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    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 524
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 524 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more. This Notes edition is sponsored by TXI Expanded Shale & Clay:

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    by ArchitectureWeek

    The Chicago building that formerly housed Prentice Women's Hospital is proudly unorthodox. Above a steel-and-glass base, in a sea of more-conventional rectilinear neighbors, the building's quatrefoil concrete tower rises banded with oval-shaped windows.

    Designed by Bauhaus-trained Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg — best known for the twin cylindrical towers of the nearby Marina City development (1964) he designed — the Prentice tower's cloverleaf design was far from being simply contrarian. Goldberg sought to create a modernist architecture more organic than the International style's straight lines and boxes, which he came to consider dehumanizing. In hospital design, he intended to improve patient experience, which at Prentice translated into a bed tower with seven small patient floors, each divided into four lobes.

    Designed for maximum flexibility, the 1974 hospital building was also structurally innovative. The tower is cantilevered from a central core, allowing for column-free, open-plan floor plates. The load-bearing concrete shell transfers loads diagonally back to the core via four large arches.

    Despite its significance, this building is at risk of demolition. To bring attention to its plight, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named the former Prentice Women's Hospital building to the 2011 list of America's Most Endangered Historic Places.   >>>


    Chipperfield's Anchorage Museum
    by Kevin Matthews

    In downtown Anchorage, a little farther off the beaten path than his museums and galleries in London and Berlin, David Chipperfield has constructed another architectural gem, exhibiting his signature clear modernism that manages to be at once bold and quiet.

    The scheme turns the museum around, visually, as Chipperfield's Anchorage Museum addition creates an entirely new and gorgeous face and image for the museum, and functionally, as the main facade and entry are shifted from the south side — where the old versions enfronted a hum-drum street — to the west — where the bright new presence faces on a landscaped urban square, toward the core of downtown and the water beyond, while taking the ever-present Alaskan mountains behind the city as the building's own sweeping backdrop.

    The elegant skinning of custom glass, striped with mirroring and layered both for thermal performance and to modulate transparency for interior spaces, at times has the building reflecting its surroundings, and at times disappearing with a shimmer against the sky.

    It's a block of ice, a mountain glacier, a pinstripe suit, a scrim, a mirage and optical illusion, a candy store for the brain, a magic box. Truly, a gift to the city.

    Inside, bold blocks of color mixed with simple natural wood and dyed smooth concrete are deployed with sublimely clean detailing, so the walls, ceilings, grand atrium stair, and ultimately the museum exhibition spaces, all coordinate and move the visitor with grace and drama that are strangely transparent in their directness — while always stretching to bask in natural light that filters in.

    Through this artifice, daylight seems to fill much of the building, while its living force is held safely away from thousands of remarkably special objects.   >>>

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Courtyard wall, top to bottom: rowlock and header brick coping, cast concrete (left), running-bond brick pilaster, roughly squared fieldstone base (WA-264)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1871-76) and the Provident Life and Trust Company Building (1876-79, now demolished), both built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and both highly textured and boldly scaled, were designed by which famous American architect?

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    Which is the best temperature for concrete to cure at: 90, 73, or 55 degrees Fahrenheit (32, 23, or 13 degrees Celsius)?



    Classic Home 053 — Breuer House I, by Marcel Breuer

    "This house in Lincoln, Massachusetts, built by the architect for his own family, is on a site that is level in front and slopes down in the back. The house is wood frame, with steel sash casement windows and vertical tongue-and-groove redwood exterior siding, without gutters or conductors. A stone-floored entry leads to a two-story, south-facing living room... "


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