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Thread: Richard Meier - Modernist in White Armour

  1. #31

    Default Richard Meier's Weishaupt Forum - Context, circa 1992 ...

    By way of sampling the context for Richard Meier's Weishaupt Forum, we draw upon an article published in the same year this project was completed - 1992. Subsequent posts will directly view the details.

    Europe's Love Affair With an American Architect

    By David Galloway
    Published: SATURDAY, JULY 18, 1992

    SCHWENDI, Germany: If this small town in a remote corner of southern Germany seems an improbable location for the work of a renowned international architect, 57-year-old Richard Meier nonetheless takes particular pride in the building recently completed here. The first of three projects to be completed in three European countries within a single month, Schwendi is a kind of chamber music, while Paris now boasts the most elaborate orchestration to date of the American architect's familiar themes.

    On the left bank of the Seine just west of the Pont Mirabeau, the new headquarters of Canal+ rises like a stately ocean liner afloat on waves of light.A deceptively massive complex including administrative offices and television production facilities, it nonetheless projects the translucent aura, the reductionist formal poetry, that distinguishes the work of Meier. Viewed in a political context, the building is the latest monument to President François Mitterrand's vision of an architectural renaissance for the city of Paris.

    It is also a belated consolation prize for Meier, whose spectacular plan for a new Renault headquarters was aborted a decade ago for financial reasons. Insiders suspect that the winning design for the controversial Bastille Opéra was selected because some jurors presumed the proposed white-on-white ensemble was Meier's entry. In fact, he was not among the competitors.

    Such a faux pas has one conspicuous advantage, for it increased sensitivity in France to the American's achievements.So, too, did the opening of Frankfurt's spectacular Museum of Decorative Arts in 1986, which marked the beginning of a phenomenal European career. The recent dedication ofthe Canal+ buildingset new standards of urbanity for Meier, who is now at work on similarly ambitious projects throughout Western Europe. Bank buildings are rising in Luxembourg and Basel, a contemporary arts museum in Barcelona, a city hall in The Hague, and an exhibition center in Ulm. Construction will soon begin on a new corporate headquarters for Siemens in Munich.

    Of Meier's jet-setting contemporaries, only I. M. Pei approaches this international presence. Yet the publicity accorded Meier's design for the $360 million Getty Center at Malibu, often hyped as "the commission of the century," has tended to obscure this European profile. More than a dozen projects in seven countries are now in various stages of construction. They include a proposal for the Daimler Benzheadquarters on Berlin's desolate Potsdamer Platz - the most sensitive site in the reborn capital. Other than the Getty spectacular, Meier's countrymen have not followed suit; there are no significant American commissions and no examples of his work in his hometown of New York.

    Such oversights may in part result from the assumption that wrestling with the California colossus leaves no time for more modest or conventional assignments. The fallacy is nowhere so emphatically refuted as in the tiny Swabian town of Schwendi, south of Ulm, Germany, where Meier has now completed one of his most improbable assignments.The Weishaupt Forum is a multipurpose ensemble:a training center, workers' cafeteria and showroom for Europe's largest manufacturer of furnaces.In addition to setting a corporate signal, the owner Siegfried Weishaupt sought additional space for one of Germany's finest private collections of contemporary art.In this masterfully orchestrated building, a computer-controlled furnace takes on oddly sculptural qualities that seem perfectly at home with an exuberant relief by Frank Stella.

    The Weishaupt Forum plainly numbers among Meier's most subtly refined achievements.The museum-like building ... open to the public for several months of the year, is a tone poem of light and shadow, of graceful curves and suave geometries that seem as much in harmony with the surrounding countryside as with the nearby factory complex.

    If the Weishaupt Forum conveys Baroque overtones, the office building designed for the Royal Dutch Paper Mills in Hilversum, the Netherlands, accommodates itself to the Dutch international style - the so-called Nieuwe Bouwen - which shaped this planned community in the 1920s and 1930s.The architect prides himself on having created a pre-eminently Dutch building there, while he sees Canal+ as carrying on the spirit of the visionary city-planner Georges Eugène Haussmann, who modernized Paris in the 19th century.

    Having achieved this urbane variation on local tradition is only part of Meier's pleasure in this ambitious project. With Canal+ he hopes to lend new life to a dreary corner of the 15th arrondissement which he describes as "a worse than uninteresting part of Paris, but one about to develop in all sorts of interesting ways."

    Conceiving a major building for a dense city center with its own complex architectural heritage was a test confronted first in The Hague and then in Ulm.The latter assignment, which compelled a dialogue with the city's 14th-century cathedral, redefined the center of the old town.Such challenges have resulted in a fine-tuning of the modernist idiom that Meier first learned from Le Corbusier.Indeed, the American's waxing reputation outside his own country results in part from his own subtle reinterpretation of the smooth white geometries of that European purist as it was expressed in the 1920s.

    For many city fathers, a building by Meier has become the symbol of an innovative, urban spirit. Hence the mayor of Barcelona inquired, simply, what Meier would best like to build there, and the guest promptly replied, "A museum."

    Though construction has been halted in deference to the Olympic Games, Barcelona's Museum of Contemporary Art is expected to open in 1994. Located in the derelict area of the Casa de la Caritat, it is also expected to renew one of the city's oldest, most labyrinthine neighborhoods.

    Like Canal+ in Paris or the buildings nearing completion in Ulm and the Hague, it is far more than an isolated monument of the sort so often propagated in the name of postmodernism.It is an organic structure that subtly interacts with its surroundings and is certain to have a profound effect on them.

    Like one of Henry James's artful travelers, Meier has gained a heightened sensitivity and sophistication during his European rambles, yet has succeeded in preserving the no-frills pragmatism that foreigners still identify as a New World virtue.

    David Galloway is an art critic and free-lance curator based in Wuppertal, Germany.

    Copyright © 2008 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved

    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:57 AM.

  2. #32

    Default Richard Meier's Weishaupt Forum - Weishaupt the man; Exteriors to Forum

    Max Weishaupt was the man behind the commission, and this is truly a story in itself if you are interested in pioneers of German industry. He is portrayed outside the country as close to a non-descript industrialist as one could imagine. Mr. Weishaupt made money in tools, boilers and burners, not the stuff of imagination on the surface. And in such a little town in southern Germany, that people there were not always aware of what went on. The presumption is that he decided to go for the gold in selecting a big time, world class, American Architect to put him on the map.

    Actually, Max Weishaupt was an industrialist of note that early on in his career, married technical products with sleek design. You might say, and he does, that form follows function in his work - but that is a bit of flourish that only the brainwashed would find humorous.

    Mr. Weishaupt's "W burner" designed in 1963, was such an example of design and function that it was displayed quite prominently at the Museum of Applied Arts in Munich. And as one account further noted, he preached constantly the idea of placing in close proximity, designers with techical knowhow alongside the technicians that engineer product, in order to create industrial products that were both beautiful and utilitarian.

    Richard Meier was a logical choice for him to create a structure that would house these type of people, in the proper way, and also provide a place to display this work, as well as his collection of artwork.

    Richard Meier's
    Max Weishaupt Forum
    Schwendi, Deutschland


    Courtesy You Are Here

    left and centre - Courtesy arquetectura; right - Courtesy app

    left - Courtesy You Are Here; right - Courtesy app


    left - Courtesy You Are Here; right - Courtesy

    Courtesy app

    A commission from an enlightened industrialist to complete his factory's social and cultural agenda resulted in a harmonious building through what the architect has termed, "reciprocol transparencies," reflecting its regard upon itself and to its immediate natural surroundings. This fuel engineering manufacturer, whose facilities are located on the outskirts of a village in Upper Swabia, requested a program of training center, dining facilities, meeting rooms and exhibit space for his impressive 20th century art collection, combined with his company's award-winning industrial designs, which he wished to make available to the public.

    The building creates a signature point of entry to the complex, and is bordered by the front of the existing factory to the west, with a stream and hedge on its oblique, east side. A two-storey covered passage acts as a spine for the "campus" and for the new building. Clad in white, heat-insulated, aluminum panels with frequent transparency and multiple points of access, the two-part forum gracefully enfolds a pristine carpet of green lawn at its center, views to which trainees, museum visitors and cafeteria diners are drawn.

    An extraordinary degree of attention to detail results in the perfect alignment of design intention, proportion and materials. Beyond highest standards of quality in design and construction, this new addition to a factory complex enhances its occupants' experience of architecture: it reveals time, encourages social interaction, facilitates learning and presents fine art in most liberating conditions.

    Richard Meier & Partners, Architects LLP

    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:44 AM.

  3. #33

    Default Richard Meier's Weishaupt Forum - Interior Glimpses

    Interior Glimpses
    of Forum



  4. #34


    Fascinating reading. Thanks a lot.

  5. #35


    I appreciate your response BenL, and there is more to come.

  6. #36

    Default Richard Meier's Siemens Forum - Siemens' Introduction


    The history of the SiemensForum on Oskar-von-Miller Ring in Munich goes back to 1983, when the New York architect Richard Meier won the competition for a new office building. Richard Meier’s design was original, clear and technologically brilliant, while at the same time fitting in with the existing buildings and making optimal use of the available site. The building thus extends from the Oskar-von-Miller Ring round two inner courtyards as far as the Jägerstrasse where it joins onto the company’s headquarters at Wittelsbacherplatz.

    The project was however postponed, and concrete planning did not commence until 1991. Building started in February 1997 and the first offices were already in use by June 1999. Finally, on September 29, 1999, the new SiemensForum was opened. This not only closed one of the last gaps in the city center remaining from the war, but also added a further attraction to Munich’s cultural mile.

    The aims of the design

    Careful and respectful integration with its existing neighbors and the creation of an independent, self-assured building of the 20th century were two main objectives of the design. Its framework of rectangular blocks is typical of the Max Vorstadt district and thus fits in with the overall urban concept. This was an important criteria for the design.

    A further main objective was that the site and the building should serve as a bridge connecting the inner-city with the Max Vorstadt, and form the central point of the east-west axis of the “museum mile” and the north-south axis through to Schwabing and the Academy of Fine Arts. The building’s urban focus is the point where the diagonally angled wing along Oskar-von-Miller ring joins the western building sections, which are arranged in an orthagonal block. This point is marked by a cylindrical structure that calls attention to the complex from the curve of the inner-city ring. It houses the main entrance, the foyer, the auditorium, sections of the permanent exhibition and the cafeteria.


    The building is organized to serve both of its functions – offices and space for the SiemensForum – equally well. Its nine floors, six of which are above ground, occupy a total area of 43,000 square meters. The new building has an office section with around 600 workplaces. In the section open to the public are the SiemensForum with exhibition space and conference rooms and a cafeteria.

    Construction and design

    All of the building’s facades are distinguished by the diaphanous structure of the metal and glass curtain wall, designed to give a variety of views from outside looking in and from inside looking out. White enameled aluminum panels alternate with full-height windows to give the building a bright, clearly ordered and fully transparent expression. The facade surfaces are divided into two layers: the ground floor, top floor and building corners are recessed from the four-floor glass facade. Bay windows, balconies, wall slits and brise soleils indicate to the outside the building’s various functions and at the same time generate varied qualities of space, light and views from inside. The striking, six-story cylindrical section is embraced by a five-story outer shield. Large “window” openings in the outer wall expose the radial layering and vertical structuring of cylinder and shield and afford a view of visitors moving from level to level on the spiraling ramps.

    The reinforced concrete skeleton structure has load-bearing columns based on a 7.20 x 7.20 x 4.8-meter grid. All interior walls are non-load-bearing. The facade structure is based on a 1.20-meter grid. Gray-white granite floors and graphite-gray carpeting form a contrast with the radiant white walls. All metal fixtures are done in brushed stainless steel.

    © Siemens AG 2008

    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:46 AM.

  7. #37


    Ill throw my appreciation in the ring also! Great reading.

  8. #38

  9. #39

    Default Richard Meier's Siemens Forum - Location, Plan Overview, Aerial of Actual

    Richard Meier's
    1983 - 1999
    München, Deutschland

    Location of Forum in Munich

    Nokia Siemens Networks

    Drafts of Plan

    Courtesy Siemens

    Aerial View of
    Completed Forum Complex

    Courtesy Siemens

  10. #40

    Default Richard Meier's Siemens Forum - Sampling of Exteriors and Interiors

    Richard Meier's
    1983 - 1999
    München, Deutschland

    Exterior Views of
    Outer and Inner Walls

    Courtesy flickr / danieltravelsss20072008

    Courtesy Wikipedia

    left - Courtesy flickr / sabine_butterblume; right - Courtesy flickr / reinholdbehringer

    Courtesy flickr / reinholdbehringer

    Day vs Night for
    Same Photographic View

    Courtesy flickr / sabine_butterblume

    Interior Views of
    Upper Foors
    Near Grand Entrance Curvature

    Courtesy flickr / reinholdbehringer

  11. #41
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Excellent work putting this together Zephyr, thank you and much appreciated.

    Richard Meier is easily my favourite living architect. I just love all the white, and the shapes of his buildings.

  12. #42


    Very nice thread!! I appreciate both the multiple shots of one building and the presence of several buildings, to give a better idea of his opus.

    I think his use of 'clean' white surfaces highlights as well as any example the importance of color in hyper-minimalist and Bauhaus-style buildings. Thee is something humane about Meier's work, despite the stylistic rigor.

  13. #43


    Thank you all.

    There is a method to the madness here, but I think it becomes increasingly obvious with each post where we are going, without saying a single word about any grand plan.

    The biggest difficulty is getting the images off the Internet and onto this site. But we shall press on.

  14. #44

    Default Part One - The M. Palladino Effect on Meier & Partners - San Jose City Hall Overview

    Part One

    "The Michael Palladino Effect"
    on Richard Meier & Partners

    San Jose City Hall Overview

    The following complex will confuse Richard Meier fans, it looks as though it is a total departure. And since I have seen it up close, I too am confused by what I see.

    When I first arrived in California to attend school in nearby Palo Alto, San Jose was the proverbial "sleepy hamlet" of the area. (That is really by California standard, since it had close to 250,000.) Never known for Architecture of any kind, it was the butt of many jokes about aimless growth and lack of identity. In that time, San Jose was the equivalent in the north, to San Fernando Valley in the south.

    As the article below indicates, it is now the third largest city in the largest state, overtaking any competition it had in northern California, including San Francisco. That would be astonishing to anyone living there in the 1970s, because San Francisco was the largest city, and no one took San Jose seriously, save San Jose residents themselves.

    San Jose has since added many new buildings and is dotted with the works of several known Architects. This effort, of course, is associated with Richard Meier, but one must also add that Michael Palladino is critical in assessing its look.

    What I am calling “The Michael Palladino Effect” will be seen in this complex as well as subsequent posts for a building in Philadelphia. Note the familiar and unfamiliar design decisions on colour, surface, etc.

    San Jose's Richard Meier-designed city hall:
    To Leed, or Not to Leed

    That was the question before the San Jose city council: whether 'twas nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of certifying its Richard Meier-designed city hall, or to avoid a sea of troubles and simply build it 'green.' Ay, there's the rub.

    Jeff Yoders, Associate Editor
    Story and Photos
    November 1, 2005

    San Jose, California's third-largest city (after Los Angeles and San Diego), enjoys a robust population of almost one million and the idyllic climate of Northern California—300 sunny days a year on average, with a mean temperature of 70 degrees in July and 50 in January. It's also home to the largest concentration of high-tech expertise in the world, with 6,600 tech companies employing more than 254,000 people within city limits.

    Both of these factors—climate and high-tech—played a role in the design of the city's newest civic building, the $345.6 million San Jose City Hall complex, designed by Richard Meier & Partners to take full advantage of wind, sun, and the latest thinking in sustainable design and energy-efficient technology.

    Given San Jose's position as the capital of Silicon Valley and its documented sensitivity to protecting the environment—as early as the 1980s, the city developed award-winning recycling, water conservation, and wastewater treatment programs, well ahead of most U.S. cities—there was pressure on the Building Team to create a city hall worthy of its place in the pantheon of America's new generation of green buildings.

    Yet, despite the structure's striking design and the architect's sensitivity and response to local climatic conditions, San Jose chose not to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its most prominent civic institution. All this, despite the city council's own policy, adopted in 2001, requiring all municipal buildings larger than 10,000 sf to meet a standard of LEED Certified.

    Why did San Jose's municipal leaders turn their backs on LEED? And what does their action say about the viability of the LEED program as it moves into its sixth year? Before we get to those issues, let's look at what the Building Team—the Los Angeles office of Richard Meier & Partners; structural engineer Englekirk & Sabol, Los Angeles; MEP engineer Arup, Los Angeles office; and the contractor Turner Devcon—achieved.

    The centerpiece of the complex is an 18-story, 530,000-sf "ultra-thin" office tower—only 68 feet in width by 255 feet in length. A nine-story rotunda, a wing for city council chambers and restaurants, and a planned parking structure round out the complex. But it is the super-slender structure that sets the environmental agenda for the complex.

    Slender and light

    The design team—which included Richard Meier himself; Michael Palladino, the project's lead design architect and a principal in the firm's Los Angeles office; Meier principal James R. Crawford; Meier project manager Tim Shea; and Rob Steinberg of associate architect Steinberg Architects, San Jose—achieved the desired thinness for the office tower by moving the elevator core from the center to the west side of the building to allow for an elongated rectangular floor plate. Traditional squarish-plate office buildings usually have a central core that creates a symmetrical building with open space on either side of the core. That space reduces the penetration of daylight.

    By moving six elevators outside the floor plate and connecting them to the tower's west side, the design team was able to use the uninterrupted, long, thin floor plate and put high-performance exterior glazing on the two long sides. Coupled with 9.6- to 11.5-foot ceilings, the windows bring daylight into virtually every room of the building.

    The new San Jose City Hall is shielded from the sun
    by an adjustable brise soleil (left) that allows radiant heat
    in during the colder winter months and
    keeps the heat out in the summer.

    "We took daylighting to an extreme here, using it in as many places as possible," said Palladino. "By making an ultra-thin building we're able to bring more daylight into more space than the typical floor plate. It had to suggest where San Jose is—at the leading edge of developing technology."

    The daylighting strategy uses high ceilings and the narrow floor plate to allow natural lighting and cross-ventilation. Exterior and interior shading devices can be adjusted to block radiant heat in the summer and allow it in to heat the building in winter. High-efficiency motors and other energy-efficient mechanical systems are utilized throughout the complex to minimize operating demand. A programmable building automation system allows systems and equipment to respond to the employees' building use patterns. A dozen 20-foot-tall poles spray a fine mist across the courtyard and into the rotunda to cool it.

    The tower's operable windows also have long, narrow ventilators that can be opened to cool offices naturally. The air-conditioning system automatically shuts off in any area with open ventilators. A brise soleil shields the building's west side from overheating from direct sun on glass windows in the summer and lets the building use radiant heat in the winter.

    "The screen is connected by dowels placed with louvers attached to the curtain wall," said Crawford, of Richard Meier & Partners. "It lets in low-angle sun in the winter to take advantage of the lower sun and its radiant load."

    Most floors are nearly identical to the others, a seemingly static design that, in a counterintuitive way, actually provides flexibility. The similarity allowed for easy movement of offices and the "churn" (turnover) of employees' work spaces.

    Bracing for impact

    Making the tower so thin and tall in a seismic zone required sophisticated structural work by Englekirk & Sabol Structural Engineering, Los Angeles. The dual-bracing system uses a steel moment frame with concrete shear walls that extend from the foundation to the roof and book-end the structure on the north and south ends. The steel moment frame—steel beams that resist horizontal movement where a solid shear wall cannot be located—stabilizes the area between the bookends. "You couldn't build a building this thin without using this combination," said Palladino.

    Thomas Sabol, of Englekirk & Sabol, explained that the shear walls are connected to the building through a series of coupling beams that unite them with the steel frame and the rest of the building. The precise placement of these beams creates the stability needed for such a narrow building.

    With Meier's ultra-thin, ultra-tech design, plus the complex's many other sustainable features (see sidebar below), the Building Team is quite confident that San Jose City Hall could have earned 33 points and Silver status under LEED for New Construction. "In many areas, we went far beyond LEED's requirement for making a green building," said Palladino. "Naturally ventilating a high-rise building is not in their criteria. We thought we should use outdoor air temperature to create a comfortable environment because it makes sense for the climate the building is in."

    Why, then, did the city council ignore its own policy, adopted in 2001, requiring all city buildings of more than 10,000 sf to be LEED Certified?

    Timing was one factor. The project was already in the design pipeline when the green building policy was approved. Even so, many civic leaders and Building Team members still thought the city should have honored its new policy.

    Money obstacles also intruded on the politics of the situation. Former mayor Al Ruffo took the city to court to stop the complex from being constructed, arguing that the city broke the law by using redevelopment agency money for the project. (The suit was dropped when the city repaid the redevelopment agency $50 million for the land.)

    In 2002, a historic preservation group sued to stop construction of the parking garage to save the 1894 Fox-Markovits building, designed by Louis Lenzen, that stood on the site and would require demolition. The court dismissed the lawsuit but the delay caused the parking structure to be rebid, costing the city $2.5 million and moving the completion date back a year. The Fox-Markovits building was demolished and the parking garage is now expected to be completed by next May.

    Controversies over cost overruns have increased the price of the complex since it began construction in 2002, earning it the nickname "Taj Gonzal," after Mayor Ron Gonzales.

    David Vossbrink, Gonzales's spokesman, has acknowledged that increasing costs contributed to the decision to exempt the project from the LEED policy. Deputy city manager Terry Roberts said that contractual issues also intervened. "While our commitment was to do everything to make it sustainable, we decided for various reasons not to go for LEED certification," he said. "Since we started this project before the policy was passed, the contractor obligations that would have to happen under LEED didn't get included."

    The rotunda (in front of the office building)
    was designed to be the … public meeting place
    of the complex.

    Although there is no USGBC plaque on the wall of city hall, Roberts maintains that the project is just as good as LEED Silver: "Essentially, we think we have the same result."

    But the USGBC holds that without third-party verification, no building can truly be considered sustainable, no matter how obvious its environmental features may be. "If you don't certify the building, how do you know?'' said the USGBC's Taryn Holowka. "Some of the features of the building may be obvious, but to truly reap the benefits of green building, you need to have third-party verification."

    Roberts said that the complex documentation process required by LEED, more than the cost, was the main factor in not applying for certification.

    Speaking for the U.S. Green Building Council, Holowka said that the lengthy documentation required by LEED is a common complaint that the nonprofit membership organization is trying to address. The first major changes to the LEED process in five years will be unveiled this month at Greenbuild in Atlanta. Holowka said these changes include online application instead of the current written-only applications, instruments of service that align LEED more closely with documents that are necessary for building code applications, and an online workspace wizard to guide users through the process.

    Some officials within San Jose city government feel that applying for LEED certification would have been worth the USGBC fee (usually $7,500 for buildings larger than 300,000 sf, not including the cost associated with gathering the documentation or hiring consultants to do so), considering the building was designed to be sustainable with or without LEED.

    "Those of us who believe in this felt we should push the envelope instead of just giving lip service to it, because I think we're going to pay for it in the end," said city council member Linda J. LeZotte. "It's just silly to do all this and not have it certified."

    "They didn't go for LEED Silver, but the city was diligent in measuring against a LEED Silver program," said Arup MEP engineer McKinlay. "With the energy savings and water conservation achieved, we believe the project could easily qualify for LEED Silver."

    The city has decided to have a third-party commissioning agent investigate and determine if, and at what level, the building would be LEED-certified. Deputy city manager Roberts said the city is hoping to pick the commissioning agent soon and know the building's LEED points by the end of the year.

    Only when the city receives its commissioning report from the independent third party will any decision about future certification for the San Jose City Hall be made. "We want to be convinced of where we are with respect to LEED," said Roberts. "We want to know, for our own information, how green we are." BDC


    The rotunda is cooled on hot days by a system that blows water in through 20-foot “misting” vanes in the City Hall plaza and lets hot air out at the oculus. The rotunda also uses a radiant cooling/heating floor system.

    Illustration: Richard Meier & PartnersRock and roll under the glass dome

    The 110-foot-high glass-domed rotunda for the San Jose city hall complex presented its own special challenges. With 1,032 pieces of Viracon clear-insulated architectural glass (with low-e coating) held together by cables and stainless steel compression members, the trick for securing the rotunda was to allow more movement, not less, so that it could sway in an earthquake.

    Each pane of glass is supported by a silicon-glazed "spider" joint. The joints are closer at the bottom of the rotunda and farther apart at the top of the dome. Cables and compression members connect the suspended glass to the concrete-filled steel ribs of the structure. The open rotunda has only stairs and partial floors, so the 10-story height of the building needed to support only the glass walls. By allowing only lateral drift, the spider-joint/cable system prevents the glass panes from colliding.

    "The cable and joint system and a section of the dome were tested in a lab, and it performed up to earthquake standards," said James R. Crawford, a principal with Richard Meier & Partners. "We also did peer review on the rotunda."

    As the most open and inviting structure of the complex, the rotunda will be used for exhibits, dinners, and other city events. "It makes a statement that this is a civic place," said Michael Palladino, also of the Meier firm.

    A misting system cools the dome in the summer. Dozens of 20-foot-tall poles spray a fine mist into the rotunda with help from prevailing breezes. Sliding doors on either side of the main entrance let breezes in. The raised oculus at the top of the dome allows warm air to escape the building.

    © 2008 Reed Business Information

    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:54 AM.

  15. #45

    Default Part One - The M. Palladino Effect on Meier & Partners - San Jose City Hall Exteriors

    San Jose City Hall Exteriors

    These photos mask the custom shaped glass on the dome, somewhat, and do not indicate how muted and rough the concrete finish is in person.

    One observer likened the dome to an upside down colander, another saw the entire separate structure as an homage to R2D2. This may all appear to be “making fun” of the building, but in reality it is quite the opposite. Meier fans, however, are a bit more reserved in their reactions, based on what I have read. Nevertheless, the complex is innovative on a number of levels, and this has in turn led to its popularity among several other groups.

    In 2005, it won California Construction’s “Best of California” Award.

    Richard Meier & Partners’
    San Jose City Hall
    San Jose, Coalifornia USA

    Rotunda and Tower

    Courtesy flickr / ken mccown

    Courtesy Le Blog Exuberance

    Aerial of Rotunda Alone

    Courtesy flickr / ken mccown

    Left - Tower Detail; Right - Rotunda Detail

    Courtesy flickr / DPTRONZ

    Rotunda at Night

    Courtesy flickr Super G

    Last edited by Zephyr; December 25th, 2008 at 07:53 AM.

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