Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,
Russell Museum of
Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General
Hospital, by Leers Weinzapfel Associates. Photo: © Anton Grassl/Esto
Museum of Medical History
by James McCown
One particular drawing speaks volumes about the task
that faced the architects of the new Russell Museum of
Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General
Hospital. That drawing is a simple study of the density
and urban configuration of the building's Boston
To the south is the tightly woven residential
neighborhood of Beacon Hill, with its venerable
red-brick townhouses and tiny pocket parks. To the north
is the sprawling campus of Massachusetts General, known
locally as MGH or Mass General — a 30-building
mishmash of architecture that includes everything from a
neoclassical Charles Bulfinch-designed building to a
ziggurat-topped glass-and-steel tower from the 1990s.
In designing the new museum, Leers Weinzapfel Associates
was charged with mediating the scales of these two
differing districts while also creating a new "front
door" for the entire MGH complex. The result is an
8,000-square-foot (2,400-square-meter) gem of a building
that manages to take the best from its surroundings
while also forming a distinct street presence for
"Cambridge Street is the dividing line between Beacon
Hill and the hospital complex," explains Jane
Weinzapfel, the firm's principal in charge of the
project. "The new building is of a scale and materiality
in concert with Beacon Hill and some of the hospital
buildings on the north side of Cambridge Street."
The Russell Museum's unique program within the hospital
campus also called for a different kind of building than
its neighbors. "Medical centers tend to be
inward-looking," says Weinzapfel. "This had to be
transparent and very outward-looking."
Tom and Jill King renovated their 1961 house designed by Fay Jones. Photo: Danielle del Sol
Renovating Fay Jones
by Danielle Del Sol
While the work of a master painter or sculptor might be
nurtured in climate-controlled galleries for centuries,
the works of master architects are often lived in,
worked in, enjoyed by crowds, exposed to the weather,
and vulnerable to owners' whims. Architecture lovers can
hope that their favorite structures are cared for by
conscientious stewards, but aside from the use of
preservation easements, there are few real guarantees.
Luckily for fans of E. Fay Jones, the designer of Thorncrown Chapel, at least one of the architect's prototypical midcentury-modern ranch houses in northwest Arkansas — the Joe Marsh Clark House — has fallen into skilled and caring hands: those of Tom King, a violinmaker, and his wife, Jill, an accountant.
The Kings relocated to the hilly, quaint university town of Fayetteville from their home state of Maryland in 2008 and were thrilled to purchase a Fay Jones original. The Clark House, built in 1961 on Mount Sequoya, a large hill close to the town square, marries the Organic-style and Prairie-style influences that Jones learned at Taliesin, under his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright, with native materials such as flagstone and vernacular inspirations from nearby farm buildings.
Virtually all stone and glass, the home is a midcentury modernist's dream, a cool 1960s ideal realized with the indigenous offerings of the Ozark Mountains.
Its layout was conceived as a blend of modernism and naturalism, tailored for its original owners, a geologist and a botanist. For example, the entire home has beautiful polished flagstone floors with the sole exception of a space in the living room that was left as soil, to be used as the ultimate planter.
The home was captured in a stunning series for House Beautiful magazine in 1964 by famed architectural photographer Ezra Stoller, and was also used in an ad campaign in The New Yorker that boasted about the "contemporary way of life in Arkansas."
Despite the Kings' enthusiasm for owning such a beautiful home, it became apparent to them soon after moving in that the house had some drawbacks.
VMZINC: The Versatile Choice for Roofs and Walls
The VMZINC Standing Seam Panel System is a versatile, economical technique applied to roofs and walls. It can be machine- or hand-produced, depending on the design. Available in five colors, it accommodates lines and shadows and is particularly suitable for very large surfaces and for structures located in harsh climates.
Four Passive House townhouses designed by Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture have been completed in Malmö, Sweden. Photo: Kasper Dudzik
People and Places
by Nancy Novitski
OMA in Beijing, China —
Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture in Malmö, Sweden —
HOK in New York, New York —
Zhang Huan in Toronto, Canada —
Ennead Architects in New York, New York —
KMD Architects with MNK Architects in El Paso, Texas —
Gensler in San Diego, California —
Weiss/ Manfredi in Brooklyn, New York...
Malmö, Sweden 2011.0514
A group of four Passive House townhouses has been completed in Malmö, Sweden. Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture of Gothenburg and builder Höllviksnäs Förvaltnings AB won an open competition organized by the City of Malmö to design the project for the last vacant site in the Bo01 housing exhibition area, in the western harbor.
Two of the units occupy the east end of the site, while the other two stand along the south side. The L-shaped area between the two pairs contains garden and parking space. To give each house its own character, the architects used different types and colors of cladding materials, such as plaster, fiber cement board, and wood. All units feature exterior venetian blinds to allow solar gain from winter sun while blocking summer sun.
As per the Passive House standard, the homes are extremely energy-efficient. Annual energy usage for heating and hot water in each unit is projected to be about 41 to 45 kilowatt hours per square meter (3.8 to 4.2 kWh per square foot). The roofs, exterior walls, and foundations are all about 50 to 60 centimeters (20 to 24 inches) thick, with U-values around 0.08. The windows have a U-value around 0.085. The ventilation system recovers about 82 percent of heat energy contained in outgoing air with an air-to-air heat exchanger.
The development also features energy-efficient appliances, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, FSC-certified wood, vegetated exterior walls and roofs, and solar thermal systems that meet about 40 percent of annual domestic hot water needs.
It's fast, easy, private, and secure.
Mobile App on Brick Cladding
Hanson Brick introduces the "My Hanson Brick" iPad app. Users can view the Hanson Brick catalog, access brick sizing and coursing information, prepare and share project ideas, create customized showcase rooms, and find existing buildings that use specific brick products.
Flexible LED Module
The new GE Infusion™ LED module offers a flexible, long-lasting, energy-saving lighting solution for commercial environments. Available in a range of lumen packages with high CRI and color temperature options, the modules provide consistent, stable, dimmable white light. Easily maintained and upgraded, with a simple twist-and-lock fit.
Starting a New Drawing in AutoCAD - CAD Panacea, 2012.0523
Carl Bass: Think of Computing as Though It Were Infinite - Design & Motion, 2012.0523
New Dell Workstations with NVIDIA Maximus Dual-GPU Architecture - Desktop Engineering, 2012.0523
ArchiCAD 16 - the Morph Tool - CADimage, 2012.0522
Adding an Accurate Location in ArchiCAD - CADimage, 2012.0522
AutoCAD LT 2012 Service Pack 2 Released - Autodesk, 2012.0522
Product News - Water-Saving Wall-Mounted Toilet
Caroma introduces the Cube Invisi™ Series II, a
high-efficiency wall-mounted toilet with minimalist,
contemporary styling. With its tank hidden inside the
wall, the toilet seems to hover over the floor, saving
space and simplifying cleaning. Dual-flush technology
offers a choice between 0.8-gallon (3-liter) and
1.28-gallon (4.8-liter) flushes, reducing water use up
to 40 percent compared to standard models with
1.6-gallon flush volumes. The flush activation buttons
can be installed on the wall, on a counter, or, with the
remote option, up to 13 feet (4 meters) from the tank.
WaterSense®-labeled. Also available: the classically
contoured Walvit Invisi™ Series II Elongated
See our comprehensive visual catalog of architectural products, powered by DesignGuide!
"Very good resource/magazine."
— EMT, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
The slopes of Egyptian pyramids mimic the slopes of
mountains in that the main force acting on both is the
"dead load" of their own weight. What is the angle of
the typical sloping face of the pyramids? Care to guess
how much the pyramid at Giza weighs?
Identify the source of the following quote. "If a
builder has built a house... and the house he built has
fallen and caused the death of the owner, that builder
shall be put to death."
A. Passage 704, codex Texahochacaun (980 AD, Mayan)
B. Section 229, the Code of Hammurabi (1800 BCE,
C. Edicts of Amon at Karnak (1085 BCE, Egyptian)
D. Proposed Amendment for the Uniform Building Code
(2001 AD, American)
Classic Home 049 — Two-story Western house, by Frederick L. Ackerman
"This is a well designed house of the Western type and, though not a large house, it contains seven rooms of ample size. The living room has direct light from two sides and indirect light from the French doors that lead to the dining room. The beamed ceiling is an attractive feature. A glazed door leads to the generous living porch at the side, which augments the size of the living room. Built of frame and stucco."
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