accomplished in part by converting one in three double-occupancy dorm rooms into a bathroom that serves the two adjoining spaces, along with a separate mechanical room. This allowed the updated configuration to work with the existing doorway placements. Each semi-suite has its own entry and the middle door provide hallway access to the mechanical room.

THA Architecture in Eugene, Oregon

The new Lewis Integrative Science Building, in Eugene, Oregon, designed by THA Architecture with HDR. Photo: Lara Swimmer
The University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon, has opened a new $65 million, science facility that brings together researchers from a range of different disciplines including Neuroscience, Life Science, Material Science, Physical Science, and Computer Science.

Designed by THA Architecture with HDR, Inc, the Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building (LISB) is a 103,000-square-foot (9,570-square-meter) addition to the university's science complex. And although the building is clad in brick, like many older projects in the complex, it is a stylistic departure from its 1990s predecessors, in whose designs the influence of Charles Moore can be seen.

The LISB atrium. Photo: Lara Swimmer

In keeping with a long-standing science-complex tradition, the building is connected to its neighbors. In one case, a glazed atrium connects it with an adjacent building. And in another case, enclosed bridges link it to another structure.

Foster + Partners in New York City

The 44-story luxury apartment building at 50 United Nations Plaza was designed by Foster + Partners. Image: dbox/ Foster+ Partners

Construction has begun on 50 United Nations Plaza, a 44-story residential office tower designed by Foster + Partners. Developed by Zeckendorf Development with Global Holdings, the luxury apartment building occupies a prominent location within United Nations Plaza, with views of the celebrated UN Headquarters building, the East River, and the Manhattan skyline.

According to the firm, "The tower's massing respects the height and scale of its neighbours. Its three slender volumes appear faceted in elevation, visually reducing the building's scale, while emphasising its vertical form."

Each of those three volumes becomes a vertical series of bay windows, which help to increase views and increase the size of living spaces within the building.  Stainless steel bands provide horizontal punctuation of the bay windows. The firm indicated that this detailing is particularly meant to recall the iconic Art Deco styling of nearby buildings.

Zaha Hadid Wins Tokyo National Stadium Competition

Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition to design the Tokyo National Stadium. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

News sources are reporting that Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won the international competition for the new Tokyo National Stadium, an 80,000-seat stadium planned for a site in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, Japan.

The new 290,000-square-meter (3.12-million-square-foot) stadium will be built on a site, adjacent to Fumihiko Maki's Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (1990), and will replace an existing open-air stadium that was used for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games. A 2019 completion date for the project is anticipated.

Aerial rendering of the new National Stadium, which will dwarf the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects
The firm described the building's design with these words:
"The building volume sits gently within the urban landscape and is articulated as an assembly of stadium bowl, structural skeleton, cladding membranes and the museum, together forming an intricate structural composition that is both light and cohesive. The perimeter of the bowl structure becomes a new inhabited bridge, a continuous exhibition space that creates a new type of journey for visitors flowing along the project’s North-South axis."

AIA 2030 Commitment Program - Case Studies in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle...

The Miller Hull Partnership designed a LEED Platinum-certified four-story office and education building (2009) for the LOTT Clean Water Alliance in Olympia, Washington. Photo: Nic Lehoux
The AIA has released a series of case studies about five firms in the institute's 2030 Commitment Program. Firms in the program work toward a goal of carbon-neutral building design by 2030.

HOK, The Miller Hull PartnershipHigh Plains ArchitectsHMC Architects, and Serena Sturm Architects are highlighted in the 30-page document, which was prepared by Megan Turner, the 2012 AIA/COTE COTE Research Scholar.

Download the case study PDF at:

The AIA's plan for a deep energy retrofit of its headquarters building (1973), in Washington, D.C., originally scheduled for completion in 2012, has reportedly been delayed because of funding issues. Photo: Kevin Matthews/ Artifice Images
The AIA's announcement reads:
"In order to examine the benefits and lessons learned from firms participating in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment Program, five participating firms were interviewed and case studies documenting their experiences were developed.  The program began in 2009 and is a voluntary initiative for AIA member firms and other entities in the built environment that asks these organizations to make a pledge, develop multi-year action plans, and implement steps that can advance AIA’s goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030.

John Portman & Associates in Nanning, China

John Portman & Associates has won the design competition for the Tianlong Fortune center. 
Image: Courtesy Portman
John Portman & Associates (Portman) has been selected to design Tianlong Fortune Center, a 108-story skyscraper in Nanning, China.  The architectural design competition was led by developer Guangxi Wei Zhuang Real Estate Co., Ltd., and the Nanning Planning Bureau. As a finance and trade center, the building will be home to banks and financial consultants.

As the image provided shows, the building should look great from a helicopter.

The upper portion of the 1,312-foot-tall (400-meter-tall) tower includes a five-star hotel, while floors immediately above the hotel provide an exclusive executive club and destination restaurant. The level below the hotel lobby will feature a hotel's fitness center, pool, restaurant, business center and other amenities. The remainder of the tower is office space.

Zaha Hadid in East Lansing, Michigan

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo: Paul Warchol
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, opened on Saturday, November 10. The 46,000-square-foot (-square-meter) project was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and features a facade of pleated stainless steel and glass.

Dedicated to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art, the Broad Art Museum at MSU will serve as both an educational resource for the campus community and a cultural hub for the Mid-Michigan region. The museum will present contemporary works within a historical context through access to a study collection of more than 7,500 objects, ranging from the Greek and Roman periods to modern art.
A gallery space of the Broad Museum. Photo: Paul Warchol

The two-story building features galleries for special exhibitions, modern and contemporary art, new media, photography, and works on paper. The facility also includes an education wing, a works-on-paper study center, a gift shop, and a café. Adjacent to the museum is an outdoor sculpture garden and a large pedestrian plaza.

Broad Museum site plan drawing. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

Maggie's Centre Gartnavel wins 2012 Doolan Prize

Maggie's Centre Gartnavel, designed by OMA, received the 2012 Andrew Doolan Prize. Photo: Philippe Ruault
Glasgow, Scotland's new Maggie's Centre Gartnavel – like its sister projects – sets out to provide space where people can feel welcome, at home and cared for: a haven. The architects – the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) – has sited the building on a slight rise, but cut it into the slope so that on two sides it looks at banked landscape.

The building received the 2012 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, given by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
Overview of Maggie's Centre Gartnavel. Photo: Charlie Koolhaas

AIA Columbus Awards 2012

DesignGroup designed the Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse, Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Brad Feinknopf
An aquatics center on a wetlands site, and a university student services building received top marks from the AIA Columbus 2012 design awards program. Other winning projects include a new-built courthouse, vetrenary office, and two adaptive reuse arts buildings – a city arts facility in a former school building and a design school in a renovated auto dealership.

Highlands Park Family Aquatic Center, Westerville, Ohio
Photo: Matt Carbone
Instead of following a traditional municipal pool design approach, the design team sought to blend the project with the surrounding wetlands. In order to minimize the project's impact on the existing natural habitat, a rainwater collection system was installed using green roofs, rain gardens, retention ponds, bioswales, and pervious concrete.

Zaha Hadid Architects in Montpellier, France

Zaha Hadid designed the new pierresvives building. Photo: Hélne Binet
The pierresvives building, in Montpellier, France, is the new home of three institutions for the department de l'Herault: the archive, the library, and the sports office. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the four-story building is clad in concrete and glass, with horizontal gold-colored fins highlighting portions of the glazing.
pierresvives section drawing looking east. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

The 35,000-square-meter (376,000-square-foot) building is clearly perceived from a distance as a single structure, and from close up, three parts can be discerned in the facade. Dynamic ribbons of glazing, detailed with Hadid's iconic branching-lines motif, serve to separate portions of the facade, which is predominantly finished in concrete. This glazing is expressive of major circulation elements, including corridors and atriums, and plays some role in suggesting boundaries between the three major pieces.

An upper-floor lobby inside the pierresvives building, near the auditorium volume. Photo: Iwan Baan
Hadid uses the metaphor of a tree laying on its side to describe how the facade expresses the building's programmatic disposition, and this is where the branching lines in the glazing help to reinforce the comparison.

Safdie Architects in Melbourne, Australia

Safdie Architects has designed the new home of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Courtesy Safdie Architects

Safdie Architects has revealed its design for a new Music Conservatorium building at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia. The four-story building, home to the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, will include a 500-seat recital hall, a multipurpose hall, amphitheater, a recording studio, 40 individual practice rooms, a jazz club with cafe and restaurant services, and music department offices and support spaces.

Composed of glass, precast concrete, and stainless steel, Moshe Safdie's design for the building is composed of two major building elements. The Conservatorium's more staid, rectangular portion, with a skylit central atrium, contains the building's office and classroom spaces. The second component is a large performance wing that contains the recital hall. This wing splits, culminating in two performance spaces whose end walls are a series of stepped, curved-shell light scoops that will wash diffuse daylight into the rooms.

Two-minute virtual walkthrough of the Music Conservatorium. Video: Courtesy Monash University

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