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    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 538
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 538 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more. This Notes edition is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific:


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    The project to update and extend the Portland Transit Mall in Portland, Oregon, is one of nine projects awarded for general design in the 2011 ASLA Professional Awards. The downtown transit mall now supports light rail in addition to bus and automobile traffic on a north-south street couplet. Photo: Bruce Forster/ ZGF Architects

    by ArchitectureWeek

    When it originally opened in 1978, the Portland Transit Mall created a transit-focused corridor in downtown Portland, Oregon. For a distance of 11 blocks through the commercial core, a pair of one-way streets combined dedicated bus lanes and limited car traffic with wide brick sidewalks and an abundance of trees, benches, and shelters. But despite being an icon for progressive urban planning, the mall suffered deferred maintenance and deterioration over time.

    The recent decision to add light-rail service within the same right of way became an opportunity for a broader revitalization. Completed in 2009, with design and construction led by ZGF Architects LLP as urban designer/ landscape architect, the now-extended transit mall integrates buses, light-rail, and more car traffic, and also features rebuilt intersections and 45 new transit shelters.

    The renovated Portland Transit Mall was one of 37 projects honored recently by the American Society of Landscape Architects in its 2011 Professional Awards. With both design quality and sustainability as selection criteria, the awards recognize exemplary public places, residential designs, campuses, parks, and urban planning projects from around the United States and beyond.

    Revitalizing the Portland Mall

    Portland's three-county transit agency, TriMet, is widely regarded as an innovator in the U.S. transit industry, pioneering low-floor light rail in North America 25 years ago.

    Its ambitious original transit mall project — designed by architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and Associates, and engineer Moffat, Nichols, and Bonney — comprised an 11-block-long bus transit corridor on 5th and 6th Avenues. A seven-block-long north extension to Union Station was built in 1994.

    The mall revitalization addressed both of those sections and added a new nine-block-long extension south to Portland State University, integrating light rail throughout. The mall now stretches a total of 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers), along 116 block faces in six downtown districts. For the overhaul, TriMet made an unusual move in assigning the urban designer as design lead on an infrastructure project. Working with TriMet and a citizens advisory committee, ZGF conducted an extensive program of evaluation and design consensus.   >>>


    A wood-shelved corridor with fixed and moveable glazing connects two wings of La Roca House, designed by Mathias Klotz, in the village of José Ignacio, Uruguay. Photo: Roland Halbe

    New Wood Work
    by Philip Jodidio

    Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,— no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground,— my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,— all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature," 1836


    The facade of the Central Facilities building, designed by Auer + Weber + Assoziierte for the Martinsried Campus of Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany, is shaded with layers of crisscrossing wood. Photo: Roland Halbe

    Wood is, first of all, the forest, the "plantations of God." It is in the moonlit woods that the characters of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream play out their transformative comedy; it is again in the forest that architecture itself, in disguises ranging from the simple column to the temple and the cathedral, finds much of its inspiration.

    A canopy of branches, stacked trunks to provide shelter from the storm, wood is a quintessential element of the earliest built habitations, most of which returned to the earth in time.

    Architecture in wood is often reputed to be ephemeral. Indeed, depending on such factors as climate and maintenance, wooden structures may not last very long. And yet, to take just one example, the five-story pagoda at Daigoji Temple, built in 951, is the oldest building in Kyoto.

    And so wood, properly turned, can stand a thousand years even as the earth shakes and the generations pass. Before they are cut and formed, trees live, depending on the species, longer than any other organism on earth.

    A Great Basin Bristlecone Pine aptly named Methuselah, in the White Mountains of California, is estimated to be more than 4,800 years old. Clonal trees like the so-called Pando, a Quaking Aspen located in Utah, send up shoots from a single massive root system — thought in this instance to be 80,000 years old, a tree far older than human civilization.

    Trees, both figuratively and literally, are at the origin of built form, shelter and inspiration; the stuff of the earth.   >>>


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    A new white paper from PPG Industries summarizes an energy modeling study showing that high-reflectance coatings on metal walls, window frames, and roofs reduce energy use in high-rise buildings, even in cold climates. An independent firm simulated the energy performance of a prototype eight-story office building in 12 North American cities.

    The Sky Is Not the Limit - Cadalyst, 2011.1103

    Autodesk Expert on the Future of Construction in Qatar - AME Info, 2011.1101

    The Impact of BIM for Construction Industry - AddPR, 2011.1031

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    New Product
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    Artisan Precast of Los Angeles introduces the ChiselCrete® precast concrete wall, which imitates the look of hand-chiseled stone. As for all Artisan fences and barriers, the wall consists of steel-reinforced modular concrete components that interlock when installed. Engineered for durability, the system decreases the necessary foundation concrete and steel by as much as 35 percent compared to traditional masonry. Pigments are integrated into the concrete mix, so no painting or staining is needed. The panels are lighter weight than functionally equivalent brick, stone, CMU, or monolithic concrete panels. Casting molds are manufactured in the United States with VOC-free and mercury-free polymers.

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Painted clapboard siding divided by wide trim, double-hung windows, modillion cornice, and painted shingle roof (WA-039)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    In older buildings with thin-stone anchorage systems using carbon steel shims and anchors, the sealants occasionally fail and the steel can corrode.

    Which statement correctly explains this?

    a) The corroded steel is greater in volume than uncorroded steel, and joints inadequate to accommodate this volume increase sometimes fail.


    b) The corroded steel is lesser in volume than uncorroded steel, and connections become loose due to the volume decrease and sometimes fail.

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    How big is a six-mat Japanese room? How thick is a typical mat?



    Classic Home 021 — Western brick bungalow by George W. Repp

    "The simple Western lines of this house are enriched by a pleasing brick pattern in the porch gable and by the pergola which forms a delightful feature when covered with rambling vines. Six rooms and a sleeping porch, which is virtually an extra bedroom, with a den that could serve as another bedroom, make this a small house for a large family, and the floor plan has been carefully worked out. "


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