Archive for June, 2011

June 27, 2011

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang | ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Courtesy ATKINS

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Master Plan

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Section AA

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Section BB

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Section CC

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Master Plan Analysis

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Function Diagram

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Function Analysis

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Skin Concept

Mixed Use Center in Zhangjiagang / ATKINS Design Concept

ATKINS Shanghai has recently completed the design concept for a future skyscraper/mixed use center for the future central business district of . Additional renderings, plans and a description from the architects can be found after the jump.

In March 2011, ATKINS Shanghai received the commission from Jiangsu Shagang Group Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. to make a concept design for the skyscraper in the core area of future CBD in the east of . The main building in the design is planned to be 300 meter in height, which will be the highest one in , and also the core center of the city. The client is the wholly owned subsidiary of Jiangsu Shagang Group, one of the Fortune 500 companies in the world, which is also the leading company in ’s steel industry.

In order to mine its commercial value and make it to be the boutique building in , or even Yangtze River Delta region, the general style of building is required to be top-level CBD income property.  The design fully expresses the high quality and personalized charm of the building. The variety of the commercial format creates and promotes the valuable space. It not only can show the city’s image of vitality, rapid development and face to the world, but also can reflect the city’s spirit of pioneer and majestic. The project will be the future commercial center in the city, and will also become the name card of the city.

The design team broke through the traditional city network system, and uses a new axis. The concept is from the relationship between the dominant flow and site location. The architects use the most direct and efficient way to lead people into the center of the site, which can maximize the commercial value of the site. At the meanwhile, the new axis makes the space of interior more interesting and diversified.  The new axis is the start point of the whole design, by which to cut the form of towers to emphasis the dialogue between towers and podium.  In this way, the integrity and uniqueness of the design is promoted. The powerful atrium space, extended from the axis, is the core commercial and event space. The twin towers are located cross the axis symmetrically, which have a harmonious relationship with the atrium. The simple and refreshing water system is introduced into center of the site by the axis, which promotes the quality of the commercial dining spaces. This is one of the unique points of the design.

In the facade design, instead of having a traditional solid feeling of commercial buildings, architects are trying to give a light and transparent skins by using recycle aluminum shading system. This can give a very soft natural lighting to the interior, as well a good view for customers. This can also makes the building have two personalities in daylight and moonlight. The simple and powerful personalities in the daylight and the light and graceful personalities make a striking contrast. The beauty of inside-out is well performed by the design.

Architects: ATKINS,Shanghai
Client: Jiangsu Shagang Group Hongrun Real Estate Development Co., LTD
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 395700 sqm
Chief Architect: Ma Liang

June 23, 2011

JSWD Architekten









ThyssenKrupp Quarter | Essen, Germany/JSWD Architekten and Chaix & Morel et Associés



June 22, 2011

USJ campus de l’innovation et du sport | 109 architectes

‘USJ campus de l’innovation et du sport’ by 109 architectes in beirut, lebanon
images courtesy of 109 architectes
located in beirut, the ‘USJ campus de l’innovation et du sport’ by lebanese practice 109 architectes is nearing completion.
integrated into the urban fabric, this new campus seeks to unify architecture with the immediate surroundings teeming withculture and history. carved from an urban block, hollow voids lead to a central gathering space while a large stair receives and circulates students vertically into the building. the stair’s terminus leads to a landscaped terrace with uninterrupted views of the city encouraging students to connect with their environment.

front facade and central exterior gathering area
light, a vital component of oriental architecture, plays an important role in the design of the facade. the skin, composed of small ‘moucharabieh-inspired’ perforations, allows both direct light and ambient luminescence to penetrate into the interior spaces creating whimsical patterns. the openings also serve as portals into the urban fabric providing glimpses of the destruction left from the lebanese war, serving as a reminder of their significant landscape.

entrance to stair


central stair

walkways connecting campus buildings

walkways connecting buildings from below

view of building from walkway

facade detail

facade detail

(left) grand stair leading to central gathering area
(right) bottom of grand stairs in central gathering area

central gathering area

covered gathering area viewing auditorium

auditorium viewing covered gathering area

light patterns generated by facade

view of campus

site plan

floor plan




sectional light study
project info:

location: beirut, lebanon
client: université saint-joseph (USJ)
budget: m usd
year: 2005-2011
status: under construction
team: ibrahim berberi,  nada assaf, rani boustani, etienne nassar, emile khayat, naja chidiac, richard kassab
in collaboration with architect youssef tohmé
structural consultant: b.e.t. rodolphe mattar
mechanical consultant: ibrahim mounayar
electrical consultant: georges chamoun
control bureau: apave

June 22, 2011

The Big Pull | Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

The Big Pull

You may not have noticed, but the entire steel structure of the Kauffman Center moved in the past month. Well, it only moved a couple of inches, but that it moved at all is remarkable. This is part of the “tensioning process” that is critical to the stability of the Kauffman Center design. It also enables the luxurious ceiling and walls made of glass to sweep so graciously, but securely, over patrons below.

“The pull,” as the construction team refers to the process that moved the steel structure, was done by crews from the subcontractor BSC using sophisticated measurements, precise technology and large hydraulic jacks. The precise engineering process takes place slowly over a month period, focusing on one portion of the steel grid at a time. An understated Matt Jansen, project manager with JE Dunn Construction Company, admits, “It’s a gigantic engineering feat.”

Engineering Feat

The Kauffman Center architectural design calls for a steel infrastructure and a cable supported system, something not common to most buildings. This requires the construction team to first build a typical steel structure. Then they tension cable support between that steel framework and the concrete anchor wall separating the building from the garage.

The glass lobby, a signature aspect of the Kauffman Center design, was engineered by Novum Structures. They are supported in their work by two local subcontractors: BSC, that focuses on the steel aspects of the lobby construction (including the pull) and Bratton that installs the glass.

Twenty-seven steel columns, gently angled like tent poles, are attached by cables to the existing steel infrastructure of the halls and to the concrete anchor wall near the parking garage below. The anchor wall is 50 feet high, four feet thick and 360 feet long.

Bolts weighing 20 pounds are used temporarily in the tensioning process. If weather cooperates, glass will begin to be installed in April, 2010 in some areas of the lobby roof and walls, even though the tensioning process may continue in other sections.

Additional complexity in this stage of construction arises from the need for guttering, lighting and heaters near where the roof meets the south wall.

In addition, another large engineering feat will take place when four cables are installed east to west across the roof’s edge to create a snow fence that catches and keeps snow in place until melted.

Steel Tensioning

Cable Renderings

2809 E 85th Street
Kansas City, MO 64132-2535
First Exterior Glass Panels Installed At Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts

China Glass NetworkConstruction of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this week entered an important phase with the installation of the first of nearly 1,400 exterior glass panels.

The glass will form the dramatic transparent canopy enclosing the southern face of the arts center and what will be its four-story-tall grand lobby.

Each glass panel, fabricated in China, is affixed to a complex, intricately engineered network of masts and cables.

The glass installation is expected to be completed this fall, said Kyle McQuiston, vice president and project manager for J.E. Dunn Construction Co., the general contractor.

“It represents a big milestone for enclosing the building,” McQuiston said, “as work proceeds inside the two halls.”

The $400 million project, including an 1,800-seat theater, a 1,600-seat concert hall, and a 1,000-space parking garage, is on track to open in fall 2011.

Stainless steel cladding by ZAHNER:

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is already having a dramatic and transformative impact on Kansas City, changing both the city’s skyline as well as the experience of artists and audiences throughout the region. Designed by acclaimed Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie, the project is set for completion in 2011, and is the most highly anticipated structure in the bi-state region.

The center itself is a nearly 285,000-square-foot facility with two performance venues: the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre and the 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall. It is sure to become the singular architectural icon for Kansas City and be counted among the finest performing arts centers. Once completed, it will become home to the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Ballet.

Above is a photograph of the architect’s model, by John Horner.

The internationally recognized design team that has been assembled includes Moshe Safdie & Associates, Theatre Projects Consultants, and Nagata Acoustics. Their design incorporates the very latest in architectural innovation and technology to create virtually perfect acoustics and optimal sightlines in both performance halls.

Zahner is working closely with both the design team, as well as the construction management team at JE Dunn to bring the final surface to fruition. The entire roof and metal wall-surface is clad in Zahner GB-60™ Stainless Steel, a product well known for its muted reflectivity as well as it’s resilience to nature’s wear.

The first GB-60™ Stainless panels were installed at Kauffman Center last week (Week of August 2nd, 2010). Below are the photographs of these first panels, giving a sneak peak of the surface which will eventually wrap the majority of the building.

June 22, 2011

Symphony of Steel | Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

Fine tuning the curves at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

Chuck Mears, AIA, Posted 03/07/2011

Symphony_Northeast View

Although construction is not yet complete, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts is already becoming an icon in the Kansas City, Mo., skyline. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the 285,000-square-foot center features a dramatic arching shell to house two state-of-the-art performance venues. While Kansas City residents await the Center’s grand opening, a specialty framing team has been hard at work, creating its own symphony of steel designed to support the magnificent curves of the sculpted building.

Symphony_Halzberg HallThe Center itself is an approximately 285,000-square-foot facility with two technically sophisticated performance spaces: the 1,800-seat proscenium-style Muriel Kauffman Theatre and 1,600-seat concert Helzberg Hall. The technical requirements and exacting standards required of a facility like the Kauffman Center make it among the most complex structures in today’s modern architectural landscape.

One of the most challenging tasks in the project has been providing the underlying steel structure for the highly specific, unusual detail of the concert hall walls. The “bumps,” as they are called, are a series of acoustically specific, multi-radiused bulges in the performing arts center walls, which solve some very challenging acoustic issues.

In other eras these bumps would have been framed with a “close enough” mentality and would have visually performed to that level. Today, with the extremely sophisticated acoustical engineering solutions that are applied to performing arts centers of this high caliber, “close enough” wasn’t going to allow this large musical space to be “tuned” properly.

The custom-designed precise, consistent framing solution designed by Minneapolis-based Radius Track Corp. architects uses straight and curved steel studs and track along with laser-cut steel shapes for the small bumps. While normal stud spacing is 16 inches on center, the Kauffman Center framing was devised to create rib frames at 36 inches on center and bridge them with lighter gauge hat channels that could flex with the room’s geometry. This approach not only solved a perplexing detail, but raised the bar by creating an ingeniously simple solution which saved significant time and material with impeccable results. Fifty-seven of these frames were produced offsite in controlled shop environments to meet the exacting standards this project demanded.

Custom-designed and fabricated steel framing was also used in the ceilings for the Concert Hall and Proscenium Theater, the balcony facing reflector walls and the donor’s area ceiling. All of these areas were modeled using 3-D computer technology to virtually build the spaces before a single piece was fabricated. This process of Building Information Modeling, also known as Integrated Project Delivery, pulls the project team together earlier in the process of design and brings them into close communication so that coordination of systems and specific locations of elements can be worked out prior to material being fabricated. Clashes (or conflicts in overlapping locations) are resolved in the 3-D model, so when the pieces are delivered to the jobsite they can be installed with confidence.

Symphony_RadiusTrack“Radius Track designed the 3-D model of the ceiling framing to accommodate the speakers, light fixtures and other design elements. They detected potential clashes in advance, which saved us a tremendous amount of time and effort during installation. There wasn’t anything we had to go back and correct after installation; the framing design already took everything into account,” said Ryan Crist, project engineer for Grandview, Mo.-based Performance Contracting Inc., the drywall contractor on the job. PCI did all drywall, traditional plaster, veneer plaster, ceilings, EIFS and gypsum on the project.

Custom framing innovation was also employed for the undulating ceiling designs. “The geometry of the ceilings was fairly complex and would have been a real challenge to construct using traditional methods,” said Crist. “Radius Track gave us a better product, allowing us to frame faster and more accurately than traditional ways.”

With the help of consulting structural engineers at Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw Inc., Columbia, Mo., the framing design team was able to successfully create curved framing that could handle the weight of 25-pound acoustical plaster, attached equipment and other loads. With a crisply detailed solution that again extended the spacing of stud members and utilized CRC channels half the size of normal framing, the curved metal framing solved another series of acoustically specific profiles with exacting proficiency. The use of advanced framing approaches like these helped significantly lower the per-square-foot weight of framing, resulting in measurable cost and labor savings. To simplify installation, 16- by 20-foot panels were designed to be built on the floor then lifted into place when complete-especially challenging with ceilings that are bowing, arching and curving.

“Radius Track made the installation of the ceilings easy. They broke the ceiling into smaller panels and gave us the corner elevations of that piece. All we had to do was assemble the pieces on the ground and lift into place. We had a detailed map to follow as opposed to having to curve members on our own. It would have been very, very tough to do the project without them.”

The Kauffman Center will open in September 2011.

Chuck Mears, AIA, is the CEO and chief design officer for Radius Track, Minneapolis. He founded the company in 1996 and has been at the forefront of curved steel framing design ever since. Learn more from

IMAGES FROM TOP: View from the northeast. Photo courtesy of David Riffel; Rendering of Helzberg Hall interior. Image courtesy of Safdie Associates; Installation photo courtesy of Radius Track.




June 22, 2011



Even though our work always gets covered up, we’re honored to share in our

customer’s pride in creating landmark buildings throughout the world.

Radius Track is the leading expert and your single source resource for curved, cold-formed steel framing. We offer consulting, 3D design and 3D modeling services, BIM (Building Information Modeling) integrated project delivery expertise, structural engineering calculations, bid and quote assistance, custom-curved framing components, engineered dome framing solutions, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) solutions, parametric modeling and intelligent modeling services, construction documents, shop drawings and virtual design services. We also manufacturer Ready-Track®, Ready-Arch® and Ready-Angle® hand-formable products for curved steel-gauge framing and Radius Track Bender® and Radius Trim Bender® hand tools. Our curved framing solutions save you significant time and money because they install quickly and reliably for precise, accurate curved surfaces. Radius Track innovations simplify even complex projects like exterior domes, curved trusses. soffits and compound surfaces 
much easier with award-winning results. Radius Track Corporation is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

June 22, 2011

moshe safdie: kauffman center for the performing arts complete

‘the kauffman center for the performing arts’ by moshe safdie, kansas city, missouri
images © tim hursley

construction is now complete for kansas city’s kauffman center for performing arts by international firm moshe safdie and associates.
set to open to the public on september 16, 2011, the facility will become home to ballet, contemporary dance, various genres of music,
broadway productions and the like. the iconic building contains cutting edge technology providing artists a premier space to present their work.

northeast facade

a sweeping curtain wall along the southwest facade allows abundant natural light to enter a large atrium space, the
brandmeyer great hall. the buildings dominant shell forms contain two large auditoriums, the muriel kauffman theatre and helzberg hall.
architectural details provide advanced acoustic elements for high quality performances and ample seating for spectators.

southwest facade

the glazed lobby encourages social gathering in the spaces located between the two auditoriums while offering sweeping
views of the city. multiple balconies overlooking the atrium connect to the various mezzanine levels within the theaters.
this arrangement allows patrons to easily leave their seat in the audience to enjoy the view during intermissions.

facade detail

designboom has been following this project since its inception highlighting early design phases and construction.

brandmeyer great hall

muriel kauffman theatre interior

helzberg hall interior

section through muriel kauffman theatre
image courtesy of safdie associates

section through helzberg hall
image courtesy of safdie associates

project details:

architect: moshe safdie / safdie architects
total square footage: 285,000 square feet

principal spaces:
muriel kauffman theatre: 18,900-square-foot house
helzberg hall: 16,800-square-foot house
brandmeyer great hall: 15,000 square feet
performing arts center terrace: 113,000 square feet
offices for the kauffman center staff: 7,000 square feet
1,000-car garage, owned and operated by the city of kansas city, mo
shared backstage facilities: dressing accommodations for over 250 performers, 11 rehearsal and warm-up rooms,
meet-and-greet lounge

40,000 square feet of glass
10.8 million pounds of structural steel
25,000 cubic yards of concrete
1.93 million pounds of plaster
27 steel cables, each holding up to 500,000 pounds of force

design team:
associate architect: bnim architects
acoustics: nagata acoustics
theatre design: theatre projects consultants
structural engineer: arup usa, inc.
local structural engineer: structural engineering associates, inc.
mep/fire protection engineers: arup usa, inc.
local mep engineers: wl cassell & associates, inc.
project manager: land capital corporation
general contractor: j.e. dunn construction
civil engineer: taliaferro and browne, inc.
security: m-e engineers, inc.
landscape architect: reed hilderbrand associates, inc.
sound: engineering harmonics, inc.
lighting: lam partners, inc.

muriel kauffman theatre

square footage: 18,900-square-foot house
seating capacity: 1,800 seats
stage: 5,000-square-foot stage; width of stage opening may be adjusted from 40’-50’
orchestra pit: up to 1,300 square feet; accommodates as many as 96 musicians
features & systems: 73’9” fly tower accommodates scenery up to 2,000 lbs. and 30’ tall. fully walk-able rigging
grid is accessible by stairs, ladders, and elevator. retractable acoustic banner system allows for acoustical adjustments
accommodating both small and large-scale productions. stage curtain contains motorized counterweight lineset;
center and intermediate splits allow for motorized split travel or guillotine opening

helzberg hall

square footage: 16,800-square-foot house
seating capacity: 1,600 seats
stage: 2,700 square feet, including six lifts which form an adjustable riser system
pipe organ: 79 stops, 102 ranks, 5,548 pipes; custom-designed mechanical action organ in the french romantic tradition,
built by quebec firm casavant frères
features & systems: fixed acoustical canopy above the stage. retractable banner system included in side walls and above
fixed canopy. six 1,000-pound point hoist systems to hang custom curved trusses. five skylights allow natural daylight to
filter into hall.


Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Architect’s Statement: Moshe Safdie

The opportunity to design a major new performing arts center was precipitated by two
significant decisions: the selection of an extraordinary site crowning the escarpment
overlooking the historic warehouse district and the new entertainment district, affording
a 180° view of the horizon; and the decision to construct two dedicated halls for
symphony, ballet, opera, and theater.
Downtown Kansas City, set upon a plateau, extends southwards towards an escarpment
from where it descends, opening to an expansive view, which is further accentuated by
the flat prairie landscape. To the north, one sees the drama of the downtown skyline
with its grid of streets framing the property and the Kansas City Convention Center.
I am a believer that the site of a project always holds the secret for its design concept.
Walking around, I was compelled by the dramatic view to the south. Thus, I placed the
two performance halls to face south, integrated and connected by a single great
lobby—an expansive glazed porch contained by a glass tent-like structure. The drop in
the land towards the south allowed us to include a new road that serves as the drop-off
point and leads to a large underground parking garage on top of which sits a park. From
the garage and the drop-off levels, the public ascends the grand stair to the great hall,
with public gathering areas and the individual theaters on each side. Recognizing the
significance of downtown as an additional access point, the North Entrance was aligned
on the axis of Central Street, penetrating through the building into the theater lobbies.
Each hall reads as a distinct volume; metaphorically evoking a musical instrument and
visible through the glass shell. As the natural light changes, so does the building’s
transparency, reflecting the structure’s surroundings and, at the same time, hinting at its
interior. At night, the entire building becomes inverted, displaying all of its interior
activities to the community outside.
The halls are served by a series of access balconies fronting on the great hall, forming
two conical stacked rings of white plaster. The thousands of people mingling before
and after performances and intermissions are theatrically visible to one another. Thus,
the great hall with its surrounding balconies is a counterpoint to the theaters within; the
theater of the public realm, where the celebrating public are visible to the southern
sweep of the city.
If the site generates the design of a complex as a whole, then the acoustic strategy is the
generator of the design of Helzberg Hall. Working with Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata
Acoustics, a volumetric and geometric concept for the hall evolved. From the outset, we
wanted a hall that was intimate and in which the public is engaged with the musicians in
a feeling of embrace. Rather than the traditional frontal relationship of stage and 2
audience, we surrounded the music makers with the public. With the 1,600 seat count,
which makes great intimacy possible, we strove to have each and every person
experience the music without a balcony or ceiling above them. We also wanted the
spatial experience within the hall to evoke the exterior design of the building. Thus, the
fanning geometry of the northern façade is echoed within the interior, supporting the
sculptural arrangement of the organ within it; as it reaches towards the ceiling it
branches apart, forming skylights that allow the daylight and sun to penetrate and
reflect upon the organ.
In counterpoint to the warm intimacy of Helzberg Hall, the Muriel Kauffman Theater is
festive and exuberant. The three balconies envelop the hall in a horseshoe-like
enclosure. Each balcony is broken down into a series of steps cascading from the center
rear balcony to the individual boxes on either side of the stage. The stepping enhances
sightlines and provides for a sense of intimacy and connection with the action on the
stage. The balcony balustrades are a contemporary reinterpretation of the gilded,
glittering, candle-lit balconies of 18
and 19
century theaters. The lights reflect
through the glass-like enclosure to form an ever-changing chandelier-like surface. The
hall’s acoustic enclosure is composed of undulating walls, shaped like vertical stacked
barrels and designed by Toyota for optimal sound reflection. To integrate these shapes
into the whole, a series of slats provide a screen-like enclosure. A series of murals,
conceived and designed by the students of the Kansas City Art Institute, are painted and
illuminated directly on the acoustical structures. The overall effect is of a dynamic mural,
rich in reds, greens, blues and yellows, fused into the geometry of the room.



June 22, 2011

Global Financial Center in Shanghai | OMA

Shanghai is a fragmented collage of different scales and styles. The identity of the city lies in the diversity of traditional, colonial, communist, and “post-modern” architecture united only through the city’s history. The Global Financial Centre on the Bund – yet another mixed-use project among all these opposing elements – has the natural task of addressing and emphasizing all the contradicting qualities of Shanghai without compromising their benefits.

The schizophrenic character of Shanghai calls for a cohesive agent: our project is a cluster of similar tilting towers but with different heights and footprints of different scales. The varying scales of each footprint allow different programs to inhabit the same complex and follow the logic of the site, with a smaller scale facing the old town, mitigating the difference between the various typologies surrounding the site. Global Financial Center on the Bund incorporates the richness of the small and the big, the local and the international, “hard” structures and “soft” elements, natural forms and man-made constructions. It can become a new landmark for Shanghai that is immediate, unique and identifiable while simultaneously remaining a fully-integrated and representative piece of the city’s rich culture.

Global Financial Centre on the Bund is grounded in the city’s history and leads the way to its future, creating a new cityscape that adapts both to the varied demands of the program and the complexity of Shanghai. A new identity is found by anticipating and utilizing the city’s diversity. The overall unity ofOMA’s design has the ability to form a landmark in Shanghai’s congested skyline – where new developments compete for attention with the same methods: height and form.




June 22, 2011

TIFF Bell Lightbox | KPMB Architects

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Maris Mezulis

Architect: Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects
Project Team: Bruce Kuwabara, Design partner; Shirley Blumberg, Partner-in-Charge; Luigi LaRocca, Senior Associate; Matthew Wilson, Project Architect; Matt Krivosudsky, Bruno Weber, Brent Wagler, Glenn MacMullin, Andrea Macaroun, Rita Kiriakis, Lilly Liakus, Carolyn Lee, David Poloway ,Tyler Sharp, Debra Fabricus, Claudio Venier, Thom Seto, Walter Gaudet, Krista Clark, Clementine Chang, Winston Chong, Carla Munoz, Elizabeth Paden, Bill Colaco, Nicko Elliot, Norm Li.
Architect of Record: Kirkor Architects & Planners
Project Area: 547,000 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Maris MezulisTom Arban, Mehrdad Tavakkolian

Structural Engineer: Jablonsky, Ast and Partners
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Leipciger Kaminker Mitelman
Landscape Architect: NAK Design Group
Life Safety: Leber Rubes Inc
Cost: Helyar & Associates
Acoustic: Aercoustics Engineering Ltd & Valcoustics  Ltd.
A/V: Brian Arnott Associates
Theater: Peter Smith Architect Inc.
Wind Study: RWDI Consulting Engineers
Transportation: Marshall Macklin Monaghan
Lighting: Pivotal Lighting Group
Signage: Gottschalk + Ash

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Mehrdad Tavakkolian

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Maris Mezulis

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Maris Mezulis

plan plan

plan plan

plan plan

plan plan

plan plan

plan plan

section section

elevation elevation

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Maris Mezulis

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects © Tom Arban

The winning competition design for the Bell Lightbox and Festival Tower was conceived on an epic scale to create a city of cinema within the city that hosts one of the most important annual film festivals. It was also designed to reflect the heterogeneity and openness that characterizes. Located in the heart of the city’s media and entertainment district, the architecture of the Bell Lightbox at the corner of King and John Streets injects energy into the precinct.

The Bell Lightbox, a horizontal, 5-story podium building, establishes its cultural image on the streetscape while the 42-story point tower, set back on John Street, commands the skyline. The two elements formally relate in the simple proportions of the volumes, common materials, and quality of detailing. The transition between the two occurs at the point where the roof of the Bell Lightbox meets the base of the Tower. The form and expression of the condominium tower creates a clean, contemporary figure with an illuminated light box at its top to enrich ’s evolving skyline.

The King Street elevation is a composition of projecting volumes and surfaces contained within a continuous loop of movement that begins with the street level canopy and then rises to the upper levels to culminate at the stepped roof. The canopy, with its metal soffits and LED lights, enhances the arrival experience. Extended sequences of horizontal montages of clear, fritted and translucent glass panels animate the upper surfaces and in project the silhouettes of people moving within to the street.

Inside the Lightbox, the design acts as a framework for human action and imagination in which the solidity of architecture and the ephemerality of the medium of film are fused. The flexible plan is based on the tradition of industrial loft buildings. Within this framework, the volumes of the cinema theaters (ranging from 80 to 550 seats) and spaces for gathering, display and production are arranged to promote movement and visual connectivity. A three-story central atrium features a red framed glass window into the master control booth. The architectural volumes of the five cinemas are expressed as black zinc clad buildings within the building, and the spaces between act as interior streets along which visitors are oriented. The cinema interiors are dark, unadorned and enclosed to focus the attention between viewers and film.

The main entrance leads directly to the main escalator, ramps and stairs which together weave a fluid sequence of movement to the cinemas above. On the fourth and fifth levels administrative and production spaces, library and archives are organized around a second, light-filled atrium. A generous café and restaurant, operated by Oliver Bonacini, occupy the first two levels of the corner at King and John. At street level, Canteen is wrapped by an outdoor café terrace. On the second level, Luma is integrated with the Blackberry Lounge.

The design culminates in the monumentally-scaled stepped roof. Inspired by the stepped roof of the Villa Malaparte in Capri featured in Jean Luc Godard’s 1963 Contempt, this major new outdoor public space encapsulates the fusion of architecture and film.


June 21, 2011

A SPACE OF LIGHT | Lebbeus Woods in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch

(above) The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, in the Raffles City complex in Chengdu, China, by Steven Holl Architects.

The Light Pavilion is designed to be an experimental space, that is, one that gives us the opportunity to experience a type of space we haven’t experienced before. Whether it will be a pleasant or unpleasant experience; exciting or dull; uplifting or merely frightening; inspiring or depressing; worthwhile or a waste of time, is not determined in advance by the fulfillment of our familiar expectations, because we can have none, never having encountered such a space before. We shall simply have to go into the space and pass through it, perhaps more than once. That is the most crucial aspect of its experimental nature, and we—its transient inhabitants—are experimentalists in full partnership with the space’s designers. Each of our experiences will be unique, personal.

Set within a more known three-dimensional geometry and framed by it, the Light Pavilion exerts its differences. Most apparently, the elements defining it do not follow the known, rectilinear geometry of its architectural setting. The columns supporting stairs and viewing platforms obey a geometry defined by a dynamic of movement. Their deviation from the rectilinear grid releases its spaces from static stability and sets them in motion, encouraging visitors to explore.

The structural columns articulating the Pavilion’s interior spaces are illuminated from within and in the twilight and night hours visibly glow, creating a luminous space into which the solid architectural elements appear to merge. This quality is amplified by the mirrored surfaces enclosing the Pavilion, which visually extend its spaces infinitely. We might speculate that this new type of space stands somewhere between traditional architecture and the virtual environments of cyberspace, a domain we increasingly occupy in our homes and workplaces, but in the Light Pavilion with more emphasis on the physical than the mental or the virtual.

From distances across the city, the Pavilion is a beacon of light for the Raffles City complex. From within the buildings, and especially from the large public plaza between them, the glowing structure radiates subtly changing color symbolizing different holidays and times of day, month and year.

The space has been designed to expand the scope and depth of our experiences. That is its sole purpose, its only function. If one needed to give a reason to skeptics for creating such experimental spaces in the context of this large urban development project, it would be this: our rapidly changing world constantly confronts us with new challenges to our abilities to understand and to act, encouraging us to encounter new dimensions of experience.

Lebbeus Woods

Christoph a. Kumpusch


(below) Development of The Light Pavilion’s design:

Recent construction photograph:

Light and color studies:

LW and CaK