Design

3Novices:Pentagram prints stencil-style supergraphic across ICA Boston

A logo resembling “stencil letterforms” is printed on the exterior of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed art gallery on Boston’s waterfront, as part of a major branding overhaul by graphic design studio Pentagram.

Pentagram‘s Abbott Miller led the studio’s New York team on the rebranding of the ICA Boston, which architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro completed in the South Boston Seaport District in 2006.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

Celebrated as one of America’s earliest institutions dedicated to contemporary art, the museum was originally founded in 1939 as a spin-off of New York’s MoMA, and called Boston Museum of Modern Art. It was later renamed the Institute of Modern Art, and then the Institute of Contemporary Art to better reflect its programme, making it the first institution to use “contemporary” in its moniker.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

Emphasising this history, Miller’s redesigned simplifies the title into the three initials, arranged with a lower-case “c” wedged in between a capitalised “I” and “A”.

“In the new identity, ‘Institute’ and ‘Art’ (as ‘I’ and ‘A’) act as formal bookends around a small ‘c’, highlighting the idea that ‘contemporary’ is at the core of the museum’s mission and always in flux,” said Pentagram in a project statement.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

The logotype is bold and black, and broken up by slender lines to resemble letters printed with a stencil. This references the 20th-century warehouses in the surrounding area, according to Pentagram.

“Set in stencil letterforms, the identity evokes openness and activity, as well as the industrial heritage of the harbour,” said the graphic design agency, which is one of the world’s most prolific.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

Large versions of the new logo, which were added in several places across the cantilevered top of the building, are also segmented with vertical lines created by the cladding.

Another supergraphic is imprinted on the translucent ICA Watershed – a small outpost in the East Boston Shipyard across the harbour from the main institution, which opened earlier this year to host programmes during the summer months.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

Pentagram designed the logo to be scaled to suit various marketing materials, which the studio also overhauled as part of the rebranding. These include animations, the website, signage and environmental graphics.

On these items, the institution’s full name, Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston, is set in a smaller font in various arrangements around the logo.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

A pairing of blue and black provide the principle palette, taking cues from the waterfront, with undulating line details resembling waves. There are also materials that come in contrasting brighter hues of purple, red and yellow.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro completed ICA Boston 12 years ago, conceiving a design that integrated the contemporary art gallery with spaces for public programmes. A defining feature of the building is the exterior steps that lead onto the Harbourwalk.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

The building is among a series of projects intended to reinvigorate the area into the “city’s most vibrant district”. Future projects in the new neighbourhood include a European-style piazza and a pedestrian loop.

ICA Boston rebrand by PentagramICA Boston rebrand by Pentagram

Since completing ICA Boston, Diller Scofidio + Renfro has worked on a number of major cultural institutions in the US, like the Broad Museum in Los Angeles and a major overhaul of the MoMA in New York.

Pentagram, which was established in 1972, has also become the go-to studio for branding arts buildings across the nation. Its recent projects include updating the visual identity for America’s Library of Congress in Washington DC to look like bookends, and rebranding a Nashville art museum with a 1930s-influenced logo.

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3Novices:Dezeen’s Christmas gift guide 2018: kids

Toy elephants modelled on a design by Charles and Ray Eames are among 15 presents we’ve picked out for children to round off our Christmas gift guides for 2018.


Eames Elephant by VitraEames Elephant by Vitra

Eames Elephant by Vitra

This bright elephant is the first serial production of the plywood toy that American modernist designers Charles and Ray Eames created in 1945, but never put in production.

Featuring the exaggerated trunk and curving body of the original design, the contemporay animal has now been sized down and made in colourful polypropylene by Vitra.

Shop Vitra now ›


Mini Modern Colours 2.0 by ArcKitMini Modern Colours 2.0 by ArcKit

Mini Modern Colours 2.0 by Arckit

Next generation’s architects can get to grips with model-making and learn modernist design principles with the Mini Modern Colours kit.

Like all of the products by architectural model kit manufacturer Arckit, which have been hailed as “posh Lego”, it is assembled from modular components that connect without glue, offering a less messy alternative to traditional constructions.

Shop Arckit now ›


Assembly Square by LegoAssembly Square by Lego

Assembly Square by Lego

A town awaits to be assembled from this intricate Lego set, which comprises a music store, dental office, a dance studio, and an apartment with a rooftop terrace and barbecue.

The Assembly Square kit, which features 4,002 Pieces, is the 10th addition to Lego’s Creator Expert Modular Building series, following a Parisian restaurant, a diner, a detective’s office and a brickwork bank.

Shop Lego now ›


The Napper by BearabyThe Napper by Bearaby

The Napper by Bearaby

This chunky knit blanket is ideal for cuddling up little ones for afternoon naps, or extra warmth for deep evening sleeps.

Beararby designed the hand-woven throw to be heavy weighted in order to help induce dozing, while the thick threads come in a range of colours to suit a variety of interiors.

Shop Bearaby now ›


Printed Organic Cotton Trousers by CosPrinted Organic Cotton Trousers by Cos

Printed Organic Cotton Trousers by COS

COS has proven that any age can be fashionable with the Printed Organic Cotton trousers in its kids and babies range.

The fashion brand – which is better known for its minimal garments for adults – has used soft organic cotton-jersey and decorated it with a spotted pattern. The bottoms are pull-on to make them easy for the adult in charge and feature a gusset for added comfort for the little wearer.

Shop COS now ›


Alessini by Alessandro MendiniAlessini by Alessandro Mendini

Alessini by Alessandro Mendini

Geometric shapes and stripes in bold colours adorn this playful mini table-set to spice up children’s meal times.

Designed by by Italian architect and design Alessandro Mendini for Alessi, the series includes a plate, bowl, cup and a round tray. Accompanying cutlery is shorter than usual, with bulbous handles to help with gripping.

Shop Alessi now ›


Parrot Mambo FlyParrot Mambo Fly

Parrot Mambo Fly

Budding photographers will want to get their hands on this minidrone, to capture images from the above. It syncs to a smartphone application so that photos can be downloaded straight away.

The Parrot Mambo Fly can be flown on autopilot or though the app, which also manages other settings, such as adding a cut-out system so it stops on impact and checking battery life.

Shop Parrot now ›


Nutty Squirrel Balance Game by JanodNutty Squirrel Balance Game by Janod

Nutty Squirrel Balance Game by Janod

Colourful blocks cut into hazelnuts are intended to be stacked on top of a squirrel’s back as part of this wooden game.

The aim of the game, created by toy brand Jando, is to get the balance just right.

Shop Janod now ›


Organic Cotton Top by Arket Organic Cotton Top by Arket 

Organic Cotton Top by Arket 

H&M offshoot Arket has cut this striped, long-sleeved top from organic cotton fabric to make it soft against a baby’s skin.

The bold garment has a rounded neck with a pop button, and slits at the ends of the sleeves, to make it easy to pull on and off.

Shop Arket now ›


Peacock pencil holder by EO Elements OptimalPeacock pencil holder by EO Elements Optimal

Duotone cars by Ikonic Toys

Dutch designer Floris Hovers’ Dutone cars for brand Ikonic Toys comprises six vehicles modelled into playful wooden toys with mini wheels.

Each is cut from blocks of beech wood and coloured in two tones – including clashes of red and green, turquoise and burgundy, as well as pairings of orange and blue hues.

Shop Ikonic Toys now ›


Pia Panda by Donna WilsonPia Panda by Donna Wilson

Pia Panda by Donna Wilson

Designer Donna Wilson took cues from children’s drawings to create the friendly and playful outline of arms, legs and ears to form this cuddly panda toy.

Black and white lambswool is stitched together to form the body and detailed with hand-stitched eyes and a nose.

Shop Donna Wilson now ›


Crew by Studio delle Alpi

Five shapes resembling wild animals – including a crocodile, giraffe and elephant – slot into this wooden puzzle created by Studio delle Alpi for toddlers.

Neon pink lines pattern the surface of the Crew toy, with small wooden handles attached to grab each figure.

Shop Studio delle Alpi now ›


Painted Beech Songbird - Ruth by Kay BojesenPainted Beech Songbird - Ruth by Kay Bojesen

Painted Oak Songbird – Ruth by Kay Bojesen

The face of this wooden bird twists in various directions, adding fun to this toy that Danish designer Kay Bojesen created in 1950.

The head, beak, breast and legs of the Songbird are each painted a different colour, creating a bold contrast of yellow, red, pink and green.

Shop Kay Bojesen now ›


The Carousel of Animals by Gérard Lo Monaco The Carousel of Animals by Gérard Lo Monaco 

The Carousel of Animals by Gérard Lo Monaco 

Add drama to bedtime stories with the pop-up book by Argentinean illustrator Gérard Lo Monaco.

The book opens to reveal stripes that mark out the colourful roof of a carousel. Inside, turned pages reveal a different animal, ranging from an orange kangaroo with a kid in its pouch, jumping pink pigs and a purple hippo.

Shop The Carousel of Animals now ›


Electro Dough Kit by Tech Will Save UsElectro Dough Kit by Tech Will Save Us

Electro Dough by Technology Will Save Us

Kids can make dough light up and buzz in this playful kit by Technology Will Save Us.

A dough recipe, and a gluten free alternative, is included in Electro Dough, along with a bunch of crocodile clips, red and green LED lights, switched buzzer and switches to jazz it up.

Shop Technology Will Save Us now ›

Note: entries in Dezeen’s 2018 Christmas gift guides have been paid for or include affiliate links.

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3Novices:Bauhaus educator László Moholy-Nagy was “not given his due”

Hungarian-born Bauhaus educator László Moholy-Nagy is set to feature in a new movie, highlighting the role he played in bringing the school’s ideology to America. For our Bauhaus 100 series, the film’s producer Alysa Nahmias speaks to Dezeen.

Moholy-Nagy is often overshadowed by Bauhaus stars like Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, yet he played a critical role in continuing the school’s teachings after it was shut down in 1933. The New Bauhaus aims to draw attention to his legacy.

“Moholy is not within the Bauhaus ‘all-stars’, but is instrumental in so many aspects of the Bauhaus. But somehow I think not given his due, and I hope that the film can do a major part,” Nahmias told Dezeen.

The New BauhausThe New Bauhaus
László Moholy-Nagy is the focus of an upcoming documentary. Photo is by László Moholy-Nagy, courtesy of Moholy Nagy Foundation

Two years in production and set to release in 2019, the documentary is produced by former architect Nahmias and cinematographer Petter Ringbom, in collaboration with Erin Wright and Marquise Stillwell.

It focuses on Moholy-Nagy’s time in Chicago, where he established the New Bauhaus design school, and will explore his personal history and formative ideas.

“We should look at Moholy in the same way as Gropius or Mies”

“One of Moholy’s ideas is that the person is above the product, that as we are creating artwork, design and products, we are also creating ourselves, both on the individual level and as a collective society,” said Nahmias. “This is one of the ideas that I want to explore in this film, that makes it go way beyond being about design or art.”

Following retrospectives of Moholy-Nagy’s work at major museums like the Guggenheim in 2016, and the Art Institute of Chicago and the LACMA in 2017, the film offers a closer look and emotional journey through his life, exploring his work as an artist, designer, visionary, and teacher.

“We saw the exhibitions and thought his work was incredible. We thought, why haven’t we learned more about him,” she said.

“You get a sense that there is more there, and more people should look at him in the same way they look at Gropius or Mies, or other great 20th century artists.”

Moholy-Nagy taught at the Bauhaus from 1923 to 1928

Born László Weisz to a Jewish family in rural Hungary, the artist changed his surname to Moholy-Nagy, switching from his German-Jewish surname to the Magyar surname of his mother’s lawyer friend Nagy, who supported the family when László’s father left. He then added Moholy after the town of Mohol, in present-day in Serbia, where he spent his childhood.

He was an educator at the Bauhaus from 1923 until 1928, becoming head of the metal workshop. This programme marked the school’s move towards its original focus of being a design and industrial institute. Following the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy established his own design studio in Berlin before fleeing the Nazi regime in 1935.

After briefly living in London, in 1937 he was invited by the Association of Arts and Industries to become the director of the New Bauhaus school in Chicago.

The New BauhausThe New Bauhaus
A lowercase b defines the New Bauhaus scrapbook, designed by László Moholy-Nagy. Photo is by Petter Ringbom, courtesy of Opendox

“The Association of Arts and Industries was a bunch of wealthy industrialists based in Chicago, and wanted to start a school along Bauhaus lines – that was actually on the telegram,” Nahmias said.

“They knew about Gropius, because he was already at Harvard, and he recommended they talk to his friend László.”

Moholy-Nagy opened New Bauhaus school in Chicago

In 1939, Moholy-Nagy opened the New Bauhaus school, but after a year of running, the majority of businessmen at the Association of Arts and Industries pulled their money out, causing the school to close.

“After that first year, I think the association realised that Moholy was doing something that was very much along Bauhaus lines, but wasn’t necessarily productive in their limited definition of what the school would produce in its students,” explained Nahmias.

“Moholy was taking them through a circular that was going to be very productive in terms of industry and design, but in the immediate assignments, it was like they were making photograms and wood sculptures for blind people, and they were doing all of these Bauhaus-like experimentations.”

Moholy faced a choice at that moment, where he could either let that go and look for a job somewhere. But he instead decided to keep going with his dream and vision. Industrialist Walter Pepke, chairman of the Container Corporation of America, collaborated with Moholy-Nagy to underwrite another iteration of the school, which would be called the School of Design.

“It was a very entrepreneurial act for an immigrant refugee”

“Moholy reopened the school with him, rather than it being run by the Association of Arts and Industries, it ended being his own school. It was a very entrepreneurial act for an immigrant refugee, in his second year in America,” explained Nahmias.

“It was a constant struggle for Moholy to keep it open and running. He often didn’t take a salary and often worked other gigs. It was like any other start-up, in a way. He was constantly fundraising with Walter Pepke in Chicago and beyond, to keep the school alive.”

The New BauhausThe New Bauhaus
Moholy’s daughter, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, features in the film. Photo is by Petter Ringbom, courtesy of Opendox

This School of Design, formerly the New Bauhaus, became the Institute of Design in 1944 and part of Illinois Institute of Technology in 1949. After many iterations, the New Bauhaus is still in practice today, honouring the curriculum of the original Bauhaus school.

“The New Bauhaus definitely didn’t fail, but rather found a different way of operating,” said Nahmias.

Moholy passed away of leukaemia in 1946, and was succeeded by Russian-born British architect and industrial designer Serge Chermayeff as dean. He is father of prolific graphic designer Ivan Chermayeff of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, who passed in December 2017.

Moholy’s legacy lives on in Chicago to this day, but Nahmias hopes the film will make his work known by a larger audience.

“We often see architecture films that are hagiographies – like a biography of a saint – and it is so worshipping that you are not getting at the heart of what this person went through, and what motivated their work,” Nahmias said. “I think for all of these artists, designers and architect, there are stories.”

Moholy’s daughter offers “unique perspective” in the film

A key feature of the documentary is an interview with Moholy’s daughter, Hattula, from his second wife Sibyl, an architectural and art historian from Germany. Hattula manages the estate of the artist with the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, which she founded in 2003. She is 85 and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“This was one of the happy discoveries, that not only was she [Hattula] willing to give us access and facilitate the project, but she was willing to be filmed and really be part of it, which I think is a unique perspective on a Bauhaus artist,” said Nahmias.

Advisors on the documentary include MoMA curator Barry Bergdoll, curator Ellen Lupton of Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, curator Elizabeth Siegel at the Art Institute of Chicago, Princeton professor Hal Foster, author Thomas Dyja, and architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee.

Dezeen guide to 100 years of BauhausDezeen guide to 100 years of Bauhaus
Dezeen’s Bauhaus 100 series explores the enduring influence of the school

The Bauhaus is the most influential art and design school in history. To mark the centenary of the school’s founding, we’ve created a series of articles exploring the school’s key figures and projects.

See the full Bauhaus 100 series ›

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3Novices:Studio Swine works with “plasma, fog and light” at A/D/O residency in New York

Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio Swine discuss their approach to design and the work they are currently undertaking as part of a residency at Brooklyn creative space A/D/O, in this movie produced by Dezeen for MINI.

The London-based duo – Japanese architect Murakami and British artist Groves – are currently working from the A/D/O design hub that was founded by MINI in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as part of its designer-in-residence programme.

The residency will culminate in an exhibition at the venue in January, featuring new works informed by the studio’s time spent in New York.

Studio Swine are currently undertaking a design residency at creative space A/D/OStudio Swine are currently undertaking a design residency at creative space A/D/O
Studio Swine is made up of Japanese designer Azusa Murakami and British designer Alexander Groves

“We’ll be exploring the idea of how technology and ephemeral materials can synthesise,” Groves says in the video, which was shot by Dezeen at A/D/O. “We’re working with plasma, fog and light.”

Nate Pinsley, global managing director at A/D/O x MINI, says that the designer-in-residence programme is mutually beneficial for the venue and the visiting designers.

“ADO is a creative hub created by MINI that brings together people from all sorts of backgrounds and disciplines who are interested in exploring the future of design,” he says.

Studio Swine at A/D/OStudio Swine at A/D/O
Murakami and Groves are currently undertaking a design residency at creative space A/D/O in Brooklyn

“The residency allows us to explore a little bit more broadly, and invite a talented team like Alex and Azusa to come in and explore the topics they want to explore.”

Designers enrolled in the programme are able to make use of the creative facilities that A/D/O offers. “We provide space, access to fabrication tools, and we also provide access to the community,” Pinsley explains.

Studio Swine has become known for its interdisciplinary approach to design and globetrotting projects, and the duo spoke about their work at a talk hosted by Dezeen and A/D/O in October 2018.

Studio Swine's installation for the Eden ProjectStudio Swine's installation for the Eden Project
Studio Swine recently designed a 11-metre-tall ceramic structure that expelled rings of mist

“We come from different backgrounds of art and architecture,” explains Murakami. “We do a range of projects around the world that deal with telling a story which manifests in an object at the end.”

“We’re very eclectic in the materials we use, the processes, the places,” adds Groves. “But one thing that is consistent is our approach. It’s very research-led.”

“You go to a place and you just immerse yourself in a situation, and then you become a conduit for creating something new but also that’s very of the place.”

The studio’s previous work includes a chair that was fabricated at sea using ocean plastics, a series of objects made using human hair purchased in China, an installation featuring a metal tree that produced smoke-filled bubbles, and a huge ceramic sculpture installed at the Eden project that emits scented mist.

Studio Swine's installation for COSStudio Swine's installation for COS
The design duo created this metal tree that produces smoke-filled bubbles for COS, first shown during Milan design week 2017

While each of the projects has resulted in a physical object, Groves and Murakami believe that the narratives that surround their work are equally as important as the end result.

“We see everything as part of one piece of work,” says Murakami. “We don’t separate object, film, installation.”

“It’s really all about creating a world that you can immerse yourself in.”

Studio Swine’s exhibition at A/D/O will open in January 2019. Follow A/D/O for more details.

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3Novices:”Love that Denise Scott Brown makes an appearance”

In this week’s comments update, readers question whether illustrations of a country home designed by Charles Holland Architects have more style than substance.

Well drawn: readers unanimously loved the characterful drawings of a country house that Charles Holland Architects plans to construct in Kent, England, even if they didn’t like the design.

“A more beautiful method of architectural presentation I have not seen in a long while,” Giles Heather praised.

“Beautiful representation – love that Denise Scott Brown makes an appearance in the rear elevation too!” Russ_E_G noticed.

“Not too keen on this architecture, but the illustrations are gorgeous! I’d like to hang these in my home,” Nicole D added.

She wasn’t the only commenter to question the home’s actual design: “Puzzling division of the kitchen into cooking and washing – first renovation will remove that wall,” Brendan Finney mused.

Jean-Yves Rehby certainly wasn’t impressed: “Suggested name for this house: One Paltry”.

This reader summed up the project in just one word:

https://embed.disqus.com/p/1xyfiqv

What do you think of the house? Join the discussion ›


550 Madison proposal by Snøhetta550 Madison proposal by Snøhetta

Hard sell: Snøhetta has unveiled its updated plans for the overhaul of Philip Johnson’s renowned AT&T building. There was a major backlash against the firm’s initial scheme, and some readers still aren’t happy second time around.

“This doesn’t look like much more than new windows,” stated HeywoodFloyd.

“This building (like nearly all of postmodernism) is not worth preservation and Snohetta should have backed away from the commission,” concluded Archi.

Some commenters queried whether the renovation was needed at all.

“The patio on the Johnson building looks okay but let’s leave the rest of the structure alone. It has stood on its own for many years and it works just fine,” said Herbert Conlan.

Others were much more optimistic about Snøhetta’s ideas: “Much improved! Sensitive and updated, and it only took landmarking the building to accomplish,” commended Benny.

Rthko shared the sentiment:

https://embed.disqus.com/p/1xvxi80

What do you think of the proposal? Join the discussion ›


Geoffrey Pascal's Grafeiphobia office furniture collection imitates being in bedGeoffrey Pascal's Grafeiphobia office furniture collection imitates being in bed

Hit snooze: designer Geoffrey Pascal has created a range of office furnishings that caters to people who prefer to work from home in their beds, but many readers weren’t sure about the designs.

John McGrath initially tried to find a rational reason for the collection: “Most people who work in bed usually just don’t have space for a desk because renting conditions are so bad”.

But sarcastic comments continued to roll in: “Not sure I want to combine working with spinal decompression,” said ED.

“Looks ergonomic and functional. Especially the blood that flows to your face when working on ‘The Flying Man’ must be very healthy. These sure beat working on a desk,” quipped Miles Teg.

“Trying to imagine having a serious meeting here,” added neko_ni_koban.

One reader got in early for the debate:

https://embed.disqus.com/p/1xv9asv

Would you want this furniture in your office? Join the discussion ›


Rem Koolhaas speaking at the 2018 World Architecture FestivalRem Koolhaas speaking at the 2018 World Architecture Festival

Western front: Rem Koolhaas said that the west has to lose its “sense of superiority” towards countries like China, Russia and the Middle East to avoid missing out on crucial conversations about architecture – but not all readers were in agreement.

“Ultimately, architecture has a social responsibility to the people that uses it, don’t just build it because you can or an authoritarian government lets you,” argued ArchBoi92.

“This might appear to some as a justification for starchitects to construct – and greatly profit from – massive projects with autocratic states while avoiding criticism for collaboration, for complicity in their bosses’ actions,” pondered duckusucker.

However, some commenters felt that Koolhaas’ views were a long time coming: “Britain is waking up? What a day, what a lovely day. At last! We’re here, in the Middle East, and we’re waiting since 1945,” exclaimed Octavius.

“Rem has always been a strong, critical thinker that provokes. He appears to have lost none of his verve,” added threefloatingorbs.

One reader concluded with this:

https://embed.disqus.com/p/1xwh9fu

Do you agree with Koolhaas? Join the discussion ›

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3Novices:CO Architects creates highly transparent Health Education Building in Kansas

A glazed box revealing floors wrapped in a terracotta screen forms part of this new academic facility, designed by CO Architects for a university in Kansas City.

Built on the site of a former parking lot, the Health Education Building is located on a prominent corner in the University of Kansas Medical Center campus – on the Kansas side of the state border with Missouri. It serves as the primary educational facility for the institution’s medical, nursing and allied health programs.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

The six-storey building was designed by Los Angeles-based CO Architects in collaboration with local studio Helix Architecture + Design.

“As the campus continues to grow, the Health Education Building will emerge as the geographical centre and interdisciplinary resource among the existing concentration of clinical, research and educational buildings,” the team said in a project description.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

Roughly rectangular in plan, the building consists of two wings, with a glazed connector volume running between them. Encompassing 171,744 square feet (15,956 square metres), the facility contains classrooms, simulation labs, clinical skills rooms and student life space.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

Exterior walls are wrapped in glass and reddish brick. On the west elevation, the upper level of the building cantilevers over the site and reaches toward an active street. Glazed facades provide a clear view of the interior, where volumes containing labs are enclosed in a terracotta screen.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

“The cantilevered west wing acts as a lantern, providing daytime and illuminated night views of the advanced simulation labs that appear suspended inside the building,” the team said.

“The curving terracotta and glass enclosures of the simulation spaces invite metaphorical interpretations for human organs within the skin surrounding them, and symbolise the hands-on, progressive curriculum taught in the building.”

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

The eastern elevation, which is more opaque, features Roman brick cladding – a material the takes cues from the traditional masonry found on campus. On the ground level, the brickwork “appears to dissolve into a lattice-like screen that runs past windows, providing views into the large learning studio inside”. A similar strategy was used at the top of the building for mechanical purposes.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

The north side of the building features a sloping walkway, which leads to another research building and parking facilities. The team incorporated a landscaped courtyard that was influenced by the grass-covered Flint Hills region in eastern Kansas. Condensate water from the building’s mechanical system is used to irrigate the landscaping.

Conjoined to the south side of the building is a glass-enclosed bridge, which passes over a street and connects to Orr-Major Hall, a brutalist-style educational building constructed in the 1970s.

Spanning 250 feet (76 metres), the glazed bridge is meant to function as both a “pedestrian conduit and social destination”. The interior offers space for studying and socialising. Large, tree-shaped columns provide structural support and visual interest.

The entire building offers a diverse mix of formal and informal spaces that encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving.

“Each floor of the building is designed to promote a sense of student camaraderie, community and teamwork,” the team said.

The first and second storeys house 15-person tutorial rooms, four-person study rooms and one-person carrels. Classrooms and learning studios – including mock medical environments, such as operating theatres – are located on floors one through four. Faculty offices are situated on the third and fourth levels, while a large event space was placed on the fifth floor.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

The central volume serves as a circulation hub, providing access to elevators and stairs. Retail spaces help activate the base of the building.

The centre has a number of sustainable features, including LED lighting and occupancy sensors that help control heating and cooling. Skylights that project above the ground on the north side bring natural light to learning studios in the basement level.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

On the west side, a semi-conditioned thermal buffer is created between the exterior glass walls and the interior terracotta screen. This buffer cuts down on energy use while still providing views and daylighting.

Overall, the university building is expected to consume 24 per cent less energy than mandated by the state energy guidelines, according to the team.

KU Medical Center by CO ArchitectsKU Medical Center by CO Architects

CO Architects was founded in 1986 as a regional office of Anshen + Allen (now part of Stantec) and became an autonomous firm a decade later. Another academic project by the California firm is a copper-clad laboratory complex in downtown Phoenix that evokes jagged and striated rock formations.

Photography is by Bill Timmerman.

Project credits:

Design/programming architect: CO Architects
CO Architects team: Scott Kelsey, managing principal/principal-in-charge; Paul Zajfen, design principal; Jonathan Kanda, principal for medical education and simulation; Tanner Clapham, associate/project architect; Chao Chen, architect; Michael Ly, designer
Executive architect: Helix Architecture + Design
Client: University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC)
General contractor: McCownGordon Construction
MEP engineer: Henderson Engineers
Structural engineer: Bob D Campbell and Company
Civil engineer: SK Design Group, Inc
Landscape: Land3 Studio
Lighting: Henderson Engineers
Acoustical: The Sextant Group, Inc
Artists: Miki Baird, Marcie Miller Gross, Jesse Small, and Jeremy Rockwell

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Design

3Novices:Nendo-designed Escher exhibition opens at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria

The impossible geometries of Dutch graphic artist MC Escher are explored by Oki Sato’s studio Nendo in an exhibition open at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

The exhibition, called Between Two Worlds, includes 157 prints and drawings by Escher, made between 1916 and 1969, taken from the largest collection of the artist’s work, at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

Escher Nendo exhibition MelbourneEscher Nendo exhibition Melbourne
The exhibition opens with a repeated monochrome motif of interlocking houses

The Japanese studio has designed an immersive monochrome design for the exhibition that draws on the artist’s work by playing with themes of geometry and space.

The studio took the simple shape of a house as the basis of its designs for the project, adapting the form into different dimensions and scales. The house was chosen as it is a symbol that represents space.

Escher Nendo exhibition MelbourneEscher Nendo exhibition Melbourne
Animations are projected onto a 17-metre-long corridor that opens the exhibition

The house motif has practical and conceptual applications, with variations on the shape forming seating, providing a context for display and directing visitors. Birds, fish and other frequently recurring animals in Escher’s work are used to explain the concepts behind the exhibition and as a 3D navigational tool.

The exhibition is arranged according to themes rather than chronologically, over nine display areas, each designed to provide a fitting backdrop for the specific exhibits.

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The house motif has a practical application in a seating area designed for viewing Escher’s early work

The opening space features a 17-metre-long corridor with an animation projected onto the floor that leads visitors to the first gallery. Here a long white bench that looks as though its made up of interlocking houses provides a seating area, where visitors can look at Escher’s early work.

In the next room, a pattern of house shapes has been laid on the floor of a symmetrically designed gallery space, themed around reflections and refractions, such as Eye, from 1946.

Escher Nendo exhibition MelbourneEscher Nendo exhibition Melbourne
A symmetrically-designed gallery is themed around reflections and refractions

Further on, a three-metre staircase raises visitors to a viewing deck that looks down on a 60-metre-long and six-metre-high gallery, from where they look down on a row of four black houses that investigate Escher’s subject of “the regular division of the plane”.

The roofs of these houses gradually open up the further away from the viewing gallery, until they become a row of five white houses at the back of the room. Various works are displayed amongst them, where visitors can walk around and discover them.

Escher Nendo exhibition MelbourneEscher Nendo exhibition Melbourne
A raised viewing deck looks down on a 60-metre-long gallery containing houses with opening roofs

In the next room black metal pipes holding Escher works appear to float in space. Visitors can walk around the gallery and when viewed from certain angles, the black pipes form the outline of a house.

This area is dedicated to Escher’s work that explores extreme perspectives and optical illusions.

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Black metal pipes appear to form house motifs as visitors walk around the gallery space

Visitors can experience an optical illusion for themselves, in a 21-metre corridor with an entrance almost four metres high and a back wall just 50 centimetres tall. The designers have used contrasting colour to further emphasise the change in perspective.

A 3D house pattern made from a thin metal sheet becomes the backdrop for a projected animation to explore the idea of geometrical beauty.

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A chandelier made of more than 55,000 small flat houses hangs in a circular gallery

Further on, a huge chandelier hangs in the middle of a circular gallery. It is made of more than 55,000 small flat black and white houses, and has 17 pieces of art displayed around them that all relate to the idea of reflections and geometric forms.

Nendo has also created a snaking white path that cuts through a black room, with raised sides so that visitors are sunk below the walkway. The curves of the path are based on even angles and tangency, which refer back to Escher’s aesthetic principles. The artist’s Snakes work of 1969 is exhibited here.

Escher Nendo exhibition MelbourneEscher Nendo exhibition Melbourne
A path snakes through a gallery that displays Escher’s 1969 work Snakes

An 11-piece collection of objects that started as paper mockups and ideas for the exhibition design have evolved into a group of objects that will join the gallery’s permanent collection made from black and white painted metal.

Nendo previously collaborated on the exhibition furniture for the Eye of Gyre gallery in Tokyo, where they traced the existing surfaces of the gallery with a black line that formed the display of the work. The lines gave the illusion of being drawn onto the space.

Exhibition photography is by Takumi Ota

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