Architectural Photography Award Finalists Announced

Sto has been a major sponsor of the prestigious Architectural Photography Awards since their inception in 2012.

The shortlist for the prestigious Architectural Photography Awards has been published and, as always, it includes an eclectic collection of breathtaking images.

Turkish photographer Omer Kanipak photographed children peering through Wolfgang Buttress’ installation, The Hive, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in England.

Hundreds of photographers from 47 countries entered in the competition which included four main categories — exterior, interior, buildings in use, and “sense of place” – all intended to showcase the artistry of architectural photography. The 20 photographs chosen as finalists will be exhibited at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam from November 28-30, where the winners will also be announced.

Italian photographer Marco Tagliarino entered an image of the historic Piazza Duomo designed by Italo Rota into the Sense of Place category.

The 20 stunning photographs chosen as finalists include a seashore chapel in Qinhuangdao, northeast China, as well as an abandoned power station in Budapest, the timber-clad lobby of Bloomberg’s European headquarters, and a provocative shot of swimmers wading into waters where the Yangtze and Jialing rivers meet in Chongqing, China with the site of a modern new building complex by Safdie Architects looming in the background. Two of the final photos were inspired by the same architectural wonder — The Hive in London — and both images could not be more disparate.

British photographer James Newton captured ‘The Vortex’ — a timber lobby in Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London.

An expert panel of judges will select winners in the four categories as well as in two additional areas: Portfolio and Mobile. The new Portfolio category asked for 46 photographs of one architectural project and the Mobile category (as you no doubt surmised) called for photographs taken on mobile devices.

Since its inception in 2012, the Architectural Photography Award program has grown in global stature. Thanks for this go to the World Architecture Festival and to Sto – a façade and interior system manufacturer; Sto has been an ardent supporter and sponsor of the competition from the very beginning.


Sto Werkstatt Launches Pop-Up Exhibitions & Speaker Series

Sto Werkstatt in London which has been a resource for architects and builders the past 5 years, is taking their show on the road with pop-up exhibitions, speaker events and other forums for industry leaders.

What are the next generation of architects and designers thinking these days? Stay tuned and look for an upcoming Werkstatt program in your virtual neighborhood.

After five successful years of hosting events at the Sto Werkstatt studio and materials library at Clerkenwell in London, the company has closed its studio and is taking its programs on the road. Starting earlier this year, they launched a new “nomadic” program of exhibitions, talks, project consultations along with their Sto Materials sample service.

The first such program of “Sto Werkstatt Presents” was in July of this year in London, with David Thulstrup, a Danish master in the composition of material, color and form, and Ellie Stathaki, Architecture Editor of Wallpaper* discussing “Designing for Wellness & Wonder”. This first pop-up speaker program organized by Sto Werkstatt revolved around an earlier exhibition in Milan at Salone del Mobile where Sto showcased their StoSilent acoustical panel system. Thulstrup discussed how the sensual qualities of materials and design can contribute to comfort and livability within the built environment as demonstrated at the Milan salon.

These Sto pop-up installations in the U.K. will continue to be a valuable resource for architects and the building industry, providing inspiration and knowledge. The rest of us will be able to tap these global trends online. The goal for Sto is to work closely with design professionals — offering specifications, details and advice that is tailored to a project’s geographical location and environmental requirements.

For more information on Sto Werkstatt standard and bespoke materials library as well as upcoming exhibitions and events —


Skyscrapers Reach for New Heights

According to a recent study, skyscrapers are going to continue reaching for the stars and with this high rise building trend, the value of prefab, insulated wall panels will increase.

As reported in Durability & Design a new study looking at socio-economic trends over the next 30 years suggests that the construction of skyscrapers will continue to climb. Estimates are that around the globe there will be 6,800 skyscrapers per 1 billion people compared to 800 skyscrapers per 1 billion people today.

The recent study by Jonathan Auerback and Phyllis Wan also predicts that future skyscrapers will stand 50 percent taller than those towering above us today. This forecast is not startling if you consider increasing population density in urban centers. After all, going “up” is about the only option for accommodating more people in the same amount of ground space.

 AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

According to the study, the construction and average height of skyscrapers has increased steadily over the years. In 1950, they tended to average close to 500 feet tall (or 40 floors); those numbers have gone up 8% every year since then, and the average height of a skyscraper today has doubled. If this pattern continues, the number of skyscrapers will outpace the 2 percent annual growth of urban populations, and by 2050, an additional 41,000 skyscrapers will have been constructed.

There are some really tall buildings out there now, such as the Burj Khalifa (828 meters tall in Dubai), and there is every indication skyscrapers will continue reaching for the heavens.  The Jeddah Tower (Saudi Arabia) which will be finished in 2020, will be 1,000 meters tall.  The other interesting statistic that emerged from the study is that as the height of skyscrapers increases, the number of floors tends to decrease as the floor heights expand. So, in 2050, skyscrapers will be 50% taller than today,  but will not have 50% more floors.

Urban planners and architects acknowledge that as the global population continues to increase, vertical growth can be used to accommodate the additional density. This vertical momentum will also drive trends in the construction and building material industries, trends which are already emerging today, such as prefab panelization.

Hi-rise construction and buildings towering at great heights will require structural building solutions such as the manufactured, insulated exterior wall systems entering the marketplace today.  Durable and lightweight systems with continuous insulation can install in less time with less manpower and can require less maintenance once in place, while also providing more energy efficiency and durability.  Working at high elevations can be complicated and dangerous; prefab panels can help minimize these risks, simplify the installation process, and expedite building times while ensuring quality.

As our buildings collectively reach for the clouds, emerging technologies will continue to revolutionize the construction industry. Clearly, prefabricated panel solutions will play an important role in this evolution.


Sto Provides Iconic Exterior for New Jersey Residential Complex

333 Grand in the Liberty Harbor area of Jersey City is an iconic showcase of energy efficient, decorative exterior insulation & finish systems.

Located on 2,500 feet of waterfront in the lower Hudson Bay, the Liberty Harbor area in Jersey City, N.J. provides magnificent views of New York Harbor. It’s a commuters’ haven due to its proximity to Manhattan and the area’s excellent public transportation system. An urbanist-inspired vision has spurred development in the area, including the recent completion of 333 Grand — an 18-story, residential apartment building offering the latest in luxury and style.

With an iconic facade, wide sidewalk area and extensive amenities that include ground floor retail space, 333 Grand is a coveted waterfront address. The building’s exterior is especially decorative, featuring a stunning curved façade, oversized windows, multiple textured surfaces and vibrant colors. In fact, the 80,000 square-foot, multi-family, mixed-use complex is a signature representation of today’s high-caliber exterior insulation and finish systems.

The Sto Wall Story

Developer Peter Mocco and his architects at Urban Architecture wanted an exterior wall system for 333 Grand that would serve as an effective air and moisture barrier to weather the elements, but they didn’t want to compromise on aesthetics. With specifications calling for multiple cladding types and shapes, the designers realized it was going to be impossible to develop the structure they wanted with standard building materials. So they turned to a StoTherm® ci wall system incorporating Sto Limestone and StoCreativ® Brick specialty finishes.

The StoTherm® ci EPS-based, high performance, integrated wall system offered both sustainability and design flexibility. It includes a seamless, fluid-applied air and moisture barrier with continuous insulation (ci) and advanced drainage capabilities. The StoTherm® ci system improves indoor comfort and air quality while maintaining maximum curb appeal and lowering overall life-cycle costs.

The applicator on the job, Richard Riley of Simpson Plastering, said the radius building envelope was a challenge; each drop had nine major architectural attributes with five continuous architectural elements. “Using Sto products and taking advantage of the technical advice and other resources the Sto team offered,”Riley declared, “we had the resources to complete the project in record time.”

Mocco was especially pleased with the classic look of the StoCreativ Brick – a cost effective, energy efficient, lightweight, easy-to-apply decorative wall finish system. Using self-adhering stencils applied over a primer layer to create the appearance of mortar, this finish system offers a sustainable alternative to heavier brick, while avoiding the hassle of dealing with multiple trades and cumbersome accessories.

The water-resistant Sto Limestone Finish provided an extra layer of protection, repelling moisture and wind-driven rain. A lightweight and easily installed architectural wall finish, Sto Limestone provided the classic look and feel of natural stone at a fraction of the expense. When designed as part of a Sto cladding system, this durable 100% acrylic finish can create the appearance of stone arches, reliefs and other distinctive architectural features.

“Thanks to Sto Corp, the building exterior at 333 Grand provides an energy-efficient, resilient envelope with a much smaller carbon footprint and higher LEED certification results,” observes Mocco. “It’s also a study in architectural design.”


The Resurgence of Postmodern Architecture

Grayson Perry and FAT's House for Essex (2015) is one example of the revival in Postmodern architecture.

According to the pundits, Postmodern architecture is experiencing a “revival,” and despite its critics, the design theme is far from long-gone. In fact, it is a style being adopted by many contemporary architects and designers.

Postmodern architecture emerged in the late 1960s as a reaction to the Modernism style, which gained popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. Modernism in architecture was intended to better reflect the experience and values of modern industrial life; it morphed into and included the Mid-Century Modern architectural trend that evolved between the years of 1945-1965.

At a certain point in the 1960’s, Modernism seemed to lose its luster and Postmodernism evolved as an escape from what some considered the monotony of Modernism. It offered an alternative to Modernism’s more entrenched ideals and rigidity of design conventions. Postmodern architecture was, and is, more expressive, more flexible, more integrative; it took the minimalism of Mid-Century Modern and dressed it up with color and patterns; it embraced many architectural styles, cultures and whimsical features.

Postmodern architects Philip Johnson, Michael Graves and Charles Moore incorporated neoclassical designs into their work; Terry Farrell combined Aztec design with green glazing in London; James Stirling threw pink-painted metal pipes against travertine in Stuttgart; Arata Isozaki combined high-tech with traditional design elements.

In a recent CNN piece, Owen Hopkins, a senior curator at Sir John Sloane’s Museum and author of Architecture and Freedom: Searching for Agency in a Changing World, posited that, “While Modernism had sought to draw a line under the past, Postmodernism used the past as a quarry of sources, references and quotations, deploying them with wit, irony and irreverence. After decades of being mute, architecture was allowed to speak again through color, ornament, decoration.”  Hopkins firmly believes that Postmodernism is back (assuming it ever really went away) and that it continues to inspire the architects of today.

Designer Adam Nathanial Furman agreed with this position in a recent interview with Dezeen. A founder of the Postmodern Society, Furman is an expert on late-20th-century style and just authored a book with Terry Farrell – the architect responsible for several postmodernist icons built in the 1980s. Their book, Revisiting Postmodernism, showcases some recent examples of the postmodern resurgence such as MVRDV’s market hall in Rotterdamn (2014).

Market Hall in Rotterdamn (2014)

While we ponder why postmodern architecture is making a comeback (could it be the chaotic, complex, global nature of the design world today?), the following is a look at some classic examples of Postmodern design, both past and present.

SIS Building in London. Photo: George Rex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Architect Terry Farrell’s SIS building in London (1994), which is also known as the MI6 building, may be the pinnacle of British postmodernism.  Its Mayan and Aztec temple design creates a layered fortress and incorporates 60 open-air terraces into its design – as well as triple-glazed windows and buttressed protection against bombs.

Modernism meets ancient Mediterranean architecture at the Clos Pegase Winery in Napa Valley, California, designed by Michael Graves. Another of his creations, the Hyatt Regency Fukuoka in Japan, embraces a vast pyramid structure, is naturally lit from above, and encircled by a rotunda of hotel rooms.

Clos Pegase Winery in Napa, California and the Hyatt Regency Fukuoka in Japan

The Kreeger Art Musuem in Washington DC (1963) by Philip Johnson with Richard Foster  was previously a residence. It is located in a wooded park of over five acres, with layered arches inspired by a Roman aqueduct design.

Kreeger Art Museum in Washington D.C. Photo: Payton Chung

Binoculars Building by Frank Gehry –Venice, Los Angeles (1991). Photo: Grant Mudford

 

 

 

 

 

 


New Business Model Suggested for Architecture Profession

A prominent architecture professor at Yale suggests that the profession could benefit from a new business model based on results versus selling time.

A recent article in Architectural Record penned by Phil Bernstein suggests that the architectural profession could benefit from a new business model. Bernstein, who is an Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer at the Yale School of Architecture, challenges the current methods of value creation and proposes a new business model for architects that shifts the value proposition of practice from selling time to creating results for clients.

According to AIA, architects are responsible for designing approximately $600 billion worth of buildings each year for which they are paid about $29 billion in fees, or 4.8% of construction value. Bernstein notes that these fees are largely paid as a commodity, and that real value is rarely reflected when compensation is a commodity; it hurts the overall economics of the profession. Fees are typically negotiated down, and architects are too often selling time versus measurable results.

If architectural compensation models were based on delivering outcomes of the building process, including the performance of the finished building, he believes these result-based fees, or outcome-based design practices, would redefine and benefit the architectural services business model. With digital tools and technology today, architects can truly impact building performance objectives such as energy usage, carbon emissions and maintenance-cost optimization.

Imagine a world with an outcome-based delivery system in which architects are helping clients realize goals to create offices that boost the effectiveness of workers, schools that educate students better, hospitals that promote faster healing. Bernstein is encouraged by the architectural students he sees today who are eschewing the more traditional architectural firms and are looking for more entrepreneurial, multi-faceted practices that include builders, researchers, and developers as well as architects. He is hoping this next generation of architects will be more responsive to innovative business models and demand new ways of practice.