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summer 2014

We are pleased to present our summer 2014 issue of evolution, a seasonal journal. This issue offers our reflections on Charles Moore, followed by postings: a clipboard of recent engagements of our office.


Why Charles Moore (Still) Matters

On the occasion of the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the first designs for the Sea Ranch, Metropolis Magazine asked several of Charles Moore's longtime partners to briefly reflect on working with Charles and his importance to the field. The very thoughtful article by Alexandra Lange can be read here.

Below are some thoughts shared by Buzz Yudell and John Ruble:

Buzz Yudell:
When Charles Moore arrived in New Haven to become the youngest Dean in the school's history, it was like a fresh, invigorating breeze from the west. He had recently completed the Sea Ranch Condominiums with MLTW and Lawrence Halprin, as well as some extraordinarily inventive, yet modest houses.  

WorkshopSea Ranch Condominium 1 (1965)

Charles swept in with an array of initiatives that were avatars of progressive thinking and values. He focused on planning and building for the less enfranchised with an interest in affordable housing and the establishment of the First Year Building Project. The latter involved designing collaboratively for non-profit groups who otherwise would not be able to afford design services, much less a building. During the summer, all first year students worked on site with real clients, real material and hands on construction. It has been a transformative experience for generations as well as the inspiration for other great programs such as the Rural Studio.   

Charles constantly talked about the importance of  "making things" with your own hands. He was complemented in this with the inspiration of Kent Bloomer, a sculptor, writer and great teacher.

He was an early supporter of environmentally based planning and design, an advocate of community involvement and had a healthy skepticism of the influence of those in power.

He was ahead of his time in numerous ways including his advocacy of cross disciplinary work, his belief in team based projects, his interest in literally all the cultures of the world.

His great knowledge of the history of the art and architecture of the world and his openness to "high" and "low" art, combined with his irreverence and wit; encouraging all to break taboos, to use "cheap" materials, to experiment, to be inclusive.

This is partly responsible for the facile stereotype of Charles as a sometimes promiscuous Post-modernist.

But for those who worked closely with Charles, we know him as a disciplined, rigorous designer, wrapped in a puckish irreverent personality. He had an extraordinary spatial imagination, encyclopedic knowledge, lightning fast comprehension and most importantly an unshakable belief in architecture as a celebration of the individual, the community and the place.

He drew clients, friends, colleagues into  a magic realm of collaboration, powered by a sense of wonder about the world and an unflagging optimism about the ways in which architecture can ennoble our lives. 

In short, his commitment to architecture as an inclusive and humanist art was profound and irresistible. It inspires us and reverberates every day.

John Ruble:
Re-discovering Charles Moore may remind contemporary students and practitioners that architecture achieves its greatest relevance and meaning in relation to place and culture. Because we live in an instantaneous, ubiquitous culture of communication—evidenced by a globally influenced contemporary architecture—those who are growing up in a digital society can benefit by getting out and seeing real places—settings that are the result of cultural differences—discrete, particular, and deeply rooted in specific human histories.

Charles’ writing about the experience of architecture and culture is an entire legacy in itself. My personal favorite among Charles' writings is The Poetics of Gardens, written with William Mitchell, with wonderful drawings by Bill Turnbull and lots of others. It brought together a large group of friends in its production, and takes the reader on a tour of great world landscapes, with an intimate education on how to see such places.

Travelling, seeking out profound experiences of place and time, was and is an integral part of a Moore partnership. As many liked to remind us, Charles’ continuous flying here and there became a bit notorious as well: fly in, set the agenda, fly off, fly back in, change it all around, fly off again, return and repeat—so the story went. Sounds difficult for the partners who stay in the office, but what made it worthwhile is the virtue of perspective in that process. We began to do more of the flying ourselves, and the experience of the different places, sites, projects, and even clients tends to cross-inform, and enrich and liberate the thinking. Over the long term, it’s having that diversity of practice, experience, and expertise that distinguishes our firm and culture.

UC Santa Barbara Faculty Club (1968)

In a rare opportunity for direct engagement with Charles Moore’s built legacy, we are now working on one of the most remarkable of the MLTW projects, the Faculty Club at UC Santa Barbara. Dating from 1968, it was a restless, in-progress design, with more than enough iconic presence for several buildings, all stirred into an engine of gesture and movement and light. Dirt cheap and ultimately not very flexible as a faculty club, it fell into abject disrepair.

We are taking three approaches at once: restoration, adaptive re-use, and additive transformation. The biggest challenge is the indoor-outdoor treatment of the many layers of walls, wood trusses, and stucco details. We are using new roofs with a lot of skylights to enclose the layers of walls and spaces, so the complexity of construction will be animated by the sun but protected from the weather. An outdoor courtyard that was cold and damp in Santa Barbara's coastal climate will become a multi-event hall. That and 30 new guest rooms will totally transform the economics of the club and give it a new lease on life.

WorkshopThe Faculty Club with its new Guest House addition


2014 Green GOOD DESIGN Award
The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaum: Museum of Architecture and Design awarded both the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Georgina (Yudell/Beebe) Residence
the 2014 GREEN GOOD Design Award. This award identifies the world's most important examples of sustainable design. Members of the European Center's International Advisory Committee served as the jury and selected examples of Green Design from 24 nations.


2802 Pico Housing Honored for LABC & Westside Urban Forum Awards
2802 Pico Housing was honored at the 44th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards from the Los Angeles Business Council, as well as the West Side Urban Forum Awards. These awards celebrate the best of the region’s new and innovative architectural achievements. 2802 Pico Housing provides 100% affordable housing on a underutilized site in the heart of Santa Monica's commercial corridor. It accommodates 33 units above retail and community space organized around a courtyard.


UMKC Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall For Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The AIA Kansas City and the AIA Central States Region have both honored our UMKC Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation with Citation Awards in 2013.
Moore Ruble Yudell and BNIM worked in collaboration to design spaces which support the school's vision and mission, and enable creativity and design-led innovation. The building was completed in Fall 2013.


Grangegorman: An Urban Quarter With An Open Future is Hot Off The Press
This 128 page book documents the process of the landmark Grangegorman Urban Quarter Master Plan in Dublin. It is published and distributed by Gandon Editions in Ireland. The publication features 18 essays by various contributors, including Irish Minister of Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D., principal James Mary O’Connor, and partner John Ruble.



FineHomebuilding HOUSES Best Remodel Award
Krista Becker, FAIA won the 2014 FineHomebuilding HOUSES "Best Remodel of the Year" award with a complete renovation of a 1930’s bungalow. The whole-house remodel uses smart design strategies—replicable in any remodel—to modernize the floor plan and create bright, contemporary interior spaces that are inviting and easy to live in.



The UVa Darden School of Business
Moore Ruble Yudell was recently awarded the UVa Darden School of Business Strategic Space Plan project. It includes the development of an overall business school masterplan, renovating the existing buildings in a phased approach, and constructing new buildings or links. The programming phase began in June 2014.


UCLA Win-Gem Phase I
UCLA’s Engineering VI, Phase 1 continues to progress toward completion at the end of 2014. Phase 2, which just completed Design Development, will begin construction immediately after.

Grangegorman Brown School Expansion, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis
Construction continues on the new building for the top-ranked Brown School of Social Work. Consistent with the school's mission, the new building features a high level of environmental sustainability, enhanced universal accommodation and wellness. Full-size interior and exterior mock-ups help confirm design decisions before construction.  Completion is expected in Spring of 2015.

N’Djamena Construction Award
The United States Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) awarded the design/build contract for Moore Ruble Yudell’s new US Embassy in N’Djamena, Chad to BL Harbert International in February 2014. MRY and BL Harbert have worked together on previous embassy construction projects and look forward to another successful collaboration.


The Hague Ground Breaking Ceremony
The New Embassy Campus The Hague in Wassenaar broke ground on May 28, 2014, four years after Moore Ruble Yudell’s involvement began on the project. Timothy Broas, U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands and Mayor of Wassenaar, Jan Hoekem, celebrated the construction kick-off by shoveling the first sod, followed by the enjoyment of Dutch stroopwafels and Starbucks.


ShanghaiTech University
With the dormitories expected to be occupied by the opening of classes this Fall and academic buildings to be opened in the Fall of 2015, the entire campus site is fully engaged in construction.



Olin School of Business Knight Hall and Bauer Hall Dedication, Washington University in St. Louis, May 2, 2014
There was a celebration of the newly completed five-level 177,500 GSF facility for the Olin School of Business. Classrooms, studies, multi-purpose rooms, dining, career center, and faculty offices surround the light-filled Forum Atrium.


Helsinki Building Dedication Ceremony
The “Be Visionary” building dedication ceremony was held at the renovated US Embassy in Helsinki, Finland on April 30, 2014. Among guests were Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, Ambassador to Finland Bruce J. Oreck, Director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Lydia J. Muniz, and young Finnish entrepreneurs. The Innovation Center is the first US Department of State building to receive LEED Platinum Certification.


Santo Domingo Embassy Opening
The US Embassy staff in Santo Domingo will be inhabiting their new facility starting mid-June 2014. The campus includes the Chancery with one of the largest consulates in the world (62 windows), marine residence, and five support buildings on a 16-acre site within the sector of Arroyo Hondo.


Campus and Community: Accommodating Growth While Preserving Institutional Identity
2014 SCUP 2014 Pacific Regional Conference, Hollywood, California, March 25, 2014

Mario Violich, with clients Robin Aspinall and Frank Perri of Claremont McKenna College, discussed how development resources can be leveraged by investing in adaptive reuse and green infrastructure strategies.


Integrating New Retail Models and Co-Curricular Experience
2014 SCUP 2014 Pacific Regional Conference, Hollywood, California, March 25, 2014

Mario Violich, with client Kelsey Finn of UC Berkeley and Alyosha Verzhbinsky, student union representative, examined the balance between institutional mission, revenue generation and student priorities within today’s student unions.


Shanghai Theatre Academy—An Innovative Model for the Performing Arts Campus
2014 SCUP 2014 Pacific Regional Conference, Hollywood, California, March 25, 2014

James Mary O'Connor, with Courtney Crosson of Buro Happold and Michael Ferguson of Theatre Projects Consultants, examined the state-of-the-art Shanghai Theatre Academy project and its innovative planning strategies that integrate performing arts education with sustainability, technology, and the larger community.


Dublin's Urban Quarter Development
American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference, April 26–30, 2014

James Mary O'Connor, with Terry Prendergast of the Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA), gave a presentation about Grangegorman at the APA National Planning Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 5,000 planners, elected officials, students, consultants and organizations from across the U.S. attended at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC).

Moore Ruble Yudell Website