Perl's Architecture Weblog

2003 Fall Semester

Associate Professor Robert D. Perl, AIA



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 Texas Tech University  College of Architecture  Robert D. Perl 


updated 13-Jul-2005


Rafael Moneo wins over the RIBA with timeless approach

Building November 21 2003

"The Spanish architect Rafael Moneo was last week awarded the Royal Gold Medal by the RIBA, continuing the wave of design success that the country has enjoyed for 30 years.

[Moneo] emphasised the importance of perennial design attributes, recognised since ancient Rome but now in danger of being forgotten. He said these were the physical presence of buildings, their materials, the spaces inside them and the functions they served. These are all identifiable in Moneo's award-winning buildings. Spaces have been created to evoke a sense of the religious in his Los Angeles cathedral, the largest church in the USA, completed in 2001.

Moneo, who divides his time between his practice and teaching at the universities of Harvard and Madrid, said that he opposed the vogue of designing buildings as individual statements divorced from their surroundings."



also see Design Theories in Architecture
GSD 3211, Spring 2002

Fast Forward Rewind

ArchVoices November 21 2003

" 1. Why did you go to architecture school in the first place?

  2. What's your idea?

  3. What are you going to do differently tomorrow?

"I went to architecture school because I loved the acts of designing and creating things, and I felt that I could use my skills to give back to the community/society, etc."

"Because it seemed like the best way to help shape the built environment--by gaining a better understanding of how architecture 'happens.' I hope to help create more responsive and ultimately 'human,' living environments."

"A) It is not as anal as engineering school; B) it is more grounded to earth than art school, and C) I thought Johnny Cash got his fashion sense from architects."

"My idea is to partner with others to collaboratively learn to communicate more effectively."

"Get a job and enjoy it."

"To positively influence people's lives with or without their conscious understanding."

"Make sure that my ego isn't tripping up my career choices and ideas."

"Reflect, rethink, reinvent."

"Spend less time on e-mail and more time with people--to get better at crucial issues facing all designers." "

Virginia Architects Receive Awards for Design Excellence 2003

Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects

"Wheatland Farms Log Cabin Architect: Reader & Swartz Architects

The passage of time had taken its toll on the cabin at Wheatland Farms in Waterford, so the owners sought to restore it, remove a ramshackle shed addition, and construct a sympathetic addition. Original rafters, windows, doors, and baseboards were studied in order to duplicate early construction methods. The new addition enjoys plenty of natural light aided by a glass-floored catwalk that pours sunlight into the kitchen below. Jurors admired the project’s balance between restraint and creativity. “The richness of the interior materials provided by the original cabin, in combination with the new construction, creates a vivid contrast that gives the project great depth,” they said.


Occoquan River House Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA

The design of this 3,400-square-foot residence is shaped by its location on five sloping acres along the Occoquan River. The design is composed of four forms: a masonry rectangle, a metal-clad trapezoid, a wood-and-glass connector, and a three-dimensional ellipse wrought in oxidized steel. These forms interact to create dramatic views and defined living spaces. “We were all intrigued with the massing, use of materials, and simplicity of expression on the exterior,” the jury said. “A lot of the volumetric expression on the interior was very good. It’s an incredibly elegant, well-detailed, clear articulation of pieces.” "


Carnegie close to settling with architect Nouvel

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 20 2003

"Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is close to reaching a financial settlement with Parisian architect Jean Nouvel, who was hired in 2002 to design a $90 million addition to Carnegie Science Center. Carnegie Museums terminated Nouvel's contract in May for failing to produce a scheme that could be built for that amount. The institution already had paid his firm, Atelier Jean Nouvel, about $1 million of the $4.5 million it had agreed to pay for design services. But the museums withheld an additional $171,000 that Nouvel had billed, according to an audit by the accounting firm Ernst & Young."

ABN Amro improves on the vanilla box

Chicago Tribune November 16 2003

"It sounds like a backhanded compliment to call the new ABN Amro Plaza a first-rate second-rate building, but it is a compliment. Even if it isn't going to wind up in the art history books, this sleek, trapezoid-shaped office building, which flaunts a towering empty space at its most prominent corner, offers fresh evidence of how Chicago architects excel at turning daunting functional problems into good design. Perhaps it's no surprise that the 31-story, $387 million building, located at 540 W. Madison St. came out as well as it did. Its design team - John Albright, Jim DeStefano, Ray Clark and Joe Hollingsworth of DeStefano + Partners - are all alumni of the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

They could have followed their client's initial request for a "plain vanilla box," which could have been as visually deadening as the nearby Presidential Towers. Instead, they crafted a plan for twin trapezoids that would be interconnected at the base: the new building, facing Clinton and Madison, and the second phase, which will orient toward Washington and Jefferson. The towers will overlap in the middle of block, meaning they will interrupt each other's views somewhat. But by slicing off one corner of each building, the architects cut the overlap to 120 feet from 240 feet, thereby granting better views to more office workers.

The architects faced other challenges. They needed to accommodate various light industrial and back-office uses, such as check-processing machines and data-storing computers, that have heavier-than-normal floor loads and require extra space and ventilation."



"Large, open office spaces are designed to be efficiently adapted to multiple space plan configurations, with 9'-6" high ceilings and raised accessible floors."



Cold Call Leads to Philip Johnson Project on East Side

New York Times November 21 2003

"It is safe to assume that few designs for luxury high rises start with a cold call, but that is how Roy Stillman and Martin Levine, developers of a new 32-story condominium at East 90th Street and Third Avenue, first reached Philip Johnson and his partner, Alan Ritchie. Shortly after Mr. Stillman and Mr. Levine acquired the 8,017-square-foot site, at 181 East 90th Street and occupying half a block on Third Avenue, they decided to call the 97-year-old Mr. Johnson, dialing information to get his phone number.

Among the building's more distinctive characteristics is the way it cantilevers 21 feet over one adjoining building on East 90th Street and 15 feet over another that extends along Third Avenue to 91st Street. Because zoning restrictions require a setback at 60 to 80 feet high and that half the structure be below 150 feet high, "we decided to build fat instead of tall," Mr. Stillman said. Fat and curvy, in fact. In addition to the cantilevers, which hover over but do not touch the neighboring structures, the building has seven semicircular bays where glass-enclosed living rooms are set."

Conserving Everyone's Energy but His Own

New York Times November 23 2003

"Amid the hodgepodge along the South Bank of the Thames, this structure is as strange and foreign as a meteorite — to which it bears some resemblance. Though it may look whimsical, however, the building — created by Britain's most famous and prolific architect at a cost of some $81 million — is anything but. Just a glance at the 167 buildings that Lord Foster, 68, has completed worldwide, or his 80-some other projects currently in design, is enough to convince anyone that whimsy is not in the man's vocabulary.

Lord Foster's success has been achieved through an almost gee-whiz belief in the expressive possibilities of technology, inspired by American experiments in bringing mass-production techniques to building. He first encountered these experiments while on a fellowship at the Yale University School of Architecture in the early 1960's. In the 1970's and 1980's, he rose to fame by creating technology-packed, climate-controlled buildings as elegant as any in the world.

As if anticipating criticism that the eccentric form of the city hall is just architectural ego hiding behind a public-spirited facade, Mr. Shuttleworth insists that its shape is entirely about conservation. "A sphere has 18 percent less wall area for the same floor area," he explained, which reduces the amount of solar heat that must be removed by air conditioning. The building's southward tilt, with some of the floors slipped over the ones below, further blocks the low winter sun. Mr. Shuttleworth said the total design reduces energy use to about one-fourth that of a conventional commercial building.

There's more drama within. An invisibly suspended ramp uncoils giddily for eight stories over the lofty oval meeting chamber of the 24-member assembly. It serves another purpose; it brings constituents and visitors close to the work of government, and ultimately delivers them, at the building's apex, to a shallow-domed wedge of space that has been dubbed London's "living room." Mr. Shuttleworth literally put those served by government — not the governors — on top."


A 40-Story Pickle Commandeers London's Skyline

New York Times November 23 2003

"London is about to be transformed. Work is nearing completion on 30 St. Mary Axe, also known as the Swiss Re tower, a 40-story skyscraper in the heart of the financial district. The architect is Norman Foster, a man famous for his audaciousness.

The new tower is circular in shape, resembling, in Lord Foster's words, a cigar. It starts small at the bottom, bulges to its greatest width at the 26th floor, then tapers back to a soft, rounded top. One of its most striking features — in a building that consists of nothing but striking features — is the spiral pattern that climbs up the curved sides, achieved by the slight rotation of each of the floors, with atriums, or "sky-gardens," on every level producing the spiral effect. The rotation has an ecological as well as a design function: it creates pressure differentials between the floors that pull air in through vents and reduce the need for air-conditioning and energy consumption. Mr. Foster has said, "For me, the optimum design solution integrates social, technological, aesthetic, economic and environmental concerns." "






Foster and Partners


30 St Mary Axe


also see previous entries

Enlightened Worship

Tandem Canada November 23 2003

"The exterior of Dio Padre Misericordioso is remarkable for its three white concrete shells, resembling ship sails, the tallest of which reaches 88 feet in height. Glazed skylights connect the shells which, along with a spine wall, constitute the church nave. The white concrete forms are intended to suggest the Holy Trinity and a reflecting pool recalls baptismal waters. Meier says the trio of shells "define an enveloping atmosphere in which the light from the skylights above create a luminous spatial experience, and the rays of sunlight serve as a mystic metaphor of the presence of God". The light-filled 9,000-square-foot interior of Dio Padre Misericordioso has seating for 240 for the S. Silvestro Papa parish, led by Father Gianfranco Corbino. Due to access considerations, the altar was sited on the west side of the church rather than the conventional east side, but the archdiocese seems to have supported this change from tradition.

"I have always admired the work of Italy's Baroque masters, especially Gian Lorenzo Bernini's work at St. Peter's and his contemporary Francesco Borromini, particularly for their revolutionary use of light and form," Meier says."



Richard Meier & Partners Architects


also see previous entries

On World Trade Center Memorial, Criticism Outstrips Praise

New York Times November 23 2003

"The experts having already weighed in voluminously on the subject, the Municipal Art Society asked ordinary people to give their perspectives in a handful of small sessions that seemed to blend the give-and-take of a creative writing workshop with the raw emotions of a 12-step meeting.

Over all, the eight proposals flunked — miserably. If the 19 people in Room 402 of the Schimmel Center for the Arts were any measure, then the average New Yorker finds the proposals busy, dreary, stagnant, dehumanizing, overly funereal, depressingly similar, uninspiring, disconnected from the neighborhood and, frankly, boring.

They seemed relieved that each of the eight designs incorporated the footprints of the fallen towers, and they showed a generosity of spirit by saying that creating a memorial for such a tragedy was a daunting task.

Some even had a few kind words for certain small details in certain designs."

9/11 memorial finalists named

Chicago Tribune November 20 2003

"A jury of 13 people - including artist Maya Lin, the designer of the once-controversial Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington - is expected to choose the winning design by the end of the year. Regardless of how aesthetically pleasing the intricate, 3-D models of the memorial designs may be, the debate over how the fallen twin towers and their victims should be remembered will almost certainly become rancorous in the coming weeks. The same issues that have slowed commercial development of the site also will affect the memorial designers and judges: a demand that the site's original bedrock be accessible, a desire that the "footprints" of each tower's foundation be preserved, a claim that heavy equipment and massive construction would disturb sacred ground.

The memorial jury, a panel that includes architects, a museum director, public artists, the wife of a victim, a teacher and a philanthropist involved in the development of the original World Trade Center site, tried Wednesday to step above the fray. A statement released on behalf of all 13 jurors focused on the hope that a memorial could transform a place of heartbreak and slaughter into a sanctuary of hope and solace.

The finalists were culled from 5,201 entries from 63 countries and 49 states. The designs were to follow a number of "guiding principles," including a conveyance of the magnitude of loss sustained at the location, a respect for its sacred quality, and an acknowledgment of every victim lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and on Feb. 26, 1993, the date of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center."

Finalists' designs for 9/11 memorial

New York Newday November 19 2003

"Votives in Suspension" by Norman Lee and Michael Lewis

Lee has developed some attractions for Disney's California Adventure Theme Park and currently works as a senior concept developer of museum exhibits in Houston. Lewis is a museum exhibit designer from Houston.


"Lower Waters" by Bradley Campbell and Matthias Neumann

Campbell is a sculptor and painter who lives in Brooklyn. He is a native of St. Paul, Minn. The German-born Neumann is co-founder of the design group Normaldesign in New York City.


"Passages of Light: The Memorial Cloud" by Gisela Baurmann, Sawad Brooks and Jonas Coersmeier

Baurmann is a New York architect and a Fulbright Scholar who has designed a church and congregational hall in Frankfurt, Germany, and has taught at a number of American universities. She is principal at the New York firm, Amoebe Architecture. Brooks, a native of Colombia who lives in New York, has exhibited at several museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art and has taught at Yale and Brown universities. Coersmeier is a New York City designer born in Germany who works as an architectural designer.


"Suspending Memory" by Joseph Karadin and Hsin-Yi Wu

Both designers are graduates of Cornell, with degrees in architecture.


"Dual Memory" by Brian Strawn and Karla Sierralta

The designers are both from Chicago.


"Inversion of Light" by Toshio Sasaki

Sasaki lives in Brooklyn and has designed the First Symphony of the Sea, a wall relief at the Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation in Brooklyn.


"Garden of Light" by Pierre David, Sean Corriel and Jessica Kmetovic

David lives in Paris. He is a professor of architecture who has taught at Harvard and Columbia and who designs private homes and gardens. His assistants, Corriel and Kmetovic, are architectural students.


"Reflecting Absence: A Memorial at the World Trade Center Site"

Arad, an Israeli native, works for the design department of New York City's Housing Authority.

8 Designs Confront Many Agendas at Ground Zero

New York Times November 20 2003

"Victims' families yearned to touch the bedrock where the World Trade Center stood. Firefighters had to see their buddies' names listed together. Artists dreamed of a revelation. The fiercely protective hoped for an expression of the essential horror of the tragedy, and the spirit of the city that endured.

Expectations could not have been higher yesterday when the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced eight designs chosen by a 13-member jury to memorialize those lost to terror, and to engender hope while bearing witness to evil.

The jurors had many constituencies to please. And many were unhappy, although there was nowhere near the vehemence as when the initial plans to rebuild the site were announced last year. The chorus of conflicting voices ranged from the outraged to those who found inspiration in the proposals' creativity, but many also expressed the need for further contemplation."


Amid Embellishment and Message, a Voice of Simplicity Cries to Be Heard

New York Times November 20 2003

"Keep it simple. Eliminate inessentials. Cut the rhetoric. These are the principles that should be adhered to when considering ground zero. But for better or worse, we are living in baroque if not byzantine times. Some of our most impressive contemporary architecture reflects this. All eight designs chosen as finalists for a memorial of the World Trade Center disaster bear strong traces of it, to a greater or lesser degree. Each of them suffers as a result.

Seen as a group, these finalists make the strongest possible case for simplicity as the most suitable aesthetic for ground zero. None of them deserve to be built in their present form. A few of them, however, have the makings of a good beginning. If one of these, titled "Reflecting Absence," enjoys an advantage over the others, that is because it has the greatest potential to be the least..."


Presenting Several Versions of the Shape of Grief and Recollection

New York Times November 20 2003

"Eight possible memorials at the World Trade Center site, each deferring in some way to the ghosts of the twin towers, were shown to the nation yesterday. The plans, chosen by a 13-member jury for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, did not come from the hands of celebrated architects but rather a diverse group of designers, many of them young, who live in and work in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Chicago, Houston, Paris, Ithaca, N.Y., and Oakland, Calif.

Most designs followed the lead of Daniel Libeskind's overall plan by depressing some or all of the memorial area that has been set aside at the southwest corner of the trade center site. Some expressed the presence of the towers as voids. Others turned the building footprints into islands, waterfalls, pavilions, sanctuaries and even small prairies."


The WTC design finalists need staying power over flash.

Slate November 19 2003

"At Ground Zero, we've gone from Who's Who to Who's That?

That was the most compelling storyline to emerge from a press conference this morning unveiling the eight teams of finalists for the memorial at Ground Zero. In contrast to the group of architects charged with rebuilding the site—a group that is becoming increasingly top-heavy with design-world star power, from Daniel Libeskind to David Childs to Santiago Calatrava to Norman Foster—the 16 members of the memorial teams offer a picture of youth and anonymity."


Make It Simple and Eloquent

New York Post November 20 2003

"If you thought the master site plans for Ground Zero were confusing, wait until you try making sense of the eight memorial design proposals unveiled yesterday. The graphics on view at the Winter Garden are so confusing that it's hard to tell where one scheme ends and the next begins. Few of the images or models tell you what the vantage point is, or which street is where. No wonder even Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein, who saw them for the first time yesterday morning, appeared to be straining his eyes like the rest of us to figure out which end was up. It's unfortunate, because so much talent, compassion and effort went into them all - and because so much rides on making the right choice."


New York New Visions Supports Imagine New York’s WTC Memorial Outreach

New York New Visions November 19 2003

New York New Visions, the pro bono design and planning coalition, applauds the release of eight thought-provoking memorial schemes today. For NYNV, Mark Ginsberg stated “We recognize the incredible effort by the jury, competition advisor and 5,200 competitors that has gotten us to this point, but realize that the hardest work is still immediately ahead.”

We emphasize today our support for the carefully designed process that consists of a well-defined memorial mission statement, program and ground rules for the competition and the selection of a distinguished and independent jury that will make the final decision based on their own reasoned analysis. This process meets our call for a fair, impartial selection process that will result in a creative, inspirational and feasible memorial."











Votives in Suspension


Suspending Memory


World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition


New York Times special

Prescott approves disputed 'shard of glass' tower

Guardian UK November 20 2003

"The government yesterday ignored the advice of its own heritage agency by approving the construction of Europe's tallest tower block, dubbed the "shard of glass". In a move that will change the skyline of London, the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, has given the go-ahead for the 66-storey London Bridge Tower after a public inquiry. His decision is likely to encourage other tower block developments in the city.

Permission was granted after a three-year battle and fervent opposition from English Heritage, which complained that the building would have an "oppressive" impact on London and spoil views of St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. A letter explaining Mr Prescott's decision rejected English Heritage's objections. It said the 305m (1,000ft) tower in Southwark "would stand comfortably in its immediate urban or townscape context"."


Go-ahead for Shard of Glass at London Bridge

London SE1 November 19 2003

"Renzo Piano said: "I am grateful for having being challenged for 3 years to do better and I am even more pleased today that we have been rewarded with the approval to go ahead. Now our real work will begin!" "



London Bridge Tower


"This is my vision:
I see the tower like a small vertical town for about seven thousand people to work in and enjoy, and for hundreds of thousands more to visit...

Our memory is permeated by history." Renzo Piano


Section View

Time to Recognize the Politics of Suburban Sprawl

Common Dreams November 19 2003

"Despite sprawl’s power, about 200 true smart growth and New Urbanism communities and neighborhoods have been built around the nation, with more going up all the time as innovative and courageous developers conquer the obstacles the sprawl lobby has nourished over decades. Most importantly, these places are achieving considerable financial success because the actual and latent consumer demand for alternatives to sprawl is so great. Most importantly, most of these smart growth type projects are in suburbia. In other words, there is no longer any reason to equate suburbia with sprawl.

Know this: Sprawl is killing people, some 300,000 premature deaths annually because of the sprawl sedentary lifestyle, and it is killing our natural environment, scenic vistas, biodiversity, rural towns, and much more. The pursuit of happiness by the few profiting from sprawl land development is killing the future pursuit of happiness by the many. Spread this idea virus: sprawl kills."

A Dutch Treat: Rem Koolhaas in Berlin

Deutsche Welle November 19 2003

"The highly acclaimed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas was recently awarded Berlin's architecture prize for his design of the Royal Dutch Embassy in the German capital. A new exhibition looks at the work of the top architect."



A major exhibition of Rem Koolhaas' work is currently on display in Berlin RealVideo 4:01

City backs designer's proposal

Boston Globe November 19 2003

"The Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday endorsed a plan that could have design impresario Philippe Starck recreating the interior of the old Area D4 police station in the South End, bringing some high-style condos to a neighborhood otherwise known for its staid brick. With eight proposals to choose from, including several from preservationists with more traditional ideas for the vacant space, the BRA staff recommended that its board take the first step in designating Yoo D4 Urbanica as the police station's redeveloper, virtually locking in the team as the winner. The Yoo D4 Urbanica team includes Starck and local developers Kamran Zahedi and Panos Demeter."

BBC chooses young designers for music studios

Guardian UK November 18 2003

"A competition to design the BBC Music Box, highpoint of the corporation's emerging White City "media village" in west London, has been won by the acclaimed young practice Foreign Office Architects (FOA). The winning design, says John Smith, BBC director of finance, property and business affairs, "majors on openness with an emphasis on public space", and will be an integral part of the BBC commitment to the local community - meaning that skateboarding teenagers from the extensive estate next door can mix it with traditional concertgoers from throughout London and the home counties. Visible from the elevated A40(M) Westway, the Music Box will have two studios for the broadcast of live performances, with audiences of up to 600."

  FOA's plans for the BBC music centre


Foreign Office Architects


see below for another article on FOA

Shipping Containers Show Promise for Living Space

Engineering News Record November 17 2003

" "Density is the next frontier in responding to sprawl and in rebuilding livable urban neighborhoods, but we have an irrational fear of it," says David D. Dixon, BSA president. "Fox & Fowle developed an innovative solution allowing them to leverage the design flexibility inherent with density."

The team removed the sheathing and used the 8-ft-wide x 9.5-ft- high x 40-ft-long containers as structural components for 351 duplex loft-housing units consisting of four containers. Also included was 170,000 sq ft of commercial space, including a hotel, and 27,700 sq ft of civic/cultural space, incorporated in a crescent-shaped development. At-grade and below-grade parking for 593 cars was also provided. Together the plan utilizes about 3,000 containers stacked eight high on a 345,000-sq-ft footprint.

Once containers are unloaded in the U.S., reuse options include shipping them back empty, selling for domestic storage or waiting for new lease opportunities. Brewer says there are about 17 million TEU’s or 20-ft equivalent units worldwide, including 20-ft, 40-ft and 40- ft-high cube containers. A TEU is one 20-footer. "



Audit: Quality control lacking at Performing Arts Center

Miami Herald November 14 2003

"• The builders' program leaves many daily inspections to subcontractors. But the builders failed to conduct required quality-control training sessions for the subcontractors.

• Once construction began in October 2001, more than 16 months elapsed before any subcontractors documented any inspections.

• The builders failed to budget enough money for quality control. Also, the program will run out of the $900,000 earmarked for it about 13 months before the scheduled completion date.

• Because of insufficient resources provided by the builders, the quality control subcontractor -- Architects Hall Designers -- was understaffed. It also suffered from high turnover.

Moreover, the report said, the builders exhibited what it describes as a ''lack of concern'' about quality control...

The builders called the report "one-sided." "

The Benefits and Realities of High Density Development

Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy

"Presentation at the Urban Land Institute, October 31, 2003. This PowerPoint by Amy Liu, presented at the San Francisco Fall Meeting of the Urban Land Institute, summarizes the academic evidence of the benefits of high density developments for cities and metro areas and examines the nation's progress to date in creating such developments."



PowerPoint Presentation (3097 KB)

Group Ordered New Offices Sunny Side Up

Los Angles Times November 13 2003

"Its roof is built to catch rainwater and funnel it into underground tanks that store runoff along with captured bathroom "gray water" from the inside. A filtration system in the basement cleans the water so it can be recycled for outdoor landscape irrigation and used to flush the building's toilets. Lighthouse-like skylight towers poke through the roof in three places, sending sunlight cascading down two-story light wells into interior corridors. From there, natural light pours through glass walls and doors to illuminate individual office areas. The towers also serve as cooling columns. Low-velocity fans triggered by thermostat sensors draw hot air upward from interior areas and from offices that have old-fashioned transoms over doorways. Exterior office windows can be opened to let in fresh air. Hot water circulated through radiators provides heat. A rooftop solar array produces 7,500 watts, which the council's leaders say is about 20% of the building's workday requirement. Room occupancy sensors and low-wattage fluorescent lighting fixtures are expected to help cut electricity consumption to about two-thirds that of a regular office building."




Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists


from their website:
Natural Resources Defense Council, Santa Monica
recent press
Reuters 14 November 2003
Associated Press 14 November 2003
New York Times 13 November 2003
Los Angeles Times 13 November 2003
"Which Way LA?" on KCRW 89.9fm 13 November 2003

Show and tell

Cleveland Plain Dealer November 14 2003

"Presto! Architect Rafael Vinoly isn't a magician, but officials at the Cleveland Museum of Art say he's pulling off an impressive trick for them

In an earlier version nine months ago, Vinoly's plan called for a 42 percent increase in gallery space, from the existing 94,200 square feet to roughly 133,000 square feet in the expanded museum complex. The latest version calls for a whopping 61.3 percent expansion of gallery space, which would bring the new total to 155,500 square feet. The museum as a whole would expand from the present 389,000 square feet to 664,800 square feet. That's 100,000 square feet more interior space than the museum had in February's version of the expansion plan."



Rafael VinolyArchitects


Cleveland Museum of Art

Hop on Pop: A riveting new documentary about Louis Kahn, a great architect and not-so-great dad.

Slate November 14 2003

"Before dying of a heart attack in a men's room at Manhattan's Penn Station, Louis Kahn produced just a handful of well-known buildings. For every commission that worked out, two or three others seemed to crumble under the weight of his perfectionism. Still, he managed to earn a reputation, one that today seems as well deserved as ever, as the most important architect to emerge in the second half of the 20th century. Kahn, who was 73 when he died in 1974, liked to use the simplest materials he could get his hands on, mostly brick and concrete. He shaped them into primitive but powerful geometric forms—a huge square inside a huge circle was a favorite motif. He didn't settle on a style of his own until a revelatory stay in Rome around the time he turned 50, but his signature buildings are graceful and filled with light, with the clean, ornament-free lines typical of modern architecture.

To put it mildly, Kahn was something less of a hero to the members of his own family..."

  Son and father


'Architect' draws on Kahn's life Philadelphia Inquirer


Finding his father and himself Philadelphia Inquirer

The rebel of the block

Los Angeles Times November 6 2003

"With its wide-open ground floor and front windows that disappear into a wall, a landmark John Lautner home on Balboa Island emphasizes freedom over enclosure.

Architect John Lautner was out there. He learned at the elbow of Frank Lloyd Wright that boxy buildings were only good for jails and animal pens, so he created living room walls that swung open to become outside decks and houses in the shape of spaceships, with head-spinning views."



John Lautner Foundation

FOA never repeat themselves - and their one-off approach could spell the end for the big-name architects.

Guardian UK November 17 2003

"Alejandro Zaera-Polo, her husband and partner in Foreign Office Architects, smiles in amused agreement. FOA have a reputation as the most formidably glamorous young architects around, so it's refreshing to learn that they are interested in banal activities such as shopping and nipping out for a latte.

They're also interested in turning established architectural practice upside down: they're not particularly interested in beauty, they don't have a recognisable style and they don't do sketches. Instead, they use raw data and mathematical formulae to help them design buildings.

But perhaps the most remarkable thing about FOA is their youth: in a profession in which most architects under 40 are still designing house extensions, Moussavi, 38, and Zaera-Polo, 39, are building their extraordinary projects around the world. They are considered one of the most important practices of their generation, representing a decisive break with the older generation of "signature" architects such as Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid and Richard Meier.

The ensuing years provided rich pickings for the signature architects, as clients around the world rushed to commission trophy buildings to put their city or corporation on the map. But with iconic architecture now cropping up in every city, these buildings are starting to cancel each other out: Gehry is peppering the world with Bilbao Guggenheim lookalikes and if you've seen one building by Calatrava or Meier, you've seen them all."



foreign office architects



WTC proposal

Stronger and Sustainable: Architect Sees New Mobile Home Future

Newswise November 12 2003

"Affordable, easily constructed off-site and readily transported, mobile homes long have offered a way for people to own a home. As a Mississippi State architecture professor observes, however, the very features that make manufactured housing affordable also can create long-term issues of expense and questionable returns on investment.

“The initial investment in the typical mobile home is significantly less than that of a conventional home, but the owner will probably incur enormous energy costs over time,” Michael Berk said. “In addition to paying higher insurance rates, the owner also loses equity with the investment.” Through the Fred Carl Small Town Center in Mississippi State's College of Architecture, Berk is proposing a next-generation affordable mobile home that may alter current realities. He envisions units built off-site of insulated structural panels made from Mississippi wood products."



Sustainable Mobile Homes For North Mississippi and the Delta


Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State


Architect Frank Gehry's LA bloom

Dallas Morning News November 14 2003

"The breakthrough came with CATIA, a computer program used to design the French Mirage fighter. CATIA allowed the office – Mr. Gehry himself pleads computer illiteracy – to create forms and spaces that could scarcely be imagined, much less built, and to do it with increasing efficiency and economy. Out of these explorations eventually came the Vitra factory and museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany; the DZ Bank in Berlin, Disney, Bilbao, the Experience Music Project in Seattle and many other eye-popping projects.

So while it's odd to think of Mr. Gehry's signature organic shapes flowing from aerospace software, it is also a reminder that his buildings are not the whimsical jeux d'esprit that some critics have alleged. Each is a product of painstaking research and compulsive revision, of pushing conventional ideas until they break and re-form as something new. Mr. Gehry's Santa Monica studio is a mini-museum of study models in all shapes and sizes, sometimes 20 or 30 for a single project."

Foster goes Deco, and reinvents the skyscraper. What are we to make of the "Gherkin"?

Gabion November 16 2003

"Note to American readers: for "gherkin", read "pickle".

In the interests of research, I have taken a jar of pickled gherkins out of my fridge and examined them closely. They do not look much like the new circular, tapering Lord Foster skyscraper at the epicentre of the City of London. They have blunter ends, tend to curl somewhat, are covered with warty excrescences, and are green. Foster's 30 St. Mary Axe tower, to give it its official name, is too sleekly, darkly, fatly mechanistic to be confused with your average cucumber-related fridge vegetable. But in the popular mind it is, and probably always will be, the Gherkin. Let's not fight it. Let's embrace it."



Foster and Partners


30 St Mary Axe

Eyeing the future

Smoky Mountain News November 12 2003

"Since smart growth concentrates on mixed-use development, it is different from traditional zoning. Industrial growth still may be focused on the fringes of a community, ensuring that asphalt plants are not next-door neighbors with residential areas. But a harmonic, symbiotic relationship between the business community — restaurants, office spaces, retail stores — and residential areas — high-density apartments, second-level lofts, cottages and single-family homes — can be reached through a regulatory process that is gaining popularity called design-based coding.

Design-based codes do not limit a building’s usage; rather they prescribe their physical design and infrastructure. In other words, a bank can be next to an apartment and next to the café, but it had better all look nice. Design standards often are tied to a specific purpose, such as increasing pedestrian traffic inflow or giving privacy to residences on city streets. Parking should be located behind a building and doors and windows should face the street and sidewalk. Residential buildings should have smaller setbacks, but be elevated approximately one and a half to two feet to allow the lower sill of windows to be above eye-level for passers-by."

Planner on WTC checks on progress of his DAM project

Rocky Mountain News November 15 2003

"Daniel Libeskind was in Denver this week, taking a first measure of progress on the new Denver Art Museum building. It's now a reality, he said, and is it ever. The general contractors opened the construction site so the press could tour with him.

A recent award from the British construction industry pleased him "better than winning an aesthetic award," he said. "That's what architecture is all about. Aesthetics are just an aspect, a dimension. There's the money dimension. How you detail a building. How economical it is to run. How sustainable it is. How well-crafted. How well the client is satisfied - beyond pretty pictures. It's not about pretty images or about fashion. It's about the work beyond its 15-second walk of fame. Many buildings that are famous in their time - in five, six years people are oblivious to them."



Libeskind: design is not about the 'ego of architect' Rocky Mountain News
1:53 Windows Media


Denver Art Museum special section Rocky Mountain News

Perl's Architecture Weblog early November 2003

Perl's Architecture Weblog late October 2003

Perl's Architecture Weblog mid October 2003

Perl's Architecture Weblog early October 2003

Perl's Architecture Weblog September 2003

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 Texas Tech University  College of Architecture  Robert D. Perl 


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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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