LeBrun Travel Grant Recipient Richard William Hayes, AIA

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English architect Sir John Soane’s London home (left); the site of medieval castle ruins and a hermit’s cell in Knaresbourgh, Yorkshire.

Richard William Hayes, AIA

In the spring of 2009, Richard William Hayes, AIA, was awarded the Center for Architecture’s Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant to research English architect Sir John Soane and the monastic suite he designed for his London home. Hayes received his MArch from Yale University and has worked as a project architect for Rafael Viñoly Architects, MR Architecture and Décor, and Alexander Gorlin Architects. Glenda Reed, operations manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation, spoke with Hayes about his experience:

Glenda Reed: What is your interest in Sir John Soane and his monastic suite?
Richard William Hayes, AIA: Soon after the death of Soane’s wife in 1815, he began referring to a “monk’s cell” in his house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, eventually carving out a sequence of spaces he called the Monk’s Parlor, Monk’s Cell, and Monk’s Yard. As architectural historian John Summerson observed, Soane conceived of the suite as a way to satirize the rising fashion for Gothic antiquarianism, as the setting for a fictional alter-ego, “Padre Giovanni,” and as a poetic arrangement of spaces that explored ideas of the Picturesque. Although the literature on Soane has grown enormously over the past few years, his monastic suite has not yet received extensive study.

GR: Where did your travels take you?
RWH: I travelled to London and researched Soane’s house by placing it in the context of the architect’s career and English architecture of the Regency era. I pursued research in the library of Soane’s house-museum, where I learned that he owned copies of two novels that introduced the theme of the monk into English literature, Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto and M.G. Lewis’s The Monk. The museum’s staff allowed me to enter into spaces normally closed off to visitors, including the Monk’s Cell and the Monk’s Yard. I also visited several important sites related to this theme, including Soane’s suburban retreat, Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing, where the architect incorporated a monk’s dining room years before he purchased the three adjacent townhouses in Lincoln’s Inn Fields that became his house-museum. I also travelled to Knaresbourgh in Yorkshire, the evocative site of medieval castle ruins and a hermit’s cell, which Soane visited and studied in 1816 as he devised his monastic suite. Lastly, I visited Walpole’s Strawberry Hill in Twickenham as an example of the Gothic antiquarianism Soane sought to satirize.

GR: What has receiving the LeBrun Travel Grant meant to you personally and professionally?
RWH: Travelling to England to work on this research project was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I am indebted to the Center for Architecture for affording me this opportunity. As an architect whose career has concentrated on residential design, I am particularly interested in how Soane introduced layers of meaning into this sequence of rooms in his own house. While his monastic suite may seem a jeu d’esprit of limited interest, it is my contention that the idea of the monk has wide-ranging implications in 19th-century architectural culture, evident in the famous photographs of American architect H.H. Richardson dressed in a monk’s cowl. This theme may seem far removed from practicing as an architect in the 21st century, but the ability to incorporate meaning, humor, and narrative in residential interiors remains important — can houses today aspire to more than formalism or containers for consumer goods?

The Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant was established to further the personal and professional development of an architect in early or mid-career through travel. The deadline for the 2010 Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant is Monday, 11.01.10. For more information visit http://www.cfafoundation.org/lebrun.

Center for Architecture Foundation Volunteers Share Their Stories

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Center for Architecture Foundation volunteer Ted Mineau (left). Parents and children at a Family Day program.

Maggie Yolen

The Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) invites individuals to assist with architecture and design education programs, administration of scholarships and grants programs, and the annual exhibition. Glenda Reed, operations manager at the CFAF, talked to volunteers Lisa Davis and Ted Mineau about their experiences:

Glenda Reed: Why were you interested in volunteering with the CFAF and what did you do as a volunteer?
Lisa Davis: I wanted the opportunity to be in touch with the architectural community and share my knowledge with others. As a volunteer, I helped teach students in elementary through high school how to use various architectural tools, such as scale rulers. I also helped students with their projects, from designing their own Brooklyn Bridge to planning a lot in a city block.

GR: What was your time like with the Learning By Design:NY in-school residency program?
LD: Volunteering taught me a lot about the ability of young people to learn architecture and to care about its relevance in their individual communities. You could say my volunteering with the LBD in-school residency program was an exchange of encouragement. Some of the students needed one-on-one attention to both understand concepts of the assigned project and also to believe in themselves enough to accomplish the assignments. But each student that I worked with also gave back to me a confidence in my own architectural ability.

GR: Ted, can you tell me why you were initially interested in volunteering with the CFAF? How was volunteering at our Family Day programs?
Ted Mineau: I like architecture and I wanted to volunteer for an organization whose work I respect. Now I’ve participated in three events and the Family Day programs follow a great formula: introduction, education (slideshow, gallery tour, etc.), and then hands-on planning and construction. Just like real life! I especially like seeing the kids learning about architecture and then working on a family project to make something special. It’s great to watch parents and children spend quality time together.

If you are interested in volunteering with the CFAF, contact the Foundation at (212) 358-6133 or info@cfafoundation.org with your interest and availability. Each volunteer is asked to submit a résumé and meet with a CFAF staff person to best match his/her interests and experience with the programs.

Inside Alice Tully Hall with Renfro, Smith, Rosenbaum, and Gilmartin

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(left) Alice Tully Hall; (right) New Building New York tour guides (l-r): Charles Renfro, AIA; Benjamin Gilmartin, AIA; Sylvia Smith, FAIA, LEED AP; Peter Rosenbaum, Assoc. AIA.

www.TimothySchenck.com

Charles Renfro, AIA, of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, and Sylvia Smith, FAIA, LEED AP, of FXFOWLE Architects, welcomed New Buildings New York tour goers to Lincoln Center’s newly renovated Alice Tully Hall on 07.29.10. Throughout the tour, the duo presented the concepts behind the renovation.

One of the main goals was to work with the existing structure. A large slice was removed from the façade on the southeast corner of the building and replaced with glass walls, creating what Renfro euphemistically called an “architectural striptease.” The result is a lobby connected to the city with natural light and street views. Renfro and Smith also discussed the Julliard School’s expansion, including a new dance studio with windows that look out onto Broadway, making it one of Julliard’s most popular studios.

As Benjamin Gilmartin, AIA, senior associate at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, explained, in contrast to the façade and lobby, which were designed with an eye toward the public, the interior was designed to create a heightened sense of intimacy. According to Peter Rosenbaum, Assoc. AIA, of Fisher Dachs Associates, the theater design firm that worked on Alice Tully Hall, this was achieved by quieting the noise from the old air-conditioning system and subway trains, as well as streamlining the look of the interior walls. Rounded walls are covered with a paper-thin wood veneer that is backlit by a series of LED lights to make the room “blush.” According to Renfro and Smith, all of the wood for the space came from one Moabi tree.

The Center for Architecture Foundation gives a special thanks to Renfro, Smith, Rosenbaum, and Gilmartin for leading the tour. The next New Buildings New York event is a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Houses in Pleasantville, NY, on 10.02.10 in conjunction with Architecture Week. For more information and to subscribe to the New Buildings New York mailing list, contact info@cfafoundation.org.

Foundation Fosters Life-Long Design Appreciation

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Kimani Reid.

Glenda Reed

Glenda Reed, operations manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), caught up with Kimani Reid, a former CFAF after-school program participant and summer studio intern. Reid is now 18-years-old and currently attends NYC College of Technology. He plans to transfer to Parsons The New School for Design within a year, where he wants to major in illustration with a concentration in animation. In the future, Kimani would like to start his own animation company.

Glenda Reed: How did you first get involved with CFAF programs?

Kimani Reid: I first came in contact with the CFAF at my old school, P.S. 9. I was volunteering for Park Day — a CFAF program where kids created their own designs for their ideal park. Then, I joined the after-school program, where we created our own designs for South Street Seaport.

GR: Was it the high school after-school program that focused on the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee’s 2008 design competition to re-envision the South Street Seaport?

KR: Yes. We visited the empty buildings at the seaport and then created our own designs for how the site could be used in the future.

After that, I became an intern for the Summer Studio programs. I participated in one that used Google SketchUp to redesign the subway entrance for the South Ferry terminal.

I joined the after-school program because I wanted to see how architecture can go hand-in-hand with illustration and 3-D animation. When we used SketchUp in the studio, it reminded me of how animators design — starting in clay and working up to a 3-D digital model. Architects have an even tougher time than animators, though, because they actually have to build their designs.

GR: Now that a few years have passed, is there anything particularly memorable about your CFAF experiences?

KR: I gained an appreciation for architecture. During one Summer Studio about waterfront design, we took students to a naval architect’s office. Before that visit I just thought people bought boats. Now I think about a boat’s design. I can see how architecture plays a role in practically everything, from building yachts to constructing subway entrances.

For more information about CFAF programs, visit www.cfafoundation.org.

Learning By Design:NY Students Design and Build a Rooftop Village

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Students at the New Design High School build their Rooftop Design Village.

Tim Hayduk

Over the past three years, students at New Design High School in partnership with Learning By Design:NY (LBD:NY) have been designing and building Rooftop Design Village. This on-going, student-driven project currently consists of a wood shop as well as a greenhouse and deck that are close to completion.Future plans include building planters and a food kiosk for community events. Rooftop Design Village is a hands-on learning experience that adds a real-world component to the New Design curriculum.

Rooftop Design Village is a hands-on learning experience that adds a real-world component to the New Design curriculum. LBD:NY residencies often introduce architecture to students unfamiliar with design concepts, but these students are experienced. At New Design High School, class assignments include everything from designing and building a catapult to experimenting with lighting and furniture. According to LBD:NY educator Erik Ratkowski, what sets the Rooftop Design Village apart from other assignments is the large-scale and long-term nature of the project. Such projects require students to be persistent in their problem solving and patient in achieving results.

Many students across all four grades have worked in teams on small aspects of the overall project. “Students surprised themselves by being able to do something that they wouldn’t have known they could do,” said Ratkowski, who works with design teacher Brian Lentini. Ratkowski and Lentini teach kids technical and problem solving skills. Students begin the construction phase by learning how to hold a hammer and use a drill, then use these skills to solve open-ended problems. When the wind threatened to blow the roof off of the greenhouse, it was a student who devised how to secure it in a new way.

Design-build projects such as this show students their capabilities and introduce them to new fields. Scott Conti, principal at New Design High School, believes that “Learning By Design:NY is a doorway into professions that low-income, urban kids normally can’t get into — architecture, urban planning, graphic design. Our idea at New Design is to use programs like Learning By Design:NY to be transformative in these kids lives.” New Design High School wants to continue to ask students to design and build structures for the rooftop village project in the years to come.

If you would like to help support the Rooftop Design Village or donate your time to this Learning By Design:NY residency, please contact Tim Hayduk at thayduk@cfafounfation.org.

The Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) thanks Cornucopia Project, Loud and Public, and Open Road for being instrumental in bringing together knowledge, resources, and enthusiasm to the project. Also a special thank you to Jason Spodek of City Lumber who donated all of the building materials that will make this project a built reality. The CFAF is very grateful to have received funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

New Buildings New York: Window into 100 11th Ave

Event: New Buildings New York Tour of 100 11th Ave
Location: 100 11th Avenue (corner of West 19th Street)
Tour Guides: Francois Leininger — Atelier Jean Nouvel; John Beyer, FAIA — Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Organizers: Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF)

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View from inside 100 11th Ave.

Timothy Schenck, http://www.timothyschenck.com/

Francois Leininger of Ateliers Jean Nouvel said Jean Nouvel, Hon. FAIA, was inspired by the Hudson River on the New Buildings New York tour of 100 11th Avenue. Nouvel envisioned a façade made of windows of different sizes, shapes, colors, and angles that would mirror the river with as many reflections and colors as possible throughout the day. The challenge was to turn this idea into a feasible design. The result is 1,600 windows in 32 different sizes.

From inside a model apartment on the eighth floor, tour participants examined the window system and took in the views of the river and city skyline. The windows are assembled into 37-foot-long “mega panels” constructed in China with the glass preinstalled (the panel lengths were limited by the dimensions of shipping containers). According to John Beyer, FAIA, of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, each mega panel is outfitted with aluminum on the exterior, which is mirrored by a steel structure on the interior. The steel, painted to mimic its aluminum counterpart, supports the building.

Each floor of the luxury condominium has four apartments oriented to maximize views of the river, and tour participants explored several of them. Punched buildings on the sides and rear of the building looked like paintings: framing curated views of the city.

The tour finished with refreshments in the top floor penthouse and roof terrace while the sun set over the Hudson River. The Center for Architecture Foundation would like to give a special thanks to Leininger and Beyer for making this evening possible. All New Buildings New York proceeds benefit youth and family programs at the Center for Architecture. If you are interested in attending future New Buildings New York tours, contact info@cfafoundation.org and ask to be put on the mailing list. For more information, visit the Center for Architecture Foundation‘s website.

Youngsters Strengthen Bronx Pride with ENYA Challenge

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Drawings of neighborhood landmarks (left); fifth-grader Tammy with nail salon model.

Glenda Reed

Fifth-graders in a Learning By Design:NY after school program are studying their own Highbridge neighborhood in preparation for tackling the AIANY Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) Committee’s 2010 design challenge — re-envisioning an arts center on the historic High Bridge, based on the HB:BX Building Cultural Infrastructure competition. Through walking tours, site visits, and research around P.S. 73 in the Bronx, students have identified official landmarks in their community, such as Yankee Stadium, as well as personal, “unofficial” landmarks, such as Nelson Park. According to student Najae, neighbors gather together at Nelson Park for local basketball tournaments where crowds “oooh” and “ahhh.” After the games are over there is a big celebration and “no one gets mad at whoever loses.” The Bronx Museum of Art, the Andrew Freedman Home, Jason’s Bodega, and graffiti memorials are among the selected sites. Using historical facts, architectural information, and personal narrative, students are writing, recording, and publishing a cell phone audio tour to these neighborhood landmarks.

Having informed themselves about their community, students practiced their design skills by re-imagining an empty lot a few blocks from their school. How should this lot be used? What does the community need? Tammy has chosen to design a nail salon. Ki-ara and Tracy are designing a Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts headquarters. This exercise will be used as a reference point for the ENYA challenge.

These in-depth neighborhood studies will culminate in the students designing an arts center for the High Bridge. Following the basic guidelines professionals adhered to in the official ENYA ideas competition, P.S. 73 fifth-graders will re-envision the use of the historic High Bridge structure as cultural resource for the local community. Drawings and models created in the P.S. 73 after school program will be on display at the Bronx Museum of the Arts 06.03-06.10, alongside ideas from the High School for Art and Design and the High School of Math, Science and Engineering at the City College of New York. The student-created walking tour will also be available at the Bronx Museum, as well as at the ENYA competition exhibition at the Center for Architecture this fall.

More than a new lens to their community and a channel for civically minded creativity, the P.S. 73 after school program has shown students new possibilities for their lives. Najae now wants to be an architect. Among the many dreams she has for her future, she would like to “work at the Bronx Museum and share my knowledge so that kids can one day be an architect like me.”

The P.S. 73 after school program has been greatly enriched by the Foundation’s collaboration with ENYA. Special thanks to committee member Brandon Cook for volunteering his time and expertise.

Also, special thanks to the Bronx Museum of the Arts for helping enable the program to grow, as well as providing space in the museum to hang the show, featuring work by the High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, and the High School for Art and Design, in addition to P.S. 73. The program was supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Finally, special thanks to Councilmember Helen Foster for her generosity.

For more information about having a Learning By Design:NY program in your school, visit www.cfafoundation.org/for-teachers or contact Tim Hayduk at THayduk@CFAFoundation.org.

New Buildings New York: Bank of America Tower Tour

New Buildings New York tour goers were introduced to the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park by Robert Fox, AIA, of Cook+Fox, E.J. Lee of Gensler, and John Lijewski of Bank of America. In a panel discussion they described the environmentally sustainable choices in the design and construction of this skyscraper that also aimed to increase the productivity of the workforce housed inside.

Fox highlighted the cogeneration plant that produces part of the base-load energy requirements for the tower. The onsite plant significantly reduces the energy loss associated with traditional offsite energy plants. During peak hours of the day, the plant helps to offset the building’s energy needs from outside sources, drastically reducing overall energy costs. During low-use hours, excess energy is used to create what Lijewski called “the largest ice cube tray in the world” from reclaimed rainwater. These large ice deposits help cool the building during peak load hours.

Lee explained the importance of views and natural light to create a positive and productive work environment. Fox fielded concerns regarding heat loss and energy costs associated with an exterior wall made from floor-to-ceiling glass. According to Fox, a large amount of insulation is achieved by small ceramic disks attached to the glass. Tour goers visited a typical office floor where they were able to inspect these disks, which are smaller than the tip of a pinky finger and do not obstruct views. Interior walls are made of clear glass wherever possible to maintain views and share natural light. The building also has personal air vents that allow occupants to control their own temperature.

New Buildings New York is a series of exceptional new building tours led by their architects and designers. The next tour will be of the 100 11th residences by Ateliers Jean Nouvel with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners on Thursday, 05.13.10, from 6:00-8:00pm. For more information visit the Center for Architecture Foundation’s website at http://www.cfafoundation.org/.

Theater Design Studio is Inspired by Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Event: Studio@theCenter — Theater Design
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.29-04.01.10
Educator: Jane Cowan — Design Educator

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Tour of Rose Cinema, A Nameless Theater, designed by Tammuz (4th grade).

Photos by Glenda Reed

After getting behind the scenes tours of theaters around the city, young designers in the Center for Architecture Foundation’s Studio@theCenter program “Theater Design” created their own tabletop puppet theaters. The studio began at the Center for Architecture where design educator Jane Cowan facilitated a discussion on theater as a design typology. The group then headed to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for a tour led by Sharon Lehner, director of archives, who pointed out architectural elements such as the trap doors and raked seating in the Howard Gilman Opera House and the signature red proscenium arch in the Rose Cinema, which was renovated by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture in 1997. The next day, the studio group toured New York University’s Skirball Center led by Amy Coombs, director of operations. The two tours allowed students to compare and contrast a historic theater with a contemporary one.

At the end of the program students designed their own theaters. Tragedy Theater, designed by fourth-grader Lev, is a place where only tragedies are meant to be performed. A Nameless Theatre includes a trap door on stage, balcony seating, and a red proscenium arch inspired by the Rose Cinema. According to fourth-grade designer, Tammuz, the choice of the red proscenium was also influenced by Jean Guy Lecat’s theory (as described by Lehner) that the color red signifies the last color the human eye sees before darkness. The model for A Nameless Theatre will be on display at NYU’s Skirball Center for family performances on 04.17.10 and the weekend of 05.08.10. To see pictures of the theater design studio trips and projects, visit the Center for Architecture Foundation’s website.

The Center for Architecture Foundation holds architecture and design studios for students in grades 3-12 during school vacations. This year’s summer vacation offerings include a two-week architecture studio intensive for high school students; a bridge design workshop; and a number of digital design programs focusing on Google SketchUp. A list of upcoming summer studio programs can be found online here.

Archiculture: Documentary Receives 2010 Brunner Grant

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David Krantz (left) and Ian Harris; Pratt architecture studio.

Courtesy of Archiculture

The Center for Architecture Foundation is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2010 Arnold W. Brunner Grant is the documentary film Archiculture, co-produced and co-directed by Ian Harris and David Krantz. The film explores contemporary issues surrounding the profession of architecture by following five college students from the conception through completion of their senior thesis projects. Glenda Reed, operations manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), spoke with Ian Harris about Archiculture.

Glenda Reed: Can you tell me about Archiculture?
Ian Harris: Archiculture is a film that gives those who have never entered a design studio a chance to peer into the process of becoming an architect. The five student projects presented in the film address real-life issues concerning sustainability, technology, and environmental psychology. Our goal is to create an engaging story that allows viewers to learn a bit more about the dramatic shifts occurring within our built environment while walking away from the theater with a new perspective on their surroundings.

GR: Can you tell me about David Krantz, your co-producer and co-director?
IH: David studied landscape architecture at Clemson University. He conceived of this film as a student there. The project existed as a pipe dream until we met at our first jobs, post-school. After long hours of working across from each other, we would recall memories and hysterical events from our days back in school.

GR: How did your experiences in architecture school affect your vision for this film?
IH: I was the type of student who loved the intensity, creativity, and process of the design studio. Leaving this culture of creativity for the stricture of the profession was a drastic awakening to the reality of what value the field has in our society.

GR: You’ve mentioned architecture school and working in a design office. Tell me about your background in architecture.
IH: I was an engineering student at Ohio State University who wandered into architecture as a creative outlet. Once I made the switch from the left to right side of my brain, there was no turning back. I was immediately addicted to design. After graduating with a degree in architecture, I moved to San Francisco where I worked for a variety of design firms. I found myself in an insular profession that lacked the open dialogue and engagement that I had expected of it as a student.

GR: What has receiving the Brunner Grant meant to you personally and professionally?
IH: Until now, the film has been funded by our meager savings and whatever we could scrape together from our friends, families, and gracious architecture firms. Receiving the Brunner Grant is a mark of acceptance from the architectural establishment. It is great to see the profession open itself up to public debate regarding the problems we face as a society and how the built environment can offer solutions.

GR: How can readers see Archiculture?
IH: We are discussing multiple strategies for distribution including a global 24-hour simulcasted premiere, a mobile theatrical school tour, and a variety of outreach events through the many existing national and global architectural organizations like the Center for Architecture.

The Arnold W. Brunner Grant is an annual award that supports advanced study in any area of architectural investigation, which will effectively contribute to the knowledge, teaching, or practice of the art and science of architecture. Architects throughout the U.S. are encouraged to apply. Recipients are awarded up to $15,000. For more information visit www.cfafoundation.org/brunner. For more information about Archiculture visit www.archiculturefilm.com.