Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Serpentine Annual Architectural Commission

OMA has been invited to design the 2006 pavillion for the Serpentine Gallery.
Six architects have preceded Rem Koolhaas in designing a temporary pavillion.
In 2005 Portuguese architects Alvaro Sizra, winner of the 1992 Pritzker Prize, and Eduardo Souto de Moura, creator of Braga, Portugual's stadium carved out of a granite hillside, created the temporary structure.

In 2006 visitors to Kensington Gardens can have their tea and enjoy programs; lectures and events determined by Koolhaas, in OMA's creation.
Serpentine's director, Julia Peyton-Jones, wants pavilion designers to be ambitious. As in each of the previous six years, the pavilion will be sold and dismantled after the exhibition period comes to an end; the structure given another life, somewhere else.

Situated in a classical 1934 tea pavilion and surrounded by the beautiful parkland of Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine is a unique Gallery in a perfect setting. Since it was founded in 1970, it has established an international reputation for excellence, presenting pioneering exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Man Ray, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol, Bridget Riley, Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread are just a few of the artists who have exhibited at the Gallery.

Under the patronage of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Serpentine undertook a £4 million renovation of the Gallery which was completed in 1998. The new design, contained within the footprint of the original building, maintains the elegant character of the Grade II listed pavilion whilst offering maximum flexibility for the exhibition of works of art.

The Serpentine is right at the heart of contemporary culture in London and is one of the country's most popular public galleries, attracting over 500,000 visitors a year. The Serpentine organises up to five exhibitions annually, as well as its annual architectural commission, and is the only publicly funded gallery in London to consistently maintain free admission.

The Serpentine Gallery's renovation scheme was designed by John Miller and Partners.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Krentz Award

photo © Timothy Hursley

Already in December 2003, while still under construction, Seattle Central Public Library received the Krentz Award from the British Columbia Region of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC).

To create the glass and steel "curtain wall", The Erection Company (TEC) used 4,644 tons of steel, enough to make 20 Statues of Liberty

The Krentz Award “honors outstanding engineering and architectural achievements exemplified through functional and expressive use of steel as the primary structural element.”

Conventional vertical columns carry the weight of the building. Slanted ((2 3/4 inch thick) steel box columns support the books spiral (4 tiers connected by a gently sloping path), carrying the load in a directional manner, or take the lateral loads, created by wind and/ or earthquake movement of the curtain wall.

Structural engineers were Arup Worldwide and Magnusson Klemencic Associates. Steel fabricator was Canron West. Steel erector was The Erection Co. Inc., Hoffman Construction Co was the general contractor/construction manager.

CISC is a national industry organization that represents the structural steel, open web steel joist and steel platework fabricating industries. The group awards annual Steel Design Awards of Excellence; this is the first year the regional award has gone to a project outside of British Columbia. Representatives from three architectural firms and two engineering firms judged the submission. Alexandra Harris, the Library’s capital program director, accepted the award at a ceremony Nov. 20 2003, in Vancouver, B.C. The award is a miniature steel representation of the library structure.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

AMO in Russia

OMA's think tank AMO has been invited to take a close look at the exhibition policy of The Hermitage in Saint-Petersburg. Objective: How can the museum with one of the largest art collections in the world improve exhibition possibilities. Much of the treasures are in stock, never shown. Branches in London and Amsterdam have been opened recently, but the question is, how to use the existing building in a better manner. Rem Koolhaas and Michail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage signed an agreement for this assignment.

The involved parties hope to find funding for this multi-million Euro research project in both Russia and the Netherlands.

"Hermitage" comes from the French "L'Ermitage", the place where the hermit lives.
The time of exposure to the world has arrived!

Friday, October 21, 2005

OMA One of 30 Dutch Firms Involved in China's Building Boom

OMA's design for the headoffice of Central Chinese State Television, CCTV.

Delft Blue is wanted in China (where it hails from anyway, there's nothing like going home), but architects have to follow authorities' guidelines.

Influenced by the Olympics which will take place in Being in 2008, China is experiencing a building boom. Skyscrapers appear where bulldozers have taken down what's no longer wanted. Half of the world's yearly production of concrete and one third of the steel production is used to raise whole new cities. Delft Blue facades, tulip decorations, copies of Dutch isles and wetlands, it all goes.

"Fast" is the motto. Fast design, speedy delivery. Dutch style is popular, but style does not equal Dutch Design. Not all architects want to submit to the ruling authorities. Others take on the challenge to stay true to their own ideas, while catering to the client.

Until November 26, Dutch Architects in Booming China, an exhibit at Arcam, Prins Hendrikkade 600, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Open Tue - Sat 1-5 PM.
Book with same title, in English and Chinese, available at Arcam, online and in some specialty bookstores ISBN: 90-7686-331-8 Published by Arcam in: 2005 € 29,50

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

OMA Designs for PCM 3 Major Newsrooms Under One Roof

In my interpretation of the latest news from OMA, Floris Alkemade, the principle architect on the PCM account, plays with language. Words materialized. Three major newspapers, De Volkskrant, Trouw and NRC will find a new home in a giant column on the outskirts of Amsterdam. A pillar, the perfect metaphor --extended conceit-- for newspaper journalists. In Dutch "pillar" is often used to describe the political or religious affiliation of the different media.

The base or pedestal will house public spaces: a book store, a cafe where journalists will meet, media meeting rooms and lobbies where students, who live in the neighborhood, can get together. A floor with a low threshold, bringing in the community. A classic column, including fluted grooves (cannula), the "pillar" of the media will house the offices of PCM, the umbrella corporation. Transparency and daylight will be important. But the choice of materials hasn't been made. The architrave or head of the column will house the editorial offices. In the existing offices of De Volkskrant, journalists closed the blinds, trying to keep the light out. The people in the news room want a certain amount of seclution, while interaction remains crucial.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A Tour Guide's Take on Seattle Central Public Library

My aim is to fill in the stories between opening day in May 2004 and now. So keep checking, there will be more, in the future, about the past.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Museum Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky

At times I find myself calling Seattle Central Library a museum. A museum of modern architecture, of engineering science, of library art (the old catalogue cards are still in use, but look like artifacts), of rare books, of interior design, there are numerous reasons why I would make such a Freudian slip.

In Louisville, smart folks invited OMA to design a Museum Plaza. Beside a new museum, the building —which of course will be a work of art in itself— will house condominiums as well. Can't wait to see it. I wonder what slips the tour guides there will make. Joshua Prince Ramus, who heads the N.Y. office of OMA and was the hard hatted architect on site at Central SPL, will be the principle architect, responsible for the design.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

OMA's City of Youth

OMA goes to Roma. Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon will design a center for people under 30. An ancient market place, Mercati Generali, located close to the Forum and the Colloseum is the first historical part of town which will be renovated respecting the past. Innovative new structures will be combined with the existing architecture. In this center of 243.000 m2, shopping and entertainment will be combined. Gyms, discos, shops and theaters all surrounding a central plaza. Projected opening date is in 2008.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Washington State Quarter Design

When Governor Gregoire invited the citizens to submit a design for the new State Quarter in 100 words, I did my part.

The government counts in a different way than the People. The first time I entered my 100 words, I got the message: under 100 words please. I tried three times, editing, editing, editing. Finally bingo. 69 words according to my computer. Does make you think about other cuts, doesn't it?

This is what I entered (quoted words are for text on quarter):

"Washington 1889"
Outline state. Border Canada = mountain range horizon, Mount St. Helens
Smith Tower, landmark past, evergreen trees.
Airplane. Flying salmon. Computer chips.
SCPL (Seattle Central Public Library), landmark present and future in foreground.
"Washington Evergreen State".

Justification: Diamond shaped steel and glass grid lends itself well for graphic design. Building's inside/ outside effect honors surrounding city scape, and views of Evergreen State. Library harbors tools of wisdom and IS teaching took in itself.