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    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 522
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 522 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more...


    Centre Pompidou-Metz is covered by a translucent white membrane made of fiberglass coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

    by Philip Jodidio

    Shigeru Ban has recently been spending almost three-quarters of his time outside Japan, and one main reason for this pattern is the fact that he was building the Centre Pompidou-Metz, an ambitious extension that the Parisian institution has undertaken in the eastern French city of Metz.

    Shigeru Ban has recently been spending almost three-quarters of his time outside Japan, and one main reason for this pattern is the fact that he was building the Centre Pompidou-Metz, an ambitious extension that the Parisian institution has undertaken in the eastern French city of Metz.

    The decision to create an extension to the Centre Pompidou was taken in January 2003 by then-Minister of Culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon and the president of the Centre Pompidou, Bruno Racine. The City of Metz approved the project two months later and an architectural competition was announced on March 18 of the same year.

    It was imagined by the authorities from the first that the new building should have an architectural impact similar to that created almost 30 years before by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in the Beaubourg of Paris.

    It was also decided that the new building would carry forward the original broad cultural mandate of the Centre Pompidou, which includes various forms of artistic expression. The program called for just over 12,000 square meters (130,000 square feet) of space, slightly more than a tenth of the size of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

    A total of 157 teams from 15 countries submitted for the Centre Pompidou competition, a group that was reduced on May 27, 2003, to just six projects after six rounds of voting by the jury. The level of the competition was made clear by the list of architects retained for the second phase: Foreign Office Architects (FOA) from London; Herzog & de Meuron from Basel; Stéphane Maupin with the landscape architect Pascal Cribier from Paris; the Rotterdam architect Lars Spuybroek (NOX); Dominique Perrault, the architect of the French National Library, from Paris; and, finally, Shigeru Ban of Tokyo, teamed with Jean de Gastines from Paris and the London architect Philip Gumuchdjian.

    The project of Shigeru Ban won the jury vote on November 26, 2003, with 14 of the 16 voting members opting for the proposal.   >>>


    This image show a courtyard rendered with mental ray, using indirect or bounced illumination. Image: Courtesy Sybex

    Simple Rules for Lighting a Scene
    by Jennifer O'Connor

    When using the rendering software mental ray within 3ds Max — like almost any other high-end rendering situation — light is one of the most important aspects of a scene. A great rendering is rarely created on the first try after simply throwing in lights and clicking Render.

    Half the battle when lighting a scene is understanding the tools at hand, and the other half is having an efficient workflow to help simplify the lighting process. These rules — guidelines really — are some of the things I consider as I work with lights within my scenes, and they might assist you with the process of lighting.

    Start in Darkness...

    ...and work with lights in isolation. This is the number-one rule, particularly for interior scenes. Your test-renders will be faster, you can evaluate the effect that one individual light will have on your scene, you can better evaluate shadow quality, and you will be able to tweak settings for light Attenuation and Shadow Samples without having to contend with the confusion of multiple light and shadow sources.

    After one light is adjusted, turn it off, and then work with the next light in isolation. It is also important to set a reasonable exposure control EV (exposure value) that's representative of the scene you are lighting (Indoor Night or Exterior Daylight, for example) before you add and adjust any lights.

    One additional thing to keep in mind is that you might not need every light in your scene that is specified by the designer or within a fixture, and you might be able to eliminate or limit the effect of some lights that do not contribute much to the rendered image beyond additional render time.

    Replacing a set of lamps in a group of stadium lights with a single point or area light can significantly reduce render time. In that case, you might find working with a group of lamps, isolated by group, beneficial.

    Use Photometric Lights

    For realistic and easily controllable lighting effects, the exclusive use of photometric lights (combined with real-world exposure controls) produces the best results in an understandable and controllable manner.   >>>

    P&P Image

    Microsoft's new Asia-Pacific R&D Group headquarters, designed by NBBJ, has opened in Beijing, China. Photo: Courtesy NBBJ

    People and Places
    by Nancy Novitski


    NBBJ in Beijing, ChinaSmithGroup in Blacksburg, VirginiaShift architecture urbanism in Tilburg, NetherlandsBird Houk in Dublin, OhioKohn Pedersen Fox Associates with SRA Architectes in Paris, France...

    Beijing · 2011.0525
    The new headquarters have opened in Beijing, China, for Microsoft Corporation's Asia-Pacific Research & Development Group. Designed by international multidisciplinary firm NBBJ, the new two-building campus houses 3,000 staff who were previously located in three separate Beijing locations. The two buildings are 15 and 18 stories high, respectively, and provide a combined 150,000 square meters (1.6 million square feet) of space.

    The Beijing government offered Microsoft two nonadjacent pieces of property in the Zhongguancun area, known as China's Silicon Valley. The two parcels are over 100 meters (330 feet) apart, separated by a city park and a four-lane road. One challenge for the designers was to connect the two parcels. NBBJ achieved this partly via a third-story bridge between the two buildings. Another challenge was to reinterpret Microsoft's lowrise campus in Redmond, Washington, for the compact, urban Beijing setting. To this end, NBBJ conceived of the new buildings as vertically connected smaller buildings. A series of three-story sky gardens alternate between the north and south sides of the buildings, linking three-story clusters of offices.

    Meeting and breakout spaces are distributed throughout the floors to facilitate collaboration. Open workspace lines the edges of each floor to maximize daylighting, while private offices and conferences rooms are located around the core. The four stairways of each building are located on the corners of the exterior. The stairs are naturally lit during the day, and at night each displays one color of the Microsoft Windows logo. Staff amenities are distributed between the two buildings to encourage movement between them.   >>>

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    Z Corporation Announces New Promotions on ZPrinters, ZBuilders and ZScanners - Z Corp Press Release, 2011.0623

    Simple Rules for Lighting a Scene - ArchitectureWeek, 2011.0622

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    A Start-Up's Camera Lets You Take Shots First and Focus Later - New York Times, 2011.0622

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    New Product


    Product News - Recycled-Content Carpet Tile

    InterfaceFLOR offers the Primary Stitch and Sew Straight collections of linear-patterned carpet tile, available in a palette of 12 neutral and earth tones. Designed for commercial installations, these durable modular tiles are constructed from post-consumer-content type-6,6 nylon yarn that is 100% solution-dyed. With fine threads of complementary colors in varying widths, Sew Straight features a simple tailored line with a low profile face. Primary Stitch (pictured) includes added pops of color...


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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Ancient Roman brick wall with structural dog-tooth course exposed by weathering of brick facing layer (WA-163)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    In the U.S. market, three-quarter-inch- (19-millimeter-) thick hardwood flooring comes in standard widths of 1-1/2, 2, 2-1/4, and 3-1/4 inches (38, 51, 57, and 83 millimeters). What are the U.S. standard widths for half-inch- (13-millimeter-) thick hardwood flooring?

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    Completed in 1654, it is a focal point for a series of gardens by a river side. Sheathed in near-white marble, it has an indented cubic base and a central chamber over which rises a double-shelled, slightly bulging dome. Name this famous building.




    Classic Home 073 — Red Hill House, by Christopherchris Architecture

    "Designed for a young family, this five-bedroom, two-bathroom house near Red Hill, Victoria, Australia is sited along the top of a ridgeline on Mornington Peninsula, with commanding views of the valley below.

    "The house is composed of two long, perpendicular wings that intersect at the kitchen. The larger, north-south wing contains all the common spaces of the home, while three bedrooms, and one bathroom comprise the east-west wing. A master bedroom suite is positioned just above the kitchen with views to the distant Bass Strait. An open common room at the center of the main wing includes living, dining, and entry spaces... "


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