Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

May 22, 2018 by  
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Environmental design and contemporary art go hand-in-hand in Steven Holl Architects’ recently completed The Markel Center , the home of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Located at the busiest intersection in Richmond, The Markel Center embodies VCU and the ICA’s commitment to sustainability with its LEED Gold-seeking design and energy-efficient technologies. Filled with natural light to reduce electricity demands, the museum draws energy from geothermal wells and features over 8,000 square feet of green roofs for extra insulation. Opened last month, VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art is free to the public and marks Richmond’s first art institution dedicated exclusively to exhibiting contemporary art . Sandwiched between VCU’s Monroe Park campus and the city’s art district, the ICA is a sculptural, 41,000-square-foot structure spread out across three floors and flooded with natural light from large glass walls, windows and skylights. The glass, which ranges in transparency from clear to opaque, filters out UV rays and, when backlit, gives the titanium-zinc-clad building a light, box-like appearance. The lobby, offices, cafe, bar, 240-seat auditorium , and concept shop, along with a 4,000-square-foot gallery, occupy the first floor and connect to the ICA’s central forum and outdoor garden, dubbed the “Thinking Field.” The second floor houses two forking galleries, an interactive “learning lab,” and a publicly accessible landscaped terrace . The top floor features a gallery with 33-foot-tall walls in addition to administrative suites and the boardroom. “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art,” said architect Steven Holl. “Like many contemporary artists working today, the ICA’s design does not draw distinctions between the visual and performing arts. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.” Related: Steven Holl Architects unveils designs for geothermal-powered Angers Collectors Museum Clad in 100% recyclable titanium-zinc exterior paneling, the LEED Gold -seeking building draws energy from 43 geothermal wells for its radiant floor system. Native plants are used in the permeable landscape design as well as on the green roofs that cover three of the four gallery roofs. Nearly a third of materials used during construction were recyclable and nearly a quarter of the materials were regionally sourced. + Steven Holl Architects Images by Iwan Baan

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Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

Bro Ole Scheeren completes art museum near Beijings Forbidden City

January 24, 2018 by  
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Büro Ole Scheeren recently completed Guardian Art Center, a contemporary art museum heralded as the “world’s first ever custom-built auction house.” Located close to Beijing’s historic Forbidden City, this hybrid cultural institution offers mixed-use programming from galleries and conservation facilities to a hotel, restaurants, events spaces, and even integrated public transport infrastructure. Designed to respect Beijing’s traditional urban fabric, Guardian Art Center comprises a series of nested gray basalt stone volumes at its base that echo the scale and materiality of the nearby hutong courtyard houses. The stone volumes are perforated with a varying circular pattern that lets in natural light and glows at night. A “floating glass ring” rests atop the stone base and is clad in a brick-patterned glass facade. “The Guardian Art Center is a lot more than just a museum ,” says Ole Scheeren, principal of Büro Ole Scheeren. “It’s not a hermetic institution, but rather an acknowledgement of the hybrid state of contemporary culture. It is a Chinese puzzle of interlocking cultural spaces and public functions that fuse art and culture with events and lifestyle.” Scheeren adds that the materials share symbolic value with the brick referring to the common people and adjacent hutongs, while the glass references the contemporary city. Related: Ole Scheeren unveils designs for a stunning “sky forest” in Vietnam The building occupies prime location at the intersection of Wangfujing, Beijing’s most famous shopping street, and Wusi Davie, and also sits opposite the National Art Museum of China. Given the site’s historical significance as the place where China’s New Cultural Movement originated, the designs for Guardian Art Center took two decades before passing approval by the Beijing planning bureau and preservation commission. In addition to its ties to both modern and historic design, the large structure can adapt to multiple uses thanks to moveable partitions and ceiling systems that allow for different interior configurations. + Büro Ole Scheeren Images by Buro OS and Iwan Baan

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Bro Ole Scheeren completes art museum near Beijings Forbidden City

Worlds first porcelain courtyard opens at Londons V&A Museum

June 30, 2017 by  
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London’s world-renowned Victoria & Albert Museum has made art even more accessible to the masses with the completion of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter. Set to open today, this beautiful and unique civic space includes the “first outdoor porcelain courtyard in the world” as well as a new subterranean exhibition hall. Designed by AL_A , this alternative museum entrance is the V&A’s largest architectural intervention in over a century. Created over the course of six years, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter transformed the museum’s former boiler house yard into a new arts destination. The design includes the underground Sainsbury Gallery, a flexible 1,100-square-meter column-free exhibition gallery; the Sackler Courtyard, the world’s first porcelain public courtyard; the Blavatnik Hall, a new entrance into the V&A from Exhibition Road; and the Aston Webb Screen, a newly created colonnade with 11 openings. The £54.5 million project is part of the museum’s FuturePlan scheme that has updated two thirds of the V&A’s public spaces in the past 15 years. The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter is envisioned as bridge between the city and the museum, and a reflection of the founding mission to democratize access to culture and education. “The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter reframes the relationship between street and Museum, breaking down the barrier between the two,” says a press release. “We have created a less formal, more public place that is as much of the street as it is of the Museum, attracting and welcoming in new audiences, and making ideas of accessibility and democracy very explicit.” Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London The Sackler Courtyard is paved with 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles produced after two years of research and development. This new public space also hosts a cafe with furniture designed by AL_A and reveals architecturally significant facades and details never seen before by the public, such as the sgraffito decoration on the side of the Henry Cole Wing. Over 22,000 cubic meters of earth were removed from the site, 99% of which was recycled. In celebration of the project’s opening, the V&A is hosting REVEAL, a free, week-long festival from June 30 to July 7. + AL_A Images © Hufton + Crow

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Worlds first porcelain courtyard opens at Londons V&A Museum

Foster + Partners to transform historic Madrid building into solar-powered Prado Museum addition

November 25, 2016 by  
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Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura’s design beat out a shortlist of eight other proposals by practices including OMA and David Chipperfield Architects . The renovation of the Hall of Realms will create additional display space for permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Prado Museum. As one of the few surviving structures from the former 17th century Buen Retiro Palace, the Hall of Realms holds special historic significance in the city. The Hall of Realms’s magnificent and intricate interiors will be restored , while the facade will be delicately opened to let in natural light and views. These openings will transform the historic building into a more permeable, public-facing structure with connections to the new civic plaza and terrace cafes. In addition to solar panels, the new roof will be cantilevered to protect the southern facade from intense sunlight. Related: Beautifully restored 135-year-old building revives one of Delhi’s oldest markets “On behalf of the team that I led at Foster + Partners in collaboration with Rubio Arquitectura, I would like to say how honoured we are to contribute to this next phase of the expansion of the Prado – one of the truly great museums of the world,” said Lord Foster. “The Hall of Realms, built by Crescenzi and Carbonel in the 1630’s, is one of the very few remains of the former palace and predates the Museum which was conceived in 1819. Two centuries later the transformation and expansion of this historic hall will add significant new galleries and related public spaces to the Prado. It will also create, as a setting, a new urban focus for the city of Madrid.” The renovation project will be completed in time for the museum’s 200th anniversary celebrations in 2019. + Foster + Partners + Rubio Arquitectura Images via Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners to transform historic Madrid building into solar-powered Prado Museum addition

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects unveil designs for ARoS Aarhus Art Museum extension

November 17, 2016 by  
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As the original designers of ARoS in 2014, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects sees Next Level as a continuation of their relationship with the museum. In 2011, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson added his “Your rainbow panorama,” a permanent ring-shaped installation that hovers above the museum roof. The new extension will add a 1,200-square-meter subterranean gallery and a gigantic semi-subterranean art installation named “The Dome” disguised as a nine-meter-tall grassy hill on street level. The architects describe the 40-diameter Dome, topped with a circular skylight, as “one of the most spectacular spaces ever built into an art museum.” Related: Twilight Epiphany Skyspace by James Turrell Suspends Time and Space With LEDs in Houston “The Next Level project will connect to the existing building developing the museum horizontally in contrast to the existing vertical movement and working with the natural flow of the city from the river to the square of the Aarhus Music Hall,” say the architects in a press release. “This references the main architectural concept of the museum building which created a public route through the museum that transforms the building into a bridge linking two of the city’s cultural centres.” The new extension will offer a new Turrell-designed experience of color and light to visitors as they make their way down into the galleries and exhibition spaces. The Next Level project will open to the public in 2020. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects + James Turrell Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects unveil designs for ARoS Aarhus Art Museum extension

The new Tate Modern designed by Herzog & de Meuron opens its doors

June 16, 2016 by  
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According to the Tate Modern , the Switch House is “the most important new cultural building to open in Britain since the British Library.” The Switch House will increase the size of Tate Modern by 60 percent with galleries, a panoramic viewing terrace, and the first permanent spaces for live art in old oil tanks. Building materials such as concrete, oak, and brick comprise the Switch House. High ceilings, spiral staircases, and tall thin windows add to the aesthetic. Related: Tate Modern’s Energy Efficient Redesign by Hertzog & de Meuron The Switch House will be the site of a new program Tate Modern is launching later in 2016 called the Tate Exchange. The ” open experiment ” will take over an entire floor and provide a space for innovative workshops and events. Tate Modern says 50 organizations will be part of the Tate Exchange, including artists, healthcare trusts, charities, universities, and community radio stations. Tate Director Nicholas Serota said it will be a “combination of the Open University, art school, TED talks, and Guardian debates, all wrapped into one.” The day before the museum opens to all, 3,000 schoolchildren from all around the UK will get to experience the Switch House. They will be the first members of the public to explore the building and artwork inside. Artist Bob and Roberta Smith will welcome the children. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said , “Bringing culture to this neglected area of London has transformed it.” Herzog & de Meuron designed Tate Modern’s Bankside Power Station conversion back in 2000 as well. + Tate Modern Via World Architecture News Photography by Iwan Baan

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The new Tate Modern designed by Herzog & de Meuron opens its doors

Australian beekeepers celebrate rare flowering of trees that are a magnet for bees

June 16, 2016 by  
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Withering bee populations have prompted global concern, but it looks like 2016 will be a good year for them in Australia . In the western part of the country, there’s a forest of massive karri trees that only flower every seven to 10 years. This year a huge number of them have bloomed simultaneously and beekeepers are thrilled. Karri tree flowers act like magnets for bees, which are producing buckets of honey. While the forest’s karri trees tend to blossom in patches, this year far more of them have flowered together. Beekeeper Mike Spurge works in the area, where his father worked before him as a beekeeper back in the 1960’s. He said the forest has changed, possibly due to climate change and wildfires. Back then, his father was able to keep the bees in one place instead of shifting them from place to place as Spurge often has to do. This is crucial because in a struggling profession, he’s now able to save money by keeping them in one place and has yielded more honey. Related: Whole Foods reveals the bleak future of dessert without bees He told ABC News Australia, “It hasn’t flowered like this for 40-odd years or more; nearly 50 years that it’s been over the whole forest. It’s flowering right through the whole 12-month period this year which it used to do back in the 1960’s.” Spurge said honey production doubled this year. Other beekeepers report that each hive in the karri forest is generating around 250 to 440 pounds of honey. Because the flowering is so rare, honey from karri tree blossoms is treasured and goes for more money than other varieties. Spurge said the flavor is mild and that the honey candies fairly well. He described the combination of steep prices and large volume as a “game changer.” Via Mother Nature Network and ABC News Australia Images via Winam on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Toyo Ito adorns Mexico’s new Baroque museum with curved white walls

June 8, 2016 by  
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The 2013 Pritzker Prize winner created a modern building from a dense collection of curved walls, tucked into an organic footprint. Inside the museum , visitors can stroll through the main hall, one adjacent hall for special and temporary exhibitions, and three additional halls for temporary special exhibits. The building also houses an auditorium, an international baroque salon, library, shop, and restaurant, in addition to management offices, a restoration workshop, and storage spaces. Related: Toyo Ito awarded 2013 Pritzker Prize The impressive architecture of the museum doesn’t have to be enough to make it a world landmark, though. Its location is already designated as a UNESCO world heritage site , spanning almost 12.5 acres in the Atlixcáyotl Territorial Reserve, in the country’s fourth largest city. As recently as 2014, the museum project was in danger of not being completed, as planners had been denied then necessary environmental permits to build on the UNESCO site. Fortunately for art lovers, project managers were able to make accommodations in the design to satisfy environmental standards, and construction was allowed. Just two years after the project seemed doomed, it officially opened to visitors in February 2016. + Toyo Ito & Associates Images via Luis Gordoa and Toyo Ito & Associates

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Toyo Ito adorns Mexico’s new Baroque museum with curved white walls

Daniel Libeskind unveils design for the new green-roofed Lithuanian Modern Art Center in Vilnius

November 26, 2015 by  
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Studio Libeskind just unveiled their latest design venture into the museum typology: the New Lithuanian Modern Art Center to be erected in Vilnius, Lithuania. The green-roofed building, dedicated to the works created by Lithuanian artists, was designed as two intertwined volumes clad in white concrete, with a large public piazza providing a connection to the historic medieval city which the museum aims to reference. Read the rest of Daniel Libeskind unveils design for the new green-roofed Lithuanian Modern Art Center in Vilnius

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Snøhetta’s SFMOMA expansion nears completion

October 27, 2015 by  
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