Ball-Nogues Studio revives public space at Cedars Sinai hospital with their “Healing Pavilion”

Ball-Nogues Studio's

Ball-Nogues Studio’s “Healing Pavilion.” Image: Sibylle Allgaier

It’s rare that underused structures in Los Angeles get a second chance at life, with most developers opting for the wrecking ball instead of an innovative redesign. In the case of an underused public terrace at the Max Factor Building at Cedars Sinai, Ball-Nogues Studio (who spoke to Archinect about this design at the Arroyo Seco Festival) has transformed the space into a destination spot with their signature blend of eye-catching aesthetics and nuanced materialism in the form of the “Healing Pavilion.”

Ball-Nogues Studio has been playfully enhancing Los Angeles for over a decade with a variety of engrossing, yet contextually appropriate, installations. There’s the pendulous group of steel balls called “Cradle” that’s suspended from the revamped mall on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, or “Corner Glory,” a vibrant conceptual halo of mirror polished stainless steel and spikes on an apartment building on Santa Monica Bouelvard and La Brea Avenue. Regardless of its locale, each Ball-Nogues installation manages to visually enliven its surroundings without overwhelming them.

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Healing Pavilion. Image: Sibylle Allgaeir

Healing Pavilion. Image: Sibylle Allgaeir

The Studio’s installation at Cedars Sinai, known as the “Healing Pavilion,” works both to draw attention to the space while distracting visitors from thoughts of illness. In this way, it functions as an ingenious take on public space; although visitors can inhabit the structure alone, the idea is not to privatize the experience of dealing with difficult times, but rather to transform them into something of shared aesthetic worth and value.

When asked if the studio was excited by the idea by taking an underused public space and transforming it into a vibrant and creative site, Benjamin Ball said, “We were definitely excited about the prospect of helping to transform the space and while it was indeed underutilized and an opportunity waiting to be fulfilled, we were primarily drawn to the project by the prospect of making a place for that contributes, in its own small way, to the process of healing. This was a new framework to put around our process and, consequently, it changed how we saw the work. In collaborating with AHBE and the client we were working together to make a place that can, if only for a moment, take one’s mind away from the stress that accompanies illness.”

Cradle. Image: Monica Nouwens

Cradle. Image: Monica Nouwens

The structure is composed of 352 two-inch diameter mild steel tubes that, according to the architects, “has no hierarchy in a traditional sense. There are no extraneous elements.” The tubes were bent using Ball-Nogues specially calibrated rolling system, which is controlled by a computer. The installation process for the work was also a study in creative logistics. As the architects explain, “Flanked by hospital towers on three sides, the sensitive location demanded that no field welding or finishing could occur on-site. The project had to be completed within seven months, installed in a single day, require no routine maintenance, and meet seismic, wind load, and ADA requirements. In order to address ventilation and noise concerns, the Pavilion was fabricated and finished in its entirety offsite. Overall dimensions of the form were kept within the size specifications needed to qualify as an oversize load for transport. The piece was driven as a singular object via flat bed truck over city streets to the site and then craned into place.”

The resulting structure constantly reacts to its environment

By virute of its numerous tubes, overlapping segments, and overall shape that appears narrow from one vantage point and thick and bulky from another, the resulting structure constantly reacts to its environment. During the day, elaborate networks of shadows form on the sidewalks, while at night the light from illuminated benches and walkways interacts with the steel to produce fascinating, quasi-illusory forms. It’s a perfect setting to inspire the imagination of an exhausted loved one who needs rejuvenation after a grueling day of dealing with illness.

In concert with ABHE Landscape Architects, who added a series of gardens to the redesigned terrace, Ball-Nogues’ work on “Healing Pavilion” has revived this exterior section of the hospital, creating not only a dazzling distraction, but a likely new landmark.

Image: Sibylle Allgaeir

Image: Sibylle Allgaeir

Construction Begins on Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall Transformation

Construction Begins on Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall Transformation, Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office
Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office

Construction has begun on Penn Station’s fast-tracked Moynihan Train Hall project has begun, announced New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in a press conference.

Located within the existing James A. Farley Building (across from the existing Penn Station entrance), the new 255,000-square-foot Train Hall will serve as a new concourse for Amtrak and Long Island Railroad passengers, while an additional 700,000-square-feet will be dedicated to commercial, retail and dining spaces.

Courtesy of New York State Governor's OfficeCourtesy of New York State Governor's OfficeCourtesy of New York State Governor's OfficeCourtesy of New York State Governor's Office+11

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Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office

“For decades, passengers were promised a world-class train hall worthy of New York – today, we are delivering on that promise and turning that dream into a reality,” said Governor Cuomo. “We are transforming the Farley Post Office into a state-of-the-art transit hub to get travelers where they need to go faster and more comfortably. With better access to trains and subways, vibrant retail and business opportunities and stunning architectural design, we are bringing Penn Station into the 21st century.”

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Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office
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Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office

Designed by SOM, the renovation will feature a new 92-foot-tall skylight located within the center of  the Beaux Arts building (designed by McKim, Mead and White). The train hall will service nine platforms with 17 tracks. New renderings released with the announcement show the connection between the above- and below-ground areas, as well as a look how the building will look from the street.

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Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office
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Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office

While demolition and preparatory work on the project began in September of last year, construction will now begin full speed ahead on the $1.6 billion project, with a completion date targeted for 2020.

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Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Courtesy of New York State Governor’s Office

Read more about the project, here.

News via New York State Governor’s Office.

Melbourne named world’s most livable city again in report

 Melbourne, Australia, for the seventh year in a row was named the world’s most livable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Photo by Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock. By Allen Cone

Aug. 16 (UPI) — Melbourne, Australia, was named the world’s most livable city for the seventh year in a row, according to a new report.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Report 2017 ranked 140 cities across 30 factors involving stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. The group’s sister newspaper is the Economist.

Melbourne scored an overall rating of 97.5 out of 100 on the livability index this year, edging by 0.1 the Austria’s capital Vienna for the top spot.

The group next ranked three Canadian cities: No. 3 Vancouver, No. 4 Toronto and No. 5 Calgary in a tie with Australia’s Adelaide.

The top five positions were the same as last year.

Rounding out the top 10 were No. 7 Perth in Australia, No. 8 Auckland in New Zealand, No. 9 Helsinki, in Finland and No. 10 Hamburg in Germany.

The highest-ranking U.S. city was Honolulu in 17th, beating out Washington, D.C. (30) and Boston (34).

According to the 2017 report, cities that score best “tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. These can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure.”

The average livability score worldwide fell from 76.1 percent in 2007 to 74.8 percent this year because of economic and political risks, the report said.

“European cities have been dealing with the aftermath of terrorist attacks, increased unease towards Brexit, and there is still a degree of unease towardsmigrant crisis,” Stefano Scuratti, EIU consulting principal, told CNBC.

Two cities with high-profile terrorist attacked that dropped were Manchester in Britain to 51 and Stockholm, Sweden, to 26.

Sydney, Australia, dropped from seventh to 10th amid growing concerns over possible terror attacks.”

Iceland’s Reykjavik moved up from 50 to 37 from a rise in tourism as well as redevelopment. Amsterdam, which has had declining crime rates in recent years, moved up to 18th.

“Many of the challenges to livability have not gone away, terror attacks have continued and geopolitical posturing has created further international uncertainty,” Jon Copestake, editor of the survey, said to CNN. “Perhaps a turning point has been reached but livability levels remain low by historical standards.”

Melbourne, which broke Vancouver’s record of being No. 1 for six years, scored a perfect 100 in healthcare, education and infrastructure, and 95.1 for culture and environment and 95 for stability.

“The world record is an amazing feat that all Melburnians should be extremely proud of today,” Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said to theHerald Sun. “The EIU measures factors that make cities great places to live and again we achieved outstanding results in the areas of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.”

Doyle said every city in the world has problems.

“That doesn’t mean we are a perfect city by any means … I would hope that a city like ours would keep a focus on those who are most vulnerable, those who are worried about housing affordability, young people trying to get into education or a job, those who are vulnerable and homeless,” he said.

The world’s least livable cities were the Syrian capital Damascus in last place followed by Lagos in Nigeria, Tripoli in Libya and the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

News via: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/08/16/Melbourne-named-worlds-most-livable-city-again-in-report/8731502917781/

Explore These Digitally-Created Abandoned Islands by Brazilian Designer Fabio Araujo

Explore These Digitally-Created Abandoned Islands by Brazilian Designer Fabio Araujo, Abandoned House. Image © Fabio Araujo
Abandoned House. Image © Fabio Araujo

Abu Dhabi-based Brazilian designer and artist Fábio Araujo has a fascination with abandoned places – the mystery of where the man made clashes with the natural to create unique colors, textures and compositions.

These places are the subject of his series, aptly titled “Abandoned Places,” in which he uses a series of digital manipulations to create small islands floating within and contrasting with their clean, solid backgrounds.

Other works by Araujo include “Favela,” where the Brazilian housing typology has been reimagined as located within the sky, and miniature models of scenes and buildings including the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.

Abandoned Park. Image © Fabio AraujoAbandoned Train. Image © Fabio AraujoFavela. Image © Fabio AraujoBurj Al Arab. Image © Fabio Araujo+6

“I create pieces that are related to something I like that I visited or that I’m curious about,” explains Araujo on choosing his subject matter. “I’m a Designer but fascinated by abandoned buildings and places; these places always have some history behind old walls. I like the colors of rust and nature taking care of the place. There is a mystery in abandoned places that attracts me.”

You can see more of Araujo’s work on his Instagram and behance page.

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Abandoned Park. Image © Fabio Araujo

Abandoned Park. Image © Fabio Araujo
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Abandoned Train. Image © Fabio Araujo

Abandoned Train. Image © Fabio Araujo
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Favela. Image © Fabio Araujo

Favela. Image © Fabio Araujo
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Favela. Image © Fabio Araujo

Favela. Image © Fabio Araujo
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Burj Al Arab. Image © Fabio Araujo

Burj Al Arab. Image © Fabio Araujo

Gunārs Birkerts, Architect of the World’s Largest Library, Dies Aged 92

Gunārs Birkerts, the prolific Latvian-American architect best known for designing the “Castle of Light”—the world’s largest library in Riga, Latvia—has died aged 92. The National Library, which was first conceived in 1988 and officially opened in 2014, has become among the most significant, and controversial, contemporary public buildings in Latvia.

Throughout his career, Birkerts completed a number of large-scale projects including the Corning Museum of Glass and the Corning Fire Station in Corning, New York; Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Embassy of the United States in Caracas, Venezuela.

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Gunārs Birkerts, Architect of the World's Largest Library, Dies Aged 92, The Latvian National Library (2014). © <a href=“https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Riga_Petrikirche_Blick_vom_Turm_zur_Nationalbibliothek.JPG”>Wikimedia user Zairon</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/“>CC BY 4.0</a>. Image Courtesy of Zairon

The Latvian National Library (2014). © Wikimedia user Zairon licensed under CC BY 4.0. Image Courtesy of Zairon

Born on January 7, 1925, Birkerts studied at Riga Gymnasium before fleeing Latvia in 1943, from which he would later commence studies at Stuttgart Technical College. In 1949 he moved to the USA and was subsequently based in Detroit. Birkerts spent time in the offices of Perkins and Will, Eero Saarinen, and Minoru Yamasaki. He later maintained a practice in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

A comprehensive profile of Birkerts and the project of the Latvian National Library can be read onDesignCurial.