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We Po-st. Coined by the scholar Edward de Bono, the word “po” is a way to signal during a brainstorming session that what is to follow is not nonsense but rather a provocative operation.
July 10, 2015

Sacred Heart earns a Silver “Brick in Architecture” Award


The Brick Industry Association has recognized our design of Convent of the Sacred Heart Athletics & Wellness Center with a Silver Award in this year’s Brick in Architecture awards program, which celebrates architectural projects featuring brick as the predominant exterior building or paving material.

The nature of this project’s program necessitated the building’s uniquely large volumes and limited glazing, in comparison to adjacent structures. As a result, materiality and massing became critical elements for mediating scale in relation to the block. Neighborhood-appropriate building materials (such as brick) and attention to cornice lines (resulting in the building’s top floor being recessed physically and visually from the street edge) helped ensure that the building would be a good neighbor on its Upper East Side block. Learn more about the project here.

Congratulations to the full Sacred Heart team, and to the other winners of the 2015 Brick in Architecture awards!

May 8, 2015

Arbor Hills featured in Metal Architecture’s May issue


In an article entitled “Steel screens clad retail complex,” Metal Architecture’s May issue features the Arbor Hills Retail Center located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The 94,000 square foot retail center provides a mix of shops, locally-owned restaurants, and offices in a progressively-designed, pedestrian-focused setting. Opened in August 2013, the center is envisioned as a holistic complex with distinctive “precincts” designed at the scale of the shopper, a departure from the expected formula for retail architecture.

The project’s material palette comprises steel, textured brick, wood, and glass, which were selected to convey a sense of craft and details. Key architectural elements include screens, arcades, and discrete storefronts, which together create a dynamic environment that transforms from day to night, from richly detailed surfaces to dramatically backlit scrims. Inspired by Albert Kahn-designed Ford factories, the screens and their steel support structures recall the idea of a colonnade, accentuated by simple masonry volumes just beyond.

Learn more about the project here.

February 25, 2015

A sneak peek at 529 Broadway’s terra cotta contour panels


The currently under construction 529 Broadway is a highly anticipated building, in large part because of the design’s site-specific approach to material and form. Using state-of-the-art modeling software, the design team conceived a facade system that transforms a seemingly punched opening masonry building into a glass curtain wall building. More specifically, the terra cotta elements on the Spring Street elevation will twist and dematerialize so that the facade culminates in a loft-like expression on Broadway, reflecting the openness ratio of later cast iron buildings in the district.

This boundary-pushing project is the result of a close collaboration between BKSK, digital modeling specialist Parabox, facade engineering consultant Front Inc, and several terra cotta manufacturers. Learn more about our design for 529 Broadway here.

February 3, 2015

Sacred Heart featured in Metal Architecture’s latest issue


Metal Architecture’s February issue features the Convent of the Sacred Heart’s recently completed Athletics and Wellness Center, in an article entitled “Steel joins school gym design.”

The exterior of the Athletics and Wellness Center presents a dynamic combination of brick recesses, projections, corbeling, and wall thickness, which are complemented by painted steel accents that enhance the center’s neighborhood-appropriate scale. The building’s steel entry canopy and 10-foot-tall balanced doors are also highlighted in the article.

Inside, the project includes an extensive program, with both a competition-sized swimming pool and an NCAA regulation-sized volleyball and basketball court. A striking truss system was one of many design approaches devised to ensure that both facilities could be included and fully structurally supported. Uniquely, these trusses comprise 93% recycled content; the top and bottom chords are T-shaped members, created by cutting standard W sections lengthwise.

Learn more about the project here.

August 27, 2014

Constructing in Senegal: a Photo Tour


A view of Dakar, where our local partners DMT Architects are based.

After their most recent visit to Senegal – where we are building a new community learning center in collaboration with village leaders, local craftsmen, and a group of enthusiastic students from Mamaroneck, NY – our Lambaye Learning Center team came home with some amazing stories and photos. One particularly inspiring takeaway was that construction processes in Senegal are highly visible to the public. After the jump, we share some photos illustrating this unique transparency, including a look at local building methods. Read more

June 26, 2014

New architecture inspired by a historic building material

The entrance building to the One Madison Park tower.

The entrance building to the One Madison Park tower, on 22nd Street.

New York has a rich architectural terra cotta heritage. This ceramic can be found on a plethora of historic buildings throughout the city, ranging from the iconic like Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building and Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building to smaller-scale Queen Anne-style rowhouses in Park Slope and vibrantly glazed commercial structures along Coney Island Avenue. Of late, terra cotta has been experiencing a rebirth in contemporary architecture, including that of BKSK, thanks to the material’s inherent properties—specifically its malleability, infinite glazing options, environmental performance, and low toxicity.  Read more