A closer take on the hottest solutions from May
Staff -- Interior Design, 5/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
1. Above It All
Richard Cook & Associates's wood ceiling vaults above basketball games, lectures, and musical performances at the Ross School, a holistic private institution on 150-plus acres in East Hampton, New York. Inspired by the belly of Jonah's whale as well as the ribs of sailing ships from Long Island's nautical history, architect Richard Cook used 100-foot arched glulam beams. Between the beams, Ventwood surfaces hide sprinkler systems, ductwork, and acoustical equipment; lighting strips, similar in size and shape to each slat, blend in discreetly. On two sides of the hall, custom curtain walls offer wide-open views of the campus. "The night forest becomes the backdrop for events inside the hall," Cook says. And the glass is laminated to withstand the impact of any stray basketballs. "Body and Soul," page 252.
2. Stair All You Want
One of the challenges in redesigning New York's Asia Society and Museum was to make its building seem bigger. Part of Voorsanger & Associates's solution was to construct an open staircase that arcs as gracefully as an imperial eagle, taking off from the basement, soaring through the lobby atrium, and coming to rest on the third-floor landing. The details pay homage to Asian culture: White automobile paint coating the staircase's steel spine is reminiscent of Chinese porcelain, and the blue laminated-glass treads were, in fact, chosen to echo the hue of a vase from the institution's Ming collection. (Each step is embossed with nonslip dots for safety.) Upon seeing the luminescent stairs, Asia Society patron Robert Miller, of duty-free fame, was so enchanted that he and his family endowed the structures for a rather hefty sum. "On the Rise," page 222.
3. Only Connect
For the office of a New York telecommunications company, architect Lee H. Skolnick's team designed a stunning staircase that features looped polished-steel railings and angled resin steps punctuated with sunken steel disks. Seen by anyone walking up or down, the disks appear to be suspended within the translucent treads, which, in turn, seem to drift in space. "Drifting" is also the word for another design feature: 13 glowing, neuronlike forms suspended from the ceiling slab. Made of cast-fiberglass mesh stretched over a framework of elliptical wooden ribs and strung with fiber-optic lights, the forms serve no specific function—besides alluding to the corollary between nervous systems and digital information systems. "Some Nerve!" page 266.