In this issue:
· Living Classrooms Educate Future Scientists
· The Lights are Now Brighter on Broadway
· Blue Men Cultivate Young Kids
· Museum Connects Town to Ex-Architect-Turned-Painter
· Portugal Explores New Era of Science
· Korea Opens for Business with New Convention Center

Living Classrooms Educate Future Scientists

Lehman College.

Perkins + Will

Lehman College in the Bronx, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), recently broke ground on its new Science Building. The first of a three-phase project designed by Perkins + Will to create a science-oriented “campus within a campus,” the 69,000-square-foot building will feature state-of-the-art laboratories for research and learning along with a conference center and office space.

The building is intended to be used as a teaching tool. The central courtyard will enclose a wetland of native grasses hosting microbes capable of cleaning stormwater that can be recycled within. Faculty and students will be able to collect samples, understand how contaminants in the water impact the ecosystem, and study how natural processes can remove contaminants from the environment. In addition, displays will provide real-time information on building operations, such as the energy saved by solar hot water panels and the amount of water cleansed and re-circulated over the building’s lifespan. Additional sustainable features include preservation of the existing trees and reuse of the college’s 1950s rock garden; radiant floor heating; rooftop greenhouse; aggressive storm and greywater management systems; and provisions for future blackwater treatment. The project is CUNY’s first to go for LEED and is expected to receive LEED Gold.

The Lights are Now Brighter on Broadway

TKTS Booth.

Photo by Emile Wamsteker, courtesy Times Square Alliance

Theater goers are now saying, “Meet me under the red steps in Father Duffy Square.” The new TKTS Booth, the winner of a 2000 international ideas competition sponsored by the Theatre Development Fund and directed by the Van Alen Institute, was designed by Perkins Eastman based on Australia-based Choi Ropiha’s winning concept. The custom-fabricated fiberglass booth is enclosed in an amphitheatre-style red glass staircase, 27 steps high, boasting seating room for more than 500 people. The state-of-the-art slip-resistant glass steps are lit from below with LEDs and incorporate geothermal-based heating and cooling technology.

The new Duffy Square also doubles the amount of pedestrian space previously available and allows visitors to experience the Times Square “bowtie” on the staircase or sitting at street-level café tables. NY-based architecture and interior design firm Williams Fellows Architects, designed the plaza. This $19 million project was overseen by the Times Square Alliance, the Theatre Development Fund, and the Coalition for Father Duffy in a public-private partnership that included $11.5 million in city funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Blue Men Cultivate Young Kids

Blue Man Group Creativity Center.

Pentastudio Architecture

Pentastudio Architecture has been commissioned by the Blue Man Group, known for its elaborate theatrical shows, to design its newest venture — the Blue Man Creativity Center, scheduled to open in fall 2009. The school’s founders believe that a child’s physical environment has a great impact on his or her creative development, and spaces are designed to awaken the senses and inspire imagination via diverse materials, luminescent colors, tactile elements, and resonant sounds. The center, geared for children aged two through six, is located in NoHo. The circa 1830s buildings, became a designated landmark in 1965, and the architects’ plans have been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Renovations include a new wheelchair-accessible entry at sidewalk level. Future plans are for a detailed design of the school space itself, including specialized furniture, millwork, lighting, and media. The firm previously designed the group’s rehearsal, casting, and training studio.

Museum Connects Town to Ex-Architect-Turned-Painter

Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso.

Louise Braverman, Architect

Louise Braverman, FAIA, has designed the new Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso, slated to be built in 2010 with the goal of being a cultural and economic engine for Boticas, Portugal. The museum will exhibit approximately 80 artworks by Portuguese artist Nadir Afonso (born 1920), known for his abstract geometric paintings. The artist was formerly a practicing architect who worked for both Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. The museum is divided into two distinct yet connected parts — a cultural structure and a below-grade exhibition space covered by a park. A double-height entry hall featuring a ceramic mural by the artist with a second story balcony provides entrance to an auditorium. A black-and-white floor pattern, typical of Portuguese design, runs throughout and merges the outdoor café with the indoor entry, café, multipurpose space, and gift shop. The below-grade exhibition space, carved out of a granite hillside and covered with a planted green roof park, connects to the pastoral section of town. The excavated granite also functions as a retaining wall for the galleries, and a glass roof will provide indirect light for the art displays.

Portugal Explores New Era of Science

Gouverneur Healthcare Services.

RMJM Hillier

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for Portugal’s first major medical research center for cancer and the neurosciences: the 300,000-square-foot Champalimaud Foundation Centre. The centre is the first building in a major redevelopment plan for Belem, along the Tagus River in Lisbon. Three buildings have been designed by a team that includes Bombay-based Charles Correa Associates as design architect, NY-based RMJM Hillier as laboratory and clinical design architect, and Consiste of Portugal as the architect-of-record. The main building houses the diagnostic, treatment and wellness centers, research labs, and administrative offices. One building hosts a rainforest garden that is accessible to patients and staff, an auditorium, restaurant, exhibition area, and conference center. The third building has an open-air amphitheater facing the river for public performances and community events. The three buildings are arranged to create a 125-meter-long pathway leading across the site toward open seas; the plaza is open to the public and suited for events. As a symbolic gesture in ushering in a new era of scientific exploration and discovery for Portugal, the Foundation arranged for a small robot to place the first stone in the building’s foundation, expected to be completed in October of 2010.

Korea Opens for Business with New Convention Center

ConvensiA Convention Center.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Songdo ConvensiA Convention Center was officially handed over to the city of Incheon, by NY-based developer Gale International. The $155 million convention center, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, is the first building completed in the Songdo International Business District, a 1,500-acre master planned financial district. The ConvensiA offers one of the world’s longest column-free spans for exhibition space (145 meters). A sculptured roof resembles overturned boat hulls, and the center contains two boat-shaped exhibition halls and two-and-a-half gabled entrance spaces. Eventually, the facility will more than triple in size to eight halls and 10 entrance spaces. The “expandable” building will grow to 1.3 million square feet when complete. Songdo IBD will officially open in August 2009, as the first new city in the world designed and planned as an international business district.