Architecture People & Places


8 Spruce Street Wins Skyscraper Award

8 Spruce Street, by Frank Gehry, has received the 2011 Emporis Skyscraper Award. The building is located just a few blocks from the Woolworth Building (shown in backdrop) and the western end of the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Roberto Ventre
The 76-story luxury residential tower at 8 Spruce Street in New York City is the recipient of the 2011 Emporis Skyscraper Award. The first skyscraper designed by architect Frank Gehry, the 870-foot-tall (265-meter-tall) building's surface is clad in over 10,000 rippling stainless steel panels.

The slender T-plan tower, originally known as The Beekman, now being vigorously promoted by its owners as "New York by Gehry"or "New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street" stands atop an unremarkable, new-built five-story orange-brick base that occupies the full site footprint, with a generally indifferent street-level presence.

ArchitectureWeek contributing editor Michael Crosbie described 8 Spruce Street as "an arresting cliff of contorted stainless steel," and called the anomalous south facade "as smooth and somber as a parson's face on Sunday morning."  Photo: Michael J. Crosbie

MAD Architects in Mississauga, Ontario

MAD Architects designed the curvy Absolute World Towers, in Mississauga, Ontario. Photo: Tom Arban
The Absolute World Towers, a two-building residential high-rise project in Mississauga, Ontario, has been completed. These sinuous buildings, designed by Beijing, China-based MAD Architects, have an ovoid plan, with each successive floor rotated a few degrees with respect to the one below, resulting in a visual sense of the buildings twisting or dancing. The effect has earned the buildings the dubios nickname the "Marilyn Monroe" towers.
Tower A is 56 stories, while Tower B is 50. Photo: Iwan Baan

At each floor, the concrete slab cantilevers slightly beyond the building envelope to form a continuous balcony that is slightly deeper at the ends of the floor's longer axis. Between the slabs, a ribbon of floor-to-ceiling glazing encircles each level, forming the weather envelope.

Construction begins on Hudson Yards in New York City

Construction has begun on the South Tower (right) of the Hudson Yards development in New York City. Image: Courtesy visualhouse

Ground has broken on the first tower in the Hudson Yards project, on a 26-acre site near the Javits Convention Center on the western edge of Manhattan. The South Tower, one of two office towers designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) will comprise 47 floors and 1.7 million square feet (158,000 square meters).

Located on the northwest corner of 10th Avenue and 30th Street, the building will house the headquarters of Coach, Inc. and will target LEED Gold certification upon its completion in 2015.

Overview of the eastern half of the Hudson Yards development. Image: Courtesy visualhouse

The South Tower will be joined to its North Tower counterpart by a low-rise retail structure, called the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, that will run along 10th avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets.

KSG in Ulm, Germany

Kister Scheithauer Gross Architects and Urban Planners (KSG) designed the new 1,980-square-meter (21,300-square-foot) Weinhof Synagogue in Ulm, Germany. Photo: © Christian Richters
After 20 months of construction, a new synagogue, located in the historic center of Ulm, Germany, has been completed. The orthogonal, four-story building measures 24 by 16 meters (78 by 52 feet) and 17 meters (56 feet) high and is clad in courses of regular stone panels with a minimum number of punched openings.

Cologne-based Kister Scheithauer Gross Architects and Urban Planners (KSG) designed the 4.6-million-Euro building, which stands in the middle of the Weinhof, a short distance from the site of the former synagogue, which was destroyed during World War II.
Inside the worship space of the Weinhof Synagogue. Photo: © Christian Richters

The Weinhof Synagogue's most visually dramatic feature is a two-story stone screen that wraps around one corner at the second and third floors, shading a tall glazed walls behind which the worship space is located. The screen is composed of a regular arrangement of hexagons and triangles that form a repeating Star of David pattern.

2013 AIA Gold Medal to Thom Mayne

Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, is the 2013 AIA Gold Medal recipient. Photo: Mark Hanauer
Santa Monica, California-based architect Thom Mayne will receive the AIA Gold Medal award for 2013.

Mayne's work, through his firm Morphosis, deliberately seems to eschew the trappings of conventional architectural styles and forms. However, a consistent industrial material palette connects most of his buildings to each other.

Virtually all of Mayne's buildings present angular metal surfaces — often steel, either in the form of cladding or a screen — as their chief public-facing surface. Glass and concrete are also used extensively in Mayne's buildings.
Perforated metal screens shade the western facade of 41 Cooper Square, in New York City. Photo: Iwan Baan
And while his designs are undeniably attention-grabbing spectacles — Christopher Haworth of the Los Angeles Times described one building as "aggressive" — some of Mayne's work has seemed to suffer from technical shortcomings including a spectacularly failed attempt at LEED Platinum certification.

Renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer has died at age 104

Renowned, beloved Brazilian master architect Oscar Niemeyer has died at age 104.

He lived boldly, true to his principles, with great beauty.

Thank you for the gifts, Oscar.

News story: ... wanted=all

On his works: ... er-01.html

This photo is of his iconic but less-well-known "Eye Museum" (2002) in Curitiba: ... meyer.html

Photo: Kevin Matthews

Herzog and de Meuron in Water Mill, New York

Herzog & de Meuron designed the new Parrish Art Museum, in Water Mill, New York. Photo: © Matthu Placek
The Parrish Art Museum recently opened on a rural site in Water Mill, New York, a community in the East End area of Long Island. The 34,400-square-foot (3,200-square-meter) barn-like building was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, and is said to take some of its design inspiration from local vernacular architecture.

And indeed, its form is simple and clean, its profile a pair of adjoined gables running along the building's 615-foot (187-meter) length. Narrowly spaced wood rafters support the roof, which rests on cast-in-place exterior concrete walls in most places, and on steel columns and beams everywhere else.

A skylit gallery inside the Parrish Art Museum. Photo: © Matthu Placek
Inside, regular skylight placement near the roof peak admit diffuse daylight between the rafters. Outside, the roof's deep eaves shelter a patio area intended for use by museum patrons. Seating under the eaves takes the form of a concrete bench that is integral with the building's walls.

At one end of the building, the roof extends beyond the weather envelope, covering a larger outdoor event space.

Looking along the side wall of the museum, with built-in concrete benches. Photo: © Matthu Placek
With its regular structural system, honest use of materials, and simple vernacular forms, the quietly expressive Parrish Art Museum seems more likely to be the work of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt than of the radical Swiss duo who brought us the 2008 Beijing National Stadium (with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei), and a host of other avant-garde buildings.

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