Tag Archives: LIBRARY

DESIGNING FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF KNOWLEDGE

October 25, 2019

Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center & Orradre Library, Santa Clara University, California (photo by HHPA/Tim Griffith)

My previous article, Architecture for Learning, discussed the importance of good design for young learners ranging from preschool to high school. This essay exhibits our work with higher education, from university students to lifelong learners.

Investing in education can be one of life’s most rewarding investments, with both tangible and intangible returns. Whether it is a better job or a higher sense of the world, education is the foundation that civilizations are built upon. And the venue for learning is architecture.

Inha University Library, Inchon, Korea (model photo by HHPA/Foaad Farah)

Designing for the attainment of knowledge is to create experiences that stir, encourage and sustain learning. Yes, a building can teach. Akin to a textbook or software, the built environment can be a tool that demonstrates and instructs. And a learning environment is much more than the classroom. (All the buildings in this article are designed by me, in collaboration with my colleagues at HHPA or NBBJ.)

American University in Cairo Library, Egypt (photo by HHPA/Barry Iverson)

LIBRARY

A library is a traditional “old school” environment for learning. Sometimes full of books and sometimes not, the architecture of libraries houses information in whatever form that takes, hence new building names like “information services” or “learning commons”—no longer “library.”

Joseph A.W. Clayes Performing Arts Center, California State University Fullerton (photo by HHPA/Tim Griffith)

ARTS

Unfortunately, some schools marginalize the arts. A performing arts center not only offers arts to an engaged and eager audience, but teaches how the arts sustain creative progress.

Science and Technology Building, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona (photo by HHPA/Bill Timmerman)

CLASSROOM

This science and technology classroom building promotes STEM, but the structure also acts as a gateway into the campus of the community college.

Northwest Campus Housing, University of California Los Angeles (photo by HHPA/Michael Moran)

DORMITORY

A dormitory is more than a place to crash after a long day of classes. Student housing is the platform for the sharing of knowledge and of the day’s successes and failures.

University Center, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California (photo by HHPA/Foaad Farah)

STUDENT UNION

As a canvas for student life, the student union or university center comprises food services, retail and tech offerings, student organizations, social spaces, administration, and all the functions that fall under the umbrella of student activities. A student center is a microcosm and joyful collision of one’s existence.

Soka University Gym, Aliso Viejo (photo by HHPA)

RECREATION

Health and physical well-being are necessary aspects of education. The phrase “physical education” is not just about playing volleyball in a gym. How many philosophers and poets have expounded on strong mind and strong body?

Cintas Convocation Center, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio (photos by NBBJ/Xavier University)

What is a convocation center? The college’s sense of pride and community can be supported by a basketball arena, as well as by an assembly hall where the entire student body can convene and be called to order

“When the Cintas Center is finally finished, we will continue to look back on Anthony Poon’s work with the highest regard. It was a pleasure for us to work with Anthony.” – James E. Hoff, S.J., President, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio

PLEASE STOP ASKING, “RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL?”

January 26, 2018

Linea Residence L, Palm Springs, California, by Poon Design and Andrew Adler (photo by Locke Pleninger)

When you meet a chef, do you ask, “Do you cook chicken or fish?”

If you did ask such a stupid question, the chef would be thinking how absurd you sound. At the same time, this chef would be thinking of the thousands of things he cooks, in addition to “chicken or fish.”

When someone meets an architect, the first (and only) question is , “Do you design residential or commercial?” Please realize that the field of architecture—that the world— is made up of much more than houses and office buildings.

The Container Yard art center, Los Angeles, California, by Poon Design

I would guess that “residential and commercial” architecture only comprises 5% of the types of projects we design. When one considers that architecture includes museums and galleries, bridges and highways, churches and temples, hospitals and pharmacies, schools and universities, community centers and parks, libraries and theaters, memorials and gardens, stadiums and arenas, parking structures and parking lots, etc. and etc., as well as the commonly acknowledged “residential or commercial”—architecture is everything that is designed and constructed around you. Architecture is both the blank canvas that provides for the imprint of your life, as well as the vessel that holds it.

In simply looking at my own architectural works, there are several dozen building types I have designed. What can architecture be?

An exhibition place to experience the wonders of the arts and science.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado, by Anthony Poon (w/ HHPA, photo by HHPA)

A sacred place to gather and worship.

The lobby of the River of Life Christian Church, San Jose, California, by Poon Design (rendering by Amaya)

An optimistic place of higher learning.

Harrington Learning Commons, Sorbrato Technology Center and Orradre Library, Santa Clara University, California, by Anthony Poon (w/ HHPA, photo by HHPA)

A sweet place to bite into candy.

Sugarfina, Beverly Hills, California, by Poon Design (photo by Poon Design)

An energetic place for sports and competiion.

NFL stadium adjacent to Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, by Anthony Poon and Greg Lombardi (w/ NBBJ)

An active place for education and emotional development.

Valley Academy of the Arts & Science, Granada Hills, California, by Anthony Poon (w/ A4E and GKK, photo by GKK)

A master planned place for growth and development.

Menlo School and Menlo College, Atherton, California, by Anthony Poon (w/ HHPA, photo by HHPA)

An invigorating place to sweat and recharge.

Aura Cycle, Los Angeles, California, by Poon Design (photo by Aura Cycle)

A public place where citizens can assemble.

Urban canopies and public plaza, Irvine, California, by Poon Design

A place of grief and remembrance.

Contraband & Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia, by Poon Design
Student Activities Center, University of California, Los Angeles, by Anthony Poon (w/ HHPA, photo by Anthony Poon)

A social place for student life.

We need all the above places  (and many more) to live, and we want these places to be heartfelt. We need places to go to work, and we want these places to be comfortable and efficient. We need schools, and we want these places to be encouraging and supportive. Our neighborhoods need places to gather, and we want these places to be democratic and energized. Our communities need churches to worship in, and we want these places to be inspirational and transcendent. Our businesses need places to thrive, and we want these places to be strategic and informed. Our politicians need places to debate, and we want these places to ignite strength and influence.

So next time you meet a chef, do ask him, “What kind of cuisine do you cook?” And next time you meet an architect, ask him, “What kind of projects do you design?”

TRIBUTE: HUGH HARDY EXCLAIMS “HAPPY DAY! ONWARD!” (1932-2017)

March 20, 2017

Renovation of Radio City Music Hall, New York, New York, by Hugh Hardy w/ HHPA (photo by Radio City Music Hall)

I arrived at Hugh Hardy’s New York office in the Flatiron District. Mr. Hardy bellowed, “Anthony! How are you, my fine fellow?”—with a resonance of incredible welcome coupled with the thespianism of a Broadway musical. I visited Hugh’s architecture company only a dozen times, and each time, he greeted me with such sonority that his studio of young architects beamed with joy.

18 West 11th Street, New York, New York, by Hugh Hardy with HHPA (photo by Steve Minor)
18 West 11th Street, New York, New York, by Hugh Hardy with HHPA (photo by Steve Minor)

The field of architecture lost this hero last week, Hugh Hardy. Many can agree that every day, clients and colleagues would bask in Hugh’s warm spotlight. As he enjoyed his long career as if a kid on stage with a receptive audience, our legendary architect would bring his personal theater to Manhattan. For the record, nearly every important performing arts venue in New York City, as well as many other buildings around the country, were graced by Hugh’s architectural talents.

In the late 90’s, I joined Hugh’s company, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, known also as HHPA. In collaboration with Principal Norman Pfeiffer and his team, I headed up many of the design projects at HHPA’s Los Angeles’ office. Over my five years with the firm, I was fortunate to work on impactful projects: the 150,000 square foot DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame, and the 200,000 square foot library for the American University of Cairo, Egypt—just to name two of dozens.

Rendering-Front-Web

top: Library concept sketch for the American University of Cairo, Egypt by Anthony Poon; bottom: completed project by HHPA (photo by Pfeiffer Partners)
top: Library concept sketch for the American University of Cairo, Egypt by Anthony Poon; bottom: completed project by HHPA (photo by Pfeiffer Partners)

When Hugh visited his Los Angeles outpost for my first time, I witnessed his enthusiasm for design, an articulate language of leadership, and incredible showmanship—voice booming with drama and delight.

Model-Master-Plan-Web

top: Northwest Campus concept model for University of California, Los Angeles, by John Fontillas and Anthony Poon; bottom: six completed dormitory towers by HHPA (photo by Elon Schoenholz)
top: Northwest Campus concept model for University of California, Los Angeles, by John Fontillas and Anthony Poon; bottom: six completed dormitory towers by HHPA (photo by Elon Schoenholz)

Then, HHPA landed a big commission: three new dormitories and three renovated ones for UCLA. 2,000 new student beds in total. I represented the Los Angeles studio, and John Fontillas, friend, classmate and colleague (and future design partner to Hugh) represented the New York studio. Traveling east to New York for periodic design sessions, I watched Hugh command the company’s “war room” with grace accompanied by his sharp eye for constructive criticism.

Example: We completed the biggest commission of that period, Soka University—an entire hilltop campus in Southern California built from scratch. 103 acres, 20 college buildings, plazas, courtyards, lake, and so on. At the grand opening, Hugh was demanding, as he smiled, winked, and asked his team, “Is this the best you could do?”

Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, California, by HHPA (photo from www.sgi-d.org)
Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, California, by HHPA (photo from www.sgi-d.org)

Some of us laughed, uncertain as to whether it was meant to be serious or funny, inspiring or insulting. Some of us were uneasy that more than five years of our career were dismissed by this father figure of architecture. Most of us knew that Hugh had a vision for this world, and it extended beyond successfully re-envisioning his island of New York City.

Hugh Hardy was of this island. He walked the streets, and he rode the subways. Representing both the dreams of the people and the people themselves, he always reached for the brightest future, one “Happy Day” at a time. “Onward!”

Hugh Hardy in 1987 (photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images)
Hugh Hardy in 1987 (photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images)
© Poon Design Inc.