Volume 2, No. 4 - March 18, 2008
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Fairfax High School, by BeeryRio (more info)
In This Issue

Design Awards 2008

Philip Johnson at the Kreeger

Virginia's New Continuing Education Requirements

In Bloom

Featured Project: Fairfax High School


Featured Sponsor: Aerotek

Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

What Will You Submit This Year?
Just released : the AIA Northern Virginia 2008 Design Awards Call for Entries in now available here.

In its 33rd year, the award program recognizes inspirational design and celebrates the outstanding achievements of our Chapter members. Members are encouraged to submit their notable projects and may resubmit all eligible projects that have been previously entered but not yet awarded. This year's jury is comprised of leading architects from the Miami area. Submissions are due on Friday, May 9.

Join us in a celebration of design at the awards gala on Saturday, June 7, at the Katzen Arts Center, a dramatic new building, designed by Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, on the American University campus in northwest Washington DC.

Philip Johnson: Architecture as Art
by Hilary Lewis
New York, NY
Curator of the Philip Johnson: Architecture as Art Exhibit at The Kreeger Museum
Guadalajara Children's Museum
Guadalajara Children's Museum
Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects
Guadalajara, Mexico
Photo by Robert Walker

Habitable Sculpture
Habitable Sculpture
Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects
New York, New York
Courtesy of Antonio Nino Vendome

Silkscreen of Habitable Sculpture by Philip Johnson
New York, New York
Courtesy of Antonio Nino Vendome

Da Monsta
Da Monsta
Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects
New Canaan, Connecticut
Designed in 1993
Photo by Michael Moran

From the start, Johnson viewed architecture through the lens of art. He began his career as the first director of architecture and design at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, which came on the heels of Johnson’s own investigations of art, architecture and design in Europe during his undergraduate days at Harvard. As a young man, he collected works by Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee and would eventually build a world class collection of modern art; acquiring pieces by artists he and his companion of over 4O years, David Whitney, knew well, from Andy Warhol to Julian Schnabel and Willem de Kooning to Jasper Johns. Today, most of Johnson’s collection is rightly at MoMA, the institution he joined professionally in 1930 and remained close to until his death in 2OO5.

TA self-proclaimed "formalist," a most unusual pronouncement for a late twentieth-century architect, Johnson never shied away from citing sources for his architectural inspiration. Less motivated by engineering than aesthetic experience, he would chide colleagues and students alike for not admitting to the powerful influence of artistic precedent. In his acceptance speech for the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1979 Johnson made his position clear: "I, for one, realize the Prize is not for me; the Prize is for the art of architecture, the art we used to call the mother of the arts. Within our purview are the great arts of design, decoration, ornament as well as social housing, city planning and structural design. Maybe we can, as in other centuries, join painting and sculpture once more to enhance our lives."

In the 1990s, Johnson observed how both architects and artists had moved towards that freedom with form akin to the work of German Expressionism. Frank Gehry, a close friend of Johnson's, produced extraordinary designs that defied traditional geometry, which Johnson extolled with pleasure. Frank Stella was a dear friend whom Johnson admired and whose works he had collected for decades. Stella had incorporated a similar approach in his art and would inspire Johnson directly by showing him a model of an architectural design he had made for a structure in Dresden, Germany. But Johnson would also note, as someone old enough to have been in Germany in the 192Os, he was now recalling the work of the Expressionists, especially that of Hermann Finsterlin, a lesser-known designer and contemporary of Mies van der Rohe.

The sculptural forms that make up these designs eluded standard geometric categorization. Johnson began referring to them as the "Structured Warp," twisting, warped forms that nonetheless appeared constructed, not molded by hand. Projects with similar forms, from Johnson’s "Time Sculpture" at New York’s Lincoln Center (1996), and "Turning Point" at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland had one important difference. These were designed as sculptures (although "Time Sculpture" does house a functioning clock), not as architecture. Johnson and his firm had moved squarely into the making of art in addition to their more traditional architectural efforts.

Perhaps the culmination of Johnson’s work at the start of the 21st century was his design for a far-sighted builder, Antonio Nino Vendome in New York. Originally the scope of the project was for a residential tower in New York's SoHo district. Vendome commissioned not just a building, but an artwork, the "Habitable Sculpture," a novel approach to the creation of spaces for living combined with sculpture. The concept burgeoned into a plan to produce similar structures in multiple locations, not just in Manhattan. The "Habitable Sculpture" did not mimic the other structured warp-based projects and therefore the work of Stella; it was based on Johnson’s re-examination of another artist, John Chamberlain. Known for twisting and fusing metal elements in exciting ways, Chamberlain is a bold artist. In particular, the work by Chamberlain that Johnson referenced was vertical in arrangement and tubular. Johnson reacted with his team at Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects to produce models that interpreted Chamberlain's sculptures. These eventually morphed into a design for the "Habitable Sculpture."

The zoning in SoHo made the project unworkable. The replacement for this design was another from Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects, the "Urban Glass House," which was much smaller in volume and traditionally modern in form. The project is still active with Vendome and Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects.

Johnson began these projects in his mid 8Os, more than a decade before he died in 2OO5, proof of a youthful appreciation of change even at the end of his life. Always one who revered art and architecture, both culturally and philosophically, he often and aptly quoted: ars longa vita brevis. Art is long, life is short.

©2008 Hilary Lewis

Al-Thani Sculpture
Al-Thani Sculpture
Philip Johnson / Alan Ritchie Architects
Doha, Qatar
Photo by Robert Walker

Al-Thani Sculpture

Virginia Mandatory Continuing Education Requirement
Comment Period
by Al Cox, FAIA

The proposed regulation calls for 16 hours of "board-approved continuing education activities" prior to each license renewal. Very briefly, it states that CE activities are deemed approved if they meet listed criteria. Continuing education activities for architects must simply be related to the practice of architecture, although business related topics are allowed. Self-directed activities must have an assessment tool, like a test. The CE activities must be completed during the license period immediately prior to renewal and the applicant must include "evidence of compliance with the continuing education requirements." The full proposal is located here.

The VSAIA was joined by our long-time legislative partners, the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies/Virginia, to sponsor this legislation. There are several comprehensive studies that show continuing education is successful in maintaining and increasing the competence of professionals in various fields. This is what led the AIA to enforce continuing education on its members and why all but about a dozen states or territories have made it mandatory for maintaining professional licensure. For more information contact VSAIA Director of Government + Industry Affairs, Duncan Abernathy at daber@aiava.org.

There are still some outstanding questions regarding implementation of the proposal, including: 1. Will the AIA's continuing education credits apply to the state requirements? and, 2. For those licensed in multiple states, will Virginia’s credits be accepted by other states, and vice-versa?

Your comments may be made on the DPOR website.

Spring Begins This Week
Celebrate the arrival of spring and sign up to play in the 5th Annual AIA Northern Virginia Golf Tournament. Early registration discounts are available until April 9. Enjoy a warm day in the sun while supporting our Chapter's scholarship program. This year we plan to award $8,000 to help Virginia architecture students with tuition costs.

The tournament is on Friday, May 2 at the Algonkian Regional Park Golf Course in Sterling. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For additional information and registration, click here.

Featured Project

Fairfax High School
Fairfax, VA

Completed in 2007, the modernization of Fairfax High School includes renovations and additions to the largest building footprint in the City of Fairfax. The project involves the comprehensive demolition and reconstruction of the existing 1972 facility which totals over 240,000 square feet, and the additions of classrooms, administration, athletics and fine arts spaces comprising another approximate 85,000 square feet.

The existing monotonous and compressed interior spaces of the facility’s classrooms and hallways combined with the existing building’s uninspiring and disorienting exterior demand an architectural response which will transform the very nature of the building as a whole. Through the extensive use of transparent materials and more generous spatial planning, BeeryRio has designed not only enlivened classrooms, but also other places for gathering, conversation, and study. Even areas for displays of artwork are provided, which likewise will enjoy natural light and improved circulation. The design greatly heightens the physical fabric of the school, thereby achieving the goal that every space is a teaching space.

Improvements to the overall school include an upgrade of all building systems to comply with building code standards as well as Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Site improvements are designed to comply with current parking, bus loading and storm water management requirements imposed by the City of Fairfax.

Materials and Building Systems
Masonry bearing wall construction
Two-story glass and steel structure
Glass curtain wall and storefront assemblies
Ribbed metal wall cladding systems
Sloped metal roof system
Built up roofing system
Continuously glazed main entry stair tower
Glass and steel entry canopy assembly
Terrazzo lobby flooring
Pigmented concrete entry plaza
Surveillance and security systems


March 18 - Meet the Architects Forum
7:00p, at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, 1001 Prince Street, Alexandria. This forum features three architects and one landscape architect representing various size firms and styles of practice. The forum focuses on the practice of architecture rather than the work of the invited architects and promotes a dialogue between students and professionals from a variety of different practices. Participating in the 2008 forum are Marlene Shade, AIA with PSA Dewberry; Robert Smedley, AIA with The Onyx Group; Bill Brown, AIA with BeeryRio Architecture + Interiors; and Lauren Brandes, ASLA with Oculus.

March 19 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series: Best Detailing Practices for Masonry Construction
Noon-1:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. This seminar will focus on the many different universal detailing requirements for masonry construction. It will specifically address detailing methods for mitigating moisture penetration, accommodating movement (crack control), details and computation of fire ratings and general design and detailing requirements required by ACI 530/530.1. Attendees will gain a better understanding of not only how to detail concrete masonry structures for best performance, but the why and where of specific detailing concerns. Presented by Robert S. Zobel, Ph.D., P.E., Executive Director of the Concrete Masonry Promotions Council. 1 AIA/CES LU. Free. Please e-mail your registration request to reservations@aianova.org.

March 27 - Firm Pin-Up Series : LeMay Erickson Architects
7:00p, at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, 1001 Prince Street, Alexandria. The Firm Pin-Up Series occurs every Thursdays, March 27 through April 17. This program features four architecture firms that pin up a project in schematic design for a reverse jury where students critique the projects. Also participating in the Pin-Up Series are Geier Brown Renfrow Architects on April 3; RTKL Associates on April 10; and Cunningham | Quill Architects on April 17.

April 4-13 - Celebrate Architecture Week with numerous events promoting architects and architecture.
For additional information on all the Architecture Week activities, please visit the AIA Northern Virginia
Architecture Week page.

April 4 - Canstruction® Build-Out Night
5:00p-midnight, at Ballston Common Mall, 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington. Exhibits on display from April 4 -12. Watch teams of architects build fantastic structures from canned food during the 5th Annual Canstruction® Competition, supporting, the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

April 5 - Canstruction® Jury and Press Preview
9:00-11:00a at Ballston Common Mall, 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington. Members of the press are invited to view and photograph the completed structures and ask questions of Chapter volunteers.

April 5 - Architect Registration Exam Preparatory Seminars : Construction Documents II
10:00a-2:00p, at DMJM Design, 3101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22201. The Young Architects Forum offers the 2008 ARE Preparatory Seminars. Each seminar offers the opportunity to learn from a professional and use that knowledge in preparation for the ARE. In addition, the YAF will organize study groups that will meet weekly to share resources and discuss the seminar material. The schedule of ARE seminars is as follows: Materials & Methods May 10; David Thaddeus’ structures workshop June 6-8; MEP I June 14; MEP II June 21; Pre-Design July 12; and the graphics review – TBD. Additional information and registration forms available here.

April 8 - About Architecture : Hollin Hills and the Modern Subdivision
7:00p, at the Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria. This lecture, presented by Gregory Hunt, FAIA, kicks off a new series, About Architecture, organized by the Chapter and supported by the City of Alexandria. Mr. Hunt will review modern subdivisions in the DC area, specifically focusing on Alexandria architect Charles Goodman and his widely admired Modernist work in Hollin Hills. The event is free and reservations are not necessary. 1 AIA/CES LU.

April 9 - Award Winning Projects : An Exhibit and Lecture
6:30p-8:00p, at Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, 1001 Prince Street, Alexandria. The exhibit features award-winning projects and features a presentation by Lee Quill, AIA of Cunningham | Quill Architects. 1 AIA/CES HSW LU. The event is free and registration is not necessary.

April 10 - Canstruction® Awards Celebration
Time and location TBD. Teams participating in the Chapter's 5th Annual Canstruction® Competition join together to celebrate the winning structures. The structures remain on exhibit through April 12.

April 11 - Architecture In the Schools Exhibit Opening
6:30-8:00p, at Ballston Common Mall, 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington. Volunteer architects work closely with teachers and students to integrate architecture into the curriculum and produce captivating projects. Come see an exhibition of their work. The exhibit will remain on display at the Mall after the opening. This program is organized by the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter Architecture in the Schools Committee and the Washington Architectural Foundation.

April 12 - How To Work With An Architect Workshop
10:00-11:30a, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. This workshop helps potential clients realize how architects can help them plan a new home, addition or renovation. Topics include how to find an architect, how to communicate client needs and ideas and what to expect during the design and construction phase. Presented by Michael Nawrocki, AIA, with Nawrocki Architects in McLean. The event is free, but registration is required. For registration, e-mail reservations@aianova.org.

April 13 - Walking Tour of Historic Old Town Alexandria
Walking tour will cover the history of Old Town Alexandria as reflected through its architecture and urban design. Examples feature a full range of architectural styles from Georgian through Art Deco and the pedestrian scale of the city plan and streets will be discussed. This year's tour will also feature the historic Cromley Lofts, Virginia's first LEED silver rated sustainable condos, and portions of the proposed Parker Gray National Register historic district. Tour led by members of the AIA Northern Virginia Historic Resources Committee. 2 AIA/CES HSW LUs. Free, but registration is required. For registration, e-mail reservations@aianova.org.

April 14 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30p-6:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

April 16 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series: Storage Solutions for Modern Workspace Environments
Noon-1:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. Program addresses storage issues related to commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities. Participants will be able to examine the different factors that limit storage space within today’s workspace environments; compare the storage capacity and costs of different storage equipment solutions; understand the concept and benefits of high-density storage solutions for businesses and institutions; discuss design considerations for your building plans; address how high-density mobile storage systems can assist projects in earning points towards the various LEED rating system certification levels; and illustrate a variety of high-density mobile shelving storage system solution applications. Presentation provided by Montel, Inc. 1 AIA/CES LU. Please e-mail your registration request to reservations@aianova.org.

April 17 - Philip Johnson: Architecture as Art, at The Kreeger Museum
6:30p-8:30p, members of AIA and their guests are invited to join Dr. Erich Keel, Head of Education, for a wine and cheese reception, talk and walk-through of the exhibition, Philip Johnson: Architecture as Art, on view at The Kreeger Museum March 15 - July 31, 2008. The museum is 2401 Foxhall Road NW, Washington, DC 20007. The AIA Northern Virginia Chapter is co-sponsoring this event with the Kreeger Museum and offering 1.5 AIA/CES Learning Units. Tickets are $30 and expected to sell out quickly. For reservations, call (202) 338-3552. See the article above for more information.

April 26 - Seneca Quarry Hike + Tour
10:00a, begins at Riley’s Lockhouse adjacent to the Seneca Aqueduct. The Seneca quarries are the second oldest building stone quarries in the Potomac Valley with documented use beginning in 1790 and continuing until 1906. Seneca sandstone was used for many well known DC landmarks. The tour will begin with the Seneca Aqueduct (1830), go to the ruins of the water-powered stone cutting shed (1874), to the oldest portions of the quarries on Bull Run (1790) and return via the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath. Hiking distance is approximately one mile. Robert Kapsch, Hon. AIA, retired National Park Service Senior Scholar in Historic Architecture and Engineering, will lead the tour. After the hike, participants can also visit the Seneca School (restored as a nineteenth century schoolhouse), the Poole Store (a general store since 1900) and the Upton Darby House (1850). Organized by the AIA Northern Virginia Historic Resources and Women in Architecture committees and the Association for Preservation Technology. 1 AIA/CES LU for the quarry tour and 1 AIA/CES LU for the Seneca School tour. $5 for AIA and APT members; $10 for non-members. For additional information and registrations, click here.

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