The Aqua Tower by Studio Gang Architects
Totaling over 1.9 million sf, Aqua Tower is an 82-story mixed-use high-rise that includes a hotel, apartments, condominiums, parking and offices. Unlike a tower in an open field, new towers in urban environments must negotiate small view corridors between existing buildings. In response to this, the Aqua Tower is designed to capture particular views that would otherwise be unattainable. Among the building’s notable features is the green roof terrace atop its plinth—which at 80,000 sf is one of Chicago’s largest—that contains an outdoor pool, running track, gardens, fire pits and yoga terrace.
A series of contours defined by outdoor terraces extends away from the face of the tower structure to provide views between neighboring buildings. These outdoor terraces, cantilevered up to twelve feet, differ in shape from floor to floor. The terraces inflect based on criteria such as the view, solar shading and size and type of dwelling. When viewed together, these unique terraces make the building appear to undulate, presenting a highly sculptural appearance that is rooted in function. Aqua creates a strong identity through its architecture and has become a landmark addition to the Chicago skyline.
Early and close collaboration between architect and builder, as well as the use of contemporary digital tools, allowed the variation in the shape of the floor slabs to be achieved without increasing the building’s construction timetable. The result is a high-rise tower particular to its site that allows residents to inhabit the facade of the building and the city at the same time.
“Aqua Tower was shaped by an organic, site-specific design process. Rather than starting out with the goal of creating an icon, we let the climate and views shape the building, weaving it into its surroundings and treating the building and its environment as interconnected not separate. Even though it may appear to be formally expressive, it is equal parts data and imagination.” – Jeanne Gang, Design Principal Architect
Visit the Studio Gang Architects website – here.
A landmark of modern architecture, 330 North Wabash set a standard that is still being copied by architects around the world today. It is undeniably one of the great works of "serious" architecture.
Perched along a slight bend in the Chicago River, the building takes stately to a new level. Its design manages to be all business, but not stuffy. When seen on a bright day from across the river its darkness contrasts with the bright stone and glittering reflective glass of its neighbors. But that presence only works when the weather is good. When things aren't at their peak, the building robs the area of much needed light and manages to be little more than a massive void in the sky.
Still, 330 North Wabash is considered an architectural masterpiece. It keeps no secrets. Even a quick look reveals this building's bones. You can clearly see the structural steel, the mechanical floor, and the columns that make this skyscraper possible. Unlike its new-fangled neighbors who hide their flaws beneath a skin of silver glass, this building is raw architecture out in the open.
It is also something of an engineering feat. The building had to avoid a freight rail line that brought newspaper rolls to the Chicago Sun-Times building that was once on the other side of Wabash Avenue. The City of Chicago even helped out a little with the engineering, shifting the path of Wabash Avenue slightly to allow the architect to pursue the building shape he desired.
Mies van der Rohe died before construction began. A bust of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is in the lobby to honor him.
This past weekend I visited and toured the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, IL. The home is magnificent and the tour was mediocre. The "interpreter" knew little information about the subject matter. Regardless, I would recommend visiting his home. The suburban neighborhood is gorgeous almost as much as his architecture is.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (1889/1898) served as Wright's private residence and workplace from 1889 to 1909—the first 20 years of his career. Wright used his home as an architectural laboratory, experimenting with design concepts that contain the seeds of his architectural philosophy. Here he raised six children with his first wife, Catherine Tobin.
In 1898 Wright added a studio, described by a fellow-architect as a workplace with "inspiration everywhere." In the Studio, Wright and his associates developed a new American architecture, the Prairie style, and designed 125 structures, including such famous buildings as the Robie House, the Larkin Building and Unity Temple. I also visited the Unity Temple, which I will discuss in future posts.
This past fall, the CUDC hosted an Exhibition in its gallery space on Lafayette Park, a thriving development in Detroit designed by the famous modern architect, Mies Van Der Rohe. Our professor, Steve Rugare, lectured several times on the subject matter and composed several tours of the space. What I admired the most was detail of the physical models. His attention to detail, which can seem obsessive, is probably crucial both to Lafayette Park's beauty and to its survival. It is regarded as a work of art to be treasured and tended by its residents.
As part of the Welcoming Committee here at the CUDC, it is our job to provide a "Welcoming" document to incoming students that provides a comprehensive outline of the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative in general. For those of you not familiar, this would be a very helpful resource. Without further due, here it is! Feel free to contact me or the CUDC for more information about this document.
A research document made for my final graduate architectural project. Introduces the project, identifies the program and includes case studies and site analysis.
Mechanical Behavior of the Miura Structure
Origami tessellations have always amazed me, and this week I spent some time looking into this idea of "Structural Expressionism," our main theme for this summer semester studio. I began my exploration by watching several youtube videos on how to construct these things... and it was much harder than I thought. But I finally got the hang of it and this is what I made:
I wanted to investigate the mechanical properties of these tessellations and try to apply it to an architectural project. The structural properties are still being tested... In the meantime, I have found some research on these applications already...
"The core idea of my research is to impart new mechanical properties to thin-walled sheets by introducing a local texture (such as corrugations, dimples, folds, etc.) that affects the global mechanical properties. My specific area of interest is using tessellated folding patterns, inspired by the Japanese art of Origami folding, to introduce the new mechanical properties. In order to understand their mechanical behaviour, the folded sheets are modelled as pin-jointed frameworks, with additional bending stiffness along the fold lines and across the facets. The eigenmodes of the associated tangent stiffness matrix then provide insight in the global deformation kinematics of the sheet. By introducing a folded texture pattern to thin sheets, a novel ‘sheet material’ has been created, with unique mechanical properties. Their combination of flexibility in some, and rigidity in other deformation modes, makes these folded textured sheets very suitable for use in morphing structures. Additionally, these novel folded textured sheets may also find applications in architecture or micromechanical systems."
Brandon E. Young