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MORE ABOUT: Uber HQ – San Francisco, California

Building: Uber Headquarters
Location: 1455 and 1515 Third Street, San Francisco, California, U.S.
Architect: SHoP Architects
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP Engineer: AlfaTech Engineering
Status: in construction, expected completion 2020

The new Uber Headquarters is expected to obtain LEED Platinum certification.  The headquarters is 423,000 sf equally split between two buildings: 1455 and 1515.  1455 is twelve stories high and has a smaller floorplan while 1515 is seven stories high, having a wider floorplan.  Two walking bridges connect the buildings, providing easy access and flow between a total of four floors.  These bridges are rigidly connected to 1515 and have a sliding ‘T’ connection at 1455 so that, in the event of an earthquake, the bridges and 1515 will exert no force on 1455.

The Uber HQ maintains an unconventional heating and cooling design.  All of the heating systems for both of the buildings reside in 1515 while the cooling systems reside in the 1455 mechanical penthouse.  The utilities run under Pierpoint Lane to transfer heating and cooling needs between the two buildings.  While this is not economical, the owners desired this design to avoid having chillers on the roof of 1515.  With the additional space on the roof of 1515, there will be a green terrace, solar panels, and operable skylights that open/close depending on weather for natural ventilation.


Other AE mechanical interests include the raised access floors and on-site greywater treatment.  The raised access floors are elevated, easily removable flooring above the structural concrete slab hiding MEPF systems such as the buildings’ radiant manifolds.  The on-site greywater treatment plant resides in 1515, collecting rainwater from the buildings’ roofs and re-purposing this water for toilets, sinks, and plant irrigation.

There are hundreds of planters that need to be irrigated across 1455 and 1515’s atrium spaces.  The exterior and interior facades that create the atrium have never been constructed before.  The entire facade is cantilevered, requiring approximately 15′ x 20′ pile caps to maintain the structural integrity of the building.  This “breathing” facade is composed of computer-controlled operable windows that open/close based on temperature, humidity, and weather to reduce HVAC energy consumption.  The un-conditioned atrium serves as a buffer zone between the outdoors and the air-conditioned interior environment, further reducing HVAC needs.

Other notable architectural features of the atrium space are its stairs, ‘ice cube’ lighting, and wooden panels.  The stairs in the atrium spaces are modeled based off of the hills in San Francisco, particularly the famous ‘crooked’ Lombard St.  This creates a unique unparalleled flow of the building, which can be observed by the public through 1515’s glass oculus.  Scattered around the atrium are ‘ice cubes’, which are massive white boxes that, when lit, look like floating ice cubes.  Finally, the wooden panels that provide solar shading on the interior and exterior facades are made of oven-burned wood from Spain.  No one panel is the same and each panel has several wooden members burned for different lengths, giving a variety of different colored wood.

Below are other images from the construction process as of Summer 2019.

Written by carleypera

July 15, 2019 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

MORE ABOUT: Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Dallas, Texas

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Building: Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Location: Victory Park – Dallas, Texas
Architect: Morphosis (Thom Mayne)
Architect of Record (Dallas): Good, Fulton and Farrell
Structural Engineer: John Martin & Associates and Datum Engineers.
Preliminary Design Engineer: Buro Happold
Status Dec 2010: Under Construction

(above) Images from site visit, July 2011 – photo credit: Taylor Borchert

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Written by Gregory Brooks

September 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm

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MORE ABOUT: Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao, Spain

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More About:
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Location: Abandoibarra Etorbidea, 2
48011 Bilbao, España (Spain)
Built: 1993-October 19, 1997

Architect: Frank Owen Gehry
Cosentini Associates
Structural Engineer: Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP
Contractor: Urssa
Subcontractor: CIFER S.A.
Lighting: BEGA Gantenbrink-Leuchten KG

Total size: 24,000 square meters
Materials: Titanium, Spanish Limestone, and glass

The museum’s titanium scale-like skin and curvaceous form work together to capture the light and reflect it off with fluidity also mimicking the flowing water in the nearby Nervión river.


“Gehry has noted that each random shape and buckle of the exterior is to catch the light, so on any given day, on any given time, you could have a myriad of sparkles, created by sun on man-made materials, that might never be replicated again.” (1)

(Sony Pictures)

“Approximately a third of a millimeter thick, the titanium panels are applied using a traditional locked seam. The material’s thinness, together with it application method, results in a pillow like effect.” (2) It is inspired by the texture and shape of a fish. The inside spaces are not like traditional museum exhibits; they include curvy walls and are an exhibit of their own without overpowering the art on display.

(4) Inside of exhibit.


Gehry has always designed starting by hand through sketches and for the Guggenheim in Bilbao he has moved to a more advanced technology called CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application).
(4) This is the model that was exhibited at the grand opening of the Guggenheim.

Both CATIA and BOCAD (a steel detailing program) were used in the creation of the building. CATIA significantly upgraded the level of complex forms that could be realized by Frank Gehry. This allowed for more freedom in his designs and “simplified construction by providing digital data that could be employed in the manufacturing process, thus controlling costs” (2)
CATIA Modeling Steps:

( and Gehry Partners LLP)

It took Gehry’s firm about “50,000 drawings and 60,000 hours of computing time to produce elements of the building façade. The splines were connected to the frame with a uni-strut adjustable joint. The joint allowed for the tuning of the splines to precisely support the titanium skin.” (3)

(4) The final elevation of the building.

(Sony Pictures)

The building attracted immense crowds and sparked a cultural and economic regeneration in Bilbao, Spain.

(4) Steel beams: The Guggenheim under construction

1. Michael Hutagalung (
2. “Frank Gehry, architect”. Colomina, Beatriz, Friedman, Mildred, Mitchell, William, Ragheb, Fiona and Cohen, Jean-Louis. Harry N. Abrams, 2001.
3. “Digital Gehry Material Resistance Digital Construction”. Lindsey, Bruce. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser, 2001.
4. “Guggenheim Museum Bilbao”. Bruggen, Van. New York, New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications, 1998.

Case Study by: Pilar Guerrero
ARE320K, Fall 2010

Written by Pilar Guerrero

September 15, 2012 at 2:43 am

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More About: Institut Du Monde Arabe – Paris, France

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More About:
Institut Du Monde Arabe
1 Rue de Fosses Saint-Bernard
75005 Paris, France


Built: 1981-1987
Architect: Jean Nouvel
Architectural Team: Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Lezenes, Pierre Soria
Project Manager: JJ Raynaud, Antoinette Robain, Adeline Rispail
Interior Design: Francois Seigneur
Museum Lighting: Licht Design
Museum Structure: Arcora

Map View:

Photo courtesy of Google maps

The Arab World Institute is a multi-function cultural center, including a museum, temporary exhibition spaces, a library, a documentation center, an auditorium, a restaurant, and children’s workshops.

Photo from article by Laura Puliti (

The Arab World Institute was designed in response to a competition for a commission from nineteen Arab states to create an Arabic culture center in Paris. The commission was the beginning of French President Fancois Mitterrand’s new policy on major works (1). The building was designed to display in grand effect the Arabic culture while simultaneously blending in to the Parisian landscape. This called for a synthesis of history and modernity of both cultures (1). The major player in this hybridization is the south facade.

The south facade is a modern interpretation of the traditional Arab screen, the moucharabieh. This lattice was designed to allow air and light in while keeping women hidden from public (2). Below are traditional Moucharabieh designs.

Photo by Marie-Odile

Photo from (name: moucharabieh-dar-si-said-01.jpg)

Photo by Panchaud Marc

In order to capture the themes of geometry and light manipulated by the patterns of the moucharabieh, camera shutters were used to create a miasma of circles and poylgons. The shutters are all linked to a central computer which controls how much light is allowed into the structure by manipulating the shutters, all 25000 of them (2). The pictures below show the attention to detail of the shutters and the control of light they posses.

Photo by Georges Fessy

Photo by Guen-K

Photo by Debbie at Delicious Baby Travel blog

Photo by David F. Gallagher

Photo from

In order to fully integrate the shutters into the modern-arabic design, the mechanisms were inserted between two layers of glass. This paralleled the sophistication of screens set at intervals of wood and marble of traditional Arabic design. It took two years to develop a working prototype (2).

Photo by Quique

The north facade of the building does not have to work with variable lighting conditions as the south face does, and thus has a simpler, cleaner profile. To mirror the modernity of the Parisian landscape and highlight the use of light in the building, a silk-screen was attached to the north facade depicting an “abstract skyline” (2). The reflectivity of the surface mirrors the pride and beauty of the surrounding buildings.

Photo from Pete Sieger

Photo from

The focus of this building, as made apparent from the previous information, was the manipulation and molding of light. The building invokes a sense of transparency with many levels of glass faces for depth, framed and filtered by the structure itself. The staircases and cylindrical book tower are excellent examples of the use of light and structure (1).  The structure’s complexity of steel members and frames adds to the Arabic weave of the environment.

Photo by Tara Bradford

Photo by Allison Meier

Another continuation of the Arabic motif is the spatial play of size and space in form. The halls and rooms expand and constrict in manners similar to the mosques of the east. Also, a hypostyle room reflects the influence of the ancient mosques in a modern fashion. In the middle of the building there is an open courtyard which takes its roots from the central fountains of the middle east. The plan below displays this synthesis of forms.

Photo from Jean Nouvel projects page

 Below the use of structural components (concrete pillars) can be seen in harmony with the design of the space.  The structure is part of the design.

Photo by Laura Puliti

The Arab World Institute used state of the art design and construction in order to capture the spaces and light as Jean Nouvel required. Consultants on concrete structures and glazed facades were brought in to analyze the plans. Intricate construction involving aluminum trim on structural components and custom bolts and frames added to the complexity, and ultimately beauty, of the building. The effect of the finished product was to create a translucent surface that “stretched like skin” across the structure (1).  The goal was to create a work that maximized space as well as form.

Photo from Jean Nouvel projects page

Photo from

Photo from Debbie (

Photo by Scott Norsworthy

Case study by: Garrett Jones
ARE 320K, Fall 2010

Other sources (UT Library):
 (1) Boissière, Olivier, and Jean Nouvel. Jean Nouvel. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1996. Print.

 (2) Bosoni, Giampiero. Jean Nouvel. Geneve: Skira, 1999.

Written by Garrett Jones

September 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

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MORE ABOUT: de Young Museum – San Franscisco, California

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Building: de Young Museum

Location: 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Completion: October 2005

Client: de Young Museum
Primary Designers: Herzog & de Meuron
Principal Architects: Fong & Chan Architects
Landscape Architects: Hood Design

Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Project Architect: Ascan Mergenthaler
Project Manager: Jayne Barlow
Fong & Chan Team:
Project Manager: Nuno Lopes
General Contractor: Swinerton Builders
Project Manager: Mike Strong
Structural Engineers: Rutherford & Chekene
MEP: Ove Arup Group and Partners


The original de Young Museum was founded in 1906 by Michael de Young with the goal of putting San Francisco on the financial map [2]. This museum stood for nearly one hundred year before an earthquake in 1989 and numerous additions eventually made the building unsightly and uninhabitable.

Herzog and de Meuron were commissioned to build a replacement museum, but were a controversial pick because many people thought they were too young, dramatic, or unknown [2]. Although doubted, Herzog and de Meuron created a building that was appreciated for its architectural value, but did not overwhelm the site.

Jacques Herzog understood that the building needed to fit into the landscape, but the design team also wanted a building that was always changing [3]. The copper skin of the de Young is intentionally manipulated with some smooth surfaces and others that are bumpy or perforated to “oxidize with poetic unevenness” [3].


Part of preserving the natural site included keeping pieces from the original building [1]. Historical elements preserved in the new building site include palm trees and the Pool of Enchantment.

The most recognizable part of the building is the tower on the front side [3]. The shape is unique in design as it “rises from a rectangular footprint to a non orthogonal parallelogram.” Thus, the shape of the tower allows the building to further sink into the surrounding landscape as from some angles the tower almost disappears.

On the interior, the building consists of several courtyards that allow visitors to see outside and enjoy the natural surroundings as well as the art [4]. Additionally, Herzog and de Meuron did not want the building to have one main entrance, therefore they gave the museum four entrances [2].


As with any museum, light played an important factor with the desing of individual spaces [4]. Herzog and de Meuron also sought to show no favoritism to specific art rooms. They strived to make each room just as appealing for art as the next, while making each room accessible from the main walkways.

Ultimately, Herzog and de Meuron accomplished their goal of creating an art museum that could display sufficient amounts of art without being overbearing on the site.


deY_diagramAxo(source: diagram)


Herzog and de Meuron, de Young Museum. <>

Nicholson, Louise. “Herzog & De Meuron’s new, copper-clad de Young Museum in San Francisco ingeniously bonds with its setting.” Apollo Dec. 2005: 17+. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 Sept. 2010.

For San Francisco’s de Young Museum, Herzog & de Meuron create a new building with a sensual copperskin that will evolve over time. Architectural record [0003-858X] Amelar yr:2005 vol:193 iss:11 pg:104 -115

Ketcham, Diana. The de Young in the 21st century: a museum by Herzog & de Meuron. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005.

Written by Nick Dassow

September 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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MORE ABOUT: Linked Hybrid – Beijing, China

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Linked Hybrid

Built: 2003-2009
Architect: Steven Holl Architects
Structural Engineer: Guy Nordenson and Associates, China Academy of Building Research
Mechanical Engineer: Transsolar,Beijing Capital Engineering Architecture Design Co. LTD, Cosentini Associates

Linked Hybrid is a multifunctional urban complex consisting of eight towers connected by skybridges in a semi-lattice-like form. The complex is described as an “open city within a city” which includes spaces for residential, commercial, educational and recreational use. The design promotes the use of shared resources while also diminishing the need for unnecessary transit.



The eight towers have concrete exoskeletons that diminish the need for interior columns and allow the residential apartments to vary in size and design. The apartments also contain adjustable panels for reconfiguration.



The skybridges connect to the towers by four roller mounts called isolators which allow for their own independent movement during earthquakes. The bridges all differ in slope and are designed to maximize transparency and allow for optimal light.



Five multistory, steel cantilevers at 33 feet long rest on top of the towers and are supported by a reinforced concrete diagrid in the exoskeleton. Polychrome lights inspired by ancient Chinese temples line the undersides of the cantilevers, skybridges, and the window jambs.



655 Geo-thermal wells each at 100 meters below the base of the structure provide an estimated 70 percent of all cooling and heating needs for the building. The placement of these mechanical systems underground reduces noise pollution, lowers CO2 emissions and opens up roof space for green landscapes.



Linked Hybrid utilizes water recycling techniques that pipe used water from apartments and the greywater pond into ultraviolet filtered tanks and redistributes the water back to the apartments and also waters the surrounding landscapes. 220,000 liters of water are recycled daily and the building is credited with a 41 percent decrease in potable water usage.


Case Study by: Brandon Long
ARE 320K, Fall 2010

Sources (UT Library):

“Steven Holl Architects: Linkwd Hybrid, Beijing 2003-08.” Lotus International Mar. 2010: 64-71.

Pearson, Clifford A. “Connected Living: Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid in Beijing Provides a Vision of Mixed-use Development That Engages the City around It and Operates Sustainably.” Architectural Record Jan. 2010: 48-55.

“Linked Hybrid, Beijing, China.” GA Document Dec. 2009: 40-55

Photo Credits:
[1] Steven Holl Architects (website)
[2] Iwan Baan (website)
[3] Flickr (website)

Written by Brandon Long

September 14, 2012 at 6:02 am

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MORE ABOUT: Cy Twombly Pavilion – Houston, Texas

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Cy Twombly Pavilion, the Menil Collection
1519 Branard St
Houston, TX

Built: 1995
Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners, Haynes Whaley Associates Inc.

The Cy Twombly Pavilion is an adjunct to the Menil Collection and houses a permanent collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Cy Twombly.

The outside of the building is composed of concrete panels which contrast the effect of the floating roof.
Here is a plan of the ground floor and building sections showing the roof support system.

(Source 1)

The most challenging aspect of the building is the roof which must diffuse harsh sunlight to bring in the right amount of light. The roof structure is composed of 4 layers:
-diffusing louvers
-glass envelopes
-adjustable, motorized louvers
-cloth/translucent ceiling
(web article on the “floating roof”)

(source 1)

The last layer, the cloth ceiling conceals the roof details from the inside and also makes it possible to add additional, artificial light through holes in the cloth.

(Read more about the Cy Twombly Gallery)

Case Study by: Kaylyn Fenner
ARE 320K, Fall 2010

Other sources (UT Library):
“Art House.” Architectural Record. May 1995 v.183: 80-83.

“Softly Piano.” Texas Architect. Jul.-Aug. 1995 v.45: 62.

Written by Kaylyn Fenner

September 14, 2012 at 2:56 am

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