Page N1.2 . 12 January 2005                     
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Chicago Does Stars

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A copper-clad steel frame proscenium with 30-foot- (9-meter-) high translucent all-weather doors face an open-air seating bowl for an audience of 1100. Construction was carefully planned to be executable during the winter, so as not to interrupt the college's summer performance program.

"DS1" is the award-winning contribution of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to Canada Square, which anchors the second phase of development of London's Canary Wharf.

The 15-story glass and steel office building contains two stacked atria carved from the otherwise simple form. The front elevation emphasizes the lower, seven-story atrium with a glass wall inset.

DS1's top atrium is skylit and capped by a stainless steel truss that screens the roof from the view of taller adjacent towers. Glass "columns" on each cantilevered corner frame facades detailed with stainless steel straps and rails. "It's essentially a flat building," commented one juror, "but the more you look at it, the more you see."

Inside Chicago's historic Water Works, a stone masonry building that survived the 1871 fire, Morris Architects/ Planners has inserted the deceptively simple, black-box Lookingglass Theatre.

The renovation proudly reveals ancient piping and pumps in a gallery leading to the box office. Moveable seating risers, a demountable perimeter balcony, trapped stage floor, and an array of lighting catwalks provide a highly flexible space for innovative theater.

In Chemnitz, Germany, Chicago architect Murphy/Jahn has built the Galeria Kaufhof, a five-story store as part of an extensive post-communist-era urban renewal. Laminated glass walls and a glazed roof create a transparent building that shows off merchandise and human activity by day.

At night the transparent walls of Galeria Kaufhof become luminous billboards. Glazed, lighted canopies shelter the entrance to an adjacent train station, and a large cantilevered roof, also of glass, protrudes to form an "urban loggia" on the historic Neumarkt square. "The building is a sign," said one juror. "It achieves a clearly read commercial demeanor without the use of signage."

Residential Gems

Receiving two awards (for both design and sustainability) is the small, affordable "Factor 10 House" in Chicago by EHDD Architecture. "It's beautiful, simple, charming, and modest. And on top of that, you find out that it's green," enthused one juror about the case study house. Its front porch and red exterior complement neighboring houses.

An open plan on the first floor maximizes light and compensates for the small footprint. Upstairs, windows are aligned for long views across the small rooms. A stairway situated halfway along the plan functions also as a solar chimney. In winter, a wall of plastic water bottles creates a solar mass, and a fan pushes the warm air down through the house. In summer, hot air is vented out this chimney, and a sedum-planted roof reduces heat gain.

In addition to these innovative energy efficiencies, the Factor 10 House was built with recycled and low-impact materials. It is expected to reduce life-cycle environmental impacts by a factor of 10 compared to the average American new-construction houses.

Another Chicago house in the awards line-up is the Doblin Residence, by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates. Within the surviving masonry shell of a burned-out early 20th century warehouse, they placed a public and a private garden, with a glass-walled open living space in between.   >>>

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"DS1" at Canary Wharf in London, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was one recipient of an honor award from the Chicago AIA.
Photo: H.G. Esch Photography

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Lookingglass Theatre at Water Tower Water Works by Morris Architects/ Planners.
Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing

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Galeria Kaufhof by Murphy/Jahn.
Photo: Roland Halbe, Roland Halbe Fotografie

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Factor 10 House by EHDD Architecture.
Photo: Doug Snower, Doug Snower Photography

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Inside Factor 10 House.
Photo: Doug Snower, Doug Snower Photography

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The Doblin Residence by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates.
Photo: Barbara Karant, Karant + Associates

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Contemporaine by Perkins & Will.
Photo: James Steinkamp, Steinkamp/Ballogg Photography

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Marble Curtain by Studio Gang Architects.
Photo: Tak Katayama

 

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