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ArchitectureWeek Author Debra Moffitt - 01
Debra Moffitt

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KOLUMBA ART MUSEUM

In Cologne, Germany, a city ravaged by World War II, the Kolumba Art Museum embraces and preserves centuries of culture and pays poetic tribute to the layers of civilization unearthed on its site. Designed by reclusive Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, the museum provides a stunning exception to the city's drab urban landscape built after the war. — Published 2009.0107

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APPALACHIAN SUNCATCHER

Nestled into a hillside near Asheville, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center is projected to use 75 percent less energy than a comparable conventionally designed facility.

Trombe walls, a planted roof, bioswales, daylighting, a high-efficiency mechanical energy-recovery system, and other "green" features add up to make this National Park Service facility a contender for LEED Gold certification. — Published 2008.0521

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NEW URBANISM IN CHARLOTTE

When New Urbanism was starting to develop in the 1980's, much of the Charlotte, North Carolina, area was not yet conceived; uptown was dying, and building mixed-use areas was "illegal." The suburban model of growth reigned supreme. But times change. — Published 2008.0409

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NEW SACRED SPACE

Chartres Cathedral in France is the "thought of the middle ages made visible," according to art historian, Emile Male. Through sculpture, stained glass windows, and high arches, it is understood as encapsulating an essence of the Christian spiritual mind of the time. Today, in an increasingly secularized world confronted with diversity, confusion, and a continued decline in church attendance, is there still a need for sacred architecture? If so, what is its contemporary expression? — Published 2007.0509

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WORKING LIGHT

Imagine rushing through an underground subway station and suddenly looking up into the sky to realize that the earth has turned a few degrees and the weather has changed. This is the reaction that architect and artist James Carpenter wants to create with his daylight-bending projects. — Published 2007.0418

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BOTTANICAL SPA

The Tschuggen Bergoase spa, nestled in the mountains near St. Moritz, Switzerland, takes on a cathedral-like quality. It was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta who is renowned for his museums and sacred spaces. In contrast to the neighboring Tschuggen Hotel, the spa wears a sleek, timeless design that signals a shift into an interior space of natural quiet. — Published 2007.0207

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MILAN TRADE FAIR

"When you build one million square meters, you really don't know if what you envisioned will be good or bad," says Massimilliano Fuksas, the Rome-based architect for the New Milan Trade Fair. The 10.8-million-square-foot convention complex, which opened in April 2006, has a mile-long canopy that wows visitors with its whimsical flair, transforming a glass and steel structure into a fabric that billows and then touches down like tornados to the floor. — Published 2006.1129

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WORLD OF CITIES

Staking its reputation around an ethical debate, Venice, Italy's 10th Biennale Architecture Show presents the successes and challenges of 16 of the world's cities and asks: "can architects make a difference?" The "Cities, Architecture, and Society" exhibit curated by David Burdett, architect and professor at the London School of Economics, stops short of providing solutions, but states, "how we shape cities will determine the future of our planet." — Published 2006.1101

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HOW BOTTA BUILDS

Creating an edifice draws on an almost mystical process of imagining and materializing something from nothing, of developing original thought forms and manifesting them in the physical environment. Swiss-born Mario Botta provides a unique perspective on this creative process. He is best known in the United States for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is considered one of the world's foremost architects for churches and museums. — Published 2006.0830

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Debra Moffitt

 


 
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