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

Climate Victory Garden campaign aims to "Make America Green Again"

May 22, 2018 by  
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Want to take action  in the fight against climate change? Plant a garden! During World War II, people in the U.S. planted around 20 million victory gardens. Green America aims to bring the concept back with Climate Victory Gardens to combat climate change . Their goal is to help launch 40 million Climate Victory Gardens that together produce 12 million tons of produce . They hope everyday citizens will leverage their gardens as forces for change. “Instead of gardening in support of war efforts, we are gardening to fight climate change,” the Green America website states. Green America is encouraging people to cultivate Climate Victory Gardens as an individual way of lowering carbon emissions . The organization also encourages practices such as composting , cover crops, perennials and no-till to boost soil health so it will sequester carbon . Plus, local food tends to be more sustainable — it hasn’t traveled long distances to reach a consumer. To match the level of scale of victory gardens in the 1940s, Green America set its goal for 40 million Climate Victory Gardens. Related: Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’ Is 40 million gardens a realistic goal? A 2014 report from the National Gardening Association  found that 42 million households in America are growing food either in a community garden or at home. Existing gardens could adopt climate-friendly practices to become Climate Victory Gardens. “Americans want to take actions that have a direct impact on climate change. They are also increasingly concerned about the chemicals on store-bought produce,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of consumer and corporate engagement at Green America. “Climate Victory Gardens gives us all a way to reduce our impact on the planet, while ensuring the food we feed our families is safe and nutritious.” Green America’s Climate Victory Gardens map currently lists more than 275 gardens across the U.S. and around the world. Add your garden to the map or commit to growing one on Green America’s website . + Climate Victory Gardens + Green America Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Climate Victory Garden campaign aims to "Make America Green Again"

Snarkitectures Fun House will take over the National Building Museum

May 2, 2018 by  
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It’s almost that time again—the National Building Museum’s (NBM) Great Hall will undergo another dramatic transformation as part of its ongoing Summer Block Party series, this year under the direction of New York-based Snarkitecture . Returning after their wildly popular ‘The Beach’ NBM installation from 2015, the design studio recently unveiled designs for ‘Fun House,’ a comprehensive museum exhibition housed within a freestanding gabled structure. Created in the image of a giant traditional home, Fun House will comprise rooms exhibiting well-known Snarkitecture projects that trace the firm’s 10-year history. National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party is one of Washington, D.C.’s most anticipated architecture events every year thanks to its interactive, family-friendly installations by major design names including the likes of Bjarke Ingels Group , Studio Gang, and James Corner Field Operations. One of the most popular NBM exhibitions to date has been Snarkitecture’s The Beach, which filled 10,000 square feet of the historic Great Hall with nearly one million recyclable plastic balls. Snarkitecture’s Fun House will, for the first time, take up the entirety of the Great Hall. The exhibition, curated by Italy-based Maria Cristina Didero, will lead visitors through a sequence of interactive rooms with recreations of Snarkitecture’s important projects, such as The Beach -inspired kidney-shaped ball pit. The Fun House opens to the public July 4 through September 3, 2018 and will be complemented by a full schedule of programs and special events. Related: Gigantic swimmable ball pit takes over D.C.’s National Building Museum “Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.” + Snarkitecture Images via Snarkitecture , photographs by Noah Kalina

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Snarkitectures Fun House will take over the National Building Museum

Former car factory to house Brussels "Centre Pompidou" cultural hub

March 26, 2018 by  
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A former Citroën car factory will be transformed into a major cultural hub for Brussels —the KANAL – Centre Pompidou comprising a Museum of Contemporary Art, architecture center, and other public art spaces. EM2N , noAarchitecten , and Sergison Bates won a design competition to lead the design of the €125 million adaptive reuse project. The historic 1930s building was selected for its size—an expansive 215,000 square feet—and prime location in the heart of the Brussels-Capital Region at the center of the Plan Canal. “The proposal for Kanal reflects on the position of the twenty-first century museum in society,” wrote the architects. “The building is located in the heart of the Plan Canal, the area where new developments focus on a contemporary mix of housing, working, leisure and production spaces– the activity that is historically linked to the canal area.” The Centre Pompidou scheme begins with the restoration of the former Citroën garage followed by the insertion of three volumes for the art museum , architecture center, and 400-seat auditorium. Related: A futuristic mirrored agora is landing in Brussels like a giant flying saucer Wraparound glazing and skylights create transparency and allow ample amount of natural light indoors. To reduce the building’s energy footprint, each of the three inserted volumes will be equipped with individual climate control while other energy-saving measures will be used throughout the rest of KANAL. Construction is slated to begin fall 2019 and the museum is expected to open in 2022. + Centre Pompidou Via Dezeen Images by NOA / EM2N / SBA

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Former car factory to house Brussels "Centre Pompidou" cultural hub

Futuristic spaceship Lucas Museum breaks ground in Los Angeles

March 16, 2018 by  
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MAD Architects has revealed new renderings of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art that’s just broke ground in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park this week. Founded by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas , the museum will take on a fittingly futuristic spaceship-like appearance crafted in MAD Architects’ iconic curvaceous style. The $1.5 billion museum is expected to be complete and open to the public by the second half of 2021. Since winning the International Competition of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in 2014, MAD Architects has developed three unique designs for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, each of which respond to the three proposed project locations in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The non-profit museum’s confirmed home in Los Angeles sits on approximately 11 acres of land in Exposition Park and will feature at least $400 million worth of art spanning Narrative Art, the Art of Cinema, and Digital Art. Related: The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will bring a massive 11-acre green roof to Los Angeles “It appears as if a futuristic spaceship, with a mysterious and surrealistic attitude, has “landed” on the site’s natural environment,” wrote MAD Architects. “People from all walks of life are welcome to feel and appreciate this cultural paradise. The interior of the building has been designed as a huge bright and open cave. Skylights allow sunlight to flood the interior space, and guide visitors through the museum’s various programs. The first floor and roof of the building are expansive public areas that can be enjoyed by everyone. People can exercise here, relax, talk to the surrounding natural environment, and directly experience nature in the urban environment.” + MAD Architects Via ArchDaily Images via MAD Architects

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Futuristic spaceship Lucas Museum breaks ground in Los Angeles

Perkins+Will unveil designs for Suzhou Science & Technology Museum

February 1, 2018 by  
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The Chinese city of Suzhou is ringing in the New Year with newly unveiled renderings of a green-roofed behemoth of museum rivaling those found in its ritzier cousin, Shanghai. Perkins+Will is behind the design of the Suzhou Science Technology Museum, still in its conceptual phase, that’s expected to cover 600,000 square feet. Inspired by the Chinese philosophy of shan sui (mountain and water), the project will be integrated into nature and form the centerpiece of a new cultural district in Shishan Park. It’s little wonder Perkins+Will was tapped for the project; the international architecture firm was also behind the spectacular Shanghai Natural History Museum . The proposed Suzhou Science Technology Museum will be located at the foot of Lion Mountain and next to Shishan Lake. Exhibitions will be housed within a 66,700-square-foot ribbon-shaped building that emerges from the base of the mountain, twists upwards, and then double backs onto itself and into a dramatic cantilever over the lake edge. The form draws inspiration from the infinity loop and is meant to evoke a flowing silk scarf, one of Suzhou’s most famous exports. Related: Form follows function at Shanghai’s new bioclimatic Natural History Museum Like the Shanghai Natural History Museum, the Suzhou Science Technology Museum will boast several green features from the green roof atop the exhibition hall to the addition of new man-made, teardrop-shaped Eco Islands that will be vegetated, accessible to the public, and serve as a natural filtration system for the lake. Natural light is optimized indoors, while a planted forest buffer provides a respite of fresh air from city smog. Permeable paving and bioswales will be integrated into the civic plaza designs and a water restoration strategy will be put in place. + Perkins+Will Via ARCHITECT Magazine Images via Perkins+Will

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Perkins+Will unveil designs for Suzhou Science & Technology Museum

Oldest living manatee in captivity, Snooty, dies at age 69

July 25, 2017 by  
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Grab your tissues, folks. A 1,300-pound manatee named Snooty recently passed away after celebrating his 69th birthday. In the wild, manatees are fortunate to live into their teens, which is partly why the elder marine mammal was beloved by so many. According to the South Florida Museum, Snooty’s death was accidental and that the circumstances are being investigated. Snooty was born in captivity in 1948 — before laws were passed to protect marine wildlife . Every year, a party was thrown to celebrate the manatee’s birthday. This year, thousands of people traveled from all over to visit the celebrity mammal. Regarding Snooty’s untimely death, the museum said in a press release, “Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that an access panel door that is normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and that Snooty was able to swim in. Snooty’s habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection and there were no indications the previous day that there was anything amiss. The Aquarium will remain closed while Museum staff continues its investigation and staff who worked with him have an opportunity to grieve.” In 2015, the manatee was certified as the world’s oldest captive manatee by the Guinness World Records . Just a handful of years prior, he gained notoriety when his life history made him one of the most renowned stewards for endangered species and the environment. Following the manatee’s death, the museum posted on their Facebook page, saying: “We know that our community and Snooty fans around the world share our grief.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The South Florida Museum is deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved Snooty has died. Snooty’s death was a… Posted by South Florida Museum on  Sunday, July 23, 2017 Via BayNews9 Images via Sarasota Herald Tribune , Wikimedia Commons

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Oldest living manatee in captivity, Snooty, dies at age 69

New Traveler XL Limited tiny house can comfortably sleep up to 10 people at once

July 25, 2017 by  
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This tiny home on wheels features a surprisingly spacious interior that can sleep up to 10 people. The new Escape Traveler XL Limited comes with two bedrooms, 344 cleverly-designed square feet, and it can go completely off the grid with solar panels, battery storage and composting toilets. The Traveler XL Limited features the modern, clean design of the original, but offers much more space and a wide array of functions and amenities. Based on a triple-axle trailer, the Traveler XL Limited measures 30 feet (9.1 meters)-long and has a total floorspace of 344 square feet (32 square meters). Related: Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels It features larger windows and optional extras like a sofa bed, a pop-up TV, and Blu-ray player. The kitchenette includes a range cooker and sink, which the bathroom includes a 5-foot-long tub and shower, toilet, and cabinet, with an optional washer/dryer. The new Traveler XL Limited can accommodate up to ten people, assuming a few of those are kids. The design also offers off-grid options with the standard solar package packing a 500 W solar panel array, linked to an upgradable 200 Ah battery storage. A standard RV hookup is also available, as are composting and non-composting toilets. The Traveler XL Limited starts at US$78,500. + Escape Traveler Via New Atlas

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New Traveler XL Limited tiny house can comfortably sleep up to 10 people at once

Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown

July 24, 2017 by  
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Digital fabrication and traditional woodworking fuse together in Y, a modern sculpture with a provocative and pixelated appearance. A team of international architects and carpenters comprising &’ [Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects] collaborated with the Finnish National Museum to create the funnel-shaped art piece in Helsinki’s Seurasaari open-air museum. The intriguing artwork is built from horizontal prefabricated cross-laminated timber elements interlocked by 568 timber wedges. The temporary Y was built in the historical Niemelä Tenant Farm courtyard , creating a new social space on museum grounds. “Y is an equation of temporality, time and provocative use of wood in the museum milieu,” wrote the architects. “As Y is the mathematical symbol for the unknown, the installation Y points to the future and the possible outcomes of Nordic built heritage. In Niemelä, Y is a variable within the parameter of time.” The funnels-shaped sculpture is large enough to climb into and explore like a cave, and its hypnotic effect encourages meditative practice. Related: Palestinian architects give the ancient stone vault a modern twist in Jericho Architecturally, the most interesting aspect of Y is its combination of digital fabrication with traditional woodworking . The project’s carpenters used traditional handicraft methods to help develop the project, while the architects brought their set of digital design and production tools to the table. The result is a sculpture that functions like a giant wooden joint that’s built from prefabricated cross-laminated timber elements. The use of timber gives the artwork a feeling of familiarity, however the pixelated appearance adds a touch of the futuristic and unknown. + &’ [Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects] Images by SWANG

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Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown

Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C.

July 13, 2017 by  
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Incredible sights and sounds have popped up at the National Building Museum in the heart of our nation’s capital. Thousands of giant paper tubes have been stacked together to construct soaring mountain-like structures in the Hive, an interactive sculpture created by Studio Gang Architects for the museum’s annual Summer Block Party. Read on to see the interior of the stunning installation and to hear the Hive come alive. Every year, the National Building Museum invites a different architecture firm to craft a large-scale, immersive installation for its Great Hall. Past projects included BIG’s concave Maze , Snarkitecture’s massive BEACH ball pit , and James Corner Field Operations’ cool ICEBERGS . Studio Gang Architects created the museum’s tallest installation yet that comprises 2,551 Sonotubes, wound paper tubes typically used to pour concrete. If laid end-to-end, the recyclable tubes would measure over a mile in length and have a combined weight of 72,961 pounds. A giant Hive has popped up in D.C.! Explore the National Building Museum's summer installation by Studio Gang Architects. It's made with #recyclable materials, interactive, and absolutely massive. #hivedc @nationalbuildingmuseum @studiogang #architecture #dc #washingtondc #ecofriendly ?: @landscapevoice A post shared by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on Jul 11, 2017 at 9:10am PDT To complement the National Building Museum’s neoclassical Great Hall, Studio Gang Architects used a silver shade for the tube exterior. The tube interior and the Hive floor were painted magenta, a color inspired by the pink used in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. last January. Ninety different tube sizes were used to construct the three interconnected chambers and allow filtered light into the spaces to create beautiful patterns of light and shadow that change throughout the day. Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. “We’ve also incorporated a lot of sound elements in here,” Emma Filar, NBM’s Interim Director of Marketing & Communications told Inhabitat. “Jeanne Gang, the founding principal of Studio Gang, is really interested in the way that people move through spaces and how they interact with space here, so that’s why we have instruments inside. Sound travels in a really interesting way through these paper tubes; they both absorb sound and reflect it in different ways.” Visitors at the Hive are free to play with the installation’s many instruments, which range from hanging wind chimes constructed from a variety of materials including wrenches, CDs, and metal pipes. Some paper tubes are used as drums, while others are combined with other common building materials like pipes to create more complicated instruments. Round openings at the top of each chamber allow natural light into the chambers and frame views of the Great Hall’s ceilings and columns. The Hive also has a hands-on building area, where people can play with paper diskettes to build their own structures. The National Building Museum will host a full slate of programs that complement the installation, from concerts to late-night events with food. The Hive is open to the public July 6 through September 4, 2017. + Studio Gang Watermarked photos © Lucy Wang , non-watermarked photos © Tim Schenck

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Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C.

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