HOLLER architecture Makes No Little Plans

Although separated by more than a century, the credos of Tobias Holler, AIA, LEED AP, and those of the celebrated architect Daniel Burnham seem to coincide. For Holler has seen fit to pursue work that questions accepted paradigms and upends traditional norms. He makes grand plans, and seeks to apply those plans across a variety of scales. Whether in the public sphere, a private residence, or the classroom, Holler demands that one dream big.

Bits and Mortar Dancing Together!

Architects, designers, inventors, and thinkers gathered in Tafel Hall on a weekend this Archtober. The symposium, as described by architect, digital design guru, and AIANY Technology Committee Co-chair Paul Seletsky, AIA, was to foster a critical discussion and create awareness of the relationship between science and art in the design process. For instance, how can a collaborative approach benefit architectural practice?

Two Schools Engage Students and Communities

At first glance, a school in the Bronx and a school in a Helsinki suburb appear to have little in common. The former is clad in brick and zinc panels and spans a long urban block, while the latter is comprised of two freestanding timber-paneled structures surrounded by a blanket of snow. Though these two schools are separated by thousands of miles, both serve large student populations – from primary through intermediate levels – that are diverse and low-income. By design, the New Settlement Community Campus and the Kirkkojärvi School foster a sense of belonging among students, and their multi-purpose spaces transform into community centers after hours.

Continue reading “Two Schools Engage Students and Communities”

Next Stop: Architecture

Event: Design by New York Subway Exhibit
Location: West 4th Street Subway Station, 10.10.12
Organizers: AIA New York Chapter

If you’ve taken the A, B, C, D, E, F, or M lines lately and gotten on or off a train at West 4th, you might have noticed that instead of the usual movies, food, and fashion advertisements, the station walls are lined with large, colorful photos of architecture projects. AIANY’s annual subway show, “Design by New York,” features 188 projects (86 in New York City) in 39 countries, all designed by AIANY Chapter member architects and architecture firms (below are a few more interesting statistics about the projects on view). The exhibit, covering the southern corridors of the West 4th station, showcases everything from competition entries and built projects, to small residential work and large-scale landscape and urban design projects. It represents well the scope of today’s diverse architectural practice.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the exhibit will be up until November 4th and is organized as a part of Archtober, Architecture & Design Mont. The showcase is a great opportunity for architects to share their work with the multitude of commuters who who use the station, bringing architectural design to the public. Happy Archtober!

The 147 U.S.-based projects include 73 public projects; 34 of the 86 projects in New York City are public projects; 106 firms have worked or are currently working on these projects; and 28 countries are represented. Projects by region:
12 projects in Asia, including 3 in China and 4 in Korea
11 projects in Europe
8 projects in the Middle East, including one in Iraq
2 projects in Central America (Mexico, Trinidad, and Tobago)
2 projects in North America (Canada)
1 project in Africa (Burundi)
1 project in Oceania (Australia)
1 project in South America (Brazil)

Elder Care Designed with All the Comforts of Home

Event: Total Design Approaches for Senior Living in Urban Environments: Green House and Small House
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.10.12
Speakers: Rachel Fredman, Community Liaison, Jewish Home Lifecare; David Hoglund, FAIA, Principal, Perkins Eastman; Timothy Barnhill, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Hord Coplan Macht
Moderator: Lorraine Hiatt, Ph.D., Environmental Gerontologist
Organizer: AIANY Design for Aging Committee

The Green House® and Small House models for the design of living facilities for seniors are rather new. These are person-centered approaches to senior care, with a vision of balancing needed physical care with concerns for social life, privacy, and dignity, reinforced through staffing and design. They offer additional choices for older adults needing skilled and long-term care by providing 24-hour licensed nursing care as in the traditional nursing home, but in an atmosphere that closely resembles a residential environment, with a trained team of caregivers dedicated and assigned to the total needs of the residents. In the process of designing both Small Houses and Green Houses, David Hoglund, FAIA, indicated that he has learned much about how significantly the physical environment can affect people’s lives. This is particularly true for seniors, whose physical capabilities tend to become more limited with age.

The first Small House opened in New Jersey in 2001; the first Green House opened in Mississippi in 2005. “Green House” is a trademarked organization fouonded by Dr. Bill Thomas, with a protocol that outlines both the relationships between seniors and caregivers, and household design elements to be included to maintain a residential atmosphere. The Green House organization offers project development consultation services and staff training, for which sites pay annual fees. As they have received feedback from operating Green Houses, it has modified some of the regulations over time. There are about 200 Green Houses now functioning around the U.S. (of 16,000+ licensed nursing homes). But the idea has also stimulated the development of variations and Small Houses, which are dedicated to the same person-centered care, but innovate to satisfy specific local conditions.

Perkins Eastman is designing an Upper West Side high-rise to extend the values of Small House design to an urban population of 414 residents. The plan is organized into households (essentially, large apartments), two per floor for 12 residents each. The units consist of a private bedroom and bathroom for each resident, a living room, dining room, an open kitchen where residents can help in preparing their meals if they wish, and an all-season screened “porch.” The furniture is movable rather than built in, so it can be arranged as each household chooses, and residents can personalize their bedrooms with some items of their own. Caregiving roles are being redefined to accommodate residents’ total physical and social needs. The lower floors of the building contain shared destinations: community rooms, a library, exercise/therapy rooms, spaces for social services and medical care, and an outdoor garden.

Rachel Fredman explained that Jewish Home Lifecare, the client for the Manhattan Green House, is an organization that has served the needs of seniors on the Upper West Side for well over 150 years. In their new facility they aim to keep the elders as active and independent as possible, including participation in decision-making about the operation of their households, and maintaining meaningful relationships with families and staff. The seniors become an integral part of the power structure, and are expected to thrive in that role.

Tim Barnhill, AIA, LEED AP, spoke about the Levindale Small House that he designed in Baltimore. For economic reasons, it is organized into households of 14 residents each (12 is the maximum permitted in the Green House model). There are three resident floors (“neighborhoods”), each containing two houses, each with its own front door, open kitchen, private bedrooms and baths, with libraries and laundry rooms that function very similarly to the households of the Green House. The facility was designed with much attention devoted to the resident rooms, including full-scale mockups of the bathrooms that were extensively tested to determine many of the details. Each house is designed compactly, with concern for the distances the residents and caregivers are required to travel from bedroom to dining room, and to other parts of the house. A Town Center on the ground floor contains common spaces: a synagogue, café and pub, gift shop, rotating art exhibit, spaces for social services and medical specialists, and an outdoor garden. Levindale’s residential scale relates well to that of the surrounding residential community.

These facilities provide significant new and improved options for senior living. Many Small Houses and Green Houses are being built on existing health-care campuses, where shared common areas offer advantages to new and established residents. And there are likely to be further innovations in the near future: scattered-site Small Houses and Green Houses; co-housing for seniors; elder-friendly cooperatives; elders and intentional intergenerational communities; and urban aging-in-place.

For more information about Green Houses and Small Houses visit the AIANY Design for Aging Committee website.

Arthur M. Rosenblatt Memorial Lecture – Craig Dykers: Being Alone Together

Craig Dykers, AIA, Senior Partner, Snøhetta

Kristen Richards

Event: Annual Arthur M. Rosenblatt Memorial Lecture – Being Alone Together: Managing the Museum as Mausoleum Syndrome
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.17.12
Speaker: Craig Dykers, AIA, Senior Partner, Snøhetta
Organizer: AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee

Noting that he is not a historian, Snøhetta Senior Partner Craig Dykers, AIA, proceeded to deliver an engaging, thoughtful, and often amusing description of “a somewhat hypothetical history of the museum” as the 6th Annual Arthur M. Rosenblatt Memorial Lecture. He speculated, using a sometimes ironic, sometimes humorous slide show, that “museums began not so long ago with the opening of the salons of the wealthy” to show off their collections of “exceptional objects.” As these patrons died, they were interred in “lavish and well-appointed” mausoleums. Subsequently, museums began to resemble the mausoleums, as if the artworks and artifacts were “mummified or embalmed” like their benefactors. Museums were “freezers for art” and status symbols for the well-to-do.

As the population grew in the industrial era, Dykers said, “people sought substitutes for museums in sideshows and travelling exhibitions, and themed museums became increasingly popular.” Spotlighting everything from science to dollhouses, they “could become a form of propaganda.” Not only that, “things could actually be sold in museums to all these people now visiting them”; museums themselves started to look like big-box retail stores and shopping malls, or “windowless, consumer-friendly art closets” in Dykers’ words.

The underground art movement begat experimental museums, where “social places and places for art were intertwined,” Dykers continued, which pressured traditional museums into becoming “after-hours party houses.” On the upside, the trend also saw the “simultaneous growth of the museum as an educational institution.” Added to the mix now is digital technology, and the idea of museum-as-spectacle. The “spectacular museum is among the most recent incarnations of the fetishistic container for art.” Even without art, Dykers posited, “they can change their urban conditions simply by virtue of their shape or color.”

In Dyker’s view, the definition of a museum “remains in a state of revision and redefinition” and that it’s time to “return power to the art rather than to its container.” He considers that, first and foremost, “a museum should not control the activities of those within,” but rather be a place for “unique thoughts shared at the same time – a place to be alone together.” As for his own definition for “museum”: “A place for art with people in it. A place for people with art in it.”

This was clearly evident in his whirlwind presentation of several of Snøhetta’s museum projects, from Norway and Denmark to Guadalajara and San Francisco, and, of course, the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at Ground Zero.

NightSeeing with Leni Schwendinger

Dale Cohen/Rob Rothblatt

Leni Schwendinger

Dale Cohen/Rob Rothblatt

Leni Schwendinger and Andrew Berman, AIA

Dale Cohen/Rob Rothblatt

On 10.12.12, the sun went down and the glowing wristbands came out at the AIANY Interiors Committee’s NightSeeing (TM) Tour of the Center for Architecture, led by lighting artist/designer Leni Schwendinger, a.k.a. the “Luminatrix.” A packed house of intrepid lighting sleuths joined her and the Center’s original architect Andrew Berman, AIA, for an in-depth look at the Center through the lens of lighting and its subtle nighttime effects. After Berman talked about designing the Center, and a brief presentation of Schwendinger ‘s public works (outdoor installations), she took that approach indoors to the Center’s many spaces.

Armed with a light meter and Schwendinger ‘s focused eye, the group hunted down lighting effects: reflections off of the green apples sitting on “The Edgeless School”s hanging desks, and primary and secondary reflections off the water pipes on the mezzanine. The ”The Best School in the World” exhibit in the 532 offered up 30 footcandles on the display cases and 50 on the walls; the Archtober Lounge, only 20 footcandles. In the annex’s rear garden the group sought subtle highlights, as if searching for priceless truffles. Down below, in the Tafel Hall, the group convened for a short course in bulb temperatures and the differences between full-spectrum incandescent and partial-spectrum fluorescent light. The Kelvins were everywhere.

Berman, a recent winner of an AIANY Design Award for his P.S.1 entry pavilion, explained many of the light-motivated planning decisions involved in the Center’s design. We saw the translucent floors of the old elevator shaft. As a finale, we dove under the sidewalk into the Center’s mechanical room, a low vaulted room (fluorescent, T8), espying one of the Center’s innovative geothermal heat pumps. These deep pipes, which advanced innovative heating and cooling in New York, allowed Berman to increase the façade window area above by 25%, creating bold transparency on LaGuardia Place. That, in turn, allows the public’s view to follow daylight’s lumens all the way to Tafel Hall, two floors down.

As we emerged from the Center into the (sodium?) street-lit Village, we were all a little more aware of the many facets of the night.

This program was organized by the AIANY Interiors Committee, ably assisted by Javier Maymi and Maria Rignack of Cooper Robertson. Special thanks to both Leni Schwendinger and Andrew Berman for a great evening, which extended well past closing time, and left us all a little less afraid of the dark.

In this issue:
• Up, Up and a Away
• Up the Creek
• Pavilion’s Progress for Campus Growth
• Now Fit for a President

Up, Up and a Away

Axial view at dusk


Forum view


Skylight with mirrors


Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the 46,000-square-foot Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, recently broke ground. It is the first new building since 1981 to be erected on the terrazzo (central square) of the academy’s campus, which was designed by SOM in 1954. With its several distinct entrances, each identifiable by a threshold of glass and light, the building acts a nexus, weaving together other spaces on campus. The building is in optical alignment with the North Star (Polaris), which the academy uses to symbolize its core values. When a cadet is seated inside the Honor Board Room, he/she is aligned precisely with the star, visible through an oculus and skylight. The CCLD also features a flexible gathering space for academic and social events, a series of break-out, conference, and seminar rooms, offices, a library, and a ceremonial stair. Expected to be completed in early summer 2014, the project has been designed to achieve a LEED Silver. The project received a 2012 AIANY Design Award in the Unbuilt category.

Up the Creek

Located in “The Confluence,” a luminous, lightweight pavilion called “The Poppy” that can hold up to 1,000 for concerts.

Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates/Thomas Phifer & Partners

“The Lattice” – Six lightweight and easily deployable trail bridges.

Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates/Thomas Phifer & Partners

“The Grove” – Live oak trees present a space for community gatherings.

Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates/Thomas Phifer & Partners

A team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Thomas Phifer & Partners has been selected to re-envision the role of Waller Creek in the context of a densely populated section of Austin, TX. Approximately 20 city blocks and equivalent to 1.5 miles in length and 28 acres in size, the project area is fragmented, undervalued, and in some places, dangerous during flooding. Charged by the Waller Creek Conservancy, the design scheme will transform the small creek into a vital component of urban infrastructure, an open stage for social interaction, and a restored source of natural beauty. The scheme calls for opening up the creek to the city by widening its path and shoreline whenever possible. A chain of parks will be embedded in five connected districts: the Lattice, Grove, Narrows, Refuge, and Confluence. From a pool of 31 submissions, the team was chosen from a short list consisting of CMG and Public Architecture; Turenscape + Lake|Flato Architects; Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, and Rogers Marvel Architects.

Pavilion’s Progress for Campus Growth

Courtesy Davis Brody Bond

Courtesy Davis Brody Bond

Courtesy Davis Brody Bond

Davis Brody Bond has been selected to design the new St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion on the St. Elizabeths Hospital east campus in Washington, DC. The multipurpose, 22-foot-high structure will form a backdrop to a plaza and will be the central point for activities that include casual dining, a farmers’ market, and other after-hours and weekend community, cultural, and arts events. Environmental responsibility was a driving design goal. Sustainable features include rainwater harvesting with a cistern capable of supplying irrigation and water for restrooms, as well as recycled or renewable materials such as canvas, burlap, “grasscrete,” and reclaimed wood. The pavilion will serve the needs of the 4,000 employees of the new Coast Guard headquarters now in the final phases of construction on the St. Elizabeths west campus. Future corporate development on the district-owned campus and the community at large will also benefit. The project team includes the engineering firm Robert Silman Associates and D.C.-based KADCON, a construction firm.

Now Fit for a President

Courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

Courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

Courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

In time for the 154th birthday of the 26th U.S. president, the American Museum of Natural History will officially reopen the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and the Hall of North American Mammals after a three-year refurbishment and enhancement project led by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. Originally designed by John Russell Pope and dedicated in 1936, the two-story memorial — which includes the Central Park West entrance, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall on the first floor — is New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd governor. The project includes a complete restoration of the Central Park West façade, which is now illuminated with energy-efficient exterior lighting, as well as the cleaning of a commemorative statue of Roosevelt in front of the museum. The fully renovated rotunda, a designated New York City interior landmark, showcases painter William Andrew Mackay’s expertly-conserved historical murals. An earlier phase of the project included dividing in two the display mount of the famous Barosaurus and Allosaurus exhibit at the center of the Rotunda, allowing visitors to walk between the famous combatants for the first time.

This Just In

The “Made in NY” Media Center for creative and tech industries will be located in DUMBO in a 1909 designated landmark. It will be developed by the Independent Feature Project, Two Trees Management; Brooklyn-based MESH Architectures will design the space. In addition to flexible workstations, the facility will contain classrooms, a public café, media arts gallery, lounge, numerous conference rooms, and a 98-seat white box screening/multimedia room.

Missed the 3rd annual MAS Summit for New York City? At press time, the MAS 2012 Livability Survey, proposals by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and WXY+ K&M for Grand Central Terminal, the GCT: The Next 100, Greening Manual for Historic Rowhouses, NYC Privately Owned Public Spaces are online. Foster + Partner’s GCT proposal and other presentations and panels should be available in the near future.

The Urban Web, a multi-sensory interactive installation that transforms an underused portion of the Coleman Oval Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge on the LES is on view now through November 10th. The installation is a project of Architecture for Humanity New York.

The Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) issued a new report: “Making Midtown: A New Vision for a 21st Century Garment District”. The report brings together all of the key stakeholders to develop a shared vision and specific actions to ensure that the Garment District will continue to be an extraordinary source of fashion innovation and jobs, as well as a desirable destination neighborhood for businesses and people of all kinds.

The first ever Lighting PlugFest is coming to the 3rd annual Control This! conference and expo on lighting control and energy management systems, at The Metropolitan Pavilion, November 7.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has given Rogers Marvel Architects the green light to design a rooftop bar and terrace, doubles squash court, and additional guest rooms at the Harvard Club of New York. The club occupies several buildings, including the original neo-Georgian McKim Mead & White building from 1894 and an eight-story glass -and-steel addition by Davis Brody Bond completed in 2003. The LPC also designated the Rainbow Room, the renowned art deco-style supper club atop 30 Rock, as the city’s 115th interior landmark. The commission also designated the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District, capping a two-year effort to protect more than 330 architecturally and historically significant buildings that are synonymous with the immigrant experience.

Matter Practice is installing Peace & Quiet, a dialogue station that will serve as a quiet space for talks between veterans and civilians in Times Square. The station will be active from 11.11–11.21.12.

The Park Avenue Armory continues to make progress on a $200 million capital renovation project designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Most recently, the Armory unveiled the restored Park Avenue façade, including a new copper mansard roof, reconstructed masonry, new perimeter lighting, and the restoration of the building’s original 1881 iron fence. In addition, the restoration of the historic Board of Officers Room is officially underway and scheduled for completion in September 2013.

The University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, has topped out, and is expected to be completed in 2013.

Storefront in Art and Architecture is once again hosting Critical Halloween, an architectural costume party devoted to the most feared ghosts in the world of art and architecture: Banality and Metaphor. Dress accordingly.

When in Rome…there’s still time to see Urban Movement Design’s “UNIRE/UNITE,” winner of the 2012 Young Architects Program (YAP) MAXXI, on view through November 4. The installation offers urban furniture that promotes exercise and play in response to the obesity problem.

Congrats to Pratt Institute on its 125th Anniversary.


The Edgeless School: Design for Learning

On view through 01.19.12, in conjunction with “The Best School in the World: Seven Finnish Examples from the 21st Century,” on view through 10.31.12.

Archtober Lounge

On view through 10.31.12

Subway Show 2012: Design by New York

On view through 11.04.12

The Harlem Edge | Cultivating Connections

On view through 10.31.2012

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

On view through 12.01.2012

CFAF Celebrates Archtober with Free Family Days at the Center

Hundreds turned out for the openhousenewyork/OHNY Weekend Family Festival at the Center to take part in a number of architecture and design activities.

Eveline Chang

Children and parents alike enjoy working on the free hands-on activities provided by participating organizations.

Eveline Chang

A child proudly displays her colorful rendering of Eldridge Street Synagogue.

Eveline Chang

In partnership with the Center for Architecture’s 2nd annual Archtober – architecture and design month in New York City – the Center for Architecture Foundation welcomed new architecture enthusiasts of all ages by offering three free family days. More than 500 people stopped by the Center for Architecture on 10.6-7.12 for the openhousenewyork Weekend Family Festival, as part of the 10th annual OHNY Weekend. CFAF, in partnership with OHNY, hosted several local organizations, including Eldridge Street Synagogue, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Noble Maritime Collection, No Longer Empty, and Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92. Children and their families were provided with free interactive and engaging activities, creating stained glass windows, decorating architectural masks, and designing the ship of their dreams.

At FamilyDay@theCenter on 10.20.12, dozens more participants explored the role of light in design and built architectural lanterns; a variety of translucent and colorful models dazzled as they were illuminated from within. Their work will be proudly displayed at Heritage Ball, the Center for Architecture’s annual fundraising event 10.25.12.

CFAF would like to extend a special thanks to all the volunteers who made these Family Days possible, particularly from the Community Service Center at the New York Institute of Technology.

The Foundation offers Family Days at the Center for Architecture monthly on Saturdays. The next FamilyDay@theCenter – Design a School of the Future – will take place on 11.3.12, focusing on the Center’s exhibition, “The Edgeless School: Design for Learning.” CFAF will also be hosting a panel in conjunction with “The Edgeless School” and Archtober on 10.30.12, entitled Making a School: Principals and Architects in Conversation. For more information about the Center for Architecture Foundation’s upcoming family, K-12, adult, and exhibition programs, visit www.cfafoundation.org.