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Architecture Contest: Contemporary Arts Center


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#1 Tragic Banjo

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 05:10 PM

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Contemporary Arts Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
Architect Series

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Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid, born 31 October, 1950, is an Iraqi-British architect and designer. After earning a degree in mathematics at the American University of Beirut and studying at London's Architectural Association School of Architecture, she went on to work with her former teacher, the well-known architect Rem Koolhaas, and became a partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in 1977.

Much of her early work was largely theoretical, with designs so complex as to be considered unbuildable, but even these were innovative enough to garner international acclaim and win several design competitions and awards. In 1980, Hadid established her own practice, with over 20 works completed to date and many more currently underway. Some of her best-known works include the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany, and MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy. Hadid's use of striking angles, complex curves, and bold formal juxtaposition has made her a leading figure in contemporary deconstructivist architecture, and in 2004 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize.

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Contemporary Arts Center
Founded in 1939, Cincinnati, Ohio's Contemporary Arts Center has occupied multiple locations around the city. By 2001, the time had come to commission a purpose-built gallery space, and in keeping with the organization's cutting-edge approach to art, the gallery wanted an ultra-modern architect to design it. The selection committee narrowed down 100 submissions to three - Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, and Bernard Tschumi - from which Hadid was ultimately selected. (Libeskind and Tschumi would both go on to complete other works in the Cincinnati area, the former with The Ascent in nearby Covington, Kentucky, and the latter with the University of Cincinnati's Lindner Athletic Center.)

Hadid's design - her first American commission and the first major American museum designed by a woman - came to be officially known as the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, named for two of its principal donors, and has been called "the most important American building to be completed since the cold war" by New York Times architectural critic Herbert Muschamp. The building consists of six stories and a lower level, housing galleries, offices, a performance hall, and a gift shop. The complex facade consists of multiple forms merging into one another, appearing to float over the glass-fronted ground floor that invites passersby in through a concept Hadid calls the "urban carpet," a continuation of the sidewalk outside into the interior and up the north wall.

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Facts about the Contemporary Arts Center
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Building type: Gallery
Materials: Concrete, glass, and steel
Style: Deconstructivist
Date: 2003
Floor area: 82,265 square feet (7,643 square meters)

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A Word from the Artist
Though relatively conservative as major American cities go, Cincinnati, Ohio, features a wide range of buildings designed by leading "starchitects," from Frank Gehry and Michael Graves to Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi, but my favorite is easily Zaha Hadid's CAC. Although I could have captured its form with a direct studs-on-top build, I wanted to reflect the building's formal concept of a city grid deconstructed and turned perpendicular, so the structure is built almost entirely sideways. This approach presented some unique challenges when combined with the various offsets - some as small as half a stud and even half a plate - that were necessary to represent the shifting forms, but a lot of trial and error with brackets and Erling bricks eventually resulted in a stable solution. The model is finished off with a few interior details on the ground floor, including a row of 1x1 "cheese" slopes to replicate the transition from floor to wall, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to add a splash of contrast with some red bricks to suggest the Shepard Fairey murals currently on display in the lobby.

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Edited by Tragic Banjo, 09 April 2012 - 03:26 AM.
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#2 JimBee

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:17 AM

Very nice work on this.  :thumbup: The model is very true to the real thing, so exceptional job with the offsets. Does the window really light up like that?

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#3 caperberry

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:17 AM

Oh wonderful, Trajic Banjo! Great to see a Hadid building. I look forward to more pictures!
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#4 Tragic Banjo

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:03 AM

View PostJimButcher, on 14 March 2012 - 12:17 AM, said:

Very nice work on this.  :thumbup: The model is very true to the real thing, so exceptional job with the offsets. Does the window really light up like that?
That was actually just an accidental camera trick - the flash reflecting off the windows made it look like it was lit from inside. I like how it turned out though.

Thank you for the kind comments!
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#5 AussieJimbo

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:22 AM

Top job, TB.

Great rendition of the original building and nice commentary about the architect.

:classic: :classic:

#6 lightningtiger

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

Excellent design 'Tragic Banjo'. :thumbup:
Good luck in the contest and Brick On ! :classic:

#7 moctown

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:12 PM

This is GREAT!! Seems to be a 'High end SNOT construction'.  :thumbup:
How many time did it take, to build this awesome model?

Let us have some more pictures please!!
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#8 Skalldyr

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:13 PM

This looks really great! I think the real building is perfect for an architecture model. Well done!  :thumbup:
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#9 Tragic Banjo

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:30 PM

View Postmoctown, on 14 March 2012 - 03:12 PM, said:

This is GREAT!! Seems to be a 'High end SNOT construction'.  :thumbup:
How many time did it take, to build this awesome model?

Let us have some more pictures please!!
I have no idea exactly how long it took or how many revisions it went through... I have a way of losing track of time while I'm building. :blush:

More pictures are coming soon! If it's nice out tomorrow I'm going to go downtown and photograph it in front of the real thing, and will post that along with interior and elevation shots.

Thank you, everyone, for your encouragement and compliments!
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#10 TheWarden

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:08 AM

I did not expect to see this as I myself live in downtown Cincinnati.  :oh:

Quite nice and evocative of the real thing, which I've been in several times. I suppose the only thing I can critique (you may have done it though) is the urban carpet curl up the building. I'm not sure I spot it. Did you say you used cheese slopes on their sides? At a larger scale you might have been able to use actual curved bricks and trans-clear panels that would have made enabled more visibility into the interior - but the scale is determined somewhat by the contest.

They are forecasting rain tomorrow, by the way.

Off topic, I'm jazzed to actually hear from a fellow Greater Cincy AFOL. I don't know any. Maybe we'll PM about local LEGO stuff in the future...
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#11 Tragic Banjo

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:24 AM

View PostTheWarden, on 15 March 2012 - 12:08 AM, said:

I did not expect to see this as I myself live in downtown Cincinnati.  :oh:

Quite nice and evocative of the real thing, which I've been in several times. I suppose the only thing I can critique (you may have done it though) is the urban carpet curl up the building. I'm not sure I spot it. Did you say you used cheese slopes on their sides? At a larger scale you might have been able to use actual curved bricks and trans-clear panels that would have made enabled more visibility into the interior - but the scale is determined somewhat by the contest.

They are forecasting rain tomorrow, by the way.

Off topic, I'm jazzed to actually hear from a fellow Greater Cincy AFOL. I don't know any. Maybe we'll PM about local LEGO stuff in the future...
Yeah, you can just barely see it through the window on the right side, but I have a row of cheese slopes inside to represent that. I'll have to take off the upper floors and post a picture of the interior ground floor to show it. My ultimate ambition is to do this at minifig scale so I can use a bunch of these.

Too bad about the rain, but nice to see there's another Cincinnatian here!  :classic:
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#12 TheWarden

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:41 AM

That would be huge - and awesome.

I was thinking the "macaroni" bricks on side would be a decent scale too:
http://www.bricklink...tem.asp?P=85080
or the bigger
http://www.bricklink...tem.asp?P=48092
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#13 viracocha

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:51 AM

Good model! It looks nice and well simulate the prototype. Want to see more photos of the model.

#14 Ecclesiastes

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:31 PM

That's well build! It really likes like the original building.

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#15 Artizan

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:16 PM

can you upload the picture again, it seems it is no more available?

#16 Tragic Banjo

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:52 PM

Oy, sorry about that - don't know how that happened. Should be working now, and I promise, for real this time, I'll go downtown tomorrow and take/post more pictures.
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#17 Tragic Banjo

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:32 AM

First post updated - new pictures (finally) including my own photograph of the building itself. The model hasn't changed noticeably - I tried out TheWarden's idea of using macaroni curves for the urban carpet, but couldn't get that to work in a way that I thought remained true to the Architecture aesthetic. So, cheese slopes it is, I guess.
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