February 7, 2008
by Canadian Architect
Ecology.Design.Synergy is an exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center that presents recent collaborative work by Behnisch Architekten, the distinguished Stuttgart-based architectural firm, and Transsolar ClimateEngineering, the Stuttgart-based environmental engineering company.
Running from February 23 to May 25, 2008, Ecology.Design.Synergy documents 10 innovative, aesthetically refined, energy-efficient, and sustainable building projects in Europe and the United States including RiverParc, a green, mixed-use, residential and arts neighbourhood in downtown Pittsburgh, developed by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Concord Eastridge of Washington DC.
Behnisch Architekten and Transsolar ClimateEngineering share the belief that quality is not a quantitative measure and their collaborative design approach to projects utilizes natural resources to highlight their value. Ecology.Design.Synergy is organized around six key topicstemperature, air, sound, light, material, and human scale. Each topic is explored through two recent or current projects and includes working methods, the results of previous collaborations, and prospects for the future on the subject matter. Examples include a natural light collection system in Genzyme Corporate Headquarters, Boston, Massachusetts, that uses heliostats and mirrors mounted on the roof to redirect sunlight into the building’s atrium. A “double faade” of glass on Hannover, Germany’s Norddeutsche Landesbank protects against noise as well as vehicle emissions, offers wind protection, and serves as an air supply duct to adjacent offices. The 120-foot-high flower-like structures in the Senscity Paradise project provide both shade and cool air to the park beneath them by pumping water through the hollows in the structures’ leaf forms, creating an evaporative cooling effect.
The work of Behnisch Architeken and Transsolar is noteworthy for its ability to connect infrastructure and technology to human scale. A human silhouette, the installation’s graphic identity, guides visitors through the exhibition.
“It’s an opportune time to exhibit this collaborative work in Pittsburgh”, says Raymund Ryan, Carnegie Museum of Art curator of architecture and organizer of the Pittsburgh installation, “both because of potential for Pittsburgh of the RiverParc proposal and because Behnisch and Transsolar are at the forefront, internationally, of excellence in sustainable environmental design.”
Ecology.Design.Synergy is curated by Frank Ockert, Stuttgart, in cooperation with IFA, German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, and represented by the Goethe Institute and Galerie Aedes, Berlin. The exhibition was inaugurated in Berlin in November 2006 and scheduled to tour across America.
Specific to Pittsburgh, the show highlights the RiverParc proposal for more than 700 residential units between 7th and 9th Streets, and between Penn Avenue and Fort Duquesne Boulevard, that offers varied forms of urban living and mixed uses of retail, restaurants, leisure and hotel facilities. Winner of an international design competition in 2006, the RiverParc project locates public spaces and recreational areas on the southern, sunny sides of residential streets and provides a wide range of opportunities for people to linger, meet, and interact. In accordance with Behnisch and Transsolar’s collaborative ethic, the plans are not only environmentally responsible but aim to produce a new architectural aesthetic and aid in Pittsburgh’s desire to be a leader in the development of “green architecture.”
Behnisch Architekten and Transsolar Climate Engineering have been successful for many years in their efforts to design sustainable and responsible architecture. Current common projects in the US include Harvard’s Allsont Science Complex in Cambridge, Sencity Paradise Universe in Las Vegas, Mill Street Lofts in Los Angeles, and the Arizona State University Gateway Project in Tempe. Ecology.Design.Synergy should be noted for its efforts to take a more conceptual approach to these ecological goals. With this exhibition, the firms hope to investigate solutions to environmental issues and prevent new problems from arising, through a rewarding and challenging fashion.
For more information, please visit www.cmoa.org.