Perl's Architecture Weblog

2003 Fall Semester

Associate Professor Robert D. Perl, AIA



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updated 13-Jul-2005


Structures of our Time: 31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life

American Institute of Architects

"The Octagon is pleased to announce the latest addition to its national traveling exhibition program. Since 1969, The American Institute of Architects has celebrated the enduring power of architecture and good design through its annual 25-Year Award, honoring structures that are 25 to 35 years old and widely recognized to be of special significance and broad influence. To celebrate over three decades of this important award, the Octagon, the museum of the American Architectural Foundation is circulating a reproduction panel exhibition that not only honors these great American buildings and their designers but also explores the ability of architecture to affect the world around it."


Professor's reputation as architect building

Lawrence Journal-World September 29, 2003

"Peter Pran is a full-time professor of architecture at Kansas University. But he's also an internationally known architect receiving increasing publicity for his unusual buildings.

Pran has been receiving a lot of press in architectural magazines lately for a project recently completed in his native Norway.

Pran was lead designer for the world headquarters of Telenor, a communications company based in Oslo. NBBJ worked with a pair of Norwegian firms on a 2.25 million-square-foot, $600 million facility that has been described as the 'office of the future.' "


Wireless Evolution


"You often hear the words office of the future when talking to people at Telenor. What they're referring to, largely, are three things: wireless technology that allows employees, each equipped with a laptop and cell phone, the freedom to work anywhere in the building; "hot desking" (or "clean desking"), where half of the employees don't have a fixed work space; and the way these first two aspects combine to encourage employee interaction. Add paperlessness, the Holy Grail of high-tech workplaces, and the fact that it's all been implemented on a vast scale, and you begin to see what they're getting at with the "future" claim."


Koolhaas Rock

Chicago Sun-Times September 30, 2003

"Here, unfinished ceilings collide like victims of an earthquake. Diagonal walkways of scratched aluminum tile and epoxy resin pass bathrooms -- called "amoeba toilets" -- made with translucent honeycomb panels so those on the outside can see silhouettes of people on the inside. Then, without warning, the floor suddenly opens to a lower level painted screaming red where students work at computers along a 93-foot-long lighted shelf.

"Today's college student is more sophisticated at navigating multiple layers of visual information. The campus center was designed much like you would navigate through a computer game or software program," says Donna Robertson, dean of IIT's School of Architecture."


In a glass of its own

Observer UK September 28, 2003

"According to estate agents struggling to let the empty upper half of its 34 floors, the gherkin, as it has been nicknamed, is actually 30 St Mary Axe, the kind of blandly discreet name that could suggest almost anything - a Georgian rectory, perhaps, or a dignified stone-faced banking hall. Anything, in fact, except what it really is: the most conspicuous eruption on London's skyline in a quarter of a century; a single building that is as big as a small town, with 500,000 square feet of space and able to accommodate 4,000 people with ease.

We are expected to get excited about skyscrapers simply on the basis of their height, an attribute that is supposed to make us overlook the fact that everything else about them is banal and exceptionally uninteresting. Most towers have all the charisma of an upended loaf of sliced white bread. With few exceptions, everything about them, bar their height, is banal to the point of catatonia. A slick skin - if you are lucky - a marble-lined lift lobby with a couple of black leather-and-chrome chairs, followed by a stack of identical floors, one on top of the other.

The architecture, if there is any, is confined to a foot-deep zone around the outer wall. Norman Foster's tower is not like that. Despite its obvious phallic shape, it is much more than the one-liner you might initially expect.

Foster has always been interested in subverting the conventional filing-cabinet repetitiveness of the office building..."



Foster and Partners


30 St Mary Axe

Adieu to Bellevue Art Museum

Seattle Post-Intelligencer September 25, 2003

"The Bellevue Art Museum is closing, foiled by a combination of a tough economy, white-elephant architecture and a failure to find an audience.

The architectural community gave Steven Holl's building a solid thumbs-up, but the visual arts community was considerably less impressed. In essence, the building is full of personality and high style, yet it is a difficult place to display art.

The first exhibit in the new space remains its best: "Luminous: Light as Material, Medium and Metaphor." Curated by Brian Wallace, who was forced out shortly thereafter, the artists in it took Holl's luminous space into account and made it work for them, through humor, subversion, savvy aesthetic reasoning and pure, blunt power."

  Bellevue Art Museum in 2001

Details mar the extraordinary in Koolhaas' IIT campus center

Chicago Tribune September 28, 2003

"Koolhaas loves Mies and messes with him at the same time. He does the rational Mies building type -- the low-slung slab -- but he tops it with a romantic symbol that recalls another architect, Wallace K. Harrison, whose boldly geometric Trylon and Perisphere were the icons of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Though the tube is a sculptural object, the building beneath it forms a space-defining wall. Like Jahn's dorm, it restores the lost "urban edge" of the old brick buildings along State Street, providing a roomlike sense of enclosure and making the campus feel like a campus again.

But if Koolhaas' urban design is exemplary, his architecture is less persuasive. The building is crude, lacking the jewel-like precision and the perfect proportions that are Mies' hallmarks."


Home is where the community is?

The Star Malaysia September 27, 2003

"As for Malaysia, he thinks it’s strange that we even have to discuss the topic of community housing in architecture. “It acknowledges that we lack community spirit in our housing estates. That’s why we have people renting houses and treating them like hotels,” he says.

So what can architecture do? Dr Tajuddin believes that proper design can help develop a genuine sense of community. “We must pass by our neighbours at walking speed not at car speed,” he explains. “There should be shady footpaths and wakafs (shelters).”  Only when people know each other will there be what architects call a sense of “defensible space” or “territoriality”, the way one might feel upon entering a kampung."


Shape of Texas Radio Spots

Texas Society of Architects

Over 150 episodes. "The Shape of Texas is a radio program highlighting contemporary and historical architecture and places which, now or over time, define our Texas culture.  It is the mission of the program to raise the public's awareness that how and what we build can affect the way we live, work, and play."


Demand for quelling office noise booms

Dallas Morning News September 25, 2003

"Noise is a big headache for cube dwellers, and employers have rarely addressed the issue... The answer lies in "sound conditioning," he says, which integrates ceiling, carpeting, furniture and acoustical technology to create a less disruptive environment. We've all heard about white noise – dull hums that drown out clatter... Button Group LLC, creates "pink noise" that targets conversation to make it less intrusive. You see, our brains are programmed to home in on chitchat. When we overhear a co-worker talking on the phone, we automatically try to process it. The system is a noise generator, amplifiers and speakers. It costs about a buck a square foot and improves privacy on average by 30 percent, Mr. Button contends."


The Design Image vs. the Reality

New York Times September 28, 2003

"Instead, these buildings exist in the imagination of developers and designers and — because of renderings — in the public eye. As stand-ins, they are remarkably close to the completed projects. But a look at the differences between renderings and the buildings they depict, and among renderings themselves, casts light on a little-discussed facet of real estate and architectural development...

Mr. Trump has turned most often to Richard C. Baehr of Great Neck, N.Y., a renderer who works in tempera paints. "Richard brings a building to life," he said. Mr. Baehr, who has been a renderer for more than 45 years, said he is known as the Blue-Sky Guy. "No client has ever requested a rainy-day rendering," he said.

Having trained and practiced as an architect, Mr. Baehr decided in the late 1950's to become a renderer, joining Robert Schwartz's firm. "I just love to draw," he said, "and most of architecture is not about drawing"...

Though developers and architects may be tempted at times to manipulate a building's appearance materially in a rendering, they say it is not worth squandering credibility...

Even as strong a digital proponent as Matthew Bannister, co-founder of Dbox on West 14th Street, sees his studio concerning itself with the same questions that faced Canaletto as he set out to portray Venice in the 18th century: perspective, time of day, composition of the frame."

"The web site that goes with the book"

"Imagine life in a city free from the noise, stench, and danger of cars, trucks, and buses. Imagine that all basic needs, from groceries to child care, lie within a five-minute walk of every doorstep. Imagine that no commute takes more than 35 minutes from door to door, and that service is provided by a fast, cheap, safe, comfortable public transport system... Crawford argues unapologetically that the car is a technology that has run wild, and that the time has come to reclaim city streets for human activities. He proposes a city planned to maximize the quality of life for individuals and communities, and gives practical suggestions for implementing this basic design in both new and existing cities."


Learning their lessons in building off campus

San Francisco Chronicle September 25, 2003

"When colleges need to expand, too many treat the adjacent neighborhoods as dumping grounds of bad design. The view from the ivory tower seems to be that the hinterlands don't matter: They aren't used to illustrate college brochures, right?

That's why two recent off-campus buildings in Oakland and Berkeley that buck the trend should be encouraged. They look nothing alike, but they make the same point: In architecture, being a good neighbor isn't simply a matter of aping what's around you. The real challenge is to make the neighborhood better -- sometimes by drawing on the past, sometimes by setting an example for the future."


21st Century City

Financial Times UK September 24, 2003

"The central selling point of the $2bn project is that people at Atlantic Station will be able to walk to most amenities, whether it be to one of several parks to listen to an outdoor concert; to restaurants or movie theatres on a Friday evening; or back home to their condominiums or houses. It is, in effect, the best of the city with all the conveniences of suburbia.

Formerly an old steel mill, Atlantic Station is the biggest brownfield project in the US located in the heart of a city. "This is in town, not on the outskirts of the city like Stapleton," says Brian Leary, vice-president of design and development for Jacoby Development, which jointly runs Atlantic Station with AIG Global Real Estate. Mr Leary is referring to the sprawling mixed-use project in Denver, which just opened and will house up to 30,000 residents. "That's a wonderful project, but it's out of town, not in the central business district like ours." "


New 'cities' springing up around many U.S. airports

USA Today September 25, 2003

"Voters in Denver and Adams counties approved the city's annexation of the land and closing Stapleton. A toll road was built to link the airport with Interstate 70 and the rest of the metro area. Water and sewer lines for the airport opened the surrounding land to development.

Now, 25% of the Denver metro area's growth is near the airport.

An economic study projects that in 2025, $85 billion will be spent annually within the 300 square miles surrounding DIA, up 466% from 2002. Jobs are projected to double to 400,000 and population to grow 66% to a half-million."


Irish engineer who revolutionised modern architecture

Irish Times September 25, 2003

"Peter Rice's inquisitive mind and desire not to go with the easiest and most fail-safe option ensured that a new generation of architects wanted to work with him.

This was an era of lightweight structures that used materials in new ways. Some buildings resembled tents, others appeared to be mainly composed of glass and many seemed to be held together by wire, thin steel and a grid of slim concrete members.

If architects were to realise these structures then they needed an engineer who could make them stand on slender supports. "The most powerful way that an engineer can contribute to the work of architects is by exploring the nature of the materials and using that knowledge to produce a special quality in the way the materials are used," said Rice."


Total Cocktail Party Dominance: Architecture

Fortune September 23, 2003

"Daniel Libeskind:...

Norman Foster: The maestro. The guiding spirit of London's rebirth in the '90s has designed Bilbao's subway stations, rebuilt the Reichstag, and is currently working on plans for the 170-story Millennium Tower in Tokyo—which will be the world's tallest and perhaps coolest-looking building. Don't have a billion to spend on a skyscraper? You can get one of his sleek, functional desk sets for under $500.

David Rockwell:..."


41 principles for architects to live by

Planetizen September 2003

10 "It is essential that the design schools accept the responsibility of teaching a body of knowledge, and not attempt to incite individualism. Students should be exposed to the general vernacular and not just to the very few geniuses produced by each generation. Emulation of the exceptional does not provide an adequate model for professional training.
34 "It is essential that we not impose untested or experimental designs on the poor. The likelihood of failure in such cases has proven to be very great; and they are powerless to escape its consequences. Architects should experiment, if at all, with those wealthy enough to be patrons. They can afford to move out of their buildings if necessary.

38 "It is essential that the analysis of everyday building not result in the conclusion that the people will accept only mediocrity. It is pandering to give them only what they already know."


World Trade Center Index Year Two: Ground Zero by the numbers

Metropolis October 2003


"Articles by Muschamp stressing the importance of defining an architectural program at the WTC site:


Sq. ft. of potential retail development quietly added to the site last fall:


Amount in dollars paid to each "design study" team:


Percentage of architects on "Dream Team" who accused Frank Gehry of being "a total prick" for protesting that amount:


Frank O. Gehry The Architect's Studio Exhibition

Henry Art Gallery Seattle

"I think my best skill as an architect is the achievement of hand-to-eye coordination; I am able to transfer a sketch into a model into the building".


Trump hits town to tout new tower

ChicagoBusiness September 23, 2003

"Although the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks forced Mr. Trump to scrap plans to construct the world’s tallest building on the site, he said his new tower will still be the largest building erected in North America since completion of the Sears Tower in 1974."


Trump's power play

Chicago Sun-Times September 24, 2003

Projected delivery: 2007
Area: 2.4 million square feet
Height: 1,125 feet with 90 stories
Residences: 326 super-luxury condominiums, including five penthouses
Trump International Hotel: 174 condominium guest rooms and suites
Initial prices: $470,000 to $1.8 million for residences, $3.6 million to $8.7 million for penthouses, $425,000 to $932,000 for hotel rooms
Health Club and Spa: 60,000 square feet
Offices: 351,000 square feet
Parking: 1,150 indoor spaces with deeded residences-only section
Retail: 60,000 square feet of boutique shopping and fine dining
Riverfront park: 1.2 acres with 500 lineal feet along Chicago River
Owners: Donald Trump and Hollinger International Inc.
Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP


Theatrical art of high consumerism

Financial Times UK September 15, 2003

"It is no accident that the world's greatest architects are now building shops with the same aplomb as they would have been building museums a decade ago, corporate HQs five decades ago or pioneering housing seven decades ago. Shopping is where the action is. The move towards this new phenomenon was presaged by Rem Koolhaas who has been writing about cities and shopping for nearly 30 years. It was his design for the Prada store in New York which signalled the move of the avant-garde into the shops and it was Herzog de Meuron's extraordinary recent store for the same company in Tokyo's Omotesando which cemented the shop as the genre to which architects aspire."


Library rewrites the book on design

Detroit Free Press September 23, 2003

"As architecture, many libraries were fairly mundane, Detroit's grand old main library being an exception. Either warehouses or minimalist one-story buildings akin to branch banks, most libraries could double as insurance offices if you removed the shelves.

Not so for the splendid new Southfield Public Library, which opened in June. The design by Dallas-based Phillips Swager Associates rethinks what a library should be in remarkable ways. The result has been a soaring increase in use by Southfield residents and a remarkable resetting of the bar for other communities building new libraries."


Can a zero-energy housing project win the Stirling Prize?

Gabion September 21, 2003

"There is a part of Surrey that is just south of London, that is dangerously close to the "edge city" of Croydon, where run-down inter-war surburban housing rubs shoulders with the depressing half-timbered developers' offerings of recent years, plonked down into the scrubby remainders of what was once countryside. An in-between, Nowheresville kind of place. But here, the unexpected sight of rows of intriguing brightly-coloured rotating wind-catchers tell you that something unconventional is going on. They signal one of the shortlisted candidates for British architecture's grandest award, the Stirling Prize. And they might just represent the future of housing."


Believe in the Future

AIA Journal of Architecture September 2003

"The problems of interns demand our attention, since the challenges they face are precisely the ones the profession faces as a whole. In not valuing the knowledge of interns, we learn to devalue our knowledge as architects. In not mentoring our interns, we learn to expect little collegiality from our colleagues. In not paying interns better, we learn to accept inadequate compensation ourselves. When we exploit others, we leave ourselves open to exploitation."


Office design lets the sun back in

Sydney Morning Herald September 23, 2003

"Touted as the workplace of the future, the eight-storey building, which will be the bank's Australian headquarters, draws on international research into how workplace design affects people's behaviour.

...100 people spent nine months designing the workstations. Two models will be available - a boomerang shape or a rectangular wooden desk - and some will be on wheels so staff can move them.

There are no offices and only a few walls in the building, and everyone - from the most senior executive to the call centre staff - will have the same-sized desk."


Good Vibrations

New Yorker September 22, 2003

"Frank Gehry is one of the most famous architects in the world, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the most important thing he has built in his home city of Los Angeles—or anywhere else in the United States, for that matter—so of course people are complaining about it. It looks like Gehry’s other buildings. It’s too showy. It doesn’t contribute enough to the downtown L.A. environment and doesn’t justify the $274 million (much of it from private funds) that it cost. These are inevitable, although probably not very significant, views. The building, which opens on October 23rd with a concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has already received the kind of adulatory advance press usually reserved for blockbuster movies. In early September, however, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Scott Timberg, observed—in a piece that consisted of negative comments about the building—that “a distinct rumble of Disney Hall disenchantment has become audible.” A few days later, another writer in the Times remarked that the hall looked like “half-torn-up cardboard boxes left out in the rain, spray-painted silver.” "


"Zoomorphic" at London's Victoria and Albert Museum: so what if buildings look like animals?

Gabion September 21, 2003

"A lot of buildings these days draw their inspiration from nature. They look a bit like birds, whales, sea-sponges, armadillos, honeycombs, human vertebrae, amusingly-shaped vegetables, prawns, jellyfish, whatever. Thanks to modern technology, it is now possible to design and build buildings like this without anyone suggesting you should go away and have a little lie-down."


Frost Bank Tower is now Austin's tallest building. No one could miss it, but not everyone loves it

Austin American-Statesman September 21, 2003

" "Skylines trace a memorable image of the city . . . they mark the place that we all belong to," said Kevin Keim, director of the Charles Moore Center for the Study of Place, an architectural research and study center. "(But the Frost Bank Tower) seems to be neither here nor there because so many of these buildings have cropped up in cities across America. This building doesn't seem to say anything particular or special about Austin."

Perhaps that's because it's difficult to ascertain what style the Frost Bank Tower is trying for. Maybe, then, it's time to come up with a new one: Corporate Monumentalism, anyone?"


Architecture: Building Rome

Financial Times UK September 19, 2003

"The commission is stuffed with symbolism - and with tension. Meier is the first Jewish architect to design a Catholic Church, and his appointment is a sign of the Catholic Church's desire to put its anti-semitism behind it. Yet, while this is hard for some of the faithful to swallow, Meier's approach is harder still. He is the Pope of the modernist aesthetic. An architect well-known for designing art museums, he espouses an abstract, buttoned-up brand of Modernism. This may have endeared him to the leftist, secular mayoralty of Rome, which has also commissioned Meier to build a new museum over the Ara Pacis, the Emperor Augustus's sacred altar, in the centre of the city - a project that is due to be completed late in 2004. But it is one thing to build a secular museum over a pagan shrine. It is another to build a Catholic Church in Peter's City. That Meier should have been chosen for this prestigious project signals the Church's wish to modernise its image. But there is modern and there is contemporary and I'm not sure the Church has opted for the latter."



Richard Meier & Partners

Old-Style ballparks, fronting on urban streets, spur in-city living

New Urban News

"From an urbanistic perspective, retro ballparks have generally been a big improvement over the multipurpose stadiums that sprouted in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the baseball facilities built in the past several years, such as Coors Field in Denver and Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, front on city streets and are situated within an easy walk of apartments, restaurants, public transportation, and other amenities."


Building a new Bruder

Arizona Republic September 17, 2003

"Will Bruder got his hair cut.

For most people, that is not worth writing a newspaper story about. But Bruder, probably the best-known Arizona architect since Frank Lloyd Wright, has been so identified with his unkempt long hair and scraggly beard, and for so long, that the change in his appearance merits the kind of notice you give a congressman when he switches parties.

'I realized I could operate as the same man inside, but with a different outside. I had made a roadblock to myself too many years.' "


God's builder

Guardian UK September 22, 2003

"God created Quinlan Terry in 1937. Or was it the BBC in 1988? That was the year they made a series of 50-minute TV documentaries, led by the Prince of Wales, about architecture, planning and heritage under the banner Visions of Britain. Terry's contribution was subtitled Classicism: The Rejected Alternative. It opened with the immaculately tailored, 50-year-old architect looking like an undertaker skulking in what appeared to be a candle-lit crypt. In funereal tones, Terry explained how God Himself had handed down the orders of classical architecture - Doric, Ionic, Corinthian - to mankind. Classical architecture was not simply more beautiful than soulless modern tosh, it was divinely inspired."


Behind The Throne: Nina Libeskind

Financial Times UK September 11, 2003

"Daniel Libeskind used to be the world's most obscurantist architect. His fantastically complex drawings were meant to confuse, to obfuscate. To have even attempted to build one of his structures would have polluted their intellectual purity - these were designs that challenged conventions of construction, gravity and history. Now he is the architect for the world's most prominent and most loaded building, the new construction at New York's Ground Zero.

His transformation has been spectacular, and the primary catalyst for that change has been Libeskind's redoubtable wife, Nina."


AIA Chicago 2003 Design Excellence Awards

AIA Chicago

" 'Build, don’t talk.' This dictum, associated with Mies van der Rohe, conveys one of his views on architecture and, I believe, reflects Chicago’s philosophy as well. As a city and a region, we focus more on our achievements than on our theories.

In keeping with that outlook, the 2003 Design Excellence Awards program focuses on completed projects, acknowledging the body of superior work submitted for consideration and recognizing selected projects in the categories of distinguished building, interior architecture and divine detail."


Design Team for Trade Center Reveals a Revised Master Plan

New York Times September 18, 2003

"Three of the five towers are also taller than previously planned, by as much as seven floors.

Also changed are the outlines, or footprints, of the base of each tower. Those structures have been made more boxlike, with the removal of most of the odd angles that characterized the earlier versions of Mr. Libeskind's plan.

"I stand by all the changes," he said."


A Design Rethought, With Judgment Deferred

New York Times September 18, 2003

"It will take time to sort out the differences between words and pictures, pictures and plans, plans and buildings. The collapse of these categories into one another is a hallmark of the Libeskind plan. Even yesterday, it was impossible to distinguish the master plan from the lushly animated computer renderings of buildings used to present it. One gains the feeling that the confusion may be deliberate, and not entirely for reasons of art."


Neighbors Think Outside the Block

New York Times September 18, 2003

"Community groups in places like Harlem, South Street Seaport and Park Slope, Brooklyn, have lobbied the city successfully this year to change the rules governing what gets built in their neighborhoods. Their tool is so-called contextual zoning, which controls the size and form of buildings in neighborhoods whose character the city believes is worth keeping.

So now, unlike traditional preservationists, who focus on drawing lines around discrete pieces of the past, neighborhood advocates are looking at the larger context. Progress is fine, they say, but does it make sense to plop a 50-story high-rise next to a three-story brownstone?"


Welcome to the First Issue of Preservation Architect

American Institute of Architects

"Balancing Sustainability and Historic Fabric:

Applying sustainable design technology to historic buildings necessitates a delicate balancing act. “We must bridge sustainability and preservation,” said Jean Carroon, AIA, principal and director of preservation at Boston’s Goody Clancy."


"Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) 70th Anniversary Symposium:

HABS has become one of the largest cultural and historic resource archives in the world. Since 1933 HABS has documented more than 40,000 structures across the United States and its territories. HABS's precise methodology has made its records highly useful and widely published."


"The Quest for Reproduction Bricks for the Robie House Restoration:

After years of research and comparing of samples, reproduction bricks finally have been found that closely match the color and texture of the original bricks used in the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago."


Knitting together the Arts District

Dallas Morning News September 10, 2003

"The Dallas Arts District is a long, landscaped boulevard connecting four cultural institutions, a high school and a string of vacant lots. In 10 years it could be a quilt of plazas, gardens and outdoor performance spaces, ringed with shops and cafes and unified by a canopy of trees – a livelier and friendlier place where people might go just for the fun of it.

That's the future sketched by the new master plan for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts released Wednesday. The plan is a three-cornered collaboration among Foster and Partners of London, Rem Koolhaas' Office of Metropolitan Architecture in New York and Paris landscape architect Michel Desvigne."


New plan lacks adventure and details

Dallas Morning News September 11, 2003

"A good master plan is a vision rather than a blueprint, a set of ideas that defines the center and character of a place, but that like jazz leaves room for improvisation.

The master plan for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, released Wednesday, is moving in that direction, but it's not there yet."


Calatrava Wave in Tenerife

ArchitectureWeek September 3, 2003

"It was originally intended to be a simple concert hall, but the multifunction building for the city of Santa Cruz, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, also promises to be a landmark.

Besides the dramatic wing, another Calatrava "signature" element is a mosaic of trencadis, or broken white ceramics, which cover the structure's entire skin."


Auditorio de Tenerife

In the popup, click: cronologia and el edificio, planos and fotos.


Audio Interviews

BBC Interactive

Listen to architects including Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Rogers, and James Stirling.


Pittsburgh Architecture Firm Digs Deep . . . Into Psyche

AIArchitect September 2003

"For the design of the new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Astorino, a local architecture, engineering, interior design, and design/build firm, tried something they call the “Deep Design Process.” A research tool developed by a Harvard Business School professor, the process “probes the psyche to detect design elements that would enhance the healing experience for the hospital’s patients, parents, and staff.” Unlike other forms of traditional research, the architecture firm says, this technique elicits unconscious and conscious thoughts and feelings about a topic through visual metaphors."



Astorino Presents A Groundbreaking Research & Design Technique that Revolutionizes the Architectural Process Press Release

Designing a building, without drawing it first

Yale Daily News September 12, 2003

"A new exhibit at the Yale School of Architecture features kissing robots, material from a music video, and other designs focused on the idea of a malleable blob.

"Intricacy," the first exhibit at the School of Architecture for the 2003-2004 season, was curated by Greg Lynn, a pioneer in "paperless" architectural design and a visiting professor for the fall term. Rather than using a two-dimensional draft to create a three-dimensional computer model, Lynn begins with computer imaging and manipulates the image to get his desired design. The exhibit includes drawings, models, paintings and other works designed without the use of traditional paper drafting, relying solely on the use of computer imaging software."


Questions build right along with MIT's Stata Center

Boston Globe September 11, 2003

"Will Frank Gehry's wildly over-budget and years-behind-schedule Stata Center for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences at MIT prove to be a well-intentioned embarrassment? Signs point to yes.

The still-unfinished Stata Center has been awash in worshipful publicity ever since Analog Devices founder Ray Stata and his wife, Maria, announced their $25 million cornerstone gift to the institute in December of 1997. At that time the intended completion date was 2000, the announced budget was $100 million, and Gehry's swirling, off-kilter polished steel, glass, and brick facades still seemed avant-garde. His Guggenheim Museum Bilbao had just opened to almost universal, fawning praise.

MIT brass now peg the budget at $300 million, although a June press release from a Stata Center supplier put the cost at $430 million. The completion date is spring 2004. And what once appeared futuristic now looks like a jumbly rehash of existing Gehry piles.

Guggenheim Bilbao begat Gehry's similar-looking Experience Music Project in Seattle, whose lines are echoed in the just-opened Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The current, faddish Gehry look has become a victim of self-parody, or at least of parody, to be sure. It is no accident that MIT's Department of Linguistics, which is slated to move into Stata, displays the famous Onion magazine satire -- "Frank Gehry No Longer Allowed to Make Sandwiches for Grandkids" -- on its website. MIT officials are fanatically loyal to the Stata building, which has been uncharitably dubbed the institute's Big Dig. Bill Mitchell, a longtime friend of Gehry's and MIT's outgoing dean of architecture, says of the aforementioned Gehry structures, "Stata is the one with the most complex program and intellectual agenda. I think it may be the best thing he's done.""



The Stata Center MIT






















From the Torch to the Toes, Digital Insurance

New York Times September 11, 2003

"In 2001, Ms. Louden, Mr. White and their colleague Glenn E. Hill agreed to provide HABS with a complete set of elevations and cross sections of the statue by using the scanner. Visiting Liberty Island in August 2001, the team took measurements from 13 points around the statue's base. The Cyrax was set to measure the statue at least once every quarter-inch.

But in their four days on the island, the team was able to scan only 70 percent of the statue's surface, Ms. Louden said. Some parts of the statue were invisible from the ground. Other sections, notably the torch, swayed in the wind, defeating the scanner."


Frank Gehry at MOCA

KCRW Radio September 10, 2003

"What is revealed in the artless squiggles and the varying study models is an almost obsessive focus on form rather than function, a preoccupation of Gehry inherent in what he has labeled his intuitive approach to design. Missing is any appreciative consideration of context, climate, cost and, most unfortunately, the user, those who will ultimately experience the structures. Function appears to be at best an afterthought."


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On Architecture: Confusion trumps beauty at Seattle's new City Hall

Seattle Post-Intelligencer September 8, 2003

"Note to future architect selection committees: Beware of candidates bearing design schemes to job interviews. While test-driving an architect may increase a search committee's comfort level (and make the other teams look as if they didn't do their homework), there is a real risk that a half-baked scheme will stick.

Unfortunately, that off-the-cuff design did not represent input from the clients (the mayor, City Council and public) about important issues from how the building functions to its role as an appropriate expression for Seattle's seat of government in the 21st century. The solution came before any real investigation by the architects into the difficulties of one of downtown's steepest sites.

The city Design Commission and concerned members of the public spent the next three years banging their collective heads against 40-foot-tall blank walls on the downhill side of the platform. Heightening the general level of anxiety over the design were some of the most lifeless presentation drawings ever spit out of a computer."


Gehry Lashes Out at Reporter

Los Angeles Downtown News September 8, 2003

"During a media preview of his architecture exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, architect Frank Gehry last Friday clashed with L.A. Downtown News design critic Sam Hall Kaplan over a July column criticizing elements of Gehry's new Walt Disney Concert Hall. Recalls Kaplan: "Frank came up to me, shook my hand and said, 'You don't know a f------ thing about urban design. It's not your forte.' I said, 'Frank, that's your opinion,' and he said 'You can go f--- off.'" Kaplan said he asked if he could quote him, and Gehry said, "Yes, f--- off." Gehry made the comments in front of several media attending the event. Kaplan, who was also a design critic for the L.A. Times, said a public relations official apologized for the comments. In his past comments of the structure, Kaplan wrote: "From a distance, the concert hall fulfills its promise as a singular icon for Downtown, and L.A. Its billowing shape attracts the eye and holds it. Though the cladding is stainless steel, and the structure static, the design conveys movement, an exciting concept for any architectural exercise... It's also a disappointment. His buildings from afar may twirl, but up close they are flat-footed, and not particularly pedestrian friendly. Urban design is not Frank's forte.""





Cry for sunlight and open spaces

Daily Star Bangladesh September 7, 2003

"We were told that the competition was aimed to make the participant think beyond the anti-urban strategy of plots, and to present a vision of an integrated urban matrix of buildings, spaces and community. Since the laying of Dhanmondi residential area, Haque said the planning in Dhaka has remained confined to plotting, i.e. division of virgin land into plots of various sizes and allotting them to prospective applicants. Old buildings are being brought down for new multistoried buildings ranging from 6 to 20 storied ones. This rebuilding process, Haque insisted, lacks any broader urban vision apart from the immediate densification and moneymaking. Such wanton building activity continues to ravage the so-called planned areas like Dhannmodi, Gulshan and Banani.

The focus in the design competition is on the creation of community, community spaces, and an enhanced relationship with the larger urban context."



Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Dept. of Architecture

Harvard housing complex lacks the sharpness of its site

Boston Globe September 7, 2003

"How can the same architects produce, within a year of one another and a mile or two apart, one of the best-loved and one of the most deeply hated buildings in Boston?

The love object is the Allston branch of the Boston Public Library, winner of this year's Parker Medal from the Boston Society of Architects as the most beautiful building of the year and recipient of a rare national honor award from the American Institute of Architects.

The hate object -- is that an idiom? -- is One Western Avenue, a complex of 235 apartments for Harvard graduate students, faculty and staff, also in Allston, on a choice site along the bank of the Charles River near the Harvard Business School.

The architects of both are Machado and Silvetti of Boston."


2003 AIA Honor Awards for Architecture


One Western Avenue Project Description and Stats

Public Building

New York Times September 7, 2003

"In our own endless quest for personal self-perfection, monuments to collective experience, and to a life that existed before us and extends beyond us, exert only the most feeble pull.

And then the terrorists insisted on the meaning of the twin towers by destroying them. Sept. 11 marked a new moment in urban self-awareness. The terrorist attack so profoundly sacralized the World Trade Center that many people seriously spoke of precisely rebuilding the towers, previously known as the most glaring possible example of anti-urban 60's gigantism. Still, the emotional response was right: the kind of meaning that can be expressed through architecture, and the making of places, comes to the fore at moments of profound civic feeling."


Architects give Austin secondhand store a first-class look

Austin American-Statesman September 5, 2003

"Hipness is what TeamHaas Architects bestowed on the Lake Austin Goodwill store, transforming the dim, boxy former pharmacy into the sleek, bright crown jewel of the tiny strip mall off Lake Austin Boulevard. TeamHaas also gave the 8,000-square-foot store an "eco-conscience" with environmentally friendly building materials and design. And TeamHaas fit their design to a shoestring budget of $50 per square foot, for a total cost of $400,000. (Compare that with $70 to $95 per square foot, the industry average for a typical building reconstruction.) Also, despite the demolition of everything except the steel structure and slab foundation, the store remained in operation during the four-month construction period so that Goodwill employees would not be displaced. And, finally, TeamHaas organized their design as a flexible "kit of parts" -- a sort of moveable design feast whose elements will eventually be applied to all Central Texas Goodwill stores."



TeamHass Architects

Why do women leave architecture?

Royal Institute of British Architects

"The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of its research into the drop-out rate of women from architectural practice. This is the first research of its kind to have been completed. The report found that a combination of factors, including poor employment practice, difficulties in maintaining skills and professional networks during career breaks and paternalistic attitudes, cause women to leave the profession.

The survey of 170 women revealed that the gradual erosion of confidence and de-skilling caused by the lack of creative opportunities for female architects, sidelining, limited investment in training, job insecurity and low pay, led to reduced self esteem and poor job satisfaction in architectural practice.

The report also stresses that many of these factors would apply equally to men leaving the profession."




'Why do women leave architecture?' (pdf)


RIBA's response to the report. (pdf)

Designs for western living from the east

Financial Times September 02, 2003

"The 50 or so architectural staff working for Atlas at its Vietnam head office work almost entirely for the UK market, producing drawings and 3D computer-generated designs of buildings - for a fraction of the pay received by British-based staff. These are then transferred to and from British architects electronically, either by e-mail or via a password-protected website.

Almost all Atlas's Vietnamese staff are graduates, mostly with architectural training. Typical pay at Atlas, says Mr Woolf, is about $6,000 (£3,800) net a year, high by local standards (Vietnam's gross domestic product is about $400 a head), although a fraction of comparable UK salary levels."


An architect works quietly to design new WTC Tower

Newsday September 02, 2003

"The architect David Childs is suspicious of inspiration.

And yet for a man who habitually works on such a colossal scale, he tends to be omitted from his profession's pantheon of celebrities. He is known for producing elegant workhorses, skyscrapers that will turn a profit while still honoring the skyline. But it's a reputation that regularly gets him dismissed as a "commercial architect," as if he were architecture's equivalent of a jingle writer.

Childs' reaction to the "commercial" label is to repudiate it and be proud of it almost simultaneously."


Egos deconstruct architects' union

Crain's Chicago Business September 1, 2003

"The union of architects James DeStefano and Richard Keating lasted about as long as a Hollywood marriage.

The pair of former Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) partners seemed like a perfect match in January, when Mr. DeStefano's eponymous firm — one of the most prolific in Chicago with commissions like the massive River East mixed-use project in Streeterville and Residences at River Bend — merged with Keating/Khang LLP, a Los Angeles-based firm headed by Mr. Keating.

A well-regarded designer of big office buildings, Mr. Keating offered rainmaking potential to DeStefano & Partners Ltd., a firm known less for innovative design than for technical and project management skills."


Top of the blobs

Guardian UK September 1, 2003

"The new Selfridges store in Birmingham, although firmly anchored to the new-look Birmingham Bull Ring, proves to be not so much architecture-as-ocean-liner berthed alongside Moor Street station, but a vast cliff of a building, a computer-age geological outcrop, as distinctive and eye-catching as the white cliffs of Dover. Its high, billowing form might have been moulded by some smooth yet insistent sea over the four years it has taken to build. Yet the only sea here is one of constant traffic, dominated by deregulated buses painted colours brighter and more lurid than anything found beside or beneath the ocean."


It may be art, but can we live with it?

Denver Post August 20, 2003

"Boosters of the Denver Art Museum's avant-garde expansion wing hope the glass shards and titanium design will be the Eiffel Tower of the Rockies, becoming the instant postcard icon of the city and signaling urban sophisticates that Denver belongs on their itinerary next to Bilbao, New York or London.

But what if the wing is just plain ugly?

A number of average citizens and schooled architects wonder if the jarring style represented by Daniel Libeskind's design is more imposition than institution, more trend than truth, more spectacle than service to the community."


In Vienna, a New View of Wittgenstein Home

New York Times August 28, 2003

"The building was planned according to an almost obsessive series of mathematical relationships: every door is designed in exact proportion to its room and framing wall. The decision to use metal for all doors, window frames and fittings is apparently partly due to the exactness that metal affords. Asked by a metal- smith if a millimeter difference on a door handle really mattered, Wittgenstein replied yes!"


After the Bombs, Retrofitting Paradise

New York Times August 28, 2003

"John Hix, an architect from Canada, is providing an example of what a renewed Vieques could look like: spare, environmentally sensitive buildings of concrete, equipped with wooden shutters or overhead steel security doors. He has designed an addition to the Betancourts' restaurant, Café Media Luna, in the capital, Isabel Segunda. He has also created a seaside compound for Thomas H. Wright, the vice president and secretary of Princeton University, and his mini-resort, Hix Island Hotel, has been hailed for ecological sensitivity."

  FANTASY ISLAND A new house on Vieques, the island off Puerto Rico, for the vice president of Princeton University, is raised high in response to hurricane flooding.

Done Roman

Guardian UK August 25, 2003

"The remains of the villa are now protected from the elements by an enclosing structure designed by France's most celebrated contemporary architect, Jean Nouvel. He has done a fine job, covering the extensive ruins standing alongside a fine Roman tower with the architectural equivalent of a parasol: a broad, shallow, lightweight roof with the deepest of eaves to keep the summer sun at bay.

The walls, appearing to hang from the roof, are largely of glass, shaded by cypress trees and supported by the slimmest of steel columns. The walk around them, and on to other Roman remains in the town, is a tranquil delight. The Roman villa appears to undulate under Nouvel's slimline walls and through the course of the filigree structure protecting it. Here is a new building at once modest, quietly dramatic and utterly compelling, working alongside its antique predecessor."




Jean Nouvel Vitruvio


Ateliers Jean Nouvel

firm website


Menace to architectural firm: We owe nothing

Des Moines Register August 22, 2003

"Sharon Krause, director of the franchise's stadium foundation, said HOK Sport designed a facility that was much too expensive. She said the Menace organization has paid the firm more than $200,000 and doesn't owe anything more.

HOK sued the franchise in federal court this week. Its lawsuit included a copy of a 2001 agreement, signed by team owner Kyle Krause, that HOK says required the Menace to pay between $680,000 and $848,000 for design work. The architecture firm said it performed the work as requested and is owed the money.

Sharon Krause, Kyle's wife, said the document only required the Menace to pay $60,000 for preliminary work. She said the larger amounts described what was to be included in a later contract, which never was signed."


R.I. nightclub fined $85,000; Great White band owners also to pay

Boston Globe August 21, 2003

"OSHA fined Derco LLC, the business that ran The Station, $85,200 for one "willful" violation and six serious ones.

The willful violation -- for which OSHA assessed a $70,000 penalty -- was the installation of an exit door that swung the wrong way. The other violations involved the placement of highly flammable foam on an exit door and surrounding walls, inadequate safety planning, and the failure to train employees for emergencies, the agency said."


A Hollywood Ending for Gehry Music Palace

New York Times August 21, 2003

"Hopes were naturally high when, more than a decade ago, Frank Gehry, the locally based architect, was selected from a field of 72 international competitors to design the concert hall, on Grand Avenue, atop Bunker Hill. The building, audacious with its swooping curves, was set to dominate downtown Los Angeles and to do for the city what the Opera House did for Sydney, Australia, and what Mr. Gehry's own Guggenheim museum was about to do for Bilbao, Spain. To its creators, the hall was to be as emblematic of Los Angeles as the Hollywood sign.

But the project came close to collapse from 1994 to 1996. Spiraling costs, poor management, disagreements over the complex design and California's troubled economy led to a halt in construction.

Originally expected to cost $110 million and to open in 1997, the hall now has a price tag of $274 million. Mrs. Disney's gift of $50 million was eaten up by the high costs of architectural drawings and consultants."



 Texas Tech University  College of Architecture  Robert D. Perl 


copyright © 2003


Associate Professor Robert D. Perl, AIA

AH 1002D Office Hours: T 1:30-4:30 pm or by appointment

742-3169 x248


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