Nanobiome Building Skin - Architect Magazine 2016 R&D Awards

July 20, 2016
Michael K Chen Architecture turned to science to perfect the design of a green wall in Manhattan.

Though green walls sound nice in theory, they can be a mess in practice. The mounting armatures often are complicated and costly to build; vertical irrigation easily becomes uncalibrated; and plants receiving uneven water levels or sun exposure quickly die out.

The Tower at PNC Plaza - Architect Magazine 2016 R&D Awards

July 15, 2016
Designed by Gensler, the 33-story, LEED Platinum certified structure in Pittsburgh relies on natural ventilation for 42 percent of the year.

When PNC Bank asked Gensler to build its Pittsburgh headquarters as the world’s greenest high-rise, the design firm’s San Francisco office surveyed the competition worldwide to assess the state of the art in high-performance design. They even visited projects in Germany, England, and Canada to see what worked. And then the firm compiled all the ideas together into the Tower at PNC Plaza, which opened last October.

Q&A with Architect Rodolfo Machado

June 20, 2016
The designer of the new Center for Asian Art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida

Q: What was your scope of work at the Ringling, and what is the site’s context?

Will The Dream Town of Arcosanti Ever Be Finished?

May 7, 2016
Construction began on Paolo Soleri’s “urban laboratory” of Arocsanti, Arizona, in 1970. Its experimental mixture of architecture and ecology remains only partially realized.

Next weekend will be the latest iteration of FORM, a free-by-application music and art festival that seeks to “celebrate creativity,” “foster collaboration,” “inspire new work and perspective,” and “promote art in public life.”

This vaguely cosmic and utopian ethos, incompatible with typical festival venues like stadiums or concert halls, has found its ideal physical setting in Arcosanti, a cluster of concrete domes, arches and interconnected structures that form the skeleton of a tiny village tucked into a desert valley 70 miles north of Phoenix.

Inside The Tower of David, Venezuela’s Vertical Slum

April 23, 2016
It was supposed to be a dramatic symbol of wealth, but became a squatters’ paradise. Now the Torre de David stands vacant in the center of Caracas, its future unclear.

The Torre David was supposed to be one of the tallest buildings in Venezuela. Instead, it became its most notorious slum.

The skyscraper, halted mid-construction in the early 1990s, was taken over by thousands of squatters in 2007. For years they turned the building into an informal community that was photographed, filmed and made famous worldwide as a “vertical slum.”

Today, emptied of its unsanctioned inhabitants, it once again stands vacant in the center of the Venezuelan capital, its future unclear.

Zaha Hadid: A Brilliant Legacy in Buildings

March 31, 2016
The death of Zaha Hadid has robbed architecture of one of its most famous and controversial figures. Her buildings and influence means Hadid leaves a vibrant legacy.

The death of Zaha Hadid, one of the world's most famous and influential architects, at 65, came as a shock. She leaves a notable legacy.

Hadid, the Iraqi-born British architect whose work has been celebrated by the top prizes in architecture, including the Pritzker Prize in 2004 and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal in 2016, died suddenly in Miami early Thursday, according to a statement released by her office, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Unfinished Architecture: This Was Almost New York’s Tallest Building

March 26, 2016
Even though it ended up being significantly shorter than originally planned, the Metropolitan Life North Building has become a New York City architectural landmark.

On Madison Avenue, at the edge of Madison Square Park, in the dense crush of skyscrapers that fill the middle of Manhattan, the Metropolitan Life North Building, one of New York City’s earliest tall buildings, stands out from its surroundings.

In an elegant counterbalance to today’s gleaming glass and steel super-tall towers that are rapidly redrawing the skyline, it is clad in beige limestone and decorated in the art deco style, with vertical flutes running up its sides and intricate details at its roofline.

Unfinished Architecture: Inside Rome's Ghost Stadium

March 20, 2016
Rome’s unfinished grand swimming stadium was neither a victim of hubris or bad construction—but rather simple economics. It may even have a chance of Olympics life.

By the side of a highway on the outskirts of Rome, a mountain of white steel pops out of the landscape. Curved and climbing to a peak like a rigid circus tent, its gridded, geodesic framing appears from a distance to be some sort of humpback dinosaur's skeleton.

And it is a skeleton, in a way.

This white steel structure is the half-built shell of one building of the Città dello Sport, or Sports City, a complex of sporting facilities for the University of Rome Tor Vergata, master-planned in 2005 by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Getting the Most Out of the Research and Development Tax Credit

March 17, 2016
The 35-year-old credit is now a permanent part of the tax code, with looser limits on what kinds of businesses and work can qualify.

The phrase “research and development” (R&D) may bring to mind white lab coats and Silicon Valley brainstorms, but new provisions in the federal tax code could turn workaday architecture firms into R&D hubs. The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, also known as the R&D Tax Credit, offers up to $10 billion in credits to businesses each tax year. In December, Congress extended and made the 35-year-old credit permanent while changing its scope to allow more small and midsize businesses to participate.

Architect Ric Abramson

March 15, 2016
The Man Who Deftly Negotiates West Hollywood’s Complex and Contentious Development Process

Ric Abramson may be the developmental conscience of West Hollywood. A longtime resident, Abramson has been almost hyperactively involved in shaping the city’s urban form and function, holding volunteer positions on the General Plan Advisory Committee, the Green Building Committee, the Environmental Task Force, the Sustainable City Committee, the Public Facilities Commission and the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation Board, all on top of running Workplays, his West Hollywood-based architecture firm.