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    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 544
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 544 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more. This Notes edition is sponsored by Wiley:

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    Make Space

    The co-directors of the Environments Collaborative Initiative at the Stanford University, Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft, bring you Make Space, an all-encompassing resource for altering space to enhance creativity and collaboration:

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    The Newton Suites residential tower in Singapore, designed by WOHA, integrates planted walls, sky gardens, and large balconies. Photo: © WOHA/ Patrick Binghham-Hall Photographer

    High-Rise Sustainability
    by Philippe Honnorat

    A high-level assessment of the impact of the urban tower on the natural environment would conclude that low land use and possible higher density are the chief advantages, with high energy usage being the chief disadvantage. Concepts of density and of energy usage are relative, and should be examined by comparing high-rise buildings with their low- or mid-rise alternatives.

    A high-level assessment of the impact of the urban tower on the natural environment would conclude that low land use and possible higher density are the chief advantages, with high energy usage being the chief disadvantage. Concepts of density and of energy usage are relative, and should be examined by comparing high-rise buildings with their low- or mid-rise alternatives.

    Under closer scrutiny, towers do, of course, make other positive and negative environmental contributions; but the number of these, and the interaction among them, is a highly complicated subject. We will therefore focus on some key elements, with the aim of providing a glimpse into the complex web of parameters influencing how an urban tower interacts with its environment, and how a tower can ultimately be considered sustainable.

    The Principal Issues

    The main questions of a technical and environmental nature to be addressed when contemplating a specific tower project and its urban implications go beyond land and energy use to encompass subjects such as access, transportation, construction challenges and technology. Many of these issues relate both inwardly to the tower itself and outwardly to the surrounding environment and urban context.

    For instance, energy use can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as facade technology, local methods of energy production, international leasing market expectations, local construction and maintenance practices, and shading from surrounding buildings, to name but a few. The resulting complex interactions make each tower a one-of-a-kind project that strikes a particular balance among many factors.

    And even before a tower project gathers momentum, its genesis typically precedes these project-related interactions with other forces at work, of a socioeconomic, political, and aesthetic nature — forces that continue to have a bearing throughout the project's life cycle.   >>>


    Architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects designed the False Bay Writer's Cabin, on San Juan Island, Washington. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

    False Bay Writer's Cabin
    by Tom Kundig and Daniel S. Friedman

    The False Bay Writer's Cabin serves as a private writer's retreat and guest cottage on San Juan Island, Washington. The owners asked for a space that felt connected to its island setting — the mild climate, scenic views, and proximity to wildlife. At the same time, they needed a structure that could be easily secured when not in use.

    The 500-square-foot (46-square-meter) cabin was designed by architect Tom Kundig as a glass house surrounded by three wooden slat decks that can be raised — through a system of hydraulic winches, wire rope, pivoting sheaves, and lead blocks — to serve as shutters.

    Open, the shutter decks are outdoor living space, connecting to the cabin's interior through tall windows and sliding doors; closed, they secure the cabin. The fireplace rotates 180 degrees to be enjoyed indoors or out. An inverted roof with deep overhangs forces water to drain to the rear of the cabin.

    "It is intended to be a shelter of extremes, open or closed," the architect says. "In order to feel cold, you have to feel hot; in order to feel safe, you have to feel at risk. Contrast is the true measure of a complete experience."


    The decks on three sides of the False Bay Writer's Cabin fold up to form wall-sized, bottom-hinged shutters that protect the building's glass walls. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

    Inside, the cabin is essentially a single room with a modest back area housing a bathroom and kitchenette. It is a small, contemplative shelter that can morph to suit the needs of the writer: introspection or complete openness.

    Finishes are restrained, punctuated only by a blackened steel inlay that bisects the floor from the fireplace to the slot window at the rear of the cabin. A rack attached to the back of the cabin organizes the owners' kayaks. When the murphy bed is lowered, the transformation from writer's retreat to guest cottage is complete.   >>>

    P&P Image

    The new History Colorado Center in Denver, Colorado, designed by Tryba Architects, is scheduled to open to the public in April. Photo: Courtesy Frank Ooms

    People and Places
    by Nancy Novitski

    Ricardo Legorreta in Mexico City, MexicoTryba Architects in Denver, ColoradoBoora Architects in Portland, OregonBDP in London, England, United KingdomGluckman Mayner Architects in Syracuse, New YorkFinegold Alexander in Deerfield, IllinoisBurt Hill in Phoenix, Arizona

    Denver, Colorado — 2012.0101
    The History Colorado Center — a new Smithsonian affiliate in Denver, Colorado — is on track to open to the public on April 28, 2012. The $110.8 million, 200,000-square-foot (18,600-square-meter) building replaces the nearby Colorado History Museum, which was demolished to make way for a state judicial facility expansion. LEED Gold certification is being pursued for the new museum building, and exhibit installation is scheduled to begin later in January.

    Located in Denver's Golden Triangle Museum District and Civic Center cultural complex, the History Colorado Center was designed by Tryba Architects of Denver to reference the state of Colorado through colors, daylighting, and materials such as Colorado sandstone and cabinetry of strand-woven aspen. A focal element of the building is its four-story skylit atrium, designed to host both exhibits and special events. Embedded in the floor is a 40-by-60-foot (12-by-18-meter) terrazzo tile map of Colorado, designed and installed by artist Steven Weitzman.

    The museum will feature high-tech, hands-on, experiential exhibits, along with highly efficient, temperature- and humidity-controlled collection storage spaces on nearly every floor. Other facilities include a library, auditorium, classrooms, restaurant, and museum store, along with private rental spaces featuring views of the Rocky Mountains. The building also houses the offices of History Colorado (formerly the Colorado Historical Society), the State Historical Fund, and Colorado's Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.

    The building project manager is Trammell Crow Company and the general contractor is Hensel Phelps Construction Company. Exhibit developer Janet Kamien worked with History Colorado staff on the exhibit content. Andrew Merriell & Associates is the exhibit designer, and Richard Lewis Media Group designed the media components.   >>>


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    Nanoscale Wires Defy Quantum Predictions - Nature, 2012.0105

    MFM Building Products Offers New Brochure - Construction Magazine Network, 2012.0103

    Flying Robots That Build Things Open Doors to Automated Architecture - Techi, 2011.1229

    Despite Delay, the 100-Watt Bulb Is on Its Way Out - New York Times, 2011.1216

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Half-timber with brick infill, fieldstone first story, 16th- or 17th-century English house (WA-282)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    Match each name with the architectural style it is associated with:

    1. John Ruskin
    2. Charles Bulfinch
    3. Thomas Jefferson
    4. McKim, Mead & White
    5. Antoni Gaudí
    6. James Renwick

    A. Federalist
    B. Shingle
    C. Gothic
    D. Romanesque
    E. Neoclassical
    F. Art Nouveau

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    What is the fundamental difference between a Japanese handsaw and a typical American handsaw?



    Classic Home 029 — Narrow-lot bungalow by Frederick L. Ackerman

    "Here is a plan that would solve the narrow-lot problem for many. Although it occupies small ground space this house has all the comforts of a home, even including a reception hall, coat closet, dining alcove, and towel closet. The fireplace is the center of interest in the living room and the casements at each side are high enough that permanent bookcases may be built in beneath them... "


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