Steven Holl Architects has completed a new floor for D. E. Shaw Research in Manhattan. The 3000 square feet redesign for the 32nd floor includes a porous staircase and a glass enclosure which will accommodate a supercomputer designed to execute high-speed simulations of proteins and other biological macromolecules.
As a concept for this project Steven Holl Architects studied soap bubbles and the way they mysteriously nest in clusters that always take the same angle of hexagonal geometry at 120 degrees. These hexagon patterns allow for the most effective connection of bubbles while minimizing the coverage area of the bubble cluster.
The 32nd floor lobby-space joins two floors adjacent to the elevators
and will give a glimpse of the supercomputer through faceted glass
enclosure around it. The two sides of the faceted glass enclosure neutralize
orientation and create a dynamic plane between the inside of the
supercomputer space and the representational area surrounding it. Incorporated within
this glass enclosure are monitors that will allow visitors to observe
the motion of simulated proteins, drugs, and other molecules in real time.
A staircase in the center of the space is shaped as a warped hexagon in
plan. Utilizing digitally coordinated fabrication techniques, the
folded and perforated planes of steel of the staircase are laser cut directly from
the architect’s drawings, exploring limits of fine grain porosity.
The patterns of the staircase are inspired by the geometries and
mathematics used by the supercomputer to tackle large-scale
computational problems. An aggregate of oblong slots that occasionally overlap and
connect to form “L”-shapes show how shapes can intertwine to form new patterns of legible compositions.
Steven Holl Architects has realized cultural, civic, academic and
residential projects both in the United States and internationally.
Steven Holl is a tenured Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. In 1976 he
founded Steven Holl Architects, which has now offices in New York and
Beijing with a staff of 63. Currently under construction is the Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex (Beijing, China)
which made it to the third project in TIME magazine’s list of upcoming
Architectural Marvels of 2007, the Nanjing Museum of Art and Architecture (Nanjing, China), the Vanke Center
(Shenzhen, China), Beirut Marina (Beirut, Lebanon), and the Herning
Center of the Arts (Herning, Denmark).
In September 2007 Steven Holl Architects opened the renovation of the
Interiors for the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts &
Science at New York University (NYU). Recently the office has won a number of international design competitions
including Herning Center of the Arts (Herning, Denmark), Cité du Surf
et de l’Océan (Biarritz, France), Sail Hybrid (Knokke-Heist, Belgium), Meander (Helsinki, Finland) and Vanke Center (Shenzhen, China).
D. E. Shaw Research ("DESRES") is an independent research laboratory
that conducts basic scientific research in the field of computational
biochemistry under the direct scientific leadership of Dr. David Shaw. DESRES is currently focusing primarily on
molecular simulations involving proteins and other biological
macromolecules of potential interest from both a scientific and a pharmaceutical perspective. The group includes
computational chemists and biologists, computer scientists and applied
mathematicians, and computer architects and engineers, all working collaboratively within a tightly coupled
interdisciplinary research environment. Current activities range from
the design of specialized, massively parallel supercomputers and numerical algorithms for ultra-high-speed molecular
dynamics simulations to the use of such simulations to elucidate the
molecular mechanisms of cancer and other diseases.