Shepherd of the Valley Chapel

May 13th, 2009 § Olga

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The Shepherd of the Valley Chapel was featured in PLUS Architecture and Interior Design magazine 2009 05.

http://www.pluszine.co.kr/main.php

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The Chapel’s Story

May 5th, 2009 § kynaleski

A project’s design gets launched by a diagram, a sketch that somehow holds together everything that is known about the project and can absorb what is coming. The sketch for the design of a chapel for Shepherd of the Valley, of Hope R.I., came out of many conversations and interviews with the parishioners, the two pastors and the building visions committee…their needs and aspirations for the church. SOV is the product of two churches, the Phenix and Hope Methodist Churches merging together in the seventies. Shortly after their merger they outgrew their prefab building and when we met them, we found that they outgrew their building again. The chapel is a part of a much larger master plan, also conducted by 3six0..which set the chapel’s footprint shape, size and location…a semi-attached pavilion that is a northern extension of the existing education wing. The western wall was determined not to be parallel to the eastern wall, but instead it would swing in, forming a trapezoidal plan. This would define a more open space on the exterior of the west side of the chapel.

The diagram gained insight as a kind of accident. In one of our presentations to the church, we realized with embarrassment that we had forgotten the spire on our model of the existing church. Then, after adding a spire to the model, we found that it kept being knocked off. So I thought, “what is a spire anyway?” and looked the word “spire” up in the dictionary. What I found addressed the purpose, history, aspirations of openness, expansion and the specific diagram of the chapel.

I found that the word, “spire,” comes from the Latin root, “spirare,” or “spirit.” “Spirare” is also the root of “inspire, ” “respire,” and “spiral,” a geometry that is always expanding and contracting like breath.

At the same time, we were starting to work on the chapel’s design, with the narrowing trapezoidal plan and its supporting perimeter walls. We found that if the ceiling’s geometry is square to each supporting wall, instead of being a compromised geometry in between the two walls, the lines of the geometry continue to spiral around like a string wrapping the space. This became a convincing order for the design of the chapel: the geometry of the ceiling/roof and floor spirals north setting the structure, windows, and ceiling/wall acoustic fins.

Now looking back at the facades of the historic churches…the ones that formed Shepherd of the Valley, you can see something that is very interesting.

phenix_facade_renderinghope_facade_rendering

The Phenix Church is on shown on top. It has its structure out of sight, within its skin of siding. The Hope Church, shown second, has its structure poking out from the skin of siding and its roof is sucked in. It is as though the two churches where inhaling and exhaling: the body carving a cavity, the skin taut, revealing structure on the inhale and the body and skin relaxing on the exhale.

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Preservation of Shanghai’s Traditional Architecture

May 1st, 2009 § Jack

The perimeter of the original walled city of Shanghai is still evident from aerial photography. The city wall was initially constructed in 1553 during the Ming Dynasty to protect the fishing village from Japanese pirates who were pillaging the coast. It is quite unusual for a village of such little importance to have an extensive city wall as the one that was constructed. This construction is testament to the strategic location of Shanghai on the Huangpu River just south of its convergence with the Yangtze River. The city wall was 8 meters high with a total length of 4.8 km.

After Shanghai became one of the treaty ports in the second half of the nineteenth century new urban development occurred to the north and west of the walled city. These European and American developments were referred to as the Concessions. Foreign residents in the Concessions lived and operated under their own governments and were exempt from Chinese law. The native Chinese population withdrew to within the city wall and the area became know as Old Town. The traditional Chinese character was preserved within the wall while the new architecture of the concessions was of a European style with traditional Chinese accents.

The city wall was eventually demolished and the moat was filled after the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. The wall was replaced by two curving roads, Renmin Lu to the north and Zhonghua Lu to the south. Replacement of medieval city walls and moats with modern ring roads was a common occurrence in twentieth century Chinese cities. Nowhere is this as strongly recognizable as in Beijing, where the square city wall was replaced by the Second Ring Rd in the 1950’s.

Location of original Shanghai city wall shown in red

Location of original Shanghai city wall shown in red

Locational of Beijing city wall and its southern extension

Locational of Beijing city wall and its southern extension

Today much of the architecture in this portion of the city retains the traditional scale and density of Old Shanghai. Many of the buildings are well over 100 years old and are in deteriorating condition. Electricity has been brought to the structures as evidenced by all of the overhead power lines, but most of the structures lack plumbing. Public latrines and sinks are located along the lanes. This lack of infrastructure and the low rise/high density nature of the neighborhood have created a truly active street life. Shops and markets line the lanes and the distinction between private and public is blurred.

Traditional housing within city wall

Traditional housing within city wall

Traditional housing within city wall

Traditional housing within city wall

Currently there is much debate on how to handle these historic neighborhoods in quickly expanding Chinese cities. Activists are now speaking out against the widespread razing of the traditional urban fabric and are pushing for preservation. Preservation in the strictest sense is not a feasible option since much of the fabric is in such squalid condition and the needed infrastructure improvements are overwhelming. Turning the area into a “museum” is not a solution either since it would merely preserve the structures and not the active civic life.

Traditional building of Old Town

Traditional building of Old Town

Portion of neighborhood being razed

Portion of neighborhood being razed

With its transition from a production economy to a consumer economy, China is realizing its great potential as a tourism destination – both to domestic and foreign visitors. This opportunity has not been missed in Old Town with the development of Shanghai Old Street, a new shopping district created in the traditional architectural style complete with Starbucks and Pizza Hut.

Shanghai Old Street - modern recreation of traditional structures

Shanghai Old Street - modern recreation of traditional structures

The preservation/development situation in Shanghai is considerably different than in Beijing where the medieval urban fabric extends across the whole city and is quite expansive (although quickly disappearing). Since Shanghai was a village until fairly recently its area of old urban fabric is rather small and concentrated and is definitely of a manageable scale.

In any case it will be interesting to see how Shanghai responds. We will certainly have our answer within the year as the Shanghai World Expo 2010 site is a short walk to the south of Old Town.

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Stone House Inn construction photos

April 22nd, 2009 § Olga

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3six0 was commissioned to restore and renovate the much loved but well worn Stone House Inn in Little Compton, Rhode Island into an authentic destination hotel. The renovated project is comprised of 12 hotel units, two restaurants and a spa.
The original Stone House was constructed in 1854 as a private residence in an Italianate style but soon after was converted into an inn.
3six0’s challenge has been to balance the preservation of the historic Inn with the client’s modern needs. The team’s approach has been to integrate green building technologies wherever possible with the implementation of its restoration and its contemporary use.
The project is currently under construction. Here are some construction photos of the Inn …

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Material Behavior 1

April 22nd, 2009 § Chris

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According to the placard outside this church in Davos, Switzerland, seven hundred years ago the builders built the steeple true and straight. Soon after the tower was complete it started twisting clockwise. Why did it twist?  Another blogger jokingly suggested the  Coriolis effect was to blame (think water down a drain and  hurricanes). If that had anything to do with it then all the twisted steeples of Europe  would rotate in the same direction. Apparently not. Theres as much  clockwise rotation as there is counterrclockwise. Another theory is that all these steeples were twisted “by design”, built this way. that’s a tough one to prove, especially since  these steeples have all been rebuilt/restored and the non of their cladding is original.

Apparently the green wood structure as it dryed and shrank , was the culprit behind the rotation of the steeple in Davos, (from the on-site information). Plausible? Without seeing the structure it’s hard to envision.  A pastor in New Jersey speaking of his own church steeple problems suggested another possibility: after a tremendous  wind storm,  the tower had to be replaced, he said, because it had become twisted. The possibility of external wind forces  contributing to the twist is compelling because it allows for clockwise or counterclockwise results while not discounting the internal force resulting from shrinking timbers. Sunflowers are a good example how twisting might be the result of two simple “forces” one internal and the other external. Sunflower seeds grow at a certain rate according to  genetic instructions (internal forces) As they grow they bump into each other and are forced into a twisting geometry (external forces).

The steeple at  L’Eglise du Grand Marchin, Belgium was one of the 40 or twisted steeples of Europe before it was destroyed in a fire. Despite it’s obvious “flaw”, when it came time to rebuild in the same timber technique, a decision was made to match the “flaw”, to transform it into design. A remarkable moment where material behavior is transformed into architectural “language”, the syntax is now purely synthetic, denoting something it is not : a twist formed through time, material, and force. Perhaps this is more proof that the twisted steeples of Europe were never intended to be so.

twist21

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Art Fund Pavilion Top 20

April 17th, 2009 § Nick

Over 600 teams from 52 countries submitted their proposals for a semi-permanent summer pavilion to the recent “Art Fund Pavilion” competition in London. 3six0 finished in the top 20. The competition called for the design of a pavilion that can be transported and stored, with practical considerations for disassembly and reassembly (i.e. stackable components, modularity, longevity). The presentation boards were required to illustrate three intended scenarios: pavilion as formal presentation space, as exhibition space, and as informal gathering space. You can read the full competition brief here: Tent London.

Board 1
board 2
board 3
board 4

“The pavilion design is created from both a conceptual approach and a constructional logic that share the same generative order of three intertwined bands. The bands coil in space to create three helical formations. There formations are limited in width to 300mm and are segmented into lengths no longer than 2400mm to meet manufacturing and handling requirements. The three bands are assembled into an intertwined configuration to create the pavilion volume in which individual bands spatially and structurally strengthen each other.

The seams between the bands are celebrated for their architectural potential. Bands, individually or collectively, reach into the interior of the volume creating glazed openings, skylights and horizontal display surfaces. Small gaps between the bands of panels house linear strip lighting, track fixtures and electrical power strips. The plywood panel construction is left exposed on the interior of the pavilion and finished with a clear coating.

The exterior of the pavilion is clad in metal sheets that match the seaming of the plywood panels. All metal panels lap subsequent panels in such a way that the pavilion is still able to be disassembled. Openings between the bands are glazed while the West and East ends of the pavilion are left open to the courtyard and protected by the overhanging roof panels above.” -3six0 entry text

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Local artists ‘deconstruct’ loft

April 7th, 2009 § Manuel

Allison Paschke, a local artist, is awaiting the start of construction of a 3six0 designed residence (see model of wall design below) at her loft in the Jewelery District in Providence.

Jewelery District Loft Wall

Jewelery District Loft Wall

But, she’s not waiting idly.  She has organized and curated an exhibition of nineteen artists (see the exhibition images) that aptly explores the themes of architecture and ‘deconstruction’.  In anticipation of the demolition required for the renovation, the artists were given free license to paint, nail, drill and even tear open walls.  The result is widely varied and immensely engaging.  There are colorful murals, mysterious miniature constructions, and entrancing translucent glass panels that enliven the space with color and curiosity.  Walls peal back to create new paths through the space.  There’s several installations that seem to grow on the walls:  a sticky wallpaper that has become fuzzy from collected dust, elegant little paper shelves that have colonized a wall, and an pixelated topography that floats a few inches off the wall and casts shadows.

Together it gives the visitor the sensation that they have stumbled into an abandoned space where the curious has replaced the quotidian.  As if, while nobody was watching the space was colonized by creative little creatures of re-invention.  In that sense, it is easy to imagine this installation expanding to other abandoned, foreclosed or otherwise unoccupied spaces in the city.   It may just be the little bit of magic that is needed to enliven spaces at the edge of oblivion.

The show is open from 12-5pm until Sunday April 12, 2009.

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Kyna Leski and Chris Bardt in Design New England Magazine

March 10th, 2009 § Nick

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Principals at 3six0, Kyna Leski and Chris Bardt, were recently selected by Design New England Magazine to choose furniture, accessories, and color palettes that reflect the essence of Providence, RI:

“Providence is a small seaport city that has concentrations of formative culture. Institutions like RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), Brown University, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble feed a sophisticated audience. Our sources of inspiration can be found in the historic Benefit Street houses, Narragansett Bay, and the ‘grit’ that survives from the industrial era.”

For a color palette, 3six0 selected a silver-leaf wallpaper from Starck and Benjamin Moore wall paint #715 “In Your Eyes” blue. Furniture selections include the Cloud Chair by 3six0 and the Farah walnut sideboard by E15.  For accessories, 3six0 chose a toilet-paper holder by M. Zito for Agape Design, a leather zip-rug by Jim Zivic, and the Potence wall-mount light by Jean Prouve for Vitra.

Additional choices, which were not published, include:

1. Wishbone Chair by Carl Hansen & Son 2. Bocci flush-mount electrical outlets  3. Function Tiles by Droog Design 4. Loom Chair by Matteo Grassi

dne23

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Shanghai

March 9th, 2009 § Jack

To understand recent transformations in Shanghai it is critical to understand the short history of the city. Here is a brief summary:

History of Shanghai

Prior to the 1842 Treaty of Nanking ending the first Opium War, Shanghai was a rural fishing village along the Huangpu River. As part of the treaty concessions, Shanghai along with the four other coastal cities of Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo and Guangzhou were selected by the British to become treaty ports. The British and Americans were quick to develop the fishing village of Shanghai into the “Paris of the East”. Exempt from all local laws the foreigners were able to create a city in a western style. By the 1900’s the international image of Shanghai’s financial success became The Bund – the waterfront boulevard along the west bank of the Huangpu River. The hotels, banks and trade houses along the Bund were designed by foreign architects and in the neoclassical style popular at the time in Europe and the United States. To the Chinese populace The Bund also became a symbol of foreign dominance.

The Bund 2009

The Bund 2009

The Chinese began developing various plans to reclaim the symbolic heart of Shanghai as far back as Sun Yat-sen’s initial plan of 1919. Many plans have involved the undeveloped east bank of the Huangpu River, known as Pudong (Pu referring to the Huangpu river and Dong meaning east in Chinese), but these plans for Pudong were considered too ambitious and the focus remained on Puxi, the area of the existent city. Attempts to create new civic centers Puxi all ended with results less than hoped for and these new developments were unable to unseat The Bund as Shanghai’s symbolic center.

In the mid 1980’s China as a nation began to open itself up to foreign investment with the Open Door Policy. The opening of the nation to foreign investment followed the three decades of isolationist policy under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Eyes turned again to Pudong and in 1990 this area of farmland and villages was named a Special Economic Zone (S.E.Z.) by the Chinese Government. China now had its chance to redefine the global image of Shanghai.

View of Pudong in 1990. The Bund in foreground.

View of Pudong in 1990. The Bund in foreground.

Pudong was divided into several development areas with Lujiazui, the area directly across the river from the Bund, designated as the new financial hub of China. A team of French urban planners hired as consultants suggested three closely placed signature towers surrounded by many secondary high rise buildings would be a winning formula for developing a memorable skyline. Since one of the major ambitions of the Pudong development was to create a new symbolic image of Shanghai, this plan had great promise to city officials.

Pudong viewed from The Bund 2009

Pudong viewed from The Bund 2009

Visiting Shanghai I found it hard to perceive the scale of the recent development and growth of the city. Everywhere I traveled there seemed to be buildings under construction, new overhead highways and recently completed bridges across the Huangpu, but I was only seeing portions of what was happening. Even from the top of the World Financial Center the scope of the city’s growth was obscured by overcast skies.

View of Puxi from World Financial Center

View of Puxi from World Financial Center

Finally when visiting the Shanghai Planning Museum and seeing the city model I understood the scale of the transformation. I was overwhelmed by both a sense of excitement and fear. Excited by the transformations and everything new in the city and a fearful that the city is growing too quickly and perhaps blindly.

Shanghai Planning Museum

Shanghai Planning Museum

Thomas J. Campanella , “The Concrete Dragon” (New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008) was referenced in writing the above entry on the history of Shanghai.

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RISDspeaks: a place for urgent messages

March 6th, 2009 § Karynn

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For those of you familiar with John Maeda, you may know that since he became president of the Rhode Island School of Design last June, he has been upping RISD’s profile and expanding its presence both offline and online. As an outside observer (I go to school up the hill), I can’t help but envy RISD’s tech renaissance and wish that my school would follow suite. The school’s latest project involves Posterous.com and RISD’s brilliant faculty. The new blog was started by Daniel Pelz with Maeda’s encouragement, and 3six0’s very own Kyna Leski is among the first contributors. Continue to check back to RISDspeaks for more insights on design and the world.

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