Page D1.2 . 15 February 2012                     
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    AIA National Design Awards

    8 House, CopenhagenThe Standard, New York41 Cooper Square, New York | Poetry Foundation, ChicagoPittman-Dowell House, La Crescenta | Gates Center for Computer Science, PittsburghRhode Island Hall, ProvidenceRuth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, Indianapolis | Integral House, TorontoMilton Miller House, Owings MillsAnd More...

    8 House · Copenhagen

    ArchWeek Image

    The name of 8 House is derived from its angular figure-eight plan, which is organized around two large courtyards. The building tapers downward at its southwestern corner, providing the adjacent courtyard-side units with views of the surrounding landscape.
    Photo: Jens Lindhe Extra Large Image


    This dramatic mixed-use building is one of 27 projects recognized in the 2012 AIA Institute Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

    The awards jury praised BIG for "masterfully recreat[ing] the horizontal social connectivity and interaction of the streets of a village neighborhood."

    "This is a complex and exemplary project of a new typology," the jury added.

    Also intriguing is the question of what this project's inclusion in the 2012 AIA awards may say about the state of architecture in the United States. Although BIG does have a second office in New York City, the firm — and this project — are decidedly Danish.

    In this AIA national awards cycle, the absence of corporate office buildings is also striking; only one office project received a design award, in the interior architecture category.

    Some honorees seem more experimental than is typical in the national AIA awards — for example, an award went to a 2009 Solar Decathlon entry, and another award went to a design-build education facility in Nova Scotia, constructed partly by its own students.

    Was the breadth of this year's awards a positive side effect of a reduced overall number of architecture projects completed, in the continuing low real estate market?

    ArchWeek Image

    Several pedestrian passageways like this pass through the perimeter of 8 House.
    Photo: Jens Lindhe Extra Large Image

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    8 House site plan drawing.
    Image: BIG Extra Large Image

    The Standard · New York
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    The Standard hotel straddles the High Line park near its southern end.
    Photo: David Owen/ Artifice Images Extra Large Image

    Across the Atlantic Ocean from 8 House, a New York City building designed by Ennead Architects also provides accommodations for several hundred people: The Standard hotel.

    Located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, the 18-story, 337-room hotel tower not only stands in a dense urban context — it actually straddles the High Line, a elevated railway-turned-park that cuts through the site at an angle.

    The hotel's primary form consists of two narrow, vertical boxlike forms, joined at a slight angle and elevated 57 feet (17 meters) above the street on concrete piers. Evocative of midcentury modernism, the facade consists of board-formed cast-in-place concrete framing highly transparent water-white glass. Within this simple grid, the window details create a regularly variegated pattern, while the hotel guests inject a lively randomness into the facade through their varied use of curtains and nighttime lighting.

    "There is clarity in the choice and articulation of materials and a sense of restraint, though the end result is one of high visual impact," remarked the awards jury.

    When the project was being developed, the then-owner of the High Line, CSX Transportation, would not allow shoring from the historic rail structure. To clear the easement 30 feet (nine meters) above the elevated rail bed, a transfer structure spanning nearly 90 feet (27 meters) between exposed concrete super-columns and the hotel's east pier was required. Two 65-kilopound-per-square-inch (448-megapascal) steel trusses were used to support the eastern half of the tower.

    Although the hotel owner, André Balazs Properties, chose not to pursue green building certification, the building's design does include a number of sustainable principles and features, such as daylighting and views, insulating glass units with a low-e coating, four-pipe heating and cooling system with individual thermostats in each room, operable windows, wool carpets, and reclaimed materials.

    ArchWeek Image

    The Standard hotel includes 337 rooms, each with a wide view of the neighborhood.
    Photo: Aislinn Weidele/ Ennead Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Ennead Architects designed The Standard, an 18-story hotel in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. The building is lifted above the ground on multistory concrete pilotis.
    Photo: Jeff Goldberg/ Esto Extra Large Image


    41 Cooper Square · New York

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    41 Cooper Square is a LEED Platinum-certified addition to the discontinuous urban campus of Cooper Union in New York City.
    Photo: Iwan Baan Extra Large Image

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    Section drawing looking east and ground floor plan of 41 Cooper Square.
    Image: Morphosis Architects Extra Large Image

    About a dozen blocks to the east, a LEED Platinum-certified building by Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, stands at 41 Cooper Square in Lower Manhattan, on the campus of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Occupying a full city block, this glazed nine-story building is wrapped in a semitransparent skin of perforated stainless-steel panels, cut and shaped into a deconstructivist sculpture.

    The design of the 175,000-square-foot (16,300-square-meter) facility is intended to encourage contact among the school's engineering, humanities, art, and architecture programs. The instructional spaces — laboratories, classrooms, and studios — are organized around a full-height, skylit central atrium, dubbed a "vertical piazza" by the architects.

    A wide grand stair wrapped in an undulating lattice rises four stories within the atrium, and bridges cross it at the upper levels. Skip-stop elevators encourage use of the stairs and bridges, with secondary elevators serving each floor for accessibility and freight moving.

    The building's operable steel cladding allows control of solar gain and daylighting. Other green features include a planted roof, radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels, a rainwater collection system, and a cogeneration plant to convert excess heat into electrical energy.

    Gruzen Samton served as associate architect.

    The jury commented, "This has a spirit and aura to it that's extremely hard to capture and goes beyond most buildings."


    ArchWeek Image

    Designed by Morphosis, 41 Cooper Square is covered in a sharply folded layer of perforated steel. At the upper floors, a deliberate gash in the steel screen exposes a glazed atrium that surrounds the main stair.
    Photo: Iwan Baan Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    While the perforated steel covering of 41 Cooper Square is continuous around the northwest corner of the building, a vertical gap in the cladding at the southwest corner exposes a glazed stairwell.
    Photo: David Owen/ Artifice Images Extra Large Image

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