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    QUIZ

     
    ArchitectureWeek Notes No. 566
    Dear ArchitectureWeek Readers,

    ArchitectureWeek No. 566 is now available on the Web, with these new design and building features, and more. This Notes edition is sponsored by Wiley:

    Wiley

    Becoming a Green Building Professional

    For those considering reinventing their careers with a focus on sustainable building and design, Becoming a Green Building Professional is a vital and informative guide. The book offers practical information on educational requirements, career options, guidance and tips, and interviews with green building professionals.

    Learn more

     
     
    Image

    The restaurant pavilion at the Hotel La Concha by Toro Ferrer, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1958. Photo: Jon Rendell

    Tropicalismo
    by Danielle Del Sol

    As Le Corbusier was casting in concrete and Philip Johnson was building glass houses, ambitious architects in Puerto Rico were also experimenting with the tenants of International and Modernist styles.

    The architectural elements that worked well with the island's intensely hot, humid and hurricane-prone climate — functional floor plans that accentuated cross-ventilation, for example, and accents like brise-soleils, which allowed enough natural light in to illuminate interiors without overheating them — were culled by a group of select architects and compiled into a form of modernism unique to their region.

    The result — a Caribbean-style of Modernism that would come to be known as Tropicalismo — was more than architecture for the sake of introducing the avant-garde. Tropicalismo, says John B. Hertz, former dean of the University of Puerto Rico's School of Architecture, was meant to be "a vehicle to a world of progress."

    Shedding the colonial styles of the island's past, this new form of architecture could help validate Puerto Rico as an entity unto itself while also transforming the sultry climate into part of a modern, marketable narrative that would attract rich tourists and business ventures to an island championing all things good and new.

    State officials of the period, looking to grow and embrace the new, decided that tourism was a "clean" way to grow economic development, and launched a hotel-building campaign that would allow state-owned buildings to be leased to hospitality magnates.

    For the new Hotel Caribe Hilton, to be the first Hilton hotel project outside of the continental United States, Puerto Rican officials invited two Miami-based architecture firms and three San Juan firms to submit designs.

    Officials rejected the traditional Spanish Colonial designs submitted by the stateside firms in favor of the starkly modern design submitted by small, local firm Toro Ferrer y Torregrosa.   >>>

     
    Image

    The 2012 SmartGeometry conference was held at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (2008), in Troy, New York, designed by Grimshaw Architects. Photo: Matt Wade

    Smart Geometry Update
    by Terri Peters

    The nature of architecture and the performance of materials are deeply linked. The nature of material is the nature of the stuff that surrounds us, and architecture is concerned with the arrangement of this "stuff."

    As computational power increases, architects are able to consider larger and larger data sets. One way to focus those computing resources is to consider increasingly small building components.

    This technological advancement is contributing to an increased interest in designing building materials. Nature provides examples of how materials can be designed - organized in ways that increase performance. But how can architects arrange the constituent parts of their buildings, right down to the molecular level, to achieve new levels of customization and performance?

    This year's SmartGeometry conference tackled these concepts and others. The theme of the conference was on material design and digital design tools: investigating the architectural implications of hyper-specified materials, interactive responsive facades, responsive acoustic environments, bioactive wearable architecture, and more.

    The four-day workshops and two public conference days were held at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, New York, designed by Grimshaw Architects.

    Co-Director of SmartGeometry, Xavier de Kestelier of Foster + Partners, explains that the main ideas behind this year's "Material Intensities" workshop sessions was to consider material efficiency when creating environments, micro-climates and contexts that are congenial for social interaction, activities, and organization.

    "We wanted to ask: how can multiple properties of the same material be harnessed?" he explains. "Addressing these big ideas calls for design innovation and dialogue between disciplines and responsibilities."   >>>

     
    P&P Image

    Augmented Distillery, at 4-10 St. John's Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, by Matt Drury. Image: Courtesy RIBA

    Architecture People and Places

    RIBA Forgotten Spaces Shortlist 2012, Newcastle upon Tyne, EnglandIBI Group, Vancouver, British ColumbiaOne World Trade Center by SOM, New York City

    RIBA Forgotten Spaces Shortlist 2012, Newcastle upon Tyne
    The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the project shortlist for its Forgotten Spaces 2012 competition. Focusing on sites located within the RIBA North East region, and hosted by the eponymous regional office, the competition invites design proposals for left-over land.

    According to RIBA, "A 'forgotten space' could be small or large - a grassy verge, a wasteland, an unused car park, a derelict building or underpass or flyover. The proposal could be simple or complex, commercial or public, a piece of public art or a new building, the only requirement is that it responds to the area and serves a function for the local community."

    Out of 39 entries, 21 were selected for the shortlist. Projects include small urban designs, such as Angular Flight, Behind the Side, Forgotten River, and Pink Plaza — intended to heal and reconnect historically fractured urban fabric. The City Wall Circuit is a walking tour that traces the former town walls of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

    A number of project for the adaptation of various existing structures were proposed, including: Forgotten Relics, conversion of a ruined stone building into a reliquary; Home Surveillance, a proposal to adapt a disused theater for use as a homeless community; and New City Industries, which plans to fill a disused steel frame structure with an adaptable architecture system. >>>

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Oval bull's-eye windows with foliated marble frames and festoons, 19th-century mansion (WI-061)

     

    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    Where and why would you add air-entraining (AE) agents to concrete?

     
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    What is a "Chicago Window"?


     
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    Classic Home 054 — Two-story house, by Christian F. Rosberg

    "The entrance to this house leads directly into the living room, but an ample vestibule with coat closet would shut off drafts in cold weather. The staircase starts from the living room and, with the vestibule, frames an inglenook around the fireplace, adding a decorative feature to the room. The second floor provides three bedrooms of good size, well equipped with clothes closets. The porch overlooks the street and side lawn... "

     

     
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