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Spillman Farmer Architects designed the new ArtQuest Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Warchol
by Brian Libby
Next to the defunct blast furnaces of the former
Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania —
a poignant symbol of changing times — stands a
growing arts complex with industrial heritage at center
Those massive furnaces (and their smaller predecessors)
once helped produce steel for such iconic structures as
the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, and
Hoover Dam, along with armaments for World Wars I and
II. Located on the Lehigh River, in the middle of
Bethlehem, the plant employed generations of workers and
forged the town's industrial identity.
"We all grew up here and it was within eyeshot of our
homes," says Joseph Biondo, a principal at ArtQuest
Center designers Spillman Farmer Architects. "We
remember the furnaces with their flames and smoke and
sounds. I always thought of it as an incredible pipe
organ. It was a source of great reverence."
Theatrics are performed in steel inside as well. Photo: Paul Warchol
Founded as an iron works in the mid-1800s, the Bethlehem
Steel Corporation grew to become one of the largest
steel producers in the United States. But it suffered
against foreign competition in the 1970s and '80s,
leading to extensive layoffs and then to closure of the
main plant in 1995. The company ultimately declared
bankruptcy in 2001.
For about a decade, the gigantic site of around 1,800
acres (730 hectares) stood empty, its structures
deteriorating. The National Trust for Historic
Preservation listed the plant as one of country's most
endangered historic places in 2004.
Since then, several commercial and industrial
developments have occurred on various portions of the
site. Some of these projects have been architecturally
generic, such as the new Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
and its accompanying hotel and shopping mall.
The story is different at the new SteelStacks arts and
cultural campus, about a mile (1.6 kilometers) to the
west. Its centerpiece, located directly opposite the
plant's towering blast furnaces, is the ArtsQuest Center
designed by Spillman Farmer Architects.
Glass artist Sarah Hall designed the Lux Nova installation for a new wind tower at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, part of a library addition designed by Clive Grout Architects and Walter Francl Architecture. Photo: Michael Elkan
by Michael Cockram
In harnessing solar energy, the usual approach is to
bolt an array of panels onto the roof of a building and
plug it in. But recent advances such as
building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) allow designers
to incorporate solar cells seamlessly into a building's
Canadian glass artist Sarah Hall is taking this idea in
a novel direction by using solar technology to create a
striking contemporary version of stained glass that
illuminates the aesthetic potential of PV.
Hall's Lux Nova installation (2007) at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, was the first permanent installation in North America to integrate stained glass and solar cells, according to the artist.
Two Vancouver firms, Clive Grout Architects and Walter Francl Architecture, were working to create a new library building that accommodated the school's desire to preserve a park on the site. Their design places the library facility underground, with an iconic "wind tower" above that acts as a stack ventilation shaft.
The tower is 40 feet (12 meters) tall and triangular in plan. For the south face, Hall was commissioned to create a six-by-24-foot (1.8-by-7.3-meter) vertical collage befitting this graduate school of theology.
Within each of the 12 constituent panels she designed, solar cells are arranged on an open grid, defining a series of stained-glass cross shapes.
Deep-blue silicon-crystal solar cells are woven into the stained-glass composition on the south face of the wind tower, generating power for LED lights that illuminate the Lux Nova tower at night. Photo: Michael Elkan
VMZINC: The Versatile Choice for Roofs and Walls
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At our Facebook page on June 8 — Happy Birthday Frank Lloyd Wright!
Press Release - 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2012 Announced
Flexible LED Module
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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.
Rethinking Workstation Design - AEC Magazine, 2012.0604
Tips and Tricks Learned During Chamfer Fillet for Revit PIOTM Development - AEC DevBlog, 2012.0601
AutoCAD 2013 Review - Desktop Engineering, 2012.0601
3D Printers: Go Pro for Less Dough - Desktop Engineering, 2012.0601
Changing the LineSpacingFactor for an Aligned Dimension - AutoCAD DevBlog, 2012.0601
HP Unveils Its New Z-Series Workstations - Desktop Engineering, 2012.0601
Product News - Translucent Concrete Panels
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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?
Classic Home 050 — Artists' House in North Sydney, by Glenn Murcutt
"The house is a long, low, single-story column and beam platform house entirely constructed in steel with a corrugated curved roof and timber terraces. It sits poised above the undulating ground level on its six I-section columns protected from bush fires with complete coverage from an external sprinkler system. The house was designed, according to the architect, to provide the minimum interference with nature and the existing site....
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