2003 Annual Design Review Environments Design Distinction

Posted inID Mag


Before New York’s Carpenter/Norris Consulting Inc. installed this heliostat, or sun-tracking mirror, employees at the Morgan Lewis Building in Washington, D.C., had to contend with the narrow, dark atrium their offices overlooked. Made of prismatic glass and fabric, the Solar Light Pipe delivers concentrated sunshine to light-starved building inhabitants without occupying a lot of space. “The strategy of vertical versus lateral illumination is inventive,” juror Michael Manfredi observed. For Morgan Lewis, the pipe was constructed at a scale never before attempted: A 12-sided steel-and-aluminum frame encloses the laminated glass panels, which are sloped to form a 120-foot-long refracting cone. Metal spokes radiate from this frame to support a continuous Lycra fabric “sock” measuring 6 feet in diameter.

CLIENT Morgan Lewis, Washington, D.C: Stephen Paul Mahinka, principalDESIGN Carpenter/Norris Consulting Inc., New York: David Norris, principal; David Kufferman, New YorkSOFTWARE Autocad with 3D Studio Max, Vectorwork


“There’s an intellectual, almost surrealist rigor as well as a sense of poetry,” Manfredi said of this apartment renovation by New York architect Bill Peterson. Understanding the modern homeowner’s desire for both state-of-the-art and nostalgic elements such as porches, bay windows and crown molding, Peterson developed a 21st-century interpretation of Victorian living quarters. The apartment contains a whitewashed perimeter envelope that matches the original 1880 casework and trim, but also has removable wall and floor attachments. An understated wall painting reveals, on closer inspection, a screensaver for a flat panel television. Both jurors found Peterson’s approach tasteful and clever, praising the amount of research that went into the details. “I enjoy how the designers dealt with the two extremes of technology and nostalgia,” Johnson Chou said. “Everything seems to be in quotation marks, but there’s a lot of respect.”

CLIENT | DESIGN Bill Peterson, New YorkSOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator


Both jurors were struck by the economy of the display structure for Ecoventions, an ecology exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati. Designed by Terry Boling and Marc Swackhamer, both faculty members at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, the green fencing that separates the show’s different displays is reminiscent of snow fences constructed in the Great Plains and mountainous regions of the United States. Due to a limited budget, the team used vertical supports made with a computer-aided milling machine, and created legs out of standard 1/2-inch conduit shaped with a handheld conduit bender. “I like the way they articulated the wood slats-darkened when they need to be opaque, lightened when they let in the view,” Chou said. Although Manfredi also appreciated the exhibit design’s sophistication, he saw one weakness: “Some of the furnishings and objects inside the envelope seem casually considered-not as thoughtful as the development of the envelope itself.”

CLIENT Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati: Charles DeMarais, principalDESIGN Terry Boling and Marc Swackhamer, Cincinnati; University of Cincinnati Students: Abby Kosky, Parker Eberhard, Josh Summers and Matt WinterSOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Autocad


“The level of detail is beautiful,” Manfredi said about this retail center, designed by Scout Motor Co. in Washington, D.C., for PC Paging & Wireless of Clinton, Md. The wireless communications store, which opened in the spring of 2002, blends product display, sales and service, providing private meeting space for professionals and a public area for those who simply stop by to check their e-mail. A transparent glass entryway is echoed in the interior glass-panels, which in turn catch the reflections of the streetscape. These panels also separate office areas furnished with mahogany service desks. Tall, black, carbon-steel columns divide the public and private spaces, and display units in the retail area slide out from concrete trenches along the wall. “It reveals a light but systematic touch,” said Manfredi. “There’s some thought about the relationship between the existing shell and the designed elements/systems positioned within it.”

CLIENT PC Paging & Wireless, Clinton, Md.: Patrick Oberman, principalDESIGN Scout Motor Co., Washington, D.C.: Gregory Rubbo, principal; Rauzia Ally, designer


“It reminds me of an installation sculpture, but it possesses both functional and metaphorical qualities,” Chou said about The Pod, a movable furniture unit that, according to its designer, is “part shoji-screen, part storage device, part lamp, part bed and part room.” Created by Brooklyn-based designer Ben Checkwitch, The Pod’s translucent shell acts as an enclosed bedroom, ideal for converted lofts and studio apartments. Roughly 6 feet wide by 14 feet long by 8 feet high, the unit is composed of recycled polypropylene, metal studs, plywood, casters and hidden fluorescent fixtures. “It’s wonderful because it hovers between product design and environment,” Manfredi said. “It’s a very sophisticated piece, beautifully detailed and imbued with a rather subtle wit,” Chou added. “I read the project both as a movable object that activates the rather mute enclosure and as a modern interpretation of a canopy bed.”

CLIENT | DESIGN Ben Checkwitch Design, New YorkMATERIALS | FABRICATION Recycled polypropylene, metal studs, plywood, casters, fluorescent fixtures, polyurethane foam, Dacron, LycraSOFTWARE Autocad, 3D Studio


To create this 160-seat Chinese restaurant in Manhattan for KLG Restaurants LLC, local architecture firm Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis had to connect a sequence of disparate rooms that had different floor and ceiling levels. The designers’ solution was a stainless-steel datum line that provides an uninterrupted visual reference. To the datum line, the architects affixed alternating horizontal strips of felt and backlit translucent acrylic, which act as a backrest for a continuous 80-foot-long felt banquette that winds through each dining area. Chou liked that the datum line extended to the bathrooms, and judged the material changes well-handled. He said, “The emphasis on the horizontal draws one’s gaze deep into the space and detracts from what appears to be a low ceiling.” Manfredi commented, “This design makes a virtue out of a dense, almost unworkable, existing space.”

CLIENT KLG Restaurants LLC, New York: Greg Kan and Li Ping, principalsDESIGN Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, New York: David Lewis, principal MATERIALS | FABRICATION Felt banquettes, oak flooring, walnut bar, stainless-steel datum line, walnut and steel bar stools, incandescent fluorescent lighting, stainless-steel mirrors and sinkSOFTWARE Adobe Photoshop, Vectorworks


For a new 50-seat vegan restaurant and juice bar in Toronto, local firm Giannone Associates Architects renovated a turn-of-the-century b
rick building, creating two new facades at its base. An elongated, tile-wrapped entryway draws pedestrians in while separating and defining the adjacent dining area, the walls of which the architects layered with various materials to resemble curled fruit peels. Douglas fir panels shiplapped in front of a strata of wallpaper-wrapped gypsum contribute to the florid effect, and features such as wainscoting, plastic laminates, porcelain sockets and Mylar bulbs add texture. Chou thought the use of inventive materials created a sense of appropriateness that made Fresh inviting. “The skillful manner in which the facade is composed and layered draws your attention into the interior, and encourages you to appreciate the materiality of the layers as they are deftly juxtaposed with each other,” he said.

CLIENT Fresh by Juice for Life, Toronto: Ruth Tal Brown and Barry Alper, principalsDESIGN Giannone Associates Architects Inc., Toronto: Pina Petricone and Ralph Giannone, principals; Ivan LeCouvie Construction, Toronto: Ivan LeCouvie, construction manager SOFTWARE Autocad, 3D Studio Max

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