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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Inspiring Skyline

Seeing the skyline of a city can be a major component in the experience of visiting a new place. Its the first impression, that first glance you get from the highway of the city as a whole. Having lived in the Chicago area most of my life, I am used to the impressive array of skyscrapers the windy city offers as you round I-90 heading east for the loop.

I never expected to be impressed with the architectural beauty of a Texas skyline. On my most recent visit to Dallas, I went on a night time photo excursion to capture the neat lighting display that the city offers in the dark. Like any major urban area the land is spotted with amber lights, and the addition of architectural lighting offers this skyline more structure and design possibilities. Notice how they outline the structures, giving the skyline more of a frame against the black sky. Also, some of the displays such as the white ball feature flashing and running lights. Overall I found the lighting display of the Dallas skyline to be fun and inspiring, but not the most sophisticated direction this approach could have.

Speaking of sophistication, while out searching for good photo opportunities, I drove by one of the most impressive and aesthetically intriguing pieces of architecture I have ever seen, The Irving Convention Center. Since I first spotted it at night, I was struck by the sharp, dynamic lines and glowing lighting display. The building was completed early 2011, designed by RMJM Hillier Architecture, and is a multi-use facility designed with cutting edge contemporary architecture. 

The Irving Convention Center is a 275,000 SF structure built on the 40 acre multi-use entertainment district in the Las Colinas Urban Center. The building features a highly flexible verticle design that allows for concurrent functionality. Even more unique than this buildings contemporary stacked silhouette is its stunning sustainable building materials. The exterior facade is constructed from a perforated copper, a pattern specifically designed for this project by RMJM, that overlays the exterior glazing and structure system. The copper overlay is not only a sleek design finish, but it also is a non-maintenance material that provides a natural interior shading system. Also the Material allows for a breeze to flow between the copper and glass insulating the building and saving energy. Also the perforations allow for light to shine out at night, which is what first attracted me to this building.

Additional reading lead me to the architecture firm responsible for this innovative building, RMJM Hillier. RMJM Hillier is an international firm, with projects in over 20 countries worldwide. They operate in a number of countries, and are based in Scotland. I was very impressed with their website and porfolio. Check it out!

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