Page N1.1 . 17 October 2007                     
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People and Places
                                                    . . . THIS WEEK


The National Art Center Tokyo was designed by Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007). Photo: Flickr user chatani

Tokyo · 2007.1012
Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa died of heart failure on October 12, 2007, at age 73. Kurokawa was a leader in the Metabolist movement, started in the late 1950s, which sought to create structures that allowed for organic growth, both at the level of the individual building and of the city, using techniques such as modular construction.

Kurokawa was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1934. He studied architecture at Kyoto University and then at the graduate school of Tokyo University under Kenzo Tange. He founded Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates in 1962.

Over the course of his career, Kurokawa evolved a philosophy of design that he called "symbiosis." An example of this can be found in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (1998). In this project, Kurokawa inserted a rainforest garden into a modern airport terminal building, and drew on the mathematics of mosque architecture in creating arches and other aspects of the building facade. One of his most recent works is the National Art Center Tokyo, defined by an undulating glass facade.

Plans recently emerged to demolish Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972) in Tokyo, built of prefabricated units connected to two core towers — an iconic and rare example of truly modular architecture. As of August 2007, the demolition is reportedly on hold pending scheduling by the condominium owners. Kurokawa's Sony Tower in Osaka was razed in 2006.

Los Angeles · 2007.1016
Wilshire Vermont Station has opened in Los Angeles, California. Arquitectonica designed the $136 million mixed-use transit village, which was developed by Urban Partners LLC and MacFarlane Partners in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA). The project is located partially above a Metro subway station and at the junction of two Metro express bus lines.

The development includes 449 apartments above more than 36,000 square feet (3,300 square meters) of retail space. The residential units range from 500 to 1,060 square feet (46 to 98 square meters), and feature nine-foot- (2.7-meter-) high ceilings and granite kitchen countertops. Twenty percent of the units have been set aside for low-income residents, as required by CRA/LA. Amenities for residents include fitness centers, computer rooms, and an outdoor pool. A new middle school is currently under construction adjacent to the development.

Tustin · 2007.1015
The Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy was recently completed in Tustin, California. The two-building, 53,000-square-foot (5,000-square-meter) complex occupies 15 acres (37 hectares) of a former Marine Corps Air Station. Irvine-based gkkworks performed architectural services with Omaha, Nebraska-based DLR Group. The facility includes 38 offices, four classrooms, lecture halls, training yards, a 1,500-seat auditorium/ gymnasium, and a physical fitness obstacle course.

Curved arches resembling the form of two adjacent blimp hangars frame the lobby entry and the gymnasium space. The materials palette includes glass, steel, aluminum, and masonry block.

The building envelope was designed to exceed California Title 24 energy efficiency standards. Floors and finishes are made of sustainable materials. Passive solar design concepts were applied throughout the site. Use of environmental glass in predominantly north-facing glass window walls provides natural daylighting, while reflecting unwanted solar gain in the morning. Use of reflective roof finishes also reduces unwanted solar gain. Parking areas include biofilter swales to keep sediments from running off the site.

Another recently completed gkkworks project is the $9.4 million student services and administration at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, for which gkkworks received three awards from local chapters of the AIA. Kris Kay, AIA, served as principal-in-charge for both gkkworks projects.

Santa Ana · 2007.1015
Ground was recently broken for the State Court of Appeal in Santa Ana, California. The Costa Mesa office of Carrier Johnson designed the three-story, 52,000-square-foot (4,800-square-meter) structure, which will house one courtroom, judges’ chambers, and administrative offices for the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three. The Los Angeles office of Heery International is serving as construction manager at risk for the facility, which will consolidate previously dispersed offices in a single location near city hall and the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse. Completion is slated for April 2009.

Portland · 2007.1013
The new offices for the ReBuilding Center were recently completed in Portland, Oregon. Communitecture of Portland designed the tenant improvement project. Reused and recycled building materials constitute 90 percent of the materials used, including office dividers made of reclaimed house parts, light fixtures made from skylights, shingles made from ducting, wallpaper made out of doors, and flooring made from solid-core doors. Other sustainable features include triple-glazed windows, daylighting, and reused furnishings. The offices comprise the final phase of expansion for the center, run by Our United Villages.

Arlington · 2007.1010
Demolition of a shopping mall has begun in preparation for construction of the $55 million Pioneer 360 Business Park in Arlington, Texas. The new development will comprise 1.3 million square feet (121,000 square meters) of office and warehouse space. Alliance Architects of Richardson, Texas, is the architect for the project. Bob Moore Construction of Arlington is the general contractor, and Flaherty Development is the developer.

Los Angeles · 2007.1010
Stephen Johnson, AIA, has joined Cannon Design as a principal. Johnson will play a major role in the expansion of the firm’s international initiatives and in the strategic marketing efforts of the firm’s national higher education practice. With 35 years of experience in design leadership and practice management, he has a significant portfolio of work in higher education, the arts, and historic restoration. He is an expert in the design of library/learning centers, and was project director for the award-winning renovation and expansion of the Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California. He also recently led the design and construction effort for the $50 million renovation and expansion of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

Dallas · 2007.1009
The design has been revealed for Saint Ann Court, a high-end office tower in Dallas, Texas. Perkins + Will and Shimoda Design Group of Los Angeles, California, designed the 26-story, 320,000-square-foot (30,000-square-meter) building, part of the 15-acre (37-hectare) Harwood development. A rooftop garden crowns the 11-story parking garage.

Azure, another building in the Harwood development, is due to open in November 2007. James K.M. Cheng Architects Inc. of Vancouver, Canada, designed the 31-story, 375-foot (114-meter) condominium tower with a blue theme: a facade of stone, metal detailing, and blue-tinted glass, lit by blue light and flanked by a swimming pool.

Branson · 2007.1001
The Branson Convention Center recently opened in Branson, Missouri. Atlanta, Georgia-based Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates designed the building with an undulating facade and exposed wood structural elements, echoing the surrounding landscape of the Missouri Ozarks. The facility includes 220,000 square feet (20,400 square meters) of flexible meeting space. The 23,000-square-foot (2,100-square-meter) ballroom features a ceiling display of 72 silver-and-white light fixtures that resemble birds in flight.

The convention center and adjoining Hilton hotel are part of Branson Landing, a $420 million public-private mixed-use project on Lake Taneycomo, near historic downtown Branson.

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