Chengdu Greenland:
A Non-Coplanar Exoskeleton

RSVP Tue, Apr 20, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Dennis C.K. Poon, PE, Vice Chairman, Thornton Tomasetti

Dennis’s talk will focus on the innovative structural system of the Chengdu Greenland Tower. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), the 468-meter tower has a distinctive façade treatment of faceted glass meant to symbolize the nearby snowy mountains. The slender shaft employs a concrete core with sloping walls, surrounded by 16 columns that zig-zag along the full height of the tower, creating diamond shapes that reflect different lights and produce contrasting planes of light and shadow.

Weaving Structure into Architecture:
Design & Construction Challenges in Lakhta Center, St. Petersburg

RSVP Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Ahmad Abdelrazaq, Executive Vice President, Samsung C&T Corp

Design for constructability and delivery of high performance of supertalls has been a prime concern of Ahmad Abdelrazaq. Having begun his career in the Chicago office of SOM in 1987, where his project portfolio included the Jin Mao Tower and the Hotel De Artes in Barcelona, Ahmad joined Samsung in 2004 and went to work as the Chief Technical Director of the Burj Dubai Project, collaborating with the architects and engineers at SOM on the evolving design for the world’s tallest building, later renamed Burj Khalifa. For that project he developed an award-winning real-time structural health monitoring program, embedding more than 2,000 instruments and survey programs to correlate and verify design assumptions with actual tower behavior.

Based in Seoul, Abdelrazaq is Senior Executive Vice President at Samsung C & T Corporation where he heads the Highrise Building and Structural Engineering Divisions.

The Primacy of Petronas Towers:
Supertalls Go Global

RSVP Tue, May 4, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Fred Clarke,FAIA, RIBA, JIA

Senior Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli

In 1998 the twin Petronas Towers in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur took the title of “world’s tallest building” away from the United States for the first time. The towers’ developers, private investors working with the Malaysian government and Petronas, the national oil company, sought to create a headquarters and a landmark that would establish KL’s prominence as a commercial and cultural capital. In the design of American architects Cesar Pelli and Fred Clarke, they found a winning scheme, paired towers of slender proportions and scalloped spires that suggest both Islamic geometries and temple forms.

Like the towers that would proliferate in Asia and the Middle East in the next decade, Petronas was constructed of high-strength concrete, supported by massive core and an outer ring of widely-spaced super columns. In both structural engineering and iconic imagery, Petronas pointed the way to the supertalls of the 21st-century.

Fred Clarke co-founded his firm, now known as Pelli Clarke Pelli, in 1977 in New Haven with the late Cesar Pelli while Cesar was Dean of the Architecture School at Yale University. As Senior Design Principal, Fred has directed all the projects in the New Haven and Asian studios. A career-long teacher and writer, Fred has been a faculty member of Yale University, Rice University, and the University of California at Los Angeles.


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Book cover of "Building Brands: Corporations and Modern Architecture" by Grace Ong Yan

Building Brands:
Corporations and Modern Architecture

RSVP Tue, May 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM
As the first in-depth book to explore the role of branding in the design of corporate modernism, Building Brands re-tells the stories of four corporate headquarters in the context of both business and architectural histories: the PSFS Building by Howe and Lescaze, the Johnson Wax Building by Frank Lloyd Wright, Lever House by SOM, and The Röhm & Haas Building by Pietro Belluschi and George M. Ewing Co. In this illustrated talk on her new book, Grace Ong Yan describes how clients and architects together crafted buildings to reflect the company’s brand, focusing on carefully considering consumers’ perception and their emotions towards the architecture and the messages they communicated.

Grace Ong Yan is Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture and the Built Environment at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. As an architectural historian, educator, and architect, her scholarship explores alternate theories of modernism, intersections of media and environment, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Book cover of "The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and Perception of Race"

The Black Skyscraper:
Architecture and the Perception of Race

RSVP Tue, May 18, 2021 at 6:00 PM
In her book The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race (JHUP, 2019), Adrienne Brown examines works produced by writers, painters, architects, and laborers who grappled with the early skyscraper’s outsized and disorienting dimensions. She explores its effects on how race was seen, read, and sensed at the turn of the twentieth century. A highly interdisciplinary work, The Black Skyscraper breaks new ground in analyzing the influence of race on modern architectural design, as well as considering the effects of these designs on the experience and perception of race.

Adrienne Brown is Associate Professor of English and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Chicago where her teaching and research interests include critical race studies, architecture and urban studies, American studies, Modernism, postmodernism, the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, popular culture, visual culture, and sound studies. With Valerie Smith, she is the co-editor of Race and Real Estate.

Cover book of Antiquity in Gotham: The Ancient Architecture of New York City" by Elizabeth Macalauy-Lewis. Copyright Fordham University Press

Antiquity in Gotham:
The Ancient Architecture of New York City

RSVP Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 6:00 PM

In her new book, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis applies an archeological lens to the study of the New York buildings. Antiquity in Gotham explores how the language of ancient architecture communicated the political ideals of the young Republic through the adaptation of Greek and Roman architecture; how Egyptian temples conveyed the city’s new technological achievements; and how the ancient Near East served many artistic masters, decorating the interiors of glitzy Gilded Age restaurants and the tops of skyscrapers. Rather than emphasizing a battle of styles, the Neo-Antique framework considers the similarities and differences—intellectually, conceptually, and chronologically—amongst the reception of these architectural traditions.

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis is Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Executive Officer of the M.A Program in Liberal Studies at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She is the editor or author of six books, including Classical New York: Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham and Housing the New Romans: Architectural Reception and Classical Style in the Modern World.

The Floating Pool Lady:
A Quest to Bring a Public Pool to New York City’s Waterfront

RSVP Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Historian and waterfront planner and activist Ann L. Buttenwieser is The Floating Pool Lady. As parks protector Adrian Benepe writes in the description of Buttenwieser’s new book, “Never mind Molly Brown of RMS Titanic fame—meet the unsinkable Ann L. Buttenwieser! In  The Floating Pool Lady , Buttenwieser recounts, with the energy of a suspense novel, her visionary quest to bring to New York City the first floating swimming pool in more than seventy-five years.”

Ann L. Buttenwieser is an urban planner and urban historian. She has taught at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and at the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. She is the author of  Governors Island and Manhattan Water-Bound. 

Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin's Capital Princeton University Press, 2020

Moscow Monumental:
Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital

RSVP Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Historian Katherine Zubovich will discuss her new book Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital, an in-depth history of the Stalinist skyscraper. In the early years of the Cold War, the skyline of Moscow was forever transformed by a citywide skyscraper building project. As the steel girders of the monumental towers went up, the centuries-old metropolis was reinvented to embody the greatness of Stalinist society. In Moscow Monumental Zubovich explores how the quintessential architectural works of the late Stalin era fundamentally reshaped daily life in the Soviet capital.

Katherine Zubovich is assistant professor of history at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Her research focuses on the former Soviet Union. Her interests include the history of cities and urban planning; the history of architecture and visual culture; and modern transnational history.

The Seagram Building Construction Ecology

RSVP Tue, Jul 20, 2021 at 6:00 PM

In his new book Unless, Kiel Moe, professor of Architecture at McGill University and author of Empire State & Building, dissects the construction ecology, material geographies, and world-systems of the most modern of modern architectures: the Seagram Building. In his critical analysis of the environmental impact of architecture and urban real estate, Moe focuses on how humans and nature interact with the thin crust of the planet through architecture and how the immense material, energy and labor involved in building require a fresh interpretation of the ecological and social potential of design. He argues that unless architects begin to describe buildings as terrestrial events and artifacts, they will―to our collective and professional peril―continue to operate outside the key environmental dynamics and key political processes of this century.

Kiel Moe is a registered practicing architect and Gerald Sheff Chair of Architecture at McGill University. He was previously Associate Professor of Architecture & Energy in the Department of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design where also served as a Co-Director of the MDes degree program in the Advanced Studies Program and Director of the Energy, Environments, and Design research unit at the GSD.