Volume 1, No. 9 - August 2, 2007
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

PBS Headquarters
PBS Headquartes, Gensler (more info)
In This Issue

From the Road

Architecture in Schools

Featured Project: PBS Headquarters


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Reminder: Metro Directory Registration Forms Due Friday

A First Architectural Road Trip
Article and photos by Matt Shuba
What began as a drive to Memphis to visit a friend and later became a trip across the country to see new sites and visit new bars has turned into some kind of definitive introductory architectural road trip. Having just completed our first year of a three-year Masters program, a classmate and I began contemplating buildings to visit as we planned our trip, and before long, our desire to see the best drove us clear off our original path and instead through places like Stewart, PA, Columbus, IN and Chicago, IL.

At this point, I expect most of you remember your first trip like this, where you found yourself trying to cram as many buildings into the day as possible, sneaking photos in unauthorized areas and pleading with employees to take you into a closed Auditorium Theatre (where you again shot clandestine photos).
We have found that there is really something to be said for seeing buildings in person, and better yet under the guidance of experts when available. I had seen plenty of Mies van der Rohe in books and driven by a work or two, but it is on a trip like this that you begin to realize that the lines of the sidewalk coincide with the mail counter inside and the center of the clock on the wall. You get closer to the haunted nature of the work of Furness and become acutely aware of the precision of Louis Kahn even on the largest scales.

It has also been important to see buldings in context; books seldom show you when a building is across the street from an eyesore or towered over by a high-rise.
It's sort of a satisfying moment when you find yourself and your companion discussing architecture and the merits of cities almost everytime you sit down for a meal. It's sort of satisfying when architects stop just being names and buildings become grander than they ever were on professors' poorly lit slideshows. And it's definitely satisfying when you realize why they chose the slides that they did.

We've driven over 2,200 miles so far and just reached the Mississippi. We're getting ready to see the Arch, and peel across Missouri to see Steven Holl's addition to the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City.
For every Wainwright Building there's a whole lot of this in between
Architecture in Schools Prepares for New Semester

Once again Architecture in Schools is looking for volunteer architects to work with students of different ages to promote architectural awareness in young minds.

For the fall program, the introductory meeting will be September 8 with class visits beginning September 24. The projects will be completed in January. The commitment is for eight visits, once a week. CES credits are available for participation.

This semester's participating schools are:
 Hoffman Boston, second grade (Arlington)
 Lorien Wood, second grade (Vienna)
 Mount Vernon Woods, elementary school (Alexandria)
 Patrick Henry, third grade (Alexandria)
 Washington Lee, high school (Arlington)

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Jean O'Toole.

Featured Project

PBS Headquarters
Crystal City, VA

When the opportunity arose to relocate, PBS chose 125,000 sf in Crystal City as a fresh new platform for a highly visible and exciting headquarters that showcases their public mission and creative programming content.

Visitors are drawn from the street into the PBS headquarters by a "blade" that visually connects the building's lobby to PBS's offices. A centerpiece of the lobby is a 3-story mobile that hangs in the member staircase, consisting of all of the names of PBS's member stations. In this way, PBS pays homage to its supporters with a dramatic, sculptural presence – a billboard that says "thank you." An open office plan provides employees with natural light, outside views, and community areas to facilitate collaboration and communication.

The space is unified by a dramatic, graphic use of the PBS brand. A strong, thoughtful presence of the PBS brand exists on all floors, not just public space, celebrating PBS's commitment to making a difference. Print material, video, and backlit images are used throughout the facility to reinforce both the PBS brand and the various platforms used to communicate content. Each floor is broken down by its services, and is individually branded. The space as a whole is graphically unified, but individual graphics are designed to be interchangeable and updatable to ensure that PBS's offices can grow and change as the company does.

PBS recently received the IIDA Pinnacle and Gold awards for outstanding interior design, as well as awards from the Northern Virginia chapters of the AIA and NAIOP.

You can view additional images and projects at www.gensler.com


August 3 - Deadline for 2008 Directory Forms
Forms were mailed to each firm on June 25. Only one member from each firm needs to fill out the form, which should be returned to Dawson Publications, not the Chapter House.

September 11 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30p - 6:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 S Patrick Street, Old Town Alexandria

September 19 - Lunch Seminar - Designing a Vertical Path to Safety: Precast Concrete Stair Systems
12:00p - 1:15p at the Chapter House, 205 S Patrick Street, Old Town Alexandria. The presentation will examine building safety codes related to egress stairs and the degree to which these stair systems comply with codes. It will evaluate the safest and best method to travel from floor to floor in multistory buildings of different structural types and will consider how a vertical path to safety can be designed with precast stair systems. Presented by Castcon-Stone, Inc. 1.25 AIA/CES HSW LUs. For reservations, e-mail reservations@aianova.org.

September 23 + 24 - Inter-School Design Competition
At the National Building Museum. Details to come or visit www.nbm.org for more information.