Modernist Houses Galore! [visual candy for architects]

candyDo you like modern architecture?  Is Frank Lloyd Wright someone you wish you could have met?

If so, then you’ll want to check out the new “Masters Gallery” of the North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) group.  With changes and additions announced this week, it’s Gallery is America’s largest open digital archive of Modernist houses, as well as the internationally known Modernist architects who designed them.

Currently, the Gallery showcases over 30 architects with extensive house histories and over 10,000 photos.  The Gallery is extensive and searchable and includes, among many other notables, Frank Gehry and, of course, Frank Lloyd Wright.

To view the NCMH Masters Gallery, go to http://www.ncmodernist.org/ and click on “Masters Gallery” under the Archives listing.   Be careful, though, because NCMH founder and director George Smart, you can spend many addictive hours looking around.  Hey, at least this addiction doesn’t require a trip to the gym afterwords!

 Photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

5 Impressive Construction Projects in North Carolina

What are your top construction building projects in North Carolina?  Do you have a “short list”?  Author Ralitsa Golemanova of JW Surety Bonds does, and she has the reasoning behind them. Ralista’s Top 5, which all “present a different facet of exceptional modern design and construction” are presented below. 

Her list, in no particular order, includes:

art museum1.  The North Carolina Museum of Art’s West Building Expansion

The 127,000 square-feet West Building Expansion of the North Carolina Museum of Arts won the 2011 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award for Architecture.   The Building is largely made of aluminum panels. One of its specificities is that it does not have any windows. Instead, visibility is ensured through 360 skylights that allow delicate natural light to enter the inner galleries.

2.  The Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte

The skyscraper is 871 feet tall and was completed in 1992, is allegedly the tallest building between Atlanta and Philadelphia, and can be seen from 35 miles away.

3.  The Bell Tower Development project at UNC-Chapel Hill

The huge $175 million Bell Tower Development includes a 710 car parking deck, a 25 thousand-ton chilled water plant, a new Genome Science Laboratory Building which will provide approximately 210,000 square feet of  modern classrooms, laboratories and offices including nine wet labs, four bioinformatics labs, a 250 seat lecture hall, a 450 seat lecture hall, an 80 seat classroom, and four 30 seat seminar rooms.

4.  The Biomanufacturing Research Institute & Technology Enterprise (BRITE) at NC Central

The BRITE construction was a $17.8 million endeavor, which is spread out over 59,900 square feet and complements the existing science buildings.  The project includes a four-story 65,000 square foot building to provide hands-on learning experiences for biotechnology students.

Hunt library5.  The James B. Hunt, Jr. Library at NC State

Priced at $93.75 million, the 221,122 square feet library  is designed with maximized light and views of nature in mind.  With its LEED Silver certification, it provides natural heating and cooling, as well as usage of rainwater with the help of green roofs and rain gardens.

What about you?  Do you have a list of favorites??  Share in the comment section of the blog.

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Photos of Art Museum and Hunt Library both courtesty of Wikipedia via cc.

How is that possible? State Law variations can snag you! (law note)

Today I’m guest posting over on Construction Law Musings.  My post, entitled “You Mean They Can Do That?” discusses the fact that there are different legal hurdles that can present challenges to your Architecture or Engineering Firm when you venture across state lines.

skatesAs I state in the post, just as licensing issues and building codes differ, so too do the laws.  Your best defense?  A good offense. Get help specifically tailored to the new state up front so you won’t get pinched later on.   In other words, don’t be a cheapskate!

Read the full post here.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?  Share in the comments below.

Photo (c) Jan Andersen

 

Why One World Trade Center is the World’s Most Expensive Project (guest post)

One World Trade CenterToday, we have a *very* informative guest post by Mike Freiberg.  Mike is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.

It isn’t the biggest, or the flashiest—but it’s definitely the priciest

The new One World Trade Center (or Freedom Tower)  has been a difficult project to get moving since it was announced nearly twelve years ago. Numerous architects and dozens of possible designs were considered, and ultimately scrapped, as the project underwent one reinvention after another. The project was finally completed May 10th of this year, rising to a symbolic 1,776 feet, and running up a bill of just under $4 billion—making it (by far) the most expensive skyscraper ever built.

For comparison, the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, dwarfs One WTC by over 1,000 feet, and is much more lavishly appointed—but was built for less than half the price ($1.5 billion). So where did One World Trade Center’s nearly $4 billion price tag come from?

The world’s first fortress skyscraper

The Freedom Tower designers had to juggle several competing priorities. The tower shouldered a heavy rhetorical burden, as a symbol of fortitude and resilience—but it also had to meet the pragmatic needs of a global financial hub on an extremely valuable piece of real estate. It was a tall order; but by far the most expensive and challenging aspect of Freedom Tower’s design was security—demonstrating that the lessons of the 9/11 attacks would be taken seriously.

From the exterior, One World Trade Center looks like any other skyscraper. Inside, though, it’s built like a tank—and incorporating (and concealing) these features was the greatest source of cost overruns during the tower’s seven-year build. Here are a few of the most impressive innovations.

A towering concrete base

Unlike most skyscrapers, One World Trade Center is set on a 20-story, windowless podium of highly reinforced concrete, built to withstand a 1,500 lb. truck bomb of the type used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. When completed, the podium will be sheathed in prismatic glass to conceal the blast walls. The podium uses 720,000 cubic feet of “iCrete”, an expensive designer concrete mixture capable of withstanding 14,000 pounds per square inch of pressure—nearly three times the compressive strength of normal high-rise concrete.

A colossal air-quality apparatus

While the exterior is fortified against explosions and impact, designers also considered the threat of biological and chemical attacks, as well as fire, sparing no expense for One World Trade Center’s internal air system. Each stairwell is composed of reinforced concrete, with a separate, pressurized air supply to keep them operational in the event of an emergency.

The building is also dotted with biological and chemical filters and detectors, as well as ventilation shafts that can quickly expel contaminants as soon as they are detected.

Fortified, secure elevator shafts

One World Trade Center’s elevators are encased in three feet of concrete, and serve as an internal “spine” for the building, to prevent collapse in the event that the steel exoskeleton gives way (as it did in the September 11th attacks). The tower contains 71 elevators, none of which have buttons—instead, the car identifies each passenger, and will only bring them to the floor for which they are authorized, at an impressive 23 miles per hour. It remains to be seen how smoothly this system will operate—the building will open late this year.

An integrated security and safety network

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Freedom Tower will feature over 400 closed-circuit surveillance cameras, networked security doors, temperature and air quality monitors, and automated elevators connected via a huge web of shielded communications cables. Security teams will have a constant stream of richly-detailed status reports from across the building, so that even minor problems like electrical failures or a buzzing smoke detector reach security instantaneously. Early on, this security grid will also incorporate airport-style checkpoints and electrified fencing on the tower grounds, but those measures will be phased out after several months of normal operation.

Of course, these mammoth security expenses have been highly controversial—what seems like an appropriate symbol of vigilance to some, manifests paranoia to others—but however you interpret them, it’s not all that surprising that One World Trade Center is now the world’s most expensive skyscraper.

Thanks, Mike, for the detailed information on the newest symbol in the NYC skyline. 

What do you think about the Freedom Tower?  Is it money well spent?  Over-engineered to death?  Share in the comments section, below.

 

AIA Triangle Home Tour (this Saturday!) (Tue Tip)

AIA Triangle House TourThis Saturday, make plans to attend the annual Triangle Tour of Residential Architecture. This year’s tour showcases award-winning, architect-designed homes throughout the North Carolina Triangle region.
  
What:  AIA Triangle Home Tour
When:  October 6th, 2012 (this Saturday)
 
   
Featured residences including homes by the following Firms:
Will you go?  Even if you cannot tour, check out the photos and details of the homes on the AIA Triangle Home Tour website.  And congrats to the participating, award-winning Firms.

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