Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,
The Crystal Bridges Museum is organized as a series of galleries connected around a quiet pond. Photo: © Timothy Hursley
Crystal Bridges Museum - Safdie in Arkansas
by Michael Cockram
For those familiar with the remote and quiet beauty of
the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas, the sudden appearance
of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in
Bentonville seems somewhat miraculous.
There had been, of course, much buzz leading up to the
opening, but nothing could quite prepare the visitor for
the arrival and the experience of peering down into a
narrow ravine and seeing, some 30 feet (nine meters)
below, a village of swirling forms set around a mirrored
Architect Moshe Safdie placed the buildings at the
bottom of the ravine to take advantage of the water and
to preserve the mature trees that grew on the high
ground. The overall effect is stunning.
The central conceit of the scheme wraps the galleries,
set up as a series of pavilions, around a pond
constructed by damming a small creek. The main galleries
flank the water on the east and west sides and have
concave roofs that sweep down toward the pond. The two
glass-walled bridges, with their vaulted roofs, span the
pond and connect the main galleries.
The device of damming and bridging the creek grew out of
Safdie's visit to the nearby childhood home of the
museum's benefactor, Walmart heiress Alice Walton.
"I saw that house and how Fay Jones had dammed the water
and created a little pool," Safdie told
ArchitectureWeek. "Once I went into the ravine, I
immediately thought that the way to capture the spirit
of the place is to dam the stream and create large
bodies of water and then build around them."
During the 1950s, Oscar Niemeyer designed the National Congress Building in Brasília, as well as several other major government buildings in Brazil's new capital. Photo: Jorge Andrade
Oscar Niemeyer - Brazilian Modernist
by Styliane Philippou
As the preeminent figure of one of the most innovative national interpretations of architectural Modernism, and a radical critic of orthodox Modernist aesthetic formulae and moralizing ideologies, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer occupies a unique place in the pantheon of great builders.
Tirelessly exploring the structural and formal possibilities of reinforced concrete over more than seven decades, and still in practice at over 100 years old, Niemeyer has designed over 600 buildings.
Taking advantage of Brazil's advanced reinforced-concrete technology and working closely with highly committed structural engineers, Niemeyer found in concrete an ideal means to achieve what he refers to as an architecture of "spectacle... plastic freedom and... inventiveness," rooted in Brazil's native traditions and tropical landscape and challenging the dominance of clean white walls, straight lines, and right angles, which, for him, "issued from a European ethical tradition."
Simplicity and exuberance combine at the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, which opened in 2002. Photo: © Kevin Matthews/ ArtificeImages
Conjugating architectural, structural, and topographical events to achieve maximum fluidity, he prioritized the sensual reality of the architectural experience. Concrete, a material suited to the local economic and technological conditions, permitted Niemeyer to launch what he conceived as a "new" and "bolder architecture in the dimensions of Brazil," proclaiming the country's unequivocal modernity as well as its emancipation from Western prototypes.
Architect of Brazilian Modernism
Born Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida de Niemeyer Soares Filho, in Rio de Janeiro, Niemeyer stresses his "diverse ethnic roots" — that is, his Brazilianness, in accordance with the national ideology of ethnic amalgamation.
Niemeyer studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes from 1929 to 1934, where the patriarch of modern Brazilian architecture, Lúcio Costa, had added a "Functional Course" and appointed as professor Gregori Warchavchik, a pioneer of the Modern Movement in Latin America, with Affonso Eduardo Reidy as his assistant.
The short-lived course provoked explosive opposition from the school's Beaux-Art majority, but it was popular with the students Costa described as "a purist battalion dedicated to the impassioned study of Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and especially Le Corbusier."
The Sumatrakontor mixed-use building, designed by Erick van Egeraat, has opened in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: © J Collingridge
People and Places
by Nancy Novitski
Frank Gehry with H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture in New York, New York — Foster + Partners with Walter Francl Architecture in Vancouver, Canada — Erick van Egeraat in Hamburg, Germany...
Hamburg — 2012.0120
The Sumatrakontor building has officially opened in Hamburg, Germany. Designed by Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat, the ten-story, 37,000-square-meter (400,000-square-foot) mixed-use building combines a five-star hotel, offices, conference rooms, retail space, high-end housing, and an underground parking garage.
The facility is part of the Überseequartier master plan and the larger HafenCity waterfront redevelopment. The building forms a clear urban block around an inner courtyard that opens toward the main boulevard, creating a semi-public space.
The design makes a contemporary reference to the historic red-brick harbor buildings through the use of red stone. The large volume appears to be cut into four different volumes, underscored by a specific dialectic play between glass, aluminum, and red stone slabs for each of the volumes. In contrast, all facades facing the inner courtyard are white, like the traditional white plastered facades of the city center.
The project was developed by ING REIM; SNS property finance; and Gross + Partners (recently acquired by Pramerica).
Channel Glass Wall Systems
Bendheim Wall Systems, Inc. is North America's leading channel
glass wall systems supplier. The company's award-winning
projects include Steven Holl's Bloch Building/Nelson-Atkins
Museum of Art, the Shaw Center for the Arts by Schwartz/Silver,
the Boston ICA by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Moore Ruble
Yudell's Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure.
It's fast, easy, private, and secure.
Tools and Downloads
Defining Green Products for Indoor Environmental Quality
Air Quality Sciences offers a white paper examining what
constitutes a green product, how the term "green" has been used
and misused, and how green products can affect indoor
environmental quality (IEQ) and human health. Additionally, this
paper explores federal and state government "green chemistry"
initiatives, regulations, and guidelines.
Vectorworks Architect 2012
With Vectorworks(R) Architect 2012 software, you can create
building information models without giving up the ease of design
you're used to. Whether you're looking to streamline costs,
analyze materials, increase your energy efficiency, or just
create world-class designs, with the Vectorworks Architect
solution, BIM just works. Enjoy the robust and flexible
capabilities of BIM with the ease of design, great
documentation, and intelligent tools that the software is known
for - right from the start.
BUILT: Wicked Problems in Construction - AUGI, 2012.0202
Autodesk Previews Interactive Terrain Shaping for AutoCAD Civil 3D - It's Alive In The Labs, 2012.0201
Whose Fingers Are on the Victoria's Secret Model's Shoulder? - NPR, 2012.0201
Autodesk ForceEffect Version 2.0 Now Available - BIM & Beam, 2012.0131
Product News - Lightweight Natural Slate Roof
SlateTec® is a simple lightweight roofing system
using natural slate. The patented system combines
highest-grade (S1) slate with a recyclable polymer
interlayment, which is lapped beneath and concealed by
the slate pieces. By eliminating the portion of each
slate piece that would be hidden in a traditional slate
application, this system reduces roof weight by about 40
percent. This allows homes to be roofed in slate without
costly reengineering or strengthening of the
roof-support structure. Weight and price are comparable
to synthetic imitation slate. Lifespan is 75 years or
more. From SlateTec, Inc.
See our comprehensive new visual catalog of architectural products, powered by DesignGuide!
"Love you guys and gals!"
— GR, Seattle, Washington
While waiting for the owner at the last job site
meeting, the general contractor mentioned he was trying
to decide between a clear-view and a free-lift mast
option on a piece of equipment he was considering
purchasing. The amount of side shift and the carriage
width were also considerations. What type of equipment
was he considering?
Classic Home 033 — English-style cottage by William Carver
"Here is an unusually interesting English cottage type of house. Common brick with wide mortar joints and irregular spacing is used for the exterior walls with an upper gable of shingles. The roof is of irregular slate laid in an unusual pattern. The design calls for casement windows, and a good architectural feature is the small bay window in the second floor bedroom. This is a six-room house with one bedroom on the main floor. The living room is built almost as a separate unit with no second floor."
The latest architectural headlines, linking across the Web:
• Building Culture
• Tools & Products
Daily Building, Directory of Architects, Architecture Books,
Building of the Week, Free Classifieds, Great Buildings, the
ArchitectureWeek Online Library, Web Directory, Archiplanet,
For any subscription-related questions, just drop us a line at
"subscriptions at architectureweek.com".
Disagree, agree, have some to add, or get inspired, with something
with best wishes,
Editor in Chief
ArchWeek Green - sustainable design and building news
ArchWeek Residential - housing news and analysis
publication. By publishing this professional design and building
magazine online-only, we save about 48 tons of paper monthly,
50 large trees every week, or 2500 trees (a dozen or more acres
of mature conifer forest, representing over 100 tons a year of
biological carbon sequestration) each year, compared to reaching
a similar readership on paper - not counting these newsletters!
We provide ongoing pro-bono services to local non-profit
sustainability organizations, and our company offices are powered
by a green mix of 98% wind energy and 2% solar power through our
local electric utilities.
Reduce your carbon footprint... Switch those old paper-based
monthly subscriptions - and read ArchitectureWeek online!
Leading professional architecture magazine online, with
beautiful photos, detailed drawings, and compelling stories
delivered 47 times a year to 400,000 monthly visitors.
Flagship of the Artifice group of architecture sites with
millions of monthly unique design and building-related visitors,
foundation of the Artifice transformational communications
network with six million monthly unique visitors overall.
The way of architecture... Artifice, Inc.
541-345-7421 vox . 541-345-7438 fax . 800-203-8324 USA toll free
Artifice. "1534. [a. F., ad. L. artificium] 1. The action of an
artificer, construction, workmanship. 2. The product of art. 3.
Mode or style of workmanship. 4. Constructive skill. 5. Human
skill. 6. Skill in expedients. 7. An ingenious expedient."
-- The Oxford Universal Dictionary, Third Edition
Please add "firstname.lastname@example.org" to your address book
to help ensure successful delivery of these newsletters.
+ - - Copyright (c) 2012 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved. - - +
Click Forward in your email -- Share ArchWeek Notes with a friend!