Posts Tagged ‘American Institute of Architects

10
Jun
08

Awards from American Institute of Architects, San Francisco

In ArchitectureWeek, Brian Libby reports on the awards handed out by the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Of particular interest is the Urban Design category, in which Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) received a merit award for the immense project known as Beijing Finance Street.

Located in a historic district close to the city center and the Forbidden City, the plan is organized around a Central Park as well as a series of interior courtyards based on the traditional Chinese Hatong neighborhoods that were largely wiped out by past urban renewal but have regained favor as the nation re-embraces its past heritage.

Beijing Finance Street encompasses eight square blocks or 860,000 square meters of office buildings, hotels, and retail stores including a huge glass-roofed shopping mall. There are also more than 300 apartments and numerous small parks. Each of the 18 buildings has three parking levels underneath. It’s a district that never sleeps, but the hotels and housing units are located near the central park to take advantage of the quieter atmosphere there, while office buildings are on the edges.

The firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill can do pretty much anything, including the most high-tech projects that clients can dream up. In Architectural Graphic Standards, 11th Edition, we see another example of their work, this time for the Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, with special attention to how they designed the vault for the Diagnostic & Treatment Facility Linear Accelerator (page 667.)

Not all AIA chapters do so, but the San Francisco chapter has a whole category for energy and sustainablilty. The honor awards in that category were captured by the Orinda City Hall (Siegel & Strain Architects), and by the Nueva School Hillside Learning Complex (Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects.) This latter project was also recently named one of the top ten green projects of 2008 by the AIA Committee on the Environment. Additionally, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry (SmithGroup) won the only merit award in this category.

Four Honor awards for excellence were given. One recipient was the firm Brand + Allen Architects, for 185 Post Street, a restoration project with innovative aspects that worked with the protective laws guarding the early 20th century origins of the historic building. Morphosis and SmithGroup shared credit for the San Francisco Federal Building, whose double skin and tall thin shape help it to overreach the energy code’s requirements. Also recognized for excellence were Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects, for Bridge House, and Fougeron Architecture, for Tehama Grasshopper.

Tehama Grasshopper is a remodeled warehouse located in San Francisco, which has been converted to offices and residences, and it also has received more than one award, having been honored earlier this year by the national AIA for its interior architecture.

Again, unlike some other local chapters, AIA San Francisco has established an awards category for interior architecture, which this year recognized three projects: a temple, a restaurant, and a residence.

Interestingly, there is even an “unbuilt design” category, for which the honoree was IwamotoScott Architecture for Hydro-Net: City of the future, a vision of San Francisco a hundred years from now. Building information modeling (BIM) helped The Design Partnership snag an honor award for the remodel of a University of California pathology lab in which costs and construction time were greatly reduced through use of the BIM technology.

The Panhandle Bandshell (pictured) received an urban design honor award, which just might be the coolest one of the bunch. This functional piece of sculpture is now located at Treasure Island, an artificial island that is part of San Francisco, where students and other low-income residents live. Among other reclaimed components, the bandshell was constructed from 65 automobile hoods and 3,000 plastic water bottles.

SOURCE: “San Francisco AIA Awards 2008″05/28/08
photo courtesy of MikeLove, used under this Creative Commons license

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09
Jun
08

Lifetime Achievement: J. Robert Hillier, FAIA

GSK

At the AIArchitect site, Heather Livingston recently published a profile of J. Robert Hillier, who earlier this year was awarded the Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the highest honor bestowed by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, recognizing the completion of a significant body of work, as well as the influence that work has had on the practice of architecture as a whole. Hillier has gained the reputation of a client-focused practitioner, and Livingston quotes some of his words here:

I think the key to success is that you have to be a good designer, you have to be able to sell good design, and you have to be able to sell yourself. They’re all bundled up together….You’ve got to protect the clients, keep the clients, and keep the clients happy. You have to keep them happy not just by doing what they say, but by doing really great design and having them understand and endorse and embrace it.

Last year Hillier’s company was re-christened RMJM Hillier, after merging with RMJM, a British firm which maintains 17 offices worldwide and is the world’s largest strictly architectural firm. Hillier is a Fellow of the AIA and an adjunct professor at the Princeton University School of Architecture, his alma mater. He sits on the Advisory Board of Architectural Graphic Standards, 11th Edition.

Hillier credits several mentors, starting with his professor, Jean Labatut, whose strong suit was site planning. Masters Degree in hand, he went straight to work at a small design-build company, assuming the title of lead designer right from the start. The company’s owner saw his potential and treated him less like an employee and more like the traditional apprentice, including Hillier in all client meetings and presentations to familiarize him with the social aspects of the trade. On the practical side, the young architect also learned everything there was to know about projecting the costs of a project, the kind of knowledge that keeps clients sweet because they are not confronted with budget surprises in the budget area.

By 1966, Hillier was 27 years old and ready to go out on his own. He began as a sole practitioner with a single client, his own dentist, whose home renovation project offered a fee equal to what had been a year’s salary. From there, the Hillier firm went on to receive more than 300 design awards at the state, national and international levels. Its projects include many educational institutions, including the New Jersey School of Architecture, and many corporate headquarters, including GlaxoSmithKline in London (pictured) and Louis Vuitton in New York. Last month, RMJM Hillier was announced as the design architect for Genzyme Corporation’s new research and development facility in Beijing.

In April, J. Robert Hillier addressed the graduating class at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, telling his audience that the number of buildings in the world will probably double within 25 years, so there is a crying need for a vast number of new architects ready to take up all the challenges that will entail. But the main message for his young listeners on that day was, “Through passion, you can make a difference.”

SOURCE: “Face of the AIA: J. Robert Hillier, FAIA” 02/01/08
photo courtesy of cybaea , used under this Creative Commons license

07
Apr
08

AGS Case Study: Restoring 215 Fremont Street, San Francisco, California

215 Fremont San Francisco

The venerable L-shaped industrial building had been around since 1927, and had suffered badly in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and then stood empty for a decade. Its rebirth is described in “Renovated Office Building at 215 Fremont Street, San Francisco California,” one of the case studies detailed in Architectural Graphic Standards, 11th Edition, from the American Institute of Architects, published by WILEY. The piece was written by four of the participants: James Kellogg, AIA, HOK; Lynn Filar, HOK; and Navinchandra R. Amin, SE and Vivian L. K. Wan, PE, both of Middlebrook + Louie.

The team that took on the revival of 215 Fremont faced real challenges. A large part of the project consisted of figuring out just what they were dealing with, hindered by the fact that many of the original drawings were either missing or indecipherable. When the nitty-gritty evaluation phase started, some unpleasant facts turned up. For example:

Since the original construction, the building had experienced differential settlements of up to 5 inches. Core samples and dynamic load tests of the existing floor slabs provided data necessary to evaluate the viability of components of the existing structure…

A large part of the evaluation process consisted of cranking up ETABS and SAP 2000, respected CAD programs that together gave a picture of how nicely the building would work and play with gravity and seismic loading. The prognosis wasn’t good. For starters, an earthquake would turn the ground beneath 215 Fremont into soup. How would they get this thing to stay up? Equally important was the need to satisfy ever-evolving building codes. We’ll let them tell it:

A new structural system needed to be developed for the project that would be sufficiently stiff to alleviate the induced internal forces in the existing floor slabs and punched exterior walls. Additionally, the structural system needed to use the full length and width of the structure to minimize the seismic overturning forces applied to the foundation…

As often happens, necessity gave birth to invention, and an elegant, innovative solution was arrived at.

This retrofit of an early twentieth century building led to the creation of a unique connection between steel braces and concrete columns, as a combination structural system comprised of steel-brace, frame-and-concrete shear walls was developed to meet all critical requirements.

The article explains exactly, and in great detail, how the team did it. And that’s not all. Every bit of 215 Fremont was remade into a paragon of sustainability and a fully compliant respecter of seismic requirements. What had once been basement storage space was now a much-needed parking facility. From bottom to top, from the new pedestrian-friendly retail arcade to the attractive rooftop terraces, the whole edifice was transformed. Impressed, the Structural Engineers Association of California gave the building its coveted Excellence in Structural Engineering Award.

215 Fremont, later also known as the Charles Schwab building and the Emporis building, was a showpiece as its neighborhood morphed into the happening “multimedia gulch.” When the project was finished in early 2001, a major corporation immediately occupied the entire building. The renovators had successfully made a statement: the cultural tone of the whole area had been elevated.

But any project of this kind also raises disturbing questions about the ultimate futility, in the event of catastrophic emergency, of even the strictest building codes.

SOURCE: “Renovated Office Building at 215 Fremont Street, San Francisco California” 2007
Photo courtesy of WILEY by Michael O’Callahan