Archive for December, 2010

December 26, 2010

Cyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects

Cyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy BittermanCyan / PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects © Jeremy Bittermanfloor plan 01 floor plan 01floor plan 02 floor plan 02first floor plan first floor planeast west sections east west sectionspodium level one plan podium level one planpodium level two and three plan podium level two and three plantower higher levels plan tower higher levels plantower level four plan tower level four plan

Architects: THA Architecture Inc.GBD Architects
Location: Portland, Oregon, 
Project area: 380,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Jeremy Bitterman

At sixteen stories and 380,000 square-feet, the prominent Cyan Building in downtown Portland offers a new mode of sustainable urban living. Designed with the belief that less can be more, most of its 364 units are compact one and two BR apartments, with many under 550 square-feet. However, strategic detailing and efficient environmental systems create a sense of spaciousness that belies their affordable cost. With convenient proximity to urban amenities and LEED Gold building performance, Cyan offers quality over quantity to those who value a minimum impact, high density urban lifestyle.Cyan’s design reflects this priority at every scale. Its units boast oversized double casement windows and sliding partitions that create a sense of openness and allow for flexible configurations. Compact and energy efficient kitchen appliances, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow showerheads and bathroom fixtures enhance energy and water efficiency, while the use of low-VOC finishes and locally-sourced materials with high recycled content reduce Cyan’s resource footprint as much as possible.ustainable strategies also operate at the building scale. Cyan runs on 100% electric power derived from renewable resources, and its mechanical system employs high efficiency speed chillers and fan coil units for cooling and heating needs. Coupled with high performance glazing and motion sensor lighting, this results in a 20% energy savings over buildings of similar size and function.W
ith its dynamic glass façade and its ground-level engagement with the streetscape, Cyan is firmly situated in its urban context. However, its adjacency to a series of parks designed by Lawrence Halprin, its lush central courtyard, and an eco-roof of native and adaptive species also offer residents a peaceful urban respite. Rainwater, so abundant in Portland, is captured and filtered by the eco-roof before being stored for irrigation in a 40,000-gallon, on-site cistern. Like many other carefully considered elements of Cyan, comfort and performance are synthesized in a manner that is both sensually appealing and environmentally sound. And while building performance and urban vitality will make the long-term case for Cyan’s environmental and social benefits, its current 80+% occupancy rate attests to its immediate ability to provide a much-needed form of urban dwelling.


December 26, 2010

Shenzhen International Energy Mansion / BIG

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The skylines of the world´s most important cities (except for Dubai I guess) are shaped by the typical office tower. The reason is simple: it provides a flexible floor plan, with an economical structural system. “Bang for the buck” if you want to call it. To address lighting and cooling issues that these tower traditionally have, electric lighting and air conditioning were the solution.

But in times when energy is a  issue, we can no longer design buildings that depend on high consumption to provide a comfortable working environment, specially in tropical weathers. And this is what BIG had as a design principle for the  International Energy Mansion competition they just won, proposing a tower based on an efficient and well-proven floor plan, enclosed in a skin specifically modified and optimized for the local climate.

We propose to enhance the sustainable performance of the building drastically by only focusing on its envelope, the façade.

We propose to make the  Energy Mansion the first specimen of a new species of office buildings that exploit the buildings interface with the external elements – sun, daylight, air humidity, wind – as a source to create a maximum comfort and quality inside.

The  Energy Mansion will appear as a subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper – a natural evolution rather than a desperate revolution.

More details on how this facade works, along with more information after the break:1.The traditional curtain wall glass façade has a low insulation level and leaves the offices overheated by the direct sunlight. This results in excessive energy consumption for air conditioning as well as the need for heavy glass coating that makes the view seem permanently dull and grey.2.By folding the façade in an origami like structure we achieve a structure with closed and open parts. The closed parts are providing a high-insulation façade, while blocking the direct sunlight. On the outside the closed parts are fitted with solar thermal heat panels that are powering the air conditioning and providing dehumidification for the working spaces.3.The folded wall provides a free view through clear glass in one direction, and creates condition of plenty of diffused daylight by reflecting the direct sun between the interior panels.4.Even when the sun comes directly from east or west, the main part of the solar rays are reflected off the glass due to the flat angle on the window. The reflected rays increase the efficiency of the solar thermal energy panels. The combination of minimal passive solar heating as well as active solar panels will reduce the building energy consumption with more than 60%.Architect: 
Partner in charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Andreas Klok Pedersen
Team: Cat Huang, Alex Cozma, Fan Zhang, Kuba Snopek, Flavien Menu, Stanley Lung
Collaborators: ARUP, Transsolar
Invited Competition, 1st prize.
Size: 96,000sqm
Client:  Energy Company


December 26, 2010

The Diana Center at Barnard College / Weiss Manfredi

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Winner of a national design competition and a Progressive Architecture Award, the Diana Center establishes a new nexus for social, cultural, and intellectual life at . From the historic entrance gate at Broadway, the wedge-shaped design frames a clear sightline linking the central campus at Lehman Lawn to the lower level historic core of the campus. The Diana Center extends Lehman Lawn horizontally and vertically: descending planted terraces cascade north to Milbank Hall, previously isolated by a 14-foot-high retaining wall and plaza, and ascending double-height atria bring natural light and views into the seven-story structure.

Follow the break for more drawings and photographs.Architects: Weiss/Manfredi
Location:  City, 
Design Partners: Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi
Project Manager: Mike Harshman
Project Architects: Clifton Balch, Kian Goh, Kim Nun and Yehre Suh
Project Team: Michael Blasberg, Beth Eckels, Hamilton Hadden, Patrick Hazari, Todd Hoehn, Bryan Kelley, Justin Kwok, Lee Lim, Nick Shipes, Michael Steiner
Pre-design team: Patrick Armacost, Jason Ro, Yehre Suh, and Tae-Young Yoon
Client: Barnard College
Project Area: 98,000 sqf
Project Year: 2003-2010
Photographs: Albert Vecerka/Esto and Paul Warchol

Founded in 1889 as a women’s college affiliated with Columbia University,  is an intimate campus compressed within the dense urban environment of Manhattan. Comprised of an eclectic group of predominantly brick buildings, the campus is focused around Lehman Lawn with disconnected landscape spaces at the periphery. Located between the Lawn and Broadway, the Diana Center unites landscape and architecture, interior and exterior spaces, presenting a window onto the College and the city. The 98,000-square-foot multi-use building establishes an innovative nexus for artistic, social, and intellectual life at the College. The facility brings together spaces for art, architecture, theater, and art history, as well as faculty offices, a dining room, and a café.Rethinking the mixed-use building type, the Diana Center brings together the college’s previously dispersed programs and constituencies by setting up visual juxtapositions that invite collaboration between disciplines. Carving a diagonal void through the building, the ascending double-height glass atria establish continuous sightlines through the gallery, reading room, dining room, and café. Anchoring the lower levels, a 500-seat multipurpose events space and 100-seat black box theatre house lectures, special events, and theatrical productions. On the campus side of the building, an unfolded glazed staircase encourages informal encounters at the heart of a rich intellectual community and provides views to the surrounding campus. Conceived as a vertical campus quad, this cantilevered route interweaves the spaces of the building into those of the campus.The building’s enclosure establishes a reciprocal relationship between the campus context and the diverse program elements within the building. Squarely centered in a campus defined by brick and terra cotta, the Diana translates the static opacity of masonry into a contemporary luminous and energy-efficient curtain wall. Within 1,154 panels of varying widths, gradients of color, opacity, and transparency are calibrated to the Diana Center’s diverse programs, allowing views into the building’s public functions and limiting visibility where privacy is necessary. The translucent fritted glass and color integral panels create constant shifts in hue and reflectivity as the façade responds to various lighting and climate conditions.Sustainability is integral to the conception of the design and supports the College’s effort to teach and practice environmental principles. The green roof offers a 2,800-square-foot ecological learning center for Barnard’s Biology and Environmental Science students as well as valuable new social space. The building maximizes daylight and views and incorporates operable windows, radiant flooring, and recycled materials. Occupancy sensors, automated shading, and high performance MEP systems increase efficiency.The new student center utilizes landscape, views, light, and the dynamic layering of programs and activities to enhance the vitality of student and faculty life at Barnard. Presenting to the city a new luminous lens, the Diana Center recognizes the campus’s multiple histories while encouraging the college’s forward-looking education.

Additional Credits:

MEPFP/Vertical Transportation Engineering Consultant: Jaros, Baum & Bolles Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineering Consultant: Severud Engineers
Civil Engineering Consultant: Langan
Curtain Wall Consultant: R.A. Heintges Architects Consultants
Lighting Design Consultant: Brandston Partnership Inc.
Landscape Architecture Consultants: HM White Site Architects
AV/IT/General Acoustics/Security Consultants: Cerami & Associates, Inc. with T.M. Technology Partners, Inc.
Food Service Consultant: Ricca Newmark Design
Retail Consultant: Jeanne Giordano
Cost Estimator: AMIS Inc.
Sustainability Consultant: Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC
Theatre Consultant: Fisher Dachs
Theatre Acoustic Consultant: Jaffe Holden Acoustics
Owner’s Representatives: Roland L. Ferrera and Patrick Muldoon
Construction Manager: Bovis Lend Lease

December 20, 2010

Grand Plans For Downtown LA by AC Martin

Wilshire Grand will tower over Los Angeles.

Wilshire GrandDespite grand ambitions, downtown LA has built precious few skyscrapers in recent years. The major culprits are the economic downturn, a bloated bureaucracy, and a short-staffed planning department, which all help explain why the Wilshire Grand Redevelopment, first proposed in April 2009, took until yesterday to receive approval from the LA Planning Commission.

Nonetheless the approval paves the way for one of the largest projects in LA in years. The $1 billion, 2.5 million square foot, mixed-used complex consists of two large towers on the corner of Wilshire and Figueroa. Built on the site of the current Wilshire Grand Hotel, which will be destroyed, it will include a 45-story tower housing a luxury hotel and residential units, and a 65-story office tower. The two buildings, designed by AC Martin—which has designed several of downtown’s notable skyscrapers— would be connected with a large plaza, while their 275,000 square feet of public space will include shops, a spa, and meeting spaces.

The project’s final sticking point is another clue as to why projects drag on in the city. After a protracted push and pull (and a seven hour meeting yesterday), the planning commission finally called for the building’s LED signage to be reduced to 150 feet or 13 stories, a much smaller footprint than the developer had requested. The department also nixed the idea of upper floor exterior lighting.

Besides the LED signs, the new buildings will have folded glass facades, tapering inward as their height increases (largely a function of their cores shrinking as fewer elevators travel to the top). While details haven’t been finalized, AC Martin principal David Martin said that the hotel would also be clad in a combination of stainless steel and terra cotta, and the office tower would be clad in stainless steel along with photovoltaic-covered sun shades along its south elevation.

The buildings’ glass configurations would change according to their orientation, creating what Martin alternately referred to as “texture” and a “fuzzy character.” “Different patterns will be created by various angles of the sun,” said Martin, who said the buildings will have operable windows. The podium, meanwhile, would be “open and glassy,” welcoming pedestrians instead of presenting monolithic walls.AC Martin has designed the 52-story Two California Plaza and the 53-story Bank of America Plaza, among many others. Meanwhile the building’s developer, Thomas Properties, has worked on Two California Plaza, the Wells Fargo Tower, Library Tower, and Gas Company Tower. Their partner, Korean Air, owns three hotels in Korea and another in Hawaii. Korean Air Acquired the Wilshire Grand Hotel in 1989. That 1940’s building was designed by architect Welton Becket. But LA Conservancy spokesperson Cindy Olnick told AN that the group doesn’t consider the building a priority “because it’s been so completely altered over the years, even on the exterior. It was very important when it opened as the Statler Center in 1952, but unfortunately, it has virtually no historic integrity left,” she said.

The development team is exploring several funding options, although Martin admits that there is more demand for hotel construction than office construction right now. The developers on Wednesday helped clear their path by announcing a union agreement to give hotel employees of the Wilshire Grand severance and the option to work at the new hotel. The final step in the process comes early next year when LA city council casts its vote.

Sam Lubell
here see more pics:
December 14, 2010

James Carpenter Design Associates Inc

He is an Architect, Designer, facade n interior lighting specialist….

December 12, 2010

Smashing Trends: the Wonder of Glass

Unlike steel and concrete, glass is a relatively new material in the construction sector. Romans began using glass for architectural purposes by casting windows in around AD100, but it wasn’t until the latter part of the Industrial Revolution that scientific research started to reveal the exciting functions and properties of glass.

For a long time, glass was cast in buildings for the sole purpose of letting light in and keeping the weather out. It was widely believed – and is still to an extent – that too much of the transparent material wouldn’t be strong enough to guard a property from vandalism and destruction; it wouldn’t be sturdy enough to withstand a hurricane; and is too transparent to protect a building from heat gain.

Fortunately for the industry and consumers, designers, engineers and scientists are quickly discovering new technologies that are proving the skeptics wrong.

Balancing act

One of the most obvious functions of glass is its ability to open up views and welcome natural light into a building.

For this reason, buildings with greater visual transparency than ever before are beginning to rise, with some curtain walls made almost entirely out of glass. The spherical headquarters of construction giant Aldar in Abu Dhabi, UAE, for example, has an envelope made up of 25,000m³ of glass.

But one major problem with implementing so much glass in warm countries is the amount of heat that builds up inside buildings as a result, and the ultimate rise in air-conditioning costs.

“One of the most obvious functions of glass is its ability to open up views and welcome natural light into a building.”

The easiest solution is to reduce the amount of glass used in construction, which is exactly what the city of Abu Dhabi, UAE is doing.

The capital’s Department of Municipal Affairs plans to issue new building regulations next year, which would mean that glass will make up just 30% of a building’s façade. But this proposed code has caused controversy among architects.

Stride Treglown’s Abu Dhabi general manager Nathan Hones says that the plans discourage creative ideas. “What we should be looking at is a performance-based approach which still requires the designer to address the sustainability issues at hand, but also allows and encourages innovative thinking and solutions to meet these requirements.”

So how can we build sustainably without hindering designers’ work? “Solutions include sun-shade devices, light wells, high performance low-e glass, and double or triple glazing,” says Hones.

US-based RTKL principal and architect Douglas Palladino agrees. “High performance coatings are being increasingly used for glass so we can have the benefit of daylight without the negative effect of unwanted solar radiation.”

One project that has incorporated both an attractive and energy efficient glass façade is China’s Hong Kong Science Park. This development incorporates a double-glazing curtain wall system and sunshades, as well as window units integrated with power-generating photovoltaic panels.

Robert Stephens, Middle East regional director of Inhabit Group, which worked as an engineering consultant on the Science Park project, believes that architects need to understand where the limitations lie when it comes to designing with glass. “It’s kind of a balancing act. Obviously, the more light you let into a building, inherently the more heat is associated with that, but there are coatings available with high thermal insulation properties which don’t detriment visual performance.”

Breaking records

It’s a scientific fact that the molecules that come together to form glass are arranged randomly, which explains why the material is so fragile.

“Despite its fragility, the use of glass in construction is becoming increasingly popular.”

Because of this, the health and safety risks associated with using glass in construction are much higher than when steel or brick is used, explains Stephens. “Steel is a homogenous material and before it snaps it bends. If you take glass, it doesn’t deform before it breaks. There will not be any signs of failure when it comes to glass; it will suddenly just give.”

Despite its fragility, the use of glass in construction is becoming increasingly popular. Nowadays it is even being used as a structural material.

The Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the US, has an observation deck made entirely out of glass and sits 412m above the city.

In theory, the glass should break when a person steps onto it, but Ross Wimer, design partner for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the firm which designed the deck, explains why this is not the case.

“Three layers of glass, bonded together, make up the walls and floor of the observation deck platform. The laminated glass can support the weight of an elephant, which is reassuring since this glass floor is 1300ft in the air,” says Wimer.

Another project where glass has been used as a structural material is the Apple Store on 5th Avenue, New York. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and structural engineers Eckersly O’Callahan, the 9m structural glass cube houses a transparent glass elevator wrapped by a circular glass stair. The store occupies the underground retail concourse, with entry from the plaza level above.

“A challenge faced by many designers, however, is using inner layers to create strength without distorting the glass.”

A challenge faced by many designers, however, is using inner layers to create strength without distorting the glass.

Wimer explains that it’s all about sizing the thickness of the glass to minimise deflection. “Deflection causes distortion or ‘pillowing’ that is particularly apparent if the glass has a reflective coating.”

“One needs to pay particular attention to the jointing and supporting structures to ensure that these do not detract from the transparent character of the glass surface. Thankfully there have been some amazing advancements in jointing material and mullion supports, not to mention the use of glass structurally itself which have overcome any detrimental effects of the limit on the glass panel sizes,” adds Hones.

Low iron-glass also minimises green tint, which appears when layers of glass are made thicker, as Palladino explains. “We use this for visual appeal in lower portions of buildings where there is retail space. There are also low reflection coatings in glass that you use in retail so you can achieve even greater visual transparency.”

Glass in buildings isn’t always transparent, however. Some designers are using technology to create visual interest in what would otherwise be a repetitive curtain wall, according to Palladino. “The desire for nothingness in glass from a design perspective is only one way we approach the use of glass. Often we use it for its physical presence and its material quality. We have designed the Changsha Xin He Delta, a 45-storey building in China that uses different colours of glass to create visual patterns.”

Hazy future

Despite its lucid appearance, the future of glass in construction is not so clear, says Stephens. “Even the codes we are working with at the moment are contradictory, depending on whether you follow an American code or an Australian code. With steel, the codes are all consistent. A lot of the time, with glass, we are not even following the codes 100% because they are trying to catch up with the industry.”

“Glass is being researched today and there are conflicting views surrounding it. It is not fully understood even today,” he adds. But the fact that there are still undiscovered glass techniques is a sign of exciting times ahead for architects and contractors alike.

As Palladino says, “It’s a timeless material and people are using it more because of the way it’s evolving.”

Hones adds, “The industry has developed some very talented facade engineers and glass material supplier specialists who are always at hand to assist the design team with challenging projects. Working with glass is always interesting and one quickly realises how much one doesn’t know when trying to push the boundaries.”

RTKL principal and architect Douglas Palladino.

Changsha Xin He Delta, China: a 45-storey building designed by RTKL, which uses coloured glass to create visual patterns.

Inhabit Group regional director, Middle East Robert Stephens.

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill design partner Ross Wimer.

The glass cladding at the Infinity Tower in Dubai, UAE underwent pressure, suction and destruction tests before it was installed.

The Skydeck Ledge at the Willis Tower in Chicago, US is made entirely out of glass and can support the weight of an elephant.

The Windsor Building at the University of London, UK was designed with an angular glass curtain wall.

December 12, 2010

One Hyde Park Residential Development, London, UK

One Hyde Park is a luxurious modern residential development in the heart of Knightsbridge, Central London, UK. The development consists of 86 apartments and three boutiques. The apartments are being built on the former site of Bowater House, constructed during 1950s.

Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the development has won several design awards including Best Apartment London and Best Interior Design at the UK Property Awards in 2007 and the Best Luxury Home at the Evening Standard Homes Awards.

The development includes 65,000m² of residential and retail space. Construction on the project began in 2006 and is due for completion in December 2010. The project’s developers expect the penthouse of One Hyde Park to be priced at £100m.

One Hyde Park structure and design

The design consists of four elongated hexagonal blocks or pavilions interlinked by transparent circulation cores such as lobbies, lift shafts and stairwells. The pavilions are designed to maximise the perimeter spaces for each building. The gaps between the pavilions will allow natural sunlight and provide a visual corridor between Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. The buildings have been designed to integrate with the existing neighbouring buildings.

The length and width of the pavilions, and the distance between the buildings and residential cores, were predetermined by the availability of the redefined site.

“One Hyde Park was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.”

The design allows principal rooms in the north and south ends of the development to have a panoramic view of the surroundings.

Secondary rooms are located towards the centre along the perimeter. Tertiary spaces that require less light are built in the central wider parts of the floorplates.

Pavilion architecture

The heights and compositions of the pavilions follow a radial pattern. They rise in two-storey steps – from ten storeys on the west side, 14 storeys at its peak, and 12 storeys on the east. The circulation cores at the ends and between the pavilions provide primary and secondary access.

The pavilions are divided into three zones. The top of the building uses flat and neutral greys, while the middle zones will have privacy screens of red and brown patinated copper. The lower levels will be similar to the surrounding stone plinths buildings with exposed white concrete structural columns. The external structures of the pavilions are made from pre-cast concrete with a mixture of crushed limestone and mica to give a light reflecting quality.


The façade is covered with insulated solid panels for energy efficiency. The red weathered steel panels of the façade will reduce glazing and absorb heat during the summer. The façade is covered with privacy screens consisting of vertical blade-like elements within the outer pre-cast concrete frame which will provide privacy, solar-shading and security. The blades are made of corten steel for colour blending with the immediate area.

The walls are built with pre-weathered zinc panels and glazing areas to emphasise substance and solidity.


Westminster City Council granted permission to demolish Bowater House for the construction of One Hyde Park in June 2006. The demolition began in July 2006 and was completed by December. A top-down construction method was used in order to reduce time. The approach allowed the construction of the superstructure simultaneously with the four-storey basement. The method was beneficial because it was less disruptive than traditional bottom-up construction methods.

“One Hyde Park includes 86 apartments
and three boutiques.”

The substructure construction works of the apartments began in January 2007. The construction of the superstructure began in April 2008 and was completed in 14 months. The core structures between the pavilions are made of steel components with a bolt-engineered design. The entire project, including construction and landscaping, is scheduled for completion in December 2010.


The apartments of One Hyde Park will have communal spas, a private wine-tasting facility and squash courts. Covered garden spaces will be created inside the building. Car lifts and a loading dock area with two truck lifts will be provided. The apartments will also have panic rooms and emergency exits leading to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. There will be car parking spaces for 139 cars and 114 bicycles. Three retail boutiques will be situated on the ground floor.

One Hyde Park financing

In November 2007, Europe’s real estate and public finance bank granted £1bn debt financing to site owners Project Grande Guernsey (PGGL) for the development of One Hyde Park. PGGL is a joint venture between Guernsey-based CPC Group and the Qatari Prime Minister, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani. The total cost of construction of the project is £250m.

Key Data:

Project Type: Residential Apartments
Location: Knightsbridge, London, UK
Total Area: 65,000m²
Estimated Investment: £250m
Client: Project Grande (Guernsey) Ltd.
Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Main Contractor: Laing O’Rourke

Key Players:

Client: Project Grande (Guernsey) Ltd.
Architect:Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Main Contractor: Laing O’Rourke
Interior Design and Development management: Candy & Candy
Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
Services Engineer: Cundall
Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
Project Manager: APS Project Management
Planning Consultant: DP9
Fire Consultant: Warrington Fire Research Consultants
Landscape Architect: Gillespies
Lighting Design: James Turrell
Suppliers: J&P (T-Bolts and Jordahl channels), Fläkt Woods (HVAC system), Cundall (shell and fitout design, sustainability and IT strategies)

Project Timeline:

Westminster City Council approval: June 2006
Bowater House Demolition: 2006 (July to December)
Construction Started: January 2007
Project Completion: December 2010




December 11, 2010

Which city is the center of America’s architectural universe? NY, LA, Chicago, or none of the above?

Is New York the creative center of American architecture? Is Chicago a second city? And what of Frank Gehry’s LA? I ask because, while riding the “El” into work today, I was perusing Robert A.M. Stern’s illuminating collection of essays, “Architecture on the Edge of Postmodernism.”

In one of these essays, “New York, New York: Pluralism and Its Possibilities,” first published in 1979, Stern writes of New York’s place as a center of ideas–a nexus of distinguished architecture schools, journals, museums and newspaper criticism that no other American city could match. He goes on:

“One comes to New York to see architecture being made, and not so much to see it. How different from Chicago, where the products of Mies’s talents and those of his followers are everywhere to be seen. Chicago is like Detroit or Hollywood–the product and the place are one; architecture is Chicago’s dominant plastic art, just as film is Holywood’s chief artistic product; they are company towns, urban villages grown up to produce and market one or two things. New York is a metropolis, a world capital; architecture is dreamed here, realized everywhere.”

Did Stern correctly characterize Chicago in 1979? And now, 31 years and a host of changes later, where is he right and where is he off base?

Here are some thoughts to get the debate going:

1) Stern correctly observed Chicago’s preeminence in architectural production–a standing that is as true now as it was then, at least if one takes multiple generations of a city’s buildings, and not simply contemporary work, into account. But while he acknowledged Mies, Stern left out the other heroes who made Chicago preeminent–William Le Baron Jenney, Adler and Sullivan, Burnham and Root, Holabird and Roche, Frank Lloyd Wright, Holabird and Root, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. A surprising lapse for a distinguished architectural historian, but maybe the literary stylist in Stern didn’t want to get bogged down with a long list.

2) Even in 1979, Stern greatly oversimplified when he characterized Chicago as an urban village grown up to produce and market one or two things. The city has long been the metropolis of the Midwest, a maker of tools, a stacker of wheat, a player with railroads and all that other stuff Carl Sandburg mused about in his famous “Chicago” poem. Today, Chicago is a global metropolis, regularly named one of the world’s top financial centers and the place that the Leader of the Free World calls home. More to the point, it’s no provincial design ‘burg. It exports its architectural talent around the world, just as it imports top design talent like Gehry, Koolhaas, and Piano.

3) New York’s position as a center of architectural energy has been greatly undermined, if not superseded, by the rise of Gehry and other Los Angeles architects. That’s not my observation. It came last year from New York Times critic Nicolai Ouroussoff, occasioning this heated response from William Menking of The Architect’s Newspaper.

My take on this debate: Bye-bye, 1979. New York may still lead in talking, but the essence of architecture is building. And great builders and thinkers can be found all over, the Web’s distance-collapsing influence making an architect or an architectural dreamer in LA, Chicago, or even Des Moines as important as his or her counterpart on Park Avenue. Hey, New York–start spreadin’ the news: It’s a multi-polar architectural world out there. Deal with it.


December 11, 2010



Get ideas across quickly with the help of ZScape™ digital prints. From regional terrain to architectural designs, you can now present 3D data in a true 3D format. Engage your audience and enable analysis from every angle by delivering a richer, more compelling visual experience. Inspire collaboration with brilliant, full-color images and provide your team with accurate information to communicate quickly and effectively in any setting.

Our unique digital process sets a new standard in 3D imaging with unparalleled viewing continuity over the 360- degree viewing range. We create images that are scalable and portable so they can be easily shipped all over the world. And unlike competing 3D technologies, there’s no need for cumbersome glasses.


Some of the key features of our holographic digital prints include:

  • True 3D: No special eyewear is needed for enjoying a 360-degree viewing range.
  • Field proven: Over 8,000 images have been utilized by the US military overseas for visualization and defense planning applications.
  • Multiple copies: Unlike physical models, you can easily produce multiple “leave behinds” for clients, investors and other stakeholders.
  • Easy viewing: Illuminate the hologram with a simple halogen or LED light source, no special viewing equipment is required.
  • Portable and durable: Our holographic prints are easy to ship; the prints come with protective coatings for durability, and they can be marked on and rolled up and taken in the field.
  • Reliable archives: Our three-dimensional images are “version proof” and store flat, so you can refer to them years later — without the need for a computer or specific software.
  • Full-color or monochrome formats: Complex information can be displayed with brilliant detail, transparency and color — and feature greater accuracy than physical models.


Custom Options Available:

  • Tiling: Some of our holographic products can be tiled and mounted together to form a unique, large-format holographic print.
  • Channeling/Multi-image technology: We can combine up to four images in one holographic print that’s viewable from different directions; for example, as an image is turned, you can show project phasing, different design alternatives, or before and after views.
  • Color-coded annotations: Put more information into a single print — even in multiple languages — so you can overcome language barriers and communicate quickly.
  • Transparent overlays: We can build a composite holographic image with several layers of detail; for example, you can integrate 3D topographic information with your proposed site design or add annotated overlays to maps and buildings.

How It Works

Zebra Imaging has patented advances in lasers, optics and image processing that enable it to create vivid, lifelike holographic imagery from 3D digital data. Our process is designed to accept a wide array of source data digital file formats — including CAD models, laser scans and satellite imagery. We render the data into tens of thousands of component “Hogel” images that are recorded using laser light into a single portable, film-based hologram that can be viewed with a simple halogen or LED light source. When the hologram is illuminated, the light is reflected and controlled by hogels and combines and emerges from the hologram surface in the same way it would if a solid physical model were actually there.

File Types:

Zebra Imaging supports many 3D data types, including ‘.obj’ exports from programs like AVEVA Review, 3ds Max, Maya, and SketchUp. We also accept ‘.dwg’ exports from programs like Revit and AutoCAD, and LIDAR laser scan survey formats like ‘.xyz’, ‘.las’, and Leica Cyclone ‘.pts’. We are constantly evolving our data support capability, please see FAQ’s for more information.


ZScape Color pricing begins at $1,500 for a 12” x 18” print and goes up to $ 3,500 for our largest 2’ x 3’ print size. ZScape Mono pricing begins at around $700 for a 12” x 18” print and goes up to around $2,000 for our largest 2’ x 3’ print size. Custom options and graphics work are addtional. Price varies by size and complexity, please contact us for more information or a quote.


December 11, 2010

Holograms Deliver 3-D, Without the Goofy Glasses

By ANNE EISENBERG _Published: December 4, 2010

Architects are finding that hologram technology helps them to communicate with clients, lawyers and engineers.

WHEN the famous hologram of Princess Leia says, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi,” in “Star Wars,” it’s science fiction. Now you can watch actual moving holograms that are filmed in one spot and then projected in another spot.

“The hologram is about the size and resolution of Princess Leia in the movie,” said Nasser Peyghambarian, an optical scientist at the University of Arizona and leader of a research team that recently demonstrated the technology, reported in the Nov. 4 issue of Nature.

The holograms aren’t as speedy as those in Hollywood. The images move a lot more haltingly, as the display changes only every two seconds, far slower than video sailing past at 30 frames a second.

But unlike science fiction, these holograms are actually happening and in close to real time: a fellow is filmed in one room, the computer-processed data is sent via ethernet to another room, and then laser beams go to work. Voilà: His holographic telepresence appears and moves, albeit somewhat jerkily, in apparently solid detail (until you try to put a hand through him).

Innovative research in holography is going on at labs and companies worldwide, said Lisa Dhar, a senior technology manager at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who is an expert in holographic materials.

“Groups are deploying new materials and methods to create compelling work” of both still and moving holograms, Dr. Dhar said.

The work has implications beyond the lab, she said. We may need to wait a decade before watching holographic movies at home. But even before the technology is practical for games and entertainment, it promises applications in advertising, the military, architecture and engineering.

Zebra Imaging in Austin, Tex., sells holographic prints that at first glance look much like ordinary 2-by-3-foot pieces of plastic — until an LED flashlight is shined at them. Then the patterns, burned into the plastic with high-power laser beams, come to life, said Al Wargo, chief executive. Out of the surface springs a model of a complicated building or an intricate network of pipes and mechanical equipment.

No special eyewear is required to view the holographic prints, which typically cost $1,000 to $3,000 each. The company has also demonstrated moving holographic displays in prototype at conferences, Mr. Wargo said. (It introduced color holograms in September.)

Zebra’s main customer has been the Defense Department, which sends data in computer files to the company. Zebra then renders holographic displays of, for example, battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Businesses are also Zebra customers, including FMC Technologies in Houston, which uses holograms of oil field equipment for sales and training.

Adam Andrich, global marketing manager for fluid control at FMC, says holograms are handy substitutes when the company wants to demonstrate its 50,000-pound equipment at trade shows.

“The holograms are a lot lighter,” he said, and they create a striking effect as they rise in shimmering volume in the air. “They are so realistic that every time we show them, people try to grab them,” he said.

Holographic prints may also find use among architects and engineers. Tina Murphy, a project engineer at HNTB in Indianapolis, says she already uses extensive 3-D computer modeling to plan before construction, but holograms can also help to communicate, particularly with a group. “We can show them to plant operators, lawyers, regulators and engineers,” she said. “With this one visual image, we can all communicate.”

The holograms are an inexpensive alternative to bulky, often fragile physical models of wood or polystyrene, says Jared Smith, a senior vice president at Parsons Brinckerhoff in Seattle, an engineering, planning and architecture firm.

“Slip them into a portfolio case and carry them,” he said. “Then shine a light on them and up leap these buildings in three dimensions.”

At the University of Arizona in Tucson, Dr. Peyghambarian created his displays using 16 cameras. Software rendered the images in holographic pixels, and laser beams directed by the software recorded the information on a novel plastic that can be erased and rewritten in two seconds. Dr. Peyghambarian says that the group is working on speeding up the rate and expects versions to be in homes in 7 to 10 years. Slower versions may be useful far sooner, for example, for long-distance medical consultation.

To help make those long-distance connections happen, Keren Bergman, a professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University in New York, is working on ways to send holograms not just from room to room, but also from Arizona to New York on the Internet. Dr. Bergman and Dr. Peyghambarian are collaborating as part of joint researchfinanced by the National Science Foundation.

One day, she may summon people to her lab by holographic telepresence, just as Alexander Graham Bell once summoned Thomas Watson (“Come here!”) with a historic telephone call. To introduce that memorable moment, maybe she will find a good quote from “Star Wars.”