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In Spring 2008, schneider+schumacher won the international competition to extend the Städel Museum in Frankfurt/Main. By placing the new building below the museum’s garden, they almost doubled the exhibition area from 4,000 m2 to 7,000 m2. The underground building is 76 m wide, 53 m long and a maximum of 8.20 m high at the centre.
The outer surface of the doubly-curved roof slab is covered by a total of 195 roof lights, varying in diameter from 1.50 m at the outer edge to 2.50 m at the highest point in the centre. These “eyes for art” were specially developed for the Städel extension and are designed to be walked on. Daylight entering the exhibition space Städel below can be controlled; either augmented using the integrated LED lighting system or mitigated by shading elements built into the roof light.
Besides creating a new wing for the museum, its design transformed the museum’s well-trafficked public garden into a gently sloping, window-pocked piece of land art itself.
In honor of Grand Central Station’s upcoming centennial, three architects were asked to present how they would re-imagine the iconic New York terminal at the MAS 2012 Summit earlier this week.
While Foster + Partners’ plan emphasized the need to alleviate the Terminal’s acute overcrowding (“designed to support 75,000 people a day, Grand Central, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, routinely handles about ten times that much ”), SOM’s contemplates the potential for new zoning laws to increase population density, and thus sees itself as an answer to the future demand for public space.
The plan highlights three solutions: pedestrian corridors to alleviate circulation; additional levels of public space; and, most provocative of all, a circular pedestrian observation deck, which rises/lowers above Grand Central for a 360-degree panorama of the city.
Amidst the financiapocalypse, Cleveland, Ohio, has 13,000 homes and other structures in such disrepair that they need to be torn down. It’s a $4 billion job. And at least one designer is trying to find the bright side.
Daniel Cuffaro, department chair at the Cleveland Institute of Art and founder of Abeo Design, has created a modular workspace called the Hive Workstation. It’s similar to the premium corporate furnishings offered by companies like Steelcase, but there’s a key difference: Hive is built from the failed housing projects of Cleveland itself. Every piece has a secondary purpose, to “literally create value from the rubble of economic collapse.”
“From a design perspective, the biggest challenge is creating something that does not look like an old wood shed!” Cuffaro tells Co.Design. And his greatest asset in this task may be local groups A Piece of Cleveland andBenchmark Craftsmen. Together, they reclaim materials from old buildings, and cost-effectively de-nail and refinish them, transforming otherwise junked wood into the stuff of premium furniture.
Very few people have stepped inside Google’s data centers, and for good reason: our first priority is the privacy and security of your data, and we go to great lengths to protect it, keeping our sites under close guard. While we’ve shared many of ourdesigns and best practices, and we’ve been publishing our efficiency data since 2008, only a small set of employees have access to the server floor itself.
Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a virtual visit. On Where the Internet lives, our new site featuring beautiful photographs byConnie Zhou, you’ll get a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running.
Fourteen years ago, back when Google was a student research project, Larry and Sergey powered their new search engine using a few cheap, off-the-shelf servers stacked in creative ways. We’ve grown a bit since then, and we hope you enjoy this glimpse at what we’ve built. In the coming days we’ll share a series of posts on theGoogle Green Blog that explore some of the photographs in more detail, so stay tuned for more!
This week in Colorado, Starbucks opened a store unlike any before it. There are no leather chairs or free power outlets. In fact, there’s no space for the customer at all. Starbucks has reimagined the coffee hut as a “modern modular,” LEED-certified drive-thru and walk-up shop. The building was constructed in a factory and delivered from a truck, but its facade is clad in gorgeous old Wyoming snow fencing. As diminutive as the shop may be, its designer wants drivers to pass by and ask “What is that?” only to conclude that, oh, “it’s art.”
The Starbucks that we all know today (a European clone so effective that it’s taken a bite out of Europe’s own coffee market) had to win over America city by city in a strategic land war, so they made their way into strip malls and shopping centers, recognizing coffee as an impulsive convenience purchase to complement a trip to the grocery store or post office. Each regional strategy had to be tailored at the city level, but it always started with a convenience-based link.
Today, coffee’s grown bigger than soft drinks–and it has a two-digit market lead over those fizzy beverages. Premium coffee had become an addictive enough habit that Starbucks didn’t require the sloppy seconds of grocery stores or business complexes anymore. A frappucino alone could be worth a trip. At the same time, the local omnivore movement was taking off. Laptops no longer just browsed the Internet, they created it. Culture became about content creation and original voice. And the very definition of cool had changed. Flannel-clad rejects were out, but geeks of all types were in. Teens were wearing backpacks on two shoulders and caring about the environment.
“Once that connection to our mission statement, our soul if you will, was established, that became the go-forward design foundation for our stores, along with one additional very important element, and that is being locally relevant.”
Their new building paradigm–officially labeled a “pilot program”–is a confluence of all these various impulses. The environment. Localism. Market growth. Low-cost, low-risk expandability. And making it all come together is the responsibility of Anthony Perez, a senior concept design manager who envisioned Starbucks’s original prefab store.
Some might see this store as that last tag-on as lip service, but consider the small, modular locations, consider the LEED certification, consider the power savings of a drive-up business that doesn’t need to feed electricity to laptops all day. Starbucks might not just be designing modern modular locations that are off the normal consumer grid–they could be designing low-footprint stores that eventually go off the grid altogether.
Montpellier, France is home to the Pierres Vives Building by Zaha Hadid.
Hadid began designing Pierres Vives, which translates to “living stones,” nearly a decade ago, yet her vision has been maintained. In her designs, she placed the giant ship of the building at the center of an eponymous new urban district. The 28, 500-square-meter stone monolith houses various regional departments and facilities, including archives, a library, a sports center, and offices. On her firm’ssite, Hadid likens the form to a “‘tree of knowledge’ with three institutions unified within a single envelope.” She elaborated on the metaphor in an article published by the Le Moniteur, describing the core of the complex as a “tree trunk” from which different programmatic spaces branch.
In an abandoned warehouse on New York’s Lower East Side, a radical new kind of park is taking shape. Among the peeling paint and old neon signs advertising food, fruit, and meat, an intensive period of design development has yielded a prototype of the LowLine, an underground park whose name riffs off Chelsea’s now-famous High Line.
On April 6, the LowLine, it was merely a pie-in-the-sky pitch. Now, 600 individually rendered pieces of anodized aluminum make up a 36-foot-radius canopy suspended over a piece of cozy park.
The project is into its next and much more real phase: an exhibit of the underground park prototype, a proof of concept which will be free and open to the public until the end of this month. In partnership with Audi and Columbia University, A First Glimpse of a Future Underground, does indeed feel like just that–a peephole into what a new, green, subterranean landscape could be.
The web-like structure–designed by Edward Jacobs and Brandt Graves is an exercise in bringing a design sensibility to NASA space telescope technology. It culminated in brute strength, as the assembly was hoisted to the ceiling so as to look like it’s levitating. The exhibit is essentially a core sample of what all 60,000 square feet of the LowLine park, a stone’s throw away from the exhibit, would eventually look like–a subterranean, dreamlike space in the middle of the city.
At the heart of the project is a network of tubes, which bring sunlight where there was none before. “With the solar technology that James invented, we now have the chance to make use of space which wasn’t possible by horticultural standards before,” says Misty Gonzalez, the lead environmental designer for the project. “A lot of space exists that we don’t use well enough. We don’t need more or new.”
The technology to create a sunlit, underground, green park is complex. Using six tubes called collimators controlled by a computer and GPS system, the system channels natural sunlight 15 feet down through a series of lenses and suspended reflectors, which then bounce light back onto the anodized aluminum parabolic curve. The lens-and-curve method of light diffusion is essentially the same as that used by the James Webb Space telescope–“a large, infrared-optimized space telescope” that is being developed to observe stars forming under extreme conditions. For the LowLine’s life-size prototype, the curve shape was made entirely of flat pieces to obviate the need for tooling, the cost of which could have run into the millions of dollars. Instead, each piece was laser or water-jet cut and fabricated entirely in Brooklyn, right across the river.
In spite of the high-tech nature of the project, the team members emphasize the idea of a forest floor: “It’s like you’re walking in the forest, and you turn a corner and see a fallen tree illuminated in a shaft of light,” James analogizes. It’s that element of the unexpected that James hoped visitors to the exhibit opening last Saturday would experience. “People will turn a dark corner, be confronted with this, and just be taken aback by the magic.”
The LowLine has more exhibits, fundraisers, events, and outreach planned. Constantly engaging their stakeholders, they will be submitting a formal proposal for the former trolley site as early as next year.
The Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is not alone in having to deal with a lack of land, symptomatic of development in American cities and suburbs. Yet this condition is balanced by the growing trend of cremation and other above-ground burials, which has pointed the way for Lakewood to build a second mausoleum. Designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, the mausoleum sensitively merges itself into the cemetery’s landscape, reducing its impact on the surroundings but also creating a spiritual place, inside and out. Design principal Joan M. Soranno answered some questions about the project.
“The design and research process took its cue from Lakewood itself, a lawn-plan cemetery inspired, in part, from by Père-Lachaise in Paris.We studied the background of Lakewood Cemetery and funerary architecture through numerous resources, from published books and documents to on-site tours of historic cemeteries around the country. We focused specifically on the relationship between architecture and landscape to gain a stronger understanding of how the new Mausoleum would fit within Lakewood’s historic context and landscape.”
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