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A view into our world at Suzanne Lovell, Inc. and the ideas that inspire us daily. 

Recently opened, the new Shanghai Natural History Museum is an architectural feat. Perkins + Will spent 9 years on perfecting the design, development and construction after winning an international design competition. Drawing upon traditional Chinese cultural references was important; thus, the building beautifully represents the harmony between humans and nature. Taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese tradition of mountain water gardens, China's natural landscape was stunningly "minimized".

The circular design allows for easy movement within, and the interior organization is made easier by the nautilus shell design which, in nature, is one of the truest geometric forms... perfect for a natural history museum.

More than 10,000 artifacts (representing all seven continents) are displayed in the bright, light-filled building. The 30-meter atrium is welcoming and the adjacent glass wall mimics the cell-structure of both plants and animals. 

And finally, the design is environmentally friendly... the building is bioclimatic by maximizing the sun's output for solar power; nearby, the courtyard pond provides evaporative cooling. The interior temperature is regulated via geothermal and rain water is collected from the vegetated roof, stored in the oval pond and recycled.

Perhaps most importantly, with an additional 20 exhibition spaces, this space won't soon get outgrown!

At almost 500,000 square-feet, there are plenty of places for you to explore the natural world.

Image courtesy of: Design Museum

This central wall mimics the cell structure of plants and animals. Doing double-duty, the light which filters in through the panes brightens the entire atrium 30-foot atrium.

Image courtesy of: Design Museum

The lobby is representative of the interior's elegant beauty. Set within the Jing'an District, the museum is centrally located and close to the famous Jing'an Sculpture Park.

Image courtesy of: Archilovers, photographed by: James and Connor Steinkamp

It would be difficult to call this enormous building completely sustainable; but, it does boast some major "green" features. Kudos to that!

Image courtesy of: New Atlas, photographed by: James and Connor Steinkamp

Posted in: Architecture
Tagged: MUSEUM SHANGHAI PERKINS + WILL

The Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida was designed by Yann Weymouth of HOK (who helped create the Louvre’s glass pyramid with I.M. Pei). This $36 million structure (2011) houses the largest collection of Dali’s work outside of Spain, more than 2,000 pieces including 96 paintings.

Image courtesy of Phaidon

The shell of the structure is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, works with numerous green system including a solar hot water powered de-humidification system, high efficiency HVAC and ventilation.

Said Yann, "We wanted to avoid the kitsch of melting clocks and “themed” surrealism, but sought, in a frank and abstract way, to make a reference to that contrast between Cartesian geometry and organic shape. Dali and Buckminster Fuller were longtime friends, both fascinated by the intrinsic geometries of nature; it seemed natural to make a strong contrast between the stark raw concrete box that protects and shelters the collection and the almost liquid, transparent and facetted form of the glass enigma".

This impressive and thoughtfully-designed building is an must-see when in Florida!

Image courtesy of Phaidon

Image courtesy of Phaidon

Interior image courtesy of Inhabitat

BIM (Building information modelling) was used in the construction of the museum. 

Image courtesy of Inhabitat

Image courtesy of the Dali Museum Instagram page

Now through April 17, 2017 is Frida Kahlo at the Dali.

Kahlo and Dali each created artistic autobiographies and their personalities loom behind their paintings, generating a presence that both shapes and overshadows their works of art. While Kahlo largely rejected the term ‘Surrealism’ and felt that her works were as real as her life, Andre Breton, known as the founder of Surrealism, took great interest in her work and described her painting as a bomb wrapped in a ribbon. 

Posted in: Architecture
Tagged: FRIDA KAHLO St. Petersburg, Florida Yann Weymouth Salvador Dali The Louvre Buckminster Fuller Green Design

At the edge of London's Holland Park, John Pawson's newly designed masterpiece waits for more enthusiastic reviews.

Image courtesy of: Clothes Horse

London has always been known for its museums, that much is for sure. But when it came to design inspiration, it was the Victoria & Albert Museum that people visited... until now! V&A, the 165-year-old museum, is presently up against some major competition. In the heart of London, near Holland Park, the London Design Museum recently re-opened to a lot of acclaim. The backstory: until quite recently, the Design Museum was housed in a former banana warehouse near the Thames River. Luckily, the famous British architect, John Pawson, was selected to design this museum with enough space to put its permanent collection on view for the first time. 

Reinventing the new space was vital... now, light floods the central hall where an enormous 50-foot-tall space is capped off by an undulating curved roof. An impressive set of stairs spiral up the hall, allowing visitors to view items such as the yellow 1990 Sony Walkman we probably all remember from our childhoods. The lower stairs can act as benches, the intent is to invite visitors to take a seat and look around.

The museum has 1,000 permanent pieces on display, and there's now enough room for additional temporary shows. We love the newly designed interior and agree with all the early reviews which rave about this new London treasure!

The top floor of the museum houses the permanent collection. Among the most fun objects is a scale model of a London tub train viewed from the perspectives of both the designer-manufacturer and the user.

Image courtesy of: UK Business Insider, photographed by: Helene Binet

The 200-seat amphitheater is reminiscent of an ancient Greek stadium. 

Image courtesy of: UK Business Insider

As you can imagine, it was tough to take out the original concrete floors. This was done by propping the roof on a temporary steel structure 20 meters above the ground.

Image courtesy of: UK Business Insider

Posted in: Architecture
Tagged: LONDON VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM JOHN PAWSON

A Rhode Island icon, the Arcade Providence was designed in 1828  by Russel Warren and James Bucklin. With the  distinction of being America's oldest shopping mall, this grand monument was set to close in 2008 even though it gained National Landmark status in 1976. Preservationists fought hard for the arcade's revival and secured a $10 million dollar makeover. Yay!

With businesses and small shops occupying the bottom two floors of the building, the top two floors were converted into 48 micro-apartments. So enticing was the renovation, that 4,000 people remain on the wait-list. We're so glad this 188-year-old building got a second lease at life!

Rightfully, the Arcade Providence earned National Historic Landmark status. The heavy Greek Revival columns, granite walls, and classic facades remain in amazing condition. Our favorite features are the granite steps which lead up to a stunning, light-filled atrium.

Image courtesy of: Arcade Providence

The stately Ionic columns and sunlight-filled atrium with the glass gable roof from the start... looks very similar, no?

Image courtesy of: Curbed (Rhode Island Collection)

With singles increasingly contributing to a large portion of our general population, micro-apartments are helping alleviate the housing problems which plague many of the US's metropolitan cities.

Image courtesy of: Northeast Community Architects

We love that these apartments come fully furnished... not that much furniture is needed for such a mini place!

Image courtesy of: Arch Daily

Posted in: Architecture
Tagged: RENOVATION RHODE ISLAND MICRO APARTMENTS

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