Tag Archives: addition

Saint Louis Art Museum East Building

Saint Louis Art Museum East Building in St. Louis, Missouri, by David Chipperfield Architects, 2013

North elevation. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Many thanks to Aaron Dougherty for the photographs of SLAM's new East Building.

South Terrace. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

In 2005 David Chipperfield Architects was selected for the Saint Louis Art Museum's (SLAM) expansion. Two years later the British architect unveiled his design for the East Building, a low modern addition that quietly respects Cass Gilbert's Palace of Fine Arts, the only lasting building from the 1904 Worlds Fair and one of three buildings SLAM occupied to date (above- and below-ground expansions occurred in the 1980s). Due to the recession, it would take another three years for construction to start, and another three years for the project's completion. The $160 million, 200,000-sf (18,580-sm—more than half devoted to below-grade parking) East Building opened on June 28, 2013—free, just as it's always been.

North Entrance. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Taylor Hall, north entrance. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

The East Building's exterior is predominantly dark concrete and glass; the former provides a contrast between the light stone of the Main Building and the addition, while large openings of the latter frame views of Forest Park. The Panorama Restaurant looks north toward the Grand Basin, while different galleries reach out toward the other cardinal directions (see Level 2 plan, at bottom). Daylight entering the galleries is modulated through automated vertical shades wired to rooftop sensors. As we'll see, natural light is one of the driving forces of the design.

Sculpture Hall in 1904 Main Building. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Entrance to Panorama Restaurant adjacent to Taylor Hall. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

The plan of Chipperfield's addition (carried out with HOK as architect-of-record, it should be noted) wraps itself around the 1904 Main Building in an "L" shape, linking to the older building on its east and south sides. The plan further pinwheels through smaller "L"s, each end reaching out to frame the views mentioned above. Next to the restaurant on the north side of the East Building is a new entrance, but it does not replace the original entrance, which drops visitors into the grand Sculpture Hall. People have a choice of how to enter and then move through SLAM, but a difference between the old and new buildings happens through what is on display: the East Building focuses on contemporary art and special exhibitions (for which admission is charged). The larger galleries in the new building can accommodate larger pieces of art, one reason SLAM underwent the expansion.

Gallery 259, looking from Taylor Hall with Main Building beyond. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Gallery 251. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

If the exterior is dark and mute, the interior is light with the artwork coming to the fore. The windows that are visible from the outside are an important component in providing so much light, but not as important as the ceiling, made up of skylights inserted between 4'-deep (1.2-m) concrete beams on a 5'x10' (1.5mx3m) module. To eliminate any direct sunlight from entering the galleries from above, the infill between the beams is made up of four layers: a glass skylight on the roof, then an adjustable blackout blind, followed by a "halo" to block residual light, and finally a "light spreader" made of translucent resin panels. Also tucked above the bottom of the beams are downlights and exit signs, creating remarkably uncluttered galleries that are anything but generic.

Gallery 252, with south-facing window. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Gallery 256, overlooking South Terrace. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Chipperfield's design could be discussed alongside contemporary museums by the likes of Renzo Piano and Allied Works—museums that filter sunlight from overhead into galleries that aim to serve the artwork—but a more fitting comparison would be with the public buildings and landscapes recently completed and underway in St. Louis. SLAM's opening of the East Building follows the reopening of the St. Louis Public Library's Central Library by about six months; Cannon's renovation similarly takes a beloved 19th-century building and makes it usable for the 21st century. Add to that Michael Van Valkenburgh's work on the grounds of the St. Louis Arch—especially the portion decking over the interstate to connect the Arch and downtown (on axis with the great CityGarden, another recent project of note)—and the city is finally making some great investments into its public infrastructure.

Andy Goldsworthy's "Stone Sea," near South Terrace. Photograph by Aaron Dougherty

Level 2 plan, courtesy of SLAM

Shou Sugi Ban

Shou Sugi Ban in Maarn, Netherlands by BYTR Architects, 2010.

The monicker of this small house addition in Maarn, Netherlands, a town in the province of Utrecht, is a traditional Japanese method of burning cedar boards for a house's siding. Shou-sugi-ban, or yakisugi, is used to make the wood (sugi) resistant to fire and insects. The technique has been recently popularized in contemporary houses by Terunobu Fujimori, such as in the aptly named Yakisugi House. Rotterdam-based BYTR Architects has used the technique to give the addition its distinctive "deep black glow," while making the exterior maintenance free.

The addition, which consists primarily of a kitchen and dining area, wraps a one-story "L" around a square, two-story 1950s brick house. Therefore the addition faces the backyard and the side yard, with a small portion facing the street. The architects shaped the volume at the roof so it rises from the ends to a high point at the corner, where a small but strategically placed skylight brings plenty of light over the kitchen.

Four openings are located in the rear and side walls, each treated with white frames that stand out from the burnt vertical cedar boards and look like the interior has spilled outside a little bit. Each window is also carefully sized and located to work with the interior and provide views outside: A squarish aperture at eye-level sits between the kitchen's two work surfaces; a horizontal opening is placed low next to the dining table; another horizontal window is at eye level on the perpendicular wall, on axis with an opening that connects old and new; and sliding glass doors are at one end of the "L" by the open living area.

One reason that the shou-sugi-ban is appropriate here is in the way it wraps all of the addition's exterior surfaces, not just the walls. It extends over the roof, and therefore gives the residents a view of the charred surface from their second-floor windows; the unique facade is not just for the neighbors to look at. The material and technique are versatile enough to be used on the various surfaces, some of them angled, offering the residents a worry-free addition that is as sculptural as it is functional.

Luxbau Office Conversion

Luxbau Office Conversion in Hainfeld, Austria by synn architekten, 2011.

Previously the Luxbau construction company's offices were housed in two buildings in the center of Hainfeld, a "Wilhelminian Style Villa" and a 1930s building anchoring the corner. Faced with a situation where the employees were separated from one another, the client and synn architekten opted to build a bridge between the two structures instead of replacing the existing with a new building.  The solution -- based on social and sustainability factors over economic reasons, according to the architects -- is a striking glass and concrete addition that expresses its role as connector.

The new entrance in the glass link is positioned closer to the 1930s building than the villa. From here, one can ascend or descend via steps to the former, while access to the latter is via a ramp. The undersides of both the stair and ramp are open, so, in concert with the clear glass facing the street, the different angles of vertical ascent is described to the passersby. The full-height clear glass is interspersed with panels of translucent glazing that coincides with openings in the concrete wall that makes up the link's other long wall.

The extended building signs the company´s philosophy for solidarity with construction and the attention to details, material and conceptual outstanding solutions.
-synn architekten

This concrete wall faces a courtyard between the two existing buildings. (Note that in the image at left, the dormers above the link are actually across the street, not the villa, a bit of an optical illusion.) This tranquil outdoor space is marked by wooden paths and a pond with lilies and tall grasses. Moving from the entrance to the villa, this landscape is glimpsed through the small windows, a more effective enticement than another wall of glass would have produced.

Both of the existing buildings were adapted for the construction company's offices and improved to make them more energy efficient. The architects intended the new link and the building conversions to act as an advertisement for Luxbau, much like architects' studios are carefully considered to impress clients. Yet it's the relatively little used (in terms of time spent) link that steals the show. It illustrates how the smallest intervention (the even smaller tree planter and seating in the roadway is a nice touch) can't make the biggest impact.

SFMOMA Expansion

SFMOMA Expansion in San Francisco, California by Snøhetta, 2011.

Since the unveiling of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's (SFMOMA) expansion plans in late May, responses to the design by Norway-based Snøhetta are strong yet mixed. Most notably San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King called it "imaginative and utterly unexpected...an inventive way to double the [museum's] size." Alternatively L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne described the 225,000-sf (20,000-sm) addition to SFMOMA's 1995 Mario Botta building as "a chiseled behemoth, ... disingenuous, impressive and amusing all at once."

What each article agrees upon is that the design is preliminary and will probably change greatly between now and the anticipated completion five years from now; the architects even contend that their unveiled design is "a preview of a preview." The design fits a roughly 100-foot by 335-foot (30-meter by 102-meter) parcel immediately behind the Botta building. Seen from Yerba Buena Gardens (second photo) and the Metreon, the expansion is perpendicular to the strong NE-SW axis of Botta's terraces and truncated cylinder. If anything, Snøhetta's monolithic design serves to reinforce this axis with a dip in the roofline that preserves a view towards the 1925 Pacific Telephone Tower.

Pedestrian routes will enliven the streets surrounding the museum and create a procession of stairs and platforms leading up to the new building, echoing the network of paths, stairways, and terracing that is a trademark of the city. -Craig Dykers, Snøhetta

Of the five released images for the design, all shown here, most provide aerial views, showing the tapered plan of the uppermost floors and the long elevation facing northeast. Very few openings can be found within the facades covered in a to-be-determined solid material (GFRC is one possibility mentioned), raising a flag about how the building will fit in its urban context. A glass entrance to the south on Howard Street (taking over a fire station that will be replaced by SFMOMA nearby) is one of the few places where the expansion opens itself up to the city, echoing Botta's primarily solid original.

The aerial views may push the focus to the attempts at breaking down the large mass of the addition -- what Hawthorne equates with a cruise ship -- and the sculpting of the roofline (as if the view from Yerba Buena Gardens were all that mattered), but they also highlight the most creative aspect of the design: the elevated promenade that knits various buildings within the block together. Yet it is not clear currently how terraces atop the new building and what appears to be a rooftop sculpture garden atop an existing building to the north mesh with public circulation from the ground. Plans and interior renderings are needed to fully appreciate the design. At the moment the abstract monolith is straddling a fine line between being a good neighbor, by taking advantage of a difficult mid-block site, and being an overbearing presence in the city, by wrapping itself in way that prioritizes protecting the recently donated collection that is the impetus for such a large expansion.

Extension to the Felix Nussbaum Haus

Extension to the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück, Germany by Studio Daniel Libeskind, 2011.

Daniel Libeskind won the competition for the Jewish Museum in Berlin in 1989, months before the Berlin Wall came down. The Polish-born architect's design -- an exploded Star of David sliced by a void space -- is one of the most important projects of the last decade of the 20th century. Yet even though the museum is Libeskind's first notable commission (he produced mainly hard-to-understand drawings before it), it was not his first to be realized. The year before the Jewish Museum was completed in 1999, Libeskind's design for the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück opened. Twelve years later the architect added to his first realized project with an extension that includes an entrance hall with museum shop and a learning center.

In a number of ways Libeskind's design for Felix Nussbaum Haus is similar to the Jewish Museum: it's an addition to an old building, creating a strong contrast between new and old; its windows cut across the facades and include asymmetrical polygonal openings; it features a linear space (the Nussbaum Passage) criss-crossed by diagonal structure; it has a free-standing concrete volume that anchors the building; and Nussbaum was a Jewish artist in Germany, therefore dealing with the same issues as the museum in Berlin. To put it another way, both buildings are a product of highly focused thinking on the part of the architect at the time. More than a decade later it's clear to see that Libeskind's formal palette is consistent; of course an architect adding to his own building should result in no less.

As an architect it is a great honor to be asked to design an extension to this museum for the city of Osnabrück. It is a true celebration that the museum for Nussbaum (who was once a forgotten artist) is growing and expanding not only architecturally but also in our hearts and minds. The integration of the new extension with the present symbolizes that the memory of Nussbaum will have a vibrant and ongoing narration. -Daniel Libeskind

The extension is attached to the Felix Nussbaum Haus by a glass walkway, but its siting is immediately adjacent to the older building, the Kunstgeschichtliche Museum (Art History Museum). Libeskind contends that the color and material relate to both previous buildings; his earlier design was rendered in metal, wood, and concrete, while the oldest building is orange/brown brick. The extension's material of choice is gray plaster, and black steel frames make the many-shaped windows stand out, sending radiating lines across the facades. Needless to say, the new palette and fenestration contrasts with the old brick building and aligns itself with Libeskind's predecessor; to contrast with his earlier design would have been difficult.

Contrast in the triangular addition comes in the change from dark exterior to light interior. The bright and white lobby echoes the galleries of the Felix Nussbaum Haus, but they are found via the dark concrete passage, skylit yet belying the optimistic palette of these other spaces. In articulating the extension as something like Felix Nussbaum Haus, part 2, it feels like Libeskind did not push himself as much as he did on the first building. Perhaps he didn't want to detract from the earlier project; or maybe he aimed for a "completion" of what he started over a decade ago. Regardless, the highlight is actually the glass bridge that links the various parts. It opts for a simple transparency over dynamic formal gestures, and in the process acts as a frame for the buildings and the nature that surrounds them.

The extension opened in May 2011 and was completed with architect of record ReindersArchitekten, who also worked with Libeskind on the original Felix Nussbaum Haus.

Federal Way Library

Federal Way Library in Federal Way, Washington by Mithun, 2010.

Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington between Tacoma and Seattle, bordering the Puget Sound. It is basically suburban in layout, but symptomatically of the region it is blessed with an abundance of trees. This latter condition is particularly evident where 1st Way South bends around Panther Lake Elementary School and Federal Way Library; the first is a colorful design recently completed by DLR Group, and the second is an unremarkable 25,000 sf (2,325 sm) postmodern design from 1991 (architect unknown) recently added to and renovated by Seattle-based Mithun.

The library's 1991 building is set at a 45-degree angle to the vehicular entry's intersection with the street, a siting that pushed parking to the south of the building. Also the relationship of the old building to the intersection appears that it was geared towards giving the building a civic presence rather than relating to its natural surroundings. The 9,500 sf (880 sm) addition remedies this deficiency by wrapping the old building on the north and east sides, using full-height glazing to visually open the new spaces to the evergreen trees outside.

A guiding concept of the library’s addition [is] a 'Lantern in the Forest." -Mithun

The addition is basically comprised of three "lanterns." Each faces a different direction through a sloping glazed wall framed with zinc siding. This clamshell plan aims to preserve as many trees on the site as possible, but it also opens up a larger vista and lets in varied filtered sunlight from different directions throughout the day. Where each lantern meets the landscape "rain gardens" border the exterior wall to provide natural infiltration and create an intermediate strip of plantings between the glass walls and the trees. The view appears to be the perfect distraction while being at the library.

Mithun is responsible for the renovation of the existing library as well as the addition. Openness and natural light permeate the whole building, achieved with new skylights and glass walls. The extra space adds room for approximately 20,000 volumes, bringing the library's total to 200,000, one of the largest in the Kings County Library System. The $8.1 million expansion and renovation is part of a $172 million undertaking to renovate or expand 44 libraries in the system.

Oslo School of Architecture

Oslo School of Architecture in Oslo, Norway by Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS, .

Located near the Akerselva River in the eastern part of Oslo, Norway, the Oslo School of Architecture conducted an open design competition in 1998 for the renovation and expansion of an existing, 1938 building won by local architect Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS. Given the existing building's conservation status on its exterior, the architects focused their attention on the interior, a sunken courtyard and a new block of classrooms competing the courtyard.

To signal the entry and bring daylight to the first floor, an access court was created by removing part of the first floor. Coupled with the courtyard beyond the opening ties the School to the river while creating a communal outdoor room for social interaction and teaching. A cafe, auditorium, exhibition space, a library, design studios and workshops occupy the ground floor with offices and other administrative uses on the floor above.

Inside the character of the building is a mixture of rough, industrial surfaces (exposed, chalk-blasted concrete structure) and contrasting materials (polished concrete, linoleum flooring, ash in the auditorium and glass partitions predominant). The new exterior walls are comprised of different color insulated glass systems, giving varying characteristics to each space through incoming light.

The appeal of JVA's design for the Oslo School of Architecture lies in how the well-scaled spaces interact with the materiality of the palette the architects use. Details like the suspended mesh ceiling below the fluorescent lighting in the library (in lieu of the standard acoustical tile ceiling with lay-in light fixtures) and the use of the same in the stairwells add to this appeal. More so the exterior spaces extend this thinking, creating equally well-proportioned outdoor spaces for circulation, learning and enjoyment.

[Google Earth link]

Carrigacunna Pool

Carrigacunna Pool in Cork, Ireland by Springett MacKay Architecture, 2003.

The second piece in a three-phase improvement and restoration of Carrigacunna Castle in Southern Ireland is a new indoor swimming pool designed by London's Springett MacKay Architecture (now MSA Limited). Located between two walls of a stable dating back to the 18th century, the project also included a link to the main building and a small courtyard.

The corridor plays an important role in the project, separating the courtyard and the pool but also acting as a fulcrum for the intervention. Its two long walls exhibit the old and the new, the new wall shared with the courtyard is light and transparent and the existing wall shared with the pool is heavy and deep, its original openings leading the the water. Here a transition is made from the outside of the courtyard to the inside of the pool, from open to intimate.

From the courtyard one sees the openings of the existing wall (and the pool beyond) through the new glass wall of the corridor. This simple addition sets up a contrast between the Castle (dating back to 1457) and the link. The rhythm of the mullions and openings beyond is echoed by the stepping stones, just as the presence of the water in the indoor pool is echoed by a reflecting pool outside. In effect, the architects created a subtly symmetrical project, unifying the composition as an entity within the larger sprawl of the Castle.

The pool space itself is the most dramatic for a number of reasons. First, to stabilize the existing rubble walls a concrete tank was built inside the walls to contain the water, in effect filling the whole space with a sheet of water. Second, without room for a platform around the water, as is typically done, one can access the pool from any of the openings in the wall. And third, the architects inserted a small window at the north end of the space to frame a view of the castle and landscape beyond. Overall the architects achieved maximum effects through a minimal intervention in a contemporary manner.

House Ray 1

House Ray 1 in Vienna, Austria by Delugan_Meissl Architects, 2003.

Austrian architects Roman Delugan and Elke Meissl of Delugan_Meissl Architects recently completed a penthouse in the Wieden District of Vienna that has become a much talked about addition to the historic city. House Ray 1 sits atop a 1960's office building in a bold manner that recalls Coop Himmelb(l)au's Rooftop Office in the same city years earlier. But while the latter uses overt structure for its expression, Ray 1 is more stealth-like, using folded planes to generate the internal spaces through external variance.

Ray 1's relationship to the city takes place on the front facade (image previous page) and rear facade, at left. Dictated primarily by the strict building codes of Vienna, the front facade is dynamic in form and horizontal in emphasis, relating to the neighboring buildings via setbacks and alignment with roof lines. Unlike the front, the new rear stair juts out perpendicular to the existing facade, defiant yet internal to the block and removed from public view (click for plan). These exterior, aluminum-clad forms are the boundary of the interior spaces but also various outdoor spaces open to the city and the sky.

The folded exterior continues inside to create loft-like spaces that attempt to integrate architecture and furniture into one. For example the platform for the bed in the bedroom/bath area appears to be an extension of the exterior wall, creating an integrated space but also one with a vertiginous view. Each zone of the residential penthouse is separated from the others through variations in verticality rather than the typical partitioning of rooms via walls. Therefore certain zones become more intimate than others depending upon their uses with the kitchen acting as a hub upon which all spaces flow (click for sections).

It is apparent that the dynamic exterior isn't solely for show. All the spaces inside have the characteristic of movement, be it through the flow of space around objects or the finishes of wall surfaces. Luckily the architects created the aforementioned terrace spaces as well as a relaxation zone, helping to alleviate what may become an overwhelmingly environment for daily life. These spaces afford the occupants a potential tranquility where they experience the city and nature from the comfort of their glass and metal rooftop.

Visitor Center

Visitor Center in Caerphilly, Wales by Davies Sutton Architecture.

The following text and images (click for larger views) are courtesy Davies Sutton Architecture for their visitor center at Caerphilly Castle in Wales.

Caerphilly Castle is a scheduled ancient monument in the guardianship of Cadw; founded by the Anglo-Norman earl, 'Red Gilbert' de Clare, at the end of the thirteenth century. Its revolutionary design was based upon the concentric plan. It is one of the most visited of all the Cadw monuments attracting nearly 100,000 visitors a year. The site is situated in the center of the small town just 12 miles north of Wales' capital city, Cardiff. The brief required the building to house a shop, ticketing/reception, office, store, welfare facilities for staff, and public toilets.

It is a well accepted philosophy that new buildings on historic sites should not attempt to copy the past. The aim at Caerphilly was to create a building that is sympathetic with its historic surroundings and yet is clearly a building "of its time" - not a pastiche of the past or a fake. The inspiration was taken from the Castle itself. Like so many large stone medieval castles that offered protection when under attack, they also contained less massive structures in and around the castle. These structures were made of oak frames. The "Hoard" or fighting platform, and siege engines at Caerphilly are both made of oak frames.

However, we have not created a "replica" building. It is a balance of modern and traditional - using traditional materials to reflect the past but put together in a way that is of its time - "today". As well as the oak frame, there are steel/lead roofs (commonly used on castles) and inside the floor is Welsh slate. The paths around the building are laid with a local Pennant stone. The theme of attack is also reflected in the design. The prow of the roof rises up to point at the inner Gatehouse as if it were attacking it.

The concept has resulted in a building which, whilst sitting comfortably within an historic setting, is very much of its time. A balance of traditional and modern materials, and utilizing modern environmental techniques for harnessing the earth's natural resources.

[Google Earth link]