Archive for November, 2009

Float On

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The courtyard of the National Portrait Museum in The Penn Quater, Washingon DC is a warm and quiet space and a pleasure to inhabit after dark.  A grid of slender columns supports the monocoque roof which extends just to the edge of the 4 classical roof edges.  Norman Foster designed the modern renovation in 2000.




A Town Square for the World

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The headquarters of the World Bank in downtown Washington DC is a graceful composition that disguises its massive size with subtle texture transitions and balanced massing.  At over 2 million square feet and accommodating 4300 employees, this is a huge building by any standard.  However by burying 30% of it beneath street level and by breaking up the overall volume visually into a collection of buildings that fit the scale of those existing on the site, the architects were able to avoid making the headquarters appear monolithic or daunting.  The varied but coherent whole can be seen as representative of the banks diverse international makeup.

It would seem important for this building not to be designed in the western classical architectural tradition.  Though prevalent in Washington DC, a building of that style could carry associations too laden with memories of colonialism for such an international mission.   KPF Associate’s modern design effectively presents an unladen image of international prominence while simultaneously respecting its urban neighbors with both color and scale.

The atrium space is truly awe-inspiring in both scale and attention to detail.  Security is tight, but if you get the oportunity to visit the interior I highly suggest you do so.







That Hour

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

I came across this little gem at Stanley Kubrick’s favorite time of day: “that hour when the light is perfect…and everyone is exhausted.”

Imagine how nice that pool deck must be  Notice the outboard structure spanning between balconies and the tinted sunscreens partially shading the inner layer of glass.  Very nice.  It’s located at 648 19th street NW.  Anyone know the architect?


A Place for Cycles

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Designed by Donald C. Paine Jr. of KGB Design Studio, this boldly shaped pavilion is a storage and repair facility for bicyclists.  It is located to the west side of Union Station.

An interview with the Architect: