Noticias de Arquitectura

Chicago architects win national award
enero 11, 2008, 4:45 am
Filed under: Arquitectura USA

Two projects by Chicago-area architects, the restoration of the Illinois Capitol chambers and a little-known home in Northfield that an architect designed for his own family, are among the winners of the American Institute of Architects’ honor awards, the profession’s highest recognition for individual projects, the institute has announced.

The state Capitol restoration, by Vinci/Hamp Architects of Chicago, and the single-family home, by Evanston-based architect Thomas Roszak, won honor awards for interior architecture. But there were no other Chicago award winners, which makes this something of an off year for a city that prides itself on being a leader in American design.

New York architect Steven Holl’s much-praised addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., won one of the awards in architecture, while the University of Arkansas Community Design Center pulled off a rare hat trick in regional and urban design, winning three of five honors.

Juries of architects and other designers selected 28 winners from more than 800 submissions. The awards were announced Monday.

In a news release, the Washington-based AIA said Vinci/Hamp’s restoration of the ornate state Capitol chambers re-established “significant architectural features” from the late 19th Century “while creating a functional setting for modern-day legislative activities.”

The firm is headed by partners John Vinci and Philip Hamp.

The big surprise, however, was Roszak’s sleekly modern, 8,200-square-foot house, which hasn’t been recognized in local design award programs, as the state Capitol restoration was last year. But the house was featured in Architectural Digest in 2005.

The house was designed, the AIA said, “to foster interaction among family members even while each person is engaged in different tasks in different rooms.”

Instead of a typical family room and living room, the house puts the kitchen alongside the children’s playroom and leaves “the entire first floor unenclosed and uses glass paneled walls to further its sense of unencumbered interaction,” the institute said.

Roszak’s firm, Roszak/ADC, specializes in the design, development and construction of residential buildings.

The University of Arkansas’ awards included plans for restoring natural habitats, creating an ecologically sensitive residential development and a rail transit plan for northwest Arkansas.

The winners will be recognized in May at the AIA national convention in Boston.

– Three years ago, when the Field Museum of Natural History mounted an exhibition on prefab housing, I wrote the following about the show: “It explodes the stereotype that prefab housing must be ugly, unimaginative and utterly lacking in a sense of place. Some of these houses look good enough to be exhibited in the architecture salon of the Museum of Modern Art.”

Well, the folks at MoMA are finally getting around to prefab, and they plan a big exhibition, “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” that will run from July 20 to Oct. 20.

As part of the show, the museum has asked five relatively low-profile architects from the U.S. and Europe to design full-scale, prefab houses that will be displayed in an outdoor space to the west of the museum in midtown Manhattan. Kieran Timberlake Architects of Philadelphia are the best known of the bunch, but unless you’re a design buff, you probably haven’t heard of them.

The full-scale houses will be the stars of a larger show — principally organized by Barry Bergdoll, the museum’s chief curator of the department of architecture and design — that will cover 58 other projects in what is billed as “the most thorough examination to date of both the historic and contemporary significance of factory-produced architecture from 1833 to today.” The other projects will be displayed indoors.

Given MoMA’s tastemaking power and its location in the media capital in the world, the show could go a long way toward making prefab housing something more than just a glimmer in visionaries’ eyes. Or, if it’s merely about aesthetics and lacks specifics about costs and other nitty-gritty matters, it could forever taint prefab as a mere niche product.

– Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger will lecture at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies, 610 S. Michigan Ave., on contemporary Jewish architecture at 4 p.m. Jan. 27. Tickets cost $30, $25 for Spertus members.


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