August 1, 2008
  Oslo Opera House: Center Stage for Urban Revitalization
The architecture of the Oslo Opera House has met with universal critical acclaim for its form and its function. Snøhetta’s Modern design for the building, which rises from the Oslo fjord, is inspired by the Norwegian landscape and is a magnet for the droves of people who come to enjoy not only the performances inside, but the spectacular building itself. It was the architect’s intent to create a space to give new life to the community—a barren, portside warehouse district—through a monumental building from which all other development would flow.

Nature Finds a Way: The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Toyo Ito’s first American project is a search for “generative order”
Toyo Ito’s design for the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive draws its form from nature-based systems. It balances rigid modularity with a capriciously unpredictable procession of spaces. By integrating such natural systems into contemporary designs so holistically, Ito’s work in this project and in others reminds viewers of the timeless intrinsic value of evolution as an agent of design.

Over the River, Under the Atrium: Gaylord National Harbor
Gensler and Gaylord Hotels invite you down to the river with their own window on the Potomac
Designed by the Washington, D.C., office of Gensler, Gaylord’s National Harbor Hotel and Convention Center modulates its scale and massing to respond to its site on the Potomac River in Maryland, just south of the District of Columbia. It’s organized around a massive, dual-leveled central atrium that contains literal recreations of historic Chesapeake Bay architecture and landscaping.

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Here is where you will find our weekly Project Watch, short vignettes on notable projects in this country and abroad. The Design Zone is also where you will find coverage of awards programs, including the national Honor Awards as well as state and local component awards.