Page N1.2 . 29 November 2000                     
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    Best of the West

    (continued)

    The house cascades down a hilly site as a series of loft pavilions offering panoramic views of the site. It has a bit of the flavor of the Charles and Ray Eames house, with a scale that makes it appear larger than it actually is.

    Another honor award winner with a winning sense of scale and use of warm materials is the City Lofts project in Venice, California, designed by William Adams Architects.

    These six units offer a blurry line between living and at-home work spaces, and contrast the richness of wood stairs, ceilings, and exposed structure to Spartan white walls. The jury singled it out for its spatial surprises, "including a splaying of demising walls to broaden exterior views."

    The Tempe (Arizona) Police Substation was designed by Architekton to entice neighbors to drop in and visit, according to the architects. It is part of a "community-based policing" approach that has become popular in a number of cities around the United States.

    To avoid being a fortress, the police station is broken into smaller wings that house different police functions. The central cylindrical community room is intended to promote exchange between residents and the police, and the rest of the building arcs around it in a protective fashion.

    Projects of Merit

    There were seven merit awards, and among the most interesting is the Yukon Visitors Center in Whitehorse, Yukon, designed by the Alberta, Canada firms Sturgess Architecture of Calgary with Groves Hodgson Manasc Architects of Edmonton as associate architect.

    This is a building rich in symbolism, history, and materials. Located on the remote Alaska Highway, the building is a cultural oasis that educates visitors about the Yukon region.

    The architects used a smorgasbord of formal references from the North: fish skeletons, a kayak frame, an airplane wing, tents. On the ceiling of the entry's drum form is painted the Northern Constellation, illuminated to suggest the spare radiance of the midnight sun.

    Short summers dictated a tight construction schedule, and prefabricated glue-lam beams allowed the structure to go up quickly. The jury found this building to be a "compelling image for the visitor to the region."

    Another merit award winner of note is a regional library in Bellevue, Washington, designed by the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership. Large, welcoming canopies extend from the library's two public entrances, celebrating the arrival of library patrons.

    The articulated roof structure with its variegated planes contrasts with the relatively tight wrapper around the building. The inside is filled with natural light, and has some dramatic public spaces with long views throughout the building to make it welcoming to the user.

    A second library, the Renfrew Branch Library in Vancouver, British Columbia, is the design of Hughes Baldwin Architects. This is an earth-hugging structure, long and low-slung, that announces its entry with a dramatic sloped roof, which also signals the location of an existing community center barely visible from the street.

    The library submerges into the site, allowing its park setting to remain the focal point of the neighborhood. The building frames a courtyard as an outdoor amenity shared by the library and the community center, and which serves as an important civic gathering space.

    The jury observed that the library "engages and integrates with its site," opening itself to the adjacent park and community.

    Also Cited

    Among the four citation awards given, by far the most compelling is the Internment Camp Barrack Relocation project in Los Angeles by Caldwell Architects. Found on a Wyoming ranch, the barrack housed World War II-era Japanese Americans during their internment.

    The architect trained and then led a team of volunteers to the site to document the barrack and arrest its further deterioration. They then dismantled it so that it could be moved to Los Angeles for display, then shipped to an exhibit on Ellis Island in New York, and finally returned to a permanent home in California.

    Many of the volunteers had been former internees. The architect explains that through this project, "the barrack has become the tangible symbol of the internment experience."

    On a site in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, architect Francis Ng has created a powerful public space that was recognized with a citation award. The Arbour Pow-Wow Ground is designed to accommodate gatherings of up to 1,200 for cultural events such as tribal ceremonies and dance.

    The design is based on traditional and cultural features such as the tipi, the four cardinal directions, four corners, and four colors. Each pole of the tipi represents a value including obedience, respect, humility, happiness, love, faith, kinship, cleanliness, thankfulness, sharing, strength, good child rearing, hope, ultimate protection, and relationship among people.

    The tiered seating is protected with a cantilevered roof structure that hovers over the stadium. According to the jury, the project is "an accurate solution to the cultural needs of the Native People, successfully acknowledging the spiritual importance of the celebration—a rare accomplishment."

    Michael J. Crosbie is a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek and an associate at Steven Winter Associates, Inc., in Norwalk, Connecticut.

     

    Continue...

    ArchWeek Photo

    Top honors went to the American Heritage Center and Art Museum at the University of Wyoming at Laramie, designed by Antoine Predock.
    Photo: Timothy Hursley

    ArchWeek Photo

    The City Lofts, designed by William Adams Architects, won an honor award for its sense of scale and use of warm materials.
    Photo: Tom Bonner

    ArchWeek Photo

    In the Tempe Police Substation, designed by Architekton, the central cylindrical community room is intended to promote exchange between residents and the police.
    Photo: Timothy Hursley

    ArchWeek Photo

    To avoid being a fortress, the police station is broken into smaller wings that house different police functions.
    Photo: Timothy Hursley

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Yukon Visitors Center in Whitehorse, designed by Sturgess Architecture and Groves Hodgson Manasc Architects, is rich in symbolism, history, and materials.
    Photo: Robin Armour

    ArchWeek Photo

    On the ceiling of the Yukon Visitors Center entry is painted the Northern Constellation, illuminated to suggest the spare radiance of the midnight sun.
    Photo: Robin Armour

    ArchWeek Photo

    In the regional library in Bellevue, Washington, by the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, welcoming canopies extend from the two public entrances.
    Photo: Strode Eckert Photography

    ArchWeek Photo

    Inside ZGF's Bellevue library, natural light and long views give drama to the public spaces.
    Photo: Strode Eckert Photography

     

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    to view full-size pictures.

     
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