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The Life of Gerhard Kallmann

At 97 years of age, the architect Gerhard Kallmann passed away on Tuesday in Boston.  Kallmann’s career was ignited with the design of Boston City Hall, a neo-brutalist building that received mixed feelings of criticism and praise upon its completion.  After escaping Nazi Germany in 1937, Kallmann studied at the Architectural Association in London before moving to the and teaching in Chicago and .  It was in Columbia University where Kallmann met Michael McKinnell and the two would grow to co-found Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles in 1962 – the same year they won the competition for City Hall.

More about Kallmann after the break.

In the 1960s, Boston was undergoing a revitalization effort to bring life to the city’s downtown area.  As we have shared in our AD Classics section, the City Hall’s presence is marked by an articulated massive concrete facade set beyond a large urban plaza intended to establish a relationship between the government and the public.  “Any significant building makes demands so that it cannot be taken for granted; it should be a challenge,” Kallmann told The Boston Globe in 1991.

When the building opened, architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable praised the creation, “Boston can celebrate…The city has one of the handsomest buildings around, and thus far, one of the least understood.”

As the years progressed, admiration for the building grew in the architecture realm, while Bostonians despised the foreign aesthetic.  In fact, in 1976, Boston City Hall tied for seventh with Trinity Church for the AIA’s best buildings in US history.  However, only six years ago, Mayor Thomas M. Menino proposed selling the building and relocating the city government to a waterfront parcel.

We admire Kallmann’s confidence in his vision as he responded on the 50th anniversary of the building’s competition, “It had to be awesome, not just pleasant and slick,” he told The Boston Globe. Great buildings, he said, should “remind you of ancient memories, history….It’s not a department store. It’s not an office building. Come on.”

Kallmann and his firm’s portfolio also include the  American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, the Boston Five Cent Savings Bank, the gymnasium at Phillips Exeter Academy, the Becton Dickinson corporate campus in New Jersey, and Hauser Hall and Shad Hall at Harvard. “He and his firm really set a very high standard for the architecture they did.  They had a clear vision for what design excellence is, and their buildings all reflected that, so it’s the passing of an era I would say,” said Laura Wernick, president of the Boston Society of Architects.

Sources: The New York Times and The Boston Globe

‘Fantastic Trailer’ Pavilion / Cheryl Baxter

© Jeff Baxter

The Fantastic Trailer, designed by Cheryl Baxter, is a mobile pavilion aimed at being a delightful experience as the interruption of columns and seating areas force the architecture into the conversation, setting the stage for engaging social experience. Developed as ethereal forms, the draft columns blur the line between drapery and structure, and invite the viewer to feel the supporting air movement. The circular seating areas on the pavilion create small conversation circles intermittently invaded by the draft columns. More images and architects’ description after the break.

© Jeff Baxter

The trailer frame came from a stripped down camper trailer that was reinforced and reconstructed as a platform. The circular openings hold the fans in the “off” position and become seating areas when the project is erected. The trailer frame supports five thin metal columns that hang industrial fans attached to ripstop nylon, organza and Aluminet Draft Columns – so named because of the Aluminet strip that runs down their interior seams that lets a continuous airflow through.

© Jeff Baxter

The Draft Columns themselves seem alive in their interaction with the audience. They appear to dance with the slightest air movement and the scrim appears to breath in and out with the air coming from the vents.

Architect: Cheryl Baxter
Location: Bloomfield Hills, ,
Draft Column Sewing: Motor City Sewing
Steel Fabrication: Golin Construction
Electrical: Jeff Baxter
Materials: Aluminet, Ripstop Nylon, Foam Flooring, Organza, Industrial Fans, Steel columns, Astroturf, Used Trailer
Area: Varies, approximately 1000 sf
Year: 2012

'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (1) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (2) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (3) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (4) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (5) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (6) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (7) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (8) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (9) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (10) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (11) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (12) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (13) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (14) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (15) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (16) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (17) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (18) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (19) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (20) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (21) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (22) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (23) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (24) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (25) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (26) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (27) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (28) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (29) © Jeff Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (30) Courtesy of Cheryl Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (31) Courtesy of Cheryl Baxter
'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion (32) Courtesy of Cheryl Baxter

Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal / Hoshino Architects

With a challenge to make a series of random ephemeral public spaces using a simple structure in the Center, the intervention by Hoshino Architects proposes areas of such spaces to be transformed to voids and purely leave the circulation spaces on the ground level. In contrast, the public contents circles are randomly scattered on the field level. As normal urban spaces, the circulation spaces sometimes change to unexpected functions, such as a viewing gallery for the event staged at the field level. This dual layer structure intertwines and creates the complex ‘Porous-scape’. More images and architects’ description after the break.

In the 20th century, public space had a symbolic order. The development of social networking services in the 21st century allowed people to create public spaces on the Internet. One of significant movements of recent years is the political movement of SNS and people that occupied the 20th Century type public spaces. People are not wandering around, but meeting with purpose. Such spaces do not need form and large open spaces to function as gathering spaces.

What is a meaningful public space for the coming century? There are hints in the virtual public spaces on the Internet. The virtual public spaces are sometimes voids and can suddenly change to occupy large circles of people with variety of contents. The random ephemeral spaces repeating, emerging and disappearing without having certain form attracts people. The public space in the real city needs to change along with the virtual spaces.

The first step is to separate the ground level to circulation and field level containing the contents. The ground level circle spaces are transformed to voids and circles with public contents are randomly scattered on the field level. This dual layer structure makes the ‘Porous-scape’. The voids and circles intertwine and create complexity of random ephemeral spaces repeating, emerging and disappearing. The ‘Porous-scape’ provides the ephemeral public spaces and attracts people.

In the Seattle Center, the buildings are located following the urban grid of the typical 20th Century order. The contents of the buildings have rich variety from culture to sports and education. The intervention site is located at the heart of the Seattle Center and linking the Central House Zone with the monorail station to the Theater District Zone. The intervention of the 21st century type random public spaces at the heart of the Seattle Center shuffle the visitors and accelerate the interaction of the existing rich contents. This creates the attractive urban spaces.

Connectivity

If you have a question, you only need to click several times to find the answer on the Internet. At the same time, you will meet items relating to the question. Sometimes people meet each other sharing the same question. Suddenly a public space emerges on the Internet. People are attracted by such accidental encounters. This intervention has a complex circulation linking people. It has a different character from the simple routing circulation with short cuts. The visitors can choose any available route. The random voids create multiple choices to walk along. This complex circulation gives people the accidental nature and the curiosity of exploring the public spaces. As people walk around, the scenery becomes more complex and provides similar feelings as wandering through the Internet.

The ground level and field level are connected by sloped plates at four locations and provide smooth transition. People can naturally walk around both levels. At the basement levels, 1300 car parking spaces are proposed on two levels. The loading facilities and the bus terminal are provided on the west part of the basement. The circulation cores are clearly located and connect the visitors directly to the field level from the basement levels.

Contents

The buildings around the site belong to the Theater District Zone, EMP and Central House Zone including cultural, sports and educational facilities. One of the key purposes of this intervention is to connect the existing rich contents with attractive landscaping. In contrast, with the surrounding buildings, the rich contents including sports, culture, art, education, edible landscape and renewable energy facilities are randomly scattered on the field level. The visitors can wander around the random contents and enjoy the encounters and surprises. It is possible to occupy the series of the circles on the field level for large events and sometimes a small meeting will be held at one of the smaller circle spaces. This variety of contents will make diversity of people visit the ‘Porous-scape’.

Experience

The ‘Porous-scape’ provides the visitors with variety of scenarios to spend their time. For example someone visiting an outdoor concert can later stay at the organic café looking over the edible landscape. Children can play at the field and experience how renewable energy is generated in the center of the city. The mixture of contents and complex nature of the circulation create attractive experiences for wandering and exploring the spaces.

Sustainability

Using the layer structure, the ‘Porous-scape’ maximizes the re-use of grey water and rainwater including storm water. The wind turbines are placed on the field level public circles and the energy will be stored and used for lighting and water management system. This is not only to save energy use but also part of educational purpose. The edible landscape is proposed at various locations and provide fresh produce for café foods. The leftover from the café food will be used as compost for the edible landscape. The proposal will maximize the use of renewable energy and resources.

Architects: Hoshino Architects

Location: Seattle, Washington,

Design Team: Hiroaki Hoshino, Nozomi Hoshino, Taichi Maeda

Project Title: PORPUS-SCAPE, Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition

Project Area: 36,000sqm

Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (1) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (2) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (3) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (4) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (5) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (6) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (7) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (8) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (9) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (10) ? Hoshino Architects
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (11) diagram 01
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (12) diagram 02
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (13) diagram 03
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (14) diagram 04
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (15) diagram 05
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (16) diagram 06
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (17) diagram 07
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (18) diagram 08
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (19) diagram 09
Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Proposal (20) sketch

ECR (re)Center / 5G Studio Collaborative

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, designed by 5G Studio Collaborative, aimed to address the needs and desires of the growing community through sustainable capital improvements on the existing campus that sought to reflect the past and contemporary contexts. Through dialogue, observation, and reimagination, the potential to reposition the existing underutilized courtyard as the centroid of the Church’s social life became evident. Beginning with the courtyard and progressively outwards to the lot perimeter, the new campus design creates places of varying moods and moments to enrich the Church’s environmental and social connectivity with its neighbors. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative

Landlocked on all sides, its campus is among typical suburban residential subdivisions. An existing Church, a private school, and a failing multi-purpose building define the campus’ three edges, enclosing an undistinguished courtyard with disorganized placement of paths and accessorial structures.

Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative

A new single-story, 9,500 sq.ft. activity center will replace the existing multi-purpose building. While fronting respectfully towards the neighborhood, the new building inwardly strengthened the relationship of the Church’s events towards the new courtyard. Large expanses of clear glazing delineated its southern edge. A folding metal roof appeared to levitate over the indoor spaces without visible columns. Transparent spaces, views to the outdoor, daylight, and natural materials permeated the experiential qualities inside the building. Programmatic spaces were positioned to maximize casual interactions between events.

Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative

Polished, integral-colored concrete would reflect the daylight coming off the windows, clerestory, and skylight onto the walls and ceilings made of polished plaster and tongue-and-groove wood decking over laminated wood beams. Rich colors would contrast with deep, modeled grays and variedly-coursed, over-sized natural stone. The materials would complement the spatial structure and provide a backdrop for flexible programming, from the playful to the reverent.

Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative

The resultant levity and transparency of the architecture articulated the admirable intention of a traditional Church desiring to reflect her contemporary sociocultural relevance for which The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey noted “Our parish leaders are very excited about this project both in terms of design and function. The design of the building and the master plan pull together existing structures and spaces to create the sense of a unified campus. The contemporary design of the new building, which fits in nicely with existing buildings, also communicates that we are committed to serving the community for many years to come. We’ve dreamed for many years about a building like this which would serve well not only the many ministries of our parish and school, but give us the kind of flexible space that can be adapted to a growing and changing community.”

Architects: 5G Studio Collaborative
Location: 2700 Warren Circle, Irving, , United States
Team: Yen Ong, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Hoang Dang, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Fred Meyer, LEED AP BD+C, Josh Allen, Tiffany Axner
Structural Consultant: GroupStructural Engineers
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Consultant: Image Engineering Group
Civil Engineer: Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers
Landscape Architect: Hocker Design Group
Client: Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
Materials: Oversized Natural Stone, Cement Board Paneling, Polished, Integral-Colored Portland Cement Plaster, Prefinished Standing Seam Metal Roofing, Polished, Integral-Colored Concrete Flooring, Baltic Birch Wood Paneling, Tectum Acoustical Paneling, TG Roof Wood Decking over Laminated Wood Beam, Custom Aluminum and Clear, Insulated Glazing
Text By: Yen Ong, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Co-Founder and Partner of 5G Studio Collaborative

ECR (re)Center (1) Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative
ECR (re)Center (2) Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative
ECR (re)Center (3) Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative
ECR (re)Center (4) Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative
ECR (re)Center (5) Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative
ECR (re)Center (6) Courtesy of 5G Studio Collaborative
ECR (re)Center (7) site plan
ECR (re)Center (8) plan
ECR (re)Center (9) east elevation
ECR (re)Center (10) north elevation
ECR (re)Center (11) south elevation
ECR (re)Center (12) west elevation
ECR (re)Center (13) interior corridor elevation
ECR (re)Center (14) interior narthex east elevation
ECR (re)Center (15) interior narthex west elevation

Take the Mayors Challenge and Improve American City Life

New York Mayor Michael is searching for bold ideas that can “make government work better, solve a serious problem, or improve city life” in the . The Mayors Challenge encourages local architects and professionals to team up with their city officials and propose an innovative local solution that could be applied to a national problem.

Each city of 30,000 or more residents can submit one innovative idea under the direction of the mayor. As Architectural Record points out, there is nothing preventing architects from proposing a concept to their city leaders and working out a deal with them to prepare a submission. They can even negotiate some type of bonus if that idea wins! Those details will be left completely up to you.

However, the goal of the competition is to identify a need, solve a problem and share your knowledge so that other cities and citizens may benefit. Five boldest ideas with the greatest potential for impact will win funding as well as national and local recognition. The winning city will receive a $5,000,000 grand prize and four other cities will receive $1,000,000 to help implement their ideas.

Submit your RSVP by July 16th, 2012 and apply by September 14th, 2012. Find more information on mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org.

Budget cuts threaten the U.S. Capitol

The American Institute of Architects () and 10 other groups have sent a letter to Congressional leaders warning that cuts to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC)’s budget could lead to further deterioration of the U.S. Capitol and wind up costing taxpayers more in the long run.

“There is little disagreement that the federal government, including Congress, must live within its means and be judicious in its consideration of short and long term expenditures,” the letter states. “However, the AOC’s FY2013 budget is focused primarily on needed maintenance and repair projects that are designed to keep the buildings of the Capitol complex – some of them nearly two centuries old – in proper working order.”

Continue reading for more.

Among the projects at risk, the letter states, is the ongoing renovation of the U.S. Capitol dome and its supporting structures. As reported by the LA Times, a House-approved $7.5-million cut to this year’s $36-million budget for operations and maintenance of the Capitol threatens to stop work on the cast-iron dome’s multimillion-dollar restoration project.

“These projects are not discretionary, nor are they luxuries; their upkeep and maintenance is imperative to the effective operations of the Capitol. In fact, delays will undoubtedly lead to higher costs for taxpayers as defects worsen and repair costs rise due to inflation,” the letter adds.

“The U.S. Capitol is not merely Congress’ work space; it is also an attraction for millions of visitors from around the world, a shining example of American architecture – and home to priceless works of art – and a potential target for those who wish to do us harm,” states the letter. “Delaying or cancelling needed improvements will make the Capitol complex less safe, harm the functioning of Congress and endanger our country’s cultural heritage.”

The letter was also signed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASHRAE, the Glass Association of North America, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, Ingersoll Rand, the Institute for Market Transformation, the National Institute of Building Sciences, AEC Science & Technology, Ecobuild America and The Stella Group, Ltd.

Reference: AIA, LA Times