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Contemporary Design

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ARONOFF ADDITION - A FIELD GUIDE TO META-NARRATIVES

I am often asked how I like the new Aronoff addition to the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, designed by Peter Eisenman. After all, I work there every day and I am an architect.

Well, that's easy: I like it. It's airy and spacious, visually engaging, and reasonably functional. But, most important, it is entertaining to talk about.

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MOSSTICISM IN THE HAYDEN TRACT

Almost fifteen years ago, architect Eric Owen Moss began to work with developer-urbanists Frederick and Laurie Smith to revitalize the industrial Hayden Tract of Culver City, California. Now, with over twenty buildings either completed or under construction most of them reworkings of abandoned warehouses it is clear that something special has come to fruition in this once-upon-a-time wasteland.

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NORMAN FOSTER : ANALOG AND DIGITAL ECOLOGY

Norman Foster's keynote address at this year's Bentley International User Conference in Philadelphia on Tuesday reminded me again why he is considered one of the most intelligent architects practicing today.

In a wide-ranging talk that tied together themes found in his work for over 30 years, Foster stressed the importance of melding the technological with human experience, or the "digital with the analog," as he called it.

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MOCKBEE SOUTHERN GENIUS

Earlier this summer, Alabama architect Samuel Mockbee picked up the phone and found out he was a genius. Not just a genius, mind you. But one of only three in the entire profession.

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A MASTER ARCHITECT OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Editor's note: Roland Terry has been one of Seattle, Washington's most beloved architects for nearly 50 years. He was a practitioner of the "Northwest Style," along with Pietro Belluschi and John Yeon. The following is an excerpt from a recently published retrospective of his work, based on interviews with Terry's contemporaries.

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FRANK GEHRY ROCK TEMPLE

In 1969 a screaming, reverberating rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix seemed to herald an end to innocence. His resonant lyric "Are you experienced?" is now recalled in the name of software billionaire Paul G. Allen's Experience Music Project. Hendrix would have appreciated the design approach to Seattle's new museum of pop music.

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MORPHOSIS DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

If buildings really do reflect society's values, we can applaud the new Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California. Here is a place where social conscience coexists comfortably with creativity and imagination. These qualities are all permanently inscribed in the landscape of the campus and its form.

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A MODERN HOUSE STEEPED IN MEXICAN TRADITION

We have just experienced one of our greatest joys as architects: designing and building a second home for ourselves in Mexico. Our goal was to create a house that would be strong, embracing yet transparent, and layered in color, form, and emotion: completely modern yet saturated with Mexican traditions.

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COSMIC TRIP: THE ROSE CENTER FOR EARTH AND SPACE

On an island crammed with so many buildings that one more isn't likely to make a difference one way or the other, the new Rose Center for Earth and Space has already made its mark. Designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, this latest addition to New York's American Museum of Natural History has created a level of excitement in a city where architectural pundits (who wear their weary cynicism proudly) have anointed it the most significant piece of architecture in, well...a pretty long time.

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SAITAMA SUPER ARENA: THREE BUILDINGS IN ONE

Depending on when you go there, the new sports and cultural facility for the Saitama Prefecture, Japan, is a 30,000-seat soccer stadium, a 20,000-seat basketball arena, or a 5,000-seat concert hall. The technology that makes these transformations possible is a unique system for moving a very large block of 9,200 seats, with related walls, floors, and spectator amenities. The block is 135 feet (41.5 meters) high and weighs 15,000 tons. In only 20 minutes it can move the 230 feet (70 meters) between the arena and stadium configurations.

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