Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - 21
Previous page, © Preston Scott Cohen / This page, Courtesy of Studio Libeskind
Left: A skylight filters rays
into a central courtyard
at the Taiyuan Museum of
Art in China. Yair Keshet '03
wrote a computer script
that allowed him to configure the precise angles and
depth of each individual
panel and pane in the museum's elaborate exterior.
Above: Modeling software
enabled Noah Wadden '00
and team to design a
building for UK's Durham
University based on a series
of twisted parallelograms.
Philadelphia, and is collaborating with his spouse
Elizabeth Lovett on a new green roof design company.
While these forms have generated a good deal
of excitement for cities thirsty for creative architecture, critics have sometimes decried the shoehorning in of buildings that clash with their
environments. But there is a renewed interest in
integrating buildings into the existing landscape.
Noah Wadden '00, a senior associate of New York
firm Studio Libeskind, recently oversaw construction of the Ogden Centre, a bold new physics building
at UK's Durham University, which has a highly
regarded astrophysics department. "They desired
an architectural icon to highlight the importance of
the work," he says. The building is a stunner, with
a series of parallelogram-like shapes seemingly
balanced on each other as they spiral upward.
Wadden and his team thought carefully about
how to integrate the spectacular building into the
historic city of Durham, and particularly considered
the city's old Norman cathedral, its most visible
landmark. "Everything is always considered in
reference to it," Wadden says.
He and his team oriented the building to
provide stunning views of the cathedral from a
curtain wall of glass inside. They also researched
materials that would harmonize with the cathedral-
materials that would look contemporary without
clashing with or upstaging the ancient edifice.
They finally decided to clad the outside with
Scottish larch, which will weather to silver gray
over time. "It was an elegant, graceful way to fit
it into the university and the city at large,"
VA S S A r Q U A r T E r LY