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Inside Never Before Seen Desert Modern Architecture in Palm Springs, California

Just in time for Modernism Week—a celebration of Desert Modern architecture in Palm Springs that runs through February 21—Gibbs Smith has released two books dedicated to the area’s distinctive homes. William Krisel’s Palm Springscelebrates the architect’s iconic midcentury-modern homes in Southern California, many of which were mass-produced.Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern looks beyond the Coachella Valley staples—the Frank Sinatra home, Bing Crosby’s estate, Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House—and places a focus on never-before-seen Desert Modern gems. The selection ranges from out-there 20th-century houses of worship to groovy private homes in gated neighborhoods that are not accessible to the public.

William Krisel was a pioneer of tract housing, where homes of a similar design are built side by side on individual lots. Here is an early example of the concept with a flat roof, built in 1956.

palm-springs-modernism-07.jpgThe gable roofline of this home at Canyon View Estates echoes the surrounding mountains.


The gable roofline of this home at Canyon View Estates echoes the surrounding mountains.


The Menrad Residence in Twin Palms has equally modernist landscaping.


A new version of Krisel’s famous butterfly roof house was built in 2009.


When the Fontenell, built by B. Cody in 1958, was purchased by cosmetics magnate Max Factor in 1960, the seven-unit apartment complex was transformed into a sprawling family retreat.


The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences, by architecture firm Williams, Clark and Williams, features a skylit rotunda that houses a 485-seat theater and several classrooms.

palm-springs-modernism-03.jpgLa Casa di Ucello Bianca—a post-and-beam home custom built in 1956—was recently restored by its owners.


The entrance of Stan Sackley’s 25 Palms, built in 1963, is distinguished by a pair of peacock-blue doors.
The Morrison-Strassner Residence, in Thunderbird Heights, is composed of one main circular structure and other circular configurations. The interior is defined by stark white structural beams that cast striking shadows.
Read more at AD


Explore the Most Expensive Estate in Greenwich, Connecticut

The 80-acre Connecticut farm is on the market for $65 million.

most-expensive-greenwich-2A crystal chandelier is the focal point of the entryway.


The lush greenhouse offers stunning views of the grounds.


The wood-paneled office features vaulted ceilings.


The living room includes one of the home’s eight fireplaces, plus several sets of French doors.


A cozy sitting area has expansive floor-to-ceiling windows.


The grounds include a pool and a poolhouse, plus a tennis court.


An aerial view of the estate shows the property’s guest cottages and ruins.

Read more at AD

The Andes House’s Ensamble Project Uses Hardboard to Create Workspaces

Hardboard is a wooden fiberboard that is produced by compression at high temperatures, making a smooth and uniform surface. It is known for being highly flexible and very resistant to humidity. In spite of these qualities, the product has been pigeonholed for specific uses — rear panels, bases, packaging — losing visibility and importance in the world of architecture and design.

Ph. Carlos Molina Barriga.
Ph. Carlos Molina Barriga.

Hoping to change how the material is viewed by designers and architects, Arauco invited The Andes House to develop an attractive and innovative solution that would allow the product’s advantages to really stand out. With experience designing products using very basic raw materials such as wicker and pine, the team at The Andes House created Ensamble, the project that we’re presenting to you now.

Ph. Carlos Molina Barriga.
Ph. Carlos Molina Barriga.

The project took 6 months to complete, and was divided into 3 stages:

  • Analysis: gather information about the product, production process, technical specifications. Visit the plant, meet with furniture makers and conduct interviews with people at Arauco.

  • Design and development of the boards: test boards to understand their potential

  • Design and development of products: define, design, and construct final products.

They then designed tools to fulfill  the maximum potential of these qualities, like a compression system to make curves and applying water to improve flexibility.

The project doesn’t require any other elements to build, and works by fitting the pieces together. “The union is 100% the result of the integrity of the panel. The material itself  provides the conditions to be able to generate different units.”

Read more ArchDaily

AIA Survey Shows that Non-Residential and Sustainable Construction Are Increasing

A set of reports by the AIA show an expected increase in spending on non-residential design for 2016 and 2017, as well as an emergence of more sustainable building technologies.

“Emerging technologies are becoming the dominant force in how buildings are being designed,” said AIAChief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Buildings in their own right are becoming far more energy efficient, and certain technologies are increasing both the efficiency of the people using the buildings and the project delivery methods in which buildings are being designed and constructed.”

Some of the top trends in the next ten years for nonresidential design include an increasing prevalence of water conservation, and solar or wind power generation; more specified innovative building materials, such as composites or new glazing technology; and increase use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software to increase the efficiency of building design.

The non-residential market also saw growth in 2015, with particular demand for hotels, offices, manufacturing facilities and recreation spaces continuing into 2016. The AIA’s semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast – a survey of leading American construction forecasters – predicts an increase in spending of just over 8% in 2016, and roughly 6.7% in 2017.

Read more about emerging sustainable technology here, and about the increase in non-residential building design, including full statistics here.

News via AIA and ArchDaily.

West 57th Street by Bjarke Ingels Group

Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group have designed a residential building for Manhattan, New York, with a rectangular plan pulled up at one corner to form a triangular tower.

Called West 57th, the 600-apartment block will be organised around a central courtyard, providing residents with views of the Hudson River.

West 57th by BIG

The sloping roof will rise to a peak of 467 ft and its surface will be punctured by roof terraces.

West 57th by BIG

The other three façades will comprise balconies and bay windows serving each of the apartments.

West 57th by BIG

Construction is due for completion in 2016.

In Progress: West 57th Street / BIG. Photo ArchDaily

Here’s some more information from American developers Durst Fetner Residential:


West 57th, designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, introduces an entirely new residential typology to New York City that will add an inviting twist to the Manhattan Skyline.

West 57th by BIG

Durst Fetner Residential (DFR) today announced the design of West 57, a 600-unit 80/20 residential building on West 57th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues.

West 57th by BIG

The building is designed by renowned Danish Architect firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and is their inaugural North American project. The building’s program consists of over 600 residential units of different scales situated on a podium with a cultural and commercial program.

West 57th by BIG

The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification. “It’s extraordinarily exciting to build a building whose architecture will attract visitors from around the globe,” said, Hal Fetner, CEO of Durst Fetner Residential.

West 57th by BIG

“BIG’s design is innovative, evocative and unique and the building’s beauty is matched only by its efficient and functional design that preserves existing view corridors while maximizing the new building’s access to natural light and views of the Hudson River.

West 57th by BIG

West 57th will establish a new standard for architectural excellence and its creative design, sustainable-construction and operations, breathtaking views and distinctive amenities will make it New York’s most sought after residential address.”

West 57th by BIG

The building is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise.

West 57th by BIG

West 57th has a unique shape which combines the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building providing density, a sense of inti- macy and security, with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper.

West 57th by BIG

By keeping three corners of the block low and lifting the north-east corner up towards its 467 ft peak, the courtyard opens views towards the Hudson River, bringing low western sun deep into the block and graciously preserving the adjacent Helena Tower’s views of the river.

West 57th by BIG

“New York is rapidly becoming an increasingly green and livable city.

West 57th by BIG

The transformation of the Hudson River waterfront and the Highline into green parks, the ongoing effort to plant a million trees, the pedestrianization of Broadway and the creation of more miles of bicycle lanes than the entire city of my native Copenhagen are all evidence of urban oases appearing all over the city.

West 57th by BIG

With West 57th we attempt to continue this transformation into the heart of the city fabric – into the center of a city block,” Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

West 57th by BIG

The form of the building shifts depending on the viewer’s vantage point. While appearing like a warped pyramid from the West-Side-Highway, it turns into a slender spire from West 58th Street.

West 57th by BIG

The courtyard which is inspired by the classic Copenhagen urban oasis can be seen from the street and serves to extend the adjacent greenery of the Hudson River Park into the West 57th development.

West 57th by BIG

“The building is conceived as a cross breed between the Copenhagen courtyard and the New York skyscraper. The communal intimacy of the central urban oasis meets the efficiency, density and panoramic views of the tall tower in a new hybrid typology. The courtyard is to architecture what Central Park is to urbanism: a giant green garden surrounded by a dense wall of spaces for living”, Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

West 57th by BIG

The slope of the building allows for a transition in scale between the low-rise structures to the south and the high-rise residential towers to the north and west of the site. The highly visible sloping roof consists of a simple ruled surface perforated by terraces— each one unique and south-facing.

West 57th by BIG

The fishbone pattern of the walls are also reflected in its elevations. Every apartment gets a bay window or a balcony to amplify the benefits of the generous view and balconies which encourage interaction between residents and passers-by.

West 57th by BIG

DFR commissioned Copenhagen based BIG in the spring of 2010 to introduce a new residential typology to Manhattan. As of 2011 BIG has opened a new office in New York in order to oversee the development and upcoming construction of West 57th.

West 57th by BIG


PROJECT: West 57th Street
CLIENT: Durst Fetner Residential
ARCHITECT: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group SIZE: 870,000 ft2 (80,000 m2)
LOCATION: Manhattan, New York, USA
STATUS: Direct Commission

West 57th by BIG

COLLABORATORS: SLCE Architects (Architect of Record) , Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects, Thornton Tomasetti (Sturctural), Dagher Engineering(MEP), Langan Engineering (Civil), Hunter Roberts (Construction Manager), Philip Habib & Assoc. (Transportation), Israel Berger & Assoc. (Building Envelope), Nancy Packes (Marketing), Van Deusen & Assoc. (Vertical Transportation), Cerami & Assoc. (Acoustical), CPP (Wind), AKRF (Environmental), German Glessner (Renderings & Animation)

Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Beat Schenk
Project Architect: Sören Grünert
Team: Thomas Christoffersen, Celine Jeanne, Daniel Sundlin, Alessandro Ronfini, Aleksander Tokarz, Alessio Valmori, Alvaro Garcia Mendive, Felicia Guldberg, Gabrielle Nadeau, Ho Kyung Lee, Julian Liang, Julianne Gola, Lucian Racovitan, Marcela Martinez, Maria Nikolova, Minjae Kim, Mitesh Dixit, Nicklas Rasch, Riccardo Mariano, Stanley Lung, Steffan Heath, Thilani Rajarathna, Xu Li

Read more at Dezeen and ArchDaily

Snøhetta’s new building for San Francisco MOMA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has released the first images of Snøhetta’s near-complete extension building showing its striated facadeand atrium.

The 235,000-square-foot (21,832 square metres) addition sits behind the institution’s Postmodern Mario Botta-designed home and will more than double the museum’s footprint.


The new building’s distinctive facade is made of fiberglass-reinforced polymer panels punctuated by horizontal band windows. Its form contrasts with Botta’s patterned masonry and regular geometries.


“It’s like having a dance partner,” Snøhetta founder Craig Dykers told Dezeen. “You don’t want to be exactly like them, as you’ll step on each other’s feet all the time. A good dance partner is someone who has their own personality and can move freely together with you.”


The rippled surface of the panels was inspired by San Francisco’s foggy weather and surrounding waters, according to the architects.

The 10-storey museum building includes events spaces, a flexible theatre, education and conservation centres, a library and archives, administrative offices, and 100,000-square-feet (9,290 square metres) of galleries distributed over five floors in the middle of the building.


The free admission, glass-fronted ground floor gallery will open with a presentation of monumental sculptures by Richard Serra.


The facility will also include an outdoor sculpture garden with a living wall with 16,000 plants, including many native species.

In 2013, the architects revealed the design for a monumental staircase that will link the Botta building with the new addition.


The Mario Botta building opened in 1995 and is considered a late and controversial example of Postmodernism.

Dykers defended the merits of the earlier building.  “It was a meteorite landing on the site. It did what it needed to do,” he said.

Botta told Dezeen the design for the new building resembled a “mute wall, an enlarged wardrobe.” He added, “I hope the accomplished work will be better and prove me wrong.”


The museum also announced an official opening date of May 14, 2016. Snøhetta was selected for the project in 2010, beating Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Foster + Partners. The projectbroke ground in May 2013.

Snøhetta is currently working on a number of projects in the West Coast including a new public market building in Portland, Oregon and a a river walk in Willamette Falls, Oregon.

Read more at Dezeen


2nd WW memorial mausoleum in Poland

Polish architect and sculptor Mirosław Nizio has unveiled the first photographs of a mausoleum he is building to commemorate the victims of Polish village massacres during the second world war.


Set to open in 2016, the Mausoleum of the Martyrdom of Polish Villages will pay tribute to thousands of citizens who were murdered during the German occupation of rural Poland between 1939 and 1945.


Its location in Michniów, south-central Poland, references one of the most well-known atrocities – a two-day attack on an entire village, where over 200 people lost their lives.


Mirosław Nizio and his studio Nizio Design International envisage the building as a traditional hut that incrementally deteriorates and crumbles into dust – symbolising the burning of the village. The fourth phase of construction, which is now complete, involved building the concrete structures of these forms.


Photographs show them lined up alongside one another, with openings revealing the future locations of windows. The surfaces feature a wood-like grain texture that has been printed into the concrete while it set.

“The building has a characteristic segmented structure,” said a statement from Nizio’s studio. “Its tissue is cut across by cracks that divide the architectural form into closed and open parts.”


“This form is the resultant of the sculptural inspirations and thinking of the architecture’s consistency with the historical narrative,” it added.

“The building undergoes deformation and ‘destruction’, which symbolically conveys the annihilation that took place here.”

The building will cover an area of 16,200 square metres, with approximately 2,000 square metres of exhibition space presenting the history of the region.


The fifth phase of construction is now underway, which will involve creating pathways between the mausoleum building and the mass grave built in 1945, which is accompanied by the Pieta of Michniów sculpture.

The Mausoleum of the Martyrdom of Polish Villages was commissioned by the Kielce Region Countryside Museum.

Nizio – who was also behind the exhibition design at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw – won a competition to design the structure in 2009.


Read more at Dezeen

Taipei Performing Arts Centre

Why have the most exciting theatrical events of the past 100 years taken place outside the spaces formally designed for them? Can architecture transcend its own dirty secret, the inevitability of imposing limits on what is possible?


In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centres that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of more or less an identical combination: a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,500-seat theatre, and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19th century practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre- stage, proscenium, and auditorium- are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. TPAC takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.

TPAC consists of three theatres, each of which can function autonomously. The theatres plug into a central cube, which consolidates the stages, backstages and support spaces into a single and efficient whole. This arrangement allows the stages to be modified or merged for unsuspected scenarios and uses. The design offers the advantages of specificity with the freedoms of the undefined.


Performance centres typically have a front and a back side. Through its compactness, TPAC has many different “faces,” defined by the individual auditoria that protrude outward and float above this dense and vibrant part of the city. The auditoria read like mysterious, dark elements against the illuminated, animated cube that is clad in corrugated glass. The cube is lifted from the ground and the street extends into the building, gradually separating into different theatres.

TPAC 009 Exterior Views
Exterior view of TPAC site in Shilin District, Taipei on Oct. 25, 2015

The Proscenium Playhouse resembles a suspended planet docking with the cube. The audience circulates between an inner and outer shell to access the auditorium. Inside the auditorium, the intersection of the inner shell and the cube forms a unique proscenium that creates any frame imaginable.

TPAC 009 Exterior Views
Exterior view of TPAC site in Shilin District, Taipei on Oct. 25, 2015

The Grand Theatre is a contemporary evolution of the large theatre spaces of the 20th century. Resisting the standard shoebox, its shape is slightly asymmetrical. The stage level, parterre, and balcony are unified into a folded plane. Opposite the Grand Theatre on the same level, the Multiform Theatre is a flexible space to accommodate the most experimental performances.

TPAC 009 Exterior Views
Exterior view of TPAC site in Shilin District, Taipei on Oct. 25, 2015

The Super Theatre is an experimental, factory-like environment formed by coupling the Grand Theatre and Multiform Theatre. It can accommodate the previously impossible ambitions of productions like B.A. Zimmermann’s opera Die Soldaten (1958), which demands a 100-metre-long stage. Existing conventional works can be re-imagined on a grand scale, and new, as yet unimagined forms of theatre can flourish in the Super Theatre.

TPAC site shoot on Oct. 28, 2014
TPAC site shoot on Oct. 28, 2014

The general public-even those without a theatre ticket-are also encouraged to enter TPAC. The Public Loop is trajectory through the theatre infrastructure and spaces of production, typically hidden, but equally impressive and choreographed as the “visible” performance. The Public Loop not only enables the audience to experience theatre production more fully, but also allows the theatre to engage a broader public.

Read more at Oma

Building the new Louvre: Turning the desert into a cultural jewel

A new Louvre museum is emerging on reclaimed land on the edge of the Persian Gulf. It’s one of a number of architectural mega-projects transforming oil-rich states in the Middle East.

On an early summer morning, downtown Abu Dhabi doesn’t so much shimmer in the desert heat as swelter.

In near-100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), skyscrapers set back from the city’s corniche loom over the edge of the Persian Gulf, modern monuments to the Emirate’s oil-fuelled wealth.


If the gleaming buildings represent the transformation of the United Arab Emirates over the last fifty years, what’s emerging just a ten-minute drive away on Saadiyat Island is a vision of what the Gulf state hopes will be a marker for its future.

Today, it’s mostly a vast construction site – nothing new for this booming country – but covering 27 square miles, the island is steadily being transformed into a cultural hub with high-end resorts and homes that the government hopes will make the world sit up and take notice.

Home already to a campus for New York University, it will soon be joined by three major international museums, including what will be the world’s largest Guggenheim museum (designed by Frank Gehry), and, opening next year, a new Louvre.

Designs by architects Ateliers Jean Nouvel suggest the Louvre structure will look every bit as eye-catching as anything displayed inside it.


Yet the setting couldn’t be more different from the heart of Paris, where the world’s most-visited museum has stood for centuries.

On partly reclaimed land jutting into emerald waters, eight cranes tower over the main structure, where each day thousands of construction workers and 250 managers and architects are racing to complete the building for a December 2015 opening.

Amer Kharbush, the project manager from Turner Construction, is responsible for marshaling the effort to keep the construction on track.

Stepping out of an air-conditioned SUV onto the site, the UAE resident by way of Florida takes stock of what they’ve achieved since work began in January 2013.

“This is unique,” he says, proudly surveying the half-completed structure.

“The teamwork, from the contractors to the engineers: People really want this job to be built. I mean, how many Louvres do you get to build in a lifetime?” Continue reading “Building the new Louvre: Turning the desert into a cultural jewel”