Archive for ‘Educational’

June 26, 2012

Jobie L. Martin Classroom Building, Hinds Community College | Duvall Decker Architects

(Photo: Mark Howell)
View of north façade in the early morning. (Photo: Mark Howell)
Views of lounge, study and circulation space on the south side of the building. A standard office can be seen through the window to the right. (Photo: Mark Howell)
View of laboratory with north-facing curtain wall to right. Note daylight harvesting system is reducing artificial light output toward the north. (Photo: Mark Howell)
View of standard classrooms. (Photo: Mark Howell)
The envelope is made of durable, lifetime materials: zinc, high-performance curtain wall, and brick. (Drawing: Duvall Decker Architects, P.A.)
(Drawing: Duvall Decker Architects, P.A.)
(Drawing: Duvall Decker Architects, P.A.)
View of the south face of the building and toward the airport to the west. (Photo: Mark Howell)
View of south façade in the early evening. (Photo: Mark Howell)
The project is a new, 18,800 sf laboratory and classroom building on the Academic Technical Center campus of Hinds Community College in Jackson, Mississippi. It includes six standard classrooms, biology and chemistry laboratories, faculty offices, and study areas.

The fastest growing satellite campus of the college required a workhorse building; economical, durable, energy-efficient and functional. The new building, sited to shape a future campus green, fits in this understated and pragmatic context, but it also elevates the prospect of the campus.

The building is ecologically mature, reducing energy consumption through active and passive strategies. As external heat gains generally outweigh internal loads here, an umbrella shadows the building. Convection facilitates the movement of air up the southern, eastern and western facades, through the attic and out to the north. The heat given off through the first layer of construction never penetrates the thermal envelope of the building.

The primary active strategy reduces the electrical lighting load, the greatest consumer of energy in most buildings. The classrooms and laboratories line the north side of the building, which is enclosed with a high performance curtain wall. This wall is a natural light diffusing lens that refracts light deep into the room and onto all of its surfaces. The artificial lighting is an efficient light harvesting system which is controlled via motion and light level sensors.

A high performance, zoned HVAC system takes advantage of the reduced loads and provides thermal comfort with minimum energy. The planning of the building allows for simple trunk line runs, efficient HVAC zoning, and ease of maintenance.

The southern side of the building accommodates lounge, circulation and study spaces. Natural light enters the building through four penumbra instruments.  Direct light is transformed into an ever-changing play of shadow and southern reflected light.

March 11, 2012

Solid 11 | Tony Fretton Architects

Architects: Tony Fretton Architects
Location: , The Netherlands
Design Team: Tony Fretton, Jim McKinney, Sandy Rendel, Laszlo Csutoras, Clemens Nuyken, Chris Neve, Donald Matheson, Michael Lee, Martin Nässén
Project A: Laszlo Csutoras
Area: 2,000 sqm
Client: Albert Ravestein, Stadgenoot
Budget: €18.3 million
Photographs: Peter Cook

 has completed a new seven-storey 8000 sqm building in central Amsterdam. The project is the fourth building completed by the practice in the Netherlands, the country in which founding director Tony Fretton has held a professorship since 1999, as Chair of Architectural Design & Interiors at Technical University of Delft.

Located near the Vondelpark, Solid 11 is one of three new-build projects designed by Tony Fretton Architects on inner city sites released by the relocation of hospitals and industry, the others being Andreas Ensemble in Amsterdam West and de Prinsendam Overhoeks.

Commissioned by Dutch housing association Stadgenoot, the building is an example of a “solid”, a new highly durable and sustainable typology devised by Stadgenoot which is presented to the market as a constructed shell, offering flexibility to the building’s tenants to decide on the size, configuration and use of space.

The building is one of three in a masterplan devised by the late Belgian architect Jo Crepain. The masterplan organises the buildings in sequence along Constantijn Huygenstraat separated by public spaces. Each building is similar in form and alignment and configured as a pair of parallel blocks with a private open space between them.

Solid 11 is the third building in the sequence and is sited next to Jacob van Lennep canal. Unlike the other two buildings, the design of which has been tailored to a specific purpose as social housing and a psychiatric hospital, Solid 11 has been designed to provide flexible space for a range of activities including apartments, workspaces, a hotel, shops, cafes and restaurants and public facilities such as a kindergarten. As in the Red House, a private town house in Chelsea completed by the practice in 2001, spaces are architecturally powerful yet non-specific, inviting a variety of uses.

The client Stadgenoot required the main elements of the building to have a 200-year life span. The facade has been designed as self-supporting. The brickwork piers are built off the basement walls and are fixed to the concrete frame with stainless steel ties. The horizontal spandrels are precast concrete, faced with the same brick, and are built into the piers. The bricks used are charcoal-fired Petersen bricks, reddish brown on the outer facades and yellowish white in the courtyard. On the ground floor the brick piers are clad with highly durable, red porphyry natural stone.

The penthouse pavilions on the roof of the building and the recessed star-shaped elements on the 4th and 5th floors of the building’s front façade feature highly reflective structural glass curtain walls.

A key element of the design of the building is the central courtyard extending from ConstantijnHuygenstraat, which will contain shops, cafes and public facilities overlooked by access balconies on the upper floors. Given the prominent position of the building next to the canal, it is intended that the courtyard will become a local public place and a neighbourhood in itself. The courtyard is protected from traffic noise on ConstantijnHuygenstraat by a 6-storey high glass acoustic screen. Behind this screen glass bridges supported by abstract steel trees connect the pre-cast concrete access balconies on the opposite sides of the courtyard.

The doors are tall bronze powder-coated steel doors on the ground floor and bronze anodized or white powder-coated aluminium doors on the floors above. The stairs of the building are generous porphyry-clad stairs on the ground floor and pre-cast terrazzo on the floors above.

In the architecture there is a play between the abstract building form, the expressiveness of its materials of dark brick and porphyry and metal tree forms, and recognisable elements from other architecture that are freely transformed.

January 22, 2012

Buildings A, B and D | Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee

Architects: Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee
Location: , North Carolina, USA
Client: Wake Technical Community College, Northern Wake Campus
Project Team: Jeffrey Lee, Douglas Brinkley, Marni Rushing, David Hill, Matt Bitterman
Size: 209,570 SF
Photographs: JWest ProductionsTom Arban

 designed the master plan for Wake Technical Community College’s Northern Wake Campus, the first All-LEED campus in North Carolina and one of the first in the nation. PBC+L developed a planning strategy that layers the site from the outside in so that cars remain isolated along the perimeter, while campus pedestrian pathways engage open space and the lush wetlands of the site’s inner core.

PBC+L designed and built the first three buildings on campus. Building A is a LEED certified classroom and lab building. Building B is also LEED certified and houses a library, classrooms, and administrative offices. Building D is a LEED Gold certified building that includes classrooms, computer labs, offices and a coffee shop.

January 22, 2012

Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, Brown University | Architecture Research Office

Architects: Architecture Research Office (ARO)
Location: , Rhode Island, 
Project Team: Stephen Cassell, Principal; Kim Yao, Associate/Principal; Neil Patel, Project Manager; Gustavo Colmenares
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 18,100 sqf (GSF)
Photographs: Michael Moran

New York-based firm Architecture Research Office (ARO) recently completed the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, or ICERM at Brown University. The facility is the newest of eight National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes, and is the only one located in New England. ICERM’s mission is to expand the use of computational and experimental methods in mathematics, to support theoretical advances related to computation, and to address problems posed by the existence and use of the computer through mathematical tools, research and innovation. A venue for workshops and symposia year-round, ICERM also hosts several resident mathematicians for periods of a few weeks up to a semester.

With seating for 104 people and featuring views of downtown Providence on three sides, the Lecture Hall is the heart of ICERM and home to its workshops and symposia. It is equipped with Echo360 lecture-capture technology to enable easy audio and video recording of events as well as live-streaming to the Web. The Lecture Hall’s fourth wall is a writable surface of translucent glass panels inset with two suspended projection screens. This wide, floor-to-ceiling surface, actually a double layer of glass, allows daylight to filter into ICERM’s central lounge, where mathematicians also write on it. The cavity between the wall’s two layers can be illuminated to produce a luminous, iconic connection between the Lecture Hall and ICERM’s lobby.

To reduce costs and shorten the construction schedule, much of the existing partitions and layout are preserved. The design provides as much natural light as possible to interior public spaces. Chalkboards or whiteboards run throughout ICERM’s private offices and public spaces, while selected furniture pieces maximize opportunities for group collaboration. Conference rooms are equipped with Smartboard and video-teleconference technology that support collaborative events both within and beyond the Institute’s physical space. ARO’s design resolves a technical challenge of an appropriate balance between the level of technology required for an institution of this caliber and the quality of work environment necessary for mathematicians to do their best work.

January 22, 2012

Princeton School of Architecture | Architecture Research Office

Architects: Architecture Research Office
Location: New York, 
Project Team: Principal-in-charge: Adam Yarinsky; Project Manager: Megumi Tamanaha; Project Team: Jennifer Park, Tina Hunderup, Adrian Wu, Arthur Chu
Completion: August 2007
Photographs: Paul Warchol

A strategic intervention, this Addition re-centers the Princeton School of Architecture. Enclosed in glass and steel, the Addition links the School’s two-story south wing, where its administrative offices and library are located, to the three-story north wing’s studios and classrooms. Princeton students have nicknamed the building the “Hyphen”.

The Addition contains a new lobby, student lounge, elevator, and cantilevered steel stair. Plan and section take their dimensions from the existing 1963 building: the Addition aligns with the existing floor levels and, on the exterior, translates the rhythm of the existing building’s window bays. Large glass panels, with varying ceramic frit patterns overlaid like folds in a curtain, comprise the Addition’s envelope. The frit pattern affirms formal characteristics seen in the building, uniting the glass and steel Addition with the existing building, while also providing solar shading for the third floor lounge. The elevator shaft, painted shades of blue, forms the background against which the stair and the frit pattern are seen.

The project scope also included renovations throughout the existing building to update the School of Architecture with a new model shop and facilities for a three-dimensional printer.

and more pics:

January 22, 2012

Learning Spring School | Platt Byard Dovell White Architects

Architects: Platt Byard Dovell White Architects
Location: 247 East 20th Street at Second Avenue, 
Cost: $31 million
Client: Simons Foundation, LearningSpring Elementary School, Margaret Poggi, Head of School, LearningSpring School, Jim Snyder, Board Member, LearningSpring School
Project Team: Ray H. Dovell, AIA, Design Principal; Elissa Icso, AIA, Project Manager; Matthew Mueller, AIA, Project Architect; Erica Gaswirth, LEED AP, Steven Dodds
Completed: 2010
Photographs: Frederick Charles

Founded in 2001 by a parent group, the LearningSpring School is a 108-student K through 8th grade private day school for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The new eight-story building is situated on the northwest corner of 20th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. It contains a full range of academic, athletic, and special needs spaces arranged internally as a vertical campus, designed to support the special social, physical, and educational needs of its students.

Higher-occupancy spaces, including the gymnasium, library, and lunchroom, as well as administrative functions, are located on the bottom two floors where the floor plates are the largest. Of the six upper stories, two are for lower school classrooms, two are for shared therapy and special education spaces, and two are for the upper classrooms. Classrooms are paired as suites, sharing resource areas, quiet study rooms, and toilets. To provide ample opportunity for informal socialization, seating alcoves off corridors are spread through the building. Circulation between the floors is through a glass-enclosed communicating stair. Classrooms and corridors are finished with cork floors, bamboo casework, and natural wall fabrics, helping to produce a calm and intimate learning environment.

To protect the façades of the building from the unobstructed southeast exposure to the sun, and to provide a valuable visual buffer from the busy intersection, the building is draped with an aluminum and stainless steel sunscreen supported by an external steel armature. Behind is an aluminum, glass and zinc curtain wall. Flanking the adjacent buildings to the north and west and extending along the base of the building is a terracotta rainscreen. Between the two systems is a vertical band of tubular channel glass marking important circulation spaces within. The resulting architecture provides a welcoming and dignified representation of a group of children and their educators long underserved by the city’s schools.

This fast-track project was the first building in New York State to receive a Gold rating under the rigorous LEED For Schools program. This accomplishment was based on various design and construction features, including the provision of natural daylight and neighborhood views for every classroom. The building’s aluminum sunshades, low-e coated insulated glass units, and zinc rain screen spandrels help to cut solar gain significantly. Other environmentally friendly features include operable windows for natural ventilation, low-flow fixtures for water savings, and high-efficiency equipment for energy savings. The LearningSpring School received an AIA/CAE Educational Facility Design Award in 2011.

January 22, 2012

Hudson River Education Center And Pavilion | Architecture Research Office

Architects: Architecture Research Office
Location: Beacon, New York, 
Project Team: Principal-in-charge: Adam Yarinsky; Project Team: Jeff Hong (project architect), Neil Patel, Jejon Yeung, Si Eun Lee
Gross Square Footage: Barn = 8,000 SF; Pavilion = 2,700 SF
Total Project Cost (including park): $8,720,000
Client: Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc.
Photographs: James Ewing

This project for the Scenic Hudson Land Trust consists of two separate structures in a public park on the Hudson River in Beacon, New York: a new boat pavilion and an arts and environmental education center inside a restored historic barn. The two buildings, standing several hundred feet apart, are integrated within the park designed by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects. The architecture is on track to achieve LEED gold certification.

The barn is the sole survivor of Beacon’s industrial riverfront. This renovation preserves its simple, elemental structure but transforms its interior into a loft-like art studio. The program includes a new ground floor multipurpose space for lectures and exhibitions, two classrooms on the second floor, and support spaces. An artist’s studio is located in the top floor. The building is wrapped in a new wood deck that provides access to the ground floor and a place for outdoor events. Most existing window openings are preserved, and large glass doors are added to make a new public entry and increase the connection between inside and outside. The existing post-and-beam structure is exposed alongside durable new materials like concrete flooring, concrete block and plywood wall panels. Large sliding panels permit reconfiguration of the interior. New stairs, elevator, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems are included to meet code requirements.

While the Education Center is an iconic destination, the boat pavilion is conceived as a threshold in deference to the expansive Hudson River. The roof is a horizontal plane of corrugated steel that parallels a large wood deck from which boats launch. The painted steel structure is economical and sturdy. Secure storage for up to sixty-four kayaks or canoes, a changing room and storage area are enclosed by aluminum bar grating panels. The textures, patterns, orientation and details of the corrugated steel, wood deck and bar grating bring these ordinary elements into an elegant composition

January 1, 2012

Milstein Hall | OMA

‘milstein hall cornell university’ by OMA in ithaca, new york, USA
all images courtesy cornell / AAP
image © william staffield

‘milstein hall’, the first new building for the cornell university college of architecture, art,
and planning
 (AAP), has celebrated its grand opening in ithaca, new york, USA.
designed by internationally-recognized architecture practice OMA, the 14,000 m2
educational complex spatially connects the originally fragmented area between four existing
buildings with an elevated horizontal plate outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass.

exterior view during construction
image © william staffield

inserted into the interstitial space between rand, sibley, the foundrys and tjaden hall,
the new facility focuses on the stimulating the interaction of programs while allowing
flexibility over time. the operation and activities of the buildings is made transparent on
the ground level by an angled glass facade which overlooks the sunken in 282-seat auditorium.
manipulations of the floor plate resulted in a hill-like bulge that caters to a number of programs:
the computer labs and meeting areas are housed under the curved form while the seats of
the auditorium follow the natural incline of the structure; a portion of the hill penetrates out
into the exterior, providing a playful communal space complete with pod-like LED stools,
while the peak that punctures the upper plate provides an access point to the rest of the building.

face during installation
image © william staffield

the higher level of the new hall provides an open layout for studios and work space.
wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing, the interior benefits from a generous amount of natural
daylight. a grid of skylights on the green roof further facilitates sunlight into the studios.

under the elevated volume
image © william staffield

views of stairwell
images © william staffield

studio level wrapping around existing hall
image © william staffield

floor-to-ceiling window
image © william staffield

studio space
image © william staffield

(left) up to street level
(right) auditorium
images © william staffield

image © william staffield

peak of the bulge from studio level
image © william staffield

lifted up floor plate with a view into the lower level
image © william staffield

staircase in basement
image © william staffield

image © william staffield

exterior bulge
image © william staffield

LED pods during installation
image © william staffield

planting the green roof
image © william staffield

roof lights
image © william staffield

physical model

view from the gorge

level -1

level 0

level +1

roof level

rendered fly-by view

street view

exterior view from street level 

exterior meeting space

view into auditorium

interior view of staircase up to studio level


project info: 

partners in charge: rem koolhaas, shohei shigematsu
associate in charge: ziad shehab
team: jason long, michael smith, troy schaum, charles bermean,
amparo casani, noah shepherd, alasdair graham, torsten schroeder,
joshua beck, erica goetz, margaret arbanas, matthew seidel,
tsuyoshi nakamoto, ritchie tao, konrad krupinski, kengo skorick,
martin schliefer, marcin ganczarski, tanner merkeley, konstantin august,
klaas kresse, mathieu de paepe, suzanna waldron, daphna glaubert,
beatriz minquez de molina, jesse seegers, james davies, esa rustkeepaa,
daniel gerber, paul georgeadis, julianna gola, betty ng, michael jefferson

executive architect: KHA architects, LLC
structural engineer: robert silman associates
MEP engineer: plus group consulting engineering
engineering servies: gryphon international
facade design and engineering consultant: front, inc.
acoustical consultant: DHV VB
elevator consultant: persohn/hahn associates
IT/data/security consultant: archi-technology
lighting consultant: tillotson design associates, inc.
audio/visual consultant: acentech
roofing consultant: BPD roof consulting, inc.
sustainability consultant: BVM engineering
models: OMA / model en objekt / made by mistake

A commission with a troubled history, OMA’s design for Milstein Hall reveals and relishes in the problem of creating architecture about architecture.

Credit: Jason Koski, Cornell University Photography

In the punishing history of higher education in architecture, the first decade of the 21st century may be remembered as something of a respite. This is not thanks to any maturation of a pedagogy in which the necessary routine of critique is all too often abused as an opportunity for ritual bullying.

It’s because drawing got more digital, and digital projectors got more affordable. A student narrating a slide presentation of computational renderings from the back of a cinematically darkened room stands shoulder to shoulder with his or her critics and colleagues, addressing the image of the work in collaboratively parallel gaze. The student’s back is neither figuratively nor literally up against the wall on which the paper (and the student, like a butterfly) is pinned. The darkness and displacement of a projected review eases the spatial positioning and social hierarchy that—in acute combination—have earned such crits, and their associated spaces, such nicknames as the Shooting Gallery, the Execution Chamber, and the Kill Floor.

Today, the new affordability of big, bright, liquid-crystal-display flat screens may be shifting the dynamic back, returning the student to the front of the room and the line of fire. This was the setup I saw during a recent visit to Milstein Hall, a $52 million, 47,000-square-foot addition to Cornell University’s College of Art, Architecture & Planning in Ithaca, N.Y., completed in October by Rem Koolhaas, Shohei Shigematsu, and Ziad Shehab of OMA. The addition incorporates the architecture school’s historic home in the scruffy but sturdily Sullivanesque Rand Hall, confirming the firm’s stated new interest in what Koolhaas, in a recent lecture at Cornell, called, “not-exactly-preservation, [and] in performance more than shape.”

The new addition features some 25,000 square feet of uninterrupted studio space in an airy Miesian box, about 150 feet wide, elevated and cantilevered 48 feet toward an adjacent gorge. This structure is supported largely by steel hybrid truss systems that appear to bulge blobbishly up from the seeming ground plane below, like a stray piece of late Corbusian roofscape. Those flat-screen crits take place in a circular arena directly inside the mound, the outer slopes of which accommodate the steep pitch of a 275-seat auditorium. Complex spatial overlaps, formal excisions, and glassy openings at the intersection of box and blob accommodate a constellation of primary circulation and secondary assembly and display spaces, as well as the many surprising oblique sight lines between them.

A student’s first clients are, conversationally and judgmentally, his or her teachers. And in this sense, to be commissioned to design an architecture school is to be sent back to the Kill Floor. This may explain why Milstein Hall looks a little like a student project with something to prove: a brilliant big idea, its resolutely off-the-shelf parts contrasting with feverishly fussy features. Consider the auditorium’s semi-robotic armchairs.

OMA’s usual jolie laide here becomes a kind of didactic precocity, as with the deep hybrid-Warren-and-Vierendeel trusses whose webs progressively tilt toward the studio box’s periphery to accommodate moment load—as if someone dropped the model on the way to the crit and decided it worked.

This back-to-school dynamic may also explain some of the troubled history of the Cornell project. It began with a 1997 reprimand from the National Architectural Accreditation Board for inadequate facilities, a 1999 gift of $10 million from developer Paul Milstein, and an aborted addition and renovation by Boston firm Schwartz/Silver Architects. There followed a competition to replace Rand Hall.

The contest garnered an icy palisade from Peter Zumthor and a lead zeppelin from Thom Mayne, FAIA, among other entries; Stephen Holl won in April 2001 with a $25 million incised cuboid. A year later, Holl was off the job, releasing a colorful statement that, “Like a brain surgeon operating on his own brain, making architecture for an architecture school is a peculiarly difficult challenge. I’ve been involved in the process of five different architecture schools over the past 13 years and believe it is one of the most difficult architectural commissions.”

There followed an unbuilt and unlovable 2002 design by Barkow Leibinger Architects, a serviceable bar building in the vein of the industrial structures in which the then relatively obscure Berlin firm specialized. Even after the commission of Koolhaas in early 2006, all was not settled. OMA’s initial scheme underwhelmed both avant- and derrière-gardes, and its fate became embroiled in local and academic politics, with the usual questions of context and taste compounded by the effect on endowed institutions of the ongoing financial crisis. Only a further NAAB caution in 2008 and a dramatic university vote in early 2009 ultimately tipped the scales.

Cornell’s saga was perhaps unusually public, but not unusual: architecture-school buildings are legendarily tricky, suffering either from excessive effort, or recessive deference, by designers and clients. Where they succeed, it’s through monomaniacal zeal, as at Paul Rudolph’s Art+Architecture Building at Yale University, or serendipitous adaptive reuse of existing structures, as at London’s Architectural Association. Or at Cornell, strangely, through a touch of both.

In architecture, profession and academy are mutually complicit through the intricate politics of both as well as through the Beaux-Arts ideal of the atelier: architects of substance are generally expected to teach, and employees are, under internship and registration rubrics, expected to go on learning. And the schools are where, in Holl’s acute metaphor, architecture goes to perform brain surgery on itself.

Cornell occupies a notable position in the history of that surgery. It’s the home of the lively Cornell Journal of Architecture, recently revived; it’s the alma mater of Peter Eisenman, AIA, a prominent practitioner who is largely responsible for the consensus that architects, whatever else they’re guilty of, should think. (Or at least read.) Koolhaas himself, another noted architect-as-public-intellectual, famously studied there for a few semesters in 1972 and 1973, at the hands of Oswald Mathias Ungers, then department chair, and the canonical theorist Colin Rowe—whose own interests in urbanity and transparency became those of a generation of designers and critics.

During a recent walk around the new building, I asked Koolhaas what he learned as a student at Cornell. “I learned listening,” he said. He was referring to the philosopher Michel Foucault, who was visiting Cornell at the time when Koolhaas studied, at work on what would become his most directly architectural project, 1975’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, a study of the spatial structures of power (and vice versa), that featured the Panopticon prison of Jeremy Bentham.

Asked later what Cornell’s current students might have learned during his return, Koolhaas speculated that they may have been reminded that “they’re on ground where warfare has been played out.” He was referring not to the usual skirmishes of construction management, but to Cornell’s own past, during his student semesters, as a cauldron of architectural discourse and discord—largely between Ungers’s maddening method and Rowe’s methodical madness.

At its rare best, the violence at any architecture school reflects these moments of theoretical urgency and anxiety in the field. The intimacy and immediacy of design teaching enlists students, in a glorious absence of condescension, into the essential battles of their day. At its very worst, this violence turns a school into a prison worthy of Foucault: an isolated and self-regarding enclosure that enforces habitual hierarchy and ritual conformity; that reinforces the great embarrassments of a profession whose offices are known for their screamers and chest-beaters. In this sense, Koolhaas may have given Cornell a building to live up to—as the subversive subtleties of its section continually offer its students a means of spectacular or speculative escape and escapade, a means for bearing witness and listening in, a means for experiencing adjacent events and outside worlds.

It’s a built form of accountability: that central circular crit space, lined by LCD-screens and students, could easily have become a prison yard like that of the Arnhem Koepel Panopticon prison in the Netherlands speculatively renovated by OMA in 1980. But to lean your back against its wall is to liberatingly occupy sight lines to simultaneous spaces and events, from the familiar luminous ceiling of the studio glimpsed through a stairwell, to the nearby skateboarder enjoying the slope outside. It is to experience something of a heteropticon or peripateticon, in which moving eyes and feet on nearby bridge and stair and elevator all offer felicitous encounter and interrupting incident.

Milstein Hall invites the notion that architecture is, in our current political language, more occupation than discipline. The building enables, perhaps demands, a transparency of action and an urbanity of event that would gratify both Foucault and Rowe. As both would attest, the names that we give places matter. It’s encouraging that during their first fall there, students have dubbed a favorite pin-up spot, perched at the far edge of a cantilever under the moody Ithaca sky, not a familiar architecture-school nickname borrowed from the language of incarceration, but something altogether lovelier: the Dance Floor.

The extension of the Cornell College of Architecture, Art and Planning in Ithaca, where Rem Koolhaas studied architecture in a time of ferment
This article was originally published in Domus 952, November 2011It is a seminal year for architecture in America. Minoru Yamasaki completes the Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world. Louis Kahn delivers a canonical pair as well—the Phillips Exeter Academy Library and the Kimbell Art Museum. Yale gets its independent Architecture School, located in a bush-hammered concrete castle-like mammoth of a building by Paul Rudolph, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design inaugurates its robust Gund Hall by John Andrews. Back in New York, One Penn Plaza opens, a textbook example of “Manhattanism” designed by Kahn & Jacobs, the associate firm on Mies’s Seagram Building—and the firm where author Ayn Rand witnesses firsthand architectural hubris while inventing Howard Roark, the protagonist in her novel The Fountainhead.1972 is also “the year Modern architecture died”. Charles Jencks’s statement in reference to the demolition of Pruitt-Igoe, another Yamasaki-designed modernist housing project in St. Louis, announces the end of the JFK/Johnson era of reconstructing civil society, which produced a wave of bold, new-brutalist public and academic buildings throughout the US. Nixon’s contrary urban policies put an end to such construction and spur a second wave of suburbanisation amplified by Vietnam veterans returning home. Learning from Las Vegas is published; things get messy; Post-Modernism is born.It is this year that Rem Koolhaas relocates to Ithaca, New York, to study at Cornell University. The College of Architecture, Art and Planning—which counts among its graduates Peter Eisenman and his cousin Richard Meier—is led at that time by Oswald Mathias Ungers, OMU to friends. The school is situated in the 19th-century Sibley Hall at the Arts Quad on campus. Next door, I.M. Pei’s iconic Johnson Museum of Art, a concrete building with massive rectangular forms and cantilevered spaces, is nearing completion. With its ingenious stacked programme, Pei realises one of the last forward-looking buildings on East Coast campuses for years.

Ungers’s tenure at Cornell (1969–1975) not only serves as a catalyst for his career but also solidifies the department’s international reputation as a centre of architectural thought, particularly Rationalism and Post-Modernism. His themes of transformation, interpretation, typology and metamorphosis affect the young Koolhaas. The early work by OMA—founded in 1975—is unmistakably influenced by the post-modern discourse of the time. Different from its contemporaries, however, OMA develops its specific breed of Post-Modernism, employing modern rather than classical signs and symbols, as illustrated by their contribution to Paolo Portoghesi’s 1980 Venice Biennale titled The Presence of the Past.

Top: West facade of Milstein Hall,<br /><br />
the new wing of the College<br /><br />
of Architecture, Art and<br /><br />
Planning at Cornell University.<br /><br />
The pavilion is grafted<br /><br />
between Sibley Hall and<br /><br />
Rand Hall. Above:<br /><br />
the overhang structure<br /><br />
of the design workshops,<br /><br />
clad in striated marble.
Testo alternativo ImmagineTop: West facade of Milstein Hall, the new wing of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. The pavilion is grafted between Sibley Hall and Rand Hall. Above: the overhang structure of the design workshops, clad in striated marble.
After public repulsion to the late-modern building boom in the United States, university architecture wholeheartedly embraces the supposedly humanist, historical post-modern style. Robert Venturi, Michael Graves and Charles Moore leave their marks on campuses throughout the country. Over time, Post-Modernism loses its novelty and initial critical edge. It transforms into neoclassicism, which, with a few notable exceptions, becomes the default style for any university project—a safe bet to secure donors. Milstein Hall, oma’s recently completed addition to the Cornell College of Architecture, Art and Planning, should be considered in this context.
View of the overhang structure.
View of the overhang structure.
Having learned from setbacks on other US work, such as the cancellation of projects for the Whitney Museum and LACMA, and thrown into a muddled process involving antagonistic preservationists and campus purists, OMA’s solution is sly and subtle. “It’s definitely an exercise in modest, discreet intervention,” Koolhaas has said. The building is basically a steel box with studio space sitting on top of a concrete mound containing assembly areas. This simple composition is remarkably well placed, barely visible from the Arts Quad, on what used to be a back parking lot. Tightly clad in white and grey striated marble, it is a wolf in a sheep’s hide. From the exterior it is an unimposing building—the cantilever was introduced later in the design to appease concerns about the structure’s proximity to the historic Foundry Building—but once inside new linkages and an intricate section unleash an array of dynamic flows and usages. It connects the previously separated Sibley and Rand halls and has instigated a reprogramming of those existing buildings. Its intelligent siting combined with a rich circulatory system produces a series of overlaps, slips, cracks and vistas. It reorients the entire college and creates a relational and programmatic complexity that is one of OMA’s hallmarks.
The moulded metal ceiling<br /><br />
panels are a reference to the<br /><br />
vernacular buildings of New<br /><br />
York. Below the overhang,<br /><br />
the floor slab of the cupola is<br /><br />
dotted with rubber seating.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe moulded metal ceiling panels are a reference to the vernacular buildings of New York. Below the overhang, the floor slab of the cupola is dotted with rubber seating.
The steel box offers large raw studio spaces filled with daylight. In a didactic nod, all systems and structures are left exposed. A series of informal gathering and presentation spaces enrich the neutrality of the box. It rests coolly on a grid of blackpainted steel columns, while the ground below is inflated to form a defaced concrete dome—punctured, ripped and cut. This spherical rupture in the campus tissue, with its integrated lighting and sprinkler systems, is a gutsy feat in a country where the shift from new Brutalism to Post-Modernism eradicated concrete craft. The heroics are in the basement. A beefy column crutch casually supports the corner of the dome that carries the auditorium seating above. An extraordinary cast-in-place concrete bridge spans across the dome space column-free to connect entrance to auditorium and forms a viewing balcony into the critique space below. Acoustical concerns in this exposed space are muted through felt lining and the bush hammering of the peripheral wall—or is this a subtle reference to Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building?
The main staircase to the<br /><br />
design studios.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe main staircase to the design studios.
The lessons of Ungers and the dawn of post-modernity resound throughout the building. It is an arrangement of autonomous, basic geometries. Through its positioning, the modern box typology transforms to a non-sentimental tissue insert. For the scheme’s materialisation and detailing oma offers a concoction of references. But rather than signifying early modernism they appear to denote the office’s previous work itself. IIT is present through the contained modern box—the dirty Mies; the large elevator fitted with a chair and a lamp create a roomlike condition that recalls Maison à Bordeaux; an assembly of structural systems and components remind us of the Kunsthal; the use of the slope of the auditorium to create spaces below points to the Educatorium; the combination of “elite” and popular materials; the pressed white aluminium ceiling; the transforming lecture hall floor. All seem to bring back OMA’s early work—the pre-enigmatic era. Only the token Petra Blaisse-designed curtains carry references to classic architecture.
On the first floor, a mirror-surfaced<br /><br />
closet separates<br /><br />
the tiered auditorium from<br /><br />
the student areas.
Testo alternativo ImmagineOn the first floor, a mirror-surfaced closet separates the tiered auditorium from the student areas.
Just before he passed away, OMU mentioned to Koolhaas in an interview published in log: “There is a great misunderstanding among architects. They think they are inventors and always need to be avant-garde. But you cannot permanently exist as an avant-garde. That is impossible. Architecture can be carried forward in a dialectical process, meaning a confrontation with the existing or with that which one wants to provoke at a certain moment. From a morphological point of view—which is not exclusive but inclusive, and not contrary but complementary—you can assess that certain elements are missing that could be added.”
The dome space is crossed by a grid-structured concrete bridge, with a free span of more than 20 metres.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe dome space is crossed by a grid-structured concrete bridge, with a free span of more than 20 metres.
Milstein Hall does exactly that. At the end of two decades of iconicity it revokes the early debates around Post-Modernism. It reintroduces a forward-looking, intelligent architecture into anaesthetised campus design. It adds new layers of complexity to a discourse that has gone silent. Koolhaas’s act appears remarkably timely. This fall, the V&A in London is hosting a comprehensive retrospective titled Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990, Jencks has just published The Story of Post-Modernism, and Terence Riley, this year’s curator of the Shenzhen–Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale, is doing a rerun of Portoghesi’s Street, albeit with new names. Seemingly tame, Milstein Hall could be Pandora’s box. Its agenda is so ambitious that to be realised it could never be openly stated. Is it a prelude or a coda?
Florian Idenburg
The<br /><br />
auditorium in the basement<br /><br />
level. The curtains, designed<br /><br />
by Petra Blaisse, pay homage<br /><br />
to classical architecture.
Testo alternativo ImmagineThe auditorium in the basement level. The curtains, designed by Petra Blaisse, pay homage to classical architecture.
Design Architects: OMA
Partners-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas, Shohei Shigematsu
Associate-in-charge: Ziad Shehab
Design Team: Jason Long, Michael Smith, Troy Schaum, Charles Berman, Amparo Casani, Noah Shepherd
Architect of Record: KHA Architects
Team: Laurence Burns, Jim Bash, Brandon Beal, Michael Ta, Stephen Heptig, Sharon Giles
Structural Engineering: Robert Silman Associates
MEP/FP: Plus Group Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineering, Site Utilities: GIE Niagara Engineering Inc.
Civil Engineering, Site and Grading: T.G. Miller
Acoustical Consultant: DHV V.B.
Facade Design and Engineering Consultant: Front
Lighting Consultant: Tillotson Design Associates
Landscape Architect: Scape Landscape Architecture
Curtain Design: Inside Outside, Petra Blaisse
Graphic Design: 2×4
Audio/Visual Consultant: Acentech
Roofing Consultant: BPD Roof Consulting
Elevator Consultant: Persohn/Hahn Associates
IT/Data/Security Consultant: Archi-Technology
Sustainability Consultant: BVM Engineering
Client: Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP)
Testo alternativo Immagine
Testo alternativo Immagine
Testo alternativo Immagine
Testo alternativo Immagine
December 12, 2011

Uno Charter School Proposal | STL Architects

The concept for the new UNO Charter School by STL Architects has been conceived as a response to the organization’s bold vision for the Latino community in . Rather than replicate a tired, traditional school archetype solution, the design embraces the challenge of modernity with heroic determination. The heart of the building is an abstract yet powerful multinational expression of the neighborhood cultural identity – an environment to fuel the aspirations of students and community.

The building program is arranged around a courtyard space which acts as an entry area, as well as a visual reference for the building. Student circulation is arranged around the courtyard, and classrooms are organized within the outside perimeter. Different programmatic requirements flow through the building, and establish double height common areas that project towards the community. This approach provides the concept with a dual reading. To the outside world, the school radiates activity through the use of a continuous, translucent exterior facade. Internally, the school’s courtyard – the heart of the building – holds the identity of the community.

This is articulated through the use of the curtain wall which displays the colors of different Chicago-based Hispanic flags which are represented as an abstract yet powerful multinational kaleidoscopic expression of the neighborhood’s cultural identity. A statistical analysis was performed of the colors represented in each flag and the percentage of the population represented by each nationality in Chicago. This resulted in a colorful approach to represent not only the identity of the school, but the entire community.

November 19, 2011

Euralille Youth Centre | JDS Architects

JDS Architects have just shared with us their first French project in the city of Lille. The Euralille Youth Centre is a 6,000 sqm project that includes a youth hostel, offices and a kindergarten.

Over the past twenty years Lille has become a European hub; a destination for business and congress, a great place to study and live and also a tourist destination. It is a city with a turbulent history of conquest and reconquest, a heritage as an important medieval city and later the industrial capital. It is this history, the unique and striking presence of remnants of ramparts of the citadel, which the project seeks to mention.

Our project emerges from the idea of creating an urban catalyst, accommodating three distinct programmes on a triangular site. By placing a program in each point of the triangle we offer maximum privacy while allowing them a closeness and continuity of space, organized around a garden, like a cloister of calm in the center of the city. The lifting of the mass of the programme at the corners illuminates and activates the adjacent public spaces and creates a continuity from outside to inside the building.

Architects: JDS Architects
Location: Lille, 
Project Team: Antoine Allard, Renaud Pereira, Sandra Fleischmann, Weronica Wojcik, Felix Luong, Kamile Malinauskaite, Lea Fournier, Adrien Mans
Competition Team: Julien De Smedt, Barbara Wolff, Henning Stüben, Renaud Pereira, Heechan Park, Francisco Villeda, Wouter Dons, Felix Luong, David Dominguez, Leonora Daly, Priscilla Girelli, Marion Julien, Edna Lueddecke
Client: SAEM Euralille
Collaborators: Agence Franck Boutté Consultants, EGIS, SL2EC
Budget: 11,400,000 EUR
Size: 6,000 sqm
Status: Construction starts 2012
Images: Courtesy of JDS Architects