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Cox Architecture
Australian practice Cox Architecture designed The National Maritime Museum of China in Tianjin as four metal-clad wings that fan out to overlook Bohai Bay.

China's first National Maritime Museum, the building is located in the Binhai New Area. This wetland area has been recovered from the bay and extensively developed over the past decade.

Cox Architecture won a 2013 international competition to design the museum, which has been six years in the making.

Across an area of 80,000 square metres, the museum houses six display areas and 15 exhibition halls.

Diamond-shaped panels of silver aluminium cover the exterior of each form, with some perforated and others solid.

The underside of the of the roofs deep reveals – designed to cope with heavy snowfall in winter – are lined with of wood.

Landscaped areas create a new series of promenade-like routes along the bay, sheltered by the cantilevering forms of the museum.

Winding paths that cut through its wooded parkland surroundings and extending into the bay with two long jetties.

Rather than a single, monolithic structure, Cox Architecture broke the museum down into a cluster of long, thin pavilions, that project towards the bay like upturned hulls of large ships.

"From Philip Cox's initial watercolour sketches, the design evolved and certain compelling metaphors either resolved or emerged," said Cox Architecture.

"Jumping carp, corals, starfish, moored ships in port and and open palm reaching out from China to the maritime world."

This "open palm" arrangement is focused around a central glazed reception hall, providing access between the three exhibition levels and lower-level storage areas, creating a dramatic visual axis through the building and out towards the bay.

Inside the wings, each of which is dedicated to a particular exhibition theme, a ribbed steel structure creates a dramatic space alongside the core areas housing exhibitions and circulation.

A stone floor and white walls create bright, open atrium spaces, overlooked at the upper levels by balconies in contrast to the more enclosed exhibition halls.

"The articulated pavilions provide a constant connection between inside and out," said the practice. "The user experience exists within the landscape and is a key organising device of the plan, helping to orientate visitors on their journey."

Cox Architecture was founded by Philip Cox in Sydney in 1967. The practice recently revealed designs for a new airport in Sydney designed with Zaha Hadid Architects.

The National Maritime Museum of China joins several other interestingly-shaped public buildings in the city.

Bernard Tschumi Architects has designed a copper-coloured museum in Tianjiin shaped like a factory with chimneys, and MVRDV built a public library shaped like a giant eyeball.

Daily Mail / SOLO Syndication
The exhibition at Vitra Design Museum in Germany revives 20 iconic interiors. It's an ambitious task, writes our correspondent, but one that's ultimately successful.

Though its building is comparably small in size, Vitra Design Museum’s exhibitions are never lacking in ambition. Placed inside a twisted Frank Gehry–design building from 1989 on the Swiss-German border—his first building in Europe—the museum is grounded in the legacy company’s vast collection of about 7,000 pieces of furniture, which also encompasses the estates of the Eameses, Verner Panton, Alexander Girard, and George Nelson. Thematically the museum focuses on interior design and architecture and never misses an opportunity to include Vitra designs and products in its exhibitions. In this regard, Home Stories: 100 Years, 20 Visionary Interiors, the museum’s newest exhibition, is no exception.

But Home Stories is nonetheless led by a bold and fascinating conceit: selecting 20 “visionary interiors” from 1920–2020 to represent the “history of the home,” where, as curator Jochen Eisenbrand puts it, “important societal, political, urban, and technical shifts” are reflected. This is as major an undertaking as it sounds and one thing is certain: After a visit to the exhibition, your head will spin.

The survey unfolds backwards in time, stretching from some small-sized, pastel colored contemporary refurbishments (an apartment in Madrid by Elii, and a community housing in London by Assemble) to eye-blindingly colorful explosions of Postmodernism (Memphis Group) through Verner Panton’s “Phantasy Landscape,” and into Claude Parent’s “oblique” apartment in France and Andy Warhol’s “Silver Factory.” You’ll know you’ve reached the end of the exhibition when you encounter the classics of early Modernism. There, Mies van der Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat and Josef Frank’s Villa Beer demonstrate that the 1920s held multiple Modernisms—and Elsie de Wolfe’s Villa Trianon, where ornament is laid on thick, augments the argument for a more complex telling of interior design throughout the century.

To include all this in its limited space, the curators had to reduce all 20 interiors to their core—each is represented by one large image on a wall, foregrounded by a podium holding a handful of related pieces of furniture and sometimes a model.

Does the curatorial strategy work? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, reproducing a genuine sense of atmosphere for any of these interiors is near impossible. (Isn’t “home” all about the sense of the space—its acoustics, smell, and feel?) On the other hand, the exhibition creates some important, original, and fun connections between ideas and places. The Smithsons’ House of the Future, for example, is directly adjacent to the fictitious Villa Arpel from Jacques Tati’s satirical and highly anti-modern film Mon Oncle. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a single viewpoint combines Finn Juhl’s house in Denmark (1942) and Lina Bo Bardi’s “Casa de Vidro” in Brazil (1950) with Bernard Rudofsky’s Nivola House-Garden in Long Island (1950)—early examples of dissolving the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, through a global perspective. The exhibition’s 300-plus-page catalog is also recommended; it richly documents all 20 interiors, amounting to a history of 20th-century interior design, with contributions by Alice Rawsthorne, Jasper Morrison, and Joseph Grima, and with interviews with the likes of contemporary figures such as Apartamento founder Nacho Alegre and designer Sevil Peach.
Feilden Fowles
London-based architecture practice Feilden Fowles has won an international design competition to create the new Central Hall for the National Railway Museum in York, England. Slated for completion in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2025, the new centerpiece building will vastly improve the visitor experience while introducing an ambitious energy strategy to dramatically cut the site-wide operational carbon footprint by 80%. Following the firm’s low-tech philosophy, the design will minimize reliance on concrete and steel in favor of prefabricated timber materials while emphasizing passive design strategies.

In winning the two-phase design competition organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, Feilden Fowles beat 75 other design firms with their Central Hall proposal that pays homage to the site’s former uses. The building’s central two-story rotunda is directly inspired by the history of locomotive roundhouses and railway turntables. Recycled patinated copper will clad the structure, the interior of which will feel warm and inviting thanks to a predominately timber palette and the abundance of natural light that flows through high clerestory glazing and a skylight fitted in the center of its beautifully engineered roof structure.

The new welcome and orientation space will host a wide variety of programming, including gallery spaces for the museum’s world-class collection, recreational areas, retail and public-facing community spaces. The Central Hall also connects to the five museum portals: the main entrance, Great Hall, Wonderlab, Exhibition Hall, the shop and a new cafe.

Sustainability is a major driving factor behind the Central Hall, a timber-framed building that will be built with traditional, locally sourced materials wherever possible. In addition to the creation of a new energy center with air-source or ground-source heat pumps powered by solar energy, the building follows passive solar principles to enhance thermal comfort and reduce reliance on mechanical systems. Larger spanning and prefabrication of timber elements will also be used to ensure higher quality control and to reduce construction waste.

Josh McCullock
Designed by Rand Elliott Architects, Oklahoma's newest cultural landmark opens on March 13.

The new Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center (OCAC) in Oklahoma City is a tough building. The sensibility is aloof and the form expressionistic, improbably combining elements of industrial sheds and houses of worship, to say nothing of the serrated facade, pieced together from 16,800 three-inch-wide aluminum fins, blind-fastened (screw-free) in nine different variations. It’s that hard outer shell that communicates the toughness.

But the architecture also works against this impression. Varying in depth, the fins brilliantly capture the light and hues of the Oklahoma skies, which soften all those hard edges. “We wanted sun to touch the building during the day and let it glow at night,” explains Rand Elliott, whose namesake Oklahoma City firm is behind the design.

The extruded aluminum, all 37 miles of it, functions as a luminous mirror, shifting colors throughout the day, from the oranges of sunrise to the pink shades of sunset, with brushstrokes of sky blue and white moments of clouds. At night, the stars and the moon dot the building’s sawtooth surfaces, which serve to focus the single beam of artificial light that marks out the building’s most emphatic moment. Elliott compares this triangular prism to a lantern, reinforcing the expressionist effect.

The institution’s leadership attaches great meaning to the museum’s striking silhouette, seeing it as a gateway to the city’s arts district. The new site opposite Campbell Art Park is a far cry from its predecessor: For three decades, OCAC sat quietly amid the state fairgrounds at the western edge of town. In the past few years, however, curatorial and exhibitions director Jennifer Scanlan has helped carve out a new identity for OCAC, having pulled off several successful exhibitions, including solo shows by Jeffrey Gibson and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The feeling of change and momentum was further galvanized by the recent opening of a new streetcar line that stops directly in front of the museum. “If you have 10 more minutes before your train arrives, pop in and tour the exhibition or flip through art and design books at the library,” says artistic director Jeremiah Matthew Davis. OCAC’s goal, he adds, is to embed itself in a local culture that is slowly but surely changing.”

To many, Oklahoma might seem to be the very picture of the American heartland: politically red, culturally traditional, and fiscally conservative. It’s among the country’s top wheat producers, and agricultural signifiers have long formed the basis of the state’s identity. Oil fields and infrastructure, the onetime motor of a booming economy, also lodged them-selves in the local iconography. But rural areas are rapidly declining in population, hemorrhaging people to the state’s four largest cities, whose metropolitan regions are growing by the year. Towns are competing for their share (they were largely behind the state’s legalization of medical marijuana in 2018), and culture has proved effective in attracting trans-plants. For instance, Tulsa, whose population is second only to that of Oklahoma City, the state capital, has cultivated a small community of artists and other creatives gathered mainly around the reputable Tulsa Artist Fellowship; among the program’s generous benefits is affordable lodging.

For its part, Oklahoma City has continually worked to reinvigorate its downtown. Many new urban amenities have recently appeared on the scene, including a new 70-acre public park and pedestrian and bike lanes. These and other public works, including the upgrading of municipal schools, have been facilitated by funds raised through the Metropolitan Area Projects program, a five-year, one-cent sales-tax initiative first launched in 1993 and renewed several times since, most recently in December. In that time, public dollars have success-fully rebranded the downtown core (reeling after the 1995 bombing) and neighborhoods like Bricktown, where towering neon signs rising from repurposed warehouses echo the heydays of the oil economy (now euphemized as “natural gas”).

Another of the fund’s beneficiaries, the streetcar line, was launched in December 2018. The tram bends west at the intersection of 11th Street and Broad-way Avenue, away from the museum and its temporary pavilion opposite. The gleaming building is not exactly small; at four stories (lounge on level one, galleries on two, event space and offices on three a
Dennis Wise, courtesy Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
The new Burke Museum brings history and culture out into the open

The Burke Museum, a natural history museum on the University of Washington (UW) campus, opened the doors to its new facility October 12. In the 113,000-square-foot facility designed by Olson Kundig, the 130-year-old natural history museum hopes to show off more of its massive collection of fossils, artifacts, and American Indian art—which, until now, has been filed away in closed-off spaces—to the public.

The culmination of a decade of planning, the new building is designed to bring all of its work together by integrating the museum’s research and preservation efforts into the visitor experience. Previously, visitors couldn’t see the scientists behind the scenes researching, cleaning, and restoring items. With the new facility, glass panes between public and behind-the-scenes spaces and more versatile storage bring the full collection out of dark closets and into the light.

Over the past century and change, the Burke has bounced around between less-than-ideal facilities, inheriting previous buildings or settling for smaller facilities. After the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exhibition, the Burke, then the Washington State Museum, it shifted its exhibits and collections between various UW buildings, many that were leaky or bug-infested. In the late 1950s, its home at the time was condemned.

Its most recent facility was custom-built in 1962, but was smaller than ideal, so the museum quickly outgrew the space as its massive collection grew. It also lacked climate control to keep its artifacts safe, equipment to analyze the collection, and visual cues to even let passers-by know it’s a museum.
The new building, completed with consultation from 29 local tribes and a Native American advisory committee, is in many ways designed to be the complete opposite of the previous building, which had gotten cramped and let in little natural light. Now, the museum is designed around open space: Skylights allow natural light to come in from above, but can darken to block brighter rays. Upper and lower lobbies are lined by windows, welcoming the public in from both the street and the university campus.
“It reads like a museum,” project architect Edward Lalonde told Curbed Seattle last year, as opposed to the “opaque” old Burke space. “People understand what they’re approaching.”

From the lower-level entrance, a large whale skeleton floats above the stairs. Mark Stone, courtesy Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
Fittingly for a natural history museum, the exterior is designed to work with the environment around it. A sloped roof just about matches a 15-to-20-foot grade change along the site. A madrona tree that had to be removed from the site to start construction was planked and integrated into the design, coating the university-side entrance. The shed-style roof was inspired by traditional Coast Salish dwelling.
Kebony siding, constructed from southern pine, is meant to mimic area classics like fir and cedar, but with a longer lifespan. As time goes on, the wood “will age naturally to a silver,” explained Lalonde last year. “That’s important to us that the building ages well and it ages naturally.”

Building elements, like tall, skinny windows, are also meant to nod to fir and cedar.
“A major focus of the design is maximizing transparency—large areas of glazing look in from the street and the interior experience to connect the Burke to the campus, landscape and city,” says Tom Kundig, principal and owner of Olson Kundig and principal on the project. “We wanted visitors and the surrounding community to connect to the museum’s collections and artifacts, and engage with the process of scientific discovery in a true working museum.”
One of the biggest changes visitors will notice, though, is intentional space. Rather than shift between awkward dividers, small offices, and a basement, rooms are designed around exhibits and purpose.

Pictured in 2018, the Burke’s T. rex skull sports googly eyes as a visual aid. Sarah Anne Lloyd
The Amazing Life exhibit shows how our earth’s ecosystem has functioned both in the past and today. Fossils Uncovered is the classic natural history museum fossil exhibit, with the only real dinosaur fossils on display in the state, including one of the Burke’s most famous pieces, one of the best-preserved T. rex skulls in the world. The Northwest Native Art Gallery highlights cont
Tim Tiebout
Frank Gehry talks about the porticoed and pedimented structure that houses the Philadelphia Museum of Art as though it were a living being, referring to its “good bones” and its “heart.” The Pritzker Prize–winning architect has been involved in renovating the 1928 Beaux Arts building at the head of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway since 2006, when his Los Angeles-based firm was hired to develop the museum’s master plan. The long-range set of projects aims to replace antiquated building systems, create new galleries, and improve wayfinding and circulation, which Gehry says had become confusing and “muddled” after earlier modifications. The museum had “clogged up arteries,” he explains.

Full completion of all the construction outlined by the master plan is many years away, but visitors now have a sense of Gehry’s approach to remedying this situation. Earlier this week, on September 18, an historic entrance on the museum’s north side reopened, as did about half of a striking vaulted walkway, running from one side of the museum to the other. Though conceived as public spaces by Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele, the museum’s original architects, both the entrance and the passage had been long off-limits to museumgoers, having been used as a loading dock and for storage since at least the mid 1970s.

Gehry is of course best known for his expressively sculptural buildings. But here his hand is barely discernable: sleek bronze fixtures suspended from the vaults illuminate the meticulously cleaned Guastavino tiles; a lightwell formerly exposed to the elements has been captured as skylit indoor space and is now home to an espresso bar; and new floors, from the same quarry in Minnesota that supplied the limestone used in the original construction, conceal extensive infrastructure for heating, cooling, telecommunications, and electrical systems. Gehry describes his role akin to that of an archaeologist. He says he is “excavating” Trumbauer and Abele, and that he is quite satisfied doing so. “My other work offers plenty of opportunity for self-expression.”

The just-opened half of the walkway and entrance are only two pieces of the current phase of construction known as the core project, for which demolition began in 2017. By next fall, when this stage of the master plan is scheduled to be complete, more than 90,000 square feet of renovated space—including 23,000 square feet of new galleries and the full, 640-foot length of the vaulted walkway—will be open to visitors. Also slated to be done next year as part of this $220 million phase, is what has been dubbed the forum—a new, double-story circulation hub and gathering space that connects the walkway to the rest of the museum. It was made possible by demolition of an auditorium built in 1959 and required structural gymnastics, such as underpinning its foundations.

Future phases of Gehry’s master plan, which are not yet scheduled, will move forward as resources permit, say museum officials. They include a new auditorium as well as more galleries. These exhibition spaces are to be dug underneath the east terrace and its monumental steps (the steps familiar to anyone who has seen the 1976 movie Rocky). The design also calls for a portal-like window that will slice through the stairs and offer views out over the parkway and of the Philadelphia skyline. Gehry insists that even this “window to the city” was part of Trumbauer’s vision. “We didn’t create a new master plan,” he says. “We’ve recreated an existing one.”
By 2022, the Korean American National Museum will have a permanent home in Los Angeles—after some 20 years of discussion. Morphosis unveiled the design this week at a public event announcing $4 million in funding from the State of California to support the project. Since the Museum’s founding in 1991, it has partnered with other local cultural centers to house satellite exhibitions and events. The new building will finally give the museum a dedicated space in Los Angeles’ Koreatown.

The L.A–based firm’s plans feature native Korean design elements such as a landscape of maple, pine, and bamboo atop a sculptural roof garden and terrace. Below, a traditional Hanok-style courtyard will serve as a central space surrounded by galleries and offices. Streetside, more greenery and a pattered facade will invite visitors into engage with its cultural programming including lectures, performances, and exhibitions.

The Morphosis team is predominately led by Korean and Korean Americans, including partner Eui-Sung Yi, project principal for the Museum.

“This museum honors the sacrifices and hardships of our parents and grandparents while showcasing the fruits of those sacrifices: the accomplishments of future generations. We aimed to reflect this sentiment in our design,” said Eui-Sung Yi.

The Korean National Museum is slated to break ground in 2020 and be completed by 2022.
Paul Vu
Museum exhibitions are often associated with the one-directional and the untouchable. Not at the brand-new Cayton Children’s Museum, located on the third floor of the open-air urban centre Santa Monica Place; the popular spot is mainly known for its retail and hospitality offerings.

At nearly 20,000 sq-m, the OfficeUntitled-designed facility features a series of exhibitions that take place in five different wings, also called neighbourhoods. Beyond the Mr. Rogers reference, the idea is to create interactive exhibitions that allow children aged 0-10 to choose their own learning and discovery adventures. Each themed exhibition is dedicated to exploring core universal values, such as kindness, compassion, respect and hospitality.

The Reach For exhibition – where a web of ropes is suspended from the ceiling – helps children discover their abilities of achievement. Launch Your allows 0-to-2-year-olds to build coordination and confidence by interacting with various types of topography. Let’s Help and Together We prompt them to create a community of collaborative play, as well as encouraging communication and support. And then, the aptly titled Reflect On inspires introspection, reflection and connection.

All in all, it's a great example of how children’s museums should be designed: conceived for playfulness, with dedicated spaces that empower learning abilities, but never dumbed down. Indeed: Fred Rogers would have been proud to live in such neighbourhoods.
Evan Joseph
On July 29, the Empire State Building unveiled a new visitor observatory experience and museum in Midtown Manhattan. The 10,000 square foot space—designed by Thinc, Beneville Studios, Corgan, IDEO, and Squint/Opera, among others—occupies part of the second floor of the Art Deco skyscraper. Exhibitions highlight the structure’s modern-day interventions, guiding visitors through its storied past and ultimately escorting them up to the 86th floor observatory. At 1,454 feet tall, the Empire State Building, designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, was completed in 1931—and is now home to the Architectural Record offices.

The new visitor experience begins in a vestibule lined with the building’s early history and plans, opening into a room where an archival panoramic photograph of the original site (it housed the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel up through the 1920s) wraps the walls from floor-to-ceiling. Here, one can view imagined video clips of scenes of Midtown’s past through building surveyors. The building’s original survey marker is displayed in the center of the room.

But perhaps the most interesting of rooms is an immersive exhibit demonstrating the construction process. LED screens line the walls and part of the ceiling, displaying life-size videos—a mix of historical images and recreations—of workmen assembling steel beams that form the structure of the tower. Surround sound construction noise accompanies the video footage, creating an experience akin to what New Yorkers would have experienced at the site nearly 90 years ago. Glimpses of LED sky peek through openings in the wood-paneled ceiling meant to recall the scaffolding of construction zones past. At points during construction, as many as two floors were built each day, totaling only 14 months of construction time for the 102-story building.

Michael Benveille, chief creative officer of New York–based Beneville Studios says his firm wanted to bring a sense of “childlike wonder” to the observatory and museum, while still honoring the legacy and integrity of the building, “without making it too much like a theme park.”

The museum also contains models of the original Otis elevator cars, information on the building’s energy efficiency, and an exhibit on the Empire State Building’s place in pop culture, complete with historical artifacts, photos, and film clips. The project represents the second phase of an extensive, $165-million renovation plan, which began with a new observatory entrance, which opened on 34th Street last summer. The final pieces of the observatory’s face-lift will be completed next year.
Hufton + Crow
Designed by Studio Libeskind and featuring photographs by Caryl Englander, the installation will be on view until Oct. 31, 2020.

Now a museum and a memorial to the millions who were murdered there, the former Auschwitz concentration camp, now part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, is Poland’s most visited cultural destination, drawing a record 2.15 million tourists in 2018. That number is over four times the number of visitors two decades ago, and while it’s hard not to view this as a net positive—a sign that Holocaust remembrance is alive and well—it also creates a peculiar problem: how to effectively welcome the crowds, without crowding out the solemn, even sacred, character of the site? The difficulty is especially acute at the museum entrance, where dozens of lumbering buses idle in a vast parking lot only yards from the infamous gateway with its chilling, wrought-iron legend, “Arbeit macht frei” (work sets you free).

Daniel Libeskind, FAIA’s professional connection to the Holocaust goes back to his first completed project: Jewish Museum Berlin (2001). But his personal connection goes back considerably farther: Born in 1946 in Lodz, Poland, the designer counts as many as 19 members of his father’s family murdered by the Nazis during the war. “The only one who survived was living in Pennsylvania,” he says. “That’s why we came to America.” This summer, in a return to his native country, Libeskind has helped create a temporary installation at Auschwitz that combines a unique commemorative mission with a much-needed programmatic function, providing a fitting architectural preamble to the museum.

Inaugurated last week, “Through the Lens of Faith” combines photography and text in a simple, open-air gallery designed by Studio Libeskind and situated just outside the museum’s main admissions office. The images, all portraits, are the work of photographer Caryl Englander and feature 21 survivors of Auschwitz: 18 Jewish, two Catholic, and one Sinti (eastern Roma). Englander visited each of her subjects alongside historian Henri Lusitger-Thaler, who documented their stories and then edited them into brief first-person narratives that accompany each photo. The theme that connects them, as the title suggests, is religious belief and the people who hold it: The survivors relate how their own personal experiences in the camp challenged yet strengthened their convictions, redoubling their commitment to a pious life after they were finally freed. “It’s about enlarging the capacity for empathy,” says Lusitger-Thaler, chief curator of the Amud Aish Memorial Museum in Brooklyn, the institution that sponsored the exhibit.

To realize that empathic mission, the organizers needed to create a setting that would give viewers an immediate, visceral connection to the subjects of the installation. For this they turned to Libeskind, who responded with a straightforward but emotionally charged solution: A single walkway, composed of alternating metal and wooden strips—an overt reference to the railways that carried victims to Auschwitz—is flanked by stanchions faced in mirror-like stainless steel. Each stanchion features a hinged, smoked black glass panel inscribed with the survivors’ words; behind these panels, color photographs of each survivor are printed directly onto the steel posts. The photographs are only fully visible by lifting the panel: “You have to physically engage with it,” Libeskind says, noting that the act immediately establishes a degree of intimacy between viewer and subject.

Perhaps the most successful effect of the installation is down to the high-finish materiality of the posts: Glimmering in the blazing summer sun, the stanchions instantly catch the eye of anyone alighting in the car park; once approached, they suddenly dissolve, giving way to reflections of the surrounding landscape, the nearby camp structures, and the viewers themselves. Combined with the uplifting message of the text and moving portraits of the survivors, the effect introduces a tranquility to the busy entry plaza, as well as a moment of spiritual refreshment to counterbalance the grimness of the site. “Death is everywhere in this place, even as you walk around it or sit on the grass,” Libeskind says. “This lets in just a little light.”

“Through the Lens of Faith” will be open through Oct. 31, 2020.

Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
Wrapped with a stark minimalist colonnade, the James Simon Gallery blends a Modernist aesthetic into the storied Neoclassical architecture of Germany's national museum hub.

“Not so, Mr. Chipperfield!” ran a headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2006. According to German critic Heinrich Wefing, Berlin’s cherished Museum Island was “threatened with disaster” by the British architect’s plans for the new James Simon Gallery, a proposed visitor center that would provide services (including ticketing) and hospitality for those visiting the island’s five museums. The public didn’t approve either, and a petition against the design brought the project to a halt in 2007.

But Germans, Berliners in particular, abound in patience when it comes to David Chipperfield. His work on the Neues Museum (also on Museum Island, located adjacent the proposed James Simon Gallery) took some 16 years to complete. The end result was so good that, when it opened, 35,000 people visited the museum over three days—despite it then lacking any art or amenities.

Thanks to that project, Chipperfield’s plans for the James Simon Gallery were granted a second chance, albeit pending revisions. Once again, Berliners’ patience has paid off nicely: Some 20 years after it was first unveiled and ten years after foundation work began, the gallery will be opened Friday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The new building, which takes its name from the Jewish German art patron James Simon, occupies the site previously occupied by the Karl Friedrich Schinkel–designed Packhof building. Despite its designation, the “gallery” is more focused on providing amenities that are lacking in (or inadequately service) the older surrounding Altes, Neues and Pergamon museums. “The design and concept were born out of a much bigger discussion on what Museum Island needed,” said Chipperfield, who began work on a masterplan for the island in 1999. Speaking a press conference, the British architect added that, “museums are closed boxes and represent the static nature of the museum institution. A new, more dynamic, building was needed.”

The new building is geared toward local residents as well as tourists. Unlike the island’s other must-see museums, which host permanent collections and display objects such as the Ishtar Gate and world-famous bust of Nefertiti, the James Simon Gallery will be more fluid, offering a changing program of exhibitions to entice Berliners.

“We were given a shopping list of requirements,” Chipperfield said. “Some were vague, like for example, asking us to ‘be more receptive to orienting mass visitors’ or ‘to have better ticketing facilities’—not the usual precise requirements.”

It is, in a sense, Berlin’s equivalent of the Louvre Pyramid, distributing the five million yearly patrons, almost all of them tourists, to various destinations on Museum Island. “Problems from Paris have been learned,” stressed Chipperfield. (Today, long lines and congestion plagues the entrance to the glass pyramid itself.)

Instead of glass, Chipperfield chose to clad the building in white limestone. Its most striking feature is a colonnade, whose long side follows the contours of the river before falling to grade; a grand public staircase splits the colonnade in two. This procession of columns, while stripped-down in form, takes cues from the Classical architectural language that defines the character of Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In doing so, the Jame Simon Gallery harmonizes with the two other nearby landmarks: the canal-facing Doric facade of the Pergamon Museum and (more notably) the monumentally long Doric colonnade of the Schinkel-designed Altes Museum.

The gallery is 117,300 square feet—and 80 feet from top to bottom—but you wouldn’t know it from the outside. The extended colonnade diffuses the building’s volumetric presence from the street while several levels are tucked underground. Furthermore, on the canal side, the building’s plinth lines up with the adjacent Pergamon Museum’s base—another contextually sensitive touch. (Also on its canal side, a small stairway descends to the water level, though no visitors will arrive this way—it’s merely a public landing for visitors.) “This was the one side of Museum Island where there was no architecture into the water,” Chipperfield told Metropolis. “It’s a symbolic connection to the water, a gesture.”

Visitors entering from the gallery’s street-facing grand staircase pass through a glazed vestibule and
Kris Graves
The "cyclorama structure" will be on view at MoMA's Long Island City outpost through Sept. 2.

Today, MoMA PS1 opened its 2019 summer installation, Hórama Rama, by the 20th annual Young Architects Program winners, Mexico-based firm Pedro & Juana. Led by Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, the firm worked with MoMA and MoMA PS1 to construct an “immersive junglescape set within a 40-foot-high, 90-foot-wide cyclorama structure,” at the MoMA's Long Island City outpost in New York according to a press release.

Hórama Rama's circular scaffolding structure is clad with wood bristles and its interior features a panoramic photo of a jungle, immersing visitors in images of lush greenery. A surrounding “urban jungle” featuring hammocks made in southern Mexico, wood seating, and a functioning waterfall contrast the New York skyline that sits just beyond the installation. While open, Hórama Rama will be the venue for MoMA PS1’s music series, Warm Up.

"Finding inspiration in historical panoramas, Pedro & Juana have designed a structure that will allow visitors to immerse themselves in a fantastical wilderness, a visual refuge from the city,” said MoMA PS1 chief curator Peter Eleey in the same release. “By juxtaposing two landscapes in transition—the jungle and the Long Island City skyline—they draw attention to the evolving conditions of our environment, both globally and locally, at a crucial moment.”

Hórama Rama was selected from a pool of five finalists: State College, Pa.–based Low Design Office, led by DK Osseo-Asare and Ryan Bollom, AIA; New York–based Romanian architect Oana Stanescu and Stockholm-based Japanese designer Akane Moriyama; Boston-based Matter Design, led by Brandon Clifford; and Mexico City–based TO, led by Carlos Facio and Jose G. Amozurrutia.

“For the 20th anniversary of the Young Architects Program, each of the five finalists designed potential—of surface, of movement, of space, of structure—as narratives that both reveal and conceal,” said Sean Anderson, Associate Curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design in the same release. “Pedro & Juana's world-within-a-world, Hórama Rama, is a manifold of views in which to see and be seen, to find and lose oneself in a radically different environment. The installation constructs a collection of scenes into which visitors may escape, even if for a moment, whether in a hammock or by the waterfall.”
The New York branch of architecture firm OMA has unveiled its design for the extension to the city's SANAA-designed New Museum.

OMA has designed an angular addition to double the size of the contemporary art museum, which Tokyo-based architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA completed in 2007 in Lower Manhattan.

Measuring 60,000 square feet (5.57 square metres), the extension will include 50,000 square feet (4,645 square metres) of gallery space, improve the circulation of the museum, and offer more areas for the New Museum's education and cultural programme.

New facilities will be housed in an angular structure encased in laminated glass with metal mesh. The design is intended to be complementary but distinct from SANAA's building, which comprises irregularly stacked volumes, also wrapped in metal mesh.

"Our new building establishes its own distinct identity yet it is highly connected to the existing museum," said OMA New York partner Shohei Shigematsu.

First announced in May 2016, the addition will replace a building at 231 Bowery, which currently hosts the museum's New Inc start-up lab and storage for artworks.

It will be shorter than SANAA's seven-storey stack, and instead make up extra space by extending deeper towards the rear of the site.

OMA has sliced the front of the building to create space for a street-level plaza, while the angled top half will be punctured with triangular terraces that offer views of the surrounds.

"We wanted to create a highly public face – starting from the exterior plaza and atrium stair to terraced multipurpose rooms at the top – that will be a conduit of art and activities that provides an openness to engage Bowery and the city beyond," Shigematsu said.

A stairwell will occupy the front angled portion, forming a new circulation route that better links the museum with Prince Street and the nearby Soho neighbourhood.

Large, irregular shaped windows will offer glimpses of the staircase, which will zig-zag up the building to provide access to three new floors of galleries – which OMA has designed to line up with the exhibition spaces of the existing museum.

"A counterpart to the existing tower's verticality and solidity, the new building will expand the galleries horizontally and reveal the vertical circulation through a transparent facade," Shigematsu added.

Other levels will provide a permanent home for the museum's arts organisation New Inc and space for community and education programmes.

"The new New Museum will be a synergistic pair working spatially and programmatically in tandem, offering a repertoire of spaces to match the institution's curatorial ambitions and diverse programmes," the architect continued.

Additional facilities include an expanded lobby and bookstore, an upper-level forum that links with the museum's existing Skyroom, a new 80-seat restaurant, as well as back-of-house areas, storage and office space.

Construction on the New Museum extension is slated to begin this year. It will be OMA's first public building in New York, where the firm set up an office in 2001 to up its presence in the Americas.

Led by architect Shohei Shigematsu and Jason Long, the New York outpost has also recently renovated Sotheby's galleries in the city and a black Manhattan apartment building, which marks first ground-up structure in the city.
Carmody Groarke
The transparent chainmail structure was designed to protect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House during its restoration

After six months on site, London-based architect Carmody Groarke has completed the construction of a giant box over Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece.

Considered the architect’s most famous work after the Glasgow School of Art, the Category A-listed Hill House is sited in Helensburgh, Scotland and was originally built for publisher Walter Blackie in 1902.

Hill House is a 20th-century Scottish tower house, characteristic for its slate roofing, roughcast walls and lack of ornamentation.

The project essentially consists of a wrap-around ‘porous cage’ which enables the crumbling structure inside to remain visible in the landscape while restoration work takes place – maintaining access to the house for visitors and protecting it as an ‘artefact’.

The new museum’s walls are covered entirely with a stainless steel chainmail mesh. According to the team, the chainmail structure will help Hill House ‘to dry out after more than a century of absorbing rain’, and paves the way for further conservation work, thought to take up to 15 years.

The steel frame of the structure is cross-braced and grounded with minimum impact on the existing terraced-garden landscape.

Visitors are able to use raised walkways to see Hill House ‘from a new angle while offering views over the Clyde estuary’. Visitor facilities are housed in a standalone timber building.

Backed by the National Trust for Scotland, the giant box is billed as the first of its kind. The house was gifted to the trust in 1982 but it has suffered from decades of extensive moisture ingress aggravated by its exposed coastal positioning, and its long-term survival had been under threat.

Carmody Groarke landed the job in 2017 following a contest in which it beat Denizen Works. Work began onsite at the end of 2018.
Qingshan Wu
Contributor Blaine Brownell explores a museum built into the sand dunes along the Bohai Bay shoreline in China.

In the acclaimed 1962 novel The Woman in the Dunes (Vintage, 1991), an amateur scientist takes shelter in a house constantly threatened by encroaching sand. In this haunting story, author Kobo Abe employs sand as a metaphor for humanity’s loss of control over the environment.

In recent years, our relationship with sand has taken an unexpected turn: instead of it threatening our existence, the material itself has become threatened. In the article “The End of Sand: Confronting One of the Greatest Environmental Challenges of the New Millennium,” Northeastern University researchers David Wesley and Sheila Puffer address the ecological threat posed by the global annual mining of 15 billion tons of sand. According to the authors, “sand is a finite resource and the depletion of alluvial sand used in construction is destroying the ecosystem of riverbeds, sea beds, and coastal beaches, and is contributing seriously to climate change.” This significant shift parallels the evolution of many architects’ missions from one of creating buildings that endure within their environments to one where we must emphasize the longevity of the environment itself.

Such an aspiration motivated architects Li Hu and Huang Wenjing, AIA, principals of Beijing-based Open Architecture, in their design of the UCCA Dune Art Museum. Completed last year along the coast of Northern China, the 3,000-square-foot structure is buried within an existing line of dunes, which rise several meters above sea level. I recently had the opportunity to visit the museum, which the architects claim was inspired children digging sand—a process that “creates a series of interconnected, organically shaped spaces which, enveloped by sand, resemble caves—the primeval home of man, whose walls were once a canvas for some of humanity’s earliest works of art,” they explain. The strategy to embed the building within the dune ecosystem enabled its preservation, which is especially critical given its location within a fast-developing resort community of multistory condominium towers.

Hired by the independent Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Open Architecture was given the opportunity to decide the museum’s exact location along the Bohai Bay shoreline. According to Li, the firm’s first site visit inspired the idea to situate the building within dunes in a particular way. “A building [should] not be simply 'placed' on any site, as often done,” he says. “But rather, it needs to establish a special relationship—a deep dialogue, in this case—to a special place.” The Dune Art Museum is the first phase of a two-part commission, the second of which will be the Sea Art Museum, a counterpart structure to be located in the water. Resembling a monolithic, occupiable staircase descending into the bay, this future edifice will be connected to the Dune Art Museum by a long walkway. “The museum in the dune and museum in the sea are conceptually born together and work together to form a complete whole,” Li says. Construction on the Sea Art Museum will begin next year.

Practically speaking, building the Dune Art Museum necessitated the destruction of the section of dunes it occupies. However, once the structure was completed, the architect and contractor made painstaking efforts to restore the original topography and planting of the dunes. The sand displaced by the new building remained on-site, either added to the beachside as a grading improvement or returned to the top of the structure after construction to restore the original ecology of the dune. A vegetation expert supervised this restoration process, bringing local plants from neighboring dunes and nearby farms. Today, the foliage appears to be growing successfully, although the architect admits that such a restoration effort is inherently experimental.

Regarding environmental performance, the Dune Art Museum’s design features several benefits. The layer of sand and plants comprising the roof serve as an effective insulating layer. The indoor climate is further regulated by the exposed cast-in-place concrete structure that provides advantageous thermal mass; a deeply recessed glass façade that is inherently protected from heat gain; and a ground-source heat pump that utilizes the site’s underground water flow to moderate interior temperature, eliminating the need for a site-disruptive cooling tower. Additionally, natural light enters most of
Studio Gang
Almost seven years after the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York engaged the Chicago-based Studio Gang to design an expansion, the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation has broken ground, signaling the start of construction expected to last three years. The 230,000-square-foot, $383-million project by architect Jeanne Gang will add a library, theater, and new spaces for exhibitions and education, and it will better connect different areas of the existing museum. In addition, a new multi-story “Collections Core” will house some 4 million specimens in a visible storage area, allowing visitors to take in the breadth of the institution’s collection and witness scientific work taking place in real time.

“There’s an urgency to the public having a much deeper understanding of science and scientific issues that are really driving our times,” says AMNH president Ellen V. Futter, speaking to RECORD by phone. With the selection of Studio Gang, the museum found the ideal collaborator. “In addition to being a brilliant woman and fantastic architect,” says Futter, “Jeanne brings an exceptional sensitivity to both the built world and natural world.”

Gang and her team ruminated on erosion, tectonics, and other geologic processes while developing a vision for the building, using high-tech and analog methods to play with form. For instance, the architect tells RECORD, “During one very cold winter in Chicago when we were modeling the space, we took a giant block of ice and melted it with hot water.” That helped inspire the cavernous, fluid spaces of the interior architecture.

The final design, reflecting such natural influences, requires an innovative structure. To achieve those curving interior spaces, seemingly hollowed-out by nature and time, the architects designed shapes for reinforcing bars that will be covered with shotcrete. A similarly curved facade, clad in Milford pink granite (a material used elsewhere on the museum’s campus), will be punctuated with expansive glazed openings, conveying a sense of porosity and flow.

With many large openings offering glimpses of the various exhibition spaces, the new building’s light-filled and airy central hall will emphasize the connectedness of scientific disciplines while sparking curiosity in visitors. “You can look up and say, ‘I want to go see that next.’ It encourages you to make a discovery,” says Gang. And the overall plan dramatically improves circulation; gone are the many dead ends of the old exhibition halls. By making “a few very simple edits” to the existing wings, Gang’s design allows visitors to move through the campus in a loop, rather than having to backtrack. “The physical structure will be thrilling to look at, but also, emblematic of the journey of discovery—the meandering people do when they wander through a museum,” says Futter.

Three structures that are part of the complex are coming down in order to pull the new building further back into its site, minimizing encroachment into the adjacent Theodore Roosevelt Park. (The museum’s expansion plans prompted opposition from some community groups and even a lawsuit, which was dismissed in late 2018.) Futter notes that the project, which will extend into the green space by one-quarter acre, also features an improved landscape design by Reed Hilderbrand, including new trees and plantings, seating and gathering areas, and a wider entrance from Columbus Avenue. “We’ve done all of this in a way that is very much in keeping with the ethos and sensibilities of the park,” she says.

Despite the size of the expansion, its scale on the exterior is relatively modest, while the most striking feature of the design is the central atrium. “Many people have said it’s impossible to do an iconic or monumental void,” says Gang, “but this project challenges the idea of an object building.”

From Futter’s perspective, the Gilder Center will be far more than an object; it will be a monument to knowledge. “Right now, in a world where there are a lot of science deniers, where there are people having difficulty distinguishing fact and truth from untruth, our collection is evidence that we can show the public … it is one of the most important records of life on earth.”
The Imperial War Museum has a new archive in Cambridgeshire, England, called the IWM Paper Store, which is the most airtight building in the world.

The IWM Paper Store in Duxford was designed by sustainability specialist Architype to hold the museum's most sensitive collections and records.

Wrapped in a weathering-steel facade, the 1,238-square-metre facility preserves artworks, photographs, letters and diaries documenting warfare since 1914.

The building is designed to passivhaus standards, so it has an extremely low ecological footprint.

Passive building technologies – ensuring the building uses almost no energy for heating or cooling – help it achieve its high environmental standards. These technologies help to preserve the building's sensitive contents while also reducing its running costs.

The archive's simple box-like form is designed to look modern, while complementing the colour of the bricks of the existing buildings on the airfield site, many of which date from the first world war.

Its facade is made from full-height weathering-steel panels, with a single panel representing each year since 1914, when the Imperial War Museum's collection begins.

Perforations in the panels denote the volume and quantity of material in the collection from each year.

This creates a broad visual timeline, with the panels representing years with high levels of conflict much more heavily perforated than those of relative peace.

Architype chose the material as it aligns with the building's programme as an archive to record conflict.

"Weathered steel hardens and gets stronger with time, a concept that is congruent with an archive which likewise gets stronger with time through continued collection," explained Jessica Taylor head of business development at the studio.
Christopher Frederick Jones
The outback tourism economy has been a talisman to drought-ravaged Queensland. Cox Architecture’s Waltzing Matilda Centre is a tribute to the community of Winton, embedded in the rugged landscape that inspired the ballad to which it is dedicated.

We approached the Waltzing Matilda Centre by Cox Architecture at Winton as fly-in fly-out grey nomads. A hire car trip across central Queensland took us through six hundred kilometres of parched, cracked and de-stocked plains that hadn’t seen useful rain for eight years. Amid the rural heartbreak, the state’s outback tourism economy has been growing strongly, a record $602 million in the year ending 2017.1 A mix of rivalry and cooperation between the towns of the region has produced an impressive architectural trail.

Driving west from Emerald, we followed the route of the momentous 1891 shearers’ strikes. Barcaldine’s role at the start of the labour movement is told at the Tree of Knowledge Memorial and the Globe Hotel renovation (M3architecture and Brian Hooper Architect, 2009 and 2015) and at the Australian Workers’ Heritage Centre, the highlight of which is the Daryl Jackson-designed big top from the travelling Australian Bicentennial Exhibition (1987–88), which has found a permanent home here. Each of these tells the story of unionism and the birth of the Labor Party. Longreach, in contrast, celebrates pioneering pastoralists and entrepreneurial aviators at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre (Feiko Bouman, 1988) and Qantas Founders Museum (Noel Robinson Architects, stage 1 2002, stage 2 ongoing). A final essential stop on the road into Winton is the remarkable Australian Age of Dinosaurs, an architectural precursor and companion to the Waltzing Matilda Centre also designed by the Cox Architecture team, led by then director Casey Vallance (stage 1 2012, stage 2 ongoing).

Gehry Partners/The Guggenheim Foundation
After a tumultuous series of ups-and-downs, work on the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is reportedly picking up steam.

According to an interview with Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, given to Euronews at Abu Dhabi’s annual Culture Summit, the museum could open its doors in the next three-to-four years.

The institution’s momentum had seemingly stalled in recent years. Although the project was first announced in 2006 and scheduled to open in 2012, it was repeatedly delayed. The original 2012 opening estimate came and went, as did the revised opening date in 2017, and after an interview with former director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens, it seemed the museum might be dead in the water.

The 320,000-square-foot museum, potentially the Guggenheim’s largest outpost, is slated to open on Saadiyat Island, a ground-up cultural district that holds a number of institutions designed by big-name architects. That includes Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi, which itself experienced a number of delays before opening in 2017.

“It’s a big building, parts of it are quite complex and it should take a little bit of time to put together as it’s also quite large,” Armstrong told Euronews. However, he claimed that the project was “on track and on budget,” and that once construction was completed in four years, the Guggenheim Foundation would focus its attention on the fledgling museum over the next 10 years to ensure its success.

As for programming, Armstrong envisioned displaying large-scale works from all over the world, mainly contemporary pieces from 1965 and onwards. That includes carving out space for work by younger, lesser-known artists, with “overscaled” pieces from artists such as James Turrell or Ernesto Neto being placed in the building’s upper levels.

No exact opening date or new budget was given.

AN has reached out to Gehry Partners for comment and will update this story accordingly.
Robert Gerhardt, courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Furniture, Mid-Century Design
Juliet Kinchin, dressed in black accented by pops of color from her necklace (a find at the MoMA Design Store) and ruby-red square bracelet, walked through The Value of Good Design exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, pausing at an armchair designed by Hans Wegner in the 1940s as if seeing it for the first time. But this was hardly Kinchin’s introduction to the object in front of her—she curated the exhibition.

As Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA since 2008, Kinchin has organized design retrospectives ranging from Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen (2010-11) to Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 (2012) and held faculty positions at The Glasgow School of Art and at The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in Design in New York. Positioning objects in ways that create new dialogue is her forte.

The Value of Good Design runs through June 15, 2019 and features household objects, furniture, and appliances from the late 1930s through the 1950s when the U.S. emerged as what Kinchin calls a “design superpower.” It also spotlights MoMA’s Good Design Initiatives, which served as an incubator for innovation at the time. After the walk-through, Kinchin shared some insights into her curatorial process with Interior Design, including her earliest design influences, addressing inclusivity in exhibitions, and the joy of re-purposing vintage curtains.

Interior Design: What does ‘good design’ mean today?

Juliet Kinchin: The words ‘good design’ are always going to conjure up different things for different people. And something that was considered good design in the 1950s doesn’t necessarily hold up nowadays. Good design should reflect technological advances and the social conditions or aspirations of each generation. It goes without saying that most people don’t want to live in the past or dress like our parents and grandparents. Having said that, some objects and core values do seem to have stood the test of time—generally those which combine eye appeal, functionality, and affordability. This was a combination of values that MoMA curators, like Edgar Kaufmann Jr., were trying to seek out at mid-century. What’s perhaps different is the way we are now thinking more about sustainability and the ethical dimension of the way things are made and sold.

ID: Why choose to explore the value of good design through mid-century pieces?

JK: The second world war and its aftermath brought design into focus as a tool for engineering change, whether social, technological, or economic. It was a time of tremendous experimentation, innovation, and idealism in the design of everyday objects and, from 1945 at least, a time of optimism about creating a different, more egalitarian future. I think we are all hungry for that kind of optimism and innovation right now. ‘Good Design’ at mid-century was an international phenomenon and in our exhibition at MoMA we wanted to show the commonality of approaches and thinking in different parts of the world, and the networks through which so many designers and manufacturers moved freely.
Dror Baldinger, Courtesy of Ruby City and Adjaye Associates
Ruby City—the newly completed museum by Adjaye Associates in San Antonio, Texas—is quite literally the dream come true of its late benefactor, Linda Pace. Shortly before her death in 2007, the artist, collector, and philanthropist had a dream about a city made of rubies. She sketched her vision and shared it with David Adjaye, whom she had met through a mutual friend, the British filmmaker and artist Isaac Julien. Pace’s drawing served as inspiration for a project that has now come to fruition.

The two-story, 14,000-square-foot structure is composed of a base for the lobby and offices, with a second level of angular, cantilevered forms for the galleries. “From very early on, we pursued this idea of the podium with the volumes on top, which is really taken almost directly from Linda’s sketch,” Adjaye told Architectural Record at a press preview of the museum, while explaining that his study of San Antonio’s Spanish colonial architecture also informed elements of the building’s profile. Nestled onto a site south of downtown, next to the San Pedro Creek, the building is surrounded by a plaza and sculpture garden.

True to its name, Ruby City is clad in precast-concrete panels that are bright red. Fabricated in Mexico, they include chips of red and red-orange glass that sparkle in the intense Texas sun. The dynamism of the exterior is enhanced by varied surface textures, with the lower panels polished to a high shine and the upper panels left with a rough, exposed aggregate finish. For continuity, the exterior entry court and interior lobby floor were poured using the same concrete mix as the panels.

While the front plaza is blindingly bright, the entrance to the building, covered by a cantilevered second-floor gallery, is relatively dark. A single shaft of light cuts through the shaded vestibule from a James Turrell–like opening. Inside the glass front doors, dark red walls and the polished red concrete floor further enhance the drama of moving from the outside in. In this darkened transitional space, Adjaye aims to “open your eyes, dilate your pupils.” Heading into the rest of the museum, “You’re then able to look at the color of the light,” he said, “ because your eyes have opened. And then we go up into the experience.”

A sun-drenched stairway with white walls and blackened-metal handrails leads to the second-floor landing, where one encounters the first of several large, glazed openings. A pair of horizontal windows looks east toward Chris Park, a one-acre oasis Pace opened in 2005 in memory of her late son, Christopher Goldsbury, where multiple works by artist Teresita Fernández meld with the landscape. In the surrounding neighborhood, visitors can also see other “products of the 20th century,” Adjaye joked, including power lines and industrial buildings and warehouses.
Iwan Baan
A series of colliding discs form the external shell and define the internal programme of Atelier Jean Nouvel's National Museum of Qatar, which is based on a mineral formation called the "desert rose".

The project led by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel is located on a prominent site within a newly developed civic quarter that connects it with other cultural institutions including I M Pei's Museum of Islamic Art.

More than a decade in the making, the National Museum of Qatar is designed to tell the story of the country's history and its ambitions for the future.

"This is a 21st-century museum that allows you to experience the exhibits in three dimensions," said the architect at the museum's inauguration. "It aims to be a destination for people from around the world that reflects the contemporary spirit of Qatar."

The building's dramatic shape is inspired by the desert rose – a mineral formation created when minerals crystallise below the surface of a salt basin into an array of flat plates resembling rose petals.

A steel frame that spans an insulated waterproof superstructure supports the interlocking discs, which are clad in a glass-fibre reinforced concrete with a sandy hue that evokes the desert landscape.

"The desert rose is a symbol of the desert because it's an architecture created by time and the desert itself," Nouvel added. "Nobody knows what the inside of a desert rose looks like, and we created a typology of intersections that makes you question what is inside it."

Sections of the building's shell protrude outwards to shade areas of a central courtyard, and to protect the interiors from direct sunlight.

Gaps between the discs accommodate frameless glass openings that provide views towards the courtyard, the museum's gardens and the nearby Doha Bay.

Nouvel explained that the radical form seeks to express Qatar's progressive cultural outlook and technological capabilities, which have contributed to its rapid expansion in recent years.

"It's important to consider that architecture is a testimony of time and the museum is a testimony of this time in Qatar, which is a very powerful period," said the architect.

"The symbology of the desert rose is important but we also wanted to reflect modernity, which is achieved through a change of scale and the creation of something that is a real technical feat."

Eric Laignel
It is accepted wisdom in Hollywood that if a picture is in trouble, you put a kid in it. And if the kid can’t save it, you get a dog. There is no higher adorability factor. Every perk of the ears, every moist look, is the performance of a lifetime. The just-opened American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, housed in a glass office tower in New York, is testament to that truism. From logo (“Arty,” a blue dog) and fine-art installations to interactive stations and a smartphone app, the two-story Gensler-designed museum is a sells-itself celebration of man’s original Best Friend Forever. As part of the project, Gensler also redesigned the AKC’s office headquarters on the fifth floor of the same building.

“Every time they saw their dog, it was like ‘Awwww!’ Every time!” Gensler principal and design director EJ Lee says, describing developers working on one of MOD’s signature interactive features: “Find Your Match,” a pair of kiosks at the entrance that takes visitors’ photos and tells them what breed they resemble. I am a greyhound (gentle, independent, noble). I’ll take it. Lee is a French bulldog (adaptable, playful, smart). True? “Uh, sure,” she says, firmly professional.

Read More: 6 Dog-Friendly Homes

“It was such an immersive project, not just about the architecture,” Gensler principal and creative director John Bricker explains. “It was about developing a brand and unique experiences—and also about education, which is what the AKC stands for.” The 135-year-old organization maintains a purebred dog registry, the largest in the world, and is the sports-governing body for more than 20,000 dog events annually (including the Westminster Kennel Club show). Bricker is a Boston terrier. “I’m friendly, bright, and amusing,” he reports. I didn’t ask.

In fact, museum design today is essentially experiential. Interactivity and messaging are central to the conceptual architecture of a project. Many of the problems MOD presented, though, were stubbornly analog. Its collection—1,700 works of art, 58 percent of them three-dimensional objects—had to be selectively displayed. The ground-floor gallery is airy—nearly 15-foot ceilings with a double-height atrium around the stairs—but, at 3,980 square feet, tight. And since one side of the triangular plan is a facade window, there was scant wall space to hang paintings. So Gensler installed seven steel-framed partitions for more display surfaces. Resembling large-scale art-academy easels, they pivot 360 degrees and can be reoriented for different exhibitions and events. The inaugural show, “For the Love of All Things Dog,” includes English 19th-century painter Samuel John Carter’s portrait of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with a crop in its mouth: Waiting for Mistress with a Cane. It doesn’t get any more obedient than that.

Nearby, another interactive station—“Meet the Breeds,” a touch-screen table—invites visitors to select a dog silhouette and drag it into a kennel, which opens portfolios of information on the type. Vitrines for porcelain figurines, small bronzes, spiked collars, a canine war-hero parachute, and every other type of dog memorabilia include a 34-foot-tall multi-tier steel-and-glass case that flanks the open stair to the second-floor gallery. Behind the stair, a corner with views to the street, plaza, and building lobby houses a tiny AKC.TV studio. Overhead hangs an 8 ½-foot-tall wireframe Labrador retriever illuminated by color-changing LEDs—signage that MOD is here. Stay!

At the top of the stairs, a third interactive feature, “Train a Dog on the Job,” stars “Molly,” a digitally rendered puppy created in (where else?) Los Angeles. She learns to obey voice commands and hand-signals visitors direct at the screen. (With the exception of service animals, every live dog is canis non grata at MOD.) The 7,250-square-foot upper level includes a more
Ennead Architects
Ennead Architects and Andropogon Landscape Architects have won an international competition for the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve. The proposed design takes the shape of an undulating sculpture mimicking the curves of Asia’s longest river while referencing “biomorphic anatomy.” The building will be clad in translucent PTFE panels and engineered with sustainable, energy-efficient technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling loops.

The purpose of the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve is to rescue critically endangered species and to restore the natural ecology of Yangtze River, which has been plagued by pollution and construction. The project also aims to engage the public and raise environmental awareness with immersive exhibit experiences. To achieve these goals, the 427,000-square-foot nature reserve building, which will sit on a 17.5-hectare site on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, will consist of a dual-function aquarium and research facility, bringing together efforts to repopulate the endangered Chinese Sturgeon and Finless Porpoise.

Ennead Architects and Andropogon Landscape Architects proposed a dramatic design for the building that takes cues from nature. Split into three wings united around a central spine, the structure will be built with a cross-laminated timber structural system wrapped in a lightweight PTFE skin, which will fill the interior with daylight.

Inside, constructed wetlands landscaped with local flora and aquatic plants provide a beautiful connection with the outdoors, sequester carbon and serve as a biofiltration system for aquarium water, “resulting in a new paradigm of environmental equilibrium,” the designers said in their press release.

The landscape design in and around the buildings mimics the natural shoreline ecosystems found throughout the Yangtze River basin and provides opportunities for breeding and raising Chinese Sturgeons and Finless Porpoises. Visitors will be able to view these pools from suspended walkways that weave throughout the campus grounds.

Kengo Kuma and Associates
located in the university town of eskişehir, northwest turkey, the odunpazari modern museum (OMM) by kengo kuma and associates is set to open in june 2019. founded by art collector and businessman erol tabanca, the 4,500m2 museum will house an internationally significant collection of modern and contemporary art spanning the 1950s to the present day.

kengo kuma‘s stacked timber design pays homage to local architecture, particularly odunpazari’s traditional ottoman wooden cantilevered houses, as well as the town’s history as a thriving wood market. built to formulate a museum square together with other cultural institutions in the surrounding area, OMM‘s distinct architecture marks it a new cultural landmark for the town.

​’at the heart of this project was a desire to create a link between people and art,’ kengo kuma, founder, and yuki ikeguchi, partner leading the project, of kengo kuma and associates note. ‘we wanted the building to carry the history and memory of the town, to resonate both on a human scale and with the unique streetscape of odunpazari, which passing through is a special experience in itself. we very much look forward to seeing the public enjoy and interact with the building.’

the museum is split over three floors, starting with larger exhibition spaces at the ground level that echo the rhythm and scale of the surrounding townscape, and continuing with smaller rooms on the upper level designed for smaller-scale artworks. a skylit atrium at the center visually connects the different floors internally while allowing plenty of natural light to enter the building. OMM’s inaugural exhibition will showcase artists from turkey and a new commission by acclaimed japanese artist tanabe chikuunsai IV, along with the exhibitions of the permanent galleries, and a a dynamic public program, offering seminars, artist talks and workshops.

‘we are delighted to announce that the museum will open in june and look forward to opening our doors’​, erol tabanca, founder of OMM says. ‘​it is my privilege to give this museum and open up the collection to visitors all over the world to enjoy. OMM will stand as a new landmark that reconnects the town with its history, and as a progressive cultural development for eskişehir and the central anatolian region at large.​’
Kris Provoost
With an imposing set of towers rising from a tabula rasa-like setting, one could at first mistake Bernard Tschumi Architects (BTA)’s Tianjin Binhai Exploratorium as a contemporary take on medieval fortifications. Designed between 2013 and 2014, and completed in the fall of 2019, the museum houses artifacts from Tianjin’s heavy industrial past and displays of large-scale contemporary technology. The formidable complex is clad in thousands of perforated copper-colored aluminum panels studded with oculi for interior lighting.

The 355,200-square-foot museum is located on the former site of a sprawling industrial park; the towers of the design are intended by the firm to evoke the smokestacks that formerly blanketed that landscape, with the copper-like panels standing in for rusted pipes and machinery.

In total, there are approximately 3,600 panels spread across the museum’s four elevations. The panels come in two sizes along flat portions of the facade; approximately 4-feet-by-7-feet and 4-feet-by-11.5-feet. To clad the curved and tapered cones of the museum, the design team developed 52 different sizes of panels with each row of the cones corresponding to a unique width. At the intersections between cones and flat surfaces, as well as the oculi and panels, the team generated over 200 special cuts.

The large size of the panels called for a significant degree of reinforcement, with each panel backed by two aluminum U-channels located between the perforations. “The panels are bolted through the one-inch vertical joints to a substructure made of vertical seven-inch by three-inch steel tubes,” said BTA co-director, Joel Rutten. “The actual enclosure of the building is made of a sealed aluminum surface in front of the thermal insulation. The vertical steel substructure is anchored to the building from slab to slab through the aluminum/insulation enclosure.”

The pattern of each cluster of perforations corresponds to an 8-by-8-inch grid; the perforations come in three different diameters, their placement generated by a digital script. Additionally, there is a three-color gradient for the aluminum panels, which was also generated by a custom script.

In terms of environmental performance, the oculi-studded cones flood gallery spaces and the principal vertical circulation routes with natural light. As a result of their tapered outline, the towers also effectively collect warm air which is easily ventilated outward at their summits. Additionally, the bulk of the museum’s structural components are placed within the cones, minimizing the number of columns within gallery spaces.

The project is one of five major attractions within Tianjin’s Binhai Cultural Center, which also includes MVRDV’s Tianjin Binhai Library.
The first exhibition of Seoul’s Robot Museum will be the robots building the museum itself.

Seoul wants to have the world’s very first museum dedicated to robotic science. And the city authorities have decided on the best possible way to build it: use robots, of course.

The museum, designed by Turkish architectural firm Melike Altınışık, is designed to be one of the most recognizable buildings in the center of the Changbai New Economic Center, a newly redeveloped area in the center of northern part of the city.

Its organic form, a semi-sphere that seems to flow in waves to reveal a glass and steel base, will be built by robots. According to the firm’s design principal Melike Altınışık, the building has been conceived as a temple to robotic innovation, so the best way they could materialize that ethos was by using robotic arms to assemble the new space.First, a team of robots will mold the curved metal plates that form the museum sphere using a 3D building information modeling system (basically a CAD system that works with solid objects in real 3D space rather than represent the objects with 2D plans). Robots will assemble the plates, welding and polishing the metal to obtain its final surface appearance.

Then another team of robots, the architectural firm says, will 3D-print concrete to build the public area surrounding the museum.

This process will start in early 2020, with the museum opening its doors about two years after that.

My only question is: Are they using robots to build the robot builders, and, if so, who will build the robots that build those robots and would this infinity loop cause a tear in the space-time continuum that will suck the entire museum into a black hole?
In August 2005, the board of directors of the Louisiana Children’s Museum approved a modest $2-million plan to expand outreach for parents by remodeling 1,500 sq ft of the museum’s existing 30,000 sq ft of space. A few weeks later, Hurricane Katrina hit. The building, located in New Orleans’ Warehouse District, was flooded and closed for 10 months for repairs.

Initially, the staff and board weren’t sure the museum would survive, let alone expand. “We thought, as a small children’s museum, it wasn’t realistic that we could make a difference,” says Julia Bland, the museum’s CEO. But within months, leaders realized that the city—torn apart by Katrina—needed an even larger museum and the resources that it could provide to reach more children and parents.

Thirteen years later, that vision is coming to life with a 56,400-sq-ft museum sited on a lagoon and 8.5 acres of land in New Orleans’ 1,300-acre City Park. The museum will highlight the importance of investing in young children. Its south wing will be open to the public free of charge and offer spaces for resources such as health and early childhood learning that the museum had planned to incorporate in its existing space before the storm hit.

The $47.5-million project has come to fruition through a close working relationship between the museum and the community as well as architect Mithun, contractor Roy Anderson Corp., structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti and mechanical and electrical engineer ARUP, among others.

“We are working very closely with the architect,” says Steven Moore, project manager for Roy Anderson Corp. (RAC). “We’ve turned it into a partnership.”

The two-story building with two wings joined by a fritted glass hallway was designed to be both sustainable and resilient, Bland says. Nestled among 26 mature live oaks, the project is seeking LEED Silver certification. It features the first radiant-cooling system in the region and outdoor play spaces that include a floating classroom on a barge. The building and its exhibits will “advance the understanding of being a good steward and living in a more sustainable way,” Bland says.

The exhibit wing, among other things, will feature a 100-ft table model of the Mississippi River, a sound studio and a life-size chess board with squares that makes the sounds of the city.

Bogged down by several weeks of rain, major construction is set to be complete b
In October, El Paso selected Snøhetta to design a new Children’s Museum on Santa Fe Street in the city’s arts district. The firm, which is headquartered in Oslo and New York City, beat out competing proposals from KoningEizenberg and TEN Arquitectos. Snøhetta partner-in-charge of the project, Elaine Molinar, was born and raised in El Paso. Recently, Texas Architect editorial intern Mackie Kellen had the opportunity to speak with Molinar about winning the commission and what it means to the architect to be designing a major cultural institution for her hometown.

Mackie Kellen: Can you speak a little bit about the process of entering and winning the El Paso Children’s Museum design competition?

Elaine Molinar:
Well, it was a design competition that was meant to be an ideas competition. So when it was launched, Gyroscope (a California-based museum planning, architecture, and exhibit design firm) had already recently completed their masterplan study that they had worked on together with the client. So that was used as the basis for the ideas competition. So the three firms used that as the program. Now we have been selected as the winner of the competition, and we are moving forward with a new programming and concept design phase. A few things have changed since the competition. The competition site was a bit larger than it is now. It used to span over the railroad tracks, and now it is just on one side — just on the southern portion of the railroad tracks. The competition schemes were never meant to be the ones that would be built; however, there are some qualities to our competition scheme that were very much appreciated by the client, and they are very interested in carrying forward and using in spirit in the actual design.

As a native of El Paso, can you speak a little bit about designing a community facility that fits in with the culture of the city?

Sure, I guess just for background, El Paso has an incredibly rich architectural history. There are a lot of buildings that were done in the Chicago School and Prairie style. Henry Trost was a well-known architect who built a lot of buildings in El Paso, and many downtown, and they created a lot of the character that exists there now. I think our work at Snøhetta is very responsive to its context, whatever that context may be. Rather than it being defined by a particular style or set of architectural moods or principles, we very much look to the imme
Valentino Danilo Matteis
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Venturi Scott Brown's Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery of London as the recipient of the 2019 AIA Twenty-five Year Award. Designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in an international competition, AIA commended the project for its ability to “...make its context better than it found it” - a citation borrowed from Venturi himself.

The award is presented annually to a project that has "stood the test of time by embodying architectural excellence for 25 to 35 years."

The Sainsbury Wing may appear conservative, but was both itself contentious and a part of a raging debate about public architecture when it was introduced. The addition to the National Gallery was initially planned in the 1980s, and was at the time to be designed by Ahrends Burton Koralek, a British practice known for their large public works across the UK and Ireland.

Their scheme however, an example of the British Hi-Tech movement (popularized by Norman Foster), ignited a massive public debate regarding the state of British architecture. In an ad-libbed speech at the 150th anniversary of RIBA, Prince Charles derided the state of the profession, calling out ABK's proposal in particular as "a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend."

The ABK scheme was scrapped, and a competition for the addition was subsequently held to appease the warring factions. Venturi Scott Brown, delivered and ultimately built, in the words of architect and postmodernist expert Adam Nathaniel Furman, "one of the most—if not the most—sophisticated pieces of public architecture to have been built in the Postmodern idiom."

The facade of the VSB addition echoes the architectural rhythm of the main Gallery building, slowly breaking down the historic geometries until the dissolve entirely around a corner. Inside, domestically-scaled galleries create an atypically comfortable gallery experience.

In the citation, the AIA jury noted that: "...Dr. Barnabas Calder wrote that the wing’s presence on the square was 'politely low key and even more so on Pall Mall East.' Many others have noted that visitors may be as unaware of the building as they are of the contentious competition that spawned it, proving that, indeed, Venturi and Scott Brown successfully designed a building that does not outshine its context." For a building in a physical context so packed with masterpieces