1 to 40 of 141
ZGF was tasked with a one-of-a-kind project—transforming a landmark hangar into an office for Google. The structure was built by famed business magnate, film producer, and aviator Howard Hughes in 1943 for the construction of his H-4 Hercules airplane, more commonly known as the “Spruce Goose” because it was almost entirely crafted from wood (although it was actually made of birch, not spruce).

Today, the Spruce Goose is housed in Oregon, but the hangar remains in Southern California in the city of Playa Vista, and now comprises a range of office, meeting, and food service spaces for the tech company. With Google’s specific requirements, and the building’s rich history, ZGF embraced a unique approach to complete the remarkable conversion from an airplane shed to a contemporary workplace.

The different facets of the project went beyond anything the architects had done before, because it was crucial to respect the past while still designing a workplace that reflected Google’s core values. “This project was a historic preservation, an adaptive reuse of an important historic structure, and the construction of a modern, four-story office building. Google’s a tech company, but it’s interesting, because a lot of the way that we did this was analog, and we never would have ended up with this result if we had done this all digitally,” says James Woolum, partner at ZGF.

Indeed, the ZGF team went back to basics—think printouts, not pixels. Diagrams, photocopies, and an endless selection of fabric swatches were the tools of the trade. This thorough attention to detail was the key to creating a cohesive space with just enough variety to keep the interiors fresh for the employees who are on-site every day.

The spine is a stunning feature that was restored, highlighting the intricate rehab work required for the latest iteration of the hangar. “The whole central spine, which was made out of wood, had to be taken apart piece by piece, cataloged, and stored before it was put together again meticulously,” Woolum explains. The backbone divides the four-story, 450,000-square-foot building lengthwise, with open floor plates that are pulled away from this locus and interior envelope. The varied shape of each floor and added skylights allow for abundant daylight to filter through every level.

The circulation routes were designed to increase interaction, which is key in any Google office, where employees often collaborate in several different areas during the day. The architects devised a boardwalk, on the perimeter of each floor, which allows individuals to weave through the long structure. “On the boardwalk, you are moving vertically and laterally through the space. The places where the boardwalk penetrates through the spine were really natural points to locate some of the important amenities like the micro-kitchens,” Woolum notes. Along the boardwalk, no two amenity areas are alike, giving users options and allowing them to view the impressive structure from all angles.

In this particular office, more sophisticated materials and colors were used to bring a new refinement to the company’s signature look. “They wanted a grown-up Google, and it was really about this macro, micro way of looking at all of the spaces, and then being able to look at one piece to see how it complemented everything else,” says Antony Tavlian, ZGF associate and interior designer for the project.

For the ZGF team, all of these interesting components were combined to create an office that gives its users enhanced experiences that go beyond basic job tasks. “It’s not just the architecture or the beautiful furniture, or the artwork. It all comes together to support a layered and rich human experience. It really is a magical space,” adds Woolum.
RE Journals
For over 20 years, it sat vacant and imposing, overlooking the westerly approach to Downtown Chicago. Now the Old Post Office is nearly ready to welcome its first office tenants to an adaptive reuse that has implications beyond the building’s footprint.

New-York-based 601W Companies has sunk more than $800 million into the 2.8-million-square-foot, Art Deco behemoth. Now, those redevelopment efforts are paying off as one of the properties numerous prominent tenants, Ferrara Candy, prepares to officially move in on November 4th.

“Superlatives are very easy to use with the Post Office,” said Brian Whiting, president of the Telos Group, which has been advising 601W and marketing the property to potential tenants. “It’s the largest post office ever built, the largest redevelopment going on in the nation and the largest adaptive reuse of a historic structure.”

601W Companies acquired the iconic property in 2016 and tapped architecture firm Gensler to draw up a vision for the building’s second life, including the addition of a forthcoming food hall and a new Riverwalk. A four-acre, tenant-accessible rooftop park will feature a basketball court, two paddle courts, a quarter-mile running track, a bar and plenty of green space. Bear Construction was selected as general contractor for the monumentous project.

“There were literally thousands of people who have invested their heart and soul into the adaptive reuse and reposition of this building,” said Sheryl Schulze, NCIDQ, RID, principal at Gensler, “a building that the project team affectionately calls ‘sleeping beauty.’”

Now that the building is ready to awaken from its slumber, it brings with it the potential to rejuvenate a part of the city that is itself sleepy: the near South and Southwest Loop. With this redevelopment—as well as the projects happening along the South Branch of the Chicago River—there are signs of stirring.

Office tenants should be attracted to a newly revitalized area of the city. In the case of the Old Post Office, they are attracted to not only the historic touches, but the large floor plates. Ferrara originally signed on for 78,000 square feet but leased another 40,000 square feet before the ink was even dry on that deal. They pulled the trigger on the additional space in part because of the opportunities for collaboration that the Old Post Office offers.

“It was important to be on one floor for Ferrara’s culture,” said Theresa Williams, principal, design director at Nelson, the architecture firm that designed Ferrara’s offices. “It also helps everyone to see each other, to have those spontaneous moments to run into each other.”

This is a homecoming of sorts for Ferrara, which was founded not far away in Little Italy in 1908. One of the main drivers behind the confectioner’s move of approximately 400 employees from their Oakbrook Terrace offices back to Chicago was that they believe the property will attract young, innovative employees.

“One of the reasons we made this decision to relocate to downtown Chicago was because of access to a tremendous pool of diverse talent,” said Todd Siwak, chief executive officer of Ferrara Candy. “We are going to use our space to attract and retain talent.”

By the time construction is completed next year, the Old Post Office will be capable of housing up to 14,000 employees. More than 75 percent of the building’s space has been pre-leased, accounting for over 1.8 million square feet. The project should be an engine for relocation as well; according to Whiting, only about half of the employees that are projected to eventually occupy the building are currently in the city of Chicago.

Walgreens was the first user to commit to the building, announcing last summer that they would take on more than 200,000 square feet. Tech giant Uber is the largest confirmed tenant so far, as they signed a 10-year lease for 450,000 square feet. Among the others that will eventually occupy the Old Post Office are Cboe, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, AbelsonTaylor and Kroger subsidiaries Home Chef and 84.51°.

The original post office was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White—the prolific Chicago architectural firm behind many of the city’s icons, including the Civic Opera House, Field Museum, the Merchandise Mart, Shedd Aquarium and the Wrigley Building. Th
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.”
Max Touhey
This week, Gensler principals Robert Fuller and Amanda Carroll revealed the firm’s nearly completed revitalization of a former Jehovah’s Witness complex in Brooklyn for Columbia Heights Associates, a joint venture of CIM Group and LIVWRK. Located at the Northwest edge of Brooklyn Heights, Panorama, the name of the commercial development, comprises five interconnected buildings: a pair of 12-story concrete structures originally designed by Russell and William Cory for Squibb Pharmaceuticals (one of them with a 1980s steel addition), and three smaller Civil War-era brick and timber buildings.

As reimagined by the architects the complex will accommodate a variety of potential programs: a campus for a single tech company or offices for several creative businesses, in addition to restaurants, shops and other amenities, such as a fitness center.

The design team created gracious new entrances with spacious wood-clad lobbies, and they opened the previously dark, carved-up interiors, removing film from windows, punching fenestration into blank facades and breaking through dropped ceilings to reveal skylights and clearstories. The generous properties now offer 635,000 square feet of day-lit workspace, 55,000 square feet of terraced and street-level outdoor areas, and 130 on-site parking spaces. An additional 35,000 square feet are planned for retail and 15,000 for hospitality venues. Dark-fiber internet connectivity throughout the project will fast-forward the old buildings to fulfill 21st century requirements.

The views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge are spectacular, as are the stripped-down, industrial-style floor plates with exposed structures, fluid interconnectivity within the properties and access to fresh air. It won’t be long before a gracious stair to the street at the rear of one of the older buildings will welcome the community (and tourists) to sit or visit shops on the second level or even snap a selfie on a cantilevered platform that hovers above the landing and provides panoramas of the waterfront and beyond. Panorama will be completed, and ready for tenants, fall 2019.
In a move that stunned transportation planners around the country, Denver International Airport terminated the contractor team working on a $650-million terminal renovation. The move also ended the airport’s $1.8-billion public-private partnership with Great Hall Partners, a consortium led by Ferrovial Airports, with partners Saunders/JLC Infrastructure.

The contractors released documents showing that the renovation, had GHP stayed on the job, would have cost more than $1 billion. That’s $288 million more than the contract, plus a $120-million contingency. Airport officials insist the project can be done for the original budget.

“This was not a decision arrived at lightly,” said DEN CEO Kim Day in an Aug. 13 news conference announcing the firing. “We are very far apart in cost and schedule and our values.” The termination is effective Nov. 12.

The decision also will cost the airport millions in termination fees and create substantial delays in completing the work. The project is only in the first of three phases, with most of the demolition done, after 13 months of work. The scope includes relocating TSA security positions to the north end of the terminal, consolidating unused ticket counters and adding more food and retail concessions, among other upgrades.

The two sides reached an impasse after months of squabbling. GHP cites multiple change orders, micromanagement by airport officials, and a delay to test concerns about existing weak concrete in the terminal (ENR 3/4-11 p. 5). After three months of testing last winter, the concrete was declared strong enough for construction to proceed. Meanwhile, airport officials allege multiple safety violations and contend that the contracting team was slow to respond to requests for information about cost and schedule. “GHP didn’t secure all of their permits, and we didn’t know how far behind on permits they were,” airport spokesperson Stacey Stegman told ENR. “So we said, ‘If this is happening now in phase one, what would phases two and three be like?’ ”

GHP, which has declined all requests for interviews, responded to the firing in a statement: “We are disappointed with DEN’s decision and strongly disagree with their characterizations of how we have arrived at this point. …The reality is that the project’s time and cost overruns are a direct result of the discovery of weak concrete in some areas of the terminal, which DEN did not disclose to GHP at the outset of the project, and more than 20 large-scale, badly timed and unnecessary change directives issued by DEN to the design they had previously approved.”

The P3 contract, the largest in Denver history, would have extended for 34 years, including four years of construction and 30 years of operations, with GHP building and paying for all improvements and managing the terminal’s concessions after completion. Revenue from concessions would have been split, with 20% going to GHP and 80% to DEN.

P3s Under Scrutiny
“This [contract termination] may launch a period of introspection among airport professionals,” says Robert Alfert, a partner with consultant Nelson Mullins. “It opens up a Pandora’s box. You will see a lot of re-evaluation all over the country where airport P3s are concerned.”

Some insiders fault a cumbersome contract—more than 15,000 pages long—and incompatible teams. “A P3 was not the right way to go from the beginning,” says a former airport employee, who requested anonymity. “In a P3, you need to get out of the way, and airport management insisted on being involved in every detail. Plus, GHP said they could complete the first phase in only 11 months. That was totally unrealistic.”

“It wasn’t the P3,” Stegman insists. “They just weren’t the right partner for us.”

Still, the airport says it plans to finish the project—now with an unspecified completion date—using traditional contracting methods and direct airport oversight, perhaps turning to firms already under contract to complete phase one next spring, and then use a procurement process for the remaining work. Officials say terminal project delays will not affect a concurrent $1.6-billion gate expansion project. The P3 exit negotiations could take months, and cost “a minimum of $200 million,” Stegman says. That price could go even higher, since the airport opted to terminate the c
There's more to Ibiza than clubber-oriented resorts – the Spanish island also hosts a growing number of agroturismo hotels in old farmhouses. Here are five that combine a farm-to-fork ethos with contemporary design.

La Granja Ibiza

German interior-design studio Dreimeta converted a 200-year-old farmhouse and a neighbouring cottage to create La Granja, a members-only retreat boasting rooms furnished with a palette of charred wood, oiled ash, stone and slate.

As well as a pool, the hotel includes a restaurant where dishes are made from the 30 varieties of fruit, vegetables and nuts grown on the farm, including beetroot, melon, carrot, fig and almond.

Guests are also offered a range of communal ritualistic activities, from farming to meditation.

Can Sastre

Dutch entrepreneurs Raymond and Bibi van der Hout combine Scandinavian minimalism with Ibiza's rustic Bohemian style in this restored finca, or country estate, surrounded by orange trees, olives trees and farmland.

Can Sastre features just five suites, each featuring simple wooden furniture, patterned textiles, spa-like bathrooms and objects that the owners have collected on their travels.

The kitchen serves up a range of dishes, and exclusively uses produce grown on the island.

Can Martí

This simple finca is over 400 years old, but has been recently refurbished with a focus on sustainable materials and methods. The white-washed villa features eight clean and airy rooms, along with a traditional hammam and a freshwater swimming pool.

Can Martí is surrounded by strawberry fields, olive groves, vineyards and orchards. It grows a range of produce in its organic, permaculture garden, which are served up at breakfast and sold in a small shop onsite.


Atzaró was one of Ibiza's first agroturismo hotels, designed to offer "natural luxury".

Although it used to feature Asian-themed interiors, the hotel's in-house design studio recently gave it an overhaul that is more in keeping with Ibiza style. Terracotta tiled floors and olive wood ceilings are accompanied by locally handmade furniture and commissioned artworks.

To mark the hotel's 15th anniversary this month, it is opening a new eight-acre vegetable garden, featuring walkways lined by hanging squashes and courgettes, fruit trees bearing everything from pomegranates to avocados, and over 50 vegetable and herb varieties. This garden will be entirely organic, maintained using water from a well and electricity from onsite solar panels.

Etosoto Formentera

Not actually on Ibiza, this simple villa retreat is located a short ferry ride away on small neighbouring island of Formentera.

Etosoto's Parisian owners Grégory and Julien Labrousse worked with interior designer Elsa Kikoïne to create the clean and bright interiors, where white surfaces and wooden furniture and complemented by basket lamps and colourful ceramics.

High walls border the property, but arched openings offer framed views out to the wild landscape, which includes olive and fig groves, vineyards and wheat fields. The gardens are planted with fruits and vegetables, and the owners practice sustainable farming to minimise their use of water and energy.
Trent Bell
In Englishman Bay, where his relatives have summered since the 19th century, a musician builds an idyllic hideaway for his family and their three parrots.

"When I was growing up, we went to a little log cabin in Maine," says a musician now based in Colorado. "It sounds romantic, but it really was three boys stuck in a one-room cabin with a loft. Maine can be rainy, foggy, and dreary. We’d go a little stir crazy." Like many childhood summers, his was a mix of boredom and adventure. Part of the romance was his family’s deep roots in the isolated area of Englishman Bay, a two-hour drive east of the bustling seaside community of Bar Harbor. His father had been born in the cabin, and relatives had been summering in the region since the 1880s. And, on sunny days, Maine was fun. He and his brothers played in the woods and clambered over the rocks by the ocean. All the same, he and his brothers were ready to go home at summer’s end.

Englishman Bay Retreat resides on a plot of land next door to the homeowner’s parents’ property; he remembers traversing it as a child to get to the pebbled beach. Clad in hardy local hemlock and raised on galvanized steel piers with board-formed concrete wrapping the ground floor’s mechanical systems, the residence is designed to endure through the ages.

Now he, his wife, and their two daughters still visit Englishman Bay, but their vacation home is decidedly more stylish. In late 2015, they asked Whitten Architects and Nate Holyoke Builders (in Portland and Holden, respectively) for a durable, minimalist home, simultaneously rustic and Scandinavian, that would sit lightly on the land and make use of local materials whenever possible. (They knew Whitten and Holyoke’s work because the team had built a nearby Norwegian-inspired home for the musician’s cousin.) Principal architect Russ Tyson translated the family’s request into a striking, partially transparent house with simple geometries. The U-shaped dwelling comprises three primary forms: a three-story entry tower with a roof deck, a rectangular bedroom wing, and a dramatic, three-season glassed-in porch—organized around a double-sided concrete chimney—that serves as a great room.

The Pavillon Notre-Dame, which could be situated next to the historic church, allows visitors a temporary place for worship and reflection

It's been just over 100 days since the world was absorbed by the heart-wrenching images of a fire burning the sacred Notre-Dame cathedral to the ground. Thankfully, as has been well documented, the building was saved, due in large part to the heroism and quick thinking of several Parisian officials. Of course, in the days immediately following the flames that threatened to consume the church, there was a river of funds sent to rebuild the church. And with it, a massive international competition to rebuild the storied structure. And as of today, there's real hope for a temporary space to be built for visitors to come, pray, and reflect, right outside of the church walls.

Designed by the international firm Gensler, the building has been dubbed the Pavillon Notre-Dame and, if built, will be located in the Parvis Square, mere feet away from the church. While the design is still in the conceptual stage, the structure could see the light of day in six months' time, pending Emmanuel Macron’s approval.

Ensuring that Notre-Dame remains the center of attention, the design is appropriately simple, an elegant structure that exudes an ethereal ambiance. Most symbolic, perhaps, in Gensler's design is the use of charred timber throughout the space. The timber, which has been locally procured from certified renewable sources, will be charred and added throughout. Of course, as many who witnessed the aftermath of the fire know, more than 1,300 individual beams of timber (some which were over 800 years old) were charred to the point of collapse.

On the far end of Gensler's rectangular structure is an altar. Behind this pagan motif is a series of movable objects that, when pushed aside, allow viewers uninhibited views of the church. "We designed this conceptual proposal in response to calls from Notre-Dame's rector, Bishop Patrick Chauvet, to create an ephemeral cathedral that would be transparent and flooded with light," says Duncan Swinhoe, regional managing principal at Gensler. "Our design includes translucent walls and an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cushioned rooftop. These materials create a space that is filled with light and emblematic of Paris, acting as a beacon of hope for Parisians and the international community."

Gensler hasn't submitted the design in the form of a competition, but rather offered it as a gift to the city of Paris. While the Pavillon Notre-Dame would be used for mass services—much like the church it's meant to temporarily replace—the makeshift space has multiple purposes. "It was important for the structure to primarily act as a place of worship, and it mirrors the configuration of Notre Dame for mass services for up to 800 people," says Swinhoe. "But we also wanted to reflect in our design what cathedrals were always intended to do—bring people together. That’s why we designed a space that's flexible in its ability to support the entire community."

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright—which includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pennsylvania; Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin; and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona—has been officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List following a July 7, 2019 vote by the World Heritage Committee. In total, eight buildings by Wright, who ranks among the greatest American architects of the 20thcentury, were designated to join just 16 other World Heritage Sites in the United States and roughly 1,000 around the world.

Wright, who was born in 1867 and died in 1959, designed 449 structures that were completed during his long career, nearly 400 of which remain. “This recognition by UNESCO is a significant way for us to reconfirm how important Frank Lloyd Wright was to the development of modern architecture around the world,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “Our hope is that the inscription of these eight major works also brings awareness to the importance of preserving all of his buildings as a vital part of our artistic, cultural, and architectural heritage. All communities where a Wright building stands should appreciate what they have and share in the responsibility to protect their local—and world—heritage.”

The following buildings, spanning 50 years of Wright’s career, were given World Heritage Site designation:

Fallingwater, constructed from 1935-1939 for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, is one of the top architectural gems of the early 20thcentury. It was built into the natural Pennsylvania landscape and cantilevered over a waterfall—from which the home earned its name.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, commissioned in 1943 and completed in 1959, six months after Wright’s death, instantly became an integral part of the New York City arts and architecture scene. Its spiral design broke with convention, creating free-flowing interior gallery spaces and a landmarked exterior on Fifth Avenue at 88thStreet. The building will celebrate its 60thanniversary this October.

Taliesin, Wright’s estate in his native Wisconsin, was his laboratory of sorts and although initially built in 1911 and partially lost to fire twice between then and 1925, contains designs from nearly every period of Wright’s career.

Taliesin West, designed in 1937, was Wright’s western home on the outskirts of Scottsdale in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. The buildings, which celebrated Wright's concept of organic architecture, served as his winter camp for testing innovations in desert design.

Hollyhock House, built between 1919 and 1921 for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, was Wright’s first commission in Los Angeles and is now the centerpiece of the Barnsdall Art Park.

The Frederick C. Robie House, constructed in 1910 in Chicago, re-opened to the public earlier this year after an $11 million restoration. It is celebrated for its sweeping horizontal lines, autumn color palette and Wright’s striking use of bands of art glass.

The Herbert & Katherine Jacobs House, completed in 1937 in Madison, Wisconsin, features an L-shaped floor plan totaling 1,550 square feet and represents Wright’s Usonian concept of organic architecture.

Unity Temple, constructed between 1906 and 1909, also recently completed a $25 million restoration. Located in Oak Park, Illinois, it is one of the earliest public buildings in the U.S. to feature exposed concrete. Wright, who considered Unity Temple one of his greatest achievements, described it as “my contribution to modern architecture.”

DLR Group
Michael Graves’s famous Portland Building is undergoing a renovation so extensive, it may be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places.

On a recent afternoon outside the Portland Building, the massive copper Portlandia statue sitting atop its entrance was still encased in scaffolding—the marine goddess’s outstretched hand poking the edge of its white plastic sheathing—as part of an ongoing $195 million renovation and reconstruction.

Despite being a famous landmark designed by architect Michael Graves, and one of the first major Postmodernist buildings in America, the building (owned by the City of Portland) was ultra-value-engineered when it was constructed in the early 1980s, and leaked practically from the start. A few years ago, the city decided renovation was critical if it was to have any functional future.

Although it’s on schedule to reopen at the end of the year, an audit critical of the renovation process is assuring that this seemingly always-controversial design story adds another chapter. City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero found a lack of transparency as the budget has grown to $214 million, and that equity grants to improve the diversity of the construction workforce had not been spent.

Perhaps most notably, the June 12 audit noted the city was “on track to meet the baseline renovation goals but will fall short of other aspirations.” In particular, “the exterior design chosen to address water leaks will result in the circa-1982 building’s delisting from the National Register of Historic Places.”

That actually remains to be seen, for de-listing is a lengthy process that would only commence after construction is complete. But the audit is a reminder of how much this major work of Postmodernist architecture is being transformed. Indeed, the city’s most recognized building has now been given an entirely new facade in a different material. An aluminum over-cladding will completely cover the original painted concrete (which was not removed because it serves in a structural capacity).

The Portland Building’s darkly shaded windows, which contrasted against the cream-colored facade paint, have been replaced with clear glass to add natural light on the interior. Its ground-floor loggias, meant for retail, will now become part of the lobby, glassed in for further light.

While the changed glass unmistakably alters the building’s exterior, it’s the over-cladding that has particularly drawn preservationists’ ire—much as the changes proposed in 2017 by architecture firm Snøhetta for the postmodern AT&T Building in New York City did (those were later nixed as the building was given landmark status by New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission).

“If you cover the character-defining features, how is that historic preservation?” said Kate Kearney, president of the Oregon chapter of Docomomo, an organization that advocates for the preservation of modern architecture. “Personally, I don’t think that holds up. I just find it very odd that these high examples of an architecture movement are really being altered or completely erased from our architectural heritage.”

The audit’s release included a written response from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler which disputed some of the financial findings, arguing that the equity grants were always intended for release at the end of the project and citing a series of City Council briefings on budget changes. But the matter of the Portland Building’s National Register listing and potential de-listing is left unaddressed.

When asked whether there was any explicit requirement that the listing itself be maintained, auditor Tenzin Gonta, who works under Caballero, cited project records “that reference historic integrity being part of scope. Each references the listing on the National Register as background about the building but not maintenance of that status as a specific goal.”
Eight Inc.
Eight Inc, the studio that developed the Apple Store concept, wants to accurately reconstruct Notre-Dame's roof and spire using structural glass.

After the French senate passed a bill stating Notre-Dame Cathedral must be returned to its "last known visual state", Eight Inc has suggested that this could be achieved using a modern material.

The studio believes that structural glass could be used to create formally identical versions of the parts of the Paris building destroyed in the fire on 15 April.

"I believe this definitive example of French gothic architecture requires a deep respect and appreciation of the history and intent of the original design," said Tim Kobe, founder and CEO of Eight Inc.

"Its proportions, scale and detail brings life to the architecture," he added. "It should not be about the ego of a new architectural expression but a solution to honour this historic structure."

Eight Inc is best known for working with Steve Jobs to develop the concept for the first Apple Stores, which opened in 2001.

Like the Apple Stores, this latest proposal centres around the idea of transparency. Structural glass is thicker and tougher than standard glass, so it can be installed without the visual mess of a supporting framework.

Kobe's team believes glass offers the best opportunity to respect the scale and texture of the original design, while also invoking "the memory and temporal nature of the building".

"The spiritual and luminous qualities of the material allows for both the accurate representation of the form of the original design but also implies the impermanence of architecture and the impermanence of life," reads the project description.

Since the fire, there have been numerous ideas proposed for the French gothic cathedral, ranging from the interesting to the outrageous. Architect Vincent Callebaut proposed a roof that generates energy and food, while Studio Fuksas suggested building a new structure using crystal.

Meanwhile designer Sebastian Errazuriz suggested turning the cathedral into a space-rocket launchpad, in a bid to stop architects producing any more designs.

Although the French senate wants the historic structure to be rebuilt exactly as it last was, French president Emmanuel Macron is keen for "an inventive reconstruction". His prime minister, Edouard Philippe, had previously announced that there would be a design competition.
Alex Welsh for The New York Times
A Lloyd Wright house, linked to the Black Dahlia murder, is now a photogenic backdrop for fund-raisers, music videos and cannabis gatherings.

In Los Angeles, where even houses get their proverbial close-ups as TV or movie locations, a property’s appeal can crest on its IMDb credits alone.

But only the Sowden House in the Los Feliz neighborhood can claim film cameos, a pedigreed architect and a history as the possible site of a grisly unsolved murder. Never mind the fact that the exterior entryway resembles a menacing maw, earning it the apt nickname “the Jaws house.”

Designed by 1926 by Lloyd Wright (the son of Frank Lloyd Wright), the Mayan Revival-style mansion most recently appeared in the TNT limited TV series “I Am the Night,” a fictionalized account of the Black Dahlia murder of an aspiring Hollywood actress, Elizabeth Short, in 1947.

Some believe that Ms. Short was murdered and mutilated in the basement of the Sowden House when it was owned by George Hodel, a prominent gynecologist who lived there from 1945 to 1950. Mr. Hodel was known for hosting wild parties in its basement.

Seven decades and five owners later, Sowden House is once again a swinging social center. Last year Dan Goldfarb, an entrepreneur and former hedge fund analyst from New York, bought the 5,600-square-foot, four-bedroom home for nearly $4.7 million with the idea to make it a cultural hub for cannabis. (Mr. Goldfarb is the founder of Canna-Pet, a company in Seattle that sells hemp-derived CBD products for cats, dogs and other pets.)

But Mr. Goldfarb, who has been called a “marijuana millionaire,” doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.

“There is this misconception that every event here is about cannabis,” he said on a sunny afternoon inside the sprawling living room. (In all fairness, however, it was hard to miss a sizable bong on the kitchen counter.) “This is not like ‘Cheech & Chong’ or a descent into ‘Reefer Madness.’”

Indeed, Mr. Goldfarb and his wife, Jenny Landers, have held fund-raisers for politicians (including one for Representative Katie Hill, Democrat of California) and nonprofits (Kindred Spirits Care Farm, which teaches students about farming). The house has also been used for a music video (for the XX song “I Dare You”), photo shoot (In Style magazine), art exhibition (by the Gagosian Gallery) and dance performance (for HomeLA, an arts group).

“You really don’t need to add much to the house because it has so much character,” Ms. Landers said.

The couple have no plans to redecorate (the furnishings were included in the sale), and they arrived at their new home in a minivan with just cats — eight of them — and suitcases. An 11-foot sofa fronts an ottoman fit for an ogre. A giant antique Japanese door serves as a coffee table.

“Everything is scaled up, like in “Alice in Wonderland,’” Mr. Goldfarb said. “A normal couch would look rinky-dink in here.”

With its undulating textile block walls, soaring ceilings and pavilion courtyard, the home certainly craves a crowd. Empty, it’s as incongruous as a woman in a ball gown at a bus stop.

The original owners, John Sowden and his wife, Ruth, envisioned it as a bohemian playhouse for aspiring actors and Hollywood bons vivants. The once grassy courtyard served as seating during performances. Now, a wading pool and an ornate fountain shimmer in the sunlight.
Foster + Partners has collaborated with the Apple design team to transform a neoclassical building in the US capital into a sleek retail space with a skylit atrium, where events are held to "entertain and inspire the local people".

The store, called Apple Carnegie Library, is located in Mount Vernon Square, about seven blocks north of The Mall. Built in 1903 and designed by Ackerman & Ross, the Beaux-Arts-style building was Washington DC's first public library and its first desegregated public building.

The building has served various purposes since the library moved out in the 1970s. For the past 15 years, it has been underutilised and neglected, despite being a designated historic landmark. In 2016, Apple announced its plan to renovate the structure and open a store there.

British firm Foster + Partners worked in collaboration with Apple's design team – led by Jonathan Ive – to convert the interior into a modern retail space, while also returning the building to its original grandeur.

"I love the synergy between old and new, the juxtaposition of the historic fabric and contemporary design," said Ive in a project description. "It is the layers of history which create the rich tapestry of urban life."

Roughly T-shaped in plan, the building has Vermont marble facades that were carefully refurbished. Entrances are located on both the north and south, which results in "an inviting urban route through the building."

On the north, a new staircase fans out toward the street. The southern entrance – the original front door to the library – connects to a generous plaza that can be used for concerts and other events.

The team worked with various specialists to address historic elements on both the exterior and interior.

"The materiality and detailing of the historic facades and interior spaces have been carefully preserved, working closely with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other conservation experts," said Stefan Behling, a studio head at Foster + Partners.

Inside, the building has white walls and marble floors, creating a light and airy atmosphere. Wooden decor and ficus trees bring warmth and colour to the austere space.

"The entire palette of materials used in the interior was chosen to suit the historic surroundings, inspired by the distinctive early 20th-century detailing in the building," the team said.
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
Meticulously restored and relocated by the husband-and-wife team behind Polymath Park in Pennsylvania, Mäntylä House opens to tours and overnight stays near Fallingwater.

Tom and Heather Papinchak had their work cut out for them with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lindholm House, or the Mäntylä House. Above painted concrete blocks and tidewater cypress was a red roof of interlocking, Ludowici tiles—some 7,000 in all—and after sitting among the pines of Northern Minnesota since 1952, they’d become dilapidated, all coated in sap.

Yet that did not deter the Papinchaks, who took on the task of painstakingly removing, cataloging, and restoring by hand each and every tile—not to mention, every nut, bolt, and screw—in an effort to authentically preserve the Mäntylä House for its 990-mile trek to its new home in Pennsylvania, 20 miles from Wright’s famed Fallingwater.

This wasn’t their first rodeo at architectural preservation. In 2003, the couple purchased the Balter and Blum Houses designed by Wright apprentice Peter Berndston, along with the 130-acre property known as Polymath Park, with the intention of protecting the land from development. Then, in 2007, the couple relocated a midwestern Wright project, the Duncan House, to the grounds and opened up Polymath Park to lodging and tours.

So in 2016, after owners Julene and Peter McKinney (a Lindholm descendant) failed to find a buyer who would preserve the integrity of the Mäntylä House after years of trying, the Papinchaks’ nonprofit, Usonian Preservation, was granted a tremendous responsibility by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

"The hardest part was the first hit of the hammer," says Tom. "There were a lot of emotions, as it was a hard choice for everyone to move the house. We tried everything to keep it at the original location."

At its new site in Polymath Park, Mäntylä House is in good company. Aside from the Duncan House and the Berndtson-designed residences, there are hiking trails and even a restaurant, where Heather cooks in addition to managing the day-to-day operations. "We do it for the purpose for preservation, but also for people to truly enjoy the space and appreciate the history in front of us and his legacy," says Tom. "It’s important for generations to understand that Wright was so ahead of his time. It makes sense in today’s standard of living, which is greener, smaller, and utilizes space efficiently."
In his essay “Paris Not Flooded,” Roland Barthes asks us to see the great flood of January 1955 as a creative force that erased roads and sidewalks. It forced Parisians to row to the grocer and priests to enter churches in canoes, “making disaster itself provide evidence that the world is manageable.”

If Barthes were to write “Notre-Dame Not Ablaze,” he might ask us to see the April 15 fire and its aftermath as evidence of something useful like a lesson or a sacrament. It will be a long while before that evidence is revealed in full, but the dangers of faulty wiring, a smoldering cigarette near highly combustible materials, or failed fire suppression safeguards were all causal frontrunners at press time.

French authorities, represented by the Ministry of Culture, are still assessing the damage at Notre-Dame, which is part of a larger UNESCO World Heritage site that includes the surrounding Île de la Cité and, as such, is subject to special preservation mandates. The Ministry of Culture is also receiving advice from a dedicated UNESCO team, which includes representatives from ICCROM and ICOMOS International, according to Paris-based Mechtild Rössler, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

“Notre Dame is like a history book illustrating the evolution of the construction and different approaches to restoration over time,” says Rössler. “The UNESCO team experts were chosen by their institutions for the specific expertise required, especially in risk assessments and knowledge on conservation and rehabilitation, and they are at the disposal of the French authorities.”

President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to rebuild within five years (in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris) elicited strong responses from several observers. Meredith Cohen, associate professor of medieval art and architecture at UCLA, called it “simplistic bravado.” Conservative pundit Anne-Elisabeth Moutet called the promise “the arrogance of an unpopular president trying for wokeness.” (To Moutet’s chagrin, Macron’s popularity gained three points between March and April, which pundits attributed to his post-fire commitment to rebuilding.) But, reading between the lines of Macron’s vague promise, the real question is how much of Notre-Dame’s recovery will be a restoration, renovation, or something else entirely, which seems to be a philosophical question as well as a technical one.

Thanks to advances in digital imaging and virtual modeling over the last decade, we know nearly everything about the measurable aspects of Notre-Dame. The late Andrew Tallon, associate professor of art at Vassar College, reportedly logged one billion data points on the structure in an extensive survey. French video game developer Ubisoft also owns a substantial cache of digital models created for its 2014 game “Assassin’s Creed: Unity.” In addition, Paris-based graphic design consultancy Art Graphique et Patrimoine (AGP) and surveyors Géomètres-Experts (GEA) partnered to model Notre-Dame in recent years; like Tallon’s scans, their measurements detail the cathedral in millimetric terms—a granular level that’s hard for the naked eye to discern, much less remember. These scans, in other words, will be critical to any future effort to rebuild any part of the cathedral.

Will Rourk, a cultural heritage data specialist at the University of Virginia (UVA) Library Scholars’ Lab, specializes in 3D documentation of artefacts and buildings using scanners and photogrammetry. He’s scanned a range of historic buildings, including Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village at UVA and Monticello, south of Charlottesville, and supplied the data to architects and preservationists to aid in reconstruction or repair. Rourk’s work centers on what he calls infomatics, or leveraging technology to record and remember structures slated for demolition or to re-create elements of them for repair work. That level of documentation, notes Rourk, used to be achieved with a ruler, a profile comb composed of metal teeth, mylar sheets, and ink pens. Now, laser scanners can create data points that combine to form point clouds and then export it all to CAD and BIM software to create 3D models. “That means that if the reconstruction of Notre-Dame was to be faithful to the original,” says Rourk, “then the data could be used to help with this reconstruction, and the efforts towards authentic recon
Breet Beyer Photography
When Sotheby’s unveiled its revamped New York headquarters earlier this month, the art installations within the new galleries rivaled any in the venerated museums—the Met, Met Breuer, Frick, Guggenheim—within walking distance of it on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But the 275-year-old auction house isn’t competing with those neighboring institutions. “The art market is changing so rapidly and substantially,” says Allan Schwartzman, Sotheby’s executive vice president and chairman of the fine-art division. “We envision programming well beyond the historical core of our business.”

Sotheby’s had been considering leaving its home of nearly 20 years, a 10-story building that covers an entire city block, for a move to Midtown. Says Schwartzman, “There were fundamental limitations to displaying art in, and moving through, our building,”—a four-story former factory onto which six stories were added in a 2001 project by KPF. Sotheby’s engaged several architects to develop designs for a new space it had selected, but also to reimagine its existing building—in order to convince the board that a move was necessary.

Ironically, the scheme by OMA NY partner Shohei Shigematsu convinced them otherwise. “There are columns every 20 feet on the lower levels,” Schwartzman explains. “But Shohei found a way to embed columns in walls, or, when visible, to become a prominent feature of the architecture.”

“Brands reach out to architects when they are rethinking their brand,” says Shigematsu. “So it’s about much more than the architecture.” Here, though, in OMA’s first major gallery space in the U.S., the architectural moves—in some cases drastic, like slicing through floor slabs to create double-height galleries, in others subtle, such as lining the thresholds into gallery clusters with custom-stained walnut panels in a nod to Sotheby’s London—offer the auction house ideal ways to show art and luxury goods in isolation and in broader combination. All galleries were moved to the lower four levels, increasing exhibition space from 67,000 to over 90,000 square feet. The new configuration is more welcoming to the public and eliminates the bottleneck of traffic to what had been its premiere exhibition space on the 10th floor, which will be converted to offices. “There’s no hierarchy now,” notes Schwartzman. The $55 million project includes 40 new galleries of 20 distinct types—from white cube to enfilade, octagonal, and L-shaped—that range in size and materials to respond to different sales, exhibitions, and events, and allow the auction house to easily and frequently change out shows without disrupting other galleries or building temporary walls. “Flexibility is provided through diversity,” says Shigematsu.

Adds Schwartzman, “Having these redesigned galleries positions us to be able to grow the business in ways that we don’t even know about, but that will be needs of the near and further future.” In the meantime, the new space served as the perfect backdrop for Monday night's record-breaking sales, which included the $110.7 million sale of Meules (1890)—the highest sum ever paid for a work by Claude Monet, or any Impressionist work of art.
OMA and Laboratorio Permanente
OMA and Milan-based Laboratorio Permanente have won a competition to transform two abandoned railway yards in Milan into eco parks that will act as “ecological filters” for the car-centric city. Titled Agenti Climatici (Climatic Agents), the master plan would use the natural, air-purifying power of plants and the filtering capabilities of water to clean and cool the environment while adding new recreational spaces for the public. The project is part of a larger effort to redevelop disused post-industrial areas around the periphery of the city.

The Agenti Climatici master plan addresses two railway yards: the 468,301-square-meter Scalo Farini on the north side of Milan and the 140,199-square-meter Scalo San Cristoforo on the south side of the city. The designers have designated Scalo Farini as the “green zone” that will consist of a large park capable of cooling the hot winds from the southwest and reducing air pollution. Scalo San Cristoforo has been dubbed the “blue zone” after the designers’ plan to turn the railway yard into a linear waterway that will naturally purify runoff and create cooling microclimates.

“In a moment of dramatic environmental transformation and permanent economic uncertainty, our priorities have changed,” said OMA partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. “The most valuable currency is no longer ‘brick’ — the built — but rather the climatic conditions that cities will be able to provide and ensure for their citizens. The city of the 20th century, with its high energy consumption, must be overcome by reconsidering the principles that have marked urban development since the classical era.”

For adaptability, only the public elements of the Farini park will be fixed — including the waterways, greenery and bridges — while the location of the buildings and their programming will be contingent on the city’s future economic development. The master plan also calls for Milan’s longest expressway bicycle lane alongside a new tram line and metro stations.

At the Society for College and University Planning’s (SCUP) 2019 Awards of Excellence; four Canadian projects won Excellence in Architecture awards within the Planning, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture categories.

Adamson Associates Architects, ERA Architects and PUBLIC WORK were the Honor winners in the Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse category. Revery Architecture won the Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse Merit Award.

MJMA and Acton Ostry Architects won an Excellence in Architecture for a New Building Merit award. Diamond Schmitt Architects and David Thompson Architect Ltd. received an Honorable Mention in the Excellence in Architecture for a New Building section.

The SCUP Excellence Awards program is a juried competition that showcases the use of strategic and integrated planning. It is open to institutions and professional service providers that have developed plans for two and four year colleges, universities, academic medical and research centres, and public or private institutions.

Category: SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse
Award: Honor
Project: University of Toronto —John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Firms: NADAAA; Adamson Associates Architects; ERA Architects; Public Work

John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design is a modern expansion that complements its historic building. The new home for the architecture school is a hub for education, research, and outreach that focuses on socially sustainable cities. The primary intentions of the project were to rehabilitate the architecture of Spadina Crescent, and demonstrate the Daniels Faculty’s objective of sustainability through progressive deployment of materials and systems.

Category: SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse
Award: Merit
Project: Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus Academic Complex
Location: Hong Kong
Firm: Revery Architecture and ARUP

Located at Mount Davis, the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus has a new campus in Hong Kong that combines modern functionality with preservation and respect for the site’s history. The ribbon profile of the 3-storey academic building, created by Revery Architecture, blends the old and new architecture as it weaves along the hillside of Mount Davis connecting the separate heritage blocks.

Category: SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for a New Building
Award: Merit
Project: University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Firm: MJMA and Acton Ostry Architects; Equilibrium Consulting; AME Group; Applied Engineering Solutions; Water Technology Inc.; Recollective

Situated at the University of British Columbia Point Grey Campus, the new Aquatic Centre accommodates student campus life, high performance training and community aquatics. The dynamic form reveals activities taking place within the facility, which includes a 50m-competition pool, 25m-recreation pool, leisure pool, hot tub, change rooms, multi-purpose rooms and spectator seating.

Category: SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for a New Building
Award: Honorable Mention
Project: Lazaridis Hall
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Firm: Diamond Schmitt Architects; also David Thompson Architect Ltd.; VanBoxmeer & Stranges Engineering Ltd.; Smith + Andersen; MTE Consultants Inc.; DTAH; Bondfield Construction Company Limited; WSP (formerly MMM / Enermodal)

AHMM has revealed its proposals for a temporary new home for the House of Commons within the 1980s Grade II*-listed Richmond House in Whitehall

The scheme, which includes a new debating chamber, is part of BDP’s wider £1.6 billion masterplan for Parliament’s Northern Estate. MPs will relocate to the building in the mid 2020s while the Palace of Westminster undergoes a £4 billion refurbishment.

The proposals have already drawn anger from heritage campaigners who are concerned that the majority of the ‘superb’ Richmond House building, except for the façade, will be demolished.

Last October, SAVE Britain’s Heritage spoke out after learning of planned changes to the structure, which was designed by Whitfield Partners and completed in 1986. Until recently it was occupied by the Department of Health.

The government admits that the AHMM scheme would effectively ‘replace’ Richmond House, with a design of ‘exceptional architectural quality’. It would, however, ‘retain key frontages visible to the public on Whitehall’.

As well as a triple-height central lobby space, the roughly £400 million redevelopment includes refurbishing the Georgian 1822 Richmond Terrace as well as 54 Parliament Street and 85 Whitehall.

The project features a new temporary entrance and visitor pavilion in front of Richmond House’s existing main façade opposite the Cenotaph. A series of three metre-high steel railings will seperate the entrance pavilion from the pavement which will be enlarged with the closure of one lane of southbound traffic along Whitehall and Parliament Street.

Designs for the railings have yet to be finalised and remain subject to consultation. John Cryer, director of Northern Estate Programme said the railings were demoutable for ceremonial events and the proposal represented a ‘sensible balance between security and public realm.’

Once complete the redeveloped Richmond House will create a ‘secure working space’ for all 650 MPs along with ‘thousands of staff’. A new name for the temporary parliament building has yet to be decided.

According to the design team, the new temporary chamber ’has been carefully designed to replicate the familiar character and the functions of the existing House of Commons chamber and will provide a greater level of accessibility for MPs and visitors, including a fully accessible public gallery’.

A new press gallery and education and participation spaces would also ‘be provided to ensure public access and engagement’.

AHMM’s Paul Monaghan said the new chamber was ’carefully designed to reflect the form of the House of Commons but will be modelled in a different manner allowing wheelchair access and the same number of seats.’

Monaghan said the exterior of the new building set out to be a ‘polite neighbour’ by quoting the distinctive corner details, three-bay windows, string courses and London stock bricks used in Whitfield’s original Richmond House.

A spokesperson for the project added: ‘The designs are also very mindful of the temporary use of the chamber itself and the brief has been thoroughly tested and pared back to ensure best value for money for the taxpayer.’

In 2016, BDP landed the contract to oversee the conversion of a number of listed buildings on the Northern Estate and create a new campus for MPs during Parliament’s refurbishment.
Miysis Studio
Miysis Studio has proposed combining a reconstruction of Notre-Dame's spire with a modern glazed roof to "find the right balance between history and future" for the cathedral.

The visualisation studio created the images as an idea of how the cathedral, which was devastated by fire last month, could be rebuilt using both traditional and modern elements.

It proposes rebuilding the spire, which was designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century, as a replica of the one that was lost.

While the spire would be reconstructed, the original 13th-century roof would be replaced with a modern structure constructed from a timber and steel frame.

"We propose to reconstruct the original spire while building a new glass roof," explained Denis Stevens, CEO of Miysis Studio.

"We also wanted to mix traditional wood and new materials to find the right balance between history and future," he told Dezeen.

Alongside the reconstructed spire, the roof would be built to match the dimensions and volumes of the original roof structure.

The glass-covered roof space, which would replace the timber structure known as the Forest, would become a garden for visitors.

Beds containing planting would be arranged along the space's edges, while full-sized trees would be planted along the centre of the building.

"What could be more natural than paying homage to this place through a real vegetated space?" said the studio.

Following French president French prime minister Edouard Philippe's announcement that there would be a competition to replace the cathedral's spire, several practices have proposed radical designs.

"We do not claim that this is the project Notre-Dame needs, this is only our vision of a potential way to rebuild this wonderful cathedral," said Stevens.

However the designer does believe the right solution will offer a balance between restoration and a modern structure.

Kieran Kesner for CyArk.
New technologies will make it easier to restore heritage sites like Notre Dame

On the evening of Monday, April 15, as the horrific blaze that originated on the roof of Notre Dame spread, worst case scenarios led many to contemplate the irreplaceable loss of the architectural icon. But, as a global audience watched and waited on social media, there was a piece of good news: a high-tech blueprint of the church existed.

In 2010, a time-consuming, five-day laser scan of the cathedral had been done by late art historian and Vassar College professor Andrew Tallon. He was able to create a 3D model of the building by capturing one billion points of data, a detailed digital blueprint for any future restorations or repairs, and one of the highest-profile examples of how this new type of record is reshaping how the world protects its great buildings and historic sites.

“You never know what questions you’re going to need to ask,” says Michael Rogers, a professor at Ithaca College who specializes in laser scanning and preservation. “Think about the work that’ll take place at Notre Dame. They’ll need to know a whole range of things they can’t think of yet. Somebody might want to know how two beams were joined, and perhaps it wasn’t written down. They can just go to the laser scans.”

Preservation playing out in a point cloud

As preservationists and architects continue analyzing Notre Dame, figuring out how to restore, preserve, and protect this gem of French Gothic architecture, they’ll have the benefit of technological tools that have radically changed how buildings can be restored.

Often adapted from other fields, such as archeology and medicine, this new technology has made it easier to evaluate, compare, and repair, often with little to no physical damage to existing sites. Laser scanning, one of the primary ways a new generation of preservationists have digitally recorded and mapped out sites, isn’t exactly cutting-edge; anybody can pick up a simple version of this technology at Home Depot. But as it gets faster and most importantly cheaper (full site scans can cost $40,000), and increasingly augmented by a digital photos, it allows buildings to be frozen in time in what’s called point clouds, which function as detailed 3D models.

The data opens up numerous possibilities: pre-emptive repairs in response to future natural disasters, virtual tours of famous buildings, and 3D-printed replacements of detailed artwork and design features.

“This data is perfect for visualization and telling the stories of these sites,” says Rogers. “You can share the power of these sites with the same data you’re using to manage, preserve, and restore them.

Laser scanning saves building with a billion points of light

While many new tools of the trade make it easier to do repairs today, the increased prevalence of laser scanning is really about protecting historic sites in the future.

The technology is relatively simple: a laser shoots a beam of light at a wall, measures the time it takes to bounce back, and creates a point that, after millions and even billions of similar measurements are taken, creates a 3D model of a structure. Today’s standard laser scans of buildings take a point every five millimeters, or the thickness of four stacked dimes.
Rice University
For nearly the past 100 years, Houston has been proud to be a world leader in the oil and gas industry. However, despite the recent fracking boom, there seems to be a growing sense among its entrepreneurial and political elite that this economic model is going to fail at some point, or at the very least drastically contract, just as the manufacturing economy did in the Rust Belt. FOMO is writ large in their minds. The fear is Houston will be left behind. That Houston was the largest city not to be included in the top 20 choices for Amazon’s new headquarters, for example, stung badly. A concerted attempt to reorient the city is evident in such initiatives as the ambitious push to enhance its major parks and bayou green spaces and the expansion of public transportation, both of which were seemingly inconceivable a generation ago, when the only thought by those in power was how to get more cars on the freeways.

Prestige institutions that can’t just up and move want their physical and intellectual investments in the city to remain viable as well. The president of Rice University, David Leebron has made it a centerpiece of his administration to increase both the stature of the school and its influence beyond the hedges surrounding the campus. To this effect, he has initiated a nonstop building campaign and increased student body. In 2009, there was serious discussion of acquiring the Baylor College of Medicine to get a foothold in the Texas Medical Center. Several interdisciplinary institutes have appeared. The latest effort to move beyond the campus includes Rice’s plan to reclaim the old South End as a hub for tech workers.

Rice was endowed with $4.6 million in 1904. In 115 years, that endowment has grown to $6.3 billion by means of Rice’s varied investments, a little more than 10 percent of which are real estate holdings. One highly visible property is the tract at South Main Street and Wheeler Avenue a couple miles south of downtown that houses a New Deal-era Sears department store building much in the local news due to its recent closure. In January of this year, Rice publicly re-christened this building “The Ion.” It will be repurposed as the centerpiece of what Rice is variously calling an “innovation hub” or “innovation district.” The stated intention is “to support businesses at all stages of the innovation lifecycle and provide resources for Houstonians seeking to participate in the innovation economy.” Outside institutional project partners include the University of Houston, UH-Downtown, the University of St. Thomas, Houston Community College, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, San Jacinto College, and the South Texas College of Law.

Originally the site of the expansive gardens around the Walter B. Sharp House (1895), a rambling Queen Anne building in what was then the almost rural outskirts of Houston, this tract, along with two adjacent city blocks, was later acquired by Rice. In 1938, the house was demolished to make way for a new suburban Sears, Roebuck and Company store (1939), designed by Chicago architects Nimmons, Carr & Wright. This store was one of five locations across the country designed by the firm that was profiled in Architectural Record in September 1940 as being “planned for the motor age.” The $1 million retail complex, which opened in November 1939, encompassed four city blocks. It included the 195,000-sf, four-level store, parking for 700 cars, a super-service station with 16 gas pumps (demolished), and a freestanding building selling farm supplies (still standing). The upper floors of the store were windowless and fully air-conditioned; the escalators connecting the floors were the first of their kind in Houston. Local reports at the time of its opening also remarked on the extensive interior art program of murals depicting scenes from Texas history, painted by Texas native Eugene Montgomery. In 1945, Sears, then highly profitable, entered into a 99-year lease with Rice. Fast-forward to 1962, when the building’s street-side windows were bricked-over and the upper parts of the building were clad in a slipcover of corrugated metal panels. (Ironically, this preserved the building, and today it is one of only a handful of relatively intact prewar, early suburban Sears stores left in the country. Houston’s first auto-oriented Sears building (1929) on Allen Parkway, also designed by Nimmons, Carr & Wright, was demolis
James Caulfield
Chicago–based Eifler & Associates Architects leads a painstaking renovation of the rarely published home located in Barrington Hills, Illinois—overseeing everything from a sagging roof to a Wright-designed dining room table.

To say that the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and interior designer Louis B. Fredrick was contentious is an understatement. Fredrick first commissioned Wright to design a home for his 10-acre plot in Barrington Hills, Illinois, in 1954. Wright offered two house plans, both of which were rejected. (The first was a concrete block design that the Fredricks passed on because "the word concrete block scares the daylights out of us.")

By March of 1956, the strain between the men was such that Wright sent Fredrick a caustic telegram: "There can be but one Louis Fredrick. He has impressed me with the idea that he needed an architect. We know better now. He does not know what he wants nor what he does not want. He has cost us more pains in time and money therefore than he can ever repay. If ever he gets into a house he will be the architect and God help both him and the house."

Yet the two parties did eventually agree on a design in the fall of that year, when Wright submitted a third set of plans to Fredrick’s approval, and the home was completed by 1957. The plan is a long and lean single story with a partial basement, measuring in at a total of 2,650 square feet. Two windowed corridors radiate from the centralized cluster of living spaces. One corridor terminates in a playroom, while the other provides access to three bedrooms, including a master suite.
More than 1,000 international architectural experts have urged President Emmanuel Macron to drop his “unrealistic” insistence on rebuilding Notre-Dame within five years after a huge fire destroyed its roof and spire.

Some 1,170 leading academics and architects from France, Britain, the United States and other countries signed an open letter in Le Figaro newspaper on Monday pleading for the French government to allow time to decide how to tackle the restoration.

Rushing ahead with a plan that could prove ill-conceived would be disastrous, they warned.

“We know that the political calendar requires quick action, we know how much a disfigured Notre-Dame affects the image of France,” the letter says. “[But] the challenge of these works goes far beyond political terms of office, beyond generations, and we will be judged by how we respond.”

The letter emphasises the enormous cultural importance of the cathedral in the heart of Paris, not just to France but across the globe. “The whole world watched as Notre-Dame was engulfed by flames,” it points out.

Critics say Mr Macron’s five-year deadline is partly motivated by his wish for the cathedral to be rebuilt in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, and for progress to be visible before his term of office ends in 2022. But many architects say the time-frame is unrealistic.

The letter says: “We, academics, researchers, heritage professionals, from France and elsewhere, are now coming to you, Monsieur le Président, to ask, as Jean Nouvel [the French architect] put it so well, that ‘historians and experts be given time for diagnosis before [you] take a decision on the future of the monument’.”

Philippe Plagnieux, a professor of art history, said: “The risk is that people who haven’t got enough experience in restoring historic monuments will be called in to get the job done quickly.”

Alexandre Gady, a Sorbonne professor who signed the letter, criticised the government’s plan to launch an international architectural competition to redesign the roofline of the cathedral. “This has naturally allowed all sorts of architects pining for fame to blow their own trumpets off the back of the cathedral,” he said.

Investigators believe the catastrophic fire on April 15 was started accidentally, possibly by an electrical short circuit. They have been questioning cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations.

The authorities have warned people living near Notre-Dame to clean their homes thoroughly to remove lead-laden dust from the blaze. Tests have shown that smoke carried particles of the toxic metal from the frame and spire.

Luis Ferraz
The petite, 12-room Torel 1884 illuminates Renaissance-era Portugal and the Age of Exploration.

A one-time palace dating from the late 19th century is the home of Torel 1884, an intimate, 12-room hotel that also includes 11 apartments located in an adjacent building. With high ceilings, soaring windows, and a traditional skylight piercing the roof, the property combines modern design with storied architecture in the charming coastal city of Porto, Portugal.

Torel 1884 is the latest venture from Portuguese hospitality brand Torel Boutiques, joining a small collection that includes Torel Palace Lisbon, Torel Cliff Surf & Golf Óbidos, and Torel Avantgarde, another Porto retreat, with forthcoming plans to expand.

Local firm NNArquitectura ensured that much of Torel 1884’s original features, including granite, tiles, and cornices, were well preserved. Even door handles from the period were incorporated into public bathrooms and the restaurant Bartolomeu’s own glass doors. The old wooden floor, crafted from Portuguese pine, was salvaged and enlivened with a walnut-colored veneer.

Highlighting such vintage architectural details was pertinent to the hotel’s evocation of 15th- to 17th-century trade routes. For the interiors, Francisca Navio, cofounder and interior designer at the locally based Nano Design, also conjured this past by melding walnut, brass, marble, iron, ceramics, and terracotta with cooling textiles including linen, cotton, silk, and raffia.

"The wallpapers used are materials such as real banana leaves, wood veins, and cane," says Navio, pointing out that the color palette is equally earthy, mixing the likes of neutral sand and saturated ocean blue.

All the guest rooms bear names like "Silk," where bamboo-lined wardrobe doors are among the one-of-a-kind details. Burlap graces "Coffee," an antique settee welcomes relaxation in "Porcelain," and a fringed stool catches the eye in "Tapestry."

To create a harmonious connection between these different spaces, Navio embraced nature as a thread: "Hence walls are olive green, and there are huge plants on all floors."

Like the reception area, which displays a motley gallery wall, public spaces reveal an equally thoughtful design scheme. At the bistro Bartolomeu, the centerpiece is the wine cellar with a stone-clad arched ceiling in what was the palace’s old vault.

Wikipedia Commons
The tragedy that struck one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved landmarks offers France a chance to heal after months of civil unrest. As with any unfortunate event, sympathy from a horrified world will be followed by prognostications over issues surrounding the fire and its aftermath. Foremost among these will be approaches to restoring the missing historic elements that now lie in rubble on the floor of the cathedral.

I have spent my professional life working in building conservation and architectural history, with particular expertise in historic religious buildings. Like many churches, Notre-Dame has seen its congregation change during the past 50 years and has faced fundraising challenges in procuring necessary funds for maintenance and restoration. The fire that nearly destroyed the church was most likely caused by construction activity near Eugène Viollet-le-Duc’s cast-iron spire at the center of the transept. The irony of this will not be lost on those familiar with medieval restoration, or with 19th century construction.

Viollet-le-Duc (1814–1879) invented modern restoration—both theory and practice. His first laboratory was Notre-Dame de Paris, and he spent virtually his entire professional life studying the cathedral and restoring it. Indeed, everything he added, subtracted, or restored is documented in extensive records and writings. Nothing he built at Notre-Dame was as controversial, or as beloved, as the 180-foot spire that fell last Monday. The cathedral had no spire when he began work in 1844 (the previous one had been removed in 1786). It also had no lead gutters and leaders, no gargoyle scuppers, and no metal transept statues. These modern improvements were entirely conceived and designed by France’s 19th century restoration genius.

Viollet-le-Duc has both champions and detractors in the French conservation community. Among architects, his name is often associated with both “rationalism” and “historicism,” contrasting ideals in modern architecture. There should be no doubt about French ambivalence toward the eventual restoration of not only his spire, but also roof construction above the historic timber rafters that burned last week. Still, the abrupt announcement of an architectural competition for designs to replace the spire was a surprise to many who see the existing fabric as sacrosanct. Like President Emmanuel Macron’s hasty promise to restore the building in five years, the announcement does not bode well for a satisfactory restoration effort.

French architects are among the most technology-obsessed designers in the world, and therefore are not likely to favor by-the-book restoration of all historic materials and elements. Paradoxically, France also has some of the best government restoration organizations, and many of the finest building craftsmen in Europe. Many restoration specialists are trained by Les Compagnons du Devoir, a trade and education organization founded by Pierre de Coubertin at the beginning of the 20th century. Hand skills and artisanal knowledge are highly valued.

These facts make conflicts between government, the architectural profession, and the restoration trade community inevitable. Observers from countries like England and Germany are already offering advice on how to address some of the contentious issues, but there is no culture quite like French culture when it comes to parochial things like heritage. Preserving la grande patrimoine is a sacred cause, but one that Parisians argue about incessantly. The nation will not rally behind a straightforward restoration program, as England did after fires at Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. With contributions coming from the fashion industry, any solution will have to be à la mode.

Still, there is a historical imperative at work that favors the retention of elements that are essential to the history of modern restoration, as practiced by its most influential architect. Viollet-le-Duc’s work at Notre-Dame is as significant in its own right as anything built there during the 12th and 13th centuries. Hearing the mayor of Paris talk of a new spire is deeply troubling to all who understand this fact. Even more troubling are articles by ill-informed critics such as Aaron Betsky, who argue for a rethink of the entire building. As a UNESCO heritage site, the cathedral of Notre-Dame must be treated not only as a Parisian landmark, but also as a
Studio Fuksas
Since the fire devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral and the French prime minister announced a competition to replace its spire, a flurry of designers have offered alternative proposals. Here are seven of the most interesting.

Studio Fuksas

Italian architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas have proposed adding a contemporary roof and spire made from Baccarat crystal to the cathedral, which would be lit up at night.

"A crystal spiral symbol of the fragility of history and spirituality. Light as a symbol of immateriality," the studio told Dezeen.

Mathieu Lehanneur

French designer Mathieu Lehanneur proposes replacing the spire not with a replica of what was built 150 years ago, but what was there during the fire.

"In a provocative way, I proposed to rebuild the spire as it was, following the most conservative people, but as it was last week!" Lehanneur told Dezeen.

"I love this idea of a frozen moment in the history that can remains for centuries. The project is a monumental permanent flame covered with golden leaves. For me, it's a way to capture the catastrophe and turn it into beauty, turning ephemeral into permanency."


Bratislava based Vizumatelier's proposal for the spire is a lightweight tower topped with a beam of light that will shine directly upward.

"In gothic times builders try to reach the sky. Viollet le Duc tried it also in the 19th century and came closer. Now it's possible to make it happen," said the studio.
Common Edge
ast month in Peru, as my partner and I ascended a grassy knoll toward a misty window of what is known as the “classic view” of the Incan citadel, our cusqueño guide, Nick, asked, “What do you think is older, Machu Picchu or the Notre-Dame in Paris?”

“Machu Picchu,” we answered.

Of course, we thought: Surely the exposed walls and strewn boulders of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s seven wonders, were more aged than the colossal columns of yellowed stone where chiseled gargoyles and copper-green saints alike stand protective. Of course, Nick was ready to point out, this was everybody’s answer, and this same collective wisdom is wrong: Construction on Notre-Dame started in 1160; Machu Picchu was built around 1450. The heart of Paris, Notre-Dame, our lady, the Gothic cathedral on Ile de la Cité overlooking the Seine, grand and sculpted as she is, is three centuries older than the block-by-block urban constructions of the Incan empire.

In the following weeks I would ask my friends the same question; everyone was surprised by the age of the elegant French dame. She hovered in my mind like a priceless piece of trivia—until last week, when she burned.

I lived in Paris, on and off, for three years. It is where friends would find me when school ended, when I needed to earn money, when my heart broke, when I wanted to fall in love again, when my family in Singapore didn’t want to open their doors.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Paris means to me, as someone who doesn’t have a stable home. It has a lot to do with how the Parisians knelt and sang “Hail Mary” and “Ava Maria” when the cathedral burned, their faces aglow in horror and in love, both incandescent.

I’ve always known the French to have a fondness for their country, and each other, and the tactile monuments and numerous sublime moments that consecrate this fraternité.

I remember it in how the Parisians sang when I watched them play in the Stade de France at the Euro Cup in 2016. I had purchased my own flight and tickets to the game as a present to myself, a reward for graduating from college, a promise kept to my younger, freshman self, who vowed to visit the quadrennial soccer tournament upon earning that degree. But it wasn’t just the stadium that shook: On the way to the stadium, everyone on le Métro was painting each other’s faces, drumming the national anthem on metal poles, giving each other kisses. Strangers would speak to me in French; lay blue, red and white garlands on my neck; stick temporary tattoos on my skin, sealed by their hot, excited palms. At every stop, when newcomers arrived, we would rally and serenade them with song. It became a continuous initiation.

I’ve come to associate it with how, on Bastille Day, the French would flow onto the streets like a river—everyone on the same slow, insouciant current toward the Eiffel Tower, where, at sundown, fireworks would sparkle and wane to the tune of La Marseillaises, the French national anthem.

I’ve always joked that it was the only national anthem I knew how to sing. I had somehow forgotten my own.

The French are often associated with a kind of nationalism, but what’s surprising to me is how open-source it seems, that everyone can seemingly subscribe to it. It’s why so many French families in Paris and Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse have opened up their homes to me on random moments in my life, why I know so many women—from the Philippines to the Ivory Coast to Syria to Kurdistan—who come to seek shelter here, why we found friendship and community in each other.

When Notre-Dame burned, so many of us saw a remote part of ourselves surface and smolder away. For me, it was the memory of a busker singing “Imagine” in front of the bell towers on my 20th birthday, when I was with a French man I had met that day, who drove me from the outskirts of Paris into the city to see this sight; it was when I worked as an au pair three years later and would sit in those pews as reprieve after dropping off three rowdy French children at the local piscine (swimming pool); it was when I was lonely at night and would sit on the bank of the Seine, lit up by her towering majesty, shrouded in a painless solitude; it was when I hadn’t spoken to anyone in a while, but would wander inside to listen to the choir and organ and feel comforted by the bellowing noise, the la
Foster + Partners
Norman Foster has jumped into the international competition to design a replacement spire for Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, proposing a glass-and-steel topper to replace the cathedral’s ruined roof.

According to an interview in English publication The Times, Foster presented his vision for a new “light and airy” roof for the fire-ravaged cathedral. The previous attic space dated back to the 12th century and was nicknamed “The Forest,” as it contained a tangle of 1,300 timber frames, each coming from a unique oak tree—the sheer amount of wood likely fed the fire that ravaged it last week.

Foster’s updated vision for the cathedral calls for installing a glass topper, arched to mimic the original wooden roof, ribbed with lightweight steel supports. The new spire would be made of glass and steel and could potentially include an observation deck at its base.

“In every case, the replacement used the most advanced building technology of the age,” Foster told The Guardian. “It never replicated the original. In Chartres, the 12th-century timbers were replaced in the 19th century by a new structure of cast iron and copper. The decision to hold a competition for the rebuilding of Notre Dame is to be applauded because it is an acknowledgment of that tradition of new interventions.”

The modernization scheme drew an immediate reaction online, where social media users compared the revamped cathedral to a Foster-designed Apple store or the glass Reichstag dome in Berlin. Additionally, several people pointed out that the plan to flood the interior with light would be hamstrung by the stone vaulted ceiling below the attic space and would blow out any light coming in from the historic stained-glass windows.

Of course, Foster isn’t the only architect to propose a radical overhaul of the 19th -century spire. Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, known for his neo-Gothic, laser-cut steel sculptures, announced last week that he would be entering the design competition as well.

Since the international competition was announced, plenty of people have gotten creative in envisioning “adaptive reuse” projects that give the historic cathedral a bland, modernist overhaul without regard for its surroundings. Even though these have been done in jest, some of them have come quite close to what Foster has proposed.

Andrea Izzotti
How faithful should we be to the 19th-century version of the cathedral we love?

How should we rebuild Notre Dame? The answer should seem simple: exactly as it was. Like all buildings that have some age on them, however, the Church of Our Lady in Paris is not exactly a virgin, and figuring out what and how to restore a building that has seen bouts of construction for over six centuries is an open question. Most notably, the part (the roof and spire) that burned down on April 15 was mainly the (re)creation of medieval ideas as imagined by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1844.

Luckily, the French authorities are more on the ball than most critics and commentators, most of whom have conveniently left the malleability of the originality of this particular building out of their laments. The Culture Ministry has already announced an international competition to reconstruct or replace Viollet-le-Duc’s spire and roof, which most people assume has been there since the Middle Ages. Whether or not that initiative will truly open itself up to anything but a redo of what has been, in the last century-and-a-half, an integral part of how we perceive Notre Dame, remains to be seen.

Notre Dame was, because of its place in France and French culture, without any doubt the most important descendent of Abbé Suger’s Gothic prototype, Saint-Denis. The semi-mythical inventor of the French Gothic might have inspired more elegant churches, and some of them certainly conform more closely to what we know were his intentions, but the sheer scale and the position of Notre Dame makes it the emblem of that style.

The cathedral’s exterior is, to be honest, not nearly as impressive as its interior. The two towers of the “westwork,” or entrance façade, are not symmetrical and never received their spires. It is the statuary that gives them their character. Most of the church’s body is visible only in glimpses from afar or close. Its most coherent proclamation of faith is that 300-foot-tall spire, Viollet-le-Duc’s re-creation of the original, based both on records and on parallels in other churches. Viollet-le-Duc was also responsible for the reconstruction of the wood roof and the sacristy.

It is the cathedral’s interior that really soars, and that has largely survived the fire. To my surprise, even the stained glass, including the glorious rose window to the east, appear to be largely intact. Most of the bronze statues had also been removed for restoration. In fact, I wonder why there are estimates that the work might cost over a billion euros, as “all” that was destroyed was that superstructure (there is also some damage from the roof falling in over the nave).

The bigger discussion, then, is about what should be reconstructed, how, and why. Most of the medieval and renaissance-era cathedrals we see today are either largely 19th-century re-creations or collages of building campaigns from various eras. While the re-creations or extrapolations—Cologne Cathedral being the most notable—have the advantage of creating a unified impression, the places of worship that have been built up over the centuries have the advantage of offering a variety of different experiences and perspectives on faith and communal devotion. Even Cologne now has a very effective stained-glass addition created by the living artist Gerhard Richter.

If the choice is to either re-create Viollet-le-Duc’s channeling of Suger, or to try to go back, using current science and archival research, to do so in an even more “correct” manner, the main question is whether we should stop there, or try to do a better job not only in reconstructing the roof, but also in finishing the twin towers and other elements of the medieval design (at least as far as we can know it).

If the choice, on the other hand, is to invent something new, what should that be? The internet has filled up with the usual jokes, memes, and half-serious visions that range from domes to a statue of our current Madonna (Ciccone) replacing the spire. I am not sure what a 21st-century spire and roof would look like but know that it would have to both avoid copying and a sense of being an alien object dropped into a well-worn and well-honed icon. The trick would be to figure out what is essential about Suger’s principles and style, and then find a way to realize those ideas and forms without directly copying the copy that was there.

But we also have to ask what not only Catholicism but the notion of
Wikipedia Commons
Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.’” Those tabernacles were the best way that St. Peter could fully express his love of Jesus, but they were just another human stab at loving God, and went unbuilt.

I am touring St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome when word arrives about the fire at Notre-Dame. Here, in the place of Peter’s crucifixion, we learn that another tabernacle has been gutted by fire, that Paris’ greatest sacred building is as fragile as any of its makers. Our guide has a Ph.D. in antiquities and is a devout Catholic. She’s devastated by the loss. Her deep knowledge of religion and history is expressed in the sharing of the endless, intricate realities of man’s conquest of materials and theology at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Meanwhile, a friend monitors Notre-Dame’s incineration: “The windows are gone, the roof is gone, only a few firefighters were there in 10 minutes, and it took an hour for the rest to arrive. An hour.” She is bereft.

But humans made Notre-Dame. They kept it alive and functional, and traveled there in droves, for hundreds of years, to revel in its triumph over the randomness of earth. Whether everyone who visits Notre-Dame or St. Peter’s knows it or not—or even believes it (or not)—the creation of these buildings are celebrations of our gifts to God.

In those uncounted number of efforts, one of those tasks was repair of the roof. This likely means that molten lead was left somewhere, too hot for too long. What was used to keep the rainwater out of Notre Dame Cathedral may have set its dry, ancient roof timbers ablaze.

Thousands of humans built Notre-Dame. One of them may have doomed it. Until we fix it, again. And we will—because we can.

Every building fails over time, just like every human. The love of God that becomes present in the work I do is without beginning or end. It just is. We want to build our devotion and then love what we have built. But faith is not a building. St. Peter was vetoed when he tried to build those tabernacles, but he helped build a place for Grace in the world that lives long after he is dead. What 2,000 years has built will still be there tomorrow, after every devastation.

We all want to be the architects of our lives and rely on what we create to manifest what we will be. We try very hard to build timeless realities. But knowing how to do things often has precious little to do with what we control in our lives.

I am a state-designated “Historic Architect” and the 25-year property chair of an 1816 church, and I have worked on a number of religious buildings every year for the last 40 years. At countless meetings at these places of worship, I say that every care must be taken in every aspect of building to the glory of God, and people nod their head. But when I say that if these buildings are gone tomorrow, that they are just things, and that God is what lives—not our constructions—it’s disturbing to just about everyone in the room. Like Peter, we want to build tabernacles.

Faith in things has a shelf life. The religious faith that I do have is fully detached from professional dedications: my life is there, whether I think I earned it, made it, deserve it, or not. What we build is just here and now, until it is gone, until we are gone.

Each of our lives ends, but the reality of faith is fully personal. In the creation of who we are, it is often a prosaic checklist of achievements and setbacks. But the centuries-long task of creating a place based on faith is itself a wrestling match between the secular and the sacred. A bit like faith itself.

Beyond historic preservation as a devotion in architecture, the extension of faith in God into the embodiment of a building, especially this one, is daunting and tricky on many levels. We trust that the flying buttresses of career, love, and worth will make all this construction here, now, worth it. But none of it earns any love, no matter how joyous our expression is.

All buildings end. All people end. The unending truth of God in our lives is nothing we can construct. It is already there.

Now, let’s rebuild Notre-Dame.
Andrew Tallon/Vassar College
As the donations pour in to aid the reconstruction efforts of the fire-damaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and the French government opens the question of whether to rebuild the 850-year-old landmark as it was, engineers, architects and contractors can turn to 3D laser scan data of Notre Dame to help with the government’s pledge to reconstruct the building within five years.

“Having laser scans [of Notre Dame] is critical in shortening the reconstruction time frame,” says John Russo, president and CEO of Architectural Resource Consultants and president of the U.S. Institute of Building Documentation. “If you don’t have that data, where do you go? You are going back to hand drawings that may not exist and those are going to be two-dimensional and not have as much information. As far as answering questions and shortcutting the timeline on doing the repair work, 3D scans are going to shave an incredible amount of time off.”

The late Andrew Tallon, an art history professor at Vassar College in upstate New York, worked with colleagues in 2015 finish a laser scan process at Notre Dame. Using a tripod-mounted Leica ScanStation C10 laser, Tallon spent five days mapping Notre Dame. Combining scans with high-resolution panoramic photos, Tallon added color to his data, giving potential project engineers and contractors an even greater amount of information.

The Notre Dame project from Tallon, which saw him reposition the scanner 50 times, created more than one billion points of data — a high-resolution digital blueprint of Notre Dame.

“Laser scanning can measure places and surfaces with tremendous accuracy that you could never hope to get to in person, such as the curvature of a flying buttress,” says Michael Davis, chair of architectural studies, professor of art history at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and a former colleague of Tallon’s. “I think the laser scanning offers a really useful document of the state of the structure. You can see how it is behaving, if it is out of plumb, if everything is where it should be.

“It creates or documents with great precision the building as it stands.”

Russo says this 3D image of the space contains all the dimensional information on the existing conditions. “You’ve got information on the colors, you’ve got very precise measurements,” he says. "The scans are accurate enough to pick up the slight deviations in the structure, important from an engineering standpoint to understanding what the loads are doing through the structure.”

Tallon once said the scans offered accuracy to within five millimeters.

Russo says that while 3D scanning does require a trained individual to get useful information, “what academics are doing can absolutely be valuable to engineers and contractors.”

While the scans provide much precision, they won’t answer every question when it comes to an ambitious five-year rebuild of Notre Dame. Already the discussion has started on whether the building should be recreated as it was or if it should have a different spire. Also, with so many imperfections within the construction, Russo wonders how close officials wish to adhere to original construction methods. Will officials allow more modern construction techniques to counter imperfections? “There are probably very passionate debates on how that would get done,” Russo says.

“Which Notre Dame are we going to rebuild?” Davis asks. “It is a kind of beautiful Frankenstein of all these different parts, 12th, 13th, 14th and 19th Century parts, so is that the one we are going to restore or is this an opportunity to undo some of the restorations of the 19th Century where we think they got it wrong and rectify errors we have identified? It is a ticklish and complex decision.”

Davis pointed to an example of a rebuild of York Cathedral in England following a 1984 fire where officials had the building reconstructed to previous aesthetics, but with the addition of a fire-suppression system.
Bloomberg via Twitter
Luxury design brands, business tycoons, and tech giants have contributed to an estimated $679 million in donations to the restoration work.

In the hours that have elapsed since the blaze that tore through one of the most visited sites in the world many questions remain. However one fact is clear—France will rebuild her crown jewel that is the Notre Dame Cathedral. After postponing a state address scheduled for last evening, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived to Île de la Cité last night and spoke with reporters vowing, "We will rebuild this cathedral."

According to the latest reports, the cathedral has been deemed structurally sound following the nine-hour-long fire. As many saw on social media, the site's iconic spire collapsed onto the vaulted roof, which now features three large holes but remains somewhat intact. The fate of the priceless artifacts and artwork that resided in the 800-year-old structure are still in question. Relics including the Crown of Thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ and the Tunic of Saint Louis were saved and are currently being housed in Paris' City Hall, while the historic organ seems to have suffered considerable damage according to the French culture minister Franck Riester. Riester reported that though many of the large paintings seem to have survived, there is still the concern of water damage. The fate of the famed Rose windows are also unknown.

As some 50-odd investigators begin their work to determine the cause of the blaze, individuals and organizations around the world are already pledging to donate to the restoration efforts. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in a Tweet that the tech-giant would donate "to help restore Notre Dame’s precious heritage for future generations." According to an estimate by CNN, some $679 million has already been promised by organizations such as French cosmetics company L'Oreal Paris, luxury design group LVMH, and the Pinault family, which controls luxury goods company Kering. UNESCO officials have also voiced their commitment to the restoration efforts. "We are already in contact with experts and ready to send an emergency mission to assess the damage, preserve what can be preserved and plan short and medium-term measures," said director-general Audrey Azoulay in a press release. To aid this effort, the French Heritage Society has established a fund for donations.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo took to Twitter on Tuesday calling for an international conference of donors to discuss funding for the restoration work.

As is increasingly the case, people from around the world have taken to social media to express their sadness and solidarity with Paris.

Vincent Callebaut Architectures
The defunct National Baths of Aix-les-Bains will receive a vibrant and sustainably minded revival in the hands of the Paris-based practice Vincent Callebaut Architectures. Selected as the winner of a competition following the popular vote, the firm’s proposal — dubbed “The Foam of Waves” — will not only restore the ancient thermal baths, but also introduce a sustainable, energy-producing paradigm that follows the carbon-neutral guidelines as recommended by COP 21. The project will adopt a mixed-use program that incorporates residential, commercial, tourist, educational and urban agriculture spaces.

The Foam of Waves focuses on the renovation of the Pellegrini, Revel and Princes buildings while staying respectful of the existing Roman remains. To inject new energy into the space, the architects have created a mixed-use program designed to attract locals, tourists and business investment. The scope includes a tourist office, a Center of Interpretation of Architecture and Heritage, a wellness center, a teaching space for the Peyrefitte School, a wellness-focused shopping center with restaurants, coworking spaces, 185 “green apartments” and parking. An urban educational farm integrating permaculture and aquaponics will be located on the green roof.

“The whole architectural project is the carrier of the new paradigms of our society,” the architects said. “It offers future residents and visitors the opportunity to adopt new lifestyles that respect the environment, health and urban well-being in order to simply live better. It is a resilient architecture, innervated by nature. It is an ode to biodiversity, renewable energies and the circular economy that advocates the construction of post-carbon, post-fossil, post-nuclear and even post-insecticidal cities.”

In addition to an expansive green roof, the buildings will feature updated wave-like facades with balconies large enough to accommodate trees and private garden spaces for residents. The building envelopes will be also be optimized for airtightness, insulation and passive solar conditions. The project aims to produce more energy than it consumes and will include a solar photovoltaic and thermal roof, a mini-biomass plant on-site and a co-generation system with rapeseed oil. Rainwater harvesting systems and gray water recycling will also be implemented.

SOME OF THE wood that burned in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on Monday was put in place in the year 1160. The beams and exterior of the roof over the nave, the long main section of the building, date from between 1220 and 1240. Nearly a millennium ago it was forest; today, after a catastrophe that cuts to the heart of French culture and human history, it’s ash.

“It was one of the oldest—until today—surviving roofs of that kind,” says Robert Bork, an architectural historian at the University of Iowa. “It’s incomparable.”

The fire began Monday evening, around 6:30 pm, in the church’s attic. The building’s familiar towers and flying buttresses loomed over the Ile de la Cité for centuries, prompting the author Victor Hugo to locate Notre Dame not only at the literal center of the city of Paris but also at its historical center, as a symbol. Flames and a column of smoke made it even more striking, and as the flames spread the potential impact of the blaze became more clear. President Emmanuel Macron canceled a speech. Four hundred firefighters mustered. The cathedral’s lead-and-wood spire, built by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc in 1860 as part of a controversial remodel, caught fire and fell.

By Monday night, the art and treasured objects kept in the cathedral had been saved, it seemed. But architectural historians around the world were emailing each other frantically: If the lower three-quarters of the building resist, if the stone walls stand, it’ll be possible to imagine restoring Notre Dame. “If the fire burns out while the stone vaults are intact, then the repair is a repair,” Bork says. “If the vaults start to crack and fall down, then the building is going to be lost. We’d be talking about rebuilding, not a repair.”

Parisian fire brigades held the line. They kept the fire from spreading into the towers of the western face of the cathedral. The wood—itself an architectural treasure—was lost. “Cathedrals like Chartres had all burned off,” Bork says. “This was quite special, and it was from the time that they were really developing roof techniques.” But the rest of the building seems to have been spared.

As a landmark, Notre Dame lives on in uncountable drawings, paintings, and photographs, not to mention the memories of people who visited, worshipped, and listened to music amid its incomparable acoustics. But because it survived largely intact into the digital era, Notre Dame lives on in the virtual world, too—and that may make its restoration all the more complete. For the last half-decade or so, an architectural historian named Andrew Tallon worked with laser scanners to capture the entirety of the cathedral’s interior and exterior in meticulous 3D point clouds. His billion points of light revealed a living structure; the magnificent flying buttresses had indeed held the walls true, but the Gallery of Kings, statues on the western facade, were a foot out of plumb, Tallon told National Geographic in 2015.

Just as it had in Victor Hugo's day, the entire building had in fact fallen into disrepair by then. In 2017, the problems became too serious to ignore. The New York Times reported on stacks of masonry, fallen or removed, in the gardens. Gargoyles had given way to plastic pipes to drain away rainwater. A remodel was imperative, though as Time reported, it wasn’t clear who would pay for it. This is the renovation project that was underway when the fire started, and architects now hope that Tallon’s scans may provide a map for keeping on track whatever rebuilding will have to take place.

Tallon died late last year, and his mentor, a pioneer in using modern engineering forensics in historic architecture named Robert Mark, died in early 2019. “Both of them loved this building,” Bork says. “I’m just glad they didn’t have to see this.”

As for what happens next, no one seems sure yet. In a statement, Macron insisted the cathedral would be rebuilt. And even if France finds the money to do so, what exactly will that entail? An exact copy, perhaps using Tallon’s scans? Something different? “This has not ever happened before in my lifetime, so I don’t have a paradigm to go to,” Bork says. “Original hand craftsmanship is irreplaceable. When you restore it, it’s not exactly the same thing. You lose information. You can tell sometimes when a stone has been carved by the k
Simon Luethi
Ever since it was finished in 1967, the most notable feature of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation Building has been what is not there. At the center of the building is a 12-story, 160-foot-high void occupied by a multitiered interior garden, dense with trees, flowering bushes, and lacy ferns. The original design of the garden—by the late master landscape architect Dan Kiley—frankly never flourished, but it is now in full bloom.

“For Dan, his garden was a big experiment,” said Raymond Jungles, the Coconut Grove, Florida–based landscape architect responsible for re-creating Kiley’s vision while also planting his own professional roots in the redesign. When the building reopened in March after a major two-year interior restructuring and updating, Jungles’s garden was ready for the building’s occupants—as well as the public—to wander. “I’m a designer, I have an ego, but this project wasn’t about what Raymond Jungles was doing for the space, but, rather, my desire to find Dan Kiley’s original spirit for this space,” added Jungles. “I want people to enjoy the amazing garden Dan had designed for everybody—those who work in the building, and those who pass by and come inside.”

According to Guy Champin, Jungles’s project manager for the new garden, “The architecture of the building is all about its two transparent facades,” referring to the walls of windows on both the 42nd and 43rd Street sides. To preserve and indeed enhance that visual effect, Champin and Jungles have established a tree canopy using some 35 Shady Lady black olives, Jacarandas, Ficus Amstel King, and other varieties that allow visitors to see through the space, while remaining aware of a beckoning urban forest unlike any other vista in Manhattan. Rectilinear brick pathways course across the space, half of which are wheelchair-accessible.

While the hardscape remains largely untouched, given the landmark status of the building, Jungles’s firm has made conspicuous visual and aural changes. In keeping with the Ford Foundation’s new branding as a decidedly all-embracing forum for “social justice,” the firm was commissioned to establish a touch and smell garden where hearing and visually impaired visitors can experience the plantings.

Elsewhere, Kiley’s extant rectangular pool has now been subtly fitted with a sound element. “Water, to me, is the heart and soul of any garden,” said Jungles, “and we’ve created the sound of moving water with pumps.” And in an effort to increase the reflective qualities of the shallow body, Jungles and Champin added black dye to the water. “Normally, dye is put in to reduce the growth of algae,” Jungles pointed out, “but here it was done to create a reflective mirror. The garden space is not just about that space, but also about the buildings across the street. One of the principals of landscape architecture is to see what you can borrow and introduce from the surrounding neighborhood.”

Although the 10,000 square feet of space devoted to greenery is now abloom with plant life, the process of making the landscape introduced other, subtler elements as well. All of the trees that are now taking root in soil and in planters were grown in Florida and shipped to New York. But according to Dinu Iovan, senior project manager for Henegan Construction, the contractors for the garden installation, those trees came with other forms of life, namely, anoles, small green lizards typical of subtropical regions. “They’re everywhere in here now,” said Iovan, “which is a fun, accidental, extra element. There’s even a bat somewhere in one of these trees.”

By day or night, the garden beckons passersby. Grow lights illuminate the courtyard when it is dark outside and, month by month, new colorful blossoms are set to visually animate the space. Acknowledging the difficulties of sustaining a garden in a dry interior space with limited natural sunlight, Champin likened the newly grown—and still growing—space to a beacon. “It calls to you like it’s a lighthouse in the middle of the city,” he said, “glowing with life.”
Bjarke Ingels Group
One of the city’s leading architecture firms has a new plan to fix a crumbling stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and they say it’s better, faster and cheaper than the $4 billion option put forth by the Department of Transportation.

The idea, dubbed the Brooklyn-Queens Park, would save the revered Brooklyn Heights Promenade from closing for six years while rehab work is completed on the highway, and would turn the triple-stacked road into a multi-tiered green space.

The proposal, expected to be revealed to the public Wednesday, was done pro-bono by Bjarke Ingels Group, which is also behind the “Big U" flooding mitigation solution for lower Manhattan.

The team wants to build a new, capped six-lane highway at ground level that is topped with a public park, an addition that would expand Brooklyn Bridge Park by more than 10 acres.

“The idea is to build the highway once, not twice,” said Jeremy Alain Siegel, an associate at BIG. “We can build it while the actual BQE is still operating.”

One option put forth by the DOT would construct a temporary highway above the promenade while rehab work is done on the BQE. Another option would reconstruct the highway on a lane-by-lane basis, which would come with regular closures and traffic issues.

In its proposal, BIG floated two options for the crumbling parts of the stacked BQE: leave them in place and turn them into a three-level park, or deconstruct them and use the rubble to create a sort of cliff-scape.

Because the plan would not involve building a temporary roadway, Siegel said it would require less time and less money than the DOT’s proposals.
Florian Holzherr.
The Black House by German architect studio Buero Wagner is a stack of differently sized rooms clad in blackened wood extending a house close to Lake Ammersee in Munich.

The lake house extension comprises a bedroom, kitchen and living space that was designed as a repost to the typical architecture found in rural Germany.

"Rural areas in Germany are often characterised by urban sprawl, faceless villages and generic detached houses," said Buero Wagner. "A contrast is formed by a small black house that stands out from its surroundings solely on account of its carbonised facade."

Using the topography of the site, the stacking of rooms presents an externally legible arrangement of spaces – such as a basement and terrace – that blend together internally to form large, overlapping spaces.

"Spaces and uses form one fluid entity, creating a variety of spatial situations," said the architecture studio. "The house plays with aspects such as inside and outside, top and bottom."

In the kitchen and dining area, a step in level provides space for countertops, with a small staircase leading to the living space above, which extends out to form a concrete terrace space.

A staircase leads down to a basement bedroom with an open bathroom, which overlooks a small light well, located alongside the main entrance to the house.

At the northwest corner, the concrete structure has been cut to create a large opening with pivot windows that allow almost the entire corner to be opened onto the terrace, creating a connection with the small forest nearby.

The main part of the extension has a gabled roof, with a small mono-pitched section connecting The Black House to the existing home.

"Unobtrusive" materials and finishes have been used throughout. To contrast the charred wood cladding, interiors are lined with oiled oak, and the concrete structure has been left exposed and sandblasted.

The home is not the first to take advantage of Lake Ammersee's setting – in 2011, Bembé Dellinger completed a cantilevering villa overlooking the landscape.