Volume 2, No. 6 - May 5, 2008
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Butterfly Pavilion, Smithsonian, by HSMM | AECOM (more info)
In This Issue

Eero Saarinen at the NBM

The Power of Design

Design Awards Jury

ARE Update

Featured Project:
  Smithsonian's Butterfly Pavilion


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future
by Marna Wilber, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions
One of the most celebrated architects of his time, Eero Saarinen (1910-61) was also one of the most controversial. His work, widely admired by his clients and the general public, often drew unfavorable reviews from contemporary critics for the lack of unifying style, his choice of materials and use of technology.

In the postwar decades of what has been called "the American Century," Saarinen helped create the international image of the United States with his designs. For some, these designs were the most potent symbolic expressions of American Identity. The iconic 630-foot tall, stainless steel St. Louis Gateway Arch (1948-1964) along the Mississippi River commemorates the nation's westward expansion. The aluminum and glass General Motors Technical Center (1948-1956) outside Detroit, Michigan has been called "an industrial Versailles" by some while the swooping concrete vaults of the TWA Terminal (1956-1962) at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport thrilled travelers with the glamour of international travel.

Saarinen, who rejected a single unifying style for his buildings, felt that each project had a "unique site, program and spirit." This view of modern architecture and emphasis on technology to accomplish this is seen in the Deere & Company (1957-1963) corporate headquarters. Cor-Ten steel, which weathers and rusts over time, was used to reflect the ruggedness of the company’s farm machinery. The Ingalls Rink (1953-1959) on the Yale University campus and the Dulles International Airport Terminal (1958-1962) established Saarinen as a "virtuoso of dynamic forms."

Details, too were paramount for Saarinen. He proclaimed, "The character or expression of any building can only be achieved if it is itself a total expression. Like any work of art, it must be dominated by a strong, simple concept. All of its parts must be an active part of one dominant attitude." This constant reinforcement of the concept was an expertise of Saarinen who in fact designed door hardware and other furnishings at times to complement his architectural vision.

On May 3, the National Building Museum will open the exhibition Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future. It will remain on display through August 23, 2008. One of the most prolific, fascinating and unorthodox maters of 20th century architecture, Eero Saarinen changes the face of domestic and corporate design in the US. Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future is the first major retrospective of this work and features full-scale building models, never-before seen drawings, furniture, photographs, films and other artifacts.

Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future is made possible by ASSA ABLOY, global sponsor of the exhibition.

ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions – Chesapeake is organizing an Architectural Design and Saarinen Presentation at the National Building Museum on May 29. The event offers four AIA/CES presentations, lunch, a product and solution fair as well as guided tours of the Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future Exhibition. For information and registration, please visit www.assaabloydss.com/washingtondc.

The Power of Design - How it Affects You

It is a fascinating concept ... signals from the environment determine expression of our DNA. Scientific research is beginning to explain how the human body and brain react to design elements like light, color and sound. The emerging field of Epigenetics strives to understand how and why the human body receives interior environmental stimuli and the consequences of design selections.

Supported by scientific and medical research, Epigenetics considers how the body and brain receive, perceive and interact with the physical environment in order to help design professionals understand how design affects occupants and to help them take projects beyond mere aesthetics.

Learn more about this fascinating concept at a workshop presented by Deborah Burnett, a nationally recognized design authority in the field of Epigenetic design. With hands-on demonstrations and numerous audience participation exercises, this workshop will look at the interconnection of color, light, sound and materials and how these affect physical and neurological functions. Deborah will then discuss how these reactions translate into various behaviors, including performance, stress, productivity, sleep, and overall health.

The workshop, The New Frontier in Healthy Living - Seminar on Epigenetic Design, is on May 13, from 8:00a-noon. Architects can earn 3 AIA/CES HSW learning units. For additional information and registration, click here.

2008 Design Awards Jury to Assemble in Miami
by Mike Nawrocki, AIA

Armed with a couple of excellent recommendations from David Jameson, FAIA who obviously has his finger on the pulse, I quickly tapped into the mother lode of outstanding Miami designers and easily assembled an outstanding jury for this year's Design Awards.

In the eighties, "Miami Vice" went a long way toward popularizing the work of Arquitectonica and other Miami architects (six of juror Roney Mateu's projects were featured on the show) and helped launch the revitalization of South Beach. In fact, Chad Oppenheim, AIA, whose work is shown, credits the show with inspiring his move to Miami after graduating from Cornell in 1994.

I encourage you to visit each of the juror's websites and enjoy the exciting, varied and wonderful work of some of Miami's finest!

Chad Oppenheim, AIA, Founder & Principal, Oppenheim Architecture+Design
Emerging architecture star re-defining architecture in tropical South Florida and beyond. Keynote Speaker at our AIA NOVA June 7th Design Awards Banquet.

Max Strang, AIA, Founder & Principal, Max Strang Architecture
Interned with Zaha Hadid in London and with New York based SHoP Architects / 2003 & 2007 AIA Miami “Young Architect of the Year”

Rene Gonzalez, AIA, Founder & Principal, Rene Gonzales Architect
LA Getty Museum Project Designer for Richard Meier / Collaborated with Frank Israel / Widely published AIA National Honor Award winner

Roney Jorge Mateu, AIA, Founder & Principal, Mateu Architecture Inc.
Florida Association AIA 2000 Millennium Award of Honor for Design / AIA Miami 1995 Silver Medal for Design and 2001 Hall of Fame for Design.

Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, AIA, Co-Founder & Principal, Touzet Studio
Former Vice President at Arquitectonica / 2006 AIA Miami “Young Architect of the Year” / Designer of 6.8-million-square-foot Hong Kong Cyberport

Michael Kerwin, AIA, Design Principal, Spillis Candela DMJM
Master of Architecture, Harvard University / 1999 South Florida AIA “Architect of the Year” / Designing at Spillis Candela for 22 years

The jury session will take place on Friday, May 16th at the office of Max Strang, and I look forward once again to proudly presenting the work of our members. Submissions are due at the Chapter House by 5:00 pm on Friday, May 9th. Remember to resubmit eligible entries that haven't yet won.

Good luck – and we look forward to seeing you at the awards banquet on Saturday June 7th!

ARE Prep Seminars Continue, Featuring Structures and Graphics Workshops
The Chapter's Architect Registration Exam (ARE) Preparatory Seminars are continuing with Material and Methods on May 10; Structures with David J. Thaddeus, AIA June 6-8; Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing in June; Pre-Design in July, ending with the Graphics Review on July 26.

Organized by the Young Architect's Forum, the seminars offer the opportunity to learn from a professional in each discipline and use that knowledge in preparation for the ARE. In addition, study groups meet regularly to share resources and discuss the seminar material. Most sessions are held on Saturdays at DMJM Design in Arlington.

Two special workshops are organized for the Structures and Graphics portions of the exam.

Once again the chapter welcomes David J. Thaddeus, AIA, NCARB, on June 6-8 for a three-day intensive workshop to review for Structures I and II. The sessions are at the Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus. Registration is now open and additional information is available on the Chapter's ARE website.

The Graphics workshop is scheduled for Saturday, July 26 and offers an overview of all three Graphic Divisions. The instructors are Kurt Wassenaar, Architect and Principal of the Wassenaar Design Group, PC; Bruce Grulke, AIA, Project Architect with Clark-Nexsen Architecture and Engineering; and Greg Winkler, also an Architect with the Wassenaar Design Group. The workshop, organized by all three metro area AIA Chapters and Virginia Society, will be held at the University of Maryland School of Architecture in College Park. Online information will be available on the VS website shortly. Questions may be directed to Jim Walker at (804) 644-3041 x207 or via email.

Featured Project

Butterfly Pavilion at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
Washington, DC

For the past two months, visitors to the National Museum of Natural History have experienced the world of butterflies in their innate environment, while remaining entirely indoors. HSMM | AECOM partnered with The Smithsonian Institution to design a 1,200-SF Butterfly Pavilion for the permanent exhibit Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution.

Upon entering the pavilion, hundreds of butterflies flutter about, landing on exotic plants and feeding on nectar and fruit. Before entering and exiting the pavilion, which holds approximately 35 people at one time, visitors pass through two sealed chambers that prevent the butterflies from escaping.

To create the necessary microclimate for the butterflies, a dedicated air handling unit was installed. HSMM also designed a misting system to keep the environment at a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit and to maintain 80 percent humidity, creating a tropical, rainforest effect.

HSMM | AECOM's museum design team worked closely with The Smithsonian Institution to design the fully-enclosed, tropically-tempered house located on the Museum's second floor. The pavilion's structure consists of vertical aluminum ribs that form a curved shape in both plan and elevation. The diaphragm between the ribs consists of translucent polyester resin panels supported by T-shaped horizontal aluminum purlins. The interior features lighting that mimics outdoor daylight and curving walls to prevent butterflies from becoming trapped in corners and crevices.

The Butterfly Pavilion marks the latest in a series of highly successful new construction and renovation projects designed by HSMM | AECOM's museum practice.

For more information about HSMM, visit www.hsmm.aecom.com.


May 6 - Fast Forward : Architecture Now
6:30p, at the Kreeger Museum, 2401 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC. A discussion of Philip Johnson's role in 20th century architecture and his influence on the present by Hilary Lewis, Curator of the exhibit Philip Johnson: Architecture as Art, who collaborated with Johnson on numerous projects, and Architectural Critic Benjamin Forgey. $12. For additional information and reservations, call the Kreeger at (202) 337-3050.

May 9 - Design Award Submittal Deadline
5:00p, deliver to the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter House, 205 S Patrick Street, Alexandria.

May 10 - ARE Seminar : Materials & Methods
10:00a-2:00p, at DMJM Design, 3101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900, Arlington. Additional information is available in the above article and registration forms are available here.

May 12 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30p-6:00p, at DMJM Design, 3101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900, Arlington. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

May 12 - Firm Tour of DMJM Design with the AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
6:00p tour following 4:30p board meeting, at DMJM Design, 3101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900, Arlington. Tours of several Chapter architecture firms are planned this year. They are scheduled to coincide with our Chapter board meetings. Members are invited to participate in the board meeting and tour or just the tour. The tour of our host firm includes a discussion about the firm and its recent projects. 1 AIA/CES LU available for the tour. Free; registration not required.

May 13 - The New Frontier in Healthy Living - Seminar on Epigenetic Design
8:00a-Noon, at JE Jacobs, 1100 North Glebe Road, Suite 500, Arlington. Workshop will review the emerging field of Epigenetics, looking at how the body and brain receive, perceive and interact with the physical environment. Presented by Deborah Burnett, a nationally recognized presenter in the field of Epigenetic design. Sponsored by the Continuing Education Committee and Women in Architecture Committee. 3 AIA/CES LUs. $50, $40 for early registration before May 5, $60 at the door. Includes breakfast. For additional information and registration, click here.

May 15-16 - AIA National Convention in Boston
For additional information click here.

May 21 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series: Hazard Mitigation Technologies for Windows
Noon-1:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. This seminar will focus on the design and installation of retrofit window systems as well as new construction to reduce glass hazards that are associated with bomb blast, windstorm, earthquake, forced-entry and electronic eavesdropping. The latest methods employed by the US Federal Government and the private sector for physical security and reduction of wireless signals through windows will be reviewed. Presented by Glasslock Designed Protection. 1 AIA/CES HSW LU. Free. Please e-mail your registration request to reservations@aianova.org.

June 1 - Deadline for Early Registration to Attend DesignDC : Leading ReNEWal
DesignDC 2008 is being held July 8-10 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. AIA|DC, AIA Potomac Valley and AIA Northern Virginia are co-sponsors of this year’s event, which promises to be the must-attend local conference for education and networking opportunities. The theme this year, Leading ReNEWal, looks at how sustainable design and adaptive reuse, historic preservation and downtown revitalization can all work together. For the complete agenda, go the DesignDC website.

June 6-8 - ARE Structures Review
At the Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus. David Thaddeus, AIA returns to present his comprehensive structures review. Additional information and registration forms are available here.

June 7 - AIA Northern Virginia Design Awards Gala
6:00p, at the Katzen Arts Center at American University. Invitations will be mailed soon.