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    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 541
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 541 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more.

    TXI ES&C

    Lightweight Roof Tile is No Trend

    TXI ES&C's lightweight aggregate is a key ingredient in the roof tile by MonierLife Tile. Lightweight roof tile is aesthetically striking and durable against any climate condition. Read about roofing rewards in "Concrete Roof Tile: Beauty, Durability and Fire Protection in One Tough Package."

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    Shubin + Donaldson Architects designed the conversion of two Hollywood warehouse buildings into the headquarters of Biscuit Filmworks. Photo: © Tom Bonner/ Courtesy ORO editions

    by Joseph Giovannini with Russell Shubin and Robin Donaldson

    The apparent placelessness of Los Angeles, where one community bleeds into another with little visible distinction, can partially be attributed to its major industries - advertising, television, movies, the web - because these businesses live placelessly, mostly in periodicals, or on screens in the theater, in the family room, and at the desk.

    Their buildings have no need to manifest public presence or exhibit civic responsibility via architecture: the mission of the structures is not to shape or mark public space because the cultures they support are dispersive.

    Unlike a newspaper building, their headquarters are not charged with a responsibility to a constituency that lives within driving distance. L.A.'s local industries instead are national and global, and few studios and networks have looked to architects to create a sense of place with structures that build the civic and urban character of the place. They do not put a "there" there.

    Only recently have entrepreneurs of L.A.'s entertainment and advertising industries understood that there is a physical site appropriate for talent as well as the virtual site on the screen and in periodicals.

    Entertainment and its corollary industries are endemic to Southern California, and over the past decade entrepreneurs of L.A.'s creativity factories have started to commission architects to create physical settings appropriate for their function as think tanks, talent banks, and petri dishes to encourage and incite their occupants.

    Many of these entrepreneurs have abandoned the conventional pin-striped corporate offices along Wilshire, in Century City, and downtown, in favor of adaptively reusing cavernous, bow-trussed warehouses in which the mind seems to expand to the space allowed. Found buildings have been transformed from working structures into spirited antechambers of creativity. Talent is as talent does.

    Conventional architectural programs usually specify functional requirements, but these commissions require a certain quality of spirit, or what hipper talents call "juice." These are high-energy, high-IQ environments that encourage their occupants to be and to think differently.   >>>


    The Gregory Farmhouse by William Wurtser, designed and built from 1927 to 1929 in the coastal mountains of Santa Cruz, California, continues to be a luminous icon of gracious simplicity for the Bay Regional style. Photo: Kevin Matthews

    William Wurster — Houses
    by Donlyn Lyndon

    Thinking back, an image that most endures in my mind is the white tower and compound of William Wurster's Gregory House (1929) in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Gregory Farmhouse, as it's usually referenced, is a misnomer: it is a country retreat designed and built between 1927 and 1929, a place of the soul, no doubt, for a very sophisticated San Francisco family.

    The Gregory Farmhouse, as it's usually referenced, is a misnomer: it is a country retreat designed and built between 1927 and 1929, a place of the soul, no doubt, for a very sophisticated San Francisco family.

    The tower, slim and upright like a beacon, suggests a reincarnation of the water towers still occasionally visible on Northern California farms. The tower anchors one corner of a beautifully simple, embracing composition, with two wings perpendicular to each other bracketing the opposite side of a tree-filled court. These wings are joined by a porch tucked under their eaves.


    The uppermost, semi-enclosed patio of the Grover House in San Francisco provides a substantive outdoor area in a dense urban context. Photo: Roger Sturtevant

    The structures are beguilingly direct — yes, farmhouse direct — and narrow. They are mostly one room wide, the roofs low and unprepossessing, the interiors made with very wide whitewashed boards. Paned windows pace steadily across their sides and doors align strategically.

    Photographs of the house made a singularly enchanting impression of the site, which I now realize was steeped in the most effective ways of forming memorable places: claiming place with a marker set upon the land, surrounding and giving shape to a calibrated set of rooms, both indoors and out, and investing them with thought and traces of a consistent sensibility applied to the ways in which things are made.   >>>

    P&P Image

    A new public library designed by CZWG Architects has opened at the edge of London's Canada Water basin. Photo: © Tim Crocker

    People and Places
    by Nancy Novitski

    CZWG Architects in London, England, United KingdomMoshe Safdie in Anandpur Sahib, IndiaMitchell/ Giurgola Architects in New York, New YorkBIG and OFF Architecture in Paris, France...

    London — 2011.1128
    A new public library has opened at the edge of the Canada Water basin in the Southwark borough of London, England, United Kingdom. Piers Gough, a partner at CZWG Architects of London, designed the £14.1 million, 2,900-square-meter (31,000-square-foot) Canada Water Library, which extends over the water in an inverted pyramid shape. Located at the center of a new town plaza, the library is a key early building in a major regeneration project.

    The building's shape addresses several challenges. The limited footprint is constrained by the London Underground rail station box to the north, under the plaza; clearance for a London Underground access hatch adjacent to the road; the strong pedestrian east-west desire line across the south side of the plaza; and the waterside walkway. The constraint to the east is to allow views of the basin from the plaza.

    In addition, the client sought to avoid dividing main library spaces across multiple levels, which could have reduced interaction among users and would have demanded higher staffing levels.

    In response, the ground floor contains a cafe, while the upwardly expanding shape above it enables the main library space to be contained within a single, galleried, skylit double volume. The building is clad in aluminum sheets that are anodized in a light bronze with sequined perforations.

    The library is currently achieving a very high "Very Good" BREEAM rating and striving for "Excellent." Sustainable features include a ground-source heat pump, graywater harvesting, and a green roof planted with sedum.   >>>


    Hardware and Systems for Architecture by FSB

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    Competition Extended and Revised

    Sebastopol's "Core Project" Adds Architectural Challenge to Competition and Extends Deadlines

    The Core Project today announces the addition of an architectural site-specific challenge to the competition. The Core Project is an international design competition to generate innovative ideas for renewing the city center of Sebastopol, a small town in Northern California. The competition is hosted by The City of Sebastopol, together with The Redwood Empire Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a group of local business sponsors.

    The Core Project has added a site-specific component by challenging entrants to envision the best use for certain strategic sites in downtown Sebastopol currently used as surface parking lots. The Core Project website has been expanded to provide additional information and resources for entrants. Organizers have also extended the registration and submission deadlines.


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    The New Digital Divide - New York Times, 2011.1204

    Autodesk Buys Horizontal Systems for Cloud Program - Wall Street Journal, 2011.1130

    New Product


    Product News - Single-Blade Ceiling Fan

    The Marea™ is a contemporary single-blade ceiling fan from Fanimation. With a 25-degree blade pitch and 42-inch (107-centimeter) blade sweep, this sculptural fan cuts through the air in a wave-like motion. At high speed, it uses just 47 watts of power, with an airflow of 3,151 cubic feet per minute (89 cubic meters per minute). The fan offers three forward speeds and three reverse speeds, with a reversing switch on the housing. Available in an oil-rubbed bronze finish with an amber frosted acrylic blade, or in a satin nickel finish with a white frosted acrylic blade. Wall-mount remote control included.


    See our comprehensive new visual catalog of architectural products, powered by DesignGuide!

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Notched corner joint of square timber frame with painted cedar shakes on concrete foundation (WA-009)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    If you combine two sound sources, each at 50 decibels (dB) what will be the resultant dB level? If you double the distance to a sound source, you reduce the dB by how much?

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    Based on Frederick Law Olmsted's ideas and organized by Daniel Burnham, Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893 featured work by R.M. Hunt, McKim, Mead & White, and Louis Sullivan: a) Who designed the Women's Pavilion? and b) Which is the only surviving building?



    Classic Home 069 — House with a sheltering roof by George H. Schwan

    "The most interesting point about this house is the manner in which the main roof slope is continued down over the porch. The effect gained thereby is quite pleasing and gives an opportunity for a larger room on the second floor. The living room has two features; the fireplace in the front end and the open stairway in the rear... "


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    Continuing dimensions...
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    Five years ago in ArchitectureWeek:
        Milan Trade Fair, by Debra Moffitt



    Ten years ago in ArchitectureWeek:
        Erskine's Millennium Village, by Don Barker

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