California AIA Awards 2006
The project also creates more usable open space for students. A multitiered central plaza replaces the former single-story dining halls and is actually the roof of the student services building. The jury described the project as "a great collage in subtle colors [that] completes the block in rationality with vitality and playfulness, creating a nice backdrop bringing the whole block together."
Hands on for Pittsburgh Kids
Another AIACC honor award recipient is the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, by design architect Koning Eizenberg Architecture and Perkins Eastman as architect of record.
The challenge was to expand the children's museum from its former home in a 1987 post office building into the adjacent, vacant Buhl Planetarium (1930). The new design joins the two older buildings with a three-story steel-and-glass structure that expands the museum to 80,000 square feet (7400 square meters).
A framed veranda entry is topped by a lantern-like structure made of thousands of fluttering 5-inch (12.7-centimeter) translucent panels. This facade, which lights up at night, was designed in collaboration with environmental artist Ned Kahn. The jury commented that the glow of the building "adds lightness and delicacy" in contrast to the older buildings.
Inside, the new tunnel between adjacent buildings is filled with interactive exhibits based on the museum's policy of enabling children to "play with real stuff." Incorporating many sustainable design features, this project is the first LEED-certified children's museum in the United States.
A third award-winning project is the Art Center College of Design's South Campus in Pasadena, designed by Daly Genik. This is a downtown satellite campus for the internationally recognized design school.
The original building was a 1940s-era research complex constructed to house a massive wind tunnel. So the linked buildings had few windows and large, dark spaces. The architects were challenged to create openings for light in the deepest parts of the building.
They brought in light through a series of large skylights on the roof and through selective cuts on the street facade to create a new public face. In cutting away the deck of the roof, they left the concrete beams intact, and this structure is visible in the new skylights. The new openings are surrounded by a cast concrete curb to distribute the load of the skylight evenly to the roof surface.
This project is one of the first LEED-certified buildings in Pasadena. The jury commented: "This renovation of an old barn building creates a skyline that is very complex and that brings light in. It is very inventive as the roof extends outside the building. It is a beautiful, magical play on light during the day inside, and at night on the outside."
Mother of All Desks
Britain's fast-growing ad agency Mother London has a new space designed by California firm Clive Wilkinson Architects. When the agency was small, all six employees worked around a single large work table, with no individuals having space privileges greater than those of any others.
The company's new space in Shoreditch, London is a three-story building transformed to create a 14,000 square foot (1300 square meters) open area, applying the same democratic distribution of space. A concrete staircase the width of a small road cuts through the building to connect the three floors.
Flowing from the 14-foot- (4.3-meter-) wide staircase is the agency's cast-in-place concrete work table — perhaps the world's largest table at 250 feet (76 meters) long, with a maximum capacity of 200 people. The jury described it as "clever rethinking of the work place with bold moves."
The fifth project to receive an AIACC honor award is the University of California, Merced Central Plant by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Part of the first phase of a new university campus, the plant provides power for the campus buildings and plays a key role in achieving sustainable design goals.
Its design reflects the agricultural Central Valley; the exterior walls are sheathed in corrugated metal as in local grain silos, farm sheds, and freight cars. This finish of stainless steel also literally reflects the entire spectrum of sunlight.
Many of the building's large spaces must be enclosed with heavy, opaque walls for acoustic separation from the surrounding academic buildings. Other parts of the building are exposed through translucent walls, allowing the building to function as a luminous symbol of the university's commitment to sustainability. The jury appreciated its "powerful presence on the landscape; a formal statement that is very handsome."
The AIACC awards jury included Robert Campbell, FAIA, Laura Hartman, AIA, George Nikolajevich, FAIA, Susan Rodriguez, FAIA, and Michael Ross, FAIA. In addition to the five honor awards described here, they bestowed 12 merit awards and one Maybeck Award.
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